Napouro was a small town, made even smaller by the rather dismal events of the last decade, but it got by. In that, everyone agreed. The mayor agreed; the mayor's wife agreed, and most importantly, all of the townspeople agreed. Most of the men had been sent away to war when Ganondorf had arisen to power, but now that that wonderful chapter in the history of Hyrule had finally passed thanks to the Legendary Hero of Time, they had all returned home three years ago at the very latest. It had been five years since Link, the little Hylian who had believed himself to be Kokiri and had won the princess' heart over, had permanently defeated Ganon, the holder of the Triforce of Power, and sent him into the Void. The boy had returned to his own time period- whatever that meant- and had taken the Triforce of Courage with him. The Triforce of Wisdom remained with Princess Zelda of Hyrule, who had been coronated as queen shortly after and had spearheaded the reconstruction of her devastated homeland. In the five years between the time when Ganon was banished and peace returned, most everything was put back in order- at least somewhat. The palace had been mostly rebuilt in a new location- taking barely half the time that its original construction did. The Zora's Kingdom had finally thawed out with the exception of a few small ice floes here and there in the famous Zora's Fountain, and the aquatic people had found a new member of Jabu-Jabu's whale-like species to worship: Jabu Jr. Under the rule of King Link the Goron, the Stone-eating Goron People had completely repaired their old village to an amazing grandeur never before seen from the cave-dwellers. The Gerudo had elected a new ruler to replace Nabooru, who had become a sage, and the Kokiri had gotten more than used to the Deku Sprout as their new leader. Even the members of Kakariko Village had succeeded in completely restoring all that was lost and flushing the evil out of their graveyard and well. Thanks entirely to the Hero who had never known a true childhood; the land of Hyrule was experiencing its most prosperous time in ages.

            But unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end, and as the good people of Napouro were about to learn; when the pendulum swings, it swings hard.




            None of this entered the thoughts of Rei Elanis, though, and he never expected the part that he was to play in his world's history. As for right now, Reiman Toran Elanis was more concerned with education, girls, and what exactly he was going to eat for breakfast.

            The summer had just begun, and with it came the carefree times that could only be truly enjoyed by a lad at the far edge of his teens who was about to enter the dark and scary world of Adulthood. The Festival of Approaching Harvest was about to begin in three days- not that it meant anything to the people of Napouro, a town that was about as far from agriculture as it could get. The festival did serve to liven up the people, however, even if they didn't really care about what it meant. Then came the Remembrance of Time, usually observed with pilgrimages to the Temple of Time. In Hyrule, the summer was a time of celebration. It was a wonder that any of the farmers could get their work done, what with all the partying going on next door, and all.

            But once again, Rei wasn't thinking about this. There were only three things on Rei's mind. Education, Girls, and Breakfast. Since the summer had begun, education was slowly taking a back seat, and Rei figured that he'd be able to forget about it entirely for a while starting next week. And besides- as he had to slowly realize while he browsed through Napouro's small marketplace in search of something to eat that morning- he had other, more important things to think about at the moment.

            "Turning twenty this week, eh?" Came a voice from behind him. He turned around to meet Gabe Raveil, his best friend.

            "You are going to remember your old buddies when you grow up, right?" Gabe asked in a semi-sarcastic tone.

            "No, of course not." Rei smirked back at him. "I'm going to forget all of my old childhood friends and get myself royally screwed in the future. Isn't that what we adults do?"

            Gabe burst into laughter before giving Rei a friendly slap on the back that nearly knocked him down.

            "I'm only a few months behind you, old buddy. And if you even think of abandoning us, I'm going to send an assassin or two after you- isn't that what we adults are supposed to do?"

            "No, only overweight mayors."

            They both shared a good laugh at that one- about ten years ago or so, Napouro's previous mayor had gotten it in his head to hire the best assassin he could, and eliminate all competition during the election year. He had been cheap, and would only spring for an inept, half-blind Lizalfos. Needless to say, the mayor in question was not re-elected.

            "I can gain weight," Gabe replied, somehow keeping a straight face while he did. "Isn't that what adults do?"

            Rei held up a finger. "One more week, buddy, and I'll be joining them."

            Gabe smiled at him, and held out a hand. "Congratulations, Rei. You finally made it."

            Rei bypassed the handshake and hugged Gabe, his best friend for as long as he could remember. "Thanks- you're next."

            "Go jump off a cliff," Gabe used an old inside joke back at them.

            "Happy birthday to you, too." He picked up an apple. "Want one? My treat." he asked, simultaneously paying the short, wrinkled man whom was selling them.

            "No, thanks. My mamma always said never to take apples from strange grownups," Gabe joked back, reaching for the first thing he could find on the cart and paying for it before he saw what it was. "I was never much for apples," He said, taking a bite out of a Kokiri Mushroom.

            Kokiri mushrooms are not made for Hylian consumption- it is a known fact that they taste like ashes freshly swept out of the fireplace. They are best used for medicinal purposes, or to make young children vomit up poisonous food.

            The expression on Gabe's face could not accurately be described in any of Hyrule's many languages.

            Rei laughed and turned back to the cart, paying the wrinkled guy the rest of the money owed for an entire mushroom when he heard a deep yet very gentlemanly voice behind him.

            "Having a birthday is a very special time, young man. Especially the one where you finally cross over."

            Rei turned around to see someone who he had never laid eyes on before. The man was tall and rather slender. His hair was long, reaching down to his shoulders, and was a strange lavender-ish colour not uncommon to people from the Far South. His face looked almost totally ageless, and was decorated by a warm, friendly grin. His eyes were a warm, deep blue.

            The man wore what was very obviously a nobleman's garb, emblazoned with the symbol of a Triforce branded onto a Phoenix- the Hylian Royal Service's emblem. This most likely designated him as either a soldier or a personal Aide of the queen. He wore a smallish red cape that was drawn around his left arm and side. The man offered his free hand to Rei in an obviously friendly gesture.

            "I am Amadeus de Castillo," he said, "Vizier to the Queen. And you?"

            Rei somehow managed to keep his shock at meeting such a VIP in his hometown from causing his jaw to literally fall off its hinges. He took the hand, and offered a slight, nervous shake.

            "It's me!" Rei sputtered out nervously, and got a very strange and confused look from Amadeus.

            He blinked a few times. "Sorry, I'm just nervous," he said after taking a good deep breath or two to calm himself down. "My name's Reiman Elanis- nobody calls me that, though. It's just Rei."

            Amadeus grinned, obviously understanding the boy's nervous gaffe a few seconds ago. "Well, then- Rei. From your reaction I would venture a guess that you don't get many visitors of my- shall we say- type here in Napouro. I suppose I should explain myself, of course."

            Rei nodded, not daring to speak lest he should make a fool of himself yet again.

            "I'm on a short leave for a few weeks, and I've decided to make a point of visiting some of the unrecognized artifacts of Old Hyrule before I return to my duties."

            "Old Hyrule?" Rei asked, knowing what Amadeus meant but still in perfect possession of scrambled brains.

            "Old Hyrule- you should know this- was the original kingdom from back in the days before the Sheikah when the First King ruled over all of the world."

            Rei nodded again. "I'm sorry, I do know that- my brains were just scrambled."

            Amadeus chuckled a bit in that. Rei had already decided that he liked him a bit.

            "Just forget that I'm a celebrity for right now, please. I am interested in this town's Heartstone."

            Rei blinked twice. "The Heartstone? You mean the keystone in the center of the town? What would you want with that? Is it valuable?"

            Amadeus nodded. "That's probably it, and yes, it's very valuable- If it's real, that is. If you'll take me to it, I'd be very grateful."

            Rei shrugged and led the man to the town's Keystone, still rather amazed at who it was who he was casually chatting with at the moment.; He shot a quick glance back to make sure that Gabe hadn't fallen off the face of the earth and saw that his old buddy had busied himself chatting up three of the local girls. Gabe took a second to wave at Rei, and Rei waved back. It amused him to realize that he had apparently missed the part where Amadeus said that he was Queen Zelda's Vizier. At this point it was still like a very strange dream. Only dreams made less sense than one of the top ranking officials in all of Hyrule asking to see an old hunk of rock belonging to a very quaint small town.

            "We're here," Rei commented, coming to a stop in the middle of the small town square.

            Amadeus stopped, folding his arms. "Where is it?" he asked.

            Rei pointed down at his feet. "The stone was kept on a pedestal until about thirty years ago when someone threatened to steal it. It's set in the ground in the middle of town now."

            Amadeus nodded. "It's a wonder that no one else has tried in the mean time," he commented, looking down at the stone in front of Rei. It was a black half-moon, one foot across, and was set in the middle of the town, in the middle of the crossroads, so that one could easily walk or drive over it.

            No wonder they call it the Keystone, Amadeus smirked as he thought to himself, I wonder if any of them know what it's really for. He knelt down near it, and began examining the stone.

            "How much of this stone's back history do you know? Anything about how it got here?" he asked, not looking up from it.

            Rei shrugged. "I don't know. I don't think that anybody here does, really. It's just been passed down from family to family over the years- that type of thing."

            Amadeus nodded from his position on the ground. "Yes, yes.... that kind of thing." He pulled out a small leather pouch. "Stand back, kid. I'm going to divine something."

            Rei nodded, having basically no real knowledge of magic except that it was dangerous, and stepped back a few paces.

            Amadeus spread a purplish powder over the stone in some sort of a circular design. He waved his hand over it, and muttered something under his breath. The powder lit in a small greenish flame. It burned brightly over the powder for a few seconds, before literally sinking into the strange design that the powder was making. Amadeus pursed his lips as he watched it intently. Rei peered over to see what was happening, but between Amadeus' cloak and hair, most of what was going on was neatly obscured.

            The powder disappeared completely, but a small triangular symbol, formed from three glowing triangles, lit up brightly enough that covering it with an entire bushel of hay would not have hidden it- much. Amadeus shielded his eyes slightly with his hand, and stood up. Rei simply gawked like any slack-jawed local teenager. The light lasted a full two minutes like that.

            When the flaring green light finally died down, Amadeus simply wiped away the powder, gathered what he could back into the pouch, and smirked.

            "I've always found it funny that such valuable artifacts always end up in the middle of nowhere. Wouldn't you agree?"

            There was no response. He looked up at Rei, and saw that the youth was still staring down at the stone blankly, as if expecting it to light up in fireworks and dance a jig.

            "It's a basic trick involving mushroom powder. It's really not that impressive, you know." Amadeus looked at him for another few seconds. "You may return to Earth now."

            Rei snapped out of his little trance and looked back up at him.

            Amadeus waved a hand at him. "Don't worry about it. Responding is optional. I'd just like you to know that you have one of the only three Heartstones in existence half-buried in your little hometown, and that I'm probably going to send some people down soon to study it."

            Rei remained speechless. Amadeus simply shrugged again at the young man whose brain was evidentially broken for the time being.

            A woman, not quite young but definitely no where near old walked up behind Amadeus; leading a large grey horse. She was rather tall, and clothed in a white robe-like gown. Her dark hair and slanted eyes typified her as being from one of the Eastern lands- although probably not much farther East than Kasuto, telling from her paler skin tone. Amadeus nodded to her, and took the reins of the greyish stallion. She had an air of nobility and beauty about her.

            "Thank you, Miyu," He commented rather quietly, and turned back to Rei, who was slowly returning to the land of the living.

            "Thank you for showing me to the stone, Rei, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday." he said as he mounted the horse. The woman gave a slight curtsy and offered Rei a polite smile. Rei had a lot of difficulty in remaining focused on anything else.

            "It's nothing, really," He said, putting on a smile of his own. "I'm just glad I could help."

            Amadeus nodded again. "I will send some people this way soon to study it. I'll have Ms. Brahms, my assistant here, see to it." Miyu offered Rei another smile- man, she was gorgeous. Amadeus offered him one last nod, and gave a slight wave before he and his aide both left the small town on Napouro.

            Rei waved back, and then went on to enjoying his last week of childhood.




            Lord Amadeus de Castillo was a man who made use of his time. As the head Vizier to the Queen, he had learned that time was a precious commodity that had to be weighed and measured carefully. It hadn't taken him very long to realize that proper managing of his time would allow him to do almost anything. Anything at all. And all that he had to sacrifice for it was sleep. Well, most sleep- he scheduled a solid five hours late almost every night. Another thing that he had learned was that vacation time could be the most productive of all.

            Amadeus rode up to the annex building behind Hyrule's royal castle that served as his home, personal library, etc. He slowed his horse down to allow Miyu Brahms to open the gates for him. She dismounted her steed as she unlocked both large doors and lightly forced them open. She stood outside as if waiting for something.

            An extremely large, wolf-like dog bounded up to the doorway, and nearly tackled his mistress before calming down and quietly licking her hand. She stroked the fur around its neck, bent over, and calmly gave it a light kiss.

            "Good boy, Galyer. That's good... stay calm. Mommy's home now." She spoke to the dog softly. The only real warmth that Miyu Brahms had had in her was reserved for her pet. "Have you been keeping this place safe for us?" She asked just as softly. Galyer looked up and gave what could only be interpreted as a grin. Miyu smiled and went on stroking his fur.

            "I hate to be rude," Amadeus broke in, "But would you please move the happy reunion somewhere else so I can actually go into my own house?"

            Miyu shot him a bemused look and whispered something else into her dog's ear. Galyer's eyes flashed in an unsettling manner, then he ran back off into the building. Miyu nodded back to Amadeus as she led her horse in.

            Later, in his study, Amadeus unwrapped the small leather pouch that contained a relatively useless powder.

            "What was that all about, anyway?" Miyu asked him from the doorway. "I understand everything about the stone, but why the fancy light tricks?"

            He turned his head toward her while he fished through the powder. "I think it helped a bit. The fancy triforce symbol didn't prove anything, but it helped dislodge this..." He grasped a small black splinter of stone.

            "I saw that a piece was flaking off, so I intentionally set the powder to burn it loose. While the kid was still mystified at my little show, I palmed this with the rest of the powder." he held up the splinter as he turned around toward her. "I present to you, a small chip of a Heartstone."

            Miyu leaned against the doorway and folded her arms. "And your reason? I hardly think that we can do anything with that-n it is a little on the small side."

            Amadeus nodded. He walked up to a small glass vial that he had leaning against a rack. "You're entirely right. About the most that I could do with this little splinter is make a little kid choke to death on it. I brought it here because I couldn't exactly run tests on the whole stone while it's stuck in the middle of that town's street, now, could I? The idiots apparently decided to make it a part of their pavement." He opened the vial and dropped the splinter in. The liquid bubbled a bit. "I hate small townsfolk. They always think that they know everything, and then they go and do something totally stupid like that." He walked over to another vial and mixed some of its contents in with the first. He set both of them down.

            Walking over to the doorway, he continued. "There. In about two minutes we should know for sure whether or not the fancy keystone is what we're looking for."

            Miyu leaned her head on his shoulder and yawned tiredly. "I certainly hope that it is this time. How long have we been looking for this?"

            "Long enough," Amadeus replied as he ran his fingers through his chief aide and informal lover's hair. "I swear, if this one isn't it, I'm going to burn these small, artifact-ridden towns. Just torch them all, one at a time."

            "Good idea," she muttered, grinning devilishly. "I'll gladly help. The young men in those towns all seem to think that I'm for sale."

            "That's because the local girls all look like horses with thyroid problems. Of course, they totally fit in with their male counterparts... it must be all the inbreeding." He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. Letting it out, Amadeus let go of all of the day's multiple little stress points, and tried to focus on the helpful calming effect that Miyu had on him. Her personality was the essence of a pure nobility, and people generally liked her. Most of the time, she was silent in public- but it was the type of silence that signified a deep, careful thought.

 She was devoted not because of an underlying passion for a cause- or for a man- but simply because she had chosen a path in life, and had decided to stick with it. Really, she had been that way all her life. Less sociable than anyone else in her hometown of Kasuto, but far more efficient than any of them. It was a known fact that Ms. Brahms was capable of managing basically any task, and that was what had caught Amadeus attention first. All the other details could be changed very easily. He needed at least a mild magic user to be working under him, so he trained her in the use of Magic until she was nearly at his level. he needed someone who, although being quiet and reserved, didn't make a bad impression on any important people- and she hadn't even needed any coaching for the job. All of those reasons made Miyu Brahms the ideal assistant. She was the essence of nobility at times, the essence of reason at others. And frankly, Amadeus loved her. The only reason why he hadn't already married her by this time was that she would have had to forfeit her position as his personal assistant.

            Amadeus' train of thought was perfectly shattered by the sounds of two vials exploding, their pieces clattering on the stone floor of the study.

            Miyu started, and jerked her head up, accidentally bashing Amadeus in the left temple. He rubbed the side of his head and went over to the table.

            "This wasn't what I expected... which probably means that it's what I wanted. Right, Miyu?"

            "If you'll excuse me, Ama," She said, bowing, "I would like to feed Galyer right now."

            "Oh, sure, go right ahead and leave me in my moment of discovery," He growled sarcastically at her.

            "I'll clean it up later, but he tends to get destructive when he doesn't get his dinner on time."

            "You're trying to avoid me, aren't you?" He asked jokingly.

            She nodded. "Of course. I am trying to discreetly avoid you while you go into mad-discovery mode. Have fun!" she replied as she left the room and shut the door not a bit loudly behind her. Amadeus laughed out loud, and then went over to check the splinter. It was glowing a reddish-orange.

            He carefully picked it up- despite its current colour, it was as cold as ice. He dried it off and studied it, finally catching the golden lettering that appeared on one side of it.

            "Hm... It's written in the right language, but... Damn, it's too small to actually read." He stopped and grinned.

            "It doesn't matter, anyway. I can always read it on the stone itself later." he put the splinter down and turned around.

            "Mendelssohn!" he shouted in no particular direction, and stood with his arms folded as the little dwarfish creature appeared in the corner of the room and took a bow.

            Mendelssohn was an old, wrinkled, three-foot-tall thing of no discernable origin whatsoever. He wore a yellow robe and a black fur-lined Cossak-style hat. His beady eyes, small nose, and long mustache made him look almost like a strange parody of the typical bent-over wizened sorcerer. His skin was a dull pinkish.

            "What do you require of me, my Lord Amadeus?" The little whatever said as he bowed. Amadeus knelt down to his level.

            "I think I've finally found a piece of the Heartstone, Mendelssohn," he grinned at him, "And I'd like you to retrieve it for me."

            Mendelssohn nodded and wrung his hands in glee as he listened. It had been too long since he had had a fresh, new job like this one. Amadeus spoke, and Mendelssohn listened. Elsewhere in the annex building, Miyu Brahms grinned as she fed her pet that didn't seem quite entirely like a dog. She had more than a fair idea of what orders were being discussed, and only wished that she could be the one who executed them. But, being the only official attaché to Amadeus meant that it was her direct responsibility to work for him unofficially only when nobody was looking her way. Either way, the very nature of what they were doing made her want it to be in her hands as opposed to those of a complete madman like Mendelssohn. It was just too critical to entrust to anyone else if at all possible.