The melody of the Lost Woods rang in Link's ears – Saria's song. The seven year wait in the Sacred Realm had, to him, seemed like the blink of an eye, but as he walked over the rope bridge leading into his old home, Kokiri Forest, he noticed the marks of time all around. The rope was wearing thin, and the enormous hollow tree roots that separated the Forest from the great Hyrule Field were turning grey with decay. The mushrooms and shrubs that littered the forest floor beneath the bridge were all gone, and the leaves in the high trees were brown and falling.
Link took a moment to pause and take in his surroundings, leaning against one of the ropes holding the bridge up. Barely a week prior, at least a week by his time, he had ran across this bridge and played amongst the bushes as a child. It was so close, and yet so far away now.
He jumped as he heard a loud snap behind him. Link clutched the rope he was leaning on tightly, and looked over his shoulder. The rot had simply snapped one of the bridge's wooden planks. With a sigh of relief, he stood himself up straight, dusting off his hands, then turned towards the large hollow tree root ahead of him. He wondered what the village must look like now, and if his friends – the children – were okay. He stepped forward and felt the wooden plank beneath him split under his weight. Link yelped as he fell through the large gap in the bridge and landed heavily on his back.
Link slowly made his way to his feet, brushing himself off, then looked up at the bridge. For a brief second, he thought he saw a shadow darting out of eyesight. Link frowned, then looked down and around the area. It was a small natural valley, probably formed by a cave-in of some kind, and the walls were far too steep to climb. Beneath him was simply grass and weeds. He recalled coming to this place as a child, and looked behind him. There was a ladder leading out of the valley. He grinned, and ran over.
After a short climb, Link found himself staring at another one of the hollow tree roots. That was a bad sign, he knew, because the only tunnels like this that didn't lead in and out of Kokiri Forest were the ones in the Lost Woods. Link grimaced. The Lost Woods were definitely not where he wanted to be headed, especially as an adult – only the Kokiri children were meant to be able to find their way around the Woods, and scary tales had been told of the adults that got lost forever.
Link pressed onwards, into the Lost Woods, and was immediately greeted with a clearing, in which lied a dangerously skinny young man against a tree stump. He stepped towards the man nervously, hand on the Master Sword. A shiver ran up his spine, like a shadow, and Link briefly noticed a dark figure in the corner of his eye. He ignored it, eyes focused on the man, but he relaxed when he saw the man was not breathing. He had clearly gotten lost in the woods, and starved to death.
Link remembered the old Kokiri stories of men getting lost in the forest. The Kokiri were forever children, always remaining the same innocent young age, and death was a foreign mystery to them... at least it had been before the Deku Tree died. The Kokiri children used to believe that a man that gets lost in the forest will become a Stalfos. Clearly, the children couldn't tell the difference between a human skeleton and a Stalfos. Besides, there was no logical way that a man could become a monster like that. He suddenly recalled his brief journey through the Royal Family's Tomb in Kakariko Graveyard, and the disturbing, monstrous creatures within... and then the ones in the destroyed Castle Town. Link shuddered. It surely wasn't possible that they used to be people... right?
Link decided to move on, and started trying to make his way through the labyrinthian woods as best he could remember. Forward, Left, Right, Left, Forward, er... Right?
Each room looked exactly the same. Link had navigated these woods barely a week ago, he felt that he should remember it better than this. Then, a click – it wasn't right, it was left! Link turned around and ran through the root tunnel, then ended up in another clearing. He searched his mind once again, knowing he was so close to finding the Sacred Forest Meadow now, and remembered the final turn – right. He sprinted through the root tunnel, expecting to open up into the deep valley of the Sacred Meadow, but... found himself in another square clearing. That wasn't right.
Link turned around and walked through the tunnel again, and came out in the previous clearing. He tried walking straight ahead, and found himself in another square clearing, so he came back and turned left, leading to another clearing. Each clearing filled Link with greater and greater panic. He was lost.
Hours passed and Link was starting to get tired. He'd found nothing but more square clearings, and the only thing of note were the shadows that dashed around in the corners of his eyes. Every time he tried to follow them, they escaped his sight, or led him deeper into the maze. He was beginning to lose hope, even, and he found himself collapsing in despair more than once. He decided, desperately, to leave a trail in the roots he'd passed through. By dragging his sword through the dirt and scratching it on the base of the roots, he'd remember which route he'd taken should he come upon them again.
A few hours later still, and it was starting to get dark. Link could hear the nocturnal creatures of the forest, the monsters, start to awaken. Howls from Wolfos and screeches from Keese rang in his ears as he tried to up his pace despite his exhaustion. Link looked over his shoulder, checking that the sword marks were still being made, and paused briefly as he noticed the root he'd just passed through.
He quickly turned and ran through the root, following the trail he'd made with his eyes, until he reached the previous clearing – where the trail was completely gone. Briefly, a cloud rolled past the low sun and covered the clearing entirely in darkness, and Link felt the last vestiges of his hope disappear into the shadows. Some magic was fixing the trail as Link went, meaning he could have been walking in circles for nearly half a day. Link fell to his knees, plunging the Master Sword into the dirt. He was going to end up just like that man he'd seen earlier – a skeleton, mistaken for a Stalfos for whatever unfortunate Kokiri stumbled upon him... if any Kokiri were left.
The sun set, and the moon rose to shine light down on the forest. Link looked up at it, and felt a little hope return. He struggled to his feet and took a few deep breaths, then walked towards one of the roots, not caring which now. The Master Sword rested in the dirt behind him.
The roots were darker now that the sun was gone, and Link found himself walking through darkness longer than he normally would. Even looking behind him, the clearing was out of sight – everything was dark. Then, suddenly, he spotted another clearing. This one, finally, wasn't square like the others – it was rounded, and had a tall tree near the back edge. It was a dead end, but it was a breath of fresh air for Link. He glanced behind him once more, but decided to go and sit by the tree.
The tall grass around the tree was also a new sight for Link since he'd entered the woods. It had been all flat, short grass, and resting against the wood, Link felt relaxed. The forest felt calm, now. It might be a good idea to sleep here, he decided, and closed his eyes.
A growl woke Link up. He'd slept well for at least a couple of hours. Wearily, he opened his eyes, and noticed a Wolfos prowling back and forth, its eyes transfixed on him. Link jolted awake and reached for his sword, only to remember he'd left it behind by mistake. He'd run out of Deku Nuts as well as bombs too, leaving him completely weaponless. At the very least, he had his Hylian Shield.
Link jumped up and pulled his shield off of his back. The Wolfos continued to pace back and forth, its long tongue hanging out of the front of its mouth, wet with drool. It's empty green eyes still trained on Link, the monster snarled at him. Link flinched, holding his shield further in front of him. His courage had drained as his spirit had when he was lost, and not much seemed to have returned despite the strangely comforting feeling he'd had here.
Then Link heard something behind him – a sudden rushing through the tall grass. Link tried to spin around in time, but he was too late, and he was knocked over by a second Wolfos. Link could hear the first one running over as the one standing on his back howled triumphantly. The first Wolfos joined in the howling, and Link wearily closed his eyes. This was how he went.
A drop of slobber fell onto Link's neck. He groaned in disgust. The Wolfos both growled and one pressed its face down into Link's. Link strained to look up, and stared into its green eyes. The Wolfos' tongue dropped out and it almost seemed to smile. Then, strangely, the second Wolfos climbed off of Link's back. Link looked behind him, at the second Wolfos, who was sitting directly behind him with that same strange smile on its face. Slowly, Link pushed himself up onto his knees, keeping his eyes on both creatures. The slobber slid down under his tunic and ran down his back, making Link arch his back suddenly. Both Wolfos growled loudly and Link held up his arms defensively. They didn't attack. It almost seemed like the beasts understood him.
Then a sharp pain hit his spine and Link cried out, dropping onto his hands and knees. The Wolfos both howled loudly.
The drool on Link's back seemed to be spreading, running around his stomach and chest, and creating a tingling sensation as it went. His back arched as the feeling started to become somewhat pleasurable, the warm, wet saliva spreading over Link's shoulderblades. A sudden, loud crack came from behind Link, and he strained to turn around and see, but his back was so heavily arched down now... And fur was starting to spring out of tears in his tunic.
Link's eyes widened. The tunic was ripping as his back swelled with growing muscle, and dark grey hair covered his skin. The fur was sleek, and shining in the moonlight, and Link felt the strange slobber dissipate as it reached his neck once more. Gasping for breath and shaking in shock, Link slowly turned his head to look at the Wolfos in front of him again. This time, its smile was even wider, but its eyes... They seemed deeper, somehow. Link stared. The green hue was quite nice... it reminded him of his youth, and the forest, and of Saria's hair. His thoughts melted away into the pleasant colour, and soon his mind was nearly blank.
The Wolfos behind Link howled again. Faintly, in the distance, Link heard it. It was a cry of success, and it sounded so appealing to his ears. Suddenly, the sound of grass parting, and then panting, right by Link's ear. The second Wolfos was standing right over Link, and Link recognised the noises. They were so extremely familiar to him. The first Wolfos' eyes glistened in the light and Link was temporarily distracted from them. The melody of the Lost Woods came to him again, but it was fleeting, and faded away quickly. He couldn't even remember what that song meant.
The Wolfos standing over Link growled loudly into his ear. Link shook. He knew that the Wolfos would be stronger than him. He had no choice but to stay still and do nothing. The eyes seemed to get deeper and Link stared harder. The Wolfos over Link barked at Link, and Link recoiled slightly, shrinking down and closing his eyes. Even with his eyes shut, all he could see was deep green, all around. He could hear the first Wolfos starting to circle around him, and Link shrunk down even more. The Wolfos were asserting their power over him, and he knew his place.
The second Wolfos moved off of Link and walked to his feet. Link had taken off his boots to sleep but left his socks on, yet the long drop of sticky slobber that fell off of the Wolfos' limp tongue sank through the fabric and wrapped around his right foot quickly. The sudden growth of fur ripped away the sock, while his second and fourth toes shrank away, coaxed by the pressure of the slick, gooey saliva. His nails hardened and grew while the drool moulded larger toes and soft pawpads. The drool wrapped tightly around his ankle and shin, pulling the ankle up and leaving his firm toes resting on the forest floor beneath. The second Wolfos howled as the transformation passed up Link's leg, coating it with the same thick, strong fur and gripping tight around his muscles to toughen them.
The first Wolfos walked up to Link's left foot, and ran his long tongue against Link's sole. Link whined slightly in pleasure, and the saliva began to change it to match his right foot. The Wolfos continued to spread his warm, sticky drool over Link's foot and leg with long, slow licks, speeding up the transformation, while the second Wolfos moved around to Link's front and snarled in his face. Link looked down and tried his hardest not to whine louder as the drool covered his legs and the same grey fur grew on them.
With his legs and upper back fully changed now, the Wolfos drooled onto Link's bare hands, and he watched the clear liquid turn grey and shiny as it covered his fingers and pressed his little fingers into the hand. The remaining four started to shrink, the nails started to grow, and four enormous claws on each hand stuck out from the sprouting fur. The liquid tingled more and glistened in the moonlight, spreading up his forearm and spurring huge muscle growth. Yet he enjoyed feeling weaker than these larger, stronger Wolfos. They were the Alphas, and he could do nothing.
The saliva, and consequently, the fur, spread up to Link's shoulders and covered them completely, finishing his upper body changes, apart from his head. The Alphas were circling him now. He was totally naked, having ripped out of his tunic, and the hat and shield he barely recognised lay beside him on the floor. One of the Alphas walked up to him, snarling. Link bowed his head again, whining in submission to the Alpha, and it licked the top of his head. At the same time, Link felt a long, wet tongue run up his buttocks. Immediately, the saliva spread, warming his naked, fur-less skin before the grey hairs started to sprout. The golden hair on his head was flattened by the wet drool, and he felt a force pulling his neck back. With a small, pleasurable click, Link's head finally fit his quadrupedal body.
On his back, the fur covered his ass and started to pull out a fleshy tailbone. Link almost howled in bliss as he could finally move his tail around, wagging it like an excited puppy as muscles grew and the fur sprouted, thickening it into a strong, fluffy tail. A quick bark from behind Link reminded him to immediately tuck his tail between his legs. Meanwhile, the drool spread over Link's ears, moving them up to rest atop his new, furrier head, and covering them in fur themselves. The saliva spread over Link's open eyes, and with a blink, his vision sharpened, his eyes now as green as those of the Alpha he so admired.
The drool covered the rest of Link's face, coating it in fur, before clamping on hard and stretching his nose and mouth outwards. The sensation was intense as his nose flattened and moistened, and his mouth widened. Sharp, dangerous teeth formed as the gooey drool molded his canines into large dagger-like fangs, and his new, heavy tongue dropped out of his mouth, dripping with the same drool. On his waist, the saliva encased his crotch, and finally the transformation was complete. Link's howl pierced the Lost Woods' depths and even rang in the houses of the Kokiri Village, including an empty single treehouse up a ladder. Both other Wolfos joined their new brother in his triumphant howl.
A long way away, a Sheikah standing atop a tree heard the howls of three Wolfos. Before, she had only heard two, which meant that they must have found a new comrade. She sat down and closed her eyes to meditate, while praying for Link's safety. A soft, unexpected rustling of leaves made her open her eyes suddenly. Out of the corner of her eye, a shadow darted out of sight. The Sheikah suddenly felt fear grasp her. Ganondorf's power had corrupted the forest greater than both she and Impa had expected.
She shook her head. Link had the Master Sword, and the Triforce of Courage. There was no way that he would fail.
Then she heard a growl at the base of the tree.
TO BE CONTINUED...