Chapter 2

AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, a relatively short chapter, but hopefully it will give you a better idea of where the story is going. Also, I just gave Zelda the pseudonym Tetra, not because she'll be anything like the character Tetra, but because she needed a pseudonym and reusing names and situations from other games seems like a pretty canon thing to do. Once again, if you have any thoughts or suggestions, reviews are welcome.

Link waited for Miro and his mystery client at the appointed spot in the small courtyard in front of the Temple of Time. He sat down on the stone bench, leaning back onto his arms and gazing at the temple's tall spires. Enough time had passed that he no longer felt overwhelmed by his memories looking at the temple. It felt good to be able to just relax.

"Link! There you are," Miro shouted at him from the sole entrance to the courtyard. Link wasn't sure why he was shouting when the courtyard was neither large nor loud, but he let it pass. He turned towards Miro and the woman following shortly behind him caught his eye.

It was Princess Zelda.

"This is my lady Tetra," said Miro, cutting through Link's shock. Link shut his gaping mouth, and his gaze shot to Miro, then back to the girl again. Tetra.

Link composed himself and made a short bow towards the woman. "Lady Tetra, my name is Link. Pleased to meet you."

The pleasure is mine," the woman said warmly. Link allowed himself another long look at her before turning to gather his things. It was definitely Zelda. She was dressed in a plain dark blue dress with a brown bodice and cream colored sleeves. Link supposed her costume was a decent approximation of what a poorer member of the upper class might wear. She wore no jewelry, and her famously golden hair was several shades darker and pulled into a severe bun, but it was definitely Zelda. Looking at her, Link could see how the other residents of Castle Town wouldn't recognize her. She had taken pains to alter her appearance, and it wasn't as if they saw her often. But Link knew her in an instant. He'd recognize those eyes anywhere, and he wasn't about to let himself be duped by one of her costumes again.

Link decided to let her keep her mystery identity. He wouldn't be able to explain why he recognized her anyway.

After grabbing his knapsack, Link turned back to the pair, determinedly keeping any emotions churned up by Zelda's sudden reappearance off of his face and out of his mind.

"Milady, Miro tells me you are studying Hyrule's history and geography, but he did not tell me what in particular you are studying or where we are to go."

"Please, call me Tetra," Zelda said with a smile. Link could do that. As long as he didn't have to call her Zelda.

"I am studying the history of Hyrule generally, but right now I am focused particularly on Death Mountain. I've studied all about it in my books, but I think I've learned all I can in a library. I need to see the place myself."

Link blanched.

"Death Mountain? But… Tetra, Death Mountain is quite dangerous. Are you certain you wish you go there?"

Zelda looked like she'd had this conversation before.

"I am determined to go," she said shortly.

Link thought about it for a moment. If he thought she'd be harmed, he wouldn't take her, regardless of her determination. But with his knowledge of the mountain, he felt confident he could keep her safe. Besides, Zelda was the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom. She must have a good reason for going there.

He nodded. "Ok, I will guide you and Miro. But I have some requirements. Death Mountain can be deadly. If I am going to be your guide, while we are on the mountain, both of you must do as I say."

Miro and Zelda looked at each other and nodded.

"Of course I will do whatever will keep the lady safe," said Miro.

"I will defer to your expertise," said Zelda.

After working out some of the logistics of their trip, the trio decided to head out for Kakariko Village the next morning. The trip would take the whole day, and Link wanted to get an early start so they would have some time to rest in Kakariko before heading on to Death Mountain. He was used to such journeys, but he wasn't sure how Miro or Zelda's stamina would hold up.

That night, after a whirlwind of planning and preparation, Link sank into his bed at the inn and finally allowed himself to process all of the thoughts and feelings that seeing Zelda again had brought up. She was here. He was going to be spending the next several days with her at least. He considered briefly the possibility of trying to tell her who he was, of trying to convince her of their shared past. This seemed unwise, though. It would likely alarm and confuse her, and probably cut their time together short.

He also very briefly considered wooing her, but one glance around his shabby hotel room reminded him of that impossibility. So instead, he settled on accepting this truly remarkable opportunity for the small gift that it was: a chance to get to know Zelda—a chance to get to know this new Zelda and to commemorate the old one by cataloguing all of their smallest differences. So it was decided. He would be a simple guide, not talk to Zelda overmuch, and accept the sweet opportunity to see how someone he had once cared for had turned out from a distance. His course of action decided, Link was finally able to sleep.

As he was drifting off to sleep, words Sheik had told him outside of the Water Temple ran through his mind.

Time passes, people move… Like a river's flow, it never ends… A childish mind will turn to noble ambition… Young love will become deep affection…

The final thought he remembered, however, was something else Sheik had said, outside of the Sacred Forest Meadow.

The flow of time is always cruel.