Zelda had never really had the opportunity to make many... Friends. Or acquaintances. Or just... Anyone around her age that she had ever bonded with in a significant way. Her mother was always extremely cautious whenever she took Zelda outside the castle walls. And then she had died, of an unknown illness, they said. Though, after her mother had passed, the number of staff within the palace walls grew incredibly limited. Zelda had her doubts, but they hadn't ever been confirmed, nor denied.
Not even 6 years later, her father informed her that this land would be struck by a calamity unlike anything they've ever seen, and told her that she needed to focus on unlocking this "great power" that she apparently had inherited from her mother. At the request (or was it an order?) of her father, she started to spend more time studying than, well, anything else. She only managed to stare at a single page for hours on end, watching the words swirl and rearrange themselves. Zelda was always more of a doer anyway. While she read, her father joined his soldiers on a quest to find some kid with a triangle on his hand.
When she was twelve, a guard brought in his son. He had no triangle on his hand. However, he was dragging a brilliant blade, almost as tall as he was. Zelda could only assume it was the Sword That Sealed the Darkness, based on images in her books. Honestly, she expected it to be more... Glowy.
Her father immediately knighted the boy, and he was lead out to immediately begin his training. Zelda didn't see him for another four years. So, yeah, no. Bonding opportunities of various flavours weren't exactly something Zelda had encountered often in her life. It was always so... 'Lonely...'
A few weeks after the boy had shown up, Zelda started to notice people who always seemed to be tailing her father. Each wore layered clothing, and had white hair, whiter than anything she's seen. They also had a strange accent, and Zelda could never place where they were from. Her father chatted among these people, and seemed to trust them. Zelda was never within earshot of them. She was usually lurking, though. Examining from afar.
Once, when she was thirteen, she caught a glimpse of a girl with them. She seemed younger than the others, and hung around the back. Zelda watched her yell at one of the older ones (or she assumed the girl was yelling. There were a lot of intense poses and angry glares), get yelled at herself, and then get sent... Somewhere. Zelda didn't know where she went, just that she didn't come back for the next, two, three, six week, in which her father held several meetings with the others.
On the seventh week, she observed (it's not like she was counting or anything), the girl was back. She kept to herself, crossing her arms and scowling at speech Zelda still couldn't hear. Zelda never learned what those meetings were about.
When she was fourteen, Zelda was introduced to a young woman named Impa. The woman named Impa didn't look all too pleased with this predicament. There were a lot of growls, and words Zelda probably shouldn't have heard, and then exasperated sighs as they sat for hours on end, waiting for Zelda to finish reading (Zelda almost always never finished, instead opting to glance suspiciously at the girl who she now knew was seventeen over the top of the book).
Zelda didn't know what about Impa put her off. Maybe it was the fact that she got angry often, or maybe it was the fact that she could count the times Impa had spoken directly to her on her left hand (though, it was probably the fact that she had seen very few strangers since her mother's passing). Impa just seemed- Off.
Things didn't really move along between them until Zelda was almost fifteen. It had taken a few months, but after a while, she stopped watching Impa from behind the book. She had spent a half-hour staring at this one page, praying to Hylia, to anyone at this point, that she could focus on a page for longer than one minute. The words kept on swimming, though. Zelda dropped the book on the desk in front of it, her head following suit.
"Are you okay, Princess?" The question (surprisingly soft, Zelda noted) was accompanied by a hand placed firmly on her shoulder. Zelda only groaned and shifted her head so her nose wasn't pressed to the desk. "Okay, why don't you take a break?" Impa removed her hand from Zelda's shoulder.
"What am I going to do?" Zelda asked. Impa pondered for a minute.
"We could always check what my sister's working on. Take a couple of days of for an "educational" trip to the royal lab?" At this Zelda shot up. She'd been there before, with her mother, and she had left with nothing but fond memories. Impa let out a little giggle. "Alright, then. I'll go find some food for the trip. You-" Impa glanced at Zelda's current dress. "-should probably go find some pants." And with that, Impa left the room, leaving Zelda rooting through a trunk for pants.
Impa had gone so far as to prepare their mounts for their journey, and Zelda couldn't be more grateful. They left just after noon, working their way west. The pair made it through the Breach of Demise without incident, and the lab was in view as the sun started to set to their left.
Purah met them at the door, and hurried them in through various odds and ends strewn about the place. Zelda was certain that if she were left alone here, she'd never need anything else to keep herself entertained. Purah gave them (mostly Zelda, presumably) a tour, pointing at random machines or secret objects covered by cloth.
Zelda was entranced by it all. Impa trailed behind, watching the scene unfold. Purah would say "Any questions?" and Zelda would shout out a million different ones, not bothering to correct herself in a quieter town. "What does this do? How does that liquid go up through the tube? How does that one generate power?"
Impa watched as Purah answered every question, the smile on Zelda's face growing wider the longer she was there. Eventually, she started yawning, and at that Purah guided up the stairs and to the living quarters. Impa opted to stay in the lab a little longer, poking at things she maybe shouldn't poke at, while Purah showed Zelda to the spare beds.
After that trip, Zelda started chatting more openly. And Impa found herself engaging with her more often. They'd go through Zelda's books together, instead of Zelda struggling to read by herself. She found herself making... Progress. It was a nice change.
There was something else there, under everything else. It was like a weight had lifted. The more time Zelda spent with the older teen, the more... She didn't have a name for it, or maybe she did at one point and had forgotten it, but it was definitely a positive thing. Zelda had finally found who she'd consider a friend, and that with that, the loneliness that had followed her most of her life ebbed away.
There was still a Calamity on the way, and there were still obstacles she had to maneuver around, but now she wasn't alone. She wouldn't have to be alone, and that was the beauty of it.