Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Juliet A. Singleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
Harkinian's ship landed in the Opela port early that autumn morning. As Link disembarked the royal boat a blast of crisp, cool air hit him in the face, his already unruly brown locks blowing a little wildly in the fierce breeze. King Harkinian followed, with Drake bringing up the rear and a small consignment of Hyrulian soldiers surrounded the royal envoy. Several of them bore banners and pennants signalling Hyrule's crest and colours, the rest were lightly armed with decorative swords and shields. At the very front were two heralds with brass bugles that they blew at intervals as they marched along the port and into the city streets.
"All hail the King of Hyrule!" they proclaimed loudly to the groups of people who had gathered on the pavements to watch the ongoing procession. Many of them were cheering; a surprise to Link, who had always held the belief that Catalia hated Hyrule. But again, that had been a manipulation on Robert's part, and now that their general was dead, perhaps his machinations had died with him.
"So far, so good," muttered Drake as they walked along the street sedately.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that," warned Harkinian gravely. "There are people here who resent us setting foot on their soil, much less asserting power here." Link knew that the old King was right in his words. As they turned up another street, passing by the market square, a red-haired young woman dashed into their path, pushing aggressively past the guards and towards him. The hero barely had time to react before she grabbed hold of his arm, a pleading look on her pretty face.
"Oh Sir Link, Sir Link, is it true you are to return home and take your rule over us?" she questioned. Link stared at her in surprise, trying to push her hands off his arm.
"No, no, whoever told you that?" he asked.
"It is all around Opela that you are to be our new leader!" the girl exclaimed. Link shook his head.
"That isn't true," he answered.
"Catalia have been asked to choose their own representative who shall be appointed under my jurisdiction within the next few days," Harkinian said.
"We want..." the girl started, but she was lost in the sweeping mass of crowd that had begun to form around them. Link quickly walked forward, standing closer to the surrounding guards. He felt a little flustered by the girl's words; he hadn't known that anyone in Catalia actually respected him. After Robert's plot and of course, affairs of the Kokiri, he had always assumed that everyone hated him. The castle grew closer in sight as they ascended the final road that led to it. It stood atop the crest of a hill, with strong grey walls, mullioned windows and red slate roofs and turrets.
"Still the same as ever," Harkinian said softly.
"You've visited often, Sire?" Drake questioned. The King gave a small nod.
"In my youth, I spent many summers at
," he commented. Before he could speak further on the matter however, a sudden commotion broke out at the front of the procession. Catalia Castle
The heralds and several of the guards had drawn their swords as a small group of Catalians had dove out of the crowd and into the middle of the road. Others were throwing rotten vegetables and fruit in their general direction. At once, Drake had drawn his own weapon as had Link, standing either side of the King to protect him.
"Filthy, rotten swines!" Drake commented gruffly, looking over at the Catalian rebels with distaste.
"Murderers! Pillages!" shouted the rebels loudly from either side of the street.
"Keep out of Catalia!"
"Go back to Hyrule!"
"Looks like you were right," said Link quietly to the King.
"It was to be expected," Harkinian replied. Drake held his shield up to block a rogue turnip which came flying in their general direction.
"They have no respect, Your Majesty. Scum, the lot of them!" the knight said angrily. He turned to some of the soldiers near to them. "Look after His Royal Highness!" he commanded, before marching to the front of the crowd, brandishing his sword fiercely. Link rushed after the knight, before he did anything too rash.
"You want a fight, I'll give you one, you disrespectful whelps!" Drake roared angrily at the rowdy peasants who were currently blocking their advancement towards the palace. Link shook his head, wondering what had got into Drake recently. "Stand aside for the King!" the knight bellowed. "That's an order!" Link held up his sword, fighting past the crowd towards the midst of the furor.
"Do as the good knight says!" he shouted loudly. "This is for your country's own good!" he added, trying to restore some order. He had to quickly dodge out of the way, as did Drake, as a few more rotten fruits came flying into the vicinity.
"Just no respect!" growled Drake, looking furious. "Out of my way!" he yelled, looking so menacing that some people did eventually step aside.
"Killers!" a bawdy-looking man shouted.
"I will be in a minute if you don't move from this road!" Drake retorted.
"Drake!" Link warned, pulling on his friend's arm with concern. Drake brushed his hand aside and simply marched to the front of the road.
"Stand aside, the King wishes to pass through!" he shouted loudly. The procession was moving again, Link noted with relief. People seemed to melt away suddenly, letting them through. The castle loomed on the skyline. "Just takes a little authority," Drake commented, still holding up his sword. Link gave him a shrug.
"I suppose you're right," he agreed. They continued on towards the castle in silence.
"Your Highness..." one of the
guards gave Zelda a polite acknowledgement as she passed through the Great Hall that morning. She gave him a quick smile, before heading towards the staircase. She had just finished a council meeting which had consisted mainly of plans for the war memorial and the Mido Library project and in all, it hadn't been too bad. She had held meetings before, but usually with the support of Link or at least Drake, and without her father there to run things, at first it had felt daunting. She found herself wondering how they were getting on in Catalia; the inhabitants at best regarded Hyrule as some sort of enemy and she didn't doubt that they would have had a chilly reception. She paused as she approached the first floor gallery, glancing across at the Drawing Room. The door was slightly ajar and she could hear snatches of Fayette and Fenella's conversation coming through. North Castle
"Oh mother, she really is impossible! I told her..."
"Faye dear, it's not Link's fault he was born a peasant.."
"I simply wouldn't put up with it! I mean..."
"It's their choice dear. And they do have children to consider."
"And I was only trying to help but as usual..."
Zelda gave a sigh as she leaned against the wall outside, remembering events from the previous evening. Fayette had done little to help, only fuelling her disconsolate mood further. She wasn't sure what had become of herself lately, but she felt like she was another person, picking up the pieces of a former life. Last night's row with her stepsister had been enough to bring on a fresh bout of self-pity and doubts creeping back into her mind and Zelda felt like she had wept for hours about Link's betrayal. It had taken all of her strongest willpower not to dwell upon it, and Fayette had stripped it all away, ridiculing her husband and what was left of their marriage. From the conversation she appeared to be having with her mother, it was clear Fayette was not about to let her forget the past. She would not be happy until Zelda's marriage was well and truly destroyed.
And I almost let it be, the Princess thought to herself sadly, knowing that all along, it had not been Link who had set the pathway to recent events, but herself. She had been doing it ever since they'd met almost fifteen years ago. Then she thought of Fayzie, the other woman who had shared part of Link's life for almost as long as she had. Whenever Zelda thought of the Kokiri, anger welled up inside her over what she had done. But she couldn't blame her for it. Zelda had wanted Link so much, her initial childish crush growing into so much more over the years including desire and jealous possession and her fear that she would lose him. If her own feelings for one person were so profound, surely it could be expected of others, too?
A kindly voice snapped the Princess out of her reverie and she looked up to see Impa at the summit of the staircase. "I thought you were going to do some work?" she questioned, her lined face etched with concern. Zelda quickly stepped away from the Drawing Room door and nodded.
"Oh yes... I... I need to keep working on what I discussed in the meeting," she said.
"You did very well... your father would be proud," Impa said kindly, reaching over to gently rub her arm. Zelda looked down and bit her lip.
"I tried my best..."
"I couldn't help but wonder though... you still seem a little down these days Princess," the old nursemaid interrupted.
"It's nothing Impa, I..."
"Is this about Link or does it go deeper than that?" Impa asked. Zelda, looking defeated, shrugged.
"Truth be known Impa, I don't even know what I think about anything these days," she sighed. "I've given up trying to make sense of it all."
"That's not the Zelda I've known for the past twenty-eight years or so," the loyal nursemaid smiled. Zelda gave her a small smile back.
"I'm not really sure what to do with myself," she admitted. "I've been trying so hard lately to sort my life out and try and be a better person, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting nowhere. I keep dredging up the past and thinking about everything too much."
"Sounds to me like you could do with some of my special butter shortbread and a nice cup of tea," Impa said with a smile.
"Make it lemonade instead and you're on!" Zelda said, suddenly smiling more fully.
"That's what I like to see, you look so pretty when you smile, Princess," Impa replied. "And lemonade it is, if that's what you really want!"
"Yes please," Zelda verified.
"Then let's go and have a little talk," Impa replied, leading the princess back towards the staircase.
Impa's quarters had once been a part of the castle that Zelda had spent much of her time. They adjoined to the nursery, but these days Zelda didn't have as much time to spend with the woman who helped to bring her up and be a second mother to her. They were both busy with their own responsibilities but Zelda knew she could always count on the old Hylian for sound and trusted advice. She gazed around the cosy room, smiling as she saw the plush, comfy chairs beside the fireplace, the kettle on the small stove and the cupboards which no doubt contained plenty of her infamous biscuits and cakes Impa loved to bake in her spare time.
"Come on, sit down," Impa invited, patting one of the chairs. Zelda did as she was told, curling up on the overstuffed seat and waiting patiently whilst the nursemaid poured her a glass of fresh lemonade and filled a plate with goodies.
"Link will be sad to miss this!" she laughed lightly.
"He will indeed... he never could resist my shortbread," Impa answered with a chuckle. She brewed herself a cup of tea before wandering over to the fire to join Zelda. She placed the plate of biscuits on the nearby wooden table and sat down opposite the princess. "So tell me princess... I sense that recent events still pray heavily on your mind. It is evident to many, including your father," she said. Zelda nodded.
"He has mentioned it to me... I wish I could explain Impa... Link and I... we really want to sort things out but sometimes... sometimes it feels really difficult," she said, with a small sigh. Impa pushed the plate of biscuits in her direction. She picked one, taking a small bite. It melted in her mouth, delicious, as always.
"It came as a shock to me about Link... I think it did to us all. And I cannot excuse what he did, at all. He should not have done it. But again, cast your memory back to what I advised you about Kaibre. You have to put this down to experience. Experiences such as these, if you can get past them, will only make you stronger, so long as you let go of the past," Impa said slowly. "For both your sakes, you have to forgive and forget, and stop keeping secrets from each other. You have to rebuild and enforce the love that you share, and I know that you can both do it. I don't doubt it for a moment; and neither should you." Zelda looked down into her glass of lemonade, watching the small bubbles burst. Then she looked back up at Impa.
"We're trying, we really are," she said softly. "I'd do anything for him, anything to prove how much I love him."
"And have you told him that?" Impa questioned in a gentle tone. The princess nodded.
"I tell him every day that I love him and need him... I only wish..." she paused, biting her lip and looking uncomfortable.
"What do you wish?" Impa proceeded to ask.
"I wish... I wish I could stop thinking about Fayzie, and what she and Link shared," Zelda explained. "And... and Kaibre," she added, with a gulp. "I wish I could stop thinking of it all."
"I know it's difficult, dear princess, but if you really love each other as much as you claim you do, you will be able to do it. I'm sure such things weigh down on Link's mind also. It can't be easy for him either," Impa answered, shaking her head to herself.
"I suppose you're right," Zelda conceded, reaching for another piece of shortbread. "But he always seems to cope so much better than me."
"Maybe he does... or maybe, as recent events show, he doesn't. What counts is, you both need to be there for each other. Next month will mark the beginning of your ninth wedding anniversary, and you need to start off on the right foot. For better, for worse," Impa stated. Zelda nodded.
"I really want us to make a go of things," she replied.
"Then enough of the tears and the forlorn expression, Princess! If people see you looking so sad, they will surely talk. Lady Fayette is a good enough example of that," Impa said, her tone turning austere.
"Fayette will stop at nothing to see Link and I apart," Zelda muttered angrily. "Last night she already tried to put more nonsense in my head about Link and Fayzie."
"And I do hope that you didn't listen to that silly girl's stories!" Impa replied, looking slightly annoyed. A faint blush crossed Zelda's features but she quickly shook her head.
"Of course not! It was all rubbish! Link would never..." she paused, looking a little uncomfortable. "I don't believe her at all," she added.
"I really should hope not. Fayette delights in nothing more than seeing you hurt and angry about things. She is little more than a malicious, bitter young woman and her attitude towards other members of this household leave a lot to be desired. She may be a good mother, I'll give her that, but overall she is a completely contemptible person. You must not take heed of her words," Impa replied, frowning. Zelda nodded.
"I wish that I hadn't over Leigh," she sighed. Impa's expression turned graver at the princess' words.
"You all could have saved yourself a lot of heartache. But I suppose again, that is the past. It is over with, there is no need to dredge it all up. It will only cause more suffering in the long run," she stated sagely.
A few minutes of thoughtful silence passed. Zelda let out a sigh, running a hand through her long golden hair.
"Oh Impa, I only wish I knew how to make things all right again!" she suddenly exclaimed.
"I have given you what advice I can Princess, it is up to you how you use it," Impa replied, finishing off her cup of tea.
"I just want things back to how they used to be. Like back when we first met," Zelda said.
"Work hard at your relationship and I'm sure you can both be happy," the nursemaid answered. "Everyone in Hyrule is rooting for you two, believe me." Zelda gave her a small smile.
"I'm going to make sure I plan a really special birthday for him next month," she said, suddenly looking excited. "I'll invite everybody, all of his friends... well..." she suddenly trailed off, thinking about Fayzie. Impa noticed her expression.
"Zelda?" she asked.
"It's nothing," Zelda said quickly. "I suppose I better get writing out the invites and try to keep it a secret," she smiled.
"Well, this is the perfect time to do it, while he's away on diplomatic business with your father," Impa pointed out. Zelda stood up from the chair and nodded eagerly.
"Okay, well perhaps I'd better go and make a start. There'll be so many people to invite! Plus I need to sort out things for Ewan's birthday next week, and the memorial and everything." Impa gave a small chuckle.
"See, plenty of things to keep you busy, Princess."
"Thank you Impa. Thank you for listening to me and helping me out," Zelda said sincerely. Impa gave her a smile.
"I'm always here for you Zelda. Always."
"I know," Zelda verified. As she left the nursemaid's quarters she realised that she felt a little better. Things weren't always so bad when you had someone to share them with.
Zelda made sure she descended the main stairway of
gracefully as she approached Dion Insequi, who stood, immaculately dressed and coiffured as usual. He smiled charmingly upon her arrival, giving her a small, exaggerated bow. North Castle
"Ah Your Highness, so wonderful to see you once again!" he exclaimed. Zelda gave the Dubation a polite smile.
"Likewise. I'm very interested to see what you have planned," she said, going straight to business. Dion nodded.
"Of course, of course, I shall not delay and I know you will love what you see, pretty Princess!" he said confidently, unrolling several scrolls that he was carrying with him. "In keeping with Mido's style I have decided on a mock Hylian facade from white stone. Only the best building materials of course, but I'm sure you will agree Your Highness, a very good way to spend your taxpayers money," he said with a wink.
"Ah... yes of course," she agreed, laughing a little as she peered at one of the scrolls with interest. Dion's neat drawings and notes were etched upon the parchment, showing many possible designs.
"Yes, money well spent if I do say so myself. You shall not be disappointed, in fact I anticipate your signature on this very scroll right this moment!" the architect proclaimed, grinning widely. Zelda raised her eyebrows.
"Why Dion, you're remarkably confident when I have yet to speak on the matter," she smirked.
"Because I know the answer already Your Highness. You will find no-one better for this project and I know this," he stated solemnly. The princess ran a hand through her silky golden hair, giving him a wry smile.
"I suppose you're right," she conceded. Dion grinned and whipped out a quill with a flourish.
"Then sign away my pretty Princess, let's not delay this matter any further!"
"Wait, I need to know how much this is all going to cost," Zelda interrupted, holding up her hand and waving the quill away.
"It will barely make a dent in your fortune, I assure you," Dion replied, handing her another scroll. Zelda read through it slowly, before handing it back to the Dubation.
"That's at least three months worth of taxes," she remarked, folding her arms.
"Ah, it is merely small change Your Highness. Let us quit with these trivial formalities and get things in motion," Dion encouraged, smiling hopefully at her. Zelda smiled; Dion's mood was infectious.
"It is not when you have a big staff payroll to pay out each month!" she pointed out. "Our
employees and Hyrulian army recruits, yourself included, do not come cheap!" North Castle
"You want only the best," Dion smiled.
"You and Drake are some of the worst offenders," Zelda smirked. "Although I can't complain on the level of service," she added.
"Which is why you must sign this contract right now," Dion enthused, handing the princess his purple quill.
As Zelda checked through the plans a second time, Fayette stepped into the Great Hall, looking over at the two with interest. Dion noticed her and smiled, giving her a perfunctory bow.
"Ah how lucky I am today to be graced with the presence of the two most beautiful women in Hyrule!" Zelda rolled her eyes and ignored Fayette, still pretending to read through Dion's figures. Fayette on the other hand had turned into her usual coquettish self, giggling and simpering at Dion's flattery.
"If you're looking for Drake and Link, they've gone to Catalia with the King," Fayette remarked. Dion shook his head.
"I am at
to discuss business with your extremely beautiful and extremely frugal sister," he replied. North Castle
"Oh, are you here to paint some more of your wonderful pictures?" the Sosarian questioned smiling prettily. Zelda frowned, wondering if her stepsister would ever give up with her flirtations.
"I am here to build a new library, in honour of the Princess! A beautiful library like no town has ever seen, it shall be simply magnificent and splendid, indeed a sight to behold by all!" Dion exclaimed excitedly.
"In honour of Zelda?" Fayette questioned, looking a little annoyed.
"Yes I'm to be the president Faye," Zelda remarked silkily, signing her name with a flourish at the bottom of Dion's contract.
"I can't imagine why," her stepsister retorted, putting a hand up to touch her perfect, red-gold ringlets. She turned to smile winningly at Dion once more. "Dion, I have long admired your work down at the art gallery in Mido. Those sculptures of your mother are simply exquisite," she said.
"Ah, what a simply wonderful idea you have just given me!" Dion suddenly exclaimed.
"Oh isn't it? I'm sure that I would make a simply..." Fayette started. But an excited Dion interrupted.
"Yes, yes I can see it now, a beautiful statue of you Zelda, to mark the occasion. It shall be my greatest work yet!" he declared. Fayette pouted looking annoyed, whilst Zelda simply laughed and waved her hand.
"Oh no Dion, that really isn't necessary," she said, blushing slightly.
"You are Hyrule's future liege, are you not? Of course it is necessary!" Dion argued. "Stone, marble, bronze which one shall I use to portray your divine visage I wonder?"
"If my sister is less than willing, I am sure I would make a more than satisfactory model," Fayette put it, touching her hair again.
"My pretty lady, it would be my pleasure!" Dion answered. "But the library is for the Princess. You... you I shall immortalise in a great portrait!" he suggested.
"Oh yes, yes! A great big painting for us to hang here, at
! You must paint me Dion, me and my children!" Fayette said excitedly. North Castle
"Oh by the goddesses," Zelda muttered. "And where exactly are you planning on hanging this painting?" she questioned rudely.
"Why in the gallery of course," Fayette replied.
"Good luck in finding a space then," Zelda retorted, folding her arms and looking away. "I'm afraid it's rather full of all my royal ancestors." Fayette ignored her and looked back at Dion, who didn't appear at all concerned by the two feuding females before him.
"Listen, why don't we go up to the Drawing Room where we can discuss the... finer details... of this commission?" she suggested in a flirtatious tone. Zelda frowned, feeling annoyed again.
"Excuse me Faye, but Mr Insequi and I have a few more things to discuss before he can even consider your proposition," she said cuttingly, her tone cool. Dion gave a small grin.
"Ladies, ladies, one at a time, one at a time!" he proclaimed. Fayette scowled at Zelda angrily.
"You just always have to..." she started but Zelda pointedly ignored her, turning to Dion.
"Let's go down to Mido, I'd like to inspect the proposed site," she suggested.
"As the fair lady wishes," Dion said gallantly, bowing once more. Fayette just huffed as she watched them leave. Lately, Zelda was being even more annoying than usual.
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