A child let out a piercing scream. Sidon turned, on high alert, ready to face whatever threat there was, following the finger the child was pointing to:
“Me?” Sidon said. He wasn’t going to lie, it hurt a bit. But when you stood and head and shoulders above the average Hylian and had a mouthful of sharp teeth he supposed that such reactions were inevitable. The Zora had, regrettably, become more and more confined to their small domain. He just wished that this child had experienced a less alarming first impression of his people.
The child kept screaming. It was amazing how much power those tiny lungs held.
“Have no fear, young one-” Sidon took a step forward. The screaming intensified. He tried to hold up his hands in a placating way, forgetting that they were tipped with claws for gripping fish and wrenching opening molluscs. The scream became a wail. Tears began to flow.
Shouts and the sound of running feet filtered through the trees. It wasn’t long before the villagers of Hateno arrived, cautiously peering into the forest with an assortment of farming implements held out in front of them as makeshift weapons. Sidon had known that Hateno had remained peaceful, but it still seemed odd that not a single spear was to be seen among the people gathered. That wasn’t to say that Sidon fancied being skewered with a pitchfork, though. The man in the straw hat was radiating killing intent.
There was one conventional weapon being pointed at him. It was quickly lowered. Sidon grinned. There was only one who could wield the Master Sword. “Link. I was hoping to wait for you to pass this this place on your way back to the village, but I seem to have caused some alarm…”
Link laughed, throwing back his hood so that his golden hair shone in the sunlight, letting Sidon could see the joy that danced in his sky-blue eyes. Wordlessly, Link ran forward and leapt into Sidon’s arms. He was so warm, so beautiful; Link was a summer’s day given form by the Goddess herself.
Sidon held him close and nuzzled his neck. “I missed you too. I said I’d find time to visit.”
There was a nervous cough. A bearded man wielding a rake, confusion and wariness battling for supremacy on his face, said, “Excuse me, Mister… mister… excuse me, Mister. Now, this might seem a bit of a silly question, what with the Champion here clearly being your… friend. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, you see, and there’s still monsters about even with Calamity Ganon gone…”
Something seemed to cause the man to lose steam. It might have been the way Link had started to stroke him along his head, from crest to tail, which never failed to cause Sidon to fall into a happy stupor. Wiping the dazed grin off his face and setting Link down – who didn’t look chastised at all despite the glare Sidon shot at him, quite the opposite, the cheeky little rascal –
Sidon bowed. “My most sincere apologies. It was not my intention to frighten anyone. I am Sidon, Prince of the Zora. I mean you no harm.”
The crowd began to mutter. Instead of dispersing, they seemed to be craning their necks and jostling one another for a better view. The bearded man hushed them.
He stepped forward. He bowed, so stiffly that he might have been hinged in the middle. In a loud, overly cheerful voice, he announced, “Welcome to Hateno Village! Forgive us, Your Highness! We did not know that we were in the presence of royalty! We are sorry for our rudeness!”
A chorus of apologies began from the crowd. Sidon stopped them with a wave of his hand. “No, no, the fault was my own, lurking in the shadows like a monster in ambursh. You were right to be careful. I commend you on your bravery and quick response.”
This made the villagers smile. They nodded their heads and clapped each other on the back. Praised by a prince! It was something to tell the grandchildren.
“Smooth,” Link whispered.
Sidon chuckled. Leaning close enough to catch Link’s scent, he murmured, “Shall we get on? You must be tired from your travels and eager to return home.”
Link nodded, leading the way to where his white stallion stood. As they passed by a woman and her child, the boy called out, “Prince Sidon!”
Sidon stopped. He crouched down, which didn’t stop him from towering over the child anyway. The boy’s eyes were still ruddy from crying. He trembled despite holding his mother’s hand; the woman gave Sidon an apologetic smile.
In gentle tones Sidon asked, “Yes?”
“I’m sorry I got scared. If Mister Link is your friend, and he’s my friend, then… then… you’re my friend too.”
Adorable. Sidon was careful not to smile too widely; it would put his fangs on full display mere inches from the child’s face. Gravely, he answered, “I am honoured that you think so. I will cherish our friendship.”
The boy looked at his mother. She whispered something. He turned back to Sidon. “Thank you. Your highness.”
The clip-clop of horse’s hooves made Sidon look up to see Link beckoning to him. “You must excuse me. Duty calls.”
The route to Zora’s Domain didn’t allow for horses, although Sidon was trying to change that to allow for greater trade. His motivation to do this was purely in the interests of his people and to foster friendship between Hylians and Zora, and not at all related to the fact that he enjoyed being able to be eye-to-eye with Link while he rode a horse. And it definitely had nothing to do with how Link could lean out of the saddle, perfectly poised with grace and skill, and slip a hand under Sidon’s chin to guide him close for a kiss, which is what he was doing right now.
Sidon savoured the feel of his lips, the gentle pressure of his fingers, the way his tongue darted between Sidon’s carefully parted fangs so that he could taste him…
There was a giggle from behind them. Sidon pulled away. “Surely, after so long, we can wait until we’re somewhere more private, hmm?”
Link pouted. He melodramatically shook his fist at the women who had interrupted them, causing them to hurry away with even more giggling.
It had been many, many years since Sidon had last passed this way. Hateno Village was not easily accessible to the Zora due to its location on a hill, with Ganon’s monsters making overland travel dangerous for his people. But the sight of the peaceful town stretched out before him, meandering its way up tiered slopes, was well worth the trek across dusty roads. Hylians tended to fields, stood outside shops or simply lived , talking and playing and resting. They stopped at the sound of Link’s horse and called out happily to him, then paused to stare at Sidon, who made sure to wave in a friendly manner. Children who spotted the Zora prince from afar ran down for a closer look.
“So popular,” Link commented.
“I could say the same for you, love,” Sidon replied. “No need for jealousy.”
It had not been uncommon for Hylians to watch Sidon curiously when he travelled outside his father’s realm. As a prince, Sidon did not find himself discomforted by their stares. Usually.
“If I may be so bold, good sir, is there something you wish to ask of me?” Sidon said to a man who had stared with such intensity that Sidon’s scales itched.
The Hylian looked away, mumbling and shifting his feet.
“Just ‘checking out’ again, Manny?” Link asked cheerfully.
The man floundered. “Well, you know! What with all the commotion and stuff, I had to come out and see what was going on. For the sake of the village. You know.”
“Sounds tough,” Link answered.
“Yeah. Yeah, it is tough. Welcome back, by the way. Glad to see you around again.” Manny seemed conflicted for a moment, before he took a breath, steeled himself, and fixed Sidon with an expression of ferocious determination. “Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I gotta ask.”
Sidon blinked. “By all means, ask away. I will be happy to answer.”
“You’re not a girl Zora, are you?”
Link laughed. Sidon didn’t find the question rude or outlandish – the Zora were physically very different from Hylians, and they did not wear clothes that would help a Hylian distinguish their sex. “No, I am male.”
“Hmph. Figures,” Manny muttered. For some undiscernible reason, he looked disappointed. “Do Zora girls look different?”
Sidon considered this. To him they looked different, but would a Hylian be able to discern such details? “There are some differences.”
“Yes. I am unusually large for a Zora.”
“Their fins and heads are slightly rounder, yes.”
Link spoke before Sidon could answer. “Manny, go to Zora’s Domain yourself.”
“I can’t do that!” Manny exclaimed, suddenly mortified. “I c-can’t leave Prima… I still need to catch the other crickets…”
“Good luck!” Link urged his horse forward, and Sidon followed him, leaving Manny the observant Hylian to fret about cricket collecting.
As they passed by two women, Sidon couldn’t help but overhear one say, “Now why a Zora? What makes a Zora better than a Hylian?”
It was a question Sidon had asked himself many times. He could list the reasons he loved Link for a full moon’s cycle and still have more to say, but it never ceased to amaze him that Link had reciprocated his feelings. Link was the hero of Hyrule, and of all the countless people he’d met on his travels, he’d given his heart to Sidon. He’d been so caught up in his thoughts that Sidon hadn’t noticed that Link had stopped a little way behind him.
He walked over to the women, startling them.
And in full daylight, loud enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear, Link said, “He’s flexible.”
There were gasps. There was blushing. The women spluttered, unable to form words while Link cruelly, mercilessly smiled at them. Sidon himself probably looked like a gaping fish, eyes wide and jaw slack.
Silence reigned in Hateno Village.
Until a young girl went up to Link and said, “Mister Link, what do you mean the Zora is flexible?”
The village held its breath.
“Ah,” Link said. “You see, Zora can live on land and in water. That’s very impressive.”
The tension snapped. People roared with laughter. An elder had to be helped to a seat, wheezing. Someone shouted ‘Praise the Champion’, a cheer that was soon taken up by the entire village.
Sidon laughed along with them.
The list of reasons he loved Link got slightly longer.
And Sidon knew that as he spent more time with the amazing man he loved, it would only continue to grow.