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    The Legend of Hyrule and the Chosen Champions
    • Hey lovely fans of the greatest franchise ever created!

      I won't lie, I primarily joined this site so I could post my fanfiction here. I wrote a short bit called "The Hylian Revolution", but I wanted to rework one key detail from the beginning and so therefore had to rewrite much of it (though there wasn't much at the time). This is my attempt at creating an epic book series, and I am far from done, but hopefully one day I'll be able to edit this post and say I am officially done :P. Anyways, here is the thread where I will be posting some of my artwork.

      If you are dying to know what happens next, you can also find it on fanfiction.net, wattpad, and AO3 (not all chapters are published here, will edit this out later).

      EDIT: This story deals with some dark, mature themes. There are no depictions of coitus at all, though it is mentioned. There are some scenes of intense violence. I like to detail my fights, but I do not like to detail gore generally. I describe only enough to get the point across. Also, one of the main characters is LGBT, so if you are uncomfortable with a story from that perspective, you have been warned.



      What if I told you there was a realm so corrupt its once great society was struck from the history books?

      One hundred years have passed since the Hero of Time triumphed over Ganondorf, the King of Thieves. But the new Hyrule, inhabited by backstabbing politicians and barbaric thugs, is threatened from both within and without. A nameless child must fight for survival in a dangerous city to fulfill a promise. A new knight with a life-threatening secret is thrusted into the murky realms of politics, where he must unlearn everything he once knew about justice and morals the deeper he gets. A new princess emerges from the north with the Mark of the Goddesses to unite the the divided realm by any means necessary. A fairy enters the brewing storm and the die is cast...

      The post was edited 3 times, last by urnotlikeme ().

    • Prologue

      The droopy, wrinkly flaps on the bald man’s chubby cheeks moved slightly when looked up abruptly from his paperwork, but he did not have to see the child crouched on his window to be aware of his presence. The early night’s breeze ominously waltzed through the window, into the cavity between the child’s bloodstained, cotton tunic and his scarred body, and blew out the only candle in the room.

      The older gentleman searched in the dark for the fire starter and asked, “So, how did it go?”

      Link hesitated before breaking the bad news. “He uh,” he sighed, “He escaped the city.”

      “Hmph. Then let the bandits decide his fate. It saves the Crown from paying failures.” Oscar’s cutting remark bounced off Link’s heavily scarred skin. Scratching of iron upon flint spewed sparks onto the wick. Once one of the flying sparks caught onto the wick, light returned to the room, and when it did, Oscar’s weary brown eyes were deadlocked with Link’s.

      After two years of working for the bounty handler, there was still no way to read the scheming thoughts festering and colluding behind the stoic, passive face he was wearing. His tailored robe was made from a modest brown fabric, a cheap color to match a low ranking administrator’s wealth. He wore no gaudy jewelry, just a slightly rusted iron chain.

      Link avoided Oscar’s piercing glare by looking at anything that did not resemble a pair of eyes, which was damn near impossible given all the profile drawings on the bounties plastered all over the walls. The organized arrangement of bounties upon the wall was characteristic of any good bureaucrat, but the way Oscar organized the wanted by gang affiliation showed that he knew more than most paper pushers like him normally did.

      Link’s empty stomach roared loudly, “I um, I don’t suppose you have another bounty ready for me?”

      But all Link got was a delayed response. The administrator broke the staring contest and shifted through some unorganized piles of paperwork, “Unfortunately not at the moment.”

      Had Link not spent the last few years studying the art of reading subtleties, he would have missed the sly smirk creeping on Oscar’s wrinkled face. But… Link wanted to say out loud in anticipation.

      “But,” Oscar paused to rummage through his messy mound of papers. Turning page after page, the handler finally retrieved a small envelope and walked to the window with the candle in his other hand, “The Judge personally requested me to find someone in the area to, discreetly, take care of an errand.”

      Subterfuge: something Link was good at but avoided altogether. Being on the wrong side of the law had far more risks, but if the request came from the law itself, maybe it would not be so complicated. “The old man delivered the request?” asked Link, making sure that the covert errand was indeed an errand from the Crown.

      Oscar smiled reassuringly, “From Sir Mawar himself.” Oscar’s curled lips may have been hard to read, but at least he was an honest administrator.

      If an old, retired Royal Guard, who currently sat at the highest seat in the Goddesses’ court, personally wanted someone quietly killed, the bounty handler was the best man to approach. The sponsorship was all Link needed. “What’s the pay?” he asked.

      The administrator held out the envelope, “It’s sealed. The condition is that unsealing it means you accept the task.”

      Link’s heart sank. It was a job for the desperate, most likely an assassination, a bounty beneath the law. It must be. No other kind of assignment could be so important that the Judicial Maestro could not trust someone from his own branch with the details. No matter who or what branch of the Crown sponsored the bounty, this job was going to have serious repercussions. No matter how trivial the target was, these kinds of jobs were always full of complications.

      After feeling the painful twist in his empty belly, Link grabbed the envelope. The light from the candle outlined the Royal crest firmly stamped onto the seal. It was as good as Sir Mawar’s signature. He released the deep breath he had been holding in and then broke the seal open with his finger.

      He pulled out a small parchment from the envelope.

      Sabotage
      302 Nayru Lane

      “Wait, what’s the pay?” Link asked, but before his eyes could search through the four written words and the blank space for the missing answer to his question, Oscar moved the candlelight forward and held it underneath the parchment. After one lick from the flame and an ill timed breeze, the very flammable instructions burst into flames.

      The fire climbed up the dry parchment much more quickly than Link anticipated, but by the time he dropped it, he realized that the fire was transforming the burning parchment into an orange colored smoke that violently flew upwards into Link’s face. Once he recognized the color and the distinct, herbal fragrance, there was no use covering his face by that point. Link’s face instead frowned into a deathly glare into the bureaucrat’s eyes as the orange wisps gently brushed against his cheeks and nostrils.

      After the marking smoke had cleared, there was a long silence between Link and Oscar before Link finally punctuated his fury, “You. Bastard. Sonuva. Whore.” Normally used as punishment for bounty hunters who killed a wanted-live target or innocent people unrelated to the target, marking smoke stayed in the lungs for many years and could be easily sniffed out by any one of the dogs in the bounty collections agencies.

      Oscar returned to his seat, “‘Tis but a temporary safeguard. To make sure you follow through.”

      “And what happens if I don’t stay quiet?”

      The threat did not waver Oscar at all, “Then I hope you can find a different career.”

      “HA!” Link forced laughter at the jokingly optimistic sentiment that assumed he would survive the immediate, subsequent attempts by the Crown to permanently silence him. Moreover, Sir Mawar’s network of eyes reached every corner in every basement and even the sewers underneath. He knew everything.

      Even though Oscar had no idea what the dirty deed was, the old man would know within the heartbeat when a building was put out of commission, so Link had no choice but to comply. The old man’s official title, Nayru’s Judge, meant that the sabotage was also part of a grander political scheme. Link cared not for the politics that transacted in rich people land because he just wanted to eat. It was hard enough getting food already. At the end of the day, bounty hunting was his profession. It was the only job that allowed him to work anonymously yet legally. The relationship between the bounty hunter and the Crown’s bounty handler was simple: if one worked, one got paid, and there were almost no exceptions to that rule.

      Well, Link just found one. Though it was not the first time he had gotten trapped into committing a crime unwillingly, this was the first time the law itself had made the arrangements. Curse his gullibility! Not once had the dozens of experiences of being tricked ever crossed his mind when the current scenario required caution. Sometimes his empty stomach hurt too much for his mind to work rationally.

      There was nothing more Oscar needed to say to Link: the task was given, the old man knew not what the instructions were, and he would be notified by Sir Mawar once said task was done. Only then would Link’s mark be cured.

      The child growled lowly and plotted a thousand different revenges as he disappeared from the second story window and dropped down onto a ledge, climbing horizontally along the wall until his back was facing a tree. Swiftly like a monkey, he planted his feet and hopped off the wall, turned, and caught the branch, and then he climbed down and rejoined the rest of society.

    • Chapter 1: The Die is Cast

      She went to the city on a journey to search for her lost and forgotten friend.

      The sky was blue, the sun shone brightly, and underneath the beautiful weather was a butcher slaughtering a goat for all the world to see. Miro Miro nearly fairy fainted when she saw the goat’s life force drain from the poor animal’s now opened throat. A nauseating wave washed over any fear of entering the city and revealed a sense of living beyond the force driven by guilt. She truly felt alive for the first time.

      Miro Miro’s first instinct upon watching the goat’s final, dying heartbeats was to fly away and get out of the fabled city carved into the mountain, but she couldn’t help but stare at the gore. It was hard to believe that she had never seen anything so grotesque in her hundreds of years of existence. It was common sense, no matter how shielded from the unpleasantries of the Lost Woods’ vicious ecosystem, that monsters ate and killed each other, but this…

      This was something entirely different. The poor goat had no choice but to anticipate its final precious heartbeats of life. Miro Miro could almost feel the strong hands clamped on the goat’s jaw and the cold steel sliding across flesh. Witnessing death first hand introduced a plethora of turbulent emotions running through her head powerfully. Nearby the butcher was presumably the butcher's beautiful wife, a dainty woman who looked like she had no business skinning rabbits, but her bloodied hands and flawless technique said otherwise. Miro Miro wretched in disgust as the woman exposed the bloody fresh meat for her hungry customers to see.

      Discomfort brewed within her.

      Her handsomely young companion, a Hylian man she met in the Lost Woods, took a deep breath of fresh air. The strong, summer sun and his gorgeous smile made his eyes almost look like they were shut. His long, greasy and grime filled hair gleamed in the sunlight, a result of many days without bathing. All along the four day journey with the merchants caravan to Hyrule Castle City, the other caravaneers kept a distance from him for his strong odor and squalid appearance. It was their loss, in Miro Miro’s opinion. Her new best friend was as friendly as the children in her home and as wise as the Great Deku Tree.

      “I take it you don’t see death too often?” asked Rowark.

      Rowark’s gentle voice suddenly snapped her focus away from the carnage. “Oh, no haha,” was her uneasy yet honest answer, “I guess Father had done a splendid job keeping horrifying things away from the Kokiri village. Still, I have never seen anything quite as grotesque as what I just saw.”

      “Worse than the Skulltula?” Rowark’s reminder violently triggered the memory of the eight legged monster who was about to have Miro Miro for lunch.

      “Well, that was just frightening!” Miro Miro countered fervently, “This is just… wrong? I don’t know…” Was it wrong to restrain an innocent life and slaughter it? According to Father’s laws back in the Kokiri Village, the killing of any animal was tantamount to murder and was punishable as so. But if that were true, then she witnessed Rowark commit mass murder.

      The Lost Woods contained many dangers and even more unknown dangers. Underneath the dense, dark foliage, the territory only belonged to the strongest. Miro Miro, who had spent the better part of a century living in a village protected by the Great Deku Tree, and Rowark, who grew up here in the city, were certainly outsiders to the Lost Woods, but that had no effect on Rowark at all.

      His skills with a soldier’s spear, a scout’s knife, and a torch were proven again and again with each monster he slew. Not only did Rowark cut through babas, skulltulas, countless keese, and even a mighty wolfos, he nimbly danced around each of their attacks with ease. During the many days they spent trekking through the Lost Woods, Rowark made camp, built temporary shelters, and harvested non-toxic foods. Whatever his background was, he was no stranger to the forest.

      Miro Miro could foresee their fun adventures together. She would marvel at his beautiful movements as he would slay monster after monster. Sure she couldn't pursue a meaningful relationship with him given their anatomical differences, him being Hylian and her being a tiny fairy, but that wouldn't stop her from getting enjoyment from looking at him or sneaking a peek while he bathed, if he ever did.

      “Well, whatever, I still have not been able thank you properly for your rescue. If you had not shown up-”

      “For the hundredth time!” Rowark stressed as politely as possible, “It’s no problem! Thank you for, you know, getting me out of the Lost Woods! I thought I was gonna be stuck there forever!” his shiny grin let out a chuckle, “Well, I need to rejoin with my company. You're more than welcome to join me, that is, if you're up for seeing more adventures.” Gut feeling told her to follow Rowark, self-named Hyrule’s most handsome monster slayer.

      But guilt told her to betray her feelings instead, “Thank you for the offer, but,” she hesitated, enjoying the last few seconds of her imaginary future life with him, “I must continue my mission.” Her romanticized imagery instantly shattered and left only the sting of regret.

      “That's fine,” said Rowark with disappointment, “I understand. You care much about your companion, so I could only assume that he means much to you.” His words felt as warm as his radiant smile did. With him by her side, Miro Miro felt blessed to be able to feel at ease finally. Rowark was the first person Miro Miro had encountered in ages; it broke her heart to leave his side. “I shall pray for your success. May the Goddesses guide you to your lost friend. But if you're ever bored, just look for me in the Castle Barracks.”

      As Rowark was walking away, Miro Miro noticed that his ragtag armor was actually part of a uniform. This was made more clear when Rowark passed by a guard wearing a fresh set of armor. The difference between the two was that Rowark was missing his left shoulder pauldron and his right vambrace, and his chest piece was dangling on his shoulder and held together with one strap. The time spent in the Lost Woods, almost a whole season according to Rowark, had reduced the luster of his once golden plates to dirt and rust. His tattered blue cape was the only thing left to show his employment to the Crown. The Lost Woods did not treat him kindly. Maybe the civilized society of Hyrule Castle City would?

      When the taller, skinnier guard saw Rowark, his scraggly brown beard could not hide his unrestrained excitement in his mouth and eyes. “Rowark!?” his high pitched astonishment squeaked out, “I thought we lost you!”

      A loud slap escaped from their fierce embrace, and then a laugh. They continued talking with grins stamped on their lips, but with the deafening hubbub of the city, Miro Miro had trouble eavesdropping on their conversation. It had also reminded her to respect Rowark’s homecoming.

      Industrious Hylians, traders and craftsmen, and livestock carrying all sorts of goods crossed in front of Miro Miro on the filthy and garbage-ridden streets. As she hovered in front of the gate’s entrance, next to the butcher’s shop, people crisscrossed in front of her without acknowledging her presence. Strangers of all races paid no mind to each other as they walked through the crowded street.

      Anyone who had lived in Faron Woods knew what the Deku looked like. Their flower hats, wooden flesh, bright orange eyes, and short stature were unmistakable. She never thought she would see one, let alone many, so far from the forest, but once she recalled that the Deku were famed merchants and traders, she supposed it made sense that so many would reside in a city filled with trade. None of the Deku were carrying their own merchandise, unlike the physically stronger Hylians. While the rest of the populace walked, the Deku drove horse-drawn carts to distinguish themselves from the rest of the peasants.

      The Zora were the next most populous. Miro Miro stared at their sleek, muscular bodies, their moist, light blue skin, and their fins jutting from their joints. They walked uprightly and tall but stood at about the same height as the average Hylian adult. And then she noticed the reflective, black surface of their small eyes, which looked so exotic and alien to her. None of the stories about the Zora ever mentioned the unique shape of their heads: humanoid in front with a tail fin stretching out the back, nor did they ever describe the Zora wearing tunics and pants just like their Hylian neighbors did. Miro Miro could not help but marvel at their natural beauty.

      Their Zola counterparts, however, were not as aesthetically pleasing. Instead of a long tail fin on their back of their head like their Zora cousins, the Zola had a round head like the Hylians did but had fins sprouting outwards from where their ears would be and on the top of their head. Thick, red lips, sharp fangs, and a flat nose were squished together on their blue, frog like faces. In contrast to the Zoras’ toned bodies, the Zolas’ bodies were just big and bulky. In the campfire stories, they were always the brutish bullies, and their intimidating appearance did justice to the story descriptors.

      A gorgeous, Gerudo woman with olive skin and shoulder length, vivaciously blood red hair shopped through the butcher’s merchandise. Her left hand’s fingers slid through her handsome, Hylian husband’s hands while her right hand firmly gripped the tiny hand of her infant daughter, who inherited every single one of her mother’s Gerudo traits. When Miro Miro used to listen to Mido’s tales of the fearsome desert thieves, she imagined the Gerudo to be more muscular than the mother exchanging colorful jewels for a raw and plucked cucco from the butcher.

      The street that extended parallel to the gate was filled with shops and stalls as far as the eye could see, extending to both mountain cliffs that made up the city’s eastern and western border. Shouts and conversations of the busy peasants overcame the busy noise of traffic. The path in front of her leading into the urban jungle had even more activity, creating an undying fear that she was going to get lost. Well, you’ve only been lost in the forest for a hundred and fourteen seasons, Miro Miro reminded herself. Getting lost would not stop her from finding her lost companion. She began to sift through the dense crowds as soon as Rowark disappeared into the hustle and bustle of the city.
    • Note: The calendar system is such. A tendo is a ten-day week. The 364 day year is split into four, 9 tendo seasons, with one special day to transition between seasons.

      Chapter 2: The Blue Jewel

      Link dug into his wallet and retrieved his last rupee as he strolled through the crowded street. Nayru Street was one of three roads that connected the lowlands of the city to the castle sitting on top of the western cliff, so it made sense that someone would be looking to sabotage an establishment on one of the most affluent streets of Hyrule Castle Dump. As Link walked south towards the city exterior, the address numbers became smaller and smaller. The address was… 302, he recalled in his mind, which meant that the target was on the eastern side on the third big building north of the street’s end at Farore Street.

      When Link finally reached his destination, a three story building hosting three shophouses, the heightened security in the area was the first thing that caught his eye. Two men-at-arms, each wearing a hauberk and a surcoat proudly displaying their liege’s coat of arms, were posted in front of the heavy, steel reinforced door. The Zawk Brothers’ blacksmith, the most famed smith in this side of the city, was indeed worth all the protection. Sandwiched between a tailor to the right and an armorer to the left, the Zawk brothers quickly devoured the surrounding competition. It took less than a season for their reputation to be planted on the lips of everyone that wielded a metal tool or weapon.

      As Link nonchalantly waltzed through the street, he began to scope out the security. All the windows on the second floor of the smith were sealed shut with thick wooden panes and most likely locked tightly. Separate to the private security, a pair of city watchmen, armed with their standard issue spears, standard brass plate mail, and the standard royal blue surcoat, were standing at post across the street from the blacksmith, but they were too busy conversing on the other side of the street to notice anything out of the ordinary. They would be gone by the start of the night’s watch, when the shops were left to the protection of the long night patrols.

      Link whirled around and began walking the other way, this time paying attention to potential access points. The three story building looked scalable up front, but how was he supposed to scale its stony walls without being seen? His best bet was to find an opening in the alleyway.

      When he peered around the corner, his eyes focused onto the wooden scaffold set up next to building across from the armorer. Climbing up was easy, and after that, only a three story fall separated the top platform from the roof across, where three chimney stacks poked upward from its wooden shingles. There was no doubt in Link’s mind that the largest of the chimneys, the one belching a peculiar black smoke unlike the other chimneys’ gray or white smoke, belonged to the Zawks’.

      Link closed his eyes, quickly putting together a plan. To put a blacksmith out of commission, he could burn away all their peat or use an explosive to destroy the furnace. His best bet would be to lower himself and a portable but destructive instrument with a rope down the chimney. But what explosive could he buy for cheap? His moist hand slipped into his wallet and focused on the cool touch of the blue jewel as he began to visualize items he could buy with his limited currency. The blue color meant that this particular jewel was worth five of the green jewels. Bomb fruits were as cheap as three green rupees apiece, but they had an unpredictable blast force and a very short fuse. And since hand made bombs with adjustable fuses were out of his price range, Link would have to create his own concoction. Once he solidified the plan in his head, it was time for him to trade his blue rupee for everything required to execute his plan.

      He followed the giant building around the corner onto a road that would lead him straight to the Central Market Square, but the sweet aroma of the nearby bakeries and eateries soon infiltrated Link’s nostrils and triggered his empty stomach. Each whiff of the fresh baked bread was a harsh reminder that his last meal had been two days ago. The moment Link realized that he was about to walk past The Moblin’s Tusk, a pub that offered an entire, a whole pit-roasted cucco with a pint of hard, pumpkin cider for just five rupees tonight, he regretted his decision to walk down Baker’s Avenue.

      His extreme hunger fueled his sense of smell at the worst possible moment. Link steeled his willpower and suffered through the mixture of pleasant aromas stemming from pit-roasted meats cut from the finest Lanayru livestock and steaming meat pies coated in all types of exotic seasonings. Link clutched the blue rupee in his hand as he took step after step. What if he spent one rupee for a juicy fruit? One lousy rupee for a large apple would not hamper him significantly. Surely four green rupees could get him what he needed. The debate in his head intensified as he walked past a produce vendor, where almost all of the fruits and vegetables were only one green rupee. Just keep walking, Link reminded himself.

      The hunger was so painful that he began contemplating simply stealing a fruit off the stand. Or maybe he could quickly rip off a leg off a roasted cucco on display. Stop! Don’t be foolish! he chided himself and shook his head, freeing himself from all the stupid suggestions popping up in his head. He could easily have stolen some food off of some stalls, but stealing in broad daylight would only attract unwanted attention from the authorities. Once the job was done, he would have plenty of time to enjoy a honey glazed Dodongo rib paired with a delicious apple scone. The imaginary taste only made his mouth water and his belly hungrier.

      The street ended at a plaza that housed the largest flea market in the city. It spanned three city blocks long and wide, surrounded by multi-storied stores, houses, and a gigantic tax collecting agency on the north. What was once known as Castle Square was one of the largest open spaces in the city, until the homeless refugees decided to make their homes on the large public space.

      What made this square all the more distinguishable was the bronze statue of the Hero of Time pointing a replica of the legendary Master Sword into the sky. His face was lifted upwards, eyes directed away from the injustice below him, and frozen in the midst of a battle cry. What was once a monument to celebrate the fabled hero that saved Hyrule from Ganondorf’s evil had very rapidly become a vandalized ornament of the square as refugees from all over Hyrule began to pour into the city.

      Link’s destination took him right into the heart of the market. Stalls importing everything from food to colorful stones to smuggled ingredients for magic potions were scattered chaotically, facing whichever direction the owner wanted to set up. The gaps between shops served as pathways for navigation, but they were so unorganized that one could easily get lost in the gigantic maze of filth, feces, and foul smells (thankfully the nauseating scents effectively killed Link’s monstrous hunger). Shops grew in size and moved frequently; pathways were subject to change in any given tendo. This was where those who could not afford to pay rent set up shop and lived. The poverty in the Castle Market Square brought significantly reduced prices as well as unchecked criminal activity.

      “Little child!” the pressing voice of an older Gerudo called out to him. “You look like you could use a new toy! Come see what I have and share with your friends!” Link did not even stop to peruse through the stall’s wares. He may have been a child physically, but none of the childish games appealed to him.

      Next to the toy vendor was an apothecary’s store. Perfect. Link cleared his throat, “Afternoon ma’am!”

      The tall woman looked taken aback from the unusual sound of Link’s voice, as did everyone else who heard Link speak. As she sat with tall posture and looked downward past her long, hawkish nose, she responded with bemusement, “How can I help you?”

      Amidst the large collection of many colored dusts and powders, Link’s finger pointed straight to the glass jar with a yellow powder. “I shall have a small bag of that stuff,” answered Link as innocently as possible.

      “Hmph,” was all the aging woman let out as she disbelievingly eyed the sincerity of the child who knew exactly what medicine he wanted, “Three rupees.”

      Link placed the blue jewel onto the counter next to the display of the apothecary’s various uniquely colored liquids and powders. Satisfied, she took the jewel and replaced it with two green jewels. When the apothecary removed the jar lid, the pungent smell of rotten eggs filled Link’s nose and confirmed the ingredient in his mind. She retrieved a small, paper envelope into which to dump the small spoonful of the yellow powder.

      Happy with his purchase, Link searched for the next vendor. He needed to find a butcher’s shop. Or a spice store. The setting sun had not yet made navigating through the narrow spaces impossible, but Link had no time to spare to wander aimlessly. In less than an hour, the poorly lit pathways would be at the mercy of the ruffians. To search for his ingredient, he followed the smell of meat amidst the heavy odor from Hylian sweat and Hylian filth stained on the flaps of tents. His bare feet could feel all the muck, dirt, and feces that had been accumulating for seasons.

      These were mere obstacles, however, to his hunger driven sense of smell. As he zig zagged through the dynamic pathways, the delicious aroma became stronger, and his stomach squeezed tighter. Finally, he arrived at the charcuterie responsible for the smell.

      The owner of the stall was a hefty woman wearing a red, summer dress with a dirtied white apron over it. The slight tan on her skin indicated she was not originally from the city, which was built into the Death Mountain range in the north. Her greasy, dark brown hair was tied up into a bun and busily bounced up and down as the she went about her work. If her gentle yet swift salting technique was not an indication of her many seasons of experience, then the many wrinkles on her aged face were.

      He cleared his throat before eyeing the legs of lamb hanging overhead. “Excuse me ma’am!” Link called out to her while waving like a child, interrupting her work. The distinct smell of ground rosemary and peppercorn combined with the sight of pink, lean meat required making conscious efforts to prevent his drool from leaking from the corner of his lip.

      The butcher immediately gasped upon seeing Link, “Oh deary.” It was usually anyone’s first reaction upon seeing his face. Oh well, nothing a drunk, abusive father could not explain. She apologized, “Forgive my manners, how can I help you?”

      Link continued to use the childish act as best as his battle worn face could allow it, “I’d like to buy some salt to prepare the meats for my Mama to make!”

      She warmly smiled at the innocent request for a sale, “Why, of course! Looks like your mother is doing a good job raising a cook in the house.” The enthusiastic boy nodded up and down, exciting the butcher even more, “You know, ‘tis a fast way into a woman’s heart. You best remember that when you grow up!” The irony was too tangible to Link.

      She bent over behind the counter, pulled up three hide bags filled with powders, and set them onto the countertop. She pointed to the left bag and lectured, “This here is good ole table salt harvested from the eastern shores. It’s the most popular type of salt us butchers use. I’m sure your Ma wanted more than just me special salt.”

      Not that one. “What about this one?” Link pointed to the bag in the middle containing the reddish orange powder.

      “Ah, that’s fire salt!” she exclaimed. “It’s a special blend that comes from the Gerudo desert. I like to use this to make my meat taste spicy.” The name of the mysterious powder almost tempted Link to purchase it, but he thought better. It was probably nothing more than table salt mixed in with some Gerudo spices. The butcher continued her lecture, “Beside the normal table salt, certain tribes of the desert have added their own…” not only was her voice difficult to pay attention to, Link was too focused on how the raw chops hanging behind her must taste like. Gone were the woman’s informative words, replaced by an imaginary pit roasting a leg of venison with thickened honey wine drizzling over the succulent-

      “Did you want to try some of it?” asked the butcher, which brought Link’s attention back.

      “Yeeess,” he hungrily replied, still thinking about the taste of the meat, and then he corrected himself once he realized she was talking about the salt, “Oh, I mean no.” There was only one more before Link would leave to find a different butcher vendor. “How about this one?” said Link as his finger pointed to the bag on the right.

      “Oh, this salt is special!” said the Butcher with a more hushed tone, “It makes the meat look more pink when cooked. It’s more expensive because people harvest this salt from Keese.”

      Otherwise commonly known as poop salt to the other Links, this salt made his eyes narrow with interest. Staying in character, Link conjured his best manners and innocently asked, “May I have a small bag of that to take home to me Papa and Mama?”

      “Why certainly you may!” responded the butcher without hesitation to Link’s pleasure. He had no qualms with manipulating her generous nature; there was a blacksmith that needed destroying. The woman generously poured some of the white powder into a small, paper box. When she made eye contact with Link again, the boy summoned his cute pinching gesture, asking for a little more. The woman nodded and added another scoopful. “Here you go my deary! Here’s a small sample to take home for your Ma, no charge. And if your Ma likes what she sees, let her know where you got it from!”

      Link grabbed the box and expressed his gratitude melodramatically, “Thank you thank you thank you!” before running off to the next vendor.

      The last few things Link needed could all be bought at a familiar forge. The only blacksmith in all of Market Square sat on the western path connecting the central statue to the plaza outskirts. It was a matter of finding the bronze statue, and then walking along the path towards the great castle off in the distance. Once he reached the statue, he could see the big, beige tent sitting on the right side of the path.

      The tall muscular man hammering at a steel bar behind the counter had a long bushy beard and greasy, sweaty black hair that ran down the his back. Great muscles guided the Goron-like figure with every hammer stroke. Even though the night was drawing near, he doggedly continued his work.

      Despite the fact that Papa Wapapa’s back was facing towards the counter, he sensed Link’s presence before the boy was even three steps there. “Piss off,” said the blacksmith as hammer struck metal. Link’s favorite blacksmith also happened to be the rudest person in all of Hyrule.

      Link shouted back, “What? I haven’t even said anything yet!”

      The big blacksmith turned around and loudly slammed his hand onto the counter, ferociously stabbing his hammer at Link, “You still owe me twenty rupees for the last three repairs! And don’t think I don’t know who you are! You may be a Link, but anyone can recognize those ugly marks on your face.”

      A Link. A nameless child. A bastard born. A street orphan. Every unwanted on every corner of every block. A name Link picked because he did not know what else to call himself. Link had no history. He did not know his parents, and he did not have any siblings growing up. What little history he could remember had faded from his memory over the years. Other Links he knew from years back had grown into adults, learned trades, adopted new names, started families, and lived comfortable lives. It was the dream of every Link to no longer be named so.

      “Fine. You got me,” Link conceded as he threw up his arms to the burly, intimidating blacksmith, “I do owe you a sum. But!” shifting his tone to pitch a sale, “I just need some of your finest flint and steel for a new job, and then I shall have your money before the first rays of the morning sun strike your tent!”

      “HA! Do I look like the kind of guy that lives on promises?” Wapapa’s enraged retort even made Link take a step back, “I can’t live on promises! And my family can’t live on promises!”

      Link raised his arms to calm down Wapapa’s animal-like temper. “Okay then,” he said calmly to a man breathing like he was ready to jump over the counter and strangle the boy, “I can purchase flint from you. One green rupee for your lousiest flint rock. Another rupee for steel.” He slowly retrieved the two green jewels and placed them on the counter.

      With a family to feed, Papa Wapapa eyed the rupees sternly yet hungrily. Those rupees were enough to buy a loaf of bread or a basketful of eggs for his family. What was stopping him was his pride. He did not want to accept any of Link’s offerings on principle, but those rupees did look tantalizing, and the piss poor condition of Papa Wapapa’s tent was a clear sign of his financial trouble.

      Several long heartbeats passed before Wapapa’s large, hairy hand swiped the two green jewels and replaced them with a small flint stone.

      “And the steel?” he asked.

      “I would never sell either for less than two, so what makes you think I’d sell you both for less?” Wapapa seethed.

      “Fine, fine!” was the boy’s quick response. Link emptied the box of salt and the envelope of egg yolk dust into his now empty leather wallet before retrieving his newly purchased items with a cheery bright smile on his face. But he rudely dashed off towards the western cliff without saying another word.

      The boy turned north when he reached the end of the square and began walking back towards the sabotage target. As he walked, thoughts poured through his mind. All because he asked himself, Where am I supposed to get rope without any money?

      The post was edited 1 time, last by urnotlikeme ().

    • Chapter 3: The Stone Forest

      An entire day of searching yielded nothing. Zipping through alleys and people only made her head spin. She had a hard time distinguishing this shop from that shop and this street from that street. Instead of searching for her lost companion, Miro Miro spent most of the day trying to find her way back to the city gate, which she never found. Even though the city was squished between two cliffs, the tall houses, each shaped and colored differently, the clotheslines, hanging a colorful foliage of moist garments, and the overwhelmingly diversity in the culture of each store made Hyrule Castle City feel bigger than the Lost Woods.

      By the time the sun began to sink beneath the western cliff, the darkened streets were no longer as crowded, and the shops were beginning to close down. Torch bearers walked into the darkness with their only source of light and lit each night torch along the way. As people withdrew from the public back into their private homes, the darkness continued consuming the daylight until night flooded the atmosphere completely, held off only by the night lanterns burning brightly. There was no way to continue searching for her lost companion, if he was even here at all.

      The worst part about it all was that it had been so long since she saw her lost companion that she could barely remember what he even looked like. Did he have blonde hair and blue eyes like most of the children had? He had blue eyes, that much she recalled. But how was she going to pick out her one Kokiri out of potentially thousands of children with blue eyes? Miro Miro sulked in defeat and began aimlessly floating down one one of the many similar looking streets. Where was she supposed to go next?

      Rowark! She suddenly remembered that there was still someone that she knew in Castle City residing in the castle barracks! Except, she had no idea where that was …

      He said it was the castle barracks. Her eyes turned upward towards the fading daylight and saw the great cliff that supported the great castle capped on the top. From out in the distance, she could see the small, faint fires dotted on the cliff, showing signs of life from within. She remembered Mido’s stories about the city, for only he had traveled outside of the Kokiri Forest. He had thrown the word castle around many times without anyone knowing what one was, until one day a curious fairy asked the boy what it meant. He said it was a stone house bigger than the Great Deku Tree looked almost like a glowing mountain peak at night. That must have been the castle. So long as the Hylian-made stone mountain’s walls hoisted the torches high into the sky, there was no mistaking about where to go, even if she did not know the city layout.

      She began her journey towards the southern tip of the long cliff, where the mountainous, sharp peak watched over the urban landscape. If this isn’t the castle I swear I’m getting out of this city! With a destination in mind, she hovered over the paved road and concentrated hard on navigating through a main road that seemingly directed her toward the base of the cliff.

      “Help us!” came the cry of an unseen, internal voice. She remembered the familiar reverberation inside her essence. It was the faint whisper of a fellow fairy! But where was it coming from?

      “Help us, fairy!” “You are close to us!” “Help!” “Oh please save us!” the pleas for help bombarded her core. She looked around the townhouses and shops for the source and found a door slightly cracked open. Was it coming from there?

      After being lost in the woods by herself for twenty eight years, Miro Miro had forgotten how to respond back. “Where are you?” Miro Miro called out loud to no response.

      “Your presence is nearing us! Come quick!” Encouraged, Miro Miro entered through the door into the general store.

      She looked around the dimly lit space. Three levels of shelves ran along the far side wall and along both connecting sides, separated by a doorway by the far right corner. Differently sized jars filled with colorful liquids and preserved monster anatomy were lined up on the bottom shelf, smaller tools like hammers and other building materials sat on the second shelf, and the top shelf was reserved for the larger tools, decor, and some weapons and shields. Had Miro Miro not felt obligated to help her fellow fairy first, she would have loved to spend time satiating her curiosity around each of the foreign objects.

      Sadly, the fairies were not on the shelves, nor were they on the shelf underneath the long, maple wood counter.

      “Hurry! We are in the back!” the fairy voice rang in Miro Miro’s head again. She darted for the doorway but stopped short of the threshold, too scared to continue into the darkness. When she first peered in, she could only see the glow of candlelight reflecting off the wall on the other side of a stockpile of wooden crates. But as she crept towards the darkness, she found out that there was a second source of light coming from the far corner of the room. And when she finally flew across the threshold, she instantly recognized the signature bright, colorful light, which every fairy naturally radiated, reflecting off a shelf of the crates.

      She recklessly darted towards the light and, upon seeing her fellow fairies floating inside glass jars, exclaimed loudly, “Brothers and sisters!”

      Eight different colored energetic balls of light illuminated the room collectively. Suspended in the air with the calm flap of the wing, a grape purple, forest green, dark blue, rosy red, mahogany brown, sunset orange, golden yellow, and a magenta fairy excitedly bounced up and down.

      “Whisper, you fool!” one of the fairies, whose identity was unknown, communicated with her thoughts. Whisper? Why couldn’t they just talk normally?

      “I’m sorry, it has been-”

      “Shh!” the interrupting fairy silenced her, “He’ll hear you! Quick, hide!”

      “It’s too late…”

      Too late? Too late for what?

      Miro Miro’s blood froze when she heard the bloodcurdling greeting from an unknown presence behind her, “‘Ello there...”

      She slowly turned around and looked up at the silhouette of a frail, balding man, presumably the shopkeeper. There was something about the way his hands slowly reached for a nearby bottle and a wide cork, and his smile looked like he was hiding bad intentions behind his rotting teeth.

      Her boiling blood pushed Miro Miro closer to her crucial decision between fight or flight, the point of no return. His ugly, wrinkly, and bald face would not prevent Miro Miro from saving her kin. She puffed herself high into the air and threatened with her ultimatum, “I will not leave until you release those fairies you big jerk!”

      “HA!” the shopkeeper scoffed at her. Suddenly, his arm swung in the air, and his hand was closing in fast.

      The fairy may have been small, but that also meant that she was too quick for him. Once she dodged clear of the bottle’s trajectory, her instinct told her to charge straight into her enemy, to fight. Her super sonic wings beat against the air as hard as they could to shoot Miro Miro through the air like a dart. She focused every fiber of conscience into flapping her wings as hard as possible, feeling the air resist her speed, and aiming straight for the shopkeeper’s chest.

      The painful blunt force impact came so suddenly. With no audible sound to warn her, the stopping force hurt much more than she anticipated. “Ugh,” she groaned and reeled, wondering what kind of solids existed in her magical body that could cause her to feel so much pain. She felt her tummy turn again. This must have been the so called “nausea” that all the children once complained about. As she started backing away, she could feel the shopkeeper’s evil, unamused eyes mocking her. There was not a scratch on him, not even a rip in his bright orange tunic.

      “Oh, don’tchu worry,” the shopkeeper grunted as he swung his bottle at her again, this time the lip scraped one of her wings. Harmless, but it was a waking call. “I ain’t gonna ’urt ya,” he said as he started inching towards her.

      “Run!”

      With no way to hurt or stop the much larger Hylian. Miro Miro heeded the good advice and quickly pivoted around. The wind from the old man’s third missed swing with the bottle sent Miro Miro off to the races for her freedom. After turning around the stack of crates, she dove straight for the doorway, into the welcoming embrace of the light. But the sound of the shopkeeper’s rapid, light footsteps reminded Miro Miro that the spry old man was not far behind. If she could make it out the shop, she would be finally be safe.

      The rush of the cool night air felt refreshing. Nevertheless, he persisted, shattering the illusion of safety. After one last exertion from her wings to attain altitude, the fatigue built up from a day’s worth of flying suddenly dragged her down like a pebble. All that kept Miro Miro from flying into the shopkeeper’s reach was her sheer will to survive. And this man was chasing her with a bottle because … Why? she asked herself. But this was not time to leisurely ponder the answer.

      Panic guided her every move through the city. She dared not enter the pitch dark alleyways; her light would give off her position for all the bad guys to see. Instead, she sharply turned right onto another lit road. But she was alone on this street and still vulnerable. No time to worry about that! The sharp turn may have tripped up the shopkeeper a bit, but that only bought Miro Miro a few strides of distance. His persistence and energy seemed never ending.

      No matter what turn she made, left or right, the shopkeeper was always on her tail. The nonstop sound of his feet chasing after her added even more anxiety to her panicked mind. Up ahead was an overpass, and this time, she felt confident enough to lift herself up one more time to reach the top. Miro Miro took a deep breath as she bided her energy and forcefully exhaled upon unleashing every known reservoir of power to launch herself as high as she could.

      She made it! Taking a moment to catch her breath, her long awaited rest was cut short when Miro Miro saw the shopkeeper running up a flight of stairs along the overpass bridge. “Waah!” she yelled in frustration before she continued her flight.

      A city watchman, wearing the undamaged blue cape and shiny golden armor that Rowark wore, was standing post up ahead, so Miro Miro flew straight toward him for safety. “Hey! Heeeelp!” she cried out to him, but he remained ignorant to her plea. Rowark was a city watchman too, so why wouldn’t this city watchman help her too? Maybe he did not hear her?

      She was going to try again when she got closer. But when she approached the watchman, hoping he could help her stop her pursuer, the shopkeeper’s voice reached the guard from a considerable distance before Miro Miro’s could, “Oy, I'll give you a silver rupee to get that fairy!” The guard suddenly looked at Miro Miro with widened eyes, and then there were two men chasing after her.

      What a horrid day! She should have never left Rowark’s side! Staying out of reach was easy, she just needed to maintain a certain altitude. Her wings felt heavier with each flap against the wind, and it would not be long before she could no longer maintain a safe altitude. She needed to lose them fast.

      The two men ran through the open streets with relative ease, so she made a sharp right and flew through a second story window, into a home where they could not follow her.

      “ARF ARF! RRRRrrrrrr!” Bad idea! Her intrusion awoke the house dog, a big and hairy monstrosity who nearly engulfed her whole, and then it was the dog chasing her down the hallway. Miro Miro was too focused on staying away from the protective animal to look for a way out.

      Each window she frantically neared was sealed against the sill. As she flew around the living room, frightening a family of four, the dog roared as it continued chasing her. A cool summer breeze suddenly blew through, strong enough to shift her off her intended path. It had to come from outside! She flew against the current, found the opening in the window, and passed through the window, back outside.

      A sentiment of relief washed over Miro Miro’s panic as she escaped from the house.

      “There she is!” she heard the shopkeeper say in between heavy breaths.

      GAH! Why won’t you give up? she cursed at him.

      The soldier reached into his waist pouch, “All right, I'm tired of all this running,” and withdrew a large nut in his hand.

      As large as an apple, shaped like a walnut with a smooth surface, Is that… a Deku nut!? Panic instantly flooded into Miro Miro’s body, and she desperately searched for anything to protect herself from the commonly used hunting tool. There was a second story balcony to her immediate right. Instantly flying upward over the balcony’s wooden rail, she had to make it there before the nut would inevitably...

      FLASH! The sudden blinding light stiffened her wings and her whole body. Her paralyzed body was at mercy to her momentum and flight trajectory. The momentum lifted her up for a short heartbeat before gravity began pulling her downward. It was looking like she would run into the wooden rail. She closed her eyes, too scared to see what fate her trajectory would choose for her.

      Great Deku Father, Miro Miro prayed as she fell, if you carry me to safety, I pledge the rest of the rest of my life to search for your missing child. Please Father, carry me to safety...

      She felt impact and a small roll forward. Her body had come to a stop on, something. Was she safe? So far, her luck had proven rotten, so she was not willing to rest until she was absolutely positive her pursuer had given up.

      “Damn it! You good for nothing... Gah!” the old man’s angry, high pitched squeal echoed off the walls. It had even sounded like the voice was coming from below her, “You let her get away!”

      “Whatever, dunghole. I'm exhausted, and I have left my post for too long,” Miro Miro assumed that was the watchman’s voice in between heavy breaths, “You’re on your own.”

      When she released her breath, opened her eyes and saw the wooden floor around her, tears escaped her eyes. She was safe. She was finally safe enough to let loose all of her chaotic emotions that had been trapped inside her psyche.

      “THANK YOU!” Miro Miro yelled into the night sky, sending her blessings over the long distance, “THANK YOU!”

      This strange, new land full of stony structures and paved streets seemed full of nightmares, and not even twenty four hours since she first passed through the city gate, Miro Miro felt like she had seen all she needed to see. But if the city had so many bad people living within the walls...

      How could the good people like Rowark survive in a world like this? How could her Kokiri companion survive in a world like this? There was always a chance that her companion could be sleeping in an alleyway not too far away. If he was here, then he would need her more than ever.

      But first, she had to return herself to full functionality. Her wings were slowly beginning to respond to her commands. A fluttered attempt to levitate felt discouraging at first, but after two attempts of hopping and maintaining flight, the third attempt did the trick. Miro Miro peered over the rooftop to check on the status of her pursuers. The watchman was walking away, and the shopkeeper was shaking his fist at her, “You're mine! You just don't know it yet!” He made his way back to his shop. She sneered at him before retreating back to the safety of the stranger’s balcony.

      Even though she had miraculously survived, she had never felt so defeated. Lying on the wooden floor of an unknown balcony of an unknown building in unknown territory, the forest fairy had no idea where she was and no idea where her beloved forest home was, so she began to sob loudly as she painfully gripped her confused, chaotic emotions and tried to reign them under control.

      Get it together Miro Miro! she chided herself in between tears, I have a mission to accomplish!

      But how was she supposed to find one person in this great city? The daunting task of finding someone who might not even be here coupled with navigating the criss crossing streets felt like searching for one particular leaf in the Lost Woods.

      On top of feeling hopelessly lost, she also felt powerless. There was nothing she could have done to free those trapped fairies nor combat their captor. If Miro Miro was going to have even a snowball’s chance in Death Mountain’s Hearth, then she needed help.

      At least Miro Miro knew where to find help: the castle. She knew Rowark would be generous enough to assist in her search and keep her safe. Maybe she could even ask him to free those fairies! Rejuvenated with the hope of seeing her friend again, she took off with her fully functional wings for the tall structure reaching into the dark, night sky.


    • Chapter 4: No Good Deed

      By the time the sun began to set behind the castle, the streets were beginning to clear. As the good peasants of Hyrule Castle City retreated into their homes, bolted their barred windows shut, and, for the especially cautious, set their booby traps, Link walked closely along the buildings, near the torchlights and homebound people. Many years of traversing these darkened roads have enforced hard lessons about safety. Everyone knew: it was no one's land where the light was absent. Only a pair of city watchmen patrolling the grounds broke the stillness of the dark. Like a torch in an old, infested hut, their light scattered the vagrants like vermin into the sheltering, dark corners.

      All Link wanted was a coil of unattended rope that could extend about four stories long, five just to be safe. Perhaps there was discarded rope in the back alleys? No. No amount of valuable treasure was worth braving the back alleys, dangerous enough during the day, especially unarmed. Of course, he could burgle a home and take a coil from a tool closet. And he would only take the coil of rope, no one would even miss it, and maybe an heirloom or two.

      When Link reached the intersection of Tully and Revenant, he was suddenly brought to a decision-making moment. Left, right, forward? There was nothing interesting to the left or down the street, but there was a light coming forth from a residence on Link's right. And why wouldn't he want to check out the place that was open after hours?

      Letters the size of an arm spelled out the name of store over the well lit, inviting entrance. Link peered in, expecting someone in the room. No way, his prayer was answered. Some stupid store owner was stupid enough to leave his door wide open for all the thieves to invite. All the candles inside the shop were still illuminating the narrow room with vigor.

      There it was, a coil of rope sitting on the second shelf. Link grabbed the coil without hesitation and slipped his arm through the coil, comfortably suspended on his shoulder. That's all he was going to take…

      But, as long as the shop owner was missing, Link figured he had time to at least search for a lucrative treasure, which ended up taking only five short heartbeats. The thief almost face palmed at how easily he found the small, locked chest tucked underneath the counter. It was almost a crime not to steal its contents. Even though he did not have the key or any means to pick the lock, he could at least open the chest in relative safety. He firmly grabbed the bottom of the wooden box with both his hands and yanked, only to find that the chest was nailed into the bottom. His plan to unlock it later mocked him the longer Link studied the lock.

      A noise stirred him. It was the heavy creak of a door being comfortably open by someone assuming the room was empty. Link froze in place, looking for a way out. After a couple of footsteps, the door suddenly closed followed by the sound of metal bolts being locked into place. Link had overstayed his welcome it seemed like.

      He needed a plan. Nearby the register, there was an open doorway into another room, probably storage, a good place to hide and wait for a better opportunity to escape.

      He peeked around the corner and saw a balding man with limbs the width of a tree branch. Small eyes and an ugly wart on his cheek made this man's resting face look very unpleasant. Suddenly, he noticed the missing coil of rope. Alerted, he growled, removed one of the torches resting on the wall, and removed a sword hanging on the top shelf next to the shield and helmet. Dung! Now the armed owner was searching for an intruder. So much for simply walking out the door.

      Link retreated behind the counter and began listening for the footsteps. His sensitive ears could source the location of each step, and any sequence of footsteps narrated the direction of the man.

      He's walking towards the register. It's the first thing he's going to check. Unless Link gave him something else to check first. He quickly removed the rope from his shoulder, tossed it down the aisle, and then took refuge in the shadows underneath the counter.

      "Hmm?" Footsteps rounded the counter. Link was close enough to smell the shop owner's feet. "Huh. 'Ow'd you end up 'ere?" squeaked the voice of the old man. That's right, the old man was just mistaken. There was no intruder; the old man had simply misplaced the rope. The relaxed gait in the man's step contagiously spread relief into Link's body.

      While the shopkeeper's back was turned away was Link's chance to quietly touch ground again and gracefully roll through the doorway into the storage room. He froze in the dark shadows and listened to the footsteps. The shopkeeper shuffled past the door to the storage room and was putting the rope away.

      Link was not leaving without that rope. Maybe he could find the key to the chest as well?
      Ideally, he wanted to get the rope without getting seen. His long sleeved tunic, although stained with sweat and too warm to wear in the sweltering summer weather, covered up most of his scars, but there was nothing to shield his face, mangled through years of urban survival, from recognition.

      Surrounded by boxes and crates stacked all the way up to the ceiling and occupying about half of the room's space in total, all Link had to do was find any one of the dozens of scattered niches and crevices between the crates and wait patiently for the perfect time to slip by and grab the rope unnoticed, or strike. Although the plan set in his mind seemed cunning and safe and was truly the best option available, a small light protruding from the opposite corner held Link's attention. He should have just waited, but instead he walked down the cleared pathway towards the brilliant light radiating against the swarming darkness.

      When he reached the bend in the path, little balls of light froze in the air when they became aware of his presence. Eight jars separated eight differently colored fairies, unfortunate assets trapped in the black market trade.

      "You!" the volume of the high register scream in Link's head almost felt like a sudden pressure from within. But he knew that the voice did not come from his own thoughts.

      As his eyes adjusted to their bright energies, Link crouched down next to the light source, which felt like pressing his head into a headache, and whispered, "What about me?" unsure which one of the blinding idiots was speaking to him.

      "You sold me!" the same voice shrieked in his head. Did he? It sounded like something Link would do.

      Link shrugged, "Yeah, so? It was probably worth the good meal." And what a good meal that must have been. Any fairy was guaranteed to sell for at least a silver rupee at the local bazaar, where an end user would purchase one for a hundredfold of what Link made. With that kind of money on the line, anyone could have sold this fairy, "Do I even know you?"

      "HA!" her response exploded along with her intensifying light energy, "You think I could forget that crooked scar from your right lip? That scar on the side of your face?"

      "Lots of Links have scars," Link mocked. This was the second time today that someone recognized him by his scars, which was concerning.

      "I promised I would NEVER forget the scar on your right lip when you sold me five years ago!" the fairy fired back.

      "Sheesh whatever!" Link diverted his fed up frustration into a raspy soundless scowl, "Which one are you?" he asked.

      "The Blue one," said the one adjacent to the magenta, green, and orange fairy.

      "Okay then, blue."

      "My NAME is Smoxy!"

      "Sheesh! Smoxy, do you want to be free?"

      Silence. Aware that the shop owner could enter into the storage room at any heartbeat, Link looked back nervously and waited for a response to what must have sounded like a rhetorical question. "Well?" Link spurred.

      "Hmm," was her hesitant response. Every heartbeat she delayed was a heartbeat closer to the shopkeeper's entrance. "How can I trust you?" she finally asked.

      "Because I need you to help me get out of here without killing anyone," was Link's sincere answer.

      "Ha! I don't care if you kill him!" a different fairy bellowed. A chorus of agreement rang through the group.

      "I care if I kill him!" retaliated the intruder, who would be the one to face trial if he were caught for murder on top of burglary.

      A richer, alto voice rang in his head, "Shoot, if she doesn't want to be free then I'll assist you instead!"

      Suddenly, a cacophonous bombardment of voices filled his cranial space, "Free me too!"

      "If you free me, you free all of them," Smoxy delivered her ultimatum, silencing everyone. There was no time for further argument.

      "Deal," Link grabbed Smoxy's jar first, "When you're free, distract the old geezer until I can unbolt the door and get us all out of here."

      One by one, Link tossed each jar into the air, producing the freeing sound of shattering glass. As soon as the piercing sound glass filled the room, he knew that the shopkeeper would come running immediately. A growl of frustration escaped from Link's mouth as the fairies circled around each other and celebrated prematurely, oblivious of the shop owner about to enter the room at any heartbeat. "Thank you!" they cried and sang in gleeful gratitude, once again bombarding and overfilling Link's head with uninvited happy sentiments.

      Before the shopkeeper could say, "Where are you?" before his hide shoes crossed the threshold, before the light from his torch filled the room and revealed all before him, Link was already hidden in the shadows.

      And when the light, the shoes, and the shopkeeper did in that order, they were met by the warcry of eight vengeful, bloodthirsty fairies, "GET HIM!" Smoxy led the charge. She dove first towards him and instantly circled around his torch. By the time the old man swung his weapon, the fairies had already followed her and were within striking distance, and the second swing nearly took him off his balance.

      Now was his time to strike. Link climbed forth from his hiding spot and wasted not a heartbeat of his precious window of opportunity. Nimble, small, and light, the boy was able to reach the shopkeeper within the blink of an eye. He kept low and sidestepped around the store owner and pivoted around.

      His left hand reached for the pouch sitting on the shopkeeper's belt, dexterously undoing the button on the leather flap. One heartbeat was all Link had to rummage through the contents and find the key, so he needed to simply grab a handful of the stuff and begone, key or no key.

      Link was not subtle about his pickpocketing this time, but before the shopkeeper could whirl around and stop the thief, the old man had to deal with the orange fairy stuck in his right eye. Link searched through the contents in his hand and dropped everything but the four keys, each a different size and shape. Two of the keys were too large to be anything by door keys, but the small, rusted key looked like it could fit the chest snugly. When the minimal torque twisted the locking mechanism open, a sinister smile crept onto Link's face.

      The opened chest revealed... a stick. A bent, wooden stick with an orange varnish and a blue jewel embedded on the corner of the bend that looked more like a toy than something valuable.

      The owner of the "valuable" toy cried from behind Link, "'EY YOU! Stop - Gah! Gerroutta me nose!" reminding Link that he urgently needed to exit. As soon as his hand felt the smooth, cool texture of the stick's wooden finish, the crystal began to emit a bright blue light.

      No time to examine what that meant. Link tucked part of the stick in his pants, the other half resting against his back, and hopped over the counter. Before he could leave, Link had to find that rope again. The first place Link looked amongst the impressive collection was its original place, which ended the search quickly. Link grabbed coil again and then slipped his arm through the coil and rested it on his right shoulder.

      Then it was time to escape. His fingers quickly undid the deadbolt and opened the door, and as soon as the door swung open, his legs sprinted down the path and did not stop running until his breathing was too heavy for his lungs to continue.

      As he ran, he could hear in the distance, "Get back 'ere! I'll find you and kill you!"
    • Chapter 5: Finding Luck

      Miro Miro looked up in awe at the mighty building sitting on top of the edge of the massive cliff, silhouetted against the fading sun. This may have been the first time Miro Miro stepped outside of the Kokiri Forest, but even she knew that this gigantic house, called a castle apparently, was the highest seat of power in all of Hyrule.

      As she drifted closer towards the gigantic silhouette in the distance, she could start to see the shape of the castle better. How many decades have past since Mido, the leader of the Kokiri village, would describe his almost mythical trips to see the Queen. No matter how he described the castle, it was hard to believe that Hylians could build something bigger than the Great Deku Tree.

      From her vantage point at an excessively safe altitude. The wider streets had torches fighting the darkness of the night. The only people brave enough to walk in the uncertain comfort of the night lights were the patrolling guards. Single guards were placed along strategic posts, and the patrols roamed the roads in pairs.

      To her left was the city wall, and according to Rowark, the massive man made border was as tall as the tallest tree in all Hyrule, though Miro Miro was heatedly quick to dispute that. On her way to the city, Miro Miro remembered spending a long minute or two traversing the tunnel underneath. From up above, she could see why. The rampart was wide enough to easily fit two carriages side by side, and it stretched as far as a league from end to end, jointed by two towers midway between the gate and both ends.

      To her right, night torches vibrantly danced against the darkness, and their light could be seen from leagues. No way, there couldn’t be THAT many people here, right? Miro Miro asked herself. The numerous dotted lights in the distance became more concentrated the higher the neighborhoods were located. Like a warm sheet glowing in the distance, the night lights brilliantly highlighted the many layered terraces cut into the mountain. When she looked upward, she could see a great bridge connecting the castle to some… floating building? From her distance, it was hard to tell what exactly was lifting the lights that high up into the air.

      Down below, the sound of crickets pierced the night sky. Even though she hovered higher than any of the many tall spires poking into the darkened sky, but never quite as tall as the city wall, she still followed along one of the illuminated, stone paved roads. Between the blocks of buildings and houses was a dark void, a space where no light entered or left, one that gave her chills thinking about that horrors that could be dwelling under the blanket of the night. The very idea of flying over that void of safe lighting made her tremor.

      The great wall to her left eventually ended at the base of the cliff supporting the castle, and while the height of the wall certainly impressed Miro Miro, the natural, geological barrier, naturally the city’s western border, was three times as tall as the city wall. As she approached the base of the massive, wall of rock, Miro Miro could tell that the rock formations were not natural. She looked all the way up and thought to herself, Oh no, do I really have to fly all the way up this cliff?

      Fortunately, Miro Miro spotted a group of city soldiers sitting in front of a bonfire. Where the wall met the cliff stood a large structure connecting the wall to the mountain and to the rest of the city below. All the windows from top to bottom were brightly lit with activity brimming from within the monumental house. Behind the bonfire, a wall of wooden stakes, cut more finely and uniformly than the crude fences made by the Deku, stood stalwartly between the soldiers and the peasants; the entrance was a gap in the palisade large enough to fit an entire elm tree snuggly. Judging from the number of other guards leisurely walking behind the group posted at the bonfire, Miro Miro had finally reached the soldiers’ home.

      The fairy uneasily lowered herself into the well lit street leading to the bonfire and hid behind a barrel sitting in front of a store. She was hesitant to approach the gate after the last soldier she encountered had attempted to capture her. Miro Miro hovered low over the barrel, partly studying the soldiers and partly fighting her nerve, for many minutes, before she decided that the soldiers were doing nothing more than sitting and talking, getting a grip of herself.

      Of course, waltzing nonchalantly up to a group of soldiers was easier said than done. The anxious thoughts and doubts racing through her head made every heartbeat feel like hours. Thankfully, she displayed none of the physiological symptoms of her anxiety unlike her Kokiri counterpart, who would sweat and tremor until he either cried or wet himself. Once she could feel the heat of the fearsome fire cultivating on the ground, she cautiously and timidly grabbed their attention,“Um, excuse me. Um, can you tell me where the Castle Barracks are?”

      The group of soldiers, a little less than a dozen men and women, stood and turned toward her. She froze, thinking they would try to catch her like the last one tried. But then the tallest of the men responded, “Yeah, behind us. Why?”

      His hostile question froze Miro Miro into a frenzied silence. Her panicked mind was unable to form a proper answer immediately. His large eyes furrowed from his distrusting frown, covered by his thin, scraggly beard. The bonfire’s radiance reflected brilliantly off of his golden breast plate, but the man was preventing her from seeing Rowark ever again. “I’m looking for Rowark. He’s my only friend I have in, in,” she was going to say the city, but she had been alone for so long, that she said instead, “in all of Hyrule.”

      “Queerdo? Ha! You could do better than that,” said someone at the tail end of the group. Queerdo? That’s an odd nickname.

      The man shot his comrade a dirty look, but then he flipped his lips upside down as he turned back to Miro Miro, “A friend of hero boy eh? Good to meet ya, then. A friend of hero boy is a friend of mine!”

      The short haired, brunette soldier slapped the man on the back of his head with her golden plated gauntlet. “Have you forgotten already? Rowark said he got help from a fairy, this is her! Am I right?” she asked Miro Miro.

      “Yes!” This was going well so far. “Please! Can you take me to him?”

      “Well,” the taller man began with the word that presumed all disappointing sentences, “we’re on watch here tonight, so we can’t leave this place. But I can tell you e’s ‘aving a good time at the homecoming party back in the mess ‘all.”

      “Yeah he is!” chimed in a man that Miro Miro noticed could not stand straight. The shorter, heavyset soldier held a small vase of something in his right hand as his left hand leaned on one of his taller compatriots. “He had a good amount to drink tonight that’s for sure!” he said before belching out a laugh. “Oy, when’s your watch done?” he asked Rowark’s friend.

      “Midnight. Will you still be at the pubs by then?”

      “We ain’t going to the pubs, we’re going to the brothel! HAHA!” he fired a lewd laughter into the night sky, and all the men laughed along. “But hero boy ain’t coming with us.” That statement brought down the mood with a few awws. “Can you believe it? He’s going to bed! After surviving an entire season out there, a place where there’s nothing resembling a woman’s sheath, he prefers his own, rock solid bed over the loving warmth of a Gerudo bosom!” He laughed alone at his own jest, while his compatriots looked at each other with thick-skinned silence.

      “We all know why,” snickered a soldier at the end of the queue, which drew laughter from the others.

      “Will you piss off?” the tall soldier responded defensively, “For the last time, e’s not Queer, e was just raised piously! ‘E’s from one of the forest villages, you know, where you gotta pray to the three Goddesses in front of a bishop before e’ll even let you put it in your wife.” Rowark wasn’t lewd like that, Miro Miro knew this to be true in her heart and believed heavily. The man then addressed the fairy, “Rowark’s back in the main mess ‘all. Go through the main entrance into the barracks all the way to the end of the hall, make a right, go all the way to the end of that ‘allway, make a left, and then any of the three doors on the right lead to the mess ‘all.”

      Main entrance, end of hallway, right, end of hall, left, right doors, she reminded herself while the memory was still fresh. “Thank you!” Miro Miro said with much gratitude and relief from the stranger’s assistance before flying past him.

      The unpaved path to the entrance led straight to the great, elm door, and about a dozen torch stands and heavily armed sentries stood posted along the road. A field spanned between the great barricade, the barracks in front, the wall to her left, the cliff to her right, and the palisade entrance behind her. Every piece of space in that field was occupied with a tent or a fire pit. There, there couldn’t be that many people either, right? she asked as she estimated that the entire Kokiri populace could comfortably live in these tents.

      Along the western border, armorers, blacksmiths, provisioners, and stablemasters were busy servicing and selling their wares to the crowd of armored Hylians into the late evening within the safety of the palisade. Many ate, drank, and told stories around the campfires far and few between each block of residents; otherwise, they were either busy with their duties, whether it meant going somewhere or standing still.

      Despite how tall the city wall looked, it paled in grandeur to the city barracks. Layered roofs covered with bowmen and big, scary looking weapons could deter the nastiest of all the forest monsters. Nothing about the fearsome defenses and torch lighting could make the fortress feel inviting and warm. Like an unwanted house fly, she zipped inside past the half open door.

      Up high near the tip of the arched ceiling, no one noticed that she existed. Immediately upon entry, the various banners hanging along the walls, brighter environment, and immense space of the foyer took Miro Miro aback. She flew past above all the hubbub and the activity going on below, and she paid special attention to the long, red rug along the floor leading down a very wide hallway. End of the hall.

      But was she supposed to turn right or left? Curse her memory!

      Miro Miro sank slowly until she reached an isolated soldier, a larger, mature woman with wavy red hair, and dove in after her. “Excuse me!” Miro Miro called out.

      When the woman turned around, her foot got caught on the ground, causing her to tumble backwards onto the ground. When the woman would not open her eyes, Miro Miro thought she might have accidentally killed her. Then a booming snore exploded from the woman, then some babbling spilled out, “Mooore wine, puh-leeesh….”

      Unsure of how to make of that response, Miro Miro asked again, “Um, excuse me?”

      Another powerful snore erupted from her, and then more sleep talk. “Oh, Sirrr Jormax, yourr embraashe isz sssoooo waarrm...!” a smile crept on her face as she curled into a ball.

      “Are you, are you okay?” Miro Miro asked.

      “Eh, she’s fine.” Another voice whipped Miro Miro around. A golden haired, female soldier, slightly more petite than the one laying on the ground and much younger, carrying a man slumped over on her shoulders used her short, strong legs to crouch and grab the sleeping person by the arm. “She’s just had too much to drink.”

      “Too much to drink of what?” was Miro Miro’s genuine question.

      The woman stopped in the midst of hoisting her companion onto her other shoulder to give Miro Miro a dumbfounded look on her slightly scarred face. “You’re definitely not from around here,” was her unnecessary, cold response. “Oy, Malon, come on, up on me shoulder. Let’s getcha home afore someone nastier than me does.”

      The remark made Miro Miro feel unwelcome, and suddenly she realized she was amidst a crowd of strangers all wearing the same uniform. This was a place meant for Hylian soldiers, Miro Miro had no right to be here. Right… Oh yeah! Right! She had to make a right at the end of the hall, then she had to make a left at the end of that hall!

      Having recalled the instructions, Miro Miro flew back to the safety of the ceiling and faithfully followed through. When she rounded the left corner, she saw that the three wide doors were swung wide open, leading to one of the biggest spaces Miro Miro had ever seen before.

      No cavern she encountered could house hundreds upon hundreds of men and women dining beside each other. Tables and benches stretched as far as the eye could see with golden armored soldiers occupying every available seat. All except for the curious group jumping all over their small section of the mess hall. The way they tumbled, rolled, and horsed around the bench and the table reminded Miro Miro of the way the Kokiri used to play during meal times.

      The only way to find Rowark without searching through hundreds, maybe even thousands, of unfamiliar faces was to ask someone. Miro Miro built up the nerve to approach a soldier again. “Excuse me,” she flew beside a man with a pointed beard carrying a tray of empty dishes, “could you help me find my friend Rowark?”

      The scruffy soldier cleared his throat and spit it out, “Rowark? He went back up to the living quarters,” and then continued his way.

      “Wait!” Miro Miro called out again, “Where are the living quarters?”

      The guard let out annoyed grunt and pointed to a distant door on the other end of the dining room, “You’re gonna have to go all the way back to the entrance, but the door will be on your right as you go in. Rowark’s on the fifth floor I think. Now leave me alone!”

      Back the way she came. “Thanks,” she muttered, feeling weak and defeated. After everything she had gone through in one day, trailing this dead end felt like insult added to injury. With a heavy heart of frustration weighing her down, she sulked back towards the main entrance without caring who or what in the barracks’ walls could harm her. She just wanted an end to the day.

      None of the soldiers’ looks bothered her one bit by this point. Her instructions were as clear as day by the time she entered the main foyer from whence she arrived. There were two doorways on her right, which would have normally made Miro Miro scared to guess incorrectly or ask the next rude person, but her mood put her in a mindset that deduced that the doorway experiencing more traffic was the way to the living quarters.

      She had to be sure though, so she approached an old, hairy man walking from the traffic wearing nothing but a towel wrapped his big waist. “Have you seen Rowark?” she asked him plainly.

      “Yeah, uh,” he grunted back at her as he pointed behind him, “I think I saw him back that way.”

      Then it was beyond reasonable doubt. Rowark and the living quarters were just up ahead. Miro Miro zipped past the open door and through the hall as fast as she could, too excited to see her friend again for her to pay attention to the steam...

      Only to find herself at the barracks’ bath room. She stopped dead in the air and felt her body flush at the sight of nude men walking around the tiled room. She scanned the steamy room, trying not to get distracted by the nakedness around her, unsure if Rowark was here or not. Sifting through the steam, she searched each bath for him, calling out his name timidly, so as not to attract too much to herself.

      Her eyes instinctively transfixed on an unmistakable muff of hair and thick, shaggy beard. There he was, submerged in water from his chest down. His beautiful eyes were transfixed upon something moving. His jaw was hanging, and underneath the forest of Rowark’s blonde hairs was a sheet of bright red skin. Miro Miro turned around to curiously see what Rowark was looking at, but all she saw was other men walking around naked.

      “Rowark!” she dashed to his bathtub.

      Taken completely by surprise, Rowark yelped and submerged his head underwater. After a few heartbeats, Rowark poked his head out of the water slowly, “Wh-what are you doing here?”

      “You told me to find you here!”

      “Oh,” he sat up looking sheepish. What was he embarrassed about? “Um, h-how was it, finding your companion?”

      Miro Miro began sobbing, which immediately shifted the mood of the moment, “Rowark! I was so scared! It was so horrible!”

      He perked up immediately, “What happened?” Rowark extended his hand so that Miro Miro could land on his wet palm.

      “No,” was all she could muster before she crashed onto his moist skin and cried into Rowark’s warm, welcoming essence. “I hate Castle City!” she screamed into his hand and continued sobbing. “Castle City is so big, I didn’t know where to go, I kept getting lost, and EVERYONE is so rude!”

      “I’m so terribly sorry, I should have known leaving you alone was a very bad idea,” Rowark interjected regretfully. You should not apologize for my naivete and foolishness, she wanted to say to him but could not because of her uncontrollable hiccuping between sobs.

      She then had to unload a thought weighing heavily in her mind. “And then there was a scary shop owner who kept all these fairies trapped, and then he tried to kidnap me!” she said in between sobs.

      Rowark dipped his head in remorse and bemoaned, “I must apologize once more. Before we parted ways, I should have warned you that fairies fetch a high price in Hyrule Castle City.”

      “But…” What was a price? Why were people after fairies? So many questions about this city and how it worked. “Why?”

      “Um,” he hesitated for a few heartbeats, “You wouldn’t like the answer if I told you.”

      Miro Miro gave that response a moment to think over, and then she finally said, “Not today then, I don’t wanna know.” She had experienced enough trauma for one day. The truth could wait.

      “How about your friend? Do you think he is here in Castle City?”

      “I don’t know. Maybe. But the problem is that I have not seen my companion in many years, so…” She focused and recalled all her memories as best as she could to conjure up a picture of him, “I barely remember what he even looked like.”

      Rowark could not reply, for both suddenly concluded impossible odds against Miro Miro in her quest. How many rooms of towers, houses, warehouses, and other kinds of buildings she did not yet know exist would she search? How many possible living spaces in all the roads and all the alleyways did she have to search? How was she going to be able to tell her companion from the countless possible thousands of people living in the city? How was she going to definitively prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was not here? Searching through every face in Hyrule felt like searching for a tree in a forest. Even though Miro Miro had an eternity to search underneath each and every roof and rock, Rowark did not.

      His boyish voice broke the silence, “How long did you say you were in the forest?”

      “Twenty eight winters,” Miro Miro answered without hesitation.

      Rowark brushed his long, light brown beard, “Curious. Then, wouldn’t your friend look very different after 28 years?”

      “You don’t understand, he’s a Kokiri. He looks like a child.”

      Quiet followed Rowark’s state of deep thought, “I, uh. You are correct, I don’t understand. What?”

      “They stay children forever.” Silence. Did he not understand? Miro Miro thought she could not get any simpler than that. “The Kokiri do not age.”

      “I get it, but,” Rowark still looked puzzled, “How’s that even possible?”

      Miro Miro pondered upon the question as well. Until then, it had never occurred to her that she had never encountered death. “No one knows, and no one asks. All we know is that all this is made possible by the Great Deku Tree.”

      “Great Deku Tree, huh,” Rowark scratched his chin even more. “I recall him from the legend, is that the talking tree who raised the Hero of Time?”

      The term “talking tree” felt disrespectful to her, but she also knew Rowark had never seen Him before. “The Great Deku Tree who raised the Hero died by Ganondorf’s hand. But a new one was reborn when the Hero returned as an adult and defeated the evil in the forests.”

      “So, if the Hero became an adult because he was a Hylian like me, then how did he arrive in the Kokiri Village?”

      “I still remember the night he arrived to the village,” said Miro Miro to a fully absorbed adolescent, “That night, a local druid of the Lost Woods rode a horse carrying a child. She was gravely wounded, and it was too late for the Great Deku Tree to save her. We mourned for her, for she was a friend of the forest. The child was orphaned and had nowhere to go, but because the Great Father cherished all life, He decided to care for the child of destiny.”

      “You’ve,” shock coursed through Rowark’s body, “you’ve met the… the Hero of Time?”

      “Definitely! He was a wonderful and polite boy as he grew up, just like Father was. The Hero spent most of his time with the Great Deku Tree because he could not get along well with the others.”

      Again, silence. Rowark’s jaw gaped wide open in disbelief, his dirty beard dipping in the bath water. He wanted to form words with his mouth, but somehow the incredibility of her story seemed to have paralyzed him.

      Miro Miro made sure he was still healthy, “Are you okay?”

      “Yeah!” Rowark snapped out of his state of disbelief, and then started laughing. “Haha! I just. Wow! I have so many questions I want to ask you. It was my favorite story when I was younger, you know? I always asked my father to tell that story at least once at every campfire.” His face then faded into a frown, as if his own words had triggered an unpleasant memory. He looked down and began shaking.

      It was clear Miro Miro had upset him, which upset her, “I’m sorry…”

      “No! It’s…” Rowark sniffed as drops fell into the water, and then he raised his red, moist eyes to show that he was smiling, “I’m crying out of happiness. It’s the only pleasant memory I have left of my father, so… forgive me. I am still in disbelief that I have met living proof of the legend, which makes it history, now, I guess, haha.” He paused to wipe the tears from his face and force a laugh. “I, I must finish washing up, and I would like my privacy. There’s a lot going on in my head, so I need some time to myself as I finish getting ready for sleep.”

      “It’s okay, I am just relieved that I did not make you mad.”

      Rowark chuckled through the tears, “Oh don’t worry, haha. I’ll be finished momentarily. Meet you outside the bath room, okay?”

      Miro Miro hopped off his hand, ready to flee from all the nudity, “Deal!”


    • Chapter 6: The Promise

      Quietness shared the space with the dark. Link leisurely walked back to the Zawks under the safety of the torch lights and posted watch. While any watchman had the right to arrest Link and take him in for wandering outside past curfew, any watchman also knew that the city streets were full of ruffians and monsters much more dangerous than any threat Link posed. Not a single watchman even glanced over in Link’s direction as he strolled through the familiar streets.

      Unfortunately, he had strayed quite far from the target in his quest for his necessary items, but he had until sun up to destroy the blacksmith as well as the day after’s sun up if his empty stomach could handle another day without food. With only five rupees worth of materials, Link was quite proud of what he had bargained for, but it was not enough. The blacksmith would have to provide the rest of the missing materials.

      A growl of hunger erupted from within his malnourished frame. Luckily, it brought attention to none, as far as Link could tell from the vacated street. Not a stir in the light or in the dark. His stomach may have painfully distracted him from his journey, but with a strong image of his destination in mind, Link trudged forth against the pain. By now it was pointless to find food. The only places to find anything edible at this hour were located in the back alleyways, too dangerous to at this late hour to find heaps of rubbish.

      Although Link’s legs did not feel any weaker than normal, his stomach became a void that seemed to drain the energy in his torso. He diverted all thoughts away from his inner void so that his feet could march on faithfully to the destination, but each step eventually felt like his feet were pushing through soft mud. After trudging through the agony, Link had at last reached the street intersection preceding the blacksmith.

      The two private sentries were the same as before, but the posted watch across the street was no longer there. Perfect. Link looked both ways before entering the darkness that occupied the center of the street. Under the cover of darkness and guided by his experience in stealth, the boy slipped into the gap between buildings.

      The alleyway was so dark Link could not even see his hand held out in front of him. But a good memory could pinpoint the scaffolding exactly where he remembered it. He confidently reached out and grabbed the invisible wooden beam. And without any light whatsoever, Link lifted himself up off the ground and grabbed onto another beam. Heh, he thought to himself, I coulda done this blindfolded.

      Near the top, moonlight from the sky bled onto the rooftops and soft wind flowed like a river. With his eyes adjusted to the pitch dark, Link could see the cityscape, as well as his own surroundings, as clear as day. It was a one, two, and a hop off the scaffolding, over the three story fall, onto the slanted roof…

      Which was more slippery than Link had anticipated. His landing could not have been more perfect, but his bare feet slipped against the wooden shingling, giving him a jolt of bloodrush coursing from his heart. His prone body kept Link from slipping any further. He rose to his hands and knees and crawled the rest of the way up.

      It was the big chimney. There was no more smoke coming out of it, but the wind carried the ashy smell straight into Link’s face. He unwrapped the coil of rope and then wrapped the chimney once around before tying a firm knot. The rest of the slack went once around his waist and under the drawstring in his pants before climbing to the chimney top.

      Link threw the rope down the chimney, and then the sweet satisfying sound of impact upon ground echoed up through the chimneys. With one hand firmly gripping the slack and the other gripping the end, he hopped over the chimney. Immediately, he felt his free falling body tighten the rope around his waist and his drawstring tighten around his back, but he was safely suspended. By gently releasing the brake and feeding slack with the other, Link lowered himself back into darkness without any hassle.

      Upon touching the rocky bottom, Link unwrapped the rope around his waist and searched for the exit of what he assumed was the furnace. Finding his way around was impossible in the complete absence of light. Igniting the only source of light in the building past hours may have been risky, but he absolutely needed it if he had to search through rooms. He placed his hands all over the walls until finally, one felt the mouth of the furnace, and he hopped out into a pitch black room of an unknown size. However, Link had so much navigating through dark areas that he could practically do a night job blind if he wanted. Extending one hand out in front at all times, he took one soft step at a time until his hand felt something solid, revealing through touch to be a cold counter. Feeling a small stool underneath and metal tools on top, the burglar correctly deduced he had reached the workbench.

      Link used the tedious but safe technique to move and map out the room by muscle memory. Once he snagged an unlit torch off of a wooden support, he returned to the workbench in the center of the smithy and began feeling about the metal tools, only grazing his skin against the steel enough to guess which was what. Metal instruments were scattered everywhere, and although the lack of lighting made discerning the tools from one another difficult, it was not hard to find the wooden handle of the hammer, and so he grabbed it.

      But while he was at it, or he could also pluck one of the Zawks’ finest blades resting proudly against a rack, but he would need both his hands to climb back out of the chimney, so even a Goron-made knife that could fit snuggly against his drawstrings would suffice. Once again, his fingers went back to feeling for the sharpened edge of a blade. Ow! His finger felt the nick of pain as it slid across something sharp. Good enough. His hand found the blade handle, while his other withdrew the flint in his pocket.

      Sparks flew out as Link’s hand guided the stone onto the blade in total darkness, but the torch was stubborn. Finally, a spark caught onto the end of the torch, and light quickly filled the room shortly after. The small knife in his left hand turned out to be a woodsman’s blade. It was a good blade, one durable and sharp enough to cut through wood, so he tucked it in the drawstrings hoisting his pants. Link grabbed the candle off the table so that he could continue exploring more of the blacksmith.

      Next, he needed to find the fuel source. There had to be some place where they kept the peat, or the charcoal, or the firewood even. But there was none as far as Link’s limited nightvision could see. From dark corner to dark corner, the shop only had counters, anvils, shelves, and racks full of works in progress. No, there had to be a fire source somewhere in the blacksmith shop; Zawk swords were not made with Goron magic, only Goron smithing techniques.

      Think! he urged himself, The heat source must be near the furnace! Link checked the area near the furnace; nothing but the entrance, the tools hanging by, and the short little rope hanging off of the floorboard? He grabbed the rope and pulled upward, but it would not budge. After several unsuccessful tugs, it dawned on him that he was stepping on a trapdoor, and so he moved over and pulled wide open the door leading into the cellar below.

      He descended down the stairs into the darkness, guided by the torchlight. The cramped space underneath, nothing more than rubble beneath a wooden floorboard, had two torches. Once Link lit them, the light revealed a pile of firewood in one corner and a large pile of… black rocks? Link picked up one of the stones. It felt like charcoal, and it yet it felt like a rock, and it left an oily, black residue upon his skin, unlike the ash of charred wood. What was this?

      It was a question for another time. Link put his faith in the rock, praying to the rock that it would burn as fiercely as charcoal. He grabbed many handfuls and laid them out on the ground, and then he smashed one with the hammer. The rock shattered into many pieces with little force just like charcoal did. To test their flammability, he grabbed a sprinkle in his fingers and threw it into the fire of the torch; to his happy surprise, little specks of flame flew out the other side. With an evil grin on his scarred face, Link began hammering away at the black stones until they became black dust.

      The rocks must have been the Zawk brothers’ trade secret, and the fire Link was about to start was going to burn their trade secret to ashes. It was his final, missing ingredient. Collecting the dust, Link poured the black powder into his leather wallet, which contained the egg dust and the poop salt already, and mixed the ingredients with his hands every once in a while until the bag had ripened into a large, leathery fruit.

      The firewood piled next to the black fuel all he needed to create the fire. Link carefully placed each log of wood on top of the pile of the black stones. After crushing more of the black stones, Link sprinkled the powder around the flammable pyre. All that was left to do was to plunge one of the torches into the pyre, and hopefully by the time anyone discovered that a fire was consuming the premises, it would already have been too late to stop the flame.

      Sinisterly laughing to himself as he felt the heat grow upon his skin, Link walked back up the stairs with his homemade bomb and set the bomb in the mouth of the furnace. The woodsman’s blade cut through the rope like butter so that Link could use one end of the slack to plug the opening of his bomb and laid out the rest of the slack in the general direction of the explosive.

      Suddenly, Link’s feet began to feel hot. Smoke was beginning to seep through the tiny gaps in the floor. The fire burns this hot already? Panicked, Link dropped the rest of the slack and instantly headed for the furnace. The fire from the cellar was going to ignite the fuse any minute now. There was no time wasted between his climb through the mouth of the furnace to his hand grabbing the rope. Blood rush coursed through his body and guided his hands as they grabbed rope after rope. The athletic child scaled upward with his strong arms at lightning speed, but nothing made his blood rush harder than when he suddenly felt the rope break…

      Seriously? Link thought to himself in mid air. His leg was the first part to feel impact upon the ground, and so a searing of pain coursed from his leg into the rest of his body as he landed painfully next to the bomb. All the wind had been forced out of his lungs, luckily rendering him unable to scream in pain, only grunt pathetically. The impact against the ground felt severest on his back and throbbing head. Any movement was denied by excruciating pain. As Link struggled to gasp for air, he could see the flames poking through the floorboard. At any moment, the floor would become too hot for Link to stand on, let alone cross. Oh well, he thought to himself as he relaxed his body and closed his eyes, I guess this is as good as any excuse to finally die.

      There was no future for him in this wretched world anyway. Only pain and misery.

      Promise me! her familiar voice pounded into his head. Though Link had not seen his best friend and teacher after countless seasons, his memory could seem to forget her sunny and golden hair, and her strong, authoritative, yet kind voice. A surge of heat gathered on the skin of his left hand before traveling up his arm, through his chest, and up his face. And when the heat escaped, a tear rolled down his eye.

      I can’t, Link spoke back to her memory, I’m so tired. I just wanna sleep. Just like you.

      No! she responded sharply, instantly quashing all potential comebacks, You promised me!

      Link opened his eyes and sighed, “I did promise you.” A new will to survive and blood rush awakened within him. It was only a matter of heartbeats before the makeshift fuse would catch on fire. First, he had to regain his breathing. Only when he could control his inhales and exhales did he begin pushing off of his healthy leg, painfully scooting himself towards the mouth of the furnace against the rough, sharp rocks underneath him. Once he reached the lip, he used his arms to lift his tender leg over the edge and onto the ground.

      Damn! The pain made walking feel impossible. It would have been under any situation less life threatening than his current one. He wasted no time in reaching for the door, but while rushing out, he tripped over a stool and fell prone onto the hard surface. Immediately he could feel the front of his body begin to cook from the fire underneath, but survival instinct told him there was no time for pain. His knees and feet seared but would not quit until he reached the door.

      His hand reached for the doorknob, and he lifted himself up to unlock the deadbolt. It was stuck. He grunted and heaved as he tried to force the mechanism. His heart raced faster and faster as each heartbeat ticked by. With a final twist, the deadbolt came loose, and the twist of the doorknob sent the burglar crashing forth onto the town street.

      The breath of fresh air brought life-saving relief to his panic, but that was before he was looking at the pointy end of two spears. “What do you think you’re doing, chump?” asked one of the blacksmith’s guards.

      “Uh, I obviously just broke in,” Link retorted as he caught his breath while desperately using his good leg to continue pushing himself away from the building, “but what I just did isn’t as important as what is about to happen,”

      The two guards looked at him confused, and then the loud blast, louder than any normal bomb could make, clarified that statement...

      The post was edited 5 times, last by urnotlikeme ().

    • Chapter 7: News of the Realm

      When Rowark emerged from the bath house, he was almost unrecognizable. His dirty and oily hair was replaced with a clean and bright blonde haircut; his dark beard was no more, revealing a boyish skin that made him look like a teenager; his smile was even more enchanting when he spotted Miro Miro. Wearing a sleeveless, green tunic, a pair of tight, beige pants, and a fresh bandage wrapping around his right hand, Rowark waved at her, “Do you mind following me? I promised my sister I would catch up with her before I go to sleep.”

      Miro Miro nodded. She was excited to see his family! If his sister were anywhere as nice as Rowark, then Miro Miro could have two friends in the city! Surely his sister would help them on Miro Miro’s mission. Next to the bath room was the stony stairwell leading up to the dorms, and the climb up the three flights was quiet.

      “How many flights of steps are there?” asked Miro Miro’s curiosity as Rowark opened a door.

      “Six on this side. These flight of steps lead to the top of the wall.” They entered a long and cramped corridor that seemed to stretch on forever, dimly illuminated by the torches suspended between dorm rooms. Rowark continued his lecture, “On the other side of the barracks, those flight of steps lead up to the sixteenth floor so far.”

      “Wh-what do you mean so far?” A sixteen story tower would have been impossible to miss on her way here.

      “Most of the barracks are actually built into the western cliff, right underneath the Castle, which gives us plenty of room to excavate more of the old castle and build more floors.”

      “Huh,” was her dumbfounded response. Hylians amazed her all the more. They continued walking down the hall until Rowark stopped in front of a rectangular door with a small, metal plaque with the engraving “367” before knocking.

      “It’s unlocked!” they heard from the other side of the wooden door.

      Rowark took the cue to open the door and enter. The heartbeat Rowark’s foot crossed the threshold a woman, the same blonde from before who carried the two unconscious soldiers on her shoulders, instantly jumped from her seat and wrapped her arm around Rowark, who returned the embrace immediately. Unreal bliss exploded between the reunited siblings and emitted their happy sentiments to everyone in the vicinity. Except for Miro Miro, who remembered exactly how rude the woman had been in their previous encounter…

      The bedroom was cramped. The two bunk beds resting against the corners opposite the entrance took up most of what little space there was. Two small desks occupied the adjacent corners, each designed as a workspace for two as there were two chairs to a desk.

      “Rowark,” she longingly whispered into his breast and tightened her grip, “Thank the Goddesses. I knew they wouldn’t take my only family away from me.”

      “Alexa,” Rowark responded to the warm welcome and planted a tender kiss on the top of her hair, “you could have returned to Ordon if you wanted to.”

      She broke away from the embrace with tears streaming down her face and delivered her ultimatum, “I would rather die avenging you than go back home!” Then she buried her face into his tunic as more tears moistened Rowark’s sleepwear.

      The uncomfortable feeling of tears and snot draining onto his tunic was the last thing on his mind. Rowark slowly rubbed her back, tenderly reminding her that her brother was safe at home, and all was good. Then, he broke the embrace and extended a hand towards Miro Miro, who was caught off guard.

      “Alexa, this is Miro Miro,” Rowark introduced, “I would not be here without her help.”

      Miro Miro instantly remembered the woman’s rudeness from their prior engagement, giving her a tinge of anxiety. An awkward feeling washed over her, and she could sense that the poor young woman was feeling that exact same sensation. “You were, that fairy that I…” Her shocked expression spread guilt all over her face, “Please forgive me!” Alexa groveled with her head bowed onto the fur rug, “I should not have been so foul to you. I beg forgiveness, Fairy. I prayed to the Goddesses everyday that Rowark would come home safely, and had I known that the Goddesses sent you to guide him home…” the rest was lost in her sobbing.

      Her brother lifted her by her arm and comforted her, “There, there…”

      Well, now Miro Miro felt bad. “I forgive you. You are Rowark’s family, after all.”

      Alexa looked at the fairy dead center with runny eyes and nose and pledged, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My life is to Rowark, as is to yours too!”

      “Okay, um…” Miro Miro was just beginning to grasp the gravity of guiding Rowark to safety. She may have been immortal, but she had never felt so insignificant before. Had Rowark never come across Miro Miro, a hungry Skulltula would have eaten her, and no one would have ever known the world had one less fairy. Rowark, on the other hand, had friends and family who were feeling pain from their loss. “Well actually,” she corrected, “Rowark saved my life first, so accompanying him home was more of returning the favor.”

      “Miro Miro,” Rowark said with playful annoyance, “you’re too modest!”

      The comment had made her blush, even delighted her, “It’s true though!”

      He could only smile back, exciting Miro Miro with giddiness. Alexa and Rowark both sat down before he began his questions, “So sister, what news I have missed in the past season?”

      Alexa opened her mouth to speak, but an scowl exhaled instead, “Ugh, where to even begin?”

      “We can begin with news about the realm.”

      “Not good, if it ever is,” Alexa started, “People talk about Moblins pushing further from the southern woods.” Miro Miro did not know what “pushing” meant in this context, but she had heard of Moblins, the burly, leather skinned, boar headed beasts best known for kidnapping princesses and children. However, no one in the village had ever laid eyes on one, so the threat they posed to Kokiri was nonexistent.

      “That’s not new,” said Rowark dryly.

      “What is new is how far they’ve come and how much they’ve grown. Lord Springbock’s diplomats constantly pester the Queen for Royal reinforcements and clearing parties.”

      “But doesn’t Castle Springbock have mighty walls?”

      “They do, but Springbock’s armies cower behind them, leaving no one left to defend the villages. Most of the southern settlements are occupied by the Bokoblins now.”

      This news was certainly shocking, “Bokoblins!? How?” The little tribal cretins were very real threats that lived outside of the Kokiri Village. Many children who had wandered too far from the village had met a terrible fate at the hands of these vermin.

      “I was just as surprised as you were when I first heard the report,” Alexa had to take a heartbeat and a breath, “There is no mistake about it, the Bokoblins and the Bulblins have allied with Moblins within the past season.”

      Yikes! Miro Miro reactively thought to herself. Bulblins were rarer, but they were far scarier. They looked like Bokoblins, but they were much taller, some even as tall as Rowark, and were said to be armed with Hylian weapons. But they were more or less on the side of myth. Many fairies had claimed they had seen one, but no one ever dared to venture too far outside the Kokiri village to prove it.

      This was the first time Miro Miro had ever heard about Bulbins and Moblins being a tangible threat.

      Rowark spoke in a solemn voice, “The Queen will have to appoint Din’s Champion soon to combat the invaders. Until then, Duke Faron and his people will be in my prayers.” Miro Miro had the chills thinking about what an army of the Lost Wood’s nastiest creatures looked like.

      “Not mine!” Alexa’s response shocked both Miro Miro and Rowark, “His incredibly absurd requests to send troops and rations that far south are unnecessary and are doing us more harm!”

      “What is absurd about defending the realm?”

      “He has his own armies to protect him, and Lord June sends his own clearing parties out already!” He had hit a nerve, and her news about the realm quickly became an venting of emotions, “Outlying Goron tribes still fight the Alliance, so they ask US for more troops! Castle Ingo claims they have cannay spare the manpower to protect their own damned holdings, so not a single soldier is spared to aid their people from the highway lords, so they ask US for more troops! Zola bandits disrupt trade between the Zoras and the Deku -”

      “So they ask us for more troops. But we have a vested interest in protecting our own trade too.”

      “You get the idea, though,” she heaved through angry breaths. “Our forces are already spread thinly enough. We have no more heavy infantry and cavalry divisions garrisoned in the city anymore, they’re all out there, fighting wars started by the other Lords! And because of that, we don’t have enough watch to effectively protect the city!”

      “How bad is it?”

      “Hoy, it’s bad,” she said as she was about to drop the bad news, “We’ve gotten at least thirty new gang profiles in the last tendo alone.”

      “Thirty!?” Rowark couldn’t believe it. Hmm, Miro Miro thought to herself, this gang profile monster sounds scarier than a moblin.

      “Aye. Slug the Quick, the Craver, and Polleck the Drunkard have come out of hiding because of the new competition.” Such peculiar names for monsters that could scare Rowark. “Fighting is fiercest near the Eastern border, so lots of watchmen are posted in that area. And the higher ups have been chaotic as of late due to the Princess.”

      “Why? What’s been going on?”

      Alexa’s face instantly dropped, “Oh my, you haven’t heard…”

      “What?”

      “The Princess fell deathly ill about two tendos after you disappeared. I took it as an omen that the Goddesses had finally abandoned us.”

      This news hit Rowark with shock, “Can they save her?”

      “Doesn’t look like it. Three days ago I was at the Castle, and several of the maids told me about the Princess’s worsening situation. The entire place was just chaotic because of it. Everyone was running around like it was a madhouse.”

      “I suspect it is because the Queen is trying to assemble an emergency Parliament to vote in a new heir.”

      Parluhment? Vote? Air? These words made absolutely no sense in Miro Miro’s mind, but maybe she would find out soon.

      “They’ve been at it for tendos now, and at this rate, I’m gonna die at a ripe old age before they even put the first of hundreds of votes together.”

      “Such is our system,” Rowark resigned, “you and I are powerless to change it.”

      “And that’s why I never paid attention to politics!” Her response drew a laugh, finally lightening the mood up.

      “Fair enough. Did you perchance hear talk about which Princess will be representing each house?”

      “What’s the difference between them? They’re all blonde haired, blue eyed,” Rowark began stifling an uncontrollable laugh, “pompous, Hyborns with fake breasts looking down on the rest of us. Oh, and they’re all named Zelda!”

      Rowark and Alexa burst into laughter before they fell on the floor. The joke was completely lost on Miro Miro, and as the laughter went on, she continued to wonder why. But it looked like both needed that.

      “Hoh, that was funny!” Rowark said as he stood up.

      Alexa, still laughing, replied, “Heh heh, well you know how I’ve always felt about them Hyborns.”

      “You never change.”

      “Neither do you.”

      The laughter had died but left great smiles on their faces, “How about I end the night on that good feeling?”

      “Aye, ‘tis getting late,” she smiled, stood up from her seat, waited for him to do so, and then wrapped her arms around her brother. The heartbeat Rowark’s arms embraced her too, tears fell from her face once again.

      “It’s okay, Alexa. No matter what, I am always here for you,” Rowark placed his hand on her hand, “So if you need anything, anything at all, you let me know, okay?”

      Alexa sniffed and nodded her head in response, dampening the cloth underneath her chin. “Okay,” she hoarsely said.

      “We’ll talk more,” said Rowark as he broke the embrace and gently kissed her forehead.

      “Goodnight.” Alexa was closing the door behind Rowark when she suddenly said, “You know, you remind me of the Hero of Time.”

      Rowark looked at himself in embarrassment, “How? I’m far from the warrior he was.”

      Alexa’s eyes briefly glanced at Miro Miro, “Well, you emerged from the Lost Woods with a fairy, just like he did.”

      “Maybe, but that’s the only connection we share,” he shared a glance with Miro Miro, who had witnessed the legend unfold before her eyes a century ago. She honestly thought Rowark was as kind and as courageous as the Hero once was, but she could not compare herself against the late, great Navi. “Goodnight.”

      Miro Miro followed her companion down the hallway opposite the way they came. His short hair gleamed beautifully with every flicker of the torchlight and bounced with every slightest draft of air.

      “May I inquire about your lost companion?” asked Rowark suddenly as soon as he entered the stairwell.

      “What would you like to know?” her voice echoed up and down the dark, cylindrical shaft.

      “For starters, you’ve never shared his name with me.”

      “Topah. That one is easy. What else?”

      “Tell me about your relationship with Topah,” he asked her.

      “Hmm, that is tougher. I don’t know how to describe it,” Miro Miro had a difficult time remembering the life that she had taken for granted for the majority of her existence, “We fairies are like mothers, but not really. The Great Deku Tree assigns a fairy to each Kokiri.”

      “Just like the Hero was paired with the fairy Navi!” Rowark’s face beheld the wonderment of a child once again, “Sorry. It was my favorite story growing up. I loved hearing about the Hero of Time’s adventures. Things are so different now from the stories that I just find it hard to believe that heroes once existed.” In the one day Miro Miro spent in Hyrule Castle City, she understood his sentiment all too well. “Sorry for getting off topic. So back to you and Topah.”

      “Topah was born after the war ended. The new Deku Tree used his youthful energy to create more Kokiri and populate the village, and then he invited fairies from all over the forest to live in the village and become a child’s companion. I'm like his eternal parent.”

      As they rounded the corner and exited the dorm halls, Rowark hesitantly asked, “Do you feel responsible for losing him?”

      “YES!” Miro Miro stopped to let out that cry, “He loved playing hide and seek so much, and one day, we were too deep in the Lost Woods, and then I just couldn't find him. I haven’t stopped searching for him since. During the many years I’ve been searching for him, I kept thinking what I could've done differently to prevent all of this!” Confessing that after years of solitude felt surprisingly good. However, in letting out her feelings, she also began sobbing.

      “Hey,” Rowark consoled, “that doesn’t matter! We’re going to find Topah, all right?”

      She hiccuped, “Mmhmm.”

      “Do you know if he’s in Hyrule Castle City?”

      “I don’t even know if he’s still in the Lost Woods! Goddesses, so much has happened in twenty eight years, he could be anywhere! Do you come across a lot of Kokiri?”

      “Not really, I don’t know.”

      Miro Miro perked up and stopped crying, “I don’t know?”

      Rowark sighed, “Well, the way you describe him, a boy that looks like he’s ten, that could be any street urchin on the street. Any kid that I’ve encountered on patrol could have been a Kokiri!”

      “I’m sorry,” Miro Miro quickly retreated her question.

      “No, don’t be sorry! Gah!” Rowark apologized in frustration, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it like that.”

      “No, you are right,” she relented. Rowark climbed the rest of steps in awkward silence; the only sound made was the impact of the sole of his boot against the stone floor, until he opened a door leading into a lonesomely creepy hallway. Lighting was spaced more sparsely, and there was no shortage of cold air. Each breeze chilled Miro Miro down to her core, but Rowark did not waver once.

      “Hmm…” escaped from Rowark’s lips.

      “What are you thinking about?” She did not care what was on Rowark’s mind, as long as he said something to break the unsettling silence.

      “Hmm,” Rowark seemed deep in thought as stared forward, “I was thinking about a rumor,” his words brought interest back into Miro Miro’s heart. “Many years ago, around the time when I first enlisted, there was a duke who owned a manor near the eastern side of the field and many slaves.”

      “What are slaves?” After that, she wanted to ask what a “dook” was, and then what a “manner” was afterward.

      “Oh Goddesses...” Rowark hesitated for a long heartbeat, “I am about to explain something that may lower your opinion of us Hylians. Do you wish for me to continue?”

      Such an odd preface. “As long as I know you’re not one of the bad Hylians, go on.”

      “It is when someone is forced to work for someone else and treated as property for the rest of their life.”

      Miro Miro gasped, “That’s terrible!”

      “That’s why the Queen outlawed it,” Rowark responded with nonsensical jargon again.

      “I don’t understand…”

      “It means it’s against the rules to own slaves.”

      “Oh, okay. So, what happened to the ‘manner’?”

      “Burned down mysteriously. Duke Faron lost his eldest son, his future heir. But no one knows how or why the fire started. There are many conspiracies afloat, but the most common story was that the lord had enslaved sons of witches, and that it was their magic that burned the manor down. I’m wondering if those ‘sons of witches’ were the Kokiri you speak of.”

      Another awkward silence dominated the air between them. Could Topah have been one of those poor children? She pictured a malnourished, blonde haired boy with skinny arms toiling under the hot, summer sun, working on a field against his will. And then she pictured a great big fire engulfing the field, and poor Topah running away scared. Maybe he got away. Or maybe his body was burnt to the ground.

      She started crying loudly again. Rowark attempted to calm her down, “Oh no, I'm sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything. I was just thinking out loud. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

      “No, it’s not that,” she tried to stop crying, but all it did was made her talk in between hiccups, “I-I-I need to prepare for the worst.”

      “Oy! Queerdo!” A padded glove extended and firmly gripped Rowark’s shoulder, interrupting the mood immediately. So engrossed in Miro Miro’s crying were both that they did not see the watchman urgently coming towards them. Rowark swatted the glove away and avoided eye contact with him. “There’s an emergency deployment. Sir Triss needs every available volunteer to suit up and report to the campground.”

      “All right, I’ll be there,” Rowark sighed without looking back at his rude face. Whatever that bushy haired man had said in the beginning had offended and discomforted Rowark. “Sorry,” he apologized to his friend, “I have to get going, but you’re more than welcome to stay here.”

      “No! I'm coming with you!” she exclaimed amidst tears. After the other town guard tried to kidnap her, Rowark was still the only person in Hyrule Castle City that she could trust.

      He smiled at her, “I was hoping you’d say that! Let’s hurry!”

      The post was edited 1 time, last by urnotlikeme ().