“Ugh, what does that boy have?”
Sidon was more or less tuning his educator out, old Muzu was off on a rant and he learned early on the best way to deal with them is to ignore them completely. As he was doing currently.
The current topic of his ire was none other than Link.
Three weeks ago he had given his amulet to the Hylian. A move that symbolized his love for Link, and desire to court him. Much like the armor a female Zora would give her desired mate.
Muzu didn't hate Link anymore, largely getting over his distaste for him after Link calmed Vah Ruta and freed his sister’s spirit. That didn't mean the old man liked Link, oh no, old grudges die hard, apparently.
Perhaps giving Link the amulet had been a bit of a brash decision. Sidon didn't regret it at all, not in the slightest, but perhaps he should have done it more subtly. Or had Link tuck it into his tunic or something.
No, no. He wasn't ashamed of his adoration of Link. If he asked him to hide it, Link would most certainly see that as a sign of embarrassment. Link deserved to be paraded and shown off, he was incredible.
For now, he was content in his smug pride that Link wore his crest around his neck. Even if he didn't really know what it entailed.
Being so vague with his emotions was a bit frustrating. However, he could not in good conscious burden Link when he already had so much on his shoulders. Thus, his feelings would remain unsaid until Link defeated Calamity Ganon.
He could only hope that time came swiftly.
Muzu’s ramblings shifted from his affection for Link to politics. Something, unfortunately, Sidon had to pay at least some attention to. He already was largely well informed on their current standing with the other races.
With the Divine Beasts being calmed by his dear Link, there has been a lot of talk of reopening century-long dead trading routs again. That would mean he’d have to put more work in recruiting and training more guards to keep the roads safe.
It had been a while since he traveled out of their provence. Most of his time was spent in Zora’s Domain, organizing patrols and accompanying them when he got that rare chance. It’d be nice to go further than their border for once.
His time with Muzu wrapped up faster than he realized. Though Sidon was certainly not complaining.
He gathered the documents they discussed before the elder went off on a rant, and strode his way to the throne room to speak with his father.
The King sat on his throne, imposing and stoic as usual. Sidon didn't look forward to his coronation to be King, sitting all day looking regal must be excruciatingly boring.
“I have brought the papers Muzu and I discussed today.” Sidon bowed briefly, then straightened and continued.
“In order to establish and keep trade routes safe for caravans, we will need to increase the number of our guard by a sizeable margin. There will need to be time and money allotted for training and provings. Not to mention to pay for the material and crafting of new armor and weapons. We can make up for this by selling fish, adornments, and some of the weapons we craft. Fish and adornments will likely be our largest source of income. Once we have at least one route going, we will be able to expand to more. I recommend the Gorons for our first major connection, they are the closest, and we will be able to trade much of the ore we need for the weapons and armor from them.”
His father shifted in his throne, pondering the dilemma and solution Sidon presented to him. After some pause, the King replied, “Very good, Sidon. That sounds like a good plan, I commend you for your resourcefulness.”
Sidon tried not to look too excited at his father’s praise. A stir of pride swelled in his chest none the less though.
“There is, however, another matter I wish to discuss.” The King leaned back in his throne, inclining his head down towards his son with a curious expression.
Another matter? The trade routes were the biggest thing on their minds politically, what else could there be?
“What are your intentions towards the Champion?”
Sidon flinched, of course his father would find out about that. No doubt from Muzu.
“I intend to court him when he defeats Calamity Ganon.” Sidon stood straight and squared his shoulders. He mentally braced himself for his father’s stern reprimand, his mind already racing to plan for retorts to his father’s disapproval.
Instead, the King chuckled. It was a low sound that reverberated through the chamber. “Good.”
Sidon’s confusion must have shown blatantly on his face, as his father explained, “I wanted to make sure you were not throwing away your crest over a frivolous crush.”
Unsure how immediately to respond, Sidon dipped his head and eyed his father warily. He was a traditionalist. While more open than the elders, he often shared much of their sentiments. “You… Approve of this?”
The King laughed again, “I have seen the way you dance around the boy, he makes you happy. He is also a good warrior with a fine head on his shoulders, I see no reason to be against the courtship.”
To be frank, Sidon had dreaded telling his father of his intentions, expecting a far different reaction. He had understood it was an unspoken law that a Zora could not mate outside of their people.
“Please, do get that look off your face.” His father grumbled, in his usual stern tone, “Before Calamity Ganon, it was not uncommon to take mates from other species. Your great aunt had a Gerudo mate. It was only after the Hylians discovered the ancient technology, that the drifting apart of our territories started.”
His father leaned on one of the arms of his throne, “Of course, I expect you to at least court him properly, you are royalty after all.”
Sidon closed his mouth, realizing his jaw had dropped at his father’s words. He cleared his throat, “Of course. I would do no less.”
“Very good. Now, who do you intend to earn the favor of?”
He… Had not thought of that.
Traditionally, when courting a mate, a Zora would approach the family of their desired. Parents, siblings, or even close friends would be considered when deciding who to win the favor of. Provided they were successful, the family member would bestow upon the Zora their blessings to proceed with courting their desired.
Link, however, didn't have anyone. At least, not that Sidon was aware of. Perhaps Princess Zelda, if she survives through the battle. Sidon was unsure of their relationship though. Link relayed to him once that he had some vague memories of her, most of them expressing dislike for him.
Perhaps they did not get along, or perhaps they eventually did. Sidon decided to count her as a possibility, but figured it would be better to win the favor of someone else. Unfortunately, who else was there?
“You could always try and win the favor of his horse,” His father mentioned with a deep laugh.
That… Actually may not be a bad idea. Link adored his loyal steed, that could count as a close friend, could it not? Even better, if he were to gain the favor of his steed and wolf. That surely would count.
They didn't have wolves in these parts, but he was sure there would be information on them in the grand library. He would learn what he could about them, and use that to his advantage. It was a perfect plan!
His father gave him a bemused look, and waved his hand, dismissing Sidon from the throne room.
He would have to store the papers away before he did anything else. He dropped the documents off with some of the elders that were gathered around a table, discussing whatever the elders discussed, and stopped by Mipha’s statue.
Before he could move on, he heard the clanking of armor not of his people, and an irritated whicker.
He turned, and approaching behind him was none other than Link. He had not expected to see him again so soon. He glanced to the sky as Link was preoccupied talking to one of the Zora guards at the entrance.
Three beams now decorated the sky. So Link was successful in calming another Divine Beast. Incredible.
Sidon has been too caught up in his own work that he barely spared the sky a second glance. He wondered how long it had been like that.
A warm fluttering spread through his body as Link approached, giving Sidon a happy, but notably tired grin. The pendant stood stark against his blue tunic, pride swelled in Sidon’s chest at the sight.
Link raised a brow at him, only serving to make the bags under his eyes more prominent. Of course he would be tired, Sidon could not imagine what he has had to do in order to quell the Beast’s rage.
“Link! It is fantastic to see you again, I see you were successful in calming yet another Divine Beast!” He beamed, shifting his stance so he did not loom over Link as much.
Link grunted in response. He needed a break. He was just one man, doing all of these things that Sidon wasn't sure would be totally feasible for an army.
“You must stay the night, I’m sure the inn would love to have you!” Sidon wanted to offer him a room in the royal suit, but he knew Link would refuse.
“I won't stay long.” Link responded with a shrug.
His voice was low, a bit raspy. Had he gotten a good night's sleep since he left? Sidon frowned, no, he didn’t think Link did.
He allowed himself the luxury of resting a hand on Link’s shoulder, which the Hylian seemed fine with, “I insist you just spend the night. You can leave tomorrow morning.”
Link shifted from foot to foot, eyes narrowing at the ground, then he looked up at Sidon and nodded. “I will get a bed at the inn.”
Pleased to hear this, he grinned at Link, who in turn snorted in response.
It was midday, too early to really turn in. He didn't like the idea of Link just sitting quietly alone in a bed. While he was not courting Link yet, nothing said he couldn't spend time with him.
“There is a grove that I used to explore in a lot growing up. I haven't been there in ages, I was thinking of seeing it again. Care to join me?” It was only partly a lie. He had been intending to visit the grove again, eventually.
Link eyed him. It was the look he has been on the end of a few times, one that meant Link saw through the bluff and was deciding if he would call him out on it. After a moment, Link patted Sidon’s hand and nodded, “Yeah.”
Sidon beamed, “Fantastic! I will meet you at the end of the bridge.”
He took wide strides up the steps and into the palace. It had been a long time since he had been to the grove. With the amount of monsters lurking about, he didn't actually know how safe it was.
Sidon walked into his room and gently took the trident off the wall. It had been a while since he had wielded the weapon proper, his armor had long since been hung up in favor of battles of a political sort.
After strapping it to his back he returned outside and met up with Link, who as he asked, was waiting patiently at the end of the bridge leading to Zora’s Domain.
Link was feeding Achak an apple, how many did he carry with him? Sidon wouldn't be surprised if he really did always had a stash on his person.
Link looked up at him, to the trident, then to his face. His eyes narrowed.
“I have not been there for some time, I don't know how dangerous it is. I wouldn't go unarmed and leave you to do all the fighting of there was trouble.”
“Those lizalfos with the shock arrows were quaking in their scales from your presence, I’m sure.”
Right. He did sort of leave Link in the dust when they first met, didn't he? Sidon rubbed the back of his head, “Too late to apologize for that?”
Link laughed, and hoisted himself up on Achak. He gave the white steed a rub on his neck, who then turned around to face down the mountain. “Shall we?”
The grove. Right.
Sidon nodded and led the way down the road, Link and Achak beside him. With Link on his horse now, he came up to his chin. He’d keep that in mind for future reference.
Sitting patiently on a rock near where the road started to span out before the first bridge was the elusive wolf in Link’s pictures. He sat with his head held high, chest puffed out, and this stoic posture that spoke of nobility. His ears perked as the approached, Link slowing to a stop before him so the beast had a chance to stretch out and get to his feet.
Despite his regality, there was a slowness in his movement that spoke of old age. His joints seemed stiff, as he had to stretch a few times before he got going. Sidon wondered how long the wolf had been around.
Link leaned down and rubbed his hand over the crest of the wolf’s fur. Did all wolves have such an intricate pattern on them?
After Link straightened and turned to him, Sidon began to lead them further down.
He glanced over his shoulder and noticed the wolf walking behind him. Those eyes were far more intelligent than Sidon had expected. And honestly, with the way they were focused on him, Sidon felt distinctly like he was being judged.
It was absurd, he knew, but that wolf was more unsettling than the images Link took let on.
“You get used to it.”
Sidon snapped from his thoughts and looked to Link, who bore a humored smile.
“Get used to what?”
Link nodded back to the wolf, “Pops. He’s sizing you up. Does it to everyone.”
Link chuckled, “He acts like a cranky old man. Since he doesn't have a name, I’m calling him Pops for now.”
The wolf sneezed.
“Fitting name then.”
They walked in silence one more, Sidon walking as close to Link as he dared. Not wishing to upset either of the two beasts with his presence. Achak at least tolerated his presence, how ‘Pops’ felt about him, Sidon was still unsure of.
Sidon led them down a path away from the main road. The scenery had changed, but his feet moved on their own accord. The memory of running off the road with his sister in tow came fresh to his mind.
They arrive at the grove, well, more of a forest now. It was thicker than it used to be, but this was undoubtedly the same place. He smiled fondly and led them inside, walking a bit slower than he had before to make sure he didn't lose Link in the trees.
A small clearing opened up in the trees, old stone benches laid in ruin and moss. The little statues were still there as well, Mipha told him what the statues represented, but he had long since forgotten. Sidon wished he had payed more attention to her growing up.
Sidon plopped himself down on the grass, removing his trident from his back and laying it beside him.
Link hopped off Achak and sat beside him, stretching his legs out. They barely reached past his knee.
He knew Link wasn't usually one for many words, so he decided to fill the silence.
“I came here a lot growing up. Mipha showed it to me, though after she left to be a Champion I kept coming here.” He leaned back on his hands, “She would always lecture me about being safe. ‘Sidon don't climb that’, ‘Sidon don't eat that’, ‘Sidon those animals are not friendly’.”
He chuckled at the memories, and gazed down at Link. He wasn't looking at the prince, his blue eyes were trained on a fixed point in the forest. Though they glanced up to him when he finished speaking, so Sidon knew Link had been listening.
Link didn't look uncomfortable, perhaps concentrated was a better word.
It was then Sidon realized talking about people he used to know may be painful for him. He didn't know how much of his memory was regained since he had left three weeks ago. To him, a hundred years has passed since his sister’s death. To Link, mere weeks.
Another topic then.
Sidon scooted a bit closer to Link, so their arms were just barely brushing against each other.
“Tell me about your travels.”
The request apparently surprised Link as he blinked and stared up at him with obvious bewilderment.
“I rarely have the chance to leave Zora’s Domain, much less the territory. I’ve never been so far north.”
Link pursed his lips, looking back into the forest. Sidon was patient as Link thought of what to say, eventually starting with, “It was fucking cold.”
Sidon snorted a laugh, “That bad?”
With a grunt, Link rocked to his feet and walked to Achak, who had taken the opportunity to graze. From one of the saddlebags, Link pulled out a heavy looking tunic and brought it to Sidon. He deposited the garment in his lap, “I had to wear this and really heavy boots if I wanted to keep all my fingers and toes.”
Sidon held it up, the embroidery was lovely, and it was so soft. Sidon had never seen clothing like this before. He looked up to Link, then back to the tunic, the mental image of Link all bundled up in such thick clothing made Sidon laugh.
Link scoffed and snatched it back, stuffing it back in the saddlebag. A warm smile rested on his lips, telling Sidon that he took no true offence to his laughter.
Link plopped back down beside him, close enough now that their arms were touching. Such a simple act made Sidon’s heart skip a beat, pathetic, he knew, but he couldn't help it.
The Hylian was about to continue his story when they both felt something press between their arms. Sidon lifted his and looked down, seeing none other than the wolf wedged between them. He looked terribly uncomfortable, but there was this look in his eyes that led Sidon to believe he would power through from sheer stubbornness alone.
Link laughed and rubbed Pops’ head, then rested his arm on the wolf’s back. Sidon narrowed his eyes at the wolf, who held and even returned the look. Earning the favor of the wolf may be harder than he had anticipated.
“One of the Rito warriors took me up to Vah Medoh on his back.” Link continued, apparently not noticing the forced distance between them, or not caring, “I hate heights.”
Sidon chuckled, so Link continued. The hand not resting on Pops moved about in the air to accentuate his words, “So I had to fight this - this thing, that was created by Ganon I guess, it could like conjure up twisters. Nearly got knocked off the wings a few times.”
A part of Sidon deeply regretted asking about his journeys. The way he spoke of nearly getting flung off the wing of a giant machine in the sky bothered him, as if it were just some normal occurrence.
“I killed it, obviously, and I got to see Revali again.” Link’s tone fell to a more somber one.
“He was one of the Champions then, right?”
Link nodded, and leaned back, turning his gaze to the darkening sky, “He was a jerk, but he was our jerk.”
Sidon patted Link’s shoulder, careful not to accidentally hit him too hard, “So you remembered more things then?”
“Some.” He replied with a shrug, “Mostly about Revali, though a bit about us all together.”
The prince could do little more than offer his support, he could not imagine what it would be like to lose one’s memories, only to regain them and find everyone he cares for dead.
“I’m sure he was glad to see you.”
Link snorted, “He was, didn't say it though. Had to keep up appearances.”
Sidon laughed, though couldn't understand it himself. Link was, well, Link . Sidon couldn't pick out what drew him to the Hylian, but he was always happy to see him. While he tried to retain an air of professionalism, he knew his delight was obvious every time he saw him.
Link crossed his legs and rested his forearms on his knees. “We were pretty close, I think. Underneath the teasing. Good friends.”
Before he could offer condolences, a clap of thunder boomed overhead, cutting Sidon off completely.
Just like that, it was as if the skies opened up to a waterfall, a heavy and almost violent deluge poured from the sky.
Link was on his feet immediately, and Sidon followed shortly. He grabbed his trident and re-strapped it to his back, while Link grabbed Achak’s reigns, though didn’t get on him this time.
Lightning streaked above them, “There was shelter just a bit up the road.” Link mentioned, eyeing the sky warrily.
Sidon followed Link, since he didn't even notice this shelter Link spoke of. A small smile formed on his lips as they weaved their way out of the trees, that was his Link, incredible as always.
Lightning struck the ground far too close for comfort. Zora adornments and weapons were almost entirely metal, making him a walking lightning beacon. Closer to Zora’s Domain this wasn't an issue, as they had tall lightning rods to draw away the lightning from those below.
They were too far away for it’s protection now.
Link broke into a sprint, and Sidon easily kept pace. Had they not been rushing to shelter to avoid getting electrocuted, Sidon would have admired how Link’s little legs were able to propel him so quickly. He was far faster than he appeared.
As it turned out, the ‘shelter’ Link saw on the road was nothing more than wooden slabs held above their heads by four wood poles.
It was not built for Zora people. Especially not of his size.
He had to lean forward at an awkward angle to even stand under it. It was horribly uncomfortable, and rain poured between the gaps of the wood. Not that he overly minded the water, but it was the principle that irked him. How was this shelter in any way shape or form?
Daring a quick glance at Link only furthered to cement his irritation. The poor man was soaked to the bone, his tunic clinging to his body in a way he doubted was comfortable. His hair was almost completely covering his eyes, and he just looked like a wet soggy mess.
It tugged on his heart strings a bit, he wanted nothing more than to shelter Link from the rain, keep him dry and safe, but with their current situation, it would be in vain. That, and he wasn't entirely sure how Link would react to it.
Sidon breathed out a sigh, this was not how he had planned the rest of the night to go. A nice, simple evening spending time with Link before he’d have to leave again to do more horribly dangerous things because he was a Champion.
He should have been watching the weather closer.
A melodious sound came from beside him, and he looked down to see Link, just... Laughing.
He pushed his blond hair back out of his face, cheeks and nose practically glowing red, and continued to laugh. The sound was beautiful, even with the lightning storm going on around them, Link’s laugh instantly brought joy to him.
Achak stood beside Link, completely content where he was. The wolf laid at their feet, just as comfortable as the horse.
It was… Nice.
The Zora people hated lightning storms, with their weakness to electricity in general, they could prove fatal when not careful. Sidon obviously was no exception, having a strong dislike for them himself.
And yet… Hunched over uncomfortably under this glorified tree corpse, he was actually, well, happy.
Despite himself, Sidon began to laugh too, which only seemed to make Link laugh even harder. He was a bit worried he’d pass out from lack of air, especially when he leaned on Achak for support.
Link’s cheeks were red, like the tips of his ears. His hair was a mess beyond repair. His entire body soaked to the core, probably giving him a chill as he sniffled unflatteringly.
Yet, in that moment, Link had never been more beautiful to him.
He wanted to kiss Link. He wanted to kiss him really bad.
It would be incredibly inappropriate to do so, he knew. So instead, he reached out and pulled Link closer to him, draping his arm around his shoulders.
“It’s drier here.” Sidon justified feebly.
Link looked above them, then to Sidon with a raised brow, “No it's not.”
The prince didn't have a comeback for that.
He half expected Link to pull away, but he didn't. He grabbed Sidon’s arm and shifted it around his shoulders, likely so it would be more comfortable, and remained where he was.
Sidon wanted to bring Link even closer and hug him, but he figured that would be too much. For now at least.
Something pressed against his leg closest to Link. When he looked down, Pops had wedged himself between their legs. Once again, it didn't look comfortable, but once again, it didn't seem like the wolf cared.
Link laughed again, and Sidon joined him.
This had not been quite what he expected, or wanted, but Sidon found he rather liked how things turned out. Link seemed to be making a habit of surprising Sidon, not that he minded.
Not at all.