Quest for the Master Sword
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“Quest for the Master Sword”, chapter 1-4

Author's Note:  This is based on the cartoon...which in turn is more or less based on Zelda 1 and 2.  I thought of this today at work while I was really bored.  :)

Quest for the Master Sword

By : Alexandra Spears

Chapter One

Deep within the cool, dark, musty labyrinths that comprised the Underworld, Ganon stood at the base of his Evil Jar, gazing at the red Triforce of Power, plotting. How to get the Triforce of Wisdom was the question--and possibly the Triforce of Courage.

He closed his red eyes and thought back to centuries ago, when he'd been a Gerudo. He'd attempted to get the Master Sword for himself, until Link and Zelda's ancestor, Link, the Hero of Time, interfered. Something to do with a switch in the timeline....

"That sword is the key," said Ganon quietly. "The Master Sword. And the Spiritual Stones. Fortunately I know just where to find the Spiritual Stones, even after all this time. But I'll have to search for the Master Sword."

Opening his eyes, he pointed a long, gnarled finger at the Evil Jar. A bolt of magic shot from the tip of his claw and into the pink mists of the Evil Jar, and several of his crew appeared--an assortment of Goriyas, Molblins, and Stalfos. "I want you to search for the Master Sword," he told them. "Let me know of its location, while I think of a way to get those Spiritual Stones. That sword is the key to my victory--I'll get that complete Triforce yet!"

"Link, I want to show you something," said Princess Zelda to the handsome, dark-haired young man standing near her.

"I've already seen your body--lots of times," Link smirked at her. They'd been married for a couple of months so far and Link just couldn't get enough.

Zelda folded her arms over her chest, tossed her long blonde hair back over her shoulder, and glared at her husband. "What I meant, Link, was now that you're part of the Royal Family of Hyrule, I'd like to show you some of our treasures. One day I'll be Queen and you'll be my consort. It would help if you knew some of our background."

"What, some old antiques and junk?" Link asked, still smirking.

"It is not junk! Some of it is handed down from our ancestors--going as far back as the first Link and Zelda!"

"Well excuuuuse me, Princess," Link muttered as Zelda grabbed his hand and led him down the corridors of North Castle.

"Come on," said Zelda.

"I like hearing that from you--our bedroom's the other way," Link teased.

"Can't you ever get enough?" This time Zelda had to laugh.

"Hey--on our wedding night, I tried it and I loved it!"

"Link, you have a one-track mind...."

Finally they came to a locked door. Zelda took a key out of the pouch on her belt and opened it.

Link's brown eyes widened when he saw the treasures within. "Hey...this is really cool!" he breathed. Various crowns and weapons and such were on shelves. Pieces of jewelry were in display cases.

"Now this crown...," said Zelda as she gently picked a crown up from off a shelf. "This crown has the Spiritual Stones in it--the Kokiri's Emerald, the Goron's Ruby, and the Zora's Sapphire. Those races are extinct now, thanks to Ganon. Our ancestor Link, the Hero of Time, used these gems and the Master Sword to open the Door of Time."

"That's right, he married that Princess Zelda."

"Yes, Link, we're distantly related...but for all intents and purposes not related," said Zelda. "We keep this crown down here. The Master Sword--I don't know what exactly became of that, only that a little over a hundred years ago our ancestor, another Link, put it to rest--forever, he'd said. I think it's somewhere in the Lost Woods."

"The Lost Woods have expanded since that time," said Link. "I bet it would be near impossible to find by now. There was a village named Kakariko a hundred years ago, now it's all forest."

Zelda gently set the crown down on its shelf. "There's a lot of history here, Link, handed down through our family. Some of it's yours, some of it mine, some of it belongs to both of us."

"You know, all this talk about ancestors...why don't we work on making some descendants?" Link said, gently grasping her hips and pulling her close for a kiss.

"You never give up on that, do you?" Zelda smiled as she kissed his lips and wound her arms around his neck. "Still have that one-track mind...."

"Seems a Link was always meant for a Zelda," said Link softly as he gently pushed her hair away from her neck. "I sure don't need history to teach me that...."

They shared a long, sweet kiss. "Link...I think our bed would be a little more comfortable," Zelda murmured as she felt his lips on her neck.

"Why don't I carry you over the threshold like I did on our wedding night?" Link suggested as he bent down and lifted her up into his arms.

"Know what I like about you, Link? You can be so romantic when you want to be," Zelda told him as she leaned her head against his chest, as he carried her to their bedroom. She could hear his heart pounding underneath his green tunic.

Ganon had already sent his minions out into the Lost Woods to locate the legendary Master Sword. Now he needed a plan to find out how to get the Spiritual Stones. He knew that they were in North Castle; having been around for centuries, thanks to the Triforce of Power, he'd been able to find out.

His teleportational powers were severely limited in the Overworld. A disguise surely would not hide his porcine face, his long snout, his tusks. He needed someone to do his dirty work for him.

Ganon stroked what little chin he had, lost in thought. Then he snapped his fingers. "I have it!" he exclaimed. He shot another bolt of magic at the Evil Jar and a Stalfo came forth.

Zelda lay in Link's arms, panting and still trembling from the passion they'd just shared. "Sure you've had no other woman?" Zelda teased as he put his arm around her.

"I'm're my first and my only," Link told her. "Why?"

"Because you're so good," she replied.

"Tell me more...."

"I don't want your head to get more swelled than it already is," Zelda told him as she lay her head on Link's shoulder and her hand on his chest. "Your ego must have shot into the clouds when we got married."

Link laughed at that.

Just then, there was a knock at the door. "Who is it?" Zelda called, immediately jumping out of bed and reaching for her clothes, which consisted of pink leggings, a purple blouse, and a sky-blue vest.

"Princess Zelda and Link, your presence is requested," came a voice through the door.

"We'll be right there," Zelda called as she pulled on her clothes.

Link sighed. "Well, at least we're able to do more than just kiss before we're interrupted. Progress...."

Rather reluctantly, the young man pulled himself up out of bed and pulled on his clothes. "Well, honey, let's see what your father wants," he said.

Zelda was waiting for him at the door, and Link took her hand and they walked together to the throne room.

When Link and Zelda arrived at the throne room, they saw Zelda's father, the elderly King Harkinian, sitting on his throne. Standing before the throne was a rather handsome, dark-haired young man dressed in royal attire. He had black hair and green eyes, and his clothes were mostly green. "This is Prince Falsto. Falsto, my daughter Zelda and my son-in-law, Link. They were married about two months ago." The lovable, rather absent-minded Harkinian smiled at Link and Zelda.

"It's too bad a beauty such as yourself is already claimed," said the prince, whose voice sounded almost raspy.

Link squeezed Zelda's hand a little more tightly. "What brings you here?" Link asked, trying to keep the jealousy out of his voice. He was still a little insecure when it came to Zelda's love for him.

"I need to stop and rest here for a night or kingdom is so very far away," Falsto replied, looking just at Zelda.

"Well, my daughter can show you your room," smiled Harkinian. "Follow Link and Zelda."

Falsto walked alongside Zelda, who was holding Link's hand. "I have heard so much about Hyrule and its history...perhaps you could show me treasures of times past," he said.

"Well, perhaps later on this evening," said Zelda. "It's almost time for dinner and I'm sure you'd like to freshen up."

"Of course, Princess."

Finally they came to a guest room. Zelda gently pushed open the wooden door. "I hope this will do," she said.

"It's fine," Falsto said, peering inside, then stepping in. "Yes, I'll freshen up before dinner, and afterwards you can show me around."

"Link and I are going to get ready for dinner ourselves," said Zelda.

"Thanks for your hospitality," said Falsto. "I'll see you at dinner...Zelda...." The wooden door closed.

"I don't like that guy," Link murmured as he and Zelda headed back to their bedroom.

"Oh, Link, you never like it when a man pays attention to me," said Zelda, her tone chiding. She stopped in front of him and placed her hands on his chest. "Trust me, Link, it's you I love. I could have had any prince I wanted--but I chose you because there's something about you I really love."

"I'm sorry...I just--oh, I don't know," sighed Link.

"Look at these wedding rings on our fingers, Link. That says it all right there," Zelda reminded him. "Link, you need to learn how to trust me. I love you."

Falsto took a small globe out of his pouch and held it. "I am in the castle, Master," he hissed.

Ganon's face appeared in the clear glass globe. "You didn't get those Stones yet, did you?"

"I will tonight...once Zelda shows me where they are," he replied. "I don't think Link likes me very well...."

"Listen, you bag of bones! I sent you there for the gems, not to flirt with Zelda! If you get Link suspicious it'll ruin the whole thing!" Ganon shrieked. "Just get those gems--tonight--and get out of there!"

Ganon's face disappeared and the globe went dark.

Chapter Two

"What to wear for dinner...?" Zelda mused as she stared into her armoire.

"You're not trying to impress this guy or anything, are you?" Link asked, letting a bit of suspicion creep into his voice.

"Link...whenever a noble or dignitary joins us for a meal, it's customary to get dressed up. Meaning you should get out one of your better outfits," said Zelda.

Link sat on their bed, his towel still around his waist; they'd just had a bath. "How about something green, to go with your eyes?" he suggested, realizing that what she'd just said was true, and reminding himself that maybe he was reading too much into it. "Or maybe something look good in pink...."

"I'm surprised you know anything about that kind of thing," Zelda remarked as she took out a dress, examined it, then put it back.

"Well, hey, I've known you for a while...I've paid attention to what looks good on you," said Link, shrugging.

"At least you're useful for something," Zelda teased. She pulled out a green dress that had a square neckline and long sleeves that puffed at the shoulders. "What do you think of this?"

"That's one of my favorites. Wear it," he replied.

Zelda went over to the bed and gently laid the dress down on it and removed the towel from her body. Link watched as she put on her undergarments and stepped into the dress. "I just need someone to button this in the back for me," she said.

"This time you don't need to call a lady-in-waiting or anything," Link smirked as he stood up and buttoned up her dress. He pushed her damp hair to one side and kissed the back of her neck as his fingers worked the buttons through their holes.

"Thanks, sweetie," said Zelda. "Now get dressed."

Link dressed in one of his newer tunics while Zelda sat at her vanity table and brushed out her long golden hair. By the time he'd combed out his brown hair and set his cap upon his head, Zelda was still doing her makeup.

He watched her as she skillfully applied her cosmetics. "You look very beautiful, Princess," Link told her, using what was now his pet name for her.

"Thank you, my hero," Zelda replied, smiling.

"Well, it's about that time, shall we go downstairs?" Link asked.

Zelda stood up and took Link's hand, and they left the room together.

King Harkinian, dressed in his usual blue tunic, sat at the head of the table. Zelda sat to his left, with Link next to her. Prince Falsto was sitting directly across from Zelda, at the King's right.

Falsto did not say a whole lot during the meal; instead he looked pensive. Link kept a suspicious eye on him the entire time, though he was discreet about it. His job, after all, was to protect the Triforce of Wisdom--as well as the Princess of Hyrule, though he was protective of Zelda not because it was his job, but because he loved her and was now her husband.

"Tell me about your country," Zelda urged him.

"Not much to tell, Princess, except it's a beautiful country," was Falsto's reply.

Something about that bothered Link but he couldn't put his finger on it. He pondered it as he ate his dinner.

At least the guy had pretty much stopped flirting with Zelda.

After dinner they all retired into the den and sat down before the fire. Harkinian was half-asleep in his chair within minutes; Link and Zelda didn't think it unusual at all.

Link and Zelda sat on one side of the mantel, Falsto on the other. "So...tell me about the ancient treasures," Falsto said eagerly.

Link gave him a look. Zelda took her husband's hand and asked, "What do you want to know?"

"I have heard that your ancestors fought Ganon thousands of years ago," he said. "I've heard something about the Spiritual Stones."

"Isn't that a coincidence...I was just showing Link the Stones today," said Zelda, smiling at her husband. "Yes...they are in a crown that a more recent generation made--it has the Kokiri's Emerald, the Goron's Ruby, and the Zora's Sapphire. That, and the Ocarina of Time, which is among our treasures, were used by our ancestor Link the Hero of Time to acquire the Master Sword, which enabled time travel."

"Musta been confusing for him, during his journey, sometimes being ten and sometimes being seventeen," Link put in. "At the end of his journey that Princess Zelda, who later became his wife, allowed him to go back to being ten so he could grow up normally, and he had lots of adventures after that."

"The Ocarina of Time has been in the Hylian Royal Family for hundreds of generations," Zelda added. "As for the Master Sword, legend has it that it's somewhere in the Lost Woods; once it stood in the Temple of Time but as years went by the forest somehow expanded and the Temple of Time is no more...for all we know it might be in ruins."

"Quite interesting, Princess," Falsto murmured. "Might I see these treasures?"

Link and Zelda looked at each other. "I don't see why not," Zelda said, sounding a bit hesitant. She rose from her chair, and Link stood up also.

Falsto followed the young couple to a locked door deep within North Castle. Link grabbed a torch on the way, as it was night time and there were no windows.

Link reached into his pouch and produced the key and handed it to his wife. Zelda unlocked the door and Link went in with the torch.

"Amazing...truly amazing," said Falsto as he looked around. He pointed to a crown. "That has the Spiritual Stones?"

"That's the one," said Zelda, obviously pleased that someone would listen to her little history lesson. "And over there is the Ocarina of Time." She pointed to a little display case in the huge room. A slate-blue ocarina, with the symbol of the Triforce near the mouthpiece, sat underneath some glass. "It will be handed down to my and Link's children sometime in the future."

For a while Falsto meandered around the room, his eyes taking all this in. Link tried to stifle a yawn as he stood there, holding the torch, while Zelda showed Falsto the artifacts and told about them.

"Hey, honey, it's getting a little late and I'm tired," Link said softly.

"Oh--okay," said Zelda. She stretched her arms. "He's right, it is getting late," she told Falsto. "So you're leaving tomorrow?"

"Yes," said Falsto.

"All right, then, let's all get to bed," said Zelda. "I'm a bit tired and I didn't realize we were down here for so long."

After being escorted back to his room by Link and Zelda, Falsto waited for a while, until he thought they might be back in their bedroom.

He slipped quietly out of his room and skulked along the corridors, making virtually no noise. "Heheh...the fools," he hissed quietly under his breath.

Soon he was at the locked door in that corner of the castle. Willing himself back to his true form--that of a Stalfo--he pulled a bomb out from underneath his armor and set it down at the bottom of the door and stood back.

Link and Zelda were in bed, cuddling, soon after they'd escorted Falsto back to his room. Zelda snuggled up to her husband and looked at him; he was barely visible in the moonlight coming in through the window and the blue glow of the Triforce of Wisdom, which was on its pedestal in the middle of the room.

Link kissed Zelda and was starting to tug her nightgown off when they heard an explosion. "What was that!?" Link yelled as they both sat up.

"Sounded like a bomb!" Zelda exclaimed.

Link jumped out of bed, grabbed his sword, and bounded through the door. Zelda got her pink robe and followed him, putting it on as she rushed out after him.

"I think it came from downstairs, Zelda," Link told her as she caught up with him.

Soon they reached the corridor where the treasure vault was--and found a huge gaping hole where the door had been! "Link! Look!"

The couple stepped around the debris and entered the room. Everything was in place.

Everything, that is, except for the crown with the Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina of Time.

"Oh no!" Zelda cried. "Who could have done this?"

"I think I know," said Link. "Someone with a bomb. Falsto--Stalfo! Think about it, Zelda! Just rearrange the letters! No wonder he was so interested in this stuff! Ganon must have sent him here." Pieces of the puzzle were flying together in Link's quick mind.

"That explains his evasiveness," said Zelda. She turned and looked at her husband. "Oh, Link, what are we going to do? Ganon must be after the Master Sword if he's sent someone to take the Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina of Time! He'll use it to change history and conquer Hyrule if he can!"

"Only one thing we can do," said Link as he gazed at his wife. "Find the Master Sword before Ganon does."

Chapter Three

"The Spiritual Stones! And the Ocarina of Time! Give them to me!" Ganon commanded the Stalfo.

"Yes, Evilness," the Stalfo replied. "I bombed my way into their vault."

Ganon grabbed the gemstones and the ocarina. "Thanks--servant! Back to the Evil Jar with you!" He pointed a gnarled finger at the walking skeleton and a bolt of magic shot from Ganon's finger, surrounding the Stalfo in a pink-orange glow. A split-second later the Stalfo was back in the Evil Jar.

"Centuries ago I attempted to get the Spiritual Stones from the Kokiri, the Gorons, and the Zoras," Ganon said aloud to no one. "I almost had the complete Triforce back then...and that first Link let me to the Master Sword. But then he and those Sages had to interfere! Now I will find the Master Sword and use it to conquer all of Hyrule--and then the world!"

His head tilted back as he laughed, a screeching, demented, evil laugh. "Finally!"

Abruptly he stopped laughing. That Stalfo had used a bomb? He hadn't bothered to get a key from Link or Zelda? "That imbecile! He could have sneaked in, got the items, sneaked out, and not be seen! That bomb will have grabbed everyone's attention in that cursed castle! I must make haste!" He pointed his finger at the Evil Jar and summoned an army. "My servants--to the Lost Woods with you! Find your comrades there and let them know to be on the lookout for Link and Zelda--and if you find them...eliminate them!"

Having heard orders from their master, Ganon's minions departed, headed for the Lost Woods.

"That fool. I could have had a head start--a huge head start! No one would have noticed those things were gone if he'd done it right!" Ganon grumbled as he summoned a huge beetle to ride upon. "Now it'll be a race to see who finds it first!"

Zelda sat down on the bed, fully dressed, and watched as Link got some things together. "We'll probably be on this mission for a few days or so, since the Lost Woods cover such a large area," said Link. "Zelda...are you all right? You look kinda listless there...."

"I just feel so anxious," she admitted.

"I know what you mean," said Link as he stuffed some clothes into a backpack. "I've got blankets and pillows for us to sleep on...some clothes...that kind of thing...." He hefted the knapsack onto his back and put his arms through the straps. "Get that bag there, honey?" he requested.

Zelda stood up and picked up the canvas bag that was sitting on their bed. "We'd better get going, Link," she said.

They went downstairs, then outside to the stable. "We'll take my horse," said Link as he loaded the bag Zelda was carrying onto the brown horse's back.

Link helped Zelda mount the horse; then he got on behind her. "Let's go, Catherine," Link said to the horse.

"Link...let's get something to drink...I'm thirsty," Zelda requested as they neared a stream.

Link pulled back the reins and Catherine stopped. "Me too," he said.

They knelt down together at the stream and drank from it. They had canteens of water, but they wanted to save them. When they'd had enough to drink, they went back to where Catherine stood patiently, waiting for them.

They travelled on, guided by the moonlight, heading north, then west. After that they had to go south. "Link, I'm so tired," Zelda whispered as she leaned up against him.

"Me too. We need to stop and rest. If we keep going, tired as we are, we'll be no match for Ganon."

Link decided to stop in Ruto Town, which was on their route, situated at near the mountains of northwest Hyrule. They found the inn there and paid for a night.

The couple kicked off their boots, took off their clothes, and lay down together, covering themselves with a blanket. "I'll be sleeping with one eye open," Link told Zelda. "Never know who or what might be lurking around here. Even in the towns."

Link sat up, and Zelda wrapped her arm around his waist and drifted off to sleep. He gently smoothed her hair from her face and smiled down at her. She seemed to moan in pleasure as he rubbed her back; that was one way to get her to relax, as he'd found out.

As he rubbed her back he reached into his knapsack and extracted a biscuit to munch on. He was a little tired, but he wanted to watch over Zelda for a little while. He could will himself to sleep lightly in situations such as this.

After a little while Zelda started tossing and turning. "Zelda? Baby? Are you all right? Wake up, sweetheart," Link said, trying to shake her awake. "Zelda!"

Zelda lay still. "Zelda, wake up, honey!" Link begged. "Zelda?" He pulled her to a sitting position and supported her head and neck in the crook of his elbow. He brought his opposite hand to her face and stroked her cheek gently. She was still breathing, but it didn't stop him from worrying.

Zelda felt safe as she snuggled up against Link and put her arm around him. As she drifted off to sleep she could feel his hand gently brushing her hair back, and the last thing she remembered before sleep totally claimed her was Link gently rubbing her back.

Suddenly she found herself standing next to the bed. Her eyes widened when she saw herself being propped up by Link, who was trying to wake her up. "Where am I? What's going on?" she asked.

A figure walked in, literally through the door to the room. It was a young woman with long blonde hair, the hair in front of her pointed ears in little blue clasps. She was wearing a blue dress with a white collar, and she had blue eyes. "Zelda...," said the girl.

"Who are you?"

"I'm Princess Zelda of Hyrule," the girl replied. "Your many-times-great-grandmother...and Link's as well. I see you're happy with your Link, as I am with mine."

"Oh my--" The present Zelda put her hand to her mouth. "Am I dead?"

"No, no," the past Zelda smiled, shaking her head, the hair in the clasps gently swinging back and forth. "I am reaching out to you from my time...I'm sure you well know of our telepathic abilities. I'm able to see into the future."

"Does this have something to do with my and Link's journey?" the present Zelda asked.

"Yes. I know where my Link laid the Master Sword to rest. I had had dreams of the future, that the Master Sword's rest would be disturbed and my descendants had to stop Ganon once again. How fitting that it's another Link and Zelda pair." The past Zelda looked at her descendant. "I was hoping I could make contact with you somehow...and I managed to."

"Do you know where the Master Sword is, Grandmother?" Zelda asked, unable to think of anything else to call her ancestor.

"It is not far from what you now know as Spectacle Rock," the past Zelda replied. "Look in the forest near the cemetery. It's not far from the ruins of Kakariko Village."

"Link and I will head there in the morning," the present Zelda said.

The past Zelda nodded. "Have a safe journey, my many-times-great-granddaughter."



"What time are you in now?"

The past Zelda smiled prettily. "Link and I have just had our fifth child, our third daughter, Princess Haille," she replied. "My Link is such a good I'm sure your Link will be someday. Farewell...and do not let Ganon possess the Master Sword!"

Suddenly Zelda found herself in Link's arms. "Oh, Zelda! You wouldn't wake up and I was so worried!" he exclaimed as he hugged her.

"I was having a weird dream...more like a visitation. From our ancestor, another Princess Zelda...from just over a century ago," Zelda told him.

Link's brown eyes widened. "Really?"

"Yes...she was having dreams about this, from her time, from the past," said Zelda as she lay back down on her pillow. "She told me where to find the Master Sword, and warned me that Ganon must never get hold of it."

"Where is it?"

"In the Lost Woods near the cemetery," Zelda replied.

"We need to set out at dawn, then," said Link as he lay beside her and held her in his arms. "Bet there will be some Gibdos and Ghinis there just waiting for me to zap 'em."

"Yes, they're just waiting to tangle with you," Zelda murmured as she buried her face in his strong chest and pulled him closer to her. Even though Link could act like a fool sometimes, she still felt safe whenever she was with him, especially whenever they were locked in their most intimate embrace.

"Yep, they have to take numbers," Link chuckled as he rested his chin on top of her head and closed his eyes.

For a while Zelda listened to the sounds of his deep, even breathing and his heartbeat. Then she closed her own eyes and drifted off to sleep, in the arms of the man she loved.

Ganon's teleportational powers might be limited in the Overworld, but not all of his magic. He was still able to monitor Link and Zelda. "So...they've stopped in Ruto for the night," he grinned. "Well, once they try to pass through the tunnel leading to the Moruge Swamp, they can expect a nice warm welcome from my pets!"

He was headed for the Lost Woods just southeast of a fairy spring, which was closer to the old Temple of Time's former location. It made sense to look there first, he figured, and his minions would do away with Link and Zelda near Moruge Swamp, keeping them out of the way for good.

Chapter Four

Zelda was awakened by the rising sun shining through the window that was next to the bed. She sat up and yawned and stretched, saw that Link was still sleeping. "Rise and shine, lover," Zelda said in Link's ear as she leaned down and shook his shoulder.

"...I don't do mornings...," came Link's sleepy voice.

"How about a cup of cold water?" Zelda murmured in his ear. "Link, we don't have time to fool around. We need to get to that Master Sword before Ganon does!"

Link blinked, then immediately sat up. "Oh yeah, that's right!"

"Hurry up and get dressed," said Zelda as she got out of bed and began pulling her clothes on. "We'll get something to eat really quick, then head for the Moruge Swamp area."

Link pulled on his leggings and tunic and boots, then set his cap upon his head. Getting their gear together, they left the room and headed downstairs to the inn's dining room and had breakfast.

As they ate, they went over their plans. "We'll have to leave Catherine in Saria Town," said Zelda as they pored over a map they'd brought along. "Since we have to go through the mountains...."

"Yeah," said Link. "Or leave her with my buddy Bagu near Saria."

"That'll work. But it's going to be some journey through the mountains."

"Yeah and these mountains, we are better off on foot rather than horseback," Link noted. "I should know, I've been through them."

"What I just said!"

"I was just agreeing with you," Link told her, giving that lopsided grin she thought was so cute on him. "Well, ready to go on our journey, my lovely wife?"

"What do you think, hero?"

Link pushed Catherine to a gallop, and to their right the mountains sped by, to their left some hills. From a distance, if they could see over the hills, North Castle was just visible.

"There it is, Link, just up ahead," Zelda said, pointing at the entrance to the tunnel.

"Got your magic candle on you?"

"Of course."

At the entrance the couple dismounted, and Zelda took her magic candle out of her pouch. Instantly a bright red flame appeared on it.

"Slowly," said Link, who could feel the hairs prickling on the back of his neck.

Zelda knew what her husband meant. If Ganon knew that they meant to stop him from getting the Master Sword, he would have sent his servants out to stop them. She stayed behind him, holding the candle out in front of them. Catherine walked slowly behind them.

They entered the cave slowly, cautiously. Link's heart quickened in anticipation, Zelda's in apprehension. Link slowly, quietly slipped his sword out of its scabbard, which hung from his belt on his left side. He also took his magic shield from his belt pouch, which hung on his right, and it automatically enlarged. "Stay behind me, honey," he whispered to Zelda.

"I am," Zelda whispered back. "Link...I just have this feeling we're being watched...." She turned her head, saw nothing. "This really creeps me out...."

Catherine let out a low whinny. "What is it, Catherine?" Zelda whispered to her husband's horse.

The two Hylians and the horse froze as a flapping sound echoed throughout the rocky passage. Suddenly there was a screeching sound.

Zelda screamed and ducked as a Keese swooped down, its teeth bared and ready to sink into her flesh. Link automatically whirled around and aimed his sword. A bolt came from his sword and hit the bat-like Keese, banishing it to the Evil Jar in Ganon's Underworld chamber.

"We'll be lucky if that's all," said Link.

He'd spoken too soon.

"Link!" Zelda screamed.

He whirled around again and cried out in pain as a Goriya's boomerang hit him in the side of his head, near his temple; fortunately it wasn't hard enough to knock him out. "You little creep!" Link snarled as he and the Goriya went at it, Link blocking its boomerangs and firing at it with his sword. He could feel his blood running down his left cheek from the wound that first boomerang had left.

Link had just dispatched the Goriya when several Deelers--spider-like creatures--dropped from the ceiling. They were accompanied by several Stalfos and Molblins.

Zelda quickly set the candle down and took her magic bow out of her pouch. With one arrow she managed to dispatch all of the Deelers, which were in more or less a straight line. Zelda was an expert archer, possibly the best in all Hyrule, with Link coming in a rather close second.

The pair plowed their way through Ganon's small army, Link firing away with his sword, Zelda covering his rear, her bow ready. Several times she'd caught a monster trying to sneak up on them and quickly got rid of them. Even Catherine joined in the fray a little, kicking several monsters with her rear hooves.

A Stalfo threw a bomb at Link, who neatly deflected it with his shield. The bomb went off, destroying the rest of the monsters in the process...and setting off a cave-in.

"Zelda, let's get out of here, hurry!" Link cried. Sheathing his sword, he grabbed her hand. "Come on, Catherine!" He held his shield over his and Zelda's heads, protecting them from falling rock.

They ran out through the southern opening of the passage, and just in time. Link and Zelda watched as the passage was blocked partway by the cave-in. "I always said Stalfos were bone-headed," Link quipped. "Looks like we'll have to find another way back, provided we get the Master Sword."

"Speaking of bone-headed," said Zelda. "Sit down. You have a nasty-looking wound on the side of your head."

Link sat down on a rock, and Zelda took a cloth from the canvas bag and wet it a little with water from her canteen. Link winced as she cleaned his wound. "Ow...that hurts, Zelda!"

"Don't be such a baby, Link," said Zelda as she parted his hair there. "Your hair's going to be tangled there from where it's bleeding. Fortunately it's not as bad as I thought."

"I'll worry about that later," said Link. "And I know from experience that head wounds bleed a little more. I've been hit a lot there."

"That explains it then," Zelda smirked as she pressed a folded cloth to his wound.

Link glared at her a little.

"Oh, I'm just teasing, sweetie," Zelda said as she kissed his cheek. "I think you'll be all right, just keep that cloth there. Now let's drop Catherine off at Bagu's house."

Link and Zelda mounted Catherine and they rode through the swamp, dodging some Octoroks. Zelda pulled out her bow and managed to nail a few as they rode, and Catherine trampled some more. Link had to concentrate on steering Catherine in the right direction.

After a while they were back on dry ground and they rode through the forest. Soon they came upon a small cottage, where Bagu, one of Hyrule's strongest men, resided.

"Look after your horse? Sure, little buddy," said the hulking man as he, Zelda, and Link sat down at the small table inside the cottage. "Always glad to help my friends. Why don't you stay for a quick lunch?"

Link and Zelda looked at each other. "All right," said Zelda.

"I am kinda hungry," Link put in.

"You're always hungry," Zelda reminded him.

As Link and Zelda ate, they told Bagu of their quest. "We just want to make sure Ganon doesn't get his claws on it, or Hyrule is in deep trouble," Link concluded as he spooned more soup into his mouth.

"Do you even know where the sword is?" Bagu asked.

"Yes, we have an idea, but we don't want to tell. That way if Ganon or his minions comes and asks, you won't be able to tell," said Zelda. "For your safety--and ours."

"Makes sense," said Bagu, scratching his short, curly brown beard. "I think...."

After the meal Link thanked Bagu for keeping Catherine for a while; then he and Zelda headed south, on their way to Saria.

"Link--" Zelda stopped, placed her hands over her stomach.

"You all right?"

"I--I think so," she said. "Just felt a little nauseous for a minute there...."

"I don't think it's Bagu's cooking. I feel fine," said Link as he took her hand. "Maybe you're just stressed."

"Yeah, maybe that's it," Zelda agreed as she let Link lead her along to a bridge.

Ganon growled as he searched all around the remains of the Temple of Time's foundation not too far from Spectacle Rock. He was going to search the Lost Woods, but he'd thought he'd look here first, see if maybe, throughout the past decades, someone had moved the Master Sword back to its original location.

Hyrule's terrain had changed in the centuries, and even in the past century. For all Ganon knew the Master Sword might not even be in the Lost Woods anymore. Still, he had his minions out hunting for it.

Speaking of hunting....

Ganon formed a circle with his thumbs and middle fingers, and a yellow flash of light was formed in the circle. He used his magic to look at the Moruge passageway, and saw that the entrance to the south was blocked.

He grinned. "Looks like Link and Zelda are trapped! But of course I mustn't assume anything. It'll at least give them a nice delay--and me a nice head start!"

The image changed, and he saw something that enraged him. Link and Zelda were emerging from a cottage, and headed south. Ganon let out a shriek of rage. "You fools! You're supposed to eliminate them!" he roared.

He mounted his giant beetle. "To the Lost Woods! The sooner I find that Master Sword the sooner I conquer Hyrule!"