The Legend of Zelda: The Circle of Destiny

Link and Zelda Go Their Separate Ways

The next morning, before dawn, Zelda knocked on Link's door.

"Enter."

She opened the door, then shut it behind her. A moment later, Link came out of the closet carrying an armload of folded clothes.

"I thought it might be you," he said with a smile.

"Does anyone else visit your room in the wee hours of the morning?"

"Nope." He put the clothes into a leather satchel, then went over to Zelda. He was smiling brightly as he put his arms around her and kissed her.

"And what a good morning it is," he whispered against her lips.

"I don't think so."

"No?" he asked, drawing back.

"Not at all. I haven't spent a day away from you for months—and I haven't gone more than a few days without seeing you for a year before that. How will I ever survive until spring?"

He laughed, then went back to the bed and began packing the last of his clothes. Zelda noticed he was also packing the telekensis glove and clawshot. He had admitted once before that he wasn't comfortable leaving their various weapons lying around where anyone might find them. With the keys to castle still missing and a locksmith being low on their priorities when it came to their repair budget, nothing could be locked up securely. Of course, they had little that was valuable enough to lock up, but Link was right that their weapons didn't need to fall into the wrong hands. Even handled innocently, they could be dangerous in ways that the average person might not expect—hence why Link kept the Master Sword with him at all times and—normally—kept the other things hidden in his room. Zelda likewise kept her Light Arrows and the Soul Scepter hidden in her room.

"We have to go to Rayliss' coronation," Link pointed out. "We'll see each other then." He looked up from his packing. "Unless you think it would be better not to be seen together even then?"

"I'll kill you if you try to get out of going."

He laughed loudly. "Alright. Alright." He tucked the last of his meager possessions into the satchel. "Besides," he added, as he buckled the pouch closed, "I don't think I could let you go there alone anyway."

"You'd worry about me with Sir Elgon around?"

"You know, I think he's the only person I would completely trust with your safety," he admitted.

"But you don't trust me with my safety, is what you're saying."

"Zelda, sweetheart, I'd bet on you, hands down, in a straight fight with anyone or anything. But I'd rather you have some backup. It's the bastards that sneak up on you that you have to worry about."

He strapped his shield and Master Sword across his back, then put the satchel over his other shoulder. Lastly, he strapped his family sword around his waist.

"You look like you're ready to go kill something," she said.

"You never can tell."

"Stay out of trouble."

"I never look for trouble; it just finds me."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

He put his arms around her again. "I'm not afraid of anything."

"You shouldn't be with all that weaponry you're carrying."

He laughed. "True. But that's not why I'm not afraid."

"Why are you not afraid?"

"Because I'm within a hair's breadth of having you. And nothing—I mean nothing—will stop me or slow me down now. If I have to kill, I will kill. If I have to crawl, I will crawl. But come hell or high water, I will stand at that altar with you in the spring. Nothing short of the gods themselves will stop me—and I'm pretty sure they're on my side."

"I'll do my best to make sure everyone stays out of your way."

He laughed, then he kissed her one last time—definitely making it one to remember him by. She was a bit breathless by the time he pulled away. "If you need me, just let me know," he said. "Otherwise, I'll see you at Rayliss' coronation."

Then, with a parting smile, he turned and walked out the door.

Zelda took a few moments to compose herself—she was not going to cry; no crying—then she went to the empty Council chambers to wait for the others to arrive; while she waited, she started on breakfast. By the time the others came in, she was halfway through her food.

She knew by their faces that they were shocked to find her there before them. She also knew that—at least for a little while—they would start showing up well before time for the meeting to start. Although the meeting was scheduled to begin at seven, the unspoken rules of Court dictated that every event started when the monarch arrived. Anyone who was there before her was early and anyone who arrived after was late—no matter was time the meeting was actually supposed to begin.

So, in essence, every member of the Council had been late that morning because Zelda got there first, and they would, no doubt, adjust their schedules to get there even earlier tomorrow. But the joke was on them; Zelda had no intention of getting up early a fourth morning in a row. She would show up on time to the meeting—leaving all of them to sit and wait on her longer than usual.

It would be a long, long time before she forgave them for daring to arrange a marriage for her—and for calling her decision to marry Link "improper."

She gave them a rather disdainful look as they hurried to get their breakfast. "What's our business for today?" she asked over the clatter of dishes and silverware.

Her State Advisor glanced to the empty seat across the table from him. "Should we not wait on the Lord High Chancellor?" he asked.

"The Lord High Chancellor asked leave to spend some time with his mother. He's afraid that she and his uncle might be going home to nothing, and he wants to help them get back on their feet. Since they lost everything—including their freedom for a time—because they helped me, I couldn't refuse his request."

She sipped her tea. "And if he can do anything else to help get my fishing industries back up and running again, all the better. A little royal supervision in that area might not be amiss, hm?" she hinted.

Several of the men nodded their understanding. When things were going wrong somewhere in the kingdom and weren't quickly remedied, it wasn't unusual to send a royal representative to check and make sure that the cause was truly unavoidable, rather than the result of a person or persons causing a problem.

With Link's mother and uncle as the new nobles of Kakariko County, they might need a little "help" figuring out their new roles and getting everything running smoothly.

Of course, Zelda didn't think any such thing, but she let the advisors think it because it furthered her plans.

"Will he be gone long?" the State Advisor pressed, looking curious, but a touch confused.

"I told him he may have three months. There's some sort of fish… thing—I don't understand it, really, but there's something that happens in a few months, and he really wants to be there for that. He'll be back when that's done."

Everyone on the Council looked surprised; the State Advisor's eyebrows, in particular, shot up. "He… he is to be gone three months? When there is so much work to do?"

"Are you implying I'm not up to the task?" she asked coldly.

"Not at all, Your Majesty! I just thought you… wanted his help," he said sort of lamely.

"I'm capable of handling problems on my own," she said in a clipped tone. "And at the end of three months, everyone will know it. Now, what is our first item of business?"

She knew that she had greatly confused them. Now they would be wondering if her proposal to Link had been made in jest, or as a way to shut down their wedding plans. And surely some of them would wonder if she and Link had had a falling out—hence his unannounced, early-morning departure. Anyone who snooped in his room—and Zelda was sure there would be gossips among the staff—would find that all of his clothes and personal things were gone; it looked like he had left and had no intention of coming back.

There would be rampant rumors and speculation: had he left, angry, because she agreed to marry him, but refused to make him king? Or had she had second thoughts and, fearing her advisors and nobles wouldn't approve of her choice, rescinded her offer and sent him away to give their ardor time to cool?

Zelda wanted there to be doubt; it kept the Council off-guard; it would keep them from seeing what she was doing until it was too late.


Link walked through the quiet town in the pre-dawn light. There were only a few people out in the streets, and all of them looked to be in a hurry. In a few places, store owners were beginning their early morning rituals, like sweeping out the store, opening the shutters, and putting out merchandise. Few of them even looked his way.

His feet followed a familiar path and, before long, his nose was following the scent. The one place that could be counted on to be open early was the bakery.

Link pushed open the door—a tinkling bell announcing his arrival—and he was immediately assaulted by the smell of yeast and hot bread. His mouth began to water.

A familiar, dark-haired young woman appeared behind the counter. "What can I do you for?" she said hurriedly, not even looking up at him; she was busy wiping her flour-covered hands on an equally flour-covered apron. She looked rather harried—which was typical. Dawn represented the confluence of bread ready to be removed from the ovens and patrons coming in to pick up their daily loaves.

"I just wanted to stop in and see how you were doing, Madge."

She jerked her head up and stared at him in surprise. Then a big smile brightened her face. "Link!"

She hurried around the counter, as if to hug him, but suddenly stopped short. "Oh, I'm so dirty, and you're dressed so fine," she said, eying his clothes. Compared to normal court clothing, he was rather modestly dressed, but gauging from the patched and faded clothes that most people were wearing these days, his new outfit looked very nice.

"I don't care about that," he said, opening his arms to her.

She compromised by taking off her apron, then she gave him a big hug.

"Oh, Link, it's been ages," she said, stepping back to look at him. "And you've changed." She touched his scarred cheek. "You're all grown up now—although it looks like it wasn't without its costs."

"It wasn't. But, honestly, I would do it all over again. Seeing peace restored and Her Majesty back on her rightful throne was worth everything."

She smiled fondly at him. "I knew you would become a great man someday. I didn't quite know how great, though. A Knight of Hyrule and the Lord High Chancellor both—that's quite an accomplishment."

"Thank you."

"But what about your noble lady?" she asked with a sly smile. "Have you won her heart, or have you grown past that infatuation?"

He was thoughtful for a moment. "I haven't grown past it; rather, it's grown up with me. The quality of my love has changed; it's more… real, I suppose you would say. Or more based in reality, perhaps. I know her now, and I love all the things that make her uniquely her; I don't just love the idea of her."

Madge's smile grew even wider. "You really have matured—not that you weren't mature for your age before, but… well, I'm happy for you."

She went around the counter and put on her apron again. "You didn't answer my question fully, though; does your lady love you in return?"

"Without a doubt."

She grinned. "Are we to hear wedding bells soon, maybe?"

"With any luck, perhaps as early as the spring."

"And your noble lady… she wouldn't happen to have saved your life out in the square a few weeks ago, would she?"

He laughed. "What rumors have you been hearing?"

"Everyone's talking about it. The girls are all in a swoon over you riding down Her Majesty's would-be assassins on a tiger. And then she shot the man who was holding you hostage—just missing hitting you by an inch or two.

"It's the most romantic thing people have ever seen."

Link laughed again. "You know, it could just be that I'm a knight and it's my job to ride down Her Majesty's enemies. And she just happens to be the best shot in the kingdom, so naturally she would be the one best suited to save me."

"They also say the two of you are rarely seen apart in the castle," Madge hinted.

"I'm the Lord High Chancellor; people should be surprised if I'm not at the queen's side constantly. Do you know how much work it is to run a kingdom under the best of circumstances—much less as it is now?"

Madge leaned against the counter, looking rather smug. "So… there is no truth to these rumors at all? Is that what you're saying?"

"What rumors? You have only stated facts: that I rode down Her Majesty's enemies, that she saved my life, and that we are often seen together at court. I won't deny any of those things."

Madge laughed. "Link, you're impossible!"

"So I've heard," he said with a grin. Then he changed the subject. "So, what does a man have to do to get a bun for breakfast? I can barely hear you over the sound of my stomach rumbling."

She straightened up. "What kind do you want?"

"Something sweet, if you've got it. I've almost forgotten what sugar tastes like. For that matter, bread is still something of a novelty after we lived for so long on pemmican and what we could hunt or forage for ourselves."

"Sounds rough," she said, taking a pastry off a shelf under the counter.

"It wasn't fun. How much do I owe you?"

She waved him away. "This one's on me—a gift for your promotion."

"You can't afford to give things away for free—not now. How much for it?"

It took a few minutes of haggling, but Link eventually got her up to what he felt was a reasonable price.

"Here," he said, putting the correct amount of change on the counter.

"So, are you ever going to tell me the truth?" she asked.

"The truth about what?" he asked, before taking a big bite of the sticky bun.

"The truth about you and the queen."

"What about us?"

"Everyone is saying that the two of you are in love."

"Oh, so that's the rumor."

"Yes."

"And what do people think about it? Or do they magically spread a rumor without adding their opinion to it?"

She shrugged. "I guess they're not sure what to think. I mean, you can't put too much stock in rumors, can you? We heard plenty of false ones when Nagadii was here, and plenty of times we were completely blindsided by what actually ended up happening."

Link nodded.

"Like I said, the young girls are all a-titter over the idea of you and the queen. And I guess a few of the older people are scandalized, but for the most part, no one knows who you are or where you came from, so they don't know how to feel."

"Well, that's about to change."

"What's going on?"

"I can't say, but you'll see soon enough." He gestured with the bun. "Thanks for the breakfast. I need to get on the road."

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going home for a little while. I want to spend some time with my mother. You know, over the course of my life, I've spent less than a year's time with her—except for when I was a baby, which I don't remember, of course. But even if you count that, it's still less than two years. She and I have had less than two years together out of nineteen."

Madge looked at him with sympathy. "I think you and she both deserve some time together."

"I think so, too. We both sacrificed a lot to the cause over the years. But now that it's all over, I think we should get to have a little bit of what we missed out on while I was growing up."

"Have a safe trip.

"Thank you."

He had his hand on the doorknob, about to leave, when she said one last thing. "You never did tell me who your lady was."

"Madge, if you haven't figured it out yet, you will soon enough."

She was laughing as he walked out.


Later that morning, a blind old man—escorted by his grandson—appeared before the castle gate with a letter in his hand. It was an invitation from Zelda to meet with her at eleven o'clock.

The guard had been notified that the man would be coming, and he personally escorted him all the way to Zelda's room.

"Damen the Bard is here to see you, Your Majesty—per your request," the guard announced from the door.

"Come in," she said, rising to her feet as the guard showed the old man in.

The old man bowed low. "It is an honor and pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty."

"We've met before," Zelda reminded him. "You entertained us with stories at many banquets."

"Yes, but you were a Princess then," he pointed out. "This is the first time I am meeting you as a Queen."

Zelda chuckled. "Very true." She placed her hand on his elbow. "Come, sit down so we can talk."

"I must admit to being curious about your invitation," he said, as he let her lead him to a chair near the fireplace in her receiving room. She helped him sit down, then she pulled the other chair closer so that his grandson could sit beside him.

"Who is this that you have with you?" she asked, looking at the young man. He smiled bashfully and averted his eyes.

"This is my grandson, Errol." Damen held out his hand, and the boy touched it, so his grandfather would know where he was.

"Is he learning the trade?"

"He has the desire, but not the confidence yet."

Zelda sat down on the couch across from them. "Well, Errol, I can tell you that I didn't have a lot of confidence in myself when I was your age, either. But then I went on a quest and I found myself."

"I've heard a few stories about what happened while you were gone," Damen hinted, his white-blind eyes eager.

"Well, actually, that's why I've called you here, Damen."

"However may I be of service, Your Majesty?"

She leaned in close. "Can you keep a secret?" she whispered.

"Your secret, Your Majesty? Of course."

"You must not tell another living soul. What I am about to say must not leave this room." She glanced at Errol, who was staring at her wide-eyed. "Understand?"

"May you strike us dead if we reveal it," Damen swore. Errol nodded, looking half-frightened, half-eager.

"You have heard of Sir Link?"

"Who hasn't? The Hero Chosen by the Gods, they say. The heir to the Knights of Hyrule. And the Lord High Chancellor to boot. There are truths and rumors everywhere. Everywhere people are talking about him!"

"Good."

"Good, Your Majesty?"

"Here is my secret, Master Damen: I am in love with Sir Link—and he with me."

Errol gave a little gasp.

Zelda ignored him. "Our star charts foretold our union. Master Ryu saw that, but… but my father didn't want to believe it.

"But even if it were not written in our stars, I would still want to be with him. He is my friend and my companion and… I don't even have words for it. We have faced death together and…."

Damen nodded. "I understand. I know enough stories of men who have shared battle to know that there is a bond that forms between them that cannot be broken."

Zelda nodded. "Yes, there is something between me and Link that is like that. Maybe it's because of our destinies, but I think it would be there anyway.

"But the whys of it really don't matter; all that matters is that I love Link and I want to marry him."

Damen's eyebrows shot up. "Marry him, Majesty? He is… not noble-born, is he?" he asked delicately.

"No, he is not. And that's where you come in."

"I'm afraid I don't understand."

She leaned back against the couch. "I want to tell you stories, Master Damen—lots of stories. I want to tell you how I met Link and what happened here when Nagadii took control and killed Master Ryu and my father. I want to tell you how we escaped—how we crossed the Endless Ocean. Link made it all the way across, but I didn't; I was adrift at sea for days. But Link came back, rescued me, and nursed me back to health. Then we traveled to Erenrue and sought the help of my grandfather, King Ranis.

"And I want to tell you how we fought in the battle on the plain before Pallis—how I watched my family and the flower of Erenrue's chivalry fall that day—and how Link was badly wounded and we barely managed to escape. And I want to tell you how we crossed the Great Northern Mountains with Link so badly injured, he could barely walk—and how we nearly froze to death. And I will tell of how we were rescued by a tribe of talking snow tigers, but were taken hostage by one of their members who tried to kill us. That is how Link got the scars on his face. I have scars, too, on my back.

"After that, we found the Master Sword—which we needed to defeat the demons—but it was broken and we had to go on yet another quest to find a star that had fallen from the heavens, because that was the only thing that could be used to mend it. But, even after it was repaired, we have to trek into the very heart of the Lost Woods to take it back to the temple where it had originally resided. Only after it took us back in time thousands of years was it restored.
"Once we had it, we then began traveling around the world, killing demons and collecting treasures—some made by the ancients, some by the gods themselves—until, at last, we came here and defeated Nagadii with the help of the souls of the Knights of Hyrule. And then, after him, we defeated Ganondorf, the Dark Lord."

Damen was leaned forward eagerly—to the point it looked like he was about to fall out of his chair. He looked enraptured by the thought of so many wonderful stories.

"I will tell you everything," Zelda promised, "and when you know it all, I am going to send you on a quest of your own."

"A quest, Majesty?"

"Yes. I am going to give you coin enough to pay for you to travel Hyrule for three months. And during that time, I want you to tell my stories to as many people as possible. I want everyone to know what Link and I went through together. I want them to see why I have such a love for him. I want them to think it's natural—that it's the obvious conclusion to the story—that I should marry him.

"I want you to make them love him as I love him. Then, and only then, will I be able to marry him without losing control of my kingdom."

Damen sat back in his chair with a heavy sigh, as if he had been running and just stopped to take a break. "I see where you are going with this, Your Majesty. And I would, of course, be honored to work for you. But let me hear what you have first before I make any promises. Let me hear what I have to work with."


Although it took the better part of a day to walk to Kakariko village from Castle Town, flying there only took a few hours. It was only mid-morning when Link fluttered down onto the familiar cliff overlooking the sea and returned to his human form.

The little cottage that Mars had built for Tatiana was gone—burned to the ground.

Link walked slowly and carefully through the ashes and charred wood, but saw nothing salvageable.

He found the trap door to the cellar still mostly intact, and he pulled it open and peered in. There was nothing in there but some food that looked like it had dried out in the heat of the fire.

Link wandered over to the cliff edge, but found that even the stairs down to the shore had been burned; there was nothing left but a few burnt pillars sticking up and a pile of charred wood lying on the sand between them.

As Link stood there alone, looking at all that remained of the life's work of his parents, he felt an incredible sense of loss. But it was balanced with the knowledge that his mother and sister and brother might have been trapped in that house when it burned. What was really important had been saved.

He transformed again and headed northeast. His mother could only be one of two places: Uncle Alfon's house in the village, or at the old count's manor. And since the likelihood that Uncle Alfon's house had likewise been destroyed, he decided to try the manor first.

He had never been to the manor before, but knew that it was somewhere north of Kakariko Village. He flew high, so he would have a wide field of vision, and before long he spotted a large stone house in a wide clearing.

He spiraled down to the ground and transformed, then got his first real look at the house. It wasn't terribly large—at least not by castle standards—but it was much larger and nicer than anything else in the county. It had two full stories and a tower on one end that went up three. The first floor was nearly half a story above ground; low windows next to the ground attested to a full basement.

But although the house looked nice, it was clear that it had been abandoned for a while. The dry, brown grass was overgrown, a shutter hung loose from a window, and there were a few tiles missing on the roof.

Link went up the wide flagstone stone stairs to the double doors and knocked.

He listened carefully, but when he didn't hear anything after a minute, he knocked again. He had nearly decided that his mother and uncle must be in the village after all, when he heard a sound on the other side of the door. A moment later, the bolt was drawn back and the door opened a crack.

Link looked in. "Have you forgotten who I am so soon?"

Tatiana threw open the door. "Link! I wasn't expecting to see you at all. I wondered who had come knocking…."

He walked in, looking around. The inside of the house was all wood and plaster; it was quite handsome, if rather bare.

"Your Uncle is downstairs, trying to put some furniture back together," Tatiana explained, following him as he meandered through the hallway and into the living room. "They took everything of value, of course, and broke up a lot of the furniture—out of spite, I guess. I don't know why anyone would take the time to break up furniture."

"It's all about sending a message."

"I suppose so."

He turned to look at her. "I take it you've been home?"

She nodded sadly. "We went there first, of course."

"And Uncle's house?"

"It survived, surprisingly enough. I guess they were afraid if they set it on fire, it would burn down everything else in town. But inside, it's even worse than here; absolutely everything is gone and all the furniture and bedsheets and everything are destroyed—utterly destroyed. There's nothing to do with the lot of it but burn it for kindling and start over."

She sighed and put her hands on her hips, looking around the room at the overturned furniture—some with broken legs or missing parts—the ceramic pots broken on the floor, and the coating of dust on everything. "We decided it would be easier to fix this place up first—so we have a place to live—and then work on putting our businesses back together. Once everything's up and running, then we'll see about your Uncle's house."

"What about yours?"

"I will probably just stay here."

"You can't even see the ocean from here."

She frowned. "Don't remind me."

"Did either of your boats survive?"

"Well, actually, we saw Lars' wife in town yesterday and she said that he has my biggest ship and has been working it with most of the men from the village. He's been pulling in farther up the coast—where it's deserted—and unloading there about once a week. The women used to sneak up there and trade them fresh water and rope and nets—whatever they could make or spare. It kept everyone here fed and kept the men out of the reach of Nagadii's guards, who were pressing every man they could find over fourteen and under sixty into military service.

"Most of the men are back in town now, but Lars and Greens and a few of my other guys are at sea right now. They should be back tomorrow on the incoming tide. Hopefully we'll get this place straightened out today and then we can see about sorting out the brinery so we can get that going again. And I guess I'll have to either walk the long way around to my salt pits or build some new ones closer to here, because we have to have salt if we're going to pickle fish, and those steps will take forever to rebuild."

She stomped her foot. "If I knew who burned my stairs, I'd kill him myself. I can stand losing everything but those stairs."

"Well, I must admit that I don't know much about carpentry, so I'll have to pass on rebuilding your stairs, but I'll help any way that I can; put me to work."

She looked at him curiously. "Why are you here? Don't you have more important things to be doing?"

"Well, the thing is… I'm in exile."

"What!?" she gasped, looking horrified.

He held up his hand. "Only for a little while—three months."

"Link, what on earth did you do?" she asked, scandalized.

He laughed. "Nothing at all. Well, actually, I suppose I said 'yes;' that's kind of what started it all."

"What do you mean? Said 'yes' to what?"

"Her Majesty proposed to me." He suddenly chuckled. "Although, since she's my fiancé now, I suppose I can start calling her 'Zelda' in public—gods know I've been calling her by her name in private for ages."

Tatiana shook her head. "Wait… back up. I don't think I'm following you."

"Zelda asked me to marry her, and I said 'yes,'" he explained.

"But… why are you in exile? Did you run your mouth off again?" she accused.

He laughed again. "Again? Always. But, no, it's nothing I said… this time."

Briefly, he explained Zelda's plan to his mother.

"So she thinks that if people hear of your exploits, they'll like you and want the two of you to get married?"

"That's the plan."

"But why do you have to be in exile from court? Why not stay there?"

"It's a ruse. Her advisors are very old-fashioned and disapprove of me. So Zelda's going around them and speaking directly to the people. The hope is that our story will spread amongst the common people and, before the advisors realize it—and can say anything against it—we will have won the hearts of the people.

"I left suddenly this morning without announcing my departure. The hope is that all the advisors will think that Zelda and I have had a tiff—or something of that nature—and they'll let their guard down, you see.

"That, and Zelda thought it might make a bigger impact if, after everyone's heard the story, I come back into Castle Town as a hero with a parade and everything."

He waved his hand. "She has it all planned out; it's all quite theatrical. I think it will work."

"What if it doesn't?"

"Then I marry her anyway and kill anyone who tries to stop me."

"Link, it's not nice to joke about something like that."

"Who said I was joking?"


It took Zelda the better part of two days to tell everything to Damen and Errol. They listened to her attentively, hanging on her every word. Occasionally, they would interrupt to ask a question. Errol was more interested in the mechanics—in how things like the telepathy and the Master Sword worked; Damen wanted to know thoughts and feelings—what was Zelda feeling; how did Link look?

Finally, in the afternoon of the second day, Zelda finished her tale and the two men ran out of questions.

She slumped back in against the couch, exhausted; her voice was hoarse, as if she was just getting over a cold.

"So, do you think you have something to work with?" Zelda asked Damen. "Can you make a hero out of Link?"

He was quiet for a moment, looking deeply contemplative. "Majesty, I don't have to make him anything; he is a hero. It is… it is beyond words—just as you said." He nodded. "Yes, I can see how you would not have words for this."

"Do you think you can help us? I need my people to back me on this." She had to blink back a sudden swelling of tears. "This… this is the only thing I ask for myself," she said, choking on the words. "I will always put my kingdom and my people first, for as long as I live, but I ask this for myself. I… I can't live without Link."

Damen reached out and found Zelda's hand, then patted it softly. "I understand," he said gently. "You certainly have earned the right to be happy. Don't worry, I will turn your hero into a king."

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