Alex was a pretty average girl. She wasn’t the prettiest girl in school, or the most popular, or the smartest. She didn’t like sports, preferring to play video games alone or with friends. She was probably what most people would consider a nerd, especially when it came to things she really liked. She’d learn all she could about that particular topic, and would draw pictures of it or write fanfics. She didn’t have many friends, but that was fine, since she liked to be alone a lot. Her mom was concerned about her being alone so much and spending so much time on the computer, but she didn’t care. It wasn’t like she had anything else to do.
One day, she was bored, so she started her file over on the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and started to re-play it for the umpteenth time. She beat the first three levels in one day (since she knew them inside and out) and the next day she was starting on the Forest Temple when her mom came down to the bonus room. “Don’t you think you’ve been playing that game long enough?” asked her mother.
“I haven’t played for an hour yet today,” replied Alex as she made Link shoot a skulltula with his hookshot, not looking away from the screen.
“But you were on all day yesterday,” replied her mother. “Go outside and take a walk. No more videogames today.” Her mother turned and walked up the stairs, leaving Alex to glare after her.
“Nag,” Alex mumbled as she saved her game. She turned off her N64, then slipped on her shoes and went outside. It was a warm summer day, perfect weather to take a walk. Alex strolled along the sidewalk, watching little kids play tag on their front lawns. Ah, to be young and innocent, thought Alex, half joking. She turned a corner in the street and headed for the park, hoping she might meet her friend there.
Her friend was there, in fact. Amy was an even bigger Zelda fan than Alex, but in a different way. Instead of being an artsy fan, she was a collector: she had every Zelda game, including the CD Zeldas that didn’t do too well. She had all sorts of Zelda merchandise, including a closet full of collector’s items that were never supposed to be taken out of the box. She always wore Zelda T-shirts to school, and if she was teased about them, she’d just blow it off, saying that she was proud to be what she was. Alex envied her for that; Alex could never blow off an insult.
Amy was sitting on the broken swing in the park, wearing a shirt that said, “Don’t make me go Zelda on you!” She looked funny, sitting all leaned over like that, but Alex was too bored to say anything. Instead, she sat down on the swing next to her friend and used her feet to rock back and forth. They sat like that for a minute, until Amy said in a monotonous voice, “Hi.”
“Hey,” replied Alex. “You bored too?”
“Yeah, me too.”
A pause. “Hey, did you see that over there?”
“No, over where?”
“In the woods over there.”
Alex strained her eyes, but couldn’t see anything. The woods that bordered the park were said to harbor homeless people and kidnappers who would attack anyone who went in, but Alex and Amy had gone in lots of times when they were younger, and nothing had happened to them. They had liked Zelda back then too, and were always pretending that they were Kokiri or Skullkids or something. They had nicknamed that place the Lost Woods for that very reason, but they barely ever called it by that name now, especially when other people were around.
“No I don’t see anything… Wait! What was that?”
“I don’t know. It looked like a light of some sort, like a flashlight or something.”
“Maybe somebody’s in there. You want to go check it out?”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
They hopped off the swings and hurried over to the edge of the woods, stopping near a tree to look in. They didn’t see anything except trees and branches, but now they could almost hear a song coming from deep in the forest.
“Do you hear that?” asked Alex.
“Yeah. Where have I heard that before?”
“… Isn’t that Saria’s Song?”
“No way! It is! How weird.”
“Who’d be playing a song like that in the middle of the Lost Woods?” She’d asked it as a rhetorical question, using the nickname they’d given for the woods without really thinking about it, but as soon as she said it, they both looked at each other and answered together. “Saria would.”
“But it’s impossible!” cried Amy. “It’s a videogame! It’s not real.”
“It’s real in the hearts of fans like us,” said Alex.
“That was really corny, Alex.”
“But true! Besides, nothing is impossible. I say we just go and have a look. If it’s not Saria, it’s probably a fan like us, and a potential member of that fan club we were talking about. But if it is…”
“It won’t be.”
“If it isn’t, I owe you a soda every day for the next week.”
“Alright, let’s go! Soda heaven, here I come!” They started off through the woods, shunning the path they’d blazed as children and going strait forward. They walked further than they’d ever dared before, and it felt good to bravely go where people didn’t usually go. They hopped over fallen logs and ducked under low branches, and didn’t even notice that the woods were getting thicker around them every step they took. It became more of a game than a leisurely stroll, and they hadn’t noticed how far they’d gone until one of them spun around and couldn’t see the park anymore.
“Great,” grumbled Alex. “Which way did we come from?”
“I’m not sure,” said Amy worriedly, looking around. “Do you see the park?”
“No. Curse my terrible sense of direction.” She looked at her watch. “It’s getting kind of late. Let’s just keep going the way we were going, and we’ll hit the road in like ten minutes. I’m sure this forest isn’t all that big. I mean, it is in the middle of a neighborhood.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” agreed Amy. “Let’s go.” They began at a quick pace, eager to get out of the forest. They were both silent, but it seemed that the song in the distance was getting louder and louder.
“Where is that coming from?” Alex wondered aloud, looking around. She nearly bumped into Amy, who had stopped right in front of her. “Amy, what…?” she began, and then she saw what her friend was staring at. Right in front of them was a giant hollowed-out log, almost like a tunnel, and it was too dark and too long to see the other side. The music was coming from inside the log. “That wasn’t there before,” Alex stated, perplexed.
“Alex, do you know what this is?” Amy seemed frightened and amazed at the same time.
Alex shrugged. “The world’s largest didgeridoo?” she guessed.
Amy turned around and gave Alex an angry look. “This is not the worlds largest didgeridoo! It’s a tunnel into the Lost Woods, the real Lost Woods in Zelda!”
“Oh, come on. I was joking. We both know that’s not possible.”
“Alright. I’ll just have to show you then. Come on.” Alex took Amy by the arm and began to drag her into the tunnel.
“Wait! I don’t think we should…” But Alex wouldn’t listen. They were soon traveling through the tunnel, stepping tentatively along through the darkness. The song was much louder now, and there could be no mistake about it: it was Saria’s Song, and it was being played on a woodwind instrument, like a flute… or an ocarina, Alex found herself thinking.
Soon, the end of the tunnel was in sight, and they hurried forward into the sunlight. Looking around, they were dismayed to find that there were three other tunnels in the small clearing, one in front of them, and one on either side. “Do you believe me now?” asked Amy, looking fearfully at the tunnels.
“It is uncanny,” admitted Alex, “but it’s probably just a coincidence.”
“How!? How can it possibly be a coincidence!?” cried Amy. “Just look at it! It has to be the real deal!”
“Well, we can’t go back, so the only thing to do is try a passage and see where it leads. Assuming that this is the first clearing, I’d have to go right to get to the Forest Temple, so…” Alex went into the right-hand tunnel and Amy followed close behind. They emerged in another clearing that looked a bit different from the one they’d just left. “I knew it! Now we go up…”
“Alex, I really think we should go back…”
“Do you know which way is back?”
After some thought, Amy was forced to reply, “No, not quite…”
“Onward, then!” Alex was really enjoying herself. She was convinced that some Zelda fan had built the whole thing, and she was eager to see what was at the end. She had played the game so many times she knew the correct path by heart, and in a few minutes, she had got them all the way to the Sacred Forest Meadow.
“This is amazing!” she said, looking around. “There must be some rich cat in our neighbor hood who really likes Zelda. I hope he doesn’t find out that we’ve been snooping around on his property.” She headed through the hedge maze with renewed enthusiasm, and Amy simply followed silently, hoping that nothing would pop out at them. It wasn’t long before they reached a long flight of stairs, and Alex ran up them as if she’d been offered a million dollars to reach the top in the shortest time possible. Amy followed, protesting, and they reached the top of the stairs at the same time.
In the clearing in front of them, they could see the ancient structure of the Forest Temple sticking out of the forest, and in front of it, a little girl in green was playing her ocarina with a couple of Skullkids. When Alex saw them, she laughed and walked over to them, ignoring Amy’s begging her not to. The three looked over at her and Amy in confusion, and when Alex said, “Wow, those are great costumes!” they just blinked and looked at each other blankly. “Where did you get them?” asked Alex. “Or did you make them yourselves?” Same response. “Oh, I’m sorry, you’re probably angry at us for trespassing. We just got lost, and then we saw your tunnels, and I couldn’t help myself…” They were still staring at her blankly.
Then the girl spoke up, speaking in a language Alex and Amy didn’t understand. Alex stared at her for a moment, and then said, “What is that, some sort of made-up language?” The girl replied in the same way, sounding confused, and Alex looked at Amy, who just stared. It was like nothing either of them had heard before. Alex began to feel uncomfortable. “Look,” she said, starting to turn around, “we’ll just leave, ok? Sorry to, erm… bother you.” She began to go back the way they came, when Amy gasped and pointed.
“Look!” she cried, and Alex turned to see what looked like a trial of green fireflies spiraling down from the sky. She watched as the display floated down to the enormous disk at her feet (which had a Triforce symbol on it) and began to swirl around at an incredibly fast pace. Then it disappeared, and a teenage boy appeared from thin air. He was dressed in green, with a long green hood and a longer green shirt, and he was holding an egg-shaped instrument in his hand. He greeted Saria in the same language she had spoken, and then gestured to Alex and Amy, as though asking who they were. Amy looked at Alex in disbelieve, just in time to see her faint and fall strait backwards.