Hey guys! This is my first Zelda fic, and my first fic in about four years, so please forgive my rustiness. :) I hope you enjoy this new, exciting story! Please leave a review giving me your thoughts or ideas, and any and all constructive criticism is welcome! Well, let's get started! Please note that this occurs in the same world and timeline as the original Four Swords, NOT Adventures, and continues right where the Manga left off.
Chapter 1 - Provenance
In the prosperous kingdom of Hyrule, there is a legend that is told… a legend of a young boy, and a mysterious, powerful sword.
The young boy, chosen by the goddesses to rescue the fair Princess Zelda and banish darkness from the world of light, received the sword's power and was split into four.
Harnessing the power of the Four Sword, the four heroes bravely rose up and defeated all those who stood against them in their noble quest. Countless foes of shadow were sent to eliminate the heroes, who were the land's only hope. And when the four heroes stood up against the mighty King of Darkness, all hope seemed lost…
The thick, dusty book made a soft thump as it was shut, an old and feeble hand running over its cover. Over thin glasses, the old man's twinkling blue eyes looked at the circled crowd in front of him.
"Come on, Grampa!"
"We wanna hear the rest of the story!"
The children, restless as they were put on the ends of their seat, rose up from their cross-legged positions and gathered around the seated old man. Their eyes, wide as dinner plates, looked at the book and the man.
Softly, the old man gave a chuckle. "Now now, settle down," he spoke, with a voice as dusty as the book he held, yet warmer than the sun which shone down on his back. The glint in his eye sparked as he looked at the four boys. "You all know very well how this story ends."
"Well, yeah," the eldest boy grumped as he pulled on the man's sleeve, "but we wanna hear YOU tell it!"
"Yeah, finish the story, Grampa!"
The story-teller's laughs rose once more from his chest as his hands swept once more over the book, opening its pages. "Alright, alright," he answered, surrendering to the children. "But then, it's off to your parents for you. Deal?"
"Deal!" The boys, grinning from ear to ear, sat down once more in their quaint circle. Some tugged the oversized green hats back into place over their heads, while others swung toy wooden swords, providing their own action noises with every slash of air.
Clearing his throat, the old man found his place and continued to read.
However, with the power of the goddesses at their backs, and the essences of courage, power, wisdom, and heart in the boys' souls, the four heroes engaged the King, defeating him and banishing him to the world of shadow once more.
The princess rescued and light having returned to the Kingdom of Hyrule, the hero returned the holy Four Sword to its resting place, sealing away the evil of shadow as he merged back in to one.
And from then on, the Kingdom of Hyrule would enjoy an unbroken era of peace and prosperity, free from the evil King of Darkness and his vengeance, the young hero taking his place among legends.
The small story-telling circle erupted in cheers as the children jumped up, throwing their crafted, green hats in the air and slashing at each other with their harmless toy swords.
Closing the book once more, the old man nodded to the children with a smile. "I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Now hurry up to your parents, boys…" That old twinkle returned in his eyes. "You wouldn't want to be late to the festival, now would you?"
"You mean… we can go?" the eldest boy asked, the others cheering and thanking the man, running away with their swords and hats in tow.
"Thanks Grampa!" the boys yelled over their shoulders as they disappeared over the path, leaving the old man sitting in the gardens alone.
And yet… not completely alone.
The man bowed his head and smiled. "A little late for my story today, aren't you, Link?" he asked quietly.
Stepping around the mighty oaks behind him, his secret unveiled, a small child walked up to the old man, smiling in respect and light humor. The boy was around the same age of the children who were there earlier, perhaps even younger than the eldest one present. Yet how he walked and carried himself was nearly as dignified and mature as the old man himself.
"You always make me out to be some sort of god, you know that?" the boy asked with a soft laugh. Unlike the children who were there before, the pointed green hat atop his head was of the highest quality, and the sword sheathed behind his back was very much real. The sounds of armor softly clinking together followed his every footstep.
Respecting the presence of the young boy, as he had respected him, the old man stood and turned to look down upon the child. He smiled- old enough to realize, looks could be deceiving. This was no such child.
"Oh my, no," the elder said, looking down upon the boy. "I hardly can tell the story living up to your true grandeur."
The young hero laughed again, shaking his head in slight embarrassment. His arm reached over to scratch the back of his neck, and he looked back down the path the children had taken our of the palace gardens. The smile softly faded from his face as he became lost in thought, his arm falling back down by his side.
The old man, following his gaze, understood and looked down at the child. "You are ready to make your appearance at the Four Sword Festival, of course, aren't you?" he asked mildly, with a soft smile. His presence over the child was warm and welcoming, like a parent, and his question not in the least intruding.
Link sighed and looked away nervously. "Yeah… about that…" He paused for a moment before looking back up at the old man, his eyes, though wide as a child's, hiding a much more mature soul beneath.
"Would you go ahead of me? Tell them… tell them I'll be there in time for the presentation." He looked around the calm gardens, watching the butterflies amidst the flowers and the light shining down through the trees as it bounced off the softly swaying branches and leaves. The gardens always held a special place in the boy's heart… it was his only true place of solitude and comfort.
"Of course," the old man said, softly placing a comforting arm on the young hero's shoulder. Turning to pick up his book, the elder slowly began to take his leave down the path. However, before he was quite out of sight, he turned around and smiled. Link had already turned around to gaze once more at the proud oaks and the sun which bounced off their bark, but turned his head when he heard his name called once more.
"The gardens are not just a place for telling stories, my child," the story-teller called out softly. "They are a place for prayers to be heard… and dreams to be lived."
Confused, the child looked away in sadness, but when he looked back a moment later, his guest was already long gone.
The young hero of the Four Sword stood alone in the peaceful, quiet gardens.
Moving to a soft spot of warm-green grass, the boy sighed and sat down amongst the growth, his bare knees tingling as they brushed up against the dew-covered blades. His small, child's hands graced the surface of the ground, moving along the grass until one brushed up against something different.
Looking down at the ground, the child reached out and plucked the small, blue flower which had been growing amidst the sea of grass.
It really was quite pretty… the boy smiled, and as he turned it, the light bounced off its petals like a dance.
It had been a year today since he had defeated the evil sorcerer Vaati and sealed away the King of Darkness, Ganondorf, back in to the realm of darkness. So much had happened since then… and yet, so little. His gaze traveled upwards to the canopies shading the gardens, once more stung by the painful feeling which had been tailing him ever since then: loneliness.
As he looked back at the flower, he smiled and laughed softly.
"I wonder what they… we… would do…" he mused to himself as he turned the petals, making the light dance once more.
Red would, no doubt, be dancing as he stared at the flower. "Guys guys!" he'd squeal, picking it up and running to them, showing it proudly to the other three. "Look what I found! Isn't it so pretty?"
The first to pass him on their walk would be Blue, who would look at Red, confused and slightly disgusted. Scoffing, he'd walk past and say, "Red, it's a flower. There's hundreds of them." He'd then cock a sly, good-natured grin, saying as he walked past, "Y'know… You're probably crushing half a dozen of them right now." This would, of course, cause Red to cry out in horror, looking down at his feet to see if it were true.
"Blue, let him alone," another would say as he shook his head, walking past. Green would pat Red on the shoulder lightly, "It's nice, Red. Come on, we gotta keep moving." And as he passed, one final boy would walk up to the child and his flower.
Rubbing his chin briefly as he inspected the blossom, the purple-clothed boy would lean back to shrug and say, "Sorry Red, but Blue's right. That's a Delphinium consolida. They're quite common in these woods." Without another word, he'd simply walk past calmly, leaving the last one standing by himself.
"Delphi… ninium… what?" Red would whimper, lost.
Link chuckled softly as he opened his eyes once more to look at the flower, smiling as he remembered his past selves. So much fun they had on their adventure…
The boy looked up sharply as a bird call snapped him out of his thoughts. He watched as a red-crested robin flew out of the bushes towards the sun.
And now, he was all alone.
No, that wasn't quite true… he wasn't all alone. In fact, he was a hero now- the subject of fairy tales and legends, what caused little boys to dress up as him and beg to be read tales of his majestic adventures. He had won- good had prevailed over evil. And of course, there was Zelda… she had hardly ever left his side since she was captured, and spared no expense to make him happy.
And yet… why couldn't he be happy?
A soft chime of bells awoke the hero's thoughts, and he gazed back over the path. Looking once more at the flower in between his fingers, he sighed. "There's my call," he said quietly as he let the flower fall back gently to the ground. Pushing himself back up with the palms of his hands, the child, hardly four feet tall, brushed the dirt and stray blades of grass off his tunic and glanced once more down the road.
It wouldn't be so bad… Zelda would be there, after all. He may have to make a silly extravagant entrance and maybe some fancy sword tricks to woo the crowds, but he could get over that. He just hoped he didn't have to sign autographs or anything too ridiculous.
With these last thoughts, he slowly walked back on to the trail, turning to follow the cobblestone-path out of the gardens, and back in to the world.
"Ladies and Gentleman! Hylians young and old! It is the time you have all been waiting for!"
Link groaned softly as he cringed from the corny, loud voice of the announcer. It was a good thing he stood behind the curtains for now- he'd hate for all the others to see the embarrassed look on face.
A soft hand reached out and touched his arm. The boy turned to look, smiling at who he saw, and returning the gesture as he took her hand in his.
The Princess of Hyrule looked upon the boy with adoring, beautiful eyes, and gave a soft giggle. "You don't have to look so sad," she teased quietly, keeping her voice down so they wouldn't be heard over the announcer and the roar of the crowd on the other side of the stage.
"I'm not sad, Zelda, I promise," the boy reassured her, giving her a smile as proof. "It's just…" he grinned awkwardly, his hand once more reaching to scratch the back of his neck in a characteristic gesture of his. "Is all of this really necessary?" he asked, swooping his other arm out in an arc, motioning to the entire festival on the other side of the curtains.
"Of course," the Princess answered smoothly, with a graceful smile. "The people of Hyrule will forever know the sacrifices their hero made to save their kingdom. And they will forever be happy in their peace."
Ah… Zelda always knew what to say. He didn't even know why he questioned her sometimes. Smiling, Link nodded and reached over his back, pulling out a glistening sword with his left hand, and a sturdy, blue-golden shield with his right. Even if he had to do a thousand ostentatious Jump Attacks or Spin Attacks, he'd do it, just to keep seeing that wonderful smile of hers.
"AND NOW! To kick off the celebration of the year!" the announcer shouted exuberantly over the crowd, no doubt waving his hands around wildly to excite the crowd.
"That's your cue," Zelda said with a smile, stepping back to give her hero some room. She grinned and mischievously hid her mouth with her small, dainty hand. "Knock 'em dead!"
Link grinned. Although a princess, Zelda was as fiesty as ever, a trait which he was glad for. It reminded him of… No, he wouldn't think about that now. He nodded towards her and turned to face the stage, bringing his sword behind his back in a wide arc, ready for his entrance.
"People of Hyrule! I give you… YOUR FOUR SWORD HERO, LINK!"
The crowd's roar was louder than any before, and, letting out a battle cry, the triumphant hero burst through the curtains, slicing a clean hole through the fabric as he twirled his sword forcefully around him, sending him in a swift, tight circle which spun him across the stage, landing gracefully at the front with the sword he'd borrowed from the King of Hyrule gleaming in front of him, catching the light from the high sun in the sky. However, the child noticed, somewhat melancholy, that it did not dance like the petals of the flower had made it.
He was glad for the small distraction, as it kept him from seeing the painfully embarrassing sight of nearly half of Castle Town crawling over each other just to get a glimpse of their hero, cheering wildly and shouting encouragements such as "You're the best!" "We love you!" "Our hero!"
Stepping back, the hero sheathed his sword and shield, taking a bow to the crowd and waiting until the announcer finished calming the crowd, ready to announce the next- and far more important- guest (at least, that was how Link saw it).
This time, instead of a roar, the crowd fell silent in respect as the announcer changed his tune.
"Faithful Hylians… It is my great honor to present to you… our beautiful and wonderful Princess, Princess Zelda!" Hurrying off stage, bowing as he went, the repaired curtains parted to reveal the dainty, graceful form of the young princess.
The crowd went nuts, cheering and calling her name in joy. Smiling humbly, the princess walked up to the crowd, the love for her people clear in her glistening eyes.
How does she do that? Link marveled at her as she walked up to the crowd, kneeling occasionally to pat the hand of an elder, or kiss the head of a child. He was never very good with the public… It was always so awkward to see them practically worshipping him.
Standing before the crowd, Zelda held up a fair hand, and the crowd's voice almost immediately fell silent.
"People of Hyrule," she began, in her melodious and elegant voice, "I wish to thank each and every one of you for attending this joyous festival. As you all know, we hold this celebration in honor of our kingdom's greatest hero- Link." She nodded once in his direction, sneaking him a small smile, and continued speaking to the crowd.
"As you all go about your day, and the rest of your year, I implore you to never waste the gift he gave you all of our peace, never forget the sacrifices he made to save us all, and to cherish forever the values of courage he taught us all in his endeavors to seal away the darkness and preserve the light."
Jeez… why did everyone always make it sound so… legendary? He tried to keep his smile from faltering as he heard the princess' words. He didn't mind a little pat on the back every now and then, and in fact, he rather enjoyed it when taking a stroll through Castle Town, and a little boy would come up to him and tell him he was his hero. But when he was swarmed by hundreds, pestering to be shown his moves, or to teach someone's son, or to do this or that… it drove him nuts.
Once more, cheers burst from the main square of Castle Town, and died down instantly when the Princess raised her bejeweled hand.
"Thank you, my wonderful people," the child said with a bright smile. Raising both of her arms triumphantly, she called, "and please… enjoy the Four Swords Festival!"
Confetti was tossed and the people cheered long and loud, ready to kick off the day of games, food, and partying. Bowing to her people, the princess turned and held out her hand to the hero.
Abashed, but grateful for her affection, the boy took her hand, and the two children turned and walked off the stage without another word, the joyous sounds of cheering and laughter echoing throughout the jubilant streets of town.
The words broke the harsh silence in the pitch-black room, their unsteady and wavering tones cracking under the stress. A long silence followed after the interruption, and the speaker, nervous, looked towards her companion for support.
The speaker's companion, slightly more confident than her sister, cleared her throat and moved forward, speaking once more. "My Lord… Is it time…?"
The two looked imploringly at the back of a figure which stood on the other side of the room, facing away from the pair with its long, black cape obscuring their vision of the monster which stood behind it. However, suddenly, a dark hand brushed aside the coat and lifted its palm to the two.
"No. Not yet." The words were like the voice of the deepest pits of hell, gravely and harsh, quiet and foreboding, like the surface of the water of a swamp, bubbling and churning as the monster beneath the waters lashed about, just waiting to be unleashed.
Chided, the two figures crouched low to the ground, ducking their heads in respect.
"I will not be taken advantage of again," the hellish voice continued, growling like an animal as its owner set his sights out the window from which he gazed. "We wait until dark, and the Sanctuary is empty."
"O-of course, your Highness," the first witch spoke hastily, bowing and stuttering upon her words.
"When the time is just right…" The speaker's voice suddenly grew loud as he turned around savagely, the cape fluttering furiously behind him as he dashed forward, savage hands grasping around the neck of the witch. It gagged and gasped, pleading for mercy, as it was lifted high in the air by the devil.
Slowly, he brought the witch's face close to his own. And as the shadows crossed over his face, a malicious grin spread like poison across his features. "We take back what is ours," he hissed through his teeth, his hot breath beating down on the witch's face. Opening his fist nonchalantly, he chuckled softly in amusement as the small witch plummeted to the ground, gasping for breath. The other witch would dare not offer her assistance.
Slowly, the terrible smile returned to the cruel man's face as he turned and walked back to the window- the only source of light in the room of shadow. Tilting his chin up, he looked upon the scene with greedy, hungry eyes- the beautiful rift he'd found, glowing like an open wound, floating in the air above him. It sparked and seized, pulsing feverishly, twisted and gnarled in appearance, rumbling as if it were soon to explode. As the man stood transfixed at its horrible beauty, the second witch began to offer her assistance to the other, picking her up off the cold ground.
"When it opens…" the man whispered, his eyes widening as he looked at the gateway…
Suddenly, he turned around once more, and the two witches, caught, huddled against each other, trembling under his gaze.
The mighty King of Evil grinned, chuckling once more as his teeth ground together in malicious triumph as he looked down at his minions. The face of Ganondorf twisted together in a mad grin. "Darkness will once again corrupt the light."
Chapter Two coming tomorrow! :D