To start off, you're forgiven your disbelief. Yes, I've totted it up and it's been 18 months since I last touched this fic!
The thing is, I overcomplicated this story quite a lot. On the face of it, this should be obvious - Zelda in modern times. In more detail, there is a complex plot that links back to the previous story and has several parallels too. The biggest issue was that a critical plot point had no explanation and thus wouldn't work.
However, a couple of days ago I had a eureka moment, and it was so simple! Like putting in a small jigsaw piece - just a little one - that lets you see the big picture. So, that's one obstacle down. There are plenty more, but they are a little more addressable now. So, this may well bring the fic within measurable distance of its end! Hehe...
Pacing and detail are still things I need to work on, and I'm not sure if this is too slow and overdetailed, but I'm hoping this will spur me towards finishing this fic. I've got scraps written for future chapters and know roughly where I'm going to take it. The how is, of course another matter.
Link felt the familiar sensation of his body being reassembled from Twilight particles; black squares of magic slotting themselves together and changing colour, rebuilding him. Something he hadn't felt in centuries. And far from being unpleasant, as it usually was, it was remarkably comforting, a friendly sensation. It was the moment he truly realised. I am alive again!
As his vision returned, Link instinctively bent his knees. Fortunate he did so, as he was forced to straighten up to catch a falling body against him. A grunt from Zelda, further over, told him Midna was the unsteady one.
"I still have to catch you after a warp, don't I?" Link mumbled as he turned and caught his love properly; she was very unsure of her footing.
Zelda helped Link lower her to the ground as she clutched her head. "Oh Goddesses…" she mumbled. "I really should have warmed up first…"
"Are you okay, Midna?" Zelda asked her, checking the Twili over.
"Gods, I haven't used my powers in, what, several hundred years?" She sighed. "Then I call on them to do something this stupid…" She groaned again.
"Hey, I think you did pretty well," Link told her, stroking her shoulder. "Looks like you got us out of a sticky situation!" He suddenly realised he had no idea where they were. "…possibly into another."
He straightened up and looked around himself. He blinked a multitude of times, just to prove to himself his eyes were working.
The trio were at the side of a very busy street; hundreds of people walked along it, under the bright beams of orange flames held upon metal posts. In the very centre ran a stretch of black pitch, over which rolled the horseless carriages Link recalled from his last trip into the world. They were on a walkway beside the road, behind which was a long line of buildings. Every window was glowing with a different colour of light, some rapidly changing, and the deafening noise of machinery suddenly began to overwhelm him.
"Where in Din's name are we?" Link asked flatly.
Midna massaged her forehead, cracking open her exhausted eyes. "I thought this was Arylus," she muttered.
"Arylus?" Zelda repeated, herself taking in the spectacle of motion all around them. Buildings stretched as far as the eye could see, and the noise, both from the machines cruising the road and the houses all around them, was incredible.
"Perhaps once," Link noted. He suddenly realised the people walking the street around them were slowing, looking at them. A young man suddenly stopped, turned and walked towards them.
"Hey… she okay?" He slurred. Link noted a bottle in his hand, and quickly smelled alcohol. Not mead or ale, it was sickly sweet fruit. Whoever this person was, they'd had their fill, so Link knew to tread carefully.
"Yeah, she'll be fine," he said, trying to sound friendly. The young man's appearance caught his attention; he wore strange clothes. They were loose-fitting and colourful. An expensive, shiny overcoat covered a bright orange shirt, bearing writing Link couldn't quite read in the light. His legs were covered by trousers of similar material to his coat.
The man grinned. "Just had a little too much to drink?" He laughed.
"Yeah…" Link replied. "Just a little too much," he agreed.
The man chuckled again, raising his bottle as though in a toast. "The night is young, darlin'! Don't waste it!" He nodded to a bemused Zelda before looking straight at Link. "Well," he chuckled, taking a swig from his bottle. He took in Link's appearance. "Who're you supposed to be, huh? The Knight In Tights?"
Link didn't know what to think. He became quickly aware of his green robes; whilst a far cry from his old tunic, they were similar in ways. The hilt of the Wolf's Fang was also visible over his shoulder, he knew. However, the way the man pronounced the last three words told him it was a name. "What?" He queried, curious.
The man gave him a quick confused glance, before gesturing with his bottle hand. Link followed his gaze to see a giant tapestry, held against a huge board over the houses across the street. Pure white flames below it lit it clearly. On the left side was text Link couldn't read, and on the right was…
"Me!" He hissed.
The tapestry depicted, in more colours than Link could name, a man dressed in a brilliant green tunic, wielding a purple-hilted sword. The man had blonde hair and blue eyes. Though Link was forced to bite his lip to avoid cursing when he saw the figure's look of surprise; he was falling forwards after tripping over what appeared to be a metal shield, heading straight for an expensive-looking vase.
The young man chuckled heartily. "Best comedy going! Seen it three times, gets funnier every time!" He looked over Link again. "Seriously, are you him?! I gotta have your autograph!"
Unsure of what the man was talking about, Link shook his head. "No, sorry."
"Aw, you look just like him!" The young man insisted.
Realising he had to get rid of this young gentleman before he realised Midna wasn't Hylian, or human, Link decided to change tactics. "No, I just like the show, the guy's really good."
"Don't you just love how he walks in on the Royals while they're doin' it? His 'Excuse me Princess' just…!" Sure enough, he exploded into laughter, seemingly just at the thought.
"Uh, yeah," Link replied, fishing desperately for a route out of this. "It's a great show, I'll have to see it again sometime!"
The young man was wiping his eyes. "You'll probably see me there!" He laughed again. "Nice talking to you, buddy! Get your friend home safely!" He waved with his free hand and turned, walking away.
Link watched him walk away, slightly unsteady, but clearly in good spirits. He turned back to the poster, glaring at it. It looked so much like him, it couldn't be coincidence. But on further attention, his face twisted in anger. He noticed that, in place of his normal leggings, the man depicted in the image wore revealing, form-fitting clothes over his legs that appeared extremely feminine, and if he didn't know better, he'd swear the man wore shoes not unlike Zelda wore to her coronation. Women's shoes.
Link growled as he turned back to his companions. "I didn't want to know how I was to be remembered," he muttered under his breath.
"What was all that about?" Zelda asked as Link crouched beside her.
"Some things are best left in the past," Link replied, checking Midna over. "Hey, are you feeling better?"
Midna groaned quietly and looked up at Link. "I feel like your horse ran me over… Just once this time though…"
"Glad you're feeling better," Link smiled. Midna reached up; Link grabbed her hands, together with Zelda, and lifted her to her feet.
Midna shook her head groggily, moving her flaming hair out of her face. "So… did we make it to Arylus?"
Link looked around; he spotted a tiny shape overhead, directly above where they had landed. The tiny remains of a Twilight portal, left behind centuries ago but still there. "I didn't know you left one in Arylus," he noted.
"I left hundreds everywhere we went," Midna replied. " I figured we might want to find our way back some day."
Zelda suddenly smiled. "A trail of breadcrumbs."
Midna gave her an odd glance.
"There's an old Hylian bedtime story that tells of children who ventured into the Lost Woods, leaving breadcrumbs behind them to find their way back," Zelda explained.
Midna smiled. "I see. I guess they were, in a way." She sighed at the memory. "When we came home, I linked them all together. I formed them into a channel, straight back to Hyrule."
"Impressive," Zelda noted.
Link didn't like to think about that time. Releasing so much magic had nearly killed her. "How's your magic now?" He asked.
She flicked her fingers a couple of times, getting sparks the second time. "A little twitchy, but it'll steady with time." She sighed. "It's like I'm having to relearn how to control it."
Link smiled warmly. "Well, look at us. We've got entirely new bodies…" He gave a delighted chuckle. "We're alive again!"
Midna and Zelda gave each other blank looks, before turning to Link and laughing with him. "We're alive again!" Midna repeated.
"It's so hard to believe…" Zelda smiled. "But we must focus." Her tone became serious once more. "We are alive again to do the Goddesses' will."
Link and Midna gave her a solemn nod.
"Nothing else matters," Zelda continued. "We must track down whoever stole the Triforce, determine his plans, and if necessary, stop him."
"Right," Link agreed.
Zelda looked at her hand, the flesh once more pink. She reached over with her other hand and pinched; besides the pain, she watched her skin change colour as blood flowed beneath it. "We are also mortal," she concluded. "We are not invulnerable now."
Link looked at Midna and smiled. "Just like old times."
"Look at it this way, you've lost your old scars," Midna grinned, touching Link's face where once, long ago, an arrow had slashed his cheek. When it healed, a long white scar had been left in its place. He was right though; their bodies were new. They appeared to be the same age as when their adventure first began, all those years ago.
"Not an excuse to obtain new ones," Zelda warned. "We must care for our bodies once again. If we mistreat them, we will fall before we complete our goals."
Link nodded. "So, what do we do then?"
Zelda looked at Midna. "Do you believe we are out of their reach here?"
"I'm assuming so," Midna replied. "I think, whoever was watching us, they were in Hyrule."
"Hyrule has no say over its neighbouring lands," Zelda agreed. "But the question must be asked; can either of you think why we might have been watched?"
Link had been thinking on this, his warrior's mind looking for reasons to why they were targeted. "Midna, you said they, whoever 'they' are, they were looking at your magic?"
"Yes," Midna said, closing her eyes to focus on remembering the feeling. "Yes, they were very far away, but they were looking into me, searching for magic."
"What would they want with magic?" Zelda wondered aloud.
Link met eyes with her. "Look around you."
Zelda did so. "What do you mean?"
"Do you see any magic use?" Link whispered.
Zelda bit her lip, realising Link spoke the truth. People walked the streets in what appeared to be their own worlds, showing no outward attention to anyone else, and Zelda could feel no magic like that which those possessing it would radiate.
"Keep in mind this is Arylus… or it should be," Midna added. "They were mostly humans the last time we were here."
"Very true," Zelda agreed. "But it appears to be the best answer. I believe it prudent to avoid the use of magic unless vital," she concluded.
"I won't argue with that," Midna sighed. "Until my powers settle, I'm not even going to snap my fingers."
"How are you going to amuse yourself?" Link smiled.
Midna gave him a wicked grin. "You'll think of something, Link. You always make me laugh!"
Link rolled his eyes. "Still, what do we do now? Whoever he was, he could be anywhere, in any land, right?"
"Potentially," Zelda noted. "But consider what you told me of your journeys of ages passed. The legends of the Triforce, and of the Sacred Realm, they did not go much past Hyrule and Arylus, am I correct?"
Link nodded. The memories were still there.
"It is reasonable to assume, then, that we can narrow down his location to these two lands."
Midna bit her lip. "That's still two entire lands to search."
Zelda meekly nodded.
"We need to search magically," Midna resumed. "The Triforce is so potent, we should be able to feel it ten lands away if we work together."
"We would risk exposing ourselves," Zelda warned.
"It's a risk we'll have to take," Link decided. "I can't force you two to do so, but I can't really help you. Whoever this person is, he has possession of the most powerful magical artefact in existence. We have to find him as fast as possible."
"Midna will need to rest," Zelda responded, looking over her. "We should find somewhere."
"There's a bar over there," Midna suggested, indicating across the street. Link noted the building did indeed look like a bar, an old one at that.
"Is that truly appropriate?" Zelda questioned.
Midna shrugged, baring her blue arms. "Where else would we draw less attention?"
Zelda conceded. The group began to move, walking silently along the street towards the bar. The flow of carriages, all of different shapes and sizes, was ceaseless, and Link began to ponder how to cross the street without being struck down. His question was quickly answered when he saw a group of people stand beside the road; painted on the black surface were white lines in a jagged pattern, which seemed to form a bridge across the road. When the group waited there, the carriages eventually stopped, allowing the group to walk across the bridge to the other side.
"Here," Link hissed, pulling his companions to the coloured squares that seemed to activate this bridge. Nothing happened, but after a few moments of waiting, the carriages stopped for them too. Link tugged at Midna's arm, who pulled a timid Zelda with them as they quickly crossed through the gap.
The instant they reached the other side, the flow of carriages resumed exactly as it had been. Link tutted.
The group reached the bar and entered through the door. A wall of sound hit them, voices and some kind of music, mixed with the thick, hot air. Link was forced to pause a moment and shake his head instinctively, as a dog would try to clear its ears. He shuddered with distaste at the noise, but Midna and Zelda nudged him through the door.
Few heads turned as they entered, and the sounds of chatter did not cease. The lights were dim and multi-coloured, emitting from strange candles and lamps across the walls. The bar was seemingly very busy; most of the patrons were gathered around a duo of musicians playing odd instruments very loudly in the far corner. Link noted a table and pulled his friends to the seats.
"This is NOT what I had in mind," Zelda informed them, coughing from the thick air. Her sensitive Hylian ears felt as though they were being tortured with sound.
"What?" Midna smiled, feigning cupping her ear. Zelda rolled her eyes.
"Okay," Link said, just loud enough for the pair to hear him. "So we-"
Link snapped around to see a somewhat buxom woman, skimpily dressed and wearing a colourful apron, carrying a pen and paper, trot up to them. She completely ignored Midna and Zelda, crossing straight to Link. "What can I get f'r you, hon?"
Link snorted and Midna giggled.
"What?" The woman quizzed.
Link suppressed his chuckles. "Sorry, you just remind me a lot of someone I used to know!"
"Yeah, I get that all the time," she smiled. "Now, you guys want anything?"
Zelda was about to correct her grasp of language when Link spoke, "Yeah, can I get… you got any mead?"
The woman looked blank. "Mead? What's that?"
Link rolled his eyes. "Ale then. Some ale."
The woman touched the pen to her lips and thought, before scribbling something on the paper pad. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, a stronger ale for me," Midna smiled, looking at Link.
'Remember what happened the last time,' Link mouthed at her, which she shrugged off.
"And you, miss?"
"Oh, erm," Zelda tried. "Wine, perhaps?"
"Red, white or rosé?"
"Red, please," she said quickly, glad to hear something familiar.
With a further note on her paper, the woman smiled heartily at Link and skittered off into the mill of people.
Midna watched her go. "She better not try that again or I may have to boil her alive."
"Show of restraint," Link noted.
Midna ignored him, turning to Zelda. "Goddesses, did you hear the way she was gushing over him?"
"Culture certainly has changed over time," Zelda noted with distaste.
"It would be a pretty dull world if it all stayed the same," Link added.
"True," Zelda replied. "But there should be limits."
"Why dwell on the past when all we can look to is the future?" Link mused. He didn't notice Midna bite her lip.
When their drinks arrived only a few moments later, the waitress winked at Link, causing Midna to raise a sparking hand and Link to carefully press down on Midna's foot under the table. "That'll be twelve rupees ninety, please."
Having only come across the silver rupee once in his entire life, Link couldn't remember how much it was worth, but it was all they had. He carefully passed it to the waitress, whose eyes threatened to pop out of her head. "Goddess, sir, you'd better be careful flashing that much cash!" She whispered. "Don't you have anything smaller?"
Link shook his head.
The waitress drew a breath. "I'd better go see if we've got change…" She muttered before scampering off again.
Link looked at his glass of drink; he raised it to his nose and took a sniff. Certainly weak, but probably not what he was expecting. Midna and Zelda did likewise; Zelda seemed to be satisfied, while Midna adopted a wide grin and downed half the glass in one go.
The Twili shivered. "Ahhh, that's what I've been missing!" She grinned.
"Go easy on that stuff, we've got a long road ahead of us," Zelda warned.
Link caught the eyes of his companions and raised his glass. "To a new adventure."
"To saving the land once more," Zelda added, raising her own.
"To living once more," Midna finished.
They chinked their glasses and drank heartily. Whatever this ale was, it didn't truly agree with Link's taste, but it was passable. Zelda found the wine to be much blander than she expected; a far cry from the palace wines, it seemed to have been carted away from the vineyards as fast as possible. Midna, naturally, relished the strong drink.
Link finished most of his glass before noticing Zelda toying with her own near-full container. He placed his aside and caught her attention. "That bad?"
"Yes, and something else," Zelda said, looking up. "I've been thinking. The Triforce grants wishes, right?"
Zelda sighed. "I just can't think why it disappeared from the Sacred Realm," she whispered. "The chamber is where it returns to when the wish is granted, right?"
Link sipped his ale. "What are you thinking?"
"You remember the tales of Li… Kokau?" Zelda caught herself.
Link nodded again.
"Ganondorf stole his way into the Sacred Realm, intending to claim the Triforce for his own."
"But he failed," Link concluded.
Zelda nodded. "His heart was far out of balance. The moment he touched the relic, it shattered."
"Power, Wisdom and Courage," Midna added.
"Yes," Zelda said sharply. Link caught on.
"Those three fragments… left the Sacred Realm… and were gifted to three individuals…" He whispered slowly, realising what Zelda was saying.
"You think," Midna sighed. "That the Triforce shattered again?"
Zelda took a sip of wine, her face twitching at the poor quality. "I believe it is more than a likely occurrence. Were he to have been granted a wish, I believe it would still rest within its chamber. And since it no longer is…" She trailed off, but no more needed to be said.
Link exhaled slowly and looked away from the others. "It's happening again, isn't it? What the scholars wrote of Kokau's adventures?"
"We were overpowered," Zelda said solemnly. "Whoever he was, he has obtained the Triforce of Power, at the very least. He could do anything with it."
"Condemn the world to darkness again," Link whispered, turning back.
"Potentially," Zelda replied. "But what I am saying is that I believe he does not possess the entire relic. The only time it has ever existed as one is in the Sacred Realm."
"You've just tripled our workload, you realise," Midna groaned.
"Perhaps," Zelda sighed, realising the implications of her words. She sipped the wine again, this time barely noticing how bad it was as she lost herself in thought.
Link turned away from the other two, his mind racing over the events that had all happened so fast.
He was alive again.
As he was, centuries ago, in his Hylian body.
He sat with familiar faces in an unfamiliar world.
It was not truly alien to him; he had watched the world evolve from afar, through lupine eyes. But never had he dreamed he would see it up close, walk among the peoples of this new world.
And among these people were potentially three individuals, each possessing a shard of the most powerful magical object in existence. Would they use it? For good, or for their own gain? Link didn't want to think about the wielder of Power, that sinister cloaked man. If he was not already a slave to power, he would surely be soon enough. A gaunt face with glowing orange eyes sprung into his mind, speaking of the corrupting influence of great power, how it twisted and broke him, made him do terrible things…
Was this changed world ready to face such an onslaught?
"Hey hon, sorry to make you wait!"
Link snapped his gaze to the waitress, who was biting her lip, as though she had bad news to deliver. "Yes?"
"Sorry, but we haven't actually got enough to give you change for that silver…" She whispered.
Link rolled his eyes.
"Really sorry! We're about thirty rupees out…"
Link plucked the silver from his pocket. "Keep the difference, just give me the change you have."
The waitress' eyes lit up. "Really? Thank you so much, sir!" She took the rupee and almost sprinted back to the bar.
Zelda watched her go. "She's lying," she said casually, resting her chin on her hand.
"I thought so," Link mused.
"And you're not bothered by this?" Midna interjected.
"Should we be?" Link replied. "Thirty rupees isn't much, we've got more important things to worry about than arguing over money, and if the Triforce really has shattered again, she should go out and spend that money as fast as she can before the world caves in…"
Midna rolled her eyes at Link. "Are we really jumping to the worst-case already? I thought you were an optimist."
"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst," Link responded heavily. "What Zelda's said makes sense. The Triforce can make worlds collide, can rain darkness from the skies and let Tessek loose, and that's just the horrors we know of. Both times we've known Power to be used alone, it has threatened the very existence of the world."
Midna cleared her throat, tapping the back of her left hand.
Link nodded. "I know. You didn't use it though, did you? You were afraid of what it might bring."
Midna didn't respond, didn't want to admit Link was right. She'd convinced herself never to use the relic as an ultimate display of power, but to bear it had set off a primal fear within her, knowing that the shard had nearly ripped apart two worlds and then bathed them in eternal darkness. She refused to take the chance that using such incredible magic would seduce and consume her too. She had wielded great magic in the past, and it had brought only destruction.
Link didn't press the matter, nor did he seem to take credit for proving he knew Midna. Instead, he sipped the last of his ale. "So, can you two trace him… them… the Triforce…" He sighed, holding up his hands at the new confusion. "Whatever we're dealing with."
"We both know what we're searching for," Zelda concluded. Midna nodded. "If we combine our powers, we should be able to search most of the land for the shards."
Link looked for a window, spotting the darkness outside. It was night now, quite late, though the atmosphere in the bar had only grown more energetic as time wore on. He realised he felt… different, a little odd… Something not altogether alien, but unfamiliar… His thoughts were slowing, his eyes were growing heavy, knowing it was night outside… He was tired! The realisation made his eyes snap wide for a moment. He hadn't felt tired in so long he'd forgotten what it felt like. He chuckled silently before settling his face and turning to the others.
"We're going to need a place to stay," he told the others.
"Little wolf needs a nap," Midna whispered to Zelda, making her smile.
Link chuckled. "I bet you're both exhausted too."
Zelda automatically stifled a yawn. "Yes, somewhat."
Link noticed the waitress approaching, trying to conceal a large bag of what appeared to be rupees, by the way it jingled. She smiled at him and handed him his 'change.'
"Do you know where we might find a place to stay the night?" Link asked her.
"Expecting a good party?" The woman smiled.
Zelda gave her a blank look.
"That's the theme, right? Medieval times?"
Midna echoed it.
"Yeah, sure," Link interjected. "We just need somewhere to sleep."
"There's a motel up the road, about half a mile, they've usually got room," she replied, indicating the direction.
"Right," Link said. "Thank you very much." He rose from his seat, the others following his lead.
"Thank you for your custom!" The waitress beamed. "Please, drop by soon!"
Link nodded as he subtly ushered the others out of the bar.
The cold night air hit them like a wall. "Wow, it's cold out here," Zelda shivered, drawing her robes tight around her. The streets were much quieter now, though the buildings seemed to have taken on the noise; all along the street, windows flashed with colour and distant thumps of 'music' could be heard.
Link shook his head. "How I long for simpler times."
Zelda smiled. "I would imagine someone of our time, so learned of times long passed, said much the same thing."
"Maybe," Link shrugged. He pulled open the bag and checked the contents; he was greeted by a multitude of coloured shapes, mostly red and purple. "At least money hasn't changed much. We didn't do too badly, even if she conned money from us."
Zelda sighed. "There was once a time such a crime would see her fingers being removed, and now it is as if she does not care."
"Let it go, Zelda," Link suggested. "If we run low, we can always ask for help." He smiled at Midna.
"You'll have to ask nicely," Midna grinned.
Zelda sighed again. "I would rather we leave as little trace on this world as we can. It is not our world, and we could do great damage to it."
"Someone out there could do even greater damage," Midna reminded her.
"I know, Midna, I know, but I also know how fragile such concepts as economies are. I watched my land's economy near collapse once. We must lay our hands only on what is necessary."
"If it helps us wring this guy's neck, rupees shouldn't matter."
"Enough," Link suggested quietly. "You're both right. We need to tread carefully, but we have a mission. And the mission comes above all else. We need to rest up, and start afresh tomorrow."
He looked to both of his companions as they walked along the street, heading towards this 'motel' they were recommended.
"We're doing something we never thought we'd do, we've got a big task, we're scared and lack direction," he summarised. "We'll be in a lot better stead in the morning."
Midna sighed. "I hope you're right."
As they were promised, a sign a short distance up the road declared a 'motel' occupied the plot of land. A large building, it appeared dark and unfriendly; unlike the rest of the buildings they had encountered, it was not well lit by the magical flames this world seemed to possess everywhere. The trio crossed the field of space reserved for the horseless carriages and approached the inn-keeper, a fat, short-tempered man who spoke little and threw keys at them when he was offered their money.
The room they were offered was small and possessed an odd smell. It consisted of two beds barely large enough for one person, a well-worn chair, some kind of box hanging from the wall and a wardrobe. Zelda discovered that, by touching a switch on the wall, white light could be summoned from the orb in the ceiling.
Link looked over the beds. "You two can sleep; I'll take watch. I still don't trust this place."
Zelda ran a hand under the duvet, noting the mattress seemed to be the source of the aroma. Rolling her eyes, she discovered extra sheets in a cupboard and layered them on the bed. 'Just one night,' she told herself.
As Midna slid under the sheets of the other bed, Link settled himself into the chair, his hands clutching the hilt of the Wolf's Fang. He regarded the beautiful, flawless blade in the bright light of the room. Blessed as the Master Sword, in all the years he had wielded it, it had received not a mark. For a moment, Link wondered if the Master Sword had ever been touched since he laid it to rest all those years ago. He knew the blade to be used to long slumbers, and recalled once thinking that the world would not need to be saved again. I was wrong, though, and I'm not even sure what we're saving this world from anyway.
Zelda laid her head on the thin pillow, shuffling on the lumpy mattress. "Link, you need to rest too. Wake me in a few hours and I'll take the next watch."
Link smiled at her. "Thank you Zelda." He looked over at Midna, who appeared to be asleep already. He recalled how she had slept more than he during their second adventure together, and how he had wondered if she dozed in his shadow during the first. On Zelda's instruction, he clicked the switch to plunge the room itself into shadow.
Zelda looked at the other two in the dim light and smiled. The task they faced was great, that much she knew for certain, but she knew without doubt that she had the best two companions to face it with. Link remained the unfazable, unstoppable force, the one who could not fail to make them feel safe, all the while ready to turn his blade to any enemy in their path. Midna possessed a grasp of magic greater than herself, this she knew, and was so committed to a task that, no matter what stood in her way, it would be done. And herself… The calm, collected thinker, the negotiator, the one who could keep her head no matter what life threw at her. She would guide them, navigate them through this strange world they found themselves in.
It still barely seemed real, and she dreamed of the same while she slept, making it seem even less so. To be alive once more, in a world so changed she barely recognised it. She was no longer a true royal; no doubt this time would have its own. She was just an ordinary woman, in an extraordinary world. She would have to adapt, and help the others to do the same.
Some hours later, Link gently nudged her awake. The night thus far had been uneventful; first light had not yet appeared. Zelda wrapped a blanket around herself before discarding it due to its aroma. Link passed her the duvet of her bed instead, and as Zelda looked on with a smile, he slid himself into bed beside his love, who immediately huddled against him. He kissed her on the lips, and joined her in sleep.