Chapter 1: The Tower's Call
“I knew it was probably nothing to worry about...” thought Twilight as she trotted through the dense forest ahead. “Zecora said she heard strange noises coming from within the Everfree Forest, but I have yet to hear anything out of the ordinary.”
She remembered what Zecora had told her earlier that day. A soft melody drifted through the trees for the past few nights. Zecora described the song as mystical...and sad.
This had piqued the young unicorn's interest, so she decided to see if she could hear it herself. “What have I gotten myself into? I should have at least brought somepony with me...”
Twilight figured it was time to head home - if she could actually find her way back. It was well into the night, and she had set out into the forest around sunset.
She hated to admit it, but she was completely lost. The surroundings seemed so unfamiliar to her. The pony sighed, and started to turn around to head back the way she came. Her ears immediately shot upwards as a soft melody crept around her.
“This song...this must be what Zecora was hearing!” Twilight immediately continued on her path at a slow pace, trying to pinpoint what direction the music was coming from.
As Twilight crept through the forest, she noticed that the trees were becoming farther and farther apart. A faint green glow was drifting in the air, as sprites lazily floated about. “I don't remember seeing this part of the forest before. It seems so...magical.” thought Twilight.
The music steadily grew louder, yet she couldn't pinpoint the source. The instrument was also unfamiliar to the pony's ear. Feeling a bit uneasy with her surroundings, Twilight slowed her pace and kept herself low.
Suddenly, she heard a twig snap behind her. As the pony slowly turned around, she saw a horrifying face staring at her. With a shriek, Twilight fell backwards as the creature slowly approached her. The creature's glowing yellow eyes pierced the unicorn's very soul, and sent a continuous chill throughout her body. Twilight did her best to gasp for air as she felt herself losing consciousness.
“You have met a terrible fate, haven't you?”
These soft words caused Twilight to open her eyes. The creature that was pursuing her had a different face. A face that was a bit more recognizable to the well-read pony. “You...are you a human?”
The man standing it front of her had a warm smile on his face. It was quite pale, and he had short red hair. Twilight examined the rest of the strange man, and noticed him holding something. The man followed the pony's eyes, and held up his hand.
The chills that Twilight had previously felt returned, as she gazed at the horrifying purple mask that was previously on the human's face.
“This is my most treasured mask. An evil mask that was a product of a dark cult. It is called....Majora's Mask.” Twilight heard the words, but she didn't understand any of it. She was so transfixed by its design - the tribal markings that were painted on the front....the spikes that protruded from the sides....and the glowing yellow eyes that continued to pierce her body.
She quickly snapped back to reality, and looked at the strange man. “Who are you? What are you doing in the Everfree Forest? Are you really a human?” These were just a few of the many questions that perplexed her, but she was unable to find the words.
The man chuckled, and with a smile said, “I am but a traveling collector of masks. I am also known to be a salesman of sorts. I have traveled far and wide for rare and valuable masks. My travels have brought me to this forest, as they have one time before. I have never heard it called the Everfree Forest though...but that isn't very important to me.” Dropping the smile, the man asked, “May I ask what you are doing here, my little pony?”
Twilight got back on her feet and replied, “A friend of mine told me of strange melodies coming from the forest. I heard the song myself right before I bumped into you...were you the one playing it?”
The smile once again appeared on the salesman's face. “Ah, you must have heard ‘him’. He travels through this forest very frequently, looking for a lost friend. He plays that song hoping to get her attention.” The man turned around and started walking away.
He then turned his head and said, “But it looks like he summoned someone else this time.” With a chuckle, he started to walk away. Twilight looked behind her, and realized that the melody was louder than before.
The source must be close. As she turned her head to the front, she said, “Well, thank you. I....” She cut herself off after realizing the salesman was nowhere to be found.
She looked all around her, but the man had completely vanished. “What a strange man...and a haunting mask. I can't believe he was a real human! I think...he never did tell me.” Twilight sighed and continued deeper into the forest.
It didn't take long for Twilight to start humming the mystical tune to herself. Something about it was so calming...it left her in a trance as she galloped. She slowly closed her eyes and slowed her pace. The melody was intoxicating.
Images of her friends back in Ponyville flooded her mind. The party that Pinkie Pie had thrown for her on her first day in Ponyville...the fashion show that Rarity organized for all her friends...the falling of the leaves that Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and herself had entered...being saved by Fluttershy after being turned to stone....all these fond memories that Twilgiht had shared with her friends whirled around in her head.
Twilight smiled and opened her eyes, and finally found the source of the melody. She was on the edge of a clearing, with a lone stump in the center. A young boy was sitting on the stump, playing an instrument that Twilight was not familiar with.
She scanned the boy from head to toe, trying to figure out what he was wearing. He was dressed in green cloth, and his pointed hat was made with a similar style. He wore a skirt of some sort, with a pair of brown boots on his feet. On his back was a metallic shield with a ghostly face reflected on its pane. There seemed to be some sort of weapon behind it, but Twilight couldn’t see much of it.
The young pony sheepishly approached the strange boy. If what the salesman had told her was true, she didn't want to interrupt the boy's song. She stopped a few feet away from him, and continued to listen. He slowly opened his eyes, and stopped playing his instrument. He lowered the blue object, and stared at the unicorn.
A bit nervous, Twilight lowered her ears, and softly said, “Um...hello there. My name is Twilight Sparkle. I heard you playing your instrument and I was curious to see where it was coming from. I hope I didn't bother you...”
The boy tilted his head to the side, looking very confused. Twilight quickly dropped her head and started to blush before saying, “I'm really sorry if I'm being a bother...Um, do you understand what I'm saying?”
Not dropping the perplexed look on his face, the boy nodded. Twilight noticed the movement and raised her head once more. “Okay, good....what is your name?” Twilight was glad to notice a warm smile appear on the boy's face as he softly said,
Minutes had quickly turned into hours as Twilight laid in the grass listening to Link play his instrument. The calming sensation that swept through her body was mesmerizing, and she loved every second of it. She was unsuccessful in getting any more information out of the boy, so she allowed him to return to his music.
The somber notes drifted through the forest, and attracted quite a few animals to the grove. Twilight opened her eyes and smiled after realizing the audience that she was now a part of.
She looked back up at Link, who was completely oblivious to his audience. He continued to play his song without a care in the world. Twilight smiled, and closed her eyes. It didn't take much longer for her to slowly drift to sleep.
Rays of sunlight pierced through the treetops, shining down on Twilight's face. She lazily opened her eyes, only to close them again because of the sudden brightness. With a yawn, the little pony got up and stretched. Looking around, she noticed that she was alone in the clearing. Link was nowhere to be found.
Feeling nervous after realizing that she was alone, she tried to listen for any clues on where to go next.
The salesman she had talked to the previous night made a comment about her being in a different forest. If he told her the truth, then she had a lot of ground to cover. With a deep sigh, Twilight picked a direction to head in, and started on a long trek to find her way home.
Before she could make it out of the clearing, she heard a loud shout of pain. Startled, Twilight wheeled around and started galloping towards the source.
It didn't take long for her to reach her destination. As she approached the figure laying on the ground, she slowed her pace. A lanky man was laying on his stomach, and on his back was a huge backpack full of masks.
“Hello? Are you okay?” Twilight did her best to awaken the man, but to no avail. She bowed her head and tried to use her muzzle to turn the man, but he was far too heavy.
Pondering what to do next, Twilight realized she could just use her magic. Closing her eyes in concentration, she lowered her head and focused her magical abilities into her horn. With a slight jolt, she lifted the man up and slowly lowered him down into a sitting position.
The man was a bit heavier than Twilight had thought, but she managed to softly put him down. With a weak sigh, she raised her head and gasped at who she saw. The odd man she had encountered the night before was sitting in front of her, his eyes closed and his face shriveled with pain.
Twilight heard a soft gasp to her side, and turned her head to see the young boy from the night before. He too seemed to recognize the strange man, and bent down to take a better look at him. Twilight stepped out of the way and said, “Do you know this man?”
Without turning to her, Link nodded, and continued to examine the man. Twilight thought she noticed beads of sweat drip down Link's face as he rummaged through the man's backpack. Twilight moved closer to the man's face and started to nuzzle it, trying to see if she could open his eyes.
Before she had a chance, the man's eyes shot open with a devilish stare. Twilight shrieked and fell backwards as the man jumped up, knocking Link to the forest floor.
“THE MASK! MY MASK! WHERE IS IT? WHO TOOK IT?” The man was shouting at the heavens, screaming in a terrifying voice.
He turned to Link, then to Twilight. “WAS IT YOU? DID YOU STEAL MY MASK? GIVE IT BACK OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!”
Twilight was terrified - she couldn’t protect herself as the man lunged at her. She curled into a ball and hid her face from her crazed assailant. Opening one eye, she noticed Link shielding her from the salesman.
She noticed the grunts of anger slowly becoming sighs of pain. The salesman had shifted his gaze towards the treetops as he raised his arm to cover his brow.
In a dramatic voice, he preached, “To think misfortune could befall me twice! It is almost as if history has repeated itself! I was minding my own business when I was attacked by some unseen rogue!”
Twilight looked on in confusion as the man got down on both knees in an almost seamless transition. He lowered his head and cried, “My mask, Majora's Mask, is gone! To think that my unseen assailant has stolen it...who knows what could happen?”
What Twilight was watching could only be considered a drama. The man quickly alternated between various poses, holding each for a fraction of a second before switching to another.
Tilting her head in confusion, she glanced at Link. Not seeing the look she expected, she noticed Link's face moist with sweat, and his teeth clenched.
She jumped back upon seeing the salesman grab Link's shoulders. She was powerless to stop the crazed man from violently rocking the young boy back and forth. “YOU! YOU MUST FIND THE MASK AND RETURN IT TO ME! WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL CAN BEFALL THE LAND IF YOU DON'T RETRIEVE IT!” Link was struggling in holding his composure as the man began to choke him.
Twilight dug her hoof into the ground and charged at the salesman. Slamming into his side, the man sailed into a nearby tree with a yelp.
Link fell to the ground as Twilight rushed to his aid. Upon helping Link to his knees, they both glanced at the salesman. He was hunched over holding onto his side. His face was contorted with pain and sorrow.
He took one last look at the duo, and started to wobble away. Just as he had the night before with Twilight, the man stopped in his tracks and softly muttered:
“You DO know what this means...don't you boy? That mask...that evil mask that tried to destroy the world three years ago...there remains a power in it. Why else would that be the only mask to have been stolen? You are the only one that can stop it...or meet a terrible fate trying.”
With that, the man crept through the trees, disappearing completely from sight. Twilight noticed a shift in weight on her back as Link pounded the ground with his right fist. She noticed tears falling down the young boys face. Sadness swept through the confused pony's body as she used her head to wipe the boy's face.
Minutes passed before the boy returned to his feet. Twilight finally found the nerve to speak and asked, “What was he talking about? An evil mask that tried to destroy the world three years ago? How is that possible?” The boy looked at her, and started walking away.
Not having the answer she wanted, Twilight sighed and bowed her head. She looked up to see Link staring at her a few feet away. He beckoned to her with a wave of his hand.
Thinking that the boy wanted her to follow him, Twilight slowly approached. Link returned to his path, this time at a brisk pace. Twilight did her best to keep on his heels.
The forest soon became a pathway as the two ran towards their unknown destination. After passing through a giant hollowed out log, Link proceeded to climb up on a tree stump. He then continued his way among a series of platforms towards a tunnel in the distance.
Amazed at the boy's acrobatics, Twilight paused to admire him. As he reached the end of the path, Link looked behind him to see the pony watching him.
Probably realizing that it wasn’t an easy path for a horse, he started to go back.
To his surprise, Twilight jumped onto the first stump and proceeded to cross with ease. With a gasp, Link stepped out of the way as the pony reached his position.
“What? You didn't think I had it in me, huh? Well, for your information, I'm not as helpless as you may think!” boasted the unicorn. Smiling, she said, “Come on, we're going through that tunnel over there, right? We had better move!”
She continued jumping across and stopped at the entrance to the tunnel to wait for her new friend. With an impressive front flip, Link landed on the stump next to Twilight. He gave her a quick smirk, then walked deeper down the tunnel. Giggling softly to herself, Twilight followed.
The darkness of the tunnel frightened Twilight, but she could still see a pale green figure walking beside her. Feeling more comfortable knowing Link was near, she walked a bit closer to him.
The boy felt a soft touch on his leg, and turned to see the young pony leaning on him as she walked. Smiling, he continued down the tunnel, uncertain of what was waiting for them ahead.
Twilight noticed a faint light approaching them as they neared the end of the tunnel.
Suddenly, she felt a strong hand on the back of her neck. “Ah!” she yelled as she was pulled backwards. Shooting an annoyed look at Link, she yelled, “What's the big idea? Why did you grab me like that?”
Link continued to look through her to the ground in front of her. Still annoyed, Twilight looked down, and gasped.
Beneath her was a deep chasm, shrouded in darkness. Not being very fond of heights, Twilight stepped away from the edge and started to shiver.
She nervously said, “Th-th-thanks....I'm sorry for y-y-yelling.” Not getting any response from the boy, she looked up at Link, who was still looking down the hole.
With a sigh, he motioned for her to stand up. Nervously obliging, Twilight returned to all fours.
He pointed at him, then pointed at her. She nodded, then followed his finger as he pointed down the pit. “WHAT? You want us to JUMP down there?!”
Link nodded, and held out his hand.
“You're CRAZY if you think I'm jumping down there! Who knows what could be at the bottom? Spikes...or lava! Or...or...or...a monster that will eat us in one bite! Or...or...”
Twilight continued to contemplate the various scenarios that would play out. She didn't even realize that Link grabbed her hoof until she felt the ground leave her.
“LINK!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” But it was already too late. The sudden fall caused Twilight’s mane and tail stand straight on end.
She couldn't even utter a single scream as she completely lost consciousness.