Chapter 23

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"Buddar! Buddar!"

Buddar turned her head as her fairy zipped up to her. "We found an underground den that we could stay in for the night!" She said. "Come on, it's this way!"

Buddar quickly followed her fairy, with Link only a few feet behind her. It was slightly hard to follow Lyra, since she could easily slip through the trees through the air, while Buddar and Link had to watch out for rocks since they could only walk. Eventually, they came to a large opening in the ground, under a huge tree.

"Wow," Buddar said. "Did you check for monsters yet?"

"Yep!" Lyra said. "Navy and Shadow are already down there, since the sun is almost up."

The tiny fairy then zipped down into the den. Buddar and Link crawled through the opening and into a dark cavern that had been dug out of the earth. The only light in the den was Lyra and Navi, who were fluttering around Navy and Shadow. Navy was leaning against the wall, and Shadow was crouched in a corner.

Buddar walked over to Shadow and sat down next to him. Even through the darkness, she could tell he was in pain from his burn. She put her arm around him to comfort him, he rested his head on her shoulder, and smiled slightly. Lyra slipped into Buddar's cap, and Navi slipped into Link's tunic pocket, making it so the cave went dark. Buddar closed her eyes, and slowly began to drift off to sleep. She felt Shadow stir beside her, she heard him lie down on the dirt flooring of the den, and then silence filled the cave again.

Her eyes fluttered open as she felt someone wrap his strong arms around her. He slowly lay down on the floor, bringing her along with him. He gently pulled her closer to his chest, until her back was pressed up against him. "Sleep well, Buddar." He whispered into her ear.

She smiled slightly and closed her eyes, then fell asleep to the steady beat of his heart.

***

Buddar's eyes fluttered open as a quiet growling noise echoed through the cave. She glanced around as she heard the growl again, then quickly realized where it was coming from. How long has it been since I last ate? She wondered.

She tried to sit up, but something held her down. She looked down to see two strong arms gently wrapped around her waist. She glanced over her shoulder to see who was holding her down, only to feel the lightest bit of warmth rise to her cheeks. Link had wrapped his arms around her, and her back was pressed against his chest. He was sleeping peacefully, and he had a warm smile on his face. She smiled at how adorable he looked, then slipped out of his grip. His eyes fluttered open, he looked up at her. "Where are you going?" He asked quietly.

"I'm going to go find something to eat." She said, grabbing her sword.

"Didn't you pack some fruit?" He asked, sitting up and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"Yes, but I'm saving that for when we can't get food." She said. "There may be a time when food won't be easy to get, that's why it's good to have enough for an emergency."

Link blinked in surprise. "Where did you learn that?" He asked, standing up.

"When I was just starting out as a thief," She explained as they crawled out of the den. "Lyra and I often ate all of our stolen goods as soon as we got them. But there were many nights where we went to sleep with empty stomachs, therefore, we had to store some food for when we couldn't get any goods."

They crawled out of the den and into the forest, the sun shined high above their heads, indicating that it was noon. Buddar stretched her stiff limbs and sighed, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight that filtered through the emerald leaves of the trees. Out of the corner of her eyes, she noticed Link staring at her. She glanced at him, but he quickly looked away, a bit of pink dusting his cheeks. She stopped and started walking into the forest. "Come on," She said, glancing over her shoulder at Link. "Let's go get breakfast."

He nodded and ran to catch up to her. "We can probably find some berries out here," He said. "Or possibly some fruit."

Buddar nodded and began searching for food. Link did the same, but, out of the corner of her eyes, she occasionally saw him glance over at her and watch her for a few moments.

"Found some fruit!" Link announced after about ten minutes of searching. Buddar got up and turned around, Link was a few yards away, looking up at a large tree. She quickly ran over to him, sure enough, growing in the branches of the tree were round pinkish orange fruits.

"Wow!" Buddar said, amazed. "What kind of fruit is that?"

"They're peaches." Link told her. "They're a bit fuzzy, but very sweet."

"Sounds delicious!" Lyra said, peeking out of Buddar's cap. "Buddar, you could use your cap to bring some back for the others as well!"

Buddar nodded in agreement. "Sounds like a plan!" She said, walking up to the tree. She jumped and grabbed onto a low hanging branch, then tried to pull herself up, but her arms weren't strong enough. She felt Link lift up her feet, allowing her to pull herself up onto the branch. He jumped up and pulled himself onto the branch a few moments later. They kept climbing until they were finally able to reach the fuzzy fruit.

Buddar reached up and plucked a ripe peach off of the branch, then sank her teeth into it and took a bite. Her eyes widened at the sweet taste and fuzzy, yet pleasant, texture. "Oh my gosh!" Buddar said. "This is the sweetest thing I've ever tasted!"

Link chuckled at her enthusiasm and plucked a fruit for himself. While they ate, Buddar began harvesting the fruit and stuffing it in her cap so she could bring it back to Navy and Shadow. Then she slipped her cap back on.

After they had finished eating a couple of peaches, Buddar and Link climbed back down the tree and began to head back to the den. As they walked, Link slipped his hand into Buddar's. She was slightly surprised by the unexpected contact, but she just smiled and kept walking, unaware of the bright red tint on Link's cheeks.

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