At the story's start, she takes Link, whom she has been childhood friends with since they were infants, to the Picori Festival in Hyrule Town. During the ceremony following the Picori Festival Tournament, she is turned into stone by the winner, Vaati. Vaati is an evil mage searching for a legendary Light Force, and knowing Zelda has mystical powers of her own, he wants to keep her out of the way. Later, discovering that her power is, in fact, the Light Force, Vaati invades Hyrule Castle and abducts the petrified Princess, planning to sacrifice her and become a god. Link, after reforging the Four Sword, attacks the castle and faces off against Vaati. Upon defeating the evil mage, Link uses the power of the Four Sword to restore Zelda, who tells Link she had seen him on his adventure as if through a dream, to normal. Zelda then uses the power of the Magic Cap and Light Force to return Hyrule to its natural state. The overflowing power of life causes the Minish Cap to break apart. Ezlo then states that Zelda's kindness as well as the power of the Minish Cap (or Light Force, in the Japanese version of the game) created a miracle. With the time to part nearing, Zelda and Link see Ezlo off as he returns to the Minish World.
Zelda's alter egos appear to have specialized abilities of their own. In Skyward Sword, it is implied that Zelda and her subsequent incarnations' abilities may be due to her connection to the Goddess Hylia and are potentially divine in nature. In Breath of the Wild, both Kass and Impa refer to the Princess of Hyrule as possessing the blood of the Goddess in their retelling of the legend of Calamity Ganon's defeat ten thousands years ago. Unlike other incarnations, the Breath of the Wild incarnation of Zelda initially has trouble awakening her powers, and as a result develops an interest in science and ancient technology. In Link's memories she is shown using the Sheikah Slate which Link uses 100 years later. She is familiar with Gerudo Town law and uses it to her advantage to allude Link's protection detail as Link a man could not accompany Zelda into Gerudo Town a fact Zelda used to her advantage. However her privileged upbringing means she apparently lacks Link's level of physical fitness and was easily cornered by three Yiga Clan Footsoldiers despite running as fast as she could. Zelda is well read and capable researcher though as shown in one of Link's memories when she fails to realize a Hot-Footed Frog has to be cooked into a Hasty Elixir enhance the consumer's physical abilities due to her excitement over catching one and enthusiasm to study its effects using Link as a test subject due to his high level of physical fitness causing her to try and humorously force Link to consume the uncooked frog despite his visible disgust. However her expertise in studying ancient technology is enough that she can calibrate Divine Beasts and understand their functions and inner workings with Divine Beasts being her primary focus along with the Sheikah Slate. She also realized the significance of the Shrine of Resurrection and ensured it was restored to working order upon discovering it was a medical facility recognizing Ganon must be formidable to necessitate such a facility. Zelda also possess precognition like her previous incarnations as she felt something horrible would happen before the Great Calamity and recognized the increased monster activity was a sign of Ganon's return. She also has some medical knowledge such as the medical applications of various flower species in Hyrule and first aid as she treated Link's minor injuries he received fight monsters in Eldin Canyon. She also apparently has an interest in growing endangered flower species such as Silent Princess which despite her and other people's efforts have failed to grow domestically. Zelda is also shown to be a capable horseback rider who has her own Royal White Stallion. Her concept artwork even depicts her wielding a riding crop. However she requires advice from Link to improve her relationship with her horse as while she is a capable rider she apparently failed to consider its feelings until Link advised her how to soothe her horse and inspired Zelda to empathize with her horse improving their relationship. After awakening her powers, Zelda is shown to be strong enough to seal both herself and Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle for 100 years. She also recognized Link would likely lose his memories from the untested Slumber of Restoration thus took steps to help him recover his memories through pictures she left on the Sheikah Slate and a final picture kept by Impa. Interestingly, in both Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild, Zelda does not age while sealed by her own powers. Yet, in the latter, she appears fully conscious of the outside world while in stasis, likely having the same perception of time as Link. Due to her aging being halted she remains physically seventeen despite being approximately 117 years old as she turned seventeen around the time the Great Calamity began and she kept Ganon sealed for approximately a hundred years making her the oldest known living incarnation of Zelda due to not aging at all for a century.
According to the in-game backstories, the world of Hyrule was created by the three golden goddesses: Din, Farore, and Nayru. Before departing, the goddesses left a sacred artifact called the Triforce, which could grant powers to the user. It physically manifests itself as three golden triangles in which each embodies one of the goddesses' virtues: Power, Courage, and Wisdom. However, because the Triforce has no will of its own and it could not judge between good and evil, it would grant any wish indiscriminately. Because of this, it was placed within an alternate world called the "Sacred Realm" or the "Golden Land" until one worthy of its power and has balanced virtues of Power, Wisdom, and Courage in their heart could obtain it, in its entirety. If a person is not of a balanced heart, the triforce part that the user mostly believes in will stay with that person and the remainder will seek out others. In order to master and control the triforce as a whole, the user must get the other parts found in other individuals and bring them together to reunite them. The Sacred Realm can itself be affected by the heart of those who enters it: those who are pure will make it a paradise, while those who are evil will transform it into a dark realm.