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By Cere

Chapter 4: New Frontiers

              Link squinted his eyes in the midday sun. He took a few tentative steps down the corridor away from Kokiri Forest and stopped in awe. In front of him was the largest open area he had ever seen!
              "This is incredible!" Link shouted.
              "It's Hyrule Field," Navi said. "We need to start heading for Hyrule Castle."
              "Where's that?" Link asked, turning around to try to see all the things far off in the distance.
              "We should follow that path," Navi said. "It will probably take us there."
              Link started walking down the path ahead of him. Along the way, he gazed at the sights around him. In the center of the field was an enclosed area, with strange animal noises coming from it. A tall mountain loomed in the distance with a smoke ring around it. To the left of it was a large town enclosed in a huge wall around it. The scene seemed familiar somehow. Then Link realized that it was the place from his dream.
              "Look," said Navi. "There's Castle Town in the distance."
              They made their way towards the wall and stopped before the drawbridge. Link turned to look at the massive structure, feeling a sense of déjà vu. "Well," said Navi, "what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
              He walked inside and immediately noticed the noise of a great commotion. At the end of a short street was the Market Square, and Link stopped to look at all the people. They were so big! All of them were adults. He aimlessly made his way through the Square, glancing at everything as he passed. There were people arguing over goods, men hawking their latest wares, two people practicing their juggling skills, and numerous stores and other buildings. Link felt overwhelmed.
              He was so absorbed in the sights and sounds that he accidentally walked backwards into somebody. He turned to see a girl there. "Oh," he said, startled. "Excuse me."
              "Well, I've never seen you before" the girl said. She had long red hair, was wearing a white dress, and seemed completely unafraid of the stranger. "Who are you?"
              "Uh," Link stammered, "I'm Link."
              "Nice to meet you! I'm Malon." She shook Link's hand exuberantly. "Well, you're dressed pretty funny. You're all green! Are you from the forest? I've heard of children living there, but I've never seen one. Oh, what's that?" She pointed at Navi.
              "I'm Navi, Link's fairy," Navi said.
              "Cool, a fairy!" Malon said. She turned to Link, still grasping Link's hand. "It must be really neat to have a fairy."
              "Uh, sure," Link said, pulling his hand away.
              "Well, you're awful talkative, aren't you," Malon said.
              "I'm sorry," Link said. "It's just that I'm new here and I feel sort of nervous talking to someone I've never met."
              "Well, don't worry, I won't hurt you," Malon said. "My father brought me up right and nice." Then, a worried expression crossed her face.
              "What's wrong?" Link asked.
              "My father, know him?" she asked.
              "Well, you certainly are new around here," she said. "My father's Talon, and he's the owner of Lon Lon Ranch. We're delivering milk to the castle, and I always wait here when he does that. However, he's been gone a long time and hasn't come back. He probably fell asleep. Adults can be silly like that."
              "Oh," Link said. He had no idea what adults were like.
              "So, anyway, I'm stuck waiting around here," she said. "Do you want to play with me while I wait?"
              "Sorry," said Link, "but I have to visit the Princess."
              "Oh, really!" exclaimed Malon. "Whatever for?"
              "I have to save Hyrule," he replied.
              Malon laughed. "What a funny game!" Her laughter died out. "It won't be fun for long. No one's allowed to see the Princess without an invitation. They've gotten really strict lately, since someone tried to sneak in."
              "Oh," said Link. He hadn't really thought about how to get in.
              "Well, I hope you succeed," said Malon.
              "Yeah," he said, and walked off.
              "Well," said Navi once they were out of hearing range, "she was a nice girl."
              Link nodded. "Very energetic."
              They left the Market Square and walked down an unpaved road. They turned a corner and Link stopped to stare at the castle. It was enormous, with large spires stabbing upwards into the sky. Its white walls gleamed in the sun.
              "Quick, Link," Navi shouted. "Let's go inside."
              Link ran down the road but slowed down when he noticed an iron gate blocking the way ahead. There was a guard standing in front of it. Link timidly walked up and prepared to speak.
              "What do you want?" the guard asked before he could speak.
              Link was taken aback. "I want to see the Princess," he said.
              "Invitation?" the guard asked gruffly.
              "Uh…not exactly."
              "Then you can't enter."
              "That's not very nice," Navi complained.
              The guard glared at the fairy without a change in his stony expression. "King's orders," he said. He showed no possibility of being swayed.
              "C'mon, let's go," Link said. He and Navi walked away from the guard and hid behind a curve in the road.
              "Are you going to just let him keep you out?" Navi said. "You have to save Hyrule!"
              "What am I supposed to do, fight him?" Link asked defensively. "There has to be another way in."
              He looked around at his surroundings and noticed some vines growing on a nearby wall. He walked over to it and gave them a tug. "These seem sturdy enough," he said, and started to climb.
              "Be careful," Navi warned. "You don't want to be seen."
              "I know that," Link said, then continued in silence.
              When he reached the top, he could see that he was level with the top of the gate. He made his way across the hill, gave a small glance at the guard below, and dropped down quietly behind the gate.
              "We're in," Navi said.
              Link quickly shushed her and walked across the Castle grounds. He climbed a hill and looked over the top to see a face staring at him. "Uh-oh," he said, and started to run. The guard quickly caught up to him and grabbed him roughly by the collar.
              "An intruder, eh?" the guard said, pulling him towards the gate. "Thought you'd like to have some fun and break into the castle?" He opened the gate and threw Link out.
              "And stay out!" the guard shouted before leaving to resume his position.
              "This is no place for kids like you," the guard at the gate said. "So beat it!"
              "They need to invest in some friendlier staff," Navi said as they walked away.
              As he left, Link gave backward glances every now and then. The guard kept watching him all the way down the road. Link turned the corner and knocked somebody down. To his surprise, he saw that it was Malon.
              "I'm sorry," he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her up.
              "You seem to have a habit of doing that," she said. She brushed the dust off her dress and looked at Link.
              "What are you doing?" he asked.
              "I'm tired of waiting," she replied. "I'm going to go and see what happened to my father."
              "I don't think that'll work," he said. "The guard at the gate won't let anyone in if they don't have an invitation. I also have a feeling he doesn't like kids."
              "Well, that's not good," she said. Her eyebrows furrowed in thought. As she was thinking, Link walked over to the wall of vines and grabbed onto one. "What are you doing?" she asked.
              "I'm climbing up so I can jump over the gate and get in," Link answered.
              "Oh, can I join you?" Malon asked excitedly.
              Link suppressed a grimace. "I, uh, don't think that'd be a good idea," he said.
              "Why not?" she asked.
              "Well, uh, it's pretty dangerous, and-"
              "If I can work around wild horses at the ranch, I think I can handle this," Malon said with a glare.
              "You'd get in big trouble with your father if you were caught sneaking around," Navi said.
              Malon's face fell. "I suppose you're right," she said with a sigh. "But can you at least look for him while you're there?"
              "Sure," Link said.
              "Wait," Malon said, and started digging around in her pockets. "If he's sleeping, you'll never be able to wake him up. You'll need this."
              She pulled out a small white chicken. "It's a Cucco," Malon said, handing it to Link. "Right now it's sleeping, but when it's awake, it can be very noisy. One crow ought to be able to wake my dad."
              "Thanks," Link said, putting the Cucco in his Pouch. Then he gripped the vines and started climbing upwards. At the top, he took some time to look around and note the positions of the guards. Once he had their patterns figured out, he leapt down behind the gate and proceeded to make his way across the grounds.
              First, he had to climb up from the road. This was the same spot where he'd been caught the first time. This time, however, Navi flew up to the top and told him when to move. "Coast is clear," she whispered down, and Link walked up to the top.
              There was a bush where Link could hide behind. He took a long time observing the guards and deciding where to move next. "It seems to me," Navi said, "that you could go along tree by tree, hiding behind each one."
              "Yes," Link said, "but what about the gate in front of the Castle?"
              "We'll figure that out when we get there," Navi answered.
              Link crept out from behind the safety of the bush to the nearest tree. He paused behind it to see if he'd been spotted, then moved to the next tree. He slowly made his way across the grounds until he reached the wall just outside the moat. Some bricks in the wall were loose, giving him hand- and footholds to make his way to the top.
              Now that he was closer to the Castle, he could truly appreciate its size. Link gaped as his eyes traveled across the huge stronghold. "Link," Navi said urgently, "this is not the time for daydreaming. We have work to do."
              "Right," said Link. He dropped down onto the ground right next to the moat. He looked along where he needed to go next and noticed two guards standing next to the inner gate. There was no way he could sneak past them without being noticed, unless…
              Link looked down into the water of the moat. It looked fairly clean. He had no other choice. He dropped down into the water, trying to make as small a splash as possible. When he was sure he hadn't been heard, he quietly started swimming around the castle.
              He made his way under the drawbridge, so close to the guards that he could hear them talking. Then he continued on, making his way around a corner in the moat. A bit further down there was an iron grate blocking further passage.
              "Now what do I do?" Link asked. "I can't climb over it."
              "You're out of sight of the guards," Navi said. "They won't see you if you get out."
              Link reached out a hand and grabbed onto the rim of the moat. Then he pulled himself up and lay on the ground, letting his clothes dry off.
              He was alerted by the sound of someone snoring. He turned his head to see a man lying on the ground. The man was wearing overalls and a red shirt over a rather large belly. Link stood up and walked over to the man. There were several crates nearby with cow symbols on them. Was this Malon's father?
              Link examined his face, trying to see any similarities between him and Malon. The man's loud snores ruffled his mustache. Did Malon say if her father had a mustache? Link realized that he probably should have asked Malon just what her father looked like so that he could identify him.
              Link stepped back to get a good look at the man. The clothes seemed appropriate, and the crates of milk were also a good indicator. He might as well try, and if he was wrong he would have to remember to ask Malon if he found her.
              He reached into his Pouch and pulled out the Cucco. It slept peacefully in his hand. Link realized that he wasn't sure how he was supposed to use it. He tentatively reached out a finger and gave the Cucco a sharp poke.
              The Cucco instantly awoke and started crowing its head off. Link dropped the bird and covered his ears to try to block out the sound. The sleeping man gave a start and woke up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
              "What's going on?" he asked, watching the noisy Cucco run away.
              "Are you Talon?" Link asked.
              The man turned to look at the boy. "That's me," he replied. "What do you want?"
              "Malon was looking for you," Link said, "and she told me-"
              "Malon's looking for me?" Talon asked in shock. He looked up at the sky and let out a yell. "Oh no! I must have fallen asleep. Now I'm really going to get it from her. I told her I'd be back soon. Oh, what am I going to do?" He raced off as fast as he could, still blubbering about all the trouble he was in.
              Link turned to figure out an entrance into the Castle when he heard a whistle. He turned back to see a guard running towards him. All the commotion must have alerted him! Link sighed and made no attempt to run away. He knew it wouldn't do him any good.
              Dust flew up as he was roughly tossed outside the gates. "You just don't get it, do you," the guard at the gate said. He bent down and glared into Link's eyes. "If we catch you sneaking around where you don't belong again, you'll be banished from Castle Town for life!"
              Link picked himself up and walked away. He grabbed the vines and started climbing. The Great Deku Tree had instructed him to visit the Princess, and that was what he was going to do. He'd just have to be really careful this time.
              He quickly made his way across the Castle grounds, swam down the moat, and arrived at the place where he'd been caught last time. He noticed a hole in the Castle wall with water pouring out of it. The hole looked just big enough for him to fit through. It took some squeezing, but he made it alright.
              Inside, he found he was in the Castle Garden. More guards patrolled here, and Link made especial care not to be noticed. He quietly crept among the vegetation and statues, making quick dashes when the guards had their heads turned. Finally, he arrived in the Castle Courtyard.
              There was only one other person there. She was at the opposite end, peeking into a window. She looked to be about Link's age, and was wearing a fine gown. Surely this person would know where the Princess was.
              Link walked up behind her. He tried to be quiet, but he accidentally tripped on the steps. He caught himself before he fell, but looked up to see the girl staring at him.
              She looked very surprised to see him. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "How did you get past all the guards Daddy put around the Castle? I thought-" She stopped and stared at Navi. "Oh! Is that a fairy?"
              Link nodded.
              A thoughtful expression came onto her face. "Then," she said, "does that mean you're from the forest?"
              Link nodded again.
              "And," the girl said, with growing anticipation in her voice, "do you have the Kokiri's Emerald?"
              Link hesitated, then decided to trust the girl. "Yes," he said, patting his Magic Pouch. "I have it right here."
              The girl laughed with joy. "I was right!" she exclaimed. "The dream was a prophecy! I can't wait to tell Daddy."
              She stopped talking and got herself under control. "I'm sorry," she said. "I've been rambling on when I haven't properly introduced myself. I'm Princess Zelda."
              Link bowed. So this was the Princess.
              "Oh, don't do that," Zelda said. "It's okay in formal events, but I can't stand it during my free time."
              Link straightened up. "I'm Link," he said.
              "And I'm Navi," Navi chimed in.
              "Pleased to meet you," Zelda said with a nod.
              "What was that dream you talked about?" Navi asked.
              Zelda smiled, as if glad she had asked. "It was just last night," she said. "There were dark clouds gathering over the whole land of Hyrule. Everything withered under its shadow. But then, a bright light shone out of Kokiri Forest, and all the clouds were driven away.
              "I believe that you must be the bright light, come to save Hyrule!" Zelda smiled broadly.
              "Very interesting," Link said.
              "If Link is the bright light," Navi said, "then what do the dark clouds signify?"
              "That man in there," Zelda answered, pointing at the window she'd been looking into earlier. "Take a look if you like."
              Link walked up to the window and pressed his face against the pane. He could see more guards inside, plus two men sitting around a table and talking. One man had a crown on his head and was wearing fine white clothing. The other was dressed in black armor and his skin was a sickly green color. With a shock, Link recognized him as the man from his dream.
              "That's Ganondorf," Zelda commented. "He arrived a couple days ago, seeking to ally the Gerudo with the Kingdom of Hyrule. I do not believe what he says is true, though. In fact, I'm certain that there's only one thing he can be after: the Triforce." She shivered at the thought.
              "Why would he be here?" Link asked. "Does the Royal Family hold a Spiritual Stone?"
              Zelda was taken aback at the question. "I'm surprised you know that much," she said.
              "The Great Deku Tree told me," Link replied.
              "Ah, yes, the Great Deku Tree," Zelda said. "However, he must not have told you the whole story. There is a fourth object needed to open the door to the Sacred Realm, a treasure that is held by a member of the Royal Family: the Ocarina of Time."
              "The Ocarina of Time?" Link repeated. "Why is it called that?"
              Zelda shrugged. "I'm not totally sure. Probably because it has magical powers to affect the flow of time. Anyway, a person must have the three Spiritual Stones and play the Song of Time on the Ocarina of Time to open the Door of Time and enter the Sacred Realm."
              "That's a lot of 'of Times'," Navi commented. "Where is the Door of Time located?"
              "The Temple of Time," Zelda replied.
              "I should have guessed," Navi said. "Don't tell me it's in the Town of Time."
              "Don't be silly," Zelda said. "It's right here in Castle Town."
              "So," said Link, "if that's what Ganondorf's after, how do we stop him?"
              "That's easy," Zelda said. "We need to get the Triforce before Ganondorf does."
              "Doesn't sound so easy to me," Navi said.
              "I'm sure Link'll be able to do it," Zelda insisted. "Now, the other two Spiritual Stones are held by the Gorons and the Zora. Here's what you have to do to get them." They huddled close and Zelda started outlining her plan.

              Vindari watched from above. He had been watching the whole conversation and couldn't help feeling what a waste of time it was. Link shouldn't be waiting around like this; he should be getting the two remaining Spiritual Stones. Vindari needed to move things along.
              He silently dropped down into the Courtyard. Link and Zelda were so concentrated that they didn't notice him. That suited him just fine. He didn't want to get on the boy's bad side just yet. He stealthily made his way over to a window and with one swift blow, shattered it to pieces. That would alert the guards. He quickly teleported to a better vantage point.
              As predicted, guards came swarming in. They noticed the boy who wasn't supposed to be there and quickly apprehended him. Zelda tried to protest as they led him away, but even the Princess's will couldn't go against the King's orders. Eventually she was left alone in the Courtyard and took to crying amid the flowers. Vindari laughed wickedly and left.

              Link was thrown to the ground. "And don't come back!" the guard shouted at him. He turned to see the drawbridge rise into place, leaving him alone out in Hyrule Field.
              The sun was setting in the distance. Link sat on the ground and put his head in his hands. This was not at all good. He hadn't finished talking to Zelda. He didn't know what to do next.
              "Don't lose hope," a voice said. Link jerked up to see a woman standing over him. Where had she come from?
              "I am Impa," the woman said. She extended a hand and pulled Link to his feet. "I am Zelda's personal guardian. I am also the last of the race of Sheikah, a people that pledged utter loyalty to the Royal Family. Princess Zelda has sent me to help you."
              "She did?" Link asked. "What does she say?"
              "First, she wanted me to give you this," Impa said, and handed a letter to Link. He saw that it was written by Zelda. "It should help you on your quest. It is undeniable proof that you have Princess Zelda's approval to go wherever you want to. But should that not work, I will teach a song, a song known only by the Royal Family and all those closely related to them. Remember this song well."
              She put her fingers to her lips and started whistling a tune. Link brought out his ocarina and started following along. Soon he had the melody memorized.
              "I have often used this song to put Zelda to sleep," Impa said. "For that reason, I often call it Zelda's Lullaby."
              "Thanks," Link said. "Is there anything else?"
              "Not from her," she said, "except her best wishes. However, there is some advice that I will give you. Look over there." Link turned and saw a large mountain in the distance. "That is Death Mountain," Impa said, "home of the Gorons. They hold the Spiritual Stone of Fire. At the base of the mountain is Kakariko Village. I grew up in that village. You must pass through the gate there onto Death Mountain Trail, which will lead you to the Gorons.
              "I cannot tell you much more than that. I've heard of strange happenings on Death Mountain lately, so I'm not sure what situation you will find. However, I am sure that you can handle it."
              "Thank you," Link said. The sun was almost completely set now, casting long shadows across the land. He'd have to start moving soon, before it got dark.
              "I wish you the best of luck," Impa said. "For us all, you'll need it."
              Link was about to ask what she meant by that when she stepped back and snapped her fingers. A flash of blinding light made him cover his eyes, and when he could see again, Impa was gone.
              "The Sheikah," Navi whispered, "know many magical secrets."
              "We should get going," Link urged. "It looks like a long walk to Kakariko Village."
              As he turned to set off for the mountain looming in the distance, the sun fell below the horizon. Somewhere in the distance a wolf howled, and a sharp breeze blew around him. Link took a step and heard a strange scratching sound, like something was digging through the ground. "What's that?" Link asked.
              In response, a skull popped up from the ground in front of him. Link stepped back as a skeleton emerged from the ground and staggered towards him. "A Stalchild," Navi said. "An undead spirit that roams the land. They only come out at night."
              "Just my luck," Link said, drawing his sword as numerous Stalchildren climbed out of the ground and advanced against him.


Chapter 3<-- Back to Legend of Zelda -->Chapter 5

What did you think? Your feedback is welcome! E-mail me at cere_8@hotmail.com

Link and all related characters are the property of someone else. This is a work of fanfiction and no copyright infringement was intended. Vindari is my own creation.