1: Calm before the storm
"Alright Colin, now swing it to the left..."
Colin complied, swinging the wooden sword at the scarecrow and shattering it to pieces. However, he overcompensated and spun down to earth.
"S'alright Colin. You're just starting."
Rusl watched his son proudly. It was less than a year ago that Colin had been too shy to go near a blade. Now he was trying to be like his hero, Link. There was no denying the boy's newfound courage and determination, but he was still very young and ... well, not too strong. But he was a very quick study, and seemed as though he would be a good fighter in time. In time.
Colin sheepishly stood back up and picked up the wooden sword. Uli had insisted that for the time being, Colin practiced with a toy sword and not a real one. Colin was having difficulty holding up the metal one anyway. He was also getting used to using the wooden shield quite well.
"I put too much power, didn't I?"
"For a slice. You had enough power for a spin attack, though. Heheh. You do need to be a little more steady on your feet, however."
"Okay. I'll try hard."
"I know you will, Colin."
Uli walked into the scene, holding the hand of Colin's new sister, Aliyah. She was a year old, now, and watched the world with big green eyes.
"There you are, you little warriors. Bo called a long time ago, we're heading to Hyrule now."
"Yes, now. Remember? We promised Zelda that we'd be there for the carnival. We don't want to break a promise to the new queen now, do we?"
"No, I guess we don't." Colin and Rusl reluctantly started packing their gear up.
Uli smiled. "Not only that, I hear Link's coming back for the carnival as well."
That got Colin's attention. "Link? He's back?"
"Mm hm. So let's get going!"
Colin grabbed everything he had taken out with surprising speed and packed it all up as quickly as possible. Rusl watched his eager son and chuckled lightly.
"It'll be good to see Link again." he thought aloud as he joined the other villagers, who had set up a cart and horse to carry everyone.
"Yeah, we haven't seen him fer awhile!" Several other villagers chimed in.
"Yeah, it's been what, a year?"
"Why'd he leave in the first place?"
Ilia, who had been siting up at the front, answered Talo's question sweetly.
"He saw me just before he left. He told me everything had happened so fast, everything had changed, and he needed time alone to think."
Link had gotten plenty of time to think.
He had rode alone away from Hyrule for a spell, heading towards distant countries where no evidence of what had occurred could trouble him.
He couldn't help but think of Midna whenever he was in Hyrule. He had constantly revisited that day when they met, and the day that she left him forever...
He had told Ilia the truth. He needed time to think. But he didn't tell her about Midna, the twilight mirror or even his wolf form, for it brought back more memories. He couldn't change into his wolf form anymore... Midna had taken Zant's crystal with her when she shattered the mirror.
He had needed to reason with what Midna did, come to terms with it, accept it and move on.
And now he felt he had. Besides, he was getting homesick. He rode Epona towards Hyrule castle, looking forward to seeing everybody again.
It was much safer for travelers to go across Hyrule Field. Out of respect for the hero who had defeated their chieftain, the Bulbins stayed well away from the field and travelers...at least during the day. There were a few raids at night, but little to be worried about.
The guard caught site of the cart from afar. He figured it must be the visitors from Ordon, but then realized it was too small. No, it held only one passenger, the driver.
The Guard, who had gotten back his courage awhile ago, stopped the small cart.
"Who goes there?"
The driver turned at him, smiling.
"Just a humble, happy mask salesman. I was told I could set shop in Hyrule somewhere."
The guard checked the cart. Sure enough, there was nothing but Masks and wood. Some of the masks looked decidedly bizarre, but none looked like they could hide any weapons.
"You're in luck. One of the shops was recently abandoned when the saleswoman moved out of Castle Town. Talk to the Queen Zelda, she should tell you whether you can use that shop."
"I'll do that."
"You're just in time. Maybe those masks will be good for the New Year's carnival." The guard opened the gates and let the mysterious salesman into Hyrule.