Subdued Ceremony

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You and Link walk out of Hateno with the sun still low in the sky. Link walks while studying the new pictures Princess Zelda took a lifetime ago.

"This one is in Central Hyrule," he points to the first one. "That is obvious. And this one looks not too far from here," he points to the second picture. "But we don't know where it is exactly."

"Well, We know for sure that the first photo is at Hyrule Castle. We should go there first," you suggest. Link looks up at you.

"Are you crazy? Central Hyrule is swarming with Guardians. We'd be dead if we go there now," he says. You look at him confused.

"Guardians... Lady Impa mentioned those... Can't we just kill them, or go around them? They're just machines."

Link grimaces. "That's right... You haven't seen one yet." He sighs. "Well, I have, and just walking by one nearly got me killed."

You blink in surprise. 

"Okay... We can avoid them, though, right? We'll just be quiet and sneak our way there." You suggest. "I have some meals that will boost our stealth." Link thinks for a second.

"Okay, but we need to be extremely cautious," he says and you nod in reply.

You retrace the path that you took when you first went to Kakariko and walked further through Dueling Peaks and past the Great Plateau. 

"That's where you woke up from?" you question, pointing to the plateau surrounded by steep, stone walls.

"That's right," he confirms. 

"Quite a presentation," you muse. "What were the trials you had to do?"

"King Rhoam disguised himself as an old man who told me to get treasure for him in exchange for a paraglider."

"Treasure? Like gold?"

"No they were..." he rubs his fingers together, fishing for the word. "Orbs. Spirit orbs. I got them from monks underground."

"What?" you encouraged him to tell more.

"Yeah, they were in shrines. Not like the ones of resurrection. They had puzzles inside them, and I had to use the runes given to me to solve them."

"How long did that take you?" 

"Almost entirety of yesterday."

"Huh," you wonder. "That's honestly really cool." Beside you, Link looks around and grows physically anxious. He reaches for his Sheikah Slate and opens the map.

"We're already in the unmapped area," Link says staring that the Sheikah Slate. A contagious, uneasy feeling goes through you. You look around you for any threats and see a guardian stalker, pacing the fields on its spider legs. Your stomach drops dramatically. Those machines look so much more intimidating in person compared to the drawings on Impa's scroll. 

You reach and tug at Link's clothing for him to get down in the tall grass. You hand him a Sneaky Mushroom Skewer, not taking your eyes off of the machine. You both eat the meal, which magically muffles the sound of your movement. Slowly, you sneak past the Guardian with Link closely behind you. 

Another Guardian strides close to you. You stop moving, and almost stop breathing, and stay low to the ground. It's ancient stone body rotates and scans the area.

In a moment of bated breath, it turns away, leaving you to move as quickly as possible past it.

It seemed like an eternity before you finally got to the trees around the grounds. Clouds turned the sky dark and grey and began to pour down rain. You look around and see two Guardians nearby, but not close enough to see you through the trees. You stand up and stretch, letting the water hit your face. Link follows behind you.

You open your eyes from stretching and look down to see you are standing on stone bricks shaped like the triforce. You look in front of you to Hyrule Castle.

"We're here..." you say, almost going unheard over the rain. Beside you, Link pulls up the picture and studies it before looking up.

Then, the both of you remember

--~--

Princess Zelda stood before Link in the Sacred Grounds in her royal attire. Link kneeled before her, in his Champions tunic. Daruk, Mipha, Revali, Urbosa, and (Y/N) all stand to the side watching. All wearing their garments of the mark of the champions. Zelda held her hand out, palm facing Link.

"Hero of Hyrule, chosen by the sword that seals the darkness..." Zelda recites from memory, "You have shown unflinching bravery and skill in the face of darkness and adversity. And have proven yourself worthy of the blessings of the Goddess Hylia. Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight, the sacred blade is forever bound to the soul of the hero. We pray for your protection... and we hope that-- that the two of your will grow stronger together as one."

She lowers her hand and lets out a deep sigh. She holds her hand out again and begins reciting more.

"Gee, this is uplifting," Daruk says sarcastically. "She's making it seem like we've already lost."

"Wasn't this your idea?" Revali scolds. "You're the one who wanted to designate the appointed knight with all the ceremonial pomp, grandeur, and nonsense we could muster! And if you ask me, the whole thing seems to be overkill. I think I'm on the same page as the princess regarding... this boy."

"Oh give it a rest." Urbosa says. "That boy is a living reminder of her own failures. Well, at least that is how the princess sees him."

Zelda stops reciting the ceremonial speech and takes her hand away. She gazes at Link, and looks up at (Y/N), who gives her a comforting smile.

--~--

You open your eyes and gasp. 

'That was her...' you think. 'Zelda. I heard her at the shrine. But how was she talking to me? Where is she now?'

You then look in front of you to the daunting castle cloaked and masked in evil. You remember what Impa told the both of you, how Zelda is in there, all alone, fighting to keep Ganon from wreaking havoc across the land. 

You reminisce in the new memory and find you can remember feeling sad during the Ceremony. You can remember feeling a sadness and a longing to help the Princess. Now, you want to do just that.

You feel Link's gaze on you. "I remembered," he says. You simply nod, standing there, staring at the ground. "Let's get out of the rain," he suggests, noticing your hesitance. You nod again and follow Link out of the ruins.

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