The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 11: So Many Questions, Not Enough Answers

Nestled securely inside the branches of a tree rested a well-constructed house. Inside this wooden structure resided the hero of the land who, at the moment, was deep in thought while a young girl rested a little ways away.

Link couldn't believe the day he was having. First Epona went missing so of course he had to find her since he couldn't go to work without his horse. (After his twilight adventure Link had gone home almost immediately. He had thought that he wouldn't be able to after everything he went through, but it turned out that he had nothing to worry about. He had left the village for some time to clear his mind but it didn't take long before he returned. He wasn't the same person he was a year ago, that was for sure, but he wasn't changed so dramatically that it disabled him from returning to his old lifestyle. He didn't help Fado as often as before, but he tried to help out at least three times a week.) Then Colin had seemed bored so Link invited him along on the search. They had gone to the spring where they discovered that Epona wasn't there as they'd suspected. After delving around the area a bit the pair had headed back to the village where Colin went to go find Ilia and Link was about to search for his horse call when a little girl ran up to him looking close to tears and claiming that she was lost. He had to spend the next ten or fifteen minutes interrogating her before letting her enter his home and feeding her since she had obviously been starving.

Next he was called for by the other kids who were shouting over each other, so he couldn't make heads or tails of what they were trying to say. Eventually he got the gist of it and went to investigate and found a rock with a threatening image scratched into it. Then he had to go track the nefarious person or thing down with the little girl, Aryll, in tow. They had been attacked by a Bulblin, and then a random girl came out of nowhere and tackled him to the ground. Since they already had been targeted by a Bulblin it was only natural for him to assume that this girl was in league with them and trying to distract him so the monster could get to Aryll, so of course he attacked the girl who wielded a weapon of her own.

The girl had nimbly dodged all of his attacks and tried to persuade him that she wasn't an enemy. Link had ignored her, thinking that that would be exactly what an enemy would say. The monster that he had stunned had gotten back on its feet while they were in the middle of their quarrel and blown its horn thus pulling its companions forth out of hiding and onto the battlefield.

To his surprise the girl had taken down the first Bulblin by herself without hesitation, proving to him that she had no connection with the monsters. They had fended the Bulblins off together and soon Link had only a couple left on his side when he heard Aryll scream. He had dealt the final blow to the monsters before spinning around on his heel just in time to see the unknown girl on a straggler Bulblin's back and he watched as the monster cleverly flipped its weapon around and the girl's futile attempt to dodge. She had fallen to the ground and the monster had been about to strike her again but he had snapped out of whatever trance had rendered him immobile and jumped in front of the fallen girl that had been struggling to get up. He beat back the Bulblin with expertise, and then turned back around to see the girl already on her feet. Link had then ordered Aryll to go back to the village because he didn't want her to be in any more danger and also because he didn't want the child to see the other girl faint since it may scare her even more. Aryll had been about to protest, but as soon as the girl issued the same order she left at once which Link found a tad strange, but if they did know each other then he supposed it wasn't all that strange that Aryll would do what the other girl told her to.

Link had then taken the girl, who seemed as though she was going to pass out any minute, to the spring and allowed the spring's healing properties to do the rest. They talked a bit and Link found out fairly quickly how much of an attitude she had on her. He had dealt with many different kinds of people on his previous journey so he knew what type of approach to take in dealing with her. Link was going to try be nice to her even if she was rude to him since that had eventually worked with Midna who also had a unique personality.

He had taken her to his house where she was now resting since she still seemed drained of most of her energy. What bothered him though was the fact that she admitted that she was spying. Another thing that didn't make sense was her accusing him of lying that this land was called Hyrule. She had acted strange about the matter and had spaced out for a few seconds, her face unreadable.

He didn't understand where she or Aryll had come from. When he had questioned Aryll about it the only answer he had received was 'far away'. What was that supposed to mean? Another country or a secret section of Hyrule that no one knew about? The latter probably wasn't true. He had explored all of Hyrule and knew all of its secrets. So they must have come from another country but that still posed the question…why? They couldn't possibly be a threat; they were just kids. Maybe they had run away from their country because of a corrupt monarchy. That could be it, and if it was then it meant that they had no home. Yet somehow Link didn't think that was the case.

‘All you have to do is be patient,’ Link reminded himself, ‘Once you talk to both of them you'll get a better idea of what is going on.’Until then Link decided to busy himself by delving for his horse call. Usually he had it on hand but after his adventure he had tucked away all his gear in different places thinking that it would help keep his house cleaner. He proved to be wrong though and he had no clue where most of his items vanished to. He sometimes wondered if there was a place that lost things went when they were lost for so long, as if it was a game of hide and seek and the hider had gotten bored and abandoned the game. Link searched his house quietly so as not to disturb Tetra, but after a while it became clear that his horse call was nowhere to be found leading him to wonder if Ilia had stolen it which would have been ironic since she was the one who had given it to him in the first place.

Aryll entered the house just then and Link abandoned his futile search. "Is Tetra okay?" Aryll asked as soon as she stepped inside, a look of worry on her childish face.

"She's fine," Link reassured the little girl before him, "She's just sleeping right now."

"I'm glad she's okay!" Aryll exclaimed quietly, an elated smile replacing her previous frown. Then she changed the subject, "The other kids showed me around the whole village! It's really pretty, and they even showed me a kitty by the pond. We tried to catch it, but it kept running away from us."

"That sounds like Sera's cat. It's always escaping from her shop," Link explained, "Hey Aryll, while you were walking around the village you didn't happen to see a horse did you?"

"Um….what's a horse?" Aryll wondered a look of confusion painted across her features. Link was surprised. How did she not know what a horse was? They were land animals used for travel especially. How had her brother and friends been traveling? On foot? What could her not knowing what a horse is mean? Link decided to humor her though and explained as best as he could.

"So a horse is an animal that people can ride?" Aryll checked once he was finished with his explanation.

Link nodded, "Yes, and I was asking because mine seemed to disappear this morning."

"How can such a big animal disappear?" Aryll wondered.

"Well, disappeared might not be the best word to use," Link admitted, "but the point is that I don't know where she is."

"That's sad…I know! I'll help you look for her!" Aryll said hopefully. Link glanced back at Tetra. She was still fast asleep and he doubted that she'd wake up anytime soon.

Turning back to Aryll he replied, "Sure, if you really want to."

"Of course I want to! You're helping us; it's only fair. C'mon let's go!" Aryll giggled skipping to the door. Link followed after the excited little girl and the pair headed into the village. Colin came running up to them.

"I can't find Epona or Ilia anywhere, Link!" Colin reported, "Do you think she left the village?"

"Why would she leave the village?" Link queried raising an eyebrow in question. Colin just shrugged.

"Who's Ilia?" Aryll interrupted.

"She's my best friend. We've known each other since we were little and she's constantly stealing my horse," Link informed Aryll.

"Why does she steal your horse if you're friends?" Aryll wanted to know.

"Well, when we were little, and I first got Epona, she helped me take care of her. Epona always liked me better though and Ilia got jealous so she stole Epona hoping to strengthen their bond I guess. For years Ilia has been doing this, but usually it doesn't take that long to find them since they're usually at the spring since that was where we had always taken care of Epona together." Link explained.

"Really? That's the reason? I always thought that she stole Epona anytime she got mad at you," Colin chimed in.

Link laughed. "Well, I'm sure that has something to do with it too."

"Did you guys fight recently?" Aryll inquired, attempting to come up with a solution.

Link thought for a few seconds, "No. Nothing that I can think of. I wonder if her father knows anything."

"Yeah! We should ask Mayor Bo! He should know where his own daughter is, right?" Colin agreed. They all made their way to the mayor's house and Colin and Aryll waited outside while Link spoke with the mayor.

Link and Bo exchanged quick greetings and then Link began to explain about his whole crazy morning. At first he was just going to ask about Ilia's whereabouts, but then thought that it'd only be natural to inform the mayor of what was going on in his village.

"Hmm…well I hope you can reunite those girls with their friends but enough of that. Ilia…let's see…she told me this morning that she was going to 'do Link's job for him'. I don't exactly know what she meant by that, but maybe you do?" Mayor Bo responded after Link finished his story.

Link thought about it, ‘Do my job for me? Well, my job as hero's done so she can't mean that. What else is my job?’ Link gasped in realization. "Thanks Mayor Bo! I know where to find her, see ya!" Link exclaimed in a rush before running out the door.

"I take it you know where she is?" Colin wondered as soon as Link stepped outside.

"Yes, and I can't believe that we never thought to check there! It's so obvious!" Link replied, feeling foolish for never thinking of it until now.

"Check where?" Colin and Aryll pressed.

"Fado's Ranch! Come on!" Link broke into a run and made a beeline for the entrance to the ranch with Colin and Aryll hot on his heels. The gate was closed, but Link could see Ilia among the few goats in the field.

"Ilia!" Link hopped on the fence and yelled to get her attention.

Ilia smiled and ran over to him, "Hello, Link. How's your morning been?"

"You're sure you want to ask that?" Link sighed. "Where's Epona?"

"Relax," Ilia giggled, "She's in the barn," Ilia motioned behind her towards the large wooden barn. Link couldn't believe that he was so stupid and didn't think of checking the ranch. Although he supposed that it was a good thing that Ilia took over his job for today since it would allow him time to help Aryll and Tetra. He was about to interrogate her about his missing horse call but thought better of it since, if Ilia didn't steal it, she wouldn't be too pleased to know that he had misplaced the gift she had made for him.

"I'm doing your job today, so you don't have to worry about it," Ilia announced sounding proud of herself as if she'd just won a race.

"Not that I'm not grateful or anything but why are you doing it for me?" Link wanted to know, thinking it strange that Ilia suddenly wanted to help him out. She'd never shown great interest in his work before.

"Well, to tell you the truth you've seemed kind of stressed lately so I thought that if I did this for you then you'd have more time to relax." Ilia replied. Ilia thought that he was stressed? He wasn't. He was just tenser since his adventure. After all, he did turn into a wolf which heightened his senses, and it's hard to completely relax when he keeps hearing things that he didn't before. Link was still getting used to it, so until he learned to distinguish between what sounds were normal and which were worth investigating he would probably seem stressed to others, or so he assumed by Ilia's answer.

"Who's that cutie?" Ilia wondered, pointing at Aryll who was in the process of showing Colin her telescope.

"That's Aryll," Link began to explain, "She got lost along with another girl and I'm helping them."

"Well, it's a good thing that I'm taking over your job today then!" Ilia proclaimed, "You couldn't possibly help them if you were working." Link nodded his agreement and Ilia shooed him off of the fence. "Stop dawdling here and go help those poor girls. I've got this ranch stuff covered so you don't have to worry about it."

"Thanks Ilia!" Link called over his shoulder as he herded the two kids away from the ranch and back towards the village. He planned to catch Sera's cat before heading back to check to see if Tetra was awake yet. He didn't want to wake her, even if he was curious, because she'd be able to tell him more if she could think straight.

"Okay, I'll be right back. I need to go get something from my house. Wait here, alright?" Link announced addressing both of the children in front of him. They both nodded and Link left. He quickly entered his house and grabbed his fishing rod, glancing at Tetra to confirm that she was still sleeping, which she was. He swiftly made his way back to Colin and Aryll.

"What's that fishing rod for? Are we going to go fishing?" Aryll queried, rocking back and forth on her heels.

"Yup. We're going to get Sera's cat back where it belongs," Link answered heading towards the village's water source.

"How will that get the cat back home?" Aryll wondered, falling into step beside him.

"Sera's cat likes fish so it goes down to the pond to catch some. The thing is that it isn't so good at it. Once it gets a fish though, it goes back home," Colin explained. The trio reached the pond. The calico cat was at the edge of the water dipping its paw in and then jerking it out quickly as if the water was lava.

As soon as it caught sight of them if stopped its futile attempts and eyed them warily as if their presence made catching anything a lost cause. Link ignored the cat and stepped up to the edge of the water before casting his line. Colin and Aryll sat down beside him and they waited.

After a few minutes of silence Link broke it by starting up a conversation, "So Aryll, why is that telescope so important to you? You haven't put it down since we met."

"It's my most prized possession. One day when I was really little, five I think, I was playing and a seagull brought me this telescope. I didn't know where it had gotten it and I still don't, but I always believed that it was a gift from my mom. Grandma says that she loved seagulls too. Ever since then I've carried it around because I don't want to lose it," Aryll informed him, tracing the hand-painted seagulls with her finger.

Link thought that it was cute that she carried the telescope with her everywhere but he also wondered where her mom was. Aryll had said that she thought it was a gift from her mom, but if it was then wouldn't her mom have left a note with it, and why wasn't her mom living with her? Another thing was a seagull bringing her the 'gift'. Link knew what seagulls were and he had read and saw pictures of them in books, but he had never seen one in person. Where did this girl live that enabled her to see real seagulls? Link decided to question that later since she would probably give him the same answer as before, and instead turned his attention to the small tugs on his fishing rod. A fish was biting.

He had done plenty of fishing on his previous journey and had gotten pretty good at it if he said so himself. Link stood up and tightened his grip on the fishing rod. He waited until he felt a more forceful jerk than before that nearly tore the tool out of his hands and with a quick flick of his wrist he began to reel in his catch. The children on either side of him cheered him on as he wrestled with the fish.

With another quick flick he had the fish out of the water and squirming on the hook of his fishing rod. The fish flopped to the ground before Link could stop it, and as quick as a bolt of lightning the cat darted in, trapped the fish in its mouth, and ran all the way home.

"Yay; it worked!" Aryll laughed, throwing her hands up in the air in felicity.

"That cat has to learn how to catch its own fish sometime," Link commented.

"But then it's not fun anymore," Aryll pointed out.

"Your right. Then it wouldn't be fun anymore," Link agreed, cracking a smile. "We should be getting back to my house, Aryll."

"Okay," Aryll replied, standing up and dusting herself off.

"See ya Link!" Colin called to their retreating backs. Link returned the farewell with a wave of his hand. The duo walked back to the house chatting along the way about seagulls where Link learned that Aryll was apparently a seagull magnet and had pet them before. When they entered Link's abode, Tetra was still asleep. He hadn't actually expected her to be awake yet since it had only been an hour or two.

To pass the time Link and Aryll talked quietly about animals and which were their favorites. Aryll didn't have much knowledge about many types of animals which Link found strange. She knew what pigs, seagulls, cats, dogs, cuccos, and, vaguely, monkeys were, but anything else was completely new and unfamiliar to her. He didn't mind explaining to her what goats, horses, boars, wolves, squirrels, or cows were but he couldn't help but wonder what her lack of knowledge meant.

Link also took Aryll outside and showed her some of his sword techniques which she seemed amazed at just like the other kids. By then it was past lunchtime so they returned to the treehouse to eat only to find that Tetra was beginning to stir. She opened her eyes slowly and blinked a few times to clear her vision before sitting up.

"You're awake, finally!" Aryll exclaimed running over to Tetra and jumping onto the couch next to her.

"Settle down. It's not a big deal. You act like I was sleeping forever," Tetra mumbled.

"Well, it's past noon now. We were just about to have lunch," Aryll informed her.

"Lunch sounds good," Tetra replied, stretching her arms above her head.

"We can talk about your situation during lunch," Link suggested and then quickly added, "If that's okay with you."

"Sure," Tetra shrugged, "Before, after, during, it's all the same." Five minutes later they were all seated at the wooden table and eating a lunch of bread and pumpkin soup.

"So why don't you two start by telling me what the problem is exactly. I know that you got separated from your companions, but is that all or is there more to it?" Link began.

"We all got lost first and then we got separated," Tetra answered shortly before taking a bite of bread.

"How many of you are there?" Link questioned.

Aryll counted on her fingers before proclaiming, "Five including me and Tetra!"

"Let me simplify this for you," Tetra sighed, "If you're going to help us then you better be committed because this is going to take more than just reuniting us. Are you still on board?"

Link glanced back and forth between the two girls. He didn't know them and yet he felt obligated to help them. He figured at first that that was because of his hero blood but now it felt that there was another reason. The thing was that he didn't know what that reason could possibly be. Nonetheless he was going to help them no matter what. He felt as if saying no would be a sin.

"Of course. I promise," Link said seriously.

Tetra nodded as if she'd been anticipating his answer and continued, "Alright then listen closely. Before Aryll and I stumbled upon this village and you, we were called to Faron's spring where the light spirit there told us a riddle that would help us get back home."

"What was the riddle?" Link wondered, even more interested. Faron, or any of the light spirits for that matter, rarely talked to anyone. The fact that he had called upon these two girls to speak with them definitely couldn't be ignored and most likely meant something significant.

"It went like this:

'Search for your counterparts; Find a boy in green and princess in gold,

And reach deep into the light.

Reawaken the servant who dreams,

Then enter the castle within,

And bless an ancient life with light.

A path shall be opened.

Only then may you have the means of returning home,'" Tetra recalled.

"Wait, didn't the first part go-" Aryll began to protest, but Tetra glared at her and she shut her mouth immediately.

"What I just said is word for word, right Aryll?" Tetra asked, her tone inferring that yes was the only acceptable answer.

"Yes! Sorry I was remembering a different riddle I heard somewhere else. What you said is right," Aryll replied quickly, nodding and turning her attention back to her food.

"Okay, well, search for your counterparts must mean search for your friends, and the next part sounds like you need to find me, which you already have, and Princess Zelda which is the princess of Hyrule. I don't really understand why he would tell you to find me and the princess specifically though." Link speculated. However, this piece of information did explain why Tetra had been spying earlier.

"I don't know. Maybe because he knew that you would be willing to help us," Tetra predicted, "What do you think the rest means?"

"Honestly, I'm not sure, but now I think I know why we need the princess," Link said sheepishly.

"Why?" Aryll wondered, tilting her head to the side, "Oh yeah! And you said Hyrule so you mean like in the stories right?"

"What stories?" Link wanted to know.

"Like the Hero of Time! That's my favorite story!" Aryll cried in elation, "Do you know it?"

"Yes, I know it," Link confirmed, "And we are talking about the same Hyrule."

"Really?" Aryll exclaimed. Then a look of confusion passed over her face, "But wait that-"

"Aryll, keep your mouth shut the adults are talking," Tetra snapped, cutting the little girl off mid-sentence, "So you can take us to see the princess, right? She could help us track down our friends too," Tetra said leaning back in her chair a bit and directing her question at Link.

Link snapped out of his own jumbled thoughts and back to the conversation, "It's not that simple. She's the Princess of Hyrule meaning she rules the whole kingdom. It's hard to get an audience with her since she's so busy. It could take anywhere from two days to two months with her crazy schedule. Even with my title it's still not definite."

"And what, pray tell, is your title?" Tetra inquired, rolling her eyes.

"Hero Chosen by the Gods," Link declared proudly.

"And they chose you why?" Tetra asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"Why don't you ask them that?" Link countered, "Anyway, the point is that it won't be easy to talk to the princess no matter who you are and what you've done."

"Well, if you're a hero like you say you are then she has to give you an audience. Did you save the land before, or is your title meaningless?" Tetra queried.

"It's not meaningless. I really did save the land and she knows that, but running a kingdom is still more important than taking time to talk with someone. She and I have sent letters back and forth, but that's been the most that we've done since we last saw each other about a year ago and we had to eventually stop because she became so busy," Link explained.

"What did you have to save the land from?" Aryll spoke up, daring a glance at Tetra as if to confirm that her question wouldn't cause her to be another target of Tetra's fury. When the other girl didn't make any move to defy her she tore her gaze away and focused on Link.

He was about to refuse to answer, but then thought better of it. If he appeared to be open about his information then maybe Tetra would open up more and he'd finally be able to get some answers about where she and Aryll came from. "About a year ago a strange twilight covered the whole land, and I had to go around restoring the light," Link answered, making sure to include just enough information for them to get the gist of it. No one but Zelda and Midna knew about his ability to change into a wolf during his journey and he preferred to keep it that way.

To his dismay, Tetra remained silent, her arms crossed as if barricading any information and preventing it from coming out into the open. Link wondered why she was so guarded, but he knew that questioning her about it wouldn't help him know any sooner. After all, Midna had been the same way when he had first met her, and she began to gradually open up as they progressed through their quest. Hopefully the same thing would happen with Tetra.

"Still, it can't hurt to try," Tetra pointed out, returning to their former discussion about the princess.

"We can try," Link admitted, "I'm just not promising that it'll be quick."

"We get to meet a princess?!" Aryll exclaimed, jumping up in excitement.

"Yes, now sit down before you knock something over," Tetra ordered and Aryll complied, the smile on her face unwavering.

"We'll have to wait until tomorrow though. Ilia has my horse and we'll need a horse if we're going to be traveling all the way to Castle Town," Link added.

"Who has your what?" Tetra asked, utterly confused.

"Ilia is my friend and a horse is a big animal that you can ride," Link explained as simply as he could. He had a feeling that when they found their friends that he would have to explain what a horse was again since, so far, Tetra and Aryll were both clueless about the animal's existence.

"Can't we go get your horse back from Ilia? This is really important!" Aryll pleaded.

"Alright, let me go get her. Do you want to come with or stay here?" Link asked, striding over to the door.

"I wanna go with you!" Aryll exclaimed, "Come on Tetra! Come with us!"

"Fine," Tetra sighed, standing up and allowing the little girl to drag her over to the door where Link was waiting patiently.

They left the house and descended the ladder. They were just about to step into the village when a voice shouted from behind them, "Mr. Link! WAAAAAIT!"

Startled by the sudden noise they all whirled around to find that the source was a gaunt-faced man dressed in a white and red uniform with a bunny symbol on his crimson hat and brown sandals on his feet.

He ran up to Link, handed him a letter, declared, "Onward to mail!" and then ran back the way he had come.

"Um…what the heck was that?" Tetra stated, speechless.

Link laughed. "That was the postal service."

"Can't the postal service ever be normal?" Aryll whined.

"Describe normal Aryll and then it can be a possibility." Tetra told Aryll. The little girl opened her mouth to do just that but quickly closed it, realizing that she didn't know what to say. Meanwhile Link opened the envelope and slipped the letter out. He unfolded it and began to read:

Hello Grasshopper,

It's been awhile hasn't it? I hope you're doing well. I feel bad asking this of you since you've already done so much for me, but recently I have made some new friends. There are three of them, and they are very nice. The problem is that they are looking for their companions, but they don't have any way to travel except for by foot. I was wondering if you would be willing to escort them where they need to go since I can't do it myself. I hope this letter reaches you as soon as possible and you make haste to Castle Town. Meet me in the garden.

The Bug Princess, Agitha

‘Three of them? Looking for their companions? Could it really be Tetra and Aryll's friends?’ Link thought to himself, ‘If it is then that makes things a bit easier. Although it seems a little too good to be true. It couldn't hurt to check though.’Link turned to the two girls at his side, "Small change of plans. I'm going to go to Castle Town by myself. Wait let me finish," Link said, holding up a hand when Tetra opened her mouth to protest, "because this letter is from a friend of mine that says that she met 'three new friends' that are looking for their companions, and she needs me to go there to escort them wherever they need to go. I'm thinking that these 'three new friends' could be the ones that you're looking for."

"Could be," Tetra admitted, "but why do you have to go by yourself? Can't I come?"

"I'm not completely sure that it is them, and even if it is, there wouldn't be a lot of room. A horse can only carry so much weight. The more people it's carrying the slower it is. It'll go faster this way and while I'm in town I'll see if I can arrange an audience with the princess." Link explained, "If it is your friends then I'll bring them back here, and we'll decide what to do next together."

"How will you know that you've even got the right people?" Tetra wondered.

"Simple. I'll just ask them if they are looking for two girls. One by the name of Tetra and the other Aryll," Link replied. He was ready for any excuse Tetra could concoct and throw at him. He wasn't going to allow her or Aryll to come with him outside of the village after that Bulblin attack. They were safer here.

"I can defend myself," Tetra stated as if she could read his thoughts.

"Yeah, because that worked so well last time," Link smirked.

She glared at him, her eyes crackling like blue fire, "You're asking for it. I'd watch where I step if I were you because you're on thin ice." Link wasn't scared or even a bit intimidated by her. He was older than her and besides that he had faced the wrath of countless monsters and even Ganondorf. This girl didn't strike fear into him at all. In fact, he found the whole display a bit comical.

"Look, my decision still stands. You two are staying here and I'm going to hand you both over to Ilia, so she can watch you." Link said calmly, beginning to walk into the village and towards the ranch.

"I'm fourteen! I don't need a babysitter! I can watch Aryll myself," Tetra retorted following him with Aryll in tow.

Somehow Link doubted that. "I never said anything about a babysitter," he defended himself.

"You said 'someone to watch you'. It's the same thing!" Tetra huffed, crossing her arms.

"What I meant was someone from the village that you could stay with until I get back. I don't know how long this will take exactly," Link amended. They reached the ranch and Link shouted for Ilia once again. He watched as his childhood friend stopped petting a goat and looked over her shoulder.

"Hey, Link!" Ilia called back, waving a greeting.

"Ilia, I need you to do me a favor!" Link yelled, returning the greeting with a wave of his own.

"Sure, what is it?" Ilia replied, coming over to the gate so they didn't have to shout at each other.

"I need to go to Castle Town and that means that I need-" Link began but Ilia cut him off by holding up her hand.

"Epona, right?" Ilia guessed a sly smile creeping onto her lips.

Link nodded, "Yes, and I also need you to err…keep track of these two," Link said, choosing his words carefully so as not to offend Tetra and gesturing to the two girls beside him.

"Hmm….okay I guess, but I can't just abandon Fado. He needs help with the goats," Ilia pointed out.

"That's okay, have them help you then," Link suggested. He could practically feel the daggers that Tetra was shooting at him at the moment.

"That's a great idea!" Ilia sighed, a look of relief on her face, "Let me go get Epona. Rounding up the goats later will be a bit more of a challenge without her but with all four of us it shouldn't be too bad." She then left to retrieve his red, white-maned mare from the barn.

When Epona was led out of the shelter barn Aryll rushed forward to see, hopping up onto the gate. "Is that a horse?" Aryll exclaimed, eyes shining in amazement.

"Yes, she's pretty isn't she?" Link responded smiling at the little girl's excitement.

"Very!" Aryll agreed, gazing at the animal in awe. Aryll hopped off of the gate as Ilia opened it just enough so she could lead Epona out. She closed the gate behind her just in time to stop a goat from escaping.

"Be careful, okay?" Ilia ordered looking straight into Link's eyes and seeming to search for a promise that he'd really be cautious.

"Of course I will, Ilia. I'll be back soon," Link promised. He then mounted Epona.

"Give me a ride sometime, please?" Aryll asked sweetly, clasping her hands together in a pleading manner.

"Sure. When I get back," Link replied, "The offer stands for you too you know." Link directed this last part at Tetra who just rolled her eyes and looked away. He honestly didn't expect her to be nice at this point. He was finding that once she was in a bad mood, she stayed in it for a while. Link waved one last goodbye before prompting Epona into a trot. They cantered out of the village. Once they were across the wooden suspension bridge, Link let her break out into a run, and they were on their way to Castle Town, heading into goddesses only knows what.

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