Putting the finishing touches to her hair, Zelda smiled at herself in the floor-length mirror she had had since she could remember. Picking a notebook from her bed, she was about to open it when Impa knocked at her door.
"Zelda, your students are here."
"Ah, excellent," the princess smiled. "Show them to the library where we will begin our studies. So much to teach with so little time!"
Strolling into the library with her book clasped to her chest, Zelda shook her head in disappointment when she saw Link and Saria dressed in their usual clothes while here she was, dressed in a white, long-sleeved blouse and a navy skirt that went down to her ankles where it met with her smart black shoes, all of which were taken from the depths of Impa's closet.
"I told you to dress for today!" she frowned as she slammed her notebook down on one of the desks.
"We are dressed!" Link pointed out the obvious.
"Yeah, it's not like we arrived naked," Saria grinned.
"Ha-ha very funny. Only not!" Zelda picked up the book and slammed it down again making them both jump. "Now, you know why you're here, you wanted to learn all about Hyrule outside of the forest, so I will teach you. Before we begin, please take a seat behind the desks over there." she directed them towards some desks in the corner of the library where she had placed some paper and pencils.
"Oh, I like to draw," Link slid behind the desk and began scribbling on the paper without waiting.
Dragging a blackboard over to them, Zelda frowned when she saw Link messing up the paper.
"Excuse me, what do you think you are doing?" She towered over the boy with a look of annoyance on her face.
"Using the paper," he dropped the pencil.
"The paper is for constructive work only, not badly drawn stick figures!" she snatched up the paper and turned it over. "Now, there will be some simple rules to follow during today." Taking a piece of chalk she started writing them on the board. "One: You will refer to me as Miss Hyrule or Miss, any other names will be ignored. Two: You will not be permitted to leave the castle grounds until we are finished, if you do choose to leave without permission, you will not be returning."
Zelda continued for another ten minutes.
"And finally, the most important rule of them all. No telepathy!"
Do you really think she'd know if we tried? Saria messaged Link who shook his head. There was a moment of silence before a high-pitched buzzer went off and a loud, mechanical voice started shouting.
"Telepathy is for cheaters!"
"Argh! What is that?" Link covered his ears, the noise almost deafening him.
"Hmm, the system lags a little but at least it works," Zelda smiled. "Thank you for testing it Saria. OK, the first lesson today will be Geography. Put your names and ages on your papers while I get the globe."
"Um," Saria sat staring at the paper trying to work out what age to put. "Do we round our age to the nearest decade or century?"
"Just put your Hylian ages," Zelda mumbled as she carried the globe over, placing it on her own desk. Spinning it around with one finger, she began the lesson. "Right, to start, does anyone know the name of our planet?"
"The world?" Link asked.
"Yes Link, I want the name of the world."
"No, is that the answer?"
"I'm not even going to dignify that with a reply," Zelda sighed. "Saria, do you know?"
"Planet Pelotrona?" The Kokiri girl said the first name that came to mind.
"You people might come from there but that's not it either. The name is… well it is that I do not know! Please make a note of it."
"You don't know? How can you not know if you're the teacher?" Saria wrote the answer down on her paper.
"Uh, I…" Zelda couldn't think of an answer. "Another rule, don't ask the teacher questions she doesn't know the answer to."
"But how do we know if you know the answer until we ask you?" Link went out of his way to be awkward.
"What did I just say about asking questions I don't know!" Pushing the globe to the side, Zelda took out a map of Hyrule and shoved it on the board. "Now, I know you both know what this is."
"A map of Hyrule, right?"
"Of course it is Link, that's why Hyrule Market is clearly market in the north, you're so observant. I have made some questions I'd like you to answer, you'll have ten minutes until I take them in to mark." Handing them each a question sheet, Zelda shuffled off with the globe in one hand and the chalk in the other.
Glancing at the sheet, Link smiled to himself, all of these questions were easy. If Zelda was trying to teach them something, she wasn't doing a very good job at it.
"Alright, I have your results," Zelda announced. "Link you somehow managed to get them all right, even though I found it difficult to read your writing, it was all smudged."
"Hey, you try being left handed!"
"Yes, well. Saria, you got one wrong. For the question 'What do Gorons eat?', the answer was not 'each other'."
"Are you sure about that?" Saria smiled. "I think that needs to be checked."
"Yeah, I'd like to know too," Link nodded.
"Fine, I shall get Impa to go in person right now and find out! Wait here," Zelda flounced out of the room, nearly tripping over her skirt.
Returning less than twenty minutes later, the princess had a shocked expression on her face.
"Darunia laughed heartily then punched Impa in the face, she's with the healer as we speak."
"Okay, I can accept being wrong now," Saria said, trying her best not to laugh.
"As Goddess of Wisdom and Time, I, Nayru will give the world law and order!" Zelda exclaimed as she ran around the garden with a blue cloak over herself. Sprinkling bright blue dust over the ground, she continued to flap her arms and run around in a circle.
"As Goddess of Courage and Life, I, Farore will create all living things!" Saria waved her hand over the plants which grew to twice their size. "Although, why I created people like Ganondorf I'll never know." With a green cloak on, she joined Zelda in the arm-flapping ritual.
"As Goddess of Power and… more Power, I, Din will create the red earth and would like to declare… a worldwide barbecue!" Link shot a stream of Din's Fire up into the air from his hands which rained down upon the three.
"Gee Din, you burned all my life," Saria smirked.
"Oh, sorry Farore dear, I'll use my earthly powers to put out the flames!" Link scooped up some dirt from the garden, throwing it over the burning plants.
"Hey! You're not upholding my law!" Zelda winced at her burning flowers.
"Pfft, I'm the top Triforce piece which obviously means I'm the best," Link swooped past the girls in his red cloak.
"That can easily be rearranged to being the bottom," Saria tangled him up in some vines.
"Speaking of a Triforce, let us create one so everyone in the land will try to get it!" Zelda pulled out a picture of the Triforce from her blouse to wave above her head.
"Oh yes, let's!" Link clapped his hands. "I could use a good war to keep me entertained."
"And that's the end of your History lesson," Zelda threw off her cloak. "I think it went rather well if I do say so myself. Anyway, you have earned a break so feel free to go into the market for half an hour. But remember to be back in time for your next lesson, I always enjoyed Hylian!"
"Do you want to check out that new chocolate shop?" Saria asked as she slipped her arm through Link's in the busy market.
"Yeah, I could use some after that performance."
Weaving their way through the crowds, they finally found the shop in the corner of the main square.
"Do you think the door is made of chocolate?" Link asked when he grabbed the handle.
"I think it would be gone by now if it was," Saria made a good point.
Entering the small building, they were amazed at the sight before them. Shelf after shelf lined the walls filled to the brim with different kinds of chocolate, most they had never heard of before. Browsing the open boxes on the front counter, Saria raised a brow when she saw something she had never expected to see.
"Chocolate Triforces?" she asked, picking one out of the box to admire its golden wrapping.
"So now we know why Ganondorf wanted it so badly, he was a chocoholic," Link joined her at the counter.
"It all makes sense now," Saria nodded. Peering over the counter, they could hear something shuffling on the floor, something shuffling and eating.
"Customers? Oh! Hi!" Malon leapt up from her sitting position, boxes of sweets tumbling from her grasp.
"Malon? What're you doing here?" Link blinked.
"One of Dad's friends owns this place so I offered to help out for the day. It's so great! I get to eat all the chocolate I want!"
"Wow, really?" Saria sounded impressed.
"Yeah, as long as, you know, no one finds out. I doubt they'd miss a whole shelf of supplies, would they?" Malon shoved some empty boxes under the counter. "When you're done do you want to go bowling? I'm due a break, the monkey can take over. Unlike me, it doesn't eat the stock."
She stopped to take in their frightened expressions.
"Don't worry, he gets paid, which is more than I get. Now come on, I have an urge to blow up some mechanical cuccos." Grabbing both of them by the arm, she dragged them out of the shop towards the Bombchu Bowling Alley.
"B-but we didn't get any chocolate!" Link complained when they arrived at the alley entrance.
"You snooze, you lose," Malon grinned. Opening the door, she received the shock of her life.
The woman who ran the game was running around the room chasing a real cucco, muttering about how the game couldn't go on if the cucco didn't get back behind the screen.
Link felt sick.
"I thought they were fake!" the redhead stormed up to the terrified woman. "When all this time we've been bombing real animals! Who is your manager? I want a word with them right now!"
"Manager?" the woman stared at Malon as if she had two heads. "I just found this empty building once and started this game here."
"Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to take this to a higher power. To the castle!"
"Zelda!" Malon yelled when they had made their way back to the castle entrance hall. Seeing the princess descending the staircase, Malon ran up to her, waving her arms in the air.
"It's Miss Hyrule now," Link whispered in the farm girl's ear.
"M-mi what?" Malon almost choked.
"What did you need Malon?" Zelda asked.
After Malon had explained the situation, Zelda nodded her agreement.
"I see, then in that case I will make sure to have that place shut down immediately. Now, you two should return to the library so we can begin the Hylian lesson." She turned to Link and Saria who trudged back to the library. "Sorry we can't talk more Malon, but Kokiris need to be taught of our ways, you know how it is."
Seeing Malon out, Zelda strolled back to the library where the others were waiting to begin their lesson.
"OK, this is what I want you to do," Zelda explained while handing out new pieces of paper and a book called 'The Hylian Dictionary - The Sequel'. "I want to see how much Hylian you know, so you must write an essay all about Hyrule. But first, we're gong to have a spelling test so I'll take those dictionaries! Excited? Well you should be."
Taking out a list she had written earlier, Zelda began to read off the words without even pausing for them to write them down.
"Okay, done! Swap your papers with somebody else please!"
"Hmm, do I swap with Saria or Saria? Choices, choices," Link scribbled down his last, and only word.
"Hey Link, how about swapping with me?" Saria handed him her paper.
"Well, I was going to swap with Saria, but since you asked first," he grinned, handing her his paper.
Zelda began reading the answers out, just as quickly as she had read them the first time. The words ranged from the common such as 'octorok', to the more unusual ones such as 'amotesiravelien'.
I'm sure she's making up so-
"Telepathy is for cheaters!" the alarm sounded louder than before. Link had forgotten it would do that.
"When you've finished marking, give the tests to me and I'll see how you've done," Zelda put her list on the desk and waited. Tapping her foot on the floor, she eventually gave in. "Never mind, I'll mark them for you!"
"Wha?" Link squeaked when Zelda snatched at the papers.
"Hmm, this is terrible. Link you didn't get any right!"
"I only had time to write the numbers!"
"You did write one down, although you do not spell keese 'keys' .
Saria you only did slightly better, five out of fifty. I didn't think you were self-obsessed though."
"Huh?" Saria took the paper and blushed when she saw what was written on the bottom 'I love Saria' in a misshapen heart. "I-I wouldn't write that about myself."
Laughing could be heard coming from a piece of paper Link was hiding behind.
"I would take points off for messing up another student's work, but since you didn't get anything right I'll just do this," Zelda picked up a dictionary and whacked Link over the head with it. "Maybe that will knock some correct spelling into you!"
"What does amotesiravelien mean anyway?" Saria asked, reading down the list of words she had misspelled.
"The word is used to describe a speck of dust found on Death Mountain," Zelda said like it was something she used in everyday conversation.
Both Kokiris shot each other bemused looks, wondering if even Darunia knew that word existed.
Unable to teach any more Hylian, Zelda sent them to the dining room for lunch. A long table was set out in the centre of the room with a thin, red table cloth draped over the polished wood. Sitting opposite each other at one end, they waited for Zelda who was preparing the afternoon's lessons. In front of them were set an array of knives and forks, five each to be exact. Picking one of her forks off the table, Saria twisted it around between her fingers.
"Why do they have so much cutlery?"
"I have no idea," Link ran a finger along a golden knife in front of him. "Maybe it's for when they drop one, it would save them the trouble of picking it up. Or," his mouth twisted into a mischievous grin. "They use some for scratching unreachable areas while they eat."
"Uh-huh," Saria laughed. "Or they use the extra ones in food fights."
Before they could continue guessing, Zelda entered the room with a big smile on her face. Standing near the head of the table, she cracked her knuckles.
"When I said I sent you in here for some food, I lied."
The look of horror on Link's face made her wince.
"I've been practising this awesome magic trick all week! I wanted you to be the first to see it."
"Oh, sounds good!" Saria expected great things from the princess; fireworks, talking animals, making herself fly, Zelda could do a lot of cool things.
"Alright, let's see this trick," Link crossed his arms.
Taking a bow beforehand, Zelda clutched at the tablecloth ready to begin, Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and yanked as hard as she could. Instantly, everything on the table shot into the air, plates twirled over their heads and smashed. into walls, knives and forks rattled to the floor while spoons flew up into the chandeliers. The room was a total mess.
Saria sat there speechless, she didn't know what to say. "Do we clap now?" she whispered to Link who nodded.
"I think so," he stood up and clapped loudly. "That was amazing!"
"Yeah, the way those plates flew through the air and broke like that! Spectacular!" Saria joined in the clapping.
"So… lunch?" Link asked, a fork hanging off the end of his hat.
"Ugh, why me?" Zelda slumped down in a chair. "Why me?"
"OK, line up!" Zelda blew a whistle as they were walking back to the library.
"There're only two of us," Saria found herself wishing she hadn't said that when Zelda blew the whistle again.
"It's good to know you can count, we can probably skip the 'fun with six figure numbers' lesson I had planned for later. Anyway, I've scheduled a Hylian Biology lesson for you now, aren't you lucky?"
Pushing them into the library, she frowned when the tables were missing. Impa must have been hosting her weekly ballet class in there since the ballroom was being redecorated.
"I guess you'll have to stand until the desks are returned." Pulling out the board, Zelda began placing pictures of different things on it then rambling about what they were and where to find them.
Lunch was good, Link thought to himself. Would have been nice to have some of those Chocolate Triforces for dessert, I wonder how much they cost? Turning to glance at Saria, he could see she wasn't paying attention to Zelda either.
It's a shame we didn't get more time in the market, Saria thought while admiring the view out of the library window. We didn't get to look at those shirts Link likes, he looks good in them, even better out of them though…
"Since you're both such experts on the human body parts, we'll move on to reproduction!" Zelda shouted to get their attention. "So, it goes like this."
The princess talked them through the facts of life for Hylians, using a range of simple diagrams Impa had drawn when teaching her.
"And that's about it." Zelda finished speaking.
"Don't interfere with other students Link," Zelda said when he went to kneel down next to her. "If Saria wants to sleep during class then she's the one who will miss out. Now that you know about reproduction, let us learn how the child is born!" She flipped the page over to reveal a series of pictures Link didn't want to see.
Trying his best to stay conscious, Link couldn't take it any longer.
He fainted too.
"Faster! Run like you've never ran before! Come on you lazy slackers! Let's see you faint on my time again!" Zelda blew her whistle which echoed around the huge training hall they used for sports in the castle.
"But we've been doing this for an hour," Saria wheezed, almost passing out in front of Zelda, again.
"I thought you two were meant to be fit!"
"We are, when it comes to walking for long periods of time, not sprinting for our lives for hours on end," Link stopped to catch his breath.
"Right, well in that case, I'll set up the obstacle course," Zelda waved her hand in the direction of the ceiling where a variety of obstacles were floating in the air. Balance beams, large tyres and a few trampolines crashed down onto the floor.
"Those were in the air all this time? Saria glanced upwards, hoping nothing else would come falling down.
"Yes, but don't worry, as long as I was in the room nothing would have fallen on you."
"Good to know," Link mumbled. "Lucky you didn't suddenly need the bathroom."
"Anyway," Zelda continued, "I want to see you walk across the balance beam twenty times, thirty star jumps on the trampolines then pick up those tyres and throw them to the other side of the hall. If it takes you too long, we'll skip the fun with numbers lesson I had planned next. Link, to make it fair, I want that Goron bracelet from you."
"Aw, but Miss-"
"No buts! You can have it back at the end of the day," Zelda held out her hand for the bracelet. "I'll put it in a safe place," she smiled, slipping it on her own arm. "Now, go and get ready to start!"
"This will be a breeze without that thing anyway," Link reassured himself.
"You know," Saria leaned in and whispered in his ear. "If we do really bad at this we won't have to sit through fun with numbers."
"That's a good point," Link nodded. "I always hated those numbers, the only fun thing you can do with them is forget they exist."
"Ready?" Zelda called out. "Saria can start on the beam while Link can go on the trampoline." Turning her back on the activity, she noticed some spare tyres lying on the floor. "Hmm, I wonder how good this thing is?" Picking up a tyre, she was impressed when it felt lighter than usual. Spinning around, she tossed it up into the air and caught it with ease then turned back to see Saria wobbling on the balance beam and Link performing pathetic jumps on the trampoline.
"This is so hard Miss!" Saria said with a serious face. "I don't think I'll be able to do it!"
"Perseverance is the key Saria, perseverance!" Zelda turned around again to grab another tyre.
Saria grinned and started cart-wheeling along the beam. Seeing Zelda turn around again, she stopped and pretended to fall off.
"Come on Link, I've seen rocks jump higher than you!" the princess took her eyes from them to start juggling the tyres. Chucking them up into the air, she surprised herself when she caught them yet again. She would have to ask Darunia for one of these bracelets.
Making sure Zelda wasn't watching, Link performed some somersaults on the trampoline before back flipping onto the beam with Saria. They were just about to carry on when Zelda span around, catching them in the act of showing off.
"I think you should move onto the tyres if you're both so confident on the beam! An hour of solid throwing should teach you!"
"This is student abuse," Link muttered as he tossed a tyre across the room.
"What are these things used for anyway?" Saria picked up a tyre, clutching it with both hands she span around a few times then threw it. Unfortunately for Miss Hyrule, the tyre flew backwards, slamming down right over her head.
"Aasaah! I can't move!" Zelda screamed, the tyre slipping down over her shoulders. "There will be extra sprints for this!"
"I wish Zel-Miss Hyrule would turn into Sheik," Link whispered.
"So I can punch him in the face."
"The Deku Tree said boys shouldn't hit girls but never said anything about girls not hitting other girls, so if she doesn't I'll do it," Saria replied, leaving Link to wonder if she was joking or not.
"The art of cooking in Hyrule is one everybody should know," Zelda had sent the staff out so they could have the huge castle kitchen to themselves. "You may live the easy life in the forest, but in the real world we have to cook our food!"
Says the one who has all her meals cooked for her, Link thought to Saria.
And I resent that real world remark, Saria replied, wondering where the annoying voice had gotten to.
"Telepathy is for cheaters so stop doing it, you idiots!" The voice exclaimed, deafening everyone in the room.
"Hmm, my system has developed an attitude. I like it!" Zelda smiled. "Anyway, I wanted you to make me a cake for the evening meal. I've written out instructions for you so if you follow them exactly, there shouldn't be a problem. I'll be back later to check on your progress." Leaving the instructions on the counter, Zelda marched out of the kitchen to find Impa.
"This doesn't look that difficult," Saria read down the list. "To begin, we need a large bowl."
"I'll find that," Link offered. Rummaging through the cupboards, he got a shock when a live keese fluttered free, almost scratching his eyes out. "Eep," he ducked to let the frantic creature fly out of a nearby window. "Those things are so annoying," he mumbled, grabbing a bowl from a high shelf.
"Okay, we also need eggs, sugar, butter and flour," Saria read. "Do you think flour is meant to say flower? Because I've never heard of 'flour'."
"Me neither," Link read over her shoulder. "You get some flowers and I'll get the rest."
While Saria disappeared to the garden to get some flowers, Link continued searching through the cupboards for the other ingredients. Coming across a jar with a sugar label on the front, he dragged it out and opened the lid.
"Mmm, this stuff is good," he smiled, dipping in a spoon and tasting a mouthful. "I need the recipe for this." Forcing himself away from the sugar, Link carried on searching for the other things which weren't too hard to find.
"I'm back!" Saria walked into the kitchen carrying a bunch of flowers she had taken from the garden. "I got some funny looks from a few of the guards when I told them what I needed the flowers for, but they let me go after I insisted Princess Zelda told us to use flowers."
"Oh, nice," Link took the flowers, adding them to the pile of ingredients.
"I think we put them all in the bowl and mix now," Saria read the next set of instructions.
"Sounds easy," Link picked up everything at once. Not even bothering to crack the eggs, they found a big spoon and began mixing it all together.
"Looks a bit of mess but we did follow the instructions," Saria frowned. "Oh well. One of the last things we need to do is grease the tin that we're going to use in the oven. Do you know what grease is and do we have any?"
"Um, I'll check," Link dove into the nearest cupboard where a series of unlabeled bottles were being kept. Reaching for the one closest to him, he slowly opened the lid to reveal something wet and slimy that leaped out, latching onto his face. Spinning around, he slammed the thing down into the tin to find it was a small octorok.
"Maybe we can use it for grease," Saria watched the agitated octorok slithering around the base of the tin.
"Good idea," Link held it by the head and began sliding it over the bottom of the tin. "Yep, looks greased up now."
"Great, all we have left to do is put it in the oven to bake," Saria took the tin off the counter. Opening what she hoped was an oven, she placed the tin neatly inside and closed the door. "I can't read the rest of Miss Hyrule's writing," she squinted at the bottom of the list.
"Let's just guess, I'm sure we won't be far off," Link started twiddling with the knobs. Turning the red one to full power, he nodded to himself. "We should go tell Miss we're done!"
Finding Zelda in one of the many sitting rooms in the castle, they were filling her in on how well they thought the baking went. Until they heard an ear-splitting explosion come from the kitchen.
Running downstairs, Zelda gasped at the state of the place. The oven was a burning mass of metal, shredded flowers hung from the ceiling and a dead octorok lay in the centre of the floor looking as if it had been mauled before its death. Stepping into the room, Zelda narrowed her eyes when a flower fell into her face.
"Only one more lesson to go, just one more," she mumbled, pushing them out of her way.
The final lesson of the day couldn't take place until the night, so Zelda had vanished down to the Bombchu Bowling Alley with Impa while Link and Saria entertained themselves in the castle. Laying in Zelda's private courtyard, they watched the sun setting behind the castle walls, awaiting Zelda's return.
"There you are," Zelda said as she entered the courtyard, a notebook and pencil in hand.
"How did it go in the market?" Link asked.
"Not that good. I got in the bowling alley and there were cuccos flapping everywhere and a monkey who kept throwing Chocolate Triforces at me, the owner must have left as soon as Malon threatened her."
"What will happen to the building?" Saria turned over onto her stomach, propping her head up with both hands.
"If someone wants to use it they'll have to ask my father, if not, then it will just stay empty," Zelda tossed her notebook aside. "Anyway, it's dark enough at last, so let us begin your Astrology lesson." She started pointing out the different clusters of stars.
"So, what's the story behind them?" Saria asked after Zelda had finished.
"Story...?" Zelda had no idea what she meant.
"Yeah, in Kokiri legend there's a story behind them," Link explained.
"Oh? Can you tell me?" The princess was always interested in other cultures.
And so the pair relayed the tale that had been passed down through the ages in the forest, ending with a heartbreaking climax only a few weeks prior to their conversation.
"Wow, that's amazing," Zelda couldn't take her eyes off the sky. "I mean, I always thought Hylian Astrology was interesting with all the numbered clusters, but the Kokiri version is so magical! I wonder what other races make of the stars, do they have their own stories? Do you think we'll have constellations named after us one day?"
Pausing to wait for an answer, she looked over to find they had both fallen asleep.
"Fine, go to sleep on me," she smiled, taking out the box of Chocolate Triforces she had taken from the monkey. "You two want any?" she asked, knowing they wouldn't be able to answer. "No? Ok then but don't say I didn't offer."
Tearing off the golden wrapping of her first Triforce, Zelda took a bite while looking towards the stars. Turning her attention back to her students, she sighed. She knew they would learn to function normally in Hylian society someday, but for now, they were perfectly imperfect and she wouldn't want it any other way.