A/N: Inspired by fanart by someone called "JM Arts" on Tumblr. I'm not one who sees Zelda as someone that would take an insult lying down.
The suffering and humiliation will not last much longer.
We lost. I knew such a thing was possible, but I never let myself think about the chance that I would be the one, the one that would bring the prophecy to explosively fail.
He gave no quarter. I knew he was mad, but the level of his insanity had never been fully revealed to me. I can only say that the poor boy died quickly. I don't know if I picked the wrong one, or if he was just not strong enough, even after all the trials. Perhaps we were doomed from the start. It had been so long since someone had managed to lay hands on those damned triangles.
And then they deserted him, as well. He was not worthy, nor was the corpse of the dead boy, nor myself. So he vented his spleen on me. The thought of a fate worse than death warmed his heart, or whatever blackened, oily mass had taken its place. He had, after all, already brought the entire country under his thrall.
He leaped over the border of madness, entering into the ludicrous. He stripped the boy's head of flesh, unrecognizable as any other skull that lay in the Temple of Shadows. This went around my neck as a badge of shame. And that was only the beginning.
I was forced back to the fortress of his people, where even those who saw him as their champion shuddered slightly at the insane gleam in his eye. I thought that I would be given the scullery-maid's slavery, the simple disgrace of the heir to the throne being made to scrub the ashes from the floor. Would that have been my punishment! The girl who gave me a set of their own clothes to wear had an idea what was going on, I saw the pity in her golden eyes.
The first clue that something was wrong came when I examined the clothes. They were too fine for servant work, the soft Gerudo silk accented with coils of gold at the ankles and across the bodice. I put them on anyway, not about to go without. And I had scarcely finished when he came in the door, ripping apart the knot I had just tied.
My hand flashed out straight for his eyes, the only vulnerable part of him that I could see, but he slapped it away as if swatting flies. The only thing he removed with care was that cursed necklace, placing it on one side with the empty eyes facing us, as if forcing its ghost to watch. I bit, ground flesh, tasted blood, but could do little more than scratch the surface. I baited his fists and his feet, willing them to strike my face, my back, my stomach, hoping more pain would eventually make me numb. The entire affair was nothing more than a sneering claim of my person, a dog pissing on a tree to say "it's mine".
He left me lying there on the cold stone floor, cursed necklace back in place, and if I had been a lesser person I might have contemplated how to end my own life. But I felt no self-pity, only rage. I was not the one who had to die. He would pay for shredding my honor; he would pay with his life. In the grit on the floor I began the first disjointed plans for vengeance.
Impa taught me the ways of the Shekiah in those seven long years, the interrogators and the assassins of the Crown. I learned about gunpowder, the flash it made to blind one's enemies so one could escape. I learned the vital parts of the body and how one quick movement with a blade could sever the connection to life. And I learned much of the art of alchemy.
Sulfur, the stone that burns. The special properties of quicksilver and copper, gold and silver. Aqua Regia, used to dissolve much of the castle's gold, so that the raiding Gerudo would only see stoppered flasks and not the riches of the throne. Vitriol, which devoured everything else. And then the mundane elements, everything from simple stone to antimony.
Poison. I could not win a fight with the Evil King, but without the Triforce of Power, he was as susceptible to it as any man. But which to use? Death by peach came to mind, but I pushed it away. I doubted that I, lowest of the low, would be allowed to lay hands on such a valuable commodity. And even if I managed to get hold of the pit, it killed too quickly. His death scream would alert the Gerudo before I had even made three steps out of the Fortress.
Quicksilver? Antimony? No, quicksilver came from cinnabar, something only the Gorons had. I really had no idea how to isolate antimony. It had to be something that was deadly in its raw form, something easy to obtain in the desert. A sudden idea came to me, and as I painfully picked myself up off the floor, the same girl came to me with bandages and mending tools for the ripped fabric. I did not find it hard to beg in a pitiful voice for some water, which she brought quickly in a large waterskin. A smile tugged at my lips as I drank; Impa had trained me to recognize that metallic taste, the same taste I had noticed on the whitening creams that the ladies of the court spread on their skin, not knowing what danger lurked in such a dainty, feminine package.
They permitted me to roam where I wished, figuring that I had been beaten into submission and held no threat of either injury or flight. I found the spring on the second day, and gathered up as much stone as I could find around its mouth. No one said anything about my odd habit of playing with rocks. The former princess is mad, I heard them say, and really, why would they think otherwise?
He came for me again the day after that, the same torture after a new one he devised, pulling me with him like a trussed-up puppy. He made a show of eating and offering me none. At some point he attempted to make me take the scraps from the floor, but I only gave him stone-faced silence in reply. It made me want to speed up the process, but despite the humiliation I knew I had to move slowly. They must not suspect, they must merely think he has fallen victim to some unknown illness.
Lucky for me, the Evil King had much food and drink he permitted no one else to touch. I put one stone in a barrel of wine. Another I threw in a pot of boiling water and then retrieved it again on the sly. I rubbed the grit onto a bowlful of bright yellow pears, trusting that the sand that blew everywhere would not give it away.
I got my first sign of success one night when he was standing at the head of the table, forcing me to sit at his feet like a lapdog, and blowing hot air across the table with words of glory attributed to himself. In mid-sentence he halted, then suddenly excused himself from the table. I had to bite down hard on the back of my hand, forcing myself not to laugh hysterically at the image of the Evil King laid low by a little stomach distress. He suspected I had done something, and gleefully insisted that I taste his food before him at every meal. I did so without hesitation; the few meager bites he allowed me were not even enough to make me sick.
I knew the poison had sunk deeper in his body when he came back from some excursion or other, one of the women nursing an arrow in her arm. He had shot her by mistake, his senses dulled by night blindness. Closer and closer he crept to death, without the slightest idea that the woman he violated was slowly killing him from the inside.
Finally, finally, in the middle of one of his visits he suddenly convulsed, his body twisting in and over itself as he writhed on the floor. I bent over on my knees, stuffing a scrap of my clothing in my mouth so no one could hear the hysterical laughter in my long-awaited triumph. And then he lay still. I put my hand to his neck, felt his pulse present but weak. Coma, then. He would take a little more time to die, but he could not escape it in the end.
Despite my vow that no one should know who, what or how, I found myself taking the knife from his belt. With unsteady hands I carved shallow cuts into his chest, a series of triangles that spelled out the name of the murderer, in script only an alchemist would understand. His unblinking, unseeing eyes stared up at me as I cut the skull from my neck and placed it on his chest, the ghost finally able to drink bloody vengeance. As I rubbed my fingers together, I could feel the tiny crystals that had blown through his body as if by a prevailing wind.