4: The mask shop
Link strode through Castle Town calmly. It seemed like ages ago that he had rescued it from Twilight, but he knew it had been little more than a year.
Funny. It seemed like only yesterday. His wolf form, the monsters he had faced, Midna...
Link turned to the sound of the young, eager voice and found himself staring at a bizarre, short Fish Creature with a horn.
"Wha - "
"Link! Like my new mask?" The creature took off his mask, revealing Talo, as eager as ever.
"Did I scare ya?"
Link chuckled softly. "No, not really. You suprised me, though."
"Hahahaha! That's what Colin said, too. Even after I distincly heard him shriek! Hehahaha!"
At that moment, the boy in question came walking into the scene. "I didn't Shriek!"
"Oh, I heard ya! And so did half the town!" Talo retorted.
Colin was about to yell when Link caught his eye.
"Hey Link! Good to see you again!"
"So didja find it?"
Link blinked. "Found what?"
"Your soul." Talo replied.
"Ilia said you went searching for your soul."
Link laughed. "Ohhh. Soul-searching, you mean. And yes, I found it."
"Good! Maybe you can stay longer this time. We haven't seen much of you lately." Colin stated.
At this point, ever restless Talo got bored. "Welp, you two go on reninising of whatever," Talo put his Fish mask on, "But I'M gonna head over to Malo Mart and give my brother a good scare!"
Link looked curiously at the mask. "Strange mask...Where'd you get it?"
Talo pointed to a small building in the center square. "Over there. The, uh, Happy Mask shop, I think. Just got put up." Talo promptly trounced off. "See ya!"
As Talo walked off towards his brother's shop with his mask on, giving a few passers-by a good fright.
Colin turned to Link. "Wanna have a look at that shop?"
"Sure. I got time."
"Great! maybe we can find a mask to make me brave."
Link chuckled. Masks couldn't really do that.
The Happy Mask shop was easy to find. A huge, smiling face was painted on the door, and several unusual masks, one in the shape of a fox's face, and other looking like a Zora, were hung in the window.
Link and Colin strode in.
Once they came in though, something changed. Link began to feel a little uncomfortable. As if there was something out of place in the shop itself, watching him.
Link shook it off. Of course there was something 'watching' him All the masks hung on the wall had eyes. Who wouldn't feel watched?
Link gulped down. There was nothing to fear here. He knew that. He could sense it without a doubt. So why was he so uncomfortable?
Colin walked through the shop slowly. He sensed something amiss here too...not hostile or evil, just amiss.
Link looked at the masks scattered all over the wall. Many of them were smiling...to be sure...but they didn't seem very happy for some reason. One mask seemed to nothing but eyes and teeth. Another was literally nothing but eyes. One had the appearance of an evil scarecrow, and another was just a huge open mouth with sharp teeth.
Link paused at a mask that seemed to be shifting it's face constantly, forming liquid symmetrical patterns inside the mask.
"Ah yes. That mask - "
Link lept around in suprise, looking for whoever had snuck up behind him and said something. The man reared back in embarrased suprise.
"Did...Did I frighten you? I am sorry. I'm the owner of this shop. The Happy Mask Salesman, if you will."
Link took a good look at the man. He had a gangly frame, and was wearing a coat with purple and pink swirling patterns on it. He had an angular face and red hair, and seemed to be smiling warmly, squinting his eyes.
His smile seemed to tell Link that he knew much more than he was willing to let on.
"Ah, anyway. That particular mask belonged to a man who would never compromise, and had a single - minded determination to deal out retribution to those deserving." He turned to Link. "You'd have liked him."
"Er...perhaps." Link couldn't understand why he was so unnerved with this man.
"Indeed. However, I'm afraid this particular mask isn't for sale...a personal favorite of mine. Feel free to look around and see what interests you."
The Happy Mask salesman walked away calmly.
Colin was looking through a Hooded mask with animal features and turned to see the salesman.
"Oh! Um, Hi mister!"
The salesman chuckled. "So tell me,
Are you a beast preteding to be a hero, or a hero pretending to be a beast?"
"Wh-what? Uhhhh... I'm neither?"
"Hehehehmm. Well, we do have both kinds here in Hyrule." He turned to Link as he said that.
Link couldn't help but shiver. Beasts and heroes? Him? How much does this man know...?
Link quickly turned away and walked through the store, looking at all the masks.
Suddenly he stopped in his tracks.
The Salesman seemed to sense this, and turned around. "Have found something you like?"
Link didn't say anything, he only picked the mask off from the wall.
It was a Wolf. A green wolf with blue eyes and white tattoos over its snout.
A dead ringer for his wolf form.
Link looked inside the mask. Mysterious blue swirls were written in a mysterious language. He recognozed the symbols being Twili.
He had turned into a wolf in the Twilight realm.
"Ah yes, that. Fine mask. It seems to suit you very well..."
"Er...yeah I guess it does."
The mask seemed to throb with a strange energy. It seemed to be looking back at him with it's proud eyes... His eyes...
Link promptly decided to buy it.
"How much for it?"
The Salesman's smile seemed to widen. "Well, it's a relatively expensive mask...
...but considering what you've done for us all, I suppose I could give it to you free."
Link gulped. "Errr, thanks."
"My pleasure. Just that one though. You'll have to pay for the other."
Colin suddenly appeared, wearing a mask with big eyes and a bigger smile.
"How 'bout this one Link? Ilia might like it."
Link smiled, relaxing. "Sure Colin."
"50 rupees." The salesman stated.
Link handed the money over to the strange man. "Here you go. C'mon, Colin."
Colin laughed, and they walked out of the store.
"Those masks will be good for the Carnival coming up, you know." The Salesman yelled. " Be sure to tell your friends! And thanks again."
Colin turned to Link. "So what did you get?"
Link showed him the wolf mask.
"Nice. It'll look really good on you."
"Yes, I'm sure it will." Link said absently.
That salesman seemed to know more than he would let on. Where did he come from? And how did he get a mask that looked like Wolf Link? Why was he smiling?
Link realized something. The salesman had never stopped smiling the entire time they were there. In fact, his face had barely changed at all...
And why did it seem like he knew everything?