She didn't know how long she'd been standing there trying to make a decision. Her tears had dried on her face. Princess Zelda stared at the body of the man she loved and remembered the warmth of him. She remembered the way he would touch her and how protected she felt in his arms. She remembered his sweet smile and the taste of his kiss. She remembered his soft voice when he told her he loved her and his powerful cry when he was in battle. He was her hero and her husband. Her lover and protector of her kingdom.
Zelda remembered Link's life in a futile attempt to erase his last moments from her mind. He had been captured. The minions of the evil man he had destroyed had come together to get their revenge. Ever since he had defeated Ganondorf people would call on Link to handle any stray monsters that were left. The monsters had been attacking a town and kidnapped a few of the town's people. The monsters knew the people would turn to Link for help. When he came, they overwhelmed him. He managed to free the hostages, but could not get himself free. He was taken to a secret place where he would be tortured until they were ready to kill him.
When word of Link's capture reached the princess she gathered Link's allies and searched for him. Together Auru, Ashei, Rusl, and Zelda found him just as he was about to be executed. Monsters of all kinds had come to see the hero of Hyrule die. Armed with bombs, arrows, and swords the allies descended on the crowd. Within Minutes the executioner was dead and the horde scattered. But one monster was determined to see Link die. He hid himself behind a tree and waited. He stretched his bow as Zelda approached her husband. His cruel arrow split the air and buried itself in her hero's back as she reached for him.
He stumbled. She wrapped her arms around him. "Link, I'm here." She told him. "We're going to take you home."
"Zelda, I missed you." A familiar smile and look of relief graced his face. He hugged her tightly before she laid him down to attend to the wound on his back. She removed the arrow and tightly bandaged the wound. But the arrow was poisoned and her efforts were in vain. He grew weaker even after she gave him some healing potion. She started to panic.
Zelda didn't know what to do. She yelled to the others for ideas, but without knowing what poison it was there was little they could do and time was against them. Amid the turmoil, Link was slipping away. He knew he couldn't fight it. He reached out and took her arm in a light grip.
"It's too late." He said straining to speak. She could see the pain etched on his face and it tore her apart. The poison was working quickly.
"We can get you to a doctor, Link." Rusl spoke up. "We just need you to hold on a little longer."
Link grabbed his friend's hand and squeezed as the pain became more intense. "Th…Thank…you."
"Of course we came." Rusl replied. "We love you."
A smile came back to Links face, the words seeming to ease the pain. Then his eyes went blank and his head leaned toward his wife. She held his hand tightly in hers.
"You must stay with me, Link. I need you."
"I… love… you." One breath. Then Zelda saw the light leave his eyes. She felt his grip go slack.
"Link, please…" she begged. But he had faded from the world. She pulled him into her arms and held him tight as her tears spilled down her face.
That was last week. Since then his body was prepared. The blood was washed away and scars hidden with makeup. Link was dressed in fine clothes of the same green color the hero was famous for wearing. The green tunic he had died in was taken away. It was to be cleaned and mended. Those were the clothes of the hero. They would be preserved in the royal vault.
His body was taken to his home town of Ordon so that everyone could say their goodbyes. Then a royal procession complete with an honor guard took him from Ordon, through Kakariko, and up near the Zora's domain. All along the route the people he had saved and the friends he had made came to pay their respects. Then it was back to the castle for the funeral. And here Princess Zelda stands in her black mourning dress in the royal crypt.
The service was over and the guests had long since left. She was grateful to be alone. She had been graceful and strong since Link died. She had greeted the mourners and graciously accepted their condolences, but she secretly hated them. She hated every villager who called her husband their hero. He had been her hero. She hated every tear they shed. They had caused this pain. She hated their weakness. It was their weakness that had killed the man she loved. It was because of them he had died. Because they could not save themselves, Link had died to save them.
She had been trying to decide what to do. She stood staring at her husband's dead face looking for guidance. Most people would think it strange to know that she looked to him for advice. She was known for her wisdom and insight, but Link was a commoner. He had lived and worked among her people in a way she never had. He could give her insight into what the common people needed and wanted. But that wasn't the advice she was looking for today. She wanted his approval. She needed him to tell her that what she was thinking of doing was justice and not revenge. Somewhere inside her she knew she'd never get his approval, but that part of her that could still think clearly was buried underneath a ton of grief.
"I will make our kingdom safe just like you wanted." She told him.
With those words, she leaned into the coffin and placed a gentle kiss on his head trying to ignore the lack of warmth in his skin. Then Princess Zelda turned and left the crypt allowing for the attendants to finish their work. They would place the stone lid on the coffin and that would be the last anyone would see of him and the princess would never touch her prince again.
Night fell on Hyrule, but in the castle the princess was awake. She held Link's floppy green hat in front of her bedroom mirror. She stared at the ghostly image in front of her as she pulled the hat onto her head, tucking her hair into it. The sight would have brought tears to her eyes had she still had the ability to cry. There was Zelda dressed in his white long-sleeved undershirt, and white tights, a chainmail shirt, and the green tunic he had died wearing. She had taken it before it could be mended. It still held the rips, tears, and blood that told the story of the fight to save the villagers, his imprisonment and torture, and the arrow that finally killed him. She was ready. The princess grabbed a sword she had taken from the armory, threw on a brown cloak and made her way out through a secret door down to the stables.
There she met Epona. The horse was also awake. As she approached the horse neighed and stomped her feet excitedly.
"No girl," Zelda said, trying to calm the horse, "I'm not your master. He's not coming back." Zelda stroked Epona lovingly and the horse recognized her.
"Will you help me tonight?" She asked. "I have some things to do." Epona nodded as if she understood. Zelda saddled the horse and rode off toward Hyrule field.
Zelda rode into Hyrule field searching. She knew the monsters would be out and it didn't take her long to find one; a bokoblin wondering dumbly through the field. Zelda raised her sword infusing it with magical energy as she did so. The sword took on an eerie glow as the princess road toward her prey. The bokoblin turned around at the sound of fast approaching hooves. The creature only had time for one terrifying thought before its head was cut from its body: "It's a ghost."
Her first kill was satisfying. She didn't bother to clean the sword. The dark blood dripped onto the green grass of the field. She stared coldly down at the slain monster. The princess was no stranger to death. She had seen some of her guards fall to Zant when he attacked Hyrule Castle and locked her in a tower. She was even there by Link's side when he killed Ganondorf saving Hyrule and the Twilight realm. She had herself killed a few monsters when she and the others came to rescue Link, but this was different. As she stared at the body in the grass Princess Zelda felt only hate like she had never felt before. That night she was a ghost out for revenge. At every monster she saw, she charged her sword with magic and rained death.
When she finally rode back to Hyrule Castle, she left a trail of dead monsters in her wake. She left Epona in her stall and climbed the secret stairs back to her chambers. She took off her dead husbands clothes and went to bed. In the morning she asked not to be disturbed and everyone believed she was too grief stricken to face her royal duties.
The next night was the same story. Zelda snuck out of the castle and into the stables. She saddled Epona and rode off this time towards the Zora Domain. Here she met a few lizardfoses. She came down on them hard, but it was not an easy battle. They fought with more skill than the previous monsters she had faced, but she remembered what she had been taught and the new moves Link had showed her and she won the fight. This time after she defeated the monsters, she searched them. Zelda remembered the arrow that had killed her husband and she wanted to find the one who had shot it. She stalked the lands near the Zora's Domain and searched each enemy she killed for any sign that they were the murderer she was looking for. Each time she came up with nothing and she was forced to return to the castle empty handed.
The next night there were fewer monsters. Many of them had been killed on the two previous nights and it seemed the rest had gone into hiding. Word of Link's ghost had traveled and the monsters were scared. After searching the land near Lake Hylia she found a few weak monsters she quickly dispatched. As she turned Epona to head back towards the castle an arrow came flying past her face. She looked around and caught sight of something moving in the distance. She lit up her sword and spurred Epona on towards the movement. The glowing sword lit up the darkness.
She chased the monster in to the darkness. It ducked into the forest, zig zaging behind trees and around large rocks. It moved so fast Epona had a hard time keeping up while not crashing into anything. Zelda was afraid she would lose her prey. She focused her magic and shot a bolt from the sword that took down a tree directly in front of the fleeing monster. It tripped and landed flat on its face.
Zelda road up next to it and jumped off Epona with her sword ready. She was not going to attack the monster while it was down. She wanted a real fight. The monster got up slowly and turned around. It was her first clear look at the creature that had murdered her husband. He was a large Bulbin. He had green skin and large white horns that made her think of King Bulbin, who was defeated by Link on more than one occasion. After his last defeat he had left Link alone. They had never heard from him again. Now this new enemy was wearing his armor.
"You killed me." The Princess said in her best impression of Link's voice.
The beast replied in a shaky voice, "You defeat old king. I defeat you I become new king."
"You did not defeat me. You shot me in the back, coward. Face me now!"
She attacked. The terrified Bulbin jumped back and took out a large knife to defend himself as best he could. His fear of the Hero's ghost made him a weaker fighter. The Bulbin spent most of his time defending and his attacks were sloppy.
Finally a bolt of energy from her sword knocked him back against a tree. As he struggled to get up, Zelda cornered him with her sword at his throat. Her eyes were cold as she stared down at him. She saw the fear and pain in his eyes as she pushed the sword into his throat. She watched his choking and gasping for air. She watched the life leave his eyes just as she had with Link.
It is over. Her revenge is complete.
The thought haunted her mind. Link's killer was dead, but nothing had changed. She was still alone. She wondered back to the castle only half aware of what was going on around her. Zelda went back through the secret passage to her room and slept most of the day away.
The Princess continued like this for a week. She left the castle at night exacting revenge on any monsters she could find. She fought hard, but with little regard for how each battle ended. She returned bruised, battered, and exhausted. Selene, her trusted friend and advisor asked time and again what she had done in the night to return so beaten up, but the Zelda offered no answer. The princess walked through her life much like a ghost. She was barely seen in court and the running of the kingdom fell to the council.
One morning she returned from the night's battles early and was in her bed long before the dawn. She had been unable to find anything worthy to fight. She satisfied her need for blood on some oversized rats and went home.
She drifted in an empty sleep for some hours until she felt something soft and warm on her face. Instinctively she reached up to brush it away without opening her eyes. Whatever it was, left her face only to return again a moment later. This time on her nose. She felt the brief, gentle touch and then a sound. A kiss?
Zelda's eyes shot open. Who would dare come into her room and touch her so intimately?
She gasped. Unable to speak, she just stared. His familiar face greeted her warmly.
"Good morning, love."He said. It was his voice, but it couldn't be him.
"Who are you?" She asks backing away from him.
"It's me, Link." He said. It sounded like him, it looked like him, and in the way he backed away to make her feel more at ease it moved like him.
"This must be a dream. You're dead."
"I'm not sure what this is actually. I just needed to see you." Zelda walks slowly over to her husband. Slowly she raises her hand to touch his face. His skin is warm and alive just like she remembered. She's dreamed of him many times since his death, but nothing was ever so real. She was close enough now to him to smell the grass on his clothes.
Link takes her hand in his to bring her back to the present. "Zelda, you have to stop what you are doing."
"I've only done what I had to do to keep our kingdom safe."
"My love, you are destroying yourself." He said with genuine concern on his face. "I fear that you will be joining me far too soon."Zelda sits herself down on her bed.
"I would welcome it." She replied. Her eyes were glued to the floor. "I cannot face this world alone anymore."
"Don't say that." He snapped. "You are so much stronger than this. Our people need you."
"To hell with 'our people'." Zelda almost yelled the words.
"You don't mean that. You are devoted to the people."
"Look what that devotion got us Link. You're dead and I'm alone."
"Do you remember what I told you before I left?" He asked. The princess didn't answer. She knew what he was talking about.
"I said that I had accepted my destiny. I gave up fear of death and pain because I knew what I was fighting for was so important. No matter what we may have wanted for our lives, we were chosen to protect this land and I carried my duty proudly."
Zelda began to cry.
"What about me?" She said sadly. "You chose your duty over me."
"I could never choose anything over you. Protecting you was part of my duty. The most important part. My life belonged to the goddesses, but my heart was always yours."
He leaned in and kissed her like he used to. Like there was nothing wrong. His lips were soft and warm. She wrapped her arms round him holding his body close to hers. Zelda wanted to believe he was still alive. When the kiss ended she rested her head on his chest. The illusion faded. There was no heartbeat.
"Zelda, my princess, you are strong. You are not alone."
A knock on the door.
"My love is always with you." Link reassured her.
"Princess?" A voice came from behind the door.
Zelda ignored the knocking on the door and focused on Link. His form began to fade.
"You are leaving." Zelda stated sadly.
"I've said all I needed to say. Now it's up to you, my love." With each passing second he became more and more transparent.
"I will not see you again, will I?"
"Hopefully not for a very long time. I will be waiting for you in the next world." With those last words Link disappears.
The knocking comes again. "Princess Zelda, are you awake?"
"Yes." She finally replies. "Come in."
Into Zelda's bedroom walks her friend and advisor Selene.
"Good morning, your majesty. I apologize for waking you, but the council needs your input on an important matter." The words fly out in a blur. "They've been gathered together in the council chambers for an hour arguing. I wasn't going to disturb you majesty, but…" Selene stops when she realizes her princess is not listening. Zelda is staring straight ahead at the hallowed ground where her husband had stood.
The advisor moves closer to her friend and notices the wetness on her face.
"Oh Majesty. Are you all right? I can tell the council to adjourn for the day if you like."
Zelda wipes the tears from her eyes and smiles at her friend.
"There is no need for that Selene. I am fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Are you questioning the word of your princess?"
"My princess has not been herself lately."
"There is no need for you to be concerned, Selene. I have finally come back to myself. I am ready to return to my duties. You may inform the council that I will be joining them shortly"
A smile comes to Selene's face. She is happy to have her princess back.
Thanks for Reading. Let me know what you think. Does it need anything added or taken out? How do you feel about it?