Well, it's certainly been a while. I apologize (as I always do) for how long I took to update. This chapter was practically done back in July but during August I entered a friendly challenge involving fanfiction that put all my other fics on hold. Once that was done, I returned to this, but the ending was giving me problems. I'll explain more at the end after you read it. But, on another note, the chapter is about 15,500 words so at least it's long. I'm sure some will say too long, but I didn't want to split the chapter.
And one thing before you all start. I've had a couple PMs and reviews commenting on the fact that the Gerudo is an entirely female race. I'm trying to find a mix between realism and fantasy. It's why magic doesn't really exist in this but there is still some supernatural stuff. Having all women and only one male every hundred years is hard to make realistic sense. I know changing some things upsets people but I need to remind you this is an AU story basically meaning…I can change anything I want. On that note…I go into small detail about the culture and history of the Gerudo in the beginning. I made it up, it is not Canon. Therefore, I can already see the flames of people complaining that isn't how it actually is. Just letting ya know. Now enjoy.
"What is it?" Ganondorf sat in the council room with his head propped up by a strategic elbow placed on the table. "I'm having the most wonderful time dealing with the complaints against my soldiers in sacking the city."
"Maybe you shouldn't have allowed them to rape everything that moved," The older council member accused.
Ganondorf stared at the man but didn't change his bored expression. The room grew silent as they watched the King simply stare at the council member. He sat back in his chair and let out a loud yawn that lasted longer than any yawn should. Everyone had to sit and watch as he took his time finishing the yawn which was so wide it caused his eyes to squint. He finally retorted after the long yawn. "That's discrimination you know."
"My soldiers raped plenty of people that couldn't move."
Ganondorf shrugged and turned back to the man who previously entered the doorway and called out to him. "You were saying."
"Your son has arrived."
"Ah excellent!" Ganondorf cheered and his sudden expression made everyone flinch. He rose from his chair, "Send him in!"
One councilmember leaned over to another one and whispered into his ear. "I wasn't aware he had a son."
"He's bastard born." The councilmember replied. "It is said Ganondorf has more bastards than stars in the skies but he only holds one as his true son and heir."
They all watched as a tall well toned young man walked into the room. He was dressed in traditional Gerudo attire with loose black cotton pants and only a small red vest to barely cover his toned chest. He had a large sash for a belt and it held a curved scimitar on it. His hair was made of fire like his father but it was shaggy and unkempt. His nose was pointed almost as much as his father. The resemblance was strong, even to his height which was easily over six foot. He looked like a young Ganondorf, and he couldn't be older than twenty-five.
"Father!" He cheered holding out his arms. "Or should I say, Your Grace."
Ganondorf laughed which seemed to catch everyone off guard. Upon a few moments ago Ganondorf rarely showed any expression. "I'll always just be dear old Daddy to you." He then shocked everyone tenfold by embracing his son and kissing him on the forehead.
"Apparently he does have a soft side," A council member muttered under his breath.
"It's great to see you father," His son stepped back from the embrace. "I feel it's been so long, I wish you allowed me to take part in the attack."
"I needed you at home in case something happened to me."
"Like one of your plans could ever fail," His son smiled.
"Dareios, my dear." A woman called out as she stepped into the council room. "You shouldn't bother your father when he's working. He's busy being a King and all." The woman was incredibly beautiful and extremely tall. She had to be as tall as Ganondorf with rich dark crimson hair that fell down to his lower back. She had sparkling but mischievous emerald eyes with very thin eyebrows lining them. Her nails were long and polished meaning she took a lot of time to worry about her appearance. She wore a long beautiful cerulean ornate silk skirt with only a small white cloth band to cover her top. To the Hyrulian council it was obscene but in her culture this was the normal attire. It was hot in the desert, this is what they wore and she wasn't going to change her style to a Hyrulian one. She walked very gracefully with a purposeful sing of the hips and every man in the room stared at her.
"Aara, my love, come here." Ganondorf embraced her as well before kissing her on the lips. "It's so wonderful to see you."
"As you requested we brought the rest of your soldiers," Aara's eyes glanced over the council members to obviously imply she was informing the Hyrulians that even more Gerudo were being stationed in Castle Town.
"Excellent, come let me show you your room," He headed out the door without another word to the council.
"Well, that's that, I guess." One member muttered.
"Who was she?" A younger member asked.
"She's the chosen woman." The oldest member replied looking surprised at his fellow members. "Aren't you aware of the Gerudo customs?"
"Why would we need to be?"
The old man shook his head. "You must know every custom of every race."
"Well, this is a good time to start," Another member suggested. "So, please, enlighten us Riccard. It would be rise to know more about the culture of our new King."
"The Lord beds any woman he wants, that's the law, and it is expected for him to bed as many as he can."
"Sounds like my kind of place." A young member joked.
"Quiet!" Riccard hissed. "This is no excuse to simply lie with women. It is breeding, plain and simple. As soon as the son of the current Lord becomes of age, he is to take whoever he wants. Over the years this births many sons and girls. This is why the Gerudo race is actually more women than men. We see it is a weakness but they don't. They train their women to be warriors as well, keeping them on equal importance as the men. It's also why the Gerudo has the largest population in all of Hyrule. However, more importantly, these sons are not shamed to be bastards but are held in respect that their mother was chosen by the Lord. It must mean their mother has the proper attributes to birth a perfect son. These kids are then put into a training regimen and train all their life to become the next Lord. The one who is physically the best, skilled in multiple weapons, and wisest becomes the next Lord. At any one point, one son can challenge another to prove themselves. So the one deemed the best must prove it time and time again by fighting his brothers. It's a competition you see, it has nothing to do with bragging rights. The mother of the chosen child is held as the unofficial Lady of the Gerudo. Offically, The Lord will never marry, but everyone will respect her."
"That's crazy." A member muttered.
"Is it?" Riccard gave a gruff chuckle. "Every single Gerudo Lord is the best that the entire nation of Gerudo can offer. Passed down repeatedly through the blood, it's a never ending cycle for the best. You saw Ganondorf fight the knight in the Grand Hall, did you not? Sir Gnore was an established Knight with battle experience and has won countless tournament duels. How long did he last, five seconds or was it ten? Do not underestimate the Gerudo, last time we lost the castle, I don't want to think about what will happen next."
"What happens to the sons who aren't chosen?"
Riccard's eyes grew dark. "I'm sure you've heard of the Anausa."
That name everyone knew. "That's how the Anausa is formed?"
Richard nodded. "Yes, when training hundreds of sons to be the best Lord, inadvertently, they do make the most elite unit that the Gerudo have. They put our Elite Knights to shame. When King Terrel asked for Ganondorf's aid against Ordon a decade ago. Ganondorf came personally along with only the Anausa. They killed more Ordonians than anyone else, and there was only five hundred."
"No wonder they took the castle."
Riccard shook his head, "No. The Anausa were not among those that sacked this castle, if they were, everyone would be dead. They are killers, nothing less."
A council member chuckled morbidly. "Okay, you convinced me, I won't underestimate the Gerudo again."
"Father, I heard you already sent an emissary to Ordon."
"I did indeed," Ganondorf replied walking down the hall.
"You should've waited, I wanted to go and represent you. They would've taken you more seriously."
"That is true," Ganondorf said no more, it was something Dareios was use to.
"Then why didn't you allow me to go."
"You're needed here."
"Please father, explain more than three words."
Ganondorf stopped walking and faced Dareios and the boy's mother. "You need to establish who you are, and show that we are thinking into the future. Many are hoping I marry someone that they choose, to try and reclaim the throne that way. It cannot happen. Aara my dear, you are to be my Queen, and Dareios you my heir."
"I am to be King." Dareios eyes lit up.
"I'm to be you Queen," Aara's eyes were just as wide. "Have you heard a plot for them to take your throne back?"
Ganondorf sighed, "No, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't be thinking that, it only makes sense." The way he said it was almost insulting, since any scheme was obvious to him.
Dareios crossed his arms. "So, I couldn't go to Ordon because I had to remain here for political reasons?"
Ganondorf shrugged, "And the emissary is most likely not coming back."
It had been three weeks since the great escape from Hyrule. After the big speech Rusl made, the village was filled with rumors and gossip about what was really going on. After a few days it died down but Link was happy they weren't united against Hyrule completely. It was rather strange that he was siding with Hyrule now. He never imagined it but living with Zelda changed all views. How could he hate the Kingdom if Zelda would be the next ruler? How sweet and kind she was. How she constantly tried to make jokes to prove she was funny and would always fail. Her pure innocence that just seemed to resonant off of her. And that was all of Link's thoughts that didn't direct towards her physical body…since that wasn't enough of a reason to be on her side.
He was happy she was fitting in immensely well. She was growing use to life in Ordon and wouldn't need to hide out in Link's home anymore. She was constantly out with Malon, helping her on the farm or simply hanging out with her. Link knew how important simple friendship was for her, and Zelda soaked it up any chance she could get. She told Link all about Lara, who Link did know previously. Zelda would often help Lara where she worked, which was a nurse for Rosalind. Link realized Zelda hated feeling useless and always had to be doing something. So she was constantly busy, Link still saw her but instead of babysitting her, he'd train as she would go out in the village. Link noticed she had an incredible knack for becoming friends with new people, no matter the age. It wasn't hard to see Colin had a huge crush on her, as he would often bring her flowers. Zelda, in return, would plant him a gentle kiss on his forehead for each flower. It was the delicate sweetness in her that Link loved. Once, at the tavern, she didn't sit with Link and his friends, but instead with the older men of Ordon and discussed the history of the world. It displayed her intelligence which was often forgotten since she acted completely grounded most of the time. She was branching out in strong ways and Link was proud of her for doing it.
Right now they were planning on swimming in the natural spring located nearby. It was a large circle with crystal clear water that was shallow enough for the sun to warm it. With a small horse-shoe shaped waterfall that seemed to edge all the way around the pool. It was a magnificent spot that was hidden in the forest where Link and his friends loved to go. Link, Troy, and Blaine sat on the water's edge, all in shorts, waiting for the girls to arrive. Their weapons were nearby since they always had them at their sides. One never knew if some wild beast would emerge from the forest…however unlikely. Maybe they simply liked the feel of their blades or bow at their side. Achilles was also with them, lying down in taller grass to give him more comfort on the ground. Link was telling them all about the tournament, since he never really had a chance when Zelda was around, in case it brought up bad feeling. He was currently at the fight with Lex.
"You didn't!" Blaine shouted. "You actually put blood on your face."
"I was in the moment." Link refuted.
"That's what you do when you're about to die!" Troy exclaimed, laughing hard. "Not just any battle."
"Whatever, it was awesome." Link defended his actions.
"I'm sure you thought so, but you shame the Ordon gods."
"What Ordon gods?" Link laughed.
Blaine shrugged, "There has to be some right?"
"Yeah," Troy thought for a moment. "Isn't there like…a tree or something."
"That sounds right."
The three boys thought. They learned the history of Ordon a long time ago when they were younger. They were wild stories that they all believed as kids but growing older they realized they were simply myths.
"Yggdrasil." Zelda said from behind them. All three boys turned around to see the girls wearing loose cowls and it was obvious they had their swimwear underneath. "The Ordon god Yggdrasil is said to be the tallest tree to ever see and it presides over the entire forest, keeping the life and balance within the woods. Then there is also Fenrir, the wolf god who guards it."
"She even knows more history about Ordon than us," Troy joked, "Man, where'd you find her again, a library?"
"Yeah, yeah," Link fell to his back to look at Zelda upside down. "Apparently Blaine has seen Fenrir."
"I have!" Blaine exclaimed.
"She's a myth." Malon rolled her eyes.
"I swear, she was an enormous white wolf, taller than I am and huge." He held his hands out wide.
"Yeah, yeah, what were you doing again that late at night in the forest." Troy laughed.
"Walking." Blaine muttered.
"I think you mean, sleeping walking." Link corrected.
"Okay, sure, that's how I got there but I swear, I woke up and she was right there."
"Boy actually," Zelda corrected, "Fenrir is a boy." Suddenly Zelda lit up brightly, "Hey, I know a joke about a wolf."
A loud groan rang throughout the group.
"Not another one," Troy collapsed on the ground.
"I don't think I can fake laugh anymore," Blaine joined in.
Malon hugged Zelda from the side. "Zelda, honey, I love you, but you can't tell a joke."
"You're not funny," Ilia put plainly.
Link saw Zelda's eyes fall to the ground sadly and he couldn't stand by and let that happen. "Fine, Zelda, let's hear it, but it better be good."
"Oh it is," Zelda smiled at Link. "Alright, ready?"
"Sure why not, I didn't want my day ruined or anything." Troy mumbled.
Link jokingly put him in a headlock. "Go on love."
Zelda did a cute curtsy. "Thank you. So, a wolf was chasing a lamb which took refuge in a temple. The wolf urged it to come out of the temple, and said, 'if you don't the Father of faith is sure to cast you and offer you up in sacrifice on the altar.' To which the lamb replied, 'I think I'll stay, I'd rather be offered up as a sacrifice than be eaten by a wolf!" Zelda roared with laughter at the end as everyone else just stared at her. When she realized no one else was laughing she stopped herself, and as the ritual goes, she turned a slight shade of red.
"I literally get mad at you for how bad you are at being funny," Troy groaned from within Link's headlock.
"Seconded," Ilia agreed.
"Zelda, please, just stop trying." Blaine begged, "I can't stand hearing them anymore."
"Damn it!" Zelda exclaimed, "I'm funny, I know I am!"
"You aren't hun," Malon squeezed her shoulder, "Just accept it."
"Link, tell them I'm funny."
Link smiled, "I mean, it's hilarious watching you suck at being funny."
Zelda fumed and sent angry daggers at Link through her usual calm eyes.
"Let's just go swimming." Link said standing up changing the subject.
"Yeah, that's why we're here after all," Ilia claimed with a harsh tone. She took off her cowl to reveal the two-piece swimwear. She was skinny with hips, as Zelda pointed back at the tavern when they first met. Her knees had small scars on them from the rough-housing she'd do as a child. Her skin was tan and she had a mole on the inside of her knee among other small imperfections on her body. Without waiting for anyone, she stepped into the water and went under.
"What's her problem," Link asked.
"I don't know," Zelda answered. "She was fine until moments ago."
"Oh it's pretty obvious." Malon told them.
"Why's that?" Blaine asked.
Without warning Malon grabbed Zelda's cowl and ripped it over her head. Zelda now stood in borrowed swimwear from Ilia, but wore it much, much better. Her skin was a smooth white as if the sun couldn't tan it in the least. Her legs were long and not even with the slightest sign of any cuts or scraps. There were no moles, or any imperfection of the short. Comparing Zelda to a princess in a fairytale wasn't too much of a stretch. Her stomach was flat, there wasn't any muscle showing, but it was clear how slender she actually was when she wasn't wearing a dress. Her hair was let down and it had been growing longer in the past three weeks. Link never noticed a girl's hair growth before but now was a good time to start. It seemed her hair turned gold in the sunlight. It was obvious how uncomfortable she was in the swimwear, since Link knew Hyrule woman did not wear two-pieces. Her arms quickly covered her stomach as she turned slightly and put one leg in front of the other. "Malon!" She exclaimed.
"I'm pretty jealous too, except, for these!" Malon pulled her cowl off and stuck her chest out. "This is my triumph over the perfect little princess here."
Link's and Zelda's eyes met on the word 'princess' but they both realized right away it had no real meaning.
Blaine leaned into Link, "Dibs." It was an obvious joke, he did it for two reason. To make Zelda feel more uncomfortable because in his mind it was hilarious, as well as, make Malon scowl hearing it, which she did also do. So his plan worked perfectly.
Link pressed on ignoring his friend. "So she saw Zelda and got jealous?"
"No," Zelda quickly whispered. "There's no way."
"Hun, you don't even know how affecting you are." Malon laughed, "Come on, let's go swim. And put your arms down, the guys are picturing you whether your arms are up or down, so might as well put them down." This 'picturing' idea seemed to horrify Zelda as Malon dragged her to the water. When they were out of earshot the boys finally spoke.
"You live with that!" Troy screeched into Link's ear. "That! You live! With that!"
"Keep it down," Link reprimanded.
"That's not even fair, I didn't think anyone was actually perfect." Blaine was staring at the girls swimming in the middle.
"Yes, I know," Link sighed, "It's just so…cliché." A beautiful princess with flawless skin, that garbage was only in the worst books.
"Why's it cliché?" Troy asked.
"'Cause she's a-" Link caught himself just in time.
"She's a what?" Troy arched an eyebrow.
Luckily Link was good at thinking quickly. "She's…hot." Okay, not that quickly.
"Yeah, we all know that," Blaine slapped Link's face jokingly.
Link didn't hesitate to tackle Blaine to the ground, and he wasn't surprised to feel Troy jump onto top of them as they began wrestling on the ground. The three girls watched from the water.
"Oh look, they're fighting." Malon rolled her eyes and then spoke with a deep voice to mimic them. "We're men, we're tough and we like to fight. If we're not fighting then we're not being men, because we are men and we must fight. Hey, I like rolling around on the ground with men, it's not gay, it's manly, because we need to be manly, since we're men."
"Your horrible," Zelda laughed splashing Malon a little. "Besides, don't you like watching them wrestle with each other?" Zelda's gaze hung over the three boys.
Malon and Ilia quickly shared a look before Malon grabbed Zelda into a hug. She pressed her cheek against Zelda's, "So…Zelda…who ya looking at. You're answer could end with you drowning."
"I-I'm not looking at anyone," Zelda quickly ushered back. But truthfully…how many times in her life did she get to watch as they shirtless, in-shape boys wrestle with one another. The only men she ever saw that were in-shape were covered in armor. She was still getting use to the cultural shock of how much skin was shown in Ordon.
"mmhmm," Malon didn't believe that for a second.
"I just think…they're all…good looking." Zelda admitted sheepishly.
"You're so adorable!" Malon almost squealed as she hugged Zelda tighter. "You're so innocent sounding."
"Well what about you then?" Zelda inquired fully knowing the answer.
Malon backed off casting her eyes down. "I'm sure you've been told by now I have a small thing for Blaine."
"Big thing," Ilia corrected with a sly smile.
"Shut up," Malon shoved Ilia so she tipped over and her head went under the water before she surfaced taking in a big breath of air. "But you!" She pointed a strong finger at Zelda. "You are living with Link, the womanizer, how many moves has he made on you so far?"
Zelda smiled knowingly, "None that were serious."
"It's always a joke until you say yes." Ilia countered.
Zelda didn't exactly want to be talking about Link in front of Ilia, knowing how she felt, but if she avoided the topic too much it would undoubtedly be obvious. Link told her the best way to deal with it was to act like she didn't know. It wouldn't help the situation if Ilia thought Link was telling people. So, she had to go on conversing but didn't want to hurt Ilia's feeling at the same time. Then again…why would Malon bring it up fully knowing about Ilia?
"I've dealt with people like Link before, you don't have to worry about me." Zelda had never dealt with anyone like Link before, but she knew he'd never make a serious move on her…at least she thought.
"Why'd you look sad when you said that?" Malon questioned rather seriously.
"What?" Zelda had no idea she was making any kind of expression. "I wasn't-"
"You were," Ilia agreed staring at Zelda.
Malon gasped loudly putting two hands over her mouth. "You like Link."
"I do not!" Zelda cried out so loudly the boys stopped wrestling to stare at her as well. Zelda felt embarrassed as the three pairs of eyes stared at her. She found herself slipping down until her head was barely above the water wishing she could become a Zora for the moment and hide under the surface forever.
"Everything okay!" Troy called out.
"Yes!" Malon yelled back. "You guys just keep having your threesome!"
She thought that would stop them from wrestling but it had the opposite effect.
"Oh Blaine, hold me closer!" Link moaned.
"Only if Troy never lets go," Blaine cooed.
"Never Blaine, I promise!" Troy dramatically claimed.
"Now look what you did Malon," Ilia deadpanned.
"Come join us already!" Malon yelled.
The three boys stood up and dashed into the water. There running became awkward with high steps as the water came up to their knees. Once they got closer to the water all three simultaneously jumped and crashed into the water, causing a large splash to cover the three girls. Thus began the ever cliché and overplayed water wrestling and splashing amongst the group. Link snuck up behind Malon and wrapped his arms around the waist before throwing her lightweight body over his back. She screamed and plunged underneath. Ilia revenged her by jumping onto Link's back when Troy shoved Link hard enough in the chest to push them both underneath the water. Zelda even partook by making a quick deal with Blaine to climb on his shoulders to gain a superior advantage. The arms race of water fighting soon skyrocketed as Malon climbed onto Link's shoulders and Ilia onto Troy's. Now they all shoved, pulled, and toppled over until they all grew too tired to wrestle anymore.
"Didn't think Zelda would be so heavy," Blaine laughed out of breath.
"Excuse me?" Zelda screeched which caused everyone to laugh.
"Imagine that, something wrong with her," Ilia muttered but everyone still heard it. And awkward cloud cast over the group as they grew silent. "Must be tough to have everyone flock to you all the time," The group was shocked she just said that but Ilia shrugged uncaring, "Sorry." She floated on her back and slowly drifted away.
"Someone doesn't like me." Zelda half smiled trying to play it off.
Link could see how upset she was by that. "Hey, I wanna show you something." He held out her hand and she took it allowing him to lead her away. Link led her to the U-shaped waterfall and plunged underneath the down pouring water. Zelda could see him on the other side since the falling water was thin and clear. He motioned for her to come under and she did.
"We climb," He smiled, "You first." He showered her the various hand holds to grab on.
"Not sure I can?" She admitted.
"Sure you can," Link gave another cheery smile, "I'll help you."
"Will you catch me if I fall?" She asked slightly worried.
"It's not even ten feet," He deadpanned.
"So then no?"
"No, no, I will," Link chuckled. He held out his hands for her to step into for a boost up. "Let's go."
Zelda set her petite foot cautiously in Link's hands and strategically placed her hands on the two rocks Link pointed to earlier. Link boosted her up and Zelda moved quickly to climb. The rocks were slippery from the water and at one point she slipped slightly. Link was quick to keep her steady.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Zelda growled.
"I'm keeping you from falling."
"Get your hand off my butt."
"But you'll fall."
Zelda huffed and readjusted her grip by planting a foot on Link's face. "There I have leverage now." She pressed off and was soon over the top.
"Man, some people just can't say thank you." Link told himself before climbing to the top himself. He found Zelda waiting for him, standing in the shallow waist high water. Her arms were crossed and she didn't look too happy. "I know, I know."
"What gives her the right!" Zelda hissed. "To judge me like that."
"I know," Link pumped his hands downward.
"I try and be nice, I really try." Her hands waved around wildly as she spoke. It was a habit she had when she was upset.
"I know you do," Link spoke gently. He rarely saw Zelda upset but it's happened once or twice.
"She just hates me, and that's fine, she doesn't have to like me but don't ruin everyone's fun over something so stupid." Zelda was attempting to pace back and forth angrily but in the waist high water it wasn't working too well. "I'm sorry she likes you, but not liking me out of what – stupid jealously? Why doesn't she hate Malon then? Or any other girl, why just me."
Link wanted to smile seeing her so adorably upset over a person not liking her. "Sorry I'm just so irresistible, honestly, I hate seeing woman fight over me."
Zelda took in breath and clenched her fists. She marched over to him, "This is serious, I can't have people not liking me."
Zelda looked confused for a moment. "Well…because, that's why."
Link laughed slightly and laid his hands on Zelda's arms. He brushed them gently, "I know it sucks to have someone not like you, but Ilia is my friend. She's just being a little jealous we both know why. Let's just move passed it okay." Link squatted down into the water and pulled Zelda down with him. He expected her to simply lower herself as well, what he didn't expect was for her to sit on his knees in the water. She straddled them facing towards Link and placed one hand on his shoulder while the other moved in the water to help maintain balance. It would be impossible outside of water but with half floating it worked fine. Link was just startled by her brazen move. He pushed it aside and continued to say what he was planning. "I took you up here not just to get away from her, but to once again, show you the beauty of this world."
Zelda gazed around and took in – for the umpteenth time – the lovely forest surrounding her. It had never ceased to amaze her and often times it literally took her breath away. The cool clear water was amazing enough but the stream that ran into the water was surreal. The calming noise of the water overlapping rocks and plunging into the water, only to combine musically with the small waterfall dropping into the lower pool filled Zelda's ears. The tall thriving trees surrounded the pool which gave some shade from the sun that peaked out now and again from the clouds as if a child playing a game. The lush forest waved back and forth as if an ocean of emerald in the calming wind that passed through. The shades of leaves danced on the top of the water as if spirits playing with one another. The calling of the birds and branches moved from busy squirrels hoping around. She could never imagine a place like this existed. The calm tranquility was overflowing where all senses were lost and nothing else could be in one's mind except peace.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" Link inquired.
Zelda nodded but didn't speak. Link didn't say anything more as they stayed still enjoying the absolutely beautiful scenery. Both lost a complete sense of time neither knew how long it had been since words were uttered. A minute, maybe two, or was a twenty. There was no way to know for sure, since in a place so void of civilization, time seemed lost. As if untouched by the world and left behind to bask in a time of perfection in nature. Zelda questioned how she ever thought being surrounded by stone was comforting, when the open world was so wonderful.
"I have a question to ask you." Zelda whispered since she really didn't want to say it let alone break the peaceful silence.
Link gave her a curious look, "Are you seducing me?" Zelda couldn't hide her small laugh which only egged Link on. "You are? You sat on my lap, and now you're asking me a question. Dear goddess, I didn't think you had it in you."
Zelda gave him a pointed look. "I have had classes in seducing you know, as well as, how to preventing said seducing. Why do you think I've been so good at stopping all your passes?"
"Oh is that why," Link laughed. "Please, tell me you had classes in pleasurable ways as well." It was a joke but the feint blush on Zelda's cheek confirmed Link's question. "I can't believe it! That's what you're taught as a Princess?"
"Shut up," She quickly defended. "I have to know everything okay, that includes…certain…things."
"Well that will make things smoother when you finally fall in love with me." Link smirked.
Zelda couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of Link. "You're too much Link." Zelda's mood suddenly sobered. "Really…you are."
"Uh oh." Link knew something was wrong instantly.
Zelda let out a shallow sigh. "Ever wonder if we could just…I don't know…escape?"
"Every day." Link replied quickly, and this startled Zelda as she stared at him with a bemused face. "It would be so easy to disappear into the wilderness. I know enough to keep us more than alive, we could thrive. There's other world's out there and…" Link trailed off feeling slightly embarrassed at what he was saying.
Zelda looked excited as she encouraged him. "I feel the same way. Later tonight, we could walk into the forest and never come back. Cross the seas or climb the mountains. Who knows what we'll discover out there. The adventure we could have, the places we'd see, the people we'd meet. Doesn't it sound fantastic?"
"It sounds perfect," Link smiled.
"I could imagine it, Link," Zelda's eyes were glazed over deep inside her own head. "We could get through anything, I know we could. I can see us so easily on a ship sailing where ever we want, without any worry overtaking us." Zelda's mood sobered once again as her imagination came crashing down. "But we can't."
Link smiled softly, "I know."
"I have too much at stake here."
"I know you do."
"And so do you." Zelda nudged him. "So are incredibly important to the villagers here."
Link groaned, "So people keep telling me. I don't know how."
"Link, you're more valuable than you realize, which is the problem." Zelda's hand moved to his neck and she stroked it gently by just bending a couple fingers. Link wasn't unaware of this, but he didn't stop it. "You'd easily run away with me, right?"
"I would," Link nodded.
"Which means you want to be near me."
Link was growing suspicious, "It does."
Zelda wanted to look him in the eyes when she asked but she found it difficult, so her eyes drifted downward. "Would you ever…come back to the castle when this – whatever this is…is done?"
"What?" Link was shocked, he did not expect that.
Zelda quickly raised her gaze and looked him in the eye. "You already said you want to follow me and that means you want to be near me. You would go to the ends of the world with me, so why not back to my castle with me. I know it sounds strange, but I feel the same way as you. I've grown use to being around you and never before have I had someone like you in my life. I don't want to just… I don't know." Zelda was speaking quickly but paused here to think better. "I would feel strange now to not have you around, and I think it would be a shame to not have you by my side."
Link pushed her back slightly still very confused. "Are you asking me to be a knight?"
"Yes, I mean, no…well, not exactly, you could be if you wanted, but, well…" Zelda took a breath to calm herself, she was usually more composed but asking Link this was nerve-racking. "Every ruler has that one person they trust undeniably with their life. My father had Lex, they were friends long before my father become King. Once the position for Captain of the Guard become open." Link's father making that happen but neither said it although both knew it. "My father instantly appointed Lex, because he knew he could trust him no matter what. Queen Rutela has Piscis, someone she knows will never betrayer her or harm her. General Dangoro is that person for the chiefs, always sworn to them with honor. Everyone has someone." Zelda moved closer to Link. "You are my person Link. I know I can trust you and you have the power to keep me safe. I cannot fight people myself, you know that, so someone like you is incredibly important."
"Ah, I see," Link wasn't sure but he felt saddened by what her actual intentions were. In that instant Link was starting to realize what he really felt towards Zelda. It didn't take much when looking back on the conversation. When she offered to leave with him, his hopes soared, even though he knew the idea wasn't real. The thought that she wanted him to come with her was uplifting, but now he realized it was only for protection purposes. He was proud that she regarded his skill so much she wanted him back at the castle, but he wished it was more than that…in some way at least. It was confusing to think about because he wasn't even sure what he was thinking. If she was any other girl, he'd have no problem thinking more of it, but she was royalty, so there was no reason to even think about it. So he didn't, or rather…he thought he didn't, but maybe he did. It was all too confusing.
"I know this idea doesn't exactly please you, but it would mean more than you could imagine to me." Zelda pressured him. "This village is incredibly important to you and it would be hard to leave, but you know I'd make sure this village is taken care of."
"Yeah, yeah." Link replied monotone. "I'll have to think about it alright."
"Of course," Zelda quickly said a little worried and withdrawn. "I just…want you at my side."
Link smiled at how ironic that was. It meant two completely different things. To Link, although he hated to admit it, he was starting to like Zelda more and more. Not her title or who she was on the outside, but all the little things. How she would try and go out of her way to sit with a bad posture, or how she was terrible at being funny but wished to be funny more than anything. He noticed all these little things, like how she brushed her hair for literally hours as she went around the house. It wasn't to fix it but it was what she did while she thought. It was cute to see her come up with an idea, rush over to her brush, and start brushing her hair just to think better. Living with her for the past few weeks let him know everything about her, and he loved what he saw. To be asked to stay with her was more rewarding than he thought it would be, and yet, at the same time it was deflating to know why. He was trying hard to not admit it to himself but with each passing second it was becoming more and more obvious. He couldn't have feeling for Zelda, he just couldn't. She was a Princess, hell a Queen. He was over thinking this, he knew it, but he couldn't help it. Could he actually have serious feelings for Zelda….?
"You should choose your words carefully," Link spoke softly, "One could get confused."
Zelda very slowly moved in and barely placed her lips on Link's, as if trying to do it so he didn't notice. She didn't pull back so when she spoke her lips brushed his. "The times are confusing, but not us."
As soon as Link was over his shock he wrapped his arm around Zelda's neck making sure she couldn't pull away. He looked her in the eyes and said. "Zelda-"
"Link!" Blaine shouted from below. "Link!" the sound of his voice was enough to stop them by how worried it sounded.
"What is it!" Link shouted back letting go of Zelda and standing up.
Zelda breathed rapidly and Link worried if she was having a panic attack. He placed an arm on her back. "Zelda."
She quickly turned to him and grabbed his shoulder. "Link, I need to know now, right now. Will you fight for me?"
"You know I will," Link answered seriously.
"Will the villagers fight for you?" Zelda pressed.
"It will be hard to rally them behind me, but they can rally behind you. Please, Link, will you help me."
Link grabbed her hand. "Yes, you know I will. I made a promise I will keep it."
"We need to go, quickly." Zelda made her way to the edge of the higher pool. She jumped off without hesitation which startled Link since she was so nervous about the height before. Link followed after her down to where the rest of his friends were.
"How do you know?" Link questioned Blaine.
"Colin just came and told us." Troy answered for his friend nodding at the boy standing nervously to the side. "Why would they come here?"
Link placed one hand on Blaine's shoulder and his other one on Troy's shoulder. "Do you have my back?"
"What?" Blaine looked confused.
"There isn't time," Link hissed. "I haven't told you everything, and I swear I will. But I need to know, no matter what happens next, will you have my back?"
"Of course," Blaine replied placing his hand on Link's shoulder.
"Absolutely," Troy answered seriously placing his hand on Link's shoulder.
"You two are my brothers," Link told them.
"And you ours," Blaine choired back.
"Then let us go," Link hurried out and luckily the three guys all brought their weapons to the swimming hole. A quick whistle to Achilles woke the wolf and he chased after the group. They didn't bring any other clothes and would have to go in just their swimming trunks. The three women threw on their loose cowls and hurried off after the boys.
The run through the forest wasn't long but the pace Link was making caused the girls to fall behind slightly. Troy and Blaine stayed right with him along with the wolf who dashed ahead slightly. He always had to be first, it was simply his mentality.
"Link what's going on?" Blaine pressed him.
"Everything will be explained," Link looked at him. "I just need you to have my back."
"We do," Troy told him, "We just want to know for what?"
"For starting a war," Link answered heatedly.
Blaine and Troy gave each other a look before nodding. They grew serious and would follow Link to wherever he led them. That's what friends do.
When they entered into the village they saw a crowd gathering around the entrance. They were standing on a hill so they could see over the crowd and see three Gerudo along with a cart. They stopped running but walking briskly towards the crowd. The crowd was in a U-shape, the open part is where the Gerudo stood with the entrance to Ordon behind them. When Link grew closer he told Troy to go to one end and Blaine the other, while he stood in the center. He would control the flow of the crowd if he had to.
Out of nowhere Rusl appeared and grabbed Link's arm. "Do not do anything stupid."
Link met his eyes angrily, "I won't say a word unless Zelda is put into harm's way. Then I will act, and do not stop me."
Rusl spat on the ground before walking away. Link felt bad that tensions with Rusl had grown so hot recently, they haven't been getting along at all lately. Rusl was like a father to Link but they couldn't stop fighting. Maybe someday they'd connect again, but Link couldn't see it happening soon. Link saw Rusl walk back over to Bo and Vex, among some other higher members of the village. He saw one of them was holding a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, along with a few goblets.
Zelda appeared next to Link, "Have they spoken yet?"
"No." Link looked at her to see she pulled the hood of the cowl up and kept it covering her face. She tucked her wet hair beneath the hood and kept it wrapped in the front.
"That's not good. If they wanted a deal they'd take Bo aside and speak, but they want to speak to everyone. They are going to try and control the crowd to swing in their favor, so Bo can only agree to what they say."
Link looked at her. "You know these games of words and politics, take control, and tell me what to say."
Zelda nodded. "We cannot stop them from speaking, it will only make us seem worse. Let them say what they have to say, and then we shall counter and make the people follow us. Ordon hates Gerudo from the days of long past, and they love you."
"But they also don't like you," Link reminded.
"Well, let's hope they love you more than they hate me." Zelda chuckled morbidly.
"What's going on," Ilia demanded.
"Not now," Link told her.
Ilia didn't like that so she walked away, most likely heading for her father.
"Link, is something wrong?" Malon asked worriedly.
Link didn't answer because he wasn't exactly sure what to expect.
"Link," Zelda called his name to make sure he was listening, which he already was. "They will ask for bread and wine. Do not give it to them. That will mean they are under the peaceful agreements of invitation into a village. Do not let them or whatever happens we will lose the will of the goddess. As soon as they speak, I need you to step out into the circle so they see you. Be careful what you say, but make sure the villagers are looking to you for their voice, not Bo or Rusl. This way we can control the response."
Link wasn't exactly a fan of overstepping his boundaries against Bo and Rusl. But it sounded like Zelda knew what she was doing. "How will I know what to say?"
"They will make strong cases for why the villages should be on their side, call them liars and untrustworthy. Keep their honor in question, make sure to say how Ganondorf sacked the castle. You Ordonians hate those that don't fight fair, so play on that."
"I feel you should be doing this." Link grimaced. Link could rally people behind him easily enough, but that's only when everyone was already with him. He was good at getting their adrenalin going, not convincing them to follow him if they had a better offer. Not in this, since these matters were far above his head."
"People of Ordon," A Gerudo that was tall and thin greeted. He had a bright wide smile with white teeth and never seemed to stop smiling. "We have traveled for days, please, could we have some bread and wine."
"Go no," Zelda ushered. She glanced over at Bo to see him being handed the bread and wine to step out. "Quickly."
Link gathered his courage and stepped through the crowd. He stood tall and proud, his sharp cerulean eyes gleaming out from his wet bangs. He was shirtless with the Master sword slung across his back, making him look like a true warrior of Ordon. If that wasn't enough, Achilles following at his heels through the crowd and standing at his side once they were in the open certainly gave a very Ordon vibe.
"Speak first," Link called out, drawing the attention of everyone. They stepped back to let him walk into the center easily. "You will be held accountable for your words, so choose them wisely. If you do not offend us, you shall be given wine and bread."
The Gerudo never stopped smiling making Link wonder if he expected that all along. "Are you Link, the hero of the tournament?"
"I am." Link spoke strongly, making sure not to sound weak or unsure.
"My name is Dara," The man introduced himself. "The tournament cheated you, you should've been champion."
"I appreciate that, but it was only a game, no need for more words on the matter," Link didn't want to sound like a boy still upset about something that happened weeks ago.
"Nevertheless, I also wish to apologize on behalf of King Ganondorf about the soldiers attacking you. They were ordered to fight anyone with a sword that wasn't Gerudo. Many didn't recognize you, and I hope you do not hold ill will towards those that are not smart enough to be more than a common soldier."
Link didn't respond because he wasn't entirely sure how, the man was making good points.
"Furthermore, I also have been told that it was Gerudo who released you from prison and then you slew those two liberators," The man finally stopped smiling and looked disappointed. "That's in poor taste don't you think? But we will forgive that since we understand you were overwhelmed and weren't sure who to trust."
Link could hear the people murmuring behind him, it was sounding bad for him. Killing the two people that set you free definitely doesn't sound very honorable, but he couldn't exactly explain that now.
"People of Ordon!" The man shouted. "Please listen to my words. I know our histories are not all olive branches but here I stand hoping to extend the first one. You have heard many rumors of what is taking place at the Castle. I am here to tell you that King Terrel is no more, so rejoice! Your oppression is over, you can start anew. King Ganondorf wishes for you to join him in the building of a new nation, with Gerudo and Ordon on top. Long have the three kindred of Hyrule, Zora, and Goron ruled these lands barricading us to our desert and you to your forest. We are now the rulers, you can join us and become a great nation like before. King Ganondorf knows your value, and wishes for you to enter into his Kingdom as brothers. Yes, we may not have fought the King in the most honorable way, but it was the smartest way. Now, we ask you to be equally as wise and embrace us as brothers so we can work as one to rebuild our two great nations."
Link was trying to think of something to say in return but he was having trouble with coming up with anything. The man admitted to the sneaky way they won the fight but didn't seem to care, which meant Link couldn't exactly attack it. He had to say something so he said the only thing that came to mind. "What's the catch? There must be one?"
The man smiled brightly and Link grew worried he just walked into a trap. "Yes, there is but one. You must be aware that your hero Link did not return alone, he arrived with a girl." The crowd began whispering to one another since they all knew that Dara was speaking of Zelda. "It is this girl we want. You hand her over we know you mean to be our allies, and we will welcome you into the reign of King Ganondorf."
"Why do you want Zelda?" Someone shouted from the crowd.
The emissary's grin dropped. "You know about her?"
"The poor girl who lost her family from your absurd surprise attack," Someone else said.
The man thought a moment before smiling brightly. "She didn't even change her name, imagine that." He laughed a little, finding this moment too easy. "Let me tell you about that girl that Link 'rescued'. She is no mere girl or refugee from a battle. She is more important than anyone else in the land. She was not some tavern girl, or stable maid, or servant, or whatever identity she created. She is – no other than Zelda Hyrulianne – the Princess of this country." The crowd gasped and starting speaking loudly but Dara shouted over them. "You brother, Link, has taken her from the castle and brought her to Ordon! This can be forgiven, but you understand the need that Ganondorf has with her! Hand her over and you shall enter into the Kingdom of Ganondorf."
"So you can kill her!" Link exclaimed, finding this situation going very badly.
"No!" The man sounded disgusted by that idea. "To return to the castle, she will not be harmed or killed. But her place is not here."
"To be a prisoner!" Link yelled.
"Of course," Dara smiled, "Surely you can't be naïve enough to think we can let her go. Don't worry, she will be safe, no one will touch her, she may even marry if she so chooses. She will be a political prisoner, something many people would actually prefer over their life. She will get anything she wishes, travel where she wants, she can do anything. She will simply be under watch to make sure she doesn't lead a rebellion and throw this land into chaos. Think about it people of Ordon. Handing this girl – who means nothing to you – over to us is all it takes to soar high in the realm of King Ganondorf. What's stopping you? You should be throwing her at us, and to sweeten the deal." The emissary motioned his hand and the two guards with him pulled a cover off the cart to reveal a pile of gold and silver and rupees. A mixture of coins to plates to candle sticks, the cart was overflowing with valuables. "This is yours, for the girl. Then accept King Ganondorf as the true King, and you will be able to live truly where you're meant to be, above those other's that put you down."
"Take it!" Someone shouted.
It was the last thing Link wanted to hear, because now more and more people were gathering behind that one man. In retrospect it made complete sense for them to do this. Handing Zelda over would make everything better, but Link couldn't allow that. His mind flashed back to the pool of water only moments ago, talking with her about running away, and then the feel of her delicate lips on his. How could he ever let something like that happen? There must be something he could say to stop this, but he couldn't think of anything. He had no argument for why Ordon shouldn't hand over Zelda. He had personal reasons for keeping her, but to others, especially those who haven't met her, they could care less. His mind lit up with one defense.
"Brothers!" Link shouted facing the crowd. "It sounds wonderful, it sounds amazing, but your forsaking the life of a human being. Zelda, you've met her, you've spoken with her. She is not just some Princess on a throne. She's a person, she hasn't been hiding, she never changed her name. She didn't wish to lie to you, she simply didn't want the attention. I have spent time with her, she's sweet, caring, and kind. Lara!" Link shouted looking for the woman. "Lara, if you're here, you'll agree how caring she is."
"I do!" Lara's voice rang out from the crowd somewhere.
"And there are so many others out there, I know, speak up, don't be afraid. They say she won't be harmed, but how can we be sure. What's to say she won't be thrown in a dungeon to feed on rats and raped until she begs for death!" Link hated saying that but it was an honest worry. "We cannot place such a fate on the girl, please, think about her."
"That's not fair to us!" Someone shouted, people kept using the crowd to hide who they were. "We all know the Gerudo need her, they aren't saying it but they will invade to get her. It only makes sense. Why should we fight for her and risk our lives."
"Listen to yourself!" Link screamed enraged. "Afraid to fight!" Link called out looking among the circle. "How dare you say such words within this village! You should rejoice at the chance to draw your blade. I am ashamed to hear you say that. You should jump at the chance to fight in a war, no matter the cause. That's who we are, you're getting caught up in political details. The only thing that matters is the Gerudo are threatening us to hand over a person many of us have come to know and love for the sake of being afraid to fight. That's disgusting!" Link screamed.
"He's right!" The voice belonged to Blaine as he stepped out from the crowd into the opening. "He shouldn't fear anyone and I have come to love Zelda as one of the village. She is a wonderful person, and I will never hand her over so we can get some gold. When did me make deals with our enemies…enemies that can't fight fair!" Blaine roared and some people cheered behind him.
"I have come to know Zelda as my sister!" Troy shouted stepping out from the crowd as well. "This isn't a title, this is a girl! You are condemning her because you have forgotten who we are. We have become soft and sullen over the decade. I say, we grab hold of our balls, draw our blades, and slay these slanders."
Even more people cheered but other's shouted their protests. It was a lot of arguing going around but Link and the emissary never stopped glaring at each other.
"People of Ordon!" He shouted. "I do not want to make threats, but Gerudo's army is massive compared to your village. Now we have sworn countless knights and families to our cause. Emissaries are arriving in Zora's domain and Death Mountain as we speak. Why would they pass up this chance? Fighting is indeed honorable, but you already fought the land of Hyrule once before, do you really wish to fight it again? Be wise, handing this girl over, who I promise on Din, no harm will come to her. She's a princess hiding among wolves, she does not belong here."
There was more arguing among the crowd.
"Hand her over, let's get on with our lives!"
"She's just a girl!"
"She's a princess! This is her duty!"
"We can't fight the world again, we'll perish!"
"We can fight anyone, let them come!"
It went back and forth as nothing could be decided. Link wanted to persuade them more but wasn't sure how. He looked at Rusl to only see him shake his head. It angered Link but he knew on the inside, that even Rusl was at a loss. Suddenly the crowd grew silent and Link looked back to see Zelda had stepped into the center. She pulled the hood of the cowl off her stood tall staring at the emissary who seemed completely shocked she made an appearance.
"Brothers and Sisters of Ordon!" She shouted. "You now know who I am. I did not mean to hide it from you, if you asked I would've told you without hesitation. Have I ever asked any of you to fight for me? I have not because I did not want you involved, I did not recruit people for any army. They fear a rebellion but I had no mind for that. I was hoping to go on living here as just a normal person." Link knew this was all lies but the point was to win favor among the crowd. "Now I know that the Gerudo could never let me live peacefully, I am so sorry to have dragged you into this."
"Do not listen to this wenches lies!" The emissary called out desperately. "She is plaguing your mind."
"Silence him!" Zelda called out scaring everyone at how venomous she sounded. Link quickly acted and rushed over to the man. He grabbed him by the shoulder and forced him onto his knees. The two guards made to move on Link but the boy knew his friends had his back. Troy and Blaine both rushed out to the guards, who were focusing on Link, didn't notice the two Ordonians behind them. They disarmed the guards and then swiftly forced them onto their knees. Now all three Gerudo were on their knees in no position to retaliate. Link nodded at his two friends who returned the nod.
"I let you speak now let me speak!" Zelda called out with a serious tone in her voice Link had never heard. "This man is the one playing with your mind. I have let him speak so you can hear your options, and I grant you they sound nice but only on the outside I assure you. I will die if I'm handed over, that's a fact. You are more than welcome to hand me over still, I simply wish for you to be fully aware of what you're doing. I cannot stop a whole village but let me at least explain why it would be better to not give me to them."
"Speak!" Bo called out which made sure no one would say otherwise.
The emissary spoke hotly from his knees, "King Ganondorf will never-"
"Lord Ganondorf!" Zelda exclaimed angrily. "Is a usurper to my throne! He has murdered thousands including woman and children. Link and I witnessed Gerudo soldiers throwing mere children off buildings. They are ruthless in their captures and have no honor. They did not fight fair so why should we trust anything they say. This man has said countless times how you may raise high in the Kingdom of Ganondorf." Zelda spat on the ground. She kept surprising Link with her manner. "Sounds like you'll be under another king to me," Zelda looked around chuckling morbidly. "I know Ganondorf, I've met him and spoken with him. He is the only one that wants to be in charge. You submit to him, it will seem like you're allies at first. He will send down carpenters to help build a bigger city, he will send countless help for Ordon. He will take away your taxes and give you money and technology. That's true, but soon that help will stay longer and longer, until the population in Ordon is at least half Gerudo. It will be slow and you won't notice but this is how he will take over Ordon. Not with force or money, but by sheer manipulation. You will find yourself with Gerudo running the village and won't be able to do anything about it. Ganondorf does not want you as a brother in his Kingdom, he wants you as slaves like the rest of the world. He is simply smart enough to know how to go about getting it. I beg you think about what I say and realize how it makes sense. How you can see Ganondorf slipping in more and more men with some excuse or another until he controls the village."
Zelda paused to make sure everyone was listening to her. "Now you're asking yourself, why should you follow me? I'll tell you why. I can give you anything you ever want. As I stated before, the emissary claimed to allow you into the Kingdom of Ganondorf. Well, what if you don't want to be a part of his Kingdom? Doesn't Ordon just want to be left alone, not deal with the rest of Hyrule? You don't need Hyrule, yet they won't leave you alone. If I'm put back on my throne, I will make you your own nation once again, and you won't have to deal with Hyrule. Or, if you want to be a part of something bigger, I will welcome you into my realm if that's what you wish. It will be up to you and I will respect whatever you choose."
"Why should we trust you over them?" Someone from the crowd asked.
"Good question," Zelda nodded. "It comes down to one thing, do you trust me or Ganondorf? You have met me, spoken with me, and you know me. The only thing you didn't know was my title, but I did not hide myself or act differently. What you think of me, is really me. You know you can trust me, at least, better than Ganondorf. A man who has betrayed his King, snuck men into a castle to slaughter everyone, rape, pillage, and absolutely destroy everything. Now, after all this, he comes to you offering you peace, can you trust him? I have done nothing to you, my father is the man you hate, and I am not my father. I believed he was wrong and I will change his wrong doings. You can hand me over to Ganondorf, you can easily do that and take your risk with a man who's proved he's a lying, thieving, feckless, thug. Or, you can put your faith in me, someone who has only shown Ordon kindness. Link, Blaine, and Troy all will help me, can they not be trusted? Ask anyone, even Rusl, he knows me, he knows I mean the best for everyone."
This was sounding pretty good to Link and he was glad Zelda knew what she was doing. It was definitely giving more options than simply handing her over.
Zelda kept going with her speech. "He's offered you this gold." Zelda motioned her hand at the cart. "More like trinkets," She laughed. "This is nothing compared to what belongs to my name. If you put me back on the throne, I could shower you with gold a hundred times this amount. So if only gold is on your mind, fight for me, and you will become some of the richest people in the world." Zelda paused and looked around. "Ordon, I am not commanding you, I am not threatening you, and I'm certainly not tricking you. I am begging you for help. You are some of the greatest people in Hyrule and have been abused. I am sorry, and I will fix that. Imagine, for one moment. Who would like you more and be far more grateful? Ganondorf, the man ever afraid of a rebellion from Ordon and trying his hardest to take you out of the picture or how about the teenage girl that is beyond thankful for helping her in her time of need. Ganondorf doesn't need you, and therefore, you're expendable. To me, you're everything I have left, and that means I cherish you more than life itself. It's up to you Ordon, please think wisely."
Zelda finished and no one said a word so Link took his role. "I will gladly fight for you my Princess." Link even went down to one knee to show how serious he meant.
Blaine and Troy shared a nod before speaking together. "As will I." They both went down on one knee as well making sure to keep an eye on the guards near them in case they made a move. There was a small worry that they'd be the only three but as they looked around, one person went down, then another, then more.
"She raises a good point!" A person shouted. "We'll be thankful for us to help her, more than Ganondorf, a person we know we can't trust." More people agreed as they bent their knees as well.
"You have my axe!" Vex yelled out over everyone and knelt down. "I trust you Princess."
"I believe what's best for Ordon, resides with Princess Zelda!" Bo called out and knelt down. This was what caused the rest of Ordon do follow. They trusted Bo, and if Bo did it then they knew it must be a good idea. They bent their knees and soon everyone was on their knee. The only person who wasn't…was Rusl. Link glared at him but his gaze was lost since Rusl was staring at Zelda. Zelda met his gaze strong and only looked away to speak to the people of Ordon again.
"You bless me with your undying kindness," Zelda put her hands together against her chest. "I will not let you down, and I will repay you in the future. That is, as soon as we rid these rats from my house."
"You filthy wench!" Dara shouted from his knees. Link was going to shut him up but a quick look at Zelda informed him to let him speak. He wasn't sure why but he knew by now to trust her. "The armies of King Ganondorf have undying loyalty. There are thousands that will fight. You think we will ignore this injustice and vulgar hatred towards our people. King Ganondorf will retaliate in full and you measly village will be crushed. You children thrown into fires and your woman raped before a tile tied to their feet and thrown into the rivers. You dare defy the Great King Ganondorf! You are fools that will all die, I promise you that, you will all die!"
"Do not fear him Ordon," Zelda said calmly, "He is afraid and therefore Fate thinks ill of him. Remain strong and Fate will protect us all."
"Fate has nothing to do with it!" The emissary screamed. "You wolves think you're so tough, even a wolf can be overrun by rats. And what, this Princess who hides among you wolves makes you think she'll keep you safe. That she gives you some right to fight. You're wrong, she is nothing but a little girl and she is leading you into the fires of hell."
"Then what a ride it shall be!" Link laughed loudly. "Do you think you're little threats scare us? You're pathetic, keep crying and maybe we'll let you go out of pity."
"Damn you all to the deepest levels of Hell!" He cried out. "You'll be dead soon enough, that includes you Princess hiding among wolves. Just like your stupid father and wimpy mother who died quite horribly I hear."
Zelda fumed instantly and Link could clearly see it. She marched right up to the man. "You ask for the Princess hiding among wolves? Well here she stands."
She unexpectedly grabbed hold of the Master sword on Link's back. She drew it quickly and braced it with both hands. She raised the handle high and inverted it so the point was down. Without hesitation but a slight grunt of effort she jabbed the man right between the neck and shoulder, breaking his collar bone and sliding the blade down into his heart, killing him instantly. She put a foot on the man's chest as she yanked the sword out of him. She held onto it with one hand which caused the tip to hit the ground since she didn't have the strength to keep it completely up.
She grabbed the guard on the left by his hair and made him look forward to look right at Achilles. "And there's the wolf. Achilles, feast!" She exclaimed ferociously as she tipped the man's head back to reveal his throat. The wolf was happy to oblige the order as it dashed forward growling. It dove on the man, knocking him over, digging into his throat as his cries became gurgled over the blood. Once he was dead Zelda commanded Achilles to stop and he did. Not even taking a second longer to listen.
She moved to the last guard, "Hold out your hand you care least about."
"Please, mercy." He begged.
"This is mercy," She growled.
He very slowly stretched out his left hand and Zelda held the sword, with two hands, high above her. She brought it down as hard as she could but it missed the hand and dug into the dirt. "On second thought, you may need two hands to ride. Take this gold back to your usurper Lord and tell him he better bring his army next time for I am not moving."
The guard scampered onto his feet and dashed to his boar.
"Wait!" Link cried out and didn't miss the glare Zelda gave him. He ignored it. "Take your brothers." The blonde gestered to the two men dead on the ground.
"What do we care about them?" Zelda questioned him emotionlessly.
"Never disrespect the dead, no matter who they are." Link told her before lowering his voice to a whisper. "You know that."
"Fine." She agreed and Link wasn't thrilled by the fact it sounded like she was 'allowing' him to do what he wanted.
The Gerudo moved to one of the dead bodies and Link helped him lift it. Troy and Blaine lifted the other one and threw them on the cart. Once they were on, the Gerudo quickly got on top of the cart and fled the scene as fast as the cart would move.
Zelda stood watching him flee. The cowl blowing slightly in the wind, her hair would if it was soaking wet sticking to her back and a few strands to her face. She held the sword in one hand and let the tip rest on the ground in front of her. The blood ran down it staining the blades of grass and causing the sword to glimmer in crimson. Her grip was tight on the handle with her other hand balled into a fist. Her eyes held monstrous heat as she glared at the Gerudo riding away. Her lips twisted into a very small but satisfying smile. Her swimwear could be seen underneath the cowl in the breeze. There were some splatters of blood on her flawless white skin. She had a completely bloodthirsty look about her. Welcoming the feeling of death with open arms, she didn't seem to care in the slightest she just took someone's life, but rather, enjoyed it.
Link had never been more attracted to her which gave him rather conflicting feelings at the moment.
Everyone stood around unsure of what to do next. The crowd mumbled to one another as they stared at the newly discovered Princess. She made no move in any way which left everyone on edge as they watched her.
Link stepped over to her. "That was…unexpected."
Zelda shoved the sword into Link's chest. "It had to be done."
Link took the sword from her grip but didn't sheath it since it was stained with blood. "Now what?"
Blaine and Troy approached Zelda and Link. "So…you're really Princess Zelda?" Blaine asked.
"I am." She answered soundly.
"Well that's…something." Troy phrased.
"Thanks for your support," Zelda told them both.
"Umm…no problem…I guess." Blaine scratched the back of his head trying to understand everything.
Suddenly Bo appeared next to the group of teens. "Princess, Link, please follow me to my cabin. I'd like to discuss matters."
Zelda nodded. "Very well." Her tone was strong and professional which took most people who heard her by surprise. Anyone in the village that spoke with Zelda knew her as an overly nice teenage girl that was very friendly. What they just witnessed and continued to hear, is a very mature monarch-like figure. "Come Link."
"Uh yes." Link was slightly taken aback by the order she just gave him.
"Please!" Bo shouted to the surrounding villagers. "I will explain everything further soon. I do believe we made the right decision and the council and I will begin planning for the future of this village. I will not keep anything from you, do not worry. But, go about your day, do not let this hold you back in fear."
This was supposed to cause the crowd to separate but no one moved. Why would they? They just discovered Zelda was the Princess of Hyrule and she was standing right in front of them. Bo began walking towards his house with Zelda and Link in tow. The crowd split to allow the passage and as Zelda passed, they went down on one knee. It was slow at first but soon it caught on and it was like a wave in one fluent movement.
Zelda stopped walking and held up her hands wide. "Brothers and Sisters, please, do not bow. It makes me feel awfully uncomfortable." She giggled in a way that Link could only think too perfectly. "Be yourself and I shall be myself. I do not wish for you to treat me any differently."
She then continued following after Bo with Link walking behind her with a bemused face. He was trying to keep up with Zelda's mood changes and sudden exclamations. She could switch back and forth between regal and teen-like for whichever would suit her better. It was exhausting to keep up with. Only moments ago she was completely like a regular teen in the water but now she was more Queen-like than ever. Link wasn't sure if he was supposed to act like himself, or like a knight following after a Princess.
"Dad." Ilia stepped up alongside Bo. "I want to come to." Often times she sat in on meetings regarding the village. She cared deeply for the village and it showed with how involved she got.
"Not this time," Bo told her as he placed his large hand on her head. "This is only between Me, Rusl, Zelda, and Link."
Ilia was not happy hearing that and marched off, but only after giving Zelda a hard glare. Zelda didn't notice or simply didn't care since she had no reaction to it. Link looked over his shoulder to see the crowd slowly dispersing now that Zelda was walking away. Rusl joined the three of them on the way to Bo's house, and they walked silently until they entered the house. When they did, they all stood in the small living room, rather awkwardly. Link leaned the Master sword against the wall with the tip pointing on the ground.
"Shall we proceed?" Zelda inquired. "You might as will voice your displeasure now."
"You're damn right!" Bo exclaimed angrily. "You just killed emissaries protected by good faith."
"Didn't protect them that well," Link joked.
"Silence Link!" Bo screamed enraged. "This is a very serious offense, she has shamed Ordon in the eyes of the world. But that aside, you cannot simply make speeches and promises for a village you have no right to."
"Technically Ordon is under my authority." Zelda reminded harshly. Link was shocked, he never saw Zelda like this before.
"You have no authority," Rusl causally remarked as he leaned against a wall with his arms crossed. "Not while Ganondorf is on the throne."
"He is a usurper!" Zelda hissed. "That does not give him the right to anything."
"Power gives him the right to anything." Rusl argued.
Zelda took a calming breath before continuing. "I understand I may have gone too far."
"May have?" Bo looked appalled. "You spoke for this village, you forced my hand to go along with you."
"You could've thrown me to the Gerudo if you wished." Zelda countered.
"I would never do that," Bo said seriously. "But you have already implied a split of leadership in Ordon."
"What?" Link was also leaning against a wall with his arms crossed like Rusl. "No she hasn't."
"She has." Rusl's voice was soft, low, and calm.
"I don't think anyone is going to think they have to follow Zelda," Link shot back. "Especially not over Bo, you're exaggerating."
"Not me," Zelda spoke quietly turning around to face Link briefly. "You, Link."
"What?" Link was shocked by that.
"Yes, see, she is well aware of what she's doing." Bo accused.
"That is not my intent, I promise you. I merely wanted to show Ordon has a better option than submitting. Everything I said was true, I didn't lie. Siding with Ganondorf would be the downfall of Ordon. If you help me, you can rise-"
"Save the speech Princess," Bo cut her off.
"Hey she's right," Link backed Zelda up. "We can't trust Ganondorf."
"Obviously," Rusl growled. "We were never going to, but there was better ways to deal with this than how you handled it. Zelda wanted war, killing those two Gerudo was the war declaration."
"There is only war." Zelda pressed.
"Maybe so, but now we'll never know." Bo claimed.
"Fight for me-"
"We do not fight for you!" Bo exclaimed grabbing Zelda by her cowl she was wearing. "We fight for ourselves, and you have forced us to draw our blades for your selfish cause."
"Release me! I am the leader of this country!" Zelda cried. "This is not a selfish cause, this affects us all. I am not your enemy, I am your ally."
"Well that's pretty hard to tell." Bo hissed.
"Hey, let her go," Link was unsure of what was going on, he was confused, the entire situation was escalating so quickly it was hard to keep up with. Bo and Rusl took care of him as a kid, they were everything he believed in. But…they were against Zelda right now and he wanted nothing more than to back her up and protect her. Bo didn't need to grab her, they could discuss this, it didn't need to get violent. However, if it did, that's why Link was there for Zelda, wasn't he?
"Yes Link, protect the Princess," Rusl sung out from behind Bo. "After all, she is powerless without you. She knows that."
"I am not powerless!" Zelda screeched as she tried to free herself from Bo. "I am the Queen!"
"That is a title!" Bo shouted. "It means nothing without the power to back it up, case-in-point, Ganondorf."
Things were going too far, Link had to stop it. He stepped up to Bo and grabbed his hand. It was as far as he got before Bo released Zelda, grabbed Link's shoulder to hold him steady before swinging his fist straight into Link's face. The boy went flying back into the wall from Bo's absurd monster strength. He lied on the ground completely unconscious. Zelda gaped at the warrior knocked out. She looked frightened back at Bo.
Bo looked heatedly at Zelda. "Now Princess, I'm going to attack you with my fists, you protect yourself with your title. Let's see who wins."
"You wouldn't." Zelda looked at him worriedly. She hated to admit it, but she was counting on Link keeping her safe in this discussion. After all, he promised to protect her, she needed him. She wasn't the fighter.
"No he won't." Rusl stepped forward and put his hand on Bo's arm. "This is just to scare you Zelda, to make you understand. You cannot simply make claims and expect everyone to follow you. You do not get your way just because you're a Princess, or a Queen, or whatever you're title states. Because as you've just learned, you're title doesn't mean anything here. We are willing to help you, not only because we believe it's the right thing to do, but because it is also the smartest decision. We don't trust Ganondorf either, but saying that…we don't exactly trust you either. We're still trying to figure you out. Therefore, we did not like how you handled that situation. We will welcome you into the council meetings and discussions on this matter. No more trying to rally the people of this village behind Link. It may not be obvious to everyone but it's obvious to us. You are putting Link in the position to take leadership if need be."
Zelda fixed her hair and calmed herself. "It matters not, Link has refused the notion time and time again. He doesn't believe his importance to this village. And I just want to state, I'm not throwing a coup or anything of the sort. I simply wanted Link to understand his worth in this village."
"Don't act like you care about him," Rusl sounded upset.
"I do." Zelda was genuinely shocked by that accusation. "You think I don't?"
"I think you may be leading him on," Rusl told her.
There was a groan from the floor and everyone looked to see Link waking up. He sat up and rubbed his head. He looked around. "…did I get knocked out?"
"Yes." Bo told him without hesitation.
He got to his feet. "Are things that tense between us?" Link asked the honest question. "I'm sorry guys, but this needed to be done. We aren't betraying you, you know-"
"It's okay Link," Zelda cut him off. She looked at Bo and Rusl. "We've discussed it. I acted to hastily; I was a little afraid and nervous when the Gerudo came." Rusl snorted hearing that but Zelda ignored him and pressed on. "We cannot act ourselves again, we will take part in future meetings on the matters and councils."
"Sounds good," Link shrugged looking at Bo and Rusl. "Are we good?"
"It's fine," Bo waved him off.
"Alright." Link sounded unsure. He hated feeling like he was out of the loop. He rarely was but this seemed like one of those times when everyone else knew what was going on except him. "Rusl?"
"I'll speak with you tomorrow Link," Rusl told him, "I have to speak with Bo."
"If you say so." Link replied as he picked up the Master sword. He opened the door unsure and allowed Zelda to walk out first. He gave one last look at the two men who didn't say anything more. Achilles was waiting outside and was happy to see the two emerge. Link shut the door and followed after Zelda. "Where to now?"
"Back to your house," Zelda answered still sounding regal. Link wasn't entirely sure how he felt when she was like this.
They walked passed the crowd of people who didn't move since they were all gossiping. Things were changing in Ordon and everyone knew it. Now it was just a matter of knowing if the changes were good or not. Link watched as Zelda smiled brightly at them and gave a little wave. Link could tell the people were slightly…afraid. Not in actual fear but more so that they weren't sure how to deal with Zelda anymore. They just…stared. She told them not to kneel or anything, but was she just being polite? Should they still kneel? Link understood, Zelda having royal blood was a hard concept to grasp. But in his case, he was always easy to overcome titles. They didn't have much of an effect on him. He treated Zelda like a 'normal' Hylian and she acted like a 'normal' Hylian. That's what people needed to see. The Princess vibe was pretty strong, it needed to lower slightly because it was already distancing herself from the people. Link needed to remind everyone this was still Zelda.
Link realized he was walking behind Zelda and that held a certain look to it. It meant she was leading and he was following. That couldn't be. They needed to act the same.
Link quickened his pace until he stood next to Zelda. She glanced at him briefly. Link smirked before draping his arm casually across her shoulder and around her neck. "So." He said loudly. "What are you making for dinner tonight? I'm rather sick of the horrible mud you call stew."
Zelda briefly gave him a confused stare before she caught on. "I'd say you should cook but your dinners consist of a main course of meat, with a side of meat, with a bowl of meat, and a pint of ale." She gave him a friendly two-handed shove. It barely moved him but he laughed openly.
"Then I guess we'll just both cook tonight. I'll cook the meat and you make your mud or whatever you call it."
They were passed the crowd now and Zelda took a small peak behind her to see the faces look calmer. Some were even smiling and laughing at the pair. Zelda looked up at Link and whispered. "Thank you."
"Let's just go home," Link's voice didn't sound too pleased as he twisted the Master sword back and forth in his hand. The blood-stained blade looked weightless in his hand and Zelda knew it was far heavier than it appeared. He was thinking about the tension that was building a wide divide between Rusl and him.
"Are you upset?" Zelda inquired quietly but Link didn't respond. Zelda suddenly felt very small. She also felt shameful for reasons she couldn't explain. Her head lowered in response since no words came as she walked silently by Link's side back to the house.
I almost cut out the whole swimming scene because it's just so unoriginal and cliché but since I already typed it I figured I'd just leave it in there. So the ending of this chapter. First, I had Bo and Rusl being perfectly happy that Zelda decided Ordon's future, they backed her completely. Then, I realized that didn't make too much sense since she stepped out of place. So I wrote it again with Bo and Rusl furious at Zelda and Link but it came off too strong. So, I toned it down slightly, and this is what I ended with. Bo and Rusl mad at Zelda, but in an understandable way… I guess.
I hoped you liked this chapter, things are picking up again but not too much. I know this story moves really slowly, including the horrible updates, so I am sorry. But I do fully intend to finish this story, I love writing it and all the reviews I get are amazing. They really show me there's interest in this story and it makes me want to write the next chapter. Seriously, there is a direct correlation between the amount of reviews I get to updating faster. Show the story some love and it makes me want to write and get the next chapter out faster for you guys. Also, I'm sorry I didn't respond to your reviews like I normally do, I promise I will this time. So leave a review and let me know what you think of Zelda this chapter. She's not so simple after all. Good to see her strong willed once again, am I right? She's been more or less crying throughout most of this story so far, glad I could write her differently.