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 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!”
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.
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.