Chapter 7 – Fire

From what the people of Ordon could see, Link was slowly getting back to normal once more—rather, as normal as he had been since he had returned home. He still didn't talk much about his adventures with the villagers, but at least he was talking again. When he was alone, they saw that he would grow depressed. His depression would go away once he was in the company of others.

Rusl explained to Ilia what happened that day when Link collapsed. Angered by her father's actions, she and Rusl both gave him a thorough scolding. The mayor formally apologized to Link immediately. Link gratefully accepted the apology, and at that moment, slowly began to recover.

Over two months had passed since then, and the first signs of winter were beginning to show with the morning frost and the colder air. The children played outside less due to the cold, but they would still visit Link at his place on his days off. He'd invite them in, make some hot food for them, and they would tell each other stories, both true stories and fiction.

One day, Link was working at the ranch with Fado. As they were herding the goats, snow began to fall. They both decided to call it a day early and got the goats back inside the stables. They made sure they had enough food and warmth, then left to go home. On Link's way home, he was stopped by the children.

"Hey, Link!" called out Talo. "Can we hang out at your place for a while?"

"Pretty please, Link?" pleaded Beth. Colin simply nodded his head quickly while Malo remained indifferent, as usual. Link smiled, then nodded.

"Sure," he agreed. "I'll make us some hot chocolate." The children cheered and eagerly followed him to his house. Once they were all inside, the children sat down on the rug by the fire while Link prepared the drinks. "I'm surprised you guys don't want to play in the snow."

"Not enough of it has fallen yet," complained Talo. "But once there's enough on the ground, you should make snowmen with us!" Link looked up at the ceiling and smiled.

"It's been a while since we've done that, hasn't it?" he asked rhetorically. "We had a pretty mild winter last year." Link chuckled to himself.

"Dad said you went to Snowpeak Mountain during your adventures," noted Colin. "Couldn't you have made a snowman while you were there?" The children looked at him eagerly, hoping to finally hear one of his tales of his adventures. Link looked at the mugs of hot chocolate that he had prepared thoughtfully for a moment, then smiled slightly.

"I didn't even think about that," he admitted. "But…I did do something a bit more thrilling." The children grew very excited.

"Ooh! What did you do!? Hmm!?" inquired Beth.

"Tell us! Please?" begged Colin. Link passed out the mugs, then sat down on the rug with them as he took some sips of his own drink.

"Well…I went sledding with two yeti's," explained Link. "I raced against them, actually. Yeto, the larger one—and I mean, large! He was seriously about half the size of the room we're in right now." The kids' jaws dropped in awe. "Anyway, he was a funny guy, and quite easy to beat."

"I figured he would go a lot faster, since he was so much more bigger," pondered Malo. Link shook his head.

"I was a bit more aerodynamic than he was. His wife, Yeta, was a whole other story. She's about the size of the mayor, maybe a little bigger. She was really fast! It took me a couple of tries before I could beat her. I finally learned her secret."

"What was it?" asked Colin.

"She was taking a quicker route. However, that route was a lot more dangerous than the path Yeto and I originally took."

"Did you go on that one at all?" breathed Talo. Link grinned, then nodded. "Weren't you scared?"

"Kind of, but after going on it a second time, it was quite fun."

"Can you take us sledding there someday?" pleaded Talo. Link shook his head.

"That's not a place for a pleasure trip," he stated. "It's very dangerous, and very cold. I'm surprised I didn't get sick while I was there." Link finished his drink, then got up and looked out the window, smiling. "Speaking of snow, it's already sticking on the ground." The kids let out excited gasps and ran to the window where Link was standing, eagerly looking out it.

"Do you think that's enough to make a snowman at all?" asked Colin excitedly.

"I can still see patches of grass," moaned Talo.

"You've gotta wait a little longer, Talo!" scolded Beth. "Quite being so impatient!" As the children squabbled over the snow, Link just looked on, smiling. After a bit, he started to do something that nobody had heard him do in a long time—laugh. It was small, but it was still present. The children stopped what they were doing and listened to their hero's laugh. They quickly got excited. "Link, you're laughing!"

"We've gotta tell our parents! They'll be so happy!" exclaimed Colin. They quickly ran out the door. Colin stopped and looked over his shoulder at Link, smiling. "We'll be back, don't worry. And when we get back, could we make a snowman together?" Link smiled and nodded without saying at word. Once the door was shut and the children were gone, Link started to clean up the dirty mugs. He brought them to the sink and began washing them.

His cleaning quickly got interrupted when he heard a loud crashing noise come from his roof. He quickly turned around and looked up in surprise to see five Bulbins crash through the ceiling, debris falling everywhere. Link cursed himself for leaving his weapons on the opposite side of the room. The Bulbins quickly charged him. Link rolled through their formation and darted for his sword. One Bulbin slammed its club into Link's back, knocking him down. Another one grabbed Link's sword and threw it toward the basement opening. It teetered on the edge before it fell all the way down. Link pushed himself up and grabbed the club his attacker was using, ripping it from the monster's hand. He swung at his enemies, knocking them back and causing some damage, but not enough to kill them.

"Darn it!" he shouted. "Don't these guys ever give up!?" Things soon took a turn for the worse. The sole archer in the group lit an arrow on fire and shot it at the door, causing it to catch on fire. Link's eyes widened in horror as he saw the fire quickly start spreading around his home. He then glared hatefully at the Bulbins. He let out a loud battle cry and began attacking all of the monsters relentlessly. Somehow, he was able to kill the monsters, but not soon enough to get out of the house before all of his exits were blocked. Smoke quickly began to fill his home as more flames erupted. Link covered his nose and mouth with his hand and coughed violently. He could hear people shouting outside. He tried to get to the ladder to climb up higher, but the second floor area collapsed, blocking his path. A flaming piece of the roof soon collapsed as well, but this time onto Link. He let out a pained scream upon impact, then collapsed. His vision began to get blurry, then dark. The last thing he saw before he lost consciousness was a slim, dark figure appear in his burning home and come towards him.

Rusl quickly finished off a few more Bulbins that had waited outside of Link's burning home. He caught his breath and looked fearfully at the fire. He quickly looked at the children, Fado, Jaggle, Haunch, and Mayor Bo, who were trying to put the fire out with buckets of water from the stream in the village. Ilia had grabbed Epona and guided her away from the fire toward Ordon Spring. The other women were told to remain in the village and get first-aid supplies and a bed ready for Link, with hopes that he would make it out alive.

Rusl's attention quickly went to the large tree by the gate to the village. He ran over to it once he saw two figures teleport in. The tall, dark figure was holding an unconscious Link in its arms. The figure gently set Link down against the tree and checked him over. Rusl sighed in relief once he saw that Link was alive, but quickly frowned once he saw that he was shivering violently. The figure quickly took off its cloak and put it around Link, trying to keep him warm. Rusl got a better look at the figure and his eyes widened slightly in realization.

"You…You're…" was all Rusl could muster. Ilia quickly ran to the group by the tree, seeing that Link had gotten out of his burning home. Ilia skidded to a stop and stared at the newcomer.

"Who…Who are you?" asked Ilia. The figure, a woman, looked at Link, who had stopped shivering, then looked at the two standing before her.

"My name…is Midna."