AUTHOR'S NOTE: It's finally here! The last chapter! Thank you so much for supporting me the whole time and carrying me across the finish line! This chapter was hard to write, because I really wanted to get it right, and hopefully it is satisfying for y'all. Also, even though he probably won't see this, I'd like to dedicate this story to my awesome husband, whose made my life richer and fuller in ways I'd never imagined.
Today was the day. Today, the King and Queen would return to Hyrule Castle as its rulers for the first time since their wedding day.
Link perched on a rusty crag overlooking Foothill Stable as he waited for the sun to rise, his restless energy not allowing him to return to bed. He looked out over the peaceful stable, and beyond at Trilby Valley, its red earth carpeted with rich green grass fed a fertile diet of volcanic ash.
The original plan had been to return from Goron City all the way to the castle in one day. When Link had awoken the previous morning in Goron City, the ache he felt in his bones told him that might not be a good idea. Everyone was tired and worn out, and Zelda's feet were in an especially bad way, so after some discussion with Barta and Zelda, they decided to take a day to return to Foothill Stable, then take the entire next day to reach the castle. That meant that Link awoke the morning of the last day of their journey with a nervous energy, but no actual reason for urgency.
In the desert, the sunless temperature plunged to frigid depths each night, often catching the inexperienced traveler unawares. But here, this close to the fiery Death Mountain, temperatures remained high even now, hours before the sun would be fully-visible overhead. A hardy, persistent breeze managed to thread the needle of the Akkala Span to reach Link from the cooler east, and he turned from Trilby Valley to Fort Akkala. The imposing, still-abandoned fortress loomed over Link, and its heights would still block the sun hours after dawn.
Link had vague memories of Fort Akkala. He had only been there once or twice since his knighthood, occupied as he was with his role as Zelda's appointed knight. Link had always been a single-minded boy, and while he had technically been part of King Rhoam's armed forces, his duties as Zelda's Champion had always been his primary focus. He liked it that way. Link liked to be thorough, to do a single, well-defined task to the best of his abilities. This same single-mindedness had served him well in his quest to rescue Zelda. When Link had awoken from his slumber, the kingdom had been in shambles. Everywhere he turned, there was another desperate Hylian in need of assistance, another problem that needed fixing. He could not possibly have fixed everything and rescued Zelda at the same time, and so he'd put his blinders on and only done those things that would aid him in his quest to release Zelda from her prison and destroy Calamity Ganon.
Now, Link was the commander of Hyrule's essentially non-existent armed forces. Some time soon he'd need to expand Hyrule's army beyond the royal guard, and eventually he might even need to restore Fort Akkala—polishing the rust from its canons, manning its walls, and rebuilding its bridges and gates. He no longer had one task he could attempt to do as perfectly and completely as possible. Now this entire land was his responsibility, and every concern, both great and small, was his responsibility. It was still not possible to do everything, but now he needed to collect the myriad needs of the citizens of Hyrule, measure their urgency, prioritize their completion, and execute on as many solutions as possible. There were no obvious answers, no chance of ever being truly "done," and no way of knowing for certain how good a job he was doing.
Link sighed and shook his head ruefully. He'd wanted to distract himself from his anxiety towards returning to the castle with Zelda, but in the end he'd just replaced that anxiety with a different one. Still, he told himself as the first rays of sunlight managed to peek their way over the looming Fort Akkala, at least he'd managed to pass the time. The rest of the party should be awake by now, and they'd be heading out soon.
Zelda's voice floated up to him from the ruddy ledge below his perch. He looked down and saw her in her travelling dress and boots, clearly already dressed to go.
"Thank goodness I've found you! We've been looking for you everywhere!" she said.
Link hopped down from the ledge, landing a little harder than he'd thought he would, but recovering reasonably gracefully next to her.
"Sorry. I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep."
"No matter!" Zelda said briskly, "We've prepped for departure, and everything is ready."
Link nodded, then moved to pass by Zelda and continue on to the stable. Zelda's hesitant voice stopped him in his tracks.
"...You… You aren't worried about anything, are you?"
Link turned to face Zelda, and immediately read the stress in her features. He sent her a reassuring smile.
"There's a lot to figure out once we get back, but I'm not worried," he said.
It wasn't entirely true, but looking at Zelda, he started to believe it himself.
The journey back to the castle passed fairly uneventfully. Link had always enjoyed the Ternio Trail, a narrow path that straddled the vastly different environments of Zorana and the foothills of Death Mountain, but little marked the journey beyond some appreciation of the scenery. Link continued on in general tranquility until the party crested the Crenel Hills, and Hyrule Castle suddenly appeared large and close in Link's vision, setting a crowd of cold darners aflutter in Link's stomach.
A mere two hours later, the King and Queen of Hyrule were formally welcomed back to the castle, their horses stabled, their guards dispersed, and their travelling bags taken back to their rooms. Servants hovered about, seeing to their needs, and Zelda gracefully directed them like a sun guiding its orbiting bodies. Link on the other hand resembled an unruly asteroid belt, unable to move in the predictable ways that would allow the servants to perform their tasks swiftly and efficiently. Although he could not quite remember how, eventually Link found himself fed, bathed and cleaned. He was in the royal chambers, falling back onto the bed and feeling more tired than he had after the hike up Death Mountain.
Link propped himself up on his elbows at that emphatic sound of disgust, and saw Zelda staring at him, eyes wide with shock. She had changed into her white prayer dress, and her overpowering beauty was only slightly diminished by the cartoonish look of horror on her face.
"Link! You can't get in bed still wearing your dirty, grimy clothes! Take a bath before you roll around in our sheets, please."
Link stood and immediately peeled off his tunic, much to Zelda's distress. She flushed and turned away, trying and failing to hide her embarrassment.
Laughing, Link said, "I've already bathed and changed clothes."
Zelda turned back to him, arms crossed over her chest.
"Well how was I supposed to know that? You're wearing the same thing you were wearing when we arrived!"
Her face, all flushed with false anger and injured pride, was terribly cute. He had never dared tease her before the Calamity, so this dynamic in their relationship was new and amusing. He had a sneaking suspicion he would enjoy getting a rise out of her for years to come. Still, considering this was their first night back in the castle together, Link would rather she feel comfortable and relaxed than flustered and embarrassed. He pulled his shirt back on and moved over to her, placing a placating hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry for teasing you, Zelda. The servant told me they made a few reproductions of the tunic, since it's more or less my uniform now," he said soothingly.
She resisted for a time, but after a few more apologies and earnest arm strokes, she relented.
"Fine, I forgive you" Zelda said, turning into him and resting her head on his chest.
Link grinned at her royal pardon, then looped both arms loosely around her waist and rested his chin on her head, enjoying the way she fit against him.
"Do we have anything else to do today?" he murmured into Zelda's hair.
On the trail he had always been in the know about their itinerary, but back at the castle, he thought of Zelda as the Keeper of the Schedule.
"No," she said into his shirt. "Impa was saying that they wanted to have a big welcome feast tonight, but she insisted we have the evening to rest. They pushed the feast back to tomorrow."
Link tightened his arms around Zelda ever-so-slightly.
"I'm glad," he said.
They would be alone together for the rest of the evening. Impa's reasons for delaying the feast were fairly transparent, and Link didn't doubt that members of his guard and Paya had filled the old Sheikah woman in on the observable developments in the royal couple's relationship during their travels. Link didn't like the idea of any of them being involved in his personal life, but in this moment he could only feel gratitude. He didn't even want to think about what kind of mental torture he would have experienced had he been forced to attend a lengthy welcome feast the night of his return to the castle. It already felt like he'd been waiting for this night for ages.
The weight of unspoken expectations settled on them both, and Link's mind raced with what to do next. There was his physical desire for her, of course, but he also needed to keep in mind her needs and feelings. He didn't want to screw this up, didn't want this to end like it had last time, with Zelda distraught and in tears.
He began stroking her hair, fingers just tasting the silk of it, and she sighed, leaning further into him. Link removed his chin from her head, and ducked beneath her jaw, finding the soft skin there and kissing it gently.
Zelda's hands wrapped around his chest, and her fingers tightened in the fabric of his tunic. Link could feel her breath hitch as he kissed her, and she started to move forward, forcing his fumbling feet backwards as they made their way towards the bed. Link's legs hit the wood of the bedframe, and he fell away from her, back landing on the soft covers. Zelda stood over him for a brief moment, her features a confused collage of desire, trepidation, determination, and love. She hiked up her skirts a little, then climbed onto the bed, straddling him. Link lay frozen under her, certain she had no idea what she was doing to him, and she leaned over him, running her fingers through his hair. The way she looked at him, with such unguarded affection and concentrated attention, made him feel for the first time like he truly was Chosen by the Goddess.
"Zelda, is this OK? Are you ready?" he asked her, feeling lucky he didn't choke on his words.
Zelda's fingers ceased their movements through his hair, and she leaned over to kiss him once.
"Yes. I… After the Calamity I thought I would never feel safe again. But here, with you, I feel home," she said, sending him a smile both achingly beautiful and not tinged with even the slightest amount of sadness.
Link pulled her down to him and kissed her, his kiss not overly forceful, but holding nothing back. She returned his kiss with equal enthusiasm, and they were gone.
They took things slowly and carefully. Link had heard that first times for women could be uncomfortable, and he was not naive enough to think that their first time sleeping together would be the most carnally pleasurable experience of their lives. Therefore, the only goal he'd set for himself was to make it a tender, positive, and memorable experience. As his attitude and expectations for the evening became clear, the relief and gratitude Link saw in Zelda's eyes told him he'd made the right choice. In the end, the evening had its fair share of fumbling, nervous laughter, and awkward pauses, but it still felt perfect.
Later that night, Zelda lay at his side, her head resting on his chest and her arm slung across his waist. Link looked down at her peaceful face, and an intense feeling of companionship rushed over him, almost overpowering him. He had had teammates and partners before. The Champions and Zelda had been close, unified by their common goal of protecting Hyrule. And he had of course felt close to Zelda as they had travelled together throughout the kingdom. This felt different. Both he and Zelda had had the weight of the world placed on their shoulders at a young age, and they had mostly shouldered that weight as individuals, alone. Looking at Zelda now, a certainty within Link's heart formed and firmed into an unshakable truth: neither of them would ever be alone again.
Eighteen years later
Rev kicked the dirt under his feet, grimacing a little at the way his white boots dirtied from the disturbance. He felt silly in his navy royal guard uniform, like a child playing at something grander than himself. Stupid Daruk always made him feel that way.
"Rev? Where are you?"
Rev's father came out of the gate that led to the Royal Guard's chamber, turning his head this way and that around the small courtyard in which Rev sulked. Rev hunched over, trying to make his twelve-year-old frame as small as possible, but his father's eyes still found him.
"I don't wanna talk," Rev mumbled, but his unstoppable father still sat next to him on the stone bench.
"Rev, what's wrong? Why did you run away from training?"
Rev just kept kicking his feet in the dirt, but his ever-patient father waited. Rev sniffed his running nose, embarrassed by the evidence of his recent tears.
"Mils said that Daruk and I are both supposed to help clean the weapons, but Daruk always leaves it to me. Today I asked Daruk to do it, but he said he'd already made plans to go hunting with Kenyo, so I had to do it. I got mad at him and told him he wasn't responsible, then he said I took this too seriously and that is wasn't a big deal."
Rev broke off his story to sniffle some more, ashamed both of his tears and how trivial his story sounded. His father put a comforting hand around his shoulder and waited for him to continue.
"I told him that it's a knight's duty to be obedient to his teachers, diligent in his training, and to take care of his equipment, and he just laughed at me. He said a little kid like me doesn't know anything about duty, that I obsess over rules instead of focusing on people, that I'm not nice."
Rev's father's hand squeezed his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, that wasn't nice of Daruk to say. Did you say anything hurtful to him?"
Rev scowled and folded his arms over his chest, knowing that his father wouldn't approve of all of the things he'd said to his older brother. Still, that didn't mean that what Daruk said was alright either!
"...Maybe…" he muttered.
"Hmmm," his father said, as if he'd made some sort of decision. He stood from the stone bench, then patted Rev on the back.
"Come on, let's go."
"Go where?" Rev said cautiously. He didn't want to have to go to see his mom. Nothing hurt Rev more than a disappointed look on his mother's face.
"The day is young, and I need to go to the Bridge of Hylia and check on the progress. Why don't you come with me?" his father said.
"Aren't you… busy?" Rev asked. As King of Hyrule, Rev's father always had things to do, and Rev felt terrible every time he felt like he was taking his father away from his duties.
"Of course not, you'd be helping me," Link said, holding a hand down to Rev.
Rev looked at the hand, the calloused fingers that had held the Master Sword, the very hands that had rescued his mother, that had subdued Calamity Ganon, that had freed the kingdom. The hands of his hero.
"Alright, I'll go," he said, taking his father's hand and rising to his feet.
They walked together to the stables, where Rev saddled his horse under his father's watchful eye. Rev had only recently been given permission to ride full-sized horses, so he was pretty excited at the prospect of riding over to Lake Hylia. It was a good three-hour ride, and he hoped his father would notice his improved horsemanship. Eventually, Rev hoped to be able to tame and train a wild horse of his own, just like his father and many other hardy Hylians had done before him. Link had promised to teach him how, at some point, but he wanted Rev to become competent on a tamed horse first, and his mother agreed.
They rode together through Hyrule Field towards the Great Plateau, and Rev thought with some satisfaction that he was doing a good job controlling his mount. The field was a beautiful, Spring green, and herds of sheep munched happily on the tender blades. Rev wished that his little sister Mipha could be here with them; she always loved animals.
The grassy plains of Hyrule Field gave way to the Great Plateau, its ancient walls looming over the old road upon which father and son road. Rev looked up at the imposing heights of the Great Plateau, imagination running wild with thoughts of those long-dead builders who created ramparts and buttresses out of the walls of the natural structure. His father had told him once that after the Calamity, the stairways those builders had carved into the Plateau had collapses, and there had been no way to get on or off the plateau without risking life and limb. Sometimes Rev wondered what life would have been like back then, back when the effects of the Calamity were still alive in the daily lives of normal Hylians. He wondered if he would have been brave and courageous, if he would have been able to stand up against a band of horseback bokoblins, or even a guardian. Maybe if he had a chance like that to prove his mettle, Daruk would take him seriously.
They reached the lake by lunchtime, and hitched their horses up by the construction workers' encampment. Bolson, the owner of the construction company, walked right up to Rev's father as soon as he dismounted, and Rev always wondered at the man's level of comfort and informality around his king.
"Bolson, it is good to see you. How goes the project?" Link asked.
"Ah~! Nice to see you again, Your Highness. Progress is going great!" Bolson said, with characteristic enthusiasm. "We're just working on a few finishing touches. Let me show you."
The old man showed blueprints for the bridge's refurbishment to Link and Rev, waving his hands to gesture to the realization of those blueprints on the bridge in front of them, and Link nodded thoughtfully. Bolson was so old, and Rev wondered if he would ever retire. But despite the wrinkles and weathered skin, Bolson showed no signs of slowing down. If anything, it seemed overseeing his various projects revitalized the man.
Once they were done reviewing the blueprints, Link and Rev followed Bolson onto the stone bridge, a bridge which looked considerably more stable and polished than it had the last time Rev had seen it, about a year ago for the Moon Festival. Link asked Rev what he thought of the progress, and while Rev didn't have much of substance to say, it still felt good to be asked.
"Excellent work, as always," Link said after about an hour of effusive explanation.
"Of course, baby! That's the Bolson Construction way" Bolson said, clapping Link on the shoulder.
Bolson escorted them back to their horses, and said goodbye with a cool-guy head nod entirely at odds with his advanced age. Link and Rev waved goodbye in return, and mounted their horses.
"We'll eat our lunch nearby, then head home," Link said to Rev, who nodded at his father.
Rev followed his father down the road, but soon Link pulled off the road and up a steep hill to the right, stopping at a ruined guard tower at the top. Rev dismounted and looked around, recognizing the hill as Scout's Hill. He'd heard from Barta that Yiga assassins had attacked his father and mother once on this very hill, but that they'd both managed to fight the assassins off. Stories like these had filled Rev's childhood, further solidifying his parents' place in his head as his heroes.
Link pulled some rice balls out of his saddlebags, and sat down at the stone edge of the guard tower, patting the space on the stones next to him. Rev sat down and took a rice ball for himself. It was beautiful up here, Rev could practically see the entire kingdom.
"You know, your mother tried for years to unlock her powers, to save the kingdom, without any success?" Link said.
Rev continued chewing his food, but looked at his father blankly. He couldn't imagine his mother failing at anything.
"It's true. Your grandfather knew that she needed her powers in order to save the kingdom, and he put a tremendous amount of pressure on her to live up to her duty. It drove her to pray for hours on end, to travel to the distant edges of the kingdom to worship, to give up everything she enjoyed, all so that the Goddesses would favor her."
"Really?" Rev said.
Link nodded solemnly.
"Really. But despite it all, despite all that she had done to fulfill her duty, it wasn't enough. She wasn't able to succeed until it wasn't just to fulfill her duty, but to save the people she loved."
Rev looked down at the ground, away from his father's earnest features. He still wasn't sure exactly what his father wanted him to get out of this story, but he was worried it was turning into a veiled reprimand.
"I was the same way, when your mother and I first married," Link continued, while Rev studied the dirt. "I was always focused on my duty, on what was expected of me. Because of that, I sometimes missed out on what people really needed from me, on what your mother really needed from me. See, duty by itself isn't always the best thing. You need honor, duty, rules, all these things are important, but they are only important when they are powered by compassion, empathy, and love."
"So…" Rev said, trying to pull the lesson from his father's anecdotes, "what you're saying is that Daruk was right? That I am too focused on rules?"
Link sighed and put down his rice ball.
"Not exactly. Yes, I think sometimes you get a little lost in your duty, lost in all the minutiae of trying to do everything that's expected of you exactly right. But Daruk… he's the opposite. He focuses on big picture things, making people happy, having a good time. There's a lot you can learn from each other. Daruk needs to be more responsible. You need to remember that the whole point of all the rules and responsibility is to make life happy and enjoyable for everyone. Does that make sense?"
Rev sighed, letting his shoulders drop in defeat.
"Figuring out the right thing to do all of the time is exhausting."
"Well that's why you have me and your mother to help you out. And nobody expects you to be perfect."
Rev looked down at his rice ball, relieved that his father officially released him from expectations of perfection, but also wondering what exactly was expected of him. He, Revali Rhoam Hyrule, was the third child of the King and Queen of Hyrule, and he never quite knew how he fit into everything.
Urbosa and Daruk were Link and Zelda's first and second. Although they were twins, it had somehow always been clear that Urbosa would ascend the throne. She had technically been born first, but beyond that she'd always had an air of authority, a charisma about her that made her destiny clear.
Daruk, on the other hand, seemed perfectly content to support his sister and enjoy the more fun, less stressful aspects of being royal. He was the joker, the easy-going one. While sometimes Rev wondered what it was exactly that Daruk contributed to the kingdom, he grudgingly recognized that Daruk's way with people had secured him deep and trusting friendships with people in every race, and every township of the kingdom. One day he would make an excellent advisor and diplomat to Urbosa.
And then there was Mipha, Rev's younger sister. She was petite, bookish, and always, above all else, kind. Everyone loved sweet-tempered Mipha, and she loved everyone. She was the only one of Link and Zelda's children who had inherited any natural proficiency in magic, and she had also inherited her mother's penchant for the academic. There was no doubt in Rev's mind that in the future she would be an excellent court scholar as well as princess.
And where did that leave Rev? Urbosa was the future Queen, Daruk was the fun one, and Mipha was the nice one. Rev liked to think of himself as "the responsible one," but Daruk had just punched a hole in that whole idea. On harder days, Rev worried that maybe he was just "the mean one."
"Rev, come back to me son," Link said, setting a hand on his shoulder and breaking him out of his reverie. "What's going on in that head of yours?"
Rev looked into his father's kind, honest eyes, and felt compelled to tell the truth.
"I'm glad you and mom can help me out. It's just… sometimes I don't know who I'm supposed to be. What people expect from me. I'm trying my best to be a good son, to be a good knight and a good prince. But sometimes I can't help but feel like I'm doing it wrong," he said.
"Revali, I used to worry about this question a lot. The answer is actually pretty simple. All I and your mother and anyone else expects from you is to be try to be kind and generous, to help people out, and to do whatever you can to aid Hyrule. You, Urbosa, Daruk, and Mipha will all have different ways to do this, and that's how it should be. You are an excellent warrior, so maybe one day you will be a general in the army. That's one way you can help, but if you later decide that's not how you want to do it that's ok too."
Revali felt his nose started to run again, and wiped it quickly with his navy sleeve.
"I'm trying. I want to make you proud," he sniffled.
The hand on Revali's shoulder moved further down his arm, and his father pulled him into his side in a partial hug.
"I am proud of you, Rev. And no matter what, you'll always be my son."
That night, after riding back to the castle, Revali had dinner with his family and other courtiers in the large dining hall. The room hummed with life and merriment, and Rev didn't mind joining in. Spending the day with his father, just the two of them, was a rare treat, and Rev couldn't help but feel content.
"Hey Rev," Mipha said from her seat next to him, her soft voice somehow carrying over the noise, "Where have you been all day? I didn't see you during our lessons with Paya."
"I went with Dad to see the progress on the Bridge of Hylia," he replied.
"Wow! That sounds like fun."
Rev glowed with pleasure.
"Yeah, it was awesome."
As if her long ears had picked up their conversation from across the table, Rev's mother rose from her seat and walked over to them. She leaned over Rev and kissed him on the head, ruffling his flaxen hair with her delicate fingers.
"I heard you assisted your father with some bridge inspection duties today, Rev," Zelda said. "He said you were very helpful."
From across the table, Daruk snorted in his wildberry juice.
"Yeah, Rev's always been good at inspections and roll calls and inventories and all that important stuff," he said.
Zelda shot him a sharp look.
"Daruk, I'll have none of that. You've both apologized to each other, and I don't want to hear any more about it."
Daruk rolled his eyes in typical sixteen-year-old fashion, but offered no retort.
"I think it's really cool you went with Dad to inspect the bridge," Urbosa said from her seat next to Daruk.
"Thanks, Urbosa," Rev said, a little bashfully.
Impa, who was seated on the other side of Rev from Mipha, suddenly slapped her knee forcefully with her gnarled hand, causing Rev to nearly jump out of his seat. He was honestly a little frightened by his parents' elderly advisor.
"Zelda, Link. This is a beautiful family you have here," the ancient Sheikah woman said.
Her knee slap had effectively silenced the table, so now all of the dinner guests could hear her proclamation.
Link, who still sat at the head of the table, leaned back in his chair and let a small, ironic grin appear on his features.
"I'm not sure how you got that from all of our arguing just now, but thank you," he said.
"I'm one of the few people alive old enough to remember King Rhoam, and what his court was like," Impa said. "You are creating a new kind of royal family, you are a new kind of King and Queen. Things change, but I have a feeling this is just what Hyrule needs."
Zelda squeezed Rev's shoulder, then returned back to her seat next to Link. Rev looked at his parents, sitting next to each other in Hyrule Castle. They were a unified, powerful team. The King and Queen of Hyrule. His father and mother. It was subtle, but Rev noticed his mother's hand slip below the table to join his father's, which was already hidden from view, and he knew they had clasped hands out of sight of their guests.
"Thank you, Impa. I think so too," Zelda said with a smile.
Skydragon74193: Thank you! And especially thank you for sticking with me to the end.
FeathersOfZelda: Thank you! I mean a lot of us grew up playing Zelda games, so in our hearts they are our real friends. :) I hope you enjoyed this last chapter.
Fan01: Sorry to disappoint! I really wanted to update that weekend, but was out of town. I was able to stick with this to the end because of your awesome support :) I'd consider a sequel, but.. Probably not for a while. There are a couple of other things I have in the pipeline that I'd want to do first. Thanks so much for your continued support!
Sauron: Why do you feel bad for the ushers and guests? Because it was hot? Thanks for the review!
Chesta1892: Aww, thank you so much! I've been trying really hard to keep them in character, although Link is always a little tough since we never hear him speak.
Rekial: Thank you! Sorry the update took so long.
Raviolis Flap: Not sure what exactly you're Whaaaat?-ing at, but ok :)
RavenPuffPrefect1296: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 囧
Heero Strife: Thanks so much, and I also loved the Zelink in BOTW. I was a little sad there was no kiss, but I honestly don't think Nintendo will ever give us that :/ But at least we got that tearful hug!
KHLostEmpress: Yeah, I may have kind of used Yunobo for pacing purposes, poor guy. Thanks SO MUCH for reviewing every chapter! You're the best!
SomeRandomPenName: So glad you love "Can't Slow Down!" I love that song! I'm glad I was able to implement some of your improvements. Let me know if you think of anything else. Thanks for your support!
Borntorule890: You're so kind! Thanks for sticking with me this whole time. I think Link has grown A TON since the beginning of this story, and I hope that really shows in this chapter. My only wish is that I could have delved a little more into Zelda's psyche, since she must be so damaged by her experiences. Oh well! Maybe in my next fic!
The Delta Gamer: Thanks so much! I'm so glad you see chemistry between Link and Zelda, because I think they have it in SPADES. I'll definitely keep writing :)
Midnaisbae: Sometimes it takes time to get over your shyness! I hope this chapter was more satisfying :)
Constipated Genius: Haha, glad to be able to turn you into mush! I love romance, but I prefer the PG-13 kind, which is kind of hard to find written for adults sometimes. So I just write it myself! I'm glad you liked the hot springs. It's a little trope-y, but I thought it would be fun. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that ladies can be pervs too ;)
Deathly Jester: Oh yes, I definitely meant for things to get steamy in the hot springs. I'm also glad they are happy. It was a hard line to walk, not wanting this story to get to angsty, but needing to acknowledge some of the darker elements of the game. I wish I'd delved a little more into Zelda and the tough things she's gone through, but in the end this story was definitely more focused on Link. Hopefully you enjoyed the last chapter!
Arcmelos: Thank you! I finished! Whew.
RyoKushei: Here is more! I tried to get in as much enjoyment as possible into this chapter :)
Ultimate blazer: Thank you!
Jwill21: Yunobo might be a bro, but aren't we all?
Lordrednight: Yeah I get bored of the politics sometimes. It's important to have a nice balance between fluff and plot.
Bubbleboss1022: Thank you! Yeah, while they are both inexperienced awkward turtles, it makes sense for them to get used to each other eventually :)