Link was sleeping soundly to a dream. No sounds from the outside of his house could be heard. A long day of working was ahead and he knew he needed all the sleep he could get.
But the silence was soon broken when, through the blackness behind his closed eyes, came, “Link! Link, wake up!”
Someone was shaking him. He recognized Andim’s voice, but when his blurred vision came into focus, he never would have guessed that that was Andim hidden behind a pink, Chinese-style dress, balls shaped like flowers on each side of her hair tied with pink ribbons and actually wearing makeup.
“Am I still dreaming?” asked Link, not believing his eyes.
“Oh no you’re still asleep,” Andim said as she grabbed a bucket of water Link always kept by his bed after a certain “accident”. Before Link knew it, he was doused with water and couching up whatever got in his mouth.
“Andim,” Link said through his, again, blurred vision. “I’m awake.”
“I’m sorry, Link.” Andim wiped most of the water from his head off.
“What’s going on, and why are you all dressed up?”
“Today’s the day the Mayor is going to select Toaru Village’s representative for the Royal Family. Remember, he presents the gift to them!”
“I didn’t hear anything about-“ Andim grabbed him out of bed before he could continue.
Outside, all of the woman were dressed up. Not like Andim, they were all different. None of the men had dressed unusually. They wore the same thing they always did.
The crowd of villagers gathered in front of the mayor, waiting for his announcement. He stood on a wooden pedestal so that he wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. Even Andim had to cling to Link’s arm so they wouldn’t get separated.
“Don’t you think you’re a little overdressed?” asked Link just before the Mayor was about to speak. “Just who are you trying to impress?”
Andim rolled her eyes and smiled. She opened her mouth to speak, but the Mayor beat her to it. He spoke in a loud voice so all of the people could hear him. “As many of you know, I will stepping down as Toaru’s representative this year.”
“Isn’t his voice amazing?” Andim whispered adoringly. Since the Mayor was fairly old, and kind, all of the women dressed nicely in his presence.
“I know all of you are excited and eager to find out who the representative of Toaru will be. This person will travel all across the land to Hyrule City and present the Royal Family with Toaru’s gift to them.”
The Mayor raised his hand and his right index finger in the air, “And that person is…….” He lowered his arm down and pointed at Link in the crowd of people. “…..This man.”
Everyone look to where the Mayor was pointing. Then turned around to look at Link. No word was spoken as the silence surrounded all of them. Link was frozen until Andim nudged him to move up to the pedestal. Link knew he was the object of over one hundred and fifty eyes as he moved uneasily to the Mayor. The clearing of the crowd was closed up when Link got up on the stage.
“Link,” the Mayor finally spoke. “When I first received your letter that stated that you wanted to represent Toaru, I just couldn’t say no. It was so beautifully written and convincing.”
Link was puzzled. “Letter? What let-“
“And since I’m not going to be doing much traveling anytime soon,” Link was cut off. “I have chosen you to represent our beautiful village in two weeks.”
Link wasn’t sure who it was, but one person started chanting. It spread throughout the crowd and soon everyone was chanting his name. Since all of the villagers loved Link for his kindness and determination, they didn’t think there could’ve been a better selection.
The crowd parted and everyone left to go back to their jobs and chores, all except for Andim and Link’s boss who ran up to both Link and the Mayor.
“Meet me at my house and I will give you a briefing,” said the Mayor. He bowed his head slightly and walked off to his house.
“I don’t remember writing a letter for this,” Link said to Andim and his boss.
“Well of course not, silly,” said Andim with merriment.
“Yeah, Andim and I wrote that letter,” said Link’s boss.
“You guys wrote it?” asked Link with a dropped-jaw expression.
“We sure did.” Andim pointed to Link’s boss, “Paragraph one.” Then Andim pointed to herself, “Paragraph two, and your signature.”
Link frowned. “I really appreciate all of this, but I can’t do this. I’m only eighteen.”
“So? What’s wrong with that?” asked Andim.
“That’s a great age to see the world,” said Link’s boss.
Link thought a moment, then said, “Fine. I’ll go. But next time, don’t forge my signature, ok?”
Andim smiled, “You should go the Mayor’s house now. He is waiting for you.”
“Ok, I’ll see you both at work,” said Link as he ran to the Mayor’s house, waving at them.
The Mayor’s house was just like everyone else’s house. The same size and everything. The only difference was one extra room which was his office. Anyone could tell from the outside.
Link hesitantly knocked on the door and almost immediately, the Mayor answered. “Link, you came,” said the Mayor.
“Well….you asked me to, Mayor Doran,” said Link.
“Oh yes, of course. Please come to my office.”
Link followed the Mayor to his office. It was rather plain. All there was, was a desk, two chairs in front and a couple of windows. Link sat down on one of the chairs. The Mayor walked around the back of his desk and studied Link for a moment.
Not a word was spoken for what seemed like a short eternity. “First things first,” the Mayor broke the silence. “You are to go to Hyrule City and deliver Toaru’s gift to the Royal Family.”
“I know that, sir,” said Link. “But I don’t even know where Hyrule City is.”
“We will provide you with a map. Now for the gift.” The Mayor bent over in his chair and under his desk. He came back up with a small object covered with a piece of cloth.
“What is it?”
“I can not reveal this to you. But what I can tell you is that it is a very sacred artifact that must be delivered safely.”
“But you’d probably make a better delivery than I would. You always have.”
“Yes but this is different. Many demons and monsters will be after this. I am much to old for a task such as this.”
“Well, I’m not exactly at the perfect age either!” Link didn’t realize he was raising his voice. “I’m much too young for something like this. This artifact is wrong in my hands.”
“No, Link. I believe it is perfectly safe in your hands.”
“How do you know?” Link asked with attitude.
Mayor Doran handed Link the object. “Just trust me on this,” he lowered his voice. “You will depart in two weeks. I suggest you spend it preparing.”
As Link was walking back to the farm where he worked, people stopped by to congratulate him, give him food and gifts. When Andim and his boss were waiting for him at the gate, he was overrun by gifts. He had a bag of bread loaves slung on his right shoulder, a small bushel of apples in his left hand, the artifact in his right, and was holding another bag of gifts hanging from his mouth.
“Popular aren’t you?” Andim said with a smile.
“Ery-“ Link spit out the bag from his mouth. “Very funny. Can you give me a hand here?” asked Link. Andim started clapping. “I mean with the stuff.”
Andim took two pieces of bread and started hitting them together. Then she stopped playing around and took the bag of bread and Link’s boss took the apples.
“What’s that?” Andim pointed to the artifact in Link’s right hand.
“It’s the gift I’m supposed to present to the royal family.”
“Well what is it?” asked Link’s boss.
Link turned to keep it from them, “I don’t know, and I can’t look either.”
Andim was disappointed. “Well, that’s too bad. So you’re setting off in two weeks?”
“That’s right. I have to travel all the way across Hyrule before I get to the city.”
“Well now you have a better use for your new horse. Instead of herding goats, she can help you travel across Hyrule,” said Link’s boss.
“That’s right. Epona will be able to help you,” said Andim.
“Well, as much as I enjoy this chat, you still have a job to do,” said their boss.
“Yes sir,” Andim and Link said simultaneously.
The long day seemed to not last for more than a minute to Link. The only thing on his mind the whole day was his assignment. The thought that he couldn’t see what the gift was, drove him to the edge of hysteria.
Andim noted his blank eyes and expression while she watched him clean out the horses’ stables. “Link……are you ok?” she asked as she put her hand on his shoulder.
Link jumped at the contact. He was so entranced in his mind, he did not see it coming. “I’m not sure,” said Link. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
“Well of course you haven’t. How often is an average farm boy chosen to carry something for the Royal Family across Hyrule?”
This made Link sink deeper in his thoughts. Why did Mayor Doran pick him. A simple letter couldn’t have convinced him that a teenager barely out of childhood, could bring something so important and valuable across a great plain. With demons and monsters after it too, no less. Link rested his chin on the handle of his shovel.
“Poor Link,” Andim thought. “He must be under a lot of pressure. I should do something for him.”
“Ok kids, it’s getting late, you should go home now,” called their boss. “Especially you, Link.”
Link expelled the long breath he didn’t know he was holding during his thoughts. He dropped the shovel instead of putting it away like he usually did. He didn’t say a word as he walked out of the stable with his posture lightly slumping. He took Toaru’s gift with him just before he left.
Andim put the shovel in his rightful place before going off to home herself. She thought for a moment, then got a brilliant idea. She had to get home and do some work….
The morning light flooded Link’s house. He stiffly arose out of bed and stretched when he stood up.
He walked outside and Andim spotted him sluggishly going to his job.
“He didn’t get any sleep,” she thought. She could tell by his sagging eyes and crooked posture.
When Link’s boss saw him approaching the fence, he immediately said, “My goodness, Link, you look terrible.”
“I didn’t get any sleep last night,” said Link, followed by a yawn.
“Oh no, Link,” said his boss. “You can’t do any help here in your condition. Go home and get some rest.”
“He’s right, Link,” said Andim. “I’ll take care of things here.”
Link yawned once more. “Alright,” said Link, weakly. “Good night….or good morning….or whatever….”
Link collapsed on his bed as soon as he walked through his door. It was like puppet strings under his feet were cut. That what Link often felt like ever since he was chosen to represent Toaru….like a puppet. He was unsure why, he just did. He was tired from the lack of sleep that night.
Link slept until the early the next morning. Partly because of hunger. It was so early, the sun hadn’t even come up yet, giving the sky a icy bluish color. Link nearly tripped over the bushel of apples one of the villagers gave him.
“Andim must’ve put it here while I was sleeping,” Link thought. He noticed that a few were missing, and that Andim must’ve taken some for herself. Link didn’t mind though. He had to get rid of some of the apples before they spoiled. He picked one up and walked out of his house.
He rested up against a tree and bit a huge piece out of the apple. Link’s head was so empty, he could hear the apple crunching in his mouth. When he swallowed it, he could hear something else. It was a sort of a clanking sound.
Link stood up and started running in the direction of where the sound came from. He was led up a sort of hill path that finally led to a clearing. It was an old man, practicing swordplay on a wooden scarecrow. Link noted his constant falling down and sluggish movement.
“Excuse me, sir,” Link was unsure if what to say next.
The man heard him and got off the ground. He brushed off the dirt from his last fall. He had a rather long bears and no hair on top of his head to speak of. The sword in his left hand dropped to the ground.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” said the old man.
Link was perplexed. “Waiting for me? For what?”
“For training of course.”
The old man held up the dropped sword up, “This training.”
“Sword training? Why do I need sword training?”
The old man began to brush his beard with his fingers. “Because you need to fight off demons and monsters on your journey.”
“…..How did you know that I was going to encounter monsters and demons?”
“Just trust me….I know. Now, grab a sword and we will begin the training.”
Link decided to humor this old man. He picked up one of the swords that was on a rack to his left. He almost smiled at this ridiculous ordeal, but even he knew to respect his elders.
“First, I will teach you how to block. Hold your sword up like this,” the old man held the hilt above his head and pointed the blade down to the ground in the opposite direction of the handle. “I will come at you and you will deflect by bringing the sword up and pushing mine back.”
Link imitated the man as he charged at him. Until Link felt the force, he barley used effort to hold up the sword. But when Link felt the force of the old man, he immediately knew that he was deceived by the old man, who had only pretended to be weak and slow.
It happened so fast to Link that he was pushed back before he could counter. He landed on the ground with a thud and held his rump as he stood up.
“Looks can be deceiving, young warrior,” said the old man with a laugh.
“So, you’ve been waiting here for me just to humiliate me?” asked Link, a little angry.
“Humiliated? There is no one here to give you the look of humiliation. I am only here to train you.”
Link noticed that he still had the apple, he picked it up and pretended to take a bite. Then, with great speed, he threw it at the old man. The man swung his blade so quickly, it sliced the apple in half with no sound. The split apple lie no more than three inches away from him.
“You must learn to respect your elders…..For that, you are now obligated to return here every morning for training until you set off. If you want to have reflexes like mine…..you will do as I say. Now, you should be getting to you job now. Everyone one is waking up.”
Link turned around, and indeed, he saw people leaving their houses and doing their usual chores. Just before Link left, the old man called, “Remember: not a word of this to anyone.”
Link slid down the hill and went to work. He had not seen the sun until he was down from the hill. The clearing’s trees must’ve shaded the sun’s morning light.
Everyday, when Link came to work, Andim and his boss both noticed that he looked as if he had been to work already. And though it happened slowly, Andim noticed that he was ‘growing’. Not in height or width, but in muscle.
The day came where it was time for Link and Andim to spend the evening together eating fish, but when the subject came up, they were both relieved to hear the other say that they couldn’t make it.
After a week of training, Link went to visit his ‘master’, and Link was surprised with something for him.
“A warrior is not complete…..without a shield,” his master said.
Link studied the beautiful object. It had a silver lining with a huge red bird spreading it’s wings on the bottom and three golden triangles. At the top, the silver lining sort of spread out across the tops like two vines. Link thanked the old man, and began his training with his new shield.
Even though Link was preoccupied with his training most of the time, he was still able to see that Andim was getting a little secretive. She always hurried home after work and hardly said goodbye to Link. She didn’t even make eye contact with him often. After a while, Link just thought he was thinking things, with so many things on his mind now, that wasn’t a surprise to him.
The day of departure finally came. Everyone was excited. It wasn’t every year that a new representative of Toaru was setting out. With the help of Ilia and Andim, Link saddled up Epona for the long journey.
Andim pulled Link away to her house for a moment. “Wait out here,” she told Link. “I have a present for you.” Andim went into her house and came back out with a new pair of brown boots and something green folded up.
“Wow! New boots?” Link asked excitedly.
“Yup! And I have something else for you,” said Andim. She took the green object and unveiled it like a curtain. There in front of Link was a green tunic. It had a brown lining on the inside and had long white sleeves, two gauntlets, a matching oddly shaped hat, and, what Link believed, was tights.
“I’ve been working on this for two weeks at night in the dark….I guess it looks better in the dark,” said Andim.
Link tried to hide his real feelings about the gift, and accepted it. “Thanks…Andim, that was really nice of you.”
“Put it on!”
Link reluctantly took the outfit into the house and came back out a few minutes later. “You know, this is actually pretty comfortable….” said Link. He moved around and got the feel of the fabric.
“I was hoping you’d like it. Everytime I looked at you, I wanted to tell you. That's why I did my best to avoid that by not making eye contact with you.”
Link and Andim returned to Epona, where a crowd had suddenly formed. Everyone parted at Link’s presence and Andim followed him. Next to Epona, Mayor Doran and Link’s Master were waiting for him. Mayor Doran studied Link in his new outfit and thought to himself, "So familiar....."
“Link, I present to you this sword and shield, in hopes that it will help you on your journey,” said the old man in respect. When he leaned closer to hand them to him, he whispered, “No one knows about your training, act surprised…”
“Thank you, sir,” said Link, putting the sheathed sword and shield on his back.
The Mayor was next to speak, “Link, young child, see to it that Toaru’s gift is delivered safely.”
“I will, sir, you have my guarantee.” Link mounted Epona with the sacred object in hand. Epona, stocked with traveling supplies, and a map, charged forward to Hyrule Field.
Link was almost gone from the horizon when everyone parted from the crowd and left. Everyone except Andim who waited until Link was fully out of sight and everyone was gone to say: “I’m praying for you, Link……Good luck…..”