Categories > Games > Zelda > The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage: Dark Mirror

Chapter Two: Losing Courage

by LaxyakLovesLoZ 0 reviews

Chapter Two: Losing Courage

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Zelda - Published: 2024-05-07 - 2042 words

The young prince had many duties to attend to after the battle, since his father, the king, had gone missing. It wasn't easy because his father had not announced an heir. He kept his children secret from his kingdom, for their safety, but also out of grief. Each child, Zale and Zelda, had had different mothers, but both died in childbirth. When the king saw that his firstborn was a son, he denied the child the privilege of royalty. He wanted a daughter to follow him, a reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia, so he took another wife. Having received the daughter he wanted, he kept her presence a secret so no one could hurt her.

However, the king still trained Zale in the ways of running a kingdom. Maybe to rule if he died before Zelda was old enough. Maybe because he truly did love his son, even if he didn't show it in other ways. Whatever the reason, Zale took every chance he got to study and travel, always eager to learn about the world around him.

Now he put that knowledge to use, but the loss of so many lives weighed him down. He felt partially responsible since he planned the battle but also knew there was nothing he could have done differently. Plus, Lila lay unconscious in a private room, and her life hung on by a thread that could cut at any second. He went to his love's room as soon as he was able, but it wasn't until the day after the battle.

The room was small but big enough to make it cozy. It was on the top floor of the east wing, away from all other people. A large window let her see the town below… if she ever woke up. On the opposite wall, Lila's equipment lay neatly on an oak table, except for the Master Sword. Zale felt he didn't want to part Lila from her sword, even if only a few feet away. The sword leaned against the bedstand, easily in reach if Lila needed it for any reason.

Sitting on a chair by Lila's bed, Zale took her hand, mostly to comfort himself. Unbidden, tears streamed down his face like the breaking of a dam. He hadn't allowed himself to show weakness until then. Even though she couldn't hear him or respond, he told her all of his troubles, his worries and fears, his self-doubt, and the affairs of the kingdom.

"You did it, Lila," he started with a low, worn voice. "Hyrule is safe thanks to you. The town and castle are being repaired quickly. While they're doing so, the people are celebrating your victory, but a deep sadness hangs in the air. Still, they've gone on nearly all day and all night."

He sighed and closed his eyes. Then he looked at the moonlight illuminating her things. "You promised you'd come back, and I'm holding you to that promise. Everyone's waiting for you to join the party."

He paused, a lump in his throat. "My father's still missing. We've searched all over the castle and the grounds several times over. We've found a lot of people, but not him." He paused again. Softly, he rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand. "Until he's found, I'm in charge, and Zelda has to remain in secrecy. Let me tell you, it's hard work bringing a kingdom back from devastation all by myself." He let out a hollow laugh.

"The generals went home with their soldiers, except for Fapiath. You may remember she's the burly, blonde woman from Ordon Province. She asked to see you for a personal matter. When I told her you were still unconscious--" the words caught in his throat "--she insisted she'd stay and wait. She's taken over the care of the animals. She loves animals..."

Zale's voice drifted off. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair.

"I wish you could be here with me. It's amazing to see the change in people. The crime rate has gone down and productivity has risen. Having a common goal has united them, so they've set aside their differences and vices.

"Won't you please come back?"

Lila's hand twitched in his, and he bolted upright. She was moving like she was trying to wake from a bad dream.

"I'm here, Lila," Zale said softly, drawing close. "You're safe. You can rest easy now."

Her eyes flickered open heavily. Her beautiful eyes were the color of the sky. He smiled a big smile at her and said, "Welcome back, my love."

It was the first time he had called her that or even used the word to describe her. She opened her mouth to say something but was too parched. He reached for a juice that sat on her bedstand, another thing that waited for her.

"Drink slowly," he instructed as he held up her head. "There. Did that help?"

Lila nodded slowly, "You're okay," she whispered.

Hearing her voice brought tears back to Zale's eyes. Oh, how he had longed to hear her voice! He couldn't stop - even if he wanted to - his smile broaden as he said, "Yes, I am. And so are you, and so is all of Hyrule. But I almost lost you out there, even though you promised to return to me. That wasn't very nice."

He hadn't meant it as a joke, but he could see the mirth in the one side of her mouth that lifted into a tiny grin. "So... Ganondra--"

"Is dead. You defeated her." Zale wanted her to speak as little as possible while recovering.

She looked out the window as though noticing the sounds of celebration for the first time. Zale explained, "Everyone's happy because of you. They've been partying day and night since the battle.

Lila wondered, "How long?"

"A couple of days," he said noncommittally. "You probably only need a few days more before you get out of that bed."

"That would be nice." She closed her eyes, but the smile was stronger now. "I don't like being in a bed all the time. It gets boring."

Zale's laugh startled her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that. I'm just so relieved to be talking with you again."

"You should get some sleep," Lila told him. "I think you need it more than me."

"You're right. You have no idea how hard I've been working. Let me help you sleep first."

Lila rolled her eyes, but they drooped with deep tiredness. "I think I'll be out in a moment. Maybe it's the drink you gave me."

"Ah, that would make sense," Zale said. "It's probably a medicine to help you heal. Your body takes a lot of energy to heal, so you get more tired as it does so. The body is working much harder to fix your injuries, as well as prevent infection."

That seemed to be enough. Lila's eyes had closed and her breathing slowed down. Zale smiled loving at her sleeping form.

"Sleep well, my love."

He got up to leave when he heard a small sob. He paused, wondering what it could possibly be. He took a knife from among Lila's supplies and cautiously walked toward the window. Slowly, he leaned out his head. What he saw surprised him.


A girl huddled on the roof under the window. She held her knees tightly, and her whole body shook with suppressed crying. Her silvery hair used to be tied in a bun, but now it hung wildly, obscuring her face. Zale only recognized her by her uniform, which was cut and torn.

He placed a hand on her and asked, "What's wrong, Impa? Why are you crying? Here, come inside and we'll talk."

He helped her stand, preventing a fall, and through the window. She kept her dark red eyes downcast as she wiped the strands of hair from her face. The first thing she could say coherently was, "I'm sorry, Prince Zale. I'm so sorry!"

Zale led her to a chair and made her sit. "Tell me what's going on."

The girl sobbed some more before she could say, "Your - your father he's - he's dead."

Zale’s whole body became weak. He staggered and leaned on Lila's bed. His throat tightened as tears threatened again. He could hardly breathe.


Impa wiped her eyes and calmed herself, dreading what she had to tell him. After a brief pause, she began her tale.

"We Shiekah took the king before Ganondra could, but only had time to save him, no one else. We hid in the village of the Shiekah, but the king had been poisoned in the escape. It took Chief Tephi several days to heal him so we could return. On the way back, we were attacked."

She took a shuddering breath but still didn't look at Zale. "There were two old witches on brooms, one with the power of fire, the other with the power of ice. They commanded a small army of moblins and stalfos, so we didn't stand a chance. Chief Tephi ordered me to run to Hyrule Castle, but I hesitated. As I ran, the witches held me back with magic. The king - your father - used the last of his own magic to free me."

Impa's head fell into her hands and she cried some more. Zale watched her motionlessly, feeling dead inside. His father was dead, and his protectors couldn't stop it. The Shiekah were brilliant in their defensive combat, but that wasn't enough to save him.

The little girl in front of him - he realized she could only be a child - said, "I'm so sorry, Prince Zale. He died saving me. It's my fault he couldn't escape."

He touched her arm gently and shook his head. "There was nothing more you could do. You were needed to carry the message, and you succeeded. Because of you, I know who killed my - him." He found he couldn't say the word "father."

Impa asked, "Do you know who the witches were?"

"Yes," Zale answered. "Kotake and Koume. Lila had warned us about them, but they never showed themselves at the battle."

"What... what happened here?"

"We took the castle back from Ganondra," Zale told her proudly. "Lila killed her, but she hasn't recovered yet." He looked down at her scarred face, feeling the love and sadness blend in his stomach.

"I heard you talking to her," Impa probed.

He nodded. "I needed someone to confide in. While I told her about the kingdom, she woke up for a short time. Hopefully, that means the worst is over."

Impa also looked at the sleeping hero. "I'm sure she'll be fine," she said, not knowing if it was true. Lila looked pretty banged up.

Zale watched Lila for a few more seconds, and then he stood. "Let me take you to the infirmary. I'm sure your last few days have been rough."

Impa balked. "What about you? You look like you'll fall over from exhaustion at any minute!"

He smiled sadly. "Lila said the same thing. Don't worry, I'll go to bed after you're taken care of. Do you have street clothes?"

The Shiekah was a secret organization set up to protect the royal family. In order to keep that secret, they wore commoner clothes in public.

Impa shook her head. "No, I lost all of my things."

"I'll get you some. Wait here for a bit."

Zale went outside the room and talked to Salvatore, who left to find some clothes. Several minutes later, with Impa changed, they made their way to the infirmary ward. Zale dropped her off, telling an attendant, "She's another refugee. She only has a few injuries, but she's gone through a major emotional trauma." Then he and Salvatore headed for his rooms.

In a lonely hall, away from any prying eyes or ears, Zale couldn't hold it in any longer. He fell against the wall, crying uncontrollably. He felt so alone, so helpless. He didn't know how he would survive the next few weeks. After a time, Salvatore picked him up like a baby. He fell asleep in his friend's arms.
Sign up to rate and review this story