Guardians

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Link hoists himself onto Epona's back, hooking his boots in the stirrups in the process. You follow his lead and hop on Ginger before watching him consult the map expectantly. 

"It looks like the quarry guarded by the guardians is only on the south side of the spring," Link observes, furrowing his brows and squinting slightly in concentration as he studies the topography. "We can head directly there from here and avoid them."

"Sounds like a plan," you say and dig your heals into your steed, giving him the command to move at a slow walk towards the edge of the top of the hill. Link hooks his Sheikah Slate on his belt and follows you. 

Looking down the path, you are just now noting how steep the hills are down. This gives you an idea.

"Race you," you give Link a smirk and flick your reins. Before he could fully process what you said, you were already barreling down the slopes, pulling into the lead by a landslide. Link scoffs a laugh and yells the verbal command for Epona to gallop after you.

Because of your ridiculous lead and Epona's reluctant oblige to spur, you win the race. Your grin widens as you approach the spring at great speeds, but upon seeing the sharp drop down into the spring, you tug back on Ginger's reins abruptly. 

Ginger scrapes his hooves against the dirt and rears back on his hind legs with a loud neigh, nearly forcing you to fall backward. You heave a heavy sigh of relief as Ginger steadies himself again. You peer over the edge and gaze at the goddess statue surrounded by a pool of water, just like the spring you remembered. 

Hearing Link approach behind you engages you to turn around and watch him also bring his horse to a stop. His eyes land on you and sees your expression. He sighs and looks away with an involuntary smile spreading across his face. He was living for your victorious smirk, but he will never admit it. 

"Two for two," you cheekily remark. 

"This doesn't count," Link argues and dismounts Epona.

"Does it?" you challenge and jump off Ginger with a soft thump on the wet grass. 

"You had a head start," he points a finger at you.

"A win is a win," you stand your ground as he approaches you. A swooping feeling develops in Link as you stare at each other. His eyes flicker down to your lips for a fraction of a second. 

"Whatever," he turns away with a pink tinge on his cheeks. He stopped himself just in time before he acted upon an impulse. "Let's get to the entrance."

You follow his lead and circle around the spring to the entrance hidden by a curtain of leaves. Link parts the vines and steps in, holding them back for you to step through as well. You briefly thank him and look around the stone hall. 

The ruins were enveloped in the splashing of cascading waterfalls. It smelled incredibly fresh of damp stone. You take in a deep breath through your nose and savor the smell.

Behind you, Link's pace slows as he takes in the pillars and ancient, unlit torches. Extreme nostalgia overcomes him that was unrelated to the captured memory. The architecture around him was imprinted in his brain long ago. He passed these same pillars and walls in a faint memory before, lifetimes ago. 

The two of you climb the steps and stop just in front of the statue across the waters, stepping in the sunlight once again. The pool had flowered water lilies drifting on the surface, dipping in and out of the shade of two tall trees on either side of the statue. Beside you, Link retrieves his Sheikah Slate and turns to the album. It doesn't take long before the scenery jogs his memory.

You patiently wait as he slowly brings himself back to the present. His face falls and his eyes focus on the ground beneath his feet. He, without a doubt, remembered a similar memory you did.

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