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His words spoke through silence, his lips burdened to never part to show expression. An empty husk, he chose not to speak in order because he found it important to remain strong and bear any burden heaved onto him. That’s what she hated. They’d walk together along the kingdom as they pretended not to notice the judging eyes burning into their backs. She found it so frustrating, why didn’t he speak his mind when he wanted to?
“I asked him why he was so quiet once, but he found it hard to respond. But at last he opened up to me, secretly I was glad. He poured out all he kept within himself, the relief spread across his face. He didn’t smile, but I didn’t care.”
So what if he was the son of the royal knight? She didn’t care a tad. He was him, it wasn’t necessary for him to remain quiet, right?
“At first, I found him annoying, always saving my backside like I was some sort of little girl who needed to be babysitted. Yes, he was my personally appointed knight, I told him many times not to follow me, but he continued to stick to me like glue. But then, I figured out why he stayed with me. I felt so helpless, so stupid. He saved me again. Chased away those Yigas.”
They sat down on the fields overlooking the castle, beside the glowing blue flowers that were her favourite. She worried they’d go extinct, so she saved as many as she could to make sure they didn’t die out in the wild. She looked so happy, so free, so young, so her.
“As a princess she was required to follow her duties to ensure the future of her kingdom. She managed to conceal her scholarly personality behind a facade of a strong, independent woman. But then I realised she couldn’t do it herself. This wasn’t’ her. I needed to look after her, it was my job. But she pushed me back away from her, claiming she didn’t need my help. I just wanted her to be safe.”
They sat down with four other races, one of their kind. An arrogant yet mysterious Rito, an enchanting Guredo, a strong willed Zora and a massive Goron. The Princess claimed it was the perfect team, I didn’t mind. I was glad they all cared so much for her. The Princess doubted her abilities as the next ruler, and they made her realise her true potential. I decided to stay back as she grew on them. She wasn’t that happy with me still.
“When she abruptly woke up from the thunder crashing down on the sand of the night desert, she looked back to find me standing behind her. A frown immediately spread across her face. The Guredo woman started to laugh wholeheartedly, and as the Princess glanced at the Guredo with confusion, I couldn’t help but smirk a little. Surprisingly, there was no tension between the two of us like there was before. Perhaps something changed?”
The team of six stood on the bridge as the looked above to the castle. Something was not right. The Princess was just discussing with the team about preparing the Beasts for battle. He found the heavy chunks of machinery rather peculiar, but not wanting to hurt the Princess’ feelings, he remained quiet as he watched her speak. Judging by the look on her round face, she had not been in a good mood. After asking for the Goddess’ help as the lake and failing, the Princess felt rather miserable. But the knight knew right now was not the time to call for any help. There was no time to call for help. The malevolence had arrived at last, after thousands of years of preparing for the ultimate doom, the Calamity rose again. She and he locked gazes briefly, before heading to their designated positions. The knight was ordered to enter the castle and face the Calamity alone as the others backed him up with the Beasts.
“Only one last time before I left toward the castle I could see her face, shadowed with utter concern and grief. The Guredo woman pulled the Princess with her as she ran down the bridge to the Beasts. I felt an uncomfortable sensation in my gut telling me that something terrible would happen if I weren’t there with the Princess, but I couldn’t follow her. I had to follow my duty as the royal knight and protect the kingdom. I left her as I headed to the castle, all alone and cold.”
“As much I wanted to, I was forced to tell him to go and face the rising Calamity alone, with only the minor help of the beasts with him. The Calamity came quicker than I anticipated, and even though I was the Princess of the kingdom, I knew that there was a slim chance we would win. I kept an upbeat and determined mask on my face as I confirmed every ancient technology was ready to face the malevolence, but deep inside… I… lied to myself. I wasn’t ready to be the next ruler, I wasn’t ready to go alone and become a Queen. I wasn’t ready to let go of the knight who was promised to defeat the calamity. I risked his own life in order to save the kingdom, the person who understood me the most. Father persistently made me follow my training as a princess, saying I was being too much of a puny scholar. He was right, I shouldn’t have surrounded myself with ancient books. I should have made myself stronger so I wouldn’t have to make him go alone.”
She removed herself from the Guredo’s arms and ran toward the knight in blue. She knew that she may have not been of as much help, but she needed to do something. What kind of princess sat behind and watched as her people were in danger?
“I heard thudding footsteps behind me as I continued to run toward the towering castle. To my surprise, the Princess stood by my side, panting heavily. ‘Please, let me help you,’ she said to me, tears ******** in her eyes. ‘My duty as a Princess… it’s my job to help the kingdom, I don’t want to burden you anymore!’ I blinked at her surprised. Pursing my lips, I allowed her to follow for some reason. The warmth of her presence made me feel safer and stronger. But it wasn’t enough to stop the malevolence.”
They were most likely to die. He held onto her hand tightly as the ran through the forest, the twigs and branches of the tree nipping and scratching their already bruised skin. Her pearl white dress was covered in grease and dirt, and his body was damaged terribly. They heard the sound of metal clunking together behind them, pursuing them with no intent of stopping.
“‘The Guardian… how did it turn on us?’ I said, struggling to catch up with the knight’s footsteps. I could see the red target on his back. ‘Move, move!’ I cried, pushing him to the side just as a powerful wave of heat went passed us. A laser zoomed past my neck and burnt the grass floor, setting it ablaze. The knight held tightly onto the sword in his hands as he looked straight back at the ginormous Guardian looking down on him. There was no turning back now, it was now or never. I knew we would either make it out dead or alive.”
She cried into his chest as he laid motionless on the ground, blood seeping through his blue tunic. His sandy blonde hair was matted and tangled, conveying the sprinting and fleeing he had experienced before his end. Two guards clad in the Sheikah uniform came running up to the half dead pair.
“‘Take him to the Shrine of Resurrection!’ I told them, clutching onto his cold body for dear life. ‘Don’t worry about me! I’ll go into the castle… and I’ll figure something out.’ The moment I thought I had thought I never needed to experience had come. I needed to face the calamity as the ruler alone. Without him. Without anyone but myself. How could I do it? Would I survive? Would I have to wait an awful long time? Those questions spiralled through my head as it throbbed painfully. I made ragged footsteps to the base of the castle once again as the malevolence howled and circled the towers of the kingdom.”
It had been one hundred years. One hundred years since the Calamity had taken over the world. A hundred years since he had fallen into his long slumber. At last he had woken up. He felt lighter for some reason, with no recollection of memories. No recollection of the burdens who held. And so he travelled far and wide and asked curious questions. He felt so free. And when he remembered, he realised why he was so quiet. But he couldn’t be quiet any longer. The burdens were already taking over the tower. Trapping the princess who had been waiting for so long within the ruins of the castle.
“I understood the reminiscence of the past that lead to today. The tale of the princess and the knight, which was also the tale of the Calamity raiding the castle for a century. The deaths of the Champions. The princess’ waiting. My slumber, my awakening, myself. What the princess wanted this whole time… it was the Calamity. It almost felt as if I were the Calamity itself. I had started to talk, I started to show expression I thought I’d never show one hundred years ago. It was my fault that the Calamity took over. If only I had been more careful.”
And when he entered the castle for the final time to free the Princess from his burdens, there was a strong wave of grief and guiltiness that blew past him. It belonged to the Princess. She had been grieving this whole time, while keeping the Calamity at base. And when their eyes locked exactly like the time of the Calamity’s arrival, the knight knew the deja vu was simply his personality shining through. A hundred years ago, he let a little bit of himself slip through. The Calamity grew as he released more burdens, worrying about the sake of the Princess’ kingdom. He finally knew she realised this too. That’s why she wanted to help. So that he could be himself.
“His face, his body, his clothes, the sword, the shield, it was all the same. But something felt different when I saw him. I didn’t feel the grief or remorse I felt before, but more… determined and happy. Happy he was back, but more happy because he came back a different person. He wasn’t an empty husk anymore.”
“She looked at me differently. With happiness. With relief. Was it because I spoke to her? ‘Zelda,’ I remembered myself saying to her. I wanted to free her so badly. The sensation in my chest that grew steadily because I wanted her to be the silly little scholar she was. I wanted to her hold flowers in her hand and smile as she spoke like some sort of expert. It was who she was. She was crying because she had waited so long to be herself. For a hundred years.”
He struck the Calamity with one more final blow. He fell to his knees and wiped his face. It was over. The hundred year curse was gone. They faced it, the fought it, the won.
“Link,” Zelda whispered, caressing his bleeding face. “You did it. You saved us all. The Champions are happy, the whole kingdom his happy, I’m so sure!”
She embraced him tightly like she hadn’t for so long.
“Yes, Zelda,” he whispered. “It’s over, you’re free.”
That day was filled with happy tears. Tears of joy. Tears of the future of the kingdom.
“Link, from now on… please speak,” she told him. “Your voice… it soothes me.”
“Zelda, please be happy with what you want to do,” he rasped. “For it’ll make me happy.”
Because they knew, in order for there to be a bright future for Hyrule, they needed to be themselves.
“Our success lies within our dreams, our comfort, our happiness. The future lies within ourselves.”
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