Link woke up to the cliché sound of a rooster crowing and birds chirping. As the sun began to shine throughout the room Link began to rise to prepare for the day. After a series of stretches, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, Link put on his tunic and went outside. Epona was grazing a patch of grass a short distance from the house, paying no notice to Link as she enjoyed her breakfast. Link jumped off the stump, and waked over.
"Good morning girl." Link said cheerfully. Epona turned to face him and neighed her reply. "Yes, thank you."
Link walked down into the main section of village were the day was beginning. The children were doing their morning chores, their parents starting to prepare for a day of work. Of the families that were visible, the one that caught Link's attention was that of Rusl, Uli, and their children Colin and Sofi. The four sat on a picnic table near their house atop a short rise. Link ran over enthusiastically.
When he got there he was greeted with hellos and hugs from each of them. Uli was setting out plates of breakfast for the four old enough to eat, Sofi being only three months old. The scent of eggs and cooked meat began to make Links mouth water. As he sat down he picked up a fork and knife.
"Wait." Uli said. She quickly ran over and gently kissed Link on the forehead. "Happy 21st birthday. Now you can eat."
"Thanks Mom." Link said sarcastically while grinning.
They ate breakfast with purpose, and talked about their day. Colin was now helping out with Fado at the ranch. Uli was planning on trying to get Sofi to start standing on her own. Link had to ride into Castle Town. Rusl was about to discuss his day when it came to meet him. Down the trail from Ordon Ranch, two men, a Zora, and a Goron all came running, each with an Ordon Goat in their arms. Each of them was dripping with sweat and gasping desperately for breath. These were potential recruits for the new Rangers of Hyrule, assuming they got through their training, whom Rusl led.
After the defeat of Ganondorf, the members of the former Resistance founded the Rangers of Hyrule with Princess Zelda's blessing. Their purpose was simple, patrol the area outside the main Castle Town area, serve as a peace keeping force, and respond to attacks from bandits, monsters, etc. The qualities that the Rangers looked for were physical conditioning, intellectual capabilities, mental toughness, and the ability to survive. The founding members each served as a Captain of various regions of Hyrule. Link was the captain of the Southern Outpost which consisted of Faron, Eldin, the southern field of Hyrule, and the City in the Sky. Rusl served as the armorer and instructor of the Rangers, as well as patrolling Ordon.
"Captain Rusl, we have the goats. What shall we do with them?" The man in front asked.
"Bring them back up to the ranch. I will be up shortly. Jump up and down until I get there." Rusl said with a straight face. The recruit's promptly ran back up the trail to the ranch.
Link smiled and faced the older man. "You enjoy doing that, don't you?"
"Of course." Rusl laughed. "You should come by shortly. We have sparring practice today. These guys think they are though, so you should put them in their place." Rusl walked away towards the ranch
Link nodded and finished his breakfast. He then walked up the dusty, yellow dirt road toward Ordon Ranch. The Ranch was simple in its construction. A large fenced in area with a barn off to one side for the goats to spend the night. A recent addition to the ranch was a sumo wrestling arena near the off to the side of the barn. It had been installed by Mayor Bo of Ordon, an avid sumo wrestler, for the purpose of training the Ranger recruits.
The recruits were gathered in pairs, practicing their fighting techniques with Rusl overseeing them. One of the humans was using a simple long sword, while his Zora partner wielded one of their distinct spears. The other human wielded a double headed ax while his Goron partner wore a set of gloves with stone over the knuckles that Link saw Dangoro wear in the Goron Mines. Everyone was practicing combination strikes, focusing of speed and precision. Link watched with interest seeing how everyone used the difference in their weapons to try gaining an advantage in a fight.
Rusl noticed Link and waived him over. "You ready to give a real demonstration?"
"Always." Link responded.
Rusl handed Link a sword that he had been teaching Link to use more efficiently than a regular long sword the past few months. Rusl decided to do this because Link's fighting style was fast and aggressive, and he rarely blocked with a shield, preferring to dodge. The sword reflected this with a twenty inch wakizashi blade mounted to the hilt of a cavalry saber, without the knuckleduster. This allowed Link to effectively wield the saber one handed because the sword was light and well balanced. Because this was just a practice, Rusl handed Link a wood variant. Link then nodded his willingness to proceed.
"All right recruits get over here." Rusl shouted. "One of you will have the opportunity to prove that you are indeed as tough as you think you are. If you think you can, one of you has the opportunity to spar with Captain Link. If you win, I'll let you out of training for the day. If you lose, well…you'll lose badly and training will be all the more difficult."
The four Ranger recruits looked at each other with hesitation. They had all heard the rumors about Links prowess in combat. Even though they were all older and larger, there was something in Links eyes that made them think that it would be unwise to challenge him. Eventually though, one of the recruits decided he could not pass up the chance to increase his reputation.
Link took a moment to examine the competitor as he entered the Sumo ring with his ax. Link recalled that others called him Ox, a name that plain to see. He was a large man, at six feet and five inches. He had a full head of reddish-brown hair, and a full, but neatly trimmed beard. Ox was well built with a barrel chest, and thick arms and legs. He was dressed in a red shirt, with a brown vest, pants, and boots. His ax was almost three feet long, but the head was not the massive battle variant, but a halberd variant, giving it more versatility. He was almost the opposite of the athletically built Link, who carried his sword in hand.
"So it would seem that it will be Ox and his ax." Link quipped.
"Big talk coming from such a small man." Ox said with confidence.
"The rules are simple." Rusl started, "If you leave the ring, you lose. If you are hit with what would be a lethal strike, you lose. If you are disarmed, you lose. If you yield, you lose. Any questions?"
Both men in the ring shook their heads.
"Alright. Ready…FIGHT!" Rusl shouted.
Ox did what could be expected of a man his size. He charged straight at Link with a roar that would certainly intimidate an undisciplined opponent. Link side stepped the opening move easily, and from this was able to gauge three things about Ox's physicality: he was strong, and he was fast when moving, but there was a build up to his actions. Ox then turned and tried to attack Link with a simple side swipe of his ax. Link flipped back out of range continuing to pay attention. Ox had used the centripetal force of his attack to spin around to face Link, giving Ox a faster recovery.
Link then unleased his first attack combo. A simple stab followed by a horizontal slash. Ox dodged the stab but blocked the slash. Ox then attempted to use the head of the ax as a hook to disarm Link. If Link had been using the larger Ordon Sword or Master Sword, this would have worked, but luckily Link's new saber was thin enough to slip out. Link now knew that he couldn't attack Ox directly. He would have to wait for an opening.
Ox switched to a one handed grip on his ax and slashed at Link again. Link stepped in to stab while Ox was open, but Ox was expecting this and surprised Link with a front kick that went straight into Link's stomach. Link hit the ground on his back but followed into a backward roll, landing on his feet ready to fight. Ox grinned as he scored the first hit of the bout.
"Well played good sir." Link said.
"You gonna yield?" Ox asked.
"Ha Ha. You wish."
"You thought with a name like Ox, I couldn't possibly be clever." Ox stated.
"No. I didn't expect you to be clever period." Link retorted
"And you think you're so much better?"
"No, but I am very busy today. So as much as I enjoy your semi acceptable banter, we should wrap this up soon." Link requested innocently.
"With pleasure." Ox said menacingly.
Ox then went back to a two handed grip. Link watched as Ox wound up for another slash, and knew that his taunting had worked. Before Ox struck, Link switched the saber from a fore grip to a reverse grip. As Ox swung, Link ducked and slashed at Ox's front shin, stopping Ox's spin. Link then stepped to Ox's side and kicked Ox right below the knee on the same leg, sending the man to a one kneed position. Before Ox could stand, Link moved behind him and drew the practice saber across his throat.
"STOP." Rusl yelled, ending the fight. "Link wins by lethal strike."
There was a round of clapping from the Ranger recruits. Link stepped over and offered a hand to Ox. Ox got up and gracefully shook Link's hand.
"Fancy moves. Good thing we're on the same side." Ox said with a small amount of admiration.
Rusl stepped up to the two in the ring. "Ox do you know what happened? How you lost?"
"You started off fine. Using your strength and momentum to keep Captain Link in front of you, and combining proper form and physical strikes to keep him from attacking." Rusl started. "However, you gave Link time to rile you up with that little chat, getting you to attack in such a fashion that exposed took just long enough to allow him to parry. If you had paid more attention to the Captain's speed and technique when he attacked you, you would not have lost in that fashion." He finished criticizing.
"So if I kept calm and took more time to learn about my opponent, I would have won." Ox stated.
"Not likely. I personally trained the Captain for years. You would have lost eventually."
This caused every one of the recruits to laugh at Ox's expense.
"Everyone. Grab you weapons and armor. Keep practicing in full gear for an hour, and no slacking." Rusl turned to face Link. "Link. I got a message from headquarters. You need to go to Castle Town for a meeting. Apparently there is a mission for you specifically.
"I'll leave within the hour." Link said and began his walk home to pack.
When Link arrived, he took a quick minute to inventory what he may need for the upcoming trip. Inside his pack, Link put a variety of tools that might prove worth carrying. Clawshots, bow, lantern, and a bottle with a fairy were all safely stowed. Link then looked at the various swords and shields that were hanging on a nearby rack. After the practice fight today, Link decided he was ready to move away from a sword and shield combo, and in instead strapped on the new steel sword Rusl had given him. Link now called it the Ordon Ranger Saber.
Link walked outside and over to Epona. "Ready for another adventure?"
The ride straight north to Castle Town was uneventful and Link reached the bustling city in the mid afternoon. After reaching a horse stable inside the city gate, and settling Epona in, Link examined his surroundings. It was the high time of activity, with every one shopping for the supplies they needed. Merchants hollered at potential buyers, advertising the quality of deals on their supplies. Groups and individuals moves with a strangely organized chaos, as though they knew where to move on instinct, as opposed to sense, Soldiers from the palace moved as a unit, seemingly herding shoppers from danger. The noise was rambled mixture of accents, pitches and volumes, creating an almost musical effect that was distracting. No matter where Link turned his head, he was able to pick up on a different conversation.
"What a lovely shade of…"
"…can sell for fifteen rupees."
"Where can I find…"
"Jonas! What is…"
Link slowly worked his way to the south east side of town. He walked into an alley near the edge of town that led into a dark, recess alcove. There were a number of wooden boxes stacked along one of the walls. Atop these boxes, a white, long haired cat that was sitting guard. Upon seeing Link, the cat meowed loudly.
"Good afternoon Louise. May I go in?" Link asked as he started to scratch the cat. The cat began purring and Link smiled. "Thank you very much."
Link walked over to the door that had the words Telma's Bar engraved on it. Telma's served as the unofficial headquarters for the Rangers of Hyrule. There was an official HQ in a barracks in Hyrule Castle, but it was really only ever used by Rangers who were spending the night in town when not on patrol, or for storing some of the more dangerous things that the Rangers came in contact with. Link pushed the door open to the comforting warm glow of the bar, and all of the pleasant smells that came with it.
A/N: Woot. Chapter 2. Did you like it? Leave a review and let me know. I do more when people actually read my work. A little morsel about next chapter, It features Midna and what she is dealing with.