Chapter 14: Hyrule
Zelda felt like a bokoblin. Truly, there was no other thing that came to her mind that identified how she was feeling right now more. A bokoblin. She felt so disconnected from the world, from her feelings, from her thoughts. It was like her brain was scrambled, underdeveloped, maybe even inexistent. She couldn't figure it out. Everything was such a mess in her head. Everything around her was also such a mess.
Hours upon hours had passed without her even realizing it. She kept walking though, running through the motions however she could, trying to find the right words, trying to react the correct way. It was as if she were in a state of shock and couldn't come out of it. She saw everyone and everything as blurs passing through her vision, and could only pay some attention to things being said.
"Princess! The Labrynnans are demanding explanations!"
"Revenge, we need revenge!"
"Justice for Hyrule!"
"The Sheikah are dead!"
"They require shelter, Princess!"
Everything was such a mess. Within hours of Link's return, news arrived to the castle about a massacre that had happened in Kakariko Village, which nobody knew was actually her adored Knight's revenge. News spread fast around the entire country, in fact, and by now, the remaining surviving Sheikah had begun arriving at Castle Town, scared for their lives, seeking shelter and protection from the crown. Zelda didn't know what was best to do in her state, but she gave them rooms in the castle, promised them protection and an investigation to find those guilty and make them pay. Most hid away in their provided rooms, but Purah -who survived due to living in Hateno along with Symin- clung to her, crying her eyes out about her younger sister.
She had sent out people to tput out the fires of the burning village and to find the bodies and burry them as respectfully as possible. She was trying her hardest to keep composed, but truly, inside, she was just as broken and scared as the Sheikah girl that followed her around. Link was nowhere to be found and that scared her even more. She loved him, but his actions had scared her like none before.
It was expected, what he did, he'd tried to do the same once before. However, that didn't prepare her enough for the chaos, the cries, the suffering, the burning. He did it for them, of course, he did it for her. That's what she had wanted, right? To be with him, to break the cycle. Well now she got it, and she had to deal with it. Where was he, though? She needed him by her side, needed his support. She was going insane without it.
She carried on her duties, commanding people here and there, signing documents left and right, giving instructions, but it all felt so empty. The only thing that didn't feel void was her cancellation of her wedding.
Now being only a few hours away from what would have been her marriage to the heir of Labrynna, she called it off as Link and her had discussed before he left, claiming the stress of the current situation made her blood run cold and realize that she didn't want to have to deal with two countries' troubles at once. One was enough. She couldn't marry into another kingdom too. She put up walls of excuses and even cried a little. She didn't like having to talk to Bronn though.
Bronn was an excellent man. He'd been with her through her worst moments, had helped cheer her up, had been a complete gentleman. He even understood the unique situation of her feelings for Link. She respected that, and respected him, so she let him know. He didn't take it kindly, though, and didn't believe her excuses one bit. He knew it was because of Link.
"You're calling off our wedding merely hours from it?" He'd asked in a harsh tone. "And you dare think I'll believe all this nonsense? You've been acting all weird and lovey-dovey with that boy since he came back! I've been trying to contain my jealousy about it and give you space to sort your feelings, I've tried to be understanding, and this is how you repay me?!" He'd yelled, and Zelda let him, willing him to take it all out and hopefully feel better about the hurt she'd caused him. "It's unfair, Princess! I cared for you, you know? It is not fair…"
She let him go on and on for what felt like hours, even his father had yelled at her some, at which point she became aggravated and asked her guards to escort them out, taking a minute to ironically thank Bronn for the Knight he'd given her as a gift, but to please take him back home with him.
Three days after Kakariko village burnt down, the people she sent to bury all found bodies returned with unexpected news: there were no bodies to be found anywhere. It was believed that they all burned to ash. It didn't make much sense to her, since the fire hadn't burned that long, but it was a good thing in the end as the people started believing that the fire had actually been caused by the goddesses because of some unknown sin the Sheikah must have committed. She rolled with it but didn't call off the investigation in case it looked too suspicious. Her villagers had even began building small wooden statues representing Din, Nayru and Farore, and burning them down as tribute. Some even suggested that the remaining Sheikah should be eliminated to complete the goddesses' wishes. She ignored those.
Throughout the following days, people kept yelling at her left and right and the entire comminuty around her seemed to be in shambles, but it was alright. She could handle it. She had to. For him. Although she didn't even know where he was. He'd left after he'd returned, claiming there was something he had to do still. She didn't know what it was, or why it was so urgent, but she'd wait patiently for him, as she always did.
He left her alone, but he felt like he had to. He knew she'd have a lot to deal with, and he'd be there for her when he returned -which he hoped to do promptly- but he needed to have some time on his own. After what he'd done, even though he felt like he was finally free of his burdens, he also felt incredibly wrong. He had taken revenge on people that ultimately were innocent, but it was all he could do. For all the times his children had been taken away from him, in every timeline, for every time his love for Zelda had ben prohibited, for every time the truth had been hidden, for every tear his Princess had shred.
He agreed with her. They had done enough. Time and time again. Years after years. In this timeline they spend hundreds of years in suffering, for nothing. Only for everything to begin again when they died. Only for Zelda's great-grand daughter to have to go through a fate worse than her grandmother. Only for more suffering. He was tired. He didn't care what happened anymore. He just wanted a normal life, next to his love. To die of all age, next to her, with her, not only watching from the sidelines while other men enjoyed her. That was all he wanted. And all she wanted too.
He'd returned to Kakariko Village immediately, now being able to teleport due to Zelda lending him the slate and buried everyone. It was a lame attempt at respect, but he did it anyway. He then spent a few days by the Spring of Wisdom near Hateno, meditating and praying to the goddesses that they forgive his decision, whilst at the same time hoping they'd understand. He waited and waited for a response of any kind, but none came. The goddesses weren't pleased, he knew, and he'd eventually have to pay for his sins, but he didn't care. It was over. Or so he hoped. He prayed and prayed that they'd never come back again. That Zelda's descendants could have normal lives forever. That the spirit of the hero could rest forever in peace. That the Calamity would never return. That the tri-force would just disappear. He could only hope, though.
Upon his arrival back at Hyrule Castle, a week after he'd left, he'd found that Castle Town had been pillaged by the Labrynnan's as they left the premises. They'd started fires and terrorized citizens, promising to come back and take the crown from the Princess someday. He was greeted warmly by Yolant, who excitedly informed him how the Goddessess had apparently punished the Sheikah with fire and how the Princess had kicked out Bronn and all his people, and asked if he'd had anything to do with that. Link initially hesitated in telling her the truth, but decided that confiding in her would be okay, she had already proven her care for him. He told her everything.
She was horrified at first, but she understood, and ultimately said he'd done the right thing, as ending that sick cycle could only be a good thing. He confided in her something more, too. Before burning down Kakariko Village, Link had taken all the scrolls and books that Impa kept tucked away, all the information from past lives, form back and back and back. He'd read them all during his time away, and every little detail that had never retuned he now remembered. It had been eleven total children that had been taken away from them by the Sheikah.
Eleven that were born and were old enough to talk by the time they were taken. Sadly, most times Link had been okay with it. Not okay with the murder of his child, but with the murder of the monster they all believed it would become. The child always seemed strangely powerful, even able to use the sealing power from its mother accidentally at times, which was what hurt Zelda in their first timeline together. The Sheikah and sages believed that the child would be the next Ganon, or even a more powerful version, and would end up destroying the world worse than the Calamity could. Worthless beliefs that got passed down end ended up being believed even by himself. Until now.
After talking to Yolant, Link meant to see his Princess, but instead spent the day helping the Hyruleans fix the mess that had been done to their homes at the expense of the cancellation of the wedding. It was only fair, he'd caused it. She would know he was here; she always knew. And of course, she did, cause by nightfall the Princess had joined him at Castle Town and was helping as well. He enjoyed this time, even though he could see the unease in her eyes, but it was nice to spend that time with her in which they didn't have to talk about bad things. He'd explain everything later, after all, they'd have time. Things had changed.
It took Zelda quite a long time to adjust, and an even longer time for Link to forgive himself, but eventually, they settled into their new normal lives; or as normal as they could be with ruling a country and all. Zelda had been crowned as Queen of Hyrule, which didn't give her ruling over every race in Hyrule, but over Hylians, who'd been left without any kind of ruler for the past century. The economy took a hit, as the trades with Labrynna all but disappeared, but mostly everything remained the same.
The curious ending of the Sheikah race remained a mystery to all those not involved, and the theories about what had happened became weirder and wilder. It would become a legend of revenge from the Goddesses for some made up sins. Purah, Symin, and Robbie, who were the only Sheikah that remained, seemed to suspect about the Knight, as they disappeared when he returned to the Castle and weren't seen around the Town either again. At first, it was thought by the people that the Goddesses had ended whatever it was they'd started, but the three of them were seen later in Hateno, alive and well. Of course, it had been Link's intention to take them all out, but after the rage had passed, he found that very difficult. He used to be an unfeeling Knight, but that duty was gone, and so was that wall he'd built up. He let them live and hoped they didn't even know about the old legends, in case he and the Princess, now Queen, did end up returning someday.
Link and Zelda never married, although everyone knew they were a couple and were treated as such, even more so when the Queen ended up with child. The girl was born on a late June night, and was blessed with the name Mei. Time passed quickly, and before everyone's eyes, the little Princess grew wonderfully, now, at seven, running around the castle grounds pretending to be a Knight like his father. She wanted nothing to do with Princessy things, she wanted to be a knight. Link and Zelda kept an eye on her from the balcony of their bedroom as they examined the pictures on the Sheikah Slate.
"Thank Din we kept this!" The Queen exclaimed lovingly as she stared at the pictures of her beloved companion. "It would be a shame if we couldn't show Mei how much she looks like you when you were in your teens!"
Link took the Slate form her and scrolled through the pictures. "Can I delete these once and for all?" He asked, pointing at the photos of him dressed as a Gerudo vai.
"What? No! I love these!" Zelda tore the Slate from his hands to prevent him from deleting any pictures. "Look at you, so pretty. Mei will look exactly like you, I bet. You look so carefree, too, it's nice. You're always full of worries."
"You're pretty," he told her with a smile and a squeeze to her waist, trying to hide his embarrassment. "Also, you're always full of worries too."
"Well, yes, Labrynna might start a war soon," she reminded him, turning off the slate. She looked over at their son, who was now playing with older children who were old enough to train as knights. "I think Mei is reasonably distracted," she added, looking at her Council of War seductively.
Link took a look, and agreed, pulling his love by the hand as she followed with a fit of giggles to the bedroom. Their lust for each other never wavered, the love they shared and expressed that way only becoming stronger with the years.
Mei knocked on their door a few hours later, wanting to tell her parents all about her adventures as a Knight that day. They sat with her between them at the bed and listened to their daughter retell his stories of all the invisible monsters she apparently fought, and how bravely Ser Boku, a friend of hers, aided hem in taking down a bokoblin camp. It was all fun and games until she recalled, surprised, how a powerful bream of light had emerged from her hands when she got scared from falling. Her parents looked at each other but said nothing.
They had come to an agreement that no matter what happened, they wouldn't care. Mei hadn't shown signs of inheriting her mother family's sealing powers, but apparently it was just taking her a long time to produce them, like her mother. However, that didn't matter. She was seven now, and was a good child, and there were no signs of her being the monster the Sheikah believed a child of them could be. She was perfectly fine.
And even if she hadn't been, it would be okay. They'd handle it together, like always.
And they did.
Things weren't always perfect, but they lived a happy, content life, and died young, but knowing their daughter was a special Hylian who was as wise as her mother, as courageous as her father and also powerful, extraordinarily so. How her bloodline would continue, no one knew. If the hero's spirit would return, it was also a mystery. Only time could tell, although they weren't there anymore to see it.
The end has arrived guys. I know there's lots of things unanswered, particularly how our favorite lovers died, and what happened to their daughter, but that's part of the mystery I wanted to keep. I will not be answering those, you can reach your own conclusions. Either the Sheikah were always right or they were very wrong. What do you believe?
Thanks for reaching the end. I hope you enjoyed this ride, I know it's probably not what you expected, but it had to come to an end even if bittersweet.
Lots of love, WishfulInfatuation