Disclaimer: I do not think that Nintendo or Shigeru Miyamoto would be writing fanfics about Legend of Zelda, so I'm obviously not them, meaning I don't own Legend of Zelda.

The Hero Chosen by the Goddesses walked slowly down the streets of the Twilight Realm, his pace not at all rushed. It would appear that he was taking his time to observe the surroundings, yet, in reality, he was hiding his exhaustion. He gazed with unreadable eyes around him, taking in the tall, shadowy buildings, the forlorn palace he had just left, the ethereal horizon that never changed, forever casting the half-shadows of the twilight hour upon the realm, and the smiling, grateful faces of the Twili. They did not really know who he was, only that he was the Hero, chosen to save them. And save them he had.

Zant had been defeated. Now, the time had come to storm Hyrule Castle and rescue Princess Zelda, along with the rest of the land of Hyrule. It was his fate, his destiny as the reincarnation of the Hero of Time. It was inescapable, inevitable, chaining the sixteen-year-old youth to a duty he had been born with. In that way, he was a puppet swinging alone on his string, the puppet-master the Goddesses above.

But even if he wasn't being forced into this, wouldn't the outcome be the same? He knew his own personality quite well, and he supposed that even if he wasn't chained so perfectly to the role of the Hero, wouldn't he still feel obligated to save Hyrule? If he weren't a reincarnation of the Hero of Time, if he weren't the Hero Chosen by the Goddesses, wouldn't he still end up in this position?

Maybe that mind-set of his was yet another trap, devised by the puppet-master who pulled all strings.

The watching eyes of the Twili bored into him, and he suddenly wanted nothing more than to escape this realm. If only those people, the people he had just saved, could stop seeing him as a savior, perhaps he could enjoy their presence more. But no. No, they would always see him as the Hero Chosen by the Goddesses, the Hero whose only purpose was to bring salvation. It seemed to him that to be the Hero meant to bring such happiness to all but the Hero himself.

He didn't mind helping the people. In fact, he enjoyed it. Such was his personality as a selfless person; if other around him were content, to an extent, so was he. And because of that, when he had become the Hero, he had always appeared as a kind, quiet, polite young man, trying his best to stay in the shadows and away from an obtrusive existence.

If Ilia could see him now, she would wonder what had happened to her childhood friend, who used to be a bright, quippy boy with a witty tongue. Although, granted, said tongue was never used to defend himself against a reprimand he deserved, nor against any adult. The person Ilia knew was sensitive, cheerful, understanding friend, who was likable to even people he had just met. Ilia had once told him that he was, "caring and yet, carefree" in everything he did. Compared to the person he had been, he had, really, turned into a completely different person upon standing before the Light Spirit Faron and finding he wore the green tunic of the Hero.

That tunic had been given to him because of the Hero of Time, yet he barely even knew the Hero of Time. He was a mystery to him, and none of the villagers knew, either. Honestly, he hadn't even known that there was such a hero until the Light Spirits had told him so, and even then, there only was the few answers he had squeezed out of Ordona. She kindly told him about how nobody would know the tale because most of it had been lost by time, and nothing more. Whatever that meant. If he was so great, then why didn't anybody know of him?

...But he was almost envious of the unknown status this "Hero of Time" had.

They were still watching him, reminding him even further of the duty he had. He picked up his pace to a brisk trot, making a break for the Mirror of Twilight, but before he could reach it, a Twili woman grabbed his arm. He jerked and shrunk away slightly. Nobody touched him except the Ordon villagers and his partner imp, and he preferred that it stay that way, but how could he deny her? She whispered something, her face drawn and worried and filled with hope at the sight of the Hero, but he couldn't understand her. A pang of guilt shot through him. He could not help her, simply because he could not understand their language, and it tore at him inside.

"She asks if you have seen their ruler, the Twilight Princess," a voice hissed in his ear. He glanced quickly back over his shoulder, and caught a glimpse of shadow vanishing back into his own by his feet. The surrounding Twili didn't seem to have noticed, and the Twili woman in front of him merely repeated what she had said, the musical voice gaining a slight edge of panic.

His glowing blue eyes stared into the orange ones in front of him for a second longer, his mind trying to decide what to do, what to say, then he slowly shook his head. The imp hiding within his shadow gave a small sigh of relief, glad that he had held his promise. She had told him before they left the palace that it was preferred nobody know where she was or that she was actually aiding the Hero himself. But the Twili woman's face fell, and the Hero looked like he might try to take back his answer.

Quickly, he bit his lip and tried to communicate with gestures that the Twilight Princess was probably alright, that she shouldn't worry. The Twili woman seemed to understand to an extent, and she smiled back, although the smile was stained with despair and grief. Then she bowed slightly to him and hurried back to a small Twili child. He assumed that the child was hers, and felt slightly envious of the child. At least this child had parents. He could not remember his, and the villagers had just found him as a toddler curled up in the Ordon spring.

He could feel the imp in his shadow twitching uncomfortably, surrounded by the people she felt she had abandoned, and decided that perhaps he was not the only one feeling pressured by something. Crossing the rest of the distance between him and the Mirror, his boots planted themselves firmly in front of the portal. Then he was weightless, dissolved into Twilight particles that vanished into the clouds.

But Heroes are never weightless. Because, after all, they have the weight of the world upon their shoulders, a weight that threatens to crush whatever poor existence was beneath it.

To the Hero, it is either be crushed, or keep moving forward.

The Hero of Time watched the bustling town below him, blue eyes keen and alert. The rooftops were the perfect places to be for him, so he could carefully watch over the people below. Yet, none of them remembered who he was as the Hero of Time. Technically, none of that happened.

All that had transpired seven years ago was a ten-year-old Kokiri boy had collected the three spiritual stones and solved multiple problems plaguing Hyrule at the same time, then Princess Zelda had warned King Hyrule that Ganondorf planned to overthrow Hyrule after receiving information from a mysterious, anonymous source—namely, him—that she claimed she trusted with her life. That claim had been because she was the sole being—besides his fairy—who remembered exactly what he had done as the Hero of Time. It had taken an entire recount of the events, but she remembered, and he was grateful for that.

And it was a very fortunate that she did remember, because when Ganondorf showed his true colors, Hyrule was ready with an army and an empty cell due to her forewarning. The Gerudo had been captured, imprisoned, and then sealed away by the sages. The young man on the rooftop didn't know where the sages had sent Ganondorf, but hoped that he was somewhere where he couldn't cause any trouble. Personally, he didn't think that Ganondorf could be held back by anything other than the gates of Hell, the gates that would slam shut to those who entered and would never reopen to anybody regardless of any Triforce of Power. But Hyrule had the peace he had worked so hard for, the peace he had bled for, the peace he had traveled through time for. And that was what counted to him.

Even if they didn't really remember him, he would never forget them. Hyrule was the world that he loved. He had grown up within the enclosed area of the Kokiri Forest, and he loved the Kokiri was well, but the world beyond the protection of the Great Deku Tree was where he felt at home. He wasn't even a real Kokiri, merely a Hylian who had been misled for most of his life. The wide, open areas just waiting to be explored, whispering to him that adventure was here, had replaced the Kokiri Forest in its status as home. At least, he hoped that he no longer considered the Kokiri Forest his home.

Hyrule had become so precious to him as he quested for the spiritual stones that he, mentally at only ten years, had accepted a seventeen-year-old physical body and pushed aside the fact that he had missed seven years of his life just so he could destroy Ganondorf. It was him who had turned Hyrule's peace into a thick cloud of fear that settled over everything, smothering all life. It was a scary thought, that only an eleven-year-old child would do such a thing.

It had disturbed Rauru, he had seen from the sage's face, and he was glad that Rauru hadn't known what his thoughts were at the time if the elder sage had been shocked by his mere actions. His first thought when he realized what had happened, where others would break down in the unfairness of it all, had been, Surely I'll be able to fight fairly against Ganondorf now. With this strength, I'll have a fighting chance. Only after that did he frown at the thought of seven whole years of his life being stolen from him. He had gone through the past seven years of his life, having a proper childhood as Zelda had wanted with much appreciation, but he hadn't minded sacrificing what seemed to him such a small price for an opportunity to save Hyrule.

Of course, as the Hero, he had felt the pressure. If he failed, if he died, if he even so much as sprained an ankle, then Hyrule would never again see a smiling face. But most of the time, all he had to do was to look at the hopeful face of a Hylian and find renewed strength. The unconditional trust that they gave him was depressing at times; after all, to betray such trust would be unbearable to both the Hylians and the Hero. But such pressure could make him go on when he thought that he couldn't. Such pressure would have been depressing, but with the thought of finding Zelda, it had turned into a driving force.

Even after all these years, he still harbored something for her way down in his heart. He was a commoner, she was a princess, but that didn't stop him from sneaking into the castle garden every month to share a few laughs with his childhood friend. She was possibly one of the reasons why he had been able to keep walking forward on his quest to overthrow Ganondorf seven years ago. To find her...and protect her from Ganondorf. He had no idea how she saw him, but he was vaguely aware that he wished, deep down, that perhaps they were more than just friends.

"Hey!" He was jerked out of his thoughts by the cry of a fairy, and he realized that he had been totally unaware of what was happening. His blue eyes snapped and locked onto her as she floated at his side. "Look! Right down there! Honestly, be more alert..." So he peered down over the edge of the shingles into a small alleyway. A small girl, finely dressed, clutched a matching purse to her thin chest while she trembled in fear. The whole outfit she wore was frilly and girly, but she was a person being threatened, so he didn't exactly care. He could clearly see the rusted dagger in the scrawny man's fingers, and his eyes narrowed. Without hesitation, he jumped off the two-story building and landed easily on his feet, the fairy trailing behind him. Placing himself between the girl and the man, he stared at his opponent with steely coolness.

Only then did he check himself for weapons. He had none of the items that he had collected during his quest, because he had either supposedly never laid hands on them or he had outgrown them already. However, he had kept the magic pouch that rested under his shield, even though there were no items to carry in it anymore. It was useful for bottles, but nothing more than that. The masks from Termina were also there, as well as many artifacts he'd collected there, but he never used them anymore.

At least there was the fine sword he had bought recently to replace the three others had that he had used until they were beyond repair or careful treatment. He cared for each sword as a father would a child, yet they could never hold up against the strain he put them through. The trusted Hylian Shield, though, he wouldn't be discarding anytime soon. After all, he had just barely grown into it a year ago.

These weapons weren't exactly essential to deal with such a petty robber, but he felt naked without a sword on his back. It was something he'd kept with him throughout his entire life in Hyrule. The green trademark of the Kokiri was another thing he had kept with him, along with his hat. New clothes were necessary as he grew up through the years he had missed, but he never got a different style of clothing. It was always the same green tunic, the same boots, the same leggings, the same hat. He didn't care what anybody said about his tunic, or the pointed cap, or the sword, he just knew that he wasn't getting rid of any of those essentials. He treated them as memories that he wouldn't let go of. That tunic was his last connection to the Kokiri.

The thin man stared at the newcomer, his stance hunched and sloppy. "Who are you, eh? Stay outta this if you don' wanna to get 'urt!" he threatened in a reedy voice, now using two hands to keep the dagger point from quivering. In a desperate attempt to look tough, he chuckled weakly and added, "What's wit' tha' outfit, anyway?"

No response, but the figure in green silently shooed the girl out of the alley. She nodded, trembling just a little less, and fled as fast as her multiple skirts would let her. The two eyed each other, one with growing terror, the other with calm determination. Finally, the robber growled and lunged clumsily, and the once-Hero merely sighed as he prepared to sidestep. Protecting Hyrule in the back alley, rounding up the small criminals, working backstage to clear the messes that the Hylian soldiers missed was the best he could do without recreating the Hero of Time. And what a pointless Hero that would be in this age of peace.

Yet, he would not abandon his duty as Hyrule's protector.

"You're resting whether you like it or not, at least until morning. You'll just get killed if you try and storm Hyrule Castle now," the imp scolded harshly, crossing her arms. He opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off. "I saw you in the Twilight Realm. You might have fooled everybody else, but not me. And it'll do no good if you finally get to Ganondorf and you're too tired to stand straight."

He looked away. She had a point, even if he didn't want to admit it. Or did he? His thoughts were confusing him. One side wanted to finish Ganondorf, and the other shied away from sheer thought of doing such a thing and becoming a true Hero. The imp caught his look and her body lost some of its stiffness. Her eyes softened as she finished, rather apologetically, "I brought you here because you seem to like Lake Hylia. Thought it'd be something good for your nerves, so don't get all sulky at me. I'm doing you a favor, alright, wolf-boy?" To be so soft was unlike her, and he knew that she wouldn't allow herself to be too nice, so there was a stingy half-insult at the end.

He simply sat down by the waters edge and smiled slightly at her. She huffed, trying to appear angry, and slipped back into his shadow that was cast in the gentle light of the moon. Fyer was by his cannon, doing some fine tuning, but other than that, there was nobody around. The Hero just faced away from the hunched elder and gazed at the beautiful scenery, the natural features of Lake Hylia laced with the silvery glow from the night sky. He tried hard not to think of anything, to lose himself in the sparkling waters, and to forget the world and its problems around him.

In the secluded Ordon village, he hadn't been able to understand the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss," because he himself had been so incredibly ignorant at the time. But now that he was fully aware of every little problem that went on in Hyrule, including the threat festering within Hyrule Castle's walls, he understood. Especially now that he was charged with solving those problems.

Finally, the mesmerizing ripples on the waters surface allowed his mind to submerge into a daze, with no thoughts scurrying around his mind incessant little rats he could not kill. All sound was blocked from his ears, and he even forgot to feel the grass beneath him. He didn't know how long he sat there, only that the stillness was broken by the imps' sudden shriek, "GET BACK!"

Snapping out of it, his jittery nerves made him roll backwards on reflex, and he only looked around to see what was happening after his instincts deemed that he was in a safe area. A vast cyclone was building near where he had just been, but it appeared to be restrained to the water. He drew the Master Sword and the Hylian Shield automatically, but on second thought, he realized that even the sacred blade could do nothing against the wind, so he quickly replaced them.

His boots started to slide on the grass, crunching over the dirt patches, and he was forced to yank the Iron Boots out of his enchanted pouch that rested hidden under his shield. Yet, even armed with the weights that Gorons could not push, the wind dragged him closer. His eyes narrowed, the solid determination that took over in battle pushing away all other emotions.

The imp was panicking from his shadow. "That's not natural! We have to get out of here! Hurry!" Indeed, Fyer hadn't seemed to notice the raging tornado in the middle of the usually peaceful Lake Hylia. The Hero couldn't see why; Lake Hylia was a quiet, serene place, and the winds whipping and howling around his pointed ears were deafening. Especially to him, with his sensitive Hylian ears that picked up noises others with round ears couldn't hear and found voices to be uncomfortably loud when others thought it at a perfect volume.

"I'll warp us!" the imp's voice screamed from the shadow, but he shook his head quickly. "What do you mean, n—the Iron Boots! Damnit!" Neither had a doubt that without the Iron Boots, the wolf form that was required to warp would fly easily into the center of the whirling winds. At least as a human, with the Iron Boots, he had a chance of escaping.

For every strained step he took away from the source of the pull, he was dragged back three. The wind was only getting stronger and more forceful, and yet, Fyer still hadn't noticed. It was obviously something unnatural. The only reason he could find for Fyer being so oblivious would be that it was magic, because magic explained a vast majority of unexplainable things. More importantly, magic directed at him, the Hero specifically.

The light-weight imp was clinging to his left boot, unable to stay in his shadow any longer due to the force. She was shouting something in desperation, and although her high voice usually cut through most noises, the roar of the wind in his ears blocked all else. But he kept trying, until he was at the very edge of the water, and even then he kept trying, refusing to give up. This was the preferred nature of a Hero, showing that he was, really, cut out for the destiny even if he did not want it. His face was set in a stubborn glare, fixed on a spot in front of him. His right heel slid over the edge, and crumbled dirt flew past his face and into the vortex. He leaned forward even further, remembering how Hyrule depended on him to cast down the Dark Lord Ganondorf.

But as he thought that, it seemed that it would not drive him forward. Indeed, it was almost like his strength began to fail instead.

With one last cry, he snatched the imp from the ground and held her close in a last attempt to protect her, at the very least, as the the winds swept him off his feet with his Iron Boots still on. The wind roared in triumph as it sucked him and the imp into the maelstrom, causing him to be weightless once more. The cyclone whirled a second longer in it's place, spinning the curled figure in its center, then rose up towards the sky and out of sight. Abruptly, the silence came with sharp contrast to the uproar just a few seconds ago. There was no sign that the cyclone nor the Hero had ever been there, vanishing as thoroughly as the Hero of Time had.

He took a deep breath and glared subtly at the fairy, who just huffed when she caught sight of it. "It's true. Listen, you've been on those rooftops like a vulture night and day, so you should come here for at least a little while a take a breather."

The wooden boards of the bridge clanked under his boots as he walked towards the island. Even though he didn't agree with her, he was doing what she said anyway. "Don't you think you deserve a break, anyway? It's nearly night, too—oh, I know what you're going to say now. Don't even start on me. You're going to tell me that at night is when all the real meanies come out of their hidey-holes and cause all the ruckus. But you've got to sleep sometime, you know. You're only getting, what, six hours of sleep—hey! Hey, listen! I'm talking to you!" But he wasn't paying any attention to her, and he sped up the pace, leaving the irate fairy behind to catch up.

See how it feels to be left behind? He thought to the fairy, even though she couldn't hear him. Then he felt guilty for thinking such thoughts. That was cruel.

The robber hadn't been hurt severely, just given a harsh bruise on his ribs and the back of his head. The young man wasn't a murderer, after all...exception of Ganondorf. No, and even then, he had never actually killed Ganondorf. But his job was to protect, not to destroy, so he had only done enough to subdue the elder man. Sure enough, the quick, sharp display of fighting experience had been enough to convince a weak, spineless surrender out of the robber, which the blue eyes had coldly refuted.

There had been a tense silence, then: "It's my wife," the robber finally admitted, somewhat grudgingly. "She's going to leave me if I cannot find a job or get money somehow." This confession was obviously geniune; it was visible in the mans desperate eyes. Only then the ex-Hero had pulled out his wallet and handed him a purple rupee before walking out of the alleyway, his duty done.

Although he didn't accept payment for his daily backstage peace maintenance, especially from those he had just saved, the richer ones sometimes planted huge sums of money in his hand and then ran off before he could refuse. Usually those were the noble girls around his age, the ones who left with daintily lifted skirts and many glances back while giggling, waving, and batting their eyes at him. He supposed that it was because of his looks, but whether or not his facial or physical features ranked high in the beauty book wasn't something that concerned him at all. The money was kept to pay for his daily meal, equipment care, the occasional clothing repair, and situations like the one with the robber.

Once he got to the island, he found that yes, the fairy had been right. He itched to get back to his post on the rooftop but at the same time, a part of him longed to sit here a while and perhaps play a song or two on Saria's Fairy Ocarina. He had given the Ocarina of Time back to Zelda as soon as he had gotten back from Termina, but he still kept the Fairy Ocarina, even though it was hard to play with his adult hands. The fingers would fumble and squeeze up against each other, the adult fingertips wouldn't go in the right holes, and in the end he would feel slightly foolish to be playing on a child's instrument when he was grown already. Noted, grown naturally. But he still kept it.

The Kokiri clothing style and the Fairy Ocarina were the last connections he had to a race he didn't really belong to, yet couldn't help but feel that he did in a way. It could be called a identity crisis, knowing that he was a Hylian but with a small section of his heart still wishing to be a part of the Kokiri world.

And besides, it was Saria's. He'd rather face Ganondorf again than have to throw away her present...even if he couldn't play said ocarina with her any longer.

Reaching under the pouch flap, he rummaged around in the enchanted bag until he could differentiate the polished wood from the glossy bottles and rounded masks from under his gauntlets. Against the little wooden instrument, his hand seemed to be of a giants. He knew that Saria and Mido and all the other Kokiri would never outgrow anything as he had, and he smiled sadly to himself. The fairy bobbed up in down in the air nervously, watching his face in a futile attempt to read it.

Seating himself carefully against the ancient tree that dominated the island, he was deciding whether or not to try and play the ocarina with nobody to hear but the still waters, when the still waters weren't so still anymore. The waters began to churn in a circular motion as wind swept round and round in a tornado fashion, and he leapt back to his feet. His eyes were wide with curiosity, yet hard with suspicion and distrust. The fairy was blabbering something in his ear, but he tuned her out on reflex. He'd listen to her advice later.

The wind began to take shape, funneling itself into a cyclone. Immediately, his mind identified it as hostile. It was growing stronger with each passing second, and he knew that he had no chance of casting down such magic. He didn't have any of his old items, and even then, he reminded himself with a sinking heart that even they wouldn't have been able to do anything anyway. His sword and shield weren't any use. He didn't even have the Iron Boots to weigh him down and help him hold his ground.

Backing away from the cyclone, he retreated to the far side of the island, only to have the whirlwind follow him on the water. Eyeing how the cyclone was limited to the lake, he scooted himself to the dead center of the island, where he had the best chance of survival. The fairy hid behind his shield, still constantly squeaking not very helpful advice in his pointed ears, and he waved a hand to quiet her. If she wasn't going to tell him how to stop the cyclone, then in battle she was useless.

When he started to slide forward, he latched himself to the tree as best as he could. Gritting his teeth, he mentally cursed himself for letting his guard down and actually going on his own free will to an easy target spot for attacks like the island. If something happened to him, what would happen to Hyrule? He struggled to remain upright when the wind finally wrenched his hands off the small grip he had.

"W-Wait! Noooo!" The jerk from letting go of the tree caused the fairy to slip from her spot under his shield, and the fierce gusts of wind wasted no time in snaring her petite frame. She zoomed into the swirling winds, screeching in panic. Without thinking, he jumped after her, expression set and determined. He had gone to Termina and back to find the fairy, and he wasn't going to let go of her any time soon. She had left him, but he still, for some inane reason, did not want to let her go. Only when she was safely in the palm of his hand did he realize that he had completely failed in his attempts to avoid the small hurricane. Brilliant.

The cyclone sucked him into its center, then lifted clear of the water and departed for the skies. As the ex-Hero watched Hyrule fall away from him and he lost consciousness, slipping into the dark shadows of his mind, he cursed himself again. His mind ran over Koume and Kotake, but disregarded them as unimportant at the moment. Judging by the cyclones actions, he was sure he was being taken somewhere. Somewhere other than Hyrule, and anywhere other than Hyrule wasn't good. Adventure he welcomed with open arms and a wicked smile, but he knew he would never rest until he could gaze upon Hyrule's lands and see with his own eyes that Hyrule was safe.

Then he prayed for Zelda and Hyrule to forgive him, for he had failed as Hyrule's hidden Hero.

The boy slipped as carefully as he could out from under the covers, making sure his sister didn't wake up. It was extremely rare to have him wake before her, considering his tendency to sleep anywhere, anytime, or just whenever he felt like it. Of course, he was the big brother, two whole years older than her, so it was his job to protect her.

Protecting her, in this case, meant she got a good night's sleep, so he didn't plan on waking her just because he miraculously woke before she. His grandma always reminded him of his duty as big brother, and he had grown up with the belief that if a single hair on her head was harmed, it would be his fault. Not that he minded having such a burden in the slightest; rather, it was a well-known fact amongst the islanders that he would do anything for her out of pure love. It caused a huge case of over-protectiveness on his part, but his sister seemed to enjoy the attention. And still she managed to get into all sorts of mischief whenever he fell asleep in the watchtower.

Tucking the covers gently around her sleeping form, he smiled, his eyes crinkling around his dark green eyes. Then he scratched his head and yawned softly, glancing out the window as he stretched. According to the sun, already high in the sky, it was already well into the morning. It was only natural and expected, though, because the two of them had unwittingly stayed up ridiculously late. And because it had been so deep into the night, he had panicked for his sister and jumped into "protective brother mode," ushering her to bed as soon as he realized how past her bedtime it was. He blamed himself for letting her stay up so late when she shouldn't, even though he had a decent reason for forgetting the time: they had been trying to pressure Grandma into telling those parts to the legend.

"Those parts", Grandma always admonished, "are too scary for young'uns like you." Those parts were the sections of the story she wouldn't tell, details that the island kids would always beg for. For instance, there were never any details to the enemies, and mostly it was just, "And he killed the evil and freed the sage." At least she would mention who the sages were in relation to the Hero, even if she didn't tell any names. He supposed that she didn't know, just as she didn't know the Hero's name.

And then at the end, she only said that the Hero vanquished the evil, describing some sort of epic battle that changed at every recount of the legend, a little something that told the children that nobody really knew what had happened during that legendary fight. Then she always ended the story there. There wasn't an explanation on what happened to the Hero afterwards. It...frustrated the boy. So much he couldn't put it into words.

Questions like, what happened to the "golden power" Grandma always mentioned was something she avoided, and what exactly was the "golden power," anyway? Then there was the question of how the evil had been beaten, although that was his sisters question, not his. He, Joel, and Zill knew that obviously the Hero stuffed his sword into the guy's gut and killed the mofo. She just argued back that Grandma was careful to always say "sealed away the evil" instead of killed, and the other boys had to admit she had a point. And after Grandma got shifty-eyed when Zill asked the question of what had happened to the kingdom afterwards, something that none of the other children would have asked about because they thought it was so obvious, that had turned into a repeated question as well. Just another mystery they would always beg answers for. The list of of those questions had become quite long.

Well, tomorrow would be his birthday. Not just any birthday; it was the birthday. The day he turned eleven. He'd be as old as the Hero of Time, that legendary boy in green who saved the entire land, and then Grandma would have to admit that he was old enough to hear the rest. He grinned to himself, then spied the note on Grandma's chair.

I've gone to Aunt Rose's house for today, finishing up your special birthday outfit. Help yourself to what's on the table. No soup today, saving for tomorrow!

-Lots of love! Grandma

It was a given that he wouldn't let his sister out of his sight for a second, that he would demand she follow him or he shadow her wherever she went until Grandma came back. Because of this, however, there would be no time to talk to Sturgeon about the vast ocean beyond the island, a world the elderly scholar had seen with his own eyes as he and his brother Orca had quested in their youth to be the best swordsmen. No time to listen to Sue-Belle describe the island Windfall that he could only dream of, a fascinating world of its own where travelers of all sorts flocked to. No time to try his hand at the sword with Orca, an activity he had taken a liking to, despite his Grandma's disapproving frowns. He wouldn't be able to do any of those things he usually did and loved, but, then again, this was his sister. Sacrificing anything for his sister wasn't sacrificing at all, in his opinion. He grinned happily again, partly at of the thought of his sister and partly just for the heck of being happy, then hopped to the pantry and set to work on a cheese sandwich.

Just when he'd finished pouring his glass of milk to accompany his masterpiece sandwich, there was some groaning from behind him, and he peeked back over his shoulder to see his sister sitting up in bed. Rubbing her eyes, her normally neat hair was an absolute nightmare. He smirked at the frizzy pigtails that hadn't been taken out last night before she fell asleep, resulting in a mash of blonde hair with two limp strings desperately trying to do their job and tame the mess. Her bangs even stuck straight up in some strange cowlick, but she didn't notice.

She rolled off the bed in her half-sleep state, tangling herself with the white sheets, and landed with a thump and a sleepy "oof!" on the ground. His eyes flashed with mischief and he seized the opportunity, pouncing on her with his cheese sandwich in his right hand, tickling her with his left.

"Eek! Big Brother, stop!" she giggled, wiggling away. "Stoppit or I'll bite your sandwich!"

He gasped dramatically and pulled away immediately with overly wide eyes, stroking his sandwich while holding it close to him as if it were a newborn child. She giggled again at his theatrics. "Rawr! I'm hungry!" Lunging for the sandwich in his hand, she snapped at it like a shark. He lifted it high over her head, sticking his tongue out at her. "Hey! No fair! You're taller than me!"

He smirked again and casually tossed the sandwich back on its plate, knowing exactly what would happen if he took his eyes off the sandwich for a moment. Still, he turned away from the sandwich to face off against the disaster his sister had created from the bed, untangling the hopeless knot the sheets had become and setting them back in their proper place.

After smoothing the sheets out one more time, he turned around again to see his sister with bread crumbs on her face and his sandwich in her hand. A huge, single bite-shaped chunk was missing, and she grinned toothily at him in triumph, cheese sticking out from between her teeth. He rolled his eyes, another smile tugging at his mouth, then patted her head and started preparing another one. He wasn't particularly hungry, but he knew if he didn't eat, she wouldn't either. His sister took another shark-bite out of the sandwich, eyes glowing with happiness.

Some people would call it a miracle that he wasn't angry in the slightest at his sister after all the teasing he had endured in less than three minutes, however innocent it might have been. His Grandma would just call it brotherly love, and he agreed with her. Most people expected brothers to hate their little sisters, but anyone who knew the two siblings would know better.

"Big Brother, I'm thirsty," she chirped a minute later. He handed her his glass of milk, which had been sitting untouched the entire time. "Thanks! What're we doing today, Big Brother?"

After a moments thought he just shrugged, then took a bite of his new sandwich. He watched the seagulls flock outside, the birds seeming to sense his sisters presence, and he smiled when she began to tear bits of her bread off to toss through the window. Her face, so bright and lively, so infectiously cheerful, he didn't know what would do if that face were ever to be replaced with one of fear.

No, he knew what he would do. Anything. He would do absolutely anything. He would cross any sea or face any foe, without a doubt. Travel to the ends of the Great Sea if he had to, just to keep her from harm, no matter what the cost to himself.

The boy's name was Link.