"Have a great Goddess Day, Zel!"
Zelda found herself engulfed in the arms of her best friend, Malon, as the red-head furiously squeezed the life out of her.
"Goddesses, Mal, ease up!" Zelda gasped, half-laughing, as she pried herself away from Malon's iron grip. "I've never seen you this excited to go visit Sheik's parents."
Malon was practically glowing. "I'm almost like a part of their family! His dad is so funny and his mom spoils me." She smiled enthusiastically, a gleam in her eyes. "And you know, since I took Sheik to the ranch last Goddess Day, I haven't seen his parents in a year."
"I remember the first time you went to Kakariko with Sheik," Zelda chuckled, fondly recalling the event. "Two years ago, when we were freshmen, remember? And you were so worried that they wouldn't like you…"
"And I packed all of that extra baggage because I was afraid they would kick me out and force me to live on the streets!" Malon grinned. "I was so stupid… I can't believe I was so worried over it."
"I told you they would love you," Zelda said, resting a hand on her best friend's shoulder. "And you and Sheik are going so great! I wonder if he'll pop the question soon?"
"Aw, Zel!" Malon giggled, turning red. "You know how Sheik is. I'll probably have to be the one to propose to him."
They both shared a laugh, just as Sheik reappeared in the doorway, huffing for breath as he leaned against the wall.
"Any more luggage, Malon?" He asked wearily, eyes darting around the room as if afraid he would spot a heavy suitcase.
"You've got all of it," Malon said cheerfully, glancing around in satisfaction. Without all of Malon's junk clogging up the apartment living room, only the sofa and television remained. The room seemed clean, yet oddly empty as well, thought Zelda. Still, Malon would only be gone for a week. She would survive.
"Thank the Goddesses," Sheik groaned, falling onto the floor and running a hand through his hair.
"Aww, poor Sheik," Malon cooed sarcastically. "I thought you were my big, strong knight?"
"I am, not your personal baggage boy!"
"To me, they're one and the same," Malon said, swooping down and giving him a peck on the cheek. Sheik looked slightly less irritated and felt his cheek, a glazed look in his eyes.
"Should we get going?" Malon asked, smirking at Sheik. He quickly snapped out of his daze, a faint pink tint appearing on his cheeks.
"Yeah… sure… I mean, yes, we should," Sheik said hastily, jumping up from the floor and wiping off imaginary spots of dust from his pants. Malon grinned at Zelda before jauntily skipping out of the door, towards Sheik's awaiting maroon van outside.
"Have a good time," Zelda said to Sheik. "Watch over Malon: she can be a handful."
Sheik laughed, waving at Zelda as he followed Malon out the door. "Have a great holiday, Zel."
"You too!" She cried, watching from the doorway as Sheik hopped into the driver's seat of his van. Malon waved briefly before Sheik gunned the motor and sped down the street, plowing his way through the snow-covered road. Zelda smiled and waved until she had lost sight of the vehicle, before finally turning back into her apartment.
As the door closed with a snap behind Zelda, the noise echoed weirdly throughout her empty apartment. Another Goddess Day holiday, another week spent all by herself. It seemed that everyone was doing something: Malon and Sheik were in Kakariko, Kafei and Anju were off in Termina… and here she was, alone and bored, during what was supposedly the happiest month of the year.
What could she do, what could she do…? Wander around Castle Town and enjoy the Goddess Day decorations? No, she'd already done that… Go rent a movie? No… her eyes strayed to a pile of abandoned DVDs that sat on the floor next to the television.
Watch television and eat leftovers for dinner? Zelda looked around doubtfully at the empty apartment living room. Well, that was an option…
Striding to the kitchen in a rather dejected manner, Zelda rummaged around in the refrigerator before finding a tub of macaroni and cheese she had cooked the previous night. Popping off the lid and scooping the cold pasta onto a plate, Zelda jumped and nearly spilled everything when the phone went off.
Quick as a flash, desperate to hear a voice, Zelda grabbed the phone and nearly yelled into it. "Hello?"
"Goddesses, I can hear you just fine! Is that you, Zellie?"
Zelda nearly dropped the phone in shock. That voice was so familiar… and that stupid pet-name… "Link? Is that you?"
"The one and only," the voice replied, and Zelda mentally pictured Link smirking handsomely on the other end of the line. "How have you been doing, my love?"
"Fine," she managed to say, quickly overcoming her shock. A familiar excitement was now beginning to tingle in her bones. "What about you, Link?"
"Doing great," he said. "I'm sorry I haven't been able to see you a lot… I've been really busy in Termina…"
"It's been a pain in the ass trying to track down all of those masks from the legend… they're spread far and wide, and some of the masks I find are cheap copies, not the originals. But I'll tell you more about that later… over dinner, perhaps? I was hoping tonight, if you're not busy?"
"Dinner?" Zelda asked, confused. "Aren't you still in Termina?"
"Yes… I was wondering if you'd like to come have dinner? I reserved a table for two at Chateau Romani's…"
"Well, sure," Zelda said, frowning, "But I don't see how I'll be able to…"
"Great! See you in an hour, then!" Link said enthusiastically. "Oh, and wear something nice."
"Link…" She began, but the line had already gone dead.
An hour, he had said. Zelda nervously glanced up at the clock, which showed the time as a quarter till eight. She vaguely wondered how Link would be able to pull off this latest stunt, but she figured that weirder things had happened. Regardless of how Link got them to Termina, it would be an enjoyable evening, anyways.
She glanced once more into the mirror in her bedroom, fidgeting with her clothes. After nearly half an hour of deliberation, she had chosen a nice, cream-colored blouse and a knee-length skirt. Nothing too fancy, but still dressy. Chateau Romani was supposedly one of Termina's finest restaurants. Zelda was struck by Link's generosity, and suddenly felt slightly guilty that he was treating her to such a place.
After spending several more minutes debating her appearance in the mirror, Zelda finally decided to head downstairs and wait in the living room for Link. An odd feeling of anxiety was mixing with her eagerness: she hadn't seen Link in nearly two years. Of course, they had written via email and talked on the phone, but she had been kept busy by university and him by whatever it was that heroes did.
Still, Zelda thought, there was no doubt in her mind that she still loved him. After everything they had gone through, after they had faced the horror of the Dark King together, she could never forget Link. Did he still think the same of her? Two years was a long time, after all. Her feeling of nervousness increased, but she firmly forced it down, scolding her insecurities.
Link's taking me out for a romantic dinner, she repeated in her head. Link's taking me out for a…
The doorbell rang, cracking into her thoughts, and Zelda jumped as if electrified. He was here! She practically ran to her apartment door, before stopping and breathing deeply, trying to regain her composure.
Stay calm, Zelda, she thought, resting a shaking hand on the doorknob. The doorbell rang again, and she couldn't take it any longer. With a gasp, she wrenched open the door, expecting to see Link's face, desperately hoping to be swept into his arms.
Instead, the porch was empty, and all Zelda saw was snow that blanketed everything on the street.
Feeling slightly let down, she poked her head out of the door tentatively. "Link?"
It happened so quickly that she didn't even have time to scream: someone literally popped out of thin air in front of her and crashed into her, carrying her back inside the warm living room. It took Zelda another full second to realize that she was receiving several deep kisses from her unknown assailant.
"Link?" She asked shakily, pushing herself away from the man's arms and getting a better look at him.
"Did I surprise you?" He grinned, his same, handsome smile. His sapphire eyes were gleaming brightly and his messy hair was flecked with bits of snow.
"Yes!" She said, not sure whether to laugh or cry. "How did you do that?"
Link grinned, waving something in his left hand. Upon closer in section, it appeared to be a purple mask, with an odd, disfigured shape. "It's called the Stone Mask. It's one of the legendary masks I found in Termina: it has the power to make the wearer invisible. Observe."
He put the mask to his face, and Zelda was left gaping at empty air. He had simply disappeared! She circled around, as if hoping that the mask would malfunction and reveal his position. "Link! Where are you?"
"Right here!" His voice came from behind, and suddenly Zelda felt herself lifted once more in the air by his strong arms. Deftly twirling her around, he caught her and once more began to shower her with passionate kisses. Zelda tried, half-heartedly and unsuccessfully, to pull away from Link before simply abandoning all self-control and returning his love with ardor.
"So," he muttered, gazing at her intensely as he held her close to him. "Did you miss me?"
"That's a hell of a way to greet someone after two years," Zelda breathed, still clutching his chest.
"I'm sorry," Link said, looking so ashamed of himself that Zelda instantly forgave him. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"Oh, Link, I'm only playing with you," she sighed, wrapping an arm around his neck and kissing him again. "I did miss you. A lot."
"And I missed you, my love," he smiled, running a hand through her long, golden hair. "But I'm almost done in Termina. I'll be back in Hyrule soon, I promise."
"That's good," Zelda whispered, still nuzzling his cheek. Link had always kept his promises.
"You look fantastic," Link said, still holding her tightly.
"Well, you did tell me to dress nice." Zelda drew away from him, looking at the dressy tuxedo that he wore. "You don't look too bad yourself."
"Thanks. This suit cost me a bit."
"You couldn't have just taken one from my dad's closet?"
Link laughed. "I'd feel kind of bad about stealing from him a second time. By the way, how are things with your dad?"
"Oh," Zelda said. "He kicked me out of the house."
"He kicked you out of the house?" Link repeated, a comical expression of surprise on his face. "What for?"
"Well, you remember two years ago, when Rauru was training me?"
"Yeah." Link looked slightly puzzled. "What of it?"
"Well, I didn't really have a lot of time to study or finish my assignments at university…"
His eyes sparked with realization. "And your dad completely lost it when he saw your freshman year transcript?"
Zelda shrugged. "In a deku-nutshell."
Link whistled. "I'm sorry, Zelda. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"No, it's all fine now," she said, smiling. "With Ganondorf gone, I think I can study in peace. And Malon and I are both paying rent for this apartment." She paused, before adding: "Actually, I kind of like not having to visit my dad every Goddess Day."
Link grinned. "Well, as long as you're happy, so am I." He looked around the living room, noting its emptiness. "Only yourself, during the holidays?"
"Yes, unfortunately. Malon and Sheik left for Kakariko earlier today."
"That's great," Link said, a mischievous grin spreading over his face. "Then, no one will notice anything odd if you're gone for a week…"
"A week?" Zelda asked.
"I've got it all planned," Link said. "During the day, we can go visit Termina… I can take you everywhere, show you all the sites… and at night, I can take you back here."
"You still have yet to explain to me how we are getting back in forth between Termina and Hyrule," Zelda said.
"Forgot to tell you," Link said, slapping his forehead theatrically. "I'm terrible with details, as you know…" He fished around in his suit pocket, before revealing the Ocarina of Time.
"Hold on… I thought you said that it could only warp us to the different temples in Hyrule?"
"That's what I thought also," Link said. "But during my travels in Termina, I noticed many owl statues scattered across the land. I never really figured out their significance: the locals just say that they were ancient statues built thousands of years ago."
"But…?" Zelda prompted.
"But, when I visited the Southern Swamp, I came across an ancient, stone slab, hidden deep in the swamp. There was a melody written on the stone… it was named in ancient Hylian, but it roughly translates as 'The Song of Soaring.'"
"And this song," Zelda guessed, "Allows you to warp to those owl statues when you play it?"
"Correct," Link said, extending a triumphant arm out to her. "And I'd tell you a bit more, but we're running late for dinner. Coming?"
Several seconds later, Zelda was flying through the skies with Link, transported to Termina nearly instantaneously by the magic of the Ocarina of Time and the Song of Soaring. One second, she had been standing in her living room, holding onto Link's arm- and the next moment, they both had reappeared in front of a weathered owl statue with spread wings.
"We're in the south part of Clock Town," Link said, stowing the Ocarina of Time back into his pocket. "It's lucky that this owl statue is in a back alley. Wouldn't be good for people to notice our method of travel, would it?"
"No," Zelda agreed, her eyes still adjusting to the darkness of the alley. Link gallantly extended an arm to her and she took it, allowing him to lead her on.
"I can't believe you went through all this trouble," she murmured, as they walked away from the owl statue and into the main part of the city. "Chateau Romani? That place has got to be ungodly expensive!"
"It's all worth it," Link said, kissing her cheek as they emerged from the alleyway and onto a busy street. Even at night, the streets were crowded with neon signs and honking cars. Dominating the entire scene was a huge clock tower, set in the exact center of the city.
"Busy place," Link said conversationally, hailing a taxi. "Not quite as large as Castle Town, though." As a yellow cab pulled alongside the curb, Link once more seized the initiative and opened the door for Zelda, who turned faintly pink from his actions.
"How're you two tonight?" The cab driver asked in a bored voice, starting the car as soon as Link had shut the door.
"Fine," Link replied brightly, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a fistful of rupees. "Can you take us to Chateau Romani, please? East Clock Town."
The driver looked suspiciously at Zelda and Link's fancy attire, then to the handful of rupees offered by Link, before grunting and changing into a different lane. "Chatoe Romanie, eh? What's the occasion?"
"We're just celebrating the holidays. Goddess Day and all that," Link said innocently. The driver looked at Zelda suspiciously in the rearview mirror: she smiled politely back.
As they drove through the busy streets of Clock Town, Zelda was impressed by the booming metropolis, the blaring night lights and the constant motion. Although it was nothing compared to Hyrule's capital city, Clock Town still held a charm of its own. Link was busy pointing out various sites and landmarks.
"That's the Clock Tower," Link said, pointing at the mighty structure which towered over the rest of the city. "It's one of the most important buildings in Termina, mainly for its cultural value. In mythology, it was said that the Hero of Time defeated an evil power during a battle on top of the tower…"
Zelda caught Link's eye and smiled, knowing that Shade had once been here as well, hundreds of years ago. Perhaps Shade had even taken the Princess to Termina, once upon a time, to celebrate Goddess Day. The cab driver rolled his eyes at their small talk, obviously not understanding the truth behind Link's words.
"Clock Town is an interesting place," Zelda said, looking out at the darkened city enthusiastically. "But the outer lying regions are supposed to be fascinating as well."
"Yes, they are," Link nodded, reclining in his seat. "Termina is odd, in that it has four distinct geographical regions. The Southern Swamp, Great Bay, Snowhead, and Ikana Canyon. All of them are very exotic."
"You've been to all of them?" Zelda asked, impressed.
"I've spent a little bit of time at Snowhead and Great Bay, but I spent nearly half a year at Ikana with an excavation team digging out the old castle. And then I did a little bit of exploring the swamp, as I told you before." Link grinned, an adventurous light gleaming in his eyes. "I was hoping to show you around some of the places? If you'd like."
"That sounds great!" Zelda said excitedly, already looking forward to the coming week. Exploring Termina with Link… it sure beat staying at home, watching television and eating leftovers.
"We're here," the driver grunted from the front, interrupting their travel plans. Zelda looked out the window: they had pulled up to a building, where the words "CHATEAU ROMANI" were written in bold, golden letters.
"Right on time," Link said, checking his watch. "Actually, a few minutes late, but that's our fault, not yours." He tipped a generous amount of rupees into the cab driver's hand before stepping out of the car, Zelda following. The taxi peeled away, zooming down the street through snow and slush, hoping to find other customers for the night.
"He didn't seem to enjoy our company too much," Link said, watching the cab turn a corner and vanish. "Well, I gave him a pretty large tip, so hopefully it'll put him in a good mood for Goddess Day."
"Not trying to ask any personal questions, but how are you affording all of this?" Zelda asked, as Link escorted her through the gilded doors of the restaurant and into a lavishly decorated room. The air was filled with the clinking of glasses and the low rumble of chatter. The light was dim, with the only sources of brightness coming from a single, fat candle on each table. The entire atmosphere felt undeniably rich, yet also romantic and pleasant.
"Some odd jobs here and there, you know," Link said, grinning. "I've been hired several times in expedition teams, since I have an uncanny ability to locate hidden treasure and ruins."
Zelda laughed. "All those legends that Rauru told you are finally paying off, right?"
"Yeah, they are," Link nodded. "I get paid well, and my work also lets me keep an eye out for any of the legendary masks used by the Hero of Time during his quest in Termina."
"Why are you searching for those masks?"
"Well, partly because I have a duty to. Some of those things are really powerful, or dangerous, and if they fell into the wrong hands…" A shadow flitted over Link's face, before he smiled again. "And partly because they help me understand Shade a bit more. There were so many questions I could have asked him, and now… all I can do is try and fit puzzle pieces together."
"How many masks do you have now? And what are they?" Zelda asked excitedly.
"I think I've rounded up most of them," Link said, ticking off his fingers. "The two big ones though… Majora's Mask and the Fierce Deity Mask… are still missing. I mean, it's alright if some old antiques collector has them without any idea of their power, but if someone like Ganondorf gets their hands on them…"
Link shook his head once more, before taking her hand and squeezing it. "Let's try not to talk about it now. Tonight we should enjoy ourselves, right?"
"Yeah," Zelda murmured, smiling brilliantly at Link, feeling an unbelievable warmth and happiness spreading throughout her body. He kissed her cheek before leading them towards a waiting staff member.
"Reservations for two, under the name Hylia," Link said brightly.
The other man checked a small book, before nodding and saying in an equally pleasant voice: "Welcome to Chateau Romani, Mister Hylia and Miss Harkinian. If you'll follow me, I'll show you to your table."
Their seats were situated near a large window that looked out into the streets of Clock Town. Link pulled out the chair for Zelda and waited for her to seat herself before sitting down as well.
"How chivalrous," Zelda muttered, slightly amused. Link only smiled playfully back, as the waiter dropped off two menus for them.
After some small talk, they quickly placed their orders and had a glass of fine wine from Holodrum brought to their table. As the waiter left, Link poured both of them a generous helping of the deep red liquid, and raised his glass into the air.
"We made it, Zellie."
Zelda beamed and clinked her own glass against his, watching him as he took a small sip of wine. She felt a huge rush of emotion suddenly well up inside of her: here they were, two years later. They had defeated Ganondorf, they had saved Hyrule… and they had each other. Really, could she have asked for anything more perfect?
"Something on your mind, Zelda?"
"No," she said, smiling and sipping her wine as well. "I'm just happy to be here with you."
"It's only the beginning," Link grinned, leaning across the table and kissing her on the lips. She blushed faintly from his sudden warmth, but she kissed him back eagerly, thankful that the darkness of the restaurant was- for the most part- covering their actions.
She felt sure that this would be the best Goddess Day week of her life.
Two hours and a delicious salmon dinner later, Zelda found herself feeling pleasantly light headed and content. The whole evening had passed by so quickly that she found it hard to believe that it had happened at all. Yet, here she was, sitting on a snow covered bench outside of Chateau Romani, leaning her head on Link's shoulder and feeling his fingers caress her cheeks.
"Feeling cold?" Link whispered, his hot breath tickling her ears. She shook her head, but he wrapped his arms around her anyways, brushing flecks of snow from her golden hair.
"How was everything?" He asked, and there was a slight tone of nervousness in his voice.
"Perfect," Zelda murmured, and he broke into a grin as well. "Thank you, Link. For everything."
"I should be thanking you," he said, "for allowing me to treat such a beautiful lady tonight."
Zelda giggled, and he kissed her again, warmly, tenderly. His fingers ran through her hair as they both sat together, alone and undisturbed in the snowy night.
"You'll take me to Great Bay tomorrow?" Zelda asked eagerly. Link nodded.
"You'll love it. It's not affected at all by this winter snow in Clock Town. Sandy, secluded beaches, beautiful ocean waves…" Link continued on, painting a dreamy picture of a perfect seaside paradise. Zelda couldn't wait.
"And there's this magnificent waterfall not far from the beach that we can go to… and there's a small, private resort that would make a great place for our honeymoon…"
"Yeah, don't you remember?" Link said. "I promised you that I would take you to Great Bay for our honeymoon."
"That's right," Zelda laughed, recalling their conversation nearly two years ago. When they had still been trapped in the Sacred Realm, when their fates seemed bleak. But still, they had held onto that one, tiny sliver of hope that maybe… just maybe, they would make it out alive. "And then, you said you wanted to settle down in the suburbs of Castle Town…"
"Where there would be lots of space for our children to run around," Link finished, laughing. "Have you figured out how many children you want?"
"Oh," Zelda said, lovingly kissing him. "I think we'll know when to stop. I don't like having predefined boundaries."
Link grinned, and as he kissed her ever more passionately, Zelda couldn't recall a finer feeling. Yes, everything would work out in the end. She felt sure of it.
"I love you," Link murmured, gazing into her eyes. "You're so wonderful, so perfect, I can't believe that I'm such a lucky man."
Zelda stroked his cheeks, brushed a slight layer of fresh snow from his blond hair, and leaned in to whisper in his ear.
"I love you too."
Nothing else had to be said. Those simple words meant everything in the world.
Old Legends Die Hard
A huge thanks:
To Zeldapedia, which listed and described all of the Hidden Skills taught by the Hero's Shade in Twilight Princess. I referenced this information for help in writing some of the scenes between Link and Shade.
And to all my readers and reviewers, for giving me so much wonderful feedback and support! Thank you so much! You guys are awesome! I truly appreciate all the support you all have given me, and I sincerely hoped you enjoyed reading and are thoroughly satisfied with my story.
First, I'll start with the stats:
405 pages on Microsoft Word
Six months to finish, and countless hours spent writing
I'm proud to say that I have finally finished writing my fanfic Old Legends Die Hard. It's quite an achievement for me, because up until now, the longest work I've written was only about thirty pages on Microsoft Word. Actually, I didn't even think it was that long until I added up all the pages and was like "Whoa! 405?!"
I've had a great time. Writing was a hobby I always enjoyed, but I never really got into it that much until I started this fanfic. Looking back on some of my earlier stories, I'm amazed at how far I've come since then (a lot of my early writing was complete trash)
But looking at the work of other authors, I also realize how far I have to go. And that's a great thing, because it means I'll still be writing for a long time, trying to improve my writing word by word.
I've got some more ideas for fanfics rolling around in my head, but I'm still trying to iron out the finer details. Hopefully it won't be a long wait for my next update!