Story: The Lost Years (all chapters)
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Title: The Warning
[Author's notes: Leave a review if you like!]
Everyone who plays video games knows the story of the Princess Zelda, the King of Evil, and the Hero of Time. How the Hero traveled forwards, backwards, and sideways through a seven-year period in order to save the land of Hyrule. But what if Ganon got wind of his upcoming demise? Why shouldn't he have known- he IS the King of Evil, he should've had at least one fortune-teller on staff....
"So, you're saying that that one of those little people in fairy clothes is going to kill me?"
"Do you realize you're the thirty-eighth person to predict that?"
Kotake paused for a moment before forming a reply. "Yes, your excellency."
Ganondorf simply cracked his knuckles. If for no other reason than survival, Koume saw fit to start talking at this point. "Sir, we could stop this child."
It there was one thing that Ganondorf, King of The Gerudo, hated most, it'd have to be obstacles. So anything that could eliminate said obstacle would be a goddess-send. "I'm listening."
Koume continued her train of thought- "If we could render the child unable to rise against you, then there wouldn't be a problem."
Her sister nodded. "One of our potions could do the job."
This definitely had the tall future-villain-of-all-games-involving-Zelda intrigued. "Go on... how long would making such a diabolical item take?"
The twin sorceresses looked at each other and claimed the following.
His eyes narrowed. "Any other bright ideas?"
"Um... throw a bunch of monsters at the child and hope they take the little fairy boy out?"
Ganondork- I'm sorry, Ganondorf- cracked a rare smile. "For your sakes, let's hope that the latter takes care of him."
The two witches walked out of their master's tent. It was going to be a long trip to Hyrule Castle to meet with the King...
It had been seven years since that fateful day.
Seven years since Link, the Hero of Time, pulled the Master Sword from its stone.
Seven years since Ganondorf came into possession of the Triforce of Power.
And it'd been seven years since that boy had become a real pain in that man's ass.
Waking up to find that Hyrule Castle had become a madman's hideaway was unpleasant enough. Finding out that the land Zelda made him promise to protect had gone from nice to "hell-in-a-hand-basket" wasn't a good pick-me-up either.
Link looked at Sheik. The blonde ninja had been a sort of way to catch up on what he'd missed while in hibernation ala Rip Van Winkle. A sort of necessary exposition, if you will. The ninja'd been mum thus far on one subject, however.
"What happened to the Princess?"
Sheik became as stiff as a piece of wood for a moment before loosening up again. "She found someone."
That was a sobering slap in the face. Navi, who'd been hovering around Link's head the entire conversation, suddenly stepped in. "Who?"
Link could've sworn he saw Sheik blush. "She fell in love with one of the Gerudo. Her name was Nabooru."
If Navi had a visible mouth, it would've dropped six feet two inches to the ground. She'd suspected that Zelda swung that way ever since the two had met, but she could never prove it.
Meanwhile, the cogs in Link's head finally started to turn- for all the puzzle solving that Link had to do in those dungeons, he was a dimwit at affairs of the heart. Everyway that Zelda had acted during the first time they met. The way she blushed when the serving girl brought her some water, her shyness around Impa- it all finally made sense.
One flash of blinding light later, Sheik was gone.
After a great deal of dungeon crawling, time traveling, and general drudgery, Link had awakened almost all of the Sages that could bring Ganondorf's rule to an end. And it was finally time to slay the witches Kotake and Koume and get the final medallion. Their little show of merging into one body of fire and ice was an intriguing trick, but nothing that Link's Mirror Shield couldn't handle.
As Twinrova fell to the ground, Link finally sheathed his sword. It hadn't been an easy fight- that fairy he'd kept in one of his bottles had saved his skin. He could still remember Kotake and Koume dragging Nabooru off. He hadn't realized it, but he'd pulled double-duty in this dungeon. Not only was it the usual beat the boss affair, but if Sheik had been telling the truth, then he owed it to Zelda to save her.
If the two were destined to be together, then he'd be fine with it.
He wasn't one to get into the way of love. His job was to make sure there'd still be a place for love in the world. That was the way of the hero.
After jumping into the- sixth? eighth? He'd lost count- circle of teleporting light, he found himself in the Sage's Sanctum- the one place left in the Golden Realm that hadn't been lost to the darkness of Ganondorf's wicked wish.
The yellow circle on the floor shone a brilliant light, and Link knew what was coming next.
Nabooru, in all her scantily clad glory, rose from beneath the floor to stand on it. She looked the Hero over. He had grown into a fine man- still wearing the green Kokiri clothes he'd become known for, but no longer the scrawny young boy she remembered. He was muscular, smart, courageous- or something you might find in any two-bit action movie nowadays.
"Link, thanks to you, I've been awakened as the Sage of Spirit."
She was about to continue her congratulations and hand Link her medallion when Link started speaking. "Um...Nabooru? Is it true? That you and Zelda-"
She nodded. "Yes. We did fall in love. Shortly after I was imprisoned, Zelda started to project herself into my mind every now and then to keep me sane, and it just went from there. So what Sheik told you was right." Link blinked. "You get filled in on those kind of things when you become a Sage."
Navi floated over to the newly proclaimed Sage. "When all of this is over, will you two finally get to be together?"
Once again, Nabooru nodded. "I haven't seen her since I went off searching for those Silver Gauntlets. I'm coming back to be with her once things settle down."
She saw a bit of regret take Link. "Now, Link, I'm sure you'll find someone. You've got Ruto-"
Link cringed a little bit. "No. Just no. WAY too clingy."
Nabooru pondered for a moment. "Impa?"
"We're more like siblings."
"Thanks, but no thanks."
Nabooru chuckled a little. "Rauru?"
Link cringed again. "I like girls. Besides, it sounds like some kind of twisted fanfiction."
A bright light enveloped Link just then. Time to go.
As everything went white, he could hear Nabooru's sagely advice echoing in his head.
"You'll find your someone, Link. I know I have."
She could feel her life slipping away.
Twinrova lay dying on that stone platform. Her breaths were staggered now. Her muscles ached with pain.
An Iron Knuckle entered the room carrying a glass bottle filled with a sickeningly greenish-purple concoction. His voice was guttural and rough, and spoke very little. He kneeled, and simply said,
"It is ready."
Twinrova looked at her potion-wielding minion. Has it been that long already?
"Take it.... to our... Ki...ng..."
Her head hit the floor, and she never spoke word through that body ever again.
The Iron Knuckle walked out of the room, prepared to follow his master's final orders.
Trying to slay Ganondorf without Navi's help had been hard enough. Trying to escape the crumbling castle with Sheik/Zelda at his side had been another handful. But the deed had been done. Ganon's Castle was no more.
Next thing Link knew, he was trapped in a ring of fire at least twelve feet high, with no Master Sword, and Zelda outside the magical barrier. There was a great rumbling in the earth, and a giant pig-esque monstrosity emerged from the rubble of the castle. It looked around for a moment, then found Link. The symbol of the Triforce could be found on one of its hands.
Link put two and two together and figured out that Ganondorf had somehow returned. Regardless, he wouldn't be able to win if he had no "sword of evil's bane". As the monster charged toward him, he searched frantically through his pack to find something to weaken him long enough to get his sword back.
The Light Arrows? No, Zelda was holding his bow and quiver.
Deku Nuts? Ganon would be too smart for that.
Ganon began to bum rush the panicked hero.
Not the bombs...
Not Din's Fire...
Not the Longshot...
He couldn't use the Boomerang or the Slingshot as an adult... (Why? He had no idea.)
Ganon raised his arms, prepared to crush Link in a massive bear hug.
Just as suddenly as Link had started panicking, he stopped. He pulled out the giant hammer he'd found in Death Mountain, and stood at the ready.
Ganon was only just eight feet away at this point. Link took the initiative and rolled forward, avoiding a crushing blow. Ganon couldn't react fast enough to stop Link, and kept going forward. As Link rolled between his legs, his Megaton Hammer made contact with the region where the great beast's genitalia would've been.
Whether or not they were still there, the hit still had the same effect- Ganon doubled over in pain. The ring of fire suddenly died down. Link knew this would be his only chance. He made a mad dash to the place where his sword landed, and picked it up. Zelda handed him his bow and arrow, and the Hero ran back into the fray.
Ganon finally got back up, and made another run at Link. This time, Link decided to shoot a Light Arrow at him. He shot the arrow, but he was a little off to the left. Before he could get another shot off, Ganon had him in his grasp.
The Great King lifted Link off his feet three feet into the air.
Rauru simply shook his head. 'He'll be choked to death unless he can do something.'
Saria, now sixteen in appearance, found herself shaking with fear next to the Princess of the Zora, Ruto.
Impa, Nabooru, and Darunia simply looked on, waiting for Link to make his move.
Ganon suddenly stopped, letting Link go. In retrospect, Link should've just gone for the kill right there, but the finger snap that Ganon made gave him pause.
The last Iron Knuckle came out of nowhere and smashed the glass bottle that he'd been given into the back of Link's head.
Link felt slightly dazed, partly from the impact and partly from amazement that one of those bulky Iron Knuckles had managed to sneak up on him. Regardless, he could deal with that in a heartbeat. He kicked the Iron Knuckle in the gut, toppling the giant into the flaming river of lava surrounding the castle. He took his sword in hand, and got a glint in his eye resembling a mix of Hannibal Lecter, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface.
Darunia turned away from the ensuing massacre, saying that he couldn't stomach it.
When he turned back around, he saw Link, impaling Ganon's head on the point of his sword (for massive damage). A bright light began to envelop Link's sword. He turned his head to the Sages, sweat dripping from his forehead.
One by one, the seven Sages raised their hands, light beginning to emit from them. As the light began to shoot toward the thief-turned-king-with-God-complex-monster, his eyes shot wide open. One anti-climactic flash of white light later, he was gone.
Link fell on his knees in exhaustion, beginning to drink his last Red Potion. 'I'm going to need a hell of a lot more than a Potion,' he thought, 'to get rid of this massive headache.'
Saria ran to his side and hugged the Hero. "You did it! You finally did it!"
Link grinned, and looked at her, and noticed something...different about his childhood friend. "You've... grown up!"
He wasn't lying. By some twist of fate, Saria had grown up since he'd left her in the Chamber of Sages. 'But Kokiri don't grow up...'
"Link? Are you okay? You don't look so good."
He felt something creep up his throat, ran to the edge of the rock, and lost his lunch.
Walking, no, stumbling back to the Sages, he shrugged. "I really... don't feel so good." And with that, he collapsed.
The remaining Sages ran to his side. After some initial confusion, Impa took charge. "Okay, stand back everyone! I actually know some things about medicine."
The other six Sages rose their voices in protest, but were quickly silenced by Impa's hand.
"Cold sweat... fever... unstable breathing... It's like he's having a really bad dream." She gave him a good look over before noticing some blood dripping off of his blonde locks. She spotted something shiny in there as well-
Ruto had been patient long enough. "Impa, what on earth is wrong with him?"
Impa stood up, holding a piece of glass between her index finger and her thumb. "I think that Iron Knuckle used a potion on him. Skin-absorbent, I'd guess."
"And it's killing him?"
Impa froze for a brief moment as she looked back at the Hero. "Not quite..."
Ruto was about to shoot off another question when she noticed it as well. "Is Link shrinking?"
The Sage of Shadow put her ear against his upper chest to listen to his heartbeat. 'Still erratic- wha?' Her thought process was stopped short by the newfound presence of two 'pillows', as a drunk would put it.
And Impa wasn't the only one to notice- Darunia noticed it as well. "Why does Brother have breasts now?"
"This won't end well."
[End notes: Oh yeah. I went there. With bells on.]
Title: Return to... What the?!?
[Author's notes: Okay, I'm totally ready to do this. Thanks for all the reviews!]
The Sages still couldn't believe it. Two hours since it'd happened, and the seven of them still couldn't believe it.
The fact that not one of them had spoken for two hours hadn't made things any easier, either.
Nabooru and Zelda walked over to Link's unconscious body. He(She?) definitely looked different. Hi- her face had become softer, she'd shrunk a good couple inches, and there was a definite feminine curve to Link's body. The changes to her clothes were more subtle- not counting some changes in size, it was still mostly the same Kokiri tunic that Link had grown up with.
Zelda squeezed the Gerudo's hand. "Impa says that the potion did it. It's supposed to be permanent."
Nabooru knew that her lover had watched over Link as her alter-ego, Sheik, and couldn't help but notice a tear run down her cheek. She wiped it off with her finger, unable to comfort the Princess.
A couple yards away, the Sages of Forest, Fire, Water, Light, and Shadow simply sat around a campfire they'd made from various debris of the castle.
"Come on, Rauru. She'd be safe growing up with you."
"Darunia, I've stayed in solitude for most of my life. Not exactly what a child would enjoy."
"Well, she can't stay with me," referring to Saria, Ruto, and himself. "I don't recall seeing her at any point before Link returned to Death Mountain. Having her come to me would spell disaster."
The old man's eyebrows raised a little at this but knew that he had a point. His brows rose even further when he saw Saria and Ruto holding hands for a brief moment. "Yes, we can't take care of her, either."
"Well, um, yes. Link is one of my best friends, but it just wouldn't be a wise idea for either of us to care for her." "And while she's technically still my fiancé under Zora law, Link would be frozen underwater- not exactly a barrel full of Cuccos," Ruto chimed in almost reluctantly.
"I don't really remember too many details, but for the most part, Zelda was hiding with me for two years, and the rest of that time I mostly spent helping expand Kakariko Village. Not a good option."
The Sage of Light shook his head. "That takes Zelda out of the running, too. And Nabooru got imprisoned shortly after Link went to sleep, so that means that not a single one of us can look after her."
Zelda and Nabooru finally rejoined the rest of the Sages. "No great ideas from our end, either."
Zelda glanced at Link's childhood friend. "Can any of the races take him in?"
Saria, Ruto, and Darunia all gave her a solid 'no'.
"The Zora get frozen under a sheet of ice, I just told you that."
"My people got imprisoned by Volvagia, remember? I can pretty much guarantee that she'd get eaten."
"Kokiri generally don't like anyone that isn't one of them already."
After reconfirming with the others, Zelda finally sat down, tired from all the events from the previous day. She quickly glanced around the gathering of Sages.
Nabooru, Sage of Spirit, had been imprisoned nearly all seven years of Link's nap ala Rip Van Winkle. She'd been through hell, but she was a warrior. She had fallen asleep on Zelda's shoulder.
Darunia, Sage of Fire, had taken a massive blow to his ego after failing to stop the ancient dragon Volvagia from kidnapping the Gorons. His 'Brother' Link came through for him, though. He sat complacent, staring into the fire.
Rauru, Sage of Light, had suffered the least of the Sages. He'd been looking after Link during his hibernation. The Princess just couldn't read the old monk to figure out what made him tick, simply staring out into the landscape.
If Ruto, Sage of Water, was shell shocked from having to break off her engagement to Link, she didn't show any sign of it. She only avoided the same fate as her brethren through Zelda's (disguised as Sheik) intervention.
Speaking of Saria, Sage of Forest, she'd somehow grown up, despite the fact that Kokiri supposedly never age. She had missed Link like no tomorrow since their separation as kids, and their subsequent reunion and second separation had been equally painful. She sat closely to Ruto. 'Probably seeking comfort.'
Impa had taken the transformation with a cool exterior. She had also had a relatively easy seven years, looking after Zelda before sending her to hide in Gerudo Valley for safety. After that, she spent her years in Kakariko Village before being awakened as the Sage of Shadow.
Princess Zelda, the Sage of Wisdom, had had her hands full for the last seven years, hiding with Impa in Kakariko, learning how to hide herself using Sheikiah magicks. The other five years were spent hiding on the face of a valley cliff outside the Gerudo hideout, telepathically communicating with Nabooru and ensuring that she was not totally lost to the world.
Despite all the adversity the seven Sages combined had gone through, none of them could really accept that the King of Evil had gotten the last laugh and turned Link, a model of masculinity (secure enough to wear green and have an earring, although no one could figure out where it came from), into a full-blown woman.
Saria began to walk to Link's unconscious body when she accidentally kicked a glass bottle. The object rolled for a second before the green-haired Kokiri picked it up.
She found that the bottle was filled with... something. She turned the bottle to look at the label. It simply read 'Lon Lon Milk'.
'Oh... head hurts... I'm gonna need another potion for that.'
Link struggled to get off of the ground, to find that everything around was white. No ruins of the castle, no pools of lava, and no broken glass. The Hero finally stood up to find Zelda holding the Ocarina of Time, looking sad for some reason.
"Ganondorf's gone, Link. You did it." She smiled for a quick moment, before adding, "But I think he got the last laugh."
Confused, Link started to speak. "What are yo- hm!?!?"
'Why is my voice sound so weird?'
The Princess sighed. "Link, I'm not exactly sure how to say this..."
'And what is up with her? I'm still alive...'
Link decided to look down to double-check that that statement was still true, to find two mounds planted on his upper chest. The Hero of Time stared at them for a brief moment, still confused, before he put two and two together and made four instead of fish.
Link's hand released the two protruding mounds and went to his pants, to find that something had gone missing. He looked up at Zelda, wearing a mix of dumbfoundedness and bleak revelation on his (her?) face.
"I'm sorry Link, but they managed to get off a parting shot before you slashed up the King. He turned you into a woman."
Link's eye twitched. Everything had gone topsy-turvy. He was a she. Something didn't quite add up here.
"I guess this goes a lot further than not being able to pee while standing up, huh." She (He?) stared at Zelda, who just looked at him (well, her now). "I mean, you can fix this, right?"
Zelda bit her lip, and closed her eyes shut. "I don't think so. Impa said it might be p-permanent."
Link fell to his knees as the news finally hit home. Words failed hi- her.
Neither spoke for quite some time. "I have to send you back, Link."
The Hero-ine of Time didn't budge. "You still have the rest of your childhood left. I think it's only fair you get those lost seven years back."
That statement got Link back on her feet. "Zelda, I don't see the point. There's no one who'll take me in. None of the Sages-"
"Don't worry, Link. The Goddesses have been kind to you this far. I know they'll find you shelter."
Link could feel a tear run down her cheek. Zelda prepared to play the Ocarina to send him back, when she hesitated.
"Link, I need to warn you. You will need to lie low during these next few years. Doing something crazy will only spell disaster for this time."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that you can't go looking for any of the Sages. And if you see them, or anyone for that matter, you can't let them know that it's you. It would create a time paradox, and the Goddesses really hate dealing with those. So no real heroic stuff, alright?"
She nodded. "Can I at least talk to any of the Sages?"
"...Good question. I know that you definitely can't talk to Darunia or Rauru. Everyone else is fair game, but you can't let them know it's you, and you can't tell them anything about what's happened over the past few years. Again, that could cause a catastrophe later on. Okay?"
Link just clenched her fists. With that, Zelda raised the Ocarina to her mouth, and began to play a tune that Link had come to know well during her time-traveling adventure- the Song of Time.
"Mr. Cluckers! Come back here!!!"
As Hylians walked through the shopping district of Hyrule Castle Town, a few noticed a large Cucco running through the crowd, followed by a redheaded girl who appeared to be about eleven years old. Ask any regular shopper, and they'll tell you that this annoyance happened every month or so
But as Malon Lon would tell you, at least one Cucco usually escapes from the ranch when Talon and she go to deliver milk to the castle. Today would prove to be no different... or so she thought.
See, the Cuccos always had the sense to stay in the market area. This time, the chicken-like bird was crazy enough to actually go into different parts of town. The fowl led the ranch girl on a bit of a goose chase, clucking through the alleys and attracting a pack of dogs before losing them in the Mask Shop.
Mr. Jacob Mathews loved his shop. Loved it, knew almost every face in town. So he knew that once the milk came into town, all bets were off. So he wasn't at all surprised when one crazed Cucco bird shuffled into his store, being chased by a slightly miffed kid.
"Sorry, Mr. Mathews!"
Jacob simply shrugged his shoulders, and sighed as the pair ran out of his store as quickly at they'd run in.
The two had been running in circles for about half an hour now, when the crazy little stinker got caught.
Malon had gotten very good at catching those feathery little devils, and usually had a portable kennel of sorts on her father's milk cart, just in case this thing came up. She put the bird in the cage, and sat down, tired from its escapade. The sun was preparing to set, and the stores were closing up for the night.
Just then, a giant bird came flying by, coming within inches of hitting Malon on the nose with its wingtip. It rose into the sky, then began flying to the west, toward the Gerudo Desert. Any scholar could've told you that the offending fowl was actually the legendary wise owl, the Kaepora Gaebora, which was only said to appear to those whose destiny would change the fate of Hyrule and its neighbors.
It had flown out of the Temple of Time, a place of worship for those faithful to the three goddesses, Din, Farore, and Nayru. Malon had always been a bit curious about what the inside of that Temple looked like, because she never seen such a unique structure. Sure, Hyrule Castle was impressive, but after helping her father, Talon, deliver milk all the time, it lost its aura of majesty to her. All she knew about the Temple was that a preacher delivered sermons there every seventh day.
She entered the massive stone building, amazed and in awe of the beautiful stained glass windows near the ceiling. The inside of the place was as big as she had thought it would be, but she didn't expect it to be purely empty- as in, no chairs. Malon kept walking, pausing briefly to notice three jewels floating in mid-air above an raised stone tablet.
These stones were the three legendary Spiritual Stones, entrusted to three of the major races of the area- the Kokiri Emerald, the Goron Ruby, and the Zora Sapphire. Together, these three stones, combined with the Ocarina of Time, would open the door to the Triforce, a sort of radio to the three goddesses with one purpose- to grant a wish, any wish, to anyone who touched it. These safeguards also served another purpose- to protect the blade of evil's bane, the Master Sword.
Whether Malon knew any of this or not was irrelevant, because she saw a large stone door in front of her that had been left wide open. 'Maybe the bird came from in here...'
As she walked through the door, she saw a stone pedestal, and right next to that pedestal was a body lying prostrate on the ground. The green clothing immediately set off warning signals in her brain. She kneeled beside the unconscious person.
"Fairy Boy?" She nudged the prone boy repeatedly, until she noticed an envelope right next to her, bearing the Royal Seal, with one noticeable exception- the datestamp on the seal was off- way off. Exactly seven years from today off. She opened the object carefully, to find two hastily crafted letters.
After about six minutes, Link finally started to stir. Now, for those of you who have never time-traveled before, then consider this. Going to sleep for seven years ala Rip Van Winkle feels like taking a good nap, followed by a cup of good coffee. So going back in time is like losing that sleep, which in essence means that you lose consciousness until you get at least two hours rest. Add to that fact that Link had been lying on the ground that whole time, and you begin to understand just how uncomfortable she felt right now.
She felt pain, then a twinge of sorrow as she recalled what had just transpired seven years from that day. She sat up, scratching her head, when she finally realized that she wasn't alone.
The Hero-ine of Time finally turned her head to find the redhead that had accidentally helped her see Princess Zelda so long ago was now by her side.
Malon just sat there, not believing what she was reading.
"I have to go now."
Great. The one person that had been through thick and thin with her throughout that video game- I mean, adventure- was deciding that know would be a good time to leave.
"Look, it's not my choice. The Great Deku Tree specifically said to watch over 'the boy', and well... Look, even if you hadn't gotten splashed with that gunk, you've basically got the skills and attitudes of a grown man now. So either way, I have to leave."
She began to fly toward the glass window closest to the ceiling, when she stopped.
"Link, if you ever drop by the Forest again, I'll still be around."
And with that, she was off. Link just looked at the window, heartbroken. When she finally stopped looking, she noticed that Malon had somehow left during Navi's goodbye, and had come back carrying some clothes.
"Put these on, Link."
"Malon, what on-"
"Look, there were these letters and one of them said that something very bad was going to happen tonight. I need to get you away from here before sunset."
Link began to take off his tunic when she stopped, a hint of a blush on her face.
"Link, we're both girls now."
The blonde didn't budge. Frustrated, Malon turned around, and walked behind the stone entryway.
Link had never worn anything like it in his whole life- granted, he'd never worn anything but certain types of tunics, but this was like it. If you can imagine a Japanese school uniform for a fifth or sixth grade girl, then you'd be on the right track.
"Where on earth did you get this thing?"
"Some guy who called himself 'Deus Ex Machina'. Now hurry! Dad should be waiting for us at the gate!"
Malon grabbed Link by the hand and began to run wildly for the door. As the pair exited the building, both could easily see that the sun had almost set. Blood-curdling screaming began to fill the air.
'Oh, crud,' Malon thought. 'It's already starting just like the letter said!'
Link recognized that scream anywhere, but she still hoped that it wasn't-
It was. A six foot five zombie-like mass had cornered one of the local beggars, paralyzing him with its fearsome cry. This was a Redead, a magical monster that fed off of the energy of the living. Link had fought many of these beasts in the past, but still got the chills every time she saw one.
She prepared to grab her bow and fire off a Light Arrow, but as it turned out she couldn't use it anymore- it was too big for a child.
The Redead was within ten feet of the beggar now.
Link couldn't use the Longshot...
No Megaton Hammer...
Link then pulled out her trusty Boomerang. After a quick moment, she flung it at the beast, making impact before the weapon rounded back for its return flight.
The gamble worked, and the Redead was stunned. Link then went to town on the minion, slashing it to no end with that tiny little butter knife called the Kokiri Sword.
Redeads were beginning to appear all over town now, and panic began to ensue.
The beast finally went down for the count, but three Redeads arrived and lunged at Malon. As frightened as she was, she managed to escape their deathly cold grasp.
The people of the town had run to the fountain, now surrounded by Redeads.
Link knew she was outmatched- she'd need some time on this one.
Time. That was the answer.
The boy-gone-girl now reached for a different item, but couldn't find it. 'Where is the Ocarina of Time? Did Zelda keep it?'
"Malon, have you seen a blue Ocarina?"
"No, but that reminds me, you did leave something at the farm before you left last time." She whipped out an item that Link hadn't seen since Zelda's escape- Saria's Fairy Ocarina.
Link took the instrument, and began to play the Sun's Song. As the final notes flew from the device, all of the zombies froze in place, magically bound by the song.
The frenzied throng of townsfolk wasted no time in running out of Dodge, heading in the direction of Kakariko Village.
Link prepared a magic spell that she had learned from one of the Great Fairies from his childhood. She grabbed Malon, pulled her close, and activated the spell.
She thrusted her left fist into the air, and punched it into the ground, enchanting said fist with all of her magic. The impact, with the combined effect of the Golden Gauntlets and whatever magic Link had leftover from her fight with Ganon, combined to form a dome of fire around the two. This dome shot out from its origin, burning all of the Redeads whilst leaving the building untouched.
The sheer stress of using Din's Fire in that magnitude exhausted the young girl, nearly collapsing where she stood. She slumped on the Malon's shoulder, while the redhead tried to run frantically for the gate, Link in one hand and her old clothes in the other. They finally found Talon and Mr. Cluckers, on top of the milk cart, asleep. Figures, don't it?
After they climbed on board, they proceeded to awaken the sleeping behemoth. Yelling didn't work, and neither did force-feeding him milk. Pulling at his mustache was a tremendous failure. Finally, Link pulled out Mr. Cluckers and pulled on his coxcomb. The resulting crow could've shaken dead men from the grave, including fat oafs who sleep all day.
And so it did. Talon finally sat upright, commanding the horses to ride forth. The cart rode forth into the night as the castle drawbridge rose, stopping any Redead from pursuing.
Malon finally came off of her adrenaline rush, and looked down at the floor of the milk cart, to find that she was still holding Link's hand. She finally let go of the embattled Hero-ine, noticing that she looked extremely tired.
Talon looked back at the two. "So, who's your friend, Malon? Did you meet her in town?"
His daughter looked at the mustachioed man. The letter warned her not to tell, but she also knew from the letter that she'd have to watch out over him.
"Yep. She'll be staying with us as a ranch hand."
That got Talon thinking. "I don't remember needing anymore help around the ranch besides you and Ingo..."
"Please, Dad! She's got no place to go!"
Talon was a jolly man, much to both girl's fortune. "Alright. But only if I get to hear her name."
Link knew he couldn't use his birth name. Heck, he'd probably never be able to use it for the rest of his natural life.
"Lina," she said. "My name is Lina."
And with that, she fell asleep, tired from all that had occurred (to her, at least) over the past couple of hours.
Title: Year 1: The Letter, the Hammer, and the Boy
[Author's notes: Yep, it's back for a third round. The next couple of chapters are in different time periods, so pay attention to the chapter title!]
First, there was light. Then, there was pain.
As Link (or Lina, as she had introduced herself to Talon) finally woke up from last night's escapades, she ached all over. Ganon, time-travel, and a whole slew of Redead all in one day was more than even a Hero could take.
From what Link (Lina, whatever) could remember from her last visit to the farm, she was in Malon's room, just upstairs from where Talon kept the chickens.
Malon had the usual stuff in her room that one would expect from a Hylian- bed, some chairs, a cabinet, a chest (not of the treasure variety), and a closet... there was other stuff too, but it was more or less what you'd expect from a young girl's room.
She could hear someone coming up the stairs and trying to open the door, with some difficulty. The door opened, to reveal Malon holding a tray, which in turn held some hot soup and fresh milk.
"Good to see you awake. Are you okay?"
Link/ Lina just shook her head. "How would you feel if you had to be a boy for the rest of your life?"
The bedridden girl began to eat the soup, finding that it was pretty good.
"What is this?"
"Tomato soup. Dad taught me how to make it."
"You're a pretty good cook."
Malon smiled just a little. "Thanks. I have to go back down to help move some hay bales, so I'll see you later, okay?"
And with that, Malon left Link with her food. Link simply devoured the sustenance contently, enjoying the taste. 'Best food I've tasted in a very long time.'
Her eyes shifted at the end of the meal to two pieces of paper that had been sticking out of Malon's chest. Intrigued, Link placed the tray at the side of the bed, and pulled the slips out of their spot. The two pieces of paper looked tattered, and had a few ink blots.
The Hero-ine turned the papers over to find that they were actually letters. She read the one in her left hand first.
Malon (At least I hope it is)-
I apologize for not being able to explain this in person, so I must do it in writing. I'm writing to you from seven years in the future- but just listen to me.
The last time we talked, I said that Link would grow up to be a great man. And that he did- he defeated a great evil that enthralled the land. But it came at a great price.
In the final moments of vanquishing said evil, Link was... changed. He was transformed into a woman through the use of a dark potion. According to Impa, it's probably permanent.
The Sages and I have agreed that the only thing we can do for Link now is to send her back to her own time, which for us is seven years ago- but for you, hopefully it's now.
As a friend, Malon, I need you to grant me a huge favor- look after her for me. Link is going to probably be feeling miserable for a while, and she's got no place to go. Protect her, Malon. She's been through so much already.
To become the Hero that we needed, Link lost seven years, sleeping until his eighteenth year. Maybe you can help him make some good memories for those lost years.
'Well, that explains why Malon hasn't asked any questions yet.'
She put the letter back where she found it, nearly forgetting that there was another in her right hand. Figuring that this slip would also be insightful, she began to read it.
It's Ruto. Thanks for letting me and Saria hang out at your place during the last couple years. I-
'Wait a second- since when was Saria allowed to leave the forest?'
Saria was the only Kokiri whom she'd really been close with, and Saria would probably have followed Link on her adventure if given the chance. Problem was that Kokiri were not allowed to leave the Kokiri Forest, mostly because it was rumored that they could not survive outside it.
'Maybe being the future Sage of Forest had something to do with it... still doesn't explain how she grew up.'
That was another thing that Link didn't understand. Kokiri never grew up- they always looked like children. So when Link saw a grown Saria shortly before losing his manhood, it was like getting a bucket of cold water in the face out of nowhere.
Bringing herself out of that train of thought, she continued reading the letter.
I can't thank you enough for being a friend to a stuck up princess and a sheltered Kokiri. But as a friend, I feel that I have to warn you about something.
As you've probably read from Zelda's letter, Link was turned into a girl, and we've basically trusted you to keep watch over her.
Malon, strange things are going to happen over the next seven years. For instance, monsters that are neither among the dead or the living will arise at sunset- tonight. Tonight will be the only time in the next three years and eight months that they'll show, but it'll happen every day after that- so stay away after that.
In short, after you finish reading this, get Link some new clothes (people will recognize her by the tunic), and get him (really, it's getting confusing) out of the Hyrule Castle area.
One more thing- don't try and warn me, Saria, or anyone about what's happened to Link. We won't understand anyway.
Princes Ruto of the Zora
'And that explains how Malon knew about the Redead. Still no real answers about Saria.'
Link made a mental note that she should ask her 'old friend' about that if- no, when, she showed up at the ranch about that. Regardless, she was going to have to act like a complete stranger toward her.
Another noise from the stairs- someone was coming. Link quickly put the other letter back in the chest, grabbed the tray, and hopped back into bed.
The person who opened the door this time wasn't Malon. The man at the door wasn't Talon either. Whereas Talon was stout, chubby, and had a bushy mustache, this one was about twice as tall, three times as skinny, and had a very long mustache, like the kind that you'd see on the villain of a really old black and white movie.
"You're Lina, right?"
Link nearly forgot to nod 'yes', but remembered to at the last second.
"Good." The lanky ranch hand extended his hand toward her. "Name's Ingo. I'm another ranch hand. Good to see that that lazy oaf finally got someone to help me out besides his own daughter." He spat "lazy oaf" out of his mouth with some disgust.
"I mean, the guy owns the place, he should at least try and help out with something besides sleep!"
Link didn't respond.
"Anyway, Talon said that you start whenever you're feeling better."
Link simply said, "Thank you."
Ingo looked downstairs. Talon had fallen asleep... AGAIN. In the middle of the chickens... AGAIN!
"I swear, I should be owner! At least I wouldn't fall asleep on the job!" And with that, he closed the door.
Link just stared at the door, remarking how eerily similar Ingo's wish was to what the future would bring.
The next day, Link decided to start helping out around the ranch.
She came out of the building, wearing a dreary combination of brown pants and a brown shirt. Like I said, dreary.
Ingo handed her a saw and hammer. "Talon said that we have to build you a room. Says that a 'little lady' shouldn't be forced to share with another 'little lady' if she didn't choose to."
It was decided that Link's (or Lina's) room would be built next to the chicken coop. Seeing as how there was already a building there already (as a result of Talon's failed attempt to build a place to keep some pigs), it was decided that it would be the best use of time.
And so things went on, spring to summer, and summer to fall. Malon took care of the horses and cattle, Link and Ingo built the new room, and Talon took care of the chickens (read: slept all day).
About two weeks after the leaves began to fall; the two ranch hands/ carpenters finally finished their jobs, and had finished furnishing the room with a bed, a cabinet, a closet, and two chests. Which more or less made Link's room a bare bones version of Malon's room. Not that she cared.
Talon walked out of the chicken coop, anxious to see how things had turned out. He took a good look at the fruit of his worker's labors, then slapped Ingo on the back. "Well, we did it."
Link could see quite easily that Ingo's right eye was twitching. She'd learned that Ingo only did that when he was really mad. Despite this, he gritted his teeth, only responding with a "Yes, sir."
"And you, Lina. You certainly did a fine job with the woodwork. It's a good thing I hired you."
Ingo's eye was twitching even more now. 'Good thing he never realized that I was never actually hired.'
"Well, let's call it a day, eh?"
"Talon, it's only noon."
"Well, Malon said that she's managed to finish up early today. So I think we can all afford to relax for the rest of the day."
The three started to walk toward the spacious area where the horses were kept, to find Malon arguing with a boy about Link's age. This boy wore various shades of *purple* for some reason, with a very dark shade for a sort of cape, complete with a hat of the same color (with a red jewel near the brim). Heck, even his hair was a shade of purple, long enough to cover his left eye. His eyes had to have been the only thing about him (besides his skin) that wasn't that color- his eyes were as red as a pile of apples.
Ingo shook his head. "Oh, for the love of- not this kid again."
Link looked up at her fellow ranch hand. "What's going on?"
"Well, this kid keeps trying to find some excuse to stay on the farm. Keeps saying that he's got no place to go. But the kid's not very convincing, and," looking at the boy when he said it, "he's kinda creepy. Not at all like that 'Fairy Boy' Malon kept talking about a couple of months ago."
Evidently, the two had stopped arguing, and the boy walked off, yelling something about the stupidity of girls.
Malon started to run after him, clenching her fists. "THAT'S IT! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A GAME OF SUPER CUCCO!" She continued to run after the guy, but fell flat on her face from a tree root. Talon's daughter proceeded to grab her ankle, screaming in pain.
Despite the fact that Talon and Ingo had longer legs, Link still made it to where Malon fell first. "You alright, Malon?"
Malon didn't answer, still holding her ankle.
Talon and Ingo finally got there, kneeling on the ground. Talon spoke. "Malon let me see, let Daddy see."
She whimpered as Talon analyzed the injury.
"You'll be alright, you just twisted your ankle. I'll fix something up for you."
The usually cheery man looked at the boy with a hint of scorn as he carried Malon back into the chicken coop.
"Ingo, what's 'Super Cucco'?"
"It's a little competition that Malon and that boy usually have after a heated argument. They use the outcome of that to determine who's right and who's wrong. Malon usually wins, but with her ankle shot, I don't think she'll be able to shut that little whiner up."
The boy simply smirked as Malon walked back out with a mini-cast on her left foot.
"Say it, Malon."
"Say what?" If looks could kill, the look on Malon's face would've sent out seventeen knives, three gun shots, and several different types of poisons.
"Since you can't win our game, just come out and say that girls are stupid."
"Okay, would you like to try and play, then?"
Malon knew that he had her there. If she said it, then it would be demeaning, and would give the idiot the arguement. If she didn't say it, then she'd hurt herself even worse while that guy was watching, and give him the arguement.
"I'll play you."
Both the boy and the redhead turned to find a girl dressed in brown walking toward them.
"Lin-" Link looked at her. Malon had almost let the cat out of the bag.
"Lina, what are you talking about?"
"I'll play against him."
The boy smiled even more. "Fine. I don't care who I win against, just as well as I win." And with that, he walked into the chicken coop.
Ingo walked closer toward the girls, just a little surprised. "Well, that was interesting. I'm off to bed."
So then he walked off in the direction of the cow barn, knowing that his room was upstairs.
"Link, you really didn't-"
"I really did, Malon. That guy was being a jerk, and needs to be taught a lesson."
"But you don't even know how to play Super Cucco!"
As Link started to walk toward the chicken coop, she responded, "Yes, I do."
She wasn't lying, either. When Link had come back here to visit Malon as an eleven year old boy, Link played a game of Super Cucco. He won a bottle of Lon Lon Milk.
As she entered the room, she could see Talon, sitting in the corner behind the counter, while the boy from earlier stood in the middle of the room, his cape stashed in another part of the coop.
"Ready to lose?"
Link just looked at him with a little smile. He might have played the game more, but she still knew which Cuccos to catch. Malon followed, not wanting to miss out.
Super Cucco, for those who are not aware (or never played Ocarina of Time- for shame), works like this. You have one minute to catch three 'Super Cuccos'. The catch is that these birds are hidden among a flock of other, smaller Cuccos. Now, when you're playing by yourself, you have to do this in a minute's time. But if you played with a friend, then the first person to find two Super Cuccos would be declared winner.
As Talon prepared to release the birds, he looked at the two contestants. "Let's make things a little more interesting, shall we? The winner can have my daughter's hand in marriage!"
The boy just started laughing. Link started to worry a little, but only a little. Talon had pulled this joke the last time he'd played Super Cucco- but if he wasn't joking, then she was NOT about to let some mean bozo have Malon.
Malon was not amused. 'If he wins, then I'm marrying an arrogant bully. If she wins, I'm marrying Link- but Link's a girl, and I'm supposed to like boys, like Link.'
'Wait, but if Link's a girl now... my head hurts.'
Malon decided that now would be a good time to speak up.
"Dad, I do not-"
Three birds were tossed into the air, and the game was afoot.
Link immediately ran for the back of the room, swearing she saw one of the Cuccos fly back there. Small... Small... Small... no sign of the Supers...
Link turned around to find the boy holding one of the Super Cuccos. She was going to have to find two in a row to have any chance of showing this guy up.
'And there's one.'
Link grabbed the Cucco right in front of her, claiming the second Super Cucco.
"That's two! One more still in there!"
The boy started grabbing at every bird he could find. Link just stayed still, trying to concentrate. It was at this point that Mr. Cluckers came up to Link's right foot and started to peck at it. Link scanned the entire room, but she was not getting any closer to finding the bird.
"Darn it, Mr. Cluckers! It is so hard to think when you're pecking at my foot!"
She picked up the Cucco to emphasize this.
"And that's three!"
Link saw that the boy was holding several different birds, but they were all really small.
"Lina, you win."
Link looked at Mr. Cluckers. The Cucco must've grown a lot in the last couple months.
The boy just gave Link the coldest stare she'd ever gotten in her life- even colder than the ones that Mido used to give- and left.
"Now Lina, you win Malon's hand in holy matrimony!" He placed Link's left hand in Malon's right.
The two girls looked at each other, looked at their hands, removed said appendages (with a blush), and started screaming at the jolly man.
"Dad, I can't believe you!"
"Risking a woman's future-"
"EASY! Easy! It was just a joke! A joke!"
That made Malon feel a little better- she wouldn't have to deal with marrying a woman or that bonehead anytime soon. Yet, a little voice in the back of her head (one that she always ignored) was a little disappointed that she hadn't been promised to Link.
Link was still a little furious. Talon had played that trick on her twice now, and it had gotten stale. 'Still, at least Malon's safe.'
Talon had walked over to the girl and handed her a bottle of cool milk. "Thanks for showing that lad a thing or two. I swear, that Vaati really needs to learn some manners."
Title: Year 2: Nightmares and Familiar Faces
He was back in the Water Temple, in a barren room containing only a small island with a tree on it. The rest was covered in three inches of brackish water. This particular place was extremely familiar to the savior of Hyrule- one of the most difficult battles in the quest to save everything took place here.
Just then, Link's reflection jumped out of the water, with a sword just like his fully drawn. It was Link, but wasn't at the same time. This one seemed... cold. It had no facial features whatsoever. The copy was simply black all over. He remembered this foe- he referred to it as 'Dark Link' (not a very original name, mind you, but it fit the situation). Link decided that now might be a good time to unsheathe his own sword, which he did.
The two Links rushed each other, each trying to read the other as their swords made contact. They slashed at each other, but only made contact with the other combatant's sword with each move they made. A thrust, and a parry.
This was the kind of fight Link had fought back in his glory days, back when- wait, too much focusing on the past-
While Link's attention was divided, he had attempted to stab the Dark One. Dark Link jumped on top of the Master Sword, and kicked his good counterpart in the face- HARD.
The impact sent Link flying, further than he'd ever been during his first trek through the Temple. After about three seconds in the air, he finally made contact with the ground. And it hurt. Oh, it hurt like the dickens.
The sword had fallen out of his hand, probably jarred loose from the impact. He reached for the weapon, ready to strike back...
Only to have a certain copy squeeze his throat, dangling him in mid-air... wait, how on earth did his arm get to be fifteen feet long?
"Face it, you're weak. Go back to scrubbing floorboards, you weak little woman!"
With that, the clone let go. Link looked down, realized he had breasts, and remembered something that he'd constantly forgotten every time this dream came up. He was a girl now, not a boy.
Lina backed away from the Dark One, trying to get the sword, but it wasn't there anymore.
"Looking for this, wuss?"
The anti-Hero was now in possession of the Master Sword, rushing the blonde now-woman. Lina was defenseless at this point- at that point in her adventure, she hadn't had Biggoron's Sword forged, and the Hammer was too unwieldy against the Master Sword. As the attacker prepared his assault, Link briefly noticed one thing- his face had changed from all dark to colorful, his face now colored purple, with red and yellow splotches. It was almost as if there was a mask over the doppelganger's face. And that was all before Dark Link-with-a-mask-on-his-face slashed his sword. The blade was two inches was from cutting up Link's face-
And that's when a twelve year old blonde girl woke up in her bed, covered in a sheen of ice cold sweat.
'Again with the nightmares.... That's the third time this week.'
It had started two weeks ago, and had been getting more intense, more real ever since. It'd almost as if she was there again.
She looked outside. The sun was beginning to rise, and that meant that there was probably work to be done. Then she realized that today was Wednesday, and that meant that Talon and Ingo were taking the cows to the Annual Hylian Milk Festival. The two of them would be gone for a week or two. They'd (or as Ingo would tell you, he'd) won the whole contest last year, and they were not giving up the title without a fight. A fight that involved udders, wooden mugs, cookies, and picky eaters.
Since Malon and Link (Lina, it's still a fairly confusing conundrum) were still too young to attend (the limit is thirteen and older), they'd need a baby sitter.
Link (d'oh!) could very easily have taken care of herself. She'd saved Hyrule, and had enough weaponry in the general area to fight a small-scale war and win. Her self-defense skills were pretty darn good. But Talon didn't know that, and hopefully, wouldn't learn about that last part for a while.
Time had been well to the two girls, both of them getting taller, Link more so than Malon. But Malon was just starting puberty, so her body was definitely starting to go through some changes. Like the fact that her rear end had started to acquire a more feminine curve.
So it was just the two of them for the moment, eating flavored oatmeal for breakfast. The last babysitter that Malon had was apparently a druggie, and was scared of horses. Needless to say, the two of them did not get along well.
Lina (Finally! Well, maybe. I don't know what to call her/him/it) just ate, not making any conversation with the redhead, brooding about that dr- nightmare. When he'd actually fought Dark Link, the challenger was more or less a carbon copy of the real deal- in action and in mind.
'So was that dream really all me? Or is it something more sinister?'
She jerked to attention. 'Oh no, Malon probably knows-'
"Is something wrong?"
'Crud.' "Uh... No."
She gave her friend a half-lidded stare. "You're lying again."
'Double crud.' "Wha? How?"
"You stuttered... you squinted, and your eyebrows came together. You have absolutely no poker face. It was actually a little cute."
The sheer absurdness of that last comment got a brief little chuckle out of the boy-gone-girl. The mere thought of someone complimenting her like that was laughable, but it wasn't crazy enough to keep his mind away from other matters. "It's nothing. Really."
That was code for, 'It's a guy thing. I'm a girl now. It really wouldn't make much sense.' Malon backed off, but she knew that the two of them were going to have to talk sooner or later. She proceeded to change the subject to Ingo's feeble attempts at growing a beard.
"No, it's not just you. It looks more like a goatee."
"Or like a Were-Stalfos attacked him!"
Their conversation was interrupted by a horse loudly trotting by. The two girls looked out of the window. The horse looked like it had gone through hell and back, but it still stood strong. There were two people on her back. The one at the reigns was probably in her early thirties, but her hair was white as snow, and-
Malon had heard that name before, somewhere. "Who's that? And who's the young boy behind her?"
The lad in question was nearly all covered up in dark, skin-tight clothing. Almost none of the skin was showing. Honestly, the guy looked like a ninja. There was an eye on the chest for all to see, and the boy had red eyes and blonde hair. Link's jaw almost hit the floor.
'Zelda. How the? Why the?'
Well, yes, it was Zelda. But, as those who've played the game before would've already figured out by now (again, shame on you if you haven't), she was disguised as the young Sheikiah warrior, Sheik (not a very original name, but it suits the purpose). Link knew that. She also knew that she couldn't let either of them in on the secret. She told Malon everything, except for the little detail that Sheik was actually the Princess of Hyrule.
As the two dismounted, Impa turned to her protégé. "Now, Princess, do you know why we're here?"
"Because we need money for food?"
"No." She looked at the chicken coop. "Because there's free food all around, for the whole week. And we do need money. For food."
"That and I had a vision about learning something here."
"Well, that too. Now remember, you've never met Malon before-"
"I know the drill, Impa-"
"-It kills me to do this, but I have to pretend that I've never met her before. And you can't-"
"....Let them know. We've been going over this since the day you came here, Link. Just relax, and I'll show you how to talk the talk and walk the walk."
The two girls prepared to walk out the door, when Malon stopped her. "Now, there's just one thing that you should know before we do this."
"Don't walk with your legs so far apart. You don't want people looking under your dress."
Link had almost forgotten that he was wearing one of Malon's outfits today. 'That's what I get for forgetting to do my laundry.' She was so self-conscious about whether or not her facade would work that she tripped over her own feet coming out of the door.
Impa's eyes widened slightly when she saw Malon carefully walk over Link's prostrate body. "Malon, so good to see you!"
The two hugged, remembering all those times when the ranch girl helped deliver milk. Sheik started to dismount her (his, this stuff hurts my brain), but promptly fell off of the horse.
Impa could feel that ulcer in her stomach going off. 'If she can't get off a horse, how does she expect to pass herself off as a boy?'
The two blondes finally scraped themselves off of the ground. Impa immediately strode over to her young counterpart. "Malon, I'd like to introduce you to my apprentice, Sheik. He's been traveling with me for some time now."
Malon, in turn, introduced Link. "This is a friend of mine. Her name's Lina. My dad hired her last year."
Impa sized up the young Hero/ine from head to toe.
'Oh goddesses, Impa's one of the smartest people I know. She's already got me figured out.'
"Nice to meet you, Lina."
Link was shocked to find that the Princess's guardian had extended her hand for a friendly handshake. She responded in kind, "It's a pleasure to meet you as well, Impa."
As Impa began to chat with Malon, the blonde "ninja-no-I-am-not-a-princess" Sheik walked toward Link, and nodded. "Like she said, the name is Sheik." They exchanged a nice handshake as well, but it seemed a bit colder than Impa's... as if Sheik wasn't in the greatest of moods.
'Maybe she's already met Nabooru?'
Regardless, the four of them walked back inside the building next to the cow stables, and Malon began to cook some omelets for the two newcomers. Impa sucked in her food like a vaccum, while Sheik picked at her food without really eating it. That all but confirmed to Link that something wasn't right. Malon noticed it, but Impa either didn't see it or decided not to see it.
"Thanks for the food, Malon." Sheik got up from the table.
"But you didn't eat anything."
"I'm not very hungry." And with that, he walked in the direction of the horses.
"Excuse me." Malon picked up what was left of Sheik's food that Impa hadn't tried to eat already and went after him, which left Link, the Hero/ine of Time in hiding with Impa, the future Sage of Shadow.
Naturally, Link didn't have much to say to his old friend, mostly because of his new gender. Impa made the first step as she finished off the glass of milk she'd been chugging.
"So, Lina, how did you end up here? Where did you live before here?"
That gave Link pause. For all the precautions that she and Malon had taken to ensure that no one figured out the secret, they'd never come up with a plausible cover for where "Lina" came from. Talon had only asked for her name, and Ingo was too in love with himself to care.
"I don't like talking about it much." Which was a true statement- no lies there.
"There's no shame in talking about it." 'She's persistent....'
"...." 'Think of something!'
"Wait... Malon said you showed up here about a year ago, right?"
Link nodded. 'Yes. Let's just not go for details-'
Impa smiled. "Now we're getting somewhere. Where?" '...Crud. Details.'
"...Hyrulecastletown." It came out so fast, that Link didn't even know what she'd just said.
"Hyrule Castle Town?" Link nodded again.
'Yea, let's go with that. No more questions, please!'
"And your parents?"
And that was when Link's brain finally ground to a dead halt. S/He never knew anything about his father, and his/her real mother after begging the Great Deku Tree to take care of her.
"Uh... my... parents?"
'Oh no. Here we go...'
"Were your parents killed in that monster uprising last year? And you came here because you had no place to go?"
Link had nearly forgotten about how she'd gotten to where she was. 'The Redead attack?'
"Yes." That wasn't so much a lie as it was a half-truth. She really had no place to stay but at Lon Lon Ranch.
"I'm sorry. I'd heard about the Redead... but I'd never thought they'd show up in the Market District. I was too busy with... royal affairs."
"You mean the Princess?"
Impa tone immediately went from pleasant to serious. "How in Nayru's good graces did you know about our escape from town?"
'Think, Link! THINK!!!!!!' "Uh.... I saw you on the horse with the Princess." That was true, but she wasn't in town when she saw it. She wasn't a girl at that point, either.
The Sheikiah's tone now became sad, near remorseful. "I'm sorry I pressed. I didn't know. Believe me when I say that I would've tried to help, but I had to get the Princess away from... well, it doesn't matter anyway. Please accept my apologies."
"It's okay. I guess I'm still a little sore about it." Now THAT was a clear-as-crystal lie. And it looked like Impa'd bought it!
"As long as there's no bad blood between us." She turned her attention back to her plate. "Can you cook up another batch of those omelets? They were delicious!"
By the time Malon caught up to Sheik, he was sitting at the entrance to the horse corral, hands behind his head.
"There you are! You barely touched your food!"
"I said I wasn't very hungry."
"Well, you need to eat. I'm sure you don't get to eat much on the road." Malon offered Sheik (aka-Zelda-aka-don't-spoil-the-plot) his plate again, and he took it. Malon smiled as he began to actually eat the omelet. There was a hint of a blush on his cheeks.
"Thanks. It's pretty good"
'Darn it! Malon's one of my best friends, and I can't talk to her like one! Thing's just aren't like last time.'
As Malon began to walk away, Zelda's- I mean, Sheik's- eyes found themselves unconsciously wandering toward Malon's rear.
'Definitely not like last time.'
Nothing that eventful happened for the rest of the day. Well, almost nothing- that evening, Link could see that Vaati was camping on the hilltop next to the ranch that.
From what she could see, he had most likely hit puberty by now- he'd gained at least six inches since the last time he'd shown up. His build wasn't that much more muscular than last time, though- he was still as scrawny as always. Other than that, nothing much had changed- his clothes were still purple, and his eyes still scarlet red.
"Link!" She knew that Impa was calling. "It's time for bed!"
Link walked back to her room, and opened to door, only to find Sheik unrolling what appeared to be a very well worn sleeping bag.
"What are you doing in here?"
Sheik finally took notice of the young ranch hand. "Sorry. Impa said that I have to sleep in your room. There's not enough room in Malon's."
Link could live with that. "Sheik?"
"Just out of curiosity, how old are you right now?"
"Just curious." With that, Link did a little bit of thinking in her head. From what she can remember from her conversations with Impa and Rauru, that would mean that Zelda would be in the middle of her own puberty. Which must've made masquerading as a boy be like going through hell.
As Link fell asleep, she began to understand that she wasn't the only one trying to live a lie.
Meanwhile, Sheik was trying to come to terms with what had happened that morning. She had looked at Malon in a new light... and she had kind of liked it.
'Hm? What the?'
She'd almost fallen asleep, but had noticed that her roommate was talking in her sleep.
Her latest attempt to fight back against Dark Link hadn't worked. In hindsight, she should've remembered that magic didn't exactly hurt the dark creation last time, either. Oddly enough, the thing hadn't turned her into a girl this time- yet.
She'd exhausted just about every weapon at her disposal, and she knew that Nayru's Love would not protect her forever from its assaults.
Zelda couldn't help but use some of her magic to see what the poor girl was dreaming. It wasn't that she was nosy, it was that she was interested. There was a difference.
What she saw was simply shocking. She saw Link, all grown up, fighting what appeared to be a badly colored copy. He looked like the man that she'd envisioned him being. However, it looked like she was losing. Badly.
She didn't understand why Lina was dreaming about the Hero of Time, but she knew that she didn't want to see what would happen if he lost.
'Now is probably a good time to put last week's lesson to good use.' Impa had taught her a lot during the last year, even if they never really stayed in one place more than a few weeks these days. Including how to project herself into people's dreams- it was difficult to master, especially since it was originally meant to be used by actual Sheikiah, but she'd done it. And now, she'd do it for real.
She landed in the water, perfectly disguised as the ninja, Sheik. She brought out a chain whip, and lashed it at Dark Link's throat. The Dark One's hands immediately went to the chains, trying to break free.
Link had to do a double take before confirming that Sheik had somehow popped up. Not the Sheik from the future, but the Sheik of now. He looked at Link, determined to aid the warrior. "Hurry! Do something!"
Link was already trying to figure out what to do. Every single weapon in her arsenal hadn't worked. Every weapon that she'd gotten to that point....
'Wait... Sheik wasn't there during the original fight. And if Zelda's here now, then all bets are off!'
She then proceeded to pull out her bow. She knew that the regular arrows wouldn't do much damage. But she began focusing on a different type of arrow- one that she had received much later, but prayed she could still access it.
She could! As she began to pull the arrow back, a yellow light began to envelop the arrowhead. The light became more and more intense as Link pulled the string and arrow, finally turning white as snow. The magical drain from Nayru's Love was only going to give Link one shot, so he'd have to make it count.
Sheik's chain was clearly being strained, and he was losing his grip on it.
As the arrow left the bow, Link knew it would make contact. It was as if time had slowed down as the Light Arrow flew toward its target. Dark Link finally loosened the grip the chain had on its throat, gasping for air. As it looked up, it could see a beam of light, whiter than snow and brighter than the sun, shooting toward it.
It only groaned as the magic weapon pierced its neck. It fell to the ground, disintegrating while it hit the ground. It gradually did so, until only a mask was left. The room began to disappear as well, leaving only black. Which left only Lina, Sheik, and the mask.
Only one word echoed throughout the empty void.
And with that, Link sat upright in her bed, trying to come to terms with what had just transpired in the nightmare. 'He's gone,' she thought, 'but if that actually just happened, then-'
It was at that point that she realized that Sheik was awake. And staring at her.
"Lina. A quick question, will you?"
Sheik got out of her bag, and sat on top of it, Indian-style.
"How do you know Link?"
Title: Year 2: Revelations and A New Quest
[Author's notes: I've returned from various vacations and other such things to bring you this. Enjoy, and give me feedback.]
"How do you know Link?"
This was the true test. Lina knew that if there was any hope in keeping time from getting mucked up by one person's curiosity, it was with her now.
"I... met him in Hyrule Castle Town." That was... the truth? A lie? He did see himself as a recently transformed eleven year old girl there, but that girl was him. So, no idea what that statement was.
Sheik's stare softened, if only a little bit. "That would make sense. He talked to everyone there, trying to see if there was anyway he could help out."
That got Lina's attention. 'Wait... I know I did that, but why would she tell me that?'
The blonde ninja stood up. "Listen, I'm sorry, it's just- I didn't expect to find other people that knew Link."
Link could feel the sweat running across her forehead. 'Whew. That was a close call.'
The ninja looked at Link for a brief moment. "It's weird. I only met you a couple of hours ago, but I feel totally comfortable around you. It's like we've already met before."
'Oh, Farore save me! I was home free!' "Yea... that's pretty weird. But, I kinda felt the same way." Sheik looked at the ranch hand with renewed interest. 'I shouldn't have said that,' Lina thought through gritted teeth.
"Can you keep a secret?"
Link stared at her, bewildered. 'Here she is, moments away from figuring me out, and she's asking me to keep a secret?" Nonetheless, she nodded.
"I feel that I have a confession to make. I need someone to talk to, because... look, Impa's smart and all, but she's older than me, and it would be nice to have a friend closer to my age."
"Okay." Link was fairly sure what was coming next.
"I haven't been entirely honest about who I am."
Link knew that, but s/he couldn't let her/him (too... many... slashes...) know that. "Really?" Link had to fight to keep her voice believable.
"I'm not a boy. I'm actually Princess Zelda."
Link did not only have to fight the urge to tell her that she already knew, but also had to fight a laugh for some reason. "No way. You're... not even... a girl."
Zelda sighed. "Okay, you may not believe what I say. What if I showed you?"
With that she took off her shirt. There were bandages covering her upper chest, which she then proceeded to take off. Blood immediately rushed to Lina's face, and a nosebleed was imminent. She'd never actually seen any part of a woman naked (That is, unless seeing Princess Ruto counts as naked), and Lina/Link was about to stop her-
Oh, no. She did it. Princess Zelda. Topless. Since Zelda was well into puberty, there were two fully developed fleshy mounds there. So Lina was looking at Zelda's breasts. Topless. Naked. Nose... dripping...
Your brain has committed a fatal error in:
Your brain has also shut down improperly.
Zelda poked Link/a in the head with her right index finger. As Lina finally became knowledgeable of her surroundings, she silently thanked the three goddesses: Zelda had put her shirt back on, However, much to her chagrin; the bandages were still on the floor, which meant that what was once a skintight shirt with bandages became a shirt that showed off Zelda's midriff. She had also taken off the wrappings around her head, revealing blonde locks and eyes as blue as the ocean. Her hair was not as long as it had been when she'd revealed herself to Link in the future, but undoubtedly longer than it had been a year ago, when they had met (When Link was a boy, that is.).
"I think I got my point across."
Lina felt fairly lightheaded. "Far too well, far too well."
She looked down at the formerly skin tight shirt she now wore. "I hate wearing these clothes and bandages, but if I take all of them off, then Ganondorf will find me. He's become that good at magic already... maybe it has something to do with the Triforce..."
Once again, Link had to feign confusion. Zelda apparently fell for it, for decided not to ask.
"I mean, it's hard. I was brought up to be a perfect lady. I mean, I wasn't afraid to get my hands dirty, mind you, but I didn't expect to spend my years acting like a boy!"
Link could relate to that. Definitely. Absolutely. 100%.
"It's embarrassing... and it gets very hard to explain away when I get my period! I have to pretend like I'm sick for days, and-"
"Wait." 'What was that, exactly?' "What's a period?"
"You mean... you don't know?"
'Well, no... See, I was raised as a guy...' "No."
"Okay. Let me explain...."
"...and that's pretty much it."
Link looked nothing short of horrified. "You mean I'm going to pee blood every month?!?"
"More or less, yes."
Your brain has committed a fatal error in:
Your brain has also shut down improperly.
"Oh, come on. Not this again."
Zelda poked Lina in the head again, which brought her back to the real world, again.
"It's not that bad. Really. Having your first period is a little scary, but it's not that big of a deal"
"Oh, come on! Of course it's a big deal! How can something that bleeds that much be called human?"
"Stop overreacting, Lina! You'll be fine. It's just a part of growing up."
Lina didn't scare easy. She was still the holder of the Triforce of Courage, and she didn't get that through the lottery. She'd faced down a legion of Moblins, taken down five Iron Knuckles at once with nothing but the Golden Gauntlets, beaten down the Redead (repeatedly... the Redead apparently don't stay dead), and even delivered the smackdown on Ganondorf...twice! But the prospect of going through that every month until she might find a cure had been enough to get her going.
"Sorry. It's just, I didn't know."
"It's okay. I should've expected that- after all, the only adults that are usually around are Talon and Ingo, and unless I miss my guess, they aren't women."
That got Link laughing. "Yea, I'm pretty sure they aren't."
"And I'm pretty sure that Malon only figured that out that much about periods because Impa told her all about the birds and the bees well over two years ago. She took it pretty well, apparently."
"Well, I think she might've thrown up at one point. But otherwise, she took it fine."
There was a brief moment of silence, and then the two girls laughed pretty hard.
During the laughter, Link noticed something. Every time Link had talked to her before, it was almost always business. She'd never gotten to really bond with the Princess, except for the parts of the adventure when she helped Link out as Sheik. So to get to talk to her without the weight of the world on their shoulders was a relief.
"So, do you think you can keep this a secret?"
There was a hint of a smile on Link's face. "I'm sorry Zelda, keep what a secret?"
She opened her mouth, as if too say something, but then understood the meaning of her response. "Thanks."
Link started to go back under the covers, but Zelda stopped her. "I'm sorry but.... can we talk a little longer?"
"How... I'm not sure how to put this- I have these strange thoughts sometimes-"
'Bingo.' Link knew this part- Zelda talked to Nabooru through her dreams, and would fall in love with her. The Gerudo and Zelda herself had told her this (albeit disguised as Sheik).
'So this is when it all began. I knew that it had to have started pretty early, but I thought it might take another year or two.'
"I see this person, right, and I feel weird. My heart starts pumping faster, and seems to lodge itself in my throat. And my stomach starts feeling funny."
'Looks like I'm going to have to help Zelda come to terms with her own feelings.' Ironically, Link had never had a successful romantic endeavor, but that was almost entirely from a lack of trying (unless you count Princess Ruto among his 'endeavors', and I specifically said 'successful'.).
"Zelda, I'm no expert on the subject, but I think it sounds like you've got a crush on someone."
She looked confused, as if she thought that was impossible. "I... but girls aren't supposed to like girls like that!"
'Hook, line, and sinker.' Link more or less hated to be manipulative. Hated it. It reminded him too much of Ganondorf's deceptions and lies. But for the greater good, she was willing to do it. "And why not? Why can't a woman love another woman?"
"Why? ...Look at the world. You don't see men holding hands with men-"
"That's because they're men. That's not their thing."
"And you don't see women kissing each other! Society thinks that it's wrong. And I'm a princess, so I'm supposed to fall in love with the dashing young hero, like Link. At least," she paused for a moment, "that's what all the stories my father told me when I was a kid said."
That was it! 'So she's hesitating because she doesn't think that's what's supposed to happen? Time to change that... if I can think of something to say.'
About twenty seconds passed between the two, not a sound echoing throughout the room except what sounded like an owl hooting outside, and the building settling. "Lina?"
"Zelda... think of a Goron, deciding whether or not to roll down a mountain. He always knows he'll end up at its base- but he's never entirely sure where at the bottom, or even the path he'll take to get there. Love is kind of the same way. We can't choose who we fall in love with, but we can choose to fall in love with someone."
Zelda's mouth slightly opened. "Lina, that's brilliant. How did you come up with that?"
"I start getting philosophical whenever I shovel the cow compost."
After that, Lina decided to start playing Freud to Zelda's patient.
"So," Link started, "what's she like?"
"She's beautiful to me. Everything about her blows me away, like her hair. She has the gorgeous, long red locks of hair that I can't tear my eyes away from for more than a minute."
'Good, good. Sounds just like that Gerudo woman, alright.' "What else?"
"Lately, I've noticed those things about her, even though I've known her for years."
"Um... so who do you like?'
Zelda's face went beet red, and she mumbled the answer so quietly, a dog would've strained itself to hear.
"Oh, come on. Tell me."
"...You'll see her tomorrow." And with that, she started wrapping her bandages back on.
As Link retreated to the solitude of her dreams, she couldn't help but be a little worried. 'I don't get it. Nabooru and Zelda both said that they met after I went to sleep. So who's she talking about?'
It was pancakes for breakfast today, with Impa cooking this time. Sheik and Zelda were already at the table, waiting for the first batch to finish.
"I suppose you two slept alright? No snoring or anything?"
Sheik giggled a little bit. "It felt good not finding any rocks under by sleeping bag."
Impa's attention turned to Link. "How was Sheik? Did he try anything?" She stared at her apprentice wickedly, but Lina knew that it was an act. She decided to play along for simplicity's sake.
"No, he was a perfect gentleman."
The guardian turned back to the skillet. "Good."
Sheik's eyes went to the empty seat at the table, asking, "Where's Malon? Is she sleeping in?"
"No, I'm afraid that she's not feeling that well today. From what she's telling me, she's got a cold. I'm sure she'd appreciate it if one of you could give her the breakfast I cooked up."
As she said the last part, she put a plate on the table with at least thirty-three pancakes. Half of which, she claimed, she'd eat and still be hungry. She put three pancakes on each of the plates before remarking, "So, who's going to do the honors?"
The ninja stood up quickly. "I'll take some pancakes to Malon." Sheik gathered his plate, grabbed the one that Malon would've been using, and exited with six pancakes.
Lina had watched Zelda leave, and noticed a couple things that were wrong. First, she'd volunteered almost immediately to deliver Malon's breakfast to her bedroom. Now, that was a nice thing to do, but she'd done so a little too eagerly. Then, she hadn't given any indication that she was going to rejoin them. Finally, she'd left the two of them with a bit of a skip in her step. It took him/her a full thirty seconds before the pieces came together.
She looked down at her plate. Impa's fork had seven and a half cakes impaled on her utensil, which looked more like a pitchfork at the moment.
"I'll be right back. Bathroom."
With that, Link walked silently out the door, making a beeline for the stairs in the chicken coop.
Impa kept staring at the pile of pancakes in the center of the table, and the lack of people at the table. She tied her napkin around her neck. 'If no one else is going to...' She eyed the cakes that came from a pan with a stare that would've made Hannibal Lector proud.
Lina walked up the stair quietly, trying to listen to the conversation in the next room.
"...a lot for the food. That was nice of you."
"No problem. It's 'starve a fever, feed a cold', right?"
She could hear Malon giggling in the next room. "That sounds about right."
The Hero/ine felt as if her stomach had flipped upside down and begun to twist, but wasn't exactly sure why.
She prepared to knock on the door, but hesitated for a second. 'She's with Nabooru in the future. But she wants Zelda now. How does that work?' It felt wrong, every instinct in her being told her to knock on the door. And her gut had never led her astray before.
Sheik cracked the door open. Lina had to put on yet another performance of ignorance, which she was getting very tired of. "Oh, there you are, Sheik. Can I talk to you for a second?"
Sheik told Malon that he'd be right back, and walked down the stairs into the middle of a crowd of Cuccos.
As Sheik walked down the last step, she became slightly irate. "Lina, what are you doing?"
Link's eye balls had expanded to the size of dinner plates by this point, her hands clammy. "You like Malon?!?"
The ninja swiftly clasped her hand over Lina's mouth. "SSSHHH! Do you want to announce it to the whole world?!?"
With that said, however, Sheik did nod her head. "But yes, I do. Why do you care so much?"
Lina wasn't really sure why. She'd surprised herself on her reaction to this whole mess. "I'm... just surprised, I guess." That felt like a lie, but Link didn't know why.
Sheik suspected something else, however. "I'm not the first person to feel that way towards her, though."
It was Link's turn for the interrogation. She felt nervous, even anxious about answering any questions about Malon.
"I think that Vaati likes her."
Lina did a double take with that fact. "Vaati? That creepy purple guy who's camping on the next hill?"
She nodded, adding, "Well, it's like what Malon told me. The two of them never get along. Constantly arguing and whatnot... I've heard that doing that... well, it's a sign of a guy that wants to kiss the girl."
There was no more conversation between the two. Link couldn't figure out a response, her mind had been blown from Zelda's revelations. Sheik didn't try to speak either- somehow, she'd hit a nerve.
The door to the coop opened suddenly, with Impa's head peeked around the corner. "I've been calling for seconds for eight minutes! You two want any blueberry pancakes?"
The next day, Malon was out of bed. "She says she feels better," Impa remarked to Sheik, "but that could change in a heartbeat, so make sure that you don't let her do anything too strenuous."
"What about Lina?"
"I told you during breakfast, mi'lady. She's going to see an old friend and will be gone a while."
"Is that why I have to shovel the cow manure today?"
Impa gestured 'yes' as the apprentice walked off toward the cow stalls. Meanwhile, Malon walked out to the horses, covered in a blanket. She didn't look too good- her hair was a little disheveled, the skin had lost a bit of its color, and there were deep circles under her eyes. Nonetheless, the redhead noticed that Link was preparing Epona for her trip. All of the equipment that she could still use was being packed- her Golden Gauntlets, the Hylian Shield, the Kokiri Sword, the Boomerang, as well as all of the magic spells she'd acquired.
"Link, where are you going?"
Link turned around, and noticed Malon's condition. "Malon, you should really be in bed-"
She didn't hesitate to repeat her question. "Where are you going?"
The blonde sighed. "I'm going to see Navi. She's probably got some good advice."
Link drew out her Ocarina, and prepared to play.
"Link, you know that Epona's a wild one! I'm the only one that she-"
Link started to play that tune that Malon hummed all the time while she tended the horses. That stunned Malon a little bit.
"You still remember that song?"
As the Hero/ine of Time mounted the horse for the "first time", she nodded. "I do."
She galloped out of the ranch, with a heavy heart, hoping that Navi had some good advice on how to fix the Zelda/Malon/Nabooru problem.
'There she goes.'
She didn't look too threatening from a distance. A twelve-year old girl, wearing a green tunic and a green skirt, not that big a problem. But he knew from experience that the little girl who was now riding toward that big forest in the east was a thorn in his side.
'Thank goodness that she's left.'
That little stunt she pulled last year was disgraceful, but he'd learned from his mistake. He couldn't afford to underestimate Malon and her friends again. And now that 'Lina' was gone, he could just stroll in like the old days.
Vaati just kept staring at Lon Lon Ranch. 'I'll go there tomorrow.'
'I guess there's a reason they call it the Lost Woods.'
Obviously, she was lost. It had started so simple- go into Kokiri Forest, find Navi, and get some advice. But nothing ever was that simple when it came to her.
They'd been riding through the trees for at least three hours, and not a sign of any fairies... except for the purple and yellow ones flying twelve feet in front of her face right now. They just appeared out of the branches of this really dead tree. They started to fly up back into the trees when what appeared to be a Skull Kid suddenly hung down from a nearby branch.
He had startled Epona, enough to knock the poor kid out of the saddle- if Link had been a little heavier. She managed to stay on the poor horse- barely. When her noble steed finally got back down on all fours, Link noticed something. That Skull Kid was wearing a mask, and that mask had the same markings as the villain that had haunted her dreams. She remembered that the mask had given a name before being defeated. 'Majora.'
As if the Kid could read her mind, he swirled himself around the branch and kicked her off of the horse. She prepared to make impact with the ground, but it didn't come.
She was falling. Falling down a hole for what seemed to be an eternity, down some sort of hole. During which, she could've sworn seeing a rabbit who was yelling about being late, and a blonde haired girl wearing a blue dress.
Finally, she could see the ground. Nice, soft flowers, with a small river. She landed on the largest of them, but it supported her weight, making the landing feel more like being cushioned by a mattress than hitting the pavement.
When she got up, she saw the Skull Kid- holding her Ocarina, looking it over. Link began to walk toward him, when she noticed that she couldn't move her feet.
The assailant then turned his attention to the green-garbed girl, restrained by his new-found magicks. The Kid's mask made a strange clicking noise, and then a strange, guttural voice emanated from it.
Without warning, the Mask suddenly flashed white, enveloping everything. Before she lost sight of everything, she saw a glimpse of the Kid running off, riding on Epona, Ocarina in hand. When her vision returned, she saw a strange man in front of a trippy clock tower that had probably been ripped straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
He looked like a mask dealer, the one from Hyrule Castle Town. However, his eyes looked smaller, more slit like, and those eyes were green instead of blue.
The mask dealer walked toward her, confusion in those slits of eyes. "I thought someone might eventually end up stuck in Termina. That mask has made life here a living hell. But I guess he had his way with you, eh?"
Link was confused by that, but the mask man continued. "Listen, that mask... it's Majora's Mask. It's cast this spell... which will destroy this land in three days." He thrust his finger into the sky for dramatic effect.
When she looked up, she could see the moon, and then a second moon, bearing down on the town. It actually had a face, and a very deranged one to boot. And the grin it wore across that face was nothing short of Cheshire Cat-esque.
"I need you to stop it however you can. Understood?"
"Yep!" However, she was filled with dread and confusion by her response. It had come out much more nasally than she'd ever spoken before.
There was a pool nearby, which Link had to struggle to look over her snout at. 'Great,' she thought. 'I've been turned into a girl, my Ocarina and horse are gone, I'm stuck in an apocalyptic nightmare, and I've also been transmogrified into a Deku Sprout.'
[End notes: I'm pretty sure that, in actual Zelda canon, the Link from Ocarina is the same one from Majora's Mask, so no real conflicts here.]
Title: Year 2: The Longest Three Days of Her Life
Day 3- 11:53 PM, approx. 6 hours until impact.
Link sat on the edge of the platform leading to the top of the clock tower. It definitely hadn't been an easy climb-up, no thanks to the fact that dogs seemed to think that Dekus seemed to be walking chew-toys.
So when she had finally gotten up and over the final ledge, she'd been left with maybe 1/2 a heart left. On the plus side, she had been inadvertently dragged to a Great Fairy by one of those mangy mutts. This Giver of Maybe Useful Magic gave her the ability to blow bubbles- with her own snout. Yea... it sounded kind of useless to Link as well, but there's a sort of rule for every adventure game that Link had discovered during his own.
And that rule states: If someone gives you an object or power, then you'll HAVE to use it at some point. There's no way around it. A pulley-attached-to-a-rubber-chicken? You'll be using it. Broken mirror? Will be needed. That wooden sword that you've had since the beginning of the game, that is all but useless by that point, and forgot to sell? Probably the only weapon that'll kill the final boss, guaranteed.
A chime rang out from above- the clock was beginning to strike 12. The wooden door behind the cursed girl opened, white light emanating from behind it. Lina climbed up the newly revealed stairs, climbing, she was climbing that stairway to heaven...
(WRONG!!!! THIS IS A FANFIC, NOT A LED ZEPPLIN SONG!!!)
...Until finally, the top of the tower. The Skull Kid was still wearing the mask, holding Saria's Ocarina. Oddly enough, he was levitating. Let's stop right there for a second- the boy is possessed by a demonic force, and is levitating several feet off of the ground. All he needs now is a bed and it'll be friggin' Poltergeist all over again.
The purple fairy was lying on the ground, twitching. The Kid was shaking his covered head, yelling, "I really don't care about what'll happen, Tatl! I'm sick and tired of being forgotten by my friends! Tate, what are you staring at?"
His head swiveled to look at whatever it was the yellow fairy was peering at, now noticing the presence of a certain cursed boy-gone-girl-gone-Deku-girl. "You're too late, Hero! You only have six hours to save this land, and there's nothing you can do!! Now, I'm going to fly around in circles and taunt you until my work is complete! BWAHAAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAAA!"
So he did. He began to go clockwise around Link(a) and laugh like a maniac wannabe. It was really annoying. Like, not in the nagging sense, but more the kind that is so bad, that you had to be there to understand.
So understandably, Lina was getting pissed. This continued for some time...
4:59, 1 hour and 1 minute until impact.
'Oh dang, that moon's getting pretty big.'
That had to have been the only thought running through Lina's mind that didn't involve a curse word in over two hours. She had gotten sooooooo angered that the bubbles that she'd been taught how to use were flying out of her mouth. And she finally decided to fire them at the annoying boy.
The first aimed shot she got off hit the Skull Kid square in the face. The masked annoyance clutched his mask, as if someone had thrown boiling acid in his eyes. As his hands reached for the mask, however, he dropped Saria's Ocarina. Link decided at this point that it might be a good idea to reclaim the lost instrument.
"Malon's that nervous about her leaving?" Impa could hardly believe what Zelda, currently in disguise, was telling her.
"Yea, she said that Lina gave her a good reason leaving for a while, but Malon's so worried about her that she's actually making herself more sick!"
Through some unusual circumstance, for each day or so Link spends in Termina, maybe a half an hour or less passed in Hyrule. Don't ask why- I'm not Einstein.
"Listen, Princess, I'm going to check up on Malon-"
"I just did-"
"Then I'm going to do it AGAIN," she nearly yelled as she interrupted the interrupt, "because you aren't skilled enough in magic to heal everything yet and I still know First Aid."
She stormed off, as if Sheik had questioned her ability to help out. As the Sheikiah entered the chicken coop, her apprentice sighed. There was something... off about her surroundings. Like the fact that she could hear an owl hooting, even though it was almost noon.
'I can't believe this. She doesn't think I can take care of my best friend?' she sulked bitterly.
'I hope Malon's really okay. I'd hate for anything to happen to-'
Everything went white in the blink of an eye.
So, everything had gone white again, and Link was getting pretty tired of this shtick by now. Seriously. All she did was grab her Ocarina-
And that's when she noticed that Sheik was walking out of the white abyss, dazed and confused, as well as the purple fairy, Tatl.
That's also when Lina realized that she was still wearing a very slightly altered version of her old Kokiri tunic. 'I need a cover or something, or I'm blown. I was lucky enough to get out of the ranch without anyone seeing me in this!'
Hastily, the Deku-Lina took off her hat, grabbed the ground, and pulled it up to her neck. "Zelda? What are you doing here?"
The Princess-in-disguise turned, and saw what appeared to be a floating Deku head. She prepared to throw some knives-
"NO! WAIT!" the Bodyless Bum cried, "it's me! It's Lina."
Sheik let down her guard. "Impossible. Lina is a Hylian-"
"You live on the road with your guardian, Impa. You're a princess, and you're in the closet-"
The ninja-royalty's eyes literally expanded tenfold. "Stop! Please, don't go any further. But, how? Why? AND LINA, WHY ARE YOU A FLOATING SHRUB HEAD?!?"
"I got cursed. Could you hand me my Ocarina?"
She picked up the old tool, but stopped short of handing it over. "Only if you explain what's going on here."
One very long, very boring, and VERY unnecessary explanation later, involving rabbits with watches and crazed demonic masks, Zelda had sat down, pondering the tale that Lina had told.
"So, you're stuck in a parallel version of Hyrule, and its moon is about to kill everyone. Do I have that right?"
"No idea- you came up with that whole thing about the alternate reality drab. Now kindly just hand me that Ocarina, and I might be able to stop this."
Her left eyebrow quivered from curiosity at that last remark. "Stop this? How?"
"I have a hunch. I've heard this story about the Song of Time, and how it's got 'unusual musical properties', or something like that."
"I play the Song of Time, and I'm pretty sure that the moon will stop, and everyone will be happy- except for that Skull Kid, anyway."
Zelda was surprised that Lina even knew the song existed. 'Link probably told her about it.'
Right before she could put that plan into action, however, Tatl rose from the ground, attempting to gain her bearings. "I can't believe him! First he expects me to help blow up this place, and now he lets me get sucked into any random ol' swirling portal of probable death! I am THROUGH doing such things!"
It was at this point that the purple one noticed that Link was three feet behind her, still in her cursed body. "Look," the fairy stuttered, "I'm sorry for what my friend did to you. We've always been pranksters and all that, but he's gone mental ever since he put that mask on."
"How about this- I help you get your body back, and you help me get the mask off of him."
Lina accepted the offer, and then began to heave out the Ocarina. Instead of the familiar potato-shaped instrument she'd become accustomed to, she instead pulled out a series of pipes.
"I don't remember getting this."
Tatl butted in. "That's the Deku's famous instrument, alright. The Pipalo."
"Pipalo?" Zelda could barely contain herself. "Pipalo?"
"It's a very respectable instrument in this dimension!"
Surprisingly enough, playing the Pipalo was kind of like using the Ocarina, except for the fact that instead of using a mouth to play, she was using an oversized nose.
Despite that footnote, it took Link/a a little bit of practice to fully understand how to play. After much delay, she began trying to perform.
She got to the last note before incorrectly belting it. However, instead of nothing happening, their surroundings changed. The white that had surrounded them shifted into darkness, and another body appeared from its depths.
The woman appeared to be an Amazonian six feet, three and a half inches. Link couldn't be quite sure since her head couldn't act as an automatic tape measure, as well as the fact that the dark-skinned woman was lying on the "ground", belly facing the "sky". The most telling features of the woman, however, was the red ponytail and the near lack of clothing.
As the two ladies looked at their new scantily-clad arrival, a drop of blood trickled from Zelda's nose. "Nabooru."
Link/a knew that already, but once again, had to play the part. "Nabooru?"
Zelda began going toward the comatose Gerudo, half walking, half jogging. "Nabooru, she's Ganondorf's right-hand man... I mean, woman. I met her the day that Ganon met with my dad."
That was also the day that Link first met Zelda, and his (well, her now) quest to save Hyrule had officially begun. But that last statement was confusing- she'd been given information, conflicting information from both Nabooru and Zelda herself on when the two had first met. So what was up with that?
"She seemed nice enough," the Princess continued, "for one of Ganon's lackeys. The woman was... kind to me. We could relate to each other, even though we'd barely even met."
Again, much confusion rang out through Link's mind. 'Whenever, if I ever, get the chance to talk to those two in the future again, they're gonna need to answer a load of questions.'
Just then, a voice rang out, which would've scared Lina a little if she hadn't recognized the voice. "Help.... me....."
Zelda began walking toward the comatose body at a brisk pace. "Nabooru? Is that you?" By the time Lina had decided to start following Zelda, her Royal Highness was already by the warrior's side, staring at her face.
"What happened to you?"
The purple fairy started to speak up again when Link was halfway to joining Sheik. "Um... sorry to break up this heartfelt, dramatic reunion, but we've got bigger problems on our hands." As she said this, the darkness began to envelop Sheik and Nabooru, though they didn't seem to notice it. Also, although Lina hadn't walked since Tatl had spoken, she seemed to be moving farther and farther away from the spot where the two future Sages had been, which was now completely obstructed by a wall of blackness.
"Lina, WE'VE ONLY GOT AN HOUR UNTIL THE MOON COMES CRASHING DOWN!!!!!"
Day 3, 5:00 AM, 1 hour until impact.
The clock tower finally came back into focus, the Skull Kid now beginning to get back up from his one-way trip to the floor.
Tate began screaming something very incoherent. "The swamp... the mountain... the bay... the valley... the four who are there-"
The rest of the message was cut off by an increase in the noise level. The moon was now covered in a layer of flaming hot death. It was inching ever so closely to the Clock Tower. Tatl looked at the girl beside her in desperation.
Lina began trying to play the Pipalo once more, but this time, she succeeded in completing the song. A blue flame suddenly flared up, surrounding both the cursed Deku and the purple fairy in every direction. The Skull Kid looked into the sky, and started laughing like any two-bit madman would when their plan was about to succeed.
The intensity of the blue became more and more intense, until they could see or hear nothing but blue. Finally, the two felt as if something was pulling them backwards, but there were no chains or strings attached.
The pull continued, a humongous roar going on in the background.
Tatl thought for a moment. "The pull thingy started at 5:59. One minute from impact."
Finally, the pull lessened, and the blue became dimmer and dimmer, until Link was back in front of the Clock Tower, right where she'd been standing the first time she set foot in Termina.
Day 1, 6:00 AM, 72 hours until impact.
Things started out exactly as they had before. The mailman was making his rounds, the carpenters were readying the town for the annual Festival of Time, and a purple haired boy wearing a Keaton mask was looking at his letters.
In other words, this had to have been the worst case of deja vu ever known to man.
The twice-cursed girl then remembered that the creepy mask man was inside the Tower, the door directly behind them.
Opening the door, they found the man, playing the organ, which Link could've sworn wasn't there during the last 72 hour cycle she'd experienced.
"Did you get the mask?"
The Shrub shook it's...crud...her head. "No. But I did get this back." She revealed the Ocarina.
"So... what am I supposed to call you, Mr.-"
"Creepo," he replied. "Mr. Creepo Matthews. My brother runs the Mask Shop in Hyrule Castle Town." He looked the girl over.
"Well, I can tell now that you're in no shape to get it back. Just let me teach you a song to help cure people who suffer from curses. It's called the Song of Healing."
Lina's heart lightened a little bit. This could be the cure that she's been looking for- she could finally be a man again.
Six simple notes rang out from the organ, which the girl shrub duplicated with little difficulty. There was a loud popping noise, and Link was no longer one of the Deku. A mask, showing off the face of a content Deku, clattered to the ground.
Caught up in elated joy, Link double-checked to make sure that everything was there. Ten toes and fingers... blonde hair, still in Link's trademark hairstyle... green tunic and hat... no snout... so far so good...
Link then proceeded to thank Mr. Matthews, and rounded a corner so the man couldn't see. The Hero then proceeded to put a hand in the underwear, making sure that that was there as well-
Nope. Nothing there. He was still a she.
She didn't understand. The Song of Healing was supposed to be the cure! It was supposed to cure magical ailments-
And that's when Link/a remembered that she'd been turned into a girl by a sinister potion, not a dark spell. 'Crud.'
Nonetheless, she had another adventure on her hands. Granted, Zelda had warned her not to do anymore hero stuff until the seven-year deadline was up.
But that only applied to Hyrule. And Link was now in Termina. She smelled a loophole and decided to go for it.
"Lina, why are your hands in your pants?"
Link squealed softly as she saw Tatl hovering nearby. "Seriously, either you're the weirdest girl I've ever met, or you're really a crossdresser. Right?"
The girl shook her head repeatedly, denying the accusation. Tatl stared at her for a good thirty seconds.
"You know, fairies have remarkable powers of observation, Lina. They can also detect various types of magic."
This was odd, but kinda pointless. "One of my first friends was a fairy. I kinda figured that out."
"So there's probably a reason why your body is emitting strange energy, right? It's weird; you look like a girl, but the energy you've been giving off is a combination of a girl AND a guy. Why?"
The jig seemed to be up- this little fairy had figured her out in minutes, while two of the smartest people Link had ever known fell for her facade.
One very long, very necessary (but not necessary enough for me to skip) explanation later, as well as a three-hour walk south, the two were on the outskirts of the Southern Swamp, more commonly known as Woodfall.
"...and this Ganon guy somehow figured out that you were going to do all of this?"
"Yea. No idea how he knew, though."
During their trek through the swamp, Link made several discoveries about the mask that had appeared when she was cured, as well as Termina's residents.
First, it was no ordinary mask- it contained the power of the curse that turned her into a Deku. Putting said mask on activated the curse.
Second, being a Deku acutally had some benefits- besides shooting bubbles of transparent death, she could bounce across water, and fool other people into thinking she was a real Deku.
Third, the Deku of this world were apparently powerful enough to have their own king, smart enough to build this king a palace, but not smart enough to realize that 'King Deku' was a fairly mundane name.
And fourth, all of the water was poisoned. She did the Technicolor yawn immediately after attempting to take a drink.
The throne room was in the middle of a heated discussion- the King was PO'ed, and the monkey inside the cage was as well.
"DARN YOU! WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER? AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE SWAMP!!!"
The monkey was desperate to explain himself, but not scared. "Your Majesty, I have no idea! She's probably at the extinct volcano, don't ask me!"
The prisoner grabbed the King with his hands for dramatic effect, and there was a collective gasp around the room. Apparently, touching the King was akin to heresy.
"TAKE YOUR PAWS OFF ME, YOU DARN, STINKIN' APE! I'VE HAD IT WITH YOU!!! THE MONKEY IS TO BE EXECUTED IN TWO DAYS, AT 6:05 AM!!!"
As the Royal Deku spoke, a tall servant with an outrageous green mustache wrote his words down. He wore a smile on his face, as if he enjoyed doing the King's bidding.
Day 1, 10:00 PM, 50 hours until impact.
Link decided to sneak into the throne room to discover more information about this kidnapping.
'It never fails,' she thought as she approached the cage, as silently as she could. 'Everywhere I go, there's been a princess kidnapped, or some crazy guy is trying to take over the world. What gives?'
It's actually called Fate, and as Fate would have it, it just liked having fun with the guy-gone-gal.
The monkey finally noticed that he had a visitor. "Who are you?"
"What do you know about the Princess's kidnapping?"
The monkey shuddered, whispering, "I told them everything. I saw you there when I confessed!"
"But did you do it?"
Silence. Then- "No. I was nervous. I say stupid things when I get nervous. But I did forget to tell them something."
Link leaned in for the scoop- "I wasn't lying when I said that she could be at the extinct volcano. There was this giant swordsman, and I saw it carrying her away right before I got blamed for this whole mess!"
Day 2, 5:00 AM, 42 hours until impact.
The monkey hadn't been lying- there had been something amiss atop the nearby volcano. There was a great shire floating atop a pool of poisoned water, with a familiar witch duo in front of it, relaxing for a brief moment.
Kotake and Koume.
As it turned out, however, these two were the Termina versions of the duo that Link fought so long ago, but in the future. They merely said that they were resting before flying off to hunt for some mushrooms.
Inside this temple was a swordsman so tall, the Hulk would've been a midget. His sword made the Kokiri blade that Link possessed look like a butterknife. His mask was covered in tribal designs that Lina could not identify. While the man was pouring what appeared to be poison into the waters, Tatl was frantically trying to figure out the best plan of attack.
Suddenly, a voice rang out, in a similar tone to that guy who screams, 'Mortal Kombat.' "BOSS FIGHT!!!!"
Link knew that distance would've been her best bet, but she didn't have her bow with her. The B.A.M.F began running after Lina, which she, in turn, decided to run away- not because she was scared, but that she needed a plan.
Tatl looked up to the skies. "We need some kind of plot device here!!!!"
As if on cue, the Fairy Bow that Link had won in the Forest Temple, the same bow that Link left at home, appeared three steps in front of the hero. Link grabbed in, turned around, and took aim.
The B.A.M.F was twenty feet behind and gaining swiftly. Lina took aim, fired-
The arrow flew true, hitting the B.A.M.F in the mask, through the slot where his right eye would've been. He doubled over in pain, and died. What was odd about the situation was that he shrank into another mask, which disappeared as soon as Link picked it up.
"Well," Tatl commented, "that was anti-climactic. I guess the bigger you are-"
"Please, I'm not in the mood for cheesy one-liners."
It had happened again. Link/a's surroundings had disappeared, revealing a giant of some sort. While the whole 'sudden change of surroundings' thing had been tiring to Lina, she listened and replayed the six notes that the Giant bellowed.
After succeeding, the Giant began walking away. "Well," Link noticed as the temple reappeared, "that was weird. Heck, this whole adventure is like an acid trip."
Tatl began to ramble at this point. "That was one of the Giants from the Festival of Time, Link. The story goes, that a long, long time ago, in a...."
Day 3, 11:00 PM, 7 hours until impact.
"...And that's the story."
Link shot himself into consciousness and started clapping. "Bravo, brilliant, yes, but is that even relevant?"
She could've sworn that that little 'anger' vein popped up on the purple pixie. "YES! This is what Tate was trying to tell us! If we can save all four Giants during one cycle, then we might be able to stop the destruction of Termina."
Link nearly fell asleep again, but stopped at the final moment. "I think it's about time to turn back the clock."
Day 1, 6:00 AM, 72 hours until impact.
As time flew them by, Tatl explained the mechanics of going backwards into time.
"Basically, no one will remember you. Nothing that you did last cycle will carry over into this one, except for the masks you've got, those handy tools, and the horse that my friend procured."
"You mean, stole, right?"
"Right, what I said."
As the blue faded, the deja vu worsened. The mailman was delivering the same letters as before, the carpenters were readying the town for the annual Festival of Time, and a purple haired boy wearing a Keaton mask was looking at his letters, again.
But there was something different from last time. As Link decided to travel north into the mountains, she noticed a certain bird from her last adventure land five feet in front of her.
It was the Kaepora Gaebora. "I guess I have some explaining to do."
Title: Year 2: Eternal Winter
Day 1, 7:00 AM, 71 hours until impact.
"I guess I have some explaining to do."
That was the greatest understatement Link'd heard in several years. "So, you're the-"
"-the Kaepora Gaebora?" The bird nodded. "Yes. I'm actually the version from the time you were an adult, Link. You may also have figured this out already from the Gossip Stones, but I am also Rauru."
Link had that learned as well- before he retrieved the Lens of Truth from the Bottom of the Well in Kakariko Village, she had spent a day playing around with the various masks that she'd helped sell.
"I'm confused about-"
"About Nabooru and Zelda?" The young heroine replied, "Yes. I've gotten conflicting information about them."
The bird's head rotated slightly, as if trying to remember the details. "Then let me start from the beginning."
"The two first met while Ganondorf was meeting with the King of Hyrule, faking a pledge of support. The two became friends fairly fast, but did not see each other again for years, primarily because Nabooru was busy hunting for the Silver Gauntlets."
"Wait," Link/a stopped him/it, gesturing with the Golden Gauntlets on her hands. "If that's true, then why does Zelda have a crush on Malon?"
He hesitated before explaining. "Well, it's like she told you the night that she helped you beat back your nightmares. She'd been repressed- and you were the one who told her that the world wouldn't end if she acted on her real feelings."
The great bird was getting quite irritated by the constant interruptions. "Please, let me finish! What happened is that Zelda found out about Nabooru's plight through your adventures, and became torn between the two."
Rauru the bird stopped. "If you would PLEASE-"
"Which adventure, Rauru? Was it saving Hyrule or Termina? That adventure," she ranted, "or this one."
Link nearly exploded. "SO SHE KNEW ABOUT-"
"NO, SHE DID NOT KNOW! NOW SHUT YOUR PORKTRAP, AND LISTEN!" Rauru's feathers had clearly been ruffled, and his eyes were filled with- regret? Sadness?
"Yes, she did find out about what had happened to her old friend that night that you and the Princess figured out how to turn back the clock." Link prepared to interrupt again, but refrained. "And yes, I knew about what would happen."
"YES! But only because I warned myself!"
The tension between the bird and the girl was thick enough to cut with a butter knife. Link couldn't believe her ears. The Sage of Light, the man who had watched over him/her as she slept, the bird who pointed him in the right direction as a child, had known what miserable fate would await her. "But why?"
An audible sigh escaped the legend's beak. "Link, I've been around for four hundred years. I've seen the past, the present, and some of the future, and it's taught me one thing. No one should know too much about their future."
"My dear boy- uh.... girl... would you have tried so hard to save your childhood home if you knew what was in store? Would you still have braved the hot fires of Death Mountain, the dark depths of Lake Hylia, and the five Temples if you had known you would be screwed over as a reward?"
The words were out of her mouth before she even knew what she was saying. "Well, yea!"
"NO, YOU WOULDN'T! You teens are all alike!"
The bird shuddered violently in his fury, trying to be the calm one of the fight/discussion.
With a few deep breaths, Rauru started again. "Link, I warned myself to stop a time paradox. The whole triangle with Zelda, Nabooru, and Malon, it's an inconsistency in the timestream. It's not like the time you let the demon out of the well in Kakariko Village, this one won't fix itself. It may not have been your fault, but you've got to be the one to fix it."
"I didn't want to tell you that, but my GOD, you wouldn't pay attention to me! You've changed! You've gotten quite the temper, and you're nowhere near as polite as you used to be."
This was like getting a blunt twenty-pound weight in the face. "...I'm sorry. But you can't just expect me to hear that and not overreact."
The Kaepora Gaebora shook his head. "It's okay. Puberty tends to bring out the worst in people."
DING!! The clock tower rang nine times. Tatl finally spoke up. "Lina- I mean, Link, we need to get going. I think we should go to the Snowhead Mountains next."
The two began to run off to the north, but Rauru spoke up. "Wait! I might be able to help you out!"
The Hero/ine and the fairy turned to find the Sage flying towards them, stopping a few feet before them. "I can fly you around Termina. Think about it. It'll get you saving this place faster, and it'll get you back home faster."
Link/a didn't even have to think about it. "Sure. Sorry about all the drama." He extended her hand out of sheer habit, not realizing that a bird was on the receiving end. Despite this, she found a bunch of feathers shaking her palm up and down.
"Thank you, Hero."
"What's this, what's this, what's this?"
A man dropped from the sky, a giant (but popped) red balloon attached to his back. When he got up, our three mismatched heroes noticed that the man was dressed in green. Just like a Kokiri.
"I knew it! I finally found a fairy, I knew that dressing up like one was the key! Tingle-Tingle, Kooloo-Limpah!" The man-fairy threw what appeared to be shiny pieces of paper in the air to accentuate his happiness.
Tatl flew up close to Rauru's frozen face.
"Get. Us. Out. Of. Here. NOW."
Day 1, 6:00 PM, 60 hours until impact.
Rauru and Tatl were chilling outside of a rundown shack in the middle of the Snowhead Mountains- literally. They were inches from becoming solid blocks of ice. As Link walked out of the door, she held two things in her hands- a new mask, and a golden blade that was about the same size of the Master Sword.
The occupant of the shack walked to the edge of the door. "Thank you for giving me something to do. Working on that 'Kokiri Sword' really got my creative juices going. And that Goron in there... well... thank you for helping her."
"No problem. Good night!" The door closed, and the light in the shed went out shortly after.
Her two accomplices looked at their fearless leader, looked at the sword, looked at her again, looked at the mask, before finally speaking up. "So the mask-"
"It's like the Deku Mask, but it turns me into a Goron instead of a Deku. The Goron in there was the leader, but she got sick." Tatl understood the rest- she had played the Song of Healing for her.
"So when this is all over-"
"When it's over, she'll break free of the mask and return to normal. She agreed to this, surprisingly enough. I don't think I'd be able to take living in a piece of plaster."
Tatl didn't comment, but looked into the sky. The snow was bearing down on them as hard as it had when they'd first arrived. "I don't think it's going to slow down any time soon, Link."
But Link wasn't paying attention, instead focused on a bright red light emanating from over the next ridge. She ran through the two feet of snow, and glanced over the edge. "I think I found the reason why."
"BOSS FIGHT!!!!" The voice echoed through the mountains, drowning out the nearby commotion of the Goron community.
There was a large, mechanical bull incased in a sheet of ice. However, the red light was still issuing forth from a large red jewel on the mechanimal's forehead. Despite the aforementioned 'boss' warning, there seemed to be no immediate danger.
Link prepared to fire off an arrow at the ice block, when Tatl shouted out over the wind, "Link! I don't think a regular arrow is going to cut the ice!"
"Who said I was firing off a regular arrow?" As she said this, the tip of the arrow began to be engulfed in magical fires. As the arrowhead continued to be set ablaze, she took aim.
Kaepora Gaebora and Tatl looked at each other before pulling out two sticks, and began making smores from the extreme heat being made from the Fire Arrow.
She fired the arrow, to hit the ice. As the clear block melted, the bull came back online, echoing its name through out the heavens.
"GOHT! GOHT! GOHT!"
One of 'Goht's' rear legs kicked up a bit, as if preparing to dash. Which it did, right where Rauru, Tatl, and Lina were standing.
Tatl and Rauru ran off in opposite directions, trying to eat their snacks. Link grinned a little bit, before putting on the Goron mask.
The feeling was different than it had been when she became the Deku. With the shrub, it felt like she was shrinking, as if she was being crunched into a box of sardines. This transformation, however, was pain incarnate. It was like she was being pulled apart, her human frame and clothes expanding to meet the needs of the Goron. Link could feel her skin hardening, but not to the point it had when she had been a Deku- it still felt like flesh, not the Deku woodlike stuff she had been covered with during her escapades in the Swamp.
The bull was now twenty feet in front of her. Goron-Link/a sidestepped the mad mechanical beast's rampage, and grabbed onto the bull's front left leg. As her feet left the ground, she noticed a peculiar effect- the Golden Gauntlets that she had been wearing were still amplifying her strength, and since Gorons were notorious for their brawn, it goes without how tight that Link had grasping that leg.
She'd noticed it first the night that she'd met up with Malon during the Redead scare- no, focus! She was in Termina now, not Hyrule!
The Goron continued to climb up the bull's appendage as it began to buck back and forth, trying to get rid of her like a flea.
Link finally reached the top of the bull, centering herself on the center of Goht's back. The bull's jerking motions were getting worse, so she grabbed random wires, and prepared for the bucking of a lifetime.
From a distance, it appeared that Link was riding a mechanical bull like a drunken maniac.
Slowly but surely, Goron-Lina crawled up Goht's... 'spine', for lack of a better word, making way to the monstrosity's neck. The spastic movements of the bull seemed to lessen there, but her grip was finally starting to weaken a smidge.
She looked at her hands, white from the grasp that she'd held on the circuits of this mad beast. A mad plan formed in her frostbitten brain. Mad, yes. Plausible, possibly. Stupid? Well, all plans are until proven otherwise.
Her hands returned to the spine, which was the largest of the tubes running down the length of Goht. With all the strength she had left, she tugged at it, pulling and pulling until it snapped with a sickening crunch.
The effect was immediate and intentional. The monster fell to the ground, groaning. As it slid to a complete stop, Link crawled to the top of the head, noting that the jewel was still glowing hot red. When the bull finally completed its last journey, she punched it until it shattered.
The shards flew out like the pieces of paper that Tingle had thrown earlier that day. When the light went out of the jewel's remains, the forty-foot long, twenty-foot tall monster shrunk into a three-inch long, six-inch long mask, which disappeared as Link held it up.
The mask's disappearance was followed by a massive cheering. As Goron-Link looked around, she saw that her fight had gotten an audience. The nearby Gorons had gathered on the nearby cliff edge, clapping at the victory over the wintry machination. As the celebrations continued, Link looked up into the sky, feeling a sense of elation; the snow had stopped.
And that's when the clapping stopped as well, disappearing with the rest of the mountains.
She knew the routine by now. With Rauru and Tatl by her side, she met the second of the four giants.
Day 2, 8:00 AM, 46 hours until impact.
Link thanked the Goron Elder for his hospitality, but he would have none of it. "Please, Darmuni, we can't thank you enough."
Rauru looked visibly confused at the name, but Link whispered, "That's the Goron's name," in the spot where his ear would've been.
"You've definitely made some odd friends in your quest to rid us of the eternal winter, though," noting the presence of Tatl and the Kaepora Gaebora. Link just smiled and nodded.
"And your request for a Powder Keg license has been approved."
That dampened Link's smile a little. She didn't remember applying for anything.
"Forgot about that, did you? Not surprised. Now you can destroy that big boulder in front of the Romani Ranch, just like you promised the humans."
Tatl hovered over to Link's ear. "Link, that's where my friend put Epona!"
The wheels were starting to turn in Link's head. Turn back the clock again, and find Epona.
After finishing up her conversation with the Elder, she prepared to pull out her Ocarina. Instead, she pulled out something else.
"Bongos? Gorons play the bongos?"
Day 1, 9:00 AM, 69 hours until impact.
"I can't believe it! I just can't believe it!" Her voice was much deeper than usual from the magic of the Goron mask.
Tatl was tiring of these constant exclamations. "Yes, Link. We get it."
Still, it was a bit of a coincidence. The Romani Ranch was south of the town she kept ending up in (which was named Clock Town), on the same path that led Link and Tatl to the Woodfall Swamp.
The road to the Ranch, however, forked into two directions. One had a large boulder blocking it, and the other, well...
It was as if Ingo, the greedy ranch hand had cloned himself. Three times over. The three were beaming at the big rock covering up the way to the Romani Ranch. The youngest of the three was leaning on a sign that said, 'This Way to the Gorman Brothers Ranch'.
Tatl hovered close to Link's ear again, noting, "They were really happy when the Skull Kid blocked the Ranch off."
Link, still wearing her mask, pulled out what appeared to be a large TNT barrel that'd been ripped straight out of the Donkey Kong Country video games. She lit the fuse, threw the rip-off, and dove for cover.
The explosion was louder that a KISS concert, and just as flashy. The rock parted into millions of tiny rock that flew every which way, with chunks of dirt flying through the air. When the dust cleared, so was the way inside the Ranch.
The three brothers booed the aftermath, but their response didn't matter to Link. When she entered the ranch, she darted behind a bush and took off the mask.
The reversion was instant, and much less painful than putting the mask on. It was just your standard 'I'm too lazy to animate transformations so I'll just place a bright flash of light' deal. When Lina emerged, she was her standard 'I'm-me-again-but-still-cursed' self, blonde hair and all.
She could clearly see that this farm was different than the one she'd stayed on for the past year or so. It was hilly, and the cows were roaming the ranch freely instead of being confined to their stalls. There was an archery range there as well, and preparing to take aim at one of the target dummies was-
She began dashing toward her friend, not believing what she was seeing. As she got closer, though, she could feel something pulling at the collar of her tunic.
"Tatl! Rauru! Lemme go, I wanna go talk to Malon!"
The fairy spoke first. "Think before you act, girl- I mean, dude!" The bird followed that suggestion up with one of his own. "Just look at her. Stay silent, and look."
Reluctantly, she followed their advice. The Malon-look-a-like kept shooting arrows at the stationary target, but she wasn't very good at it just yet. Another redhead appeared out of the nearby barn, holding a bowl of steaming hot soup. And if Link didn't know any better, she could've sworn that this one was Malon as well.
But this one was grown up. In fact, she looked just like Malon had when Link was a grown man.
Day 1, 5:00, 61 hours until impact.
The inside of the nearby house was like a combination of the kitchen at the Lon Lon Ranch, Malon's room, and Link's own. Nonetheless, it didn't make her feel like she was home.
But the residents of that domicile did. The younger one, Romani, said that she'd been practicing her bowsmanship to take on the aliens who, according to her, 'keep taking our cows before the Festival of Time.'
The elder of the two, Cremia, was busy looking at a picture of three people. While she was gone, Link took a brief look at the still. The three appeared to be at last year's Festival, enjoying themselves immensely. One of them was Cremia, but the other two looked familiar.
The red head to Cremia's immediate right looked familiar to Link in the same way that Romani and Cremia had looked recognizable- the lady looked just like that girl from Kakariko Village, the one who had been allergic to Cuccos.
The other prominent person in the picture was also familiar, but in a different sense. The boy that Link/a saw pick up the mail every time she reversed the clock, the purple-haired one that had been wearing the Keaton mask, was in the picture.
"That's Kafei and Anju."
Link jumped at the sound of Cremia's voice, nearly dropping the picture frame.
"Anju's a close friend of mine, and Kafei's her little brother. I was worried that I wasn't going to see them this year."
She gazed silently upon the picture with a longing that Link had seen before in Ruto's eyes, albeit this look was far less lustful. '...Does she like Anju?'
Outside, there was a whinny that Link could've recognized anywhere. "That horse is upset again. I swear, between us, I think Romani's the only one that can calm it down."
Link ran outside, hoping that it wasn't too good to be true.
Day 2, 11:55 AM, approx. 55 hours until impact.
The alien invasion was well underway, and Link was busy fending them off, firing arrows from the back of her trusty horse, Epona.
'Malon- Romani says that these light thingies stay for a while, then fly off with the goods.'
She'd been tremendously lucky with the horseback archery- she'd never really been that good at it, even when she had been hunting Poes. She drew back her bowstring, aimed, and nearly dropped her arrow when one of Epona's hooves hit an especially hard rock.
Despite this though, the alien lights appeared to be leaving, without taking a single cow.
As the lights faded from the sky, Cremia ran out of the house shouting, "What are you two doing?"
She looked at Link, who was still saddled on Epona, then shifted her focus to her sister, who was guarding the barn entrance with her bow and arrows.
"Romani! Do you have any idea what time it is?"
"It's 12:07! You need to be in bed so you can help me load up the cart for the milk delivery!" She hustled over to the barn, grabbed Romani by the ear, and began to drag her back to the house.
"But sis, aren't you glad that we fought off the aliens?"
"Yes, I'm actually thrilled. I'm so thrilled, that I realized that WE NEED TO SLEEP!" The door slammed behind her.
Link decided to Epona out to pasture for the night, and prepared to walk back to the house. When she arrived back, the older of the two sisters was waiting for her.
"Lina, I can't thank you enough for what you and Romani did. Please don't take my anger as a sign of disrespect or a lack of gratitude. I hate to ask, but can you do me an additional favor?"
"....And that's it. Well?"
She looked at the window to the guest bedroom. Rauru was perched on the windowsill, with Tatl floating close by.
"Link, remember that we don't have much time to waste. We need to solve our little problem with the Princess."
"Yea, and we've gotta get that crazy mask off my friend."
With that, good-byes were exchanged, and Link slept for the first time in a while.
'I just hope that things calm down when I get home.'
Day 2, 8:00 AM, 46 hours until impact
The plan was simple- act as an escort for Cremia's delivery of her famous "Cheateu Romani" Milk.
Before Cremia began to move the milk wagon, she called Link over. "Now Link, I should warn you. The last time we tried to deliver milk, a band of thieves tried to steal our shipment. We lost half of the milk before they went away."
Link nodded. "I just hope I have enough arrows."
"Don't worry. I'm sure they won't try to steal from us again. It's just a precaution."
With that, the wagon started to move out. Romani waved the two of them off before returning to bed, tired from moving the crates of milk and fending off alien invaders.
As the wagon moved past the Gorman Bros. Farm, the three brothers were still there, their mustaches as stiff and twisty as ever. They stared in unison at the wagon, and then noticed the horse accompanying it.
When the caravan was out of earshot, the tallest of the three began talking. "Well, it looks like she's gotten a friend this time."
The shortest of the brothers nodded. "It's only a kid, though. What can a kid do against the might of-"
The three brothers pumped their fists into the air. "THE GORMAN BROTHERS SLASH THIEF EXTRAORDINAIRES!!!!"
The middle sibling looked into the nearby trees, annoyed at something. "Is it just me, or has that owl been there all night?"
The other two brothers joined him in staring at it. The bird, finally realizing that it had been noticed by something, flew off to the north.
"Shall we get started?"
Not so far away, Link was staying steady with the cart, making pleasant conversation with the driver.
"Are you sure this is really necessary?"
"I think so. The Gorman Brothers are really jealous of our success, so they might have hired someone."
With that, there was a familar *THUNK* of an arrow hitting a piece of wood. Epona slowed down a little, and there it was- an arrow with a black piece of cloth attached had struck the bottom right corner of the cart.
When Lina took a closer look, the cloth had a drawing of an outrageously styled mustache.
Rauru came out of nowhere, appearing on Link's right. "Link! They're coming!"
She looked behind her, only to find that three horses had somehow snuck up on her, along with three masked men, all with impossibly angled facial fuzz.
"Kinda obvious, don't ya think?"
Tatl had clearly been infuriated by his statement of the obvious.
Lina carefully readjusted herself to face the bandits. She prepared to return fire when a thought popped into her head.
'I don't have to kill them.'
Every time she'd fought against someone or something, she'd gone for the kill, with the exception of the Gerudos, which she had gone for incapacitation.
This time, she was up against three misfit brothers who wanted to make a quick buck.
She fired off an Ice Arrow at the ground in front of the three horsemen, creating a slippery slope of magical ice.
One of the horses slipped, causing its rider to fall out of the chase. The other two merely went around the frost, and avoided making the same mistake.
Link shot off a regular arrow this time, nicking the shorter of the two remaining chasers on his right shoulder. He slumped off his horse, grabbing at his wound in pain.
That left the tallest of the three, who was catching up quickly with the caravan. He bypassed Link, instead choosing to aim for Cremia.
Link might not have been shooting to kill, but he was.
Thinking quickly, Link began reciting a magical incantation that she'd learned during her last adventure, a spell that had saved her life during her very first fight with Dark Link.
As the brigand's arrow left his bow, he didn't hit the woman, but instead hit a mysterious blue shield that had appeared out of nowhere.
'I guess Nayru's Love works on groups of people, too.'
The cursed Hero commanded her horse to go faster, to be at the highwayman's side before the spell wore off.
The hooligan, meanwhile, had taken out a dagger and began to slash wildly at the protective barrier.
As it finally began to fade, the final crook felt a slight tapping on his shoulder. He turned around to find a block of gold soaring into his face.
The impact threw both horse and master flying through the air, at least sixty feet away.
'I'm never letting the Golden Gauntlets out of my sight again.'
As the spell wore off completely, the wagon came to a complete stop. They had reached their destination...
"And not a single bottle missing! Lina, I can't thank you enough!"
The two dismounted their respective rides. Cremia, in a fit of blazon happiness, grabbed Link, raised her into the air, and kissed her on the forehead.
Lina didn't know why, but it made her feel warm and fuzzy inside.
"Cremia? Is that you?"
The Malon-look-a-like gently let Link down to the ground to look at another red head.
"Cremia! Thank the stars, it is you!"
The two ran into a hug, which quickly turned into a heated kiss. It looked very inviting.
"I knew the two of them were always close."
Link turned to her left to find Kafei, the kid with the Keaton mask. "Thanks for helping them out. I don't think I could've taken another day of Anju complaining about that boulder."
Anju had walked over during that explanation to speak with Link as well. "Lina, Words can never express how happy I am that you helped her out!"
She turned to her younger brother, and became giddy. "She said yes."
Kafei was stunned, but quickly released a smile that was nothing short of beaming. "So she's-"
"She said she wants to do it tonight!"
The siblings quickly embraced each other in a familial hug. Link walked over to Cremia, who couldn't help but smile. "Lina-"
Cremia dug out a package from the seat compartment of the wagon. "I want you to have this."
She opened the wrapping to find another mask. This one was black, and had golden rings surrounding the eyes. There was also a hint of a blush on the mask, which gave it a certain charm.
"It's called the Couple's Mask. It brings good luck to the owner's love life." Link looked at the previous owner, bewildered. "Lina, it's not like I'm going to need it anymore. I want you to have it- you've gone above and beyond to help us out."
As she rejoined her fiance, Tatl and Rauru finally reappeared at Link's side.
Rauru was shaking his feathery head. "That was nice of you to do, Link, but you know that this won't carry over when you go back, right?"
"I know. I want to enjoy just one moment when I get to see something go right."
Day 2, 11:00 PM, 31 hours until impact.
The local bar wasn't a real bar- milk was as popular as beer- but it was still the place for newlyweds to enjoy themselves after the ceremonies were through.
So it was no great surprise that Anju and Cremia were still dancing slowly with each other, late into the night. Link played a slow tune with his Ocarina, savoring what was probably the first peaceful moment she'd had since Zelda and Impa had shown up at the Ranch.
Link looked at the clock that hung over the bar door. 11:05. She had put it off long enough.
As Anju and Cremia walked out the door, holding each other's hand, Link prepared to play one final song. She had hoped that they could've kept dancing, but they had to do that thing that newlyweds do- Link wasn't sure what that was, but knew that they needed their alone time.
As she prepared to turn back the clock again, she felt a twinge of regret that this, of all things, couldn't repeat during the next cycle.
Not much had happened since Link left the ranch.
Well, one thing, actually. The sun had set an hour ago.
Which made Vaati feel at ease, if only a little bit. 'Tomorrow, I'm finally gonna show that stupid Malon. Without that green girl to help her, I'll finally show her.'
Obsessed much? Probably. But Vaati had been deadset on staying on the Lon Lon Ranch for three years now, and he was NOT about to give up on that now.
[End notes: Feedback is always appreciated.]
Title: Year 2: Zora Women...AGAIN?!?
[Author's notes: I'm still alive- I'm just in college.]
Day 1, 7:30 AM, 70 hours left until impact.
Tatl looked at it with some interest as Link haggled with the crazed fairy man. "200 Rupees for the map."
Tingle shook his head profusely, answering, "No, no, no, fairy! I’m afraid that a map of this variety cannot go for any less than 320."
She sighed. "300."
Link dug out her Giant's Wallet with a sensation that she was being robbed blind. "Fine, 320 Rupees."
Tingle began to drop it like it was hot (or... maybe he just danced as usual) as Lina handed him the Rupees, saying, "YOU'RE ON FIRE, MISTER FAIRY! FIRE!!"
After reading the map over carefully, Link/a found where the remaining two giants were- the Great Bay, which was to the west of town, and the Ikana Valley to the east.
She looked at her two partners-in-crime, Tatl and Rauru (still disguised as the legendary wise owl). "So, which one next, guys? The bay," she pointed at the blue mass, "or the valley?" she pointed at the large tower in the dark brown area.
Tatl looked at Link, before replying, "My friend blocked off all access to the valley. He did something weird there in the Tower, and now... there's dead people, but they're not dead."
Rauru blinked. "I'm not quite sure I follow."
But Link did. "Redead. Goddesses, I hate those guys."
"Wait- but I thought Redead weren't actual people."
Link closed her eyes, trying to strain her brain for something. "Normally, they're just magic conjured into the form of a walking corpse. But from what Tatl's saying, it sounds like the Termina version is an actual dead person brought back to life."
Rauru shook involuntarily for a moment. "Great. I got really sick and tired of those screams while I was making sure you slept alright, I was really hoping I wouldn't have to listen to it ever again."
Link didn't say anything, but silently agreed with him. Trying to escape Hyrule Castle Town with Malon had given her enough exposure to the zombies for a lifetime.
Tatl shook violently. "No, not just that! There are ghosts there! Really scary ghosts!"
That many problems with an area, and they hadn't even arrived- that assured that they were going to the bay first. As they finally left the western Clock Town gate, Link pulled out her Ocarina, and began to play.
"So... Tatl.... you know the lad who wears the mask, correct?"
Tatl turned to face the bird, dumbfounded as to why he had asked a stupid question to which he already knew the answer.
"It's just- I find it hard to believe that you could be friends with such a boy."
"No, I understand. We were always playing jokes on people, but they were always in good taste, always for fun. When he found that mask," she said before noticing that Epona was quickly approaching, "things got really scary."
Day 1, 1:00 PM, 65 hours left.
A while ago, Malon had told Link about the beach, about the sun and the waves, and how much fun she had had. When Link noticed the change in scenery from grass to sand, she saw that her friend had been spot on about the details. Sadly, Link did not have any time to enjoy herself.
As she dismounted Epona, she could see a series of floating platforms floating further off in the bay. There was no way that an ordinary human, even one armed with magical strength enhancers like the Golden Gauntlets, could make it through that current.
Obviously, there had been a groan of pain escaping from someone's mouth. Link looked around, and saw nothing. She looked closer at her surroundings, until she found it.
She finally realized that she had been standing on the belly of one female Zora. There were two things unusual about her, though.
1) She was breathing erratically.
2) She was wearing clothes.
A Zora wearing clothes, to Link, was like a Kokiri outside the forest- she didn't think it was possible. Yet here she was, staring at the older woman. There was a strange device in her left hand, which appeared to be a fish or ax of some kind with strings running down its length.
On the upper edge of the guitar, there was a name- Mikalu. That was probably the name of the suffering artist in front of her. There were also a series of dots that Link was too stressed to read at the moment.
Mikalu tried to get up, but her injuries were too severe. Her left leg had been bandaged, but it had been bleeding badly. And from the looks of it, she'd lost too much blood to recover.
Her eyes tried to focus on Lina. "Listen... the waters are too warm... Gyorg... Lulu-"
She groaned in pain as she suddenly tried to rise, and Link tried to help the Zora in her pain. "The largest fish I ever saw- it took her eggs. And it's killing all the others by making the water- GAHHH!"
Mikalu had tried to stand yet again, and Link assisted her in moving to a nearby palm tree. "The water's too warm for the eggs...Lulu...I promised to get them back but," she pointed at her injuries, "I failed. It breaks my heart to do that."
Link let her go, her breathing still erratic. She dug out her Fairy Ocarina, recognizing that she could still save her. It was just like it had been with the Goron at the Snowfall Mountains; only through the Song of Healing could she live.
As the final note was played, Mikalu had glown bright white before shrinking into a mask, just like Darmuni. Link picked up the mask, and finally noticed something familiar about it.
She then pulled out another mask, the Zora Mask that Mr. Jacob Mathews of the Mask Shop had given him as a reward for selling so many masks. "Tatl... do you think-"
Tatl looked at both masks before agreeing. "The aesthetics are a little different, but I'm getting the same vibe from both masks."
"Wait." Rauru was intrigued by this possibility. "Are you suggesting that this song may have residual effects on similar masks in the nearby area? That both masks-"
"-can turn her into a Zora? It's entirely probable."
Rauru's eyes lit up for a moment, as if he had finally placed the last piece in a complex jigsaw puzzle. "That explains it! Now I get it!"
Rauru snapped out of it, and stayed silent, muttering that he might have said too much.
Day 1, 6:00 PM, 60 hours until impact.
The Zora village was nothing like the one that Link had visited in Hyrule. The one in her homeland had been inside a cave, with vast and cool pools where its residents swam. This place was a series of lily pads floating on the seas, and the water she had swum through to get there was remarkably warm, almost to the point of discomfort.
Being a Zora felt like being an adult again. Except that this time, she was a woman. She had to take a moment to get used to the fact that she had breasts while she masqueraded around as the rocker, Mikalu.
As she climbed up onto the nearest pad, a drumstick-holding Zora seemed to be waiting for her. This one was very... uh... big boned, and had the look of a slacker about him. "Mikalu! Where have you been?"
Link nearly forgot to respond. "Out. Why?"
"Lulu's lost her voice! We wu-won't be able to perform tomorrow!" He was extremely flustered, nearly to the point of stuttering. "You gu-gotta snap her outta it!"
The drummer pointed to a fancy domelike house that was slightly larger than the others nearby. "Just pu-play the New Bossa Nova like you always d-do. I'm sure she'll be fine, but help the rest us of sleep a lil' easier, al-alright?"
He walked away, and Link walked behind the house. She pulled out- a guitar, the same one that Mikalu had when Lina had played the Song of Healing. Every detail was exactly as she remembered. The name inscribed on the top, the strings, the dots on the back-
She took a closer look at said dots. They appeared to be specks of dust at first, but upon closer inspection, she could make out a series of notes.
Lina prepared to play this melody, but realized something important. “I don't know how to play the guitar!”
Tatl peered at the instrument. "Lina- I mean, Link, I'm sure that you can do it!"
Rauru perched himself on the edge of the roof, nodding in agreement. "Yes. You are quite skilled at many of the things you try at, Hero. Why not try the guitar?"
Link winced before staring at the two. Bluntly, she commented that, "I'm the Hero of Time, Rauru. I'm not a Guitar Hero!"
Day 1, 10:00 PM, 56 hours until impact.
Lulu couldn't get to sleep, no matter how hard she tried. Her eggs were missing, she couldn't speak, and she hadn't seen Mikalu all day. She grabbed a nearby cup and gargled its contents, hoping the warm sea water might help. It didn't.
Suddenly, there was a figure at the door. The outline was so familiar-
And so was the voice! She smiled, proceeding to walk to the door.
Lina journeyed to the only other person in the room, seeing that she was very glad to see her. Lulu looked surprisingly similar to Princess Ruto, except that she was wearing a turquoise dress. She appeared at ease for a moment, but then became nervous again. Link pulled out the guitar, and began to play.
It was like nothing that she had ever attempted to perform before. Everything else had been slow, somber, and peaceful. This was full of soul, it was invigorating, and it was faster than lighting. The strings on the guitar, the positioning of her fingers, the medalies and the squedalies, it all combined together for one mind-blowing, rock-your-socks-off, groovy experience.
Lulu felt a great swell of joy, like a ton of bricks had been lifted off her throat. "Oh, Mikalu!" Without warning, she ran over and hugged Mikalu. Her momentum caused both of them to fall to the ground, Lulu on top. Then, without any sort of warning, Lulu kissed her. Passionately. With heaping helpings of tongue.
Your brain has committed a fatal error in:
Your brain has also shut down improperly.
She pinched her lover gently, which brought Link back to reality. Link didn't have any idea what to say, or what to do. All she had to rely on was her old battle-tested deterrent.
Lulu sat back up, getting off of the woman she thought was Mikalu. "Mika, you're hurt!"
Link looked down. The wound that Mikalu had suffered earlier hadn't completely healed yet. "I'll be fine."
Link stopped the woman, knowing that there was no simple way to fend her off. "Lulu, I came back to check in, okay? Now, I have to get your eggs back, and I promise that I'll be less stressed when I return, okay?"
Day 2, 1:00 AM, 59 hours until impact.
"Link, there's no way you could've known."
Rauru tried playing the logic card, repeatedly. Tatl had tried to downplay it. "Lina, it's not that big a deal. So she kissed you-"
"It is a big deal! It's a huge deal! I just got kissed by someone who's not even my own species!"
Rauru maintained his calm tone. "Ruto went after you before, Link. It's not like this hasn't happened before."
"Not like this! Ruto never managed to kiss me, this one did!" It had taken a great deal of smooth-talking, more wit than she even knew she had to escape from Mikalu's wife and mother of her children. She raised her head to look at the skies, adding, "Goddesses, is everyone in this fanfiction a lesbian?"
"Link, we've got to stay focused here."
"It's hard to focus when I've just been kissed for the first time!"
Tatl flew to Link's shoulder, hovering an inch or so above it. "Lina, did you feel anything...weird from it?"
"Well, it was kind of odd having someone else's tongue in my mouth..."
The bird saw where the fairy was going with this and ran with it. "No, Link. Did you feel fulfilled? Did it feel right?"
'Did it?' She had to think for a moment. It had felt... unusual, for lack of a better word, to have someone showing deep emotion towards her that wasn't hatred or an apparently platonic friendship. But there hadn't been any sort of real connection between her and the Zora. It had just been two complete strangers frenching each other.
"Then you have nothing to fear, Hero."
Link dug out her map again, trying to take her mind off of the events that just happened. She searched the area of the map that she knew that she was in, until she came upon it. "The map says that there's an abandoned shrine further out into the ocean."
Tatl looked at the big owl on Link's shoulder. "How much you wanna bet the giant fish is there?"
"Just because the last two bosses were in old, abandoned shrines does not mean that this one will be as well!"
Day 2, 4:00 AM, 56 hours until impact.
"Pay up, old man."
Rauru reluctantly ate crow as he handed over 200 Rupees. Lina the Zora now found herself in what could be described as a large fish tank, face-to-face with a large fish, one that had to be at least 350 pounds and several meters long. This was probably what Mikalu was referring to when she mentioned 'Gyorg'. 'Any minute now....'
The fish roared, opened its mouth, and swallowed Link whole.
You have died.
But Link had been swallowed in one piece, being thrust down the fish's esophagus. As she landed in what can only be assumed to be Gyorg's stomach, she noticed how remarkably similar it was in relative structure to the bowels of Jabu-Jabu, the guardian of the Hylian Zora. 'Maybe it's Termina's version?'
Regardless, if it was similar in any respect to Jabu-Jabu, then Link already knew the method to use in destroying it. After walking for about three seconds, she found a large, pulsating object, which was probably the beast's heart.
Link prepared to take off the mask when she noticed something unusual. The fins on her arms had suddenly toughened to the point where they could go up against steel. Going solely on gut instinct, she flung her left arm as if she was slapping an imaginary person. The edge of the hardened fin flew off of her arm, almost like a natural boomerang, and injected itself into the heart of the beast.
Gyorg could feel the pain, and sent out its defense system to deal with the intruder. Just like Jabu-Jabu, the defense force was comprised of jellyfish-like monsters that channeled electricity, which Link had called Bari during his last adventure. But each one of these floating foes fell from one shot of Link's bestial weapons.
Whenever she got a break from the swarms of tiny terrors, she continued to fling her fins at the large entity. After two shots, more Bari were released, which would then be dealt with by Link. Kill, shoot, lather, rinse, repeat...
After three cycles of that monotony, there was a sudden pressure pressed upon Link, seemingly like the wind. Whatever it was, it was strong enough to force Lina out of the belly of the beast (Clichéd expressions FTW!).
As Link recovered from the bowel movement, she noticed the fish, belly-up. 'That worked out nicely. The whole mask thing should happen right about now.' And so it did- the fish began to glow a blinding white, which made everything go black (Didn't see that coming now, did you?).
When the light faded, the only things that could be seen were the usual mask and the usual giant. 'Here we go again.'
Lina dug out the guitar and played the song that the very first giant had taught her. Once the little ditty was done, the oversized moss-covered simian nodded, as if to recognize the stranger as a friend.
The giant walked away, allowing the room to come back into view. Link noticed the usual mask, floating right where the fish had been. She swam out into the body of water to retrieve it, noticing several elliptical objects lying at the bottom.
Day 2, 9:00 AM, 51 hours until impact.
The trek back to the village was much harder than traveling to the Great Bay Shrine. The water was much colder on the way back, not to mention that she was now carrying a bunch of eggs. Climbing back onto network of lily pads, she noticed she was at the part of the village where the eggs were laid. There were dozens of eggs at the bottom of the pool, each group bunched up around a signpost. Each sign appeared to have two names on it, most likely referring to the parents of the eggs.
Lina dove into the pool, being sure to swim slow enough not to cause any of the eggs to be separated from their kin. As she reached the bottom, there was a sign without any eggs, which read 'Mikalu and Lulu'.
'So, the person I'm possessing is the father of these little guys?' It didn't make any sense to Link. From what little knowledge she had of where babies came from, it involved a woman AND a man. So the fact that the parents were two women was headache-inducing. However, for all Link knew, the way that the Zora made babies was probably a little different from how Hylians did it (Although Link had no idea how either one did the deed… It’s not like the Kokiri ever really had Sex Ed.).
As she climbed out of the pool, the drummer from yesterday showed up again, clearly agitated. "Mikalu! There you are!"
He ran over to the guitarist, nearly tripping over himself in the process. "The concert starts in two hours, we've gotta get you over to the Hall!"
The drummer grabbed the disguised Hylian, and began to run to the other side of town. They were taking shortcuts and whatnot, with Link repeatedly getting clipped by bystanders who were too lazy to get out of the way.
Day 2, 12:00 PM, 48 hours until impact.
‘This is going surprisingly well.’
The performance of the Indigo-Gos was going surprisingly well, especially when the guitarist had never actually ever played before the previous night. Link had been very confused by the other players, mostly because their instruments looked like dead fish or crabs. However, she quickly got over it and ‘relearned’ all of the songs during rehearsal.
Their final song, ‘Ballad of the Wind Fish’, seemed to be a fan favorite of the entire crowd, which had them screaming with joy at its end.
Just then, a shout came out from the crowd, one that is every guitarist’s nightmare, as well as every rock fanatic’s mission to call out. “FREE BIRD!!!”
This gave the entirety of the Indigo-Gos pause, as each and every one of them turned to look at their guitarist. The chant for the legend grew louder, and Link looked back at her mask’s band, panic filling her being. ‘What the heck is a free bird?’
After two seconds, she realized it was a song, one that hadn’t been on the song list. ‘Mikalu, help!’
Lina closed her eyes, and could almost imagine seeing the Zora that she had healed on the beach, telling her to believe in her instincts. ‘Creepy… but I’ve seen weirder things.’ Memories of seeing Zelda escaping the castle before she met Navi now filled her mind.
She exhaled, and strung one of the strings. The piano joined in, and she knew that there was no going back. As she began to hit the beginning stride, she looked at Lulu, who looked back, concerned, as if someone was going to suddenly catch fire.
Her gut told her to keep pushing her fingers, but there were no real problems for about four and a half minutes. Lulu sounded beautiful on the vocals, inspired for some reason. And then the instincts started kicking up in ways Link had never imagined, causing both the greatest music Lina had ever heard, and the greatest pain she’d ever felt in her fingers. It was as if she had grabbed a molten hot tea pot and been unable to let go. It was like that for another two minutes, Lina keeping a calm look on her face.
And then the real pain cometh. It suddenly became chord after chord after chord, as if Ganon had created a new method of torture just for people who played this fish string holder.
Another two minutes, and then it ended just as it had begun- with the sound of a string being plucked. The crowd exploded with exaltation, chanting the name of the band over and over as the curtain finally closed.
The Indigo-Gos (minus Lina and Lulu, who mysteriously vanished after the curtain call) crowded together, yelling that it was ‘Beer Time’. Link still wasn’t entirely sure what was so appealing about ‘beer’ that milk couldn’t do as well. ‘Relieves thirst, probably tastes better... what gives?’
She walked out of the stadium, carefully avoiding any fans. It was like infiltrating the Gerudo’s base way back when. Except for the fact that she wasn’t shooting people with arrows. Or that she wasn’t seventeen. Or that she was currently a girl who was currently disguised as a Zora.
She looked up at a nearby clock. It read ’12:45’. She figured that it was almost time to go back, but she remembered that she’d left one of her bottles at Lulu’s. And after the hell Link had gone through to get it, she was not about to leave it be.
Link walked quietly into the house, hoping she wouldn’t encounter the other resident of the domicile. There, on the nearby table, was the container in question. Silently, she tiptoed across the room, and picked up the bottle.
Before she could turn around to leave, a nearby lamp clicked on. Link turned to find the source of this disturbance, to find Lulu, still wearing that dress, but lying on the bed in a most peculiar manner.
“Mika, honey? Where are you going?”
Link felt like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. She had no idea what headlights or cars were, but it fit the situation. Her eyes wandered involuntarily toward the door. ‘How am I getting out of this one?’
Her focus had been locked on the exit so tightly, that she hadn’t seen her ‘wife’ get up from the bed, taking up position directly behind her. Then, without warning, Lina found two strange, blue hands on Mikalu’s hooters.
She felt strange, as if her personal space had been violated in some strange respect. Yet it was interesting at the same time, in some manner similar to the one that happened when Cremia had kissed her on the forehead. This felt like nothing she’d ever experienced before, it was something akin to a great amount of pleasure- but she knew that she wanted it to stop. It felt like she was betraying someone for some reason.
Once Lulu let go, Lina saw her opening. “Um... Lulu, dear? Can I just have one moment?”
Lulu responded by kissing her lover on the lips for a ever-so-short year before giving her permission. “But be sure to come right back. For once, we’re both together and alone...”
Link was no genius at romance, but even she could figure out that this wasn’t just going to be chocolate and kisses. After she retreated from the room, she took off her mask, returning to the form of a twelve year old Hylian girl. She whipped out the Ocarina, which, for once, was not a guitar, or a set of bongos, or even that weird pipe thingy, and played the Song of Time faster than she had ever before.
As the familiar blue flames covered her, Tatl, and the owl, she thought to herself that the entire experience with Lulu was odd, but strangely intriguing. But she felt guilty for some reason, as if she had taken advantage of the situation.
‘It felt nice...but I’m still supposed to be a guy.’
As the blue lights died down, she decided to redouble her efforts to find a cure once she got to talk to Navi.
Title: Year 2: Roc's Feather
[Author's notes: God, I really want to get back to Hyrule (so many ideas now)- but, I've got to finish this story arc.]
Day 1, 8:30 AM, 69 hours left until impact.
Link had wasted no daylight in trying to gain access to the final shrine. However, the ‘shrine’ this time was a large stone tower (aptly named the ‘Stone Tower Temple... lazy developers). On top of that, the entire valley east of Clock Town was infested with Redead, Wallmasters, and large walking mummies, dubbed by Terminans as ‘Gibdo’.
Some things were still the same, though. Tatl and Rauru found themselves waiting for Link to emerge from a nearby cabin once again. And once again, Link emerged from the humble shack with a mask in her hand.
The purple pixie quickly rose, examining the specimen that Link held. It appeared to be a head of one of the monsters that they had been warned about, only imposed on the surface of a mask. “So what does this one turn you into?”
Link laughed bitterly. “Actually, this mask doesn’t do any of that stuff this time. This thing just prevents me from being attacked by the undead. Makes the walking dead think that I’m one of them.”
“Clever stratagem, Hero. But we still have to climb those rocks, and I’m fairly sure that you won’t make it past them with enough time left.”
Tatl concurred with his assessment, adding, “The mask cursed the rocks. They try to smash anyone who tries to cross.”
Link might have been courageous, but she wasn’t stupid. Getting crushed by a rock was NOT how she wanted to die. She observed the pass, noting that the wall of damned earth was at least a mile and a half wide. Trying to cross it by foot would make a Hylian pancake. There was no path big enough for a horse to cross, so trying to avoid the rocky boulders by using Epona was a no-go. If she could only fly-
A light bulb went off in Lina’s skull. But since she didn’t know what a light bulb was, it was a bright candlelight instead. She approached the giant owl that had helped her in this adventure. “Rauru-“
“Link, I am not carrying you to the top of a tower. I only offered to take you places, not onto the top of the sky! Name one time where an owl had ever carried a human being to the top of anything really, really tall.”
Link didn’t even stop to think. “Super Mario 64.”
The silence was deafening- it was as if someone had broken the fourth wall, the space-time continuum, and all of the stained-glass windows at Notre Dame, all at once. “Okay, you win that round.”
The Kaepora Gaebora flew directly above the Hero/ine, dug his talons into parts of her tunic that weren’t inhabited by flesh, and took off, Tatl following after.
Day 1, 10:00 AM, 67 hours left until impact.
His wings exhausted from carrying the girl, Rauru finally took a break. “Be happy,” he complained, “that we made it as far as we did.”
Link couldn’t complain. They had made it fairly far, nearly reaching the top of the tower. Tatl lied on the ground, exhausted from trying to keep up with the legendary avian. The owl’s breaths were haggard, trying to regain his strength. Link was not tired at all, however, and proceeded to climb the very long stairway to- um... the top of the tower (Note to self: NO STAIRWAY!!!).
As she rose to the level before the zenith, she came across a swarm of Redead and Gibdo. She raised her hands in front of her face, preparing for the heart-piercing scream that was surely imminent-
But it never came. The closest Redead looked at the stairs before stumbling toward her, commenting- “You finally made it! We were about to start!”
Lina stood dumbfounded, amazed that the mask actually worked. “Start what?”
“Trying to awaken the Guardian, of course!”
Assuming that the... man... was referring to the fourth and final giant, she paid attention. “Go on...”
“The Stone Tower Guardian,” he pointed at a large statue near the bottom of the structure, “keeps our spirits at peace. But someone silenced our keeper, so now we’re doomed to walk the earth like this!” He now pointed to himself disgustedly.
Deciding that the being that he had described was not the fourth guardian, Link waded her way through the crowd. These Redead were surprisingly calm, sentient, and could talk to each other. ‘Good things the ones back home weren’t this smart.’
Every so often, she came across a staggering, three meter tall walking mummy. This must have been the type of monster that Lina had been warned about in town, a Gibdo. However, could she really call it a monster when it was just another person, doomed to a cursed existence? ‘Just like me...’
She decided to stop being philosophical for now. After all, she wasn’t shoveling cow excrement at the moment. She finally found the final staircase, only to find one of the Gibdo blocking her access. “White... gives me white...”
‘He wants white?’ Link looked through her inventory. The only thing that even looked white was the contents of one of her bottles, filled to the brim with Chateau Romani.
The being before her, perhaps seeing this, took the bottle from her, and drank the milk. “Good...” He stepped away from the stairs, which Link quickly ran up, finally reaching the final floor. She looked around as she finally took her mask off.
The floor was as bare as she had imagined, marked only by scarred battlements, but she saw a surprise as she looked up.
It had appeared that the battle had begun without her. An airborne man, lifted up by several balloons, was throwing bombs at two giant flying centipedes. The bombs apparently worked, because one of the two fell suddenly from the sky, accompanied by a series of explosions along its length.
The remaining insect turned its attention to the newcomer, divebombing the Heroine. It head butted Lina, the force of the impact throwing her off of the tower. She searched her inventory, frantically trying to find the Hookshot, only to remember that she hadn’t brought it with her on this adventure.
Piece of useless rope... Bow... Bombchus... Wait...
Quickly, she tied the piece of rope to an arrow, which she shot at one of the battlements. The arrow met its mark, and Lina began trying to climb back up.
The centipede had apparently followed her down, because it flew dangerously close to the arrowtip, resting inches away.
“No, don’t you dare!”
Twinmold seemed to smile as of its claws hovered toward the one object keeping Lina from falling to her death.
Twinmold eagerly nodded, its claws pulling out the tip like a bad tooth. It threw the object away, and Link could see her life flashing before her eyes.
Her screams echoed throughout the canyon. She tried to repeat her previous plan, but she had no more rope. Without a Hookshot, there was nothing she could do to stop the fall.
She was falling so fast now, that it didn’t even feel like she was falling anymore. In fact, the ground felt like balloons.
She looked down. Link was floating up, back to the top of the tower, courtesy of a large bunch of gas-filled objects. She looked through the balloons, only to find-
“WAHOO! I SAVED A FAIRY!!!”
Yes, it was Tingle. Lina half-wished she were dead instead.
Nonetheless, the green-clothed man-child rose to the top of the tower in mere seconds, yelling at the monster. “So you’re not just happy to take all my Rupees, you must kill fairies as well? FOR SHAME!”
Taking a cue from Tingle, she jumped off the balloons running, landing on the boss’s face. She unsheathed her weapon (sounds dirty, don’t it?), the golden blade shining in the sun.
She took the Gilded Sword and plunged it into the beast’s left eye. A howl of pain erupted from it, Link barely holding on to a deep crevasse in its skin. Twinmold’s mouth opened to scream once more, only to have it filled by a bunch of lit bombs.
“Take that, you eee-vil money muncher!!"
A great light shone from the beast’s mouth as the bombs exploded. Lina jumped off, landing on the tower twelve feet below.
The boss quickly shrank to the usual mask, and disappeared into its confines. As Lina grabbed it, the final giant appeared to congratulate her with their usual head nod.
As reality (or whatever Termina could be described as) began to surround her once more, she could see Tingle dancing his strange dance in the midst of a big, no, obscenely large pile of Rupees. “WHOOPEE! I’M RICH AGAIN! HAPPY DAY!!”
Beneath the tower, she could see a large statue, inscribed with large, glowing symbols, striding like a colossus across the valley.
And she could see the fourth and final giant giving her the thumbs up.
Journey Back to Day 1, No Time
All four giants. She had rescued all four giants. And now, she was going to do it again, all in the span of three days.
As the motley threesome went back, they discussed their game plan.
Tatl suggested using Rauru to fly everywhere again. “No. I can’t do that much wingwork in one time span. I nearly killed myself carrying her during that last one. I can do the trip to Woodfall and back, then I can’t do anymore.”
Rauru suggested that Epona be used. The matter seemed to be settled until the subject of Ikana Valley popped up. No one had an answer for that- Epona wouldn’t be able to survive the rocks.
Day 1, 6:00 AM, 72 hours until... hell, you get the idea.
Lina quickly tried to figure out an alternative plan of travel for the Stone Tower as Kafei checked his mail for the umpteenth time. She stared at the Ocarina when she finally figured it out.
As she began to play again, Tatl screamed at her. “WE ALREADY WENT BACK! WHAT’S THE Point- wha?”
The song Link was playing was not the Song of Time, but something else. Rauru could have sworn that she was playing the Song of Time backwards.
Suddenly, everything surrounding them slowed down. It was as if someone was playing a movie at half speed. Kafei slowly moved away from the mailbox, even it looked like he was hurrying back to his home. The construction workers were hammering even slower than before.
“I got the idea during the wedding. During my break, I talked to the regular about the ‘power’ of music, and how it gets played.”
Link then ran north to find Tingle, floating slower than usual. “Guys, I think I have another idea.”
Tatl stared at Tingle, then Lina. “Is that safe?”
“Relax. After I buy another piece of rope, I’ll explain how everything’ll happen.”
Day 1, 6:59 AM, 71 hours until impact.
When Rauru let her go, Lina fell onto the back of the large swordsman, plunging her sword into his back. The large sword was dropped, as Odolwa tried to get the wretch off his back. Link responded by twisting the sword, cutting his spine.
He then glowed white, and disappeared, leaving behind no mask this time.
The first giant appeared, nodded, and left just as quickly, knowing that it would happen this time.
As Lina prepared to lift off, she saw a Deku shaking in a corner of the room. She put on the Deku Mask one more time, shrinking at least a foot.
She approached the shivering plant-woman, to find an ornately (with flowers in her hair, and colorful plant parts for clothes) dressed Deku lady.
As Deku Lina ran over to her side, she mentally smacked herself. ‘I can’t believe I forgot to rescue the princess last time!’
The Princess rose to see the face of her rescuer. “Dina?”
The similarity to her own “name” was so similar that she nodded without understanding.
“I knew you’d come back to rescue me!” She hugged her knight in leafy armor, using her snout to give what Lina could only assume kisses.
‘OH, FOR THE LOVE OF FARORE! NOT THIS %#&* AGAIN!!!’
Day 1, 7:25 AM, 70 hours until impact.
The trip back to the Deku Palace was educational in many, many ways. For instance, Lina learned that the spell that she had cast to slow down the passage of time did not apply to those who traveled with her, as well as those who she spoke or fought with.
She also found out that the form she had been cursed into at the very beginning had been a real person- Dina, the butler’s missing daughter. And that Dina and the princess not only been childhood friends, but had also fallen in love. Convenient, eh?
There was a great deal of discussion and hubbub when Link returned with the princess.
“Hubub, hubbub, hubBub, hubbub-“
The King was just as loud and boisterous as he had been the first time. “My little angel, is that you? I am so-“
His relief was cut short by a sharp blow to the head. “DAD! You were going to execute one of my best friends!” She pointed at the monkey in the cage. Apparently, she had inherited her father’s ability to shout.
“LET MY FRIEND GO!” The butler quickly flipped key after key, trying to find the right one. After a repeated shouting session by both father and daughter, the monkey was set free.
The butler turned his attention to his ‘daughter’, sniffed his snout, apologized for “treating her like dirt”, and returned to the King’s side.
The Princess stared longingly at her, just as Lulu had. She was going to have to nip this one in the bud. “Uh... me and a couple of friends were gonna go visit Clock Town for a day or two. Just to look around.”
She stuttered like crazy, she couldn’t meet the Princess’s eyes, but she believed her. “You’re cute when you’re nervous.” But she nodded, and Link dashed out the door, leaving the Palace in its now-slowed state.
As Link returned to the edge of the marsh, her mind turned to the massive amounts of sexual deviancy that she had seen (and experienced, to an extent) in Termina might actually be normal in this crazy version of Hyrule.
In other words, Link was like an American in England- it felt familiar, but some customs were mind-blowing.
Day 1, 9:48 AM, 68 hours left until impact.
The plan to reach the Snowhead Mountains was probably the only freebie that Lina would get this cycle. She took off the Deku Mask, called Epona, and made all due haste to the north.
As she came across the shack where her sword had been upgraded, she leapt off the horse, and Epona ran off back to warmer weather. She turned around to find the next part of her plan waiting for her in front of the humble home.
“Well, Madam Fairy, I hope you’re ready to help me get my Rupees back!”
Link nodded, but stopped short of telling him to start the trip.
“Could you take me up for a moment?”
He looked confused, but agreed, if only because she was a fairy. As they began to lift off, Tingle being tethered by the balloon and Link lying on top, Link could see the ice block with Goht inside.
Link drew a fire arrow just like before, shot it, and jumped off the balloon.
“AIYAH!!! MADAM FAIRY!!!”
But Lina could barely hear him- she had put on the Goron Mask already, her body beginning the transformation. By the time the ice had completely melted, Goron Link was in freefall, on course to land directly at the junction between the bull’s head and neck. She raised her first in preparation.
As the bull began to scream its name for the “first” time, Goron Link brought down her fist into the creature’s spine once more, the punch aided by the speed she had gained during the fall. The combined force shattered the section, permanently handicapping the machine.
Link took off the mask, and walked over to the shiny gem on its head. She took out the Gilded Sword, and stabbed the jewel. The stone lost its luster almost immediately, and the sky cleared.
The second giant appeared, nodded, and went on his way.
Day 1, 10:30 AM, 67 hours left until impact.
The trip to the top of the tower was much smoother and faster with Tingle at the helm. The fact that he wore tights that were too tight, that he was at least thirty, and that his belly was protruding from his tighty-tight tights was enough to cause Link to question the “fairy” and his sanity.
They came across an oddity- the two insects were asleep. ‘But they were awake when-‘
And that was when she saw Tingle lighting up a bomb, preparing to do battle. Quickly, she took the explosive and plucked out the fuse. “Madam Fairy!”
“I’ve got a better idea, if you’ll just let us land on the tower.”
Against his protests, he agreed, and the two landed.
Day 1, 10:32 AM, 67 hours left until impact.
“I have to admit, Madam Fairy, Plan B definitely worked out a lot better than Plan A.”
Stuffing the two bosses’ mouths with bombs instead of setting them off randomly had, indeed, worked much better. Both heads exploded in an blast that would’ve made an action director proud.
The third giant showed up, smiled, and left.
‘Three down, one left.’
They had waited a few minutes for the dust to settle before retrieving the massive amounts of money that Twinmold had stolen. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken Tingle two days to retrieve the cash. However, with the aid of a person wielding the Golden Gauntlets and the addition of a greatly slowed time flow, it took him three hours tops.
Thankfully, the flyer had stuffed all the money into one extremely small bag- how he did it was unknown.
“Plot device, Madam Fairy, plot device.”
As the balloon lifted off of solid earth once more, Link found herself in amazement that it was almost all over. One more boss, two more days, and one mask- that’s all that stood between her and Hyrule. And she could finally talk to Navi about- why was she going to see Navi again?
Lina looked through the balloons, Rauru now perched on her shoulder, trying to understand what her pilot had just yelled. She could see Tingle panicking, and she could also see that the ground below was no longer ground, but water.
“Behind us, Madam Fairy!”
She did so, Rauru in tow, finding a large bird that had just begun to follow them. It initally looked like a eagle, but no, it was far too big to be such a thing. As the bird of prey got closer, she could see that the bird was white and blue, and had many of the markings and features of a falcon.
Tatl peered into the winds before finally figuring out what was stalking them. “A Roc.”
The Kaepora Gaebora gasped before coming to terms with the name that had just been mentioned. “Goddesses help us... but that explains a few things.”
Link looked at the owl, finally understanding something. “That’s not the first time you’ve said that.”
Rauru stared back at her, dumbstruck. “I don’t know-“
“Yes, you do. Back when we found out about the duplicate masks.” She pulled out all three transformation masks- the Deku, Goron, and Zora Masks- before putting them back and bringing out their Hyrulian counterparts. “You said that these,” the masks shaking in her left hand, “helped you understand something.”
Rauru looked disturbed, as if something happened that should never have occurred. Nonetheless, he looked back at the Roc, which had gotten even closer during the conversation. “Less talk, more fly!”
But Link was already getting an idea in her head. “What’s so special about these guys?”
“Besides the fact that one is about to eat us? Well... their feathers are said to be able to allow people to jump farther-“
That made Lina’s mind up for her. She tied up the piece of rope she had bought in town to an arrow, tying the spare end around her waist. There was every reason that this could go wrong-
No. Stop worrying about “maybe”. Start acting!”
“Tingle, this is where I get off!”
Tingle seemed relieved, because his response was, “Alright. Just make sure that thing doesn’t follow me home!”
Link was about to shoot the arrow before she asked another question.
“Can I borrow one of your bombs? The biggest one you got?”
He agreed, and told her to reach into the small bag that he had stuffed the Rupees into. After a small struggle, she pulled out a bomb that was easily the size of Darunia.
With that in mind, she fired off the shot, her Golden Gauntlets making the ammo move much quicker than an average man’s. The rope slack kept following, becoming straighter, more taunt, until the rope pulled her off the red balloon into a path following the arrow.
It felt like she was flying with Rauru again, but without any sense of control over where she could go. Flung through the air like a rock across the surface of a pond.
Finally, the arrow hit the giant in the chest, causing a noisy squawk. As Lina approached the pursuer, the rope became looser, she was now swinging from it. Using the inertia from the trip there, she let go at some point, landing on the back of the bird. The landing caused a couple of feathers to come loose- she took two of the blue ones, deciding to give one to Malon as a keepsake.
On the horizon, she could see the outline of the Great Bay Temple, so she was going to have to work fast on this one. She put on the Zora Mask, gaining several feet on her previous form. She allowed the edges of her arms to harden, and fired off two Zorarangs into the Roc’s right wing.
There was another quack of pain, followed by a loss of altitude. She followed up with another two shots, but to the other wing this time.
The ‘rangs had their desired effect- the Roc was losing air, and fast. As the bird (with Link, Tatl, and Rauru along for the ride) began to spiral into a nosedive, Link put away the mask. Using every bit of her magically-enhanced strength, she climbed ‘down’ the now vertical bird.
As she went past the bird’s nostrils, Link came across the bird’s beak. She took out the Big Bomb, lit it, and stuffed it into the Roc’s mouth.
About halfway through the fall, Link could plainly see that the point of impact would be the Temple, or more specifically, the room that Gyorg inhabited. She felt compelled to comment on killing two birds with one bomb, but she decided against it.
As the stone roof came closer, Link finally jumped off- but something was wrong. She was jumping further, much further and much higher, than she ever had before. Before she hit the water, she put on the Zora Mask again.
Gyorg was a happy little fishie at the moment. He had just stolen some delicious Zora eggs, and was about to have them for lunch. That is, he was- until he look up into the sky, only to find a large bird diving toward him. Now, it might have only been a few days old or so, but it already knew one of the universal rules of being a fish. Namely, Fish + Bird = Imminent Doomination.
What made matters worse was that it could see a large, black object attached to a flaming piece of rope. And the flame had gone inside the black thingie. And the beak containing the black thingie was in his mouth-
‘And that makes four.’
The fourth and final giant smiled, and walked off through the cove.
“It’s 12:25, Lina.”
Tatl was staying ever so closely to the water, watching Link resurface with all of Lulu’s eggs. Rauru kept flapping his wings, eventually finding a piece of driftwood to rest on.
“Just thought you’d like to know.”
That meant that Link had 54 hours to relax before going back to the top of the Clock Town Tower. First thing was first, though- she had some eggs to return.
[End notes: Almost there...]
Title: Year 2: To the Moon!
[Author's notes: God, it's the final Termina chapter!!!]
Day 2, 8:30 AM, 45 hours left until impact.
This had to have been the first time that Link had slept since she’d left the Ranch. It felt so good to finally catch a wink of rest (even if time-traveling rendered it unnecessary), and a lengthy one at that (thanks to the slowed time stream). More importantly, it was with a comfortable bed below her and someone to share it with-
Something about that last statement didn’t make sense to the time traveler. She looked down the bed. Link had fallen asleep facing the door, there were arms wrapped around her torso-
Ding! Something was wrong with that picture, and Lina figured it out. Lulu must have stumbled in during the night and fallen asleep next to her.
Slowly, Link broke free of the affectionate hold she had on her. She got up, left the building, and broke out the guitar.
Within seconds, time began to speed up to normal. Behind her, she could hear Lulu beginning to wake up.
Day 2, 12:00 PM, 42 hours left until impact.
The final strings for the infamous ’audience choice’ song ran off her fingers like bullets from a gun, whipping the audience into a feverous frenzy.
The other band members, Lulu and Mikalu not included, started to drink. Just like last time.
When the coast was clear, Lina took off the mask. Just as she put it away, she encountered the singer of the Indigo-Gos.
Luckily, she had never seen this young kid before. ”Excuse me,” she asked, ”but have you see my wife?”
She didn’t have to give an excuse, but she did anyway. ”Yea, she actually told me to tell you something.”
Lulu leaned in to listen. ”She said that she was going to try and find something pretty for you. Said it might take her a while for her ’pearl of the sea’.”
The Zora blushed, but thanked the young girl. Link, meanwhile, called for Rauru, who had been hiding in the beams holding up the stage.
As he landed, one of his wings rubbed the spot where his left ear would’ve been if he were human. ”It vibrates like no tomorrow up there.”
Tatl flew down after him, decrying, “I told you last time, and I told you this time, it would’ve been smarter to wait outside!”
“Well, I forgot! You’re allowed to forget things when you’re over two hundred years old!”
Link laughed heartily at Rauru’s absentmindedness. “Anyway, we’ve gotta get back to town. You up for it?”
The Sage of Light understood the question. “Maybe to the beach. It’s a little iffy.”
Day 2, 1:47 PM, 40 hours until impact.
They were nearly at the beach before Rauru lost his grip, causing Lina to land in the shallows of the bay.
She spat out a mouthful of water and a small fish before looking angrily at her guardian. He landed, out of breath, on the beach.
As Link walked back toward land, her stomach began to hurt once more, like someone had crushed it.
Finally on land, she pulled out the Ocarina and played Epona’s Song. On cue, the wild but faithful horse galloped over the horizon and onto the sands. As Link mounted the pony, she looked out into the ocean.
She wanted to go home. As... unique as Termina was, she preferred Hyrule. She missed the good meals in the morning. She missed being in a place where people were just living life. Hell, she even missed the manure-shoveling labor (not really).
But most of all, Lina missed Malon. Desperately. Maddeningly. Too much to put into words.
She rode out, dong her best not to break down. There was another, more disturbing thought on her mind.
‘Since when was I so emotional?’
Day 2, 3:30 PM, 37 hours until impact.
Link had already walked around Clock Town enough times in enough timelines to know what was going to happen where, when, and who was going to be involved.
As she walked by the bank (which was really just a beggar who kept the money safe), she noticed three dancers. One was a man in his thirties, while the other two were young adult ladies.
She recognized these three- they were learning an odd sort of dance class.
She looked at the clock tower. 3:35. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do.
Lina walked up to the teacher, asking what kind of dance they were doing. Besides making weird gestures and gesticulations with two women in fancy bathrobes, that is.
“I’m teaching these two women the Festival Courting Dance.”
The teacher sighed. “Great, I have to explain it to an idiot.”
Perturbed by her teacher’s insult, the taller of the two students spoke. “Mr. Roboto, maybe she’s from out of town.”
The shorter apprentice concurred, adding, “Maybe she’s moving in, Mr. Roboto.”
“Alright, I was just having a bit of fun.” She threw what appeared to be another fancy robe at her. “Put the kimono on.”
The red kimono was made of a material that she couldn’t place (“Silk,” Mr. Roboto claimed), and had small white flowers imprinted on it.
“Alright, let’s begin. Now, don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of weeks to get the basics down...”
But it didn’t take Link ‘weeks’. In fact, given the free time she had, she quickly became an expert. There was an ulterior motive besides ‘timewaster’. The dance made her forget her troubles. For a brief moment, she forgot that she had been turned into a girl. She forgot that she was stuck in an alternate version of Hyrule. She even forgot about that stomachache that she’d been dealing with for the past couple of days.
That thing had started the instant she had cured the Deku curse, and it had never stopped since. Perhaps going back in time reset her bodily functions. Or maybe she was just over thinking things.
Regardless, it was 9:00 PM before the teacher let the three go. “It’s about time to close up shop for the night.”
Link took off the kimono, and was about to hand it back when he held his hand out in protest. “No, I think you should keep it. You’ve earned it.”
"Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto."
As the group separated, Link walked back to the clock tower. Rauru and Tatl were both waiting for her.
As she began to climb up to the platform to the stairwell, Tatl jabbed, “Any more bright ideas on how to waste time?”
Link responded by putting the Ocarina to her mouth. At first, it sounded like she was playing the Song of Time, but this too was different. Each note was played twice. Shortly after the song, the town reacted as if someone had pointed a remote control at it and pressed the ‘Fast Forward’ button.
People ran around, trying to get to bed. The hands of the clock kept spinning, the sun set, rose again, and set, and people were scrambling to find shelter, until time began to slow down at...
Day 3, 12:00 AM, 6 hours until impact.
The clock began to ring twelve times, and she ran up the stairway once again.
Just like last time, the Skull Kid was yelling, this time, though, he only had Tate to yell at.
“Tate, what are you staring at?"
His head swiveled to look at whatever it was the yellow fairy was peering at, now noticing the presence of a certain cursed boy-gone-girl. "You're too late, Hero! You only have six hours to save this land, and there's nothing you can do!! Now, I'm going to fly around in circles and taunt you until my work is complete! BWAHAAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAAA!"
The exact same speech as last time. Oh well. Link dug out the Ocarina, and called forth the four giants.
Tate began screaming something very incoherent. "The swamp... the mountain... the bay... the valley... the four who are there-"
Only this time, the fairy was interrupted by the appearance of four large giants, which pushed back on the falling moon. The mask shrieked in anger as its carefully-laid plan went astray.
Majora’s Mask detached itself as the moon started to go back into its proper orbit. “It’s... not... over... Hero...”
She felt a pulling sensation on her feet, as she began to rise into the air. It actually felt just like all those times when she had been teleported out of the dungeon after beating the boss. This time would prove to be slightly different. As he went higher, she lost consciousness.
Where was she? More importantly, WHEN was she? All she could see was black and green.
Lina woke up, to find her face in the grass. That made no sense- because just moments ago, she had been on top of the Clock Tower- a wooden building.
Rauru was nowhere to be found, but Tatl still hung by her side. “Where are we, Lina?”
The sky was whiter than snow. There were four children playing in the grassy emptiness. Each of these boys wore a mask; each mask looked just like one of the ones that Link had collected from the four bosses.
In the distance, Link could make out a tree, and under that tree was a lonely fifth boy, who wore-
She took a step, and ended up stepping on yet another mask- but this one was much different than all the others that she had seen. It looked like her.
That is, it would look like her, if she was pale, had silver hair, and wore a silverfish purple Kokiri hat. And if she had dark, black eyes. The thing creeped her out, but she took it, suspecting that it might come in handy in the future.
Tatl looked at the mask and shuddered. “Lina... that’s the Fierce Deity.”
“It’s supposed to be the only thing that Majora feared. But what’s it doing here?”
Regardless of why the thing was there, she kept it, suspecting it might come in handy in the future.
Link walked past the four kids, who were trying to play ‘Smear the Queer’. She approached the fifth kid, who looked at her excitedly.
“Are... you here to play with me?”
An odd question, one that took Link by surprise. “Uh, sure. Yeah.”
The tree, the kid, everyone was gone. Link and Tatl were still there, as well as Majora’s Mask, no longer constrained by a face. The sky was replaced by a square room with walls ripped straight out of a kaleidoscope.
“So... it’ssss your turn... Hero...”
The mask turned around, and zoomed towards Lina’s face. Out of instinct, she grabbed at the face wear as it attempted to plant itself on her mug. Even with the Golden Gauntlets, it was inching closer, the dark magicks of the mask beginning to overpower her gloves.
The fairy did not turn to face her, staring at the mask.
“Get a mask out...” The mask edged even closer, Link’s strength starting to fail her.
The purple pixie finally turned to face Link, asking, “Which one?”
It was inches away now- “Any of them, I don’t care!”
Tatl disappeared, and then reappeared, holding the Fierce Deity’s Mask in mid-air. With an unspoken agreement, she thrust that mask onto Link’s face.
The mask backed off angrily, as if it had been touched by something discomforting. Link tried to scream, but the voice that escaped from her was not of this world. Her limbs, her body, her chest, all felt like they had exploded. Her face burned from contact with it, but there was a strange tingling feeling after a moment. Link couldn’t quite place a word for it for a good minute until she finally found one.
She felt power. Gobs of it.
Majora’s Mask, sensing perhaps that the only mask it ever feared was now in possession of the Hero/ine of Time, expanded into a star-shaped body, tentacles flying every which way, like a monster from a bad Japanese porno.
Fierce Deity Link finally finished the transformation, now resembling a grown eighteen-year old woman from a lesser known warrior tribe. Her tunic had been replaced by plate armor, her now pale face covered with red war paint, her hat was no longer the trademark green but a shade of purple. The Gilded Sword had changed as well, now taking the appearance of a double helix.
Striking quickly, the mask sent two tentacles at the fighter. She parried, swinging her sword to bat one of them away. As she did, a beam of rainbow light shot out from the tip of the blade, making impact with the center of Majora’s Wrath.
The mask howled in pain, the sword shrieked in odium, and the young boy-gone-girl-gone-crazed-curse-word ran at the beast full-speed, jumping over another tentacle. The magic of the Roc’s Feather allowed her to jump high enough to avoid the next tentacle, and she slashed the star-shaped one across the chest.
Yet another limb now ripped itself out of the Wrath’s back, strangling Lina. It lifted her off the ground, shaking her wildly.
She couldn’t breathe. The offending appendage tightened, making Link’s eyes feel like they were popping out of her head. Her face was probably turning plaid by now, her sword vibrating in her hand. There was a sickeningly green energy flowing through it, traveling along its edges to the tip.
Another tentacle closed in, preparing to snap her neck-
The green orb of power on her sword fired through the monster before it ever got the chance. It looked as if the tentacle monster had been impaled upon a giant beam of green Jello. There was a scream, followed by what sounded like the crack of thunder.
The mask fell to the floor, its evil influence confined to its accessorizing prison. The rainbow sky returned to the snow like essence, the children popping back into view.
Deity Link approached her foe, expecting some form of reprisal. But it never came. She took her giant sword and stabbed it. It moaned an evil hiss as dark clouds of magic escaped from cracks that formed, increasing in thickness and frequency, until Majora’s Mask exploded.
She turned around and saw the four kids, only the fifth one had joined them. Somehow, he still wore Majora’s Mask, even though she had just shattered it into a billion shards.
Somehow, she felt a compulsion unlike anything she’d ever felt before.
Lina’s feet moved on their own accord, the sword in her left hand rising to strike the little kids down-
DO IT NOW!
‘What the hell?’
A voice like her own had sounded off- albeit one more dark and distorted, almost in joyous agony.
The sword was raised to slice the five children down, all of whom stared frightfully at her. She could almost see the fear in their eyes- granted, their eyes were obscured by masks, but you got the idea.
RIP THEIR HEADS FROM THEIR SPINES!
Was the mask doing this? Giving her this insatiable feeling of bloodlust?
DO IT, AND YOU SHALL HAVE POWER BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS!!!
Using whatever strength she had left, she threw the sword away, forcing her hands to her face to peel off the mask.
The mask began yelling in tongues she could not and did not want to understand. As the mask peeled off, Link returned to normal (well, normal for a twelve-year old boy who’s been turned into a girl). The Fierce Deity Mask was shaking sadistically, trying to reapply itself to her face.
No longer restrained by the magic of the mask, she threw it on the ground and drew her bow. Something began to try to emerge from the mask, and it looked just like Link. But it just couldn’t move out fast enough to avoid Lina’s Light Arrow.
The mask grew black in a sea of light before beginning to shrink. Eventually, it just disappeared. It was similar to how many of the monsters in Ganon’s Castle had been taken down.
As it died, the scenery changed, no longer a grassy field with a tree and kids, but now returned to the front of the Clock Tower.
Day 4, 10:45 AM, Impact Averted.
The residents of Clock Town were in merry celebration today. The Festival had started earlier than usual, with people running around covered in home-made masks.
As Link climbed back down to the ground, she was eagerly met by many of those whom she’d helped during her adventure.
Anju and Cremia hugged her, the two of them wearing masks of the sun and the moon, respectively. Kafei thanked her freely, wearing what appeared to be a crude version of his own face.
As she made her way through the crowd, she felt slightly lighter. She checked her person to confirm this, only to find that she was missing a few masks-
“Looking for us?”
Lina whipped around to find the unthinkable- Dina, Darmuni, and Mikalu were all standing, alive and beaming. Dina was holding hands with the Deku Princess, Mikalu was in a loving embrace with Lulu, and Darmuni smiled at Lina, her arms crossed.
Link understood that the magic of the masks had broken once Majora was destroyed- they could finally return to their lives.
The Princess held up her hand. “It’s tradition for a member of the Royal Family to attend the Festival of Time.”
Lulu looked at Lina knowingly. “Plus, the band has a gig for this year’s show.” She bent over and whispered in Link’s ear, “I am SO sorry about, well, all that-“
Darmuni kept grinning at Link before finally having her say. “I can’t say I’ve ever been at the Festival. The Elder usually has me learning how to become a leader for my people and all that bull.”
With that, the group left, and Link began to walk back toward the Clock Tower.
That is, she would’ve, until she ran into a similarly sized person wearing a mask that look like a stone with a face. During the fall, the mask fell off her face, revealing-
The person that she had collided into looked very much like her, only this one wore a blue shirt with what appeared to be white shrimp, her pants a burnt orange. Was this the Termina version of-
“You okay, Shrimp Girl?”
Both Links looked at a familiar redhead wearing a cow hoodie. Romani held out her hand to the blue Lina, and noticed that there was a green-garbed Lina next to this one.
As the blue Lina rose, Romani explained it to the green one. “Lina, this is Shandra. We go way back.”
The blue shirted blonde shyly held out her hand, which Link hesitantly accepted, still thunderstruck by this last minute revelation. ‘The Termina version of me is a girl too?!?’
“Are you gonna leave now?”
Link looked at Rauru, who had taken perch on a nearby platform, before answering Romani’s question. “Yea. Take care, ‘kay?”
Romani hugged her companion affectionately before replying, “Oh yes! Shandra said that she’d come help out around the farm, so everything’s gonna be alright!”
Shandra blushed bashfully before nodding at that statement.
“Bye, Lina!” She ran off for the nearby dancing area, Shandra in hand. Shandra smiled meekly, said, “Thanks for everything,” and was jerked away by a redhead with an itch to dance.
On a nearby platform, Link could see the Skull Kid talking to both Tatl and Tate, who appeared to be very apologetic. After a good five minutes, he finished, and the purple fairy floated over to Link.
“Well, I gotta go.”
“Back with the Skull Kid. We’re gonna play with the Giants.”
“Wait... the Skull Kid is a friend of the Giants?”
“Yea! I told you that right after you took down the giant swordsman for the first time, remember?”
She actually didn’t- she had been asleep during that whole story. Nevertheless, she nodded her head in agreement.
“Anyway, I guess this is goodbye.”
Link understood. Tatl had never planned to stay with Link- they both knew that the only thing that kept them together was Majora’s Mask. And now that it was gone, they would not continue to travel as Hero/ine and fairy.
Rauru flew over to Link, landing on her shoulder as she walked into the Clock Tower. Creepo Mathews rose from his organ bench and faced the Hylian duo. “You did it. But where’s the mask?”
Link made a cutting gesture, while Rauru answered, “From what I’ve been told, it was destroyed.”
The Mask Dealer cringed at that last word. “I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case. I was supposed to deliver that mask to Ganondorf.”
Link gasped, but regained her logical footing. “But you said to stop it by ‘any means necessary’!”
“I know! I mean, I can probably get away with telling him that it was taken from me by a bandit, but he’s not going to be too pleased.”
He lost his trademark grin for a moment before getting it back. “But I suppose it’s finally time to leave, eh?”
Mathews walked to the back of the foundation before fiddling at a wood beam located next to Epona. As if by magic, a door swung forth from wall, beam included.
Link walked to the passage, only to notice that Mr. Mathews wasn’t following.
“You honestly can’t expect me to go to the King of Evil and be the bearer of bad news, can you? No, I’ll go back in a year or so.”
Link walked into the darkness with her horse in tow, prepared to return to the land she knew so well.
As the door closed behind her, Rauru reminded her of the next task at hand.
“Remember, we still need to fix the time discrepancy with the Princess and Malon. Remember that.”
After what seemed like a walk into eternal darkness, she finally saw a glimpse of light. Before rushing toward it, Link reached for a change of clothes, only to find that she hadn’t brought any with her. In fact, the only other item she had to clothe her was the kimono that Mr. Roboto had given her. Not wanting to risk being recognized, she changed her outfit.
When she finally met the light, she saw houses craved into trees. Green everywhere. She’d made it her childhood home. To the Kokiri Forest.
“Hail General Onox!”
That authoritative shout brought Link’s attention to the floor of the forest. There appeared to be a small legion of giant armored shaved dogs, or Darknuts, marching through the forest. At the head of this army appeared to be a giant in golden armor, probably this General Onox.
To his right was a girl with blue hair, blue dress and very oddly shaded skin. It almost appeared to be a sickly blue. The person on his left appeared to be magically imprisoned in a blue crystal, which almost completely obscured her red dancing dress.
She sensed people in distress, and quickly prepared to fire a volley at this so called “General”.
Lina was about to fire when her right arm was grabbed by an armored gauntlet. She turned to find a human wearing Darknut armor.
The disguised man gestured to keep quiet. “Look, I wanna off him too, but later. Not here.”
As he let go, Link noticed that this mysterious man was taking off the stolen helmet, revealing red bangs of hair, a blue hat with golden trimming, and a determined look in his face.
He took off his right gauntlet and held out his hand. “I might as well introduce myself. Name’s Ralph, Guardian for the Oracle of Ages.”
[End notes: A/N: The masks described in the Fesitval scene should be familiar to those who completed Majora's Mask and got everything.
The outfit that Link's Termina counterpart wears is acutally the outfit you wear at the very beginning of Wind Waker (or the whole game if you're on the Second Quest).
Review if you like. Need the criticism (keeps my ego in check)! Plus, I don't bite (much)!]
Title: Year 2: Old Friends, New Friends
“Oracle of what?” Link was confused.
Ralph tensed up slightly. “...You don’t know?”
“Why should I?”
Ralph began taking off the Darknut armor as he tried to figure out where to start. “You know of the three goddesses, yes?”
“Well, yeah!” Link had been told of them how many times now? Twice? Thrice?
The chest plate fell to the ground, the clatter of metal being muffled by the wet grass. “Well, after the Triforce was created, the goddesses three decided that there should be mortals on their newly minted world to act as Oracles of sorts for them. They chose three young women, one for each deity.”
“Din, who created the earth, dubbed the first girl the Oracle of Seasons, who, along with the Temple of Seasons, was to ensure that the four seasons flowed in sync. That girl in the blue crystal cage next to Onox? That’s Din, the current Oracle of Seasons.”
“But the Temple sank beneath the earth, no thanks to General Onox.”
The two of them turned to face a woman shrouded in a green cloak, her only visibly distinguishing features being her two yellow eyes and the pink bow atop her head. Next to her was a girl who appeared to be about a year older than either Link or Ralph, wearing a witch’s hat and a rosy face. The green-cloaked girl continued, saying, “I had to explain the Temple part to Ralph.”
The surprise of her showing up had made the blue-clad boy lose his train of thought. “This is Rosa. She’s a Subrosian from the neighboring land of Holodrum. And the girl on the broomstick is Maple- she’s from Holodrum as well.”
Maple nodded, while the Subrosian held two fingers from her right-hand in greeting, revealing a pale hand and fingers. Link prepared to return the shake, but it’s kind of awkward to try to shake someone’s right hand with your left.
Despite this mix-up, the handshake still occurred, but Rosa’s eyes widened slightly at Link’s choice of hand. “You’re left-handed?”
Link nodded, but she was confused about the sudden change in questioning. “Nothing. It’s just something of a old wives’ tale of my people.”
Rosa looked at Ralph before continuing her side of the story. “Subrosia is a land that lies underneath Holodrum. Coincidentally, that’s where the Temple ended up.”
Link could see where this one was going. “So, does that mean that I’m going to have to raise it back up to ground level?”
Ralph stepped forward. “Actually, no. The four of us managed to re-raise the Temple pretty quickly, so the rotation of seasons, for the most part, has been maintained.”
‘Wait... there’s only three of them here.’
Rosa nodded in agreement. “I had to go up to the surface and go on a bit of an adventure. Then I met this guy.”
Ralph shrugged his shoulders. “Basically, I had to stop this evil woman from killing my ancestor, who was the Queen of my land, Labrynna. She led me on a wild goose chase that went through both lands.”
“So you went time-traveling?” Link had never considered that someone outside the Sage’s circle of trust could possibly travel through time.
“Yeah, all thanks to this little guy.” He pulled a harp from his robes, claiming, “This is the Harp of Ages. It’s Nayru’s favorite instrument. Gives the holder the ability to travel through time and change things.”
Ding! Link got an idea, an idea that might end this curse a little early. “Can I use that?”
Ralph was a little reluctant to hand it over, however. “Maybe I’ll show you how it works later.”
There was another nagging detail on Lina’s mind. “Why does the Oracle of Seasons have the same name as the Goddess of Power?”
Ralph didn’t have a very good answer for that. “Dunno. Maybe this generation, people just wanted to honor the Goddesses in more than duty. Rosa, you can explain the next part.”
The Subrosian nodded. “Nayru, creator of the rules of the universe, bestowed the second girl the duty of watching over one of the most powerful forces of all: Time. This girl became the Oracle of Ages.”
She gestured towards the head of the army, specifically at the blue-haired girl at Onox’s side. “That’s the current Oracle, Nayru.”
The witch whispered into Link’s ear, “She’s possessed by that woman that Ralph fought. That’s why she isn’t restrained.”
Ralph’s hands curled up into tiny fists, muttering a name in anger. “Veran...”
There was a rustling in the nearby brush. Link aimed her arrow, but none of these new people seemed to be surprised, especially Maple. “You can come out, Farore.”
The bush in question seemed normal, except for two large green berries protruding out of the plant. But the shrub shook, the berries moving out, revealing that they were actually attached to a girl who had put her hair up, her green dress with yellow triangle trimmings among the bottom matching the various shades of the bush’s leaves that she’d been standing amongst.
Her green eyes shifted from the girl in the fancy bathrobe to Ralph. “Do they know I’m here?”
“No.” Maple shook her head. “If they did, then I think that the majority of their forces would be burning the forest. They’re still looking, though.”
Farore turned her attention back to the kimono-clad girl. “I’m Farore. Oracle of Secrets.”
“Lina- wait, Oracle of Secrets?”
Ralph finally decided to continue the story. “The goddess Farore, who created all life, made the third girl the Oracle of Secrets, who would be responsible for keeping the darkest secrets of all her creatures.”
Link’s eyes widened slightly. “Wait... you know the secrets for everyone? Every secret?”
Farore stared at Link for a second, as if trying to remember something. “It’s a little weird. I can only detect secrets from people whom have allowed me to know them.”
“So, you have to have permission?” That was kind of a bummer- she could’ve used that information to figure out where that potion Kotake and Koume were making was.
“Kinda. But if the secret goes against what’s normal to a great enough degree, and if I’m in close enough proximity to the person in question, then...”
Both Link’s and Farore’s eyes widened as separate revelations overcame the both of them, Link realizing that her secret had remained one no longer to yet another person, while Farore ‘discovered’ something she couldn’t quite comprehend.
“How exactly did you end up being t-“
Link clasped her hands over the Oracle’s mouth, whispering, “Don’t tell a soul. I’ll explain it to you eventually.”
Just then, there was a flapping of wings, Rauru landing on a nearby tree limb. “Found her. She should be here any moment.”
All four of the non-natives turned to stare at the talking bird. Of the group, only Farore seemed unsurprised. Rosa was confused about the fact that not only did Maple and Ralph seem to recognize it, but they seemed to be utterly shocked that they were face-to-beak with it.
“What is it? Why are we all staring at the bird like it’s some sort of deity?”
“That’s because he kind of is. He’s a servant of the Goddess Nayru.”
All eyes, even Link’s, turned towards the Oracle of Secrets. “What, you honestly didn’t think that the Goddesses would actually only have three people at any point be acting in their names, did you? No, the Kaepora Gaebora is one of the many servants of the Three. More examples of their servants are those destined to be Sages, or the three whom hold the shards of the Triforce.”
Link’s left hand flinched involuntarily at the word ‘Triforce’.
Ralph and Maple couldn’t believe their eyes or their ears. “There were statues that looked just like him all over Holodrum-”
“Yeah, they were all over Labrynna, too.”
“There weren’t any in Subrosia.”
The bird laughed. “You could say that someone put those statues as a sort of guide. I couldn’t be in three places at once, now could I?”
Farore stared at the bird, trying to analyze it. Link was slightly fearful that she might discover the truth about the bird-
“It’s the real deal. It’s really the Kaepora Gaebora.”
Maple glanced at the great owl. “You’re sure?”
Subconsciously, Link let out a sigh of relief. If Farore had discovered that the Kaepora Gaebora was actually the Sage of Light, then it could’ve been disastrous.
Just then, there was the sound of a small object hitting something hollow. The whole group turned, only to find that a small fairy had crashed into a nearby wooden barrier. Trying to fly again, it went through the barrier this time and stopped inches in front of Link’s face.
Link could’ve recognized that annoying command anywhere. “Navi!”
Navi floated up to Lina’s ear, whispering, “Rauru explained everything, ‘Lina’. Couldn’t you have thought of a more original name?”
Lina whispered back, “Well, it was on the spot! You try and come up with a new name for yourself right after you’ve just taken down a pack of raving Redead!”
Link and Navi both returned to the group’s conversation. Maple had been taking quick peaks at the forest to ensure that no one had seen them, repeatedly returning any vital information. “They’ve dragged someone out of their tree.”
Ralph walked calmly toward the edge. “I thought we got everyone out to that Sacred Grove thingy in the Lost Woods!”
“Guess we missed one.”
Link joined them in observing the spectacle before both she and Navi both realized whom the mystery refugee was.
Lina ran to the branch Rauru had perched on, and whispered something to the area where his ear would’ve been. He nodded in comprehension.
“Ladies and gentleman, thanks for coming here. But I think it’s time for you four to come up with a plan to get the other Oracles back.”
Rosa looked up at the avian one. “You can’t give us a plan?”
“I can’t be there to hold your hands for the rest of your lives!”
Farore butted in, adding, “Well, technically, you’re supposed to be immortal-“
“YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!”
The bird’s feathers had been ruffled- literally. A couple of feathers had actually fallen out from the shouting.
“Sooner or later, you’ll have to come up with answers to the big questions, and I won’t be there to help you. All I will say is this- don’t try setting them free any time soon.”
He flew over the Hero/ine of Time, perching himself on her shoulder. “That should take care of that, Link. But I have to go now.”
“The correct question is, ‘When’? I have to go warn myself about the return of the Oracles, and then I need to go back to the future.”
“Back to the future?”
“Try and make a joke out of that and I’ll poke your eyes out with my beak. Anyway, I leave the rest to you.”
“One more thing, Rauru?”
“Can you tell Epona to meet me at the Ranch?”
Rauru merely nodded as he realized that the girl had a plan. “Whatever you have up your sleeve, I hope it works.”
He turned to the rest of the heroes, announcing, “Move out!”
With that, the group dispersed, the newcomers flying out on Maple’s new broomstick, while Rauru flew out on his own power. After Rauru flew over the horse’s head, she whinied as she raced back to her home, doing her best to avoid any unwanted attention.
As Link double-checked and triple checked her equipment, Navi tried to figure out just what was going on. “Link, I know Rauru explained most of the important stuff already, but why are you wearing a bathrobe?”
“If I wore the Kokiri tunic, I might cause some unnecessary problems with the time continuum. Saria might recognize me. Plus, this thing is really flippin’ comfortable.”
If you could see Navi’s little head, it would’ve been shaking just then.
Saria was not having a good day.
She’d been woken up by a nightmare, only to find that there was the indistinct sound of loud numbers of feet meeting the grass and dirt outside her house. There was a great number of armored things passing through the forest, led by an even bigger one. Saria must have slept in- she could’ve sworn that all of her friends had gone AWOL.
Then the big armored things had found her. She’d tried to run, but there were just too many of them. They’d caught her, and had been dragging her by her hair for the last ten minutes.
Now, Saria liked her hair. Yes, it was green, but that gave it a sort of charm. So having brutish god things in oversized armor drag her around by those jade follicles was nothing short of an insult.
The rest of their army was gone now, with only her captors and a few stragglers left. These three were in heated discussion now. “She has green hair.”
Their caped leader was trying to figure out where this conversation was going, his black armor giving him a sort of natural camouflage in the midst of the darkness. “So?”
The stoutest of the three piped up. “So, the Oracle of Secrets has green hair! We could get promotions for turning this one in!”
Oracle? Secrets? What were they talking about? And why were they so excited?
There was another noise now, grass being trampled on. But this one was different- it was much softer, almost as if it might be a real person-
The short Darknut had taken an arrow to the back. He tried frantically to grab at it, but his cumbersome armor got in the way. A second arrow found its mark, and there was no noise this time. His outline glowed a dim yellow, then a bright yellow, and finally a shining white before shrinking into a tiny ball and disappearing.
The silent one began to draw his sword, but his attention was quickly diverted to the presence of the arrows attached to his back. He took off his helm to investigate, only to find that some loon had tied a series of bombs to the pointy projectiles. With his armor in place, he could not get the arrows off before the explosives went off. He fell to the ground, and did not get back up.
The leader had his oversized sword fully drawn, and finally found the person who had killed two of his subordinates. Saria saw the person as well, and couldn’t believe it.
Her rescuer was blond with blue eyes, the hairstyle seeming almost dauntingly familiar. In fact, it reminded her of Link. Actually, for a split second, she could’ve sworn it was Link until her eyes wandered below the neckline, discovering that this one was wearing a red robe covered with small flowers.
Not only that, but this person was holding a golden blade. And a shield made of metal. And her hands were covered with gleaming gold. As far as Saria knew, Link had none of those things.
The blonde charged the giant Doberman, but soon found that her golden weapon could not penetrate the metal shell the Darknut hid behind. With his free hand, the Darknut commander batted her away, sneering as the foolish woman fell to the ground hard, rolling for several feet.
Lina hit the dirt, her face feeling as if it had been lit on fire by that gauntlet impact. Deciding that a change of tactics would be wise, she put the Gilded Sword away and considered going for her Fairy Bow for a moment.
Instead, she retrieved the Boomerang and fired it at the minion’s helm. While Link wasn’t the greatest marksman (well, markswoman now) at archery, she was a crackshot with both her Boomerang and the Fairy Slingshot. The projectile that always comes back met its mark as the beast’s helm twisted, rendering the Darknut temporarily blind.
With the Darknut distracted, Link tried to figure out what to do next. She’d never seen any of these guys when she was saving the world as a man!
Right on cue, and just like good ol’ times, Navi flew near her ear to spout advice. “Listen! There’s a bunch of cloth holding the armor together in the back. It’s blocked off by a cape.”
Link put the Boomerang away and took out her bow. Magical energy began to flow from her wrists to her hands, which in turn transferred to the tip of her drawn arrow. The air cooled as the energy focused into a single point of blue-white energy. Once the arrow’s steel became imbued with the power of ice, she fired it at the knight’s feet.
As the commander finally got his helmet right, he noticed that he could not position himself to effectively strike at his challenger. He swung his sword, but the girl rolled under his attack.
As Link stood back up, she drew her one-handed sword and Hylian Shield. Acting quickly, she cut at the commander’s cape, ripping it from its rightful place with one slice. As the red piece of cloth danced in the wind on its way to the ground, Lina attacked again, ripping the armor’s cloth supports into shreds.
Link kicked herself off as the metal fell off, piece by piece. The ice must have melted by this point, because the Darknut swiftly turned to face his attacker, trying to cleave her in two.
Link barely blocked the swing, deflecting it with her shield. Intently focused on the task of hand, Link repeatedly swung at the belly of the beast (hehe, I made a funny), her assault finally causing the knight to fall. He screamed in misery before his face hit the dirt.
His death cry got the attention of the remaining Darknuts. As they bum-rushed Link, her attention quickly turned to Saria, who was nothing short of amazed at what she saw.
“Do you trust me?”
Saria blinked. “What?”
Lina held out her hand. “Do you trust me?”
Saria almost said no out of pure instinct; it was normal for Kokiri not to trust outsiders. But taking into account her sheer similarity to her long-lost friend, combined with the fact that this newcomer just saved her life, she merely nodded and took her hand.
“Then come on!”
Saria got a bad feeling in her gut as her rescuer led her to the Lost Woods. She remembered the stories of what happened to those who got lost there-
“Come on! We’ve gotta hurry!”
Saria decided to take her chances with the red-clad girl instead of the armor-clad Darknuts. At least with this one she might have a slight chance of getting to the Sacred Grove.
As Link took a right through the trees, she felt herself praying for them to come follow her. If the stories about the forest were true in any respect-
Five Darknuts were in hot pursuit now as Link hung a left past the Slingshot targets. ‘Any second now-‘
As the dark knights began to catch up, the one in the rear suddenly fell to the ground, screaming. Two of the knights looked back, only to find a large wolf ripping out the unfortunate monster’s larynx.
‘For once, I’m happy the Stalfos showed up.’
Luckily, the cursed Hylians seemed more interested in feasting on Lina’s pursuers than Lina herself. There were at least fifteen surrounding three of the remaining armored dogs, performing the classic ‘Circle of Death’ maneuver.
Link didn’t look back, until she finally came across what she’d been looking for. There was one left, and while he was still a ways away, it was close enough to cause some concern. After running straight through the woods for what seemed an eternity, she finally came across a deep pool of water.
As Link slowed down, Saria grew agitated. “Why are we stopping?
Link searched for a moment, before smiling.
Navi didn’t get it. “What are you looking for?”
The future Sage of Forest’s eyes widened. “Navi? What are you doing here?”
As Link pulled out her Zora Mask, she tried to explain. “Long story short, I know Link.”
That was confusing, but it was enough to shut Saria up for now.
Link handed the mask into her friend-but-not-for-now’s hands. “Put this on if you want to live, it’ll turn you into a Zora. It’ll be painful, but it’ll be worth it when we leave the Forest without drowning.”
Saria’s confusion only added onto itself. “The Kokiri aren’t supposed to leave! But I’ll die!”
“No, you won’t! Just put the mask on and trust me.”
The adrenaline from running through the forest had gone to Saria’s head, finally throwing what was left of her common sense out of the window. She put the mask on.
Thirty seconds later, Saria the Zora stood up. If Link didn’t know any better, she could’ve sworn that Saria now looked like a mix of a younger version of Mikalu (without the tattoos) and Ruto- her head was slightly larger, she had a sort of tentacle thing protruding out of the back of her head. Her skin, (which as a Zora, would normally be blue) a blue-ish green.
“You said it would hurt!”
“What, it didn’t?”
‘Maybe it isn’t painful when there isn’t someone else imprisoned in the mask...’ “Come on, follow me!”
In the back of Link’s head, she was glad that she brought the Gold Scale- it would serve her well on the journey.
As the two dove into the water, the final Darknut arrived, being chased by a blood-covered Stalfos, not knowing where his own prey had gone.
As they broke the surface of the water, Saria was amazed that she was alive. Outside of the forest. A Kokiri. Outside of the forest.
Link began to climb back up a nearby ladder as Saria finally began to regain her common sense, which meant that it was time for some important questions.
“Excuse me, miss?”
Link turned her head around to face her old friend. “Yes?”
“Who are you?”
She hopped off the ladder to look at Saria from the same level, holding out her left hand to shake Saria’s once again. “Name’s Lina. I’m a friend of Link’s.”
As Lina and Saria climbed the ladder to the main portion of the Zora’s Domain, Link looked out the exit into the waterfall. It was still dark, but there was a hint of sunlight- it was almost dawn. Link clutched her stomach once more, feeling the pain from Termina return, only more intense this time.
Just then, an oh-so-familiar voice rang out next to the Hero/ine and the future Sage. “Who are you guys?”
Both turned on their heels to face a Zora about Link’s size. Link knew this one all too well.
She had definitely hit puberty, just like Malon and Zelda-
“Ah, Princess, my name is Lina, and this is my good friend, Saria of the Kokiri.”
The show of respect seemed to placate the Princess. “Okay. No need to be so formal. Just call me Ruto for now.”
She looked at Saria, noting, “She looks like one of my people, Lina.”
Link looked at Saria, who looked at Ruto, who looked back at Saria, who finally looked at herself. “I don’t think I can take it off.”
Ruto and Lina both looked at the Kokiri-gone-Zora, one confused and the other getting a pain in her temples. “Saria, I’m pretty sure you can take off the mask without dying.”
“But- The curse-“
Link approached the green haired one, her face mere inches away from Saria’s. “I talked to Malon about this a while ago. The curse sounds like it could mean a number of things. The Kokiri probably don’t die directly because they leave the Forest- they probably just lose their immortality while outside its confines, or they might not be able to handle being out on their own.”
Saria’s eyes met Lina’s. Saria had only known this person for half an hour, tops. But it felt like she’d known this outsider for years. Hesitantly, she moved her hands to the edges of her face. Her face showed a mass of anxiety as she began to grab at her jaw line.
Link had never observed someone transforming with the mask before today, so she hadn’t been prepared for just what she would see. As it turned out, viewing the process on the outside was a much different experience than, well, experiencing it.
Saria began to glow a bright blue-green, all of her details blurred out by the intensity of the sapphire and emerald lights. Her head began to narrow and shorten, the thin fins on her arms retracting into her arms. The body as a whole shortened an inch or two as the blue began to be replaced by the emerald.
Finally, the light faded as Saria breathed her first breath as a Kokiri outside of her ancestral home.
She looked at her hands, seeing ten perfectly opaque digits- she wasn’t a ghost. She ran her fingers through her hair- she could feel those wet follicles, she could see the light reflecting off of the nearby water onto the cavern walls, she could only come to one conclusion.
She was alive.
Saria didn’t understand why, but the next thing she knew, she found herself crushing her rescuer, Lina, in a massive bear hug.
“I’M ALIVE! THANK YOU, LINA! THANK YOU!”
“Urk- can’t breath- need air!”
Ruto could only laugh at the spectacle before her.
The first light of the morning was annoying him, making it hard for him to sleep.
Vaati opened his eyes, noticing how beautiful the sunrise went together with the outline of Lon Lon Ranch.
He’d had a good night’s sleep. But he was still tired, deciding to roll over, away from the sun, to catch a few more winks before waking up for the day.
As he went back to sleep for an hour more, a smile creeped across his face. ‘In a few hours, I can finally go visit again. I can show that Malon that I’m no wuss.’
[End notes: A/N: If you can find the 'Aladdin' reference, then give yourself a cookie. One of the best Disney movies ever. (And one of the few that inspired sequels that didn't suck)
Next chapter will be the final chapter for 'Year 2', I swear! The timeline moves forward soon!]
Title: Year 2: Tying Up Loose Ends
[Author's notes: A/N: A little Thanksgiving present for you all. The end of Year 2 (FINALLY!) is here.]
A new day was finally dawning upon the land of Hyrule. For everyone but Link, who had stayed awake for several cycles of three days, and while she had only needed to catch fourty winks once her entire adventure, she was definitely beginning to feel tired again. A good break from running, and she’d be all set.
Link sat on a ledge atop the nearby waterfall, watching Saria and Ruto eagerly discussed their respective cultures. Saria especially seemed interested in that she’d never met anyone that wasn’t a Kokiri (if you don’t count Link).
A familiar little noise made itself known in Link’s hearing, revealing that Navi had finally caught up with the Hero/ine. “Pretty smart thinking with the Stalfos back there.”
Lina broke a little smile. “Thanks. I didn’t have enough time to deal with all of them AND protect Saria. At least Zelda had magic...”
“So you really just improvised?”
“Well, yeah, but it was really good improvisation, you’ve gotta give me that.”
“Yea.” There was a protracted break in the conversation before Navi finally started to ask questions.
“How’ve you been?”
“Fine.” Link was hoping it would just stay at that-
“How could you tell?”
“If you’re going to tell a lie, then at least try to look like you’re telling a truth.” Navi’s little head shook in embarrassed disgust. She knew Link almost as well as Link knew him- herself, right?
“It’s just odd, that’s all. I mean, I heard Mido ask Saria about being a girl one time-”
“I take it she didn’t like that too much.”
“Nah, thought he was being rude. He got a slap in the face.” She giggled slightly, remembering the look on his face as Saria reeled back her hand, and-
“You changed, Link.” Well, there was an abrupt change of thought.
“Dunno what you’re talking about.”
“You’re definitely a bit more emotional. And you don’t seem to be so polite anymore-”
“You try living as something that you’re not for a while, see what happens to you then.”
“And you’re sure as hell a lot more cynical. But I guess that comes with puberty. I mean, you didn’t have to live through puberty every time we switched time periods.”
“Wait... what’s puberty?”
A sweat drop ran down Navi’s tiny little head. “I’m not the best person to be talking about that with. Try asking Impa or Talon. Heck, ask Malon, she’s probably going through it right now.”
That pain in Link’s gut was back, and more painful than ever. The irritation went straight to Link’s face for a moment, allowing Navi to espy that something was on the fritz.
“Ate some bad meat, maybe?”
“No, I haven’t eaten since I left, and my body more or less reset during all of those experiences in Termina-”
“-Yeah, you’re gonna have to explain that one to me when we have more time. Looks like Saria and Ruto are coming back.”
Sure enough, the Kokiri and the Zora Princess were approaching at a leisurely pace. “Can we come with you?”
The Kokiri-raised-Hylian’s brain functions froze for a moment. “What?”
Ruto continued her suggestion, adding, “We’d like to visit the place where you live. Neither of us have really seen much of Hyrule. It’s Saria’s first time out in the open, and the only other place I’ve ever been is Lake Hylia. So, can we see?”
Oh, goddesses help her, she didn’t have time for this. “Not so sure that’s a good idea, I mean, there’s a bunch of Octoroks and Peahats and-”
Her objection was objected to by two pairs of eyes looking at her in a manner that could best be described as ‘Bambi-like’. No ordinary man could resist them.
Nor could Link, for that matter, her gender-switched body notwithstanding. “Fine. But we’ve gotta get going right now.”
The look of excitement on Saria’s face was priceless. It was a little confusing for Link, though. An hour ago, she was too scared to try and leave the forest, and now she was ready to experience the rest of the world.
Ruto seemed to be more calculated about her reactions- being royalty probably had that effect on her- but still allowed a hint of happiness to creep onto her face.
As the three of them jumped out of the waterfall that separated the Zora’s Domain from the rest of Hyrule, Ruto asked another question, adding to her never-ending line of inquiries. “So, how do you know Link?”
Link groaned. It was hard enough trying to do this for Impa! As Link looked at Navi, she could see that Saria was in deep conversation, interrogating the fairy. The two’s line of sight crossed for a second, in which Link could barely make out Navi’s shoulders shrugging, as if to say, ‘And you’ve had to do this how many times?’
The sun was rising, and Link could make out the tops of at least three Octoroks downstream. Somewhere in Link’s gut, past the near-blinding pain taking up residence there, was the sensation that this was going to be a long day.
“Princess, have you shoveled the cow manure today?”
“Have you fed the cows?”
“Malon’s doing that.”
“But she’s sick-”
“-There’s no point in keeping her from doing something she loves. And she loves taking care of the animals.”
“Alright. But I’ll have to warn her about overexerting herself.”
As Impa stormed off to the horse stalls, Zelda (still disguised as Sheik) took a nearby mud encrusted shovel and walked towards the place where the horses roamed.
Lina had been right- shoveling the cow manure proved to be a surprisingly enlightening chore. Once you stopped focusing on the repugnant smell of the animal dung, you had a lot of time to really think about the things that mattered. Like that mysterious redhead from her visions.
She’d revisited the woman twice now, and had gotten a name, Nabooru. She’d also come very close to revealing everything about herself. Her crossdressing, her name, and who she was.
To be fair, this ‘Nabooru’ hadn’t been entirely forthcoming about herself, either. Zelda only got a name at the end of their first real conversation, and the skin color was a big clue to where she came from.
This was ridiculous! She had visited the woman twice in the last seven hours! This whole day had been nothing short of insanity incarnate.
First, she saw Lina as a flying Deku head and a purple fairy. Then, she came into the picture. Then, once Link disappeared, she came back to reality, the image of that woman’s face burning itself into her cranium.
Goddesses, she was obsessing over this woman that she knew nothing about! And then there was Malon-
She’d been finding herself looking at Malon less and less like a mere friend and more like something else. More like a piece of meat on display at the butcher’s for purchase. No, that wasn’t an apt analogy. More like the way a man looks at a woman.
Lina was right. She, the Princess Zelda, daughter of King Ralph Kilvanus Hyrule, was a lesbian. Gay. A ‘rugmuncher’, as one of the more foul mouthed castle guards put it once.
Not that she cared about how the nobles would gossip. She’d learned years ago to ignore that drivel. The remaining problem wasn’t that her father might object- stranger habits had developed amongst the royal family. For instance, her grandfather’s brother had been caught with another man. What infuriated the noblemen was that the man the royal family member had been caught with was not only not of noble blood, but was seventeen, and therefore underage.
The scandal it caused nearly forced her grandfather to abdicate the throne in favor of his other brother, who had nearly bankrupted the royal treasury to support his gambling habit.
So no, the noblemen would probably be more supportive of her than in the past, especially the more lecherous men who fantasized about that kind of thing. ‘Perverts.’
No, the problem facing Zelda was that she was now looking at two different women like, well, as if she was some horny bachelor! Malon, who essentially amounted to best friend to her, and this Nabooru girl, who Zelda hadn’t even known for a day.
Goddesses, WHY WAS SHE STILL THINKING ABOUT THAT WOMAN?!?
Things had gone white around her again, the piles of dung abandoned in favor of the nothingness that Zelda had come to expect in her meetings with the woman. “Uh, I- I don’t even know why I’m here. I’m supposed to be doing my chores-”
“Wait a moment, ‘Sheik’.” The woman was fast approaching her. Part of her old royal training kicked in, making her infuriated at the woman for approaching her without showing submission. But another part was intrigued, and maybe even interested.
“I think I’ve got you all figured out, but now there’s just the question of why.”
Crud. How on earth could she have figured it out? “I don’t-”
“Why on earth are you trying to pass yourself as a boy? I mean, the first time I saw you in those skin-tight clothes was a turn-on, but come on.”
Zelda could feel the blood rushing to her face. “Is- Is it really that obvious that I’m a girl?”
“Well, not at first. But after seeing you three times now, you really don’t act like a boy at all.”
Some of the anger that had been pent up inside the moonlighting ninja came out. “Well, I’ve been trying!”
“That’s obvious. Or else I would’ve had you pegged the moment I saw you. What’s your name?”
“I- I can’t say.” ‘Oooh. Good cover- not!’
“Ah, I get it. One of those people who’s in hiding. If I was working with Twinrova or Ganondorf, I would’ve already beaten you down.”
“Loyalty is only a boon to a point- then you blind yourself to the truth.”
How could a Gerudo be so wise? It was odd at first, but when Zelda really thought at, stranger things had happened- dreams about the future, mystical artifacts from the goddesses, and little boys dressed up in eccentric green clothes.
“You know, you still look pretty attractive in those tights.”
That comment was like a slap to the forehead, bringing Zelda’s attention back to the pseudo-locale she was in.
“Ah, that got you back. Any closer to figuring out just why you’re here?”
The ninja princess shook her head. “No. Why are YOU here?”
“In a nutshell, I got caught by those flying Tweedledees and Tweedledums and no longer have control of my body.”
Nabooru said it as if it was no skin off her nose, but Zelda could tell that she was still a little sore about it. “I’m sorry.”
Ganondork’s- sorry, Ganondorf’s- former second-in-command shrugged, commenting, “Not your fault. But thanks anyway.”
There were some noises echoing unexpectedly, sounding like a series of angry voices. Both women’s concentrations shifted to the new sounds.
Nabooru blinked. “That’s definitely not coming from my end.”
Zelda blinked, and she was back with the horses. She turned around, and-
“Dot now, Vaati, I’m really dot in the mood to deal with you.” Malon sniffled a little, accenting the little cold that she had caught. Apparently, her nose was clogged.
“Oh, come on Malon. I’m sick and tired of these little games, and I’m being serious. I want to live here-”
“You’ve beed an inconsiderate jerg to eberybody here! Whad makes you thing that by dad’s eber gonna let you stay?”
“Cause things change, Malon. Your friend’s gone-”
“-She went to visit a friend-”
“Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Malon groaned a little, not quite believing that he was still using such... such... childish retorts.
“You mind, bud?”
Vaati saw a slightly perturbed ninja coming in from his peripheral vision. “None of your beeswax, ‘pal’. Now go ‘way.”
“Not till you stop messing with my friend, ‘buddy’.”
‘He’s got a rapier!’
The warning came out of nowhere, but Sheik instinctively hopped back a foot, narrowly missing a slash from a bloodstained sword that Vaati had kept hidden under his cape.
‘Nabooru? Is that you?’
‘Dunno why, but it looks like I can see what you see. Just follow my advice hon, and I guarantee you’ll win.’
Zelda quickly switched to a defensive posture, drawing a few of Sheik’s knives, and the battle truly began.
“...So you really saw the man in black?”
“Yeah. You saw him too?”
Ruto nodded. “My father talked to him during one of his meetings with the Hylian King. I was in the room. From what I can remember, the conversation between the man and my father was quite tense.”
Navi whispered in Link’s ear, “I guess Zelda wasn’t the only person that could see past his lies. Sounds like the Zora had some idea of how bad Ganondorf is going to be.”
Link nodded, her sights returning to a now familiar sight that was peeking its way over the horizon. “There’s where I live. Lon Lon Ranch.”
Saria was in awe, even though she could barely make out any details. “It looks amazing!”
Ruto seemed lose for words. “Honestly, it looks like a dump.”
‘That’s Ruto, I guess.’ “They make the best milk in all of Hyrule.”
That little trivia bit seemed to give Ruto a little bit of respect for the place. “Then I can’t suppose that it would be all that bad to take a quick look.”
As they got closer, Saria added her own observations to the mix. “That man killed the Great Deku Tree.”
Ruto gasped. “Isn’t that thing supposed to be the guardian of the forest?”
Saria seemed thunderstruck by the outsider’s knowledge of her people’s traditions. “Yes. He cursed the Tree and killed it. Link tried to save it, but he was too late.” She added bitterly, “And then Mido had to go and blame Link for it, the stupid stonehead.”
Link couldn’t help but let a grin stretch across her face when she heard Saria call Mido one of the traditional Kokiri insults. The grin faded when she heard a number of yelps and yells disseminate from the place she called home.
“Guys, you feel like running?” Link didn’t wait for a response as she broke into an all-out sprint to the farm, silently praying to whatever deities were listening that she was hearing things.
The prayers had apparently gone unanswered. The moment that she set foot on the farm, Link saw Sheik going at it with who she could only assume was Vaati. No one wore that much purple voluntarily.
She went for her sword and kept running, but an arm came out of nowhere to halt her progress.
“This is his fight, Lina. Not yours.” Impa kept her arm there for a moment, looking the girl over. Her gaze went from inspective to shock and then to little rupee signs when she realized what Link was wearing. “Where did you get this?”
“Why? Am I not decent?” Link could’ve sworn that the robe wasn’t showing any skin.
“No, not that. Kimonos are amongst the most expensive clothes in all of Hyrule! You could sell this thing for over a million Rupees, especially with that pattern! I’ve never seen anything like it!”
“Why? Is it because it’s made of silk and looks pretty?”
“Not just that. All kimonos are magically impervious to ripping, fading, fireproof, and they always fit, even if you’ve grown or shrunk. The only other clothes that have those properties are Kokiri tunics, and they’re only fire-resistant.”
“Ah.” Was this another difference between Termina and Hyrule? Mr. Roboto had just given it to her; were kimonos more common in that twisted Wonderland?
‘Just keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re doing fine. But he’s probably got something up his sleeves.’
Zelda had just dodged another thrust of Vaati’s steel. He was surprisingly good with the blade, but he didn’t appear to be an expert at swordsmanship. Because of that, Zelda saw no reason to go all out.
She whipped out her chain, ensnaring the purple boy’s sword-wielding hand; Zelda then proceeded to pull her attacker towards her.
Vaati’s face was visibly contorted into several degrees of ‘ouch’ as the space between the two combatants shrunk to mere inches.
He started to chuckle maliciously as his eyes met Sheik’s. “What’s so funny?”
“I’ve got a little secret to tell you.”
“I’m not right-handed.” Before you could say ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, the boy’s foil had gone into his right hand, and slashed once more, meeting no resistance. He smiled as the blood began to run from her newfound wound, his opponent falling to the grass.
“Sheik!” Malon ran over to check up on the fallen ninja, but was stopped short by a sudden hand slapping her in the face.
As Saria and Ruto finally caught up with Lina, they could see that she was both shaken and shaking. Link was pissed. No, that was an insult to the concept of being pissed. For the second time in her life, she wanted to kill another human being. The son of a bitch was going down for hurting Malon for that.
Lina pushed Impa out of the way, the power of the Golden Gauntlets nearly forcing the Sheikiah to the ground.
In the meantime, Vaati was taunting the ninja with her imminent demise. He was like a cat, toying with a trapped mouse.
‘Relax. I think the cavalry just arrived.’
Zelda could see it as well. A girl that appeared to be Lina was walking towards the boy, a golden broadsword drawn. Apparently, this cat wasn’t going to see the dog coming.
Vaati finally decided to end it, going with a stabbing motion. But it was too little, too late. His final attack was blocked by a Hylian Shield that, to him, came from nowhere.
As he pulled his rapier back, so too did the shield, revealing- “No. Not you. Not again.”
“You’re going down, bucko.” Without warning, she discarded her weapons and went for his.
Vaati couldn’t avoid quickly enough, his weapon taken from his hands before he’d even blinked.
What happened next shocked all comers. Lina took the sharp end of the sword in one hand, the hand in the other, and seemingly broke the blade in half with her hands.
It didn’t faze Link, who was still wearing the Golden Gauntlets. She looked at the broken weapon, noticing the blood and the royal seal. “You got this off a nobleman, didn’t you.”
“It’s becoming a dangerous world, Lina. Gotta be able to defend yourself.”
Link took off the Gauntlets, and threw them to the ground. “Then defend this.”
She started whaling on the boy, using nothing but her fists and feet. Link had used hand-to-hand combat before; she’d taken down a Gerudo right before freeing the last of the imprisoned carpenters.
From what Nabooru could see, the blonde girl had learned the Gerudo martial arts somehow; but that was impossible! Only people born under the watchful eyes of her people had learned such techniques! Her field of vision began to shift as Sheik began to shuffle towards the redhead.
As she helped pull the girl up to her feet, Nabooru did a double-take, and then a triple-take. The red hair, the nose, and the eyes, goddesses the eyes! It couldn’t be possible! Especially so far from the desert!
Impa met ‘Sheik’ and Malon halfway, putting her knowledge of first aid to use on the cut on Zelda’s belly.
Vaati still couldn’t believe that he was getting his ass handed to him by a girl! He came here to prove he wasn’t a weakling, not to prove that he could be beaten down by some woman!
A chop on his neck sent him straight to the ground, and he couldn’t get back up immediately. Lina seemed to have left him, running inside a nearby building like the coward she knew he was.
His gut twisted when Lina came out of the building with a very, very big hammer. This was not going to end well.
Link put the Gauntlets back on, and readied the Megaton Hammer. She decided to aim for the Forest; if she was lucky, then the Stalfos would find him.
She swung the hammer like a golf club, the impact of the pounding sent the boy flying, screaming in what could possibly be described as a combination of fear and loathing. As he careened off into the distance, he shrunk into a tiny little vitriolic dot before finally disappearing.
Acting on pure instinct, Link quickly rushed over to both women, who were in various degrees of pain. Zelda appeared to be recovering better than one might suspect, thanks to a combination of magic and first aid.
Malon appeared to be a little sore and upset, but otherwise fine. Link took off her left Gauntlet and gently pressed her hand to where Vaati had struck her. The ranchhand leaned into the hand, smiling a little bit. Using her other hand, Link gently wiped a tear that had had run down her unbruised cheek.
“I missed you.”
Link couldn’t help but smile a little as well. “Missed you too. Got something for you.” She reached inside her kimono, revealing a beautiful blue feather.
“Lin- Lina! I- I’ve never seen something so beautiful! I’ll always keep this on me.” Her smile grew bigger, and she tucked it safely on her person.
Zelda looked at the spectacle, noting the looks the two were giving each other. Her mood sank a little; on one hand, she should be the one getting looks from Malon like that; on the other, if this is what made Malon happy...
‘So you like her? Does that mean that you’re a lesbian?’
In her mind, Zelda nodded. ‘Yea. Why?’
‘Nothing. No reason.’ If Zelda could’ve seen Nabooru at that point, the look on her face would’ve told a far different story.
The Hammer dropped from Link’s hand as her hand went to her gut once more- the pain was worse than she remembered.
Impa immediately picked her up and took her to her bedroom, lying her face up on the bed. Malon, Zelda, Ruto, and Saria all followed, mutually concerned for their friend.
“Alright, Lina. Let’s see what’s wrong here.” She took the kimono off Lina, and was greeted by something not totally unexpected.
Malon spoke it first. “Oh my god, Lin...Lina. You’re bleeding!”
Zelda then had to say what Impa was thinking. “Um... I think she’s having her period.”
Lina’s eyes widened, followed by a soft thud.
Your brain has just suffered a fatal error in:
Your brain has also shut down improperly.
“For the love of- Not this again.”
Malon shook her head. “I had my first one a month or two ago. It wasn’t very pleasant.”
Ruto shook her head, while Saria looked confused. “Wait, what’s a period?”
Ruto, Malon, and Zelda all face faulted. Impa shook her head. “Well, seeing as how you’re all here, why not have a little sleepover?”
Malon quickly regained her footing. “Can we really do that?”
Impa shrugged her shoulders. “Well, your father never technically said that you couldn’t, so, well, I think you can figure out the rest from there.”
Malon and Ruto appeared happy, whilst Saria was still confused. “Seriously, what’s a period?”
Zelda walked up to Impa, gesturing for the two to talk alone. Once they were alone together, Zelda started talking. “I think it’s almost time for me to disappear for good, Impa.”
“Now? But you’re still a little young.”
“Ganondorf’s only getting stronger, Impa. The longer the time he gets with the Triforce of Power, the stronger he’s going to get.”
“Good point. Where you got in mind?”
“...I’m thinking right outside the Gerudo’s Hideout. Maybe inside one of those cliff sides.”
“But that’s so close!”
“Sometimes, the best place to hide is right in front of your enemy’s nose.”
“I guess the Triforce of Wisdom’s working pretty well for you.”
“Still can’t explain a couple of things.” ‘Like that Nabooru character.’
“Alright, Your Highness. It’s all you after this sleepover.”
Zelda nodded. She might not be an expert in passing herself off as a guy yet, but that piece of the Triforce would help her yet.
Plus, she had this Nabooru person. And while she wasn’t quite sure about her loyalties yet, this person was attention-grabbing to say the least.
[End notes: A/N: Bonus points to anyone who finds the Princess Bride reference. Even more points to anyone who can find the Dane Cook homage.
Curse you college professors for giving me umpteen different papers to write!
I know that I use the Golden Gauntlets a lot during the course of this fic, and the reason is simple.
They’re barely used throughout the game (you literally get them an hour before the end of Oot), and they just seem to imply a various amount of awesome side-effects, none of which were explored in the game.
And this is THE END of Year 2. THANK GOD. Now I can finally move forward a year, and get to some stuff that you may or may not be expecting.]
Title: Year 3: Date with Destiny
[Author's notes: A/N: A Happy New Year to you all! I’ve got something here I think you might want to see- THE BEGINNING OF YEAR 3!
And I’ve just noticed that this is the thirteenth chapter- curse superstitions!]
The summer sun was at its highest point when Link, now thirteen, finally finished shoveling horse manure. To think it had now been two full years of living as a girl, and almost an entire year since her escapade into the twisted land of Termina...was somewhat surreal, almost as if it had all occurred in another lifetime.
In any event, so much had happened since she’d gotten back, including a horror that no man should’ve had to go through- a period. Her body was beginning to change, as she had easily grown several inches in the past year. And then, they had started to develop- breasts, which gave her a more feminine figure. Link was developing boobs, which were presently B cups (much to Link’s dismay- she had no desire to look any more like a girl than she had too). That meant that she’d been forced to start wearing bras, and during certain times of the month, panties. PANTIES!
One by one, the strings that kept him firmly entrenched in his manhood were being torn down by forces beyond his control. Link took some small comfort in that she could still wear boxers most of the time.
One silver lining was that not a single person had seen hide nor hair of Vaati since his epic one-way hammer trip into the Kokiri Forest. Not having to deal with him was a blessing, but it didn’t change anything about her current challenge. Being alone for the week or so didn’t help matters, either.
It was time for the Annual Hylian Milk Festival, and Malon and Link were finally old enough to go. Unfortunately for Link, someone had to stay behind and look after the remaining livestock. Which meant that Malon was going to enjoy herself, and participate in all of the festivities, while Link was left with menial chores. Not bitter, no, not bitter at all.
The sound of feet trampling through freshly cut grass rang through Lina’s ears; the mailman had arrived.
He hunched over as he handed Lina the mail, sweat glistening off his brow. He took the red hat off his head and wiped his forehead with it, remarking, “Pretty hot day today, eh?” He could see that the blossoming blonde woman before him was in agreement; her neutrally colored clothes were partly soaked with her own perspiration.
“I guess so.” The postman smiled as he handed Lina/k the daily mail. He was about to depart, when he stopped. “By the way, there’s a woman who’s wants to see you. She’s coming up the path right now.” He then nodded his head, wished her a good day, and went on his way.
As the mailman disappeared from sight, a familiar white haired Sheikiah came into view, a slightly confused look on her face. Nonetheless, she appeared to be happy to see the stable girl.
Impa almost hugged her, until she caught whiff of Lina’s BO. “PHEW! Lina, you smell like you’ve been rolling around in the fertilizer piles!”
Lina’s eyes edged towards the horses. “Well, there’s a reason for that...”
“Nevermind, I came here for something different.” She then took out a scroll of parchment, and read it aloud.
“Dear Miss Impa,
We are eternally grateful for your hard work and leadership in expanding Kakariko Village. In honor of your service to our growing town, we request that you take up the mantle of ‘Mayor’.
The Inhabitants of Kakariko Village”
Impa smiled brightly. “They made me Mayor, Lina! Mayor! ‘Course, I suppose this means that my days of trying to find a way to make money are over.”
Lina’s congratulations were earnest and truthful. “You’re the perfect person for the job, Impa.”
“Thanks. This means I get to go to all the Festivals and whatnot as a VIP again!” Impa looked skyward as she tried to remember the last time that had happened- that was when the Triforce was still safely locked away, wasn’t it? “Anyway, I actually came here to offer you an official invitation to go to the Milk Festival, no questions asked. One of the perks of being important again, you see.”
Link struggled to understand what was going on. She was getting a chance to go to the Festival! That brief glimmer of chance happiness quickly died once she thought about it, though. “I have to stay here. I have to take care of the animals, Impa. I have to stay, I’m sorry.” It killed her to say it, though. On one hand, she would give anything to go out again, but she promised Malon that the livestock would be taken care of.
“Impa, it would take a series of either miracles or catastrophes to get me out of here, and nothing’s gonna happen to make that happen.”
As the goddesses would have it, Lina had just invoked Murphy’s Law. And we all know what happens when Murphy’s Law comes into play...
Right on cue, two horses came dashing into the ranch, taking the two by surprise, just the way Murphy’s Law liked it.
The first horse stopped right in front of the two women, and two familiar faces hopped off the steed.
“Anju? Cremia? What the- Why the- How the-”
Just then, the second horse came to a stop right behind Link, and off the horse came a much older Kafei, Romani, and Shandra. Shandra had a bloodied gauze pad covering her left cheek, and Romani’s left hand was heavily bandaged.
Impa stared at the new arrivals, in disbelief. Nonetheless, her nursing instincts kicked in first. “Can I help you with that at those?”
Shandra and Romani would be fine, but they would likely be carrying some scars from now on. But thanks to Impa’s use of herbs and potions, the pain associated with their wounds was almost gone. Kafei appeared to be in shock, but otherwise, he was fine. Cremia and Anju kept watch over the three while Link gave Impa the expedited version of her misadventure in Termina.
“...And that was pretty much it. I don’t know why they’re here, or even HOW they got here, but the whole difference in how time moves probably explains how they’ve managed to become sixteen by now.”
Impa nodded, looked back at their recent arrivals, and then back at Lina. “I don’t get their side of the story, though. They haven’t been very coherent.”
Lina agreed. “Maybe I can make sense of what they’re saying.” She walked up to Cremia, who was busy applying a new sterilized gauze pad to Shandra’s face.
After finishing, Cremia looked at the lady and shook her head. “It was horrible, Lina. There’ve been rumors of this crazy magician guy mucking around town ever since you left, and then... he finally showed up. Called himself ‘Ganondork’-”
“-Ganondorf,” Impa and Link corrected her.
“Right. Ganondorf. He was looking for some mask, Majora’s Mask or something. Said that some guy who deals in masks failed to give it to him.”
The image of a narrow eyed man with a creepy smile came to Lina’s mind. “What happened to him?”
Anju just said it, plain and simple. “The magician killed him. Not that we saw it, we’re just going on rumor and hearsay.”
Link’s stomach felt like it had been dropped into a bucket of ice. Mr. Creepo... dead?
Cremia continued the story. “Then he started looking for another mask, one that his two advisors said was probably more powerful than that Majora’s thing. Fear Deyty something or other... I can’t remember the name.”
Link’s gut feeling got even worse for a moment, before she remembered that she’d already destroyed the Fierce Deity Mask. “Go on.”
“Anyway, he started going bonkers after a while after not finding it. After a few years, he must have finally lost his patience or something and just started killing people. Ganondorf single handedly cut his way through the town and made a beeline for our place. We were lucky to all get out of there alive, and even luckier to save some of our horses and cows.”
Link winced at that statement. She felt guilty for leaving them behind, but there wasn’t any way for her to know that THIS would happen... her knowledge of the future lied entirely with Hyrule. “Thanks.”
Shandra sat up a little straighter as Lina began walking away. “Wait! There was someone else with them!”
Link turned back around and stared at her doppelganger, whose hand was holding Romani’s tightly. “There was someone else there. There was this man, really muscular, wore purple for some reason- made him look kinda stupid.
That caused Impa and Link an intense amount of worrying. Vaati, the annoying boy with a death wish... had joined forces with Ganon?!? This could be nothing but bad news, especially if Vaati had aged as much as his Termina friends had.
Kafei finally stood up, clutching his head in an attempt to get his bearings. “Can we stay here for a while? The entire ranch got set ablaze, and Clock Town’s got enough problems for the time being.”
Link couldn’t say no; it was only two years ago that she was in the same predicament. “Fine. But you guys can only stay for a week or so, the guys I work for’ll ask pretty awkward questions.” ‘Especially Ingo,’ she didn’t add.
Link had one final question. “Did anyone else come here?”
Romani finally spoke up. “Yeah. There were a couple of others who came with us, and they’ve managed to figure out where their species live.”
Romani squinted, wracking her brains for the answer. “A couple... I know the Indigo-Gos made it out, and so did the Deku Royal Family. There was a Goron as well, called herself Darmuni.”
Lina let out the breath that she had unconsciously been holding in. At the very least, everyone that she really cared about survived.
“And then there was this mad middle-aged man who thought he was a fairy...” Link couldn’t figure out if she was disappointed or relieved about his endurance; Tingle was one person she could go without seeing again.
Impa and Lina finally left them alone, letting them rest their ill-gotten gains. “Well, Lina, I think that’s destiny calling.”
Impa smiled. “I mean, they’ll be able to take care of the livestock, and you can go to the festival!”
Link pondered the possibility. The animals would be safe, sure, but could she really have any real excuse to go beside the desire to?
“Impa, I swear, there’s really no reason for me to go. I want to, but that doesn’t mean I can.”
Out of the sky, though, dropped another of Murphy’s instruments- a witch and a girl in green robes descended from the heavens on a polished broomstick. The two disembarked from their mode of transportation and walked up to Link. Impa was slightly nervous about even more strange people, but Link was quick to introduce them.
“Impa, this is Maple, and the Subrosian is Rosa. They’re from Holodrum.”
The three shook hands, and then Rosa quickly got down to the nitty-gritty.
“Ralph thinks that we’ve finally got a chance to rescue the Oracles.”
Impa stiffened a little. “Wait, THE Oracles? They’ve been captured?”
Maple solemnly nodded her head. “Yes, which brings us to our next point. We’ve suspected this since that little event in the Forest, but now we have confirmation: General Onox and Veran are working for your Ganondorf.”
Rosa continued, adding, “Needless to say, that makes rescuing the Oracles a little harder. But we think we’ve got the perfect opportunity to snatch them back.”
Impa’s attention was now fully devoted; her job of defending the Princess might have ended a little early, but she still felt responsible enough to help out. “When?”
Rosa looked at the older woman quizzically before finally revealing the basis of their plan. “There’s a festival going on right now for the next couple of days, the Annual Hylian Milk Festival. It takes place at Hyrule Castle Town. It’s apparently one of the biggest celebrations in your land; everyone who’s anybody shows up. We’ve heard through the grapevine that Onox, Veran, and Ganondorf are all showing up; we figured that striking at some point during the festivities would give us pretty good odds.”
Impa thought about it for a moment, before offering assistance. “I can get all of you VIP access; you can go anywhere at the Festival without being hassled.”
Lina looked at Impa, a smirk on her face. “Abusing your powers already, Impa?”
Impa chuckled for a moment. “Comes with the office, Lina. Comes with the office.”
Maple looked at Link, revealing an offer. “We’d like to have you there, Lina. We could always use another sword.”
Lina’s thought process started up again, working full time to make a decision. Now there were people in need, a quest to undertake... another adventure. Now that there was a real reason to leave the ranch behind besides entertainment, she could say yes, which she did.
Maple and Rosa appeared relieved, while Impa smiled. “I guess that means that you all will be accepting my offer then.” She turned to Lina and said, “Lina, be sure to bring your kimono and a mask.”
Impa smiled. “I can only technically bring two people maximum ‘no questions asked’. But if I can get you into one of the shows, well, then that’s as good as a VIP pass.”
Link didn’t understand what talent Impa thought she had; the only things that Impa had seen her do were stablework and swordfighting. Nonetheless, Link could only assume that Impa’s scheme had already accounted for that. “Just give a moment, okay? I kinda need to shower.”
No one could blame her for that.
Taking a shower had become less and less of an out of body experience for Link. The very first time was bluntly informative, especially when she looked 'there'. It was a bit of a shock realizing that girls had something different in that region. It wasn’t like she could ask Talon about it; he wasn’t to know about her secret, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to tell Ingo. But once Zelda gave her a crude sex-ed talk last year, it finally started feeling less weird looking at herself in the shower.
As she put on a clean shirt and shorts, she began to check over the items she was bringing with her. Almost everything in her arsenal was coming with her this time; leaving the Fairy Bow behind had nearly cost Lina her life back in Termina. In fact, the only thing she was leaving behind this time was the Golden Gauntlets. She was tempted to bring them because they’d saved her life so many times before, but then she remembered just where she’d found the enchanted handwear in the first place: Ganon’s Castle. Instead, she just put on some leather fingerless gloves.
The kimono was easy enough to find, but the mask was a bit of a problem. She was bringing almost all of the transformation masks (she’d given the Zora Mask and her Fairy Slingshot to Saria), but which mask would suit Impa’s purposes? She’d acquired a couple during her Termina trip...
Then she saw it- the Couple’s Mask. Lina didn’t know why, but it just felt right to bring that particular mask. Maybe it was foresight speaking, or maybe it was her gut feeling; but Lina knew that her gut was right more often than not. She took the Couple’s Mask and stashed it with the rest of her equipment.
She was ready to go out the door when she saw a familiar piece of parchment sticking out of her chest. She’d saved the letters from Ruto and Zelda for safekeeping, to help keep her situation in perspective. She reread the letters for the sake of it, with one passage from Ruto’s sticking out in particular...
‘Malon, strange things are going to happen over the next seven years. For instance, monsters that are neither among the dead or the living will arise at sunset- tonight. Tonight will be the only time in the next three years and eight months that they'll show-’
Just then, there was a rapping, a tapping on her bedroom window. She went to the windowpane, seeing a familiar avian friend there.
“Rauru?!? I thought you went back to your own time!”
Rauru flew into the room, perching on the cabinet. “I did. But shortly after going back, the Sages and I realized that we may have made a horrible mistake.”
“Big enough to cause some serious problems with the time continuum. Link, do you still have that letter from Ruto?”
Link raised it up in her left hand. “Yeah, I was just rereading it.” Without a warning, Rauru flew over to Lina, grabbed the letter with his beak, and landed on her bed, the letter resting in front of the Sage of Light.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear. This is not good, not good at all!”
Link knew that this meant that something was wrong. “What do I have to save the world from THIS time?”
“It’s not the world that needs saving, Lina.”
“Good, I was hoping to get out without the fate of the world depending on it-”
The silence was not unlike what would have occurred after smashing a valuable vase; Link’s attention was total and intense. “What happened to Malon?”
“It’s not what’s happened to her, it’s what’s going to happen to her. You see,” he pointed at the letter with his beak, “Ruto said that something bad was going to occur at Castle Town three years and eight months after you went home. She made a mistake. The arrival of the Redead, the event that she was trying to warn you about occurs in a little over two years!”
“Wait, two years from now, or two years from when I arrived?” Somehow, Lina already knew the answer.
“Two years from when you arrived. Which means that any day now, the Redead will return-”
“-and Malon’ll get caught.” She shook her head.
“What’s wrong, Hero?”
Lina/k stared at him for a split second before answering, “Why is it that every time I leave home, EVERY TIME, that someone needs to be rescued, or the world is going to be destroyed, or some idiot tries to take over Hyrule?”
Rauru didn’t have an answer for that. “I need to return to my time once more. I pray that this will be the last time I will have to come back, Heroine.”
Link’s mood hit an all-time low as Rauru flew out the window. Rauru, one of the few entities that knew Link as both a boy and a girl, had acknowledged him as a girl. She needed that cure!
She was at the door now. The mission was clear, the means were there, and everything would be taken care of.
Hyrule Castle Town and the surrounding area were always busy, but never before had it appeared so alive. The people were constantly on the move, keeping to themselves. But this time, they were friendly and cheerful. Link had only seen this sort of thing once before, the Festival of Time in Termina.
There were shopkeepers showing off their wares all around, farmers selling their goods, it was a veritable market for anything. Even the weird guy who bought bugs was there, still as spastic as ever.
Several temporary wooden buildings had been erected, ranging from eateries to lounges, and even some living quarters, but these were usually on the ritzier side of the festival. As Impa and company showed the security guards their passes, Link couldn’t help but be amazed at the livelihood of it all. There was never anything like this back at the Forest.
“Here, take this.” Impa handed Lina a gold-plated star, which she attached to her shirt. “That thing keeps the guards off your back.”
Shortly after receiving their badges, Rosa separated from the rest of the group, claiming that she’d be right back.
By the time they finally stopped looking around, it was almost dark. Finally, they stopped at one of the cabins and all entered the building. It was more spacious than it appeared, with three beds, a set of table and chairs, and an area walled off for a shower.
Maple looked at the place with a hint of skepticism. “I guess we’re living here for the next few days?”
“That’s right,” Impa replied, “this place is perfect for planning our little rescue effort.”
“So let’s get started.”
All eyes went to the door, through which Ralph, Rosa, and Farore were all walking through.
Lina’s eyes went to Ralph’s chest, which had a gleaming star on it. “How’d you get-”
“Remember when I said my ancestor was a Queen? Turns out that being a descendant of royalty has its perks.” Ralph sat at the table, and motioned for everyone to take a seat.
“Alright, down to business. I just saw General Onox, so I think we can safely say that Veran and that Ganondorf guy are here. Apparently, there’s this big event at the festival in two days, some kind of dance or something.”
Impa perked up. “The Young Couple’s Dance.”
“Yea, that’s right. Everyone shows up to support the attendees, which will include our mutual friends. That’s probably the prime time to rescue Din and Nayru.”
Lina could see a problem here, though. “What about Veran and the General?”
“If we can kill them, then that’s great. But taking them down is less important than restoring the status quo. Now, when it’s time for the dance, come prepared. Bring everything you’ve got. I’ll yell out a code word, and then we’re a go.”
Farore sighed. “But what’s the code word?” Ralph’s smiled faded.
“I haven’t figured that out yet.” Groans could be heard from all around the table. “But I’ll figure something out, might have to change up the plan before we go for it.”
The talks ended shortly after, with Ralph leaving the cabin. It was generally decided then that Rosa and Maple would share a bed, with Farore and Lina doing the same. The lights went out after that, with the two going to bed. Link, however, went up to Impa for more questions.
“Impa, what kind of dance are you talking about?”
Impa blinked. “Well, in the middle of the festival, there’s a dance for young men and women. It’s sort of a courting rite.”
“Courting? As in, dating?”
Impa nodded. “Yes.” She paused, then added, “Everyone shows up as a general show of support, but the real reason they show up is to see who the dancers go with.”
“...Dancers?” Link was confused; there was dancing already, wasn’t that redundant?
“Well, the day before the dance, there’s a sort of exhibition of the finest teen dancers. The catch is that you never get to know who they are because they all wear a mask; that’s why I asked you to bring one. It’s sort of an old folk tale that if you dance with one of the three best dancers, then you’ll live the rest of your life happily with that performer.”
Link thought about how this factored into the plan, and then hit upon it. “You want me to be one of the dancers?!? But I’m not graceful at all!”
Impa disagreed though, commenting, “The way you walk tells me otherwise, though. You seem to have this aura of calm about you; I can’t really explain it that well.”
But Lina already knew what she was talking about- one of the things that Mr. Roboto had taught her was meditation. ‘Wait... he taught me how to dance!’
It was a long shot and Link knew it, but this would move the plan along nicely. “Okay, I understand.” She walked towards the door, adding, “Let me just get a breath of fresh air, alright?”
Impa wasn’t about to deny her that, so she left, trying to keep calm. The sun had set, but Link wasn’t afraid; she was still carrying the Gilded Blade and some Deku Nuts. Mr. Roboto’s teachings came to her as she tried to clear her mind, only focusing on moving forward.
One of his favorite techniques that he taught was ‘calm walking’. As he explained it to Lina, “Clear your mind, and you’ll see that you only have to trust your feet to take you where you really need to go.” So she walked, not caring about where she went, but only caring that she was moving. That, and not bumping into anything, that was good too.
Out of the blue, she stumbled across Ralph, practicing a series of complex sword attacks, slashing at empty air. Link was about to leave, when she heard a voice that made shivers run down her spine.
“Prince Ralph, so good to see you.”
Link stayed out of sight, seeing the blue-haired woman from the forest approach Ralph. He stood up tensely, and then replied, “I can’t be a Prince if I’m not up for the throne. There are at least twenty people ahead of me in the line of succession, and I really don’t want to be King, Nayru.” He paused, and then said, “Or should I say, Veran?”
The woman gave him a smirk that seemed uncharacteristic for her, and then crumpled to the ground. However, another figure arose from her unconscious body. She was a head taller than Ralph, her short brownish-blonde hair standing out against her faded blue skin. Her attire was extremely distracting, showing off her midriff and her breasts. Fortunately, her purple and blue clothes were not obscene, which allowed Ralph to focus on Veran’s words, not her voluptuous figure.
“Clever, Prince, very clever. Still a little sore about Ambi, eh?”
Ralph appeared disgusted. “I still can’t believe you seduced her like that!”
Veran laughed softly, jokily remarking, “Now, don’t tell me part of you didn’t enjoy that little spectacle. That was actually kind of fun.”
Ralph had to stop himself from cutting down Veran then and there. “If you did the same to Nayru, then I swear to the Goddesses-”
“Relax, Prince. Your girlfriend’s maidenhood is intact.” Link could barely make out the blush on his face.
“Why even bother with this, Veran? We both know that Ganondorf’s probably going to kill us all.”
Veran shrugged her shoulders. “Better be at the devil’s side than in his path. I’m nothing if not a survivor, Prince.” She looked directly at Lina, before adding, “It seems we have a guest.”
There was no turning back now as Link cautiously approached the two. Ralph appeared slightly surprised that Lina was there, but Veran appeared unfazed. “And such a beauteous one at that.”
Veran caressed Link’s cheek, causing unfamiliar sensations to embrace her body. She broke it off quickly though, half-shouting, “I’m thirteen!”
The Queen of Shadows smiled before noting, “In Labrynna, the age of consent is thirteen, not seventeen. Besides, if you hadn’t told me, I would’ve assumed that you were at least seventeen with that body.
Link was shaking in her Kokiri Boots, not out of fear, but anger. She wasn’t A GIRL! She reached for her sword to retaliate before Ralph interceded, commenting, “Don’t. She’ll just use Nayru as a shield.”
“You know my methods too well, Prince. Forgive my departure, but I must be on my way." With a muffled crack, Veran disappeared, and Nayru rose once more. She looked at Lina once more. “See you around, gorgeous.”
Once the Queen of Shadows was out of sight, Ralph turned to Lina. “Go to bed. We’ve got a long couple days in front of us.” He then departed, remorseful that he’d let Veran get away once more.
Lina began walking back to the cabin, shaking her head. ‘What is it with women and their instant attraction to me? And what is with all the lesbians?!?’
Title: Year 3: Dance of the Keaton
[Author's notes: *cackles*
This is what happens when you write too many stores at once- one of them gets left behind. Not to worry, I'm back.]
Link didn’t sleep very well that night, and from what she could gather the following morning, neither had Ralph. Despite the gracious breakfast that Impa had cooked up, (omelets, bacon, and a heaping helping of pancakes) neither Lina nor Ralph managed to eat very much of it.
“I’m gonna take Farore to see the sights,” Rosa told the group. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep her safe.” She put a green cloak on the Oracle and commented, “Just keep the hood up and no one’ll recognize you.”
“What if tries to take off your hood, Rosa?” The Subrosian had to admit that Impa had a point. She blinked, her glowing eyes blinking amongst their dark background before giving an answer.
“Subrosian hoods are magical; they can’t be removed by anyone but the wearer, unless... well, that’s not going to happen anyway.” She took Farore by the hand and out the door. “See you guys later.”
Maple stared at the doorway as Ralph closed the door. “You know, it’s kinda odd. The Oracles are supposed to be kinda... older. And Farore’s more like our age than Din and Nayru.”
Ralph tried to make sense of it. “I heard from Nayru one time that Farore was the last Oracle to be revealed. The way it works, the Oracle of Seasons is declared first, then the Oracle of Ages, then Mysteries. I guess that it’s based on age and whatnot- I know Din’s older than Nayru. Must’ve taken them a little bit longer to find the Oracle of Mysteries.”
Lina shrugged her shoulders; it wasn’t like she knew anything about mythology besides the Triforce, and she knew all about that. Absent-mindedly, her eyes went to her left hand. ‘...The Triforce of Courage is still there?’
That couldn’t be good. Perhaps it was a twist of time, perhaps she’d never returned her share of the Triforce back to the Temple of Time, or perhaps the Goddesses thought he still needed it, but the fact still remained that she had the Triforce of Courage. She knew she had it when she ‘woke up’ a few years from now, or two years ago, whatever.
“Lina!” Link snapped out of her thoughts as Impa put another pancake on her plate. “I got more food if you want it.” She declined, opting instead to try to find Malon.
Impa was a bit surprised at that. As far as she knew, Lina had only had a strip of bacon and two pancakes. She stealthily snuck her fork into some bacon on Lina’s plate, but found another fork in the meat she was stealing. She stared hungrily at Ralph. “Sleep or no sleep, I want that bacon,” he murmured.
The festival was more happening than anything that Link had ever seen. It was almost as overwhelming as the first time she had visited Hyrule Castle Town. There were vendors of every conceivable good out there, but Link just couldn’t find anything interesting. But the sheer buzz of activity around her alone was enough to blow her mind so badly that she did look where she was going.
“Oh Goddesses,” Lina apologized after she ran into a ground of people. “I’m sorry, are you all okay?”
“No, we’re fine, really-” The woman speaking to her stopped talking as she realized who she was talking to. “Lina?”
“M-Mikalu?” The tattooed Zora guitarist hugged the teenager. The rest of the Indigo-Gos were there as well, finally greeting the hero of their land for the ‘first time’. “What’re you guys doing at the festival?”
Mikalu rubbed the back of her head. “Bit of a long story. See, this asshole of a magician came into town a while back, called Ganondork or something-”
“Ganondorf.” Lina corrected. “I know this part of the story. What are you guys doing here?”
“Well,” Lulu commented, “We managed to find refuge in this lovely place upriver. Their king was very understanding of our situation, let us stay there and everything. Even let our kids play with theirs and everything.”
Mikalu blushed at that. “Speaking of kings, his daughter is somewhere around here hanging out with this other girl. They were arguing about some guy named Link.” She leaned over to whisper to Link, “They’ve got a crush on you.”
Mikalu then quietly mentioned the same thing to Lulu. Lina was definitely shocked, yes, but she was thankful that Mikalu and Lulu weren’t saying it to the world. Lina numbly thanked them and left them with a warning. “You guys should probably leave the Domain in about-”
“-We know, Lina.” Mikalu leaned to whisper into her ear once more. “I got to know the same stuff you did when you were wearing the mask. We’ll get out of there, promise.” With that, she began on her way. “We’re just staying for a few more hours, then a gig, and then me and Lulu are going back to the kids.”
Link finally let out the breath she’d been unconsciously holding in the entire conversation. She wasn’t going to be able to get much rest this week. Malon was still out there in the crowd, and goddesses knew just how long she had before the Redead returned.
‘Oh, hell.’ She turned around to find the most annoying creature created in the history of history.
“Madame Fairy,” Tingle joyfully exclaimed, “it is so good to see you! You would not believe what kind of magicks I encountered to come here!”
“Yea. Yea I do.” Lina prepared to walk away and ignore his upcoming story of the magic of Rupees and his friends when he began talking about what he’d been up to.
“...I was drinking a bunch of milk, and these people kept asking me which one was best. And the one next to this charming redhead was by far the best-”
Link’s ears perked up as she heard the man-child speak of a redhead. “Where was the milk from?”
“Lon Lon Ranch, I believe. The whole thing was some sort of contest, and her friends won!” She quickly asked which way her friends were, but the man-child didn’t answer. “Oh, this all occurred a few hours ago! They’ve packed up the cows and are probably only staying for one more event, Madame Fairy!”
Link cursed her luck. “What?”
Tingle began dancing in place, much to the Heroine of Time’s embarrassment. “Why, the dancers of course! Tingle is going to be dancing for the pleasure of many!” Link had to fight the urge to throw up on the spot as Tingle danced himself out of her sight.
“There you are!” Lina turned around to find Ralph and Impa running towards her. “Try and keep up with us, because I’ve only got enough time to tell you this once.”
“I don’t understand. So we’re going to take down Veran,” Lina commented as the trio stood with their backs against the walls of a temporary building, “but you didn’t say how.”
Ralph smirked as he looked around the corner and whipped out some sort of shooting device. “It’s simple, surprisingly enough. We have to hit her with a special type of seed that isn’t found in Hyrule.” He loaded the device with a green seed. “This thing is extremely unpredictable when it hits something. It could turn a Cucco into a giant, a Moblin into a sheep, or nothing at all. But it seems to force Veran out of her body.” He took aim around the corner.
Impa quickly double-checked their surroundings. “Coast is clear; no one around. Lina, get as close as you can and just say when.”
Link just began sneaking around the tents and such. She knew how far she could push her luck in terms of when to move- the Gerudo had been attentive guardswomen. The tricky part was actually the process of moving stealthily. Namely, her balance felt off- Lina silently cursed the fact that she now had to compensate for her growing knockers. Nonetheless, she was only a few feet away...
‘Oh, shi-’ The possessed Oracle turned on Lina as if she’d known the Hero/ine had been there the entire time.
“A bit hard to sneak up on a magician, girl. Here to have some fun?” She grinned as she looked Lina over with no attempt to hide her desire. “Another year or two and you’ll probably be the sexiest girl in all the land. If only that drab little dress didn’t hide your blossoming figure...”
Before the magician could touch her though, Lina dove to the grass and yelled Ralph’s name. As if on cue, the Guardian of the Oracle of Ages stepped out his hiding spot and launched a Mystery Seed at Nayru’s body.
Upon impact the seed cracked in half, its contents showering all over the Oracle. Without so much as a groan of pain, Nayru fell to the ground. Ralph immediately put the Seed Shooter away and then pulled out a device that looked like someone had put a claw on the end of Link’s Longshot. “Lina, quick! Over here!”
No sooner than Lina had arrived at Ralph’s side than Nayru’s skin returned to a more normal tone, and a dark mist-like ghost began escaping from her body. Two dark yellow eyes opened once the mist consolidated, and Ralph quickly whispered, “Keep her down.”
“Wha-” Link couldn’t finish her question as Ralph fired the strange device into the void. Surprisingly, the device actually managed to latch onto it, pulling the mist towards Lina. But the device worked quite differently than the Longshot- this ‘Claw Shot’ had some sort of rubber band effect, as Ralph was pulled by the device as well. The two enemies actually passed right by each other and effectively switched places.
Once the mist settled, it actually began to take a familiar shape- Veran assumed her normal form as she recovered from the disorienting assault. Almost on cue, Link tackled the magician to the ground and held her there.
“Ah,” Veran chuckled, “Now we’re getting somewhere.” Her grin disappeared as she saw Ralph approach. “Well, that could’ve gone better.”
Impa ran towards Nayru’s comatose body and put her in a fireman’s lift. “I’ll take her back to the cabin.”
As the royal guardian walked off, Lina and Ralph turned their attention back to the sorceress. “Back to business, Veran. I can understand why Ganondorf would want the power to control time and nature. What’s that man got that we don’t?”
“Off the top of my head, power over magic, armies of monsters-”
“Besides the obvious.” Ralph had apparently had to deal with Veran several times before and knew that response was coming.
“You’re aware that people have been disappearing in our land for some time now, correct Prince?” Ralph nodded- he didn’t have time to argue semantics. “Ganondorf sent minions throughout the world in an attempt to find some stupid golden triangles that are supposed to be able to grant any wish. His ‘men’, if you can call them men, apparently thought that one of Queen Ambi’s descendants possessed one of the things and started offing them one by one.” She stared at Ralph, noting, “I believe that you may be the last living heir to the throne.”
Ralph loosened his grip, but did not let go. “That explains that. But where do you come into the equation?”
Veran looked calmly into his face. “I don’t, for the most part. I went back to see what the world was like back then.”
Lina stared at her for a second. “Wait, wait, wait. You went back in time just to sightsee? Not to conquer the world or anything?”
The Queen of Shadows laughed bitterly. “My reputation may not be the best, but even I am allowed to enjoy myself once in a while. Though I do admit my method was a bit... crude.” Ralph bit his tongue, trying not to say anything.
“Wait, if you just went back in time, then why did Ralph follow?” Lina was a bit confused.
Ralph looked at the Heroine stone-faced. “I told you already, I’m Nayru’s guardian. I’m supposed to keep her safe.”
Veran continued her story. “During my stay in the past, I was allowed to stay in the Queen’s palace. While I was there, I made a most unusual discovery, one that could’ve had dire consequences for our time.” Both heroes stayed quiet, waiting for Veran to continue. “What, no interesting remarks? No ‘Gee Veran, whatever could that be?’?”
“I thought you were just going to tell us,” Lina said.
“I’m doing my damndest not to yell at you,” Ralph grunted, “so I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Veran sighed. “I swear... Anyway, I discovered that there was no record of whom Ambi continued the line with. And that the time I had arrived at was about the same point where she would become pregnant with her only child. If she didn’t conceive within the next week,” Veran stated, “then no kid. And without that kid, Ralph would never have existed.”
Ralph stared at her in disbelief. “I thought once Ralph showed up, that he might’ve become his own descendant or something, but no. He got tangled up in a war against a gang of rebellious subjects. So I had to do the deed.”
Ralph nearly fainted, while Lina tried to make sense of the revelation. “You slept with the Queen?”
“Well, not in Nayru’s body. I had to be very careful how I played my cards, but I couldn’t deny that I was very... excited at the prospect at spending time with a historical figure that I admired.”
“Oh, goddesses,” Ralph gasped. “You had SEX with my ancestor?!?”
Veran smiled wickedly. “Yes. And it had to have been the best two hours of my life.” Ralph nearly threw up on the spot. “Anyway, that was at the end of the time that I knew she had to have that kid, so I had to resort to Plan B- I impregnated her using some of my magic.”
Ralph winced. “So wouldn’t that make you my... I’d be your...” He released his grip on the woman, and fainted from the shock.
Veran turned to Lina. “He’s right. I’m actually his ancestor.” Lina released her grip, but kept on her guard. “He’s free to kill me now of course, but when he confronted me in the Palace, I had to make sure that I stayed alive, less the Prince end up ensuring that he was never born.”
Link had seen cause and effect come into play several times during his adventures, but nothing to this scale. “What are you going to do now?”
Veran looked to the sky. “Not sure. I was working for Ganondorf mostly to save my own skin, but now...” She looked at Ralph’s unconscious body. “I’ll stay undercover for a little while, but I’m going to be leaving his service very soon.” She paused before noting, “You were planning on rescuing the Oracles.”
Link confirmed it, not even bothering to deny the statement.
“I can help with that.”
A half-hour later, everyone had reassembled in the cabin. Rosa, Maple, and Farore all stared at Veran with mistrust while she told her story, while Impa nodded silently. Ralph just continued to stare, silent trying to absorb the fact that Veran was one of his ancestors.
“So there you have it. Any questions?”
Impa spoke first. “Can you get us the Oracles?”
Veran shrugged her shoulders. “I can distract Onox, but getting them out of there I can’t do.”
Nayru nodded. “Ganondorf’s likely not going to let Din go without a fight.”
Lina agreed, adding, “Don’t try to kill him, he’s way too strong.” She thought of the Triforce of Power, which was likely in his possession. If she got too close... the King of the Gerudo might be able to sense her share of the Triforce of Courage, and then he would already have two of the three pieces by the time her past... future... male self... thing woke up. ‘Never really considered how weird time travel can get,’ she thought to herself.
“Alright,” Impa stated, “we know he’s going to the exhibition today for appearance’s sake. Onox will likely be there, and we know Din will be dancing. It’ll probably work best if Rosa and Lina enter the competition. Tomorrow, at some point during the dance, we’re gonna have to strike quick and hard. The quicker we get out, the less likely we’re going to have people getting hurt.” Impa looked at Rosa and Lina, remarking, “It’s almost time for the dancers to go. You two have your masks?”
Rosa nodded as she took out her mask. “I know it’s a fairly cheap one,” she said as she referred to her Keaton Mask, “but it’s all I could get on such short notice. My people are blacksmiths, not artists.”
Link silently dug out the Couple’s Mask, the one that Cremia had given her. Why had she chosen this particular mask to begin with? And why was her gut telling her that she had to do well at the exhibition?
The time between then and the exhibition was almost a blur to Lina. She could remember that Ralph had snuck backstage to give Din a message, and now Rosa was on the edge of a circle of logs, leaping gracefully from log to log and spinning in place. It was an interesting sight, one that could easily bedazzle the watcher.
When Rosa stepped off the posts, she walked straight for Lina, who was just offstage. “You’re next, you know.” Rosa looked back at the stage. “Once they clear the stage, that is.”
Lina nodded calmly as she looked at the mask in her hands and the kimono covering her body. She was going to be performing for a group of people that she didn’t know, probably for a group of people she’d never seen before and would never see again.
Was she scared? No, she’d done far bigger things for complete strangers. You know, like rescuing a bunch of carpenters and saving the world, that kind of thing. But she was a bit nervous- since when did anything important that didn’t rely on solving some ancient puzzle or killing some forgotten evil with a confidently placed weapon she got in a treasure chest in a dungeon filled with monsters?
She walked out onto the stage after putting on her mask on. The audience was indeed filled with people that she’d never seen before, but closer inspection revealed a smattering of familiar faces- the sight of Ganondorf and Onox chilled her to the bone, but on the opposite side of the crowd was Ingo, Talon, and-
Lina stopped in her tracks at the center of the stage.
Malon was still here.
For a brief moment, all thought of the dance left her mind. Malon was here. So were Ingo and Talon. She silently cursed her luck, thinking of a way to get them back home before shit hit the fan...
A snake charmer at the side of the stage nodded at her, snapping her out of her ruminations. There was no longer time to plan, only to find her center, to walk the walk and dance the dance.
It was all a blur, just like Mr. Roboto had told her that performing it would be. The dance felt fluid, like water running through her fingers, and she felt... graceful.
The walk back offstage and back to the cabin was just as much unmemorable- she could remember Rosa congratulating her, saying that she’d done wonderfully. Din was smiling at her, telling her she was something else. But one thing that she could remember before she fell on her bed asleep was Malon.
She appeared very surprised, almost as if someone had blown her mind.
Lina had no idea where she was. She was surrounded by a thick fog, making her unable to see the forest from the trees. She DID appear to be besides a river, and there didn’t seem to be anyone else there.
“Hello there, girl.”
Well, there hadn’t APPEARED to be anyone there. A look in the direction of the voice revealed a yellow fox, its eyes nearly slits and both its ears and the tails having black tips as if someone had played a prank on it with permanent marker. One peculiar detail that Lina noticed about the animal was that it had three tales. “Um... hi?”
“Ah,” the fox seemed to chuckle, “you aren’t phased by my being able to speak?”
Lina looked at the beast strangely before commenting, “I’ve seen a lot stranger than a talking animal.”
The fox laughed even more. “I see, I see.” It walked up to the Hero/ine on its four legs before sitting down. “Do you know what I am?”
She had the wrack her brains for a moment. She hadn’t seen a fox with more than one tail before, but that face... that face... “The Keaton Mask!”
The fox nodded. “At least you knew me somehow. I am a Keaton, and usually my kind only appears to those who wear the Keaton masks. But we also appear to cause mischief once in a while.” He laughed once more, commenting, “It is so much fun making hunters answer riddles and taking their quarry. Such great stuff. Anyway, we are also more ‘in tune’, as you might say, to the wills of the Goddesses Three.”
Lina blinked. “You talk to-”
“Well, not exactly talk as you and I might talk,” the mystical kitsune admitted, “but we converse with many entities of the word. The goddesses, ghosts, the Oracles... you get the idea. We were the ones who told the King to unite Hyrule, and it was my people who assisted the Light Sprits in their task of sealing away the interlopers into a realm of shadow. But enough about my people,” he continued, “It is time for me to discuss why I am here.”
Lina interrupted the Keaton, latching onto the word ‘seal’. She knew what being able to seal something implied... “Wait, you have magical powers?” The Keaton nodded. “Can you turn me into a boy?”
The fox’s eyes opened slightly in surprise. “Why on earth would I want to, I mean,” sniffed the air for a second and reeled back in surprise. “It’s not like I could, at any rate, you’ve been cursed or something.” When Lina asked him for something a little more in-depth, he replied, “This is just conjecture... but you’ve been cursed by some very powerful Dark magic or taken some potion that you shouldn’t have. Either way, that magic is WAY too powerful for me to overcome. Now don’t interrupt me again.
“Now, as I was saying, the reason why I’m here. The Goddesses have empowered me to give you a gift. Ordinarily I’d give you a bunch of riddles first... Oh, what the hell. I love riddles too damned much. One riddle. I’ll give you one riddle, and if you get it right, then I give you your prize. Get it wrong, and you’re dinner. Questions? No? Good.”
“Actually,” Lina said, “I did have a quest-”
The Keaton made a ‘sh’ noise before beginning its brain teaser. “Two babies are born to the same mother and the same father. They are born on the same day, within the same hour. But they are not twins. How can this be possible?”
Link scratched her head. She hated brain teasers. ‘Same parents, same time... Man, I don’t know anything about babies!’ “Um... different da- no, um, different mont- no, um... er...”
The Keaton smiled. “The clock is ticking...”
“Uh, er... they’re not twins... are they triplets?”
The kitsune frowned. “Well, that bites. You win.” Three small wooden cubes appeared in front of him. “On top of your bed in the Lon Lon Ranch, you will find this green cube, this red one, and this gold one. DO NOT OPEN THEM WHEN YOU FIND THEM.”
Lina looked confused. “Then why give them to me?”
The Keaton shrugged, or at least gave the equivalent. “Trust me. When the time is right, you’ll know when to open them.” The fog began to thicken once more, causing the unusual fox to begin to disappear from eyesight.
“But what’s in the box? What’s inside the boxes?”
He was almost completely gone, but his voice rang out loud and clear. “The answer to your prayers.”
And with that, Lina woke up. The sun was starting to rise, meaning that she’d been out for quite a while. Regardless, she knew that today was the day for the second part of their plan.
They could not afford to fail.
Title: Year 3: Fall of the House of Hyrule
[Author's notes: Yeah, six months late. I know. Writer's block is a bitch.]
Lina checked and double-checked her equipment making sure the she had what she needed. Her Fairy Bow, the Longshot, the Mirror Shield; everything except the Golden Gauntlets was accounted for – she couldn’t risk losing the strength-enhancing gauntlets.
Putting on the kimono, she looked at one of the masks that she had brought with her. The Couple’s Mask. And today was the Young Couple’s Dance. Was this a sign from the Goddesses or was she seeing things? So many strange things had happened to her... or him... over the course of his or her life, but that was because she was supposed to save the world! She was the Hero of Time!
Which brought up another thing. Today was the day the Redead would return, the day that Hyrule Castle Town would burn. How many people would die? How many could she save? Her mind turned to her friends, most of whom she already knew would survive the uprising. After all, she’d seen them alive and well when she’d been a grown man. But how much of their survival was their own doing and how much was due to her intervention?
Lina put the mask on and armed herself, deciding to get it over with. This was arguably the closest she’d gotten to possibly messing up the timeline. But if that was true, then where did General Onox and Veran figure into the equation?
A quick look around the cabin told Lina that no one else was there. Impa had left some pancakes on the table, as well as a note.
We couldn’t wake you up – you were out like a rock. Something about foxes and whatnot. We’re taking care of the plan, just show up for the Dance. Just follow the volunteer’s instructions after that. Ralph says to come ‘armed to the teeth’.
PS: Don’t eat all the pancakes. I’m probably going to want some for later.
Deciding to just try to get as many of her friends out of harm’s way as she could, she walked out of the cabin and quickly made her way through the crowd, trying desperately to find someone she knew. Mikalu and Lulu had left already, if she remembered correctly. Darmuni and the Deku Royal Family both weren’t anywhere near the castle, Impa and the Oracles would likely escape, Ralph could defend himself–
-And she could really care less about Tingle. “Good morning.”
“Ahahaha, it is quite a morning, Madame Fairy!” Lina was slightly beginning to regret asking for his help to fly into Ikana Canyon. “The sun is shining, the people are buying Tingle’s maps, this is truly a day where nothing could go wrong!”
‘If he only knew,’ Lina thought. Nonetheless, she did owe Tingle a favor... “Tingle, I think you need to leave.”
Tingle appeared confused. “I’m not sure I follow! I’m making so so many Rupees!” He took off his hat, revealing a large sack of money resting on top of his head. “Why not make more money?”
Lina grit her teeth. So help her... “Listen to me. I kind of owe you one for helping me out back in Termina. So listen to me: GET OUT NOW.”
The middle-aged manchild stared at Lina, before shrugging. “I suppose so. Better a moderately rich man than a very rich corpse.” Tingle then retrieved some powder out of a small leather bag and shouted his catchphrase. “Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo-Limpah!” He threw the powder in his hand to the ground, seemingly disappearing into the air as colored sparks flew from where he had been.
Despite that man’s usefulness, there was just something off-putting about him to Lina. Maybe his attire reminded her too much of the Kokiri, or maybe he was just crazy with his Rupee obsession.
Lina continued to make her way through the crowds, trying to find Saria and Ruto next. If anyone absolutely had to survive this, it had to be those two. She searched and searched, not finding hide or hair or scale of the two.
She could hear some people in the crowd gossiping about the ladies at the Dance. Some of the men were practically drooling over a red-haired woman from Holodrum. Lina figured that this dancer must be the Oracle of Seasons that needed to be rescued. Other men talked about a woman blanketed in a green hood – Lina could tell that they spoke of Rosa. But she was surprised to see some of the women in the crowd wish her luck at the dance. Apparently there was something intangible about her that made people root for her.
As she thanked another blushing young lady for her support, an all too familiar voice came from behind her. “You look so incredibly sexy right now that I’d love to take you back to Labrynna and ravish you over and over again.”
It was Lina’s turn to blush, though it was not so obvious due to her mask. She turned around to find Veran. “Um... Thanks but no thanks?”
Veran laughed. “As much as I’d love to, people’ve more or less been hinting that there’s other ladies trying to steal your heart.” The sorceress shrugged. “Either way, I’m here to pass on some updates from Ralph.” Lina gestured for her to continue. “Alright, so you have to go participate in the Dance. Ralph and Impa tell me you’ve got weapons?” Lina nodded. “Alright. Hopefully, this should go through without too much bloodshed. Ganondork – sorry, Ganondorf – still thinks I’ve got Nayru locked away. So I’ll sit with Ganondorf during the Dance, and at the end... grab Din and run for Death Mountain.”
Lina could see the flaw in the plan almost immediately, though. “Ganondorf has magic and the Triforce of Power. He could tear you all limb from limb for all I know!”
“Which is why I’ll distract the man. General Onox may be more of a problem, though. You may have to stop him and the Darknuts from going after us.” Lina thought about it for a moment. Onox was the armored man who had marched through the Kokiri Forest last year. She owed him one.
“Sounds doable.” Lina was not looking forward to the Dance, though. It wasn’t like she was afraid, oh no. She wasn’t afraid of the crowds. It was the principle of the matter, the concept that she was going to dance in front as a girl for the entertainment of men.
Lina quietly chastised herself for thinking of herself as a girl. She just did it again! Again! He had a very tenuous grip on his manhood, and this plan was not going to do anything to help it... unless he actually got to fight.
Link fought to protect people, for the greater good. Perhaps now she... he could return to the olden days. But he could not rise against Ganondorf. Not because he didn’t want to smack the man for doing this to him, but because he couldn’t risk changing the timeline.
“Alright,” Veran told Lina. “You better get going. Everyone else is in position.” Lina was about to object, but the sorceress was already walking away.
As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Veran was right. He’d run out of time, and there was no turning back the clock this time. He’d have to find Malon, Ruto, and Saria during the chaos after-
“Excuse me, are you Lina?” He turned around to find an usual sight. A postman stood before her, jogging in place. It took Lina a moment before he finally recognized the man by the bunny hears atop his head. This was the guy that Lina had sold the Bunny Mask to a few years ago when she was strapped for cash. “I have a letter for you. It’s urgent.”
Lina paid him a few Rupees as the man jogged away, towards Kakariko Town. The letter was hastily written and sloppy, as if the writer had no hard surface to record his or her thoughts.
Those friends of yours are safe. I took the Princess and her friend with me back to the Domain.
PS: Still can’t thank you enough for what you pulled back in Termina. Lulu’s named one of the kids after you.
Lina put the letter inside her kimono, a small smile making its way across her face. That made two people who’d named kids after her.
Getting backstage to the Dance was surprisingly easy. The man who sat at the table next to the entrance was very understanding, though he was a little stern about Lina’s tardiness. There were several women back there, dressed to the nines in formal dresses that Lina had never seen before. He could definitely see Rosa, who nodded at him as she seemed to be counting the number of logs in a nearby woodpile. The logs were odd, fitted with weights on one of the ends. He also saw the red-haired woman that Onox had held at the forest, though she was wearing a simple white mask. This woman must have been Din, or as Ralph had once called her, the Oracle of Seasons.
The Oracle was stretching, but more as if she was trying to pass the time than prepare for anything strenuous. Rosa had stopped counting wood and was instead retying the bow on her hood. Several of the other girls seemed to be gossiping, talking about the boys they’d met during the festival. Lina had no time for such talk, wishing Rosa good luck as she walked out onto the stage, several men carrying the logs she’d been counting following her out.
The men assembled the logs in a circle, and then placed sandbags around the wood to ensure they would stay upright. A few moments later, Rosa walked out onto the stage to delight of the audience. Quite a few people were perplexed as to why Rosa’s attire covered ever entire body. In fact, very few people in the audience had even seen a Subrosian before, left alone leave Hyrule.
After a few minutes, a drumbeat started. Rosa jumped one top of one of the poles and twirled around, before jumping to another pole and shuffling her feet. It was an unusual sight for the crowd, who had grown so accustomed to the usual line dances and can-cans. Rosa flipped from one log to the next, somersaulting in the air. It was such a display of acrobatics that the young men in the crowd burst into applause at the end of her daring stunt, though some of the old people seemed to frown upon what they saw as a ‘frivolous’ display.
As Rosa returned to the backstage area, she told Lina, “They liked Din’s performance just as much. The guys liked it, old people didn’t.” The men who had helped bring the logs onstage were now taking them off, clearing the stage for the next performer.
After setting down the last of the logs, a man with an afro and a beard came in. Lina recognized him as one of the carpenters that rebuilt the bridge to the Gerudo’s Hideout. “Alright,” the carpenter said. “Has anyone here not performed?” Almost all of the women shook their heads, though Rosa raised Lina’s hand into the air.
“My friend here hasn’t gone yet.” Rosa whispered to Lina, saying, “Good luck. You’re the last one.”
Within the next few moments, Lina found herself being ushered onstage. After double-checking that her mask was on tightly, her weapons were concealed, and her kimono was not allowing any more of her skin to show than it had too, she walked out on stage, staring out into the audience.
The snake charmer was getting settled as he practiced the fingerings for the melody he would play, giving Lina enough time for him to search the crowd. Thankfully, Mikalu’s letter seemed to be accurate; Lina couldn’t see Ruto or Saria anywhere. Impa and the people from the cabin were all scattered throughout the crowd, ready to strike when the moment was right. What gave Lina pause though, was that in the midst of the crowd, halfway between Ralph and the center of the mob, was Ingo, was carrying a long box he’d purchased earlier in the day.
Lina had to save Ingo, or she would be royally screwed in more ways than one.
She had to put the man into the back of her head for now, making triply sure that her mask was concealing her face. Indeed, in the furthest corner, Lina could see Ganondorf, Onox, and Veran, all watching with a hint of boredom. Again, Lina had to take her mind off of the problems at hand. If the plan was to succeed, she had to play her part.
The snake charmer began to play his instrument as Lina mentally stoked herself. Calmness was the key, each step had to be deliberate, each movement had to be precise and with purpose. She took the first step, and entered into that calm haze that she remembered from her Termina experience.
The young men in the crowd were a little offput at first; after all, they had just seen two performances of lively women bounding around the stage. But there was something graceful about Lina’s movements that the men quietly appreciated. The older men and women were more captivated, however. They were more able to appreciate the subtleties behind the dance.
Lina was not able to see that Malon was captivated by the performance. Some unconscious part of her was moved by the dance, and she could not tear her eyes away. Something about it seemed tantalizingly familiar to her, the mask the dancer wore seemed to beckon Malon to watch, to enjoy, to take it in.
Before either of the girls knew it, the dance was over. Lina took a moment to take a breath before the crowd began to applaud her performance. She made her way offstage quickly, knowing that Ganondorf was likely staring at her. Lina was by no means afraid of the man, but she knew what would happen if he figured out that she still had...
“Lina? Lina!” She was broken out of her reverie by Rosa, who had been shaking her for a few moments now. “You did great! I’ve never seen that kind of dance before!”
Lina shrugged, responding, “I’m sure most people here’ve never seen a dance like yours, either.” Rosa had to admit that the statement was likely true; few of her people had ever entered the ‘world above’. Ralph’s journey into Subrosia had been the first time any other sentient species had been seen in decades.
“Excuse me, may I have your attention please, may I have your attention please?” The audience’s attention was diverted to a stout man with a loud, booming voice. “Based on the amount of clapping that you the audience, we have chosen our top three dancers!”
Backstage, several of the dancers were anxiously awaiting the results. A gaggle of them were already talking about choosing a purple-haired boy in the back. Lina tensed up at their description; Vaati might end up ruining the plan.
“And here’s the first of the top dancers!”
Lina watched Din being ushered onto the stage. The girls backstage seemed fairly unsurprised at her pick, knowing that the men in the audience couldn’t have resisted her.
“And now, the second pick!”
Rosa was being thrown onstage now, and the girls backstage were furious. Quite a few of them thought that what Rosa had been doing wasn’t dancing at all, but rather just jumping on a bunch of wood. Still, the girls seemed fairly confident that they’d be picked as the third...
“Last but not least, the third dancer!”
Out of nowhere, Lina found herself being pushed towards the stage. The girls behind her seemed shocked at the pick, but were mum on their reaction as they were told to go join everyone else. Lina eventually ended up standing next to Rosa as the stout man congratulated the three of them on their dancing prowess.
“It’s finally that time,” he announced to the crowd, “for the dancers to choose their partners for the dance.” The crowd cheered and waved as Din had to go first.
Lina turned to Rosa and asked, “What do we do now?”
“We dance,” Rosa said. “I already told Din to look for Ralph, she’ll be in on the act once the dance starts.”
Din eventually found the person she’d been seeking, as she got down from the stage and grabbed someone else’s hand, however. “Whoa there,” Impa said, “I think you’ve got the wrong person!” The Oracle did not seem to care, however; she stood by her decision. Lina and Rosa looked at Veran, who seemed to be holding back a laugh and winked at the two.
“That witch!” Rosa calmed herself down by reminding herself, “Though the plan can still work, Impa’s in on the plan...” Rosa got off the stage and looked at the audience long and hard. She seemed very hesitant to pick anyone. Finally, she closed her eyes and pointed wildly into the crowd. When she opened her eyes again, she found herself pointing at Farore.
The crowd seemed very bewildered by the dancer’s picks thus far. The girls usually ended up dancing with boys. However, a few of the older people supposed that the girls did not want to invoke the old tale about the dancers and their partners. Regardless, quite a few of the boys did shout for Lina to choose them.
Truly, Lina had no interest in choosing a dance partner, and would’ve chosen not to dance at all if she’d had a choice. She looked and looked, but there was nothing appealing in the slightest about dancing with a boy.
She did see something else that caught her eye. A group of rejected dancers was badgering Vaati, who seemed to have grown a couple of inches and some muscle since the last time Link had seen him.
“Come on, dance with me,” Vaati told a redhead. “I’m not that bad a guy.”
The redhead slapped Vaati in the face, and it was then that Lina saw who Vaati had been courting. “You harass me when I’m a kid,” Malon said, “and then you ask for my hand? Not even if the Goddesses told me to!”
“And what if I was just trying to show my affection for you?” he asked.
“Then you’ve got a twisted way of showing it,” Malon told him. “Not a chance.” Lina reached out and touched Malon on the shoulder. “What is – what?” Malon seemed agitated, but any words she had for Lina died in her throat as she realized that it was one of the dancers who’d called for her attention.
Lina found herself caught off guard by Malon’s appearance. She was wearing a fairly nice dress that was not overly frilly like many of the girls she had seen backstage. But what truly kept Lina’s attention was Malon’s hair, which had been straightened and had a feather resting behind her right ear. The Roc’s Feather that she’d given her last year.
“Hey, if you’re asking,” Vaati grinned, “I’m saying yes.”
“And who says I’m asking you?” Vaati’s ego noticeably shriveled as Lina asked Malon, “May I have this dance?”
Malon seemed to pounce at the opportunity, if only to get as far away from Vaati as humanely possible. As they entered the area where the dancing was to occur, a twelve-man orchestra began to play. The older people clapped and told them to dance while some of the younger men whistled.
“Sorry you wasted your dance on me,” Malon apologized as they began to dance slowly. “You could’ve had your pick of the litter.”
“No regrets here,” Lina replied. “I suppose I kind of wanted to pick you. Everyone else seemed kind of... um... I don’t know how to describe it.”
Lina shrugged her shoulders. “Fake. That works. All of those guys just seemed to want something from me.”
“If it makes you feel any better, Dad says that there’s only one thing that guys want.”
“There is?” Lina seemed genuinely lost on what that could be.
Malon blinked before laughing at her masked partner. “It’s funny. You remind me of someone. A friend of mine, actually.”
“Yeah.” She saw Vaati visibly angered, and drew herself a little closer to Lina to anger him. “She’s my best friend. She helps out on the ranch, and she’s probably the greatest person I’ve ever known. I mean, I love Dad, but he’s a little lazy.”
Malon couldn’t see it, but Lina was blushing. “...Thank you.”
She nearly hit herself in the head when Malon looked at her. “What?”
“Nothing,” Lina covered. “Nothing.” Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Impa and Rosa escorting all three of the Oracles out of the building. She looked the other way and saw Ralph nodding at her before quickly gesturing to Veran, who in turn quietly nodded back at the two.
Lina knew that time was almost up. “Malon, can I tell you something?”
The girl looked confused. “How did you know my name is Malon?” Lina quickly took off her mask for a moment. “Link?! How –”
“Long story. No time to explain.” Lina put the mask away and took out the Gilded Sword and Hylian Shield. “Get your dad and Ingo and get them out of here.”
“What?” But as the music ended, a million things began to happen. Ganondork – sorry, Ganondorf – finally realized that he had been duped, and threw an energy bolt in anger at the stage, setting the curtains on fire. Veran blindsided Onox by focusing an immense amount of magical energy into a ball and flinging it at his head. Ralph took out his Seed Shooter and fired two seeds at the Gerudo King, but missed and set the wood behind him on fire. And while all of this was happening, Lina found a sudden sharp pain in her jaw and her back against the floor. When she looked up, she saw Vaati with his fist extended, his other hand reaching for his rapier.
“Back off my woman, whore.” His voice had deepened considerably since the last time they’d met, and his red eyes looked bloodthirsty.
Naturally, Malon objected. “I belong to no one,” she yelled over the crowd’s panicked shouting and the burning debris.
Ralph ran over to Lina’s side and shouted, “Lina! We need to get out of here now! That Ganondorf guy just summoned these really, really disgusting zombie things! I hate to say it, but we’ve done what we needed to do.”
The Redead had finally arrived, and Lina could hear their unearthly screams as they began sucking the life out of their victims. Lina desperately wanted to save them, her heart was screaming at her to do it. But her head told her that people were going to die no matter what she did. And things were going to go very, very wrong before her ‘past’ self as a man woke up in the Temple of Time.
“Fine.” She punched Vaati as hard as she could in the face before turning around. “Find the Oracles and Impa and get out of here. I’ll take care of Malon.”
“I’ll save who I can on the way,” Ralph reassured them as he ran out of the building.
Not a moment later, Veran appeared behind Lina. “I’ve distracted Ganondorf as long as I can. Let’s move.” She threw Lina and Malon over her shoulders and started running as fast as she could, leaving Vaati in the burning building. “Where are we going?” the Sorceress of Shadows asked Lina.
“There should be a ranch to the south of here,” Lina answered. “Just take us there.” As Veran tried desperately to find a horse or something to make their escape, Lina saw Darknuts attack innocent people without mercy, Fire Keese setting fire to several of the cabins, and screaming Redead wrapped around Hylian citizens.
“This is hopeless,” Veran said after several minutes of searching. “All the horses are gone.” She let Malon and Lina down from her shoulders, commenting, “We’re going to need a miracle to get out of here. I can’t stop those Redead.”
Lina finally got an idea after thinking it out. She put her hand into her kimono and took out her Fairy Ocarina. “Lina,” Malon winced, “this is no time to break out into song!”
‘Never would’ve stopped Tingle,’ Lina joked to herself as she began to play a certain tune that Malon recognized. Just a few moments after finishing the short ditty, a whinny could be heard. The three women turned to find Epona galloping towards them.
“Well, that’s a pretty nicely timed miracle if I ever saw one,” Veran remarked. The three of them piled atop the horse with Lina in the lead as the three rode away from the burning festival as fast as they could.
It was some time later that Ganondorf finally calmed down as he stood on top of Hyrule Castle Town’s solitary gate. He stared out at the scene of destruction below him reflecting on the burning town behind him. The man decided to make the best of the situation and begin asserting his rule over the land. “You’re late,” he told the approaching person.
General Onox groaned as he stared at Hyrule Castle, which was seemingly having additions added to it. “Just reviewing what’s been happening. Can’t believe that Veran stabbed us in the back like that.”
“She told us from the beginning that she was an opportunist,” Ganondorf said. “We should’ve taken her word for it.”
Onox nodded at that. He then changed the subject. “I think that purple kid that hangs around you knows who screwed us over.” Ganondorf seemed intrigued as he added, “Though he’s remarkably mum on the subject.”
Ganondorf tapped his chin. “I suppose a little bit of torture never hurt anyone.”
“Only if I get to help,” Onox added. “I enjoy breaking people so much.”
[End notes: End of Year 3]
Title: Year 4: In the Lion's Den
[Author's notes: Why did this chapter take so long? Simple. I had no idea how to write this. I do know where I need to go from here though, considering how much time is left in-story....]
Two dull wooden swords clashed under the setting summer sun at the Lon Lon Ranch. Lina took a deep breath as she charged at her foe, both her hands grasping the smoothed handle of the blade. She sidestepped a vertical swing and knocked the wood out of her attacker’s hands. “You lose.”
“I can tell.” Malon and Lina both laughed as the two continued to sweat in the scorching heat. “How hard were you gunning for me that time?”
Lina thought for a moment before conceding, “Kinda hard. Not all out though.”
“Yeah, I would’ve fallen flat on my butt in a flash!” The two women laughed once more as Lina helped Malon back on her feet. After the events of the Hylian Milk Festival, Lina had determined that Malon needed to learn how to defend herself, and so the Hero of Time had been teaching the ranch hand after all the chores were done for the day.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Lina replied. “You’re better at this than you give yourself credit for.”
Today had been an especially grueling training session, and Malon had actually almost gotten the better of Link a few hours ago. Both women had changed since the Festival, and not just mentally. Puberty was well underway for the both of them; both had grown in height, hormones were now coursing through the veins of them both, and both had continued to develop curves where there had been none before.
These facts and more played with Lina’s mind as she found herself staring at Malon. Memories of their dance at the Festival had been playing ad nauseum since that fateful day. How good it felt to have Malon wrapped around her as closely as she had been... Lina shook her head in an attempt to bring herself back to reality.
“I’m gonna go freshen up,” Malon said as she wiped some sweat off her brow. “It’s just getting hotter and hotter.”
Lina agreed as she watched her friend walk away, her eyes unconsciously watching Malon’s rear before shaking herself back to reality for the second time in just as many minutes. The hormones had repeatedly played havoc with her brain. Even when she had been a grown adult as a boy, she had never had the time or the focus to figure out why she felt... unusual around Zelda and Malon. She still didn’t understand just why she felt both at peace and uneasy around Malon.
She sighed as she put away the training weapons in a safe spot. It had taken her a bit of thought before she decided to go through with teaching Malon for fear of distorting the future her male self would wake up in. Lina had learnt from experience that some parts of the future could be altered, like planting a Magic Bean in soft soils.
But she feared that changing the timeline too much would have horrible consequences. If the future that her male counterpart would wake up to was conceptually immutable, then were all her actions merely means to that end? The people who had fled to Kakariko Village, Hyrule Castle Town facing Ganondorf’s wrath; were these events her doing?
What Lina feared was a duplication of what she had caused or stumbled upon when she was trying to find the Lens of Truth. She had been reminded of that episode the previous week during a rainstorm. To find the instrument, she had to learn the Song of Storms and play the melody as a child to drain the Kakariko Well. She had learnt the song from a man who worked at the windmill, Guru-Guru.
But the fact that Guru-Guru claimed that he had learnt the song from Lina presented a paradox. How, after all, could he have learnt the song from Lina if she had learnt the song from him? It was a minor paradox, but the thought of creating another one, a larger one, combined with the warning from Zelda that it was best to lie low, made her hesitate to do anything major from now on.
Lina took a deep breath of the fresh ranch air. She was thinking too hard. Things had never been this complex back in the day. Or was it in the future day?
Later on, both women had showered and were lying in their beds, trying to go to sleep. But Lina could not rest. There was a feeling on the edge of her soul, as if she was at the edge of some great event. It was a feeling she had come to know all too well during her adventures. It was a feeling that had never led her astray.
Outside, she could hear the sound of hooves against the dry ground. Lina knew that Malon had already put the horses back in their stalls for the night. She got up out of her bed and decided to look out the window. What she saw was startling.
There, riding on horseback, were several Gerudo warriors. Several younger women were also riding, all of them chained to the horses. The Gerudo were as scantily clad as Lina remembered, but she felt her cheeks heat up for some reason as she stared at them. Her daze was broken by the sight of Talon, who was rushing outside to meet them. Lina cracked open the window to listen to their conversation as she began to gather her belongings.
“– very late, can’t you all come in the morning?”
“I think not,” the Gerudo leader told him. “We are looking for an additional horse. We were thinking you would give us one.”
“First off,” Talon said, “we’re closed until the morning. And furthermore, we don’t just ‘give’ horses away.”
Two of the Gerudo women drew their scimitars and pointed the blades at the stout mustachioed man. “I don’t believe we’ll take too long,” the leader told them. “Ladies, look at the horses. I’ll haggle with the fat man.”
Malon began to wake up as Lina finished putting her kimono on. “Lemme see here... no Golden Gauntlets... hm... no Hover Boots either.”
“Lina?” The Heroine of Time turned to watch Malon climb out of her bed. “What’s going on?”
“The Gerudo are robbing the ranch.” Malon’s eyes widened as Lina continued, “Stay hidden, don’t talk too loudly.”
“Can you stop them?”
Lina grimaced as she recalled, “Even when I was at my best, I could only take on one of ‘em at a time.” She wracked her brains as she tried to find a way out of the situation.
“Hey boss! This horse looks pretty healthy!” It took three Gerudo women to remove the steed, but Malon and Lina found themselves stunned to find they had chosen Epona. “A feisty one, though.”
“We’ll break her in eventually,” the boss claimed.
Lina went back to look through her things, trying to find a simpler way out of the situation when she heard the door outside open and close. “Let her go!” Malon had run outside and was shouting at the Gerudo, seemingly unafraid of them. “Let her go!”
On an unspoken command, Epona seemed to rear up and resist the Gerudo’s attempts to subdue her once more. As the Gerudo warriors tried to calm the horse down, their leader staring at Malon for a moment. “Hello, there.”
Malon stared at the leader and commanded, “Put Epona back. She doesn’t trust you.”
The leader continued to stare at Malon, realizing she had red hair before finally coming back to her senses. “By the goddesses.” She silently gestured at Malon to her lackeys, who stared at their fearless leader for a moment before throwing Malon onto one of their horses.
“Hey! What do you think I am, some kind of princess?!” Malon was furious as the women began to tie her to the horse. “My dad’s not a king! We can’t pay a big ransom or anything!”
“We know,” the Gerudo leader stated. “You’ll just be coming with us for a while.”
“Please,” Talon pleaded, “don’t take my only daughter.”
“Don’t even talk,” the leader commanded him. “Are you hiding any others here?”
“Other what?” Talon appeared confused. “I don’t understand!”
“Not my problem.” She gestured at two of her men to take Malon away, and their horses began to trot away. “Consider this your payment to Ganondork – I mean Ganondorf! Goddesses damn, even I can’t say the name right!”
“Stop!” Talon and the Gerudo leader turned to see Lina running outside; the two other Gerudo and Malon were too far away to hear her cry. “Don’t take her away from here!”
“You’re a little late on that front,” the leader growled. “You’re of no concern to me, girl, unless you’d like to be my slave.”
“Talon,” Lina said, “leave this to me.”
Talon seemed visibly distraught at the combined events of the previous few minutes. “But –”
“I’ll be fine.” Talon took a deep breath and shakily walked back inside. “Now then,” Lina told the leader as she pulled out a piece of paper, “look at this.”
The leader snatched the paper from her hand before reading it in disbelief. “Impossible. This...”
“It’s a Gerudo Membership Card,” Lina finished. It had taken her a long time to find the thing; she’d forgotten all about it after rescuing Nabooru and killing Kotake and Koume. “As a member of the Gerudo tribe, I’m asking you to let Malon go.”
There was an awkward pause before the leader spoke. “I’m afraid I cannot do that.”
“There’s a good reason for it,” the leader claimed. “If you want to know why, you can come to the valley.”
Lina watched the Gerudo ride away, and then went inside with the Cuccos. “Talon?”
Talon got up off the floor, looking devastated. “Lina... they took my pride... my joy...”
“I’m going to get her back,” Lina promised. She went to the stables, slumping against to the wall until she was sitting on the floor. Things were beginning to roughly resemble the ‘hell-in-a-handbasket’ that she had awakened to after pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal. Hyrule Castle Town was now inhabited by shambling Redead. Construction at Kakariko Village was now accelerating to accommodate survivors of the Castle Town, and those who could not stay rode towards Lake Hylia.
Even in her own life, things were changing. Romani, Cremia, Anju, and Shandra had all joined the survivors of Hyrule Castle Town who had fled south; they reasoned that with the difference in how time passed, there was nothing left for them back in Termina.
And now Malon had gone missing. In the back on Lina’s mind, she tried to figure out if this was supposed to happen. Regardless, it had happened, and Lina now had to ride out once more, saving the damsel in distress and righting wrongs.
Silently, Lina tried to remember what happened to the hero after he saved the damsel. She’d never gotten to hear the ending to that story.
The following morning, Lina went into the stables and brought out Epona. She’d already gotten all her things, and had already put on the kimono when Talon and Ingo both went outside to meet her.
“This is madness,” Ingo remarked. “You’re letting her leave?!”
“She says she can get Malon back,” Talon gravely stated. “And there’s something about her that makes me believe she can do it.” He kept quiet about the finer points of the previous night, including Lina’s Membership Card.
“But then you’re just leaving me with all the hard work,” Ingo shouted. “You’ll just go to sleep like you always do!”
Talon ignored the ranch hand as he begged, “Please, please bring Malon back.”
“Of course,” Lina said. And with that, Lina and Epona began to gallop forth from the ranch. She could not but help enjoying the feeling of the wind running through her hair as she rode past the Peahats and Poes, noticing that the fields had not changed much since the last time she had rode through shortly before her misadventure in Termina.
She remembered crossing the fields many times as a child, to find the three Spiritual Stones, fighting monsters when caught in the darkness. When she was an adult, she rode across the land in search of the Sages.
Now she was riding into the belly of the beast once more, to the Gerudo Valley.
Gentlemen, begin riffing on the Spanish guitar.
As much as Lina could remember, the Gerudo Valley had not changed much from her stealthy escapades in however long one decided to measure the time between now and her once and future escape. The bridge was still standing however, meaning that it had yet to be destroyed.
The women who called the place home still guarded it with their lives, though Lina could easily see that they were more relaxed than they had been (and one day, would be). She knew that the Gerudo mostly followed Ganondork – sorry, Ganondorf (you’d think people would get that by now) out of fear and obligation of his being the only male member of the Gerudo tribe. Regardless, she knew she had to tread lightly. She did not want a repeat of her last trip here.
As she rode into the hideout, she was greeted by three Gerudo, their spears pointed at Epona. Upon revealing her Membership Card however, the women apologized and directed her to a nearby stable. “We will take care of the horse,” the men at the stables promised. Apparently, the women who normally tended the horses were busy training today. Lina remembered that the Gerudo often took Hylian men from their homes as husbands; could they be doing the same with Malon? The concept seemed alien yet frighteningly possible to her.
She walked through the stronghold with surprising ease, remembering the layout of the hideout far too well. However, as she came across the training grounds, groups of Gerudo were standing in a circle, shouting and hollering. From the sounds of swords crashing together, Lina could only assume they were watching some of their own fight. As Lina made her way into the circle, she could confirm that two women were fighting.
The two women appeared to be practicing their swordsmanship, and their fight appeared to be ending. One of the redheaded women was knocked to the dirt courtesy a strong kick to the stomach. The winner had her swords at the other woman’s throat for a brief moment before helping her vanquished sparring partner off the ground. “You’re better than I expected. I thought you’d have your work cut out for you.”
The second woman nodded meekly as she replied, “Thanks.”
Lina couldn’t believe that the second woman was actually Malon, dressed in Gerudo attire. Her eyes tended to linger a little too long before snapping back to her senses and being snapped back out of them by seeing Malon in Gerudo clothes.
Lina had been allowed to rest in the training quarters for the night, though she had no time to sleep. She needed to figure out why Malon was among the Gerudo. Sneaking out of her room was shockingly easy thanks to her experience in sneaking around Gerudo strongholds. Even with a Membership Card, Lina was fairly sure that the Gerudo would not take kindly to her ‘kidnapping’ Malon.
She managed to get out into the cold night air as the winds blew in her face, chilling her to the bone. ‘Must be a nightmare trying to sleep through this wind.’ Lina looked up at the top of one of the buildings, recognizing the building that she had once been imprisoned in. Old instincts kicked in as she took out the Longshot and aimed it at part of a wooden board that hung out over one of the windows.
She felt herself being pulled into the air, quietly enough to avoid attracting attention. Lina could not believe that the same method she had used last time she was here to escape was still a good idea now.
As Lina finally reeled to the end of the Longshot, she reached out her arms and grabbed onto the window itself, climbing into the cell.
Much to Lina’s surprise, Malon was sleeping in the very cell that Lina would one day be thrown into as the Hero of Time. Apparently, Malon had not been sleeping soundly, because she immediately sat up. “L-Lina?”
Malon rubbed her eyes, not quite believing what she was seeing. “How’d you get here?”
“I’ve been here before,” Lina reminded her. “I had to break out some carpenters one time.” She held out her hand as she told Malon, “Now come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
Malon stared at Lina before shaking her head. “I’m not going back, Lina.”
That was a great shock to Lina, and a great cause of concern. “Why?”
“Because this is where I belong.”
Her comment made no sense to Lina, who promptly said so. “Malon, that doesn’t make any sense.”
“Didn’t you ever wonder,” Malon asked, “why I had red hair? Why almost no one else in Hyrule Castle Town or Kakariko Village did?”
Lina shrugged. “I didn’t think anything of it. You were always just Malon to me.”
That caused Malon to blush slightly. “It’s because my mom was Gerudo.” Lina’s eyes bulged as she continued, “They said they’d been looking for my mother ever since she got separated from them after a raid. Kept saying that Dad was a thief.”
The differing set of facts that now ran through Lina’s mind were butting heads against each other. Malon had told her that Talon had a more sinister side to him; but Lina’s experience with Talon in the past, future, and present told her that he was a lazy, possibly narcoleptic rancher who enjoyed sleeping with Cuccos (and not in that way, you sick freaks).
“Talon’s a good man, Malon. He’s not that kind of person.”
“This is where I belong.” Malon looked out the window as she continued, “I’m supposed to be here.”
Lina had had enough. “No, you’re not. Have you forgotten what I’ve had to go through to get here? I told you the first time we talked after Talon let me stay with you. I meet you at Lon Lon Ranch as the real me, the adult me, and you’ve been there the whole time. You don’t stay here, you have to go home.”
“Well, maybe here is home,” Malon remarked.
“It’s not,” Lina argued. “If you don’t go back, I’ll never be able to kick out Ingo, I’ll never get back Epona, I’ll never be able to jump the bridge when it goes out, and I’ll never beat Ganondork... dork! My saving the world all depends on you being at Lon Lon Ranch, happy.” Malon could not look at Lina, who continued, “The one thing that kept me going in the early days was that you were there with me. I don’t know what I’ll do if you go away now.”
Malon finally regained eye contact. “What about you? Where are you supposed to be when the ‘real’ you comes to free the ranch?”
“Can’t tell you,” Lina told her. In truth, Lina didn’t know. But Malon couldn’t know that, not now. “Please, come home. We can talk to Talon and get his side of the story.” Malon remained silent. “This sounds impossible, but the world needs you, Malon. I need you. Come home.”
Of course Malon didn’t want to believe her, even though she knew that Lina wouldn’t lie to her. It was her turn to try and reconcile her conflicting views. Her heritage or her best friend?
It seemed that the latter had won after a few moments thought. “Fine. But Dad better have a good explanation for this.”
Lina smiled as she took Malon by the hand and aimed her Longshot. “Knowing Talon, I’m sure it involves a lot of sleep.”
While being lifted into the air by a metal hook was nothing new to Lina, it was an unforgettable experience for Malon. She had to suppress the urge to yell with surprise as they were removed from the cell and fell to the ground below.
Lina remained hunched for a moment as she recovered the feeling in her legs; she had rolled to avoid hurting herself in the past... or the relative time. ‘And I thought time travel was confusing before,’ she thought to herself. ‘Even in Termina, I could figure it out after a couple do-overs. This is just crazy.’
The old maneuvers continued to work perfectly for Lina, who managed to avoid the Gerudo guardswomen by hiding behind wooden crates. A more astute man would ask why there were so many crates, but Lina did not concern herself with the abundance of crates conveniently placed in just the right way so she could get to the stables unseen.
As the two crossed the bridge on Epona, the horse came to a stop. Lina got off for a moment before rummaging through her equipment, looking for a certain item. Malon looked at Lina, confused. She was even more confused when Lina pulled out her Bombs.
Lina walked onto the bridge and looked at the explosives for a moment. Was she messing up what was supposed to occur here by blowing the bridge? Or was she supposed to do it here and now? The latter possibility scared her just as much as the former, but she lit the bombs regardless and ran like the dickens back towards the steed.
As the two women rode off into the night, a large explosion echoed throughout the valley, with broken planks of wood flying into the air and dropping into the river. The bridge serving as the gateway into the Gerudo Valley had been destroyed. Only those with the fastest of horses could now enter.
In Hyrule Castle, which was now being redecorated into something darker, edgier, and just flat creepy, an argument that had been brewing for some time was just beginning to explode. “You spend too much time with that kid,” Onox told the King of Evil. “So what if he’s gotten a little stronger? Big deal.”
“It’s of interest to me,” Ganondork- DORF- replied. “His powers are growing at quite the speed. Perhaps my new power has something to do with it.” He looked at his hand, focusing on the mark of the Triforce that had appeared after entering the Sacred Realm.
“The boy was a novel distraction at first,” Onox continued, “But you could do so much more with your time. Stretch forth your hand! Strike down the people of Kakariko! Burn the forest! Freeze the Zora in their waters! Smite the Gorons!”
“Enough,” Ganondorf commanded. “I’ll admit those are creative ideas. But I’m biding my time.”
“For what,” Onox scoffed. “You’ve all the power you need!”
“But not the timing,” the King explained. “My mentors warned me of a little boy in green clothes who would be my destruction. But they also told me that they could give me an ace up my sleeve. I’m waiting for that ace.”
“I grow impatient,” Onox complained. “If you do not act soon, then I will return to Holodrum. That Subrosian snot and that witch have already retrieved both the Rod and the Oracle of Seasons, so my time is short.”
“Then go,” Ganondorf dismissed. “And take your Darknuts with you.”
As the sun rose once more on the Lon Lon Ranch, Talon bear-hugged Lina. “Oh, I didn’t think it was possible, and yet here you are!” He released the Heroine, looking at his daughter. “I owe you an explanation.”
Malon looked at her father, a bit angered but interested. “Go on.”
Talon played with his mustache a bit before conceding, “You may have already suspected this, but your mother... was Gerudo.”
“I know,” Malon claimed. “My hair color should’ve told me... They said that you were a thief, that you stole me.”
“Stole?” Talon looked incredulous. “I’ve never been in very good shape, Malon. How could I have outwitted the Gerudo?” Malon couldn’t come up with an answer. “No, I found your mother lying in a river. Perhaps she had gotten separated from her kin, but that’s neither here nor there. I brought her back here and nursed her back to health.”
Lina saw that the two fell silent. “So... what happened to the mother?”
Malon looked at Lina with scorn, but Talon calmed her down. “She didn’t know, it’s fine to ask.” Talon took another deep breath before telling Lina, “She died in childbirth. A very bittersweet day. I lost a wife, only to gain a daughter.”
The mood was solemn, and Lina left Malon and Talon to patch things up. For now at least, things were back to normal.
[End notes: End of Year 4]
Title: Year 5: The World Ablaze
[Author's notes: 5/23/2010: This chapter has under gone some slight edits for continuity's sake.]
Things had finally returned to something akin to normalcy on the Lon Lon Ranch. Ingo, Malon, and Lina all pitched in to care for the animals, while Talon slept amongst the chickens.
Malon took a breather as she wiped off the sweat on her brow. The ranch had both changed and stayed the same the past few years. The animals grew, but the ranch itself still stood.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Lina tending to Epona. The two women had now probably fully matured by this point; to the average man their bodies were now like those of any other women. But to Malon, something about Lina was striking.
Malon could remember vividly meeting Link in Hyrule Castle Town when he was still a he. She remembered distinctly asking Link to try and figure out why his delivery was taking so long. At the time, she thought the ‘fairy boy’ would probably grow up to be a muscular swordsman, perhaps a member of the King’s Guard.
But that had gotten swept aside when she met Lina. Those moments also stuck in her mind, mainly for how many shocking developments there had been. The Triforce, monsters, Link’s future exploits... and the strange tale of how the ‘fairy boy’ had become just an ordinary girl.
But ordinary had never been an apt description of Lina, at least not to Malon. Something had changed about Malon’s feelings about Lina or Link or whatever s/he was. It was a difficult concept for her to grasp; she felt both at ease and nervous.
The nervousness was something she had just begun to notice, something that had only come up after her rescue from the Gerudo Valley. Or perhaps she was fooling herself and it was older than she thought, originating from Talon’s off-handed comment about marriage back when Lina was starting out on the ranch. Or maybe even before that, when the two had met as fairy boy and girl.
Back then, she had daydreamed about riding off into the sunset with some knight clad in shining armor, just like the stories her father had told her when she was in bed. But it seemed that life had seemed to kill that dream, and her only chance at having anything remotely like that had already been a hero and transformed into something opposite the paragon of masculinity she had dreamed of.
But the simple charm Link had once possessed was still something Lina emanated. Lina was still Link, though the years he had spent as a she had obviously taken a toll on her mind. A thought briefly crossed Malon’s mind, a daydream that she had continuously over the past few years. She was riding Epona, enjoying the feeling of the wind through her hair. And right behind her was a fully grown Link, still wearing the green tunic that she remembered him wearing. But her imagination took a turn for the strange as the sun seemingly got in her eyes. When she could see again, Link was gone. In his place rode Lina, who was wearing subtle makeup and her kimono. “What’s wrong?” Malon blinked again and saw Lina’s arms wrapped around her. “Are we going too fast?”
Malon blinked once more, and found herself returned to the ranch. Her imagination had played tricks with her once more. But she noticed that this time, she was not altogether put off by what had happened.
In the land of Holodrum, thunder and lightning rent the sky asunder as Rosa and Maple stared at a dragon’s corpse. “So falls General Onox's minions,” Rosa sighed, “enemies of the people and thieves of prosperity.”
The general had left behind a vast number of his army to continue his campaign of evil over Holodrum. However, the combined tag-team of Rosa and Maple proved too much for the General of Darkness’s army. Rosa retrieved her sword from the jewel between Onox’s eyes and shook it for a moment. “You think the seasons will finally fall back in line?” Maple asked.
Rosa stared at the sky, which still boomed with the sound of thunder. “Maybe. Din’s safe, but the Temple of Seasons is still gone.” She took out the Rod of Seasons and stared at it. “Only time will tell.” She walked next to Rosa and said, “Your new broom working out for you?”
“Sort of,” Maple sheepishly grinned. A snap of her fingers summoned a vacuum cleaner, which both women took a seat on. “I’m working on something a bit less... anachronistic.” They both chuckled nervously as the vacuum turned on and flew into the air, leaving the remains of Onox’s army behind. “Ralph says that things in Labrynna are settling back to normal.”
“Still hasn’t told Nayru?”
“Nope.” Maple shook her head. “I swear, he needs to say something. Nayru may be the Oracle of Ages, but she’s not all-knowing.”
Rosa nodded her head in agreement. “Any word from Veran?”
Maple shook her head once more. “For all I know, she’s living her life hundreds of years in the past as Ambi’s consort. Ralph’s not exactly happy about what Veran... is, but he’s calmed down a bit.”
“From Sorceress of Shadows to one of his ancestors,” Rosa said. “Talk about a Bombchu...” The cleaner slowed down and landed in the woods north of Horon Village. “I can make it back home from here,” she told the witch. Maple shrugged as she lifted off once more, this time in the direction Rosa perceived Labrynna as being. Once she was certain that no living soul was around to watch her, she walked into the woods at a lively pace.
It was not long before Rosa came across a rock that was roughly her size. She smiled as she rubbed the Power Bracelets that she had found during her own adventures. With a strained groan, Rosa managed to lift the rock over her head. Underneath where the rock had stood was a swirling blue vortex, a portal. Rosa slowly made her way into the portal, trying not to hurt herself as she did so. After a few seconds, she finally made it, and closed her eyes in anticipation. As she began to disappear from the land of Holodrum, the rock she had been carrying acted upon the laws of gravity and covered the portal as it had before.
When Rosa opened her eyes once more, she felt a wave of heat wash over her, followed by one of nostalgia. All around her were stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls of lava, and the sound of flutes and horns. She had finally returned home, for this was Subrosia, a land hidden deep beneath the surface of Holodrum.
Despite being familiar with her home, she noticed at least one thing had changed: the stairwell linking the portal she had entered from and the Dance Hall was being renovated by some of her peers. Rosa smiled under her hood as she took out a blue, feathery cape and tied it around her neck. She then reached into one of her bags, pulled out a small seed that was shaped like a wing, and began to chew it.
Almost instantly, a rush of adrenaline came over her legs. Rosa began to run, running straight towards the construction workers. The workers paused, not entirely sure what Rosa was doing as she jumped into the air. These same workers then stared in amazement as Rosa seemed to glide past them, her cape flapping in the heated air.
It was some time before the effects of the Pegasus Seed expired, and Rosa finally landed on the ground, thankful for the Roc’s Cape. She took in a deep breath as she entered the nearby Dance Hall. There was already a dance session going on, but two of the dancers were not natives. One she recognized as Din, a talented dancer and the Oracle of Seasons. The other was more of a surprise: Farore, the Oracle of Secrets and Mysteries.
The dance came to a screeching halt as everyone looked at the newcomer and realized who it was. The dance leader managed to approach Rosa first, asking, “Rosa! Have you finally come home for good?”
Rosa nodded her head. “For now, at least.” There was much rejoicing in the hall; Rosa seemed to be a celebrity in Subrosia. The Subrosians welcomed her back, shook her hand, a few were daring enough to hug her. Din and Farore made their way through the crowd, following Rosa out and down another flight of stairs, down to the nearby town. “It’s done. Onox is dead.”
A look of relief came over both Farore and Din, and there was much cheering “Finally,” the Oracle of Seasons breathed. “No offense Rosa, but I think we’d both prefer baths that filled with boiling hot lava.”
“It was interesting though,” conceded Farore. “Kind of relaxing.”
Din shrugged as she began to walk out the door. “Well, I don’t know about you all, but I’m going back up. There’s a certain Sheikah I’ve been dying to see again.”
As the crowd began to disperse, Farore began to leave as well, but was stopped outside by Rosa. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” the Subrosian said. “About the whole hood thing.”
“Oh? I remember you saying only the wearer could remove it.” Farore playfully tried to flip the hood back, and was surprised when she succeeded. Underneath the hood was a woman with dark red hair and large eyes with yellow pupils. “Couldn’t do that before.”
Rosa sighed in relief as she played with her hair. “No, you never tried before. The only other person who can take off the hood...” She stopped, hesitant to say anything. “Is the person we’re destined to spend eternity with.”
Farore bit her lower lip. “What?” Her voice was a bit higher pitched, but not screechingly so.
“It’s magic, Farore.” Rosa was blushing now. “It’s destiny. You can’t change what’s supposed to be, no matter how badly either of us wants to.”
“Believe me, if you’d have told me this would happen a year ago, I’d have laughed. But with all the things that happened since that festival, with all the adventure and the sleeping in trees, you get a lot of time to think.” Rosa looked at the dirt on her robes, not daring to meet Farore’s eyes. “I’m sorry.”
As she continued to stare, Rosa heard the sound of quick footsteps, running away. When she looked up, she watched Farore run away. And it was then Rosa knew a pain that no sword could replicate and no bandage could cover.
Saria stared out across the Sacred Forest Meadow, a sense of melancholy pervading her mind. She had come to understand why the Kokiri claimed that death awaited them outside the confines of the Forest.
The considerable amount of time she had spent beyond the Forest had done what she had once thought impossible: it had aged her, made her older. She had noticed changes to her body after the Milk Festival. Ruto had told her the truth about what was happening, but time seemed to play strange tricks on her body. When she had returned to the forest, her body reverted back to that which she had been accustomed to as long as she could remember. But upon leaving, it grew and shifted into a budding woman.
Knowledge of aging, knowing the effects time could bring besides the changing of the leaves on the trees, it had changed her. Link and how different he had been had sparked her interest, and her time away from home had turned that spark into a fire that was consuming her mind and spirit.
And all the while, the words of her people rang through her head. To never leave, that they would die out there. While he was still alive, the Great Deku Tree had told them this. She had to wonder if the Tree had been trying to shield them, to have a community of people who could survive beyond the constraints of age.
She sighed. Why did this all have to be so complicated?
Rauru rose from his state of meditation as he watched events unfold from the relative safety in the Chamber of the Sages. Things were both as they should be and not as they would become... he knew something had changed. Time travel tended to muddy things up in the literature he’d read, but had Link’s endeavors clouded things already?
He double-checked once more. Link indeed would ultimately succeed at least getting to the King of Evil’s castle... but immediately afterward things became hazy. He checked the intermediate period, the span of time that was seeing the most fluctuation.
What he saw shocked him to no end.
He was there, outside the Chamber and in Hyrule proper. And he was there, in another world altogether, but that was impossible! He had been here the whole time, keeping the forces of darkness at bay! Clearly this needed investigation.
A sudden surge of magical power forced the visions of the past and future to disperse. “I suppose the third time is the charm,” an all too familiar voice claimed.
Rauru gasped in surprise. “How – but you’re me!”
“I was at one point,” the second Rauru spoke. “Just as someday you will be me.”
The present Rauru raised his hand, ready to cast a spell. “In the name of Nayru – And how do I know you speak the truth? That you aren’t some illusion cast by Ganondork?”
“Ganondorf,” the future Rauru corrected. “Search yourself. You know that what I say is the truth.”
There was some time before the present Rauru piped up again. “So I’ve been traveling through time as well then?”
“Correct. I am merely making sure that our ultimate goal remains our inevitable future.”
“Inevitable?” the present Rauru asked. “So Link will succeed, then?”
The future Rauru chose his next words carefully. “The changes time travel has caused have put strains of the flow of time. I have been requested by the other Sages and Nayru herself to ensure these changes do not alter the future that you will experience.”
“But you never answered my question. Will Link defeat Ganondorf?”
“It remains as distinct a possibility as Ganondorf’s ultimate victory.” The future Rauru had no choice but to lie at this point, he knew he could not tell himself anything more than he already had. “As long as you continue down the path we are going, Link has a fighting chance.”
That answer seemed to satisfy the present Rauru, if only for now. “I’m sure I did not come back in time just to encourage myself. So why did I come back?”
“I must ask you a favor,” the future Rauru told. “I must request that you stop trying to make sure everything will be alright, that you stop trying to see what is happening in Hyrule.”
The present Rauru looked shocked at this new development. “That’s all I have to entertain myself in here! What else am I supposed to do?”
The future Rauru stared at Link and chuckled. “Have you considered ear piercings?”
Vaati wrung his hands together as he paced the halls of Ganon’s Castle impatiently. He had become some sort of plaything for his new King, as well as a sort of apprentice. When things had all begun, he had been a young boy. Now he was approaching manhood a powerful mage. He had power, infamy... but he did not have what he desired most.
He smiled as thoughts of Malon came to his mind. The last time he had seen her, she had grown into a fine woman. His thoughts turned dirty for a moment before he was snapped out of it by a familiar set of footsteps. “My King!” Vaati turned and kneeled in greeting the King of Evil, Ganondorf.
“You may rise,” Ganondorf commanded. As his disciple did so, he continued, “I have been pondering, Vaati. And pondering well.”
“You have,” Vaati said as much as a question as he did a comment. “What about?”
“I have been thinking on certain things,” he continued. “I have grown powerful. All who have come against me have fallen. But there are still those who do not fear my name. Those who dare to rebel against my rule.” Vaati remained silent as his king mused, “The time is approaching to make a show of force. To prove why the name of Ganondork is one to be feared.”
“I thought your name was Ganondorf.”
“Oh.” Ganondorf shook his head. “Sorry. Lost my train of thought for a moment. But the time to assert my rule over the races of this world is coming.”
“I understand, my liege.”
“The Zora shall drown beneath the waves...”
“They have gills, sir.”
“Damn. You know what I mean. But first I have to look the part.”
Vaati stared at his master, confused. “You already look like an evil mastermind, sir.”
“But something’s missing...” Ganondorf pointed at his horse, which was nothing more than an animated skeleton. With a wave of his hand, the skeleton dissolved into nothingness. “I need a new horse.”
Vaati’s face brightened a little. “I think I know where to go.”
End of Year 5
Title: Year 6 & 7: The King's Triumph
[Author's notes: This spent a long time in beta. Not much else I can say.
5/23/2010: Not long enough it seems. This chapter created a hole in continuity. The previous chapter has been edited to close this hole.]
Lina woke up with a crick in her neck and a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. She thought it was hunger at first, but she could hear an argument, just on the edge of her hearing.
She slowly crawled out of bed, trying to figure out what was going on. As she approached the window, she could make out what was being argued. She could barely see the figures of the two people arguing, the rain was pouring too hard.
“...saying that you cannot simply take the horse! She’s not for sale, she’s too young!” Talon’s voice was hoarse, probably from the stress he had been putting on his throat (the most stress he had likely endured in some time).
“And I’m saying that the King demands the horse right now.” The other voice sounded familiar, but Lina could not see who was speaking. “Now, I am authorized to take the horse, by whatever means necessary.”
“Are you threatening me?” Talon’s voice was as loud as his hoarse voice could muster. Lightning lit up the ranch for a fleeting moment, and Lina clearly saw that Talon’s brow was furrowed.
Another bolt of lightning soared through the air, and Lina could finally make out the features of the second man. He was at least a head taller than Talon, with faded purple hair and purple garb...
It couldn’t be that small a world, could it?
“Maybe I am,” the man in purple told him. “That horse is property of the King!”
“Then the King’ll have to buy it,” Talon replied. “I may not be a great businessman, but I know that horse is worth money and that the ranch would go under if I just gave away horses!”
“Lina?” Lina turned around to see Malon, groggily rubbing her eyes. “What’s going on?”
Lina was as sure as the rain what was about to happen, she knew she was beginning to live on borrowed time. She’d been hoping that she’d have at least another year though.
“I’m going to have to leave soon, Malon.” Malon seemed to shake herself awake at the news. “I said I couldn’t stay the whole time.”
“But you can’t leave now! Not like this!”
Lina looked at Malon, a sad look in her eye. “It has to be like this. Send Saria and Ruto a letter saying that I’m sorry I couldn’t make it.”
“But you told me everything was going to be okay!”
“It will be eventually.” Lina leaned against a nearby wall and slid to the floor. “You have to trust me. Everything will be okay eventually.”
Malon stared at Lina, flabbergasted. “But you said-”
“I told you that I’d save the world in seven years. That was true. I’d be saving a world where Talon is no longer running the Ranch.”
There was a lull in the conversation, as Malon sat on one of the beds with her head in her hands. “You told me everything was going to be okay...”
Lina stared at Malon, trying to stay calm. “It’s going to be. I promise.” Malon continued to hold her head in her hands. “Malon, please, look at me.”
Malon did as she was asked, but what Lina saw broke her heart. There were tears freely streaming down her face, and she was sniffling. “W-Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I knew you’d try to stop me,” stated Lina. “I know how you feel about the animals and the ranch.”
“It’s not fair,” Malon complained. She was getting angry now. “You knew this was going to happen, and you didn’t do anything about it!”
“It’s not that I didn’t, it’s that I couldn’t!”
The door to their room opened suddenly, and Talon poked his head inside. He was soaked to the bone, and the rain was flowing off his astounding facial hair. “What are you two doing awake?”
Malon and Lina looked at each other for a moment before Malon lied, “I had... had a bad dream.” She would have given anything, at that moment, to be telling the truth.
Talon nodded his head and tried to smile, but Lina could tell that it was a hollow one. She knew time was finally running out for the both of them.
The next day, Lina stayed in her room. She was checking and double-checking to make sure she wouldn’t be leaving anything behind. The Golden Gauntlets, the Longshot, the Fairy Bow... everything had to go. She couldn’t break the chain of events that had led to her... no, his... inevitable victory.
There was a silver lining in all of this. Once Ganondorf was defeated, she could be honest again, find a cure for her condition. The curse that had been placed upon her was a powerful one, but Zelda or Rauru or someone had to know something...
It hit Lina just then. The Triforce.
The Triforce could grant any wish with the power of the goddesses. Ganondorf had used it to become the King of Evil, it couldn’t be a stretch to ask it to remove the curse. Of course! Why hadn’t she thought of that sooner! Once Ganondorf was defeated...
The answer to that question seemed obvious now – so many things had distracted her. The shock of being cursed, her trip to Termina, fighting against Veran and Onox...
Lina’s heart sank. Onox. General Onox was still alive. Onox had brought with him a force of Darknuts, creatures that he had never fought while on his quest. The status quo had not been maintained. Oh sure, the Darknuts and the Iron Knuckles were similar, but the simple truth was that she still hadn’t faced a single Darknut during his quest.
The General had to be defeated, or everything would be for naught. Oh sure, perhaps Link would still have succeeded, but it would have definitely been a different journey.
Outside, she could see Talon staring at Ingo in shock. No doubt Ingo had been offered the ranch by Vaati or Ganondorf after Talon’s refusal the previous night; he had a wide smile on his face.
Lina made one last check, and found that she had nearly forgotten those boxes the Keaton had given her at the Milk Festival those years ago. It only took a few seconds to pack those away. It was during that last check that she realized she had a few clothes too many.
Lina... Link placed the kimono on Malon’s bed with a small note of apology. She... no he... had to succeed. He would succeed.
As Link slowly made her way towards the castle walls, he couldn’t help but dwell on Malon’s teary face. Ingo would be taking over the ranch any day now. Talon would be kicked out. Malon would stay to make sure Ingo didn’t mistreat the animals. All would be as it was when he found it.
He was at the castle moat now, and the sun was beginning to set. The drawbridge was already rising, and he wouldn’t be able to jump onto it. This was practically going to be a suicide mission; he was wearing clothes from the ranch, not any of her tunics or the kimono.
Atop the walls, he could see Darknuts patrolling for intruders. He took out her bow and took aim, he would only get one shot...
As the arrow flew straight and true, Link knew he still had it. The Darknut slowed down as ice began to form around it, until there was a block of ice. Link smiled as he fired the Longshot at the block, and found herself flying over the moat and into the ice. When he hit the frozen Darknut, the block shattered into pieces and flew into the streets below.
He followed right after, not giving any other Darknuts the chance to see her. The fall down to the ground of what remained of Hyrule Castle Town was mitigated thanks to a timely roll.
Making her way through the town was like retracing her... his steps. Play the Sun’s Song, freeze the Redead, move on. He took a moment to look at the Temple of Time.
That was where it had all started. The adventure had begun with the Deku Tree, but his problems had begun with the Temple. It was there that he had been sent to sleep for seven years. It was there that he had unwittingly allowed Ganondorf the power of the Triforce.
But everything would be coming full circle soon enough. In about a year’s time, maybe less, he would be waking up to the sight of Rauru.
Lina, Link, she, he, none of it mattered anymore. All that mattered was the timeline. He had to focus on the timeline.
He went in the direction of the castle, knowing now that Ganondorf had certainly replaced it with his own. Sure enough, the castle lorded over all that stood around it, surrounded by a moat of molten hot lava.
There would be no bridge this time, no Sage-assisted walk into the belly of the beast. This would have to be all her.
Lina began to take steps away from the castle, knowing he would need a running start. He knew from experience how much room he’d need... but he took an extra couple steps back, just in case.
He reached into her pockets and took out a Roc’s Feather. It had been so long since her misadventures in Termina. But she wasn’t sure if just the Feather alone would cover it...
It would have to do. Lina broke into a sprint, trying to get as much out of the jump as possible. At the edge of the ground, he took her chances and leap forth.
The Feather made her jump far, but at the height of her jump Lina could see that he was not going to make it. Thinking quickly, he unheathed her Gilded Sword and pointed the blade at the incoming wall of rock.
He felt undeniable pain as he collided with the rock, but smiled as he also felt her sword sink into the rock. With her free hand, Lina dug into the rock with the Golden Gauntlets.
The sword and gauntlets helped her cling to the surface and to slow her descent into a fiery grave. It took a bit longer than he would have liked, but Lina finally came to a halt at least a dozen feet from the entrance to the castle.
It would be one hell of a climb.
The General of Darkness stood in the main hall, with his right-hand Darknut. “He spends too much time with that boy,” he grunted. “I swear to the Goddesses, I’ve about had it with him.”
The Darknut grunted in agreement.
Onox continued, “I’ve already given the order to my men. If he ends up screwing me over, we go back to Holodrum.”
The Darknut was silent.
“You don’t talk much, do you?”
The Darknut howled as he suddenly was enveloped in light before exploded in a beam of said light. The sudden death of his lieutenant caught his attention, and he came face to face with Lina. “Little woman, I have no idea who you think you are, but I know what you really are.” He held out his right hand, and a handle materialized in his grasp. A chain appeared attached to it, and on the other end of the chain was a large spiked ball. “A fool.”
Lina pointed her Gilded Blade with one hand and prepared her Mirror Shield with the other. “Only a heroic one."
He could see a smile under Onox’s helmet as he began to twirl his impossibly large flail with a jerk of his hand.
The flail came at her much faster than he thought possible, nicking her shield. But the force behind it made her take a step back and to the right. The ball returned to its master with just as great a speed, and began to be twirled around once more.
Lina slowly took steps to her side, as a plan was slowly forming in her head. It would take the right timing, but he was still fast enough...
The ball would have hit her if he’d kept going in the same direction. Instead, he quickly side-stepped in the other direction as soon as he saw the flail launched her way.
The stone floor shattered under the strike as bits of rock easily flew a foot from the point of impact. As Onox began to pull the weapon back to his person, Lina ran towards him as well with her blade beginning to pulsate with a green energy.
The flail had caught up with Lina by the time the energy changed from green to a reddish-orange. She spun her blade around herself, managing to slice through a chink in the General’s armor. He grunted audibly in pain as he brought the flail around in retaliation, barely giving Lina enough time to jump back and out of the way.
Onox’s free hand went to his side, where blood was beginning drip down his armor. “You bitch.”
Lina couldn’t help but smile as he began to charge her sword once more. This was going to be fun.
Ganondorf and Vaati made their way down the stairs and quickly as they could, trying to make their way to where they knew Onox was fighting. “Do we have any idea who’s stupid enough to come here?”
“No idea,” Vaati claimed. Time, torture, and training had taken its toll on him, and what had once been a spoilt young boy had become an embittered young man. “I’m sure it’ll be an interesting answer.”
As they descended, they passed by several Stalfos which stood at attention, and a large number of Darknuts whom all were speaking in whispers. The latter worried Ganondorf; he would have to crack some heads and get answers once this was done.
They were only four flights away now, and they could distinctly hear the sound of stone being shattered by something. As they approached the third flight, a loud yell erupted from downstairs. Ganondorf and Vaati looked at each other for a brief moment before doubling their efforts.
Bright lights were lighting up the area around them as they approached the second flight. All of the Darknuts were being enveloped by blue light and beginning to disappear. They appeared solemn and almost sad as they disappeared from the castle. Ganondorf stared at the Darknuts as he asked a more corporeal Darknut, “What in the name of the Goddesses is going on?”
The Darknut handed the King of Evil a piece of parchment before being enveloped by the same light as his brethren and fading away.
Ganondorf began to read the parchment as Vaati went on down the remaining flights on his own. The budding mage seemed to fly down those final steps as he finally arrived, and could be nothing short of speechless at the sight before him.
The room had been broken into several pieces, with random tiles all over the chamber missing pieces or missing in entirety. Onox was laying face first on the floor, not moving an inch. His armor was covered with blood, his flail easily a foot from his hand.
Vaati stared at the fallen General’s body as he felt Ganondorf approach. “The Darknuts. They’re all gone.” The young man turned to face his master, who was holding that piece of parchment. “It’s apparently a tradition of the Darknuts that when their leader dies, they’re bound to leave in order to elect a new leader.” He crumples up the message and allows his fist to create a purple flame, burning the note. “Such good lackeys.”
Vaati stared at the passage that led out of the castle. His master seemed too distracted by how to counteract the sudden removal of his best minions, so he would need to find the answers.
Link leaped from building to building with her Roc’s Feather, deciding to avoid the Redead as much as she could. Escaping the castle and the surrounding town was surprisingly simple, much more so than getting in. The Feather proved very effective at letting her cover ground, and she soon found herself jumping atop the castle wall.
She stood still for a moment as she looked over the landscape. Link knew this would be the last time she would be able to do anything; she would have to wait for her past and future self to catch up to her.
Her heart sank as she heard someone walk up next to her. The new arrival seemed quite snide as Link heard it say, “Oh, I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
Link barely had enough time to look at the man before a strong wind blew into her, sweeping her off her feet and straight into a battlement. She finally looked at her assailant, and knew that the world was indeed, that small.
The purple-haired man stood before her, an ornate rapier in one hand and a ball of condensed wind in the other. “Vaati?”
“Oh good,” he sneered, “she remembers my name.” Before Link could respond, she felt a sharp pain in her right shoulder; Vaati had plunged his rapier into it. As he took the blade out, blood began to soak Link’s garb. “I don’t know how you did it. Killing Onox. But you’ve been a pain in our collective sides for far too long.” Link barely had enough time to dodge Vaati’s next strike, nearly being stabbed through the heart.
Link finally got to her feet and unsheathed her Gilded Blade and the Mirror Shield. “You’re just bitter because you couldn’t stay on the ranch.”
“Bitter is only scratching the surface.” Link deflected another of Vaati’s thrusts with her shield before attempting a slash of her own. He redirected it with the rapier as the two stared at each other. “Bitter was me getting sent away from the ranch. It’s not just bitterness, Lina. It’s full-fledged hate.”
Link was having a difficult time keeping up with deflecting Vaati’s blade, not because Vaati was that good but because pain was shooting up and down Link’s shield arm. He was a surprisingly good swordsman, perhaps Ganondorf had taught him more than mere magic?
Vaati fired a blast of wind from his free hand, with Link barely having enough strength in her right arm to hold up her shield. The spell hit the shield, forcing Link to take a few steps back. The force of the wind intensified the pain in her right arm, but the spell itself into the shield for a moment before blasting back at her opponent.
The sheer pain from trying to stand against the momentum of the spell was horribly painful, and Lina was forced to put her shield away.
As their blades clashed once more, Link felt naked. She was fighting without a shield for the first time in fourteen years. She had no protective tunic, not even the kimono from Termina. Link quietly activated the magic spell Nayru’s Love, hoping the magic could stop any lucky strike Vaati might score.
It was a wise move. Link’s swordsmanship was thrown off by the absence of her shield, putting her at a massive disadvantage. As she felt his blade meet the magical shell time after time, she knew it was only a waiting game for him.
As Link felt the shell begin to weaken, Vaati relented for a moment, content to taunt her. “And to think you gave me so much trouble when we were kids.” Link stumbled a bit as she prepared to defend against Vaati once more.
Vaati prepared to stab Link once more. He missed and hit the Gilded Blade with a strong blow, shattering the sword. “There’s something not right about you. I can sense some sort of taint upon you.”
Link laughed hollowly at that as the golden steel fell into her hands. She was so close to that seventh year... she wasn’t about to let some purple-haired prick stop her now. A quick glance at her empty bottles told her all of them were empty save one. “Isn’t it customary to give the condemned a final request?”
Vaati stared at her coldly, but nodded. “Not like you’ve got anything left in you.” He watched carefully as Link pulled out the Fairy Ocarina. “What are you doing?”
“My final request.” Link began to play a tune from memory, one she hadn’t played in years. It was darkly soothing to play it again, even if the memories attached to the notes weren’t happy ones.
A smile came to her face as she put the ocarina away. Vaati seemed amused. “That was pitiful.”
Link smiled as she closed her eyes and slumped against the stone. Vaati stared at her, disbelieving. “Pitiful.” He prepared to finish her off when a swarm of purple lights enveloped Link’s body.
She had disappeared seemingly into air.
When Link regained consciousness, she found herself looking at a wood ceiling. It was puzzling; the Nocturne of Shadow should have placed her in the Kakariko Graveyard.
“You’re awake.” Link tried to get off the bed, but a strong hand forced her to lie down. “You looked like you went through the wringer. I thought you were a goner.” Link took deep breaths, trying to understand what had happened.”You were covered in blood and sweat, and I couldn’t see you breathing. I brought you back here, and the strangest thing happened. I heard a bottle uncork, and this fairy just started flying around. Next thing I knew, you started breathing.” She paused before she told Link, “I don’t know what you were doing there, but don’t go back. There’s something wrong with that part of the graveyard. Call it a bad vibe.”
Link tried to laugh, but it hurt too much. Besides, there were bigger things on her plate besides the food that Impa was giving her. The Gilded Blade was in pieces. Malon wasn’t speaking to her, and was all alone with Ingo. The friends that had kept her going for the last few years couldn’t see her anymore, and Link knew that everyone was going to start being attracted to the Temples soon. Impa had already shown signs of interest.
“Can I stay here?” Link’s question caught Impa off guard.”I don’t really know anyone in town.”
“Here? Why can’t you stay on the ranch with Malon?” Link’s silence told her everything she had to know. “...I see.”
Of course she didn’t know the truth. All she knew was not to push the issue.
The hourglass was almost empty.
Link stretched in Impa’s house the way she had for months now, trying to force time to go faster by wasting as much of it as she could. It was not a successful effort, and all it did was make Link feel she wasn’t being honest with herself.
Speaking of honesty, Impa had been going on trips recently. Impa said they were business, but Link suspected otherwise. She suspected the Mayor was visiting the Shadow Temple, but she couldn’t prove that. Regardless, Link hadn’t seen her for a few days now. She was getting worried. A knock at the door gave Link a fleeting hope that Impa had finally returned.
The door swung open, and there was Din. The Oracle of Seasons had visited from time to time to Impa’s chagrin (or was she faking it?). “I’m terribly sorry Lina, but have you seen Impa? I’ve been looking all over for her.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been a little concerned too.” Din seemed depressed by the lack of news as she slowly walked back into the town.
Link sighed as she closed the door behind her. Things just didn’t seem right. Everything had been returned to the status quo, but the status quo still felt wrong.
A quick look in the mirror told Link all she need to know about what was wrong. He was still a she. The pert breasts and womanly figure told her that. After growing up as a woman, she still felt trapped. There was nothing right about this situation.
Link stared at the bed and decided to waste time by sleeping.
She woke up with a start as someone was shaking her. “Wake up, Lina! Wake up!”
Link rubbed her eyes bristling for a moment as she heard her cover name. She quickly woke up when she saw who it was that’d woke her up. “Sheik?”
“There’s no time,” Sheik told her. “Get to the high ground while you can! Hurry!”
It was then that Link knew what was going on. She quickly gathered her belongings and followed Sheik to the Death Mountain Trail. The windmill was turning into a circle of fire, buildings everywhere were blazing wildly.
As Lina finally made it to the Trail, Sheik took a deep breath. “You’ll be safe here. Just stay here for a bit.”
Sheik ran back into town a few moments later. Another minute later and Link could see a fairy accompanying a man dressed in a green tunic, the strange duo running into the fire.
Everything was finally coming full circle.
[End notes: And now we're almost full-circle. But of course, there's a few loose ends that are still around....]
Title: Present Day: Low
Present Day: Low
Lina continued to watch from a distance as Sheik and her male self-discussed the escape of Bongo-Bongo from the Kakariko Well. It was old news or new news depending on which Link you asked.
She sighed as she began to walk out of town. If Link was that far on the quest already, then he would be going into the Shadow Temple soon. And once that was done... there would be only one temple left.
Everything was going to be right with the world. Everything was going to end well.
For everyone except her.
She sighed as she watched her past self-warp back to the Temple of Time. Tomorrow, her once and future self would return to the rebuilt town with the Lens of Truth. It had always perplexed her how quickly the town had rebuilt, but she never quite figured out how that had happened.
Everything was as it should be. But no matter how many times she told herself that, she couldn’t believe it.
As the fires began to die down from the sunset rain, she reentered Impa’s home. Din was still off looking for Impa, who was in the Shadow Temple by this point. It wasn’t likely the woman would find her again until this was finally over.
She looked at her belongings. The shards of the Gilded Sword were still taunting her. Nothing in her inventory could fix the Sword. Not the Megaton Hammer, not the Fairy Bow, not those weird cube thingies-
“...What DO those things do, anyway?”
At the Annual Hylian Milk Festival, Link had encountered a Keaton. After a riddle or two, the creature had placed three odd cubes on her bed. When she asked the Keaton what they did, all it told her was that it contained ‘the answer to her prayers’.
It was insanity to think they could cure her. The Keaton told her she would know when to open them.
Screw it. If there was ever a time for a miracle, it was now. She opened up the golden cube.
There was a white light within the wooden container, one that issued forth slowly. It did not come for her, but for the shards. There was a familiar sense about the light, one that was comforting. She closed her eyes and took it in.
She saw flashes before her eyes. The fresh cut grass of the Hylian Field was filling her nostrils. Death Mountain’s heat was washing over her face. Her lungs were ice cold, just like they’d been in the Zora’s Domain.
In a crashing instant, all sensations ceased. The shards of the Gilded Sword were gone. And she was no longer alone in the room.
“We meet again, Lina.” There was a yellow fox behind her, one with many tails. It was the very creature that had given her the cubes in the first place. “I see you have opened up one of the cubes.”
“The Keaton... Are you here to make me answer more riddles?”
“I met a man on his way to I- no, sadly,” the Keaton admitted. “I’m here to give you what’s needed.” One of his tails was wrapped around something.
“Patience, patience!” The Keaton hushed. “If you were a little more patient...” The tail revealed the prize. “...You’d have seen it.”
Lina’s eyes widened. The Gilded Sword, whole once more. The Keaton handed it to her, and her eyes widened. There was a power behind it that she hadn’t felt in seven years, a calming echo that drowned out all of the world’s evils.
“Another sword of evil’s bane?!”
The Keaton chuckled. “It is not for you. Not anymore, at least.”
Lina winced. “Then who?”
She did not get an answer. “I must be off,” the Keaton sighed. “Nice self-control, by-the-by. Last time I gave those cubes out it was like watching a kid rip the wrappers off of candy.”
As the Keaton disappeared, Lina thought she saw that the second cube was already open. But she was so tired she couldn’t think much of it. The Cuccos would wake her up in the morning, and she would skip town before Link could start looking for Impa.
She was already halfway to the Kokiri Forest’s entrance after spending two hours awake. The second box being open was quite surprising, but its effects made some modicum of sense. The town looked like it had never suffered any fire damage.
There was no way that the town could rebuild itself in the three days her male counterpart was out of town. There was no major fuss from the townsfolk, who seemed convinced they were the greatest repairmen and women in all of Hyrule.
It had really seemed quite convenient, but she knew that what she did only served to complete the loop in time. Link would eventually gather the Sages in his second confrontation with the King of Evil, only to be returned to his childhood as Lina.
Lina grunted as she eyed a Peahat on the horizon. She knew the steps by heart, passing the tree that old owl had first spoken to her. The old bridge creaked under her feet as she crossed the threshold and through the Lost Woods.
It had all started with that little boy without a fairy. The world opened up around her, and her eyes rested on the familiar trees and houses of the Kokiri. One, two, three hops across a small pond, just as she had so many times before.
Something warm was starting to stream down her face. Lina could feel it seep into her mouth after it climbed down her cheek; it was a salty tear. She was quietly bawling her eyes out as she stared at the drawing on the trunk of her house.
The old drawing Link and Saria had drawn remained etched into the bark. She remembered passing it by so many times thinking of those times with a fond smile and a light heart. Now it was wistful. This time, there was no light-heartedness but a heavy weight around her eyes. She felt very, very tired for the first time in years.
The feeling only got worse as she shuffled over to her old bed. Lying down in it she couldn't shake the feeling she had been cheated. Of course she had been. She'd saved Termina. Saved Hyrule. Kept time in a relatively coherent line. Helped everyone find their happy ending.
And there she was, lying alone in her childhood home with a sleeping cow. She desperately wished she wasn't alone.
Malon didn't feel that great after she finished her morning run. It was like she was sick without having a fever. Her stomach was throwing fits without her throwing up, and her heart just wasn't in anything she was doing today. Even her father had taken notice.
“Malon?” Talon found her tending to one of the horses. “Malon, dear.” She didn't respond.
She sighed. It seemed like only yesterday that her life had been full of adventure and insanity. Dances, swordfights, the Gerudo, milk, and... and Lina.
Malon froze for a moment. Lina. That's why she was sick. She missed her old friend, the fairy boy. Or ranch girl, or fairy- even after seven years of dealing with the gender confusion, she couldn't figure out how to refer to Lina.
She felt like she had grown into something beyond just the rancher her father had taught her to be. Malon wasn't sure what that something was, but it had to be more than she could have known.
Talon tapped her on the shoulder. “Malon, you're in your own little world today. Are you alright?”
“....” Malon blinked. “Yes. I'm fine, dad.”
“Malon, don't lie to me. I'm your father, I know your tells.” He shook his head. “You can tell your father.”
Malon stopped tending to the horse and faced him. “I miss her.”
Talon scratched his mustache, pondering. “Lina. I have to admit things have been a bit empty without her. ...Haven't seen her in some time.”
“I just wish Ingo hadn't sent her away.”
“Now I'm wishing I knew where she was.” He sighed. “I have to make a shipment to Kakariko. Can you keep an eye on the livestock and Ingo while I'm out?” He eyed Ingo, who was across the farm and loudly proclaiming his undying thanks for being allowed to stay on as a farmhand instead of being thrown out on his ass.
“Yeah. I'll be fine.” As Talon walked away, she thought she saw a hint of gold out the corner of her eye. But it was probably a trick her mind was playing on her.
Lina polished off another bottle of milk. She'd lost track of time ever since she returned home, and she knew she was really off her game when she realized that wasn't the end of the world any more. Wasn't like a moon was going to smash into the land in six hours. Nothing of importance was really happening anymore. At least, nothing that she would be involved in.
After all, today was only the day that Ganondorf would be sealed by the Sages. No big d-
Wait, that was a big deal. That was a big friggin' deal!
She nearly dropped her glass. The end of Ganondork's- Ganondorf's would've called for a celebration on any other day.
Why not a celebration? Why not- why not go back to the ranch? It wasn't like she couldn't anymore. Lina's knowledge of what had to happen meant she knew Ingo wasn't in charge. She could finally see Malon again!
That got her out of bed. ...It would also get her to a shower. Because she reeked of old milk and sweat.
Several hours after Talon left, Malon felt a cold sweat go down her back. It felt like she was being watched. She turned, and found--
That a horse was staring at her. She smiled in relief. That always tended to happen. For a moment, she thought-
“Hello, Malon,” a male voice greeted.
Fuuuuuuuck. “...Vaati.” She needed something to bash his head in with, because she wasn't in the mood to deal with him.
“Nice weather we're having.” He was a man now, but he seemed just as scrawny as he had those years ago. “Wouldn't you agree? The cool breeze, the-”
Malon was *not* in the mood for this. “Fuck off, Vaati.”
“Tsk tsk,” he tutted. “Is that any way to treat the new ruler of Hyrule?”
“You couldn't rule my hand slamming into your face.” Said hand was already curling into a fist, as if to back up her boast.
“Ah, but it's true! See... I know things. I know that this fairy boy is on his way to my old master's castle. I know that my master is luring him in to attain the Triforce, and I know that's why he's going to die. He doesn't just throw an army at the guy or an inescapable death trap, it always has to be dungeons or the like.” Vaati grinned as he continued, “His body won't even be cold before I rise up and claim what's mine. Unlimited power, Hyrule... and you.”
Both fists were up now as Malon sent a punch right at him. “I'm no one's!”
The punch was easily caught, and Vaati began forcibly grinding the bones in Malon's hand against each other. “Maybe not yet. But you're like a wild stallion... I just have to break you in.”
Malon wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of groaning in pain, but even she had to admit her hand wasn't feeling so hot. With a moment's struggle he extricated her hand from the mage's grip before her other hand went for a body blow.
Vaati batted down her attack with his other hand, kneeing Malon in the abdomen. She doubled over in pain, only to be forced to the ground with a double-fisted downward strike to her neck. She barely had enough wind in her lungs to roll out of the way of his stomping foot.
“That's right!” He was making his way over to Malon, who had rolled into a horse stable. “Go ahead and fight! It'll just make the honeymoon that much sweeter.”
Malon pulled herself up out of the hay, grunting. Vaati was just too strong to go toe-to-toe with. And then she saw it again. A golden radiance in the corner.
She wasn't that sure it was until she took a closer look. The blade was embedded an inch or so into the dirt, but the edge seemed just as sharp as she could recall. The Gilded Blade had made its way to her.
“C'mon, hit me with your best shot,” Vaati teased. He had her cornered now in the stall. “You can't win.”
Malon wasn't going to second-guess her luck. The sword came out of the ground with a single pull, and she took a fighting stance. She felt a strange tingle up crawling up her arm, but Malon didn't consider it a bad sensation. It was empowering.
Vaati stared at the sword, perplexed. “I've seen that sword before. ...I broke it into tiny little pieces when I stabbed your friend.”
Her response was a slash towards the mage's midsection. Vaati barely backed out of the way in time, watching a piece of his outfit fall to the ground. His hand went for his rapier, knowing that the time for toying with Malon was over.
“Where did you get that sword,” seethed Vaati. “Did that bitch give it to you in her will?” He lunged at Malon.
“Her name is Lina!” She batted away the stab and elbowed Vaati in the face, giving her breathing room. “And she's twice the man you could ever be!”
Vaati chuckled as he parried another slash. “Strong words from such a weak girl!” He kept chuckling as Malon kept him on the defensive. While he couldn't go on the attack while she was like this, she wasn't landing any more hits on him.
Lina trudged across the Hylian Plain with her heart beating fast. Maybe now things would be calmer. Her gut was doing backflips with every step she took.
Her attire was the same outfit that she'd worn since leaving the ranch, managing to hold her form without anything showing. That was surprising even to Lina due to her new figure. No longer did she have the broad shoulders and musculature of her counterpart, but there were curves. She was still fit and had meat on her bones, but she lacked big pecs.
The hair was almost the same style it had been when she'd grown up to be Link; there were bangs more on the front of her face than the back, though the back was a few fingers longer than it had ever been when she was a man.
But the eyes were the greatest change of all. Even as a man, she had been a stranger in her own body- a child trapped in the form of her older self. As a woman, she was a male confined in a female vessel. But having seven years behind her, she had lost her innocence. Lina was not a cynical person, but she was no longer viewing the world through the eyes of a child. Her stare had been steeled by her repeated misfortune.
She wasn't going to have anything like that happen to her ever again. Not on her watch.
Vaati had not been smiling for some time now. Even though Malon was tired enough that he could start going on the offense, the woman was holding her own. He was not amused when he started to figure out just how much Lina had taught her.
Their blades were now locked together, both trying to position themselves favorably for when they freed themselves. “Give it up,” he spat.
“What happened to 'toying with me'?” Malon was the one grinning now, breaking the lock and continuing the duel. She was rather impressed with herself.
Now Vaati was the one who was getting mad. This was supposed to be simple, not an actual challenge! He kept lashing out at Malon, trying to wipe that smile off of her face. Strike after strike, he was on the offensive. Vaati knew Malon had to start tiring soon thanks to her own anger-induced offensive...
But Malon wasn't having any of it. After four consecutive strikes from the right, Malon rolled under the fifth and cut into Vaati's side.
There was numbness from the cut, and Vaati clutched his side in shock. Then pain. Undeniable pain. None of his lessons had prepared him for this; Ganondorf had never inflicted anything like this upon him. He couldn't help but cry out in pain.
Malon stood back up, the Gilded Blade dripping with Vaati's blood.
Vaati cursed under his breath. “I'm done with this.”
“Oh? You've finally given up?”
“No.” He reached out his hand, and a force knocked Malon off of her feet and onto the ground some yards away. “I’m done playing fair.”
Malon couldn't even get up before Vaati caught up with her; he was moving terribly fast. His foot buried itself into Malon's stomach before stomping on her head. Malon barely had enough time to wince from the pain before she went limp.
Vaati began to pick her up, placing the Gilded Blade in a sack. “That's the first step in how to break a wild Malon.” She was light in his arms, which was all he really cared about for the moment.
Something whizzed by his his head, and he immediately knew he was not alone. He turned to face his attacker, and his brow furled. “Why can't you just die?”
Lina stood at the entrance of the Ranch, another arrow notched and prepared to fire. “Put her down, Vaati.”
“After all the hell I've been through? No. I'm keeping what's mine.”
She pulled the arrow further back, and spots of light began to shine off of the arrowhead. “She's not yours, and I'll be damned if anyone says otherwise!”
Vaati began to give off a dark glow as a mark appeared on his head- an ominous red eye. “Then whose is she? Yours?” Lina remained perfectly silent as Vaati began to laugh. “Don't tell me you actually thought you'd get the girl, woman! If you want what's yours, you don't wait around for the world to give you your turn. You take it, and once you get it you can forget about everyone else.” The glow intensified, and Lina could barely see Malon or the mage. “I've got mine... so kindly fuck off and die.”
The misty glow was now opaque, and Lina finally realized what Vaati was doing. She fired off the Light Arrow into the glow, only for it to pass right through. All that was still left before her was residual magic.
He was gone.
Lina stared into the mist, approaching it with caution. Malon was gone- again- and Vaati had proved himself a thorn in her side- again. This time though? This time she wasn't going to hold back.
It was time for one last adventure, she mused to herself. Lina pulled out her Fairy Ocarina and began to play. First things came first. She needed a weapon.
The Sages all stood in the Temple of Time, staring at the chamber that contained the Master Sword's pedestal. Just moments ago, the Princess Zelda had returned to them after having delivered Link to his own time.
Saria asked the question that was on all their minds. “How did he take it?”
Zelda shook her head. “Not that well. But I don't think anyone would take it any better than she did.”
“She's right,” Nabooru interjected. “No one should have to go through that. Especially a guy like that. After all he went through, all he sacrificed...”
“Brother is strong. Brother will endure.” Darunia seemed certain of this.
Rauru looked troubled however, and Ruto noticed. “What's wrong? I mean, I know what happened was pretty bad. But we won! Ganondorf has been sealed away, and Hyrule is safe! The danger's over.”
“I fear the danger still lingers,” Rauru commented. “A shadow still lingers across the land and Ganon's armies of darkness are-”
Before he could continue, the whinny of a horse echoed. All the Sages could hear it. None would believe it. Impa stared at the entrance as the other Sages stared at each other. “I know that horse. But that can't be.”
The doors slammed open as someone in green garb sprinted into the Temple. The Sages stepped aside as the figure vaulted over the stand where the Spiritual Stones had been floating, rushing toward the sword of evil's bane.
With two tugs, the sword came out and was held pointed to the stone ceiling. There everyone could see her dressed in the Kokiri Tunic for the first time in years, Mirror Shield in hand and a serious look on her face.
Lina was just happy to have the Master Sword in her hands once more; it was like having an old friend along for the journey. She almost felt complete, but more importantly she felt like she could kick Vaati's ass.
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