A/N: Well, finally a new chapter. I am so sorry this took me so long to update. College was hectic and my Christmas break even more so. Not to mention, I had serious writer's block for this chapter, but I finally got over it a few days ago. Now, I do not own The Legend of Zelda. Enjoy, and remember that since this completely AU, it is possible for certain character's to appear.
~Moon White Rose
The melodious sounds of a harp filled the air, but the player, eleven year old Princess Serenity, hardly noticed. She was concentrating as hard as she could; she did not want to mess this up. She had only completed this tune perfectly two or three times in the month or so that she had been practicing it in and that wasn't good enough for the young girl.
She wanted it to be perfect every time. Suddenly, the high clear notes of an ocarina joined in and Serenity felt huge relief at the fact that she didn't falter or jump at the second instrument's sudden joining in. Harp and ocarina continued to create a harmonious sound for about another five or six minutes before ending in a stunning flourish of beautiful notes that could never be put into words. When silence settled, Serenity turned and looked up eagerly at the ocarina player.
Warm violet blue eyes looked down at her. "Serenity, that was beautiful sweetheart. Excellent work!" A wide smile crossed Serenity's face at her mother's words. She knew her mother meant it; she had done a good job. She was improving, and that was making her mother happy, which in turn made her happy. "I'd say you'll definitely be ready for the celebration in a week." Sudden butterflies tickled Serenity's insides.
It was her first real party she would be attending. All the Lords and Ladies, high ranking Knights and their families, and the nobility of Hyrule would be present. She didn't know what the purpose for the party was, but when she had heard that she and her mother would be performing an old royal family melody for the guests two things had passed through her mind.
Utter terror at the thought of being up in front of people she didn't know and the overwhelming desire to make her mother proud. Serenity had the best mother in all of Hyrule and beyond, and she would do anything for her, even if it scared her senseless. "Are you sure, Mama?" she questioned, feeling her nerves grow. What if she couldn't do a good job? What if she froze and forgot everything she had learned? Zelda set her ocarina aside and pulled her daughter into a gentle hug.
"I have complete faith in you sweetheart. I'll be right there with you the whole time. Now, I believe you have a lesson to get to, don't you?" A whine escaped Serenity and Zelda ruffled her hair. "Go on, don't keep Impa waiting. Besides, it's a history lesson, now go on." Serenity was almost out of the music room when she stopped and looked back at her mother.
"By the way Mama, what is the party for anyway?" Zelda forced a smile and waved Serenity on.
"Don't worry honey. Now go." Serenity left and when Zelda was sure she was gone, she let out a weary sigh as guilt pricked her conscious. There was no way she would tell her daughter the reason for the party was to find her a suitable husband for when she was older. Zelda would personally be observing the families with sons close in age to Serenity. She would see what they were like, how well they treated others, and how well Serenity got along with them. Then she would begin the long process that would take years, of choosing Serenity's future husband.
Zelda felt bad at having to choose, but at least she wasn't just choosing someone from a good family at random; something that had almost been done for her. By the time she was eight, both of Zelda's parents were gone and she was too young for the topic of marriage to be discussed. When she had become about the age Serenity was now, the advisors had insisted on setting up an arranged marriage engagement that would have her wed by her seventeenth birthday. Impa, her nursemaid from her infancy and the only person she considered family outside of Serenity, had fought the advisors viciously on her behalf, claiming that if Zelda wished for a husband, she would be wise enough to choose the right man in her own timing.
Zelda had never been so thankful to Impa in her life then when she at fourteen had learned what Impa had done for her. As she had grown, marriage held no appeal; her kingdom had been, and still was her, love, outside of her daughter, and she had been intent on ruling as her ancestors before her had. The only reason marriage had crossed her mind at seventeen was for an heir.
She had wanted to be a mother, but the idea of pregnancy and birth had frightened her. Her own mother had nearly died giving birth to her, so who was to say she would have survived? She didn't want to leave a child behind or a man she hadn't married for love one the throne, so she had let the issue drop, even though the fear of who to leave the throne to when she was gone had terrified her more so than anything.
Then she had found Serenity. Seeing her all alone, so small and scared, had done something to the young, at the time, royal. Zelda had known in her heart then that the little girl with the blue hair was meant for her, and no one was going to convince her otherwise. Zelda had never regretted her decision, but the advisors weren't going to let the same thing happen twice.
Zelda had gotten out of marriage, but they were not going to let Serenity get out of it. One of them would marry her themselves if it came to it and the idea of her baby being married to a man at least twice her age sickened Zelda to her heart. It was cruel, but this was one of the prices to be paid for royalty. Marriage was a necessity for gaining power and wealth, keeping the country loyal by marrying it's royalty to its highest ranking citizens, and keeping a strong bloodline going; it wasn't a luxury of love.
"Hopefully, I shall be wise enough to pay attention to her traits and opinions and the traits of others so that what I see and consider, the first step in a long journey, will not mess up the rest of her life."
Serenity took her time heading to the library, wanting to enjoy the quiet and time alone while she could. She liked Impa very well and loved listening to her teach the history of Hyrule; it was like being told a story, but despite that, there were times when all Serenity wanted was quiet alone time. She hated noise, and while she was excited, and curious, about her first real party, outside of a birthday celebration, she was also dreading it, and all the people that would be there. Sometimes she couldn't stand being around all her maids, tutors, and ladies-in-waiting, people she had known for years.
So how was she to tolerate being the center of possibly hundreds of people's attention? She sighed at the thought, and then froze when a soft, hardly noticeable sound reached her ears. She looked behind her, but no one was there, which caused her head to tilt in confusion. She was certain she had heard something. Perhaps it's one of the Sheikah, she thought. The bodyguards of the royal family were rarely seen or heard. Serenity was told over a dozen crept through the castle daily, keeping her and her mother safe, but so far she had only seen two, one being Impa and the other being-
"Up here, princess." Serenity yelped at the voice, but looked up nonetheless. Up in the rafters was a person hidden in shadows. A wide smile appeared on Serenity's face and the person jumped down, landing in a crouched position before gracefully standing.
"Sheik!" Serenity exclaimed. "You scared me!" The Sheikah, whom Serenity guessed was somewhat close in age to her mother, though she couldn't be sure, bowed.
"Forgive me your highness that was not my intention. Now, why are you taking your time in getting to your next lesson? Not very wise to keep Impa waiting." Serenity looked down sheepishly, embarrassed at being caught. "How about I escort you?" he asked softly when she didn't answer his question. She nodded and they both began walking.
"So," he began after a few moments. "I heard what must have been a master musician playing the harp a little while ago when I passed the music room. Do you know by chance who it was?"
Serenity felt a rush of pride at the words. "That wasn't a master; that was me! And Mama was playing the ocarina. We were practicing for the celebration in a week."
"Ah, well you are doing very well. Can I assume you are excited then?" Serenity's smile fell and she stopped, which caused her Sheikah companion to stop as well.
"I am a little, but I'm scared too. What if I don't do well? What if I embarrass Mama?" Sheik knelt, and even though Serenity couldn't see his mouth or nose, as they were hidden like always behind his cloth mask, she could clearly see his eyes, and they had a rare, gentle look to them instead of his normal, guarded gaze.
"Your mother will never be embarrassed by you; she loves you more than you will ever know. As for being nervous, that's fine; normal. Most people don't like being up in front of large crowds, with all eyes on them, not even your mother. You'll do fine." He ruffled her hair, before backing away. "Now go on, don't keep the old bear waiting."
Relief at the fact that even her mother got nervous sometimes at being in front of a large crowd, Serenity turned to head to the library, but only took a few steps before she realized she had forgotten to thank Sheik for his reassurance and his praise of her improvement.
"Thank-," Serenity started to say as she turned back to face him, only to be met with an empty hall. She looked up in the rafters, but there was nothing. She huffed in annoyance, but smiled a bit as well. "Thank-you Sheik, thank-you for making me feel better."
There wasn't a butterfly or two in Serenity's stomach; there were hundreds. Her palms were sweating like crazy and she was shaking violently. It was the night of the party, and soon she and her mother would be performing. Serenity peeked out of the curtain that shielded them from the rest of the nearly full throne room, before quickly backing away. She pressed herself against her mother, a soft whimper escaping her.
"Sweetheart, there's nothing to be afraid of. You'll do fine," Zelda encouraged, feeling somewhat nervous herself for her daughter. Just as Zelda would be watching, and looking, she knew people would be looking at Serenity too. To master such a hard tune on such a delicate instrument would be viewed as one of many ways to gauge Serenity's control, patience, and discipline. After all, if the people couldn't think she could handle mastering a sacred royal family tune, then how could they expect her to handle the task of running the kingdom when she became older, and why would they want her married to one of their sons?
Tonight, without her realizing, Serenity was going to start slowly earning the trust and approval of her people herself.
"Mama, I can't do it, I can't. I'm scared," Serenity whispered, her voice trembling. Zelda tilted Serenity's face up and looked into her wide, sapphire blue eyes that were starting to fill with tears. One fell, and Zelda brushed it away gently.
"I have faith in you, and I know you can do it." Silence began to settle in the room below them. Zelda picked up her ocarina, but Serenity left her harp where it was. There was no way she was going to do this; she was not going to go out in front of all those people. Zelda set the ocarina aside and pulled Serenity into a hug. She had known this would happen, because she had done the same thing the first time she had really had all eyes on her.
Thankfully, she was prepared. "Even if you can't look at me, I'll be right there beside you, and I'll always be with you-" Zelda paused and pulled something out from behind a nearby decorative vase, "in your heart." Serenity gasped at what her mother held out to her.
It was the crystal heart necklace she had received on her fifth birthday. She had gotten too big for it at eight, and left it in her jewelry box in her room. Now it was on a much longer chain. Zelda motioned for her to turn around and soon the little blue heart was resting against hers that was no longer beating so wildly. "Thank-you Mama," she whispered. For a moment she hesitated, then picked up her harp. "I'm ready."
Without a word, both Zelda and Serenity stepped out from behind the curtain and onto the balcony over the thrones, the crowd in nearly perfect unison bowed, and Zelda welcomed the guests with a warmth that could be felt by all; it was as if she was talking to each person individually. Serenity stood by her side, trying to take deep breaths through her nose. Soon her mother fell silent and Serenity mustered her courage.
"I-I too would like to welcome e-everyone here. Thank-you for joining, I and my Ma-mother, The Queen, here this evening. To show our gratitude, w-we would like to share with you a special melody passed down through the royal family. May you enjoy, our per-performance, of The Song of the Sky." Serenity wasn't too disappointed with herself; at least she had spoken clearly. After taking a quick breath, she began, and thankfully, lost herself in the music, so that she became unaware of the audience watching her.
Things went perfectly, and before she knew it, they were finished and thunderous applause filled the room. Serenity's heart beat wildly, but this time it was from happiness at the fact that she had done it! She glanced at her mother and she was met with a huge smile. I made Mama proud!
"We thank you for your patience." Serenity snapped out of her thoughts, unaware that her mother was speaking. "And we hope deeply that you enjoy the night's festivities. The guards shall escort everyone to ballroom and adjoining feast hall where food and dancing await. Again, we thank-you." Zelda nodded to the audience and Serenity curtsied and together, the two disappeared behind the curtain.
"That was beautiful Serenity," Zelda praised before Serenity could even open her mouth. "Now that the serious part is over, how about we have some fun?"
Serenity never imagined that being so small could work to her advantage. She was able to slip amongst the people without being noticed, and if she was spotted, a curtsy and a few words of thanks quickly freed her as no one seemed intent on a long conversation. That was fine with Serenity; she was completely invisible in a group of people, something she didn't think was possible. The music and all the talking made things louder than she would have liked, but who was she to complain?
Everyone, herself included, was having fun, people seemed to like her, and most of all she had made her mother happy. "And nothing is more important than that." Serenity found a relatively quiet spot behind a pillar in the ballroom and peeked out from behind to watch the dancers. Her mother was on the floor, dancing with a man Serenity didn't recognize. At first this alarmed her until her mother and the man switched partners. Minutes later, the same thing happened again and Serenity realized it was part of the dance.
She suddenly wished someone would ask her to dance. Why she had the urge, she had no idea; all she knew was that she wanted to be out on the ballroom floor, dancing as elegantly as her mother. She turned away and looked at the empty space beside her and curtsied, pretending someone was there and that they had asked her. "Why thank-you kind sir, I'd love to," she giggled, before harsh laughter broke her fantasy.
"That's pathetic!" Serenity whirled around and a boy who was slightly taller than her and who looked to be about twelve or thirteen stared at her with a superior expression on his face. "That's dumb; you're talking to yourself like a little baby!" Serenity felt heat color her face, but she tried to act as if the words had no effect.
"I was not. I-I was just practicing what I would say when someone does ask me to dance." It wasn't really a lie; she would say those exact words to whoever would ask her to join them on the dance floor, except if this kid asked her; he was a jerk! The kid rolled his eyes and smirked.
"As if I believe that! Besides how dare you lie to me. My name is Eric, and my father is a powerful knight; he's probably the best knight in Hyrule!" Serenity stared in shock before reaching up to see if her tiara had fallen off. It hadn't. Didn't he know who he was talking to?
"Don't you know who I am? I am Crown Princess Serenity, which means my Mama is the Queen your father serves!" Instead of apologizing, the boy laughed.
"I don't care who you are, you're a baby. You still call your mother, mama like a baby and you talk to yourself. You're not a princess; you're an ugly blue haired baby freak!" The boy took off but serenity hardly saw through the sudden tears that had started to blur her vision. Nothing else existed except for the deep hurt filling her.
Suddenly, Serenity had no desire to be down here. She wanted to go to her room, lock the door, and never come out. Before she could move though, a shadow fell over.
"Princess, what are you doing back here?" she whirled around and came face to face with Sheik. He took in the tears sliding down her face and knelt so that he was eye to eye with her. "What's the matter? Are you hurt?" She shook her head, and in the physical sense, he believed her. "Then why are you crying?"
"Because a boy called me ugly, and a blue haired baby freak for talking to myself, and said it was wrong for me to call Mama, Mama an-,"
"Slow down, Princess, slow down," he cut in. She stopped and he waited until she was breathing somewhat normally to continue. "Now, first and foremost, you are not a freak. Do not ever believe it if someone calls you that. Second, your blue hair is beautiful; just like you it's special. Third, your mother loves being called Mama, just as much as you like to call her Mama. That boy was just being a-,"
"A jerk?" she cut in. Sheik laughed softly.
"While that isn't the nicest way to put it, and I strongly advise you refrain from saying that word in front of your mother, yes he was being a jerk, and I would have made him very sorry if I heard him say it." A shaky smile appeared on Serenity's face, but hurt still shone in her eyes. "None of what that boy said is true, your highness. You are a beautiful young woman, who performed magnificently tonight. I bet you weren't scared at all."
"But I was Sheik, I was scared, and I stuttered when I spoke." Remembering that only made her feel worse and she looked down, but Sheik gently tilted her face up.
"I didn't notice. You didn't appear nervous at all. Now I want you to forget what that boy said… after you answer me one question," Sheik added as an afterthought, recalling something she had said that didn't make sense. "What did you mean by he made fun of you for talking to yourself?" Serenity looked down at her feet.
"Well, I was hoping someone would dance with me, so when no one asked I pretended I had a dance partner… but I was also kind of practicing what I would say if someone did ask me to dance, but I don't want to dance now. No one's asked yet, and I don't think anyone will." Serenity curtsied and started to leave when a hand landed on her shoulder.
"You shouldn't be so quick to assume your highness. How do you know I wasn't looking for you so that I could have the honor of dancing with the princess? Will you dance with me, Princess Serenity?" She looked up at him, and when serenity saw that he was serious, the hurt of what was said left her and she nodded.
"Why thank-you kind sir, I'd love to!"
A/N: Finally, I'm done with the chapter. Seriously, I had a really hard time with this chapter and when I got writer's block on it, I just gave it up for the moment; of course it didn't help that when the writer's block hit, I was in my last few weeks of my college term, thus making spare time a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I start up again on Tuesday, but I'll try to update when I can. Also, a massive shout out to my sister Forest Princess, she kind of gave me the idea for the whole Sheik/Serenity moments, thus helping me get over my WB.
Also, the tune mention is a Skyward Sword reference. It's not a real song in the game, but my sister and I were listening to SS theme and we determined that a slightly slower version done only in harp and ocarina would be pretty and that just made it in here, so don't freak out thinking it's a real song. Remember, this ties in with no game.
Now, thanks to the following people who read and reviewed the original chapter 18 and have been waiting forever for this chapter to come out: LEva114, StattStatt, cookiethief, LOLfinally(x2), LegendOfZeldaFreak, Lisa-Is-In-Slow-Motion, Aviandra, Fight 4 Randomness, Farore, Diggs121, Lady Isludus, Dark Link, Lordetron911, and imonz. Thanks guys, and sorry for the super long wait.
Now, thanks to all who came in and reviewed the revise chapters and have also been waiting for this chapter: Fora Beast(x11), G.M, Mez, Redlugia(x2), Briixzyanna, LegendOfZeldaFreak, StattStatt, SuperGeek3, zelda3469, xXxRottenKissesxXx, Linkolas, Areia Cannanad, TatlTails, TwiliRupee, Skafe(x6), hero in a cup(x2), Aviandra, Princess Zelda-figureskater(x2), plainpain, Maraya Prower(x2), RandomSilent, Guest, Pantherstar101, Katia0203, gypsyjay, Ai Da Beast(x5), imnotraven16(x4), MsNegative24(x2), Dire Heart(x4), Pie Bot, Random reader, Guest, Nevershutup, Jagsrule5, SheDevil333(x2), Griffermon, Guest, FadingPhantoms, Kyle, Midnight Sound, MusicGamer, Zelda's Spirit93(x3), and WhiteHero.
Thanks so much to everyone who read, and please remember to review; I'd love to see if I can make it to 300 reviews, it's so close. Anyhow, Happy Belated New Year! Later.
~Moon White Rose