Broken Hearts, Broken Dreams
by Archone

Papers. Papers run a kingdom. Taxes, expenditures, logistics, spreadsheets for a thousand and one things. Without the papers to print them on, nothing gets done.

That doesn’t make them any easier to look at.

I was sitting in my study, staring at sheaves on the latest developments in Hylian technology. All of them printed out on the newly developed presses. This one, a description of an improvement to the sails of seagoing vessels. More power, more speed. Another, a minor improvement in agriculture. “Minor” meaning that grain would be a few rupies cheaper, come the harvest. Minor to a king, not to a peasant. This one…

I tossed the papers down on my desk, sighing heavily. Things are getting better, all over. Except in the palace. With…

Don’t think of them. It hurts to think of them.

I stared blankly, my gaze directed inward. Call for a bottle?

No. One hangover was enough. This problem won’t be washed down with drink.

There’s nothing inside me, anymore. No joy. No sadness. Just a dull ache…

“Link?” I heard the voice, and relaxed slightly. SHE was always good for me…

Impa came to stand next to the desk, holding a silver tray. “I brought you some tea, your Majesty,” she told me, gently setting the tray down. She lifted the porcelain teapot, poured into a cup. I inhaled the delicious fragrance. It almost felt better. Almost.

“Thanks, Impa,” I sighed. I looked down at the tray. At the plate next to the teapot. I smiled.



Step forward, diagonal cut to the shoulder. Deflect counter cut with shield, bind opponent’s blade with shield, horizontal cut to leg. Step back, knock thrusting sword to side, moulinet to wrist.


I shifted my gaze towards the cutting targets, away from the inward focus of shadow sparring. The cutting targets were fashioned from bundles of straw, in the shapes of humanoids in battle stances. Perfect for practicing cutting.

Swordsmanship requires far more of the practitioner than the axe, spear, or mace. Merely hacking with the edge is not enough; nor is merely sliding the sharp edge across the target sufficient. A proper cut is a combination of both, a perfect blend of forces to effect the desired result. This takes practice. A novice cutting a target would knock it off it’s pedestal and crush the stalks without severing them; a skilled swordsman would slice through the target without disturbing the lower portion.

Ganon got off on casual destruction. Let’s see what it feels like.

“Bring me more targets,” I ordered the sergeant at arms, standing to one side respectfully, in case I desired anything. Then I stepped up to the nearest target, and lashed out.

Beautiful. The keen edge of my sword sliced through the “wrist” of the straw man, sending it spinning to the ground. A backhand cut the midsection in twain, while a moulinet cut the upper half even as it fell. I moved onto the next target, began a rapid triple moulinet combo. Diagonally from right to left. Diagonally from left to right. Final moulinet twirling the sword overhead for a horizontal cut. The head and arms and upper torso fell away in three separate pieces.

And on to the next “victim”…

By the time I’d cut the last target, the sergeant had already returned with additional straw bundles. As he raced before me to set up the targets, I sliced them apart, lopping off arms and legs and heads and bisecting torsos, my teeth bared in a fighting grimace, breathing through my teeth and nose, lips drawn back to prevent a possible cut lip.

And yet, without anger. No anger, no battle stress, no delight in destruction.


I came at last to a pedestal without a straw target, only the ruined stump of one. I whirled to confront the sergeant, who backed away hastily. “None left, my lord,” he gasped out, fearing my wrath. I stared at him for a moment, then turned away.

My sword hand raised to the sky, and I summoned the power of lightning itself. The bolts flew from my raised blade to the fallen bundles, the dry vegetation instantly ablaze. I burned the straw until nothing remained on the cutting grounds save the clay pedestals, scorch marks pitting their surface.

Still nothing in me. Just the dull ache.

And physical exhaustion, of course.

I wiped my blade on my tunic, then sheathed it. Noting the red smears on the handle, I glanced at my hand, sticky with blood.

I guess I overdid it, this time.

A simple spell healed my abused hand, and I wiped the handle with my tunic.

You have to take care of your sword. Then it can take care of you.

You can trust your sword, if you take good care of it…


Back in my study again, reading intently. This time, I had a treatise on magic, instead of banal reports. Enchantments. Infusing solid objects with magical energies. Permanent spells, set in stone, steel, silver, or crystal. And, of course, Gold.

Gold for a king. Gold for the Triforce.

Impa gently knocked on the door to announce her presence. I grunted in acknowledgement, and she brought in the tea service. She set it down, next to the open tome, and poured the soothing infusion into my cup. I nodded in thanks.

She began to turn away, then hesitated. “Link…? Do you need anything else?”

I didn’t say anything. She peered at me until she decided I wasn’t going to answer, then turned away.


She turned back. “Yes, Link?”

“Can you…” I shut my eyes.

“Can you make me feel again?”

“Oh… Link…” She wrapped her arms around me from behind, rested her wrinkled face on my back.

“Oh, Link…” she sighed, clutching me with surprising strength in her old body. “My poor, poor boy. I would, if I only knew what to do.”

I stared straight ahead, feeling her comforting embrace. Yet it couldn’t penetrate past the surface. Couldn’t reach my cold, empty inside.

Why can’t I cry?



Hours, lying there, in my soft, sumptuous bed. Staring at the ceiling.

I’d cry myself to sleep, but the tears just won’t come.


Zelda. Zelda the XVII. The first I’d rescued. The first I’d loved. The first to hurt me. I stared at her, wondering what she wanted now. How badly it would hurt.

“May I speak with you?”

I didn’t answer. She took silence for assent, and sat on the edge of my bed. I tensed slightly.

Not another seduction attempt…

“I came… I came to…” She swallowed, started again. “I came to apologize.”

“Why?” My voice was barely a croak. She felt the subtle inflections, flinched.

“When… when you rescued me…” She blinked back tears, looked away.

“All my life, I’ve read tales of heroes and princesses.” Her words were quiet, free from innuendo. Honest.

I’ve been waiting for a little honesty.

“The heroes were always so handsome. Big and strong, with beautiful smiles. They’d slay the monster, then take the princess into their muscular arms…” She sighed, smiled bitterly.

“And then I needed rescuing. And a kid showed up.”

“I slayed a lot of monsters for you,” I pointed out.

“But you LOOKED like a kid,” she rejoined. “You did more for me than those fictional men ever did for their ladies. You killed FOUR dragonkin, Two Gleeoks. Two Aquamentus. And you recovered the Triforce.”

“But I didn’t look like a hero.”

“No.” She sniffled. “I was such a idiot. All my life, I’d striven not to fall into the cliché of the spoiled, self centered princess. And yet when the time came, I was shallow and narrow minded as any rich brat. You were everything I could want… you just didn’t look like it…” She trailed off.

“So now what?” I demanded.

“I… I know I hurt you, Link,” she was crying openly, now. “I’d make it up to you. I just don’t how.”

She looked up at me, her face ravaged with tears, snuffling from a stuffy nose. “Tell me how to make it up to you, Link.”

I stared back into those eyes, free at last of disdain. Of manipulation. Of deceit. Honest at last.

Honesty deserves honesty.

I gave it to her.

“I don’t know,” I answered her, simply and truthfully. My eyes elaborated, in terrible eloquence.

I have nothing else to tell you. I don’t know what you can do, Zelda. I love you. Even after everything you did, I still love you.

But I don’t know how things can ever be right between us.

She sprang from the bed, streaming tears and snot, all maidenly decorum forgotten in her grief.

As her footsteps receded, I lay back against my soft, plushy pillows, and stared up at the ceiling. My eyes were dry. Dead eyes.

They closed.



The other Zelda, this time. The second princess I’d saved. The one who’d declared war on my heart, but couldn’t see past the image of the hero who would be king.

I grimaced in sudden insight. One princess had loved the inner me, but disdained my outer form, while the other loved the external trappings without knowing the man inside.

“What is it?”

She heard the weariness in my voice, stopped. She swallowed, hard, then took a deep breath to resume. “I… I thought you might like… to… to play some pool, my lord.”

I turned in my chair, stared at her.

This is new.

She was still wearing one of those delicate velvet dresses that conceals yet displays, at the same time. But her hands, sheathed in long gloves of matching velvet, were holding a pair of cue sticks. I cocked an eyebrow at her, inquiringly.

“I… wanted to learn, Link. To see you as you truly are.” She swallowed, blushed. “Not as I want you to be.”

I glanced at the cue stick in her hand. It sounded like fun, but… “You might not like what you see.”

She set her jaw in a more determined appearance. “I ask for the chance to find out.”

All right.



The 9-ball fell into the pocket, even as the other fourteen came to rest. “I sunk a striped ball,” I explained. “That means I have to sink all the other striped balls, too. Then I have to sink the 8-ball.”

“So is it my turn, now?” she asked.

“No. I shoot until I miss. Then you get to shoot.”

“All the solid balls?”

“Yes. We’re also supposed to call out our shots before we make the attempt.”

“12-ball, side pocket.” The cue ball connected… and the ball gently ricocheted off the corner of the pocket. “I missed. Your turn.”

“So… I hold the stick like this?”

“Um… you’re introducing too many variables, Zelda. Too many parts are moving. Here…” I gently took her hand, configured it so that the palm and last three fingers rested on the edge of the table, the forefinger and thumb pointed in an L shape. “This stays put. It doesn’t move. The forefinger points at the ball. Thumb points up and away. Now, you rest the cue stick right… there.” I guided the stick so that it rested in the crook between thumb and finger. “There. Now, it’s just a straight motion. Nice and smooth. Back and forth, don’t sway to the side, don’t dip or rise.” I moved her arm to simulate the motion. “Relax. If you’re tense, you’ll tremble, ever so slightly. A relaxed arm is a steady hand.”

“Oh…” She continued the motion once I’d released her. “I think I’ve got it. And I hit… how hard?”

“Depends on the shot. You want just enough power to sink the ball, without sending the cue ball flying all over the place.”

“Hm. So what should I shoot at?”

“Well…” I looked at the table. “The 4-ball looks like the best shot. It’s right next to the pocket, so you just have to nudge it in. And it’s a nice, clean shot, without any other balls in the way.” She nodded, set up, shot… and missed. “That’s okay. If you’ve never been bad, you won’t know when you’re good.” I set up my shot.

“I’m going to go for the 13-ball. You see how there’s another ball between them?” She nodded. “So I have to bounce the cue ball off the other wall. That means math. I have to figure out the right angle, to make a triangle with the cue ball at one point, the side pocket at the other, and the 13-ball on a line between the far point and the pocket’s point. That would be…” I leaned over the table, held out my cue stick to measure. “About… there.” I pointed. Then I shot. “And we have a winner.”

Zelda smiled. I smiled back. Then I pointed again. “And see, I’m in position to sink the 10-ball, now. That’s why I didn’t take another shot at the 12. I wouldn’t have had many clear shots, after that.”

Her eyes lit as her mouth made an “O” of inspiration. “It’s about control, isn’t it? You’re always thinking, about what shot to take next. How much force to use, and where. It’s… it’s like being a ruler.”

I blinked. Then I nodded, slowly. “I think you’re right. I never looked at it, that way.” I glanced down at the table. “Maybe that’s why Ganon likes it so much.”

“Why do you like him so much?” Zelda demanded, suddenly. “What does he give you?”

I glanced at her. “Honesty. It’s always been straightforward between us. When we were enemies, he didn’t try to flatter me; he just sent Moblins to hunt me down.” I set the stick down, grabbed my tankard of beer. “Then, when he started appearing in my dreams, he would listen to me, when I described my problems. And laugh at me.”

“And you liked that?”

“Normal guy behavior. We laugh at each other’s pain. It was… male bonding, you could say. Now we have an understanding.”

“You trust him?” Incredulity in her voice.

“To go for my throat if I seem weak? Certainly. But he knows I’m stronger than he is, so he respects me. And having me as a friend gives him a measure of power, as well.”

“So his friendship depends on what you can do for him?”

“Most relationships are that way. Mutual gain. I get a measure of peace, in the kingdom. As long as Ganon rides herd on his people, I don’t have to.” I reclaimed my stick. “10-ball, side pocket. Now I have to hit it at an angle, not dead on. Just… like…” Tap. Clink. Thunk. “So.”

“So what was it like, growing up?” she asked. “Where did you learn to fight?”

“On the job training.” I took another sip of beer. “I’m an orphan. Foresters took me in, taught me the trade. Taught me to shoot a bow, hunt, fish, track.”

“And the sword?”

“Not really. Most peasants couldn’t afford good swords. What I learned I picked up along the way, mostly. The woods people gave me swords. My first one was an old thing with pitted steel and nicks in the edge. About par with it’s wielder. On my second quest, I found a couple of swordsmen who taught me more advanced skills.” I missed my next shot, and Zelda took her turn.

“Um… the two… I think…” Thunk! “I did it!” she squealed. I smiled, nodded. She immediately set upon the next ball, before missing her third shot. “So who taught you to read?” she asked, when I moved to take my turn.

“Impa. While we were in hiding. When I found my first magic wand, and wanted to learn how to use it. Whenever we stayed with one of the woods people.”

Zelda thought about that, for a bit. “Where did you sleep?”

“In caves, mostly. Or in trees. When it’s not raining, a tree bough makes a pretty comfy bed. It helps if you have a blanket, though. For when the wind blows.”

She spent some time absorbing that. “Your turn.”

She paused, before taking her shot. “I… I never thought about how commoners live, before.”

“What about the servants?”

“I… no.” She blushed, embarrassed. “I don’t even know their names. Except for Impa’s.”

She flushed more deeply, soaking in the shame of her failing. Then she turned to take her shot.

“We call that a scratch,” I told her.


“This just arrived for you, my lord.” The page dropped to one knee, holding aloft a scroll sealed with wax. I took the scroll from him, and glanced at the seal imprint. “Hmm. A letter from Ganon.” I sniffed the parchment, before I broke the seal and unfurled it. “He’s been busy, I see. This was a Blue Goriya’s skin.”

The page paled. “S-skin, Your Majesty?”

“Yep. The ink looks like blood, too.” I glanced down at the trembling lad. “Thank you, Gerry. Go get something to eat. I’ll call if I need anything.”

Gerry nodded and fled, half walking, half running.

“Good kid…” I read the message from my oh so trustworthy friend.

“If you are reading this, Link, then those two sluts haven’t driven you to suicide or madness, yet. Hah! I slay me…”

“Actually, that’s my job…” I murmured. I continued.

“Seriously, Link, you should dump them both, and get yourself a nice fat harem. What can a princess offer, that a gaggle of busty peasant girls can’t?”

Good point…

“As for me, it’s time for bloodshed, not pleasures of the flesh. Most of the Blue Goriya clan is dead or in hiding. It’s just a matter of time, before I’ve finished the last of them. My hordes will learn to fear me, once again.

“Most of my minions once again accept my rule. As well, my allegiance to you. They’ve remembered my awesome power, and the might you possess yourself. It is no shame to bow before one mightier than oneself. As long as I can still have my foot on someone’s neck while I kneel before you, I can remember my place.

“How have your advancements, been? Have any of your followers invented a “gun,” yet? Or a “computer?” Seriously, though… as humorous as the concepts seem… I worry. Your kingdom is rich. Far richer than Hyrule has ever been, since the last time I was defeated and the Dark World dissipated. I, too, see the advancements, and wonder where they will lead. Will there still be a place, in this future being created, for such as you and I? At least I shall continue to write by hand, while I can. Setting blocks to type for a press cannot compare to writing a scroll with rich red blood and a quill pen, for sheer visceral pleasure.

“It’s been only a few months, since we parted. Months of war and slaughter. My tusks drip with blood from my kills, my hands have torn the life from screaming victims, and my belly is swollen with their flesh. I am having the time of my life. Wish you were here.


Ganon, Lord of Darkness, reluctant vassal of the Hylian King”

I chuckled darkly. I could always trust Ganon to be straightforward, in our dealings. Hmm…

He had a point about the advancements in Hyrulian technology. I glanced at the reports. Every day, it seemed, something new was developed. More food, more wealth, more comfort. Even the woods people no longer shivered from the cold. Now, their cave shelters held metal stoves for cooking and warmth. They heated their insides with hot tea, and the women baked warm loaves of sourdough while the men hunted for meat and skins.

And what hand had I had, in all of this?

I looked at the book I’d been reading, the magical treatise. Then back at the reports.



The arrow quivered slightly in the center of the target. Surrounding it, a host of it’s brethren, their brightly colored fletchings testifying to the hours spent practicing my aim. Beside me, the sergeant approached with a fresh quiver. Detatching the emptied box from my hip, I grabbed the offered container and resumed firing. My fingers grasped an arrow, fitted it to string. Drew.

My eyes focused on the bullseye. My breath drew in, held. Time stood still.

And resumed, as I loosed, exhaling as my fingers released. The arrow shot forward, straight and true, landing in the target and shaving the fletchings off several of the arrows surrounding it.

Again, I fired. My mind saw nothing but the target, my problems forgotten, my worries ceased. The arrow split the shaft of another.

Again. Just like pool. Control. Precision. Cool under pressure. When I shoot my bow, or when I play pool, I feel a measure of peace, not granted to me in the rest of my day.

I finally lowered the bow, handing it to the sergeant with trembling fingers. After an entire morning spent shooting, my arms felt like limp noodles, exhausted from the effort of drawing the heavy bow, again and again. “Thank you, Johnson.”

“At your service, my lord. Your quiver, my lord?”

I handed it to him. “Johnson?”

“My lord?”

“I’m sorry about the other day.”

“I… no apology is necessary, my lord.”

“Yes. Yes it is. I have a lot of problems, right now. That doesn’t give me the right to take it out on you.”

“If I may be so bold, Your Majesty, you took it out on the targets, not on myself.”

“Huh.” I shook my head, ruefully. “Well, I think I’ll go break for lunch. That will be all, lieutenant.”

“I’m only a-”

“Dismissed. Lieutenant.”

He blinked, then broke into a foolish grin. “Yes, my lord. Thank you, my lord.” Salute, about face, and he was off.

I should get going, too. That food won’t eat itself…


One of the advantages of a wealthy kingdom is having enough food that no one need go hungry. One of the advantages of being king of a wealthy kingdom, is you get first dibs. The rest of the castle would be eating chicken based dishes for lunch. All so that I could have the wings of a half dozen chickens to nibble on.

I worked long and hard to get my fingers nice and sticky. A delicious honey glaze-another benefit of being a king. Honey and other luxuries, on demand. Although, I had enjoyed it as a woodsman, as well. When you live in a forest, you learn how to deal with bees and beehives very quickly. Still, it’s nice to eat honey I wasn’t stung over. And the cooks really know how to purify the honey and mix it into a glaze, too.

The door opened. I glanced up, and my grimy face smiled in greeting. Impa nodded her head in return, setting a considerably larger platter on the table. Then she whipped out a bowl of water, for washing my fingers, and I grimaced. “I knew I forgot something.”

Impa cackled. “You should know better by now, Link.” She picked up another wing, began nibbling daintily. I smiled, grabbed another drumette, and tore away with my teeth.

“I wonder what Ganon is eating, today?” I grinned at her.

“Don’t make me lose my appetite.” Impa shuddered delicately.

We ate some more wings, drank some beer to wash them down.

After a while, I finally broached the subject. “What am I going to do about the princesses?”

Impa swallowed heavily. “They both love you, you know.”

“I know.”

“They’d both make it up to you, if they only knew how.”

“I wish I knew how.” I sighed. Underneath the banter, the polite smiles, the savoring of fresh meat, I was still as hollow and empty as I’d been for weeks. “I wonder…” I trailed off.

Impa waited, until it became obvious I needed prodding. “Yes?”

I took a deep breath, and let out the hidden fear. “I just wonder… if anybody else will ever… love me. Someday.”

Impa didn’t respond for a while. Just when I’d decided to let it pass as a rhetorical question, she answered.

“Someone already does.”

As the possessor of the Triforce of Wisdom, I retain the insight to manage my kingdom towards prosperity and peace, if not always without headaches or doubt. Though such power seemed to be lacking when it comes to wisdom of my personal path in life, I still retained an amazing ability to sense the glaringly obvious.

“Impa…” I didn’t look at her. Didn’t want to look. I was afraid what I’d see in her eyes, afraid that she’d see something akin to it in my own. “You’re old enough… to be my…”

“Do you think that matters, to a woman’s heart?” Her voice was quietly regretful. “Our bodies grow old, Link- but we’re still women. When I picture myself, in my mind, I don’t see the old hag that you do.”

“You’re no hag-”

“Flatterer.” I could see the smile, from the corner of my eye. “In my mind, I’m the girl I was. I was beautiful, you know. If you’d known me then, you could never have resisted my charms. I don’t have wrinkles, on the inside. I have smooth, silky skin, that you could caress all day. My hair is the color of midnight. My eyes are dark. Men used to write poetry to me, about them. They said they were like pools of enchantment, from which there was no escape.”

“A raven haired temptress.” I smiled, imagining it. “How long have you loved me?”

Impa shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. You were never meant for me.” She sighed. “Yet, I would see you happy. True love isn’t selfish, Link- it’s wanting the best for the one you love. Zelda, Zelda, myself… we’re in pain, because we see your unhappiness, and we don’t know what to do, to make it better.”

She picked up another wing, held it out to me. “But at least I can give you this,” she added, in a forcibly cheery voice.

I took the wing, and didn’t say it.

I think I love you, too.


The Triforce hovered above my head, circling about my brow. The royal crown, for the King of Hyrule. Before me, a crystal ball stood before me, resting on a pedestal of finely wrought silver. Pure natural quartz crystal. Perfect for channeling magic. Not to mention the awesome nature of silver. Second only to Gold.

I chanted the words, tripping from my lips with the ease of countless rehearsals. My hands wove intricate patterns into the air, as my mind shaped and channeled the raw power in the room. Gold and Silver and Crystal and Mind and Spirit, joining together, shaping… becoming.

I let the last word die away with the last of my breath, holding my now glowing hand up to the crystal ball. As my fingertip made contact with the ball, the glow spread to the crystal, it’s depths beginning to shine with a soft white glow. I broke contact, and the glow remained. Finished. A work only attempted before by the greatest of wizards.

Then I turned, and touched another crystal. It too, began to glow, enchanted even as the first. Twin crystal balls, made one at the same time, a feat never before managed.

Then I enchanted another…

In my dream- or vision, or journey, or whatever it had been- one thing had impressed me above all else, about the “humans” and their technology. Uniformity. They’d produced goods of reasonable quality-but in great quantity. Their “research lab” was surrounded by fences fashioned from strong steel wire, meshed together. Their warriors fought with weapons of uniform design, and their more esoteric devices such as computers seemed to be produced by larger machines. Machines whose sole purpose was to create other machines. Abundance of goods means cheaper prices, as anyone who’s bought wheat after a good harvest knows. Cheaper means affordable even to the masses. Even to the woods people whom I had been one of, a lifetime ago.

When I had enchanted every last one of the balls assembled, I reached out for a wand, carefully fashioned for the purpose. Gripping it tightly, I watched as the glow faded from my hand, sucked into the wand. Now the wand had the power to enchant crystal balls. Now anyone with a modicum of ability could craft such artifacts, in bulk quantities.

These balls bore a resemblance to the ones used by fortunetellers to gain fleeting glimpses of the future, and by summoners to make contact with powers. But these had a more mundane purpose. Each could be used to contact another. I reached out to the first, brushed my fingertips over the inscription on the pedestal. “01.” The others bore their own identifying numbers. Each of them would be sent forth, to each of the towns under my rule. Save the one to be sent to Ganon, and the first, which would remain in my study.

And when they were in place, my kingdom would shrink! No more would messages be limited to the pace of the fastest horse and swiftest ship. Now, Hylians could send messages to their loved ones in distant lands, conduct business affairs before opportunities could slip by, hear the latest news from across the sea. Hyrule would continue to advance… and now, I had a hand in that.

Suddenly, I became aware of a curious sensation, inside of me. Something in my chest, near my heart. I gingerly placed a hand over my breast, trying to figure out what it was. Then I understood.

I could FEEL again…

I felt a warm, fuzzy glow of satisfaction. A feeling of happiness. Of pride. It felt so GOOD, to do something, something special, something that helped others.

And I understood something else.

Kings don’t help people.

A government can tax people, for roads, for armies, for navies and for wizards in dark towers and knights to go on quests and grand balls for the aristocracy to attend.

But it can’t actually help anyone.

I’ve passed laws. Laws to prevent evil behavior. I’ve employed guards and knights and soldiers to enforce those laws. I can prevent bad things from happening. But as King, I can’t make good things happen. And the history books tell ample tales of kings who tried, and ruined the land in the attempt. One fought a war against the consumption of spirits. Soon the land was awash in crime and corruption. Another wanted to end poverty, by giving rupees away to the people. The ranks of the poor swelled in response. I could not help people. I could only ensure that nothing prevented them from helping themselves.

But this was different.

It was so long, since I’d done good for others. Since I’d done good with my own two hands. Since I’d been able to do something that amounted to more than “get out of the way!”

I’ve missed this.


I was sitting at my study again, a few days later, working at reports, when I heard the footsteps approaching. I looked up, to see Impa walk in. And Zelda. And… Zelda…

“Your Majesty.” Three curtseys. One graceful and practiced, one somewhat less so, one with audible creaking of knees. I turned, to give them my undivided attention.

Impa handed me a scroll. “We’ve received a report from Ganon,” she began.

“He hasn’t gotten the ball, yet?” I asked, taking the scroll. She shook her head, and continued.

“The Blue Goriya clan has taken refuge within one of the caves of Death Mountain. They’re fortified well enough to keep Ganon at bay… and they have a hostage.” I flicked an eyebrow. “A fairy queen.”

“And Ganon doesn’t want to risk my wrath, by sacrificing the fairy,” I mused. Chewing my lip, I asked Impa, “what forces do I have near the area.”

“Actually, Link…” Zelda XVII interrupted.

“We sort of thought, that… well… you could go,” Zelda II finished, blushing.

I blinked. “What?”

“We mean it, Link,” Zelda XVII continued. “The last time you seemed happy, was the last time you had a quest. You enjoy being the hero, not being the King.”

“I’m needed here,” I pointed out. “I have duties to fulfill, right here in the palace.”

“We’ll take of them,” Impa said, resting her hand on my shoulder. “The three of us, together… we can stand in for you, until you return.”

I considered it. Impa already knew the workings of the government, was the shield to my sword, but…

“This is our gift to you, Link,” Zelda II said. “Let us do this for you.”

“Please,” implored Zelda XVII. “We’ve found something we can do for you. Please…”

I stared at them, unbelieving.

You finally understand me. You see my needs, my desires. My dreams of walking in the woods, once more, unfettered by responsibilities, freed from this gilded cage. And you set aside your differences, to give me this…

I felt their arms around me, though I couldn’t see them. Not through the sheen of tears. I laughed a little, blinking away the tears of happiness. I could feel it. Happiness, swelling inside of me.

“Thank you…”

I’ll leave in the morning. First light. Just like before. I’ll carry my sword, my shield, my bow. I’ll take my power glove, my magic boomerang and my ring. I’ll rescue the fairy queen. Heck, I’ll rescue the Goriyas, while I’m at it- offer them sanctuary from Ganon’s genocide. And… I’ll feel, again…

“Thank you!”