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The Legend of Link: Wildflower

Chapter Text

The ground beat out a tune of resistance against the feet that flew over it. Uncaring, the crumbling stonework of the long forgotten square shifted just so to put a stray bit of debris in the way of the tourists feet. Tripping for only a moment the dirt seethed in anguish as the power and blood it craved was left unsatisfied while the sure footed Hylian leaped over the fallen wall and ducked out of sight, safely spared from the wrath of Hyrule Castle.

Far above the writhing dirt thick with poison and rot the tallest spire of the great Hyrulian Castle stood tall and proud through the test of time and war, housing a precious cargo few even knew existed. The pulsing tumor was alive with artificial veins and vessels feeding into its dire fantasies as the darkness within greedily reached for anything it could to help itself grow and evolve. Ancient technology was fused to half formed bone with the thick glue of hatred born malice while bright blue light shone through from time to time as a new weapon was added to the prickling mass. Bright eyes flashed from crimson to orange as sharp bits of broken teeth and shards of long since shattered weapons glinted out of an over sized jaw.

Its awareness spread outwards as it fed into the land, pulsing and searching and stealing whatever it could that may prove useful in the near future. It knew there was time, there had already been so much time, so there would be time enough for more. Always more, a hunger that did not know the blessing of the word "full" for it barely understood the word hunger in its purest definition. It only knew need and hate and a darkness so great it consumed the mind that originated from a millenia of vengeance. A demise so powerful the hulking mass knew only to inflict blight and pain onto anything that came near. A mindless evil is what had become of a hundreds of thousands year old curse born from a malice so complete it had become a tangible physicality.

The numerous pipes continued feeding into the pulsing ball new materials and organic life for their receivers use to do with however it saw fit. It stretched to accommodate the growth and pulsed a dull purple to ward off any that may be stupid enough to wander too close. All the while not a sound was heard save for an annoying childlike laughter echoing through lonely halls and the desperate cheer of birdsong searching for a place in the poisoned sky. The shredded flags offered an almost non existent part in the little musical as they flapped sadly in the stagnant breeze. Once in a while the silence was broken by the roar of a lynel or the rather obnoxious snort of a bored moblin but through that the air remained suffocating and still through the slight wind that tried to stir it all while the castle remained steadfast and silent against the sky.

 

Ganon watched as bright blue eyes stared off into nothing through the dimly lit cavern. He tossed his bright red hair back over his shoulder impatiently as his brow furrowed in thought. He had been sharing this space with the distraught blonde for nearly a hundred years now...or was it? He stopped keeping an accurate pass of time long ago, though he was sure Link would know down to the minute how long he had been trapped down here. His eyes snapped to the youngers legs as they dangled from the edge of the brindge occasionally knocking off tiny stones that fell infinitely into darkness without a sound to announce them.

Ganon sighed and decided to approach. His companion didn't look the same when he pouted and he decided to say as much.

"You Hylians don't look as pretty when you're brooding." Crossing his legs he lowered his form to hover over the crumbling dust that haphazardly made up the bridge. One of the best perks of being a spirit, he decided, was not having to dirty your clothing to sit on something so filthy.

"You think I'm pretty?" Link answered softly, his quiet voice barely feeding the echo that tried to reverberate through the cavern.

"That's beside the point." The Gerudo grumbled. "Why are you pouting again?"

His gaze softened slightly as Link's head fell a few inches to stare at the abyss rather than the wall. "You still can't sense her can you?"

"Faintly." Came the even softer reply. "If I had done my duty and saved her maybe she would be able to have better senses in this situation. If I had been the one to fall-"

"Which fate do you think is worse? Falling because of circumstances out of your control and being sent to heal or being trapped in a concious state with your enemy for a hundred years? What happened happened, there's no point in dwelling on what ifs. Just do what you can do now."

The young boy nodded, defeated for the time being. He really was too young for any of this, most of them were. Hell, he hadn't been much older when he tried to alter fate so he supposed it really couldn't be helped.

Figuring this conversation wasn't worth being continued he instead decided to change tactics. "From what you can tell, do you think she'll wake up soon?"

Another shake of the head. "I honestly don't know. Zelda's powers came out if no where, Impa and I had the thought that that may be why she fell in the first place. Who knows how long it would take to heal from that and when she does wake up..."

Ganon nodded in understanding. "You've said she may not remember anything."

"I left a note with her since I wasn't sure if I would be able to reach her wherever I ended up but what if-" he stopped when he noticed the look on Ganons face. "I'm not sure if she'll believe or even follow the note. She was so unpredictable even with her mind intact, who knows what she'll do with however much of her memory she lost."

"From what you've told me she's reasonably intelligent, I doubt even memory loss would tone that down. She'll figure it out."

Link simply hummed in response and continued to stare out through the cave. The white expanse of nothing he had seemed to be trapped in had grown boring very quickly and when Ganon finally stopped playing games with him he had helped Link faze out of their mutual prison to explore their actual surroundings. He had been quite disturbed by the mummified corpse that his companion said was his former body but the rest of the system of tunnels and caves had proved to be intricately interesting enough to hold his attention for the past hundred years.

Now his days were mostly spent trying to expand his awareness enough to reach out to his former princess but so far the only knowledge he had gained was that she was still sleeping in the healing chamber, and though he wished she would wake up so he would know once more that she was alright a selfish part of him hoped she would simply stay asleep, and safe from the horror their kingdom had become. He hoped to one day be let go of this prison and allowed to fight with the abomination Calamity Ganon was turning himself into, to free the kingdom from its blight so that when Zelda eventually awoke she wouldn't have to have any worries about the safety of the kingdom, only its restoration. He knew of course that it was a foolish hope but it was one he held fast to to prevent the wall of insanity he felt seeping through his mind from completely taking over his psyche. The time would come, eventually, and when it did Link would be ready.

For now though..."It's been a century and you never did tell me why your body is down here in the state it's in." He looked over at the stony expression Ganon's face had melted into. "Family secret or...?"

Smirking slightly Ganon turned to him fully. "You Hero's are always so cheeky. Heritage secret?"

Rolling his eyes, Link made to stand. "Just curiosity but I understand not wishing to discuss it."

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to see if I have any luck deciphering the glyphs today. I'm hoping if I stare long enough the language will come to me."

Shaking his head Ganon straightened and made to follow his idiotic cellmate. "I've told you before I'm pretty sure all they say is 'beware' and 'doom' and probably a few things mentioning death by poison and fire. These caverns are meant to turn people away not for curious passersby to stop for tea."

"It's better than sitting around."

Ganon found he couldn't quite disagree, even if he had explored these caves for thousands of years he figured he could humor the hero for a few more.

They only walked a short distance before the former hero stopped in front of a painting that depicted several knights with swords charging an enemy so faded it may as well have been an abnormally large chuchu. Ganon watched as he softly traced the brandished sword of a soldier long dead before letting his hand fall limply to his side. All was quiet for a time save the echoing drops of water from a leak somewhere in the depths of the cavern. His ears perked however as Link began speaking softly to his boots.

"I never wanted the sword. It was a complete accident that I even came to pocess it."

Ganon waited to see if anything else would be said but it seemed the distraught man had once again had his voice stolen from him. No matter, he figured it was about time for him to fill the silence and quiet his companions insatiable curiosity.

"I don't believe anyone is actually fated for the sword persay. Just happy coincidence most of the time."

Link raised his head and gave an amused smirk. "It's happy coincidence every hero that pulls the sword is named Link? And is a boy? With blue eyes and blonde hair?"

"Not all of them were." His expression darkened and Link merely tilted his head in confusion. "I once weided the Darkness Sealing Sword."

"You? But you're-"

"The darkness the sword is to seal, I know. The irony definitely isn't lost to me." He chuckled before continuing. "I thought I could change my fate, everyones fate. Long ago, Princess Zelda and I were friends, there was no hero of the era. Only me and her research. She was doing everything she could to find an answer, we were both so ready to be the ones who broke the curse..."

Sighing he shut his eyes to the memories. "I thought...if I were the one to pull the sword I could change everything, and in a way...I guess I did. I had done research of my own on the master sword and was convinced I would be able to retain my life one I pleaded with the spirit who resides in it. Instead, I opened a doorway in which the long imprisoned demon could escape...and he did through me."

By this point they were sat against the wall, Link listening with rapt but respectful attention, encouraging him to finish with the look in his eyes but in a way that conveyed he could stop if he wanted. Ganon smiled sadly, he was too far into it now, it wouldn't do any good to stop. A story withheld for ten thousand years was certainly one best aired out.

"My body...that's Zelda's arm holding down my body. I became processed and overpowered with the sword and an ancient evil's spirit. It was all consuming, tearing through the land in a rage so potent it poisoned the very air its borrowed body choked upon. None could stand against it, however, there was a time when the arcane were shrouded in light and technology was the pride of Hyrule. Two tribes from very different backgrounds banded together to seal away the evil of the land. With Zelda leading them they cornered the demon and trapped him within a circle of light and magic, imprisoned however briefly with man and machine. Zelda, my Princess Zelda...my closest friend, sacrificed herself to save her kingdom. Her body and soul were bound with ancient magic that died out with the tribe from whence it came and the spirits used to trap the demon glow against the darkness to ward away the evil of the land. A tale of so long ago is most likely forgotten by the current denizens of our kingdom but it is a burden I have carried for thousands of years."

Ganon looked towards his side where Link studied him closely, trying to find even a hint of deceit. Finding none he slowly sat back on his heels, opening and closing his mouth as he attempted to find the right words to soothe the tense air. Eventually taking pity on the boy Ganon spoke up once again.

"It is in the past Hero. It isn't necessary for you to fix everything. This was a battle waged and won ten thousand years ago, not much to be done for it now other than prevent it happening again. Right?"

Link nodded slowly and looked up at him once more. "I know that but...for what it's worth, I'm sorry."

What a strange boy, Ganon thought. Are all Link's like this? He had knowledge of past incarnations from his connection to the demon within the sword but he honestly couldn't tell if any of them were this...puppyish, for lack of better words.

He looked down at his translucent hands as he clenched them but felt nothing. He hadn't felt anything physical in a long time, spirit form only had so many perks after all.

"For what it's worth," Ganon said slowly. "Thank you."

 

Something was different.

Calamity Ganon felt it distinctly, like the itch of eyes upon ones back. Something had changed abruptly, the air was thick with a feeling. A feeling so different from the desperation and pain that had tainted the air before. Something that breathed upon the desiccated land of Hyrule with new life. A promise. A dream. A feeling that was both ancient and modern, old but new, refreshed almost, like a freshly snapped rug in spring.

The lingering taste of decay still hung in the air, darkness still roamed the land, that Calamity Ganon could feel through the Malice that coated fields like oil and fed back to him anything he could wish to know. His eyes dotted the land and saw his bands of monsters, his army, still strong and stubborn at their designated posts.

Still, something was different.

The land shook with disturbances that fed back through all the way to the very foundation of Hyrule Castle. His armies snorted and stomped their confusion as they raised their heads to the skies. Malice dripped from walls as their purchases were shaken. Animals hid in trees and bushes as their foraging was forgotten in favor of safety. Ganon felt and saw all of this within his pulsating cocoon and still could not fathom what had changed.

All at once, beakons of light burst through the ground. Great and ancient structures rose tall against the darkness, casting aside any and all who dared apposed them. Their spires hardly reached the height of the castle, but their numbers spoke more than rank ever could. They represented all that could be accomplished. They spoke of greatness in achievement. Of exploration and adventure. They spoke of peace and community. Of wonder.

They stood tall as a symbol of hope.

Within the confines of his chamber the Calamity roared out its challenge, rising up against the sky in a form so familiar to those who were old enough to tell of it. The roar sounded as a warning to those who would dare oppose it. It roared out to those long dead and one with the ground and to those huddled fearfully in their barely restored homes. It belted its challenge directly at a lone figure stood atop the highest tower, to the one who had connected the ancient network of the land and who would dare pierce through a centuries worth of rot and fear with their ray of light and hope. The chamber began to tear as the Calamity writhed in primal rage against the one who threatened to undo all that had been done, all it had been working to maintain and destroy. In a frantic desperation it reached out with its network of Malice, searching every crevice of Hyrule for the one it had banished so long ago. It needed to get rid of the one who had stood against it, for this new challenger could prove to be its undoing.

That could not happen.

The chamber finally let loose the writhing pile of malformation and rage which broke through the sanctum floor to tumble down yards and yards of vertical tunnel work only to smash against an unforgiving floor far below. Twitching limbs clawed against the stone as they attempted to right the grotesquely huge body, weapons hummed to life and gave off eerie orange and blue lighting to make the map painted on the wall visible. Malice dripped from its body in black and maroon puddles, steaming with poison and a millenia's worth of rage. He grinned maliciously through his razor filled jaw as he listened to the symphony of lost souls crying out their anguish to any who could listen. He felt the hero's presence through all of them, a bright light shining through the fog, and pulled.

This would end now, through any means necessary.

 

Ganon reached helplessly as his hands went through Link's again and again, the hero screaming in pain as the malice burned gaping wounds into his flesh as it tugged him towards whatever fate it had decided he needed to be a part of. As useless as it was he kept trying, hoping against everything that somehow he wouldn't fail this time.

Hoping he wouldn't be left alone again.

"Link! Just grab onto something, what are you doing?!"

"I can't!!" Link screamed out louder as his grip on a nearby stone was viciously pulled away, leaving a bloody trail from the hole left for his efforts. His entire form was consumed in a matter of seconds and then disappeared entirely as the malice took him away to wherever it had been sent from.

Ganon stood alone in shock as he stared at the place they had just been sitting when everything went horribly wrong. Not even an echo of Link's voice remained to say he had even been here. The drip of water remained a constant and as Ganon sunk into a crouch he held onto the annoying sound as if it were the last piece of driftwood in a open sea. He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his fists. He curled his toes and slammed his head against the wall. He felt nothing. He heard nothing. He was truly alone once more.

His scream darted through the caverns and slammed against the walls and ceiling of the maze like prison. Nothing answered back as they died down, and the tomb became still once more save for the dripping of water from a leak somewhere in the depths.

 

Link rode across Hyrule Field with determination pounding in all four of Epona's hooves. The twilight had been banished for a year now but Link had never stayed in one place for long. After his adventures across the kingdom the simple life of farming and herding he had lived until Zant had come to the castle now seemed dull when compared to catching power naps in the Lost Woods or bringing down colossal monsters in the depths of Lake Hylia. He now had a new mission he had appointed himself: find a way to fix the mirror or, failing that, make a new one. He had ultimately opted for the latter after trying desperately to seperate grains of sand from grains of glass in the vast expanse of the desert.

Against Princess Zelda's wishes he had studied the ways of ancient magic and arcane powers that went into the making of the twilight mirror. He had created a replica out of the darkest obsidion that could be found and spent months carving out the proper symbols to inlay with luminous rock he had found and dug up after even more months of searching. He was on his way to being shot up to the desert for what he hoped would be the last time with the shard of twilight he had fused back together resting snugly against his breast. He was on his way. A years worth of research and construction for what he hoped would be the result he sought. It had to work.

He spurred Epona on as her gait began to stutter, whinnying in protest but ultimately obeying her best friend and caretaker. His sleep deprived eyes focused on the faint light they were running towards that seemed to spike his loyal steeds nerves more than anything they had fought against. It grew brighter still as his brain finally connected the thought that maybe he should turn, but that time seemed to pass as the brightness became all encompassing, consuming everything absolutely as he shut his eyes to the painful onslaught. All at once he was floating, his mount long gone and his fear pounding through his veins. He squeezed his eyes shut and drew his sword, hand coming back empty as it and his sheild had disappeared. Desperately clawing at his chest he realized the shard was gone as well as he continued to fly through oblivion, unable to even crack an eye open to prepare himself for whatever was coming next.

"Oh brave youth..." An all too familiar voice called out to him. "Our brethren from a distant future lay dying in waste as a princess struggles through the fate of her land. You are the answers to her plight, Hero of the Era. Go forth and assist in this shattered destiny."

He landed roughly on his side, hissing out in pain as his body rolled to a stop in the soft grass. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see a bright blue sky above a grand castle. He realized he was laying at the edge of a cliff which he promptly scrambled away from just as a deep rumbling roar shook his very soul. Rising from the castle was a beast unlike any he had ever seen, yet he knew instinctively what it was. But that would mean...

He squinted and looked around at the sprawling land, thinking back to the light spirits words as it dawned on him where he was and more importantly, why.

"Oh fuck."

Chapter Text

... ...

.... ....

...Zelda...

..Open your eyes..

Wake up Zelda

The young woman squeezed her eyes shut against the bright light shining in her eyes but it persisted even past her eyelids, drowning out her world in a painfully white but comforting embrace. She felt warm and cool at the same time and caught an odd lapping sensation moving down her body, almost like the tide had come in as she slept on a beach. Was that where she was? Was that why it was so bright? Tides came in in the evening didn't they? So why was it so...

All at once the light was gone, replaced by a pulsing dull blue that was much gentler on her still closed eyes. Whatever liquid or vapor she had felt along her body was gone now, and the voice she had heard ringing through her head was turned to a simple echo in her memory...what little there was of it. As of yet refusing to obey the voice she squeezed her eyes shut again trying to think of where she might be. She knew she could simply look, but the almost painful tugging at the back of her skull refused to let go of the fear she wouldn't know where she was. She was lying down on a hard surface as far as she could tell, so that most likely cancelled out a beach. On top of that the air was still and stale, suggesting wherever she was was inside and most likely sealed off for whatever reason.

Beating at her brain yielded nothing but a single word: Zelda. She assumed that must be her name and whatever had called her it in her dreams, be it god or subconscious, must have used it for a reason. So, her name was Zelda, she was female, and she was lying down in some kind of closed off space. Steeling herself and holding her breath she complied at last.

She opened her eyes.

Immediately above her was an odd structure, circular and symmetrical with symbols reminiscent of small constellations that pulsed the soft blue that calmed her eyes after the intense white they had previously endured. She wiggled her legs and arms and found she wasn't strapped down at all, making her almost eliminate the possibility of abduction or imprisonment. Sitting up slowly she realized she felt light. Her body felt refreshed and free after whatever she had had done to her while she was sleeping in the chamber. Had she been sleeping? Had she fallen unconscious? How long had she been here?

Questions better left for later, she firmly decided, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves. Looking around slowly yielded no further clues as she was merely met with a rather small room with more constellations, these glowing orange. A pedestal with a smooth, black middle stood at the far end of the room next to the door, along with a medium sized knapsack resting against it. She saw no other people nor any sign there had been for a very long time and seeing this made her stomach pinch painfully as the gravity of not knowing where she was or how she got there began sinking in more and more rapidly. Swallowing hard she gripped the sides of the basin she had been laying in and crawled out, standing carefully as she waited for something, anything, to give her a clue to her situation.

Before she could take one step towards the knapsack however her entire body spasmed in an intense cramping pain. Every muscle seized as she doubled over and fell gasping on her side, the cool stone floor offering little comfort as she gasped in pain. Though she tried, her throat refused to make a sound other than a small distressed croak that barely traveled a foot away from her mouth. Gritting her teeth she opted out of panicking about not being able to speak and concentrated on trying to relax the tense muscles. Slowly, painfully slowly, her muscles clenched one by one, leaving her a panting mess waiting for the next wave beside her unusual bed. Minutes passed and nothing happened so she decided to cautiously try again to walk.

It worked better this time, and by the dim lighting of the room she grabbed a stray lock of hair and examined it closely. Bright blonde and well kept her hair flowed down her back and slipped to cover her modest front. She was wearing small clothes but other than that she was completely bare. While examining her hair she noticed her left hand had strange spiraling scars running down from her fingertips to a quarter of the way past her wrist. Dark red marks that seemed to follow her veins spidered out under her skin, a stark contrast to the pale cream of the surrounding flesh. Was this why she had been here? Was she poisoned? But if she was here to heal...why was no one here to greet her when she woke up?

Shaking her head she knelt by the knapsack and unclasped the strap with shaking hands. Only a worn envelope and small pouch greeted her eyes. Gently lifting out the note first she looked it over closely to try and find a hint of who might have left it. Finding nothing she carefully ripped it open and fished out the folded paper to read, her brows furrowing ever further in confusion as she went over its contents.

Zelda,

I don't know how much you will remember when you wake up, or how long it will be before you are fully healed. Regardless, I'm so happy you have awoken and I hope you have fully recovered. My name is Link, I was your protector before the Calamity. You fell during battle and I was unable to help you or fulfill my duty to you and the kingdom.

I am so sorry.

Take this bag with you on your travels, it should hold quite a bit of supplies. In the small pouch is 5000 rupees. In the grand scheme of things it isn't much, but it's all I had saved and my hope is it will serve you well. It's enough to buy supplies, a horse if you should need one, or to place money on a house so that you can live in comfort while you figure out what to do.

Once you leave the plateau you should travel to see Impa, I'm sure she'd be overjoyed to see you again and she'll be able to explain everything to you if you lost a substantial amount of your memory. If you then travel to Hateno Village please feel free to board in my home. I'm definitely not using it at the moment and I'd feel better knowing you had somewhere safe and familiar to stay.

You are the light and hope that must shine on Hyrule once again Princess. Have faith in yourself, for I will always believe in you. Be safe in your travels, I know you are capable of anything but please don't hesitate to call upon those you trust for help.

I will be ready when you are prepared to fight Calamity Ganon once more.

Link

Blinking incredulously her mind raced to process even one piece of information she had gleaned from the note. Princess? Did he mean her? He had used her name, or what she assumed was her name but...and what was the Calamity? She had fallen in battle, so was that what the scar on her arm was? Her suspicions for being here to heal were correct if this note was to be believed but that still didn't answer why no one else was here, or how long she had been here to begin with.

And what in Hyrule were rupees?

She stopped abruptly. Hyrule. Was that where she was? It sounded right and she nodded along to her train of thought as she grabbed the pouch out of the bag. It jingled softly as she opened it to find a rainbow of gems glinting out at her. She didn't know why they were different colors...hopefully if she had to buy anything she wouldn't be taken advantage of.

Storing everything back in the bag and slinging it over her shoulder she looked towards the pedestal. It looked like the screen wasn't necessarily connected to the base, maybe it could be removed? She was curious to say the least, and she didn't see an immediately obvious way to leave the room so it was worth investigation.

She stopped short just as she reached for the glowing dias as a part of it separated from the base and rotated clockwise, the screen flipping to show an orange and blue glowing back with the pattern of a stylized eye under a handle. When nothing else happened she tentatively reached for the slate, a memory tugging but refusing to reveal itself. The tablet had a glowing center in the middle of its screen and buttons protruding from differnet places along the edges but it didn't do anything else after being separated from its base. Even knowing she had never seen it before she couldn't shake the feeling that there was something familiar about it.

The dias righted itself with the slate now gone and the door to the room stuttered open to reveal a new chamber. Ever curious her feet led her quickly into this new room, her mind eager to explore and look for answers. In the dim light she almost missed the chests pressed up against the wall next to crates and old barrels coated in thick layers of dust. Inside she pilfered a weathered shirt that looked just slightly too small and pants in a similar condition. The boots cracked leather squeaked quietly as she slipped them on but felt comfortable and snug. On the belt she noticed a couple of loops that held the slate perfectly against her hip when clipped into place and after adjusting the strap of the bag to fit across her chest more comfortably she was ready to move on. A part of her wondered if it was okay to be taking these things, but no one was here to tell her otherwise so she figured she'd take her chances.

There was a ramp directly in front of her leading to another door she assumed she'd need the slate to open. Her steps echoed through the quiet chamber as she unstrapped the bulky tablet from her belt and looked over the new dias to see where to insert it. Seeing no indentation she placed it on the surface in confusion and bent over to look for some other clue as to what was supposed to happen. Jumping back she stared as a tinny voice began speaking from the brightly glowing pedestal.

'Authenticating'

'Shiekah Slate confirmed'

Before she could even piece together what a Shiekah Slate was a low rumbling shook the chamber. Soft yellow light seeped underneath the door as it began grinding open, its various locks groaning in protest as they shifted and turned. Zelda shielded her eyes from the sharp change in brightness as the dimness she was used to was blown back in favor of the light of day. Nothing was waiting on the other side save a flight of steps and a large rock that looked like it was carved out on purpose. Hesitantly she made her way up the stairs, sloshed through the puddle of stagnant water and scrambled up the short obstacle rather clumsily. Carefully getting to her feet she looked out through the doorway leading outside. Faint birdsong could be heard and the branches of the nearby tree swayed in the breeze. The bright blue sky and lush green grass called out to her in an such an enticing way that her feet started moving before she had even told them to. Slowly first, then picking up into a jog and then run as a grin spread across her face the wind lifted her hair up and back from her face. She felt free in a way she suspected she hadn't felt in a very long time and it filled her to nearly overflowing with childlike joy. The edge of a short cliff was the only thing that stopped her but it was far from what took her breath away.

The sounds hit her all at once, as if leaving the chamber had lifted a wall that had laid between her and the rest of the world. Birds called and chattered to one another above her all the way down to the sprawling woods below. A crumbled stone wall lined the edge of what she assumed was the plateau the note spoke of and far beyond that fields of green spread and rose in waves of hills and trees and mountains. A grand castle stood tall on the distance and a little ways beside that a huge mountain belched fire and smoke. A volcanoe then. Looking to the right yielded more cliffs and beyond them a cloud topped plateau even taller than the one she was on. Far to the left was a mountain that looked like it had been cleaved in half by a colossal being long ago and further was a large structure within walking distance that a far corner of her mind told her was a temple of worship. Or had been at least.

If it was, there may be people and where there were people there was bound to be answers. She'd have to be clever though. She couldn't let anyone know she didn't remember how she got there. That was a weakness she didn't want to show to strangers she didn't know were dangerous or not.

So thinking, she made her way down the hill, stopping to pick up a sturdy branch she figured might be useful. She noticed her hands were soft, callouses almost non existant and deduced she had not been a fighter or even a worker of hard labor wherever she had been before waking up here. She had noticed the skin of her knees were fairly thick though, had she knelt a lot in the past? Perhaps she had lived as a holy servant that had prayed many hours in her past. The deduction conflicted with the note stating she had fallen in battle however, for clearly she was no warrior but she shoved it aside for now and continued on her way, keeping her eyes sharp and ears straining for any sign of danger or civilization.

By the time she was halfway down she was wielding two branches and a slightly heavier knapsack holding a few red mushrooms and a couple of apples. She didn't know if they were safe to eat or not but it never hurt to be prepared. Catching a whiff of a hot sweetness her stomach growled out an angry sound and encouraged her to follow the scent. Caution took over however as she bent in the grass to study where it was coming from.

An old and bent man was sitting crosslegged by a merrily crackling fire, his snow white beard shining bright against his dark clothing. A few apples sat spiked upon sharpened branches roasting in the heat. Other than that the only weapon she could see was a staff with a lantern on it and though she wouldn't like getting hit by it, it seemed harmless enough. Ultimately deciding it was reasonably safe she stepped out of hiding and held her head high and her shoulders straight, a posture that came oddly natural to her as she made her way down to the mysterious man, tightening her grip on the sticks. She tensed as he shifted his grip on the staff but relaxed as he simply poked at the fire with the end of it and leaned back once more. He looked up and smiled slightly, seeming to her as if he was upset about something but it was quickly covered up as he chuckled softly.

"Oho ho! Well met, stranger! It's rather unusual to see another soul in these parts."

Her heart sank. There weren't other people. She looked down briefly and tried to clear her throat, wincing as only a thin pathetic sound left her lips in place of a greeting. The older man raised his eyebrow as she simply lifted her hand in hello, placing his staff down and bringing his hands up to motion to her with them.

'You can't speak?'

Surprised she understood him she startled herself even more as she answered back: 'I haven't used my voice in a long time.'

Nodding in understanding the old man continued. 'Understandable, not many people to talk to here.'

Raising her hands again she asked, 'I can still hear though, do please don't trouble yourself to sign. May I ask who you are?'

"Me? I'll spare you my life story." He answered softly as his hands settled an his lap. "I'm just an old man who has lived here, alone, for quite some time now. What brings a bright-eyed young woman like you to a place like this?"

Thinking quickly, she thought of a plausible excuse. 'I was exploring and lost my way. Can you tell me where I am?'

"Hm, I cannot imagine this meeting to be a coincidence so I shall tell you. This is the Great Plateau. According to legend, it is the birthplace of the entire kingdom of Hyrule."

Those names sounded familiar and matched the note, so assuming whoever Link was and this old man weren't both in on tricking her, and they weren't one and the same person, she could trust that it was the truth. She watched as he stood and turned, pointing to the building she had assumed was a holy place.

"That temple there, long ago it was the sight of many sacred ceremonies. Ever since the decline of the kingdom one hundred years ago, it has sat abandoned, in a state of decay. Yet another forgotten entity. A mere ghost of its former self..."

Zelda wasn't sure why the way he had said that set of warning bells within her mind, but she shoved them down and simply nodded. She wasn't sure if she trusted this man but as long as she stayed alert she figured she was safe.

"I shall be here for some time. Please let me know if I may be of service." At that moment her stomach decided to interrupt, announcing its earlier problem even more loudly than before. Chuckling again the man sat down and gestured to the apples. "Take them, I can always get more."

Waving off her attempts at protests he motioned again at the proffered meal, so reluctantly she dug in, for which her stomach was immensely grateful. Standing up she thanked the man before moving on, stopping as he addressed her once more.

"Take that axe as well. There are monsters about and it may fare better for you than that fearsome branch." Nodding she continued on, pulling the axe from the stump and resting it uncomfortably on her shoulder. It didn't feel natural but she definitely felt better with the protection.

 

Panting behind the tall statue she watched carefully as the pig like monster ambled away and out of the temple. Not wanting to fight with such little experience and a heavy weapon she had been running from it around the temple trying to hide for the better part of five minutes. Though they had weapons and looked fairly strong, they were also slow and stupid, for which Zelda was immensely grateful. The axe dug into her shoulder painfully as she shifted its weight and came out of hiding, eyes dart around for any more immediate threats.

She turned and looked up at the large statue depicting a praying woman with wings and a peaceful look carved into her face. Moss clung to the folds of her dress and surrounding her in a circle was a ring of miniature women which Zelda assumed were one and the same since they also had the same expression and wings.

This must be a goddess, she thought to herself. Of what though? All of Hyrule or just of time, since this is the Temple of Time? Wishing for a manual to catch her up on what she had missed the time she had spent in the shrine she unclipped the slate from her hip to see if it could provide her with any information. Pressing a button on the left a dark grid with faint glowing blue lines came up on the screen, with a yellow arrow in the middle and a bright orange marker pulsing little ways away. Furrowing her brow she turned and made to walk put of the temple, stopping when the yellow arrow did the same. Turning in place she grinned as the arrow followed her movements.

Assuming this is me, she mused, then maybe the other marker is something important. Maybe, this is a map? It's dark but perhaps I just need to fill it in. Determined to figure out the latest puzzle she walked out of the temple and past another strange spider-like statue that were dotted all over the plateau. Giving it a wide birth she continued on in a round about way, being sure to avoid monster camps as she approached a misshapen hill the marker seemed to be indicating. Climbing up the short incline she looked down to find a small cave with the same smooth stone lining the floor as the chamber she had woken up in and a pedestal standing against a more naturally rocky wall. Sliding in carefully she lined the slate up with the ports and waited to see if anything would happen.

Snapping her hand back she listened to the tinny voice as it instructed her from within.

'Place the Sheikah Slate in the pedestal.'

I thought I was? Zelda confusedly placed the slate in the pedestal again, rolling her eyes as she realized it was backwards. Turning it correctly it easily snapped in place, turning and laying itself back as it sunk in the dias. She stepped back as it flashed bright orange and spoke again.

'Shiekah Tower activated. Please watch for falling rocks.'

Shiekah Tower? Falling....? Thoughts left unfinished she stumbled as the ground beneath her began to shake. She took a panicked step towards the exit of the cave but fell backward before managing it. She noticed the ceiling beginning crack and curled into a ball as she felt whatever was happening finally give as she was pressed to the floor by the speed of the tower shooting upward. She both heard and felt great boulders falling back down to earth as she continued to rise, her body jumping slightly as everything came to an abrupt stop. Suddenly feeling warmth below her she looked around to see she had risen quite a few yards off the ground and the tower now lit up a brilliant blue, standing proudly against the open sky.

'Distilling local information'

She turned to look at the slate and dias just in time to see bright blue lettering flow down to collect in a blue tear at the very tip of the shining stone. As she was about to reach for it it dropped down onto the slate and dissipated into nothing as the voice continued.

'Regional map extracted.'

She peered closer as a map faded into veiw, detailing woods and a river, mountains...and the Temple of Time. This was a map of the plateau, so that must mean the rest of the blank space was the rest of Hyrule. Were there more towers, and could she even get to them? Her train of thought was interrupted as the slate continued in that tinny voice.

'Establishing network connection. Connecting to tower one. Connection failed. Connecting to tower two. Connection failed. Connecting to tower three...'

She listened as connections all the way up to fourteen failed before the slate continued.

'Connecting to Shrine of Resurrection. Connection established. Override manual controls pending. Override failed. Connecting to Divine Beast Vah Ruta. Connection failed. Connecting to Divine Beast Vah Rudania. Connection failed. Connecting to Divine Beast Vah Medoh. Connection failed. Connecting to Divine Beast Vah Naboris. Connection failed. Four emergency SOS responses failed. Unable to establish sufficient connection to network.'

Zelda waited a beat before reaching for the slate as it spun out of the dias. Satisfied the technical speech was done she took a moment to wonder at what any of that could have meant. She didn't know what a Divine Beast was but the connection hadn't been able to work. And why did the tower...or the slate...try to override the Shrine of Resurrection? She wasn't sure what that was either but she'd tinker around with the map later and try to figure it out. Snapping the slate back to her belt she turned to figure out a way off the tower, only to be stopped by a beastial roar. Whirling around she was met with a nightmarish sight. Thick purple clouds billowed from the castle with huge blasts of lightening connecting them. One such cloud rose above the rest, spreading its huge jaw and roaring at the sky with all the hatred it could force into a single sound. Nothing else could be heard over it as it swirled around the castle, seemingly unable to leave, a fact that Zelda hoped was true. She had thought the castle would be a place to find someone to tell her what was going on but she supposed that option had been chucked from the list.

Feeling a warmth at her hip she glanced down at the tablet only to find it glowing an intense blue. Curiously she unstrapped it and held it up, only to drop it and fall backwards as a figure took shape above it, flipping elegantly in the air before settling delicately on its toes and bowing low. Her smooth blue skin was just a shade lighter than her blue hair, a bi colored shawl draping below on her shoulder with crisscrossed green ribbon laying over dark leggings and short boots. The entity blinked out of its neutral expression and offered Zelda a small smile.

"Greetings, Your Grace."

Chapter Text

Zelda watched unblinking as the spirit floated before her. Princess, and now Your Grace, were titles being given with absolutely no context as to how they applied to her. She supposed it should be obvious but since her memory was currently a blank slate to simply throw things at to see what stuck she couldn't help but feel at least a little frustrated from the lack of information. Her curiosity about herself and the world around her was anything but satisfied and this new being was just one more thing she had no idea about.

As she tentatively raised her hands to try to address the newcomer, it began to speak. "Ancestor of my creator, I have been awaiting your recovery. My apologies for not appearing sooner, I was not able to break free of the slate until the network was reconnected. It is a great honor to be in your presence once again."

The entities speech was strange, almost garbled, but not in an unpleasant way. Hearing it speak was almost like listening to a song, the meaning just out of reach though the words were clear. Zelda stood once again and hesitantly picked up the fallen slate, not trusting to take her eyes off the spirit lest it prove hostile when seeing her unaware.

"Fi is the name I was given. I was created long ago for a single purpose: to aid the hero in his destiny of defeating Demise. I have resided in the Master Sword since then to keep him imprisoned, but over ten thousand years ago he escaped." She ducked her head with an expression similar to shame before continuing. "When you fell in battle nearly one hundred years ago, I separated myself from the sword under the protection of the Great Deku Tree to instead hide myself in the Shiekah Slate left for you. I do not know if it was destined, but I have come to you now to aid you in your quest in whatever way I can. I hope to be of use to you."

Zelda could only continue to stare as Fi bowed low and waited for her reply. However, none could leave her mouth nor flow from her hands as her mind was busy trying desperately to process the information. So she did fall in battle, even if she wasn't a fighter...somehow. She was some sort of royalty, Princess she supposed, that had been healing from her fall for one hundred years and she did have a quest, whatever it ended up being, to...what exactly? She simply didn't have enough information to make any sort of rational decisions.

She raised her hands as Fi looked back up at her. 'I don't understand. I don't remember anything, I don't know where I am and I don't remember how I got here. I certainly don't know who or what you are.'

"I would not wish to overwhelm you with information your mind is not ready to hear, even if I did know it. My awareness of the outside world was very limited while inside the sword, so I regret to tell you I do not know much of your past, only that you were the Princess of Hyrule and that you fell in battle when you recieved the power of the Goddess Hylia. You have been recovering from greivious injuries to your internal organs and body in general for one hundred years in the Shrine of Resurrection and have now awoken revitalized to prepare to stand against Ganon once more. I am here to aid you in your journey, that is all I know."

Suspicion was read across Zelda's features as Fi nodded in understanding. "I do not blame your distrust in me. If it would make you more comfortable, I could remain in the slate until you have need of me."

Zelda slowly nodded and held her breath as the spirit disappeared once more inside the slate. A small part of her mind wondered at the implication of a spirit residing or fusing with ancient technology but she impatiently shoved it back further and hooked the slate to her belt. She needed to to get off this plateau and find someone who actually knew her and could tell her what happened definitively. There had to be an exit somewhere since there was a temple. Or a way to climb down that wasn't certain to take her life.

Taking one last look at the castle she felt a bit of the anxiety squeezing in her gut release as she noticed the swirling beast hadn't left the confines of the grounds. Satisfied there was no immediate threat posed by the nightmare she turned to peer down a hole in the floor not plugged by rocks, and seeing it wasn't too far of a jump she sat down at the edge and pushed off, landing heavily on her feet. Looking to the side she realized the platforms spiraled around the entire tower all the way down to the base, making it easy to return to the safety of the ground.

"Ho!!"

Startled Zelda nearly lost her footing at the towers base, searching around for the source of the sound. Hearing a faint flapping noise she turned her attention to the sky and was amazed to see the old man hanging from a glider drifting down from wherever he had jumped off from. Landing gracefully for his stature the glider was quickly folded and hooked on his back, replaced with the staff he leaned heavily on as he spoke.

"My, my... It would seem we have quite the enigma here. This tower and others like it have erupted across the land, one after another. It is almost as though...a long dormant power has awoken quite suddenly."

Zelda raised her brow in suspicion at the man's suggestive tone but kept her thoughts to herself for the time being.

"If you do not mind me asking...did anything...odd occur while you were atop that tower?"

Keeping her hands firmly at her side, she shook her head. If she hadn't trusted him before, she definitely wasn't trusting the strange man with anything now. He was keeping things from her she could tell, so it was only fair in her mind that she be allowed to have her own secrets.

The man peered at her from under his cowl with amusement twinkling in his hooded eyes. "You need not conceal the truth from me. Truth be told, I saw the whole thing unfold from afar."

Her heart leapt in her throat but she tried her best to keep her expression neutral. Had he seen Fi? What would he do go her if he had seen her speaking with a strange floating spirit?

"It seems I have some work to do as far as earning your trust. Just as well I suppose." She caught his face fall in a saddened expression before he turned away to point at the castle. Filing it away for later, she shrugged it off and turned to look at where he was pointing, keeping an eye on him from her peripheral.

"That monstrosity above the castle...is Calamity Ganon. One hundred years ago, that vile entity brought the kingdom of Hyrule to ruin. It destroyed everything in its path and in its wake of destruction countless lives were lost. It festers through these long years to gather strength for the moment it can strike its blight upon the land again. With these towers and its reappearance, it would seems that time is fast approaching." Turning to address her directly he asked: "I must ask you, do you intend to make your way to the castle?"

Startled as to why he would think her so foolish she simply stared before slowly raising her hands. 'If I have need to travel there, I suppose I would. However my plans as of yet are simply to leave the plateau and seek out people who might give me information.'

"Hm, I see. This plateau is surrounded by steep cliffs with no way down, it would be quite foolish to attempt to leave without proper equipment. Of course, if you had a paraglider like mine, that would be a different story."

Eyeing the contraption on his back she nodded. 'Would you show me then how to construct one for myself?'

"Oho! I'll do you one better, young lady. Materials for one are scarce here but I'd happily give you mine. Not for nothing however. Let's see now, how about I trade it to you for a bit of treasure that slumbers nearby? Let me show you something."

She followed him as they made there way up a small hill where he pointed to a strange structure across a small lake.

"That structure there, with the strange light, it began glowing at the exact same time the towers erupted from the ground. I would think such a place might house some sort of treasure don't you?"

Looking around the structure she figured she could get there easily if she went around the lake to avoid the nearby monster camp. Squaring her shoulders she nodded to the man and began to make her way towards the strange structure.

More of the strange spider-like statues dotted along her path and she decided to examine one a bit closer before heading to her goal. Moss clung to the grooved stone and followed the swirling pattern that lined the bottom of it. On top was carved a thinner cylinder with a dull sphere embedded into another swirl with three strange circular decorations on top. The legs were splayed out in no particular pattern making it look as if it had fallen, with clawed feet reaching for nothing in its slumber. Looking up she noticed another one without legs half submerged in the water, resting at an angle that she realized was because of an eroded staircase that led all the way to the bed.

Broken columns lined the sides of the stairs and on the wall was something that looked suspiciously like the top of an entryway. Had this been the entrance to the plateau before it became filled with rubble? What had caused it? Looking at the statue once more she wondered if perhaps they weren't statues at all. Maybe they had once been mobile, it would explain the legs at the very least. Were they dangerous? Had they been the things that had caused the cave in? Again she hit a wall that she didn't have enough knowledge to climb over and her frustration only doubled.

Hoping there might be something to be learned in the small building she was headed for she abandoned her fixation for now and continued on her way. Upon reaching the structure, a quick examination told her the stone used to make this was the same as the statue-machines only this had a pedestal the same as the one found on the tower and where she woke up. Since the machines were too small to climb in did that mean she could activate and possibly control them with the slate if she could find a way to connect to it? Excited she placed the slate on the dias, eager to get this over with and act on her theory.

The symbols on the dias burned blue as the same tinny voice called out.

'Shiekah Slate confirmed. Travel gate registered to map.'

Travel gate? Zelda started as a circular pattern on the floor behind her lit up and began pulsing the same blue. The building suddenly burst open as narrow slabs folded back from the doorway to reveal a short entryway with another glowing floor. An age old excitement burned in her chest as an intense want fueled her spirit to go forward. Sucking in a breath she carefully stepped through and looked around for anything that might be treasure, letting out a yelp as the floor sunk beneath her and carried her down beneath the ground.

Several minutes later the small elevator stopped to reveal an expansive room made up of the same material as outside. Bars filled the far wall in front of her and on the floor lay what looked like heavy metal doors. To the left was a pillar of stone like the one on the tower above another pedestal. Reaching out she touched a finger to the wall of blue surrounding her and found that though she could get through it easily it felt like being doused in a fine mist of ice water down to her bones. Shaking the chill off she made her way to the raised platform and unhooked her slate to set it in the indentation.

'Sheikah slate authenticated. Distilling rune.'

Watching with rapt attention, Zelda saw glowing text slide down the stone to gather in a tear at the tip just like the tower had. Eventually it fell onto the slate and a different screen opened on the slate.

Magnesis, she read. It can grab metallic objects and move them regardless of the weight. Surely the slate had no such capabilities? It was so tiny...

'Rune extracted.' The slate slate turned and raised upright for her to grab. Turning she squinted at the doors on the floor, lifting the slate up and pressing the button. They lit up bright pink within the screen and with careful aim and another press a translucent magnet appeared in front of the slate with thin lines attaching it to the door. Giving an experimented tug she gasped in amazed excitement as the door was lifted effortlessly into the air. Giddily she moved it to and fro before swinging it sharply and hitting the button again. With its gained momentum the door was sent crashing into the far wall to settle loudly to the floor.

Amazing, Zelda mouthed to herself, not trusting her voice to ruin the moment. Looking at where the door used to be confirmed her suspicion of a hidden passage. Dropping down and following it revealed the other side of the room blocked off with bars. Great stone squares blocked off her path with one metal set in the middle. Taking the slate again she easily plucked it out and used it to start pushing aside the other blocks when movement caught her attention. A spider-like machine greeted her as it began beeping its distress and with shock she realized it was a smaller, mobile version of the statues outside. Its eye spun wildly as it focused on her and began to glow a bright blue. Realizing what was about to happen she made to run to the previous passage when she felt the slate warm in her grasp and Fi appeared with her arms spread. The machine shot out a beam of light which was simply absorbed into the spirit without even a flinch.

Catching her saviors attention she quickly asked: 'Are you hurt?'

"I can choose whether or not to feel physical things at will, so no, I am not Your Grace. I would advice you to step back so that I may dispose of this enemy."

Shaking her head Zelda picked the metal block back up and moved it so it was directly above the machine. Releasing the button it fell on top of it before it could get out another shot, causing it to fall sideways into the water before exploding into nothing.

Letting the improvised weapon go, Zelda turned to Fi and sheepishly tapped the tip of her boot on the floor. 'Thank you.' she motioned, wanting to say more but failing to come up with something that could show her appreciation for still being alive.

"It is my duty and pleasure to aid and protect you, Your Grace." The spirit smiled lightly. "And taking into consideration your arsenal currently consists of two sticks and a rune I would rather the odds be closer to your favor by acting as your sheild rather than your funeral director."

It came as a shock when she realized the spirit had made a joke, making her feel much more at ease in the beings presence. Fi bowed slightly and made to speak once more.

"I detect no further adversaries in this shrine, only a slight obstacle involving moving a bridge over platforms and opening a door remain. Shall I retreat into the slate once more?"

Zelda slowly shook her head. 'I apologize for my earlier distrust...perhaps we could start over? If you would like, I would very much appreciate your company and help while I traverse the plateau.'

"Of course, Your Grace."

'Please call me Zelda.'

"Very well, Zelda."

The rest of the shrine was completed without difficulty and after collecting a few parts that had survived from the guardians explosions and a bow collected from a chest she made it to an enclosed cage-like platform that held an ancient mummy sitting crosslegged in the middle with a glowing eye directly in front of her. Tentatively reaching out to touch the eye she stepped back in fear as it began glowing brightly before the entire cage shattered in shards of light. Taking her arms away from her face when she realized she felt so pain she watched in wonder as the lights slowly faded away to nothing.

A deep but gentle voice called her attention to the corpse in front of her as her brows furrowed in confusion at the lack of movement to match his speech.

"You have proven to pocess the resolve of a true hero, Princess of a century past. Your perception and curiousity of your surroundings will serve you well in the coming trials. I am Oman Au, the creator of this trial. I am a humble monk, blessed with the sight of Goddess Hylia and dedicated to helping those who seek to destroy Ganon. With your arrival, my duty is now fulfilled. In the name of Goddess Hylia, allow me to bestow this gift upon you...please accept this spirit orb."

A brilliant light shone from the monks chest and gathered out into a small, translucent purple orb with a peculiar design in the middle. It floated towards her as she watched it sink into her chest in another flash of light. Gasping she clutched at the spot as her chest tightened and grew excruciatingly hot for a split second before returning to normal, leaving her feeling refreshed and full of energy.

"May the Goddess smile upon you."

The monk still made no move as he began glowing around the edges of his form, parts of him seeming to break off into light and disappear. Zelda bowed awkwardly and moved a silent thank you to his spirit as he faded away completely, leaving the platform empty.

'Do you think a spirit orb is the treasure the old man had in mind when he sent me in here?' she asked.

Fi smiled and began floating back through the shrine. "Only one way to find out."

 

Zelda was seriously doubting the paraglider was worth losing a toe over as her flimsy boots did nothing to protect her feet from the cold. She stuffed her hands in her armpits as she shivered her way up the mountain peak. She hadn't had any luck finding the last shrine she needed and though Fi had said it was in this general direction she had decided to get to a higher point to look for it to try and speed up the process. Between the snow melting in the spaces of her toes and constantly having to avoid enemy camps so her inexperience with combat wouldn't get her killed she was very seriously considering simply stealing the glider from the man while he slept. The more she thought of it however the guiltier she felt so the idea was promptly squashed in favor of imagining somehow throwing each of the spirit orbs as hard as she could at the old mans crooked nose.

"Ohoho!"

She looked up at the familiar chuckle, biting down her anger at the old man's bundle of clothing protecting him from the frigid air and settling for a pointed stare instead.

"I enjoy viewing the world from up here. It's a nice place to scope for important things."

'Lovely view.' she jerkedly motioned, hardly looking around and simply staring him down in defiance to which he paid little attention.

"You can see the entire plateau and much of the world beyond from this peak. Did you know about the scope on your Sheikah slate? Look though and stick a pin anywhere you want to on the map. Very handy for finding things and keeping your direction true."

'How do you know this?'

"Oho. Just a few tricks I've picked up from many years spent in the wild. You may take my advice or leave it." Finally he turned and looked her in the eyes. "You did well to make it this far without the proper clothing or food to keep your warmth. Please take this warm doublet as a reward for your tenacity. Do take care to put it on before you become too cold now."

Reaching into a side satchel he produced a bundle of clothing, which she eagerly took and examined. A slightly thicker shirt than the one she was currently wearing was hastily pulled on with the woolen wrap tunic following quickly after. Thick, sturdy gloves finally allowed her fingers to retain warmth and she simply stood for a breath or two to revel in the newly acquired outfit. It didn't do much for her feet but she could deal with that later.

'Thank you.' she expressed clumsily, the gloves making it difficult to sign efficiently.

"No need for thanks, young one. I suspect it would have been yours eventually as it has become too small for me. However if you ever need extra warmth be sure to have a few spicy peppers about you. The heat will keep you warm in short trips through the snow." Seemingly done talking for now he turned away to continue staring out at the plateau. Nodding she looked around for the final shrine, spotting it a little ways away by a small lake. Taking a deep breath she sent out a quiet prayer to keep all of her toes and set off once more.

 

"There...I will...be waiting."

Zelda blinked in surprise as the elder vanished without a trace, his crips message echoing through the dull air. Turning to Fi, she asked haultedly. 'Is he like you? A spirit?'

Fi paused before answering. "I was a spirit created as the guardian of the Master Sword. I suspect he may be remnants of a person long deceased as he does not have the same energy signature as me."

Nodding thoughtfully, Zelda pulled out the map to plan the best route down the mountain, scanning carefully for the place the shrines may intersect.

The Temple of Time? She supposed it made a bit of sense for him to want to meet there. Tracing the simplest route she sighed and rehooked the slate to her hip. 'To the temple we go.' she told her companion.

 

Hidden behind a nearby snowdrift unbeknownst to either of the women bright blue eyes tracked their every movement. They watched as the slate opened the shrine, and made blocks of ice appear from nowhere to gain access to a chest. They watched as it brought up a map of the entire plateau and traced routes and marked important places with a touch of the screen. They watched as the two left, hiking back down the mountain to their next destination. The owner of these eyes watched and listened carefully, planning their move with experienced precision.

They wanted out of this land, and they wanted the technology to do it.

Chapter Text

A soft warbling was heard as the gray and soft purple pigeon waddled from behind its tree. Without a care in the world it pecked at the soft ground to find its dinner, the stray seeds and tiny bugs it found building up to a nicely full stomach.

Zelda's grip on the bow string tightened as her eyes narrowed to focus on her prey. She knew instinctively she was aiming correctly, the sharp point of the arrows head pointed at the small birds chest. There was no breeze to effect the trajectory and crouched low as she was she had been able to get only a few yards away for a straight and true shot. She had only to let go of the string.

Letting out a shaking breath she quickly changed her aim and let loose the projectile, hitting the trunk of the tree dead center and spooking the small flock that had gathered under it sending a shower of shocked feathers down in their wake. She sighed quietly and looked over at Fi, who was eyeing her strangely.

'I can't do it. Even if I could I have no knowledge or desire to prepare the meat myself. I can live perfectly fine off of mushrooms and fruit.'

"You're body needs the fat and protein to-"

'Which I'll see if I can find later if there's any people beyond this plateau who can give me prepared meat. I just...I can't.'

Nodding in understanding the spirit stood and offered a hand to her crouched companion. Zelda ignored it and simply stood to retrieve her arrow, relieved she had heard the thump of it hitting the tree rather than the scream of a successful kill.

 

The Goddess statue glowed with divine light as Zelda knelt respectfully in front of it. She knew now that this was a depiction of Goddess Hylia and though she wasn't sure exactly what that meant she felt it necessary to show respect to whatever was happening in front of her. The statue did not move as a melodic voice called kindly from the heavens and within her soul, ringing loud but gentle through the ruined place of worship.

"You who have conquered the shrines and claimed their spirit orbs, one chosen by the gods and fates themselves, one standing as an image of my own divinity..."

Zelda's brow furrowed in further confusion as she was addressed by the goddess. Was she speaking as Zelda being a Hylian that was in the goddesses image, or specifically her as Hylia's image? Neither made much sense in the formality with which the divine being was speaking but she felt it wise to wait for another time to address the issue.

"I can offer you great power, for it appears you have come to pocess Spirit Orbs. In exchange for four Spirit Orbs, I can amplify your being. Do you wish for greater resiliance against enemies or would you rather better stamina to journey with ease?"

Zelda carefully weighed her options. Stamina would be nice but since she was no fighter by any means resiliance would be wiser in the long run. So deciding, she raised her hands to convey her plea, hoping she wouldn't have to put her pained vocal chords to work.

"I shall grant you the power you seek."

A warm red glow blanketed the startled blonde and seeped through her skin down to her core, filling her with a sense of strength and confidence that hadn't previously been present.

"Go, and bring peace to Hyrule."

The glow faded as Zelda stood and uselessly brushed the dirt from her filthy pants. Hearing a shout from somewhere above her, she whirled around and searched for the source before spotting the strange man waving from the roof.

"Here I am! Get up here-quickly!" Without even awaiting a response be turned and walked to wherever he was headed, leaving Zelda to stand confusedly on the ground.

"There is a ladder along the side of this Temple you could use. I predict only a 15% chance of falling through the roof so it should be safe to traverse the tiling."

Zelda wondered offhandedly if it was normal for an eye to twitch this much.

 

"Well done there young one!" The man chuckled out as she reached him at last. "Now then, the time has come to tell you everything. Long ago I fell in battle much like you did when the war for the kingdom of Hyrule began. A kingdom of great prosperity and rising knowledge of ancient technology...which no longer exists."

She listened eagerly for the answers she had sought, forgetting for the time being the promised paraglider. The old man searched her eyes for a moment before casting them down in shame, which confused her greatly but she didn't feel it right to question a stranger about such things while they relived their past.

"The Great Calamity was relentless, destroying everything in its path, lo, a century ago. It took everything from me. My home, my comrades...my precious daughter." He refused to look at her as she stepped closer, taking a breath before continuing. "Since my life was taken from me I have remained here in spirit form, waiting for you to awaken so that I might guide you along the right path when you awoke. I did not think it wise to overwhelm you while your memory was still undoubtedly fragile, forgive me for misleading my purpose.

"Stories of Ganon were passed down from generation to generation oft in the form of legends or fairytales. It wasn't until a prophecy spoke of his return that the stories became something to fear. They spoke of a princess with a sacred power and her appointed knight, chosen by the sword that seals the darkness. We learned of giant machines made by our distant ancestors, piloted by warriors, and of the guardians, a mechanical army of soldiers designed to fight autonomously. All of this, coupled with the appearance of the blood moon, coincided with the prophecy a mysterious fortune teller repeated in an audience with the royal family. 'The signs of a resurrection of Ganon are clear, and the force to oppose it lies dormant underground.'

"Heeding the footsteps of our ancestors we began excavating large areas of land, finding the Divine Beasts and Guardians and working day and night to restore them to their full functions for the inevitable war we would surely soon be facing. One hundred years ago, there was a princess set to inherit the sacred power of the Goddess Hylia and a loyal knight with the darkness sealing sword at her side. We selected four skilled individuals from across the land and set them to the task of piloting the Divine Beasts. With the Princess to lead them we dubbed them Champions, a name that would solidify their unique bond. The princess, her knight, the Champions and the armies of Hyrule were on the brink of sealing away Ganon."

His grip on his staff tightened as he turned a hateful gaze towards the monstrosity swirling above the castle. "But nay...Ganon was cunning and responded with a plan beyond our imagining."

Turning fully, he continued speaking as he walked closer to the edge of the window. "He appeared from deep below Hyrule castle, taking control of the guardians and Divine Beasts before our armies were even organized...and turned them all against us. The Champions lost their lives, those residing in the castle did as well along with most of the armies gathered in key points around Hyrule. Everything was gone in a matter of hours...and thus...the Kingdom of Hyrule was devastated absolutely by Calamity Ganon.

"The Princess and her knight, Link, fought valiantly until the very end, when their fate took an unfortunate turn. The Goddesses power consumed the princess absolutely and felled her in battle, but not before the guardians across Hyrule were forced to shut down for a time, allowing escape for the survivors of the Calamity. Though gravely injured, the valiant knight survived...to face Ganon alone. He protected the princess right up to the very end...and that princess...was none other than you, Zelda."

She simply stared at him in quiet shock. Surely, surely not? If this was to be believed all of her suspicions would be confirmed...but that would mean...

"You were injured beyond what healers could do to save you from the divine power of the Goddess, so you were taken to the Shrne of Resurrection. Here you now stand, revitalized a hundred years later. I do not know the fate of your appointed knight. He went to face Ganon injured, and without his sword, but I am confident that he has been the only thing standing between Ganon and Hyrule through the century. If this is true, I cannot imagine whatever power he was granted to do so lasting much longer. He needs you, Princess Zelda of Hyrule, to finish sealing Ganon away once and for all. I have no right to ask this of you of course..." Again a sad, shameful expression forced his head down at the floor. "But I am powerless here, as are many others across Hyrule. You are the only one with the powers to change the fate of this land and it's people.

"Somehow, Ganon has maintained control over all four Divine Beasts, as well as those guardians swarming around Hyrule Castle. It would be extremely reckless for you to head to the castle at this point. I suggest that you make your way east out to one of the villages in the wilderness. Out past Dueling Peaks twin summits is a road that proceeds north to Karkariko Village. Seek out the elder Impa, she can tell you more about the path that lies ahead. You can consult the map on your Sheikah slate for the villages precise location. Here."

Taking the paraglider from his back he handed it out to her. "The paraglider, as promised. I have little use for as a spirit. With it you should be able to make it safely off the cliffs of the plateau, though I implore you to practice with it first to prevent injury."

He smiled down at her kindly as she took the proferred item. "I have told you everything I can. Proceed safely, young one, the journey ahead is not an easy one. You must face your fate...Zelda."

Arms slightly outstretched he made to step forward, eyes uncertain but pleading. Unsure as to what his motives were Zelda stepped back. She watched as he dropped his arms back to his sides and nodded.

"Forgive me, it has been...you are, that is you look as my daughter did so long ago. I have missed her terribly and have wished for a second chance to redeem myself in her eyes for a century. But...you are not her. I am sorry for making you uncomfortable."

She watched wearily as he faded away to nothing, leaving her and Fi very much alone atop the temple.

 

"To steer effectively, you have only to pull down an arm in the direction you wish to go."

Zelda groaned in pained annoyance as she disentangled herself from the bush that had kindly sacrificed itself to break her fall. Pulling a stray twig from her hair she huffed and snapped the glider shut with a glare thrown at her "helpful" guide, who merely grinned cheekily in response. Rolling her eyes, she began trudging back up the hill to the Shrine of Resurrection where she had been practicing jumping from for nearly an hour now.

Stopping suddenly she snapped her head up as a long melodic wail permeated the air around them. It sang its mournful tune loudly above the lingering birdsong of the evening and eventually faded out with the setting sun.

'What was that?' She inquired at Fi, who had scarcely opened her mouth to answer when a rustling was heard nearby. They both turned to find a rather scruffy man in ragged clothing looking at them with dark haunted eyes, their piercing blue seeming to stare straight through their souls.

"That," he replied unprompted. "Is the lamentation of a fallen Light Spirit."

 

The frigid air stung Zelda's face as she stared out over the chilled waters of the River of the Dead. Close to the waterfall at the far end the crystal waves glowed with a golden light, pulsing with the thump of the falls. Her nerves felt as if they were strung to their limit as she shifted ever closer to Fi and away from the stranger who had appeared seemingly from nowhere, telling them to follow him to where the wailing was supposedly coming from.

"It won't respond to my presence." He stated gruffly. "They used to but I am not the one they call for in this world. We'll need to take the raft."

So saying he stepped through the freezing waters and onto the small raft bobbing lazily with the current, grabbing a stick and stabbing it through the water to the bed below. He looked back expectedly and raised his brows, tapping his foot impatiently against the damp wood.

"Be on your guard." Fi muttered quietly as she floated slightly ahead and onto the raft, Zelda following hesitantly behind. Unlooping the rope from the lone pole the stranger began steering them towards the glowing waters.

He stabbed the pole sharply through the rivers bed and tied the rope securely to the sturdy wood, anchoring them mere feet from the light spirits dwelling. She looked at him confusedly as he simply gestured her forward, looking impatient and almost angry as she tentatively stepped forward to the lip of the raft.

All at once the gentle moaning stopped as golden water splashed from the center of the glow. An orb of flowing light rose from the water as a low melodic tone began sounding all around them. Zelda watched in amazement as an enormous head equine on nature shook itself into being while the flowing light down it's back gave the rest of its body shape. Cloven hooves reared to settle on either side of the orb and a great horn jutted from the center of its skull. A wide tail flicked out from the bumpy spinal cord to splash against the rolling waves its appearance had created. Without moving its mouth the great spirit inclined its head to address her.

"Oh tenacious youth of a time long past...I am one of six light spirits sent to protect the land of Hyrule at the behest of the Gods. I am Magnozia." The spirits voiced chimed within her head rather than ringing against her ears, a feeling that left her both comforted and disoriented as it continued to speak.

"My brethren across the land call out for the light of the Goddess Hylia to heal them from their distress. The spread of Malice led to their fall one hundred years ago dispite their efforts to beat back the darkness with their light. The denizens of the land are now ruled by fear and desperation, rather than light and faith. This blight is already spreading beyond the borders of the kingdom. It festers and boils with the rage of a distant past, intent on infecting everything within its sight.

"Oh Princess who carries within her the blood of the Goddess, hear my plea. Save this land and the Spirits who would seek to protect it. Heal my fallen brothers and sisters with the light of your touch, and with that, dispell the evil taking root throughout the land. You have great power within you to be yet awakened. Take heart and go forth. Save our kingdom Princess..." Glowing ever brighter the spirit chimed once more before shattering in shards of light that disappeared beneath the stilled waters once more, its mournful tune but a distant memory.

Zelda hardly dared to even breathe, standing as still as she could on the edge of the raft. She had just awoken from a hundred year slumber to find a kingdom in peril, ancient spirits needing the healing power of a goddess and the knowledge that as the fallen princess of the past she alone had the power and responsibility of saving not only the fallen knight who still battled against the entire Calamity somehow, but the entire kingdom of Hyrule and perhaps beyond.

It was all...far too much.

Slowly she turned and leaned against the central pole of the raft, slumping against it with an exhaustion that weighed on every individual bone in her body. She fell movement as the stranger began steering them back towards the shore and she shifted slightly to sign a grateful thank you towards him while slumping further against her support. Fi shot her a worried look as she hovered closely, eyeing the stranger suspiciously as he kept glancing in their direction but Zelda could hardly care. She simply wanted to find a safe place and sleep for the night before deciding where next to go. Her mind felt as if it may burst with all of the information and tasks she had been shoved full of in the span of a day.

She felt the collection of driftwood bump against the shore and turned to step off the nausea inducing mode of transportation.

'Thank you.' She gestured towards the stranger. 'I appreciate you taking me to the spirit but may I ask who you are? I thought I was alone with the old man on this plateau.'

Instead of answering he simply held out his hand. "That device on your belt. Give it too me."

At a loss for words her hands moved to cover the slate protectively, shaking her hand and stepping back. 'I need it.'

"As do I. I am not meant to be here, this is your problem, especially since the state your kingdom is in is your fault. I'm not doing this again just because your own knight wasn't competent enough to do his job correctly. Now," He stepped forward aggressively and snapped his fingers. "The slate."

'I...I don't.-'

She flinched as Fi suddenly appeared before her, duel blades glinting in the dying light of the sun as she hovered between her and the stranger.

"There is a less than 5% chance of you winning in a duel against me Hero of Twilight. I do not know why you are here but it is not the fault of Zelda that your fate should be unfavorable to you. Back away."

Within her mind, Fi's voice chimed softly. "Run Zelda. Get to the other side of the plateau and jump with the glider. There are people near the base that can provide us with shelter for the night."

Hesitating only a second to wonder how it was possible for her companion to speak within her mind she took off around the adversaries and sprinted towards the gate leading out of the snow covered peaks. She pushed herself only faster as she heard the enraged yell behind her and felt Fi at her side keeping perfect pace with her frantic footsteps. Skirting around enemy camps and through a corpse of trees she reached behind her and snapped out the paraglider, hoping with everything in her heart that it would hold her weight. She felt the thump of footsteps at her heels as she approached the plateaus edge, feeling Fi leave her side and hearing a pained yelp as her pursuer was interupted by a swift kick to the side of the knee.

Squeezing her eyes shut she held the glider above her head and squeezed her fingers around the wood as tightly as she could. Her feet were suddenly left flailing in open air as she let out a short scream before the wind filled her contraption and slowed her decent. Cracking open her eyes she gasped in wonder as the world drifted lazily below her, a mashed blur of green and brown while majestic purple mountains called to her in the distance. A smile split her face with joy and the danger she had been in mere minutes before was pushed to the far recesses of her mind as images of what was awaiting her flooded to the forefront. The world was so vast and inviting, promising adventure and excitement and above all a freedom she craved suddenly with every fiber of her being.

Gone was the stress weighing down upon her from her supposed quest to save the kingdom of Hyrule. Gone was the nagging worry she felt for a knight she didn't remember. Gone was the panic of not knowing what to do or where to go. She could do anything, go anywhere, she was free to wander and explore and discover. To fill her mind with knowledge and her heart with spirit and her lungs with the fresh breath of the wild.

Out here, she could be anyone.

Landing rather clumsily from her escape through the air she immediately missed the rush of cold air on her cheeks from the rushing wind. Her long hair stuck to the sweat of her neck and the warm doublet and thick gloves did nothing for her now that she was in a far more temperate climate. Pulling both off she rolled them up small and stuffed them into her pack before collecting the paraglider and securing it to her waist with a couple well placed loops of her belt. She'd figure out something better later.

Turning to Fi she gestured around them. 'So, where do go from here? You said thbefore there are people nearby?'

"Correct. If we follow the road over there to the right we should make it to the place my sensors are picking up a great many heat signatures. With any luck it will be a place to rest before starting our journey."

Nodding Zelda began walking towards the road. 'Do you think he'll be able to follow us?'

Not having to ask who she meant, the spirit looked briefly at the steep, crumbling cliffs that made up the edges of the plateau. "Not easily. I predict that eventually he will find a way if he is determined enough, but we should be at least a few days ahead of him by then."

Scuffing her filthy boots along the dirt Zelda raised her hands again. 'You called him Hero of Twilight. What did that mean?'

"I recognized him as a former weilder of the Master Sword." Fi replied quietly after a moment of silence. "He was the last Hero to weild it before Demise escaped from my watch, and before the Hero of this era pulled it from the pedestal. It would seem he was sent here by the Goddesses to aid you in your travels...but his mind has twisted itself into something untrusting and afraid. I sensed a great sadness within him, clouding his judgement. Perhaps it will be him to need guidance when he is ready to recieve it."

They continued on in silence, making their way to a bustling source of light down the road.

 

Far away across the scorching heat on the other side of hyrule, rivulets of sand rose and fell with urgency. Going unnoticed beneath the ground the high winds of the never ending storm of lightening wiped any trace of the trail left leading to a canyon crawling with darkness and poison. A small being sent adrift by a leaf burst from the sand to continue its journey to the caves of its master. Dull sounds of wind chimes and a laughter forgotten long ago echoes through the dim chambers, sending flames to flicker in fear within their terraces. Finally slipping beneath the door leading to a large and lavish chamber, the corrupted forest child twitched towards its master, the eye of malice digging its roots seeping into the convulsing body and opening wide to show the information it had gathered.

The lone figure atop the mountain of cushions nodded gravely, his plump figure doing little to intimidate even lesser foes but still the malice shook slightly as it sensed the raw power of its creator pulsing just beneath the surface, waiting for only the opportunity to burst forth with its hatred and vengeance.

"My Lord!" A tall, muscular man who's features were completely hidden by the characteristic uniform and mask of the banished clan burst through the door in a show of excited energy. Bowing low to the ground in respect, he continued to speak.

"My Lord, the towers have risen, the shrines glow with light and the spirits of the land call out to their gods for assistance in their plight! I-"

"You think me an ignorant fool? That I have not already seen the change in the land?" The clans leader sneered, voice dripping in contempt. "You forget your place, Dorian. You were to stay at Karkariko as an informant and to keep an eye on the elder Impa. I felt your position was made quite clear, but if you should need another example of punishment that comes with disobedience-"

"No My Lord! I beg of you! I only sought to inquire about the apprehension of the Princess. My orders are clear, but anything I can do to further serve the clan I would carry out without question."

Laughter rang out in the chamber as the informant cringed towards the floor. "You would seek to redeem yourself with the Princess' capture? A bold plan indeed considering your past faults. But as the sole receiver of power from Ganon himself, I am nothing if not generous. Very well, I expect you to carry out this quest quickly and discreetly."

"Thank you, My Lord! Truly I am grateful for your benevolence!" Dorian made to stand and travel back to his village, his hands barely making the symbol for transport when he paused at the clearing of a throat.

"Keep in mind however, I will have you kept in check. My eyes span across the great kingdom of Hyrule. And I will not be disappointed twice."

Not being able to do anything but nod, the informant quickly made the symbol and left in a puff of smoke, landing in a concealed place a little ways away from his village.

Lord Khoga settled back into his cushions with a content sigh, lulling himself into a nap with the pulsing of the darkness closing around him.

Chapter Text

Zelda winced quietly as the last of yesterday's tangles were combed free of her hair. By the time they had made it to the meager stable and requested a bed for the night she had been too exhausted for anything other than kicking her shoes off and flopping onto the creaky bed, losing consciousness almost immediately. As a result her clothes were rumpled, her pack had left a small bruise on her side from digging into it all night, and her long thick hair had woven itself into a rat's nest complete with small twigs and dirt from her run through the woods. Pulling it all back she quickly braided it with practiced skill that was borne only from the memory of her muscles. Procuring a loose bit of cord from the ragged sleeves of her shirt she tied off the end of the plait and flipped it over her shoulder, relieved it was out of her face but missing the weight on her shoulders regardless. Making the bed quickly she secured the slate to her belt and stepped into her boots once more, turning to draw back the privacy curtain with full intention to make it to Karkariko by sundown.

Ducking her head to avoid the curious gazes of the other early risers around the stable she walked as quickly as she could to the exit. Having her eyes glued to the floor she failed to notice a bulky mass turning the corner in front of her, sending it off balance and flailing before falling with a yelp to the ground.

Eyes widening she was stuck between signing her apologies and helping the lump off the ground, ending in an awkward flailing of limbs and stuttering movements that turned her face a complete shade of crimson by the time her hands decided to grip the strangers arm. Laughing kindly, he waved off her frantic movements and got easily to his feet despite the enormous pack he had settled over his shoulders.

"Hey!! Don't worry about it, no harm done!" Peering at her curiously the strangers eyes lit up and snapped a small table forward that was secured around his middle.

"I don't believe I've made your acquaintance! The names Beedle, but you can call me- Actually, let's just stick with Beedle. But, even if you forget my face, you can remember me by my beetle shaped backpack!" He nodded happily before turning to go back outside. "Despite these dangerous times, you can find me traveling all over Hyrule to fulfill your shopping needs! I stock many special bugs and must-have items for travelers, and I always charge a fair price...or my names not Beedle! I also buy all sorts of things, if you're in need of rupees. Gemstones in particular fetch a high price! If you aren't in a hurry, care to look at my wares?"

The chaotic energy radiating off the shop keeper left Zelda a little disoriented but eventually she nodded and followed him to the side of the large tent. Plopping himself down he reached in his pocket and took out a roll of paper to smooth out on the table which he then handed to her.

"The items for sale currently along with their prices are listed there. I also have another list for item prices if you want to sell to me! Take your time!"

Her eyes landed on the small list, seeing everything from arrows to lizards listed in neatly spaced handwriting. Handing it back she pointed to the arrows. She didn't know what she would use them for considering the thought of using them made her sick, but it couldn't hurt to have them for an emergency.

"Arrows? Of course! How many were you thinking?"

Pointing to the bundles, she held up a finger.

"Just one? That'll be 35 rupees then!"

Nodding she reached for her pouch and paused, looking in confusion at the rainbow of colors. Which ones were worth what? She couldn't ask, she might be scammed...but she couldn't just give him a random one and expect him not to be confused if it was wrong. Feeling her stomach twist painfully she bit her lip and grabbed a random rupee from the bag hoping it was right.

"...I uh...as much as I appreciate tips, I don't think you really want to give me this much..." He slowly handed her back the golden gem and eyed her carefully. Tears pricked her eyes with embarrassment and frustration as she again glared at the pouch, willing the correct amount to simply jump out at her.

She looked up at the sound of Beedle's throat clearing. "I'm colorblind too." He smiled at her kindly and offered her another roll of paper. "I had to learn the difference between rupees with the notches etched into the edges. Those black lines indicate which ones are which and you can keep it if you like. I memorized it a long time ago."

Completely mesmerized by the mans kindness and patience she gently took the offered list and looked it over, quickly finding and grabbing the correct amount and handing it to him, storing the arrows she recieved in return safely in the quiver she had taken from a camp of sleeping monsters.

'Thank you.'

"Don't mention it! I travel all over, so you'll probably see me again if you're traveling too. Don't be afraid to stop me if you need anything!"

 

The tower lit up a brilliant blue in contrast of the darkening sky. The slate indicated it was Central Tower, the regional map spreading from it confirming that is was in fact the center of the entire kingdom. There didn't seem to be much to this region other than Hyrule Castle itself, an impressive fortress that seemed to be difficult to get through by itself even without the guardians and monsters she knew would be swarming in and around it. Her limbs were still shaking from her precarious climb up the tower, having had to jump up and sideways along the rungs of it to avoid the lasers being shot at her from the stationary machines dotted around its base. She wasn't looking forward to making the trip down but it might prove much easier with the paraglider as long as she could get far enough away.

"We would be safe here for the night if you need to rest before continuing on." Looking over at her travel companion Zelda nodded slowly. She hadn't counted on the trek to the tower and then the challenge of finding a way up it taking the entire day and she definitely didn't like the idea of traveling at night through a hostile land she knew so little about. Shrugging off her pack and unhooking her weapons she flopped onto the floor of the tower and dug out a few apples and a flask of water. A meager meal that her stomach grumbled unhappily about but there was little else to be had until she could get to a settlement where she might be able to pay for a proper meal.

Fi settled down beside her and leaned against the pedestal, staring out towards the castle to observe the broken land. She turned her head to watch Zelda ask a question.

'Why do you hide in the slate around people?'

"No one has seen the spirit of the Master Sword for hundreds of thousands of years. They would not recognize me, only think of me as a strange or even malicious oddity."

Zelda nodded in sad understanding. 'I only thought...I thought perhaps it would be nice to have company on the road, but even if people did not react how you say I understand if you prefer to stay in the slate.'

"With the data available to me it may be possible for me to tweak things here and there to make for a more natural appearance. I have no trouble turning my form into a physical mass from my time in the Shrine of Resurrection." She smiled as she stood, stepping over to where the slate lay with Zelda's belongings. "Besides, it may prove to be a nice change to have a different appearance after so long. Will you be alright on your own for the night?"

The young woman nodded and made a shooing gesture, smiling happily up at the spirit who inclined her head and disappeared with a flash of light. Taking the warm doublet from her pack and bunching it under her head, Zelda laid back and watched as clouds covered the bright expanse of stars above her head, lulling her to sleep in the cover of darkness.

 

Her back twinged in pain as punishment for her poor sleeping courtiers as Zelda painfully tried to stretch out the protests. She gently touched the slate and was met with disappointment once again when Fi failed to appear. Shaking her head she decided not to worry about it for now. Zelda knew nothing of how data bases or reconfiguring the spirits of swords worked but she figured it must be quite complicated and therefore should be allowed plenty if time to finish. It wasn't helpful to worry about her companion just yet when she had plenty to worry about in regards to activating the next tower. Using the cryanosis rune it wouldn't be hard to avoid the enemy camp on the opposite bank, it was just the problem of hopping from one icy pillar to the next without falling into the rushing waters. They weren't especially slippery if you stood on them before they began melting in the sun, but the worn soles of her shoes did nothing to grip onto them and they wouldn't rise closer than a foot away from each other. Not a far gap at all all things considered but enough to make her nervous as the water turned foamy while rushing past the blocks.

Safely reaching the tower at last she quickly destroyed the blocks and turned to the task of climbing to each landing without losing her grip. Thanking the goddesses there were no guardians surrounding this one she made it safely to the top with breath to spare, heading over to the pedestal quickly to gain access to the map. She knew from the marker she was nearly at Karkariko Village, a fact that filled her with excitement at the prospect of finally getting more answers of what had happened to her and a direction in which to go.

Finally reaching the top the slate clicked into the pedestal with a whir of machinery, lighting the tall spire blue and distilling another part of the map onto the slate. Before she could hook it back to her belt however it began glowing a more intense warming blue with a glow emanating up and out from the small screen. Flipping gracefully through the air, Fi settled in front of her to open her eyes, her appearance completely changed from when she last saw the spirit. Her eyes were still blank with thick lashes outlining the large orbs, set in pale skin nearly as white as snow rather than the unnatural blue it had been before. Soft looking hair such a light blue it looked nearly white fell just past her shoulders that were still covered by her bicolored shawl only with an added hood for weather. A dark purple tunic tied around with a green belt that held a small pack and two blades rested over black leggings and sturdy blacks boots. To anyone else Fi looked the part of a normal Hylian, a traveling companion armed for the journey through whatever Hyrule had become.

She's so...pretty. Zelda thought to herself, blushing slightly at the notion. Granted she really had no one to compare Fi with seeing as she didn't really even know what she looked like. She knew she was pale, paler even than her companion, with very long blonde hair and pointed ears. She was short compared the the old man on the plateau, and about a head shorter than the stranger who had tried to take her slate. Her ragged clothes hung loosely on her thin frame but she had yet to find out of that was a result of her long slumber or natural for her. She hoped that once they reached Karkariko she could see what everyone else saw through a mirror perhaps but for now she'd have to count her blessings that no one had run from her screaming.

She had been so lost in thought that she had yet to form coherent words of welcome or even a compliment on Fi's new appearance, simply staring slack jawed as slender fingers reached to tuck a stray lock of the wispy hair behind her ear.

"I apologize for taking so long, the configurations took longer to sort out than I had anticipated. I hope you know that if you had found yourself in danger I would not have hesitated to come to your aid."

Shaking her head slightly she raised her hands 'I know.'

And she did. Surprisingly she did trust Fi, maybe not enough to share her darkest secrets, had she remembered if she had any, but enough to know that she would keep her word to defend her if she found herself in any trouble.

Fi smiled and continued. "I feel this form will take some getting used to, but in your opinion, would I pass for a Hylian?"

Zelda hesitated a moment. She of course thought that Fi would definitely pass as Hylian, save her strange eyes but that hardly mattered. She was, however, having a hard time beating the thought that the spirit was quite pretty out of her head. She was the guardian of a legendary sword, an ancient spirit who's sole purpose seemed to be protecting her on whatever travels she happened upon, and the only thought that crossed her mind made her blush furiously with ridiculous feelings. She supposed it might be from the fact that Fi was the only true companion she had had so far that knew everything that was expected of her...surely that was it.

Realizing again that she had been motionless for too long, she raised her hands shakely to address the spirit. 'I can't imagine anyone taking you for anything else.'

Fi nodded. "Then I will be able to walk beside you on your journey now, if that is still what you wish."

Nodding vigorously, Zelda pushed her own hair out of her face impatiently and walked over to one of the entrances to the tower, signing quickly that they weren't far from the village. Looking down she sighed, not at all looking forward to the long decent.

 

"Have you been to the spring of Wisdom? It's known that princess Zelda visited the spring in prayer. I have a great deal of love and respect for her." Cellessa fiddled with her horses reins a moment before continuing. "I couldn't imagine the pressure she must have been under, praying her life away to the kingdom she had no idea she'd end up losing in the end. Grandmother says there are rumors she may not have died with the Calamity, but no one has seen her in over a century. I still have hope though that one day I might meet her."

Zelda listened awkwardly to the fellow traveler, scuffing her boot lightly on the dirt. How ironic, she mused quietly, to hear a stranger speak so highly of me when I myself have very little idea as to who I am.

"Forgive me, rambling on like that. I meant to ask where you were heading?"

Snapping up from her thoughts she quickly answered. 'Karkariko Village. There's someone I'm hoping to find there.'

"Impa?" Seeing Zelda nod, Cellessa pointed forwards. "I'm heading this way towards Hateno myself. Gotta pick up supplies before heading to the Domain. Head north on this road and you'll reach the village in less than an hour."

'Thank you.' Zelda acknowledged gratefully. She had been wondering how much longer she would have to walk for, her body was still rather weak from the shrine and It was difficult to travel long distances.

"May we meet again." Waving in farewell Zelda watched as Cellessa's horse was urged into a gallop leaving nothing but a cloud of dust behind.

"Would you like to rest before continuing? My sensors indicate you may benefit from it, and we would still reach our destination before nightfall."

Zelda shook her head. 'I'd rather hurry and see if we can find Impa before the sun sets. I want answers.'

They hadn't walked far before Zelda found herself staring at a strange creature standing beside the road. She watched as it sniffled and wiped away what seemed to be tears coming from holes in a leaf covering its face. It looked...almost like a tree?

"A korok, if I'm not mistaken. Not many people can see them." Fi answered her unspoken question quietly, leading Zelda to simply nod. "They are known to be pranksters but they mean no harm. We are safe in their presence."

The creature looked up as Zelda stopped in front of them, wiping away the last of its tears.

'Are you alright?' She gestured carefully.

"SHALAKA!!" The creature wiggled happily in place, not noticing Zelda take a hasty step back in surprise. "Y-you can see me?!"

She nodded slowly.

"Shalq-zah! Shala-kah!! Its been one hundred years since anyone could see me!" The creature sang excitedly. "My name is Hestu and I need your help! Monsters stole my precious maracas! I think they're still on the other side of those rocks."

She looked over to where he was pointing and saw rocks forming a doorway of sorts leading into what she assumed would be a clearing littered with monster camps. Wincing she looking back at the saddened korok.

"Shoko...I can't use my powers without them. Could you please get them back for me?"

Hesitating only a moment she nodded again, smiling slightly when Hestu did a happy hop in place and began singing his thanks. Walking towards the formation she gestured quickly to Fi. 'If you can distract them, I can sneak through and see if l can find the maracas.'

"There are only three waiting on the other side, all equipped with crude weapons. They will not pose much of a threat."

Nodding, the young woman crouched and carefully snuck through the entrance. The three monsters hadn't noticed them yet, dancing around a hastily made fire with little more than sticks as weapons. There was one blue one wielding a club but with Fi at her side it really wouldn't be a challenge to avoid them if they were spotted.

She was almost to ye he ladder that led up to a chest she hoped the lost instruments would be in when a twig snapped under her feet. Startled grunting rose up from behind her and immediately Fi was stood in front of her wielding her blades in a threatening pose. Cowering uselessly she stood still in fear as she watched the monsters approach, eyes widening as Fi took a swipe at the nearest one and cleaved it in half without the slightest but of hesitation. Its screams pierced through her terrified thoughts as she watched it burst into smoke as it weapon fell to the ground along with what looked like its horn that had previously been attached to its face.

The other bokoblins rushed at her protector with weapons raised in challenge. The second was dealt with as easily as the first but the last ducked under the swing to clumsily take a swipe at Fi's side. Eyes widening, Zelda reacted without thinking, standing and swinging her foot out as hard as she could. The blue monster lost its balance and toppled head over heels over the side of the cliff, its screams cut off as it smashed to the ground far below.

Zelda stood in shock as she stared at the spot the enemy had just disappeared from. She hadnt meant for that to happen, she had only wanted to help. She didn't know if Fi could get hurt but she hadnt wanted to wait and see. And now she had just...she knew she might have to eventually but...

"Are you alright Zelda?"

Fi's gentle voice cut off the swirling thoughts of shock and regret. She raised her hands slightly to answer but just as quickly dropped them to the ground. She had fallen in battle supposedly. Had nearly died in a war she could not remember. So why did this feel like this had been the first life she had ever taken?

"Out here in the wilderness, it is important to defend yourself in any way you can. Those were part of Ganon's army, and disposing of them makes Hyrule a safer place for the people who still live in it. You did the right thing."

Words meant to comfort sailed right over Zelda's head as she continued to stare at the cliff, setting her lips in a thin line and digging her nails in her palms. Eventually she shook her head and marched over to the ladder, yanking opening the chest on top and angrily shoving the strangely silent maracas into her pack. Fu said nothing, simply falling into step beside her as they returned to Hestu.

 

Waving goodbye as the large korok lumbered off, Zelda made a mental note in her foggy mind to search for the mischievous koroks for seeds in her future travels. She wasn't sure where to find Hestu if she did end up collecting them but she'd worry about that later. She knew the village was close as they walked through the natural passageway between tall cliffs she supposed were used to hide the village and keep it safe. From the Calamity she supposed but couldn't help bit wonder what else the village people could possibly be hiding from given the geography.

She couldn't shake the numb feeling away with thoughts of geographical innovation however. She couldn't help but replay the screams over and over in her mind, wondering how she could journey through a land full of dangers when she was too scared and weak to face them head on. Fi said nothing, letting her enough space to sort out her thoughts for which she was incredibly grateful. The silence felt familiar and...comforting. in a strange way the soft footsteps falling beside her felt like something she knew, something that tugged at the back of her mind but refused to come to the surface.

She thought of the answers to her many questions she hoped to get. Who she had been before she had fallen, how everything had happened to land her in a shrine of healing and to leave Hyrule feleling so...empty. she had only come across a couple small stables on her way to the village and even though she didnt know what to expect she couldn't imagine it being very large. What had happened to all the people? Why were there so many monsters?

Did anyone know anything about the knight who had fought alongside her? Was he one and the same as the Link who had left her the note and supplies?

Shoulders dropping from the many things she had no answers to she increased her pace impatiently, wanting information with every fiber of her being even through the insistent dull buzzing on her head.

Chapter Text

An elderly and feeble looking Nanna rested on the ground, even as both of those things she was not. She had retired from her official duties as a Shiekah scout many years prior, but she still made for a useful lookout for her small village. Not many newcomers sought the village out, preferring the larger province of the Zora nearby if they needed a place to rest from their travels. Merchants were most common, trading much needed supplies back and forth and swapping gossip with the younger inhabitants to keep everything running smoothly. Less often, lone travelers would come to her home to seek refuge from their adventures, finding Karkariko a safe haven from the horrors they had tried to travel through and failed. They would stay to recover and then be on their way back to their home shaken from whatever they had seen on their travels but grateful for the kind hospitality shown by the Shiekah.

Nanna was quick to observe which of these categories one fit into when her sharp ears detected movement from the road. With a bit of concentration she could even estimate how many people there were and how many weapons they were carrying based on the sounds carried through the narrow pass and the vibrations felt through the ground. Usually staying seated on the ground, a feigned twisted ankle would provide insight into who she might be dealing with if it happened to be a stranger. Many years ago someone had taken this as a sign of weakness not just in herself but in the village as a whole. A Yiga spy, bent on sneaking into the village to carry out whatever plan the stupid fool had been sent for.

He had not lasted long.

As she sat by her campfire, seeming relaxed to the untrained eyed, she heard a faint voice drifting in from the road, but did not recognize the odd pitch it carried. Furrowing her brow she placed a hand on her ankle and slumped further, her other hand moving nearly imperceptibly to place a palm to the ground. Carefully watching the road she whistled a short, high note that immediately set the guards in front of the largest building in the village on edge. It may be nothing, but there had not been a person she did not recognize in the village for a long time. Better to be safe than dead.

As the footsteps grew closer, the voice stopped and suddenly she felt a second pair of footsteps join the first, putting her even more on edge. Yiga could teleport far and wide with the use of their dark talismans. Had another shown up to aid the first? There hadn't been an attack in so long she had dared to hope they would remain in hiding for a long time to come. Slightly shifting her weight the throwing knives concealed around her waist became easier to access as her entire body tensed in preparation to fight.

Her prayer to the Goddess was interrupted mid-word however, as she gasped quietly and stared disbelieving at the pair she saw before her.

 

"Are you alright?" Fi asked quietly as she floated beside the distraught woman. "Your vitals have not evened out from our fight earlier, and if you require time to rest-"

Zelda shook her head dismissively. 'I'm fine.'

It's stupid, she thought, pathetic even. Acting this way after simply defending my companion. I was injured in battle before waking up, surely I know how it feels to inflict death. The thought made her queasy and she wrapped her arms tighter around her rolling stomach. It bothered her that three people now had told her she had fallen in battle, yet she had no visible scars except strange, lightening shaped streaks radiatiating from the back of her right hand to her fingertips all the way down to a little past her wrist and a few deep silver scars crisscrossing her left shoulder. She knew if she had wielded any sort of weapon she would have callouses to show for it but her hands were soft and pale, the only thick skin she had was on her knees and the soles of her feet, leading her to deduce she had either walked or stood more often than not, and had spent many hours kneeling for whatever reason.

Not much to go off of and even less to point towards her being any type of soldier who would have stood upon a battlefield. Not to mention she was also supposedly royalty, a princess, and it made no sense to her why she would have been anywhere near danger. That's what soldiers were for, to protect the royal family and the people of the kingdom. Even in her state of amnesia induced confusion she knew that's how things were done, and nothing she had heard about herself thus far had explained away the conflicting facts.

"I cannot pretend to know how you must be feeling." Zelda looked up carefully as Fi attempted again to soothe her thoughts. "But it may comfort you to know that killing for malicious intentions is far worse than doing so in defense for yourself or others. Ganons forces would not have stopped until we were dead or had run. They had killed and pillaged before and would have done so again, for they are monsters, created to inflict destruction and death with little to no concept of things such as empathy or death. People in this world do as they must to survive and you are no different."

Zelda carefully turned over those words in her mind, finding them still of little comfort but appreciating them never the less. She knew she was acting ridiculous and that there may come a time she would have to kill again, for either defense or food. All to ensure that in whatever world she had woken up in she would be able to survive.

She just hadn't thought it would be so soon.

She noticed Fi had touched down to the ground and was now walking quietly beside her and looked up to see if there were people in their path that she wanted to avoid the questions of. Instead she was met with an open doorway of sorts, made of sturdy wood and decorated with talismans that clinked in the slight breeze to make the air feel light and peaceful. A stylized eye was carved in the direct center of the dark wood not unlike the one that decorated the back of her Sheikah slate. She glanced at Fi curiously, who simply nodded in answer to her unspoken question.

They had made it to Karkariko Village.

Walking through the final doorway revealed a cozily quiet village made up of several buildings with straw rooftops and sturdy framing. Trees dotted the area generously and pillars holding ropes filled with more wooden talismans hung around the valley locked dwelling. At the far edge a waterfall fell peacefully behind a larger building that sat atop a raised bit of land with a tall flight of steps leading down from it. People dresses in sensibly plain attire milled about performing their daily tasks, sandals kicking up dust from the road and bent hats pushed back to protect their necks from the sun. They all worked peacefully and harmoniously together tending to farms, training with long, wicked looking swords or simply tidying the area around their homes. Children ran gleefully up and down the main road and around the adults who simply grinned in amusement before yelling after their retreating backs in vain to slow down before they fell. A soft breeze rustled the braid down Zelda's back and somehow set her rolling nerves at ease with the settling of the wind chimes. She was safe here, she knew, and everything would fall into place with time.

Standing here felt like sitting down with a comfort food, if she could ever remember what hers was. She felt a strong sense that though she hadn't come here often in her past, it was a place where she had truly felt at ease and as if she belonged. Not quite a home away from home but it offered enough comfort to make it close. She breathed in deeply and sighed. She would find what she was looking for here. She was sure of it.

The sound of a throat clearing jarred her from her thoughts and she quickly looked over to see an elderly women standing respectfully before her in awe. The love and adoration she saw in the woman's gaze made her take a tentative step back, not knowing exactly how to convey to the stranger that she probably wasn't who she thought she was.

"It has been so long, Your Highness. It pleases me greatly to see you alive and well. I was quite young when the Calamity arose but I must ask, do you remember me?" Zelda stared at the woman for a long moment, wracking her brain and berating herself for the inevitable disappointment that would fill her gaze when she shook her head. Would she understand? Would she be offended? How to put it in a way that would not hurt the feelings of another she could not recall even the name of?

'I...do not remember much of my past I'm afraid. My most sincere apologies but...no, I don't remember you.'

The sadness in the woman's gaze cleared quickly, replaced by an understanding and gentle smile that filled Zelda with an immeasurable sense of relief. "I'm sorry this has happened, Your Grace. But...perhaps it is better this way. The burdens of what was left behind may have proved to be overwhelming upon awakening, so count your blessings I suppose."

Zelda smiled and raised her hands again. 'I come seeking the Elder Impa, who I was told may supply me with knowledge of what happened and what I must do. Would you be so kind as to direct me to her?'

"Formal to a fault, even without your memories." She chuckled before turning and pointing to the large building Zelda had been admiring. "Follow the road down to that house, there you will find Impa. I hope you find the things you are looking for."

So do I, she thought quietly as she thanked the woman before making her way down the road. Stopping suddenly, she turning and motioned to the kind elder. 'You never said your name?'

She smiled. "The villagers call me Nanna."

Zelda nodded. 'Thank you, Nanna.'

"Are you nervous?" Fi asked quietly. "Your heartrate is rising."

Continuing to walk down the road Zelda realized her heart was in fact racing against her ribcage. 'Maybe a little. What if she doesn't tell me everything? What if she is angry over my lack of memory?'

"I hardly think she would be cross over something you can't help. She is the matriarch of the village for a reason, she will know what and how much to say. I'm sure of it."

Zelda wished she could be half that confident as her cheeks burned with embarrassment at the crowd she had unknowingly gathered. Strangers craned their necks to look at the strange duo making their way through their small dwelling. Children hid behind their mothers and fathers and the ones who had been previously training drew their brows together in suspicion while settling into an alert pose. The guards in front of the grand house looked down at her curiously, not moving to allow her passage but refusing to say the first words.

'We seek an audience with the village leader Impa. We would pass, if you please.'

The guards scowled further, drawing their weapons and stepping forward. She laid a hand on Fi's arm before she could draw her own blades, desperate to avoid conflict if at all possible.

"One does not simply seek an audience with the Shiekah elder, stranger." A tall, burly man stepped forward further, his frown deepening when Zelda refused to back away. She was a head shorter than him and if he so chose he could probably knock her flat with a flick on the nose, but some deep seated instinct told her to stand tall and unwavering, so she did just that. Saying nothing she stared into his intense eyes, neither daring to breath in their close proximity. The air was so thick with tension a mere twitch of the sword he carried would send it snapping in their faces. Neither noticed the timid movement off to their left, only turning to look as it addressed the fearful woman gently.

"Is that a Shiekah slate?"

Zelda turned to see a timid girl bowed slightly under her real height whether from nerves or a condition she couldn't tell. Smooth white hair gathered in a split bun adorned the top of her head and a painted red Shiekah eye decorated her forehead. Her bright red eyes pierced her very soul and though the girl seemed shy there was an air of power about her that commanded attention even if it seemed as though she detested it. Turning to her fully Zelda lightly touched the device at her hip and nodded, glancing at Fi with an air hope.

The girls eyes widened and she bowed deeply, making Zelda's face burn crimson as she struggled to gesture towards her to stand. Noticing a crowd gathering around her she heard gasps and whispers rise with the wind as she turned to them fully to gape in astonishment at their actions. Guards pointed their blades to the ground and knelt as deeply as their joints would let them, mothers tugged their children down with them and nudged them to bow their heads as well. She caught sight of Nanna grinning before she too bowed with the modest crowd, leaving Zelda floored and at a complete loss for emotions and words. She turned back to the guards in front of the stairs and the strange girl and found them bent over as well in the show of respect, though the aforementioned faces were completely baffled giving Zelda the impression they had just as much clue as to why they were bowing to a past fallen princess as she did. The white haired woman stood and addressed the guards.

"Grandmother has been waiting all of her life for the fallen Princess to awaken and finish what was started one hundred years ago. Have you not seen the signs? Stories of tall spires rising from long dormant ground, the shrine above the village glowing with life, Ganons forces gathering in ever tightening networks, and the rise of the blood moon even before that. Princess Zelda of Hyrule has returned, and she will recieve an audience with Impa."

"O-of course, Mistress Paya. Your Highness, please forgive me. We had heard the warning signal and-"

Zelda cut him off with frantic waving of her hands, wanting simply to leave the strange spot light she had found herself in and recieve the information she had come here seeking. As grateful as she was to the girl for aiding her in her current quest she very much wished they had avoided the spectacle and had simply taken her through to her grandmother. She watched as they nodded and stepped aside, the girl turning and smiling timidly at her before waving her to follow. She nodded to Fi and they mounted the steps together, leaving behind the still bowed village to their true destination.

"I a-apolog-give for the inc-convenience, Princess Z-zelda. My name is P-pay..." the girl took a steadying breath as Zelda smiled encouragingly, willing her silently not to cry as the white haired girl looked quite close to it. She felt a distinct sense of deja vu at her faltering speech but shrugged it off for now. She needed to focus.

"Pay-Paya. My name is Paya!" Face burning, Paya never the less sighed in relief. "I got it out. I-it seems quite silly, st-stuttering over my-my own n-name. But I w-wanted to say that it is an honor to-to m-meet you. Grandmother has been waiting a c-c-century for you to awaken and I know she w-will be happy to see y-you again. P-please go inside."

'Thank you, Paya. You are very kind.' Zelda gestured gently to the sputtering girl, grinning widely when she turned such a dark shade of red the marking on her forehead nearly blended in. Too cute, she decided, before her mind turned back to the task at hand. Alright. This is it. I might finally receive true answers to everything I want to know, and then I can decide where to go from there. Recieving an encouraging nod from Fi as she turned around she took a deep breath and opened the ornate wooden doors.

Zelda stepped into the spacious room slowly, smelling faint fragrant smoke and wood polish as she stepped through. The well kept floors emitted not a sound as she and her companion stepped carefully over them, taking in the decorated walls and wooden beams hung with fabric talismans rather than the wooden ones scattered outside. Though large, the room was fairly dim offering very little illumination with which to see what stocked the numerous low shelves lining the walls. A picture of a wide field of green hung on the left wall, the far right remained bare while between the two laid flat cushions in orderly rows, most likely used for prayer or meditation. The long but simple rug they stood upon led directly to a raised dias upon which a tower of pillows were piled high. Balancing perfectly in the center in front of a curious looking tapestry a very old, very stern looking women kneeled, barely raising her eyes to look up under the comically wide brimmed hat hung with decorative chains.

Zelda shifted nervously and shot a quick glance at Fi, who offered nothing of comfort as she simply bowed low to the elder in front of them. Zelda followed, biting her lip and raising her hands to attempt to address the matriarch before jumping as she heard her chuckle.

"Has it been so long you feel you should be so formal? Zelda, my dear, I could not be happier to see you finally awake and well. I am much older now but...you remember me, don't you?" The woman gazed at her with kind eyes and an easy smile while Zelda frantically beat at her memory for something, anything to identify her. She knew must be Impa, that much was obvious even before Paya and the guards had confirmed she was here. As she looked at the leader however she could find nothing familiar about her, and she suspected even if she looked exactly as she did before the Calamity she would not know who she was. Zelda looked down in shame and raised her hands, flipping out a stuttered apology without looking and praying she wouldn't be angry with her.

"You do not speak? Ah, your voice may have done me some good after a century but I understand. Even so, you looked as if I am a stranger to you and merely apologize rather than greeting me. Do you not even remember the name Impa my child?"

Zelda looked up and slowly shook her head, feeling tears prick the corner of he eyes. Why was this so hard? She knew she should know this person and she hated the hurt look that crossed over her face but she could do nothing to fix it. Guilt stabbed at her heart as she again hung her head, feeling Fi rest a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I see, so you have lost your memory. It was a risk we took into consideration when placing you in the Shrine of Resurrection. I am sorry it is a fate that came to pass." She sat back was he gaze softened upon seeing the woman look up again. "That may be a blessing in disguise for the time being. Better to ease you into what happened than have it plague your mind immediately upon awakening. Dearest Zelda, won't you please come a bit closer?"

Startled, she realized she had never moved forward from just in front of the doorway all this time and hesitantly took a step forward and then more until she was a more respectful distance away. Nodding, Impa turned slightly to peer at Fi. "And might I inquire who your companion is?"

Raising her hands, Zelda stopped to wonder at what she might say. Would Impa believe that she was the spirit of the Master Sword? She still doubted it herself but since the apparition hadn't yet tried to kill her she trusted her well enough. To put that into words however...

"I am Fi, Elder Impa, Guardian and Embodiment of the Sword that Seals the Darkness. A spirit made by Goddess Hylia many millenia ago to reside within the sword and keep the Demon King Demise trapped within. Failing at that task nearly ten thousand years ago I now travel with Zelda as her companion and protector as the Master Sword faces no danger in it's current dwelling." Fi bowed deeply. "It is an honor."

Eyes widening only for a moment, Impa simply nodded. "I see. If that is true it should be I who is honored to see you, Mistress Fi. Thank you for accompanying our Princess, I can think of no better companion to aid her on her quest." Turning to address them both she continued. "A hundred years ago...the kingdom of Hyrule was destroyed. After you fell, Link's quick thinking saw you sent to the Resurrection Chamber to recover. And then...all alone...he went to face Ganon. I do not know what fate he endured, but the Calamity has been unable to leave the castle since that day, for which I can only think to thank him for."

Impa folded her hands neatly on her lap and looked at her audience intensely. "Before Link went to Hyrule Castle to nobly meet his fate he left a note on the bedside table with words to give to you once you awoke. I have been waiting one hundred years to deliver his message to you. However! These words which were left to you...well, if you are to hear them...you must be prepared to risk your life as well."

Zelda's brow furrowed as she met the Elder's gaze. What kind of message could be so dire? She knew the fate of Hyrule was one laced with the blood of the past, if what she had heard thus far was anything yo go by, but what could be done about it now? She had already failed allegedly, what was she supposed to do one hundred years later?

"The burden of the message, and what you must do...I'm afraid it may be too much to bear while you are still without your memories. I leave the choice to you. When you feel you are ready to hear what I have to say, you may ask that I tell you."

Thinking carefully, Zelda assessed how she was truly feeling. Regret and a strange sadness were at the forefront but underneath was curiousity and excitement. She was finally going to get the answers she had wished for since she had awoken...but she also realized just how dead on her feet she was. She hadn't really stopped moving since the plateau. Sure she had slept and rested but she was always moving to the goal of getting the paraglider, finding clues to her past, and getting to Karkariko Village. Now that she was finally at her final goal she was exhausted and as much as she wanted answers, the need for a comfortable bed was what her body and mind were currently screaming for.

'Is there any way we could talk more in the morning? I'd like to be rested enough to understand what I'm being told.' Zelda gestured this with instant regret, feeling as if she was speaking against everything she had ever done but in her exhausted state she couldn't bring herself to care. It was getting late enough. Whatever she needed to hear she hoped it could wait until morning.

If Impa was surprised she was careful not to show it. It seemed that the woman had had a very long time to practice the art of subtlety. "The inn will certainly be happy to accommodate you, free of charge, I won't hear it," she held up a hand against Zelda's immediate protest. "I will see you comfortable and rested above all else. I'm sure most everyone in the village knows of your identity by now so I doubt they'd let you pay for anything even if I wouldn't insist. Now, down the road you'll find the inn where you may recieve a warm bath, dinner and a bed for the night. I'll make arrangements to have a change of clothing sent to you from the store, I'll not have anyone, former princess or not, running around in rags that hardly fit and look as uncomfortable as that. If you feel ready we will talk in the morning but until then and even after, please know that you can consider Karkariko you're home. You may stay as long as you like and when you feel you must move on you will be properly outfitted to do so."

Before she could say anything, Impa turned to Fi. "And I hope you understand that everything I just said applies to you as well. There will be a room and a hot meal waiting for you if you desire and anything you may need you have only to ask. Spirit or no you will be accommodated for."

"Thank you for your generosity, though this form requires no sustenance to maintain its functionality." Fi bowed her head graciously in reply.

Impa nodded. "May we meet tomorrow then. Pleasant dreams, Zelda."

Nodding and bowing in thanks, Zelda turned and made her way out of the house, head spinning with questions she was too tired to form coherently. The sun had almost set by now, allowing fireflies to dance above the water sparkling with the last rays of the day. Cuckoos warbled contentedly in their pens and the happy shrieks of children had given away to the gentle song of the crickets. No one stood outside except for two new guards who stood alertly at the base of the steps, nodding to her and Fi as they passed. Stumbling slightly she felt a steadying hand at her elbow and looked up to see Fi peering at her with concern, which she waved off tiredly.

'It has been a long week, my apologies.'

Nodding, Fi walked beside her in silence the rest of the way to the inn, where they were greeted warmly by the keeper. A pleasantly hot meal and bath later she was sinking into a soft mattress with the blankets pulled all the way up to her chin. This was truly better than anywhere she had slept so far, and the pressed sheets felt heavenly against her tired muscles. Her companion didn't need sleep but had agreed to stay in the room beside hers for the night. She snuggled down further and sighed contentedly. She didn't understand what her purpose was yet or how to fix whatever had transpired a century ago. She didn't remember who Link was or why he was important. She didn't know how many more people she'd meet who would be disappointed she had no memory of them. She didn't even know for sure who she herself was yet. Everything was terrifying and confusing but she had the utmost faith that it would turn out all right in the end. She just had to take it one step at a time.

 

Zelda kicked out quickly, unthinkingly, the blue skinned bokoblin careening over the edge of the cliff where its screams were cut off abruptly by a shattering of bones that echoed in her ears. There was no Fi there to comfort her and no other monsters plagued the area. She was alone and afraid as she looked down at her hands in disgusted shock. Blood dripped from her fingertips and puddled in a sea beneath her feet, the entire area tinged red as the sky shrieked in terrifying triumph. Tears gathered in her eyes as she heard a distinct growl coming from the cliffs edge, looking up in time to see a blue clawed hand dig it's way through the dirt for purchase. The bokoblin hauled its body over the edge, it's broken ribs and twisted legs crackling loudly in the night.

It grinned as she took a step back, feet sloshing through the liquid that lapped violently at her ankles. Her head snapped up as the shrieking grew more pronounced, staring up at a red stained moon with swirling clouds of black spilling forth around it. Bokoblins burst forth from the mess, dancing and screaming in horrific triumph as they pranced down from the sky. More monsters she could not identify following, hulking masses wielding trees as clubs, smaller ones with long snouts and terrifying bows, ones that scittered quickly between them their long tongues lashing out angrily, even skeletal ones that jangled in the wind with glowing yellow eyes.

Her own eyes snapped back to the foe before her as it began to shift, bones twisting underneath flesh as they knit themselves back together in a grotesque miracle. Mottled skin fused back into place and jointed swiveled around to face the correct direction all as it still moved towards her with that horrifying grin stretching its face open wide.

"You have made a grave mistake, returning to this cursed land Princess." Its garbled speech was barely understood, but in her mind the growl translated perfectly through her unfortunate ears. "We have your knight and are slaying him as we speak. Your Champions have fallen. Your mechanical pet's controlled by a power the likes of which thus world has never seen. We have scourged the land and taken from you everything you once held close to your pathetically beating heart. The blood moon rises with the swell of our power and all you have slain return to flesh yet again in the quest to end your miserable reign. We have your soldiers. We have your land. We even have your memories."

She recoiled as the beast leaned close enough to rest its foul breath upon her cheek. "You failed a hundred years ago and we will be sure you fail now. Tell us, what good is the Princess of Hyrule of she does not know she is as such? Your research is gone as are all your subjects. We have lain waste to everything, and once your pathetic little knight falls to our will, there will be nothing standing in the way of your defeat."

Her ears began to ring as the shrieking monsters swirled around her in a faster and faster tyraid, her and the bokoblin standing still in the midst of chaos. She uttered not a sound as it spoke one last time.

"Go forth as you will, but nothing will prevent our will from infecting the kingdom. You are destined to a throne of nothing, Princess Zelda. Nothing but failure."

The screaming rose in ever growing octaves as the beast in front of her began to laugh. She crouched down slowly, clasping her hands to her ears in a desperate attempt to block the noise from beating at her ear drums, the sensations all becoming too much to bear as a pathetic scream ripped itself from her vocal cords, adding to the tornado of horror that swarmed around her. She began falling, the darkness swallowing her in its sharp maw to offer little comfort in its stifling silence. She continued to scream as she fell, her mind racing to comprehend what was happening and her legs and arms flailing in desperation to grab onto anything that may break her fall to whatever was waiting for her at the bottom. But there was nothing. There was nothing and it was too loud and she hurt and it was too much, too much and the sensations were overwhelming, suffocating her and her throat hurt from screaming and she was still falling

 

"Zelda."

Zelda shot upright in bed, sweat making her feel clammy and gross as she threw the blankets off and stumbled to the floor, landing on her hands and knees trying to catch her breath. It was coming too fast and she couldn't catch it, hyperventilating in a state of confusion as her mind struggled to comprehend that she had, in fact, been asleep. Her hands curled into fists and her breathing came ever faster and she squeezed her eyes shut as tears cascaded down her cheeks. Suddenly, cool hands brushed them away and held her face upwards, a gentle voice speaking softly through the panic.

"If you continue to breathe at this accelerated rate you will pass out from lack of proper oxygen intake. You are awake, you had a nightmare but you are fine. You need to breathe. Slowly. With me. Breathe with me, Zelda."

Following the voice she breathed with the slight sighs it was setting gradually calming her heartbeat and easing the tightness of her lungs. Relaxing in a huddle on the floor the tears continued to fall silently down her cheeks, her throat frustratingly dry and devoid of the proper muscle to let her voice her gratitude. Instead she simply slumped against her savior, who was mumbling words of encouragement that Zelda didn't quite catch but took comfort in anyway, keeping her eyes shut as she let the owner of the voice's hand gently rub her back. Slumping down further she began to lose consciousness, exhaustion catching up with her again and lulling her into a thankfully dreamless sleep.

 

Zelda sat up and stretched languidly, yawning at the sun that had so rudely woken her with its welcoming rays. Rubbing crust from her eyes she got out of bed quickly and was surprised to see a bundle of clothing waiting on a nearby chair.

-A change of clothes free of charge. Don't even think of coming to negotiate. The first is standard Hylian wear, sturdy and comfortable for traveling. The second in a Sheikah stealth garb, useful when sneaking is necessary. It will mask your footsteps and the sound of your breathing and is completely frictionless, so movements will be smooth and silent. I hope these will serve you well Princess.

-Claree

Smiling tiredly, she took the Hylian wear and changed quickly, marveling at the comfortable but well-woven cloth. This would definitely be better than the ill-fitting rags she had been sporting so far. Giving the belt some final adjustments she strapped the Sheikah slate onto it firmly and hooked the glider to a couple loops at the base of her back for easy access. The Sheikah garb she tucked carefully into her pack which she adjusted comfortably over her shoulders. Heaving a satisfied sigh she stepped into boots that again fit much better and crossed the floor to exit the inn.

She was ready to face whatever it was she needed to today. Whatever she needed to hear, no matter how it affected her future, she knew she needed to here it.

Whether she was ready to risk her life for it or not.

Chapter Text

Fi sat quietly in the darkness, legs folded underneath her on the crisp sheets of the rented bed. Being an AI she did not require sleep to fuction, though she could shut off her inner processing if she so chose. Later in her life when she had thought to question such things as her purpose and how exactly she had been formed, she had come to question the Goddess' method for creating her. She was the spirit of the Sword that Seals the Darkness yes but also slightly more. She was not exactly what humans would call artificial intelligence, she had no physical data drives that someone other than herself could tamper with and she knew a good deal more about the land of Hyrule and it's people than a human could program her with. So she often surmised that she was simply stuck right on the precipice of being not quite human, but that not quite human trait did not let her fall back to titling herself as something as low as a robot. She was an entirely new subsect of incorporeal machine, able to tamper with her data drives but unable to tell you exactly how she went about it, unable to say what she had tweaked to allow herself emotions and the freedom to make concious decisions that weren't purely for the benefit of the divine plan.

Another thing Hylia had never spoken of before she transformed into a mere human. Fi got the sense that maybe the goddess didn't know what the consequences of her actions might be, or what the grand plan was before she decided to push towards an ultimate action. She was praised by all as a wise and selfless goddess, which was true enough, but she was also in Fi's opinion, naive and stubborn, which was often reflected in her reincarnations. She had raised an entire race of people, now aptly called Hylians, into the sky to protect them from the Demon King. She had sacrificed everything to protect and hide the triforce, had put the immense burden of saving Hyrule time and time again on a young man who was unlucky enough to have caught her eye for his resilience, and then had given up her power and status to be reincarnated into a human who could bear the triforce, putting weight on yet another person's shoulders. She had been hurt and weak when she had come up with this plan, a desperate plan, and the gods of old did not answer in her anguish to assist the one they had entrusted Hyrule to.

Although Fi couldn't fathom what else could have been done she had come to sympathize with Hylia's decendent and the one who would bear with them the Hero's spirit. Neither had ever asked to be a part of this greater destiny, an eternal loop that had spun round and round for hundreds of thousands of years. There would be a rise of prosperity and peace, shattered by the rise of the spirits of evil to which fate would respond with the hero and princess to banish it once again into the shadows and bring about another era of peace. A pattern the Goddess Hylia set in the ancient times, and Fi often wondered if she could have known the cycle would last this long.

She lowered her head and sighed, a rough whisper of air forced past her lips. She had no need to breath but she found the action strangely comforting, as if she could bundle everything neatly and carefully into a single breath and exhale all she did not want outside of her body, letting the crisp air of Karkariko do with it what it would. This couldn't be the case however and she still felt strangely unsettled. Her innermost data tampering had paid off over the millenia, and she was graced with the power to feel emotions as any other being would. Not being specifically made to do so however, had its drawbacks. She could feel as much as she liked, and as much as she didn't, but she didnt quite have the mental compacity to process such things and thus they were left untended, a swirling mass of cloudy confusion that hindered her judgement at best and left her completely immobilized at worst, struggling mentally to know which metaphorical direction to turn when all the roads looked treacherous enough to root her to the spot. To preform her duty in the past and now the one she had imposed upon herself in the present, she simply shoved everything into the far corners of her mind, letting them writhe impatiently in the dark as she threw up haphazard walls to protect herself from them. She knew, from the few times she had been able to observe her surroundings outside of the sword, that this most certainly was not the correct way to deal with things but she lacked the capacity to understand how to manage them in any better of a way.

So there they festered, feeding and growing from the emotions that continued to pool and be shoved back. Sadness and loss, a dull bass that throbbed from the heros she had seen rise and fall, kingdoms, entire civilizations laid to waste by evil that plagued the land in waves. Resentment and confusion for how she was created, what her purpose would ultimately be, bitter acceptance that in the end she was simply a tool crested close to the surface in a dull thumping beat, tapping out its rhythm against her skull in quiet moments such as these. And the crescendo of noise, a chime that rang clearly through the dark harmony, the overwhelming guilt of one who could be used to save, to rescue, to protect, but who could not do it themselves when it mattered most. She remembered the tension that her most recent Master had held the hilt of the sword with, desperation rising in crushing tsunamis to protect the princess at all costs, even as torrents of blood trickled past the handle and soaked into the ruined earth below. She remembered his cries of fury and anguish, how hard he had fought to simply remain standing towards the end, the overwhelming panic that had seized his entire being as he watched his charge, his princess, his friend, limply drop to the ground to lay as still as death. His sobs echoed in her ears for one hundred years as she squeezed her eyes shut against the onslaught of grief she felt for one she was supposed to aid and guide through his unfortunate fate. She felt him now still, though faintly, somehow alive and fighting, though against what she could not fathom. Her senses were muted and dull without the stable connection of the Master Sword to guide her. Though she greatly enjoyed being out in the open, she almost missed the quiet prison she had stayed in for countless millenia.

So thinking, her mind turned towards thoughts of Zelda. She seemed so alarmingly fragile, an amnesiac who had never known what it was to kill, however indirectly and nobly. It made sense, given her past, but it it made it all the more dangerous for her to be out in the wild with only a spirit yo protect her and keep her company. Fi did not doubt her abilities of the former, but she feared her emotionless demeanor left much to be desired when it came to conversation. Zelda seemed to enjoy her companionship but she wondered how long that would last given her attempts at comfort were met with such little regard that if it weren't for her observational skills Fi might have thought her deaf.

She seemed so afraid and unsure and though that was to be expected it may prove to hinder their progress when it came to exactly what she was expected to do. Zelda was the one who needed to save Link, and Hyrule as a whole, and Fi knew it would be a quest that would be needed to be met head on with confidence, something she wasn't sure the princess could muster. Her spirit wasn't strong enough to handle the pressure that would be put on it, and Fi doubted she could feel the power of the Goddess within her. Not until she was reminded of why she needed it.

Which led to restoring her memories, or at least some of them but Fi had no idea how to go about doing it. Going to places she had frequented in the past may help if she had any idea where those might be. She doubted Impa simply telling her of her past was going to perform a miracle for the girls mind, and even if it did, receiving so much information at once may snap what little resolve she had. She needed to remember what was important, why she needed to fight for what she had been doing a century prior and they needed time to figure out how to do that and then more to execute it, and they didn't have enough time for both. Link was weak, Fi could feel that even with her limited view of his spirit. They'd be lucky if he lasted a year against whatever it was he was doing. For all she knew he could be being pocessed by the Malice, fighting against it with everything he had and without his sword it wasn't much. They needed to move, but there was only so much she could push.

Sighing again, Fi hung her head and slouched from the straight backed position she had cramped herself into. Worrying over it wasn't helping especially if it wasn't providing her with a plan they could enact quickly. They could only take it day by day and hope that that was enough.

Her head snapped up as a wave of fear slammed into her senses. Zelda. Zelda was terribly afraid. She stood quickly and flew into the room beside hers, immediately seeing the princess' face scrunched up in pain. She tossed within the confines of her blankets, whimpering pitifully and grasping at nothing. A nightmare. Of the past perhaps? No, it was more likely it was from the previous events of the day, she had not taken her actions lightly.

Fi started as a low whine echoed through the red tinged room. Blinking, she realized the room had indeed started to turn red from an outside glow and peered out the window to see a bright crimson moon, clouds whipping through the sky around it. The guards seemed to either not notice or not care so she decided to simply focus on Zelda for now who was currently rasping as she attempted to scream out her displeasure.

"Zelda, it's a dream." Fi murmured, placing a cool hand on fevered skin. "Wake up, Zelda."

The hoarse rasping continued and she gently nudged Zelda's shoulders, worried for her strained vocal cords.

"Zelda."

...

"Zelda!"

The Princess gasped awake, practically flying off the bed and hitting the ground hard. Fi hovered nearby, watching her breathing become uneven and erratic, fists clenching and wetness hitting the floor between them as Zelda cried from the intensity of the nightmare. Fi's heart clenched at the familiarity of it and bent down gently, intent on making up for all the times she could not fix things for him.

"If you continue to breathe at this accelerated rate you will pass out from lack of proper oxygen intake. You are awake, you had a nightmare but you are fine. You need to breathe. Slowly. With me. Breathe with me, Zelda." She gently brushed the tears from her cheeks, mocking breathing slowly, in and out, relief pulsing through her as Zelda began to follow. As she relaxed she began to slump forward, exhausted from the ordeal, and Fi held her securely as she gently rubbed circles on the young woman's back.

"There. It's alright I promise you. You just had a nightmare, everything is alright. You're safe, I promise. Everything is fine." She continued murmuring gently as she watched the sky return to it's normal nighttime hues, smiling gently as she realized Zelda had fallen back asleep. Picking her up carefully, she laid her back down and pulled the covers back up to her chin. Looking down at her relaxed face, Fi circled her arms around herself as the worry began to build again.

"I have no idea what I'm doing."

 

After bidding farewell to the innkeeper, Zelda shrugged her pack onto her shoulder more comfortably and met up with Fi at the door. Neither of them had mentioned the previous night and Zelda felt grateful as embarrassment tinted her cheeks pink not for the first time that morning. She hoped she hadn't bothered Fi too much with the way she had reacted to a simple nightmare. It had felt so real in the moment and had been so hard to seperate herself from it, she was grateful the spirit had helped her but...

She remembered the feeling up cool hands brushing her cheeks and she refused to look up from the ground. The only reason she was feeling this way was because she had been with Zelda since the beginning of her journey. Of course she felt attached. And if the thought of leaning against her and falling asleep tied her full stomach up in knots it was only because she felt slightly ashamed for acting like a frightened child.

That was all.

The internal struggle lasted all the way to Impa's house where they mounted the long flight of steps and stood in front of the door. Taking a deep breath Zelda placed her hands flat against them, stopping just short of swinging them open. Feeling a gentle touch on her shoulder she peeked up and caught sight of Fi giving her a comforting smile. Nodding she turned and pushed open the ornate doors, striding confidently to the woman waiting for her on her tower of cushions.

The confident stride stuttered as she saw the intense stare Impa was giving her. She knew this was it, that no matter who she had been and would be, this would be the moment that started everything. She knew instinctually that this would be the deciding factor in how she perceived herself and how others saw her. It would decide the direction of her quest and the shape of her future. Whatever she decided to do with the things said in this room, at this moment, is what would determine the fate of Hyrule.

She felt the weight she had not even yet recieved settle onto her back like an annoying limpet she knew she couldn't shake.

'These words which were left to you...well, if you are to hear them...you must be prepared to risk your life as well.' The words Impa warned her with the previous day rang in her ears and she closed her eyes briefly, mentally willing herself to calm down. She wasn't alone. Whatever had to be done, it could be taken one step at a time until it was finished. It didn't seem so hard, put that way. She could do that.

Whatever she had to do, she would.

She opened her eyes and met Impa's stare with confident defiance, daring the elder to warn her again of what the consequences of sharing her message may be. She felt an old, familiar power rise within her being. Small and fleeting did it dance against her concious, a tickling memory of what once was held with ease, now as simple to capture as a wave upon the sand. The lingering echo of feeling it provided aided her with her silent test of strength, which seemed to her to have lasted hours, but in reality only a few seconds had passed. Impa's eyes crinkled suddenly as she let out a soft chuckle, leaning back and smacking her knee with amusement.

"You are without a memory to your name, but still as stubborn and resilient as ever! I couldn't possibly pass a century old message of such importance to one who lacks the conviction to bear it, but I see that you will have the answers you seek no matter what I may say to dissuade you. So! I must ask you, Princess Zelda of Hyrule, are you prepared to risk your life for the greater good? To pick up, nay, perhaps start over from where you left off one hundred years ago? Are you prepared to journey the corners of Hyrule to restore that which was lost to us, so that we may rise against the lands evil once more? Are you truly prepared, dear Zelda, to bear the burden of your fate?"

Zelda, grim expression set upon her soft features, reached deep within herself for the strength of someone she no longer knew. She clung to it, squeezed it, molded it to suit her needs and finally gave a single affirmative nod, eyes blazing with determined curiosity.

Impa smiled once more, though the sadness in her eyes betrayed what she truly felt. "Very well. Since you have lost your memory, I shall recount for you all that has happened."

She felt Fi's steadying presence beside her and leaned into it unconsciously, giving the matriarch her undivided attention as she began to speak.

"The history of th royal family of Hyrule is also the history of Calamity Ganon..."

 

Zelda's mind reeled by the end of the history lesson. A warrior with the Hero's soul...and a princess with the blood of the Goddess. So...if the man on the plateau was right, that would be Link and...herself? And they were supposed to use the machines and their powers to seal Ganon away but it had failed...and quite disastrously considering the ruined guardian husks sitting dormant across the land. And what of the pilots? The Divine Beasts? What was she supposed to do about it now, a century later? She quietly calmed her breathing, willing herself not to panic in front of the village leader as she cleared her throat to continue.

"We were completely devastated by the destruction the Calamity wrought upon our kingdom. In order to prevent making that grave mistake again, Link, the Hylian Champion, left you these words..."

Zelda leaned forward as Impa paused to clear her throat once more, jumping as the old woman let out an exclamation quite loudly.

"Free the four Divine Beasts! That is what he left." Nodding through Zelda's unspoken question, she elaborated. "The four Divine Beasts are the ancient Sheikah weapons wielded by the Champions to use against Ganon. Divine Beast Vah Rudania, controlled by Daruk of the Gorons. Divine Beast Vah Ruta, controlled by Mipha of the Zora. The Divine Beast Vah Medoh, controlled by Revali of the Rito. And Divine Beast Vah Naboris, controlled by Urbosa of the Gerudo."

The names of the beasts struck against her mind, and she realized with the first Shiekah Tower she had activated, the one that had been on the plateau, had listed all of them off in an effort to establish a connection that had failed. She wondered absently if by "freeing the Divine Beasts" she was meant to manually establish a connection, which she could only hope meant placing the slate in a pedestal like the towers and shrines.

"It would be extremely ill-advised for you to face Ganon without the power of the Divine Beasts behind you..." Impa forged on heedless of Zelda's distraction but the words brought her mind to a grinding hault. Face Ganon? The monster who had caused all this? Was she meant to somehow find a sacred power she didnt know if she had to seal away the beast again? So...defeat a demonic nightmare, rescue a knight she had no recollection of, and travel the four corners of a vast Kingdom she knew nothing about to free gigantic mechanical beasts from...whatever it was they needed freeing from? Ganon's influence? The tasks piled up slowly, each seeming more impossible than the last, overwhelming her fragile understanding of the world until she worried she might collapse.

"...if you locate the four races that harbour them. The Sheikah slate will show you the way, and I'm sure Fi will be able to help. Meet with each leader, they will help you in this great task." She stopped speaking and peered at Zelda intently. "Are you alright?"

The former princess shook her head slowly, and then faster and more erratically as she struggled to sort out her thoughts. Her fingers spasmed as she raised her hands wondering where to begin.

'I don't even know who I am, or really where I am, or how to do anything you have set before me I am not the girl I once was, I pocess no power to weild against darkness, I have no idea how to go about freeing the Divine Beasts and I don't even remember why I should care about the knight who may or may not be fighting for Hyrule as we speak. I need more to go on than that.' She searched Impa's eyes desperately, willing her to understand. 'I need answers, not quests.'

Impa regarded her carefully for a minute, finally nodding in understanding. "I can see how this is overwhelming you. I apologize for telling you so much at once, but we do not know how much time we have left. Stories of disasters befalling settlements have become more and more frequent, as Ganon's control over the Beasts grows strong enough to wreck havoc on the provinces they are meant to guard. However...it may be better for you to attempt to regain some of your memory before you move forward. A stable mind leads to stable actions and I'll not have you jump head first into something you don't understand. May I see your Sheikah Slate please?"

Zelda carefully unclipped the slate from her belt and offered it to the elder, who considered it thoughtfully. After tapping the screen for a moment her brow furrowed in confusion.

"It appears some aspects of the slate were lost in it's time in the Shrine, though new fictions have been added." Before Zelda could confirm she had added data from the plateau shrines Impa forged on. "Though I suspect they are recoverable. Seek out my sister, Purah, in Hateno Village. It lays to the far east; take the road that leads away from Karkariko bridge and you will come across it in no more than a day. She's always had more of a head for technological things than me, she may be able to assist you in restoring its functions. Come back once she has fixed it, and we shall see what can be done." Zelda took the proferred device and clipped it back to her hip. She awkwardly bowed to the leader, who simply chuckled and waved her off. "Take care, Zelda, the wilds are dangerous."

Nodding, she turned without a farewell and left the sightly home, Fi trailing behind her as she did.

Chapter Text

'This place feels...heavy'

Zelda's pace slowed at they walked down the beaten road next to a field the map had labeled as Blachery Plain. Overgrown and long dead guardians lay dormant and rusting, legs splayed out in odd directions, almost as if they had been on the move when they had suddenly shut down. Decaying weapons lay buried in the grass or barely standing upright from where they were thrust point first into the soil long ago, owners long gone and forgotten. The entire place was quiet, the only sound faint birdsong coming from the nearby forest and the scuffing of a nearby group of grazing horses. She watched the guardians wearily, feeling as if their dull eyes followed her even if she did not see them shine with life. Her stomach twisted painfully as anxiety seeped through her organs, turning her knees to jelly and making her hands itch uncomfortably.

"This is where the war took a turn. You fought here, with your knight, and fell in the battle against the guardians."

Zelda snapped her head up to look at Fi incredulously. This was the place? A century ago, she had....

'Where exactly?'

Fi looked at her briefly, then turned to survey the plain before shaking her head. "I do not know the specific location, though if I did I would certainly take you to it."

Zelda looked down again at the beaten road beneath her feet, scuffing the toe of her new and sturdier boots into the packed dirt. Her fists clenched as her frustration rose but she managed to quell it well enough to sign jerkily. 'How did I fall in battle? I was a princess, before this, so what happened?'

Fi watched but said nothing.

'Fi!' Childishly, Zelda stomped her foot, anger overtaking her as rational thought fled from her temper. The spirt had said before that she was aware of her surroundings on a very minute level but that information was proving to be harder and harder to accept. The fact that there was someone who was right there when she fell, in the sword the hero had wielded as he cut down the enemies that had been their downfall, and not one detail did she recollect enough to give her something, anything, to go on. The betrayal she felt at the world in which she had awoken welled up in her throat, making a sound that would have been a growl had her vocal chords been in any condition to cooperate. As such all she was able to let out was a thin whine that died almost before it had even passed her lips, adding one more unfair thing to the quickly growing pile. Through it all Fi remained a silent spectator, waiting patiently for the tantrum to pass so they could resume their treck.

All at once a wave of guilt swept over Zelda. Here they were, traveling to another person who may give her answers, who might be willing to help her understand what it was she had to do and she was holding the entire quest up by stomping around like a petulant child instead of focusing on their goal. Her cheeks burned and she turned away quickly, scrubbing her cheeks of the stray tears that had slipped in her anger. Her gaze landed on one of the dormant guardians, it's dark moss covered body an eerie reminder of the dark part of her mind that represented everything she had forgotten. When she squinted however, a shiny bit of something peeked out from under one of the legs, making her smirk at the fleeting thought that it was representative of some cheesy metaphor, how if she just searched she'd find answers in unexpected places, but she shoved it away just as quickly, rolling her eyes as she stepped forward.

'Can you tell which ones are active?' She gestured quickly, chewing on her lip in worry.

Fi stepped next to her nodding. "There are a few dotting this plain that may still react to your movement. This one however, is safe."

Zelda reached underneath the leg and gripped the shining object, giving it an experimental tug and grinning as she found it came away easily. Sitting back she looked at the object she had procurred, an almost comically large screw that caught the sunlight on it's still shining surface and seemed to shift in bright shades of silver. Looking at the overgrown husk it had come from she found it hard to believe the part had come from its depths.

'Why would someone hide something like this here?' She assumed by the state of the screw it couldn't have been sitting there for more than a day. Worriedly she looked around hoping the stasher would not appear suddenly to take away the treasure before she had had time to examine it.

"Judging from the state of it, it has been here for quite a long time. It likely fell out of the guardian as it hasn't moved in decades." Fi crouched beside her and held out a hand, in which Zelda carefully placed the screw. "See the dirt lining the grooves? And the stain on top? You're likely the first person to have touched this for a long time. It's very probable there's guardian parts like this scattered all over the fields if you wanted to look for more."

'But...that doesn't make any sense. If it hasn't been moved in so long then why does it only look slightly dirty? Why isn't it worn, grooved from being tightened? Why hasn't it been dulled or corroded by the weather at all?'

"The guardians were made using ancient Sheikah technology thousands of years ago. You recall what Impa had said about the ancient Shiekah entering an age of technological advancement?" Zelda nodded for her to continue. Fi stopped and examined the screw closely. "These are the relics of that lost technology. There is no one left who would know how to make it and it is a great shame that that is the case. These materials are virtually indestructible and clearly durable for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. The only reason the outside wears is because it was made to look like they can shut down through the passage of time, fooling enemies into thinking they are safe to go near them."

'But the Shiekah are still around, why would they not still have the knowledge to make things like this?'

"When Impa spoke of the age of her people's advancement she didn't go into the full extent of it. The Shiekah created many technological wonders that were used to defeat Ganon, the evil of that age, but afterwards, another war erupted. The king of that era grew fearful the people of the Sheikah tribe would use their advanced technology against the kingdom of Hyrule to rise to power and claim the throne. The tribe had often served alongside the kings of Hyrule as royal advisers and scientists, but the king grew paranoid of their knowledge and declared war."

Fi looked down with an unreadable expression carved into her features, twirling the screw absently in her hands. "It was one of the few times I forced my consciousness outwards to draw my own conclusions of the events outside my prison. He ordered soldiers into Sheikah settlements, destroying documentations and history and blueprints important to their advancements. Entire settlements were burned to the ground in the ordered destruction. The Sheikah civilization shrunk from thousands to select hundreds, and from that elders sacrificed themselves to the cause for the heros of the future, the shrines, and other hid what few documents and tapestries they could away so the history of their people could be saved. The tribe was forced into exiled hiding, the Hero of the Era tried to save what he could, first with reason and then with force, but without the princess his actions meant nothing. He had not been present in the banishment of Ganon so he had little to no status to add weight to his words. The few Shiekah who remained went deep into hiding and refused the royal family their help for centuries after. To my understanding it wasn't until the need to vanquish the Calamity rose again that they came fully out of hiding to aid the protection of Hyrule."

Zelda sat quietly considering her companions words, mulling over the implications they carried for all the people of Hyrule. Suddenly, a thought occured to her. 'You said you turned out your awareness when the need arose for you to see the events play out for yourself. Why did you not do so when I and the former Hero fell in battle a century ago? You seeing exactly what took place would be of so much help now.' She flicked the signs out at the spirit accusingly, anger swirling deep in her gut but biding it's time to rear its head as she waited for Fi's response.

"I tried. As the Hero's spirit grows weaker so too do I. And although he fought valiantly to the end his resolve and stubbornness wore away with the weight of his injuries. My senses are also dulled and even blocked by the Malice Ganon weilds still to his advantage, I was only able to communicate with him once it was somehow eradicated from the field just before you succumbed to your own injuries, though I do not know how you got them." The spirit looked up, a saddened expression wearing at her features. "I am truly sorry I am not of more help to you when it comes to your lost memories, but I vow to protect and aid you in whatever way I can as you choose which path you pursue whether it be the one set for you or the one you carve yourself, I shall be here as your support."

The spirits promise chased away the last flickers of anger before it could even ignite, leaving Zelda feeling guilty she ever thought of lashing out in the first place. It wasn't the fault of Fi that she wasn't able to do anything, she hadn't even complained about traveling with a former princess who acted like a spoiled child. She was frustrated about the state of how she had awoken and the few answers she had been given to try and color in her missing past but it was ultimately up to her whether she stayed in one place to put or moved forward to learn. Her fingers dug into the cool grass as she sighed quietly, lifting her head up and raising her hands so Fi could see them easier.

'I apologize for my outburst. I really do appreciate you being here with me to try and figure this mess out. You really are just as lost as me and here I am lashing out like a child and holding up our progress. Can you forgive the way I've acted?' Something in asking for forgiveness tugged insistently at the back of her mind, a dog scratching at a door to be let out and run wild a worthy metaphor, but as soon as she reached to grab it shrunk back to leave her mind wanting once more, the thin thought dissipating before it could even take form.

"It's alright, Zelda. I am not as well versed in emotion as I would like but I do understand the reasoning behind your actions. Please dont concern yourself with it, I would worry if you would be acting any other way."

Though she took little comfort in those words, Zelda nodded anyway and stood, reaching for the offered screw as she did and tucking it away in her side bag. Looking around she decided to see if she couldn't collect more of the mysterious materials before they continued on.

 

Her bag jingled slightly with her steps as she and Fi walked quietly through the short forest to the Hateno Villages entrance. Excited though she was to gain more insight into her past she couldn't help but be nervous about meeting another person who may have known her before and would be disappointed she did not recognize them. A welcoming thought occurred to her however that shadowed those worries, which she gratefully gestured to Fi.

'In the plain we were in, the one with the guardians, why are some dormant and others not? You said their inner workings can't wear down but there were spare pieces of them falling out?'

"When the Calamity arose Ganon infected the guardians and Devine Beasts with Malice in order to control them. There was a flash of devine power that I suspect came from you, and may have led to your fall, that eradicated most of the malice from the machines, which as I said is what allowed me to communicate with Link towards the end. I suspect however that some guardians had more Malice in them than others, allowing them to remain active after a given amount of recovery time."

Zelda ran this through her mind as they continued up the road to the village. 'So Ganon planned to use the Malice, and he knew to infect the beasts and guardians, but he couldn't control how much was put into each? Why could he not control the distribution of a substance he created?'

"He didn't create it. Malice has been around even before the Demon King Demise rose and attempted to rule over the land, before Hyrule was named and inhabited. Hylians were born under the Goddess Hylia, and with that came a heightened sense of empathy. Their emotional charge was so strong that long ago, whenever Hylia first reincarnated, powerful emotions could be compacted into a tangible substance. An intense feeling of gratitude would be made into a crystal which could then be used to build up temples, instilling a sense of peace into those who entered. Sorrow was turned to stone that was used to make grave markers and line places of worship to encourage conpanship and trust. Anger and hatred took the form of condensed sludge, balls of rage that monsters would often get ahold of to fuel their motives. Demise saw the power and potential the substance had bit chose to leave it alone until a few thousand years ago when he reached out in desperation. And now it turns everything it touches to the motives of evil."

'Do Hylians still have the power to make their emotions solid?' The idea baffled her.

Fi shook her head. "I suppose the ability faded overtime. Just as well."

'So, there's only so much Malice, if we could destroy it-'

"The Malice feeds and grows off of the hatred of Ganon. By this point it is simply his hatred incarnate, an infectious blight across the land that can only be scourged by destroying the source. It moves and spreads of it's own accord and unfortunately getting rid of patches may only encourage its spread."

'It has a mind of it's own then?'

"Yes and no. Think of it as a fungus, but attached to a human mind. It moves and spreads because that is what it is meant to do, but with encouragement it can be coaxed to inhabit certain places and infect certain things. That is ultimately why some guardians are active and some aren't. Ganon is the intelligence behind the Malice. He enacted the plan and spilled forth the blight, but the Blight itself is mindless. It has no sense of how much of it is in a single vessel, only that it is inhabiting one. And as long as it does that much and is allowed to spread it has no thought beyond that." Fi stopped and turned towards her, they were only a few feet away from the entrance, the setting sun burning the sky. "This is what I fear the most. If Ganon succumbs completely to the Malice, depending on how much of his mind is intact after all these years, his only motive would be to spread destruction. No plan, no motivation. He would become a spontaneous monster let loose upon the land; and it wouldn't stop at Hyrule. If left unchecked he could easily spread blight and chaos across the entire world. This is why we are fighting, to prevent a mindless rage from destroying the world."

Zelda looked up with wide eyes, searching her companions for a hint of hyperbole. All she saw was a passive intensity creasing her pale brow above her featureless eyes. Her mind raced as she struggled to comprehend the enormity of the situation. All of this and she was the one expected to stop it? Where would she even start? She shoved it all down before Fi could register her panic and moved once more towards the village entrance. They had a scientist to consult and it wouldn't do to waste anymore time.

 

In hindsight, Zelda would have been glad to waste more time outside of the village.

"SNAP! You really dont remember me? Even though I was the one who gave you that Shiekah Slate? And i was the one who assisted you in your research? And it was me who got the Resurrection Chamber working so you could recover? You dont remember anything at all?" The lab director Symin had called Purah placed her small fists definently on her hips, cocking them thoughtfully as she stared Zelda down from atop her step stool. Even though she was twice the height of the angered imp she still felt intimidated by her presence, but not so much that she could resist her curiousity.

'Aren't you...a child?' Her outburst baffled Zelda. How would this child have known her one hundred years ago? She hardly passed for a ten year old!

Fittingly, the young girl loudly stomped her foot. "How very rude! Though I do suppose it's a fair observation considering my appearance...it doesn't matter!! I happen to look this way because of a failed experiment, the details of which we can discuss later if your scientific curiousity is more intact than your memory. Ill have you know I'm several decades your senior, and you'd do well to respect your elders. However! There are more important things that need to be discussed! Come this way!"

The girl's chaotic energy left Zelda's head spinning in its valiant effort to try and keep up with her fast paced speech. Symin had sat himself down in a corner with a book only looking up occasionally to offer her an apologetic smile before burning himself away again. Purah's chatter was a constant stream in the background, she found that even if she didn't pay as much attention to her speech as she should be the major points still got through simply because her voice was so insistent. If she squinted, she could almost believe her and Impa were sisters though she supposed she'd just have to take their word for it. She was abruptly snapped out of her thoughts by Purah tapping on the slate on her hip, asking a question she didn't quite catch.

'I'm sorry?'

"The slate, Zelda. Can I see it?"

Nodding, she unhooked the device and had it promptly snatched from her grasp by eager fingers, accompanying murmuring filling the blissful silence. Fi stood quietly nearby, completely forgotten by Purah the minute her eyes had landed on Zelda. Though now that the girl had the slate, Zelda stood awkwardly forgotten to the side to. For a head scientist, she mused, her attention span was worse than a nat.

"Link was right to save the pictures on my guidance stone. It looks like the camera rune is gone along with all the saved data from the compendium and roll. It can be fixed easily enough. I assume this is what my dear sister sent you here for?"

Zelda nodded, stepping forward. 'So you can fix it? Can I help?'

Purah stopped her fiddling to consider. "I suppose you could, yes. Symin's old and cranky-" this statement was punctuated by a snort from the other end of the room. "-and my legs are too short for the job. But you could go and get the flame to fire up the guidance stone again! It wont take you very long, just watch for rain."

'The flame?'

Purah nodded. "There's an ancient furnace down the hill that holds an eternal blue flame. You can take that torch over there, and all you need to do is light it and bring it up here so we can power our stone. You can light the lanterns on the way too, they don't go out with rain and last a lot longer than the torch so if the weather is bad, you can save your progress! Symin and I used to make a game out of it."

Zelda looked forlornly out the window at the fully darkened sky, silently dreading the threk through the dark holding a fire that could burn her alive if she tripped. She supposed Fi could hold it but she didn't want to just ask. It felt too much like someone else doing the work for her and she hated that, though the feeling came from somewhere deeper inside herself that she suspected was born from her past but she brushed it off for now as she did most other thoughts of that nature. She didn't notice that Purah had caught her look however, and the young girl features softened somewhat. Zelda looked over as she cleared her throat.

"Of course, all of that can wait until tomorrow. You look tired, Zelda. If you go outside there's a set of steps leading up the lighthouse, I have a room at the end of them. Stay up there and rest for the night; everything else will still be here when you're ready."

Zelda wanted to protest, to say she was fine and press forward regardless of her drooping eyelids. But it had been a long walk to get here from Karkariko and the information she was learning was still processing in her foggy mind. Reluctantly she nodded and turned, heading for the door with Fi close behind.

Purah called to her retreating back quickly before they stepped out of the lab. "Just leave my books alone alright? Especially the one on my desk, it details my aging experiment and it's very private!!"

Later that night Zelda quietly closed the book and pointedly ignored Fi's disapproving gaze. Hindsight was 20/20 she supposed, but her curiousity was somewhat calmed. At least she wasn't a cat.

Chapter Text

Fi watched quietly from the corner as Purah flitted around an exhausted Zelda. The princess had returned from retrieving the ancient flames and though Fi had offered to help she had been stubborn, holding the torch aloft herself the entire time without even switching arms, which Fi knew would cause her muscles to be sore in the coming days. They had trekked all over the village at the request of first a sheep herder and then a giddy child; the former hoping it would keep the monsters away from her livestock and the latter just wanting to see the pretty flames dotting the village again, excitedly telling everyone they passed that he was helping. Seeing Zelda giggling silently and being helplessly dragged along they didn't seem to mind that she was a stranger, chuckling along with her and watching their progress from their own various tasks. It was a quiet and peaceful village, one of the few that had been spared the Calamity's wrath it seemed, and it's people were quiet and kind themselves, content to trust her and Zelda until they gave them a reason not too.

Fi smiled faintly at the memory, shifting slightly on the stool she had claimed for herself to avoid the whirlwind that was the not-child spinning around the room. The girl was a mess of energy, upending stacks of paper in an attempt to find different codes and leaving them for her poor assistant to stack together again. He was currently bent over the guidance stone with Purah, who had to stand on her tiptoes to reach the slate clicked into place. Though they hadn't seen it yet, the scientists had restored the camera and its index, downloading pictures that had been left by Link a hundred years ago. They were now typing in the proper commands to update the other runes Zelda had paid Purah to fix along with the camera in guardian parts she needed for her research. Her and Purah had talked at length at how the parts worked to interlink the inner workings of a guardian to make it move and target, which the child (no, not a child, Fi quietly corrected herself) had been delighted to explain to the lost princess. It seemed Purah was being cautious around her, not knowing how extensive the memory loss was and not wanting to push certain buttons in case the action was badly recieved. It seemed she had been relieved that their shared love of research was left intact by the shrine.

The earlier thought of Link resurfaced unbidden, surprising her for a moment as she was jolted from where her thoughts had strayed to. She sat blankly for a moment before concentrating, Symin and Purah's voices fading into ambience as her awareness spread. Far from where they were to Hyrule Castle a clash of blades rung against her mind. Reaching a little bit further she was able to vaguely sense the Hero where he stood, fighting a foe she could not see nor comprehend. Pain that was not her own rose and slammed her back, jarring her concentration but failing to break it. Pushing back she made it to where she had been and a bit further, finally sensing her master as much as she could from her position. He was dead on his feet, exhausted, and in incredible pain, his mind blank save for the rise and fall of his sword arm and the planting steady of his feet. She noted the emotional toll on his mind and physical decay of his stamina and yet she did not foresee his soon collapse.

Coming back to herself she relaxed her grim expression back to her usual neutral pose before Zelda could catch her worry. She had confidence in the Hero, but confidence did not a savior make. She needed to get to him, needed to help him, but without him to draw upon the Master Sword there was not much she could offer him. Vaguely she wondered if it was Ganon himself he was fighting but dismissed it after a moment. Surely even the Hero of Legend could not stand against such a powerful foe for so long without his sword to aid him. More likely it was Ganons many foes he had sent after Link to keep him occupied...though she did wonder why he had not escaped the castle by now, and what was keeping Ganon confined? Perhaps...

"And you!!" Fi blinked as her vision was suddenly filled with the intense stare of the small Shiekah scientist, her eyed filled with questions that immediately put the AI on edge.

"We never did formally meet did we? I really appreciate you staying with Zelda on her journey, I don't think she ever travelled alone even before the Calamity so this will be a nice familiarity for her. She told me your name was Fi and I've only heard that name entered in ancient texts of the Goddess, though it's mostly my sister that would read those sorts of things, I study more technology of ancient civilizations but if the stories are to be believed you are goddess made technology aren't you? I have my notebook right here so I hope you won't mind questions."

Fi let the tidal wave of breathless words wash over in a daze. Is this what this girl was always like? She felt a pang of sympathy for Symin before she was pulled back to concentrate on Purah who still hadn't managed to breath between words, actually turning a little red from lack of proper oxygen intake. "...You're solid so you can't be an apparition as the texts stated. How does your AI work? Where do you store your data? I imagine it's something like a drive that stores memories and commands like the human brain does but since it is technically artificial can it be tampered with by anyone but you? Can you mess around with it yourself with any limitations? Zelda told me you sometimes would stay in the slate so are you a light projection? Do you dissolve into particles and fuse with the slate? What can..."

Fi simply sat there waiting for her to tire herself out, which would be soon if Fi's assessment was correct, which it always was. She watched as Symin gently laid his hands on the scientists shoulders and steered her towards a chair, sitting her down as she continued on oblivious to his actions already writing down notes as fast as she was talking, but since Fi hadn't gotten a word in edgewise yet she couldn't imagine what the small girl could be writing. Zelda stood quietly off to the side, clutching the Shiekah slate tightly and wearing an unreadable expression as she watched Purah finally start to slow down. Taking a breath the Shiekah waved her pen with a flourish over the page and looked up at Fi expectantly, ready to continue writing whenever the spirit began talking.

"...You truly have no shame when it comes to your research do you?" Fi hardly minded the bombardment of questions but she was quite used to most Hylians treating her much differently than this as she was older than most of them could recall time going back to, not that she was as recognizable after she had tampered with her appearance, but still.

"If anything you have to say is useful to me than no."

Fi blinked in amusement at the response and nodded. "I am curious about what was restored on the slate so I shall make this brief until next we meet. Is that agreeable to you?" Seeing Purah nod impatiently she began. "I was made by the Giddess Hylia before she took on the form of a human. As far as being artificial, I am in the way of Goddess creation, not so much in the way the beings of this plane would understand. I have data drives that are most comparable to the complexity of the human brain yes, but very different. I was created for the sole purpose of aiding the Hero of Legend, whoever that may be in a given era, so I have tampered with select things over the millenia to allow my experiences to shape what I have allowed myself to encrypt as emotions. I am capable of happiness and sadness and anger though not naturally, and I am still learning to show these things if only to put people more at ease in my presence."

"As far as my form it is easiest to describe it as a construct of light manifestation you can touch. My being, or mind, stays intact in whatever object I put myself into, so far the Master Sword and the Sheikah slate, and when I wish to go outside of that and become a physical manifestation of myself particles are pulled from around myself and condensed into a solid being with light reflecting in between them to become a visually tangible being that my mind can inhabit instead of an actually solid item."

She watched as Purah scribbled furiously in her notebook, concentration for now fully on her notes. Fi stood and moved towards the door of the lab, the late afternoon sun alerting her that they needed to look for a place to stay for the night before traveling back to Impa. There was much to discuss and look over with the restoration of all of the slate functions. She quickly held up a hand as Purah's mouth opened in an attempt to voice more questions. They had been in the lab for hours and she could tell the former princess was beginning to feel overwhelmed and anxious, and Fi would admit she felt the same way herself.

"I understand your interest but I would ask to respect my boundaries and time. I have much I wish to discuss with Zelda and Impa is owed a visit after our business here is concluded, though I thank you profusely for your expertise in fixing the slate."

Purahs eyes narrowed and she looked for a moment like she would refuse their leave. Instead she sighed and laid her materials down on the messy desk nodding.

"Thank you for indulging me at least. I know I get carried away, Symin's always chiding me for it." She stuck her tongue out childishly at her assistant behind his back befor planting her hands on her hips. "I expect you back here sometime soon! It was wonderful seeing you again Zelda, send Impa my regards...maybe don't tell her about my...appearance though yes?"

Smiling with amusement Zelda nodded quickly.

"Snap!" Purah gave her a quick hug, much to the amnesiac's surprise but let go quickly enough it didn't seem to bother her too much. "Make sure to look through those pictures, Link had the sense think of a way to jog some memories if the Shrine wiped some of them. We all knew it was a risk but..."

Fi watched the exchange carefully, reading the guilt as it washed over the Sheikahs face. She watched as Zelda took in her words, both said and unsaid, and simply nodded her understanding, clutching the slate tighter in her hand as she used the other to sign a sincere thank you towards Purah.

"I wish after all this time I could hear your voice, Zelda. One hundred years and..." trailing off Purah shook her head and smiled sadly. "I wish the shrine hadn't taken so much when it healed you, that's all. Take care in your travels, there's monsters everywhere. Oh, before I forget!!"

The not child held her small hand out for the slate, which Zelda put gently in her hands after a beat of hesitation. Opening the map and zooming to a spot in the far corner of Hyrule she marked an isolated spot that overlooked the sea and a strange labyrinth before handing the device back to its owner.

"Another Shiekah researcher lives in a modified lighthouse on that cliff in Akkala. Robbie was always more interested in weaponry while I persued the more technical side of things. Pay him a visit if you make your way up there, who knows what he's been working on for a century but he might be able to help equip you with things that can help your journey go easier."

'Thank you for everything. I look forward to seeing you again soon.' Waving to Symin, Zelda turned to Fi and breathed out a sigh as she hooked the restored slate to her hip and stepped towards the door.

 

'Do you hear that pounding?' Zelda looked around for the source even as she asked the question but wasn't able to pinpoint where the sound was coming from. Fi nodded slightly and pointed down the road towards the entrance of the village.

"It sounds as though some form of construction is going on-" Zelda hardly heard Fi as her curiousity won over, hurrying down the road with her companion following on her heels.

Past blocky and colorfulhouses that didn't fit the village norm and a bridge stretching over a slow moving stream stood a house more typical of the sleepy village, currently being pounded on from multiple angles by strong men wielding sledgehammers. Without even a glance at the spirt beside her Zelda made her way over to the man in the front of the house chipping away at the strong stone exterior. His hair was damp with sweat and his knuckles gripped the tool so hard they turned white with the effort. Seeing her approach he took one final swing and set it down, wiping the back of his hand across his brow to keep his vision clear.

"Hi! What can I do for you?"

Zelda pointed at the sledgehammer and raised an eyebrow.

"Ah! Just another day for another rupee!" He rested the hammer against the crumbling corner and turned to face her fully. "Needed a break anyway. This house has been abandoned for longer than I can remember, so the village voted for it to be demolished. They say it belonged to a soldier who left for Hyrule Castle over a century ago and never came back; nobody wants to move into it since everyone here's already got a home so here we are."

With a start Zelda's hand flew to her side satchel and took out the note she had found in it almost two weeks prior.

'If you then travel to Hateno Village please feel free to board in my home. I'm definitely not using it at the moment and I'd feel better knowing you had somewhere safe and familiar to stay.' She skimmed the section quickly and bit her lip, looking up at the house again. Could it be...?

She looked over at Fi who simply gave her a questioning look, not knowing what the girl could have in mind. That's right, she thought, I never showed her the note. Handing the short letter over to her companion she turned to the worker again.

'I'll buy this house. How much?' She doubted they'd simply give it to a stranger who had a note she couldn't prove was from the original owner, if that had even been Link. She still had close to 5000 rupees in her satchel, she could only hope the price would be under that.

The man's expression morphed into one of shock. "You would...just like that? Do you even live near this village?" Taking in her impatient glare he held his hands up in surrender. "Alright, but I'm not the one in charge here. Go 'round back and talk to the Boss about it. He'll sort you out."

Nodding in appreciation, she walked quickly around to the back of the house almost stopping to speak with a short man with a bowl cut working on bringing down the other corner but passing him by when she saw a man nodding to himself over a clipboard a few paces away.

Looking up at their approach the man smiled warmly and tucked his notes under an arm, locking her green eyes with his impeccably lined brown ones. "Hey! Need something from me?"

He practically sung the question, which caught Zelda a bit off guard before quickly recovering and smiling back at the quirky man. 'What are you doing?' She gestured curiously, hoping she wasn't catching him at a bad time.

"Well, in case it wasn't obvious I'm demolishing an old house. Times are tough you see." He examined the nails of his unoccupied hand as if bored, but his coy expression said otherwise. "What about a young lady like you hm? You're a go-getter if I've ever seen one, looking to put me out of a job?"

She shook her head profusely then stopped realizing that technically that was exactly what she was doing. Raising her hands again, she rushed out her request. 'I'd like to buy this house, and maybe have the holes fixed a bit. How much?'

If Bolson was shocked he was careful not to show it, only whistling low as he cocked a brow at her. "Get a load o' miss moneybags here. Just wants to buy it!" He chuckled kindly and brought the board with his notes back out, tapping the edge in thought. "Well honey, let's see. This house? Been vacant for years, so the villagers met, argued and decided to tear it down, hiring me to get the job done. Now, with demolition costs, associated fees, permits and other such details....well it all boils down to about 50000 rupees."

Zelda's heart dropped to her stomach at the figure as the man peered over his notes at her, assessing her reaction. 50000...that was just over ten times the amount she had to spare, not to mention how much he'd ask for to repair the outside and possibly make the inside livable. She looked up as he cleared his throat.

"You could do odd jobs around the village, sell valuables, travel and trade, all very respectable ways to earn a pretty rupee, but I'm willing to bet you were hoping to move in sometime soon, hm?"

She nodded slowly wondering just where this was going to go.

The man sighed dramatically and tapped the board again. "Well I suppose...alright. Alright look, let's say we cut a deal? I have business I need to send Hudson out on soon, and restoring this house will be easier and faster than demolishing soooo....for you, how does 3000 sound? And even better, we'll get the inside and the grounds fixed up for another thousand, make it livable and have all that done within a day. Stay at the inn tonight, compliments on the Bolson Construction Company, and by tomorrow afternoon you'll be sitting pretty on the other side of this wall! What do you say?"

Zelda stood shocked for a moment glancing at Fi who merely nodded encouragingly. Smiling wide she nodded vigorously and reached for her coin purse, pausing as she struggled to remember what the colors meant. Fi gently took the rupees from her hand and quickly counted out the right amount to hand to the generous construction worker, who beamed and pocketed the proferred sum.

"Okey-doo! Hudson!"

"Yeah, boss?" The squat man stopped missing to address his superior.

"Be a dear and patch that wall up! We just sold a house!" Bolson walked past her casually, hips swinging as he threw the clipboard against the side of the nearby cliff.
"Karson! I have a job for yoooouuu!"

The man's sing song voice was muffled as he rounded the house, leaving Zelda and Fi staring after him in wonder. Zelda turned to her companion and smiled.

'We have a house now, I guess!'

"Indeed."

 

Zelda stood at the edge of the woods overlooking a nearby horse track they had passed on their way to the village. She had been scouting for mushrooms to cook later when the house was finished, wanting to waste the couple of hours Bolson had said it would take. The inn had been comfortable and warm, but Zelda was excited to sleep somewhere she could call her own. Maybe she could stay here, work at the lab with Purah...surely she wasn't the only one meant to fix Hyrule. And there was the matter of the man who had chased her off the plateau, maybe she'd be safer staying in the sleepy village than risk running into him in the wild...if he had even made it off the plateau that is.

Squinting down at the track a chord of familiarity struck her. Quickly grabbing the Shiekah slate from her hip she tapped over to the camera roll and scrolled through until she had found what she was looking for. A blurry picture of the track below greeted her, a little better kept than what it had degraded into but recognizable none the less. She looked back and forth between the two feeling something tugging insistently at the back of her mind but refusing to some to the forefront. Plopping down in frustration she strained her eyes staring at the photo, looking up again from her new angle.

All at once, her vision turned white.

 

Zelda plopped down in the soft grass with a frustrated sigh, laying the Shiekah Slate down beside her as she stared at the horse track below. Her royal traveling gear rode up rather uncomfortably but she paid it no mind, listening intently for her knight to return. He was going to gather firewood for the night, since they'd decided to stay at his house while in Hateno rather than an inn. She blushed slightly before shaking her head. No. She was annoyed at the moment and by the Goddess she would stay that way!

Stay put, he had said, I won't be long. She had wanted to explore the short woods a little but in the end it was in their best interests for her to stay where he could see her and where she would be out of trouble. She understood of course that she could simply accompany him in gathering wood, but she had the tendency to wander off to look for things and he couldn't preform his duty if he couldn't find her. She had promised him, after the desert, no more running. No wandering away. His job was hard enough. Both of theirs were. Neither needed more stress added to it.

Sighing again her sensitive ears perked up at the sound of voices a little ways away. Getting up she glanced over to where she knew Link was. If she didn't go too far...he wouldn't be able to tell if she had stayed put or not. Smiling mischievously, her curiousity won out and she began to walk over to where the low voices could only just be heard. Eavesdropping was wrong, she knew, but as far as they knew they were alone in these woods, what could they have to whisper about? Secrets of the village? The best spots for mushroom hunting? Rumors? She justified all of these as potentially vital to her research, so she shrugged off the pang of guilt and walked closer, kneeling so as to not be spotted.

Just then, two women became visible walking around a tree to pick at the mushrooms that grew there. Their voices more audible, and they remained oblivious to the princess crouched behind the nearby bush.

"I heard from Cella Princess Zelda is staying at the village."

Zelda groaned inwardly and made to tiptoe away. Of all the things she could listen in on, people talking about her was not one she cared about. She froze however as the other woman laughed.

"What for? There isn't a spring to pray to here. Purah isn't even here for her to annoy with her fake research."

The other tsked low. "Careful Angie. And I don't know. I stopped caring a long time ago what that girl gets up to. This kingdom was doomed as soon as it came out she didn't possess the powers she needs to keep the land safe. I don't know what she thinks praying will do at this point. As far as I'm concerned the Goddes already gave her answer."

The first woman laughed again as they moved on to another tree further down the path, their conversation lost to the breeze as Zelda sat back, defeated. She didn't hear Link as he stepped up beside her, glancing over numbly as he handed her the slate.

"Your Highness, I can-"

"Don't." She stood up and clipped the slate to her hip, dusting her knees off and turning to face him. "If you're finished?"

She turned and walked towards the road that led back to the village, refusing to let her expression betray her whirling thoughts.

 

The world faded in slowly, the slate held loosely in her hands as birdsong became audible once more. She looked down slowly, taking shaking breaths as her mind reeled. Had that been a memory? Her memory? She had been a princess but...

She looked up as she felt Fi kneel beside her, looking over her worriedly. "Are you alright, Zelda? You've been still for some time now."

Woodenly the young woman nodded, standing and placing slate back on her hip, the gesture hauntingly familiar and making her clench her eyes tightly.

"Do you wish to speak about ir?"

Zelda opened her eyes and gave her companion an appreciative look.

'Later.'

 

"Come visit in Akkala if you ever make your way up there!" Hudson walked away comfortably, his hammer resting on his shoulder as he left the village. Zelda turned towards the newly restored house and smiled. She had a home now. It felt...nice.

Opening the slightly squeaking door she took in the soft lighting that revealed the main room. Pushed into the corner was a small kitchenette, complete with a stove, sink, counter and a cabinet and shelf mounted above. The table was set with a cloth and fresh flowers, sitting on a faded ornate rug in front of various mounts decorating the far wall. For weapons and shields, Bolson had said. A bookshelf sat half stocked beside the door and a set of stairs led up to the bedroom loft above. Underneath the stairs were boxes of unpacked odds and ends and a bucket for collecting water from the spring. She took it all in with immense appreciation. This was more than an amnesiac ever could have hoped for.

Fi continued to admire the main room as Zelda made her way up the stairs, taking in a comfortably made bed that was just begging her to lie down in it. A bedside table held another vase of fresh flowers in it, giving the room a sweet scent that coupled nicely with the evening breeze blowing in from the open window. She sat at the desk pushed up against the loft railing and ran her fingers over the spines of the stacked books. She'd have to crack them open later.

Turning her head this way and that to fully take in the new room her eyes caught an almost unnoticeable imperfection in the far wall by the bed. Hoping the wall wasn't crumbling fron the demolition efforts she stood up to investigate.

A thin crack ran vertically for only a few inches, where it turned and ran a few more horizontally before stopping again to run up. Realizing it must be man made she pressed a bit at the space in between, gasping quietly as it gave. Running her fingernails under the horizontal crack she got a grip and pulled, eyes widening as a section of wall came up with her efforts. Behind the false panel was a cracked leather bound book, dusty with disuse but thick with whatever its contents were. Reaching inside she grabbed it before sliding the panel back in place as she looked over the mysterious find, squinting to make out a small, inked message in the bottom corner.

Property of Link.

Chapter Text

At the request (order) of Princess Zelda, all Hyrule Champions are to keep a journal if we haven't already from this point forward. She says it will help organize our thoughts and worries to see them written out on paper. I can't say I've ever done it before but I know the princess must, I can't imagine her having many other forms of venting, so I trust her judgement. The only problem so far is finding a place to stash it away both in my home and on my person that isn't likely to be read. The others may not have any problems with someone reading it...at least Daruk doesn't seem to with his "training journal" but I enjoy what little privacy I'm allowed to have. Maybe under a floorboard? I'll figure it out later.

Currently I am retired to the castle guards barracks until the morning. The day was mentally exhausting. A knight, or castle guard, especially the Princess' personal guard, must betray no emotion or sign of physical stress while on duty. I've become quite good at erasing everything from my features but it has become no less exhausting. Today was especially important however. Today I and the other Champions: Mipha, Revali, Urbosa and Daruk, were officially named as such for the ease of the minds of Hyrule. I understand the ceremony was more for the King and Princess than it was for us, but the recognition was surely a boost in morale for the others at least. I'm not much for crowds on my good days, let alone one standing behind me and scrutinizing every move at one of the most important ceremonies of the kingdom. It doesn't help my nerves any either that Daruk has been hinting at getting me "a proper ceremony" to celebrate my being knighted as the Princess' personal guard. I love him dearly, but sometimes I wish he wasn't made of rock so I could smack him over the head without hurting myself.

I'm not really sure what else to write, I doubt I'll have much time to write in it anyway, considering I'll be traveling with Princess Zelda soon all around Hyrule and well...I'm sure to have my hands full. I do like this however, more than I thought I would, so I'll try to continue whenever I can.

 

'So what do you think?' Zelda asked as Fi finally looked up from the mysterious journal. While her companion was considering an answer she took a moment to savor the buttery mushroom mix currently stuffed in her mouth. The one perk from not quite being able to speak, she decided, was not having to compromise a good meal with words. She had offered Fi some of course but she had told Zelda that although her physical form could do many things, digesting was not one of them. Feeling slightly guilty she had not thought to ask before that, the subject was quickly dropped in favor of showing the spirit the book she had found.

Fi pushed the journal back towards her and sat back. "I believe you should keep it with you."

Finishing off her hearty breakfast Zelda raised an eyebrow and gestured quickly. 'Really?'

Fi nodded. "You and Link traveled for many months together, and many major events were recorded in this journal. Read it as you travel, it may help trigger more memories other than the ones recorded on the slate."

Choosing not to mention that that had been her exact thought process reading through only the first couple of pages she nodded as she dried her dish and put it away. Motioning towards the pile of supplies Fi had dumped on the table that morning she tilted her head in a questioning manner.

"Bandages and healing herbs, a few recipe cards that are easily made on the road and your old research journal. Purah stopped by this morning just as I was leaving and left it with me since you were still resting. She hoped it would help you on your travels and thought perhaps you would be able to finish it."

Zelda picked up the battered book and opened it to the first page.

Hyrule Compendium of Flora and Fauna

She noticed a small tugging at the back of her mind but as quickly as she chased it it disappeared. Flipping through the curled pages revealed her writing and sketches from long ago, page upon page of research and notes painstakingly recorded and stamped in time. A copious amount of plants were picked apart in words and diagrams, guardians structures and different parts recorded for future reference, while there was only a few scattered notes written down detailing the odd bokoblin or lizalfos and their behavior. She supposed that made sense, she wouldn't have been in combat at all to be able to properly study how monsters behaved and responded to certain actions, maybe it would be good to pick this up again. It would give her a goal to work towards at least.

It was a late morning and she had gone to bed early the night before. She felt slightly guilty she hadn't been awake when the quirky Shiekah scientist had stopped by but she shrugged it off after a moment and proceeded to stack the research journal with the diary she had found. She didnt feel a particular attachment to either, merely a spark of curiousity that could be sated in free moments on the road. She knew they had to leave for Karkariko Village within the hour if they were going to be there before dusk but she couldn't help wishing they could stay here where it was warm and peaceful and safe. She supposed they could, but she still wanted the answers the elder hadnt seemed willing to give her until she had seen her sister about the slate.

Sighing, Zelda caught her companions attention and gestured tiredly. 'I'll pack up and then we can leave okay?'

Fi looked at her strangely before nodding. "Though it appears you would benefit from a few days rest. You just awoke not that long ago and have hardly gained your bearings yet. No one expects you to jump into this journey so quickly."

She stared at the spirit blankly. 'We're just going to see Impa, and then we can decide where to go from there. I know what my quest is supposed to be, but for now I just want answers. That's all.'

She didn't wait for Fi to reply before she swept up the supplies and headed for the stairs. So far seemingly impossible tasks seemed to be laid out before her and she had it set in her mind that she needed to know why. Why it was her who needed to do them. Why she should care about a fallen knight if she had no memories of their supposed time spent together. What exactly she was supposed to do to fight for a collapsed kingdom when she couldn't even face a bokoblin without her joints going weak at the thought of killing. She wanted to remember who she was before she became what everyone seemed to need her to be. And for now that started with whatever else Impa could tell her.

She packed their supplies carefully, putting the bandaging underneath her days supply of food and folding the Shiekah outfit on top to keep everything in place. Glancing at the two journals she grabbed them up as an afterthought and placed them spine up in the front pocket along with an old pen still half full with ink she had found in the nightstand drawer. Snapping the buckles in place and situating it comfortably over her shoulder she gently touched the slate at her hip, finding its smooth and decorative texture oddly comforting at her fingertips. Nodding to herself she tapped her toes more comfortably in her sturdy books and went quickly back down the stairs.

'Ready?' She watched Fi nod and stride over to her beside the door. The spirit was only a few inches taller than her but her long legs made the speed at which she could walk a bit intimidating. Shrugging off the thought hurriedly she took a deep breath and stepped out the door.

"Hey!" A familiar singsong voice caught her attention as she turned towards the flamboyant man in question. Bolson and his coworker were lounging by the cooking fire not far from her house, looking very comfortable in their break from renovations. Zelda didn't have time to wonder why they were relaxing right beside her new property and for how long as Bolson stood and made his way over.

"Heading back out of town are we?" At Zelda cautious nod he continued. "Figured as much. Well this house will be safe while your away, don't worry. This sleepy town doesn't see many breakins."

Before she could question his statement further he plowed on through his speech. "I sent Hudson to Akkala after we were done with this beauty. Looking to clear some land for our next project. Construction workers like us never have a day off with the state this land is in!" He decided to ignore Zelda raised eyebrow as glanced behind him to a napping coworker under the tree, cocking a hip to block her veiw. "Yes, just so much to do! If you get up that way you should pay him a visit, maybe get some property up there too! Actually, do you have a map? I could mark about where I sent him if you want."

Debating it for a second she shrugged and pulled up the map on her Shiekah slate, figuring it couldn't hurt and it might get her away quicker. The man looked it over for a second confusedly and then pointed to an area far to the north where the map hadn't yet been filled in. "Okey-doo. If I could see the land mass it would be easier, but follow the road up by the Citadel, towards the Shiekah researchers lab, and you should go past about where I sent him. Little peninsula on Lake Akkala; you'll find him."

Putting a marker where he had pointed she nodded and clipped the slate back to her belt, gesturing a thanks to him as she turned. "Be safe now!" He called to her back, to which she shot a thumbs up without turning around, making her way across the bridge and towards the village's exit.

One more thing to think about as she traveled but seeing as the task was the simplest one so far, she found she didn't mind as much.

 

"You've returned, and a sight more prepared for travel than the last time you arrived before me. How are you, my dear?"

Zelda smiled warmly at the old woman in reply. As frustrating as her speech could be when it did not give her the answers she sought she found Impa's presence to be steady and comfortable. She wouldn't doubt they had been friends before whatever had caused her to be injured and lose her memory, but her grandmotherly demeanor put her at an ease she had felt with no else thus far, only Fi coming close as her protector.

'I'm well, thank you. I trust you have been much the same?'

Impa chuckled softly. "Staying in the village for a century deals ones days in endless monotony. I get along as well as anyone. And tell me, how is my sister? It had been quite a while since I last saw her in person."

Zelda hesitated, though hid the action with a smile even as her thoughts raced. Purah had asked her not to reveal what had happened to Impa but...would the matriarch see through a lie?

'She's...as well as can been expected. Buried over her head in research.' She decided to settle for as vague an answer as possible and pray Impa didn't pry.

"Quite literally." Fi intoned, to which Zelda shot her a panicked look that she quickly covered up before the Shiekah would notice.

"Ah well, she always did overwork herself. Nothing ever seemed to shake her from her habits, I wouldnt expect the passage of time to do it." Nodding to herself her eyes landed on the slate. "Was she able to restore the lost data on your device?"

Zelda nodded, relieved to be moving on from the shaky topic of Purah and handed the woman the Shiekah slate. 'There were pictures that Link apparently saved on the camera roll that he thought may be important. One of them pictured a location close to Hateno village that triggered a memory already.'

Impa's eyes lit up with interest. "That's wonderful! May I ask what it was you recollected?"

Here the former royal hesitated, playing back the crude words that stabbed accusingly out of the women's mouth, the way her chest had constricted with a guilt she did not remember, the pitying eyes of her knight as she had brushed him off before he could see her face...

The older woman peered at her knowingly, sympathy clear in her hooded eyes. "The past will not always bring hardship to mind when it reveals itself, but you must accept it as the past as it comes and learn what you can from it. We are nothing without the memories of the trials and triumphs we have gone through. Think of them as a steady foundation with which to hold yourself up. As the ground beneath your feet becomes smoother the journey too, will become easier."

Zelda kept her hands firmly at her sides as she lay the words bounce and tangle with her other thoughts. She watched with tired eyes as the matriarch fiddled with the slate for a few minutes, the silence a welcome oppression against the waves of emotion that threatened to spill over with every passing moment. After a few moments of mental struggle it all was successfully shoved away, leaving a blissful numbness that spread throughout her mind and chest. She could still feel the waves steadily crashing against the hastily built walls she was slowly surrounding herself with, but for now she was saved from the embarrassment of having a mental breakdown in front of a practical stranger she had only met for the third time today.

She looked up as Impa nodded to herself and handed back the slate. "I have written in objectives in your log just for the simplicity of decluttering your map. Tap them when you need the locations of the four divine beasts and they will glow for as long as they are selected. The location of Hyrule Castle is also marked, though I would advice you to stay away from it until you are sure you are prepared to endure its trials."

She reached for a bundle of white fabric laying beside her and handed that to her as well. "These were once worn by you when you travels to the Goddess Springs to pray. The power of the Goddess Hylia sleeps within you, and it was the King's hope that prayer would awaken it. They are sacred garments meant to respect and humility, they may help you if you decide to visit the Springs on your journey."

She locked her gaze with Zelda's earnestly, a desperation flashing in her eyes that the young woman had not yet witnessed. "Zelda, I am truly sorry that this is where fate had led you all these years later. If it were possible for anyone else to complete this task I would find them and send then off in a heartbeat. Even if I were capable I would go in your stead. You are the one who's blood flows and boils with the Goddess' power. You are the one who the Beasts will respond to afters their pilots have perished. You are the one who's faith can cleanse the land of the darkness that had befallen it. It is a hard, unforgiving path the Goddeses have forged for you, but I and every other being in our grwatbland of Hyrule have faith that you will prevail. You are wise and strong beyond your years, even now, stripped of your memories you stand unwavering. I cannot reveal to you the past that led you to this state, but if you follow what your heart tells you, and find that which is lost to you, I am confident you will raise our kingdom from the ashes of the Calamity."

Zelda stood still, eyes wide as she recieved the speech of confidence, dread filling her chest as her heart screamed out its denial. Her face remained a mask of passiveness however, and she simply nodded and gestured a thank towards the kind woman as she bowed low and turned to leave. Her eyes didn't leave the floor as she carefully put one foot in front of the other, watching from the top of her vision as the door to freedom became more and more visible. She barely paused as she heard Impa's farewell and be safe flow around her sensitive ears, pushing open the doors and making her way down the long flight of steps and towards the road that would lead her out of the village.

 

Zelda clutches Link's hand desperately as their feet pound endlessly over the slick grass of Hyrule field. They were almost to the bridge, only a little farther and they could cross and get past Dueling Peaks and make a break for Karkariko. They only had to push harder.

She squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to think of the lights from the Divine Beasts winking out of the skies. She had already spent too much time mourning in the relative safety of a short wooded area, she needed to keep her mind towards their goal. Regroup in Karkariko with Impa and the rest of the Sheikah and...and what? She had nothing, she was nothing and there was nothing she could do that would reverse any of this! The entire kingdom was falling to ruin around her and she was powerless and afraid, running away from it all and relying on a knight she had hated until recently to protect her with his life.

She shook her head slightly to clear her thoughts for now as they leaped over a low wall and knelt to a crouch behind another one. A moblin stalked the road brandishing a massive club and sniffing out the air for anything amiss. She felt Link squeeze her hand gently and she looked over to see him put a finger to his lips. Nodding in understanding she slipped her hand out of his and crouched down lower, watching as he quietly unsheathed the Master Sword and stood. The beast barely had a moment to blink before her guard snapped the sword to the side with a high pitched whistle, sending out a slash of light the cut straight through the monster and gouged out the crumbling wall behind it. Erupting in a puff of smoke it emitted mot a sound as it disappeared leaving Zelda shocked as to what she just witnessed. Had he always been able to...?

She looked up at his offered hand, his sword safely stored away and his worried yet protective look back on his face. She stood up and gazed at his stress filled face, wanting nothing more than to wipe it all away and fix everything if only to see him happy and relatively carefree again. Alone in Hateno, cooking his delicious meals and flashing one of his rare but genuine smiles, joking with her and helping her with her research journal. If she could only have her morning back, somehow convince the goddess to hear her...

"Link, I-"

She was cut off abruptly by a terrifying explosion, both of them whipping around to stare at a large circular hole carved into the top of Hebra Peak. Another deafening bang cut through the air as a beam shot down to the Eldin military base from Bah Rudania, likely obliterating it in less than a second. A final shot beamed out from Vah Medoh as it circled in the air above Rito Village, hitting its deadly mark directly into the Akkala Citadel. They watched in silence as chunks flew off from the stronghold and rained deadly debris in every direction, the guardians quickly taking care of the rest as they shot out lasers of their own at whatever they saw moving and trying to escape what was supposed to be a safe haven. Zelda's mind went numb at the sight, flashes of faces she had reassured and children their parents had scolded into going there for safely, all wiped from the land without a second thought to be had. Even Link's father-

Link's father had been stationed there.

She quickly looked over at the knight, only to see a stock still and expressionless husk staring through the wreckage of the Citadel. His hands twitched at his sides as though grasping for something, eyes unseeing even as they searched for anything to tell him it wasn't real. Slowly she stepped towards him, wrapping delicate arms around his strong middle and resting her head underneath his chin. The rain continued to fall unfrgivingly around them, steadily turning the road around them into a river of mud but neither of them made to move just yet. She felt a warm wetness on the top of her head that became a stark contrast to the chilling rain, but she made no mention of it to her companion, simply squeezing him gently and closing her eyes. They needed to move she knew, but they could take this moment of silence for what they had lost.

Hyrule was falling, but she would do everything in her power to make sure they remained standing.

 

Zelda snapped out of the memory with a start, wiping away the tears that had gathered in her eyes as she witnessed what she assumed was the fall of Hyrule, though no clues were given as to how she had fallen the images of the Citadel being blasted to pieces and the overwhelming guilt from a century prior that persisted with the memory was glued to the forefront of her mind. She had been so afraid and angry and sad. And the look on Link's face when they both realized what they had truly just witnessed, she felt the heartbreak of her past self like a knife twisting maliciously in her gut. She looked up at the road before her. It looked innocent enough, a simple dirt road with crumbling stone structures to either side but as she continued to stare it slowly turned to the rainwashed river she had seen in the memory, death from bodies she could not see performing the air she heaved into her tired lungs. Squeezing her eyes hard she looked and once again only saw the sunnily lit road before her, overgrown in some places and with ruts carved in from decades of passing merchants grooving the dirt.

They had decided to backtrack to the East Post Ruins to find another picture she had recognized from the album. As much as she wanted to remember her past however, if all of these memories proved to be as depressing and traumatic as the first two she was afraid she'd have to chuck the slate in the nearest river.

"This area is relatively safe as long as we stear around the guardians." She heard Fi speaking beside her, picking out their road of travel on the slate Zelda had handed over immediately after the vision had ended, her companion thankfully choosing to ignore how badly her hands were shaking. "If we take the direct route it shouldn't take too long to reach Akkala, though Zora's Domain is on the way if you'd like to stop there first."

Shaking her head, Zelda took the device back and studied the markers Fi had put down as a way of navigation. Various guardian stickers were dotted along Hyrule Feild and she figured the spirit could simply sense them from a distance and wanted to use caution for travel. After seeing them in action, albeit from a distance, she felt very grateful for the foresight. 'I want to see what we can find in Akkala. Bolson said Hudson was there, and Purah mentioned that another scientist named Robbie is there as well. I want to be prepared with as much information and hopefully memories as possible before I even consider going to the different providence's. I can't just jump into something this big without preparation.'

There was a small voice in the back of her head that told her she was being selfish, that she needed to complete the tasks set for her as quickly as possible and fix what she had broken a hundred years ago, but she ignored it. What could she have messed up so badly that an entire kingdom had fallen as a result? Because she failed to please a goddess enough to be granted a power she didn't even know if she carried? No. She would whatever it took to gather all the facts before she embarked on a suicide mission against Divine Beasts that had literally shot down a mountain. Survivor's guilt be damned.

"Very well. Shall we go then?" Fi stepped up beside her and for some reason her hand itched to grab the spirit's as they walked. Shaking out her fingers from the phantom feeling of Link's she chose not to think about it and shoved it away with all of the other brewing poles of unwanted thoughts and emotions. There would be a time to deal with all of that. This was not it.

'Yes, I'm ready.' Turning decisively she headed to the north end of the feild, the weight of her bag slapping against her stomping gait as she went.

Chapter Text

The room was oppressive.

His daughters had felt it immediately after returning to their home after their day of play and cooking and it had made it that much harder to get them to sleep for the night. He felt the sweat stick his shirt to his back as he rocked and soothed his youngest to sleep, the older tossing and turning fitfully without knowing why.

He knew.

Tucking Koko in snuggly next to her sister the old Sheikah stood up with his back to the corner that made his skin crawl the most. He addressed the shade quietly hoping to allow his daughters rest.

"I'll thank you to bring this outside away from my children, they have no part of this nor have they ever."

"Your time is up, Dorian." The gruff voice spoke just as quietly despite the gravity of the situation; he knew better than to wake the children and potentially get the entire village involved. "You let the princess escape twice without so much as an attempt to do as you begged to be told. You asked for this specifically to redeem yourself and you failed, if you wish so much for your children to not be involved then I suggest you come quietly."

"I know the punishment for disobeying, but there was little to be done with that spirit guarding the girl wherever she goes. She would not have trusted me enough for me to attempt to do anything. It is no fault of mine the mission fell through." Dorian clenched his fists together nervously, willing his voice to steady as he opened his mouth to speak before being cut off.

"No fault of yours? Lesser men could have handled this within a fraction of the time it took you to fail. You are a weak link in the eyes of everyone of our clan and a useless scab in the eye of Lord Khoga. I have come to take you and deal with this myself, and I will not repeat myself again."

Dorian finally turned towards the burly shadow, his long wind cleaver glowing faintly in the dying light of the fire. Taking a deep, steadying breath he spoke confidently to his adversary. "Funny you should mention a weak link. Before we go wherever you should take me, I have something to show you."

"Do not think me a fool-"

Dorian spread his hands and laughed softly. "What advantage would a foot soldier such as I have against a fully trained Yiga warrior? I simply ask you to here out one final trump card that would easily land the princess in our hands, that is all."

Relaxing only slightly as the blade disappeared he put down his arms as the other motioned for him to lead. Glancing one last time at his restlessly sleeping daughters he made his way out of the house and into the dead quiet of night. Past the night guardsmen and up the hill to the sparse forest he led, passing the brightly glowing dias and slightly farther into the trees until they came to a stop in front of a crumpled lump on the ground.

"What is this supposed to be?" The warrior spat in disgust as he kicked at the lump distastefully. It moaned low in response but made no other move of protest.

"Look closely. Look at the left hand."

The other knelt down and roughly grabbed the arm of the fallen man. On the back, glowing dimly above frostbitten fingers was a strange symbol the man had previously only seen in texts and official crests.

"Is that...?"

Dorian stepped closer and nodded slowly. "The triforce, with the symbol for courage a bit more pronounced wouldn't you agree?"

"The chosen hero was consumed by the Calamity a century ago. It couldn't be." Taking his thumb he roughly tried rubbing off the symbol, only succeeding in reddening the skin further. Growling in frustration he threw the arm and down and stood once more. "I don't see how this offers us any sort of advantage with the princess."

"Since this man has the triforce of courage he'll automatically be trusted by her. Even if she doesn't remember anything about it that spirit will undoubtedly inform her and may even trust him as well. This is the in we need to lure her in. He gains her trust, she follows him wherever he says to go simply because he knows what he's doing and is a part of her fate as well and she's as good as on our doorstep in a manner of weeks. Not as quickly as we would like I'm aware but the spirit she has with her is a steadfast protector, we wouldn't get past her as easily as we might something that was actually human."

From the ground alow croak was heard. "She doesn't-" Dorian's panic quickly cut the man off as he stomped down hard on his splayed fingers, hearing them crunch under his weight and earning a low whimper in response. He was well aware the princess did not trust whoever this man was, having heard her express concerns about him to her companion while they had stayed overnight. No one else had picked up that bit of information however, and this was his last chance to ensure the safety of his remaining family.

"I don't recall telling you you had any say in this whatsoever. Unless you want it cut out, keep your tongue still!" He looked over at the skeptical Yiga. "What do you say then?"

The other was silent for a beat before deciding to speak, summoning his weapon to swing threatenly towards the Shiekah defector. "Do not make this a waste of my time, Dorian."

He swallowed nervously as the warrior disappeared in the shadows of the trees finally ridding him of the oppressive atmosphere surrounding him. He looked down towards the fallen hero with pity, offering a silent prayer for the goddesses forgiveness before hoisting the man over his shoulder and disappearing into the darkness himself.

 

'This says we're on the Ternio Trail...next to the South Akkala Plains. We just need to cross a couple bridges and then we'll be in the Akkala region properly.' Zleda stashed away the slate at her hip, confident that if they remained on the road they would eventually come to their destination. It was their second day of traveling towards their goal, the former being mercifully uneventful since Fi had helped them stay as far away from any enemies that they needed to. Deep down she knew there would come a time where she had to fight no matter what she thought but she was content for now to push it as far into the future as she could.

"I must warn you, this region is one that was heavily armed with guardians a century ago and many of them are still active and roaming through the land. A great many more monsters than we've seen previously also inhabit this section of the map, I can tell you that even without my sensors. This region was once a great pinnacle of beauty within the kingdom but it is now just as dangerous. Be on guard."

Zelda listened raptly to Fi's warning feeling apprehension coil low in her gut. She quickly shook it off however. She knew Fi was capable of protecting herself and Zelda, and although she felt guilty at the amount of reliance she had on her companion she already knew the answer she would get if she would ask about it. As such, she simply nodded and continued at a comfortable pace down the worn road.

At one point she stopped and looked over at the neighboring region they were passing, curious to observe what she had been told was a volcanic province a people called Gorons inhabited. Without data from the tower there wasn't much more information Fi could give her but it had left Zelda inquisitive none the less. The hulking lava-oozing volcanoe that was Death Mountain stood tall and proud, belching smoke, ash and fire from its depths to cloak its massive form in a haze. Glowing trails of lava streaked down the sides with deadly beauty, setting fire to the air around it and turning the entire area into a surreal sort of hellscape that made her sweat even just looking at it. As she watched the fiery scene go about it's natural schedule movement caught her eye and drew her gaze to the side of the mountian where she could just barely make out something resembling a three pronged leg slam into the side of it, sending a spray of rocks and embers into the air with a booming crack that was audible even at the distance she was standing. She struggled to make sense of the scene as more of the shady mass made it's way from the back of the mountain into plainer view.

Tentatively she touched Fi's arm and, having got her attention, pointed to the form dragging itself across the glowing red rivers. 'What is that?'

Fi looked to where she had pointed and answered after a few moments. "I believe that would be one of the four Divine Beasts Impa talked about. Since it is the Eldin region it would be Vah Rudania, the beast of the Gorons. Looking through the scope of your slate may allow you to observe it more clearly, though with the contents of the atmosphere surrounding Death Mountain visibility is down to 47%; you would have to be much closer to see it properly."

Taking her advice in stride, Zelda quickly grabbed the slate and brought up the scoping feature, looking intently through it as she zeroed in on the beast. Finally able to see it properly she gasped quietly and left her jaw where it fell, too absorbed in what she was witnessing to worry about appearance.

Its spike-lined back cut viciously through the smoky air as its legs slammed down uncaring into rock and lave alike. Rivers of fire split around the mechanical feet as they gripped into the craters it created for purchase against the mountains side. A huge bulbous tipped tail whipped back and forth for balance, occasionally slamming through rock faces jutting out of the volcanoe and sending boulders crashing down in deadly avalanches. The underside of the man made salamander glowed intensely red from the fires below, matching its eyes as she watched it turn its head at extreme angles looking for something she could not see. She followed its movements all the way to the other side of the mountain, until with a final slap of its tail it was gone.

She slowly lowered the slate and hooked it back to her belt, swallowing hard to try and combat the sudden dryness in her throat. That was a Divine Beast? That was what Impa wanted her, a tiny amnesiac, to go up against? She looked to Fi who was watching her quietly with an unreadable expression, hoping to find answers to unformed questions.

'I don't think....Fi I'm not the right person for the quest Impa deems me qualified to complete.'

Fi nodded. "No, you aren't"

Three simple words that felt like a knife through her heart. She supposed it was nice to be agreed with but the spirit hadn't even attempted to reassure her. Her supposed destiny was crawling all over a huge rock with seemingly no way to reach it and her companion couldn't even pretend she might have a chance?

Studying her boots seemed suddenly much more important then continuing the conversation, but as she made to step forward Fi haltedly began to speak again.

"I realize you may find that very rude...I apologize. I find it difficult to translate my thoughts into something that can be interpreted as reassuring at the best of times, so allow me to build upon my statement. No, you are not the right person for this. There will be many foes to defeat and obstacles to overcome and challenges to be met that would be much better suited for a warrior rather than a former princess. To think someone with no experience in combat could tackle such insurmountable goals is ludicrous at best."

Zelda felt her shoulders droop another inch, raising her hands to tell her companion to simply stop as nothing she was saying was coming even close to helping. The word Failure leapt from the back of her mind and brought with it the memories she had collected thus far, pounding insecurity into every crevice it could find. There was a certain familiarity with the feelings, offering her what she interpreted as a glimpse into the person she once was that was as dark and depressing as the day she had awoken alone in the Resurrection Chamber. A tang of an age old anger tinged red around her vision and the immense feeling of knowing this is how her old self of a century past would react was enough to snap her out of her boiling emotion, bringing her back to Fi's words with an almost dizzying intensity. All of this transpired within seconds, the spirit continuing as she hadn't noticed anything amiss, but Zelda felt as if she had just found herself stumbling in daylight after weeks of darkness.

"But," Zelda looked up hastily, clinging to the words like a life line. "You weild within you the blood and powers of goddess Hylia, however hidden they may be, and the intelligence and wisdom that comes with that responsibility and background. You may solve the issues you face in the future differently than someone more qualified might, but the fact remains that it is up to you to do it. No one of normal ability is able to stand up to the things you will have to, but it is only because you have abnormal abilities that they rely on you. It isn't any ones fault, just the unfortunate layout of fate that has led you to a place you don't yet feel you belong."

Fi smiled kindly as she finished. "No one expects you to save the world in the state you are in now. I will help you where I can, and in the meantime we will figure out what must be done and prepare the best we can. And that starts with your memories. We're going to see the Shiekah scientist Robbie and I'm sure he'll be able to offer you some insight into your past that may prove useful."

Gratefully, Zelda nodded. The feelings of uncertainty still twisted in her gut but she was able to stomach it after pushing away the intrusive thoughts that kept insisting on having her attention. All it was doing at this point was stalling their journey and it was already approaching late afternoon. She would much rather find an inn to stay for the night than spend another one outside on the ground; they hadn't stopped at one the past couple days of travel and she was definitely sorely missing the soft bed she had left behind on Hateno.

As she turned to continue to Akkala a spot of bright purple made her turn curiously to the cliff face lining the right side of the road. Growing directly out of the rock was a healthy purple flower blowing gently in the breeze. After snapping a picture of it to save in the slate's compendium she walked over and after a struggle pulled the plant from the wall, turning it over in her hands for a closer look.

"A swift violet. Useful to cook with offering a 40% increase in movement speed, though I'm not sure how long the effects would last."

Humming in acknowledgement, Zelda made to stash the treasure into her pack for the time being, pausing as she noticed the spine of the research journal Purah had left her. Taking it out she quickly thumbed through the pages, landing on a realistic but faded sketch of the plant she had just picked and a paragraph written in beside it.

- Swift violets are known for their abundance in nutrients and revitalizing compounds. Much like the rushroom it offers almost caffeine like boosts of energy allowing the consumer to move more quickly for certain periods of time with increased productivity. Unlike the fungi however, it has no addictive properties, meaning dishes cooked or tea steeped with the flower have no adverse effects as far as dependency goes no matter how often it is consumed. The effects seem to last the longest if five petals, fresh or dry, are steeped in boiling water as a tea, though most people simply use it as a fragrant spice to various cooked dishes. Drowsiness and/or soreness from the increased productivity do not follow the consumption of the flower and is one of the best natural alternatives to coffee. Species is native to the Gerudo Highlands and Hebra Region but can be found spread throughout Hyrule growing on the faces of cliffs or steep inclines.

Blinking at the thoroughness a spark of something warm ignited in her chest. She suddenly itched for a pen as her eyes scanned her surroundings with new light, wondering what else there was to learn from her century old journal. She knew she couldn't just sit down and read it cover to cover, though she was tempted. She did remember that there were many pages that had yet to be filled out whether there was missing information about the various enemies that could be found throughout Hyrule or different species of plants that she had not been able to observe for one reason or another. She felt a strong sense of purpose as she gripped the journal tighter. She wasn't strong enough physically for the enormity of the tasks set out before her but if she could do something that would be useful not just for her, but perhaps many of the inhabitants of Hyrule...maybe the information she could provide could lessen the blow of her not meeting the standards and hopes of other people.

The train of thought felt eerily familiar but she pushed it away in favor of stashing the journal back into her bag. She had definitive purpose now, at least in her eyes. The prospect of facing giant mechanical monsters almost made her legs give out in fear. Research was something she knew she could handle.

They continued walking over steep, rough terrain, the road beneath them abruptly becoming broken stone that threatened to trip her if she wasn't careful. Once they came to a crumbling bridge with steep drops to either side she felt immense relief as she was indeed by Fi they had finally made it into the Akkala region properly. Shaking her head when asked about stopping at the stable she opted to continue on. They still had a least a few hours of daylight left and she wanted to get as close to her destination as possible before stopping for the night. She only hoped there would be another inn further along the road so she wouldnt come to regret her decision.

Thankfully only another two hours passed before they caught sight of the giant horsehead that marked the location of another inn and stable. Zelda excitedly picked up her pace, eager to get out of her traveling gear and sink into a welcoming bed before meeting the mysterious scientist the following day. She still had not acquired the regions map, having not looked for the tower yet but she figured there would be plenty of time to do that after she finished her business here. So eager was she she didnt notice that Fi had stopped until the spirit grabbed her arm and pulled her down to crouch in the tall grass.

"Zelda, stay low and listen."

Doing as instructed she listened carefully and immediately her sensitive ears picked up quickly approaching hoofbeats and the tell tale growls and snorts of bokoblins. Peering intently through the grass she could just make out a group of them approaching on horseback wielding everything from crudely carved bats to stolen and rusting short swords. Fi bent lower and whispered urgently even as she placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"They have spotted us already but they are quite slow witted. I'll draw them away and deal with them while you stay hidden here. I'll come back when it is safe." The spirit didn't leave until she nodded quickly in agreement, and she watched in awe as Fi burst forth from the grass, blades already out and flashing in the late afternoon sun. As the sounds of battle commenced Zelda buried her head in the ground, knowing the action was cowardly but not having the will to watch the death of a monster even if they were her enemies. The sounds thankfully drifted farther away from her location and she began to relax, tensing again as she heard odd squeaking coming from her left.

Looking up revealed a one eyed winged creature flying towards her, though this was not the thing that immediately concerned her. Eyes growing wide she watched as the creature came closer and swooped low into the dry grass, its flaming wings that had immediately caught her attention quickly igniting the area around it not three feet from where she was hiding.

With a yelp of fear she snapped up and began running in the opposite direction, flames licking at her heels as she went. The fire was short lived however as it quickly died out along with the strange creature that had started it. Turning quickly to see what had extinguished it she froze as she realized one of the bokoblins had broken free of the group and had spotted her when she had run from the flames. In two seconds she noticed that Fi had seen her predicament and was finishing off the last monster herself and was certainly going to come to save her. But that proved to be two seconds too late as the stomping hooves of the wild horse flailed in front of her before she could blink.

Reacting on instinct she quickly threw herself to the side out of the way of the rampaging beast, her mind flooding with the relief of not being trampled before her vision blacked out at a hard impact around her abdomen.

She was thrown several feet from the impact, landing in a crumpled heap on the ground and left to moan in pain with what little breath remained in her lungs. The bokoblin had caught her with a lucky swing of its huge club, squinting at it through her blurry vision revealed it to be almost half the size of a tree with jutting points on the end. It had been fortunate it had swung instead of stabbed, but she took little consolation in the fact as her arms curled around her middle while it throbbed in painful tune to her shallow breaths.

She heard the thing scream as Fi undoubtedly took care of it and then she was suddenly there, cooling and gentle hands laying on her cheeks and arms as she urged Zelda firmly but softly into a sitting position. She gasped as a stab of pain spasmed through her abdomen, making her double over into her companion's lap as tears streamed down her face. Soothing circles were rubbed across her back as she began to rock slowly from side to side to try to distract herself to no avail. After a few minutes she felt herself being scooped up bridal style into strong arms and cradled against a cool chest that didn't rise with the need of breath. The last thing she was aware of before her vision blackened was the soft apologies spoken regretfully in her ear.