Inspiration: Terry McMillan, Mulan
Special Note: The art is done by Jinny Liang, check out her deviant art page.
Author Note: This story does not not follow canon stringently, and it takes place after the events in Twilight Princess. I do not own the Legend of Zelda, it is owned by Nintendo EAD.
Reedited 9/28/2012 & 1/12/2013 & 7/12/2013
Notice: 10/2/2014 This story is going to go through a major reedit after I finish my other story The Ambivalent Hero. ~ZR~.
How Zelda Got Her Groove Back
"Your majesty the representative from Ordon Province is here," said the royal courtier.
I raised my eyebrows subtly when I heard this, not at all surprised I was receiving an audience from the representative of Ordon. Actually, I was expecting it.
"Thank you," I replied softly, "please send him in."
The courtier bowed, then went to open the door to escort the guest in. When he turned from me, I sighed a little out of slight reproach. 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. Recently, 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 course of action, seeing that many of the citizens could get a first class education and become more familiar with the history of Hyrule. However, it wasn't to be. The merger was vehemently protested by the citizens of Ordon. They stated their way of life would be greatly affected if such measures were to take place. Being queen, I could have overruled the matter and thought nothing of it. However, given that the people had a right to protest, and the Ordonians had legitimate concerns, I let the matter go. It wasn't worth it in the end. I would rather have a land of peaceful people, than disgruntled citizens. Even still, with the representative showing up like this, I couldn't help but feel a little guarded regarding the reason for the visit.
Hopefully there are no more problems, I thought, wishing there weren't already so many pressing issues to deal with. We wouldn't want another problem like that now would we?
The courtier returned shortly with the Ordon messenger. It was the swordsman known as Rusl. He bowed respectfully and looked me in the eyes. I remember master Rusl from the days of him being part of the resistance team. He was a loyal servant to the throne, and the last few years had been good to him. 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 more upright on my throne.
"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, the people of Ordon wanted to give the royal family the sword of our village, as a gift and a token of our allegiance and gratitude."
I looked at him in well hidden surprise.
A gift of graciousness? 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, then stood up from my throne.
"Thank you," I replied with 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 your majesty," he replied, "and thank you for your kind acknowledgements."
The Ordonian then offered the sword to the courtier, who in turn gave it to the guard of the treasury. I bowed when his attention was back to me, signaling for him to go, and the audience was over. Master Rusl then headed out, and I sighed in relief that there was nothing more serious to be reported. I turned my attention to the messenger.
"Are there anymore audiences?" I asked him.
The courtier shook his head.
"No your majesty the Ordon matter was the last one," the courtier replied.
Relieved, I took in a deep breath.
"Good," I said, a little tired with the duties of court life.
The messenger looked at me concerned.
"Is there anything I can get you your majesty?" the courtier asked me.
I thought about it for a moment and shook my head.
"No," I replied softly, "thank you."
With that, court ended, and I signaled for everyone to be dismissed. When I was alone, I closed my eyes for a moment of solace.
Another long day, I thought fatigued.
I gave myself a few more moments of alone time, then left the throne room and headed down the large marble hall adjacent 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, but I often wondered how the sender felt about such service. I stopped momentarily and 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 looked down at me nervously.
"Is there anything I can assist you with your majesty?" the guard asked me.
I didn't answer right away.
Your majesty… I thought, there is so much to that title.
I realized I was looking at him with a blank expression, then shook my head of my thoughts.
"I'm sorry," I apologized, 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. I continued down the corridor to my residence, but then stopped myself again and 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 approaching this, but if I didn't ask, I would never know. The guard looked at me in slight surprise at my return, and stiffened 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.
"Tell me something soldier," I started suddenly, "do you… enjoy doing your duty?"
The soldier looked at me with a slight restraint in his eyes. He probably thought he did something wrong.
"Enjoy my duty your majesty?" he inquired, 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."
The soldier had an immediate look of stress in his eyes.
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.
"I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve in the royal army your majesty," he said to me with strong conviction.
"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."
A bead of sweat began to seed at the soldier's brow.
"No ma'am," he said seriously, "I feel the Hylian military is a well tempered sword."
I stared at the young soldier for a moment.
That's what I thought he'd say, I pondered, wishing I could get some unmanufactured 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 is all but 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 of my thoughts.
"Thank you," I said to him simply, not wanting to stress him out anymore, "at ease soldier."
The guard relaxed his stance a little, and sighed in relief. 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 thought, 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, I thought, looking at my reflection. I'm supposed to be queen regent of Hyrule, but 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 Province. The list goes on and on.
Like I stated before, politics.
I'm also the ambassador to the Twilight Realm… if you could call me an ambassador. Access to the Twilight Realm has been subjugated by queen Midna, the Twili ruler. The relationship between our two nations is 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 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. The recent past was reason enough for contentions to be as high as they were between our two nations. That's why Midna and I never had any contact over the last seven years. That's why Midna destroyed the Mirror of Twilight. That's why there is an unsettling of peace about the land. There were too many unresolved issues, and too many 'why's.' I've spent the last seven years searching for solutions.
Foreign affairs wasn't the only problem between our two worlds. There were issues of a personal consideration that needed due pondering as well. I was well aware of the inkling of love between the Hero of Twilight and queen Midna. The hero had told me about it himself years ago while he worked here at the castle. However, without the Mirror of Twilight, there was no way for the two of them to be together, and I think in some strange subconscious way Midna blamed me for that. I don't know why, it's just a feeling I have. Was it my fault? No, but in life it's easier to shift pain to another individual when one doesn't want to deal with it themselves. Does that thought have due credence? I honestly don't know. This is all my conjecture, and it may not necessarily be as I think it.
But still… one has to wonder.
I sighed again, then picked up my brush and ran it through my dark brown hair.
Then, of course, there was the nonsensical talk of my never marrying.
I know the gossip.
I know the rumors.
I know 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 am not going to let the stress of an heir overwhelm me.
When the time comes for me to marry, I'll 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 bustlings had retired to the quiet still that was eventuating into the evening.
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.
"Thank you," I replied.
Lydia then came over to where I was, and picked up the brush and started brushing my hair.
"What's the matter my lady?" she asked me, already knowing my mood was affected by my troubles.
I shook my head slightly, and stared at my reflection once more.
"The usual," I said with a sigh.
Lydia nodded thoughtfully.
"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 sighed again, and closed my eyes.
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 a pocket in the front of her dress to pull out a simple stationery.
"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 when Lydia explained who it was from.
"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 took in a deep breath and opened the letter.
It was 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 put it away.
"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 slightly.
"You are going to get enough of reading my mail," I said to her with an accusing tone.
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.
"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 another frustrated sigh.
"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.
Lydia resumed brushing my hair.
"Prince Elbourne-" she tried.
"If you must know, I find his company aggravating," I interrupted, wanting her to drop the subject. "Elbourne may be handsome true, but he's conceited, and extremely uncouth about how he rules his people. We have nothing in common."
Lydia paused again and merely nodded.
"So, why not just tell him that?" she asked me.
I took in another sigh.
"You don't know how fragile that man's ego is," I said.
She nodded once more.
"Is... something else holding you back from telling him your majesty?" she asked me all of a sudden.
I looked at her with indifference and raised a brow.
"No, why?" I asked, wanting to know why her face was carrying such an oblong expression.
"I don't know..." she trailed thoughtfully, "it seems you're keeping him around because you might be a little lonely."
I looked at Lydia surprised.
"What?" I snapped at her, swallowing hard.
"I think you keep him around because you're lonely," she repeated simply.
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 didn't get at all intimidated by my action or my tone, it seemed rather, to have humored her.
"Your majesty-" she tried.
"Silence!" I said to her forcefully.
Lydia merely looked at me and kept her mouth shut.
I stared at her with slight contempt, knowing 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 from nowhere else.
"I am sick of your accusing tone!" I said to her. "I am not so desperate a person, that I would use someone else for a little attention."
Lydia simply looked 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.
"May I speak freely your majesty?" Lydia asked me abruptly.
Haven't you been? I thought in minor disbelief.
"Yes," I said, keeping my back to her while I searched for nothing in particular.
Lydia came up and began searching with me.
"Does your hesitation have anything to do with the Hero of Twilight?" she asked softly.
I felt my throat tighten when she said that.
The Hero of Twilight... I thought.
"Of course not," I said, "I hardly know him Lyddie."
Lydia looked over at me and grinned.
"Well, that isn't altogether true ma'am," she replied, "he worked here at the castle a few years back before... retiring back to his village."
I looked away from her just then.
That's a delicate way to put it, I thought, knowing she was tiptoeing around the real issue.
"Even still," I began, "I don't... I don't think-"
"But he saved Hyrule madam," she interrupted, "and he was an advisor to you only a short time ago. He would be an excellent choice to go to the festival with."
It's not that simple, I thought, and you know that Lyddie.
I nodded, only pretending to agree with what she was saying. I finally found the night gown I wanted to wear.
"Yes, that is true," I replied, "but I don't know him, at least not in any real personal way. And even in these last few years we've hardly spoken to each other."
Especially considering what transpired between us five years ago, I thought knowingly.
Lydia took the gown I was holding from me, and gestured for me to have a seat.
"This is my job your majesty," she said of her action, and then added, "is there any particular reason why you two have not spoken?"
I couldn't understand why she asked me that question, when she already knew the answer.
Midna... I thought honest, the Hero of Twilight hates me over Midna, or because of his search for Midna rather. And it's all due to a matter of misunderstood circumstances. Silly, uncouth circumstances.
"None that I can think of," I lied, but it was no use, Lydia could see right through me.
Lydia walked over to where I was, and fanned the gown out over my bed.
"Then why not invite him to the Hyrulean Festival?" she reasoned again.
I looked at her surprised.
"It could be a wonderful way to get reacquainted," she added.
I looked away from her when our eyes met briefly, she knew me too well.
"I don't think that's possible," I said in a quiet tone.
She frowned at my reply.
"Why not?" she asked me.
You know why Lydia, I thought, stop egging this on.
I turned back to her and narrowed my eyes again.
"Do you dare to question me?" I asked her.
Lydia merely raised an eyebrow, not feeling at all threatened.
"That's what I've been doing your majesty," she replied.
"Well stop it," I said firmly, "I'm done talking about this."
Lydia looked at me and shook her head.
"Yes, your majesty," she replied.
There was another brief silence as Lydia prepared my bed. I took it upon myself to at least nibble on the offerings the chef prepared for me: roasted cuckoo and grapes.
"Is there any other news that I need to be aware of?" I asked, picking up a plump red grape.
Lydia pulled the sheets back and sprinkled a little fresh lavender on the sheets.
"Well..." she trailed, reaching over the bed to spread out a wrinkle, "I just got engaged."
I had to catch myself, because I nearly gagged on my grape.
What? I thought.
"Engaged?" I inquired through my cough.
Lydia immediately dropped the sheets and came to attend me.
"Are you alright?" she asked in a little bit of worry.
I merely nodded, but was still reeling from the sudden onset of shock.
"You're engaged?" I asked again when my breath finally returned to me.
When Lydia saw I was okay her face relaxed a little, she then nodded her reply.
"Yes," she said with a slight blush to her cheek, "Ivan asked me two weeks ago."
I looked at her surprised.
"And you're just now telling me?" I asked in minor disbelief.
Lydia shrugged slightly.
"You've been busy," she said simply.
I stood up, not sure if I was happy or sad, but I forced a smile anyway.
"Congratulations Lyddie," I said as enthusiastic as possible, and then gave her a hug.
Lydia smiled at me as I pulled back to look at her.
"When's the wedding?" I asked.
"In six months," she said, unable to contain her smile.
Six months? I thought incredulously. That will be in no time.
"That's wonderful!" I said to her honest. "You must allow me to throw your wedding."
Lydia shook her head no.
"No your majesty, but thank you," she said, "Ivan and I want a small simple ceremony with just a few friends and family."
I completely understood. A wedding is an important rite of passage, it shouldn't be regressed to stress and fanfare.
"Well... I am invited, right?" I asked.
Lydia's eyes widened at me.
"Of course you are," she reassured.
I looked at my friend again as tears filled my eyes.
"Oh Lyddie," I said and then hugged her again.
Lydia laughed softly and then hugged me back. I wish I could say my tears were noble, but they weren't, at least not completely. Lydia was the closest friend I had. 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.
"I wish you all the happiness in the world," I said with sincerity.
"Thank you your majesty," she said softly.
I went and sat back down at my table. I went to pick up another grape, but it loosened from my grip and fell to the floor. Lydia went to pick up the fallen food and tossed it in a wicker waste basket by the bed, she then looked at me in slight concern.
"Are you alright?" she asked me.
I shook my head of my thoughts.
Am I going to be all alone? I wondered.
"Yes," I said, trying to smile.
She didn't believe me.
"Are you sure?" she asked once more.
"Yes," I lied softly.
Lydia bit her lower lip in concern.
"Your majesty-" she tried.
"Please excuse me," I interrupted in a quiet voice, "you are dismissed, I'm tired."
Lydia looked at my sudden dismissal of her in surprise, but didn't protest it. She knew I was trying to hold it together.
"Yes your majesty," she said quietly and then curtsied out of respect.
A moment later, Lydia then left my chambers. When she was gone, I 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 ceiling just then. The mural on the ceiling 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 satin 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 left... I thought, there are no other Nohansens but me. I am the royal family. Everyone's dead. 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 casted 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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