Blood covered his arms. Nothing unusual there. He supposed it had been seven years since his first kill, seven years since Princess Zelda sent him back to his childhood after he and the sages sealed Ganondorf.

He never imagined that seven years down the line a fat man would be lecturing him.

As it was, however, a distended stomach shook up and down in front of him as Vance seethed with anger like a child throwing a fit. "Sir Link, this is highly inappropriate!" All the contempt for Link which the lord normally hid in front of others with kindly-worded insults was clearly visible on his face; Link had invaded his sanctuary, one of the few places in Hyrule Castle where the Hero of Time wasn't allowed.

For his part, Link was well aware of the numerous breaches in etiquette, but he hadn't wanted to provoke anyone. "It's an emergency, my lord. The beasts you sent me to slay claim that a larger force will attack Kakariko tomorrow to avenge them."

Several of the guests Lord Vance had been entertaining looked horrified by the news, but Vance himself was only further enraged. "You come barging into my private quarters covered in blood without permission—in the presence of women, no less—to tell me about something that will happen tomorrow?" he growled out, having trouble controlling his volume.

"Kakariko is a day's ride from here. Since you are in charge of maintaining eastern Hyrule's defense, I—"

"Let me tell you something, peasant." Though Link's blood boiled at being regarded so poorly, after seven years he knew better than to further agitate a noble. He stood at attention and patiently waited for the diatribe to end. "I am gracious enough to tolerate you at our meetings, but you will not under any circumstances intrude on me here! I will deal with this problem later. Now go!"

"But—"

"Now."

His arm shook in fury, but Link gathered enough willpower to nod and leave like a good little errand boy. Outside Vance's room, he resisted the urge to take his frustration out on the wall; Kakariko's protection was more important. With that in mind, he made his way toward one of the few people in the castle who took him seriously.

Princess Zelda, as expected, was in her garden, likely enjoying a break from tedious meetings that Link was glad slaying moblins had allowed him to avoid today. "Zelda," he whispered breathlessly, still tired from running through the halls with his urgent message.

"Sir Link!" She looked up in surprise, but her cool exterior was up the next moment. "What happened to you?"

"I'm okay. The blood isn't mine."

"I would still appreciate it if you bathed and changed clothes before your next visit."

"Moblins are attacking Kakariko tomorrow," he informed her, tired of the delays.

Instantly Zelda was more on edge. "Did you inform Lord Vance?"

"Yes. He brushed me off."

"I see. Thank you for your haste, hero. I will make sure he dispatches soldiers there immediately." He was relieved at her icy tone. It was good to know he wasn't the only one who couldn't stand that man sometimes. Zelda could be as stuffy and underhanded as anyone, but she still cared more about Hyrule's safety than the wounded pride of one of her advisers. "In the meantime, please rest."

He didn't miss the hidden message "and bathe" in the way she looked at him, so after a bath that did little to ease his worries, he and Zelda stood outside the door to the primary meeting room.

Meetings. Everything, every decision, always had to be formalized. Link forced down the urge to barge through the door and demand why soldiers had not already left. Sadly, his aggression would only make everything worse. He always had to rely on the princess to convince anyone of anything.

His thoughts stopped as he suddenly noticed she wore a different royal dress today. While nothing she wore was very revealing, this particular pink and white gown looked incredible on her, and those words spilled from his mouth before he was aware.

She did not blush or smile brightly at the compliment. Instead, she simply said "Thank you, Sir Link." His sour mood returned. In all these years, she never called him by just his name, even though he called her Zelda most of the time.

It didn't matter now, though, because suddenly he and she were sitting at the round table he loathed. "Loyal vassals to Hyrule," Princess Zelda began as usual, "before we begin with our scheduled business, something urgent has come up. Sir Link has informed me that a horde of moblins plan to attack Kakariko Village tomorrow. I expect you, Lord Vance, as head of defense in that area, to respond immediately."

"Yes, your highness." He said something to a young man attending him, and the boy left. "My messenger is on his way to tell the soldiers under my command to prepare for departure. I will speak with them in greater detail after this meeting has concluded."

"Thank you, my lord," she responded evenly.

Link hated the two-faced man. Though he was certainly glad the lord listened to Zelda, he was growing increasingly frustrated at how little anyone listened to him.

"For our next order of business, we must decide our next step in improving relations with the neighboring kingdoms. We are all in agreement to form an alliance with the Gerudo, even though they gave birth to the demon who tried to take over Hyrule seven years ago. Thus we must send an envoy to them soon. This situation is too delicate to send an ordinary messenger. Someone from this table must make the journey."

The council fell silent, and Link knew none of the snooty, physically inept men were eager to go somewhere as harsh as the Gerudo Desert. However, going would give him time away from the council, and he desperately needed to cool his head. "If it pleases your highness, I would go."

"I'm not sure that would be wise, Sir Link," Zelda informed him, frowning slightly. "You have many valuable skills, but you are also the least experienced person here in terms of diplomacy. Perhaps it would be better if someone else went."

"Begging your pardon, your highness, but perhaps Link is more suited to the task than you might realize. Like the Gerudo, he has a propensity toward…simpler ways of living." Link stifled his rage at Vance's thinly-veiled taunt. "And as a fellow warrior, he may be more likely to earn their respect and trust than anyone else."

"You make a convincing argument, Lord Vance. Very well. Sir Link, you are to leave at dawn tomorrow."

Link didn't pay much attention to the rest of the meeting, and soon he and Zelda stood alone outside her bedchamber. "Sleep well, Zelda."

"Good luck tomorrow, Sir Link," she responded without emotion. He knew she didn't want him to, but this was probably the last time he would see her for weeks. Embracing her, he kissed her on the cheek, and to his surprise she allowed him to hold her. Her soft, warm, beautiful body leaned against his, and he felt the heat from her beneath his thin breeches. Relaxing for the first time in far too long, he stroked her hair and hugged her more tightly. This was such a rare occurrence that he felt his member hardening, but their lower bodies were not pressed together, so she didn't notice. When he tried to kiss her lips, however, she pulled away.

"Good night, Sir Link," she said quickly, voice quivering the slightest bit, before entering her bedroom and closing the door. Stupefied, Link stood still in shock for a few moments before cursing silently to himself.

Several years ago he worked up the courage to tell her his feelings for her, and she told him she felt the same way about him. But in all the time since, she had never expressed any kind of affection for him—never allowed him to kiss her, never even called him by his name rather than his title—and now he stood helpless, his emotions and his groin begging for release that she would never give. He understood that as princess she had to be aloof from most people, but did she really have to keep him at arm's length even when no one was looking? For not the first time, he wondered if her supposed feelings for him were true.

His erection ached. It was always like this. He never even had time to masturbate when this happened because he was always so busy helping Hyrule, helping her. He would do anything and had done everything for her. As his dick stubbornly stayed up and made walking difficult, he thought angrily that he was glad for the opportunity to be away from her as well as the councilors, because he didn't know how much more of this he could take.