Inspiration: Terry McMillan
Special Note: The art for the picture is done by Jinny Liang, please check out her deviant art page, she does incredible work.
Author Note: This story does not stringently follow canon, and there are made up histories and stories in the text. If you as a reader dislike this please don't read it because I'm not changing it. The contents take place after the events in Twilight Princess. I do not own the Legend of Zelda. It is owned by Nintendo EAD of Japan. This is the reedit from the original story back in May 2012. It is highly recommended that you read The Girl with the Green Hair and The Ambivalent Hero before this because there are some references to both those stories. However, if you choose not to, that's perfectly fine. Thank you very much for reading the reedit, and please enjoy.
REEDIT START DATE: September 7th, 2015.
Word Count 8,274
How Zelda Got Her Groove Back
The great halls of Hyrule Castle. These halls echoed a history. A history so contradictory, so tainted and stained with blood, that if a truth seeking individual were to ask a hundred citizens what their opinions were of it, there would no doubt be a hundred varying responses. There wasn't one voice that defined my country's legacy. Hyrule had a million voices, with a million lives to witness it with. Fortunately for me, I only had one voice, and with my voice I would speak of the history I knew, my history -the history of the here and now. That espousal may have seemed like an ambivalent statement, but I will clarify my point to properly explain. My history... what did that mean? There would obviously be some who disagreed with my premise, and would suggest that what I'm purporting was nonsensical. The mavens and scholars would reason with practical logic that the past and the present could never competently coexist. Time and space didn't evidently work that way. However, while they may been right theorizing this idea, most Hylians often overlooked the very simple principle of interchangeability. Interchangeability surmised that the past was vastly and almost always converged with the present. Whether we as Hylians could see that principal or not was a completely different story, but it was there. I should know, I've been dealing with that phenomenon for the last five years.
I took in a deep breath and sighed, I didn't want to delve too deeply in the matter.
The webs we bind ourselves in, I couldn't help but think, the things we look back at and regret.
A further explanation for what I meant would be provided later. Presently, I needed to redirect my attention and focus on less philosophical matters at hand. I was taking in audiences in the main hall the way I did every morning to see and hear what my people needed from me. Admittedly, it was mundane work that often left me mentally tired and weighed down, but it was my duty to see and hear the concerns of the citizens. Today was particularly eventful in that all the provinces were sending representatives from their regions to give gifts to the royal family. It was a tradition that dated back hundreds of years. The gifts were all handcrafted sundries of some kind, or an heirloom with some significant value to the province. These items were presented and then bestowed to the royal family to keep in trust. It was a way for the people to figuratively show their loyalty to Hyrule, though, I couldn't say 'loyalty' was the circulating sentiment of the citizens these days.
Admittedly, there was a lingering animosity towards me and my family from the people. I wasn't going to say it wasn't warranted, but there were some things the people simply didn't understand. It had to do with some of my past dealings with a certain person of interest... a certain hero. Dealings I would not divulge nor discuss at this time, nor in the near future if I could help it. It was too much of a negative instance. Even so, I couldn't ignore the subtle quips and digs aimed at my character because of it. I saw the disdain and open disgust of some of the people when I walked by in the halls. The whispers of "You know you were wrong your majesty, and you'll never convince us otherwise." I wasn't immune to it, but I couldn't let it overtake my life either. I wasn't perfect, I was completely aware of that, but it wasn't a charge that was simply black and white either. There was a lot of grey area the citizens simply weren't aware of from back then. However, the people had already found me guilty in the court of public opinion and it was just something I learned to live with. Even still, I also couldn't pretend the pervading sentiment wasn't there. The feeling was very apparent and almost palpable in some cases. I just needed to keep a balance and remember not to appear too stoic. Everything was about balance.
I took in a deep breath and sighed.
If they only knew what it was like, I thought, if they only knew.
Anyway, getting back to the present, a few moments later my courtier walked up and bowed before making an announcement.
He cleared his voice of roughage before he spoke.
"Your majesty," he began, "the representative from Ordon Province is here requesting an audience with you."
I raised my eyebrows subtly and felt my ears perk a little at hearing that. I even sat a little more upright on my throne and folded my hands across my lap in reaction to it.
The representative of Ordon Province... Ordon... I couldn't help but think, what a place of personal significance.
Though I had never been there personally, I knew some of the residents who lived there, including a certain reclusive hero who no longer showed his face in Castle Town. It was primarily a farming community, but the village was making strides in their areas of commerce and trade. The pumpkin goods sold from there were now staples in many of the shops in Castle Town, and many of the recipes accrued were extraordinary. I never realized there were so many ways to fix a pumpkin. Anyway, that wasn't important right now, what was important was who was going to walk through that door. Was it going to be one of the usual suspects? Or was someone new going to be the representative this year? I was hoping the latter, but there was only one way to find out.
"Thank you," I replied softly, then ushered him off, "please send him in."
The courtier bowed, then went to open the door and escort the guest in. When he turned from me I sighed, both out of anticipation and a little out of reproach. The anticipation for the aforementioned reasons, the reproach for something else entirely. I wasn't sure if this was going to be an amiable visit, or one instigated by the minor social upheaval related to some of the propositions suggested for that region a little while back. In the recent past, maybe about less than a year or so ago, an idea was put forth by the court to use some of the land in southern Hyrule to build a large university. I thought this was an excellent idea, seeing that many of the citizens could get a first class education who lived on limited resources. However, not everyone saw things quite so optimistically, it wasn't to be.
The merger was vehemently protested by the citizens of Ordon, with many of them stating that their ways of life would have been greatly effected if such measures were to have taken place. Being queen, I could have overruled the matter and thought nothing of it. However, given that the people had a right to protest, the Ordonians had legitimate concerns, and there were already mounting tensions in my kingdom, I let the matter go. It wasn't worth it in the end. If I had forced my hand to disrupt their way of life, I never would have heard the end of it in court. I would rather have a land of peaceful people, than a land of educated, disgruntled cynics. My last words may have been harsh, but there was some legitimacy to them. Even still, with the representative showing up like this, I couldn't help but feel a little guarded regarding the reason for the visit. Was he here to promote peaceful relations with Ordon or diminish them? I would just have to wait and see.
Hopefully there are no more problems, I thought, we wouldn't want another issue like last year now would we?
The courtier returned shortly after with the Ordon messenger, and my anticipation suddenly fell flat. The gentleman to see me was one of the usual suspects. Actually, he was the swordsman known as Rusl. I knew it would either be him, or the big burly gentleman with the funny mustache, though he hadn't come to give the gift from his village in about five years. Perhaps Rusl was the new acting mayor, I didn't know. The middle aged soldier bowed respectfully, and looked me in the eyes with an apt sincerity once he stood again. I returned his gaze and suddenly recalled the time when Master Rusl worked in the castle as part of the counter insurgency team. It was a special task force headed by Link after the days of Ganondorf. It was an interesting time for all of us, but I was more interested in how the pseudo acting mayor was living his life now. Rusl was a loyal servant to the throne, and the last few years had been good to him no doubt, considering his well conditioned physique and barely aging face. He was possibly in his early forties now, which wasn't old by any means, but he still looked several years younger. He had a natural amiable disposition, which made him easy to talk to. He still looked able bodied and took good care of himself.
The results of a happy home life no doubt, I thought in subtle admiration.
I laced my hands together and sat even more upright on my throne. It was time to get down to business.
"What can I do you for you good sir?" I asked in my diplomatic voice.
Master Rusl bowed again before he spoke.
"Greetings your majesty," he started respectfully. "All is well in Ordon my lady, and the citizens are at peace. I was sent here to by my fellow countrymen to offer you the sword of our village. We wanted to bestow it to you as a showing of our faith, allegiance, and gratitude."
I looked at the soldier in open surprise.
Faith, allegiance, and gratitude? I wondered in slight disbelief. Could it be that I actually made some of the citizens of my kingdom happy?
I smiled after hearing this, grateful there was one less complaint to mill through. Afterwards, I stood up from my throne.
"Thank you very much good sir," I replied with the truest sincerity, "on behalf of the royal family, I humbly accept your gift and gratefully acknowledge you as an ally. Please offer the people of Ordon my humblest thanks."
The swordsman put his fist in his opposing palm and bowed once more.
"I will indeed your majesty," he replied, "and thank you for your kind acknowledgements. May the blessing of the goddess be with you."
"With you as well," I replied.
The Ordonian then offered the sword he spoke of to the courtier, who in turn gave it to the guard of the treasury. When Rusl's attention was back to me I bowed, signaling that it was okay for him to depart from me. With the brief audience over, Master Rusl headed out and headed home. I watched after him and sighed a little in relief. I was happy there was nothing more serious to report. Afterwards, I turned my attention to the messenger.
"Are there anymore audiences?" I asked him.
The courtier shook his head.
"No your majesty," he replied, "the Ordon matter was the last one for today."
Completely relieved, I took in another deep breath.
"Good," I said, a little tired with the duties of court life, "I shall recess to my chambers then."
The messenger looked at me with open concern regarding my tone.
"Is there anything I can get you your majesty?" the courtier asked me. "You seem a little under the weather today my lady."
That was unfortunate because I felt fine.
I must be holding a sour expression or something, I thought.
I tried to reassure him with a grin and shook my head.
"No, I'm fine," I replied softly, "thank you for your inquiry though."
With that, I stood again and court ended. I signaled for everyone to be dismissed and the hall was cleared out. When I was alone, I looked around the large commodious room, thinking about all the responsibility I had as the country's sole proprietor. I closed my eyes for a moment of solace.
Hylia thank you for giving me strength to get through another long day, I prayed slightly fatigued.
After my brief prayer, I walked down the two steps leading up to my throne, looked around the room once more, then left the hall and headed down the vaulted marble corridor to my private chambers. As I walked by, the guards stood a little more erect, and each one of them saluted me out of respect. I merely nodded at all of them as I strolled by. I knew it was their job to make sure they acknowledged their queen. However, I couldn't help but wonder if I were forced to do such a duty would I enjoy it. It seemed like such a mechanical gesture, saluting one's queen. I knew it had significance, because it deduced an air of honor and respect, but the question then beckoned: did my people respect me? I often wondered how the sender felt about such service. I stopped momentarily and suddenly looked at the last guard closest to the entrance of my quarters. I decided the only way I was going to know the answer to that question was if I asked it.
Perhaps a self evaluation is in order, I thought.
The guard, who I was unintentionally staring at, looked down at me nervously.
"Is there anything I can assist you with your majesty?" he asked me.
I didn't answer right away.
Your majesty… I thought, there is so much weight to that title.
I realized I was looking at him with a blank expression, I then shook my head of my thoughts and apologized.
"I'm sorry," I said, then reneged on what I was originally planning to do, "I didn't mean to stare, and no there's nothing I need at the moment."
The guard bowed politely and I bowed back. Afterwards, I continued down the corridor to my residence, but then as I got closer to my door I stopped myself again. I stared down at the marble floor for a moment. Was I really not going to ask? How would I ever know what was going on the people's minds if I didn't ask? I used to always ask. What stopped me from being so social? Why have I regressed to this meager existence of idly walking by and assuming things of people? That isn't who I am. What has happened to me over the years? Why have I allowed this to take root in my heart?
I sighed, knowing I was probably going to look foolish doing so, but I turned back around to reengage the same guard I just left. I had a quick change of heart. I knew it was silly how I was over complicating this, but if I didn't ask, I would never know. The guard looked at me in slight surprise at my return, but stiffened immediately when I approached him once more. I only wanted to engage in some small talk.
He looks so uneasy, I thought, I guess I would be too if I were him. He has no idea what I'm going to ask him.
"At ease soldier," I said.
The guard relaxed his stance a little bit, but not much to afford the true brunt of my command.
"Yes my lady," he said.
I gave him a brief once over.
"Tell me something soldier," I started carefully, "do you… enjoy doing your duty?"
He looked at me puzzled, trying to anticipate where I was going with this. He stared at me with a slight restraint in his eyes. He probably thought he did something wrong.
"Enjoy my duty your majesty?" he repeated, unsure in how he should answer.
I looked at him thoughtfully just then.
"Yes good sir," I said, "your duty. I want to know what you honestly think. Please speak freely."
Almost immediately a stressful expression came across his face.
"Uh..." he trailed, then began to sweat at his brow.
I looked at him taken aback.
The poor fellow looks like he's going to have an aneurysm, I thought in disbelief, I can't be that hard to talk to.
"Uh," he attempted again, "I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve in the royal army your majesty," he said to me with strong conviction.
I wasn't going to get a straight answer from him, even still, I attempted to probe further.
"Yes, I'm sure you do," I replied, "but do you feel that there is anything that needs to be improved upon? Anything at all? I would greatly appreciate the feedback."
The sweat that seeded was now running down the guard's face.
"No ma'am," he said seriously, "I feel the Hylian military is a well tempered sword."
I nearly gave into a frown in front of him, but tempered it by staring at the young soldier instead.
That's what I thought you'd say, I pondered, wishing I could get some unfiltered answers to my questions, but considering he was just doing what he thought was right, I let the matter go. It looks like the honesty I became accustomed all those years ago is gone. I pursed my lips together at the allusion of the latter thought. Don't think about that Zelda, I told myself, that man is gone.
I shook my head slightly at my recourse.
"Thank you," I said to him simply, not wanting to stress him out anymore, "as you once were."
The guard went from his 'relaxed' stance to the position he was in before. I bowed at him again, and went back down the hall to my chambers. When I got inside my room, I took in a deep reflective breath.
"I wish every answer could be that simple," I whispered to myself, then went over to my dresser and sat down.
Before I undressed and readied myself for bed, I took a long look at the woman staring back at me.
My name is Zelda, and I am the queen designate of Hyrule, but sometimes I feel more like the ruler of a disconcerted harem. As with any job of public service, there is a measurable amount of politics in what I do. Person X wants something from Person Y. So and So A has an issue with So and So B. Zoras Domain wants an expansion into the Eldin Provinces. Eldin Province wants more mining rights to sift for dragon ore. The list goes on and on.
I am also the ambassador to the Twilight Realm… if what can be called over the last few years of non-negotiation an ambassadorship. Access to the Twilight Realm has been cut by Queen Midna, the Twili ruler, and the relationship between our two nations can be called anything but friendly; tolerable would be the word that fits it best. There is no outward discord between us, but I know there is still an undercurrent of tension involving what had happened several years ago. An evil dictator named Zant usurped the twilight throne, and turned the princess into an imp. It was later found out that Zant was gaining his power from Ganondorf, a Gerudo thief ironically from the world of light. Even though Ganondorf had no association with Hyrule, after all was said and done, I still knew there was a measure of resentment towards the world of light due to his actions. Midna never had to say it, I just knew.
I ran my fingers across my forehead for a moment and sighed.
There was more that could be said of the complicated relationship between the Twilight Realm and Hyrule, but it was too depressing to think about. The history was too sordid. There were somethings that I myself wish I didn't know that my family had done. The recent past was reason enough for contentions to be as high as they were, milling through the distant past to find more only added fuel to the fire. That was why Midna and I never had any contact over the last seven years. That was why Midna destroyed the Mirror of Twilight. That was why there was, and is, an unsettling of peace about the land. There were too many unresolved issues, and too many questions as to why they weren't resolved. I've spent the last seven years searching for solutions.
Foreign affairs wasn't the only rift between our two worlds. There were issues of a personal nature that needed to be considered as well. Before the Mirror of Twilight was destroyed, the Hero and Queen Midna had a very telling exchange. I wasn't a fool. I could sense it even before either of them said anything. They were in love, but they never told each other so. However, a little while later, the hero had no qualms about confessing his true feelings for Midna to me. The interesting thing about that was by then I had fallen in love with him too, so there was definitely some conflicting emotions going on inside me. All in all, the whole situation ended up being a mess, and left many bitter feelings in the wake. However, without the Mirror of Twilight, there was no way for the two of them to be together anyway, and I think in some strange subconscious way, both Midna and Link blamed me for that. I didn't know why, I had my theories, but it was just a feeling I had. Was it my fault? No, but there were some things I could have prevented in the past. I could have been a little more empathetic, but I was just too hurt. Sometimes in life it was easier to shift one's pain to another individual than to deal with it personally. Does that thought have due credence? No. Does it make a person feel better temporarily? Absolutely. This was all my conjecture of course, some of it was true, the rest was based on theory. It may not necessarily be as I think it.
Even still, one has to wonder.
I sighed again, then picked up my brush and ran it through my dark brown hair. I stared at my reflection again, wondering why the beautiful woman staring back at me was so... so jaded with life. Why was everyday an endless parade of mundane tasks? Why was I always staring at the people from the rooftops instead of being a part of them? Why was my life so useless now? I used to feel I had a great significance to my people, but when I analyzed things, I mean really analyzed them, it seemed I garnered more pity than anything. It was hard to believe, but my people pitied me if they didn't openly disdain me. Who wanted to be seen as such? It was pathetic really. Then, of course, there was the nonsensical talk of my age and my never marrying.
I knew the gossip.
I knew the rumors.
I knew the fears.
"Our sovereign is going to end up an old maid," the ladies of the court whisper. "How many marriage proposals are you going to consider, before you make a decision?" the counsel men ask me. "Arguably the most beautiful woman in the country, and still unmarried!" the older women say. "How will we ever have a Nohansen heir to the throne when you have no husband?"
They all had legitimate concerns. However, I was not going to let the stress of an heir overwhelm me.
When the time came for me to marry, I would marry. Until then, Hyrule needs me as I am now. The woman who's trying to solve all the problems. I put the brush down, and stared at my dark blue reflective eyes.
"So many duties," I whispered to myself, caressing my hand over my creamy pale cheek, "I wish it were as simple as the soldier's reply."
It was near dusk, as calm settled over the castle of Hyrule. Many of the day's rustlings had retired to the quiet still that was eventuating into the evening. It was then I heard a mild grumble, grumble to my stomach.
I haven't even had supper yet, I thought, realizing I had a slight hunger.
Suddenly, there was a knock on my chamber door.
"Come in," I called.
The door opened and Lydia, my personal attendant, came in. She was twenty seven years of age, the same as I, with dark hair and a beautiful smile. She could have been my sister, with her expressive blue eyes and fair complexion. I considered Lydia my closest friend and not really my servant. She was always telling me things for what they were, not what I wanted to hear, and for that, I greatly appreciated her advice.
"I brought you your dinner your majesty," Lydia said setting a tray down on the table in the center of the large room.
I smiled at her through the mirror.
"You must be a mind reader because I was just talking about being hungry," I replied.
She returned my smile.
"I must," she said, lifting the silver lid to the platter, revealing roasted pheasant and grapes.
After arranging my food, Lydia then came over to where I was, picked up the brush I was just using, and started brushing my hair. She looked at my facial expression through the mirror.
"What's the matter my lady?" she asked me, already knowing my mood was affected by my troubles.
I shook my head slightly, and sighed
"The usual," I said.
Lydia nodded, understanding completely.
"Try not to let it bother you so much," she said to me in a soft voice, "things will get better. The people know you are trying, and they love you for it."
I wasn't so sure about that last sentiment, but I tried to be optimistic.
I hope so, I thought.
"Anyway," I replied, segueing into another subject, "was there any correspondence today?"
Lydia stopped brushing my hair for a moment, and reached into the front pocket of her dress to pull out a red and black stationery. Without opening it, I already knew who it was from.
"This came from the attendant of the Prince of Dragon Roost," she said, handing me the letter.
I tried not to let it show, but I rolled my eyes in slight irritation.
"Prince Elbourne again?" I inquired casually.
Lydia smiled at my expression, and shook her head.
"I don't know my lady," she said with a slight chuckle.
I raised my brows and groaned.
"Oh yes you do," I accused, "you know his letter head very well."
Lydia didn't reply and forced herself not to laugh again.
I snatched the letter from her hand and tore it open to get this over with. It was unsurprisingly just as I suspected.
The letter read:
My Darling Zelda,
I just returned from a hunting campaign, and am eager
to get reacquainted. Please correspond with me at your
earliest convenience. Please know that you will always
have a piece of my heart. I so willingly submit it to you.
Loving You Always,
Elbourne of Dragon Roost
I sighed at the letter's end and tossed it on the dresser.
"What did he say?" Lydia asked me, trying to hide the grin from spreading across her face.
I didn't want to discuss it.
"Nothing he hasn't said before," I replied in a quiet undertone, knowing where this was going to lead.
Lydia looked at me thoughtfully, and continued brushing my hair.
"Will you meet with him?" she asked me.
I looked at her puzzled for a moment, but then narrowed my eyes at her.
"You are going to get enough of reading my mail," I accused, "that's an invasion of privacy."
Lydia immediately giggled.
"It's my job to make sure there are no threats to your life," she said simply, "I just happened to read the letter in passing."
I rolled my eyes at her answer.
"Oh yes," I went on sarcastically, "the black and red stationery are no indicators at all on who this could be from!"
Lydia giggled more.
"Don't be angry," she said, "I think it's sweet that he's so enamored with you."
I had nothing to say to that. I had known Elbourne a long time, too long to be quite honest, and we had a complicated relationship at best. Right now, he and I were at a sour note, that was why he was trying to butter me up with the letter. The last three times I called for him, he brushed me off as if I were a no account senseless woman for some other duty. He never specified what it was, but only that he was unavailable. I realized he was a busy man with his own life, but if he thought he was going to treat me like a good time girl, he had another thing coming. He was known for being a shameless womanizer, I was certain his 'unavailability' had something to do with that.
"If you must know," I replied, "no, I'm not going to answer his call."
Lydia paused and looked at me through my mirror.
"May I ask why your majesty?" she inquired.
I took in a frustrated groan.
"You already know why," I replied, not wanting to take it further.
Lydia bit her lower lip thoughtfully.
"The Hyrulean Festival is coming up," she said all of a sudden, "do you really intend to go alone again?"
I didn't meet her eyes, because I knew they were looking at me disapprovingly.
"If need be, yes," I said, trying to appear stoic, "it's a peasant festival anyway."
Lydia resumed brushing my hair, and took a minor offense.
"Well, we all don't have the privilege to attend the Aristocrat's Ball like you do every year my lady," she replied, "that 'peasant festival' is very entertaining for some of us."
I realized how I sounded and apologized immediately.
"I didn't mean it the way I said it," I reassured, "the festival is wonderful Lydia, really it is, I just see no need to take Elbourne with me."
"But your majesty, Prince Elbourne-" she tried.
I was growing tired of this subject.
"If you must know, I find his company aggravating," I interrupted. "Elbourne may be handsome, true, but he's also conceited, and extremely uncouth in his dealings with other people. There's a reason very few people can stand him. He can come off as an egotistical bastard. For the most part we have very little in common."
Lydia looked at me surprised at my unbridled honesty and paused again.
"So... why not just tell him that?" she asked me finally. "Why associate with him if you find him so repulsive?"
That was a question many in my kingdom had. The people didn't understand my relationship Elbourne, mainly because he was so crass and off putting to them. However, Elbourne did have another side. When we were alone he was always so kind to me. As I stated before, it was complicated, and I wasn't sure what answer Lydia wanted me to give her.
"You don't know how fragile that man's ego is," I said finally.
She nodded once more.
"I see," she replied, but then added, "is... something else holding you back from telling him your majesty?"
I looked at her puzzled and raised a brow.
"No, why?" I asked.
"I don't know..." she trailed thoughtfully, "it seems you keep him around because you might be a little lonely."
I looked at Lydia surprised.
"What?" I snapped at her.
She saw no need to refrain from what she said.
"I think you keep him around because you're lonely," she repeated simply, "he's handsome and showers you with attention when you need it. He brings you lovely gifts, and you just said he's amiable with you."
I became indignant at her accusation.
"Stop brushing my hair at once!" I said, and then pushed back from my chair and stood up.
Lydia looked at me surprised but didn't get at all intimidated by my action or my tone. It seemed rather, to have humored her. She just grinned.
"Did I strike a chord?" she asked.
I narrowed my eyes at her.
"How dare you say such things to me Lyddie?" I demanded. "You are not with your mavens when you're speaking with me!"
She rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"Your majesty-" she tried.
"Silence!" I said to her forcefully.
Lydia clamped her mouth shut, and merely looked at me. She seemed annoyed with my frustration.
I stared at her with slight contempt, irritated that she knew my real intentions. I was lonely, and even though Elbourne was a complete and utter scoundrel at times, he provided me with a little solace and attention when I could get it nowhere else.
"I am sick of your accusing tone!" I said to her. "I am not so desperate that I would use someone else for a little attention."
Lydia simply stared back at me, I could tell she didn't believe me. I looked away from her, and walked over to my closet. There was a brief silence between us after that.
"May I speak freely your majesty?" Lydia asked me all of a sudden.
I paused in what I was looking for.
Haven't you been? I thought in minor disbelief.
"Yes," I said, keeping my back to her.
Lydia then came up and began searching with me. She glanced over at me and took note of my expression.
"Does your hesitation have anything to do with the Hero of Twilight?" she asked softly. "Do you still care for him my lady?"
I felt my throat tighten when she said that.
Link... I thought.
"He's only ever been my friend," I replied, "and it's been years since we've spoken to each other."
"You can deeply care for a friend," she replied.
I pursed my lips together.
"I doubt he feels the same way now," I replied, "and no, my issues with Prince Elbourne have nothing to do with Master Link."
I was lying of course, and Lydia didn't believe me.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
I was getting tired of this.
"Lyddie will you please stop with this interrogation?" I asked. "It's becoming annoying."
Lydia took in an exaggerated breath and went back to searching my closet for my night gown.
"Okay," she said in mock surrender, "I was just wondering."
Another moment of silence overcame the both of us while we searched through my dresses. Lydia could see that I was visibly frustrated, and when I pulled out my nightgown, she took it from me. Afterwards, she pointed to the table where my food was waiting for me.
"This is my job your majesty," she said, "your supper's getting cold, and I was told by the cook that the pheasant was perfect today. Please have a seat and relax, I promise not to bombard you with anymore questions... unless necessary."
I looked at my friend surprised for a moment, but then grinned at her. I did appreciate how she was concerned for me, but I also appreciated that she had the good sense to see that I wasn't in the mood to discuss this either. Link was a sensitive subject for me, and there was a great deal that she didn't know. It was easy being a spectator. It was much harder living in the other person's shoes. However, to show my goodwill towards her, I did what she asked of me and headed over to the table where my food was. I sat down, looked at the delicious meal, but didn't have much of an appetite anymore. I rested my chin in my palm and sighed at my sudden diminished hunger. I knew it was because I was thinking too much, there were too many worries on my mind. Lydia did have some good points, and nothing was going to come out of me ignoring them. The simple fact of the matter was I needed to address my problems, but how?
"It can't be done by just hoping that's for sure," I whispered to myself.
I looked over at my servant once more and saw her spraying my nightgown with lavender essence. I didn't say anything while she worked, but she caught me staring at her. She looked at me puzzled.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I'm fine," I replied.
Lydia paused at my airy answer.
"You sound tired," she replied.
I took in a deep sigh.
"I am," I replied, "I just have a lot on my mind."
She looked at me with open remorse and smiled.
"Things will get better you'll see," she reassured.
I hoped she was right. It was then I decided to change the subject and speak on something else. I was sure she had other things to discuss besides worrying about my boring life. I looked back at my plate and decided I needed to force myself to eat something or I would end up sick and without strength. I picked up a plump red grape and examined it.
"Besides Elbourne's dutiful letter, was there any other news that I needed to be aware of?" I asked. "What about you? What's going on in your life?"
Lydia fanned my gown out and placed it on the bed. Afterwards, she pulled the sheets back and sprinkled a little talcum powder on the blankets to keep it fresh. Once she was done she turned and faced me with a mischievous grin. She looked excited suddenly. I raised a brow at her expression and gave her a quick once over.
"What's gotten into you?" I asked. "Why are you looking like that?"
Lydia then came over to me and clasped her hands together.
"Well..." she trailed, then her smile widened, "I just got engaged!"
When she uttered that I had to catch myself, because I nearly gagged on my grape. I coughed and felt my eyes widen.
What? I thought.
Lydia came to see about me immediately.
"Are you alright?" she asked worried.
I looked up at her from my seated position.
"You're engaged?" I inquired through another cough.
Lydia pat my back to help me.
"Your majesty, you're choking!" she replied.
I fanned her off that so she could focus.
"I'm fine," I reassured, "really."
Lydia's face didn't agree.
"My lady you know you shouldn't be eating so quickly," she scolded, "it's not proper."
I didn't care about that right now, I was still reeling from the sudden onset of shock. I couldn't believe it. When I caught my breath I stood up, Lydia finally looked a little relaxed.
"Oh thank Hylia," she said, covering her heart, "you gave me a fright."
I was grateful she was concerned for me, but my mind was clearly on what she just disclosed. I looked at her almost without seeing her for a moment.
"You're engaged?" I asked again.
She didn't understand why this was so surprising to me.
"Yes," she said with a slight blush to her cheek, "Ivan asked me two weeks ago. I say it's about time, he's been courting me for years!"
I shook my head in disbelief.
"And you're just now telling me?" I accused. "Why would you keep this from me?"
Lydia shrugged nonchalantly.
"I didn't plan to tell you this way," she replied, "you've just been busy."
I fidgeted with my hands at the news, not sure if I was happy or sad at hearing this, but I forced a smile anyway.
"Oh, yes right of course," I said with as much enthusiasm I could muster, "well, congratulations Lyddie."
I then came up to her and gave her a brief hug. I didn't let her see the tears welling in my eyes, I quickly blinked them away and got a hold of myself. Lydia smiled at me as I pulled back to look at her.
I cleared my throat.
"When's the wedding?" I asked.
"In six months," she said, unable to contain her smile.
I felt my heart sink.
Six months? I thought incredulously. That will be in no time.
I swallowed hard and forced another smile.
"That's wonderful!" I said to her honestly. "You must allow me to throw your wedding."
However, Lydia shook her head no.
"No your majesty, I wouldn't think of it, but thank you," she said. "Ivan and I want a small, simple ceremony with just a few friends and family, but I would love for you to be there. You're like my sister."
I completely understood and was touched with her last words. A wedding was an important rite of passage. It should be exactly what the couple wants it to be, not stress and unnecessary fanfare.
"Of course I'll come," I said, "and I'll have the biggest bouquet there."
Lydia's laughed at my words.
"You're silly," she said.
I looked at my friend again as tears filled my eyes. I couldn't contain them this time.
"Oh Lyddie," I said, then hugged her tight again, "you're going to be such a beautiful bride."
Lydia laughed softly and then hugged me back.
"What happened to you being mad at me?" she joked.
I shook my head.
"Oh, who cares about that?" I replied.
She laughed again and I cried more. I wish I could say my tears were noble, but they weren't, at least not completely. Lydia was the closest friend I had, and the thought of losing her friendship scared me to no end.
Who will I talk to when she's gone? I wondered all of a sudden. Who will tell me things exactly for what they are?
I pulled back and wiped my eyes. I tried to smile once more.
Lydia grinned at my sentimentality.
"You're going to make me cry in a moment," she said, "please stop for my vanity's sake."
I chuckled at that, but then felt my smile fade.
"I wish you all the happiness in the world," I said sincerely, "I mean it, you deserve to be happy."
"Thank you your majesty," she said softly.
I then turned and went and sat back down at my table. I was clearly shaken by the news, and when I went to pick up another grape, it loosened from my grip and fell to the floor. Lydia went to pick up the fallen food and tossed it in the fireplace to be disposed of. She then turned to look at me in slight concern. She gave me a quick once over.
"Are you alright?" she asked me.
I shook my head of my thoughts.
Am I going to be all alone? I wondered. Is that really the destiny for my future?
"Yes," I said, trying to smile.
She didn't believe me.
How could she?
"Are you sure?" she asked once more.
I closed my eyes as they refilled with tears.
"Yes," I lied softly.
Lydia bit her lower lip in concern. She knew I wasn't being truthful.
"Your majesty-" she tried.
"Please excuse me," I interrupted in a quiet voice, "you are dismissed, I'm tired. I want to be alone."
Lydia looked at my sudden dismissal of her in surprise, but didn't protest it. She knew I was trying to hold it together.
"Your majesty..." she trailed, but then thought better just to drop it, "yes your majesty."
She curtsied out of respect then made her way over to my door. A moment later, Lydia left my chambers. When she was gone, I wiped my face of my tears, stood up, and got ready for bed. I got under the sheets and tried to get comfortable. It was no use, my mind had too many things running through it to be comfortable. I forced my eyes closed hoping to induce sleep and got nothing. I opened them again and sighed. I stretched my arms above my head and stared reflectively at the mural painted on the ceiling. The painting was of the first family's defeat of Demise and the establishment of the kingdom of Hyrule. My ancestral parents were Hylia herself and the Hero of Sky. They were truly happiest of all the members of the royal family.
It all started there, I thought, pressing the silk sheets closer to my chest.
I glanced around the room, and rested my eyes on the painting of my great grandfather, Daphnes Nohansen. He looked powerful and strong, with his grey beard and piercing dark eyes.
I need to be strong like you great grandfather, I thought seriously.
My eyes roved again and dwelled on the portrait of my grandparents: Zelda the Sage of Time and Link the Hero of Time. They were a beautiful sight, but I knew even when I was a young child, they were never really happy together.
They were merely doing their duty... I thought.
I stared at my grandparent's portrait once more, before looking over at a painting of my father and mother: Daphnes Nohansen II and Quistis Balaam. The beginning of my father's rule was peaceful, but when my grandfather suddenly disappeared in the Lost Woods, the seal of the Triforce of Courage waned and Zant established a connection to Hyrule via the Twilight Realm. My father was killed in combat. My mother died from extreme grief; her heart just stopped. I looked at all the heroes and heroines of the past and sat up.
My uncles and my one aunt were all dead. I had no brothers and sisters, and the stress of the entire Nohansen name laid on my shoulders.
I'm all that's legitimately left... I thought, there are no other legal Nohansens but me. I am the royal family. Everyone else is dead or in hiding. I have to bring peace back to Hyrule.
I looked over at the empty space next to me, realizing I had to produce an heir and keep the bloodline going.
But I'm not married... I thought stressed, and I don't want to marry Elbourne.
I quickly clasped my hands together, and closed my eyes.
"Dear Hylia, if you can hear me now, I need your strength and resolve to take care of the kingdom of Hyrule," I whispered in a trembling voice, "what can I do to make you ancestors proud?"
I sat in bed quietly for a moment and took in a deep breath.
"Please, hear my prayer," I whispered, "if you can hear me now Hylia, please answer me."
Abruptly, an ethereal light shined across the room, causing a blinding flash before my eyes. I lifted my hands to cover my eyes, and when the demarcation subsided I saw a beautiful apparition of a woman in a white gown, with golden blonde hair and soft light blue eyes.
"Oh my goddess," I whispered in surprise and wonder.
The apparition smiled.
"You've got it kid!" she said enthusiastically.
I looked at her surprised.
"Excuse me?" I asked of her rather uncouth tongue.
The apparition put her hands on her hips.
"You asked for help didn't you?" she asked me.
I merely nodded.
"Yes, I did," I replied honestly.
"Well sister, I'm here to give it to you," she said to me rather blunt, "I'm Hylia, and I'm here to help you get your groove back."
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