Link sat silently on the wall, swinging his legs happily as he pondered the events of his life. He rested his head on his hands and watched as the sun rose over Death Mountain. The new day broke, spreading light over the field where he sat. He loved this time of day; it was like a promise. A promise made every day, a promise of joy. He grinned at that thought. A promise? Where had he got that? Must be the morning that brought up those deep thoughts. He sighed and sat up. He had nothing planned for the day, so he decided to mosey over to Lon Lon Ranch. Maybe Malon would be up. He also wanted to get his Epona and ride around later in the afternoon. He pushed his hands in his pockets, whistled Zelda's Lullaby and strutted to the farm.
"Link!" Malon dropped the Cucco she had been carrying and ran over to him. "I haven't seen you in-"
"Four days." Link interrupted wryly.
Malon stopped in front of him and shrugged. "Well, it seemed a lot longer than that", she said sheepishly. She stared at Link, running her eyes over him as if she hadn't seen him in years. It was a well-known fact that Malon had a crush on Link. And that was understandable. He was tall with blond hair that fell into his deep blue eyes, blue eyes that, at the moment, twinkled with laughter. Handsome, funny, smart and kind, he was every girl's dream. And the fact that he had saved Hyrule didn't hurt either. He was the Hyrule hero, brave and resourceful, he was the Hero of Time, Hyrule's pride and joy. Malon almost swooned.
"Anyway, I was going to go for a ride today, feel like coming?" Link walked over to his horse, Epona. He had won her in a race, but had known her for years.
"Sure!" Malon smiled, pleased with his invitation. "Just let me put on some pants. I'll be right there!"
While Malon ran in to change, Link climbed onto Epona's back and thought about the pretty redhead. He liked Malon. She was smart, fiercely independent and courageous. He sighed inwardly. He knew how she felt about him. Almost all girls acted differently when he came near, batting their eyes, giggling, flirting with him...Not that he minded. He liked the attention. He was every boys envy. But it got old after a while. Like now. He sighed again as Malon came bounding out of her house.
"All set!" She quickly mounted her steed and they left the farm. The horse she had was slow. She plodded along, not taking notice in her surroundings. Malon sighed. Despite the fact her farm bred the best horses, her father had not let her claim one for her own. "I'm sorry," he had said, "but we're going through some hard times. We need to sell all our prize horses. You can't claim one of the best for yourself. At least not until we make more money."
"So where are we off to?" She cleared her head of memories and focused on the present.
"I don't know. Want to go anywhere special?"
Malon was tired of Hyrule. She had spent almost her whole life on the farm, with small visits to the market, Lake Hylia and Kakariko Village. She knew Hyrule Field like the back of her hand and so far, in her entire 16 years of life, the most interesting place had ever visited was the castle. And that wasn't that interesting. Almost everyone had been there. She knew everybody's name here. She wished she had adventures like Link. She wanted to journey far away. She wanted a knight in shining armor to take her to some distant land. Link had met the Zoras, protectors of Hyrule's water. He had even met the King Zora and the Princess. He had traveled up Death Mountain and saved the Gorons who lived there. He made friends with the Gerudos, a population of women thieves. And what had she done? Milked cows. Excitement.
"I want to go somewhere new." She declared.
"Well, ok, we can go to the Gerudos. How does that sound?"
Malon grinned. "Sounds good to me."
"Are you sure the Gerudos won't mind?"
Link sighed. "I've told you a hundred times. I'm friends with them. They won't harm either of us. Stop worrying."
"Well, there's a lot of rumors that they kill without mercy. I heard this one story about this family who-"
"It's just a rumor. The Gerudos are ok; they just don't really trust outsiders. That's all. Can we change the subject?"
Malon's blue eyes flashed with anger. She didn't like to be interrupted, but she kept silent about it. She tossed her long hair and forced herself to calm down. It wasn't a big deal; Link was just defending them. "Sure, go ahead."
"So what's with that image on your pendant? It looks like a dragon or monster of some sort."
Malon touched the pendant that clasped her scarf at her neck. Her grandparents had given it to her. "It's a monster from one of my favorite stories when I was a child. His name is Bowser. My grandparents you to tell me the story long ago. Its about a hero named Mario. I'll sum it up for you. Mario has to save a Princess named Peach from Bowser. There's many stories and characters like Mario's brother named Luigi, their cousin Wario, Mario's lizard-friend Yoshi, Princess Peach's helper named Toad and lots more. In some stories, Peach was kidnapped by a giant ape name Donkey Kong."
Link shook his head. "Weird."
"I used to ask to hear them every night. Sometimes I make up stories of my own. None of them were any good, but that how I kept my self amused when I did chores. But it is kind of weird."
They fell into silence. "Well," Link said a few minutes later; "we're here."
Link was the only Hyrulian with the exception of royalty who was allowed into the Gerudo Valley. He had won that right when he had saved people being held prisoners by the Gerudos. He had also become a friend to Nabooru, their leader. So, he could come and go as he pleased without question. He had a feeling Malon would like the Gerudos. These women were free to do as they wished, unlike Malon who had to stay on a farm to take care of horses. Though she was good with horses, Link mused. The Gerudos would appreciate that.
"Halt! Who dares enter the home of the Gerudos?" A guard stood in their way, sword ready to attack.
"It's me, Link. And I brought a friend."
"Link! It's a pleasure to see you again! Nabooru will glad that you have come to visit." The guard peered at Malon. "The daughter of Talon, owner of Lon Lon Ranch. Your horses are the best in Hyrule."
Malon nodded with wide eyes. "Thank you." The guard's face was partly covered but Malon cold tell she was beautiful. She wore a top, which only came the end of her ribs. Her sword still swung in a deadly arch. Malon wished she could be a Gerudo.
"You may both enter." She moved aside and let them pass.
"We can go see Nabooru. You'll like her. She's the Sage of Spirit." Link dismounted. "Come on, we can leave our horses here. Just follow me."
Malon jumped down. "Wow, look at this place! I never knew the desert was this big! It's beautiful! But why are there only women here?" She looked at passing soldiers. The women not only had swords, but arrows and bows. Malon watched as the soldiers started to practice fighting. They were quick and light on their feet. They looked as if they were dancing. A dance of death. She realized that Link was far ahead of her, so she ran to catch up.
"There's only one male born ever 100 years. That's why they're all women."
Malon opened her eyes wider. "Unbelievable." She followed Link to a tent. The guards opened the flap to allow them to enter. Inside, a beautiful woman sat frowning at a piece of paper. She was so involved in what she was reading she hadn't looked as the came in.
Link walked up to the desk. He leaned against it and smiled silently. Suddenly, the woman looked up.
Nabooru glanced up over her paper. Two blue eyes stared back at her merrily. She jumped back and grabbed her sword. Link took a step backward and laughed.
"Hey Nabooru! It's me! Relax!"
The woman ran her hands through her long red-orange hair and chuckled. "You move with no sound now Link. You've been practicing?"
"Yeah." Link said proudly and then laughed again. "You should have seen your face!"
"You startled me Hero. I was so caught up in this that I hadn't heard you." Nabooru looked past Link. Malon stood uncomfortably behind him. "And is that Malon? Daughter of Talon and Deedra? Raiser of the fastest and strongest horse in our land? Come closer girl, I won't hurt you." When she saw Malon hesitate, she added, "I am a Sage. You have my word."
Malon walked forward, suddenly shy. Nabooru was taller and older then she and Link. She had a commanding presence that filled the tent. The normally outspoken Malon was now quiet standing near the Sage.
"We have seen you in the market place and your farm. You're talent with the horses is greatly admired among us. We have a stallion that needs to be broken in. Will you help us? If you succeeded," Nabooru added slyly, "you would be rewarded."
Malon's jaw dropped open. She hadn't been expecting that. She forced herself to swallow her shyness. "I would be honored, my lady."
Nabooru through her head back and laughed, a loud, deep laugh. "My lady? I like it! How come you never call me that Link?"
"I don't know," Link said absently. "But Nabooru, what's with this letter? Who is this 'Carnovan' person?"
Nabooru sighed at sat back down. "He's a follower of Ganon. Apparently, he's nicknamed 'the Dark Commander'. He demands that Ganon be released or he and his army will destroy each group of inhabitants of Hyrule, starting with the Gerudos."
Link finished reading Carnovan demands. "The Kokiri? How can he do that? They're just kids!"
"We know. And besides, I don't think its possible to open the void where Ganon is kept. And it would be insane if we did. Not only would we let Ganon out, but the other evil kept in there would be released as well."
"So what are you going to do?" Malon had been listening silently. "I think we should stand up and fight his army!"
Nabooru smiled. "Now that's my kind of idea! But we don't know how big his army is, or anything about him. Still, we've warned the King. He called a meeting to gather the sages and the rulers of each group. You should be there too."
Link nodded, thinking about this new threat. Nabooru was wrong about opening the void. They could, if the power of all three pieces of the Triforce worked together. But, if everyone worked as one army, they could stand a chance. Zoras and Gorons working side by side with Hyrulians, Gerudos and maybe even the Kokiri would help. Link frowned. He wondered what Zelda thought.
"Well!" Nabooru said, clapping her hands. "We can't do anything about now." She turned to Malon, "want to go see the horse I told you about?"
Malon and Link followed Nabooru to a fenced in area near the stables.
"Bring him out!" Nabooru yelled. Two Gerudos nodded and disappeared inside the stables. Moments later, they came out, pulling a black stallion out with them. The stallion bucked and snorted furiously. Ripping the ropes out of the Gerudos hands, he galloped around the fenced area, kicking in the air and tossing his head.
Malon's heart skipped a beat. She had never dealt with a horse with so much anger before. She could be killed if she didn't do it right. Still, she was the daughter of Talon and Deedra, the two best horse trainers in Hyrule. She would not let them down. Malon climbed over the fence.
Link started to follow, but was yanked back by Nabooru. He narrowed his eyes. "She get herself killed!"
"Shut up!" Nabooru hissed angrily. "You'll scare the horse! She knows what she's doing! Her mother never failed at training horses. Malon can do it!"
Malon walked quietly to the horse, approaching from the side, whispering a prayer to Farore, the Goddess of Courage. As she came closer, she saw the horse had been mistreated before; scars striped down his neck and back. Malon's hear filled with pity for the young stallion, how could people be so cruel? When she raised her head to look into his eyes, she was startled to find not anger, but fear! The stallion was afraid of her! Still, he made no move to attack; he just walked around in a nervous circle, skittish and anxious.
Malon began to hum Epona's Song. She had found it worked to calm horse nerves. The stallion heard and slowed down, but did not stop completely. She squared her shoulders and looked directly at the horse, he backed up and stopped a short distance from her. He felt threatened. Malon knew this was a dangerous part of breaking a horse in. If he felt too threatened, he would attack her. But, if all went well, she could use it to gain his trust. She remembered what her father had told her. "It's a movement used by wild horses. It makes you the leader. The horse will back off, separated from the herd. After you, or the leader of the herd, do that, drop your eyes and relax your body. This is a sign that you're welcoming the horse back. But, don't do this until you're older and ready. I don't want to see you hurt if you do it wrong." Malon relaxed, looking at the horse's shoulder and walked casually away. The stallion followed with his head down. When she turned, he became nervous again and danced in place. Malon slowly walked up to him, singing the song and placed a hand on his back. The horse became still. She could see she had won his trust. He could now begin the proper training.
Malon carefully climbed onto his back, getting him ready to deal with riders. He didn't like it, but he did not attempt to throw her off. Instead, he trotted in the ring. When they passed Link and Nabooru, Malon waved. Link whistled and Nabooru clapped. Malon loved the horse already. She could tell he would run like the wind if he ad the chance and he was strong and powerful. He came to a stop and she climbed off. She faced him directly and to her surprise, he nuzzled her shoulder. She led him to the stable and into his pen where he stood still.
She ran out to Link and Nabooru. "Did you see that! I got him to trust me! I did it! Though, I think it would be best if I got him used to a bridle and saddle. I don't think anyone else should teach him, he might go wild again. Still, I did it! Nobody else could but I did! And it didn't take long, did it?"
Nabooru laughed. "I can't believe you did it! That horse wounded three of my best trainers but he didn't touch you!" She looked at the position of the sun. "And it only took you about an hour and a half."
"An hour! It couldn't have! It seemed like a matter of minutes!"
"Well," Link said, breaking in, "never the less, you were awesome. I could never had done it."
"Indeed." Nabooru said quietly. "Anyway," she added loudly, "I'm afraid I need to continue the unpleasant business with the threat. You two can stay here longer if you wish. Good bye."
"Good bye, my lady! And thank you!" Malon waved happily.
"Yeah, see you." Link stared at the retreating figure. What were they going to do with this threat? He shook his head. "Ready to go home Malon?"
Malon was suddenly tired. "Yes, I'm ready."
"So, what did you think of the Gerudos?"
"Oh, they're nothing like the rumors! I like them! In fact, I wish I could live like that..."
Link laughed. "I'm sure Nabooru would have liked to hear that. Well, here's the Ranch. I'll see you some other time?"
"Sure, stop by anytime." She frowned. "And I want to know of the plans. I want to know if we'll fight this Carnovan."
"All right. As soon as I learn anything, I'll tell you. See you."
Link rode to the Palace. He needed to learn more about this follower of Ganon. He was sure that Princess Zelda would know more about it. He dismounted Epona and walked into Hyrule's market place.
"Oh Link! Over here Link!" Some girls had spotted him and were running over. Link forced himself to smile.
"So Link," one girl batted her eyelashes. "What are you doing today?"
Before he had a chance to answer, another girl butted in. "Nothing with you. I'm sure he has more important things to do. Right Link? Are you going to the Palace?"
Link blinked. Usually they wanted him to stay with them, but this girl had just saved him and was trying to make him able to leave. "Err, yeah." Who was she? Link had never seen her before. In fact, none of the other girls apparently had ever seen her, they back up, confused and befuddled at the new arrival. She was almost as tall as he was, with long black hair that hung down her back. She wore a simple purple dress that matched her amethyst eyes.
She nodded. "I thought so." She leaned close to him. "If I were you," she whispered, "I would get out of this marketplace as fast as I could. I can't hold them off forever you know. Princess Zelda awaits you."
"But who are you?"
"You'll find out soon enough." She winked and walked away.
Link tried to call after her, but she had disappeared into the shadows. He shrugged and hurried to the Palace.
Link walked into the Palace and quickly made his way to the throne room. There he found the King and Princess Zelda.
"Link!" Zelda cried happily, "what brings you here?"
Link bowed before answering, "well, I heard about an army that wants to attack Hyrule. I came wondering what you have any information about it."
"All will be told at the meeting I have called." The King said. "We would be honored if you attended, Hero of Time."
"Certainly, your Majesty." Link turned to leave; he wasn't going to learn anything until the King felt like giving out information. And that wouldn't happen until this meeting. As he walked out of the throne room. He heard Zelda call his name. "Yes princess?"
Zelda hurried down to meet him. "Let's go to the courtyard."
Together they made their way to the courtyard. When they got there, Zelda sat down on a bench and motioned Link to sit down next to her. "My father is very concerned about this Carnovan and his army. In two days, he will call for all the races in Hyrule to meet."
"Yeah, I know. I saw Nabooru today."
Zelda stood up and paced in a small circle. "He's afraid of war Link, but he doesn't want to let Ganon out for obvious reasons. I don't know what we are going to do."
"I'm sure he'll make the right decision," Link tried to reassure her. "Your father knows about this kind of stuff."
"I hope you're right Link."
Just then, two guards came in. "Princess Zelda, the King wishes to speak to you."
Zelda sighed. "I will see you in two days Link."
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