Author's Note: OK this is more of a warning rather than a note. In this chapter I'm going to attempt describing Hyrule how it looks now. I have a general idea how the land lays now in my head. I was hoping for something that was more a mix between OoT and TP's Hyrules but I am forced to lean on OoT's more.
Chapter 19: Home has Changed
"Wow…" the three Terminians uttered in unison as they gazed at the open, lush green Hyrule field as the two carriages slowly made their way towards the Castle Town. Link also gazed at the passing scenery in wonder, but not the same wonder as his family. No, he was surprised on how much Hyrule Field had changed. It looked almost nothing like what he remembered about 25 years ago, but the field still had that scent that Link somehow never forgot within his sinuses. It seemed similar to Termina's as he had expected several weeks ago, and even more did it make him actually miss Termina even more… but for some reason he was happy to be back in Hyrule even though he didn't understand why. He didn't want to come back here within the remainder of his life-time and as much he relented the idea of coming back to fulfill this personal mission he was happy to be… could he even dare to say the four letter word? Home.
He looked around at the field as the carriages moved along and he noticed that Lon Lon Ranch was nowhere to be seen. He remembered when he first stepped upon Hyrule Field when he left Kokiri Forest and the first thing he noticed was that Ranch. Link's mind wandered through his memories when suddenly he landed on a certain someone at the ranch as his eyes nervously looked over to Romani then to Zelda. "Hey Zelda, what happened to Lon Lon Ranch?" he asked.
"Oh the ranch that was at the hill? They moved to the south and formed a new ranch in the forest that you used to live in."
"Kokiri Forest?!" Link exclaimed. "What happened to the Kokiri? They are the type to not like strangers. Why would they let someone into their holy forest especially with the Great Deku Tree dead?"
"That's the thing that no one can understand; the Kokiri up and left; no one knows where they went or what has become of them. I did make an order out to locate the Kokiri several years ago, but never heard anything…" Zelda explained, Link just gave a disappointed look. Zelda saw this and have a sympathetic look when suddenly something struck her. "Oh hold on, there was one thing but I don't have it with me; its back at the castle. Just remind me about it later."
"Oh, OK then." Link said with a smile. The idea of seeing his old home ran through his mind and suddenly he realized there was so much he wanted to show his family more of Hyrule. But that would have to wait till later for now the carriages were now crossing the draw bridge and thus into Castle Town. The always busy people of Castle Town for the first time in Link's brief times of being here they actually all stopped whatever they were doing and turned to watch the carriages – namely the royal one – pass by, hearing the yells and 'welcome back's' from the people towards their precious Queen. But soon it was all over when they finally finished passing through the town and towards the winding road towards the castle. Hundreds of thousands of memories were flowing at a constant and steady rate within Link's mind as the carriages made their short trip up the hill to the Castle Drawbridge. The bridge opened and the carriages moved in to a relatively small courtyard where the horses were kept. Then Zelda and her guards got out of and looked at Link and his family to do the same. When they got down they all walked across the courtyard and entered through two large doors to the large foyer which then lead to the throne room across the way. Zelda was then approached by a maid that had a concerned look.
"Your Highness, I'm so sorry but he barged right in, we couldn't stop him…" the maid apologized as she repeatedly bowed, begging forgiveness. Zelda simply gave a reassuring smile as she placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Don't worry; I know he won't do anything. No need to apologize." She said to her servant whom gave a thankful smile as she went back to her duties. Quickly the smile on Zelda's face disappeared as she then stormed into her throne room to see a man standing before the throne. For the first time since Link had ever met Zelda she had a scolding look on her at the sight of the man. "It's a tad early before you supposed to come at the agreed time." Zelda yelled to the man whom then turned to face her and the others. He was a tall man with short light brown hair that was slicked back. His eyes pierced at them with a cool grey. He was dressed in some light royal battle armor with a sword strapped to his belt on his right hip.
"Do not fret, Your Highness; I am not here to start a war. I came here because I heard that you had left the kingdom on sudden business. But please, I am not the villain you're making me out to be." The man said with an almost sinister grin. The man's eyes darted away from Zelda and towards her company of guests and casually walked over and inspected. "I assume that these fine people are the reason you left on such short notice? They don't appear to be politicians, however." He continued as he stared at the family, deliberately leaving Link last. When he initially approached he saw Link and then avoided making eye contact since, until now that he was finished briefly looking at Link's family. The man took longer looking at Link, and the former hero couldn't help but feel like the man's eyes were probing him for information, trying to get every last detail about him within a glance. Eventually another sinister-looking smile formed on the man's face. "Ah, I get it now; you left the country looking for this man. I must assume you are the replacement for the duel? Do you even know how to fight?" the man mocked.
"Who is this guy, Zelda?" Link suddenly barked the question, not letting his eyes move away from the man's piercing gaze… he couldn't but feel… challenged. Zelda sighed as she looked over to Link and raises a hand motioning towards the man.
"This man is the King of the country of Cairebre. He is the man I told you about; Slone." Zelda introduced, not pleased in having to make this introduction so soon after just coming back to Hyrule. Slone then reached out a hand –notably left – in offering to shake. Link took it and shook it.
"You're a south-paw, I see?" Link suddenly asked. Slone was a little taken back by that but he smiled as if he was genuinely impressed.
"Yes, I see you are as well, judging by how strong your grip is." Slone deduced. Link finally smiled with a similar look of impression.
"Yeah, this should be interesting. Oh, and my name is Link – Hero of Time." He said with pride. For the first time in Link's life has he ever felt pride towards his title, but not in the same sense of boasting his ego, but more of a way to be recognized. Slone's eyes went wide in surprise at the title.
"The Hero of Time? The tale of a boy who moved back in forth in time to defeat a great evil? I have heard of the tale when researching Hyrule's impressive collection of legends. Never did I realize it was true. It is an honor to meet such a warrior. Now I most certainly look forward to our duel, Link!" he said with a laugh that echoed in the throne room – if not; the whole castle. The two men finally broke their hand-shake and Slone then quickly looked at the stern look on Zelda's face, he then put up his hands in defeat. "Oh well; I know when I'm not wanted." He said as he began to move past the group and towards the double-doors, stopping suddenly in the doorway and then turning around to face the group. "I will be back to have the duel, Your Highness. It is unavoidable; call it an act of fate if you will. Regardless have a good day if my being here didn't ruin it." He said at last and left.
Author's Note: Well, that's our antagonist; Slone. I didn't get too far into his personality in this chapter but I guess I can hold that off for before the duel. I also realized one thing with his design in my head; he has grey eyes. Now for those who personally know me, I have this weird tendency to place antagonists/villains/anti-heroes with grey eyes and slicked back hair. (Examples; Jack from my Doom story, Vassily Treaper from my friend's series, and now Slone) But I did decide to make him a lefty like Link. Not once has Link ever faced another south-paw beyond Dark/Shadow Link and (if you wish to count him) Hero's Shade from TP which neither of them count for they are Link as well.