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Silent Princess (Band AU)

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1

It's like her life plays before her eyes. Flashes of pink and black that come through the passage. The cheer of the crowd when the intro starts. Inbetween memories, of Revali, rolling up his amp cable, saying "Mipha is more than capable of doing both our jobs." Urbosa's smile before she left. "I've been holding you back anyway." Mipha's little, tall brother with a determined smile. "I will not disappoint you." The excitement that they all felt when he played the drums for them for the first time.

Sidon is the first to go out there. The crowd grows louder. After him Mipha, sweet wunderkind Mipha who traded her flute for an angry red guitar for them. They owe her so much. Then Link. He looks at her, nods, his smile vague. But she knows he's excited, she's known him too long to be fooled. And then, when the synthesizer screams in it's climax, she follows them. 

The crowd is huge, black, silver, moving and noisy like an organism. The intro stops, the lights go out but the cheers only grow louder. This is it, Zelda thinks as she grabs the mic and plants her boot against the monitor speaker. Inhales. This is the moment. The light flashes back to life and she screams. 

"Wake up!!!"

 

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The room is tiny and dark. There's one single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling that flickers to life when Zelda flips the switch on. The air is stale and there’s a hint of the fumes from the paint shop downstairs. They’ll probably all have lung cancer before even recording their first song. But it’s the best they can do for now.

“I hate it,” Revali says, because of course he hates it. His standard mindset is negative and while Zelda used to be annoyed by it in the beginning, she got used to it by now.

“I don’t,” Urbosa counters, smiling. She looks around like it's a renaissance palace. "I'm gonna set up over there," she gestures to the corner farthest from the door, "so you guys can use these sockets over there for your amps." She throws her bag filled with drumsticks into a corner and ties her hair up the way that makes her look like a warrior princess. Link follows her example and sets his bass down, gently though, then follows her downstairs to the car, to help her carry her drums.

Mipha smiles at Revali apologetically. "It's better than nothing." 

"And it's at least not as moist as the garage," Zelda adds.

Revali huffs and sets his guitar down. His frown says he knows that too, but it wouldn't be Revali if he didn't complain. "Let's get over with it then."

When he's out to follow Urbosa and Link, Mipha smiles at her. "I knew he'd like it," she whispers and Zelda gently bumps her fist, grinning.

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When Link hears her sing for the first time, he knows nothing about music. He’s four years old and mute like a fish. That makes it all the more impressive what she can do with her voice. She stands and sings and it’s all he can pay attention to. The wide arches of the temple make her voice echo back at them, it’s like a holy choir joins in with her in her own voice. Like angels sing. Not that he has ever heard an angel sing.

Zelda is his best friend, his only friend maybe, although she’s already six. They meet every day after preschool and play by the forest, throw rocks into the river and build forts with sticks and branches. Sometimes Link pretends he cooks leaves and flowers and sand, and she pretends to eat it, and that it’s delicious. He knows that her favourite color is pink, and her favourite flower is that white and blue one that doesn't grow in gardens. He knows her favourite fairy tale by heart, because she’s recited it to him so, so many times.

He didn’t know she can sing like that.

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Mipha is the kind of girl you just have to love, one way or another. She’s small and dainty, friendly, soft, funny, clever, talented and she works like a machine. She’s good at listening, and even better at giving advice.

“He just wants the spotlight,” she guesses, making Zelda let her shoulders hang in frustration. “I never thought he was the type to step back and leave others be the center of attention.” She chuckles adorably when Zelda really feels like crying a little. “I’m surprised it took him so long to figure out he wanted to be the lead guitar.”

Zelda shrugs. “It was never up to discussion though. If there’s only one guitar, there’s no lead guitar, it’s easy as that.”

“Maybe,” Mipha muses, “you need a second guitarist so he can be lead and relax.”

With her palm Zelda hits the table. “If it only was that easy! Where would we find someone who can get into all of the songs now, and get along with Revali? He’s such a pain in the ass sometimes, genius or not!”

Mipha smiles mystically. 

Three weeks later she joins The Legend of Zelda as rhythm guitarist.

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“One more time.”

Link groans. His fingers must hurt by now, but Zelda warned him to use a pick and he refused. 

She’s lost count of how often they recorded this same song now, but Revali complained it must be in the three digit area now. That’s an exaggeration for sure, but it could hardly be more painful if it was the truth.

At least, she thinks, she is only here for moral support. Singing again and again, especially the chorus, would have ruined her voice by now. It’s kind of unfair towards her bandmates, but so many hours later she enjoys the luxury of not having to rely on others not to ruin the song.

Not that it’s just one person. First Mipha had problems with that one riff, missing her entry, then Urbosa started losing focus. They had lunch break and now it seems Link is so tired from stuffing his face with dumplings that he can’t get his part right.

They try three times more, then Revali speaks up. He’s been suspiciously silent since lunch and Zelda expects an outburst. 

Instead he just unplugs his guitar and says: “Let’s try again tomorrow. I’ll pay the studio fee.”

They all sigh in relief, only Link seems to be angry.

 

When they arrive back at the studio the next day they are practiced enough to record the song in one go.

Zelda smiles when they all stand around the speakers and listen to the song blasting.

“I think I thought of a name,” she says when the final chords fade out. “Silent Princess.”

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He is tired, he really is. But instead of sleeping he lies awake, has been for how many hours, only Goddess knows. He needs the rest. But his head keeps playing the day over and over again.

He's never spoken to Urbosa much. She's his idol, sure, although their playing style varies a lot. But her posture behind her golden drum set is so smooth and relaxed, he adores that. How she can be so chill when she's surrounded by those people, he can't understand. He was hella nervous when she took him to the rehearsal, saying "You guys know Sidon, well I asked him to take my place and he agreed."

Even Mipha was surprised, he could tell.

Urbosa had already told them she'd leave. It just came as a surprise that she had a replacement.

"I'm honored," he had stuttered and then more things he can't even remember. And when he had thought he'd have a breakdown, the one person who spoke up to calm him down was Link. Link of all people, who his sister said was quiet and stern and handsome and an amazing musician, who expresses himself with his instrument rather than with words. Sidon has been to their gigs, and has watched videos and all that, but he has never heard Link speak, much less smile at him like that and-

"Oh, Goddess!" he gasps into the dark of the night.

This is a dream come true.

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Link silently stares at her. He always only silently stares. But she can tell the differences in his silent stares by now. This is the worst kind. The kind where he has to try hard to not start crying. The one where he grits his baby teeth, the ones that are still left after he fell face first from that tree last week. His little fists are balled. She doesn’t know why he never cries, all little boys cry at some point, but in the two years they’ve been best friends she’s never seen him cry.

This silent stare she’s seen a couple times though. It’s not nice.

“I’ll come visit you,” she promises with a forced smile. “Father said it’s not even two hours on the plane. And you can come over and I’ll show you the music academy if you like. We’ll have so much fun!”

He nods and she pulls him into an embrace. He’s so much smaller than her and his hair tickles her nose when he hides his face against her neck. It smells like the forest and like Link. It smells like home.

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“This,” Revali says and looks up from the sheet. “This is a good song.”

They all stare at him. 

“What’s it called?”

Zelda snaps out of her petrification and stutters: “Ah- it, it- I haven’t named it yet, I thought…”

Revali hums and looks at the musical sheet again. “I might want to change that part here,” he points at the second bridge and Mipha bows over the lines and notes with him.

Zelda looks at Urbosa, who makes an irritated face, then at Link who stares at Mipha and Revali with unreadable expression. The mere fact that he hasn’t gone back to tuning down his Fender tells a story.

It’s really a good song, honestly. Mipha is so skilled at composing, and they worked hard on this. For Revali to point that out though… That’s something else!

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Urbosa stands up from her drumset. “Before we start, I have an announcement to make.”

Everyone falls silent, except for Revali, who keeps plucking his strings, until Zelda hisses “Re-va-li…” over to him. Guitarists will be guitarists.

“As you know I’ve been in discussion for CEO for some months now. So yesterday I was called in for a one-on-one and been offered the position starting the first of November.”

“Oh! That’s awesome!” Mipha exclaims, but is interrupted by Revali who huffs.

“So, you quit the band.”

It cuts Mipha’s excitement short, her smile vanishes.

“Unfortunately,” Urbosa sighs. “I will be quite busy, especially in the beginning, and have to get used to this kind of responsibility. It will be pretty exhausting, and at least for the first few months, I will not be able to work with you guys. I’m very sorry about this. You know how much fun this is for me. And I like you all a lot…”

The silence spreads for only a few seconds before Zelda speaks up. “And you’re just as important for us, Urbosa, but this is your dream. We will find someone to step in. Please don’t worry about the band. Focus on this, this is more important than any hobby could be for us.”

“She’s right,” Mipha adds. “You’ve worked so hard for this, we’re very happy for you.”

“Just promise,” Zelda smirks, “you’ll buy the album when it comes out.”

At that Urbosa laughs. “You can bet on that!”

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He’s grown. He’s grown so much. But he’s still smaller than her.

Zelda laughs and hurries towards him. He hasn’t spotted her yet and scans the passengers with the same intense stare he had when he was little. Then his light blue eyes fall on her and within a split second there’s recognition. 

Her suitcase clatters to the floor and she crashes into him with a laugh. His arms close around her in an embrace so warm it makes her heart skip a beat.

His long hair, tied at the back of his head, smells like Link and like the forest, but more mature than she remembers. His arms are strong and toned and covered in ink. His voice is low and raspy but incredibly soft when he says “I missed you” so close to her ear. She’s sure she feels the metal of his lip piercings on her earshell.

She steps back, but he doesn’t let her go. His hands remain on her hip, softly.

She missed him too. She missed him so much, but it only dawns on her now that she has him back, only now when she has him so close again. She looks at his eyes, his long, curved lashes, his chapped lips. And the next moment she kisses him. Just like that. And he seems to be surprised for the blink of an eye, but then he kisses her back. It’s soft and warm. Innocent. Honest.

She wasn’t aware she loved him that much. However, in this moment, their first moment after 12 years apart, it all falls into place.

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There’s this girl that Mipha noticed right the first day of the new semester at the conservatory. She’s tall and elegant. Her aura is that of a princess, even in the noisy ambiance of the cafeteria. She must be new in town because if Mipha had seen her before she would have remembered. You don’t forget girls like her. You don’t forget princesses.

“Hi,” she says, on the third day, with a smile as sweet and inviting as possible. “I’m Mipha. Are you new?”

When the princess looks up her hip-long hair swings like a curtain of golden silk. “Yes, I am.” Her smile is even more regal than her neutral face. “I’m Zelda. Nice to meet you.”

Mipha thinks of her as Princess Zelda from that day on.

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The list of songs is two pages long. 

“We should really open with Hyrule Warriors.” Revali crosses his arms before his chest. “It has the best intro.”

“That’s true,” Mipha murmurs. “But it’s a very long intro, too. Do we really want Zelda to stand around doing nothing for almost three minutes?”

“But we can’t just go out and start playing just like that. That’s not cool.”

“What about Wind Waker or Breath Of The Wild?” Zelda muses. “They have instrumental intros.”

“But they’re too short.”

“I agree with Revali,” Mipha says. “We had to hurry onto the stage all at the same time and get to our instruments within 8 bars.”

“Then why,” Urbosa offers, “why don’t we ask Paya to program a playback intro for us? Just something short to play so we can get on stage, get ready and then open the show with whatever song we feel like?”

“Silent Princess,” Link says. “With a playback intro we could open with Silent Princess.”

There’s affirmative nodding and humming, and Mipha whips her phone out. “Let me check if Paya’s up for it.”

Turns out Paya loves programming intros.

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“My mama is a singer!” Zelda proclaims, hands on her hips. “And my papa is the boss of maaaany people. He gives them money every month so they can buy candy and toys.”

Link sits in the grass at her feet and nods. She only knows his name because it’s on both his shoes, written in green marker. He doesn’t speak much. Actually he doesn’t speak at all, maybe because he’s still so small, but that’s not so important for Zelda anyway. What's more important is that he’s good at picking flowers and jumping over trunks.

“When I grow up, I want to be a singer like my mama, or maybe a princess, so I can give people money for toys too. Princesses sing too, you know.”

Link nods, looking up at her with wide eyes. His hair has a similar color than hers. But there are people with other hair colors, too. The girls from down the street have hair as bright red as a fire engine, all five of them. “My favourite toy is my doll house. It’s pink and looks like a castle, because my dolls are princesses, too. What’s your favourite toy, Link?”

Link looks around, then stands and runs over to where they started to built a fort out of sticks and branches. He drags a stick from the heap and swings it like a sword.

“Oh! That’s perfect!” Zelda claps her hands. “When I’m a princess you can be a knight. You’re going to fight dragons for me and protect me from evil sosse...rers…”

Link nods with resolve, making little “Huh, hah”-sounds as he swings his sword pretending to fight dragons and evil sorcerers.

“Save me, my hero!” Zelda squeals when he attacks a particularly evil looking patch of grass. “Oh, Hero of Hyrule!”

The patch of grass doesn’t stand a chance.

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“This doesn’t do.” Mipha stares at the flakes of paint that fell from the wall. It looks like dark blue ice floes. Just smaller. And in the wrong climatic zone. “If we put our equip here we’ll have to dump it next month.”

“It’s way too wet down here.” Urbosa looks around, probably to find a corner that’s not rotten dark.

Zelda turns to the landlord with an apologetic smile. “Most our instruments are made of wood, so we need an absolutely dry room for rehearsal…”

“I could put up a few dehumidifiers,” he answers, “but I have to put that on the bill. And the electricity, too.” He shrugs.

Of course that won’t help. “Can we think about that for a while?” Zelda offers and he shrugs again.

When they are out at the car Revali looks around. “So, who’s going to call and calls this off tomorrow?”

“I’ll do it,” Zelda says with a sigh.