I've explored the sillier and sexier sides of Link, but figured it was high time to take a look at him at his most serious: in combat, dealing with those he dislikes, or those he doesn't understand. This is also some practice at writing ocs. Part of the "Hero" series I've been writing on Zelda. This is mostly just a one-shot with no real connection to my other Zelda fics.

T for some violence, alcohol, and suggestive references, though nothing explicit or overly gory. Spoilers abound.

I don't own Legend of Zelda or anything related to it.

He must be the Princess's lover.

No, that couldn't be it, another would retort when that rumor tickled their ears. The permanently somber face of the mysterious blue-eyed, dark-blond haired man had to belong to a eunuch. He was obviously the Princess's bodyguard.

If he was her eunuch bodyguard, the other party would snap back, then why were her guards dismissed from the hall whenever he attended to her?

Their response was always the same, that she obviously didn't need guards if she had her bodyguard right in the room with her.

Those who had originally brought it up would reply by questioning the fidelity of the second side's mother, and harsh words and blows would be exchanged prior to a daylong incarceration for brawling (the rich were rarely imprisoned for great periods of time except in the case of major crimes). The next day, everyone would have forgotten who had started what, and the cycle would begin again between a different pair.

Still, one thing was always agreed upon. The mystery man, whose green clothes seemed fused to his skin, was the most dangerous individual in Hyrule and beyond. Though he held no official position of power, with his influence and power he might as well be the entirety of Hyrule's army and then some stuffed into one body. Considering that there was almost no functional military at the moment, that might appear to have little weight until one realized that that statement referred to the strength of the army at its best. Though no one had ever heard him speak, his piercing azure eyes spoke for him, cowing nearly all who gazed upon them with their focus and intensity. He had the capacity to single-handedly slay the entire castle and gave the impression that he would like nothing more than to do so.

So the elite of Castle Town and its government thought, and as far as they were concerned their opinions were the only ones that mattered. And so they would never bear witness to how the same powerful gaze that sent a ratty official scurrying could shine softness on others, offering peace, comfort, and protection. They would never know of his other deeds besides those that occurred in their knowledge and presence, for if anything involved those they considered below themselves, it was not worth knowing. As such, they denied themselves the opportunity of ever knowing anything more about the man than what they concocted for themselves, despite their every efforts to the contrary.

Wilhelm Antivalle gulped nervously as the man in question pushed his way past the double doors leading to the royal hallway, his brown leather boots traveling noiselessly across the rose carpet of the floor.

One of the few surviving members of the Royal Guard before the Invasion, the mouse-haired, slightly chubby man felt the first traces of sweat building up on his forehead. Wilhelm was not lacking in courage, despite the fact that most survivors of the war were alive thanks to that, and was aware that the chances of the emerald-clothed man killing him were almost nil, but the thirty-something-year-old never did get used to seeing the much younger man walk through the castle so freely. The Princess had declared that he be given all the powers of a General, short of the seat in the Commander's Throne next to the chairs of the Royal Couple (the mystery man always chose to remain standing next to the Princess when she held her public sessions), but he had done nothing to abuse his power as Wilhelm had anticipated. He simply...existed, passing through all areas of the castle as if he owned the place, giving off more indifference than hostility or arrogance.

Wilhelm didn't like it. Nor could he avoid a visible shudder as the man passed him without a word.

He could not shake this ghost of a sensation, the inherent fear that Princess Zelda's mysterious companion, lover, or bodyguard-Wilhelm wasn't particularly interested in the specifics-aroused whenever he entered the same room as the guard. He had only felt a dull terror like this one other time: when he had frightened off a solitary wolf from interfering with the escort of a royal attorney, and was gripped with an irrational dread of the animal even as he carried out his duty.

Antivalle couldn't imagine why that same feeling echoed within him now as the doors finally swung shut.

That man was a bureaucratic nightmare. So thought Gregor Jasken, Chairman of the Council of Royal Advisors, and self-proclaimed enemy of the man who dared flaunt himself about the palace as if he were King.

If one were using animal analogies, Gregor would be a slug given human form, with all the sloth and rolling fat the mollusk possessed in abundance. The sticky slime of the invertebrate translated to sliminess of character in Gregor; he was easily unlikable. Not openly aggressive and certainly not corrupt, Gregor simply radiated hubris and haughtiness. Combined with his liberal interpretation of honesty, filthy rich lifestyle, and manipulative manner of interpersonal interaction, he made a perfect politician.

Unfortunately, too perfect. As unpopular as he was, Gregor was simply too educated, intelligent, and competent to be removed from his position as figurehead without an equally despicable replacement following suite. Without an overhaul of the political system, Hyrule was stuck with him; and considering the crisis it had just survived, nothing would be changing for at least a year.

Jasken interpreted his maintaining of position as appreciation for his talents. But only one barrier held him back from nirvana-that damned blue-eyed boy.

He said 'boy' because, in his eyes, that's exactly what this annoyance was; a boy, no older than eighteen, perhaps nineteen. In any other situation the impudent brat would've been drummed from the castle, except for two things.

One, the boy was obviously warming the Princess's bed. Why else would he be by her side at nearly all hours of the day and night, seemingly standing by for her protection while harboring jealous thoughts that Gregor knew to be there? He shook his head in disappointment, reaching a fat finger out for a pen to finish signing the letter he was working on. A pity the Princess had the naivety to allow her genitals to cloud her judgement.

Two, the boy was the best fighter he'd ever seen. Though there were many instances for Gregor's memory to draw upon, the most impactful had to be the incident after the royal meeting gone sour. The Minister of Labrynnan Relations wouldn't stop squawking about a gathering army attacking distant, backward villages, so the Princess had taken her key cabinet members along with that boy so they might witness what would occur. Recalling the memory, Gregor bit his tongue and signed one paper of many, all of the documents melding together in his mind.

It wasn't worth it. Jasken would leave the boy alone, despite his frustration at not even knowing his name. It wasn't the first time he'd seen the boy battle, not by a long shot...but he wouldn't involve himself further with a person who could fight like that.

Pierre Walden, private in the Royal Guard, bit his tongue as he watched the boy stroll forward without a care in the world, seemingly oblivious to the Labrynnan encampment just down in the valley from their position out of normal sight range on the hill. Ringed by a natural moat of water, the camp itself situated on a large island in the middle of the vast Hyrule-Labrynnan River, an abundance of trees, overgrown bushes, and other foliage provided perfect camouflage-for a single soldier. All plants abruptly vanished once one forded the running water, the four giant blue Labrynnan tents, not hidden in the slightest, stood out like turquoise sore thumbs. A multitude of enemy soldiers could be seen wasting the day away, presumably because they had just returned from combat and were being given a refresher. Every spyglass was trained on him, watching him so closely that Pierre could swear that at least one of them would be able to count the boys' hairs by the end of the day.

As soon as he came within arrow distance of the camp, the boy's carefree posture melted as he fell forward onto one knee, freezing in place as his right hand barely touched the grassy slope that he rested on, vanishing into the green of the hillside, and Pierre lost sight of him for a moment.

Most of his fellows (for he was one of many guards who had come to escort the politicians) had also lost track of him, and were looking around in confusion, unable to determine what had happened. Where had the boy that the Princess insanely insisted could defeat the entire enemy force alone vanished to?

A faint rustling caught his eye, and he started when he saw the distinct green cap of the boy slightly visible in a distant bush. Peering through his telescope, he caught a nod from the boy and his mouth went dry.

Walden had only seen the youth because the latter had wanted him to.

Link sighed, more annoyed than anything. He simultaneously liked and hated showing off, but he had agreed to this because Zelda was his Princess, friend, and perhaps something more. It didn't hurt that his actions would help save innocent lives, and he knew that it would give him some much-needed weight in the political battlefield of Hyrule. At least it would give his position weight when Zelda argued in his stead. He wanted nothing to do with it, something Zelda respected and agreed to: no politics.

The thought of politics and princesses nearly brought to mind a certain otherworldly beauty, one who continued to injure him to this day, but shook the memory away. Link couldn't afford any distractions: grief and sorrow were luxuries he couldn't afford right now, though he promised himself time for them later. If he must think of grief, he would picture what his would be if these soldiers ever reached Ordon village.

Still, the former Hero was certain he wouldn't be getting out of this unscathed. He had killed sentients before, so he really had nothing to worry or complain about considering his assured victory. The politicians wouldn't care that he had probably just saved them, for the second time, from enemies.

Yes, Link knew he would succeed. It was simply a fact: he had the skill, the time, and the patience for it, though his body was still injured enough from his adventure that it might prove to be an obstacle. It was just a matter of execution, and so he set in motion the first stage of his attack.

His bow and arrows had served him well on his journey, and would be the easiest way to thin their ranks from a distance without raising unnecessary alarm. Link knew he could take all of them, even if they were alerted to him beforehand-again, simply a fact-but he both wanted to practice a variety of his techniques and demonstrate that he was not single-minded.

Lifting the upper-half of his body above the bush, Link reached behind him to his Goddess-gifted pouch and withdrew the familiar wood-and-steel body of his bow, laying the handle into his right hand as he strapped his quiver over his shoulder, alongside his scabbard which no longer held the Master Sword. At the request of Zelda, he had relinquished it to the Sacred Grove with Midna's help-again, he shook his head and returned to the present-and now carried his older Ordon-crafted sword with him. It felt much weaker than the legendary blade-he hadn't had the chance to use it lethally yet since switching for the Master Sword, but was still superior to nearly any other sword in the country

He had already tested the wind, and the conditions were perfect as he looked down the bow experimentally, no arrow nocked on the weapon. He could make out a sentry on the southernmost sentry post of the island trailing his feet in the water, even able to discern the lazily-hooded brown eyes of his enemy from this distance. A good first target.

His fingers were secured, elbow just barely relaxed as he pulled, sighted, and released on instinct-except for extended sniping sessions, Link found it was better to fire quickly and accurately than tire oneself out by holding the bowstring's weight for long periods of time while he aimed. The silver-shafted projectile hummed through the air, and he withheld a grime smile of satisfaction as he watched the guard drop his weapons, clutch his throat, take a stumbling step backward, and fall forward into the water, his unarmored body carried downstream by the current and out of sight of his compatriots.

One down, nearly seventy to go.

Steel death snuffed out the lives of the other nine perimeter guards, their windpipes pierced by arrowhead that muffled their dying gasps to the point of silence as they simultaneously suffocated and exsanguinated their lives out.

Link's initial plan had borne fruit, and now the time for stealth had vanished. He could simply wrap an oiled rag around his arrowhead and burn the tents down, but the Hero of Twilight had a much more impressive-looking plan, not to mention one that would eliminate even more soldiers before the Ordonian would even get close to close combat.

Removing one of his many bombs from his pouch, Link carefully peeled the leather wrapping and the fuse off of the sphere of gunpowder, cupping some of the precious explosive into the leather before wrapping it around the point of an arrow. Sighting his target-the outermost tent on the south side of the camp, near where he had killed the first sentry-The former Hero's eyes darted back and forth from his position to the blue tents' as he deduced the range and angle of his shot, fingers automatically dipping the fuse of his explosive-wrapped weapon into the burning oil of his small, mostly steel lantern. Immediately the fire began eating away at the fuse-he had exactly four seconds before his tool would explode in his face, resulting in a most undignified end for the bearer of the Triforce of Courage.

Straightening his back, Link balanced, sighted, and fired before his mind had time to question what his body knew would be a perfect shot.

The force of the arrowhead smacking into the backside of the tent crushed the powder on itself, forcing the flames to make contact with the powder prematurely and setting off the intended explosion. The boisterous afternoon air was rudely interrupted by a loud bang as his bomb arrow blew a hole into the back of the tent, sending flames licking greedily at the immediate detonation site while the support beams collapsed and the whole structure began to crumple. The Labrynnan soldiers inside, or at least those who hadn't been caught and maimed by the explosion sensed the inevitable collapse of their sanctuary and made a beeline for the opening tent flap, the number of selfish pushers far outshining any examples of selflessness in the endangered army population.

Unfortunately for them, the 'door' was designed so that only one person could enter or exit at a time, and so the space in front of the way out became a center of chaos as a select few managed to squeeze their way out-only to be met with deadly accurate raining death as Link, from his fantastically chosen viewpoint from the middle of the hill, fired deadly shaft after deadly shaft with terrifying, instinct-based accuracy. The bodies of those who had escaped blocked the exit as they piled up, one at a time in disorderly non-single file, and the unfortunate fighters inside felt the structure groan and collapse on them-at least twice their combined weight's worth of cloth and wood landing directly on their heads, crushing most of them and trapping the rest under the dead, soon-to-be-burning bodies of their comrades.

With one bomb arrow and two dozen unmodified shafts, the Hero of Twilight had killed nearly half of Labrynna's incursion force, and they hadn't even spotted him yet-a fact he soon moved to rectify. Slipping his bow, bombs, and lantern into his pack, Link's left hand drew his blade from its scabbard with a sharp swish that could likely be heard from the camp and slipped his steel Hylian Shield over his left arm, both shining so brightly in the light that he could doubtlessly be seen by the confused, borderline panicking soldiers below.

Preferring silence over a boisterous battle cry, Link began descending the hill with all the haste of a freezing Goron; Link was no blood knight, fighting for fighting's own sake, but again, Zelda had made him understand that he needed to give his enemies a chance to regroup before defeating them so as to emphasize his worth. Plus, he had already sneaked and sabotaged enough today, and the Hero preferred an open battlefield against a ready enemy.

He had managed to cross the river, and wasn't surprised to find himself facing a mobilized, now-prepared force. Link didn't realize it, but the Labrynnans had stupidly decided to put all of their archers on sentry duty; thus, when he had taken all of their watchmen out, he had unknowingly crippled their ability to fight back on an uneven battlefield.

A unit of a dozen powerful-looking men had fallen into turtle formation-the soldiers in three lines in front of him, each man blocking his compatriot to the left. They advanced, blue-bannered spears and shields in hand, as their panicked countrymen prepared to watch the green man in front of them get skewered.

The soldier to Link's right in the front row made a lunge, spear jerking forward with surprising speed as the Hero instantly jumped to the right, arm automatically swinging diagonally upward from his left. He was surprised to see a spurt of blood trail from his blade as the man's face paled, blood draining from his face and he collapsed in a heap. Even the armor of their vanguards was no match for his blade-this would be easier than he anticipated.

His point was proven when the two other men in the front row advanced, one holding his spear lengthwise to block the anticipated swipe, the other hefting the shaft in preparation for a clubbing with the butt of the weapon. Neither took more than two steps forward before they grunted and found themselves sprawled across the grass, two exact cuts across their throats leaving them gurgling their lives out within a few seconds. Behind them, three of the next row moved in unison, jabbing forward as a unit, hoping to stick him in one combined blow. Three stabs into their foreheads later, and three bodies with crushed, bloodied helmets lay before him.

Link could've waited for the ill-disciplined, poorly commanded to line up and allow him to cut them down at his leisure, as they currently were, but he had lost patience for their idiocy. Without waiting for the third row to march onto his blade, Link charged, bulling the middle Labrynnan over as his sword ripped the left's stomach open and his shield's corner punctured the right's lung, giving him time to headbutt the shocked invader in front of him and, ignoring the faint ringing in his head from smashing it into rusted metal, allowed the man to fall over. The Hero had no time for a downward stab into the disabled enemy's helmet, so the Ordonian merely jabbed the ball of his foot onto the man's neck, the resulting crack ringing through his ears as he plowed forward.

Farore's child was moderately surprised as his next three targets charged him, one cracking his gauntlet onto Link's left wrist and holding his hand in place, sending the Ordon-forged blade flipping through the air for several dramatic sweeps before impaling itself into the ground near where he had forded the river. The other held grimly onto his shield arm while his final assailant lifted his spear to the right, preparing for a sweep-a monumentally stupid move given the massively high chance that he would hit his own comrades.

When he heard the wood whistling through the air, the Bearer of Courage rolled unexpectedly with the pull of the man on his right arm biting back the yowl of pain that bubbled up into his throat as the man pulled his bad arm, sending the left man stumbling directly into the path of his ally's spear blade. His strong arm freed at last, Link cracked his other restrainer on the nose, leaving the man reeling in shock. Hearing the grunt of victory behind him, the former goatherd knew his second opponent had free his blade from the body of his companion and would soon be aiming for him. With his shield arm still restrained by the delirious, broken-nose soldier to his right, Link couldn't block nor dodge the incoming blow, and steeled himself for the first blow of the battle.

At least, he would've had he not been using his free hand to free one of his Clawshots, one of a pair of mechanical devices that secured itself around his glove and fired a long claw followed by a chain-a fine transportation or distracting tool, but he had never found the opportunity to use them lethally until now.

Half-turning towards the recklessly charging enemy behind him, Link pressed his thumb into the trigger and felt the familiar jolt of the firing mechanism as it rapidly unwound itself, the three-pronged claw seeking a latching-on-point and finding none-merely the shocked face of its master's enemy. With a clunk, followed by a wet slurp, the claw pierced the Labrynann's right eye and pulled back, instantly killing the man. Following the momentum of the returning chain, Link immediately punched the soldier on his arm in the face once again, this time replacing his fist with the closed metal prongs of his Clawshot. Bone crunched as the man's face collapsed on the impact point, and Link felt the grip on his arm releasing. Shaking himself free, Link shrugged his shield off, and equipped his second Clawshot, now armed with nothing but the twin projectile blades on his arms.

The remaining men, emboldened by Link's lack of protection, rushed the blue-eyed, wolf-spirited Hylian, thinking him an easy target with nothing more than his hands and fists (even if they were covered in heavy steel and sharp claws).

When asked later what had occurred, Link merely chuckled. At the moment, however, he was a blur, ducking and weaving as he pierced vital organs with fist-powered stabs; crunched bones with deadly gripping force; fired chain-linked death from his hands-and if Link suffered a scratch a scratch doing so, he did not notice. Spear butts seemed to whiff his forehead, Labrynnan blades appeared to swing wide and do more damage to each other than their target, and with terrifying speed the number of blue-clothed bodies dotting the ground began to rise, though neither side noticed as they fought.

Link's chain-powered tools were drenched in blood, stuck with shards of bone, and still just as deadly as their wielder. Extracting his arm from an enemy's chest cavity, the Hero of Twilight's body heaved with great breathes, though the adrenaline and raw Triforce-gifted power running through him granted him a deceptive amount of energy.

It would no longer be needed. Even 'disarmed', Link had won-turning, he saw nothing more than a mound of bodies in a circle around him, trampled and burned tents, and his sword and shield, impaled and resting on the formerly green, currently blood-saturated soil.

A sudden exhaustion overtook him, and only now noticed the number of blows he had suffered, though ignored thanks to his phenomenal pain tolerance and body's fortitude. Besides the myriad of blunt-object strikes to his body, resulting which he couldn't see but assumed were resulting in frightening, discolored bruises and cracked bones, his form began to react to the multitude of more serious wounds. A spear shaft had gone clean through his middle, missing his stomach, but snapped off after exiting, leaving a stick of wood in his side that dug painfully into his ribs as he breathed. A spear slice across his clavicle, exposing the bone that hissed in pain as he tried to straighten his back.

His vision swam-if he had any further wounds, he could not tell nor did he care-all his body desired was to lie down and heal these impossible wounds. Link crumpled into the middle of the camp, and by the time the convoy had arrived, Zelda at their head, he was already, blissfully unconscious.

"If it weren't for that impressive feat and your repulsion of multiple assassination attempts, you'd have probably been exiled fifty times over for imagined crimes and simply because the aristocracy hates you."

Link allowed himself a smile as the two of them walked through the castle's restored gardens. Officially, he was escorting Her Highness and keeping her safe from nonexistent assassins-after knowledge spread of what had happened to the previous men who attempted to murder or harm Zelda, his reputation alone kept her safe. That and the guilty awe most nobles held him in after witnessing him single-handedly defeat nearly a third of Labrynna's army on his own kept them in check. The story of that battle had spread and been exaggerated to the expected degree , but rarely criticized as these legends tended to be.

Unofficially, he was enjoying the garden with a friend who was becoming something more.

He coughed, chest aching as his half-healed stomach wound protested the jolting of his diaphragm. Though he rarely complained when it came to pain, but Zelda winced as she beheld the obviously discomforting action.

"...It'll get better, you know. Not just your wound. The Goddesses don't abandon their champions."

The Bearer of Courage gaze turned up from its place previously fixated on his feet, failing to understand the words of the Bearer of Wisdom. Before he could act, Zelda took his hand, her face maintaining the perfect, neutral poise of court while her eyes shined understanding back at him.

"Your rewards will come in time, Hero. I understand your frustration, but can offer no comfort other than the promise that you will reap benefits of your valiance."

The female sovereign paused, allowing herself a bitten lip before continuing.

"...No matter what form they deign to reward their chosen with. Now come-though I can neither slay nor threaten court officials, your pacifistic presence will add rhetoric to my arguments that would otherwise be ignored."

It took Link a moment to process her loquaciousness, his mind unfamiliar with half of the vocabulary that she had employed. Honor, courage, and skill were amount his strengths, but foresight, diplomacy, and grammatical prowess were not among them.

The cogs in his head had just begun to turn and deduce the answer when Zelda allowed the faintest smile to flash across her lips before her countenance returned to her usual stone-faced expression.

"I mean to say, Link, that you need only wait to be rewarded, and that I would like you to be in my presence as I make my case for the renovation of the Great Hylian Bridge."

...Link sometimes wondered if the Triforce of Wisdom granted the bearer the ability to see through minds with all the effort of breathing normally, which is to say no effort at all. The fact that Zelda did not respond or react to his thoughts (though that might be thanks to her legendary self-control) diminished the validity of his earlier claim.

Unlike his Princess, he couldn't help but smile. Zelda had misinterpreted his lack of satisfaction in one of her rare mistakes, but her words were food for thought.

Part of what he wished for the Goddesses to reward him with was permanently out of his reach, the other half wrapping her arm through his right now, leaning her head on his shoulder, knowing that he craved the contact.

In the end, this was what every hero fought for, was it not? And not only was he far closer than ever before at finally realizing the full circle of his journey than ever before-the end might even be making its own way towards him, if Zelda's indulgence of a shoulder-lean was any indication.

His restlessness would set him moving again soon, but he would always return to fulfill the silent obligation they had made to each other when their third pieces of their hearts departed them for quite likely forever. This was Zelda's battlefield now, a war of politics and diplomacy he would never have a part in. Link would always come back to Zelda, and she would always accept him-no matter how battered, bruised, or soaked in enemy blood he may be.

Felt nice to write action for once.

Thanks for reading! Reviews are always welcome.