Disclaimer: I don’t want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other people’s characters so - .The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.

The Dark Empowerment

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) and Kirsty Singleton (indigo_spacen@mail.com)

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Chapter 11


   Seconds later, the portal reopened in the distant place. Link and Zelda ended up falling into some sand. "I don't believe this!" Zelda said angrily, standing up and brushing the sand off her clothes.

"Where are we?" Link wondered, looking around. They were standing on a long stretch of sand, on a turbulent coastline. The waves crashed roughly against the shore. There was balmy breeze, briefly stirring the fringed leaves of the palm trees. The sun was shining down brightly. Aside from this part of the shore, the whole landscape seemed surrounded by a rocky wall, a tall mountain dominating the skyline to the north. "I think this may be an island," Link said.

"Oh great. We're stranded on an island. How wonderful," Zelda said sarcastically.

"Zel..." Link began.

"Oh why didn't we do something sooner? It's very good sitting around and sharing theories about Kain, but we waited too long to take action. Now we're stuck here, while he takes control of Hyrule. And goodness knows what this place is," the Princess moaned.

"At least we're together," Link said, trying to look on the bright side. Zelda frowned, then stomped off down the beach. As the two approached what looked like a small incline up the low cliffs, they met up with a young woman, with long curly blonde hair entwined with tropical blooms, and she was carrying a harp. She looked surprised to see them, but made her way to them quickly. As she saw Link, she froze, looking shocked. After she recomposed herself, she introduced herself.

"Uh, my name's Karin. How did you both get here?" she asked, her green eyes wide. Zelda frowned again.

"I'm Princess Zelda of Hyrule and this is Link, Protector of the Triforce. We ended up here when this wizard used a banishment spell. He's taken over my Kingdom!" she wailed.

"Oh... I'm sorry..." Karin said, curtseying in front of Zelda, but still staring at Link.

"You say your name is Link?" she asked. Link nodded.

"The one and only," he grinned.

"Well, this may just be a huge coincidence but...." the woman paused. "Wait, come to my house in Mabe Village. It's only about half a mile away," she said.

   "Some people say it's just an old legend, but about 1500 years ago, a boy called Link got marooned here on Koholint Island. One of my ancestors, a girl called Marin, lived here and she rescued him. At the time, the only way to escape from the island was to wake a mythical creature called the Wind Fish." Karin paused, and pointed up to a high mountain. "That's Mount Tamaranch. A huge stone egg used to be on top of it, or so they say. That's where the Wind Fish resided," she explained. Link nodded for Karin to go on, interested. "To wake it, you had to collect eight instruments from dungeons located here. This boy managed it, and so escaped from here," she said.

"Well, okay. They had the same name, why do you seem so surprised?" Zelda asked.

"Well, Marin fell in love with Link, and it broke her heart when he went. She had a statue carved of him - it stands in Mabe Village square. It's old and weathered, but the similarity is uncanny," Karin replied.

"Wow, that's so weird," Link said.

"Not only that, but she painted pictures too. They may be old and faded, they are over a thousand years old after all. However, my family has kept them for as long as we can remember. They're proof that the legend is true, or at least, to me anyway," she said, smiling.

"Can we take a look?" Link asked. "Link! We're supposed to be finding a way home!" Zelda interjected.

"But you can't leave," Karin said suddenly.

"What?" Zelda said.

"Nobody ever leaves Koholint Island. It's a curse no-one, aside from Link has ever gotton past. But the Wind Fish is gone forever, there's no way to escape," Karin replied, smiling sympathetically.

"We'll see about that," Zelda muttered angrily. Link suddenly realised how upset Zelda was. He'd thought that she'd been a bit rude to Karin, but he couldn't blame her in the slightest. He felt exactly the same. Useless. Here they were, stuck on this weird island, while Kain was doing god knows what. He turned to Zelda and stopped in front of her. Taking her hand, he whispered,

"We'll get off here. I don't know how yet, but we will. Perhaps Sprite will know what to do." Zelda smiled slightly, and reached up to give him a light kiss.

"I hope so," she whispered back.

   Mabe village really was a village. It was about the same size as Rarau or Karul, perhaps even smaller. Karin led them towards a moderately sized wooden house, with a neat picket fence around it, which kept in a small flock of chickens. "Welcome to Mabe! If you like, you can stay with my family, we've got plenty of room," she said kindly.

"Thanks. That'd be great," Link said, smiling. Karin opened the door, and the trio stepped inside. Two elderly people were sat eating lunch.

"Mother, Father, meet Link and Princess Zelda. They got here by an evil wizard's spell," Karin explained. The two looked up, and smiled warmly.

"Hello. I'm Harry, this is Magda. Welcome to Koholint. We hope you'll like it," the old man said. Zelda sighed, but Link smiled.

"Us too. Though we're hoping to find a way to get home," he said. Magda looked sad.

"I'm afraid young man, that is next to impossible," she said.

"We have powerful faerie friends back in Hyrule, who may be able to open a gateway back," Zelda said, folding her arms.

"You've yet to meet my older brother, Darren. But, why don't I show you those pictures?" Karin suggested.

"Karin dear, don't bore our visitors with your silly stories now," Harry warned.

"I'm not. They'd love to see the pictures," Karin said. She led Link and Zelda up a small staircase into an attic room. Once upstairs, Karin lit a candle sconce and opened up a large trunk. Inside, were crumpled bits of paper and several framed paintings. She took each one out carefully, then laid them out onto the floor for Link and Zelda to study. Both were shocked by the likeness.

"You're right," Zelda said.

"Yeah, except for the fact his hair is longer and blonder than mine," Link said, running a hand through his unruly dark brown hair.

"Do you know where he was from?" Zelda asked. Karin nodded.

"Marin's diary is in surprising good condition. She speaks of the place you claim to be from. What is it? Hyrule?" Karin said.

"Yes. Hmmm... Perhaps he's an ancestor of mine! This is such a weird coincidence!" Link said. "Yes! Let me show you the statue," Karin said, excitedly, leading Link and Zelda back down the stairs and outside.

   Behind Karin's house, was a pretty village square, surrounded by a low wall, with flowerbeds and a stone statue in the centre. "This ancestor of mine, he must have been a pretty great guy to get all this stuff made in memory of him," Link commented, looking up at the weathered stone monument.

"Well, I think Marin thought so anyway," Karin said, smiling at Link. "I'm a musician by the way - creativity runs in my family, I guess," she added.

"What do you play?" Link asked.

"Well, I can play the harp really well. It's my favourite instrument because it sounds so pretty. But I like to sing the most," Karin explained, smiling again.

"You'll have to give us a demonstration sometime," Link suggested.

"I hate to interrupt, but just exactly how big is this island?" Zelda cut in.

"Oh... Well, it's fairly small, Princess. But we do have three villages; this one, Pecus Village to the far East of the island, and Tal Tal Village in the Northeast. And we have a castle too. King Richard lives there. He employs some people to work there, men as soldiers, women as maids etc. Not that Kanalet would ever be attacked," Karin said.

"You'd be surprised," Zelda said, suddenly looking sulky. Karin simply smiled again.

"Cheer up Princess. You might enjoy living here after all."

"Perhaps if you were someone important like me, you'd understand how I feel," Zelda snapped, starting to get tired of Karin's incessant cheerfulness. Link smiled at Karin.

"Don't mind her. Zelda gets like that sometimes. She's just worried about the Kingdom," he explained.

"Oh, it's okay. Now, I'm very happy for the both of you to stay here, and you can borrow mine and Darren's clothes and stuff for now. But no doubt you'll probably want to build your own house..." Karin began.

"Hey, wait a sec. We're not going to be staying," Link said

. "How can you be so sure?" Karin asked.

"I just know our friends will help us. Besides, our country needs us," Link answered.

"Well, sure. But I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. No-one, aside from that Link, has ever managed to leave Koholint, remember?" Karin answered, suddenly looking sad.

   Before anything else could be said a tall, dark haired man entered the square. He looked to be in his early twenties and had a flashing smile. "Hi Karin!" he exclaimed, reaching over to hug his sister. Smiling Karin introduced the two strangers to her brother.

"Darren, meet Link and Zelda of Hyrule," she said. He greeted Link with a handshake and Zelda with a dazzling smile. After the introductions Darren looked a little puzzled.

"If you don't mind me asking, but how in Koholint did you get on this Island?" he asked still smiling.

"They were banished from their land by an evil wizard and they ended up here," explained Karin before Zelda or Link could get a word in.

"Geeze, that wizard sure is evil, banishing you from your land and to banish you here, well that's just too much for someone to take," replied Darren, half smiling. Karin playfully punched him on the arm.

"That's no way to speak about your home land," said Karin.

"Island," replied Darren.

"Huh?" replied Karin not getting the joke.

"I wouldn't exactly describe Koholint as a land, especially not in front of newcomers; you might mislead them into thinking this is quite a big island," explained Darren grinning. He turned to Link and Zelda. "Seriously though, I'm really sorry about what happened to you even though, I, myself wish some wizard would come and banish me from Koholint," said Darren, his eyes still twinkling even though he had a solemn face. "Speaking of newcomers, a couple of us had been sent by Richard to do some training on the beach and we came across this really strange creature. Maybe you could originate from the same place, I mean no offence, it's not like I'm saying you're weird creatures or anything!" said Darren. "He kept screaming on about being a superior being to the rest of us and then he just vanished."

"Hey, this 'creature' didn't happen to resemble a sort of hog on two legs, and it didn't hover around on the air did it?" asked Link.

"Yeah, come to think of it, it did fit to that exact description," said Darren carefully.

"Oh great! Not only am I banished from my own kingdom, but I'm banished to the same place that Kain banished Ganon!" whined Zelda, speaking for the first time in Darren's presence.

   "Ganon? Kain?" Karin and Darren asked.

"Kain is the guy who banished us.." Link began.

"And Ganon was our sworn enemy, until Kain banished him too! Oh why didn't we realise?" she wailed, folding her arms and pacing.

"Ganon is also a wizard. Just when I thought I'd never have to wipe the smile off his ugly face again," Link said, drawing his sword and examining it.

"We've got more important things to worry about than that!" Zelda said crossly. She stood there scowling. "Like getting rid of Kain. Goodness knows what he's doing to my Kingdom!"

"Kingdom? You're royalty?" Darren asked.

"What does it look like?" Zelda answered, offended.

"Please forgive my bad manners," Darren said apologetically, bowing. Zelda smiled slightly. Then she walked away, into a shady corner and sat on the wall, looking upset.

"D'you think she's mad at me?" Darren asked. Link shook his head.

"Not really. She rarely makes a big deal over her title. I assure you, once you get to know her, you wouldn't assume she was permanently in a bad mood." He smiled to himself. "In fact, she's the most wonderful person I know," he added. Karin smiled sweetly.

"Of course."

"That's a fantastic sword, if you don't mind me saying," Darren commented.

"Thanks. I've had this since I was 15," Link said proudly.

"It's beautifully made. And is it just me, or is it also magical?" Darren asked.

"Yes. I mean, I've had it enhanced over the years of course. And I can use plenty of other weapons, but this has always been my trusted favourite," he said. "Here, take a closer look. Have a go," he added generously, handing the sword over to Darren.

"Hey thanks. King Richard doesn't supply us with weapons nearly as beautiful as this," Darren exclaimed.

"If you don't mind me asking Link, what's your job?" he questioned.

"Well... My official title is 'Protector of the Triforce'. Um, the Triforce is this group of magical prisms, Wisdom, Power and Courage. Zelda owns Wisdom, and Power now, since Kain stole it from Ganon, and Courage, well that one's lost forever," Link explained.

"Magical prisms?" Karin inquired.

"Yeah. They're very magical. Zelda's a pro at using them. But then, she's got a wonderful flair for magic," Link praised.

"Hyrule sounds like an extremely magical place," Darren commented.

"Hardly any people here can use magic. And the people that can... well.. they're a bit weird," Karin said. Link looked surprised.

"Even I can use magic. I hope you don't think me and the Princess are weird," he grinned.

"No. Not at all," Karin laughed.

"So, that's your job?" Darren asked.

"It's harder than it sounds. Oh yes, and I'm supposed to be Hyrule's destined hero. It's a great honour. Other than that, I'm just your regular, freelance adventurer," he grinned.

"Impressive. I'm just a lowly castle soldier," Darren said. Link smiled.

"Perhaps I can teach you some of my skills. Although, if you are a castle soldier, you should be hot stuff anyway."

"Thanks. I may take up your offer," Darren smiled.

   Selina, Drake, Aaron and the rest of the group were in shock. They couldn't believe what had happened, and that they'd been powerless to stop Kain. "I'm furious! What the hell is going on in this goddam castle?" Drake shouted angrily.

"It's almost as if they've been brainwashed," Selina said.

"They have! It's the only answer!" Drake roared.

"We don't even know where they are," Aaron said, looking worried.

"It could be anywhere," Damon said quietly.

"Where's that flippin' faerie? Hmmph. Just like them to disappear when the going gets tough," Drake grumbled. Selina ran a hand through her curls.

"Sprite told me that she and Zelda had discovered that Moruge Bane Essence can be used for mind control."

"Surely the whole bloody court isn't using it?" Drake asked.

"She said she was studying it further Drake. That's all I can say," Selina said apologetically.

"Some members of the castle have also secretly become Communion members, as of late," Aaron added. Suddenly, Nick spoke up.

"Selina, what did you do with your necklace?"

"I threw it out of the window. Why?" Selina asked.

"Well, I'd need to get a closer look.. but the metal, I do believe has control properties," Nick ventured.

"What?" Drake questioned.

"Well, where I come from, it does. It's a wild guess, but the metal looks so similar," Nick explained.

"Selina! Find that necklace immediately!" Drake ordered.

"Drake! It's pitch black outside!" Selina protested.

"Take a torch then. Damon will accompany you," he replied. Damon got up, as did Selina, although she was reluctant. "And don't take all night about it!" Drake roared after them.

   Sprite stared at Imilda in dismay. "No! How can you be so sure?" she said, looking at the old, wise faerie.

"I'm afraid, dear Princess, that you almost surely have a griffin on your hands," Imilda said sadly. She shifted her large, rounded body in her comfortable chair. "No doubt abut it."

"But... but how?" Sprite cried.

"The magic you have described to me Princess. The magic you saw at his house. The feathers," Imilda said.

"Then.. Oh no! If it is true... North Castle is in extreme danger!" Sprite cried.

"My pretty one. You must not, under any circumstance, blow his cover yet. Griffins are most dangerous in their original form. Have you got a feather? I may be able to tell you the name of the griffin," Imilda asked. Sprite nodded. She removed the feather from her bag and handed it to Imilda. The old faerie studied the feather intently.

"This is a powerful griffin..." she began.

"Not Enzar?" Sprite whispered, a look of fear passing over her delicate features.

"It could be very much so..." Imilda replied. Sprite gulped. She had to inform Link and Zelda as soon as possible...

   Zelda threw her blanket off the bed. It was far too hot for it. Although Karin and Darren had offered her and Link their beds, they'd offered to sleep up in the attic, on some older beds that the family kept for when their cousins visited. She hated wearing Karin's simple linen night-dress, and longed for the luxury of one of her own satin ones. She supposed she ought to be grateful though - they'd been fed and given a place to stay. With each passing minute, she worried more and more about Hyrule and her people and her Father most of all. Was he still alive? What was Kain doing? Perhaps I derserve this. I guess it's how many people in Hyrule live their lives, she thought. Also, it was far to warm on Koholint for Zelda's liking. Hyrule's climate was much milder - cold winters, with warm summers. It did occasionally get unbearable during the summer, especially near the deserts, but Koholint seemed to be permanently scorching. Link didn't seem to be bothered much by the weather, but Zelda did. It was partially why she couldn't sleep. She leaned over the gap between the beds and woke Link.

"Uh, what's up Princess?" he said sleepily.

"I know it's selfish of me, but I just can't sleep.. will you stay up a little while and talk to me?" she asked. Link smiled.

"No problem Princess." Then he too, noticed how warm it was. "Is there a window in here?" he asked, looking about. He spotted one, and attempted to open it. It wouldn't budge. "Come and help me with this Zel," he said, pushing again. They finally managed to open it. Not that it seemed to do much good. The night air was heavy, with no breeze to stir it. "This is worse than that time we had a heat wave," Link commented, sitting back down.

"I know. Why can't it at least be a little windy?" Zelda said, sighing. Soon, the heady perfume of the tropical plants outside drifted into the room, making both Link and Zelda sneeze. "I think I'm going to die," Zelda announced, lying back on her bed.

"Come on, I'm sure we'll get used to it eventually," Link said, starting to sneeze again. "Then again..." He eyed the window. "Okay, if we shut it, it'll get really stuffy. If we don't, we'll sneeze to death from the killer blooms." He grinned at Zelda. "What do you say Princess? Do we shut it, or leave it open?"

"Oh, I don't care," Zelda answered, turning her pillow over so she could lie on the cool side of it. "Well, I'll leave it open for a little longer," Link decided.

"Mmmm...sure," Zelda answered.

"How you holding up anyway? I know you've been really upset all day," Link asked.

"I don't know. I'm just so worried about my Father..." she said softly. Link sat on the side of her bed and took her hand.

"I know.. and the fact that Ganon's here as well..." he added.

"I know. It's a lousy coincidence," Zelda replied, sitting up.

"Everyone here seems nice, but I sure hope we get home soon," Link said.

"Yeah. I thought things were bad before. But now, everything is ten times worse," Zelda sighed.

"Like I said, at least we're together though," Link replied, giving Zelda a hug.

"Link?" she said suddenly.

"What?" Link asked.

"Do you like Karin?" she said quietly. Link smiled.

"Zel, you are so insecure! Do you realise I think no other woman could possibly compete with you?" he said reassuringly. Zelda smiled slightly.

"Okay," she said, snuggling up against him. Only seconds later she remembered that all her problems were still there. "We're still stuck here though!" she wailed. Link sighed at her short attention span.

"I wish I could do something about it," he said helplessly.

   Sprite flew into Link's tower. He wasn't there. She wondered if he was down in the dungeon again. Perhaps he was with Zelda. She flew back outside and across the Zelda's tower. The room was oddly deserted. It was late, and very unlikely that the two were sill up. But they must be, Sprite thought. She checked out several rooms, including the library and the drawing room, but she couldn't find them. Aside from the guards, the entire population of the castle lay asleep. She searched everywhere for her friends, but couldn't find them. Eventually, she went to Aaron's room, and woke him up. "Aaron! Where's Link and Zelda?" she whispered. Aaron rubbed his eyes and sat up.

"Where've you been Sprite? We could have done with your magical skills today," he said.

"Um, I had to see someone. And what do you mean?" Sprite asked, folding her arms.

"It's Kain. He opened up a portal and sent Link and the Princess through it! We don't know where they are!" Aaron said, sounding worried.

"What?" Sprite cried. "You have got to be joking Aaron." The lad shook his head.

"I'm sorry Sprite, but it's true."

"And no-one tried to stop him?" the faerie demanded.

"Nobody cared. It was like he had the whole room in a trance, apparently. I wasn't there at the time," Aaron explained.

"Where did Kain open the portal?" Sprite asked.

"In the Throne Room," Aaron answered.

"Okay. I might be able to use a recall spell to re-open the portal and discover where it goes. But it's unlikely," the faerie said.

"Are you going to do it now?" Aaron asked. The faerie thought to herself.

"Aaron, just a word of warning. Kain is not who we think he is... he's very dangerous. But please don't mention my words to anyone," she pleaded. Aaron nodded in understanding. "Now, I'm going to try the spell. But I can't possibly fetch Link and Zelda back. Even if I do find out where they are, it will still be difficult to find their exact location. And I can't hold a portal open for long. You'd better come, in case I faint," the faerie said.

   Sprite fluttered around the throne room nervously. Aaron stood near the door, on guard, in case anyone should come by. Sprite wasn't sure if she could do the spell, but she knew she had to try. If they waited much longer, it could be too late. And it was their only hope of rescuing Link and Zelda. Concentrating hard, she cast the recall spell. For a split second, the portal reappeared, glimmering brightly in the darkness. Aaron looked shocked, and Sprite took a deep breath and flew into it, hoping she could succeed in holding open the gateway. Only seconds later, she had arrived in another land. It was dark, but by some strange faerie sense, Sprite knew where she was. "Koholint Island," she whispered. She flew back into the portal, and was soon back at North Castle. The portal shut as soon as she came back through, and the faerie fell onto the floor, exhausted. Aaron ran over and picked her up. "I'm okay," she said, sitting up. "It just takes a lot of power, and that used all mine up. But I know where they are!" she said excitedly.

"Where? And how?" Aaron asked.

"Well faeries always do. Koholint Island. Except I've never heard of it. I think I'll have to look it up. But anyway, when I'm strong again, I can open my own portal there, then go and find Link and Zelda then try to get back," the faerie said.

   Karin woke Link and Zelda up early. Link protested, after having little sleep the previous night. "Oh, how can you stay in bed when it's such a lovely day outside?" Karin said brightly.

"Karin, it was too hot to sleep last night!" Link said, pulling his cover up over himself.

"Evidently, Hyrule must be a pretty cold place," Karin commented.

"It is," Zelda said sleepily.

"It never gets cold on Koholint. But it is cooler at Tal Tal Heights," Karin said.

"Perhaps we ought to go there," Zelda said, sitting up. Karin smiled.

"You can come and pick a dress to borrow. Link, Darren says to help yourself to his clothes, by the way." Karin led Zelda to the small room she shared with Darren.

"Is it not weird, having to share with your brother?" Zelda asked.

"Not really. A lot of the time, he stays at the castle anyway. You must be so lucky, being a Princess and everything. I bet you have lots of beautiful dresses and jewellery," Karin said, looking at Zelda enviously for a moment.

"Well... I suppose so. But royal life can be a pain. My Father was keen to marry me off to someone I hate..." Zelda paused, suddenly feeling upset. Smiling, she attempted to regain her composure.

"But I'm already in love with someone else. I don't want to ascend to the throne yet either, but my Father is unwell...". Zelda ran a hand through her golden hair, then looked up at Karin.

"You don't have a mother?" the girl asked. Zelda shook her head.

"She died when I was very young."

"That must have been tough. I couldn't imagine losing either of my parents," Karin said, opening a closet.

"I'm okay. I don't think I was exactly the perfect daughter my Father envisioned though," Zelda said wryly.

"How come?" Karin asked.

"Well, I always thought it was more fun to go out places with Link, than to sit in the castle all day. I suppose I should have been painting or sewing or something like that. But Link always wanted to be out practising and exploring new places, and I thought it was much more exciting," Zelda smiled. Karin laughed.

"I know how you mean. When I was younger, I always followed Darren around. But now, I prefer just to go off by myself," she explained.

"Okay, I haven't got anything particularly expensive in here, but I hope you'll wear one. It's too hot for anything else," Karin said, gesturing to an array of colourful dresses. Zelda looked, and quickly decided on a loose fitting dark blue dress. She always liked the way blue made her hair seem even more golden. It was a good fit, since Karin and Zelda were of the same build. "That looks better on you than me," Karin laughed. "Would you like to borrow a brush?" Zelda shook her head.

"It's okay. I have my own upstairs. I'll just go and get it."

   Zelda went back upstairs to get her comb . Link was still fast asleep. Zelda walked over to his bed and shook him. "Princess... I'm tired..." he complained.

"Stop being lazy," Zelda replied, picking up her comb and brushing her hair.

"I'm not Zel... I'm just tired," he said, remaining under the covers. Zelda placed her silver circlet on her head, then brushed out her hair one more time.

"Well, it's not my problem if you miss breakfast," she said.

"Mmmm... whatever," Link mumbled sleepily. Turning back towards him, she asked,

"how do I look?" Link sat up and examined her.

"Beautiful. As always," he grinned. "But I'm still going back to sleep," he added.

"Just because we're here, it doesn't mean you can stop your job," Zelda said.

"You're supposed to protect me," she added, folding her arms.

"Oh, okay, okay," Link said.

   Walking outside after breakfast, Karin asked what Link and Zelda wanted to do. "I usually go down to the beach and practise my singing, but you might find that a bit boring," she said, smiling. "I could take you to one of the other villages, or perhaps you'd even like to meet King Richard," Karin suggested.

"Karin, sitting on the beach sounds the nicest option," Link grinned.

"You only say that because you can't be bothered to do anything but sit," Zelda said. Karin smiled.

"Darren will be training down there again today. We can go and watch." Smiling even more, she added, "in fact, we can take a picnic down. Darren will come and share it with us, I'm sure."

"That's a great idea Karin," Link said enthusiastically.

"We're supposed to be trying to get back home! Kain could be destroying Hyrule!" Zelda protested, even though Karin's idea did sound tempting.

"Zel, we're somewhere we don't know... we could be thousands of miles from Hyrule for all you know. What are we supposed to do?" Link replied.

"Well, surely there's got to be some sort of spell," Zelda answered.

"There probably is. But we don't have the Triforce and neither of us are powerful enough to do such a spell alone. We have to hope that Sprite is trying to help us," Link replied. Zelda frowned.

"Okay. I suppose you're right," she said quietly.

"So, we're going to have a picnic then?" Karin asked. Link nodded.


   Karin stocked up a large basket with plenty of food for all of them, then they set off in the direction of the beach. "There's a small cove further along, where we can go, if you like. It's about 20 minutes walk," Karin said. Link and Zelda agreed this was a good idea. They continued walking along the warm sands, watching the tide crash roughly onto the shore. Soon, they'd reached Karin's cove. Karin went off and sat on a fallen log near the shoreline, practising with her harp. Link and Zelda stayed further back, resting in the shade of a large palm tree.

"Y'know Princess, I could get used to this," Link said, leaning back against the palm.

"I noticed," Zelda said sighing.

"Can't you relax a little?" Link asked.

"Not when I know my country is in danger," the Princess replied, standing up again and walking off. Link debated following her, but decided she wouldn't go far. Keeping one eye on Zelda, he began to read the book Darren had given him the previous day.

   King Richard halted his coal black stallion. Both he and several of his men were training their horses that day. They were going to go down on the beach for a gallop. Slowly, he rode his horse down a steep sand dune. As he reached the bottom, he noticed a pretty young woman with long blonde hair standing nearby. "Who is that?" he wondered. He didn't know anyone who looked like she did. As she heard the sound of hooves, the woman turned briefly, before walking back down to the nearby cove. Richard stared after her, but she had barely acknowledged his presence.

"What's the wait for, Your Highness?" one of his men called, as his horse approached Richard's.

"Nothing. I just saw a woman I'd never see before, that's all," Richard explained, still looking towards the cove.

"Your Highness, was it a girl with long golden hair?" Darren asked.

"Yes. Did you see her too?" Richard asked.

"No Your Highness. But I have met her. It's Princess Zelda of Hyrule. She and her friend Link got stranded here," Darren explained.

"She's a princess?" Richard asked, even more interested.

"So she says. She does sound royal, and she's wearing a crown and a kingdom ring," Darren answered.

"I must see her at once," Richard said.

"She's staying with us, as a matter of fact," Darren said.

"Wonderful. Is she as beautiful close up, as she seems from a distance?" Richard inquired. Darren nodded.

"Yes, she's pretty. But very preoccupied. She didn't talk too much last night. I think she just wants to go home," Darren said.

"Well, I must hold a feast in her honour immediately." Richard turned to a soldier.

"Ride back to Kanalet at once and tell them to prepare a feast," he ordered.

"Yes, Your Highness," the soldier said, turning his horse back towards the sand dunes.

"Invite that charming little sister of yours. I haven't seen her in ages," Richard said to Darren. "Um, sure," Darren said, touching his hat. Richard smiled.

"Let us be on our way at once!" he said, spurring his horse into a gallop.

   Zelda walked back into the cove. "I think I just saw your King," she said to Karin.

"Richard? I hate him," Karin said.

"He lives in that big castle and has the finest clothes you ever saw. Even when he goes out, his hunting coat is bedecked in jewels," she said.

"I noticed," Zelda said.

"He wanted me to work at the castle, but I didn't want to. The cooks and maids get paid a pittance while he lives in luxury. It's only the soldiers he pays generously," Karin said. Zelda felt glad that everyone who worked at North Castle got paid the wage they deserved. Of course, it still didn't stop the thought that her Father did little to help the rest of Hyrule.

"I'm sorry. I don't want to give you a bad impression. I suppose Richard is providing employment at least," Karin said.

"It's okay. I thought his clothes were a little over the top too," Zelda said, smiling slightly. She turned to see Link standing behind her.

"Feeling in a better mood?" he asked.

"I wasn't in a bad mood to start with," Zelda replied.

"Want to listen to my new song?" Karin asked.

"We'd love to," Link said.