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Feathered Freak, Winged Wonder

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Wild had always been prepared for this to happen. 

He’d known he couldn't keep it a secret forever. Even before he began to travel with eight other incarnations of the hero’s spirit, he knew it was only a matter of time before he was found out.

But he didn’t want to let it end like this. He did not want to end at thcae hands of those he called his brothers. Now, he had only one shot to get away from them. One shot to live. 

Goddesses, how could he have been so clumsy? It had just been a quick rinse off in the stream. He had thought that he was far enough away from the campsite, so had let his wings free of their bindings, stretching them. He had reveled in the feeling of free feathers and aching muscles having a chance to relax. 

But he had not , in fact, been far enough from camp.

He should have known better. When he had woken from the shrine, the old man had sneered at him, forcing a wing binder into his hands. “It used to be yours.” He had said, gruffly. At the time, Wild hadn’t understood his hostility. The old man was the one who warned him against flinging himself off the cliffs of the plateau, or flying anywhere at all. He would be shot at and hunted down by the first person who saw him if he did that. 

Wild had seen it happen before, when someone is discovered to have wings. They didn’t get very far.

He pushed those thoughts away. He had no time to be distracted.

He could hear them still, chasing him. He was undoubtedly the fastest among them, normally, and he still had the advantage of being the one who was most used to running through forests. But both Legend and Four had pegasus boots, And Hyrule was equally adept in moving through the woods as Wild was. 

He could hear Legend and Four cursing behind him, as they tripped over branches and vines. He sent a silent prayer to the goddess for the terrain they were in. The thick trees prevented him from taking off, yes, but they also prevented the others from catching up to him. 

For a second, he thought he might make it. He knew there was a steep cliff up ahead. He had seen it earlier that evening, when he was on patrol with Warriors. He had stood a little too close to the edge of the cliff for the Captain’s liking, and had just laughed when he’d been told to get back from the edge. He had no fear of heights. Even if he fell, he had nothing to fear. (Not that Warriors had known that.)

He could hear the captain now, shouting to the others. “There’s a cliff up ahead! We’ll lose him! If he gets away, we’ll never find him again!”

Wild knew that there was truth in that. It was what he was banking on. He was called the Hero of the Wilds for a reason. If he managed to get away, none of them would ever find him again. He knew ways to make sure even those most skilled at tracking- even those who have the nose of a wolf- could never follow him. 

Then, suddenly, said wolf was in front of him. He cursed himself, even as he tried to course-correct away from Twilight. How could he forget about Twilight? No matter how fast a Hylian could run, they couldn’t outpace a wolf. 

Unfortunately, he had noticed Twilight a little too late, and the wolf pounced. Wild fell.

He expected to feel powerful jaws tear at him, his wings, his exposed back, his throat. Instead, he could feel Twilight shift back to Hylian form. The transformation was too swift for him to use it to wriggle his way out from Twilight’s hold. The weight of a full-grown wolf pressing down between his shoulder blades was quickly replaced by Hylian hands, keeping his shoulders and hands pinned to the ground. 

Twilight spoke. “Wild, please don’t run. We can sort this out, I promise.” Wild almost snorted at the rancher's empty words. Did he really think Wild was that stupid? He didn’t know why Twilight was drawing this out. He would have thought that Twilight, of all the heroes, would have taken pity on him. They had been close, after all.

He wondered why Twilight hadn’t finished him off yet. With his blade, if not with his bite. Was he waiting for the others to reach them, perhaps? 

Wild wasn’t going to wait patiently. Twilight was forgetting his most important asset right now. His wings. He didn’t think his wings were truly reminiscent of any real bird he had ever seen before, but if he had to choose he would pick swans. Although his startling teal coloring was a marked difference, his wings were as tank-like as theirs. Hits from them would hurt, leaving blooming bruises on skin.

Wild didn’t want to hurt Twilight, but he refused to go down like this. 

With a heave, he swung his wings up. He felt them connect with something, and whatever it was was effective. Twilight’s hands retreated from him, and he bolted. 

He ran faster than he had ever ran before. He was so close that he could feel the swift breeze from the cliffside through the trees. He broke through the tree line, and in a moment, he was airborne. Instincts and adrenaline powered the flaps of his wings.

For a second, relief flooded him. He was up and away now, they couldn’t reach him here. None of them could possibly throw a spear this far. He was gone, and free, he would live to see another day! 

For a second, only a second, he threw back his head, mouth open in a soundless scream, joy filling him. He could feel the wind underneath his feathers, the sun shining on his back, as he arched up, and up, and up.

Then it all came crashing down.

A sharp pain where his wing connected to his body tore a shriek out of him. He flailed for a moment, but the pain did not relent. Whatever had caused it did not let go. It was heavy, and it dragged him down, and down, and down, back to the edge of the cliff.

He flapped frantically, and felt the pain intensify as whatever it was ripped and tore at his muscles. The scream that was forced from him was deep and guttural. 

He hit the ground hard , and whatever was attached to his back was released. For a moment, he was stunned, and couldn’t bring himself to move. But then he could hear boots running across the ground. Many pairs of boots. 

They stopped just a short distance for him, and didn’t come any closer.

Adrenaline finally did its job, shaking him out of his daze. He jumped to his feet, doing his best to ignore his now ruined wing. He could see Time’s hookshot held tightly in his hands. The claw was red with blood. Wild's blood. He tore his gaze away from it. 

He was surrounded. There were seven heroes before him, blocking his way back to the forest. The last, Sky, came running up, panting heavily. There was nowhere for him to go. There was no escape from this. He wouldn’t be able to run, and his wing hurt too much to even move it, much less fly. 

He reminded himself of his promise. He had always told himself when the secret came out, if there was truly no escape for him, he would just end it himself. There was no way he would let himself endure the fate of still being alive when his wings were torn off to be kept as trophies. He would rather die at his own hands swiftly, than a long and torturous death at the hands of others.

Especially not his brothers. 

Taking a risk, and not moving his head from their direction more than absolutely necessary, he glanced over the edge of the cliff. The quick glance over his shoulder confirmed what he knew. The drop would be far enough.

Movement rippled through the others at his glance. Time shifted his grasp on the hookshot, ready to use it again. Warriors placed a hand on Wind's chest to stop him from moving forward. Legend shifted, the feathers on his pegasus boots fluttering. Hyrule’s fingers were already twitching, ready to cast a spell. 

They weren't stupid. He knew they could see the determination in his eyes. They knew exactly what he intended to do. With his torn wing, there was only one way off this cliff.

When he made his move, it would be a race between gravity and how fast the others could move. 

Wild could only hope gravity would be faster.