Zelda didn’t bother to hide the bruises and cuts that adorned her skin as she and Link walked through the castle gates and up the pathway. To her, the small little wounds were a badge of honor, and she would wear them proudly. They showed that she had won her first real fight, and how far she had come in training. They showed that she hadn’t let fear prevail, but instead let courage reign.
She kept her head high, even as as Williams hurried towards her, his breath coming out in huffs as he waddled towards her.
“Princess! What happened?!” he exclaimed, looking her up and down before turning his attention to Link. “You’re supposed to keep her safe, Champion!” His eyes narrowed and sparked with slight anger.
“Williams,” Zelda’s voice was sharp, “Link did his job as expected of him. But I will never expect him to be the one to protect me while I sit and watch. I need to be able to protect myself and those around me.” Her attention slid to Marla, who stood close by her fussing mother. The little girl gave her a wide grin, her eyes glittering. She refocused her attention on her adviser, who bowed.
“My apologies, Highness. I worry though. You’re all we have left. And with your coronation just around the corner, I worry that the Yiga will make a move against you.”
Zelda couldn’t contain the smirk that spread along her face. “They’ve already been dealt with. There won’t be any further issues. At least, not for awhile.”
Williams simply blinked at her, opening his mouth for a moment and then shutting it, thinking better of whatever it was he wanted a say. He shook his head, smiling gently as his eyes crinkled.
“Well, then, let’s hope preparations for your coronation go just as smoothly. We’d best begin them immediately. We have about a week until the big day, and we have much to go over.”
Zelda glanced at her Champion, smirking slightly before they followed Williams into the castle.
The next few days were a whirlwind of activity. Many of the Gorons arrived the day after Zelda and Link’s small battle with the Yiga, and they were hard at work as they attempted to get the houses rebuilt for the townsfolk. Once she had filled in the Goron Chief of how restless her people had become, he and his companions had set to work at once, even going as far as taking only brief naps before working through the night.
The Rito arrived soon after and helped erect blue flags upon the matching turrets. The flags danced in the wind, proudly displaying the golden Hylian crest.
The townsfolk, upon seeing how their princess tried so hard to take care of her people and the Yiga no longer stirring them up, forgot their annoyances with her. They worked together to help prepare for the ceremony, gathering flowers and decorations to set up.
As the coronation crept closer, Zelda couldn’t help but feel nervous. While she had conquered the feeling before, here it was once again rearing its ugly head.
Soon, she would be Queen of Hyrule, and even though her duties wouldn’t really change from what they already were, she couldn’t help but worry. What if she wasn’t cut out for this? What if she really was the heir to a throne of nothing?
She shook her head firmly. No, she wouldn’t go there. She wouldn’t let those thoughts rule her anymore. She had more than proven herself capable.
The day before the ceremony, as the seamstress worked to recreate her dress from so long ago, her adviser knocked on the dressing room door. “Come in,” Zelda called out, and Williams stepped inside, closing the door behind him.
“You look beautiful, Highness.”
“Thank you, Williams.” She smiled softly at him. “Was there something you needed?”
He cleared his throat, taking a glance at his clipboard. “Ah, yes. About the coronation. I thought that when you’re crowned, perhaps it would be nice if we used the sword Link had made for you? I thought it might have more meaning than the Master Sword.” He flushed a slight red as he met her gaze. Her smile broadened and she fought the urge to hug him with gratitude.
“I would like that very much.”
She just hoped that they would be able to get the sword back from Azazel in time, but she didn’t want to tell him that. Plus, they hadn’t exactly made plans yet on getting it back.
“Very well. Then if you’ll please bring it by early tomorrow morning, we’ll be all set for your coronation. We can use a different one for rehearsal tonight. That should give you time for it to be polished, if it needs it,” he said. “Now if I may, I’ll take my leave, Highness.”
She gave him a distracted nod and he bowed and left, leaving Zelda with worry eating at her insides.
They did a quick run-through of the ceremony.. They went through her speech, where and when she would kneel, and the oaths she would give.
By the time they were finished, she could feel the exhaustion tugging at her once again. She trudged to her room, Link following beside her. It had been awhile since they had been alone. Her days and evenings had been packed full of meetings and plans, and by the time they were finished, she found her eyes drooping and her body begging for rest.
“Are you nervous?” He asked, breaking her from her thoughts.
She blinked at him, taking a moment for the words to reach her. “Oh. Yes, a little. But it also feels so surreal. I never really thought the day would come…”
He turned, smiling softly at her. “But you made it.”
She nodded, returning his smile. “I made it.”
He left her at the door, bidding her goodnight and promising to be there early in the morning to walk with her to the throne room.
She closed the door softly, leaning against it. She was still smiling, and it took her a moment to notice the sword Link had gifted her placed gently upon her bed. Her breath caught in her throat, heart hammering in her chest. She knew without a shadow of a doubt that Azazel had wanted her to know she was still thinking on her offer. How she knew, she wasn’t sure.
She slowly made her way to her bed, running her fingers over the leather hilt and down the polished blade. She glanced towards the open doors of her balcony, the curtains fluttering in the night wind. Bringing her sword with her, she peered outside, eyes scanning the rooftops of the nearby buildings, and the ground far below. She didn’t see Azazel, but the Yiga was there, Zelda knew, and a spark of hope kindled in her chest.
Dawn arrived quickly, and with it, the excitement of Hyrule’s coronation of their Queen.
Zelda’s handmaiden helped her into her blue dress, fanning out the skirts and cinching up the corset with quick, deft hands. Once she was finished, she stepped back to admire her work, a smile lighting her face.
“You look lovely, Highness. You look so much like your mother…” She paused, her breath catching in her throat. “Your parents would be so proud of you.”
A tear trickled down Zelda’s cheeks as her eyes met her handmaiden’s in the mirror. “Thank you… I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me.”
Her handmaiden curtsied before turning to the door. “It’s about time, Your Grace. Are you ready?”
Zelda took one last look at herself in the tall mirror. Her golden hair was half pulled up, the rest of her long strands left to cascade down her back. The royal blue of the fabric showed the fire in her eyes and gave a soft glow to her pale skin. Once again, they had recreated the dress from when she had appointed Link as her Champion.
Her feelings back then had been full of such animosity. When she had seen Link, he had just reminded her of all her failures. Those sentiments felt like they belonged to someone else entirely now, and they reminded her of what a broken girl she had been. They reminded her of how far she had come and how much she had fought to be where she was now.
Taking a deep breath, Zelda squared her shoulders and left her room to meet with Link.
The throne room was packed with people. It seemed like every race and tribe known to Hyrule had arrived for the ceremony. Prince Sidon and the descendants of her Champions stood to the left and right of the throne in the front, talking animatedly with each other.
She even recognized the stable hand from Dueling Peaks, speaking with one of the townsfolk. Everyone was here for her, and her chest tightened. Not in fear or anxiety, but in gratitude.
The famous Rito traveling bard, Kass, stood to the left of the dais, his accordion grasped between his feathery hands. With a nod from Williams, who stood in front of the throne, he began playing softly. Their guests quieted down, each finding their respective places.
With a deep breath and Link by her side, she stepped towards the throne. Her people turned towards her, many with smiles on their faces or tears in their eyes as she walked past them, the train of her gown trailing behind her. She stopped before Williams, head bowed, and knelt at the dais.
Williams cleared his throat, his voice a deep bass as it boomed throughout the throne room.
Dipping his fingers into a bowl of water, he pressed them to Zelda’s forehead and hands. “With this water blessed by the Goddess Hylia, I anoint, bless and consecrate you. Is your Majesty willing to take the oath?”
Zelda took a deep breath. “I am willing.”
Williams continued, her sword in one hand and a staff with the crest of Hyrule in his other. “Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of Hyrule and all territories under your rule, according to their respective laws and customs?”
Her voice was strong as she said, “I solemnly promise to do so.”
“Will you, to the utmost of your power, maintain the Laws of the Goddess Hylia? Will you, to the utmost of your power, preserve unto the priests and priestesses of Hylia, and to the temple there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges?”
Williams stepped back, and one by one, the descendants of the Champions stepped forward.
Prince Sidon took a step forward. “We ask you, your Majesty, will you watch over the waters of Hyrule, and keep them pure and clean?”
Prince Sidon stepped back, and Yunobo of the Gorons took his place.
One by one, they came forward, asking for her to swear an oath to protect their lands.
Zelda couldn’t help but feel like it was dragging on, but finally, Williams stepped forward and she knew it was finally almost over.
“Will you watch over the people of Hyrule, of all races, and serve them with mercy and justice, exercising wisdom in all of your judgement, to the utmost of your power?”
Placing her sword before her and reaching behind him, Williams took the crown from a blue pillow. It was simple, but beautiful. It was made of interwoven gold, swirled together. The middle of it dipped to a point, and centered above was a tear drop shaped sapphire. Gently, he set it upon her head.
“Rise, child.” His voice soft so that only she would hear.
Zelda took the sword and got to her feet slowly, giving Williams a small smile. He handed her the staff and she turned to take in the people before her.
Williams voice was clear as it rang out over the population. “I give to you your new queen of Hyrule, Queen Zelda. Long may she reign!”
Everyone rose to their feet and cheered, roaring their approval. Shouts of, “Long live Queen Zelda!” rang out, and tears formed in Zelda’s eyes.
As she stood on the dais, overlooking her people, her eyes caught on the slim figure leaning against one of the pillars. Dressed in a dark tunic and trousers, her auburn hair tied up, was Azazel. The girl gave her a smirk and inclined her head.
Zelda’s heart beat harder and swelled with pride. There was so much to be done still, but she had also come so far. All that time, she had worried about being the heir of nothing, but she knew that was no longer the case. And while there had been days that she honestly hadn’t known if she would make it, or if the thoughts and fears that had plagued her every sleeping and waking moment would win.
But she had; she had won, at least for now. While there wasn’t a shadow of doubt in her mind that there would still be days and seasons where she would struggle once again. But she knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Her gaze slid to Link’s, and she couldn’t help but smile at him, seeing the proud shine in his blue eyes. He was her light. He had helped her stand on her own two feet when she had thought it impossible. When everything dimmed to a mere ember, he had rekindled the flame.
As she scanned the room, the staff in one hand and the sword in her other, her crown glittering atop her head, she knew that no matter what came her way, no matter what brought her to her knees, she would fight through it and make a stand. And she would rise above.
Featured image by MaskedGolem. Check out more of her work here!
Savannah Gault is an Original Content Editor at Zelda Dungeon. When she’s not busy writing, you can usually find her playing video games or blasting Twenty One Pilots on repeat. Follow her on Twitter.