Link felt more in his element again as he took on enemies. Zelda stayed out of the way as much as possible, and when she couldn’t, she crouched with her own shield. Link ended up taking care of the Dodongos, and went back, nearly getting squished by a hug! Even the shield wasn’t strong enough to save Zelda.

Gorons. Good people. Not best at . . . he heard Zelda clear her throat.

“They are sweet?” she said, dusting herself off.

They were. They just almost killed them from a hug is all. Now that the task was over, and Link was even given another stone? Things would get trickier.

“In all that fighting, did you think of anything?” Zelda asked.

Link just shook his head. He gestured to her.

” . . . this is a tough puzzle,” she said. “The toughest I’ve ever known. When you played the song, how much did you catch?”

Link shrugged. Not much. “A wolf. A spirit. A . . .” What else?

“Have you ever had visions or dreams?” Zelda asked him outright. “Like me?”

Link held up one finger toward her.

“Then, you’ll get better as you listen.” Her words were wise, but soft. “I hope Impa didn’t frighten daddy with Ganondorf. If he starts anything. I don’t know. Is that the best choice now?”

Link walked quietly with Zelda, looking around as he played the tune again. A girl. I’m carrying a girl, inside something. A zora girl. He was supposed to go there next, Zora’s domain. He also saw frozen ice, and a grown up zora sage. An old sage. Kaeporo Gaeboro. He’s the owl? Redeads everywhere in the market. A wolf again. Wolf. What was with the wolf all the time?

“Link, that’s good, isn’t it?” Zelda warned him. “If Ganondorf hears it’s tune, he won’t need anything else. Sorry, but we don’t want anyone overhearing.”

That was true. Link nodded. It was an important song, but not one they could play all the time.

They had moved down the mountain, but now they were back to the plains of Hyrule, and no idea between them. He finally spoke again. “What I saw. I failed.”

“You failed. You won. You disappeared in another one,” Zelda said, filling in the gaps. “It’s because of traveling in time, there are three. I’m sorry, you should be figuring this out yourself.”

“No.” He needed help. Her gift was much stronger. “Can you help me?”

Zelda nodded as they stopped walking. They had as long as it was daylight, or anyone saw them. Right now, they were stopping by the bridge.

“I fail, die, and that’s one.” It was hard to say that. To imagine himself losing like that? He was raised to be a kokiri. He was raised among kokiri’s. But, as he saw into the future with the tune. He wasn’t one. While he understood how much he had to fight, no one wanted to know about their death. Especially such a miserable one, where everything was on the line, and he . . . wasn’t strong enough to win. “I win, and you sent me back?”

“After seven years,” Zelda added, “we win against Ganon. I send you back with the ocarina of time. Which I don’t have.”

“Then the other one?” Link couldn’t figure that one out at all.

“The time that you left, where you succeeded,” Zelda said. “He returns. That’s what you see.”

Oh. Trapped seven years to get a master sword. Seven whole years. Meanwhile, Zelda had stayed out in that time, surviving undercover. He had picked that one up. “There’s something else too,” Link added softly. “Navi?” He looked toward her. “Why do you leave me after I defeated Ganon? Where did you go?”

Navi made a light tinkling noise. “You shouldn’t be thinking about that! It doesn’t matter. This all shouldn’t matter, this is ruining everything! We shouldn’t know what happened before it happened!”

“I know, but Ganondorf knew,” Zelda said in her defense.

“You never should have made that song!” Navi accused her.

“I didn’t know. I didn’t mean to. It just-”

Zelda was stopped as Link made a sound with his slingshot. After each of them quieted down, Link looked back toward Navi. She was giving him the silent treatment. Link watched the sun start to sink down. They each rushed for the nearest road. Now they were out in the open but they couldn’t stay out of the open forever.


 

 

Link had to admit it as he switched his Hyrule shield back to his wooden kokiri shield. Even knowing what he could see? All of them looked terrible. While he helped in some, he never defeated Ganon. Yet, it was still a part he had to play. It was obvious. Even knowing, it did them no good. It didn’t matter how much he didn’t understand. There were only three paths. He looked toward Zelda. She seemed to know it too. He tried to give her a smile. Their terrible fate, it was sealed. Tell the king now. Let Ganondorf take over. It all ended badly, all paths. It was best, to just try and do what he was supposed to. Follow his destiny.

Upset was an understatement, even Navi didn’t make a sound once. Zelda looked like she was almost ready to cry. There wasn’t anything Link could do to make her feel better. The carefree days, they were almost over. One way or another. Something. Anything. Think, Link. He really didn’t want to see the princess cry. “Milk?”


Lon Lon Ranch.

Link watched Zelda drink milk as he brought out his ocarina. He played Epona’s Song, and the horse came over to him. Zelda petted him gently. Now that he could see the options, that were none, Ganondorf would know them too. He wasn’t going to mess up anything until after Link got the stones. There was no need to be afraid yet. Afterwards, he’d be after Zelda. She would go into hiding, and it would all begin.

“Fairy boy is back. Hello, Fairy Boy!” Malon moved toward him. She looked toward Zelda. “Blue Slippy girl? I’ve never seen you before.”

Zelda seemed to pull herself more behind Epona.

“Did you drink some milk?” Malon asked her. “You look like you drank milk.”

Zelda wiped her mouth where a little bit of milk had still been seen on it.

“It’s good milk,” Malon said to her. “You’re a quiet one like Fairy Boy, aren’t you?” She gestured toward the ocarina in Link’s hand. “Does she play like you too?”

Link nodded. Zelda was retreating behind Epona. She was still scared about being out in the open. Well, she should be. He’d be sealed away for seven years, but as soon as he couldn’t protect her, Ganondorf would probably grab her to get that powerful song. He looked down at his ocarina. Saria gave it to him. He saw bits of that too. He might be able to save a future, for a little while, but he couldn’t protect the ones he really needed to.

Saria would be hurt. Zelda would be taken and probably be forced to give away the song. Ganondorf would play it whenever he wanted. He would learn how to avoid becoming sealed away. She can’t be captured, it’s not an option. Link watched Malon come on the other side of Epona to look at Zelda.

“Where’s the dress for over your slip?” Malon asked her. “If you were older, you would be pretty in it. It could be a dress. Older women could get away with it. But, you’re too young for something like that. You need a dress over your slip.”

Zelda moved on the other side of Epona. “Fine.” She finally spoke. Malon started to walk away. She breathed a sigh of relief. “I need to get to Impa, Link. This is dangerous. If anyone recognizes me, it’s over. Oh! I should have never ran away. It didn’t do any good at all. Nothing’s changed except Ganondorf knows what I have.”

That might have been true, but maybe it could be useful later. Songs tended to be that way.

“I can do this. Quick trip.” Zelda started to move, but Link followed behind her. “I went all the way to the mountain. I can make it.”

Ganondorf was waiting for her. He’d be there to catch her. That couldn’t be an option, that song could never be Ganondorfs.

“Oh, well if Malon wasn’t right!” Talon’s voice came from behind Link. He reached out and grabbed Zelda by the shoulder. “Hang on there!”

Zelda feeling creeped out tried to move away, but he kept his grip on her. “Don’t worry, Princess Zelda. I’m not going to hurt you. You took off from the castle though, everyone knows that. You being out here isn’t good. It’s dangerous way out here. I’m taking you back to the castle, the king is so worried about you.” She still wasn’t easing up though so he picked her up. “Now, now, stop all the shaking. You need to go back to your home.”

Link was confused. He knew Talon wouldn’t hurt Princess Zelda, but Zelda? She had seen just as much as him. More than him. She’d already gone through a lot getting to where they were without any fighting skill, and someone was holding her against her will. So?

He pulled his slingshot out and held a deku seed at it, taking aim. He didn’t want to shoot it, but Talon should understand he meant business. She didn’t need any more stress.

“Fairy boy, what are you doing?” Malon did not sound happy at his action. “Are you trying to hurt my dad?”

The action gave Zelda enough leeway to break free. She fell to the ground, rolled with the heavy shield slightly, and got up running.

Link put his slingshot away and ran in the same direction she went. When they were far enough, Zelda stopped, catching her breath. Link looked around. He walked with her toward the road and waited for morning. The castle wasn’t far away.

“Impa,” Zelda managed to say. “I need to get to Impa. She’ll know what to do.” She looked back to Link. “Thanks. You better going, Link. Probably going to head for the blue stone now. Have to save a future, right?” She still sounded like she was ready to cry.

Link shook his head. Not yet. He’d stay a little longer, make sure she got to Impa. Knowing she didn’t want to take a direct approach, Link snuck around through the garden with her again. She would be able to see around the situation easier by sneaking into the garden window. However, Link pulled her back as he spotted Ganondorf coming inside. He was walking, side by side, with the King.

“Such a shame,” the King said from inside the window. “It’s all such a shame.”

“I’m sure your daughter will come back soon,” Ganondorf had said beside him. “Still, it was the right thing to do. I would have done the same thing for a daughter too.”

What were they talking about?

“No, I know something was wrong. Impa wouldn’t simply grab Zelda and hurl her onto a horse and then . . . try and fight haphazardly and then run off!” He said in a fury. “Never. A sheikah would never do that. I don’t understand it.” He sighed. “Still, there is no way when I find my little Zelda that I can let her watch over her anymore. Something had happened, and she chose the wrong course of action.”

Impa wasn’t there anymore. Link looked toward Zelda who was already starting to back away. That’s not good. Zelda needs her to escape Ganondorf. Now what? Zelda could not reach her father, Ganondorf was there. She couldn’t just tell her father, it would cause just as bad of a situation. Maybe that’s why Impa didn’t say anything. She knew if she told the king about Ganondorf, it would only making things worse.

Link moved back toward Zelda. He waited to see if she said something. Maybe they had discussed a secret place to meet for future disasters? Maybe she was hiding well in Kakariko village. No, that would be almost obvious. Ganondorf must have checked it from top to bottom. Zelda kept scooting back further. The guards were shortly ahead. She still hadn’t spoke. Was there really nothing? He came closer to her before the guards spotted either of them.

Zelda was motionless. She didn’t tremble, she just wasn’t moving. Link took her hand, forcing her to move. Know what to do or not, they couldn’t just stay there forever. Especially at night. He navigated through everything with her, to get her off of castle grounds again.

“Impa once said, ‘If you hit rock bottom, go to Kakariko Village’.” Zelda shook her head. “Ganondorf knows. I-I don’t know how much he knows, but it was the first place I tried to go to. I left my dress with a little boy that liked to play.”

That made sense. It was her village. There had to be somewhere else Princess Zelda’s caretaker would go to. She has to go. I have to get the last stone, fate has to happen, and she has to be there. There was a reason for it. The great Deku Tree was certain of it, he had a destiny. If he didn’t do his part, who knew what that did in the future? “Do you know other songs that help?” Link asked.

“I know what you mean,” Zelda answered him. “I saw it too. That, all of the weird tunes? I was supposed to learn that later. The King of Hyrule only shares so much. Impa only shared so much as I grew older. Even the Ocarina of time, I was going to convince her to let me hold onto it.” As it stood? She knew nothing. “We could get to safety. You can play the song and see what the songs were. I guess. If seeing the future works that way.”

More than that. So many visions. Images. Some stuck while others got lost, just like a dream. Some stuck so hard. Especially a wolf. A wolf, wolf, wolf . . .

“Light arrow,” Zelda said for him. “I saw that. I don’t know that power either.” She shrugged. “I don’t know anything to help you, Link.” She looked like she was about to cry again, but she didn’t. Just like last time.

It must be harder to make princesses cry than I thought. Link turned it into night, and moved through the town easier. Once outside, he turned it back into day until they reached a road, then he turned it back into night, to make it harder to find them.

“Impa must know. Impa would have taught me herself, I know it.” Zelda looked like she wanted to collapse, but kept walking. “When it’s safe, I’m sure Impa will return to Kakariko. Time just needs to pass a little, and then I’m sure I can find her.” That didn’t sound as confident as Link figured she wanted it to.

Impa would be on a list of someone to get rid of, just like Zelda. Link didn’t want to leave to continue on his quest until she was back with Impa. He was going to be gone seven years, he needed someone knowledgeable and strong to watch over her.

“Even if you collect the next stone, Link, you need the Ocarina of Time,” Zelda reminded him. “Everything’s connected. You can’t go back or forth without it.” Link nodded.

“I’m sure Impa would have it. I need to get to Impa.” She held her hand to her head. “If we reach her in the future, maybe the song will show us a place that she’s now at?”

Which would show where she could have went. It was worth a try. First though, they weren’t on a more secluded mountain. Link led the way into a more secluded, dark area. The way to Zora’s River. After meeting some frogs, Link felt it was isolated enough. Hopefully. It wasn’t a very good chance, but he was willing to try. If he could see any vision of Impa at all, he would concentrate only on that.

At least, that’s what he told himself. Until . . .

Although I accepted life as the hero, I could not convey the lessons of that life to those who came after. At last I have eased my regrets . . .


Zelda heard the pitch crack on Link’s ocarina. He touched his head as if in pain. That wasn’t an easy thing she saw, and if he saw the same thing? She watched him start to walk back down. “Link?” She trailed off after him. “Link?”

Link stopped, but he went silent. Dead silent. He refused to speak at all. He refused to speak to Zelda or Navi. Navi tingled and tried to argue with Zelda over what happened, once again blaming her for bringing out a song that let them look into the future! A song that could, in the wrong hands, change so much. Yet, Princess Zelda didn’t argue much. She had nothing to argue with for her defense.

She set down on the ground, her knees up to the top of her slip. I tried to make things better. I tried. Once again, as when she started him on the quest. She didn’t know. She couldn’t know. Yet, now she could see it. What could she say now?

Link sat down in a similar position, still silent. Even Navi gave up talking. Link grabbed a small pebble and chucked it into the water. They all watched it ripple.

“I’m sorry.” It was the stupidest thing to say, Zelda knew that. She literally ruined Link’s entire life not once? But twice. Sending him on the quest, and now this. Impa was gone. She didn’t have the Ocarina of Time, and Link saw further than he should have. Zelda watched as Link put his Ocarina away.

Waiting. He was lost in his own little world. How much had he seen? Had he finally seen more than her?

Waiting. Then he went to stand on some old runes, played his ocarina, and jumped into the hole that moved into Zora’s Domain.