The calm darkness was interrupted by a voice off to the distance, a voice that was both familiar, and yet foreign at the same time. Trying to pinpoint its source, Link found himself glancing left to right, up and down, but failing in his attempt as the dark seemed to envelop everything.
"It's no use, now quit looking around and listen to me!" Whoever was speaking was clearly distressed, almost begging for Link to listen. "I don't have much time, so listen to every single word I say. I told you we'd see each other again but I didn't expect it to be this soon and, in a way, I apologize for breaking the peace in your mind. But things aren't as they seem anymore, Link. He's back, but not where you would expect him to be. It's not a place anyone's ever gone before! I don't know how you'll get here from where you are, but please, promise me you'll look for a Mirror. You know which one I'm talking about so hurry! I will meet you in the Secret Realm." There was a pause, then a frightful scream.
And then a shattering noise, like a piece of glass breaking into a million pieces, unable to be put back together again.
Link's eyelids flew open and his muscular frame shot up from the bed. Panting, he wiped the cold sweat from his forehead and looked around the room, peering into every corner as though some unwanted foe was lurking, waiting for him. As soon as he was sure of his own safety, Link slowly settled himself down back onto his bed and closed his eyes once more, keeping his body still. But his mind was active, searching for explanations that could reveal the significance of the dream. Whose voice was that? The Mirror? The Secret Realm? With the rising sun gently stroking his face, Link found no answers to his questions and came to a conclusion: He must go see Zelda. Perhaps she would know.
Perhaps she had had the same dream.
When nine o'clock struck, Link stepped out of his modest Hyrulian abode and began to make his way towards the castle. This day, he did not nod his head towards old man Rurik as a morning greeting (which left the elder genuinely confused at such uncharacteristic behavior), nor did he stop by Ms. Armena's Book Shop to examine the books (which left the lady just a little bit insulted), but he continued towards Hyrule Castle, head up and with a sturdy walk. A local girl stopped to offer him some flowers in a basket (while also 'accidentally' spilling a bit of cleavage), but immediately ceased to smile when the poor lady realized that the warrior had no interest in her and that she, like many others, would not get to see the skin lay under the blue doublet he was wearing. And so on, the many inhabitants around town who saw Link that morning were curious as to what exactly caused this foreign and uncharacteristic manner in the Hero of Time.
After what seemed like an eternity, the Hero arrived at the palace. Running a hand through his blond hair, Link tilted his head up towards the top of the palisades.
"Oy!" he hollered, cupping his mouth with his hands, "Anyone up there?"
"Aye sir!" replied a deep voice followed by the image of a man in armor with an uncommonly large nose that added a comical element to his stern face, "What brings you here?"
"If I may have a few words with Her Highness. It really is quite urgent as I sense something is gravely wrong and it would be preferable if I could meet with her in person."
"Certainly, sir. The Princess will be happy to see you. It has been a while."
Link's thin lips stretched across in a smile. Indeed, it had been a while.
"Could you move any faster, Roy?" Link taunted the guard who had disappeared behind the palisades. As if on cue, the moat began to lower and was soon laying at Link's feet.
"Could you be any more patient, sir? Getting old doesn't exactly work wonders on a soldier!"
"Oh, an excuse? From a guard of Hyrule?" teased Link, grinning from ear to ear at the sentry that stood in front of him, who was holding his spear up with pride.
The sentry dropped his spear a little then, grumbling, walked back into the castle. "Young people these days..."
She hadn't changed at all.
As Zelda quickly walked towards him, Link felt his heart flutter the way it always did when he saw the Princess. But he immediately controlled the butterflies, forcing them to fly in formation just in time as Zelda wrapped her arms around him, and he around her.
"You haven't changed at all," Zelda told him with a radiant smile on her sweet face.
Funny, Link had just been thinking that. "Well I hope you mean that in a positive way," he replied.
Zelda laughed her song-like laugh, swinging her long golden hair as she took his hand and led him towards the Castle library. If Link had his way, he would make sure she never let go.
"You're rather silly sometimes," she said to him as they entered the library, "Please, take a seat."
Link willingly installed himself in an armchair and proceeded to take in the room. A fire burnt to his left, giving warmth and light to the library which, without the fire, might have been cold and dreary. Stacks and rows of books surrounded him and Zelda, as both took a moment to take in each other's presence.
"Well," began the Princess, "I was informed that you needed to talk to me about something."
She didn't seem the least bit concerned and was flipping through the pages of a newly bound book, her long, pale fingers exploring each and every surface. But one look at Link let her know that the Hero hadn't just arrived to merely greet her.
"There was a dream," Zelda's pointed ears seem to lift, "A voice was talking to me, urging me to listen. I can't for the life of me figure out who it was, the darkness was too heavy."
"Something about Him coming back...Finding a Mirror...and a Secret Realm."
At the last two words, Zelda sat up slightly. But however small her action was, Link observed the movement, and he continued, voice low, and in anticipation.
"I'm assuming you know about the Secret Realm. Don't you?"
There was a long, pregnant pause before Zelda spoke again. She had ceased playing with the book in her hands and instead clutched it tightly. Her whole body tensed up.
"I know of it, but I don't know much about it," she replied, her voice almost a whisper.
"Well, until a few hours ago I had no knowledge that it even existed. Zelda, what do you know?"
The Princess rose up from her chair and walked towards a nearby bookshelf. Link watched as her thin frame gradually mounted each rung of the ladder, up and up towards the top shelves. He stood at the ready in case something should cause her to fall. Fortunately, there was no need for that as Zelda returned, down the ladder with a very heavy book resting in her arm. Zelda walked over and sat on the arm of the chair Link was on. She flipped open to the middle of the book and, after scanning the page for a few moments, placed her finger on one specific passage. "There," she motioned.
"'The Secret Realm is a land that has never been explored by any mortal. Legend has it that it was created by the three Goddesses Din, Farore, and Nayru as their own abode as they oversaw the creation of the land of Hyrule. The Goddesses abandoned this Realm as soon as Hyrule was formed, never returning to it again. While this Realm is inaccessible from Hyrule, it is rumored that there is a world from which one can attempt to enter the past home of the Goddesses. But upon leaving their Realm, the Goddesses fortified the entrance, leaving only a few keys to entering the Realm. Why? Legends tell us that entrance to this Realm not only grants one unlimited power that when put in the wrong hands, can harm all those in Hyrule and, ultimately, bring about the end of the land.'"
Link cradled his head in one of his hands as he frowned and gazed at the fire. "Ganondorf wants to enter this Realm...From what you've read that doesn't sound good at all."
Zelda closed the book and closed her eyes. "You need to be gone again, don't you?"
"I need to find the entrance to this Realm. I need to stop Ganondorf. We both have no idea of what he wants to do, but it can't be good," Link noticed the expression on Zelda's face, "What's wrong? It's something I need to do."
"I know," replied Zelda rising from where she sat, "I just get so worried. I get anxious because it's as if any moment you might...well..."
A little ray of joy shot through Link's heart. "You think about me..."
"All the time," said Zelda, "I don't know what I'd do if I lost such a dear friend as you."
Friend. Link decided to change the subject.
"The voice mentioned a Mirror," he continued, "But the question is where and what exactly this Mirror is and does."
"I'll look through all the books for you," Zelda immediately told him, "And maybe whoever it was speaking to you will return to your dreams tonight, giving you clues, maybe."
"I hope," replied Link, "I best be going. Thank you very much Zelda."
There was a pause as he walked towards the door.
"Anything for you," piped up Zelda. Link turned, and both smiled at each other, with bright blue eyes and midnight blue ones meeting each other in a sort of deep connection not many in their lives get a chance to experience. Reluctantly, the Hero of Time turned and proceeded down the corridor.
"Had a good stay sir?" yelled Roy from where he stood before.
"Yes, thank you very much," replied Link giving the guard a polite smile.
"Had a fun time with the Princess?" proposed the guard, winking.
Link pursed his lips as he walked across the moat. "None of your business."
As soon as Link was out of earshot, the guard could no longer help himself.
"Young love," he said to himself.
The voice was back again. This time, the darkness was a little more bearable, but the voice was just as pleading as before.
"You need to help, Link!" it said, "Come to the Realm!"
"Where do I need to go?" shouted Link in frustration, "Tell me everything!"
"The Mirror!" Something was striking whoever was behind the voice as it yelped in pain.
"Where?!" yelled Link, almost as distressed as the victim.
"Go see the Zoras!" it shrieked, "SAVE ME!"
Then the glass shattering, again.