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Malice

Chapter Text

In the end, they didn’t tell Ganondorf what happened.

The lights came back on as he glared at them from inside the shower. Zelda felt like she should say something, but she was spared when Link’s phone rang. It was a call from Sidon, who told them he was waiting outside.

Zelda left with Link. She could process all of this later. For the time being, she wanted to put as much distance between herself and Ganondorf as possible. He could draw his own conclusions from the mess in his apartment.

Sidon was waiting for them on the street in a Wind Fish, which had to be the single largest SUV Zelda had seen in her life. He had her sit in the front seat and didn’t ask questions. They started driving, but Zelda still didn’t know what to say or even where she wanted to go. The awkward silence was interrupted by a gurgle from Link’s stomach. Sidon snorted laughter, and Zelda felt her face finally relaxing into a smile.

They pulled in at a midtown Telma’s and ordered enough coffee and biscuits to feed a wolf. Sidon parked at the adjoining petrol station, and they ate as they watched the sun come up from behind the skyscrapers.

“So let me be real with you, I’m going to tell him everything,” Link said between one styrofoam cup of coffee and another.

Zelda, who was still working on her first cup, shot a glance at Sidon. “Is that all right with you?”

Sidon flashed a grin that had far too many teeth for her liking. Then again, considering who she had just spent the night with, Zelda didn’t think she was in any position to judge. To each their own.

“It’s quite all right. I’ve been looking forward to it since I woke up to find him gone,” Sidon said. “He’s a good storyteller, and this won’t be the first strange thing he’s gotten himself involved in since we met.”

Link leaned forward between the two front seats and related what happened.

Sidon listened patiently. “I have some questions,” he said when Link was done.

“That’s fair,” Link replied. “More coffee please.”

“First,” Sidon began, looking at Zelda, “you can communicate with my boyfriend telepathically?”

Link reached around the driver’s seat and rubbed Sidon’s shoulders. “Am I your boyfriend?”

“You are the light of my life,” Sidon said, passing Link his own unfinished coffee. “Now let Zelda answer.”

“I don’t know, to be honest,” she responded. “I’ve never done anything like that before, and I’m not sure I could do it again.”

Sidon nodded in acknowledgement. “Second, why Link?”

Link squeezed Sidon’s shoulders. “What do you mean, ‘Why Link’? Am I not eminently competent and dependable? Am I not the perfect person for the job? Don’t I have the bright and shining face of a hero?”

Sidon grinned. “You’re a little short for a hero.”

Zelda refilled her cup from the cardboard take-out carton balanced on the center console. Her office occasionally had Telma’s delivered, but she preferred to go to a nearby café during her break and never drank the boxed coffee. She blew the steam away from her cup before taking a long sip. The coffee was surprisingly good.

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that question either,” she finally replied. “It didn’t occur to me to try to reach out to anyone else. Maybe I’ve read too many stories about heroes named Link.”

Sidon nodded again. “Did he look cool?”

Zelda smiled. “You should have seen him. The power went out a minute or two after I woke up. I could see all the lights go off from the window, and I was worried about the elevators. Link must have run up dozens of flights, but he wasn’t even winded. And he showed up wielding a mop – ”

“It was a broom! Give me some credit.”

“ – and looking marvelously dashing. Remember how we all had to take fencing lessons at school? Link held the broom in front of him with perfect form, even while he was taking pictures.”

She turned to Link. “Can you send those to me, by the way? And don’t edit them, just send everything as it is.”

“You got it.”

“I wish I could have seen him,” Sidon said. “This is my last question: Do you think Link might be a reincarnation of the Hylian hero?”

“The hero isn’t reincarnated,” Zelda and Link said at the same time.

“Only the princess is reincarnated,” Zelda added, “but that’s completely irrational, of course. If every firstborn daughter of royal family was a reincarnation of some mythical princess, how could both the mother and the daughter – and probably the grandmother too – all be the same person? I think the hero is supposed to be descended from some special bloodline as well, but it’s unlikely that there would be any direct descendants in this day and age. Unless…?”

Link shook his head. “My family is a little weird, and my sister is a force of nature, but we don’t have, like, a sacred shield hanging on the wall. And I don’t have any legendary birthmarks. I’ll have you know that my skin is flawless.”

Sidon met Link’s eyes in the rear view mirror and winked. “We’ll see what we can do about that.”

Too many teeth. Zelda cleared her throat. “Gentlemen.”

“I haven’t had any visions, if that’s what you’re asking,” Link said as he took out his phone and began typing. “I’m going to go ahead and send the pictures. Most of them turned out awful, but you can probably create a decent composite.”

Sidon seemed troubled. Zelda watched his smile falter over the rim of her styrofoam cup, but she was relieved he’d dropped the question. She didn’t know if Link was a “legendary” hero – as opposed to the sort of everyday hero who went out of his way to be kind – but she certainly didn’t feel like the reincarnation of a princess. Ganondorf had told her that told her that she possessed immense magical power, and that might even be true, but she didn’t have any memories from former lives. She’d experienced enough nightmares to last for her own lifetime, and she sometimes heard mysterious voices, but nightmares and auditory hallucinations probably didn’t qualify as “a divine power,” especially if taking pills could stop them. If nothing else, the princesses in all the old stories were supposed to be pillars of strength and avatars of wisdom. Zelda felt nothing so much as confused and frightened, and she hadn’t held so much as a can of pepper spray.

But the Triforce that had appeared on her hand was curious. She was beginning to get a sense of what magic entailed, and the light she called forth to defend herself against Ganondorf had been a manifestation of pure instinct, not any sort of magical calculation. When the creature moved to attack Link, she had been furious, and the light had burst from her hand on its own. It was a tremendous effort to maintain the spell. She was able to keep the light steady not because she wanted to protect Link, who had recovered quickly from his initial shock. Rather, she wanted Ganondorf to be safe. She didn’t want to lose him to the creature, and that desire granted her strength.

Sidon’s phone rang, and he answered the call without looking at the number.

Who does that, Zelda thought, worried that he’d contacted the Sheikah.

She could hear a woman’s voice on the other side of the line. If she wasn’t mistaken, it was Riju.

“She’s fine,” Sidon said. “Do you want to talk to her?”

Zelda nodded, and Sidon passed her the phone.

“What did I tell you about setting boundaries?”

It was definitely Riju. Zelda sighed in relief.

“I’ve had better first dates,” she admitted.

“You’ve got some funny ideas about what a ‘date’ is, but I’ll let that slide. Listen, I’m on my way to your apartment. Fancy a vacation?”

“I’m not sure I can get time off work.”

Quit your job,” Sidon and Link whispered loudly from either side of her.

Riju laughed on the other end of the phone. “Listen to those boys, they know what they’re talking about. You don’t need that job. What you need is a change of scenery.”

“Okay.” Zelda took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “You’re right. It would be good to get away from Hyrule for a few days. I’ve been thinking about what you said about visiting Lanayru. I’d like to go with you, if you really don’t mind. But I have one condition.”