As I passed the ranch's gates, Fado came running over. He stopped beside Epona.
"Sorry to get you over here in such a hurry, Link!" he said, gasping slightly from running around.
"It's fine, I was a little held up." I replied, gripping Epona's reins.
"Y'all about ready to start herdin' these goats?" he asked, nodding to both me and my horse.
"Yeah." I said.
"Much obliged there, bud! OK, then, go on an' herd all these little scamps into the barn for me!" he yelled as he ran to the side of the ranch so not to get caught up.
I nudged Epona into a trot, then slowly shifted into a canter as we approached a group of goats. Some scattered, but I kept most of them tightly packed together. I'd had a lot of practice, it had been one of my 'chores' since I could ride a horse. Which was quite a long time. Fado would shout to me every time I got a goat in the barn, which helped me keep track of how many were left. Finally, when the last stubborn goat was in the barn, I slowed to a halt.
"Link, Epona... Much obliged to both of y'all!" Fado called, running over once again.
I gave a nod, and Epona turned her head as if she understood. I was about to ride back to the village, but Fado stopped me.
"Oh... But, uh, how 'bout today? Wanna practice with fences?" he asked, knowing I had been wanting to. I was going to have to take my horse to deliver the gift Rusl had been talking about, and there'd no doubt be a few obstacles on the way. Plus, I enjoyed jumping. Illia sometimes got worried, and thought I was pushing her too hard.
"Yeah, thanks." I agreed, turning back around.
He started setting up the fences, and after a while they were all ready. He told me to jump the fence back to the village when I was done. I nodded and tried out the different gaits as I jumped - gallop and canter to see which one Epona was comfortable with. She hadn't jumped in so long. I made it around quite a few times before I decided it was getting late and headed back.
* * *
"Hey, wake up, Link! It's morning already!" a young voice called outside my window.
I dragged myself outside, I was already awake but barely, just enough to get dressed. When I reached Talo, who had shouted me, he started going on about a slingshot he wanted from Sera's shop. He didn't have enough rupees, and started complaining to Beth when she wouldn't let him borrow it. Then Malo joined in, saying their allowances were terrible. I noticed Colin standing by Epona, looking at me hopefully. I joined him.
"Hey Colin." I greeted him.
"Hi, Link... You have the day off work today, right?" he asked. I nodded.
"So...I finished the fishing rod I was making. I figured I'd give it to you first thing in the morning, but my dad said, "You just wait until Link comes to get it!" So I didn't bring it to you." he explained.
"That's okay, I'll go get it now. Thanks, Colin." I said. It was Epona's day off too, so I left her with Colin and entered Ordon village.
The first thing to do, I decided, was to go get that slingshot to stop all the squabbling. It drived me mad. I walked into the shop, and Sera was sat looking forlorn behind the counter. She was fumbling with a bottle of milk and an empty cat bowl was next to her.
"...Oh, my... It's young Link...Welcome, m'dear. You... You didn't happen to see my little cat out there, did you?" she asked hopefully. I shook my head, she sighed.
"He ate the fish we were going to have for supper last night, and I gave him a good scolding...but then he went out and hasn't returned. I'm so fraught with worry for him... I've exhausted myself." she explained, clearly in a bad state. But I really needed that slingshot for the kids.
"I - I was wondering if I could buy th-" I began, taking out my rupees but she stopped me.
"I'm terribly sorry...but my mind is so filled with thoughts of my little cat that I simply can't deal with costumers right now." she apologised, gazing at the cat flap.
"Ok, I hope he comes back soon." was all I could say as I walked out of the door, feeling pretty frustrated. Couldn't she sell me one little thing? The cat couldn't have gone far - the village was pretty small. I saw Hanch looking up at a bee's nest high up in a tree. He then threw a rock at it, agitating the bees. They swarmed together, flying straight at him. He ran for the lake, and jumped right under the water. He surfaced when they had gone - covered with red where the bees had stung him. I couldn't even feel sympathy - it was quite a stupid idea. I had the decency to help him out of the water, though.
Uli, Colin's mother, was standing by the little wooden bridge. She was looking out on the water, a little distressed as it seemed. I went over to her.
"Oh, um, good morning to you. I must ask, Link... You have not seen a cradle come floating by here, have you? It is a baby's cradle made of finely woven tree bark..." she told me.
I shook my head. "No, I have not. But I'll keep an eye out." I promised, wondering what on earth it was doing in the water anyway.
This didn't seem like the best time to ask for the fishing rod. So much was going on, and it was all stopping me from doing what I needed to. In the end, I helped everyone. I talked to the Mayor and caught a loose goat from running through the village.
I swam across the lake to retrieve the cradle, from which I earned the fishing rod. Then I caught a fish for Sera's cat, and he ran back to the shop with it. I sighed and returned to the shop, where Sera was much happier. Her cat was lapping up a bowl of milk, and she was telling me all about how he 'caught a fish all by his little old self'. I rolled my eyes, and tried again to purchase the slingshot.
"Oh, yes m'dear. That will be thirty rupees." she said. I handed over the money and she also gave me half a bottle of milk. I thanked her and went to find the kids. I passed Rusl on the way.
"Ah, just in time, Link! I just delivered something to your room! Oh, I see you got the fishing rod. Colin will be pleased. And it works better than you would think, right?" he asked. I nodded for the sake of it, though I pretty much knew before it would be good. Colin has a lot of patience, and he tries really hard on things.
"Well, have a good one..." he finished, as we continued by.