The Lost Sword of Kokiri
Rudy and Teela were quite delighted to see Link back in the shop. Their eyes shone when Link held out his hand full of Rupees.
"Forty Rupees," Link announced. "Can I buy that shield now?"
They gave him the shield. Then as Link was about to leave, Teela called after him, "Do you want to buy anything else? We've got Deku sticks, ten Rupees each."
Link shrugged. "I don't have any more Rupees."
"And besides," Tammy added, "you can get them for free in the woods."
Teela shot her a dirty look that made Tammy blush. Brista shook her head and shrugged as though to say Tammy was hopeless. But Link laughed and said, "Thanks, Tammy. I'll remember that. But what would I need Deku sticks for, anyway?"
Without waiting for a reply, he and Navi left. Once they were outside, Link commented to Navi, "You know, this shield feels kind comfy on my back." He rolled his shoulders.
Navi agreed, "Yes, you have your shield. Now you need a sword."
Link nodded. "Yeah." Then he shook his head. "But where am I going to get one?"
She thought about it. "I don't remember seeing any swords in Rudy's shop, do you?"
He shrugged. "Just some wooden ones." When his fairy fell deep into thought, Link said suddenly, "You know what would be cool? If we found the legendary sword. Then I could be a real hero with a legendary sword!"
Navi reacted in surprise. "Are you talking about the Master Sword?"
Link furrowed his brow in puzzlement. "The Master Sword? That's a legendary sword?"
"What sword were you thinking of?"
"I was thinking of the Lost Sword of Kokiri," Link answered. Then he lowered his voice, "They say it's hidden somewhere in this forest… waiting for the chosen one to find it and wield it against evil!" He thrust an imaginary sword into the air and puffed out his chest.
"Of course." Navi remembered the Great Deku Tree speaking to her of the legendary swords. She remembered he seemed to be more concerned for what he called the "Master Sword" than the "Lost Sword of Kokiri."
"It is a mystical sword that evil cannot touch," he had told her. "Only the pure in heart may wield it to smite evil."
"Where is it?" she had asked.
"It is hidden. Awaiting the one who will someday need its noble power."
"Is it here… in the forest?" It only seemed natural. The forest was such a safe and secret place.
"We do not hold that privilege," the Great Deku Tree had answered. "It is hidden elsewhere. The sword that I guard is the one which the Kokiri call, 'the Lost Sword of Kokiri.'" And that was the last he had spoken of the swords. But now that the one chosen by destiny had been summoned, it must be time for the sword to play its part.
"Perhaps," Navi said aloud, "now is the time to find the Lost Sword of Kokiri."
Link frowned quizzically at her. "What did you say?"
His fairy looked down at him. "The Great Deku Tree has mentioned it to me. He told me it's hidden here in the forest somewhere. Perhaps now is the time to ask the Great Deku Tree where it is."
"But how? Mido won't let us pass."
"Perhaps he won't let you," she answered. Then she pressed her mouth into a thin line. "But he can't stop me. I'll go ahead and ask the Great Deku Tree if it is all right to borrow the Kokiri Sword and ask if he will tell me where it is."
"Wait," Link took a step back, "does that mean you're leaving me?"
"Only temporarily," his fairy assured him with an exasperated sigh, "I'll be gone long enough to ask the Great Deku Tree about the Kokiri Sword and then I'll come back and tell you what he says."
"O…kay," said Link, unable to keep the anxiety out of his voice. He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Should I just… wait here then?"
"Yes. Wait here so I can find you again while I go…" She suddenly stopped and looked up. She turned as though listening for something.
Link watched her curiously. "Uh, Navi? What're you doing?"
"Quiet. I'm listening."
Link twisted his head but couldn't figure out what it was that Navi was listening for. So he put his hands behind his back and dug his toes into the earth while Navi twisted her head, listening. Then she began drifting off. Link watched her in bewilderment as she began heading for the forest.
"Uhh… Navi? Do you know where you're going?"
"I can hear it," she said softly, still drifting toward the woods. "I know where the Kokiri Sword is hidden."
"What?" Link called, who hadn't heard her.
Navi turned and glared at Link. "Well, aren't you coming?"
Link stared at her. Then he shook his head and muttered, "First she tells me to stay here, now she tells me to follow her." He sighed. "Some fairy I got; even when I get my wish, destiny has to kick me in the rump. Oh well, better a grouchy fairy than no fairy." And then, grumbling to himself, he hurried after her.
She led them past the border of the Kokiri village where the brook separated the village from the forbidden forest. Link was anxious but also a little excited. He had never been outside the village before. He had always wondered what was it was like but had never dared to see for himself… no one did. They had all been told the stories of what happened to Kokiri who wandered outside the village and got lost. There were all sorts of monsters that gobbled up little Kokiri: Wolfos, Giant Deku Baba, Skulltulas, and other creatures too terrible to describe. But those who didn't get eaten met a fate even worse: they turned into Stalfos. Nobody was quite sure what a Stalfo looked like. Some thought it might be big and hairy with jagged teeth; others thought it might be slimy like a slug and oozed wherever it went; and still others thought it was like a ghost-invisible with creepy eyes that floated in the dark. Link, of course, didn't believe there was such a thing as Stalfos-he was too old to believe in silly stuff like that which was obviously made up by the fairies to keep them from going outside the village. But as he and Navi traveled further into the forest where the trees began to twist their branches threateningly and leer at them, he couldn't help but feel those monsters might be lurking in the shadows, waiting to snatch them up in their slavering jaws.
"Are you sure you know where we're going?" he asked her as he struggled over a fallen tree with spear-like branches.
"The woods are calling me," Navi answered, drifting easily ahead. "They're leading me to the Kokiri Sword."
"Really?" Link yanked his tunic free from the tree's grip. "I don't hear anything."
"We fairies are born with an instinct that allows us to sense things. We can see, hear, and feel things you ordinary Kokiri can't."
"Well, I hope your senses don't get us lost," Link muttered, skirting around thorny bushes.
The trees, thickets, and thorns only grew thicker as they progressed. Then quite suddenly they encountered the face of a cliff. It wasn't very high but there wasn't any way to climb up it. Navi paused before it as though puzzled by its appearance. Link studied it with apprehension. He waited a full minute before he finally asked the question that had been pestering him since their journey through the woods.
"Are we lost?"
Navi didn't answer him. She slowly drifted upwards as though going to check the top of the cliff but then came back down as though certain that wasn't the right way. She paused again before the face of the cliff with the certainty that this was the way to go.
"But how?" she murmured. "We are not Poes… we can't go through cliff walls…"
She darted around the cliff face, pausing periodically to study the wall in front of her and poke into the cracks and crevices, searching for a way in. Link turned his head, watching for monsters that might be hiding in the trees.
Navi finally found what she was looking for after what seemed like hours. She drifted down and was immediately faced by a black hole that was just large enough to let the Kokiri through. She called to him, "Hey, over here!"
Link hurried over, relieved that they seemed to be getting somewhere. However, when he saw where his fairy was pointing, motioning for him to follow her, he paled and backed off.
Navi noticed his look and asked him, "What's wrong?"
"You want me to go in there?"
Navi turned and looked at the hole again. Then she turned back to Link. "This is where I sense the Lost Sword of Kokiri to be, so yes, I do expect you to come in here."
"But it's so small!" Link protested. "What if I get stuck in there?"
"You won't get stuck," Navi promised. She drifted closer to the hole and brightened herself to light up the tunnel inside. "See? It's straight and short; you won't get stuck in there."
"How do you know?" Link demanded.
Navi sighed impatiently and shook her head. "Link, we have no time for you to balk at something as silly as a hole. It's fine. It's large enough for you to fit through, and it's short. You won't have to crawl for very long."
"Easy for you to say," Link mumbled. "You're a fairy and can fit through most anything!"
Navi shook her head. This boy is Hyrule's final hope? This boy who won't even crawl through a tunnel? Surely someone who is destined to save the world would have greater courage than this. Have I perhaps made a mistake? But no, she couldn't have. The Great Deku Tree had said the boy without a fairy and this boy had been the one. Perhaps he just needed some encouragement. But she wasn't sure how to do that. She had never encouraged anyone before. Not the way the Great Deku Tree had encouraged her. The Great Deku Tree knew exactly how to encourage others. But what would the Great Deku Tree say to encourage this Kokiri now…?
The Great Deku Tree. Of course! In her most encouraging voice, Navi spoke, "Link. Think of the Great Deku Tree. Think of all the things he does for us. He is counting on you. You have your shield. Now you need a sword, which I can sense is through here. And all you must do is crawl through a short tunnel to reach it. Then we shall speak to the Great Deku Tree."
"Well, if it is in there," Link murmured, "they sure picked a good place to hide it."
An excellent place, indeed, Navi thought, just now realizing. It made sense now that she thought about it. It was outside the boundaries of Kokiri Village where the Kokiri children dared not go. No malevolent forces would be able to fit through the tunnel, even if they somehow wormed their way through the thorns. The hiding place of the Kokiri Sword had been chosen well.
Link stared at the small hole. He had never liked small spaces. He had had nightmares about being trapped in the dark and unable to move while frightening sounds roared all around him. And the other Kokiri had often pulled pranks on him like stuffing tree trunks over him or pushing him into pits. Once they had built a wall over his doorway while he had been sleeping and wouldn't take it down until Saria came and straightened them out. And now Navi was trying to force him to crawl through a tiny hole! He even had a tiny suspicion that she was trying to trick him so that he would get stuck and she could laugh at him.
But Navi's not like everyone else. She wouldn't make me do it so she can laugh at me. In all the time I've had her, she hasn't laughed once! Maybe the Kokiri Sword really is in there… and if I get it, Mido will get so jealous! And I'll be a proper hero… Navi might even like me if I do it…
Link glanced up at his fairy, whose eyes were roaming around at the trees and thickets surrounding them. He took a deep breath, held it for a second, and then declared, "Well, if the Great Deku Tree is depending on me…"
Navi whirled to him with a look of surprise on her face.
"…I suppose… I must put aside my fears and go through that hole."
Navi was silent for a moment. Then she exclaimed, "That's excellent, Link! I knew you had courage! Just crawl in there and claim the Lost Sword of Kokiri. You can do it!"
Link set his face in a determined grimace. Then, with a bracing sigh, he dropped onto all fours and squeezed his body into the tunnel.
"Just keep crawling," Navi cheered him on, "just keep crawling and you won't get stuck!"
Link grumbled and cursed as he wiggled his body through the tunnel. Dirt broke from the ceiling in clumps and burst on the ground, releasing a strong smell of earth that choked Link. Behind him, Navi encouraged him, "Don't stop. You're almost there. Just a little further."
I can't believe I'm crawling through this tunnel, he thought. On the day I get my fairy, I wind up crawling through a tiny, little hole. How did I end up here?
You're doing this for Navi, Link answered himself. You're doing this for the Great Deku Tree who gave you Navi. Now you're repaying him, and all you need to do is crawl through a stupid tunnel.
Ever so slowly the end of the tunnel got closer and closer. In his eagerness to escape, Link tried to shuffle faster but found he could not slide his arm forward. A tangle of roots gripped his fist and he couldn't get it out. He couldn't push against it and there was no room to bring his elbow back. He began to panic.
"I'm stuck!" his voice rose. "I can't move!"
"Don't panic," said Navi, who sounded more impatient than soothing. "It's all right, Link. Just stay calm and relax. Don't struggle, just calm down."
Link gasped for air as he wrestled the roots. He felt as though the tunnel was pressing in on him from all sides, trying to crush him.
"Stop struggling, Link! Just calm down. Let me get in front of you."
"There's no room!" Link cried, not quite sure what he meant.
"There is room, Link. Stop moving or you'll kick me."
Link obediently stopped moving. Over his shoulder, a ball of light floated ahead of him. One moment later, Link recognized the ball of light as Navi, who turned to him. She looked down.
"Ah. I see your problem. You have your hand caught in that tangle of roots."
Link tugged his hand but it was still held fast.
With a tiny shake of her head, Navi suggested, "Try tucking your hands in."
So that's what Link did. To his surprise, his hand slipped right out, which he tucked immediately to his chest. He started forward again on his elbows.
"That's it, Link," Navi urged him. "Just keep going. We're almost there."
At last, Link reached the end of the tunnel. He immediately scrambled to his feet and began taking deep breaths. Above him, Navi exclaimed, "You did it, Link! You've conquered your fear! You are a truly courageous child!"
Link shook his head and groaned. "I just hope I never have to do that again…" Even as he spoke he realized that the only way back was through the tunnel. His heart began thudding in panic again.
"Well, Link, what are you waiting for?" Navi called, already drifting ahead. Link looked up and then ran desperately to keep his fairy in sight.
It turned out that he had crawled into a maze. Hedges created pathways with confusing twists and turns. Link worried that they would get lost, but Navi darted ahead as though she was following a familiar path. Link tried to keep up with her, his heart bursting with panic when she disappeared around bends, only to find her again, waiting for him to catch up.
It was a surprisingly short while later that they arrived. "This is it," Navi announced, halting in the air. Link stopped beside her.
They were at a dead end. They faced a large tree stump that could have served as a dinner table. But it wasn't a meal that sat on it. Rather, it was something that caused Link's heart to thud again, this time with excitement.
It was a chest. It looked very old, its color faded with age and banded with iron dark with rust. There was no latch or lock. All Link had to do was push the lid open.
"You really think it's in there?" Link asked in a hushed voice.
"Open it and find out," Navi answered almost as quietly.
A little uncertainly, Link crept up to the chest. He reached for the lid but hesitated. Was it all right for him to touch it? Was he worthy to see what was inside? The chest was obviously very old-probably handed down through many generations to be protected from the unworthy.
Navi led me here. I'm supposed to get a sword and she says that a sword's in here, so it should be all right for me to take it. And I did face my fear to get it.
So Link took a bracing breath and, doing it quickly before he lost his nerve, placed his hands on the chest and firmly pushed it open.
"Well?" Navi asked, sounding just as hesitant as Link had felt.
Link looked inside. Then he gasped in amazement. Navi flew to his shoulder and she too gasped.
"It is the sword," she breathed. "The Lost Sword of Kokiri!"
It gleamed from the folds of a velvet interior tacked with gold. Its hilt was made of light and dark wood braided together. An emerald glittered on both ends of the guard with a third larger emerald set in its pommel. The blade itself was perhaps the length of Link's elbow-just large enough for him to wield. Beside the sword lay its sheath-a simple case made of white wood with a trim that appeared to be dried thorny vines.
"Wow," Link sighed. He gently picked up the sword in both hands as though holding something precious. "We actually found it. We actually found the sword that's been hidden for years! The Lost Sword of Kokiri! And it's mine!" He thrust it into the air where it caught the sun's rays and scattered light into the maze.
Then he gently gripped the handle, withdrawing his other hand from the blade. He sliced the air with it, noting with satisfaction the musical ring it made when he did.
"You now have a shield and a sword," Navi said to Link. "It is now time to go talk to the Great Deku Tree. He is waiting for you. We must hurry!"
"And won't Mido be surprised when I show him what I found," Link replied with a huge grin.
Link nearly got himself lost as he was so giddy with excitement. It was thanks to Navi that they made it back to the village. It was her excellent sense of direction that got them home quickly.
As they hurried toward through the village toward the Great Deku Tree's glen, Link wondered how he should surprise Mido with the sword. Should he just let it hang from his belt where Mido could see it? Should he hide it under his tunic and then pull it out dramatically? Should he slice the air with it as he approached? Should he hold it in the air where the sun would reflect off the blade?
He eventually decided that he would hold his shield in front of it so that Mido could first see that he had gotten his shield and then pull it away so Mido could then see the sword. Link was eagerly anticipating the look on the bully's face when he saw the legendary sword.
As Link had hoped, when they approached the path leading to the Great Deku Tree's glen, Mido hurried to block the path, noticing just in time that Link was attempting to pass him.
"I already told you, wimp," he huffed as he stumbled across the path and held up his hand, "to get past me, you have to have a sword and a shield!"
"You mean a shield like this?" Link asked, lifting the crudely made shield but being careful to keep the Kokiri Sword hidden behind it.
"Huh?" He looked up. "Oh, you have a Deku shield…"
"And I suppose you want me to have a sword too," Link added and pulled the shield to the side to reveal the sword.
Mido's eyes followed the shield so it took him a second for him to suddenly notice what had been behind it. When he did though, his expression changed so dramatically that Link had to fight the urge to laugh.
"And…" Mido pointed, his eyes bulging. "isn't that… the Kokiri Sword?"
"Bet you never had a sword like this, did you, Mido?" Link asked smugly.
The other Kokiri began to gather around. When they saw what Link was holding, they began pointing and whispering in wonder to each other. Mido's fairy darted close to inspect the sword, her shocked expression reflected in the blade. Mido himself leaned forward and tapped the blade, his eyes widening in wonderment at the ringing sound it made. Then he tenderly touched the edge of the sword and then pulled away and gazed in shock at the blood welling on his finger.
Navi scolded him, "You should know better than to touch sharp objects!"
Mido ignored her. His wide eyes were fixated on the sword a second or two longer. Then they narrowed and he suddenly yelled, "Good grief!"
Mido grunted. Then he grumbled, "Hmph! So you got lucky. But it doesn't matter anyways. No matter how much stuff you have, you're still a wimp. And you'll never be one of us."
The crowd shied away, no longer daring to whisper to each other. They all avoided eye contact with Link and Mido. Link could not hide the hurt or the anger in his eyes as he sheathed his sword. How could Mido say that? How could he?
Navi could not believe how cruel these children could be. She could understand how Link was feeling right now. She herself was an outcast among fairies. She could tolerate it herself, but to see it happening to another, that stoked fury in her heart. But she maintained control and told Link calmly, "There is no need to seek acceptance from bullies like him, Link. They are nothing more than ignorant children who wish to seem better than others."
Mido's fairy came forward, baring her fists threateningly. "How dare you insult my Kokiri that way!"
Navi ignored her and continued, "You have friends who have accepted you… who have accepted you even before you got me… those like that girl, Saria, and the Great Deku Tree."
Link nodded. "You're right, Navi. Saria was nice to me even before I got you. And the Great Deku Tree wants to talk to me, so that makes me special… right?"
"That's right, Link," Navi confirmed.
Mido glared at the both of them as they spoke. He finally burst out, "Good grief! How is that even fair, huh? First Saria and now the Great Deku Tree's treating him like he's all special! Ha! How come no one appreciates me, huh? How come no one summons me?" Then, grumbling furiously to himself, he stomped off. Mido's fairy shot daggers at Navi before flying off after him.
"Maybe it's because I'm not a big bully like you!" Link called after him, and the Kokiri all cheered in response.
With a huge grin on his face, his spirits lifted, Link and Navi continued down the path to the Great Deku Tree's glen.