By Queenie Z
Note: Bolded text indicates Hylian speech; normal text is English.
He finally found himself at the edge of a town, or what appeared to be a town. It actually surprised the young hero a little to see how towns in this world were so similar to the ones in Hyrule; they had buildings and roads and horse-driven carts, and they even had people who looked almost exactly like himself! He wasn't sure what he had expected the inhabitants of this world to look like, but he took comfort in the fact that he could blend in. For the most part.
When he took a look at the signs around the villa, however, he became overwhelmed with a feeling of alienation. He knew there were words written on those signs, but they were in a language completely foreign to him. Of course, he realized, he wasn't going to be able to speak or read this world's language – he knew that before he even left Hyrule. Nevertheless, he had to take his chances, for the fate of both worlds rested on his ability to find and seal away the blade known as Soul Edge.
Link stopped by the side of a building and crossed his arms in thought. He had gotten to the right place; Princess Zelda assured him of that. Now his challenge was finding more information about Soul Edge. He had planned to ask around – but how? Then he got an idea. He reached into his pouch, which contained all of his gear from home, and pulled out an old map he no longer needed and the crude pencil he had used to mark on it during his adventures. He turned over the map to its blank side and began to draw. True, he wasn't the best artist in the kingdom – in fact, he was pretty terrible – but he managed to scribble out something resembling a large, evil looking sword with a giant eye in the middle, just like the Princess said she saw in her dream.
Pleased with his work, he looked around for somebody to ask about the sword. However, the atmosphere here was a bit tenser than it was in Castle Town – everyone seemed busy and worried about something, like a cloud had formed over the hearts of the people of this land. He was certain this was Soul Edge's doing, and he was worried that he'd only upset the inhabitants more if he breeched the subject with them. So, instead, Link glanced through the window of the building he was next to.
Ah, now there were some happy faces! He smiled as he beheld the establishment's patrons, who were laughing as they drank frothy mugs of… something. Whatever it was, it seemed to cheer them up, so Link thought that maybe they'd be more friendly and helpful to him. With a look of confidence, he made his way up the stairs and entered the building.
"Excuse me! Hello!" he said cheerfully when he entered.
All the patrons turned to him and immediately fell silent. Instead of a cheerful greeting, he only received tilted heads and cocked eyebrows. Link turned a little red under their gaze.
"That's right, they have no idea what I'm saying," he muttered under his breath. He cursed himself mentally for habitually greeting them in his native language even when he knew he shouldn't.
"Who's this odd fellow?"
"What an odd looking hat…"
"He has a sword – has he come to rob us?"
"What's the matter with his ears?"
Link only became more mortified as he heard the men's suspicious mutterings. He had no idea what they were saying, but he knew it was nothing good. Then, the voice of the man behind the counter caught his attention.
"Can I… can I help you, traveler?" he asked with a tone Link recognized as that of a question. Maybe this man would be willing to help him! Mustering up a friendly smile, he walked over to the counter man and showed him his drawing.
"Can you tell me about this sword?" he asked slowly, hoping that maybe some meaning would get across to him. "I'm looking for it. It's very important that I find it."
The man peered at the drawing. "…What in heaven's name is this supposed to be?" He looked back up at the strange visitor and shook his head. "I have no idea what you're trying to tell me."
He shook his head – it seemed like he didn't know. Maybe if he tried to explain with more than just words… Link reached for the strap that held the Master Sword to his back, unbuckling it and carefully laying the sheathed blade on the countertop. Perhaps he could show the man that the picture was supposed to be a sword. He pointed to the picture again.
"It's a sword," he said slowly, then pointed at the Master Sword, "like this one. Only it's very, very evil."
He continued pointed back and forth at the drawing and his blade before the man's eyes finally went wide in realization. "Oh! …A sword? Is that was this is?" Remembering that this boy didn't speak English, he pointed at the weapon he brought in. "Sword," he said clearly before pointing to the picture. "Sword?"
Link nodded and grinned. "Soar-duh," he repeated. Yes, finally, they were getting somewhere!
The man chuckled a bit, realizing that this kid probably meant no harm despite the impressive looking blade he wielded. He called over to a man at another table. "Matthew, come over here! This odd gentleman seems to be looking for a sword. Have you ever seen a weapon like this?"
The other man, his face covered in a full beard, walked over and examined the picture closely. Then, he went pale. Link reached out to him, concerned.
"Are you all right?" he asked, once again unintentionally using Hylian.
"Good God!" exclaimed the man, "That's Soul Edge!"
"Soul Edge?" said the counter man incredulously, "Soul Edge doesn't exist, you fool!"
Judging by the bearded man's reaction, he knew what the evil sword was – and judging from how often it was repeated, they appeared to have been saying the blade's name. "Sohl… Ed-juh," Link repeated with a serious look on his face. "Sohl Ed-juh."
The bearded man shook his head furiously. "Boy, you have no idea how evil that weapon is." He laid a large hand on Link's shoulder and looked straight into his eyes, worried. "You must not search for it!"
The poor man must have been terrified. Was he trying to warn him about Soul Edge? He smiled at his kindness and patted his hand.
"I know it's dangerous," he said, hoping the tone of his voice would reassure the man, "but I have to find it. If I don't, both of our worlds will be in danger."
The man was only left confused, however – how could such a young and innocent boy be so confident? Why would he, of all people, be searching for the fabled cursed blade? What was he thinking, traveling from a far away land – obviously very far away, judging from his clothes and strange language – to search for something grown men had lost their lives trying to claim? Something he could gather from the look in his bold, blue eyes, however, was that he was not the sort of power-hungry rogue that simply wanted Soul Edge for his own nefarious purposes. Perhaps he was simply one of those foolish crusaders who wanted to try and purify its evil?
He lowered his hand from the boy's shoulder and sighed. "I have a colleague," he muttered, knowing his words would fall on deaf ears, "who knows something of Soul Edge." He took Link's drawing and motioned for something to write with. The counter man brought him a pen, and he began drawing directions on it. Once he finished, he gave it back to the boy. "Be careful."
Link beamed, recognizing the drawing as a map he could follow. He took the bearded man's hand and shook it enthusiastically. "Thank you so much! I won't forget this!"
The counter man laughed nervously. "Well, boy, won't you at least have a drink before you go?" He poured a stein of beer and offered it to Link. "Drink. Beer. It's on the house."
The hero blinked and tentatively took the drink in his hands. "Beer?"
"Yes! Beer! It's delicious - and it's free!"
"Beer!" repeated Link happily before bringing the stein to his lips and chugging the whole drink in one go. The other men watched, their mouths agape, and they flinched when Link let out a rather impressive burp when he was finished. He sat the stein back down, grinning in thanks, then reached into his pouch for his wallet.
"I-I did say it was free – "
"Humor him," said the bearded man, "he didn't understand you anyway."
Link found what he was looking for and pulled out a strangely shaped blue gem, setting it down on the counter. "Here you go!"
The two men stared wide-eyed at the gem, then back at Link.
Oh, that's right – they probably didn't use rupees here! He pointed to his payment and said slowly, "Rupee."
"That must be the currency in his country," said the bearded man. "Who knows? Maybe you can sell it to a jeweler for much more than the price of a beer!"
"Thank you both," said Link, gathering his sword and reattaching it. "You've been very kind!" He then left the building, glancing at his new map to see where to go next.
The bartender inspected the 'roo-pee' more closely. "What a strange fellow," he mused, "coming to a tavern looking for Soul Edge and paying in gems! I wonder where he's from?"
"I haven't the faintest idea," replied his colleague. "But I pray he realizes what he's gotten himself into."