Ocarina of Time - Book 1: Quest for the Spiritual Stones

The Boy Without a Fairy

The village was already astir with Kokiri children and their fairies playing when Navi arrived. There were many of them all over the village running and laughing-far too many for Navi to keep up with. There was a small black-haired Kokiri crawling through the tall grass and calling his fairy's name, there was another boy-this one lanky with wheat-colored hair-chasing the leaves that his fairy tossed up with glee, and there was a girl picking flowers and giving them to her fairy to weave them into her hair.

A boy drew pictures on rocks while his fairy praised him; a girl sang songs that her fairy was teaching her; another girl recited poetry she had written out loud to her fairy who applauded and cried.

Not a one of them was without a fairy.

Navi was becoming desperate. Where was this boy without a fairy? The Great Deku Tree needed him urgently! Where was he?

"Navi! Over here!"

Navi turned and saw a fairy waving. She hovered over a blonde girl who was lying in the grass with her eyes closed and a contented smile on her face. Navi flew over.

"Hello, Navi," said the cheery-faced, plump fairy. "I haven't seen you in a while."

"I've been busy."

"Yes, preparing the young sprites to guard their Kokiri. Why, you taught me years ago! Do you remember?"

Navi did, in fact, remember the cherubic fairy. She was one of the few who had actually shown her respect. She nodded to her.

"So what're you doing in the village?" the fairy asked.

"I'm looking for a boy," Navi answered. "The Great Deku Tree sent me to find him."

"He assigned you a Kokiri?"

Navi hesitated. "He sent me to bring the boy to him."

"The Great Deku Tree summoned a Kokiri?" the fairy asked in surprise.

Before Navi could answer, the girl underneath them finally spoke, "Who're you talking to, Shi?"

Both fairies looked down. The girl smiled up at them.

"What boy are you talking about? Maybe I can help you find him."

The girl spoke in a soft, flighty voice, which made Navi hesitate. She sounded more likely to be lost in her own fantasy, paying no attention to events around her, and thus no use in locating the Kokiri Navi was searching for. But Navi decided it couldn't hurt to let her try, so she finally answered, "I'm looking for a boy without a fairy."

"Oh, you mean Link?" the girl asked, surprising Navi. "He's probably still in his treehouse." She pointed across the village.

"Oh." Navi shook her head and then turned to where the girl was pointing. She turned back, bowed and said, "Thank you" and then flew off as quickly as possible for the treehouse-dodging past running Kokiri, weaving around posts, and shooting through the gaps of fences.

As she approached dark doorway leading inside though, she slowed until she was hovering in front of it.

Is this it? It looks like nobody's home.

She listened. She could hear murmuring inside. Then she heard shivering. Then she heard a wooden creak and a rustle of blankets shifting and Navi suddenly realized the boy in there was still sleeping!

What is he doing sleeping so late in the morning? She wondered in disbelief. And when the Great Deku Tree needs him so urgently! She zipped inside, lighting herself up to see inside the dark room.

It was small and circular. There were only a few pieces of furniture that included a small table, a tree stump as a seat, and a bed.

In the bed lay a boy dressed in green. His cap hung on the bedpost, dangling in front of his nose. His yellow hair was tousled from tossing and turning. He clutched his blankets protectively as though he was shielding himself from monsters. His face was twisted with a look of fear and he shivered.

Concern flashed through Navi. He must be having a nightmare. She decided waking him up would be best, so she cleared her throat and announced, "Wake up! The Great Deku Tree wants to talk to you!" She cringed immediately afterward. That may have sounded a little too forceful. She wasn't used to showing sympathy.

But it didn't seem to matter anyway because the boy's eyes were still shut and he was still shivering. Navi tried again louder, "Link, get up!"

Link tossed himself the other direction, curling himself tighter while still shivering.

Navi's concern quickly melted away to irritation. Surely he couldn't be that deep in sleep? She flew close to his ear. She took a deep breath, and then…

"HEY! LISTEN!"

The boy cried out and turned over so sharply that he swatted her onto the floor where she landed with a rather undignified, "Oof!"

She checked herself for damage. She had hit the floor rather painfully but she didn't seem to be badly hurt anywhere… just disgruntled.

With a huff of disgust, Navi rose into the air and glared at the boy who had slapped her so rudely. He had his face buried into his pillow while his hand hung limply down the side of the bed. His breathing was slow and regular now, which meant that the nightmare must have passed. But somehow he had fallen back to sleep!

Navi heaved a sigh of exasperation. "Can this boy really be the one to save Hyrule?"

...

Nooooooooooooooo!

Link felt himself tumbling through the air. His hand slammed into something, which surely meant the rest of his body would follow. He clutched desperately for something to keep him from slamming against the hard ground and buried his face in it to block out the glaring light that seared his eyes.

It was a while before he realized something was different. The spinning feeling was abating and the roar of fire had stopped. He had his face pressed to something soft, which he realized a little later was a pillow.

It was a dream, he slowly realized. The dream had been so vivid though. And it felt like his brain was moving slowly like it was swimming in water. Pieces of his memory were slowly coming together.

I have my head in a pillow… which is on a bed… and I'm sleeping on the bed… which is in my house… As he pieced together these bits of fact together, his memory started coming faster.

Then he heard a voice, " Can this boy really be the one to save Hyrule?"

Instinctively, he looked to the voice. He saw a bright ball of light and the dream flashed through his memory again, sending a fresh surge of fear through him. He closed his eyes again and pressed his face deeper into his pillow to block out the light.

"Who's there?" he called out.

"Ah! You're awake!" answered the voice. He sensed something rushing to him and he braced for the impact. When he realized nothing had hit him, he chanced a glance.

He found a ball of light directly in front of him. Once again, fear surged through him but he didn't turn his head this time, for he realized with suddenness that this ball of light looked different. It wasn't a fiery light that had shot from the dark man's hand to destroy him; it was a softer light that pulsed gently.

His fear abated and he continued to stare. Eventually, his vision adjusted and he realized that the glowing ball had a little person in it. A little person with wings!

"Are you all right?" she asked. She had tried to make it sound concerned but it came out rather crossly.

"I-I think so," the boy stammered. What was a fairy doing in his room? A tiny hope bubbled inside him but he quelled it for he didn't dare to hope. Instead, he swallowed and asked her, "Who are you?"

"I'm Navi the fairy," she answered. She cringed for she thought she had sounded a little too surly, so she tried again in a friendlier tone, "Are you Link, the boy without a fairy?"

The boy opened his mouth but nothing came out. So he scrunched his neck and tried to clear his throat without being too obvious about it, but he seemed to be having a hard time of it. When he finally cleared it with an explosive growl, he squeaked out while his cheeks turned red, "Y-yes?"

Navi bravely forged past the awkwardness, "Ah, well then. Hello, Link. Nice to meet you."

"N-nice to meet you too, N-Navi," said Link, staring at her. He thought that she looked very pretty. He liked her dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders and her rich brown eyes. But she was probably somebody else's fairy. He searched the doorway behind her to see if there was someone that had come with her.

Navi decided that she'd better be direct. "The Great Deku Tree has summoned you. He has sent me to fetch you." She groaned inwardly when she realized that, once again, she was being aloof.

Link froze. "D-did I do something wrong?"

Navi hastily shook her head and said, "No, no, I don't think so. But he does want to speak with you urgently, so I suggest we get going. Right now."

"We?" Link's eyes grew wide as he stared up at her.

Navi was beginning to grow impatient, but she forced herself to stay calm. "Yes, 'we.' I understand you have never had a fairy before, so this experience must be new to you. But we really must…"

Link leapt to his feet and pointed a shaky finger at her, an excited look showing on his face. "So-so-so, you're my fairy?"

"For the time being," she answered a little hastily. She didn't want to give him false hope.

But it seemed that was all the answer he needed, for he whooped and laughed as he sang, "I have a fairy! I have a fairy! I finally have a fairy!" He grabbed his cap from the bedpost and threw it into the air. He laughed as he caught it and threw it up again. Then he danced around the room, waving his hat like a flag.

"If you would please…" Navi said, raising her voice above Link's celebrating. When he didn't show signs of stopping, she huffed in disgust and drifted toward the door.

"So your name's Navi?" Link asked, scrambling after her as he jammed his cap onto his head.

"That's right," Navi answered. She drifted outside the treehouse.

"Hey, where are you going?" Link asked. He didn't want to lose his fairy after he had just gotten her.

Navi sighed in exasperation. "We're going to visit the Great Deku Tree. He has summoned you, do you remember?"

"Oh yeah!" Link nodded enthusiastically as he started down the ladder. Then he frowned. "Wait, why did he summon me, again?"

"It seems that you have a journey that you're supposed to make."

"A journey?" Link pondered this. Should he be excited? Nervous? Was he going to go outside the forest?

Before he could come to any conclusions, there was an excited voice calling him. "Morning, Link!"

"Saria!" Link's face lit up and he dropped from the ladder and ran to meet the girl running up to him with a fairy following behind her.

Navi began, "We don't have time for…" But when she saw he wasn't listening to her and instead was talking to the girl, she huffed impatiently through her nose and drifted after him.

Link was always happy to see Saria. She was the prettiest Kokiri in the village with sparkling emerald eyes and bright green hair that curled just above her shoulders. But more importantly to Link, she was the kindest person you would ever meet. Saria was the only one who really treated him like he belonged here. Everyone else either teased him or ignored him.

"Saria!" Link said excitedly, "you'll never believe what happened when I woke up this morning!"

"What, Link?" Saria responded, catching on to his excitement. "What happened?"

"Well, first I had this nightmare…" Link began. "But when I woke up, I saw something I never in my wildest dreams believed I would ever see! Guess what it was!"

"What was it, Link?" Saria asked breathlessly.

"A fairy!" He threw his arms to the side, presenting Navi who was hovering just behind him and resisting the urge to groan. He added, "Her name is Navi."

Saria gasped and clapped her hands to her face in shock. Then her hands came away, revealing a very excited face. "Wow! That's amazing, Link! A fairy..." She pulled him into a hug. "I don't believe it! After all this time… Congratulations!"

"But that's not all," Link said, causing Saria to let him go and watch him curiously and excitedly. "After Navi told me she was going to be my fairy, she told me that the Great Deku Tree has summoned me! He wants to talk to me!"

"Oh really?" Saria said with a teasing smile.

"And it is very urgent that we see him," Navi added curtly.

"So it's true then?" Saria's fairy, Anai, said with a shocked look on her face.

Saria meanwhile beamed at Link. "Well, it's not every day that someone gets to talk to the Great Deku Tree." She laughed happily. "Let me know what he tells you. I'll be waiting right here when you get back."

Link immediately turned and started running. Suddenly he stopped, turned and waved to his green-haired friend, and called, "After I'm done talking to him, how about we go swimming!"

"Sounds great to me!" Saria beamed. She teased, "Just don't take too long with the Great Deku Tree. The day's too short to waste on old people talk." Her fairy waved to them.

"All right, Link," said Navi impatiently. She wasn't amused by Saria's jibe. "You've wasted enough time already. The Great Deku Tree has summoned you and it is not respectful to keep him waiting!"

"You don't like fun, do you?" Link grumbled as he turned and obediently hurried toward the Great Deku Tree's glen.

Navi thought she was inured to those words but, somehow, hearing them from a Kokiri child-those she had always taught her pupils were very important and must be protected-stung her deeply. It almost felt as though she had been betrayed by the very ones she had believed needed her guidance the most.

What an ungrateful child, she thought bitterly. I shall be relieved when the Great Deku Tree has finished his business with him.

She stared icily at Link as they skipped across the rocks set in the stream that meandered through the village. They passed a few Kokiri children splashing in the water, giggling shrilly as they tried to get their fairies wet, who darted tauntingly in front of them. One took notice of Link as he passed and then noticed the fairy following behind him. Her eyes grew wide.

"Link's got a fairy!" she shrieked in excitement, waving her finger wildly. "Link's got a fairy!"

The other children turned to look, and when they saw it was true, they cheered. Link turned to wave at them but at the glare Navi gave him he turned back around and continued toward the glen.

As he approached the path leading to the Great Deku Tree, a group of large Kokiri boys, who had been talking with each other, broke apart and spread in a line to block the path. The lead boy crossed his arms and sneered at Link.

"Hey you! Mr. No Fairy! Where do you think you're going?" He glared at Link with hard green eyes. He was the biggest of the Kokiri with chubby cheeks and freckles. But Link refused to show fear, so he crossed his arms and imitated the boy's frown.

"I'm going to talk to the Great Deku Tree, Mido," Link answered with a hard edge to his voice. Navi was a little alarmed at this.

Mido snorted. "Oh, that's what you think, huh? Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. No Fairy, but he only speaks to some of us real men who have fairies." He waved at the fairies floating above him and his cronies, who looked just as mean as their Kokiri.

His friends whooped and cheered in agreement. Link glared at the line of boys and their fairies.

"Well, if you have to have a fairy to be a man," he answered, "then I don't think you count, Mido. You see, I don't think those things hovering next to you are real fairies. They look more like keese to me."

There was an angry hissing among the fairies. The boys narrowed their eyes in anger. Navi darted next to Link's ear and hissed, "We don't have time for this, Link! We need to see the Great Deku Tree immediately!"

The movement drew the attention of the boys and their fairies. And when they saw the fairy hovering next to Link's ear, they recoiled in surprise. Mido seemed to be the most surprised. He gaped at Navi and sputtered, "What?! You've got a fairy? And she said that the Great Deku Tree actually summoned you?!"

Link grinned smugly. "That's right, Mido. I have a fairy and I've been summoned by the Great Deku Tree! I'd say that makes me more of a man than you, huh?"

Mido's eyes bugged. "That can't be right! He's not supposed to summon you! If he's going to summon anyone, it's got to be me!"

"Yeah!" one of his boys agreed, "Mido is much, much better than you! Maybe the Great Deku Tree made a mistake!"

"Shut up, Foley!" Mido snapped.

Foley hunched over in embarrassment.

Mido turned back to Link. Seeing the look on Link's face, he snarled, "Don't get so smug yet, pal. You've still got to get through me, and without a sword and shield, you don't stand a chance." He poked Link in the chest.

Link pushed him away. "You don't have a sword and shield either."

"So what?" Mido sneered, leaning in close to Link. "I don't need 'em. I can take you with one hand behind my back. But I'll tell you what, I'll make it fair. If you can find a proper sword and shield, I'll let you through. What do you say?"

"But the Great Deku Tree wants to see me now!" Link cried. He turned to his newly acquired fairy. "Tell him, Navi."

"Actually," Navi replied thoughtfully, "the Great Deku Tree mentioned that you will be making a journey, and journeys are usually dangerous. It would be an excellent idea to equip a shield and a sword."

"But where am I going to find a shield and a sword?" Link protested.

"Rudy sells wooden ones in his shop," one of the boys suggested. "You could buy one of those and see if we let you pass." He snickered until he received a punch by one of his buddies.

Navi nodded to the boy who had made the suggestion. "Thank you. I believe one of those may do." She turned. "Come, Link. Let's buy a shield from Rudy."

"They're wooden though," Link mumbled, but he followed behind her anyways.

...

Rudy stood atop a tall bucket so that he could organize his shelves. He was one of the oldest of the Kokiri children and also one of the stoutest, which made him rather sluggish. Still, he had somehow accumulated an impressive assortment of goods, which he would sell to the children for the gems that were called Rupees. His fairy, Teela, was fussy about decorating and often chirped advice on how to organize his goods to best display them. His assistant, Tammy, stood under him and passed him merchandise to put on the shelf. It was after he put down a sack of odd-looking nuts that Link entered the shop. At the sound of Link's entrance, he turned, nearly toppling off as he did so. Fortunately, he recovered himself and he beamed at his potential customer.

"Well, hello, Link!" he said slowly, his voice sounding as though he was speaking through his nose. "How are you today?"

"I'm great, actually," Link answered, smiling from ear to ear. "Want to guess what happened when I woke up this morning?"

Rudy frowned ponderously as he studied Link's eager face. "Mmm… well… you don't get excited often…"

Teela cut in, "Is it your birthday today?"

Link shook his head. "Nope. Guess again."

"Um-um-ooh! Saria showed you her secret spot?" was Teela's next guess.

Again Link shook his head.

Teela shook her own head in defeat. "I can't guess it. Rudy?"

He rubbed his whiskered chin as he studied Link. Then he shrugged and said, "Nope, I give up. What happened when you woke up?"

Link started dramatically, "Well, when I woke up this morning…" Then he shook his head and began again, "Well, first of all, I had this nightmare…"

"Really, Link," Navi said irritably. "We don't have time for this. Let's just buy your sword and shield and go."

Rudy looked up at Navi's voice and staggered backwards, falling off his bucket and landing on the ground with an "oof!" Tammy gasped and then giggled as Rudy rolled to his feet with his face glowing red. "I meant to do that," he mumbled.

Teela was speechless with astonishment. She managed to squeak out, "You got a fairy?"

"Aww, Navi, I was going to tell them," Link whined.

Tammy bounced with excitement. "Wow, that's great, Link!" She turned to her fairy. "Did you hear that, Brista? Link got a fairy!"

"I never would have guessed," Brista replied with a cheeky smirk. She giggled, "Funny it was you, Navi, who was assigned to him."

Navi narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean?"

Meanwhile, Rudy shook his head as though all of this was too much for him to handle. Then he spoke, "That's great, Link. You got a fairy. So how can I help you?"

Link gazed around the room at all the items on display. There was a bundle of what looked like brittle, yellow weeds; there were bottles that contained little beetles scuttling around inside; there were more bottles that contained tiny fish; there was a sack of what looked like shiny, gray pebbles; there was another sack full of wrinkled nuts; there were slingshots hanging on nails… and a shield lay forgotten in the corner. It was a crude-looking shield though. It looked as though three planks had been glued together with some red paint splashed on its front. But Link wasn't going to be picky. If it resembled a shield, he would accept it.

"I'll get that," Link pointed.

Rudy turned. He ambled slowly to the shield, picked it up, examined it critically, then turned and ambled back to Link.

"I didn't think anyone would ever buy it," he confessed to Link. "I just heard some of the others playing 'Heroes' and I thought I'd make a shield so that they could pretend. But no one ever bought it…"

"What he means is," Teela cut in quickly, "it's the only one we have in stock. It's a good, durable shield made from the strongest Deku wood and notice the insignia on its face." She darted to the shield and pointed. Link leaned in and studied it.

It was a simple-looking design. It was a red spiral with a short stem at its bottom, resembling a rose.

"What does it mean?" Link asked.

Teela looked up at her Kokiri. Rudy scratched his head in response. "Dunno. But it's the sign of the Great Deku Tree, so you know it's good."

"I'm sure it will suit our purposes just fine," said Navi, who hid her impatience with difficulty. It irked her when the others invoked the Great Deku Tree's authority for silly games and other trivial things though she knew the Great Deku Tree didn't mind in the least. "They are only children, after all," he had once told her with a chuckle. So she held her tongue and said to Rudy instead, "How much?"

Teela answered quickly for him, "Fifty Rupees."

"Fifty!" Link exclaimed. "I only have fifteen!"

Rudy rubbed his chin. He gave his fairy a thoughtful look. "Well… he did just get a fairy today."

"And I've been summoned by the Great Deku Tree," Link added, "but Mido won't let me pass until I have a sword and a shield."

Teela tapped her chin thoughtfully as she studied Link. "Well," she said at last, "this shield is one of a kind. But since the Great Deku Tree has summoned you, we'll let you have it for… forty Rupees."

"Forty?"

"We can't take any less than that," Teela said, shaking her head sadly.

"But I don't have forty Rupees," Link protested.

Rudy shook his head. "Sorry, Link. But it's forty Rupees, no less."

Link hung his head and mumbled something under his breath. Navi glanced sharply down at him. She told him, "There's nothing more to it, Link. We just have to go and collect some more Rupees." She drifted toward the door.

Link hurried after her. "Wait for me!"

When they were outside, Navi turned to Link. "So. How do you usually collect Rupees?"

Link shrugged and answered, "You can find them in the grass or under rocks or in the trees… you can find them just about anywhere."

"Then it shouldn't take too long," said Navi almost cheerfully. She flitted to a boy who was bent over in the grass in front of a tree stump house decorated with flowers.

"Hey Nikko," Link greeted the boy as he joined Navi.

"Pick the grass…" Nikko muttered, pulling out tufts of grass. "Pick the grass…" Then he looked up and cried in outrage, "Do you know that Mido is making me pick grass for Saria?"

"I was wondering what you were doing," Link replied with a smile twitching on his face.

Nikko grunted, "He wants to impress Saria by having her grass picked but guess who's doing the picking?"

"Typical Mido," Link muttered. He and Nikko weren't on the friendliest terms but they did share a common enemy.

"Hey Link," Nikko said, wiping sweat off his forehead as he straightened his back. "How about you help me with this - 'cause, you know, since you and Saria are friends and all?"

"I'm actually busy," Link answered hastily as he began slowly backing away. Navi glared at him and snapped, "Link!"

"What?" Link protested. "I thought I was supposed to talk to the Great Deku Tree!"

"That's after you get yourself a shield and sword," Navi answered him. "And to do that, you'll need to find some Rupees. And you said yourself you can find them in the grass and under rocks. If you help your friend here, you will most likely find some Rupees too."

"But he's not exactly my friend…" Link began.

Nikko meanwhile was staring at Navi with wide eyes. He exclaimed, "Whoa, Link! Is that your fairy?"

"Navi the fairy," she responded and bowed. "Pleased to meet you."

Nikko shook his head in disbelief. He said to Link, "Guess Saria was right about you. You really are one of us."

"Yeah, I never thought I would ever get a fairy, either," said Link with a grin. Feeling somewhat smug, he asked, "Say, Nikko. Where's your fairy?"

"She's asking around for knives to make cutting this grass easier… when what I really ought to do is punch Mido in the eye and make him do it," he muttered, though of course he would never actually do it. Mido was almost twice his size and definitely twice as mean.

Navi assured him, "With Link's help, you're sure to finish this chore in no time. Possibly even before your fairy gets back."

"Well, what do you say, Link?" said Nikko, turning to him. "You might get lucky and find some Rupees in the meantime."

"Uhh…" Link hesitated. Then, seeing the stern glare Navi was giving him, he finally relented, "All right, fine… I'll help."

"That's the spirit!" said Nikko, clapping Link on the shoulder. Link flinched and shuddered as though he had been chained.

Picking the grass was as much work as Link had imagined. The grass gripped the ground tightly, coming up in small tufts if at all. Link could almost swear the grass hated him and he was sweating by his third clump of grass. Nikko oftentimes had to help him tug stubborn grass out. While Nikko and Link worked, Navi watched for Rupees and pointed them out when she saw them and then encouraged them to pull up more grass. Link considered asking her why she was lying back while they did all the work, but he was afraid of making her mad and leave him so he shut his mouth instead and continued pulling up clumps.

When the ground in front of Saria's house was finally clear of grass, Link counted up all the Rupees he and Nikko had dug up.

"A green Rupee, that's one…" He held up the muddy Rupee, which was about as big as his thumbnail, and then polished it on his cap. He held it up again where it caught the light and sparkled before tossing it into his wallet at his belt. Then he plucked another muddy Rupee from the pile at his feet and held it up as well. "Another green one, that's two…" This also went into his bag. The next one he picked up, he announced, "Blue, that's worth five, which makes it seven."

"And how much is that worth?" Navi pointed.

"This?" Nikko picked up a red Rupee. "This is worth ten green Rupees, so you have seventeen so far…"

"Added to my fifteen, which makes it…" Link counted on his fingers, "thirty-two."

"Well done, Link," Navi applauded. "You're just about there. We only need eight Rupees more. Perhaps if we pull up one more tuft of grass…"

Link quickly shook his head. "No, that'll take too long. We'll look under rocks instead; those are easier."

After waving goodbye to Nikko, Link and Navi went in search of rocks to look under. They found a cluster of them as they approached another boy, who was grunting as he lifted the large rocks and shuffled them away.

"Here's a good spot," Link told his fairy.

"Okay, good job," she said. "Let's start checking under the rocks."

"Don't need to," Link said, grinning. Navi gave him a confused look before she saw him watching the boy coming back for more rocks.

"Wait a moment," Navi said, her voice rising in disbelief. "Are you using this boy to move rocks for you to look for Rupees?"

Link protested, "I'm not using him! It's not like I asked him to do it for me. I'm just waiting to see if there are any Rupees here."

"Rupees?" the boy repeated. He plopped onto the grass, next to the rocks, and sighed. "Mean old Mido, making me pick up the rocks in front of his house. And Ira's taking a nap until I'm done." He pointed to the roof of Mido's house where a tiny fairy could be seen reclining with her hands folded over her stomach.

"But I guess it's not so bad," the boy continued, turning back to Link and Navi, "I did find a Rupee…"

"You found one?" Link said excitedly, focusing his attention on the boy. Then he gave his most charming smile. "Can I have it?"

"I don't know," the boy replied, picking at the grass. "I haven't been finding them lately, and this red one's the only one I've got."

"A red one? But that's all I need to get forty Rupees to buy that shield from Rudy!"

"You're buying a shield from Rudy?" the boy repeated.

"Yes. I need it so I can talk to the Great Deku Tree!"

The boy's eyes grew wide. "You're talking to the Great Deku Tree?"

Link sighed. "Yes, I need to buy the shield so Mido will let me pass so I can talk to the Great Deku Tree."

The boy's eyes were wide with awe. Navi, on the other hand, was not impressed with Link. She flitted down to his ear and hissed, "It's not right to take advantage of him! Just pick up your own stone and look for the Rupees yourself!"

"Mmm…" Link groaned. He glanced at the pile of stones in front of Mido's house and then turned to see if he might find some Rupees just lying around. But then he saw something that gave him an idea. He grinned as he turned back to the boy. "I've got an idea. How about we make a bet?"

"A bet?" the boy repeated in a puzzled tone.

Link bent over and picked up a fist-sized stone. He hefted it in his hand. Then he turned to the boy and declared, "I'll bet you twenty Rupees that I can hit Mido from here with this stone."

"Mido?" The boy's eyebrows jumped right into his long, wheat-colored bangs. He cast his glance around the village until he spotted the big, freckled boy a good distance off, talking with his friends. "You can't throw that far!" he exclaimed in doubt.

"Do you want to bet twenty Rupees on that?" Link asked him.

"Do you want to risk twenty Rupees on that?' Navi countered in a disapproving tone. "If you lose, you'll end up with only twelve Rupees."

"Don't worry," Link told her. "I can make it."

"And how can you be so sure?" Navi demanded with her hands on her hips.

"I-I just know," Link answered, somewhat taken aback. Then, trying his hardest to ignore his fairy companion's glare, he turned back to the young boy. "Do you bet twenty Rupees that I can't hit Mido with this stone?"

The boy nodded. "I bet twenty Rupees that you can't hit Mido from here."

Link grinned. "Good!" Then he spun around and located Mido, who was now slicing the air with an invisible sword and roaring triumphantly at invisible monsters while his admirers gasped and laughed at his story.

Link focused his eyes on his target. He pulled off his cap and let it hang limply in his hand so that the breeze could flap it slightly… from the south. He nodded solemnly. Then he bounced the rock in his hand a few times to test its weight. Navi and the boy watched him, both surprised at his efficient attitude.

Link spread his feet firmly apart. Then he rotated his arm, practicing a few throws, adjusting the speed of his throw each time until he was satisfied.

Then, taking a deep breath, he drew his arm back as far as he could and then hurled it forward.

It flew through the air on a slight curve, but Link's aim was perfect. Navi gasped as the stone struck Mido right on the head. The brawny boy cried out in pain then whirled around to find the one who had thrown it. Meanwhile, Link and the boy were laughing in the dirt while Navi glared at the two of them.

"Stop it! Stop it right now!" she yelled at them. "It's not funny! Link, you should know better than to throw rocks at your friends!"

"But he wasn't our friend," the boy explained as he fought against his giggles. "He's such a meanie, he deserves it."

"Yeah," Link agreed. "And anyways, you didn't try to stop me before."

"Well, I… I… didn't think you could make it," Navi confessed.

"Yeah, well, I think it's your fault you didn't stop me before I threw it. And anyways, we got the twenty Rupees." He turned to the boy and held out his hand. The boy reached into his pocket and dropped the red Rupee into Link's hand. He giggled and said, "I actually don't mind giving you my only Rupee. You hitting Mido is much better than all the red Rupees in the world!"

"Well, this Rupee is good enough for me," Link said, tossing it into the air and then catching it. "I've got fifty-two Rupees so now I can buy that shield!"

"Oh, and good luck with the Great Deku Tree!" the boy called as Link hurried off.

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