I have a pleasant surprise for you! That's right! It should make you happy! As it happens from time to time, my chapter plotting went a little screwy on my. As a result, this chapter is twice as long as my normal chapters!
~Enjoy the extra lengthy goodness!

My body, rested from a full night's sleep, clean from a warm bath, and stuffed with good food for once, was in better spirits than I was as it rode slowly out of the ranch. Perhaps this is why I felt detached from it. Everything, the smell of fresh hay and cow pies, the chattering of cuccos intermixed with the songs of less obnoxious birds, and even the lazy plodding of Epona's hooves beneath me, seemed to be an echo or two behind me. It was as if the ranch had become a distant memory before I had even wandered away from it.
Epona's pace remained unchanged when we finally broke onto the open fields of Hyrule, when I suddenly became one with my body again. This was odd for her, for, to her, space to run meant running. She flicked an ear back at me and then tossed her head. I could practically hear her thoughts in a scolding voice, saying, "What did you do?" She would have known something was up, for although she hadn't been able to witness that Malon hadn't so much as made eye contact with me during breakfast, she would have noticed that the girl hadn't come out to see us off as she customarily did. I patted Epona's neck, probably comforting myself more effectively than comforting her.
"Everyone deals with a shattered dream differently," I told her, "and some people never forgive. Even if it was all a misunderstanding that was almost entirely their own fault anyway." Epona flicked her ear at me again. Yes, she has a point. I suppose I shouldn't be talking about Malon still wishing wishful things about me when I'm on my way to see the Princess with my own wishful thinking running rampant in the back of my mind where I'm not paying much attention. But unlike Malon, all my wishful thinking is generally set aside by that good dose of reality, whatever that is, that follows me around in a dark cloud over my head. Even without it, I wouldn't go around saying things like "My prince will save me!" And that is for less than obvious reasons. Heh, my train of thought seems to have gotten interesting. But honestly, I suddenly had felt better about the whole deal the moment I was out of the ranch walls. I wouldn't mind never going back there if it were just those walls I'd be missing. They're unnatural, really. LonLon Ranch is nothing more than open field in which the wind doesn't blow. So maybe, now there was really nothing there for me. Or maybe it's my way of making myself feel better about losing some of this wide open world that I've made my free range.
But it was hard to feel good about anything with Epona trudging along like a clipper ship with no sails. She understood what had happened, and in turn I understood how she, uh, felt…I suppose. Both of us now had lost access to our childhood homes. Well, not her so much, but Epona has chosen me, and when an animal chooses someone, it's normally for life. I wondered if Epona was so out of sorts because she realized that she had had to pick between the ranch and me.
"Home is a funny thing isn't it? Never really is what you thought it was." I spoke to her again. This time she stopped walking. I was a little startled by this, but I remained seated. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that she had stopped because a wagon was rolling out of the gates we were trying to enter. The breath caught back up in my throat when I realized that we were right outside of the castle town and then released in another sigh when I decided that I was being silly. There was nothing to get worked up about. Zelda probably had some inane favor to ask of me. Although there were dreams involved… I couldn't decide whether I should be nervous or not, so I decided to concentrate on my poor horse. She had started walking again into the city. Her head had perked up elatedly at the onslaught of new smells, sounds, and sights. I was glad, and I found myself smiling as well. To myself, in that mysterious sort of way, of course. People knew me here, relatively speaking. Ah yes, I'd gotten two stares now, both of the is-that-who-I-think-it-is variety. There's number three now. And four… I was probably hard to miss. Not many people ride through the market place, and the ones who do are either famous nobles or total strangers. I fell out of both categories sitting upon my red mare in my green Deku-fiber tunic and matching cap with an old Hylian shield strapped to my back.
I'd been thinking of getting a room and stabling Epona before I went, but it seemed safer to just go straight to the castle. I had accrued quite a few tails and a bit of excited gossiping by the time I had reached the city square. There had also been a pointed wondering of "Is the princess in trouble?" that I'm not quite certain was not addressed to me. Either way, I ignored it, because I hadn't a clue to the answer. The square quieted to half of its normal volume as I rode in, and then doubled as I rode through towards the path to the castle. Which was currently partially blocked. Epona snorted impatiently as I pulled at her to slow down as we rode towards the wide-eyed boy standing in the middle of the road. He was maybe thirteen or fourteen, complete with freckles and wispy hair. He wasn't moving either; he was just letting his eyes get wider. I physically ignored him save for directing my horse around him, but the eyes of my mind were rolling repeatedly. Oh, the repetition. It hadn't been this bad in Hyrule since the time I'd brought Zelda back in riding behind me sixteen months ago. Wait…I hadn't been here for about sixteen months. No, I was here ten months ago, albeit briefly. Anyway, there hadn't been this many gawkers then. I began to wonder if something was up, but then the boy called out to me as I passed him.
"Aren't you Link?" he asked, then looked surprised at himself for saying it out loud. Or so I assumed.
"That's my name," I replied turning my head towards him and slowing Epona down further, much to her chagrin. The look he gave me for responding was absolutely priceless. Some days, I live for looks like that. Seriously, when you're down there's absolutely nothing better than having some kid look at you like you're the best thing to happen to the world since the invention of bombchu bowling. Well, actually it might not be as good as having the Crown Princess of Hyrule look at you like you're the best thing to happen to this universe since the invention of Prince Charming. Unfortunately, I have no experience there, so I can't say for sure.
"Y-you're going to the castle?" he asked the obvious again, although he looked rather anxious that he might be pushing his luck.
"Yeah," I nodded reassuringly towards him as Epona and I continued on our way. I can be rather imposing, I know, so I try to be as friendly as possible. Just because I had been having a bad day and didn't want to talk to just anybody right now didn't mean I wanted everybody avoiding me in the future. Besides, talking to this kid was making me feel more at ease.
"Why? Are you gonna slay some monsters?" the kid started running alongside my now moderately irritated mount.
"I dunno…" I chuckled. "But if there are monsters, I'll probably be slaying some."
"Even if it's a really big dragon?" another small voice came from behind me. I turned in my saddle to see a younger boy duck into a small gathering of children that were hanging back a few paces. They were all a little hesitant actually, especially since I was looking at them. I was feeling game, so I pulled Epona to a halt. She snorted in surrender.
"How big?" I asked, raising one eyebrow. The boy, maybe seven years old, poked his head out from behind an older girl who seemed to be his sister.
"As big as a house!" he shouted then ducked again.
"Whose house?" I asked, trying to look serious. The kid poked his head around again, but didn't seem to come up with an answer.
"Lady Impa's house!" called out one little girl, who seemed pretty pleased with herself for knowing something about either Impa or her house. It happens to be the most expansive house in Kakariko Village, but that's not saying much.
"No problem," I waved my hand in feigned dismissal. The kids gasped, and some giggled, then the little boy's sister suddenly called out:
"What about Sir Holloway's house?" Sir Holloway? Never heard of him…
"What about it?" I asked innocently.
"What about a dragon that big!" the little boy shouted and then retreated again, although not all the way this time. I made a thoughtful look as my brain began to rush. Must be a noble man, and probably a famous, handsome one with female admirers, such as this one. He probably has a mansion the size of a small castle, like the ones I've seen in the hills behind Hyrule Castle. I've fought a monster or two about that big.
"Don't worry, I can handle it," I winked. Again the squealing gasps and giggling. I smiled back at them. Ah, by Farore, wasn't I like that not so long ago? Well, not quite like these kids in my attitude, but I was that small. I wondered briefly if I had been particularly cute like some of these kids.
"What if it was as big as the Temple of Time?" another boy spat out. The giant tower, higher than Hyrule Castle, appeared readily in my mind, as I was quite familiar with it. I highly doubt any creature that tall could survive under its own weight. But I'd humor them.
"By myself?" I asked, looking as taken aback as I could fake it. "I dunno…"
"I'd help!" the first kid called out. The idea surprised me a bit.
"You would, huh?" I all but laughed.
"I would too!" screamed out the kid who'd brought up the thought of a dragon that big.
"I'd be too scared," the little one complained from behind his sister.
"Don't worry," I smiled at him, again reassuringly. "There aren't any monsters that big. Believe me, I've looked."
"Are you sure?" his sister asked.
"Very sure," I nodded.
"Link would know, right?" the first kid exclaimed and looked up at me. "Cause you've seen everything, right?"
"Oh, I sure hope not," I laughed, scratching the back of my head. I spotted a couple of worried looking mothers hanging further back and nodded my greetings toward them, hoping they'd take the kids away so I could continue on my way. I was significantly settled into myself and ready to face whatever was ahead. "Anyway, I have someplace to be, so if you'd excuse me." Epona started moving before I even gave her the go ahead. The kids followed.
"Are you going to see the Princess?" the first boy asked.
"Yeah," I nodded, somewhat annoyed. I knew what was coming next. I could feel it in my bones.
"When are you going to marry Princess Zelda?" the sister asked from behind. My teeth ground together. I don't normally do that; I find it hurts. Luckily, since I couldn't think of a response, the two moms I'd nodded to earlier rescued me.
"Amy, Bruce," cried one. "Honestly, what have I told you about walking behind horses? It's dangerous! Get back here this instant!" Luckily, Epona only seems to understand Hylian when I'm the one speaking it, so she didn't get any funny ideas about kicking the kids to make their mother's point. The brother and sister pair hung their heads ashamedly and meandered back down the road with the token, "yes, ma." The other boy had also been called off by his mother, and the few remaining dissipated on their own, leaving only the first one. He looked very much like he knew he should leave, but didn't want to.
"Um…well…good bye, Link." I slowed my horse back to a stop and turned to him.
"Your name, kid?" I asked, even though he didn't really strike me as special in any way. I've just kinda always wanted to do that.
"Will… Will Sterling!" he blurted excitedly.
"I'll see you around, then, Will," I replied and nudged my very thankful mount onward. We approached the gate with the sun starting to reach its zenith. My guess was shortly after ten, and as I wanted to see how accurate my internal clock was, the first thing I asked the guard was the time.
"Uh, nearly fifteen after ten," he replied after a few seconds. He had obviously been expecting something else from me.
"Is it, then," I nodded, much pleased with myself. "Well, then, I'm Link, and I've been instructed to meet with Princess Zelda." The two guards at the gate looked confused at each other for a spell, while I patiently sat there on an impatient horse. Actually, her mood was beginning to leak back into mine, making me a little edgy as well. I really wished they'd hurry up. I'd only been riding for a week straight to get here.
"Oh yeah!" suddenly one exclaimed. "I remember…she said something about it…a month ago."
"Oh yeah!" the other agreed then said to me: "Aren't you a bit late?"
"No," I replied testily, "but it looks like I'm going to be."
"Ah, I'm sorry," he bowed an apology. "But we do not remember the details… Well, for starters, can you prove you're Link?"
"Can I prove it?" I repeated, thoroughly taken aback.
"Well, yeah," the other agreed. "We can't just let anyone dressed in green and claiming to be Link through the gates, now can we?" Gain entrance to the castle disguised as Link? The thought had never occurred to me. Then again, I was Link, so I wouldn't be pretending to be him…me…gah.
"Has this happened before?" I asked, not certain if I wanted to know the answer. Of course, if someone had managed to pass himself off as me, I was ready and willing to prove by the edge of my sword that he was indeed NOT me.
"Yes, a couple of times I believe," he nodded. "Both were merely simpletons who wished to gain access to the castle for silly reasons."
"What's so silly about wanting to lay one's eyes on Princess Zelda?" the other guard looked a little offended. I bristled a bit, completely offended by his remark.
"Look, why don't I just sneak into the castle the old fashioned way, and that'll prove that I am myself?" I asked, wondering if it's the act of guarding that removes intelligence from guards.
"What?!" they both shouted in unison, readying their spears. Well, at least they were paying attention.
"Where's Impa?" I rolled my eyes.
"Impa…?" the first repeated then looked at the other, whose eyes also lit up.
"That's right! Impa wanted to be informed when Link arrived!"
"Yeah, she'd know if this is the real one!"
"Hey!" the smarter guard called out through the gate. "You there! Go tell Lady Impa that Link is at the gate!"
"Good show," I muttered as I watched the inner guard salute and run off towards the castle. Honestly, this was getting very irritating. And Epona was just mad. She stomped one hoof after another, making the guards flinch and watch her warily. She seemed to enjoy this, so I didn't say anything to her. Instead, I focused myself in taking a few deep breaths and enjoying the garnishes of what was shaping up to be a beautiful day. The guards continued to stand there alternating between making sure I wasn't doing anything funny and eyeing Epona warily.
"So you made it," Impa remarked as she strode down to the gate. "And you're even clean."
"Before your world crumbles down around you, let me assure you that someone else washed my clothes for me," I said. Malon had seen to the cleaning of my clothes at dawn, probably only at the insistence of her father or Ingo, but hey, they were clean. I had gotten to bathe and had even brushed my hair out. Hey, I hadn't seen Zelda in nearly a year, and that last time hardly counted.
"Come stable your horse and wait for me in the main hall," she said this while opening the gate. "I'll go inform the Princess that you're here."
"Ah!" exclaimed one of the guards, and then he prodded the other. "That's what the real Link looks like!"
"You'd best remember it," I shot over my shoulder hotly. Epona happily picked her feet up into what was practically a prance as we followed Impa up the path to the actual outer walls of the castle.
"You should sit up a bit and try to look more splendid, like your animal," Impa smirked at me.
"Who would I be fooling?" I replied.
"Good point," she nodded. I frowned and pulled my back up out of my usual lax in the saddle and raised my chin. I felt very overdone, since my posture isn't bad, it's just casual.
"Oh, good grief, never mind," she slapped a hand over her eyes. "I just imagined you in shining armor with a knight's crest and billowing cape…" The image didn't sit well with me either, but I did enjoy seeing Impa shudder. I relaxed again as we stopped and waited for the drawbridge to the courtyard to drop.
"You know where the stables are?" she asked.
"To the right when you just enter," I nodded.
"And the main hall?"
"Dead ahead."
"Good," she nodded her approval. "I'll see you in a few minutes." She then proceeded with the trademark Shiekah exit. Although the guards started as if she had just disappeared, I managed to trace her movement with my eyes. She leapt onto the lip of the slowly lowering drawbridge and from there up over the ramparts. I smiled appreciatively. Impa has inspired the greater part of my jumping technique, although I can never hope to jump as fast and gracefully as she does. I think I'm closing in on the height, though.
The drawbridge locked in place and I urged Epona across. I pulled again to a stop and dismounted once we were inside. I looked about me as the drawbridge drew up behind me. The front courtyard was littered with a spattering of guards and workers, and the air was saturated with the scent of horses and over-bred flora. I breathed a sigh; the place hadn't changed a bit. I hope that didn't mean anything bad. I led Epona over to the nearest stablehand.
"Watch yourself," I warned. "She's in a foul mood."
"I see, sir," he bowed as he took the reins. "And how long will you be staying, sir?" I was a little put out by his manner, but I guess he's paid to be overly polite, and how's he to know I don't care?
"I dunno," I shrugged, "but go ahead and untack her."
"Very good, sir." I got myself away from him as quickly as I could, save running. The problem with castle atmospheres is that they're so stifling; everyone is so very easily offended. I did my best to ignore it, and mistakenly almost opened the front door for myself. I nodded my thanks to the doorman, and wondered how much he made for that job as I started inside. I stopped halfway through the door. It's my policy to remain myself no matter where I am.
"Say, how much do you make for standing around all day, opening and closing doors?" I asked him.
"A-are you talking to me, sir?" he blinked, not looking sure if he could make eye contact with me.
"Yeah," I took a step back and stood with one hand on my hip, the way I normally do when I'm just standing around. "I'm just curious."
"Oh…I…ah," he looked about then looked at me. "Well, it's actually a specialist job. You must be well versed in etiquette, because some patrons will be very offended if you don't open the door at exactly the right moment."
"Is that so?" I continued to stand there in front of the open door. "You have to stand and stare a particular way too, I take it?"
"Yes, that is correct," he nodded once and reassumed his statue-like posture. "If you would please step aside if you are not going through." I glanced over my shoulder to see a middle-aged noble looking fellow making his way up the stairs and glaring at me disapprovingly. I don't know what his problem was: the doorway was a good twelve feet wide. Oh, but as he kept coming, he was coming straight at me, with that same glare. I rolled my eyes and stepped out of the way, not at all wanting to explain myself to this jerk. He sniffed and went through without a word.
"So, how much do you make?" I continued my conversation with the doorman, letting the incident go as readily as it came.
"Ah…30 rupees an hour with benefits," he sighed agitatedly. "Now, if you'd please go through the door, sir."
"I'm sorry, I'm in the way," I nodded understandingly. "Thanks, though." I swear, everyone here must have a stick stuck in an uncomfortable place. I meandered into the main hall. It's very high, by the way. I stared at the ceiling for a while then turned my attention to the stained glass windows portraying various knights and heroes that had turned up at some point in Hyrule's history. The color choices were obnoxiously gaudy. I think I preferred the ceiling. Isn't loitering fun? After nearly twenty minutes, I felt a presence enter the room.
"Follow me," Impa said from behind me and began walking down an adjacent hallway. With little choice other than to follow her, I followed her. The halls and stairways we traversed were obviously the ones not open to guests, if I'm any judge, and by now I should be. The dead giveaway was the servants scuttling back and forth, well out of sight of any person who would be offended by the sight of commoners. Hyrule seems to have gotten more stuck up over the years. Presently Impa opened a side door and ushered me into the room it led to. It was a pleasant little parlor that opened out onto a balcony overlooking one of the courtyard gardens. It must have been an extension of the private quarters of the Royal Family. The sun was nearly at its zenith now, in the bright blue sky. I could tell because the feathery curtains were in the constant state of being blown apart by warm breezes. The room itself was in fabulous appearance with something of a melon color motif going on. It was very clean too, all silk and polished stone. I realized with some embarrassment that I had failed to knock the dust from my boots before I came in. Ah, well, maybe I got it off walking down the rest of the halls.
"Sit down and make yourself comfortable," Impa said, heading towards the other door. "It will be a while."
"How long?" I asked in a falling tone. I'd almost been here two hours already.
"She's in an audience," Impa turned back to me and leaned against the wall, as if she didn't especially want to go back to it. Finally, I'm more interesting than something.
"With who?" I asked, taking off my assemblage of lethal and not quite as lethal objects and leaning them against the wall.
"No one she comments about, so therefore no one of importance," Impa shrugged.
"I take it you don't know?" I grinned.
"I don't pay much attention to scavengers, no," she smiled.
"You never know when they'll get seriously feisty," I replied and eased into one of the chairs. It wasn't as plush as the chair at the ranch, but it would do fine. More than fine.
"Which must be why I'm required to attend it," her lip slid into a half-hearted sneer. "I'll see you in a while, Link. I most go and see that nothing tragic befalls our lovely princess."
"If you see action, call for me," I responded while stretching my arms out in front of me. "Or I won't forgive you."
"I wouldn't hold my breath," she turned to me with a raised eyebrow then left me. And so, yet again I was left to wait. Now you must see why, as I rule, I do not come here unless there is an emergency. But now that I was by myself in a room, I had something to do. I dozed. It must have been an hour and a half before I felt someone approaching and roused myself. The door opened as a maidservant pushed in a small cart with drinks on it. I sighed in irritation as she placed them on the main table and one on the small table beside me.
"Her Royal Highness, Princess Zelda will be with you shortly," she bowed and then started away with the cart.
"Hey," I turned about and probably broke every code in the entire damn protocol, judging by the look on the girl's face. Or maybe she just thought I was cute. "How long is 'shortly'?"
"About half an hour, sir," she smiled in such a way as to make me thankful I'm not diabetic. She then wheeled her cart out the door. Half an hour? And they bring me iced tea? This far past lunchtime? I sighed, stood, and went through my packs. No good… All of my provisions were on Epona. I returned to my seat and downed the iced tea. It would hold me for a bit. Hopefully more than a bit, for I didn't particularly want my stomach growling in front of Zelda. I chilled for a while longer, trying not to grow impatient. It's odd; I'm normally one of the more patient kinds, but I was so nervous that the waiting was killing me. Why was I nervous? I really wanted to see Zelda. I always do. But I'm always nervous that I'll do something wrong.
I was ready when the door opened again. The servant bowed and announced Her Royal Highness, and Zelda entered the room. Either I don't see her enough, or she actually does grow more beautiful between every time I see her. Either works for me. I seemed to have caught her on one of her better days, done up in a lavender dress that both hid and displayed the fine curves of her body. Her tiara was present, but most of her other trappings were not, leaving her looking a lot more feminine than usual, which is actually quite a feat. She held her hands in front of her, one folded over the other. I had stood the moment the door opened. Now that she had entered the room, I was down on one knee, my left arm crossed against my chest. I only ever take this posture for Zelda, as she is the only one I've devoted my allegiance to, and the only one I find worthy of it.
"It's been a while, Princess," I said, glancing up from the floor. Her expression, which had been strictly business-like when she entered the room, softened significantly, almost to the point of tears.
"At ease, Link…" she spoke, her voice still ringing out clear although she was speaking softly.
"As you wish," I stood and smiled at her.
"You've gotten taller again," she remarked through a smile of her own. Now that it was brought to my attention, I found that I had indeed gained a couple of inches on her yet once more since the last time we'd seen each other. I was almost a full head taller than she. Too bad it doesn't mean I've finally crept over that line of average height.
"You haven't remained unchanged yourself," I replied.
"No, I suppose not," she looked at me distantly, as if comparing my face to some other. I wondered how insightful I was being. Things are never quite what they seem around Zelda, and yet they are always just that.
"So…" I rubbed at my nose. "Why'd you want to see me?"
"Oh," she looked out the window, then back at Impa, whose entry I had completely failed to notice. She closed the door. Zelda turned back to me, her long golden hair elegantly trailing the movement of her head. "Would you have a seat?" I returned to the previous chair, and she took a seat across from me. For a while, she sat there staring off into nowhere with her hands folded beneath her chin. I noticed the subtle glow emanating from the back of her gloved right hand and wondered if her Triforce piece was glowing because mine was so close or because she was using it. She did look very thoughtful. I stole a glance at Impa. The loyal guardian was wearing a grim expression, which added to my suspicion that something was up. Something important.
"I've been dreaming these past seven years," Zelda suddenly, yet gracefully, sat up and locked her eyes on mine. "I've been dreaming someone else's life through someone else's eyes. But they were my eyes. I've seen terrible things and horrible mishaps. I've seen blatant stupidity. My own." At this I was taken aback, and since she continued to stare at me without a word, I spoke up, barely daring to believe what I feeling led to:
"Through Sheik's eyes…"
"And then through my own," she nodded. "I saw what almost happened so closely that it did." I looked away for a moment, trying to let this sink in before I questioned the meaning behind it.
"I thought…" I trailed off and returned my gaze to her eyes. They were gentle and understanding at the moment, which was strange for her. "I thought only Navi and myself remembered."
"The Triforce also remembered," Zelda said. "And it told me. Link, I—"
"Don't say anything," I cut in, almost harshly. Memories were trickling through my brain. I had never understood the whole thing. It hurt my head, so I never bothered to think about it. Zelda and I… we'd been so close after we completed the seal on Ganondorf. And she sent me away. The seven years I had slept, and then awoken…I thought they were mine. I didn't think they existed anymore, except in the back of my mind. I thought I had erased it. But now Zelda held those memories…what did that mean?
"Maybe I don't understand the way you see it," she tried talking again.
"Zelda," I looked back at her, trying not to loose my cool. "That was a long time ago for me."
"You don't wonder any more?" Zelda stood and wandered over to the window. "I thought you would."
"Why should I? It's all beyond my reach. You know what happened to the Ocarina of Time."
"You're very right, Link," she looked back at me in surprise. For a moment I thought she was calling me a simpleton, but then I realized that I must have said something that reflected truth. "I finally know what happened to the Ocarina. It's sealed in the future, beyond our reach. But what worries me… is that the future can come back to the past."
"So, you're saying several thousand years in the distant future, Ganondorf is going to break out, find that Ocarina, and come back to haunt us…tomorrow, maybe?"
"That could happen, yes." I thought about it a second.
"Okay," I shrugged. "He'll be trying to change his own past, but I'll just get that Ocarina from him and change his fu…wow, that got messy quickly."
"The Ocarina of Time is not in our time at all," Zelda shook her head. "And it's not in our future either."
"Then what are you worried…oh. Are you saying that the future I prevented is going on without me?"
"What, time revolves around you?" she tried to hide her smile behind her hand. "Yes, of course it is."
"Oh, what's happening, then?"
"I don't know," she began to pace a little. "The Triforce's recollection stops when yours does. It's a separate stream of time now…"
"With no Link in it," I said, mostly to annoy her, but also because it kinda bothered me. It was too weird. Everybody has an alternate time stream double but me and, I guess, Navi. "But what are you worried about? If Ganondorf goes back to the past, it will be that past, not ours."
"But there's a hazy area in time…" she shook her head. "That strange period of time when Ganondorf should have already destroyed the castle, but you came out of the Sacred Realm first…The Triforce of Wisdom too is worried what might happen there, and what it would mean if…" She'd lost me, and frankly, I didn't want to catch up. It was indeed a weird moment in the rehistorization of history, to be sure. I was stuck back into my original time before I had opened the Door of Time. I had all of the sacred stones, but they were not in the keys, they were in my pocket. Hyrule Castle still stood, King Harkinian still lived, and Ganondorf and the Ocarina of Time had disappeared. Ganon and Ganondorf are in this time, sealed in the Evil Realm, and I'd guess they know how they got there, especially since the people Ganon possesses always refer to me as "Hero of Time." If you ask me, it's that whole seven years that are strange.
Zelda was still talking about time rifts and such, and how the Triforce of Wisdom and she were worried over it. I looked at the back of my hand. It was glowing slightly. The Triforce of Courage never says anything to me, not even subliminally. Unless it was the Triforce just then that was telling me that if something were going to happen, it naturally would have happened by now.
"I'd've been almost eleven when he must have shown up and there's no way I was strong enough to beat him," I told her.
"What?" she looked at me, startled.
"Zelda, it would've happened already," I smiled reassuringly. "Tell that Triforce piece to chill out. There are no worries in this corner." I waved the back of my hand at her.
"That's because your and its job isn't to perceive danger, but to deal with it," she retorted. My stomach growled before I got a chance to say anything for myself. She began laughing behind her hand. "Are you impatient because you're hungry? I would have thought you wouldn't have put food over a serious situation."
"Leave my stomach out of this," it was my turn to retort. "I just can't believe you're getting so worked up about something that not only is well out of your hands, but hardly even has a chance of even getting into your line of sight. Trust your doppelganger to know what she's doing and carry on with your actual problems." To my absolute surprise, she sat down in her seat and looked ashamedly at the floor. After a few minutes of dead silence, I was beginning to think I might have done something wrong. I stood and walked towards her, where she remained slumped in her chair.
"Look…" I started. "I didn't mean to be harsh…I just… I…"
"You have a point," she looked up at me, her expression yet again soft. "Just because I bear the Triforce now does not mean that its problems are my own. Thank you, Link."
"I…ah, you're welcome," I scratched the back of my head. "Anytime."
"I'll hold you to that," she smiled then stood, straightening her skirt. "Would you like to join me for lunch?"
"Yes," I blinked and nodded.
"Then follow me," she started walking towards Impa in that captivating pace of hers that seems to require no exertion whatsoever. But I wasn't quite ready to let myself be captivated. Here's the proof that I've grown up: I've come to recognize when someone is pulling the wool over my eyes.
"Uh…wait a minute, Zelda," I cocked an eyebrow at her. She looked at me, her face practically expressionless. I continued. "Ah…you're just going to let something that was bothering you so much go like that? Just because I said something?" It may have just been me, but it seemed very unlike her…
"It's only been baffling me for a while," she shook her head. "I'm not used to not being able to see the end of things, I suppose. But you're right, when for all I know the consequences I see could take place in a world that has nothing to do with me, why should I bother my head so much. I have more pressing issues to attend to." There it was: she admitted that there was something else. But as she did, she gave me one of those "in due time" looks. I kept my questions to myself.
"Whatever you say, Princess," I replied, and walked over to my weapons.
"You can leave those—"
"I never leave a room without them," I cut her off again. The way she clenched her fists revealed that she was not used to being interrupted and was finding she wasn't fond of it. Ah, yes, Zelda. Growing up isn't easy, now is it? In the corner of my eye, I saw that Impa was indeed very much amused. I pulled the strap tight and turned to face the Princess. "There."
"Very well," she spun on her heel. "Now, follow me."
"Yes, your Highness."

End of Chapter 3. Chapter 4 coming up shortly. In the meantime, you may amuse yourself by reviewing!