Categories > Games > Zelda > Hey! Listen!

Hey! Listen!

by Vegas 1 Reviews

[oneshot, drabbleish] Link seeks some help for his frustration with the fairy, the Forest Temple, and being a hero in general. He and Epona take refuge at Lon Lon Ranch, and a certain red headed gi...

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor, Romance - Characters: Link, Other - Published: 2006/05/22 - Updated: 2006/05/23 - 5905 words - Complete

Author's Note: This is my first Zelda fan fiction, yadda yadda yadda, I don't own anything, blah blah blah, and I strongly dislike Navi. I'm surprised Link hasn't gone insane with her incessant 'Hey! Listen!' And I know Epona can't go into the Lost Woods...but she jumps a freakin' cliff for Link. So she can handle a few trees in this fic.

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"Hey! Listen! Link, listen!" A certain blonde Kokiri's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. His fairy floated behind him, not quite catching up but still keeping within hearing distance, unfortunately. Link was fed up with her 'advice', and he was beginning to get extremely frustrated with that maze of a Forest Temple.
So the hero ran for it. He needed a vent for his anger and frustration; most of the monsters had disappeared after Link beat the first few to a bloody pulp. So here he was, sprinting back through the Forest Temple, fumbling through his bag for his Ocarina. Although already getting short of breath, he managed to play out the six simple notes to call for his loyal equine. He heard a distant whinny as he rounded a corner, leather boots sliding on the hard floor. He flung out a hand to steady himself, focusing on getting out of the maze.
Sure, he wanted desperately to save Saria. And Hyrule, of course...but right now, he would be content with rescuing Saria. Plus, maybe she could tell him something more about that Gerudo fiend. But he needed to calm down, clear his head. Navi and the maze weren't helping.
"Link! Hey!" Navi called behind him, struggling to keep up with her Kokiri's swift pace. The fairy saw the glow of the entrance approaching; she wondered why Link wanted to get out of here so desperately all of a sudden. All of the monsters had left them alone, and he was making slow, but steady, progress...She offered her advice here and there, watching as he took stab after stab at assortments of puzzles and tricks. It wasn't like him to give up. But maybe he just needed a bit of time to cool off after that last dead end?
Link vaulted blindly off of the broken stone staircase. He didn't care if he got hurt; he seriously didn't think he would anyway. And, sure enough, Epona caught him, snorting in slight annoyance at his sudden weight. He was safely on his loyal horse, with Navi a good ways behind him. With a low whistle, Link and Epona galloped off towards the labyrinth of hedges before the Lost Woods.
Epona, being the intelligent horse she was, could very easily figure out the way through the maze. There weren't as many of those horrible monsters as usual, and Link took them out with plenty of time before they would've even noticed them. She flicked an ear casually as she heard the twang of another arrow taking down another of those horrid ox-like creatures. The equine never liked those monsters; they made an awful racket when they charged and they always stunk something fierce. She was incredibly glad that Link was taking them down for her.
The horse and rider thundered out past the gate to the Lost Woods, through a tunnel and into the village of the Kokiri. It was still overrun by the evil monsters, but for now, it was eerily calm. Link had taken out the majority of the creatures on his way in, but here and there a Scrub squeaked and disappeared back into its hole at their approach.
Epona's hooves dug into the slightly rotting wood of the bridge connecting Kokiri Village and Hyrule Field. Still, it didn't snap and let them plummet to their probable dooms. The bridge was very reliable, and Link had a feeling that it always would be. Maybe it was enchanted or something...
The pair broke out of the forest into Hyrule's setting sun. In the Forest and village, it was nearly almost dark, thanks to the thick trees. Raising an arm to shield his eyes, Link realized just how long he had been in that Forest Temple trying to rescue Saria. He was devoted, but he wouldn't do Saria any good if he died from fatigue.
The setting sun cast crimson rays across the land, making distant horizons blurry and bloodstained. He managed to make out Lon-Lon Ranch, however. Yes, he would pay Malon a visit. Epona could socialize with the other horses while he visited old friends. Maybe Navi would quiet down a bit if he just disappeared for awhile.
Hitting Epona gently with the flat side of the Master Sword, he urged her forward to the distant Lon-Lon Ranch. She gave a whinny, heading toward the familiar place. Of course the horse wanted to head back there; Epona had been raised there. She was a smart horse, so she knew exactly where that was, and where else she had been.
Link calculated where Navi would be right now. Probably in the village. That wouldn't do...Epona couldn't get to Lon-Lon Ranch by then. He definitely wanted to ditch the fairy for awhile, just an hour or two perhaps, to teach her a lesson and relieve a bit of his stress. (Malon always seemed to calm him, for some reason.)
"Come on, Epona...!" the Kokiri hero said quietly, urging her forward. The noble equine gave another snort, galloping harder. They might just make it now. But if Navi saw so much as an ivory hair from Epona or Link, she would be sure to follow them ceaselessly. He groaned at the thought. "Come on, girl...I'm sure Malon will give you some carrots tonight!"
This seemed to do it. Epona loved carrots, almost as much as she loved Link or Malon. Having all three at once was just perfect. She galloped as hard as she could, hooves sending flecks of dirt and grass up in the air behind them, ivory mane flying out behind her like a banner. They were now almost there...just as the sun set over the horizon. Hyrule Field plunged into semi-darkness, giving the fleeing heroes another advantage against the pursuing fairy.
Link risked a glance back at the entrance to his village. In the twilight, Navi's glow would be easy enough to spot for his keen eyes. He thought he saw something flicker in the general direction of the forest; even with the cover of dusk, he was sure that the sound of Epona's thundering hooves might give them away in the still twilight. The Kokiri hero did the first thing that came to mind.
"I'm sorry, Epona, but this will help us." Link said quietly, taking out his Ocarina again. He began playing another simple tune, one Epona knew and really didn't like. She gave a tired whinny of protest as he finished playing the Song of Storms. Dark clouds rumbled in, successfully covering the sound of the horse's hooves on the hard dirt. But as well as masking the sound, the storm would cover any tracks they made, and it would also hamper Navi's progress and sight.
Lightning forked across the sky, and Epona gave a nervous snort. Link patted her neck soothingly. "I'm sorry, girl, but at least Navi won't find us for a good while..." He said loudly, over the storm. She decided not to reply, having been tired out from the long gallop. But the gates were approaching fast, so soon she would be able to rest, dry off, and munch on some carrots with Malon.
The rain was coming down in steady sheets now, soaking both rider and horse to the bone. Link shivered slightly, vaulting off of Epona to run along side her. Together they trotted through Lon-Lon Ranch's gate, onto the grounds. Taking her reins in one hand, Link tucked his Ocarina away, running to the door. He pounded loudly on it, trying to yell over the storm. He wondered vaguely if the fierce storm had been the result of his irritation and anger.
Epona gave a nervous whinny between pants, shying away each time thunder rumbled overhead. Lightning lit up the sky briefly, the loud clap of rumbling thunder following soon after. Link felt somewhat guilty about having Epona endure this horrible storm, just to get away from his frustration for awhile. "I'm sorry, girl." He whispered, although she couldn't hear him.
The mare fixed an ebony eye on him, as if forgiving him. Link smiled, rubbing her next affectionately. He had a bond with this horse; he loved her and she loved him. He was tempted to play the Sun Song then and there, to clear up the storm and dry her off. But Navi would surely find them then.
Epona snorted softly, pawing at the ground, as if telling him that she was alright with hiding from the fairy for a bit. Truth was, the horse despised her. Link vividly remembered one occasion where she was quick to demonstrate that.
Link had just defeated the Wolfos at the beginning of the maze signaling the entrance to the Forest Temple, and Navi had offered her advice. It was pretty useless, and Link was busy rummaging around for some Lon-Lon milk; that stupid canine had caught him unawares. He waved the fairy away with his hand, but she impatiently floated back over, with a 'Hey! Link, listen!'. Epona, either sensing her Kokiri's annoyance or fed up herself, reached over, trying to bite the fairy. Her teeth just barely missed clipping Navi's wing, and afterward, a shaken Navi had stayed quiet around the equine for awhile.
Link smiled again at the thought, and at his horse's 'attack'. He had never heard of anyone, let alone a fairy, getting bitten by a horse. Then again, before meeting Malon and Talon, he had barely heard anything of horses. Oh well.
Link was shaken from his thoughts as the door opened. Warm light spilled out onto the cold, wet ground and matching travelers. Malon's silhouette stood against the firelight, and slightly surprised and worried expression gracing her features. "Link! What are you doing here? And in this storm!" she exclaimed softly, running out to stroke Epona's neck. "This way, this way, we need to get you both inside the stable!"
The red-headed girl led them both across the soggy ground, opening the door to the stable. Link knew full well where it was, but being the polite man he was, he needed Malon or Talon's permission before taking refuge there.
In the stable, several cows mooed boredly, shifting in their stalls. The horses, as well, were there, whinnying nervously at each clap of thunder. Link had to watch where he stepped, too, to avoid stepping on--and angering--a Cuckoo. Last thing he needed right now was some evil birds chasing after him and possibly Malon and Epona. Malon was talking quietly, soothingly, to Epona, stroking the mare's neck, leading her over to an empty stall in the corner. She shooed some Cuckoos out of the way, leading Epona in. Link found himself staring at Malon, watching the way she handled the animals so expertly and caringly. She closed the gate halfway after Epona, trotting over to retrieve a bag of carrots she kept in there for the horses. In passing, she handed each of the other horses a carrot, to cheer them up and calm them, then sat on the wooden post and lovingly handed Epona a carrot. Link, finding himself staring, blushed lightly and worked on getting the Cuckoos away from his boots (as mentioned before, he didn't want to accidentally kick or step on one).
"Hey, fairy boy, what were you doing out in that storm?" He looked up to find Malon staring intently at him. "You and Epona are absolutely soaked. You'll both catch a cold if you run out in storms like that."
"I was, erm..." Now it seemed like a stupid reason. To conjure a storm, push Epona to exhaustion, just to get away from his frustrations and that fairy... "I was running from Navi..."
"Oh." Malon said softly. "Was she getting annoying?" Link nodded slowly, thinking back. Everyone gets fed up now and then, right? Why couldn't he?
Epona whinnied quietly, asking for another carrot. Malon laughed, handing her one, then rubbed her nose affectionately. "Fairy boy..." Link looked up; he had gotten into the habit of listening to it while he visited Malon as a kid. Seven years did nothing to dull the tendency. "You are still soaked. You can go see if you can borrow some dry clothes from my father. He should just be in the main room of the house with his Super Cuckoos." She smiled, rolling her azure eyes.
Link nodded, returning her smile, and headed toward the door. Pulling his hat tighter over his head in preparation for the howling storm just beyond the entrance, he reached for the doorknob. "Hey, Fairy boy." He turned around at the sound of Malon's voice. Once again, her voice had successfully caught and held his complete attention. She had a habit of doing that to him, for some abstract reason he couldn't place.
"If Navi comes," the red-head smiled, once again, "I'll cover for you."
"Thanks Malon." Link replied quietly, grateful as he pushed out the door and into the storm. It wasn't very far to the house, but going mostly against the wind and rain, it seemed a lot longer. Plus, Navi might have turned up at any moment. Thanking the gods for his luck, Link pushed open the door.
"Aha!" Talon said loudly, throwing his arms in the air. "The famous fairy boy has returned yet again!" Link grinned slightly, feeling just a tad stupid as he shut the door behind him.
"Uh, hello, Talon, sir..."
"Have you returned to marry my daughter? Or play my Super Cuckoo game again? Or perhaps to buy yet another bottle of our famous Lon-Lon milk?" Talon asked heartily, laughing. Link blushed at the first suggestion, shaking his head slowly.
"Uh, n-no, sir...I've just come seeking refuge from the storm. Your daughter is out in the stable, tending to Epona, and she suggested I came in here to borrow a set of clean, dry clothes..." He gestured, rather helplessly, to his muddy and soaked outfit. Talon eyed him, stroking a Super Cuckoo absentmindedly, then nodded slowly.
"Of course. Of course you may borrow some clothes!" the man replied, nodding more vigorously. "Upstairs, in the top left drawer, are some shirts. They may be a bit big for you, little man, but they are dry and as clean as it gets around here. Dig around in some of the other drawers and see if you can't find some pants as well. Maybe a new hat, too!" Talon gave another hearty laugh. Link felt a slight stab of irritation; he liked his hat. It was his signature, as much a part of him as the Master Sword, or the Ocarina of Time. He politely thanked the man, heading slowly up the stairs.
Link didn't really like digging through someone else's dresser, but he was already shivering, and frankly, he did not want a cold to add to his problems right now. He wiped a wet lock of hair out of his eyes, returning to finding a dry shirt. Preferably something green; he still loved the color as he had as a child. Smiling in triumph, he withdrew a rather large emerald shirt from the drawer.
A few minutes later, Link was standing in front of a well-sized mirror, examining himself. The denim pants felt uncomfortable, but the shirt was loose and comfortable. If he were alone, he would've just ditched the pants. Sure, the shirt came down almost to his knees, but he refused to be in Malon's company without trousers on. It would be simply rude, not to mention slightly embarrassing. Malon was a lady, and needed to be treated as such.
Satisfied with his temporary outfit, Link turned to head back downstairs. He gave a start, nearly choking on his breath as he realized that he had forgotten his belt, sword and items. He knew that an attack in the middle of Lon-Lon Ranch (other than those from the crazy birds) was unlikely, but he was the kind who liked to be prepared. Sheathing his sword and tucking his items back into his pouch, Link strapped on the belt, finally leaving the room.
Pulling his hat firmly onto his head again, Link ran across the narrow passage to the stable. He arrived back with Malon and Epona only mildly damp. The girl was brushing down Epona's wet coat, as the equine gave a snort and shivered visibly. "Oh, she's cold...Poor, poor Epona..." Malon whispered to herself, not realizing that Link had returned. She gave a start, since he was suddenly beside her, rubbing down Epona himself.
"Hey, sorry Epona..." the blonde Kokiri said quietly, running his fingers through the mare's wet and tangled hair. Malon smiled at his love of the horse. It was another thing they had in common.
The red-headed girl let herself go on that train of thought, mentally listing off other things they shared. They were about the same age, they both loved Epona, they both had pointed ears, they both knew Epona's Song--and, for some reason, Link was now taking off his shirt. She couldn't help but stare, blushing lightly, until he caught her staring.
"Well, it's to dry Epona off...since you don't have any towels out here, and I don't want you to have to go out in the rain to get any..." He explained lamely, blushing himself. He turned, now rather self-conscious, and began drying his mare off with his borrowed shirt. "And Epona is going to have to get dry soon. Don't want her to catch cold..."
Malon picked up on that topic instantly, nodding. "Oh, yes, we don't want poor Epona to get sick!" Neither one commented on the fact that both were now blushing, pointedly avoiding each other's gazes. Link continued to work on drying Epona's mane with his shirt, while Malon, with her brush, continued combing the rest of the chestnut mare's coat. The horse whinnied softly, as if laughing at their mutual awkwardness and slight embarrassment.
It was that same awkward silence that saved Link's plan. Epona had looked up, ear's twitching, and a faint glow came from the crack under the door. "Hey, Malon!" Navi's voice floated to them through the door. Malon and Link looked at each other, alarmed, each thinking of a way out of this without suspicion from the fairy. Using mostly gestures, Malon showed Link a small trapdoor by the pillar, a small cellar underneath. Link gratefully dove into it, taking his still-wet clothes and items with him as a smart afterthought. After quickly covering the trapdoor with a smattering of hay to make it seem a bit more normal, Malon called out a tentative "Come in!"
Chuckling nervously, Malon shuffled over to open the door, after realizing that the fairy couldn't have gotten in anyway. Navi floated over, her glowing a bit fainter than usual, probably from the rain. She waited politely until Malon shut the door and resumed her drying off of Epona.
"Hey, Malon. Have you seen Link?" The fairy squeaked, bobbing up and down slightly. "He ran off while we were in the Forest Temple. I thought maybe he came here? Epona is here, after all..."
Link, below, heard everything. He mentally berated himself for letting himself be so predictable. Navi knew Epona was with him. Thankfully, Malon saved him.
"Of course Epona is here. Link came by, dropping off the poor soaking horse, saying something about getting fed up and heading to some village...can't remember the name of it now..." Malon tilted her head, pretending to be deep in thought. "K-something...Ka...hm...now what was it...?"
Link sighed in relief. He realized it was a bit too loud, but the fairy didn't seem to notice anything. He nearly sighed again, but caught himself in time. The Kokiri instead decided to hold his breath, listening hard to the conversation between the two.
"Kakariko Village!" Navi exclaimed, bobbing once in slight excitement.
Malon brightened, smiling. "Yes, that sounds just about right. Anyway, he left Epona here, I think because she doesn't like storms. Poor thing..."
"Thanks, Malon!" the fairy squeaked, heading back towards the door. The red-head nodded, going over to open the door for her.
"You're quite welcome, Navi. Oh, and when you find fairy boy, tell him to come by any time he wants to visit!" she said pleasantly, letting Navi head back out into the storm, which was mercifully starting to clear. Link didn't want his fairy to be too miserable in the rain; just enough to teach her a bit of a lesson. Malon leaned out of the doorway, watching the fairy turn around the corner, out of sight and safely in Hyrule Field again.
She returned to brushing Epona then, pretending that she was alone in case Navi decided to come back. Waiting a few minutes, Link did the same. When his legs started to cramp, he decided that enough was enough. Standing up in the small cellar, Link expected the door to open. Instead, he hit his head on the door, rather hard, which had apparently been locked or had something set on top of it. Rubbing his head, Link muttered a few curses under his breath, biting his lip.
Malon must have heard the bump, as she opened the trapdoor at that time. She looked somewhat worried, holding out her hand to help him up out of the dark cellar. "Are you alright, Link? It sounded like you hit something..."
He offered a strained smile, still wincing slightly at the dull throbbing in his head. "Just my head..."
"Oh, I'm sorry! I must've been standing on it to pull the door open for you or something--" He put a hand up to silence her.
"I am alright, Malon, thank you for your concern." Link offered another smile, more genuine this time, pulling off his hat to run a hand through his hair. "Just a bump, I'm fine. If anything, it helped clear my head." Malon didn't ask why it needed clearing, but both people were suddenly aware of how close they were standing.
Stepping apart awkwardly, Link pulled his cap back onto his head, looking over to where Malon stood. Her cheeks were slightly red, and she was holding out the shirt he had used to dry Epona with. He blinked in confusion, then quickly remember that since the shirt was there, he still wasn't wearing one. Self-conscious for at least the third time that night, the Kokiri pulled the shirt over his head. It was slightly damp and covered in Epona's auburn hair, but at least the equine was dryer and he had his shirt back on. He caught Malon shyly looking over at him from her perch on the wooden gate by Epona.
The pony whinnied, pawing at the ground, as if laughing at their shared embarrassment.
"So...Fairy boy...why are you avoiding Navi...?" Malon asked slowly, making conversation as she stroked Epona's mane. She retrieved her brush, continuing from her previous task to remove all of the tangles.
"I was just...upset. She was starting to wear down my nerves, and I was already frustrated with my progress at the Forest Temple..." Link shrugged, hoping to look nonchalant.
"Oh, how is that going? You're rescuing that one friend of yours...what was her name again? Sara?"
"Saria. I'm making progress, but not as much as I would like to..."
They continued making small talk like that throughout the evening. Talking about the weather, which had cleared up to reveal a beautiful moonlit night, Ganondorf, Epona, Princess Zelda, and all of the far-off and wonderful places Link had visited.
Soon, Epona had fallen asleep, along with most of the other farm animals in the stable. Malon sleepily mentioned something about letting the Cuckoos and horses out at dawn, she herself nodding off. Link calmly mentioned that she should get down from her perch before she fell and hurt herself, and she drowsily agreed. He vaguely remembered pulling a blanket over her sleeping form, nestled beside Epona, and finding a sleeping spot for himself.
Next time he opened his eyes, it was unrealistically bright out. Blinking in confusion, Link looked around, realizing that it was mid-morning by the level of light in the room. He slowly got up, stretching languidly, recalling details from the night before. Epona and Malon weren't there. He called out tentatively for either one, glancing around with a slight edge of nervousness.
Then he remembered. Of course. Malon was still a ranch girl; she had chores to do in the morning. Epona was probably outside with her, exercising or mooching more carrots off her. Link smiled slightly, in spite of himself, finishing stretching and heading out the door. He could make out Malon's distant figure in the paddock, several horses trotting around, jumping the practicing fences and chasing the Cuckoos. For some reason, the picturesque scene calmed him somewhat.
"Hey! Fairy boy!" Malon's voice floated over to him, and he saw her waving at him. He made his way over, wondering vaguely just what time it was. Navi was probably going crazy trying to find him, and if she returned to the ranch, he decided that he would let himself be found. His frustration was gone, and he felt incredibly well-rested. So it only made sense to return to the Forest Temple to rescue Saria with Navi. He still felt...some remorse about leaving Malon, for some abstract reason that he couldn't quite place. It was a strange feeling.
"Fairy boy!" Malon grinned sheepishly as he approached, twirling a lock of her auburn hair on a finger. "You should have seen what Epona did earlier this morning." Link raised an eyebrow, curious if it concerned his horse. "She and Tarak--that horse over there--were chasing Cuckoos, but they managed to get them mad. Oh, no, don't look like that. No one was hurt, except maybe their dignity." Malon paused to laugh, earning a small, confused smile from Link. "The Cuckoos wouldn't leave them alone for the entire morning! Those crazy birds kept plucking out their hair, and tried to sit on them. They were doing everything imaginable to try and get them off...Tarak even tried running into a fence to shake them off. Poor thing..."
It was apparent that it was one of those situations that you had to be there to see the humor in it, but Link smiled politely anyway. He didn't think those Cuckoos were funny at all...especially if you made them angry. They were outright demon-birds then.
The Kokiri was jarred out of his thoughts as something bumped into his back, rather forcefully. Catching himself before he could fall on his face, Link turned around to see an annoyed Epona butting at his back with a snort. A lone Cuckoo was sitting on her head, a few bits of her ivory hair in its beak. Her mane and tail were pretty messy, and she looked like she wanted to try to bite someone again. Link shooed the bird away, rubbing her neck with a sympathetic chuckle.
"Oh, poor Epona. Poor girl..." Malon said, running her fingers through the mare's mane to try and get some of the tangles out. She began humming the old song she had taught Link as a kid, calming Epona down. The horse suddenly looked over toward the gate, ears perking up. "Oops..."
The little glowing dot of a fairy was slowly floating over to them. Link couldn't really tell, but he thought he sensed a ticked aura surrounding her. Navi made her way over to the trio, bobbing before them as she waited for an explanation.
"I...er..."
"Oh, Navi, there you are!" Malon cried, putting her hands together. "Link came back, just a little while ago, to fetch Epona. I was wondering if you'd come back in time to catch him. He said that he wanted to find you, and I said that it'd be easier if you just came back. Which, being the smart fairy you are, you probably would do." Link glanced from fairy to girl to see if the explanation was bought. Evidently, it was.
"Oh...Alright!" Navi squeaked, moving in a little circle. "Link! Why did you run away in the first place like that?"
"I...was getting fed-up." Link answered truthfully, although leaving out who he got fed-up with.
"Oh!" the fairy bobbed in a nod. "Okay! So, Link, are you ready to save Saria?"
"Of course." He replied automatically. "Just let me go get my saddle and items; they're back in the stable." Malon volunteered to go with him. As the pair left, Navi wondered why he just didn't play the Minuet of the Forest and teleport them there.
"Well...it was fun while it lasted." Malon said slowly, opening the door to the stable. "Will Epona stay here while you rescue your friend?"
"If you would be kind enough to allow it."
"Of course I would, fairy boy."
"Hey...thanks for helping me last night. I just needed to calm down a little bit, I suppose..." Link said awkwardly, picking up Epona's saddle. He slung it over his shoulder, picking up his pouch of items with his free hand.
"You're welcome. Thank you for the company." She turned to smile at him, brush and bag of carrots in tow. She was going to spoil Epona rotten while he was away, Link realized. It was alright, though. Everyone needs some extra attention now and then.
"Well...I am off to rescue Saria." He took a deep breath, releasing it in a sigh. The Kokiri hero opened the door for Malon and they both walked out into the bright sunlight.
"Saria and Hyrule." she added, smiling slightly. "Such is the life of a hero, fairy boy." He nodded thoughtfully, reminiscing about his past adventures. He really was a hero sometimes.
"Hey! Link!" Navi called as they neared the corral. Epona looked like she wanted to bite the fairy again, and the other horses were watching Navi curiously. They didn't see too many fairies around Lon-Lon Ranch. "Let's go rescue Saria!"
"Alright, Navi..." Link smiled faintly at his fairy partner, hefting his saddle higher onto his shoulder. He decided he would ride Epona back as far as the Lost Woods, then let her go back to the ranch on her own. The horse had made that trip several times, and it was good exercise for her. Since he was always in the Forest Temple these days, she didn't get the chance to run or move as much.
Epona snorted, looking longingly at the bag of carrots as Link strapped the leather saddle onto her back. Malon laughed, handing the horse a carrot as Link finished. "Hey, don't worry, Epona. You'll just come back here after you give fairy boy a ride, then I promise I'll give you all the carrots you want."
"Hey! Come on!" Navi urged, bobbing back and forth. She absolutely froze, however, when Epona's ear twitched back in annoyance. "Just...hurry, Link!"
"I will, Navi." Link sighed, pulling his hat tighter onto his head. He turned to Malon, bobbing his head. "Thank you, again, Malon. You really helped last night."
"Psh! All she did was take care of Epona, Link! She does that all the time!" the fairy exclaimed. Link smiled at her as he mounted the bay.
"Don't be a stranger, fairy boy. Come back any time for a visit!" Malon called as they trotted over to the gate. "I'll be waiting, Link! For you and Epona's next visit!"
The Kokiri smiled as he galloped out into Hyrule Field. Saria, Hyrule, and anyone else, he would save them. He looked forward to rescuing Princess Zelda as well, and maybe revisiting the Gorons and Zora some time in the near future.
Heroes usually pay attention to the larger things in life. Rescuing their land, rescuing their princess, gaining friends and allies, defeating the evil ones...those are all highlights in a hero's life. But for a Kokiri, someone who grew up in the forest, they pay attention to the smaller things in life. Like having such good friends, the freedom of traveling with Epona, and looking forward to his next visit to Lon-Lon Ranch.
"Hey! Link!" the fairy called, bouncing along beside him. He turned to look at her, an invitation for her to continue. Twenty four hours ago, he doubted he would've made the same gesture. Suddenly, Navi sparked green, once, and stopped. "Woah! Hey! Link! Listen, I've found something!" Now curious, Link stopped Epona, and trotted back to the hovering fairy. "Hey! What is this, Link?"
"I...don't know." He said, sliding off of the horse. It seemed to be some large mound of something, vines and leaves crisscrossing the seemingly surface. It was about the height of his waist, and a green Navi was busy digging through dead leaves to get to the thing.
"Hey! Link, listen! I know what it is!! It's--"
"A Gossip Stone." The Kokiri finished lamely. They had stopped in the Lost Woods, turned around and spent some valuable time just to look at a Gossip Stone. Malon might get a visit sooner than she had expected. "Alright, Epona, we can walk from here, girl. You may head back to Lon-Lon Ranch and Malon--" Link was staring at his horse. The mare had one, small, translucent wing sticking out of her mouth, and a faint glow and muffled screaming was heard and seen. "Epona! You--Navi--she..." And he burst out laughing.
Epona whinnied softly, flicking her ears back and swishing her ivory tail. Link rubbed her neck affectionately, still chuckling as he told her to let Navi go. The horse obediently opened her jaws, the shaken and slightly damp fairy racing out. "Epona! Link, Epona, she--" Navi stopped when she saw Link trying to hold back from laughing even more. "Oh, Link! It wasn't that funny! Your horse bit me!"
"I'm s-sorry, Navi!" He gasped out between laughs, holding his side. "It-it was just so f-funny!! Epona, she-she almost ate you! Oh, I'm sorry, Navi...!" The fairy turned indignantly away from them both, slowly floating away.
"I'm not so sure I accept your apology, Link..." she said loftily, doing a quick circle to check his reaction to that bit of news. "Hey! Link! It wasn't that funny!" Epona gave a soft whinny, as if laughing at her. Link bit his lip, trying hard not to continue laughing.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Navi. This time I'm serious." He let his laughter die out, and settled for a grin instead. "Alright, Epona. You can go back to Malon at the ranch now. We can walk from here." The mare nuzzled Link for a moment before trotting off in the opposite direction.
"It wasn't that funny..."
"You're right. I'm sorry." Maybe it was just one of those you-had-to-be-there moments, but Link was sure that once he had a bit of spare time again, he would tell Malon everything of this little escapade. "Alright, Navi, let's go save Saria in that Forest Temple."
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