Ari sighed, her eyes fixed on the dirt path beneath her feet. Try as she might, she had found no answers to her questions. Unfortunately the poor souls she had questioned were so befuddled by their situation that they had hardly made any sense.
Ari dug the toe of her boot into the loose soil, her gloom hanging over her like a dark cloud.
"Oh dear. I seem to be encountering quite a few gloomy people today," a voice said suddenly, "Though you of all people, my dear, have no reason to be so."
Ari glanced about in search of the speaker but couldn't seem to find him.
"Up here, if you please."
Ari lifted her gaze, spying the creature perched in the branch of a tree. It stood erect, balancing perfectly on the limb, its long, spindly arms locked behind its back. Ari squinted up at it, examining its brightly colored mask. It seemed vaguely familiar to her.
"Who are you?" she queried.
The creature cocked its head at her, quizzically.
"You don't remember me? I'm wounded, Valentina."
Ari's brows furrowed.
"You know me?"
"Of course, my dear. We have quite the colourful history. I'm surprised you have forgotten it, though I suppose it is through no fault of your own."
A burst of excitement exploded in Ari's chest.
At last! At last! All these questions...I can finally have answers!
"How do we know each other?"
"Oh, let me think. It was quite some time ago. I believe we met shortly after you were forged."
"Forged? As in...as in like a sword? Am I a sword spirit?"
A sword spirit?! This whole time I was a sword spirit? Just like Ghirahim! Did he know? Could he have guessed it? Why didn't he say anything then?
"And my name is...Valentina?"
"Of course." The dark entity dropped from his branch, making an impeccable landing just a few feet from where Ari stood. In one long stride he had closed the distance between them, reaching out a clawed hand to tuck a strand of hair behind Ariarose's ear. "A beautiful name for a beautiful creature. But how rude of me." He stepped back, sweeping a bow. "I have failed to reintroduce myself, and it is quite unfair of me to know your name when you cannot remember mine. You may call me Majora."
"Majora?" Ari echoed, "And where are you from?"
"A rather drab, uninteresting place if I may say so. It is called Termina."
"And am I from there as well?"
Ari was waiting for some sort of revelation, for the moment when all her memories broke free of their prison and she remembered exactly who she was. But she felt nothing, not even the slightest recollection. She pushed aside her frustration, pressing for more answers.
"So how did I get here?"
"A rather tragic tale. The Goddess Hylia banished you from our realm for transgressions unknown to me. It was quite an unpleasant business all 'round." He drew a circle in the air with his forefinger. "But I am most pleased to see you again, even if your memories are not...intact."
"But...if I'm a sword spirit, who's my master?" Ari asked, puzzled.
Majora paused. For a moment he was so still Ari thought he had turned to a statue.
"Don't tell me it's Hylia," she blurted.
What did I do wrong? Why would she banish me?
Thankfully, Majora put her fears to rest.
"Oh no," he said, spreading his hands, "If I'm not mistaken, our dear Time Goddess is already in possession of a sword spirit. It is rather pointless to have two of them. No, no, Valentina, you have a much worthier master in my own humble opinion."
Ari raised an eyebrow.
"Regretfully, no, though I always felt we would make quite a capable team. Of course, that decision is yours to make, and thanks to the current state of things, it is more than mere possibility now."
"I don't understand..."
"Oh dear. It would seem I'm not so good at explaining things. As much as it is my wish to make things crystal clear for you, I'm afraid I must take my leave. You are about to have company it seems, and I fear they would not be so pleased to see me. Our meeting was rather...abrasive. I do try so hard to be polite, you know, but things unfortunately don't often go my way."
"Wait!" Ari protested, "I still have questions!"
"All in good time, Valentina. I hope you can forgive my abrupt farewell. I promise we shall be reunited soon. I would ask for your patience but I recall you were never too fond of being asked for such things, so I shall simply be on my way." He bowed again. "It has been a pleasure, my dear."
And with that, he was gone.
Ari's frustration bubbled to the surface. She turned toward the tree Majora had previously been standing in, pounding a fist into the trunk. There was a flash of silver and the tree caved under the pressure, spraying splinters left and right.
I was so close, so close to finding out the truth.
She uncurled her fingers, staring at her empty palm.
I know my name. My real name. I know my home. I know how I got here, but I don't know why, and I don't know who my real master is. And I still...can't...remember.
"I heard something over here."
Ari turned in the direction of the voice, recalling what Majora had said just a few moments prior.
"You are about to have company it seems..."
He seemed anxious to leave. I wonder who it was who could've made him so nervous.
At that minute, a green-clad figure emerged from the underbrush, a sword in his hand. He stopped dead when he saw Ari.
"You," Ari said.
"You," Link shot back.
Perfect. Just perfect.