You know what? I could've stretched this to trial chapter and then ending, but I just. couldn't. do it.
So here's the ending! It has been a BLAST writing this, just so you know, and I thank you all for sticking with it despite the numerous hiatuses.
The Trials were being held in the courtyard of the Castle, considering how utterly destroyed the Throne room was. And of course they had to do Sheik first, for being closest in relations to the Queen, but mostly to set her up as an example.
Sheik was shackled to the spot. The day was bright, reflecting off the chains on her wrists, snaking down to where it was weighed down bits of castle. The weight made her want to slump forward, but Sheik gritted her teeth and held it up, determined to never bow down to mere mortals.
The higher members of the revolution was seated in a U, with Giovanni, Zelda and an empty chair at the inner bend, right in front of the once powerful mage. The father of the future Queen looked disgruntled that he was not sitting right in front of her; that honour had been given to Zelda. Giovanni sat to her right, and it was to her left that the chair sat without an occupant.
Sheik's lip twitched upwards derisively. "I suppose that throne was meant for the Prince?"
Giovanni glowered. "Quiet, witch."
"I'm a witch no longer, if I ever was one," Sheik shrugged, flicking her head to remove her now blond fringe from her face, pursing lips that were no longer black. "My power died with Midna's."
Zelda rapped a hammer against her desk. "Order for this trial, please."
The soft chatter that'd been present round the seated men and women went quiet. Zelda delicately placed the hammer onto the table before leaning forward, placing her palms on the solid wood.
Giovanni stood, smoothing down the front of his shirt. "Sheik Nohansen-"
"Nohansen?" Sheik sneered, "Is that your way of pronouncing nonsense?"
There was a murmur of disapproval as Giovanni flushed red. Zelda stood, and Giovanni, after a reluctant pause, sat down. "Sheik Nohansen, daughter of Veran Nohansen, you are charged with attempted matricide."
The girl wrinkled her nose. "What's matricide?"
"The murder of one's own mother."
"Ah." Sheik nodded, smiling. "Am I allowed to speak? To agree with or deny your statement?"
Zelda nodded and answered before Giovanni could make a retort. "Yes. How do you plead?"
"I will not plead, but I will state a point of fact." Sheik stared stonily at the U that seemed to cage her, the glares of people who saw only a daughter to a tyrant queen. "And the fact is I did not intend to kill my mother. I intended to kill the Queen, which you were all aiming to do."
"Then you misinterpreted our goal." Zelda replied evenly, "We were not here to kill her, but to capture her and sentence her for her crimes. Veran would have received a fair trial also."
"You call chains and manacles fair?" Sheik spat, barking out a laugh. "But then again, I should be lucky for not receiving immediate execution, I suppose?"
Zelda sighed and shook her head. "We are digressing. We are not here to discuss what we would have done, we are discussing what we are about to do with you."
"Which is kill me, is it not?" Sheik huffed shifting her weight and making the chains clank. "After all, Veran birthed me."
"She admits it." One of the men sitting to Zelda's left stood and pointed a finger at Sheik. "She admits that she is Veran's daughter!"
Sheik shrugged and poked her tongue at the man. "That doesn't make her my mother, half-wit."
Sheik glared at Zelda and then Giovanni, sneering at him before returning to the young woman. "I was raised by the women that supposedly helped with my birth; I for one don't know how true that story is, but that doesn't matter to me. They probably changed their names, considering what they were, but does that matter either? What matters is, they raised me. I wasn't aware that I and the Queen were connected in any way until it was revealed to me while I was searching for my mothers' graves. I found out then that Veran had ordered a search for them and myself, and they sacrificed themselves to save me. They died by Veran's hands, and I was left alive."
Sheik spun on the spot, glaring at them all, baring her teeth with spite dripping from her words. "Do you understand now, why I wanted Veran dead? Same as you, really. She did an injustice. She killed the most important people to me at the time. Those three were my mothers, and Veran took them away from me. Veran may have brought me here, she may be the reason I exist, but she is not my mother! A mother is a figure of care, and love, and guidance and strength and she was none of those. So I tried to kill her. And I meant to do it. It was the sole reason I came here, the sole reason I nearly died as well. So deal with me. Why should I care? No-one cares. But don't you dare, don't you dare hang me or convict me or whatever you intend to do with me, under the supposed crime of attempt at killing my mother."
Sheik squared her shoulders and looked Zelda in the eyes, without shame, without guilt, her stark red gaze gleaming with conviction. "My mothers have been dead for years; I tried to murder Veran as means of revenge. Is that a crime? And if so, how different is it from you?"
"The difference between a trial and a lack of it is huge, Sheik." Zelda reprimanded sternly, rapping the hammer against the desk to silence the murmurs her rant had caused among the U. "For one, we can lower your sentence."
Sheik burst out laughing as the other members of the revolution looked horrified. "Lower my sentence? How-"
The girl froze. Link came dashing in, leaning on his chair gasping for breath, and when he looked up at Sheik, there was both hope and triumph in his smile.
He coughed swallowed, and panted. "Sorry I'm late."
"What are you doing?" was the fairy's horrified whisper, as Link wiped his chin of sweat and stumbled into the glaring scrutiny of the U.
"I'm saving you, like every other prince in a fairy-tale does." He whispered right back, then rolled his eyes. "Though I say I already did it after facing that scorpion."
Sheik snorted half-heartedly, unable to help but blush. "What am I then? A go-lucky peasant girl?"
"Hey, you're a Princess. Through and through." He turned to Zelda, gave an exaggerated bow, and said to the general people, "It's true that I think Sheik's innocent and deserves to go scot-free. She didn't kill Veran, after all, it was the castle collapse that did it, and she wasn't even on sight, much less conscious. Also, trials or no trials, in Veran's case it was mostly going to be ceremony. Ceremony of justice, considering everything she'd done, but still, ceremony. We all wanted her dead and it just conveniently makes us look like the good guys when someone else, Sheik, killed her off for us. The trouble is, she didn't do it. So you have to trial her on attempted matricide, to keep up appearences. That gives you, what, imprisonment? For a few years, ten tops. But you don't want that, do you."
He grinned at Zelda, who'd previously told him all that he'd said out loud, because she needed a bad guy that made sense, and he was happy to fill in the gap. "A prisoner can escape. A prisoner can be helped. That's what you're all afraid of, right? The only reason Veran kept her throne for so long is because she pleased the nobility and the upper classes. With her gone, they have nothing left, except…"
Link pointed at Sheik. The girl grimaced. "You're insane. They'd want me? For what?"
"Support. They'll want you for your power, the Queen's power."
Sheik snorted, rolling her eyes. "It died. I can barely raise a flame, I'm weaker than your precious wizards and that is saying a lot. Veran's borrowed power was my borrowed power. With her dead, the connection between me and her that kept the magic going is gone."
"Meaning she couldn't keep up the empire Veran had even if she wanted to." This he said to the people around them, who looked sceptical at best. "Look, you can't have her hung, drawn and quartered, and you don't want to have her imprisoned. So…" shrugging, he leaned onto Zelda's table, and shared their sibling smile. "Banish her."
There was a roar of protest so loud that Zelda abandoned the hammer and shouted: "Enough!"
It went deathly quiet.
"Now," she glared round at her generals and spoke lowly, warningly. "Do any of you have a better idea?"
There was an uncertain shuffle within the ranks, and then one of them stood. "We don't know whether she'll create an army to take the throne."
"Indeed, we have no witnesses of character." Another pointed out. "If others aside from Prince Link can assure us of her character…"
Link smugly rattled off the following names. "Renado Le'Kath. Rusl Cagewater. Telma Blanchester and Chudley Malver. I'm sure you'll be happy to hear from them."
Accusing eyes swivelled to the chairs in which said people were sitting in. They looked at Link in disbelief, in outrage, to put them in such a position and Link shrugged in response. "You guys recently adopted a few kids, right? Well, except Renado. Luda was your daughter to begin with."
It dawned on the adults what on earth he was talking about. "The children."
"Exactly right, Telma." Link nodded happily as Sheik looked at him with something akin to anger, "The kids. Six in total, all of them lived under Sheik's care for at least a year, am I right, Sheik?"
"You can't get them involved. I won't let you! I won't let them see me like this."
Link rolled his eyes. "They won't. They're not allowed to, they're like me. We're too close to you, so we can't give an 'unbiased' opinion. But they can."
Sheik snorted. "I don't see how, considering they despise me. They all despise me."
Link ignored her and faced the swords-master, sitting close to where Link himself was supposed to be sitting. "Rusl, you're adopting Colin, right?"
Rusl glared at Link before sighing and nodding. "Yes. Yes I am."
"Care to tell us why?"
It was with great reluctance and some embarrassment that he said, "He has a good heart, potential as a swordsman, and has no family. My wife is with child, and we thought Colin could do well with a younger sibling, and our child could do with a protector."
Link smiled. "So you're not adopting him because you think he's a danger to society and needs to be put away from his past and shaped into a good adult."
Rusl frowned. "No."
Link's smile never wavered as he looked for the next person on his mental list. "Thank you. Chudley Malver. We met at the slave trade that day, didn't we."
The snobbish man ruffled his moustache and huffed. "I suppose."
"I remember you complaining about how you were surrounded by ruffians or something, and that you were looking for assistants. Strange, how you're taking in two kids, isn't it?"
"Hardly," the man scoffed, crossing his ankles languidly, "Malo is an excellent accountant with a shrewd mind for business. Talo seems more a lad used to working with his hands, but I have partners in need of an apprentice or two, and I'm pleased to be able to recommend him to my trusted companions."
Link's smile was threatening to become smug as an uncomfortable murmur spread between the leaders. "And Telma. What's the connection between you and the last two kids? Agitha and Beth?"
Telma scowled at the young man's cheek. "Nothing, except I'm planning to help them find Beth's father. They intend to stay at Agitha's old home together, and in exchange they're to send honey to me."
"And, Renado, how's your daughter? Does she seem, I don't know, scared? Scarred in some way? Physically, mentally?"
The Shaman gave a deep sigh of resignation before admitting, "She's fine. She's as healthy as I could have hoped her to be, considering I thought her dead."
"So all these self-sufficient, smart, capable, good kids, were under her care." Link confirmed, pointing his finger at Sheik.
There were nods at different levels of enthusiasm. Link raised his hands and spoke to the gathered men, looking mock-grave. "There you have it, folks. Kids were under her care, and they are good kids. Smart kids, and I know where their skills come from, because I saw it earned. It was from her. This girl, has made a positive influence on six children. Doesn't that reflect on her at all? Zelda?"
She contemplatively eyed the 'witnesses' and then the convicted and gave a slow nod.
"A call for a vote, then," she proclaimed, rapping the hammer against her desk. "A vote on confidence. It would be silly to vote on whether Sheik is guilty or not, for she is guilty of a certain crime, which has been converted to attempted matricide to attempted regicide, which is punishable by banishment or execution. Considering she failed on her attempt, it would be unjust to execute her. Thus, she will be banished. However, the distance will vary according to this vote of confidence."
She rapped the desk with the hammer again before standing. "The vote is simple; those who believe our impromptu witnesses, and trust their judgement, shall come to this desk and tap the hammer. Those who do not believe, stay your hand as you pass. The voting hands shall be counted by myself and my father, and the severity of the sentence will be decided on that. Your anonymity and opinion shall be protected and respected. Let the votes be cast."
The generals stood from their seats and walked past Zelda's desk, and one by one they tapped or didn't tap the hammer, and Link and Sheik waited with baited breath as Zelda and Giovanni and others counted the votes.
When the final man passed the desk Zelda stood, confirmed the numbers, and looked at Sheik.
"The Vote has been cast."
Link knocked, twice, and after the long, long silence he turned away but the door opened on its own accord and red eyes squinted at him from the gap.
"Yeah. Can I come in?"
She opened the door wide, and the sunset dyed her hair pink and flushed her cheeks to a golden glow. He cleared his throat nervously as he was gestured in. There was a satchel full of her trinkets by the foot of the bed, ready to be wrapped and packed.
"What do you want, Link?" she sighed, raking her fingers up her scalp, sending her hair flying like a fountain wave, "I have to go soon."
"I know." He closed the door behind him, and his brain having disposed of the planned speech in a gutter of his pathetic conscience, he blurted out, "Actually that's not true. You still have a night here. And, I don't want you to go not like this, not, damn it, I, there's got to be another way, isn't there? You're still not a criminal!"
She smiled at him, black lips lush as berries, and shrugged. "Actually, I'm glad to go. If I were to stay, I'd… I'd truly be Veran's daughter. I have my own mothers, after all."
"I know. I, I know."
She laughed at his hesitance. "Link, you're going to make me cry. And I'm no fairy, half-cast or otherwise. My tears'll mean nothing to you."
He sighed again. "So you're going to go back near Ordon? Or…?"
"Not the Arbiter's Grounds, no," she rolled her eyes, "I don't intend to desecrate my mothers' burial, among others, with my presence. No, back to Ordon. It was the best shelter out of them all, the closest to home, since the tower."
"I'll miss you." He told her awkwardly, wishing now he had brought her something, like a token, or something, just… anything. "You and the kids and… the time we spent hiking to Kakariko was the best, really. It was awesome."
"You flatter me, Lord Prince."
"Don't call me that!"
"Are you sure you'll miss me," was her mock-puzzled stare, "Because you don't seem to enjoy my idea at banter."
"You, just, ugh, damn it," Link muttered, and she pulled a smile out of him as she laughed again, that impish triumphant laugh that made him want to kill her and shake her and kiss her all at the same time.
He opted for the kiss. She gave a muffled cry of surprise before she quieted, circling her arms round his hips as he drew her closer. She was warm, and small, and her hair brushed his jaw like a silk cloud. He really liked this, he noted, so much that he never wanted to let go.
When they parted pressed his forehead against hers, gritting his teeth. "I just wish I could've done more for you."
"You stopped them from killing me. I think that's good enough."
"Not by my standards." He muttered with a curse-worthy tone, before adding, "Won't you be lonely?"
She nodded slowly, that fake smile still pasted on, and then looked at him. "Of course not. But I'm Fairy enough to reconnect with those other fairies, Tatl, Tael, Leaf, Ciela…"
She faltered under his stare, and under her dusky complexion she blushed. She stepped away, grabbing things and throwing them into her bag without care, and there was another knock at the door.
"Who is it?" Sheik groaned, rubbing her eyes, "I'm leaving soon, Goddesses' sake, I still have time, don't I?"
"Indeed you do," Zelda said as she opened the door, "But this isn't about your time-limit."
Link jumped and sheepishly averted his gaze under his sister's disapproving stare. Sheik rolled her eyes. "What is it, then?"
"Call it insurance. But I thought I might give you these, to ensure you're not tempted to come back." Zelda extended her arms to show the bundle of red cloth in her hands, and the book that was nestled in it.
Sheik leapt forward and snatched the things from Zelda. Her hands shook and her voice was strangled as she held one item in each hand. "My book. My cloak."
"They're the most important things to you, are they not?" the princess asked, making the girl spin back to meet her eyes, "That is, as I say, insurance. You may have what you treasure most, and take it from this castle under the oath that you'll never come back."
Sheik clutched her things to her chest and nodded, grudgingly. Zelda nodded back and made to leave. "Link?"
"Um, just, give me a moment, Zel," he waved her goodbye as he watched his fairy. "I still need to talk with Sheik."
The princess sighed but left. The silence she dropped behind her was awkward and almost unsavoury, at least for Link. He crossed his arms and drummed his fingers.
"The most important thing to you, huh."
Sheik snorted as she shuffled through the pages. "One I can take, anyway."
"So…" he told himself not to be judgemental even as a note of accusation crossed his voice. "Your mothers take precedence over those kids?"
"What do you think?" she spat, hurt in her glare as she snapped the book closed, "But how could I pick? Zelda said one thing I deem most important, and as far as I'm concerned they're all equal to me. And even if I take them all they have a proper future now, they can live a life I can never offer them. How am I supposed to take them away from that?"
"And what about me?" Link demanded, "What am I to you? Why won't you even consider taking me? Am I second best? A pet on the side? Is that what I am?"
She bared her teeth at him. "You wouldn't understand-"
"Oh is that what you think-"
"Of course you wouldn't you thick, stupid-"
"Well maybe if you'd explain-!"
"Work it out, mortal! It's not that hard if you had half a brain-"
"You're not a fairy, so ENOUGH with the mortal label!"
She froze and looked at him, and her bottom lip trembled and he kicked himself, because he hadn't really meant to say that, not, at least the fairy bit, he knew she was still sore about-
"You're right," she burst out, tears ringing her lashes, "I was never a fairy, just a stupid outsider with nothing to her name and no place to go but I don't give a damn you hear me because this is the bravest thing I've ever done ever and a-and I didn't even think to regret it till you, you…"
She sobbed and to his complete and utter dismay, tears squeezed through her closed eyelids and leaked down her cheeks, glistening like fallen stars. He gently held her arm and wiped her face, combing her hair back as guilt bit his gut, "Sheik, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have…"
"Don't touch me." She snatched herself away as she knuckled her eyes, fumbling with her satchel of things and her cloak.
Link's heart sunk. "I'm sorry. I just… I shouldn't have said that."
She sniffled. Link opened his mouth to say something more, faltered, and closed his mouth. The quiet between them was stifling.
"…Fine. I'll leave you alone. I…"
"Remember when I said that the book is second to my life?"
Link stopped mid-turn; nodded even though her back was still facing him. He remembered all too well, and the sense of scepticism over which was more important to her; the kids, or the relics of her past.
She wrapped herself in her familiar red cloak as she stroked the battered cover of her book. "Things have different meaning, and importance to me. Like my cloak. My cloak means my life. It is me. But the book… What I said about it is exactly what it means; second best."
Link frowned. "But your mums wrote it for you. The cloak can be replaced-"
"No it can't." she spun round, and held his gaze. "It's like my skin, it's part of who I am, it's part of the image, the magic. This can't be replaced. But the book, it's… it's j-just a book."
And she was crying again, and Link took two steps forward, tucked her stray hair behind her ears and silenced her with a kiss.
She gasped, and he pulled back, just a little, to let her get over her shock. Then he kissed her again, and this time she responded, shyly, carefully, as if she would somehow ruin the moment. Fingers intertwined. He held her waist closer to his own as her other hand slid up his chest and settled against his jaw.
He broke the kiss but pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes as he breathed in her scent. "Take me."
She gave an undignified sniff and shook her head. "I can't take what is not mine, and I can't keep you from leaving me."
He grinned, mentally rolling his eyes. "I'm your familiar. And you're my Sheik."
"But you'll leave like the rest for a better life and I can't-"
"Sheik. Sheik." He opened his eyes, and looked into twin red orbs, and smiled. "I love you."
Her face burst into flame. She screwed her face closed and shook her head again. "You can't."
"I love you."
He kissed her with more zeal. She kissed him fervently back, and when they parted she was breathless and he was frustrated. "I said," he growled, "I love you."
Tears rolled again, but she was smiling, almost sheepishly. "I… I think I love you too, Link."
"So…?" was his earnest prompt.
"May I…" she swallowed, cleared her throat, and whispered, "May I take you with me?"
"Please. And thank you."
Zelda didn't think too deeply on how Sheik took the mysterious dog/wolf creature instead of the book; after all, it was her familiar, and had nothing to do with her.
But when Link didn't show up for two days she got suspicious while everyone else panicked. She entered the room in which she'd last seen him, and found the book nestled in soft paper, and she opened it to browse through.
She skipped the old entries, and read where the ink was freshest.
"Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom that had the misfortune of gaining a vain Queen. Many a year the land suffered for her vanity and hubris, and her temper. These led to the poor being poorer, the rich turned sour, and the King to meet his early demise simply because he'd gotten too old for her taste.
A few months after she killed the King she gave birth to a child that was clearly going to be lovelier than her over the years, so sent the three maidens that'd helped the babe to life to a tower so tall none could climb it, sealed so that none could enter or leave.
And thus she was all alone in her large castle, with nothing but cruel creatures to call her Mistress.
She had but one enemy, and his name was Time. Every year he robbed her beauty and shared it with the growing children, the world, and this she could not stand. So she stooped in black magic, reaped the life of the Fairy Queen, and took her immortality and beauty as her own.
Meanwhile, the daughter, the Princess, doomed to starve in her mother's tower had escaped through the powers of the three maidens, who were in fact the goddesses in disguise. They taught her the tongue of the wild beasts, and the ways of the Fay. She grew to be beautiful and wise and kind, but knew nothing about her heritage.
One day, a Prince was hunting nearby, and upon seeing her, fell deeply in love. He sought to win her hand by serving her, and became as loyal as a dog, and guarded her as fearlessly as a wolf. From monsters and bandits the Princess was safe, and the Prince was tireless in his duties.
But through both monsters and bandits the Queen found that her daughter was alive. Fearing her very existence, and wishing to dispose of her, that Vain Queen kidnapped her with the Ghosts most terrible and prepared a sacrifice to transfer the Princess's beauty to herself.
The Prince flew into a rage and set out to defeat the Queen, riding three days and nights without stop.
When he confronted her he Queen had become so evil by then that she grew into a monstrous spider as big as the banquet hall, and strong as five wild horses. But surely, after a difficult battle, the Queen was defeated and the Prince stumbled up the sacrificial tower, where his love would surely be.
Alas, she was under a sleeping spell, and no matter how hard he shook her she stayed asleep. Mourning his loss, he gave her one last kiss before turning away. But Goddesses be praised, she reached up and clasped his hand, the spell broken by his kiss.
"You have saved me, thus I owe you a boon," The Princess confessed, "What can I do for thee? But only one favour; that is the law of the Fay."
The Prince kissed her again and pleaded, then, "Stay by my side. Walk by me, wake by me, live by me, and I swear to love you till the stars fall asleep."
"You shall have this boon," the Princess laughed, and they kissed once more.
They married. They moved to his homeland and lived on his estate, never to be disturbed, never to be found.
And they lived happily ever after.
Zelda looked out the window. The sun was radient outside, the wind blowing through the leaves of the garden trees. A bird zipped past, and sung as it found a mate and headed straight for the horizon, where a slip of Lake Hylia glistened like a strand of silver hair, slowly turning gold as the sun sparked across the sky.
She smiled, gently, closing the Book.
I know, I know, lame ending. Shush. I couldn't think of anything better.
So yeah! 150plus reviews! XD Amazing! That's three stories over one hundred reviews, guys, how did this HAPPEN?
Because you guys are awesome.
Final review replies!
simply anonymous: Nah, they don't think she's a monster they just think she's a criminal. (-_-;) not the best difference but still... Anyway, yay to happy ending? And thank you so much for your constant reviews! I hope you enojyed this chapter!
goldenrhino: It's okay, people have preferences. I'm glad you liked this in the end though, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter too.
Lady Kurina: Lol, I hope this chapter solved all your worries! Thank you for your reviews, my lady, and I hope to see you in other stories I intend to write. See you!
darkwolflink: Yep, Link'll be the fishy for the next story, which I'm very excited about. I hope you enjoyed this chapter as you enjoyed the others, adn thank you so much for your support over the developing times!
Sparty the Bold: Giovanni is more a stubborn ass than an evil bastard, because he's too much of a coward to be the latter. He wanted Sheik out of the way so he-I mean Zelda (coughcoughshiftyeyes) can take the throne. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, though! It's a bit rushed and a little repetitive but yeah, I'm just crossing my fingers on it saving itself. Thank you so much for all your reviews, and I hope you have a good year.
deikitty: I hope you have an awesome expression on your face as you read the ending. Thank you for your reviews, and I hope you enjoyed the story!
Trolly's Bara-chan: I think Sheik si never, EVER going to find out that Link kissed her mom. (Shudder) LOL! Link would rather die first. Thank you for your reviews, and I hope you got to enjoy this chapter!
Me: Thank you me! For all the comments and reviews and everything. I hope you enjoyed!
Nyx the Last Keybearer: Thanks for your reviews, and I hope you liked this ending! Hopefully I'll see you again in my other stories.
Wolfslegend: Thank you for your kind words, and I hope you enjoyed the way I finished this fic. Stay turned for others! I've got more where they came from.
fabianka-sama: And here is your happy ending. Thank you so much for your reviews, and I hope you have a look at my other fics too. Thanks again!
CatsGotTongue: Here's the update, though there's only one instead of two. I hope you enjoyed it and thank you so much for your many many reviews!
That's it from me for now guys! Happy new year!
Happily Ever After