Chapter 1: A Man Named Sheik
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 1: A Man Named Sheik
Orange tinted everything as the sun set and shadows started to invade the day. Shopkeepers were shutting down for the day and people were heading home to start making dinner. Sitting crouched in the shadows, a young man watched as a group of soldiers clanked past below him.
"Spread out in pairs and track down those filthy assassins!" bellowed a large, potbellied commander. "Remember, they're dangerous and possibly in disguise. Keep on the lookout for a tall man with blond hair and red eyes and a man of average height with blond hair and brown eyes. Until they're found, the city will be on lockdown!"
The soldiers did as they were told, clanking down the city streets of Castle town. When the last soldier was out of sight, Sheik jumped down from the rooftop he had been hiding on and into an alley. He gave a sigh. When did my mission go so wrong? he wondered to himself. This was supposed to be a simple delivery mission and now I have the whole city guard after me.
The young man contemplated his next course of action and knew that if he wanted he could probably easily sneak out of the town. He rejected that idea though. There was a real assassin on the loose. As a Sheikah and loyal servant to the crown of Hyrule he needed to find and stop the real assassin, his sense of duty wouldn't allow any other option. Of course, this meant that first he needed to avoid the city guard, they probably wouldn't be in the mood to listen to him if he told them he had been framed.
As Sheik was trying to think of a suitable disguise, he noticed some clothes hanging on a balcony to dry, not yet taken in for the day. An idea popped into his head, and making sure no one was near enough to see him, leapt onto the balcony. He sized up the clothes, guessing that they should be fine for his needs. His only pair of clothes, his Sheikah outfit, stood out way too much, and even going into a store to buy clothes would be too suspicious. Sheik took out enough rupees to pay for the clothes twice over and deposited them on the balcony. With a promise to return them when he was done, he grabbed the clothes and fled the balcony, back into the alley.
Sheik probed around with his finely tuned magic senses and ducked into an empty, probably abandoned building. The young man looked down and regarded the clothes in his hands. A plain white blouse, a pale blue skirt, a pale blue shawl, a pale blue bandanna and a pair of boots. Checking one last time with both his physical and magical senses and finding the area as secure as it would ever be, he released the spell on himself.
Sheik felt his body shift as his spell was lifted. His shoulders lost their broadness and his whole frame softened. His eye level lowered very slightly as he shrunk. The halfway point of the spell was reached as his eyes turned blue and he lost the familiar dangling feeling between her legs. A new gap opened up between her legs and Sheik felt a pair of small breasts form on her chest. Her hips widened and she gained body features she recognized as being considered "feminine".
Her skintight Sheikah outfit was now uncomfortable on her due to the changes in her body. Removing all of her gear and clothes, including the sword strapped to her back, she admired her female body, the first time in seven years. After touching, pinching and otherwise examining every part of herself she could, she started to dress. Sheik tightened her loin cloth, wrapped some bandages around her chest and put on the blouse and skirt. She admired the feel of the cloth as it fell loosely around her body. Wrapping the shawl around her shoulders and putting on the new boots she was starting to get used to the feel and movements of her new body. Unwrapping her hair from the braid she usually kept it in, she let it fall down her back. She wrapped the bandanna around her head, stopping her hair from falling into her face.
This will take some getting used to, thought Sheik, but as a Seikah I can't let that stop me. I need to find the real assassin and clear my name. Determined, Sheik packed up her clothes, weapons and gear into her backpack. She regarded her sword for a moment, and wrapped it up in some ragged blankets lying nearby. If I'm to succeed, I can't be caught. Hiding out here would be suspicious, I need to find somewhere else to stay.
Tuning into her inner senses, Sheik made sure once more that no one was around before exiting the building. She casually walked out of the alley onto a main street where people were bustling about, distracted by their own affairs and trying to hurry home before night set. Sheik was careful not to look too on guard, probing around with her magical senses instead of her physical ones. A few blocks later she spied an inn that looked promising. Walking inside, she saw a red headed young woman behind a counter. At Sheiks entrance, a bell on the door rang and the woman looked up, a smile on her face.
"Welcome to the Stock Pot Inn!" greeted the woman. "Do you have a reservation?"
"No, I do not," replied Sheik. "Do you have any vacancies?"
"You're in luck," said the woman looking down at a notebook on the counter. "We have two rooms open on the second floor, are you on your own?"
"Yes, I am."
"Any preferences in room? One is right over the market street and the other is farther back."
"I'll take the one farther back," replied Sheik.
"What brings you into town?" asked the woman cheerfully, entering information into the notebook while doing so.
"I'm a travelling musician," said Sheik, using the first thing to come to mind.
"Oh! What instrument?"
"How neat! You should join the other residents during our complementary breakfasts and dinners and play for us!" exclaimed the woman. She seemed to have everything sorted out by that time and looked back up at Sheik. "Name?
Sheik had to think for a moment, knowing her real name could be a tip off, she settled on using her birth name.
"My name is Zelda," she replied.
Chapter 2: The Quest Begins
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 2: The Quest Begins
Zelda had been born into the Sheikah tribe of Hyrule to a very normal couple. Her father was a trained Sheikah warrior, like all men of their tribe, and sworn to protect the royal family at all cost. Her mother was also nothing special, staying at home or tending to chores around the village. Zelda had been a friendly, smart and active child, always running around with the other village kids. She highly respected her father and the other warriors and had wanted to be just like them. It had been when she had turned ten that she had realized that that goal might never happen. Where before boys and girls of the tribe had all played together, when they turned ten they were expected to start their training for adulthood. Boys were to become warriors and girls were to be trained to become wives and mothers, assisting their husbands, tribe, and raising children.
Zelda didn't want to be confined to the house and village, she wanted to be out protecting her realm and Prince. The only manner of support came not from her parents, but from the lone female Sheikah warrior, Impa. Impa was one of the, if not the greatest, warriors in the village, and was respected and feared for it. She was an anomaly, and Zelda respected her more than anyone else. Impa had noticed the young girl's urge to succeed, but even she hadn't been able to convince the elders to allow Zelda to be trained. Instead, she decided to train Zelda in magic.
Zelda had potential to use magic that had been unprecedented before and Impa hadn't wanted to see it wasted on being a housewife. Her own days as a warrior had ended when she had borne children, and even with them all grown up, she was only allowed to teach, not fight. Impa would intersperse her instructions of magic with interesting stories of her travels and myths from throughout the land of Hyrule and beyond. It had been from these stories that a plan had formed in the young girl's mind.
Not even telling her master, Zelda had started work on creating a new spell. It took her almost three years to perfect, but finally it was done. She unveiled it during her coming of age ceremony, where she was to be introduced to the community as a woman. At the age of thirteen Zelda had shown her defiance to her tribe by throwing away her identity as a woman. Using the magic spell she had created, she had changed her body into that of a man. Taking the new name of Sheik, the founder of the tribe from long ago, he declared his intent to train and serve the crown with his life.
The elders had debated for several days, but finally they had emerged and allowed Sheik to train as a Sheikah warrior. Impa had approached Sheik, offering to give him special instruction to help him catch up to his peers who had been training to be a warrior longer.
"The old men on the council expect you to fail," she had said.
"What about you?" Sheik had asked.
"Me?" Impa gave a smile. "I expect you to excel."
Impa started Sheik's training by taking him outside of the village to train for the first three years. The first year had been spent with the denizens of Hyrule's rivers and oceans, the Zora. Swimming had honed all aspects of his transformed body as puberty worked its painful magic on him. After learning how to swim like a Zora (or at least as good as their children), she had become familiar with all of their unique weaponry and magic. This had included boomerangs, their mechanical hookshot grapple and even some ice magic.
The pair had then headed to the Lost Woods. In the woods Sheik had been left on his own to survive the forests dangers. How to make a fire, catch food, find water, and defend from unknown attacks had been just a few of the skills he had acquired. Learning how to turn the forest into weapons and supplies were something he'd never forget. After several months alone in the woods Sheik had finally found his way back to the village of the Kokiri, where training in their plant magic had followed.
Sheik and Impa had spent the third year of training with the Gorons of Death Mountain, stopping only briefly in Kakariko Village at the base of the mountain so that Impa could give a report to the council about the training and affairs outside of the village. Sheik had spent the night with his family, telling them excitedly about all he had been through. They had listened with a strange mix of pride and apprehension, still confused about how to treat their child. Impa and Sheik had then trekked up the Death Mountain trail to the city of the Goron's about halfway up the peak. Sheik went to sleep sore every night either from sumo training with the Goron's or failed exercises with the Goron's signature bombs. The lessons with fire magic had been the most exciting for the young warrior, and he wished he had known how to do them before being left in the forest. Finally, after the third year was done, the pair headed back down to Kakariko village to rejoin the rest of warriors in training in their lessons.
Life in Kakriko for the sixteen year old Sheik was much different than it had been before. Everyone in the village kept their distance from him, even his parents who seemed to spend more time out of the house when Sheik was there. The boys and girls who had been his friends before and who had played with him now avoided him or openly scorned him. The warriors ignored him, the women gave him dirty looks and the Elders openly complained about his presence. Impa was the only one who seemed to accept his company in the village. It was a rude awakening to be in his own village and realize he had been more accepted in the villages of other races.
Sheik now trained with both the other warriors in-training and with Impa. From before sunrise to until long after its fall he trained. Impa taught him the Sheikah's shadow magic and other miscellaneous techniques. With the other trainees he honed his skills in fighting and learned to wield every weapon known to the village, including throwing knives, various types of swords, a bow and even a chain whip. Soon he was the top of his generation, taking on and defeating all of his peers and earning their grudging respect, if not their acceptance. Usually such a position would have had the women flocking to him, but instead they still kept their distance as if afraid he was tainted. There had been one point where the boys had tried to tame him and force him to turn back into a woman to become their wife, but after beating them senseless everyone had given up on that plan.
Through the seven years of training Sheik hadn't once lifted the spell. This hadn't seemed to affect his ability to cast spells though, and his skills in that field had also been top notch. Shiek had become a master of all of their arts, and at the age of eighteen became initiated as a Sheikah warrior. Two years later though, and he still hadn't been sent on any missions, instead being told to stay back to protect the village. He had accepted his orders grudgingly, taking the time to train even more. It had been while training against Impa early in the morning that his first mission had finally arrived.
Sheik stood at the ready in a fighting stance, staring down his master. They had been at an impasse for the last several minutes, both looking and waiting for an opening. Usually Sheik was forced to make the first move in these situations, but this time Impa surprised him by dashing towards him. She swung a punch which Sheik deflected, tracing his arms down Impa's extended one, and swinging around so his back was to her. He threw a back fist, smashing into her solar plexus and bending her over. Sheik kicked at the back of the woman's right knee and toppled her. She fell to her knees and Sheik moved to slam his elbow into her temple, the finishing move. He stopped an inch from her head, signaling the end of the match.
"Is something wrong master, you seem distracted today?" asked Sheik, extending his hand to help her up. "That seemed much too easy of a win."
"Something is on my mind," replied Impa, taking his hand. "But that had nothing to do with my loss; that was all just your skill. Congratulations."
Sheik's chest filled with pride at the compliment. It wasn't easy to please Impa, and all of her praise was always heartfelt and dear.
"Thank you Master, that means a lot to me. It was strange to see you initiating combat though. You usually just prefer to wait me out."
"I decided to mix things up today," replied Impa. "Today's a special day, the council has finally approved you for a mission."
Sheik could feel the excitement coursing through his body, but he held himself in check, like he had been taught. Impa seemed to find his response satisfactory, because she gave a small smile of approval.
"This is an important delivery mission. Prince Link is turning eighteen this year and we want you to present him with several gifts from our tribe."
It took all of Sheik's self-restraint to not cheer with joy. A mission out of the village to Hyrule Castle itself! He'd get to meet the King and Prince, and maybe even declare his vow of protection and loyalty to them. Everyone would know he was serious after that, and he might finally be recognized as a true Sheikah warrior in more than just name.
"When do I leave?" asked Sheik, still keeping a veneer of outer calm.
"The gifts are being assembled now, and should be ready within the hour. Prepare for travel and be back here quickly so you may leave on your journey as soon as possible."
"Yes sir!" said Sheik, giving a salute and dashing off to his home.
Sheik rushed inside, explained the situation to his parents, and with their blessings, had packed up and been ready to leave before the gifts had even been fully prepared. He stood outside the council hall, trembling with excitement. Impa emerged from the building alone, without the expected members of the council to give him orders. He knew instantly the slight being made, but didn't care. If anyone was to give him orders, it should be from someone he respected, not a council of bigoted old men.
"Here you go," said Impa, handing over a sword in a sheath, a wooden box and a letter. "Deliver these to the royal family, and may you have a safe journey."
Impa wasn't one for mincing words, and Sheik was too excited to feel jilted at not getting a sendoff. He picked up the gifts, gave a salute and turned to head off. Behind him he thought he heard Impa murmur something, but when he looked back she was gone, a small puff of smoke indicating that she had teleported.
The trip to Hyrule castle from Kakariko Village, the home of the Sheikah, was about a day's walk on foot. The sun was still barely up yet when he set out. Monsters occasionally lurked across the fields, but that day it seemed clear, and Sheik hadn't met with any problems from them. It had been around noon, when walking around a large outcropping of rocks that he had first noticed trouble.
A small distance away stood a cart hitched to a horse and filled with several large metal milk containers. A young woman stood next to the cart, her stance indicating defiance. Two masked bandits stood nearby, one with a bow trained on the woman and the other with a sword. Their horses stood right behind them, ready to give chase if need be. Feeling anger at the scene, Sheik dropped the gifts and his backpack behind the rocks, preparing his weapons for action. There was no one else around and leaving the woman to the bandits never even crossed his mind.
Sheik summoned up his magic and took out some throwing knives. He was to the right of the bandits, protected from view by the rocks, so he was confident they didn't know he was there. The young man threw the knives at the bandit with the sword and teleported almost instantly to the side of the bandit with the bow. His knives hit their target just as shock was registering on their faces. The man gave a yell and fell to the ground, one knife in his arm, one in his side and two in his leg. The Sheikah warrior lashed out with a kick, snapping the bow into pieces and disarming the bandit. The bandit rushed forward in anger, but ended up meeting a quick right jab to the face, knocking him down. The bandit with the sword attempted to stand up to fight but met with a kick that sent his weapon flying. The bandits seemed to decide that fleeing was the best option and leaving their weapons, jumped on their horses and fled.
When they were a distance away, Sheik turned to face the woman and saw that she was holding a dagger, ready to protect herself. He admired her for the effort, but rushed to make sure she knew he didn't mean her any harm.
"Don't worry, I'm here to help, not hurt you," he reassured her, hands up in a gesture of peace. "Were you injured anywhere?"
"No, I'm fine," replied the young woman, relaxing and putting the dagger back into a sheath at her hip. "Thank you, I wasn't sure what I was going to do when those bandits pulled over Epona and I."
The woman moved to sooth the horse, Epona, and to check to make sure there was no damage to the cart or its contents. Sheik was finally able to get a good view of her and was able to tell that she was a very beautiful woman. She was wearing a simple white blouse and a long purple skirt. Her long auburn hair fell down her back and her blue eyes contained intelligence and spirit.
"It's no problem. Are you travelling alone?"
"Yes, I live at a ranch nearby, and usually encounter no problems when I'm travelling to Castle Town." The woman looked over her shoulder at Sheik and gave a rueful smile. "Guess I just got unlucky this time. I was in a rush today, so I left my bow thinking I would be fine. They ambushed me as I was going around the hill and forced me to get out of the cart. Epona's a fast horse, but there was no way we were escaping them while we had the cart and milk. So, thank you again."
"No problem Ma'am," replied Sheik politely. He felt his face grow hot in embarrassment at her praise, and he was glad it was covered with a face mask and wrappings, leaving only his eyes to betray him.
"What are you doing out here? Are you travelling on your own?" asked the woman.
"Yes I am. I'm heading to deliver some stuff to the Castle," he said.
"I need to deliver some milk there, so would you like to ride with me?"
"I'd be happy to," replied Sheik, glad for the assistance. This would allow him to get to the Castle sooner. Plus, he'd get to spend some more time in the company of a cute girl, what part of that could be considered a bad deal? "I dropped my stuff behind the rocks, may I go retrieve it?"
"Of course," said the woman.
A few moments later Sheik had retrieved the gifts and was sitting in on the front of the cart next to the woman. She whipped the reins and stirred Epona forward, the wheels of the cart squeaking under the weight of its cargo. After a minute of making sure everything was moving smoothly, the woman turned to face Sheik.
"I never introduced myself, my name is Malon," she said. "I live at Lon Lon Ranch down south."
"I'm Sheik," replied Sheik, "I'm travelling from Kakariko village."
"That's right at the foot of Death Mountain, right?"
"Have you ever met a Goron?" asked Malon.
"I'm actually good friends with several," replied Sheik thinking back fondly about several of his Goron friends, the rough and tumble Darunia being the closest. "I've run courier missions up there before for objects too large for a messenger hawk. I also spent a year in their village training. Sometimes one of the Gorons comes down to sell some spring water, and he'll ask me for news from Hyrule."
"Yeah, the Gorons have several hot and cold springs and other sources of water from the mountain. The water doesn't really stay warm coming down the mountain, but it's still very healthy with some healing benefits."
"What's the difference from normal water?" inquired Malon, sounding interested.
"The minerals in the water. The Gorons have mapped out a network of springs that they keep hidden. I think it has to do with being from the mountain, but I'm no apothecary. The water seller once told me that they had to be careful and test a spring every so often before drawing water from it."
"To make sure not to damage something?"
"To not contaminate the water with something harmful. Also, to make sure the water isn't filled with something poisonous."
"Huh," said Malon thoughtfully. She looked around a bit to make sure that the cart was still on course and that there was nothing dangerous around. "I wonder how the water would affect the cows at the ranch. Does anyone feed the water to livestock?"
"It's too expensive for that, since a Goron needs to bring it down from the mountain or someone would have to travel up it."
"If it really does health benefits, I wonder if it would make a cow healthier or give tastier milk?" pondered Malon, gaining a thoughtful look. Sheik could practically see the wheels in her head turning as she ran through the possibilities. As she was thinking, something occurred to her. "Hey, would you like a bottle of milk? I mean, you saved me, and all I'm doing to thank so far is give you a lift."
"You don't have to," declined Sheik politely.
"Nonsense! You helped me out, it's only right you get some sort of payment. I don't really have much else to give, but I do carry a few extra bottles to sell to people who didn't order any but want some milk."
"OK, then. I'll accept your gift," said Sheik, seeing that the young woman probably wasn't going to give in. He didn't really mind her giving him milk, but he hadn't really been expecting to get rewarded for rescuing her, and was kind of embarrassed about it.
Malon turned around in her seat and reached into a bag, pulling out a glass bottle of milk. She handed it to Sheik.
"Here you go, the amazing one of a kind Lon Lon Milk," she said with pride.
"Thanks," he replied. She was looking at him expectantly as he uncorked the bottle. Sheik used his free hand to lower down his mask, exposing his face. He lifted the bottle to his lips and took a sip. "You were right, this is good."
"Thanks," replied Malon. She turned away and Sheik thought he caught her blushing for a moment.
Sheik took another sip of the milk and re-corked the bottle. They rode on in silence for a while, Epona just plodding along the dirt road. After a while, Sheik reached into his pack and pulled out a hard wood case. Opening up the case he took out a harp and started to tune the instrument. After a couple minutes of plucking at the strings, he was satisfied with the results. Looking to the side, he saw Malon looking at him, curious.
"You can play the harp?" she asked.
"Yes," replied Sheik. "Everyone in my tribe is encouraged to learn either a musical instrument or singing. My singing voice sounds like someone is strangling a cuckoo, so I chose the harp."
"Would you mind playing a song for me?"
"Sure. Anything you want to hear?"
"Play your favorite song," replied Malon, a smile on her face.
"Ok, one moment then," said Sheik, racking his mind momentarily for what he considered his favorite song. The song suddenly popped into his head, and with a small smile hidden by his face mask, he started to play. A soothing lullaby gently danced from his harp into the day time air. The world seemed to stop moving and just listen, captivated by his song. The song had lots of memories and emotions tied to it, and Sheik tried to convey that while he played. Impa would play this lullaby whenever she was watching over the village children, instantly bringing about peace and quiet. When Sheik had been working on the spell to turn into a man, it had been while playing this song late one night to calm down that the solution had popped into his mind.
Sheik strummed the last few notes, gently bringing the song to its conclusion. The world was quiet for a moment after he finished, everything around seeming to wait to see if he was going to continue. Suddenly he heard clapping, and looking to his left saw Malon beaming at him, excitement in her eyes.
"That was amazing!" she exclaimed. You're really good, I bet you could make a living from playing the harp."
"Thank you for your praise," replied Sheik, blushing under his mask. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."
They traveled on for several moments, when suddenly Malon started singing. Sheik was surprised when he realized the melody the young woman was singing was the same as the lullaby he had just played. It was now his turn to sit, entranced as her beautiful voice rang out across the field. She finished the song, and now Sheik was the one clapping.
"That was great! You captured the melody perfectly after just hearing it," he complimented.
A small blush grew on her cheeks, and he thought it made her look even more beautiful.
"Thanks," she replied. Malon's face grew contemplative. "I've loved to sing since I was young. My mother taught me before she passed away. She had such a great voice."
"Did she teach you any songs?" asked Sheik.
"Several," said Malon. She seemed to think for a moment then spoke up again. "Would you like to hear my favorite?"
"I'd love to."
Malon sang once more while Sheik listened, enraptured by the melody. Even Epona seemed to enjoy the song, picking up the pace and becoming livelier. When she was done, he picked up his harp and together they played through the song once more. When they were done they continued on to Sheik's lullaby, bringing new life to the song. Song after song they took turns playing on their own once and then together. The hours rolled past and after what seemed like too short of a time, they were right outside the gates to Castle town, Hyrule castle itself watching them from high on top of a hill. They rolled inside, ushered in by a guard. It was at the market square that they parted, Sheik grabbing his gear and jumping off of the cart.
"Farewell, and thank you for the ride," said Sheik with a bow. "I enjoyed riding and singing with you."
"Same," replied Malon, smiling at him. "Good luck on your mission, I hope everything goes well."
Without another word, Sheik turned and walked away, saddened that his time with her had been so short, but glad to finally be arriving at the castle to complete his mission. Quickening his pace, Sheik walked up the path to the castle, reaching the front gate quickly. Despite his haste, the sun was already starting to go down when the guard let him past, grunting in acknowledgement at his Sheikah crest. Everyone who served the royal family knew the crest of the Eye of Truth that identified the Sheikah. Sheik proudly wore the crest on the chest of his outfit and on a small metal pendant around his neck.
Guided by a guard, Sheik was led through a confusing tangle of castle corridors. He openly gaped at the extravagant carpets, artwork of all shapes and sizes and the construction of the castle itself. Walking down these halls to an audience with the Prince was like a dream come true for the young man. Travelling up several flights of stairs, they finally stopped in front of a wooden door that looked just like all of the others, and the guard turned to Sheik.
"This is the Prince's room. He has been told to expect us, so make sure to be on your best behavior and to show proper respect," warned the guard, taking his duty to the crown seriously.
"Yes sir," replied Sheik, almost unable to contain his excitement.
The guard knocked on the door, but no answer greeted him. He knocked again, louder.
"My Prince, I bring your visitor," he said through the door, still with no response. He frowned. "I don't like this."
The guard tried to open the door, but it was locked. Sheik could see he was worried now, and before he could offer to pick the lock, the guard had slammed shoulder first into the door, forcing it open. They both rushed through, the guard going first. So it was that the guard was the first to fall right as Sheik's danger sense started to go berserk.
He rolled to the side, and came up in a fighting stance, his short sword in hand. Taking quick stock of the room he saw the guard falling, a throwing knife in his throat. On the other side of the room stood the assailant, reaching for another set of knives, a fox mask blocking their face. Sheik saw the herald that had gone to announce them lying on the floor, blood pooling under his body. Laying on the bed, was a man Sheik instantly recognized from descriptions he had heard as Prince Link. Dressed in his famous green hunting clothes, his dirty blond hair sticking out from underneath a cap. His eyes were closed, and he seemed unconscious and Sheik was worried he was injured. But before he could help the Prince, he needed to survive the assassin.
Knives flew from the assassin's hand, but Sheik was ready. He teleported a short distance away, right next to the assassin. He lashed out with a kick, striking the assassin and knocking them away from the Prince. As the assassin rolled to their feet, Sheik was surprised to realize that they were dressed like him, as a Sheikah warrior. The assassin pulled out their own short sword and moved forward to attack Sheik. Sheik engaged his opponent, parrying the blade and landing with an elbow to the assassin's face.
The assassin staggered back, the mask cracked. Sheik didn't hesitate to make his move and rushed forward, delivering a flying kick to the assassin's face, shattering the mask. Sheik was caught off guard as he caught sight of the assassin's bleeding face. It was Collin, a young man Sheik had grown up and trained with. Collin had always been second to Sheik in every test, but instead of resenting it had taken it as a challenge, proudly proclaiming that he would never let a woman best him. He had been assigned to missions before Sheik, and proud of it. The young man had gone missing several weeks earlier during a mission to the Gerudo Dessert.
Sheik was surprised to see him here, as Collin had never struck him as a traitor. Before he could try to get an answer about his behavior though, a clanking sound resonated through the hallways. Brought by the sound of the guard busting through the door came a squad of soldiers. They rushed through the doorway, weapons at the ready. Collin looked at them and threw his sword, catching one of the soldiers in the shoulder. The assassin then turned and jumped out of a window, fleeing the room.
Sheik turned to thank the guards for their assistance and saw them charging at him. He realized how bad the situation must look from their point of view and realized they weren't going to give him time to explain himself. Reluctantly, he grabbed a smoke bomb from a belt pouch, and throwing it at the ground as a diversion, leapt out the same window as Collin. Three stories up, with the ground curving away from the castle, Sheik found himself plummeting down a drop that would kill him. He quickly pulled out his chain whip and snagged it on a gargoyle, halting his fall. Sheik felt his joints protest the sudden stop when his momentum was halted. Taking a moment to gather himself, he heard shouting break out throughout the castle as guards mobilized to hunt down the supposed assassins.
The young man decided he'd rather not hang around for the guards to catch him, so with a flick of his wrist the whip uncoiled from around the gargoyle, sending him once more falling to the ground. This time though he was in charge, and with practiced ease rolled on impact with the ground, softening the blow to almost nothing. Rolling to his feet, he rushed away from the castle. Night was still a ways away, and without its protection, he was much too visible to the guards. The Sheikah warrior rushed into town, hoping that the crowded streets would offer him more protection.
So it was that Sheik was hidden on the rooftops when guards clanked past him. And now, with night having fallen, Zelda walked into her room at the Stock Pot Inn and sat down on the bed, exhausted from a long day. She looked at the bundled up sword for a moment, and then pushed it under the bed. Zelda laid down on the bed, closing her eyes and resting for a moment. Her rest was disturbed by her stomach, rumbling to be fed. She realized she hadn't eaten for a while, and she was starting to become aware of a tantalizing array of aromas wafting from downstairs.
Zelda briefly wondered if going out into public was a smart choice when she was being hunted, but decided it would be fine. They're searching for a red eyed man, not a blue eyed woman, she thought to herself. I'll seem more suspicious if I try to hide. To blend in, I just need to act like a normal citizen. Bolstered with new-found confidence, Zelda opened the door to head downstairs. She was halfway out the door before she remembered her cover, and went back to grab her harp case. She made sure to lock the door behind her using the key the woman at the desk had given her.
Zelda walked slowly down the stairs, still not entirely used to walking in a skirt. She could hear the sounds of talking and laughter coming from the Inn's dining hall. Arriving at the bottom of the stairs she walked down the hallway to the dining hall. The people in the hall could have been a study in the variety of Hyrule and its neighbors. On one side of the hall there was a Goron with a large red hat chatting with a human mailman who was vibrating his leg, as if sitting still was an impossibility. A few tables over from them sat a group of Zoras, the blue skinned aquatic denizens of Lake Hylia, laughing boisterously. There were a pair of exotic tan skinned Gerudos surrounded by a group of young men, all vying for the attention of the dessert dwelling ladies. Yet another table had a duo of Kokiri, the illusive children that inhabited the Lost Woods, talking to a pair of the plant people, the Deku scrubs. Amid the hustle and bustle of the varied diners, Zelda started to feel much safer. She was less likely to stand out amid such variety, and she had to admit that the good cheer of the hall was contagious.
Zelda grabbed a bowl of aromatic stew, a hot roll, some cheese and a small tankard of beer, loading them onto a tray and walking over to an empty seat at the edge of the crowd. She ate in silence for a while, just savoring the food. Halfway through eating she struck up a conversation with the bespectacled old man sitting next to her. Eventually the conversation led to her harp and that she was a traveling musician. She agreed readily to his plea to hear her music, knowing that she needed to do so to keep up her cover. Zelda started to softly tune the instrument, having a little trouble due to being unused to her slimmer fingers.
Finally, instrument tuned, she started to play. The Sheikah decided to start with Impa's lullaby, to get into the swing of things. As she played the room quieted around her, a hush falling on the crowd as the music reached their ears. Many interested eyes and ears turned towards her, but she shut them out, only concentrating on playing. When she finished the song a round of clapping broke out with a yell to play more. She decided for her next song to play a traditional Sheikah song, the requiem of Shadows, figuring the solemn tune would go over well with the crowd. It did, and she saw several of the patrons, including the Zoras, and the Deku scrubs head excitedly towards their rooms. The Goron pulled out a drum from a bag and the Kokiri pulled out the ocarinas they were famous for. One of the Gerudo's even pulled out two pairs of castanets.
The old man next to her called for another song and was backed up by several other patrons. Zelda decided to oblige, getting caught up in the mood like she had earlier while playing with Malon. She decided to go with the song Malon had taught her, strumming the tune across her harp. The crowd loved it, and called for an encore. The Deku scrub returned with a set of wooden pipes on its back, while the Zoras had an assortment of instruments from a guitar, to a drum set, to one of their strange fish bone Xylophones. She played Malon's song again, and was joined by the Kokiri on their ocarinas, the Goron on his drum, the Deku on their pipes, the Zoras on their instruments, one of which was singing along, and the Gerudo on her castanets, her companion dancing alongside her. With so many instruments the tune was discordant and wild, but the energy of the situation carried everyone along.
Zelda loved the feeling of playing music with others. Music was one of the few activities that Sheikah of both sexes were allowed to participate in together as equals. The barriers they usually had up were down, and together they made beautiful music. She had the same feeling now, playing with the rag tag members of the inn dining hall. It was with both great satisfaction and a little sadness that Zelda brought the song to a close. Another cheer rose up among the rowdy diners. Zelda rested for the next song as the Zoras, apparently a traveling band called the Indigo-gos, played one of their songs, the melodies of their lead singer capturing everyone's attention away from Zelda. She started eating her half-forgotten food again, enjoying the Zora's performance.
After they were done the Goron, Deku scrub, Kokiri and the two Gerudo all joined together to perform "The Three Goddesses", one of the few songs all races of Hyrule shared. The story of the world was traditionally told in conjunction, but everyone in the room already knew it intimately. While the others played the familiar tune, one of the Gerudo danced along, her movements symbolizing the acts of the three Goddesses. In her mind's eye, Zelda saw Nayru the Goddess of Wisdom create the sky, separating the world from Chaos. In the booming of the drums she felt Din the Goddess of Power shape the land. In the beating of her heart she experienced the life that Farore the Goddess of Courage had instilled in and on the world.
A large round of applause greeted the end of the song. Zelda finished her food and brought her tray to the kitchen, handing it off to a purple haired young man who was scraping and rinsing bowls and plates.
"Thanks," said the man, not even looking up from the sink.
Zelda walked away, hearing the man thank another patron who had brought their tray over. She walked past the front desk, greeting and being greeted by the red headed woman there. As she turned the corner and started up the stairs, she heard the woman greeting someone else.
"Hey Malon, did you enjoy the food?" asked the woman.
"The food was great like always Anju," replied a familiar voice, causing Zelda's heart to skip a beat. She stopped walking up the stairs and listened in. "The music was also great."
"Wasn't it?" said Anju happily. "The woman on the harp, Zelda, is a traveling musician who just checked in tonight shortly before you did."
"Huh. I'd never heard any of her songs before," said Malon.
"Neither have I. I guess she's traveled from many interesting places. She actually just walked past a moment ago."
"Well, I'm tired. I think I'll follow her lead. Good night."
Zelda took that as her cue to leave the stairway. As she was turning to walk up the stairs she saw Malon turn the corner and look up at her. Zelda pretended to adjust her skirt, ignoring the other woman. She continued walking up the stairs, Malon following closely behind her. She walked to her room, still being followed. She took out her key, unlocked her door and turned to look at Malon, smiling.
"Good night," bade Zelda, walking into her room, smiling slightly at Malon's look of surprise.
Zelda closed the door behind her, locking it again. Giving a sigh she put the harp with the rest of her stuff and stripped off her clothes. She folded them neatly so they wouldn't be wrinkled in the morning. She crawled into the bed, enjoying the feel of the sheets on her bare skin and promptly fell asleep.
Chapter 3: Sight-Seeing
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 3: Sight-Seeing
A cucco crowed, waking her up with the sun. Getting out of bed, Zelda woke herself up by going through some warm-up stretches. The exertion drove away the last vestiges of sleep from her. Focused, she dressed and headed down to the dining hall. It was still early so only a few people were awake and in the room. She grabbed up a bowl of oatmeal, pouring in a small amount of honey. Finding an empty table she sat down to eat and think about her plan for the day.
Security is going to be tighter around the castle and the Prince, she thought. She took a spoonful of the steaming grain and blew to cool it down. I doubt Collin would be foolish enough to try to get in again when everyone is alert. He'll probably be biding his time and wait for an opening. If he's following the same thoughts as me, he'll hide in the town instead of the surrounding land. They'll suspect him to be hiding out in a cave or something away from view. Better to blend in, act like a regular citizen.
Zelda took a bite of her food, enjoying the taste. She took another spoonful, blew on that and ate it. She continued to ponder her situation. There's also the lockdown of the city. Getting out is possible, but getting back in would be much more difficult. I doubt he'll just leave, that would mean abandoning the assassination. There's too many questions I don't know the answers to. Where has Collin been? Why is he here, trying to assassinate the Prince? How do I find him? How do I clear my name? They saw my crest when I entered the castle and got my name. Any Sheikah they find will probably be detained and questioned. Something of much larger consequence occurred to her. Was this all a plot to get the Sheikah in trouble? We're loyal highly trained servants to the royal family. Even a failed attempt in our name could make it so we weren't able to rush to help in the event of a larger danger.
Zelda finished up the oatmeal, scraping the bowl clean. She carried it over to the kitchen counter, depositing it there. I hope I'm just imagining conspiracies where there are none. My first goal should be to gather information. The Sheikah warrior headed back up to her room, saying good morning to Anju as she passed the front desk.
In her room, she grabbed a knife which she belted around her waist, her only visible weapon. She figured it wouldn't surprise anyone to see a traveling musician armed with a knife. The occasional monster roamed Hyrule fields, mostly kept at bay by the army, but the further away someone went, the more dangerous it got. Zelda decided to leave everything else, hiding her Sheikah crest and clothes deep in her bag. She stashed everything under her bed, taking only her harp case. She exited the room, locked it behind her and headed down the stairs.
Zelda walked out of the inn and headed down the city streets, watching as Castle Town came alive. She came to the main market square, marveling at the size of the area. It was packed with storefronts and vendors. A large number of people were already out in the morning air, buying and selling wares. Zelda choose a patch of ground slightly back from the street but still with a good view of the square. Sitting down, she took out her harp, tuning it. She started to play, warming up with some simple songs. A few people stopped walking to look at her. After a minute, one person even threw a small rupee into her harp case. She gave that person a smile as thanks. After running through several simple songs, she transitioned into longer more complex pieces. Another few minutes of playing and she was ready to start gathering information.
She first activated her magic sight, allowing her to see more of the market than with her normal eyes. All of the people started to glow slightly, some of them red, some green and some blue. The colors corresponded to the Goddess the person had been blessed by at birth, and usually indicated a preference in that person towards that Goddesses elements and attributes. Next, Zelda used her magic to increase her hearing, helping to distinguish conversations from the chatter of the square. She was used to the sound of her harp and able to tune it out. Instead she played on instinct and familiarity. The act of playing the harp helped focus her magical senses, making information gathering easier instead of harder.
An hour passed with little happening. There was talk about the lockdown and assassination, but nothing about the assassin or the reasons behind the attack. The plus side is that she had made quite a profit playing her harp, her case full of green, blue and even a yellow rupee. She took a short break, standing up and stretching. She wasn't used to sitting down and playing for that long. After getting some of the kinks out, she sat back down and continued to play. She launched into the longest song she knew, the Epic of the Hero of Time.
A crowd started to gather around her, enjoying the spectacle of watching her play. She made a few mistakes, due to not having played the song in a while. Even so, she continued to play, not stumbling or letting on that a mistake had happened. Her music instructors had told her to always keep going while performing and to never let on to the audience that something went wrong. If she did so, it was unlikely that they would realize she had made a mistake. As she ended the song, a large round of applause broke out among the crowd. Several cheers and acclamations greeted her. Many of the onlookers spared her a green rupee or two, some a blue. It was when the crowd started to disperse, everyone going off to finish their errands that a figure in a tattered brown cloak walked over to her. A purple rupee was deposited very casually into her case. She gaped at it, the crystal was worth fifty of the green. It wasn't the type of change usually handed out to street performers.
She looked up and was almost blinded by the green aura around the person. It was bright; brighter than any she had ever seen before. She turned off her magical sight and saw the man looking at her. Bright blue eyes peered down at her from underneath his hood. Even covered she could tell he was handsome. He had a thin, wiry build and carried himself with a confidence that made him seem taller than he really was. His clothes were all worn from heavy use, and he had a bow and quiver peeking over his shoulder. Seeing her looking at him, he gave her a bright smile.
He might have been lacking his trademark green clothes or any identifying marks, but Zelda knew without a doubt that this man was Prince Link.
"That was a wonderful performance earlier," complimented Prince Link.
"Thank you kind sir," replied Zelda, fighting the urge to bow.
If he was here dressed like this, he had probably snuck away from the castle. She had heard stories that it was a common occurrence, and that he was never caught. He would just suddenly reappear in his room, reading a book and flashing the castle staff a bright smile. Zelda wondered if he wore his usual flashy clothes as a way to make it harder for someone to recognize him when he was out of them. If she hadn't had her magical sight to alert her to his presence she might have never realized it was him. Sadly if she could figure out who he was, so could an assassin. Turning her magic sight back on, she caught sight of a strange red and black aura surrounding a person. The person turned towards them and she made out their words.
Zelda managed to tackle Prince Link out of the way as the knives flew through where he had been standing. He hadn't been expecting her to jump him and had moved fairly easily. Zelda rushed to her feet, trying not to trip over her skirt and pulling out her knife.
"Stay down!" she yelled to the Prince. She saw Collin approach her, wearing regular traveling clothes and glowing in the red/black aura. She prepared to meet his attack, shutting down her magical hearing and sight; instead summoning the magic to help her fight. She was unsure about her ability to fight while in her female body and dressed in a skirt, but she didn't have any time to transform into a man.
Collin threw another round of knives at her which she intercepted with a magical shield, dropping the knives to the ground. She stayed in her defensive position near the Prince, trying to figure out her next move. Collin seemed to decide that long range attacks weren't cutting it and pulled out a short sword. He rushed towards them, trying to take her off guard.
Knife in hand Zelda met Collin's attack. Collin stabbed at her with his short sword but she parried it. She tried to counter attack with a kick, but her skirt got in the way. She managed to not trip herself, but she missed a beat and was forced onto the defensive. Lightly armed and still unfamiliar with her body and form of dress, Zelda was having trouble keeping Collin at bay. She could see him waiting for a chance to strike at the Prince.
Most of the market crowd had fled when the fight started, giving the combatants room. Sadly, someone had discarded some fruit in their flight. Zelda accidentally stepped on a piece of fruit, losing her balance for a split second. She instinctively moved into a defensive position as she had been taught. Sadly she wasn't Collin's target and he ignored her for the Prince. She watched as if time had slowed down as Collin took out several throwing knives and threw them at the Prince.
"No!" yelled Zelda, extending her hand as if to stop the knives.
Without conscious thought she felt a large concentration of magic build up her body and then release. The knives were halted mid-flight, and then flung backwards. Her spell also picked up Collin and flung him across the market. Drained from the exertion she collapsed to the ground. Prince Link was at her side in an instant.
"Are you okay?" he asked, kneeling besides her.
"I'm fine," assured Zelda. She attempted to stand but the energy had left her limbs and she became light headed. The Prince rushed to steady her.
"Hey! Don't over exert yourself!"
Zelda looked up and saw Collin across the market, shakily standing up. He glared at them and pulled out a bomb. He lit the fuse and Zelda watched in horror as he wound up to throw it at them. Then the next moment Collin was screaming in pain, a knife in his side. The bomb slipped out of his hand and onto the ground. He turned to run but the bomb exploded before he took more than a few steps, flinging him through the air. He landed in a heap on the ground, his uniform scorched.
Zelda heard someone running across the square and looked to see Malon standing over her, concern on the young woman's face.
"Are you two okay?" asked Malon.
"Just a little light headed," replied Zelda, needing to lean on the Prince to stand. Malon didn't looked convinced, so she rushed to reassure her. "Don't worry, it's just been a while since I've cast a spell of that magnitude. My energy should return shortly.
"That's good," said Malon, giving a small smile.
"Do you two know each other?" asked the Prince, curious.
"We met at an Inn last night," replied Zelda quickly. Her energy was starting to return and she stopped leaning on the Prince. She looked at Malon. "Are you the one who threw the knife?"
"Yes," replied Malon.
"That was a good throw," complimented the Prince.
"Thank you," said Malon, blushing slightly. "What is going on? Who is that?"
"An assassin," replied Zelda. She tightened her grip on her knife and started towards the still unmoving Collin. "Someone who shouldn't be one."
"An assassin? Who was he after?"
"He was after me," said Prince Link.
Zelda activated her magic sight again and saw the same red-black aura as before surrounding Collin. When she had first developed her magical sight she had memorized the auras of all of the Sheikahs. Collin had had a bright red aura, signifying a strong blessing from the Goddess Din. This inky blackness suffusing his aura was new and strange.
"Both of you stay back," said Zelda, just a few feet from Collin. The Prince listened and stopped walking forward, but Zelda saw he had an arrow aimed right at Collin, just in case. Malon walked up to the Prince's side, confused at the situation.
"But why was he after you?" she asked.
The Prince didn't answer the question, lost in thought.
Zelda crouched down next to Collin. The Sheikah assassin was unconscious. He was severely injured from the explosion and Malon's knife was still embedded in him. Zelda yanked out the knife and started to heal the wound. He might have tried to kill her and the Prince, but she wasn't going to get any answers out of a corpse. She also wanted to know why a Sheikah warrior who had dedicated himself to protecting the Prince would suddenly betray that duty.
Her healing magic met resistance, and she saw the darkness in his aura condensing at the places she tried to heal. This stuff is killing him, she realized. I need to remove it before I can heal him.
She ran through her memory for a purifying spell. Concentrating, golden light glowed from her hands. The darkness in the aura reacted instantly, fleeing from her touch. She intensified the power of the spell and watched as the darkness disappeared from Collin's aura. His aura returned to a healthy red color.
Zelda switched back to a healing spell and this time it worked. Collin's wounds closed and the burns healed. She heard someone walk up behind her and stop.
"Is that magic?" asked Malon, a green aura surrounding her, looking down at Zelda.
"Yeah, a healing spell," replied Zelda, finishing up the healing.
"Why are you healing the assassin?"
"So that we can get some answers," replied Zelda.
Malon crouched down next to her and looked at Collin for a moment before looking at her.
"Why is he wearing the same clothes as you?" whispered Malon.
Zelda was shocked for a moment, but managed to gather her composure quickly. She looked over her shoulder and saw the Prince looking at them, curiosity on his face. She looked back to Malon.
"The assassin is from the same tribe as me, the Sheikah. We are sworn to protect the crown, so I doubt he would do this on his own initiative. His aura showed signs of corruption."
"A magical field that surrounds everyone. I can see them with magic. His is usually red."
"Do I have one? What's it look like?" asked Malon, curious.
"A vibrant green," replied Zelda. "It means you're favored by the Goddess Farore."
"Are you using magic to disguise your gender right now?" asked Malon suddenly.
Collin gave a groan, returning to consciousness.
"I'll answer any questions you have later," said Zelda to Malon. She lifted her hand up and sent a jolt of energy into Collin, giving the final boost to wake him up. His eyes opened up, and he looked around, disoriented.
"Huh, wha…" he said, confused. He saw Zelda and Malon looking at him. "Who are you? Where am I?"
"Stay still, you've just been healed," said Zelda soothingly, "What is the last thing you remember?"
"Uh, I was in the desert. I was attacked by two witches and then…" He grabbed at his head, confused. "Nothing, I don't remember anything after that."
"I think you were being controlled by someone," replied Zelda.
"Controlled? To do what?" asked Collin.
"To kill me," said the Prince, walking up. Collin saw him and after a moment recognition hit him.
"My Prince!" he exclaimed, trying to scramble up to bow. Zelda held him down though.
"Sit," she commanded. Collin complied, probably too weak to argue.
"Wait, did he call you what I think he called you?" asked Malon.
"Yes, he's the Prince of Hyrule," clarified Zelda.
Malon scramble to give a deep bow while apologizing for being rude.
"Its fine, you don't need to do so," the Prince assured her. He looked at Zelda. "Now could you explain who you are and how you seem to know what's going on?"
"I'd like to know that too," muttered Malon under her breath.
"I'm Zelda of the Sheikah," replied Zelda. She still wanted to explain personally to Malon about who she was, but didn't feel like trying to explain herself to the prince at this moment. "The same tribe this man is from."
"Zelda?" asked Collin is surprise. "Wait, what's going on, what are you doing here?"
"I'll explain later," she assured him. "Collin here went missing a little while ago on a mission to explore a disturbance in the Gerudo Dessert. It was a surprise to find him here with a corrupted aura. I was actually sent here to check on a member of ours who was on a delivery mission to the castle. His name was Sheik."
Both Malon and Collin showed surprise at the name. The Prince just looked at her.
"That's the name given by a Sheikah who stopped by the castle yesterday. He said he was on a delivery mission. I was knocked unconscious by this man here before I met him though. I only have the castle's staff's word, they said that he was one of two Sheikah assassin's trying to kill me."
"There's no way Sheik was an assassin," piped in Collin suddenly. "He was one of our strongest and most loyal members. If you knew the things he'd given up to serve the crown, you'd know he'd never try to assassinate anyone in the royal family."
"Yeah! I've met him," said Malon suddenly. "He was a nice person who rescued me from Bandits and asked nothing in return. I think there's something else going on here."
"I agree," replied Zelda, touched at both Malon and Collin speaking up for her even though they knew they didn't have the full story and were confused. "I suspect from what I know that Sheik was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"You all seem to think highly of this Sheik," commented the Prince. "If you hadn't just saved my life or if these assassinations actually made sense I would probably have a harder time trusting this story."
"What do you mean the assassinations don't make sense?" asked Malon.
"First off, why is someone using a brainwashed Sheikah warrior? It's not like he came in through the front gate. He actually snuck into the castle and knocked me unconscious before I knew what was happening. Which is also weird, why didn't he just stab me? I didn't even know he was there until the last second, I had no time to respond."
"I'm sorry, I don't remember anything," said Collin morosely.
Zelda started to think about what the prince had said, and it seemed weird to her also. Someone was powerful enough to overpower and control Collin and then had him sneak into the castle when he could have just as easily gone in through the front door. And he hadn't seemed against using lethal force against the castle staff, guards or her.
"Hey," said Malon, drawing her attention. "I think we should get out of here, we're drawing attention."
Zelda saw that she was right, and a crowd was starting to gather.
"Let's head back to the inn then and continue talking in my room then," said Zelda. She moved to help Collin up but the Prince stopped her.
"I'll get him," said the Prince.
He helped Collin stand, seemingly unafraid of a man who had just tried to kill him mere moments before. Zelda picked up her discarded harp and case, not wanting to leave behind something so important to her. Malon led the way, glaring at anyone in their way, and the group soon made it back to the inn. Luckily when they walked in Zelda saw that Anju wasn't at the front desk. She really didn't want to deal with answering questions at the moment. They did see two of the Zora, the tall, lanky guitarist and the female singer, walking down the stairs though.
"I still think this is a bad idea," said the guitarist.
"Stop worrying so much Mikau," replied the singer. "I've been doing this for years and I am not going to leave until I get to see him."
The two groups stopped walking as they saw each other. Surprise was written on the Zora singer's face as she stared past Zelda. Following her gaze, Zelda realized she was staring at the Prince. He was returning the surprised gaze.
"R-Lulu," he said, overcoming his surprise enough to talk. "What are you doing in town?"
"I could ask you the same thing Ralph," replied Lulu. Zelda was confused by the name and saw that Malon and Collin also had no clue what was going on. "What are you doing at the inn with these people?"
"They saved my life earlier from an assassin," replied the Prince honestly. Zelda wondered what the relationship between the Zora woman and the Prince was. Was he pretending to be someone else and tricking her? She had heard about people who did that, but it didn't seem like something the Prince she had heard about would do.
"An assassin?" asked the singer. Zelda could hear the fury in her voice. She hoped that the woman never found out Collin did it, because she doubted she could stop her if she was that angry. "Is this the same one I heard about the guards looking for yesterday?"
"Yeah, but its fine now. He's been dealt with."
"What were you doing out in town?"
"I just felt like going for a walk," replied the Prince with a shrug.
Before anyone could respond or stop her, the Singer had marched right up to the Prince glaring into his eyes.
"You moron! You just had an attempt on your life and you leave without any guards! You've always been reckless but…Ug! You're just so frustrating! Honestly, you're way too much for me to handle! What am I going to do with you? Do I need to tie you to my back to keep you from getting into trouble?"
"I love you too," he replied with a smile. He leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips. He moved back with a smirk as Lulu's face turned bright purple from her blush.
"I'd hug you but my arms are a bit full." He replied with a smirk, indicating Collin still slumped next to him, exhausted. "And what are you doing here? Hyrule's new advisor hasn't exactly been non-human friendly and I didn't hear anything about any diplomatic meetings to take place."
"I snuck in to find out about all of those new anti-non-human laws," she replied. A blush crept onto her blue face. "But mostly I just wanted to meet you. They're saying bad things about you back home but I haven't been able to convince anyone that you would never support any of this!"
"My father hasn't exactly been listening to me since the new advisor came from the Gerudo," replied the Prince dejectedly.
Zelda saw Malon lean towards her and whisper into her ear.
"Do you know what's going on?" asked the Ranch girl.
"I could take a few guesses," replied Zelda.
She suspected that the Zora singer was actually the undercover Princess of the Zoras, Princess Ruto. Zelda had heard rumors that the two heirs had been very close friends since childhood. There had even been stories of marriage vows being exchanged between the two behind their father's backs. The girl's back in Kakriko loved to talk about the two, seeing them as star crossed lovers. Both royalty but unable to truly be together due to the inability of the two species to reproduce and give proper heirs to either throne.
"I'd love to talk more and catch up with you Lulu," said the Prince. "But I should probably get this man to a bed to rest first. He was injured protecting me and it doesn't seem fair to repay him by standing him up in a hallway."
"Fine," replied Lulu. "But as soon as he's tucked in you're giving me a detailed explanation of everything going on."
"It'll be my pleasure. Which room do you want me to take him to?" asked the Prince, looking at Zelda.
"Follow me, I'll show you to my room," she replied.
The group, now joined by the two Zora's walked up the steps and down the hallways to the room Zelda was staying at. Not even bothering with the key she just used a small burst of magic to unlock the door. She opened the door and ushered the group inside. She put her harp and other equipment down on the nightstand. The prince rested Collin on the bed. The Sheikah warrior fell asleep almost instantly, as if he hadn't slept in days.
"Now, where were we?" asked the Prince, looking at Zelda.
"You were about to give me an explanation," said Lulu, her arms crossed glaring at the Prince.
"I actually need to talk to Zelda here about something VERY important," interrupted Malon. "Maybe you two could head off to your room, we'll stay here to talk. Meet back here in a bit. How's that sound?"
"Who are you anyways?" asked Lulu curiously.
"I'm Malon, just a random bystander who happened to be caught in town during the city lockdown."
"And you?" Lulu asked Zelda.
"My name is Zelda," she replied. "A Sheikah warrior."
"I thought Sheikah didn't allow women to become warriors?"
"I'm a special case," she responded. Zelda crouched down, and reached under her bed. She saw the Zora guitarist looking at her and she guessed he was a bodyguard tasked with protecting the Princess. The Sheikah pulled her equipment out from underneath the bed. Taking out her Sheikah crest she showed it to the Prince and the Zoras. "This is proof."
"How do we know you didn't just steal one from a Sheikah?" asked the guitarist.
"May I see that?" asked Lulu, stepping forward and holding out her hand.
"Sheikah crests burn anyone who touches them that weren't ordained as a warrior," warned Zelda.
"I know. This is to check that it isn't a fake," replied the singer.
"Hand it to me then," said the Prince, walking towards her with his hand extended.
"I asked first," said Lulu.
"Yeah, but if it really burns I don't want you to get hurt."
"You don't need to protect me you know," huffed Lulu.
"I know that, but why would I let you get injured if I can prevent it?" asked the Prince.
"And you want me to let you get injured instead? Why would I let you get injured when I could prevent it?"
The bickering was cut off when Malon walked straight past the couple and snatched the crest right from Zelda's hands.
"Hey!" yelled Zelda. "Don't do that!"
The ranch girl let out a cry as the smell of searing flesh started to fill the air. She fell to her knees on the ground, panic making her tighten her grip around the crest. Zelda moved forward to grab the crest from Malon. She pried open the girl's hand and snatched back the crest. The area of her hand that had been touching the crest was burned. Throwing the crest aside Zelda rushed to cast a healing spell on Malon's hand. The healing light shone down and the burnt area started to glow and healed itself.
"Why did you do that?!" snapped Zelda, looking at Malon's shocked face. She seemed to still be surprised about being burnt by the crest. "What were you thinking?!"
"I just wanted to get this over with," replied Malon. "Didn't think it would hurt so badly."
"Well," said the Prince. "I guess that proves that you weren't lying about who you are."
"We'll go to my room then to talk then," said Lulu, gabbing the Prince by the arm. "Are you two going to talk in here or are you going to go somewhere else?"
"Here I think," replied Zelda. "I want to also be able to keep an eye on Collin."
"Ok then. Mikau, you can go get yourself something to eat."
"But Lulu, I'm in charge of watching over you," protested the guitarist.
"I'm fine, I'll be with Ralph."
"He's got assassins after him currently!"
"It was just the one," responded the Prince. "And we dealt with him already. It'll probably be a while before whoever sent him realize he's been defeated and they send another. Don't worry, I would never let Lulu get hurt, you should know that by now."
"Fine," agreed Mikau grudgingly. "But I'll be back up as soon as I'm done eating, not a moment later."
"Got it," replied the Prince with a smile.
"Come on then," said Lulu, pulling the Prince's arm and dragging him out of the room and down the hall, Mikau following dejectedly behind. He closed the door behind him, leaving just Zelda, Malon and the sleeping Collin behind.
Chapter 4: Letting it All Out
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 4: Letting it All Out
Zelda and Malon just looked at each other blankly.
"Well, the bed's taken and we only have one chair," said Zelda, not sure how to start the conversation. "Do you want it?"
"Nah, I'm fine with sitting," replied Malon, moving into a more comfortable sitting position. Malon's skirt was long and didn't show much, but the brief flash of her legs that followed made Zelda start to feel a little embarrassed. Trying to ignore the strange feeling she also adjusted how she was sitting and the two women were now sitting face to face.
They just sat staring at each other for a few minutes, both trying to think about what to say. Zelda wasn't sure about how much Malon had figured out, or even how she had figured anything out, but she seemed to have an inkling that Zelda and Sheik were related somehow. The Sheikah warrior wondered why she cared so much about explaining everything anyways. In theory she should be telling the Prince first, since he was who she was sworn to serve. But instead she had wanted to explain everything to Malon first, it had just been a feeling, but one she had decided to follow back in the market. Malon seemed to get tired of waiting first and spoke up.
"So, are you going to finally explain to me what is going on?" asked Malon.
"What do you think is going on?" asked Zelda defensively. She had training for interrogations and she decided to try to find out what Malon knew first before volunteering her own information.
"I think that your real name is Sheik, not Zelda, and that you're undercover for some reason," replied Malon. She got thoughtful for a moment. "And using magic to hide as a woman."
"That seems kind of a strange conclusion," responded Zelda. Inside she was both distressed and curious about how Malon had figured all of that out. She wasn't exactly spot on in her theory, but she was eerily close. "Do you have any proof to back that up?"
"Your harp, it's the same one Sheik had."
"We're from the same tribe, why would it be strange for our harps to be similar?" asked Zelda. She didn't know why she was continuing the charade, but every time she tried to stop she felt a strange pressure in her chest.
"The song you played in the dining hall was my mother's song. How did you know it?" asked Malon.
"Which song was that again? I played several."
"The third one."
"Oh, that one. I heard it once while walking past Lon Lon Ranch," replied Zelda innocently. "Are you from there?"
"Yes, I live there with my father," said Malon, glaring at her. "As you already know since I told you yesterday after you saved me from the bandits."
"I didn't save you from any bandits. Plus me knowing that song isn't proof of anything."
"There's no way you could have heard it from the ranch," replied Malon. "The song has only been played once in the past seven years! That was yesterday to Sheik! I've never sang it once in seven years because it causes my father so much pain to remember my mother!"
Tears started to flow down Malon's face, dripping onto the wooden flow. Zelda felt bad for pushing the young woman to this point, but as she went to once again admit that she was Sheik, the pressure returned to her chest, silencing her.
"Why do you do this to me?" sobbed Malon, looking directly into Zelda's eyes. "You're so different from him. He was so friendly, and you're so cold. But your music is the same, and makes me feel the same. Am I really wrong about who you are? Do I just want you to be the same person so much that I'm fooling myself? Tell me, what is going on!"
Am I really so different as Sheik? wondered Zelda. They're both me, but am I different as a woman than as a man?
Struggling with herself, Zelda attempted to force out a confession. But when she opened her mouth to speak the words wouldn't come out. The pressure in her chest tightened, almost like it was telling her to keep her secret. Malon had stopped sobbing, but was still staring into Zelda's eyes, imploring her to explain things. Zelda's heart felt like it was breaking, a feeling she could hardly stand.
Just do it! yelled a voice in her head. Tell her! If you can't do that, then just show her! How are you fine with leaving things like this?
Zelda took a deep breath, and fighting past the pressure in her chest spoke up.
"I'm sorry," she said, drawing Malon's attention. "I do want to explain things to you, it's just…" Zelda trailed off, not sure where her thoughts were going.
"Just what?" asked Malon. "What is going on that it's so hard to tell me?"
"It's…I…I don't know," admitted Zelda.
She tried to figure out why she was acting and feeling like she was, and finally the answer occurred to her. She had never told anyone her secret before. Sure she had demonstrated the change in front of everyone in her tribe, but that had been fueled by her excitement. Everyone who knew what she was had always known. When she and Impa had traveled to other villages, neither had told anyone that she had been born a women. Everyone they met had thought Sheik was a man. It was a secret she hadn't even realized she was keeping. She had known some of her friends from other villages for years, even sending letters back and forth, and she had still never confided in any of them. This would be the first time she had told anyone herself. She realized what had her worried was how Malon would respond. The villagers had all treated her like a pariah due to the spell. How would Malon, who had first met her as Sheik, react to finding out the young man she had met was actually a young woman?
She'll probably think you're disgusting, said a small voice in the back of her head. You're weird, and you always have been. Just accept that you were born a woman and will always be one deep down. Deny that you're related, keep up the story that Sheik isn't the same person as you. Say he fled town, you're just a childhood friend.
Zelda ignored the voice though. She realized that despite what it was telling her, she really did want someone else to know. She really wanted Malon to know. She liked the young woman, more than just a friend. She was smart, strong willed, able to fight, a great singer and very attractive. Sheik had never felt the need to build such a relationship with anyone before, and Zelda realized she didn't know how.
If I can't even face my own fears, how could I expect to be able to protect anyone? Wondered Zelda. I'm a Sheikah warrior, my job is to take down monsters and threats to Hyrule, and I can face my own demons.
Zelda took another deep breath and let it out slowly. She stood up, and Malon looked at her, curious. Zelda untied the bandanna from her hair and let it drop to the ground. She then knelt down again to untie her boots, taking them off while Malon just looked on confused. Finally, with another breath Zelda started to unbutton her blouse, taking off the clothing. Malon just stared dumbfounded at Zelda's bandage wrapped chest as she moved to loosen her skirt, also dropping that to the ground.
"What are you doing!?" exclaimed Malon, covering her eyes with her hands, her face turning bright red in embarrassment.
"I'm showing you what you want to know," replied Zelda, using calming techniques she had been taught to keep her wits about her. "Look and all you see is a woman, correct?"
Malon peeked out from behind her fingers, and looked at Zelda's barely clothed body.
"Yep, you're definitely a woman alright," she replied. "Are you trying to use this as proof that you aren't Sheik? I've heard stories where people use illusions to look like something else."
"This isn't an illusion, if you touch me you'll know that for sure."
"To-touch you?!" asked Malon. She seemed to be getting more and more nervous which Zelda thought was curious for her. She seemed so good at dealing with people, but maybe that only counted for fully clothed people. Zelda actually thought that was kind of adorable. She moved forward and flashed her thigh close to Malon, and the young woman tentatively reached out and touched it. The soft flesh yielded to her touch and Zelda felt the warmth from Malon's hand.
"Feel real enough to you?" asked Zelda.
"Uh, yeah, I guess," replied Malon distractedly.
"And now, for the rest of the explanation," said Zelda, swiftly removing the bandages and loin cloth, leaving herself completely exposed. She gathered up the magical energy inside of her, calling on all of her resources, and cast the spell for the second time in her life. The effects were instantaneous and suddenly Sheik was yet again standing in his familiar body, still stark naked in front of a surprised Malon.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Malon loudly, looking away and covering her eyes. Thumping noise were heard from the hall and the door was opened quickly as the Prince, Lulu and Mikau all rushed inside, reacting to Malon's cry of surprise.
"Is everything okay in he…," started the Prince, looking around for signs of trouble. He saw Sheik in all of his male glory and stopped right in his tracks.
"What's going on in here?" asked Lulu, pushing past the Prince and saw Sheik. "Huh, so is that what all of you Hylians look like under all of those clothes."
"Who are you!" demanded Mikau."
"Hello, my name is Sheik of the Sheikah tribe," said Sheik, instinctively bowing. Sheikah were trained out of caring about nudeness pretty early, so his state of undress didn't really bother him. "I was the one who came to the castle yesterday to deliver some gifts on behalf of my tribe. At your chambers I encountered an assassin who had knocked you out, killed the herald and the guard who was with me. Fighting with him I discovered that he was a member of my tribe named Collin, a member of my tribe."
"He did what?!" exclaimed Lulu angrily. She looked at the Prince. "Did you know this?"
"Well since he attacked me again in the market, yes," he replied casually.
"And you thought to bring the assassin here with you?" asked Lulu incredulously. "I'm starting to question your intelligence."
"Collin was being manipulated and controlled by someone else," said Sheik. "He was freed from its control earlier. He had gone missing while in the dessert a while ago. I suspect something happened there."
"Where's Zelda?" asked the Prince. "And why are you standing here naked?"
"That's slightly more complicated, at least in a different way."
Sheik wasn't sure he really wanted to tell all of these people he had just met his secret, but it was probably necessary to resolve things.
"Sheik? What are you doing here naked?" asked a voice. Sheik turned and saw Collin, sitting up in bed and looking at him in surprise. "I could have sworn I saw Zelda earlier, but that's impossible, isn't it?"
"I guess I should explain before everyone gets even more confused," replied Sheik. He focused and dropped the spell, Zelda's body appearing where Sheik had been. Zelda looked around at the shocked occupants of the small room. "I am Zelda and I am also Sheik."
"How is that possible?" asked The Prince.
"Magic. I was born a girl with a gift for magic. At thirteen by custom I was to start training to become a housekeeper and wife, but I decided I wanted to become a warrior instead. So I devised a spell to physically change my body to that of a man's. I have lived the last seven years training as a man to become a Sheikah warrior. When I fled the castle yesterday, I lifted the spell for the first time, hiding as a travelling female musician under my birth name."
"That's definitely a tall tale," replied Mikau.
"And if I hadn't just seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it," said Lulu.
"Did you two discuss what you needed to?" asked Zelda.
"Yes, we did," replied the Prince. "Um, aren't you cold like that?"
"Sheikah are actually trained to be fine out of clothes," replied Zelda. Although she did have to admit to herself that so many people staring at her was kind of a weird feeling. She knelt down to grab her loin cloth and bandages from where she had dropped them. The Prince looked away in embarrassment, Mikau was stoic and Lulu looked amused.
"Oh come on, I walk around naked with you all of the time. You Hylians are such prudes at times," she teased.
"That's different!" he exclaimed.
"Oh, you had better have a good answer for this one."
I'm not used to looking at naked humans," he said. "Plus you have your genitals covered up by scales."
"So if I show you you'll get adorably embarrassed like with Zelda," teased the Zora woman, gesturing to her legs.
"Yes! Now can we focus?" snapped the Prince. "I want to deal with these assassination attempts and anti-non-human laws so that we can have our wedding in peace!"
That declaration brought silence to the room. Zelda finished dressing, tying the bandanna around her hair. She looked closer at the Prince and Lulu and saw an intricate sapphire pendant bearing the crest of the royal family of Hyrule around each of their necks that hadn't been there before. She remembered learning that the pendants were a Zora mating tradition.
"Congratulations on your engagement," said Zelda, breaking the silence. "Are you going to go announce the news to the King then?"
"Yeah," replied the Prince, reaching his arm around Lulu. She put her own arm around his waist and smiled. Mikau just stood behind them, a slight frown on his face. "We plan to head right over and tell him now. I love Ruto and have for a long time, nothing will change that. We need to have a very serious talk about these new anti-non-human laws."
"I'm guessing you wouldn't listen if I suggested you stay and hide while we try to find the person who sent Collin after you?"
"Nope," replied the Prince with a stubborn smile.
"Well then would you accept my offer to guard you as you go to your meeting?"
"Only if you swear loyalty right here to him," interjected Ruto.
Zelda knelt down, reached under her bed and brought out the sword and gifts she had been bringing to the castle earlier. She walked over and knelt in front of the Prince and Princess.
"I am Zelda, warrior of the Sheikah tribe, and I swear my loyalty to Link, Prince of Hyrule that I will protect and serve him with my life and all of my power and ability. I now present to you gifts from the Sheikah."
Zelda handed over the letter first, and the Prince took it and opened it. He read it over quickly and then handed it off to Ruto to read. Zelda lifted up the sword and handed it over. The Prince grabbed it and pulled the blade out of the sheath, admiring the craftsmanship. It was probably the finest blade Zelda had ever seen, and now out of its sheath Zelda could feel a powerful magic coming from the sword. She realized that the Council had been keeping a very powerful relic in their possession.
"The sword of evil's bane," said the Prince softly. "This is the Master Sword, isn't it?"
"I believe so," replied Zelda.
The Prince put the sword back in its sheath and slung it by its strap over his shoulder. Zelda then handed him the box. He took it too and opened it. He pulled out a leather glove with a ruby, a sapphire and an emerald embedded in it in the triangle pattern of the goddesses, each tiny gem cut into the shape of a triangle. Zelda also felt some magic radiating from this, and she recognized it as the magic of the council members. The Prince went to put it on and Zelda felt some of its magic activate, resizing the glove so that it fit his hand snugly.
"Wow, that's neat," commented the Prince.
"According to this letter the glove resizes to fit the current bearer and allows them to shoot magic arrows of Ice, Fire and Light," commented Ruto. "That's pretty powerful magic. I suspect it draws from the users inner magical stores, since there doesn't seem like there's a store of magic saved up in there."
"Let's see," said the Prince. He pulled out his bow and notched an arrow. The tip of the arrow started to glow red, heat emanating from it. It suddenly switched to glowing blue, with the temperature of the room dropping. Finally, the tip started to glow a brilliant golden color, filling Zelda with a warm feeling. The Prince turned off the magic and put the arrow away, shouldering his bow again. "That's pretty useful."
The Prince looked back down at the still kneeling Zelda and regarded her for a moment. He pulled out the Master Sword from its sheath and brought it slowly down so that the flat of the blade rested on her shoulder. Zelda didn't even flinch as the cold metal lay on her shoulder, only the thin blouse to keep it away from her skin.
"Zelda, warrior of the Sheikah," said the Prince sternly. "I accept your vows of loyalty and service on three conditions. The first is that you also swear loyalty to and to protect Ruto, Princess of the Zora and soon to be my wife. Can you do so?"
"Yes, I do, my Prince," swore Zelda without any hesitation.
"The second is to also keep in mind your love ones, and to not compromise them in your service to me. I will not let a family die because my life was deemed more important. Do you understand?"
This second condition caught Zelda by surprise and she found her gaze flickering quickly to look at Malon, the other woman just watching the whole proceedings with concern on her face. Zelda looked back at the Prince and stated. "Yes, I do."
"Finally, the last condition is that you treat me not just as your Prince, but as your friend. Do you think you can do that?" asked the Prince, a soft smile on his face.
This one really caught Zelda by surprise. She had lived her whole life with service to the crown as her main goal. It had never occurred to her that the ever friendly Prince might interpret their arrangement as anything different. The concept of friendship to the man she was to serve seemed absurd, but the honest look in the Prince's eyes indicated that he wouldn't take no for an answer. He really did want to be her friend. Taking a deep breath, Zelda managed to reply.
"Yes I can, my Prince," replied Zelda.
"Oh yeah, and to add to that last condition. No calling me 'my Prince' or any of that. You saved my life and you're my friend, just call me Link unless the situation's etiquette really, really demands it. Understood?" asked the Prince, extending his hand to Zelda. She looked at his hand for a moment, then back at his face.
"Yes, I understand Link," said Zelda, grabbing Links hand. She felt a tingle through her body as the vow was sealed by the Royal Families innate magic. He pulled her to her feet, and gave her a smile.
"Ok, now we can proceed to the castle to talk to my father," said Link. He turned to look at Ruto and Mikau. "Are you to ready to go now, or do you want to grab your stuff?"
"I am always ready," asserted Mikau.
"I think everyone that hasn't eaten yet should," said Ruto. "It won't do any good to confront your father about such matters while hungry."
"Like always, I agree with you," said Link with a smile.
"You do not always agree with me you liar," asserted Ruto with a playful smirk.
"I do to."
"You're not right now," pointed out Ruto.
"You've got a point my lady," replied Link, holding his hands up in defeat. "We'll go get something to eat then go talk to my father."
Link, Ruto and Mikau turned to leave but a voice caught their attention.
"Wait!" yelled Collin from his bed. He got out of the bed and knelt before Link. "I would also like to offer my assistance as a guard. I'm not sure it'll make up for my behavior before, but I would also like to swear my loyalty to you, my Prince. Anyone else probably would have ordered me dead without excuse, but instead you let me live and even carried me here. For that, I will serve you for life."
Link pulled out the Master sword again and put it down on the Sheikah warrior's shoulder, just like he had with Zelda.
"What I said to Zelda counts for you also, do you accept?"
"Yes Prince Link, I do," replied Collin. "I am Collin, warrior of the Sheikah tribe, and I swear my loyalty to Link, Prince of Hyrule that I will protect and serve him with my life and all of my power and ability. I also swear to protect and serve Princess Ruto of the Zora and to never let my loved ones be harmed by my serving in the line of duty."
"You may rise then," said Link, extending his hand and smiling down at Collin. He took it and stood up. He smiled back at the prince.
"Thank you Link, for allowing me this chance."
"You're welcome. Do you think you're fit enough to assist as my guard? I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to rest, you did get blown up."
"Zelda did a magnificent job healing up all of my wounds," complimented Collin. "I've rested a bit and with some food I should be ready to go."
"That's good then. Glad to have you along."
"May I also vow my service?" asked Malon suddenly, surprising everyone in the room, Zelda the most.
"No, you can't," said Zelda sternly, turning on the woman.
"Why not?" asked Malon glaring at Zelda.
"You're not a warrior," replied Zelda.
"Why does that matter?" contended Malon. "I've never heard of some rule that said only warriors could serve. I am a citizen of Hyrule, and if I want to vow my service to its ruler than I will. I know how to ride a horse better than almost anyone else in the realm, I was even the champion at the last festival race. I'm a good shot with a bow and have practiced doing so from horseback. I can also fight with a knife."
"I do remember you from last year's race. You and your horse were absolutely wonderful. Surprise victors that no one suspected if I remember correctly," commented Link. His expression turned serious. "But this and that are two completely different things. Are you absolutely sure you're willing to engage in the danger that might come from serving me? When you make a vow to me, the magic that runs through my veins will make it that much harder to break if you so choose late."
Malon became thoughtful, but Zelda was still worried that the rancher would still agree to make the vow. She spoke up before Malon could.
"May I talk to Malon alone?" asked Zelda. "Why doesn't everyone else go get some food and we'll meet you downstairs? There are still some other things I want to discuss with her in private anyways."
"I don't need to talk to you, I can make up my own mind," said Malon stubbornly.
"We'll go," said Ruto, speaking up. She looked sternly at Malon. "I think you two really do need to talk. This is not a decision to rush into lightly or feel pressured into doing because everyone else is. Just take some time to think it through. These two trained their whole lives for this moment, which is how they were able to make the choice so easily. Nothing will be harmed if you take your time."
Ruto turned and walked out of the room, signaling for Link, Mikau and Collin to follow her. Mikau walked out without a word or even looking at them. Link looked back at them for a moment but still left without saying anything. Collin walked past Zelda, putting a hand on her shoulder and smiling at her.
"Zelda or Sheik, whoever you are right now, I'm glad to see you here. I might have been harsh to you before, but know that I really do appreciate you saving me and I wouldn't have any other warrior here with me protecting the Prince."
With that he left, closing the door behind him. Zelda and Malon just stared at each other for a moment, neither knowing exactly what to say. Zelda walked over to the bed and sat down on it, motioning Malon to sit next to her. The rancher did so, still not saying a word. The awkward silence sat in the air for another minute, until Zelda willed herself to break it.
"I would like to finish explaining to you what I showed you before everyone else came back into the room," said Zelda, looking at Malon. The other woman looked right back at her, her expression impossible to read.
"What's there left to explain?" asked Malon, an edge to her voice. "Your tribe only allowed men to become warriors so to become a warrior you actually turned yourself into a man, it seems pretty simple to me."
"I just don't want you to think I was fooling you," replied Zelda.
"It wasn't you fooling me, it was just you being who you wanted to be. I don't have any problems with it."
"Then why do you sound do angry at me?" asked Zelda, honestly confused.
"Why won't you let me vow to serve the Prince?" asked Malon, avoiding the question.
"Because it's dangerous."
"Travelling Hyrule fields by myself is dangerous, but I've managed to do that since I was fifteen. In five years, yesterday was the only day I needed saving, and that was due to my own stupidity. I won't let it happen again."
"Why do you want to make the vow so badly?" asked Zelda.
"I want to serve Hyrule," replied Malon, looking away.
"Is that really the reason?" pushed Zelda. "This isn't just some attempt at fame or glory or because you feel obligated to do so since everyone else in this room did?"
"No!" yelled Malon angrily, looking back at Zelda. "Those aren't the reasons at all!"
"Then what is!" snapped Zelda.
"Because I want to serve beside you!" exclaimed Malon suddenly, not even fully aware of what she was saying. Both women sat stunned as they realized what she had just said. Malon's face turned red and she looked away. When she spoke again it was much more quietly and without the anger in her voice. "There, are you happy, you now know my reason."
"But why am I your reason?" asked Zelda, confused. "Why would you risk your life just to serve with me?"
"Because I like you a lot!" exclaimed Malon. "I might even love you. Honestly I don't even know what I'm feeling. These feelings are all so new to me."
"You think you, love me?" repeated Zelda.
"Yes, love at first sight basically. When you saved me as Sheik you were so amazing, so dashing. You were just like the knights and heroes I used to read and fantasize about as a little girl. I always dreamed about being saved by a knight in shining armor, and suddenly in what seemed like my final hour you appear, saving me. You were so polite about it too. I offered a ride because I wanted to spend more time with you, learn more about you. And you were fascinating. You seemed well traveled, a strong warrior and you were a gentleman. You were even amazing on your harp. Since my mother died I've only sung while travelling alone so nobody else could hear, but you changed that. I was sad when we parted, and then excited to hear your music again last night in the inn. Imagine my surprise when I see a woman who looks completely different playing the same instrument and songs, including the one I taught you. I was curious and stated to follow you, trying to find out more about this mysterious woman. I tricked Anju into letting me into your room this morning, and I found the same clothes and supplies Sheik had had. When I saw you fight in the market, I knew without a doubt you were the same person. When you tried to hide it from me, it hurt worse than almost everything I had ever experienced except losing my mother."
Zelda was stunned by Malon's admission, and not really sure how to respond. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and knew that she still needed to convince Malon to not make the vow.
"We haven't even known each other for that long," said Zelda. "Barely twenty-four hours. Don't you think you're rushing your feelings and the decision to serve the Prince based on wanting to be with someone you don't really know?"
"I don't want to just serve the Prince because I want to be with you, although that is the biggest reason. I really do want to serve Hyrule, and the Prince is a great person. I feel that if I can trust anyone it's him, and I want him to be able to trust me too. Princess Ruto also seems likes a very good person, I want to help those two get married," said Malon. "And about my feelings for you, I know they're real. I definitely feel strongly towards you. I want to serve not just to be with you, but so that I can learn more about you. Hearing more about your past and your reasons for your actions has just helped me decide that I want to learn more about you."
Malon finished her speech and just looked at Zelda for a moment. She regarded the woman and then asked a question Zelda wasn't sure she had the answer to.
"How do you feel about me? Why are you trying so hard to stop me from taking the vow?"
Zelda sat silent for a moment, thinking about Malon's question. Why was she reacting so strongly to this? She realized that she definitely cared for the young woman. If it was love, she didn't know yet, but she still didn't want to see Malon get hurt. Malon seemed so sure of her decision and of her feelings. It was true that if Malon went through with the vow they would probably be serving together for a while as Link's personal guards and aids. This would be their chance to learn more about each other. But it was also risky and Malon could get hurt, which Zelda definitely didn't want to see happen. On the other hand, if Malon didn't make the vow, she would probably just return home to her ranch and they wouldn't be very likely to meet again.
Pushing her thoughts into some semblance of order, Zelda looked back at Malon.
"Honestly, I think I care for you also," admitted Zelda. "Both as Sheik and as Zelda. I don't want you to make the vow because I don't want you to get hurt. The Prince made me promise to keep those I cared about safe, and that's what I plan to do."
"But what about the people I care about?" asked Malon. "Am I not allowed to make sure you're happy and safe?"
"Well, yes, I guess you are," admitted Zelda. "But you're still not a warrior."
"But I am capable," replied Malon. "If you're worried about me not being a warrior, then there wouldn't be any better place for me to learn than from masters like you and Collin, right?"
"But you're a women!" blurted out Zelda, grasping for reasons. She regretted her outburst right after saying it. Malon just glared at her.
"Isn't that just what your tribe told you?" asked Malon. "You're strong and I bet you proved them wrong, didn't you? Even with just creating the spell you did, you proved that women could be strong."
Zelda found she was out of excuses. She just stared at Malon, the young woman staring right back at her. Zelda gave a deep sigh.
"Fine, I will against my better judgment, support your choice to make the vow with the Prince if you so wish," conceded Zelda.
"Thank you," replied Malon, smiling at her. "I just have one more question for you?"
"What would that be?" asked Zelda, curious.
"Would you be willing to go on a date with me around town when we have some free time?" asked Malon, completely surprising her.
"Uh, sure, I guess," muttered Zelda uncertainly. Malon threw herself at Zelda, hugging her tightly, a large smile on her face.
"Yes!" exclaimed Malon. She disengaged from the hug and looked at Zelda. "This'll be my first date ever, so you'd better make it a good one."
"It'll be my first too," admitted Zelda, sheepishly looking down. Then something occurred to her and she looked back up at Malon. "You want me to go as a man, right?"
"Either is fine," replied Malon. "Whichever you're more comfortable with."
"You wouldn't care if I was to go as a woman?" asked Zelda, confused.
"Not really," replied Malon. She looked at Zelda and whispered. "Actually, I have a bit of a secret. My first crush was actually on a trip to castle town when I was a child and they were a girl. And then later I had a crush on a boy. So, I'm actually attracted to both genders. Does that disgust you?"
"I am both genders," replied Zelda with a laugh. "Why would that ever disgust me?"
Malon considered her for a moment. "You have a great laugh as Zelda," said Malon. "You should do that more often."
"Thank you," replied Zelda.
A knock came at the door, drawing the attention of both women.
"We brought you some food," said Link through the door. "May we come in?"
Zelda looked at Malon and then back to the door. "We just finished up," she said. "And we'd really enjoy that food."
The door opened up and Link walked in. He was followed by Collin, who was holding two trays of food. Ruto stood in the hallway, a bandolier crossing her chest. It held two of the Zora's famous fishbone boomerangs, and a mechanical hookshot, which Zelda recognized as of the finest make, and she had a beautiful rapier at her hip. Mikau also stood in the hallway, a similar bandolier over his shoulder, his fishbone guitar on his back and three boomerangs on the front. Collin walked over to the bed and Zelda and Malon both took a tray, thanking him as they did so.
"So you two have everything settled now?" asked Link, leaning against the wall.
"I think so," replied Zelda between mouthfuls of food.
"I would like to take the vow if you would let me," said Malon, looking at Link.
"You're sure about this?" asked Link.
"Yes my Prince," replied Malon.
"Ok then, whenever you're ready."
Malon put her tray down on the bed and stood up. She took a few steps over to Link and knelt in front of him. Zelda was still kind of hesitant about the whole thing, but it was Malon's choice. If she wanted to risk her life in service to the Prince, than that was her decision. Prince Link unsheathed the Master sword again and rested the flat on Malon's shoulder.
"You have heard my three conditions before, do you also agree to them?" asked Prince Link.
"Yes, I do my Prince," replied Malon. "I am Malon of Lon Lon Ranch, and I swear my loyalty to Link, Prince of Hyrule that I will protect and serve him with my life and to the best of my ability. I also swear to protect and serve Princess Ruto of the Zora and to never let people I care about be harmed by my serving in the line of duty."
"You may rise then," said the Prince for the third time that day, extending his hand once more to his newest retainer. Malon took the offered hand and stood up, a smile creeping onto her face. Link studied her for a moment. "What weapons do you have?"
"Well, I lost my knife earlier in the explosion, so none currently," admitted Malon.
"You said that you are skilled with a bow, right?"
"Then here you go," said Link, taking the bow and quiver off of his shoulder and passing them to a surprised Malon.
"I can't take these," said Malon. "They're yours."
"I have the Master sword," replied Link. "I can't use both at the same time and I would rather you be armed anyways. Plus now that you've pledged yourself to my service, you're entitled to at least a few benefits."
"Thank you," replied Malon, taking the bow and quiver. She started to examine them, getting a feel for the unfamiliar bow. Something seemed to occur to her, and she looked back up at Link. "If you don't mind me asking, why are we travelling so heavily armed to meet the King?"
"Because I suspect that the person who sent Collin will be there," replied Link.
"You know who tried to kill you?" asked Zelda.
"I believe that the most likely person is my father's new adviser, Nabooru," responded Link. "She's also the one who pushed so heavily for the new anti-non-human laws. Ever since she arrived from the dessert he's been acting very strangely. Doing things and passing laws he never would have before."
"From the dessert?" asked Zelda. "So she's a Gerudo?"
"Apparently their new leader," said Link.
"But the Gerudo don't have a leader. They're just a bunch of tribes of female thieves. The only periods they've had a leader is during the handful of times a male has been born to them," replied Zelda, confused. She had never spent any time among the Gerudo, but their customs and the fact that they only ever bore female children except on rare occasions had interested her and led her to read about them.
"They apparently have one now," said Link.
"I was actually investigating Nabooru when I was captured," said Collin, stepping into the conversation. "The council believed there was something very suspicious with all of the recent activity going on in the dessert. She has two very powerful witches working for her, Koume and Kotake. They're the ones who caught me."
"If it turns out all of these events are related, then I fear it'll probably turn into a fight," said Link. "Nabooru doesn't strike me as someone who would be unprepared for being confronted for her actions. And a show of force might help convince my father that I'm serious. Are you all willing to possibly confront the King of Hyrule? I won't command any of you to join me, but I would like your support none the less."
"I'm prepared," said Collin. "I swore my life and loyalty to you and I trust you with both."
"It's the same for me," said Zelda, putting aside her tray and standing up from the bed. "Just give me a minute to prepare my gear and I'll be ready to go."
"I also agree," said Malon. You're going to take over the throne eventually anyways, I might as well get a head start in trusting your judgment."
Link smiled at all three of them, looking to be genuinely thrilled at their acceptance of his decision.
"Thank you, all three of you. This means a lot to me," said the Link. His expression became serious again. "When you two are ready we can go to the castle."
"I'm ready," said Malon, putting the quiver on her shoulder.
"We'll leave Zelda to her preparations then," said Link. "I also want to talk to you about something Malon."
"Yes sir," replied the ranch girl.
Mikau and Ruto left the room first, followed by Link and Collin. Malon left last, lingering slightly to look at Zelda before leaving the room and shutting the door behind her. Zelda quickly stripped off her clothes again, dropping them into a pile on the floor. She concentrated and once more felt her body shifting into the familiar form of Sheik. Sheik grabbed his Sheikah uniform from his bag and shifting through his knowledge of magic quickly, cast a spell on it. Nothing changed visibly about the uniform, but if the spell had worked the uniform should now operate like Link's glove, changing to fit its wearer. This would hopefully allow for the very slim chance that Sheik had to change back to Zelda at some point.
Sheik suited up, enjoying the familiar feel of his uniform. It was who he had been almost his whole life, and male or female, it would define who he was until the end. He strapped on a belt loaded with pouches. The pouches were full of items like lock picks, magical crystals and flash bombs, really anything he might need on a mission. He belted on his short sword and coiled his whip and attached it to a hook on his belt. Sheik braided up his hair and replaced his usual head covering and face mask. The last item he put on was his Sheikah pendant, placing it around his neck, over his uniform. The chain was made to break off if it was caught in anything so that it didn't hinder a warrior in combat, although many warriors didn't wear it due to paranoia. If Sheik was going to serve the Prince, he was going to do it as a proud Sheikah warrior, wearing all the symbols of his tribe.
He left everything else in the room and headed downstairs. Anju was at the front desk, staring at him in wonder, probably trying to figure out which guest he was. Ignoring her he walked outside and saw everyone else gathered in a group, silently waiting for him.
"Thank you for waiting," said Sheik, walking over to the group. "I am ready to go now."
"Then we'll be off," said Link, walking off first, the hood of his cloak up over his head. Ruto walked at his side, hand in hand, and Sheik was amused to note that she was actually taller than her fiancé. Following slightly behind and to the side of each of their respective rulers were Collin and Mikau. Collin was stoic, probably dead set on redeeming himself. Mikau on the other hand was glancing around everywhere for danger, alert for the smallest signs. He kept throwing glances at Collin, probably still distrusting the former assassin. Malon and Sheik brought up the rear, walking silently together down the city streets.
Sheik glanced over and saw that Malon now had on the Prince's gauntlet. Malon noticed his gaze and held up her hand with a sheepish smile.
"The Prince gave it to me," she said. "He said he didn't have much need for something that only worked with arrows if he was only going to have a sword. It feels so…weird wearing it. I can just feel the…magic I guess it is. It's in here, and it's just waiting for me to call on it. It's both warm, cold and well, uplifting I guess. Is this what magic feels like to you?"
"I was born with a large innate gift for magic," replied Sheik. "It comes naturally, not as a foreign object but as part of who I am. Kind of like how your hands are always there but you're not aware of them until you stare at them or use them for something. Everyone has magic in them, it's a gift from the goddesses, but some have more than others. The Sheikah all have large natural reserves and so does the Royal family. That's one reason Queen Zelda was able to form the Hylians into a nation. Your reserves are probably not as deep, so you should be very careful to make sure you don't drain yourself dry using those magic arrows."
"What happens if I overuse it?"
"Very likely, you'll die," replied Sheik. "I know I can feel when my magic is running low, but I'm not sure if that's innate in everyone. Maybe limit yourself to one arrow of each type, I don't think that will drain you. I would suggest you only use them if the situation is dire though."
"Thank you, I'll keep that in mind," replied Malon, looking once more at the glove. She looked back up at Sheik. "You look very cool and impressive like that."
"Thank you," replied Sheik, blushing slightly underneath his mask.
"What do you want to do for our date later?"
"I don't really know yet," admitted Sheik. "I was kind of just planning on making it up as we went."
Malon seemed to grow thoughtful for a moment, and then asked a question Sheik had definitely not been expecting.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Sheik," he replied automatically, confused by her question.
"But aren't you also Zelda?"
"I guess," said Sheik.
"So which are you? Sheik or Zelda? Male or female?" asked Malon. There was no malice or frustration in her voice, just curiosity. Sheik grew thoughtful for a minute as he pondered her questions.
"I guess I'm both," he replied awkwardly. "I mean, for the first half of my life I was Zelda, and I thought I had rejected her when I became Sheik and lived out the next half of my life as a man. She never really crossed my mind until I needed to hide from the guards. Suddenly it just felt right to become Zelda again. It was natural to be a woman, I didn't feel any of the awkwardness that was always talked about in stories. She was me, and I became her."
Sheik paused for a moment, looking up at the dark storm clouds that were forming over the area, threatening to drench any who dared venture outside. The clouds seemed situated directly above the castle, adding a foreboding feelings that had not been there the day before. He looked back at Malon.
"It's kind of strange really how different I am as Zelda and Sheik. They naturally feel like two separate people, but they're both me. I become both of them. If I had to say which was me, if I was male or if I was female, I don't think I could really say."
"Are you happy as both?" asked Malon.
"Well, until I realized that men and women were to be separated, I was definitely happy as Zelda. Training as Sheik I was overjoyed to become a warrior. As Sheik I was happy to meet you," he said, smiling at her. "As Zelda once more, I'm not sure if I was happy, but I was definitely not unhappy. It was for short of a time and I was busy with a mission, but I think I really did enjoy being a woman again."
"That's definitely like you," said Malon with a smile. "It sounds like you've really come to accept both parts of you. That's a blessing really."
"I guess it is," replied Sheik.
They were now approaching the castle gates, everything covered in shadows due to the clouds. At the front gate were six guards, all heavily armed and armored. They moved forward to intercept the group.
"Halt," yelled one of the guards. He was wearing a red stripped helm that symbolized his rank as a captain. "Who are you to approach the castle?"
Link walked forward, letting go of Ruto's hand. He lowered his hood, revealing his features to the guards. Recognition of their Prince immediately showed on the guards faces, but they still stood as if ready to engage.
"I'm returning to the castle to see me father the king," boomed the Prince with authority. "I have several urgent matters that I need to speak with him about."
"Who are your companions?" asked the captain, the first to regain his composure. "Why are they so heavily armed my Prince?"
"These are my new retainers. They have all sworn loyalty to me except for one, who is to be my wife," said the Prince, smiling softly over his shoulder at Ruto. "With the recent assassination attempt they are all loath to leave me unprotected."
"You're travelling with two Shiekah," pointed out the Captain. "Aren't they the ones trying to kill you?"
"It was all a clever ruse by the real mastermind," replied the Prince smoothly. "These two are as loyal as can be, and ready to clear their name of the fraud."
"If you insist," replied the Captain, his resistance to the Prince crumbling.
"I do. I trust every one of these people with my life. They will accompany me to speak with my father."
"You may go in then my Prince," said the Captain. He signaled for the guards to stand aside. Once more holding Ruto's hand in his, Link marched inside, everyone else following behind. Sheik felt an ominous chill run down his spine as he walked into the cold stone entry way, the boom of thunder like a herald of doom. Whatever happened in the meeting with the King, Sheik feared that blood was going to be spilled.
Chapter 5: Confronting the King
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 5: Confronting the King
The group soon emerged into the large throne room. Large marble pillars stood like silent sentinels, lining the room and holding up the roof. The windows were all stain glass, but the lack of light outside left the colorful panels feeling lacking. Paintings and tapestries lined the cold gray stone bricks, trying their best to warm up a wall whose first priority was safety, not vanity. A long red carpet with golden trim led from the door way to the throne, the only decoration on the floor. Sheik saw Malon looking around in wonder, not used to the splendor or trained to keep focus.
Looking forward Sheik saw a man who was obviously the King sitting on a large white marble throne lined with red cushions and the golden triforce symbol embedded at the top. The king didn't even react as their party marched towards him. Along the walls were guards, prepared to give their lives to protect their king from the recent assassins. Next to the King stood eight more guards, flanking him four on either side.
What really attracted Sheik's attention though was the woman standing by the King's side. She was wearing the traditional baggy pants of the Gerudo, with very little covering her torso. A golden circlet around her head held a large ruby gem. Her hair was red like fire and held back in a ponytail. The most striking feature though were her oddly-familiar blood red eyes.
The party continued to advance to the throne but the woman moved slightly forward as if to intercept them and spoke up.
"What is the meaning of this my Prince?" asked the woman in a musical tone. "Why are you bringing what looks like a war party to meet with the King?"
"I mean no disrespect to my father," said Link. "But with the recent attempts on my life I felt I couldn't be too careful. Just as I've noticed that you aren't taking any chances in here either."
"These are definitely difficult times," replied the woman. "But as you can see with the security here, your mercenaries or whatever they are aren't needed here. The castle guards can see to your safety."
"I trust that they could," replied Link. "But they aren't here just solely for my protection. They are my retainers, people that have sworn loyalty to me. They are my guards, my council and my friends. I wish them to stay while we go about this important business today Nabooru."
"And what business is that?" asked Nabooru. "I see that you have brought some Sheikah with you. They are all under suspicion for trying to kill you and your father, and must be detained. Also, those Zora with you are not allowed in Castle Town anymore due to the new law just passed today. They'll have to be escorted out of the city just like the rest of the non-humans. Most of the army is out doing so right now actually."
"These Sheikah are innocent, and in fact saved my life from a second assassination attempt. I have very good reason to believe that the real assassins are trying to frame the Sheikah and stop us from relying on their support like we always have. And for the Zoras you are speaking so rudely of, this is Princess Ruto, my fiancée and soon to be my wife," he said with a smile, bringing her closer to him. Ruto just glared up at Nabooru, whose face was starting to twist in hatred.
"How dare you usurp the authority of your king!" bellowed Nabooru.
"I am the Prince and you are just an advisor," reminded Link, an edge to his voice. "Why don't we let my father speak for himself? If he still can."
Up on his throne the king stirred slightly, looking down at his son. He seemed hollow to Sheik, a man without the energy or drive that had always been prescribed to him.
"What do you have to speak to me about my son?" boomed the King.
"These new anti-non-human laws. They should be removed. I should have stood up to them long ago when they were first proposed, but I thought you would see reason over this foolishness. Also stop any action against the Sheikah, and put your efforts against the real culprits. And lastly, bless my marriage to Princess Ruto, as both my father and the King."
"I can do none of that my foolish son," replied the King stiffly. "You are to be detained and all of your companions killed for infringing on Castle grounds against the laws."
"Over my dead body!" yelled the Prince, pulling out the master sword and holding it up high for all to see. "I wield the Master Sword, the sword of evil's bane. I will not allow this injustice to go any further, even if you are my father."
All around them the guards were pulling out weapons, and everyone in the group did the same, assuming fighting stances. Sheik turned on his magical sight and was shocked by what he saw. He saw the familiar bright green auras of Link and Malon, along with a brilliant blue aura from Ruto and two furious red aura's surrounding Collin and Mikau. Everyone else in the room though, the guards, the King and Nabooru all had blood red auras tinged with darkness. Something occurred to Sheik.
"Link," he said, drawing the Prince's attention. "All of the auras but ours show signs of control by the same person controlling Collin. They all have the red auras of Din, but infected by darkness. I've never seen this many auras of one color before. I think the enemy might have the ability to control red auras."
"That can't be possible," replied Ruto. "That would be within the Goddesses domain. What power could rivals theirs to that extent?"
"Surrender Prince Link," boomed Nabooru. "You're outnumbered and out matched. The guards will kill you if necessary."
"You did this, didn't you?" asked the Prince. "You've been swapping out the guards with ones you could control, haven't you?"
"Brilliant deduction," complimented Nabooru. "But it won't save you now. In fact, that little revelation has just cost you your life."
Without conscious command the guards all started to mob the group, intent on killing them. The group instinctively moved into a circle for protection, pulling out their weapons. Link started to yell orders.
"Keep them as far from us as possible! If you can stop them without killing them, do so, but don't risk our lives if you can help it!" Link looked over his shoulder at Sheik. "Do you think if we can kill Nabooru the spell will be lifted?"
"It's very likely," said Sheik uncertainly. "I've never heard of this type of magic before."
"I'll get her then!" replied Malon. She turned to the throne and fired off an arrow at the Gerudo. Nabooru just lifted up her hand and stopped it with a ball of light, a wicked smile on her face. There wasn't any more time for another shot as the first guards made it to them.
Sheik and Collin threw out knives and throwing needles, catching several of the guards in unprotected regions, dropping them to the ground and hindering the movement of the people behind them.
Mikau let loose each of his boomerangs, one after another. They each found a different target, incapacitating them and returning to him in turn. As each weapon returned he deftly threw it back out into the crowd, preparing for the next weapon to return.
Ruto held each of her boomerangs and Sheik felt magic gather in them. With a cry she threw the weapons, each one flying straight through a gathering of guards and freezing all them passed. They ended their flight by embedding in the walls, freezing the sections they were in.
Malon had to rush to get back into formation after her failed attempt at Nabooru's life. She barely managed an arrow into the neck of a guard who was charging right at her. He fell, gurgling as blood choked his throat and his life left him. The ranch girl stared stunned by the horror of her first human kill. It was only the imminent threat of death posed by more guards that distracted her from focusing on what it really meant to kill someone as she notched another arrow into her bow.
Prince Link moved forward to greet the guards, wielding only the Master Sword. With stunning ability, ferocity and strength he chopped down soldier after soldier as if blessed by the Goddesses to never fail.
When the rest of the guards got too close for ranged combat, Mikao handed off his boomerangs to Ruto who threw all three in turn, freezing more rows of soldiers. Mikau pulled out his guitar and swung it. It cleaved threw a guard's unprotected wrist, disarming him. Sheik realized that his guitar also functioned as a deadly sword. With her boomerangs depleted, Ruto took out her sword and moved into a defensive position around Malon, who was still firing arrows with no other way to protect herself.
Collin pulled out his short sword and made his way towards the Prince, intending to protect his lord. Sheik on the other hand had a different idea. Casting one last look at his friends, he concentrated and pulled the magic into him. In a blink of an eye he had teleported across the room and right next to the throne. The act had depleted a lot of his magic but he ignored that fact for the enemy in front of him. Sheik struck out with his short sword, but Nabooru managed to react in time, blocking with one of the curved scimitars famous in the dessert.
"So you're a magic user," said Nabooru, quickly studying Sheik. She swung with her blade and Sheik dodged to the side. "A pretty powerful one too it seems. But sadly, no matter how much talent you have you will never be stronger than me!"
"We'll see about that," replied Sheik. He feinted with a sword strike but rolled out of the way, knocking Nabooru off balance. She moved into a defensive position, expecting Sheik to move in for the kill with a sword, but underestimated the Sheikah warrior's arsenal. His whip shot out, the sharp point catching Nabooru in the side. She staggered at the blow and now Sheik did move in for the kill with his sword. Sadly Sheik had forgotten about the King. His warning sense went off and he barely managed to get out of the way as a broad sword caused sparks as it impacted the stone where he had just been standing. With his whip still in hand, the sudden movements yanked the point out of Nanooru's side, causing her to yell out in pain.
Sheik rushed back to his feet and saw Nabooru gripping her side, anger etched all over her face.
"How dare you!" she yelled. "You puny insect! Injuring me like so this! I will crush you all!" The Gerudo woman held up her hands and Sheik saw all of the darkness from the guards returning to her, along with their natural auras. Men fell down dead in droves as their life energy was stolen from them. Sheik heard a clanging noise and saw that the King had dropped his sword and was collapsed on his knees, holding his chest. Finally the strain was too much for him, and the last of his aura fled, leaving his lifeless corpse to collapse to the ground. With his magical sight, Sheik saw the dark energy try to steal Collin and Mikau's auras too, but a viridian light protected them from its clutches.
"Come on out my servants!" yelled Nabooru. "It's time to end this charade and claim what is mine!"
Six dark portals opened up on the wall behind Nabooru. The dark energy generated by their creation flung Sheik across the room and he landed on top of a guard's corpse next to Malon. Sheik felt the air chill and light and color flee from the room as several figure emerged. Two old women flew in on broom sticks, identical except for the red and blue gems on each of their respective foreheads. Next burst out a large fiery dragon, roaring furiously. Then came a boney, armor wearing phantasm riding a skeletal horse and wielding a staff with claws at each end. A large mass of water rushed into the room, a pulsating reddish-orange blob at it is core. Finally came the largest of all of the horrors, two disembodied hands floating around a main body that consisted of a large mass of flesh and a single giant yellow eye ball on the end of a fleshy stalk sticking out horizontally from the mass. A dark purple aura surrounded it and Sheik realized it was cloaking itself from normal sight.
Nabooru moved backwards, gathering the energy into herself. The energy started to pulsate and her body started to shift, sections of it melting as if made of hot wax. She was going through some type of transformation, but it seemed to be long and laborious, unlike when he shifted between Zelda and Sheik.
"Kill them!" yelled Nabooru, her voice sounding simultaneously like that of a man's and a woman's.
The witches fused together into an elegant Gerudo woman holding the broomsticks it her hands, the end of one covered in flame and the other sucking the very warmth out of the air. She gave a youthful giggle as she stared at the people in front of her.
"Well, well," she said. Her gaze settled on Collin. "You're back for more eh? This time I will make sure to burn your flesh and freeze you to your very soul!"
"Just try it you old hags!" yelled Collin defiantly.
"Don't you dare call me that!" yelled the witch. "I am Twinrova! The beautiful combination of the youthful Koume and Kotake! At only four hundred years old we'll show you who the hag is! Volvagia, burn them to ash! Morphia, drown the fools in tears of regret! Bongo Bongo, crush them into powder! Phantom, obliterate them to their very souls!"
Sheik rushed to his feet, preparing to fight. Everyone else in the group did the same, except for Malon, who was just staring blankly at all of the corpses around them, traumatized by all of the senseless murder within just the span of a few minutes. Sheik wanted to comfort her, but with the monsters moving towards them he didn't have the luxury to do so.
"We'll have to do a one for one then it seems," said Link grimly, sizing up the enemies and their group. On his face Sheik saw an expression of such great hatred and anger that he almost forgot who he was looking at. The Prince's knuckles were white as he tightly griped his sword. "I don't care what everyone else wants to do, but the dragon is mine."
"Link," said Ruto. "You don't have to…"
"Yes I do!" snapped the Prince. "They're my friend! I can tell that it's our Volvagia in there! Now there's no more time to talk!"
Chapter 6: Ganondorf Strikes
Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda or any of the games or characters in the Franchise.
Chapter 6: Ganondorf Strikes
The enemy was upon them and soon they were all fighting for their lives. Sheik went straight towards the shadow monster, Bongo Bongo he guessed. He knew no one else could see the thing, so it was up to him to deal with it. He threw some knives at one of the beast's hands, stunning it. Unfortunately he wasn't quick enough to do the same with the other one and it came crashing down vertically towards him. He managed to roll to the side, getting pelted by bits of stone smashed by the force of the blow. Sheik threw more knives at that hand, stunning it, but the first had recovered and Sheik found himself leaping as high as he could over it as it moved in a straight line at him. He soon found himself stuck in a pattern, only able to stun one hand before the other threatened to crush him, slowly chipping away at his stamina. The Sheikah warrior was also worried about the dwindling number of throwing knives and needles he had left in his pouches.
This is really bad, he thought to himself. I'm barely managing to keep alive here. I might just have to hope that the others win their fights and can help me at this rate. I hope everyone else is doing ok. Malon, please stay safe…
Ruto rolled to the side as another deluge of water crashed down where she had been. She didn't doubt that Morphia's water had enough strength to crush even a Zora in its grasp. She was skilled with magic, but she had exhausted almost all of her reserves with the boomerangs earlier. It was very unlikely she could freeze the water blob and still have the strength to kill it.
She saw her companions fighting all around her. Sheik was dodging some shadowy smoke thing that seemed to be causing portions of the room to explode. Mikau was barely managing to dodge electrical blasts shot at him by the Phantom that was flying high in the air on its horse. Collin had engaged Twinrova and was having to deal with both blasts of fire and ice leveled at him. Link was the one she was most worried about though. He had engaged the dragon Volvagia, but not in combat. He was instead trying to speak to the dragon. He had sheathed the Master Sword and was trying to convince the dragon he believed to be a corruption of their old friend that they shouldn't fight. The dragon didn't seem to be listening though and kept attempting to burn the Prince to ash with its fire.
No, scratch that, thought Ruto. Link can take care of himself, they all can. Who I'm most worried about is Malon. She dodged another torrent of water from Morphia and saw the ranch girl still standing in the same spot that she had been since all of the fight had broken out. She had her bow hanging limply at her side as she just stared blankly around the room. Up by the throne Nabooru was still undergoing some type of transformation, but Ruto worried what would happen when she was done. They needed to even the odds quickly, and Malon was their best bet.
Ruto had never exactly been the most diplomatic person, she usually left that to Link, but she hoped her usual brand of tough love was enough. She feinted to the right, and Morphia took the bait, moving to crush her. While it blasted towards where its simple mind thought she was going to be, she was already heading in the opposite direction towards Malon.
"Hey!" she yelled to the ranch girl, drawing the vacant gaze towards her. Annoyed by the lack of response, Ruto kept running towards the young woman. She cocked back her fist, and lashed out and punched Malon hard in the stomach, doubling her over and causing her to grasp for air. Just getting a response was a bit satisfying, but she knew it would take more than that. She stood over the other woman, looking down at her.
"Stop standing around and staring!" she yelled. "Everyone here, your friends and your lord are risking their lives in this fight! You swore to protect everyone here, was that all a lie? Yes people are dying, and it's sad, but this is something you asked for! We would all risk our lives to help you, can you do the same? If you really want to be of use like you were saying, then get up and fight you coward!"
The rest of Ruto's ranting was cut short as a watery tentacle wrapped around her, constricting her and lifting her into the air. She couldn't even scream due to the lack of air in her lungs. She felt her vision going black around the edges.
Is this the end? she wondered. I wish I could have at least gotten to marry Link first…
Suddenly, the air around her grew hot and she heard a mouthless scream as Morphia's watery form evaporated. She fell hard on the stone floor. She saw Malon on her knees, her bow in hand and a determined expression on her face. Turning around Ruto saw Morphia's core flopping around on the ground helplessly as it tried to reconstitute its body.
Standing up Ruto just calmly aimed her hook shot at the blob. The metal point pierced Morphia's core and brought it back, screaming, towards Ruto. She pulled out her rapier and when the blob was right in front of her, stabbed it, putting a small surge of magic into the attack. Morphia's core froze immediately and then shattered into icy shards.
Ruto let out a deep breath as a wave of fatigue hit her from the use of magic. Malon rushed up to her side, a determined expression on her face, the red gem on her glove flashing several times and then dimming back to normal.
"Are you ok?" asked Malon.
"I've been better," replied Ruto. "But I've also been worse. Now if you're done being depressed, let's go help everyone else."
"Stop dodging you little maggot!" yelled Twinrova, firing off another fireball. Collin leapt to the left and into a roll, carrying him past the place he would have landed otherwise. A blast of cold froze the spot he was supposed to have been, and Twinrova gave off another cry of frustration.
While Collin was enjoying frustrating the old hags, he was starting to get tired. She was getting craftier and craftier in her attacks instead of sloppier. He threw out a few knives but she stopped them with a fireball before they touched her. He decided to switch back to the only weapon he had that was having visible effect.
"Honestly, is that all you've got you old hags?" he taunted. "I'm embarrassed to know that you beat me once before. I guess I was just being sloppy. On form, there's no way you can even keep up with my youthful energy."
"Youthful energy!" shrieked Twinrova angrily. "We are the second in command to the new ruler of this world! You WILL fear and respect our power!" She fired another blast of air and feinting to the left again he instead back flipped away, leading to both of the next strikes fizzling.
Collin saw Princess Ruto and Sheik's girlfriend circling around outside of Twinrova's line of sight. They moved to either side of her and held up their hookshot and bow respectively. He threw out several more knives, two waves, one with his right hand and the other with his left. Used to their pattern already, Twinrova used a fireball on the first group of knives and blocked the second with a wall of ice. She had a wicked smile on her face, which made it all more satisfying when it changed to one of surprise when an arrow and a hook buried themselves in her back. A second arrow followed right after, this one piercing her neck. The fused Twinrova was much heavier than Princess Ruto and when her weapon retracted she was brought towards the witch, her rapier point piercing Twinrova's heart. With a strangled scream, Twinrova collapsed to the ground dead. Ruto pulled her sword out and wiped it clean on the witch's robes.
"Hey," said Ruto, looking at Collin. "Can you see that thing that Sheik is fighting?"
He looked over to see his fellow warrior dodging invisible blows from some shadow creature. He activated the magical sight spell taught to all Sheikah warriors and was able to make out the grotesque features of Bongo Bongo.
"Unfortunately, yes, I can," replied Collin.
"Good, you go help him then," Ruto looked at Malon. "Could you go and help Mikau with that Phantom then?"
Malon just nodded affirmative, her expression serious and grim.
"Then let's get this done quickly!" said Ruto. "I'll be helping Link. If you finish, go help each other first. Now let's go!" Ruto ran off not towards her fiancé and the dragon, but towards one of the walls of the hall. Collin guessed that she had a plan and went of directly to help Sheik. He hoped he was able to be of assistance against the hulking monstrosity.
He saved me from my greatest failure, I hope I can save him now, with my life if necessary…
Well this is annoying, thought Mikau, dodging another bolt of magic. Maybe if I had a ranged weapon I could do something, otherwise I'm just wasting time until I die. Damn, I need to finish this up somehow and go help the Princess.
Mikau mentally tallied the resources he had at his disposal to use against the Phantom. He had his guitar, which could cut and function just like a sword or a shield. The Zora warrior also had some magic that was innate in his family, the ability to create an electrical shield around himself. And that was it, not counting his skill in martial arts. When they had left Zora's Domain they had traveled lightly, not expecting to fight. He had insisted to Princess Ruto that she allow him to bring more gear or guards, but she had refused, citing that it would be harder to get into Castle Town unnoticed if they were armed to the teeth. Mikau hated being right because it usually meant that they needed to resort to fighting.
Another energy blast flew down at him and struck right where his foot had been, blasting away the ground underneath. Small chips of stone flew and hit his tough, blue scales, not slowing him down at all. The problem was that the blasts seemed to be getting closer and closer, and Mikau wondered if it was because he was slowing down or the Phantom was somehow speeding up. Mikau found the second reason much more worrying because it could mean that the Phantom was just playing with him, waiting to finish him off.
I need to change the pace of this battle into one that favors me, thought Mikau. His mind raced as he tried to figure out how to do so. He saw the Phantom flying above him, smirking down at him. Energy crackled around the Phantom's staff and Mikau had an idea. Hoping it would work, he planted his feet firmly on the ground and stared up defiantly at the Phantom on his horse. The Phantom pitched the ball of energy at the Zora warrior, but he was ready this time.
"Yaa!" yelled Mikau, surprising the Phantom. He swung his guitar and batted the energy ball right back at the Phantom. The Phantom dodged to the side, obviously surprised at what he had done. He silently charged up another ball and sent it down. Mikau responded the same way, determined to fall fighting instead of running. He knocked the ball once again back at the Phantom.
Instead of dodging this time though, the Phantom gave another smirk and hit the ball with his staff, sending it speeding back down at Mikau. The Zora warrior swung again, knocking the ball away from him. The Phantom hit the ball once again, increasing its speed. Mikau retaliated once more. Their little game kept up for several more hits, Mikau feeling his arms and shoulders ache at the effort it took to keep up with the speeding ball of energy.
This might be even worse, he thought grimly, striking the ball once more. The Phantom knocked it back down at him, and determined to end the game, Mikau returned it with all the power he had left. It was a surprise to his weary mind them when a flaming arrow came from behind the Phantom. The arrow struck the Phantom's stead, burning the skeletal horse to ashes. With the surprise loss of his horse, the Phantom was unprepared for the energy ball. It hit him, his own cracking energy ripping apart his defenses. He crashed to the floor of the throne room with a loud bang of metal armor on stone.
It was with satisfaction as Mikau looked down at the kneeling Phantom as the monster looked back up at him. With a smile, the Zora warrior swung down with all of his might, his guitar cleaving through the Phantoms neck and sending its head rolling across the throne room. Both halves of the monster started to burn and disappear in a strange purple fire as the Phantom returned to where it had been summoned from.
Mikau looked over to where the arrow had come from and saw the ranch girl kneeling on the ground, her bow in one hand as she gasped for breath from overuse of magic.
Maybe she isn't useless after all, thought Mikau. He looked around until he saw Princess Ruto facing down the dragon. He started to run over to her. Now time to resume my duty of protecting the Princess.
"Volvagia! Stop this!" yelled Link, dodging yet another blast of fire from the dragon. "I'm your friend! It's me! Link! I don't want to fight you!"
The dragon didn't seem to be listening though. Instead it charged down at him, trying to pierce him with its sharp claws. Link leapt over the strike and saw as Volvagia's claws ripped furrows into the stone floor of the throne room. He had been pleading and begging with the dragon throughout the fight, but it hadn't yet responded back except by trying to kill him.
I know that this is Volvagia, thought Link grimly. Even corrupted I can tell that this is my friend.
As a young boy, Link had once snuck out of the castle on a cloudy day while his father had been preparing to host a meeting with a delegation traveling from the Zora's Domain. It had started to rain and the young Prince had sought shelter in a cave. Inside he had found a small dragon, shivering in the cold. After getting over his shock at seeing one of the rare creatures, Link had attempted to coax the dragon to him. Eventually after offering it some food, the dragon had decided he wasn't a threat. He had lent his warmth to the dragon, helping it through the storm. He had needed to head back to the castle though, but he had left a blanket he had had in his bag and promised to return with food.
He had gotten sick running back to the castle through the rain, but hadn't let that stop him when he headed out the next day. While sneaking out though he had been seen by a young zora girl, Princess Ruto. After bragging that he was going to go meet a dragon, she had followed after him to meet the dragon together. Link had then named the dragon Volvagia, after an ancient dragon of legend. Volvagia had stolen Ruto's precious necklace, and after climbing a tree to get it back he had fallen into the river below. Ruto had saved him from the fast moving waters, and together they had made it back to land. Volvagia had then revealed two things to them, one was that it had the ability of limited speech and the other that it could heal with its fire.
The three had become fast friends after that, and spent many days together. Eventually though Volvagia had left without saying a word and the young Prince had been devastated. Ruto had helped comfort him and that had actually been the moment he had realized just how much he loved her. Volvagia was forever in his mind as the reason he was now about to marry Ruto, and he wasn't about to repay the favor by not giving his friend a chance.
"Please! Volvagia! Listen to me!" cried Link in desperation. "Something's corrupting you! Let me help you!"
The dragon seemed to hesitate for a moment, but then breathed another torrent of fire at the Prince. He barely managed to dodge to the side, his clothes slightly singed.
"Link!" yelled a familiar voice. He turned and saw Ruto gaping at him from a distance away, a boomerang in her hand. "You need to use the Master Sword and kill it!"
"I can't!" he yelled back. "It's my friend!"
"It could be any dragon!"
"It's Volvagia, I can sense it!" he replied. He guessed that Ruto also knew without a doubt that it was their friend, but she cared more about his life than the dragon's, no matter how dear of a friend. He didn't blame her for prioritizing like that, he would do the same if she was in danger. But it wasn't something he could do for himself. His life was worth the risk if he could just save his friend.
Volvagia rose back into the air and started to circle above him. It glared down at him and opened its mouth. Instead of fire though, came a voice.
"Li-nk…Ru-to…," rasped Volvagia. "Ki-ll…me…"
Link felt tears in his eyes as he heard his friend speak. He knew now with certainty that this was Volvagia. The dragon roared once more, all vestiges of its old self gone. It started to swoop down at Link, its eyes savage with killing intent. The Prince just sadly drew his sword, preparing to honor his friend's wish. Volvagia took a deep breath as it prepared to breathe another torrent of fire. It was cut off though when a boomerang came zipping through the air and flew into the dragon's mouth. The weapon discharged the ice magic that had been stored into it, cutting the fire off and freezing the monster's mouth shut, at least temporarily. The dragon kept flying towards him though, and right when it was about to strike Link rolled under it and leapt up, cleaving off its head.
Both chunks of the dragon fell to the floor with loud thuds, each one ripping Link's heart to pieces. He stared right into Volvagia's eyes as with its last remaining life control was returned to the dragon. Familiar eyes that betrayed a gentleness that seemed at odds with the monstrous figure it now held.
"Th-ank y-ou…" whispered Volvagia, the light leaving its eyes as soon as the words were out. Link wanted to just fall down right there and cry, but fighting back the tears he looked around and saw Ruto collapsed on the ground, having overused her magic. He rushed over to her, and saw Mikau doing the same as the Phantom the Zora had been fighting burned away to nothing.
"Are you ok?" Link asked his fiancée, crouching down next to her. Ruto looked at him, her blue skin pale from lack of energy and exhaustion.
"It's just a little tiredness, I'll be better in a minute," she replied. She looked right into his eyes and returned his concern. "Are you ok?"
"No, I'm not," he admitted, tears streaking down his face. "But I will be as soon as I get Nabooru to tell me what she did to my friend."
Sheik dodged yet another crushing blow from Bongo Bongo. The Sheikah warrior was panting heavily now from the constant movement. Sliding his hand into his weapon pouch he realized that he only had two throwing needles left. Another giant hand started to move towards him and he disabled it momentarily with a magic enhanced needle, already preparing to dodge the second hand.
Well, this is it, he thought sadly. I hope I've managed to buy enough time for everyone else. Maybe my sacrifice against this monster won't be meaningless.
As he thought that though, a knife came shooting past, disabling the second hand. Bongo Bongo gave a mouthless scream as its main body crashed to the ground and looked for the offenders who had injured it. Sheik saw Collin, darting around to his right. He threw another knife at the first hand, keeping it stunned. Bongo Bongo didn't like this and charged at the first thing it saw, Sheik. Reacting on training and instinct, Sheik pulled out his whip and pumped a large portion of his remaining magical power into it. The Sheikah warrior then lashed out with the whip, the tip piercing straight through the giant shadow monster's grotesque eye. The magic in the whip was released and the monster exploded into bloody chunks, showering the whole throne room in gore.
"Sweet Goddesses…" muttered Collin. "Remind me to never piss you off. I'm not even sure you needed my help there."
"It was moving too fast for me to knock out both hands. If you hadn't assisted me I would be dead, so thank you," replied Sheik. He started to look around the throne room. "How's everyone else?"
"I think that might be it," responded Collin. Sheik saw Link and Ruto near the dragon's corpse, talking to each other it seemed. Mikau was running over and joined the royal couple. Sheik saw Malon walking slowly over to him and Collin, her bow held limply in her grasp. None of the monsters seemed to be moving, and Sheik realized that when he had mustered all of the energy for his strike he had accidentally turned off his magic sight. He turned it on once again and confirmed that all of the monsters and their auras were gone. Still, it seemed like they were forgetting something…
"Yaaaaa!" came a loud cry. It was the deep booming voice of an angry man, one that Sheik didn't recognize. He looked up and saw a brilliant and massive blood red aura surrounding the throne where Nabooru had last been. There now stood a large dark skinned man with fiery red hairy wearing black armor, a sword belted at his waist. A blast of energy shot from his hand right at the two Sheikah warriors before anyone could react. Still exhausted Sheik could only watch in horror as the blast stuck Collin, vaporizing him and throwing Sheik across the room where he landed in a heap.
"No…" he moaned in pain. Looking up he saw the spot where Collin had just been moments before, the ground now pitted and scarred from the attack.
"One little pest down!" boomed the man. "That's what he gets for betraying my services."
"Who are you?!" shouted the Prince, drawing his sword and glaring at the man. Mikau moved into a defensive position in front of an exhausted Princess Ruto. "Where's Nabooru?"
"Nabooru was just a disguise, a pretense to hide my true self! I am Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo tribes and soon to be leader of this whole land! This stupid king never expected a woman to be tricking him, manipulating him. It was the perfect disguise in a court ruled by pompous men."
"Don't talk about my father like that!" yelled Link.
"Why not? It's just the truth. He thought men were so superior to women, and it meant he underestimated them. I on the other hand was raised by women, and knew just how to use their strengths to my advantage. Honestly, I did you a favor. You were never a fan of any of his policies from what I heard and saw. You should be thanking me."
"I'll never hand Hyrule over to a murderer like you," growled Link, tightening the grip on his sword. Sheik tried to get up but found that his legs hand been severely injured in the blast. Blood dripped from multiple cuts all along the front of his now torn Sehikah outfit. He focused on healing his wounds, hoping he could make it in time to assist the Prince.
"Ha! You don't have a choice. I am well versed in the ancient arts and can harness a power that you can't even begin to imagine." Ganondorf lifted up his right hand and a golden triangle symbol glowed along the back of it. Sheik recognized it in horror as the Triforce, the symbol of the Goddesses. The top triangle of the symbol, the one representing Din, the Goddess of Power, shone the brightest. "I have obtained the Triforce of Power! All of Din's power is now mine! And when I kill you, I will obtain the Triforce of Courage that was gifted to you without your knowledge."
Link charged towards the throne, the Master Sword drawn in his hand. Ganondorf lifted up his hand again and fired off another ball of energy. Instead of heading for Link though, it zoomed right past him. The Prince watched in horror as the ball headed right for Ruto. Mikau rushed in front of her though and holding out his hands summoned up a magical blue shield. The energy blast hit the shield and tore right through it, striking the Zora warrior in the arm. He gave out a scream of pain as he collapsed to the ground, energy still cracking around him.
"No!" yelled Ruto, looking on at horror at her dear friend. The Prince turned back towards Ganondorf and with a feral roar rushed up the steps at him. Ganondorf casually pulled out his sword and blocked Link's first strike, smirking at him.
"You're going to have to try harder than that!" With a cry of exertion the larger man forced Link back, knocking him down and sending the Master Sword clattering a few feet away. Ganondorf walked slowly over, brandishing his sword at the fallen prince. "Once I take the Triforce of Courage from you, I can then spend my time hunting down the owner of the Trifoce of Wisdom. If they die when I'm not around to claim it, then it'll reincarnate and I'll have to find it all over again. That's why I couldn't just kill you to get you out of my way."
Sheik watched in horror as Ganondorf brought his sword down on Link. With surprising skill and strength, Link leapt up off of his back and caught the blade between his hands. Ganondorf stared surprised as the back of the Princes hand also glowed, this time illuminating the triangle representing Farore the Goddess of courage. The Prince was somehow now able to hold back the larger man, and they stood at an impasse.
Come on! thought Sheik, trying to gather the last bits of energy in his body. I need to do something!
Suddenly he felt energy flooding his body. Looking down he saw his right hand glowing, the golden triangle of Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom visible through his glove. Yes! thought Sheik triumphantly. He didn't even stop to marvel at his good fortune, he just rushed into action. Sheik used a small portion of his new energy to heal his wounds as quickly as possible. While that was happening he gathered up another portion of the energy and teleported right behind Ganondorf. He pulled out his short sword and struck at the surprised King of the Gerudo.
Fast for his size, Ganondorf managed to let go of his sword and jump to the side, Sheik's attack only cutting through the man's cape. Sheik followed up his attack by throwing his last throwing needle, infusing it with some magic. Ganondorf struck it aside with the back of his fist, his hand glowing with magical energy.
"How dare you!" screamed the King of the Gerudo. He swiped the air in front of him and a dark wave of energy blasted out, pushing back anything in front of him. Sheik rolled to the right while Link abandoned Ganondorf's sword and rolled to the left, picking up the Master sword as he rolled to his feet. Holding out his open hand Ganondorf cast another spell and his sword returned to his grasp. "I will kill you both and take your power for myself!"
"You're the one who's going to lose," said Link, staring down the larger man. "You'll pay for all of the people you killed today, and especially for killing my father and my friend Volvagia!"
"Oh, so you knew the dragon did you?" smirked Ganondorf, regaining some of his composure. "Interesting little thing. I found it in a cave while traveling across Hyrule field a few years ago. It intrigued me so I captured it and brought it back to the witches, Koume and Kotake, to turn into my pet. Brainwashing was their specialty you know. Too bad your friends killed them, they were my only real family."
Ganondorf didn't seemed too torn up by the loss of the two witches, a smirk on his face. The Prince on the other hand had had all he could stand of the larger man's taunting and charged at him with a battle cry. The hall was filled with the sounds of clashing metal as their two blades collided. Ganondorf was stronger though and knocked the Prince back. Sheik moved forward and with magic enhanced strength and speed took the Prince's spot fighting the man.
Sheik's short sword wasn't a very good match-up against Ganondorf's broad sword, which he managed to wield with one hand. Each blow that rained down felt like it was going to crush him. Knowing he was outmatched in a sword fight, Sheik switched strategies. He pivoted on one foot a lashed out with a magic enhanced kick, knocking the Gerudo into the back wall of the throne room. Link rushed past Sheik and stabbed with his sword at the stunned Ganondorf. The master sword went right through the man's breast plate. The King of the Gerudo's gave a gasp and blood flew from his mouth onto Link's face. The Prince removed his sword, letting Ganondorf's body drop to the ground.
"There, it's finished," sighed Link, exhausted. Sheik was about to agree with him when he suddenly felt a surge of magic from Ganondorf's body. They were both pushed back as the body floated into the air and dark energies wrapped around it. Ganondorf's eyes glowed and he gave a savage cry as his body morphed into that of a monster.
His features turned inhuman, more like those of a giant boar. His sword morphed into two giant cleavers that were gripped in each of his now monstrous hands. He stood on hind legs that were now more beast than human, hoofs where feet had once been. The whole thing was black and seemed to be cloaked in a constant twilight, shadows obscuring its features and making it seem even more monstrous. The thing that used to be Ganondorf let out an inhuman cry and stomped towards them.
"Well, this is bad," deadpanned Link, gripping his sword. Sheik also took a fighting stance, mentally running through all of his spells in the hope that there was one to defeat this new monster.
The beast lifted up its blade, preparing to strike. Before it could though, a metal object pieced its arm. Sheik realized that it was a hookshot tip, and when the chain started to retract the monsters hand was dragged with it, stopping it from striking. Sheik glanced over and saw Ruto and Mikau, both holding onto the hookshot and trying to keep the monster's weapon in place. Ganondorf brought his other sword up, probably to cut the chain, but was surprised when a golden arrow struck his chest, stunning him with its holy light. Sheik and Link were already moving as Malon collapsed to the ground from lack of energy, the green crystal on her glove pulsating from use. Link struck out with the Master Sword, cutting Ganondorf open from his belly to his neck. Sheik gathered up all of the magic he could muster as he could feel the dark power of Ganondorf trying to fight back.
"Take this!" yelled Sheik, thrusting his hands towards the beast. Light shot out of his hands and struck the inside of Ganondorf's stomach. Unsure of the perfect spell to use, Sheik had instead decided on a fast and simple one. He cast the same purifying spell he had used on Collin earlier in the day, just several times stronger. The darkness inside of Ganondorf tried to fight him, but it eventually started to yield to his spell. He opened his mouth as if to scream in pain, but no sound came out. So suffused in darkness and evil was Ganondorf that as the darkness inside of him was dispelled, his body disintegrated with it.
Sheik watched as the monster's form turned to dust, dispersing into the throne room as multi-colored beams of light shone into the room, freed suddenly from the mysterious cloud cover. In the place Ganondorf had been, there only remained a floating golden triangle, a piece of the Triforce freed from its evil owner. Red energy gathered around the Golden Triangle before it shot off into the sky, passing through the ceiling as if an intangible ghost.
Sheik felt relief flood him, and he collapsed to his knees, completely drained of energy. His body felt strange, unfamiliar to what it had felt like just moments before. He had never been this tired before. Next to him Prince Link was giving a sigh of relief, sheathing his sword. Further away in the throne room he glimpsed Mikau falling flat on his face, the bloody stump that used to be his left arm bleeding all over the stone floor. Ruto just knelt next to him on the floor, staring blankly up at where Sheik and Link stood.
Suddenly Sheik's vision started to disappear, steadily going black around the edges. He tried to shake his head to clear it, but the darkness just sped up, claiming his sight. He could hardly feel his body anymore, the strength and awareness he usually took for granted fled from him. His vision quickly finished disappearing and he felt a strange, numb pain. There was a noise buzzing in his ears and he vaguely thought he heard someone calling his name as consciousness fled from him and he passed fully into the darkness.
Chapter 7: A Woman Named Zelda
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.