“Uh. So. Where are we exactly? Anyone recognize anything?” Hyrule’s voice rang out. There was nervousness etched in every word. A chorus of “no”s sounded from each Link but one.
“I know where we are,” Legend declared, although sourly. He had knelt down at some point, digging around in his pack. He growled when he couldn’t find what he was looking for. As he stood up, he grimaced, dusting the non-existent dirt from his tunic. The Links looked at him curiously; they had already been to his Hyrule, and it looked nothing like this.
“Vet? Where are we? This doesn’t look like your Hyrule,” Twilight motioned around them with his hand. “This almost seems…”
“Better? Yeah, I noticed,” Legend spat out. “But I’d know this place anywhere, I’ve been here enough.” With this statement, he started to trek northwest, the other Links trailing after him.
They walked for what seemed like days before they finally saw the beginnings of a town. Legend stopped, a confused look crossing his face that quickly melted into a snarl. Before the Links could ask any questions or stop him, Legend marched up to what appeared to be a blacksmith, swinging him around by the collar.
“Where’s Ravio,” He growled, less of a question and more of a demand. The blacksmith blinked in surprise, and pointed towards the edge of town where there was a path, winding out of view. Dropping the blacksmith, Legend took off towards the path, somewhere between running and stomping. Four called out to Legend, but Legend ignored him. Shrugging, the Links followed him again, apologizing as they ran through the crowd of people that had appeared to watch Legend.
The boys finally caught up to Legend, Sky and Four wheezing, as Legend stood stock-still, staring in front of him. In front of him set a house, well kept and beautiful, and obviously lived in. As they stood there, the door opened and a familiar face walked out.
“Oh! Is this where Ravio lives?” Wind asked, smiling. He and Ravio had gotten along when they had met. Legend slowly shook his head.
“This… This isn’t right. Lorule is in shambles, and Ravio lives in Hyrule now. This isn’t right. This isn’t right, ” Legend choked out. Warriors placed a hand on Legend’s shoulder.
“Vet, what’s going on? What’s Lorule? What isn’t right?” Warriors spoke uncharacteristically softly. Legend turned to them, and they were shocked to find tears and pain in their veteran hero’s face. Legend opened his mouth, and a heart-breaking sob emerged. The Links immediately grabbed Legend as gently as they could, setting him down, and gathering around him a bit aways so he had room to breath.
“Lorule is– is Hyrule’s reflection. It’s like two sides of the same c-coin. Ravio is from Lorule, and Lorule was in shambles because their Triforce failed. I– I don’t understand? Ravio lives with me now, we’re partners, why is he here?” Legend sputtered out. The Links raised their eyebrows. Ravio was Legend’s partner? There was a whole ‘nother universe parallel to Hyrule? Ravio was Legend’s, their one and only, grouchy Vet’s partner ?
“Okay, I feel like we’re missing some information here, Vet,” Twilight said. Legend shook his head, dazed, as if he had been slammed in the head with a particular good swipe of a moblin’s club. “Vet, Legend, come on, what are we missing here?”
“Well, uh, they, uh. They tried to, to steal the Triforce to save th-their land,” Legend stumbled through his words. “And Ravio tried to stop them b-but he was too scared to stand up to Yuga, so he, he went to Hyrule and found me. I saved Lorule and Hyrule, thanks to him.” Legend looked down at the ground, murmuring. Wind shuffled closer to Legend, placing a careful hand on his knee.
“Legend, are you sure this isn’t just Lorule after you saved it?” Legend nodded slowly. The Links looked at each other, debating on their next course of action when Legend stood.
“I have to talk to him. I have to see if that’s my Ravi’,” He said. He turned and walked towards Ravio, who was tending to a small garden near his house. “Ravi’?”
Within seconds, Legend was on the ground, a bright red hammer in his face. But Legend wasn’t looking at the hammer; he was looking in the twisted face of his beloved.
“Well, well, well,” Ravio intoned. “If it isn’t Hyrule’s hero. Or should I say, Hyrule’s lame-o.” Legend huffed out a laugh. Ravio frowned.
“You look different than I remember.” Legend snorted.
“And you aren’t my Bunny. What else is new?” Ravio raised an eyebrow, before dropping the hammer’s head on Legend’s chest. Legend puffed out a breath at the sudden weight on his chest, but stayed silent.
“It seems we have a dimension hopper on our hands,” Ravio smirked. “No matter, you won’t live long enough to see, what did you call him again? Your Bunny? You won’t be seeing him again.”
Legend swallowed. Hard. He would never say it out loud, but to see someone wearing Ravio’s– his Ravio’s face, threatening him… It was the scariest thing he had ever encountered. He had been on six journeys, and yet the thing he was most afraid of was seeing his beloved like this.
“You don’t want to do that,” Twilight growled, sword raised as he stalked toward Ravio. Ravio raised an eyebrow at Twilight, and Wild behind him who had an arrow notched, pointing at his heart. Leaning on his hammer, and thus Legend’s chest, Ravio watched as each of the Links approached him with a weapon raised.
“Well, wouldn’t you believe it, lame-o, you got some friends too!” He laughed, a cruel, terrible laugh. Legend shivered as much as he could with the weight on his chest. This wasn’t his Ravio. It wasn’t even close to his Ravio. He was genuinely fearful. Ravio would never let you know it, being the “coward” he is, but he was pretty adept with a magic rod, and had been learning to use a hammer as a weapon. It appeared the Ravio already knew how to use a hammer as a weapon, Legend thought bitterly, ignoring the crushing feeling in his ribs and focusing on the conversation happening above him.
“Ravio, back away from him, now, ” Wind gritted out. Ravio raised an eyebrow.
“Or what, you’ll swing that toothpick at me? Oh wait, I see the toothpick is his sword,” Ravio pointed at Four. Four narrowed his eyes, but didn’t move. Wind stepped forward, put his sword away. Time and Warriors hissed at him to “stop right there” but Wind didn’t listen. He kept moving forward, a blank look on his face, until he reached two feet in front of Ravio and Legend.
“Ravio. Back away from him now, or you will regret it.” Wind said, no emotion in his voice, but hands clenched in fists at his side. Ravio scoffed. “I’m serious,” Wind warned.
“And I’m the crowned prin—” Ravio started, only to get slammed in the face with Wind’s skull hammer. The crunch of bone made Legend sick to his stomach, but it was made worse by watching the face of his love slam into the ground, bloodied and already bruising. Legend couldn’t help himself, he scrambled towards Ravio, hands shaking.
“Legend, no!” Warriors shouted but was too slow to grab Legend away from Ravio. Legend knelt next to Ravio, crying, and shook the man’s shoulder gently. Ravio’s eyes flashed open and he grabbed Legend, sticking a knife against his jugular. Legend froze, dropping his arms slowly.
“I will slit his throat. I will do it. All of you, back up and drop your weapons,” Ravio snarled, spitting blood and teeth to the side. The heroes all backed away slowly, lowering their weapons. “ Drop them! Drop them or he dies!”
Twilight was the first to drop his sword. The others followed suit slowly. Ravio had a mad glint in his eyes, blood dribbling down his lip. It made the Links feel positively sick. This man was an alternate form of the simple merchant they had met? The fun, money-driven man who apparently was with their Vet for the long haul? How could they be the same. Wind raised his pirate’s charm to his face, whispering frantically. Ravio flipped towards him, anger in his eyes.
“ You. You are going to be the second to die, after lame-o here.” He hissed. Wind dropped the necklace, guilt and hope fighting on his face. Legend didn’t see this as he had his eyes closed, praying to a goddess he had problems believing in that he would get out alive. He had to see his Bunny again. He had too. He had left too much unsaid, the prototype engagement ring burning a hole in his bag, the love for the only man who fully understood him not fully realized until now... He had to see him again. But he wouldn’t. Not now. Opening his eyes, Legend made eye contact with each hero in front of him. Smiling, he waved, a goodbye of sorts. He had enjoyed this journey, as much as he didn’t want to be there originally.
He looked at Hyrule, his supposed descendant. He knew great things would come from him. He knew he would help heal the land in a way he never could. He was proud. He wished he could tell him that, to reassure him that he was going to do great things. Moving his gaze, it landed on Warriors and Twilight. He felt a surge of affection for them. They were his brothers, maybe not by blood, but by every other right. Annoying, sure, but his nonetheless. He was going to miss Warriors’ gentle teasing and protectiveness and Twilight’s understanding nature and wild ideas. He was going to miss them.
Scanning over the other heros, his stomach dropped as the realization hit him that he was going to die. He was going to die before saying a proper goodbye to all of them. To Ravio. His Ravio, that is. Four would be devastated with no one to help with his smithing projects. Sky would blame himself, for whatever reason his mind conjured. Time would also blame himself, because he called himself their leader. Wind… Legend furrowed his brows, confused. What was Wind doing?
Wind was shuffling slowly closer to the house, something clutched in his hand. Ravio was watching him, not saying a word, but not doing anything either. All of them seemed to be waiting on bated breath for Wind to do something. Finally, he reached the door of the house, opening it with a slow hand. Ravio growled deep in his throat.
“What are you doing?” Ravio practically barked at Wind. Wind smiled, a grin so wide it was almost too big for his face.
“I’m bringing in the reinforcements.”
Dropping Legend, Ravio scooped up his hammer, stalking towards the young teen. “I’ve had enough out of you,” His voice was dark, his eyes full of bloodlust. “I changed my mind, I’m going to kill you first!” Wind let himself be backed into the wall of the house, his smile never leaving. The heroes jumped to help, but were cut off by the loud twittering of a bird. Even Ravio stopped, turning to stare at the little white bird that emerged from his house.
“Sheerow?” Legend gaped. This didn’t make sense. Where had Sheerow come from? Sheerow flew around a moment, pecking Ravio on the head before settling on top of Legend’s head. Before anyone could question the bird, a voice echoed from the house’s doorway.
“I’d back away from Mr. Hero’s friend if I were you.”
“ Ravio? ” The name echoed out among them all, except for this demension’s Ravio, who instead looked intrigued. Ravio, in all his glory, was leaning against the doorframe of the house, twirling an ice rod between nimble fingers.
“I’d say the one and only, but it appears that isn’t quite true,” Ravio laughed. Legend’s face filled with joy, then worry. His Rabbit was no match for this, this, this monster.
“Bunny, as happy as I am that you are here, you need to go, ” Legend pleaded, but his Ravio simply raised an eyebrow.
“And miss showing you what I learned while you were gone? Not a chance.” Turning towards this Lorule’s Ravio, Legend’s Ravio raised his ice rod, pointing it at his evil reflection. “I won’t warn you again. Back away from the boy.” With a growl, the evil Ravio swung so he was facing Legend’s Ravio. Wind took the opportunity to run into Warriors’ arms. The Links had unintentionally formed a loose circle around the reflections, watching the Ravios circle each other slowly.
“Using magic makes a fight unfair, don’t you know?” The bloodied Ravio spat, a sinister grin covering his broken face. Ravio scoffed.
“Well I was going to go easy on you, but if you insist,” Their Ravio mock-bowed, and with a swish of fabric, traded his ice rod for an eerily similar hammer. His hammer seemed to be scuffed and the handle worn, but identical to his opponent's in every other way.
They circled each other again, each with his hammer raised in a defensive position before Legend’s Bunny launched himself at his counterpart in a flash of movement. Even with quick feet, this Lorule’s champion slid out of the way at the last second, swinging his hammer around, attempting to land a blow on Ravio. Ravio ducked, narrowly missing the hit for his head. Shoving the head of his hammer into the gut of his reflection, Ravio knocked him off balance. Stepping backwards to catch his balance, the bloody Ravio growled, marching towards his opponent, his hammer gripped tightly in his hands.
Legend’s Ravio jumped back at the first swing, parrying the next blow with his own hammer the best he could. Legend bit his lip. Ravio had improved, improved a lot, but it didn’t mean this was okay. He could die, this Ravio wasn’t fighting to win, he was fighting to kill. Sucking in a breath as one of the Ravios hit the ground, he took a step forward, ready to fight in his Bunny’s place.
“Well, looks like one of us is actually a fighter, and the other a coward. Do you want to take a guess, dear reflection of mine, of which is which?” The still standing Ravio said, a small smirk playing across his face. The Ravio on the ground snarled, attempting to shove off his opponent’s hammer. His scuffed hammer. Legend froze, connecting the dots but not reacting. This couldn’t be real.
“Luckily for you, I don’t fight to kill anymore. I only fight to protect what’s mine. And you attacked what’s mine,” Ravio’s face had dropped from the smirk he was previously wearing. Legend stopped, unaware that he had been moving in the first place. What? That meant… No, that didn’t make sense. Not his Ravi’. His Ravio wouldn’t hurt anyone, despite being a weapons seller.
“Ravi’?” He whispered. Both Ravios heads snapped towards him, one face full of regret, one full of anger. He looked at both of them, his own face like stone, and turned, running away.
“Link!” A voice yelled behind him, but he activated his pegasus boots and ran even faster. Unfortunately, with tears streaming down his face, it was hard to see what was in front of him, and he ran directly into a tree. Landing on the ground, face flaring with pain, he let himself sob. Ravio, his Ravio… He had fought to kill? It didn’t make sense. Why would he do that? Did he not protect him enough? Did he fight for his life while he was in Lorule, as a teen, as a child?
“Link?” Legend turned, tears still flowing down his face. Ravio. “Oh, Link, darling,” He whispered, holding a hand out as if asking permission to touch him.
Legend fell into Ravio’s arms, crying all the harder. Ravio comforted him, whispering reassurances to his hero. Legend suddenly pulled away, smacking Ravio’s chest with a hand.
“What did you even mean, you don’t ‘fight to kill anymore’? What in the Silver Goddesses’ names is that about?” Ravio smiled a sad smile, but his heart was strangely warmed by his partner’s use of a Lorulean curse.
“After you left, another portal opened. I packed my ice rod and hammer and jumped through. I ended up in another Hyrule, one at war. I joined, fighting to help them, to, uh, make you proud…” Ravio started, but looked down at his hands. This was hard. “I didn’t know how or when I would get home, if ever. But the war ended and they found how to send us home.”
“Us?” Link asked, his voice soft.
“There was more than just me who ended up going through a portal. We all wanted to go home. And they found a way to do it so we all went home. And it was… It was the hardest thing I ever did. Going home, knowing you weren’t there. Knowing none of them were coming with me. Knowing I was going to be alone as I waited for you. But then Wind contacted me and told me you were in danger and I couldn’t help myself. I had to save you,” Ravio whispered. Link nodded slowly, considering what Ravio said. After a while, Link stood, grabbing Ravio’s hand.
“Well come on, Rabbit. We have much to do for our conquering hero,” Link said, smiling oh so softly at his love. “You know, Warriors’ Hyrule was in a war. I wonder if it’s the same war.” Ravio hummed, shrugging his shoulders. He didn’t care as long as he had his hero’s love.