The supposed treasure cave turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as far as Revali was concerned. Nothing but broken junk in a corner, some of it possibly magical, all of it clearly useless. If it had been only him, they’d have gone back to the village and reported to the princess that they’d found nothing. But there was mister perfect knight too, and he insisted on checking that trash more closely. A good way to stay away from the princess, Revali suspected, and since she’d sent them on that little mission because she too wanted some peace…
Still it got boring pretty fast to look at that hylian boy sort through rotten books and weird items. Revali left him at his new hobby, and went to explore the rest of the cave further. It seemed someone had lived there once, leaving behind nothing but trash and worm eaten furniture that threatened to crumble at the first touch. Revali had a suspicion that late occupant might have been a rito, but he wasn’t sure. He also wasn’t interested, he reminded himself. He was there only to help mister perfect knight carry back to the village anything of interest they might find. And since there was nothing…
A sound resonated inside the cave, tearing Revali away from his thoughts. It came from behind him, from the room where he had left the hylian. Something strident and loud and unlike anything he’d ever heard.
It took him a few seconds to realise it was a scream.
“Link, is that you?” he shouted, already rushing back toward the other room.
Stupid hylian who had probably touched something magical, he cursed as he ran. Stupid himself for leaving that knight alone when he was a known idiot with little sense of self preservation.
The scream grew louder and louder until Revali entered the room and saw Link on his knees, his face between his hands as he howled in agony. Revali took a step forward, but froze as he realised something was happening to the hylian. His limbs were twisting and turning to a point that should have broken them (and maybe it did, judging by the screams) while his skin covered in bumps from which feathers pierced. Talons broke through the leather of his boots, while parts of his tunic ripped because of the new shape his body was taking.
After a few seconds that felt like hours, the change was finished and the knight collapsed, his face away from Revali. Well, Revali could hazard a guess at what he’d see on that face.
At least the knight had stopped screaming, the loud sounds of pain and despair replaced by a dreadful silence. It was broken only by the knight’s pants and, to Revali had least, the booming sounds of his own heartbeat. Carefully, the rito champion walked closer to the being that, only moments ago, had been a hylian. Revali knelt down, gently putting one hand on the other’s shoulder.
Link whined and pulled his… hand tighter against his face. As if that would be enough to hide what had happened. As if that same hand hadn’t become a wing, grey and white as the rest of the feathers that now covered his body. As if Revali couldn’t see his feet, similar to his own.
“How did you even do that?” Revali grumbled, almost impressed amidst the horror.
He did not expect an answer of course. Mister perfect knight was known for rarely speaking in general, and had never said a single word to Revali in particular. They had nothing to speak about. Besides, Revali somewhat knew already what had happened : the knight had touched something he shouldn’t have, with dire consequences.
“The little princess is going to just love that,” he grumbled. “You’re going to explain that to her, I’m not helping you. And I guess that means there’s no longer a hylian champion…”
That, at least, got Link out of his shock. He quickly sat up and stared at Revali in horror for a second, before looking around until he saw the Sword of Legend, discarded on the floor. Crawling awkwardly the knight went to grab it and, with shaking hands, lifted it. The sacred blade immediately shone the way it did whenever the knight was using it, and Link sighed in relief before putting it down again. Apparently no matter the specie he remained the Goddess’s pet.
Revali wanted to say something about that, but it was hard even for him to be mean to someone who looked as terrified as the knight did then. Link had always been hard to read for him, both the species difference and the boy’s facade making it hard to guess his thoughts, but now both were gone. Revali could see those wild eyes, the yellow crest on his head so flattened it almost disappeared.
“Don’t go laying an egg,” Revali said, coming closer to pat his shoulder. “We’ll get you back to your ugly self.”
The knight tilted his head to the side, a habit he’d carried on from his original self that looked far more endearing now. In fact, overall, the knight wasn’t too bad looking for a rito. He was somewhat small, but he hadn’t been tall for a hylian either, and his grey and white feathers were rather fetching, as was the gold of his crest and the bright red circles on his cheeks. His beak was maybe on the small side, but there was plenty of demand for that. If he was stuck in that shape for good, he wouldn’t have any problems finding himself a mate or two.
Not that Revali found him pleasant to look at. This was still the annoying little hylian knight who dared to be fated to a greater role than him, and thus worthy only of his scorn.
“Come on, get up,” Revali ordered, jumping to his feet and holding his hand out to the knight. “Let’s see if we can settle this ourselves. I’d rather not have that damn princess involved and I bet neither do you. So on your feet, and show me what you might have done to end up like this.”
With a hesitancy that Revali both understood and resented, the knight took his hand and lifted himself up only to almost immediately lose balance and fall into Revali’s arms.
“Wrong shape of legs for you, uh. Fine, can you just… Point at whatever did this to you?”
With his right hand tightly gripping one strap of Revali’s armour, Link lifted the left one and pointed at his own face.
“Yes, I can see what’s happened to you,” Revali sighed, annoyed. “But how…”
“There was a mask. A bird mask. I thought it’d be funny.”
Revali stared down at the smaller rito in hid arms, beak open in shock. That had to be the first time he ever heard Link’s voice, save for his earlier anguished screams.
“Can’t you… Remove it?” he asked once he had overcome his surprise.
The knight shrugged and with his left hand tried to feel around for the edges of that mask. When he couldn’t find it, he just sighed. Revali was almost sorry for him, and had to remind himself only an idiot would put on a strange mask from a pile of obviously magical items.
“No choice then,” the rito champion grumbled. “We’re going back to the village and telling the princess. Maybe she’ll know something, or else we’ll ask the elder. Think you can figure out how to walk?”
The knight nodded firmly and with some effort made himself stand up, though he kept his hand on Revali’s strap so he wouldn’t risk falling. His legs were shaking a little less now, though they weren’t quite stable yet, and when he tried to take a step Revali had to grab him before he could collapse on the ground.
It was going to be a long way back to the village.
They reached the village a little after night and thankfully didn’t meet anyone save the guard at the entrance who didn’t question the presence of a strange, wobbly rito he’d never met before, so long as he was with Revali. His reputation for hating to be questioned had its upsides.
Together the knight and Revali went to the inn, where they hoped to find the princess, but they were informed she was still with the Elder. That meant climbing all the way up the village, more efforts for the knight who still struggled a little with walking. Still the former hylian did not let that stop him and he went ahead, letting Revali follow him with the sacred sword in his arms. Carrying that blade was more than the unbalanced knight could manage at the moment.
It was a bother to walk all the way up, even for Revali. Normally he’d have caught an updraft or created his own and simply landed in front of the Elder’s house. After all he’d already had to walk, each step was a torture for his tired legs. The only thing that stopped him from complaining was the certainty it was much worse for the knight, and he wasn’t letting out a single protest. Still by the time they finally arrived to their destination, they were both panting.
“My ladies, we have a problem,” Revali announced as he barged into the Elder’s house. And, because he had a sense of drama, he threw the sacred sword on the floor.
The Elder and the princess had been sitting side by side near the hearth, enjoying a meal. Zelda dropped her bowl and jumped to her feet with a loud gasp.
“Where is Link?” she asked in a trembling voice.
It was almost sweet, Revali thought as he sniggered. Miss I-Hate-That-Knight-Too actually did care a bit then, for all the airs she was giving herself.
“And who is that?” The Elder wondered, pointing at the smaller rito behind Revali. “I do not believe I’ve ever seen you here, young one.”
Revali threw an arm around the small rito’s shoulder, pulling him closer.
“ That , my ladies, is the problem. Your great hylian champion had to be an idiot and meddle with magic he doesn’t understand. He might still be a champion, but a hylian he is no more.”
For a brief moment Link’s crest rose in anger, but it went back to laying flat against his head once the princess approached him to inspect him closely. There was little left of the knight’s self, but his crest was the same gold as his hair had been and his eyes had kept their deep blue which, combined with the clothes he still wore, gave him a familiar air.
“How did this happen?” the princess asked, more to Revali than to her knight.
“A magic mask, apparently. He can’t seem to remove it.”
The princess frowned at the news, while her knight looked down, his crest somehow managing to flatten some more in shame.
“What about the sword? Can he still… does it still accept him?” Zelda wondered with a touch too much eagerness that rubbed Revali the wrong way. She would like that, wouldn’t she? Not being the only failure left in their little group.
“He held it and it shone,” Revali informed her, and the slight pout on her face confirmed she had hoped it wouldn’t be so. “I just carried it for him.”
“It must be hard for him to get used to a body so different from his own,” the Elder noted, rising up to join them. “Worry not, my boy. We will help you learn to be a rito while you are stuck this way. Revali will surely be very honoured to be your teacher in this.”
“Me? Why me?”
The Elder smirked. “Because I have a feeling your bear some responsibility in this. The two of your went together, how come you did not stop him from touching that mask? If he couldn’t feel its power, surely you should have. Or did you lose all your sensitivities for a moment?”
Revali glared at her, but she returned his stare calmly, challenging him to defend himself when it was true he should have been there to stop Link. That had been the other reason Zelda had insisted her knight be accompanied by a rito on that little treasure quest, after all: most hylians were blind to magic and her knight was no exception. Revali shouldn’t have left him alone with that pile of junk. And yet what sort of an idiot just put on an ancient mask?
“We need to keep this secret,” the princess sighed. “There are enough rumours circulating the kingdom, if it became known that the Goddess’s chosen hero has been altered it could create troubles. Things in Hyrule have been unstable enough since the discovery of the prophecy, such news would only encourage our enemies. Imagine if the Yiga heard of this! They could kill him!”
Again Link’s crest rose in anger, before quickly going back to its flat position, which only Revali appeared to notice. It seemed the cold hylian knight was having trouble hiding his emotions in this body he barely controlled, and Revali found it deeply entertaining in spite of the situation.
“I can still fight,” the knight protested softly. “And this won’t last. We just need to remove the mask.”
“I’ve heard of that sort of magic before,” the Elder retorted. “Masks that can change a being into something else. It is a deep, dark magic that does not lose its hold easily, my boy. I believe in stories of old a way was mentioned to free those cursed that way, but I do not remember it. I will have to look that up in the morning. And if I find nothing… perhaps the zora will know of it. That legend was theirs before it became ours.”
“I’ll help you with researching that!” the princess quickly offered, eager as ever to get her nose in books. “And if it comes to it, I’m sure Mipha too will gladly lend us a hand while keeping the secret. Magic masks… however inconvenient that discovery is, it sounds rather fascinating!”
Revali rolled his eyes while the Elder chuckled kindly at the princess’s curiosity. He noted that nobody was saying anything about her responsibility in sending them to that cave, even though she was the one to have started this whole thing.
“We will see tomorrow how we shall proceed,” the Elder decided. “For now, it is late. You should return to the inn, your majesty. Alone, I fear. Revali, for the sake of keeping this incident concealed, it might be best if Link stayed at your house until a countercurse can be found. Perhaps we should say you found him lost and injured? He has a southern look to him, nobody would be too surprised if he met with trouble in our colder climate… but of course, I will leave the details to you.”
She smiled, to which Revali answered by clacking his beak. She was lucky he respected her (feared her even, on those rare occasions she got angry) or he’d have had a few things to say to her about being forced to nanny that idiot of a knight. But champion or not, she was the Elder and if he disobeyed, there would be consequences he did not feel like dealing with.
His house was empty and cold when they arrived there. Revali lived alone, unlike most other rito, because unlike them he had neither a family nor a mate. He’d been alone since his grandmother had passed some years before, and he liked it that way. Nobody to complain about the way he cleaned things or to pester him about needing to eat and sleep a little more often (though the Elder did that sometimes, when she could catch him). He didn’t even have guests save on very rare occasions, because he didn’t have the time to make friends. Being the best came at a cost.
And because he lived alone, because he never had visitors, Revali only had one hammock in the house. A bed he absolutely did not intend to share with his unwanted guest.
“I fear you’ll have to sleep on the floor,” Revali announced, grabbing some quilted blankets. These, at least, he had plenty of. His grandmother had once enjoyed making them, and in her later years had run out of people to whom she could gift them.
The knight did not reply, too busy looking around. It was the first time he was allowed inside Revali’s house, and he seemed fascinated by everything he was seeing. The bows hanging on the wall seemed of particular interest to him, though they were not very good and Revali had kept them only out of sentimentality. They had been the first ones he’d made, back when he barely understood his craft.
“Come on, you’ll gawk another time!” Revali grunted. “Go sleep. I’m tired.”
His tone startled the knight who finally looked at him, then at the pile of blankets on the floor shaped like a crude nest. It was as much effort as Revali was willing to make for that boy.
“Thank you,” Link said, coming to sit down on the blankets, wrapping one around himself. “Sorry.”
Revali shrugged. Sorry didn’t change the situation they were in, all because someone had no common sense.
“Just sleep,” the rito champion ordered. “Tomorrow morning we’ll see what to do about you.”
Almost entirely hidden under his blanket, Link nodded, making the fabric move in waves. It was almost cute, Revali found himself thinking. Nothing showed but the tip of Link’s small beak, the rest of him engulfed in the great red quilt, just as Revali himself used to do as a chick not so long ago. He huffed, annoyed at himself for finding anything about that stupid knight endearing. Just because Link was now a lot more pleasant to look at…
Huffing again, Revali climbed into his hammock and resolutely turned his back to his guest. The Elder and that damn princess had better find a countercurse quickly, because Revali was already tired of dealing with the Goddess’s hero.
Revali need to teach Link how to be a rito
Hey so. I'm unsure yet how relevant this'll be, but I headcanon rito to have actual hands hidden under their larger wing feathers. Mostly because the concept of feathers as fingers irks me to a degree that you would not believe. So for all intent and purposes, Ritos have hands similar to a dinosaur (see https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/dino/images/9/9e/JW_Ornithomimus.png/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20181107193015 ) but with an opposable thumb and covered by their long primary feathers :D
The sun hit Revali’s face, waking him up at dawn as always. It had been a conscious choice of his to put his hammock where the morning sun fell, so he could make the most of his days. Yet he wasn’t sure he’d actually woken up because when he opened his eyes, it was to the sight of a beautiful stranger sleeping on his floor, all wrapped in Revali’s favourite blanket. It took his breath away.
But after a few seconds he started remembering who this (actually just okay looking) stranger was, and he grunted in annoyance as the rest of the situation came back to him. To be a glorified nanny to that idiot of a knight… But he wasn’t going to let that change his normal life. He was going to go training as usual and would just let that stupid knight tag along. But first of course they’d hop down to the kitchens and…
Revali stared at the sleeping knight, and cursed. That idiot didn’t know how to fly. They’d have to walk to the kitchens, and they’d have to walk to the flight range. They’d have to walk everywhere and that would immediately bring attention on them because what sort of a rito didn’t fly once he was old enough for it?
Annoyed beyond words, Revali hopped out of his hammock and kicked the sleeping knight to wake him. No reason he should be the only one to have his day ruined before it started.
But the effect that rough awakening had on the knight was stunning. The smaller rito was reaching for his sword before his eyes were even fully open, and Revali had to jump to avoid being sliced in two by the sacred blade. That same blade, carried by its momentum, slipped out of the knight’s shaky grasp and went flying toward the wall, crashing into a vase that shattered upon impact. Revali made a careful mental note to try and be more gentle next time he’d have to wake up his guest, if he didn’t want to die.
“Sorry,” Link panted, eyes still unfocused. “I thought…”
“It’s fine, that thing was ugly,” Revali cut him. That wasn’t even a lie. It had been a family heirloom, but the colours were garish and Revali had dreamt of throwing it into the lake for years. If anything, he owed the knight for ridding him of that horror. “Listen, we need to go down to the kitchen. If we go too late, there’ll be too many people and they’ll get curious about you.”
The smaller rito nodded, then frowned and raised one arm to inspect it. He had nice wings, not quite as large as Revali’s but sturdier looking, cold gray feathers covering clawed hands that remained hidden unless the angle was right. Some hylians went their entire lives never knowing that rito actually had hands, Revali had heard. Ridiculous bokoblins the lot of them.
“I can’t fly,” Link noted. “Won’t that…”
“Yes, that will also make people curious,” Revali grunted. “No time to teach you now so let’s hurry. It’s still early, we should be able to avoid probing eyes.”
He pulled on the red blanket that still partly covered the knight, and started folding it, but his eyes were still on Link. It wasn’t just the flying that would be a problem, he noted. Link was still dressed with hylian garments, he’d stick out in any crowd. With another annoyed grunt, Revali went to dig into the chest were he kept his clothes. It wasn’t too hard to find a few things his guest could wear, so he threw them on the floor.
“Put that on. It’ll help.”
Immediately Link’s crest rose in surprise, while his neck feathers ruffled in what could only be embarrassment. Revali had to smirk at the sight of the usually cold knight unable to keep his emotions hidden. That, at least, was going to be interesting.
“Please turn around,” Link asked, his voice neutral even if his face wasn’t.
“Oh, so we’re shy?” Revali sniggered, but he did turn anyway, glad he didn’t have to look. He could brag and boast all he wanted, he’d rarely seen anyone else naked before, and never in his own house.
Resolutely turned toward the door, Revali smirked as he heard sounds of struggle behind him. No doubt mister perfect knight was having trouble removing clothes made for a different body than the one he now had. Revali had tried hylian clothes once or twice, and he knew full well how difficult they could be.
“I’m stuck,” said a cold voice behind him.
Openly laughing, Revali turned around, his hilarity doubling when he discovered the smaller rito all tangled up in his bright blue tunic, one arm somehow stuck above his head. At least the knight had managed to remove his trousers without too much trouble, though it did make him look all the more ridiculous, half naked and stuck. Revali had to help him out of his clothes, chuckling to himself at the way the knight's entire body was ruffled once he was naked, and how he put both hands on his crotch to hide something that in rito didn’t show constantly like for hylians anyway. Then, because Revali was nothing if not amazingly merciful (and starving) he also helped the smaller rito dress in more appropriate clothes. Mostly he explained to Link how to put on everything, but he did have to help him tie his chest armour, trying hard to ignore how soft the pale gray feathers were against his fingers. At least he could control himself enough to not let anything show.
“You look almost presentable,” Revali said when he was done. “Now let’s…”
“Do you have bandages?” Link asked. “When I became stuck, it made me think… if I had a wounded wing, no one would question why I can’t fly.”
That was actually a smart idea, one Revali regretted not having himself. Luckily he did have bandages, because training did not always go as planned, especially since he’d started on his updraft.
“Might also need a name,” Link noted as Revali bandaged his left arm with the same care he’d use on a real injury. They had all been wounded one day or another, most people would be able to notice something was off if he didn't apply himself.
“No need. You’d be surprised how popular Link is as a name among rito. You might be one of a kind among hylian…”
“There were five other Links roughly my age in my village,” the knight sighed. “And it’s not a big village. Half the royal knights are also called that. I’ve met gorons too. Zoras. No gerudo yet though.”
Revali chuckled. “Well, there’s a Link in town too, but you probably won’t meet him. He’s a mailman so he’s rarely home.”
That seemed to bring the knight little comfort. Revali wondered what it felt like to grow up knowing everyone wanted to be you. Not that he had to wonder very hard, because he’d always been so amazing that everyone envied his skill, while also dismissing it as just innate talent so they didn't have to acknowledge how hard he'd worked for it.
It was only as they started walking down toward the communal kitchens that he realised how much Link had been speaking. They’d had an actual conversation there, which had been not entirely unpleasant. That stupid little knight might be a little less insufferable when he spoke, making him an oddity in Revali’s world.
As Revali had hoped, the kitchens were nearly empty save for two guards who looked like they had just gotten off from night watch and were grabbing something before going to sleep. They were so exhausted that they barely looked at Revali and his odd guest. The downside of the early hour, of course, was that nobody had brought in fresh food yet, but that was something Revali was used to. There was some crushed wheat and some honey, they could have a tolerable porridge. He dropped a few ruppees in the box near the entrance and set to work under Link’s scrutiny. It would be the first time he’d been inside the kitchens, Revali realised. Outsiders of other species usually stayed at the inn and took their meals there, which had its own kitchen.
“Everyone cooks here,” Revali explained quietly, because Link’s ignorance on something so basic would betray their secret. “You take what you need, make something, eat it. If there’s leftovers, you leave them here and someone else will finish them. It’s good form if you cook well actually. Makes you popular for sure.”
Link nodded, his crest standing up in interest. “You gave money…”
“Everyone pays something every day, usually at first meal. People will bring in fresh food they find around, but some things we’ve got to buy and it pays for maintenance of the building.”
“There’s no one to check that people pay though. How do you keep people honest?”
Revali almost dropped the spoon he used to mix the porridge. What sort of question was that? Thankfully the two guards there with them didn’t appear to have heard it.
“If people don’t pay, there won’t be a kitchen,” he hissed. “Sometimes someone can’t because they’re hitting a rough patch, but usually everyone knows and their neighbours will give a little extra to compensate. It’s how the kitchens work.”
The smaller rito seemed confused by that answer, and Revali made a note to be careful if he ever had to let the knight pay the fee. He would not allow for any cheating, not when he knew perfectly well they could both afford it.
“I meant no offence,” Link mumbled, sensing the change of mood. “It’s just very different from how hylians would approach that sort of situation. Do people only pay if they cook, or also if they just eat something made by another?”
“You eat, you pay,” Revali said as he resumed mixing the porridge. “That’s why it’s okay to make more than you need if you’re good at it. I’m not, so I’m making just enough for us. But we’ll try to find some herbs and mushrooms on the way to the flight range, there’s always someone happy to get those.”
“What about fish and meat? Do people also just bring what they find?”
Again Revali glanced at the two guards. Both were half asleep and more concerned with not falling headfirst into their own porridge than with eavesdropping.
“You ask too many questions,” he grunted. “You’re really not choosing your moment to show off that you can speak.”
Link’s crest immediately fell, his posture tensing at the light scolding.
“I just mean you’re supposed to be a rito and know that stuff already,” Revali said, feeling guilty even though he’d done nothing wrong. “Keep your questions in a corner of your stupid little head and I’ll answer them when we’re alone. But anyway… meat and fish are a special case. Takes efforts to fish and hunt, so usually you get paid a little for that. Same if you bring enough vegetables. If you had to really go out of your way to bring something, you’re compensated. Some people make a living of it, but mostly it’s a good way for kids to earn a few ruppees.”
The porridge was ready soon after that, and Link did not ask anything else though he was clearly still curious about the way things worked. Good that he kept silent though, because other rito were starting to arrive and they were noticing the stranger with a golden crest. Revali took his guest and their bowls in the furthest corner of the kitchens, where they’d be somewhat out of view, but he still felt curious eyes on them.
“Eat fast,” he ordered. “I want to be out of here before someone feels allowed to talk to me.”
Link nodded and dug into the food in silence while Revali did the same, keeping an eye out for anyone coming their way. They were lucky though, and his reputation for grumpiness preserved them from everyone’s curiosity, at least for that morning.
The flight range was far from the village. At least, on foot it was. Revali had never realised that before because he’d never had to walk there, but his flight compromised guest left him no choice. That put him in a foul mood, especially when he realised it was nearly noon when they arrived there. If the princess and the Elder didn’t find a solution soon, Revali would have to teach his guest to fly or else he’d go mad. Of course he could also just leave the little knight at his house during the days, but that came with two problems. First, that the Elder would hear about it and be unhappy at this treatment of a guest. Second, that what little he knew of Link didn’t point to him being someone who’d take well to being confined for hours on end with nothing to do.
But the flight range had plenty to keep him occupied, at least for a day or two. There were always a few bows there, and some books on archery that Revali left there for the children who liked to come play there. Link could mess around with that while Revali trained a little. It would have to be a short session if they wanted to be back at the village before night, but a couple hours was better than nothing.
“Don’t break anything,” Revali quickly ordered before jumping into the updrafts of his training space.
It was exhilarating to be airborne again after two days of walking like a hylian. He allowed himself to just dive and rise again for a few minutes, enjoying the flow of wind on his wings, the lightness of his body being carried by warm air and magic. There was nothing better in the world, there could be nothing better.
But when he glanced at the hut of the flight range, Revali spotted Link sitting on the platform, looking up at him with interest. Oh, he’d get something to gawk at.
Riding the warm currents with more care, Revali sped up around the central pillar of the training area. He used that speed to fly high and pulled out his bow when he was at the highest he could reach without his new technique, stopping midair and hitting every target in sight in a matter of seconds, hardly losing any altitude before he put the bow away again and flew to the platform.
“And that is what a real champion can do,” he announced as he landed next to Link. “Impressive, I know. Although that’s hardly anything to me.”
“It was great,” Link readily agreed, feathers ruffled up in excitement even if his body posture remained neutral. “Was that the same technique you use to get into Vah Medoh?”
Revali scoffed. “This? Any rito with a little training could have done this, it’s just that most are too lazy and unfocused to learn. My Gale is something else entirely. I’m the only one who can master it.”
And he’d master it fully someday. Right now his chances of success were about half and half, with days when the currents were so unruly he got thrown around and hurt badly… but the Goddess’s chosen hero didn’t need to know that.
“I’m surprised you even remembered that I could create that amazing updraft,” Revali noted dryly. “You did not seem particularly interested when I first showed it to you. But of course, I suppose you are so used to fantastical people such as Mipha or Daruk that something acquired through hard work rather than a miracle of birth must seem quite mundane to you.”
“No, it was amazing!” Link protested, his feathers ruffling some more. This time it was so bad he noticed it, and tried vainly to flatten them with his hands. “Why does that keep happening?” He grumbled. “You never do that, why do I?”
“Oh, it happens to everyone,” Revali assured him, very amused at the sight. “Especially around me. Think of it as the rito way of blushing… and who could blame you for being attracted to me, eh? I am quite the specimen.”
It was a joke of course. Feathers ruffled for all sorts of reasons ranging from cold to fear, though attraction was definitely on the list. But Link didn’t take it as a joke, his beak opening in shock, his crest rising so straight on his head it had to be from fear rather than surprise. He looked so embarrassed that some of it rubbed off on Revali who didn’t know what to make of that reaction.
“You’ll learn to control it,” he grumbled, turning away. “Listen, I don’t have time to waste on you right now. Stay out of my way.”
He jumped again into the updrafts, and for the next two hours he made a point of ignoring the smaller rito. At least that was what he told himself as he showed off his best moves, more interested in looking impressive than on actually improving anything that day. He tried a few difficult manoeuvres that he knew were always spectacular. For good measure, he perched on the central pillar and, in spite of the instability, managed to summon a large updraft that sent him soaring into the skies until Link was nothing but a dot on the ground. He then dived toward the platform, only slowing at the last minute to land next to the suitably impressed knight.
“As I said, that’s what a real champion can do,” he boasted, tightening the scarf on his neck and standing as tall as he could. He hadn't needed anyone's blessing but his own to get his position as Vah Medoh's pilot, and that was a good way to remind the knight of it.
To his satisfaction, Link looked absolutely amazed, his feathers still ruffled in a rather endearing way. If Revali hadn't known better, he would have thought the knight had a crush on him with the way he reacted to every small thing.
“How do you do that?” Link asked, his voice as neutral as his face used to be as a hylian. “It's really impressive.”
“Oh, it's not so hard really. You only need to have worked towards it since childhood as I did. It's all about dedication and hard work. The real trick...” Revali trailed off, a thought hitting him. “Since when do you speak so much? I used to wonder if you were mute, but now you simply won't shut up.”
He immediately regretted the words that made something harden in the smaller rito, his shoulders tensing. Link, pointedly, did not answer his question.
“I don't mind,” Revali huffed with a hand wave. “You're actually less annoying when you talk. So please, don't hesitate to compliment me as much as you need. I know how amazing I am, but I understand also that lesser people need to voice it to properly apprehend it.”
That got him a chuckle, and Link relaxed a little.
“Well? Why the silence then?” Revali insisted.
“It's easier,” Link said with a shrug, looking away. “People always find something to dislike about me, it might as well be something I've chosen to do. People can imagine whatever they want about me and not be disappointed when I'm... different.”
It wasn't the answer Revali had expected, and it wasn't one he liked. It would have been easier to handle that silly knight thinking himself to good to chat with ordinary people. This, instead, was just sad.
“Then why are you speaking to me now?”
“I don't think I could disappoint you more than I did when I put on that mask,” Link chuckled. “So I guess there's nothing to lose anymore? But also, I'm not the chosen hero right now, am I? I'm just some rito kid whose words don't have much importance. It's... freeing, really.”
“Not a rito kid,” Revali noted. “Trust me, you might be small but you look full grown. Still I suppose I understand what you mean. It is hard to be recognised everywhere you go, as I know too well. The burden of fame is a terrible one.”
In a dramatic gesture, Revali brought one hand to his face and lifted his face to the skies, as if he were the lead actor in a play. And what was life if not a constant performance? Of course unlike the Goddess's champion he fully enjoyed his fame, relished in it even. What would have been the point of being the best if people didn't notice?
Doing this, however, meant he saw the sun was no longer at its highest. They still had quite a few hours until sunset, but the walk was long and he did want to bring back something to the kitchens. He hadn't managed in quite some days because of their hylian visitors taking so much of his time, and while nobody would judge him for it, he still didn't like to only take.
“Well, that'll be it for today,” he announced with one last longing look towards the training area. “We better start heading back.”
“Already? But we just got here!”
“I am flattered time passes so fast to you when you get to look at me,” Revali sniggered, enjoying the way Link's feathers ruffled again at the teasing. “But It's been a good two hours already.”
“Oh. But if you want to go on a little more, I don't mind. It really is impressive to watch you.”
This time it was Revali's feathers ruffling up, though he had better control and managed to force them down before the smaller rito could notice. It wasn't that he wanted Link to admire him, he told himself. He would have had the same reaction if any other cute boy had said that, because it did sound a little too much like flirting... or it would have, if he'd believed Link to be capable of such a thing.
“Yes, I know the effect I have on you,” Revali proclaimed. “Still it's a long way back to the village, and you'll have the immense privilege of seeing me train again tomorrow, unless something else comes up.”
“I'd love that,” Link replied eagerly.
It really did sound too much like flirting and since Revali wasn't sure how to handle such a ridiculous notion, he simply ignored it and went inside the hut to drop the arrows he wouldn't need. A few were getting too blunt to use, so he'd have to bring more the next day. Did he still have some at home though? He would have to check and buy some, since he would be unlikely to have time to make his own for a while. Unless perhaps Link could help with that... but he rejected the notion, not because he doubted the knight's skill (he was a decent archer, Revali knew) but because the entire point of focusing on his arrow was to not think about that little idiot who fluffed up every time Revali talked to him, like a child going through his first crush. It was embarrassing for both of them and Link needed to get some control of his feathers so it would stop quickly.
(but not too quickly either)
There were a lot more people in the kitchens at night than there had been that morning, and Revali knew immediately that they wouldn't be able to avoid some questions. Still he paid their fee and walked in confidently, Link following behind him. They had found some mushrooms and a few radishes which Revali dropped with the rest of the vegetables. Someone had made a few loaves of bread, so that looked like a good idea for their dinner. Bread, butter... maybe they could fry a fish and share it too. It always felt too indulgent when he cooked a whole fish just for himself, so it was nice to have someone to share it with.
“Can I help?” Link asked, eyeing the trout that Revali picked.
“Didn’t think you’d cook, you being a knight and all.”
Link grabbed the fish and smirked. “And you think the princess cooks when we travel together?”
The very thought was so ridiculous Revali started laughing. Link threw some butter into a pan, waiting for it to sizzle before he added their trout and a few herbs he’d picked up on the way back from the flying range. He cooked the fish to golden perfection and put it on the plate Revali gave him. Again they went to a less busy corner of the kitchens to eat, but as soon as they sat down a few others left their table to join them.
“So Rev’, why don’t you introduce us to your friend?” Komli asked, who had sat next to Link and was staring at him as if he were a juicy steak.
Revali glared at him, annoyed that Komli would even dare speak to him with their history, but the hawk-like rito only had eyes for Link.
“Fuck off, Komli.”
“Now that’s just rude,” Komli sighed, and his friends at least had the decency to roll their eyes at his antics. “Hey pretty boy, what are you doing with that asshole?”
To his credit, Link ignored him, more interested in lifting the fish’s fillets and putting one on Revali’s slice of bread.
“I think Rev’s new friend is deaf,” Quell joked. “Only way anyone could hang out with him.”
Again Revali glared, but with less heat. Quell was his neighbour and she’d helped him care for his grandmother during her last months, so he could allow her some teasing. He didn’t really do friends, but Quell might still have counted as one.
“Not deaf,” Link protested, barely a whisper.
“Then you’re just shy?” Komli asked, leaning closer to the smaller rito who in reaction leant toward Revali to avoid unwanted contact. “It’s kinda cute. So what are you doing in Rito Village? And what’s your name anyway?”
Big blue eyes turned to Revali as if to beg for his help. Perhaps there was a bit of shyness in Link’s silence, or perhaps it was harder to break that habit with people he did not know. The second option wasn’t unpleasant, if it meant Link trusted Revali to some degree. Not that Revali cared of course.
“His name is Link, and he was travelling but got hurt. Elder asked me to look after him. Satisfied?”
“Nobody asked you, mister chosen one,” Komli spat out. “Why don’t you go back to your stupid machine and leave your friend with us? He’ll have more fun with the right crowd. What do you say, Link? Want me to show you all the good spots around? We could make this a trip you’ll never forget.”
Komli tried to grab Link’s shoulder but the smaller rito avoided him, leaning further towards Revali until they were flushed together to put distance between him and that very aggressive flirting. Because of course Komli was flirting, and the rest of the group was looking at Link in a way that made it clear if Komli failed they might try their chance. And how to blame them when Revali too was deeply aware of how handsome Link was with his soft gray feathers, his lean but strong silhouette, and a proud posture that made him look taller than he was.
“I am fine with the friend I’ve picked for myself, thanks,” Link said coldly.
The word friend took Revali by surprise. It certainly wasn’t one he’d have used to describe them. Colleagues maybe? But of course, that was with Link-the-Hero, not Link-the-rito. Friends was just an easy way to explain why they would be spending a lot of time together in the coming days.
“Oh my, I think Revali found himself a boyfriend ,” Quell whistled.
Everyone at the table laughed while Revali glared at her and Link puffed up at the accusation. That reaction only made them laugh harder, the hilarity even bleeding to nearby tables who had been eavesdropping.
“You are too good for him,” someone told Link. Niorth, Revali thought her name was. “You’ve just arrived here, don’t settle yet. Not for someone like that anyway.”
“Oh, ahah, hilarious,” Revali grumbled.
“Isn’t he a champion?” Link protested quietly, feathers still ruffled beyond his control. “And I’ve seen him with a bow. I think he’d make a very impressive boyfriend.”
“He would if he weren’t Revali,” Komli retorted. “Ever heard him to about anything but flying and his stupid machine? Come on pretty boy, you don’t want that vain monk to date you. You want a real man, like…”
“Or a real woman!” Quell interjected. “And even without dating we’re more fun to be around. Come on, ditch Rev! What fun would it be to always go to his stupid flight range, when you could come fishing with us?”
“I’m fine being with Revali, thanks,” Link insisted, glaring at his plate. “And if you don’t mind, we’re hungry. If you’re done eating, you should go .”
There was something in his tone that made it clear he was done with the conversation. His knighthood was showing a bit, an authority that Revali had rarely seen in him but that he appreciated because the other rito didn’t linger much longer, grumbling against the two of them and their lack of humour. Revali couldn’t help being impressed that Link would get himself obeyed by someone like Komli who barely even respected the Elder.
“Shouldn’t have been this harsh,” Revali still said. “If this situation lasts, you might want to have friends here.”
“And I have you,” Link simply said before biting into his slice of bread. “Uh. The taste is… odd? Did they forget something when they made it?”
Intrigued Revali pecked at the bread. “No, it’s the same as usual. Did you never try it at the inn?”
“I did but this tastes… less.” Link frowned, and tried the fish. “This too! I don’t understand…”
Revali had a small piece of fish. The texture was nice, firm but not dry, extremely well cooked. Nothing wrong with it, yet Link was glaring at his plate as if it had personally offended him.
“Doesn’t even smell of anything actually,” he complained. “I don’t know how I messed that up.”
Oh, right. Smell. Revali sniggered.
“Welcome to being a rito,” he whispered. “Smell? Not our strong suit usually. Heard there used to be some vulture-like rito in the desert that could smell even better than hylians, but for the rest of us… Not a thing.”
The look of absolute horror on Link’s face sent Revali laughing so loud other people around turned to look at them. He didn’t care, not when this was the most emotion he’d ever seen on the Goddess's chosen hero.
“But… how do you even enjoy food ?”
“Good texture is good food I guess. But really, who cares? If you’re not hungry anymore after, that’s all that matters.”
Link’s eyes widened and his crest rose in sheer horror at that statement. It was rather adorable to see him emote so easily. A stark contrast with his guarded persona when he was hylian. And he was more fun to be around than Revali might have expected, now that he actually talked.
Friend, Link had called him. Maybe he wouldn’t have minded that, if they’d had the chance. It wouldn’t be so bad to have a handsome friend who openly admired him…
But Revali quickly pushed the thought away, knowing it to be ridiculous. They weren’t friends, they were just two people forced to work together. The fact that Link was temporarily decent looking didn’t change how unfair it was that some silly hylian had been chosen to deliver the final blow on Ganon, instead of Revali. He too could have swung a sword around, if given a chance.
“Let’s just eat quickly,” he grumbled, unhappy with himself for forgetting his dislike of the hylian champion. “I don’t want Komli to come back.”
One step forward, two steps back
The next day started much as their first one had. Revali woke up first and was a little more careful when waking Link, so he didn’t have to fear being slashed open this time. They went to the kitchens for breakfast. This time Quell was there, having been on watch duty, and she tried to chat up with Link until they were done eating. Revali said nothing but watched it all carefully to see if the former hylian was going to ditch him after all. He couldn’t blame Link if he chose that. Quell was very pretty with a brightly coloured plumage, and a somewhat tolerable personality. She certainly was a lot more popular than Revali, and a few rito their age would have loved to catch her interest the way Link did.
Yet Link, while very polite, showed no attraction to her. Not once did his feathers ruffle up nor his crest rise, even when Quell very boldly suggested they go collect some wood later… but perhaps that innuendo only worked on a true rito? Or maybe Link had finally figured out how to keep control of his expressions. It’d be a shame if he did.
For the sake of experiment, Revali brushed one leg against Link’s, with just enough pressure to make it clear it wasn’t quite an accident. The effect was immediate: Link’s entire head puffed in embarrassment.
“Is there a problem?” Quell asked with a little too much interest.
“Bug on my leg,” Link grumbled, kicking Revali under the table while the taller rito tried to hide his laughter.
Quell said nothing but she looked intensely at the two of them, her head slightly tilted to the side. Her flirting almost stopped after that, though before they went their separate ways she told Link he could come find her if he became bored of Revali.
With food out of the way, they headed again to the flight range. Link, again, leaned against the railings of the platform as if he’d be perfectly fine spending his day watching Revali. A fine occupation of course, because Revali knew how amazing he was to observe for the casual archer, but he did worry Link might get bored of that at some point. He did not want the smaller rito to get bored of him.
“There’s some bows, you could practice too, even from firm ground,” Revali suggested. “I’ve seen you shoot, you need all the training you can get.”
Link smirked, his feathers ruffling only slightly. “Would you teach me, if I asked?”
Again, that sounded too much like flirting, and Revali hesitated for a second. The words alone might have been innocent, but Link’s head cocked to the side, the hand on his hip, that smile at the corner of his beak. Link was flirting. The Goddess’s chosen hero, greatest ice queen the world had known, silent and impassive knight, was flirting . With Revali.
And Revali really couldn’t force himself to dislike the idea. Not when Link was so easy on the eyes as a rito, and so much more fun to be around now. Maybe it could be fun to flirt back a little, just to see what would happen, and how flustered the former hylian could get.
Revali didn’t realise he’d been watching a little too insistently until he looked at Link’s face and noticed a glint in his eyes. He cursed himself for not being more discreet.
“I have to wonder. Am I... attractive, by rito standards?” Link asked, a little too innocently.
“You're okay looking,” Revali conceded, as if he hadn't just been caught staring. “Some might call you handsome, I suppose.”
“Some. Would you?”
The question took Revali aback, as did the intense look on Link's face, his crest raised high in what could have been curiosity or fear. Or a mix of the two, depending on how much the answer to that question mattered to him. Revali was tempted to lie because he did not want to be attracted to the Goddess’s chosen hero. At the same time he could count on his fingers the number of people who had shown real interest in him, and Link was pretty, and Revali liked the way the small rito looked at him.
“Yeah, I guess I don’t hate looking at you,” Revali finally conceded, enjoying the shock and surprise on Link’s face at his words. “And of course I know you find me very, very attractive. So what do we do now, hm? Am I supposed to kiss you maybe?”
The idea didn’t sound so bad. Revali loved the way Link stopped breathing at the suggestion, the way he tensed when Revali crossed the few steps that separated them, the little gasp when their beaks brushed, the way he nuzzled against Revali’s beak instinctively, answering the kiss.
But when Revali’s arms went around his shoulders to pull him closer, Link quickly pulled away.
“You’re just playing games with me,” he accused.
“Maybe. But it’s a game you want to play too, don’t you?”
Link hesitated, bringing one hand to his beak before shaking his head. “I was just chatting. You’re the one making this weird.”
“Don’t lie to yourself, mister chosen hero. This wasn’t just chatting .”
“It was! I don’t… I don’t play games . I am the Goddess’s hero, I can’t… I’m not allowed to be… to be flimsy .”
“Well excuse me for just being a mere mortal who likes to have fun,” Revali retorted. “How dare I think I was good enough for you, right?”
“That’s not what I said,” Link protested with a frown. “I just don’t know if we should play games when we both know it’ll end the instant I’m back to normal. I’m not stupid. You wouldn’t even look at me if I weren’t a rito.”
That wasn’t wrong. Revali had never once thought of taking a hylian for a lover. That also wasn’t true because he had always been a little too aware of Link, always too keen on watching him and teasing him. He’d thought it was dislike, but he wasn’t so sure anymore. There were plenty of people he disliked without trying to get their attention the way he’d done with Link.
Still the rejection hurt, and he didn’t want to hurt alone.
“But you’ve been looking at me all along, haven’t you?” Revali sneered. “You can play the moral high ground now, but how long have you been attracted to me? How shameful for the Goddess’s chosen hero, the future saviour of Hyrule, to want so badly a man, and one of a different specie at that. You won’t kiss me now, but I wonder how often you’ve touched yourself thinking of me?”
Link glared at him, tense under the attacks.
“I’ve never been ashamed of how I feel,” he calmly proclaimed. “And I’m not ashamed of what I want either. But I won’t throw my pride to the winds just because you’ve decided I’m temporarily fuckable. Thanks for saying that, though. It’ll be a lot easier to make the right choices now that I remember what an asshole you can be.”
Having said his piece, the knight turned away to go back inside the hut. It was tempting for Revali to go after him and apologise. He hated how much he wanted to do that. He hated that it hurt to have Link angry at him. That stupid little knight didn’t matter. His opinion of Revali didn’t matter. No matter how nice their too brief kiss had been. No matter how much Revali wanted more of that, more of anything Link might have been willing to give.
But that was the thing, wasn’t it? Link, for all of his coy flirting, wasn’t willing to give anything. And Revali wasn’t the sort to run after people and ask for forgiveness.
He was the greatest rito the world had ever known, he reminded himself, jumping into the updrafts.
He didn’t need anyone.
After their argument at the flight range, Link became quieter. Not nearly as silent as he had been as a hylian, goddess be thanked, but something had changed. He answered if Revali asked a question, but the flirting had stopped and he was no longer as chatty.
That was good, Revali tried to tell himself. Link asked too many questions that might have attracted attention to them, to their secret. Him being quiet was a good thing. And Revali didn’t miss his conversation, didn’t miss making Link laugh. He certainly didn’t miss Link’s teasing or the way he looked at him, nor did he think about that one kiss they’d shared, or what it might be like to have him in his arms.
A day passed, then another. And another. Another. They still spent their time together, still went to the flight range everyday. Revali still trained in a way that was more showy than necessary, and Link still watched him, but now he would look away if he thought Revali had noticed. They still ate together, and Link still cooked with greater skill than Revali would have managed, but he wasn’t so eager to start conversations anymore. A few times Quell joined them, uninvited. At first she joked and wondered if they had already broken up, but something on their faces alerted her that it wouldn’t be wise to tease them on that. Bless the Goddess, she actually had the kindness of not insisting, and instead chatted about her life and the latest gossip among the guards. It was the first time in his life Revali felt grateful for small-talk.
But Quell did not follow them home. Sooner or later Revali had to be alone with Link, with nothing to distract him. He tried going to sleep earlier than normal, but that didn’t erase the knight’s presence, and sleep didn’t come easily because he kept replaying to himself that damn conversation where everything had gone wrong. If he had said something different. If Link hadn’t been so inflexible. If he had gone after Link and apologised…
That last thought hounded him without mercy.
A week after The Conversation, Revali was starting to consider saying sorry. It wasn’t something he did, ever, because he was never wrong and lived without regrets. Regrets were for weaker people who couldn’t deal with consequences. He wasn’t weak, and he dealt with everything the world threw his way.
Laying in his hammock one night, Revali was thinking of giving Link what he’d never given anyone: an apology. As soon as he could figure out how...
Without a clue about the internal conflict he was causing, Link was inspecting his sword, as he did every night even though he always left it behind to avoid attracting attention. There was no way that cursed thing could have gotten so much as a scratch, and still Link polished it every night like something precious.
It was something precious of course. A sword only the greatest of heroes could yield, and only in desperate times. Revali hated that sword a little more every time he saw it. He hated how Link was so focused on it. He hated that sadness he could see in the smaller rito’s eyes as his fingers brushed against the metal. He hated what that sword meant for their future, for the future of Hyrule, the threats it implied.
“Do you ever wish it hadn’t chosen you?” Revali asked.
Link stopped moving, but did not look up from the sacred blade.
“Sometimes I almost do,” he confessed. “Life would be easier without it. But if I weren’t the chosen hero, I wouldn’t have met…” he hesitated, and briefly glanced up at Revali before shaking his head. “What does it matter what I wish anyway. The Goddess picked me and it’s a great honour. How would I dare go against her decision?”
“But you’re not happy about it.”
Rather than to answer, Link slid the sword back in its sheath, still gentle and delicate even though Revali had seen him fiercely fight with that blade.
“My happiness doesn’t matter,” he said at last. “Are you happy to have been chosen by Vah Medoh, after all?”
“Yes,” Revali immediately answered. “Shows I’m the best, and no one can pretend they don’t know now. But I’ve been striving for greatness since I was a little chick anyway. Even without the prophecy, I’d still be working this hard because I enjoy being better than everyone else.”
Link chuckled, sadness still lingering in his eyes.
“You’re not like me though,” Revali pointed out. “I wonder what you’d do if the Goddess hadn’t chosen you.”
“I’d still be a knight,” Link sighed, his crest laying flat against his head. “My father is. And his father before. And all the ones that came before too.”
“And what if you didn’t have to be a knight? What if you could choose your own fate, would you have followed a different path?”
For a moment Link stared, hardly breathing.
“Wrong question?” Revali asked, ready to change the topic. He’d just gotten Link talking again, if he had ruined that…
“Zelda asked me the same thing once,” Link whispered. “I think she was talking about herself, but it still struck me. She… she knows what she’d do. What she enjoys. Given the chance she’d spend half her life in libraries, and the rest of the time knee deep in mud to gather data on whatever picked her interest that day. But I… I don’t know what I’d do if I had a choice. I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have to be a knight. I’m not sure I would be anything.”
Shoulders hunched and hugging his legs against his chest, Link tried to chuckle as if to convince himself he didn’t actually mind. Before he realised it, Revali had left his hammock to sit next to Link and pull him in his arms. The smaller rito did not push him away, pressed himself closer to Revali’s chest if anything.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Link became stuck in that body, he idly wondered. Couldn’t be a hylian knight if you weren’t hylian . Maybe Link would stay in Rito Village. They’d find him a job of some sort, he was clever enough to pick up a trade even starting so late. Revali could concede to let him live in his house a while longer until he could find a place of his own. Or he’d just stay there for good, they were nearly friends by now.
I don’t play games , he’d said.
Maybe it wouldn’t be just a game if the change was permanent.
“Hey, Link? I have been thinking…”
What he was about to say, Revali wasn’t sure himself. He never had a chance for it anyway, because Quell barged inside his house.
“Rev, the Elder wants to see you!” She proclaimed cheerfully, then stopped when she actually saw them. “Oh. Am I interrupting a reconciliation, perhaps?”
“Fuck you,” Revali hissed. He didn’t move though, and Link didn’t push him away, even then.
“Not this time,” Quell retorted with far too much glee. “The Elder really wants to see you, and she said it was important and you had to come. Both of you. That hylian princess was there too, so maybe it’s about the Divine Beast?”
It was the mention of Zelda that, finally, had Link tearing himself from Revali’s arms. He stood up and if his body was different, Revali recognised the posture he adopted, that of an diligent little knight ready to obey every order thrown his way. Revali should have hated seeing the return of that attitude, but instead it just twisted his heart. They both knew there weren’t many reasons why they might be summoned, when Zelda and the Elder hadn’t once asked for them since hearing about Link’s fate. His break from being a knight was over.
At first, Revali barely paid attention as the Elder and that damn hylian princess explained to them all the efforts they had made to look for a cure. Couldn’t they have given him a day more, and hour more, just enough time to say sorry and mend things before Link went back to being something they both disliked? And it was obvious that Link was miserable about it, his feathers so flat on his head he might have looked sick.
“But all that was in vain,” Zelda sighed at last, and that did get Revali’s attention. “There is nothing about the way to counter it.”
To her credit, she looked heartbroken, and she was avoiding looking at Link, as if she realised that some of this was her fault. Still Revali hadn’t listened to everything, he had to be sure…
“So what you’re saying is…”
“Our poor friend is stuck in this shape,” the Elder confirmed, looking as distraught as the princess. “We are still waiting for princess Mipha’s final results, but for all intent and purposes it would appear that Link is now permanently a rito.”
Revali’s second emotion at the news was guilt, because his first one had been joy .
At the scale of Hyrule, Link being a rito created so many problems and he knew it. The knight could still lift his sword, might manage to use it somewhat, but the hollow bones and light weight of rito made them poor swordsmen by nature, meaning it would be that much harder to accomplish the fate thrust upon him. Impossible, perhaps. Revali could grumble and complain about how stupid it was, they still needed the hero and his sword.
The thought of Link remaining a rito should not have been pleasant, but Revali had always been selfish.
“All hope is not lost yet,” the Elder insisted. “The zora’s histories go further than our own. It will take much more time for princess Mipha and her people to check every record they have. It could be a few weeks, months perhaps before we know for sure. Until then we must all be patient and hope our enemies do not discover what has happened. We are lucky that no one should expect Zelda and Link to return to Castle Town until she has to visit the Spring of Wisdom. It gives us a couple more months, and if we are lucky that will be enough.”
Link was silent as they walked home, and Revali let him be. What words of comfort could he have found anyway? Sorry you’ll never be yourself again and might not be able to accomplish your fate and save the world, but at least you’re very handsome? For the first time in his life, Revali figured out on his own that he needed to shut up.
They got inside his house pretty quick. Still unsure he could say anything to help Link, Revali decided he’d go to sleep right away. A firm hand on his wrist stopped him. Link, standing as tall as he could, his crest high in defiance, stared at him.
“I've said before I don't want to play games with you but… If I changed my mind. If I said yes now, would you still want me?”
“If I changed my mind. If I said yes now, would you still want me?”
Revali stared for a second, taken aback.
“Have you changed your mind?”
“Yes,” Link claimed, barely any hesitation in his voice. “Heroes don’t play that sort of games, but I’m hardly a hero anymore, am I?”
It was tempting to just give in and take what Link was offering. Revali took a step in his direction, but stopped himself. They were playing a game indeed, but it wasn’t the same one as before, though it was one Revali knew. He’d been like that after losing his grandmother, desperate for a distraction. He’d been lucky Quell was free with her affections but never took it personally when he dismissed her after, because she had never been seriously interested in him. It’d be different for Link. There was a connection between them, a friendship of sorts, and even if things went sour between them, they would still need to work together to defeat Ganon.
“I won’t make that offer again,” Link warned, sensing his hesitation. “You can fuck me now, or you can go fuck yourself. But you’ll take the chance, won’t you? We both know you’ve wanted me since the moment I put on that stupid mask.”
“Vain little asshole,” Revali grumbled, but Link was right about him and he pushed his doubts away to take the knight in his arms.
It was so right to nudge his beak against Link’s, to pull him tight against his chest and have those blue eyes look up at him in challenge.
“You ever done that before?” Revali asked.
There was a brief hesitation. “Certainly not in that body,” Link answered at last. “Do rito even have a… you know?”
Revali sighed. Well, that was a conversation they needed to have indeed. With some hope, it wouldn’t ruin the mood, or not for long. “Let’s sit down and I’ll explain,” he said, grabbing a few quilts and throwing them on the floor for comfort. He sat down first, and as Link started to lower himself Revali grabbed him to pull him between his legs, the smaller rito’s back to his chest. It’d be easier to explain that way, he figured. Beside, it was nice to have Link against him that way.
Revali cleared his throat. “You might have noticed that hylian and rito bodies are different in… body functions. I’m almost sure you people don’t have a cloaca?”
Link only shook his head in answer, tensing against Revali.
“For us, our appendage is only used for reproductive needs,” the larger rito explained, casually bringing his hands to Link’s hips. They were not pushed away. “Everything useful stays hidden unless we actually need it. Bit like zora for that, which makes sense.”
“So how do you… get it to show?” Link mumbled.
“Well, that’s the fun part,” Revali snickered, letting his hands slide toward Link’s legs, enjoying how Link’s breath caught at the sensation. “You’ve got to make sure everyone’s having fun and is in the right state of mind.”
To illustrate his point, Revali nuzzled at Link’s neck before burrowing his beak under the soft gray feathers to gently pinch the sensitive skin under. He was rewarded by a shudder and a soft gasp.
“How do hylians do it?” Revali asked, before pinching Link again.
“Not like that,” Link gasped, tilting his head so Revali could access more of his neck.
Taking that as an invitation to continue, Revali set out to pinch more of Link’s skin, sometimes gently pulling on feathers, relishing on the little sounds Link couldn’t stop, the way the smaller rito writhed against him. Encouraged by that Revali let his hands wander on Link’s chest, petting his feathers, scraping his claws against the skin hidden under. Link was amazingly responsive to everything and without being touched himself, Revali could feel himself reacting to that.
“Wanna undress?” he suggested, loving the way Link ruffled at the suggestion, the eagerness when he nodded.
Of course the sad part of undressing was that Revali had to let go of Link. He immediately missed the sensation of a body pressed against his, and hurriedly jumped to his feet so he could remove his clothes and pull Link back to him. Because he had more practice he was the first to be naked and if it hadn’t already been hard before, watching Link drop the last of his clothes to the floor would have gotten him there. How dared that ridiculous little knight make for such a gorgeous rito?
And yet something was odd. Link was refusing to meet his eyes. It could have been just shyness, even after he had asked for this, or he might have been changing his mind as the reality of what they were doing occurred to him. Glancing down he saw Link’s cock already halfway out though and that reassured him.
“We don’t have to do that if you’ve changed your mind,” Revali still said. “It’s not exactly fun if you don’t want it too.”
“I want it,” Link retorted, before taking a deep breath. “I want you to fuck me.”
The words, said so casually, knocked the breath out of Revali.
“Are you sure?”
“If you think you’re up to it,” Link challenged him. “Otherwise I’ll go see if Komli is free, I guess.”
Pulling him closer once again, Revali pinched him hard for that suggestions. The very idea of Link going to someone like Komli for comfort was appalling.
“I’ll take care of you, pretty boy,” Revali promised in a low voice. “Once I’m done with you, you’ll never want anyone else.”
He loved the way Link chuckled at that, before tentatively pinching at Revali’s neck, softer than necessary. Revali sighed to encourage that, before moving so their cocks could rub against one another. The friction, combined with another harder pinch, was delicious and Revali would have considered trying to get off like that if Link hadn’t already made it clear what he wanted.
“Come on pretty boy, let’s get you down on your back,” Revali purred. “I can’t wait to see what you’ll look like when you’re full of my cock.”
Without surprise Link’s feathers ruffled at the lewd words, but there was still a challenge in his eyes as he sat down on the quilt, his eyes never leaving Revali’s. The taller rito let him make himself comfortable and pull his tail comfortably under him before he joined him, laying down at Link’s side. He pinched gently at Link’s chest while one of his hands grasped the smaller rito’s cock, stroking it gently just to see what reaction it would get him. Revali couldn’t get enough of the way Link ruffled up at everything, the gasps that escaped him at even the smallest sensation. None of his previous lovers had ever been so reactive, and it made him wonder how easy it would be to bring him to climax just by touching him. If Link granted him another time, he might try that.
For now though he let go of his friend’s cock and brought a finger to his cloaca, glad to find it so slick his finger slipped in without any resistance.
“Why is it like that?” Link mumbled, sounding almost worried at what his body was doing.
“That, my friend, is a sign of how badly you want to be fucked,” Revali retorted. He saw doubt in the other’s eyes though and, gently, nuzzled their beaks together. “Really, that’s all there is to it. I’m having the same reaction now, it just happens when you’re excited. Hylians don’t have that?”
Link shook his head.
“Then how do you…”
“Less talking, more fucking. We can do a comparative study later.”
A fair point, Revali decided as he positioned himself between Link’s legs, though part of him worried that the knight wouldn’t be so interested in chatting later, if he was right about this just being a way to distract himself about the bad news he’d just received. A problem for later though.
Link gasped at the sensation of a cock against his cloaca, throwing his arms around Revali’s neck and pressing his face against Revali’s neck. He cried when Revali started pushing inside, but did not push him away nor ask for it to stop.
Revali slowly pressed on until he was fully sheathed inside Link, both of them trembling.
“Is that okay?”
Without a word Link nodded, still hiding his head against the crook of Revali’s neck. It was a surprising contrast with his earlier bravado. He wouldn’t have imagined the hylian hero would be so shy in bed. It was exciting. Revali wondered if he could get the smaller rito to be noisy. He grinded down against Link and was rewarded by a soft gasp, almost a whimper. Encouraged by that reaction Revali pulled out a few inches before thrusting back inside. This time there was definitely a whimper, and he loved that desperate little sound, the way Link clung tightly to him.
“Sure I’m not hurting you?” Revali insisted, in case he was misinterpreting the noises.
Link didn’t say anything, but he pressed one leg against Revali’s back to pull him closer.
That was all the encouragement Revali needed to start moving, slow at first because Link was so tight around him and he didn’t want to risk hurting the smaller rito. But as Link relaxed under him Revali thrusted faster and deeper, loving the way Link moved his hips to meet his, the way his body accommodated for him as if they’d been made for each other. Link wasn’t saying anything but he certainly wasn’t silent either, moaning and gasping against Revali’s shoulder, whimpering little desperate sounds when a thrust hit him just right.
It drove the larger rito crazy. He wanted more of those noises, he wanted to hear Link sob in pleasure and scream his name. His rhythm became harder and faster but still Link was trying to stay quiet even though Revali could feel his body tighten around him as they both got closer to coming. Link’s back was arching impossibly and he clung to Revali like a drowning man, pulling hard on his braids.
“Touch yourself,” Reval asked. Ordered. Begged. “I want to feel you come.”
With only slight hesitation, Link brought one hand between them to stroke himself along with Revali’s thrusts until he let out a strangled cry, his body tightening impossible on Revali’s cock. The older rito only managed a few more harsh thrusts before he too was coming, shouting Link’s name as pleasure coursed through him stronger than ever before.
Revali clung to the smaller rito in his arms, not wanting to let go. He should have pulled out at least, but he didn’t want that either, preferring to bask a little longer into the glory of Link’s body, the warmth and the closeness. It had never been like that with the few others he’d had.
“Thank you,” Link whispered against his neck, still a little breathless, impossibly gorgeous when Revali forced himself to pull away enough to look at him.
“Oh, you’re speaking again?” Revali teased, gently pecking at grey feathers. “And you are welcome. Extremely welcome. If you ever feel like it again…”
His heartbeat quickened at the thought maybe Link wouldn’t want to do that again. If Revali hadn’t been good enough… If this had really just been a distraction from bad news, or curiosity rather than actual attraction… but the smaller rito brought their beaks together, nuzzling lazily.
“Yes,” Link simply said, not bothering to hide the open affection in his blue eyes. “As much as you’ll want.”
For the first time since he was a chick, Revali woke up to the sensation of another body against his. It hadn’t been a conscious decision, Link and him had both been tired from a rather long and eventful day, but Revali was glad it had happened that way. It certainly was a pleasant way to wake up. And if, as Link had said, it could happen again, he wouldn’t mind one bit.
That tender thought was interrupted by a rather loud gurgling from his stomach. It was rather late for him to wake up, and he was starving. There would be people at the kitchens though, and this change of his habits might be noted. Did he really need food anyway? It was comfortable to lay in the sun, Link in his arms…
“I could kill for breakfast,” the smaller rito grumbled, ruining Revali’s fantasy of a long morning in bed. “Can we go eat something?”
“If we must…”
“We do. Don’t you need to go training?”
For the first time in his life, Revali found that he wouldn’t mind if he didn’t train. It would be so nice to stay home all day and make love again and again until they just couldn’t anymore. It would certainly force him to push his endurance, which was a form of training, wasn’t it? But more than missing his regular hour for breakfast, not going to the flight range would absolutely be noticed and perhaps be brought to the attention of the Elder. It might not even be done out of malice: Quell certainly would just want to tell the Elder that Revali was suspected of finally having fun. How the Elder would react to that though… not to mention the princess, who hardly left her side? Link had said he wasn’t opposed to sleeping together again, but that didn’t mean he wanted everyone to know.
“Fine, let’s go then,” Revali conceded. “You have five minutes to clean yourself and get ready, then I’m leaving without you.”
Nobody bothered them in the kitchens, but when they exited the village Quell was on watch duty and she gave Revali a look that said plainly that she remembered what she had seen the night before. Hopefully she hadn’t heard any of what had happened after. Revali was almost certain she hadn’t. She wouldn’t have resisted the impulse to tease him about it.
They reached the flight range a little after noon and in spite of his earlier fantasies of lazing in the sun, Revali immediately set to work. He’d had trouble focusing on his practice these last few days, the argument with Link always on the back of his mind. With things cleared up on that front, he could once more work on his updraft without fear that a moment of distraction would cause him to be thrown aside by the winds.
As always Link watched him the whole time, thought there was something a little colder to his expression, as if he had been analysing rather than admiring this time.
“I will have to learn to fly now,” Link noted, looking at the fake bandage on his arm.
“Probably. You’d be an odd rito otherwise.”
Link pondered that for a moment. “I think I’d like that. It must be fun. At least, you always look happy when you’re flying.”
“Best thing there is,” Revali agreed, idly wondering what it would be like to fly alongside Link. That wouldn’t really happen for weeks even if they started now. It would be complicated to teach him how to to feel the air currents and magic that allowed for flight, something ritos normally learned incrementally since birth. But to take to the air with someone fearless, someone who probably would enjoy pushing the limits of his wings as much as Revali did…
“Best thing, uh?” Link noted with a chuckle, leaning too casually against the railing, his body stretched in a way that made his puffed feathers glisten in the light.
So they were back to flirting then. It was a game Revali had missed more than he would care to admit.
“Nothing beats flying,” he declared, making sure to be very obvious in the way he admired Link’s body. “Can think of a thing or two that come at a close second though.”
Even after days as a rito, Link still couldn’t control his feathers and just that vague suggestion was enough to have him fully puffed up. It was adorable. It was also oddly attractive, Revali decided, because it told him just how attracted to him Link was. Of course he knew he was a catch, but it was nice to have it confirmed by someone whose opinion mattered.
“Will you teach me?” Link asked.
“Which one? Flying or the other things?”
“Flying, mostly, but if you think you’re in a position to teach me anything else, I’d be curious to see that.”
Closing the distance between them, Revali towered over the smaller rito, enjoying the way Link’s blue eyes looked up at him in challenge.
“Didn’t hear you complain last night,” Revali teased. “Didn’t hear you say much at all in fact. But if you have reproaches, go ahead. I’m listening.”
“You did nice,” Link conceded, waving his wing as if he were doing some great favour in admitting that. “Could have been just a lucky fluke though.”
Revali chuckled and leaned to nuzzle their beaks together. “I’ve got nothing to prove to you, you little idiot. But I am generous, if you’re interested I will blow your brain away again, out of the kindness of my heart.”
He pushed himself closer, trapping Link against the railing, and tilted his head to pinch at the other’s neck. Just like the previous night Link immediately reacted with a breathless gasp.
“You ever done it outside?” Revali asked with another harder pinch.
“If someone comes…”
“And how often has that happened so far? It’s safe.”
Link hesitated, but not for long. “Fine,” he said, blue eyes challenging. “Let’s see if you can still do as good the second time.”
They didn’t undress this time, just in case someone did come. Revali didn’t mind, there was still plenty of Link exposed for him to pinch and touch. Link was less shy about returning caresses this time, methodically nipping at Revali’s neck and shoulders as if to find out every spot that excited the larger rito. He was doing a great job of it too, Revali was hard and panting before long. Not that Link was doing any better, his cock straining under his pants; the sight so tempting Revali had to grope him through the fabric.
Link gasped softly and pressed his beak against Revali’s chest to hide his face again, but Revali pushed him away.
“Tell me what you want.”
The smaller rito threw him a pleading look and tried to buck his hips, but Revali just loosened his grasp so there would be no friction.
“ Tell me. What do you want?”
“You,” Link whispered.
That confession knocked the breath out of Revali who could only stare at his lover. There was so much affection and desire in Link’s blue eyes that the intensity almost scared him. I don’t play games , Link had said that other day. Whatever was happening was serious for him.
It was serious for Revali too, he realised. All the denial in the world couldn't hide anymore how much he cared for the Goddess’s hero. All the intensity of his former dislike had turned to an equally strong affection for that little reckless idiot. Perhaps not love as such, not yet, but he was already on his way there. Not that he could say that out loud. Not now, not when it would get dismissed as a moment of passion or a ploy to keep Link in bed.
“Tell me what you like,” Revali insisted, resuming his groping of Link’s cock. “I like when you speak to me. I like your voice. Tell me what you want and I’ll give you anything .”
“T-this,” Link stuttered, leaning to hide again against Revali’s chest who allowed it this time. “More. I want… fuck me again, please?”
That was a request Revali would never have denied. It had been so good before, and it would only be better if Link didn’t hide this time. Hardly anyone ever came to the flight range without checking with him first so it gave them the most privacy they could get. Perhaps Link too had come to the same realisation, or perhaps it was just because Revali has mentioned enjoying his voice that he was so much more vocal this time, urging the taller rito to fuck him harder and faster, whining Revali’s name as he came.
this was supposed to be another sex chapter but then life happened and I just... bleh /o/
Sorry for skipping an update last week! I wasn't quite happy with this chapter, but I didn't have time/energy to correct it before now...
In spite of how crazy things should have been, life soon fell into a routine. Every morning Link and Revali went to the kitchen for breakfast, they went to the flight range to train and have sex away from prying ears, then they returned to the village for dinner (usually cooked by Link) and spent the evening either chatting or having sex again.
Either option was equally pleasant, which still surprised Revali sometimes. There weren’t many people he could have an actual conversation with. Most people in his life weren’t interested when he started explaining the properties of various woods for bow-making, and fewer still actually asked follow up questions, but Link did.
He asked about where Revali bought the wood, how he made the string, the difference between his composite bows and the longbows of hylians and zoras, the best way to keep bows working longer. There seemed to be nothing that did not interest him, and Revali delighted in answering him.
Of course, Link asked questions about everything. He was clearly eager to absorb as much about rito culture as he could now that he was stuck as one, but Revali still felt happy that his craft was a subject worthy of even more curiosity.
“And what if I wanted to know about being a knight?” Revali asked one night, remembering a little late that he’d often been scolded for being too self absorbed. “Must be interesting too.”
Moments before Link had been cheerful, his crest high in curiosity, but it fell flat against his head at the question.
“It’s not,” he answered dryly. “It’s just training, etiquette, and more training.”
“Most knights are of high birth,” Link explained. “And even those that aren’t will spend a lot of time at court. We have to know how to behave around all those lords and ladies. It’s tedious. You wouldn’t believe how many rules there are for everything. If you’re a knight you’re not allowed as many buckles on your shoes as a baronet, and you have to be up at a certain hour or you are a disgrace on your family…”
“Oh, that one must be hard for you,” Revali teased.
“More than you’d imagine,” Link muttered with a shiver. “It’s fine now because I’m the Goddess’s chosen hero so nobody really dares do anything to me, but I’ve been woken up by icy water thrown in my face more often than I’d care to admit. And food! You wouldn’t imagine all the way they complicate meals when you’re at court! You can only eat certain things in a certain order, and because I’m a knight but not noble I’m not supposed to get seconds or else I’m a disgrace! And there’s all these forks! Do you know how many forks you’re supposed to use during a dinner with the king?”
Revali shook his head, trying not to laugh when he wasn’t sure if Link was upset or exaggerating to be funny.
“Well neither do I!” Link explodes, rolling his eyes. “I know in what order I’m supposed to use them, sure, but it’s still so stupid and I hate it! Isn’t one fork enough? It works just well here! That’s why I love being here, ritos don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Things just work and they make sense. Here nobody cares about using the right fork so long as the food is good, right?”
Sensing that the mood was leaning towards upset more than humorous, Revali nodded and quickly tried to change the subject.
“And you’d know about good food, Oh Goddess’s chosen cook,” he said. “Bet you’d defeat Ganon in an instant if it were a cooking contest.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Gerudo food is pretty amazing,” Link conceded, his crest a little less flat. “They use so many spices, nothing ever tastes boring. It’s the only thing I’ll miss about being hylian. Though I wonder… maybe there are some things I might still be able to taste? I’d have to try. I wonder if I can figure out how to make food that’s good for ritos. There’s got to be a way to make it more enjoyable, even without much to taste!”
It did sound like an interesting idea, so Revali started throwing ideas of dishes he did enjoy. Pretty soon they were chatting excitedly about textures and temperature, all of Link’s good humour having returned.
After that night Revali never tried again to ask Link about his life as a knight, and instead started inquiring how he had started cooking and explain more about his this or that dish was prepared.Revali didn’t understand all that stuff about flavour and spices, but he liked how enthusiastic his lover was when he spoke of that.
Life was good and pleasant and steady.
So Revali decided to throw some chaos into that and teach Link to fly.
The first order of business was to get his hands onto a paraglider, which wasn’t too hard once he mentioned his plan to the Elder. She made sure he was given access to the village’s armoury, and he just had to pick one that would be strong enough to support an adult.
When they headed toward the flight range the following morning, Link asked plenty of questions about the glider. Revali pointedly didn’t answer a single one of them, enjoying this chance to be the silent, frustrating one. It was fun to see Link roll his eyes and huff at his refusal to say anything.
When at last they got to the flight range, Revali threw the glider at Link.
“Welcome to flying for beginners,” he announced, glad to see Link’s feathers puff in anticipation. “That is, if you still want it?”
“Of course! But… here?”
Link pointedly looked at the tall rock in the middle of the range, and the shallow lake at the bottom. Possibly he might have preferred a more open space. It was more traditional to start on a small hill, but Revali had little use for traditions.
“It’s a good place for it,” Revali assured him. “There’s always so very good updraft here, they’ll help you stay airborne until you figure out how to do that on your own. And as you know well, there’s not too many visitors coming that way, which is good because you’re supposed to already know how to fly.”
Link didn’t look entirely convinced, but he dropped that subject and instead lifted the glider to inspect it. “What’s that, then?”
“Best way to train. Kids who are just starting to figure out their wings use them to get a feel of being in the air. You’re a bit heavier than is usual for those, but this one should be big enough.”
“It should be?”
“At worst I’ll swoop in and rescue you,” Revali promised. It said a lot about Link’s nervousness that his feathers didn’t ruffle at the teasing. “We don’t have to do that. We can say your wing was permanently damaged and people will accept it. It happens sometimes.”
Immediately, Link glared at him. “You think I can’t do this?”
Revali opened his beak to protest he had said no such things, then closed it again. He wasn’t dealing with a young chick who needed reassurances and promises that there was plenty of time. A different approach might be needed.
“I know what you’re capable of,” Revali claimed. “Prove me wrong if you can.”
That must have been the right thing to say, because Link tightened his grip on the paraglider, his eyes throwing daggers. Good. Anger was better than fear.
“Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!”
“Hands on the handles,” Revali ordered. “Then you just jump and let the air do its job. The updrafts are pretty stationary here so just let yourself be carried and you shouldn’t get smashed against anything. Think you can manage that?”
Link’s answer was to stick out his tongue at Revali before jumping out of the platform. Revali quickly followed, ready to intervene if the glider wasn’t strong enough, but he was not needed. The contraption easily carried Link’s weight, keeping him just a little under the platform’s level. Revali stabilised himself nearby, letting the current flow around him.
“Not bad,” he conceded. “Now keep your hands firm on the handles, and try to lift your legs backward. The air current will help if you let them. It’s the main thing to understand about flying: winds are your friends, let them guide you.”
It took Link many tries to get his body in something close to flying position, which Revali rewarded with a quick kiss. With a child, or without anyone else really, the lesson would have stopped there. But Revali knew his friend wouldn’t want to stop with so little progress. Stubborn little idiot, but that was part of why they worked well together. So Revali showed Link how to at least control the glider to move around, just enough that they could somewhat fly together until Link learned how to properly do it.
Only when Link’s grip on the paraglidier’s handles became unsure did they stop, Link grasping at Revali’s back so he could bring the two of them back to the platform.
“That was exhausting,’ Link sighed with contentment, laying down on the ground. “I never thought how much energy it would take.”
“It gets easier over time,” Revali explained, joining him down there. “You’ll build your endurance, your body will learn how to get in position more easily. It’ll take you a while, but in a year or two you could be quite good. Never as great as me of course...”
He expected that comment to get him a little laugh, or an exasperated huff. Instead Link cuddle up against his side, his head on Revali’s chest.
“Do you think we have that much time?”
“You mean… with Ganon?”
Link shrugged, as if to say that wasn’t quite what he had meant, but he wouldn’t mind an answer to that question either.
“We’ll kick Ganon’s ass,” Revali assured him, trying hard not to think of Link and him still living together in two years or ten, of being with him every day for the rest of his life. “The Divine Beasts are here to help, aren’t they? We’ll manage. Even like this. He’s just one man, no matter how powerful, and we are living heroes with mighty machines at our side. He can’t touch us.”
“And after we’ll tell them Link-the-hylian-knight fell in combat,” Revali suggested, nuzzling at Link’s crest. “A tragedy. But there will still be Link-the-Rito who lives here and has a life where he can be whatever he bloody likes, because there’s no more prophecy and no family to force him to be a knight if he doesn’t want.”
Link propped himself on one elbow, his blue eyes staring at Revali in challenge.
“And where will I live? I don’t have a family in Rito Village, like you said.”
“Could stay with me. I don’t have a family either anyway. Wouldn’t mind keeping you around.”
Link didn’t answer but he looked away and Revali wondered if he had ruined things. They had barely even been friends when this whole mess had started, for him to be already speaking of living together was…
“I’d like that I think,” Link said at last, still avoiding to look at Revali as he snuggled close once more, his feathers ruffled. “If you still want it when it’s all over.”
There was little doubt that Revali would want that, but he didn’t say it. There would be time to show Link that this had stopped being a game long ago.
After many training sessions, Link became, by Revali’s own admission, pretty proficient at using the paraglider. It helped that he enjoyed it, talking about flying with the same glint in his eyes as when he tried to explain how to marry flavours in a dish.
They were walking home one evening and had just reached the village’s gate, chatting about the plans for their next flying lesson and how soon Link could think of ditching the glider (a few weeks at most, Revali hoped, though he was arguing for some months so Link would have a pleasant surprise when the day came), when Quell landed right in front of them.
“Elder wants to see you both,” she announced, breathless. “Sounds urgent. Something about princess Mipha having answered, she said?”
Link grasped Revali’s arm, so tight it almost hurt. It had been over a month since the announcement that Link was stuck in his current shape, a long, wonderful month that promised many more like it. They had caught a glimpse of princess Zelda here and there, but she had never sought their company and they gladly avoided hers. Sometimes Revali could almost forget his life hadn’t always been this sweet.
Being summoned by the Elder was a harsh return to reality.
Walking slower than usual, they made their way back up the stairs to go face whatever awaited them. As they approached the top of the village, Link took Revali’s hand and squeezed it tight.
“It’s probably just to confirm Mipha didn’t find anything,” Revali assured him, the words sounding hollow to his own ears. “You’re just cursed to stay like this. We’ll be fine.”
Link looked up at him, his eyes shining as if he might cry. “But if she found a way…”
“She didn’t,” Revali cut him, his stomach twisting at the idea. Not because he would love Link any less as a hylian, but because he knew Link would have to leave with Zelda, go back that destiny he hated. “You’re stuck like this. You’ll see.”
Link did not answer. When they arrived at the Elder’s house he let go of Revali’s hand, his posture already morphing back to that of the cold knight he had to be as a hylian.
It was hard to pretend things were fine when the Elder and Zelda looked so elated, the hylian princess bouncing around as she read from a piece of paper. Still Revali told himself it didn’t have to mean what he feared. Until they spoke, he could pretend. Until they spoke, Link was still his .
“We have wonderful news!” Zelda exclaimed when she noticed them at the door. “Link, Mipha found a way to cure you! Isn’t it amazing?”
Because his crest had been flat against his head since the moment he entered, Link appeared to show no emotion at the news. His only reaction was to nod.
“Something like that happened before,” Zelda continued, unconcerned that her knight wasn’t as excited as her. But then again, had she ever seen Link be anything other than cold? She’d probably never heard him laugh nor heard him chat endlessly about spices. “Mipha found records of a place called Termina and cursed masks created by a great evil! Someone found a way to control them though, with a song of all things… and they had the good sense of writing down the melody, can you believe how lucky we are? Let that be a lesson to you, Link. You need to be more careful from now on.”
Again Link remained silent and stiff as a board, but this time Zelda finally seemed to notice something was off about her knight. She frowned, opened her mouth to say something… then closed it again and turned away to look at the Elder with a forced smile.
“It is lucky, isn’t it? It’s a miracle really. Bless the Goddess for giving us a way out of this mess!”
She sounded a little too desperate, almost as if she were trying to convince herself. Revali hadn’t much thought about her these past few weeks, but now he had to wonder if for her too this had been a welcome break from fate. If Link was haunted by his future fight against Ganon, at least he had the sword. Zelda had nothing , and as her father often reminded them, everyone knew it.
“She guided us all for the good of Hyrule,” the Elder said. “Though I shall miss having you two around if the song does work. You have made life very different for all of us.”
The way she looked at Revali then told him that the old girl probably knew far more about Link and him than he would have preferred. He would have blamed Quell but they had hadn’t really hidden as much those last few days. Why would they, when they were so sure Link would never change back?
“Now, Revali, will you do us the honour?” the Elder asked, pointing at the sheet of paper in Zelda’s hands.
Revali startled at the demand and glared at the paper. “Why me ?”
“I cannot carry a tune, dear, and neither can the princess… but I remember you having a lovely singing voice when your grandmother was still with us. And don’t you want to help your friend?”
That wasn’t going to help Link, Revali wanted to retort. He didn’t. Whatever fairy tale they had lived in for a few weeks had reached its conclusion and Link belonged to Hyrule once more.
He tore the paper from Zelda’s hand to inspect that song noted on it. It was a fairly simple melody, too simple for the power it was supposed to hold. Perhaps it wouldn’t work. Goddess high above, let this be fake, let him keep Link at his side a little longer.
His eyes on the notes, Revali started whistling, instantly feeling a power that didn’t belong to him flow through his lungs and into the melody before passing on to Link who glowed. The light was so bright that Revali had to close his eyes, yet he continued whistling almost against his will, carried by a magic that already knew what to do.
When Revali opened his eyes, Link was hylian again. For a brief second their eyes met before Link turned away without a word and went to stand at Zelda’s side,his back straight and his gaze into the distance, a perfect knight once again. Perfectly annoying, Revali couldn’t help thinking. To see Link cold and distant again was a torture now that he knew how warm and tender the champion could be.
“Oh, and here’s the infamous mask then!” Zelda exclaimed, bending down to grab something on the floor. “It doesn’t look like much. To think it caused us so much trouble!”
Without thinking, Revali snatched it from her to inspect it. It really didn’t look anything special, just a crude wooden mask of a rito’s face with two openings for the eyes, but just by touching it Revali could tell it was an object of great power. If he had stayed with Link that day, he’d have felt that magical aura and would never have let him put it on. Whether that would have been good or bad, he couldn’t decide.
They’d been so happy for a few weeks, and now they had lost it all. Perhaps it would have been better to never have known how well they could fit together.
“Don’t worry, I won’t put it on!” Zelda chuckled. “Even though we have a cure now, it would be rather unwise. Still, it must have been quite the experience to become something else entirely. Did you have fun during your time as a rito, Link?”
The knight couldn’t help a glance at Revali before he silently shrugged, refusing to look at any of them. Zelda huffed at that answer.
“Of course, it had to happen to the one person who wouldn’t even think of enjoying it,” she complained, her hands on her hips. “I feel sorry for Revali who had to bear with you all this time.” She turned to Revali and smiled at him. “Well, you’re free of your babysitting duty now, rejoice! I think we will leave in a day or two. I’ll just need time to put order in my papers and to pack. Come, Link. We have much work to do.”
She waved at the Elder and at Revali, looking so relieved to be going at last, and walked toward the door. Without another glance at Revali, Link left behind his princess.
“That certainly has been quite the adventure,” the Elder sighed when they were alone. “Will you be alright, Revali?”
Staring at the mask in his hands, Revali shrugged. “Yes. Good riddance.”
It had been a glorious little fairy tale they’d had, but reality had found them and destroyed it like a flower in a blizzard.
Revali went home, keeping the mask. As a souvenir or a warning, he couldn’t be sure.