It was a week before Link and Zelda's wedding and Link was getting pretty nervous. Things had happened so quickly over the past month.
Link was humming to himself happily, polishing his sword as he sat out in the courtyard. All he could think was that Zelda loved him, and she wanted to be his wife--and his lover. Odd, it had taken him being practically on his deathbed to drag the truth out of her, but to Link it was worth it. She hadn't even tried to get out of it when he was cured of his terminal illness.
"Only one more week of me sleeping alone," he said softly. "Next week I get to see what it's like...."
"Link!" said Spryte, a pink-clad fairy that was hovering nearby. "Is that all you can think about?"
"What, you think we'd have separate beds?" Link grinned.
"You marry someone because you love them," said Spryte indignantly.
"Same reason you share a bed with the one you're married to. And why do you think it's called 'making love?'" Link was enjoying this immensely, teasing Spryte like this. He was trying to see how mad she'd get.
"It's the age," sighed Spryte.
Link stood up and put his sword back in his belt. "Speaking of that, I think I'll spend some time with my bride-to-be."
"With your way of thinking you're going to need a chaperone. I'll come along," said Spryte.
Link laughed. "Zelda won't let me do anything until we're married! You don't have to worry about that!"
They went into the castle. Link headed for the main chamber while Spryte flew off in another direction.
Zelda was wandering the corridors of the castle, thinking about her husband-to-be, Link. She had finally admitted to herself--and to Link--that she loved him. She'd been thinking about marriage for a little while now. In Hyrule, sixteen was a perfect age for marriage, and both she and Link were sixteen, though Zelda was two months younger.
Her father actually approved of Link. Once he'd even encouraged Link to sail in through Zelda's window and surprise her with flowers. Link and her father got along quite well and her father often gave Link advice. Link was almost like a son to him.
A guard came up to her, breaking into her reverie. "Your Highness, you have a visitor," he said. "A Prince Vassard, on a diplomatic mission."
"Thank you," said Zelda. Only when the guard's back was turned did she make a face. Great. Now what did that loser want?
Sighing, Zelda went to the main chamber, where the rather handsome prince was waiting. His wavy golden hair still fell to his shoulders, and he still wore his white tunic, leggings, and cape. He looked angelic--but Zelda wasn't fooled by his appearance. At least, not anymore. A little while back she'd thought she was in love with him, but she'd come to realize that she'd been in love with what she'd thought he was. He'd refused to rescue her one time when it meant him getting dirty! Naturally, that was where Link had come in. He didn't care what he looked like after saving the day.
"Ah, Princess Zelda," said Vassard, bowing grandly. "A great pleasure to see you again, my lovely princess!"
Link headed for the main chamber--and he wasn't too far from the doorway when he heard voices. "My lovely Zelda--I come with a vow of love. From me, of course."
"You're a little late," Link heard Zelda's voice saying. What did that mean? That she'd been waiting for this man and just decided to settle for Link? He listened further.
"It's never too late," said the voice.
Link peered in cautiously and his heart nearly stopped. It was that Vassard guy--and he was kissing Zelda! He felt like barging in on them...but he'd probably wind up making an even bigger fool of himself.
Tears were coming to his eyes. How humiliating! How could she do this to him? He hurried down the corridor, on his way to his room, when he ran into Spryte.
"Link, what's wrong?" asked the fairy.
"Zelda's in that room with another man. Kissing him," Link said, hitching a thumb and pointing over his shoulder. "I should have known. I'll be in my room, Spryte, packing up."
Spryte hovered in the air for a moment, watching as the young man shuffled down the corridor, hanging his head. "Poor Link," she murmured. "I'd better see what's going on. I don't think Zelda would do such a thing!"
Zelda was startled when Vassard suddenly kissed her. She managed to break it off. "No--stop this!" she demanded. "I don't love you, and besides, I'm engaged. Next week I'm marrying Link!"
"What? That uncouth, unrefined--"
Zelda slapped him and tried to break free of his grasp. But Vassard held on to her tightly and forced another kiss. This time she bit his lower lip as hard as she could, and he yelped in pain, pushing her backwards and slamming her against the wall. Zelda cried out as the right side her head hit the wall as she was trying to turn and catch herself, and she was dazed.
"I'll teach you to dump me for someone so beneath your standards," Vassard growled as he loomed over her.
Zelda pushed her golden hair out of her eyes. She winced as pain shot through her left ankle; she'd twisted it when she'd fallen. She tried to get to her feet, to ignore the pain, but it hurt too much and Vassard reached for her, his face purple with rage, and ripped at her purple blouse.
Zelda did the only thing she could do--she screamed as loud as she could.
Spryte was heading for the main chamber when she heard the scream. She shot in there as fast as she could fly, and there she saw Zelda struggling against Vassard, who was trying to undress her. Zelda was backed in a corner. "Leave her alone!" Spryte cried out.
Vassard turned, looked at the fairy. "Go away, insect! Zelda and I want to be alone!"
There was nothing Spryte could do against him. But she knew of someone who would be able to do something. So she was off like a shot, looking for Link.
Link was sitting on his bed, his face in his hands, his brown hair standing up between his fingers. He'd never felt so embarrassed, humiliated, or angry in his young life.
"Link! Open the door!" squeaked a voice.
Sighing, Link got up and let Spryte in. "Zelda's being attacked by that prince! Link, she doesn't like him...and he's trying to--" She couldn't bring herself to say it, as it was too awful to think about.
Link, however, knew what she was talking about. "Main chamber?"
"No one's going to do that to my girl and expect to get away with it!" Link declared as he ran, following Spryte. There would be time for explanations later. Right now Link had his princess to rescue.
"Vassard, stop it, please! Have you no honor?" Zelda begged as he ripped her blouse off, revealing her bra.
"You damaged my honor when you chose that Link over me," Vassard snapped. "I'll have to convince you that you're mine." He pressed on her throat with one hand. With the other he worked the buckle of her belt loose.
Zelda could hardly breathe, much less scream. She couldn't struggle like she wanted to. Pain shot through her ankle and her head still hurt. She could barely resist as he tugged her bra off.
Suddenly a voice rang out, "JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING TO MY GIRL!!?"
"Link," Zelda gasped.
"Spryte, help Zelda," Link said, having just seen her and trying not to look.
Vassard advanced towards Link. "So...it's Lunk, is it?" he sneered. "I don't know what she sees in you! She's too good for you."
"Why don't you find a girl who would stoop low enough to even talk to you, Wussard?" Link snapped back. He drew back his fist. Fueled with anger, he punched Vassard hard enough to send him sprawling backwards on the floor.
Spryte had just taken an afghan off a chair and she gave it to Zelda, who covered herself with it. "Spryte, go get the guards," Zelda gasped. She really wished she'd had guards in here; they hadn't been able to hear her, and her father was napping in his room on the other side of the castle.
"Zelda, you're bleeding," Spryte said when she saw the wound on the right side of Zelda's forehead.
"I'll be okay...get the guards...."
Spryte shot out the door, past the fighting men. Link would win this one, Spryte thought as she flew. He was angry enough, and when Link was angry, watch out.
Finally Link had Vassard pinned to the floor. Link was sitting on Vassard's back, twisting the prince's arm up behind him. "Do you yield?" Link asked.
"I yield--I yield," he gasped.
"Vassard, you are nothing but a huge coward," Link said, putting a little more pressure on the other man's arm.
"Zelda...my love...what do you see in him?" Vassard pleaded. "Why him?"
Zelda stood up, her eyes green fire. "You want to know? I'll tell you," she said, leaning against the wall, putting her weight on her good ankle. "Link may not be of royal blood, but he doesn't try to put up a front. He's risked his life for me countless times. He knows what honor and bravery are. You don't."
Just then, Spryte came in with two guards. "Right there," she said, pointing.
Link got off him and the guards dragged Vassard away.
"My father's going to have a talk with his parents," said Zelda.
Link went over to her. "I saw you kissing him," he said, trying not to sound accusing. "He said something about it not being too late. My first thought was that you were kissing him and he wanted you to go further."
"Oh, Link, no!" Zelda protested. "I was trying to tell him that even if I were interested, which you know I'm not, I'm already engaged to you. He forced a kiss on me. I tried to fight him off."
"I just wanted to be sure," said Link. "Do you really think I'm brave and noble?"
"Of course I do," said Zelda.
"Spryte, get some bandages, would you?" asked Link. He'd seen that Zelda's ankle was swollen, and he'd seen the wound on her forehead.
"Sure, Link," said Spryte.
Link picked Zelda up and laid her down on a couch. He took her boot off her left foot and carefully looked at her ankle. "I think it'll be okay in a few days," he said, "so you'll be able to walk down the aisle when we get married next week."
Moments later Spryte was back with the bandages. Link bandaged Zelda's ankle and cleaned and bandaged the wound on her forehead. He then carried her to the infirmary, which was on the ground floor, and laid her down on a bed. "I'll get you some clothes," he told her. Her purple blouse and blue vest had been badly torn.
"You'll always be my hero."
Link bent over the bed and kissed her gently. "I'll get you those clothes," he whispered.
Zelda watched him go and smiled. With him as her husband, she would not only have a lover, she would also have a protector.
The big day finally arrived. Link woke up, feeling nervous. He sat up, knowing that this would be the last time he'd sleep in this bed. He'd be in Zelda's room--with Zelda--from tonight on.
Link jumped out of bed and took a nice, long bath. After that, as he dried himself off, he eyed himself in his mirror. He wrapped the towel around his waist and flexed his muscles. "Not bad...," he murmured. This past year he'd been filling out more and more. He was still rather slim, but not skinny.
He put on the clothes Zelda had helped pick out for him. He rather liked them. They consisted of a long-sleeved green tunic and white leggings and leather boots. He also had a scabbard for his sword. Once again he looked in the mirror, and he liked what he saw. How could Zelda resist this?
Link put his sword in the scabbard and headed to the castle's great hall. He was nervous about today and even more nervous about tonight.
Link took his place at the altar, where a sage was presiding. Good thing these clothes were at least comfortable!
Finally the music started. A couple of well-dressed guards rolled out a red carpet, and Zelda entered, on the arm of her father. Link's eyes widened when he noticed the pure white wedding dress she was wearing. It was long-sleeved and off the shoulder. The bodice clung to her, accentuating her narrow waist, and it had a very full skirt. Her veil was held in place with a diamond tiara. A white-gold pendant, in shape of the symbol of the Triforce, was around her throat.
Zelda looked every bit the happy young bride, and her father looked very proud. When the approached the altar, King Harkinian held out his daughter's hand, offering it to Link. "I, Harkinian, King of Hyrule, hereby give my daughter, Princess Zelda, to be wed to Link."
"I accept with gratitude, Your Majesty," Link recited, as he took Zelda's hand in his. He took her other hand too, and they stood there, looking into each other's eyes, oblivious to the crowd that had gathered there to witness the marriage of their princess to Hyrule's hero.
Link and Zelda barely managed to say "I do" at the right time, so lost were they in each other. Then it came time for their vows.
Link took Zelda's left hand in his and slid the ring on her finger. "I, Link, take thee, Princess Zelda, to be my beloved wife, until death do us part," he intoned.
Zelda did the same for Link. "I, Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, take thee, Link, to be my beloved husband, until death do us part."
The sage gestured grandly and said, "I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may now kiss your bride, Link!"
Link, being Link, dipped Zelda as he kissed her. The crowed cheered and whistled and hooted. Zelda laughed as she kissed him back happily, knowing that she loved Link just the way he was.
Link lifted Zelda into his arms and carried her off to the ballroom. Oberon, King of Fairies, who was Spryte's father, had come with all his tiny subjects, and the fairies tossed fairy dust on the couple as they led the way to the ballroom.
Some of Hyrule's finest musicians were together as the orchestra, and as they played, the new bride and groom and their guests danced away the afternoon. Link remembered a lot of the steps Zelda had taught him a little while back, and they danced together gracefully.
"Link, I want you to know that I meant those vows," Zelda said. "I love you very much. It's just too bad it took you nearly dying to admit it."
"Hey, at least it also gave me the kick I needed to get that Triforce from Ganon," said Link.
Zelda laid her head on his chest as they danced. The sun was setting. "Link, when do you want to--um, leave this party?" she asked.
"Whenever you want to. I don't want to push you," he said. He whispered in her ear, "It'll be my first time."
"I know," said Zelda. "Mine too."
"Not before you're ready," said Link.
Zelda looked up at him. "I'm ready now," she whispered.
The pair sneaked off into a corridor. From there, Link carried her up to what would be their room. "I want to give you a night to remember," Link said as he carried her into their room.
The next morning, when Link woke up, Zelda still in his arms, he knew without a doubt that Zelda loved him and only him.
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