Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 7: A Woman Named Zelda
Sheik awoke to the faint reminisces of a song and an unfamiliar ceiling, the patterns on the stone resisting being tamed by his mind. Soft light shined through a window, falling on him and giving him its warmth and strength. Turning his head to look around he felt his long hair shift underneath his head, a buffer between it and the pillow. The room was standard and bland, a bed, a night table, a dresser, and a writing desk, its chair moved to sit by his bed. No one else seemed to be in the room with him currently though. As his mind caught up with his senses, he could feel the soft blankets piled on top of him, the fabric rubbing against his naked skin.
Where am I? wondered Sheik, trying to get his bearings. Is this a room in the castle? I passed out after the battle, didn't I? I feel so drained right now, I wonder how long it's been. I was probably brought here to rest, so there will probably be someone coming to check up on me soon. I hope everyone else is ok, I seem to remember there being lots of blood…
Moving slightly to get into a more comfortable position, he felt the blanket rub against his chest, finally falling and settling around his small breasts. It took his tired mind almost a whole minute to process what he had just felt.
These sheets are way more comfortable than the blankets Impa made us use when travelling and training, probably not as functional though. The way they just settle on the skin, the feel on my breasts…
Sheik sat up quickly, flinging the covers off of her. She stared down and saw that her spell had apparently been lifted somehow. A moment of frantic groping proved that yes, she was now Zelda again. She collapsed back down on her back with a sigh, frantic surprise turning into acceptance.
I guess I used too much energy in the fight, he thought to himself. Whatever reserves fueled the spell must have been used up. I guess it never occurred to me that a spell like this might be active instead of passive, needing a constant supply of magic. I wonder just how much it really takes to keep up. Maybe this is a sign from the Goddesses that I was born a woman and will forever be one, no matter which disguise I put on.
As Zelda lay on the bed, her thoughts darkening, she heard a light knock on the door, as if through a habit of courtesy more than actually expecting a response. Zelda's throat was too dry to give one anyways as the door opened, her visitor entering of their own accord. The person entered back first, closing the door behind them as they shuffled in, humming softly. Zelda was slightly disappointed when she saw short cut blonde hair instead of long auburn locks. The person turned around and she saw that they were a young woman with a smile on her face and a tray of food in her hands. The smile was immediately wiped off when the person realized the occupant of the room was awake, and clearly showing off the top half of her naked body.
"I'm so sorry for barging in!" apologized the girl, for she was hardly into her womanhood. "I assumed you were still sleeping!"
"Its fine," assured Zelda, rasping through her dry throat. She sat up slowly in the bed, bringing the sheets around herself. Modesty wasn't really a top priority for her, but she realized from the deep blush on the girl's face that she wasn't really used to a lack of it. "Could you answer some questions for me?"
"Uh...sure!" replied the girl. Something occurred to her and she quickly shuffled over, hurriedly dropping the rattling tray on the nightstand and picking up a cup of water from it, splashing some of it as she did so. "Would you like some water first?"
"Yes please," rasped Zelda. She took the cup from the girl, ignoring her insistence that she should be helping her drink it. Zelda took several small, slow sips, allowing her body to get used to drinking again. The feeling of the cool liquid gliding down her throat felt great, and she could already feel energy returning to her as her body was rehydrated. The girl took a seat and just stared at her the whole time, excitement and curiosity seeming to bubble out from her. Zelda finished the whole cup and the girl took it from her and put it down on the tray. The tired warrior gave a sigh, closing her eyes briefly and reclining back before staring once again at the girl. "What's your name?"
The girl seem shocked by this being her first question, but managed to answer quickly. "Illia Ma'am!" replied the girl. Zelda winced slightly at being called Ma'am, feeling once again that her time of running away from what she was was over.
"There's no need to be so formal, Illia," said Zelda.
"Ok Ma'a…I mean…Sheik," said the girl, startling Zelda slightly by her use of that name. While Illia seemed to her to be kind of ditzy, she still seemed to pick up on Zelda's confusion. "Was that the wrong name? That's what the King and everyone were calling you, so I just assumed…"
"No, no, it's fine," replied Zelda hurriedly. "My name is Sheik, I was just surprised you knew it. Wait, did you say the King?"
"Yes, King Link," replied Illia with a bright smile, but it faded the next moment. "He ascended the throne four days ago after the death of the old king at the hand of the evil Ganondorf!"
"So I've been out for four days?" asked Zelda. "Can you explain everything to me from the beginning?"
"Of course!" replied Illia excitedly. "The evil lord Ganondorf of the Gerudo killed the king and more than a score of guards and soldiers when he attempted to take over Hyrule four days ago. He had disguised himself as a Gerudo woman, using black magic to physically change his body to that of a woman's. Prince Link arrived with a group of five warriors, killed Ganondorf and all of his vile monsters, losing the brave Sir Collin of the Sheikah in the process. Prince Link rushed to get help for all of his companions, most of which were heavily injured and quickly took control of the kingdom. He ascended the throne as King and declared that hostilities against the Sheikah be halted and repealed all of the recent anti-non-human laws."
Zelda pieced together the information from the girl's excited story telling. Only more questions sprung into her mind as she tried to catch up on missing time.
"What happened to Princess Ruto, Mikau and Malon?" asked Zelda.
"Oh it was so amazing!" gushed Illia, her face practically glowing in excitement. "I had been working in the kitchen at the time that Prince Link rushed in to get help. His hands were covered in blood and he seemed exhausted. The head cook tried to get him to rest but instead he grabbed everyone he could, sending out several to find healers and other assorted personages like the captain of the guards. I was one of the people who had gone to the throne room to assist him. There was Sir Mikau, his arm roughly bandaged in the Prince's torn tunic, blood soaking the fabric. You and Princess Ruto were lying next to each other on the stone floor, Miss Malon watching over you three. Once we assured her that you were going to be fine and taken care of, she passed out right there from exhaustion."
Zelda was worried about just how excitedly Illia spoke of such awful events to his friends and companions. She realized that to the girl the tale had already taken on a fairy tale like quality, magical and hardly seeming real. She was in full story telling mode now, and Zelda was too tired to try to stop her as she continued rambling on.
"The Prince personally carried Princess Ruto to his chambers, it was so romantic! I mean, there had always been rumors about their relationship, but finding out that it was true first hand was just so exciting! He also directed us to take you all to the innermost guest chambers, right by his quarters. Another girl and I carried you up the stairs. Honestly, you're so light for such a powerful warrior. We brought you here and a healer saw to you immediately. I don't think your wounds were too bad, but they said something about magical fatigue. Are you a magician?"
"Yes, I am," admitted Zelda.
"And a powerful one from what I heard!" exclaimed Illia. "You defeated both Ganondorf and his shadow monster, didn't you?"
"I had help in both regards."
"But you were the one who dealt the killing blows!" Illias looked at her admiringly. "And you're a woman too! That's so amazing, having such a strong female warrior! Is it true the Sheikah have only ever allowed two women to be warriors and that you were trained by the only other woman, Impa?"
"Yes, it's true, in a fashion," admitted Zelda, wincing slightly at Illia's perceived compliment. For Zelda, it was just an unpleasant reminder of what she would always be. Illia seemed to realize that she had said something wrong and looked at Zelda worriedly.
"Is something wrong?" she asked, concerned. "Was it something I said? I'm sorry if I insulted or upset you, I didn't mean it!"
"No, it's not you," reassured Zelda. "It's me. I've just been coming to terms with the fact that I've been lying to myself this whole time."
"About not being a woman," replied Zelda. She saw confusion on the other girl's face and decided to explain things to her. "The reason I was allowed to be trained as a warrior is that I created a spell and changed myself so that I was physically a man, forcing the elders to have me trained. This whole time I've been living as a man, lying to myself and others about not being a woman…I woke up a woman, and it just finally occurred to me that this is what I really am. A weak, pathetic woman who wastes my time, magic and energy on hiding from the truth."
Illia just silently studied her for a moment before speaking up.
"When I saw you lying on the throne room floor, I thought even injured you were the most dashing and handsome man I had ever seen. Imagine my surprise when carrying you that I discovered you were a woman! Even unconscious your manliness put most of the guards and soldiers I've seen to shame." She took a deep breath, gathering her thoughts before speaking again. "The King and the Princess, they never referred to you as just a man or a woman, just a brave and powerful warrior. And Miss Malon, who woke up after a full day's rest, sat by your bed, softly singing to you. When she was called away to assist the King, she told me to take good care of you, as you were the greatest person she had ever known or loved. They all see greatness in you, not defined by you having breasts or not, but by who you are. I do too for that matter. I think it's only you who sees yourself as a weak woman, and not just a strong person."
They just sat in silence for a moment, staring at each other. Suddenly Illia's face turned bright red and she looked away in embarrassment.
"I'm so sorry if I said too much there, but you just seemed so sad and well, that's how I see things and you don't need to agree but I apologize if you think I'm wrong or anything but well that's just how things are and I'll leave you now with this food to eat and go tell the King that you are awake as he wanted to know when you were as soon as you did, and I've waited a while to tell him, I'm again sorry for being so presumptuous and telling you all of that an-"
The girl probably would have gone on without a breath for several more minutes if Zelda hadn't interrupted her right then and there.
"Illia!" she shouted, drawing a frightened squeak from the girl. She smiled softly at the girl, trying to reassure her. "It's fine, you did nothing wrong. I apologize, for lying to myself once again. You honestly helped me see that I was wrong in what I was saying. So thank you for that."
"You really mean it?" asked Illia timidly.
"Yes, I do," replied Zelda.
"Thank you so very much!"
"I should be the one thanking you," said Zelda.
"We could thank each other then?" asked Illia.
"Sure," replied Zelda, smiling brightly. Illia turned red and quickly turned around, walking timidly towards the door.
"I'll go tell the King that you are awake then. Enjoy your food and rest up," said the girl, walking quickly out of the room. Zelda couldn't help but chuckle a bit at the strange girl.
Zelda grabbed the tray and rested it on her lap. There was a piece of fresh bread and some warm stew, both of which had cooled down a lot due to how long they had been talking, but still smelled really good. She tore into the bread and dunked it into the stew, letting it soak up the thick broth. Zelda slowly ate the meal, savoring it and feeling the energy returning to her tired body. When she was done eating she replaced the plate on the nightstand and lay back down underneath the blankets. Her consciousness once again faded, this time into a gentle rest.
When Zelda next woke the sky outside the window was painted several different colors as the sun slowly set in the horizon. Sitting up in bed she felt much better than she had before. She pulled back the covers and slowly got out of the bed, being carefully not to move too quickly. Standing up she ran her body through some basic stretches, getting the feel for moving again. After she was confident that she wasn't just going to randomly collapse while walking around, she went to the dresser and opened it. Inside were her two outfits, her Sheikah warrior garb and the clothes she had stolen on her first day in the city. Holding up her warrior outfit she saw that someone had patched it up and it looked almost as good as new. She placed it back in the drawer and instead took out the blouse and dress. She dressed in the woman's clothes, not wanting to alarm anyone by walking out in warrior's clothes.
Zelda was just putting the bandanna around her hair when a knock sounded at her door.
"Come in," said Zelda, pulling tight the knot to keep her hair in place. When the door opened she expected to see Illia's short blonde hair but was instead greeted by a bright auburn. Malon walked into the room, a smile on her face as she saw Zelda standing in the room. Behind her walked Link and Ruto, hand in hand, smiles also on their faces.
"You're awake!" exclaimed Malon, rushing over and hugging Zelda. She returned the hug, enjoying the warmth and closeness. They broke apart and Malon glared at her disapprovingly, the smile never fully leaving her face. "You shouldn't be up and moving yet!"
"Apparently I've been out for four days, isn't that enough rest?" asked Zelda.
"Not until a Doctor says so!" replied Malon stubbornly.
"Says the woman who was up after only a day's rest after magic overuse and sitting in this very room watching over Zelda," said Ruto with a smirk.
"I'm not sure you can really chide anyone for that," said Link, smiling at Ruto. "You were fighting the doctors after half a day trying to convince them you were well enough to help me run a kingdom."
"I'm used to magic overuse. Those doctors were snotty anyways, so full of themselves and their skills. Plus you know you needed me," replied Ruto smirking at Link.
"Of course I did, not denying that. I'm just saying that you can't comment on others being stubborn."
"Fair point, I'll concede that one," admitted Ruto. Ruto looked at Zelda. "How are you feeling?"
Still a little tired I guess," admitted Zelda. "But that's mostly just from sleeping so long. Really I'm just hungry, I think I just slept the whole day away again."
"Just about," said Link. "Illia told us you were awake around noon but we were in an important meeting that just ended otherwise we would have been here sooner. Would you like to come down and join us for dinner?"
"Sure," replied Zelda. Something occurred to her. "How's Mikau?"
"He's awake," replied Ruto. "And complaining about it, like usual. He lost his left arm protecting me but he seems more worried and focused on the issue that the doctors won't allow him out of bed so that he can continue doing so. His life's not in danger, at least unless the doctor tending to him gets fed up and throttles him."
"Midna's feisty, but she'll take good care of him," said Link with a chuckle. "I've known her for a long time and she's just as stubborn as Mikau. She's also the best healer in the whole area, and dedicated to completely healing her patients. Once he's completely healed though then all bets are off. She might challenge him to a fight as soon as he's able."
"Before we go eat, I would like to ask you a question," said Ruto, more politely than Zelda had ever heard her. "Link and I are engaged as you know, and with his father dead, that means he's now King. Zora-Human couples aren't exactly unheard of, there are several in the border areas between the two Kingdoms, but there is one difference in ours. We are both royalty and thus need to provide heirs. This has actually been our largest reason for not getting engaged sooner, but since we weren't ever planning to marry anyone else ever, we decided to just get engaged."
"We could always adopt," said Link, picking up for his fiancée. "But that has all of its own issues. A blood heir would be the best solution honestly, but we've never heard of a human and a Zora being able to reproduce. So, we were wondering if it was possible for there to be a spell that allows this."
Zelda just looked at the serious couple in surprise. She racked her brain, thinking on if she had ever seen such a spell. She had read about fertility spells and drugs, but nothing quite like what they wanted. She saw their hopeful expressions though and realized she might be their only hope.
"I'm not sure," admitted Zelda. "I've never heard of such, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Before recently a spell to turn a woman physically into a man or a man physically into a woman didn't exist either. I promise that I won't rest until I find a solution." Zelda lifted up her hand and the back of it glowed with the Triforce of Wisdom. "You can count on me."
"Thank you very much," replied Link, letting out a sigh of relief. He smiled gently up at Ruto and she smiled back.
"Before you start though, let's go get you some food. We don't want you passing out while trying to help us," said Ruto.
They headed out of the room and down the hall, heading to what Zelda guessed was going to be a dining hall. Link and Ruto walked in front, chatting quietly to each other. Malon walked next to Zelda. After a minute or so of walking and awkward glances, Malon's hand shot out and grabbed Zelda's tightly. The ranch girl smiled awkwardly at her, and Zelda just smiled back, tightening her own grip on her hand. Malon started to hum quietly as they walked down the hall hand in hand, ready to face the challenges ahead of them.
Author's Rant: Thank you to everyone who has read this story. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. This idea came to me several months ago while replaying some Super Smash Bros. Melee against my brother. I decided to play as Zelda/Sheik and soon found them as my new favorite character in the game.
It got me thinking about Ocarina of Time, which I've played and beaten way too many times over the years since it has come out to count. I've always loved how active of a part Zelda plays in the game. Escaping from Ganondorf as Sheik, saving Ruto from the ice, and just all around assisting Link in his quest. The reveal that Sheik was Zelda was really cool, and still is. Sadly its followed right after by one of the most disappointing moments in gaming to ever hit me. Zelda's capture as soon as she transformed back (and her weird change of dress) always rubbed me the wrong way. It's kind of made up by Zelda assisting you a bit after you free her, but it still strikes me as wrong. There's this bad-ass female character and BAM! instant damsel in distress for the last like 1/10th of the game.
Other Zelda games have also been pretty disappointing in this regard too. They have active heroines (usually the various incarnations of Zelda) who just kind of get damsel'd. Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, the Oracle Games, etc. Apparently the stories can't ever be completed unless there's a damsel in distress somewhere in the story, even if it's the very end. I love the games, but going through and seeing all of this is just...saddening. I'd like to see a game where that doesn't happen. Even better, maybe one with a female heroine. The franchise doesn't have the excuse of having one hero as it's multiple heroes spread out over the ages, not always reincarnations or relatives either, sometimes just coincidence. They could easily make a Legend of Zelda game with a female protagonist, we already have Zelda for goddesses sake. We know that the LoZ team can make strong female characters up to a certain point, why not take it just slightly further? Why is Zelda always captured? I don't buy the whole triforce thing, Link also has a triforce, why not capture him instead? Or why not give the triforce of Courage to a woman instead if you always want its wielder to be the main character.
So, with these thoughts in mind, I started what I thought would be a short, quick, inversion of the classic Legend of Zelda plot line. Things quickly changed and lengthened as I wrote. characters with no prominence or no appearances started to pop up. Pairings shifted, and my concepts for how some character would act became radically different. Thus the whole thing took me roughly four months to write up. At about 10k words in I took a quick break and wrote another Legend of Zelda AU fanfic, Fateful Meeting. Around this time I became a fan of the Link/Ruto pairing and decided to write a short fic about them meeting as kids, based in the AU world I had designed for Sheik's Quest. This led to a change in Link's character in the story, which was originally going to be a subversion of the White Knight trope. Link's trying to rescue Zelda from situations in which she was better equipped to deal with would just keep making things worse until she eventually called him out for his incidental sexism. So instead of that, you get the Link shown in this story. A cute back story with Ruto and Volvagia and his romance with the Zora woman I consider to be Link's OTP.
Thank you once again to everyone who read this story, and especially this rant. It grew into a much longer rant than I planned or expected. If you liked this story, send Miyamoto a message telling him we'd like a Legend Of Zelda: Sheik's Quest or some similar game featuring our favorite princess as the Hero.