The man held the two lights above his hands for a moment longer before he finally lowered them. The pink light, the fairy flew from his hand and hovered above his shoulder, leaving faint trails of sound as it went. The second, unknown green light disappeared from view.
Intrigued by the young man that had just saved the country she loved, she walked up to him in order to thank him. The young man looked up and seemed to see her, but he didn’t make an effort to acknowledge her. Instead, his face widened his suspected smile, fascinating her even further.
When she reached him, she discovered she still couldn’t make out his features clearly enough to get a clear picture of him. Even so, she strangely found him one of the most handsome men she had even seen. The fairy hovering around his shoulder remained eerily silent.
When she tried to speak in order to thank him, she found she couldn’t find the right words. What words does one give to a person that has just saved the land? She tried her best to think, but nothing sounded right. She tried her best not to show her frustration, but she suspected the man knew about her difficulty in finding the right thing to say.
Just then, the man did something unexpected. From seemingly nowhere, he produced a magnificent ocarina. A small one, but magnificent nevertheless. Without a word, the man put the instrument to his lips and began playing. When she heard the melody, she was amazed to learn that it was her song. The song that only she and her family knew.
How did he know such a precious and forbidden song…?
Princess Zelda sat up abruptly from the dream. It wasn’t necessarily a frightening dream, but it did cause excitement when she slept so her breathing was rapid regardless. She placed a hand against her chest to feel her heart beat swiftly, and she reached with her other hand to feel small droplets of sweat upon her brow.
"That same dream," she thought as she calmed down. "That same dream again. How many nights has it been…I can’t even recall anymore. It must be of some importance if I’ve been having it this many moons."
Deciding she needed some fresh air, Zelda got out of her bed in her pure white nightdress and slipped on her purple robe before heading to the small private garden adjoined to her bedroom. She had been to the garden for several nights now, each time after having that same dream. It was the only place in the palace where she could think clearly without worry of anyone bothering her.
As her bare feet caressed the soft grass underneath her feet, Zelda thought about her dream for probably the hundredth time. The dream hadn’t changed at all during each time she had dreamt. Each time it possessed the same elements: the dark billowing storm clouds, the intense beam of light, the handsome man with the fairy and the emerald light.
This time, however, it had been extended to where the man played the royal melody, a melody nobody outside the palace should dare learn.
Zelda reached a small bench and sat down, her eyes widening with thought and theory. Could the extension of the dream signal a dramatic advancement of something? Could it be a warning to the warning?
Confused Zelda leaned her head on her hands. She knew that the leader of the Gerudo Desert would be arriving in a few days to accept a treaty of allegiance to her father, but she had always doubted truth when it came from the mouths of thieves. Their leader was no exception. This chief – Ganondorf, she thought his name was – this chief must have something planned for Hyrule.
And an allegiance with her father wasn’t likely to be one of them!
Looking up at the open ceiling to the sea of stars, Zelda prayed to the Three Goddesses to protect Hyrule from evil. She also, for some strange reason, prayed that she would find that handsome man in her dream…
"Link? Are you okay? Can you hear me?"
Saria’s voice slowly yet surely grew audible as Link opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was a silhouette of her face. When features were clear enough for him to make out her weak smile and tear-filled eyes, Link managed to smile back.
"Saria…" he succeeded in muttering.
Saria allowed a single tear to drip upon his cheek. "Oh, Link, I thought you were dead. Don’t you ever do that to me again, do you hear me? Don’t you ever make me worry about you again like that!"
Despite her harsh words, Link could feel the softness behind them. She had obviously been worried sick about him during his unconsciousness. There was only one thing he could say at that moment.
With those words, Saria couldn’t hold out any longer. She burst into tears and buried her head in her arms to hide her face. Link managed to shift his bodyweight to get a good view of her weeping, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he placed a comforting hand on her back as she continued to allow her emotions drain.
Link didn’t know how long she cried, but when she finally stopped and looked up her face was as dirty as his was. Even so, he was still covered in bodily fluids, so he beat her uncleanness by a long shot.
The two remained silent for a moment before they started talking again. Saria started the conversation by telling Link what was going on in Kokiri Village. Everyone knew about the death of the Great Deku Tree by now, and Mido was spreading lies that Link was responsible for the death. Luckily, no Kokiri believed the falsehoods; they knew that Mido was looking for an outlet to vent his grief.
It was then that Link remembered the Deku Tree’s words. "Saria, the Great Deku Tree told me…"
"I know," Saria interrupted. "While you were sleeping, Navi told me everything."
"Navi?" Link cried, suddenly remembering the fairy. "Where is she…?"
"She went with the other fairies to hold a private service for the Great Deku Tree. Once it’s finished, they’ll return to us Kokiri and remain as our guardians out of respect for him. Katl’s gone as well. We’re the only ones in this room, Link."
Link started when she said that. He looked around and couldn’t find any trace of Saria’s fairy. She was right; they were alone together. He blushed slightly, for he was alone with…his best friend? Or was Saria much more than that?
Trying to draw attention away from his redness, Link asked, "So can you tell me about this Princess of Destiny in the north?"
Saria nodded, as if she knew of Link’s feelings. "When the Great Deku Tree was alive, he used to tell me tales of the world outside the forest. One of these tales involved a caring princess that lived outside the forest in the land to the north. The land is known as Hyrule, but the exact location of where the princess lives wasn’t told to me."
"Then what am I going to do? I can’t leave the forest to go look for her. I’ll die if I do…"
Saria suddenly stopped him by leaning forward and touching his lips gently with a finger. "Link, I never told you this before, but you’re different from the Kokiri. It’s not because you didn’t have a fairy, but it’s something else. You’re…special in some way I can’t understand. But you’re different, Link. It’s one of the reasons I was drawn to you in the first place. It’s one of the reasons I…"
She suddenly stopped, not wanting to say the next few words. Link, however, understood perfectly what she wanted to say. He also knew that what she said was true. For some reason he, too, felt he was different, and it wasn’t because he had no fairy. He didn’t feel as close to everything around him as he should’ve been. He instead felt…separated.
Nodding in agreement, Link gently pulled her finger away and asked, "So what must I do?"
"First, you must change your clothes and get ready for the journey ahead. Then you must rest up as much as you can. As soon as Navi gets back, you should go. The Great Deku Tree gave you a charge. You mustn’t delay a second longer than you should."
Saria then stood up and walked to the other end of the room, picked something up, and headed back to Link. "I must confess, I was in your house while you were breaking the Great Deku Tree’s curse. I somehow…knew that you were going to leave this place someday, so I wanted to get your ocarina so I could…trade it for something better."
Saria then held the object in her hand for Link to see. It was an ocarina, but it was obviously no ordinary ocarina. It was handmade and smaller than the usual size, but even by looking at it Link could feel its perfection radiate.
"This is my own ocarina," she said as she placed it carefully in Link’s hands. "I call it the Fairy Ocarina because I believe it can be used to communicate with the spirits of the forest. But now I want you to have it."
Link looked at his friend with surprise. "Saria…I can’t. This thing is too precious to give to me…and besides, it’ll force me to relearn everything you’ve taught…"
"Link, remember what I said about the ocarina? It’s alive. If you can tap into that life essence, you’ll be able to play any ocarina you choose. Just believe in yourself."
Link wanted to argue, but he decided not to. He didn’t feel like contradiction his best friend’s words right now. He was too tired and sore. Sighing, he managed all his strength to stand up and said, "So I guess I’d better get ready."
He was then about to remove his shirt when he stopped and added, "Could you please turn around?"
Now it was Saria’s turn to turn red. "Sure…" she uttered as she complied.
While Link took a bath in a tub of warm water Saria had prepared earlier, Saria went to Link’s house to find a change of clothing for him. She also did him the favor of cleaning his sword and shield and slingshot. By the time Link had finished cleaning himself up, he looked as if he hadn’t even fought Gohma.
Navi and Katl returned sometime later, and Navi had obviously been crying extensively. Link didn’t ask how the ceremony had gone, but he did say that it was good to see her again. Navi merely thanked him.
Saria gave Link a bag filled with food she had prepared for the journey ahead and also gave him the ocarina wrapped in a small piece of paper. Link told her that he would treasure it always. This nearly made Saria cry again, but this time she managed to resist. Instead, she gave Link a hug to show how much she would miss him. All Link could do was return the embrace.
When the good-byes were said and done, Saria gave Link a kiss on the forehead for good luck before he left her house. The morning was still a couple of hours away, leaving plenty of night cover for Link to leave Kokiri Village. Navi’s good-byes were shorter than Link’s, but she couldn’t hide her emotion of leaving.
The last image Saria saw of Link was of him looking back at her, his face smiling gently, before he disappeared into the night, heading towards the edge of the forest and great beyond…
"There it is," Link declared, pointing. "The end of the forest."
Indeed, it was. The edge of the Lost Woods was as clear and distinct as the midday sun. It was also the boundary for the Kokiri. Kokiri were so closely linked to the forest that should any one leave the boundary of the woods he would immediately die. Now Link was about to undertake that very journey. Despite his acknowledgement of him being different from the other Kokiri, he still felt very nervous about what he was about to do.
"So, are you going to go through with it?" Navi asked.
"Yes," Link answered as he took a deep breath. "Well, here goes."
Making sure he had a clear shot without any trees to obscure his way, Link closed his eyes, released his breath, and ran. He ran with the same determination he had possessed earlier, but this time it was to run towards the thing he was afraid of instead of away from it. At any moment he expected his heart to suddenly stop and his body to collapse into a lifeless pile, but he felt none of this, which made him only more determined to continue.
He didn’t know how long he ran, but he refused to stop. Navi’s voice, however, suddenly spoke up. "Link! Stop! Open your eyes and take a look at what you’ve done!"
Deciding to follow her advice, Link stopped and opened his eyes…to find himself standing in a tree-less, grass-covered plain! He turned around to look behind him and saw in the distance – in the distance! – the edge of the Lost Woods. Unbelievable as it was, Link was outside the Lost Woods. He hadn’t died, as he should have. Instead, he was standing very much alive in an area completely cut-off from the forest.
It was nothing short of miraculous!
"I don’t believe it," was all Link could say.
"And yet for some reason, I can," Navi beamed. "Don’t ask me how, but I can believe it."
Not the best time of day for an Owl to be active.
But Kaepora Gaebora was determined to overcome his natural instincts to search for the Child of Destiny. He had flown as fast and as hard as he could to reach the Lost Woods, but he only managed to arrive as Din’s Eye nearly finished peeking above the horizon. When he arrived, he was forced to quell his hunger by eating a stray field mouse. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to get him to fly over the Lost Woods’ canopy towards the largest manifestation of the forest, the Great Deku Tree.
He didn’t even need to get close to it to know that the Deku Tree was dead. Kaepora didn’t cry, because first of all he was an Owl. But he also didn’t cry because he knew that even mighty sages like the Deku Tree eventually passed away. Kaepora himself was an example of this. But this left a burning question: where was the Child of Destiny?
Forced again to navigate the river of Time, Kaepora learned that the one called Link had already left the forest and was heading north to meet the Princess of Destiny. Stopping only to eat a small hare, the Owl set off in pursuit of the Child of Destiny.
Despite the fact that the boy had a head start on him, Kaepora could move a lot faster than the boy ever could walk. Using this advantage in every possible way, the Owl headed in a rough direction of where the boy might head. He prayed to the Three Goddesses that he would find the one called Link.
His prayers were answered. At about midday, Kaepora spotted a lone green-clad figure walking in the grassy carpets of Hyrule. Thankful, the Owl looked for a nearby place to roost so he could greet the boy as he passed by. He spotted a solitary, dying oak directly in the boy’s path and he glided down towards the largest and probably most stable the branch possessed. There, he waited until the one called Link was within earshot.
"Greetings, Link," Kaepora called.