The Spirit Maiden's Choice
Based on 'The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword'
Original story and characters are owned by Nintendo
The long awaited day of the Wing Ceremony had finally arrived, and all her practice was paying off. Zelda stood in the courtyard of the Isle of the Goddess. She sang an ancient song as she strummed a golden harp.
"Oh youth, guided by the servant of the goddess... Unite earth and sky... Bring light to the land..."
The young woman's angelic voice carried in the wind, gaining the attention of her Loftwing. It swooped down to answer her call. Zelda produced a letter and handed it to the bird. The Loftwing took the letter in its bill and flew towards the Knight Academy. Zelda smiled in anticipation and continued to play the song to calm her nerves as she waited.
Just minutes later, a young man with golden blond hair appeared in the courtyard. When Zelda noticed him, she breathed a sigh of relief and cheerfully spoke. "Oh, good morning, Link. I see that my Loftwing got you out of bed. I thought you might sleep in and forget to meet me here."
Zelda showed her childhood friend the harp and drew attention to her attire. She wore a pink dress that reached below her knees. Her long, bright blond hair was tied back in pastel pink and green ribbons. A white cloth was draped over her shoulders and tied in the back.
"This outfit and harp are mine to use in today's ceremony, since I will be playing the role of the goddess," she told him excitedly. "I've been told that this harp is just like the one that the goddess used in the legends. You see this wrap around my shoulders? I made it myself for the one who wins in today's race. So, how do I look?"
"You look great!" Link assured her.
"Ah, there you are, Zelda. Are you ready for today's Ceremony?" Zelda's father, Headmaster Gaepora said, approaching the two young adults. "Link, I see you're here as well. Outstanding. I'm so glad to see that you're up bright and early. This sure is out of the ordinary for you, but I'm sure today's ceremony had you too excited to close your eyes for once. If you win in the ceremonial race today, you and Zelda will perform the post-race ritual together, so give it your all."
Zelda hesitated momentarily and then sharply replied, "Father, I'm worried Link won't win today."
Link flinched and look embarrassed. He knew what his friend was about to say.
"Link has not been practicing recently, and when he does get on his Loftwing he appears to be daydreaming."
"No need to worry, Zelda, although I understand your concern. Today's race will test both the skill of the rider and their connection to their Loftwing. Winning won't be an easy feat. Although I haven't seen Link practicing as hard as the other students, I'm sure you know deep down he'll win with flying colors. Link's connection to his Loftwing is like one I've never seen before in my 25 years as headmaster of the academy. Everyone on Skyloft meets their Loftwing in this courtyard when they are young, but Link's first meeting with his bird was extraordinary, as I'm sure you recall. The bird that came to Link was a Crimson Loftwing, a breed so rare we had once thought it to be extinct. Link did not even need any coaching when he first met his Loftwing. Why, even you were envious of Link that day."
"But if Link fails, he won't be able to become a Knight of Skyloft," Zelda said sadly.
"Zelda, my dear, it's as if you become a completely different person when you worry about Link," Headmaster Gaepora chuckled.
Zelda turned to Link and took him by the hand, pulling him along towards a wooden platform overlooking the sky. "I want to see you practice your flying before the race. Go on, Link. Jump off and call your bird."
"But I can't sense my Loftwing out there..." Link stammered.
"Nice try, but you're not fooling me. Off you go!" Zelda retorted, giving Link a sudden shove.
"Wait!" Link let out a startled scream as he lost his footing and began to plummet.
"Ok, Link...call your Loftwing!" Zelda shouted as she watched Link fall further and further. Link whistled for his Loftwing.
Headmaster Gaepora came to stand by Zelda's side and looked over the edge, waiting and watching, but nothing happened. "Hmm, his Loftwing sure is taking its time..."
Zelda gasped. Her heart jumped into her throat. "Oh no, something's wrong!"
Zelda dove off the platform, brought her fingers to her lips, and whistled for her blue Loftwing. When she was on its back, she prompted it to take a deep dive. Within seconds, her Loftwing caught Link in its talons, and they flew back up to safety.
Link sat on the grass, traumatized and trying to catch his breath. Zelda stroked the fur on her Loftwing's back, checking it over for any sign of injury.
"Are you two alright?" Headmaster Gaepora asked. "It's unheard of for a Loftwing to ignore its master's call."
Link stood up, "I still can't sense my Loftwing out there. I'm afraid there might be something wrong with him."
"I'm so sorry, Link. I should have believed you," Zelda apologized.
The bell at the Knight Academy began to ring, signaling that the Wing Ceremony would begin soon.
"Link, why don't you go to Instructor Horwell, and ask him if he can delay the race while you look for your Loftwing."
"But father, if Link goes to Instructor Horwell, then he'll just come to you."
"Ah, you have a point. Link, go tell Instructor Horwell to meet me in my quarters, so I can explain the situation."
Link nodded. "Zelda, could you help me find my Loftwing?"
"Let me make sure my Loftwing is alright, and then I will be right there to help. This could take a few minutes."
Link ran toward the Knight Academy to begin his search.
"I feel terrible. I don't know what came over me. Pushing Link off the platform like that was reckless. Lately, I can't stop worrying about Link and if he'll succeed at the ceremony. I'm not sure why this is. I know it's unfair of me to show favoritism like this. I should feel more 'may the best rider win', but I just can't help it. I guess I won't make a very good goddess for the ceremony, will I?" Zelda asked her father as they walked back to the Knight Academy.
"It's perfectly alright to feel that way, my dear. I've watched you and Link grow up together, so I know how close you two are. It's only natural to want him to win. You'll make an excellent goddess for the Wing Ceremony. Give yourself some credit. You managed to learn to play the harp in such a short amount of time...and just between you and me, you play the Ballad of the Goddess with such emotion and skill, far better than any of the previous young ladies who have played the role of the goddess. It's almost as if you were born to play that instrument. You'd better go find Link and see if you can help him find his Loftwing. I'll be in my quarters until the start of the ceremony. I'll do what I can to delay the race."
"Thank you so much, father."
Zelda looked around and wondered to herself where exactly Link had gone to look. She spotted Jakamar working on a nearby gate.
"Excuse me, is there any chance you've seen Link come through here recently?"
"Why yes, actually I have. Link went into town...and I believe he was looking for Groose."
Zelda bit her lip anxiously and thanked Jakamar for his help. When she arrived in town, Zelda could see Link at the plaza trying to talk to Groose. Groose's two friends, Cawlin and Strich, stood close behind him.
All too aware of Groose's dislike for Link, she quietly made her way over to where they were, without any of them noticing. Zelda could easily tell what was going on even when she hadn't heard the whole conversation.
"...dragging our honored academy through the mud," she heard Groose say as he pointed at Link.
"And who might you be talking about, Groose?" Zelda demanded angrily, her hands on her hips. She stomped over to Groose, her boots loudly hitting the cobblestone.
"You're picking on Link again, aren't you? He's a student at the academy like all of us. Why do you insist on bullying him?"
"Well..uh...I suppose..." Groose stuttered, suddenly at a loss for words around Zelda.
"Suppose? Suppose what?" she challenged.
There was a long silence from Groose. He blushed and finally replied, "Ah, just forget it."
Groose, Cawlin and Strich approached a nearby wooden platform.
"See ya later, Link. I hope you find your bird, or you'll have to sit out today's race. Good luck trying to graduate, loser. Just learn to accept failure, it's all you'll ever know," Groose taunted. The three students jumped off the wooden platform in unison and called their Loftwings.
"I bet those morons are responsible for the disappearance of your Loftwing. I'm going to fly around Skyloft to see if I can spot your bird. Don't worry, Link, we'll find your bird in time for the race."
Zelda ran to the platform and dove off, calling her Loftwing once again.