Chapter 9: Twenty Minutes and Two-Hundred Years
The Hero of Time sat upon a rise looking out at the windswept grass and dunes of
. The morning was gently breezy, slightly chill and the air smelled of the sea. Outset Island
“Maybe you not meant go back,” Sturgeon said, walking up next to him with his staff.
“The Great Fairy spoke of my descendants in my world. And there were the Nexus-visions.”
“Maybe they for our world. Maybe descendants and future here, boy.”
The Hero of Winds, who was sitting next to the elder Hero and his elder islander, understood only part of the conversation, but enough to get the feel of it. He clasped Rinku’s right hand. “I think you should build New Hyrule with us,” he said, “Sail with Tetra an’ me to the mainland. Maybe we need a piece of Old Hyrule to build the New.”
“Don’t be sad, Rinku,” Aryll spoke up, popping her little blond head out from where she was laying in the grass, “We are with you.”
Rinku smiled. He watched Rose fuss with her sons on the dunes below, straightening their clothes and trying in vain to wipe Zill’s nose. A professional pictographer was here today, Lenzo of Windfall. He was here to do family portraits to earn a few rupees, lured here by a letter from Link and Aryll’s grandmother. The two were very friendly to each other, Rinku observed. He asked Aryll about it.
“He… related to you?” Rinku prodded in what he could muster of the Modern speech.
“Oh, no,” Aryll said shaking her head. “He’s a friend of Link’s though. Grandma says he and she used to date, but he’s not Grandpa.”
“Hmmm,” Rinku muttered, watching the two older people walk arm-in-arm until Lenzo needed to set up his equipment. He’d set up on the dunes so the pictures would have a nice backdrop of the beach and the sea. The light was favorable to this.
Link and Aryll ran off down the hill when their grandmother called them. Rinku watched them go. Aryll suddenly turned back.
“You’re coming, Rinku?”
The young man put a hand to his chest. “You want me?” he asked.
“Yeah! You’re family, too! Picture will not be right with no you!”
Rinku slowly rose to his feet and followed the children down the hill. His heart swelled and soared when he posed with the family of the Hero of Winds – young Link standing in front of him in almost-matching clothes, Aryll to his left and Grandma in next to Link. They smiled for two takes. Rinku was asked to stay as Lenzo broke out his wide-angle lens to pictograph the entire population of
, all standing together. Outset Island
When he was done, Grandma gave him the extra pictograph of the family. “I want you to keep this,” she said. “I have a feeling you have a long journey ahead.”
He stared at the color picture smiling fondly. Maybe it was alright if he never found his way home. Perhaps he’d already found his way “home,” in a sense. The Hero of Time had fallen in love with the Hero of Winds’ world – the sea, all the sunny little islands and their people. They were not the people he’d grown up with, but they were their descendants. This was almost like Termina, except instead of leaving never to return, it would seem that he had arrived never to leave. He was still looking for a way – still playing the Ocarina of Time. He’d hiked up to the Great Fairy’s spring only to find it devoid of the Great Fairy. It had not dried up – there were little fairies there, but their mistress had gone to somewhere unknown. He’d called and called for her and had even played music to try to coax her out of hiding to no avail. Rinku was grieving now – the loss of his home – yet he was feeling at home because of his kind new “family.”
He looked at his left hand and wondered just how two Triforces of Courage were meant to coexist here. Rinku wondered if, perhaps, one of them had transformed into the element of Power, for the Triforces were mysterious. If so, he suspected that young Link held Power without knowing it. The kid was balanced enough in the virtues to handle it, if so.
Rinku didn’t completely understand what Link had said to him earlier that day, but he’d heard “Nuuuuu Hyrule.” He wouldn’t mind helping the people of this world to create New Hyrule. Maybe the Ocarina had brought him here because this was a world in need of his help, after all.
Lenzo was packing up, ready to sail back to
. The children shouted and played. Their respective parents and guardians yelped at them not to dirty their clothes and pleaded with them to change into their “play clothes.” Link sparred with Orca on the beach. Rinku thought of joining them. Windfall Island
“Isn’t your arm getting tired?” Orca asked as he blocked one of Link’s decisive strikes. Rinku clapped. As the last ring of steel reverberated through the air, his long, sensitive ears caught the sound of air being chopped. He looked up.
“Makar?” Link called, lowering his sword, “Medli?”
“Yeah,” Medli said breathlessly as she landed. “I had a dream that the Sages were supposed to help the Hero of Time get home. I confirmed it with Valoo.”
“I had such a dream too, swordsman,” Makar added. “The Great Deku Tree told me that all of the Sages are to play in concert with the Hero of Time and that you are to conduct!”
“Me…conduct?” Link asked.
“With the Wind Waker!” Medli chimed.
“What song am I to play?” Link asked.
“The Song of Time, of course,” Makar said.
“Hey! Aryll! Get over here!” Link called.
“Egghead Brother!” Orca called.
The two arrived and there was a great flurry of chatting. Rinku, though confused, was able to gather what he was to do.
“Are you sure? Really?” He asked, “I get to go home?”
“We should try it, Rinku,” Aryll said, taking him by the hand. “Look, your Triforce is glowing!”
Indeed, it was glowing gently through the gauntlet. It did not always show, even when the gauntlets were off. Rinku recalled how he was unaware that he had it at all during most of his original adventure after waking up from his seven years of sleep. He’d removed the gauntlets for bathing and to replace them with upgrades (he hadn’t worn the golden gauntlets in a long time, however. He only ever wore those when he needed to lift very heavy objects and for formal palace functions). All the time he’d had his gauntlets off, his portion of the Triforce only showed itself when it wanted to.
“I’m going home!” Rinku shouted. He ran across the beach with his arms out, then in Modern Hylian “Home! I go!” and he laughed for joy. “Zelda!” “Zelda, I am coming! Zelda, Saria, Darunia, Impa, Nabooru, Ruto, Malon, Epona, Talon, Ingo… the king, all my friends, I am coming home!”
Then he turned to the two Sages. “Will it truly work?”
“I would not doubt the word of the Great Deku Tree, elder swordsman,” said Makar. “I do hope my performance is up to high enough standards.”
“I’m sure it will be,” Rinku said, bending down.
“I don’t know the Song of Time,” Link said. “I’ve heard Rinku play it, but I don’t think I know it well enough to conduct.”
“It is a very ancient song,” Medli elaborated for him. “My teacher used to play it to help Valoo to go to sleep. He found it very nostalgic.” She then turned to Rinku. “It is not time to conduct yet,” she said, “But for the Wind Waker to conduct, he needs to hear the Song of Time.”
Rinku brought out the Ocarina of Time and played for the young Hero’s benefit.
“Let’s see,” Link said. He brought out his sacred baton and tried to copy the notes of the song upon the wind. Rinku, still amazed at hearing the wind sing though he’d heard it before when they’d sailed, winced when Link missed a note. Rinku played again for him. Link practiced again and hit the notes perfectly. He conducted the wind again just to be sure.
“We’ve got it!” Medli exclaimed. “Are we ready?” “Ready?”
Rinku shook his head vigorously. “I want to say goodbye.”
“Alright, fair enough.”
All the Outsetters were gathered around the Heroes and Sages. Rinku dropped to one knee to hug Link and Aryll’s grandmother first. He began to weep.
“There, there, Rinku!” the old woman said. “Who would have thought the ancient Hero would have such emotion? We’ll all be fine. We’ll remember you well. You brought much excitement to our little island!”
Abe and Rose’s children hugged him tight. Zill sniffed up his snot-glob so he wouldn’t get Rinku’s tunic gunky. Rinku stood and Sturgeon lifted his glasses and nodded to him. “You practice with me in ancient language do much good to my learnings,” he said.
Rinku let out a small, soft laugh. “Keep practicing,” he said. “Ask the Great Fairy to teach you more if you can.”
He slapped Orca on the back in a manly farewell. Orca grunted. “You gave me the best fighting of my life,” the old warrior said.
Rinku hugged Aryll tight. He took the shield from his back and gave it to her. “A new shield for your family since your brother uses the one you have. Don’t worry about me. I can always get another one. It’s a standard Hylian Knights shield.”
Aryll looked at her toes, and then took something out of her pocket, holding it out to Rinku with both hands. “My telescope. Grandma got it for me, much saving, but I like the one I gave Big-Brother better. Take it.”
“Hey!” Link said, “I never heard the end of it from you when I kept your first telescope!”
“Well,” Aryll snarked, “That one went away forever, too! Unless you’re going to give it back to me!”
“I need it!”
Rinku laughed and then he turned to Link. He dropped to one knee and struck his sword into the ground before him. “I honor you, Hero of Winds. Take care of your sister, your grandmother, your island and your sea. Build the New Hyrule and keep protecting your world from evil.”
Link, only having understood a portion of the words understood the spirit. “I will,” he said, nodding, “And your legend will live on in me, Hero of Time.”
Aryll turned to him. “When did you get deep?”
“Well, I had to say something! Ready?”
Rinku sheathed his sword and stood. He put the Ocarina of Time to his lips. Makar and Medli readied their harp and violin, respectively, and Link brought out the Wind Waker. As he made the first stroke in the air and the first notes of music played in concert, the spectators gathered gasped. The two Links’ eyes went wide. There, standing next to Makar and Medli respectively, were two transparent figures – a Kokiri boy with a spectral violin and a Zora woman with a spectral harp.
Although he’d met Fado before, this was the first time Rinku had seen Laruto. The ghost reminded him of everything he’d loved about the Zora people – their grace and elegant forms.
The Sages, living and dead, played for the Hero of Time as he played to the conducting of Hero of Winds. The beach rippled and the air took on a hazy effect. Ghostly shadow images appeared as if upon a screen – a shadow-puppet theater played upon a skein of white silk.
“Link?” a voice called as if through water. “Link, where are you?”
“Zelda,” Rinku said as he walked toward the haze. He took one last glance back. “I’ll try… to return… if I can. If I can… I love all of you. Goodbye.”
And with that, he walked into the ripple. It closed up behind him and he was gone, leaving only the sand and surf of
. Outset Island
Link staggered into the royal garden out of a flash of light that appeared before Zelda, temporarily blinding her. She blinked and her Hero of Time was before her, looking bedraggled.
His shield was absent from his back.
“Zelda!” he exclaimed breathlessly. “Oh, are you a sight for sore eyes!”
“Link, what’s the matter with you?” The Crown Princess of Hyrule asked. “We’ve only been apart twenty minutes. I am done talking to the head of the Carpenter’s Guild now. You wanted to show me something out here?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Link said, reaching into a pocket. “I was composing a song for you, but I’ve got something even better, here!”
The young man passed something into the young woman’s hands. She was puzzled. “Three… forks tied together?”
“They’re the Triumph-Forks!” Link laughed. “Oh, Zelda, I’ve got a story for you! I’ve been gone! I’ve…”
“Gone where? Link, what happened? You’re so flustered. You’re worrying me.”
Link pulled a pictograph from his pocket. Zelda gazed upon it.
“Oh, princess,” the Hero said, “You’ve been gone twenty minutes, I’ve been gone two-hundred years!”
The Hero of Winds and his sister stood upon the beach watching the sunset.
“Do you think he’ll ever be back?” Aryll asked.
“I don’t know,” Link said. “It’s kind of like when I lost King Daphenes. His last words to me and to Tetra were about the future – how the world was up to us.”
“Rinku meant the same thing, didn’t he?” Aryll said, leaning on her brother.
“Yeah. This is our world. His world is Hyrule. Ours is New Hyrule, and we’ll build it together on the winds of a new tomorrow.”
Aryll gazed off across the beach to the place where she’d found Rinku washed up. It was vacant now, save for a few tangles of seaweed. She’d never forget the place or the day she’d found Time’s Castaway.
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