Chapter Thirteen; Not Running

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He just stared at her, and she at him; and they didn't speak a word. Minutes dragged by in absolute silence. His eyes wandered from her face and then surveyed her from the corset to the bottom of her dress.

The princess knew she should have felt incredibly uncomfortable as she watched his eyes wander, but she didn't. And then she did some scrutiny of her own; there was a scar on his cheek from where she had slashed him, and Zelda wasn't quite sure how she felt about that. She wasn't proud of her mark left on him, but she wasn't entirely sorry about it. He had deserved it in her eyes. 

She looked down at his clothing. It was the finest of material, green and black, and he had on a hat that seemed to magically hang onto his head. Her eyes flicked back up to his face and she found his gaze waiting to catch hers. 

"Tetra..." he finally said.

"...Link," she replied, then bit her lip. "You can't use that name here. No one knows. I don't want them to. Ever."

"Then..." Link hesitated. "Zelda." He stared at her. "I knew your real name would be as pretty as the first but... To have Princess somewhere in that title..." he started softly.

The pirate in her brushed aside the compliment. "How can you possibly be a prince?" she blurted.

"... Long story."

"I believe we have the time," Zelda replied; he wasn't about to escape an explanation this time.

"... Alright then-"  he started and then his eyes widened and he took a step back. "Wait, what are you doing?"

She paused in the untying of her corset. "I want the freaking thing off, I can't breathe," she told him in annoyance. Although she was also amused at his reaction; the red that had blossomed across the tips of his ears was cute. "Help me with this would you?" she asked as she scrabbled with the ties.

He reddened still further, but he stepped forward and she dropped her hands to let him untie it. "Start explaining."

She heard him chuckle slightly. "You can't use that captain tone with me now. You haven't the higher authority anymore."

"I'm still armed," she threatened.

He hands stopped moving, and she could feel his gaze travel up and down her dress once more, as though he was searching for where she could possibly have hidden a weapon. "...Starting then," he said and smiled slightly. "I didn't want to marry anyone for a war, so I ran away. Fell in with that pirate scamming game, and snuck onto your ship. You know what happened there... And then... After you... left, I tried to make my way in Hyrule. It worked fine for a few months... until a week ago." 

He had stopped untying, as though he couldn't recall the details of the story while moving. His hands lingered though, and she could feel the warmth of his fingers. 

"I got caught. They forced me to come here. They said that Princess Zelda probably wouldn't pick me anyway."

"Hmph."

"When I said those things about her on the ship I didn't-"

"It doesn't matter," she said, waving her hand. In truth, she had mostly forgotten what he had said. 

"Alright... your turn," he said as he loosened the last tie and then stepped back.

She let out a sigh of relief and let the corset fall onto the seat in front of her. She breathed deeply and then turned around to face him. "Well... for fall, winter, and spring, I'm a princess. In the summer when I'm supposed to be doing studies away from the castle..." she lowered her voice to little more than a whisper. "I'm really playing pirate."

"How did that even start?" he asked as he eyed the corset laying on the seat.

Zelda chuckled. "Well, when I was thirteen I got kidnapped by pirates."

"Why is that funny?"

"Because... a man named Grium, a member of that crew, rescued me. He displaced the current captain and promised that he would get me home. But it was because I was kidnapped that I discovered my love of the great sea. I begged him to let me go with him. He laughed and told me that I wasn't old enough... but I had fallen in love with the ocean. And with Grium. He was like a father to me..."

"You... said that he died..."

Zelda narrowed her eyes. "When did I tell you that?"

"...uh... you were sort of pain drunk and... told me about him a bit."

She scowled. "Well... after two summers of being with Grium... the first mate at the time, a man named Lynel... He killed him and took control of the ship, Hylia."

"But... Is that the same Hylia as the one I was on?"

"It was. Three years after Lynel killed my mentor I found his ship, and by then I had a crew of my own. I took the ship back, but Lynel escaped. Until a few months ago, when I tracked him down yet again... And that time... I took my vengeance for Grium's murder."

"You killed him."

"He certainly deserved it," she growled. "More than you could understand."

He hesitated but dropped it. "You said you had your own crew... how did you go from being a kidnapped princess to the captain of a pirate gang?"

Zelda smiled. "A princess has her ways," she said and smirked. "Let's just say it took three years for a reason. Anyways... after his death, I felt it was... time for me to withdraw. I needed to help my Kingdom in a more law abiding way. When you told me about the animosity between our two kingdoms, I determined that I would swallow my pride, and so do what was necessary."

"You are a much better person than I," Link said as he sat back on a chair. "I ran away... and I kept running, and running, until I got caught. Before I saw you, I was determined to keep running away. At the balcony, I was trying to figure out the best way to escape the castle... and then I saw you..."

"So?" she asked.

"So... you..." he frowned. "To be forced to marry anyone in the world I would run. I would run and never look back. But you? The Pirate Princess, the noble who has actually done something for her people? I'm not going to run away from you."

A Pirate's Life For Me; Zelink, Pirate AU (The Legend Of Zelda) Where stories live. Discover now