Chapter 3

Link stared over the valley. He was older, grown up, and stared out into an open plain that stretched for what seemed leagues. At his side, a bright and cheery blonde girl stared out with him, putting her hands around his arm and resting her head gently against his shoulder. How soft her touch was.
"I could stand here with you all day," she said. Her voice was sweet, like the bright sun showing on golden fields and setting the river ablaze with its light. Link looked at the girl, feeling something for her, but unsure what.
"It's getting late," Link said, "we should head back."
As he said it, the bright twilight-painted sky turned grey with the shadow of great billowing clouds, bringing an unsettling darkness upon the once great land. The golden fields went black, the blazing river dimmed to its cold truth, and a great wind rose up and bit at Link's back. He turned as he heard the screech, seeing a shadow descend with wings outstretched and catching the current. The massive black eagle swooped, snatching up the fair maiden in its talon and flying off over the blackened and grey fields. Link on instinct drew a gleaming sword, its blade white like fire and ice as one. It gleamed with the fire of a rekindling hope, and Link charged down the hillside after the eagle. He bellowed after her.

Link bellowed as he sat up, panting and gasping in the darkness. His eyes adapted, searching the darkness of the hut. Nothing. It was just a dream. Link felt his face, the reality of him aging still fresh in his mind.
Was it…really all just a dream? Link rubbed his eyes and yawned. It felt far too real to be just a dream. But he sat there in the darkness of the house, unaware of others present.

"Good morning, sleepy-head."

Link recognized the voice immediately. Saria drew a curtain aside, letting light stream in through the window onto the floor. It wasn't enough light, but Link was blinded all the same.
"Saria," said Link tiredly. "What time is it?"
"Almost noon," she answered. Link rubbed at his eyes and the rolled the blankets off him. He got up, yawned, and took off to the Cascades to wake up.

The Cascades was a small waterfall, where Kokiri went to bathe in morning and evening; before and after bed. It was shared by all, though males and females shared it respectively so to give the other their privacy. The water was still cool from the morning, and Link scrubbed himself with a rough piece of bark from a nearby dead tree. After drying off and getting dressed, Link returned again to the village.

Now, Kokiri live freely in the forest. They came and go as they please in a free-form community doing as they wish and helping the village as they see fit. This particular day, Link was returning to his tree house, when Old Fare stopped him.

"Oh, Link," she called to him. "Link, dear! Could help me out?"
Link skid to a halt, spraying dirt and grass into a mud-wrestling contest between two boys. He twisted his body and bound back towards Fare.
"What is it, Fare?" he asked.
"I'm supposed to gather mushrooms for the stew tonight, and my back isn't what it used to be," she explained. "Could you be a dear to gather some for me?" Link took the basket out of her hands acceptingly.
"I like to pick the mushrooms in the south-west, near the entrance to the Sacred Meadow," she continued. "It shouldn't take an hour, dear."
"I'll get them for you, Fare," said Link. "You sit down and have some of that tea Lado gave you, alright?"
"Oh, bless you, you are a wonder," said Fare and went back inside.

The Sacred Meadow lay far south and west of the village, a clearing of trees and a small labyrinthine path into the ruins of the Old Forest Castle. Kokiri were forbidden by order of the Deku Tree to never go near that place, under any circumstances. It took Link not even an hour to reach the entrance to the Meadow by tree jumping. The sun passed its noontime mark and Link was well into his labors of gathering mushrooms.

Link was unaware he was being watched well until a twig snapped. Almost on instinct, Link dropped the near-full basket of mushroom and spun on one foot to face the threat. All was still.

"Hello?" Link called. Nothing answered.
The time is coming.
There was no voice. But Link heard it.
"Who's there? Who are you?"
You already know that. You just don't know it.
"This isn't funny," said Link, keeping his gaze fixed on his surroundings as he replaced the mushrooms in the basket.
The time is coming.

Any presence Link felt in that place was gone now. He hurried to fill the basket and took off back towards the village to have the mushrooms prepared for the soup.
"Oh Link, these are wonderful!" said Fare delightfully. "Thank you very much, my boy." And Link was off once more. The noon dragged into evening, and the sun began its descent. Time was drawing near to the duel.

Link laced up his boots carefully, his hands shaking as he tied them. Sounds of light footfalls came from the door, and he looked up at Saria.
"Nervous?" she asked, observant of Link's shaking hands. Link nodded in response.
"I guess so," he answered. Saria crossed into the small hut, taking a seat beside Link.
"Well it is your first time," she said. Link shook his head.
"No, I've been nervous lots of times."
Saria laughed.
"You know what I mean," she added when she managed to catch her breath. Link finished lacing up his boots and stood. Taking his wooden sword into hand, he looked to Saria and bowed his head. Saria had to admire the fire that burned in his eyes, the resolve he had to take on the village bully and prove he wouldn't be pushed around.

The High-Bridge was a long bridge that linked the tree-huts facing parallel to either side of the village. At the northern side of the bridge, Link stood with sword in hand. Across the thirty-foot bridge stood Sore, surrounded by his boys. They took five steps respectively onto the bridge. Leaping onto the center was Mido, looking from one end to the other.
"This is a contest between Link and Sore," Mido began. "The rules are the first contestant to push their opponent off the bridge wins. Other forms of victory count if the opponent surrenders, or is knocked off the bridge. Do both parties understand these rules?" Link and Sore nodded respectively. Both took their stances. Mido called for the contest to begin.

Link's speed was unmatched, save for Saria, in tree-jumping, and on the ground he was no slouch. He and Sore met almost mid-point on the bridge, Sore guarding against Link's sudden initiative. Both traded parries in the fight, Sore gaining ground swiftly. He pushed Link back, a wild tenacity in his eyes. Link's defense shifted, Sore showing a sudden change in tactic that Link used to his advantage. Link guarded against a vertical strike, spinning and bringing himself about to strike, the tip of his wooden sword catching Sore's tunic in the strike. Taken aback, Sore realized he lost the momentum, and was soon on the retreat.

Link felt strange. It was like he had done that spin before, but he didn't. As if it just came like a suppressed memory resurfacing. Link continued the forward assault, Sore's weapon sundering and flying into the crowd below. A gasp of excitement sounded, and Link lifted Sore off the bridge with a swing. Link was sure to win this.

Author's Commentary: I should have uploaded this earlier. I'm fairly happy with the way this chapter turned out, especially with the dream at the beginning. I think it's enough foreshadowing for people to see what can happen, at the same time leave enough of it for the reader to guess. I also kind of enjoyed writing Link and the mysterious voice conversation, giving enough obscurity to make readers wonder about it. My favorite line of all was Link saying he's been nervous lots of times, as that little exchange between him and Saria is an homage to the awesome movie Airplane. And if you wonder why I ended the chapter in the middle of the fight, it was kind of because I didn't want to make the chapter too long.