Usually, whatever the King of Hyrule said was always considered final, but his daughter was also one of the few people that was the exception to the rule.
"How can you call it nonsense, father?" Zelda asked, the calmness she generally held slowly beginning to fade. "I have dreamt this dream for countless moons, and each night it never changes. How can you deny that it is a prophecy of some sort?"
"Dreams and prophecies are two completely different things, Zelda," the king answered gruffly. "Just because you dream of the same thing night after night doesn’t mean it is a prophecy. After your mother died, I dreamt of her every night for almost a year afterwards. That doesn’t make my dream a prophecy."
Zelda’s face tightened in frustration. At the moment, she was standing before her father on his throne as if she were one of his loyal subjects and not his daughter. That was how their discussions usually went as well. He never talked to her as if she were his loving child but instead as an ordinary person. She had grown somewhat used to this behavior since her mother had died, but at the moment the subject matter was far too serious to be taken lightly.
"But that also doesn’t not make my dream a prophecy, either," Zelda stated, placing her hands on her hips.
The king stared his daughter silently for a moment before he sighed and continued, "Very well, then. If it is a prophecy, where is there evidence to back up the predictions foreseen in your dream?"
Zelda’s face loosened at the question. She hadn’t considered that thought at all. Besides the fact that the dream was frequent, where was there evidence to back it up? She considered her alternatives for a few moments before she answered.
"The dream possess an element of dark clouds engulfing Hyrule. I believe that these dark clouds are symbolic of the King of Thieves that is to come visit you tomorrow."
The king’s eyes widened slightly with Zelda’s answer, as if he was thinking about her words. Then, without warning, he started to snicker, and very loudly! Zelda was surprised, for her father rarely laughed at anything. Why was he laughing at such a critical time?
"Zelda, my darling," the king managed through his laughter, "I think your ‘predictions’ are a little off. The King of the Gerudo – the King of Thieves, as you so politely call him – is coming for an allegiance treaty, not to conquer Hyrule."
"But father!" Zelda cried, taking a step forward in fury. "Allegiance or no, he still leads the Gerudo, and all the Gerudo are thieves, so it’s not difficult to assume that their leader is also a thief!"
By now, the snickering had stopped and seriousness had returned to the king’s face and voice. "Maybe, but what can even the ‘King of Thieves’ do against us? Hyrule has stood against invasions since the beginning of Time, and I doubt a Gerudo king will be able topple this kingdom."
"But father," Zelda began more fervently. The king, however, interrupted more forcefully than Zelda.
"But nothing! Your dream doesn’t prove anything, Zelda! Unless you have firm evidence to support it, it can’t be considered a prophecy! You have wasted enough of my time with this foolishness! Guards, please escort the princess from my presence!"
At his word, two Hyrulian guards at his side moved forward to accompany Zelda from the throne room. Zelda, however, beat them to the punch.
"I can find my own way out, thank you!" she declared. Without another word, Zelda turned around and left the room, leaving her father to watch her haughty exodus.
As she stormed down the passageway to her bedroom, Zelda tried concentrating all her anger into her mind. "You’ll see! When it’s too late, you’ll see, father! In the meantime, I won’t simply sit down on this. I shall protect the Hyrule and Sacred Realm from this monster. In the end, father, you…will…see!"
While venting all her anger, Zelda couldn’t help but think about the young man in her dream. "Please," she quietly begged, "if you are out there, help me! I need you! Please…!"
"How much farther, Kaepora?"
"Oh, we still have about half a day’s trek ahead of us, Link. Just be patient."
Link sighed at the word patient and tried quickening his pace. The Owl was, of course, faster than he was, but he didn’t want to seem like a slowpoke to the talking creature. Kaepora Gaebora had encircled Link enough times during the journey to make his head spin and back again several times.
Meeting Kaepora had been, to put it bluntly, different for Link. After all, it wasn’t every day that one walks along, minding his own business, when an Owl that can talk suddenly appears out of nowhere and speaks to him. Link was cautious at first, but when he realized that the new arrival wasn’t hostile he decided to allow the Owl to journey with him and Navi
Navi, for some reason, appeared unafraid from the very beginning.
From the outset of the journey, Kaepora explained – somewhat, at least – the reason for his presence. He explained that he was sent to aid Link in any way he could, which included his extensive knowledge of Hyrule and the surrounding lands. Link, however, somehow knew that Kaepora was withholding certain information about himself, but Link realized that everyone had secrets they didn’t want to reveal, so he decided not to pursue the idea.
Instead, Link asked Kaepora about the "Princess of Destiny" the Great Deku Tree had mentioned.
"The ‘Princess of Destiny’ is Princess Zelda of Hyrule," Kaepora answered one night while the group was resting in the open fields of Hyrule. "I don’t know much about her, for it’s difficult to learn much when you’re an Owl. However, from the little I do know about her, she is a kind and loving young woman who adores Hyrule and its people. I also heard she wants to break the tradition of arranged marriages within the Royal Family."
The description wasn’t too helpful, but at least Link knew that such a person existed.
In the meantime, Link decided to practice his sword fighting skill in case he should need them again. Kaepora, it turned out, also knew a thing or two about how to handle a sword. As best as an Owl could, he taught Link how to correctly hold the sword and how to move it through the air gracefully without slipping on the grip. Of course, Link was the one who did the most work, but Kaepora helped him polish it.
All the talking and training and walking, however, didn’t seem to possess an end. The group had been traveling for three days, and on every one of those days Kaepora insisted that they were nearing the end. Link, however, was growing increasingly skeptical of the Owl’s promises, so skeptical that he decided not to tell the Owl about the foreboding dream he had at night.
The fourth day, however, showed promise when the Owl revised his promise, saying half a day of traveling remained before they reached their destination. The destination, Kaepora stated every time Link asked the question, was called Hyrule Castle New City, with Hyrule Castle situated in the center upon a mighty hill. It was in this castle, the Owl indicated, that Princess Zelda dwelled.
Din’s Eye on the fourth day was brighter than usual, and without the protective umbrellas of the Lost Woods Link was forced to adjust to the heat waves in the open fields. Several breezes did arise to cool him and Navi off, but they were infrequent and short-lived. Kaepora, on the other hand, seemed to embrace the warmth, despite the fact that he was a nocturnal creature.
What secrets did the Owl harbor? What was it that made him different? Link could only guess, and none of his presumptions seemed correct.
When the sun was high in the midday sky, Kaepora, who was circling Link and Navi several feet above them, abruptly cooed loudly, "There it is! We’ve made it!"
Despite his excited cry, Link and Navi were forced to climb a small hill in order to see what he was seeing. When their sight wasn’t limited by the rise, the Kokiri and the fairy nearly fell to the ground in shock.
Saria had told Link many stories about Outsider towns, how they were bigger than Kokiri Village and even than the Great Deku Tree, but Link never imagined that it would be this big! Even from the distance they were standing, the sheer height and width of the outer wall was astonishing, while the city’s third dimension, its length, remained obscured by several tall structures that seemed to rise above the enormous barrier.
The centerpiece of the city, however, was the largest structure of all, an immeasurable castle that dwarfed every surrounding…well, thing! Link tried his best to consider how many Kokiri could live comfortably in such a building, but the castle’s dimensions were so vast that he couldn’t find a good estimate. He then remembered that this was where the Princess of Destiny lived. Did she have a large number of friends or something to own such an enormous home?
Kaepora’s voice suddenly interrupted Link’s wandering thoughts. "I’m sure you can see Hyrule Castle from here, Link. There, you will find Princess Zelda. I’m afraid I can’t accompany you into the city, because hunters consider Owls good bounty these days. I’m sure a talking Owl would make a more tempting prize."
Link didn’t understand what the Owl meant by "bounty," but he realized the reason was a serious one. "How shall I find you again?"
"Don’t worry about that," Kaepora answered. "If you need me, I’ll find you. Good luck in the city, Link."
With a final circle around Link and Navi, the Owl gave a silent hoot before he headed in a direction just to the right of Hyrule Castle New City, towards a distant mountain range. It wasn’t long before he was lost in the glare of Din’s Eye.
Link watched the majestic city for about a minute longer before he finally turned to Navi and asked, "Well, shall we go and find the Princess of Destiny?"
"Let’s go," Navi answered.
The streets of Hyrule Castle New City were busier than she last remembered them to be. But then again, she wasn’t the kind of person to remember trivial things that didn’t matter to her. The daily swarm of people in cities was one of those things. Towns were too clamorous and fast-paced for her. She preferred the quieter and slower life in the countryside, where she could find herself as a person and an individual.
Moving to avoid a rude man carrying a large sack on his back, she nearly crashed into one of the stalls surrounding the outskirts of Market Square. Luckily, the stall keeper politely prevented her from colliding with the booth and possibly dislodging merchandise. Thanking the large man, she looked around for an opening in the crowd so she could reenter it. When she found one, she took the first chance she got…
…and nearly caused a woman to drop a basket of orange fruit. The woman scolded and complained about the discourtesy of youngsters these days, but the "rude youth" barely heard these words as she struggled to dodge oncoming pedestrians from all directions. She did accidentally brush sides with several more people, but for the most part she managed to evade major impacts with others.
Finally, she found a spot in the unstable populace where the movement wasn’t as vibrant. Sighing with relief, she hoped she would be able to follow the flow of traffic around Market Square to the street that led to her inn…
Just then, the people around her abruptly panicked for some reason and bolted in every direction. Not knowing what was going on, she stopped where she was and looked around, hoping to see what everyone else was obviously seeing.
When she did see it, it was nearly on top of her. Without thinking, she jumped to the side in time to avoid the enormous, galloping black horse from crushing her beneath its mighty hoofs. She landed on the ground with a soft thud, but she managed to turn in time to watch the dark creature exit the Square in the direction of Hyrule Castle, people hastening in all directions to get out of the beast’s path.
As she stood up and dusted herself off, she gave a disapproving face at the black horse and its rider she didn’t manage to catch sight of. "How vulgar!" she thought. "Ride through here without even thinking of anyone’s safety. I hope I never see that man again, whoever he is."
But even as she thought this, she recalled what she saw before she jumped to safety: two, dark red eyes located firmly and undeniably within the horse’s sockets. She also had a feeling that she would see those eyes someday again…
A young man pushing her along, an indication that the deadlock had started up again interrupted her thoughts. Giving the man a tight face, she moved with the flow once more, trying her best to stay out of everyone’s way, until she finally found her street. The traffic down here was far slower than the Square, so she had no trouble walking here.
As she headed down the street, looking for anything interesting before she arrived at the inn, her eye suddenly caught sight of something. It wasn’t a stall or a shop or even item. It was a person, a lone boy about her age walking down the street. She had seen many boys her age during her visits to Hyrule Castle New City, but those boys always either had their parents with them or appeared to be familiar with the city.
Neither factor applied to this boy.
Another thing that intrigued her about this boy was that he was wearing all green. Of course, lots of people wore the same color, but there was something about the clothing on this boy. It didn’t look familiar, as if the boy had come from a completely different world.
"I wonder who he is?" she wondered, keeping an eye on him without trying to appear obvious. "A newcomer? Where are his parents? What’s he doing?"
Curious about this unusual stranger, she decided to follow him and see what he would do…
Link sidestepped to avoid another passerby, one that was again much taller than he was. Rarely in Kokiri Village had Link been forced to move and dodge people frequently as they passed by, but on the other hand there weren’t that many people in Kokiri Village to dodge. Even so, none of the persons in Kokiri Village were this big!
Navi was probably the lucky one at the moment, for she was hiding underneath Link’s hat. She decided to do this they didn’t know how people outside the Lost Woods would react to a fairy. Link agreed, although he felt more comfortable with Navi by his side and not perched from view upon his head.
Link found a small haven from the traffic and stopped to rest. He didn’t think that navigating through crowds would be this difficult. And he hadn’t even found a way to Hyrule Castle yet! Despite the fact that the castle was in the middle of the city, he streets were as much of a maze as the Lost Woods were, although this labyrinth was larger and far more difficult. He looked up at the sky and, through the forest of buildings he managed to make see Din’s Eye nearing the evening horizon.
Had he been wandering the town for that long?
Realizing he would have to find a place to rest, he looked around for any place labeled as an "inn." Kaepora had told him that inns were placed where travelers could rest, although they would have to pay Rupees to stay in them. Link didn’t know what Rupees were, but he didn’t bother asking because he was tired when the Owl had explained it to him.
To his surprise, Link found a sign hanging just above his head that read, "Fire Boar Inn." Thinking that this was his lucky day, Link found the door to the building and opened it. He then entered the residence quietly and quickly, expecting to see hundreds of people huddled around each other to take advantage of the inn’s purpose.
Instead, Link found a large room possessing only a few individuals, and most of them were obviously not there because they were using the room to reside there. Surprised by the waste of space, Link wondered why there were so few people in the room when he heard a loud, gruff voice.
"Hey, kid! Are you here to get a room or are you lost?"
Link turned to the source of the voice: a short yet well built man standing behind a large counter at the far end of the room. The man’s face displayed emotions of a short-temper and impatience, so Link decided not to do anything to make the man angry. Even so, he couldn’t help but wonder about his question.
"Excuse me?" the Kokiri asked slowly.
"By Farore’s Wind, are you deaf?" the man declared. "Are you going to rent a room at this establishment or not? If you aren’t, then get out of here!"
Link suddenly understood. The man must own several rooms that contained suitable amounts of space for people to rent. Feeling slightly stupid for not paying close attention to Kaepora’s words, he walked up the man behind the counter and uttered, "I guess I’d like a room."
"How many in the room?"
"Two," Link answered, thinking of Navi.
"How many nights are you staying?"
Link thought for a moment before answering, "I don’t know…"
"Then I’ll have to ask for a twenty Rupee deposit."
Link gave the man a blank look before remembering Kaepora mentioning Rupees. Growing a little embarrassed, Link said to the man, "I’m sorry, but I don’t know what Rupees are. Could you possibly show me, if it isn’t too much trouble?"
The man threw his arms up in frustration. He then breathed a heavy sigh before putting on an obviously fake smile and saying, "You don’t know what Rupees are and you want to know what they are, is that it? Okay, kid. I’ll show you if it makes you feel happy."
The man then reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled out something with his fist. He then showed the fist, open, to Link. In the man’s palm were several small stones of green and blue colors that glittered with a bright light, just like the Kokiri Emerald the Great Deku Tree had given Link although slightly dimmer.
"Now," the man huffed, "if you’ll just hand over twenty greens or four blues, then we’ll both be happy."
Link didn’t know what to do. He didn’t have anything like those with him, except for the Kokiri Emerald, and he wasn’t about to give that up for anything. "I’m sorry, but I…don’t have anything like that…"
"Well, then," the man snarled as he removed the Rupees from sight, "If you don’t have any money with you, then you don’t get a room. Now get out of here! I don’t run a daycare center!"
Unable to counter the man’s hostility, Link turned and ran out of the inn, although he stopped to close the door on his way out. But that didn’t change the situation he was in. He obviously needed Rupees to buy things in this place, and he didn’t have any on him. Now what was he going to do…?
"You sure showed Master Bilton, didn’t you?"
The voice was soft and gentle, but Link was surprised nevertheless. Without thinking, Link spun around to look behind him, where the voice had come from. To his complete surprise, he found himself staring at a person who was his size! More precisely, a young girl!
"Who are you?" he asked without noticing anything else about her.