Dawn arrived, and with it came the hustle and bustle of preparations to break camp and set off from Hyrule Garrison. The excitement of danger fizzed in the air, and the soldiers were well aware that they might come upon a sty of Bokoblins this day.
The Captain of the Royal Guard, Fabian, addressed his troops. “Men! I want to thank you for volunteering your services to this Royal Guard.” He met the eyes of every volunteer as he made his speech. “Today, your bravery will protect the Queen of Hyrule and young Princess Zelda. Should any man here ever wish to take a post with the Royal Guard, I will remember you, and would be pleased to consider your interest. For now, prepare yourselves! We depart within the hour!”
The queen watched from her quarters as the men moved about, and she smiled as Impa approached.
“We are about to ride for Kakariko Village now, Queen Serena,” Impa announced. “I wanted to thank you for your hospitality on the road.”
After a friendly goodbye and wishes of safe travels, the queen and Zelda then settled into their own carriage.
“Mother?” piped Zelda, from her seat opposite the queen.
“Yes, Little Bird?”
“I like Impa,” stated Zelda.
“I like her too.”
“And Mother? Do you think we can make it to Gerudo Town in less than five days?”
“I know that we are going to try, Little Bird.”
Zelda seemed pleased at this. She reached into her satchel, and pulled out a little doll. Serena watched with interest as Zelda played animatedly with the doll, until the views of nature from the carriage window captivated her once more.
Serena snapped out of her daydream when she felt the carriage bump to a halt. She glanced at Zelda, who was napping, and then stepped out, into the late afternoon sunlight.
“Your Highness, please return to the carriage,” Fabian requested, trotting up to her on his chestnut steed. “Our scouts have come upon the Bokoblin camp that we were warned about. They are far up the path, but I would not like to take any chances.”
Serena nodded her understanding. “What is your plan, Captain?”
“Unfortunately, we cannot pass them unnoticed, and so we must face them. Luckily, there are only three of the wretches in the sty. They should be easily overcome. When the danger is taken care of, we will recommence our journey.”
With another nod, Serena stepped back into the carriage. Zelda had woken up and was rubbing groggily at her eyes.
“What’s wrong, Mother?” she asked with her typical curiosity.
“There is a sty of Bokoblins on the path near the Coliseum Ruins and the soldiers must remove the danger.”
Zelda took a moment to let this information wash over her, before rushing to the window of the carriage. “Where are they, Mother?” she asked eagerly.
Serena leaned forward and gently pulled Zelda into the seat beside her. “This is not a game, Zelda. Bokoblins are very dangerous, and they are without mercy. We must be grateful to the Royal Guards and Garrison Soldiers who are here to protect us today.”
“But, maybe if we just leave them alone, they won’t bother us?” Zelda replied, innocently.
The queen pulled her daughter close and answered seriously, “No, Zelda. If you ever see a Bokoblin, you must run. Run as fast as your legs will carry you. Because a Bokoblin will hurt you, and may even kill you!”
Zelda looked up into her mother’s eyes, finally understanding that danger could befall them. She glanced back at the carriage window before she buried her face into the queen’s side, and stayed that way until Fabian returned to inform them that the danger had passed.
After they had made camp for the night, Serena noticed that Zelda was not her usual self. “Zelda, my little bird,” she called, beckoning her daughter to her side. “Tell me what you are thinking.”
Zelda obeyed her mother’s call, and took a deep breath before speaking, “Did those Bokoblins want to kill us because of Calamity Ganon?”
The queen was stunned into silence. She had believed that Zelda had been protected from the knowledge of the Calamity, even though the whole kingdom whispered about it. It was unfair! Zelda should not have to bear the burden of this knowledge at such a young age. No — she should not have to bear the burden at all!
“Mother?” Zelda nudged, when she still hadn’t answered.
Serena swallowed her shock before answering. “What do you know of the Calamity, Zelda?” she asked, carefully.
Zelda thought for a moment, then answered, “I know that everybody is afraid of it. I- I know that it could destroy all of Hyrule.”
Zelda’s eyes filled with fear and her mother despaired to see it. “How do you know this, Little Bird?”
Zelda shifted, and the look of guilt crept into her features. “Well… I heard it.”
“Where did you hear it, Zelda?” Serena asked, attempting to keep the stern tone from her voice.
Zelda withdrew into herself, and hesitated before answering, “I- I heard it in the Council Hall.”
Serena sighed with disappointment, “You know that you are not permitted to visit the Council Hall, Zelda. Did your father know you were there?”
Zelda paused again before answering, “No. I was playing, and then Father and the others came in. And I didn’t want to get into trouble, so I hid behind a tapestry.”
“Zelda! A princess does not sneak!”
Zelda bowed her head, and Serena wondered just how much of the council’s meeting she had really understood. “What else did you hear in that meeting?”
With her head still bowed, Zelda replied, “The Calamity may come back again, but nobody knows exactly when. The Sheikah might have a weapon that can help us too. But — but everybody could be in danger. Because the Calamity is a monster that even Father is afraid of!”
Zelda lifted her little face and the queen could see just how much of a relief it was for her to finally talk about what she had heard. How long had she held this knowledge in for? Either way, it wasn’t healthy, and Serena blamed herself.
“I am glad you told me all of this Zelda, and I’m proud of your honesty now,” Serena soothed, pulling her daughter onto her lap. “I don’t want you to keep any secrets between us, Little Bird. And I don’t want you to worry, either. The Council are doing everything they can to keep the whole kingdom safe and sound.” She pulled Zelda into a tight hug, and said, “You don’t have to be frightened of the Calamity, you will be safe.”
Zelda looked into her mother’s eyes and gave a small and trusting smile.
The queen smiled reassuringly back, although her heart broke in two.
Artwork by hylianknight246. See more of their work here.