A/N: This was written as part of a 100 themes challenge I'm doing. The first theme was 'Introduction'. This scene was inspired by the OoT manga.
Disclaimer: Ain't mine.

Introduction

There were mountains of stockpiled food and supplies that had been taken under the guise of taxes to the new king. People were starving and here were the keys to their survival, rotting away. It smelled horrible, a choking stench that tore away any ability to breathe. The entire castle smelled of the rot, the burning away of any decency.

It had only been three years since Ganondorf became overlord of Hyrule and already, the world was dying away little by little at an alarmingly increasing rate. There was so little I could do, but this.. sifting through the stock, finding fresh produce and tucking it away into the pack on my back, I could help at least a little.

The trips became regular as I grew more comfortable sneaking into the castle she had once lived in. Her memories were buried deeply away in me as her soul hid, waiting for the day she could be free. I was her guard, her means to help and affect the world she could not survive in. One day, I would be free as well. No prisoner had such a kind jailor as I.

He never seemed to notice my filching, but I was careful and only took a little at a time. He was far more interested in his own pleasures anyway. The rooms had been refurbished to his tastes and he forced unfortunate souls to keep him entertained at all times. Sickening, this kind of slavery, but it ran wild these dark days. I'd seen the camps and the schools, breaking young spirits to better serve their new master. He sickened me more than the rotting food.

Movement, in the darkness - I ducked behind a larger pile, hand dropping to the clawed weapon at my side. Breathe was schooled to calm, inaudible as muscles coiled to strike, stay at the ready…

A dark, horrible chuckle filled the huge space, bouncing off the walls and filling me with dread. I couldn't keep my heart from pounding. It didn't matter that I'd been trained for this, to face this. I was terrified. I knew I could not defeat him alone. No one could. And if I died, she would be unprotected and that could never happen.

"Hello, little mouse," murmured that dark, rough voice. His steps resounded around him from the cold marble floor. Adrenaline flowed hard and fast through my body. "Come out. I know you're here. You've been coming quite a bit, haven't you?"

Soundlessly, I slid the straps of my satchel off and set it on the floor. A plan was forming in my mind, dangerous, unpredictable, who knew if it would work, but…it was the only idea I had.

"You're trying my patience," he said with an edge to his tone.

I took the claws from my sides and set them with my pack. Then I stood and stepped out into the open. Fiery orange eyes found me immediately and drew over the blue body armor I wore at all times. A strange, darkened look came to his gaze as he lifted a hand and beckoned me closer, lips twisting into a smirk.

I couldn't move.

He was huge, so much larger than I'd ever imagined. Muscles coiled under his dark skin, large hands strong enough to crush me with little effort, a bulky behemoth whose clothes and armor only made him even more terrifying. Fiery hair to match those horrible eyes, and the sword, dark and sinister at his side. I wished I had a weapon at all on me but knew I couldn't have it for this. He had to know just how much more powerful he was for this to work.

My silence amused him. He chuckled again and folded his arms over his chest.

"Well, mouse," he murmured with a smirk, "You've been stealing from me, haven't you?"

My mouth went dry. I could hear armored boots stomping along the halls outside, sealing off any means of escape.

"Such courage in the darkness and terror in the open." His smirk widened. "I should behead you for daring to steal from me."

"I wanted your attention."

The words came out before I'd known it. They were calm and smooth and I realized for the first time that while my insides were churning and twisting, I'd shown nothing outwardly. I stood strong and calm, regardless.

One of his brows quirked upward slightly. "You've gotten it."

"I want to offer my services to you," I said. That odd, cloudy look came to his eyes again and I didn't understand it, but my body went on high alert, sensing grave danger. I barely resisted the urge to flee. "I am Sheik, last of the Sheikah warriors."

"Are you, now?" He wasn't impressed, exactly, but his stare reassessed me as he took in that information. "The Sheikah were said the be the royal family's most loyal guardians."

"You are the royal family now," I replied calmly. Inside, I felt sick and horrible for daring to betray the princess, even with words alone that I didn't mean.

He was amused by those terrible words and I knew I had him. Perhaps this had saved me once, but I could use it. With him allowing me to move in and out of the castle, I could put this to great use in helping those who could not help themselves.

There was little more negotiation as he accepted me into his service. I got away as soon as he would let me, and went into the Temple of Time. I felt dirty and used and unworthy of anything as I collapsed in front of the alter. I stayed there until I could put myself back together and then began this strange double life I'd gotten myself into.