When Link turned 16, he knew what he wanted to be.
"I want to be a knight," Link said during dinner one night while they were eating. "I want to follow in dad's footsteps and serve the Kingdom. I want to protect everyone in this Kingdom, not just my family. Everyone."
Larkin simply smiled and ruffled his son's hair the best he could. "That's my boy," he grinned proudly and Dovina was uncertain. "I'll sign you up with the Captain. I should have your answer soon enough."
"Are you sure this is what you want?" asked Dovina, gazing at her son with the worry only a mother could ever master. Link nodded firmly; he wanted to follow his dad in terms of career. He loved wielding a sword; being a knight would ensure he could protect the Kingdom.
That's what he wanted to do; protect.
His first full day on the job and it was all about learning and getting him suited up. Larkin was off doing his rounds, which meant Link was left in the hands of the second best guard on the job; Christian. The man was strict and didn't leave any room for error. He threw the guard uniform at Link along with the hat and demanded he get changed before turning around to shuffle around some paperwork.
Link swallowed before changing out of his clothes and into the uniform, placing on the hat for the finishing piece.
When Christian turned back around, he clicked his tongue before tipping the hat a little before nodding, shoving white gloves into Link's arms and watched as he slipped them on. Link watched and listened carefully as Christian went over the typical duties everyone went through. His stomach turned nervously as he licked his lips, watching as he went over the papers before sighing heavily; wishing the Captain was here at the moment instead of being outside training the new recruits.
"You'll be patrolling everyday."
"But don't I need to train before I do anything?"
"Larkin never mentioned his son was a total stick up the ass and a know-it-all. Didja get daddy's smarts along with his talents for wielding a sword? We already saw you playing with Princess Zelda all day along when you were kids, we didn't need ya signing up for the job to protect her."
"She didn't like me."
"What do you mean? You two were always running around like you owned the world. Of course, she liked ya."
Link shook his head as he rubbed the back of his neck. He could remember all the times when Zelda said to leave her alone; how she didn't need to be around him and how she could be on her own. The first time had been after Lady Julia's death; he had thought she needed someone to comfort her over the loss of her mother, but when he tried to hug her, she pushed him away and demanded to be left alone. After that, they were no longer friends.
"She never liked me. The only reason why she had to was because our mothers were friends."
"I see. Well, then, good. It'll make you focus on your job a lot better."
Link nodded as he stood firmly and tall; the perfect knight, just like his father taught him before this day had come.
Christian slapped him on the shoulder, making him stumble a little. "I can clearly see Larkin in ya; the stance says it all."
"I always mimicked dad when I was younger," Link explained, making sure his features remained neutral. "He spent much time last night to make sure I had the stance down along with the salute."
"Good. Larkin's a good man when it comes to his job."
Link nodded in agreement. "Sir, will all due respect, surely I should be given a tour of the castle, correct? I don't remember the layout perfectly as I haven't stepped foot in the castle in a long time."
Christian gave him a look; up and down.
"You seem genuine about that. Alright, recruit. I'll give ya the tour of the castle, but this is the only time you'll be getting one."
Link gave him a sharp nod. "Yes, sir. I understand. I'm a quick learner and I'm able to memorize things quickly; I have no doubt I won't need another tour."
"He even taught you how to speak like a knight."
"He taught me all I needed to know."
He clicked his tongue at the sixteen year old before shaking his head.
"Come this way, recruit. You'll want to be done with this tour by the time Captain wants to welcome you into Knighthood officially."
"When Captain greets you, you get down on one knee like he's the King," instructed Christian as he eyed the recruit behind him as they walked. While the Captain might not be as important as King Rhoam, he was still important.
Link nodded as he walked straight forward, remaining neutral throughout the way. "Yes, sir," he replied.
"The real challenge is to gain the others' trust, approval, and make them know you can't be bossed around by lower status knights."
At that mention, Link winced when he remembered his father's stories about being at the bottom of the ladder when it came to knighthood and guard hood; the new recruits were always bossed around. You had to make sure they understood you weren't going to boss around, even if it took you getting into trouble.
"Whenever his highness approaches you, you bow and be respectful."
"Yes, sir," Link agreed as that one was a given no matter what. His parents had drilled the respectful nature into him at a young age. Julia always called him a true gentleman.
"You are also to be respectful to Princess Zelda. She is our future Queen, after all."
Link stiffened slightly at the name but nodded, "Yes, sir," he replied emotionless. He had to be the type where he took his job seriously and he was going to be just that. His father always said to take the job seriously and he was going to do so.
There would be no room for error.
The tour was the type where he expected. He was shown all around the castle and where he would be patrolling once he was welcomed by the Captain and after he proved himself with a sword against him, of course. All knights went through the same test; prove themselves with a weapon and they were granted access to their patrols and other duties.
If they failed, they would train until they felt certain they could win or if the Captain deemed them ready to begin their duties.
During the tour, they had ran into Princess Zelda and immediately, Link fell to his knee, shocking both her and Christian as he bowed respectfully with his head down. He waited until he heard her say he could raise and he rose respectfully and slowly, keeping his eyes on her with nothing but professionalism behind them. Christian looked shocked but smiled proudly as he nodded.
Taking a step forward, Link took one of Zelda's hands and kissed it gently in greeting; like a true gentleman, Julia had said, and a true gentleman always kisses a lady's hand when he greets them.
"Good Morning, Princess Zelda," Link greeted respectfully and formally. "Due be careful wherever you're off to."
Zelda quickly looked away and huffed but inside, she was shocked to see this was the boy she had grown up with. "Of course I will be," she hissed out bitterly. "I'm always careful. After all, I'm not a child."
Christian stepped in. "Of course, your majesty!" he chuckled, watching as Link stood tall and firm; like a perfect knight. "The new recruit here was just reminding you like your father wishes you to be."
With a huff, Zelda stormed off and the tour resumed.
The tour finally came to an end after an hour or so, afterwards they headed down to the courtyard where the knights were training and Link noticed the Captain easily. He stood out of everyone else.
Link pointed to him. "Is that the Captain?" he asked, voice low enough so only Christian could hear him. "He stands out above everyone else."
"He leads both the knights and guards, but they're like the same thing but under different names."
Link nodded as they walked up, allowing Christian to speak for the both of them.
"Sir! I've brought the new recruit like you asked. Larkin's boy; Link."
"Ah, yes, I can clearly see him in this boy. He looks good in the uniform," the Captain noted before smirking. "I think you outdo everyone else in terms of looks here; you got Larkin's good looks."
"Thank you, sir."
"You're also respectful! Larkin and Dovina raised you well."
"They did, sir," Link replied, happy to know the Captain respected his parents like he respected them. His parents were well known in the town; who couldn't know the Knight known as Larkin with his wife, Dovina?
Captain folded his arms. "Before you get into the knighthood, you'll be starting off as a guard, hence the uniform; that's how it works."
"I understand, sir. My mother probably wanted that too."
"Good woman; I understand why she's worried about you. You're her baby and Larkin is her husband; the risks of dying on duty are great when it comes to traveling around outside the Castle Town. Especially when an attack happens."
"An attack, sir?"
The Captain nodded as he looked upwards.
"There's going to be people who are going to try and kill King Rhoam and Princess Zelda; it's up to us to protect them with our lives, and if we have to die during an attempt, so be it."
"I'll gladly protect them."
The Captain smiled proudly as he nodded with approval, happy to know Link was willing to lay down his life for the royals. That was something he looked for in his new recruits and if they displayed that, they were in.
"Sir, if I may ask a question," Link started, and when the Captain nodded, he continued on, "— I understand there's a test recruits have to go through?"
"Ah, the question that's always asked. No worries, it'll be when your ready. My advice? Practice first, it'll be a help; no one passes on their first try. There's no pressure if you fail the first time around."
Link nodded. "I understand, sir."
Christian nudged him, which gained him a look.
"Sir, aren't you forgetting something? Link needs to be welcomed into the family."
"Ah, yes, of course," the Captain nodded, taking out his sword, placing it in front of him.
Christian patted Link on the shoulder.
"Down you go, kid," Christian said.
"Right, yes, sir."
Link was quick to get down on his one knee while the other remained up, placing his arm on it while the other hung down by his body, his head bowed respectfully and immediately, Christian saw the same knight back in the hallway where they had run into Princess Zelda.
This would be interesting.
"You swear to protect the royal family and the Kingdom with your life?" asked the Captain, voice stern and firm.
"Yes," Link answered.
"Even if you die?"
As the welcoming ceremony went on, Christian watched as the others whispered amongst themselves about Larkin's boy and knew straight away they would make it hard for him; but if he shared Larkin's unbreakable spirit, then there would be nothing to make Link turn away from this.
"Rise up, boy."
Christian nearly blinked in shock at how fast the ceremony went because the next thing he knew, the Captain placed his sword away into its chamber on his waist and looked him up and down.
"Welcome into this family of ours," he nodded.
Link smiled. "Thank you, sir."
"Don't let me down."
"I won't, sir."
Someone from the crowd laughed as the next comment came forward and it looked like it hit home in Link's chest.
"Don't let your dad down!"
Link visibly winced. "I won't."
The Captain shook his head as he passed by. "Ah, just ignore 'em. Go get a weapon, boy, and make sure it fits you right. Then, get to work at the dummies."
As Link ran off to find himself a weapon, Christian stood beside his friend, and arched an eyebrow at him.
"He's not going to survive, is he?" he asked slowly, it was only loud enough for his friend to hear.
The Captain shook his head. "Nope," he replied. "The others are gonna tear him apart."
"Unless he shows 'em who's boss."
"Point taken, Chris."
As Link rushed past them with a sword in his hand, they watched as he began hitting the dummy after he made sure his weight was evened out. Both watched, impressed, at the skills he displayed. Christian shook his head; the Captain huffed.
That was Larkin's boy alright.
Note: In this, all new recruits start off at the guard level and make their way upwards to the Knight level. Link strives to gain that level like his father has, but will achieve it much slower than his dad did; Larkin's skill was considered the best back then and still is, so obviously they're going to be comparing Link to his father due to said skill.
Yet Larkin could never wield the Master Sword, he has tried to pull it but never managed to; everyone at a certain point tries to pull the sword where it slumbers. King Rhoam made it necessary for the guards and knights to try because of the prophecy set in stone from Demise's curse at the end of Skyward Sword.