He appeared to be about her age, although he could’ve been a little older. Although he didn’t seem robust, he didn’t appear weak either; in fact, he possessed somewhat of a soft ruggedness. The majority of his clothing was tinted a green color, the kind that reminded Zelda of a lush forest.
Almost immediately after asking her question she noticed the sword and shield strapped to his back. She probably would’ve panicked if she hadn’t laid her eyes on the stranger’s face. Unlike the rest of his body, which appeared dirty and almost hard, the boy’s face conveyed a complete antithesis. His facial skin was pale and almost seemed silky. His eyes were blue, as blue and clear as Lake Hylia on a clear day. Long, golden hair draped across the sides of his face like a curtain, as if presenting the boy’s face like it were a stage.
Even so, Zelda was still anxious to know who this intruder was.
"Who are you?" she repeated, this time with a little more confidence.
The boy stared at her for a moment longer before clearing his throat and speaking. "I’m…I’m…my name…is…my name is Link."
Link? Why did that name seem familiar? It wasn’t familiar in the sense that she had heard it before, but familiar in that it felt somehow…ironic. Why…?
Just then, Zelda remembered her prophetic dream and the unknown, handsome figure that saved Hyrule. He, like this boy named Link before him, also wore green. Could the man in her dreams be…no, how could he? The man in her dreams was much older than this boy, and was definitely a lot more handsome…
"…not to say that this Link isn’t handsome…"
Not knowing where the thought came from, Zelda shook it from her mind and put on the straight face of a princess. She then stepped forward a little and said with a royal tone, "I don’t know how you got in here, but I must ask you to leave. If you go now, I won’t call the guards to escort you…"
"No, Princess Zelda! Please, don’t throw us out!"
The sudden appearance of the fairy nearly made Zelda jump, and it also succeeded in stopping short in her declaration for Link to leave. Her face gaped in amazement as the pink fay, which had seemingly appeared from nowhere, hovered above the boy’s shoulders for a few moments before gliding a few feet from her face. Although she couldn’t make out any facial expressions, Zelda could almost feel the fairy’s desperation.
"Please, don’t throw us out!" the fairy pleaded. "You don’t know how important it is that we speak to you. We’ve been sent on a last dying request by the Great Deku Tree, and…"
"Great Deku Tree?" Zelda suddenly interrupted, her mind racing to match several factors together. It didn’t take long. "You…you two are from…the forest, aren’t you?"
"Yes, we are," the boy called Link said as he took a single step forward. "And what Navi said is true. The Great Deku Tree sent us here to meet you…"
Zelda didn’t hear anything after that because she abruptly stopped listening after making one crucial connection. She could vividly remember her divinatory dream, and right now it was clearer than any time before. The handsome man in green, she recalled, was created from a beam of light that came from the forest. And this boy dressed in green also claimed he and the fairy came from the forest…
Wait, the fairy! There was a fairy in her dream as well, right after the beam had materialized into the handsome man. The man had held two lights in his hands, a bright green orb and a dimmer pink one…and the pink one turned out to be a fairy! And right now, there was a fairy standing before her to add fuel to the fire of embroiled circumstances that couldn’t be made up of coincidence.
But…then what about that green light?
"Do you have green light?" Zelda asked without thinking.
The boy called Link was caught off guard by the question and abruptly stopped talking. The princess didn’t know what he had said, but she didn’t care at the moment. All she wanted to know was the answer to her question. Both the boy and the fairy – Navi, she believed – remained silent to Zelda’s question, prompting her to ask again.
"I’ll ask again: do you have green light?"
"I’m…not sure what you’re asking, princess…" the boy called Link started but couldn’t finish.
"Do you have anything resembling green light?" Zelda pressed, her face growing a desperate countenance. "If not that, anything that can create green light? Come on, please – Link, is that your name? – please, Link, tell me if you have something like that! I must know! Please!"
The boy stared blankly at Zelda in response, and the princess was almost about to accept that he had no such item. Luckily, she held onto her belief for a second longer, and this was enough for Link to raise his face in realization.
"Wait, I think I have something like that. Let me just check here…ah, here we go. Does this fit your description?"
The boy called Link had reached into a nearby pouch and pulled out something in his fists. When he opened them, they displayed the most beautiful emerald Zelda had ever seen. The gold frame around it was beautiful, of course, but the emerald itself was the main focus. Even in the dimly lit spot that the boy stood it shone with a magnificent radiance.
There was no doubt in Zelda’s mind at that moment that this was the green light in her dream.
Then this boy called Link was the one she had been waiting for, been praying for, been hoping for…
"Princess…?" Link began.
He didn’t have a chance to finish. Zelda, feeling a wave of race coarse through her, allowed tears to form on the rims of her eyes before she emitted a cry of joy and ran straight towards the stranger. The boy called Link didn’t have a chance to act before Princess Zelda quickly wrapped her arms around him and pressed her closely against her.
Surprised and unprepared, Link dropped the emerald. The magnificent jewel made a loud crash as it struck the stone below. But Zelda didn’t care; it could’ve been broken for all she cared at that moment.
For her prayers had finally been answered. The man from her dreams had finally come to her…
"You wish for me to teach the young boy magic, is that it?"
Kaepora Gaebora was rarely surprised these days, for he had seen almost anything in both his current and previous forms. But the Faria Garuia apparently didn’t follow the regular laws that governed the world. She managed to amaze the old Owl by telling Kaepora exactly what he had visited her for.
Shaking his head in astonishment, Kaepora replied, "Yes, Faria Garuia, that is exactly why I am here. You know of the young boy, then?"
"I do," the Faria Garuia answered. "It is difficult to escape his thread of fate. In all my years I have never seen so strong a thread except through the bloodline of the Royal Family. He is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s possible he may even possess the Gift…"
"Then you will teach him magic?" the Owl asked eagerly.
The Faria Garuia remained silent for a moment before answering, "No."
Kaepora’s face fell…as an owl’s face could, anyway. "But why not…?"
"Because I cannot," the Faria Garuia replied. "The thread of fate found within this boy is too strong for my own to make a significant impact. All I can do is help him to find his own path. Whether this path will lead to the opening of his possible Gift is uncertain."
"But he has to learn magic, Faria Garuia!" Kaepora cried. "You don’t know how vital it is that he does! I have seen a reflection of the future, and I cannot piece it together because my powers aren’t as powerful as they used to be. All I know for certain is that he must learn magic. And you are the only one who can teach him."
"But I already told you…"
"If I bring him to you, will you at least attempt to guide him down the right path? Will you at least do that much, Faria Garuia?"
The silence that followed was deafening, but it didn’t take too long for the Faria Garuia to answer. "Very well. I will do as you ask. Bring him to me and I will see what I can do."
"I see. I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure the Great Deku Tree was very important to you Kokiri."
Link accepted Zelda’s condolence warmly with a nod. He then took a quick breather before he continued with his story about his journey. After Zelda had released him from the unexpected embrace, he had picked up the dropped Kokiri Emerald and put it back in his pouch before he turned his full attention to the Princess.
She had apologized for her earlier rude behavior and properly introduced herself, despite the fact that Link knew whom she was already. She then had explained why she acted so delighted at his arrival by illustrating the vivid dream she had been having every single night, at the end indicating that Link was the "handsome man" in it. Link nearly blushed at that part for some reason.
After Zelda had finished explaining her dream, she had asked Link to explain whom he was, where he came from, how he had arrived in Hyrule Castle New City, and anything else that was related. Link had obliged and started from the earliest associated incident, which was his first meeting with Navi.
He ended his tale with his entrance into Hyrule Castle.
"But how did you get past the Royal Guards outside?" Zelda asked. The two were sitting on the ground in the garden upon a small hill that had longer grass than the rest of the garden. Zelda had given instructions to her private gardener to do this so she could have a lush carpet to lie on every now and again. "You said it was morning when you scaled the castle walls. They would’ve seen you…what are you smiling at?"
Link’s wide smile broadened as he reached for his belt with one hand and grabbed his slingshot. He then held it up for Zelda to see clearly. "It’s pretty simple, really. All it takes is a slingshot, a nut-growing tree, targets with bare legs, and a few carefully aimed shots."
The princess stared at Link for a moment before she, too, smiled when she recognized the underlying meaning of Link’s words. "If that’s the case," she said through her grin, "then we’ll have to get those soldiers some protection for their legs!"
The two then laughed, as if the joke were actually funny. But Navi cut their laughter short. "I don’t mean to intrude, but I’m afraid we have some business to take care of. Don’t you agree…Link?"
The fairy’s tone wasn’t harsh, but he had enough force behind it to let Link know she was getting impatient. "If you insist," he said to Navi before turning back to Zelda. "Princess Zelda…"
"Please, just call me Zelda, Link," the princess said with a smile.
Link was caught off guard by the remark, but he tried not to show it. "Uh…sure thing. Zelda, the Great Deku Tree sent us here to see you, and he entrusted us with the Kokiri Emerald as well. Can you think of anything the jewel can be used for? Anything at all?"
Zelda looked up at the sky in deep thought for a few moments before turning back to Link and answering. "No, I can’t, I’m sorry. I can’t think of anything the stone can be used for. But if you give me the chance, I can try to look it up in the castle library…oh, my goodness! I completely forgot!"
Without warning, Zelda stood up and ran towards the stone platform with the window and peered inside it, not bothering to erect the fallen chair. Link, surprised and curious, stood up and walked up to the princess, asking when he reached her, "Something wrong?"
"Not yet," Zelda answered.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you about this." Zelda backed a little from the window and motioned for Link to look inside. "Before you came, I was looking through this window to watch someone. You remember those dark clouds in my dream I told you about?"
"Well," Zelda continued, "I believe they symbolize the person on the other side of this window…the one to the very left. Just take a look and see."
Link nodded again and pressed his face against the window. He couldn’t see too much because the window was thick and a little hazy. What he did manage to see were several people situated within general vicinity of each other. A few were Royal Guards, but two caught stood out from the rest. The one of the right was sitting down in a very large chair and wearing clothing that most likely identified him as the King of Hyrule.
The one of the left, however, managed to eclipse the king completely. He was dressed in dark armor and clothing with a fiery red cape draped down his back. Muscles bulged from every possible location across his body. Stringy, crimson hair ran across his scalp like dead snakes with a silent poison. He wasn’t handsome by any standards, and his bloodshot eyes seemed to know and even relish in this fact. Moreover, they even seemed to intensity man’s the repulsiveness by emitting an air of hatred all around him.
The mere sight of the man appalled Link, but one thing made the man even more frightened him even more.
He looked exactly like the rider of the black horse from his dream…
Just then, the dark-clad man turned from what he was looking at and looked at the window, straight at Link. Link quickly backed away, but not before his eyes locked gazes with the man’s. For a split second, Link almost believed he had been possessed by something dark, sinister…
"What happened?" Zelda asked. "Did he see you?"
Link could only nod in acknowledgement.
"That’s okay," she said with a faint smile, although Link didn’t share her optimism. After all, he was the one that had just met glares with a man that could very well be a demon. "He doesn’t know about this place, so he won’t be able to find it. The window’s too hazy on the other size for him to see in here clearly. And besides, he doesn’t know about you, so I doubt he will even remember you."
Link remained silent for a moment, thinking about her words, before asking, "Who is he?"
"Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo. They hail from the desert to the far west. He’s also known by many as the King of Thieves, for that’s what the Gerudo are. Thieves. He claims he’s here on a diplomatic visit for a peace treaty with Hyrule, but I believe he’s here for much more than that."
"Like what?" asked Link.
Link’s face went blank. Zelda noticed this and smiled. "Oh, you don’t know much about the Triforce, do you? I see. Then I’ll have to tell you about it. But I assume you’re a little hungry from your little journey into the castle, aren’t you?"
Link looked at his stomach, and as if on cue he felt an airy grumble from within. He then returned his gaze to Zelda and nodded. "I guess I am…"
"Then I’ll get you something…oh, don’t worry, it’s no trouble at all. I’ll be back in a flash. But you must promise me something: don’t leave this garden while I’m gone. I don’t want the guards to find you and throw you out, okay? Now, you make yourself at home here while I go get something for you…and Navi as well."
Zelda then gave the Kokiri and fairy a smile before turning and heading for her room. As she left, she muttered something to herself; something about finding a person called Impa to meet Link. She was gone within a few moments, leaving Link and Navi to lie in the garden’s lush grass and await her return…
"They call this meat?"
Ganondorf spat into the food he was given as his room service meal, hoping it might improve the taste a little. Alas, he wasn’t as fortunate. The meat still tasted too soft and juicy for his taste buds to stand it. In disgust, the Gerudo King took the platter of meat and threw its contents through his window. It landed on the ground with a sickening squelch.
Ganondorf hoped that maybe a stray dog or songbird would eat that muck and get sick from it.
"Such filth they have in this wretched castle," he muttered to himself as he lay on his bed. "Don’t they know that meat tasted its best raw? That’s something I’ll have to introduce here when I’m King of Hyrule…"
He then remembered his earlier meeting with the king and snickered. To be perfectly honest, it was less of a meeting and more of a show. The King of Thieves had always wondered how gullible the King of Hyrule really was, and today’s meeting proved the king was far more gullible than Ganondorf ever imagined! Taking over the castle would be a snap…
But there was one thing that made him uncomfortable during that meeting. For some reason, he felt someone, someone whom he couldn’t escape from, was watching him. It was as if that person was meant to be a part of his life for some reason or another. It had made him extremely uneasy. He didn’t catch a good look at the person in the window, but Ganondorf knew the person was quite young because of the person’s very short silhouette.
"Is it that bloody Princess Zelda everyone talks about?" he thought. "Maybe…yeah, it probably was. But why do I get the feeling that there’s someone else involved other than that little royal brat? Something’s not right here."
The King of the Gerudo didn’t sleep a wink that night, and for the first time that actually made him feel restless…
"What do you think of her?"
Link wasn’t prepared for Navi’s question. "What do I think of…Navi, what exactly do you mean by that?"
"Exactly what I asked. What do you think of Princess Zelda? Do you like her?"
"In wha…" Link managed before cutting himself off. He had been on the way to saying, "In what way?" but decided not to so he wouldn’t have an uncomfortable discussion on his hands. Instead, he said something a little subtler.
"Well, I think she’s really nice in the way she’s treating us…and…well, that is…I can’t think of anything else at the moment…"
"That’s okay," Navi interrupted. "The first thing was good enough. I just wanted to know what you thought of her." The fairy then fell silent about the matter.
But the question remained etched in Link’s mind. Although it probably wasn’t Navi’s intention, Link couldn’t help think about it. What did he think about Princess Zelda? What was there to think about…?
He tried to find something.
Zelda was slightly shorter in stature than he was, but a majestic air that constantly lingered around her made her seem taller than he was. She wore clothing anyone would probably see only once and immediately identify with Zelda and Zelda alone. But even when he first saw her Link knew that the clothing didn’t create her personality. One thing that he found interesting about her was the softness of her skin; even after the tight, unexpected embrace, her skin felt as soft and smooth as a fresh spring leaf in the Lost Woods. Another were her eyes, by far the deepest blue Link had ever seen.
Other features, like her blond hair hidden beneath her hat-like scarf and stiff yet calm posture, served to invent an image for Link to think about.
He played with her semblance in his mind for as long as he could, trying to figure out what he really thought about her. When he couldn’t come up with a clear answer, he silently promised to himself that he would figure it out before his time with Zelda was finished. And how it would compare with Malon…
Link shook his head upon reaching that name. "How did I suddenly think of Malon?"
Trying his best to ignore thoughts about Malon, Zelda, and basically anything in general, Link lay back on the grass of the garden and tried to relax as he awaited Zelda to return with food and this person called Impa. In his mind, however, he silently hoped that he would quickly do what he had to do so he could return to Kokiri Village in the Lost Woods, where he could again be near his friends, his home…and Saria…
Little did he know that fate would soon play a very cruel trick upon him…