Childhood Ignorance

By Kurai Hitokiri

Chapter 1: When we were Children

It is strange how innocent words spoken as a child can come back and haunt you in your later years. This is no exception for I, Zelda Harkinian, Princess of Hyrule.

Upon my eighteenth birthday, I was engaged to be married to Prince Edward of Termina. This alliance will combine Hyrule and Termina and form a kingdom greater than any seen.

However, there is to consider my own feelings for this sudden chain of events.

Although Edward is a kind and honorable man, I have lacked feelings for him since the time I met him six years ago on my twelfth birthday. In fact, my heart belongs to no man, not even to my dearest friend, Link Greene.

True, I once had a crush upon him as a girl, but as time passed, my emotions were not returned, and so I abandoned them, locking them within my own heart with seals of magic since I myself could not contain them. It was then that I maintained a steady friendship with him, thinking only of my duty to the country.

Link was an oddity among the many soldiers at our command. As a baby, he was abandoned at the doorstep of John, the commander of the army. The poor infant was blood-smattered and wrapped in a fine green tunic, crying hungrily and left in hopes of a better future, the only clue to his past a note written on worn parchment in elegant handwriting saying 'His name is Link.'

John took Link into his care, giving him the surname 'Greene' after the bottle green fabric that he had been abandoned in. He treated Link as his son and heir, since he had no wife or children of his own.

Link and I met as children, playing games and playing tricks on the castle guard. Sometimes he would even tutor me in the ways of the sword, secretly though, since John often grew angry that his apprentice educated a woman in the ways of war.

As Link grew, he became less and less the little boy I learned to love and play with, and more a handsome, quiet, drawn-in young man of few words. He was known for his prowess in the arts of war, and for his heroic actions upon the battlefield.

Still, we remain good friends, depending upon one another, although we do not play the games we used to as children, nor view each other as equals any longer.

We did not know, however, that one of our little 'games' would change our lives forever.

11 years ago…

The sun shone brightly in the cloudless blue, blessing the life in Hyrule with another Goddess sent day.

The Royal Courtyard was in full bloom, the flowers had just awakened from their long slumber and stretched their beautiful faces toward the large globe in the sky, their delicate scents wafting pleasantly through the air. Water trickled from recesses in the walls, falling slowly and flowing in a large circle around lush grass.

Sitting upon white marble stairs, a young girl, no older than six or seven, sat with her friend, a young boy of equal age.

Her golden blonde hair was shoulder length, curling slightly at the ends. Her young face held a look of strong stubbornness and determination, emphasized by soft violet eyes that seemed endlessly wise. Her young, but beautiful form was covered in a white dress, that at first glance appeared to be normal, but upon closer inspection, you could see it was of fine material.

Her companion had shaggy blonde hair that hung before mischievous, yet kind eyes of piercing blue. His face was still young, and the corners of his lips seemed to have a smile playing forever at the edges. His sleeveless blue tunic, crème pants, and brown leather boots, though not as fine as the girl's, were still incredibly handsome.

"There's nothing to do around here, Zelda," the boy muttered, crossing his arms and tapping his foot in an impatient fashion. "We've been chained to the courtyard today. Heck, your Dad even put guards outside to make sure we didn't leave!"

The girl, Zelda, simply smiled sweetly at her friend and laughed. "I don't blame Daddy for it. Remember last week when we ran out of the castle after setting fire to the hedge?"

The boy chortled as his mind wandered back to the accomplishment. "That was beautiful. Remember when they ran out screaming like wimps? Oh, classic."

"But was it really worth it? Because of it, Daddy got so mad at me and took away my magic books for the rest of the month," Zelda recalled, frowning. It still chilled her to think back to the tirade that her father had gone on, his yelling so loud that half the castle had stopped in fear of their King's loud, and thundering voice.

"Zelda, you're such an egghead," the boy said, grinning at the girl, "If you want punishment, then you should really see what my father did to me. He tied my hands behind my back, chained me to the front of the house, and made me stay there the whole night… without food."

"I am NOT an egghead, Link!" Zelda shrilled, glaring at the boy.

"Yes you are!" Link argued, grinning, "You think that reading books with all those complicated words is fun! You're seven and you sure don't act like it!"

"It never hurts to read a bit!" Zelda muttered, crossing her arms. "Besides, all you know how to do is swing a sword! Is that really an accomplishment?"

Link put his hands to his hips, staring directly into Zelda's stubborn eyes. "At least I know how to defend myself!"

"All brawn, no brains," Zelda sighed, averting her gaze to the flowers before her.

"…What does brawn mean, Zelda?" Link asked, staring confusedly into space.

Zelda sighed in disappointment, getting to her feet and dusting off her hands. For a moment she did not speak, just simple stared at the seemingly endless sea of flowers. She broke the silence after a while of contemplating her words.

"Link… we'll always be friends, right?" Zelda asked, looking at her friend.

Link stood, reeling in shock that she would even think of them not being friends. He made his way over to her, boots clacking against marble as he placed a hand on Zelda's shoulder, smiling.

"Of course we'll always be friends, Zelda," said Link, "And I promise no matter what that I will work as hard as I can to become a great knight so that I can protect you from bad guys!" No matter how childish it seemed, Zelda felt like Link actually meant every word he said.

"Thank you, Link," Zelda said, faintly smiling. The look of pondering was replaced by a wide grin. "Hey, want to play a Hero game?"

Link blinked a moment before groaning in disappointment. He was hoping that he could teach Zelda more swordplay, but instead he was being forced to play another of these monotonous rescue games that Zelda was so fond of.

"Do we HAVE to?" Link muttered, his brow furrowing in frustration.

Zelda, upon hearing Link's whining voice, clasped her hands together and stared at him in a pouting fashion. "Please, Link…?"

It was such a pitiful sight that Link immediately dropped his sour mood and sighed in resignation. "Oh, alright…"

Zelda began spinning a tale about how a beautiful princess was captured by a dragon and held in his lair until a brave Hero who loved the princess came to defeat the dragon with his mighty blade in his hands.

Upon finishing briefing Link, Zelda ran across the courtyard and sat near a bush, her expression changing from a fierce grin to one of intense horror. "Oh Hero! Come and save me from this hideous place!"

Link, muttering curses under his breath, stomped toward Zelda and took her hand in his. "There, Princess, I've… saved you."

Zelda frowned and wrenched her hand away from Link, shaking her head. "No, no, Link, you have to fight off the evil dragon first before you save me!"

Link, growing fouler in mood, pretended he had a sword in his hand, and gave imaginary slashes in the beast. He jumped backward, groaned as though he were in pain, and reeled backwards, all to humor the girl who watched his every move.

After jumping high into the air and pretending to finish the creature off, Link turned to Zelda and grumpily took her hand in his again. "I've saved you, dear Princess."

Again, Zelda frowned. "Oh come on, Link. You're supposed to admit your undying love for me and ask me to marry you! Put some feeling into it!"

Link rolled his blue orbs as he bent down on one knee and stared into Zelda's eyes. "Princess, I have… ergh, do I have to say it?"

Zelda nodded, tapping her foot impatiently for Link to continue his speech.

"Princess, I have fallen in love with you. Would you honor me by… marrying me?" Link muttered, spitting out the words like venom.

"Yes, yes dear Hero," Zelda said, smiling.

"Alright, the end, right?" Link asked, getting to his feet and staring at Zelda.

"No, no, now we have to say some vows confirming our everlasting love and seal it with a kiss," Zelda said, smiling smugly.

Link groaned again, but much louder than before. "Well, what do you want me to say, it's not like I memorize vows confirming everlasting love to say to girls all the time…"

Zelda pondered for a moment before snapping her fingers and smiling. "I remember an oath from a book that I read, it's in another language, so repeat after me."

The two of them joined hands together, staring deep into each others eyes while speaking the strange language. The words rolled off their tongues easily, but the two children didn't know the weight of the vows of which they were speaking.

The lengthy speech came to an end, and Link found his palms sweaty as he knew what was coming… a kiss.

It seemed like time had slowed as Zelda gently placed her lips upon his.

The feeling was sweet, sweeter than anything he had experienced in his entire seven years of living. It also felt strangely unusual at the same time… He'd thought that kissing was gross, but now that he was actually receiving a kiss, he actually thought he kind of enjoyed it.

After what seemed as though an eternity, they parted, only to find each other blushing horribly. They seemed unable to look each other in the eyes, and they stared down at their hands, clasped within each other's holds.

The two children felt torrents of strange, alien emotions course through their veins. They would have never guessed how much those emotions would affect their lives.

Link, horribly crimson, mumbled a quick excuse before rushing from the garden, leaving Princess Zelda to herself.

The two, the next day, had gotten over the awkward moment and played with each other as usual. As time passed, the memory faded into the shadows, forgotten for eleven years.

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