The Lengthening Shadow

By Wm. Jay Carter III (Hero of Geeks)

Chapter I: Warning from the Future

1384 HR

As the fog cleared from his mind, Link realized that he was lying on a well manicured patch of soft, damp grass. He was looking up into the sky, wispy clouds of white streaking across a patch of blue. He sat up within the stone-walled circular garden, and immediately he saw her. It was Zelda—but something was different.

She was a child.

And so was he. He looked at his hands, felt his belly, reached for the toes of his small leather boots, and everything about his body felt shorter and chubbier; his legs and arms, his face; everything. He had gone back in time—but how far back? He stood up as quietly as he could.

How had he ended up in the garden? When he had gone back in time before, it was by means of the Master Sword. And it was exact; if he placed the sword in the pedestal in the Sanctuary of the Temple of Time, his spirit would be drawn back to his body seven years previous, even down to the time of day. Drawing it again would reverse the process, but all the while time flowed, as it always did.

But this was not the same. It was night when he had defeated Ganon, but now it was midday. And he had never traveled through time anywhere other than the Temple Sanctuary. He supposed the circular garden just outside the castle’s Grand Hall matched the spot where he and Zelda lay after they vanquished Ganon. Zelda must have used a different kind of magic to send him back. Maybe that was why she needed the ocarina.

He stared at the younger Zelda, her back turned. She must have been about ten years old. It was almost as if he could see how her childishness would become womanhood, and time suddenly shrank for him; compressed. He retained seventeen years of memories in a ten-year old body. What was it Zelda had said about making his childhood anything he wanted…?

He immediately looked up at the sky again. It was just past midday. Where was Impa? Would he still have time to warn them about Ganon? He didn’t even know whether his other self and Zelda had met yet. He would have to act like it was the first time unless she gave some sign that it wasn’t. He would have to be careful. Rauru had told him about time travel before, and so he knew what would happen if he changed too much.

Link walked toward the young Zelda with a casual swagger and remembered just in time that he didn’t swagger when he was ten. How did he act? It didn’t matter now; she had turned and was staring at him, one hand on the ledge of the window she had just been peeking into. He froze, unsure of what to say.

Her light brown eyebrows came together. It startled him how very young she was. “Didn’t Impa just lead you out? Have you lost your way, forest-boy?” she asked, amused. Link searched seven years into his memory. His younger self must have just left with Impa, Zelda’s nursemaid, who would be pointing him eastward toward Impa’s village, Kakariko. Once Link’s other self got there, he would be gathering more information and eventually head toward Death Mountain to talk to the Gorons about the Ruby they had. That meant his other self would be occupied for awhile.

Zelda laughed when Link did not answer. “Have you lost something? Like your voice?” she said.

Taking the cue, Link answered, trying to sound as boyish as possible. “Yeah. I lost…forgot the song Impa taught me.” He didn’t know how soon to tell her he was from the future.

“Well she hasn’t come back yet, and if the guards see you when you leave, Daddy will have a fit. Better wait with me until she comes back.” Even as a child, Zelda was still very wise. Link realized he had never noticed this about her until he was older.

“Okay,” he said. He shuffled his feet in the grass. That felt right; he remembered he had always done that, ever since he was a kid. Then Link noticed Zelda looking past him, and he turned. Impa had just entered the circular garden through the main stone archway. And she wore a look that wasn’t quite puzzled—but treacherous.

“How did you get back in?” she asked firmly, and in a moment she was halfway across the garden. Link noticed she had her hand behind her back, where she kept her dagger safely hidden in her girdle, he recalled. Out of reflex he would have pulled his Koroki sword from its sheath on his back, but he suddenly realized it was no longer there. Neither was his shield. And where was Navi? He had been sent back with none of his items; only his green cap, his oversized green tunic, belted up, and his pair of leather boots. He was defenseless. Link showed Impa his naked palms.

“Impa, what’s wrong?” said Zelda, visibly unsettled by Impa’s terseness. Impa had been very kind to Link, why would she react like this?

“You know very well, Princess, that if he had come in past the guards it would have taken him an age. I returned immediately by the shortest passage under the castle, yet here he stands after I had just led him out by the longest. None know the passages under Hyrule Castle better than I, save someone who is not who they say they are.” She stared at Link as if she were attempting to see something under murky water. “Now are you or are you not the boy I just led out of this place?” Her bare toned arms were tense, the muscles of the one behind her back strung tightly, like a bow. He would have to tell her something to throw her off.

“I need to speak to the Sages,” Link said. He didn’t know if there were Sages before the ones he had helped gather in the future. Still it got her arms to relax a little.

“What knowledge would you have of the Sages?” she asked, raising a thin eyebrow.

“You all are in danger,” he said. As Impa’s muscles tensed again, it was immediately apparent that he had said the wrong thing.

“Why would we be in danger?” Impa asked. Zelda was looking between the two of them so quickly she could have been watching a fight between two angry bees.

“I know the song you taught me, the one only members of the Royal Family know!” he said, which set Zelda’s eyebrows together again.

“I thought you said you couldn’t remember it,” Zelda said. Impa was interested in this bit of news.

“I do not meet well with those who lie to members of the Royal Family,” Impa said through her teeth. “Either you will produce some evidence that you are not a servant of evil or I will dispatch you, do you understand?”

Link said everything that came to his mind: “You’re Impa, leader of the Sheikah, you have a knife behind your back, that I’m really afraid of right now, and you don’t tell anyone about it, not even your closest allies, and you whistled me the song that you sing to Zelda as a lullaby because it was your role in Zelda’s dream to teach it to the boy who came out of the forest, which is me! I’m me!” Impa was taken aback at the flood of confidential information he had just confessed. Still, she seemed skeptical.

“Play the song,” Impa demanded.

“I haven’t got my ocarina,” he admitted truthfully.

“Then whistle it,” she said, her voice hardening.

“I can’t whistle…” he said feebly.

“Then hum!” she snapped, and he knew she was not to be crossed again. He searched his frantic mind for the tune and began to hum. At first it sounded nothing like what it should have been, and for a moment he thought he saw Impa’s arm move, but he closed his eyes, and focused on the melody. And as he began to hum it correctly, the effect of the song seemed to wash over him, calming him, and he opened his mouth to sing it. He had never tried to sing the tune before, but now that he did he was filled with it. Truly it was as Impa had told him years ago (or what seemed to him to be years ago); there was a mysterious power in the song. When he opened his eyes she had relaxed. Her eyes were searching him as if the answers to her questions were somewhere under his tunic.

“How did you return so quickly?” she asked him.

Link lowered his hands. “I have a lot to explain.”

* * *

Impa kneeled next to Link just outside the large double-doors leading into the Grand Hall. “Remember,” she advised, pulling his tunic straight, “they will be expecting you. Do not show fear, and do not lie. If you do, they will know.”

“But how…” Link began.

“It is of no consequence. Be truthful and you shall have nothing to fear. Now go. I will return to my duties attending the Princess. If you have need of me, ask any of the guards. I will notify the lieutenant of your presence…They will not throw you out,” she added when his eyes widened. Then Impa stood and left the way they had come, through the halls of the castle.

Any other child Link’s age would have felt vulnerable. No adults to rely on, no way to fight back if something were to happen. But something told Link, as it often did, that things would work out alright, and he pressed forward, leaning into one of the heavy doors. When it opened wide enough, Link walked through into the Grand Hall.

The smooth cool tile of the floor reached out in all directions. A clerestory brightened the space between the scrolled capitals of the massive fluted columns and the vaulted ceiling. A narrow blue carpet ran the length of the hall and drew Link’s attention to the far end where two tiers of wide, shallow steps lead up to a long dais that stretched the length of a semicircular apse. Three massive stone chairs on the dais formed a visual pyramid—the lower, smaller outer chairs deferring to the central throne.

From the top of the center throne stretched a colossal sculpture of three golden women. Each of the goddesses had a swirl of stone protruding from her mouth, signifying her influence upon Hyrule. Their gold-leafed bodies encircled a trio of triangles, arranged to form one larger triangle, which must have been extremely heavy as it appeared to be made of solid gold. Link became aware that two soldiers flanked the doors, and two more stood at attention on either side of the wide stone steps leading up to the dais. They were so still he had almost not noticed them; like miniature sculptures to complement the Golden Goddesses. Link proceeded through the space feeling very small, especially after being thrust back into a body that was seven years younger than he had become accustomed to.

Seated before the three stone thrones, in three wooden chairs of equal height on the dais were the King and Queen of Hyrule and the Captain of the Royal Guard, the last of which nodded at Link firmly. At the captain’s feet rested a shield that Link recognized. It bore a Triforce symbol and the Royal Bird. Before he had time to think much of it, however, the king spoke.


As he approached the dais Link noticed that the queen wore the same dress that Zelda had worn—or would wear—when she was older; white with a purple vest, and adorned with gold metalwork on her head and around her waist from which hung an apron bearing the royal family’s symbol. The king was clothed in a large red velvet overcoat with a blue pocketed jacket underneath. He wore light gray leggings and soft-leather shoes with blunt toes that pointed upward. He too was adorned with gold-work upon his head, and he wore a gold buckle on his cloth belt bearing the Triforce emblem. The captain wore a white shirt and trousers, both trimmed in blue, over which was a light chain shirt. His treated leather boots bore buckles, and over all of this his belt was cinched around a white tunic with the red symbol of the royal family on his chest. At the captain’s side hung a rapier.

The queen spoke in a voice that was smooth and welcoming: “Hello, child. We are the ruling power of Hyrule. We understand there is something you wish to tell us. What concerns you?”

For a moment Link wondered if he should bow, and then realized that he had never properly met the royalty of Hyrule before. He fumbled with his empty hands. He had met Zelda when she was young; twice now, in fact, but those meetings had hardly been formal. Link had met Zelda multiple times as an adult as well, counting the times when she was in disguise and again when she revealed herself for who she was. But he had never met the king; only seen him vaguely at the garden window. For that matter, he could not remember ever learning what happened to either of Zelda’s parents, after they survived the war. All he knew was that Zelda lived with Impa in Kakariko in the future…why didn’t she live with her parents, he wondered…or did they…

But as he stared at Zelda’s mother, Link thought she looked so much like her daughter that he had difficulty telling himself the queen wasn’t really Zelda. The queen was like a more contemplative, less distraught, slightly older version of Zelda. Link had the feeling that if Zelda had not been through so much—what with going into hiding for seven years, training to survive in combat, and seeing her family and kingdom fall apart before her eyes—she might have been sitting in front of him at that very moment. Then Link’s eyebrows scrunched up as he considered the captain. Was he royalty, too?

The queen must have seen the question on Link’s young boyish face, for she asked: “Do you wonder why a soldier is seated on the same platform as the king and queen, young one?” Link was surprised at the level of confidence in her voice. It was as if she could read his thoughts.

“Yes, ma’am,” Link replied meekly. He realized that he also didn’t know how to refer to royalty, so he offered a short bow just in case. The queen glanced at her husband, who nodded, smiling pleasantly, before she turned and addressed Link:

“Colin is our Captain of the Royal Guard. He is Head of the Order of Courage and my protector.”

Link nodded at the captain. “Howdy,” he said, uncertainly. “I’m Link…of the Koroki.” He felt that his introduction was far too short compared to the captain’s. Colin did not seem to mind, however; he winked with a green eye and let a smile creep across one of his cheeks.

The queen continued: “My husband, the King of the Hylian people, is Head of the Order of Power, Link, and I am Head of the Order of Wisdom. Together we organize the affairs of the kingdom after our respective orders and counsel one with another concerning actions that must be made, judgments that must be passed, and endeavors which must be undertaken.”

Link’s mouth hung open. All he had ever known was living as he pleased in the forest with his friends, the Koroki children. But that had been some time ago, to him. Lately, at least before Zelda had sent him back in time, his had been a nomadic life with very little order or organization. “You do all of that yourself?” he asked.

“No,” the king replied, “the captain has his knights, I have advisors who counsel with me, and my wife has Sheiks as her attendants. But that is neither here nor there, son. What would you have us know?”

Suddenly, Link remembered the urgency of his errand. All of this was still very new to him. It was like getting to know relatives you never knew you had. But that would have to wait. “I have a message from Zelda,” he said.

“The princess?” the captain asked.

“Yes.” Link looked at each of the Heads of Order expecting them to understand what that meant.

The king looked at his wife suspiciously. In a low voice Link could barely hear the king said, “Is she playing at something, again?”

But just as the queen was about to speak, Link caught on. “No,” he said, “your older daughter…” Now it was the queen’s turn to be puzzled. She blinked.

“We have only one daughter,” she said, “and she is young. Why do you call her older?”

Link silently berated himself for being so dense. He felt more and more a child all the time. Finally, he opened his mouth to explain. “I…we…the princess and me…” he started. The king looked at him more intently. “She sent me back to now so that I could warn you,” Link finished.

The captain sat up and folded his hands. “Did you say sent you to now?” he asked, his eyes narrowing.

“Yes,” Link said matter-of-factly. “She sent me back in time. To warn you,” he repeated.

The captain turned to the king. “Do you suppose Rauru knows about this?”

“We shall see,” the king replied, never taking his eyes from Link. Addressing the boy he said, “What is it you have come to warn us about, young one? What does the future hold?” It was as much a challenge as it was a question.

Link’s face felt hot. “Well…I’m not sure really where to start…see we sealed Ganon away in the Golden Land and…”

“He’s in the Golden Land?!” the king blurted abruptly. The queen’s right hand jumped to her chest and the captain’s left hand flew to his rapier. The king’s knuckles were white, his hands gripping the rests of his chair. His face was vehement, flanked by the startled expressions of the queen and captain. “That traitorous thief, coming to vow his allegiance…” the king muttered, “…never should have fallen for it, just wanted to get inside the walls…” Link was shocked silent.

“Calm yourself, Daphnes,” the queen said soothingly, “the Door is still in place. The keys are safe…” The king was appeased, but a small vein still protruded from his forehead. The captain relaxed his grip on the rapier at his side. Speaking to Link the queen said, “Forgive us, child. Please, how do you know of this?”

Link started to dislike being a child again. “I told you, I was there! I fought Ganon in his tower that he built over where the castle used to be, and Zelda called on the Sages and they sealed him in the Golden Land, and then she sent me back seven years so I could get my lost time back, and now I’m here telling you that Ganon is going to get in and he’s going to get the Triforce, and we have to stop him!” Link breathed deeply. His younger body had less capacity for air than his older one did. He made a note of it and decided he would have to practice his diving again soon, if something else didn’t happen first.

The king, queen and the captain seemed to assimilate what Link had said. The queen’s eyes were closed as she pondered what this news would mean. The others waited the moments it took for her to open them again. She spoke:

“If what you say is correct, then you would know that a bearer of the powers of the Triforce cannot be stopped by ordinary means. How did you defeat Ganon if he had the Power of Gold?”

“I had the Master Sword,” Link stated.

The air in the room changed. Whereas before it had been excited, it now became very still; reverent.

The queen’s eyes were focused on the boy. Her gaze lowered to his clothes as she opened her mouth to speak. “You drew the Master Sword from its pedestal?”

“Yes,” Link replied, cringing under the queen’s sharp stare. The captain muttered something to the king that Link could not hear. The king turned ever so slightly to hear what the captain was saying. “I had to get the three Spiritual Stones first, though, and that wasn’t easy,” Link added apologetically. “It took me forever just to get the Emerald from inside Father Dekku.”

The queen’s voice was quiet. “Tell us more of this news.”

Link shifted his feet. “Well, he had all sorts of big spiders living inside him and there were cobwebs everywhere…” he began.

“Forgive me, Master,” said the captain, “but I believe her Majesty means for you to describe your experience with the Blade of Evil’s Bane.”

For a moment Link did not understand that the captain had referred to him. He had never been called ‘Master’ before, though he knew it was used out of great respect. But three pairs of eyes were fixed on him, so he knew he must say something.

“It was…I remember seeing it and thinking how big it was. The light from the window behind it made it look that way, I think. But when I got closer it looked like someone had spent a lot of time on it, making it look fancy. And then…when I touched it…” Link’s body shuddered a little as he thought of the experience again. What had not yet happened in this time was seven years ago for him, though it was as vivid in his mind as if it was happening just then.

“Go on child,” he heard the queen say as his mind played the scene out again.

“It was like…it was like there was someone down there, under the sword, and they reached up through the sword and into me, and they grabbed my…chest, and…pulled.” Link’s small hand came up to the front of his tunic. His eyes narrowed as his fingers creased the green cloth. “But I couldn’t let go, and so when I pulled away from it the sword came out…and then everything went white, and then black. And the last thing I remember was someone laughing.”

Link’s eyes moved as if they could not see. Then suddenly his eyes focused somewhere behind the queen. “He’s coming tomorrow night. He’s going to make night come early and he’s going to try to take the Ocarina from Zelda and then…and then I’ll come back with the other Spiritual Stones.” Here the king’s eyes narrowed. “My other self, I mean,” said Link, “you can ask Impa. And then he’ll follow me into the Temple—Ganon will—and he’ll get in.”

The king breathed in, and then out. “How are we to know that you speak the truth?” he asked. His wife laid a hand on his arm, her eyes a warning. “No, Zethra, I have been faced with too many tricks on account of this Thief Lord, I need to be sure.”

Link thought of something he could say: “Later today Death Mountain will erupt.”

“But the Death Mountain volcano has not erupted since the days of the Goddesses,” said the captain.

“It will today,” Link said. “I remember; I went up there after I got the Ruby from Daruni.” Link eyed the captain’s shield once again. “It’s a good thing I had one of those shields.”

The captain turned his gaze on Link intently. It seemed to Link that the captain had remembered something, and then dismissed it.

The king sat back in his chair. “Very well. We shall watch for this as a sign in the east. In the meantime, what do you advise?”

But Link had not thought this far ahead. He had thought that they would figure out what to do on their own. They had to stop Ganon somehow…in the future it was the Sages that sealed Ganon away in the Golden Land, but they wanted to keep him out of the Golden Land in the first place. Link saw the king raise his thick eyebrows, expectant.

“You could get the Sages to help,” Link suggested quickly. Then he thought about what he had just said. He didn’t know who the Sages might be in this time; he had had to awaken all of the Sages in the future…all but Rauru. But if new Sages all had to be awakened, that must mean that the ones who came before them escaped, or…

The queen spoke, pulling Link from the grim thought. “It is wise,” she said, meeting the gaze of her husband, who sighed. “The Sages should lay in wait for the Thief Lord in the Temple of Time. Once the boy has entered the Sanctuary of the temple, the Sages will be ready to capture the infiltrator. When he is in custody, he will be taken to the Arbiter’s Grounds and tried.”

“Be careful, Zethra,” said the king. “I would not lose you to this man’s evil.”

The captain spoke. “She will not fall, Daphnes, I swear it. I will fall before she does.”

“Then you must both be careful. I would not lose either of you, Colin, if it can be avoided. The very thought makes my heart sick.”

The captain bowed his head and nodded, his face straight. “Thank you, my Liege,” he said, placing his fist over his heart.

“The Sages are mighty, my love,” said Zethra. “We cannot all fail…”

“Yes, but you are not immortal,” replied the king, laying his hand over hers. “Mudora proved that, Faroe keep him. You do not know what this man may do, if pressed.”

“I know that I cannot stand by and do nothing,” she answered.

Link felt that he was witnessing something very private, almost sacred. He shifted his belt and then flattened his tunic with one hand. He pondered a moment on what it meant for him to bring this news to the king and queen at this time. In his history the people of Hyrule were all but wiped out when Ganon invaded from the Golden Land; only those who evacuated to Kakariko village had survived. But Ganon was dangerous even before he had the Triforce of Power. He had put curses on Father Dekku and the Zora’s deity-fish, Jabun. Link knew that anyone who opposed Ganon would be putting themselves in mortal danger. He doubted for a moment whether his message was as important as all that. Was he so sure things wouldn’t just work out? “Please. Your majesties?” he said quietly.

“Yes, child,” said the king turning again to Link. “We will prepare as you have said. Nelson, where is the Gerudo Lord now?”

One of the guards flanking the doors behind Link stood to attention, his spear jutting out at an angle in front of him. “He has been given quarters in the town, my Liege. Shall I fetch him?”

“No thank you, Nelson. Let him stay there as long as he pleases. Make him comfortable, but do not give him any reason to suspect we know of his plans. Now that he has sworn us fealty we can neither arrest him nor detain him, especially for something he has not done. Nevertheless, I want your men on alert until further notice for any suspicious activity, especially anything near the temple. If anyone is seen entering the temple grounds, lock the outer gate.”

The guard nodded. “Aye, sir.”

“Proceed,” said the king, and the guard left the Grand Hall. The king turned to the captain. “Colin, I want the knights prepared to take up places of hiding outside the temple by morning. Have them cover every entrance, especially the secret ones, and put archers on all the surrounding rooftops. Have a Stealth Guard ready in case they need to catch the infiltrator inside the temple. Remember: we cannot arrest him until he has entered the Sanctuary. We must be ready to flush him out. You will accompany the queen within the temple. Agreed?”

“It shall be as you say, my Liege,” said the captain, bowing. He stooped to raise his shield to his back, bowing to Link as he passed him on his way out. “Master Hero,” said the captain. Link nodded, smiling meekly. All of this was happening so fast.

Now the king turned to his wife. “Say nothing, Daphnes,” she said. “You have spoken what your heart feels. I will not betray that. I must away to prepare the Sages.” And she arose to every inch of her elegant height, squeezing her husband’s hand before she too left the Grand Hall. The king watched her go, his eyes framed by his taut eyebrows. Finally, he looked down at Link, who was shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Link opened his mouth to speak, but he could not think of anything to say. Now the Sages would put themselves between Ganon and the Golden Land because of what he had told them. The floor seemed to pull harder on him, making it seem that his boots were made of iron.

“Well then, young Hero, it remains what shall be done with you; for you cannot stay here,” said the king.

At first Link could not think what might happen to him. Then his eyes narrowed. “Excuse me, sir,” he bowed, “but what did you say?”

“What? Are you surprised that I called you Hero? It can only be so.” Surely, Link thought, they must be able to read his mind. The king continued: “My wife had a dream many years ago of one who would draw the Master Sword and travel through time to vanquish a Great Evil that had seized the Power of Gold. It simply remained to determine whether you were not some manifestation of that vile Thief Lord. My wife is right to trust you—I am not so wise as she. When the captain told me of his confidence in you it was nearly set in my mind. I simply had to test you. I had to.” The king leaned forward in his chair. “I am sorry if you feel I have doubted you. Your role in these events has long been prophesied. You must have been through so much to be here before us. Please accept my thanks for what you have done, though I may never know the extent of it. You shall always be honored in this kingdom.”

Link’s mouth hung open for the second time. Through all of the dangers he had faced, amid all of the trials with what seemed like none to comfort him when he needed it; here, finally, he was being thanked—and by the king of Hyrule. He felt more like a child than ever, yet somehow much more grown up. “Thank you,” he finally said, looking the king squarely in the eye. It was as if a heavy burden had lifted off his shoulders and he was suddenly a part of Hyrule.

The king smiled. He looked almost like Father Dekku, Link thought. How long it had been since he had spoken with the Great Tree. Link suddenly longed for home. Then the king grimaced and swallowed hard, looking sick.

A feeling of helplessness gripped Link’s stomach. It was like the Dekku Tree dying all over again. “What’s wrong, your Majesty? Are you okay?”

“Nothing,” said the king, recovering. He pulled his handkerchief from his sleeve and pressed it to his mouth. “It is well. Now, tell me; you have said that you have a younger self that is also about?”

“Yes,” said Link, strange as it was to admit that there was another of him. He wondered what it would be like to meet himself. He guessed he had, in a way, when he fought that shadow-thing that looked like him in the future. He remembered the creature’s red eyes most of all. In a strange way they had reminded Link of Sheik’s eyes; penetrating and truthful. Where had that shadow-Link come from? He did not suppose he wanted to know, and he was glad he was steering the future away from having to face it again.

The king continued speaking. “Then my advice is that you should not be seen by those who do not know you are here. We must secure you a place of hiding. Know you of any place where none would come looking for you?”

Only one place occurred to Link. “There’s the forest,” he said. He thought of the other Koroki children and how they would never imagine what he had been through. It had only been a few days since his other self had left the forest. And again he wondered where Navi might be. “Sir, I wonder…” He felt very foolish asking the king if he had seen Navi, but it was his only option at the moment and Link was beginning to worry that she was lost. “Have you seen any fairies around the castle recently?”

To Link’s alarm, the king chuckled loudly. “My good lad, you are quite the jester!” He wiped his eyes on his handkerchief. “No, indeed the only fairies you might see around the castle are said to live in a cave…”

“…to the south-east of the castle. I know,” Link finished, disappointed.

The king looked vaguely confused for a moment, but seemed to assimilate this. “It appears that you are truly more knowledgeable than your age would suggest. Hero of Time indeed,” the king mused. “Yes, well, I shall leave it to you then, Master Hero, where you feel your path may lead you. Have you transport? A horse?”

Link still felt bare without so many of the useful weapons and items he had acquired from his travels. Most of all he had become accustomed to getting around with Epona, the mare he had won from Lon Lon Ranch in the future. She would still be a foal at the ranch in this time. “I don’t even have a sword, sir,” he said.

“Then you will be outfitted before you leave.” The king took a folded card from within his jacket and called to one of the guards by the dais for a well of ink and a quill. It was brought in moments and Link watched as the king scrawled instructions on the card and then returned the quill and ink. “Take this note to the armory in the basements of the castle and they will give you what you need.” He handed the card to Link. “Then we shall have Impa escort you to the ranch outside of town. She will have a pony prepared for you. Return to us soon. If events go well, you shall be welcome back. If there is any sign that we have failed…” the king’s face became solemn, “then the Goddesses help us all.”

“I…I will not fail you,” Link said, emboldened by the weight of the king’s apparent sorrow. “I will return. If you are still in danger I will do all I can to help you.”

“Thank you, Link, Hero-who-has-passed-through-time. May the Goddess of Time bless you. Now go.” And bowing once more, Link left the Grand Hall in search of the armory.

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