Sequel: Queen of the Banished

A Hidden Kindness

You Don't Own Me (don't try to change me)

2228 words

[c] ~Tuesday~ [/c]

A knock on the door startled Rabia awake. The clock said it was nine o’clock, which was unusually late for her. She sat up as Kaikoura poked her head in, looking apologetic.

“Hey, sorry. Ganondorf is here. We should probably get going soon,” she said.

“Going…?” Rabia stretched and stood up. She frowned at her bedhead in the mirror above the dresser. “Do you have a hair tie?” Kaikoura pulled a hair tie off her wrist and tossed it to Rabia.

“Yeah, come on. There’s some cereal with your name on it,” she added. Rabia pulled her hair back into a messy bun and followed Kaikoura to the living room. Ganondorf was sitting on the loveseat drinking a cup of tea and chatting with Sheik. He smiled and stood when Rabia entered. He pulled her into a hug and kissed the top of her head.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Hi,” she mumbled tiredly. Kaikoura handed her a bowl of cereal and plopped down onto the couch beside Sheik.

“So Sheik and I were talking last night - we think it’s probably a good idea to go to Finn’s place today to get Duke and whatever clothes and stuff you have there. It’s not like he’ll be coming back and it’ll be easier to get those clothes than to try and sneak into your house,” Kaikoura said.

“Finn’s house?” Rabia asked. She stirred her cereal slowly, her brow furrowed. “...Do we have to?”

“You’ll have to eventually. Might as well rip it off like a bandaid. Then after his trial you’ll never have to think about him again,” Kaikoura said. Rabia’s frown eased as she thought, then she nodded.

“You’re right. Might as well do it now.”

After washing the dishes, the four of them headed back towards Castle Town. The roads were covered in slush instead of ice, but it made the roads even more treacherous. Though temperatures were warming up enough to allow the beginnings of a slow, unsteady melt, it was still cold enough to bundle up in layers. Rabia hid most of her bruises with a thick scarf and the group got through the town without any strange looks or questions.

The mansion was silent and still as the group approached the iron gates. There were no servants in the yard and it was clear from the dark windows that no one was inside either. The four of them dismounted as Rabia closed the gate behind them with a clang.

“Come on, the stables are over here,” she said. She led them around the side of the mansion. There were two stables with three stalls that faced each other. Between them was a covered courtyard that housed an opulent carriage. All of the horses in the stable were white, save for one.

“Duke!” Rabia smiled and ran over to let him out. She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. Duke snorted and tossed his head, then gave her a nuzzle. “I missed you too, buddy,” she pat his nose. Duke trotted out of the stall and started frolicking in the snow.

“He seems happy,” Kaikoura said.

“Yeah, he’s been cooped up for a while,” Rabia answered. “The whole yard is fenced if you want to let the horses play,” she added. The others shrugged and removed their horses’ bridles. Rabia grabbed a couple bags, then led everyone inside.

“Holy shit, even his house is douchey,” Kaikoura said in as they entered the foyer.

“Yeah, but the basement has a terrible echo. You’d think the place would be sound proofed,” Rabia said absentmindedly. “We might as well start upstairs and make our way down. I have stuff everywhere.” She led them up the main staircase and into a study on the second floor. She opened a door on the far wall and let them up the spiral staircase of one of the towers.

“Seriously. So douchey.” Kaikoura said. “You wouldn’t even need a gym in this place - just trying to get from one end to another is a workout.” Ganondorf snorted and Sheik shook his head. Rabia laughed.

They finally reached the next landing. Rabia pushed open the door into room with a large fireplace and three sets of French doors leading out to small balconies. There were a couple cozy looking armchairs and a coffee table spread with books. Rabia walked over to the table and started gathering them up.

“These are all yours?” Ganondorf asked as he took the book stack from her arms.

“Yeah. I have more in my room. And the library. I avoided them by… by reading,” she shrugged uncomfortably. “No one ever used this tower. I doubt they even knew I was here.” Rabia led them back down to the second floor and glanced down the long dark hallway to her left. She barely suppressed a shudder.

“What’s down there?” Kaikoura asked, following her gaze.

“Gideon’s room,” Rabia answered. “Just… wait here. I have to grab something.” She walked down the hall hesitantly and pushed open Gideon’s door with a creak. The plants seemed to reach out to her as she entered, overgrown as they were. She picked her way through the foliage cautiously. Every corner she rounded, she half expected to see Gideon appear through the leaves. Her heart beat wildly in her chest as she made her way towards the other end of the room. She picked up a rose shaped, gold ring off of a table laden with gardening tools, then quickly made her way back out of the horrible garden. Rabia slammed the door shut behind her sharply and leaned against it as she caught her breath.

“Rabia?” She opened her eyes and looked up into Ganondorf’s face. She was on the floor, leaning against Gideon’s door, and she wasn’t quite sure how she got there. “Rabia, are you okay?” Ganondorf asked.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m great,” she shook her head and accepted his hand up. “Sorry. Come on, I have to grab my clothes and makeup…” She slid the ring onto her finger, then led her friends back down the hall. Rabia pushed open one of the bedroom doors and threw open the closet. She had left about half of her clothes at Finn’s house, but it barely took up any space in the closet. Kaikoura followed her in and whistled.

“Damn. A girl could get used to a closet this big,” she said. “Why do you have a sleeping bag in here?” She opened a new bag and helped Rabia shove everything inside.

“The mattress is too squishy and this floor is carpeted,” Rabia answered with a shrug. Kaikoura didn’t miss the uneasy glance she gave the large window.

“Hey, Rabia? What’s down here?” Ganondorf called to her. He had opened up the door across from the closet and found another hidden spiral staircase.

“Um, nothing!” Rabia called. She stepped out of the closet and pushed the door closed. “I’m just going to grab my makeup from the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” She brushed past Ganondorf into the bathroom and started gathering up her things. Kaikoura glanced around Ganondorf’s bulk and eased the door back open.

“...Anyone wanna explore?” she asked as she started down the stairs. Ganondorf looked over his shoulder to make sure Rabia was occupied, then followed her swiftly.

“Hey, wait…!” Sheik called after them, but he was ignored.

At the bottom of the stairs, Ganondorf pushed open another door to an overly large bathroom. He looked down at Kaikoura, who was staring up at him with an equally incredulous expression.

“Why the hell would someone put stairs here?” she asked. Ganondorf shrugged. The two stepped out into the bathroom and poked around. There was a long hallway that led to a closet, and then a grandiose bedroom. “Oh no… you don’t think this is…?” she poked her head out the doorway and found her way back to the main stairs. “Oh eww! This is Finn’s room, what the hell?!” She walked back into the bedroom, disgusted. Ganondorf had opened a side door in the bedroom and found yet another spiral staircase.

“Where do you think this one goes?” he asked Kaikoura as she peeked around him.

“Somewhere creepy,” she grumbled, but followed him up the stairs anyway. They found themselves in another tower. There were windows all around it and they could clearly see Sheik and Rabia chatting on the bed in her bedroom. “This is horrifying. Why did I follow you?!” Kaikoura asked Ganondorf accusingly.

“You’re the one who wanted to explore,” he responded.

“I hope they didn’t like, spy on her or anything from here…” Kaikoura said with a shudder. Ganondorf didn’t respond; his jaw was clenched. They found their way back to the main staircase and to Rabia’s bedroom.

“Where’d you guys go?” Sheik asked as he helped finish packing up the last of Rabia’s bedroom things.

“That staircase goes to Finn’s bedroom,” Kaikoura said. “He had another one just like it that goes to that tower.” She pointed to the tower clearly visible through the window. “How creepy is that?!” she asked. Rabia glanced back towards the tower, almost expecting to see glowing blue eyes looking back at her. She shook her head.

“...Let's, uh… let's go grab my flute, and the rest of my books.” She shouldered the bag Sheik had just zipped up. Ganondorf grabbed the bag of books and Rabia led them down to the basement. The bottom of the main staircase opened up directly into the theater. Rabia headed straight for the stage where the flute was sitting on its stand. She sat down on the edge of the stage and opened her flute case, then started disassembling the instrument.

“You know what’s weird?” she asked as she swabbed out the headjoint. “This room feels so familiar, but I don’t remember ever being in it. Like, I know how sound projects in here and how hot the stage lights get after an hour, but I don’t remember playing in here,” she trailed off as she snapped the case shut.

“Can you still play?” Ganondorf asked, gesturing to her cast.

“No,” she said. He looked at her, alarmed. “Not until it’s healed!” she added hastily. “I can’t bend my arm to hold it right with the cast. I tried,” she shrugged. “I think I have a few more books in the library, and then we can get out of here.” She stood and led them back upstairs.

The library was as lavishly decorated as the rest of the house. Aside from the large fireplace, the walls were taken up by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed full of leather bound books. There were more comfy armchairs and some comfy sofas, a coffee table laden with more of Rabia’s books, and a few desks.

“Look at all these books,” Sheik breathed. “They must have cost a fortune.” Rabia snorted.

“Pick one up, take a look,” she said. She seemed amused as Sheik reached up and grabbed a large tome. He frowned when it felt unnaturally light in his hands. “They’re all fake. Every single one of these books is made of cardboard.” She finished stacking hers into the bag Ganondorf was holding.

“That must make it easy to find yours, then,” Kaikoura laughed.

“Yeah. At least in here. He has a landing above the offices that have all his real ones. He just uses this room to impress people,” Rabia rolled her eyes. Kaikoura dragged her finger along the spines of a few books along the wall.

“They’re pretty convincing fakes, though,” Kaikoura said. She grabbed one and nearly dropped it on her foot under the weight. “Hey! This one is real.”

“Weird…” Rabia walked over to her and picked it up off the floor just as two of the narrow shelves opened up towards them. “A door? A secret library door. How tacky can he get, for the love of…” she trailed off as she peeked into the room beyond. It was another office, but unlike the others, this one was a mess of papers and books. Clearly, it was well used. “So this is where he disappeared to,” Rabia hummed. She stepped into the room curiously, the others not far behind. Ganondorf walked over to Finn’s desk and started rifling through his papers.

“Hey, come look at these,” Ganondorf said. Rabia walked over and took the offered pages. One of them, written on parchment paper in superfluous penmanship, was clearly a contract of some sort, though it was in a language Rabia couldn’t read. The other was a copy of Finn’s parents’ will.

“He would only get his inheritance if he married you?” Kaikoura read over Rabia’s shoulder.

“Yeah,” Rabia said. “He told me that the first time he… well, never mind. Everything here belongs to his parents,” she said. “Actually, we’re lucky we’re even in here. As soon as they hear about this, I’m sure everything will be cleared out of here.” Ganondorf plucked the papers out of her hands and rolled them up with several others, then stuck them into one of her bags.

“Evidence,” Ganondorf said at her confused expression. “For the trial tomorrow.”

“Ah,” Rabia said. “Okay, well, I think we can go now. I’ve got everything.” The four of them walked back out to the stables, mounted their horses, and headed back to Kakariko Village.
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OCs: Rabia (main character, Ganondorf's bae); Kaikoura (Rabia's BFF, Sheik's bae)