Author's Note: This is yet another story that follows the events of Ocarina of Time. However, as I'm sure you're all familiar with what happens, these events will only be a sort of framework for the story I'm telling, I will not devote much time to dungeons etc.
Please excuse my writing, I am still practising.
'Link, you got it!'
The boy smiled as he broke into a run, his boots swishing through the long grass and onto the path. The girl's hair caught the last rays of the sun and flared a brilliant red as she passed through the ranch gateway to meet him.
'Can I see?' Her look of wide-eyed curiosity couldn't be denied, and he smiled as he dug the gleaming stone from his pack. Those wide eyes were reflected a hundred times in the precise facets of the Zora stone. She turned it over and over, staring into the depths, fascinated by the deep blue and gold chasing. Then she looked up and grinned.
'Does this mean it's finished? You got all the stones for the princess, does that mean you've saved the world?'
The boy smiled a weary smile, the same thought had occured to him. 'Yes, it means my quest is finally over. The princess will take care of everything and I can relax again.'
The girl clapped her hands at this, her eyes sparking with happiness. 'Does that mean you can come round more often? I'm sure dad won't mind if you want to help out!'
'Of course I will! You're my best friend, I'll be round so much you'll get sick of me.' The girl giggled at that, then frowned.
'But you've still got to give the stones to the Princess right? I mean, she's got to keep them safe.'
'Well, yeah, I've got to give them to her still, but that's all.' His body language betrayed how he felt about that, he was relieved that his quest was so nearly finished, that all the trials were behind him. This wasn't lost on the girl, and she pushed him down the path towards the castle, crouching at the bottom of the hill in the gathering darkness.
'Then you should get going, they'll be raising the drawbridge soon!'
The boy nodded and started jogging down the path. 'I'll come straight back!' he shouted over his shoulder, and caught a glimpse of the girl waving to him. His hand automatically weighed the precious pouch, making sure all the stones were still there, and he broke into a run down the path as a far-off flash of lightning illuminated the lurking castle walls.
He felt all wrong.
His body was strange to him, too large, too clumsy. It felt like pushing limbs through treacle, he was unused to the weight and size of his new muscles. He paused for a second at the door of the temple, leaning on the doorframe, and the feeling of rough stone under his fingers was the only familiar thing in the world.
'Link? Are you alright?' Navi was flitting back and forth in front of him, evidently concerned.
Link said nothing. For now he just pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to make sense of the world. The sage had told him that the world had ended, the Evil King ruled Hyrule, and it all lay on him to make things right. And who was the strange man who had ordered him to Kakariko? If the world had ended, did the village still stand? The questions flooded his mind and rather than dwell on them he pushed himself out the temple doors.
Only to be brought up short again. The whole world was different to the one he had been in only a few minutes ago. Not minutes...years... The thought crashed through the turmoil and again, rather than face the facts he sought to distract himself. The plaza was different. The flagstones were cracked, the pool dried up and the plants dead or withered. The very air was different, the light was dull and red and an acrid wind brought the smell of decay to his nose.
He turned at Navi's voice and his breath caught in his throat. Behind the temple, the peak of Death Mountain was visible, surrounded by a roiling ring of flames and belching smoke and ash. To the left, Hyrule Castle had been replaced by a forbidding tower of black stone.
'Navi, I don't think...' he stopped, almost choked by the strange voice coming from his throat. It was too deep, too unfamiliar. Everything had changed.
'Come on Link, we have to get out of here.' Navi's reassuring light flickered by the steps to the town square, and Link, his head in turmoil and fear, followed.
Link splashed up through the moat and onto the remains of the drawbridge, now even more shaken by the monsters that roamed the town. He took a few faltering steps into the field, then stopped and felt his jaw.
'My teeth feel weird.'
Navi paused, not quite knowing what to say. The state of the kingdom was a shock to both of them, and Link was evidently trying not to think about it. She tried to imagine what he was feeling, a ten year old mind suddenly thrust into a seventeen year old body, beset by doubt, hormones and responsibility. She decided to spur him on, having something to do would stop him from brooding.
'What did that strange man say? We need to go to Kakariko then to the forest...'
Lnik glanced to his left. The clouds over the village were lit by firelight from below, maybe the town was still inhabited after all.
'Yeah... yeah, we should go. Come on.'
Casting a rueful glance at the dark shape of the ranch on the hill, the boy and his fairy ran off into the night.