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The council was still quiet. All of a sudden, the door came open.

"Am I too late?" Zelda had a bit of a smile on her face, and the rest of the crew had no idea what to think. This was obviously a Hylian, about seventeen, dressed up like a Kokiri. Either this guy was nuts or he knew of a really cheap costume shop.

"Who the hell are you?" Darunia wasn't about to take it anymore.

"The Kokiri's representative."

"The Kokiri are children forbidden to leave the forest."

"I am Hylian blood, raised by the Kokiri. My mother gave me to the Great Deku Tree as a child. I was called to be here, and here I am."

Zelda and Link looked eye-to-eye. They were the only ones who understood.

"Have a seat, Sir Link." Link sat next to Ruto, who thankfully had no clue about the whole Zora's Sapphire deal. Even now, Ruto was happily married.

"Anyway, we need suggestions. My guess is 125,000 will come in from the east, into the Zora's River tributary by Lake Hylia. The other 125,000 will come in from the west into the Gerudo's territory..."

"Question." Link raised his hand. "Why the hell are there all these soldiers coming into our land without provocation? Or did Zelda turn down abother prince?" A few snickers hit the room coming from Nabooru, but quickly died down.

"Link, this is no time for humor. Hyrule is in serious danger. We are viewed as weakened since my father's death."

"Weakened? How many other countries out there know the magic we know?"

"Magic may not help us against the sheer numbers game. We are outnumbered about twenty-five to one. How can we beat those odds?"

"Zelda, don't be so hopeless. If we give up hope...then they have to." Link pointed outside towards the Castle Town. "How long do we have?"

"According to the official statements I was sent...they'll be inside our borders in one week."




Link didn't look too healthy as he walked up the path into Lon Lon Ranch. He knew he would be needed again tomorrow to prepare for war, and that he would not be able to celebrate Malon's birthday with her. This put a real damper on his plans to get closer to her. While he thought, trying to figure out how to break it to Malon...BOOM.

"Ouch, damnit...Epona?" The red horse with the white mane. She was one of a kind. Immediately she recognized Link. "NEIGHHHH!"

"I missed you too, girl!" Link patted Epona's mane. He didn't have to lead her; she followed him right into the ranch. Talon was at the enterance, going through a shipment of milk that was about to be sent out.

"Link! Whatcha doin', you sumbitch?" Talon and Link had a quick hug. "Malon's in the stables. How ya been?"

"Holding up the best I could. How's everything here?"

"Aw, same as usual. Ingo's being his usual self, but he's getting work done. Horses are obviously happy to see you. Epona must have heard you from a mile away." Talon checked off a few things on a piece of paper. "All done. Damn, this farm shit's rough with only a handful of workers. When ya gonna marry Malon and move out here to help?"

Link smiled. "When the time's right."

"Man, you see how she looks at you. I'd rather she was with you than some other scum out there. I wouldn't keep her waiting. I hear her talk to her girlfriends...she wants it." Talon was a pretty open guy with Link and Malon's relationship. Although Link didn't really think of it as a relationship, everyone else knew it was. "Well, I won't keep you two waiting. Go ahead. I've got to get this milk down to Lake Hylia anyway. Epona!" Epona slowly walked up to Talon. "I know, girl, you wanna stay here with Link." Talon thought a minute, then handed Link Epona's reigns. "Take care of her while I'm gone. Snowstorm!"

"Snowstorm?"

"Yeah, she's my new horse. Check dis' shit out!" An all-white stallion came thundering forward with speed that almost surpassed Epona. She stopped right in place for Talon to hook up the wagons to her. "I'd betcha in a couple of years this horse could run circles around Epona!" Talon quickly rode away. "I'm late! See ya!"

Epona neighed roughly. "He didn't mean anything by it." Link then grinned to himself as he walked towards the door to the stable. He cracked it slightly. There was Malon, tending to a baby foal. Link smiled. She looked so beautiful, even though she had been working hard for hours. Link knew it was almost sunset, and they would have time to watch the sunset together. He was a sucker for romantic things, just like her.

"HEY!" Epona nudged Link on the read gently. Malon turned around and almost caught Link spying on her. Link was fast, though, and quickly got behind the door. "You almost got me caught!" Epona neighed again, and this time it almost sounded like a laugh. She then ran off into the corral with the other horses, leaving the two lovebirds alone. Link tiptoed into the stable. Malon was finished with her work, and she was cleaning herself up at a nearby well inside the shelter. She removed her overshirt, revealing nothing but a plain white sleeveless top.

Aw shit. Link was getting excited. Malon was drying off when Link decided to go ahead and take his chance.


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