Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

What is hopefully the last busy evening begins

There was tomorrow in Gerudo Town, but they were going to be home for dinner, thank you.

The morning gave over to the noon hour, and into the early afternoon quietly up at the Hateno Tech Lab.


Link wouldn't be Link if he didn't stir shit pots occasionally, so he occasionally inserted himself into the conversation the science nerds were having, actually offering helpful suggestions, but always in a way that made them give him dirty looks.

Hey, they were talking about improving kitchen technology. They'd want the input of someone who'd be making the most use of those things. It wasn't his fault that the technical talk bored him enough that he had to spice it up.

Speaking of spices, he did take a moment to turn his helpful expert advice into a scolding to Symin and Purah for their shittastic collection of cooking spices. He received an eyeroll from Zelda, a tolerantly patient look from Symin, and a puffed-up bird impression from Purah.

Tough, they weren't eating right, Link wasn't going to let that go.

It was much earlier in the day than Link was expecting when the Sword told him the women were close enough that if he and Zelda left the lab now, they could meet them at the town gate.

It was still late afternoon; a check on the Slate said 3:26. But Link wasn't expecting them before 4. They made good time. He hoped they didn't push Zumi too fast to try to get to town early for them. Even if Zumi wasn't having what were apparently more issues with morning sickness than should be normal, that was going to make her feet swell and there was nothing not painful about swollen feet.

He set aside the history book that he'd found on one of shelves that Symin had claimed for his research. Symin was interested in how technology affected geopolitics in history, and the technology part was frustrating to get through. He liked what it did, but given that it failing was one of the big factors that made them lose against Ganon the first time, he wasn't interested in its role in history for awhile. Maybe something to pay more attention to later, after Zelda's ideas and plans started going from the development stage to the public testing stage, but for now, he was happy to let that part of his own personal history stay in the background.

He had enough in his memories to sort through, he didn't need to linger on the parts that he remembered that were the ghosts that would cause the nightmares he losing the energy to outrun.

But, the Sword had come to his rescue as he was just starting to have trouble finding more parts in the book that didn't focus on the technology as much.

"You wanna go down to the town gate and meet your new hairdresser and save her and her fiance from any potential scares Nack might give them if he decides to multiply his paranoia by a bunch today?" he asked Zelda, closing the book and standing up. "The Sword says they're finally here."
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Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Honest liars

Yammo had been born on the road, had ended up facing it alone from a young age- just barely into her teens -when she and her mother had accidentally crossed paths with a Lynel. Her mother had provided a distraction just long enough for Yammo to get away, but Yammo wouldn't even pretend to hope that maybe her mother had gotten away as well, and they'd meet back up somewhere. She wasn't going to double back later to see if she could find her mother's body; it was too dangerous, and if she got killed because she doubled back, her mother had died for nothing, and that didn't sit well with her.

But even without seeing a body to confirm her mother's death, she wasn't going to try to fool herself into believing that she wasn't then completely alone, in a world that was a dangerous and hostile place to live. Hyrule had been plagued by monsters its entire history, and monsters weren't even the only danger out there. There were only so many resources out there, and people were sometimes forced to fight over them.

Add in the fact that she was a woman, and the kingdom was on a slow slide into dangerous for women to exist in, and learning the survival skills that her mother hadn't had a chance to teach her yet suddenly had to be done alone, and in a hurry.

She'd gotten lucky on one of those skills, having already been coming to the awareness that she held utterly no attraction to men whatsoever before the fatal encounter with a Lynel left her an orphan. She didn't have to try to navigate romantic and/or sexual entanglements with men, which made them easy to keep away from.

Not that all- or even most -men were dangerous in any sense of the word. Most men out there would sooner take on a Lynel than hurt a woman, especially knowingly. But there were a few, just enough, that for whatever reason, had either stopped- or simply was never taught to -viewing women as equal and fully functional people, just the same as men. And those men could be dangerous. The stories of men like that going to the far extreme of committing violence against women for one reason or another were few and far between, but even with those being as few as they were, there were still plenty on their side that expected women to defer to them and give them whatever they thought they were entitled to. And the fact that it was impossible to tell which men on that side of the spectrum would turn out to be one of the extreme examples, and which ones just needed to be told off and given the cold shoulder, made being able to read a man to tell which side he fell on a survival skill that only women had to learn. And one that Yammo had to learn in a helluva hurry.

That particular survival skill had translated easily enough into protecting herself as a merchant in business transactions. The longer she was on the road, the more supplies she was able to gather up and sell, and the more money she'd be ultimately carrying, and right back to the limited resources, telling honesty from lies was a skill she'd polished until it shone.

It was tough to sneak lies by her, tougher than even a lot of fellow merchants.

Which made Zumi's tendency towards open honesty one of the things that she so loved about her. Sometimes Zumi shied away from the truth, but Yammo understood why, and always gently called her on it and reminded her that she wasn't at the stable anymore, everything that had kept her backing down from being honest about something was behind her and done, and she could move on. But she'd taken the advice that Link had given her on the subject to heart, and it made their relationship as solid as the mountains themselves.

The problem was, Yammo had a feeling that Link wasn't taking that advice to heart, and Zumi was letting him get away with it.

She hadn't said anything at the time, when Link caught back up with them just west of the Dueling Peaks. It didn't seem the time, and she didn't know how Link operated. While she could tell just being around him why Zumi had found him safe to go to for help back at Serenne, and she therefore didn't fear any sort of temper or other potentially dangerous reactions from him if she prodded, she didn't know what sort of tactics he might employ to get around her questions.

And that feeling was just that- a feeling. Her polished skill at reading deception in someone's words and tone of voice and body language told her that there was some dishonesty going on in that exchange, but that dishonesty could've been about something else going on in Link's life that was simply bleeding into the subject of Zumi's pregnancy by accident. Despite all the legend attached to him, the Hylian Champion was still just a regular person, fallible and capable of making mistakes like that. She wanted a chance to mull it over, to look back at what she observed in the conversation and evaluate what exactly it was that had sent up the signals that those skills were flagging.

So she'd thrown in a quick reminder that there were going to be some questions that would need answers that they all would back each other up on, tentatively accepted that Zumi had simply had a donor, and Link ran into them by fortunate happenstance, and directed them to Hateno for the help they needed, and then let it go. But there was more they'd have to hammer out, and Link had been in such a rush to get away from the entire situation that she didn't have much of a chance to point those details out.

And she wanted a chance to examine those observations and piece together what they meant.

They'd reached Dueling Peaks Stable not more than about fifteen to twenty minutes after they'd parted ways with Link, and Zumi wanted to keep going. She wasn't feeling queasy, and they didn't know how long that'd last. But there were still monsters along the rest of that road, and Link said he wouldn't get to that stretch until the next morning, so there was no choice but to stop at the stable and rest.

Yammo would've made her rest anyway, in part because she didn't want her pushing herself. Not in her first trimester; not ever, really, but definitely not then. That was the riskiest part of a pregnancy, and chances of a miscarriage were higher then than in the other two trimesters.

But it wasn't just that that would've made Yammo make them stop at the stable and not just push forward, even if she had to nail Zumi's boots to the floor. Yammo wanted a chance to do that mulling, and do it before they got to Hateno. There was a lot on the line, if the queen found out about Link and Zumi's brief partnership, more than Yammo was certain she knew about, and none of it was anything she was willing to play around with carelessly.

So they spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting, Zumi agitated by being stuck at a stable, and Yammo for once letting her pace and walk off the nervous energy from it, rather than try to pacify and distract her.

Yammo had woken that next morning before the sun was rising, and took the opportunity that being the only one- aside from Tasseren -awake to claim use of the stable's wash house, letting a cold shower (they were always cold, and she hoped that Hateno had some sort of power source that could warm water so she could find out what a shower that wasn't cold was like) finish waking her brain up and coalesce what needed to be addressed into words that wouldn't immediately put Zumi on the defensive.

The cooking station had been claimed by the time she was done, the sun starting to peek over the fort walls to the east rousing the stablehands, who would need to eat before starting their daily work. Yammo knew that Zumi would likely be not far behind them, the all of two and a half months away from Serenne not enough to undo a lifetime habit.

Letting the stablehands take their time with their food, Yammo went back into the stable's community room for guests, grabbing one of the chairs from the table to sit next to Zumi's bed and sit back to wait for her to wake up.

Zumi's habits did not disappoint, and the sights and sounds of the stablehands finishing their breakfasts and starting their work had woken the other guests and driven them outside. Meaning the two women were alone inside.

"Good morning, sleepyhead," she said softly when she saw Zumi's eyes slowly prying themselves open.
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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Let the birds be my clock of morning

Sunlight streamed through the windows, but that didn't rouse Zelda in the early hours as much as the high twittering of birds as they started going about their daily business of gathering bugs and twigs, and scolding one another for whatever the reason. In the days of the glory of the castle, her bedroom tower was high enough that the birds rarely disturbed her. And even now, she felt she could roll over and pull the blanket over her head and ignore the twittering and go back to sleep.

But they had too much to do that day.

She stretched, cocked her head, listened. The only noises she could hear existed outside the house. The house itself was silent. Unless Link was being supremely stealthy, he was still sound asleep. She carefully pushed back her blankets and tip-toed her way out of bed to lean over the railing and look down below. No sign of him, so he was either awake and outside somewhere, or still tucked away behind the makeshift curtain nailed up over the space under the stairs where the small bed he slept on was located. Either way, there was no sound of anyone else in the house awake and moving.

Just in case he was still asleep and be it far from her to wake him before he was ready to move; Zelda made a point of being as quiet as possible as she backed away from Link's possible view to get into the trunk where she'd folded her dress she wore home last night. She could change for Zora's Domain later, but she needed something that wasn't her nightdress for greeting a strange man. She grinned broadly as she opened a small box she'd chosen for her jewelry, looking at the assortment of pretties that Link had graced her with.

Definitely the circlet. And one of the sapphire necklaces. Yes, that would do. Her mother's signet ring. If she had to use any sort of authority this morning, she wanted to have the appearance to back up her words.

A cough and a sneeze from somewhere downstairs broke the silence peace, making her jump. Quiet footsteps that wouldn't have woken her but were audible to her now padded off to the washroom.

So Link was awake now. She doubted he heard her, or that she did anything to disturb him. She was being fairly quiet, and they both knew they had to get up early. She went to the stairs while he was in the washroom after slipping her boots on, and still in the habit of silence, tip-toed her way down the case, trying to minimize the old wood's squeaks and groans as she went to the kitchen table to sit.

Maybe she did need an omelet with an endura carrot, she thought, as a face-splitting yawn suddenly made her eyes water.
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Day 1 of Back In The World: Complete

After a very long day of running errands, Link was ready to go home. If Ganon was still around, he wouldn't even be thinking of resting yet, would probably not be doing anything in the way of rest except stopping to eat something with endura shrooms or carrots, or maybe downing an enduring elixir, if he didn't have time or place to cook and eat. With Ganon hanging over his head, he'd simply been unable and unwilling to rest until he had no choice. Too much to do, too many people to help, too many monsters to keep a wary eye out for.

And a princess in the castle who needed him to help her break Ganon's power and seal him before her own power ran out.

Now, however, Ganon was gone, and while the monsters were still there, and while their numbers would never fully reach the coveted extinct status, and while there were still a lot of people to help, the kingdom's need for him to keep going at a breakneck pace was gone. And he was trying to resist it, but his mind and body were aware of that, and starting to feel the effects of it. He was tiring out easier, and starting to crave the quiet privacy of his house to hide in and get the rest he so desperately needed.

He wasn't very happy about it, either. Rest meant that the monsters he couldn't fight with a sword had a chance to catch up with him and start screaming the silence at him. And now he shared his living space with someone, a someone that he desperately didn't want to see those monsters or hear their silence. A someone who was snarled up in that mess in his head, and a someone who was counting on him to transition to an entirely new sort of job that was dire enough that he couldn't put it off, but not anything that could be approached with the sort of full-blown sprinting he'd approached the last one with. Which meant the monsters could catch up, he wouldn't be able to shake them, but he couldn't take the time to try to weather their storm until the clouds finally broke enough for him to walk around without getting rain dumped on him.

Given a choice, part of him would be very tempted to tell Zelda she was welcome for his help, good luck on rebuilding the kingdom, big job and all that, and walk away and simply go on with how he had been, a vagabond with a fancy sword, clearing out monster infestations and making a living off of selling services and/or elixirs, and otherwise retire from being a Destined One. He was tired of it, it'd gotten him killed once already, and it seemed to want to try to dictate every detail of his life. Including one detail that he really resented it trying to take a hand in.

Considering that detail made being home alone around Zelda uncomfortable sometimes, he felt entitled to that resentment. Dealing with that loaded cannon wouldn't be as maddening if the fuse wasn't already lit on it, no matter how long that fuse was taking to reach the powder. It was lit, and it'd go off, and something would end up destroyed by it. It was just a question of what, and how bad the damage would be.

Objectively, the best thing for it to destroy would be the door he kept closed against the outside world, a door he'd closed before he even was a teenager, because even he knew that having that door shut so tightly, complete with several locks, wasn't the healthiest approach to take to the world. And his reason for closing that door would take a stick to his head several times for it. She wouldn't be the only one, either, there were a lot of people who would. At least now, the number of them who would even see that the door was actually there and be hurt by its presence was small enough to be counted on one hand with a couple fingers to spare, unlike back then.

Too bad one of those people was the one who'd lit the fuse on that cannon. And lived with him.

Was it really asking too much to at least not to have been put in front of it by anything but his own damn choice? Did destiny really have to try to control even that part of his life? He would've ended up in front of it anyway, a fact he wasn't able or willing to admit to himself yet, but having the choice would've been nice.

Going back to the house suddenly seemed like the thing he didn't want to do the most. For the moment, anyway.

Fortunately, scrubbing that makeup off had made his eyes red from irritation, which gave him an excuse to put off going back to the house. Nobody could ask why his eyes looked like he'd been crying if they didn't. He'd find something else to do until the redness went away. And hopefully took his souring mood with it. Going home in a bad mood was only going to end in everyone's feelings getting hurt, and the cannon complicated things to the point of causing hurt feelings enough as it was. If he could do something to at least minimize how much she was hurt, he'd do it, without hesitation.

Even without the cannon making such a mess of things, he still loved her, for fuck's sake. (Which was enough on its own to make him want to run, the cannon just made it that much more terrifying.) She was the last one he had left. (Which honestly was one of the biggest reasons he wasn't running.) He'd die for her, did once, would again, without hesitation. Destiny may have been the one that put him in the place to do it, but that much, at least, had been by his own choice.

It'd sure as hell be nice if he could get his two sets of his own memories to sync up so part of him didn't feel like she was a stranger, so he could figure out what to do about that cannon, though.

He sighed, wringing out the washcloth that was part of any good traveler's pack he'd used to clean his face. "My head's going to make me go grey before my time," he grumbled under his breath.

Time stopped for a second, something about his words giving him a now-familiar sense of deja vu, and he held still, shooting a mental hand out to try to grab that whisper of a memory that ran past him before it was out of reach.

"This war has made you old, and it hasn't even happened yet."
That earned him a self-deprecating smile. "That's my hair you're seeing."

Like a lot of his older memories, days that pre-dated Zelda and the Champions, he couldn't call to mind the face that went with that voice, not a name, not any real idea who that person had been to him. His statement to whomever that was made him think she was a fellow knight, probably someone he knew before the Sword claimed him. But he'd known a lot of people in the knighthood, so that only narrowed it down to about a hundred.

Next to him, the Sword sat silently, the first thing retrieved from the Slate after he'd reached the Dah Kaso Shrine, followed immediately by his proper clothes and that rag. He studied it silently, wondering if it would be worth the effort of asking her what she knew about that person. He knew she had to know, she had his full memories stored in her own, everything up until that exact moment, and on up until they finally parted ways, just as she had with her previous masters.

But she was so overtaxed when it came to dealing with his brain's rewritten memory recall functions that it probably wouldn't do him any good.

The Sword itself felt like it was tangled up with whatever that memory was- the blade, not the spirit inside it -and that confused him. The metal of the ring that hooked his sleeve to his finger clinked quietly against the hilt of the Sword as he laid his hand on it lightly, trying desperately to pull whatever it was that was stuck in his craw up to where he could look at it and see what it was before it drove him crazy.

When just the contact wasn't enough, he picked it up entirely, holding it by the sheath in his right hand, his left hand wrapping around the hilt and drawing the Sword, just a bit, just until the Triforce mark etched in its surface was visible. Holding the hilt in his left hand should've felt unnatural, especially when he was certain this was one of his own memories and not one of the Hero of Time's he was remembering, but at that exact moment, it didn't, and there was a rising sense of muted panic bubbling up at the back of his mind, more a ghost of the sensation, than the real thing. Whatever exact moment in time he was remembering, he'd been deeply afraid of something, something to do with the Sword, and something to do with the knight whose name he couldn't recall.

"The way I see it, you've two choices."
"Which one of them includes waking up to find out this was a strange dream?"
"I'm afraid neither of them. You can keep quiet, this goes no further than this room, and you take the chance that destiny will be kind and let you stand in a place on the battlefield where that Sword will do anyone any good."
"The other?"
"Or, we could find my superiors, and theirs, and on up until the king knows that the Sword has chosen this generation's knight."
"That'd take me away from the unit."
"It would. And put you where the princess will need you the most. Our fellows, or the princess. And I think you know whose side it is you belong at."

It was only the near-holy respect for the Sword that kept him from tossing it to the ground and recoiling like it was the memory that had just attacked him, and not simply a blade that was an innocent bystander. Slowly, he set it down on the ground in front of him, staring at it like it might bite, or more accurately, that it was telling him a story he didn't want to hear.

Seconds passed as he studied the Sword, unwillingly listening for more to that story, but his memory didn't give him anything more, so he finally surrendered and set the Sword back out of the way so he could change. The chill of being under the shade of a bridge, down next to the water, was starting to bother him and make him want a real shirt and pants.

The memory had chased away his bad mood at least, leaving the strange and increasingly familiar cold lump in his stomach that a lot of his memories left him with when they trickled back. Some of that feeling was just a general discomfort with getting glimpses into his past and not being able to see the rest of the context of whatever he remembered to understand what was going on at the time. Most of those glimpses only left that general discomfort, but some, like that one, felt like there was something important that he wasn't able to remember, compounding the problem. If it was a random and rather mundane memory, nothing that had a huge impact on his life and the turns it took, it'd still drive him nuts, not knowing the rest of it. But when it was something important, it added another level of urgency to remember the rest of it, frustration when he couldn't, and a quiet nagging worry that if he didn't remember it soon, something bad could happen.

He wasn't sure this one was a 'something bad could happen if you don't remember it' memory, but it'd been important to explaining how his life ended up where it was. Knowing those explanations would make some of his quirks that hadn't fully gone away make sense to him, and possibly give him a way to explain them to Zelda if she almost inevitably asked. She was rarely satisfied with a shrug and an "I dunno" in response to questions. On any subject, really. She was a researcher at heart, and disliked mysteries that she couldn't figure out.

Given that her knight and only real remaining friend had been given a complete memory wipe that had changed his behavior enough to probably confuse her sometimes, she was probably frustrated enough by him without having to deal with his idiosyncrasies that couldn't be explained by the amnesia. They would be behavior that she would've already seen, and hadn't been given an explanation for before the answer was dropped down a bottomless pit, possibly never to be seen again. It'd probably be appreciated if at least those questions could be answered with more than that shrug.

But, nothing was forthcoming, not on this issue, so once he was dressed, the Gerudo outfit back in the Slate's inventory, he pulled up his map and stared at it, trying to decide what to do until his eyes stopped looking like he'd spent about an hour crying. If he were smart, he'd head over to the Dueling Peaks Stable via the Ha Dahamar Shrine's travel gate, and clear out the path between there and Hateno while he was killing time. Zumi and Yammo would be going through there tomorrow morning, and Bolson and Karson were possibly already there, and while Bolson and Karson could handle themselves well enough to have gotten up to Tarrey Town in one piece in the first place, Zumi was not only pregnant, but in her first trimester. Link knew very little about everything involved in reproduction after his part would be done, but he knew that most miscarriages were in the first trimester. Which made making sure she wasn't going to be in danger for that last long walk more important than for the construction men.

That meant going through the swamp and plain between the stable and Fort Hateno though, and his brain was already lost in trying to piece together the past, tromping right over his grave wasn't going to be a great idea.

After another sigh, he glanced over his shoulder at the Sword, back in its proper place on his back. "I know I'm probably asking a lot of you right now, but if you could use those filters you had on me yesterday morning, just until I'm past the fort, I'd be grateful."

I will do my best, the Sword said. I cannot promise 100% success this time.

She didn't say her reasons, but Link could pick up on them from her just fine. It wasn't just her in his head, after all. "Yeah, I know, my damn memory's focused there," he said, shaking his head and staring off over the water. It wasn't like yesterday, when it was just noise caused by present going-ons, it was attached to a memory, and whatever it was the Shrine did to his head, it almost out-powered the Sword.

Reluctantly, he decided to chance it. "I have to go through there at some point, though. May as well do it when I have to kill time anyway. Less time I have to be away from home."

I concur that this would be the most efficient use of time. I calculate an 78% chance of success, with that number decreasing the longer you are there.

In other words, don't dawdle.

"Trust me, I don't intend on spending more than about fifteen minutes at most. There's not more than a couple small camps. I've never seen anything stronger there than regular bokoblin." He glanced at the Sword again. "Unless you've seen something I haven't."

I have not observed any monsters more threatening than that, she confirmed.

Well, that more or less committed him. If there'd been more threatening anywhere in there, he'd just go through that night and take care of them then, when he was in a slightly better head space, but with only about a dozen and a half regular bokoblin to contend with, it wasn't going to require an intense level of concentration, nor would it take very long.

He looked back down at the map. The Ha Dahamar Shrine was in the middle of what amounted to a giant puddle, which meant if he went there, he'd either slosh through the water and hope his pants and boots were dried by the time he got to Hateno to not look like a complete mess when he got home, or he'd have to use Revali's Gale to fly up over it.

The other closest option that wouldn't require backtracking was the Ree Dahee Shrine, along the side of the northern peak of Dueling Peaks, a bit back from the Big Twin Bridge.

Option one required either wading through water or using a spell that, while not particularly taxing, seemed like using a sword to do something a knife could do just fine. Option two gave his feet more time to try to grow roots to avoid having to go through the field of dead Guardians.


Spell it was.

Select Ha Dahamar Shrine, hit travel.

Once he'd been reassembled at the shrine and his awareness settled back in, he hooked the Slate back on his hip, took note of who was outside at the stable- he saw Yammo and Zumi both inside, and good that they were in there, he didn't really feel like getting stopped and caught up in any sort of conversation -then popped the paraglider, summoned the updraft, and lifted up into the air, leaning to the left to drop him down on the road just north of the stable.

He gave the Sword a second to start putting those filters he asked for in place, then walked up the path, veering off just before the Kakariko Bridge to follow the road east.

The road had just barely gotten on a straight line, and Link could already tell that the Sword's 78% success rate estimate was pretty on the nose; she had his thoughts redirected from traveling through the memories of the field, but wasn't able to keep his thoughts from looking that way.

He decided to skip fighting the old fashioned way, not willing to chance having his focus too distracted to be safe taking the time to do so, and go straight for chucking bombs at the camps.

When in doubt, blow it up.

Using bombs meant that his 'fifteen minutes' time limit was longer than he actually needed, and he wondered why he hadn't just done that the first time he went through, when he was still working under the weakness caused by the Shrine's total reset on him. Hindsight was perfect, he guessed.

He almost got trapped into a potential conversation when he got to the fort walls, catching sight of Bolson and Karson stopped for either a late lunch or an early dinner at the fire just outside of Doctor Calip's cottage before he'd passed through the gate. He took a sharp right turn to put the fort wall between them and him.

Damnit, he really didn't want to get caught in any sort of conversation. His head just wasn't in the right place to be much use in one.

Back to the map.

There was the Kam Urog Shrine in that little valley just on the other side of the cottage. It opened up easily to the road, and he was certain there weren't any monsters between there and where he currently was.

This was a cheap cheat, he thought, but it was a cheat he was going to abuse, hopping over to the shrine's travel gate.

There. He shouldn't get caught up anywhere after that.

If he'd wanted to be extra cautious, he'd clear out all parts of the road between there and Hateno, including where it looped around pointlessly between the Fir River and Camphor Pond. It'd give more time for his eyes to stop being irritated and red, and eliminate the chances that the people incoming would get hurt if they took the wrong path.

Both reasons were sound enough that he really should follow that loop around. (Why was that even there?)

He desperately wanted to be home, though. His feet were starting to want to grow roots in protest if he kept forcing them to move. And the Sword had already dropped the filters she had been trying to maintain, now that he was away from the swampy field between the stable and the fort walls. That wasn't helping.

Stare at the map a bit more, maybe it'd make his decision for him, or at least convince his feet to be willing to go along with the decision he had already made.

Well, it wasn't that big of a detour, and it wasn't littered with monsters, nothing worse than a few moblins and a small handful of bokoblins, and again, he'd never seen anything tougher than the average varieties of both through there. They wouldn't take long.

It was a little more than the two hours the Sword had given to Zelda as an estimate of when they'd be back when he got to the crossroads that divided the Midla and Ginner Woods. That estimate was given with an 80% chance of being accurate though, so he wasn't so far from that mark that she should be worrying yet.

He ducked into the northern-sitting Ginner Woods to lean back against a tree, enough to catch his mental breath and check that he wasn't going to have to be trying to explain red eyes too much. After staring at his mirror a moment, he decided that the little bit of red at the corners was light enough to be easily passed off as having been just rubbing his eyes, maybe from getting something blown into his face.

Eh, good enough.

In the name of minimizing how many people he potentially had to make that excuse to, he decided to be a cheap cheater again and hopped straight up to the Myahm Agana Shrine. He wasn't sure exactly who was working on the bridge, so he didn't know if Thadd would be at his sometimes manned post of town guard, and he assumed that Seldon would be out front, doing his normal idling about. Best to not chance getting stopped. He never had been before, but that was. Well. Before.

The bridge was blessedly done, and whoever had been working on it had cleared out, which meant that he didn't have to go past anyone to get home. A peek down the hill revealed no signs of Seldon, so Link took a guess that he must've been minding the store for once, if Zelda was over there with Sophie.

She certainly wasn't at the house, he discovered, which suited him fine. It gave him a chance to work on unwinding the spring his head was twisted into before he had to go find out the total for whatever shopping she did that day so he could pay Pruce back for it. And maybe ask him for advice on how to handle the whole money thing in the first place. Just giving Zelda a wallet of her own and throwing rupees into it whenever he needed to go out on his own would probably work most of the time, but that still ran the risk that something would come up that she'd need more than she had. He doubted that it'd happen if he left enough for her, but the townsfolk could only make so much change if all she had were higher value rupees to maximize how much she could carry. And it'd probably take Purah a little while to make a replica Slate for Zelda that had a functioning inventory rune to get around that.

He seemed to recall she had something for this back when they were traveling, but he couldn't remember exactly what it was. Some sort of voucher system, he'd assume. That might work.

Talk to Pruce first. He knew this shit better than Link did.

But before that, get his head reattached to the present, at least enough to function without raising any concerns until he could get home again.

He considered dropping some of his equipment under the stairs, since he wasn't going to be leaving town again, but there was always the chance he'd have to, and if he was that tired of wearing it, that's what the Slate's inventory rune was for.

Speaking of his inventory, while most of what he'd gotten that day was for Zelda, he was going to just go ahead and hide those journals in that little curtained off alcove he was calling a bedroom for another night. He doubted she'd need reason to mess with the Slate's inventory before he could otherwise get them out of there, but he'd put those in the same shopping bag her stuff was in, which meant that he couldn't just toss the bag at her, and she'd find it weird if he drew any attention to trying to remove something from the bag before he gave it to her.

He didn't bother with hiding that makeup he was given for himself, there wasn't really anything but exasperation attached to that. But maybe it was just because his mind was still traveling around the past somewhere, he worried that if she knew he'd bought something to write that history she wanted down in for her, she might get eager for him to get to work on that, and he really didn't want to do that at any pace but his own. She was less likely to be disappointed that he wasn't throwing himself into it as much as she would, if she were in what she perceived was his position. He didn't have the heart to see that sort of disappointment on her face.

Because thinking about that did so much to help his current mood.

Well, may as well just go out and get it over with. If Zelda came back to the house with him when he was done, he could always just bullshit out that he didn't sleep well last night and wanted a nap to get away with hiding under the stairs. It was the closest he had to privacy at the moment, it'd have to do.

Journals hidden, boots changed- he'd managed to find some mud somehow to walk through at some point -and a bit of agitated pacing done, he headed back out, down to Pruce's shop. If Zelda wasn't there, he could settle whatever debts she'd racked up for him, then go across the road to get those clothes to her, since she would be in the company of the person who'd be doing any alterations they needed.

Ivee wasn't at her usual post when he got down to the store, which made him think she must've been one of Zelda's 'ladies,' another likely being Sophie. He had a feeling it was probably just those two right now; chances of Prima leaving the inn for more than an emergency were low, and there were no other women in town that were in Zelda's age range that she'd be already considering friends.

Pruce was in the store, looking bored when Link stepped in. "So how much did she raid your wallet?" he asked in lieu of a normal person's greeting.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2018

So. About them errands, huh?

((Man. How about all that self-play. It's what I get for playing 90% of the characters, I guess. :p And also currently the only character who can fling himself around the kingdom in seconds, so the job of errand boy has fallen to him. Purah's really got to come up with something for Zelda.))

After contacting Zelda and ending up with a laundry list of things he needed to get, as well as a brief panic when she asked about the sign outside his house, of all things, Link shifted his focus to his new agenda: getting a bunch of girly stuff.

His life went awry somewhere along the line, and he wasn't quite sure where. As much as he missed his sister, part of him was glad his early teen years weren't plagued by a teenage girl potentially trying to cajole him into being her practice dummy for learning how to apply makeup and do fancy hair styles. There was a good chance Marin would've ended up more like their grandmother than their mother on that front, but even so, that was an arrow he'd dodged.

It wasn't even getting dressed up like a woman that would've bothered him- when he was growing up, women were the ones with the power, it wasn't exactly an insult to look like one, and he had to do that later to get into Gerudo Town anyway -it was the idea of being turned into what amounted to a science experiment that would've annoyed him. Being told to sit and stay and be subjected to whatever his handlers wanted to do would've driven him crazy.

That, and he remembered being an adolescent boy, and he knew how adolescent girls acted, and he and his sister probably would've driven each other up the wall and down each other's throats.

... he still missed her, though.

He forcibly shoved that subject aside and focused back on the task at hand, most of which was just taking pictures, but the first thing he had to do was something that he wasn't ... exactly looking forward to. For a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was 'fessing up to having not told the entire truth to Zumi and Yammo earlier about his relationship status with Zelda. Although before he could do that, he had to 'fess up to himself about it. His side of things wasn't anything he'd been... too untruthful about- there was nothing that he'd given any thought to (and fighting his brain to keep it that way was sometimes a challenge) -but he knew damn well what Zelda's side was. Sure, there honestly was the chance that the years had changed her, but he had a feeling in his gut that they hadn't. He'd probably hide behind that possibility for awhile yet, but it was something he was going to have to face at some point.

Sometimes he wished he'd worked harder at not avoiding dealing with emotions after his initial grief over Marin had passed. It'd make things a lot easier on him. His tendency to shut down had helped him save face when the kingdom's spotlight was on him, but now it was just making things messy.

Oh, hey, brain. Nice of you to drift back to that subject. Let's stay on task, hmm?

The women had made pretty good time, all things considered, as Link could see them just on the other side of Proxim Bridge as he approached it. He nodded in greeting to Brigo, who still was holding his position as guard, though what he was guarding and why, Link wasn't sure. Whatever made him happy and gave him purpose, Link supposed.
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Thursday, March 29th, 2018

The First Official Day As Queen

It was the sunlight streaming through the windows that woke her, along with the sound of birds chittering away on the roof. Normal sounds. Proof of life sounds. Sounds she still marveled at after a hundred years of missing them. Without any sounds of activity coming from downstairs, Zelda was content to remain in bed, eyes closed against the red warmth of the sunbeams on her lids, listening to the birds.

She wasn't going to stay there all day, but just a few more minutes of enjoying the peace. Not quiet, but peace.

After a little bit longer, Zelda reluctantly pushed back the blankets and stood, stretching as she yawned. She looked over the railing down into the common room, and immediately saw what looked to be a note.

Written on napery. Oops. They'd need to get more paper soon.

"Link?" she called out, listening for him. With no response, she made her way downstairs and read the scribbling. "Hmm. All right." She frowned a bit at the part about paying Pruce back. They'd need to figure out how to put rupees in her own pocket if she were to do things like this on a semi-regular basis. Or maybe just make and use royal vouchers as they did in the old days, and Link would go around settling the accounts when the day was over.

She looked out the window toward the bridge, and there was no sign of anyone, not yet. The men must still be tending to their own business, which was fine by her. She needed time to get dressed anyway.

Zelda went back up the stairs and opened the trunk, looking at the meager choices she had. All pants and blouses, mostly identical save for color variations. She put on dark blue pants and a white and blue blouse to go with her new circlet, then sat on the bed to brush out her hair, pulling strands from the front toward the back into a ponytail and braiding it down her back, leaving most of her hair free. Once done, she donned the circlet, then her boots.

Not knowing what time people would show up to work on the bridge, and being hungry at that moment, Zelda tucked the napery note in her pocket then left the house, carefully stepping over the loose planks, and made her way to Pruce's shop.

"Good morning," she said as she entered. "Link's apparently left me to my own devices today, and left me this." She pulled the napery out of her pocket and handed it to Pruce, smiling. "So what's on the menu?"
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Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Just some errands....

Despite the fact that his body and mind both should've gotten more sleep than usual to make up for the night before, Link still habitually woke up early. Even when he was stopping to rest because he'd otherwise crashed and burned, he still couldn't sleep a long time, and he and Zelda had called it an early enough night that it was still dark outside when he woke up. He listened for sounds of Zelda being up and around, then lit the lantern in his little crawlspace to a low setting. More waiting, more listening, still hearing nothing.

Satisfied that she was definitely asleep, and hoping that she'd stay that way, he grabbed the Slate and crept out from behind the blanket-curtain, leaving his light under the stairs, and made his way to the washroom.

The first thing his mind latched onto while he was brushing his teeth was to start planning the day, what needed to be taken care of, which set of monsters needed killing, who still needed help, and-

Wait. Yeah. Ganon was gone. The mission was over. There were still things to do out there, but the big thing was gone. He could focus on other things.

Well, there were still those other things, and the next one that jumped to mind was the elephant in the room in his brain of Zumi and Yammo, and how to approach that issue. He didn't want to start Zelda's day off with that anymore than he'd wanted to end her night. He still didn't feel comfortable thinking about the potential for jealousy on her part- a hundred years was still a long time for her to change in, and he wasn't going to make any assumptions about how she felt. But culture shock was still going to be a huge issue for her to deal with, and he knew that no matter how right the Deku Tree was about the fact that Link couldn't do anything that was within his character to truly lower himself in Zelda's eyes, with the strict upbringing of her social class, it'd happen anyway- just for the short term, instead of the long term.

Children outside of wedlock were a Big Bad Thing among the ruling class, and he assumed that sex was included in that, given that at least for straight couples, one tended to lead to the other. Even with birth control, there was still a small chance. (Surgical intervention aside.)

Although he supposed that it was possible that it was allowed as long as it wasn't spoken of and any 'accidents' were 'taken care of' before they were known about. That seemed like a disgusting way to approach the subject in his mind; it felt like it removed some of the agency of the woman involved in the affair, and that was morally reprehensible in his mind. But even if that were the case, and Zelda's sense of culture shock wouldn't include batting an eyelash at the fact that he'd had a partner he wasn't married to, just the possibility that the pregnancy wouldn't be terminated might... well, 'fluster' was the nicest word he could think of. Especially if he and the other women agreed that he was to have a place in the child's life. If that wasn't something that was going to happen, it might be an easier pill for Zelda to swallow, as how else could a lesbian couple have a child without adopting? Maybe medical science would someday find a way around that, but even Link knew enough about medicine and science in general that the day that was possible was centuries down the line, possibly longer.

But for better or worse, the subject would very likely come up, and he should know how long he had before the women would get into town to approach it. So in the name of not having them show up earlier than he thought and him not having a chance to tell Zelda, he decided his order of business for the morning was to track them down again, see how far away they were, and how fast they were going, to find out how long he had before they got there.

After he'd finished dressing, deciding against his Champion's tunic- he knew he was going to be getting into trouble with monsters, no point in dirtying it up, now that he potentially needed it for more than something to wear -he snuck back out of the washroom.

Good, she was still asleep.

He slipped back under the stairs, scrolling through the Slate for anything to write a note on to leave for Zelda- he wasn't going to just up and disappear without leaving her a note to let her know where he was going -frustrated when he couldn't find anything. Well, there was always the napery. He selected a thick-inked pen, geared up, turned off his light and slipped back out. He scribbled as legible a note as he could on a napery, frowning at how terrible it actually looked. But, it served the purpose.

Decided to clear the roads between here and Akkala so Bolson and Karson can get through. Pruce should be able to make you breakfast. Be back as soon as I can.

It wasn't the greatest-looking thing he'd ever written, but it'd do.

That was almost the end of what he wrote, grabbing the Slate to put the pen away, but then something crossed his mind. Despite her being trained to be In Charge, she had spent her whole life being told what to do, and she'd already said she was going to follow other peoples' leads. It was probably unnecessary for him to add anything, but there was still the small chance that she'd think it meant she had to stay behind and just wait on him.

Goddess knew she'd been doing enough staying home and waiting on him as it was.

Ignoring how that sounded in his head, he set the Slate back down to add- Feel free to do whatever needs done while I'm gone.

Another pause while he realized that 'whatever needs done' might include something like getting those curtains dyed that she'd mentioned last night.

So another addition- If you need to buy anything, tell Pruce I'll pay him back.

He considered adding a teasing jab about not emptying his wallet when his back was turned, but writing on that napery was hard enough, and the longer he lingered, the more likely she was to wake up before he left.

Good enough.

He had the Sword check on Zelda's mind one last time, to see how deeply asleep she still was, and then stepped outside, closing the door gently behind him. The Sword had confirmed that Zelda was out like a snuffed candle, that wasn't enough noise to wake her.

Once outside, he took a few seconds to stretch and breathe in the morning air; it was still dark, though the sky was turning a light grey, and it was blessedly not raining. And it didn't smell like it had earlier that night, either; the air wasn't thick and wet. Good. Now, hope that held out elsewhere.

"I don't suppose you happened to think of taking note of Zumi's aura when we were out the other night, did you?" he asked the Sword as he pulled out the Slate and called up the map.

I did, Master Link, the Sword replied. However, she is quite some distance away. May I suggest you travel to the Woodland Stable? The women may not have left yet. If they have, I'm afraid you may have to take the road to follow them, as I am not certain I can pinpoint their exact location via the map.

"Not a bad idea," he agreed, zooming the map in on the Woodland Stable. He tapped the Mirro Shaz shrine's travel gate, and selected travel.

The fact that it wasn't raining there, either, brightened his spirits, and he allowed himself the brief indulgence of the hope that Ganon being gone meant he wouldn't have to put up with as much rain in general, and that he wasn't just getting lucky.

The stable owner, Kish, informed him that the women had said their plans were to leave that morning, but Zumi's health had held the entire morning the day before, so they decided to leave early, rather than risk her being sick when they originally planned on heading out. They'd left around noon the day before.

Link checked his map as he walked away, trying to decide how far they could've gotten. Even if Zumi's lack of morning sickness held, she still was going to be limited to a walk. They might have gotten to the Wetland Stable already. Might as well jump there and look around. If the Sword said they were still back along the path between there and the Woodland Stable, he knew where to find them, and if they'd already passed by, he could catch up with them from that direction. Hopefully, though, they hadn't gotten farther than that, as after the Riverside Stable just down the road from there, there started to be packs of monsters that he hadn't had time to clear out when he first tracked them down. Yammo was good, but not that good, and with Zumi right there, she wouldn't be able to be as aggressive with them as she'd need to be.

A jump down to the Kaya Wan shrine took him right outside the Wetland Stable. The stable owner there, Lawdon, said they'd gotten there the night before, and had already left about an hour ago.

Okay, good, they couldn't have gotten far.

He took off at a jog down the southern path, hoping to catch them before they crossed Eagus Bridge.

Fortunately, he spotted them just north of where the path mysteriously branched off just past the Millennio Sandbar, one part going into the woods and stopping, the other moving on to the bridge.

"You ladies don't happen to be looking for directions to Hateno, are you?" he called to the as he approached them from behind.
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Sunday, March 25th, 2018

On the housing situation

The potluck had ended late evening, people starting to get hungry again, and everyone receiving the reassurance that the queen and Link would be around for further questions the next day- even right there where Uma sits, promise promise. So dishes were gathered up, tables and chairs were put away, and the wash basin was emptied and rinsed out, and then everyone departed to go settle into their own homes for the night, though Kass lingered a bit longer, just long enough to say goodnight and goodbye to the queen and his friend before retiring to the inn.

Link and Zelda both had agreed that the day had been mentally tiring enough that they wanted food in them before they did much of anything else, so after Link had changed out of his uniform and back into a proper tunic and pants, he cooked them a quiet dinner of a meat curry- nothing fancy, nothing with any special properties, just meat and rice and some Goron spice. There wasn't any conversation over dinner, nothing in particular, anyway, and dishes were washed just as quietly, except the occasional question about where things belonged again, once they were dried.

Honestly, nothing was really said after they'd sat back down either, not at first, anyway. Link was going over some decisions in his head, what all needed to be brought up and when. He decided that Zumi could wait until tomorrow evening- she wasn't likely to be in town tomorrow yet, not with how slow they'd have to travel with her condition, and the day was tiring enough, Link didn't want it to end in what was likely to be an exhausting fight. And even if it didn't end in a fight, Zelda was going to be going to bed upset, for one reason or another, and that wasn't the way to end the day, nor was it the way to start the next.

He'd just have to gamble that Zumi and Yammo weren't making better time than he thought.

Well, that thought pushed aside for the moment, at least.

But, the housing thing did need to be talked about, and that one, at least, would hopefully not end up with any sort of argument or hurt feelings. Neither one of them needed that to end their days.

Besides, night was approaching. And it was worse at night. Link didn't want to end up too mentally restless to sleep and go out all night again. He could find things to do, and there was food he could cook that would keep him going without the need for sleep, but even though that stuff kept his body going, his mind could only run so long before it hit a wall.

That's what'd gotten him into trouble with Zumi in the first place. He didn't even want to think what stupidity he'd get into this time.

So he spent several minutes studying the upstairs part of the house, and the roof, trying to at least get an idea of what could be done to the place to make it suitable for two people needing separate bedrooms, assuming it could structurally be done. Might as well have an idea in mind to run past Bolson, before they might be forced to admit defeat and build Zelda her own house.

Well, might as well start the conversation. Symin should've let her know that it was going to happen that evening so at least he wouldn't be popping it out of the blue.

"Symin passed my message to you earlier, right?" he asked, breaking the silence.

Better be sure about that first.
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Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

A welcoming ... well, not feast, but a potluck works just as well

Hateno Village was abuzz with talk. Talk and cooking.

Clavia had gone around that morning, knocking on everyone's doors and letting them know that there were a couple new residents to greet, so everyone get to cooking, it's time for our traditional potluck. Some were a bit unhappy with the last minute notice, but most were excited, because even though it would make most of them have to get creative with food prep to stretch it all, newcomers were always exciting- actually, anything new at all was exciting, as long as it wasn't a bad something new.

But two new residents and therefore members of the village's little family were a good new, as far as they were concerned, so the excitement was a good one.

One of the newcomers, most people had at least seen around regularly, though a few of the townsfolk hadn't known he'd actually moved into that old house at some point. He came and went so often that most just thought he'd been a traveler who frequented the area. But a bit of talking across the town made everyone realize that while he was there very frequently, he never stayed at the inn. Perhaps they'd all been a bit lazy with their awareness of the people in their town.

But, they knew this man- Link, Reede said his name was, and some of them actually hadn't known that -regularly went through after the Blood Moon and cleaned up the forest outside the town gates of monsters, making it safe for both the townsfolk and other travelers to come through. Reede assured them that this young man was going to clear that area out again, just for good measure, so the party could spread a little.

A few of them had met this other resident briefly, when she and the two Sheikah- goodness sakes, was that little girl really the old Sheikah woman that had seemed to disappear? scientists! -stopped at the store to buy a little of the dwindling milk supplies, before they disappeared up to the tech lab.

Her name was Zelda, they said.


Wasn't 'Zelda' the name of the women in the lost royal family?

Well, they all supposed, there was no reason to think that her parents hadn't named her after the royal women because it was a famous name. Despite the fact that the royal family had been gone for a century, it was still against the practices of the people to name their little girls 'Zelda,' but someone must've finally broken that tradition. Tsk tsk, her parents should know better than to do that. That was strictly verboten. Honestly, even though nobody- except old Tokk -remembered the royal family, they still had been the kingdom's royal rulers, some respect was still owed, after all!

Now now, don't take that out on the young woman. It's not her fault, after all. Just be accepting.

The large serving tables that the townsfolk brought out for their traditional potlucks had been pulled out of the town's shared storage shack and were spread out, some pushed together and starting to fill up with food offerings from the residents, and others scattered a bit more loosely, with chairs from all households around them, ready for everyone to be gathered so the food could be served and eaten. Formal introductions would come first, of course, and all would stay standing for that, because how else are they all going to greet the newcomers if they aren't all standing around, ready to shake their hands and welcome to them to the fold?

Senna had been informed that dessert was being handled by Tokk- old man Tokk is making food and joining us? the world has shifted on its axis! -so while she was disappointed (and everyone else relieved), the surprise and shock of Tokk being the one to take that task and join them was enough to make her not inclined in the slightest to put up a protest.

(To everyone else's relief- honestly, someone was going to have to sit her down and convince her to either learn how to make desserts properly from someone, or she'd just have to accept that she wasn't any good at it, and everyone- including her -would be happier if she stuck to her special fried rices. She was the best at those, after all!)

Some offerings were already on the table- Koyin had provided a delicious-smelling glazed honey lamb, and what a wonderful smell that was! It was so nice that the monsters that had been stealing sheep were gone so that there were enough in the flock to spare a lamb for the meal! From what Koyin said, that was also thanks to this Link fellow, and they all really had to thank him for so much. He'd been keeping the town safe, all while living right under their noses. They were all ashamed of themselves for not noticing him.

Does anyone know where Bolson and Karson are? Oh, they're still in Tarrey Town? Still? Goodness, what's keeping them there? Ah well, they could do without Bolson's amazing salt-grilled greens. Nack was providing a wonderful spring salad, that would do nicely for their primarily vegetarian dish.

Did you hear that Link was so rude earlier today? He was leaving town- from up the hill, what was he doing up there? -and flat out ignored us! We know he heard us just fine!

Oh, shut up, you two. Nobody's in the mood for your back-biting. It's a happy occasion, to greet new residents, and not one we get often, don't you dare ruin this.

Manny, dear, we appreciate the poultry curry you've brought of course, you always make it so well, but could you perhaps not stand over everyone's shoulders like that? That's a little unnerving, and you'll give the wrong impression to Link and Zelda.

Something about the name Link- as common as dirt -next to the royal name sounded familiar- the children insisted it was because of the stories of the Hylian Champion and the princess from the Calamity! Just ask Symin! When he gets down there. Yes, children, we know, thank you for reminding us, but we're sure that's just a coincidence. And odd one, but thank you for reminding us. We apparently are all forgetting our lessons a bit too much, aren't we? We'll have to ask Symin for help changing that.

After the party.
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Sunday, March 4th, 2018

A fruitcake and an invitation to a bard

((Weeeee all the self-play.))

After Zelda had finally chased them out, Link started off to Tokk's place, side by side with the old man who was actually younger than he was. It felt weird to say that, and even weirder to realize that it was true and not a flippant remark. And it was becoming an uncomfortable fact to deal with. He knew all his friends and family were dead, Zelda and Dorephan aside- there were the three Sheikah lords, of course, but he didn't recall really knowing them all that well, certainly not well enough to consider them friends. He was so closed off to everyone at the time he would've first met them that he never would've had a chance to become close with them. He counted them among his friends more from interactions since waking up than from Before.

And even counting them among his old friends, all of them were from entirely different cultures. Zelda had never even been allowed to see the people who loved her and fought and died for her, and the Sheikah were bound to the royal family as servants of the goddess, but they lacked the same sort of blood bond that the Hylians had to the Daughters. And the Zora were old allies and friends.

If he allowed himself to think about it, Link would have to admit that given the average Hylian life span, Tokk may well and truly be the only other person left in Hyrule who understood what it was like back then, growing up with the Daughters as a common man.

Link wasn't sure if that was a subject to explore with the old man or not. On one hand, it might be nice for Tokk to know he wasn't alone when old age finally got him, on the other, it made Link feel even lonelier than he already was, or even more than he was likely to get soon, when Zelda moved into her own place.

Well, something to let Tokk bring up. If Tokk wanted someone to talk to who understood, Link would, as ever, give as much as he could that was needed. It let him have something else to focus on than him.

"So what all tools and food do we have available at your house to work with?" he asked Tokk, once they were over the first of the two bridges that intersected the main road.
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Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Just to keep track, Link's running a couple errands

((This is both to give me something to do, and also so I know wtf all was said. It's not like I haven't done something like this before. XD;))

Link heard Pruce leave the store behind him only a few seconds after he did, but didn't turn around. What would be the point? The conversation was over.

"It feels like you're having some success," he said softly, looking around for signs of life in the early dawn hours. He was noticing that his thoughts had become narrow, almost hyperfocused on each task as it came. He was barely thinking about anything beyond getting to Uma. The rest was there, but it felt muted.

I'm sorry, Master Link, but this is the best I can do. I am unable to calculate how long I will be able to keep this filter in place, the Sword replied. But I will hold it as long as I can.

"Don't apologize," he said. "Glad for what I can get."

He nodded to Ivee as he passed by Reede's house, where she was waiting at the door. "Just running an errand," he said to her unasked question, passing past view of the door over the steep incline of the plot of land the house sat on and the main road.

First one on the left past Reede's house. Not far to walk.

He knew that Pruce said that Uma was used to being woken up at strange hours, and it was just late enough in the day that he figured most people in town would be awake and at breakfast, but given that he knew Uma was getting on the older side, he still would feel guilty if he was waking her up, or interrupting her breakfast.

Before knocking, he stopped to pull a sheet of paper out of the Slate's inventory- he used the notes function on it for his own stuff, but sometimes there was a need for doing things the old fashioned way, at least for giving people notes -and then the flowers, wrapping the roots of them in the paper to protect them. There was no need to announce the presence of the Slate's technology until Zelda was out and about.

Then, he took a breath, pushing any concerns he still held over the issue those flowers were for back behind that filter that the Sword had in place, and knocked on the door.
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Saturday, February 24th, 2018

The end of a long night, and the start of an equally long day

It was four thirty in the morning, according to the Slate, when Link finally got back to Hateno. Zelda had been habitually waking up at about eight the last few days, but she was finally settling in to work now, so she might prove an earlier riser than all that.

With a sigh, he clipped the Slate back to his belt and trudged down the small incline behind the model houses built and displayed by Bolson Construction Company, and across the bridge to his house. The lights were off, which proved hopeful. It meant first off that Zelda had gone to bed properly, and two, she was still asleep. He might have time to roll out that extra bedding under the stairs and get some sleep.

Would you like me to alert you when the queen is awake, should she choose to not do so herself? the Sword asked.

"Yeah," he said quietly, stifling a yawn, hand on the door knob. "That'd be nice. Thanks."

The door hinges and knob were too new to squeak or creak, a nice thing most times, a blessing right then, and he took care to stay quiet as he shrugged out of his gear, boots and gloves. It took him a few minutes to find that extra bedding- he knew where it was, it just wasn't in the easiest of places to get to in the dark -but once he had it, it was quickly arranged into a tiny nest of inviting-looking comfortable sleepy place.

A few hours sleep was better than none.
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Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Link's out all night, for the exact opposite of a fun reason

Link knew he didn't technically have to step outside to use the Slate's travel feature, but it felt a little less rude to step out before traveling than just up and disappearing in the house. He knew there wasn't exactly established protocol for any class for that sort of situation, but something about it felt rude, so he followed his gut on the matter and stepped outside, closing the door gently behind him.

Breathe. Zelda would be fine, she was right, they needed out from underfoot from each other for awhile. They both had been spending the last hundred years of this fight alone, they just weren't used to being in close quarters with someone else yet, and there was a lot weighing on their minds.

May I ask, Master Link, why you chose to be dishonest with the queen? the Sword asked.

Oh for the love.

"You know very well why," he said, using the soft voice he usually used when talking to what appeared to everyone else to be an inanimate object. "Unless something comes of this, it isn't her business." Then he scowled and looked back over his shoulder at the Sword's hilt. "I noticed you got pretty quiet when I pointed out what Hylia did."

There was an almost uncharacteristic pause on the Sword's part. She usually was quick enough to reply; she was definitely far more 'human' than she'd been when she first bonded to his ancestor, and had been even by the time they had parted ways, but she still had her programming at her core.

My creator was not happy with Her decision, the Sword finally replied. She made Herself content that it might prove to serve a greater good. She paid a terrible emotional cost when She was human and had regained Her memories. And my first master forgave her. I have observed many generations of the goddess-blood princesses and my masters over the many times the cycle has repeated, and I have learned that human emotions are far more tumultuous than my creator was able to comprehend when She made Her first decision.

She didn't add it, but Link got the impression that the Sword was wondering what other choice Link thought Hylia'd had at the time. Strategically speaking, it wasn't a bad idea, and he knew She'd had little time to work out a better one. If he was as pressed for time as the goddess had been, he might not've come up with anything better either.

He sighed, realizing that he had lost that one. "All right, you're right. It'd help that if you're going to be feeding me all this information by giving me memories of your previous masters instead of talking like a history book, you'd be choosier about which ones you threw at me."

My apologies, Master Link the Sword replied. I have not had cause to reteach such a large amount of history in such a little amount of time, and your mind is fragmented and difficult to work with. I am no more divine than you are. When he didn't answer, she added, I calculate a 65% chance that you think I have understated myself.

"Smartass," he grumbled. "And don't even say it, I know I don't have a lot of room to talk. Are we all like this?"

The Sword thankfully didn't ask him to elaborate- it's not like she needed him to, imprinted into his mind. He didn't really even need to speak out loud, it just felt like a more natural way to hold a conversation. Circumstances vary and create different outcomes, but you have all shared many traits in common.

"You must've learned it from us, then." He pulled out the Slate and called up the map. The only thing he could really think to do was just go to Serenne Stable and hope she was there, and if not there, a quick jump over to Snowfield Stable would be all it took. He looked at the time on the Slate. Eight o' clock. The route that Yammo usually took took about ten hours to travel on horseback, assuming there weren't any interruptions from stal-monsters. The Sword had said there was a decent chance they wouldn't appear, but it wasn't the highest of her calculations, and Link didn't want to swear by it.

And for all he knew, Yammo had changed her route since he was last there, or had made another stop at her supplier before going back to her route. That'd complicate the process even more. This may all be a wasted effort.

"I don't suppose you have any ideas on how to find her," he asked the Sword, not really expecting a helpful answer. It was more rhetorical anyway.

I'm afraid I did not record a reading of Miss Zumi's aura to track her with, the Sword answered. It is possible, perhaps, that if she did conceive, I may be able to find her through the unborn child she carries, as it would share traces of your aura. I calculate a 40% chance of success of this.

He didn't like those odds. "Let me check the stables, first. See if they've heard anything. If she told Sprinn anything that sounds suspicious, we'll try that." He tapped the icon that lit up the markers for the travel gates, then hovered his finger over the Monya Toma shrine icon, hesitating.

Master Link, I believe you would feel better knowing, rather than delaying discovering the truth.

She was right, and he knew it. Hesitating wasn't helping anything at this point, so before his worry could stop him, he selected the shrine's travel gate, and pressed travel.

To his dismay- but no surprise -it was raining up in the Salari Plain, though not a downpour. With a frustrated noise, he pulled his hood tied around his neck up over his head, and sloshed down the hill to the stable. The ground squished under his feet while the light rain pattered on his hood, that was thankfully water resistant enough to handle what was closer to sprinkling than true rain. Still, the clouds and the rain itself made it that much darker than the near-lack of sun already did, so he put a hand on the Sword's hilt, listening for sounds of any stal-monsters trying to ambush him from behind or another blind spot.

Although the rain had disappointed him, the lack of attacks relieved him, for a two-folded reason- one, it increased the Sword's calculated odds that Ganon being gone meant the end of their attacks, and two, even though a good fight might work off some of the nervous energy pent up in the back of his mind, it also wasn't a distraction he needed.

He hopped the outer perimeter fence of the stable, pausing to pick the endura shrooms that grew under the trees and put them in the Slate's inventory, then hurried over to the stable itself.

"Well, look who it is," Sprinn said once he'd reached the counter. "The lad that convinced my only stable hand to run off on me."

Link peered past him into the stable. The three idiot 'researchers' were still in there, and he saw two people dressed in the stable system's uniforms. "Looks like you hired more help," he said.

"Took me awhile, but yeah," Sprinn said. "Needing a horse?"

"No," Link said, shaking his head. "Wondering if you've seen Zumi and Yammo."

Sprinn gave him a grumpy look. "What, you lookin' to take her from her lady friend now, too?" Then he motioned back towards the east. "They were here a few days ago, taking a rest. Said they were expanding Yammo's business to include rare flowers. Dunno why. Zumi didn't look like she was feeling the greatest, got some stomach upset when I offered her food. But they went that way, saying they were going to see if anyone near the Great Forest had seen anything interesting."

Link looked over his shoulder towards the east. The flowers thing made no sense to him, but the report of Zumi's stomach upset made him worry even more about her condition. If that was morning sickness, riding a horse wasn't the best of ideas. He wasn't even sure how she'd been handling riding a horse all this time, her hips weren't built for it, they hurt too easily trying to sit with her legs spread like that. Maybe she'd been walking. On foot, the walk taking a straight line from Serenne to the Forest would be a good ten hours or so, by horse, depending on how fast they were walking the horses, less.

Then something flashed through his memory, and he got a sinking feeling in his stomach.

"Thanks," he said off-handedly, walking away without even looking back at the stable owner. Once he was back across the path and over the fence line, he pulled out the Slate and stared at his map.

He hadn't misremembered. There was a Lynel between those two points. If he remembered right, a straight line between the stable and the Woodland Stable that sat at start of the path to the Forest would skirt just south of the beast's territory, but that assumed that not only did they take a straight line, but that the Lynel hadn't expanded or shifted his territory.


It was only by repeating to himself that running would wear him out too fast that kept him to a light jog instead of at a sprint. He had no idea how he'd tell if the Lynel had gotten them short of hoping he caught up to them somewhere down the road; he'd never seen any remains of victims or even whatever Lynel ate as prey in one's territory, so if the Lynel had gotten the women, he wouldn't know.

Shit shit shit shit.

"Now would be a good time to try that trick of yours," he said to the Sword, keeping his voice low as he neared the Lynel's territory. It was dark and the rain was picking up the farther east he went, but that wouldn't be much help, since while that'd make it marginally harder for the Lynel to spot him, he was pretty sure that the last time he went through there, it was a blue-maned one, and those were nearly impossible to see in the dark, especially when it was raining. He'd almost run headlong into one up in northern Akkala that way, and only by the goddess's good grace had avoided alerting the creature to his presence before he got out of range.

I am attempting to search for auras with similar signatures as yours now, Master Link, the Sword replied obligingly.

He checked his map quickly, judging how closer to the Lynel's territory he was before slowing down his pace. He was nearby, and though he couldn't see or hear the beast, that didn't necessarily mean that he was safe. He had an ancient arrow on hand, if he had to, and he could always buy himself the time to nock it by using Urbosa's power to stun it, if it spotted him, but that was time he didn't want to waste.

The Sword still hadn't given him an answer by the time he heard the distant roar of the Lynel. He froze, looking around for how far north it might be, but with the rain and the dark, there was just no seeing it. He turned and went a little south before resuming east.

I'm sorry, the Sword said eventually, but I cannot sense any similar auras. This is a feat outside of my programming, I may be simply unable to perform this task.

"Don't apologize," he said, feeling comfortable that he was far enough away from the Lynel by that time to not try to keep his voice low. He sped back up to a jog. "Just keep trying. We may get lucky."

At that point, he'd call her being pregnant lucky, if it meant he could find her. Just knowing she and Yammo were alive and had avoided the Lynel and the sundry of other monsters that haunted the areas off the paths more than the normal routes that the merchants tended to follow would be a relief. He knew Yammo carried a sword and shield, but if he remembered right, they weren't the greatest, and knowing how to handle herself in a pinch wouldn't be good enough against a crowd of bokoblins while trying to defend someone who wasn't a fighter, much less a non-combatant who was pregnant. Much less against a Lynel.

Please let them have gotten by that thing. He didn't pray often, not seriously anyway, but he sure as hell was praying right then.

There were a pair of horses wandering along the path by the ruins of Rauru settlement, which wouldn't have normally meant a thing to Link, except that he knew those two used to have bokoblin riders, and there were no sign of any monsters.

Still no stal-monsters. That was a relief that he'd enjoy more later.

He slowed down to a walk as the Woodland Stable's lights became visible through the rain that was still coming down, though it had once again slowed down to a sprinkle. A check of the Slate proved that despite slowing down near the Lynel's territory, he'd made that trip an hour faster than he'd figured. Jogging instead of walking should've only reduced the trip by a couple hours, but without having to stop to deal with the bokoblins that usually haunted the Rauru Settlement ruins, or any stal-monsters, he'd made better time. It was three-thirty in the morning.

Four in the morning, and he'd been on the run for just shy of eight hours. Yup, going to definitely need that omelette when he got back to Hateno, whenever that might be. His stomach was unhappy with him just for neglecting to feed it, trying to operate the virtually no sleep he was going to get at this point was going to make him irritable from it if he wasn't careful.

Master Link, the Sword spoke up. I suggest you stop your search for the night if the women cannot be found here. I calculate the chances of finding them if you continued without rest to be 30%, decreasing the longer you go without food or sleep. The queen will also be worried if you do not return until mid-morning or later.

Link let out a defeated sigh as he avoided a particularly large mud puddle in the road where the path split up towards the Forest. Unless the women were inside the stable's guest area, they weren't there, and he was officially out of ideas where to find them. There was only one person that was visible from the outside that wasn't the stable owner, and whoever she was, she was sitting down on the ground at the open entryway to the left of the registration counter, too low to see clearly. But she was alone, and that wasn't promising.
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Friday, February 9th, 2018

Okay, so Zora's Domain may wait a bit

Nobody had intended on the visit with Robbie dragging on past lunch, but Zelda had reluctantly called an end to it, reminding Robbie- who would've happily gone all day and then some, though Jerrin reminded him that he didn't recover from going past his limits as well as he used to, so she wouldn't have let him -that she and Link had a letter to deliver to Purah, and that might take another few hours of visiting, and it wouldn't be fair to her to only give her a brief appearance before they skipped off for the wild blue yonder.

So after Link and Jerrin managed to pry Zelda and Robbie apart from a heartfelt goodbye and several promises to see each other again, Link and Zelda stepped outside, made sure both had a hand on the Slate and the Slate showed only one orange marker for them, then traveled over to Hateno.

Whatever it was the Slate did to break them down to whatever it was they were broken down to, it reassembled them on the travel gate at the Hateno Tech Lab, a tall building that wasn't really in any better shape than the Akkala Tech Lab had been. Somehow, Link and Zelda were going to have to get the funding for the two labs to be fixed up and repaired. It was ridiculous how the two Sheikah scientists and their assistants were living.

Like the Akkala Tech Lab, there was a furnace with Sheikah text embedded on it that overhung a burning blue flame, protecting it from the elements. Above the door was a small frog statue, much like the one over the Akkala Tech Lab, though unlike Robbie's, this frog had big glasses frames with little triangular decorative protrusions along the upper corners. (Or, as much of corners as a round shape could have.) Robbie's had had eye focals similar to Robbie's own, and much like Robbie, Purah had decided to customize her Sheikah symbol to look unique to her own style.


Without thinking about it, Link took the Slate and hooked it on his hip, where it'd been for the last several months. "Here we are," he said, looking out over the village. "Looks quiet down there. People must be enjoying the post-lunch break."

Then he peered at the sky. There were clouds off to the southeast, so goddess only knew that rain might be coming- it was always raining, and he was so sick of it, he would offer his soul over to just about anyone to make it not be as constant as it was. He spent way too many hours stuck on the side of a cliff, unable to climb farther up because of how slick the rocks were, but absolutely unable to survive going back down, even with the paraglider.

Well, it wasn't like they had far to go to get to his house if it started raining when they were leaving Purah's place.

He turned and grabbed the door handle. "I know Robbie was probably a shock, but Purah's weirder," he said. "So brace yourself."
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Monday, January 15th, 2018

The start of a new chapter

The war was over.

It would start up again some day, it did again and again and again. But for this generation, at least, it was over. What was left of Hyrule could finally rebuild.

Rebuilding was going to take a lot of time, though, and the first thing to do was re-establish alliances between the last surviving member of the Hyrule royal family and the other rulers of the provinces and clans in the kingdom. And currently, a large part of that was to make sure that the Divine Beasts that had become active again with the recent resurgence of Ganon's power didn't turn on the people who'd Championed them, before the real work could begin. Nobody would be willing to invest in rebuilding infrastructure if they couldn't be certain that it wouldn't get knocked back down before it was even finished by the technology that nobody trusted in the wake of the destruction of Hyrule. Even a century later, and most wounds hadn't healed. And the Beasts recently active again had only reopened that wound. They may have been calmed by Link's efforts, but that didn't mean there was a lot of trust in them just yet.

It didn't help that for whatever reason, Vah Ruta had stopped working again. It didn't seem to be rampaging this time, from the reports that King Dorephan had sent to Link and Zelda. Fyson's little brother had decided to start up his own business- Link was sure that upset their mother, since that took both Fyson and Dyson (what names) away from helping with the family business, so he hoped there was another child or a niece or nephew to enlist and pass the store along to -and that business was courier work, and he'd been hired to deliver the message. Link didn't know what the Rito normally thought of that sort of work, but it was certainly one that benefited from their ability to fly at the drop of a hat.

But whether Fyson and Dyson's mother approved of Dyson's new business or not, Link had enlisted his help once he and Zelda had had a decent night's sleep at the inn in Tarrey Town to let the Zora royal family know that the fight was over. He had enough rupees to keep Dyson hopping for awhile, so he didn't feel the need to overwhelm him by sending him off to every major town that was involved in the reawakening of the Divine Beasts and the spirits of the Champions, and quite frankly, Link had a feeling he and Zelda would have to go see Riju personally, since Gerudo Town had that pesky 'no voe' policy. Kass might've been willing to 'step outside his comfort zone' again to get in, but Link wasn't sure where the bard had gotten off to, and he wasn't going to ask someone who was clearly uncomfortable dressing up as a woman to do so again when Link had no problem doing it himself. They'd just have to go down there as soon as the message was sent to the other three towns first.

When Zelda had asked why he chose to send word to the Zora first, Link had simply said that of the other tribes, they were the only ones who'd known her before the Calamity, and had a more personal investment in their well-being. She mentioned Impa and the other two Sheikah lords, but since none of them had a Divine Beast sitting in their backyards, she finally agreed that the Zora were the best people to start establishing contact with. She was tired, and while she'd held up well between the Wetland Stable and Tarrey Town, once she'd been able to drop into a proper bed and get properly cleaned up and in clothes that fit, the years started to catch up with her, and her brain decided to take a brief vacation from thinking too hard.

Fortunately, she'd been back to functioning levels when Dyson had knocked on their inn room door to deliver the message from Dorephan.

I am overjoyed to hear that you are well, and that Calamity Ganon is finally just a memory. And to have Princess Zelda back is a relief, for all of us, and for you, dear friend. I know that even though you may not remember us all fully, you have few people left from your life before to call friends. But I should be ashamed of myself for saying so! I'm certain you have people today that you can call friends, with your heroic deeds, calming the other Divine Beasts. I hope, however, that you will consider us among your friends still. My people would love to see you and the princess, when you are well enough to visit.

I hesitate to add this request, in light of your recent battle that must've been quite hard on you both, but if you were to visit, may I ask for your assistance? After Vah Ruta roared to life and sent a beam of pure energy to the castle, it shut down. Perhaps this is by design, as it seems its purpose is fulfilled, but even though I know now that its recent wrath was caused by Calamity Ganon's renewed blight, I cannot be calm until I know for certain that it will not once again cause harm to my people.

I assure you, however, that though I have made this request, my heart is not so heavy with worry that it could not be lightened simply by seeing you both. Whether you choose to come or not, would you be so kind as to send back a message with this delightful young Rito with news of your well-being? And if you are to return to us, give us notice, so that we may prepare our best accommodations for you.

With warm regards,
King Dorephan

Link read over the letter for a second time, waiting while Zelda completed her morning routine in the washroom. She sure was taking a long time. He'd say he didn't remember her dragging her feet so much in the morning, but not only did he understand that she was still tired and recovering and would need more time, he honestly didn't remember anyway, so teasing her would backfire.

At least he'd had the fortune of waking up before her and getting his turn in the washroom before she took it over, or else he might never get in there.
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