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Fanfic / When the Brush Hits the Canvas

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When the Brush Hits the Canvas is a The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds novelization by HelenTheMoon posted on Fanfiction Dot Net. The first chapter was posted in 2016, and is currently still in progress.

The Archive of Our Own version is here.

It is strongly suggested that any readers should be familiar with the original game, as this work contains unmarked spoilers.

When the Brush Hits the Canvas provides examples of:


  • Adaptation Distillation: All non-money treasure chests, rupees on the field, pots and most bonus caves are removed. This also counts as Gameplay and Story Segregation. Though the pot-breaking is mentioned once.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several aspect of the world's setting are given a lot more attention than in the game.
    • Hyrule's unchanged world map since A Link to the Past is explained to be a result of a general economic and societal decline.
    • The Eastern Palace is explained to be an archeological site that had been named a "palace" after the Hedge Maze that surrounded it — its true name having been lost in time — and almost impenetrable. Some more detail is given in its construction.
    • At one point, Ravio launches on a full-blown lecture of how exactly magic functions.
    • Stalfos are explained to be skeletons of people fallen in battle or died in a cursed place.
    • The reason there are no boats or ships is because the Zoras are so fiercely territorial that they destroyed Hyrule's art of sailing by attacking ships.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Sahashrala sent his pupil Osfala to a dangerous and remote location, and then he is informed that there's a magical kidnapper on the loose going after him.
    • Ms. Lily searches in the forest for her son Gulley, only to find out that he has vanished from the face of earth.
    • An even worse version of the above happens after all the Sages are kidnapped. Not only Link is uncertain just who was taken and how many there were, their families are also horrified. Irene's grandmother begs Link to bring her back.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Ravio calls Link "Mr. Hero".
  • Agent Peacock: Yuga. He is a extremely competent mage — better than anyone in Hyrule — and he dresses in a very flamboyant manner.
  • Alice Allusion: Chapter 10 is titled "Down the Rabbit Hole". Also, the final line of chapter 9 is a rewording of a line of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Advertisement:
  • All Caps: While they are frequently used to indicate a character is yelling, they also appear when Link's thought process becomes... odd.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When an old man yells at Link for stopping him from drinking his milk in peace:
    If this guy is drinking milk then I'm the King of Evil.
  • Animal Motifs: Ravio and rabbits. He wears a rabbit mask, and puts rabbit decorations on all his merchandise.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Very few people believe Link's story that Seres and the Captain were turned into paintings in spite of living in a land full of magic.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Osfala is convinced that he is absolutely invincible simply because he is descended from the Seven Sages. He gets his ass handed to him by Yuga.
    Osfala: I'm a descendant of the original Seven Sages. I'm just as powerful as them!
    Link: Say what?!
    Osfala: I even got myself a Sand Rod, so I'm more or less invincible. Bold talk, you might say, but it's simply the truth.
  • Bag of Holding: Gulley's pouch can contain absolutely everything and anything, regardless of size. It also has two pockets at the front so Link can put anything he wants quick access to.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Yuga is running around in Hyrule transforming people into paintings.
  • Bizarrchitecture: All the dungeons contain a Bottomless Pits that should be impossible to exist, because there are floors beneath them. Link is more than baffled, and decides not to think about it.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Gulley is very fond of trolling Link. He is all to gleeful to shove Link into the wolves.
    "For an adorable, seven year old, fully cheeked, short boy with blond hair, cute freckles and wide sparkly blue eyes, Gulley could surely be a jerk."
  • Bottomless Pit:
    • Several dungeons, leading Link to wonder how that's even possible.
    • The chasms that tear apart Lorule have no bottom in sight.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • Ravio's pet is described as a "bird... mouse... head... thing".
    • Queen Oren in her bloated form is described as a "HUMONGOUS green... female... thing".
  • Cassandra Truth: When Link tells a guard that Seres and the Captain have been turned into paintings, the guard doesn't believe a word and assumes that Link is making excuses to see the princess.
  • Chekhov's Gift: Just like in the game, Ravio's bracelet - which he gives to him instead of rent - saves Link from being trapped as a painting.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In chapter 8, Link is saved by the StreetPass grandpa of all people. He was previously given only a throwaway line in chapter 4.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Link uses his smithing skills to adjust his new shield's grip so a left-handed person can use it.
  • Crapsack World: Lorule. It's a place mostly abandoned by life, with many monsters, and nobody trusts anybody. Several complaints found at Hilda's office are also about issues like poverty and hunger. Not to mention that it's literally crumbling away, with huge chasms that tear apart the country and block access to many locations.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Link most usually, but a few other characters are pretty snarky as well.
    Zora guard: Go ahead. Try avoid getting blasted. Or eaten. Or catching a terminal cold that may spell the end of your swimming endeavors.
  • Death Mountain: The trope namer is back, this time with constant earthquakes that result in a never-ending stream of rolling boulder, weird gasses that block visibility, lava and a Rupee factory.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In Hyrule, entering people's houses uninvited is the norm, and a sign of friendliness. If one doesn't want any visitors, they must lock the door.
  • Dem Bones: Stalfos are the skeletons of people who died horrible deaths.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Both Link and Zelda have a dream in which Link is locked into battle with a terrible monster. That's how Zelda recognizes Link when she meets him for the first time.
  • Drunk on Milk: Justified. Chateau Romani is a milk-based beverage that DOES have alcohol in it.
  • End of an Age: Discussed. Link notes that most countries are supposed to have multiple cities and villages, but most of Hyrule's population is condensed in Kakariko village next to the castle, with other people far and few between, some even living in the wilderness. There are problems with monster infestation, criminals, decreasing population and there has not been a single new building in over four centuries. Justified in that this is - according to Nintendo's Hyrule Historia - the timeline in which Ganon defeated Link at the end of Ocarina of Time.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Hera has a reputation as a Hero Killer.
  • Fell Asleep Standing Up: Link finds Sahasrahla snoring while standing, leaning on his cane for support. Apparently it happens a lot.
  • Flawed Prototype: The Sheikah technology seen in this fic is nowhere close to as spectacular or durable as the one seen in Breath of the Wild. Armos, in particular, are noted to be very fragile.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Right after Yuga turns Seres into a painting, he remarks that "Her Grace will be pleased". Anyone who has played the game will realise he's talking about Hilda.
    • A rather subtle one, but Ravio cannot tell with much confidence what time of the day it's supposed to be - whether it's morning or afternoon for example. That's because he's from Lorule, and the sky is different there.
    • When Link leaves to talk to the princess, Ravio says that "he has to be up to the task". With the task being stopping Hilda.
    • In the fifth chapter, while after Link finishes telling Ravio and Irene what had transpired in the Eastern Palace, Ravio's response was a non-committal "I see". Irene immediately calls him out on it.
      Irene: What's with the "I see..."? You're supposed to be shocked! Do you know that Yuga guy from somewhere, bunny? Huh!?
      Ravio: Wh-what?! Me? No, of course not! I just — well, not really — no, just... It's good to avoid those folks. Yeah, that's all. 'Specially him.
    • A bit later, when Link says that Ravio saved him at the Sanctuary, Irene points out that it was "awfully good timing". Link doesn't disagree.
  • Funny Background Event: While Link is contemplating the Tower of Hera, he vaguely takes notice of a treasure hunter he ran into minutes earlier being chased by Lynels.
  • Furniture Blockade: A variant. Ravio stacked a bunch of furniture at the middle of his house to block access to the back.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Much of the dialogue is directly copied from the game.
    • The layout of the dungeons is identical to that of the game. The changes of the dungeon layout between games is also acknowledged, as Link realizes that someone has rebuilt the dungeons' interiors.
    • The Boss Fight against the Giant Moldrom goes exactly like most people's blind runs at it; Link tries several different things, and each time he gets thrown off the platform and had to climb back up, only to discover that Moldrom has healed itself.
  • Glass Cannon: Armos are very dangerous, but also very fragile.
  • Good Morning, Crono: Just like the game, the story starts when Link is woken up by Gulley.
  • The Hero: Link, just like in the game. Ravio even calls him that.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Subverted with Ravio. He goes as far as Eastern Palace - which is filled with monsters - but then he refuses to leave Link's house.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Happens all the time, mostly courtesy of Link.
    • Early in the fanfic, Link ponders the ridiculously small size of Hyrule. He also lampshades how the world layout between LttP and LBW hasn't changed at all, and even how everyone seems to live in Kakariko village (though there is an explanation about all that).
    • At some point, he angrily asks a Zora how is it that they can shoot fireballs. The Zora does not have an answer.
    • Both Link and Ravio think that Irene's — and by extension, her grandmother's — clothes are incredibly stereotypical.
    • The "most strangely dressed people" list is only there to point out some of the weirder character designs in the game.
  • Lost Woods: The trope namer returns. An Eldritch Location that is inhabited by ghosts that may or may not be familiar with Link, and several odd individuals such as the Happy Mask Salesman and the StreetPass grandpa. There is no real way in or out of the forest, and the place completely ignores basic laws of physics such as "tunnels go both ways".
  • MacGuffin: Multiple; so far there are the three Pendants and the Master Sword. The former three are required to obtain the latter.
  • Mad Artist: Yuga. He evaluates people as if they were artwork and then literally turns them into paintings and kidnaps them.
  • Made of Iron: Yuga has no problem fighting even with an arrow lodged in his guts.
  • Magitek: The Armos and the various puzzles in the dungeons, which are actually Sheikah technology.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Armos are revealed to be robots rather than enchanted statues.
  • Mirror Match: In chapter 8, we have Link versus Dark Link.
  • Mistaken for Quake: The seal that Yuga casts on Hyrule Castle causes an earthquake that's felt all over Hyrule. It causes a great deal of destruction across the land, as it made most of the livestock run away, which was everyone's main source of income.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • In chapter 3, Ravio explains to Link exactly how magic - and his merchandise - works.
    • Sahasrahla gives tidbits of Hyrule's history every other chapter.
  • Mysterious Protector: The StreetPass grandpa. He somehow finds Link in the Lost Woods - in which it is stated that adults should not be able to traverse it and there is no actual entrance - and owns a scabbard that perfectly fits the Master Sword.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Link occasionally experiences flashbacks that reference The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It's implied to be due to Reincarnation.
    • Majora's Mask is still hanging on the wall in his house.
    • He accidentally calls the Weather Vanes "bird statues''. He frequently devotes quick prayers to them.
    • When Gulley explains that his father told him you should spin the weather vanes for your prayers to reach the goddesses, he says he can't explain how that happens because "he's just a kid".
    • The Milk Bar offers Chateau Romani in its menu.
    • In chapter 8, all The Cameo characters are from other Zelda titles.
    • The Armos, Beamos and many puzzles are all Sheikah technology.
    • Link notes that the previous Hero has a bit of pink in his hair in his painting. That was the hair colour in his sprite.
    • The Pendants of Courage, Wisdom and Power don't have their in-game designs, but rather resemble the gems from Ocarina of Time.
  • Nobody Poops: Link does need to sleep, drink and rest, and he passes out from exhaustion or patches himself up multiple times while exploring. However, he never goes to the bathroom.
  • Noodle Incident: While in the Eastern Palace, upon seeing bricks of varying ages on the wall, realizes that someone has rearranged the dungeon from the inside at some point. This holds true for all of Hyrule's dungeons.
  • Oblivious to Love: Seres has no idea that the Captain has a crush on her.
  • Only Sane Man: Link frequently finds himself in this position, particularly when he was dealing with Queen Oren and her panicking Zora guards.
    Link: [utterly fed up] Then stop freaking out and DO something!
  • Overly Long Gag: Link tries to beat the Giant Moldrom over 25 times .
    ~Attempt Number 11~
    "Arrows are a bad idea.".
    ~Attempt Number 12~
    "Bombs are a very, VERY bad idea.".
  • Painful Transformation: When Seres is turned into a painting, the room fills with her screams.
  • Parental Substitute: Mr. Nick (the blacksmith) and his wife Lily have pretty much raised Link in absence of his parents.
  • Parrot Exposition: In chapter 2, where Link has to explain what happened in the Sanctuary multiple times to many different people, all of them repeat what Link told them like in the game. Link eventually wonders why does everyone keep repeating his words.
  • Princesses Rule: Princess Zelda is the sole ruler of Hyrule, without a King or Queen in sight. However, she is aided by Impa's council.
  • Purple Prose: Upon meeting Zelda. It goes on for a whole paragraph.
    "Her eyes surrounded by long dark eyelashes were like pale blue jewels that sparkled with joy and mirth. Her hair was a golden waterfall that obscured even the sunlight."
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Link's first confrontation with Yuga does not go well for Link. Other than being turned into a painting, he is also left with a serious scar on his right arm.
    • Zelda doesn't rule Hyrule alone; it's shown that she asks Impa for council for her every decision.
    • When Link sees plastic for the first time, he has no idea what it is and spends quite a lot of time studying it.
    • Most people are right-handed, so for southpaw Link, buying shields is an issue.
    • Link may be able to recognise all the monsters in Hyrule thanks to his reading, but he has no idea what the boss of the House of Gales is because nobody has seen such a thing before.
    • In the game, Irene was simply the fast-travelling mechanic, and the player could call her at any given moment. However, here Link has to be mindful of her own schedule, and tells her to stick around if he needs to leave immediately afterwards.
    • Unlike the game, where Link has no problem traversing lava pits, here the volcano acts like a volcano — breathing is almost impossible because of the gasses and the moisture, he is dehydrating at an impossible speed, and he can barely handle opening his eyes.
    • Link has no idea what to do when he ends up in Lorule. Unlike us gamers, he doesn't have access to a minimap. In addition, he doesn't recognize any of the monsters.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: A variant. The sky of Lorule is covered with ominous clouds in shades of yellow, orange and red, making it look like something is on fire.
  • Reincarnation: Implied. Link has flashbacks of events that happened to his predecessor on a very frequent basis.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Irene and her grandmother dress that way. Both Link and Ravio comment how stereotypical their outfit is.
  • Running Gag:
    • Link complaining for the interior design of the dungeons and the architect who designed them.
    • The "most strangely dressed people in Hyrule" list.
  • Scars Are Forever: The magical scar that Link obtains after his duel with Yuga in the Eastern Palace. It numbs his right arm and hinders its movement, and both Sahasrahla and Irene's grandmother (experienced scholar and witch respectively) admit that there's nothing they can do about it. Strangely enough, the scar also seems to reinforce Link's arm, as he suffers no injuries when he slams it against a wall.
  • Scenery Porn: Every single time Link finds himself in a really high place, there will be a detailed description of the view. Same goes for the dungeons, which are frequently given more detailed appearances than their in-game ones.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleepyhead: Link. He is frequently late for work and gets yelled at a lot for it.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Link does it twice in chapter 4. He first does it by accident as the Zora guards were too panicked to notice him, but then he invokes it on the thief by using his wall merging abilities.
    Link: Hello.
    Thief: Who's there?! Y-y-you! Where'd you come from?
    Link: Behind you.
    Thief: B-but there's only a wall here!
    Link: I know.
  • Storming the Castle: The second half of the ninth chapter is devoted to Link storming Hyrule Castle.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Link exhibits this trope a lot.
    • He has studied all the monsters on Hyrule and can recognize them on sight.
    • He can fight with greater skill than he should have. He himself is worried about this. That said, he does make rookie mistakes at first and then he keeps improving.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: Ravio's magical items glow purple when they are used. Same goes for Yuga's magic.
  • Switching P.O.V.: While the striking majority of the story is from Link's POV, occasionally the narration switches to other people such as Ravio, miss Lily and Fi.
  • Title Drop: Of the chapters. Those that cover dungeons are named after the dungeons, so the title is mentioned quite a bit. As for the others...
    • Chapter 4 is "DISASTER~!". Irene mentions it quite a few times in a conversation with Link.
    • It happens again in chapter 8 "Legacy", though this is a bit harder to spot.
  • Trash of the Titans: Sahasrahla's house if full of all sorts of books and papers scattered everywhere, and every empty spot is covered with a plant.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Link reacts this way when Ravio first calls him a hero, but he's cut short because Ravio interrupted him again.


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