As the wagon wheeled along the magnificent bridge that crossed atop the mighty waterfalls of Zorana, Lall made sure to keep his head down and his eyes up, still skeptical of this place and its people. He turned to his cousin, whose body was shivering worriedly as he pushed himself tight against the back of his seat, eyes wide open, clutching the one invoice they had left to his chest as though he were deathly afraid. Lall's lips curled up humorously as he peered over the edge of the bridge, shaking his head with bemusement.
"You're never supposed to look down!" Lall grinned.
Jarrol turned his head toward him slowly, one wrong move sure to send him to his demise, "E-Easy for you to say, c-cousin! You kn-know I'm not one for adven-ture!"
"What adventure?" Lall shook his head dismissively, "We're just going from point A to B, on business no less. Rather boring if you ask me."
Having never left his small village along the plains of Hyrule, nor his job as a apothecary, Jarrol was nonetheless shaken by the foreign feeling of being high above seemingly bottomless pits of roaring waters, his cousins assurances doing little to calm him. He'd always been far more comfortable at a desk than out in the wilderness, where there were troubles that elixirs could not mend.
"Still," Lall grimly muttered, "I'd keep an eye out."
He checked his bodyguard, making sure he wasn't about to be subjected to some malice, though Link merely continued walking, almost as if not hearing the two of them at all. Lall's lips curled downward as he leaned back into place, shaking his head as he started understanding, perhaps, this bodyguard's intentions in coming along.
"Ohhhhh…" Jarrol moaned sickly, wavering queezily as his squinted eyes peered up toward the heavens, noticing the dull sky above, "They're even content with living beneath all these mountains- they hope to steal the sun away from me as well…"
He shivered as he returned his attention to the bridge ahead of them, his eyes shooting open as a small, blue-bodied creature scampered their way, Jarrol's body instinctively falling against the back of his seat as though having been confronted with a wild boar. The Zora child's feet sent a rhythmic pitter-patter into the air as he slowed his run, his eyes widening as well at the sight of strangers. He slowed to a walk, with only his head raising to follow the eyes of the human watching him, the Zora's mouth gaping open in awe of the sight, despite the Hylian's perceived fright.
In a split second, the Zora child grinned before raising his arms and ejecting a childishly loud, "Rawr!"
"AH!" Jarrol shouted, jumping back against his cousin, who only burst into laughter at the sight.
The child snickered before breaking into a run once again, skittering along the bridge back toward the mainland where the wagon had previously come from, Jarrol sliding back into his seat as he clutched his chest, breathing deeply, "Was it your sister's intention to have me killed?!"
Lall chuckled heartily, "One can't know such things, dear cousin. Please, though; if you might embarrass us once we arrive, cover yourself with a shawl or something- we're more or less representing Hylia itself with how little these people interact outside their borders. If they think we all scare as easily as you, who knows what might come of it."
"Oh, yeah," Jarrol nodded sarcastically, wrapping himself in the shawl beside him anyway, "The creatures who live hidden from the sun most certainly want our lands. You know how much of my business comes from shipping out that jelly Zora's use to cover themselves with? I have no financial reason to want people ill, that's for sure."
Lall threw his head over his shoulder, examining their wagon-load of supplies, "You didn't happen to bring any with us, did you?"
"One or two cartons," Jarrol explained, "I figured I might could sell some while we were here. Why?"
Lall chuckled, "Just on the off chance we're bartering for our lives, it'd be nice to have stock of something they'd want."
Jarrol buried his face beneath the shawl so as to hide his expression, though Lall smirked at what he could still see of his cousin's shaking head, "You're the worst, cousin…"
Turning to his bodyguard, Lall spoke up, "It's all in fun, good sir, I assure you."
Link did little more than nod.
"Well, we're coming up on the main landing of Zora's Domain," Lall explained, reaching down for the invoice that remained desperately clutched within his cousin's hand, "You said you'd done this before?"
"Yes," Link answered, distantly, "They know me well here."
Lall nodded, "Alright, I'll hold you to that, then. I apologize if I'm unfamiliar with their customs."
Link turned a blank face up toward him, "Just don't stare too long and you'll do just fine. They aren't able to wear much clothing because of their skin, so they're wary of outsiders doing such things."
"I didn't- Ah, that explains earlier," Lall confirmed, stroking his light beard.
Link's face remained unchanged, "They'd do much worse than me."
As he finished, Link's gait increased as he approached the guards who'd already been alerted to their guest's appearance. Lall smoothed out the invoice before yanking at his horse's reins, slowing them to a stop as Link and the guard approached him, Lall catching only the latter part of their conversation.
"-and I can leave them in your care?" Link finished.
The Zoran guard nodded, though Lall spoke up, "H-Hey! I thought I hired you to-"
"You didn't hire me," Link muttered, interrupting him, before turning to leave further into the Domain, "Tovar here will ensure your safety."
Lall went slightly pale at the mention of the tall Zoran guard who nodded at being mentioned, "Okay, well- Here's the invoice. The King wanted to make sure you were all well considered when it came to this last harvest- such a major surplus that hadn't been seen in years, apparently."
Tovar nodded as he ran his eyes down the list, "Alright. and what's that contraption beside you?"
Lall turned to find his cousin, still hidden, shaking up a storm as he sat there.
"It looks like it's about to explode or something…" Tovar muttered suspiciously, leaving Lall to frown unhappily.
He reached an arm around his cousin's shoulders and pulled him against him, "Not at all- this is Jarrol, my cousin! He's just, uh… Well, he's considerately placed himself beneath this fabric here, it seems."
"Uh huh," Tovar nodded slowly, "You won't take offence if I should keep an eye on you, correct?"
"Not at all!" Lall exclaimed, "Your home, your rules."
Tovar gave a final nod before turning back, waving the wagon along as Lall slapped at his horses, signaling them to move along, hearing Tovar's voice above the clopping of hooves atop the pristine platform they trailed upon, "Good to see you've arrived in due time. My liege has prepared a return shipment of the finest sea life for you to return with- I'd hate for it to go bad on your way back."
"O-Oh," Lall replied, unsurely, "Not- Not at all; I'd hate for that as well…"
Atop one of the Domain's sleekly ascendant pathways, two crimson legs dangled above the rest of this place, gently rocking back and forth, both pairs of toes daintily pulling in and out in a rhythmic sort of pattern, in time with the gently high humming from above where Lady Mipha's head swayed, side to side, her eyes listlessly staring down at the book in her hands. She had a pencil cupped between the book and her hand, mulling around words in her mind as she hummed musically to herself, recalling a tune her mother would often sing when she'd been taken to the peaks of Zorana to bathe in the sun, an activity that would often render her sleepily lazy as she curled up atop one of the rocks she'd decided to warm herself in. Her mother would stay by her side, keeping watch, and lulling her child through endless dreams.
Mipha would often hum this tune at times of distress or depression, often using it as a means to calm herself, quelling much anything that found her heart in need of comfort or assurance. In this case, her birthday was barely days away, yet there were two people absent from the festivities that would soon take hold of the Domain. It might not have been her first birthday without her mother, yet it still tugged on her heart whenever any big event would take place- her mother was often the fairest and most grand of all the Zora, and her absence was sorely noticed by all, particularly her family.
She pulled her pencil to the page, her lips pulling to one side in bitterness as she finished her thought, "…at least my dearest brother hasn't known this sorrow."
Sighing gently, she closed her diary, putting it off to one side as she reached her arms behind her, reclining slightly as she stared up toward Polymus Mountain, thinking of her younger days that seemed so far away now. Inevitably, those memories would nearly always include the other person whose absence she greatly missed- that of the warrior boy, Link, she'd first admired as a child and had grown to love as he'd grown older.
Her lips curled upward in a gently mischievous grin as she recalled the days before that first arrival of his where she'd fallen in love with him. She was presumed to be wedded to a rather prestigious Zora, and although she hadn't many qualms about this arrangement, she recalled the rationale that tortured her in those days before she saw that Hylian again.
"If he's taller than me this time…" she mused to herself, laughing as light as a Princess might be expected to sound in politeness, "…only then will I allow my heart to be his."
Of course, as soon as she'd found out about this particular development, she hastily, yet delicately, removed herself from her original suitor; though, to be in love with a Hylian, while not principle frowned upon, it was all but unheard of when it came to Zoran royalty. The two would go on to be perceived as good, strong friends, yet behind the scenes, the two had grown far closer.
It was due to this that Mipha's heart fell this day, nearing her birthday without her dear knight. That grin from earlier dissolved, following her eyes' lead as her brow furrowed in sadness, thinking of Link with a wistful heart.
She turned to reach for her diary, her heart nearly pouring sadly from within her, though her hand was met with nothing but the metallic sheen of the Domain's staging, her head slightly turning to allow her eyes a chance to find her book, though in a split second, they jumped up toward the man standing nearby, leaning against one of the platform's spires with his hands in his pockets, a knowing smile shown beneath his golden hair.
"I wouldn't let your height dictate my love for you," Link spoke, shrugging boyishly, referring to the gentle words that had managed to leave Mipha's lips just moments earlier.
Her eyes broke open with a blinding speed as she hopped onto her feet, leaping across the platform to eliminate their distance, the two of them embracing the other tightly, with Mipha's adoration breaking free of her throat, "Link! You made it!"
"Of course I did," he smiled, running his arm up and down her sleek back, "I just needed a reason to get away from my King's direction- he's been pretty strict about getting everybody ready and willing after that Akkalan thing. I caught wind of a shipment coming this way, so I made myself its bodyguard, and here I am, right on time."
Mipha's head pulled away, though their arms remained wrapped around one another, "A shipment? Will you be here for three days?"
Shrugging, Link answered, "I'll come up with something to stall for time. They don't seem like two guys who'll shy away from a festival, so maybe they'll just hang around. I'll give your father my word of their trustworthiness."
Content with his explanation, Mipha rushed to bury her face into the crick of his shoulder once again, too hasty to catch her head brushing against Link's neck, causing his body to shiver as his knees dipped, his head falling against her as he spoke up through a ticklish gasp of chuckles, "Ah, cold as always."
Shocked, Mipha pulled away, though Link's arms prevented her from doing so, her face quickly opening in fright, "S-Sorry! I didn't mean to-!"
"It's fine, it's fine," Link assured, pulling her closer, "I was just surprised, is all. It hasn't stopped us from holding one another before, has it?"
Mipha frowned, "Someone might think you'd get smart and find somebody who conflicts less with your biology."
Link's head fell closer to her's, their eyes meeting as he spoke, "You have a heart, just like me. That's all I need to know. That, and I know you can handle polearms better than anybody in this world; I know you can protect yourself. What makes you think I would have continued coming here if not for-"
As he spoke, Mipha's face had slowly turned and pressed itself against his chest, her grip around him tightening at his attempts at flattery. Link paused and merely held her, silently, continuing to rub her back with his arm, his thumb zig-zagging along her side as it went. A gently hum escaped Mipha as she remained that way, Link's warmth fully encompassing her in this way, her body readily accepting his offer.
"I love your warmth…" she murmured almost sleepily, "I missed it so much."
Link could only smile, "I kind of missed sharing it, to be honest."
Her eyes opened into narrow slits, peering off into the distance as she now pressed her cheek into his chest, "It's not as warm as the sun, but…it's different. Something you can't get from any Zora."
With nothing in the way of a reply to such a statement, all Link could offer was a quick kiss atop her sleek head, simply allowing her to take from him the warmth he was all too ready to share with her. It was something in the way of the physical that the two could partake in, and as such, it was something they both, especially Mipha, enjoyed.
A/N: This should be the first chapter that lets you know, somewhat, just how much I've rattled my brain trying to figure out some plausible Zora physiology xD
They look like fish, they lay eggs, but they also seem to have something resembling mammary glands, and they have different types of teeth (Sidon has fangs), which are both mammalian traits. For the sake of this story, I decided to make them cold-blooded, since Mipha would have little reason to have a physical attraction to Link if she lays eggs, and therefore, cannot procreate in the same way I'd assume Hylians would.
One of the reason I started writing fan-fiction was to explore ideas like this in the first place, so I'm very much in my wheelhouse with this, even if it's very mind-bending when game developers (very, very understandably) don't waste time explaining this stuff.