"Come on, Fairy Boy, I know you can do it!"
Ten-year-old Link breathed in and took aim with his slingshot. He fired the first seed.
He fired a second.
Shoot, missed again!
He shot a third.
Yes, got it!
The Gold Skulltula on the roof of the stable was gone. Link proudly threw his boomerang at it to claim the token.
"Thanks, Fairy Boy," giggled Malon. "That darned spider was keeping us up all night!"
"No problem, Malon," said Link, grinning. "Now can I keep Epona?"
"Not a chance!" she said, appalled. "She's not ready to be broken yet. She needs to grow a little,"
"Come on," said Link. "You gave her to me in the future, after saving this ranch!"
Malon put her hands on her hips. "She was seven years old, and ready! Sorry, but I'm not letting my best foal be spoiled before she's even old enough to ride."
Link frowned. "Fine! I'll just stop buying my milk from here, then!" He then stormed out of the ranch. Outside, he pulled out his Fairy Ocarina and played the Minuet of Forest, thus warping to the Sacred Forest Meadow. Saria could sense her friend's anger as he appeared on the Triforce pedestal.
"Is something wrong, Link?" she asked.
"I don't understand!" said Link. "Why won't Malon let me keep Epona? She was fine with it seven years in the future!"
"Link, this is the present, now," explained Saria for what felt like the thousandth time. "In this point in time, Epona was born about two weeks ago. She's not ready."
"You're not helping," he grumbled. "Malon said the exact same thing."
Saria laughed. "Well, what do you want?"
"Never mind," he said, stalking out of the meadow and taking his ocarina back out, this time playing the Prelude of Light. After disappearing under a flash of yellow light, he left the
and sneaked into the Hyrule Castle Courtyard. Templeof Time
"Hi, Link," said Zelda, a bouquet of roses in her arms.
"Hi, Zelda," he said, always happy to visit his best Hylian friend. "Can you give me some advice?"
"I'm trying to convince Malon to let me break Epona, but she won't have it. How do you sway someone?"
Zelda chuckled. "Well, there are several methods of persuasion that I know of, but I'm not sure what would persuade her to give up her best foal to a hasty, somewhat careless ten-year-old boy."
"Ha ha, very funny," said Link. "You're a girl, what bribes you?"
Zelda thought about it for a moment. "Well, when I was little, sometimes my brother would give me a flower if he made me cry." She looked at the roses in her hand. "You could try giving these to Malon."
Link took the pink flowers. "Thanks, Zel. These should do the trick!"
The next day, he knocked on the door at the stables. Malon answered the knock.
"Can I help you, Fairy Boy?" she said, grinning.
"I'm sorry for the way I acted the other day," said Link, putting on his most sincere face. "I thought I should apologize properly." He handed her the bouquet.
Malon took in the sweet aroma of the roses. "These are lovely! They're going right on the kitchen table." She began to rummage around for a vase.
"So," said Link. "Does this mean I can keep Epona?"
Malon snorted. "I'm not easily swayed, Link, especially not by flowers."
Later, after once again storming out of the ranch, Link took his ocarina back out and played the Serenade of Water. When he arrived in a flash of blue light at
, he swam across the tarn and to the entrance to Zora's Domain. Lake Hylia
I can't believe I'm about to do this, he thought as he walked into King Zora's throne room.
Princess Ruto squealed with delight as she saw her crush walk up onto the pedestal. "Link! It's you!" she said, jumping down from the throne and squeezing him around his neck.
"Yeah, yeah," said Link, trying to pull Ruto off of him. "Listen, I need a girl's opinion on something." He explained the ordeal with Epona and Malon.
"Well," began Ruto, eyelids fluttering. "The way to any girl's approval on anything is her heart. Say if you were to kiss a girl; she'd give you anything you wanted, even her hand in marriage and the entire
." She put her hand around his shoulder. Zora Kingdom
Link shrank away. "Thanks for the information," he said, carefully picking up her hand and dropping it by her side, and then running out of the room.
Ruto waved. "I'll be here!"
Back in the
, Link put on his favorite green tunic and boots, combed his hair, and washed his face. He traveled back to Lon Lon Ranch to find Malon sweeping out the stable. Kokiri Forest
"Hi, Link," she said cheerfully. "What brings you back here?"
"Oh, just coming to see you," he said. Link put his arm around her shoulder. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
"It sure is," she said.
"You look very pretty this afternoon," he grimaced at how sappy he was being.
"Thank you," said Malon. "You look handsome, yourself."
They chatted for a long time. At one point, Link decided to move in for the kiss Ruto had talked about. Slowly, he closed his eyes and leaned forward, his lips puckered.
Suddenly, his lips met with something rough and hairy. He opened his eyes to see that he was face-to-face with their prized heifer, Starshine. Malon had a good laugh about this.
"Nice try, Fairy Boy," she said, gasping for air. "You really think that I'd give in to such silliness? You're desperate for Epona, aren't you?"
Link could feel his face going red. "Don't worry, I'll stop trying after this," he lied.
The next morning, he warped to the Desert Colossus via the Requiem of Spirit, where he found Nabooru, guarding the
as always. Spirit Temple
"Hey, kid," she said, cuffing him on the shoulder. "What brings you out here?"
"I need help getting a horse," he said, bowing respectfully to the Gerudo leader.
"Well, the best way I know of to get a horse is the Gerudo tradition."
"Steal it," she answered simply.
For most of the morning, Link listened to her advice on how to steal Epona. He was to wear dark clothing, sneak into the stable, and quietly play Epona's song, to clam the horse. Then, under the cover of nightfall, he would silently lead her out of the ranch.
Do you think I can do it?" asked Link.
"Don't worry," said Nabooru. "If you can earn the respect of the entire Gerudo race, this shouldn't be too hard."
That night, Link tiptoed into the ranch and opened the door to the stable. He stumbled in the dark as he felt for the second stall from the left. He reached in and felt a horse's mane. Yes, this was the one. He took out the Fairy Ocarina and played Epona's Song as quietly as possible. Then, opening the gate, he led the horse out through the ranch entrance.
Easy as pie.
The next day, Link took Epona out to ride to
. But something was different. Epona in the future always obeyed his command. This Epona was riding in circles. Hyrule Castle
"Gidap!" he shouted angrily. Epona stopped right in front of the river that fed into Zora's River. "Come on, you stupid horse!"
Epona snorted and stared blankly at him and bucked, throwing him off. Link shouted curses at the foal as she rode away at a rapid pace.
How am I going to explain this to Malon? Thought Link, pacing. She's going to kill me!
He resigned, and decided to go tell Malon the truth. Back at the ranch, he found Malon, standing outside the walls looking around Hyrule Field.
"Hey Fairy Boy," she said. "Thanks for not begging for Epona anymore."
"Yeah," said Link, feeling guiltier by the second. "Listen, there's something I have to tell you."
"Yes. You see, I kind of stole Epona last night. But when I tried to ride her, she wouldn't listen to me. Then she threw me off and ran away. I'm really sorry."
Malon laughed when she realized what he was saying. "Oh, Link! You didn't lose Epona! She's in the ranch, silly!"
"What?" Link was flabbergasted. "But then, which horse did I take?"
"You took her brother, Thunder. He was stubborn, and wouldn't listen to anything we told him. Daddy was going to put him down tonight, but now that YOU took care of it, we don't have to!"
Link went red in the face.