A/N: Well, here we are. Yes, I know I said I was going to try to finish the various other stories I had on the go before I started others, but I had that much fun writing Twilight Fox that I just had to start this one. Besides, I couldn't very well leave you waiting after that story, could I?
The start of this story follows on from the end of Twilight Fox for a time, but soon ends up with Silver telling the story of his adventures. Or one of them, at least.
As usual, I don't own anything from Zelda or Sonic. Just the creativity I bring the two together with.
As the sun set outside the rural workshop, two figures leaned together on a fence to watch the view. Both of them bore green that, while different for each of them, was still similar enough that a casual observer would have noticed the matching garb.
A casual observer would also note that each of them had a sword and shield strapped on their backs however, and would probably find somewhere else to be just on the basis of their presence.
One sword was plain and utilitarian, designed only with the fighting it would see in mind. It had been forged to last by a smith that knew the value of a good sword.
By contrast, the sword of the other figure was far more ornate, having been gilded over at some time. Even the grip on the handle kept a similar golden colour to it, separated from the gold that covered much of the blade only by a crossguard that curled up toward the blade. While it had an imposing, if expensive, appearance, many nicks and worn patches clearly showed that this sword too was still meant for fighting and not just for show.
While their swords differed, the shield did not. Both were a deep royal blue with a silver trim on them, a stylised red bird with wings spread covering the lower part of the shield while above it three triangles were set, one placed above the other two to form a larger triangle with a hollow, inverted triangular center.
The triangles represented a force of a distant land, the Triforce of Hyrule and a place these two had both been a chosen hero of before. The twinned yellow tails of one belonged to the recently returned Tails, chosen by the Goddesses to drive back the onslaught of the twilight realm and its false king, then the true force behind it, Ganondorf. His hero's garb clinked slightly whenever he shifted, mute evidence of the chainmail armour hidden beneath the green tunic.
Beside him stood the strange silver hedgehog who he knew to be the Hero of Time, the immediate predecessor to the title of Hero of Hyrule. Silver had long since returned from not one but two adventures, during which he had even met Tails, albeit fleetingly and in such a way that Tails did not recognise him. His green was plainer, simple and unadorned with no chainmail to it, but it was the same styling, the same sturdy kind of boots, the same green tunic and the same flowing green cap.
"You know Tails, I almost envy you," Silver said at last. "There are parts of your adventure I wish I'd had the chance to experience."
"Like being a wolf, no doubt," Tails laughed. "That was definitely one of the high points. You've no idea how much I love to run as a wolf."
"I can only imagine. I'd like to have met Midna too, maybe travelled with her. Not that I didn't like Navi, of course," he added quickly. "But the way you describe Midna..."
"She had character, alright," Tails agreed. "I don't know what I'd have done without her."
"Even her strange remarks?"
"That was part of her charm. It's why I miss her. Well, that and her habit of calling me 'wolf boy'."
"But you are, Tails," Silver teased. "At least whenever you use that gem she gave you."
Tails reached into his tunic and took out the gem, a small rounded stone with strangely compelling green lines over it, a last gift from Midna to him before the two parted ways for the last time. All he had to do was touch it to his forehead and it would make him take on the form of a two-tailed wolf once more. A forepaw touched again would cause the stone to re-emerge, restoring his form.
"That reminds me," Tails murmured, lost in the designs momentarily. "There's one thing I don't get."
"And you didn't ask before you left Hyrule?"
"You weren't there, so I couldn't really ask, could I?"
"You want to know why you saw some Hylian by the name of Link in the Temple of Time, and when I passed on some of my skills to you," Silver answered shrewdly.
"Can you blame me? The first I knew of the true identity of Link was when I met a dark version of me who said he knew you. When I defeated him, I asked him who you were and he showed me your face. Why did you hide from me?"
"It wasn't entirely my idea," Silver confessed. "I suppose in the beginning it was, in a way. Strange land, strange people, no one like you or me around. I had to do something to persuade people I wasn't some kind of monster. Later on, I was asked by someone who I suspect was one of the Goddesses if I would pass on certain skills to another Hero – you, obviously – and was told I shouldn't let on who I was. It was that someone who gave me the image of Link you saw."
Tails though about that for a time as the last glimmers of the sun finally retreated below the horizon, then turned away toward his workshop.
"Why don't you share your story then? I told you mine, now it's your turn."
"You just want an excuse to curl up in front of a fire as a wolf again," Silver chuckled.
"Hey, don't knock it. It's comfortable that way. Race you to my place," he added with a sly grin, then without waiting for a reply he touched the gem to his head, changed form and bounded off.
"No fair Tails!" Silver called, running after him.
After my future got saved – again – by all the time-travelling I did, I found there was just one small problem. I still originated from my own future, and because that no longer existed the new future wasn't really my home any more. I guess it doesn't help that certain people didn't meet there, so technically I never existed there.
Anyway, since peace broke out more or less universally, I got bored and had nothing to do. That was when I put my ability to travel time to good use. It isn't the easiest thing to do even for me, but at least it got me out and about, seeing places as they were before and after certain events.
Normally I tried to avoid getting involved in them. I'd already seen what could happen when you play with the future. But on one of my journeys something else came blundering in on my carefully calculated time-travel, throwing me completely off course. No telling where or when I'd end up after that.
As luck had it – though in reality luck probably had nothing to do with it – I emerged above a bushy clearing around an extraordinarily large tree, with just enough time before I fell to do at least something to slow my fall enough that the bushes would soften the landing somewhat.
Once I extricated myself from the berry-bush I'd landed in, I took stock of where I was and what was around me. Naturally that tree dominated the scene, the vast roots stretching almost as far as the broad canopy above did, shadowing a fair part of the clearing. What was strangest about it was not the great size to which it had grown, but that there was some darker bark on the immense trunk that looked like two eyebrows, and below them a moustache, giving it the appearance of a face.
There was no one around that I could immediately see, but experience had already taught me to search a bit wider than I could see. I sent my mind searching for the tell-tale flows of energy that marked sentient life.
I found a small gathering of energy that seemed old, yet strangely young at the same time not far from me, perhaps on the far end of what appeared to be a natural corridor through the woodlands that marked the outside edge of the clearing. Some of these unusual energies were on their own, others in groups, but they all shared the intensity that I'd only noticed before in humans or hedgehogs like me. And other similar life.
They didn't seem to be worth worrying about right now, unless one of them came this way, so I continued to search, looking in a mental circle like a radar. And would you believe it, I found a source of energy so vast, so complex that even my own mind reeled back at the immensity of it. What really startled me was that it was coming from the tree of all things – let alone what happened next.
"Wither comest thou into our woods, strange creature?" a dry, archaic voice said to the accompaniment of wooden creaking.
Now I can handle a lot of strange things, but this was too much.
"A tree," I managed, turning to the tree. "A tree that talks."
"Thou dost seem surprised," the tree said. This time I saw the slight movements of the 'face' I'd seen on it as it talked. "Surely thou art aware of I? The Great Deku Tree?"
"No," I said eventually, slowly. "I've... only just got here. Surely you know that – you just saw me get here."
"Ah, so that be what the flash of light were about. What be thy name, strange creature, and from where dost thou hail?"
"I'm Silver. I don't mean just my colour, either. And where I come from..." I hesitated. I'd have known if there was anything like this in our world. "It sure isn't anywhere around here. Just put it down as a 'far off land'."
"Then why didst thou enter into the woods of the Kokiri, Silver? What be thy intentions?"
"I didn't exactly get a choice about where I came. Something disrupted me and I ended up here. I can't leave again, not yet at least. It takes a lot of strength to get around that way, and I'm not up to it just yet."
"So thou dost require only a somewhere to stay and sustenance until that time. I can have these things provided, but not without cost. What canst thou offer in return?"
I almost couldn't believe what was happening. Not only was a tree talking to me in some archaic language I only just managed to interpret, but now because it knew I was here it was asking me what I could do?
Fortunately I didn't have to go far to give some demonstration of my capabilities. I had no idea if this Great Deku Tree could see or if it was just aware of my presence, but I chanced it, extending one hand palm outward to a nearby rock that must have been about twice my size, then with a flick of my wrist caused it to rise up, hover in the air, then as if some phantom had hit it caused it to sail through the air to land some distance away.
"And that's only the start of it," I told the tree.
"Curious. Was it thy mind I sensed the touch of before we spake?"
"Probably. I was trying to see who was around. I wasn't expecting to find you – I mean, a tree-"
"I understand thy meaning. Reach out again unto my mind Silver, that I might understand the extent and source of thy power. Be assured I bear no malice unto thee, only curiosity. Needs must I know what thou art about before thou dost meet the Kokiri over whom I watch."
As I started to get used to this archaic language I started to appreciate it could be very flowery, but that same trait seemed to hold the dangers of going on, and on, and on... you'd forget what you were talking about half way through a sentence if you weren't careful.
At any rate, I reached out to the vast mind of the Great Deku Tree. As he was expecting it this time he lessened the impression I sensed, though the immensity of it still awed me. This was surely an ancient being with great, though very subtle power.
I felt its mind gently probe my own, memories surfacing as it examined them in turn, then the sense of the vast mind was gone.
"So thou art an adventurer of time, it appears. Perhaps it may be thee I have awaited the coming of, but it is too soon to tell. Needs must I ponder this further."
"Wait, what about me?"
"Look to thyself, Silver the Hedgehog, and be not afeared for what thou seest."
Naturally, a twinge of fear set in anyway. I looked down at myself, only to find that now I looked like a young human boy, clothed in a green tunic belted at the waist and serviceable brown boots. Several strands of golden blond hair were at the edge of my vision, framing my new human face.
But strangely I didn't feel any different. Experimentally I raised one arm, and the human arm I saw answered perfectly. For all intents and purposes, I was human.
"I have used thy own abilities to cloth thee in this illusion," the Great Deku Tree explained. "Thy true form doth lie beneath the image of the Kokiri child others will perceive. Thou art free to take thy own name or to pick one of thine own choosing when thou meet the other Kokiri, but tell them not of thy true nature."
"Won't they notice someone new? They'll never have seen me before, after all."
"Aye, and to that end thou wilt tell them only that thou art a wayward child I have taken in, not truly a Kokiri but staying among them. That be why thou dost appear to be Kokiri, but have not the fairy that all Kokiri have."
Fairy? This was starting to become less and less believable, but I know the difference between reality and a dream. This was definitely real.
"Conceal thy abilities well," the Deku Tree went on. "The Kokiri may not sense them as I have, but an thou dost not make them seem as coincidence, they will grow suspicious."
"I'll be careful," I promised. "Do you mind if I change this... illusion you've given me a bit?"
"An it please thee," it responded. "Save only the clothes you bear. Now follow yon path behind thee, and meet thy new friends. Should I have need of thee, I will send for thee."
So much for my usual intentions of not getting involved. At least with the tree's help, I'd managed to minimise the effect I'd have. Or so I thought.