Legend of Zelda: The Return is a Zelda fanfic by Rose Zemlya. It takes place after OoT with the assumption that Link lost all of his memories of the events in the game when Zelda sent him back in time. Because of this, he has lived through a "normal" childhood, living and working in the Archery Shop in Castle Town, spending his free time riding his horse, or hanging out with the ranch girl Malon and the mysterious Sheikah boy, Sheik.
One day, he is asked to deliver a special package directly to Princess Zelda, and his carefree life comes to an end. Dark Link suddenly appears, looking to use the Hero of Time's blood to break the seal on Ganondorf. Link must relearn the events of Ocarina of Time, become reaquainted with allies he can't remember, and bring Hyrule together to fight against Ganon's army before Ganondorf can be released from the Sacred Realm.
The author has expanded on the universe of the Zelda games, paying special attention to the cultures and societal structures of the different races.
An audiobook adaptation is in progress here.
Tropes found in both The Return and Reconciliation:
- Aerith and Bob: Original characters have names varying from Neesha and Acqul to Thomas and Natalia.
- Alternate Timeline: When Zelda sent Link back in time, an alternate timeline was created so that Link could grow up normally.
- Amazon Brigade: The Gerudo, obviously.
- Ascended Extra: The man in the archery shop is given a name and important role in this story.
- Dark Link as well. He's only a miniboss in Ocarina of Time, but in The Return he has a much more prominent role.
- Bag of Holding: Saria gave one to Link as a gift when he left the Kokiri forest in the altered timeline.
- Big Bad: Guess who.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Link spent his altered-timeline childhood living in the archery shop, so of course he's good with a bow. Once he regains his memories of Ocarina of Time, he becomes adept with the sword as well.
- Brick Joke / Call-Back: In an early chapter of The Return, Link makes up a new word to describe the worst possible situation: Link. In Reconciliation, when Link and Neesha are captured by guards:From worse to Link we go.
- Child Soldiers: Gerudo girls are trained from a very young age in the ways of combat, and are considered full adults by the time they are 13.
- Darker and Edgier: than Ocarina of Time.
- Deadpan Snarker: Link.
- Which is often countered by snarks from Navi, Hunter, Neesha, or even Zelda.
- The Dragon: Dark Link in Return, Agahnim in Reconciliation.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The towers of Din, Farore, and Nayru in Reconciliation.
- Exact Words: After they finish bringing him up to speed at Lon Lon Ranch, Link feels the need to go for a ride. Zelda warns him not to leave and he promises not to go near the gates. He jumps over the fence instead.
- Fairy Companion: Navi, of course.
- Fictionary: the Sheikah language.
- Giant Spider: Link has a particularly memorable run-in with some giant Skulltula and Dark Link just prior to regaining his memories.
- Great Escape: The beginning of Reconciliation.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Link develops one rather quickly.
- Heroic BSoD: Link suffers a couple throughout the series, especially when Zelda is kidnapped.
- Hunter goes through his own after Jinni's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Link, near the end of Return.
- There's also Jinni to save Hunter.
- I Am Who?: Aside from all the Hero-of-Time business, Link is also king of the Gerudo.
- Jerkass: Aside from the obvious Link, Navi and Zelda have their moments (Navi in particular). The Gerudo race are full of these.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Link and Brayden
- Lady Land: The Gerudo Fortress.
- Long-Lost Relative: Hunter.
- Magic Music: Songs from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
- Meaningful Name: Bruiser.
- Also Hunter, who wants to hunt Dark Link down right away, despite him knowing that he's Link's father.
- Missing Mom: Most of the main characters.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni, Purple Oni: Hunter and Link tend to be red and blue respectively, while Neesha switches between the two depending on the situation.
- The Reveal: Link being the son of a runaway Gerudo, and thus the rightful king of the Gerudo.
- Sheik's identity, though more to Link than the readers.
- Dark Link being Link's father, Brayden.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Neesha in chapter 12 of Reconciliation, much to her dismay.
- Tempting Fate: A couple of times, and occasionally lampshaded:Link: It's just Castletown. I'm safe there. What could go wrong?Hunter: I hate it when you say that.
- ¡Three Amigos!: Link, Hunter, and Neesha, eventually.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The nature of time travel and memories. So Zelda sent Link back into the past, in accord with the ending to OoT. Link also doesn't remember those last 7 years, nor does anyone else. Which is fine, as thanks to time travel, those years haven't happened yet. But the sages and Zelda somehow do remember them, while nobody else realizes that they've lived the last 7 years twice.
Either those seven years no longer exist or they exist in an alternate timeline. But alternate timelines can't have an effect on each other (that's why they're alternates). Yet this story seems to suggest that those 7 years both did and did not happen. For example, in the new timeline, Ganondorf is imprisoned. What happened in the new timeline to cause that to happen? Or did Ganondorf simply vanish the moment Link returned from the future?
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Link and Hunter have Type 2 examples quickly after meeting.