Chapter 1: The Legend of Groose
Groose stared up at the place where the Gate of Time used to be. The great gears had moved according to their own rhythm, existing both within and outside of Time. He missed the thing, along with Grannie, its vigilant protector. They had vanished together. Zelda said that the energies of space-time were very concentrated here because of the earlier presence of the Gate – something like that, which was why they still felt a certain kind of power in the temple hall. Groose really did have a hard time wrapping his head around everything that had happened and Zelda's status as a mortal Goddess – well, whatever she was.
Sounds of construction echoed outside. He heard Jakamar shouting orders and the thumping of a hammer. The people of Skyloft were coming down now to the Surface out of curiosity, to pursue new opportunities, or to live. Some folks divided their time more or less evenly between the Surface and Skyloft – Pipit and Karane were like this, splitting up knight-duties with bird-watching expeditions. Groose smiled thinking about when Pipit first came to the surface – the twerp had nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the little birds, much like he had - only, Pipit being the know-it-all that he was just had to know it all about the little birds. He'd even given them some scientific-sounding name, not quite accepting the name Groose had given them. As far as the red-haired boy was concerned, they would always be his little "Grooselings."
Jakamar was building small, quaint houses. The potion makers came by to research new ingredient possibilities. The fortune-teller came to see if the dreams and visions he had were accurate. Stritch divided his time between the Surface-lands and some kind of "bug paradise" island he'd found, but he was here on so many specimen-collection trips that he'd voiced that he might just move here. Groose questioned his henchman's desire for his cabin to become termite-ridden so he could study the results, but Stritch was a strange one.
Gondo the scrap-shop keeper was moving down here permanently, but did not want to live near the temple in the forest. Link had taken him, Pipit and Groose out to explore the Lanayru Desert – Pipit being interested in the birds there, of course, and Groose being interested in where dainty little Zelda had been wandering. Gondo had fallen in love with the place. There was so much scrap and lost technology for him to tinker with. When Link had shown them the Timeshift Stones, their fascination had only deepened.
Groose and found something of a kindred soul in old Gondo upon looking at the busy little robots in the portions of time that had been shifted askew. It was a bond among mechanics. Groose had taught himself to make something as wonderful as the Grooseinator. He knew he'd only brushed the surface of the things he could do.
As for Gondo's pet-robot that was functional in the present… the poor little guy hung out by the Master Sword's pedestal in the temple most the time for some reason. Gondo employed him to help haul logs and other items for people busily constructing homes and repairing the temple. The man had said something about the robot being shared between him and Link because Link had gotten the oil the robot needed, but Groose found out early on that even mentioning Link around the little bucket of bolts was a bad idea. The result was angry popping and buzzing, curses directed at a "Master Shortpants" (honestly, Groose had no idea that machines could employ such language!) and what sounded like electronic weeping for "Fi."
Yeah, that was the spirit in the sword, right? Creepy-beautiful blank-faced being…
Link and Zelda, of course, were now Surface-dwellers. Zelda had used the very last residue of the divine powers she'd inherited to seal away the Triforce within the Sacred Realm, connected to the temple. Link was still recovering, somewhat, from his battle with Demise. Though Groose was unable to see the final battle, it was obvious that Big Ugly had worked Link over pretty good. The kid was doing well considering he'd faced down the great-granddaddy of all monsters, but he still had a mild involuntary twitch from time-to-time, an unpleasant leftover from catching demonic-lightning.
Groose turned around. Link and Zelda had just come through the doorway. "What are you doing in here?" Link asked, "I thought you were working on the Groosinator II."
His hauling-machine project… he'd been greasing gears with ancient flower oil this morning, but felt like taking a break in here. It was very different than the original Groosinator in that it was to be a construction-machine rather than an instrument of destruction. Groose pitied that a little, but the times were different…
The times were different…
"Relax, hotshot," Groose said, "It'll be done in no time. "Aren't you still doin' alright hauling logs with Loftwings?"
He knew very well that Loftwings did not particularly like being harnessed with tethers and made to pull logs out of the deep woods – by foot. It was the kind of work that could be done much better by some of the animals seen on the plains down here on the Surface, but they'd yet to be tamed.
"Are you looking at where the Gate stood again?" - Zelda's gentle voice.
"Yeah," Groose admitted. "I just feel the energy pulling me, ya know? Strange."
Zelda shook her head. "I know that's not why you stand here and stare at its empty place," she said. "Grannie believed in you a lot. She'd want you to move on and live your life. We all miss her, but she was happy… at the end."
"She was a real knockout in her younger days, huh?"
Zelda was taken back by Groose's response. "Y-yeah… I suppose she was."
"A guy like me could really go for a girl like that – strong … n-not that you aren't strong, I mean…"
Zelda grabbed Link by the arm and pressed close into him, laughing softly at how flustered Groose was getting. Link's face took on one of his dangerous looks. Groose, for his part, looked back to the center of the temple and got a faraway look in his eyes.
"I don't suppose either of you would understand… maybe Zelda, bein'… who you've been… but do you ever feel like you aren't in the right time? I mean, like, born in the wrong era?"
"Groose," Zelda said gently, "If this is about Impa… I don't think it would have worked out. I don't think she was into men."
Groose's eyes widened. "Do you mean she was…Don't tell me you two...?"
Zelda shook her head. "She wasn't into me, either – at least not anything more than in a spiritual devotion capacity. I don't think she's into either, Groose. She was into duty above all else."
"Well, so's Pipit but I still kinda-sorta fixed him up with Karane," Link joked.
"With Impa it's different, Link," Zelda said, "Trust me. Shiekah aren't… exactly normal."
"It's not just her," Groose said. "It's everything. The technology of the old days… I could really get my hands dirty with that stuff! And I ain't much good 'round here anymore. Cawlin and Stritch have got their own things going on, just between you an' me, I wasn't ever the best Knight Academy student – I buckled down better than ol' Lazybones here, but never had the head for the books… If I can only find a way, one of them Timeshift Stones that'll go back real far… or if I can get these hands on that other smashed-up gate in the desert… I'm not much for magic, but for mechanics… If I can pull it off, it would be alright. I don't think my parents would miss me."
Zelda separated from Link and gave a surprised Groose a big hug. Groose wasn't an orphan, but everyone who knew him knew that he might as well have been. His parents lived on some island to the west of Skyloft and besides paying for his education and buying him out of the occasional mess, they had no time or care for him. They never attended the ceremonies, never wrote. Some would say their neglect was what spawned the young man's independent nature and obsession with being strong.
"We'd miss you," Zelda said quietly. "The time-gates were powerful. It was by divine power that they were built and destroyed, but if you managed to get the Gate at the Temple of Time running again somehow, it'd likely be a one-way trip. You were born in this time, Groose. I think you are right where you belong."
As much as he enjoyed the warmth of Zelda's delicate body pressed against his rippling muscles, Groose pried loose from her. "Aw, come on. You're makin' yer boyfriend jealous and having seen how he fights, I don't wanna fight him. Kinda fond a' havin' my head attached to my body, ya know?"
Zelda laughed softly and took Link by the hand. Link was smiling. "You know, Groose," he said, "You've actually become rather gallant these last several months."
"We… really could use you out there… on the construction," Link added.
"Well," Groose answered, "I just wanted to come in here and have a good think is all… wonderin' about this temple, and the one out there in the desert you showed us. Interesting how the stuff in the past can look like what we'd want to create for the future, isn't it?"
"It's chronolite. A Timeshift Stone… a small one," Link said as Groose showed him the little purple pebble he'd held in the palm of his hand.
"I thought they were all…big… and rooted into the ground and stone."
"I think this is mining-waste. A stone that small won't shift a large area - only a few centimeters of circumference of where you're standing. From what I've gathered, the robots sometimes sheered off bits like that from the larger stones while they were refining them into orbs and into the Time Gates."
"The Gate of Time was made of this stuff?"
"Yeah… chronolite charged with divine power, but the Gates were very special – super-refined stone polished and assembled by master craftspeople and crafts-bots… hand-picked by the Goddess, or so Zelda tells me, and even then, to open the things, they needed to be touched by the Sacred Flames left by the original Goddesses. The smaller stones were mostly used as a power source – to generate electricity and stuff. We'll take that pebble home, I'll strike it and maybe it'll power Scrapper for a while… not that he'll appreciate it."
"So, what are we doing out here, anyway?" Groose looked up to their Loftwings, which were perched atop a high cliff just above what could only be described as a "waterfall" of sand.
"Well," Link said, twirling a new knight's sword around in the air, "If you wanted a really long glimpse into the past, I have a friend who may be able to help. And, if he isn't, well, I could use a good workout…"
"My friend can see both the past and future. He can look inside your mind and re-create for you all of your most difficult challenges. I've been meaning to come back here to train with him by taking on the monsters of my past journey. All of these people are moving down here from the sky but not all of the monsters and dangers are gone… I'd like to keep in shape to protect people."
"All of the monsters I've seen around the woods have been runnin' scared once they saw I was gonna pound 'em."
Link smiled at Groose. "It seems like only the little ones are left around there."
"I'd hate to see somethin' like Big Ugly again."
"Me, too, but I can when I re-create my battles. Maybe I can ask my friend to let you join me. Battling the Imprisoned is a shared memory of ours."
"I don't see why you'd wanna fight that thing again," Groose sighed. "You've still got that twitch in your arm from his final form."
"Don't remind me. All the better reason to work out the kinks."
Link walked up to an old mining cart and struck the purple stone in its center. The area shifted swiftly from sandy low-desert to a mildly green high-desert plain. Groose squeaked and fell on his rump when he saw the great yellow dragon with the cloudy beard.
Link laughed. "This is my friend, Master Thunder Dragon."
"Ho, ho, ho! Link!" The dragon chuckled, "Have you come to test your mettle? Who is this that you have brought with you?"
"This is Groose," Link answered with a little bow, "He is interested in taking a look into the past."
"I see, I see," the dragon answered, stroking his beard. "I can sense that he was once very antagonistic to you. Do you want me to eat him?"
Groose yelped. Master Thunder Dragon laughed heartily. "That was just a joke, little one. I can give you the vision of the past you seek. Step forward if you are brave."
Groose stepped forward. Suddenly, he and Link were back at the Sealed Grounds, before the Island of the Goddess had fallen. Link was down on the ground facing off against the giant, lumbering black mass that was the Imprisoned and Groose was back on his Groosinator, a big bomb loaded and ready. By the look of Big Ugly, this was the third time it had emerged.
Groose caught a glimpse of Grannie at the temple entrance. She was smiling at him. "You can do it," she mouthed.
The fight was just as intense as it had been in reality. When he and Link had emerged from the dream-world, they were sweating and laughed in great relief at the victory.
"Phew!" Groose exclaimed, "That was something else!"
"Nothing like a narrow fight to make you feel alive!" Link added.
"Oh, I was in my element again! The Grooseinator was responding well, just magnificent! I really was… amazing… back then…"
"It wasn't real, was it?"
"These bruises are. Master Thunder Dragon doesn't mess around with his challenges."
"I saw Grannie again, but she was just in my head… the whole fight… it was just a memory, wasn't it?"
"Yes and no. If you want, you can ask the dragon to set up a special challenge for you. I'm still trying to win his unbreakable shield."
"Nah," Groose said, pocketing another Timeshift Stone pebble. "Let's get on home. They're all probably gettin' worried about us."
While the construction in the woods surrounding them was going on, most people lived in tents around the Goddess statue. Groose, Link and Zelda lived in the old temple. Groose had his own place to rest that he'd kept since the days he'd helped Grannie. Link and Zelda slept in blankets at the roots of the temple's tree, in the same place they'd used when Link was recovering from being battered about by a giant sword and half-fried. It was a good thing for the kid that magnificent Groose knew where Grannie kept her medical supplies, her bandages and such.
During the depths of one night when a fall chill cut through the air, Groose sat up with an oil lamp, some paper and a quill. He looked over to the far side of the temple every once in a while to make sure his friends were still asleep. The letter wasn't going to be elegant. Cawlin was up on Skyloft right now so he couldn't tell him to lend his poetic hand to this.
Groose gathered his things and left silently, leaving the note behind, resting on his blankets.
"Gone to the desert," Link read, holding the note, his jaw a little slack. "Don't plan on coming back. Let my bird fly free 'till I call him."
"If he's doing what I think he's doing," Zelda said, "I don't think he's going to succeed at it, but he'll keep trying…"
"Should we go after him?" Link asked. "It does say right here – 'Going to the Temple of Time, gathering chrono… those stone things… I want to see if I can rebuild the Gate."
"Aw, Groose…" Zelda moaned.
"It says it just like that, too. He tried to write out 'chronolites' and crossed it out."
"I hope he'll be able to survive out there. Impa helped me cross it and you had Fi."
"He'll probably be alright as long as he's mindful of the sinksand. He won't have to use the Mining Facility back entrance like I did." Link shuddered slightly. "I didn't see any of the giant crab-monsters there last time, so I think they've mostly cleared out or gone dormant."
Zelda wandered back to a shadowed back area of the temple, one not readily apparent to any entrant. "Zelda?" Link asked.
"I just want to see if Groose was wise enough to take out any of the books this temple has on Timeshift Stones and Gates," she answered.
"Books?" Link asked, "There are books here?"
"They're in a secret area," Zelda said, "Actually, not far from where I slept through the Ages. You probably never bothered to look. Groose would know about this." She sneezed as she disturbed dust. "He spent a lot of time with Elder Impa. She loved her ancient knowledge and didn't have much to do besides being a Seal except for reading… and writing."
Link walked up behind her. "Is there anything in the library that might help us build the future?"
"I think, for that, we're to wing it. There is a book missing here… Groose is smarter than he looks."
She smiled, pointing to a gap in the small bookshelf. Link smiled.
"Oh, wait!" Zelda said, "There's a book here I haven't seen before." She wiped the dust off the spine. "It's in the old language, but I can just make it out. Huh?"
"The Legend of Groose."
Link clutched his belly and laughed out loud. "It looks like our friend has been doing some writing of his own! Let me guess, the full title is something like The Legend of Groose and History's Greatest Explosions or The Real True History of Grooseland or something like that…"
"No, just The Legend of Groose. This can't be his. It's in the old language, the writing used back in my days as Hylia. No one in this age knows this, save for me, now that Impa's gone… My father might know a little, but not Groose." Zelda quickly cracked open the book and leafed through the pages. "Most of this writing is worn… Some of these pages are water-damaged. This is an old book, Link, a very old book."
"Well, what does it say? The parts you can read, I mean? I don't know the old language, either…"
Zelda leafed through the book's pages quickly, her eyes darting back and forth. She'd been a speed-reader ever since Link could remember. Most people took their time reading three and four hundred page stories. Zelda could get through a book like that in a matter of hours. She was only skimming this old book, so she was done in a matter of minutes.
She closed it, and then promptly dropped it on the floor, her mouth open and eyes wide in an expression of dumbfoundedness. Link grabbed her shoulders and shook her slightly. "Zelda? Zelda, speak to me. It's Link. I'm here…"
"Link I… I can't believe it."
Link gently picked up the ancient tome.
"Link," Zelda repeated, "That book… it's about Groose. Our Groose!"
"How is that possible?" Link opened the book to find an illustration that looked like an older Groose. He slammed the book shut quickly.
"He… he was a king in ancient days… adopted by a people who lived beyond the Lanayru Sea."
"Those people the Gorons tell me about…beyond the Sand Sea, they say…" Link mused, "They all have red hair and golden eyes… oh, Goddess! Sorry, sorry…"
"It's quite alright, Link," Zelda said, putting her hand over his arm. "All this means is that at some point in the future, Groose succeeds in going back in Time."
"Should we take this book to the desert and tell him?"
"No, absolutely not." Zelda took The Legend of Groose and placed it back in the bookshelf. "I've had enough of disrupting the space-time continuum. Let's let Groose discover his dream on his own."
Link sighed. "I guess he will make himself useful in the future – in the past."
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