Ten pints. Ten pints… Link’s head swam, hazily recalling the events of the evening so far. It was all Drake’s fault after all. He drank ale as if it were water, and the young hero had only wanted to keep up. After all, he did have a reputation to uphold. Then again, ten pints of ale…
He stumbled up the road out of Rauru, heading towards
. Its tall white turrets gleamed ghostly pale in the moonlight, just beyond the horizon. His head still felt muggy and his vision wasn’t all that great either. And he felt sick. What would Zelda think if she saw him now? The beautiful, wonderful Princess Zelda? She had the grace to allow him the night off and here he was swaying about the road like a common peasant. She wouldn’t be impressed by his antics, that was for sure. It had all seemed like a good idea at the time though… North Castle
“Come on lad, drink up!” Drake bellowed loudly, clapping Link on the back in a hearty manner. “Another two pints please, Lilly!” the guard announced, nodding at the pretty, flaxen-haired girl behind the bar.
“Coming right up,” she smiled, with a wink at Link.
“You’ve scored there my lad!” Drake laughed noticing Lilly’s flirtation. Link sighed.
“But she’s not…. Zelda….”
“Now come on boy, you know the fair Princess is due to be married off to some prince!” Drake pointed out.
“Not necessarily. She might change her mind one day,” Link stated, suddenly looking hopeful.
“There you go, Master Link,” Lilly said, carefully placing another mug of ale on the table. “And one for yourself, Master Drake!” She giggled.
“Thanks Lilly,” Link muttered, not looking up into the girl’s soft blue eyes. She was still smiling and batting her eyelashes. After a few more seconds she moved off back to the bar to serve another patron.
“She’s a fine girl and you know it! Always admiring you when you come in here, and she serves a mighty good pint,” Drake said. Link shook his head. The pint did taste good, and true, Lilly was pretty. But these days it seemed Zelda was the only girl he could ever want. No-one else came close. It was stupid, he knew. A beautiful princess like her could ever care for a simple peasant like him, after all. He let out another sigh. “Honestly! I come here for some good banter with my friend and all you do is mider after her highness! What’s got into you lately?” Drake asked, slowing draining his latest flagon of ale. Link shrugged.
“Nothing. Just been a long week, that’s all,” he lied.
“I suppose that trouble in Mido with Ganon was a bit tiresome. But you soon sent him packing!” his friend replied, sounding almost admiring for a second. Link looked up to Drake. He was a guard and had recently started working at
. Other than Zelda up until now Link had tended to keep to himself but Drake had insisted on dragging him to the tavern on their rare nights off and he usually enjoyed it. North Castle
“It was nothing,” he said. It had been really. Hyrule’s arch nemesis was the evil wizard Ganon. He was always causing some sort of trouble, usually trying to kidnap Zelda or steal the Triforce. That’s why Link had been employed at
. To protect Hyrule’s greatest treasure. Well… both of its greatest treasures Link thought privately. The Triforce was indeed valuable but Zelda was even more special. North Castle
“I know what you need,” Drake said.
“Huh?” Link looked up from his own pint, having been lost in his own thoughts for a moment.
“Oy, Dillon you big buffoon! Get over here!“ The knight shouted over to the bard who had been strumming his lute over by the fire to a gaggle of admiring young ladies.
“What’s your hurry?” asked the bard, looking slightly annoyed. “And how can you possibly refer to me as a buffoon?” he added, arching a neat eyebrow. He was a rather handsome man in his own way, with delicate Hylian features and a long wavy mane of glossy raven hair. A little bit scrawny compared to Link and Drake but he still commanded a presence in the room. He had one of those soft, lilting accents found particularly in Rauru inhabitants.
“Well in those clothes…” Drake scoffed. It was true, Dillon had unusual dress sense. A dandy some would call him, his ruffled shirt would have looked more at home on a Brynellian resident and he wore rather a lot of gaudy jewellery.
“Better than looking like some poor heathen,” Dillon retorted rather smugly. However Link could tell their insults were in pure jest as both men grinned at each other and started laughing.
He didn’t know Dillon all that well but he had heard many a story about the bard and his various escapades. He was particularly notorious for getting on the wrong side of various husbands and suitors in the area. One of the funniest stories Link had heard had been how Dillon had leapt off a second storey window of a rather well to do house in Mido Town, dressed in only his underpants and sped across the town square under only the cover of moonlight with a rather angry nobleman chasing him with a sword. Anyway the main thing was no matter what trouble he got into, he always got out of it and always had a lovely young lady or two on his bedecked arms. Link might have been jealous, had it not been for his infatuation with Zelda.
“So young Link here, well, he needs a few tips,” Drake said, prodding Link in the arm.
“I don’t!” he protested, flushing. True, he’d tried so many times with Zelda, but she always ignored him or even worse, simply laughed at him.
“Ah… its all in the voice, see,” Dillon winked. Another pint had materialised on the table before Link. He couldn’t even remember finishing the previous one. “Women just can’t get enough of music and words. They think it’s so romantic,” the bard continued. It was easy enough when you had a charming voice like Dillon’s, Link thought. His own rough Catalian accent was barely going to make a good impression on anyone.
“But you can sing. I can’t.” he protested weakly.
“Nonsense! How do you know till you try?” Dillon challenged.
“Get some more ale down you! Then you’ll be brave enough!” Drake suggested, pushing Link’s pint into his hand.
“Er…” Dillon leaned close.
“Tell you what, hero boy. I’m in a good mood tonight. I might just write you a song for the special lady you’re after,” he offered with a wink.
“Really?” Link asked. Dillon was a rather good poet. He had a way with words that Link just couldn’t seem to grasp. Dillon nodded.
“Come on. Let’s put our heads together and see what we come up with.”
It was ten o’clock. Princess Zelda glanced warily out of her tower window, looking over at the Triforce tower. The usual light burned inside but she felt a pang because its usual inhabitant wasn’t there. Link, the Triforce’s protector was on a night off. She worried sometimes, even though she trusted the palace guards implicitly, because Link was the best deterrent for her nemesis Ganon to keep away from the Triforce of Wisdom. The hero had recently given the evil wizard a bit of a public beating earlier on in the week when he’d attempted to attack her on a day trip to Mido so tonight, hopefully, he would still be licking is wounds and not conjuring up any mischief.
The elegant young monarch let out a long sigh and turned her eyes back to the old book she was reading. It was written in ancient Hylian but tonight she was having trouble concentrating. Her gaze kept returning to the
every few minutes, watching in case some minion of Ganon materialised. She flicked her long golden hair back over her shoulders and attempted to read the page before her. It wasn’t that it wasn’t interesting but there was always that niggling doubt in the back of her mind. What if he knows its Link’s night off, a voice nagged in her head. It’s the perfect opportunity for him… A chill suddenly swept through the air and she pulled her robe closer around her. He’ll be back soon, she thought to herself. Link never stayed away from her for too long. He was loyal to the end and that was what was so perfect about him. She’d always trust Link to protect Hyrule from Ganon’s clutches. Triforce Tower
“It’s me!” Link shouted as he approached the drawbridge of the castle. One of the watch guards, Erol, waved over at him.
“Good night off mate?”
“It was okay,” Link managed, hoping his words didn’t sound slurred. He needed to sound perfect for Zelda, after all. He staggered across the bridge towards the portcullis which was slowing being raised.
“You look a bit worse for wear!” Erol laughed as Link walked into the courtyard.
“It was all Drake’s fault,” Link grumbled. Erol just laughed again.
“He does like his ale.”
“Don’t remind me.” Ten pints… Why did he have to go and do a stupid thing like drinking ten pints of ale?
His head still slightly fuzzy, he continued to make his way across the courtyard, pausing for a moment at the fountain. From there he could stand and look up at Zelda’s tower. There was still a light burning in the topmost window so she was evidently still awake. Probably reading, as usual he supposed. He attempted to steel himself and looked at the tower determinedly. Despite his slightly obscured state of mind, tonight was the night he was going to win her over. Dillon had promised it would work. He might be a lowly peasant but he was brave and courageous, loyal and devoted. And he wasn’t half bad looking, or so many various girls throughout the land claimed. He cleared his throat loudly and stood up straight. His vision swam a bit as he gazed at Zelda’s tower again.
“Ugh,” he mumbled, heading towards it. There were guards patrolling the battlements but he didn’t even notice them as he stumbled across the castle grounds. The stars were twinkling prettily now in the cobalt sky and the moonlight seemed to cast an eerie glow upon the white bricks of the castle. The dark-haired hero reached the foot of the tower and cast his gaze to its uppermost heights. “Princess!” he called loudly, trying to catch her attention. “Zel! I need to speak to you!” A few seconds later a vision of loveliness appeared on the ivy-clad balcony above although rather than smiling, her expression looked slightly annoyed.
“Link?” she said, somewhat sharply. “It’s late.”
“I know but…” he trailed off, unable to take his eyes off her. “You’re so beautiful.” She gave a slight inhalation, obviously not knowing whether to accept the compliment or rebuke it.
“Are you drunk?” she asked, her tone still verging on acerbic.
“No… no… Drake is… but I’m not…” he lied, admiring her beautiful silhouette outlined by the moonlight. Moonbeams seemed to dance off her blonde tendrils, making her look even more amazing. “You look incredible tonight, Zel.” She frowned but a pretty blush had spread over her cheeks.
“Stop being stupid Link, perhaps you ought to go and get some sleep. You won’t remember this in the morning,” she stated, folding her arms across her chest.
“How could I possibly not remember you,” he exclaimed, rather boldly. Zelda gave a little snicker and turned away.
“I’m going back to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she said.
“But Princess! Wait!” he said, a little desperately. He was still trying to pluck up the courage to sing to her. “I um… I’ve got something important to tell you.”
“Is it about Ganon?” she asked, looking back for a moment. He shook his head.
“No… but listen… I’ve been thinking about you all night… about how wonderful and beautiful and amazing you are. I’ve just never been able to put it into the right words but I think I’ve finally found a way.” Zelda opened her mouth a little but then closed it. She looked down at her feet for a moment before returning her gaze to the hopeful looking hero.
“Uh Link I…” He suddenly started to sing. It was the worst thing she had ever heard in her life. Her surprise suddenly turned to laughter and she covered her mouth in an attempt to stifle it. All over the courtyard and battlements, the guards were looking and pointing, laughing at Link’s attempt to woo her.
“You’re beautiful… you’re beautiful… it’s true…” he was bellowing, perhaps it was supposed to be romantic but he was out of key and even slurring a bit.
“Hey Your Highness! Looks like you have a bit of an admirer!” one of the nearby guards chuckled. She reddened visibly, realising she had to put her friend out of his misery. She disappeared back into the tower and came back out a moment later with a large pitcher of water. Sometimes you had to be cruel to be kind…
“And I don't know what to do, ‘cause I'll never be with you…” Link wailed as she lifted the pitcher above his head. She closed her eyes and let the water drop. There was a large splash and when she looked down, Link had stopped singing and was looking rather wet, his dark hair all matted over his face.
“You… you…” he spluttered.
“Sorry…” she ventured. The water seemed to have sobered him up.
“Well, excuuuuse me, Princess!” She rolled her eyes.
“Goodnight, Link,” she said sweetly, before turning on her heel. He stood there for a while, dripping and feeling embarrassed as he realised that everyone in the castle was laughing at him.
“Why does this always happen?” he groaned to himself. The light in Zelda’s tower went out. Well, there was always another day he supposed. Another day without the influence of ten pints of strong ale…
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