"Beyond that, I have another problem-"
Link rose his head to peer out the window of his cramped family home, lined along the rest of the family homes that belonged to those families of the Royal Guard. His eyes shook as he peered out toward the crowed streets of the market down the street, just able to catch body forms and colored clothes from that distance. That movement, however, comforted him. Even if he couldn't catch glimpses of faces, there were bodies there, people, moving to and fro, unhindered by the world, thanks in no small part to Link and the rest of the Guard.
Seeing movement along the circuitous streets of Hyrule Town, seeing people- It meant he had a purpose. A reason for living. For rising out of bed in the morning, running his thumb lovingly along that picture of his far-gone parents, for his hours of training. His parents had always told him that it was enough to serve the greater good- to serve the people that looked to them for protection. Entities that offered such things came too far and few between for Link's parents to shunt their responsibilities.
They made little attempt to hide the fact that Link was brought into the world as a product of two of the finest soldiers within the Guard, rather than a product of two lovers, and while Link loved them dearly, and they to him, their intentions now haunted his thoughts as he sat at his desk, eyeing the picture of himself sat atop his parent's legs as the three posed, emotionlessly, for a photograph, though Link's wondrous turning of his head during the lengthy exposure had left much of his face blurred. His face mattered little, though, when his eyes most often sat upon those faces of his mother and father.
Though his lineage came across as more so a business, two great knights brought together for little more than to bring about more great knights in their stead, Link rarely felt that way. Even now, staring at that picture, he felt nothing less than absolute love for his mother, the one he'd spent most of his time with, his father largely being absent for long periods of time, dealing with the ever-regular uprisings sprouting up in Akkala, the place where he would ultimately die. Even when his father was in the town of Hyrule, while stern, he certainly didn't lead Link on in his love for the child, always happy to recount stories of ancient battles or wars waged between the kingdoms of Hyrule as a whole.
Link's eyes flickered upward at the rhythmic sounds of the clip-clopping hooves just outside, a horse-drawn cart cruising along the empty street. Link had drawn that same sound into his mind where it still festered, his marching cadences often in time with his general's horse's gallop. He would dream of such routine things in his sleep, even; a sign of his devotion to the craft his parents bore him to devote himself to. For a time, his mind was dead-set of nothing to do with himself, but of Hyrule, and her people, and its King, the man to whom his whole mind and body was bound to.
That time had passed, however; such revelations becoming a rather unfortunate blight upon his mind. He'd been taken by the King's princess, Zelda, to wander the whole of Hyrule, seeking something of the girl's power that had yet to awaken, despite her ever-rising age. While Link found nothing on that excursion, except perhaps a new respect for the woman who'd thought so little of the perils in the world, perils Link knew well enough about, Princess Zelda seemed to have discovered something, for once they returned to Hyrule Castle, Zelda had immediately begun speaking of forming the Champions Guild, representatives of all the kingdoms of Hyrule that would be the defenders of this…unseen for that was to be a great threat into the future.
Link had been selected to accompany Zelda once again, much to his chagrin. Desperate to return to his daily routines as a Royal Guard, routines that remained the same as both his parents, a routine that brought him so close to those two people, he wasn't pleased to be sent off again to follow the whimsical wanderings of the Princess, kept away from this life he was so comfortable in. He would have happily died protecting the citizenry of Hyrule, though the idea of losing his life on some silly quest- his life, he felt so strongly, was worth so much more than such things.
Still, he thought, his eyes screwing back over toward the journal he'd kept since a child, as all the Guard did to relieve stress, the journey he'd just returned home from- perhaps it wasn't all for naught. Despite the foibles that had accompanied the Champions- the scars, the traumatic betrayals by their own factions, the serendipitous machinations of the Sheikah rousing from the earth with nothing more in the way of intent but to kill the lot of them. Perhaps there was more to the completion of this quest than a simple understanding of the giant Beasts surrounding the Castle. More than the lessons learned about loyalty and trust; more than Link's own admonishment of his own Princess.
His heart tugged within his chest as he stared at the unfinished line in his journal, "Beyond that, I have another problem". It was a problem, to be sure. One that forced him to doubt what he'd been brought up to do- what he'd been bred to do. He slid back into the wooden chair, a stern grasp taking his quill into his fingers, returning to the off-white paper below, trailing these words just after the last.
"I do believe I have fallen in love with her."
"My father hasn't the slightest bit of faith in my plans or ideas," Zelda laid out plainly as she strode alongside her bodyguard, "I have no doubt he's allowing this venture merely to keep me out of his hair, or- Maybe it's to get me outside the library. Either way, I could tell with his chiding voice; he doesn't take any of this seriously."
These were the last words Link wished to hear, already believing this journey to be as much of a waste as the Princesses' previous last. Knowing his King, of all people, was content with sending along Link, as well, didn't exactly inspire faith in him regarding how his King must view him. Truly, Link was a mere rover among the ranks to be sent on wild keese-chases, and while he desperately wished to prove himself otherwise, he knew his King's will was to be done, regardless.
At least this excursion was to be one along a company of Champions; perhaps Zelda would be content speaking to the others among them rather than relating tales to Link that he had little interest in. Surely, this abstract personnel of heroes would be better in conversation to the princess than the muted man she was now, officially, dragging along with her. Why? Merely due to their previous time together?
Finishing with a sigh, indicative of the tire she felt recalling such things as her father's ill-respect of this mission, Zelda simply pointing a finger out toward the hilly landscape just ahead of the two of them, "There it is, Sanadin Park. Have you been there? Oh, it's a wonderous place!"
Link shook his head, leaving Zelda to continue, "It's beautiful! We used to come by here all the time on the round trip to through Dalite Forest to let the horses get some rest. My manservant would lift me up over his head and it would feel like I was flying!"
A sarcastic quip escaped Link's lips, "I hope you aren't expecting the same from me."
Zelda giggled, "Of course not; we're on official business. Well, unofficially on official business. Official business insofar as I have a group of people willing to believe that it's official."
"You make it sound as though they're aware that this is unofficial and choosing to treat it as official anyway," Link noted dryly.
Zelda reached a head up to stroke her chin, "I mean, I- It was implied that the King of Hyrule had placed his official word on this expedition."
With a sardonic glance, Link reminded, "You're father can order me to keep tabs on you and protect you during your travels, regardless of your goals. You can order me to shut up and not let it known that you're essentially lying to get a gang of people to go along with your plans. But I would highly suggest not getting too far in over your head."
"Pfft, whenever have I gotten too far-" Zelda began, pausing as her face lowered under Link's critical glance, "Okay, a few times. But look, I know what I've seen, what I've heard from the goddesses. I just need a little more time to find some proof that'll get people to believe me; I think figuring out those Beasts will do just that, and to get to them, I need some-"
"Pawns," Link finished beneath a bemused frown from Zelda.
She insisted, "I was thinking 'assistants'; do you realize that our world is on the cusp of evils unseen for millennia? Those Beasts may be the only things we have to fight back; gifts our ancient ancestors offered us! If we don't utilize them, what does that say about all of our progress if we don't build upon those Sheikah who brought us up to begin with?"
Uninspired by such rhetoric, Link simply replied, "I'm merely following you, Princess. What you'd have your guard do is your business."
"Good to hear that," Zelda came back with an authoritative tone, "I'd expect nothing less from a Royal Guard of Hyrule. So long as you keep quiet and allow me time to properly construct my plans, and I know you excel at that first one, we'll be completely fine. In fact, we'll be better than fine when we're actually prepared despite my father, or any of Hyrule's other leaders, regardless of my pleading."
Zelda crosses her arms as the two of them strode up the gradual hillscape, "I even appealed to Patriarch Bludo's immense sense of pride, but he'd have none of it. Hopefully with one so great as Daruk on our side, it will persuade him to aid us, or at the very least, allow us the privilege of touring and understanding the Beast of Death Mountain."
"Assuming your scheme doesn't unravel before-"
"It's not a scheme," Zelda insisted, rather unconvincingly, "The ends justify the means, even if it were."
Link muttered in reply, "If you say so."
"I do," Zelda conformed, "And my word as Princess of Hyrule weighs heavily upon-"
She grinned mischeviously as though having stolen the words, "Okay, I can't ever finish that line, 'least not like my father can."
"If you're going to press on with this endeavor, you may need to work on that," Link suggested, "I may be bound to you as a Guard, eternally, but the others won't be. You're just a woman from another kingdom to them, one with little authority, save for the armies your father commands. Daruk is a friend of mine, a sworn brother at that, but Lady Mipha is a mere acquaintance, while Revali carries along few connections to this earth. Urbosa-"
"Lady Urbosa would tear through a mountainside for me," Zelda clarified with a hesitant voice, "I've already mentioned my research to her, and she believes me. She'll keep quiet for as long as I do about it."
Link nodded, "In that case, that leaves three of your Champions unconvinced, including Nivate. Even Urbosa holds little weight when it comes to her lordship."
"Well, that's why we have these Champions, isn't it? Symbols of the expanse of Hyrule, all of its inhabitants, joining together to mount a massive offensive should any lurking horrors rear their ugly face," Zelda subtly critiqued, "Half of the reason for this is to persuade aid from the five kingdoms of Hyrule; Urbosa alone may not inspire help from Lady Nivate, but if all of us, combined in one strong, resilient force-"
"Princess, you seem to think this excursion of yours will be easy. But as a man who has traveled this world, who has seen it beyond the glassy eyes of a young royal, you're not bringing together simple individuals. You're bringing together cultures, histories- quite lengthy ones at that. Zoras regard everybody with suspicion, the Rito and Gorons despise one another, the Gerudo are ambivalent toward men, and you know how each one of those races view Hyrule. What you're trying to do is upend millennia of-"
Zelda turned toward him, interrupting with a righteous voice, "I am. I certainly am. And you know why? Because if we don't, there won't be any lines left to draw between any of the peoples of Hyrule."
How naïve this one, Link thought, though he did indeed admire her spirit. It was a noble venture, despite it being shrouded somewhat in a veil of lies, however, his mind couldn't help but think of how tremendous such an undertaking would, indeed, be. Had he not been brought up within the rigorous existence of the Royal Guard, Link caught a fettered thought in his mind- would he have been as idealistic as his Princess? He hadn't a choice, of course; where Zelda told him to go, he went, but might he have endeavored on his own volition had things been different?
Zelda pulled her pack around her body, diving her hands into the thick satchel as she teetered in step, her eyes wandering off the road in front of her, "As far as today's venture goes, I did manage to bring gifts to offer to each of our Champions. I instructed our leading excavator to bring- well, for Daruk, it might be like a piece of candy, but it was all I could carry. This vein of opal might taste good, I don't know; I figured the thought counted. "
Continuing, Link grasped her arm to pull her back onto the road, though Zelda was too deep in her pack to notice at all, "A tapestry for Lady Urbosa; I know she loves keeping her little hovel warm, crazy as that is. Lady Mipha, uh- This sharpening stone and a book of Hyrulian children's fairy-tales, I know she enjoys those."
Her lips curled uncertainly as she paused her rummaging, "I didn't know what Revali liked, so-"
"Some clippers might have been nice," Link muttered under his breath, earning him a scowl from his Princess.
"Actually, I got him a few hollow-tipped arrows. I figured they might be more precise," Zelda explained, "And I don't care much for your own disregard for another among this troupe. You may not be a Champion yourself, Link, but I do expect you to compose yourself as one."
Link gave her a suspicious stare, muted by her further words, "That's an order. and my word as Princess of Hyrule weighs heavily upon the shoulders of each and every one of my soldiers."
His face dropping, those words having been conditioned within him to carry so much weight indeed, Link frowned before releasing an obedient, "Yes, my Princess."
Zelda nodded with a smirk, whipping her pack over her shoulder, "You did say I needed to work on that."
"I didn't mean so soon," Link admitted, turning a peevish, side-long glance toward her accompanying a grin, "What's that old Hylian proverb? Catch an idea without thought and claim yourself a fool?"
"Yeah, you wish that was a proverb," Zelda replied with a scoff that lead seamlessly into a laugh, "I wasn't that sheltered growing up, you know."
Link nodded, "Strolls along the perimeter, guided tours of the town. If 'sheltered' is meaning 'inhibited', I might be more sheltered than you ever were. The life in the barracks leaves little time to appreciate what exactly it is you're preparing to fight, and die, for."
He shrugged, "We're trained to fight regardless, or, if you're like me, you're bred for it. I wasn't born to have options or choices; I was bred to serve. And despite my worry for this quest of yours, I have no intention of deviating from my destiny."
Link's eyes turned to catch Zelda's softened face, a downtrodden expression appearing there, before he concluded, "So long as I'm good enough to be considered a Royal Guard, I will never live to witness the death of you or any of your family. I, myself, will have died before such a thing would ever occur, and even then, as you said, my devotion is such that even my specter would protect you."
Frowning sadly, Zelda wondered aloud, "Don't you ever… I mean, don't-"
"No," Link interrupted, "I don't want anything else."
Zelda lowered her head in thought, missing the smirk stretching across Link's face as he sighed with relief, "But, you know, it makes life that much easier. I wake to serve, and that about cuts it. It's about all I was ever good at, anyway."
"Well," Zelda offered, "You know how to cook."
His eyes wandering, Link grinned, "Okay, maybe I enjoy a few things beyond unflinching dedication to my liege. Journal writing, that's-"
"Oh!" Zelda exclaimed, "What do you write?"
"N-Nothing crazy!" Link quickly interjected, Zelda's enthusiasm causing him worry, "I just write my reports and I empty my thoughts at the end of the day! What did you think I was writing? Vast amounts of poetry or something?"
Zelda's lips twisting in critique as she studied Link's face, forcing him to bite his lip with worry, "What exactly are you…-"
"Nah, you don't seem like the poetry type…" Zelda surmised, slowly, "Though, perhaps you'd be a limerick kind of guy, I don't know."
"Or sonnets!" Zelda went on with excitement, clearly wavering from the path, both physically and vocally, "You know, a royal knight, catching the eyes of some fair maiden in the streets, bound by two futures that cannot possible include one another, yet you both-"
"Hey! S-Stay on the road!" Link reminded with growing desperation, more due to his Princesses continuing outburst of oddities as the two approached Sanadin Park.
He grabbed her and returned her to the proper path, "You know those stories of leaving the path and skeletons burst from the ground to attack-"
"Yes!" Zelda suddenly exclaimed, "Skultullas! You bargain with your King- One hundred Skultulla shells to buy your way out of servitude so that you may-"
"ATTEN-TION!" roared a deeply boisterous voice from ahead of the two, immediately sending Link's arms flying away from Zelda and gluing themselves to his side, standing straight as Zelda turned her attention forward with surprised eyes.
"Captain Ruzoll!" she exclaimed happily, dashing up the ramp that led up to the Park.
The ornately armored man chuckled happily, his deep voice nearly shaking the earth below as much as his large frame did upon dropping from his horse, "Hey, Princess! How're you doin'?"
Zelda dove into him, hugging him tightly as her head narrowly avoided one of the ill-shaped forms atop his chest piece, "I'm doing excellently! We were actually just about to meet with everybody here, but- Why are you here?"
Ruzoll laughed, "Well you left in such a hurry, you forgot to grab something! Care to figure what it might have been?"
His Princess' face gradually scrunched in deepening thought, running over her supplies in her head for a moment before turning to Link, "Did we-?"
Link remained in his static stance, eyes raised toward his Captain with ever-unwavering reverence until Ruzoll noticed the effect he had upon his knight, clearing his throat before assuring, "Oh, come now, boy, at ease; your Princess was asking a question."
Taking a deep breath, Link returned to Zelda with a quick, "No, I made sure we collected everything. Unless there was something I wasn't privy to."
At that, Zelda's head upturned in horror, "My slate!"
"Bingo," Ruzoll laughed heartily, shoving a hand into his pocket, "You wouldn't hush up about it for the previous two weeks, so once your handmaid noticed it having remained, I made it a point to bring Wauf out here, get him a little exercise, see if I could beat you two; though, on foot, I could have probably taken one of the older horses, no problem."
He bent forward to pass off the Sheikah Slate to Zelda, remaining forward to stroke his horse's neck while Zelda giggled happily from Wauf's lazy attempt at sniffing her hair, reaching up to pat his nose, "Hey, Wauf. Thanks so much for taking the time to bring it out here, Captain!"
"No need for thanks, I assure you," Ruzoll nodded, grinning toward Link, "I thought it'd be nice to catch my knight in the field as well. I know the Princess is an adventurous one; she isn't too bad, eh boy?"
Zelda frowned, "Hey, I'm right here!"
Ruzoll released a boisterous laugh, though Link remained stone-faced, raising a fist to cover a cough, subtly hinting toward a far more stoic conversation, though his Captain didn't seem to bother, leaving Link to begrudgingly reply, "It's been fine, Captain. Some unrest to the West, but I've little doubt it's just the Yiga's and the Afeigu vying for territory. If they keep fighting one another, it won't spill out toward the rest of the countryside."
"We'll see that that remains the case," Ruzoll nodded with a far-off stare toward the horizon, "You'll protect this one, correct?"
"From any danger, sir," Link replied mechanically, pounding a fist into his chest, earning him a surprised glance from Zelda.
Ruzoll chuckled mutely, "You're in good hands, Princess. Link is one of our finest. He forged that blade of his on his own, you know."
Link turned his head to hide a blush at openly being commended, though Zelda only smiled with a nod, "Oh, I know he's one of our best. We have many spectacular swordsmen and women, but Link has already proven he can survive me, which is a trait I'm not so sure can be quantified so easily."
She bumped an elbow into his arm playfully, though he remained absent, staring off into the distance to avoid any body's gaze. Zelda only gave a quietly quick giggle before returning her attention back to her Captain of the Guard, bowing courteously as he did the same, lowering his head respectfully.
"Well thank you for time and effort, Captain; I do appreciate-"
"Oh nonsense, it was not a thing," Ruzoll waved his hand in front of himself, "Now, I'll allow you two to get back to your rat killing, as it were. King Rhoam said you had some fascinating plants out there to catalogue; that's why I was so quick to get your little picture-block to you."
Zelda grimaced, "That's what my father said..?"
The Captain frowned, "Did I miss something, my lady?"
"No, no," Zelda groaned, figuring it was easiest to simply go along with her father's grandiose disappointment in her current venture that merely proved his lack of respect for such a thing, "Yes, this slate will prove incredibly handy. Thank you."
Ruzoll slammed a fist into his chest, the clashing of clanking metal echoing through the atmosphere, "On my honor, Princess. May the Goddess Hylia look upon you with favor, and you as well, Link."
Link nodded in thanks at being recognized, leaving Ruzoll to striking his steed with his boots, a massive whinny breaking the air as Wauf hurdled his stallion body up into the air, twisting away and prancing off amidst one final wave goodbye from the Captain, forcing Link to take on an unseen salute before sighing in relief, thankful the Captain hadn't done any further blows to his personage.
His body bolted to attention as Zelda spoke up angrily, "That's all my father could do?! Lie?! How ashamed of his daughter is he?!"
"You must admit that this whole charade is rather difficult to buy into," Link offered blandly.
Zelda bit her lip, "Well, duh, but I'd like to think my father wouldn't disown me in shame were I to truly go insane!"
Sighing in exhaustion, Link simply frowned as he sauntered off up onto the circular park of Sanadin, not wanting to have to give further credence to such crazy thoughts welling up with his Princess' mind. At this, Zelda huffed with frustration, though she continued along as well, her shoulders slumped in disappointment at this news of her father's disdain.
A/N: Okay, so I'm not entirely certain what this story is going to be. It began as another Mipha/Link story, but the story I wanted to tell of them required more backstory to get to it, and then even more backstory, with some tweaking involved, since Nintendo didn't exactly create a story, or lore, nearly as vast as the world its set in, but by that time, it became a whole other story revolving around the Champions as a whole, which I'm not entirely sure I like, since I often have difficultly keeping an ensemble totally equal in terms of content. There will definitely be Mipha/Link content, though I hope it's not overshadowed- perhaps this will be a chance for me to expand upon the Champions, all of whom were quite shallow in terms of character in-game.
So, all in all, I will be remaining as faithful as I can be to the in-game lore, as well as my previous stories, but in all of those cases, I may be switching things up simply for the purposes of allowing this story to actually exist and progress, so hopefully that isn't a massive draw against this story.
From what I've currently conjured up, I've already begun world-building in this chapter, somewhat, but there will come a point, maybe 20-30 chapters in, where I could very well end the story, circling back to the prologue up above, though I could just as easily expand this into a however-long story, given the nature of what I'm probably going to be writing herein. More than likely, I'll ask any readers in a note whether I should stop or continue on xD
Ever since I first played Breath of the Wild, I've always felt it to be so incredibly shallow in terms of story, characters, etc. and all of my fan-fiction set in the game have been to flesh out and/or deepen aspects of a game that I so wish had the same sense of scale in terms of its narrative as its environment. So hopefully, I can do the game itself service while also adding a certain flair to it that might make the game, superficially anyway, seem more deep than it truly is. Simply going in-game to research locales and actual routes therein has added so much meaning to the game itself in my own mind, even making up my own stories for different landmarks or piddling settlements found throughout (like the torn down home near Bloodleaf Lake that I set an entire story around- I always return there just because it now has that much unofficial meaning to me. If my stories can have an iota of the same sort of effect on anybody reading this, I'll be so overjoyed :)
Thanks for reading!