Author's Note- All the songs and stuff I used in this story are used without permission. Please do not sue me…. I have no money to give you anyway. And do please have mercy; this is my first try at a fan fiction! And thanks to anybody (that's you Diana) who helped me revise and such. I hope you like it and please let me know what you think. Thanks!
Why am I standing on a cloud?
Every time you're around
And my sadness disappears
Every time you are near
You must be an angel
I can see it in your eyes
Full of wonder and surprise
And just now I realize
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
I can see it in your eyes
Walking down a crowded avenue
Other faces seem like nothing next to you
And I can't hear the traffic rushing by
Just the pounding of my heart and that's why
You must be an angel
I can see it in your eyes
Full of wonder and surprise
And just now I realize
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
I can see it in your eyes
You're an angel
You're an angel, baby
You're an angel
You must be an angel
Now I believe that dreams come true
'Cause you came when I wished for you
This just can't be coincidence
The only way that it makes sense is that
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
Oooh you're an angel
I can see it in your eyes
You're an angel
You're an angel, baby
You're an angel
You must be an angel
Clouds just disappear...
Zelda's sapphire eyes watched the fiery Hylian sun set beyond the jagged city skyline. The dazzling show of pink and orange played across the cobblestone road where she stood. She wore a simple cotton dress and her long golden hair was tied up beneath a large red scarf. If her father sent someone out to look for her, they would have trouble distinguishing her. She wasn't supposed to be out this late; and she especially wasn't allowed to go to the place where she was intending to go.
She continued down the street, her leather boots echoing upon the stones inlaid beneath her. A little further down the road, she stopped. The building in front of her was a tavern, sandwiched between a storehouse and some person's home. It was built of wood and stucco and candles flickered in their sconces inside the glass windows. A worn wooden sign that read The Dragon's Chalice swung in the gentle breeze.
Zelda approached the place and knocked loudly on the oak door.
The pub was closed. It wouldn't open again untill a little later that night. Presently, the door was answered by a young boy of about fifteen. He had short wavy blue hair that framed his chiseled face, a white tunic hung on his wiry body and leather sandals that laced up to his knee. He invited the princess into the tavern and closed the door behind her.
Upon entering, she found herself in the pub's main room. A staircase wrapped around the sidewall to an open hallway above where there were living quarters for the owners of the tavern. Along the back wall was the bar itself. Stools lined the front of it and glasses hung from the racks above it, cases of ale and wine were piled behind it. Scattered in the remaining space were tables and chairs for guests to sit and drink.
Once the door had been closed, Zelda removed the scarf from her hair and let her golden mane tumble down her back. She turned to the boy and smiled, "Hello Jalk. How have you been?"
Jalk smiled back, "We've all been fine here. Arutho and Gono went out for more ale before we open again tonight and Link has been waiting rather anxiously for you to drop by."
Zelda's best friend, Link, lived with Jalk and his two older brothers, Arutho and Gono. The four of them owned and ran the pub together and lived in the rooms above. Link had met Arutho at a festival that had celebrated Hyrule's deliverance from Gannon. The two became friends and kept in correspondence. When Link's uncle died after Gannon's return a few years later, Link was left without a place to go when his quest was over. Arutho quickly offered him residence with his brothers and him. Link graciously accepted his proposal and moved in the next day. He had been living there ever since, only to take leave when Gannon became a threat once again.
Zelda heard the sound of the steps creaking as someone walked down. It was none other then Link himself. He was a handsome thing; his messily parted blond locks hanging over his cerulean blue eyes and rugged high cheek-boned face. He still sported the same green tunic and floppy hat as well as the white shirt and tights he wore beneath like he always had. "Zelda!" he said happily as he stepped of the staircase, "How have you been?"
She jumped happily into his strong arms, "Just fine. I'm sorry I haven't been around lately."
"It's okay," he replied. He stepped back to look at her. She truly was beautiful. Her long golden hair fell so elegantly over her slender shoulders and her eyes sparkled with a friendly glow that looked nothing like the aura that a typical princess usually carried around her. She was fun to be with, and a free spirited soul with a thirst for adventure that he too shared with her.
And he felt lucky to have her as his best friend.
Just then, the door opened and two men, one blond, the other
brown, walked in, each carrying two kegs of ale. They brought the casks behind the bar and set them down. While the blond one stayed on his knees, pushing the barrels further beneath the bar, the tall brown haired one stood and greeted Zelda warmly.
"Hello, Arutho," she returned the greeting. Arutho was a tall man of twenty-three years. He wore a brown tunic over a set of darkly colored pants. He was the eldest of the three brothers and also the most reasonable and straightforward.
The other boy, his blond hair curly and his blue navy tunic sloppy, stood up and also greeted Zelda. This was Gono. He was twenty years old, the same age as Link and Zelda. He could be a very rude and loud person and acted on impulses, although he was a caring individual at heart. His best friend, Safter, a captain in the Hylian army and a recurrent customer of The Dragon's Chalice was very similar. The two of them could be a handful, especially when drunk.
"So, Zelda," Link said, "What's been going on for these past couple of weeks?"
Zelda sunk into a chair and leaned onto the table, "My father says I have to get married soon. I really am not excited about that."
"Ouch, that really sucks," Gono said as he whipped out a rag and started to polish the ebony bar top.
"I know," Zelda moaned as she put her head on the table, "I'll get dumped off with some damn prince and I won't have any time to visit Link and you guys 'cause I'll be to busy answering my husband's every whim."
"Well then why don't you just marry Link 'ere? 'Ee's sexy." Gono said with a sly grin on his face. He loved to tease Link (and sometimes Zelda) about romantic relations between the two of them.
Link glared at Gono heatedly. Although Zelda was beautiful…
And although he did have feelings for her…
He was contented being her friend. He didn't want to express any such affection to her for fear of ruining the friendship that they had. Link dared not to share his true emotions for Zelda with anyone. Link was, after all, a peasant; just a lowly common peasant and nothing more. The king would never allow him to marry her, especially since he hardly allowed their simple friendship. He had told Link personally to stay away from his daughter. That was why the times that Link and Zelda could spend together were brief and secret. As he thought about her, he stole a glance at her. Zelda caught his fleeting look and smiled at him. He smiled back, his cheeks a light shade of red.
Zelda studied Link again. He was actually quite attractive. Every girl in Hyrule was totally head-over-heals for him. She could see why. After all, he was handsome, heroic and had the sweetest personality of anyone she knew. Zelda found it rather irritating though because no matter where they went, there always seemed to be a flock of girls smiling and giggling as they flounced up to Link in an annoying flirtatious manner. Then they would hang off of him while asking him dumb questions and scowling at Zelda jealously. She knew Link didn't like it. He always seemed to have an aggravated expression on his face when they flung their foolish selves onto him. It was hard for Zelda to get a moment of privacy with her best friend.
And she figured that was why Link preferred her company to all the other females in Hyrule. Because she was contented to simply his friend, and not trying to win his heart.
"Hey matey!" Gono called to Link, "Show Zelda that trick o' yours."
"Aw, that old thing?" he complained, "She doesn't wanna see somthin' like that. I'm sure she's got a zillion other things she'd rather do then see me play with my swords."
"I'll bet ya she wants ta see it!" Gono whined, "Do ya not want ta wanna see it Zel?"
"Sure," she smiled.
"See!" Gono yelled triumphantly, "Don't worry Zel, it's worth yer time!"
Link let out a sigh as he hiked up the stairs to his attic bedroom where he retrieved two rapiers from his collection of steels. When her returned to the pub downstairs, he found that Gono had already brought out the two apples he would need for the stunt. Now Zelda had always known Link to be an immensely skilled warrior; his dexterity honed to near perfection. But what the blond princess witnessed that day proved to her just how perfect perfection was.
Arutho and Jalk each sat on a stool, each holding an apple in his hand. Link laid one of the rapiers on Zelda's table and gripped the other in his left hand. He began to slowly circle Arutho's stool, twirling the long thin blade in all directions as he did. The sword hummed as it whipped by Arutho's head, centimeters away from grazing his face, as it shone in the room's flickering candlelight. Zelda watched in awe as he sped up his pace a bit, twirling the rapier faster to match his footwork. Soon the sword was nothing more then a streak of silvery light as it cut through the air. The rapier traced intricate patterns where it glided smoothly around Link's quickly moving hands. Zelda gnawed her lip in anticipation of what he would do next.
Suddenly, with a deep cry that erupted from his throat, he dashed at Arutho, jabbing the steel as he came onward. He impaled the apple square in the center and tossed the sword, skewered fruit still stuck on the rapier, high into the air. He dashed toward the table where Zelda sat, and his hand, quick as lightning, grabbed his spare foil from the tabletop and while the original rapier was still sailing through the air, Link was able to carve the apple into twelve perfectly even slices, each of them falling from the thin blade and before Zelda in a neat row.
Link wasn't done yet though. As the first steel fell to the floor with a clatter, Link was already circling Jalk, his speed still faster then ever. He repeated the same process in half the time it took to do it in the first go. Twelve more pieces of fruit fell before Zelda, whose apple filled mouth was already hanging wide open in amazement. He neatly caught the flying sword, finishing the act with a bow, one sword in each hand. Zelda and the other three men burst out into applause. Link put his hand behind his head in embarrassment, "Aw, come on guys! It wasn't that good. I still need to do so much more work on it!"
"Oh shut up mate," Gono laughed, "No one in Hyrule could ever 'ope to do that as well as you just pulled off an' ya know it!"
"Well I made a mistake of showing it to you once. Now look, you'll find a thousand excuses to see it again!"
Link blushed as Zelda smiled, proud of her hero. She hadn't noticed it though and she continued to compliment Link untill she realized what time it was.
"Link, I had better go before my father gets suspicious," Zelda suggested. She looked as though returning home would be like returning to a prison and being put back on death row.
"Yeah, I'll walk you to the village square," he offered. Link tenderly took Zelda's hand and squeezed it gently.
"Okay," she repliedd as she tied her hair back up into the scarf.
"I'll be back to help out in about an hour," Link said as he and Zelda exited The Dragons Chalice.
It was cold outside. People were beginning to make their way to their favorite inns and taverns as Link and Zelda walked down the streets toward the center of town. They walked in silence through the twisting side streets.
"Which way did you come?" Link asked.
"I took the shortcut," she replied. After a brief pause she quickly said, "But I don't want to go back that way. Then we won't be able to spend as much time together."
Link smiled, silently thankful for her decision. They continued on in silence untill they turned onto an alley that would take them to the main road. It was a long path that led between two tall houses. Shadows danced across the walls of the houses and along the street. Just as they reached the halfway point of the alley, Link's acute hearing picked up a noise. It sounded like they were being followed. He grabbed Zelda's hand tightly and listened closer.
"What is it Link?" she asked as she nervously started to twist the silver ring on his finger.
"Shhhhh," he hissed. He heard the rustling of chain mail armor. A soldier, he thought, Probably someone looking for Zelda.
"I think it's a guard. Wait here," he whispered as he let go of her hand and turned back in the direction they came. It was so dark, Zelda soon lost sight of him as he disappeared down the alley.
Link stopped. He soon saw the guard approaching him. Damn, he thought to himself, I don't have any weapons on me.
"It's you," the guard snarled as he came closer, his sword drawn, "I figured Zelda would have run off to be with you."
Link raised one of his auburn eyebrows, "And why would you think that?"
"It's plain to see that she fancies you," the guard growled, a trace of annoyance on his tongue, "How could she see anything in such trash."
Link nearly lost his balance. What the hell? Is he telling the truth? For Din's sake… the soldier approached him, his sword in a ready position. …how could someone who's entrusted to protect the Royal Family leave so many openings...? Link charged and ducked low, to make a neat sweeping kick, knocking the soldier off his feet. The sword flew from the combatant's hand and sailed spinning through the crisp night air. Link quickly got to his feet and jumped up onto a large barrel. Once more, he jumped and grabbed the flying blade's leather hilt. Landing gracefully on the dirt ground beneath him, he pointed the steel at the fallen warrior's throat.
The guard chuckled in his scratchy, slightly drunken, voice, "You are better then I thought," he chuckled again, "But not good enough," the man quickly grabbed a dagger from his sleeve and stabbed Link's leg, dragging the blade through his flesh. Surprised and filled with a throbbing pain, Link dropped the sword and grabbed his leg in anguish. The guard had taken to his heels and run already. In his flight, the soldier had dropped the dagger, letting it clatter to the ground. Link winced slightly as the tear in his leg began to sting. He put his hand over the wound to try and stop the warm crimson blood as he quickly took off his hat and tied it around his wounded leg.
Thank Nayru that this wound isn't serious, he smiled, Just a scratch. I've been banged up worse.
He began to make his way back to the place where he had told Zelda to wait, limping slightly. He found her, just where he had left her, sitting on a large crate, watching the ground as she swung her legs. There was someone else standing there. Link could see another figure standing near her, but he couldn't make him out.
"Safter," Zelda was speaking to the man next to her, "Do you think Link is okay?"
"'Course he is," Safter smiled.
He was a tall man with dark magenta hair. His long bangs hung over his left eye, concealing it from view. He wore a long black tunic and tall black boots.
"I hope so," Zelda whispered to herself. She turned to look in the direction she had seen Link disappear fifteen minutes ago. Soon, she saw him approach them from the shadowy alley.
"LINK!" she cried out as he came closer.
"See," Safter said, "He's fine. I told ya so."
"Yeah," Zelda smiled, happy to see her hero back safe and sound. But when she noticed his limp, and the hat tied around his bleeding leg, she became distraught with worry, "Link! Are you hurt badly?"
"Heck no, silly," he grinned.
Safter walked over and asked Link if he could see the wound. Link removed the makeshift bandage, which was now soaked with warm scarlet blood.
"Don't worry about it Zel," Safter reassured his princess, "It'll hardly leave a scar."
Safter dug around in the leather pouch he kept buckled to his belt for a while untill he produced a roll of cloth in which he proceeded to use to bandage Link's leg up properly. When he was done, Link straightened and thanked the young captain.
"No problem, Link," he grinned as he shoved the extra cloth into his medical pouch, "Anything for a friend."
Safter and his twin brother
Kossin were the only castle inhabitants who didn't mind Link keeping their company as well as Zelda's. Impa also did not mind Link's presence at the castle but she had gone adventuring in some other land across the sea and would not return for a long while.
Zelda grabbed Link's bloody hat from his hand, looked at it and then said to the attractive blond, "Link, you can't wear this. It's a mess."
"So what am I 'sposed to do about it Zel?" he asked her with a curious look strewn across his face, "It's the only one I've got."
"I'll clean it off for ya okay
Link?" she offered as she tucked the blood-spattered hood into a large pocket, "Come get it tomorrow."
"Alright Zel," he smiled, "If that's what you think is best."
"Of course it's best, you inane hero, you. I'll see you tomorrow… Link," she almost seemed to linger on his name as she turned to go with Safter back to the castle.
"Untill then… Zelda…"
"Goodnight Princess," Safter said after he had escorted her back to her room.
"Night, Safter," she called to him as he closed the door. As soon as she was sure that Safter had left the hallway outside, she pulled Link's long green hat out of her pocket and flopped down on her large four-poster bed, the hat in her arms. She buried her face into the green cloth. It smells just like him. That warm spicy smell of his… she thought as held the Kokiri hood close.
When she had first met Link, there was something about him that had drawn her to him. They had been friends ever since they were children. But ever since her father had begun lecturing her about marriage, she felt something inside stir. She loved having him as a friend but… there was a strange feeling that she felt inside whenever he came to mind; a strange heart-wrenching feeling.
Aw, that's stupid. She thought to herself, he's just a friend. That feeling is just your imagination, Zel. Love is foolish and blind. And besides… he has every other girl in Hyrule to choose from. Why would Link ever want me?
She sat up and examined the hood again. She hadn't cleaned it yet and even though the blood had dried, it was still a rather disgusting sight. She filled a small basin with warm water and dropped the soiled hood into the soapy water. After an hour of good hard scrubbing, she finally succeeded in getting the bloodstain out of the cotton hat. Zelda took it up out of the basin and wrung it out.
"Perfect," she smiled at her work. It had taken quite a bit of grueling scrubbing and elbow grease to get the stains entirely out and her arms ached from the work.
She laid the hood out on her bedside table and went about getting ready for bed. She folded the cotton dress and scarf neatly and hid them beneath her mattress. She pulled on her silken nightdress and crawled into bed, blowing out the candle as she pulled up the heavy blankets.
As Zelda tried to drift off to sleep, her eyes kept wandering to Link's hat, where it lay, hanging slightly off her bedside table. Her hand stretched out to touch the soft cotton garment and she found herself pulling it off the table toward her. She buried her face into the green hood once more, and even though the hat had gone through such intense cleaning, Link's spicy scent still hung in the threads of the green garment.
She clutched the hood to her breast and soon, she found herself drifting off to sleep.
Zelda awoke to the squawks of a falcon that was sitting on the banister of her balcony. It was a graceful creature; it's dark blue body and creamy breast glistening in the early morning sun. She sat up, Link's hat still clutched in her tight grip. She wondered for a moment how she had come to have the hood in her hand, then remembering how she had taken it into her arms right before she had fallen asleep. Zelda watched with tired half open eyes as the falcon spread its wings and flew into the distance.
Knowing that she had to get out of bed, she pushed the warm blankets off her supple legs and stood up. She was still quite tired and the princess silently cursed the bird that had awoken her. Tossing Link's hood over the high back of a chair, she drifted over to her closet and randomly pulled out a dress to wear. It was a beautiful garment; a full ginger colored gown with tiny golden threads entwined into the bodice. She slipped it on and put on her most comfortable pair of shoes. The dress' long skirts would conceal the plain footwear.
Link will be over soon, she thought excitedly as she took his hat and folded it so she could hide it between the pages of one of her books. Tucking the volume under her arm, she walked briskly out of her room and down the stairs toward the courtyards where she would wait for her best friend.
On her way, she ran into her father, the king. He stopped her and said with an excited smile, "Oh Zelda dear, I am glad you are up! I have wonderful news."
Zelda figured that any news her father considered 'wonderful' couldn't be too great at all.
Her father went on happily, "The prince of Trabia, has asked for your hand in marriage. Prince Dimitri will be arriving two days from now to meet you and propose. Isn't that grand?"
"If you say so father," Zelda said quickly as she started to walk on, but her father stopped her, "Zelda," his voice had become serious, "You had better do your best to make a good impression on young Dimitri. Think of Hyrule's future and the need for and heir to the throne. You are not to be stubborn and rude, like you usually are, while the prince is here. Make not only me proud, but Hyrule as well."
"Yes Father. Don't worry," she said, trying to desperately get away from the king, "Everything is under control."
"Whenever you say that it makes me worry," he answered in a no-nonsense tone. Then he tightened his grip on Zelda's shoulder, "And I don't want you running off to be with that rogue any more. How many times have I told you to stay away from that scoundrel?"
"One time too many Father," she said angrily as she turned to look the king in the eye, "You may tell me to be proper and polite but you may not tell me who I may and may not keep the company of."
"I do believe I can, Zelda," he was becoming very annoyed, "If that is the attitude you are going to keep about you, then perhaps I should start being less lenient with you."
"Oh and how will you do that dear Father?" she asked sarcastically.
"For one thing I don't think you'll be going anywhere without an escort," he replied quite sincerely, "And I do not think you shall be leaving the castle grounds either."
"Even if I had an escort?"
"Forget it," he said, "You think I don't know my own daughter by now? You'd ditch the soldier and run off to that tavern or whatever."
"Damn it," she muttered.
"Care to repeat that little phrase?" the king inquired, his stare boring right into Zelda.
"No thank you Father," she said haughtily as she stormed off down the corridor. Then she stopped and turned her head, "And that 'rogue' you speak of. The boy who has saved Hyrule and your
throne countless times… our savior…"
The king looked up at her.
"I love him," she said without even realizing what words had just poured from her lips. Then she turned and continued to stomp down the hall, leaving the king with a surprised and insulted look upon his face.
As she walked, she realized what she had said. Zelda wasn't even sure if she had meant it or if she was simply saying it to bother her father. What the heck's goin' on with me? Have I fallen for you…Link?
Zelda sat on a marble bench by one of the tall fountains in the Royal Gardens, reading her book. Every so often, her eyes would travel from the tiny characters written on the creamy pages to the soldier the king had assigned to the task of watching over Zelda. The soldier kept his watchful eyes on her and the area around them. Then Zelda let her gaze move from the soldier to the tall vine-covered castle wall. Any moment, Link might climb over there, she theorized. She looked back at the guard, I have got to ditch this guy. But how…? She thought very hard. She noticed Kossin by some rose bushes, examining the plants for any dead flowers. He looked almost exactly like his twin, Safter; complete with long green bangs hanging over one eye. He wore baggy white pants and a loose white shirt. Over the shirt was a black vest, trimmed in silver. Kossin was a summoner. An idea quickly formulated in Zelda's mind.
"Kossin!" the princess called over to her friend, "Over here."
The guard, becoming wary when he heard Zelda call the young sorcerer over, kept his eyes firmly locked on his charge as Kossin strode over.
"Hey Zelda," he smiled, "What can I do for you today?"
She motioned for him to come closer. Kossin obliged and sat down next to her on the bench. She whispered her plan into Kossin's pointed ear. After hearing the scenario, Kossin nodded and agreed to the strategy. The green haired youth nonchalantly made a gesture with his hand, whispering the words, 'monster summon.' A light ball of energy appeared beneath a tree behind the guard. Slowly, the glow began to take the form of a small dragon. Soon, a baby dragon sat in the shade of the large pear tree. It was not only adorably cute, but also stunningly beautiful. The lizard's body was covered with delicate red and gold scales. Its leathery wings were a deep yellow color, accenting its large cat-like eyes, toned the same shade.
"Will that do?' Kossin whispered as so the soldier wouldn't hear.
"Perfect, Kossin," she replied with a sly grin on her face, "You're a pal."
Then she put a frightened expression on her face and screamed over to the guard, "Oh Sir Knight! A dragon! It's such a frightful beast!"
The guard looking a bit skeptical, eyed Zelda strangely and said, "Where?" Kossin beckoned his creature toward him and the dragon scampered toward the bench.
"Oh no!" Zelda said, continuing her drama, "It's coming over here! I'm scared! Please do something!"
The soldier saw the oversized lizard coming toward his princess and started to come after it. Zelda stood up on the bench, "Help! Please!"
Kossin rotated his hand, signaling the dragon to dart in the other direction. Zelda sat down, her face still covered with fake worry, "There it goes! We can't have a dragon running around! I'll be scared to do anything!"
The guard, wishing to please his princess, ran off after the dragon, who had turned around the corner of the castle. When the soldier had disappeared around the castle, Kossin whispered the command 'monster return,' which called his creature back to the magical void from which it came. The guard was now chasing a creature that no longer existed. Zelda fell over laughing.
"This is so funny!" she giggled as she stared at the fluffy clouds in the blue sky above.
"What a grand joke," Kossin agreed, "Now why did you want to do this again?"
Suddenly Link dropped out of the pear tree, "This is why," he said as he spread his arms akimbo to refer to himself, "What a great laugh! I nearly fell out of that tree!"
"Hey man," Kossin said happily as his friend strolled over to where the princess and the sorcerer sat.
"Hi Kossin," Link returned the greeting, "Hey Zel, what's up with the soldier?"
"Father thinks I've gotten feisty and that I need more supervision," she said with a frown as she cursed her father silently.
"So much for that plan," Link said as he looked over his shoulder.
"Yeah," Zelda started to laugh again as she thought of the soldier chasing a dragon that no one had seen. People would think he was mad.
"Link, we should go somewhere else as so no one will catch you here," Zelda said as she stood up and grabbed his hand.
"Sure," he answered as she started to drag him inside. Soon, they were completely gone and Kossin was left alone on the bench. He sighed and looked up at the blue falcon that had landed on one of the limbs of the pear tree. He had never seen such a magnificent bird before. He sat there alone for a while untill the soldier came running back. He stopped and leaned on the tree, clearly out of breath.
"I think…. the dragon is…. gone…princess…you're safe now…." He panted. Then he looked up to see Kossin sitting alone on the bench. Zelda was gone and he was in big trouble, "Where'd she go?"
Kossin just shrugged, a smile plastered on his tanned face.
Zelda closed and bolted the door to the wine cellar. She descended the stairs to where Link sat on a huge drum of aging red wine. Zelda opened the book she had hidden Link's hat in and pulled it out. There was a large crease in it from where it had been folded. She tossed it up to Link who caught it and slipped the hood on his golden hair.
"So," Link began, "Has your dad freed you from the evils of marriage?"
"I wish," Zelda moaned, "I've been sold, hook, line, and sinker."
"To Trabia's prince, Dimitri, I beleive his name is," she responded miserably, "My slow and agonizing death begins in two days."
"Too bad," Link said, his eyes drifting to the rafters so he wouldn't make eye contact with the princess. If he would have, Zelda could have seen the emotion and sadness in his soft gaze.
"Let's change the topic," Zelda said quickly, "Talking about princes and marriage is so depressing."
"Alright," Link said as he started to swing his legs against the side of the gargantuan barrel. Zelda's eyes began to travel down his strong form, settling on the sight of the muscles of his thighs flex as his legs moved to and fro. Link noticed her staring at him and making a quick assumption, he said to her, "Do you wanna come up here?"
Zelda, realizing that he had become aware of her intent look, nodded, glad that he hadn't guessed that she had actually been admiring his god-like body.
His eyes had been glistening with that young childish charm that he always carried with him, yet… and yet she could see a hint of sorrow and longing there. He seemed so alone. Perhaps the only thing he really wanted was someone to love… for someone to love him….
"Climb up on that crate over there," he instructed, "And then onto that pile of barrels. You can crawl over from there."
She did as he had told her and soon she found herself sitting next to him on the big cask. Although it was large, there wasn't too much space for both of them to sit. Zelda was scrunched rather tightly to Link's hip. Her heart began to beat faster. She kind of liked being so close to him. He was so warm and he gave her the reassuring feeling that she was safe next to him.
Link's heart was racing, (faster then Zelda's), for next to him was the woman he loved more then life itself. Unfortunately, the woman he loved also happened to be a princess fated to marry a prince that she hadn't even met. He slowly covered her hand with his, making his stomach do cartwheels over and over in his chest.
Out of nowhere, Zelda made a comment that nearly sent Link hurling off the edge of the giant drum, "Link," she said to him, "Do you believe in true love?"
"Well…" he began.
"And not just when someone says
'I love you,'" she went on, "but when they really truly love someone."
"I believe that if a person is totally devoted to the one they love and that they are willing to do anything for that person, then that's true love," Link said, his eyes tracing the floorboards as he bit his lip.
"Even death. That shows the person would go to the ultimate extreme for their love."
"Oh," she was silent for a while and then she said, "Does that mean that you love me?"
Link's eyes became wide as dinner plates. She had hit the nail on the head, "What makes you say that?" he asked a bit nervously. Zelda could feel his hand tightening over hers.
"Because every time I have asked you to deliver Hyrule from evil, you have more then willingly done so," she stopped, and a small smile spread over her face as she giggled a bit, "I'm sorry. That was really far-fetched. We both know you do it because it's your destiny."
"No… that's not entirely true…" he stammered, the edgy tinge still on his tongue, "I…I can see… where you'd think… think that…" Zelda didn't say anything in reply. She was too busy thinking about his words and his suddenly tense attitude. What are you saying Zel? Asking him if he loves you. He couldn't think of me like that. He wouldn't. But why am I thinking like this? Do I love him? No. I couldn't. He's just a friend… right?
"Zelda," he tried to get her attention as he squeezed her hand, "Hello? You there?"
She snapped back to attention, "Er, yeah. Sorry."
He shrugged, "No problem Zel. Just forget what I was saying before."
"No," she said in a low voice, "I really wanted an opinion. Perhaps Dimitri won't be so bad if he loves me like you say a person should."
"Zelda, I seriously doubt that, but if its what will make you happy, then I'm okay with it," he replied as nonchalantly as he could muster.
"Thank you Link!" she said happily as she hugged him in a tight friendly cuddle, "You're the best friend a person could ask for."
"Well I try to be," he answered, his face a deep red color. Then he turned to face her, "I never want you to be unhappy. If it means risking my life for the sake of your country, then I will. If that is what would make you happy, I would."
"Link…" she whispered softly, "Is that true?"
"I mean every word of it, my princess," he gave his answer with the most sincere, almost loving gaze that she had ever seen in the eyes of any man in all her life. He was so honest with her. He always had been. He had never lied to her. It was almost as though he couldn't; as though he was virtually unable to.
He took her hands and Zelda watched with questioning eyes as he held them tightly, stroking the backs of them with his thumbs.
"Link, what are you doing?" she whispered.
"I just want to make you feel better about Dimitri, Zelda," he replied quietly, his blue eyes set on her.
"You don't have to do that," she murmured.
"Why not?" he answered, his milky voice soft and gentle.
She tried to think of a good excuse quickly. She had to admit, his tender creamy fingers running along her hand felt very comforting. For a moment, she forgot about the prince her only thoughts on Link's sweet caress.
"My hands are dirty," she knew it was a stupid reason, but she was becoming quite uneasy about his compassionate touch. Once again, in her nervousness, she began to twist the silver band on his finger.
"So are mine, princess," he replied.
He quickly dropped her hands and balled his own into a tight fist in his lap. He started to swing his legs again. He looked so boyish and innocent. The way he sat there, staring at his hands as though he had done something terribly wrong, was adorable. Zelda smiled. He was so cute when he did that, although she always had to reassure him at least twice that he had done nothing to offend her.
"You're not mad at me?" he said, still staring at the ground. In his own worry that Zelda might reprimand him, he began to twist his ring. He had forged it himself. It was a beautifully carved thing, a dragon coiling around the silver band. His name was engraved into the shinning ring in an elegant script.
She giggled, "No Link. I'm not mad at all! You're just so sweet to me sometimes!"
"Oh," he said, "So you're sure its okay?"
"I'm sure," she smiled back at him.
"Good," he said as he jumped off the barrel, "I'm glad I haven't truly offended you."
"You nev-" she realized that it would be pointless to say anymore because Link had already left.
The young Hylian hero let the door to the wine cellar slam behind him as he dashed from Zelda's company. I have lost all control of my mind and dignity! he thought to himself as he ran through the gardens, toward the giant pear tree where he could climb up and over the castle battlements. I must try to conceal my feelings better! he angrily rebuked himself as tears began to spring to his eyes.
He was almost at the roots of the ancient tree when a small group of soldiers strolled around the castle as they made their rounds around the palace grounds. Link looked around him, considering his options. He was too far away from the tree to make a mad dash to its low boughs and he was also too far from any decent hiding places. He considered holding his ground and fighting, but it would not only cause a commotion, but he was also outnumbered by three. Unfortunately, the soldiers were walking quite fast, and they saw him before he had time to think of a good idea.
"Look! It's him. The rogue!" one
of them yelled as he noticed on the green clad warrior.
The other guards looked up, and upon laying eyes upon Link, drew their weapons. Two wielded swords, while one carried a spear, a bow and arrows in the last one's clutch.
Link knew that they were out for blood, to capture or perhaps even kill him. The king must have truly struck hate for Link into the hearts of his castle subjects. He was, however, equipped to fight. This time, he had brought his sword, should he be caught in a situation like this. He drew it, prepared to knock the guards out just enough to buy him time to flee to the pear tree's safe branches.
Link charged, his sword in the tight grasp of his left hand. The light of the bright sun shone on its powerful steel blade. He swung the flat edge of the weapon at the spear brandishing soldier. It was a good swing, and the effect was exactly how Link had hoped. The guard had the wind knocked out of him and was left with a bruise that would make him unable to fight for the time being. The soldier slumped onto the ground, holding his side in pain as he cursed Link loudly as he could.
One down… three to go. he thought as he turned his attention to one of the sword handling men. They were ready for his attack.
Although the soldier knew that the method would be unbelievably unorthodox to the proper art of fighting, the one with the longbow swung the oak weapon at Link in the same manner the hero had moments before as he came dashing forward. The blow knocked the wind out of the Kokiri native completely, and Link fell to the soft grass, crumpled in pain. The one with the spear knocked Link unconscious and mocked the fallen hero.
Zelda was searching franticly for Link. She had heard the clang of swordplay from the wine cellar, and fearing that Link may be involved, she dashed from the underground store to the gardens above. As soon as she turned into the courtyard with the big old pear tree, she saw the sight she feared she would. A soldier sat under the tree, still recuperating from shock. The other two soldiers were carrying Link's limp and comatose form toward the dungeons. She ran up to the highest-ranking soldier there, who also happened to be the soldier that had been watching her before the dragon incident. He was one of the ones towing Link away. She stopped him angrily with an outstretched hand. He stopped and asked her what she needed.
"What I need is for you to unhand my best friend," she fumed.
"This garbage? The best friend of a princess?" he laughed, "I think you should start finding some new friends, milady, because this man is hardly worth the ring on your finger."
"He's worth more then you," she retorted, "Unhand him."
"The word of the king says more then the word of his daughter," the other soldier called to the princess in a matter-of-fact voice.
"What?" Zelda said irritably as she raised an eyebrow.
"That's right, milady," the guard replied, "Your father has ordered this man be brought before him if he was caught on castle grounds."
"Would you like to make any last requests for him before your father has him hanged?" the soldiers burst out laughing.
"Why would he be hanged? He has delivered Hyrule over and over again! He has done more then any of you bastards!" she let off all the steam that was building up inside.
"Look at yourself!" the guard said, "You're a disgrace to the Hylian Royal Family! Why can't you be a normal and less stubborn princess?"
"Because then I'd be a snobby bitch!" she screamed. Then she calmed down a bit, "Let me see him once more, then."
"Fine," the guard said as he laid the knocked out Link on the grass. Then he started to chortle, "Although what uses he could he have been for you other then offering his body to you are beyond me."
Zelda heard the crude comment but chose to ignore it. She knelt by Link's side as the guards stood by, looking on in mock amusement. She lifted him into a sitting position and held him close in a tight embrace, "Link! Please wake up so you can get out of here!" she whispered into his pierced tapered ear as she dug her nails into his back.
He began to stir slightly. She could see his eyebrow twitch slightly from the corner of her eye. Link started coming back into consciousness. He felt lightheaded and when he realized Zelda was gripping him tightly, he was stunned. He let one arm creep around her, signaling that he was awake again. He murmured quietly into her ear, "Zelda…you're here…"
"My God! Zelda! Get off of him!" the guard yelled as he too noticed that Link had been revived from his fainted state. He tried to pull Zelda away from the Kokiri boy without hurting her. Soon, he succeeded in wrenching her body from Link's and dragging her away from the warrior. The other soldier quickly rammed the still shaky Link with the butt of his spear, knocking him out again. Then he slung the hero over his shoulders and carried him to the dungeons where he would stay untill the king would see him.
Zelda tried to jerk away from the soldier's iron grip, but he proved to be to strong, "You are so indecent and rude! How could you put yourself so close to him?"
"How dare you speak to me that way!" she shrieked as she kicked violently. The soldier with Link had already gone. She knew that her father would become aware of this whole incident quite soon. But as usual, she was thinking. And before long, she had thought of a plan to get Link as far from the castle as possible before anything got out of hand.
It was very late. Link could tell because he could see the moon's full shining face from the tiny barred window of his cell. He lay down on the cold bench that served as a bed and let his eyes trace the cold barren room around him. It was damp and dark, the only light shining from a small kerosene lamp on the tiny wooden table in the center of the cell. Two chairs were pushed under the table's slowly rotting top and the shadows of merry and drunk guards danced in the faint glow of the torches that lined the stone corridors beyond the bars.
"Zelda…" he murmured to himself, "You probably hate me now."
"Why would I hate you Link?" he heard a gentle female voice whisper to him. He turned to see Zelda leaning on the bars of his cell. Even though she was clad in nothing but a simple man's tunic, her sexy legs covered by a pair of baggy slacks and her hair pulled up tightly under a page's cap, she still looked beautiful to him. She always would and nothing could change that. Not even the commands of the King of Hyrule. It may have been treason against the land he loved to have eyes for her, but it didn't matter to him. She was worth everything to him. He loved her.
"I have no idea what I was thinking back in the wine cellar!" he went on.
"Link," she said through the iron bars, "It's alright! Just forget it. Now lets get you out of here," she started to fumble with the ring of keys on her belt. She pulled it off and fit one of the iron keys into the lock of the cell. As silently as possible, she turned the key in the lock and slowly let the door swing back.
"What will your father say?" he asked as he stepped out into the torch lit corridor.
"I don't care what he thinks," she said, "You're more important to me then he is. Come on. We've got to get you out of here."
She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the stairs that led back up to the castle's main floor. Link followed her closely, his eyes continually wandering down her slim figure, watching her hips sway as she ran down the hallway. He felt turned on and his craving for her became more and more intense and unbearable.
When they reached the top of the dungeon stairs, Zelda dragged Link in the direction of the kitchen, where there was a servant's entrance to the castle, which opened up to a back alley. No one would see him if he left that way and he could make it safely home.
"Here, Link," she said softly when they reached the darkened kitchen. She pushed the wooden door open and motioned for Link to exit into the crisp night air, "I'll try and visit you tomorrow."
"Then I'll wait all day for you," he said in a soft voice. He pulled her into a tight embrace. Zelda wondered to herself why he was being so affectionate towards her lately. It didn't matter though, because she found herself enjoying his touch.
"I will make your wait worthwhile," she smiled as she shooed him into the back alley.
He started to run down the alley. He stopped to wave a final farewell to her before he disappeared into the night for good. She waved back and watched him vanish into the night.
Happy to have helped Link to safety, she shut the door. Zelda smiled to herself as she walked out of the kitchen… only to bump right into her father.
"Zelda," he said in a superior tone, "Just the person I wanted to see."
"Why is that?" she asked innocently.
"You wouldn't happen to know anything about that rogue's whereabouts, would you?" he raised an eyebrow quizzically.
"Me?" she went on with her dim-wit act, "Why makes you think I had anything to so with it?"
"Because you spend every waking moment with him, that's why," he snapped.
"Well excuse me for caring about my friends," she retorted heatedly.
"So you did help him out of here," the king was furious, "Zelda! What do you have to say for yourself!?"
"I'll say that I'm glad you didn't get a chance to see him," she replied with a scowl, "Because you would have treated him unfairly and had him executed for a stupid reason."
"But he would have deserved it!" the king protested.
No, you just don't get it!" Zelda screamed as she stamped her foot so hard it stung. She was really starting to lose her temper, "He has not done a thing!"
"Look at yourself! You act like this because of his influence! I see that as reason enough!" the king retorted.
"Now that's a stupid reason if I ever heard one, father! If you knew me at all, you'd know I've always been like this! Mother would have understood!" she shot back.
"Don't bring your mother into this," the king said angrily.
Their argument went on, their voices echoing through the empty castle halls. Guards and other castle inhabitants had gotten used to it; these quarrels a frequent occurrence. They figured it wouldn't last too much longer. Either the king would get fed up with Zelda's tenaciousness or Zelda would be confined to her room by the king.
It was going to be a long night for all of them.
The gentle notes of Link's ocarina blended with the sweet strains of Jalk's lyre. Link was teaching his blue-haired friend how to play Zelda's Lullaby. Jalk, a fast learner, was catching on quickly and together, the two instruments made the dulcet little tune sound magnificent as it echoed through the town's bustling streets.
This was one of Link's favorite ways to pass time, music. He was very gifted with the ocarina and his voice was a melodious as a lark singing on a sunny spring day. Sometimes, when Link had nothing to do, Arutho would make him sing while the tavern was open. Although Link usually begged his friend for some extra money to act as a lounge singer, he didn't mind. People usually tipped him well anyway.
Jalk lay sprawled out on the floor of Link's attic room with his lyre, strumming its silvery strings gently. Once in a while he would look up at Link, who was straddling the windowsill. The youth noted that Link couldn't take his eyes from the street below, as though he was looking for something… or someone.
"Link, who are you waiting for?" he asked innocently.
"Zelda," he responded simply. "Did she say she would come by today?" Jalk went on as he stopped to tighten the lyre's strings.
"Uh huh," he murmured as though lost in a dream. Jalk decided to leave him alone, for it was plain to see how the young warrior felt about the fair Princess Zelda.
They sat in silence for a while, the only noises coming from the city outside. Jalk stood up and flopped onto Link's ebony framed bed, "Maybe she's stuck doing something at the castle. She's a princess after all."
"Maybe," he said softly.
"Link," Jalk grabbed his attention again.
"How do you love her?" he asked in a serious yet quiet voice.
Link turned his gaze from the busy metropolis outside to his wary companion, "I would die for her," he whispered in a slightly cryptic tone, "I love her so much I would give my life for her."
Jalk couldn't think of anything to say. He just lay on the bed, his eyes slightly widened, as Link turned his soft stare back outside. Jalk had never heard someone say something like that. Never had he heard words that were so simple yet filled with so much passion.
It was beautiful; the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.
"Who loves who?" Zelda said, oblivious to what had been said before, as she opened the door to Link's room. She shut the door behind her and plopped into an oak chair in an exasperated mess.
"Nothing," Jalk said to Zelda, knowing Link's reasons for not wanting Zelda to know of his unconditional feelings.
"O-o-okay," she replied with a smile, "If its none of my business…"
She stood and walked over to where Link sat and peered out of the window to see what he was looking at. It was plain to see though; the view was breathtaking. Since The Dragon's Chalice sat on a hill, Link's loft window was able to overlook the town's huge span. Zelda could see the castle in the west and the lively town square in the center of the capital.
"It's nice, isn't it, Zelda," he said softly.
She nodded assent, a smile strewn on her face. She turned to look at Link, her heart beginning to pound again. His profile was outlined against the blue sky as he stared out into the open crisp air. The sun reflected into his cerulean eyes, and even though the light seemed to make them light up and dance, she could still see that trace of sadness and longing there, "What's wrong Link. You seem…distant today."
"I was just thinking…that's all," he mumbled. A slight red blush ran through his cheeks.
She sighed. He was in one of his trancelike moods today.
"Zelda," he said suddenly after a minute of silence, "Have you ever… met your future husband?"
"No," she scowled as she sat on the windowsill, "And I don't ever want to."
"He comes tomorrow night?"
"Yeah," she sighed again, "Father is preparing a huge ball and is inviting every noble in Hyrule."
He didn't say anything else. He seemed to be thinking as he watched a flock of eagles soar across the high noontime sun. Slowly, Link brought his ocarina to his lips and began to play a quiet tune. Zelda had heard a group of minstrels play the same song once when she and Link had been wandering the streets of the town. It always reminded her of Link though, because he played it all the time ever since he had heard it that evening. It was his favorite and he played it beautifully.
He began to become more engrossed in his music; he closed his eyes and he started to sway back and forth slightly, his foot keeping rhythm. Jalk began to plunk the strings of his lyre as he began to pick up on the melody. Once again, the combination of the two instruments sounded marvelous and Zelda found herself sinking onto the floor. She leaned against the ashen colored wall and closed her eyes. The music seemed to whisk her away to another world; a world where glittery faeries, mischievous imps, bearded dwarves and lighthearted elves played in the misty fields without a single care and Hylians lived in peace with no threat of evil… but most importantly, no fiancée.
Suddenly, the clatter of hooves on the road below interrupted the music and snapped Zelda back into reality. Link looked down below and came to behold three soldiers on horseback, all surrounding the tavern. He knew why they were there. It was obvious they were looking for Zelda, and unfortunately, they knew exactly where to look.
Link stood abruptly and yanked Zelda to her feet hugging her to his breast. "Do you wish to go with them?" he breathed.
"No," she whispered back as she cuddled closer to his broad chest.
She felt safe in his arms, the sound of his heart beating in her ear, and she knew he would not let anything happen to her.
"Jalk," Link said sharply to his friend. The blue haired lad stood and knew with one look what to do. He burst out of the room and jumped down the stairs, two at a time. Cautiously, he opened the front door and approached the mounted knights.
"Listen boy," the knight that seemed to be in charge said in a commanding voice, "We have reason to believe that you are hiding her Majesty, the Princess Zelda of Hyrule in this place. Bring her out at once by Royal Decree of the King."
Now Jalk was very clever, probably the wiliest of all in Hyrule. It was very rare that the boy could not think of a plan or scheme to get out of a jam; this was no exception. "Well what reason is it?"
"What? We have to time for games, boy," another one of the knights barked.
"Just answer the question, Sir," Jalk went on, "Why do you believe the princess is here?"
"Is this not the residence of that roguish hero, Link?" the leader of the three asked.
"Link? Never heard of him," Jalk retorted, "He certainly doesn't live here."
"You're lying," the soldier shot back, his voice becoming irritated.
"I kid you not," Jalk returned,
"And even if this Link you speak of did indeed live here, why in Hyrule would the princess come here?"
"Why do I put up with you, boy?" the soldier growled, "I should have you killed. Out of the way!"
Jalk grabbed the reins of the horse, "You may not enter, good knight."
"Why not, boy?"
"This tavern is not open untill the moon is set high in the nighttime sky. Come then for a drink."
"It is not your ale I seek!" the knight was fed up, "It is the princess!"
"I have never been privileged enough to set my lowly gaze upon her," Jalk said slyly, "The princess cannot be where she is not."
The soldier eyed Jalk suspiciously, then turned to his companions and each of them shrugged. The knight turned back to Jalk and said to him bluntly, "I will believe you this time, boy, but if the princess is ever indeed found here, it will be your head."
Jalk nodded respectfully as the three knights turned their proud steeds about and galloped down the path without another word.
"Will Jalk be okay out there?" Zelda murmured against Link's chest.
"He'll be fine," Link reassured, "He's a smart kid."
"But what if he can't handle them?"
Link laughed for the fist time that day. She could hear it rolling in his chest as he chuckled, "Since when did you get so worried about simple things like this?"
"I… I just want to stay with you," she said into his tunic, "I don't want to leave you."
"Zelda," he said softly. Does she feel the same for me? The same feelings I have locked up in my heart for her? I pray she does…
Link did not know what to do next, so he just held her close, savoring her warmth. He was able to feel her heart beat pulsing throughout her small lithe body; her chest rising and falling with every breath.
Is this what it will be like when Prince Dimitri holds me in his arms? she wondered. Her eyes wandered around Link's humble room, finally settling on his simple ebony bed. Will it be like this? Will my first time… (with Dimitri, of course)… be warm and comforting like it is now… here in Link's arms?
Zelda was deep in contemplation as Jalk came bursting back into the room, a gleeful look on his face. The second Zelda realized he was there, she pulled from Link's embrace, her expression embarrassed and vexed. She quickly started talking, "Did they…are they gone?"
"Uh huh," he nodded, "One of my finer moments if I do say so myself."
Link smiled at his friend, his eyes jumping from Jalk to Zelda immediately. How can I tell her? I need to
let her know… somehow… Jalk noticed the pensive looks strewn upon both their faces. What are they thinking abou- oh hell now I'm doing it too.
"Link," Jalk said, "I got them away for now, but…"
"But what?" he asked.
"They were skeptical. I know they'll be back I don't think they'll believe the same bull twice," Jalk said, his happiness fading into a downcast gaze, "And we couldn't hold them off alone. Arutho and Gono aren't even here."
"Then I should go," Zelda summed up what Jalk was trying to say.
"Where did those two go?" Link changed the subject as quickly as he could.
"Oh, Gono and Arutho took off to Lon Lon Ranch," Jalk replied.
"Huh? Why'd they wanna go there?" Zelda said in a curious voice.
"Well, they went to pick up some milk, I believe," Jalk said to the princess.
"That's a one-manned job," she pointed out, "Arutho or Gono could handle it fine alone. And besides, I thought Malon brought the milk here herself."
"When Gono heard that Malon had gotten sick..." Link started.
Jalk finished the statement, "He insisted that her go with Arutho to get the milk."
"What if he gets sick?" Zelda wondered, "Then he'd be suffering as well."
"As far as Gono is concerned, it's not suffering," Link said with a grin.
"You mean he…" Zelda realized what Link and Jalk were saying. Gono was in love with Malon. And now that she though about it, it made perfect sense. Gono always seemed to be kind and on his best behavior whenever the redheaded farm girl was around. He was never his usual rude, loud, and egotistical self whenever Malon came over with the milk delivery. And once or twice, Zelda thought she recalled Gono actually blushing.
Has Link ever blushed around a girl? she thought. She laughed to herself, If he did, I'd never let him hear the end of it!
Then she caught Link's eye, and she could have sworn she saw that red hue in his cheeks. She turned a shade paler at the thought that Link might actually have been blushing just then. She quickly reassured herself that Link just didn't like girls that way, especially her of all… since they were only friends.
"Zelda?" Jalk hummed into her ear trying to get her to notice what was going on again.
"Erm, so does Malon know?" she caught herself and snapped back to attention, "I mean, does she like Gono too?"
Malon, unlike most of the redhead's friends, did not act stupid and giggly around Link. It was one of the reasons that Zelda liked her. She could hang out with Link and the farm girl at the same time without Malon trying to flirt with Link. A few years ago, Zelda remembered a time when Link had been telling her about how he had once actually thought Malon was cute. Little did the princess know whom Link really wanted. Nor was Zelda suspecting that all these years, Link had actually been in love with her.
As far as Link was concerned, Malon was sweet, but she just didn't seem anything as wonderful as Zelda. To him, Zelda was the most amazing girl in all of Hyrule. The princess seemed to have a mind of her own, always lusting for adventure and excitement. Malon, although a nice girl, was a little boring. She was just a typical girl, no fun ideas, and no adventures, just talk about horses. And even though Link loved his horse Epona quite a bit, they weren't really his thing. A few hours of Malon's horse lectures tended to get a bit tedious after a while.
He didn't care that he defied the crown by loving the girl who was supposed to be his superior. She did not force him to bow his head in her presence, nor call her by any titles. She was just 'Zelda' to him... his Zelda.
"Nope," Link said with a smile, "She's totally clueless about it. She says that Gono is sort of cute in a loud uncouth way. Next time I see her, I ought to drop her a hint."
Zelda laughed in her head as she thought of Malon and Gono as a pair, "Such a quiet girl like Malon is perfect for Gono! He needs someone like her to counterbalance his loud ways," she said to her friends, a smile on her face.
The three laughed together. Zelda was glad to have friends like these. Unlike the rest of the castle populace, these people were fun loving and care free instead of the proud narcissistic lords and ladies who lived with her at Hyrule Castle.
She turned from Link and Jalk who had started a guy's conversation. She pulled up a stool and sat down by the window. She could see how Link could find himself lost in thought while sitting here. Maybe Link sits here thinking of his sweetheart. I wish I had someone like that… someone who loved me for who I am…like Link does (even though he's only a friend… of course…) not because I 'm the princess of a powerful kingdom… she felt a stream of tears begin to roll down her cheek …like Dimitri does!
Link… do you… love me? Because I'm starting to wonder… do I love you?
Kossin looked up from his reading as the princess slipped quietly into the castle library. She looked a little troubled, although she wore a smile upon her face to try and conceal it, "Zelda, is there something wrong?" he asked again.
"Kossin," she said as she sat down in the large chair opposite him, "You have to tell me the truth."
"Huh?" he looked puzzled, "About what?'
"And you have to promise not to tell anyone what I am going to say," she went on. Kossin still wasn't quite sure as to what she was getting at, but he put his book down so he could give her his attention. Zelda liked to speak to Kossin about these kinds of things because he was the type of friend who was willing to listen and perhaps offer a few suggestions. In many ways, Kossin was a lot like the young Jalk; quiet and considerate yet smart and crafty.
"I promise," he agreed with a nod, "What's bothering you princess?"
"This whole marriage thing," she sighed, "Father has brought it on me rather quickly. It's not like I really have a choice or anything but… I hardly even know who this Dimitri boy is and now my Father says I must spend my entire life with a man I do not love."
"Then you think that your husband should be decided by love?" Kossin asked. He chuckled a bit as he folded his hands under his firm jaw, "A wise idea, but, knowing you Zelda, you would not fall in love that easily."
"Well, suppose I did fall in love with a man," she returned, "I think that's what I should be married for... love."
"So tomboyish princess Zelda has her eye on someone, does she?" Kossin smiled, his unconcealed eye twinkling, "What's his name?"
"I do not have a crush on anyone, thank you!" she retorted, "I'm just throwing out the fact that I should be the one to choose my husband! You're supposed to help me on this!"
"Not much I can do," Kossin said, "unless the guy you love is a lord or something like that. I hardly think your dad would let you marry a person like me… and definitely not someone like Link."
Zelda's cheeks changed to the slightest color of pink and the mention of her best friend, "It's not fair Kossin! Why can't I be like you… why can't I make choices for myself!?"
"It's alright, Zelda," he comforted her as she started to cry, "The Goddesses will make sure (oh god I've never seen you cry before) make sure that all is right…"
Zelda started to calm down and her cries reduced to mere sobs. Kossin used his magic to pull a small green and white-checkered handkerchief from nowhere and handed the square cloth to the princess so she could dry her tears.
As Zelda settled back into her chair, and Kossin had returned to reading his leather-bound book, the door of the library opened and a servant girl walked in. She came over with her head bowed, and she did not dare to come a single step closer then ten feet from where Kossin and Zelda sat.
"Your father, the king, wishes to speak to you, Zelda," she mumbled in a small voice. Neither Kossin nor Zelda could quite make out what she had said.
"Come closer, child," Kossin beckoned the girl toward them. She raised her head up the slightest bit and quickly snapped it down as soon as she caught Zelda's eye, "And stop staring at your shoes, child, I'm sure your feet are beautiful."
When she came closer, she stepped into the candlelight, and Zelda and Kossin were able to see her much clearer now. She was a pretty girl, about nineteen or so, her long shinning dark purple hair tied back in a working braid. She wore a simple red dress that came to her knee and a large yellow scarf tied around her slim neck. Her aqua eyes reflected in the candle's warm glow, a look of uneasiness. She was obviously afraid to stand like this, her head up and standing so close to the princess of Hyrule and her friend.
"Don't look so frightened, child!" Kossin said in his comforting voice. He knew that most servants in the castle had been taught to never look their superiors in the eye, a tradition that he, his brother, and Zelda hated, "Zelda doesn't bite… although she gets pissed off quite easily."
The girl smiled. She gathered up all her confidence and repeated the message, "Your father, the king, wishes an audience with you, princess."
"Please don't call me that… call me Zelda," she said in a friendly voice.
"Yes prin-,"she began to say. Then she caught herself, "I mean, Zelda."
Zelda smiled. This girl was sweet, just like so many other servants in the castle. Her father was just an ignorant man who just didn't take the time to get to know people for who they really were. She knew that if her mother was still alive, he might have been different. He had become rigid ever since she died and so, he became a bit depressed, locking himself away from most everyone, even his own daughter.
The Queen had been almost exactly like Zelda, both in looks and personality. More then anything, Zelda wished she could see her once more. "What's your name?" Zelda asked curiously.
"Karmi," she said in her quiet voice.
"That is a pretty name," Kossin mused to himself. Zelda eyed him mischievously, sensing that the green haired sorcerer friend may have found a new best friend.
Zelda stood and addressed the two of them, "I am going to see what my damn father wants. Karmi, you may stay here if you wish."
With that, she stalked out of the room to her father's personal study.
"Sit down Zelda," her father greeted her rather cheerily, much to Zelda's surprise.
She seated herself in the cedar chair opposite her father's large desk, a frown on her face. She didn't really care what her father had to say and she knew whatever it was, it had to do with that damn Prince Dimitri. What else would put her father in such an upbeat mood? She hadn't even met the boy and she already hated his guts. "Well, what is it?" she said in an irate voice.
"Today, a messenger came from Trabia with a letter for you," he replied as he dug around one of the drawers for the document. He pulled it out and handed it to Zelda who rolled her eyes as she took it, "It was addressed to you so I did not read it."
Zelda took the butter colored scroll and unrolled it. Written in ink, the most elegant script the princess had ever seen adorned the paper, forming a letter.
It read as follows:
My dear Princess Zelda,
I am writing to inform you of a very, very tragic event. As you know, your nursemaid, Impa, was traveling through vast lands in search of adventure. Unfortunately, while adventure she did indeed find, right here in Trabia as a matter of fact, she met with an untimely accident. It seems that while fighting with a dragon that plagued one of the towns of my country, she was wounded quite seriously by one of its great talons. I am sorry to have to be the bearer of such a tragic message, since your father has told me in the past that Impa is very close to your heart. I regret to inform you, my dear, that although your nursemaid was treated with the utmost of medical care when she was found lying next to the bloody carcass of the defeated dragon, she was unable to be saved from Death's jaws. She passed on peacefully though, and wishes you to know that her last thoughts were of you.
This breaks my heart to know that a close friend of my future wife had to die; but know this, sweet Princess of Hyrule; she died valiantly, saving an entire town of people with the gift of her life. I hope to fill the void in your own heart where Impa once resided and give to you my eternal love. It is no great loss though, for you and I, our love will be so great, we will need no one to survive, simply each other and our combined kingdoms. My thoughts are always of you, and I cannot wait untill we are wed.
Love and the best of wishes,
Prince Dimitri of Trabia
Zelda was appalled and upset by the time she finished reading the message. She was quite upset to learn that Impa had died. Zelda knew that Impa had always said she'd like to go out in a blaze of glory and die on the battlefield. But then, those preposterous words that Dimitri had said about their 'eternal love.' He could never hope to be what Impa was to her. And just because she was dead, it did not mean that Impa was forgotten. Zelda would have nothing of it. She would remember Impa forever. Now she truly hated Dimitri. She could tell what kind of man he was simply through his writing. His perfect lettering told her he was one of those princes who was the ideal man from the mind of every lady in her father's Royal Court. He thought he could win her heart through sweet words. That just wasn't what Zelda wanted in a husband… and she was stuck with him.
"Curse that damn prince!" Zelda cried out loud as she stood and slammed the document onto the desk. Her father looked at her, horrified at her rude actions.
he roared. He had had enough of Zelda's impolite words and doings about her future husband, "I am sick and tired of you constantly saying these mistruths about that fine young man! Who put those kinds of ideas into your head? Was it that bastard rogue… Link or whatever his name is? With the way you act Zelda, you should consider yourself lucky that any prince at all would want to marry you!"
"I personally don't care if I get married!" she screamed back. Tears streamed down her face as she let out her anger and sorrow lash out at her father, "And I will never… ever share my bed with that lame excuse for a man!"
"I don't think you really have a choice young lady," the king was becoming very serious, "You will marry Dimitri, you will love Dimitri, and you will create an heir to the throne with Dimitri. And that is final!"
"Is that all I am to you?" she argued back furiously, "a stepping stone to keep your damn family on the throne?"
"That's all that matters," the king cried as he rose from his chair.
"I don't care if this whole damn kingdom falls apart!" she shrieked.
"You shut up, you selfish girl!" the king wagged a finger at her.
"Oh stuff it Father!" Zelda huffed as she rolled her eyes again, "You never cared about me! All you care about is power and the luxuries of the Royal House. I suppose you really are the selfish king the towns people make you out to be."
"How would you know what they think?" she king snapped.
"I talk to them," she said bluntly, her eyes narrowed, "When I go to visit Link and his friends at their tavern."
"A tavern, Zelda," the king frowned, "People get drunk! They cannot help what they say and they ramble lies all the time! I've been there!"
"No, when they are drunk, they tell the truths locked up in their minds and hearts. They cannot think or help what they say while the alcohol is swimming through their bodies, especially the strong drinks!"
"And since when did you know so much about ale?" the king asked, a disappointed look upon his aging face, "Have you been drinking?"
"No," she snapped, "Arutho explained it to me."
"And who the hell is Arutho?" the king asked crossly.
"A F-R-I-E-N-D," Zelda spelled it out as though her father was a young school boy learning the alphabet, "Oh whoops, I forgot that you didn't' know what a friend was since you don't have any."
"That's the last straw young lady! I cannot believe I have argued with your foolishness this long already!" the king yelled, "Get out of my sight you selfish girl! Get out of my sight and stay away from me for the rest of the day! I do not wish to look upon your disgraceful self untill tomorrow's ball!"
Fine then. It can easily be arranged," Zelda spat as she stormed out of the room, slamming the oak door behind her.
Zelda lay on her bed, tossing an orange to herself as she blinked the last of her tears away. She had been crying all day and it was already quite late at night. The moon shone her round friendly face over Hyrule, her pearly beams reaching into Zelda's bedroom. The window was open, and the cool breeze blew in, rustling about.
"So lonely here…"
She felt rather hot though, despite the cool winds outside, so she rose and opened the glass doors to her balcony. Leaning on the marble railing, she sucked in a mouthful of fresh air. The only sounds she could hear were the gentle winds blowing about and… an ocarina.
"Link," she whispered to the canopy of trees about her, "Where are you?"
The sound was pretty close. He couldn't be too far. She wanted to see him again; for some reason that she couldn't understand. Not wanting to blow his cover as a simple minstrel playing out in the streets, she called into the night, her voice loud and regal, "The princess requests the player of such lovely music to reveal himself from the shadows!"
"Jeez!" she heard Link reply, "Ya don't have to shout so loud!"
"Huh?" his voice was closer then she had thought. She whipped around to her left, the direction she thought she had heard him call from, and there, barely visible, was Link, ocarina in hand as the moon shone tendrils of light over his strong face.
"Didn't see me, did you?" he said, his expression twisted in a smile. She sat down next to him, leaning against the castle wall.
"No," she admitted with a sigh.
"What's wrong Zel? You look upset," he was such a good friend. He was always so caring and sweet to her. Sometimes Zelda thought she didn't deserve such a kind person as a friend.
She sat pensively for a moment. Then she moved her lips, her voice silent as her mind flooded with thoughts of Impa, "Do you remember Impa?"
He rolled his eyes, "Of course I do! Zelda, what does she have to do with anything."
"S-she's dead," she said undertone voice. He had to strain to hear her. Then she collapsed into his lap, crying.
"What? Impa's what?" he couldn't believe it. Ever since Link had been little, he had looked up to Impa. The day he was to set out to retrieve the Fire Ruby for his first quest, he thought about the tall woman in iron. She had inspired him almost as much as Zelda herself had done, although in a much, much more subtle way. He could still remember the words of encouragement she had told him before she shooed him toward Kakariko Village. The way she held herself and her strong Sheikan voice were enough to awe anyone, even a person like Link, who could be a bit on the childish immature side. All these years… and now…
"Link," Zelda's tears began to dampen his tunic. Link put his arms around the sobbing princess and pulled her closer to his broad chest. He comforted her quietly as he gently cradled her in his arms.
Link was about to say something when suddenly; the large blue falcon that seemed to like to hang around the castle settled itself on the balcony, naught but half of a meter away.
"Look, Zelda quick," Link whispered as he shook Zelda. He had never seen such a fine bird so close before. It didn't seem to be afraid of the two Hylians. Zelda sat up and then she saw what Link was gesturing towards.
"It's so pretty," she murmured into Link's tunic. She was still leaning against Link's chest. His body was warm and it felt nice against her shivering form in the cool night.
The falcon squawked loudly, its shrill cries ringing over the courtyard. Then it fluttered down from the banister and hopped over to where Link and Zelda sat. Link reached over and scratched the falcon beneath its golden beak. Once more, the bird demonstrated to fear of the Hylian, actually enjoying the feel of Link's finger stroking its throat.
Zelda smiled as she watched both Link and the bird show immense contentment with the affectionate greeting. The bird obviously trusted Link now and it scuttled closer to him. With a quick flap of its wings, the falcon fluttered to Link's shoulder, nuzzling his cheek. The hero smiled and stroked the bird's smoothly feathered back. The princess sat up and reached to pet the bird as well. The falcon seemed to like all the attention it was getting and it chirped in a satisfied fashion.
"What's your name, boy?" Zelda crooned as she rubbed the bird's back down, "I haven't seen anyone like you before. You must belong to someone. Am I right boy?"
"And just what's so darn funny?" Zelda asked the hero as he tried his best to stifle his laughter.
"You," he said finally, although a trace of merriment was still left on his tongue.
"And what's funny about me?"
"The way you're talkin' to that bird, of course!
You look like you were a little girl again!" Link couldn't help it. He hadn't seen the princess talk to animals since they were children. He had to admit that the sight of the noble woman sitting in the lap of a rogue and talking to a falcon was quite funny.
"You should talk, silly!" she said as she jokingly punched his shoulder, "You're the hero that never grew up!"
"Well, one just finds life is more exciting when you live it like I do…." Then his voice had suddenly become lower… a tone that was almost seductive, "But you know what?"
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. The curious falcon jumped off Link's shoulder and backed up to watch the Hylians. Link leaned close to Zelda's elfin ear and whispered, "You're not a little girl any more."
Zelda couldn't believe what she was hearing. She reached up and gently touched Link's cheek. She could feel how much warmer his flesh had become in the past minute.
Zelda's train of thought was interrupted as the falcon leapt from its perch and scuttled across the balcony. The blue creature looked as though it was heading for Zelda's room, and she clambered out of Link's lap in an effort to try and catch it before it did. With a leap and a cry of, "Oh no you don't!" the princess pounced on the startled animal. It squawked and kicked in Zelda's tight grip, blue and cream feathers flying everywhere.
Link looked at Zelda, stretched out all over the place, and wrestling with the flapping bird. He began to laugh as the bird practically dragged her about the balcony. Zelda heard his chuckles and she too began to laugh uncontrollably, her hands still clutching the ball of fathers tightly. Link decided to join the melee and he crawled on all fours to Zelda's side. He tapped her shoulder and whispered in a playful voice, "You're it Zel!"
She released the bird and it sat for a moment recollecting itself, "Oh I'm it, am I?"
"Yep!" he said as he jumped to his feet and dashed back inside Zelda's room. Zelda also stood and started to chase him all over the ornate room. This was a game they had played together since they were little ten year olds.
Link made an attempt to jump over the wide bed but just as he was about to reach the other side, Zelda caught up and seized him around the waist. Her weight on him caused them both to crash back down on the feather mattress, the blankets, coverlets and pillows flailing all over as they landed. Link kept squirming in an effort to get away but Zelda's grip was rather strong and he remained in her power.
"Oh no, Mr. Hero," she said with a sly grin as Link rolled on his back, although still captured, "You're done for."
This was the next part of their little game. When Zelda caught him, she'd eventually end up tickling the defenseless Link relentlessly. She let go of him, but before Link could stand and make another mad dash around the room, Zelda was amusing the two of them with a frenzy of tickles. Link was close to tears from all the laughing she was causing him. It was this kind of silly interaction that kept the two of them such great friends.
Zelda decided to give Link a break and she let him go, although he made to move to get up.
"Tired are we?" Zelda asked jokingly.
"Nah," Link smiled.
Suddenly, she gave him a light peck on the lips. Link's eyes widened for a moment and then regained his composure, "What in Hyrule was that for?"
"I don't know," she said, her voice completely embarrassed, "I just wanted to see what it was like to kiss a man."
"Does someone have a crush on me?" Link said in a provocative way, his eyes glittering with mischief.
"Oh shut up," she said, trying to be stern, "You know you aren't half as charming as you like to think you are, mister."
"Yes I am," he said with a quiet smile, his voice a bit lower. Zelda could do nothing but roll her eyes. Then Link piped up, "Besides Zel, you did it all wrong! It was pathetic!"
"Huh? What did I do wrong?" she asked, "As if you would know what the proper way to kiss is!"
"I think I have a pretty good idea," he said as he pulled her towards him, pressing his mouth against hers. It wasn't a little kiss, as Zelda had given him, but a deep passionate kiss that she only expected to get from a lover. He was slow and gentle, not about to be rushed by anyone or anything. Zelda didn't, for at this point in time, she wouldn't care if he'd decided to kiss her forever.
And she had to admit something else too. Link had been right; he was good at kissing.
Slowly, Link pulled his lips from hers; looking at her with a stare she had never seen before. She couldn't think of anything to say to him; the mere experience was wild for her. Link… why did you kiss me so… passionately?
"And that," he whispered, breaking the silence, "Is how you kiss, Zel."
In the middle of his sentence, the heavy oak door opened, and Karmi walked in just in time to hear his last few words. The young girl's mouth dropped open, her mind wondering what possibly could have been going on moments before she entered.
"Princess," she had seen that same boy quite a bit but she never thought that this was the kind of relationship that they had.
Neither Zelda nor Link had noticed Karmi's entrance at first, and it wasn't untill the young purple haired girl had spoken that they noticed presence. Zelda sat up, her eyes wide with surprise as she stumbled over what words to say, "Karmi! Erm, what… are you… I mean well…"
Link sat up as well and silenced Zelda with his hand and said with a grin, "Don't worry, it's not what it looks like."
"Is he that Link you talk about so much?" Karmi asked shyly.
Link looked at Zelda, whose cheeks were a bit flushed with embarrassment, "The very one."
"The is that the Link Mother told me to tell the King about if I ever saw him?"
Zelda became angry at this, "Karmi, under no circumstances will you tell my father that Link was ever here. Do you understand!?" her voice was commanding and Karmi cowered back, afraid at Zelda's suddenly hostile mood.
"Calm down, Zel," Link gave Zelda a friendly shove, sending her toppling on a large satin pillow that had fallen onto the floor, her feet dragging blankets and sheets down with her.
She clambered back on the bed, her mood lightening up, and the pillow in hand, and swung it at Link. Karmi found it amazing how happy that boy made Zelda feel. He ducked and the pillow flew out of Zelda's hands and soared across the room. The flying cushion sailed right into the unsuspecting Karmi. The girl fell over, laughing hysterically.
"O-oh, I'm sorry Karmi!"
"S'okay!" she said cheerfully as she stood up, "But princess…"
"I think you need a taste of your own medicine," a sly smile crept over Karmi's face. She swung the pillow around her head for momentum and then let it go. The pillow flew back across the room to the bed where Zelda and Link sat. Just as the pillow was about to hit the smiling princess, Link dove right in front, taking the blow for her.
"Sorry, Karmi," Link said as he gathered himself up form the sprawled position he landed in, "I suppose there is still some of those protective warrior instincts in me. But I agree," his lips curled into the smile of a young child, "She needs to be taught a lesson."
He grabbed the pillow and nailed Zelda with it, and soon the he and Zelda erupted into a huge pillow fight. Karmi jumped into the melee, a pillow in hand, ready to back up who ever needed backing up. Link pounced on Zelda, pinning her to the bed, a mischievous smile etched on his masculine face. He nodded to Karmi, who was wielding two pillows, to come over and wallop Zelda relentlessly.
"But Sir Link, she's the princess!" Karmi protested.
"Aw, it doesn't matter," he said, "Where's your sense of fun? I promise you, Zelda would like nothing more."
"No I wouldn't you liar," Zelda said with a friendly chuckle, "Karmi, don't do it! Hit him instead!"
Karmi looked to Link to see what he would say. He was looking deep into her eyes, that inane smile still on his face, "I think that you would like to be bashed over the head with two oversized pillows, Zel. I can see it in your eyes."
"I think what Mr. Hero needs is a pillow clobbering," Zelda snapped back. Karmi couldn't believe it. They were arguing like children! And the princess didn't mind it one bit! It seemed to Karmi that Zelda was actually enjoying being in the hero's strong restraint. Then she had an idea.
"Guys," the two of them stopped arguing and looked over to where Karmi sat with her two pillows, "Since you two obviously can't decide who I should hit with my pillows, I think I will be the one to choose."
"That's the spirit Karmi!" Link urged, "You and I both know that it is only just that Zelda is hit."
"Don't let that charm and innocent exterior fool you!" Zelda protested, "He's in for it, isn't he Karmi? As soon as you destroy him anyway."
Karmi smiled as she let her eyes dart from Link to Zelda, "I think I know who I'm gonna get."
Link looked at her with raised eyebrows, pinning Zelda deeper into the feather mattress. Karmi edged over to the two of them and raised the pillows, one in each hand, over her head. Then she let them come sailing down, hitting each of them with equal power, light whimsical chuckles escaping her throat as she did.
"Oooh, a traitor!" Zelda said as she pushed Link off of her. Then she pounced on him, "You're a traitor too bucko. Don't think you'll get off that easy!"
They wrestled around a bit, each trying to outdo the other, as Karmi looked on in amazed wonder.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. All three of them froze, not daring to move. Link listened to hear if the person outside was a friend or some other castle staff.
The person called in, "Zelda? Are you awake?"
It was the king himself. Link quickly dragged himself off the bed and darted out the door leading to the balcony. Karmi ran after him to see where he would go. She got out on the balcony only in time to see his hand disappear over the stone banister. She dashed to the ledge and peered down into the courtyard. She could see Link darting through the rosebushes. He turned to look up, and he waved.
She waved back, and then looked quickly over her shoulder before swinging herself over the rail, and climbing down the ivy covered wall to where Link stood in the dark gardens. She let herself fall off the wall a few feet above the ground and fell into the soft clumps of grass at the foot of the castle. She dashed over to Link, who was making his way toward a group of large oak trees next to the outer wall.
After a burst of sprints, Karmi reached out her hand and grasped Link's strong shoulder, wrenching him to a halt. He seemed startled for a moment and the relaxed, turning about with a friendly smile on his handsome face, "Yes, Karmi?"
"Err, Link, this might not really be the time but, ah, I wanna ask you something."
"Yes?" his charming spirited blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight.
"This really might not be the time but, ah, it's about your ring," she looked off towards the heavens, which shimmered with the infinite light of the glorious stars above.
My ring?" Link looked puzzled as he cocked his head to the side, his hand on his hip in bemused wonder.
"I was wondering if I could… well… sort of… ah… borrow it," Karmi seemed rather uneasy about asking this; she traced patterns in the dirt with her feet.
"Borrow it? Well, I really like this ring a lot," Link eyed his hand for a moment and then looked back at Karmi, "Is there something special you need it for?"
"Yeah, kind of," Karmi sighed, "You don't have to give it to me. I just thought… never mind." "No, what is it?"
Link asked, worried he might have hurt Karmi's feelings, "Just tell me."
"It might make Zelda happy," Karmi said quietly, "I think she is upset she can't see you so much. And with all this pressure about being married to a man she never knew existed until a few days ago… well she just might need that feeling of friendship. I thought having your ring might remind her of you. You seem to make her so happy. Actually, Link, I don't think I've seen her happier then when she's with you…."
Link smiled, and nodded, "I understand. Zelda is your friend too. And you want the best for her, don't you Karmi?"
"Uh huh," Karmi nodded as well, "I only met her just a short time ago and, she's taken me right under her wing. She understands me better then anyone else. I wanna give something back to her."
"What do you want to do, give her me?" Link asked. He looked down and chuckled a bit.
"Maybe," Karmi said quietly.
"Here," Link pulled the silver band off his finger and held it out to Karmi, "Give it to her. Tell her that as long as she wears it, I will always be at her side."
Karmi took the ring, "Yes, I will."
And with that, she turned and ran back toward the castle.
Early the next morning, there was a knock on the door of The Dragon's Chalice. Arutho opened the door to find a purple haired girl standing in the doorframe.
Arutho smiled, "Hello there, ma'am. How may I help you this fine morning?"
"Um, is Link around?" she asked.
"He's actually still sleeping," Arutho said as he motioned towards the attic stairs with a shake of his head, "Would you like to come in and wait? What's your name dear?"
"I just need to give him something," the girl said, "I'm Karmi."
"Hmm," Arutho thought for a moment, "If you're quick about it, you can run up and leave whatever it is in his room. Try not to wake the boy up though. Um, if you don't mind my asking, what exactly is it you have for him?"
"Just a note… and a gift," she stated briefly, "It's from the princess."
"Ah," Arutho said with a knowing smile, "Go ahead. Quietly though!"
Karmi walked in the direction Arutho had gestured towards and climbed the narrow staircase. At the top, there was a heavy oak door. She pushed it open and found herself in a sunlit room with a large window overlooking the town. Swords and shields hung on most of the wall space. In the corner, was an ebony bed, in which Link's sleeping form could be made out.
Karmi decided to leave the small package on Link's bedside table. It was a silver dagger that Zelda had found in the armories. She had wanted Link to have it… as a sort of 'exchange' for the ring.
As silently as she could, she crept over to the table and laid the parcel by the dimly glowing kerosene lamp that sat there. She chanced a quick peek at the sleeping hero in the bed. He slept so innocently, like a child, his loosely fitting shirt hanging off his body, revealing his strong chest and the covers rising and falling with his every breath.
His hand, which rested on the pillow, curled gently around a silver flute like instrument. It was encrusted with a tiny gold band around the mouthpiece, the sacred Triforce carved delicately upon it. A smile crept over his face as he dreamt. A small sigh escaped his lips as he whispered a single word from his dreams, "Zelda."
"I knew it. He loves her," Karmi murmured as she started to turn for the door, "If only the princess could realize that she loves him too."
It was noon. The loud rich tones of the Temple of Time's bells rang over the city. The high sun's angry rays beat down upon the streets and its merry face shone into every window. For Hyrule, this was a great day, with wonderful weather and the formal betrothal of their princess.
For Zelda, this was an awful day.
Today wore the cloak of merriment to disguise the hell that it really was; and Zelda found herself smack dab in the center of it all. Servants balancing trays of food and guards brandishing spears and swords were all around her. Any moment, the torment of her life would arrive, and Zelda would then be locked into the prison of her living nightmare forever.
Her father's excitement was so great, it compensated for her lack of it. He seemed so eager for that ball and chain prince to show up. Zelda was ready to die. Everyone seemed so happy, yet she couldn't bring herself to even pretend to look it.
She just wanted to go out and be with her friends; race horses with Link or have Jalk teach her how to play the lyre. She wished she could help Arutho in his wine cellars or even follow Gono, as he tasted all the beer Arutho kept behind the bar. Zelda could even bear to sit through one of Malon's horse lectures or play chess with the undefeated Kossin. Perhaps Safter would let her equip the soldiers for training. Anything was better then this.
Her father kept saying that Dimitri would arrive at any moment. Zelda desperately hoped that he would be delayed somehow. She prayed it in the back of her mind constantly. Soon, everyone was seated for the lunchtime banquet; and still, there was no Prince of Trabia.
Zelda sat next to her father, who was seated at the head of the table. Laid out, was almost every food dreamed of, all of which surrounded a large bird that had been slaughtered and cooked all through the morning and then stuffed with a great variety of delicious things.
The king stood and tapped a knife against his crystal goblet. As the clear ring made its way down the table, the lords and ladies seated there fell silent and turned to face their ruler.
He cleared his throat, "My good lords and ladies, I bide you welcome to this joyous occasion. For it is today, that my young daughter becomes a woman, and takes her place alongside her future husband, Prince Dimitri of the Trabia Province!"
At this there was an arousal of dainty claps and murmurs of congratulations. Zelda smiled awkwardly as she listened to their wishes of an elated marriage, twisting Link's ring all the while.
"Unfortunately," her father went on as Zelda slumped slightly in her chair, "our prince of honor has not yet arrived. So let the feast begin! And when Dimitri does arrive, we will welcome him with open arms to our jubilant gala!"
"Here, here," all the guests cheered in unison at the end of the blessing, their goblets raised. And with that, the meal began.
"What a lucky girl you are, Princess," the woman next to her nudged her shoulder. She was a bit elderly, about her father's age; her amber hair streaked with silvery gray strands. She was quite petite though, about a head shorter then Zelda.
Zelda groaned to herself and then politely replied, "And what makes me so lucky?"
"What a humorous young lady you are!" she said with an aristocratic laugh, "You are so fortunate to the future wife of Dimitri! With that sense of humor, I am sure you will please him."
"I hope to make him as miserable as possible," Zelda muttered under her breath.
The man sitting next to the graying lady, presumably her husband, leaned over to join the conversation, "Our daughter," he said as he motioned to a brunette sitting with some other young people, "would give anything to be in your shoes. You should feel lucky indeed!"
Zelda looked over at the brunette on the opposite side of the table. She was fairly pretty; her long brown curls piled atop her head and jewelry everywhere it was possible to wear. Zelda knew who this girl was. Her name was Annette. She was actually a very stuck-up individual and Zelda couldn't stand her even though they had only met twice before. Perfect match, her and Dimitri…Zelda thought as she watched Annette go on about some unimportant topic. … If she's so wild over that Trabia bastard, then she can have him!
The woman bent over to look at Zelda's hand that was nearest to her, "My that is a lovely ring, but dear, don't get me wrong, isn't that a man's ring?"
Zelda quickly pulled her hand into her lap, hiding the silver band from view, "It is? I had not noticed that when I got it. I just thought it was charming."
"It seems rather too masculine for such a delicate beauty such as yourself," the woman said in a slightly preachy tone, "A dragon is something a knight might wear on his hand, not a princess."
"I find dragons enchanting," Zelda retorted quickly. She was relieved the woman had not noticed Link's name carved along the dragon's winding body.
"A rebel your father always said you were," the woman sighed and went on with dining, making idle chitchat with her husband.
Zelda slumped even deeper in her chair, her mood becoming worsened with every hour of that miserable feast.
The meal had dragged on for hours with no trace of Dimitri whatsoever, and when it was finally through, the guests made their way from the dining hall to the ballroom. It was a beautiful room with tall arched iron paned windows lining the two lengths of it and gilded gold and ebony panels on the walls and ceiling. The back of the room opened to a huge balcony by means of a tall glass door fashioned in the same manner as the windows. A large brass and crystal chandelier hung in the center of the carved ceiling, flanked by two smaller ones. Candles flickered in their sconces casting lights upon the floor mingled with patches luminosity from the setting sun.
While most of the other guests either danced or stood about, talking, Zelda found her way to the large balcony the ballroom opened up onto. There was no one out there save two gossiping girls. Zelda leaned on the wrought iron rail, entwined with vines of up growing roses, and gazed out over the immense gardens and promenades. The gurgling of fountains and the chirping of birds seemed to calm her somewhat but she still felt that burning anger inside.
Then she heard something new blending with the other sounds about her. It was a voice, a man's voice, deep and rich.
"When you feel all alone,
And the world has turned its back on you,
Give me a moment, please,
To tame your wild, wild heart,
I know you feel like,
The walls are closing in on you,
It's hard to find relief,
And people can be so cold,
When darkness is upon your door and
You feel like you can't take any more…"
She leaned over the rail and there, right below her, amid the roses, was Link, singing up to her with a broad grin on his face. He wasn't wearing his usual, the green tunic and open white shirt. Instead, he was wearing a dark navy blue waistcoat trimmed in gold, a bunch of lace at his throat, along with matching pants, which were tucked into his tall black knee high boots. His blond hair was combed behind his long Hylian ears, with the exception of a few loose strands, which hung in his face. Despite all his formalities, he still wore those silver rings in his elfin ears and the neck of his coat was unbuttoned a bit, revealing his strong neck, lending to his roguish qualities. He was not wearing any gloves either. She had to admit though; he looked much finer then every man at the ball that night.
"Link," she almost hissed his name, although her face was relieved to see him. He looked up and his grin widened as he waved back up in acknowledgment. Then he came closer to the building (fortunately, there was no one in the room below) and started to climb up the rose covered wall, his thick skin unawares when his hands grasped the thorny branches. He was too excited to see Zelda to care. As he made his way up the wall, he continued to sing for Zelda, who smiled with glee at the sound of his strong voice.
"Let me be the one you call,
If you jump,
I'll break you're fall,
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night,
If you need to fall apart,
I can mend a broken heart,
If you need to crash,
Then crash and burn,
You're not alone…"
By the time he finished the verse, he had made it to the top and he swung himself with much ease over the iron rose covered handrail. With a smile, he grabbed Zelda in a quick embrace and then said, "You look miserable Zel! …Figured you'd want someone you… could talk to here, so…"
Zelda could tell he was a bit embarrassed, not only because he was taking a bit to choose his words, but also because he was blushing furiously. He looks so… cute… when he's flushed like that.
"Well, I'm just glad you're here," she said softly. She could feel her heart thumping; she had not the slightest idea as to why it was but…
"I'm glad I'm here too, princess!" he laughed. Even happier to be with you…he thought to himself as Zelda smiled.
"So," he said, putting his hands behind his head, "How's your Prince?"
"Don't call him that 'cause he's not mine," she snapped, her moody attitude getting the better of her, "but he has not come yet anyway so I do not know."
"Guy sounds like jerk to me," Link said, his eyes looking up into the star filled Hylian heavens.
"Wouldn't be surprised," Zelda grumbled. Then she lightened up, realizing how rude and unkind she was being to her friend, "I am sorry Link. I just feel so… tense… I suppose… because of this whole thing. There's a lot of pressure on me today."
"It's alright, princess, don't worry," he put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "I am here for you."
Zelda smiled at this and took both his hands warmly, as though to thank him for being so kind. He had a way about him of doing that. He always knew how to cheer her and how to lift her spirits.
"Well then, princess," he said, casual as could be, "being that your fiancée is not here, allow me to be your escort."
Zelda giggled as he put out his arm, just as a gentleman would do, and bow slightly. With a smile, she hooked her slender arms around his and leaned her head on his shoulder, "Alright Sir Link."
He smiled as he put his free hand on her arm and unwound her from his body and in one sweeping motion, he whirled her around, pulling her back to him and hugging her close. She leaned on his chest as he continued to dance with her around the large terrace.
"You're a pretty good dancer, Link," Zelda said as he spun her again, moving in exact rhythm with the light music that floated from the ballroom.
I am," he said with a shinny grin.
"And that coat looks marvelous on you," she twirled back into his arms, "No one will guess who you are; you look so devilishly handsome and chivalrous. Where in Hyrule did you find it?"
"Actually, Arutho, Gono, and Jalk surprised me with it," he said somberly as he stopped dancing.
"Why do you look so sad, Link?" Zelda asked, "That was very generous of them to get such fine garments for you."
"I just feel… guilty," he said with a distant look, "Even though they don't have much… they put together all their extra money and savings so they could buy everything I'm wearing tonight just so I could come and… see you. They hardly get what they deserve from me. I live under their roof, eat their food… and… well… I never really have given much back to them. I suddenly feel like I've been intruding on them and taking advantage of their kindness for the past couple of years."
"Link…" she murmured, "they did all that for you? You came all this way… for me?"
"Why not? You're my… best friend," he said as he thought at the same time, You mean so much to me… Zelda… my love… I would journey a thousand oceans just to see you smile.
"Yes, that's right," she laughed, "You have great timing. You always seem to show up when I need you most."
Link grinned back and took her into his arms again, resuming dancing with her across the floor. They had only been dancing a few minutes, when the king stepped out on the balcony and stopped the dancing couple.
"Here you are Zelda!" he said in a relieved voice, "Everyone was wondering where the lucky girl is! I have been looking all over for you, and here you are!"
"Um, yes, Father," she said, "Is there something you need of me?"
"No, no," he shook his head. Then his sights fell upon Link, "Have I seen you somewhere before young man? I do not recall you at the banquet."
Link was about to say something when Zelda interrupted him, "Yes, Father. The reason he looks so familiar is because he's an old friend. He apologizes for being late to the ball."
"Funny, I don't remember him," the king had a suspicious glint in his eye.
"You're old, Father," she said haughtily, "I believe your memory is failing you."
"Thanks a lot Zelda! I suppose I am getting a bit to old to remember all your acquaintances!" he laughed merrily, "Ah, Zelda…. I never remembered you as one to dance either!"
Zelda grabbed Link's arm and leaned on him, much to Link's surprise (the look on his face told it all), "Well he's such a wonderful dancer… and how could I resist such a charming boy with such a handsome face!"
"Um… yes," then he smiled, "Just make sure you don't fall for him… or what will become of Dimitri!?"
I could care less, she thought as she said sweetly, "Don't worry Daddy. We're just catching up on things!"
"Very good dear," he turned to leave, "I shall see you later."
Link let out a sigh of relief the moment the king reentered the castle, "Ah, I was sure he would have known 'twas me."
"Just forget it and look casual. You will be fine," then she hooked her arms around his once more, pulling him toward the entrance of the ballroom, "Shall we go then?"
He smiled and said with a laugh, "So we shall!"
They walked back into the large spindled room and out onto the wooden dance floor, and began to dance the night away. Many of the lords and ladies who were standing aside began to watch the attractive young blond who was so skillfully whirling their princess around the dance floor. None of them were suspecting that he was actually just a local tavern owner in lord's clothes. Zelda even noticed some of the younger girls looking at him with hungry eyes as he danced her about, while at the same time, flashing her jealous glances.
So now the aristocratic girls will have eyes for Link just as every other one does….
Zelda turned her sights from the people watching them dance, to the hero whose arms were wrapped about her, concentrating completely on him, and only him. He smiled back at her, the lamplight catching in his sparkling blue eyes and creamy skin.
He was so handsome tonight. Zelda thought about the other times that they had spent together. The adventures they had gone on, the laughter they shared… each of them a wonderful memory the princess knew she would never forget… even after she was married to Dimitri.
"You look… beautiful… tonight," she heard Link whisper in to her elfin ear.
She looked at him awkwardly, "You think so?"
He nodded, his blond locks tumbling out of place as he did, "Of course. Would I lie to you?"
She shook her head in the negative, her lips falling slightly apart and her eyes wide with admiration for the noble hero in her arms. He smiled at her reaction, "You know I never could."
"Never?" she questioned.
"Not to you I could," he whispered. His voice was too low for anyone to hear. Zelda was thankful for that lest they get suspicious and make some assumption that they were something they were not… although Zelda's mind kept playing back those few words quite a bit.
"Ah, we should sit down," he went on, "I'm not used to all this spinning around."
Zelda smiled, "Neither am I. Dancing has never been a thing a particularly enjoyed."
He escorted her off the dance floor and pulled out a chair for her. Then he went off and soon returned, dragging a chair for himself behind. Parking the oaken seat next to hers, Link sat down and smiled at her, "So, what next?"
"Well… we could sit here and talk untill some idiot comes and tries to dance off with me…" then she sat quiet for a second as though to think over what she was going to say next, "or we could just blow out of here and ditch this lousy party."
"Don't you think someone would notice if we left… especially if you left with me?" he asked her, his eyes tracing the intricately carved gold entwined in the high painted ceiling.
"I don't think so," she mused, "People usually just show up to these things for the free food."
"You never know," he said as he leaned back in his chair, "Perhaps we should wait just a bit and then go… dull as hell though… but safer then leaving now."
"I guess that's a good idea," she agreed.
They went on talking for a bit untill something Zelda didn't expect to happen happened. The tall brunette whom Zelda recognized to be Annette in a velvet burgundy red dress flounced up to where Link and Zelda sat and said in a lady-like voice, sweet as honey yet cold as ice, "Hmm… princess… I've had my eye on this one since you sat down… and since it looks like you aren't going to dance with him… and that you're already… how should we say… taken… might you let me have a turn with him?"
Zelda looked at her strangely as the Annette continued to smile at Link flirtatiously, "Um… taken? …Turn? What in Hyrule do you mean?"
"Look princess," she said, her smile melting into a frown quickly, "Perchance I am not being clear. Let me dance with this fine lord. I believe your turn is up."
"My friend here isn't for rent, leave him be," Zelda snapped back, "And I do believe you forget who you're talking to…"
Link could see that quarrelsome stubborn fire kindling itself in Zelda's eyes, and he knew exactly where this would be gong if he didn't say something fast, "Zel, calm down."
"Zel?" Annette looked at Link with a curious eye, "Just how tightly bound is this friendship of yours, hmmm?"
"Don't ask about things that are none of your damn business," Zelda barked in Annette's face.
"A bit touchy are we?" the brunette argued back, "This one's mine Zelda. You can't hog him 'cause you've already snagged that gorgeous Prince Dimitri."
"Let's not even go there! It's not like I ever wanted him in the first place!"
Link decided this had to stop. He held up a hand, "Alright girls, please. I am very flattered that you two are arguing over me, but really, is it that necessary?"
"Link… let me…" Zelda started to say but Link silenced her with a wink.
"I'll dance with her for just a little bit and then I'll come back to you, okay?" he said as he stood. Annette smiled triumphantly. Then Link turned to the girl and said with a little bow, "Madame?"
"Oh you're so polite!" the girl giggled as she greedily latched herself onto Link's outstretched arm and pulled him onto the crowded dance floor, leaving Zelda waiting impatiently for his return.
As soon as the music ended, Zelda saw Link come pushing through the throng of people to where she sat. With an apologetic look in his blue eyes, he sat down next to her and said, "That girl had to be the most awful female creature I have ever encountered! Are all the ladies here like her?"
"Most of them," Zelda said, "What happened? Where did she go?"
"Some guy cut in," Link explained, "I should thank him for saving me from an insanely self righteous bitch."
Zelda giggled, then said in a sugared voice, "You don't think I'm like that do you?"
He shook his head, "Heck no, Princess. You're different… and that's why I like you so much."
She smiled, "Good."
"Well then," he said as he stood up, "what do you say we slip out of here, casual as you please, and do something fun?"
"Alright," she said as she too stood, "It sounds like a plan to me."
Attracting as little attention as possible, Link and Zelda quietly stole to the tall arched doorway that led out to a long corridor. They slipped out of the room and briskly walked to the end of the hallway and turned a corner into the main chamber of the castle.
"Where to?" he asked as he looked around to make sure they were alone.
"Um… how about just going up to my room and staking it out there?" she suggested, turning toward the large staircase.
"And what do you plan to do there?" a new voice interrupted their conversation. A guard who had been walking down the opposite passageway stepped into the lobby and frowned at Link, "trying to seduce our princess when she is expecting her fiancée to arrive at any moment?"
Link frowned at the guard, "How twisted is your mind!? Of course nothing's gonna happen!"
"I wouldn't count on it," the guard snickered.
Link wasn't about to take any chances with getting caught. He quickly dashed behind the guard, his silver buckled boots echoing on the hard tiled floor, and grabbed him around the neck; the dagger Karmi had left for him that morning at the soldier's throat.
"Let… go of… me," the guard managed to choke out, his face wincing as Link pressed the dagger tighter.
"No way," Link muttered into the soldier's long pointed ear, "I'm not taking any risks here. You tell anyone about this little encounter and I'll kill you."
"Now… don't be… be too hasty here," the guard sputtered.
"No one's rushing anyone," Link hissed, "Keep you're mouth shut and you're head stays on."
The guard struggled but was powerless in Link's vice-like grip, "I'll let go as soon as you swear to run along and not to speak a word of this incident to a soul."
"I will," the guard gasped.
"Swear it," Link growled.
"I… promise it… I swear… it on my… mother's grave!" he cried out with his last breaths. Just as the guard thought he would die from lack of air, Link released him and threw him effortlessly on the floor.
"Not a soul," Link repeated, making sure that the soldier understood. The man nodded vigorously and scrambled to his feet, taking out of there before another word was said.
"I didn't think I'd be using this tonight," Link mused as he looked his dagger over. It was his new favorite, being it that it was Zelda who had given the beautiful thing to him.
"Link,Link," she said with a smile on her face, "Still armed to the teeth as usual.
What other little toys did you bring along with you, hmmm?"
"Hey,you can never be too careful in today's society," he said nonchalantly as he examined his blade.
"I suppose you are correct Link," she said with a sigh, "Let's get going before someone else notices us and you go off making death threats to everyone."
He smiled in agreement as they continued up the stairs to Zelda's room. Upon arriving, Zelda locked the door and then immediately flopped on the bed and let out an exhausted sigh as she kicked off her high-heeled sandals.
Link had found his way to Zelda's tall high-backed chair in one corner of the room. He took off his coat and hung it on the back of the chair before collapsing on it, swinging his legs over one arm and resting his back on the other.
"My, don't you look comfortable over there," Zelda said as she sat up.
"Sure as heck is," he said with a grin, "Come over here and sit."
"Where?" she asked, "You're hogging that entire chair!"
He motioned to his chest while saying, "Come on, I can hold you."
She rolled her eyes sarcastically, "Of course you can hotshot."
He didn't say a word; instead he just laughed and laughed heartily. Zelda smiled at him. Though he was Hyrule's destined hero, the chosen one to protect her kingdom, he still had a rather immature personality and boyish charms about him. Despite that, she knew how angry he could become, his inanity fading instantly into a passionately serious and solemn warrior.
She walked over and soon found herself resting on Link. It was rather comfortable, laying on him like that….
As she lay there, she let out a yawn, "I didn't realize I was so tired. What time is it?"
Link bent his head back so he could see out the window, "Ah, my guess is almost twenty two and perhaps a half."
"I could fall asleep right here," she whispered, curling up slightly.
"Go ahead," he said stretching out, "I'll put you in your bed if you do."
"Sing to me then," she said as she closed her eyes, a smile on her face.
"Sing? What in Hyrule shall I sing?"
"Anything," she murmured, "Just so long as I can fall asleep listening to your voice."
He shrugged and said, "Alright then. If that is what you desire." He hummed a bit to get his voice in tune and then began to sing,
"Don't go changin',
To try and please me,
You never let me down before,
And I don't see you any more
I would not leave you
In times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times
I'll the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are."
Although trying to fall asleep, couldn't help but to listen to the words as Link sang them. She was a bit surprised at what he was saying and began to wonder if he meant it the words he sang to her. Her heart seemed to want it to be true….
"I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
Aw, what will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.
I said I love you
And that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could love you any better
I love you just the way you are
Zelda found herself drifting off into her dreams, Link's soft voice still floating through her head. Link noticed that Zelda had fallen asleep and he lifted her up, still singing to her sleeping form as he carried her over to her bed. He knew she couldn't hear him anymore, so he continued to sing, continuing to admit his love for her aloud.
"I don't want clever
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone
That I can talk to
I want you just the way you are."
He laid her on the bed and pulled the warm blankets over her tiny lithe body. He sat on the edge of the bed and put his arms around her, whispering the words, "I love you, Princess Zelda of Hyrule," as he rested his head on her shoulder and soon, he too, had fallen asleep, with his arms around the woman he loved.
Zelda looked around her. All she saw was mist and all she heard was the echo of the wind. Where am I? she thought as she looked about, Am I dreaming? I must be! This must be a dream.
The mists around her began to melt into another form. Soon, she found herself in a clearing in the midst of a lush forest.
Birds chirped and a light breeze rustled the leaves of the tall trees around her. And in the middle of it all, was Link, sitting cross-legged on an old stump of some great tree. His eyes were closed as he played his ocarina. The tune was familiar; it was the song he had been singing to her as she fell asleep.
Suddenly, he abruptly stopped playing and he opened his lovely blue eyes, "Zelda! You're here! Do you have any idea how long you've kept me waiting?!"
"Huh? Waiting?" Zelda was confused. This was shaping up to some strange dream already.
"Don't tell me you forgot Zel!" he went on, "Come on. Don't you remember that you wanted to get away from the castle, so we decided that we'd come out here?"
"Uh yeah, oops," Zelda stammered. She had no idea what was going on so she decided she'd just make it up as she went along, "My father, erm, held me back. He wanted to talk to me about something or other. Wasn't really paying attention to him, though," she chuckled nervously.
"Oh," Link said. He had that cute sad-puppy dog look in his eyes as he spoke. Then he cheered up a bit, "At least you're here now. We can be alone again."
"Again?" Zelda was starting to get a bit uneasy.
"Did you hit your head or something Zel?" he asked sarcastically as he stood up and walked over to where she stood, "How could you forget that night?"
"Which?" Zelda was not only uneasy, but she was more confused then ever. She had never had a dream that didn't make sense before, and she wasn't sure how to about it.
"You know… that night where I did… this," he suddenly took her chin in his hand and pulled her lips toward his, and kissed her. Zelda was completely taken by surprise, and her widened eyes showed it. He had only kissed her once, and it certainly wasn't like this, because this time, he was kissing her far more passionately then he had that one night when he had given her a first real kiss.
He released her and smiled at her, a look of sensuality shining form beneath his dark lashes, "How could you forget that?"
"Are you referring to that night when Karmi came in and got us all rowdy with the pillows?" she asked. She had to know for sure.
"No," he whispered, "Because then we weren't alone."
Zelda covered her mouth with her hand, her mind working furiously. Alone… with Link…. I've never been alone with him… at night… save a few times… but never that long… not enough for something to… happen… and why would it ever… unless we were lovers or something… but…
"W-what night was it… exactly…?" Zelda managed to choke out among her thoughts.
"Zel… how could you forget? Has Dimitri done something to you to make you forget me?" he crossed his arms and let out an exasperated sigh, "You know… it was that night he was supposed to show up for that ball and he didn't come untill really late. That night that I tucked you in bed after you'd fallen asleep in my lap… that was it…"
But how could this be… that's… tonight!
"That night you woke up and told me you loved me," he went on. He stepped a bit closer and put his arms around her tiny waist, resting his head on her shoulder, "The night we..." he trailed off. She could feel his hot zealous breaths and lips brushing against her neck as he held her. It was a feeling like no other, to have a man so handsome and caring so close to her…
…And she wished she could stay like this, wrapped in his arms, forever
"Link," she whispered, "Is this what it's like to be in love?"
"Zelda," he murmured back, "This is love. You are my love…"
Then, he started to fade, his touch waning as he did. Soon, he was gone, and Zelda was left all alone in the dream forest. She looked down at her feet as tears began to well up in her eyes. She watched as the tiny teardrops fell from her face and to the soft plush grass beneath her feet. And there, lying right where Link had been standing, was a long white feather, splattered in blood. She stooped to get a better look at it. It wasn't the feather of any bird Zelda could think of; it was far to long and soft to be.
"What does it mean…?" she whispered into the winds, "Link… my love… where did you go…?"
The clattering of hooves and the creaks of carriage wheels on the cobblestones outside awoke Zelda from her dream. She found herself in her bed, just where Link promised she'd be if she fell asleep. The one thing she was a bit surprised to discover was Link, who was lying with his head resting on her shoulder and his arms around her. She didn't mind. It felt almost like her dream….
He stirred in his sleep, and he let out a contented sigh. Then he whispered in his dreams, "Zelda…"
"Link," she murmured to his sleeping form, "I think I have finally realized the feelings locked in my heart. Now I know… I love you."
"You have realized it then?" he muttered back. He wasn't asleep any more, "That I love you? That I have loved with my whole being since the moment I first met you? That you are the reason I live… Princess Zelda."
"Yes… and I have realized now… that all this time… the feelings I thought were simply that of close friends was actually that of love for… you. I love you… Link."
"As do I," he managed to whisper as he lowered his lips onto hers and kissed her fervently. This was the best he had given her as of yet, and she couldn't believe how passionate he was being with her. She parted her lips slightly, kissing him back with equal passion, realizing that this was what she had longed for all these years she had known him. Slowly, he pulled his mouth away. She could see in his eyes that he had done so somewhat unwillingly. Her eyes were wide with amazement. She had no idea he could be like this; it was a side of him she had never seen before.
"Link… Link…" she had no idea what to say to him and found herself just repeating his name over and over as she hungrily pushed the blankets off of her body, allowing Link to rest right on top of her.
"I never dreamed you would say my name like that," he said with a smile as he rolled her on her back and pinned her down at the shoulders.
"I never want Dimitri to hold me down like this," Zelda said softly as she shifted herself around a bit, "Only you…"
"But you are an engaged woman, Zelda. What makes me more wonderful then a prince?" he whispered to her as he swung a leg over her, so he was straddling her, "Am I what your heart tells you?"
"Oh Link, you are what my heart demands," she reached back to touch his hand. He held her so powerfully… yet he was gentle with her. How it was possible, she did not understand… but she liked the way it felt.
"Tonight… let me… have you," he whispered, his voice growing erotic, "Let me make it a night you will… never forget."
Zelda was lost for words. She had no idea that he could love her enough to want… that… but if it was what he desired, she was willing to give it to him… because she found herself wanting it too.
"Yes Link," she found herself whispering to him, lost in his cerulean eyes, "The night is ours. I… want you… Link. I shall forsake everything for you. My kingdom, my father, my fiancée. Just so I can have you forever."
He smiled as he lowered his lips on her neck, kissing her tenderly. She could feel his soft hair brushing against her cheek. Never before had a man had never handled her like this. Even so, she knew there was no other man who could give her what Link was going to give to her this night.
My dream… as usual… it told of the future… but what of that feather? What does it mean?
She leaned her head on Link's as he continued to kiss her neck. She could feel his tongue tracing her jaw, his kisses growing more passionate with the minute. Her breathes quickened as did his, his kisses coming faster onto her neck. Slowly, his lips made their way lower on her neck, to her lapel. She felt his smooth finger trace her collarbone, pulling at her dress and revealing more of her creamy skin, and his soft lips exploring her with excitement.
She pushed up with her shoulder, and Link released her, placing his now free hands on the bed sheets. Now that her arms were able to move freely, she wrapped them around Link's strong torso, resting her hands on the backs of his shoulders and pulling him closer down to her body. She found herself whispering in Link's delicately tapered ear, words of loving passion.
As she did, she took his free hand and slipped it between their bodies, resting it on her breast. Link squeezed it slightly, and let his hand wander lower, tracing her lithe body. Zelda watched him with eager eyes as his hand pushed up the flowing skirts of her dress and traced her leg.
"It feels so nice," she whispered, "to have you touch me like this. Don't stop darling. Not yet… please don't stop."
He smiled, her reactions thrilling him to the core. In one quick motion, he rolled her on top of him. Zelda was taken by surprise as she found herself suddenly lying on top of his robust body. A seductively playful smile crossed Link's face as she giggled.
Then, her giggles subsided as she brought her mouth close to his, her lips brushing against his, "Link, baby… please… make love to me…"
"Is that what my princess desires?" he asked softly, knowing all too well what her answer would be. He found himself growing quite aroused, but held himself back, for he did not wish to come onto her too fast. He wanted to make sure she was completely satisfied and he was willing to put himself aside for her.
She traced his lower lip with her dainty forefinger, "Uh huh. Give me more then my body can take."
"Then I shall," he whispered as his fingers meandered to the laces that held her dress tightly to her back. Gently, he began to open the delicate ties, his fingers touching her back as he exposed more and more of it. Then he pulled the silken garment away from her body. Link pushed the blue dress on the floor and held Zelda in his arms for a moment. Rolling her on her back again, he found his eyes and fingers exploring her more fully then ever before.
Zelda's hand traveled down his body, tracing his muscles through the thin cloth of his white shirt. Her hands slipped under his hip and soon she found herself franticly working at the silver buckle of his black leather belt. After what seemed like an eternity, she managed to open the belt, and she hungrily pulled at the waist of his pants.
Link saw that she was growing hungrier for him every second and without another thought, he kicked off his leather boots and then brought his hand to rest upon hers at his waist. Then he guided her hand down as she gently striped the pants off his strong body. Then she tore his shirt open, reveling his hard chest. She was in total awe at the sight of him; he was so beautiful.
"Now, Zelda," he whispered as he lowered his body onto hers, "I shall love you like no other ever will."
"Yes Link," she arched her back as she begged for him, "Come to me. Do it. Please."
With those words, he did. Zelda couldn't believe the feeling it gave her. It felt so good to have him inside of her. It was all she wanted now, to feel his touch and to have him with her, in her bed… in the most intimate way possible.
"Zelda… my love…" she heard him moan as she drew her leg about him, drawing him closer to him.
"Yes lover?" she whispered back, her leg tightening around his body as he came in deeper.
"I want to hear you say my name again," he groaned as she drew his shirt off of his body, leaving him in all his glory. He looked magnificent, his naked body bathed in the creamy moonlight. She could see in his eyes, that he had devoted his entire mind and body to her; it was as though he wished to make his love the most wonderful feeling in the world. It was though… it really was.
"Link," she whispered as he drew out and then thrust into her again repeatedly. He was much faster this time, and she found herself crying his name over and over, louder with every thrust. Her voice became louder as she cried out his name again, "Link!!!"
He smiled, "That's what I wanted to hear."
She smiled back at him, and she knew that his love was genuine. She would never allow Dimitri to lay in her bed with her, nor would she allow him to love her. It would only be Link… Link and no other…
Safter and his brother Kossin walked with the king toward the main chamber of the castle. It was midnight, but Dimitri had finally arrived. The twins stood back as the king greeted the prince with open arms, "Dimitri my boy! Good evening! Welcome to Hyrule!"
Dimitri bowed politely as he returned the greeting.
Safter sat down on the stairs as he watched the two converse lightly for a bit. Kossin leant over and whispered to his brother, "I don't like the way he looks. He carries an evil aura."
Safter nodded. He looked the prince over and Kossin was right; he was a rather sinister character. His hair was a dark chocolate brown and his skin was deathly pale. The wanton eyes were a burning red color that seemed to pierce the two of them to the soul. Two long white canine teeth protruded out over his lower lip. He had voluptuous lips that were bright ruby red… like blood. His nails were sharp and shone as though they were glass. And his ears, although pointed, were not long and elfin as Hylian ears were. He wore simple black armor and a long violet cloak. His overall appearance was that of a devil.
"I don't like him either," Safter whispered back. Kossin shook his head in agreement.
"Safter!" the king called, "Go find Zelda. Tell her that her fiancée has arrived!"
"I think she retired for sleep Sire," Safter said.
"Then wake her!" he retorted, "On the double! Let's go!" the king seemed to be rather impatient for some reason unbeknownst to Safter.
"Um, yes your Highness," Safter said as he stood quickly and darted up the large staircase. He walked to Zelda's room and tried the handle. Locked. Dammit.
He was about to use one of his keys when he heard voices coming form the room. He recognized Zelda's voice and then… a man… Link…
What in the world? he listened. He could hear their voices were low and breathy, Oh… my…I never thought they were…. Lovers….
Suddenly, Kossin came up behind him, startling the young captain.
"Safter?" Kossin looked bewildered. Safter had never been known as the jumpy type.
"Shhhh," he hissed, "Keep your voice low and make sure the king and that prince don't come anywhere near this room."
"Why…?" Kossin was puzzled.
"Link is with Zelda in there," Safter said as vaguely as possible.
"Link? How'd he get here?" Kossin asked.
Safter looked agitated, his short temper starting to get the better of him, "How am I supposed to know?! But he's here and we all know it could be his head if he's caught."
It will be his head if he's caught like that, Safter thought as he fingered the golden handle of the door gingerly.
"Safter," Kossin crossed his arms and looked at his brother sternly, "You never were a good liar. What are you hiding? What's going on?"
"Listen," Safter whispered with a finger over his lips and his other still resting on the door handle.
Kossin put his ear to the door and did as Safter bid him. His emerald eyes grew wide as he heard Zelda groaning Link's name constantly. He could hear heavy breathing and the rustling of sheets and blankets.
"My good goddess Nayru!" Kossin gasped, "They're…"
Safter nodded, "Yeah."
"I'm glad for them," Kossin smiled.
"Huh?" Safter looked confused.
"I would rather her love Link then that pale ridden ghost of a prince," Kossin sat down on a nearby chair, "Couldn't you see it all these years? How much he loved her? And did you ever notice how… although Zelda seemed to have trouble admitting it to herself… she loved him too?"
Safter thought about it for a moment and then nodded assent, "But what will we do? We can't hide him!"
"I'll figure it out. You stay put and make sure no one comes near here. That's your duty to the princess," Kossin said quickly as he turned, "Got it?"
"Got it!" Safter winked. Kossin smiled and then left. Safter dragged the chair next to the door and prepared himself for a long night.
The next morning, Zelda awoke, worn out from the night. She sat up and looked over at Link's sleeping form lying next to her. The blankets fell over his hips, revealing his manliness. His hand, which rested on his chest, rose and fell lightly with his every breath. Zelda leant over him and woke him with a kiss on his forehead. Slowly he opened his eyes and looked up at her. He reached up to touch her face and smiled.
"Good morning princess," he whispered as he pulled the blankets off his body and sat up. Zelda couldn't tear her eyes from him; he looked so radiant in the morning light. He was sculpted like a god, with muscles adorning his arms and legs, and his chest hard and robust, his back strong and powerful. His face was exquisite; his every feature chiseled just right and his eyes warm and loving. He looked more handsome then ever this morning. His soft tousled locks of golden hair tumbled messily all over his face and his soft sapphire eyes glittered with a new light in the morning sun. It didn't take her long to realize that she had lain with an angel.
He turned and his eyes fell upon his ocarina, which lay on the pile of his clothes on the floor. Link reached over the side of the bed at picked it up, bringing it to his lips as he settled back into the soft down of the many pillows on the bed. He began to play a soft tune, his eyes closed as the melody gently floated to Zelda's ears. She crawled over to his side, and curled up against him, covering his neck with warm kisses. She could see his mouth break into a smile, and he faltered a bit with the ocarina as she continued to please him.
"Link," she whispered against his body, "What is to happen if you are caught with me? I don't want my father to do anything to you."
"He shall not," he stopped playing for a moment, "I won't let them have me for your sake."
"I swear," he whispered, "Zelda,
I have loved you from afar since the moment I first met you. I have always wanted to hold you and tell you I loved you, but I… I did not because I feared you might not have felt the same for me, and I did not want to ruin our beautiful friendship. Understand that I'd do anything for you. I love you."
"Link… I… I think I have loved you forever too… but I… I guess I was just too afraid to admit it to myself. I'm sorry if I hurt you," she confessed the truth of her love to him and a tear fell down her cheek.
"Don't cry, Zelda," he put the ocarina on the bedside table and took her into his arms, "You didn't hurt me. You made me the happiest man on earth. Just don't cry, please."
"Alright," she smiled.
"Good," he untangled his feet form the sheets, stood, and began to dress.
"You're leaving?" she cried.
"You don't want me to?" he smiled as he buttoned his waistcoat.
"No," she smiled weakly, "I want to be with you always."
"I know, I do too, but…" he bent over the bed and planted a kiss on her forehead, "I must. You want me to come back? I might not if someone finds me here, so I will go now, alright?"
"I understand, Link," she whispered into his ear before he straitened upright.
Before he left, he turned and said to her warmly, "I will always be at your side. So do not worry! I am there."
She waved goodbye once more as he left the room and climbed over the balcony rail. She flopped down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. She couldn't believe what had happened between the two of them. A few days ago, he had been naught but a friend and then last night… he had come to her… as a lover.
"I love you Link," she whispered to no one as she thought about him: his body and his gentle kisses… his passionate love.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Zelda sat bolt up in bed and threw the blankets over her nude body. Then she called out, "Who's there?"
"It's me, Safter," she heard.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she quickly ran over to the door and unlocked it. The she dashed back to the bed and recovered herself with the sheets as she granted him permission to enter. The young soldier came into the room and closed the door behind him. He looked fretted and tired.
"What's wrong Safter?" she asked nervously as she sunk lower into the bed. She could feel the warmth of the place where Link had been lying moments before.
"Dimitri is here," Safter said bluntly, his voice lethargic and slow, "Has Link gone…? Or is he hiding?"
"How did you…?" Zelda was worried. Although Safter was a close friend, he might feel it was his duty to the king to tell him of what had happened in the night. She hoped he would keep it a secret.
"Don't worry," he smiled weakly,
"I won't tell anyone. Just be sure to hurry downstairs. You're father sure is pissed that you 'fell asleep.'"
"You told him I was sleeping?" Zelda asked, her eyes wide with gratitude.
"Yeah. Had to cover Link up somehow!" he chuckled sleepily, "Just hurry yourself along… and do get dressed."
"Right. Thank you," Zelda said as she squeezed the finger she wore Link's ring on. Safter nodded and left the room. As she looked down at the silver band, she realized that Link had loved her far longer then just that night. It all seemed to fall into place too; the way he suddenly seemed more loving ever since he found out she was engaged, and the first time he kissed her… there must have been more to it then what met her eyes.
It must have hurt him so to have such a love bottled up for so long! she thought to herself, and yet… I cannot understand why it is only now I understand what it is like to truly love a man… him… he's what I had been hoping for…. How could I be so cruel to him as not to notice?!
"Ah, Zelda!" her father greeted the young princess as she entered the dinning hall. It was dark save the three candles that flickered on the table. The curtains, for some strange reason, had been pulled tightly shut, "Come and sit! There is someone you must meet."
Zelda eyed her father and then the pale brown haired man sitting to his right. It was hard for Zelda to see him, for he seemed to be sitting as far from the candle light as he could. He was frightfully pale…. And his eyes were cold… yet they burned with an evil hell-fire Zelda only saw in her nightmares. She pulled out her chair and sat. Her father beamed at her and went on, "Zelda… after you had so rudely left the ball, Dimitri arrived. He is here," he gestured to the man beside him.
Zelda could do nothing but shudder. This is the man he wants me to marry!?!?! Is he mad!?
"Good morning sweet princess," Dimitri said in an icy voice. His voice was dark and evil sounding. It was not at all like Link's voice, sweet and low….
Zelda couldn't help but have a feeling about him… the same type she had felt around Ganondorf.
She put on a fake smile and returned his greeting.
"So Zelda," her father went on with a conversation, "whatever happened to that friend of yours. He seemed to have vanished."
"He had to... uh… meet someone… so he left early," Zelda said quickly.
"Did he?" Dimitri interjected, "Funny I don't recall anyone leaving."
Zelda shot an awkward glance at him. This guy's gonna screw everything up!
In her thinking about Link… and the night… she found herself going off into a daydream. She couldn't help but remember the gentle way he had made love to her…. it was her fantasy…. She remembered a time when she had been spying on him when she had posed a Sheik. The thoughts that had gone through her head were almost unmentionable…. Now she knew why she had felt them though…
"He probably left before you arrived, my son," the king said in a friendly voice to the prince. Dimitri smiled, his cruel white fangs glistening in the candlelight, "Perhaps he did then."
Zelda frowned. She was becoming more and more uncomfortable with the minute; those teeth sending shivers down her spine.
"Zelda." the king said, "Dimitri had been telling me about his home in Trabia. You should ask him about it sometime."
"Yes," Dimitri's smile almost seemed to morph into a sneer, "I think you would enjoy it very much there, sweet princess."
"Yes…" Zelda agreed with a sigh as she started to eat her cold breakfast. She noticed that her father had finished his meal, but his plate had not been cleared… yet Dimitri had no food before him at all… not even a plate. She found that rather peculiar but decided to keep it quiet.
"Zelda," he said, as he rested his Trabian chin on the backs of his hands, "Are you excited? We are to be married in just a few weeks."
Hell no, she thought as she said politely, "Why yes. I can hardly contain my joy."
She watched in disgust as the tip of his tongue crept between his lips and licked his long white canines, "That is wonderful. It will be a joyous day… what a fine kingdom we will make of Hyrule!"
"The guy is just plain frightening," Safter said as he pushed his empty mug toward Gono to be refilled. Dimitri had come hurtling into the Royal Palace full throttle… completely dominating the life there immediately.
Gono took the cup and filled it with the amber liquid as he pressed Safter for more on the dark prince who had arrived to whisk Zelda away in marriage. Safter leaned his head on the counter of the bar and closed his large maroon eyes. He seemed deep in thought and then, after a few moments of silence, he sat up and said, "Plus… his eyes are… like…" he closed his own eyes for a moment and thought again, "are like… well… it's as though the fires of hell burned in them and… his face is rather… to be blunt… evil looking. I am afraid to sacrifice Zelda with him."
Arutho, who had been playing a game of cards with Kossin and Jalk, looked over to where the two friends sat at the bar, "Is he really like that? Do you suppose he is even human?"
"I dunno," Safter shrugged, "It's far to complicated for me. I just can't help but have this… feeling."
"I agree," Kossin nodded.
Jalk was about to say something when he noticed Link, who had been sitting on the steps of the tavern throughout the entire conversation, playing with a blue ribbon. He looked like he was in one of his thoughtful trancelike moods, contemplating his existence. He tends to do that a lot, Jalk thought as he watched Link twist the strip of cloth around his fingers and then let it unwind.
Kossin followed Jalk's gaze and when he saw Link sitting there so quietly, he thought he had an idea of what was running through his head, "It's best we leave him be. He has had a long night."
He wasn't exaggerating that in the least.
"No, no," Link waved Kossin off, "It's fine now. I'm just… tired."
Well I would be too if I had the same night he had, Safter smiled to himself and Gono looked at him quizzically when a knock came at the door. Arutho stood and answered it to find Zelda standing there, her face burned with rage.
Link stood immediately when he saw Zelda tear streaked face, and he beckoned her, worried about his lover to the fullest, "What is it Zelda? What hurt you?"
Zelda collapsed on the stairs at his feet. She found herself wrapping her arms tightly around one of his legs and soaking his hoes with her tears. He sunk back down onto the wooden steps and wrapped his arms around her. Arutho, Gono and Jalk looked on this little scene with wide wondering eyes.
"It's alright darling," Link whispered in a voice too low for the others to hear, "Tell me what has happened to you."
"It's that… that Thing my… Father wishes me to marry!" she sobbed, "He's awful! He is frightful and cold… and he looks as though he were dead! He has a heart of ice and doesn't care at all for anyone or thing!"
"Shh, hush now," he crooned as he kissed her temple. The three brother's reactions was pretty much the same as they watched this; Arutho raised his brows, Gono's jaw dropped, and Jalk cocked his head in astonishment, his eyes still locked on the princess and her apparent lover.
I never knew that…" Gono was lost for words. It was strange, for the last time he had seen these two together, they had been but the most devoted and wonderful set of friends there could be… and now… they seemed more… intimate… then before. What on earth happened in the night!?
They hardly had time to think… Link and Zelda had gone off to the loft to talk about Dimitri by themselves.
Safter started to laugh a bit, "Better leave them be. They might wanna repeat last night."
Kossin glared with Arutho, Gono and Jalk looking on suspiciously, "Would you drop it!?"
Safter simply shrugged and laid his head back on the countertop, falling back into a drunken sleep.
Link sat down on the windowsill in his room as Zelda followed him into the cozy loft. She sat down next to him and sighed a sigh of anger and displeasure.
"Zelda, what did Dimitri do to you to make you so upset?" he asked in a caring voice.
Zelda shuddered at the thought of her fiancée, "He wanted me to go with him and Father on a ride. And then. When he kissed the back of my hand… oh… it wasn't warm like your kisses… Link… but cold like ice… or colder. It was awful! He speaks like he is higher than my Father… the goddesses even!"
Zelda was going to go on when Gono burst into the room, breathing heavily as though he had sprinted up every step in the building. He said hurriedly between gasps of air, "There's someone downstairs lookin' for ya Zel! Safter says it's that devil creature you're engaged to. He's got a look in 'is eye that could kill a man. I'd swear 'ee'd tear this place limb from limb if he don't find ya soon.
"My Goddess!!!" Zelda stood up, "Is there no running from him? …And how the hell did he know to come looking for me here?"
Someone in the army prob'ly hinted at it cuz they always look fer ya here 'neways," Gono pointed out.
"We need a new 'spot,'" Zelda crossed her arms and Link nodded.
"You'd best go down there afore he comes lookin' fer ya princess," Gono reasoned.
"It'd be best but I couldn't stand to voluntarily walk into his presence," Zelda frowned even more and slumped her shoulders.
"Just go with him for now," Link said quickly as he wound his arms around her waist, "We need to get him away from Arutho and the boys 'else he might hurt one of them."
"Yes but…" she wanted to protest but he quickly hushed her and told her to hurry. Zelda nodded and followed Gono down the stairs. She was almost down when she heard Link call quietly, "Three days… when the sun sets…. I'll meet you by the shore, alright?"
"Yes… I shall meet you there my love," she called back and then dashed down the stairs after Gono.
"Zelda," Dimitri was ill-tempered the moment he had Zelda alone with him on the way back to the castle, "Why did you run off? It disturbs me to think that my future wife is so untrustworthy."
"I do it often enough," Zelda didn't meet his cold stare as she walked along with his big black horse.
"I think that is a habit that we will have to put an end to, hmmm?" he hissed. His tone frightened Zelda. A wolf's howl floated through the cold night air and a raw gust of wind rustled through their hair.
"Say what you like," Zelda snapped defiantly, "I will continue to see whom ever I wish."
"No, that is where you are mistaken," Dimitri turned his frosty gaze forward, "I will choose whom you grant audience with… and I will choose where and when you see them. I do not approve of your peasant friends either. You're father tells me to be wary of certain acquaintances there. I assume that's who you were seeing just now?"
"Perhaps," Zelda shrugged.
"You are rebellious. You're father warned me about that as well," he went on, "Your attitude will have to be shaped to fit the mold of a proper queen."
"The people like the idea of a queen with a mind of her own. That is why they loved my mother," Zelda retorted.
"Not in Trabia nor any kingdom of mine," he returned even more chilling than before, "You will act as I command."
"Aren't we a bit authoritative," Zelda muttered sarcastically.
"Perhaps," he said with a cruel grin, "But it will be best to make sure you become as straight and sharp as a pin. I will take nothing from you. One false step and I will have to resort to certain… measures. Do no t fail me, Princess Zelda of Hyrule."
She was beaten for now, so she kept her mouth shut. This man… Dimitri… he was a new… different kind of evil. Zelda feared greatly for her kingdom.
Zelda kept her chestnut horse a few paces behind that of her father and Dimitri. She had insisted they had come this way on their ride… but it was only so she could meet Link at the appointed place.
The road would meander by the sandy shores of the Hylian Sea soon… the place where she had promised to meet Link three days ago. She would have to leave the main road to get to the exact place where she would see him though, but it would not be a difficult task. Safter was the only one behind her and all the soldiers with them were ahead of her, so it would therefore be easy to slip onto the small dirt path through the forest. It would bring her just beyond the tall wheat fields between the road and the beach and she knew Safter would cover for her.
As soon as she saw the path, she discreetly led her horse down the path. Safter threw her a smile and rode on with the others. As soon as she was through the thick wood, she was galloping down the beach, looking for Link. Soon, she came across him sitting on a large rock in the middle of the wheat fields some ways down.
She slowed her horse as she approached and called a greeting.
"Hello Zel!" he called back, "Come over here! The view is exquisite."
Zelda dismounted her horse and untied the large basket of food she had brought to share with Link, then proceeded to make her way through the tall stalks of wheat to the large boulder. When she reached Link's perch, she hoisted the basket up and climbed up next to Link.
"My, you're right," Zelda gasped as she admired the shoreline and the vast blue sea, the setting sun coloring the landscape brilliant shades of pink and orange, "This is a lovely view."
"Mmmm hmm," Link nodded. He had been rummaging through the basket of food with a hungry smile on his face, "God, Zelda, look at all this! You packed like Safter and Gono were coming with us!"
"Yes well, you never know," she smiled. He looked up and met her smile with a laugh.
"Well, obviously you did 'cause this is my favorite," he held up a huge wedge of cheese. It suddenly seemed quiet; the only sounds their breathing and the crashing of the waves on the beach. They stared at each other lovingly, Link's hand curling tighter around the cheese and Zelda looking flushed and contented.
The silence was broken by the pounding of hooves on the main road. Link whipped around to see Safter sitting on his tall brown horse. He called over to them, "Get down quick! They're comin'!"
Link nodded and waved Safter on. He turned his horse and galloped back to where the King and Dimitri were riding. Link grabbed Zelda around the waist and dove into the tall shoots of wheat. He pressed her down to the ground and kept her quiet with a finger. Then he said with a smile, "Don't worry, it'll only be like this for a little bit."
She smiled back at him as she brushed a golden forelock from over his dark lashed eyes, "I don't mind at all… I enjoy having such a magnificent creature lay on top of me."
He chuckled, "You're a bad girl, Zelda."
"Would you… want to?" her smile became a mischievous one.
"Here?" he kissed her mouth; silencing her, "Try me."
Suddenly, there was a scream from the main road, and
Link felt the sharp prick or a sword point at the back of his neck. Link clenched his teeth as Zelda looked beyond him to see one of the escort soldiers pressing a broadsword at her lover's neck.
"Here they are!" the soldier barked out to his companions. Zelda looked around her to find Link and herself being surrounded by the company of soldiers. She watched in horror as they all drew their weapons, one of them even goin gout of his way to knock the basket of food from the rock with his spear.
Dimitri stood directly behind her… and in his hand, he grasped Safter by the neck. How someone who appeared so pale and weak possessed such strength to lift someone as burly as Safter clear off the ground was beyond Zelda. The prince's long sharp nails seemed as though they could tear into the poor captain's throat at any time and Zelda feared for his life.
And then there was the fact that the soldier standing over Link and he could strike off Link's head with one signal from Dimitri. It was a very tough situation for Zelda.
"Zelda… you have defied me again! In only a week you have deceived me three times," Dimitri shouted across the wheat fields, his hand tightening around Safter's throat. The captain started to kick furiously, his hands at his throat trying in vain to pry Dimitri's hands from his neck, all the while gasping for a breath.
"Zelda…" Link whispered, "Try not to move."
"One false step, Zelda, and I will dash this traitor's brains on that rock over there," Dimitri warned, "It is really to bad. I had high hopes for you and this man… but he seems to be more loyal to you than to me… so I may have to teach him a lesson he will never forget."
"Don't kill him!" Zelda screamed. The forced of her body rising pushed the sword a bit deeper into Link's neck and he winced in pain, a trickle of blood dripping down his neck now. Zelda, realizing this, flattened herself out and relieved Link of some of his pain.
"You have a choice now Zelda," Dimitri went on, "You can save your friend or this other… who seems to be… perhaps… more than a friend?"
"Save him," Link whispered into her ear, "He will die if we wait any longer. I will find a way out of whatever they throw me into. You know me."
"Yeah," she agreed quietly.
"Take the peasant," Dimitri ordered the soldiers.
Immediately, the guards grabbed Link roughly by the arms and yanked him to his knees. One soldier still held him at sword point while another cuffed him with a set of cold iron shackles, binding his hands and feet. Zelda watched in horror as one of the guards whacked Link brutally on the back of the head, knocking him unconscious; he slumped over, his fair locks toppling over his eyes.
Zelda sat up and yelled at Dimitri to unhand Safter, "Let him go! Unhand them both!"
"Don't push your luck," Dimitri snarled as he flung
Safter onto the ground where he panted uncontrollably for air. The he motioned for the soldiers to take Link away, "You are fortunate I am feeling in lenient mood today."
Zelda spat at him and then said with an awful sneer,
"You are the most evil thing I have ever encountered in all my life!"
"You would be… surprised princess," he said in a cryptic tone as he turned back the road where the king waited with his horse, "But I always win, princess. Always."
"Zelda, come along!" the king called at Zelda,
"There is nothing left for you here. And will you get it when we return home. Let's go." Dimitri turned to smile triumphantly at Zelda before mounting his tall black stallion and then galloping down the road.
"Carry the boy at least a league back so she won't try anything. Also give her an escort of at least two soldiers, one of them riding with her… and choose two other than Safter. Take no orders from him," the king said as he urged his horse down the road after Dimitri.
Zelda frowned after her father as two soldiers rode up to her with her horse. She mounted the chestnut mare, a soldier at the reins just as her father had instructed, and then turned to see them violently mounting Link on the extra horse. He had come around, but he was not putting up any fights. He just looked miserable, his face bruised and scratched. She felt a tear at the corner of her eye as she watched them abusing this man who was so pure and innocent as though he were a criminal.
"Do you want me to…" she mouthed to Link as they roughly helped him mount. He shook his head at her and smiled, mouthing the words, "Don't worry about it."
Suddenly, the soldier on her horse started the animal down the path, and Zelda grabbed onto the saddle as the horse soon broke into a gallop, Link and his Royal Guard escort diminishing with the sea.
"And furthermore, he is, after all, a peasant,
Zelda," her father had been lecturing her for hours. Zelda sat bored in a large overstuffed chair, playing with the tassels on one of the pillows there, "Zelda… Zelda? Zelda! Are you even listening!?"
"Do I even care?" Zelda yawned, "Frankly, Father, you're aristocratic talk tends to bore me after a while."
"There you go talking like you are the queen of the world!" He frowned, "I am disappointed in you daughter."
"Let me handle her," Dimitri put a hand up. He had been sitting on a wooden chair in a shadowy corner the entire time, smiling wickedly.
"Go ahead, Dimitri," the king invited him over, "She'll be your problem when you marry her."
"A problem, am I?" Zelda shouted, rising to her feet and throwing the pillow at the two men before her.
"That temper could use work," the king said blankly.
"Shut up," she screamed angrily, "Just shut up and don't talk to me!"
And with that she stormed out of the room. "She has quite a mind of her own, eh Dimitri?" the
king said solemnly as he sunk into the overstuffed chair.
"Yes," Dimitri licked his canines, "That she does."
A knock came at the door as Zelda lay on her bed,
staring at the ceiling.
"Come in," Zelda sighed.
The door opened and Safter walked in. He looked dejected as he sat down on the large oak trunk at the foot of the bed. Zelda sat up and crawled down to the foot of the bed, sitting cross-legged at his side.
"Safter," she was worried about her friend, "What's wrong… you look depressed."
"Oh, is that what it is," he said quietly, "Depression…
I suppose you are right. Today was an awful day."
Zelda nodded, "Yes… nothing like I had hoped for."
"I was stripped of my title as captain," he went on,
"My mistakes caused one of my best friends to be jailed and another to be confined within her room," he smiled at her.
"It wasn't you… not at all Safter!" Zelda comforted,
"You didn't do anything. It was me. I was foolish to think I could see Link without being caught."
"And all that food," Safter laughed, "What a waste."
Zelda laughed as well, but she felt his pain. She could see he was trying to act cheerful to make the both of them feel better. It just hurt her more to know that he was forfeiting himself to make her feel better.
"What happened to Link," Zelda whispered as she
cupped her chin in her hands.
"I don't know. They didn't tell me anything about him," Safter moaned as he flopped back onto the bed, his long magenta bangs tumbled over his cheek a bit, partially revealing his eye. He touched his throat where Dimitri's sharp nails had left their mark. With a wince of pain, he stroked his wounds and then closed his eyes. Zelda looked over his neck and gasped when she saw his cuts. They were deep enough to leave scars; he was lucky he wasn't dead.
"I will speak to Dimitri about what he did to you,"
Zelda said as she lifted his chin to see for any more damage.
"Would he listen," Safter whispered as he glanced at her.
"Maybe," Zelda murmured, "Safter… what was it like… when he held you like that?"
"Awful," Safter covered his forehead with his arm,
"I never thought that such a pale ridden man could possess such a strength to lift a person clear off the ground with one hand. His grip was like a vice, his nails digging into my flesh as he squeezed tighter. And I saw his eyes from the corner of my own… they burned with more rage and fire than ever!"
"How dreadful!" Zelda gasped.
"I asked Kossin about it when I got here," Safter went on, "He said he had his suspicions… I recall him once telling me of a creature that he read about that fits Dimitri perfectly."
"What is that?" Zelda asked, her curiosity piqued.
"Like the Devil himself," Safter said as he rolled on his side, "Go speak to him about it. It might comfort you to speak to one who knows what he is talking about."
"Kossin! Kossin!" Zelda knocked franticly on the sorcerer's attic study door, "It's me, Zelda, Kossin!"
"Come in Zel," she heard him reply. She pushed the door open and then let it fall closed behind her. The room appeared to be empty. It was a cozy place; Zelda like it a lot. To the left, were walls and rows of shelves, stuffed with books and other texts. Ahead of her was a large round window intricately paned with circles and thick textured glass, playing weird patterns of sunlight on the floor. On her right was his large desk, a wooden chair behind it and two other chairs before it. The desk was piled with papers and more books. Behind the desk was another wall of books. In the spare wall space was swords and shields, banners and tapestries covered with strange magical markings.
"Kossin!" she called out his name, "Where are you?"
"Here!" he called back.
"Here could be anywhere!" Zelda rolled her eyes. She knew he was just toying with her.
"Exactly," he said as he stepped out from between two tall wooden bookcases, "Here can be there or anywhere. It just depends where you are and where I am!"
"You amuse me Kossin," Zelda laughed.
"Isn't that my job?" he laughed as he jumped in the air, floating above the ground in a pensive sitting position, "So what can I do for you Zel? Magic? Legends? What's your pleasure?"
"Safter told me something I want you to clear up for
me," Zelda said as she watched Kossin float around her in circles.
"Uh huh," he said as he put his hands behind his
head, "What'd the poor dear fool say?"
"Tell me about… the creature you believe Dimitri to be… Kossin," she said darkly.
"Oh, he told you what I thought about Dimitri, eh?"he leapt from his aerial perch to the heavily carpeted ground.
"Yes," she nodded.
"The Vampire," he muttered to himself as he disappeared between a set of bookcases again. He returned a moment later with a heavy leather bound book and a small chest. He laid them both on his desk and then hoisted himself onto the desktop.
"You will tell me then!?" she leapt for joy with a tiny bounce and then sat herself down in one of the chairs by his desk.
"Of course," he nodded gravely, "You have every right to know… and Link's life may depend on it."
"Link," Zelda sucked in a breath and all her joy,
"How… what will happen to him? What will that Thing do to him?"
"Nothing yet… not untill He needs blood," Kossin said in a low voice, "Unless He does not intend to drink Link's blood, we must worry for Link. There is no way to tell for sure, but I can tell you what I do know for sure."
"Alright Kossin," Zelda gripped the arms of her chair, "I am ready to listen."
"The Vampire… is an evil creature, one of the
Un-dead, from a small mountain region in Trabia," Kossin began, "He lives on blood; drinking it from the veins of the living to stay alive. He is master of the night… with powers over wolves, mist, bats, and other such malevolence and he is able to shift into the form of these... but only at sunrise and sunset."
"Why is he so pale Kossin? And why so strong?" Zelda asked. That detail about him had been bothering her the moment she first laid eyes on him.
"The strength and the pale skin are just some of the characteristics of the Vampire, although he will not seem so pale when he is revitalized with a drink of some young blood. That is why I fear for Link. He may plan to do away with him in that manner quietly. But that is not the worst of it at all. No, not at all."
"What is the worst of it then?" Zelda's eyes were wide with fear. Even in simply hearing of this monster, she was frightened… and to think her lover could be at his mercy!? Was the world such a cruel place?
"If He drinks enough from one's veins, that one will join the ranks of this evil race and become one of them… He would become one of the Un-dead. Not dead, yet not alive, damned to eternally hunt more to join the ranks of the evil Vampire. It is a horrid fate, not being able to be put to rest. I believe our friend Dimitri has come to Hyrule to diminish this kingdom to a place writhing with the Un-dead."
"Good God! Is there any salvation from such a horror?" Zelda was totally aghast.
"Yes, yes, of course," Kossin nodded thankfully,
"There are ways to put one of the Un-dead to rest… but it is harder than it seems."
"Oh," she said, "Please tell me anyway."
"Yes, of course," Kossin nodded again. He reached for the small chest and placed it on his lap, "Here I have some of the tools that the Vampire killers use to slay the Un-dead."
He opened the chest for Zelda to see.
"I don't find those to be anything useful," Zelda scoffed at the contents, "Tools you said? I see junk."
"You are wrong there, my pretty princess Zelda. These have been used for ages."
"This is very strange," Zelda mused as she examined the contents of the box once more. They were simple objects; silver cross, a sprig of the wild rose, a small mirror, a candle, small clove of garlic… all of them seeming to be ordinary household necessities.
"Things concerning the dead usually are," Kossin
replied as he closed the lid gently laid the garlic back in the box.
"Is that all there is to do about it?"
"No," Kossin shook his head, his green locks rustling as he did, "These are only small things… to hold the Vampire away. To kill one… that is the difficult part."
"Is it really?" Zelda frowned, "After what Dimitri did to Safter I would do anything to destroy him."
"You'll change your mind when I tell you what you'd have to do," Kossin smiled.
"Try me," Zelda smiled.
"Basically, you must destroy the remains of the body. For the body is dead, but the spirit is not. The most traditional way is as follows: first, you must drive a wooden stake through His heart whilst He sleeps as to pin him to the earth. Then you must cut off his head and stuff it with garlic and throw it into a body of water. If you wanted, you could burn the body too. That works just as well."
"Butchery!" Zelda exclaimed, "What if the one you would have to do this to was one you loved?"
"It would make no difference. That is how to kill
Him. You must cut off His head. To avenge your loved ones, you must."
"I understand. But is there time to save Link?"
"I… I," Kossin stammered, "Zelda… that is one thing… I do not know."
Five nights later, Zelda decided to try and see
Link. She knew they were probably keeping him in the dungeon and she planned to find out where he was if he was not there. It was darker than usual that night, the rain pouring on the sleek blue tiles of the castle roofs and a heavy mist shrouded Hyrule as the thundershower pounded the world with all her fury.
Zelda slipped down the stone steps to the dungeon as quietly as she could. She had to know Link was safe and well... alive. She had wanted to see him sooner, but it was impossible, for her Father and Dimitri had kept a tight eye on her. By now, their watchful looks had faltered and in the night, Zelda had found a moment to slip away.
The lightning lit the dreary halls strangely as it cracked over the black Hylian sky. Zelda tried her best to keep herself hidden in the shadows all over, as to keep herself hidden from the guards. Soon she found the hallways opening into a small room, torches flickering in their sconces all around the round little room. In the center was a table in which a guard lay slumped over, drunk, his hand gripping the handle of a beer mug tightly. Zelda crept as quietly as she could around the drunkard and soon found herself walking along another hallway, this one lined with barred cells. Each one was empty… untill she got to the last one at the very end of the hall.
And there she found Link.
She gasped as she looked at the state of him as he sat kneeling on the cold wet floor. His clothing was torn and his body was covered with bruises and cuts, his flesh raw and bloody. His hair was streaked with dirt, as was his body. Zelda had never seen him look so forlorn in all her life. He was still bound in shackles, chained to the wall so he could not move. He had his eyes closed and his head bowed; he did not see her as she came as close to the barred door and placed her hands around the cold iron barrier. It was enough to make tears well up in her eyes.
"Link," she whispered his name, her sweet voice floating through the heavy air. Link heard her call his name, and he slowly opened his heavy eyelids and turned his head and smiled at her. She smiled back at him. Even though he was so battered, he still was beautiful for her.
"Zelda," he whispered back to her as he shifted in his chains, rattling them as he did, "You're… here."
She nodded, "Yes… I had to see you… I needed to make sure you were alright."
"I am fine… now."
"I am a horrible person to have left you alone," Zelda clenched her fist tighter about the iron bar.
"No… no," he smiled, "You never left me alone. You were always here with me. "
She smiled back at him, "Always at my side. Oh, I wish I could help you… but not this time. Father keeps the keys himself now. I… I am sorry."
"Don't be," he shook his head no, his dirty blond locks still falling just right as he did. He looked at her, the very look in her eye telling him that she wanted to be close to him. He would die even if it meant he could come close enough to her to give her that kiss she desired.
"Goddesses, gives strength," he whispered as he pulled at his shackles.
"Link! Don't even try to!" she cried as she realized what he was trying to do, "You'll kill yourself!"
Link paid no heed to her cries; he tugged harder, pulling away from the wall with all his might. He gritted his teeth as the irons dug into the flesh of his wrists. Blood began to leak from under the iron manacles as he pulled harder and harder. Zelda watched in awe as the Triforce of Courage began o glow on the back of his hand, followed soon by a dim glow of the Triforce of Power. She even thought she saw the faint etch of her own Triforce of Wisdom there as well as his ankle cuffs began to leak his blood. His face was the very picture of strength and pain as beads of sweat became intermingled with blood at the very torment of it all.
I must get to her. These chains shall not hold me
back from the one who loves me… the one I love! And with that thought, bloody tears came to his eyes as he pulled
harder. With one mighty yell, the chains all at once snapped, and he staggered forward a bit before dragging his pained and bleeding body to where she stood just on the other side of the bars. And it was there that he reached through the barrier and pulled her lips close as so he could kiss her.
Link… you tore your body apart so you could come to me! she thought as she reached through the bars to touch his bruised and bloody face. He was warm and he breathed heavily. Gently, he pulled his mouth from hers and looked at her lovingly.
"Link, you could have killed yourself!" she said in a worried voice, "Why did you do that?"
"I wanted to be… with you," he said tenderly as his rough fingers grazed her cheek.
"Link," she whispered, "I love you."
"And I love you," he murmured back to her, "Zelda."
They stood there for a moment, lost in each other's warm loving gaze, and soon found themselves locked in another kiss. In fact, the whole universe seemed to stop… just for them and that moment.
But it came crashing to an end with an awful bang.
Suddenly, a pair of strong hands wrenched Zelda away from Link and a commanding voice called for more soldiers. Zelda looked up to find herself being confined in the strong locking hands of another captain of the army. Juno was his name and his soldiers were the ones who were the prison guards.
"How nice," Juno growled, "Dimitri told me to keep an eye out for you down here. Guess he was right."
"Let me go, Sir Juno," Zelda kicked around in his grasp a bit, but it was to no avail.
"I am quite sorry, Princess," Juno shot back quickly, his tone angry and harsh, "but you've just decided the fait of this boy right here. My orders concerning him are not something a lady should hear though, although it was your visiting him that has given me the permission to have those orders executed."
"Orders!? From who?" Zelda kicked again.
"Your Father and Dimitri, of course!" Juno said with a gruff smile, "I shall have my soldiers escort you back to your room now."
"JUNO!!!" Zelda screamed as he roughly handed her to another soldier.
Juno ignored her though, and motioned for another soldier to take Link away. Link made no move to attack as the soldier replaced the broken irons on Link's wrists with a pair of fresh ones. Link smiled at Zelda, and said quietly as the soldier started to take him away, "I love you, Zelda."
"JUNO!!!" Zelda screamed again as the soldier pulled her back down the corridor, farther and farther away from Link.
She was able to catch a glimpse as the other soldier pulled Link in the opposite direction, down another hall before her own escort pulled her around a corner.
And that was the last time she ever saw him.
Zelda sat right outside the door of The Dragon's Chalice. She had her knees tucked against her chest, her face buried in the cloth of her dress as she mourned Link. He had been wrenched so coldly away from her, and she had no idea what they had done with him.
Is he… dead… alive… or are they torturing him? I don't know what to do any more.
Just then, Safter came strolling down the road with Kossin, whose arm was linked around Karmi's. The trio stopped at the door and looked with undying pity at the torn princess on the ground beside them. She did not meet their stares though, and she continued to watch the cobble stoned street, not caring what they were thinking of her.
Kossin and Karmi entered the tavern, both their heads bowed sadly, but Safter hung back. He knelt at Zelda's side and put a comforting arm about her shoulder. Zelda pushed it away and turned to face the other direction.
"Zelda… I," he began.
"Look, Safter," she sad, her voice choked with tears, "I don't need any sympathy. Please just leave me alone."
"But Zelda… I think there is…"
"Leave me alone," she snapped back coldly.
"No," Safter sat down defiantly, "That is one wish I will not grant you."
"Why," she sobbed, "Are you going to tell me how much pity you and your brother have for me? Are you going to say how weak the kingdom sees their princess to be now?"
"Then what do you have to say. Make it quick."
"About Link… I just wanted to say that… I share your pain…"
"How could you," she wept, "You didn't have the kind of love for him that I had… nor did you have the same bond we had."
"He was like a brother to me Zelda…. Don't say I didn't have a love for him… because I loved him as much as you. We all did… and he is a great loss for us all as he is for you."
"So he's dead then…"
"Yes… he is…." He sighed sadly.
"How do you know for sure," Zelda spun around, her face red and tear streaked, "You don't know for sure he's dead! They may have just locked him away somewhere else!" she grabbed his tunic and began to shake him, "He isn't dead. It's just a joke, right?" she began to laugh a little, "You two plotted this to make the best of a bad time! It's a joke, isn't it? You're joking aren't you? You have Link hidden and he'll pop out, won't he, and declare it a big hoax, won't he?"
Safter couldn't meet her eyes, as he shook his head no. Zelda let go of his tunic and broke down once more, "How do you know then…. How… is it that you know that he is dead?"
"Dimitri forced me to watch them kill him. He dragged me to the room where they finished Link himself. After they shackled me to the wall, guards flanking my either side, he said to me as licked those teeth of his, 'Now you shall get to watch your comrade die. It will teach you and that princess to ever defy me again.' And with that, Dimitri signaled to another soldier to bring Link in. They hung him from the ceiling by chains, and chained his feet to the ground so he could not kick or move whatsoever. Then they beat him to death with heavy chains. I watched it all, and for the first time in my life, Zelda, I cried. I almost couldn't bear to watch them as he screamed your name out with every blow to his body. I shall never forgive myself. I blame myself for his death… and I am sorry for it," Safter hung his head in shame, tears beginning to well in his eyes after relaying the story. Zelda wrapped her arms around him, and comforted the broken down man that sat beside her.
"What did they do with his body when they were done?"
Zelda murmured the question into Safter's tunic.
"When he finally breathed his last and hung his head, they took him down and dropped him violently on the floor to make sure he was really dead. And they left him there…. But when a soldier was making his rounds the next morning, he noticed the body was gone. No one knows where it went and of course… everyone suspects Karmi, my brother and I of stealing it. But know this Zelda… not one of us has touched him. Perhaps he is among the angels now."
"I know that is where he is," she looked up at the orange sky and smiled, "And one day he shall come to avenge his murderer."
"Do you really believe that?"
"Yes," Zelda nodded confidently, "Because it is his destiny… and I shall wait for him."
"We will wait with you," Safter said as he stood up.
Then he said as he opened the door to go inside, "Keep your faith, Zelda. For then your dreams will come true."
"It will be so…." She murmured, "Link… how I miss you. You will be my only love eternally. And I will treasure your last words to me forever….
I love you… Zelda….
Whenever sang my songs
On the stage, on my own
Whenever said my words
Wishing they would be heard
I saw you smiling at me
Was it real or just my fantasy
You'd always be there in the corner
Of this tiny little bar
My last night here for you
Same old songs, just once more
My last night here with you?
Maybe yes, maybe noI kind of liked it your way
How you shyly placed your eyes on me
Oh, did you ever know?
That I had mine on you
Darling, so there you are
With that look on your face
As if you're never hurt
As if you're never down
Shall I be the one for you
Who pinches you softly but sure
If frown is shown then
I will know that you are no dreamer
So let me come to you
Close as I wanna be
Close enough for me
To feel your heart beating fast
And stay there as I whisper
How I loved your peaceful eyes on me
Did you ever know
That I had mine on you
Darling, so share with me
Your love if you have enough
Your tears if you're holding back
Or pain if that's what it is
How can I let you know
I'm more than the dress and the voice
Just reach me out then
You will know that you're not dreaming
Darling, so there you are
With that look on your face
As if you're never hurt
As if you're never down
Shall I be the one for you
Who pinches you softly but sure
If afrown is shown then
I will know that you are no dreamer
Hey! That's it for the first part. Now you have to read Part II so you can find out what happens to Link, Zelda and the rest of the gang! And please, please let me know what you think! I hope you like it! - The Link Worshiper
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