fleets: Hi everyone, miss me? Probably not, considering it's only been 3 DAYS since Demonbound Sheikah ended and I started this new story, Soulbound Princess.
Guys I'm really excited about this story, and I hope you are too. I have a few things to say before I start this story. 1.) This story is VaaSheik. Notice I did not say VaaZel. If you want to read a VaaZel by me, I'm going to point you over to When I Return and its sequel, because that one is a VaaZel. While Zelda=Sheik in this story, I do write Sheik differently enough that I think it's a relevant difference (for a more in depth talk on this, I discuss all of this on one of my tumblr posts under 'thewishingcap.').
2.) SHEIK is GENDERED MALE in this story. He prefers male pronouns, and thus will not be referred to as 'she/her' whenever we're talking about him as a character. Don't ask me what's in his pants because that's irrelevant and I don't care. What's important is that he prefers he/him pronouns. I treat him as one (important) facet of Zelda's personality.
That said, some parts will look a lot like VaaZel. Fine. They're the same person after all. But even when she's Zelda, she's still pretty 'Sheiky.' That's where the VaaSheik comes in.
3.) This story is fairly AU. It follows no particular time line, and pulls in different characters based on certain traits that I found useful/interesting for the story line. Please do not try to correct me about timeline/canon because this is an AU.
4.) If you found yourself here before reading Demonbound Sheikah, you will be very confused as this is a direct sequel.
I think that's all for the ground rules. I promise future AN's won't be so long. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy this story!
Chapter 1: Transient Peace
It was late afternoon at Hyrule Castle, and the bustle of visitors had long since died down. With the guards dismissed, only a few people remained in the throne room. A young man sat above on the window's ledges, and he was barely noticeable to the casual passerby as he blended in with the shadows along the walls.
Vaati lazily picked at the dirt under his fingernails as he eavesdropped on the conversation below. He could have easily done the same by letting his sentry eyes, small bat-winged eyes about the size of a nectarine, to spy on them, but he'd come to prefer a more personal touch in the recent months. The skills he'd picked up from Impa and Sheik during his time at the castle had been extremely useful, and he'd learned from them that magic, while powerful, wasn't the answer to everything.
Vaati brushed his pale lavender bangs away from his face and adjusted his cowl. He'd always had a habit of tugging at his hat back when he was the Sorcerer of Winds, and although he no longer wore his hat, his habit of constantly adjusting whatever was on his head persisted.
Thankfully for Hyrule, his habit for trying to conquer the kingdom hadn't. Sheik had long since stopped questioning why, however, when Vaati continued to dodge the topic. Vaati sometimes thought about what Sheik had said to him several months ago, under the summer sun in what had been one of the best days Hyrule had seen in a long time. "I still don't know who you are," Sheik had said, when he couldn't understand why Vaati had remained with the Sheikah after everything they'd done.
Frankly, Vaati wasn't really sure he knew the answer to that, either, especially considering how the Sheikah had mucked up his memories before he'd been put back together again. Once upon a time he'd had a burning drive to conquer Hyrule for his own, to have people kneel at his feet. Sure, he still wondered about that from time to time, but the drive had diminished to mild curiosity. Once upon a time he'd wanted nothing more than to crush the Sheikah and the entire royal family under the heel of his boots, but his interest in that had vanished as well. After all, he enjoyed Sheik's company, which was saying quite a lot considering he'd had few, if any, individuals he'd respected much less enjoy the company of. Sheik was witty, a skilled fighter, and, somewhat surprisingly, valued the same kind of unchained freedom he did.
He'd wondered before whether or not his fierce loyalty to Zelda, one that had almost been possessive while he'd been 'Gufuu,' had simply been the product of Twinrova's brainwashing. As Gufuu, he'd been fixated on his 'mission' to protect Princess Zelda. However, even after his memories had returned, his feelings hadn't diminished, and ever since then it had filled him with intrigue. His interest in the princess hadn't been something falsely created by Twinrova. It had been real.
He remembered when the princess had first caught his eye. Or, rather, ears. He'd found out that the princesses of the royal family carried with them a great power, comparable to that of the goddesses themselves. He couldn't help but be interested about the person who seemed to have everything he wanted: the crown and raw power.
And when that same person led to his first downfall, to be sealed in the cursed sword, he'd become obsessed. Obsessed with destroying her rather than protecting her, but obsessed all the same.
He'd encountered her again after he'd escaped the Four Sword. She hadn't been the same person as the first one he'd met. She was older. More rugged. Mature. Someone who'd seen far more bloodshed than the one he'd first encountered. However different she was, in many ways she was still the same. She still had the crown. She still had the power.
And once again, just like before, she'd led him to his defeat, though this time by her own hands rather than with the help of the hero. He remembered his heart racing from excitement, excitement to find out what those fierce eyes, sharp like a hawk's, would look like after he'd beat her. And then, he'd lost, his enraged obsession growing before he lost himself in darkness.
Now that he was back to himself again, after spending time with Sheik as Gufuu, his anger had gone but his intrigue remained. He'd had the chance to get to know the princess as more than just an abstract concept. He wasn't obsessed with destroying her, but he couldn't stop thinking about who she was. What she was doing. What made her tick. He and Sheik had gone through so much together that he almost felt like it was his obligation to make sure no one bothered him. Sheik, Zelda, Hyrule…
All of it was his.
Perhaps when he was bored with how life was proceeding he'd pick up where he'd left off with the conquest campaign, but he had plenty of things to do that interested him now.
Red eyes gazed down at the two individuals who were talking below him. Their discussion was becoming increasingly heated as it went on, and Vaati's cowl hid the growing frown on his face. One of them was the young but competent Princess Zelda, and she stood poised in her high-collared pink dress trimmed with gold. The other was her guardian and senior Sheikah, Impa, who could somehow sneak undetected even with her bold blue uniform with red-orange accents.
It was only after spending time with the Sheikah that Vaati truly appreciated Impa's skills. She'd already caught him doing things he technically wasn't supposed to be doing a few times, when he'd been convinced she wouldn't find him. He didn't like to admit it, but he'd been humbled by how much skill could compensate for raw power. He had power, but not the level of skill Impa and Sheik had that could only be obtained with rigorous training.
"…for the best. And Vaati, why don't you stop eavesdropping and come down to join us?"
The sorcerer flinched when he suddenly heard his name from the conversation below, and then he scowled. How did that woman always know where he was?
Vaati floated down from the window ledge to join Zelda and Impa. He caught Zelda flashing him a quick, exasperated expression as though to say 'Ugh, help.' The sorcerer had always been good at picking up the princess's subtle, nonverbal messages. People thought she wasn't expressive as she often wore a passive, 'proper' mask, but an attentive individual could see that the brief arch of her brow or faint glimmer in her blue eyes actually said quite a lot.
Vaati shot her a devious grin, and then turned to Impa expectantly.
The guardian sighed, and then continued her discussion with Princess Zelda. "At least consider this, princess. You've been running off as Sheik more and more, lately, and poor Daphna has been pretending to be you so much that she might as well be the real princess of Hyrule."
Zelda bit her cheek, and her tired tone suggested that she'd already gone over this conversation at least once before. "I'm still contributing with my efforts to help restore Hyrule. It's not like I go out and do nothing while I'm Sheik." She flashed Vaati a warning look when the sorcerer smirked at this comment. She didn't need Impa to know that, while there were many days where she was making a difference in helping the kingdom, there were also plenty of other days where Vaati had managed to convince her that a day off was exactly what she needed. Bastard had a way with words that was impressively persuasive. "Is it so awful that I want to leave this… this life from time to time? I never asked to be the princess, but I try to because I know it has to be me. I try, but I can't do this all the time."
"If I had the crown, I'll let you run off and be Sheik all you want, princess," Vaati winked.
Zelda held back a snicker when Impa looked at them both like an exasperated mother who was looking after two unruly children. "All I am asking is to at least consider this proposal regarding the ball, your grace."
At this, the sorcerer perked up, his back straightening from his normally slouched posture. "A ball?" he asked. He gave a not-so-subtle glance at Zelda standing next to him. He imagined her in a ball gown, something beautiful and exuberant fitting for the occasion, and then he imagined himself in the same ball wearing the kind of rich, high class attire that he hadn't been able to enjoy since he'd relinquished his former throne to join the Sheikah. He decided he was on board with Impa's idea. "That sounds refreshing. Intriguing."
"The people of Hyrule want to host a birthday celebration for her Grace who would be turning twenty in a week from now," Impa explained, while Zelda looked just about ready to throw her hands up in the air.
"Impa it's not even the people of Hyrule, it's just a bunch of grubby nobles who want to gain my favor," she said.
"And these nobles can help Hyrule with their resources."
Vaati's grin had long since fallen into a frown. "Wait. It's your birthday in a week?" His confident expression with his typical conniving smirk was replaced by one of surprise. "I wasn't told about this," he muttered, clearly offended that he was one of the last ones to know about the princess's birthday.
Zelda pinched the bridge of her nose, irritated that everything seemed to be going wrong at once. "Vaati I'm sorry, I don't really like birthdays and it's really not important to me," she explained, waving her gloved hand defensively, trying to appease him. "So can we please not make this into a big fuss? I have other things to worry about," she added. Vaati was someone who could hold quite a long grudge, and she really didn't want to deal with a sorcerer throwing a hissy fit because she'd forgotten to tell him something that she didn't think was all that important. She watched Vaati, her mouth thinned into an aggravated, thin line. She could tell that, while he wasn't going to press her about this at the moment, he was probably going to be passive aggressive about it later.
She really didn't understand what the big deal was. Since when did he care about things like silly like birthdays?
Oh well. She could always give him a what-for if he was too annoying about it.
"Hyrule is still recovering from extensive damage. If these nobles can be convinced to help, then it can be substantial for recovery efforts," Impa continued, bringing the conversation back on topic.
"They should be helping anyway… without having me bat my lashes at them," Zelda grumbled.
"We shouldn't invite these nobles at all," Vaati agreed, still a little irritated that Zelda hadn't told him about her birthday. "Still, I agree with Impa here, princess. You need to celebrate when you can. Just you and me. I'll treat you."
The princess looked from Vaati to Impa, both of them waiting for her expectantly. "I don't have a choice, do I," she finally said with a sigh and a small smile on her face. "All right, I'll do it. Let the people know that I'll gratefully accept their celebration."
"Wait… what?" Vaati blanched, his smile briefly appearing when he heard her agree, before it flipped upside down into a shocked frown at the mention of others. His hands waved vaguely in the air as though he weren't sure what to do with them, and he looked at Impa and Zelda incredulously. "Did you listen to a word of what I just said?" he asked.
Impa ignored him. "Yes your grace," she gave a small bow to Zelda before addressing the sorcerer without looking at him. She spoke firmly, "Vaati, you'll join me in the patrols to make sure everything goes smoothly."
"Now hold on just a second," Vaati shook his head, pointing his finger towards the ceiling in an authoritative manner. He strode over to Zelda, annoyed. "You don't have to celebrate with people who don't care about you. It's your birthday, you should-"
The princess held out a hand, stopping him. "Thank you, Vaati, but Impa is right. Hyrule needs me to do this."
"If you want the nobles to help, you know I can be convincing."
Zelda shook her head, her mind already made up. "I don't want you to push it, Vaati, the people think you're dead but if you go too far, even the blind will become suspicious. Your convincing ways have been a bit much sometimes."
Vaati knew what the princess was referring to. Over the last several months, through threats ranging from mild to questionably severe, he'd "convinced" several of Hyrule's wealthy to serve him. He didn't see what the problem was, since he was helping, but Zelda wasn't overly fond of his brash methods. He argued that he got results quickly, while she chided him for being too impatient. He was about to argue, but he could see her point about people becoming suspicious of who he was; it would become a nuisance if word got out that the Sorcerer of Winds hadn't actually died.
The sorcerer's clenched fingers relaxed, but not before he muttered under his breath, "If you think I'm just going to stand there and watch other people leer at you…"
His words didn't go unnoticed by Impa's keen ears. The guardian coughed, and pointed at the door. "Ahem. No one forced you to be a Sheikah, Vaati. The door is over there," she said while he grimaced. Impa added, "However, you may want to stop telling people that you are the princess's personal guard if you leave."
For a moment, Vaati did almost look as though he were going to storm out the door, his red eyes glaring something terrible. However, he caught the princess's gaze and found that he couldn't find it in him to just drop everything and leave. It wasn't fair, really. He couldn't count how many times Sheik got away with things with his tragic puppy eyes.
Like that one time at the Gerudo camp when Vaati had been about to destroy him.
It really put a damper on things when the person you wanted dead insisted that you were their only friend, and looked at you with the most pathetically accepting gaze.
Vaati sighed irritably, and remained where he was, sulking, his arms crossed over his chest and his shoulders somewhat curled.
"Good. Then let's discuss how we'll be organizing this," Impa said.
While Zelda had been ambivalent about her birthday ball, when the day finally came she found that it might not have been such a bad idea after all. She peered out from her window where she could see the people filing in, mostly the nobles who'd requested the party in the first place, but also some from the middle and lower classes that she'd been able to sneak off invitations to with a lot of help from Vaati. The nobles were undoubtedly going to be miffed that this party wasn't exclusive, but they were just going to have to deal with it.
And looking down from her window, she could see people smiling. They appeared excited, and some of them already had a glow about them from drink. The guards walked around, lighting the hanging lanterns along the walkways as the sun was setting. The people were dressed in reds, silvers, and golds to reflect the approaching autumn. It was heartening to see her people so happy after everything that had happened, after all of the loss they'd had to endure.
There was a knock on her door, and Zelda pulled her gaze away from the window. "Come in!" she called, and she beamed when she saw a familiar face walk in through the door. Vaati, pulled his cowl down further over his face as though annoyed by her excitement. "Hello, Vaati. What's all this about?" she teased, finding it funny how he glowered at the silliest things.
"Just thought I'd drop by before I go and pretend I don't exist to the world for the rest of the night," Vaati muttered bitterly. He looked around, and then walked over to the chair by the window and sat down. For anyone else, Zelda would have been annoyed that they'd made themselves welcome without being invited, but she was used to him doing this by now.
"Vaati, please. I'll know where you are," she rolled her eyes.
"No, you won't."
"You're not that good at hiding from me yet. Maybe when Impa stops finding you, I'll have trouble knowing where you are."
Vaati sighed while the princess wagged a taunting finger in front of his face. After some time, he said flatly. "Fine."
Zelda chuckled. It was the one where she tilted her chin slightly downwards while turning away, the same one Sheik often did to hide his smile behind the cloth he used to cover his face. She walked over to join him by the window again.
"So what do you think?" she asked, spreading her arms out and giving a small twirl. She was wearing a silver, offshoulder dress with barely visible patterns of wing accents. The fabric was soft and floaty like fairy wisps. "Do I look okay?"
Vaati barely turned his head as he continued to stare out the window. "Sure," he said in a bored tone.
"Really, Vaati? Just sure?" Zelda exclaimed indignantly. At least 'good' would have been okay, but sure? So that's how he was going to be, huh? She'd been waiting for him to be completely immature about the fact that she hadn't told him about her birthday, and apparently he'd decided that the day to be a child about it would be on that very day. She wasn't all that surprised that he was still, after an entire week, miffed that she hadn't told him about her birthday, but he was being a real deku nut about it.
"Well someone's fishing for compliments. Why don't you go ask your noble friends instead of me?" Vaati snapped, while Zelda only arched a brow at him, unimpressed.
Zelda was used to this by now. After the whole ordeal with Dethl, she'd learned that, while Fuu had been almost childlike in innocence, Vaati was like the brat kid who egged people's houses for fun. Basically a manchild who expected things to always go their way, and dramatically sulked about it when they didn't.
Before Zelda could say anything, the sorcerer shook his head irritably. "Ugh, just. Here." He tossed a small object towards Zelda, who caught it out of the air. She opened her fingers, and in her palm was a beautiful red gem shaped like a teardrop, and about the size of a pearl. It reflected different shades of reds and even faint purples in the light, like a cat's eye. The stone hung from a thin silver chain.
"Happy birthday," Vaati mumbled, drumming his fingers along the table distractedly while Zelda brought the necklace closer to her face.
"It's so pretty…" she murmured, and then walked over to the mirror on the other side of the room to try it on.
"That's not all it is. It's enchanted. Whenever you need help, just say the words 'tekesuta reku,'" the sorcerer explained, almost hurried and embarrassed. "I'll come find you."
Zelda admired her reflection in the mirror, and she was speechless for a few seconds, unsure of what to say. Vaati was one of her best friends now, but she'd never pegged him as the caring type. He always scoffed at anything that could even remotely be construed as 'soft.' This was all the funnier considering he'd once been the most terrifying individual in the world. "Vaati I don't know what to say. This is so thoughtful of you," she finally managed.
"Use that if anyone tries to grope you today, alright?" Vaati said sharply.
At this, Zelda laughed. So that's what this was about? She knew there was an agenda in all of this somewhere. "I can handle them, don't you worry," she said with a smile, showing off a frighteningly swift jab that would have instantly broken the jaw of any poor soul unlucky enough to approach her the wrong way.
Vaati didn't sound convinced. "I don't doubt that, but-"
"Promise me you won't cause a scene?" She shushed him, holding up a finger. When Vaati looked like he was about to argue, she curled her fingers into a fist. Their secret 'Sheikah' hand sign. "For me."
Vaati's nose twitched, and his brow crinkled like he was fighting some kind of internal struggle. Finally, he threw his hands up in the air in exasperation and bumped his fist with hers. Then, he stood up from his chair and strode over to the door to make his exit.
The sorcerer stopped. He turned his head slightly to acknowledge that he'd heard her.
"Thank you," Zelda smiled.
There's a certain haunting atmosphere that settles just as the sun is about to set. The world seems to hold its breath, and then it sighs as night falls and the lords of darkness patrol the new, sunless domain.
The night is a world for dangerous folk. Thieves love it as their accomplice, assassins thrive under their cover. And tonight, a servant of night had decided to lurk among the crowd of people gathering at the castle to celebrate the birthday of the Princess of Light. They were an assassin, waiting for a chance to hunt their prey.
They had broad shoulders, suggesting male under the cowl and long cloak that hid their features. Although he was tall, he moved with a low crouch that masked his true height, and he was lithe and light on his feet like a cat. His attire was a dusky black that allowed them to blend in with the darkness, and beneath the cloak revealed a fitted outfit with a blue symbol, a perfect circle, that vaguely resembled an open eye. Daggers and bombs hung from his wastes, but they quickly disappeared from view as the cloak settled over his frame.
The assassin slowly stalked the side of the castle walls, expertly avoiding the notice of the patrolling guards. He sat crouched beside shrubbery some distance away from the main gates of the castle. A brief flicker of light reflected from his eyes behind the cowl as he looked up at the rising crescent moon to gauge the time.
And then, he waited.
He'd been waiting for an opportunity like this for years. He was a patient man.
Hyrule had enjoyed peace for something close to five months. Regrettably, peace was a transient commodity.
fleets: just a bit of something fluffy before i destroy it all to pieces, yeah? That might have looked a bit shippy to some of you, but they're more like besties at this point. Good besties. REally good besties (wiggles eyebrows). cough... anyway.
Let me know what you think! :D I hope you guys like it so far!