Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda
Here's another chapter yall! In case you noticed the chapter titles are going to be in Spanish. They are title of all my favorite songs and Spanish sayings. ENJOY!
"It fits well." Jasper clicked her tongue as Malon spun in full circle. Sunset befell the vast land, shops were closed up, and the grand palace lit the first of many lights, illuminating the darkening sky. Jasper had come along with two of her servants, in a carriage so discreet, Malon thought she owed taxes. Jasper had come to personally deliver her dress, and with her servants, dress and make her up for the occasion. Malon held out a measly gold coin, the only one she ever owned. Jasper looked insulted and promptly told her so.
The bright blush scattered over her face but faded all in the same instant. Now in her kitchen, the biggest room in her home, was packed with people, boxes, and insecurity.
"Now, hair and rouge." Jasper snapped her fingers. The male servants lifted the parcels from the table and ripped them open, one by one. Hair tools fell out. The other servant lit the stove and placed a metal cylinder with a handle on the stove, handle hanging to the side. Malon stared in fear.
Jasper followed her eyes and smiled, telling her to sit.
"Don't be so nervous, it's just going to curl your hair. You have such lovely skin and hair, you won't need much. A curl here and there, some pins, a touch of kohl and some rouge." Jasper waved to her servants. "Got that? Make her look natural. The entire ball will know this woman." Jasper looked beyond pleased.
Malon sat at the chair set for her, a beautiful man in a gold robe prepared to fix her hair.
"Malon, think of tonight as your unveiling." Jasper snapped her fingers. A young woman opened the door to her cottage, carrying a tray, with a flowered vase and two intricate glasses.
"Drink darling." Jasper lifted the glass to her lips. "Solitude and liquor age you faster than life."
She choked and spit the backwash into the glass. "How..?"
"I sent for my usual order, I was told you were noodling with the shopkeeper. You may have friends in high places, my dearest dear, but I, have eyes everywhere."
With her head bent, the servant worked quickly on her hair. During which Jasper watched and critique several times. It was when that satisfied smile crossed her vibrant purple lips, she snapped her fingers again. The male servant worked slowly on her face, it seemed like hours. The plucking, the pulling, some powder here and there, a touch of lip color, and finally a larger soft brush, up and down her cheekbones.
"You look absolutely marvelous." Malon blushed as the male servant looked down at her.
She was beyond moved when Jasper brought in a mirror.
This woman was not her.
This dress alone transcended all of her imaginations. Women tend to wear solid colors with delicate borders and patterns place at the bodice. Her dress was Lake Hylia, so artfully folded in the pleats. The dress was an outrageous turquoise, that blended into greens and blues she'd had never seen. It was a trick of the eyes to find one single color. She wept. Her hair was a cascade of defined curls and a single braid wound around her head. She tried to hold back tears. The freshness of her face startled her, her cheekbones were sharp and elegant, she never noticed how full her lips were, outline in lush fuchsia. She touched her face. Her blue eyes were simple, but the lashes fluttered ever so softly against her cheeks, the gold and teal dust lightly sprinkle on her lids barely noticeable and all the more alluring.
"Shit, I look beautiful."
Jasper sipped before speaking.
"Only, and I repeat, only because milk maids are women with yearnings of their own."
"I am so…grateful." Malon was emotional. She had always thought her mother would be here for her unveiling. She always thought her mother would lend her jewelry and shop with her. This moment, was something Hylians, no all women, remember. The first time they've ever felt beautiful.
"Thank me by stopping. You'll ruin my hard work." She sounded bored, as if many women poured their hearts out to her. "Besides, pleasure was all mine, darling." Jasper winked then. Malon surged with warmth.
"Sway Link to your side." Jasper smiled. "He's going to ruin his britches, when he sees you."
Malon coughed and blushed. "What can I say, you are so aware."
"Summer speaks so much, I read between the lines. Got to the point, so to speak." Malon's brow creased with worry. "Fret not; she's absorbed in herself and not preoccupied with rivalry. Our secret."
Malon smiled then, wiped her tears and twirled.
"I only hope so Jasper." Her eyes followed the sun dipping into the horizon over her window. "Should we part? It's getting late."
Jasper laughed, throwing her head back. Malon saw four gold fillings, on the bottom of her back teeth.
"Darling, who arrives on time for a ball? No one important is never on time." Jasper snapped her fingers.
Malon felt strange to think herself as important. She was a milk maid, everyone knew. No amount of softness and curls could ever hide the common ancestors of her bloodline. Summer was her only tie to the hushed whispered world of nobles and royalty; oftentimes she heard the languid gossip about her friendship with the young, beautiful, and impressive princess. She was cousin to the most influential family in all of the lands combined, had dozens of men to spoil and woo her. Many men approached her in market places, begging for attention as she coolly watched them kill one another in polite form, never forgetting their stations. All these men she played with, using her innocence to string them in a world of carefully placed words and coyness.
And now, Link.
Her heart tugged at the prospective of them strolling in the Hylian Botanical, swimming in the lake, drinking cold, seductive juices in the temples. Malon had no claims over him, but what is this dread filling her very core? Could one with so little experience with men, cleverly entice him away from Summer?
Malon smiled faintly at the thought of his strong body pressed against her in secret, stealing small kisses and plunging his hands in her dress. Or so, she has heard among other common folk.
"You think often, milkmaid."
Malon yanked from her thoughts, quickly apologized, and took her glass off a tray. "Sorry, I was thinking about the ball. I'm awfully nervous."
Jasper yawned as if she was dealing with trite thoughts. "As a first timer, I could imagine. I assure you, these grand balls, are only boring. Everyone is bored. So they get dressed up, they drink heavily, and then they play subtle games with money and poems to inflict damage. As if the daunting gossip wasn't enough. My dear, you'll see many unsatisfied men with their pretentious wives. They need a good fuck if you ask me." She smiled. "The trick is, darling, to pretend not to be as bored as everyone else."
"Pray tell, why are you not attending?" Malon thought her question. "If I am not prying, that is."
"Do pry." She winked. "I've lost my taste for that, years ago."
"Are you familiar with the noble families? On personal terms?
"I design their gowns, which is all. Some remember me from years ago, but it's been so long, I have yet to care."
Malon became quizzical. "So, where do you come from? Hyrule or a neighboring country?
Jasper leaned in her chair.
"Have you ever heard of Yu'Ne?" Jasper asked.
"Of course, it supplies all the regions with salt and the healing oils of Yu'Ne flowers. I visited once as a child during a fair."
"Henpere Oom Jasperina Yu'Ne del Hertsgate, former Crown Princess of the Kingdom of Yu'Ne. Last surviving kin from King Tulongunt and Queen Henpere, who as you know reigns in health and prosperity."
"Henpere? She is the sister to Hyrule's former queen; she left the crown to her sister and left years ago."
"Ah, the milkmaid is educated beyond the cows utters. Yes well, you give us much credit. Hyrule supplied our salt farms. Father never had any sons, so being the liberal, left it to my sister and I. With her gone, I can reclaim the title. Father is such a sentimental old sod."
Jasper smiled sadly. "It's best not to speak of the dead in this fashion."
Malon immediately dropped to the floor. A princess in her kitchen!
"My lady, forgive this lowly one! I had not recognized your face. Forgive me please!"
Jasper stared ahead. She was more then used to this. It was the only reason she never reveals who she really is.
"Get up. This floor is filthy."
Malon struggled to rise, without wrinkling her dress. She had hoped she looked slightly graceful.
Jasper smiled mischievously. "Off with her head, grand balls, dictators, starving lands. That was neither my purpose nor my interest in life. Although my heritage is of royal blood, I find it tedious and stifling. I fled the kingdom, set up shop, and kept to my talents of magic and dress making."
"I consider myself a small time apothecary, some juju abracadabra for those who require technique other than velvet and lace." Jasper removed a blue vial from her waist. "I cultivated this, for you. Drink it before you meet your soldier boy."
Malon held her hand out. The small vial was cool to her touch. "What does it do?"
"Think of it as an ice breaker. It will make you free, sensual, and irresistible to him. Trust me darling, you look the part, now, you will feel the role."
Malon's brow furrowed with concern. She had a funny feeling about this little magic trick Jasper was pushing on her. This woman went out of her way to give her all of this, why would she sabotage it all now?
"Well, the time has come." Jasper stood, her servants scurrying about, packing all of the equipment they had brought with them.
"Princess-" Malon started.
"I apologize Pri- Jasper." She blushed. "Thank you for all you have done for me, I may not have much but should you need milk or cheese, eggs or anything, let me know."
"I'll be sure to cash in my lifetime supply of wonderful dairy. See," Jasper's eyes dropped to Malon's hips. "How irresistible it is."
Her weight. Again. Always the weight, the when, the "Please love, just one", belligerent comments. Why tonight? The night where she feels so daringly beautiful, she must bear subject to this thin woman's snide comments. Sure she was plump, voluptuous but she was known to turn a head or two when she entered the market. Hurling hay, riding horses, fixing everything on the farm, and milking cows was hard man's work, and she needed a man's meal to keep her going. The noble ladies and those who envy the delicate life often snacked on the cucumber sandwiches and weak tea without milk or sugar. Malon had her mother's body, sturdy with thick hips, full breasts, and buttocks that curved downward. She was a wildflower, not a supple little water lily. Her mother wore what little finery she owed, with full pride, taking care to ignore the cat calls and low whistles of those more fortunate. How could she hate her body? Her mother's glory? The whirlwind of standard and beauty.
"It is very good. I make the best." Her eyes shone with defiance, refusing to acknowledge the playful quip.
"I like your fire, you know." Jasper rose. "It is already an hour past dusk. Let us arrive in formidable style."
Jasper's servants readied the carriage.
"I hope you don't mind, I took it upon myself to decorate your mares for the ball." Jasper walked slowly to the door.
She opened it ajar, Malon peeked.
Jasper closed it shut.
"You'll have the full effect once you're outside. Come along, I cannot wait to see the faces on everyone. I haven't attended a ball since denouncing my throne!"
The nights are long indeed, when humiliation is set in stone.
Three hours past dusk was all Link needed to see and feel the weight of boredom. He was finally set free from the masses of people asking him unthinkable questions.
"Did he kill anyone at war?"
"Did he see anyone die?"
"What was it like to kill Sirian scum?"
"Was his sword heavy?"
"Are the whores pleasant?"
Link had answered accordingly.
"It is war, death is what takes place."
"Does that answer the second question?"
"Killing a Sirian will never be more pleasurable than killing a noble from Hylia."
"Which sword did the young miss want to test?"
"Whores are never pleasant unless you pay a pleasant price."
My Goddesses, he saved this kingdom? With these people?
Link excused himself briskly, uncaring of everyone's shocked faces.
His tights were constricting, his bulge obvious in every wanting glance. It was the style he noticed, with young lads stuffing rolls of coin in between. Link was honest and humble. He needn't any stuffing.
Link leaned on the wall, watching everyone dance the waltz. The young women huddled in little groups, daring anyone to ask him to dance. He grunted each response, to whoever was brave enough for rejection. Several men stopped for idle talk, envious of all the attention Link received. It wasn't a surprise, although he was not the most handsome man in the world, he was a contender vying for the title in the ball. Many men were tall, dark, and handsome. Link was tanned and blonde, with piercing blue eyes and a soft jaw. The queen had excellent tailors come to his room for a final fitting before the ball. The attending maids sighed with admiration of his body, even more when his shave was completed. He looked so much like the bored noble, waiting for something interesting.
Indeed, the interest was just arriving under his knowledge.
"So, good man, which one of these ravishing creatures sparks your interest?" It was one of his guards.
"None." His answer was short and curt.
Thomas, the stable boy sauntered over, a small plate loaded with delicacies in his hands. His mouth chewed noisily.
"The food here is delicious, Sir. Surely you've had your fill?" Thomas slurped a slice of tender lamb.
"Fill! The young general hasn't tasted the fresh meat before him in frills!"
Without doubt the booming voice belonged to Redford. Beside him was his glowing wife, in an elaborate white and gold gown.
"Link, you look so handsome!" She winked. "Thomas, don't be so sloppy, love. It is not becoming." She turned to the guard questioning Link earlier. "How do you do, I am Mia. Wife to this giant gloat, are you a guard? I noticed your attractive crest of First Watch from across the room. Your family must be proud, darling."
The men straightened up and answered her questions as gently as she delivered them. Mia huffed over Thomas, opening her small purse to retrieve a rose scented cloth.
Redford stopped a server and grabbed two glasses, dropping gold coins on his tray.
"For ya' bread an' butta."
The server nodded and floated away. The waltz started a new round, with new dancers. Mia watched and clapped.
"Redford darling, the next dance, you promised me a dance." Mia smiled.
"Goddesses woman, can't a man from war have a round with his men? For fairy's sake!"
"Then I'll have a go with this young man." She curtsied to Link.
"Can you dance well sir?" The guard apparently called Jared asked politely. He was trying to earn his general's respect and notice. Link traveled with so many men, he only remembered the ones that proved use. Jared was reminiscent of Duane, that eagerness to please. Although, he didn't have to die for it.
"Enough to get me through. We hardly danced in battle."
Jared's face was perplexed, as if the natural reaction to his commander's joke was being second guessed.
"Link don't tease him, he's white as a phantom!" Mia laughed.
"Breathe boy! He means no harm, but seeing Death crack a' smile ain't always a welcome eh?" Redford laughed alongside with his wife.
"Ladies and gentleman!"
They all looked towards the grand staircase. A freshly powdered noble in a stiff blue tunic and jacket spread his arms, calling the attention of everyone. The music immediately stopped. Link sighed in discomfort.
"Welcome to Hyrule's grand ball!"
Everyone cheered and whooped. Mia clapped the loudest, her soft hands creating echoes off the walls. Redford gently separated his wife's hands.
Link chuckled as he told Mia "they discussed her excitement before leaving the house".
"We are pleased to be celebrating this ball, the first time in one hundred years under a full reign of peace!"
Again grand applause.
"Our beautiful Queen, who reigns with honor, prosperity, and guidance from the Goddesses, wishes you to greet you herself." The nobleman turned around.
A palanquin appeared behind him, he motioned the pages to put it down. After bowing in respect to the closed door, he knocked, pressing his ear against the door.
A soft knock responded immediately.
The noble man laughed. "Our dear Queen is shy!"
The room roared with pompous laughter.
"She's not in the damn thing." Link said then.
"Have you lost it boy? How could anyone knock if she's not inside?" Redford retorted.
"Well she possesses magic for one."
"Shut up curd!"
A page passed with intricate glasses filled with rose whiskey. Link grabbed one. He needed to be drunk for this.
The nobleman now going along with the joke, knocked once more.
The audience looked around puzzled, soft whispers passed throughout the crowd. Link rolled his eyes.
The palanquin door then opened slowly, only to reveal, no one sitting on the velvet cushions.
The noble straightened concerned, and addressed the room.
"Where is our Queen?" He boomed.
As if on cue, great light filled the room. It started at the ceiling of the grand ballroom and spread, engulfing everyone. There were gasps of delight and clapping, as the light collected into a single ball. It floated above the heads of nobility and wait staff alike, the cries of wonder coming from children who dared to chase it. The light stopped right above the elegant throne, set against the crest of the royal family.
As anyone would predict, the light placed itself on the throne.
It changed into Zelda, wearing a wicked smile. Everyone clapped and aahed at the sight of their Queen, dripping in silk and jewels.
Zelda rose to speak, her crown nestled on her yellow hair.
"My subjects! Forgive my folly, I had wanted to amaze you all with the glory of the Goddesses! Glory be to them!" She raised her hands as everyone clapped and shouted their agreements. "Tonight marks the end of an era, of bloodshed and mayhem. We celebrate and owe our freedom to those who fell for the sake of Hyrule."
Zelda's face fell somber. "It is them we should always give our thanks."
A moment of silence swept through the crowd. Redford bowed his head, as Mia touched his hand. Jared pulled at his tunic and coughed, he looked emotional. A glass dropped and a woman sank to floor in tears.
Link glanced over. He felt nothing.
His face remained stoic. He offered no solace and ignored everyone's stares. The woman was carried away by attendants. Zelda smiled.
"Let us join together in glee, as of this morning, I have met with the neighboring kingdoms. To ensure Hyrule her glory, I have signed and agreed to open trade! All who want the best for Hyrule may stay and enjoy her treasures as citizens!"
Zelda raised both of her arms out and flashed her trademark smile.
"WE HAVE FINALLY ATTAINED PEACE!"
The noise in the room was incredible. People from all places and stations, embraced one another and spoke loving words. Hyrule would open her borders?
Link's face was stoic. He was suspicious of Zelda's generosity.
Becoming a citizen of Hyrule is not an easy feat. You must be born in the qualifying lands to be granted citizenship. Not even Link was considered a Hylian. He was still a Kokiri by law.
Zelda sat on her throne and snapped her fingers. The music started and everyone began to move to the dance floor.
"She looks amazing!" Mia had her hands to her mouth. "Such a beautiful woman!"
Link cleared his throat. "Mia."
She turned to him.
"Would you give me the honor of this dance?" He mimicked the voice he heard the noblemen used.
Mia was floored. "Of course, of course!" She turned to her husband. "Darling, don't spoil your clothes and allow everyone a turn when they carve the meat."
Redford went red. "Go dance you blasted woman! Always in ma face!"
Everyone laughed including Link, who held her arm gently.
"Jasper, we are much too late! Zelda just made her speech!"
Malon looked out the carriage window, trying to force her head out to see further. Jasper sat quietly, her hands in her lap. She was unfazed by Malon's excitement.
"Good. That woman is a complete bore." Jasper coughed slightly and opened her purse. She pulled out a small vial.
"It's such bad manners to miss that. The waiting maids will surely notice when we arrive. I don't see many carriages on this road." Malon had not noticed Jasper edging closer.
"Jasper, do you think we should skip-"
Malon was caught off guard by Jasper throwing herself on her lap, and digging her elbow into Malon's throat. Malon gasped and choked out incoherent questions, to which Jasper ignored. She pulled the top off the vial and with one hand around Malon's neck, tried to pour the contents in her mouth.
"Open! Drink it!" Jasper clenched her hand around Malon's throat.
Malon flailed her hands and tried to push the slight woman off, but her strength was too much. She continued to struggle against her. Jasper let her had go and jabbed two fingers into Malon's neck.
She yelped and Jasper poured the liquid in.
Malon coughed and tried to spit, but it was too late.
Jasper released her and sat back, flipping her curls and smoothing out her silk pants. She smiled at Malon. "Do you know what that was?"
"What the hell! What the fuck was that!" Malon was furious.
"Temper, temper. Just a little help."
The carriage stopped then. Jasper opened the door and stepped out, with Malon sitting dumfounded.
"What kind of help? Hey!" She struggled to gather her gown. The attendant at the door helped her out, as Jasper waited. As soon as Malon set heels on the gown, fireworks lit up the sky.
The carriage had left them at the entrance of the Palace, they only needed to cross the bridge and greet the passing nobles. Some were smoking cigars, others were enjoying the fireworks. Malon could hear the music playing, the laughter wafting in and out, and glasses tink.
She was nervous. This was out of her element.
"Gorgeous." Jasper said quietly. She was staring at the sky. "Malon, it's just a little something. When the time comes for you to be…honest, I assured you would."
Malon could do nothing and stare at her in curiosity. "I don't understand you."
"You're not supposed to. Let's go." Jasper walked ahead of her.
Her back was a straight as an arrow, her steps were small. She walked with careful precision and grace. Jasper had the perfect air of nobility and arrogance, she acted like she belonged. She did in a sense, this used to be her world of course. Malon took a few steps, trying to copy her steps. She tripped over her hem.
"Malon. Come quickly!"
She hurried her steps, but kept her back tight and upward. Jasper was greeting a few of her customers along the way. The older ones recognized her right away and gave the proper respect befitting royalty. Forfeited crown or not. Jasper acted like everything was normal, she thanked few, but ignored everyone but Malon.
"And who is this ravishing creature?" A handsomely dressed nobleman asked.
"This is Malon, she runs the Lon Lon Ranch." Jasper said plainly.
The nobleman was amused, thinking it was a joke. How could he think otherwise? Malon looked like a groomed blue blood, with her aristocratic friend beside her who would question her?
"You are jovial just as you are lovely my dear. No beau to announce you?" He looked around. "My darling, would you do an old goat a favor? Allow me to enter with you. My countrymen would be devastated to see you captured by me." He bowed. "It would be a pleasure I would remember for decades."
Malon was terrified. She was completely baffled.
"I will announce her! She is my lady for the night, have you not seen how handsome I am beside her? You'll barely live through the night let alone decades you old fool!" Jasper threw her head back and chuckled loudly.
The nobleman laughed along with her. "Henpere, you never change."
"Jasper does nicely, thank you."
With that she grabbed Malon's arm and whisked her to the entrance. Malon was speechless but Jasper was not wrong. She had decided against wearing her own creations and wanted to start a new trend, with women wearing pants, which was only worn by laborers. Ladies did not wear pants or leggings unless they were lowborn and worked the field alongside their male kin. They were made of silk and she wore a stiff dark jacket, embroidered with gold thread. Her leather boots were of the highest quality and her hair was pulled up with a silk ribbon, a few tendrils at her ears hanging. Jasper wore her glasses, which made her look even sharper.
She was right, they were indeed a handsome couple.
But broke many rules of society.
They crossed the bridge with a few glances, however no one stopped them. Jasper wore an expression of determination. They were so late, they only had an hour or two before everyone was too drunk to carry on. It was only three hours from daybreak and Malon had yet to be plunged in this coveted world.
At the entrance, Jasper grabbed her hand and bowed. "Let us enter, my lady." Jasper tuned her hand over and kissed her palm.
Malon could scarcely breathe as they joined the line to enter. In front of her was an older woman wearing so much perfume, she began to wrinkle her nose. She felt an awful itch coming on, but did not want to disturb the powder on her face. She struggled not to sneeze.
"What is that distasteful face you're making?" Jasper leaned in. "We're about to go next."
"Jasper, this woman's perfume…" Malon trailed, controlling a sneeze.
The woman turned and smiled. "My very best! It's a few hundred rupees for one ounce, do you like it?" She offered her neck to be nuzzled in for a whiff.
Jasper reeled back and coughed slightly.
"My darling, be mindful of your odor when you are in public."
The woman huffed her offense and turned back around, grumbling to her husband, who was much too busy staring at the young women.
Malon's heart was pounding furiously. In her wildest fantasies, she had thought of being brave. She wanted to be like the knights of Hyrule and go on wild adventures, saving the kingdom, writing letters to their loved ones, having something to live for. In the middle of the night, she would sneak past her drunk father, who was usually slumped against his door, the bottles littered around him. Malon would constantly dream of a life where she was free. In her barn, she would speak softly to her horses and tell them stories of a life she hoped for.
Now here she was, glittering like a fallen star.
Jasper took a step ahead of her. They were about to be announced. Malon was looking down, lost in her thoughts.
A young man at the center of the grand staircase nodded as he took the small envelope from Jasper's white gloved hand.
"To our greatest pleasure, bear witness to the lady with skin like pure porcelain and hair like lava from the fire of Death Mountain. I announce the fair maiden Malon of Lon Lon Ranch, accompanied by Former Crown Princess Henpere Oom Jasperina Yu'Ne del Hertsgate of Yu'Ne."
Jasper took a step forward, exaggerating her bow as everyone whispered and gasped below. Malon was still staring at her feet, dreaming of swords and young princesses in towers.
Jasper cleared her throat. "My lady, do not allow me to enter without you. I may very well be stolen away!"
The crowed exchanged their awkward silence for a heap of bold laughter. Jasper sucked her teeth in annoyance and grabbed Malon's gloved hand. She positioned Malon beside her, slightly bowing with her other arm behind her back. Jasper was quite a gentleman.
Malon was in complete shock. In front of her, down the grand star case, were fair ladies and the bright red faces of drunk lords. They looked at her with careful ease, some whispering her name to spark familiar gossip. One person raised his glass in cheer. She heard another mumble about pigs in pearls. Malon couldn't stop her shaking.
You can do it.
She jumped. What was that voice? Was it her mind?
Malon relaxed her body and face.
With all of what she learned, she curtsied. Slowly and stiffly, like a natural highborn lady so used to a life of glamour. When she looked up, everyone had moved on to dancing and drinking. Her eyes fell on the man who raised his glass before. He was waiting at the bottom and her smile spread across her face.
Link was swaying Mia to a slow sinful song, with the violins singing seductively. He dipped Mia on his hand, her leg curled against his back and he scooped her back up.
"Link, you dance so well!" Mia was flushed with excitement. "Tell me, who was your teacher?"
Link smiled and shrugged slightly. "I'm a swift learner."
He didn't have the heart to tell her, he actually fucked the instructor who came to teach him dance three afternoons a week. The Queen had hired him teachers and tutors to bring his education to the same level as his peers. All who taught him were women with the exception of his art tutor. Link spent half his lessons advancing his intelligence and the other his hands advancing up their gowns.
He would never change.
"Ah what a lovely woman!"
Mia had stopped and pointed her chin across the floor. There nestled in between a blonde noble and one of his guardsmen, Jared, was a redheaded woman. She was stuffing her mouth with several slices of meat, her plate covering her face. He could already picture Redford following suit, meat juices flowing down to his shirt.
"Could that be Jared's woman?" Mia asked. "My, what a healthy appetite!" She threw her head back and laughed loudly, throwing off the couple dancing next to her.
Link was focused on the woman. She seemed so strangely familiar.
"I can barely see her face, with her shoveling the meat in."
"You missed it, she's very pretty. I hope my child will grow to be as lovely with that kind of red hair." Mia exhaled loudly. "Might we rest?
Link didn't hesitate and led her off the dance floor in true nobility, with her arm resting on his, leading her to the nearest table. All of them were full, but when they approached a bustling table of bachelors discussing the newly peace treaty, they jumped to let the lovely lady sit in peace. They all shot one another lustful glances at Mia's abundant bust and soft eyes. Link said nothing, but grunted murderously in the direction of Redford, who was hacking his own axe into the meat spits. He pulled hunks of lamb with his hands and ate with malice. The men got the hint and moved to table nearby with ladies fanning themselves. One man took one last look at Mia with a longing so deep, he sighed as if his thoughts full of good intent. Link allowed it.
"My Goddesses! What a dance!" She patted her face with a scented cloth. "I've forgotten I'm not as young as these ladies, able to dance the night away. You give up those shoes for the exhaustion of motherhood."
Link nodded. "You were quite resilient then, because even I had trouble keeping up."
Mia leaned back in surprise. "Why Sir Link, are you trying to make me feel better? You're not even sweating!"
"Would you like some punch?"
"Be a darling and fetch me the coldest cup of ale. I'm afraid I've worn myself out." Mia laughed loudly, again startling the woman next to her.
Link bowed in front of her, with his arm across his back and another on his waist. He walked the appropriate two steps back without turning his back and swiftly made his way to the refreshments.
It was then a very popular song started to play and everyone stood with utter glee, shouting for partners. A few pages walked around with ribbons handing them out to women.
The object of the dance was to "tie" yourself to a dance partner. Women led this ancient dance, it was supposed to bring luck and help with fertility, since your hands were bound together.
All around him, people were rushing to find someone to tie them together. Link turned to ask Mia for another dance. The poor woman was still sitting back straight up, her hands folded on her lap with his small bag, fast asleep. She head leaned to the side with her mouth slightly ajar. He smiled as Redford crossed the ballroom and sat down next to his wife. His shirt was covered in meat juices and other unmentionables. Link knew Mia would have choice words for him when she woke.
Redford pushed his wife's head onto his shoulder and stroked her cheek, as she snuggled closer to him.
Link watched this intimate moment, feeling something small building the bottom of his belly. Although he could easily recognize this as love, he was unsure of it was something he felt for anyone. He knew he had an accomplished feeling when he slayed beasts and won the battles he rode bravely into. His heart swelled with peace when his sword crushed the windpipe of his adversary. All he felt was nostalgia when he gazed upon young soldiers suiting up in armor for impending war. With this he felt the most himself, unable to control the surge of warmth his cheeks, climbing into terror, into danger.
Link felt the most alive, murdering masses.
In this instant, as his eyes swept over the tenderness of Redford caressing his love, he felt the sire in his belly rise for something different.
Jealousy. A pine here or two. Even a small touch of eternal longing.
The perfect recipe for an epiphany, in a palace of lovers.
Malon was having the time of her life.
In the last hour, she danced with three different young nobles, to three very different songs. She had practiced with Summer all week long, the latest steps, how to inspire a gentleman to ask her for a dance, how to reject someone politely, and of course, using the bathroom without troubling the front of her skirt. Malon had been very clumsy at first, unsure of where to put her hands or where to shift her feet, but with Jasper in sight chatting with rich ladies and nobleman, she was able to follow her cues.
Jasper would tug her ear if she need to curtsy, brush her collar if Malon was to turn, and finger her cuff if Malon should quicken her steps. It was all so helpful and she was more buried in the debt that belonged to Jasper. Malon was hoping that even though Jasper was brash and outspoken, rude and honest, she would be a friend to her.
Now, she was standing among Hyrule's richest and most sought after bachelors. They asked her about her work, what sort of things she liked to do, and if she wanted more ale or was it the sweet fruit juices she preferred? Her cup was never empty and everyone laughed gaily when she made clever jokes about horses and people being similar. Malon was elated.
She turned at the instant of her name to Jared, walking over, holding ribbons. She eyed him curiously and brought her mango juice to her lips.
The other men stopped talking and followed Malon's gaze.
"Ah Jared! How are you?"
"Jared, so good to see you, it's been so long!"
"You old bastard! You should come to the estate sometime, Father has missed you."
They all greeted him like old time friends, pushing her back and forth in a playful manner. There were curses Malon had never heard and Jared laughed with his head thrown back. He answered all of their questions and looked at Malon smiling hard.
"Malon, you owe me a dance!" He shook the ribbons. "Come they are about to start the Bound Dance!"
She was flabbergasted. The Bound Dance?
"Erm…" Malon turned red. "What exactly is that?"
"It's when a couple dances with their wrists tied to one another, you dance until the ribbon loosen and fall from your hands. Whoever catches the ribbon as the fall gets a wish from the loser." He explained. "Most ladies lose and most men ask for a kiss."
At that moment Malon's hair and face were indistinguishable. They all laughed at her colored cheeks and told Jared to stop teasing the poor girl.
"Shall we?" Jared bowed.
"Not with my lady you don't!"
Jasper parted the men and stood in the center of their group. She smiled seductively at them as they fell to their knees in front of her.
"Are you well my Lady?"
"A pleasure to be in your presence."
"My family does business in Yu'Ne, a lovely place, your majesty."
Jasper, being her, completely ignored the polite groveling in the sake of her name and manners. She held out an outstretched hand Jared.
"You may not dance with my woman. Tonight, she is mine."
"Jasper I don't-."Malon started.
Jasper pulled her close and touched the tip of her tongue to Malon's nose.
"You protest? Tie her to me! At once!"
Malon was incomplete shock and it carried all the way to the dance floor.
She spotted Queen Zelda eating bright fruits she had never seen before, a look of disinterested amusement on her face as she chatted with fellow rulers.
Her face was pressed into Jasper's neck, their hands clasped like lovers.
They were with other couples who looked well versed in this event, Malon was slightly nervous she wouldn't follow her steps right. Jasper had not instructed her after kidnapping her from the pretty boys she was spending most of her night with. She wished she was with Jared. She had many questions to ask him, like, how would a common born man know a noble's father? Was he in the service of that household before being sold to the army? She was plagued with these questions and began to forget the music that begun to play.
"Follow me lover." Jasper brushed her mouth against her ear. "I'll lead you right to where you belong."
While the music died down and the morning light was upon Hyrule, Link had had left, with a small barrel of wine under his arm.
This was no ordinary wine. It came from Thober, an artisan town that dedicated itself to the cultivation of drink and food. Everyone who ever went to Thober came back with the delicious spices, fiery recipes, and silk. They were blessed to be in a region where the silk worms gave the lightest silks. The town thrived in the warmer months.
In all of his travels, Link was only in Thober for a night and indulged in the women instead of the wine.
He walked into the small clearing next to the castle, where the servants would often have lunch together. He hunkered down and removed the cork from the top. He drank greedily and paused, because the wine had been chilled for days before the ball in the river.
Link was interested in being drunk this morning.
He couldn't explain what is was inside of him that caused him to want to drink. Most of the time it was for merriment, he had several drinking buddies at war. Generals, lieutenants, soldiers, all would come to him for a drink and a laugh. He was the pride of Hyrule, he always had the best wine and ale to share.
But tonight he saw Malon and that changed everything for him.
It didn't occur to him right away. When Mia pointed out the woman, stuffing meat down her throat, he didn't realize it. He didn't even realize when he heard a shrill laugh travel through the ballroom, with everyone looking around puzzled. He only realized it was her when they started the Bound dance. Malon was tied to a woman, a former princess of a neighboring kingdom people has whispered in the crowd.
Malon was not dancing correctly and kept trying to lead her partner but she was laughing and talking loudly. None of the other others dared such feat. Her cheeks were flushed from the wine we drank and there was drip of meat between her breasts. Her hair was coming unbound and when Link saw her being swayed from side to side, he noticed she had discarded her shoes. He smiled slightly. Malon was always barefoot on the farm. She had terrible feet.
Yet, here she was. Plump with a full bosom and strong sturdy legs. Her face was marked by freckles across her nose and her skin was tanned from all the hard days in the sun. Malon's dark red hair was distracting, as were her plush lips and soft eyes.
Link was in awe. She grew to be a striking woman.
The song ended and everyone was clapping and admitting defeat. Malon won against her partner, Link knew she had let her, and was kissing her softly on the cheek. Her eyes twinkled as the former princess whispered something in her ear and she whipped around nodded and went to the balcony. Link kept his feet planted and watched many people, drunk and sober, leaving the ballroom completely. Some women were fast asleep at the tables, most men were smoking late night cigars, fat with luxury. The only one left with energy were the children, but even they were succumbing to their exhaustion. Link felt an arm on his shoulder.
The whisper was soft and commanding, and when he turned there was no one in sight.
But the voice was right. It was time.
The night air was warm and humid, light breezes from the south were billowing the long lavish curtains. Malon was leaning on her arms against the balcony ledge, looking down at the people below her calling carriages and telling everyone goodbye, they had such a lovely time.
He stood and watched her as she looked on the horizon, changing into day. Her dress was torn on the bottom and she was still barefoot. Her hair had come undone and was hanging to her waist, which she shook out just then. Malon wasn't aware she was being watched, she was drunk on her night and the beauty of the new day coming.
So he spoke first.
She whipped around and squinted into the darkness. "Yes?"
He stepped out in the fresh morning light.
She stood up and pulled on the side of her dress.
His heart nearly shattered. Never had he wanted to hear her voice say his name then this moment. He hoped she would say it again.
Malon took a step toward him. She smiled and outstretched her long arms.
"Welcome home. How you been well?"
He couldn't bear it. The guilt was coming in waves. He had ignored her, he had left her, and he had allowed himself to forget the only person who held him while he sobbed his insecurities and fears.
Link stepped back and shook his head. "Don't touch me."
Malon's face spread into a painful smile. "I won't. I'll go."
She hurried past him and paused for a moment.
"I love you, you know." She said quietly.
Malon let out a small sob and ran back into the ballroom. Link could only turn around and watch her hair bounce against her defeated back.
He didn't move until he stopped the servants cleaning up and moving barrels of leftover wine and ale through the doors of the balcony. He stopped and small page boy and grabbed the wine on his back.
Now here he was, watching the morning light, listening to the birds, hearing the laughter of the guards beginning their morning shift.
Here he was alone and not understanding what he felt, just like a man.
Link felt heavy with sin and he had no idea why.
"I love you, you know."
Why did she say that? What kind of love did she hope to have for him?
He was shit at feelings and even more shit in understanding his own let alone anyone else's. Could Malon love the new man before her? He was different, hard and cold. He felt little to nothing, but he felt too much in her presence. Link was trying to welcome the apathy he so adored but Malon shook his ground, to his roots.
Link tilted his head back and swallowed the last few gulps of wine.
He wasn't drunk enough.
He lifted himself off of the damp ground and brushed grass off of his tights. His velvet tunic was stained and he noticed there was still a pin in the left shoulder. He had felt something pricking him the whole night.
He thought it was his conscience, instead it was a stupid little pin.
He wished he was stronger. He wished he said it back.
Most of all he wished, he could have been taken into her embrace.
Link spotted a page boy cleaning near the clearing and shouted for him to dispose of the barrel.
He sauntered off into the castle, he need a nap, and then a whore to bury his feelings.
The good old fashioned way.