Author's Note: I couldn't resist. It's St. Patrick's Day, so what a perfect opportunity to write a one-shot revolving around my favorite couple and my favorite color... Please enjoy and tell me what you think :)
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Throughout my youth, I had heard stories of light battling darkness, of heaven-sent miracles and heroes. The words fate and destiny recurred often.
But if one were to tell my story, that is not how I would wish it to be told.
I did not believe in such things as fortune—or destiny—as the legends described.
Whatever I chose would determine my future, and I would face whatever consequences would come.
However, when it came to her, I did not know what I believed in.
When it came to her, I prayed for all the good fortune in the world to be bestowed upon me.
For when it came to her… no decision, no circumstance, no words, nothing at all was ever right.
But today would be different, I was sure.
For it was the day of the Viridian Festival.
The Viridian Festival marked the beginning of winter's wane. Many citizens of Hyrule wore green to show gratitude for surviving the coldness and hope for an early spring. They visited shrines and prayed to the Goddesses for a successful planting season.
And then there was the hunt.
The hunt was born out of the search for the coveted golden bugs. It was said that one who found it was sure to have good fortune bestowed and have every desire granted.
The hunt took place in the acres surrounding the castle during the Viridian Festival. This year, the winner would win five orange rupees and a kiss from any lady of court.
Including Princess Zelda.
For that reason alone, I put aside my disregard for the festival and enrolled in the hunt.
I hoped catching a golden bug would grant me the courage to confess to her.
I knew I would be the victor for I had already found one on the grounds naught last week, on the last day of my assigned post at the inner gate. I would return to its location and claim it at last.
I arrived in Castleton close to midday and found the vendors making last minute preparations to their displays and goods for the festival. As I made my way across the town square, a ginger-haired maid called out to me from behind a stand.
It took me a moment to realize it was Maid Malon who greeted me; I did not recognize her with her hair curled in such a fashion; it was usually straight and messed.
"What a fair day, is it not? I can hardly contain my excitement!"
I smiled. "Yes, a fine day indeed. What are you are selling this year, Maid Malon?" Malon was a girl of happy manners and was kind to everyone and everything. Ever since I had come of age seven years ago, I had suspicions that she held affection for me, but she was too shy to act upon it.
I was grateful she did not; I returned no such feelings. She was a close acquaintance and nothing more.
She grinned and gestured to the crates by her feet. "Lon Lon's special milk of course! Cheeses and sweet cream as well. Would you care to sample some?"
"No, thank you, Maid Malon, I'm in a bit of a rush."
"Oh, I was carried away with the time; the ceremony is to begin soon. Would you object to my accompanying you?"
I shifted uncomfortably. "I would not."
She smiled and skipped to my side. "If I may ask Master Link, why do you not wear green this day? Should your usual attire not be more fitting for today?"
"My apologies for not conforming."
Malon flushed. "I meant no offense; blue is most fitting as well."
I smirked. "I jest Maid Malon. A change of attire is more unexpected, no?"
She laughed nervously. "Oh, I see." She fell silent for a minute before asking, "Are you to participate in the hunt this year?"
"Yes," I admitted reluctantly. "Merely for entertainment purposes however."
Malon's brows furrowed. "You do not believe in the luck a bug brings?"
"Hardly," I lied. I did not wish anyone to know my secret hope. It was pitiful, really.
"Oh, what a shame! I believe very much in it. How I wish at times I could be a man, if only for this occasion. I would enjoy the hunt ever so much!"
I stifled a laugh. "That would be most amusing." Malon and I continued on in shallow conversation until we reached the outer gates of the castle. A large crowd had already gathered and was slowly making its way inside the grounds. Malon found a few of her acquaintances and I waited with them for the royal family to arrive. They flashed me smiles and asked prodding questions, and I did my best to mask my irritation.
"Whom do you favor to win, Anju?"
"Oh, don't be silly, of course she favors Kafei."
"He is terribly dashing isn't he?"
"A trivial matter indeed. Lord Kendrick has won many a years now."
"Ah, but what think you, Miss Malon?"
"I really don't—"
"Oh come now, what of Master Link? Do you favor him to win?"
My ear twitched; to speak of such an important matter as feelings amongst a group was impolite
"I… I…" Her face shaded pink and I looked away, pretending I was not listening for her sake.
"What think you, Master Link?"
Before I could reply indifferently, a fanfare of horns echoed across the grounds and we fell silent. A rush of excitement flooded through me and I craned my neck to see Princess Zelda.
And there she was, following behind her father, the king. Her head was bowed slightly, her eyes downcast. Over her dark green gown, her white cloak billowed in the wind and though her ladies-in-waiting chilled, she did not. They made their way up the platform and Zelda smiled at the crowd as she sat down.
The king remained standing and clapped his hands together. "Welcome, welcome to you all! Today marks the twelve-hundredth year of winter's eve. It is my sincere hope that our offered prayers have reached to the Goddesses, but let us take a moment of silence to show our gratitude together." The king bowed his head and the crowd followed his example. I heard a few people beside me murmur familiar, repeated prayers in the old tongue, but I hardly paid attention.
I could not take my eyes off of Princess Zelda. Her eyes were closed in thoughtful prayer as well, and she sat perfectly still in poised posture.
I admired her gracefulness and temperance. If I had even a fraction of it, I would have been able to stop myself from falling in love with her.
I recalled the day I realized I had…
I had enrolled in the Hylian militia last spring, naught eleven months ago. Hyrule had been at war with its neighboring country, Althea—and had only recently ended the war one month ago by Althea's surrender.
Since I was too young to join the front lines, I was assigned to many different posts close to Castleton. However, during mid-autumn last year, I was stationed at the inner gates of the castle to replace older soldiers.
And that was when I met Princess Zelda.
When I first glanced upon her, I was speechless; nothing could have prepared me to meet such beauty. The sun was like the flicker of a dying candle against her radiance.
Nearly everyday, Zelda would pass by to stroll about the grounds with her ladies-in-waiting. Through our frequent exchanges I came to know more of her, though details were often left out, for her ladies-in-waiting were her constant companions.
Nevertheless, the more I spoke with her, the more I gazed at her… the more fiercely my heart would beat. I was succumbing to her charm.
But it was not her beauty that enraptured me so.
It was everything: her voice, her elegance, the laughter she hid, the warm greetings and gentle smiles; her genuine interest and concern for all.
Autumn quickly changed into winter and on a particularly cold evening two months ago, I came to realize where my affections lay.
I was atop the curtain wall, huddled by a small fire in an oil drum. As I wrapped my wool cloak tighter, a clear, whispered voice called out to me from below.
My breath stilled.
"Are you there?"
I looked over the wall and found a hooded and cloaked figure looking up at me, holding a small lantern in hand and something else I could not see in the other.
"Might I join you?"
But I knew who it was.
"Y-Your Highness need not ask permission!"
I faintly heard her laugh. "I suppose you are right. I shall be but a moment."
I suddenly began to panic. Her lades-in-waiting were nowhere to be seen and I guessed she must have come of her own accord.
For us to be alone was most improper and I did not want to be punished.
But I was a lowly soldier who could not deny his princess.
My heart thudded loudly against my chest as I waited for her to emerge from the turret steps. She appeared with a shy grin and flipped her hood down.
I felt heat tingle my neck and ears; I bowed to hide my face. "Good evening, Your Highness," I said in a strained voice. "How do you fare?"
"Well enough, Master Link. I hope the same for you. I am glad to see that you are not frozen," she said with amusement.
I merely nodded my head; I could not find my voice.
"I do apologize for the late hour, but the night is especially cold and I wished to bring you an extra cloak."
I flushed at her unexpected kindness. "Your Highness is most gracious. I am obliged, but please do not further risk your health for my sake."
Zelda handed me the cloak draped over her arm and I bowed as I took it.
"It is no trouble at all, Master Link. I thought we might share warm tea in hopes of a bright day tomorrow," she said with a smile.
And I agreed.
She then took out two small cups and a kettle from the small basket she carried and handed me a cup. I took it carefully and as she poured hot liquid into it, I reveled in the warmth. As she filled her cup, I thanked her once again. We drank and spoke quietly of the events of the day. She asked me of my life before and what I thought of my stay at the castle. We discussed the war and the efforts for alliances the king was making.
"Termina would agree to aid us, but there is a problematic condition I do not know that I can consent to."
"And what is that?"
"Prince Itherford wishes for me to consider him as a potential suitor."
I paused. "…I see." Somehow my bitterness seeped through, and I hoped she didn't notice.
"…Does that trouble you?"
My hopes fell. She had noticed.
"Anything that troubles Her Highness troubles me as well," I replied. Why was I bothered by this news?
I thought I saw her face shade red, but it must have been the trickery of the moonlight.
"… Is that so?"
I nodded my head and looked away.
Zelda suddenly reached for my hand. "My thanks. Your concern is most complimentary."
I then looked into her blue eyes and felt my heart stir.
And I knew I would never love another as I did her.
My moment of revelation passed and I cleared my throat uncomfortably. I had suddenly become aware of every detail: the warmth of her breath, the color of her lips, the smooth paleness of her skin…
…My flesh that heated from her hand on mine…
I couldn't look away from her and beneath my gaze, I was certain her face did indeed shade red.
I wished for her to leave; I wished for her to stay.
She slowly pulled her hand from mine and wrapped herself in her cloak. She picked up her lantern and packed the now empty cups away.
"The hour has grown late; I must return before my absence is noticed." Her tone had become serious and formal. "My thanks again for indulging a disobedient princess."
"Not at all, Your Highness," I nearly whispered, "tis my pleasure."
Zelda took one step down the turret and then paused. "May I ask a parting inquiry?"
She sighed a quivering breath. "…Do you think of me whilst I am away?"
And before I could answer she was gone.
That reason alone was my justification for participating in the hunt. I had not had a chance to see or speak to her since that night and I needed all the good fortune in the world to aid me in my reply to her.
Come what may, I had to tell her of my affections before I was overcome.
As I reminisced of these recent events, I saw Zelda look my way and I quickly bowed. I stole a peek at her and I saw her bring a hand to her mouth to hide a laugh.
I was glad for our quick, but friendly exchange.
After a few moments, the king continued on with his speech. "I am grateful for your humbleness. Now, let the Viridian Festival commence!"
The crowd erupted in cheers and whistles.
"Let us open with the hunt. Hunters, please come forward!"
As I moved to step forward, I suddenly felt a tug on my arm. I turned around to see Malon gazing up at me, biting her lip.
"Master Link, when… when you return, there is something I would like to tell you."
I suppressed a moan. "I would be happy to listen, Maid Malon. Please excuse me."
She released me and I quickly made my way to the podium. I lined up with the other hunters which numbered almost one hundred—most dressed in green—and told myself to remember not to head directly for the golden bug, lest others become suspicious.
The other hunters talked amongst themselves, declaring whom they wished a kiss from. Many ladies of the court that stood on the platform pointed down at the hunters, giggling from behind their hands or their fans. Zelda remained silent, her face drawn in polite indifference.
"I shall win for you, Lady," one hunter said with a wink.
"Nay, I shall," said another.
"You are all fools. I shall win for none other than Her Highness, Princess Zelda." Many of the hunters nodded in agreement and glanced up to Zelda, grinning foolishly.
My blood heated in fury.
"Hunters… at the ready," an announcer shouted, interrupting the silly banter. The announcer looked to the king and he nodded. The horn sounded. "And let the race commence!"
The hunters spread about, some heading to secluded corners whilst others headed for the middle ground. I slowly made my way to the place where I had found the golden bug and made sure I was not followed.
"Ah, I've got one!" somebody shouted a distance away. Others rushed over to him, trying to tackle him.
Instances such as this continued on until the race was half over; ten minutes remained.
I ignored the hunters' false claims and accusations and came upon the area that contained the bug, which happened to be next to the inner gate I had been stationed at. I looked about and knelt down to sweep the grass with my hands. I searched thoroughly for the golden bug, listening intently for its soft, chime-like noise…
Any moment, I would find it…
…Yet… it wasn't there.
I furrowed my brows. It must be here, I had seen it!
I continued to look frantically, even to the point where I wandered from the original location.
But it was to no avail. I nearly laughed. I should have expected not to find it.
I would seem I was not meant to convey my feelings to the princess after all.
I sighed to myself and gave one final look-about.
There was still nothing.
The horns sounded once again, signaling the end of the hunt. I swiped at the grass angrily and got to my feet. I headed back to the podium and waited for a winner to be named.
"All those with bugs, please step forward."
Four took at step towards the announcer.
They held out their palms with smirks of triumph.
"Yellow!" was the first. The crowd snickered.
"Orange" was the second. The laughter turned to murmurings.
"A cheat," the third was discovered. The announcer moved to the fourth contestant and paused dramatically. The fourth hunter was a mere boy, no more than fourteen—the youngest age hunters were permitted to be. I thought the boy smart; if he had indeed found a golden bug, he had not flaunted so.
"Our winner!" The crowd burst into applause and cheers. The parents of the boy appeared and showered him with affection.
I smiled. Though I was disappointed, I was glad the boy won; he and his family needed the rupees more than I.
But I was still envious of his second prize.
"Young lad, please come forward," the king said loudly. The boy's face shaded red and he averted his eyes as he made his way up the steps of the platform.
"For you, Master Hunter." A small satchel that jingled richly was handed to him and the boy grinned sheepishly. "Now then, what fair maiden does our Master Hunter wish to be granted a kiss from?" The king was grinning with amusement.
The boy fidgeted nervously and his eyes flittered from one face to the next. He then mumbled something I could not hear.
"Come now, don't be shy, speak up lad!"
"P-Princess Zelda!" he stuttered. Whistles and jeering echoed across the grounds and the boy's face shaded to a near purple.
"Ah, he's taken all the luck in Hylia," a boy my age voiced.
"If only my wife looked as she, I wouldn't need to take part in this hunt…"
"Tsk, there is nothing to be jealous of; he came of age naught two years ago! He is still a mere child…"
I looked to Zelda and saw that she had pursed her lips to contain her laughter.
"You heard our Master Hunter, Princess Zelda, please grant him his wish!"
I debated whether or not I should leave, risking provoking my envy any further.
I turned my back and watched Zelda rise from her chair from the corner of my eye. Jealous eyes looked on as well, some grumbling and moaning. Zelda, not much taller than the boy, bent over and kissed him on the cheek.
I was relieved it was not more intimate than that. The boy opened his eyes and had a silly grin on his face. Zelda righted herself and smiled at him.
I shook my head and began to head back to the town square. The crowd began to disperse as well, many staying for the next event and others making their way to other activities. I passed the outer gates and walked down the narrow cobblestone path to town. Just as I came upon the fountain in the town square, a familiar voice called out to me.
"Master Link!" It was Maid Malon once again.
I turned around to find her walking towards me. "Yes?"
"I've been searching for you. I am sorry you did not find a bug," she said sadly.
"Tis nothing to grieve over, Maid Malon."
"Yes, well, if you remember, there was something—"
"Oh… right, what did you wish to speak with me about?"
She looked over to the pool of water in the fountain and hesitantly reached for my arm. "If you would be so kind… as to accompany me to a more private venue...?"
I reluctantly agreed and she led me to the Temple of Time. As we walked about the grounds, I noticed many elderly persons making their way inside the doors.
Their devotion suddenly made me feel guilty; I didn't want to go inside.
To my relief, Malon walked past the steps that lead to the entrance and pulled me towards the gardens in the back.
I cleared my throat. "If I may ask, Maid Malon, what is it you want of me?"
She released my arm and took a step back from me. She reached into her dress pocket and withdrew a pill bug, glowing faintly in the shadow of the temple.
I furrowed my brows. "How did you—?"
"This morning when I came here for prayer."
"How fortuitous." Our exchange was becoming forced and awkward. I suspected what she was to say to me, but if I was right…
She cleared her throat nervously. "There is something I have been hoping to tell you for sometime now."
I kept silent and kept my eyes on her out of courtesy.
"Given the occasion… and this bug… I have been bestowed the courage to speak freely."
She sighed, glanced at the bug and then looked to me, her mask of smiles gone. "I must confess, Master Link… for nigh four years now… I have loved you."
My eyes fell from hers.
"It is my hope… that we may enjoy one another's company today." She bowed her head and waited for my response.
I took a deep breath and licked my lips. "I thank you, Maid Malon, for your kindness, but I cannot return your affections. I'm sorry."
She merely smiled sadly and looked back up at me with shinning eyes. "Yes, I knew you could not; forgive a maiden's naïve hope."
"Do not apologize, Maid Malon. Please enjoy the festival; I will be sure to purchase the ranch's goods later."
She forced a grin. "I shall save the finest for you, Master Link." As she turned to leave, she halted mid-step and looked from the bug in her hand to me. "Excuse my implication, Master Link, but I suspect you wish for a bug."
I laughed uncomfortably. "Please, you needn't give your good fortune to me, Maid Malon."
She held the bug out to me. "It did not bring me such fortune, but perhaps it shall bring it to you… to the one that has taken your heart."
I clenched my jaw. So she knew I already loved another, yet still took a chance.
I closed her hand around the bug. "I admire you, Maid Malon for your compassion and courage, but I do not believe in the bug's charm," I lied. "Keep it for yourself. It was meant for you, since you were its finder after all."
Her eyes widened slightly. "Yes… if you insist. I hope to see your own wishes granted someday, Master Link. Good day."
And then she left. I let out a sigh as she disappeared around a hedge and scratched my head. Rejecting another's feelings seemed ungentlemanly, but there was no room in my heart for another.
I walked about the gardens, lost in my heavy-hearted state. I contemplated to myself what I was to do.
I wanted more than anything to tell Princess Zelda I cared for her, to answer her that I did indeed think of her in her absence….
That I thought of her every waking moment.
Much time passed during my stay in the Temple of Time's gardens and soon the sun began to sink in the west.
I argued with myself if I should simply return home or attend the dance, for the air had become considerably cooler.
But she would be there.
As I stood to leave, I heard footsteps and looked up to see my fellow comrade, Tayvin, walking towards me.
"At last, here you are!" he said with mock disapproval. "I've been searching for you for nearly an hour now!"
"My apologies" I replied. Tayvin was another young solider who had been placed at the inner gates with me. He teased me incessantly of my attention to Princess Zelda, but he did not know of the seriousness of my affections.
For this I was grateful.
Tayvin glared at me. "You were supposed to meet me after the hunt for drinks, did you forget?"
I grimaced. "Sorry, I was… distracted."
"Yes I can see that, what is with that frown of yours? I saw Maid Malon walking about with such a frown some time ago… something that does not suit her. Would you happen to know anything of it?"
"Why do you ask of things you already know the answer to?" I asked as I started past him back to the town square.
"Oy, don't be upset with me, you should consider yourself lucky a maid such as Malon cares for you."
"Why rebuke me when you are the one who loves her?"
"I do not—"
"Admit it and confess to her yourself instead of droning on to me about it." My tone was a bit harsher than I expected. Had I really been affected so much by losing the hunt?
Tayvin's brows furrowed. "I'm beginning to regret coming to find you."
I rolled my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be so cross. It is not my place to lecture you on such private matters."
He said nothing in return and simply followed me out of the temple's gardens.
As we descended the steps leading to town, Tayvin finally spoke. "Yes, yes alright, you ill-tempered Hylian. I'll tell her."
I smirked. That was his form of apology, the only I would get from him. "Come then, I'll show you to Lon Lon's booth."
We reached the town square and I shoved Tayvin forward to Malon's booth. He grinned nervously at me and approached Malon. They exchanged a few words and then he led her to an empty alley way.
I sighed inwardly. Everyone was fortunate in love today, apart from me.
I quickly bought my share of goods from Malon's father, Talon, and asked him to store it for me and explained I would return for it before I left for home.
When I passed the outer gates of the castle, it seemed as if the entirety of Hyrule had gathered for the dance. I dared not journey into the thick of the multitude and wandered around until I found the platform. An area before it had been cleared and many lords and ladies of the court were dancing, the king observing them below with a grin on his face. I climbed onto the side of the platform and saw Princess Zelda dancing with many children who were crowded around her.
She had rid herself of her cloak and wore a simple crown of white flowers about her head.
She looked lovely.
The dance was a quick one, and she smiled brightly as she moved along to the music. Her movements were perfectly timed and graceful. The children laughed merrily as they clumsily turned about her but Zelda did not mind.
The song ended and the children bowed to her, thanking her for the dance. A slower melody then began and one of the lords came and took her hand.
He wore a look of triumph on his face and I observed the proper yet prideful way he held her as they moved.
I noticed the shy smiles she gave him.
In that moment, my resolve returned and I leapt down from the side of the platform.
There was still time before the festival's end to find a golden bug, and though darkness had fallen, I would look in the blackness of night for it.
I wished for courage, I wished good fortune, for I greatly desired for her to smile only at me so tenderly.
I rushed away from the crowd and into the expanse of the castle grounds. The inner gates had already been shut lest anyone steal into the castle during the distraction of the festival.
I found a patch of tall grass I had not yet searched and kneeled to the ground.
I do not know how long I searched in the coldness, but my efforts yielded nothing.
The moon had risen almost to the middle of the sky when I simply fell back into the grass and resigned myself to defeat.
I sighed. It would be midnight soon.
I stared up at the night sky, watching the flicker of the stars taunt me with false encouragement.
How was it I could give Tayvin the courage to confess to his love, yet I could not even muster enough to merely speak with her? Was I so afraid of rejection?
Though I denied that I believed in destiny, I could not help but feel that some unknown force was keeping me from granting my wish by my labors alone.
But I knew that was not right.
It was my own cowardice that kept my hopes from becoming true.
It was my own selfish regard for my own feelings that kept my courage at bay.
If Zelda was to reject me just as I did Malon, I was not sure what I would do.
The sound of footsteps suddenly interrupted my depressing musings. I sat up quickly, wondering who would be wandering this far from the festival.
It was none other than Princess Zelda herself.
My heart instantly sped and I quickly took a knee. "Your Highness!"
She strolled closer to me and kneeled in front of me. "Please, you need not be so formal."
I was aware of her close proximity, and I kept my head bowed and eyes downcast.
"I merely wondered if you would rejoin the festival before its end; there is much to entertain."
"Your Highness is too kind. I thank you for such concern, but nothing holds my interest enough to return." My eyes widened. Those harsh, truthful words spilled from my tongue before I could stop them!
Yet Zelda laughed. "Not even my company?"
My eyes flew to hers apologetically, but she simply smiled.
"I jest, Master Link. But if you wouldn't mind, may I join you here? I do enjoy star-gazing…"
"I would be honored," I said in a low voice. "But with all due respect, I am concerned with propriety."
Her head tilted to the side thoughtfully. "I suppose amongst other company there may be concern, but with you, I do not fear so."
I opened my mouth to object but she gently placed a warm, gloved hand on mine.
"Nevertheless, I shall only stay awhile."
I reluctantly nodded my head and she grinned. She then fell back against the grass and placed her hands across her waist. "The view is much more splendid from here, Master Link," she teased.
Zelda's white skin seemed to glow in the moonlight and her eyes were colored such a dark blue, they were violet. Her golden hair appeared white in the darkness and lay sprawled about her.
She was too tempting and charming for her own good.
I cautiously sat myself a distance away from her and then lay down as she. I put my hands behind my head and tried to calm myself, yet I remained tensed. It was silent between us for sometime until I heard her take a deep breath.
"If I may ask, Master Link, why were you out here alone?" She turned her head towards me, but I kept my sight to the stars.
"It is nothing of consequence really," I said, trying to sound light-hearted. "How was it Your Highness found me?"
She paused before answering. "Intuition."
I looked at her with a bemused expression and she grinned shyly.
"Forgive my untruthfulness. I actually happened to see you whilst I danced."
My face shaded and I turned away. "Well I… I was simply deliberating whether or not to join the merriment," I lied.
She turned her gaze back to the stars. "I see."
Had she seen through the lie?
I sighed inwardly and closed my eyes. Zelda was here with me, alone, willingly, yet I still could not convey any degree of affection towards her.
Was I doomed to suffer in silence the rest of my days?
"I cannot help," she said quietly, "but suspect your solitude is intentional."
I suppressed a smile; yes, she was very intuitive indeed.
"Very well, then," I began. "I greatly desired to win a golden bug in hopes of granting me courage."
"You already possess such a trait, Master Link," she commented.
I smiled weakly at her. "Not when it pertains to the one I care for."
I thought I saw her face fall. "That I can understand."
My spirits fell at her disheartened tone. So there was one she loved? "I wish you did not," I said quietly.
She shook her head.
"What is it you desire, Your Highness?"
"As you do, Master Link; courage for the one I care for."
I felt my chest tighten.
I could not confess to her now; her heart was already taken.
Before I could reply however she said, "Alas, the golden bug I found has not seen fit to grant me its fortune." Zelda then reached to her flower crown and a glowing, winged bug appeared on her finger. "Please take it, Master Link. I found this near your old post so perhaps your wish will be granted."
Ah, so it was she who had found the same bug I had; I wanted to laugh at the irony of it all.
"I cannot take this, Your Highness. Please do not give up hope; there is no one who would deny you."
…What had I said? My own words caused heat to flood through me.
Then I noticed Zelda blushed.
The mood between us suddenly changed, to a pinnacle of discomfort, and I did not know how to dispel it. We turned away from one another and did not speak for quite sometime.
"Link," she called suddenly, barely above a whisper.
My heart began to race. Had she just called me by name?
"I must tell you… I purposefully escaped the festival with the intention of finding you…to apologize…"
I furrowed my brows. "…Your Highness?"
"At our last meeting, I fled before you could answer my inquiry and have kept myself from your company. I must ask that you forgive such weakness."
I sat up quickly. "Please, Your Highness, I did not take offense; there is nothing to forgive." Why had she suddenly reminisced of that night?
She sat up as well; her crown of flowers slipped slightly to the side, and a few petals flittered to the ground. "I am glad." She then averted her eyes from me and fidgeted with her glove. I did not reply and I wondered why she seemed anxious.
Before I could question her she said in a rather high voice, "Well, I must go. Master Link, twas a pleasure. Please excuse me." Zelda stood from the ground without my assistance with the golden bug climbing up her sleeve and took naught two steps until I realized what drove her away.
It was I.
She spoke of that night for she wished for my reply.
And I had not given it.
That should have been the first words from my mouth upon her arrival.
But how could I convey my feelings for her when she mourned of her unrequited love for another?
No, it didn't matter what her reply to my confession would be, or whom she loved.
I merely wished for her to know that I cared for her.
And there, rooted deep within my heart, I found the courage to tell her.
I was on my feet in moments and I reached for her hand.
She stopped suddenly and turned to me in surprise.
"Your Highness, before you return, I must tell you that I… I…" My heart pounded so fiercely against my chest, I feared it would drown out my words.
But her breath had stilled and her eyes were searching mine hopefully.
"Your Highness asked a mere soldier if he thought of her and his reply cannot be matched."
Suddenly, numerous voices echoed across the grounds, calling out for Zelda.
Yet her eyes did not leave mine.
"And his reply?" she whispered.
The voices grew louder and I hesitated.
"He thinks of her at every moment, and… hopes for her happiness."
Her eyes widened further.
The golden bug flew back to her crown of flowers.
She then smiled and said tenderly, "And he has granted her such happiness."
I was overwhelmed.
Zelda loved me in return.
Just as she took a step towards me, the voices loomed even closer and she looked from me to her ladies-in-waiting in the distance, torn. I simply smiled as a gesture for her to return.
She shook her head and held a finger to her lips, and I let her lead me away.
She laughed and I grinned.
As we escaped into the darkness of the night, Zelda suddenly slipped on the dew of the grass. I instinctively pulled her up before she could touch the ground, and caught her about the waist.
The winged golden bug flew from Zelda's crown, frightened. Our eyes followed it until its glow faded into the black sky.
We slowly turned towards one another, our faces shading.
Zelda's gentle laugh broke our silence. "It has gone to grant another's fortune."
I drew her closer and said, "I believe now… destiny is ours to forge."
Then I gently pressed my lips to hers, claiming my rightful kiss as winner of the golden bug's luck
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