Standard Disclaimer applies: I own nothing belonging to the creators of Zelda. All I own is the idea of this particular Zelda tale. This story takes place about a month after Twilight Princess ends.
4.5.2013 – chapter edit
Dealing with the Council on an everyday basis for the past two months reminded Zelda of why her father had always warned her as a child to be leery of them. Watch them well daughter, King Daphnes Harkinian had warned his only child as he showed her a hidden room that he used to spy on the Council's "secret" meetings. Mostly they are good men but they are ambitious men. And ambitious men always will seek power, or a way to use power they believe they have access to. Be kind, but do not let them forget who is sovereign.
Thinking back, she remembered that many members of the Council and nobles had thought it odd how much time the king had spent with his only daughter. Almost as if he'd known that his time was limited and that he needed to pass on to her what he'd learned during his reign.
What would he say now? She wondered and smiled sweetly at a passing noblewoman, who happened to be married to one of the men on the Council. The woman hesitated for a second, and then gave her a haughty smile in return along with a slight curtsy before hurrying on her way. Daphnes Nohansen Harkinian had passed away when she was only fourteen. Four years too young to officially to take the throne, four years for the Council to let her country go to ruin.
It still angered her when she remembered how the Council abandoned the city when the first sightings of the invaders were reported. They had called her a fool when she refused to flee with them but she could not, and would not, abandon her people to face invasion alone. Her presence had not made much of a difference, but a least they had made a small stand before she'd been forced to surrender.
Just a few more days and then she would be queen. She was now fully of age, had helped to liberate her country, and had the full support and love of her people. The Council could no longer postpone her coronation, which was to take place in one week. They still had no idea that their sweet complacent princess was not going to be a puppet queen; instead she was going to bring a whirlwind of change.
Zelda entered her study and smiled at the familiar books that had been a constant part of her life. It wasn't a very feminine room, it had been her father's study before hers, but it was very comfortable. The stone walls were painted a warm cream color from which hung large paintings of the various regions of Hyrule. The large furniture was made out of a dark deku wood and built so solidly that it took four men just to move her desk.
The only piece of furniture that she had replaced was the large chair that used to sit behind the desk. It was made out of the same dark deku wood but was much more petite and better suited for her small frame. The fireplace was the original dark grey stone of the castle and large enough that Zelda could walk into it without needing to lower her head. Two comfortable chairs faced each other in front of it with a low book covered table placed between them. The balcony that was attached to the room looked away from the city and out to the fields of Hyrule. Plush rugs of forest green softened her already quiet footsteps as she sat down at her desk and looked out to those fields her father had loved so.
Invitations to her coronation had been sent out to every province and every neighboring country but there was one letter that she felt she needed to personally write. She tapped the desk thoughtfully as she considered how one was supposed to address a hero of the realm. She must have escaped her tutor on that particular day and sighed as she considered Link of Ordon Village.
Brave and noble were the first things that came to mind when she thought of him. Even after she was able to actually meet him in his human form, she had still seen him as the wolf she first met. Fierce of form but so gentle of heart. It had taken time for her to realize that the extraordinary warrior was more than a simple hero out of legend come to life. It helped after seeing quite a number of the maidservants gawk at him, causing her to study him once more, but as a man rather than a hero.
He had a quiet nature and seemed more content to listen to others and form his own opinions before speaking. And although he was a very handsome individual he seemed to be without conceit and was as polite to the maids as he was to her. But for all his gentle nature and soft smiles, his eyes were the real windows to his soul. As he had told her of his and Midna's exploits to save Hyrule, his eyes had become fierce at the memory of the kidnapped children and softened for a lost Prince Ralis. Her father would have called him a good man; she thought he was an interesting one as well. And one thing was for certain, she was in dire need of good men with courageous hearts.
So how would she wish to be addressed if she was he and he was she? Personally, she thought and reached for a quill and her inkpot. Even if she was technically his ruler they were still friends and both bearers of the Triforce. With a thoughtful smile she began with Dearest Link…
"LINK!" Ilia screamed in rage from outside his tree house. "How could you let Fado borrow Epona!"
Link paused in the process of putting on his shirt and seriously considered the ramifications of simply hiding in his basement and pretending he wasn't home. Technically, Ilia was nowhere near as powerful as the many enemies he'd faced just over a month ago, but old habits were hard to break.
He sighed heavily and but knew that it would be better to go ahead and let her yell at him. She wouldn't have time to get even angrier then. So decided, he quickly pulled his shirt on and headed outside.
Even with her face red from anger Ilia still looked lovely to him. She was wearing her regular long white tunic with brown pants and no shoes. Wisely he didn't smile, but seeing her always reminded him of Ordon and their childhood days when she had always been following after him.
"Well? What do you have to say for yourself?" She demanded, hands on her hips with her green eyes flashing.
"Fado needed her," he said with a helpless shrug. "Epona likes to help," he reminded her.
"That's true," she admitted and her eyes began to soften. "But he's so careless! What if something happens?"
Link didn't answer but his gaze drifted to the direction of Ordon Spring and Ilia sighed. "Yes, I suppose you're right." She muttered. "But that doesn't let you off the hook!"
Link nodded and waited for her to turn away before he grinned. Ilia never changed, she was the same now as she was when they were kids. Once, he had thought no one could be as perfect as Ilia but somewhere along his journey his perceptions of the world had greatly changed. He still loved Ordon and its people, but it was not exactly home anymore. Similarly, he thought of Ilia as beautiful but he loved her as a best friend.
"Are you going into town to see Rusl?" Ilia asked as she tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. Link nodded and she smiled. "Their new baby is so cute! I remember when the other kids were babies and I couldn't wait for them to get bigger! Now though it kinda makes me want one of my own."
Link shrugged, having never thought about having kids. Personally he felt too young to have kids of his own, and at nineteen he was two years older than Ilia.
"What about you Link?" Ilia asked and a deep blush settled across her features. Once again he shrugged and he shook his head slightly. "Oh, I see." She said and for some reason she sounded disappointed. "What about getting married?"
Link stopped in surprise and stared at her for a moment. He wasn't exactly sure where this was going but he could sense a kind of danger coming and wasn't sure how to avoid it. Slowly he shook his head again and watched Ilia carefully in case he needed to bolt.
"Why not?" She asked in surprise and her eyes became a little watery.
Link rubbed his neck as he considered how to answer her. It was something that he had vaguely considered before his quest but now he knew he wasn't ready for anything of the sort. He felt…restless. Like there were still things left undone that he needed to do. It didn't make any sense he knew; there was no princess in need of rescue or kingdom in need of saving. But there was a part of him that craved to be doing something.
"Link?" Ilia asked again and her green eyes looked at him in confusion.
"HEEEEEEEEEEY!" Came the familiar call of the Postman. "I have a letter for you Mr. Link," he continued cheerily as he ran up to the two of them. "All the way from Hyrule Castle and…" he leaned in closer to Link and whispered loudly, "penned by the Princess Zelda herself!"
Link accepted the letter with a polite nod of thanks and rubbed the fine parchment thoughtfully between his fingers.
"Why would the Princess be writing to you?" Ilia asked fearfully. "You don't think that there's been another invasion?"
At this the Postman began to laugh and shook his head. "The Princess's coronation is a week away!" He reminded them. "I'm sure being the hero that saved Hyrule warrants a personal invitation! Well, see you at the coronation!" He called and headed off to deliver his next letter.
Link smiled at the reminder of Zelda's coronation and slipped the letter into his tunic to read later. "You don't want to read it now?" Ilia asked curiously as they entered the village. Link shook his head and pointed towards Rusl's home.
"I see," she said. "I guess I'll see you later then."
Link waved goodbye to her and headed to Rusl's for their daily sparring practice. And later some of Uli's cooking of course.
It was past nightfall when Link finally made it home. He'd gone to the ranch and fetched Epona back from Fado. Unsurprising, he had taken excellent care of the mare and both of them were in high spirits. After making sure Epona was comfortable for the night he went and pulled the letter out of his tunic and stared at it thoughtfully. On the outside of the letter was his name penned in an elegant script that he didn't recognize but knew had to be Zelda's. With a smile he opened the letter and unfolded the pages and began to read.
I hope this letter finds you in good health and well rested. Everyone here is in good spirits and thinks of you fondly. (In particular Melena who just brought some food and ordered me to eat – or else. Apparently three meals a day aren't enough. How did you wrap her around your finger again?)
Here's another update that I think you will be interested in. We sent engineers to Zora's Domain to excavate a rather large rock out of the throne room and after studying it found that it had copious amounts of material that is conducive to unusual types of bombs. The material was then, of course, sent to Barnes of Kakariko Village. One of the engineers reported back that Barnes was very excited and felt that he would have some new wares that you would be interested in.
I know that it has been little more than a month since your defeat of Ganondorf, for which you will be awarded accordingly after the coronation, and I am praying that it is not too soon to send this request to you. I would like for you to come to the castle to discuss a certain problem that I would value your insight on. Of course I understand that you have duties and responsibilities to your village so please do not feel that you must drop everything just to come here. It is at your earliest convenience that I make this request and though I do hope to see you at least by the coronation I understand if that will not be possible.
Take care of yourself (otherwise expect a stern lecture from Melena). Along with this letter you will find a pass that has my signature and seal on it that will inform the guards that you are allowed to enter the castle without issue.
Read and review please!:)