Chapter 28: Reaction
A million things rang through Link's mind as Zelda kissed him; love, happiness, anger, and the foremost stood out in his mind: fear. Pure, unbridled fear.
She loved him, and he her. The whole purpose of this mission was to break the bond between them so she might marry Edward and they defeat Vandellus. Afterward Zelda could go on living her life, producing heirs and ruling her people while he disappeared into the shadows and acted as her silent protector.
That was the way things were meant to be… That was what he had thought and accepted ever since he had seen her again that day in the palace, older and battle weary.
But was that really how Amelia, his dear and beloved sister, would let him think.
She had told him that he should not let rank get in the way of his emotions, but how could it not get in his way? He knew nothing of his family, not if they were some sort of traitors to Hyrule, if they were wealthy nobles, or if his father were a knight. Zelda, on the other hand, could trace her relatives back to the dawn of time. Every drop of her precious blood was royal through and through.
Already in his mind Link could hear the violent shouts of the people of Hyrule in his mind. He could see the horrible anger of the Counsel, his Father's furious face, King Harkinian's disapproval, and the slaughter of over one million.
But still, Link could not restrain these emotions… his sister was far wiser than he would ever be, and perhaps he could believe her words. If he truly loved Zelda then he would not let their ranks get in the way of their love. He knew his heart would break into a thousand shards if he was not with her, that he would die if any other man set his greedy paws upon her delicate flesh.
He was drawn out of his critical thinking as the harsh cool of the night violently ravaged his lips. Link's blue eyes widened when he saw something he never thought or wished to see.
His Zelda never cried, he knew it in this lifetime and in his last. She was far too strong willed and good to cry.
"Zelda… Please don't cry, Zelda," he said, his voice weakening considerably as the girl continued her sobs. Oh God, if there was one thing he hated, it was seeing her cry. He never thought he'd actually have to deal with something like this…
"L-Link I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have done such a thing, I'm so-." The young Princess was silenced as Link slowly placed a gentle finger atop her soft lips. Her eyes widened as she looked at him, her sobs ceasing.
Link was not angry, nor upset at her actions. In fact… he was smiling. The first true smile that reigned across his face without bitterness tingeing its rough edges.
His golden hair sparkled in the moonlight and bathed his features in an wondrous glow. His eyes seemed to sparkle with life and gentleness as that gorgeous smile curved upon his thin and usually sour lips.
Was this truly the man who had stood before her a mere few weeks ago with nothing but bitterness in his eyes? The man who had escaped her affections time and time again?
"Zelda… You don't have to apologize for this." His voice was no more than a whisper upon the wind's breath, comforting music within her weary ears. "Love is no one's fault. It happens… and if you truly love someone, rank is no matter to worry of."
A gauntleted hand reached up, ghosting her cheek with a gentle caress as Link drew nearer, the scent of pine wafting to her nose and sending chills down her back.
"I've been such a stubborn and foolish man. No doubt I've caused you much pain, my dear friend," Link whispered, looking deeply into her beautiful violet eyes, "I don't know if you can ever find it in your heart to forgive the pain that I've caused you… in this life and the last. I've failed you so many times, I don't know how I can ever make it up to you. It may be too late to say this, but…"
"I love you Zelda. With all my heart and soul, I love you."
And for that one moment time stood still for the two of them. The moon fell upon them and graced them with her gentle beams as the world stared at the ones it had failed time and time again.
Hyrule seemed far gone from their minds as Zelda reached out, their lips crashing against one another's again. The Princess and her Hero finally together after a hundred years apart.
She loved him so much, Zelda fondly thought. How long had she loved him? She did not know… Was it the moment that she first saw him as a child, mischievously grinning at her as he ran past with several guards running after him? Did she fall in love through the countless letters they sent each other throughout the last eight years? Was it when he returned for the first time in years?
Did it really matter though? No, she thought numbly as thy separated for air, both panting violently. It only mattered that they were together now, fully aware of each other's emotions and bonded together through something even magic couldn't forge.
Link, bright eyed, looked at the woman in his arms, conscious again. The consequences seeped back into his mind as he parted his lips and spoke. "Edward, Hyrule… Vandellus and your Father… What is to happen now?"
And as he was to speak and ramble again, she silenced him with another kiss. "Let us worry about that tomorrow. For now, let us throw all that aside."
Link, not knowing what else to do or say, full heartedly agreed with his Princess as the two held each other, simply content to gaze at the stars and revel in each other's presences.
A candle flickered as gray eyes looked down upon the image of a green-clad man and regal woman holding each other underneath the stars. The moment flickered for a moment, and as a delicate hand passed over its smooth surface, it faded into the crystal clear surface of water.
Artemis smiled softly as she stared down at the now empty surface. She stood, taking hold of the bowl of water and throwing it into the nearby fireplace, the flames hissing in response to the violent attack.
Once again the Sage sat at her simple dark stained desk, crossing her hands lightly as she looked at her fierce familiar that lay curled by her side, lids lazily drooped over his golden eyes.
"Everything is coming together as it should," the Sage said, placing a gentle hand upon the wolf's broad head and giving it a fond scratch. "Everything is as you said it would be, My Lady."
There were a few moments of silence before Artemis chuckled to herself. "That is right, you can no longer hear my voice, can you? You've gone to your well deserved rest… You can rest knowing that everything will be alright…"
"I wanted to give it to him, but I don't think the time is quite right yet, don't you agree, Lady?" Artemis continued. "He still must overcome so much before anything can be done… Before he learns who he truly is. But you do know that eventually he will need it, along with whatever birthright you left to him upon your death. In the end, it is your legacy that will help him."
Artemis smiled a moment, gray eyes lighting up as she clasped a glowing item within her hand, a thin silver chain peeking out from between her fingers.
"Rest assured, I shall carry out your will down to the last letter, Lady Amelia."
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