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we can make it 'til the end

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It's over now. The battle's finished and we saved Hyrule. Link was shaking from his spot in the center of the battlefield. The shimmering gold triangles of the Triforce were above him, huge in the sky. We saved Hyrule. Princess Zelda had helped him; where was Princess Zelda? Ganondorf had finally been defeated with every tool and trick in Link's arsenal, including the higher beings he called on for assistance and Zelda's glowing Bow of Light. We saved Hyrule. Again, Link felt old memories that he knew couldn't be his floating on the horizon of his mind. That had been happening during his adventure.

 

There were other worlds, or times. Worlds where he died; times when Zelda didn't make it. Worlds with new friends; times when the puzzles had been nearly identical to the one he was looking at. What had that old traveller called him? The Hero of Time. We saved Hyrule. The Hero of Time will drive the darkness from our Kingdom.

 

A voice calling out to him brought Link back to earth. "Link! Link!" It was the princess. He dropped his sword and turned to look back at her, but the adrenaline had too soon worn off and he fell to his knees.

 

Behind him, the tap-tap-tappings of her footsteps sped up. Link heard the princess's worried, quick breaths before he felt the soft touch of her hand on his shoulder. He knew he should be happy (we saved Hyrule!), but he was just so... tired. Link let himself be pulled into the Princess Zelda's arms as she whispered soothing phrases that he wasn't aware enough to comprehend.

 

The two of them stayed that way for several minutes. Link couldn't imagine anywhere else in the world he'd rather want to be celebrating this victory than in the hold of his - his princess. Maybe home. This time around, he'd had a brother and a sister, probably missing him. Could they see the Triforce in the sky? Would they know what their brother had done?

 

"Link." His name sounded so nice when Princess Zelda said it. "Link? I need to get back to the castle..."

 

Pulling himself out of her arms (was the air colder than before?), Link met the princess's eyes for the first time after the battle. One of his false memories suggested the color used to be blue, but today they were brown. He wondered if he was allowed to stare at her like this. Royal customs would always be foreign to a boy from the woods.

 

In his thoughts, he hadn't realized the princess was slowly leaning closer. She hesitated only a second before delicately brushing his lips with hers. "You saved Hyrule. Thank you."