I stumbled out of bed, landing on my right knee and holding back a yelp. The lights in the lower chambers of the castle were scarce that some bedrooms (like my own) were completely void. Darkness shrouded the whole room; however, I was concerned with the man outside of my door. I was half expecting Malon, craving attention. Perhaps it was a guard, relocating me once more.
Either way, I wasn't expecting the focused blue eyes starting back at me.
As I opened the door, a woman stood before me. Her cheekbones were sharp and sculpted with the help of makeup, no doubt. Her hair scooped down in front of her face and her legs were covered in pants. The fact of her even wearing trousers disturbed me. This was simply not done. The only indication she was a woman was the soft highlight of her hair, the pink of her lips, and her soft jaw line.
That moment, I swear to the Gods, I would remember forever. I still remember it.
"Aren't you going to let me in, Link?" The woman said softly, almost in a hypnotic tone. I said nothing, just stepped aside. She checked behind her and the halls before stepping in. I noticed she gripped a candle, examining the room by waving it around. The glow revealed a disheveled bed and a cold, cobblestone floor. It was more like a leaky dungeon instead of the lavish chambers that began to bloom as you walked north. Even in it's dingy state, it was still as graceful as the royal family itself.
"Who are," My voice had croaked, "Who are you? Am I being relocated again?"
"No, not to my knowledge." She replied.
"Then… Then who the hell are you? If you don't mind, I have work in the morning. Early. So won't you show yourself out?" I felt all my pent up exhaustion finally overflow into words that dripped with acid. It was time I stood up for myself ever since the guards had banished me from hard labor. Hearing grunts from the men lifting and pushing made my self esteem drop to my toes.
The woman touched her face and muttered, "I am freedom."
"I am dreams."
" I am everything you have and take for granted," She sighed, "I had prepared an eloquent speech about how I am the embodiment of the common people's joys. I am Sheik." Her fingers started to work at the cloth around her mouth and she unwound it. Soft blonde locks fell and bounced into place.
"You're Sheik? Did the princess send you to me?"
"Link," She said as she pulled off the cloth completely, "I am the princess."
Zelda's very words hit me like a boulder. I was suddenly conscious of my matted hair and inappropriate clothing in front of her. I scrabbled for words and I had to reach out and clutch them close to even communicate to her. I was embarrassed and confused - a deadly mixture. I took my nervous hands and smoothed down my scalp, eyes flickering around the room. "P-Princess -?"
Her brows furrowed then crossed her arms. As Sheik, even her stature was different; instead of the straight, back breaking posture, it was more relaxed and even combatant. Thin arms crossed together, a sigh erupting from her mouth, "no. Not Princess." She sauntered in the room, "not now. "
"But why here? With me?" The last part of the sentence was softer. Out of all the people in Hyrule, I wondered why she would want to be in this specific room. Surely there were others that would more benefit her company. "How many people know you're…Sheik?" I had not an inkling of an idea why she felt the need to reveal anything to me, let alone her alter ego. I felt flattered and curious, but also intimidated. With great secrets came great restraint.
Zelda, or more appropriately, Sheik, sat on the edge of my bed. Her face contorted into a frown and for the first time, I felt I could truly decipher her emotions. I stood awkwardly in front of her, unsure if I could do anything about what she was feeling. Slowly, I reached for a gloved hand and knelt down. She might have been royalty, but in her new personality, I felt more inclined to comfort her without hesitation. Blonde tresses fell into her eyes and she swiped them away quickly, chin tremoring.
"You probably know that I don't have many friends." There was honesty in her words and it made my heart pain for her. I couldn't imagine a life without someone to be close to, someone to bear my soul to. "Goddesses, I don't think I have any friends. You're the first person that I really feel close to." Retracting her hand, Zelda got to her feet and helped me on mine. "A secret isn't much fun when you're the only one knowing. It's almost like…eating away at me."
"It can't be easy being alone, Zelda."
"I've known nothing different. My mother was the last taste of normalcy but that was taken away from me." She swiped once again at her face, but I suspected it wasn't because of her hair this time.
I rested my hands on her shoulders than slide then down to the small of her back, drawing her in close into an embrace. She wrapped around my neck and we held each other for a while, feeling the fabric of my shirt moisten. A slight hiccup echoed about the room once or twice, but no other tell tale signs of sadness was heard. Having a woman so close, I had to admit, was intoxicating. I could smell her natural, feminine scent and feel the softness of her curves. Trying not to think of her in that way, I tightened my grasp on her, and that only worsened things.
"Thank you, Link," she said into my shoulder.
I rubbed sluggish circles on her back, "you always have a friend in me, I promise. No matter what. Even when you're all Princessy -" She laughed in short chortles, "just know that I will be there for you whenever you need me to be."
Breaking apart, there was a aura of gratitude on her face. "You know so much about me, Farmboy, and I know so little about you."
"I'm not as interesting as you, Princess Zelda of Hyrule."
Rolling her eyes she replied, "even royalty can be dull, trust me. I've dealt with the lot of them."
I grinned, trying to imagine kings being boring. It seemed given that, if one were in their positions, they would have a satisfying life. As I was learning, however, things weren't as they seemed. There was a thin veil in-between reality and expectation, and I wasn't sure which one I was treading on these days. I was sure in comparison to my routine, though, that she had a lot more excitement.
We broke apart from the embrace, our eyes locking; both different hues of blue, twinkling with mischief and the same thought in our heads. There was something about her confessing her secrets and allowing me of all people to know them that made me step out of myself. Our faces inched together, my heart racing. Even in the darkness, my face flushed. I never kissed another girl except for my betrothed and Zelda was just so beautiful. I had heard so many things about her; the harlot of Hyrule, the blushing virgin queen, but none of that mattered. It didn't help from being intimidated and I would have been shaking if her warm touch hadn't calmed my nerves. The slowness of this process was driving me crazy, and apparently her, too, and she placed my hands around her waist. I caught my breath and her legs were pinned against the bed frame. It felt so dirty - what about my fiance at home? - and so exciting, so right.
"I want you, Link."
Was that my imagination from before or did she truly say that?
"I want you too, Zelda."
Before our lips had connected, she sped up the process by gently yet firmly pulling me closer by my hair. My own boldness fastened onto her chin, twisting and turning her face to my will. Our faces were so close that I could feel her eyelashes against my cheek, breathing quickened, eyes that never broke contact. I wanted to kiss her so bad, the need filling up my brain and making me believe that I never desired something so much in my entire life.
"No." Her eyelids snapped shut, wriggling away from my hold (that I had noted was iron hard). "Link." Her words were short and breathy, and in the light of the moon, I could see that her own face was as red as a rupee. "I'm sorry."
"No uh no Zelda it's okay I should be the sorry one I should not have crossed that line I am sorry - " I was rambling, making myself look even more like a witless cow. She placed her index finger against my lips, proving that was the only action my lips would be seeing any time soon.
"No, it's my fault. I have to go. I'll speak to you again soon, Farmboy." I dropped my arms so she could make her way past me, hesitating a moment at the doorway, then leaving with the stealth of a ghost.
Zelda didn't only leave me with guilt and a lot of questions; I had the sensation to dive into a river of freezing, ice cold water.
A/N: Apologies if there are some spelling mistakes. I wrote this very quickly on a hot day with minutes to spare. I needed to get an update in. Enjoy!