Friday, August 20, 2010

Chapter 20: Reunions

Saria sat up like a bolt of lightning, sweat pouring down her face like rain. Her eyes were wide with fear and she had trouble breathing. All she could hear was her hoarse cough and the pulsing of her blood in her ears. She lifted a hand to hold over her jumpy heart and lifted the other to her forehead, where the sweat almost instantly glued her palm to her skin.

When her breathing had stabilized a little, she took a deep breath and an even deeper exhaling. She closed her eyes to get rid of the blurs she was seeing and then blinked vigorously. She looked down at her covered heart, then back up at her room. The sunlight was disappearing and evening was approaching, but Saria could still see Link’s old ocarina sitting beside hers on the table in the middle of her house.

Although her eyes were dry, she felt like crying.

Saria,” Katl cried from above, at first annoyed to be awoken from his nap but now concerned. “What’s wrong? A bad dream?”

“Worse…” Saria answered as she allowed her breathing to return to normal. “Link…he’s in trouble…”

“What?” Katl fluttered down from his perch and onto Saria’s shoulder, closer to her ear. “You definitely had a bad dream. How could you know Link’s in trouble when he could be dead for all we know? And he probably is, for no Kokiri has ever stepped out of the Lost Woods and lived…”

“Link’s alive!” Saria snapped at her fairy, forcing Katl to fly from her shoulder. “I know he is! But he’s in trouble…I can feel it. But it doesn’t feel like it’s the Link I know. It’s like a completely different Link…one who’s cruel and coldhearted and…wicked! Maybe it’s not even Link now, but Link in the future…”

“Link in the future? What nonsense! It was a bad dream, that’s all. If…if…Link is alive, I seriously doubt he would be what you just described. Come on, Saria, do you really expect yourself to believe this…?”

But Saria had stopped listening. She was instead concentrating on the two ocarinas, particularly her own. “Link…why don’t you play my song again? I want to talk to you again, like we did yesterday. Please, Link, play my song. I want to speak to you…I don’t want to lose you…”

As the words rolled around in her mind, an image continued to plague her thoughts. It was the image of Link from her dream, just as she had described him: cruel, coldhearted, wicked…



So the second blast knocked him out, after all.

The first thing Link saw was complete darkness, but as soon as he lifted his head a little he realized he was staring straight at the ground. He strained to lift himself up, but he quickly learned that the strange thing that had surged through him earlier was now gone, as well as all the strength that came with it. So now he had to use pain and sweat to just use his arms, and he nearly collapsed again when he managed to get into a sitting position.

Breathing loud enough to echo throughout the cavern, Link allowed his head to droop for a few moments before he looked up…

…straight into the mouth of King Dodongo!

BytheThreeGoddessesbyDinsFirebytheThreeGoddesses…!” Link stuttered loudly as he crawled behind on all fours, desperate to get away from the gaping mouth. He was so surprised by the cavernous jaw of his adversary that he didn’t stop backing up until he struck the wall behind him. He bumped into a Bomb Flower on his right, but he hardly cared about that when the monstrous King Dodongo was about to devour…


His face drenched in sweat, Link stood up using his weak legs and took a step forward. The giant jaws of King Dodongo didn’t move an inch from where they were standing; neither did the scarred and disfigured face attacked to them. Neither did…wait a minute! The head! It wasn’t attached to the rest of the body…it was just lying there, like a pulled off branch from a giant tree!

Link stared at the severed head for a few moments, gaping at how its jaws were still wide open. The pools of black blood that surrounded its dead mass emitted a putrid odor, but Link paid no attention to it. Just a little ways back lay the rest of the body, but it was hardly recognizable. The flesh had been blown apart into tiny scraps and the skeletal frame protruded through the remaining mass like sticks through a viscous sludge.

To Link’s unimaginable disbelief, King Dodongo was…dead.

After gaping at the shattered carcass, Link did something he never thought he would do at a time like this.

He laughed.

Yeeeeees!” he cried, wanting to inform the Dodongos on the upper level of his victory. Yeeeeees! I did it! I did it! I diiiiiiiiiid it! Yeeeeeeeees! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes…!”

With each cry of “Yes!” Link voice grew softer and less enthusiastic. He was slowly beginning to realize the true outcome of his efforts, and they weren’t to his complete liking. Eventually his cries of joy became cries of pain, and all the yeses were converted into nos.


At the shriek of the first “no” Link began to pound the ground with his fist. Every “no” yielded another blow to the soil, and each blow grew in intensity. It wasn’t long before Link’s eyes created tears to accompany his cries. Soon, however, he fell silent yet continued to strike the earth vigorously until he finally stopped and dropped his face half buried into the dirt.

His mouth was hidden, but his eyes weren’t, and thus his howls of grief were muffled but his tears continued to flow freely. He remained in that position for an indefinite amount of time before lifting his head slightly to allow his voice to whisper loudly.

NaviNavi…I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you…I’m so sorry…so sorry…please forgive me…forgive me…I’m so sorry…Navi…”

“Okay, okay, Link, you don’t have to say it over and over again. I accept your apology, although I don’t know what good it’s going to do you.”

Navi…? What…?”

His heart racing like the north wind, Link shook his tears away and looked up. There, hovering not too far away from his face, was a pink fey with a familiar name.

Navi!” Link cried blissfully. “You’re alive! You’re alive…!”

“Of course I’m alive!” Navi answered with her there-was-no-need-to-be-frightened voice. “I’m a fairy, and fairies can’t be killed by fire, a natural force of the world. Although that brute’s blast did knock me unconscious for a good while, and…”

Navi…” Link stuttered, trying to fight back his growing urge of happiness. “I’m glad you’re alive…I missed you so much…I really did…”

Navi “jumped,” as if surprised by that remark. “You did? You missed little olme? Why, I’m touched, Link! I never thought you’d actually miss me…”

Navi,” Link interrupted, not caring about the fairy’s sarcastic attitude. “Let me just touch you. Let me touch you again. Please…”

The fairy remained silent for a moment, as if considering Link’s plea. Finally, “Well, if you insist, sure. And…I guess I missed you too.”

Navi then fluttered to Link’s right arm and perched on it. The mere warmth from her glow was enough to cause Link to release hidden tears. As he sat there, allowing the fairy to just sit, he felt something tickle his right arm. He looked down and was surprised to find Navi hugging his arm as much as she could. But that wasn’t the thing tickling him, was it…? Then he saw them: tiny, fairy tears, streaking down Navi’s face and onto Link’s skin.

Navi, the unflappable and sarcastic fairy, was crying!

Link managed a faint smile. “I guess not even Navi can hide her true feelings…”

Just then, pain shot up his left arm, causing Link to jerk violently and jab his left hand into his stomach. It was then that he remembered his burnt hand…or, rather, the hand remembered for him!

Navi flew into the air at the jolt and blurted out, “Link! What’s wrong…? By Din’s Fire! What happened to your hand?”

“Burnt…” was all that Link managed before wincing and gritting his teeth to hold back the pain.

“Can you move?”

“Not very far…” Link answered without looking at Navi. “The pain’s a lot stronger than before…must have been that strange thing that went through me earlier.”

“Strange thing?” Navi asked, puzzled. “Link, what in Din’s Fire are you talking about?”

“I don’t know,” Link thought loudly as he vividly recalled him shooting fire – fire! – from his hand. “Maybe it really was Din’s Fire…! Oh, stop it, Link! No time for stupid jokes…”

Uuuurrrggh!” the Kokiri cried, struggling to keep his burned hand from pulsing with fresh blood too quickly. “The pain! It’s unbearable! I think I’m going to pass out…ugghNavi…help me…get help…ouch…”

“Link…on’t…he…on the…ook…ere…”

All that Link could make out were mumbled sounds that had absolutely no meaning. Maybe they once did have meanings, but his dying ears couldn’t detect them. His eyesight grew darker and darker; he was growing blind through the agonizing pain in his hand. He lost consciousness not too long after he couldn’t see a thing except pitch-blackness.

The last thing he saw were several strange shapes falling from the ceiling, possibly Dodongos coming to avenge their late king…


Princess Zelda stood before the giant mirror of her bedroom in complete silence, studying every aspect of her body that she possibly could. But with the imposing specially tailored dress upon on her shoulders and royal cap upon her scalp, she could only make out two features of her body: her hands and her face.

Not enough, she thought.

Releasing a deep sigh, Zelda began to remove her noble attire.

She first removed the leather belt with its golden buckle, then the necklace with its eye-catching sculpture of the Royal Family crest. She then reached for her cap, slowly sliding it from her scalp, a move that allowed her hair to be raised slightly before falling to its true length. Next came her pink apron-like shirt that had held the belt, then the white slip dress underneath. The next items were the bracelets that held her blue shirt in place, and then the blue undershirt itself. Finally she was left standing in her silk undergarments, which were the last piece of attire to be removed.

With all her clothing removed, Zelda looked again at the mirror. There she was, completely stripped of her clothing, her royalty…her image. She was no longer a princess, but an ordinary human being. There was nothing special about her other than her own individualism. She wasn’t better than anyone else in Hyrule or even worse than them. All she was now was one of them, a simple human being.

Ever since she had met Link, her entire world had been turned upside down. While that had been obvious from the first day she had met him, she had had no idea how much her life would change. Link was an outsider, someone from without the walls of Hyrule Castle. Before she had only spoken to those allowed within Hyrule Castle, and Link had changed that concept completely. Oh, sure, she loved the people of Hyrule, but there had always been a regal whisper in her ear that prevented her from actually meeting and speaking with them.

But Link had merely been the agitator; Ganondorf had been the catalyst. During their first meeting, Ganondorf had threatened her as if she were nothing more than a mere animal! She had always lived her life in complete comfort, never once thinking about how her life would be vulnerable. Ganondorf had changed all that when he had menaces her and came close to placing a sharp blade through her heart.

I am no longer anyone special, Zelda thought as she inspected her unclad body closely. She had seen herself unclothed many times, but never with such thoughts rolling around in mind. The young boy from the forest had indeed altered her life. Had he not appeared, she might’ve never changed her behavior and Ganondorf might’ve never threatened her like he did. For better or for worse, Link had changed her.

I am now just an ordinary human being, she concluded before turning her gaze to the pile of clothing beside her. Buried somewhere in there was something that Ganondorf possibly had his eyes on.

“But I will protect it with my life! Don’t think I won’t, Ganondorf! You will have to kill me before you get your slimy hands on it!”

She then gave another brief glance at her naked self through the mirror before proceeding to get dressed for bed.

On the other side of her closed bedroom door, a daunting and chilling individual listened against the door for a few moments before snickering softly and heading for the stables…

“How is he?”

“He should be up and about any time soon, although I must say, his hand was a bit of a task to fix up.”

“Will it be okay?”

“Oh, yes! This boy is a lot stronger than he looks. Several days from now he should be able to take off the wrapping. It’ll be a little stiff then, but some exercise should bring it to functioning like new again.”

“When can we leave? I know this is a little rude, but we’re in a dreadful hurry and need to get going as quickly as possible…”

“What? Completely out of the question! You can’t allow him to go traipsing around with a hand like that! He’ll need to rest while his hand his bandaged up or else he could lose it entirely. I doubt you want that to happen.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Absolutely definite! If you won’t take him somewhere peaceful and relaxing, then he’ll just have to stay here. End of story!”

“Well, I guess I could take him to Kakariko Village. It’s relatively quiet there, although I can’t make any guarantees.”

“Good. I’m counting on you. This young lad just saved our lives, and I don’t want him to lose a hand because of carelessness. You take good care of him, you hear?”

“I’ll do my best. I give you my word.”

Link thought he got the gist of the conversation he was overhearing, but his aching mind still had some blanks that needed to be filled about its complete essence. He strained his eyelids to open, but they put up quite a fight to stay closed. He groaned as his stiff limbs fought against his urge to sit up. When he finally managed to maintain a sitting his position, his eyelids finally gave in and opened, allowing a hazy world to be seen.

“Look, he’s awake already! This boy is incredible!”

Link thought he only faintly recognized the first voice, but he knew he knew the second voice.

“Yes, this boy is very special.”

The blurred form of Kaepora Gaebora eventually became clearer, and Link lifted his hands to stroke the sleep out of his eyes. But his left hand didn’t move with his right for some reason, and Link was forced to use his right hand for both eyes. When they had been rubbed, Link looked down at his left hand. It was wrapped up in a brown, warm, and soft material that felt quite comfortable, especially since there were burn marks underneath it. A long strand of the material had been looped around his neck and his arm, creating a sort of a sling for his left hand to rest on.

“Where…where am I…?” was all Link could ask.

“You’re safe, Link,” the Owl answered, causing the Kokiri to turn to him. “You’re back in Goron City, all in one piece.”

“And a hero to our people,” the recognized voice added. “I can’t thank you enough for what you did, and neither can Big Brother. He’s very anxious to know if you’re all right.”

“Who is that…?” Link thought before turning to the voice’s owner next to the Owl. He nearly jumped with surprise. Malatite! You’re alive!”

The Goron was indeed alive, although he definitely wasn’t in the best of conditions. He, too, had some of the brown material wrapped around him, only more severely. There was some of it around his stomach, his arms, and even across one of his eyes. The Goron seemed lucky to even be alive, which stirred a little guilt in the Kokiri’s heart. Malatite had taken a greater extent of the hardship of the quest, when Link had done most of the work. Link should’ve taken the harsher beating, not Malatite, especially when the Goron had been injured because of his own clumsiness.

“Yes, I’m alive,” the Goron admitted, “but barely. I never thought a Goron could survive such a fall when not rolled up, but I guess my bones are stronger than I gave them credit for. But I’m glad I managed to get to you when the others brought you in. I was so slow in making it back to Goron City that I thought you were dead by then.”

“What…?” Link questioned, blinking uneasily. “Can someone please tell me what happened? How did I get here?”

“I can answer that,” Navi replied, suddenly flying out of nowhere and in front of his face.

The fairy then proceeded to tell her view of the story. She had entered the mine not long after Link had killed the two LizalfosNavi had to explain that the Lizalfos were the lizardmen – and would’ve never known where to look if it hadn’t been for that Bomb Flower blast. She had hurried back to the main cavern and, drawn by a soft moan, found Malatite, bleeding but otherwise okay. Malatite had told him all he could about his and Link’s encounters, and that was when he had noticed the tunnel once hidden by the giant skull.

Navi had asked Malatite to go back because he wasn’t going to be much use with his injuries, and Malatite couldn’t help but agree. Navi had flown down the tunnel as fast as she could and arrived in the middle of Link’s battle with King Dodongo, where the monster had hit her with his fire breath and knocked her out. When she had woken up, King Dodongo lay dead and strewn all over the cavern. She met up with Link for their teary reunion – Navi left out any mention of “teary” – and Link passed out because of the pain of his left hand.

That was when several Gorons, including Darunia, dropped down into the cavern…

“…and here you are.” Navi finished her tale with a proud smile.

The four in the room remained silent for a moment before Malatite spoke again. “But there’s one thing I and I think everyone here would like to know. How did you kill King Dodongo? Not even the Almighty Five could accomplish such a feat. Two of them died in the attempt to rid Death Mountain of him. So how…?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you,” Link interrupted softly as he looked at his right hand. “I don’t even know the answer to that.” When he looked up again, he noticed Kaepora’s eyes looking at him with a gaze that seemed to suggest the old Owl knew…yet didn’t want to know…

“You’re all right! Thank the gods!”

Everyone in the room turned to the room’s door to find Big Brother Darunia standing there. Gone was the majestic stature Link had seen Darunia possess during his first meeting with the Goron. No more were his fiery eyes and tightened arms that displayed his rippling muscles. Now all that was left was a smiling Goron with somewhat of a slouch and a contented air around him.

The leader of the Gorons marched up to the Kokiri with his arms rocking back and forth like flimsy branches in a strong wind. When he was beside Link, Darunia’s smile widened and he used one of his enormous hands to give Link two powerful slaps on the back. All Link could do was grit his teeth and try and hide his tears so he didn’t show Darunia how much those slaps actually hurt. He was still groaning behind his teeth when Big Brother spoke up.

“I can’t thank you enough, Link. Your actions have been extraordinary. Malatite and the little fairy told me everything, from you slaying those Lizalfos or whatever to the death of King Dodongo. I couldn’t believe it at first, but King Dodongo’s carcass was all the proof I needed. You are indeed remarkable.

“Now that King Dodongo’s dead, the rest of the Dodongos won’t survive…unless there’s another King Dodongo somewhere within that breed, but I seriously doubt it. They’ll eventually die out, leaving those delicious rocks for us to excavate. We’ve already sent a mining team down, and I doubt they’ll encounter too much trouble with the Dodongos disillusioned.”

Darunia’s smile then widened even further. “I’m so happy with you and I’m going to give you what you wanted: the Sacred Stone.”

Link was still trying to hold back the pain of Darunia’s slaps, but he forgot about them when the leader of the Gorons opened his free hand to display a magnificent red stone. Unlike the emerald Link had in his pouch, which was somewhat round and square in shape, this Spiritual Stone was more elongated and thinner. But, like the Spiritual Stone of the Forest, the Spiritual Stone of Fire was also partially surrounded by a golden frame. It shone with brilliance similar to the emerald, if not equal to it. There was no doubt in Link’s mind that this was what he had been looking for.

With his right hand, Link reached out and gently took the Stone from Darunia’s enormous palm. He then looked at the Goron’s small eyes and said, “Thank you, Darunia.”

“Please, call me Big Brother. And don’t mentioned it, because you earned it…unlike that man in black.”

Link’s heart nearly skipped a beat. “What did you just say? Man in black? What man in black?”

Darunia’s face suddenly changed; it went from blissful to angry in a quick, smooth, and chilling transition. “Many days ago – I can’t remember how many – a man dressed in black came to our city and demanded that we’d give him the Sacred Stone. Of course, we were surprised to see a man at all in Death Mountain, and even more surprised about his knowledge of the Sacred Stone. He appeared not long after that boulder had sealed the mine, and after we refused to give him the Stone the Dodongos started their vigorous breeding.

“Something in the back of my mind always told me that he was the one responsible for our problems, but I didn’t have any physical evidence to prove it. Yet even now I feel he was the one who did all this. All I really know is that he simply demanded the Stone, while you risked your life for us. I never thought I’d be giving the Sacred Stone to a human, but these are strange times, indeed.”

Man in black. Link’s heart pounded furiously as his mind raced to the obvious conclusion: that person could only be Ganondorf. So he did know the location of the Spiritual Stones other than the Kokiri Emerald. How could he have been so stupid? Why didn’t he think of this before he left Hyrule Castle? All of this chaos was too suspicious to just be circumstantial! If Ganondorf could create a creature like Gohma to kill the Great Deku Tree, then was it any less difficult to block a mine and bring a banished race back to life?

Then had Ganondorf visited the third and final Spiritual Stone…?

“Say, Link,” Darunia suddenly bellowed, interrupting Link’s thoughts, “how would you like to become Sworn Brothers, like I am with the King of Hyrule?”

Deciding not to dwindle on the latest problem he had to face, Link decided to ask a question that had itched in his mind for some time. “But how are you a Sworn Brother of the King of Hyrule when you haven’t even met him before? The Goron race is secluded, remember…”

“I didn’t meet him,” Darunia answered, “bu fort my ancestors did. They met the King of Hyrule and became his Sworn Brother. The title is passed down from generations to generations, although nowadays we don’t even see each other. So, do you want to be come a Sworn Brother of the Goron race? All that’s required is for you to simply give the oath.”

Link pondered the offer quietly for a few moments before replying, “Sure, why not?”

“Great. Now repeat after me: I, with the gods as my witness, hereby swear that I shall become a Sworn Brother to the Goron race. I will answer any cry, any request, and any call to the best of my abilities so that I may give aid to my brothers in need. I will accept any assistance from my brothers should I require it. I will live with the knowledge that I have a family other than my immediate kin, and I shall find them if I have no one else to turn to and will always be embraced. I, with the gods as my witness, hereby swear that I am now a Sworn Brother to the Goron race. There, you are now a Sworn Brother.”

Link repeated the pledge perfectly, although he almost stumbled on the last sentence when he heard Navi whisper in his ear, “A little melodramatic, isn’t it?”

“And now, Sworn Brother,” Darunia said with a sly smile. “How about giving your own Sworn Brother a great big Goron hug?”

Link’s eyes darted to the Goron’s arm muscles. “With those arms? Are you crazy?”

“I think I need some air,” Link suddenly stated. Before anyone could say anything, Link jumped off his bed and headed for the door, leaving an Owl, a fairy, and two Gorons in complete bewildered silence…

Midday next day proved to be quite a scorching hour, so Kaepora decided that he, Link, and Navi would head out for Kakariko village in the evening. To pass the time, Link walked around Goron City, getting to know some of the Gorons he had only yesterday saved from complete starvation. A few still refused to believe that such a small boy had slain King Dodongo, but most of the Gorons worshipped him close to the status of a god. Several gave him more hard slaps on the back, and one or two even tried to give him a hug like Darunia. He was careful to avoid those as politely as he could.

Not once during his stay did Link ask Kaepora about the strange fire that had escaped from his hand. He didn’t know why, but Link felt that asking the Owl about such a thing would introduce him to something he didn’t want to know about. Even so, he sometimes felt the wide-eyed gaze of the Owl piercing his mind, trying to force him to tell everything that had happened.

Finally, when evening rolled around and the heat had subsided a little, Kaepora Gaebora, Link, and Navi stepped outside of Goron City and prepared to fly to the village closest to Death Mountain’s base. Darunia, Malatite, and several of Link’s devout worshippers were there to see them off.

“Goodbye, Sworn Brother,” Darunia said, shaking Link’s hand furiously. “And thank you again for what you have done. Are you sure you don’t want a Goron hug?”

“Sorry,” Link answered with an uneasy laugh, “but doctor’s orders. I have to keep this hand as still as possible, and things like hugs could damage it.”

“Then I wish you luck on your journey, and may the Three Goddesses always smile upon you. And here’s something for you.”

Darunia then held out his palms, producing from seemingly nowhere the sword Link had lost in the cave. “I picked it up when we rescued you, and I thought you might want it back. I’m only giving it to you now because…well, I don’t really know. It just feels right, I guess.”

Smiling at Darunia’s cheap sense of humor, Link gladly took the sword and replaced it in its sheath. Just then, the Kokiri remembered something. “Hey, let me give you this bracelet you gave me back…”

“Oh, goodness, no!” Darunia protested. “Keep it! We Gorons have no use for such a trinket. It was made for Hylians and seems to work perfectly for you. And it will help you do more than pick Bomb Flowers. Consider it a parting gift from me.”

Then it was Malatite’s turn to say goodbye. Link hadn’t seen the Goron doctor all that day and still felt somewhat guilty about Malatite’s near-death experience. He hoped Malatite hadn’t avoided him because he had nearly killed…

“Here, Link,” Malatite said as he held out something towards the Kokiri. It was a sack, about the size of the bag that carried Link’s ocarina and two Spiritual Stones. From the rocky bulk on its surface, Link could tell many “things” were inside it.

“What is it?” Link asked as he took the bag.

“It’s a bomb bag, filled with bombs…but don’t worry, don’t worry! Those are perfected bombs, the doctored seeds of the Bomb Flower. The only way they’ll explode is if they’re lit. And don’t worry about accidents igniting the bombs, because that bag is made from a lining of a Dodongo’s throat, which is virtually fireproof. In fact, this bag is made from the very throat of King Dodongo, so consider it a trophy for your brave deed. I spent all day making it and I’m glad I could give it to as a going away present.”

Malatite then smiled and added, “And don’t worry about that blast that nearly killed me. I accepted the risk involved in helping you, so it was entirely my fault, not yours. Don’t be hard on yourself for such a small thing. I’m still alive, am I not?”

“I guess you are,” Link said, smiling back. He took the bomb back and attacked it to his belt, alongside his other pouch and his slingshot. He was starting to have quite an assortment of items on his person! “I just wish I could give you all something in return…”

“You already have!” Malatite beamed with pride. “You’ve saved our race from extinction, and you also have my friendship, and that’s worth more than all the Sacred Stones and bomb bags in the world. So leave Death Mountain with pride, for you are a hero and nothing less.”

Malatite then gave Link a final slap on the back, forcing Link again to grit his teeth to hide the pain…

“Ahem,” Kaepora suddenly cooed loudly. “Link, I don’t mean to be rude, but can we please go now? We have things to do…”

“Remember!” Malatite boomed, pointing a finger at the Owl. “You promised to give this boy some rest, and you had better keep your word.”

“I will keep my word, but I want his rest to begin as soon as possible. I feel time is grown short and unless we don’t get going we might lose even more than time.”

“Very well,” Malatite agreed before returning his gaze to Link. “Link, best of luck to you, and may your rest be relaxing and peaceful.”

Th-th-thanks…” Link managed through his teeth as he fought back the impact of Malatite’s slap…


Nightfall had become the new master when Link, Navi, and Kaepora arrived at Kakariko Village, although there was still enough twilight for Link and Navi to see the village properly. Since they hadn’t managed to obtain a good look during their first visit to Impa’s hometown, they took another and more engrossing observation.

The houses of Kakariko Village immediately distinguished itself from the houses of Hyule Castle New City in that they weren’t grouped closely together. They were also far simpler and more unpretentious, which probably reflected the village’s rural lifestyle. The soft sounds of unfamiliar animals could be heard all around the village, and at the far end of the village stood a tall building with four strange panels that turned around in a circle. Its purpose eluded Link, but since he was going to be in Kakariko Village for several days he would most likely learn its use.

When they touched down in the middle of the village, Kaepora fluttered to a nearby rooftop and then turned to the two below him.

“Link, you know I don’t really want to do this, but I also don’t want your hand to be permanently disabled. So here’s the compromise of the situation. I’m going to fly around Hyrule for the next several days and see what I can find about the third Spiritual Stone. You will do your best to allow your hand to heal. I’ll return here every three days until your hand is healed, then we can set out together. How does that sound?”

Link and Navi agreed to the Owl’s plan almost immediately.

“Good. I’ll begin the search immediately then. You try to find some place to sleep and rest. I’ll return here three days from tomorrow. Farewell, Link, Navi, and take care of yourselves.”

With those final words, Kaepora Gaebora took off into the night and was soon lost from view.

After watching the night sky for a few moments in vain for signs of the Owl, Link turned to Navi and asked, “So, where do you think we should try? I don’t have any money for the inns, so we can rule those out.”

“I guess we’ll have to ask someone around here if we could use stay in their homes. It’s a little rude, but unless you want to sleep outdoors that’s what we’re going to have to try.”

Link nodded in agreement, although the truth was he could’ve easily slept outdoors. He had done this feat so many times in the Lost Woods, though those times were often unpredictable. He had lied down in one place and often found himself in another spot the next morning. Such a thing wouldn’t be good for his burnt hand, so that possibility wasn’t…well, possible.

Link sighed. “I wish Malon was here. She would help me out. But I guess we’re just stuck here asking for people I don’t even know…”

Suddenly, the world went black. Link nearly jumped when everything around him went from nightly darkness to complete darkness, but he soon realized that his eyes were being covered by something pushing against his face. He reached with his right hand and felt these things covering his eyes, and found they were small hands…

“Guess who?” spoke a familiar voice.

At first, Link was too stunned to say anything, but he quickly recovered and gave his answer in the form of a question.

Aww, you’re no fun,” the playful voice uttered moments before the hands were removed from Link’s eyes. Link blinked once and spun around to confirm his answer. He had, indeed, replied perfectly, but he was still amazed to see who it was.

“How are you, Fairy Boy? What you doing in Kakariko Village?” Malon asked as she threw her red hair back with one of her hands.

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