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Sunset. The beauty of all the day’s works gathered together into one gorgeous end; a dimmed orange sun careening down toward the western landscape behind the distant trees of the Faron woods. What a sight. The people of Ordon were lucky enough to view this precious gem at the end of every day of hard labor. One appreciated it more than others.

Link, now of twenty-two, sitting, looked upon the gleaming orb making its descent to the top of the trees. Every evening after his work, he looked upon this and saw it as a sort of symbolism. Whether by his will or not, he felt that this sunset would affect his life, and the life of all the people around him. Of course, not the actual sunset, more of a metaphor for something else, something more important that would impact him greatly.

“Link…” He paid no attention to the voice. “Link,” the voice said again, Link took no heed. “Link!” He awoke from his daze. He turned to his right and found Fado looking down on him. Link sat at the top of the hill overlooking Ordon from the farm. He was looking out to the sunset when Fado, the village’s farmer, woke him from his daze.

“Go home,” said Fado. “It’s getting pretty late, and I’m going to need you again tomorrow, so get some sleep.”

Link sighed and stood up. “I’m not seven years old.”

“I know,” Fado said. He closed his eyes and sighed in a breath. “But head home anyway, you’re going to need some rest.”

Link pushed himself up to a standing position and started pacing towards town. He reached the end of the pathway when he came upon the village. Usually there was a little more going on than what he saw now. It was quiet, and nobody was outside except for the shopkeepers cat who despite having caught fish as an apologetic move to her master, remained at the river-dock and eyed the water, praying for a fish foolish enough to near it.

Link looked out at the lake in the distance and continued to walk homeward. Eventually he arrived in his little section at the corner of town and noticed Epona was missing.

“Ilia,” he thought to himself. Of course, Link was troubled, but he trusted Ilia with his horse. She would take good care of her. Hopefully, however, she would return his horse before morning.

Link entered his house and climbed up the two sets of ladders leading to his bed. He turned off the lights and fell onto his bed, his eyes closed and his thoughts drifted to dreams.

***

Awake. Golden sunshine was caressing Link’s face, urging and complaining for him to waken. Hesitantly he rose and climbed back down the ladders and exited his home. As he left his house, he noticed a three Hylian guards, standing at attention near the entrance to the mayor’s home.

What are soldiers doing here? Link thought to himself. The thought from the day before fell into his mind again and he looked toward the recess next to his home. Epona was still missing. Link sighed and continued down toward the village.

Link hoped that these soldiers weren’t here for an important reason. If they were, he wasn’t sure what he was hoping against. There wasn’t any threat that these soldiers gave the villagers. There wasn’t any real issue involving them. He didn’t know what the situation was, however, he still remained uneasy.

“Oh Link!” said a voice, which Link clearly distinguished as the mayor. “These men were looking for you.” Link turned around and noticed the mayor standing behind the three Hylian Guards, exiting his house. “I was just about to go find you. Come inside!”

“But sir, I have to-”

“Now, now. Whatever it is, I’m sure it can wait.”

Link walked towards the mayor’s home. Bo invited him into his home and closed the door behind him.

Link, upon entering the house, saw a fourth soldier which he hadn’t noticed. He wasn’t sure if he was actually a soldier. He wore armor, but had no weapons. The soldier, which Link couldn’t think of defining any other way, had loose, shot-black hair which came into a short braid at the back of his head. His armor was regular Hylian, but he wore a cape the base of which was trimmed in gold. It had a hood, which he had not pulled over his head.

“Pleasure to meet your acquaintance,” said the man. He let out a smile and held out his hand with a greeting.

“Please,” said Bo. “Take a seat.” He pulled out a chair and offered it to Link.

He thanked him and took his seat. The foreigner gave the mayor an odd look, Link turned to look at the mayor, who had apparently been given the message to leave the home. Bo closed the door behind him and it was quiet again.

“I am a messenger of the Queen of Hyrule,” said the man.

“Queen?” asked Link. “I thought she was a princess.”

“Shortly after she had been reinstated, she turned eighteen years old, and the council gave her the title of queen.”

“Council?” asked Link.

“The council is more of a senate. It’s a government system that was put in place after the king’s death. He had one heir and his wife had already passed. His heir was not old enough to rule the kingdom, and so the rules of succession would have to be postponed. Upon this action, a council was made.”

“So she wasn’t actually-”

“Would you like to hear my message or not?” said the man again. A level of irritation rose in his voice as he said this.

“Of course,” said Link. “Please continue.”

“The Queen wishes for you to head to Hyrule Castle. Upon the arrival, she will give you her orders and you are to follow accordingly. You have the option to either accept or deny this message. Do you accept?”

“I’m sorry,” said Link. “Could you repeat-”

“Accept or deny,” interrupted the man once more. A level of irritation arose in Link this time. He collected his thoughts and finally put together an understanding of what the messenger said.

“Accept,” stated Link firmly.

“Then sign here please,” said the messenger. He pulled out a piece of parchment. Rather ornate compared to what Link had seen in his lifetime. It was clean white with a gold trimming, and the writing on it was perfect Hylian handwriting. The messenger handed him a golden quill and an ink bottle.

Fortunately, Link was one of the few villagers who actually knew how to write apart from the mayor, and Fado, the one who taught Link.

Link wrote his name as best he could.

The messenger eyed his handwriting. “I’m going to need your last name as well.”

“Well, people here don’t usually have last names. It’s not so important.”

“So,” said the messenger. “I should be able to trust you that this is your name and if you do not comply with the orders that this cannot be used in your favor in Hylian court?”

“Yes,” said Link finally able to keep up with the fast pace of the messenger. “You can trust me.”

“Perfect,” smiled the man. The messenger arose and readied himself to leave. “A pleasure to speak with you,” he said as he held out his hand for another shake.

“Leaving so soon?” asked Link.

“Yes, sad though it may be.” said the messenger. “It’s quite beautiful here. You don’t get this kind of peace and quiet in the city.”

“I understand,” said Link. “I’ve been there before.” He let out a light smile.

“We will be expecting you to arrive in town tomorrow afternoon,” said the messenger. “So, be prepared to leave either tonight or early tomorrow morning.”

“Very well,” said Link, having no option to argue or to refuse due to his signed compliance.

The messenger opened the door and rose up onto his horse which apparently the guarding soldiers had brought to him.

“It truly was a pleasure,” said the messenger. The rest of the soldiers arose onto their horses and they galloped off exiting town.

Bo walked up to Link. “What did you speak about?”

Link turned to face him, “I’m not sure if I can speak about that.”

“I understand. Do what you have to,” said the mayor as he entered his house.

Link turned back towards the mayor. “Can I ask two favors of you, sir?”

“What, Link?”

“Could you tell Fado I won’t be helping him on the farms for… I expect quite a while.”

“Of course! What else?”

“Could you tell me where Ilia’s gone off to?”

“Try the spring in the woods,” said Bo. “She didn’t come home yesterday afternoon and that’s where she usually stays.”

“Thank you,” said Link.

Link returned home and headed out towards the Faron woods, hoping that Ilia would have his horse.

The woods had grown quieter since Link’s adventures. Of course, the animals and insects still made noises, but monsters no longer roamed the woods. It was much safer now. Someone could actually live here.

Link entered the spring and found Ilia lying on the sand next to the water. She was still sleeping.

Link let out a grin and decided he’d pull something. When they were younger, Link and Ilia would always play pranks on each other. Link turned his hands into a cup and lowered them into the water. He raised them out and poured the water onto Ilia’s face.

Barely a response. A twitch. How unsatisfying, but she was awake.

She opened her eyes and saw Link. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m trying to find Epona. What’d you do with her?”

Ilia pointed to the corner. Link turned and didn’t see anything. He turned back, but by then it was too late. Ilia had already jumped into the air and before he knew it, she landed on him and tackled him into the water.

Link came up gasping, soaked in water. Ilia sat down next to the water again, somewhat wet.

She let out an innocent smile. “Who played the better trick?” she asked him with one eye closed.

Link gave her a blank expression but couldn’t contain it. He began laughing and so did she. Link took a seat next to her and kept a smile.

“She's at the ranch,” said Ilia. “After washing her I decided I’d bring her back to Fado.”

“Thank you,” said Link.

“Why do you need her anyway?” asked Ilia. “She’s at the ranch, which is all you need her for.”

Link’s smile faded. “I’m heading to Hyrule Castle.”

“Oh,” said Ilia. “When will you be back?”

Link shook his head. Ilia’s smile faded. “I don’t know,” he responded. “I figure it’s urgent, otherwise it wouldn’t have been necessary to come over here for the issue.”

Ilia seemed disappointed as well. She looked deeply into the water, here eyes glowing with the sun’s sparkles being reflected off of the ripples of the spring.

“The last time I heard you’d be going,” she said. “I barely kept myself from crying.”

“You mean when I was going to deliver the sword?” said Link.

“Yes,” she said. “And have you noticed? I’m taking it much better now!”

Link smiled at her. “Yes…”

They both rose and headed back towards the village. The morning sun hadn’t completely made its way to the middle of the sky, and Link could already smell food being cooked around the small village.

“Are you going to say goodbye to everyone?” Ilia asked.

“I don’t think I will. It’d be best if it were something natural. If I made a big deal out of it, there’d be lots of talking, and I don’t want that.”

“Alright,” she said. “When will you be leaving?”

“Before sunset,” said Link.

“Today!?”

“Yes,” said Link. “I have to get there before tomorrow evening, so it’d be good to get an early start.”

“Well, that gives you about…” Ilia looked towards the sun. “Eight more hours.”

“Yeah,” said Link. “I’d better get to work.”

“Well,” said Ilia. “I’m heading to Kakariko after we eat today so I don’t think I’ll be seeing you again.”

“Goodbye,” said Link.

“Goodbye.” Ilia hugged him and went into her father’s home. Link smiled as she closed the door and he walked towards the ranch.

After several hours of work, the sun began to set on the day. The orange gem had returned from the day before to bless the village with its golden light.

Beautiful, Link thought to himself as he looked out once more from the hill towards the coming night.

“Link,” said Fado. Link turned to look at his work-master.

Fado helped pull Link to his feet. “Good luck,” he told Link. “I hope you come back soon.”

“So do I,” said Link. And with that, Link turned to head back home.



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