It had been nearly three weeks since the whole ordeal, and most of Zelda's injuries had healed. To everyone's surprise, her emotional state had improved much quicker than expected. Zelda had used Link as an emotional crutch, he was a shoulder she could cry on. Zelda didn't have to talk to Link about what happened, he already knew. After a few days, she no longer insisted that she be with Link twenty-four hours a day. The king had thanked Link repeatedly over those days. Link really got to know him as Zelda's father, not as the king. The suffering everyone went through did have positive results. Impa, Link, Zelda, and her father grew closer together. They were like a family now.
Today was Link's big day. The king wanted to reward Link for what he did. Link felt that Zelda's safety was reward enough, but the king insisted. He said that no good deed should go unrewarded. Link wasn't quite sure what he had in mind, but he knew it was something big. There was going to be a big ceremony and a party tonight. All of the influential people in Hyrule would be there.
Link was nervous the whole day. He had heard that this was going to be a fancy party. People at fancy parties wore fancy clothes. He didn't have any fancy clothes. Both Zelda and her father told Link to wear his normal clothes. They all felt that Link's clothes were more than just a green tunic and shorts. They represented who he was. Link agreed to wear them.
This was going to be an elaborate award ceremony, and a lavish party. The largest ballroom in the castle was prepared for this event. There were rows of benches set up for the audience to sit on. There would be hundreds of people here, many would be some of the most influential people in the kingdom. In one side of this room and in the two adjoining rooms were large banquet tables. After the king gave Link the award, there would be a large party. Link had seen servants preparing food all day, he couldn't wait.
In the center of the ballroom was a long red carpet that led to the front of the room where Zelda and the king were. Two elaborate thrones had been set up earlier in the day. They were made with red velvet cushions and gold trim. They sat beside each other in these elaborate thrones. Zelda and her father wore super formal clothing for this ceremony; Link had never seen them in clothes like these. Zelda wore a beautiful violet dress with intricate designs stitched into the front. There were images of the Triforce, eagles, and mythological figures. Her dress was trimmed with gold thread actually sewn into the fabric. She wore a platinum tiara on her head that was studded with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. The king donned an equally sophisticated garb. He wore a red velvet robe with white fur trim. His clothes were decorated with gold braiding and various medals and lapels. He wore a gold crown topped with the biggest ruby Link had ever seen.
Link waited at the end of the red carpet, far away from the two thrones. The king stood and addressed the audience, it was time to begin the ceremony. "My fellow countrymen, my friends and colleagues," he began. "We have gathered today to bestow a great honor upon a young man. A young man who is a hero. He has given more of himself than anyone could possibly ask. He risked his own life to save the life of Princess Zelda, my beloved daughter. Words cannot express my gratitude to him. I will now award him the kingdom's highest honor. Link, please step forward." That was his cue. He walked down the red carpet towards the two thrones. Link tried to ignore the hundreds of eyes staring at him. As he walked the aisle, he saw Zelda wink at him. Link smiled. He stopped when he reached the king's throne. The king opened a small box on a table next to him. He removed a beautiful gold medal attached to a velvet ribbon. The medal was a seven-pointed gold star with detailed engravings.
"Link, it is my great pleasure to award you Hyrule's greatest honor: the Star of Nayru. It is awarded only to those few who perform an act far above and beyond the call of duty. You saved Zelda's life without any regard for your own safety." Link bowed his head and the king put the medal around his neck. The king hugged Link and whispered into his ear, "Thank you." The room filled with a roar of applause and cheers. When the noise had died down, the king removed another item from the table. It was a large gold sword, with beautiful engravings on the blade. The king held the sword with the blade pointing upward.
"Because of your bravery, I will bestow another honor upon you. Please kneel." Link knelt down and bowed his head. "As the king of Hyrule, I hereby install you into the Royal Order of the Hylian Knights. You are now a Hylian Knight, with all the rights and privileges thereof. From this day forward, you shall be know as Sir Link of the Kokiri." The king touched each of Link's shoulders with the sword and then drew it back. "Arise, Sir Link." Link stood up and looked at Zelda, who smiled at him. Holding the sword with both hands, the king presented the sword to Link. Link took it and examined the beautiful blade. He saw words engraved on the blade, Sir Link of the Kokiri, I am forever in your debt.
"Now, let the celebration begin," cheered the king. Everyone gave Link a standing ovation. After they applauded, the people vacated the benches and filled the banquet tables. Link, Zelda, Impa, and the king sat at the head of the largest banquet table. The king sat in the center, Impa was on his left, Zelda was on his right, and Link was on Zelda's right. Zelda turned and smiled at Link.
"My little Linkie-pooh is a knight now," Zelda said. "Does that mean I have to call you Sir Linkie-pooh?" she teased. Link smiled. He was an actual knight now, but Zelda still saw him as her cute little Linkie-pooh. He didn't mind. Link tried not to show it, but he secretly liked it when she called him that.
"Um…you can call me whatever you want," Link said. His mouth watered as servants placed plates of succulent food in front of him. He tried to pay attention to Zelda.
"Link, I wanted to tell you how much…how thankful I am that you saved me," Zelda said with a sudden air of seriousness. Link looked into her eyes. "The only thing that kept me alive was the hope that you would come for me. I knew you would save me. You risked your life to come and get me." She leaned over and gave Link a loving embrace. Link hugged her back, he never wanted to let go. They released each other and sat back into their chairs. Zelda wiped a tear from her cheek. "You don't know how much that means to me," Zelda said.
Link gazed deep into her eyes with a serious expression, as if he were gazing into her soul. "Yes, I do."
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