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By: Alexandra Spears

Author's Note:  Okay, Ocarina of Time bunch and as always all related characters are belong to Nintendo, who gets free advertising.  :)

Book 1

Chapter One

Hyrule Castle Town might seem like a peaceful, quiet village in which to live, the perfect place to raise a family, at first glance, much like the neighboring Kakariko Village. A fountain was in the middle of the town square, the sound of the fountain's water running soothing to many sets of ears. Little miniature gardens lined the brick pathways, filling the air with the scent of colorful flowers. Busy shops outlined the square's perimeter, and from sunrise to sunset the square was bustling with people wanting the best bargains or wanting some entertainment, such as the Treasure Chest Game or even the latest, Bombchu Bowling. Hyrule Castle Town always seemed so prosperous and happy.

Would that it were so for a lonely five-year-old child, a small girl with red-gold hair and sad blue-green eyes, a little girl named Lindi. Little Lindi's mother had died when the child was barely a year old, and Lindi's father was a disreputable drunkard--and a physically abusive father, his nose perpetually red and his speech slurred from strong drink. Lindi and her father had virtually no money thanks to his drinking and gambling and the child was often sent out to sit in the square and beg for rupees. If she didn't bring home enough she was beaten and sent to bed without supper.

It was a cold, stormy, wet day when Lindi went through the usual ritual. She screamed in pain as her father gripped her wrist and beat her with his belt. "Shut up you little brat!" he snarled as he threw her up against the door to their little flat. "You are to go out there and bring home at least one hundred rupees. Not one, not ten--one hundred! You got that?"

Without even waiting for the child's answer he pushed the door open and used his huge foot to literally shove her out onto the wet cobblestones that made up one of the back alleys of Hyrule Castle Town. He slammed the door and Lindi could hear the sound of the lock turning.

Bruised, her nose bleeding, Lindi tearfully picked herself up off the wet pathway and hugged herself. It was so cold out, and the rain was coming down hard. The stones in the pathway were cold against her bare feet. The blouse and skirt she was wearing were too small on her, had been for some time, and they hung in tatters on her skinny little body. Slowly she made her way down the back alley, which was deserted. Rainy days were no good for begging, as most people tended to stay in their nice warm homes or to hurry to get to their destinations. She knew that she was not to come home until she had collected the rupees, or sundown--whichever came first--and right now it was morning.

The rain was coming down even harder. Lindi was already cold and soaked. She found an empty crate near the Bombchu Bowling Alley and sat huddled inside it, and waited.

Late that morning, after the rain had abated, Link, the Hero of Time, went sauntering down the pathway that led from Hyrule Castle, which was his home, to the town. He had married Princess Zelda seven years ago and he wanted to go into town to buy a little present for his bride and a little something for each of their three children. He enjoyed surprising her with little gifts even though it wasn't a special occasion. He adored his young wife, who at twenty-four was only a few months younger than he, and she was surprisingly easy to please.

He entered the town, heard the music playing, smelled the dampness of the earth, and inhaled deeply. Life was pretty good for him. He was glad that he was Hyrule's protector. He would not be King of Hyrule when Zelda was Queen, though, because she was the heir to the throne, but he was satisfied with being her consort when the time came. Besides, he loved her for herself, not for her title. It was like they were always meant to be together.

Link passed by the Bombchu Bowling Alley. He was ready to gently elbow his way to a kiosk when he felt a gentle pulling at the top of one of his boots.

Looking down, Link saw a sickly-looking little girl with red-gold hair looking up at him from where she was sitting, inside the crate. "Please, mister, could we please have some rupees?" she asked. "We're starving."

Link squatted down and placed his hand on the crate to steady himself. He could see dried blood on the girl's face that told him that she'd had a bloody nose. Her bare, thin arms and legs were covered with bruises, some still forming. He carefully reached into the crate and gently tilted up the girl's chin, saw marks around her neck. The little girl started coughing.

"Let's see what I can do. What's your name?" Link asked.


"I'm Link. Wait right here," the young man told her.

Link was a compassionate young man, and it bothered him to see a defenseless child in such a state. He went up to the kiosk nearby and purchased a warm blanket. Then he went back to where Lindi was sitting in the crate, hugging herself, trying to keep warm. "Here, Lindi, why don't you come out?" he suggested.

Lindi slowly climbed out and got to her feet. Link gently wrapped the blanket around her and lifted her into his arms.

"Where are we going?" Lindi asked.

"To Hyrule Castle," Link replied. "There is no way I can leave a little girl in the cold like that."

Lindi burst into happy tears and snuggled up to Link as he carried her up the path leading to Hyrule Castle. At last, someone was going to help her. On the way to the castle, Lindi told Link about her miserable life.

"Who do you have there, Link?" Princess Zelda asked when Link entered the huge foyer of Hyrule Castle. She was holding their youngest child, two-year-old Princess Kestra, in her arms. Little Kestra, blue-eyed and blonde like her parents, was resting her head on her mother's shoulder, sucking on the fingers of her left hand.

"Her name is Lindi," said Link. "I found her begging in town. Apparently her father drinks their money away and beats her."

"Poor thing," Zelda murmured as she stepped up to her husband and gently brushed the stray locks of hair from Lindi's pinched little face. "Let's get her into a guest room and have the castle physician look at her." She gently stroked her baby's hair. "I was about to put Kestra down for her nap--and I have yet to find Delia so she can get her nap. I think she's hiding again." Delia was their four-year-old, their middle child.

"Jeremy in his tutoring session?" Link asked as he followed his wife, still carrying Lindi.

"Yes, he'll be done in an hour," Zelda replied. Jeremy was the oldest at six years old.

Just then, a little girl with blond hair and blue eyes came running up. "Daddy!" she said as she clasped one of his legs.

"Where have you been, Delia?" Zelda asked the child. "It's time for your nap."

"Who's that with Daddy, Mommy?" Delia asked.

"This is Lindi. She's sick, so she needs to go to bed," said Link, hoping that his boisterous little daughter would take the hint.

Zelda caught hold of her older daughter's hand; Delia didn't resist.

While Zelda put the two little girls to bed in their rooms, Link found a guest room for Lindi. "I need to get you a nightgown," he said. "But first I think you need a nice warm bath."

Lindi sat quietly while her benefactor went into the adjoining bathroom and ran some warm water into the huge tub. She looked around at the room and its furnishings. The room's walls were a cream color, and the four-postered bed was done in cream and navy blue and maroon. Pillows in those three colors were scattered along the headboard. She'd slept on the floor for as long as she could remember, and a cold, hard one at that. She sat facing the bed, and behind her a window looked out into the courtyard.

The doorknob turned, and Princess Zelda came in, having put her daughters down for a nap. Link came back into the bedroom. "I'll find her a nightgown," he informed Zelda.

"All right." Zelda gave him a kiss on his cheek, and he left the room. She then turned to Lindi. "Let's get you into the bath, Lindi."

Zelda led the little girl into the bathroom and took her rags off her, then helped her into the warm water. "You're going to have some better clothes," Zelda told her.

"Is my daddy going to come here?" Lindi asked.

"Not if you don't want him to," Zelda replied.

"Am I going to live here?"

Zelda looked pensive. "If your father really is abusing you, I'm not going to let you go back to him," she said. "Maybe Link and I can place you with a caring family. If not then you'll likely stay here." She blinked, as if she'd just seen something.

"Thanks for helping me...Princess...," Lindi said shyly. She started coughing again.

Zelda quickly bathed the little girl, helped her out, and wrapped her in a huge, fluffy towel. By then Link was back, and he had a nightgown for Lindi. Zelda combed the child's hair carefully, and Link put the nightgown on her and helped her into bed. "I also have the castle physician on the way," Link told Zelda as they tucked Lindi into bed.

For her part, Lindi felt better even though she was sick. What luxury, to sleep in a bed like this! Compared to earlier that day, she felt warm and safe--and cared for. The bed was huge, too--she felt like she could easily get lost in it.

"I'm going to find Jeremy and let him know about our guest," said Link.

"I'll stay here," Zelda told him. "I think it would be a great idea to introduce Jeremy to Lindi." Her voice was knowing. Link recognized it--it meant that she'd had one of her precognitive visions. By now he was pretty used to it.

Link kissed Zelda's lips and went to find their son, whose tutoring session should be over by now.

"Another girl? Is she going to be another sister?" asked Jeremy as he hopped up onto his father's back, wanting a ride.

"Actually, Jeremy, I rescued her. I could not leave her out there like that," Link reminded him. "She may be staying with us for a time."

"She'll probably play house or something with Delia. Delia wants me to be the daddy, her the mommy, and Kestra the baby." He sounded faintly disgusted, typical of a six-year-old boy who thought about nothing except wanting to be a hero like his father. After his mother, of course, he would be King of Hyrule.

"Lindi is not going to be in the mood for playing for a while yet, Son," Link told him as he carried the boy to the wing that had the guest rooms.

Just outside Lindi's room Jeremy got off his father's back. Link opened the door, saw Zelda standing there, looking worried. "Zelda, what is it?" Link asked as Jeremy scooted by his mother to see the child his father had rescued.

Zelda took a breath. "Lindi is very ill and she may die," she whispered. "We have to hope that she's able to pull through. She's sleeping right now."

Link pulled his wife into his arms. "At least she won't die abandoned, out in the cold," he said quietly, blinking back tears.

Chapter Two

"I sent word to Lindi's father," Zelda told Link over dinner that evening.

"Why?" asked Link. "According to Lindi he really hurt her."

"I want him to see what he's done...if he's guilty. And I want to see what he's like," said Zelda. "He will be here in the morning."

"Did Lindi's father really hit her?" asked Jeremy as he licked his finger. "Why would he do that?"

"Jeremy, there are some people in this world who actually hurt their children," said Zelda. "That's something you children will be more aware of as you grow up. Hyrule has laws against this kind of thing, and thanks to your father, Lindi is going to get the help she needs."

"Mommy is Lindi going to be okay?" asked Delia as she poked at her vegetables.

"She's very sick, Delia," Zelda said carefully. "She's going to need a lot of rest--and a lot of peace and quiet. If you decide to visit her, be very quiet."

Link was quiet for a moment as he looked at his children. He and Zelda were seated at the head of the table, which was as long as Link was high. Little Kestra was seated at her mother's left, directly across from her brother. Sitting next to Jeremy was Delia. The two older ones seemed to be concerned about Lindi, while Kestra only knew that another child had come to stay for a while; at two she was too young to understand what all was going on. He couldn't imagine anyone hurting an innocent child. Certainly nothing could make him hurt his children, even though they could be trying at times.

As if sensing his thoughts, which she probably had, Zelda reached for Link's hand under the table and gave it a squeeze. She and Link had grown up together, had played together, and were extremely close.

Long after the three children were in bed, Link and Zelda were sitting up in their own bed, discussing the day's events. "Is Lindi going to stay here, or are we going to find a home for her--provided she lives?" asked Link.

"I really think she should stay here. I've been thinking a lot about it," said Zelda. "Besides--I had a vision about her." She leaned back against the headboard, her long golden hair spilling forward over her shoulders. "I think she'll recover from her illness but it's going to take her a long time."

"I just keep thinking, if I'd left her out there, she would have died," said Link. "I just could not leave her there."

"That's one reason I married you. You're a caring young man," Zelda said as she smiled at him. "I love you."

"I love you too...and I'd like to show you how much," Link said as he hugged her close, then fell back onto the pillows with her.

The following morning Link and Zelda woke up to the crowing of the cuccos. "I'll get the children up," Zelda told Link as she leaned over and kissed him. "Lindi's father is coming after breakfast."

"Okay," said Link. He lay there and watched as Zelda got up out of bed and put on an indigo-colored robe. He was feeling particularly lazy this morning. Rolling over onto his back, he looked over to the right, could see the sunrise through the window.

Finally Link sat up, threw the covers off his legs, and got up out of bed. He yawned and ran his hand through his unruly dark-blond bangs as he staggered across the room and into the huge bathroom. He had time for a shower while Zelda got their children up and dressed.

He showered, dried himself off, and got dressed. He was just combing his hair into place when Zelda came back into their bedroom. "I checked on Lindi," she said. "No change."

"Guess it could have been worse," said Link as he put on his green cap.

"The children are up and dressed, keep an eye on them while I'm in the shower?" Zelda requested. "They're in their play room."

"Of course," said Link.

Zelda smiled at him just before she disappeared into the bathroom. Link left the room and headed for the children's play room.

Jeremy was sitting on the floor, playing with little toy soldiers. Delia and Kestra were at the other end of the room, playing with dolls. Link sat down in the armchair that was in the room, and little Kestra clambered up onto her father's lap. "Hi little girl," Link said to the baby, who snuggled up to him and put her thumb in her mouth.

"Morning, Daddy," said Delia as she went up to where he was sitting. She climbed up next to her sister.

Jeremy looked up, saw his father and sisters, and decided to join in. "Good thing there's only you three...I'm crowded!" Link joked as he gave each of his children a kiss on the cheek.

"When's breakfast?" Jeremy asked.

"At seven o'clock, like it usually is," Link replied. "That's in half an hour. Why don't you guys play some more, make the time pass more quickly?"

"Jeremy, let's play house," said Delia.

"Aww, do I hafta? I'm gonna be a king someday!"

"But you're expected to be a father someday as well," Link reminded him. "You'll need heirs to Hyrule's throne. Why don't you humor your sisters?"

"Oh, okay...."

"Goodie," said Delia. "Come on, Kestra."

"Wish I had a brother," Jeremy muttered.

After breakfast Zelda sat on the throne that had belonged to her father, who had died not long after Delia's birth. Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday she would be crowned Queen of Hyrule; it would be official.

Standing next to the throne was Link. Jeremy was in his tutoring session and Zelda's nursemaid, a Sheikah named Impa, was watching the two little girls.

Zelda sat there on the red-velvet throne, which had the symbol of the Triforce--the crest of the Kingdom of Hyrule--embroidered on the high back in gold thread. She listlessly toyed with one of her Triforce earrings while she waited for Lindi's father to arrive. "She's definitely been neglected," Zelda said to Link. "And there's no doubt in my mind she's been abused...I saw those bruises on her. But I want to make sure we have a guilty party here."

Link placed a hand on his wife's shoulder and smiled at her encouragingly. Zelda placed her hand on his and smiled up at him.

Soon a guard came in, escorting a heavy-set, auburn-haired man who was staggering and stumbling along. Zelda sat stoically and tried not to wrinkle her nose in disgust as the man burped. "'Scuse me, yer Highness," he slurred. "I come for my girl Lindi."

"Lindi is very sick and is being cared for," Zelda informed him. "And she does not wish to see you."

"What kinda stuff did that kid tell ya?" the man asked.

"There's the problem of your abusing her," Zelda commented. It was obvious to her that Lindi had not been making anything up.

"Hey, you gotta whack your kids a good one, keep 'em in line," the man said indignantly. "That girl is lazy and good for nuttin'. She asked fer it."

Link and Zelda looked at each other. "As Princess of Hyrule, and as a mother of three myself, I can't allow this behavior to continue," Zelda informed him. "Lindi will remain here with us until she recovers. Then we will find a good home for her, where she will be loved and wanted."

"Hey, you can't take my kid away!" the man protested.

"I assure you I can, since you admit to beating her excessively," Zelda said, standing up. "Guards, arrest him."

"Yes, Your Highness," said several of them. "Come along, you."

"That was pretty much to the point," Link commented moments later.

"It's pretty obvious that he's an unfit parent," Zelda replied. She sighed. "I don't like to see families broken up, but in a situation like this, it's the best thing."

"Zelda...what if Lindi dies?"

"Then I'll have to charge him with murder, since his actions caused her to become sick. He'll be in the dungeons for the rest of his life." She stepped off the dais. "Let's go check on her."

Lindi thought she could hear her mother calling her. Strange...she didn't really remember her mother, but somehow she knew that her mother had been a sweet person. She'd seen pictures of her mother.

She knew that Link and Zelda were taking care of her, but it seemed that their efforts were in vain. At least she was somewhere safe, and not out in the cold.

A woman came up to her bed, a woman with blond hair that had a touch of red in it, and blue eyes. "Mommy?" Lindi asked. She recognized the woman.

"It's me, Lindi," the woman replied. "What your father has put you through...."

"Princess Zelda is helping me, Mommy," said Lindi.

"I know. She will be a fine ruler someday." She paused. "Lindi, you don't know how I died, do you?"

"Daddy just said you got hurt somehow," Lindi replied.

"He's the one who hurt me," Lindi's mother said. "He got very angry with me when you were barely a year old. I am just glad that you're being taken care of. I need you to tell the Princess what happened. She will deal with him. Have them search the basement very carefully."

Lindi's mother gave her a kiss on her forehead. Then she vanished in a brilliant flash of light that made Lindi cover her eyes with her forearm.

When Lindi took her arm away, Zelda was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking relieved for some reason. "How are you feeling, Lindi?" Zelda asked.

"Still sick," the child replied.

"For the past few days we thought we might lose you," Zelda told her. "Your fever's down some, which is a good sign."

" mother...I saw her," said Lindi. "She said Daddy hurt her and that's how she died."

Zelda raised an eyebrow. She knew that Lindi had been only a baby when her mother died. "She told you that?"

"Yes, and she said look in the basement."

"That's something I'll have Link look into," said Zelda as she took a cool, wet cloth and gently wiped the child's sweaty face with it. Somehow it didn't really surprise her, as violent as Lindi's father appeared to be. "Your father is in the dungeon right now for what he did to you."

"He's here?" Lindi looked fearful.

"You don't have to see him," Zelda said soothingly. "He's where he can't hurt you."

The door to her room opened and in came a blond, blue-eyed little boy. Zelda turned, saw her son. "Come to see Lindi, Jeremy?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied. He went up to the other side of the bed, kicked his shoes off, and climbed up so he was sitting next to Lindi. "How are you feeling, Lindi?"

"Better, but still sick," she replied.

"My parents are great, aren't they?" said Jeremy. "I want to be just like my father when I grow up. And one day I'll be King of Hyrule. Of course I'll need a queen so we can have kids."

Zelda reached over and affectionately tousled her son's hair. He looked very much like his father as a boy, but he was a little more rambunctious.

Lindi managed to pull herself to a sitting position. It must have been tiring for her, for she flopped back down onto her pillows. "Just rest, Lindi," Zelda advised.

Jeremy bent over and gave Lindi a kiss on the cheek. Lindi gave a weak smile in reply. Other children had usually avoided her because of the way she'd always looked, so dirty and unkempt, and here the young Prince of Hyrule had given her a kiss. Zelda smiled at the cute little scene.

Lindi closed her eyes and nestled down into her blankets and pillows. Zelda gave her a small kiss on her forehead. "Come on, Jeremy, she needs to sleep," she said.

Zelda watched as her young son gently tucked the blankets around Lindi's chin and quietly slipped off the bed. He really seemed to like the little girl. Then again, he seemed to be sensitive and compassionate and chivalrous like his father. "She's not so bad after all, Mommy," he said softly.

Zelda lifted the boy into her arms. "You may wind up with another sister...of a sort," she told him. "Now let's get your sisters and father. It's almost time for lunch. Impa will feed Lindi when she wakes up."

After lunch Link went into town after hearing what Zelda had heard from Lindi. He walked through Hyrule Castle Town, leading his horse Epona by her reins. The brown horse, who had a white mane and tail, had been a present from his friend Malon, a girl who owned Lon Lon Ranch with her father, Talon. Epona had been his since he was ten years old and he and Epona had more or less grown up together. The horse was particular about who got to ride her; she only liked Malon, Link, Zelda, and the children.

"I think we should stop at Kakariko Village first," Link said to Epona as they reached the drawbridge leading out to Hyrule Field. He mounted Epona, and together they sped eastward until finally they reached the steps leading up into the mountain village.

Link dismounted the horse, then walked up the steps. As he passed the guard at the village's entrance, he could hear cuccos crowing and the everyday sounds of people going about their business and daily lives.

He walked through the village purposefully until he came upon the entrance to the graveyard. It was always so depressing here, he was thinking. And he remembered another time...the Composer Brothers...Poes...the Sun's Song....

Link went into the caretaker's shack, which belonged to a former graveyard caretaker by the name of Dampe, who was now lying in his own grave on the other side of the graveyard. There he found a journal that was kept by the village's undertaker, and it contained records of who was buried where and when.

Sitting down in a rickety old chair, the young man carefully leafed through the journal, looking at entries that were recorded from the time of Lindi's birth to the present. There was no record of a young woman from any of the villages being buried in Kakariko, as he found about an hour later. No one with her name or physical description.

Somehow that was not surprising. Link put the journal back, stood up, and stretched. He then went out into the graveyard itself, wandering amongst the headstones. Looking up, he saw the entrance to the Shadow Temple high on a ledge, remembered his adventures there. It seemed like another lifetime and in a way it had been; Zelda had sent him back to his childhood and they'd grown up together.

At his feet were the graves of Zelda's parents. Zelda's mother had died when she was six, and her father just after Delia was born. He stood there for a moment, remembering how happy Zelda's father had been when he'd learned that Link and Zelda wanted to be married. "You're a brave, generous young man," the King had told Link.

"Speaking of generosity...I still have work to do for Lindi," Link murmured to himself. He turned and headed out of the graveyard. His next stop was back in Hyrule Castle Town.

Once he was back in Hyrule Castle Town, Link told Epona to go home, and she obeyed. He then went into the back alleys on the west side of town. Lindi had told him which flat she'd lived in, and he found it easily enough, one of those bottom-story deals with a basement.

Link cautiously pushed the rough wooden door open. There was hardly a stick of furniture in the place. At the far end of the room the fireplace was cold, as it hadn't been lit in nearly a week. To the right of the fireplace was another door, and Link pulled it open, revealing a small landing and stone steps. He crept down the steps carefully, found himself in a huge, bare room with only two braziers that he could barely see.

Link used a couple of fire arrows to light both braziers. He looked around carefully, saw dark stains on the steps leading back up. That could be blood, he thought.

He stepped carefully on the wood-plank floor, which had sand strewn all over it. He stroked his chin, thinking. No harm would come if he burned the floor, as it had nothing but ground underneath it. Problem was it would take out the rest of the building too.

Link walked carefully, scooting dirt out of the way, testing for loose planks. Near one wall several in a row were loose at both ends. Link used his Megaton Hammer to smash the boards, leaving huge indentations in the ground beneath. This made it easier for him to pry the boards up and toss them out of the way.

Kneeling down, Link began digging, almost fearful of what he would find. The creepiness of the seemingly-innocent basement was almost overwhelming as he dug, in a way reminding him of the bottom of the well in Kakariko Village. He glanced over his shoulder several times, as if expecting a Skulltulla or some other creature to strike him while he wasn't looking.

Finally his fingertips scraped against something hard. Link pushed dirt out of the way, and soon a skull was flush with the dirt.

"I think we've found her, Lindi," Link whispered as he stood up.

Chapter Three

Link sat on the steps and watched as the guards dug the bones out of the dirt in the basement. He'd sent one of the guards in town to fetch some from Hyrule Castle and to let Zelda know of his finding. A couple of the guards had gone to Kakariko Village for a casket.

Link could not imagine someone hurting his wife or child. Lindi's father was an evil man. No doubt he would have eventually killed Lindi had Link and Zelda not taken her in. As it was, Lindi was so sick that a few days ago she'd come very close to dying.

Hearing the guards returning with the casket, Link went down into the basement, getting out of the way. For a while he watched mournfully as the bones were placed in the casket. Then he turned and went back upstairs, leaving the guards to do their job. There was nothing more he could do here.

Zelda was waiting up for Link when he walked into the castle. "Lindi's father has been interrogated and he admits to killing his wife and burying her in the basement," she said quietly.

She was surprised when Link pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. "I love you very much, Zelda," he whispered in her ear. "I just want you to know that I'll never, ever hurt you or our children."

Sensing that this whole thing was really getting to Link, Zelda hugged him back almost as tightly. Link had lived in the Kokiri Forest almost his entire life and had occasionally stayed a few nights here at the castle from the age of ten on. She told herself to remember that Link was still a little on the naive side, still innocent to the evil that could go on even in families. "I know, Link," she said.

"How's Lindi doing?" Link asked.

"She's improving. Jeremy's always at her side, talking to her. In a way it reminds me of us, when we were children."

"The girls taking their naps?"

Zelda nodded. "They're starting to think of Lindi as another sister. Link, I'd really like for Lindi to stay here with us. I just have this feeling she should be here."

"I see no problem with it," said Link. "And what are you going to do about Lindi's father?"

"He's staying in that dungeon for the rest of his life," Zelda replied, her voice taking on something of an edge. "I told the guards to clear the flat out, so someone else can move into it. No one's going back there."

A few weeks later Lindi had fully recovered, and she looked a lot better. She no longer looked too skinny and her red-gold hair, which fell to her waist, was no longer dirty and tangled. A sparkle had begun to appear in her turquoise eyes.

Link and Zelda were officially the little girl's guardians and they treated her like another daughter. They soon found that Lindi enjoyed playing with younger children and she was especially good with two-year-old Kestra.

"I'm going to take Lindi to Kakariko Village so she can visit her mother's grave," Link said one day, a month after he'd rescued the little girl. "Would you like to come with me? Impa can watch the children."

Zelda was sitting in the drawing room when he asked her this. "You go on ahead," she said, shaking her head a little. "I haven't been feeling very well."

"Are you all right?" Link asked.

"I'll be fine. Go take Lindi," Zelda told him, reaching up and taking his hand. "I'm going to see the physician today."

Link leaned down and kissed her cheek. "I'll be back soon. We may stop by Lon Lon Ranch and give Epona a little exercise, and say hi to Malon."

"Tell her hello for me then," said Zelda as she touched his cheek.

"Lindi, meet Epona. Epona, meet Lindi," Link said as he and Lindi stood in the stable with the horse.

Lindi carefully reached out and stroked Epona's cheek. She laughed as Epona neighed a little and nuzzled her. "Good horse...good Epona," said Lindi as she carefully put her little arms around the horse's neck.

"She likes you. She probably senses that you'd be gentle with her," said Link.

"Why isn't Zelda coming?" Lindi asked as Link helped her mount Epona.

"She doesn't feel well," Link replied. "Come to think of it, she has been a bit tired the last few days...well, I'm sure we'll find out what's wrong when we get back." He mounted Epona and sat behind Lindi. "I wonder if it is what I think it might be," he murmured as Epona walked out of the stable.

Lindi had never ridden on a horse before and she was a little nervous at first. But Link was holding on to her and she knew that he would not let her fall. By the time they got out onto Hyrule Field Lindi was enjoying the ride. She'd never really been out of the town before either, and she eagerly looked around.

Epona stopped in front of a set of steps. "These steps lead up into Kakariko Village," Link told Lindi as he dismounted and gently lifted her off the horse. He set her on her feet and took her little hand. "Your mother is buried in the graveyard in this village. We'll buy some flowers, and you can put them on her grave."

Link led the child up the steps. Lindi looked all around as they entered the village. She stopped for a moment to pat a stray cucco on the head. "Just don't tease them," said Link as he watched her. "They'll attack. I learned the hard way one time."

"This one seems to like me," Lindi said as the bird stood still and allowed her to pet it. "Are there any at Hyrule Castle?"

"Lots. You just haven't seen them yet because you haven't had a chance to go outside until now," Link explained. "Delia likes them too and there's one she keeps as a pet."

Lindi stood up. "I have to go now, cucco. Bye," she told it, waving her fingers at it.

Link led her to a shop, and there Lindi chose a colorful bouquet of flowers. Link paid for them and they headed to the graveyard.

"It's so scary in here, Link," Lindi whispered as they came upon the graveyard. "And what's that way in the back, on the ledge?"

"That's where the Shadow Temple is," he told her. "It's even scarier. And you don't have to worry about anything in here." He led her to a fresh grave in the front row. "Here is where your mother is," he told her.

"Is it okay if I cry?" she asked in a small voice.

"Of course it is," Link assured her.

Lindi took the bouquet and gently placed it on her mother's grave, tears spilling down her cheeks. She sank down onto her knees and hid her little face in her hands and started sobbing. Even though she'd been only a baby at the time, she was absolutely sure that, before Link and Zelda came along, her mother had been the only person that was kind to her.

She felt a gentle hand on her back. Link was kneeling there, comforting her. "I lost both my parents," he said quietly. "My mother died when I was no more than a week old. I learned recently that my father had died the month before I was born. I never knew either of them."

"Did you cry?"

"Yes, when I found out," he replied. "Lindi, have you ever heard of the Kokiri forest children?"

"I think so...."

"My mother left me with them. If you'd like I'll take you to meet them. One Kokiri girl, Saria, was my best friend while I lived in the forest and she still is."

"Do they really stay kids?" Lindi asked, standing up and wiping her eyes.

"Yes, they do. And they stay in the forest." He stood up. "Whenever you're ready, Lindi."

"I'm ready," she said.

Link lifted Lindi up into his arms and carried her out of the graveyard.

Lindi gazed around with awe as Link led her across a rope-and-plank bridge and through a hollow log. Soon she was looking at the Kokiri village itself. Her eyes grew wide when she saw the houses made out of trees, the little stream flowing through the village, the Kokiri children going about their business.

"Link!" a childish voice called.

A blue-eyed, green-haired little girl wearing a green sweater and overalls practically leaped into Link's arms. "Where have you been? You brought one of your kids?" she asked.

"Saria, this is Lindi, a little girl I rescued a month ago," Link explained. "Zelda and I are going to take care of her and raise her. Besides, you know my and Zelda's children are all blue-eyed blonds." He grinned at her.

"Hi, Lindi, I'm Saria," said the Kokiri girl. "Link's really nice, isn't he?"

"Yes. And is that a fairy?" Lindi asked.

"Yes, this is my fairy, Niva," said Saria.

"Link isn't that nice," squaked Niva. "One time he put me in a bottle!"

"Niva, he was only teasing, and he didn't harm you," Saria reminded her fairy. "Besides, he was only a little boy at the time."

"I know," said Niva.

"I like it here," said Lindi. "No grown-ups here?"

"Nope, just us," said Saria. "Link, you'll never guess who's been asking about you. Skull Kid--remember him?"

"Oh yeah...the Skull Kid that found Majora's Mask. He was just a lonely little guy," Link recalled. "Last time I saw him Kestra had just been born."

"He's practicing his flute in the Lost Woods, go in and just go right to the west," said Saria. "Lindi, want to meet Skull Kid?"

"Okay," said the little girl.

Saria took Lindi's hand and they and Link climbed the vines, going up the cliff where the entrance to the Lost Woods was. "I think you're the only grown-up the Skull Kids actually like," said Saria to Link. "Once they figured out who you were...."

They entered the hollow log and came to a clearing. Then they headed left.

Standing on a tree stump, dancing and playing his flute, was Skull Kid, dressed in his usual orange-and-yellow garb. Hearing someone approaching, he put down his flute. "Link! Saria! And who's this?" he asked.

"This is Lindi, a child Zelda and I took in," said Link.

"You always were good at rescuing people and making friends," said Skull Kid. "Now it looks like I have a new playmate!" He laughed, a cute little laugh that sounded like a baby's laugh. "My friends and I always enjoyed playing along with you, Link."

Saria took out her fairy ocarina. "I know you like this song," she said, and she played her song, Saria's Song.

Skull Kid laughed and began dancing around merrily. He then grabbed Lindi's hands and the two danced together in the clearing, Lindi laughing harder. She couldn't remember ever having had this much fun. The skirt of her blue dress flared out when she spun around, and her red-gold hair was flying about as Skull Kid led her in a spirited dance.

After a time Saria stopped playing, and Skull Kid and Lindi collapsed on the ground, sitting against the tree stump, still giggling. "That was really fun!" said Lindi as she hugged Skull Kid.

"Well, we're due at Lon Lon Ranch pretty soon," said Link as he gave Saria a hug. He held out his hand and Lindi ran up and took it. "Get Epona a bit of a work-out, then see how Zelda is doing."

"Bye, Skull Kid," Lindi said as she waved at him.

"Bye Lindi. Hope Link brings you back here soon," Skull Kid replied.

"I could tell you were having quite a bit of fun with Skull Kid," said Link as he and Lindi rode Epona to Lon Lon Ranch. "I'm glad. He used to play pranks on his friends and they'd backfire a lot, and as a result he was lonely. He's learning how to keep friends."

"He's so cute," said Lindi.

"Yes, he is," Link chuckled. "Like the Kokiri, he'll stay a child."

Soon they arrived at Lon Lon Ranch, and Epona slowed to a walk as they went inside. Malon was just coming out of her house when she saw Link. "Hi, Link!" she said.

"Hi, Malon," said Link.

"Who's this little girl?" she asked; she knew what Link's children all looked like.

"This is Lindi, a girl Zelda and I took in," said Link. "Lindi, this is Malon, a friend of the family."

"Hi, Lindi," said the young red-haired woman as she helped the girl down. "I thought Zelda was going to join you today."

"She's not feeling well for some reason," said Link. "But she did say to tell you hello."

"Maybe she's...expecting again," Malon suggested.

Link shrugged. "She never seemed to be that sick with either of our children," he said. "Hopefully I'll have some kind of answer when I get home. She told me to go ahead and take Lindi with me." He then told Malon all about Lindi, while the child went and played with a flock of cuccos that were behind the house.

"The poor girl," Malon murmured when she'd heard everything. "Zelda was right to imprison him for the rest of his life. And I thought Ingo could be abusive at times."

"Where's your father?" Link asked, referring to Talon.

"Making his deliveries...if he hasn't fallen asleep," Malon grinned. "Ingo's over in the storage building, doing Din-knows-what." Ingo was the ill-tempered farmhand. "So you're going to exercise Epona?"

"Yep," said Link as he went over and mounted the horse.

"I'll keep an eye on Lindi," said Malon. "Maybe even show her around."

"Thanks," said Link.

Malon watched as Link led Epona into the obstacle course, which was surrounded by a dirt track. He certainly was a handsome young man, she thought. He'd always been in love with Zelda, though if Zelda had not existed, Malon would have tried to win his heart. Zelda was a lucky girl, Malon thought with a sigh. Malon, though, was a rather nice girl and she knew better than to try to interfere with what was obviously true love--and a perfect match.

Maybe she'd find herself a man as good as Link. Or at least half as good.

She went over to where Lindi was playing with the cuccos. "They sure seem to like you," said Malon. "Link and Epona used to come and tease them, and when they got mad, Link and Epona would jump over the wall to get away from them. Link was really mischievous as a boy, though you wouldn't guess it now."

"He didn't hurt them, did he?"

"No, just stirred them up a little." Malon reached into her skirt pocket and produced a small burlap sack full of feed. "Hold out your hands."

Lindi did so, and Malon poured a bit of feed into them. "They love this, Lindi."

Lindi held out her hands, and the eager cuccos began eating the feed. She laughed as the birds crowded around her. She spread some around on the ground so other cuccos could get to it.

After the feed was gone, Lindi and Malon sat down on the grass and watched as Link ran Epona through the obstacle course. "Link does great...he and Epona are a great team," Malon commented.

"I'd be scared to do that," said Lindi.

"It's a matter of holding on tight," said Malon.

Link and Epona came out of the obstacle course, and Malon stood up. "How about a couple of timed runs around the track?" she suggested.

"Sure," said Link. He backed Epona up so they were just behind a white line.

Malon held up a pocket watch. "Okay--GO!" she said.

"Let's go, Epona," said Link as the horse began to run.

Lindi watched with fascination as Epona ran around the track, effortlessly clearing hurdles. "Forty-five seconds!" Malon called as Epona crossed the white line a second time. "Definitely improving."

"Well, that's it for today," said Link. "I need to get home and see how Zelda is."

"All right," said Malon, as she helped Lindi onto the horse. "See you later, Link."

"Bye," said Lindi.

"Mom's in bed, and she's got something real important to tell you," said Jeremy when Link and Lindi arrived back at Hyrule Castle.

"Here, go play with Jeremy," said Link to Lindi. "All right, Jeremy, that's where I'll be then."

The two children ran off to play, and Link went down the corridors to his and Zelda's bedroom. He opened the door, found Zelda lying in bed, a cup of something on the nightstand. "Zelda, sweetheart?"

Zelda opened her eyes and smiled at her husband. "Link. I have some good news. We're expecting another baby."

Chapter Four

Link just stood there, a bit stunned. "Another baby?" he echoed.

Zelda nodded. "Maybe this time we'll have the brother that Jeremy's been asking for," she said. "But for some reason this morning sickness is especially bad this time around, and all I feel like doing is lying in bed. The physician gave me something that will help," she added, gesturing to the cup on the nightstand.

Link bent over and kissed her cheek. "Have you told the kids yet?" he asked as he sat down on the edge of the bed.

"No...I wanted you to know first," Zelda replied. "They just know that I'm not feeling very well and that I'm in bed. I told them I'd be all right."

"When's the baby due?"

"Would you believe...only a couple of weeks before my coronation as Queen of Hyrule," Zelda grinned. She laid her hand on his thigh. "So...what do you think? Four children?"

Link shrugged. "I don't mind at all. I really enjoy the ones we have...and I'm sure I'll enjoy this one too. I am kind of hoping for a you said, Jeremy wants a brother. And I can understand that." He lifted her hand and kissed the back of it gently.

"Did you want to tell the children?" Zelda asked.

"If you'd like me to."

"I would." Zelda nestled into the pillows and blankets, and Link stood up and tucked her in. "Please."

"Okay," said Link as he smiled down at her. He kissed her forehead. "In fact, I'll go tell them now. I think the girls are ready to get up from their naps. And you just stay here and rest...and feel better, okay?"

Zelda nodded and closed her eyes. Link quietly left the room.

Link woke his two daughters from their naps and got them dressed. They would have a few hours to play before dinner time.

"I have something to tell you two...but first let's find your brother," said Link as he took the two little girls by their hands.

The little princesses followed their father, wondering what news he had.

Lindi was in the courtyard picking flowers under the watchful eye of Prince Jeremy. It was so nice, she was thinking, living in a castle and having people actually care about her. Jeremy seemed to be so protective of her, especially since he'd heard that her father had beaten her a lot. Of course, Jeremy was a lot like his father, instinctively protective of people such as Lindi.

This was the first time Lindi had ever been in the courtyard; today was the first time since her illness that she'd been outside at all. Link and Zelda had kept her in bed until she no longer tired quickly. They'd played games with her as she recovered, and their children had constantly come in to see her.

Jeremy was the one who'd come to see her the most. Even though he seemed rambunctious he could be a little gentleman.

Lindi went over to where Jeremy was sitting, and she had a bunch of flowers in her hands. She sat down next to him and studied her flowers, touching them gently, admiring their bright colors. All of her life she'd been surrounded by ugly things--the flat she and her father had lived in, his abusive behavior.

"There you two are," said a male voice.

The two children looked up. Link was headed towards them with his two little daughters in tow, and he was smiling. Delia and Kestra broke free from their father and went to sit down near their brother and friend. Kestra sat down on her brother's lap while Delia sat next to Lindi. "What do you want to tell us, Daddy? We found Jeremy and Lindi," said the little girl.

"Well--you're going to have a new brother or sister in around eight months or so," said Link. "Your mother is going to have a baby. That's why she hasn't been feeling very well."

"Do babies make her sick?" asked Jeremy.

"Not sick...just not feeling well," said Link. "It's normal. She's tired right now and needs a lot of rest. She'll be fine, though."

All during Zelda's pregnancy Lindi learned quite a bit about babies and where they came from. Jeremy already knew a lot, having asked questions during his mother's pregnancy with Kestra.

Zelda was feeling better in the middle of her pregnancy, though Impa thought she was growing a bit more rapidly than she should. Link was scratching his head too, as she was eating more during this pregnancy than during her previous three. At the end of her eighth month, though, she was constantly tired and short of breath, so she returned to bed, where she stayed for the next two weeks.

Two weeks before Zelda's due date, her children, along with Lindi, were sitting on the bed with her. Zelda had been feeling contractions all that morning, and now it was obvious that they were not going to go away, that she was going to give birth early.

"Zelda, are you okay?" asked Lindi, who was now six years old.

"I--I think the baby's coming. I need you kids to get your father," Zelda gasped.

"Let's get Impa, Lindi," said Jeremy, who was now seven.

"Is she dying?" wailed five-year-old Delia, as she clutched her three-year-old sister to her. The four children had their ears to Link and Zelda's bedroom door. It was evening and so far that little brother or sister had yet to arrive, and Link and Impa were in there with Zelda.

"I hope not. Sounds like it really hurts," said Jeremy sympathetically.

"That's it...that's good,'re doing fine," Impa told the princess.

"I--I've had enough practice," Zelda gasped as she felt an uncontrollable urge to push. She clutched Link's hand as she bore down.

Link watched, wide-eyed, as the baby emerged. "You have another girl," Impa smiled as she quickly tied and cut the baby's cord and wrapped her in a blanket and placed her on Zelda's belly. Funny, the baby seemed awfully small....

"I'm not done yet!" Zelda gasped.

"Twins!" exclaimed Link.

Impa got back into position at the foot of the bed. Minutes later, another baby emerged. "Well, well, it looks like Jeremy finally got the brother he wanted," Impa chuckled as she guided the baby out. "This one is a boy."

Soon Zelda was happily holding her two newborns in her arms. "It explains why you were getting so big," said Link as he kissed Zelda's lips. He smiled as he looked at his new daughter and son.

"And it might explain why Zelda's symptoms were exaggerated," Impa added. "Let's get her cleaned up and let your other children know about their new brother and sister."

Jeremy, Delia, Kestra, and Lindi were sitting against the wall opposite the bedroom door when they heard the cries of a baby. After a while, the door opened, and Link came out. "Well, I don't have to search very far for you, do I?" he laughed.

"Is Mommy okay?" asked little Kestra.

"She had a girl," said Link. "And then she had a boy. She had twins!"

"Oh, I want to see them," said Delia.

"I finally got a brother! And you two got the baby sister," Jeremy told his sisters. The four children stood up and Link led them into the room.

Zelda, wearing a fresh nightgown, was sitting up, holding her newborn twins in her arms. The little girl was wrapped in a pink blanket, and the little boy in a blue one. She smiled when she saw her children and Lindi. "Come meet your new brother and sister," she told them. "The boy's name is Timothy and the girl's name is Tamara. Your sister was born first."

"Oh, they're so tiny!" breathed Lindi.

"Twins do tend to be small," said Impa. "But they'll be fine. And they'll catch up."

A few weeks after the twins' birth Hyrule was getting ready for the celebration that was to take place the next week. Zelda's coronation and the birth of the new prince and princess would be celebrated at the same time, since the events were so close together. It also gave Zelda time to recover from childbirth.

Lindi often watched as Link cared for the tiny babies during the times their mother was sleeping. She wondered if her own father had loved her once. She knew that Link and Zelda loved her as their own, though they were her guardians rather than her adoptive parents.

Lindi turned out to be a natural when it came to taking care of babies. Zelda fed them, but she and Link shared the other responsibilities. They were pleased when Lindi offered to help care for them by bathing them or changing their diapers. Lindi already knew that she wanted to have lots of children when she grew up. Even if being pregnant made her a little sick, as had happened to Zelda.

One evening, after dinner, Lindi decided to see her father for the first time since that day Link rescued her. Zelda had told her that it was okay, and that a guard would be with her so she wouldn't be afraid.

Maybe he had changed, Lindi decided. Maybe he'd only acted that way because he was drunk every moment of every day, and surely they wouldn't give him any strong drink. Maybe he'd killed her mother accidentally.

Lindi went into one of the ground-floor chambers in Hyrule Castle and from there she went down a flight of steps to the basement--and the dungeons. "What brings you here, Lindi?" asked one of the guards.

"I just want to see my father," she said.

"Don't know if that's a good idea...but I'll go with you," the guard told her. "He's rather mean, even without the drink."

The guard led Lindi through the dungeon area, which was dim and gloomy and lit by torches on the walls. Even though the dungeons were gloomy they were clean. Finally they came to the one occupied by Lindi's father.

"What are you doing here, you little brat?" Lindi's father demanded as he stood up.

"I live here in the castle. Princess Zelda is taking care of me," she replied. "Don't you love me?"

"You were trouble from the day you were born," he snarled back. "If I get out of here, I'll kill you and you'll be with your precious mommy!"

"That's enough!" snapped the guard as Lindi broke from him and ran towards the stairs.

The first person Lindi ran into was Jeremy, and she threw her arms around him. "He hates me, my father really does hate me," she sobbed. "The guard was right--he really is mean even when he isn't drinking."

Jeremy just hugged his friend. "Well, you have my mom and dad now," he told her. "Forget him."

Lindi, however, could not shake the fear that one day her father would kill her. Even though he was behind bars she didn't feel one hundred percent safe.