14: The morning after
Morning in Castle Town.
Ilia wandered the streets of the town, feeling helpless. Colin and Link vanished, Rusl was starting to get depressed, and now there were those wolves whose howls chilled her to the bone.
How does something like this happen? Ilia sat down hard on a handy bench. She was staring to cry when she heard a ruckus in the shop across the street. She walked into the shop with the smiley face on the door to investigate, hoping to help and make herself useful.
The happy mask shop had been turned upside down by the salesman. Masks with their huge eyes stared up at the ceiling form where they had been dropped, and shelves after shelves had been unloaded onto the floor. The red-haired salesman was hunched over a chest, digging through it furiously.
Ilia approached nervously. "Ummm...is there anything I can do...?"
"YOU CAN LEAVE!" the salesman snarled, turning around. Upon seeing Ilia, his furious features softened in embarrassment.
"I...I'm so sorry. I was robbed last night and...well, it's still a little...upsetting."
"Oh, okay." Ilia managed to stammer out. "Forgive me asking, but...why would anyone rob...Sorry."
The salesman shook his head. "It's alright. It's just that one of the masks taken was a particularly valuable one...very dangerous, too." The salesman looked at Ilia. "But you have your own concerns."
"Er...yes." Ilia lowered her head. "Two of my friends are gone. Link and Colin, do you know them?"
"Why, yes they were at my shop a few days ago. I sold them a wolf mask and a smiling mask...I believe they gave it to you?"
"Yes..." Ilia took the smiley face mask and looked at it, sighing.
The salesman gave her one of his famous smiles. "They'll be alright."
"How do you know?" Ilia unintentionally snapped.
The salesman shrugged. "I know a lot of things."
Ilia stared down at the mask. "Colin probably got into trouble because he was pretending to be a hero..."
"Perhaps the hero is pretending to be a beast."
Ilia looked up at the salesman, and was going to respond to his bizarre words when Rusl showed up.
"Ilia! There you are. Listen, me and some of the others are going to look for Coin by the southern field. Maybe you could come and help?"
"Um...sure." Ilia stated, following Rusl out the door, leaving the smiling salesman.
"You'll find what you're looking for...you won't recognize it at first, but you'll find it."
It had been a terrible night for Link. Every time he felled two of the monsters, the third one would shriek and they would be resurrected. He had grown haggard and weary, and the monsters blows were starting to take their toll.
Morning did not come as a relief for him. It only promised more and more of this battle until he eventually lost. For good.
Zelda had woken up with a start. She had been having a terrible nightmare all through the night. Not keen on going back to sleep, she dressed, washed and prepared herself for another day.
"Milady!" Jairek popped his head through the door in speed.
"Something happening in the southern field, Milady! I think you should see this!"
Colin woke up inside a large cave with strange carvings all over it. He thought it had all been a dream, but a look at his hands changed his mind. He was still a Goron. He was in the middle of mentally cursing Majora when a small voice piped up.
"You're awake! Hey Pa, He's Awake! PA!" A small Goron child rushed out to get his father to look at the stranger.
Goron Colin rose up and shook his weary, heavy head before taking a look around. He was in a small homely cave, with rocks on the floor and candle holders carved out of the bedrock.
The Goron child came out, leading a larger Goron by the hand. Colin noticed that he was larger than them both.
"Ah, you are awake. Good. We were a little worried."
"Yeah, you smashed into the wall real bad! You OK?"
Colin could do nothing but nod.
"So what's your name?"
Colin gave an awkward look and sighed.
"Can you talk?" The little one asked.
The transformed Goron shook his head.
"That's too bad..."
The elder Goron shrugged. "You must be hungry. Here." He picked up a few rocks and handed them to Colin. "Try these."
Colin was at first taken aback by the concept of eating rocks, but he realized that Gorons ate them normally. He popped a few in his mouth and was surprised by how good they tasted.
"Dodongo cavern rocks. Very tasty and nutritious. Later, we can show you to the others. Maybe they'll know who you are."
Colin ate a few more rocks and surprised himself by smiling. This wasn't so bad, at least not the worst that could happen. Still...
Zelda had leapt up to the wall facing the southern field and saw a shocking sight. There were three of the Twilight monsters that had terrorized Hyrule long before. One of them was dead, and another was being attacked
By a Wolf.
"By the Goddesses..." Zelda snatched her bow and arrows from her advisors hands before he could say "Milady."
Link was bone-tired, but his instinct to survive was driving him to an attack he knew was futile. He bit at the creature's neck with sharp teeth and felled him, knowing that he would leap back up again soon. Sure enough, the third beast raised it's head to let out a resurrecting shriek.
But before it could, an arrow pierced it's back. A Blinding light emanated from the monster's wounded back as the creature let out an agonized screech before toppling over to join it's comrades.
Link simply could not believe his eyes. It was...over?
The field that had imprisoned him faded away as the monsters disappeared into shadows. The exhausted wolf weakly limped away in the vague direction of Hyrule Castle.
"COLIN! LINK! WHERE ARE YOU!"
Talo's method of looking for people was screaming at the top of his lungs, much tot he chagrin of Rusl, Ilia and the others.
"Voice like a banshee."Ashei muttered.
"Yes..."Auru groaned. "Let's hope something answers soon..."
Rusl looked around at the empty field. Nothing. Not even a Bulbin archer. No sign of his son or the hero. Nothing. He was growing more and more frustrated by the minute.
Ilia suddenly saw something. "Rusl, look!"
It was a wolf. A green-black wolf with white markings on it. The wolf that had shown up in Link's room and stole Rusl's sword long ago. It was limping badly, barely able to carry itself.
Angrily, Rusl stormed up to it and seized it by the ears as it collapsed.
"Easy, Rusl...It's wounded..." Ilia and the others gathered around Rusl and his captive.
"It doesn't matter. This beast has something to do with all this, I Know IT!"Rusl snarled at the pathetic creature in a mad rage. "Where's Link! Where's my son! Answer me you - "
Rusl suddenly noticed something. So did the others. The ear he was clutching had a blue earring on it. So did the other ear.
It couldn't be...could it?
Rusl and Ilia looked at the creature's half closed eyes. They were blue, feral, and all too familiar. The group stared at the wolf as it let out a whine in a recognizable tone.
That was all Link heard before slipping into unconsciousness.