Story: The Lost Years (chapter 13)
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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?!?’
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