Link searched for shrines and freeing the divine beasts before taking on Calamity Ganon, but didn’t search out his painful memories. To Zelda, this was a blessing once she discovered a terrible secret. Now that he is silently demanding to have his spot back, she will have to reveal that painful secret. A secret that will force Link to make a choice: Zelda’s safety or Hyrule’s loyalty.

Before Breath of the Wild 2. I have no idea how that would change things so I’ll just mention it. In this story, Link met Impa, Purah, Robbie, freed the Divine beasts, got his master sword, and did most of the shrines, but not all of them. He collected all but two memories, and he never had the final talk with Kass in Rito Village.

Chapter 1: Nutcake Girl/ Chapter 2: What Does He Remember?

Jarod came into the office. He’d been wearing a friendly smile since he came up. Sydney wasn’t far, he wasn’t supposed to be. Light shined through the windows of The Centre. Real light from the sun. He saw one of his ‘team mates’ clacking away on the computer. Balding, very focused, his work area was messy, he had a picture of a young girl, probably talented and not there as a cleaner or sweeper. Good.

“Uh?” He turned around. Bright eyes. Seemed friendly. “Can I help you?”

“I’ve been sent by Mister Parker to join the case on Alex.” Ooh. What was that? Sparkling. Different food in the corner. Not wheat grass. He could smell the aroma coming from an open box. He went over to the box and took one.

“Oh. Take all  the donuts you want,” the man said to him. “There’s soda in the fridge if you are thirsty. So, you are the new one on the case? Are you helping on the computers or, or sweeper?”

Hm. Not very perceptive. Stuttering. Shy. Not Centre material. Maybe side job, part job, or part of a job that didn’t involve skill in serious Centre business. Jarod took a couple more donuts and went for the ‘soda’ in the fridge. He definitely wanted to try that. “Computer.” Not a lie, he wasn’t a sweeper. “Is that your little girl in the picture?” Ooh. Colorful cans. Aluminim. Big and bold lettering, flashy, advertising. He grabbed one and opened it up. Pull the tab and it popped open. “It pops open. It’s nickname is pop.”

The guy just chuckled politely. “Yeah, never about that. Uh? Yeah, that’s Debbie. My daughter.”

“And your name?” Jarod asked as he started to drink down the pop intermittently with eating the donuts. This is what freedom tastes like. Limited freedom but freedom nonetheless, until he could find a real way out.

“Broots.”

Typical. One name in the Centre. He’d test it. “Nice to meet you, Mister Broots, I’m Jarod. What are you working on?”

“The latest downloads of the latest victims by Alex.”

Said just so casually. Jarod went over by the computer and continued eating his donuts over Broots’ shoulder. He wasn’t giving them up. They were his. He pointed to the computer. “That, check that closer.” Addressal. “His mom and dad. Anyone else?”

“I think, um, no so far,” Broots said.

That he knew of. “Do you have the address book of the victims?”

“There was no matching cross references,” Broots answered back. “They didn’t really keep a lot of names in there though. I haven’t checked through the photo albums yet. This is just from this morning.”

“Damn.” Jarod looked at the faces on screen. I just wanted freed. They wanted freed. I thought they would run and hide. Find their families. That’s what he would have done. Instead, he set a killer loose. Every person Alex killed, Jarod was responsible for in a way. He helped him escape. They were all supposed to escape.

“If you want something small to work on, here’s a small purchase traced to Eddie,” Broots said handing him another file. “You can put that in the computer system. It’s underneath all the paper over there. Sorry, it’s a mess.”

Heh. “Thanks.” Jarod knocked all the papers backward and turned the computer on, while also turning the shredder on. He started to shred the files. He would help them catch Alex, but he’d help them miss Eddie.

“What are you shredding?” Broots asked still glued to his computer screen.

“Oh just some old expired files of mine. The Centre hates messy footprints,” Jarod said as he continued to shred Alex’ information up. “It’s a strict place to work. Sometimes I don’t know how I got here. What about you, Mister Broots?”

So far, Broots still hadn’t corrected him. Broots must have been his last name. That meant his daughter would be Debbie Broots. How many Broots lived in that town? Something to check into. For his freedom, Jarod would use any scrap he could.

Even better though, Broots actually answered. “Feels like you just fell on a snowflake in the wrong direction. I lost my last job due to lay offs. I’m in the middle of custody with my daughter, I have to have a job especially if I want to keep her one day, so? Here I am. You?”

“Roped in,” Jarod settled on. “These donuts are okay, but do you have anything else around here?” Broots looked back at him and then gestured toward the next office. 

“There’s some coffee and cookies in the next room over. There’s some juice too,” Broots answered.

Jarod left a second to check it out. He’d heard of cookies before. Miss Parker talked about those when they were younger. He already had juice, but the juice was orange. He took some of it and the cookies. He walked back over and sat down. He got behind the computer. It was booted up finally.

First thing Jarod did wasn’t anything to do with Alex. He just smiled and continued to make small talk as he dug up anything and everything he ever wanted to know.

That was, until she came in. She about choked on her drink as she saw him hammering away on the computer. “Good Morning, Miss Parker. Did you talk to your Daddy today?”

She yelled for Sydney and Broots, and demanded to know what the hell was going on. Sydney gave her the skinny, but when she pointed out where he was, that was the end of that. Sydney turned off the computer and scolded him like a child.

“Jarod. The deal was-“

“Mister Broots asked for some help,” Jarod said, using him as an excuse. “He’s a team mate. I couldn’t refuse.”

“And what did Broots ask you to do?” Miss Parker was glaring at Broots who still had no idea what was going on.

“Input files for Eddie,” Jarod answered.

“Then where are they?” Oh, she already knew.

Jarod shrugged. “Somewhere in all this paper mess I think. Unless I got confused.”

“Broots!” She was practically barking now. “Did you let him shred files?!”

“N-no? Yes? He shredded something,” Broots said confused. “Not the files. He shredded some messy footprint files on him.” He just stared at her. “What’s wrong?”

“Jarod is a special team mate,” Sydney said specifically not trying to step on any toes. That was Sydney. “He is a Pretender.”

“He’s one of the idiots that tried to run away, but didn’t make it.” Miss Parker’s eyes didn’t lift from his. “There has to be a damn good explanation you are in here right now.”

“Run and talk to your Daddy,” Jarod informed her. “If he’ll bother to listen to you.” He leaned over in the computer chair. “Which he never did.”

“Jarod doesn’t want to willingly work on a computer and give information like Broots does to catch Alex,” Sydney informed her. “He made a deal last night with your father. One of his inventions he made a long time ago is on his leg. Originally created for felons, he can’t leave very far from me without creating a terrible shock to himself.”

“Like a dog collar?” Miss Parker looked impressed. “You leashed yourself to The Centre.”

“Yeah. Just like you,” Jarod said removing the small smile she had for half a second.

“As long as he doesn’t leave too far from me, he’ll be fine,” Sydney said. “He will be able to track Alex.”

“While stuffing down donuts and juice,” she said, noticing probably all the sugar on him. Not like he cared. He liked sugar. A lot, and he was going to get a lot more of it. “Fine. Did you discover anything?”

“You bet,” Jarod smiled. “Donuts taste very good. So does juice. Soda too.”

“Sydney, when did you start to get even more vindictive than me?” She criticized him. “If he gets away far enough, he could get that thing off.”

“The Centre thought of that,” Sydney said, “but they also agreed that Jarod’s caring personality would probably not kill me in an attempt to escape.” Sydney lifted his own pant leg. “It goes both ways.”

“You’ll get shocked too, Sydney?” Mister Broots sounded worried. “Oh. That’s kind of far.”

“The Centre doesn’t know the meaning of too far,” Jarod argued. “Anyhow? I guess, this is my chance to be free, in a way.” He gestured to the donuts. “I want more of those kinds of things. Cookies. Good tasting things.”

“You need a thing called money, and I doubt you are getting a paycheck,” Parker harped on him.

“Miss Parker,” Sydney said. “Mister Parker has exclusively given instructions for you to take care of him. A small daily allowance.”

“A thousand dollars.” Jarod held out his hand. “Daily. I’d like cash please.”

“Are we really going with this?” She looked like she was trapped in a different dimension. “I have to give Jarod a thousand dollars a day? For what?”

“Anything he likes or needs,” Sydney said. “Mister Parker seemed . . . avidly fond of how much Jarod wished to pursue Alex. He also liked the idea of Jarod using his Pretending skills in real life situations to track him down. It could be worthwhile research to The Centre.”

A small stiletto click. “I don’t carry cash.”

“Then you better get some,” Jarod said as her phone began to ring. “Ooh. Do you think it’s finally Daddy ready to tell you something about me?”

 

 

Freedom was sweet and bittersweet. Real freedom would have been different. Here, he was still limited. He could eat different things, he could leave The Centre, and he could even go outside. As long as Sydney was in a decent approximation, he could go there. But? He wasn’t allowed to be on the computers without someone watching over him with approved activity. He wasn’t allowed on any Pretend ideas he couldn’t figure Sydney into. If Mister Parker hadn’t pushed so hard for a way to track Sydney next to him also like a criminal, he could have been out in day one.

Jarod could still do some things though. He could have fun. Sydney didn’t have to be extremely close, he could go shopping by himself. Talking to people by himself. He would only fall into trouble if he reached over 200 yards away, then they’d both be in for a shock. It would start small but get worse as the distance increased. Not only that, Jarod could never say it was true freedom. The only reason he was out there was to get Alex under control, and then he’d be placed back in The Centre as before. Unless The Centre approved of his methods.

He said that. Mister Parker said that and Jarod could barely keep himself from glaring. Like they thought it might be possible to teach him how to be a cleaner. How to Pretend for them. How to get them what they want? Alex only, and only because Jarod was correcting his own mistake. Alex was killing good people who did no wrong, and if Jarod didn’t help, there was no telling how long it would take before he was captured.

In the meantime though? The sun felt nice through the shades. “I want to go outside.”

“Of course, Jarod. Let’s go outside.”

 

 

People came in and out of the door that led to freedom. Jarod walked along the halls, making sure Sydney wasn’t too far behind or too close. He didn’t want him being extremely close all the time too. He reached the doors, pushed them open and felt the sun on his skin. Sydney gave him a bogus reminder about staring into the sun like he might forget as he came out. He stood there, eyes closed, feeling the sun on him. He observed everything with new eyes, all of the new objects that were in brilliant displays of color that the florescence inside could never match. He moved toward the ‘cars’ Miss Parker used to tell him about. He could see all the trees and grass. All the natural beauty of the forest ahead of them, past the parking lot full of the cars.

Jarod heard Sydney warn him not to go into the parking lot with the cars without watching in all directions. Cars moved fast and could be unpredictable sometimes. Only for those not watching, but Jarod could see how it could be hazardous. A person would have to watch the shadows in every car and notice all the subtlety of starting if they gave no outward light symbols.

 

 

Miss Parker kept her head down as she worked. Working with Jarod of all people. A big kid, a bigger annoyance, and someone she was deemed not to have much contact with as she grew older. And now, that same priority was putting her right back in the saddle. Right next to him. She tried to work in her own office to get away, but there wasn’t much to get away from. Sydney was charitable to him, and he did let Jarod go almost anywhere he wanted to. He haunted the lounges, probably tasted every piece of already made breakfast everywhere, visited the toilet (because a diet doesn’t change that quick), and visited outside more than once. At least that was some relief.

When it came to lunchtime, Broots ordered sandwiches for him and Sydney. When he asked Jarod what he wanted, of course he wanted to try the entire menu. In fact, now he wanted Sydney to take him to the restaurant to pick them up. At least more solo time. Jarod’s curiosity was not an easy thing to take. She could do it as a child, but not as an adult. Since she was under her Daddy’s orders, and Jarod wasn’t a trivial annoyance from her past but someone she needed to work with, she was silent. She couldn’t pick on him, curse at him, or show any unwanted favor. Her Daddy told her to treat her as she would someone from The Triumvirate visiting. That meant utter respect and mostly no talking. Her father never wanted her speaking up to The Triumvirate.

Just a new typical day at work, with a boy that became a man that never experienced the outside world. Hm. Typical day at The Centre, never knew what it would bring.  She was trying to find one of the leads they had had on Eddie now too. Jarod was supposed to find both of them, but she knew he’d never catch Eddie. He would be working to destroy their hard work on finding Eddie. Just like he probably shredded those files. Eddie was small time, so was Alex, but because one of them might be holding onto Jarod’s DSA’s for him, each of them were given higher priority to find. The Centre couldn’t have proof of it’s existence out there with those DSA’s.

At least she wasn’t the only one in culture shock. Broots didn’t quite know how to take it either. He’d experience The Centre before, and he’d met Angelo, Raines little sidekick that helped with the investigations too, but side by side. With not an empathic mushhead, but a man that made his brain probably look like swiss cheese that was technically owned by the place he worked at? Yes. He had a couple of moments too.

“I don’t get it, I don’t see the reasoning,” Broots said as he stared at the computer. “If the Pretender was separated his whole life, wouldn’t he want to be reaching his family, not killing them? They’re innocent, they didn’t do anything.”

Broots was like that. Open mouthed and sincere. Miss Parker waited for it. The angry shutting of a folder.

“Yes, one would think that,” Jarod came back on Broots. “Especially one that suffered the same fate as him, but didn’t get access to see any past violence because they were also deemed a Pretender.”

Yep, there it was.

“I? I-I didn’t mean anything by it,” Broots apologized.

“Of course you didn’t. You’re just hunting Pretenders like animals, and forgot you have to work with one.”

Oh the love these two expressed. “Broots gets on everyone’s nerves,” she said to Jarod. Less to save Broots, more to annoy Jarod without seeming like she did.

“Like you’re any better,” Jarod came back on her. “At least he realizes his mistakes. You? You still think of me as property.”

“I sure do.” She wouldn’t let up right there. “Technically that’s not being rude, that is a simple fact. You belong to The Centre, Pretender. So do they.” She wouldn’t go into apology mode. She didn’t apologize. This was her job. If it wasn’t her job, she wouldn’t be there.

“I think everyone needs to settle down,” Sydney said. “This situation is new to everyone. Let’s relax and we’ll adapt to it. Jarod? We can go to the restaurant but you shouldn’t order everything on the menu. You’ll be wasting food. Broots often picks the same place, you can get something different next time.” Jarod seemed okay with that and left the office with Sydney.

“Oh whoah,” Broots sighed in relief. “I-I didn’t meant to offend. It’s just that, well, he’s here. We’re chasing what he is. Which? I mean, he is still a person, but The Centre. I mean it’s our job.”

“Stop questioning morals, they only get in the way,” she reminded him. “Concentrate on finding Alex. Don’t apologize for doing your job. The Centre pays you to work for it. That simple.”

“Yeah, I know, but . . . i-it’s just different when one of them, I mean, a Pretender that was trapped here. Just like them. That’s still technically trapped, that he’s . . . I-I-I just have to watch my mouth.”

“Good start,” she muttered. Jarod was touchy, he’d lay into Broots more than once, but that was Jarod. Anyone having anything to do with The Centre would eventually get criticized. Broots was probably on his good side better than he thought though. Jarod had a weakness for things like children and Broots didn’t exactly spell out Centre tough. He wouldn’t push him too far, but he better watch it. Broots was also the head computer guy. The last thing The Centre needed was for him to start getting a moral conscience and bail.

Morality. It just got in the way of business.

 

 

Addresses. Connections. Albums. Pictures. Jarod tried to decipher what the connection were to the new victims. If Alex had a vendetta against his family, then these latest victims should be relation. Some kind of connection, but no one in any of the photo albums The Centre had confiscated had been them. He watched as Broots packed up. He was going to go home to his daughter. His family. Family. It’d be nice to go home to family. Sydney had an extra room he could sleep in. In fact, Sydney said his place was so big, that he could have any of the backrooms for any of his projects. He didn’t go back there. Jarod would find out the story to that later.

He could have got so much farther if he wasn’t tethered to ‘being watched’ and restricted on the computer. Miss Parker was still in the corner, going over useless data she’d already went over. “Trying to make those hours count so it never looks like you go home early to have a life,” he said to her. “Nice job. Daddy must be proud.” So far, she’d ignored him most of the day. Besides that small interlude with Broots she hadn’t said much of anything directly to him. Mister Parker must have ordered her to be nice in some way. “I get to go home with Sydney soon.”

“Ooh, what a dream come true,” she said as she flipped the paper over she was looking at.

It was, when he was a kid. All he ever wanted to do was leave his room and go home with Sydney. She’d be able to get away with that comment. “Look at us. Me still doing your bidding, and you still in charge. It’s just like when we were kids,” he said. “Except you used to be a lot nicer.”

“I haven’t done or said anything wrong.” Jilted. Staccato.  She yawned. “Any connections?”

“None that I could find,” Jarod said, “with these restrictions on me.” Come on. She knew he wasn’t going to hurt Sydney. He watched her as she flipped through the paper again. Waiting.

“Look up anything you know you shouldn’t and I’ll shoot you in the foot,” she warned him.

Yes. He knew it. She wanted to get Alex off the streets too. Jarod started to crack into different systems he wasn’t supposed to be cracking into. He didn’t have much time, Miss Parker wouldn’t defend him if Sydney walked in. It only took a few minutes before he found the connection. It wasn’t family. “The man worked for an electric company. Alex’s parents had called the electric company to take care of their heater problems the day of the murder.”

“He’s still in the vicinity?” she questioned. “Was the man a witness.”

“No.” No he wasn’t there at the time of the murder.

“Then why bother killing him?”

Alex. I can’t believe this. “He’s playing with The Centre.” Toying with whoever was supposed to hunt him. Leading them right to him. “This man’s life was nothing but a calling card.” Alex. “We have to stop him, Parker. He’s going to keep killing as hello messages to The Centre.”

She didn’t answer at first, but he noticed a thoughtful look in her eyes. A caring look she’d never reveal to anyone as she put the papers down. “We’ll visit that town again first thing in the morning.”

Jarod’s first trip out of town. Out of Delaware. From a restaurant now to out of Delaware. Limited freedom was still a form of freedom. As Sydney came over, it was time to go home.

Tomorrow. Jarod would visit a town Parker, Sydney and Mister Broots had already visited. Hopefully, he could find something they missed that would lead them to Alex.

 

Relaxing in her recliner, enjoying her Maker’s Mark and the tranquility of the night, Miss Parker was disturbed with the sound of a phone call. It wasn’t the typical phone call and she already knew what it would be. A part of her wanted to ignore it, but he would only bring it up tomorrow. She picked up the phone and answered it. “Parker.”

“Miss Parker? I know I am asking a lot. I am asking for you to look into the depths of your soul.”

“Whether I have one of those,” she said to him, “what is it?”

“Jarod. They want to ship him to the Triumvirate. I don’t know anything about the Triumvirate, but considering how your father acts? I fear what they will do to him.”

“Your Pretender should have thought of that before he tried to escape The Centre.” She looked at her whiskey. Did he have any idea what he was asking from her? “Daddy rules.”

“Jarod is a good man, you know that he is good,” Sydney continued to remind her. “You knew him when he was younger. A good boy. A good man. Will you help him?”

She sat her Maker’s Mark down next to her. Daddy’s word was final. Sydney was asking her to disobey her Daddy. She stopped to think of Jarod. He knew nothing of the world. He knew it was evil, but he was a trusting fool. Sydney had already shared events with her, letting her see how he had been exposed to the world. The Centre, due to his age, was using him in more advanced ways Sydney hated. Still, there was nothing to do for the lab rat. Life went on. “I can’t Sydney. I already told you, Daddy’s rules are law.” It was the reason she was there right now. Called back to capture Alex and Eddie. Then again. “If he knows something about where his cronies went to, maybe I could twist Daddy’s ear.”

“He doesn’t know. They wouldn’t even know,” Sydney said. “There must be something else.”

What did he want from her, to move the world? She hadn’t even seen Jarod since their early teens. “Considering how deep your boy got himself into trouble, I would think it’s a fair deal.”

“He wouldn’t know,” Sydney said. “Even if he did, he wouldn’t roll on them.”

Of course he wouldn’t, Jarod was a good boy. Very example of a good boy. “Look, Sydney? I’m going to give you a great big hint, okay?” she said. “I don’t know what to do with it, but this is the way it works in the real world. Make Jarod useful to The Centre and The Triumvirate won’t take him away from you. That’s it, that’s all, and I can’t help anymore than that.” She hung up the phone. Sydney would have to think quick if he wanted to save Jarod.

Even if she had the gall to walk into her father’s double doors with her best smile and ‘Daddy’, he would shoot her down so fast. She couldn’t reverse his decisions. Even trying would make him disrespect her and put Jarod in even more trouble.

 

 

Jarod tapped his pencil as Sydney asked him once again about where the others went. Sydney was trying to keep him from being transferred to the Triumvirate. “Trapped here. Trapped there.” No difference. America. Africa. No difference. He would find another way to escape whether it was there or in Africa with the Triumvirate. Sydney was still concerned, citing how much Mister Parker and even Mrs. Parker acted whenever they were in the room. Jarod didn’t like what Sydney said. More than the usual amount of respectful. Even Miss Parker. “You’re wasting your time.” Jarod stopped tapping the pencil. “She wouldn’t help. If I had escaped, she’d just be chasing me down too.”

Sydney couldn’t protect him. Sydney just couldn’t see it yet. He didn’t need Sydney anymore, he had been ready to get out. Get out for good. Visit the graves of his parents. See if there was anyone else out there. Triumvirate or The Centre, he wasn’t helping either one anymore. People died because of what he could do. All those years, he’d been ending so many lives.

Free or not. He was still free to pick that. If The Centre wanted to kill him because he refused, then that was just it.

 

“Sydney, you and freaking memory lane.” Miss Parker put down her whiskey and dialed him up. He’d be at home, relaxing in the same way she did. The stress of the day gone. Not face to face. That would make it seem like she cared way too much. A favor. Make him think about it. Try not to make him mad. “Hi, Daddy,” she said brightly when he picked up the phone.

“Ah, Angel. Nice to hear from you. How’s everything going?”

Of course, the current chase with Alex and Eddie. “Fine.” Not a shred of anything yet. “Sydney called.” Yes, his name would be brought into it. “He said you are sending Jarod to The Triumvirate?”

“What about it?”

Oh yeah, already gruffy. Ease him into it. “Seems like a waste, Daddy. Jarod was supposed to be smarter than both Eddie and Alex combined. There must be something we can do with him.”

“You already have technical help. It won’t be that hard,” her Daddy insisted. “A couple of Pretenders, they’ll be back in no time, and Jarod will be in The Triumvirate. He won’t get away again.”

Not even the slightest budge. Why did that Moron have to go and try and break out? No one escaped The Centre for long. Second choice. “Hopefully. We’ve never seen them in the real world. The more they learn, the harder it will be. If it does take awhile, it won’t look good on The Centre.” Pause. “Could we delay the decision? It doesn’t do any good to send him away to just want him back later. It’s like throwing away an antique dish set and realizing it was worth way more than you thought.” Maybe. That’s all she could give.

“Fine, we’ll postpone moving him. You’re right, Pumpkin, he might just be an antique set we don’t know the value of,” he admitted. “But if The Centre doesn’t have a good enough reason within the week to keep him, he is going to The Triumvirate. Case closed.”

“Smart decision, Daddy,” she said.

“Get some rest. I need you at your best to find those Pretenders. No one can have proof The Centre exists.”

“Of course, Daddy,” she said. “Good-“ He hung up. “Goodnight.” She hung up too. “Softie of a Witch.” A postponement. Jarod would have to use his own brain to get out of that one.

 

 

Postpone. Hm. Jarod looked at the papers in front of him he refused to mess around with. “Looks like there’s an itty bitty bit of warmth in her icy heart, huh?” It didn’t make Sydney smile.

“One week. You need to find a way to be useful to The Centre enough to avoid the Triumvirate,” Sydney warned him. “I doubt we can get this to happen again.”

Sydney still didn’t get it. “Become useful? I should think of a way to make myself useful to The Centre?” Jarod took the paper in front of him and started to make it into an origami shape. The Centre still hadn’t caught on and apparently neither did Sydney. Jarod’s simulations were responsible for killing thousands of people. He was either going to escape, or die, but he wasn’t taking another life. He wasn’t doing another simulation again. No matter what. “Why don’t you do it, Sydney? I mean, aren’t you supposed to be the one that protects me in The Centre?” Sydney didn’t respond that fast.

“Jarod,” he said slowly. “There are some thing that I can do and there are some things that I can’t. When you take the initiative to leave home-“

“The Centre is not a home!” Jarod interrupted him.

“Then I can’t protect you!” Sydney came back on him. “Jarod.”

“Then you can’t protect me. I’d rather die than have my work kill another person.” No more. They could starve him. Strip him. Torture him. Never again.

 

 

That would be decent. Miss Parker was out looking at new clothes when her Daddy called her again. “Yes, Daddy?”

“The thing about antique dishes, Angel?” Her father started. Oh no, this wasn’t going to be good. “Is that at least they don’t fracture and break in your hand! Jarod does nothing, he refuses to do any sims! He just sits in his apartment making origami angels all day long! Not a single thought about how he should become helpful, not a single thank you for the extension, nothing!”

Oh. Damn.

“I feel like an absolute fool for letting you talk me into this!”

“Daddy-“

“No! You are going to go down there and see him. You are going to come up with something for him before you leave, or he is going straight to the Triumvirate! No more time and no more excuses!”

“Well, but I-“ Hung up. Shoot. No choice. He just pissed Daddy off. This is not going to end well for anyone. She quickly left the shopping. She would need to get down there right away.

 

She marched down near Jarod’s apartment where Sydney waited. “Open up.”

“He won’t cooperate,” Sydney told her. “Jarod is tired of his work hurting others.”

“I really shouldn’t be sharing this with him, but he has pushed too far.” Her Daddy was upset with her! “I covered for him, for you,” she warned him. “I am not happy.” She pulled out an envelope. “We’ll see what your boy thinks of these. Open up.”

“What are they?” Sydney asked.

“Something to make him think. Make him wonder,” she answered. “Open the door.”

When Sydney opened up, she walked straight in.

There he’d been. Grown up. Just like the pictures showed. It’d been many years since she’d seen him, but memory lane was not something she coasted on in The Centre. She waited there in her stilettos. Not moving.

He eventually looked up from his little spoiled spot on the ground. “Miss Parker. Well, did Daddy send you down personally to come see me? I should be honored.” He looked back down at his origami. “Should.”

“You got a one week extension due to Sydney’s groveling on your behalf,” Miss Parker not wanting to sound like she was eagerly giving it to him. “All you’ve done is ignore your work and play with origami.”

Jarod just glared at her. “I didn’t ask for Sydney to say anything, and it doesn’t matter what you do,” Jarod said. “I won’t work for The Centre anymore.”

Damn. One more chance. That’s all he was getting before she did it. Mercy was not her highest quality. “Fine then, maybe you could get a longer extension if you tell us where you hid the DSA’s.” He didn’t get off Centre property. They had to still be on Centre property, but nobody could find them. He tucked them away somewhere securely. Otherwise? The only real reason they were supposed to be going after Eddie and Alex was to make sure they didn’t take it for Jarod.

“They aren’t on Centre property,” Jarod said not even looking at her as he continued.

 

“Did you give them to Eddie or Alex?” She asked. Once again, he didn’t even look up. “Have it your way. What constitutes killing someone, Jarod?” She began slowly. “I’m eager to know. Clearly you don’t think it’s just being behind a gun.”

“My mind was used against my wishes.” He barely looked up at her.

“Secondhand, like signing off on a paper. You weren’t behind a gun,” she kept going.

“I didn’t have to be behind a gun, my actions killed people!” Ooh, he was starting to get a temper.

Perfect. She bent down toward him. “They still are.” She dropped the folder. “As long as you don’t want to help? More people will die, thanks to you.”

Jarod grabbed the folder and opened it up. He looked at the pictures. “Centre lies.”

“You think so? Okay? Um. Sydney. Why don’t you go ahead and check your internet extensions?” Miss Parker asked him. “You know what? Better yet? Give Jarod access to the internet. Free reign. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid. I’ll just wait over by the couch.” She sat down as Sydney turned on access to the internet. Jarod started digging. She tried to give him a little leeway. He just wouldn’t take it. And now?

“Alex.” A whisper. Jarod looked back at the photos. “Why?”

“What, Jarod?” Sydney had asked. “Who are those people?”

“Alex’s family.” A hard gulp was seen from him. “Alex killed his family.”

“What?” Sydney couldn’t believe it either. “For what reason?” He looked toward Miss Parker.

“Either he’s not all there,” Jarod said as he glanced toward Miss Parker, “or The Centre’s trying to set him up. To make me go after him.” He stared at her.

Miss Parker knew what he was doing. If she was lying or hiding something, he’d see it. There was no dodging him. Even if she wanted to act like The Centre did something, he would spot the lie in it too. Instead she just sighed and waited. He would reach his conclusion soon. It didn’t matter if she even tried to go eye to eye with him. She knew him better than she wanted to know him.

Jarod looked back at the computer. He looked back at the photos. “Sydney. I want to talk to Mister Parker.”

 

When Eddie, Alex, and Jarod try to escape the Centre, Jarod is left behind. Resolved to ignore working anymore for The Centre no matter what, his plans change when he realizes Alex is murdering people. He will have to join a team of friendly enemies, to stop the killer that he unknowingly let out.

Chapter 1: Origami Angel Anger/ Chapter 2: The Enemy of My Enemy is my Teammate

They couldn’t ride Epona into town, so they both hoofed it around the marketplace. Not a big deal, and nobody seemed to take two glances toward Zelda. Only a couple remarks about her hair or how they both looked scruffy, nothing out of the ordinary. Link didn’t think he looked scruffy, but people did tend to treat him differently than the Kokiri’s. To them he appeared scruffy, to a Kokiri, he was fine. He didn’t have a fairy for the longest time, but now he had Navi. At least, until she bailed. If she bailed.

He headed to the Mask Salesman Shop, but it was empty. Had he already attained the mask? If Skull Kid gets it, he’ll destroy Termina. Link couldn’t do anything about that world, not in a single three days. Go after the Mask Salesman and hope he got it in time, or try and search for Impa harder, to attain the Song of Time and the ocarina of time? The Song of Time would be smarter, no matter what, he could stop anything with it. But what if he went after the Salesman and stopped it all together? Almost unknowingly, he had reached for his ocarina. He wouldn’t have even noticed it, if Zelda hadn’t grabbed his hand.

“You are going to play a different song, not that song, right Link?” She asked.

It was almost instinctive. Link put his ocarina away. He was going to play it without even thinking about it. With a powerful song came responsibility. He should only play it when he absolutely needed it, and definitely not in the open like that. The more we play it, the easier it is to get lost in it. No. He needed to be the one to make the decision this time.

Link took Zelda back to Kokiri forest with Epona, but before he rode in?

“Link!”

Link looked above Epona and smiled up into a branch. They didn’t find Impa, but Impa found them. She must have remembered he was from the forest. Zelda was safely in her arms.

“Impa!” Zelda hugged her tightly like a child would it’s mother. Impa must have been a close caretaker.

“It’s alright, Princess Zelda,” she said. She looked down toward Link. “Thank you for watching her.”

It wasn’t over yet. Zelda needed more than Impa. He couldn’t risk it. Either Impa came too, or he needed her back. Impa, however, dropped something down to him. He held it in his hands. He recognized it from the first visions. The Ocarina of Time.

“Tell me honestly,” Impa said toward him and Zelda. “Did anyone hear you play the song?”

Yep. He knew his expression gave it away. He had to play it to make Skull Kid understand.

“An imp heard my Song of Paradox,” Zelda said almost in confession, like she was responsible. “We are trying to find him right now.”

Impa held her hand out to Zelda. “Don’t bother. Your ocarina, Princess.” Zelda handed her the ocarina. Impa played a song on it neither of them had ever heard. It wasn’t a simple song, nor did it have simple notes. After it was done, Impa held it back out toward her. “Play it one time. You will not see any future.”

Zelda had done what she was told. Her ocarina sparkled slightly at the end as she looked at it. Somehow, it was different.

“I connected it.” Impa looked toward Link. “The Ocarina of Time is connected to The Song of Time. The Song of Paradox, is now connected to what I have made the Ocarina of Paradox.” She looked toward Zelda. “Others may play the song, but it will only work on that from now on.” She glanced back down at Link. “To have two strong songs on the same Ocarina wouldn’t have been wise. Now. Hold up the Ocarina of Time.”

Link listened to the whistling of Impa, and played it back. He had exactly what he needed now. Three spiritual stones. The Ocarina of Time and the Song of Time. However, he wasn’t ready yet. At all. Until then, he had to hold everything safely near him. At least now if he missed the Mask Salesman, he would be able to do something in Termina. Link gestured toward Zelda.

“I will keep her safe,” Impa insisted. “The song and her are in good hands.” She reached behind her and gave a book to Zelda. “I will have her fully trained in all the royal secrets by the time you return.”

Not good enough. They weren’t staying in Hyrule, they needed to go to Termina. To out trick Ganon for seven years was hard the first time, but now Ganondorf would know what she looked like. Link pointed back toward Zelda again.

“Impa.” Her voice was soft as she hugged the book. “I promised Link I’d stay with him, for as long as he wanted.”

“You are safe now.” Impa said to Zelda as she looked toward Link. “You traveling together will make it easy to attain everything for Ganondorf. I know where to take Zelda where it is safe.”

Not safe enough. Link wasn’t moving.

“I saw the future as well,” Impa told him. “I will take her where Ganon cannot reach or see. She will be safe. Then I will teach her what she must know to fight and survive.”

Still not good enough. She did have what Zelda needed but he was also running out of time. He would still have to battle Mido, they would be ready this time, and he didn’t know what to expect from them all. He felt Epona get anxious beneath him. He petted her, steadying her, but he couldn’t move yet.

“He wants to spend the next seven years in another land,” Zelda said to Impa. “People look similar to us, but they aren’t the same.”

“A parallel world.” Impa looked toward him, with an altogether different look of surprise. “Do you guarantee you can get there, and that you can get back?” He nodded toward her. She looked toward Zelda. “Another world, Ganondorf would not be able to access. How you would even access it is beyond me. If the boy can access it, you are in fact safer with him.” Yet, the last part felt bitter the way it had been said. “If he indeed has a way.”

“The imp hasn’t shown him the way yet.” Zelda was a little more honest than Link wanted her to be. “He was greatly affected by the Song of Paradox. He will cause trouble there. We are on our way to try and stop him.”

Link gave her a side stare. He could catch up if he wasn’t dealing with Impa to get her back. This was delaying him. “If you can keep up, come.” But he had to go. With Zelda.

“Are you confident that you can gain access to that world?” Impa asked again. “I  have seen ahead. There is a block. You have angered your people somehow.”

Link nodded. He believed there was a chance in anything, and the answer lied not only with Skull Kid but the Mask Salesman too. I won’t give up. Termina is where I need to go.

“Are you going to handle your own problem?” Impa asked. “And not run from it?”

Ah. Link was starting to get it. She was giving permission, even said he would be the one she should go with, but she hadn’t let her go. Because? She’s watching me. He had to take care of his own business first. She wanted to see how much he thought he needed Zelda to come with him. Link wasted no more time. They each had something very important and they both needed to be away from Ganondorf. And, even though it would be easier to keep going without Zelda, and just trust that Impa could watch her?

Ganondorf was trying to think two steps ahead just as much as them. I can’t risk it. We can’t stay in Hyrule, not yet. 

He rode off, facing the destiny he needed to face. He rode until he reached the block. It was all logs, easy to climb for Kokiri, but not for a pony to jump over. He patted Epona softly as he got off of her and climbed the logs.

—————————————-

“When you come out of that land, I will be waiting for you, no matter how long.” Impa gave Zelda a brief hug before giving her ocarina back. “The Song of Storms will lead you to a dangerous place, but Ganondorf will not find it. Be ready for it in Kakariko.” She whistled the tune with her fingers. Zelda played it softly on her ocarina.

The weather around her was mimicking her feelings as she felt the song deep inside. She flinched as she felt Impa wipe away her tear.

“Princess Zelda,” Impa said, almost painfully. “The song produces storms, but this goodbye is producing your tears.”

Zelda reached for her, hugging her closely, almost dropping the book and ocarina. “We’d be safe from Ganondorf?”

“As best as we could,” Impa said, “Yet, if you can go to a parallel world. Where I have to go, it isn’t pleasant. You would have more freedom . . . more light.”

Zelda didn’t care about that. She haphazardly held the book and ocarina so they didn’t fall between them. “I promised him I’d go with him as long as he wanted because I caused all of this, Impa. I threw all of destiny off course. I’m changing what should have been history.”

“While that is true, Princess Zelda,” Impa said as she rubbed her back affectionately. “The boy has the Ocarina of Time and the Song of Time, along with all three pieces of the spiritual stone. If he wanted now, he could go. It would not be the same, it’s true, but the outcome would be similar. Whatever that outcome? He is bent on keeping you beside him.” There was a stifled groan. “He is a boy courageous enough to beat Ganondorf . . . and yet, having him watch over you feels like . . . like I am leaving you to another child.” She hugged her slightly tighter. “I know it is not true. It’s just feelings. He is a boy, but so much more. If anyone can watch out for you, now of all times, he would be best.” She smiled at Zelda. “Besides? You just said that you promised him.”

“As long as he wants me to stay,” Zelda said to her. “If you talk to Link though, more, then maybe-”

“He isn’t just riding into the same fight anymore,” Impa warned her. “He is taking on the Kokiri’s and their beliefs to get you through now. This isn’t a quick duel. He believes that much that you need to stay. There is nothing that I could say that would convince him otherwise. Besides, you will be free to be more of yourself. With me, you will no longer see daylight. I have to go deeper than anything you’ve ever witnessed, even if you saw the future, Princess Zelda.”

“But he . . . but he . . .” Zelda clamped on tighter. “Look what he did to my hair. He stole a pony from a farm. He never communicates, he just acts and expects you to figure it out!”

“That’s Link.”

Zelda looked down from the tree and saw another forest dweller. This one, a girl. I have seen her before, in the visions.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt?” She apologized. “Things are going to go bad over the log, and I can’t be involved.” She looked toward her hands. “I can’t bring myself to go against Link, but I can’t bring myself to be on his side right now either. Home would never take me back.” She giggled. “So I am taking the coward’s way out.” She waved at them. “I’m Saria. Sorry, if I don’t present myself right. This is the first time I’ve sort of . . . left.”

Zelda watched her. Coy, communicative, but overall a little frightened too. “You are Link’s friend.”

“Yeah.” Saria approached a little closer from the ground. “I’m his best friend. Well?” She was hesitant. “His only friend.” Still hesitant. “Don’t judge Link too bad. First of all, I’m sure he wouldn’t want you tagging along unless it’s important. He’s very isolated. Second, he doesn’t communicate well, but he still cares. It’s just, Kokiri’s all have fairies. I know, as an outsider . . .”

Zelda smiled with appreciation. Saria had never left her home. This was the first time she spoke to anyone different than herself, and she still felt compelled enough to tell her about Link. “It’s okay, I’m really just a kid. No reason to be frightened.” That seemed to relax her. “Link is nice. I’m sure we’ll become good friends.”

Saria’s edginess was starting to melt away. “Good! He’s going to need one. Even here, Link was treated differently. Unjustly because he didn’t have a fairy for nearly all his life. Not until too long ago. Kokiri try to be nice, but a lot of them shied away and hid their feelings. But . . .” She held her hands over her heart. “I know that Link felt that. He grew up being quiet, and tried to stay out of the way of everyone. When he did get in the spotlight, usually from an action he took, it always turned out bad for him. Whether the action was good or bad.”

Zelda nodded. “Thank you, Saria.” Now she understood better. Link wasn’t just different to her world. He wasn’t even accepted in the world he thought he’d been from.

“And uh?” Saria gestured around her own head. “Sorry about the hair. He kind of . . . he does things on impulse? You’ll get used to it.” She smiled. “I know he’ll take really good care of you! Link’s no ordinary boy.” Then, she took a step backward. “But, please promise me one thing?”

Zelda didn’t know what she could possibly promise. All she had done is wreck Link’s life ever since he met her. The only reason she complained now was because of Impa. She was losing Impa, and Impa was the one she confided in. Trusted in. “If I can promise it.”

“Take care of him too? Please? He is going to really need a friend, and I can’t be there for him this time.” Genuine hurt could be heard echoing in that line. “He’s a little tough to bear, but he’s worth it.”

Zelda touched her hair lightly. It’s not just me. Both of our worlds are changing. No matter what his ‘impulse’ caused. She would have to put her royal feelings aside.

“You are a true friend to him,” Impa said to Saria.

“Sure,” Saria said almost in disbelief. “I’m just leaving him in there on his own to deal with everything.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “Whatever destiny you two must take, I wish you luck.” Then, she started to walk away.

——————————————

Kokiri Village

There was more than one there. Pretty much, everyone gathered as he jumped over. Link was going to deal with Mido and maybe a couple of others before, but Impa was asking for something else. Something greater. She wanted safe passage for Zelda and him, always. No running. No jumping. No hiding. 

“You killed the Great Deku Tree!” Mido accused him. “How could you just do that? Then you not only leave, but you come back with a Hylian!”

The other Kokiris agreed as more of them came forward.

“Leaping through here on a horse with a non-Kokiri,” another Kokiri said. “Disappointing! The Great Deku Tree never would have forgiven that. This is our place, our home, our sanctuary. We can’t ever leave. And you not only broke that, but you brought an outsider in.”

Link continued to hear the accusations against him. He never killed The Great Deku Tree, he saved him as much as he could. He could never tell them that. Even that much, would only cast more guilt. Silence was always the way to go. They either figured it out, or they didn’t. Nothing he could say ever changed their minds. Saria could. Sometimes, but he already knew she wouldn’t be there if he came back. She could be over by the temple, or she could have finally left the safety of the forest to avoid involvement.

“I thought you’d barge right through here recklessly again,” Mido accused him. “Your horse even dented my house!”

It was a pony. Mido’s house was secure, Kokiri built with strong magic. I can try. “I’m sorry.”

“Oh, so the great Link speaks and apologizes,” another Kokiri said. “That is supposed to excuse everything?”

“You can’t bring an outsider back in here,” Mido warned him. “Do it and you’ll regret it.” He crossed his arms.

As he thought, apologizing did nothing. He drew his sword. Mido drew his. Yet, this wasn’t all there was to it. Fight him once, and the Kokiri would stand aside and let her through, but Impa wasn’t looking for that. She was Zelda’s caretaker. Link pulled together his courage as much as possible. Nothing he had faced yet could compare to what he had to do. “I want safe haven for my friend, in Kokiri village, for the next seven years.”

There was more than one gasp.

“No one lets an outsider just stay!”

“Safe travel to and fro,” Link spoke again. If only he had Saria. She could explain. She could reason with anyone. She wouldn’t be involved in this one though. It would threaten her presence in the village too. “She won’t hurt anyone. She’ll hardly be here.”

“It must be important,” another Kokiri said. “Link’s talked more today than he does in a month.”

“No one can promise that!” Mido yelled. “We don’t even know what to do now that The Great Deku Tree is gone!”

“I know, so let my friend through,” Link repeated.

“We stay firm,” Mido warned him. “We are Kokiri! This is home. Something will happen, and it’ll be okay again, so we aren’t just abandoning rules!” More Kokiri were heard agreeing with him. “And the most ultimate rule was outsiders aren’t allowed in Kokiri village!”

Link gripped his sword tighter. “I challenge any and all who won’t agree, and I’ll keep challenging until we have safe passage.” No more leaping. No more running. He had to do it right, and it would hurt all of them. It wasn’t the battle that was hard. It was the fact? That he had to fight for it.

Mido came first. Navi being Link’s fairy, still did her part. Link kept a firm target on Mido as he moved around. When he spotted the opening, he struck. If it hadn’t been a serious battle, he could have struck with his slingshot. It’s what he wanted to do, but that wouldn’t cut it.

Mido yelped, in pain. He looked down at his side, like he couldn’t believe it.

Link knew how to strike by now. He’d been through the depths of The Great Deku Tree, the lavas and Dodongos of Death Mountain, and the inside of Jabu Jabu of Zora’s domain. Mido was nothing. He had a flesh wound on his side now, nothing life threatening, but hopefully it was enough.

While Mido tended to his wound, two more Kokiri tried to grab Link by the arms, to hold back his sword. That wouldn’t work. Link moved out of the way. When they tried again, he had no choice but to strike each of them with a similar wound he left on Mido. 

“Don’t interfere!” Mido warned them, pulling himself back up and moving the other Kokiri. He drew his sword again. “I won’t back down. Not now, not ever. It was The Greak Deku’s Tree law, Link. No one has the right to change it.”

A flesh wound wouldn’t be enough. Link steeled himself as he watched Mido’s moves again carefully. His anger was seen in the thrusts. Other Kokiri wanted to interrupt, but Mido’s warning was keeping them at bay. Link saw several openings. He kept dodging and ignoring Mido’s threats as he watched. He did not want to kill Mido, but he was going to need more than a flesh wound. He would have to hit in just the right spot.

He would have to hit hard enough that no one challenged him again in the next seven years. Then, he spotted it. The weakness in his move. Zelda needs to stay with me. Impa may have casted the song to only work with Zelda’s ocarina, but Ganondorf will eventually search everywhere, and I can’t just trust Impa can hide her when he knows just as much as her now. We need to go to Termina. We need to go together. And I will! He hit once. Win Impa’s! He hit again. Trust! He hit it.

Mido screamed so loud, even his fairy circled him in worry as he collapsed to the ground. Kokiri quickly ran to his side.

Link tucked his sword away again. Every Kokiri there glared at him, even those helping Mido up to get looked at. He would survive, Link didn’t hit anything that would kill a Kokiri. Yet, he knew it damaged his trust. He would be allowed to and fro now, but none of the Kokiri’s would associate with him ever again.

Link watched as a Kokiri came toward Link. “Access granted,” he said bitterly, “but respect denied.”

Link nodded. He knew that would be the result. Every Kokiri looked away from him. He got down to work trying to unlock the logs. None of them would help him. However, no one would have come over and helped him before either. He may have ostracized himself from everyone, but he’d always been ostracized.

He finally pulled it right and the logs tumbled. He jumped past them, got on his horse, and headed back. It was time to retrieve Zelda.

Link came back around below the tree, and waited. “I dealt with it.” It was a harder thing to say than she had known.

“As I suspected you would. Now, as I have taught Zelda. If anything happens, you should both know it. The Song of Storms will lead you to me, when played in the right place.” Impa whistled the notes.

Link pulled out his ocarina and played it easily as it started to rain around them.  Impa hung upside down and placed Zelda on the back of the pony. Zelda held the royal book and the ocarina.

“Good luck, Princess Zelda. Study the book diligently to understand it, and train as well as you can with Link. ‘Til we meet again,” Impa said as she lifted herself back up into the tree. And then? She disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Zelda stretched out her arm toward her as Link started to take off. They were behind on time, but they now had the ocarina, the Song of Time, security around Zelda’s Song of Paradox, some royal book that held secrets, and security around Zelda staying with him. It was worth the delay. Although, this time, he definitely heard it. He couldn’t stop riding yet, but he knew Princess Zelda was crying. “One day you can go home, I promise.” He felt both of her arms tighten around him.

So far, she had been trying to accept her new situation. She was going through the motions, but when she saw Impa, and then had to let go? Her true emotions couldn’t be hidden. Link stopped Epona briefly at the bridge that would go into Kokiri village. He rode through, a little easier, but still needed to use Mido’s house for leverage. No one said a word. No one even looked his way as he made his way into the Lost Woods.

Zelda couldn’t make sense of much. The visions this time were so different. A different place. A different time maybe? People she knew, yet didn’t. Had seen, but it wasn’t the same. She watched as the little imp seized up and then fell to the ground, almost frozen in place. It lied there for some time. Why did Link play it for him?

She watched Link hurry over to it and try to take it’s hand to help it up.

“I didn’t do anything yet!” It yelled as it almost scrambled away. It was scared of Link. “I didn’t take anything, don’t do anything to me!”

Zelda moved toward the frightened imp. It obviously wasn’t fighting, but from what she saw, it considered Link an enemy. Link wasn’t quick to calm him down either of course. “It’s okay, he won’t hurt you. Neither will I.”

The imp began to calm down as he stared at Zelda. “You’re a new Kokiri?”

“No,” Zelda said. She looked toward Link. What was he planning?

The imp stared at him for a bit. “How did you show me that? That was a dream?” He pulled out his ocarina and played the melody he just heard.

More visions flooded Zelda’s head. She was starting to understand better. He took Link’s horse. He opens the way to a new . . . place? A world outside of Hyrule. The imp played the melody again. Zelda was getting it much better into her head. He opens the way with two fairies, and he transforms Link. If she was getting to see the future that well, then it was more than enough.

“Stop.” Link seemed to understand too. “We need to go there, Skull Kid.”

Skull Kid. That was it’s name? Link knows much more than I do. Zelda looked back toward him, almost shamefully. How am I going to be able to help? I should know all the royal secrets, and I can’t even give him The Song of Time, let alone the ocarina of time.

“Hmm. Something’s wrong.” Skull Kid held his ocarina up like he wanted to play it again. “Why am I on the . . .” He looked toward Link. “Horse. Some . . . fairies?”

Ooh, that didn’t sound good. Zelda saw that in her vision. “Can we still go without fairies?” Fairies were magical. She heard a little tinkling beside her. Oh yes, Link’s fairy, Navi, was still there. She was so quiet, staying out of the way that she almost forgot. Maybe they would be fine? But? The imp named Skull Kid, once again played the song. “You must stop that,” Zelda warned him. “It’s a dangerous song.” She knew Link had to play it for him to see the future, but at the risk of him learning it? This might not be that trusting of a creature. In the visions, it was quite terrible that she had seen. With a terrible looking mask.

“It’s a pretty song.” Skull Kid danced around a moment. “Nothing bad can ever happen. You always know what will happen.” He threw up his ocarina, caught it and played it again.

“No.” Link came closer to Skull Kid. “You know enough, stop. We need to go.”

He stopped playing. “They come see me again? My friends?”

Friends? Zelda didn’t see any friends except some fairies, but he hadn’t known them. He spoke this time as if he knew of some friends.

“I want to see my friends? How do I see my friends?” Skull Kid stared at his ocarina, strangely like it was a treasure. “Something to do with that strange mask. Then I can see my friends again!” He played the song again, this time partly off key until he found it again.

Zelda covered her ears. She looked toward Link who was doing the same. That song has more powers than seeing into the future. That held true with songs. Sometimes, they did more than one thing. This one? Was having a profound effect. Link and her had played it several times, but never back to back, and only as a need. “Link, he can’t keep playing that song.” It was an abuse of power.

There was also something wrong, he was playing with a slightly higher pitched, rushing it too. The visions were changing too fast. It didn’t feel right. The vibes, it didn’t feel right. “Link, do something!”

Apparently, Link had felt that same strange intensity. He leapt toward Skull Kid and wrangled his ocarina away. Skull Kid somersaulted, but then took off down another path. Zelda watched as Link followed only a moment before he stopped. He stared at the path he went, and then looked back at Zelda, almost like he wished she hadn’t been there. He ran over, grabbed her hand, and she was forced to try to keep up with him.

After several twists and turns, Zelda was out of breath. Link stopped and looked ahead. He played his ocarina, the song she heard more than once before that summoned the pony, Epona. She found them straight away. Zelda watched for his next move. He couldn’t be left alone out there with knowledge of the song. If he found another ocarina to play, surely it would damage what little of the mind the imp had left. Will Skull Kid get better now that he stopped playing? Or . . . “When everything spun out of control, Link, before I covered my ears. There were still terrible visions toward the end.”

Link glanced toward Navi. He definitely caught a dingle of frustration from her. Skull Kid had ran deep into the Lost Woods. They had Navi, so they could get back out easily, but now things were more complicated. He planned on playing the song for him, once, and letting him see what would happen if he got the mask. Skull Kid would be thankful, and lead them to Termina. To a safe haven away from Ganondorf. There was never any knowing of what someone would see though, and apparently Skull Kid had gotten the wrong idea. He must have seen something good, and thought the mask brought it to him.

He had the same problem, Skull Kid was bound to get the mask that he saw in his future. He wasn’t going to leave the Lost Woods though, imps like him wouldn’t do that. He lost the mask months before I bumped into Skull Kid. He knew that. The Happy Mask Salesman, would he be entering the woods soon, or did Link have enough time to leave and stop him?

But, Ganondorf. Back under the nose of the castle. Link already stole Epona, and even in his green outfit, Zelda’s long, blonde hair still stuck out. Princesses always had long, flowing hair.

“What’s with that look, Link?” Zelda could already sense something from him she didn’t like.

If he leapt out quick with Epona, he could get past the Kokiri’s and back to the market, but they wouldn’t make it so easy a second time to get to the Lost Woods. Mido. There was bound to be some kind of battle, and the Kokiri would be ready to make sure Epona couldn’t cross. He’d have to battle Mido, and anyone else who didn’t want him coming into the Lost Woods with the stranger. After he proved himself to be the strongest, no one would stand in his way. Especially with the Great Deku Tree gone.

On the right track, just a little turn step. Link was used to that by now. Hardly anything was straight forward to get what he needed. He got on Epona and gave Zelda a lift up. Following Navi, he readied himself. “Hang on, Zelda.” He felt her hands clench around his waist. She was learning fast. He raced out of the Lost Woods with Epona, turned, and jumped using Mido’s house as a stepping stone to the ground for Epona.

He quickly leapt off and moved out of the hollow tree. There was no way they’d make it that easy again. He could even see some of them working on the ground on a gate, just in case he came back out. Good thing he beat it. He’d have to fight twice.

—————————

Once he was out of the Kokiri’s sacred area, but before he was on the open plains to Hyrule, he stopped. He got down. Zelda followed pursuit and he retrieved his sword. It wouldn’t be the safest in the world, but . . . he knew enough not to hurt her.

He held his hand out, gesturing her closer.

Zelda came toward him. He pushed on her shoulder slightly, indicating he wanted her to bend down. She bent down slightly, but he kept pressure on her shoulder. She bent down on her knees. What was he doing?

“Close your eyes, don’t move, or I might kill you.”

Zelda tried to hide back a gasp. Why did he say that? She stayed absolutely still, and then felt him start to touch her hair. No, gather her hair and then the tension on her hair was gone. Meaning one thing. He. Didn’t. Just. She felt him move away. She opened her eyes and looked downward. A good portion of her hair was on the ground.

“Tough,” he simply said. He held his sword back out.

“Wait!” Zelda cried out, moving back. Half of her hair was cut at an odd angle while the other side was still intact. “Scissors, Link! Haven’t you ever heard of scissors?!” This, this boy! Randomly cuts my hair, steals a horse, rides with me through a forest with my eyes staying closed! She watched his expression for a sign that he knew what she was talking about. Oh how fantastic, he didn’t. He came from a forest, and a magical one at that. The Kokiri, did they even grow their hair long? Did it grow past a certain point? She didn’t know. All she knew was that half of her hair was a complete mess now, leaving the other half the only decent part now.

He just held his sword tight, and gestured to her other side. The gleaming ‘I wouldn’t hurt you’ shining back. “Come on, Zelda.”

Okay. So he couldn’t call her Princess Zelda. And okay, she had to stay by his side for who knew how long, she owed it to him. She would eventually find Impa, and get him what he needed to save Hyrule from Ganondorf. But? “Your communication skills are terrible, Link!” Maybe it was starting to sink in what she promised. Riding on a stolen horse. Chasing after an imp. Getting her hair, her royal hair, cut partway by a sword. It wasn’t even a terribly good sword so it didn’t even cut the whole thing. Even if it did, it wouldn’t have looked good at all. Nope, nope. Not going to. I am Princess Zelda, and I will not cry about this. 

It wasn’t just about the hair, it was just . . . everything. She was losing everything because of that stupid song! Her clothes. Her hair. Her home. Her caretaker. Living out alone, with only the brave boy to keep her company. It wasn’t any girl’s version of a good time. I should have called it The Song of Doom. It’s brought nothing good with it. Even the little imp, she could see how it was affected. She heard a slight sigh from Link.

“I won’t hurt you,” he said, “I just need to cut your hair so we won’t be discovered as quick.”

There. Was that so hard to say? Still, if he had asked before he started to butcher her hair, she was sure that someone had a pair of scissors. There’s no use keeping part of it now. It would look even worse with one half long, and one half kind of . . . diagonally weird. It all needed to be diagonally weird now. She closed her eyes and stayed still as she felt Link hold her hair again.

Zelda held still for some time. Link was using a sword, after all, but it wasn’t the strongest sword, and she had strong hair. It took nearly six swipes of his sword before her hair was remotely short enough. Style? None. Not for royalty, of course, but not for anyone. It was terrible, ‘drop off a cliff instead of this’ embarrassing. True, she couldn’t see her hair, but she could feel it.

She saw a bottle of milk appear in her vision. He knew she wasn’t feeling so full of gumption right now. She didn’t want to waste it though. This is life. She had to correct what she did wrong, and this was the price she had to pay. It just, it took time to accept. She wasn’t a magical being that could just wish all her inner turmoil away. She stood back up. “I don’t need any.”

Link put the milk away and climbed toward Epona. Zelda moved onto the horse with him, trying not to stare at the carnage of her hair on the ground. The wind would blow it away quickly though, even it wouldn’t remain.

The last remnants of who she’d been. Princess Zelda.

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. Oh. 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 to. 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.

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 had seen 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 sat 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.

Zelda played away on her ocarina. She was taught to play from it at a very young age. Playing it, helped relieve the stress she was feeling. What felt like days ago, she sent out a boy named Link to get the stones Ganon would be after. A simple princess, all she could do was wait for him. Until then, she eased her stress with her ocarina.

Hyrule had some of the strongest songs that could make certain things happen, but the royal songs seemed to hold the most weight. There were, however, many songs that were played simply for fun. Zelda often enjoyed playing a combination of them. Forwards and backwards, and different speeds with different tempos. Some were sweet and relaxing, some were quick and upbeat, and some were simply jarring. She was relaxing in the castle’s royal garden again, Impa not very far. She always tended to be near her.

First, she relaxed with a simple, common song of Hyrule and a few made up tempos between before playing some of the royal songs. Mixed with the other songs, it shouldn’t cause anything unforeseen to happen around them. But as she played, that quickly changed.

Everything happened so fast. Zelda was unprepared for it. Impa was unprepared for it. No one in the vicinity was prepared for what they experienced. However, Impa quickly grabbed her and moved out of the garden. Zelda held her harmless pink ocarina as Impa immediately tried to get a horse.

However, her father was right behind her. Zelda saw him, with his large white beard and questioning eyes popping out from beneath. How she wanted to answer him, but there was no time to comprehend anything. Especially as Ganondorf came running out right beside him. Supposedly trying to be an ally to Hyrule, his eyes were focused on her like she was a piece of meat he couldn’t wait to get his hands on.

Impa moved her to the horse and hit it, staying behind to deal with the difficulty. Knowing that if she left, things would only become more difficult. Still a young child, but having taken horse riding lessons for a couple of years now, she held on tightly to the horse.

None of the townspeople in the market seemed to know or care what was going on as Zelda rode out from the drawbridge. She held tight to her ocarina, still half in disbelief of what she had done.

She had created a new royal song, and it had shown not only her, but anyone near her, what would happen in the future. Since her father didn’t react as strongly as Ganon, and others didn’t understand either, it might have been selective on what it showed.

She saw a great deal, but Zelda had been taught by Impa how to control some of her power. Her father rarely had anything, But Ganondorf? Whatever he saw . . .

Impa knew to grab Zelda but stay because she knew Ganon would risk anything to catch Zelda. She would hold him off long enough for Zelda to run off and away from his vision. She kept holding onto the horse as she moved toward Impa’s small village, Kakariko.

As she came in, she got off the horse, and sent it away. As helpful as it had been, Ganon and his men would simply track it. Still not risking an utterance of a word, she patted it’s nuzzle gently and watched it leave. She ignored any comments from anyone in the town, trying to ask why the princess was there.

She simply ran, running toward the only safe place she knew would be hard to check. A place only the royal family could go into: The graveyard.

As she encountered the gravestone with the triforce on it, she brought out her little ocarina. The only noise she would dare to make. She began to play her lullabye, but noticed the hole was already open. Someone had already retrieved it. Please let it have been Link.

She moved toward the next secret grave she needed and it was opened. He is a clever fairy boy.  Zelda could still retrieve the royal song, it was written down, but she would face strong challenges. She had no money on her, and she did not want to take time for more to discover her yet. Instead, she would seek assistance from someone who would hopefully help.

————————-

That. Power. That. Vision. It was new. Ganondorf had experienced many things, but nothing like that song. With it? He already knew how the current path would end for him, what happened to Princess Zelda, and what happened to the little boy he had already heard conquered his stone of courage from his grasp. The distance was not far, and something as frilly as a royal outfit on a horse couldn’t hide forever.

He knew why she didn’t run with Impa, and why that woman distracted him with the King of Hyrule for a small amount of time before disappearing. Everyone? Everyone was changing the path that they each had saw. As he had heard a tune, a random tune that he wished he could remember . . . everyone in that vicinity seemed to see it. Even the King of Hyrule was so confused with what he had seen, but his powers weren’t nearly as strong. It was doubtful everyone got the same vision.

But of what he saw, he wanted more. One girl. If I get that girl and I get what that tune had been. He could change his future. He could play that tune every time something changed, and stop those who tried to oppose him. He needed to get it before it was restricted by the Sheika, Impa. He could see the turns before anyone began them. His boots stomped along the ground of the small Kakariko village. This was where the woman had taken her last time. He had seen that. This is where she would have gone.

If only he could know more! As he came, no one opposed him. Everyone added what they could, even saying they thought they saw her run to the graveyard. Silly girl. The graveyard could do nothing. Already, he was thinking about the song, like it was his. It practically had been. Find one little girl. Song of Future? No. It sounded less important than the legendary royal Song of Time, and it was certainly not that. Song of Foretelling? Song of Fortune? No, no. It wasn’t fortunate to everyone. That song was changing everything. With every tune, it would show a future that could then be changed, which would not have been without it. A complicated, wonderful tune. Then, as the cuckoo owner trembled in front of him and pointed to the barrel, he knew what he would call his new song.

He stepped over the little fence, looked into a barrel, and pulled at the pink inside of it. “Give me the Song of Paradox!” However, all he had when he pulled it up, was an even smaller kid, barely wearing the oversized dress.

Ganondorf’s yell made the earth below Kakariko tremble.

—————————————–

Zelda had believed her part had been fulfilled. She had met the boy with the fairy while spying on Ganon, the man she had dreamed of before too. She had warned him about her dreams, only slightly fearing ridicule. While the boy didn’t talk back much, he did make it known that he believed her. He was even willing to find the spiritual stones. She could sense the bravery in his heart as he had stood there.

While just a child like her, the boy with the green tunic felt strangely like he could do almost anything. Besides being able to sense Ganon’s wickedness, Zelda herself didn’t feel any different than any other child. She steeled herself, trying to remember that she was royalty, and she had to do this. Losing her royal pink dress and running with her full blue slip was only the beginning of the hard times she knew she had ahead.

She had to pull herself through and move before the things of the night came out after her. Last time, she had to run as fast as she could to evade them, but she didn’t have half as much of the same energy. Even with the shield that helped protect her from the falling rocks couldn’t stop her legs from doing more sporadic sprints to get up death mountain. Running in her dress’ slip didn’t make the journey any easier.

Reaching the entrance, Zelda met a goron near it. It didn’t seem to mind that she had been there. She moved past it, not wanting to startle it more than she needed to. Gorons were actually a gentle race. Except they were big, and if they weren’t careful, they could hurt her if they tried to grab her. They were after all as strong as rocks themselves.

Peering in, she looked around. There was certainly a sense of panic in the place. Finding courage in herself, she carefully approached, trying to find out what was happening and where the boy Link had gone. It was possible that he could be after the next stone, but hopefully he was there, and not far away.

After getting enough detail, Zelda found the Goron leader and found out Link had gone into the dodongo caverns. Oooh . . .

“Dodongo caverns.” She pursed her lips, trying not to suck on her hand. He was there in the caverns. Climbing death mountain had been hard enough, but now she had to go down into . . . a dungeon? “W-where’s the entrance?”

“Hang on there,” the leader said, clearly not wanting to answer. “You’re a girl? No, the princess? You sent the boy as a messenger for . . .” he scratched his head. “Actually, I don’t know. I know he must have been a messenger to make it up the mountain, but the dodongos were my first concern. Still? It’s too dangerous for the likes of you.”

Too dangerous for him. Too dangerous for her. Yet, he had entrusted Link to go in and get it done. Just a boy, not even a teen. “I know.” She had done the same thing. His young age, it didn’t hide the look of courage in his eyes. He looked like he could take on anything, no matter his age. “I have to get to Link. I have left the castle, gone through this treacherous mountain path, and I have to keep going. Please keep my arrival a secret?”

He didn’t seem convinced, but he admitted where the path had been. Zelda took off into the cavern and . . . was less than pleased. She was in a huge cavern with lava, and rocks moving up and down. “I need to jump on that rock, and then jump onto that flat area.” If she missed though, she would hit the lava below. She wanted to shout for Link, hoping he might be in the nearby area. However, she couldn’t. There were supposed to be huge dodongos in there. “I have to do this.”

Taking a running jump, she leaped onto the rock. As it moved upward, she clung onto it. It sank up and down twice more before she had the courage to try and start to stand up. Standing to run and jump on a moving rock was anything but soothing. She did it though, and jumped to the flat area. In front of her was a huge skeleton at least a hundred times her size. It’s mouth was open. “Welcoming door.” She tried to ignore what she was moving into as she walked into the mouth.

Oh Link, be here somewhere. As she walked in she saw huge pits of fire and heard terrible sounds. Sounds of creatures Zelda was sure she never wanted to meet! She moved down the steps, remembering why she had been there. She was close, and she could not give up.

From behind her though, a terrible pterodactyl like scream came. The sound scared her, making her move out of the way just in time before a sword had hit her arm! It was a huge, lizard like creature decked out in armor. It raised it’s sword again and Zelda tried to run away as fast as she could. Her heart raced as it chased after her, and she saw another one in front of her.

She screamed. It was involuntary. Her mind forgot all about dodongos as it tried to figure out how to survive against the reptilian army creatures. They were so fast, and before she could run again, a sword was coming straight down at her chest.

“Hyah!”

Zelda’s heart was beating so wildly. She had been so close to death, she could barely comprehend what happened. Link. She had not found him, he had found her.

No more dirty now then he was when they met. He looked exactly the same. He still had his brave eyes. He still hadn’t spoken a word. When they met, he was almost completely silent. His voice was soft and brief.

“Link.” She came over toward him. “Don’t continue this quest I gave you.” He of course didn’t understand. “It’s hard to explain. I don’t really understand myself.” She brought out her ocarina and played a song that relaxed her. She used it to soothe herself, and pray she could explain well enough for him.

——————————–

Link used deku sticks to make a fire, and cleared out enemies for a safer place to relax. Safe enough to at least talk. He had left the safety of his home in Kokiri forest with Navi, who seemed to be having small fits as Zelda talked. Yet, even a fairy shouldn’t oppose a princess.

The Great Deku tree told him his destiny was out there. With the princess and her request, he thought he had found it. He fought day by day, and enemy by enemy to get stronger. To help the princess in her hour of need. It was what a hero did.

Yet. He listened. That was his best gift. He tended not to speak as much, preferring to listen. The answer and solutions to the puzzles in life needed to be heard, and they were often very soft-spoken. While he listened to her, and Navi was shaking fairy dust and making tingling sounds, he was quickly starting to see the puzzle that laid before him.

While Zelda was playing one of the royal songs, she tinkered with it slightly. She said it was fun to tinker with the ocarina, to play higher beats or lower beats to songs, or sometimes play them backwards to see what they sounded like. Her eyes even lit up when she said she found a real secret with one of her favorites. Yet, that dash of happiness faded.

She had created a song. A powerful song.

Visions of his death. Visions of a terrible war. Visions of herself wrapped up. Visions of ancestors. Visions of reincarnation. She tried to keep it together, but even he could see she was disturbed by it too. Especially for something about a wolf in one of her visions. She seemed to be hiding something more in that one. Then of course, the big finish. Ganon was after her, for the song. He had been there. He had seen what was supposed to happen.

“So, you see?” Zelda finished. “I’m sorry. I did what I could. I.”

There was only one thing she needed to hear. Link knew it. “I forgive you.” It wasn’t her fault, what she knew. What she didn’t know. She did what was best to her for the kingdom.

“We should return the stones where they belong.”

That was the thing about talking. Even Zelda hadn’t thought about it yet.

“Oh. The Great Deku Tree.”

There it was. Link waited to see if she had anything else to say.

“We need to refind a safe spot for it. The Dodongos can keep theirs if we just leave, and then we’ll leave the Zora’s alone.”

It still wasn’t that simple. He just waited.

“Um. Th . . .” Zelda looked toward him. “They all fall into trouble because of Ganon. He knows what happens, so . . .” Zelda seemed to try to calm herself.

They were in a tough situation. A no win situation, Link could see it. No matter which way they took, things just got murky.

Navi was having a fit, tinkles and fairydust filled the air, darting around Link’s head.

“Well. We have to decide to do something. If he goes after the stones like I thought he would before, he would be able to . . . but if he already saw the future then . . .” Zelda bent her head down. “There’s no way to win. We have to create a new path, something he never saw before. Right, Link?”

Link poked at the fire with the deku stick and slowly watched it burn. It was a lot to take in, but he was getting used to that kind of thing. Still? It seemed like there would be no way he could really get a good ending for the kingdom. He was supposed to get the princess’ stones, and he would be a hero. It’s what he felt deep inside he was supposed to be. He braved everything, all the obstacles, just to be one.

Then again. Zelda and Ganon were already changing things. Fate might be changing. There was no guarantee what was supposed to happen would happen.

“It’s a lot. I don’t know if everything is accurate in my visions, or where things go,” Zelda told him. “I know it’s hard to believe. It was hard believing my visions the first time around, but now I’m seeing future things in different parallels that haven’t even happened. I’m sorry, Link.”

Link shook his head and tried to smile. She wasn’t crazy. He couldn’t believe that. Besides, her eyes. Her eyes said volumes about how they felt.

“I know, I know! If you choose something different from the other options, then none of the other stuff ever happens, so it’s . . .” She held out a small pink Ocarina and looked at it. “I brought this to life, Link,” Zelda said. “It’s a dangerous song. When I play it, everyone sees the dangers of the future. Knows what they shouldn’t. I don’t think I should ever write it down.” She looked at her ocarina. “In the wrong hands. But who has the wrong hands?” She put it away. “I shouldn’t ever play it again. Except for you. If you want it? But, you must be very careful with it. I fear it. I don’t like it.” Her hands trembled. “I shouldn’t have come up with it. I should have let destiny run. But our destiny is . . . ”

“Easy,” he whispered. He brought out his ocarina, and easily picked up her notes as she played it for him to learn. As he did that, he saw the same kinds of things she once described to him and more. A monkey carrying a lantern. Leafy people. A large boar in the air in the clouds. A wolf and a . . . his mind wasn’t as used to seeing strange and different things. His only experience was a dream he once had himself. He stopped playing the tune.

“I heard Ganon call it the Song of Paradox while I snuck away,” Zelda admitted. She put the ocarina back away. “Royal songs are supposed to be songs of destiny, that find their way into being played. But. To have written one, and one such as this?” She tucked her blue summery dress against herself as she sat down next to the fire. “Link? Do we follow our destiny, knowing the tragedy? Or do we risk changing everything?”

Link sat down beside her.

“I always wanted to do that,” Zelda said out of the blue. Clearly not used to the quiet yet. “Some of the best Kings and Queens were the ones who discovered and wrote the songs. Destiny sought them out. But I never thought I would . . . I would write one so powerful. Terribly powerful.” She started poking fingers at the ground, tracing the triforce. “What should I do?”

“The Gorons need help,” Link finally said to her. He stood back up, then held his hand out to her. Link didn’t know the bigger things or decisions they needed to make. The only thing he knew was that the Gorons were starving and needed him to get rid of the dodongos. That was his present. That was his now. “Do you fight?” He was afraid he knew that answer.

“In the vision, I was very good at fighting.” Zelda shook her head. “Several years in the future. All I can do now is run, shake a sword, or crouch though.” She gestured to the giant shield on her back that matched Link’s. He knew that awkwardness at their age for something so big to carry, but a wooden one just wouldn’t work. It was too small. “Crouching down, it feels like a turtle.”

Yeah, it did. Link smiled at her. How could he say it gently? “Please stay out of the way?” He winced slightly, doubting those were the right words to use. Another reason to keep words to oneself. At least they sounded better in the head. Yet, she just nodded, understanding. He would take her with him, and he would fight for the Goron’s, but she needed to keep herself out of danger as much as possible.

The Gorons needed help. He promised to help. He couldn’t run away from helping them just because Ganon knew the game plan and might stir things up differently. After he helped them, maybe he could concentrate. Right now though, it wasn’t easy because as they started to move, he had something ringing next to his ear.

“Link! Link! Hey, Link! Link! Listen! Link!” Navi was pitching a fit over Zelda coming. Not because she was a princess, no no, just that she wasn’t supposed to come. It wasn’t what the Great Deku Tree said would happen. Well, nothing was what anyone expected to happen. The only thing straight in the world right now was helping the Gorons.

While playing songs one day to relax herself, Zelda discovers a new one. It did not transport anyone through time, but it showed anyone who listened their future. In moments, she knew she had changed the fate of everyone. She hides from Ganondorf and then finds Link. Together, they must decide on a new path never taken, for Ganondorf had heard her song, and he knows the future just as well as them.

Finding the spiritual stones, Link thought he was on the right path to be a hero, but as he sees the disturbing visions of Zelda’s new song, he knows none of his futures could be bright. What’s worse, if Ganon gets the song, he would always know the future. There is only one way to get the ending Link wants. To run away and live out the next seven years getting stronger, with Zelda.

Chapter 1: Eavesdropping on a Paradox/ Chapter 2: Seeing the Wolf/ Chapter 3: In Kokiri Green

/Chapter 4: Obsession and Loss/ Chapter 5: Taking on Kokiri Village