Chapter Eleven; Return

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Zelda hissed as Impa removed her bandages. The slash was bleeding again; no doubt because of Leena's enthusiasm. I love her to death, but she's going to love me to death.

She had insisted that only Impa be allowed into the bathing room with her; she couldn't have any of the maids asking questions about her wounds. It had been bad enough when she had escaped from Lynel so long ago, with the semi-fresh wounds he had placed so meticulously upon her back.

For a moment she thought again about how loyal Impa was to her. She was the reason she could be a pirate in the first place. The one who lied to her parents about where she was during the summer.

As she slipped into the water, she sighed. The memories of her past melting away as the warm liquid soothed all her pains. She had missed her bath. "Impa... please go get rid of the evidence of my injuries. I'll be fine here for awhile."

When she closed her eyes, she saw visions of the ocean, and she could almost hear the crashing of waves upon her ship. But... she no longer had a ship... she was no longer a captain; she was no longer a pirate.

She could no longer be Tetra.

Tetra had fulfilled her goal in life. Now... now Zelda was going to help her kingdom how she could... The legal way.

How boring.

Instead of thinking about how much she'd lost, she entertained herself by imagining what the prince would be like. Tall, dark and handsome? Perhaps skilled with a blade? Unlikely. Arranged marriages always ended up with one person being stuck with a troll.

And since Zelda knew she wasn't a troll, it wasn't looking well for her. As long as she didn't get stuck with someone too disagreeable... or she may well kill him on accident. Instinct.

A princess, a pirate; a murderer.

No... she was a killer... not a murderer. Lynel had deserved to die after what he had done to her. As did all the other pirates who fell to her sword.

The door cracked open and a small human sneaked in. "Seester!" Leena announced in her adorable little voice as she ran over to the tub.

"Leena!" she said in shock, then she smiled. "What are you doing?"

"I haven't seen you in foreverrr. You think I'd just leave you alone?"

Zelda shook her head. "Of course not," she sighed and then shrugged. "Alright, hang around. But no looking in the tub."

"Eeew, I'm not going to do that," she said as she stuck out her tongue.

Not very princess like. Zelda thought in amusement. "Did you bring me some of your drawings to show me?" she asked.

"I did!"

As the little girl held up the parchment covered in ink, Zelda smiled. Leena... so easy to please. So innocent. There was a time when she herself felt that way... But that was before she had been kidnapped.

Leena's drawings depicted blobby figures with the castle in the background.

"Is that me on the right?"

She smiled as she nodded. "Yeah, and that's me on daddy's shoulders."

"... I see," she said and then she laughed. "I missed you Leelee," she said as she reached out and ruffled her sister's hair.

"I missed you too!"

---

After Impa helped her get bandaged up, she slipped into a loose fitting night dress. When she fell onto her luxurious bed she found sleep within moments.

When she opened her eyes next, she found Leena snuggled warmly under her arm. She started to hum the forgotten song.

----

She was adjusting to her life back home faster than she thought she ever could. Having Leena there, now old enough to be a companion to her, certainly helped; a lot.

That little ray of sunshine guided her through the formalities and the appearances. It was amazing how so many people wanted to meet her, and she had only been gone for a few months, yet now all the nobles suddenly took an interest.

Bloodsucking money lee-

No, those were pirate thoughts, not princess thoughts. She needed those gone, but that wouldn't be so easy.

She resisted the urge to bite her lip as she dipped her head to the last nobleman.

"Is it true that you will be marrying the crown prince of Faron?"

Zelda smiled slightly, but she shook her head. "That is just a rumor."

"I heard from a very reliable source." He insisted.

"I haven't even met the man."

He frowned. "But he-"

She couldn't take it anymore. Enough with the formalities, she wasn't going to smile at this idiot any longer. "I haven't. even. met him," she snapped.

His brows knit together. "Excuse me? Whatever did you learn at that school of yours?" he said in a huff of disapproval over being snapped at. Goddesses forbid she could be annoyed with his perfectly innocent questions.

"I learned not to put up with people's-"

"Good day, nobleman Harn, the castle is closing to the visitors now, so I request that you be going now," Impa interceded.

He frowned but followed after one of the servants, sneaking offended looks back at the princess.

"Thank you," Zelda said as she sighed and sat down abruptly on the steps. She put her hand to her head and closed her eyes. "Pleasantries were so much easier when I had a dagger hidden up my sleeve," she muttered, her eyes somewhat wistful as she mused about the days when such a thing was the norm.

Impa smiled. "You just have to get used to it again," she said. "... captain," she added softly.

That cheered her up. Even if she was no longer a dreaded pirate of the high seas, she had been. And no one could take her memories away from her. She had helped a lot of her people, she felt justified.

Even though she had... robbed her parents... of their taxes.

~~~

After a few months of castle life, the King appeared in her rooms and called out to her.

"Yes, father?" she asked as she pulled her robes around her and checked her door.

"We have received a reply from Faron."

Zelda pressed her lips together. "You have? What about?"

"They wished to inform us that they are already in Hyrule, and they will arrive here in three days."

Her eyes widened. "Three?" she asked in surprise. That barely gave her time to prepare herself mentally. Three days...

"What happens if I consent to this... agreement? What will happen to me?"

"We will discuss that. I do not wish to have you taken away from me," he assured. "News of the engagement alone will spread harmony between our two kingdoms."

She dipped her head. "So even if I agree to marry him... I won't have to worry about actually marrying him for some time, correct?"

"At least months... Maybe even years."

She sighed in relief but tried to cover it up.

"Worry not, Zelda... I hear Prince Link is quite the man," he assured, and then kissed her on the brow and left the room.

She was frozen in place. That name sent electricity running through her. It couldn't be...

Zelda sat down on the edge of her bed and lifted her scarred hand to her lips. Link... she wondered at the connection between the names. It was a common name. As much a part of the old legends as Tetra was.

It literally couldn't be. There was no way that stowaway could possibly have been a crown prince.

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