In a time of deception and evil plots, a hero will come from humble beginnings and save the kingdom of Hyrule from a bleak future. Will he also be able to rescue the princess?
The king of Hyrule has invited anyone skilled in archery to come and compete in Hyrule field outside of the castle. The event is part of a kingdom-wide festival held annually in honor of the founding of Hyrule kingdom. Many archers came from far and wide to compete for sport and a small monetary reward. The king and his daughter, Princess Zelda, are excitedly watching the event as it progresses and the best archers in the land are making themselves known.
Among them is Link, a skilled archer and swordsman from the forest village of Kokiri, who is not very well known around the kingdom. Link, now a teenager, had never participated in such and event before, and only did so this year after some persistent encouragement from a close friend. His skills in archery were starting to attract the attention of many watching the event. He didn’t take much notice of the growing crowd of fascinated on-lookers as he bested one archer after another. Before he knew it, the competition had come down to two—Link and the previous year’s champion. With a steady hand and a keen eye, Link shot his arrow dead center, winning the competition. The crowd cheered, and to his surprise, he was asked to come before the king himself to receive his reward.
Putting away his equipment, he humbly approached the king. Then he saw Princess Zelda for the first time. She was smiling brightly at him and seemed inquisitive as she sat quietly next to her father. Link’s heart leaped into his throat as he stood before them. Nearly forgetting his manners, because of the unexpected distraction, Link quickly kneeled in respect to the king. Coming back up from his kneel, he looked at the king as he began to speak,
“You have quite a talent, young man. What is your name?” asked the king.
“Link, sir,” he replied.
“Link…why haven’t I seen you here in past years? Do you live far from here?” the king inquired.
“Yes, sir. I am from the Kokiri forest. This is the first time I have ever competed during the Hyrule festival.”
“I see,” said the king. “Well, I hope to see you again next year, as you have much talent. Oh, and here is your reward,” he said as he handed Link the cash prize.
“Thank you, sir,” Link said with a bow. He smiled shyly at the princess and walked away.
“He seems to be a fine young man, wouldn’t you agree, dear?” the king said to his daughter as they watched Link walk away. When he didn’t get an immediate response, he looked at Zelda, who was still watching Link.
“Zelda, did you hear what I said?”
She quickly caught herself and replied, somewhat blushing,
“Oh yes, father, he is a very nice young man.”
The king chuckled at his daughter’s flustered reaction and then just smiled as he watched the crowd disperse.
Later that afternoon, the festival was winding down, and most of the townspeople were beginning to leave. Link had spent most of the day spending some of his reward money on the festival activities, but his mind kept going back to when he first saw Princess Zelda. He knew the king had a daughter about his age, but he had never seen her before. He wanted to see her again, but it was getting late, so he decided to go back to the forest.
A few days later in the Kokiri Forest, Saria, a close childhood friend of Link, approached him with a puzzled look on her face.
“You’ve been so quiet these past few days…is something wrong, Link?” she asked.
“No, nothing’s wrong. I just…well….” His voice got quiet and he looked down.
“You just what, Link?”
“When I was at the festival, I saw Princess Zelda sitting next to the king…and I…well…I had never seen her in person like that before…and she was…she was….” He grew quiet again and began fidgeting.
Saria still had a puzzled look as she listened to Link’s story. Suddenly a big smile burst onto her face as she said,
“Oohhhhhhh…I see,” she slowly nodded her head.
Link looked up at her, “See what?”
“Don’t worry, Link, your secret’s safe with me,” she said, smiling.
“Huh?” he mumbled, starting to blush. He looked away.
“Oh, don’t be ashamed, Link. I think it’s sweet.”
“You do?” he asked, looking back at Saria.
“Yeah. So did you get to talk to her?”
“No; I wanted to, but I was too nervous.”
“That’s too bad. Did she notice you?”
“I think so. She smiled at me,” he said thinking of her smile.
“Awwwww. You should go see her again, Link.”
“You mean at the castle? No, I couldn’t….”
“Why not? Don’t you want to?”
“Of course I do. I just don’t know if that would be a good idea. She’s probably busy with her royal duties or something. I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“Hmmmmm…maybe you could….” Saria was interrupted by a shout from somewhere in the village.
“Hey! Everyone listen! I’ve got some important news!”
It was Mido, the leader of the Kokiri people, running through the village. He stopped, out of breath, and looked frantic. He stood in the middle of the village and finally spoke up,
“I have just been told that the king is very ill.”
Everyone gasped as Mido continued,
“The royal physician is going to make a special healing potion and needs our help. We need to gather up enough deku nuts to fill up two large baskets and take them to the castle to give to him. He needs deku nuts for his special potion. Everyone needs to pitch in to get these deku nuts to the castle as soon as possible, so hurry up!”
Everyone scrambled to gather all the nuts they could find and dropped them into two big baskets they had in the village. Amidst the chaos, Mido approached Link and said,
“Link, you are the only one that can leave the forest. I need you to take the two baskets to the castle as fast as you can. Can you do it?”
“Don’t worry, Mido, you can count on me,” Link replied.
As Link waited for the baskets to fill up, Saria came over and placed her hand on his arm.
“Link,” she said, “once you get to the castle, you should find Princess Zelda and stay with her. She might need a friend right now that she can trust.”
“But she doesn’t even know me,” Link objected.
“Yes, but I know you, and I know she will need someone like you in a time like this. Plus, I sense she may be in danger.”
“How do you know?” Link asked.
“I’m not sure, but I feel very strongly about it.”
She was again interrupted by Mido,
“The baskets are filled, Link. It’s time to go.”
Link picked them up and started to leave. He paused and looked back at Saria.
“Be careful, Link!” she shouted.
Link gave her a confident nod and continued out of the forest.
Link came out to Hyrule Field and called for his faithful horse, Epona. He mounted the two baskets and himself on her back. They raced off to the castle faster than ever before. They made it to the drawbridge and crossed over it into the outer court. Then they rode through the unusually empty marketplace. Finally they arrived at the outer gate guarded by a man in royal armor. Link dismounted and approached the guard.
“I need to take these baskets of deku nuts to the royal physician immediately!” he said frantically to the guard.
The guard casually walked over to Epona and inspected the baskets. After a thorough examination of everything, he finally opened the gate and said,
“Alright, go on in.”
“Thank you, sir,” Link replied as he mounted Epona.
With a “high-yah!” Link rode quickly up to the main entrance and showed the guards standing there his cargo. After a quick explanation of his mission, Link was allowed to enter the castle. He dismounted and brought the baskets inside where he was ushered to the royal physician’s laboratory. This time no explanation was needed when he met the physician.
“Ah, good! You brought the deku nuts I need, and just in time. I must add them to the potion. Good work, boy. The king is in your debt,” said the physician.
“Where might I find the king and his daughter?” Link asked him.
“Hmmm?” the physician mumbled, already involved with his work. “Oh, they are in the king’s bed chamber. What business do you have with them now, boy?” he asked.
“Well, is there anything I could do to help?” Link asked.
“I doubt it,” replied the physician. “Now go and leave me to my work. I must not be disturbed,” he said, motioning for Link to leave.
Link no sooner got out the door when it shut behind him. Slightly discouraged, he turned to leave, when he heard a distressed voice just down the long hallway. He turned to see Princess Zelda being forcibly escorted out of a room by a tall, dark-skinned man in dark armor. He had fiery, red hair and evil-looking eyes.
“Noooo! Let me stay with my father! He needs me!” cried Zelda.
She struggled to free herself of the man’s grip, but did not succeed. The man held her back as he shut the door to what must have been the king’s bed chamber.
“Let me go! I want to be with my father!” Zelda pleaded.
“You must wait out here, Princess,” the man told her, “Your father needs his rest and you’re making that difficult.” He released his grip and continued, “Now you be a good little girl and stay out of there or I will have to lock you up in your room!”
“My father would never let you treat me this way! Just wait until he wakes up; I will tell him how you have been pushing me around!”
“You do that, Princess; but for now, stay out of his room.” He called two guards over to stand at the door. “Make sure no one gets in there unless I say so,” he ordered.
“Yes, sir,” the guards said in unison.
The man turned to Zelda, who was glaring at him angrily. He grinned at her briefly and then turned and walked down to the end of the hallway and rounded a corner, disappearing from sight.
Zelda looked at the closed door and let out a frustrated sigh. She turned to walk towards the royal physician’s laboratory at the other end of the hallway when she saw Link standing there, quietly watching the whole drama unfold. She stopped and stared at him for a moment and then an expression of relief came over her, and she started to run over to him. Link was a bit surprised by her excitement in running towards him, and he took a step back. She realized his confusion and slowed down to a walk. When she met up with him, she contained her excitement and acted more dignified.
“I remember you from the festival a few days ago,” Zelda began. “You won the archery competition…Link, right?”
Link smiled and nodded, happily surprised that she remembered him.
“You were amazing!” she continued. “So, what are you doing here?”
“I had to deliver some deku nuts to the royal physician for his special healing potion for the king. Everyone in our village is very concerned for you father. Is he doing any better?”
“Not really,” Zelda sighed and looked down at the floor. She looked back up at Link. “But thank you for your concern. You know, he really liked you when he saw you at the festival, Link. He told me later that day that he thought you would make an excellent soldier or even king someday.”
“He said that about me? But he doesn’t even know me,” Link said.
“He said he could just tell by looking at you, that you seemed like a man of honor and integrity, and I thought so, too,” Zelda said, almost blushing.
“Well…thank you. I greatly admire your father, and I think you are very much like him. You will make a great ruler of Hyrule someday,” Link said, starting to get over his nerves.
“Why, thank you, Link. You’re such a gentleman.”
They smiled at each other, then both looked down at the same time. After a few moments, Link spoke up,
“So, who was that man, and why won’t he let you stay with your father? I mean…it’s really none of my business…I shouldn’t have asked….”
“Oh no, I don’t mind, Link. Actually, I’m glad that you asked. I’ve been uneasy about that man for a long time now, and I need to tell someone about it. I was afraid to tell my father because I thought he wouldn’t believe me, and there’s no one else around here to talk to.”
“Well in that case, I’m listening,” Link said, smiling.
Zelda beamed with joy, “Great! Let’s go out into the garden where it’s more private. Follow me.”
She led Link out to the castle garden and began to share her concerns,
“That man in the black armor is Ganondorf. He is the captain of my father’s royal guard. He has been serving my father for quite some time, and he has always made me feel uneasy. Up until now, he had never done anything wrong or treasoness against my father…not that I could prove, anyway. But just a few days ago, he decided to throw my father a feast in honor of the founding of Hyrule, to go along with the festival, of course. I was immediately suspicious but told no one. The day of the feast, I decided to stay in the kitchen and watch for anything peculiar.”
“Do you think Ganondorf could have poisoned your father?” Link interrupted.
“That is what I feared would happen, which is why I watched all the food being prepared. But I never saw anything odd or questionable that whole day. So at first I thought that maybe I was wrong about Ganondorf. But then I realized that he would not have put anything in the food everyone was going to eat, or else he would be poisoning himself along with anyone who ate the food. If he was going to poison my father, it would have to be something that was only given to him……..but what? I had spent the whole day in the kitchen, and before I knew it, it was time for the feast. The food was delicious and nothing seemed odd, not even Ganondorf’s behavior. Then he said he wanted to treat the king to some after-dinner wine. My father always enjoyed exquisite wines, but he believed I was too young to be drinking it. I never had the desire to drink it, anyway. So when Ganondorf brought out the wine, my father excused me from the table, and I reluctantly obeyed. I didn’t get to see what exactly went on in the dining room, but I believe Ganondorf put something in my father’s wine, and that’s why now he is deathly ill.”
“When did your father first experience symptoms?” Link asked.
“That same night; and he has been getting worse ever since. I feel so helpless because no one would believe me and there’s nothing I can do except stay by my father’s side. And now I can’t even do that.”
“I believe you, Princess, and I will do anything I can to help you and your father,” Link said.
“Thank you, Link. Actually, you did help us by bringing those deku nuts to the royal physician so quickly. We are very grateful for that. And you have been so kind to me by listening to my concerns when I know no one else would have. I’m very glad you came, Link,” she said as she started walking back to the entrance. “Let’s go back inside and see how the healing potion is coming along.”
Link followed Zelda back inside the castle. Just as they were approaching the door to the laboratory, it opened. Ganondorf stepped out and saw Zelda and Link.
“Zelda, who is that boy, and why is he here?” Ganondorf asked with a smirk.
“This is Link, and he had brought the deku nuts for the healing potion earlier today. He is here now as my guest.”
Ganondorf just glared at Link for a moment and then turned to Zelda again.
“Have you seen the physician? He should soon be finished with his potion,” he asked her.
“He’s not in the laboratory? That’s odd.”
Just then the physician came around a corner and walked quickly toward the laboratory as he said partially to himself,
“I don’t know how my magic beans ended up in the kitchen, but they are the final ingredients to my potion, and I wasted enough time looking for them.”
He closed the door behind him as he was still mumbling to himself.
“Well he should be finished soon,” Ganondorf said, turning to Zelda. “That boy needs to leave. He has no business being here,” he said, looking at Link.
“Link is my guest and has my permission to be here,” Zelda stated firmly.
“We’ll see about that,” Ganondorf remarked as the laboratory door opened again. The physician stepped out with the potion in his hand and proclaimed,
“It is ready!”
“Very good, bring it to the king immediately,” Ganondorf said as he led the physician to the king’s door. They both entered and shut the door before Zelda and Link could get in.
Zelda stood outside the closed door once again.
“This isn’t right!” she exclaimed, “I should be able to go in and be with my father.”
Link wasn’t sure what to say, so he just stood with Zelda and waited outside the door. The minutes passed like hours as they anxiously waited together. Then they heard a voice that sounded distressed and confused,
“I don’t understand! How……..why……………I don’t understand!”
“That sounds like the physician,” Zelda said.
Suddenly the door opened wide, and Ganondorf yelled,
“Guards! Arrest this man! He has poisoned the king!”
The physician looked petrified and was still mumbling that he just didn’t understand as the two guards that were standing outside the door grabbed him and started to take him away.
“Wait!” Zelda cried as she ran over to the physician. “What happened? Is my father alright?” she asked him.
“I gave him the potion, but…….he……….I don’t know what went wrong! I mixed all the correct ingredients…….I don’t understand….”
The guards led him away, and Zelda ran into her father’s room to find him lying on his bed, cold and lifeless. Link walked in and stood by her side.
“Is he….” Zelda began to speak as tears filled her eyes and terror swept over her face.
“That traitor of a man gave the king a faulty potion. Your father is dead, Zelda,” Ganondorf said, without much concern in his voice.
“Nooooo!” Zelda sobbed and fell over her father’s motionless body. She looked at his expressionless face and cried even harder. Link stood behind her and watched, feeling helpless. He glanced over at Ganondorf, who almost seemed to be smiling. Ganondorf then left the room without saying a word. Link suspected foul play and turned back to Zelda, who was starting to calm down. She stood up and then turned to Link as she said,
“I can’t believe he’s gone…………….I didn’t even get to say goodbye!”
Link felt a deep compassion for her, and though he wanted to say something to comfort her, he could not think of anything that would help. He walked over to her and placed his hand on hers. She looked into his eyes and immediately laid her hands on his shoulders and collapsed into his arms. Link put his arms around her and then held her tightly as his eyes filled with tears. They held on to each other and cried for a few minutes. Then they slowly let go of each other and faced the king, lying so still on the bed. Link turned to Zelda and said quietly,
“Zelda……it’s…….not too late to say goodbye.”
She looked at Link, then at her father. She walked over to the bedside and bent over and kissed her father’s forehead.
“Goodbye, father, I love you so much.”
She got up and turned to Link. A faint smile appeared on her face as she said,
“Thank you, Link. You don’t know how much you’ve done for me today.”
Link smiled back and started to say something when Ganondorf once again appeared in the doorway. Link and Zelda looked at him. He glanced at Link, then Zelda, then the king when he said,
“I knew that physician could not be trusted. He will die for his incompetence. Now Zelda,” he said, turning back to her, “I know you are to be the next ruler of Hyrule; however, according to the law of the kingdom, you are too young to rule on your own,” He stepped closer to her. Just as he was about to continue, he seemed to just remember Link was right there. He looked at Link, frowned, and yelled,
The same two guards that took the physician away came to the doorway. “Take this boy out of the castle at once! He is becoming a nuisance!”
“No! Leave him alone!” Zelda protested, but it was no use. They came in and grabbed Link and started dragging him down the long hallway toward the castle door. As they got closer to the door, Zelda yelled after them,
“Link!” Then she turned to Ganondorf and pleaded, “Don’t do this, please! Let him stay!”
Ganondorf showed no pity and just said,
“He has no business staying here; it’s time he left. Besides, I have important matters to discuss with you.”
A crooked smile crept onto his face, and that was the last thing Link saw as he was shoved outside the castle door. He ran over to a nearby window and looked inside for Zelda, but they had already left the hallway.
“This can’t be good,” Link said to himself as he leaned his back to the wall and sank to the ground. While he sat there, Epona trotted over to him. She pressed her nose against Link’s face and whinnied. Link smiled and stroked her nose.
“Well, Epona, we better head back to the forest,” he said as he stood up.
He looked back at the closed castle door and then mounted Epona. They rode out of the courtyard and back through the marketplace. As they came out to Hyrule field, Link slowed Epona and turned to look at the castle in the distance.
“Don’t worry, Zelda, I will be back,” he said quietly.
He turned back around, and with a “high-yah!” he rode off towards the forest.
Early the next morning in the quiet
, Link awoke and gathered all of his equipment—his bow and arrows, his sword, shield, and hookshot. He left his house and headed for the exit. Before he got out of the forest, he ran into Saria. Kokiri Forest
“Saria!” Link exclaimed in surprise. “What are you doing awake this early?”
“Oh hi, Link. I saw you come back late last night, and I was worried about what you had been doing all day at the castle. How are Zelda and her father?”
“Saria,” Link began with a worried expression, “her father………..died….”
Saria gasped and covered her mouth. They were both silent for a few moments, then Saria spoke,
“Were you able to talk to Zelda?”
“I was with her when she found out about her father.”
“Is she alright?”
“I think she will be okay, but I have to make sure. You see, before getting the news, Zelda was telling me about her suspicions of the captain of her father’s royal guard, Ganondorf. She thinks he had been plotting to kill the king.”
“Oh, that’s awful!” Saria exclaimed.
“Yeah, and now that the king is gone, he seems to be trying to take charge of the kingdom. There’s just something menacing about that man, and now Zelda has to deal with him by herself. So that’s why I am going back there.”
“But why did you bring all of your equipment?” Saria had just noticed.
“Well, I didn’t actually leave voluntarily yesterday. Ganondorf had me thrown out. He doesn’t seem to like me very much for some reason. So I am just going prepared this time, in case I have to sneak into the castle.”
“Well then you’d better go, Link. And please be careful,” Saria said as she gave Link a hug goodbye.
“I will,” he said, and disappeared into the trees.
Link was more determined than ever to see Zelda as he rode Epona through Hyrule field. He came to the castle’s drawbridge, which hadn’t opened yet.
“Well, Epona, it looks like you’ll have to stay out here today,” he said, patting her on the neck. He dismounted and stared up at the large wooden gate.
“I bet my hookshot will get me over that,” he said to himself as he took out the trusty gadget. He carefully aimed for the very top edge of the gate. The hookshot clicked and then shot up and hit its mark. It pulled Link effortlessly to the top of the gate, where he then repelled down the other side. He pulled the hookshot back out of the wood with one good tug and put it away.
Now inside the castle walls, Link quietly walked through the marketplace. Suddenly he heard a kind of low rumbling coming from far behind him. He turned around to see the drawbridge being lowered for the day.
“That figures,” he mumbled to himself.
He looked out through the open gate and saw a horse-drawn cart filled with boxes of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish.
“So this is when they deliver all the food to the market place,” he thought to himself. “I wonder if they also take some up to the castle…….hmmmm, well, there’s only one way to find out,” he said quietly.
He watched the cart make a few stops around the marketplace then head for the castle.
“This is my chance,” he thought as he stealthily approached the cart from behind.
He took out his hookshot and got down low in order to aim for the underside of the cart. He made sure to be close enough to leave some slack when the hookshot made contact with the wooden cart. He fired and hit the right place, then turned over and lay down on his back with his head toward the moving cart. Using his shield like a sled, he let the hookshot pull him under the cart from behind.
Once under the cart, he braced his feet against a wooden beam and tightly gripped the hookshot, still lodged firmly in the cart. He pulled himself off of the ground with all his strength and held on while the cart slowly rolled up to the castle. After what seemed like forever, the cart came to a stop at the first gate.
A guard approached the driver and then walked around the cart for a quick inspection. Link’s muscles were starting to ache as he hoped the guard wouldn’t look under the cart. To his relief, the guard never checked the underside and allowed the driver to move along through the gate.
A few more agonizing minutes later, the cart came to the castle door where it stopped to unload its cargo. The driver and a couple guards from nearby posts helped to take the boxes of goods into the castle. While they were busy, Link dropped to the ground, pulled out his hookshot, and rolled to the side of the cart opposite the castle.
Using the cart as cover, he sneaked around to one side of the castle and hid behind a bush. He sighed in relief as he rubbed his aching muscles. He smiled as he thought to himself,
“Saria will never believe this!”
Link knelt behind the bush and observed the guards for a few minutes. He waited for just the right moment when all the guards were facing away from him, and then quickly dashed to another bush. He moved to another bush, and then another, and then finally to a bush right next to a small window. Out of the view of any guards, he stood up and peered inside the window. The room was a bit dark, but he could still make some things out. He saw many jars and beakers full of liquids and items of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Then he realized he must be looking at the laboratory. He backed up and checked if there were any guards nearby. There were none, so he went back over to the window to try to figure out how to open it and get inside. Before he had a chance to do anything, he saw the door inside open. Someone entered the laboratory and shut the door behind them. After they lit a few candles for light, they began looking for something. Then Link recognized them,
“Princess Zelda!” he said to himself.
He tapped on the window to get her attention. Zelda was startled at first, but then realized who it was outside the window. She ran over and unlocked it. Link pushed it open and quickly scrambled inside. Zelda then shut it and re-locked it. She turned to Link and said excitedly,
“Link! I can’t believe you’re here! How did you get past all the guards outside?”
“Let’s just say that fruits and vegetables weren’t the only thing delivered to the castle this morning,” he said, smiling.
Zelda laughed then said, “Oh, Link, you don’t know how happy I am to see you! It’s been so crazy around here since you left yesterday.”
“Really? How crazy could it get in one night?”
“Well, first of all, Ganondorf had the physician executed without a fair trial.”
“Already? How could he do that? Isn’t that against the law?”
“It can only be done if there is enough convicting evidence, and Ganondorf said the toxic potion was evidence enough to have him executed immediately. However, I don’t think the physician would have done something like that, so I am looking around the laboratory for anything that looks suspicious.”
She started picking up beakers and looking through papers.
“It was odd yesterday how the physician had to look for those magic beans,” she said. “He was always very organized, and he never had to run around the whole castle looking for things like that. And I never thought of him as being the kind of person that would poison someone, not even accidentally. He was always kind and caring toward us. Now, sometimes he seemed a little unfriendly when he got wrapped up in his work, but that was all. Whatever happed yesterday couldn’t have been his fault.”
She paused and started to choke back tears as she thought about her father.
“I think you’re right,” Link spoke up. “He looked completely horrified when the guards took him away. Ganondorf, on the other hand, looked like he knew it was going to happen. He wasn’t even very upset.”
“That’s right,” Zelda said, recalling the whole day. “It’s like he knew my father was going to die….”
They both thought to themselves for a few minutes, then Zelda spoke up,
“Link, do you remember when we came in from the garden, we were going to check on how the healing potion was coming along; but before we got to the laboratory, Ganondorf stepped out of the room?”
“That’s right. What was he doing in there?”
“You know what I think?” Zelda began. “I think it was Ganondorf that put the magic beans in the kitchen so the physician would have to leave the laboratory to look for them. Then when no one was watching, he did something to the potion to make it toxic. That way, the physician would get blamed for my father’s death.”
“That makes sense,” Link said, “but how can we prove it?”
“I don’t think we can.” She looked discouraged.
They were both silent for a moment, then Zelda spoke,
“Link, there’s something else.”
“What is it, Zelda?”
“After you left, Ganondorf told me that I can’t rule the kingdom by myself because I am not old enough yet, according to the law.”
“I remember him saying that before he had me thrown out of the castle,” Link said.
“Yes, but that’s not all,” she continued. “He said that I either have to marry someone of legal age to rule the kingdom, making me queen; or abdicate my right to the throne to the one who is next in power.”
“Who would be next in power?” Link asked.
“The captain of the royal guard, Ganondorf.”
“Of course, I should have guessed that. But Zelda, if you were to abdicate your throne, would you become ruler in place of Ganondorf when you are old enough to rule alone?”
“No. By giving the throne to Ganondorf, I place myself next in line after him. That’s the way the law demands it, so that there won’t be any fighting and confusion over who is the rightful ruler. And what’s worse, I am only two years away from being old enough to rule alone. The law clearly states that a ruler must be eighteen years old unless they marry someone eighteen or older.”
“So they can’t make an exception for you?”
“Only the king can override the law, but my father never said anything about giving me the throne. He could barely speak, he was so ill.”
She looked down, and they both became silent. Then Zelda looked up at Link with a glint of hope in her eyes.
“Link, how old are you?” she asked.
“I’m just a few months older than you………..why do you ask?”
“Oh……..nevermind,” she looked away, blushing.
Link looked confused. Then it suddenly occurred to him why she had asked. He thought about it, smiled, and blushed. He looked down, and again they both got quiet. Link cleared his throat and then spoke up,
“So, what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know………..I can’t give the kingdom to Ganondorf. I’ll never let that man rule Hyrule! But that would mean finding someone at least two years older than me to marry. My father just passed away, his funeral is this afternoon, and I have to think about marriage now? Link, what am I going to do?”
“I really wish I could help, but I don’t know how,” Link said.
“What’s weird is, Ganondorf is completely correct in everything he said. He is going by the law, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Up until now I think he’s been lying, cheating, and even murdering innocent people in order to get the throne.”
“You’re right. He seems to be using the law to force you into giving up your throne. We have to think of something that he can’t manipulate to his advantage….”
Link and Zelda had spent the morning in the laboratory trying to think of a solution to the dilemma Ganondorf had caused for Zelda. Then Link had a thought,
“Hey, Zelda, if you do find someone to marry, Ganondorf won’t get the throne. He can’t stop you from becoming queen that way, can he?”
She thought for a moment, “No………I don’t think he can.”
“So all you have to do is find a suitable man to marry, and Ganondorf’s plans are ruined,” Link said triumphantly.
“Oh no, I just remembered something. Ganondorf also told me that the law stated I have to find someone to marry in three month’s time or else I must abdicate my throne.”
“Three months!” he exclaimed. “Okay………..no problem…………..we can find someone in three months…….right?”
Zelda’s expression was not very reassuring.
“Why three months?” Link asked.
“Because the kingdom can’t wait too long for a ruler. Normally kings would choose their children’s future spouse when they were born, in order to avoid this problem. However, my father didn’t like the idea of an arranged marriage. He wanted me to be able to choose my future husband for myself—with his guidance, of course. So now it looks like I’m in big trouble if I don’t find a good man to marry soon. But how am I going to do that?”
Link thought about it for a while. He really didn’t want Zelda to have to marry someone out of obligation rather than love. He also had feelings for her, but he knew she had to do what’s right for her kingdom. If he really cared for her, he thought, he would want what was best for her, not what was best for himself. Putting his own feelings aside, he came up with an idea.
“I know! You should call all the eligible young men of the kingdom together for a tournament or a banquet or something here at the castle, and then you could choose you future husband from them. What could be easier than your husband coming to you?”
“Link, you’re a genius! I’ll have a banquet here at the castle!” Zelda exclaimed. “I’ll find my husband for sure,” She paused, losing some of her excitement. “I just hope he is at least half as good as you,” she said, realizing their love was now forbidden.
They stared into each other’s eyes, neither of them saying a word. Zelda looked away, sighed, and then looked back up at Link.
“Well, I should get started on planning the big banquet. I bet Ganondorf is wondering where I am. I can’t wait to see the expression on his face when he finds out his plans are ruined,” she said, trying to cheer up.
Link smiled, “Yeah, I better get out of here before he finds me and….”
He didn’t get to finish what he was going to say, because the door flew open. In the doorway stood Ganondorf, and he didn’t look very happy.
“Zelda! Where have you been all morning? You should be getting ready for your father’s funeral….” He just noticed Link standing somewhat behind her. “You again! I thought I threw you out yesterday. Zelda, what have you two been doing all this time in the laboratory?”
“I was only talking to Link,” she answered.
“About what?” he asked sternly.
“About everything that’s been happening lately,” she said, starting to get annoyed.
Ganondorf was getting angry, “Zelda, what’s happening here is none of his business.” He turned to Link, “What are you doing here, Link?”
Lind decided to be polite so as not to make him any angrier, “Sir, I am just here as a friend. I thought Zelda might need a friend.”
Ganondorf walked up to him and stared down intimidatingly at him, “What Zelda needs is to get through the king’s funeral and then determine what she is doing about the throne. But since you feel the need to keep her from her duties…”
“He is not keeping me from any of my duties,” Zelda interrupted him. “He’s been nothing but helpful since he got here.”
“Is that so?” Ganondorf remarked.
“Yes, in fact, he came up with a way for me to find a husband in no time.”
Ganondorf almost seemed surprised, but not in a happy sense of the word.
“Really? How?” he asked.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” she said, grinning.
Ganondorf glared suspiciously at her, and started to think of Link as a threat. He noticed Zelda was always so stubborn and defiant when he was around. He decided to find out why.
“Link, I think it’s time you left. Zelda is very busy today, and I can’t have you distracting her. Now just go back home before I have you arrested for trespassing.”
“Ganondorf, he’s not a distraction….” Zelda argued.
“No, it’s okay, Zelda,” Link interrupted her. “I don’t want to cause any trouble.” He could see that this argument would not end well for either of them if he tried to stay. “You don’t need my help anymore, anyway. Good luck with finding a husband,” he said, starting to walk to the door.
Ganondorf had an evil grin on his face as he watched Link walk away.
“Wait, Link!” Zelda called, running after him.
He stopped and turned around. Their eyes met. Zelda paid no attention to whether Ganondorf was watching or not as she stood staring into Link’s eyes. Then she hugged him tightly.
“Thanks for everything, Link. You are a true friend.”
Link hugged her back and said, “You are too, Zelda.”
They both choked back tears and then stopped hugging.
“Will I ever see you again, Link?” Zelda asked him.
“I wouldn’t doubt it,” he said, trying to be hopeful.
They both hated long goodbyes, so Link turned and walked down the long hallway and out the castle door as Zelda stood and just watched. She sighed as the door shut, and wondered if she would ever see him again. She turned around to see Ganondorf standing right behind her with his arms crossed and an evil grin on his face that sent chills down her spine. He was looking at her like he knew something.
“Well, well, well, you two make quite a couple,” he teased. “Is that your plan—to marry Link and rule Hyrule together?” He was still smiling.
“For your information, Ganondorf, Link is not old enough to be king. So, no, that is not my plan,” Zelda said, annoyed.
“That’s too bad. He must really like you to sneak in here to see you,” he noticed she looked uncomfortable. “And you must really like him to defend him in front of me like that.”
Zelda just looked down; she didn’t know what to say.
“Well we should get to the funeral. You don’t want to keep everyone waiting,” he said, walking away.
Zelda went to her room and quickly got ready for the funeral. The service was long and difficult for her, and she couldn’t wait for it to end. Finally after all the guests left, she went back to her room and began writing a royal proclamation inviting all men eighteen and older to the castle for a huge banquet in five days. As she wrote, she thought about her father and about Link and how much she wished both of them could be with her now. She spent a few hours on the invitation, working very diligently to make it perfect. She had no idea that Ganondorf had instructed one of the maids to keep an eye on her and find out what she was doing. She took no notice of the maid as she dusted and cleaned in the room around her. The maid was in there just long enough to get a glimpse of the paper, and then she promptly went to Ganondorf and told him that Zelda had written some sort of invitation for a banquet in a few days. She had also noticed it was for all men eighteen and older. Ganondorf thanked her and sent her back to her normal duties.
“So the little princess is going to choose a husband from one of the guests. I always knew she was clever, but she will not ruin my plans so easily,” Ganondorf said to himself. “I will have to come up with an invitation of my own,” he roared with laughter as he left the castle to carry out his dastardly plan.
Link arrived back in the
that afternoon. Though he wished he could have stayed with Zelda a little longer, he was happy that things finally started looking up for her. He found Saria and told her everything that had happened so far. Kokiri Forest
“You did the right thing, Link,” she told him. “All you can do now is be a good friend and hope she finds a decent man to be the next king of Hyrule.”
“Yeah, she’s a smart girl, and I’m sure she’ll find a good husband,” he said thoughtfully.
They talked for a little while longer, and soon it was night. Link went back into his house, took off all of his equipment, and laid it on the floor. He crawled into bed and closed his eyes but couldn’t seem to fall asleep. He kept thinking about Zelda. So he got out of bed and decided to take a walk outside for some fresh air. He walked all through the forest but still didn’t feel tired. So he walked out to Hyrule field where Epona came running up to him. She seemed very distressed, and she snorted and pawed the ground fiercely. Then she reared up and whinnied frantically.
“Whoa, girl! Easy, Epona!” Link tried to calm her down. “What’s wrong, girl?”
She nudged him forcefully and snorted again.
“What is it, girl?” he asked.
Link thought maybe she wanted to show him something, so he climbed onto the saddle.
“Okay, Epona, show me what’s wrong,” he said.
Epona took off towards
. As they got closer, Link could hear screams coming from the normally peaceful little town. They got into the village, and Link couldn’t believe his eyes. In the moonlight he could see seventy, maybe eighty or more stalfos terrorizing the people in the village. They were everywhere, and they killed livestock, broke windows, and hunted down anyone they could. Then he noticed a good number of royal guards from the castle already trying to fight off the stalfos, but they were vastly outnumbered. Kakariko Village
Link reached for his sword, but realized he didn’t bring any of his weapons with him when he left his house. Some of the stalfos noticed his presence and started to surround him. Epona got spooked and reared up, nearly throwing Link off.
The whole scene was utter chaos as it soon became obvious that the royal soldiers were loosing. It deeply frustrated Link that he couldn’t help, and Epona was becoming more and more frightened as the stalfos had completely surrounded them.
One moved in from behind. Epona bucked and ended up kicking him twenty or so feet in the air. Another had climbed onto a nearby roof top. He waited for Link to look in another direction so he could drop on top of him with his sharp sword. Just as he was ready to pounce, the stalfos that Epona had kicked came plummeting down right next to him, knocking his sword away. So he held his shield high above his head with both hands and leaped off of the roof top. He came crashing down on Link, his heavy metal shield striking Link on the head. Link was instantly knocked unconscious.
Epona, sensing he was hurt, kicked and pushed her way out of the crowd of stalfos. She then galloped back out of the village and headed for the castle.
Since most of the guards had gone to
to fight the stalfos, she had no problem making it to the castle. She galloped around one side of the castle, whinnying at each window, in an attempt to wake someone up to help Link. Kakariko Village
A dim light from a candle suddenly glowed in one of the rooms with a window. The window opened and Zelda leaned out to see what was making all the noise. She could barely make out a horse and something slumped over in the saddle. She rubbed her eyes and tried calling the horse. Epona heard and quickly trotted up to Zelda’s window. Zelda looked closely at the limp body, when she realized who it was. She gasped,
“Link! Oh no! Link, are you okay?”
“Link, wake up! Please wake up!”
“Uhhhhhh….” he groaned, barely conscious.
“Link! Oh good, he’s alive. Hold on Link.”
Zelda went over to another room and woke one of the maids. Together they leaned out and pulled Link in through the window and laid him on Zelda’s bed. Zelda went back to close the window and saw Epona still standing there.
“Good horse,” she said and closed the window.
The maid had noticed a gash on Link’s head where he had gotten hit and left to get some bandages. Zelda removed his green hat and gently held his head up for the maid to wrap the cloth bandage around it.
“Will he be okay?” Zelda asked the maid.
“As long as the bleeding stops, he should be fine,” she assured her. “Who is he anyway, and how did he end up here?” the maid asked.
“His name is Link, and he is a dear friend of mine. His horse must have just decided to bring him here.”
“Smart horse,” the maid said as she turned to leave.
“Oh wait!” Zelda called after her, “you must not tell Ganondorf that he’s here. If he sees Link here, he’ll throw a fit, or worse,” she pleaded.
The maid thought for a moment. “Alright, I won’t tell him. But only because I don’t want to be in trouble for helping to bring him in here,” she said and then went back to bed.
“I wonder what happened that he would get injured like this in the middle of the night,” Zelda thought to herself as she listened to Link’s steady breathing.
He looked like he was sleeping peacefully, but Zelda decided to try and stay awake to keep an eye on him, just in case.
Morning came, and just as the first rays of sunlight came over the horizon, Link opened his eyes. He had no idea where he was or why his head hurt so much. He slowly sat up and felt the bandages wrapped around his head. He looked around the room and saw his hat lying on the table next to the bed. Then he saw Zelda, who had fallen asleep on a chair next to the window. He looked out the window and saw Epona, happily grazing on a nearby patch of grass. He tried to remember what had happened the night before. He recalled seeing the stalfos in
, and how they surrounded him. He figured he must have been attacked by one of them, but couldn’t figure out how he ended up in what looked like the princess’s bedroom. Just then Zelda woke up and rubbed her eyes. She noticed Link sitting up and looking around the room with a puzzled expression on his face. She stood up and walked over to the bed, excited and relieved. Kakariko Village
“Oh, thank goodness you’re okay, Link!” she said, breathing a sigh of relief.
Link moved over and sat on the edge of the bed. Zelda sat down next to him.
“So how does your head feel?” she asked.
“Okay, I guess,” he said, still trying to figure out how he got in the castle.
“I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a horse outside my window. When I opened it and looked outside, I saw you slumped over in the saddle, and the horse seemed like it was trying to get help. What were you doing last night?” Zelda asked.
“Well, I remember I couldn’t sleep, so I took a walk outside. Epona, my horse, found me and acted really upset. I rode her up to
where I saw………oh no! The village……….we have to help them!” he exclaimed, standing up. His head started throbbing, so he sat back down and placed his hand on the wound. “Owww,” he said, rubbing his head. Kakariko Village
“Link, calm down! Tell me what you saw,” she was worried that he would pass out if he stood up too fast.
“There were stalfos everywhere, destroying the village. I saw a few royal guards but they were so outnumbered; I don’t they could’ve survived. I wanted to help, but I had left all my weapons back in the forest. The stalfos started to surround me and Epona and then…….that’s the last thing I remember. I must have gotten knocked out by one of them, while still in the saddle. I guess Epona got me out of there and headed for the castle, where she woke you up.”
“Well you have a very smart horse, Link,” Zelda laughed.
“Yeah, I owe her my life,” he said as he looked at Epona through the window. He turned to Zelda, “And many thanks to you, Zelda, for giving up your bed and risking getting in trouble with Ganondorf….again,” he smiled. “Oh…but what about
? I wonder if anyone survived,” he said grimly. Kakariko Village
“I didn’t even know anything was going on. You’d think I would be informed about all the castle guards leaving to fight an army of stalfos. I must speak to Ganondorf about it. He is the captain of the royal guard, after all. Link, you stay here and rest. I’ll be back in a little while after I find out what’s going on.”
Link nodded in agreement and Zelda left the room, closing the door behind her.
Zelda walked all around the castle looking for Ganondorf, but couldn’t find him. Just then, she heard the castle door open. She walked over to the main foyer and saw that Ganondorf had just returned from somewhere.
“Where have you been?” she asked him.
“Why, I was in town, putting up the royal decree,” he said, holding up a copy of a royal-looking document.
“What? But I still have it in my room………and how did you know…”
“Oh, no, not that decree,” he interrupted her. “This is a royal draft, calling for every man eighteen years and older to enlist in the royal army. You see, last night a band of stalfos unexpectedly ravaged the poor little
, and someone from the town had escaped and come to the castle for help. So I sent most of the guards here at the castle to aid the villagers, but unfortunately, there were too many stalfos, and everyone was killed. Now I need every able-bodied citizen in the kingdom to enlist in my armed forces in order to stop these creatures.” Kakariko Village
Zelda looked shocked, “Why wasn’t I informed about this?”
“Well what would I need your permission for? I am the captain of the royal guard, and I am only doing what’s best for the kingdom.”
He seemed to enjoy Zelda’s frustration.
“But I……but you can’t…….” she stammered, realizing that her plans to find a husband were falling apart.
“I am sorry, but your little dinner party will just have to be canceled,” he said mockingly.
“How did he know about that?” she thought to herself.
She looked up at Ganondorf. He had the most evil grin on his face as he watched her become more and more flustered. She didn’t know what to say. Her chances for finding a husband now that all the men would have to fight in the royal guard are grim. She backed away and ran through the castle to her room. She burst in the door and then slammed it shut.
Link was standing at the window when she startled him the way she came in the room. He watched her sink to the floor and burst into tears.
“Zelda, what’s wrong?” he walked over and pulled her to her feet. “Come over here and sit down.”
He helped her over to the bedside and sat down with her. She buried her face in her hands and just sobbed. Link tried to calm her down. He put his arm around her and held her until she stopped crying.
“Ohhhhhh, Link, I don’t know what to do!” she cried.
“It’s okay, Zelda, stop crying…….please don’t cry!” Link didn’t understand why she was so upset, and he hated to see her cry.
“Link, Ganondorf is forcing every man eighteen and older to enlist in his army to fight the stalfos you saw last night!”
“It’s true! Every man in the kingdom will be out fighting those creatures while my time to find a husband runs out.”
“But how can he do that?”
“He can, and he already posted the decree this morning. And, Link, he knew about our plan to have a banquet!”
“What? But how?”
“I don’t know, and I’ve run out of ideas.”
“I don’t know what to say………I mean…..how could he have been one step ahead of us this whole time? It’s like he was behind the stalfos attack, timing everything so it would mess up your plans,” Link said.
“You’re probably right! This is all part of his big scheme—to get the throne! He’ll do just about anything to become ruler of the kingdom, so just imagine what he would do if he succeeded! I don’t know how to stop him now.”
“We have to try,” Link encouraged her. “What are our options?”
“Give the throne to Ganondorf, or somehow find a man over eighteen to marry in the next three months that isn’t in the army.”
“There’s got to be someone left in the kingdom,” Link tried to be optimistic.
Zelda just hung her head and stared at the floor. Link opened his mouth to speak, but no words came to him. He sighed and tried to be strong for Zelda,
“Zelda, I will search the entire
day and night for all three months if I have to, in order to find a husband for you.” landof Hyrule
She smiled lovingly at him, “Link, you have more courage then all the men in history who fought for and ruled this kingdom. You are the most selfless, kind, and pure person I have ever met.”
She reached over and picked up Link’s hat from off of the table as she spoke. She stared at it thoughtfully, and then handed it to Link. They stared deeply into each other’s eyes, and for a few moments, it was as if no one else existed. But their peaceful moment was cut short by an interruption of the most unfortunate kind. For that very instant, Ganondorf threw open the door and stepped in the room. He stared menacingly at them before turning to Link,
“I just can’t seem to get rid of you, can I?”
He smiled and laughed in a deep pretentious way that made Zelda feel uneasy.
Link put on his hat, stood up, and placed himself between Zelda and Ganondorf. This made Ganondorf chuckle as he found the gesture quite amusing.
“Well, well, well, look who’s trying to be a hero! Sit down, kid, I’m not here to hurt anyone……yet,” he said while looking at Link.
Link reluctantly sat down, but watched Ganondorf very closely.
Ganondorf slowly approached Zelda as he said,
“Well, Princess, your kingdom is waiting for a ruler; have you made your decision?”
“It won’t be you, that’s for sure!” she said defiantly.
“Don’t be so confident. From what I can see, you have no choice.”
She stood up, “I will marry someone fifty years older than me before giving the throne to you! Not every eligible man is able to fight in your army,” she said firmly.
Ganondorf was getting impatient; he quickly grew tired of just arguing with her. Everything he had done so far seemed only to make her more intent on keeping the throne away from him, especially with Link encouraging her. On top of that, he couldn’t seem to keep Link away. Then he came up with a plan so fiendish and so evil that he couldn’t keep from smiling.
“Very well then,” he said.
He backed up and called for two guards that were still in the castle.
“I tried being nice, Zelda, but you leave me no choice.”
Link stood up next to her, ready to protect her. The guards came in the room.
“Take this boy down to the dungeon and lock him up!” he said, pointing at Link.
“What?” Zelda exclaimed. “He’s done nothing wrong, why are you…” she was interrupted by Ganondorf.
“He wants to be at the castle so badly, I’ve decided to give him his own master suite,” he just laughed as the guards grabbed Link and started dragging him out of the room. Link tried to struggle, but it was no use. Zelda started to follow them, but Ganondorf grabbed her arm.
“Let me go! Link! Link!” she tried to wrestle free of Ganondorf’s grip, but couldn’t.
He roared with laughter that echoed through the castle as Link was taken down to the dungeon. He pushed Zelda against a wall and gripped both her arms tightly.
“I’m through playing games with you, Zelda. Now give me the throne, or your little boyfriend won’t live to see another day,” he threatened.
Zelda was completely horrified, “You wouldn’t……” Her voice was quiet and shaky and her eyes were full of fear. She felt absolutely helpless.
He slowly released his grip and walked to the door, then turned and said,
“You have until sundown to make your decision. And don’t worry about Link; I’ll make sure his stay here is something he will never forget,” he laughed menacingly and shut the door, then locked it from the outside.
Zelda could hear his terrible laughter as he walked away. She beat on the door and tried to open it, but it was no use. She collapsed on her bed and cried. For the first time in her life, she felt like giving up all hope.
Down in the dungeon, Link was thrown into a cell with a small window high on the wall, protected by thick iron bars. The cell was not terribly dark or damp, but it was not a happy place to be. There were currently no other prisoners. One guard closed and locked the heavy iron-barred door. Link looked around and started worrying about Zelda. He leaned against the back wall and slowly sank to the floor, where he sat with his arms folded over his knees. He sighed and put his head down, still thinking about her.
Just then Ganondorf entered the dungeon and walked up to the guards,
“You stay down here and watch the boy,” he turned to the other guard, “and you stand outside the princess’s window. It’s the only way she could escape her room.”
The guard looked confused; he wondered why the princess had been locked in her room and this seemingly innocent teen had been thrown into a cell. Ganondorf saw his hesitation.
“Go!” he ordered.
The guard obeyed and left the dungeon.
Ganondorf turned his attention to Link, who stood up and glared at him. He slowly walked up to Link’s cell and smiled.
“Comfortable?” he asked mockingly.
“What did you do to Zelda?” Link demanded.
“Zelda? Oh she’s fine. She’ll be spending the day in her room, while you stay down here where I can keep an eye on you.”
“Do what you want with me, but leave Zelda alone!”
“Well, someone cares an awful lot for the princess,” he teased.
“I would die for her,” Link said sternly.
“Then you’re in luck, kid. Because if Zelda refuses to give me the kingdom, that’s exactly what I told her would happen,” he laughed.
Link stepped back in horror. He wasn’t scared for his own life; he could only think of what Zelda must be going through now. With a threat like that, he feared she would give up her right to the throne.
He watched as Ganondorf headed for the exit, still laughing as menacingly as before. He stopped and looked back over at Link,
“Oh, and once I’m king, I think I’ll kill you anyway because I just don’t like you,” he laughed even harder as he left the dungeon.
Link sank back down to the floor. He didn’t notice the guard had been listening to their conversation and was now questioning Ganondorf’s motives.
Meanwhile, Zelda was feeling more and more hopeless with each passing moment. She looked out the window, saw the guard standing there, and then saw Epona, still grazing outside the castle. Something about seeing Link’s horse reminded her of Link’s unending courage in times like this.
“Link wouldn’t give up,” she thought to herself, “but even if I could find someone to marry, I’m sure Ganondorf would find a way to stop me.”
She kept thinking as she wiped the tears off her face. No matter how much she tried to think of other possibilities, she could only see two options—abdicate her throne or keep looking for someone to marry. But because her time was drastically cut short, the thought of marriage seemed impossible. She couldn’t bear the thought of Link being killed; she would have to give Ganondorf what he wanted. That is, unless she could break Link out of the dungeon….
Afternoon came, and Zelda had been trying to think of a plan to free Link so she could resume her search for a husband. If she succeeded, Ganondorf would have no power over her. However, if she failed, Link could be killed or Ganondorf could get the throne. She had to think carefully about how to do it.
“Link is good at sneaking into the castle,” she thought, “maybe if could get him his weapons and stuff, he could escape.”
She walked over to the window and opened it. She sat down and gazed outside at Epona.
“Epona found her way here from
. I wonder if she could find her way to Kakariko Village where Link said he had left all of his weapons. Maybe I could attach a note to her saddle for the Kokiri people, telling them what’s happened to Link. I’m sure they are worried about him, and hopefully they’ll send his equipment over before sundown.” Kokiri Forest
She quickly wrote a note explaining the need for Link’s equipment and signed it. She leaned out the window and called for Epona. The horse happily trotted over to the window. Zelda knew the guard was watching, so she pretended to be petting the horse as she attached the note.
“Take this to the
,” she whispered to Epona, “go back home, girl.” Kokiri Forest
The guard was getting suspicious, so he walked up to them.
“What are you doing, Princess, and where did that horse come from?” he asked.
“Uh…….this horse needs to go back to where she came from, but her owner is unable to take her there,” Zelda said.
“And where is she from?” he asked.
,” she replied. Kokiri Forest
The guard looked confused and started to say something when Epona suddenly started galloping away. The guard watched the horse then turned to Zelda.
“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter now,” he returned to his post.
Zelda breathed a sigh of relief and hoped Epona was heading for the forest. She went over to her bed and sat down to wait for Epona’s return, that is, if she would return.
, Saria had been worried sick when she woke up that morning to find Link missing and all his equipment still in his house. She had not seen him leave in the middle of the night, so she had no idea what could have happened to him. Just then, she heard the sound of a horse galloping through the forest. She thought it might be Link returning, so she ran over to the entrance to the forest. Epona trotted over to her and whinnied. Kokiri Forest
“This is Link’s horse, but where’s Link?” Saria said out loud.
Then she noticed a piece of paper fastened to Epona’s saddle. She took it off and looked at it. She saw the unmistakable signature of the princess and knew it must be important. She read through the note carefully. Her eyes grew wide as she read about what had happened. She ran into Link’s house and gathered his sword, shield, hookshot, and bow and arrows. She put all of it in a large sac, tied it shut, and ran back over to Epona.
“Okay, Epona,” she said to the horse as she secured the bag to the saddle horn, “you need to get this stuff to Link as fast as you can, understand? Go find Link!”
She slapped the horse to make her run, and Epona charged out of the forest.
“Oh I hope she gets there in time,” Saria said to herself.
Epona understood the word “Link.” She galloped back up to the castle and followed her nose to find her owner. She ran around the side of the castle, out of sight of the guard by Zelda’s window. She sniffed around until she came to the barred window of Link’s cell. It was just above ground level, and the cell was underground. Epona pawed the ground outside the window, causing Link to look up.
“Epona?” he said quietly.
She whinnied and pawed the ground some more.
“What are you doing here?”
She reared up and came down hard, causing the metal weapons to clang together.
“That sounded like my sword and shield,” Link thought to himself.
He needed to get to Epona so he could retrieve his equipment, but how? Then he got an idea. He looked around his cell and found a nice sized rock, and then held it behind his back.
“Excuse me,” he said to the guard, “could you come over here and take a look at my head. I want to know if it is still bleeding where I got hit.”
The guard hesitated, then came over and leaned right up to the bars of the cell.
“It looks fine to me….”
Link reached around and grabbed the back of the guard’s head and forcefully slammed it against the iron bars. Then he used the rock to knock him out. The guard fell to the floor, unconscious. Link reached for his keys and unlocked the cell door. He opened it and stepped out, then saw that the guard’s head was bleeding from the impact. He unwrapped the bandages from his own head and rewrapped them around the guard’s wound. Then he dragged him into a nearby empty cell and looked at the bandages.
“I know what that’s going to feel like when you wake up,” he said out loud.
Link quietly made his way out of the dungeon and looked for a window he could reach Epona from. The castle was quite empty aside from a few maids and cooks. He found a window and quietly opened it.
“Epona! Epona!” he called.
Epona trotted over to him.
He untied the bag and pulled it inside. He set it down on the floor and opened it.
“Wow, everything’s in here. I wonder how….” he thought, but decided not to worry about it.
He equipped all his weapons and tossed the bag outside.
“I should find Zelda so she knows that I’m safe, but I better not wander around inside the castle in case Ganondorf would find me,” he thought to himself.
He climbed out the window and shut it from outside. He quickly walked around the back of the castle, but as he rounded the corner to the other side, he noticed the guard standing outside Zelda’s window. He backed around the corner before the guard saw him. He got down and crept behind a bush. He pulled out his bow and one arrow. The guard was wearing a metal helmet, which when hit hard enough in the right spot, could potentially knock him out.
Link pulled the arrow back slowly and then carefully aimed for the side of the guard’s head. He released the arrow. With a high whistle, the arrow sliced through the air, hitting the guard in the temple. He collapsed from the impact and would be out for a while. Link put his bow away and sneaked over to where the guard lay. He found his arrow and put it away.
The loud “ping” noise from the arrow hitting the metal helmet had startled Zelda, still sitting on the bed. She got up to walk to the window when she heard her bedroom door being unlocked.
“Oh no, Ganondorf!” she thought.
Sure enough, the door opened and in stepped Ganondorf. Zelda had not seen Epona return, so she thought Link was still locked up in the dungeon. Her stomach was in knots as Ganondorf walked up to her.
“Well, Zelda, have you made your decision?” he asked.
“I……I……uh….I need more time,” she pleaded, trying to stall in a last ditch effort to give Link time to escape.
She had no idea that Link was now hiding directly under the window, listening to their conversation.
“Sorry, Zelda, the deal was sundown, and look out your window. The sun is setting,” Ganondorf said.
Thinking quickly, Link held up his hat just high enough above the window for Zelda to see in an effort to let her know he was okay. He had heard Ganondorf tell her to look outside, and he hoped she would be the only one to see it.
Zelda turned and looked outside at that moment and caught a glimpse of the familiar green cap. Her eyes lit up, and her demeanor changed from nervous to happy and relieved. This made Ganondorf suspicious. He hadn’t seen the hat, but the princess’s sudden change in appearance made him think she must know something.
Zelda tried to act like nothing happened. She looked at Ganondorf, who seemed to be waiting for her to speak. She cleared her throat,
“Yes, you’re right, that was the deal,” she said.
Ganondorf glanced out the window and just noticed the guard wasn’t there.
“Zelda, what happened to the guard that’s supposed to be outside your window?”
“The guard?” she said, looking outside and starting to panic.
“Yes, Zelda, what happened to him?” he asked, walking towards the window.
Link was still right under the window.
“Uh-oh,” he thought.
He had no time to move the unconscious guard. He rolled behind a nearby bush.
Ganondorf leaned out the window and saw the guard lying on the ground. He clenched his teeth in anger, knowing exactly what had happened. He furiously shut the window and grabbed Zelda’s arm. He forcefully pulled her out of the room and dragged her down the hallway.
“You’re hurting me!” Zelda cried.
He ignored her and continued pulling her through the castle to his room. He grabbed his large sword and took Zelda down to the dungeon, where he let go of her arm. He saw the guard’s keys on the floor and went to pick them up when he saw the guard unconscious in the next cell. He took the keys and walked back over to Zelda.
“Get in there!” he yelled, pointing to the empty cell Link had been in.
“No!” she protested, crossing her arms. “Link will be here any minute to rescue me. I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
“You should be, Princess,” he threatened, looming over her.
Link had come out from behind the bush when he heard the window slam shut. It was not locked, so he opened it and looked around inside. Ganondorf had taken Zelda with him, and Link feared he would hurt her. So he climbed inside and ran through the room. He didn’t see where they had gone, so he searched the castle frantically.
“Where would he have taken her?” he thought.
He hadn’t checked the dungeon yet so he decided to go there next.
Back in the dungeon, Ganondorf was getting impatient with Zelda.
“Link won’t be able to save you. Once he gets down here, he’ll have to get through me to rescue you,” he laughed.
“And what are you going to do, kill him? You can’t even seem to keep him locked up!” she said defiantly.
That comment made him mad. He struck her, hard, with the back of his hand, causing her to stumble and fall backwards. She actually fell into the cell, so Ganondorf shut the cell door and locked it with the keys.
Zelda put her hand up to her face and looked up at him with fear. He just looked at her with an evil grin.
At that moment, Link entered the dungeon to see Zelda on the ground locked in a cell, trembling in fear of Ganondorf, who looked like he had just done something sinister. This made Link feel angry, and he took out his sword and shield. He started approaching Ganondorf, ready to attack.
Ganondorf turned to see Link coming towards him with his weapons drawn. He smiled and said,
“Well look who’s here. Zelda and I were just talking about you, Link.”
“What did you do to her?” Link said angrily.
“Oh, don’t worry about her. If I were you, I would be more worried about what’s going to happen to you,” he said, drawing his sword.
Zelda stood up and still looked frightened, but now she was more scared for Link.
“You have ruined my plans for the last time, boy. Now I’m going to finish you off like I should have done days ago.” Ganondorf threatened.
He and Link slowly circled, tense and waiting to make a move. Then he lunged at Link his huge sword. Link blocked with his shield and felt the incredible amount of strength Ganondorf had. Ganondorf had the advantage of size and power, so Link would have to be quick and cunning.
Link twisted to the left and tried to stab Ganondorf with his sword, but Ganondorf had anticipated his move and used his large sword to block. They backed away from each other slightly, and Link tightened his grip on his sword.
Ganondorf sliced at Link horizontally, and Link put up his shield. Link took the full force of the blow and was knocked back a little. Ganondorf laughed and moved in closer. This time he lifted his sword high in the air and brought it down hard on Link’s shield. Link stayed on his feet, but used all of his strength to push back up. Ganondorf gripped his sword with both hands and forced Link to the ground. He then lifted his sword and plunged it downward in an attempt to impale Link.
Link quickly rolled to the right to get out of the path of the heavy sword. Before he could scramble back to his feet, Ganondorf kicked him from behind, knocking him down to the ground face-first.
Zelda gasped in horror, “Look out!”
Ganondorf had lifted his sword up again. Link quickly pulled out his hookshot and aimed for a wooden crate a few feet in front of him. He shot it and was yanked forward across the stone floor, just missing Ganondorf’s blade by inches as it plummeted down and struck the ground.
Link stood up, turned around, and put the hookshot away. Ganondorf lifted his sword off the ground and looked at Link in disbelief. He was so sure he would kill him with that blow. Link smiled at Ganondorf’s expression.
“Well it seems I underestimated you, Link,” Ganondorf said, “but I won’t make that mistake again.”
They walked toward each other, swords ready. Zelda’s eyes moved back and forth from one to the other as the air grew tense.
Ganondorf slashed at Link horizontally. Link, being a left-handed swordsman, easily stopped the attack this time with his sword. Ganondorf pushed his sword against Link’s and then saw an opening. With his free hand, he made an attempt to punch Link in the face.
Link saw what he was doing and blocked the punch with his shield. Now that Link had shielded his face, he could not see what was happening in front of him for a moment.
In that moment, Ganondorf kicked Link’s feet out from under him. Link fell backwards and ended up flat on his back. Ganondorf wasted no time seizing this opportunity. He went over and kicked Link’s sword out of his hand. Then he grabbed Link by the neck and lifted him up. He pinned Link up against the nearest wall and brought his sword up to Link’s throat.
Link had dropped his shield when Ganondorf shoved him against the wall, and he was now holding on with both hands to the arm that had a death grip on his neck. He could not touch the ground, so he was using all of his strength to lift his weight off of his already strained throat.
When Ganondorf brought up his sword, Link let go with his left hand and grabbed Ganondorf’s other arm in an attempt to keep the sword from reaching his neck.
Ganondorf smiled so evilly, that Zelda thought this was the end. She was breathless in fear, believing in her mind she was about to witness Link’s death.
Link’s arms were weakening and he could barely hold Ganondorf’s sword back. He was struggling to breathe because he was having trouble keeping his weight off of his neck.
“Hyrule will be mine! Ha ha ha ha!” Ganondorf laughed triumphantly. He pressed his sword against Link’s throat as he said in a low voice, “And so will Zelda.”
Suddenly Link felt a wave of strength come over him. When Ganondorf threatened Zelda, Link was overcome with more determination than ever before to protect her from his evil.
With his new-found courage, he pushed Ganondorf’s sword away from his neck and gave him a swift kick in the stomach.
Even though Ganondorf was wearing armor, he felt as though he had gotten kicked by a wild stallion. He dropped Link and stumbled backwards, only to fall to his knees in pain.
Link caught his breath and picked up his sword and shield. He walked over to Ganondorf, who slowly stood up.
Zelda couldn’t believe it. Her eyes grew wide with astonishment and hope as she watched Link recover from a seemingly inevitable fate. He had always fought so courageously and never ever seemed to give up. And that was what she admired most about him—his courage.
Link swung his sword at Ganondorf, who blocked with his own sword. This is exactly what Link wanted him to do. While Ganondorf was blocking Link’s sword, Link used his shield as a secondary weapon. In an instant, he struck Ganondorf’s head with his shield, causing him to stagger backwards. Before he could recover, Link swung his sword as hard as he could, hitting Ganondorf’s sword and knocking it out of his hand.
Link put the point of his sword under Ganondorf’s chin and held it there. Ganondorf looked angry and not ready to admit defeat, but he had no choice.
“Go ahead, Link, kill me! Then you’ll be just as bad as I am,” he taunted.
Link knew he was right, and there had been enough deaths around the kingdom caused by this man. He wasn’t about to sink to his level. He looked around the room and found a nearby empty cell.
“In there,” he ordered Ganondorf, as he pointed to the cell. He kept his sword close to Ganondorf’s neck as he forced him into the empty cell. He noticed Ganondorf still had the keys, so he quickly snatched them away from him. Link kept his eye on him as he closed and locked the cell door.
Ganondorf just glared angrily at Link, wondering how he was beaten by a teenager.
Link ran over to Zelda’s cell and unlocked the door. Before he opened it all the way, she ran out and hugged him. He put his arms around her, and they tightly embraced each other as Zelda whispered,
“Thank you, Link.”
It was night, and the dungeon was lit by a few torches. A cool breeze came in through the high windows and flowed through the room. It seemed to bring with it relief and peace.
They let go of each other and smiled. Then Zelda spoke up,
“C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
“But what about Ganondorf?” Link asked.
“Oh right, someone needs to watch him.”
Just then, the unconscious guard woke up.
“Uhhhhhh…what happened?” he said, standing up, “And why do I have such an awful headache?” He rubbed his aching head and walked out of the cell. He looked around the room.
Link and Zelda just watched as he looked at each person in the room, trying to remember what he was supposed to be doing.
Zelda spoke to the guard,
“What do you remember?”
He stopped rubbing his head and thought for a moment before answering,
“I think I’m supposed to be watching a prisoner.” He looked at Link, “You look familiar, but I don’t remember you having weapons.”
Before he would correctly recall who he was really supposed to be watching, Zelda said,
“Well never mind this young man,” she was referring to Link, of course, “I need you to watch that prisoner tonight,” she pointed at Ganondorf.
The guard looked confused, “Ganondorf? He’s a prisoner now?”
“He is locked up and will be awaiting a trial for crimes of murder and treason,” she answered.
The guard saw Ganondorf’s sword on the floor and then looked at Zelda. He figured she wouldn’t lie about something so serious; she never has. So instead of arguing, he followed orders,
“I will watch him then, Princess.”
“Very good. Let’s go, Link,” she said.
They exited the dungeon and walked into the empty foyer and down the long hallway. Zelda breathed a sigh of relief as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Link put his sword and shield away.
“The nightmare is finally over!” Zelda said.
Link smiled and then remembered that she still had a dilemma,
“But what about finding a husband?” he asked.
“Oh…I forgot about that. Well, at least I have a little more time to look for one,” she said, stopping in front of her father’s bedroom.
She slowly walked inside, with Link close behind her.
“If only my father was here to give me advice. He would know what I should do; he was so full of wisdom,” she said, looking around the room.
“You’ll figure it out,” Link assured her, “I think some of his wisdom is in you.”
Zelda smiled at him and then looked at the empty bed. Suddenly something caught her eye. It almost looked like there was a piece of paper stuffed inside one of the pillow cases.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“What’s what?” Link replied.
She walked over to the bed and picked up the pillow.
“It looks like there’s something inside this pillow case.”
Link walked over and stood next to her as she reached inside and pulled out a document with the king’s signature at the bottom of the page.
“It looks important,” Link commented.
Zelda began to read it, and her eyes lit up,
“Link, do you know what this is? This is an official decree written by my father stating that I am to be allowed to rule at my current age…without having to get married!”
“Zelda, that’s great! So your father did override the law and give you the kingdom,” he said excitedly. “But how did it end up stuffed in a pillow case?”
“Maybe he didn’t trust anyone to give it to me, so he hid it in hopes that only I would find it,” Zelda guessed.
“I wonder if he wrote it after Ganondorf pushed you out of his room and then hid it in the pillow case before the physician came in with the potion….” Link said.
“Yeah, perhaps I wasn’t the only one who suspected Ganondorf of treason. But if that’s true, why didn’t my father say something before any of this happened?”
“Maybe your father didn’t suspect anything until after he became ill.”
“That’s possible; he could barely speak when he was sick, so he probably couldn’t have told me if he wanted to. Poor father…he must have felt so bad not being able to tell me all of this.”
“You know what I think?”
“I think hiding this document for you to find was his way of telling you,” he said encouragingly.
Zelda looked at the piece of paper in her hands and smiled.
“I think you’re right, Link.” She stared thoughtfully at it for a few moments and then said, “Well I guess I can make the announcement to the whole kingdom tomorrow, but for now, we should get some rest.”
“I agree. I should probably get back to the forest.”
“Oh, won’t you stay, Link? I promise this time you won’t get kicked out,” she smiled.
“I appreciate the offer, and I wish I could; but I’m sure everyone back in
is worried sick about me.” Kokiri Forest
“I understand. So will I see you again?”
“Definitely! I will come to the big announcement tomorrow. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Great! Then I shall see you tomorrow.”
“Sleep well, Princess…I mean, Queen Zelda.”
She smiled, “Goodnight, Link,” she said quietly.
Link walked out of the room and down the long hallway to the door. He went outside and whistled for Epona. She galloped happily to him, and he jumped into the saddle. They rode off into the night as Zelda watched from a window.
“He gives so much and yet expects nothing in return,” she thought to herself. “He must be rewarded somehow for all he’s done for me and for the kingdom.”
She thought about how to reward him as she drifted off into a much needed, peaceful sleep.
, Link told everyone of his adventures, and how the kingdom was finally safe from Ganondorf. It was getting late, so he finally retired to his bed and had the most restful sleep he had experienced in a long time. Kokiri Forest
The next morning was bright and promising. Link woke up and got ready to go to the castle once more for the big announcement. Just as he left his house, Saria approached him.
“Are you headed to the castle, Link?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’m going to hear Zelda’s announcement.”
“Well I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you and Zelda. She will make a great queen. Oh, did you hear the news? The band of stalfos that was causing all that trouble suddenly vanished last night.”
“Yeah, probably around the same time you defeated Ganondorf.”
“I knew they were connected. Ganondorf was behind the stalfos attack,” Link said.
“So now the newly recruited soldiers are returning home. You might see them all at the announcement.”
“That’s great! Everything’s finally returning to normal.”
“And it’s all thanks to you, Link. You helped restore peace back to Hyrule,” Saria said.
“Oh, I can’t take all the credit. Zelda should be thanked, too.”
“Well you can thank her for me at her big announcement. You better get going.”
“Right. See you later, Saria.”
He once again rode Epona up to the castle, but this time left her outside the castle walls and went in by himself. The marketplace was bustling with activity, as everyone gathered around a large platform in the center of the town. It was where Zelda would be making her announcement. Link made his way to the huge crowd and stood in the back. Then Zelda, accompanied by two royal guards, rode into town and made her way onto the platform. She stood with confidence and a huge smile on her face. She spoke loudly to the crowd,
“Good people of Hyrule, I am proud to announce the beginning of a new era in this kingdom. Just recently, a document written by my father was found declaring me as the new ruler of Hyrule.”
The crowd applauded and cheered.
“I humbly accept my new responsibilities as queen and pledge to rule with wisdom and justice. And for my first order of business as queen, I must tell all of you some disturbing news regarding the king’s untimely death. Three days ago, you were told that the royal physician poisoned the king and was responsible for his death; but he was innocent.”
The people gasped and began mumbling to each other. Zelda continued,
“The man responsible for my father’s death is Ganondorf, the captain of the royal guard. We now know he had been plotting to take over the kingdom and needed someone to blame when he poisoned the king. He is also responsible for the stalfos attacks on
.” Kakariko Village
The people were shocked and looked around, mumbling again to each other.
“Do not fear, people of Hyrule, for Ganondorf was locked away in the castle dungeon last night and will be brought to justice.”
She paused and searched the crowd for Link. She spotted him in the back of the mass of people and continued,
“Citizens of Hyrule, the conviction and capture of Ganondorf are all thanks to a young man that is here today. Link, please come forward and join me on the platform.”
Link was surprised she was going to credit everything to him, and he hesitated before making his way up to where she was standing. He came up on the platform, stood next to Zelda, and faced the crowd. The townspeople looked at him in wonder.
“This young man standing before you today is a hero. His courage has saved this kingdom from a horrible future, and I owe my status as queen to him. When my father died, Link was right beside me, encouraging me to get through my loss and focus on my new task of ruling the kingdom. At the time, we were unsure of Ganondorf’s plot to take over the throne. Last night, Ganondorf imprisoned and threatened to kill Link unless I handed over the throne. Link escaped, and in a fit of rage, Ganondorf locked me in the dungeon in an attempt to lure Link into fighting him. It worked, but Link won the fight and imprisoned Ganondorf in that same dungeon. I was rescued, and I now stand here today as your queen thanks to Link. I believe it is only fitting that he should be rewarded for all that he’s done for me and for the kingdom.”
The crowd applauded in agreement. Zelda turned to Link,
“Link, on behalf of your bravery, valor, and courage in saving me and this kingdom,” she motioned one of the guards to come over, and he was holding a treasured royal family heirloom—the master sword. “I award you with this sacred sword that has been passed down in our family since the founding of Hyrule. I hereby appoint you keeper of the sword and honorary member of the royal family.”
She placed the sword in his hands as the crowd cheered and applauded. Link bowed in respect to Zelda and gave her a big smile.
It was a great honor in the
to be entrusted with the master sword. It was believed to have been used in battle by the very first king of Hyrule to defend his newly founded kingdom, and has been passed down by the royal family for generations. The sword symbolized protection and royalty. kingdomof Hyrule
Link placed the sheath’s strap around his shoulders and wore the legendary blade proudly. With the master sword, Link looked like a true hero.
Zelda clapped her hands along with the crowd, and when they all settled down, she thanked them for attending and dismissed them.
As the crowd dispersed, she walked over to Link.
“I honestly can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done, Link. Because of you, Hyrule is safe and peaceful again.”
“And it’s now ruled by a kind, wise young queen; I think I can speak for the whole kingdom when I say I’m thankful for you, Zelda.”
“So what’s going to happen to Ganondorf?” he asked.
“Well, he will have a fair trial followed by an appropriate punishment. If he is found guilty of murder, he will be executed. So we don’t have to worry about him anymore. What about you, Link; what are your plans now that everything’s back to normal?”
“I think I could get used to the idea of being protector of Hyrule. I plan on traveling across the kingdom, going wherever I’m needed. But I’ll always stop by the castle for a visit now and then,” he smiled.
“That sounds great! I will look forward to your visits, and in the meantime, I’m sure I will be quite busy at the castle. You will make my job easier, helping people around the kingdom in ways that I couldn’t. We’re kind of like a team.”
“Yeah! I’ll be thinking of you when I’m helping people.”
“And I’ll be thinking of you when I’m performing my royal duties.”
They smiled at one another and then felt a little sad that they would have to be apart again. Instead of a long goodbye, they wished each other luck and hugged. Then Link turned to leave when Zelda said,
“Oh wait, Link, I still have one more thing I wanted to give you.”
He came back over and said,
“What’s that, Zelda?”
Without saying a word, she gave him a kiss on the cheek and then turned around and mounted her horse.
Link put his hand up to his cheek and smiled at her. She was smiling, too.
“Farewell, Link!” she called and rode off to the castle.
Link had a happy, peaceful expression on his face as he watched her ride away. He turned to leave and couldn’t keep from smiling as he thought about all the adventures they had experienced together and the friendship they would share for a lifetime. And so Link set off on another adventure in the vast
. kingdomof Hyrule
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