Story: The Lost Years (chapter 11)
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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!]
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