Legend of Zelda - Yen of the New Flesh by VladimirPootis (Commission)
Note from Viv: After reading Disinterment of the Viper Queen, I knew I was going to have to try to get a sequel commissioned. VladimirPootis did not disappoint, as I’m sure you’ll soon discover. If you want more from her (who wouldn’t?) you can find her at the links below:
Zelda made a terrible mistake.
Her gnarled fingers stood frozen before her, clutching at the air; her withered body paralyzed. As her weary mind rushed to find some reason for it, she at first entertained more rational theories; questioning the nature of a body without blood; exsanguinated, emaciated, dried and dead beyond a traditional death; as its state - her state - was wrought by insidiously-efficient arcana.
Her eyelids moved at a glacial pace to cover the darkened, eyeless pits she’d developed over the course of her curse, trying to keep the light of the cavern around her at bay. She stepped into the cave carelessly; almost listlessly, as Jais’ taunting drove the worst of her insecurities home, and promised her little more than an extension to her torment in this damned form. She didn’t think - not even in her first instinct, when the paralysis took hold - to regard herself as one of the undead. She was unused to it. Afraid of it. Still proud in a deep-seated sense no curse; and no time spent suffering and struggling could entirely dispel from the princess. She didn’t think… She might have a weakness to the light.
Trying to force her eyes shut was an arduous affair. The luminescence around her kept her body frozen - it took herculean effort merely to move the dried and stiff muscles of her eyelids, and even then, slowly. Enough that what little cover they afforded her now-ensorcelled method of vision was easily invalidated by the intensity of the light she was surrounded by. The stillness that pervaded her body was one she wasn’t accustomed to, either. Had she, as a woman of warm flesh and blood, actively attempted to hold herself still, her efforts would be subtly undermined by the natural movements of her body. The beating of her heart. The heaving of her breath. An occasional, errant twitch of her muscles. Nothing as perfect as how her decrepit form now held itself.
Finally, her eyelids were shut. The light beat at the thin, leathery flesh; leaving her trapped not in darkness, but in the void of an illuminated, tealish shade. Zelda wanted to protest. She wanted to curse her fate. More than anything; and most painfully, she wanted to cry for help. For the Gerudo who delivered her to this damned place. For a kind soul trapped in this accursed abyss. For Link to save her again. For Jais. For anyone.
Nothing escaped her lips, and her body stood still.
She kept her eyes closed to spare her sight, and it felt as though the light was growing dimmer - the darkness deeper. She was alone with her fears; with her anger, with her insecurity, for hours as it slowly darkened. Deeper…
Zelda’s finger pops as it twitches; a coating of dust upon her withered form gently cascading off. As the princess opens her eyes - a considerably easier affair - she can see an eerie green illumination following her line of sight. She tries to take a breath; but all that escapes her lips is a weak, raspy noise as air rushes past her grit teeth.
She didn’t realize that she’d lost consciousness. The prospect scared her - the last time this happened, she woke up in a-...
“Hhhhhhsssshh…” The mournful sound was the closest thing to a cry of despair she could muster. The eerie green light her eyes cast illuminated the stony surface of a coffin lid, and as her sore, stiff neck turned to the side, she could see four walls surrounding her. Her hands jerked up; knuckles briefly bumping against the lid of the coffin she’d been apparently entombed in before she lowers them back down. No. she thinks. No, no- no! Not like this! Let me out! Let me…!
The frenetic train of thought her panicked mind was following was not matched by her body, however. The finer dexterity of her hands was clearly lost; even the movements of her wrists stolen from her. She couldn’t press her hands evenly against the surface above her, and so she moved as though twitching, experimenting with her positioning before inevitably slamming her gnarled hands back down onto the coffin’s base. Damn it! she internally wails, jerking her head back upright. The enclosed coffin didn’t afford her much room for movement, either - even in her prime she wouldn’t be able to get much leverage against the lid… And judging by what she recalled of their size, she doubted she’d ever muster the strength to remove it herself.
What scares her more than the prospect of being trapped is her body’s lack of response. Normally she’d be panting; her heart would be racing. She’d feel the rush of adrenaline; for better or worse, a delirium forcing her into action. What she felt now, was…
Giving up her attempts to feel around the tomb, she let her body rest; and so it rested. It eased quickly into a frozen state; not unlike what she’d felt in the light. Not unlike what she recalled of the ReDead she’d passed in the hall. Going stiff. Silent. Dormant.
To watch it was to evoke one sense of unease. To feel one’s own body entering that sorry state was another.
She couldn’t express her fear or despair in her breath; she couldn’t channel her rage into a violent strike against the unyielding stone. Zelda lay still in the coffin - lost in her own body, and lost in her mind.
Zelda isn’t sure how long she spends staring at the coffin lid. Her eyes form an ovoid pattern of green light, against which she can make out the surface. It’s coarse; uneven, though she recalled the coffins’ outsides being smooth. Clearly built for the admiration of the living more than the comfort of the dead. Not as though they needed it, Zelda thought. Her leathery skin grated against the coarse surface of the coffin as she tried to roll onto her side, but it didn’t hurt any. No - it didn’t feel like anything strictly hurt. She registered the sensation, and on some level understood that she should be processing it as pain, but… Simply didn’t. The worst she felt was a bit of soreness in her joints, particularly when she moved them out of their typical range.
To say nothing of the existential pain, that is.
Her wrists finally yielded some degree of movement as they curled downward; and she tucked her arms inward. She felt every bit like the shambling corpse she had become. One of her hands moved lower down the surface of her thigh. There was a split second where she anticipated feeling what she was accustomed to - smooth flesh, with just the right degree of firmness earned through athleticism… Or simple activity, through her journeys with Link, both recent and now, she assumed, ancient. A rasp forced its way out of her throat when her fingers finally made landfall. Roaming downward, she didn’t find smooth skin - just dry, tense muscle wrapped tightly around bone. She curled her legs up a little; enough that her hand could reach the bony knob of her knee.
The princess’ other free hand reached up to her chest. She was still wearing the priestess’ outfit - and unlike her first outfit, it wasn’t rotted down to the seams despite its own advanced age. There was a degree of comfort in feeling the silken fabric that was jarringly interrupted when it came flush against the skin beneath. Her hand curled around her side at first, feeling the defined ridges of her ribs, but slowly, she made her way up; feeling soft fabric upon leathery flesh and stolid bone. Her palm caught the faintest hint of an incline upon her chest - it was slight; so little as to barely register until she realizes just what she was touching.
The princess’ breasts had shrunk considerably. She… Curses herself for not anticipating that. It seemed most of the fat on her body had been excised; eaten away as she began to wither. Her fingers twitch as she tries to round the surface of her bosom, but she ends up clumsily crossing it. She drags her fingers across the entirety of her breast, and when she catches the defined shape of her nipple-
Zelda’s entire body shudders as she belts out a loud shriek; caught off-guard by the sudden sensation. While it was true that she could still feel; there were more… Complications to sensation. She didn’t feel wholly numb; but it felt as though whatever was registering it was deeper. Buried. Like everything she felt was first filtered through a layer of cotton. Moreover - it was as though it simply wasn’t… Tripping her pain receptors. This, however… Tickled her pleasure centers more potently than she could’ve possibly anticipated.
Following her screech, Zelda gave a long, harsh huff; expelling whatever excess air still lingered in her windpipes. She wasn’t sure if it was an involuntary consequence of her new anatomy, or simply a reflexive urge to sigh. She tried to shake her head, but only managed to bump oddly against the bottom of the coffin - but she can’t tell what’s hitting it. Her cheekbone? No - this sensation didn’t feel muffled; it just felt like she wasn’t processing it at all. She removed her hand from her breast and laid it along the bottom of the coffin - upside down, as she couldn’t manage the dexterity to turn it over. She slid it along the surface, slowly moving upward until she started feeling her hair. It all rested limply on the bottom of the coffin - which she anticipated. It was much like a blanket; but didn’t cover it thickly enough to cushion the back of her hand from the coarse stone beneath it.
She reached over her head, curling her hand around it as gently as she could manage, until she touched her scalp… And she didn’t feel nearly as much hair as was on the bottom of the coffin.
Zelda shuddered in place. She could still feel thin, dry patches of hair, but nothing resembling her style. Nothing resembling… Her. Even without seeing herself, she knew full well that she didn’t bear any resemblance to the short-haired, fair-skinned princess she’d been when she entered this damned labyrinth. Her body was decrepit, her skin off-color and leathery. She wasn’t wearing anything anybody but Link would recognize her in, her hair was falling out, her damned eyes were glowing, and her face…
Oh, by the goddess, her face. She placed a hand upon it, and while her fingertips registered contact, her face did not. Exploring the surface, it didn’t feel like flesh - living or dead. Rather, it felt entirely artificial. Smooth for the most part, but pitted. She eventually palmed the entire surface - feeling no nose or otherwise risen features to interrupt it - and shuddered again as she recognized it. Much like the other ReDead, she found herself wearing a mask, sealing her necrotic visage away. Zelda’s back arched as she sucked in another raspy breath, and belted out another horrid screech.
Is this it? Zelda wonders. Is this my fate? To spend the rest of my days trapped? Unable to see beyond this tomb? Unable to even die? The confines of the coffin reminded her grimly of the conditions she’d had during her… Extended stay in Hyrule Castle. Preserved by her magic, walled in on all sides by unrivaled and uncompromised malice. The centuries conditioned the claustrophobia out of her, but returning to the same position prompted a relapse of that same fear; the kind that set in as she first realized the duration of her plight. How long she’d have to resist, how long she’d remain bound to the same place, kept safe only by her own divine radiance.
Now, she had no divinity to keep her safe. She had no hope of a rescue yet to come. She had nothing but an eternity of waiting. Unending. Unerring. Un-
“Hhhhhshhh…” Zelda was broken from her depressive spiral by the soft sound of stone grinding on stone. Laboriously, she turned her head upward; the glow of her eyes illuminating the surface of the lid as it shifted to one side. Somebody was moving it. Zelda rolled onto her back as she watched it shift; her joints cracking with every subtle movement. She crossed her arms over her chest to keep them out of the way - and then, she saw it. The faintest sliver of orange interrupting the darkness around her. It shifted; flickered as though wrought by torchlight. Her greatest fear was to be retrieved by… Some other abomination stalking this dungeon. That possessed Iron Knuckle; or Jais herself. But, to see that her savior needed a torch to light their way boded well. The princess tries to smile, but her lips won’t respond. She hasn’t been able to move them - caught agog, and presumably held down by that damned mask.
But, she could worry about that later. She saw a gloved hand reach in through the crack - an odd garment of red fabric and gold banding. Its grip tightened so firmly upon the stony surface that Zelda could see the coarse stone grinding off. Then, with one powerful shove, the lid of the stone coffin is throne off; evoking a booming noise as it’s thrown to the side, shattering into indistinct chunks. It brought a special thrill within Zelda to hear it shatter - feeling the guilty pleasure of vengeance play at her unbeating heart.
“Y’think she’s up?” a soft, high-pitched voice muses. “We’ve had her down here for a while - she was lookin’ pretty sorry when we loaded her up… I just hope her batteries recharged.” She? Her? … Batteries? Zelda shudders as she begins to rise out of the coffin; straining her aged back and raising her arms…
Only for her wooden mask to suddenly impact something else.
“Huuuuuuuhhhhh…” she rasps, evoking a yelp from whoever was speaking. Zelda reflexively shuts her eyes, and her stiff body collapses back into the coffin. When she opens them again, she sees a figure hovering before her; gripping their forehead and wincing. It takes a moment for Zelda to process what she was seeing - their face illuminated by torchlight and just as much defined by shadow, while the eerie luminescence of her eyes paints an even, sickly tone upon them. Upon their face. Upon the face of…
It wasn’t the face of the man she’d travelled with, all those years ago; of the one she’d laid to rest in the chamber of resurrection. Yet, it was the face of the hero that ended her perpetual torment. The one who dispelled the calamity. Sealed Ganon. Saved her life, and was at her side as they walked the kingdom together. It was a softer face; one Zelda remarked was a perfect preservation of Hylian beauty as she knew it. No matter how they looked - this was the very same Link she’d known for so long. Zelda’s hands reach upward, and a weak wheeze escapes her lips.
Link removes their hand from their head, and moves it out of Zelda’s field of view. No- she thinks. Was Link reaching for the master sword? No - Link didn’t recognize her. She was going to attack her. She couldn’t let them-
She watches Links body freeze up; a look of shock on their face. A strained noise escapes their mouth; one that’s immediately drained by the sound of glass shattering on the floor. A bottle? A potion…? Zelda grabs the side of the coffin and sits up slowly, her ragged body moving plaintively as she manages to sit up. Turning to the side, she can see glass on the floor, and behind Link, she can see the diminutive silhouette of Purah holding a torch aloft. Zelda turns away from the light, and more toward her surroundings. She… She clearly wasn’t in the labyrinth anymore. The stone coffin was similar; but she could see that it was mounted on something wooden. A sled? Did they… Move her?
Looking up, she could see that the walls were still stony, but… Cobblestone, reinforced by wood. The ceiling above was wooden furthermore. Everything around her reminded her of a basement - and as she looks past Purah, she can see a staircase leading upward. She raises a hand toward Link, giving a low groan…
But something catches her eye. Flitting around the basement was a fairy. Even though the light of the torch was hard for Zelda to look at, the bright white light cascading off of it - obscuring its body - was fine for her to observe. Better than fine; rather pleasant, actually. Her head followed it as it rounded Link, presumably elated to be free of the bottle, and approached her. It slowly comes to a stop on the edge of her coffin, dominating her gaze as she follows it. The light made her feel… Nice. It wasn’t since the… Accidental discovery upon her breasts that she’d felt anything but despair.
The fairy made her feel nice. Not calm, per se; even a little excited. Driven. She felt energetic being so close - energetic and… Hungry.
Zelda’s crooked hand comes down on the fairy hard - the fastest she’d managed to put her body into motion since this curse took hold. She can feel a great warmth in her palm; circulating through it and into her arm. That warm, positive feeling - one she’s hard pressed to put into words - intensifies. The excitement intensifies, and a low growl escapes her lips. The feeling came to her unlike anything else - or… Perhaps not. It wasn’t unlike the sensation of her unwitting self-pleasure; unmitigated and unbound by the dullness that seems to have invaded all other tactile senses she had. She could just barely register a pulsating as she drank that sensation in; one that slowed as frantic seconds turned into a minute. Each pulse came slower and slower; the light between her fingers growing duller and duller, until the basement was cast only in torchlight once more.
Zelda removed her hand from the side of the coffin; and in it was nothing but dust.
If Zelda’s heart was still working, it would have been pounding. She could just imagine herself - sweat beading on her brow. Hair wild and sticking to her shoulders and back. Eyes wide, mouth wide, one hand heaving up and down with each heavy breath she took, the other sinking lower, lower, lower…
The entire room almost seems to shift as Purah drops the torch; and with it, the shadows stretching around the dark basement. Both she and Link fall to the ground, released from their paralysis. The sound snaps Zelda’s attention back to them - and causes her entire body to stiffen up. By the goddess, she begins, jerking her hand to remove the last of the fairy-dust. they must think me savage.
Purah hastily picks up the torch, bringing it closer to Zelda, who defensively raises her hands. “Ah - um,” Her normally-high voice cracks for just a moment, prompting her to clear her throat. “good evening… Princess.”
Zelda looks down and away.
“You probably got a buncha questions… And, uh, so do we.”
Purah is talking.
Zelda registered that much, but how much attention she was paying to the energetic little Sheikah was fading in and out - it had been for a while. There was… Much more on her mind; and as much as she tried to hold it all back just to do something as simple as listening to a learned woman; one whom she greatly respected as a scientist, and whose research was a topic of great interest to the princess…
The thoughts plaguing Zelda proved much more distracting than she would’ve liked.
After her… Rude awakening, Link and Purah helped her up the stairs and out of the basement. She found herself in Purah’s lab; surrounded by bits and pieces of Sheikah machinery. She was led over to a chair, and eased gently into a seat. Unable to manage it on her own, Link reached out to help her…
The sensation of their warm flesh rubbing against hers made Zelda hiss. It immediately brought her back to the sensation of… Draining the energy from that fairy. One of her hands reached out for Link - but they quickly eased it down into her lap as she finally settled into the seat.
For a time, at least. Zelda twitched and fidgeted in the chair as Purah began to explain her situation. Something about her body… Rejected her current posture, forcing her to growl and arch her back. Link held the chair steady behind her as she forced herself back up and onto her feet, hunching over a little. It felt… Much, much better on her aged bones to simply stand - back hunched, arms dangling, head looming over the petite scientist.
The petite… Helpless scientist. Energetic even for as anxious as she was, staring down the cursed princess. Zelda can sense her fear - not out of any preternatural sense; she could just see the smaller woman fidgeting a little nervously. What did strike her as unnatural was just how that sight made her feel. Zelda’s fingers reflexively craned toward her… Before the princess forced her arms to cross over her chest, keeping them to herself. By the goddess - this body had never felt like it was her own; but now, she hardly felt like she was in control of it. She didn’t feel hungry in a normal sense - her accursed form processed it… Differently. Even for as much of a ‘meal’ as the fairy was, now that it was finished, it simply left a ravening pit inside of her.
It was with herculean effort that Zelda tried to focus - focus on something that didn’t involve satiating that perverse hunger welling up inside of her.
Purah cleared her throat, and took a cautious step back and closer to Link. “Well, as I was saying…” she murmurs. “You’ve been missing for a while - just up and disappeared. Link managed to beat it outa some Yiga goon where you went off to, but when we found you…”
“Yyyyyeah. Link recognized the outfit, but I don’t think either of us-” Link raised a hand plaintively. “Okay - I didn’t have high hopes about bringin’ you back. But Link figured it’d be easier to do… Something back here than it was down there. Of course, the fairy was Link’s idea too, and you know how that went…” She rolls her eyes a little; and Zelda can feel a twinge of guilt. Guilt, and hunger. She shuddered in place as she restrained herself; prompting Purah to step backward again. “Both of us want the best, though!” she chimes. “We’ve just got to do some research. Besides, with Ganon down for the count… We’ve got nothing but time.”
Ganon was sealed, yes, but… Jais. Zelda stood up a little, giving a weak rasp. Purah cocks her head.
“What? You know somethin’?” She almost takes a step forward, but immediately regains the distance she nearly sacrificed.
Zelda raised her head up a little; then downward, hissing.
“What about? The curse? Time?” she pauses, furrowing her brow. “Ganon?” Zelda tried to shake her head, but only managed to jerk to the left, and slowly shift back to the right. Damn it, she internally whines. damn it all! Why did it have to steal her voice away? Had this curse not done enough? Zelda groaned, reaching up to the mask and curling her fingers around it, trying to pry it off. Purah jumps forward. “No - no, wait!” she petitions the princess, who staggers back, still trying to pull at it.
It doesn’t budge in the slightest - but she can distantly feel the strain against the flesh of her face as she violently tugs at the wooden surface. She thrashes, and Purah darts around under her.
“That’s keeping the curse bound, princess!” Purah reaches up to Zelda’s arm, grabbing the emaciated, leathery surface and pulling it away from the mask. Zelda hardly registers her words, and shoves Purah away. With one hand removed, she watches the diminutive scientist fall over, hitting her ass on the floor with a whiny “Oof!” Seeing her like that - seeing her prone and helpless… Forces her other hand away from the mask, and she advances with slow, lumbering steps. She hardly realizes what she’s doing until she feels warmth on her chest; the sensation shocking her back to sobriety…
And finding herself staring at Link, pressing their hands against her shoulders to keep her at bay. Zelda shudders for a moment, then takes a step back. Purah squirms away; inching a foot back on the floor before getting up, adjusting her glasses.
“If you think it’s bad now… It… Can get worse. You-... We’re lucky we found you when we did. That mask - it’s an old Hylian burial rite. The wood’s enchanted. They thought preserving the face preserved the soul; and on a metaphysical level-” Purah stops herself. “It’s keeping you you, princess. It’s there for a reason.”
The princess looks down, then off to the side. She follows the floorboards until she spotted the basement door again. She… She’d had enough of this. Enough of fighting herself to keep them safe. Enough of discovering new, horrifying things about this curse. She’d had enough for today. She staggers back toward the basement; skulking just as much as she was sulking. Link hung behind her; that much she sensed. She could… Feel Link around her. Purah too; but to a lesser degree. It had something to do with that warmth; that energy, that life... And her hunger for it. In a less supernatural sense, she could tell that Link wanted to say something; more likely, to do something… But wasn’t sure what.
Zelda shuffled down the stairs, and Purah called after her. “We’ll, uh, try to have an experiment ready for tomorrow!”
Zelda could hardly wait.
Waiting, Zelda found, was something she was exceedingly good at.
When she hid herself away in the basement, she found herself faced with the sight of the coffin, the rubble that was once its lid, and the otherwise-empty basement. She shuffled around for a little while; ignorant of how time was passing upstairs and outside. Eventually, she felt compelled to rest - as much rest as she could be afforded in such a state. She hadn’t been awake for long, but already her discoveries had proven exhausting.
Her first inclination was to rest in the coffin, but as she leaned downward and braced her hands on its side… She found it a little difficult to position her inflexible body back into it. She couldn’t lean or bend as well or as dexterously as she needed to, and so, simply shoved away, dragging herself into a corner of the basement. She positioned herself to face away from the staircase, and leaned down slowly. She wrapped her arms around her knees, bending into a recognizable fetal position. Something about it felt comfortable in a way she couldn’t place. It afforded her a degree of instinctual safety; one that wasn’t undermined by the horrid texture of her undead flesh or the firm wood bumping against her knees as she lowers her face against them.
Thinking about her current situation was painful. She didn’t have the mental energy to be confronted by how ghastly her body… Even her base instincts had become.
Thinking about her past was depressing. How limited; how horrid her body was now made memories of even simple tasks - things as basic as going outside - feel like a dagger jabbed into her unbeating heart.
Thinking about her future was stressful. Despite Purah’s words, she didn’t seem to be particularly hopeful about fixing this. She could maintain things as they are now, but that wasn’t a good thing to the cursed princess. Link… However capable, wasn’t omnipotent. She wondered if this was a situation even they couldn’t fix. Then again; the last problem she tasked Link with was resolved… After over a century of suffering. The future was so unsure; she couldn’t bear to think about it.
Zelda couldn’t even distract herself. Understandably there was no hiding from her body - and there was such a lack of input; a lack of anything else in the basement to occupy her attention span that thinking about anything else inevitably steered back to her form.
With nothing being easy for the weary princess to think about… Zelda felt compelled not to think of anything at all. She shut her luminous eyes and tried to clear her mind - to let the horrors of the day bleed away. She focused on the darkness around her; let the void ease her into a placative calm, and…
Zelda jerked into motion, standing up slowly and stiffly. She turns around to see Purah squinting into the darkness Zelda hid herself away in.
“Uh, sorry about the… Wait. I didn’t want to bug you without having anything to say, and I didn’t want to bring you up for no reason, uh…” She scratches her head. “So, this is my ‘sorry-I-left-you-down-here-for-a-week’ apology.”
A week? Zelda blinks quickly. She raised an arm as though to examine herself for any differences - but found none; at least none that had arisen since she’d been down here. Purah pulls a bottle from her pocket; and Zelda’s glowing eyes widened when she saw a fairy flitting about inside of it. She walks closer, growling a little, and the thoroughly-intimidated Purah sets the bottle down on the ground. She backs up and takes a few steps up the stairs; enough that she’s around the corner from Zelda when the princess finally reaches the bottle.
“S-so! Uh, while you eat, Link and I-”
Zelda’s hands come down on the glass bottle hard. She can feel shards of it embed themselves in her fingers - down to them scraping bone - but she feels no pain. Flexing her fingers forces the shards out as the fairy flies free of the glass prison. Zelda snatches it out of midair, clapping both hands around it and holding it close to her chest, groaning excitedly.
Purah gulps. “We came up with a plan. The shrine of resurrection might have something, so tonight, I’m going to be hitching a ride with a caravan bound for the Great Plateau. So- so Link… Link will be here. Keeping you safe.” The light between Zelda’s fingers drains away, and slowly, she drops her hands to the ground - Purah can’t see any sign anything had ever been inside of them.
The princess stands up, looming over Purah again.
“Okay, good talk. S-see ya!” Zelda catches the faintest flash of a peace sign before Purah disappears up the stairs. Her body was still trembling from the ‘meal’ as she heard the basement door slam shut. She… She’d been sleeping for a week. Now, Purah was going off on a trip? She’d be… Alone? Alone with Link?
Zelda raises her hands; still shuddering - still casting off fairy-dust. Link… Had to have the most hope for her out of all of them. It was hard to remain in high spirits for the princess, and she didn’t blame Purah for being pessimistic - not with what she’d seen. Not with what the princess herself has shown off. However… It wasn’t as if this hadn’t happened before.
She was at her lowest point on their journey together, so long ago. Beseeching a goddess she’d been trained, for her entire life, to act as a conduit for - to save the kingdom, to serve a destiny thrust upon her so cruelly. Link had been there, and while her hope faltered, Link’s never did. She could never chalk it up to idealism or stoicism, though; but that firmness of belief was a mote of land upon which she could always anchor herself in any storm. Perhaps… She could regain a bit of hope.
If her lips still functioned, she could almost smile.
Zelda sat crouched in her corner.
She’d heard a lot of hustle and bustle upstairs as Purah prepared for her journey, and Link seemed to be doing some heavy lifting. Equipment? Supplies? She wasn’t sure. She didn’t much care.
She waited for everything to go quiet. She knew Link wouldn’t be any more vocal with Purah gone than when she was here; so she waited until even Link’s footsteps when silent. Even then, she was nervous. Would Link be worried if she came out of the basement on her own? Would Link take it as a threat? Would-
Zelda sensed something move. She stood up, looking around. No matter how she moved, she could still feel that radiance above her. Link existed as a fixed point in her world - one that simply wouldn’t go away. In a sense, it was comforting. In another sense - it was a beacon. An oversized rat ran over one of Zelda’s feet - and quickly, she snatched it. It squealed weakly as she grasped it, looking upward and shuddering as life drains from the creature. Fur brushing against her hands as it falls out; body growing thinner and smaller - until disappears in a puff of black smoke.
No, the unsatiated princess thinks. I’ll scare Link if I come up now. I can wait.
Zelda straightens herself up and remains still, her body frozen in place as she follows Link’s movements. From the front of the lab to the back. Outside, inside. Link even stops by the basement doors for a brief while. She can’t tell what they’re doing, but Link doesn’t come in. Eventually, they go upstairs - far upstairs. She recalled that was where Purah slept. Perhaps where Link was sleeping too?
Eventually, Link goes still in that room. An hour passes, and they don’t move.
Zelda’s feet shuffle along the ground as she makes her move. She brushes aside broken glass painlessly; but not harmlessly. What damage her body was receiving might not have hurt, but it certainly left its mark. Gashes lined her fingers; and now the sides and soles of her feet. With the curse restrained, the dark magic animating her simply couldn’t repair the damage - rendering the damage permanent… Or until she was alive once more. All Zelda could hope for is to somehow see the latter to be improbable rather than impossible.
If anyone could inspire that state of mind, it was Link.
Her slow, albeit awkward, movements made it easy to quietly open the basement doors. Moonlight streamed through the lab’s windows - as Zelda passes through the illumination, she feels… Nice. It wasn’t the same as how she felt when she was feeding; but it was more accommodating. Welcoming. The blackened, but starry sky beckoned her - but Link’s draw was more powerful, if not exactly louder. She found her way up the stairs slowly - stepping lightly enough that her emaciated body didn’t evoke a plaintive creak from the steps. When her head poked above the terminus of the staircase, she felt… Conflicted.
On one side was an unoccupied bed; small and messy. Next to it was a table, and across from it was another bed - this one occupied.
Occupied by Link.
Zelda advanced a little less cautiously as she entered the bedroom, looming over the slumbering champion. The master sword’s hilt hung from one of the bedposts; the blade glimmering brightly and painfully as Zelda circled away from it. She gave a soft, raspy hiss as she looked over Link. She looked over that beautiful face of theirs - framed by their messy blonde locks as though with a halo. The light of her eyes rolled down gentle curves of the warrior’s body through their simple garments; over the gentle swell of Link’s chest through their blue tunic; but past that, only Link’s underwear remained. Sat between their legs, in that tight garment, was a familiar bulge. Truthfully Zelda had seen it before - even more closely, but never had paid it much mind. But now; with her body so… Hungry…
She lowered her head, and tried to swing herself away. No - no, she wasn’t here to indulge this damned form of hers. She was here for something else. Her body creaked as she looked back toward Link. Zelda felt a burden within herself as she made her way here - and she felt a deep sense of guilt that she was passing that same burden onto Link, even if it was something she wished to share. Zelda understood she was asking for a lot. Her bony chest puffs out a little as she observes the warrior beneath her. She was here… Asking for Link to give her… A lot.
Her hands stretch out, fingers popping as they shudder; hardly able to contain a sense of anxiety welling up inside of her.
Zelda wanted Link to give her…
Link’s eyes opened, and Zelda belted out an ear-piercing screech; freezing the prone Hylian on the bed. One of Zelda’s hands makes landfall on Link’s shoulder, and the other by their hip. As her eyes widened, she felt like she was seeing less of Link, now that they were paralyzed - and more of their energy. So radiant, so vibrant and warm… She needed it.
With surprising force, the decrepit princess throws herself onto the bed, causing she and Link to bounce. Her gnarled hand tightens around Link’s tunic - she can feel her nails scratching against smooth skin beneath it, but she hardly cares. She tears it violently off of Link, exposing the gentle swell of their chest; the defined valley of their abs… And her other hand tears off the warrior’s undergarments.
Her hands release the tattered clothes quickly and forcefully, before planting themselves on the bed; just above Link’s shoulders. She crawled over the champion predatorily; the last of the breath in her dry lungs coming out in a hoarse wheeze. Zelda doesn’t waste time wondering if it was more akin to a sigh or moan in her current state. She didn’t care - not about herself, not about the inconveniences barring her from Link. She’d gotten them out of the way - and now… All that light; all that life… Hers.
Her excitement was palpable, but Link’s - in defiance of reason, was… Noticeable.
Zelda looked downward; casting Link’s fair skin in an otherworldly green tone. It took a moment to process what she saw - but when she looked back up, she growled. Playfully, she told herself; but she doubted it came off as such. One hand rises off of the bed and makes landfall on Link’s shoulder - and immediately, that warmth floods into her; fast and hard. The sound that escapes her finds some middle ground between one of her ghastly wails and the pathetic vocalizations she normally forces out. She quickly placed her other hand upon Link, and the sensation is doubled - but it still isn’t enough.
Zelda still looms over Link; watching their face frozen in neutrality; watching their eyes stare up at her. The princess lurches down and to the side as she rolls her dry fingers over the surface of Link’s shoulders; sliding between the champion’s back and the bed beneath them. She needed more. She needed it faster. Link was giving her so much - and had so much more to give! Her wooden mask bounces against Link’s forehead as her other arm curls around their back, wrapping the Hylian champion in a spider-like hug. Zelda moves her legs upward, and with surprising dexterity, curls them around Link’s hips. Every point of contact is another channel of life spilling freely into the utter void that was Zelda’s being - rendering the princess utterly awash in bliss.
Zelda’s chest - separated by the priestess’ garment she still wore - lowered until it pressed against Link’s. She could feel it heave gently with breath - a sensation she missed. Her hips lowered too; and she could feel a new warmth; a powerful one. Zelda rose a little, and then forcefully sunk down upon Link. All that the champion could provide her - finally, was Zelda’s.
She couldn’t tell how much time passed - remaining still and sucking all she could from Link, who lay still beneath her. She couldn’t tell why; she couldn’t tell if the paralysis was still in effect, or if they were exhausted… Or perhaps unwilling to fight her off. The longer she remains on them, the less she cares about unimportant details like that. All that mattered was the feeding. Filling herself, more, and more…
Even as the flow slowly began to weaken. Zelda could feel it - a growing coarseness beneath her fingertips. A stem in the seemingly-unending current. Needing to pull tighter and tighter against the champion as there was less of them to hold.
No. was the first cognizant thought to enter the princess’ mind in hours. Don’t... Stop… Even her thoughts came sluggishly; as though a latency was forming where none had been before. It was becoming harder for her to form thoughts; even more so as the pleasure began to have an… Effect. It didn’t feel as though it was falling into her indefinitely; but perhaps as it reached its limit, it began to spark something in her. A growing sense of satiety - waiting just out of reach, at a tipping point yet to come. She could hear a soft wheeze - but for the first time, it wasn’t hers. The sound startled her… But, it didn’t scare her. It was surprising, but… Familiar. Like hers.
Zelda gave a shrill wail as she gripped Link tighter. As close as she was - as much as she was drinking, it was everything she wanted… But she wasn’t sure if it was what she could withstand. All of that warmth and energy poured into her cold, decrepit form - blazed through her dry veins and straight through her lust-addled mind. Despite the excitement, the princess’ mind was.. Weary. Tired of the insecurity of being a ruler. Tired of Jais’ torture. Tired of this body. Tired of holding on. She felt her mind wandering - no; just… Relaxing. Going still, as it had when she… Rested in the basement. The force coursing through her blasted through; washing over her mind. She didn’t fight, she didn’t resist… Not as it was all burned away. Scoured to the very base of thought; the essentials of instinct, and the sole need of the undead.
Amid the torrent of pleasure, Zelda found her despair creeping back in. Her fingers gripped Link tighter. No… Pain… her tired mind thought. She tried to distance herself from it - toward that approaching point of satiety. Not… Her chest heaves, and her hips reflexively tighten around Link. Her friend. Her partner. Her...
Outside of the lab, a chiropteran screech booms into the night; windows shattering along the building as though the sheer pressure of it couldn’t be contained any longer. The villagers of Hateno wake in their beds, rushing to their windows to find the source of such a ghastly sound - but find nothing.
Nothing but a still, dark, and silent night.
Short, stubby fingers work a small knife across a cut of wood; shavings curling up before being shed, tumbling onto the floor below. Raising it up to the light of a window - lacking glass for the moment - Purah pokes her eye through the hole she’d been whittling in the slowly-forming mask.
Her trip to the shrine of resurrection was uneventful. Once she was there; it was… Uncharitable. The Sheikah biofluid she sought to replicate had gone dry. The technology was inaccessible - her only hope of discovering its workings lie in hiring a demolition team to blast the surrounding mountain away; but that might complicate what she sought to study - or destroy a vital component in the mechanism. It took just a week for her to surmise this; and return to her home empty-handed.
When she arrived, she found the windows blasted out. She had hoped it was just an ill-fated experiment Link conducted, but…
Purah turns the knife over in one hand, beginning to etch runes into the inner side. Her fingers moved carefully and gracefully.
What she was doing was a fool’s errand. She knew that; as a woman of science. She’d known that when she fashioned the first mask for Zelda. But, Link - damn that Hylian heartthrob - convinced her to at least entertain the idea that she could fix it. Fix her. Now, she knew Zelda was beyond fixing. For all of Purah’s own capabilities, she knew full well that the only one who had the slightest hope of pulling it off was Link. And now…
Purah bit her lower lip and continued working. The sunlight streaming through her windows slowly dyed a vibrant orange, and she finally set her knife down. Purah sets a now-finished wooden mask on her table, and reaches up to her shoulders, pulling up a pair of earmuffs. Picking up the mask, she walks down the stairs from her room - past the main hall. Outside of the creaking of the wooden floorboards beneath her weight, the house is silent. As she makes her way down the basement stairs, she squints into the darkness. She makes out a figure in the darkness and approaches slowly. As soon as she comes close,
That’s what the earmuffs are for. Purah thinks. Zelda never learned. Could she learn anymore? The ReDead turns around from its corner and lumbers toward Purah, who pulls a bottled fairy from her pocket and rolls it off into another corner. Zelda quickly gives chase - but doesn’t leave the corner unoccupied.
Curled in the fetal position is another ReDead. Like Zelda, it had stringy blonde hair and tealish necrotic flesh; but wore no clothes. Its arms were already extended - as though it had been… Embracing the princess, who was presently crushing the bottle against the basement floor. Purah didn’t dare look the ReDead in the face - merely extending her arms and placing the wooden mask upon it. When she looks up, she sighs softly. Two beads of eerie green light manifest in the darkened pits of the second ReDead’s eyes.
That was a good sign, at least.
Link might be lost, but at least there was some shred of the champion left in the decrepit shell. Link shrieked too - just like their undead partner. Purah knew to turn tail then - after all, she didn’t bring enough food for two.
As she flees, the basement doors shut and lock behind her, leaving the two ReDead in darkness. When the last of the fairy’s light fades away, Zelda lumbers back to the corner, where Link now stands. Fed, but not satiated, she extends her arms, wrapping them around the fellow undead who returns the gesture. After a moment, their bodies and minds go still - and hold each-other close…
Until the next feeding.