Chapter Nineteen

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"Princess what happened to your back!"

"Ignore it," Zelda said as she made herself hold still. Impa was helping to oversee security for her wedding, but she still wished she could have been the only one to help her get dressed. The servants were from Faron; they knew nothing about her.

She watched a few of their shocked expressions with amusement in the mirror before they snapped back to their task and tried their best to do as she had ordered.

One of them, however, a young girl who looked to be only sixteen or seventeen, didn't move.

Zelda turned her gaze to look at her and forced a smile to her lips. "Please, you need not be concerned about it. It happened six years ago; this is a happy day for me in the present, and I do not wish to relive the past."

"Y-yes milady," the girl replied as she returned to working on Zelda's hair.

A corset was put over her dress, and Zelda sucked in her breath as the girl behind her tightened it. Though she was being gentle it was still constricting and crushing her ribs. Then the corset was laced up in the back, and her scars were successfully hidden from view.

She held out her hands in front of her with a bored expression on her face. She wished she could put her own gloves on but they wouldn't allow it. They made no mention of the scar on her hand as the white silk slid over her fingers and went up to her elbow.

Today was the day she was getting married. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to feel, but all of her emotions were ringing together like a bell shop, and she couldn't hear one from the other. It was a camaraderie of feelings, and they all blended together like a watercolor painting. A picture of something she couldn't distinguish. Zelda was nervous of course, and afraid because she knew that her life would truly never be the same.

She had always flourished alone, but after today she would never be alone again. The thought filled her with dreaded excitement. Apprehensive butterflies darted to and fro inside of her at the thought of being married. At the thought of being with Link for the rest of her life.

Aside from Impa, he was the only one who knew about who she was. The command she had wielded; the ship she had called her home. He had understood her a way that no one ever had before; not even her own parents.

She felt disbelief rushing her; how could she be so lucky? Forced to marry a man to end a war, and then have it be a man she could grow to love. A man she had already started to fall in love with.

He was a dreamer, and he was determined to do what those dreams entailed. A free spirit, unchained by expectations. He wasn't raised as a prince to domineer his people, but to be a human being; to flourish in emotion. To not hide behind a mask.

Everything she wished she could be.

As Zelda walked down the aisle she cared not that her feet were screaming bloody murder at her for being forced into torturous shoes. She cared not that people were everywhere around her, that they were watching her every move with the scrutiny of vultures.

The only thing she cared about at that moment was the man waiting for her at the end.

Her father stopped just before the steps and turned to her with a beaming smile on his face. "My daughter, I praise your wisdom in this. I thank Hylia herself that she has given you happiness in your sacrificial choice to marry when you wished against it." He leaned forward and kissed her on the brow before turning and sitting beside his wife, the Queen. As her eyes followed him she noticed Leena in a pretty white dress, and she grinned at her before winking.

Then she turned away and focused on her future King. Zelda smiled as she turned towards Link. Then a random thought squirmed into her mind - would anyone have even noticed if she had chucked off her shoes before walking down the aisle? Because those steps actually looked lethal.

Link noticed the hesitation in her eyes but saw she was looking at the stairs when the expression passed across her face. He knew she wasn't doubting him. He moved forwards at once and walked down the stairs to give her his arm, lending his assistance in stability.

'Thank you,' she mouthed.

He held back a chuckle and nodded as they took the steps together. They stopped just before the priest and then bowed their heads as they listened to him speak.

He drawled on about the two kingdoms who had been at war, but by the union of the Princess of Hyrule, and the Prince of Faron, the hostilities had come to a close.

The war had ended two weeks before the wedding. Her father had been right about one thing; the news alone had spread peace to their people. She still didn't know how that worked, but she really didn't care.

"Prince Link, you have chosen to take Princess Zelda as your Queen," the Priest said, his voice booming out in the large courtyard.

Link lifted his head and held his left hand out in front of him.

"Princess Zelda, you have chosen to take Prince Link as your King." As the  Priest said her part, she too lifted her head and then held out her arm so her hand could slip into Link's.

"By the power of the two kingdoms and the Golden Goddesses, I link you together for the rest of your days," he announced as he tied Link's left hand to Zelda's right. "May they be many."

As the King of Faron stood to his feet and announced the reception, Link turned to her and gave her his heart melting smile. "You may now kiss the bride," he said.

That struck her as infinitely funny. The marriage ceremonies in story books always ended with that line. It was hardly the thing to say during a unification of kingdoms ceremony. However, Zelda only had time to release one small laugh before his lips made everything hopelessly impossible. All she could do was link the fingers of their tied hands together and kiss him in return.

Through the resounding commotion of hundreds of people relocating to reception, no one noticed their departure from traditional deport.

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