The Garo's Curse
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"The Garo's Curse", part 1

The Legend of Zelda: The Garo's Curse

By: AsilOcram

A minor note from the author: All characters and places in this story are owned by Nintendo, and I claim no rights to them. All characters and places and situations in this story are also entirely made up, and any similarities to any people and/or place (or other fan fiction, for that matter) is purely coincidental.

Part I

Ikana Canyon: 2,000 years in the past

He sat there. Completely numb. What do you do when the love of your life is promised to someone else, the king has declared war on your people, and everyone shuns you because of your beliefs? The young man was no more than twenty, and he already had a lifetime of problems on his hands. In frustration, he threw himself on the ground, began shouting in his native tongue: "Ner'tah Yrei! Rque iure saura imas tera, weiiah carah!" (Merciful Gods! If you hear my plea, send a sympathizer!)

Not 30 seconds later, a smoke formed, and a figure materialized. The young man fell on his face in gratitude. The messenger had red hair, a ghastly olive complexion. He comforted the young man in his language. " Come off your face, young one." The boy did as he was told. "I know your tribe has fallen into misfortune. I will.correct this misfortune. Write this down:"

The messenger began speaking, the boy wrote his every word. Then, the stranger handed him a strange, gold, triangular relic. "There are two more just like it. Use this one to give truth to my words, and find the other two. When all three are together, Your tribe will rule all nations."

The boy nodded eagerly. "But, what of you, o great messenger?" He asked in his strange tongue. "May you come to guide us?"

"After you have all three, I will return as your leader."

"Bless you, great leader!"

"Be off! Tell your people! Spread the news!"

The boy ran off to a camp not 200 yards away.

The "messenger" let out a deep belly laugh. One of pure evil. "The young are so foolish! The world may now tremble.the return of Ganon is at hand!"

As Ganon glanced at his words, he laughed all the harder:

The Garo's Curse

7 cycles after

The fall of certain doom
A greater foe will be unleashed
Swiftly, and all too soon.

The Fortress of the Sacred Gold
Will crumble and decay.
The Sister-World will wither and die
A little more everyday.

The Sundered-Kin will hear the call of War once again,
Blood will spill o'er the hills:
The blood of all who lives.

The Noble Ones will soon forget their own destiny,
As war begins to plague their souls, powerless, they will be

The Hero will lose his drive to fight,
The Sister-World will lose her only guiding light.

The Leader, whom they hold so dear,
Will walk among men, no different from the rest.
Stripped of power, and knowledge.

7 days after the Beginning, the ground will pour forth
Its dead, wandering souls, to roam the land once again.

When we are broken of the seal
Alas! On that awaited day

We will shake off death's lowly chains,
Conquer the prison of the grave,
Claim the Gold that calls our name,

The Garo will rule all, and the way of things will be
.as they were before.

The Present: Hyrule. Several months after "Ocarina of Time"

Link, 18-year-old Hylian knight, Savior of the World, had never been more happy to be home. He kept repeating the idea in his head several times over: "Home. I'm home. and for once, the world doesn't need me..."

It was true, Link had not had any adventures in 6 months, and that, for him, was a new world record. He had taken advantage of the extended vacation, and was enjoying the life of a simple Hylian. The only hassle was traveling into the marketplace, and having dozens of his "fans" badger him for autographs. On the whole, however, life was good.

The sun was high in the sky, as the morning shaded into early afternoon. Lake Hylia was placid and tranquil, the only intruders being Link, his fishing pole, and Epona, who was nibbling on some grasses some yards from the surf. The fishing pond nearby had gone out of business, and the former owner was kind to sell Link a fishing pole for 50 rupees.

Link had been waiting impatiently for three hours for something, anything, to bite at his line. He spoke aloud, "I came here to this stupid place to fish, and I haven't gotten one bite in three hours! Damn Fish! Bite already!"

The glassy waters gave no reply to his demands. Dismayed, Link began to reflect on his life, very much like the way the lake was reflecting his features. Straight across from his fishing spot was the island in which the Water Temple lay hidden from normal sight. He recalled his conquest of the dismal place, as well as the battle with Morpha. The very memory gave him a massive headache.

Epona softly neighed from where she was enjoying her lunch, and Link's memory drifted back to when Malon had first taught him that he had almost lost Epona in Termina...and how much he valued that mare. And then, he thought of her....

Zelda, The leader of the Sages, the most beautiful woman he had ever known. He thought of her golden hair cascading down her shoulders, the tender touch of her hand on his....

He violently shook her image away. "No...she has responsibilities. She's a Sage, she's gonna be a queen soon, and Zelda, well, she doesn't need any distractions from anyone or anything, especially not me." It had hurt him terribly to say, but it was the truth, and he was convinced that he learn it, before this little "crush" he had got out of hand....

Link was suddenly jerked out of Memory Lane by his fishing pole, which had almost leapt into the air. Link allowed himself an impish grin. "Well! Its about time! Here, fishy, fishy, fishy...."

The warrior yanked the line back as far as it would go, but to no avail. Whatever had bitten was not letting go anytime soon. "Stupid fish, doesn't it know when enough is enough??" Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his sensitive ears and cheeks had become a rosy pink from the effort.

A knot formed in our hero's stomach, as he heard the unmistakable sound of his line unraveling. He turned in alarm. "Son of a Sheikah!!" He glanced from the rapidly unraveling spool out to the lake. "This thing's gotta be bigger than Jabu-Jabu!!"

He began to pull harder than he thought possible. His breath became ragged, and sweat was pouring down his body in rivers, soaking his tunic and leggings. He didn't even pause to wipe his brow. Whatever this thing is, I'm not letting it go!!!!

Suddenly, his line came to a dead stop, and air bubbles started rising from below. Bigger than normal air bubbles, mind you. Link dropped his line, a mixture of horror and surprise twisting his face. "What in the name of Din is that??"

Enormous bubbles slowly flowed away from his line, moving closer and closer to the shore. As the bubbles moved closer, Link could swear he was hearing laughter coming from the water...

This monstrous creature rose out of the water. First came a azure, scaly head, then deep black eyes, and finally a humanoid torso. The thing, a combination of a Hylian and a fish, was laughing its head off hysterically.

The Hero's face went red, and his eyes narrowed. He had been scammed. He pointed a finger at the "monster"-

"Ruto....I swear to the Gods, I could kill you.... I thought you were a fish...and then here you are, fucking around with my line, and my head!"

Ruto stopped her laughter only to reply: "Well, I am part fish, aren't I? And as for messing with your head..that's what I do best!!" She held a fin-like hand to her mouth, but the action only served to further her fit of giggles.

Ruto was a Zora, a fishlike race with Hylian qualities. She wasn't just any Zora, though..she was a Princess, and the Sage of the Water Temple. Link held his current stare. Ruto sighed and shrugged. "Look, I'm sorry! I was bored, I saw your line, and I couldn't help but give an eensy-weensy little tug..."

"Eensy-weensy??? You almost ripped off my hand!!"

"Yeah, well, you weren't going to catch anything anyway. Not with that kind of bait, and besides, the fish are too far down to notice."

The other eased a little. "Well, I wish you could've told me that sooner..woulda saved me the trouble, and from looking stupid."

"Geez, you don't need to be such a sourpuss about it!" she folded her arms, and gave him a pouty face.

"Ruto, why don't you go swim upstream or something? I was having a perfectly good time until you butt in.." Link said in a hurt tone.

"Doing what? Sitting on your ass waiting for the bite that would never be? Come on!"

A pause. Link knew Ruto was right, but was by no means giving her the satisfaction of letting her know it. "Besides, you know me. I wouldn't bother you unless it were really important..." Ruto walked so that she became adjacent to Link.

"Ruto, what could be sooo important that it can't wait?" Ruto gave him a look. One that made him go Uh-oh. "If it's about that engagement, you know good and well..."

"NOOOO!! That's not even up for discussion. You know that as well as I do that that is not an issue, and was laid to rest already."

He breathed a huge sigh of relief. But, the feeling didn't last. "Is it Zelda??? Is anything wrong with her??"

The fish-woman held up a hand. "Whoa! Slow down loverboy, your woman is perfectly fine. In fact, you should pay her a visit when you get the chance."

Link blushed. "Oh, good Gods, is it that obvious?"

Ruto gritted her teeth. "Ummm...I'd be surprised to find a living soul that didn't know.."

Link shook away those last few thoughts. "All right then. To business. What's the crisis?"

Ruto drew a ragged breath. "It's Impa."

"What about her? She was fine last week when she came over to eat.."

"Link..." Her voice trailed off...and she held his arm gently. "We think she's dying."

Link's eyes bugged out of his head. "Whaddya mean she's dying?!" He looked Ruto over, trying to detect any signs of her real disposition. He chuckled. "Come on, get real! Impa's as healthy as anybody!" He laughed nervously and patted her shoulder. "Nice try, you almost got me for a minute, but I can always tell when you're lying."

He laughed and shook his head. Ruto just stood there. "Link!"

The fish-woman stomped her feet, and threw a temper tantrum, much like the ones Mido threw when no one listened to him. "I'm not kidding! She's mortally wounded, and we don't know why! She wants to talk to you, and to be honest, I don't know if she'll survive the next 2 days...Please, you gotta believe me!"

The young knight stopped laughing abruptly, and nodded his head. "Okay, I'll go to her...Oh by the way, thanks for ruining my vacation."

Ruto smiled. "You're perfectly welcome."

Before Link could blink, the two were transported to the Chamber of Sages, where all of the Sages were running around and panicking. Something didn't sit well with Link. "Hey, Impa lives in Kakariko Village. What are we doing here?"

"Geez, don't you know anything?" Ruto taunted. The warrior scowled. "Anyway, in the past two days, Kakariko has been totally destroyed, and its not safe there for anyone."


"Ummm...well...I...." Ruto didn't have an answer. "I just got so carried away.."

"With flirting with me!" Link finished. "If you knew this was going on, why didn't you or anyone else try and stop it?"

Ruto laughed nervously. "I told everyone you were working on it, I mean, they were all spazzing out anyway, and I just wanted to calm them down..."

The Hylian threw up his arms in frustration. "I DON"T BELIEVE THIS! I take a vacation and the whole fucking world falls apart, not to mention nobody tells me!" Link's tone became sarcastic. "And now wait, lemme guess. Everyone wants ME to get them out of this little mess!" The Zora slowly shook her head in agreement. Link almost lost it. "Go figure! Man, screw this! They can wait for some other superhero to save them this time..."

A deep voice boomed from behind him. "I hope that's not your real attitude about this, young man."

Link whirled around to meet Rauru, the Sage of Light. ", its good to see you again sir.." His cheeks went red with embarrasment.

Rauru smiled gently. "Please, Impa is this is most important she speaks to you." Link and Rauru started down a blue, glowing hall. As Link looked back, the fish-woman waved goodbye, and he was glad to be rid of her.

Impa, the Sheikah warrior, Zelda's once strong and hardy nurse, was lying on what looked like a makeshift bed. Saria, Sage of the Forest and Darunia, Sage of Fire
stood at Impa's side tending to her. "Hello Link," Saria said solemly. Darunia nodded hello. But, Link wasn't paying attention-- his eyes were drawn to Impa. As Link beheld his friend, he tried unsuccessfully to hold back a gasp. His eyes widened in shock, as he surveyed the damage done by the unknown predator.

Impa, Sheikah Warrior, was reduced to a helpless body little more than a redead's corpse. Her once tanned and radiant skin had become pale and lifeless from lack of sleep and other bodily injuries. It looked as if it threatened to fall of her bones at any minute. The slashes across her face were crusted from bleeding profusely, and some left her facial features so obscured, that Link had to check and make sure it really was the Sage of Shadows. To Link, the injuries looked as if some monster had struck at Impa relentlessly, but with what little knowledge Ruto and Rauru had given him, it just didn't fit...

"Link..." Impa croaked. Her voice was no more than a whisper. " made it."

He rushed to her side, and knelt down, so he could hear her waning voice. "Impa? Are you alright now? What happened? Who did this to you? What happened to Kakariko? GOOD GODS, WHAT IS GOING ON???"

"She's been wounded critically..." Rauru started.

"Yeah, thanks, tell me something I didn't know.." Link retorted.

Suddenly, Impa coughed vigorously, and raised her head slightly, as if to speak. Link and Rauru immediatly snapped their attention to her. " I was Gerudos."

Link raised his eyebrows in confusion, and checked Rauru's face for confirmation. The old man hung his head, and nodded once. Link got a weird look in his eyes, then chuckled. "I don't believe it," He said almost nonchalantly. Rauru eyed him like he had suddenly sprouted wings. "Well think about it. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever, and besides, Kakariko Village is a little out of the way for them, don't you think?"

Impa's eyes began tearing. " must believe me..." she pleaded.

"Why?? So I can go and save your sorry butts again?" At this point, all of the sages around stopped to listen, dumbfounded. "Look, everytime there's a problem, everyone always calls me. No offense, but I thought you people were the ones with the 'magical powers'." He gestured at the words "magical powers," as if he had meant to mock them. "Well, what if I don't want to do the saving this time? What if I just want to be a normal kid??? You people always seem to overlook that little detail: I have a life too!"

Darunia spoke, and his powerful voice echoed off the walls of the sacred realm: "Brother!! Our friend and fellow sage is hurt. Surely, you must understand our, her peril!"

"Link...Impa needs you.." Saria begged.

"Well, that's just dandy! If she's hurt so bad, why doesn't she just cry to Zelda for help?!" Link's eyes welled with tears. "I was right before, I shoulda just let yourselves solve your own problems.." He wiped a tear from his eye...he was too slow to reach the three others that had also fallen. "I have to go...I need to think...I just don't want to do this anymore..." With that, he threw down his sword, and stepped into a portal leading to the overworld.

All the sages could do was pray that Link would get over it.

Link had never cried nor ran so hard in his life. The portal led him to the overworld, by the border of Hyrule field and Gerudo Valley. He ran as fast as his body could possibly handle until he reached the entrance to the Kokiri forest, a good 5 mile run. He was way too out of breath to try and make it home, so he released his grief on the very bridge where Saria said her goodbyes to him over 7 years ago.

Link tucked his head in between his knees, and let the full force of his grief out. Sure, he had seen war and destruction before, but he had never seen it happen to one of his closest friends. Even with his most recent fight with Ganon, Zelda was unscathed...Zelda..where was she when he needed her? He was always around when she needed him..for once in her life, she could try and comfort him...

Link rose his head to observe his surroundings. He was totally and completely alone. His eyes were puffy and red from crying so hard, and his whole body was shaking. "I don't want to be a hero anymore!" He screamed.

"Join the club," said a sarcastic voice.

Link immediatly wiped his tears, and looked up to see the Gerudo, Nabooru, next to him. Nabooru was the Sage of Spirit, but what, Link thought, was she doing in Kokiri Forest?

"Hey Nab," He said, trying to adopt a facade of indifference. "This isn't exactly your neck of the woods is it?"

"Spare me, fairy boy. I came, because everyone could hear you screaming from the village."

"Screaming? Whaddya mean? I wasn't screaming. Screaming is for little girls!"

Nabooru raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, right. And I'm Ganondorf's personal concubine."

Link chuckled. Then, he went back to his interrogation. "You still haven't told me what you're doing here."

"I'm hiding out."

"Why? The Sages are extremely upset. Impa's...well..."

She cut him off. "I know perfectly well what's happened to her!"

"Then, how come you weren't in the Sacred Realm trying to ease her injuries?"

Nabooru sighed deeply, and sat next to Link on the bridge. "Everyone thinks I'm responsible for the skirmish at Kakariko. I mean, I am the leader of the Gerudo...and they all just completely pounced..unprovoked. I never gave an order to strike anywhere. But, because they are my people, they are my responsibility. And now, I have the blood of innocents on my if I hadn't done enough wrong already.."

She turned to him, trying desperately to fight back tears. "Link, you are one of the few people I know who's been through stuff like this..If anyone can figure out what's going on, its you-"

"Look, Nab, I appreciate you trusting me, but I'm done with this 'hero' stuff. Its too much. Have you ever see any of your friends near death because of you?"

The Sage crossed her arms. "Kid, I've seen people's insides split open right in front of me..and let me tell you, it was far more depressing and disgusting than slaying some monsters who vanish after their demise."

"Okay! Never mind. Point being...You guys need a new hero. I've been doing this for too long now."

Suddenly, the Gerudo rose. Link followed her actions. "Hey! Where are you going?!"

Nabooru looked back. "To tell your people that hope has been completely snuffed, and they will starve."

"Starve?! Wait! I'm coming!"

As Link stumbled into Kokiri forest, he blinked twice to make sure he wasn't dreaming. The forest was dying. The once lush and verdant plant life was withering, and the landscape was succumbing into Death itself. The forest, which was once alive with the songs of animals and the bustling of Kokiri, lay deathly quiet. It was as if Life itself was being sucked out of Link's home.

"Din's Wrath!" Link spat.

Nabooru walked over to him from the center of the village. "Yeah, its been going down the tubes for the past two days now," She said.

"Why doesn't anyone ever tell me these things??" Link yelled. "Why am I always the last to know?!"

"To be honest, Even Saria wasn't aware of this until lately. The Sages have been arguing amongst themselves, and with Impa's injuries, it hasn't made anything better."

"Great. Is there anything else I should know as I watch my homeland waste away into nothing?" Link asked. His eyes were tearing slightly.

The Gerudo Sage sighed. "Look Link, I didn't make it this way. We've been at peace for awhile, but obviously not anymore. If now more than ever, your people need you!"

"I'm surprised no one has bugged Zelda about this yet," Link added. "Come to think of it, I never saw her in the Sacred Realm..."

Nabooru put an arm on his shoulder. "That's because no one's been able to find her."

Link arched his eyebrows. "Okay, let me make sure I'm hearing this right. Our whole world has been turned upside down.AND THE ONE PERSON WHO CAN PROBABLY FIX IT IS GONE?!" He plopped down on what was left of a tree stump. He rubbed his temples. "Great.somebody please just wake me up before it gets worse.." He turned to the Gerudo. "Nab, do we have any clue where all this crap is coming from?"

"We? Kid, this is your problem. I can only do so much. I've offered my support to your people, and now I must stop mine from going completely berserk. I need to stay here.if your adventure takes you elsewhere, fine. But, I'm in no condition to tag along."

"What adventure? I told you I was finished with it. No more hero stuff for me. I'm done! Now, its someone else's problem!"

"You mean, like Zelda's?" Nabooru said. Her words cut him like a knife.

"Uhhh..look, I didn't mean it like that.." Link said sheepishly.

"I never said you did. Well, you are a big boy. Do as you wish. Just know that there is no one else who can do the job like you can." Nabooru pointed out. She snapped her fingers, and was gone in a puff of smoke. For once, Link was totally alone.

Link gave a cry of frustration, a scream that erupted from his soul, "I GIVE UP!! DO YOU HEAR ME, SAGES? I GIVE UP! I'M FINISHED! CHOOSE SOME OTHER HERO! THIS IS NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE!"

With that, Link took his beloved Master Sword and thrust it into the ground. "I'm going home!" He announced.

Night had fallen. Link nearly forgot what it was like to have a hot meal inside a warm house. All of his adventures had forced him to adjust to the sleeping-under-the-stars approach to life. "Yeah, sleeping under the stars, and freezing my ass off while I'm at it!" he thought sarcastically.

He stirred some steaming soup which was boiling on what looked like a stove made entirely of wood. As Link savored the soup running down his throat, he heard a woman scream with exhaustion outside his house. "What in the Worlds?" He started.

He dashed out of his house, jumped the whole 10 feet down to the ground, and found a woman in Hylian traveler's clothes collapsed on what might be considered his "front yard."

He quickly checked her vital signs: Still had a pulse, breathing slightly shallow, nothing a bit of rest couldn't cure. He carefully carried the woman to his house, and set her gently on his bed. He carefully surveyed her clothes. They had been worn with travel, and the blood on her garments showed she had been attacked several times, and was blessed to have survived. He carefully lifted her hood, and gasped at her image. He was indeed gazing on the sleeping Princess Zelda, the love of his life. His heart skipped a beat, and he stared at her beauty. Funny, it seemed somewhat.changed to him. Oh yeah, now he saw it: her face had been badly cut, but by what?

Suddenly, Zelda awoke with a scream, and the two screamed at each other in shock. "Zelda? Are you okay?" Link started.

"Yes, but, you scared the crap outta me," Zelda admitted. She went to move her elbow, but found she could not do so. "Uhnnn.." she grunted in pain.

"Are you hurt? Princess, you'd better make me look at that." Link said, concerned.

He surveyed her arm. It had indeed been badly bruised. Perhaps, even broken. "That looks kinda bad. Maybe you'd better let me see it," Link offered. Zelda obliged.
"Does this hurt?" He asked, gently prodding the spot. Zelda answered with a yelp of pain. "Ok, what about this?" She yelled even louder. Her eyes began to tear with pain.

Link studied the injury for awhile, and shook his head. "Well, I'm not a doctor, but, I think it's broken. The best thing we can do is probably bandage it for awhile."
There was an eerie silence. "So, what are you doing here anyway?" Link said nonchalantly.

Zelda sat up and rubbed her head. "Actually, things have been a little crazy. I came to look for you. I got worried when I asked the sages where you where, and they couldn't answer. So, I borrowed one of Malon's horses and rode over here. Unfortuantely, The horse crapped out on me."

"Wait.there's something you're not telling me," Link cut in. "Princess, I've known you a long time, and I know you're leaving something out." There was a silence and a guilty look from Zelda. "So what is it? If you just tell me, you'll save us a lotta grief."

Zelda bit her lip. "Well, what do you want to know?"

"First of all, how come no one was able to find you when this whole mess started?" Link inquired.

"I was in Hyrule Market yesterday, and it fell under attack by the Gorons..I stayed to protect my people.."

"WHOA! The Gorons?? They haven't waged war in years.not since the Imprisoning War. If anything, they're our greatest ally! At least, that's what I thought."

"Link, that's what I thought too..but the market was under attack, and I felt I should protect the people." Zelda began to cry as awful images of destruction conjured in her head. "After the skirmish, The street was littered with bodies.The air stank of blood, and decaying flesh.There weren't many survivors.myself and perhaps a few others." She wiped her tears, trying hard to be brave. " I was spared, and I don't know why. Oh, Link! I should've died with them!"

The princess collapsed in Link's arms. He ran his fingers through her hair as she poured out her heart. After a good ten minutes, Link proceeded. "Look, I'm sorry I made you cry."

"No, Link. You had to know. I'm glad you asked." She looked at him square in the face. "You're not interrogating me yet, are you?" she said in a playful mood. "Go on, ask what you wish."

"Well, Its probably a dumb question, but why did you ride to my place by horse? Wouldn't it have been easier to do that neat teleportation trick you Sages do?"

Zelda drew a deep breath, as if what she had to say would shock him. Now, she had wished he had just shut up. "Link.Please don't tell anyone this, but something terrible is happening to me. I don't know if its just me, or if the other sages.."

"Zelda! For the Love of Nayru, spit it out!"

"I'm losing my powers."

Link shook his head slowly. He had understood what she had said, but had not quite comprehended it. He slowly mouthed his response: "You lost your powers?"

"Losing them. Present tense," Zelda reminded him.

"Oh, that's just great.." Link said softly. "Well, what can you still do?"

"I can still communicate telepathically, but other than that, I don't know."

"Okay, well, how long do you think you have until you become powerless?"

"I have no idea! I'm not a rocket scientist!" she lashed out.

"Look, Princess, I'm just trying to help you here!" Another eerie silence.

"I'm sorry.I guess I've been under a lot of stress.."

"We all have," he replied. He squeezed her hand. "Just tell me what the problem is, and maybe I can fix it. When did this all start, anyway?"

"I just started losing my powers today. As for how long I'll be able to keep them, I don't know. Could be hours, days at the most. Its happening kinda fast."

"Man, a lot of freaky stuff has been going on lately."

"I know. If anyone can figure this out Link, its you."

"Oh, don't you worry.we'll get to the bottom of this."

Just then, Link noticed the cruel irony. Not 2 hours ago, didn't he swear that he was through with being a hero? Didn't he tell the sages to find another? Damn it! I've been suckered into my job again. Damn it, Zelda, you're turning me into a softy! He thought. Poor Link. He was once again to fight to vanquish the evil threat, save the world, win the affections of the crowd, and his beloved. Oh well. Old habits die hard.

Morning broke, and Link awoke to find his beloved Zelda had fallen asleep in his arms. Good Gods, she's so beautiful when she's sleeping. He ran a hand through her long, blond hair. Even though she was dressed in peasant's clothes, something about her seemed to denote her heritage. Perhaps it was her beauty, or maybe the radiance of her eyes..or maybe.

Link quickly removed his hand as Zelda stirred. It was after she got off his leg, had he realized it had fallen asleep. "Oh, shit! Zelda, MOVE! My leg! Oh Good Gods!" He tried desperately to reduce the pins-and-needles effect, but to no avail.

"Maybe I can help you," The princess offered.

"Don't. I'll live. Besides, don't waste your powers on stupid shit!"

He's so stubborn sometimes. She thought to herself. She closed her eyes, and concentrated hard. She placed her hands on Link's bad leg, and it began to glow that famous shade of pink that you let you know when Zelda was using her magic. After a brief minute, she removed her hands.

"Zelda! You coulda used that magic for something more important! For all you know, your magic may not have done anything!" Link protested.

"Yeah, well, how does it feel, Mr. Smarty?" Zelda asked.

Link wiggled his once bad leg around. "Very nice.good, thank you." He said through gritted teeth. Zelda just smirked. Link brushed himself off. "Well, uh, care for some breakfast, Princess?"

Zelda scowled. "Stop calling me 'Princess.' Its getting on my nerves, and no, we'd better find out what's going on. Hyrule is dying. People are dying, and we have a job to do."

Link frowned. "Can't it wait? I'm hungry!"

"You're starting to act like Mido." That shut him up. "So, if we're gonna figure out why all this is happening, maybe we should step outside." Link suggested.

"Of course," Zelda chimed in. "We'll have to figure this out the old-fashioned way: where the largest concentration of destruction is, the closer the source."

The two headed outside to explore the forest. " it just me, or does it look worse than yesterday?" Zelda inquired.

Link joined Zelda's gaze towards the trees and shrubbery, almost all of it had disintegrated. "No, you're not seeing things. Its worse," Link mumbled. He paused, his thoughts drifting to the past. "We've had droughts before, but this doesn't compare. It's like someone took a match to the entire forest!"

"Link! Up there!" Zelda pointed out. She was gesturing towards the entrance to the Lost Woods. "It looks like its all coming from there!"

"How do you figure?" Link asked. "Its doesn't look any different than the rest of this dying place."

"I dunno, I just have.almost like a feeling.I feel.a malevolent draft of-"

"Okay! I get the point, let's go!" Link yanked her off the ground, and lead her to the entrance. "Gods, when you get in one of your moods, its scares me!"

Zelda smiled. "Get used to it. I have a may need to deal with it for awhile!" Zelda erupted into uncontrollable laughing. Link rolled his eyes. Oh brother..

No sooner than Link's boot touched the inside of the Lost Woods, did he hear a screech of alarm. The two travelers shuddered suddenly, and Zelda practically fell into Link's arms. "What..was..that?" she asked, breathing hard.

"Darned if I know," Link replied. His face brightened. "But, I bet who would know!"

Link led Zelda into one of the many clearings in the Lost Woods. The one which contained the Skull Kid's stump. It was, surprisingly, vacant. "Skull Kid! Hey, Skull Kid! What's going on?" Link shouted into the woods.

"Yee-aaaah!" A shriek responded. It did, indeed, belong to the Skull Kid.

"Just as I thought!" Link muttered.

The Skull Kid ran into the clearing, screaming like a banshee, to where Link was standing. The Skull Kid, a loner who lived in the lost woods, looked like a cross between a scarecrow and a stalchild. No one had ever seen his real face.

He stopped a moment to catch his breath, and then peered at Link. "Oh! Link!" He said in a tinny, child-like voice. He continued, "It is good friend-Link is here! Bad things happening! Verrrry bad things!" He stopped, and pointed at Zelda: "Pretty Lady!" Then, his face changed into an expression of fear. "Bad lady?" He whispered to Link.

The Hylian shook his head. "Very good lady. My friend," Link said. Zelda blushed.

"Skull Kid, where are these 'bad things' happening?" Zelda asked gently.

"Yes," Link added. "Where are those bad things coming from?"

Skull Kid gestured wildly with his arms. "All over place!" He said quietly. He dropped his voice a few decibels, "But, mostly from Big hole! Link! You were there! Long Ago!"

Link looked at Zelda. "Big hole? Zelda do you..?"

"No," she replied.

The Skull Kid started stamping his feet. "Big Hole! Evil Face! Doesn't friend-Link remember?"

"" Link shrugged. "How long ago, Skull Kid?"

The Skull Kid hit his head, almost as to say "DUH!" He hobbled over to his stump, and pointed at the 7 year old drawing that was still there. "When this was!"

Link studied the drawing, and a light bulb went off in his head. "OF COURSE! How could I be so stupid?! I have to back again.."

Zelda spoke up. "Look, I've been quiet this whole time, but what the hell are two talking about?!"

"Do you remember when I had to leave Hyrule? I was maybe 12 or 13? I went looking for the Skull Kid?"

"Oh yeah!" A pause. "Wait, we have to go there? As in, away from here?"

"That's what Skull Kid says. Here, we can use you to tell us if he's right. You know that 'malevolent draft of evil' you were talking about?" Link gestured wildly, as if to pick on her. Zelda made a face. "Well, Let's go by 'the hole' and see if he's right!"

The trio walked further into the woods, and Zelda's senses led them straight to "the hole."

"Well, that's settled. We're going back!" Link announced.

"Link! Back where?" Zelda asked. "You never said where we were going!"

"Never mind. I'll explain on the way. We probably don't have much time until Armageddon anyway," Link said.

"Come with you!" Skull Kid said.

"Actually, It'd be better if you didn't. You don't want the 'Evil Face' to get you again do you?" Link asked. The Skull Kid scrunched up in fear, and shook his head.
"Be good, ok? Watch after my friends." Link asked. The Skull Kid nodded. He turned to Zelda. "We're going to another land parallel to Hyrule. Everything's got a mirror image, and its where Majora's Mask gave me a headache. We're going back to Termina."