"Link! Wake up!" crowed a rooster.
A young man slept quietly in a small bed. He was about sixteen years old, and his blond hair covered much of his face as he slept. It was just before the summer sun rose in the sky, and the rooster was growing impatient. He flew through Link's window and started to peck and thrash his wings violently.
"Wake! Up!" the rooster screamed over and over. Link panicked and fell out of his bed onto the wood floor. "You're going to be late for work!...again!" the rooster shouted.
"I know, I'm sorry, Ferrus," Link replied, standing up slowly.
Link quickly got ready for the day and jumped down the ladder that allowed him to enter his house everyday, which was built into an old tree. He lived quite far from the rest of the village, the Ordon Village, and sometimes he felt like an outcast. He noticed ever since he was a child that the other people in the village considered him more of a pest than anything else. Animals seemed to like Link more then the members of his own species, but maybe this was because he had the ability to understand their speech, something for which others called him crazy.
As Link thought about all this, he stood with a solemn, saddened expression on his face.
"Link, Master?" asked his horse, Epona. The flaxen mare gazed at him with warm, brown eyes. "Are you okay?"
Link quickly snapped out of it and replied "Yeah, I'm fine, don't you worry."
"Are you sure? You've been acting different lately. Are you sure nothin's bothering you?" Epona asked again.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Link replied.
"No, the horse has a point," said Ferrus the rooster as he fluttered down to the ground next to where the boy and his horse stood. "You've been acting mighty strange lately, and I don't like it. Most people don't have their alarm clocks beat 'em up to finally wake up in the morning, plus, it also wasn't in my job description...."
"Look, guy's, I'm fine, nothing is bothering me or anything," Link quickly replied, somewhat annoyed. "And if you want me to get to work on time, talking to you all is making me be even later." Epona and Ferrus looked at each other and shrugged. Link mounted his horse then quickly rode off into town....
By the time he reached the ranch he was an hour late for work. Though, his boss didn't wake up until about eight o'clock, so Link's tardiness went undiscovered and unpunished. Or, as it seems, at least not by the cattle.
"Where the (beep!) have you been, boy?" said a goat, angrily. She stamped her hooves in disgust and glared angrily at Link. "My herd and I can't be waiting for you to stroll on down here whenever you feel like to let us eat! We need our nutrition! And the grass don't taste good later on in the day."
"I'm sorry, I'll get you out of your pens to eat as soon as I can," said Link, unlocking the gate that held the heard of goats.
"Oh no, take you're time!" said the goat, sarcastically. "You've already wasted plenty of ours." Link felt a growl rise in his throat, though he tried to silence it because other people called him crazy when he did so. It always came naturally to him, to growl, when he felt angry, though others looked down on him because of it. Link unlocked the pen and the goats stampeded outside to eat.
Link sat down under a tree in the pasture where the goats were grazing. He felt like a total failure and a freak.
"Don't mind what Mrs. Petunia said to you, Master," said Epona. "Goats are a rather mean bunch, they've got a Napoleonic complex if you ask me, since they're so little. Plus, the cows told me that she's having some marriage troubles, so she's probably just taking out on you."
"It's not just the dumb goat," said Link to Epona.
"Hey! Who the (beep!) you callin' a 'dumb goat'?" questioned Petunia, angrily. Link ignored her and continued talking. "I feel like an outcast among my own kind. Like, I spend more time around animals because humans think I'm crazy," he told Epona.
"Why? What's wrong with us animals, Master?" said Epona, a little depressed an offended. "Don't you like us?"
"Of course I do, just...never mind, it's stupid anyway," Link replied.
"And what about that Ilia girl? You talk a lot to her," Epona then replied.
"Yeah, but that's it. Only her, she's the only on who doesn't think I'm crazy...." Link's voice trailed off. "You don't think I'm crazy, right?"
"Course not!" Epona replied. "You're the most sane person I know. Better than goats, anyways. And throw other humans in as well, I don't like most of 'em too much. You're boss took Sarah the pig into that creepy old barn the other day...and she never came out again even when her baby's crying for her. No offense, but most humans are heartless. I wish they could just eat grass like the rest of us. If everyone ate grass, we'd have wold peace, you know that?"
Link shrugged, leaned back against the tree, and closed his eyes.
Several hours passed by and now the sun shone brightly directly above head. The goats retreated to the shade of the barn, and Link lazily began to open his eyes. He let out a yawn and stretched as he woke up. Though, just then, he noticed that Epona was gone. She normally vanished while he was asleep to go visit with her friends, though she was normally back before Link awoke. Link stood up and looked around the open field.
"Epona!" he called, though she didn't show. He continued calling his horse's name as he entered town.
"What's he shoutin' about?" asked a villager.
"I'm not sure, sounds like he lost his horse, you know, the one that supposedly can talk?" replied another.
Link's pointed ears pricked as he heard them laughing at him. He shot them both a sharp glance, his blue eyes angry and cold, and the two quickly silenced their laughter.
Link walked out of the village and into the forest. The forest was ancient, and most people considered it to be eerie and frightening, though Link found it rather peaceful and pleasant.
"Epona!" he called one last time. He heard a neigh in the distance.
"Over here! By the beach!" said the horse.
The Ordon Village was very close to the coast, though people rarely visited it. Link, Epona, and Ilia would often visit there when they were younger, though time had seemed to distance him from the beautiful spot.
He walked over to the gate and quietly opened it. He spotted Ilia and Epona inside the beaches stone walls that overlooked the sea. The girl, who was the same age as Link, groomed Epona's main with a course brush. The mare had her hind leg bandaged, though Link didn't know why since Epona never told him that she was hurt.
Ilia turned around to see Link, and her green eyes instantly lit up in rage.
"Link!" she shouted, furious.
Link smiled nervously and seemed to try and hide behind the gate. She stormed over to him, grabbed him by the arm, and harshly dragged him over to where Epona stood.
"Epona was hurt all this time and you didn't even notice?" she said, infuriated.
"I-I didn't know!" Link replied, defending himself.
"I'm sorry, Master," said Epona, her ears pined back in fright. "I kept on forgetting to tell you. It didn't hurt that bad, really."
There was a long moment of silence, then finally Ilia took a deep breath and said "You have to promise me you'll be more careful. I don't like it when your horse, or even you, get's hurt."
Link nodded. "I promise," he replied. "Epona, that means no more jumping fences."
"But I like jumping fences! It makes me feel like a professional show jumping horse..." said Epona, disappointed.
"And I'm sorry for yelling at you as well..." added Ilia. "Though, did my Dad tell you about the news?"
"What? No, he didn't tell me anything," replied Link, slightly confused.
"He want's you to take the Ordon Sword and Shield to the Capital two days from now for the Festival of the Goddesses next week. It's the first time the four provinces has come together to do this in over twenty years because of the war. It's really important, Link," said Ilia, looking down slightly as if she were nervous. "It's a long trip through the forest in Faron. You may be the best horse rider I've ever met, but I just don't want you to get hurt there...."
Link was shocked from what Ilia had just told him, but he then said "Don't worry, nothing will happen. It's only a few days ride there from the village, Epona and I can make it there no problem." Ilia looked up at Link an smiled kindly, though a hint of doubt could be seen in her face.