They land just outside of this version of Hyrule’s Castle Town.
Goddesses, Link wishes that this whole transporting around different realities thing came with less bruises on his backside.
Lin–no–Hyrule, he reminds himself for the umpeenth time, was still getting used to the idea of a version of his beloved kingdom that wasn't in complete ruins, one that even had something like a Castle Town, let alone other versions of it altogether.
When the other two, the Old Man and the Pretty Boy, had shown up on his front door–entrance to his cave, whatever– and told him about their own chosen kingdoms, the adventurer almost hadn’t believed them.
Thriving towns with lots of happy, happy people? Caves and forests that weren’t absolutely overflowing with monsters that wanted nothing more than to bleed him dry? A royal family that actually did something?
Unrealistic. Wistful thinking. Freaking impossible.
But, as Hyrule continues to blink the white spots out of his eyes, the cobblestone wall before doesn't get any more crumbled looking and the sound of happy people spilling from the gate doesnt turn to screams.
Guess the other two’s stories hadn't been quite as exaggerated as he had previously thought.
Hyrules gawking at and internal musings about the walls of the town are cut short when a hand is thrust down into his line of sight. He follows the hand up to the Old Man’s smiling face.
Well, he isn't smiling exactly , but his lips are somewhat pulled upward into what one could call a friendly if not wry look. Whatever. The traveling hero will take whatever kindness he can get.
He takes the hand and is easily hosited to his feet.
“So,” Hyrule says, glancing around at the dirt path behind them before settling his eyes back onto the walls of the town. “Now we find this place’s hero?”
The Old Man nods down at him as the Pretty Boy comes to stand to the left of the taller man. Not for the first time, Hyrule bemoans his short stature. Curse his lack of access to proper nutrients while growing up. Judging from the sizes of the other two, he could have at least been 5”8. If only he had some freaking milk, like, even once.
Despite his internal digression, the Old Man –Time, the older had asked Hyrule to call him Time– begins to walk toward a man in gleaming armor guarding the entrance to the town with the Pretty Boy in toe.
The guard tenses up at the sight of their approach and honestly, Hyrule doesn’t blame him.
Having been born into a world out to kill him, Hyrule had acquired a pretty good eye for dangerous things and people. Or at least, he liked to think so, due to the fact that he was still alive. That had to count for something.
Time, even if not the tallest person he had ever met, looms. When Hyrule had first set eyes on the man, some part of his brain– the hunted part, the part that always reminded him not to take food from strangers or to find all the exits of a room before doing anything else or to always have enough magic for a spell just in case – that part of his brain had told him to run and fast.
Meanwhile, Warriors, the aforementioned Pretty Boy who strides confidently behind Time, is no less intimidating. Though more approachable looking, Hyrule can see the grace in the way he moves. His gait is not only full of self assuredness but also a sort of innate self awareness. His feet are always placed in the perfect spot to easily shift into a defensive position. His eyes dart from one thing to the next, assessing the environment, for traps or ambushes or escape routes.
Hyrule sympathizes with the need to see everything, but for some reason, the shorter hero thinks Warriors’ shifty eyes are probably more for tactical reasons and less for ‘I need to leave, like, yesterday’ reasons. But hey, maybe that's just him jumping to conclusions.
In short, if what they had told him was true, they undoubtedly cut the figure of “Spirit of the Legendary Hero of Courage” to a T.
As the two older heroes begin asking for directions, Hyrule takes another second to Look at them.
All creatures have some kind of energy around them. A life force, a soul, something. For most, it's a small baseline of boring ole’ run of the mill life. Those with magic have a more vibrant and telling aura about them. Even monsters, with their weird not-really-life, have an energy to them, as dirty and impure as it was.
These two though...
They both radiate a correctness, a light, a something that simultaneously settles Hyrule and puts him on edge. They are powerful, but they only use this hard fought gift against those who deserve it.
Hyrule closes his eyes, willing the magical sparks of his Vision to fade away into the mundane sight he makes due with on a day to day basis.
After a moment, Time thanks the guard and Hyrule hurries after the two older heroes as they walk farther into the town.
As they step down several stones stairs, Hyrule finds himself craning his neck in order to see everything.
If he had thought the town was loud from outside the walls, boy was he kidding himself.
All around them, people go about their days. Children –a whole pack of them!– fly by in blurs of laughter and taunts on their way to a school house with a scowling woman waiting out front. Several men and women bustle past one another, woven baskets and bags filled with fresh produce clutched protectively to their sides or held aloft above their heads as they walk to their locations. White, feathery birds– Cuccos if Times derisive snort is anything to go by– flutter in between people’s legs as they walk.
The smaller hero is sure that he can hear Time laughing at him good naturedly as he turns small circles to see everything, but honestly, he couldn't give less of a Bit’s slimey ass right about now. There are so many things to hear and see and smell that Hyrule can already feel his neck beginning to ache from him throwing his head back and forth to try to take everything in.
Though he is dazzled by the sights and people around him, Hyrule can't help but feel a little relieved that there aren't as many people as he had expected. This is already more people than he thinks he's ever seen in his entire life.
Hyrule rushes forward to stand at the top of another flight of steps leading down into the center of town and the market place held within. Just before he can begin descending, however, a firm hand lands on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.
The traveler turns to find Warriors behind him. He smiles at Hyrule and then gestures down to a small fountain to the right of the stairs.
The three of them step quickly down the flight of stairs and make their way to the small fountain in order to clear out of the way of the foot traffic. As they move slightly away from the main street, Hyrule notices that the din of the town quiets a little. This is a better place to talk.
“Okay,” Warriors begins, taking care to look both of them in the eye as he speaks. “The guard knew about the hero Link but was unsure where he lived. I think we should split up and ask around to see if anyone knows anything.”
Next to him, Hyrule can see Time nodding his head. He, however, feels his shoulders inch up toward his ears.
On the one hand, there were so many new people and things! On the other, there were so many new people and things. Too many of both. Throw him at an unmapped mountainside anyday. He could navigate the slopes with ease. This however, was some uncharted territory he wasn't exactly excited to explore alone.
He opened his mouth to voice as such when Warriors continued.
“Old man, you take the stalls on the left. We’ll take the ones on the right,” he said, nudging Hyrule in the shoulder lightly with his elbow.
“Right,” Time agrees easily. “Meet back here when you get something,” he added over his shoulder as he turns away and re-enters the flow of people like a fish returning to water,. In a second, he is swallowed up and gone.
“Thanks,” Hyrule says as he and the Captain join the mob as well. Arms and elbows brush up against his side as they swim through the lines of people haggling for better prices. His eyes remain locked on the bright blue scarf fluttering behind Warriors like his life depends on it.
“No problem, kid. Wouldn't want you to get lost, right?” the older replies, throwing a sly wink over his shoulder.
“Yeah,” Hyrule agrees, laughing lightly at a joke Warriors isn't even aware he is making. “Lost.”
After a few minutes, they finally manage to make it to a relatively open vendor. Unlike the other merchants in the square, he does not seem to be selling fresh produce or baked goods or homemade trinkets. Rather, sitting before the portly man with the weird haircut is a shield, what appears to be a potion, and some rupees.
“Gambling game,” Warriors mutters to him as they watch a youngster run past, a pout on their lips and an empty wallet in hand as they approach the table. They join the small line of mostly teens and kids trying their luck and quickly make it to the front. Not many people are winning.
As the last kid in front of them leaves, this time with a blue rupee in hand to reimburse the ten she had spent on the game, the man turns to them. He spares a short glance to Warriors and then focuses his winning performer smile fully on Hyrule.
“Step right up, right up, son! Try your luck and you,” he jabs a finger at Hyrule’s chest, “could win a shield and follow in the footsteps of our hero!”
Warriors leans into the man’s eyeline, cutting off intrusion into Hyrule’s personal space and pulling the enthusiastic man’s attention away from the younger man.
“That’s actually why we’re here. We’re looking for the Hero. Do you know where we could find him?”
The man sits back on his heels, salesman grin falling from his face as he gives the two of them a once over. He must not like what he finds, as he sighs and deflates before their very eyes.
“Shoulda known,” the man says. “Traveling types like you are always lookin for more gear.”
“What do you mean?” Hyrule asks.
“The Hero, Link.” the man clarifies. “Best damn blacksmith in the kingdom. Every kid and traveler with a couple spare rupees are looking for something made by him.”
“Yes!” Warriors exclaims. “Of course, exactly. Yep. That's exactly why we’re looking for him. Got it in one.”
Hyrule turns to the older man with widened eyes and raised eyebrows. Warriors responds with a shrug of his shoulders and a sheepish smile.
Farore help them.
“So where can we find him?” Hyrule asks, exasperation at Warriors’ antics dripping into his voice.
The man straightens up at this. He points one finger out past the two of them. Hyrule follows where he's pointing and sees another arced gate to the city with another guard standing in wait.
“Just take the south exit and follow the dirt path. Building should be on your left. Can’t miss it. It's got a big sign on it. ‘Four Element Forge’ or something like that.”
Warriors and Hyrule turn to one another, matching smiles on their faces.
“Thanks so much!” Hyrule says as he and the captain turn to leave, Warriors’ head on a swivel to find Time.
“Wait!” the man yells, stopping the two in their tracks.
He leans toward them, over the desk with his ‘merchandise’ and looks around for a second, as if to make sure no one’s watching. He beckons the two of them back over, his voice now softer as he speaks.
“I mean, the kid is great and all– saved the day twice for Hylia’s sake– but If you’re going out that way,” he continues, only looking a little bit guilty about what he’s saying. “I really should warn you. That hero kid is a couple eggs short of a cuccoo nest, if you know what I mean.”
“No,” A voice from just behind the other two heros cuts in, making Hyrule almost jump out of his own skin. “I don’t know what you mean. Elaborate.”
The two whirl around to face a Time who is doing what Hyrule thinks he might do even better than wield that massive sword he has strapped to his back; giving a neutral yet ultimately disapproving look to the man behind them.
“W-well I– I just,” and here Hyrule can see the man deflate further, eyes cast to the stones beneath his desk, as if he could find the answer growing from between the cobblestones. He takes a deep breath and then looks at the group of heroes straight on.
“Look, I’ll level with you. I’m just trying to warn you not to get your hopes up. The kid is great at what he does; can kill some monsters real good and makes the finest blades you’ve ever seen but…” he sighs again, words seeming to fail him for the moment before he starts again.
“He...kid’s just a bit off. Nice!” he interjects, hands now flying around his face in a placating manner while speaks, “But off. Goes silent in the middle of a conversation. Talks to himself. Changes opinions at the drop of a hat. That kinda thing. Now he barely come in to town at all except to see the princess.”
The man smacks a large hand behind his neck and rubs, a nervous habit. “I just don't want you all going down there expecting something and seeing, well, seeing that.”
It is silent between the four of them for a moment.
Then, a facsimile of a smile pulls its way onto Times face like an ill fitting mask. It’s too lopsided with eyes too sharp to be anything less than a grimace at best and a death threat at worst. Hyrule takes a step to the side to get out of the way of the and he thinks he sees Warriors mirror him on the other side.
“Thanks for the directions,” Time says, voice somehow coming out friendly even with the words hissed between his teeth. “Have a nice day.”
Then, with his spine held straight, Time walks away, Warriors throwing the man a dirty look over his shoulder as he strides behind the older man. Hyrule throws a wave and a muttered, “Sorry,” at the stricken vender as he hurries to catch up with the other two.
Having to almost jog a little to keep up with the taller heros’ pace, they quickly exit town and begin making there way down the path the vendor had laid out of them. They walk in silence, the soft crunching of their boots against the dirt the only sound between them.
“So,” Warriors begins, finally breaking the fragile and fraught quite hanging over them. “How much of that did you hear?”
“Enough.” A sigh. “Too much,” the oldest settles on, his pace finally flagging a bit. He wipes a hand down his face.
“That’s not how you should talk about a hero who risked his life to save them. Twice apparently,” Warriors says, shaking his head.
“That’s not how you should talk about anyone,” Hyrule amends, drawing up beside the two of them at last.
At his words, the oldest looks down at him and smiles.
Silence reigns over the small group once again, only broken up when a small wooden looking creature– Deku scrub if Time is to be believed– takes one look at them and disappears into a hole underground as they make a slight left turn.
Just as a chimney sputtering dark smoke appears over a hill, Hyrule feels something bubble up in his chest, begging to be let out.
“Kid,” he says, the word bursting from his lips almost too loud in the quiet around them.
“Huh?” Warrior asks.
“Kid. That guy kept calling the hero from around here kid. I was just wondering how old he would be now.”
Time’s eyes turn flinty, focused on the path in front of them. Warriors looks between the both of them, an odd expression on his face.
“It could be a relative term,” Warriors says, a hopeful lit to his words as he looks between Hyrule and Time. “You know, like how the Old Man would probably call me kid even though I’m clearly not one.”
“‘Clearly not one’ may be a bit strong of an assessment on your part,” Time says with a light chuckle, making Hyrule giggle under his breath as Warriors face screws up into an extremely mature looking pout.
After the laughter subsides, Hyrule risks a glance up at Time’s face. Though still serious, a bit of tension has left the crease between his eyebrows. The traveler slows his pace a step and flashes Warriors a thumbs up, which is received with a wink and a smile.
The draw along the left side of the house, a soft ting, ting, ting, ting beating out a steady rhythm matched by their steps as they reach the front of the house.
“Well,” Warriors says, as finally arrive at the foot of a small ramp up to the cabin. “He was right when he said we wouldn't miss it.”
The building is compact but tall. Two stores, Hyrule’s mind supplies. While part of the back of the building had been brick, easily seen while they were approaching, the front is wooden and inviting, with a door attractively painted green to match the sills around the windows.
A perfectly cosy looking home.
Or at least it would be, if not for what Warriors was probably referring to. AKA, the massive, wooden, multi-colored letters jutting off of the second floor proclaiming, “Four Elements Forge” for all within a mile radius to see.
“At least we know we’re the right place,” Time says, beginning to step up the small ramp.
“Wait, wait, wait!” Hyrule exclaims as he scurries up the ramp, stopping Time who already has his hand raised to open the door. “What exactly is our plan of action here?”
Warriors and Time exchange a look.
“We’ll tell him the truth and if he’s the hero we know him to be, he will come with us,” Time says, like it's the easiest thing in the world and then opens the door.
“It’s what we did with you,” Warriors reminds, catching the door as it shuts and following Time inside.
Hyrule huffs out a breath. By Farore, that is all they did with him. He must be a bigger sucker than he thought.
With that exasperated image in mind, Hyrule follows the other two inside…
And immediately stops in his tracks.
The room Hyrule finds himself in is decorated wall to wall with weapons. Beneath him, his feet turn him in circles while his eyes scan over the walls to try to take in everything.
On the wall to the left of the door sit massive double edged swords, thicker at their tip than at the base. Wider than he is, the young hero thinks as he approaches the weapons.
His reflection watches him from the mirror shine of the wide blade and Hyrule can't help but imagine what it would feel like to catch one of these things in the side. Then he immediately stops thinking about that because Holy Hylia he would lose enough blood to revive five Ganons and maybe then some.
Some of the swords, if Hyrule could even call them that, are capped with stone, obviously made so the bearer could either cleave their enemies in half or smash them into nothing more than dust. Fun options.
Hyrule runs a hand down the side of one of the blades, feeling the edges of the odd, foot-print like symbol etched into the gleaming metal with idle finger tips.
Beside the weapons, are a variety of digging tools, including pickaxes and shovels and odd looking gloves with claws on the ends of them.
Too big for Hylian hands, the traveling hero thinks as he compares the gloves to his own palms. Much too wide.
A glint of white light pulls his attention away from the massive weapons, and lures him, like a fish on a hook, toward the right half of the shop.
Hanging from pegs hammered into the wall sit the most beautiful lances and spears Hyrule has ever seen. They stand out against the warmth of the room, the light reflecting off of them too white and pure and clean for the rest of the house.
As Hyrule draws closer, he can see opals and sapphires embedded into the metal, pure bubbles of jewelry rising seamlessly from the blades.
The shapes of the spear heads vary widely between the group. Some are shaped into forked points to mimic the form of a whale tail with still others are honed into the terrifying triplicate peaks of a trident.
Beside and beneath the lances sit a few daggers shaped from metal that looks like rippling water.
Hyrule picks one of them up and holds it up to a nearby lantern. Like the big swords on the left, there is a symbol etched into the metal just above the handle of the blade. However, instead of the triangles and diamond, the symbol carved here is that of three crescent moons sitting back to back to back.
The brunette gingerly places the dagger back on the shelf with the knives and a few intricate but effective looking fish hooks before turning back to the rest of the shop.
Warriors seems to be in a state of pure elation, eyes wide and sparkling in the orange light of the room making him look possessed as he goes from display to display admiring the craftsmanship of the weapons. Hyrule can see an impressed raise to Time’s eyebrows as he eyes the weapons displayed behind the desk.
The older man catches Hyrule’s eyes and thumbs at the swords. “Kid must be quite the world traveler,” He says, eyes flashing back to the wicked looking curved blades decorated in shades of green, yellow, and red.
“What kind of people were these made for?” Hyrule asks.
Time turns to look at him more fully, an appraising look in his single eye.
“Well,” he begins, words stilted. He gestures to the scimitars that sit behind the desk. “These were most likely crafted for the Gerudo.”
Hyrule feels his nose scrunch up in confusion.
“Those ones,” Time continues, disregarding the traveling hero’s apparent befuddlement in favor of giving a meaningful look to the weapons Hyrule had examined first, “are for the Gorons. And those are for the Zora,” he finishes, pointing to the beautiful lances.
Hyrule does a double take between the gorgeous weapons and Time.
“ Those are for the Zora?” Hyrule asks, incredulous that those green, slimy, scaled walking nightmares would use such elegant looking weapons.
“Odd,” Warriors pipes up from where he is struggling to place a Goron sword back on the shelf he had taken it from. “There doesn't seem to be anything here for the Rito.”
Hyrule looks back to Time expectantly. The older hero, however, is more preoccupied with the hand he has placed over his eyes and is slowly dragging down over his face with an audible exhale.
“What?” Warriors asks at the pointed silence.
“Our worlds might be more different than we had previously thought.”
“Oh,” Hyrule mutters, some sass dripping into his words, “the fact that I didn't believe you when you told me you had real towns didn't clue you in to that?”
Time sends him a somewhat withered look that Hyrule returns with a sheepish smile.
Opps. Whatever. Even playing field now, Old Man.
Warriors opens his mouth to say something, but is interrupted the resurgence of the TING TING TING TING they had heard from outside. The sound is exponentially louder than before and seems to be reverberating from behind the door that stands on the other side of the service counter that divides the room.
“We’ll deal with it later,” Time decides. Hyrule and Warriors nod in agreement. Too much to unpack without even touching on the fact that they had no idea how many other heroes they were supposed to collect.
Together they approach the counter. It is mostly empty besides a lantern and a small bell that Time picks up and rings four times.
The sharp TINGing noise pauses. The sound of shuffling and hushed words breaks out behind the closed door. However, before long, that too quiets and a voice calls out, “Come on back!” as the hammering resumes its brutal and loud rhythm.
Without further ado, the three of them pass through a small swinging door built into the counter and then push open the door leading to the back room.
As Hyrule passes the threshold into this new room, his face is hit with a wave of heat, almost making him recoil. The air feels thicker here, permeated with a thin amount of smoke and a lot of steam that has the young hero’s eyes watering.
Time lets out a soft curse under his breath, and as Hyrule blinks tears from his eyes, he can see why.
Hanging from the ceiling of the room are several thin chains with small, metal handles attached to the end of them. They sit fairly low to the ground; Hyrule can feel one brushing the top of his head. Time must have walked face first into one.
And as he lays eyes on the new hero, Hyrule immediately understands why they're so low to the ground.
The boy hammering away at the anvil is absolutely tiny.
He wears a thick looking apron and heat resistant gloves as he pounds away at what Hyrule can now see is a jagged looking knife, and though Hyrule knows these pieces of protective clothing are supposed to ensure the safety of the kid’s skin, the new hero almost seems to be drowning in them, with the arpon almost dragging on the ground as the boy steps away from the anvil.
The new hero does not even look at them as he crouches down to be eye-level with the anvil, the white hot dagger reflected in his black-eyed goggles. He apparently doesn't like what he sees, because his lips pull down into a frown as he stands and resumes hammering the dagger. He turns the weapon this way and that, tracing the curves in the metal with his hammer, mouth opening and closing as he mutters to himself.
Without looking up from where he is hammering with his right hand, his left hand shoots out and clutches one of the handles dangling above his work stantion. The boy doesn’t even pause his work to pull the handle.
Once released, a resounding clunk echoes through the room and to the left of the anvil, a small trough connected to a pipe begins to fill with water.
The boy pulls two more handles and Hyrule watches as the fire in the brick forge falls slightly, no longer the tall flame it had been when they entered. Simultaneously, the large, circular grinding stone in the corner spins to a stop.
With two more decisive swings of his hammer, the boy seems satisfied. Using a pair of tongs, he gently paces the dagger into the water beside him, and then turns his back on the hissing weapon to finally address them.
With a gloved hand, the boy shoves his goggles up into flaxen hair, safely pulled away from his face in a small ponytail at the back of his head.
His eyes are large, circular and childlike. In the dull fire light of the room, they glint with an odd hazle-y, blue-ish color that Hyrule can't really identify as the boy pulls the gloves off his hands and offers one to Time. A small smile cuts across his face, weary but polite.
“Hi. Welcome to Four Element Forge. I’m Link.”
He offers his hand to Warriors for a shake next and then Hyrule. His hands are warm and covered in smooth calluses, a testament to how long he has worked at this craft. Or how long he’s worked with swords, Hyrule thinks idly as they finish the hand shake.
The smaller boy gives them a once over. “If you’re here for custom weapons, you’ve come at just the right time. I just finished my last commission,” he says, throwing a hand behind him toward the water trough.
“Not exactly,” Time replies. “We were actually hoping to talk.”
“Oh,” the boy replies, face falling into a somewhat blank expression. A beat of silence. “Oh okay. Not a problem.” He glances out the one window in the room, taking in the orange light of sunset.
“Looks like its just about time for me to shut down the forge for the night anyway. If you don't mind waiting for a bit, you can go through that door there while I get everything situated.”
Time nods. “Thank you for the hospitality.”
The Old Man and the Capitan quickly file through the door the smallest hero had indicated with Hyrule trailing behind a little bit to watch the other boy for a moment.
The smaller hero glances up from where he is fishing the dagger from the water. Now cool, Hyrule can more clearly see the details of the weapon. Though not yet sharpened to perfection, the curves of the blade nonetheless look graceful. The dagger looks to be lightweight, thin and precise with a small pommel likewise meant for small hands. Looking at it more, Hyrule can see a thin ridge runs along the length of the blade, like the middle vein of a leaf.
It isn’t in the style of any of the weapons in the other room.
“Its beautiful,” Hyrule says.
The smaller boy looks down at the blade, eyes softening as he fingers the edge. Weather he is checking the blade for imperfections or lost in a memory, Hyrule isn't sure. When he looks back up, a smile graced his lips. His eyes look brighter than before, even in the quickly dimming room.
Hyrule nods, suddenly self-conscious at the show of emotion from the other boy. He gives the new hero a small wave and retreats into the next room. As the door swings shut behind him, Hyrule can swear he hears the other boy chuckle good naturedly at his fleeing form.
They don’t have to wait long for the small hero to return.
After only about half an hour filled with Hyrule throwing questions at the two older heroes about their respective worlds– he doesn't want to be caught off guard and out of the loop again, he's gotta be prepared for anything– the door to the forge opens again.
The small hero has ditched the oversized apron and plain white tunic for something more colorful. The tunic he wears now is… well, its something .
The tunic looks cobbled together, like the boy had taken four different tunics, red, green, blue, and purple, couldn't decide which one to wear, and then had the genius idea that he could wear all of them at once if he just sewed them all together.
“Sorry for the wait,” he says, quickly moving toward the cabinets of the small kitchen the other Links have situated themselves in. He pulls a rod with a large, spherical, red gem off of his belt. He waves it toward the brick fireplace, instantly lighting a cozy looking fire. Over the flames, the boy places a kettle.
“So,” the boy says, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table Hyrule and the others are sitting at, “what is it you wanted to speak to me about?”
“We’ll cut right to the chase,” Warriors replies. “My name’s Link. His name is Link,” a point at the Old Man, “and his name is Link,” an elbow in Hyrule’s side.
“What my companion here is trying to say,” Time cuts in, “is that we are all heroes in our own time and Hyrule. We share the Chosen Hero’s spirit. In our adventures, we fought Ganon, or other villains like him, in order to restore peace to Hyrule.”
Time pauses here, as though expecting the small heroes to interject. The boy, however, remains silent, a carefully neutral expression on his face.
Harder to read than the others, Hyrule thinks.
“Something,” Time continues, “Is bringing us together. It started with him,” he gestures to Warriors, “waking up in my time. Then, we were transported to his Hyrule,” the oldest hero says, waving a hand in Hyrule’s direction.
“We think something big is coming. Something that requires all of the heroes bearing the spirit of the Chosen Hero to work together.”
“Which is why you came and found me,” the boy says. It isn't a question, said more with an exhale of breath. Disbelief. Weariness.
“Exactly,” Warriors says. “We’re going to need all the help we can get for…” he scrambles for words, one hand turning circles beside his face, “whatever it is we have to fight.”
It is silent for a moment.
“So,” the new hero says, “What you’re trying to tell me is that you are all reincarnations of a hero chosen by the goddess who are being flung throughout time and space finding different versions of yourself– including myself– in order to do something but even you aren't sure what exactly it is you’re trying to do yet?”
“Yes,” Time says, without even a drop of doubt.
Hyrule knows that the other man is blessed with the Triforce of Courage, but he doesn't know how the Old Man can say stuff like that with such confidence.
The boy folds his hands together and leans his elbows on the table, resting the tip of his nose against his clasped knuckles. His eyes flash back and forth, left right left right, like he’s reading something incredibly quickly in the grains of wood that make up the table. He blinks, and then leans back in his chair before turning to Hyrule.
“What do you think of all this?”
“I think it sounds bad when you say it like that ,” Hyrule responds honestly. “But I know it has to be true. The way they talk about their versions of Hyrule… No one from my time would be able to think up dreams that sweet. That perfect.”
Hyrule thinks he sees both Time and Warriors tense at his words. Theoretically, he knows it wasn't all sunshine and 2nd potions in their worlds, but truthfully, it had been the thing to convince him that there were other Hyrules out there. The way their eyes had lit up when talking about cities and castles and barracks and people was too bright, too hopeful, too foreign for his world.
The boy nods his head once, accepting Hyrule’s answer.
Warriors opens his mouth to add something but the newest Link holds up his hand, stopping him. “Give me a second.”
The boy closes his eyes. His shoulders rise and fall in slow, controlled breaths
The kitchen falls silent.
Slowly, the hiss of the kettle over the fire builds to a crescendo, it's scream breaking the fragile quiet of the room.
The smallest hero jolts in his chair, as if just hearing the noise for the first time despite its long build up. He stands and almost mechanically gathers four mugs onto the counter. He pulls the kettle from the hanger above the fire, flipping the lid from over its spout to stop the incessant squealing.
From a small ceramic pot, he pulls four small sachets and drops them into the mugs before filling each with steaming water.
He is in the middle of filling one almost up to the brim with milk when he seems to realise what he's doing.
“Uhhh,” he says, eyes refocusing on them. “Does anyone like milk or honey in their tea?”
Time and Warriors both nod and in response. The boy brings over a bottle of milk and a small pot with a weird looking wooden wand to the table along with the steaming mugs.
Warriors instantly reaches for the honey, drizzling a little bit of it on to of the floral drink set in front of them before tasting it delicately. Goddesses, he even holds his pinky out even though he's holding a mug. Hyrule almost snorts some of his tea up his nose.
Time, meanwhile, carefully examines the bottle of milk. He smiles at the blue, hand painted label and liberally pours the milk into his mug.
The smallest hero returns to the table, sipping his tea as he does. He makes an odd face at the drink, as though he can't decide whether or not he likes it, even though he made and poured it himself.
“Okay,” he says, eyes peering at them from over the lip of the mug as he takes another drink. “Let’s say I want to believe you. What are our next steps?”
Hyrule feels something inside him relax. Okay. Easier than he thought this was going to be.
Time sets his mug down. “We shifted worlds relatively quickly after meeting Hyrule.”
The boy’s eyes squint at the nickname but he doesn't comment.
“Based on that,” Time continues, “I would say we have less than a day left in this Hyrule before we are taken to another.”
“You might want to gather any weapons or tools that you would like to bring with you tonight, just in case the shift happens while we’re sleeping” Warriors advises.
The boy nods. “Speaking of sleeping, it is getting late. Am I correct in assuming you will need a place to stay for the night?”
“We wouldn’t want to impose…” Warriors says.
“Nonsense. I…” the boy laughs lightly, as though remembering an old joke, “I live alone.”
“We would greatly appreciate it, thank you,” Time says.
The boy nods and stands from the table, probably going to start setting up a room for them to spend the night in, Hyrule assumes, when Warriors calls out, “Wait! There’s one more thing we have to settle.”
The small hero turns, a single eyebrow raised.
Warriors smiles, a bit of a shit eating grin turning his charming features into those more fitting a teen hooligan than the captain of the royal guard.
“You have to choose a nickname!” He exclaims, spreading his arms wide, indicating the two other Links sitting next to him. “We can't just keep calling you Link. Wouldn't really be fair to us. Or any of the others we meet.”
“We weren’t all that creative,” Time says, a wry smile of his own pulling at his lips. “We just went with our hero title.”
“Hence the name Hyrule,” the boy says nodding to the brunette in question.
“Yeah, that probably wasn't the best choice but,” and Hyrule shrugs, “It kinda stuck.”
A smile spreads across the new hero’s face.
“I’ve had a few nicknames in my time. A few hero titles too.”
The smallest hero pulls the door leading to the forge open. Even though he had shut down the kiln for the night, the short hero still stands illuminated by the glowing room behind him.
He smiles at them, his eyes brilliant yet still indescribable in shade.
“You can call me Four.”