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Into the Woods

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It had been a long day of traveling for the band of heroes. Nothing eventful had happened, other than a few monsters here and there. An expanse of grass laid before them as they trudged through. Many began to speculate that they were in Wild’s Hyrule, yet the scarred hero denied it as there was nothing to tie the land to him. No familiar landmarks. Not even the grass was the same, or so what Wild believed.

Eyes rolled and words were mumbled as the boys trudged tiredly along. Tired eyes could see that the land was ever so constant, yet ever changing. It would be subtle changes, such as the color of the grass, or the color of the trees. Many speculated it to tricks of the mind or simply the exhaustion that was ever creeping in from the long walk. But the heroes could not deny that something was amiss when the sky darkened so suddenly, the sun vanishing and the sky letting out stars as a sign that it was way passed into the night.

Exhaustion hit everyone like a harsh blow. It was no question that camp needed to be set and now. No one argued. No one asked for dinner. Sleep was demanded and sleep was given. 

The cool night air was blissfully delicious that the boys didn’t bother to properly roll out their blankets. And soon, all was quiet.

Wind was the first to drift off. The grass felt surprisingly soft as it cradled around his head. The crickets sang their song and his thoughts were sent to an abyss of dreams.

-----

The cry of seagulls was the first thing Wind heard. Begrudgingly, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and he awoke with a start. He did a stretch that made his body feel satisfied as his muscles pulled and joints popped. Scratching his head and lightly smacking his lips, Wind looked around to an empty camp.

It was the shock that woke up his sleep addled brain as he cautiously spoke out.

“Guys?” 

No answer.

All quiet.

“Hey, guys?” he tried once more.

Again. Silence.

A cold dread began to settle as he stood up and looked for his companions.

Sadly, it was just him.

Alone.

He ran. In a desperate attempt, he ran in search and then he felt nothing.

----

Wind woke up to the screeching of seagulls once again. Grabbing at his head, he quickly looked around and felt a sense of relief wash over him. The others had left their things in place of their absence. Now it was up to Wind to find his fellow friends. Maybe they were looking for cooking supplies. Or probably they went some place to practice their fighting. Whatever thought that was about to be expressed, it was soon cut off as his name was called.

Looking to the direction of where his name was called, Wind felt a sense of excitement as he quickly stood up and ran towards the tree line.

Every step that was taken, the grass had seem to grow taller. Every breath taken, a giggle escaped as Wind believed he was playing a game of hide and seek. Soon, he was barely looking over the wisps of grass, each blade tickling his face.

Peeking over, Wind could have sworn the treeline would have been there, not hundreds of feet away. He was taken aback when he blinked to see the treeline several steps away. He blinked several times to absolutely make sure that the treeline would not move so suddenly. Satisfied, he reached to part the grass and walk through when a hand caught his attention.

The hand was small. Chubby. As if it belonged to a small child.

Horror seeped into his soul when he realized that that small, chubby hand belonged to none other than himself. Wind grabbed at his face. Pudgy cheeks slightly squeezed from between his fingers.

He wanted to scream, and he did. Nothing but a dying sound escaped past his lips. It was a grand shock as Wind could not get his mind to wrap around this strange occurrence. It had to be some sort of dark magic. Yes. It just had to be.

If this was the case, Wind had to find his friends quickly before they befell the same fate. Or worse. The voices he heard calling his name came from the direction of the forest.

Taking a step from the tall grass, he suddenly became afraid. The trees no longer felt welcoming. A fog shrouded the woods curling and shifting around as a breeze pushed them along.

“Wind.”

Gazing beyond the trees, he tried to listen ever so closely.

“Wind.”

Was that… Hyrule?

“Wind.”

No. Now it sounded just like… just like him. How?

None of this was making any sense. How could it? Whatever this dark force was, it really is succeeding in messing with his head. Nothing was sounding right.

The cries of seagulls sounded so near, yet so far. How is this possible? An ocean was nowhere near him; or so he thought. The fog obscured anything and everything, and the breeze… Oh Hylia, the breeze, although cool, did not carry the scent of salt, rather the scent of some sweet smelling herbs. If Wind paid attention to the scent, inhaled even more, the breeze would have carried a hint of salt. But he would never know. The scent of herbs just felt overpowering. He traced it back to the woods. Eyes squinted at the treeline. Searching for a sign, anything, really. 

Wind could feel himself suddenly slipping into a dark void. Everything wanted to swallow him whole.

“Hey.”

And everything stopped. Wind gathered his bearings and glanced around.

The seagulls still seemed to screech far off. A slight breeze gently touching his face as if it were caressing it.

“Wind.”

“Hey.”

Who was speaking?

The breeze seemed to die down as the overpowering scent of herbs came at him. He wanted to turn back. Maybe his friends were already back at camp. Maybe everything was- but something was beckoning him to come into the woods.

The woods were eerily silent.

What if the others were in there? How could he know? He felt so alone in this moment. Wind just wanted to cry. What if something happened to his friends and he wasted time? What if they were hurt and hopefully waiting for him to find them? To bring help? What if-

All thoughts were abruptly cut off when a soft voice sang out.

I went into the woods today to see what I could find  

That sounded just like… his own voice. Wind looked around. No one but him was there. Wind was about to call out but when nothing came, he remembered that for some odd reason, he was mute. Just little gasps and noises could escape.

If this was the strange magic, it truly was something of greater power. What if it was the dark shadows? A shiver ran down his spine at that thought.

Again, that voice sang out.

I went into the woods today to see what I could find

Wind felt a pull as he stepped away from the safety of the tall grass and towards the woods. Fog began to envelop him as the tall grass disappeared from view and the trees loomed over. There was quiet as the voice sat in silence. The only thing preventing a total silence was the sounds of grass being stepped on. Gazing up from what the trees could be hiding, Wind halted his steps.

I saw an owl and he told me that he was wise

There goes the voice again. And what does he know, an actual owl was sitting amongst the branches. It held itself with poise. Upon further inspection, the owl had a slight golden glow with markings that strongly resembled Time. An airless laugh escaped. What a funny thought.

Wind was brought out of his musings when the owl spoke.

“Hello, little one.”

Its voice sounded burdened. Tired. Yet...it was filled with such a fondness that Wind could not stop himself from stepping closer to the base of the tree. Picking a soft spot in the grass, Wind sat and listened to what the owl had to say. He heard the tales and legends of the heroes before his time. The owl shared his words of wisdom. Some were fighting techniques, while others were a slice of life. Wind just soaked it up.

The owl looked around and glanced down at the little boy by the base of the tree.

“My time is up, I must go.”

Wind could only widen his eyes as he saw the owl fly away and disappear into the fog, but not before dropping a joy pendant into his hand. Wind could only stare at it sadly, clutching it gently in small hands before wearing the necklace around his neck.

A moment of silence was given until it was broken by the sing-song voice

I went into the woods today to see what I could find

And in he went further into the woods.

I saw a fox and he told me to run away and hide

The fog seemed to dissipate as Wind neared a small clearing. Mushroom and blue flowers overran the clearing with a slight glow to them. But what made Wind gasp in child-like wonder was the little blue fox smack dab in the middle. It’s whole being glowed blue in what little light the fog filtered through. This fox looked so much like what Wild would always describe. Wind was even shown a picture of one. A… blurpee? No, blupee. Sounds about right.

A snap of a twig made two eyes connect.

Those blue eyes… Wild?

No. Just like the owl, this was another funny thought. But Wind stopped his train of thought as he noticed the fox visibly relax after fighting a fight or flight response. Taking one tentative step, Wind finally came into the clearing.

“Wind.”

The fox spoke, it was barely above a whisper, a gentle caress to his ears that held so much love and care.

Wind couldn’t help but take the fox in his arms and spin round and round in circles. A breeze blew through, carrying a hidden mixture of salt and herbs, but Wind paid no mind. He just held this tiny fox. It felt… right. Finally holding it at arm’s length, Wind looked into its eyes. There was so much pain in them. He wondered briefly what the poor thing had experienced before a growl reached his ears.

Wind looked at the fox. Tiny fangs peered through as a snarl threatened to spill out. The fox was no longer looking at Wind, instead, it was looking past him. A chill ran through his spine as Wind also looked in the general direction the fox was looking at.

Finally, the fox broke free from the young boy’s grasp as he came to defend him. Fur bristled and snarls were released. 

“Wind. Run and hide.”

He said take your chances run and hide

Whatever was within the trees, it was big. A dark presence within the shadows screamed danger and the surrounding plant life began to wilt and die.

As much as he tried, Wind was rooted to the spot. His legs would not move, he could not bolt. Fear gripped his heart and his breathing began to quicken.

“Wind!”

He looked down as the tiny fox pulled his pant leg with all its might.

The dark being was coming ever so closely, stalking towards him. Red eyes and jagged teeth appeared. Long claw like hands came up, ready to deliver a deadly blow. Taking a huge gulp of what he felt like would be his last breath, the stench of death hit him.

“WIND! RUN AND HIDE!”   

He said take your chances run and hide

A switch flipped in his brain as his legs finally gave in to the harsh tugging of the fox. And he ran. The fox ran alongside.

“Wind!”

“Hey, Wind!”

“Hurry!”

By some act of the goddess, Wind found his voice.

“I’m c-coming! I’m coming!”

It was said with such desperation. His friends were in need of him. He was coming. He was coming. Whatever was chasing him was still hot on his heels. Low branches and brushes swiped and scratched at his legs and face, threatening to slow him down. Goddess be damned if he was caught.  He pushed through he was coming for them. Each and every one of his dearest companions. He was coming. He was-

He was getting tired.

His pacing began to slow down as the fox sped up. The thing chasing still not giving up. Black was beginning to seep through. The fog began to get intense and Wind saw the fox disappear just like the owl.

The dark beast roared once as it pushed and lunged to capture the young boy, drag him down into the void.

Wind cried and gasped out, only to find his voice leaving him once again. He wanted to scream. A far away growl resounded as the beast seemed to finally give up.

Relief came like a flood to Wind. He finally slowed down and collapsed. Exhaustion was evident as it pulled at his mind. He just wanted to sleep. Oh Hylia. The grass felt great. The fog enveloped his small form like a blanket, the scent of herbs finally wafting through, cleansing the air of death. Wind closed his eyes as his own voice sweetly echoed around.

I went into the woods today to see what I could see

Blinking bleary eyes, Wind looked at the setting. It was weird. Where was…

“Friends!”

It sounded dry, weird.

Wind thought he was alone but the sight before him proved him wrong.

I saw a deer and she told me that she was free

The lyric just spilled out of his lips. The deer before him was perched on a small hill. He wanted to question how he knew the song, but he just accepted it. It was weird. Everything was weird. He was nowhere near finding his friends, and here was this deer glowing like the other two animal encounters, and spouting how she was free. Exactly how?

Something about this deer felt so familiar to Wind. Her ethereal glow resembled a golden purity. He did not feel worthy to be in her presence; yet, it felt so right.

A sense of righteous fear overcame him. It finally dawned on him that this deer was of pure essence. A goddess. Hylia, herself.

One step back was taken, towards the foggy woods. And that was it. She stood up and bowed her head as the voice, his own voice sang

She said stay a while don’t be afraid

She said stay a while don’t be afraid

The second lyric made a confidence spring forth as he slowly approached the deer. Dearly afraid that if one wrong move was made, the deer would flee, taking her warm essence and leaving Wind alone.

When she made no motion of running away, Wind stepped closer and closer. He went to one knee to pray and pay his respects but was stopped as the deer nudged him. He felt such love from her. She did not speak, but her eyes did. They held such fondness for him. But they also held regret and pain. Why so?

Wind looked to his hand and noticed that the triforce of courage glowed steadily as it pulsed in rhythm to the glow of the holy being in front. He held it out. The deer nosed at his hand. Everything became brighter. It became warm. A flash of light and a change of scene.

Wind walk out of the woods with the triforce of courage glowing brightly. The Joy pendant steadily swinging to his rhythm and the scrapes and cuts all but gone. He no longer was a small boy. He was Link, Hero of Wind. With renewed strength given to him by the encounter with the goddess, he set out to go find and save his friends.

The voice sang the final lyric as it was carried away by the breeze. 

I went into the woods today to see what I could find.

Seagulls screeched once more. The breeze filtered through an open window. Sounds of gentle waves crashing along with gentle snores intermingled.

Snores?

Forcing his eyes to open caused a sound of regret to leave his lips. Touching his head, Wind felt a damp rag. Grabbing it, he sniffed it tentatively. He couldn’t help but scrunch his nose as he inhaled the heavy scent of herbs.

Groggily taking the time, Wind looked his surroundings. They were not familiar. He could have sworn that he was just came out from the woods. He was on his way to find the other...

“The others!” Wind hissed as a slight headache pounded his ears. Goddess, what kind of beating did he take? He looked around as he saw two people in the room with him.      

Mumbling came out from the figure that slept at the foot of his bed.Realization dawned on him that it was Hyrule. To his left, Wild was passed out on a small couch, hands barely holding on to a near empty bowl.

Footsteps drew Wind to look at the door as Warriors came in.

A slight gasp left his lips, and he called for the others to come as their friend was awake. It also prompted the two sleeping heroes to awaken with a start.

“Hey buddy!” gentle arms wrapped around him, warm just like the goddess deer. “We thought we lost you there.”

Confusion crowded Wind’s face, as the others finally came into the room, gathering all around him as smiles went all around. 

“W-what do you mean? I was… we were walking Hyrule field and then… and then you all disappeared and I was-”

“Wind?” Sky called. “We never came close to Hyrule Field. We were in Four’s Hyrule when suddenly we found ourselves close to the outskirts of Faron Woods in Wild’s world.”

“Everything was great, but suddenly you fell terribly ill. It was a strange occurrence. We couldn’t tell if it was something you ate or were exposed to.”

Touching Legend’s shoulder, Twilight continued, “We thought you would be okay if we let you rest as we ventured to the nearest village. You finally seemed like you were coming around once we checked in at the inn. But, it was only the beginning of your condition.”

“You actually started to become delirious. We tried calling out to you, but you became unresponsive.”

“Gave us a quite a scare there, punk.”

“Wild and I worked around the clock to make sure you got proper care since you started to develop a high fever.

“You kept on going from delirious to unconscious. Words were tumbling from your mouth but we could only understand you saying woods.”

“Stubborn fever would not go down. In fact, it actually almost claimed your life.”

“The goddess must have heard our prayers though. Slowly, it came down and completely broke.”

“How long was I out for?”

“Two days.”

“And I got sick. With a fever?”

“Yes.”

“That explains everything!”  

Confused looks were directed at one another as they all settled on Wind’s beaming smile.

“Are we sure the fever is gone? He’s too bright for someone who almost died from a fever and barely recovering.”

“Really, Legend?”

A head was smacked and the seagulls screeched along the laughter the other heroes let out.

------

“I could have sworn Time! That owl looked so much like you! It spoke like you too!” Wind did a terrible attempt of Time’s deep voice. It only earned him a small smile from the older hero as the younger beamed with pride at his voice over.

“But I was a kid in those woods. And Wild was there as a fox! He looked so adorable! I could not help but spin him around and around.”

A laugh was ripped from Time as he envisioned the whole ordeal.

“But you would not believe who else I saw in my dream?”

“Who else?”

“The goddess herself! She was this really cool deer and I just felt so safe and warm and I got such renewed strength from her to find you guys!”

A fond smile graced Time’s face as he saw the boy animatedly talking about his fever dream. It was a fantastic breath of fresh air that fitted the boy wonderfully.

Wind walked amongst the sandy shores of Lurelin Village with Time. He slowed down for a brief moment as a sudden glow caught his eye. He smiled at the familiarity of it all.

Gazing behind him, Time noticed Wind smiling at something that was not visible to him. He had a feeling of who it could have been. He ruffled Wind’s hair.

“Let’s be quick on our feet, Wind. Wild mentioned that there was treasure in these waters.”

Glancing towards Time, he sent another smile as he nodded and began walking, glancing  down at his hand. Catching up to Time, Wind began to hum.

 

I went into the woods today to see what I could find.