Every leader, whether it be in a government or another position, is subject to the shelter of a glass palace. Years and years are spent in the construction of these said palaces, during which quaint little details and grand displays are built, pane by pane, in order to create the most wondrous of palaces that would outweigh those of every other competitor who would dare challenge said leader's rule. It is these palaces that cause us to make initial impressions of those vying to be rulers, and it is based on these palaces that the public determines whether or not these rulers have the right to govern. And so it is that they install themselves in their glass abodes, biding the days away, making decisions and establishing goals from their glass thrones. From that point, we all follow.
That is, until one tiny crack appears in the palace walls and soon, public opinion takes on a completely new face. When one considers it, it really is fascinating to see what one tiny little blemish can do to the palace. From that one tiny crack in the wall, a ripple of splits will follow until the entire wall is taken by a spider web of a structure that continues to spread. As soon as that one spider web forms, it really is only a matter of time before the web engulfs the entire structure. One miserable day, the palace collapses, leaving a disgraced former ruler in the middle of all those shards that are digging into their skin, drawing blood that touches each piece of glass as the leader walks off into the distance, most of the time never to be heard from again.
Yet the above only speaks for those who remain in power with a large amount of legitimacy as seen by the people the ruler governs. Many a time, the proletariat are not in concordance and soon, stones are hurled, fires are lit, and without even a moment's consideration the commoners attack. Every pane in sight is completely destroyed, obliterated as pieces of glass rain from the upper levels. Corrupt rulers finish this way, and they watch every second during which their palaces are shattered, their safe haven extinguished. But there comes a time when every bit of corruption and deceit will look up to the skies and, in agony, shriek and scream for a saviour, cry "Save me!" over and over in a repeated fashion. And from up above, someone will look down, straight into their eyes, and reply either with a "I forgive you", or "No".
An answer the two heroes of our story are keen on delivering, as we join them in their crusade to destroy one certain glass palace, to shatter it to smithereens.
The Port of Termina was alive, but this day was quite different from any other sojourn at the harbour. Hyrulians had completely taken over the Port, hauling their few belongings with them, loading them onto a fleet of ships bound for the unknown. Crates of clothing, food, and barrels of water followed each other one by one into the bellies of ships. Beyond the giant wooden monsters, the blue sea extended far into the distance, glowing sapphire as the sun beat down upon the surface of the water. Occasionally, one curious fish leaped out of the sea, peeking at its surroundings, before deciding to sink back into the deep.
Not so distant away from the busy scene stood a two story inn, painted yellow to match the joyous atmosphere of the Port, and dotted with balconies that lined its walls. Clearly, the structure had been situated there for many a generation, as cracks now began to line the surface of a few particular places upon the inn. Upon entering, a small eating space was filled to the brim with Hyrulian soldiers, singing military songs and reciting rhymes while drinking from pints of ale. Young Terminian women coursed to and fro between the tables, serving the soldiers to the best of their ability, moving as fast as they possibly could. There was no time to be wasted, as the guests needed to be served.
At the rear of the eating hall was a flight of stairs that led to the upper level of the inn, revealing a long corridor with doors lined left and right, doorways of red that contrasted quite delicately with the yellow of the walls. Placing a hand on the handle of one particular door, any visitor would feel the gentle coolness of the brass that rotated with the slightest of touches, giving way to the most humble and modest of chambers that boasted the most proper of beds and the most scenic of decor. Well-sown tapestries lined the areas above the beds and tables, the latter of which were sculpted of the most malleable of wood. Next to the table was a doorway leading out into the morning sunshine, and a location to gaze over the entire Port upon a balcony.
It is upon this particular balcony where the Hero and Princess of Hyrule can both be found, taking in the bustling scene unfolding before them. Gallantly dressed, Link pulled at the maroon vest that Zelda had managed to obtain for him and adjusted the loose cuffs of his shirt. Link had decided to beget his green hat and tunic, which he would surely need for the journey to the seven Island Nations, leaving his golden hair to glow with an energy of its own in the sunlit atmosphere of the Port of Termina. At his side, Zelda had decked herself in a gown of silk that was the colour of a pink rose, and her hair was done up in an elegant updo that was so popular among Hylian women nowadays, leaving no strand of her hair the opportunity to brush her milk-white shoulders. Both were situated in the center of the balcony, biding their time away before someone would come to announce that they would be departing.
"How long, do you think?" inquired Zelda, her eyes absorbing every sight and her ears every sound.
"At this rate, about five more hours until we finally embark," replied Link. The Hero hadn't felt this peaceful since they left Hyrule almost a month ago. The journey to Termina had most definitely taken much longer than he had intended, and more than once Link's nerves had attacked him. At this instant, the Hero tugged at the edge of his vest, frowning at the gold buttons that lined the front from his chest down to his navel. Still appearing grim, Link turned to Zelda.
"As much as I appreciate you obtaining this for me, it's a little uncomfortable," he mentioned.
"Unfortunately, Lord Hur has never put on as much muscle as you have, and believe me it took quite a deal of persuasion to convince him that his vest should go to you," replied Zelda sharply, yet with a tone that was even a tinge coquettish.
"Lord Hur?" balked Link, "You had to give me his belongings?"
"Sh!" shushed Zelda, "You're much too loud at times. For all you know someone could've heard you!"
"How can I not be when you just gave me something from someone I hate?" exclaimed the Hero.
"You're also very childish and at times like these, it becomes especially clear that you used to live with the Kokiri. And secondly, you must know that really, many of Lord Hur's clothes are very becoming on you," refuted Zelda, who was evidently trying to hide a smile.
Link wisely decided to not pursue the matter further, and instead turned and made his way back into the chamber. Approaching the small oak table, the Hero grabbed a metal cup and with his other hand, a metal container. He watched as the ale, tinged with a shade of red, poured into his cup. The moment Link placed the container back onto the table, he noticed that Zelda was observing him with interest. Pointing to the ale, he asked her, "Would you like some?"
"No, thank you. I only drink wine. I don't really believe in consuming cheap drinks."
Link cocked an eyebrow and regarded Zelda with a bit of incredulity. "You'll be on a ship with sailors in a few hours, so getting accustomed might not be a bad thought. You have to wipe away the Princess from in front of your name, Zelda, if you want to survive out there."
Zelda approached Link and grabbed a second metal cup from nearby. The Hero seemed to smirk as he poured the liquid into her own cup. Carefully, Zelda regarded the ale with caution, yet also with fascination, before slowly bringing the cup to her lips. Link watched her, eager to witness Zelda's reaction and soon enough, Zelda cringed, wrinkling her nose and smacking her lips as she faced Link once again. "It's a lot stronger than I expected."
"Sorry, but it isn't wine," interjected Link, watching as Zelda took another sip.
There was a moment before Zelda spoke, "You know, if it weren't for this entire adventure, I wouldn't have realized how much of the world I've missed. But in a way, I'm almost afraid to see it. When Midna was taken away, I suppose that's when I knew how cruel and overly ambitious people could be."
"Really, now?" exclaimed Link with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
"Don't do that, you know I hate it when you talk like that," said Zelda, "It makes me feel as though you don't take me seriously."
"Out there a lot of people won't, and they won't even stop to consider that you're the Princess of Hyrule."
Zelda nodded, understanding. "I know, Link. But even in previous times when Ganondorf attacked Hyrule, it never struck me how one day I'd have to let go, how I'd have to just stop being the Princess and just be Zelda. Link, I don't think this is something you'll ever really know but when you're in power, it's exceedingly difficult to separate who you really are from your position. Everything just...muddles and mixes until it becomes almost impossible to put the different parts of you aside from each other."
"Is that why you wanted so desperately to search for Midna?"
Zelda took a moment to ponder the question, taking another few sips from her pint before answering, "That's part of it, yes. But another part of me does it because I truly care for Midna, perhaps just as much as you do."
They were seated now, Zelda upon the bed and Link lounged in a wooden chair. The Hero fiddled with the handle of his cup before a question entered his mind, prompting him to inquire. "Zelda, why is Lord Hur traveling upon the same ship we are when the other lords have their own? And no, this isn't a childish question. I think there's something you're not willing to tell me."
Looking up, Zelda pursed her lips and furrowed her brow. Then she met Link's eyes and sadly declared, "Father wants me to wed him. Of all the Lords he is the one with the most wealth and power, even. I agree he's a dolt, but that's never stopped a wedding before."
"But do you want to, Zelda?"
"Oh, shut your mouth, Link."
And Zelda downed the entire cup of ale, her cheeks flushing in the process.
"All aboard now!" cried captain Morus, walking to and fro along the port, "Don't waste any time! We've got a kingdom to save!"
Every member of the Hyrulian army was now moving even more rapidly than before, walking up the planks to settle in the lower galleries of the ships. For many, it was their first time on sea, seeing as Hyrule bordered none, and for many others, it would be their first major mission. The majority of Terminians at the Port were gathered in groups, watching and observing the movement of the Hyrulian army. Many approved of the fact that no Terminian would be participating in the upcoming war, as it was obvious that the loss of life could be on a massive scale. At the edge of the Royal (as the ship was named) stood the King of Hyrule in his royal robes, ensuring that his subjects were moving as quickly as they possibly could. With a look of approval, the King smiled at the efficiency of his troops, the twilight sun gently stroking his old, weathered features. Until he noticed his daughter, leaning heavily on the Hero of Hyrule.
The Princess was quite the sight.
"Wow! I've never actually been on a ship before Link!" Zelda slurred as she and the Hero made their way towards the plank of the Royal, "Isn't it just the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?"
"It's beautiful all right!" responded Link, trying not to meet the eyes of curious onlookers who had never imagined their Princess would act in such a manner.
"Goodness...Do you think I had too much back there? My head's a little heavy, I find..."
"You might have, actually," replied Link, horrified to notice that the King was staring directly at him and Zelda, who were both now close to the plank.
In her drunkenness, Zelda tilted her head to see her father. Giggling and smiling, she clumsily waved at him, her limbs weighted with the ale. "Hello papa! Hello there! It's an awfully beautiful ship you're standing on there! Or are you floating? It looks as though you're levitating..."
"He's standing," interrupted Link, cheeks turning as red as a cherry, "Now let me help you up the plank. See if you can put a little more weight on your feet for me, will you?"
"Oh Link, dear!" exclaimed Zelda, "Anything for you! Anything you need, just ask it of me you handsome man!"
Struggling, Link attempted to control Zelda's movements as they made their way up the plank. The Hero made every effort imaginable to pretend that the Princess was only a light feather, instead of a woman who had consumed too much ale. Lord Hur had now appeared beside the King, and frowned down upon the Hero.
"I say!" he said to the King, "Your Majesty, the Hero must have been behind something! The Princess would never touch any cheap ale otherwise!"
"Knowing my daughter, there actually is a chance that she would. Somehow, I don't believe the Hero is entirely at fault here, I'm just wondering why he didn't stop her."
"You must be very careful, Your Majesty! Now that her tongue's loose she can say anything that..."
"Thank you, Lord Hur. Can you verify that my daughter's quarters are ready? See to that, please."
Slightly offended, Lord Hur sulked away, leaving the King to watch as his daughter neared him. Out of embarrassment, Link dared not meet his Majesty in the eyes.