Zora’s domain was lovely. It looked like a great place to speak in private, but there were several zoras swimming around, and a few here and there in entrances. Even a shop. It wasn’t as vacant as it made itself out to be. It was also large, and voices echoed through out it. Link kept going forward until he saw the King of Zoras. He was too distraught to want to talk to anyone. He didn’t even seem to care about his presence.

He heard Zelda following a fair distance behind, but Navi caught up, knowing he’d need her. Zelda was probably wondering what he was doing. What was he doing? The only thing he could. He went ahead, looked around and discovered the diving game. Knowing that friendly was usually the way to get what he needed, he participated. He was rewarded with a scale, which he used to explore Lake Hylia. He found a bottle with a letter in it and brought it back. Still, Princess Zelda and Navi were in the background, giving him space.

When he went to see Lord Jabu-Jabu, they still didn’t come. He came back, grabbed a fish, and didn’t glance at them yet. He had one thing to do, and he was going to do it. He took the fish to Jabu-Jabu, and met the Princess Ruto, like he had seen in his vision of the future. She was a pistol, and made him carry her everywhere until she found what she wanted. The same thing he originally wanted, the spiritual stone. He fought a tough boss, and for some reason, Princess Ruto easily gave the stone to him.

He held the stone. Link felt better when he was doing something useful, and he knew no matter what happened, he would at least save one person. Princess Ruto of the Zora’s. He saved someone. At least he saved someone. He left out Zora’s fountain, but went back to Zora’s forest and back into Zora’s Domain. It was time he talked to Zelda.


When he approached her, she didn’t speak at first. She followed him out of the domain and into the river area again. Finally, he spoke. He was going to have to crack the ice in the conversation. “I forgive you.” She didn’t seem as accepting of that. A lot of guilt was on her shoulders, making him wonder if she knew about the wolf longer than he did.

“I am terrible.” She turned away. “I try to help, and all I do is make things worse. I will find Impa, get you the ocarina, and stay out of your way for seven years. I promise, I won’t do anything else. I’m sorry.”

“That won’t make a difference.” Link shook his head. “I saw the wolf, Zelda.”

“You weren’t supposed to, and I am so sorry.” She backed away further. “There is nothing we can do. At least you had peace of mind, you thought you were . . . and . . .” She didn’t continue. “Now you’ll have that on your mind, always knowing. It was already a terrible ordeal, and it was all my fault. I never stopped making mistakes, ever.” She started to walk away. “It would have been so much better if you never even met me, Link. The chaos I cause you . . .”

“If your truly sorry, then can you do something for me?” Link scooted closer. This wasn’t going to be easy. “I don’t want to be stuck as only a spirit hundreds or thousands of years, waiting for a wolf to come, to teach him to finish off what I should have done.” He watched her cringe, probably hoping he didn’t fully get it. He might not see visions as much as her, but he was raised with Kokiri. He never had a fairy before Navi, but he was raised around fairies. He was raised around the presence of magic all his life. He would eventually understand why he was seeing a singing wolf.

Zelda turned back around. “I will do anything possible for you that you want, Link, but I do nothing but mess up your life . . . and past that.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. What could he possibly want from her, except to stay as far away as possible until he finally needed her several years from then? All of this. Burden. To simply be a carefree girl on a farm. That would have been a much better life than she was doomed to lead.

Odd though. Link didn’t look like he wanted to request that. He actually seemed to fidget. What was it? “The other timelines from this one, they ended okay?”

Zelda didn’t know. “You can only see to the end of your existence, I think.” She would have said life, but apparently even as far as a lingering spirit. His vision would end in the future, because he returned back to their original timeline, and in the other? Well, he died fighting Ganon. “I don’t know anything else.” No help whatsoever there for him. It wasn’t an easy thing to hear to anyone, let alone a couple of kids like them.

“He can’t be killed,” Link says, “because of the triforce of power.” Link sat down on the grass. “Which he got because he followed me, and the triforce is timeless.”

“Yes?” Odd, he was actually conducting the conversation. Usually he was quiet, or answering a little here and there. What he wanted to ask must have major importance.

“If I don’t go, he won’t get it?” Link asked.

“Right,” Zelda agreed. Ganon would never get his hands on any part. At least, not easily. He needed Link. Oh. “If you end your quest now, because he doesn’t have the triforce of courage and we convince dad, it’ll be safe?” She watched him shake his head. Oh, that was right. “Ganondorf would know. He heard the song.” Link nodded. “There’s no way to surprise him. He probably already has daddy convinced that Impa or I . . .” Her shoulders slumped. Then what?

“Different plan,” Link said. “A whole different plan.” He stood up.

“We tried to think about something different,” Zelda said back to him. “There’s nothing really. There were only so many ways to stop him. And now, the option to even try to stop him, it might be gone.” Nothing but trouble. Nothing but a nuisance. She ruined everything. Why? Why did I have to be the one to discover that terrible song? “I’ll take the spiritual stones. I’ll find Impa.” It was her responsibility to make this right. “Go back to the forest where you’ll be happy.” He didn’t seem to be happy with that. Oh. Ganon might know he was from a forest? Does he know exactly? Zelda hadn’t caught that. There were many things she hadn’t caught. Like, a strange little creature with a mask. Of course, that was to be expected. When she played her ocarina, she could see where she was involved. When he played his, it would be centered around him.

Uh? Link still didn’t look any better. She was trying to take some of the heat off of him. If he didn’t need to be involved, then she screwed up enough, hadn’t she? She was the princess. It was her responsibility now. If he couldn’t help, then why should he have a terrible fate? Find Impa. She would do something with the stones. Then, hold on. “Impa can help hide the stones from Ganondorf. Even if he retrieves you somehow, she won’t let him have the stones.”

Nope. No change in his expression. “I’m beating Ganondorf.”


 

Link only had one good thing going right now for him. Princess Zelda felt very guilty about him knowing his fate, about teaching him the song, about creating the song, or ever getting him involved. If that guilt was enough, he might be able to convince her to do what he wanted. Still? It was iffy. Yet, she was trying to take the stones, let him go home, and take the brunt of Ganondorf with Impa when he went looking for them.

Ganondorf must have seen similar things to what they had seen, and his power was much greater than Links. Unless they changed that future, and made it so that nothing Ganondorf saw when Zelda played that song came true. There was no telling what he saw, but most likely, just Zelda’s future, or Zelda around him. Link’s own future, and his past, it couldn’t be completely known. It was a toss up to guess what one hearing of the song had shown him.

But, Link knew one thing. Ganondorf was my responsibility. I have to stop him. If he didn’t, he would bear a heavy burden. Backing down and retreating back to the Kokiri’s wouldn’t change that. Neither would getting the Ocarina of time and getting the master sword. Not yet. “I don’t know what to do. Yet.” His words caught Zelda’s attention. “But I will. We need to get rid of Ganondorf, for good. Forever.”

She simply blinked at him. “But? Even without the triforce, Link, he’s powerful.”

Not powerful enough for this. He tried to unwind his muscles slightly by pulling out his sword and chopping grass. He picked up a rupee. That wasn’t going to help. She was waiting. “Stay.”

“You want to help find Impa still?” She asked, not quite believing what he just asked. After all, he was a Hylian raised in a forest, believing himself to be Kokiri, and she? She was a princess. His request didn’t make sense yet.

“Even sealing me away for seven years. I grew up, but I don’t learn anything new. Even the future you knew that wasn’t right. It’s how time went all wrong again.” He moved back to cutting a little more grass. “Kokiri, we. They never had parents, so I had no problem making it out here.” Speaking so much more to someone that wasn’t Kokiri. It felt strange, but he needed her to understand. “Stay please.”

” . . . until we find Impa?” She was starting to get it. He could see the strain in her though, like she couldn’t accept it yet. “A few days at most.” She stopped to look around. “Impa’s always taken care of me.”

It wasn’t surprising. She was a young kid like him. Kids that weren’t Kokiri’s, they lived with parents or guardians. Raised them, fed them, and sheltered them. Even the Kokiri, they had The Great Deku Tree.

But there was only one way to win against Ganondorf. Link needed the experience that came with the seven year wait. His fighting skills needed to grow. His experience. He could do it. He could end it all for good. Link even had a plan where to go that Ganondorf could never find him at, until he was ready. But it was all worth nothing if Ganondorf got a hold of Zelda’s Song of Paradox. So. “You have to come with me.” He couldn’t risk her getting caught.

Zelda took a step back. “I’m a . . . I’m a kid, Link. I’m a Princess, and a Kid. I should be with my caretaker, Impa. We won’t get caught.”

No. If she got caught, Ganondorf would never be defeated. “I’m a kid. I survive.” He stood up almost proudly, cutting a piece of grass, and collecting the rupee. Ooh. She looked like she was about ready to run. Going from Princess in a big castle and probably hardly leaving it, to being told she needed to take care of herself? Not easy, but Link was doing his best.

“I’m a real young kid,” Zelda said. “I-I don’t know what I need to when I get older. The royal secrets and songs and . . . we’ll need Impa.” Link nodded. “We’re going to Impa?”

Link tried to hold back his sigh. He wasn’t used to having anyone really ‘parent’ him. He had lived on his own, bought his own things, foraged for his own stuff, and fought his own battles. He lived with others he thought were like him, but they all did the same thing. Everyone took care of themselves. Well, the Kokiri did help take care of each other. Maybe he could phrase it a different way.

“But I can’t stay with her?” She was starting to get it. “Are you sure?” He nodded. “Are you absolutely sure?” He nodded again. “But . . . where would we go?”

“Come with me.” Until he got a yes, he couldn’t reveal it.

Zelda looked down at herself, like she just noticed her dress was missing. “My blue slip. I don’t even own my dress anymore.”

Why was she concentrating on that? Link didn’t even really know the purpose of whatever a slip was, except that Malon said she was missing the dress. It must stay under the dress. To him, it simply looked like a summer dress. It took him a little while to figure it out. It’s not appropriate for a princess to be in that. Of course. She had a lot more on her mind than locating a dress.

They were about the same size. He didn’t exactly know how she’d look in Kokiri green, but he could do that. “It’s not on your own,” he said. “We take care of each other.”He gestured to her blue slip and then to his clothes. “I’ll teach you. You’ll teach me.” An exchange of ideas and company, when he wasn’t stuck fighting. That wasn’t so bad.

“You . . . really want this, don’t you?” Finally, she was starting to concede. “Where are we going, Link?”

There it was. From past to present words. It was best to get moving before she dwelled much more on it. First stop, clothes.


Kokiri Forest . . .

Link climbed up to his house. He had been able to go back and forth from his house when he needed provisions before on his journey. Just like Zelda though, the house wasn’t going to be an option much longer. He tended to carry what he needed, but he would need one more small boost. He couldn’t stay long, he left Zelda right outside, hiding behind a tree. She didn’t understand fighting, and if Ganondorf’s enemy came for her, it would be easy to grab her. Luckily, there should just be Deku Babas out there.

Gathering up the last of his important things, mainly the clothes, he took one quick look at home. Even he still had something solid to come back too. He could still enter the forest and see Saria, play with the skull kids, and hear Mido’s heated voice about leaving. Home. But, it wasn’t him. One day, he’d grow up and everyone would have still found out, including him. I’m not Kokiri. It had to be goodbye.

He climbed back down, enjoying the running through the familiar grass and hopping from stone to stone. He moved quickly through the log and back to Zelda. He handed her a pair of clothes. She took them, a little uneased, but not complaining. He left her to get dressed behind the tree.

When she came out, she looked much more Kokiri. She touched the top of the hat with a funny expression but didn’t say anything. “Now what?”


Epona. Link managed it once, to accidentally get her out of the stable. She wasn’t very big yet, but she was big enough for two kids, and she’d grow with them just fine. He didn’t know what waited out there for them, but he’d need a safe place to put Zelda when things got rough. At least, until she got better at fighting. He ran over toward Malon, the farm girl who was delightfully swaying back and forth, singing another song.

This time, she stopped when she saw Link. She didn’t seem as happy to see him. Not real surprising, he threatened her dad with a slingshot. “Fairy boy. Unless you bring back Princess Zelda, dad said you couldn’t stay.”

Yep, trouble. Better make it quick. He played his ocarina, the song that Epona liked, and she came toward him. . .


Zelda was almost right outside the ranch. Link wanted to come back here for some reason. More milk? They were fine right now. She touched the little hat again. “It’s all so different.” She walked back and forth a little. “Everything’s different.” For one, Link was weird. Well, not weird, different. He didn’t like to talk much unless he had to. Unless it was something he had to explain, he’d rather just do the action or let someone figure it out. Zelda was polite, but she talked a lot more. Communicated much better.

He didn’t tell her he was going to the forest to get clothes. Just indicated that she stay there, and he came back with him. Now they were at a ranch, and who knew what he was doing?

The clothes. They were . . . fine. She wouldn’t be able to wear the clothes she had been used to anymore. She felt quite revealed stuck in her slip, but it was just a short while, and she didn’t feel any more comfortable in the green clothes either. I need to get used to it. I said yes. She screwed up everything with her song. If he wanted her to come, what choice did she have? Living out there, on their own, as kids. Link could do it, but he was special. Her? But, she had nowhere to go anyhow. Impa was gone. Ganondorf was probably manipulating her father. There was no telling where it was safe to be.

She didn’t even know where Link believed he could really be safe from Ganondorf. He wanted to grow up and face him. He believed that by doing that, and probably by studying the situation, he could defeat him forever. Maybe. But how to elude Ganondorf that long? Link didn’t exactly blend in, and she doubted her royal heritage had her blending in any better. She scratched at the green clothes. They were reasonably soft but itchy. As she heard someone coming from around the corner, she quickly moved around the other corner, waiting until they were gone.

As she came back out again, she saw Link coming straight toward her on a pony! He slowed down and stretched out his hand. She looked behind him where she was starting to hear a ruckus. Oh yeah, Link’s different! He has no problem breaking the law! She quickly grabbed onto him and the pony, and held on tight as they left the farm and onto the road.


They arrived right outside the forest again. This time, Link spoke. “Keep your head down and don’t look at anyone.” Zelda did as she was told. She didn’t look at anyone around her. She could hear laughter and playing of children everywhere, which didn’t sound dangerous, but she listened to Link. She felt Epona back up once or twice, and then heard Link’s voice again.

“Hold on really tight.”

Were they going to be going on a-?! Zelda held back a scream as she felt the horse long jump! Where were they? She felt another jump before it started galloping again. Now the laughter and sounds of children were turning into scolding and yelling. Where is he taking us? Then? The horse stopped. She felt Link starting to move and she let go. She opened her eyes and looked around.

The place felt mystical. It was green all around. As she looked ahead, she saw someone familiar that she saw only in Link’s vision. A strange imp boy, playing on an ocarina.


Link got out his ocarina and played Saria’s song for the skull kid again. He knew from his visions, that later after he came back to that time, he went looking for Navi. Navi was still right beside him, but quiet as ever. She only helped him focus and fight, but she almost refused to talk to him now. He wasn’t that much happier with her since she still never told her why she would ever run away.

Still, this was him. The simple skull kid that had the answer to escaping Ganondorf. This time, he pulled out his ocarina . . . and played the Song of Paradox.