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"The Lost Woods.... a cursed place. Many have ventured deep into the forest but few have returned. Those that have returned tell of creatures that lurk within. Beasts that were once human but are no longer so. Only thieves and fools dare enter." The words her father had said still echoed in her mind. She walked along the edge of the Lost Woods, her long black hair glistening in the morning sun. Her blue eyes followed a small bird as it soared through the sky. Her short red dress rippled with the breeze. The sounds of life around her made her feel happy but these were interrupted by another sound. She froze, looking around her. Nothing. The sound came again, coming from within the Lost Woods. She stood there, staring at the woods. She knew she wasn't supposed to go into the woods but her curiosity got the better of her as she slowly entered the woods, travelling deeper and deeper. The sound came again, much closer this time. A deep, inhuman laughter accompanied it. Again the sound echoed throughout the woods. The young girl recognized it as metal colliding with metal. She reached toward the bushes ahead and froze. Pull yourself together Maria! You've come this far! Her thoughts edged her on. A yell from beyond the bushes caught her attention. She moved the leaves aside to see. Metal greeted metal once again. Maria looked for the source and froze in fear. Four Stalfos, skeleton soldiers, stood before her, staring at someone or something. A young boy, no older than 12 was there. Dressed in a green tunic and hat with brown boots. In his left hand he held a small sword, while a shield was in his right. With a yell he charged, dodging a blow from the lead Stalfos and retaliating with one of his own. His sword cutting through the Stalfos' spine.
"Heh, you'll have to do better then that!" the young boy said mockingly. Two of the Stalfos charged at him. With a speed Maria had never seen he'd dodged both Stalfos and began his attack. Maria watched in awe as the Stalfos were reduced to a pile of bones. The last Stalfos leapt into the air, sword raised, ready to strike. The boy rolled to the side, returning the sword to the scabbard on his back in a single motion. The Stalfos attempted another jump slash. The boy removed a small bow from his back and fired an arrow at his airborne target. The arrowhead glowed a pale blue as it flew toward its target. The arrow pierced the Stalfos' ribcage, magical energy emanating from the tip of the arrow. Maria stared in amazement as the Stalfos became encased in a block of ice and shattered as it hit the floor. The bones glowed for a moment before being engulfed in an unnatural blue flame. Maria moved back a little, trying to take in what she had just seen. can a boy do that? She wondered to herself. She moved forward again, hoping to catch another glance of the boy. He was nowhere to be seen. A voice from beside her caused her to jump.
"What ya lookin' at?" Maria turned around to find herself staring at the young boy, a smile spread across his face. Maria didn't answer, she simply stared at him.
"So, what's your name?" the boy asked.
"M-Maria..." she stammered.
"I'm Link." the boy replied. Maria stared at him. His ocean blue eyes were full of innocence and joy. She wondered how a child that young could defeat one Stalfos, let alone four. She had seen her father fight those creatures before but never with the same ease that Link had. A rustling to her right made Maria panic. Link simply stared at the bushes. A small brown horse, barely able to carry a child, emerged from the undergrowth. Link walked up to it and began to pet it. The horse gently nuzzled him. Link laughed.
"OK, OK. I happy to see you too Epona." Maria looked on as Link continued to laugh. She let out a small giggle. Link turned to face her, a smile on his face.
"What brings you into the Lost Woods, Maria?" Link asked. Maria stared blankly at him for a moment before she replied.
"I heard some strange noises. I got curious and went looking for whatever was the source." Maria stared at the ground for a moment before she raised her head and spoke again.
"What about you? Why are you here?" Link simply smiled back at her.
"Just trying to get home." Maria was surprised by this reply. Before she could say anything more, Link butted in.
"It might be a good idea if we got out of here. The woods aren't exactly the safest place to be." Maria nodded in agreement. She didn't really want to end up cursed. Maria rose to her feet and dusted herself off. Maria looked at Link for a moment. He seems almost at home here. She began to wonder about Link. Maria knew it wasn't normal for a person to travel through the Lost Woods and it was even stranger for a child to do so. She turned away and began to walk back the way she came. Link followed her, Epona close behind him. Maria looked back over her shoulder to make sure Link was behind. To her surprise Link had stopped and was staring at a bush. Maria walk up to Link and began to speak but Link silenced her.
"We're not alone...." Link trailed off as his left hand reached for his sword. Maria slowly backed away, her gazed focused on the bush. She jumped as the bush began to rustle. It began to shake more and more violently. Maria held her breath as Link drew his sword. The forest had become silent. Maria felt her heart skip a beat as she waited for whatever was hiding to show itself.
"Link, is it..." Maria was cut short as a Stalfos burst out for the bush. Maria let out a scream. Link quickly assumed a defensive stance. He noticed something. The Stalfos was facing the bushes and was in the same stance. It's almost as if it's fighting something.... Link thought to himself. The air around them seemed to grow darker with each passing second. The sounds of the woods had grown silent. The bushes began to rustle. Link's reflexes kicking with lightning speed. He turned and ran toward Maria as a large scythe cut the Stalfos in half. Maria was in shock at what she'd just seen. She stood there, frozen to the spot. Everything seemed to slow down as a large creature emerged from the forest. It seemed to resemble a shadow. The only feature she could make out were two glowing red eyes.

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