A/N: Well… Here I am after three long years… I never thought I'd pick this up again. I had every intention of never finishing this, to be honest. But… as fate would have it, I decided to log in to my old account… just for shits and giggles. Much to my sheer jaw-dropping amazement, people were still reading this little project three years in the making, and still leaving reviews as recent as a week or so ago. I was moved. And inspired. So I picked up my pen and wrote something down, and come up with this, trying to remember where I left off and remembering/reinventing the ideas I had for this project.

The result was Chapter 8: Into the Void. A small filler piece, having little or nothing to do with the canonical events of Ocarina of Time, the world in which the story takes place. It does, however, set the sage for a turning point in the tale. And, a tale that was originally supposed to be about Dark Link actually becomes more about Dark Link and less of a novelization of our favorite blonde elf doing stuff from the game or random AU crap I made up. And I hope you enjoy it as much I've enjoyed brushing the dust off a relic and renewing it along with rekindling my passion for writing.

I can't thank you all enough. It means more to me than you realize.

The main purpose here is to get myself back in the game, and re-teach myself how to write and use the interfaces, as well as to let long-faithful readers know that I'm still alive and still creative, so I apologize in advance for this chapter having nothing to do with… well… nothing at all. Without further ado…

Chapter 8: Into the Void

He didn't think it would work. Staring at the quiet, decadent stone pedestal that was the final resting place of his sacred weapon, the very idea seemed ridiculous. He was dealing with unknown and untouched powers. Who knew what kind of terrors and repercussions he might endure by meddling in such anomalies? Surely this power must be used respectfully and with the proper fear? Time, Link knew, better than anyone, is a dangerous thing. It would be wiser to let matters be and to pursue his quest undistracted instead of chasing ghosts and wild promises.

He hadn't known why he agreed to put himself at such possible risk like this. The shadow's face, so desperate and helpless… and vulnerable… Those ruby eyes tugged at his heartstrings, and he danced like a puppet suspended by them. For all his convictions, logic, goals and masculine bravado, he was nothing more than a lapdog begging for a treat when it came to those disturbing, haunting and captivating eyes. He gave an exasperated sigh, cursing himself. He was thinking with his groin and not his head when he agreed to that promise. Or worse yet: his heart, ever bleeding for those weaker and in more need than he. If only his resolve was more hardened, or if his emotional maturity equaled his physical; being an eleven year-old in an adult's body on a "save the world" quest was tough enough as it is without stacking all these extra complications. However, when piled against every other trial and tribulation he'd been thrust into thus far, jamming a blade into a rock and seeing what would happen was rather trivial.

He grunted and glared at the rock, intensifying his will and remembering his courage. The shadow needed his help, and helping others was his deity-given duty. He approached the altar, the hardened leather soles of his boots echoing time and again in the vast empty chamber. He drew his blade, the polished steel singing his name as it emerged into light. How in the name of almighty Din was he supposed to control something that was never meant to be in the hands of mortal men? Muttering a silent prayer to the three sister Goddesses and a quicker one to his holy sword, he thrust the tip of the steel into the pedestal.

The room spun. Light poured out of the altar, flowing like a waterfall in reverse. His world turned to white and emptiness over took him…

A moment later awareness returned to him. His eyes rolled around in his head as he tried to maintain composure. He staggered off the pedestal and fell onto his side with a thud, dropping the Master Sword with a head-splitting clank and clutching his ears in discomfort. His vision blurred, his thoughts disoriented and his stomach nauseous, he let out a pitiful whimper. He was jolted out of his stupor for a fleeting moment by the sound of his voice, significantly different than that of his adult form: higher, softer, and more awkward. He sluggishly drew himself to his feet, fearing he would vomit as the dizzy sensations intensified. He decided it wasn't worth the displeasure just yet, and he haphazardly slumped back onto the cold, glossy stone floor, rolling onto his back and staring into the tall ceiling. He dragged his left hand over his face, trying to wipe away the bad feelings like a thin coat of dirt.

He extended the same hand and blindly grabbed again and again at the floor until he felt the hard metal of the Master Sword against his fingers. He clutched the blade and drew it closer, holding it up to his face. The reflective surface had functioned as a handy mirror on more than one occasion. He gazed at his visage in the steel; neither child nor adult. He carelessly dropped the heavy blade back on the ground and chuckled to himself in sweet satisfaction. He had done it! It took a certain degree of will power and nearly all the magical energies in his body he could spare, but he managed to manipulate his aging, plunging himself three years in the past instead of seven. Now he could find out what event Shadow had been so concerned with in this particular year. But even more importantly he could traverse the catacombs of Kakariko Village in search of these "eyes of truth" needed to continue his long journey.

With a sick groan he sat up, sniffling and sighing as the faintness left him. He decided to try standing once more, though his knees were still shaking and woozy. He would need to get used to another body now, which was shorter and less impressive than his grown-up form. He was lanky and tall, lacking any real muscle tone, and his head and hands seemed unnaturally big; truly an awkward pubescent age for any boy. He shrugged these thoughts off almost as quickly as they came. Link had suffered much worse. Learning how to move in a fourteen year-old body should be simple.

He bent down and grabbed the belongings still in his possession, mostly his childhood tools: boomerang, slingshot, etc. The Master Sword and his shield remained, and the crest of royal house looked vivid and restored. Time had not yet taken its full toll on the sturdy metal, and the colors had not yet faded, ravaged by the seven years of disuse during his long sleep. He slung the leather chest strap and the attached scabbard over his right shoulder and around the left side of his neck, so that it was situated for a lefty swordsman and not a righty. He had to tighten it, his chest size significantly smaller without the large pectorals of his adult body. The thick cured hide felt uncharacteristically close to the blonde's skin.

He looked down and took note of his stark nudity. It made sense. He had clothes as a child, he was fitted for new ones as an adult, but during that transition he had nothing. His child's tunic would be much too small by now, and his adult threads would be much too large. He had no shirt of any kind, tunic or otherwise, no leggings, no underwear, not even a pair of shoes he could wear. In the civilian world he couldn't function without pants, but in the warrior's world, in the dungeon-delving, surviving-in-the-wild world, a good pair of shoes was absolutely vital. Link decided to expedite his needs as a combatant. He needed solid footwear. And fast.

Link was no leatherworker. He could skin any wild animal easily enough, but beyond that he had absolutely no knowledge of the craft. And with even less money in his purse, he was quickly running out of options. The world couldn't wait for him to go hacking through random bushes on one of those miraculous rupee scavenges. Curiously profitable as they were, he just couldn't spare the precious time. How ironic that his journey spanned the space of seven years and he still didn't have enough time. He only had one option…

Steal some.

He hated the thought. It was a criminal act, and he was a symbol of hope and good for the Hylian people, an icon of justice and strength. To commit something as pathetic as petty theft would be a tremendous blow to his image and to the spirits of the people he served. Then again… his heroic exploits wouldn't technically be known for another three years. Nobody knew him now. He was a total stranger with a face no one could recognize… It could be done. And it was for the greater good. As uncomfortable as the idea of theft sat with him, Link decided it was a necessary evil for a just cause. He only hoped that twisted logic would be forgiven by the Goddesses when his judgment came.

Somehow he would have to make his way out of the ruins of Castletown, cross the Hyrule Field and sneak his way into Kakariko Village undetected to "requisition" the goods he needed, all the while barefoot, lacking food and water, and completely nude. This should be fun. Link made a very weary sigh, his eyes asking the world "what else can you throw at me?"

Avoiding capture and attention in the rubble of dead city is less complex than one might think. With most of the city complexes and structures lying in the street, it provides many places to hide, and ReDead's are seriously lacking in the environmental awareness aspect of brain function. All Link had to do was stick to the shadows and remain out of line-of-sight, steering clear of their deathly, paralyzing gaze, until his bare feet pattered their way out of the shattered drawbridge and into the grassy meadows. Being quiet was made even convenient by that fact that the elf had to watch every step he took navigating the mess, taking extra caution not to step on any rusted nails, splintered nails or unusually sharp rocks, and shattered glass. All the things you don't really worry about stepping on when you had a pair of shoes.

The wind came from the north today, as luck would have it. The poor, miserable Link clutched his arms around his chest, rubbing what little biceps he had in an effort to stay warm, reminiscing and yearning for simpler times when all he had to worry about was who he wanted to play with that day. He tried to think "warm" thoughts: about the Sun, about fire, a steaming cup of tea or cocoa, or the rivers of lava flowing through the Fire Temple. The hero though of anything he could to take his mind off the chill breeze. He breathed on his hands to heat them up and went back to rubbing his arms and shoulders, looking down at the dirt and wild grasses that stretched out for miles before him and trying to walk on the softest things he could see. He scowled as he saw his genitals shriveled and shrunken at the cold, and then for the oddest reason started to laugh.

He was so miserable and in a pathetic way that it was funny. Things couldn't possibly get worse. He stopped himself from thinking that thought again, lest it start raining. He though about the goals he had in mind.

"It's OK," he told himself reassuringly. "I may be in dire straits now, but soon I'll be just fine. I'll get me some shoes and some new clothes and everything will be just swell. You'll be just fine, Link."

He mentally apologized to the family he would be stealing from to end up "just fine," wishing them better fortune in the future. But he guessed they would have better fortune anyway if he managed to defeat Ganondorf. Everyone would have better fortune then.

A half-day's trip by horse turned in a full-day's barefoot trudge through the grassy, rolling fields of Hyrule. The tired blonde pressed on, stumbling through the meadows, hungry, thirsty and cold, driven only by sheer force of will as the Sun fell back behind the desert sands far into the Gerudo Valley. The bottoms of his feet were sore and swollen. Still, he pushed forward, ever vigilant and unwavering, until the gates of Kakariko Village were within his sight.

The town's night watchmen were standing like totems at the gate, deterring thieves and other strange folk from trespassing in the peaceful village. Link stayed in the dark of the shadows, away from the flickering lights of their oil torches, and remained unseen. Now was the time to be clever. With a wall of stone on either side of the gate, there was no way he could sneak around. There must be something he could use to creep by. Unlink most of the soldiers he came across in the past, these two seemed alert and not quite so inept. A diversion is what he needed here; some sort of distraction. The elf smirked as the idea struck him.

"Time to pull a 'Sheik," he whispered mischievously to himself, reaching into the small pouch of seeds he used for his slingshot. Nothing like a good flash-bang combination from a Deku nut to disorient your enemies. Small though they were, a handful of seeds should have the same effect as a full nut. His scooped his fingers around a handful of seeds and shuffled them in his palm. He took two deep breaths to ready himself for a mad dash.

"One… Two… THREE!"

Link tossed the seeds at the feet of the guardsmen, flashes of light and deafening cracks erupting one after the other. The guards yelped in shock, shutting their blinded eyes and covering their pounding ears. The hero sprinted through the gate with a speed that surprised even himself, diving into the bushes and the shadowy shades of the large tree just past the gate. He winced as one of the pointed, thick leaves of the brush jabbed him in the genitals, grinding his teeth together to keep from yelping and giving himself away. He shook his head incredulously as his eyes darted left to right, scanning the houses for possible targets. He humphed and started murmuring to himself.

"Link.. What in Nayru's holy name are you doing? Sneaking into Kakariko like some kind of burglar… BAH! You could've just waltzed up and asked for help, it's not like the people around here would turn away a starving naked little boy.

But nooooo… You had to get wrapped in some of insane… espionage… ninja tripe, and result to stealing from the poor just to get your way. You're no hero. You're no better than a common thug… Just admit it, you moron, you're having fun. And that's the only reason you're doing this. It's like one big game of hide-and-seek and you're the only one playing. What kind of screwed up logic got you to this point? You awkward, dirty, pubescent, stinking, low-down, faggy piece of – Oh!" he suddenly remarked, spotting a clothesline hanging from one of the houses that looked most tenuous.

He performed a miraculous, though exceedingly unnecessary diving roll out of the shrubbery, moving with swift, silent grace over the short brick wall and into the backyard of the humble dwelling. From the rack hung a smorgasbord of garments just ripe for the picking, and luck never ceased to favor him, as all their shoes were conveniently placed outside. He immediately and typically snatched the green shirt from the clothesline, along with a tie-on string loincloth and a pair of shorts, before at least lifting a pair of shoes close to his size and slithering away like the snake he was, feeling about as low as he could feel.

Link pulled the shirt over his head first, and he could feel his skin crawl at the number of civil laws he was breaking at the moment. He then fastened the loincloth around his hips, making a frown as the string created what he could only call an "odd sensation" when it settled between his buttocks. He pulled the shorts up around his waist, followed as last by his shoes. Those, sweet, sweet, beautiful, wonderful, spectacular cheap shoes that weren't nearly as fine as his own pair. Link had never been so proud and so relieved to stick his feet into L-shaped sacks of shit made from cowhide.

After ensuring that all his equipment was back in the proper place, he turned and looked over his shoulder at the grand windmill, endlessly rotating, the crown jewel of Kakariko. Only one thing left to do… He pulled out his ocarina and dashed for the mill house, the Song of Storms already beginning to play over and over again in his head. He just came to realize that the "mean kid" who destroyed that man's windmill so long ago was actually him traveling back and forth through time and space. Link found all the loops and connections he came across to be rather mind-blowing.

But above all the extraneous, miscellaneous thoughts that a hero such as Link had throughout the day, only one plagued him constantly: his promise to Shadow. The time was drawing near. Whatever was down there meant a great deal to the pale elf, so much so that it reduced him to tears. It was the hour to focus now. He would shortly be climbing down into the black void beneath the village that was evil enough to be sealed in the near future. He twisted the knob on the door to the mill house and stepped inside, and the old wood screeched on its hinges in protest, as if it knew Link's intent.

He brought the deep blue ocarina to his lips….

END Chapter 8

A/N: *stares at the chapter* Huh…. *stares at it some more* … Hmm… *keep staring at it, a thoughtful look on my face*


*stamps it with an Epic Fail sign*

At first I was really into the dark mood of my old project, thinking it wasn't half bad and there was a lot of potential here. I started off all excited, really into it and writing page after page… and then I stopped and thought about what I was actually writing about, reading it over to myself.

And all I could think was "What a piece of shit!"

This is probably the worst thing I've ever written. It was completely nonsensical, it provided nothing to the characters or the developed plot thus far. I admit that after I thought about how bad it was, it just fell apart and became more and more silly the more I wrote. So silly in fact, that I started acting silly and adding random, "crack" BS and just decided to quickly wrap it up as fast as I could with bland, hurried sentences. As evident in the whole "Link talking to himself in the bushes and getting stabbed in the dick by a sharp plant" scene. You can't tell me that was completely out of character in regards to the way I've written him so far.

Basically rushed it out just to get something out there, nevermind how terrible it was. Similar to the way most video game companies work today. Lookin' at you Capcom.

So… I'm sorry, World, for this piece of shit. I actually thought about naming this chapter "Piece of Shit," but I decided that would be taking it too far, as hilarious as it would be.

But good news, everyone! During the whole time I was destroying my story with this abomination I re-drew the plotline and some of the dialogue and… ya know.. the general story as a whole. So I have actual substance to work with next chapter, and I won't be blowing smoke out of my ass for seven pages.

And for all my complaining and bitching and defying my better judgment I'm still putting this out there for you to read… Now what does that say about me? :/

Yours truly,