Disclaimer: I don't own Zelda. Big surprise.
Well, here's my first attempt at a 'serious' Zelda fic. This
is, I suppose, a sequel to TP. As some side notes: There may be some
indiscrepancies that pop up from time to time as we go along. Simply
because I don't have the dialogue of TP down just yet. :) So please
forgive me if such a thing were to occur. Second, this fic is in part
inspired by and will have some references to or have similar material
as "The Hero of Wolves," by Wolfess. (Really, really good story
by the way) For some odd reason, I can't post a link here, so you'll have to search for it or go to my profile and you'll find it there under my favorite stories.
Another note is, she
already knows I'm doing this, so please don't go and act like I'm
stealing because I'm not. So that everyone knows, this chapter contains a few pieces of material similar to that of the above mentioned. I won't reveal which parts, so as not to give Wolfess' story line away, but so you know, they are there and they're not my own creation.
Finally: This is a Link/Zelda fic. And as I said before, this is my first attempt, so reviews are appreciated, as that is how I get better at this fanfiction writing stuff... Lastly, if you haven't beaten TP yet, I would suggest not to read any further for random and possibly numerous spoilers are bound to come up eventually. Alright, enough yabering for now, on with the story! R&R please.
A Day to Remember
A beautiful day is what a Hylian would call it. The sun shone brightly over the southern fields of the castle as wild horses galloped off in the distance. Butterflies and other graceful creatures sanctified the skies and beautified the grounds of the proud center of all the Hyrule Kingdom.
"Yes... A beautiful day," murmured the princess.
She lay spread out on the field, enjoying the peace and serenity that she didn't often get. Today was more of a day off for all the workers of the castle. Even those from Castle Town, took the day and relaxed with family and friends.
This was a special day.
The princess sat up straight and slowly got to her feet, her senses pleading with her to lay back down and enjoy the stillness. As she brushed off the grass and unwrinkled her casual dress, she found herself staring into the distant gorge that divide the fertile fields of the castle from the even more expensive plains of Hyrule. She allowed her mind to wander farther still, past rivers and streams, over rocks and bridges until she could faintly recall to memory the quiet village of the Hero.
Today marked the one year anniversary. Today was the day Link had saved her and her kingdom from a terrible evil. A plague, once cast away into the Twilight World, had somehow found his way back. He came simply for one purpose: to finish what he started countless years ago.
Her face twitched as she recalled the foul name.
She loathed the man, more then any could ever know. He was cunning beyond measure, and his physical appearance not only boasted a talent for devilish tricks, but for brute strength and merciless treatment. Clearly, from her own personal experiences and from the research she had conducted during the past year on the supposed 'Dead King' of the Gerudo: this was one man that was not to be trifled with.
Be it from exhaustion of mind or of body, perhaps even both, she collapsed back to the earth. The years events had taken their toll. The rebuilding of the world was one thing, but the words their enemy had left them was another.
"Do not think this is over... The Destinies of Light and Dark shall be written in blood..."
And then, with what seemed like a painful expression, he simply vanished. What only worsened her feelings of uncertainty and sorrow was that of the hasteful, but wise decision of Midna's breaking of the Mirror.
Her face wrinkled into a forlorn expression.
Her mind floated back to the Twili Princess. Like her, Midna had also fallen to the sinister tricks of Gannondorf. She too knew of the pain that he was capable of. The Twilight Princess had gambled and lost everything in an attempt to stop Zant from escaping the Realm of Twilight. After conquering Midna's world, he had set his eyes on the Kingdom of Hyrule; not only setting his gaze, but his hand as well. She scoffed at the irony of it all. Zant was but a puppet to Gannondorf, in which she too had become, if only briefly.
Zelda rolled onto her side as she recalled the painful memories. In all her wisdom, she did not foresee the very root of all Evil simply walk up to her and demand submission or face death. In those days, she thought she was careful and strong. Back then, nothing would stand between her and the safety of her people. Nothing would stand in the way of duty. She believed that she had the wisdom and strength necessary to guide the people of Hyrule and keep them safe from harm. She sighed as the more potent memories came to pass.
She had been wrong.
In letting down her guard, she failed to realize the threat that had come to her. Only by some miracle was she spared from her fate, something that unto this day, she did not understand. Everyone was transformed around her, even the Hero fell victim to the darkness, and yet she had remained whole, still tangent despite the shadowy world that Hyrule had become.
She rolled back over, her eyes once again gazing at the heavens.
Out of all the people to come and save her, save Hyrule, the world even, she was not expecting that someone to be him. She heard of the legends, she knew of what the supposed Hero of Time was to be like, and he wasn't even close... but so much more.
His piercing blue eyes always ran straight through her, seemingly stopping any of her own gazes towards him. Out of all the people in the world, he was the only one that managed to escape her understanding.
Since the restoration of the crown to her being, she no longer held herself like she did before. In the beginning she felt alone, and the only pillar of strength she had was herself. But there was one who she could now turn to for strength and lean on if necessary. She would never admit it, but he was her greatest source of strength, and the most puzzling and captivating person she had ever met.
From an early age, since the death of her father, she was forced to be the strong willed leader that was unafraid, and decisive. It was around that time, that her secret had assumed its place, and from then on, she was considered one of the wisest beings in all of Hyrule. Despite this ability to understand, despite this wisdom that she carried with her at all times: Link was still able to elude it all.
She smiled dreamily as the sun began its long descent from the top of the mountainous sky. Memories of his past deeds flowed freely through her mind. In the passing of one year, they had spent considerable more time together. It was sort of a unanimous and unspoken decision that neither of them seemed to understand; but never wanted to deny: The Hero became her Guardian, and she the Princess of the Hero.
Humble beginnings as it were, she smiled bright at the friendship she thought she'd never have and for the feelings that seemed to deepen each time she saw him.
"Princess!" called one of the many maids from the castle. "Princess Zelda! Your meal is ready, your highness!"
Zelda quietly frowned, "Coming!" she called and willed herself to get up. She took a few steps before stopping at a beautiful rose, one that stood out amongst all the other flowers around it. She bent down, smiling and was going to pick it to place in her hair in hopes of wooing a certain someone, but decided against it.
"Why should I take you?" she barely spoke, "when you are by far the most beautiful and outspoken flower, giving hope to all those around you?"
Instead she merely caressed the petals and touched the stem to bring it closer to her face, to smell the fragrance. To her surprise a quick sharp prick stung her finger and a thick reddish substance dripped off and onto the ground.
She smiled, despite the annoyance, finding her words and the situation incredibly ironic.
"Not only the most beautiful... But the least understood as well... Such beauty, accompanied by such defenses... Ohh, it doesn't suit you..."
She shook her head, clearing her cryptic thoughts and walked calmly into the castle, readying herself for the day's events. She had spent most of the time out in the field trying to collect her thoughts, and it would seem she only ended up complicating them more. Her hopes would then have to rest on her expected guest, one who was sure to calm her nerves and quiet her sorrows on this most beautiful and special day.
The quick transition from flowery fields to walls of stone could be considered normal for some, and for others just plain ridiculous.
The inner workings of the capitol of Hyrule were both majestic, artful, and sometimes ominous. Stone statues of what previous kings and queens believed to be the Goddesses, lined every hall and room. Glistening golden chandeliers hung in the largest of halls, granting those who gazed up at their beauty both a sense of peace and awe, coupled together with a slight pain in the neck. But the one thing that stood out everywhere, was the undying tradition, fact, and legend of the mighty Triforce.
Such imagery was absolutely everywhere, in the castle, in the town and even embroidered with the best of silks into the garments that Princess Zelda always wore, regardless of where she was, or what she was doing.
"I trust the food to be to your liking your highness?"
Zelda nodded while taking a sip of the wine from her jeweled covered goblet.
"As always, Impa. Please give my highest regards to the head chef."
Impa, Zelda's caretaker since her parents had died, smiled bright.
"Well then my lady," she curtsied, "I shall take that compliment and add it to my record of achievements."
Zelda decided to play coy, "You? A cook? I never would have guessed! I shall have the finest tools and garments of your trade made ready for you at once, so that you may display your title with honor and dignity!"
The two women were in silence for roughly a second before both of them looked to the heavens and laughed.
"Thank you my Princess!" called Impa, playing along and bowing low, "I shall always remember this day as you have honored me so!"
The laugher only continued until a knock at the door silenced them.
"Enter!" called Zelda, voice firm and commanding.
"Your Highness," bowed a guard, "a visitor is awaiting your admittance."
Zelda smirked ever so slightly, "Thank you. Please send her in."
"At once," saluted the guard and shut the door as he left.
"Visitor?" asked Impa, "I don't recall hearing about any visitors...?" Her eyes had a mischievous glint in them. "This wouldn't be a private meeting with the man from Ordona would it?"
Zelda's face flushed slightly, and without losing her playfulness, "Perhaps, but I do believe you have some more preparations to make, Master Chef, as my guest may be wanting food and drink."
Zelda's stern face melted away into a victorious grin, while Impa stared, slightly bewildered.
"Oh alright, you win this time my lady, but certainly not the next!" she laughed. "You're lucky you know; you nearly lost it while that guard was addressing you. Such behavior isn't becoming of you, my lady."
Zelda's smile softened, "Yes, I know... I can't help it though. I haven't been this happy for years it seems."
Impa nodded while clearing away the dishware, "My Princess, I do not recall saying it was a bad thing that you have changed, rather, I just thought I'd bring it to your attention... Believe me when I say this, my lady, I couldn't be happier for the change."
Zelda bowed her head slightly, "Thank you, Impa. I have you to thank for making me into the person I am today."
Impa smiled slightly, "Oh thank you Princess, but such compliments do not belong to me... All I did was taught you etiquette and morals my lady... It was you who chose to follow them and further enhance them by your own actions and decisions... Besides... I do not attribute your more recent changes to my previous endeavors."
Impa smiled slyly. She already had her plan of attack set up and ready and she knew Zelda would fall for it.
"But whatever do you mean, Impa? You are the one I have to thank."
Hook, Link and sinker.
"But my lady, I was referring to a certain green clad Hero who happens to preoccupy your Time with much more thought and consideration as of late."
Zelda was speechless: Impa's smirk rivaled if not surpassed that of Midna's.
All the princess could do was let a out a long driven sigh and add a slight rose color tint to her cheeks.
"It seems you've won, Impa."
The caretaker simply laughed as she picked up the remaining articles and left for the kitchen, but before leaving earshot, turned back.
"If I may ask, my lady, if it is not Link you are meeting, who pray tell is it?"
Zelda chuckled a little before gazing at the ceiling.
"Oh, I shall be meeting Link, sometime today, however I suspect it will be around the fall of night that he arrives. This visitor really isn't a visitor at all, rather, she's"
"Just a plain old woman who seems to have caught the attention of the Princess of Hyrule. Be it her ability to throw a party or just for the news of the world, I don't think I can say."
Both the of the ladies' attentions turned to the opened door as a proud, and somewhat stocky woman came in and shut it behind her.
"Telma, I'm glad you could come," smiled Zelda. "Please, come and sit."
Impa merely nodded in understanding and left with a smile on her face as Telma walked up to the table, bowed and took a seat.
"My Princess, you look and seem in good health, and it is pleasing to know," grinned the bar owner.
"Please," waved Zelda, "call me by my name. I don't know how many times I've begged you, Impa, and Link to use it... You are family to me, there is no need for formalities here."
Telma just shook her head smiling, "You treat me too well. I'm but a humble bar owner... ha, just think what the others would say if they knew you and I were talking like this."
Zelda chuckled as well, "They'd say the princess is losing her tastes for royalty and proper etiquette and at this rate, how could she ever find a worthy suitor to be King beside her?"
Telma laughed at Zelda's stressing of 'worthy.'
"My dear, if you so want him... Get him... I may be just a commoner amongst these parts but even I can tell you that someone like that doesn't come around every few years... His nickname is the Hero of Time for a reason you know."
Zelda sighed while leaning her head onto a fist, "What is it with everyone today? Why am I being teased so much? Yes I am of age, yes I have to find someone to marry, yes I believe Link to be a worthy suitor, now why must everyone... Oh!"
Without thinking, Zelda mentioned her innermost thoughts which brought a fit of laughter from her guest, causing the princess to glow a beat red.
"Oh, don't you worry my dear, your secret is safe with me."
Although Telma didn't hear it, Zelda breathed a sigh of relief.
"So tell me," she added, quickly changing the subject, "what news of the world outside of Hyrule Town? Has Ashei and Shad returned from the mountains? Oooo... What about Auru? What has he been up to lately? Oh, and..."
"Whoa my dear!" laughed Telma. "Easy, girl easy! I know you're interested in the happenings of your kingdom, but my my, such enthusiasm!"
Zelda just smiled, "I'm just curious to what is happening in our world... Ever since the incident, I've been concerned about those who are around us. I've been traveling here and there, as much as I could, but it seems I can't get out of the castle as much as I'd really like... I guess ever since..."
She paused, contemplating her words.
Telma smiled softly, "I understand my dear... I shall tell you all you wish to know, and perhaps a little more... Something that may both thrill and sadden you."
Zelda tinted her head in curiosity, "What do you mean?"
"All in good time princess, all in good time. Now, who would you like to hear of first?"
A moment of silence fell between the two women as Zelda decided what was most pressing.
"Tell me of Ashei and Shad... Have they returned from their expedition from the mountains? Or... are they still missing?"
For the first time in their meeting, the mood between the two completely changed with Telma looking grim.
"I'm afraid not... It's been roughly six months since they started out, and either they've found more then their hearts could have imagined or... they found more then they had wished to find..."
"I see... No correspondence then?"
"Only once," she replied, withdrawing a letter from her pocket.
We've made good progress thus far... I suppose we have Link to thank for that. By purpose or by mistake, he managed to carve a path through the mountains, which surprisingly remains to this day. We're certainly not complaining. The only thing, other then the trail that serves to give us hope at this point in time is a fume of smoke that floats in the very distant skies... Around mid-day, like clockwork, the black mist crawls up from a valley in the mountains. We suspect that is the place Link mentioned of... A run down, mansion of sorts... It could be... It just could be the Lost Library of Hylia... Oh just imagine the wealth of knowledge that could be there if it does exist!? We just can't wait until we near the mountain slope that Link referred to as 'Yetti Run.' As soon as we near the mansion, or if we are forced to give up and return, we'll send word through the Zora domain with all haste. Hopefully, it will be of good news.
Shad and Ashei
After Telma finished reading the letter, she handed it to Zelda who studied it intently.
"You take interest in that library, don't you?" asked Telma.
Zelda nodded, "For a number of reasons... They say that knowledge which was handed down by the Goddesses themselves was stored in that sacred place... I wish to learn more of their ways of thinking... So I can try and understand why."
Telma nodded, "Does it still bother you? That you were chosen?"
The princess looked away, "I find it unfair to those around me... I am a princess of the royal family, and potential heir to the throne, as well as keeper of the awesome and terrible power of the Triforce... It may be only one piece... But it is a force never to be questioned or challenged. I find the combination of such lineage and power to be slightly ironic, if not a little unfair for the others..."
"I see, but it is the will of the Goddesses... Besides, things have turned out quiet well if I do say so myself."
Zelda turned back and their eyes met.
"We have Link to thank for that, and only Link... No... Midna too..."
Telma frowned, "You had a hand in it as well, Zelda. Do not belittle your own influence."
"As an enemy?" shot Zelda suddenly, "as someone to stand up and actually challenge the Hero of Time? To stand in his way and actually cause him harm! How is that helping? How is that...!?"
The sudden ferocity died down almost to a sob, one of which Zelda put all her will into suppressing.
"Zelda," soothed Telma, "everything happens for a reason... It might not seem that way, but I believe it is... Just know that many others suffered with you that day... Some people are still suffering from the effects that happened since the very beginning."
Zelda took a deep breath and sighed, "That's right... I almost forgot that you're the only other person besides Impa, myself and Link who have a fair idea of what has happened. That is another reason for Link's coming tonight... It has been a year and rumors have circulated long enough... It is time the people of Hyrule know what tragedy was averted and who it was that saved them..."
"Ah, yes... Link..."
The pain and suffering the princess was trying to stomach vanished instantly as Telma spoke of the hero with uncertainty.
"What has happened?" she asked, fear present.
Telma shook her head, "Nothing fatal your highness, but more a matter of the heart..."
"You... mean...?" she stuttered, her voice low.
Telma nodded, "He was rejected... It would seem the girl found more then just companionship from the Prince of the Zoras... He stopped by a while back, and although the same smile graced his face, the pain in his eyes was far to great to hide. We talked about it and I did what I could to ease what he felt... I feel bad for him, I really do... You will know what I speak of when you see him... Now he has mixed emotions: a state of mind that I wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone him. He mourns for the unreturned love that he gave to her, but also yearns for the love that has been growing inside of him for the past year all while keeping to his duty and serving his kingdom... Such strength and devotion... You may deny it Princess, but I am convinced... This was destined by the Goddesses, and nothing will stand in the way of their will... Not even Link..."
Zelda stared at the center piece that lay in the middle of the table. Her thoughts traveled back to the year in which she and Link had spent a lot of time together, planning defenses for Castle Town, traveling often between the Gorons and Zoras. Little time was spent thinking over the events that lead up to what had happened exactly one year ago. Instead, both of them were busy with the Reconstruction projects and the reinstallation of the emergency call system between domains. At the time, they agreed to it and enjoyed it, but the events of their personal lives afterwards and up until now had become hazy and filled with nothing but duty to their county.
Of all the mistakes she believe she made on her part, this was one of the gravest. She knew of Link's connection with Ilia, and she even tried unintentionally to get between them, but only for a short time. After which she kept her distance, never venturing deeper into the Hero's heart for fear of confirming what she wouldn't allow herself to believe.
"Did you speak with him before I saw him last?" asked Zelda,
Telma nodded, "I did, why do you ask?"
"Because... I saw the pain in his eyes as well... As I'm sure he saw in me... We were both stressed that day, and I fought with all my will to hide it... Even though I tried, I was about to spill my heart out to him... Whisper the dark and hideous truths of what had occurred during the spread of Twilight... But I held back... I sort of knew what was wrong with him... But I never inquired... I never asked him..."
Zelda's gaze titled more towards the ground.
'How could I have done this to him? I wanted to encourage him, urge him to pursue his feelings for Ilia, Goddesses know, if anyone deserves love and a peaceful existence on this plane, it is certainly Link, and maybe if he had been persistent, perhaps if I had encouraged him to chase her... while I silently withdrew... Ha... I would have lost either way... And yet, here is how it all played out: A hero with a broken heart, and I in a similar state. We need to do something... Something to rid us of this negativity... I swear to it: tonight... I'll... I"ll do something!'
"Zelda? Are you alright?" asked Telma, lightly tapping her on the shoulder.
"Oh?" said Zelda, snapping back from her thoughts. "Sorry about that Telma, my mind was preoccupied..."
Telma shook her head, "You have a kinda heart princess, kind and wise... Do something for both of yourselves later tonight, alright? That is when he's coming, correct?"
She nodded, "Yes, it is when we agreed upon... I think he knows sort of what's coming... But I want him to be at ease this time, and not just on another trip to aid his princess..."
Telma nodded thoughtfully, "Well darling, we have spoken long enough for today I believe... Look, the sun is already nearing the twilight hours... You should go and prepare yourself for this evening..."
Zelda nodded a weak smile and they both got up to head in their respected directions. Before Telma left her company, she turned to face the somber princess.
"Tonight, my lady, is your night... and his... You may not believe it, but his heart heals just from knowing yours is doing the same... Be at peace, my lady, be at peace... We're all mortals after all. Even heros and heroines need a shoulder to lean on."