Zelda had arrived in Gerudo Town right after sunrise, but had stayed outside of it for far longer than she’d expected.
“Your princess is in no danger here, we ask you to stay outside the walls,” the Gerudo soldier asked.
The guards accompanying the princess argued some more before she intervened.
“There are guards at every entry, and Gerudo Town is meant to be neutral grounds. I’m going to be fine on my own. You can wait outside, and I’ll meet with you once I’m done.”
The guards wanted to dispute her request, but they simply nodded and she entered the town, alone.
It wasn’t the first time she had gone to Gerudo Town, but last she went was with her mother, many, many years ago. She had forgotten how beautiful everything was here, how the porcelain tiles and hung fabric created such wonderful splashes of colour.
Zelda was expecting to see Urbosa during this semi-business trip, but was told by palace workers that she was out attending some other business. She understood, although was a bit saddened by the fact she wouldn’t be able to see her friend, her family. Yes, Urbosa was like family to her, even if they weren’t related by blood, but due to her unending support after her mom’s passing.
Zelda wandered the crowded streets of Gerudo Town with ease, without a set goal in mind. She would wait for Urbosa, or at least enjoy herself for some time before heading back home and telling her father to schedule some other meeting with her.
She had always been surprised by how diverse the streets of Gerudo Town looked. Gerudo, Hylians, Gorons, Rito, Sheikah… In fact, she was more surprised to see a Sheikah here than to have the Zora missing amongst them. The other nations and kingdoms were harder to access for people of other races, or at least, less welcoming to them.
She found herself in front of another gate, a door to the desert. It wasn’t the main one, the one she had taken to enter the town. This one, by her deduction, headed north-west. In the distance, she could see a tall statue, presumably of a Gerudo warrior, pointing her sword into the horizon.
“Pardon me,” she asked the Gerudo guard at the entrance. “What is that statue for, over there?”
“Ah, sav’otta, princess. Those statues have been here for a while, and they’re scattered everywhere to the west. It is said that our ancestors put up these statues to guide themselves in the sandstorm and hide treasure. I wouldn’t recommend going very far out there, the sandstorms can change winds at any minute, but the first one you spotted has never been hidden from view. I will watch from afar to make sure you are safe from monsters, if you wish to see it closer.”
“That would be great, thank you,” Zelda answered.
The sand beneath her feet shifted as she moved towards the statue. The desert was hot, but the winter transformed its temperature into that of Hyrule Field on a cool summer day. She had changed clothes on the way here, expecting the temperature change, and was glad to not be in her winter clothes anymore.
The statue stood in front of her, steadily holding her sword, pointing in the distance. She looked towards what the statue was pointing at. In the distance, another statue, holding another sword, pointing it in another direction. She thought this must’ve been what the Gerudo guard meant when she said they were used to “guide”.
She looked back at the guard, then at the statue in the distance. The guard was looking at Zelda’s surroundings, but even if monsters were abound, the princess didn’t care much. Her sense of adventure and knowledge was much stronger, and she wanted to see the other statue, see what it pointed to. She made her way to there.
The second statue was much further than she had anticipated, but she thought it was worth the walk. It was surrounded by four small pillars– small was relative, they were at least twice her size– and greenery growing despite the harsh climate. She looked back at Gerudo Town, but could no longer see the gate she had taken out. Whoops.
Before even setting a foot in the direction of Gerudo Town, she saw a figure coming towards her from there. Was it the guard, coming to bring her back to relative safety? No, they seemed much smaller. A Hylian? What would another Hylian be doing out here? Everyone usually took the road to Kara Kara Bazaar and towards the Gerudo Gateway.
She looked back towards where the statue was pointing. If she took that path, she would be heading straight into a sandstorm. Unsafe. Hidden from the stranger, certainly, but most probably lost. To the other side were the old Gerudo ruins. Closer to Gerudo Town, but nowhere to hide. At least it was safer. She walked there.
Every few steps, she looked back slightly, only to see the figure still following her. Yes, they were certainly following her, but hadn’t caught up to her. They weren’t there to reach her just yet, and thus ruled out guards. And they weren’t just some lost traveller, too.
She arrived at the ruins, slightly out of breath. She hadn’t exactly ran there, but walking on sand was harder when she was more focused on the figure behind her than her steps in front of her. However, as she reached a wall, she turned back to see the figure had disappeared. But… they were there just a few seconds ago, weren’t they? Had they imagined them?
She turned to see them directly in front of her. She stepped back and exclaimed, surprised, and backed into another wall. When had they gotten here?
They loomed over her, their figure shadowed by the sun behind them. Zelda could see a mask, an upturned Sheikah symbol, and their red uniform dictated exactly who Zelda was afraid it would be. They pulled out a blue sword from its sheath.
“Princess Zelda Hyrule, nice of you to finally meet with a Yiga clan member-”
“T-that sword! That’s the legendary sword!” Her eyes squinted upon seeing the golden Triforce symbol on the sword. “When– did you steal it?”
“I didn’t steal it! I got it legitimately!” The Yiga slightly waved their hands around. “That’s– not important right now!”
“Pl-please don’t kill me–”
“What? Ew, no, I wouldn’t kill you. Look, I-I had a speech prepared, alright? Can you let me start over?”
“Oh, well, pardon me for being surprised at seeing the lost legendary sword and fearing for my life!” She said sarcastically, getting caught up in the schematics of this ridiculous situation. Sensing the Yiga was growing exasperated, she apologised and gestured for them to continue, entertaining their idea.
“Princess Zelda Hyrule, nice of you to finally meet with a Yiga clan member! Although we have met before many years ago–”
“We’ve met before?” She asked.
The Yiga let their arms fall to their side.
“Yes? Hyrule castle, about 10 years ago, the last trade meeting between Central Hyrule and the Yiga Clan?”
“Ooooh, you’re the Yiga kid that kept running around! Kohga’s kid?”
“Yes, and you refused to play with me!”
“Yes, yes, I remember now. Wait– are you mad at me for not playing with you?”
“No! I– that’s not the point! Look, we’ve met before, and in the name of the Yiga clan, I am taking you hostage in order to come to an agreement with King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule. Okay?”
“Am I gonna be hurt?”
“No! I don’t know why people think we like hurting other–”
“Okay, I’m coming, Urbosa’s busy anyways, not like I have much better to do,” muttered Zelda, dusting her outfit from the sand on the wall she was backed into. “Show me the way.”
“Before I change my mind, yes.”
“It’s not a choice! I– okay, fine.”
After walking in the sand for almost an hour, they finally reached Karusa Valley, the home grounds to the Yiga Hideout. Zelda had stayed quiet for most of their walk, but her head was bubbling with questions. She couldn’t stand not knowing.
“So… that sword. You are aware it’s the legendary sword, yes?”
The Yiga footsoldier confirmed.
“And… you said you got it legitimately?” She continued.
“I got it from Woods of the Lost and met the Great Deku Tree… and I got the sword there.”
“And… you’re really Kohga’s child?”
The Yiga turned back to stare at her.
“I don’t mean any offense! I just think you don’t look alike at all.” She suddenly appeared lost in thought. “You do act similarly, however… Maybe it isn’t as strange as it first seemed.”
“Yes, I’m the Heir to the Yiga Clan. You got any more easy questions like that?” They joked.
“Ah, I’m sorry! Please tell me if you want me to stay quiet.”
The Yiga didn’t respond to that comment, slightly distraught by how quickly Zelda had wanted to change her behaviour. Instead, they pointed to a large room appearing before them.
“We’re here. I’m gonna have to blindfold you to get to the jails, is that okay? Not that– not that you have a choice, actually.”
Zelda nodded, preparing herself mentally to enter the Yiga Hideout. She was probably the first outsider in years to enter this place, and yes, she would be held in jail, but she hoped to be able to bargain her end of the deal as well. Once the blindfold was placed on her eyes, she let herself be guided by the Yiga footsoldier. Although she couldn’t see anything but darkness, she could hear passing conversations, sometimes with her captor speaking.
“Woah, the princess herself?”
“Hm-hm! Tell Kohga that I’ll meet with him in a second, okay?”
The sound of drapery moving out of her way. The Yiga was kind enough to tell her when the stairs started and stopped, preventing her from falling on her face pathetically.
“If I had known you’d bring the princess, I’d have decorated this cell a little more!” laughed someone.
“It’ll be fine for now,” responded the Yiga footsoldier, almost laughing along.
They all certainly seemed familiar with each other, much more than the Castle staff seemed among each other.
Her blindfold loosened and was removed from her face, and the Yiga stood in front of her.
“You might stay here for a while, let the guard know if you need anything. Anything reasonable, of course, but… yeah.”
The guard looked into the cell, and the Yiga footsoldier stood outside. They closed the wooden gate, finally imprisoning Zelda.
The Yiga footsoldier walked away and went towards the meeting room of the Yiga hideout. Waiting inside were already Master Kohga, sitting on his chair sideways, and Sooga. Kohga noticed the footsoldier coming in the room and opened his arm, albeit awkwardly due to the back of the chair being in the way of one arm.
“Fuga! I can’t believe you managed to capture the princess! Well– I can totally believe it, actually!”
Fuga smiled under their mask, and jokingly answered:
“Aw, shucks! You’re too kind.”
Sooga, as serious as ever, went straight to the point:
“How should we go about this bargain? The King doesn’t yet know his daughter is missing, correct? We’ll have to make a public statement of some kind if we want him to know it’s from us.”
“Right! We can send him an illuminated manuscript, something fancy– oh! What about a monument decorated with–”
Sensing Kohga was getting carried away with excitement, Fuga interrupted:
“It would be best if we could come to an agreement with the princess directly. She’s shown to be ready to collaborate with… With me, at least.”
“... Right, that too,” said Kohga, slightly disappointed that his silly ideas were never even entertained when Sooga and Fuga teamed up together to do business. Fuga had let go of their eager childish joy far too quickly.
“Good idea, Fuga. If we can come to an agreement before the King is alerted, it could avoid bad press for us.”
“Any press is good press,” Kohga said, putting his arms behind his head.
“You know that’s not true, Kohga,” Sooga looked at him. “Any wrong move here and it could push us back even further away from the kingdom.”
“Fine, alright, fine. Sooga is right, that is a good idea, Fuga. Do you think you can talk to her about our goals? See if she’ll agree to talk to her father about it?”
“Great,” said Sooga. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll work out another plan. Maybe we’ll try one of your ideas, Kohga.”
“Oh, please. You’re only saying that because you know it’ll work–”
Fuga snickered and went back to the cell, where Zelda was waiting silently, sitting on a blanket the guard had apparently given her. They gestured for the guard to take a break, which they happily took.
“Are you the same person as before? I can’t tell because of the…” she gestured to her face.
“The masks, yes. Yes, I’m the Yiga that brought you in. To make this easier, my name is Fuga,” they sat down on the cold, stone floor. They understood now why Zelda had asked for the blanket.
“Fuga, nice to meet you officially. Did you want to ask me something?”
“Yes. Your father doesn’t know that you’ve been kidnapped yet, so we thought it best to try to come to an agreement before he even finds out. Would you be willing to talk to your father about our situation?”
“Ah, hm. Well, trade agreements between Central Hyrule and the Yiga clan were cut off several years ago because of our difference in beliefs, amongst… other things. Recently, however, due to… Urbosa becoming a ‘Champion’, she had to cut off what little trading we had with the Gerudo, and we’ve been… very isolated since. We’ve had no stable source of food since, and we’ve resorted to stealing to survive. It’s demeaning, and none of us here are happy to do it. We want to fix our relationship with Central Hyrule before we are effectively driven away from our home.”
“I… had no idea it had become that bad.”
“And… your kingdom is still looking for the chosen hero, correct?”
“Well, yes. I found you, but nobody else knows about you, as far as I’m aware.”
“Then my discovery might smooth things over for Hyrule and Yiga relationships, don’t you think?”
“I… suppose so, yes.”
“Will you agree then to talk to your father about us? About me?”
“I… don’t have much bargaining power against my father, but trying would be much better than any other solution I could come up with.”
“Great! Perfect! Okay, let me– let me talk to my– to Kohga, and I’ll get back to you on that.”
Fuga got up excitedly and went back to the meeting room, where Kohga and Sooga were still waiting.
“She agreed to talk to her father, and– if you agree of course– I could go with her and be revealed as the chosen hero.”
“That’s…” Sooga started. “That’s great, Fuga, but are you sure you’re ready to meet the King? To be revealed to Hyrule in its entirety? To be the face of the Yiga clan to the public?”
“That’s a big responsibility,” continued Kohga.
“I’m ready. It’s– It’s going to be scary, but I’m ready.”
“And you trust the Princess entirely to hold her end of the bargain?” said Sooga.
Fuga nodded again. They had only known her for a few hours, but if they were really connected as the chosen hero and the godly princess, then they figured they would become inseparable.
“Then you’re free to leave for Hyrule Castle whenever you’re ready,” said Kohga.
Fuga hurried over to hug both their fathers.
“I’ll be back before you know it.”
Fuga started heading out the door to their room to pack their bags to leave, before Kohga managed to get a joke out of the situation:
“I’ll know it!”
Fuga smiled under their mask.
It had taken them less than 30 minutes to pack everything necessary for a week-long trip to Central Hyrule. Warm clothes, warmer clothes, blankets, food (what little they had), a plush toy they had held on since early childhood, more clothes, and another Yiga mask in case theirs would break during their trip. They went back to the jail cell, where Zelda was still sitting, waiting.
“We’re ready to go,” smiled Fuga.
“Right now?” Zelda’s head perked up.
Fuga nodded, and opened the jail door. Fuga, so excited about leaving Gerudo Desert for the first time in a while, was speaking faster than they or princess Zelda expected.
“We’ll be following the Gerudo Highland cliffs to get to the Gateway. From there, we’ll take a horse to go to Central Hyrule. We should wear cloaks in order to not get seen too much, wouldn’t want to attract a lot of attention and-”
“I have a horse waiting at the canyon stable,” interrupted Zelda.
“That’s great! I’ll lend one from there.”
“You’re not blindfolding me?” Said the princess, passing by another Yiga footsoldier, who seemed to stare intensely at her.
“No, there’s not much of a use to it now that you've proven yourself trustworthy. At least, trustworthy enough. And we don't usually blind our prisoners. When we get prisoners, that is.”
They set foot outside the Yiga Hideout, the sun shining on both their faces.