Kiro and Colin practically bounded out of the cave into Kiro's waiting mother. She seemed relived beyond belief at her son's return, but, as all mothers do, hid it very well.
"Where have you been, little scamp? I've told you about going into those caves you don't know! If your friend hadn't come after you..." She sighed and shook her head, trying to hide a smile.
"I'm OK, Ma! Biggie saved me from a crazy kid and a big puppet! He did! I'll tell you all 'bout it..." And the mother and child walked away into the caves.
Goron Colin sighed, half laughing, before moving towards his rock cot.
"SO he was in that cave, huh?"
Colin turned to see Kiro's father had just walked into the system. He looked embarrassed, and was holding his head down.
"I guess I should've...well, I...er..." He shook his head. "I have a confession.
"I knew he'd be in here, I just did, I couldn't...Kept making excuses, telling myself he was in some other system, even though I knew he's be exploring...I didn't think to..." The elder goron heaved a heavy sigh. "Kiro and his mother are right. I AM afraid of change, and I let that fear rule me...I'm not gonna let that happen again..."
He brightened up at this conviction. "Thank you so much, for everything. I'll go tell Kiro that we'll be heading towards Hyrule later."
Colin remembered suddenly. Hyrule! He should head there too...maybe Link or Zelda or Telma could do something... The Goron simply smiled and nodded.
"You'll be heading there too? Well, you can leave now, we need to pack and we'll be a while. You look as though you're in a hurry to reach Hyrule."
Goron Colin was puzzled. How much did he know...?
"Good. We'll see you there. Take care, alright? And thanks again."
Link and Rusl knocked on the door of the happy mask shop loudly. Ilia and Shad had joined them, on a suspicion. Link rapped again, but no-one answered.
"Salesman! Open up! We need to ask you a few -"
The door suddenly creaked open as if on it's own will. Link and the others stepped into the empty shop, the hung masks staring at them intently. They could hear a piano being played in the back of the shop, so they walked towards the music.
Ilia looked around, puzzled. Everything was in order, all the masks hung neatly on the walls and the shelves stacked carefully, with not a trace of the disorder that she had seen earlier. It hadn't been that long...had it?
"That's weird..." She thought aloud. "He had torn this place apart earlier; he couldn't have put it all back together so quickly..."
"You visited him?"
"Oh yes...he told me that maybe the hero was pretending to be a beast and he had sold you a wolf mask..." Ilia paused. 'Maybe that's where I got the idea..."
Link, Rusl and Shad moved towards the back door of the shop, following the haunting music. It was a beautiful piano piece that seemed to relieve worries. Not that they were paying much attention to the worries.
The opened the back door and saw a strange room filled with boxes and books. Shad picked up a book that had been put on one of the crates and stared at it in surprise.
"What in blazes...This is the very book that I read at Telma's..." He opened the book and sure enough, there was the picture of the boy in green that he had paused upon with Colin. "This must be the salesman's..."
Link was troubled. More and more, this salesman seemed to be as if he knew more of this entire business than he let on, and was behind part of it. He looked around and saw a crest that had a sword identical to the one Colin had used, and a dusty quilting of the hero of ages past.
The music was coming from behind another door, and Rusl and Link approached it carefully, as if expecting a trap. Instead, the door simply creaked open, revealing the salesman, hunched at a large piano that had curious symbols carved on it's frame.
Link entered the salesman's room, but just as Rusl was following him in, the door slammed shut and locked with a bang that made them both jump. Link was alone in the room with the salesman, who played his tune as if oblivious to the hero's presence.
"My apologies." The salesman spoke up. "This is between you and me...Link."
Link regained his breath (Which he had lost somewhere between entering the creepy shop and the door slamming) and decided to ask the salesman his questions while he was here.
"That wolf mask you gave me..."
"Yes..." The salesman spoke, not leaving off his playing. "I know. Why do you think I gave it to you? Was it any help?"
"No...Yes...I mean...Never mind! That mask, the book, even the sword that Colin had...you...you were involved."
"Of course I was."
Link shook his head. He didn't know what to make of the mysterious man that had given him the mask that could transform him. "I don't know whether you're helping or...Why are you doing this?"
The salesman ended his tune. "Because I owe you that much." The salesman turned around and Link saw that he wasn't smiling or frowning...he had a perfectly sincere, serious face. "You saved my kin from a tyrant and a fate worse than death. I owe you greatly."
Link was puzzled. "What do you mean, your kin? Zelda's not a tyrant and..."
"I'm not talking about the Hyrulians." The salesman raised his hand and an orb of crackling energy appeared. Link recognized the energy with a shock.
It was the twilight magic he had seen Midna use.
The happy mask salesman made the crackle disappear. "I was one of the original magic users, the ancestor of the ones you knew as Twili. Why I was permitted to remain in Hyrule while my...brothers were imprisoned was beyond me...
...until I met...the hero."
Link was shocked. "You couldn't have...that was centuries..."
The salesman smiled again. "Couldn't I? How do you know? I did. I saw the hero with my own two eyes...he owes his life to me, in fact..." The salesman's look became serious again as he continued. "I'm...getting ahead of myself."
"Indeed...What do you know about Majora's Mask? Don't lie to me..."
"I won't. The mask is a thing of great power, it was used in our rituals, and eventually...One of our rituals went wrong, and the mask gained a life of it's own. That was just before my brothers were imprisoned...
"I knew the masks powers, and I feared it being unleashed, so I...after we were imprisoned, I took it and guarded it...Maybe that was why I was allowed to live..."
"Did you release Majora?"
"What? NO! I never would've done that! Not then, not now..."
"That story I gave your friend...I saw it with my own eyes. I was duped and robbed and that mask gained a host..." He paused again and looked at Link.
"Well...at some point, the hero whose blood runs in your veins arrived. He was...changed, as you were. Another mask, one of Majora's cruel pranks. I helped him. Changed him back. Aided him...he was able to free the beings that Majora had imprisoned and saved Termina, as it describes in the book..."
The salesman smiled. "An item the hero had...It's inside his tomb now. You'll need it to save your friend..."
"Colin. Do you know where Colin is? Answer me!"
"No, no, there are things I don't know. I know that he is alive, but he's changed, just like the hero of old...Heheh. History repeats itself."
Link sighed. He no longer doubted that this salesman had no evil intentions, but he was still on edge. "Perhaps. How do I find him?"
"It will be easy enough for you to find him...But that is not what's important. He needs to be healed...and not by any healer you know."
The salesman reached over and took a parchment form behind his sheet music. "These are the directions to the tomb of the ancient hero."
Link was dumbfounded. "The real tomb?"
"Yes...after he finished his work, he settled down, had a family...had what he deserved. When he died, they buried him with honours, but hid the tomb for fear of robbers who would come to steal the sacred treasure he held. Majora's Mask was placed there as well...The tomb became uncovered recently, and someone stole the mask. That is why It's loose. But whoever did it overlooked the true treasure of the ancient hero." He handed Link the map and continued.
"You need that treasure to help your friend. When you find it, bring it here, and I will show how to heal your friend."
Link stared at the map, and the salesman, in bewilderment. The salesman was an immortal Twili, and the tomb to the ancient hero held what he needed...This was unbelievable.
"Belief or disbelief rests with you." The salesman stated, reading his mind. "But what else do you have?"
Link looked at the map again, and headed for the salesman's back door.