File:Epona and link.png

A while ago, I rediscovered my old N64 and all its games. I was moving out for reasons I would rather not talk about, so everything I owned had to come with me. Even though the game system was technically my brother's, he never touched it and had long forgotten about it. I figured he wouldn't care if I took it with me. So, I packed it up along with everything else and moved. It took a few weeks to actually unpack everything(it could have taken less time, but with my new job, being lazy and a bunch of other reasons), and the box with my N64 was the last one to be unpacked. On a particular Saturday, everything was unpacked and I figured I should reward myself and relax. So, I rummaged through all my old games to see what I had to choose from.

It came down to Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, Donkey Kong 64, Star Fox 64, or Paper Mario. It took me a while to decide, but I eventually picked Legend of Zelda. I blew into the cartridge to get rid of all the dust(even though it says not to), blew into the system to also get rid of the dust, slammed the cartridge in and turned on the machine. It started up normally. It was a little glitchy at first. The N64 logo was really screwed up. But the cords weren't in all the way. So, I pushed them in a bit further and everything was back to normal. I pushed start and decided to start over completely. So, I erased my old file from when I was like 12.

The game started up again and I was in heaven. Everything was going really well. I was kicking butt as kid Link and I was done with the Great Deku tree in less than half an hour. After he did his little speech and died(which made me start thinking, this game was rate E?), I ran off as fast as I could make Link run to the Lon Lon ranch. This was my favorite place of all time, mainly because of Malon. I expected to see her there, but it was evident I had forgotten I had how to actually get to the part where you meet Epona. Ingo was there, and he said that the lazy worker Talon was gone and so was Malon. They had gone to castle town to deliver milk and hadn't returned. Then I remembered what I was actually supposed to do.

So, I left Lon Lon ranch and did the little mission with the cuckoo, woke Talon up with it. He ran off and I was so excited. Now I could go back to the ranch after meeting with Zelda. So I finished up meeting with Zelda as quickly as possible and made my way back to the Lon Lon ranch. I was so excited. Malon was my favorite character, and I loved just sitting there and listening to her sing Epona's Song. I would find myself humming along too. It was great. But, I did need to finish the first part of the plot line to actually be able to get Epona and see the older version of Malon.

It took me a few more hours to complete the next two stages, and by the time I had grabbed the master sword, it was late and I was tired. So, I went to bed. I saved and figured that the next day I could go get Epona and see Malon and just listen to her sing again.

When I woke up, I instantly turned on the N64 and sat down to play. I figured I deserved another day off. I didn't have anything to do. It was Sunday, I didn't have work, and it was pouring rain outside so there was no way I was going out. So, it just seemed like a Zelda day. I started up the game and continued my game. As usual I started in the Temple of Time, but something just seemed off. I wasn't sure what it was, but something was just off. In any case, I continued to the Lon Lon Ranch.

When I got there, I of course had to talk to Ingo. When I did, I just felt my stomach turn. He talked about how Ganondorf gave him the ranch, but that's not what got me. He said that Ganondorf had given him some sort of power, and that he had done something to Malon and Talon. It wasn't that they had run away or anything, it was like they were just gone. It was like he had killed them. I was convinced it wasn't true, because if I beat him in the race, I just had to jump over the fence and return to the ranch and everything would be normal. So, I paid him the 10 rupees to ride a horse, I played Epona's song and my loyal steed came to my side.

When I played Epona's song, Ingo didn't seem too happy about it. It was like when I played Epona's song, it hurt him. He even did the little animation enemies do when Link hurts them. I ran over to him and we decided to race. I won both times and Ingo, as usual, was really angry about losing. As usual he locked the gate to leave Lon Lon ranch up, but something really off happened. He said, "I'll never let you leave…" I didn't think anything of it. I tried to jump the fence, but right before Epona tried to jump, she stopped, reared up and backed away slowly. Ingo repeated, "I'll never let you leave…"

I tried time and time again, but only got the same response. "I'll never let you leave." I was getting frustrated so I saved and turned the game off, figuring I would be back in the Temple of Time when I returned to the game. When I returned to the game, Link was still in the Lon Lon Ranch. He was locked in with the horses. It was night time, which was even stranger because it was day time when I ended the game last. Link was also lying on the ground as if he would when he was dead. What the hell happened to my game?

I moved the joystick around to get Link to move, and slowly he got up. When I tried to equip bombs to try and escape, they were gone. It was like I never even had bombs to begin with. That slot was just gone. And I couldn't use the hookshot because I never went and got it. So I was stuck here. I called Epona over to me, but every time I tried to get up, Link just made a face and a text box appeared reading, "It doesn't appear you can use that here." I was so confused. I needed to ride her to get out of there, but something was preventing me to. Then I remembered what Ingo had said. "I'll never let you leave…" So he was just keeping me here? But why? It didn't make sense to me.

I left the horse pen and went in the back to that weird building that's just sort of there. I tried to open the door and a text box appeared again. "Where are you going?" Link turned and it was Ingo. Ingo looked angrier than normal and there was a weird purple aura hanging around him. Link drew his sword and glared at Ingo. They stood in silence for a moment before Link lunged and Ingo jumped back. "I'll never let you leave…" Ingo repeated. The cut scene ended and I had to fight Ingo. The battle music started up and I kept trying to slash at him with the sword but it just wasn't working. He was too quick. And even if I did hit him, he took no damage.

Then I remembered what had happened when I played Epona's song the previous day. It seemed to hurt him. So, I put the sword away and played Epona's song. Indeed it did hurt him and summoned my horse. Epona ran to me and on her way to me, she ended up trampling Ingo while he was on the ground, writhing in pain from the song. Instead of the usual sound effect for an enemy being hit, there was an unsettling crunching sound as Epona ran the poor man over. And despite being trampled by the full grown horse, Ingo got back up and another cut scene started.

"You think you are so clever" said Ingo. "You think you have beaten me. This has only just begun. " From the purple aura, he formed a sphere and fired it at Link. He went flying into the wall and blood splattered from his head onto the wall. His hearts went from about 6-7 hearts to about 2. Link stood up again and Ingo was about to fire another, but Epona reared up and hit Ingo again. Again with the disturbing crunch sound. Link ran over to Ingo and it gave me control again. Figuring the only way to hurt him was to play Epona's song, I repeated that. He got hurt and Epona trampled him.

By the 6th or seventh time of doing so, Ingo was in a pool of blood and Link looked down to him with pity. "Even though you have defeated me, I will never let you leave…Never….leave…." His reached out to Link then lay flat on the ground. When I went to inspect the body, Navi just said, "He isn't moving…" I had killed Ingo. This wasn't like killing the mindless enemies in the dungeons or anything. This was different. I killed Ingo. Sure, he was a jerk, but I killed him. Then the words he had said disturbed me greatly.

I killed him, and even though he was dead, he wouldn't let me leave the ranch. I didn't save the game. I just unplugged the N64 and tv and went to my room. I curled up in bed with all the blankets over me and shook in fear. What was this? It didn't make sense. I was scared and confused. I didn't know what to do anymore. I was so lost in thoughts, I didn't realize I fell asleep under the blankets. I woke up around 3 in the morning, and couldn't get back to sleep. I just lay in bed for a while, still trying to get a grasp on what had happened the previous day. Was it all a dream?

Around 7, my alarm went off and I was fairly quick to get out of bed and get ready for work. But my mind was still revolving around that game…It was haunting my thoughts. I went to work and was pretty distracted the whole day. I decided that when I got home, I would make dinner and see if anything had happened. I needed to know.

After work, I went right home, and made a quick dinner. I was so nervous about playing the game again, I felt sick to my stomach. I sat a long while after dinner, trying to let my stomach settle, but it was no use. I was just so nauseous and I knew it wouldn't end until I played. So, I plugged in the N64 again and turned on the game. This time, when the startup screen popped up, Link and Epona were not there. The music played as usual; but there was just no Link and Epona. I pressed start and looked at my save file. It looked normal so I started it up.

Link was in the Lon Lon ranch again, in the horse pen and laying on the ground as he had the previous day. The grass had turned brown, and there were patches of red as well. I moved the joystick and Link got up. As I moved around the ranch, I just saw horses lying on the ground. The sight of them all unsettled me so much and I just lost it. I threw up, but I couldn't stop staring at this. The horses that had been lying down were mangled, chests and torsos cut up and oozing blood. Their innards were lying beside them. The eyes were wide, and mouths gaping open. If that wasn't bad enough, it looked as if their bones had been broken due to other horses trampling over the dead bodies.

On one of the fences, a horse was impaled on it, and there were huge chunks taken out of its back, as if horses that were jumping over the fence cleaved the poor creature with their hooves. I was so sickened I threw up again. Why did I have to listen to my curiosity? I would have been much better off if I had never touched the game again. I called Epona over and it just looked as if she was covered in blood. As she trotted over to me, chunks of what I could only assume were horse flesh fell off her hooves and I stared at her.

I had to escape. I hopped on her and tried to hop the fence in front. Again, the text box that said "I'll never let you leave" popped up and Epona reared up, this time throwing Link from her back. He fell to the ground with a thud and I lost a heart from it. Now Link was at 1 heart. I bit my lip. I had to kill Link to escape this hell. So, I repeated the process, and Epona threw him from his back. He lay on the ground for a moment, but instead of instantly going to the game over screen, it stopped and displayed a little cut scene. Epona went over to investigate the body, proceeded to trample it with that sickening crunch sound, took a bite out of his body, then started to run towards the screen. It was like she was trying to jump out of the screen at me.

I screamed and threw the controller down. I buried my face in my hands until everything just stopped. No noise came from the TV. I looked up and saw the game over sign. It said its usual, do you want to continue? I pushed no and it returned to the start screen. The music started up and Epona and Link rode in together, perfectly normal. I stared at the TV for the longest time, but finally turned off the game system. I wasn't going to question what had happened, and I really wasn't going to try and see if my game was back to normal. I wanted nothing to do with this game again.

I put the cartridge in a box that was going to a garage sale later that month. I wasn't sure if any others would have to see what I did, or if they would be able to play the game normally. I knew I never wanted anything to do with Ocarina of Time again. Or any Legend of Zelda game for that matter. I gathered all my Zelda games and sent them to the garage sale. I'll still play Mario and Sonic and such, but I will never be able to look at Legend of Zelda the same way again. Not even in Super Smash Bros…This game had a pretty big impact on me… 

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