Link's quiet life in Ordon Village changes when he and his friends find some odd fruit.
|A few days later, Link was once again awoken by Fado's voice. It was getting a bit bothersome, but it was the only way Link would ever get out of his bed these days. He grunted and tugged at his still small shirt as he made his way to the window to greet Fado, the floorboards of his house creaking loudly under his feet.
"Hey, Link!" yelled Fado once Link was at the window. "The Mayor wants to see you. He seemed pretty serious when he asked to see you. I think you ought'a get moving!"
Why would the Mayor want to see him so urgently, thought Link as he walked through the village. He and Mayor Bo were certainly on good terms with each other (even with all the time Link was spending with his daughter), but Link got the impression something serious might be going on.
When he arrived at Bo's house, Link was a bit surprised to see Talo, Colin, and Ilia all gathered in the sitting room, with Mayor Bo himself standing in front of them, a somewhat stern look on his face.
"Ah, Link," he said, an uneasy tone in his voice. "Glad you could make it. Please come in."
Link sat in a chair next to Ilia; the wood groaned as it supported the hefty young man. Instead of her usual tunic, Ilia was wearing a significantly smaller cream-colored shirt which only covered her chest. While it was definitely more revealing, Link figured she probably didn't have anything else more suitable to wear.
"Right then," Bo continued. "Now that you're all here, there's something I wish to discuss with you. It's about those berries you all have been eating. They seem to be having…some effect on you kids."
"Like how fat we're getting?" asked Colin, lifting his belly to show him.
"Exactly," said Bo. "Your constant snacking on that fruit is affecting your bodies and your minds."
"Our…minds?" asked Ilia. "In what ways?"
"I've been in touch with a doctor from Hyrule Castle Town these past few days," her father explained. "I've told him all about the fruit and your reactions to it. Unfortunately, he doesn't know any more about it than we do. But from examining what he does know, he says that the fruit is highly addictive, at least to the four of you."
"So?" interjected Talo. "Is that a problem?"
"Yes," said Bo, firmly but in no way intimidating. "The more you keep eating the fruit, the harder it'll be to stop. One day, you might have eaten so much that you won't even be able to do things properly anymore. And all because you just couldn't stop. As I understand it, Link, you're having a hard time working with the goats at the ranch these days, right?"
Link felt a bit overcome with self-consciousness before he reluctantly nodded his head.
"That's what I thought," Bo sighed before continuing. "I didn't want it to come to this, but I'm afraid I have no choice…Starting today, none of you will eat that fruit again."
The room filled with the audible gasp of four people yelling: "WHAT?!"
"I'm sorry," Bo continued. "But until we've gotten a better understanding of what this fruit is, I can't risk you kids eating any more of it."
"But that's not fair!" moaned Talo.
"Mr. Mayor, you can't!" said Colin. "What about our food stocks?"
"Colin, you know full well that our food supplies are ample enough for now," said Bo. "I've informed all your parents and Fado to keep a close eye on all of you. You are not to return to that grove, or leave the village for the time being. In addition, you'll be going on some strict health regimes to get you all back in shape. You'll be doing a lot less eating and a LOT more exercising."
"But…but, Mister Mayor, sir…" Talo exclaimed. "Do we ALL have to do it?"
"I'm sorry, Talo" Bo continued. "But it has been decided that this is what's best for you; not just by me, but everyone else in the village." He let out a heavy sigh, rubbed his fore-head, then said: "Talo, Colin, you may both return home and do as your parents say. Link, I believe Fado is waiting for you at the ranch. And until you've slimmed down a bit, I think you can manage without your horse."
After unenthusiastically agreeing, the two younger boys left the Mayor's house.
Link remained in his seat and let out deep sigh; torn at the abrupt change in his life. Ilia quickly patted his arm and whispered: "I'm sorry…but he is right. It is what's best…for us."
* * *
"Keep it up, Colin," Uli encouraged. "You're almost done."
Uli was having her son do various exercises throughout the morning. Starting with a jog around the village with Talo, followed by a few squats and sit-ups back in his house, then finally the task he was currently in the middle of: jumping jacks. Colin's blubbery body bounced and jiggled as the chubby boy jumped up and down while moving his arms and legs, almost creating an earthquake in his home.
"Okay, that should do it," his mom said.
Colin was more than happy to stop; he was completely out of breath and his face was drenched in sweat. This exercise stuff is tough business, he thought. Not only that, but for breakfast, Colin was only allowed one small bowl of pumpkin soup. With hardly a full meal (at least to him) combined with all the rigorous working-out, Colin felt very tired and hungry.
Just as he was about to collapse onto the floor, Colin's dad came into the house.
"Uli, would you mind giving me a hand with packing my cart?" he asked his wife.
"Sure thing, dear," Uli replied. "Colin, could you feed the baby her milk? It's on the table."
"Yeah, Mom," Colin said, gathering his strength to make the journey to the table.
Once his parents had gone outside, Colin sat in a chair beside the table and grabbed the milk bottle off the table. He then turned to face his baby sister, who was sitting snuggly in her cradle on the floor.
"Okay, time for milk," Colin said quietly, gently moving the bottle in front of her.
Oddly enough, his sister didn't accept the bottle. With what appeared to be a look of disgust, she shoved the bottle away from her face.
"C'mon, don't you want it?" asked Colin, shaking the bottle to create a sloshing sound. "It's milk."
He tried offering it to her again, only for his sister to turn her head away each time it came close. Eventually, she shoved the bottle away again, only this time Colin didn't keep his grip so the bottle was flung onto the floor.
"Okay, fine…" muttered Colin crossly. "You don't have to have it."
With that, his sister shot him an equally annoyed glance, then sucked her thumb and closed her eyes.
Colin stood up and grabbed the bottle off the floor. He was going to put it back on the table, but then a thought came to him as he stomach gurgled quietly. Colin quickly looked back at the front door, making sure his parents were still outside. He then put the soft tip of the bottle into his mouth and began drinking the milk.
Why let it go to waste, he thought to himself. It had obviously been many years since Colin drank from a baby bottle, but he felt no shame in doing so now. In fact, he almost enjoyed doing it once again, although mostly because he was desperate to get something more substantial in his belly. The warm milk hardly even came close to the taste of the fruit, but Colin was just so hungry that he didn't care.
Within seconds, Colin had drunk the whole bottle dry. He licked his lips and shook the bottle to make sure it was empty. But that small bottle of milk had almost no effect on his appetite; it only made him want more to eat.
Thirsty for more, Colin opened the kitchen cupboard and pulled out two glass bottles of Ordon's famous goat milk. He immediately sat down on the floor and opened one of the bottles. He then lifted it up to his face and began to chug the creamy contents. Milk spilled onto his cheeks and shirt, but Colin paid it no mind. He carefully drank and swallowed each gulp, making sure a sizable splash was sent to his stomach.
Soon, he had polished off the entire bottle. Placing it aside, Colin was about to open the other one to drink it next had he not noticed the disappointed looks on his parents' faces as they stood over him.
* * *
"So…how have things been here lately?" asked Malo, sitting at the table across from Talo.
"Oh, fine,” mumbled Talo, slurping away at his permitted bowl of pumpkin soup. "You may remember that we had a food shortage a few weeks ago that we just recovered from, no thanks to you."
"Owning a successful business doesn't mean I'm swimming in rupees," Malo said, his expression and tone unchanged.
"Yeah, yeah…" said Talo, lifting the bowl up to his face and drinking the leftover broth. "You gonna finish yours?"
"I should remind you that you are on a diet," Malo said flatly. "But if you want…I guess one extra bowl of soup isn't going to kill you." He then gently shoved his own bowl of soup to his brother.
"Thanks," said Talo. This time, instead of eating with his spoon, Talo just drank from the bowl in large gulps.
"Yeah, so why are you so hungry all the time now?" asked Malo. "Dad didn't tell me."
Once the second bowl was emptied into his mouth, Talo let out a small burp and explained: "We found some fruits out in the forest a while back. You wouldn't believe what they taste like! It's like every great flavor you could imagine!" Talo's mouth began watering at the thought. "And the best part is they regrow whenever you take one, so you never run out."
"You don't say…" said Malo, thinking how profitable such fruit would be.
"Yeah," sighed Talo. "Only problem is, the Mayor says we're not allowed to eat them anymore. I'd give anything to eat one again!"
"Too bad," said Malo. "But that's what you get when you have no self-control."
"But it's not fair," whined Talo, his stomach gurgling for more food. "I'm so hungry! And I really want to eat that fruit!"
"Maybe that's the problem," said Malo, a sneaky thought forming in his mind.
"What do you mean?" asked Talo, clutching his belly.
"Perhaps you're only thinking about the fruit because you're still hungry," explained Malo. "Maybe if you ate some more food and got full, you wouldn't want to eat the fruit anymore."
"Hey," said Talo, cheering up. "That might work! But what will Mom and Dad think?"
"I think they'll understand…" said Malo. "It is sound logic."
"Okay then!" said Talo.
Talo then rushed to the pantry and opened it. He let his appetite take over and he began scarfing down anything he could get his hands on. He started with a loaf bread, followed by half a wheel of goat cheese, leftover cucco drumsticks, even the occasional bottle of milk. Talo ate and ate until the shelves were completely bare except for the bones and empty bottles, and Talo himself felt truly satisfied with his stuffed gut.
"You were right, Malo!" he said happily, sitting in front of the open pantry and rubbing his belly. "I couldn't eat another bite! ...Malo?"
Talo only now realized that his brother had left the house, leaving the from door open in his wake. But within seconds, Malo returned holding his mom's hand and leading her back into the house.
"See?" Malo said, pointing at his large older brother. "He ate everything in the cupboard!"
"Talo!" their mother scolded. "What do have to say for yourself!?"
"Mom, wait…" Talo stammered, getting to his feet. "…it's not my fault…Malo said that I…"
"I tried to stop him…" Malo interrupted. "But he was just too strong for me." He looked up at his mother with a sympathetic look in his big, green eyes.
"What!?" gasped Talo, realizing what Malo did. "You little runt! You tricked me!"
"Did not," said Malo.
"Did so!" yelled Talo.
"Boys, that's enough!" their mom said. "Talo, I am seriously disappointed in you. As for your punishment, you can take another 10 laps around the village. Also, you won't be getting any supper tonight seeing as you ate it all already."
"But, Mom…" moaned Talo.
"Don't start," his mom said. "Just get outside before I make it 20 laps!"
"Yes, ma'am…" Talo said, lowering his head.
As he and his mother walked back outside, Talo gave his younger brother an unforgiving scowl.
"Yeah, I probably shouldn't have done that…" Malo muttered quietly to himself. "…but that was the most fun I've had in long time!"
* * *
After putting in a full day at the ranch, plus taking part in the group exercises, Link was indeed rather exhausted.
Day in and day out, the Mayor would have all four of them gather in front of his house and instruct them to preform various fitness exercises. Each giving them a significant challenge thanks to their plump frames. But Mayor Bo made sure Link, Ilia, Talo, and Colin worked hard to lose the extra weight they'd put on.
Due to the strict dieting, Link felt hungry nearly all the time. Though occasionally he'd sneak out at night to snack on a few apples from a few trees within the village gates, but he had to be careful as the Mayor had started a night-watch to make sure the kids didn't sneak back into the forest.
Admittedly, Link could actually feel his former muscle strength returning. He could walk further without losing his breath so quickly, he could put on his sandals a lot more easily, and he was now light enough for Epona to willingly let him ride her again.
But despite his improved ability, Link was far from happy. Not just because he was starving, but how quickly he was losing the weight. His once soft and round belly was becoming smaller and tighter. Link didn't know why exactly, but he had liked being fat. He liked exposing his large stomach, eating until he could hardly move, and of course all the wonderful cuddling with an equally chubby Ilia.
Link signed as he mulled over these thoughts while sitting atop a hill over looking the village. Then reluctantly convinced himself it was for his own good.
"I thought I'd find you up here," a voice said.
Link looked around and saw Ilia had approached him. Over the past few days, Ilia had slimed down just like Link. Her belly went from being a round globe of fat to a significantly smaller bulge in her stomach. She soon came over and sat down next to Link.
"I guess you can see the diet is working," Ilia said with a weak positive tone. "At this rate, I might be able to wear my old tunic again soon."
Link forced himself to smile, acting as if he was happy to hear that.
"Uhh…Link…" she continued, in a more serious voice. "There's…something I…want you to know."
Link placed his hand over Ilia's, showing that he was willing to listen.
"I…" Ilia said. "…I don't want to be thin again."
In all honestly, Link was a bit surprised by this. He knew Ilia also didn't care that much about being fat, but she was the only one who really warmed up to the idea and exercising and dieting. He didn't understand why she didn't want to be fit and trim like she used to be.
"It's just…" Ilia began. "…I know a lot of people want to be fit and stuff, but I actually want to be fat. I like being soft and heavy. To be perfectly honest, I also like wearing clothes that hardly fit me. But Father doesn't think it's proper for a young girl to be so…’obscene'. Anyway, I wanted to ask you something…" She paused and looked down at the ground before looking back at Link with a shy face. "…Would you…like me, even if I was fat again?"
Link didn't even need think before he blurted out: "Of course."
"…Really?" asked Ilia quietly.
Link smiled and nodded his head.
"Thanks…" she said, resting her head on Link's chest. "…you're too kind to me sometimes."
Link then went on to explain that he too liked being fat; he related to Ilia's feelings and told her how much better he felt his life was with the added weight; all while the two of them gently rubbed what they could of their smaller but still soft stomachs.
"I just wish we could be fat again…" Ilia moaned sleepily. "…and eat all that wonderful fruit until our stomachs burst."
Before Link allowed his eyes to flutter closed, something caught his attention. Down by the Mayor's house, a small mob had formed, consisting of the villager's adult men. Link had to let go of Ilia and move closer to the hill's edge to get a better look.
"What's going on?" Ilia asked, getting beside Link to watch with him.
Every man gathered down there was holding a gardening tool ranging from a pitch fork to a shovel. A few were also holding small torches, their orange flames glowing in the evening dusk. The Mayor seemed to be instructing them about something, only Link and Ilia were too far away to hear what he was saying.
"What do you think they're doing?" Ilia said.
Link shrugged with a concerned look on his face.
Mayor Bo then pointed toward the woods beyond the village gate. Then the group of men began walking together in that direction.
"They heading for the forest!" exclaimed Ilia. "You don't think…?" She stopped and looked at Link for an answer. Taking the shocked look on his face as enough of an answer, Ilia grabbed Link's arm and said: "Come on! We better get down there!"
Both of them took off down the hill and after the mob into forest. Luckily, they had managed to catch up to the group before they got too far away. They hid quietly behind one of the thick trees to see where they were heading.
"That's what I thought…" gasped Ilia, realizing the direction they were marching to. "Link, they're going to uproot the fruit bush!"
Link did the best he could to retain his shock for the moment.
"We have to stop them!" Ilia said. "I've got idea…I'll go out in front and distract them for as long as can. Meanwhile, you go to the grove and sneak as many berries as you can back to your house. Maybe there's a way we could plant them somewhere else. Think you can do it?"
Link donned a serious face and nodded.
"Okay," said Ilia. "You wait here for a bit until I hold them off."
Leaving Link behind the tree, Ilia ran after the group, her bare legs running swiftly across the dirt ground.
"Stop!" she yelled, standing before the mob with her arms out-stretched. "What do you think you're doing?"
"This fruit had terrorized our lives long enough!" yelled Hanch, waving his torch aggressively through the air. "It is time we take matters into our own hands!"
"Hanch, calm down," another man said.
Out of the crowd, Colin's father, Rusl, stepped forward, revealing himself to be the one who just spoke.
"Ilia, I'm afraid he's right," Rusl said. "We are on our way to destroy the mysterious bushel of fruit."
"But you can't!" Ilia exclaimed.
"This isn't your decision to make," Rusl continued. "The doctor in Castle Town has informed the Mayor that keeping this fruit is too dangerous, and we all agreed unanimously that it was for the good of you, our children."
"But this fruit is something new and special," Ilia said. "Should we…uh…not study it first before you destroy it? This may be the only plant of its kind. If you kill it, we may never know everything about it."
"I understand your concern," Rusl continued. "But, unfortunately, this fruit is too big of a temptation for you to ignore completely. The only way you and the others will get over your addiction is to cut off the source."
"But…uh…" stammered Ilia, trying to continue the argument.
"HEY! Link's heading for the grove!" Hanch cried, pointing his torch at the Hylian boy, who was trying his best to avoid detection. "Stop him!"
"RUN, LINK!" Ilia yelled.
She then charged at the crowd and proceeded to assault them; shoving whoever she could get her hands on to the ground and resisting their attempts to restrain her.
"Link!" she called out. "Go! I'll hold them off! Get to the fruit!"
Without hesitation, Link dashed off to the grove. Seeing this, most of the mob left Ilia behind and went after Link. He may have slimmed down, but Link was far from being perfectly fit, the men chasing after him were closing in fast. Link forced himself to run faster, ignoring the cramping in his legs as he ran through the woods.
The group was now about a foot away from catching Link, as he himself was close to burning out from exhaustion. Link could see the bush coming into view, but he knew he'd never make it in time. He was just about to give up when they all heard someone yell: "Hey! Over here!"
Link turned his head to the side and saw Talo and Colin, rolling their smaller but still quite rotund bodies toward the pursuing mob. They had very little time to react as both boys charged at the group, literally bowling them over. As the men tried to regain their footing, the young boys fought them to the ground again.
"Hurry, Link!" Talo said, among the roughhousing.
"Be strong!" yelled Colin.
Link continued to run, his heart was racing, his feet growing numb with strain, and his face gleaming with sweat. He was almost there, just a few more yards and he'd be at the grove. He was inches away from the perimeter when someone lunged at Link, dragging him to ground. It had been Fado who finally caught him. Link grunted as he fought and struggled to break free of his friend's grasp.
After kicking him aside, Link tried crawling his way to the bush, the luscious purple berries only several inches away. But as he stretched his arm out to try grabbing one, Fado made his move and grabbed Link's exposed arm and forced it behind his back, he then pressed one leg onto Link's back to fully restrain him.
Unable to think of anything else at this point, Link wiggled his free arm in a futile attempt to grab one of the berries; his mouth watering longingly.
"I'm sorry, Link…" grunted Fado. "…But we're only doing this…because we care about you."
Unfortunately, most of the mob had regrouped and had made it to the grove. Link figured the others were probably dealing with Ilia, Colin, and Talo. There was no point struggling anymore; it was over. Rusl approached the bush, holding a pitch fork in his hands. With a truly sympathetic look, he looked down at Link helplessly pinned to the ground by Fado.
"I'm sorry it had to end this way, Link," he said quietly. "But do you understand why now?"
Link did not answer the question, he only gazed up at Rusl with a pitiful look on his face; non-verbally begging him not to do it.
"Can't you see what this fruit has reduced you to?" Rusl asked. "You were once a brave man who selflessly saved this land from chaos. Now look at what's happened to you: you’ve become an unhealthy glutton who was willing to hurt his friends and loved ones just to have more to eat. I am sorry, Link. But we just can't bear to see you and the kids like this anymore."
With the same glum expression, Rusl turned his pitch fork to the ground, shoved it underneath the vines, then uprooted the mysterious and mystical plant from the earth; its vine-like roots dangling above Link's head. Rusl then set the small bush onto the ground beside the hole it once filled, set his pitch fork away from it, then grabbed a torch from the man next to him.
Link cringed at the sight of the events that were about to unfold.
Rusl lowered himself onto his knees, lowered the bright burning flame, and ignited the bush. The flame spread quickly around the vegetation in a short burst, causing some men to gasp. The bright, wet berries began to shrivel up like raisins as their delicious juice evaporated into steam, their vivid purple color turning into a repulsive shade of black.
Link could hardly contain himself any longer, he closed his eyes as tears started to form in them. The abundant sweat already on his face combined with the heat of the flame made his tears hardly noticeable at all.
Link was overcome with grief. Never again would he taste those sweet, delectable berries until he could eat no more. He'd never get to cuddle with Ilia like they could when they were fat. All that and more was now burning away in the bright fire in front of him.
But Link knew deep down that Rusl was right; the fruit had changed him and his friends in more ways than one. While it gave Link a chance to enjoy being plus-sized and even allowed him and Ilia to grow even closer together, it was not without consequence. He had defied the wisdom of his fellow villagers, forcing him to retaliate without half-hardly realizing it.
But was it really right to give up all those good feelings, Link asked himself. If being fat was so wrong, why did he and his friends enjoy it so much? Had he really changed so much that it had to cause the destruction of this new form of plant life? What would have happened if the bush wasn't burned? Would he have kept on eating his fill, even if it meant an early grave, or would he have learned to control himself?
All these questions ran through Link's mind as he lay awake that night in his bed. His stomach growled hungrily as he tried to engrave the sweet taste of the mysterious fruit into his memory. Yet even then, it had already begun to slip away like a euphoric dream.
* * *
"Come on, Link," Fado yelled up at Link's house. "Up and at 'em! Y'know, I'm getting pretty tired of waking you up every morning!"
Soon enough, Link appeared in the window, half-asleep but still awake, waving to signal he was on his way.
It had been a few weeks since the villagers had destroyed the strange fruit, and Link, Ilia, Talo, and Colin had all shrunk back to their original sizes. The lack of addictive fruit allowed them to focus more on their exercises. Once again, everything had returned to normal.
Despite his over-whelming grief, Link soon started feeling better. Without the effects of the fruit clouding his mind, Link was able to realize how foolish he had behaved. With each passing day, he was reminded of all the things he was still fortunate enough to have: a peaceful home, a loving girlfriend, and friends who cared about him. But even so, looking down at his flat and tight stomach as he got dressed in his signature tunic made him sigh with discontentment.
But this didn't last long when he went down to his basement and opened the chest hidden under the floor boards. Its contents made a small smile grow across Link's face, as a memory of an overweight Ilia triggered in his mind.
"…I think I've had enough for today. Still, it would be a shame to let it go to waste…Why don't you take it home with you. Incase you get hungry in the middle of the night…"
Inside the chest was the half-eaten purple fruit that Link had forgotten all about until the bush was burned. He had found it stashed under his bed only a few nights ago. Link's first thought was to eat the leftover berry, until he discovered the little leaves that had started to sprout from the berry's stem. He then decided to hide it in his basement to see if it would continue to grow. Slowly but surely, a thin green vine started growing out from the berry.
Maybe…just maybe, Link thought to himself. That bush of delicious fruit will grow again someday.