Fandom: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

  • Zelda
  • Link
  • Minor Character Death

Length: 596 words, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2021-04-05

Part 1 of to the pastNext Work »

holding out for a hero ('til the morning light)


Her hero arrives that night, bloody and disheveled. Not much, but he's here, and that alone makes him worthy.


prompt: bloody and disheveled

The boy -- Link, his name is Link, because it has to be -- stumbles into her cell with a torn tunic, a black eye, and blood running down the side of his boots. The elite guard set aside for her is, understandably, far worse for wear, lying still as empty armor on the filthy cobbled floor.

"Princess," he chokes out, as if too breathless to finish her name. The correct address is "your highness", but Zelda cannot care less.

"You came," she replies, as evenly as her voice can manage.

Link bows his head, and gestures to the door. His sword falls easily aside to clear her path, and she politely ignores the bone-white tinge to his knuckles, and the tremor in his grip. He watches her through unkempt hair that falls to cover his face, perhaps too reverent to meet her eyes, though he forgets to doff his hat -- a commoner's respect, but appreciated nonetheless. "Where to, Princess?"

Zelda clears her throat, and straightens up to her full height, praying she still looks like royalty. Her left shoe is missing, and the manacles on her wrists ache horribly, and her arms must be blue with bruises from when the guards marched her from her chambers. Standing gives her a few inches over young Link, at least; that's nearly enough to feel in control. "There is a secret passage in the throne room that leads to a Sanctuary," she declares. "I'm sure the old man there will help us."

That's if Agahnim hasn't enchanted him, too, of course -- she's certain the old loyal sage wouldn't fall for such tricks, but Zelda has been certain of many things recently, and many of them have turned all too untrue.

When she stands, Link blinks, as if noticing the chains for the first time. "Oh-- oh! My apologies," he stutters, suddenly sheepish, as he steps outside and sets to searching the guard's corpse for a key.

Zelda watches, not entirely present, as he grimaces and turns the body over with a tentative shove, fumbling about and wiping bloody hands on his jerkin. She tries not to look at the face under the helmet, and brushes aside a memory of the guards at ease, letting their little queen-to-be play cards in the barracks when she tired of lessons.

He finds the key not on the body, but a few feet away, dropped amid the muck. Cleaning the grime with the hem of his tunic takes a moment, as he searches for a part that isn't ragged at the edge, but the key clicks neatly in the lock, and her wrists are blessedly free. She waves them in the cool air, as if it might make the raw red skin beneath dissolve away like so much heat, but it only lasts a moment before the pain returns, and she holds back a wince.

Link makes a face. Hopefully a sympathetic one, though it looks more haunted than concerned, like he's seen a ghost. She doesn't give herself time to worry over it, stepping forward into the hall with a practiced expression of her own -- authority, expectation, and grim, regal determination, the way her mother taught her once upon a time.

It's a queen's expression. She hopes she's done it right.

"Do you know the way? Or shall I guide you?" Zelda asks, surveying the hall for what little it can offer. Two bleeding bodies, pottery shards, iron bars, and next to nothing else.

Link strides toward the door, shield raised, rather than answering. Zelda follows, and waits for the path to clear.

Part 1 of to the pastNext Work »