Beefing Up
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"Beefing Up" Part 1

Beefing Up

By: Hey You

Author's Note: This is a weird, goof-around story I wrote just for the sake of it. It gets better after the first part, so don't quit on me. Thanks!

Part One: Kokiri Forest

Chapter One

The early morning sun trickled through the window of the tree house and cast its rays on a young man curled up and asleep on the tiny wood bed. A moment later he opened his blue eyes and yawned. Drowsily, he sat up and stretched his arms high over his blonde head. He was wondering what to eat for breakfast when he glanced over to a table at the foot of the bed. Surprisingly, a pewter plate sat on it, piled high with fruits, breads and pieces of meat. Next to it was a full drinking bottle of milk. That's strange, he thought, eying the food. Where did all that come from? He couldn't figure it out but it looked good. He quickly devoured it all then stepped out onto the porch.

It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly, warming the earth. Birds soared in the cloudless blue sky above. A light breeze rustled the leaves of the trees. Everything smelled fresh and new. It seemed as if nothing could ruin it. He climbed leisurely down a ladder to the ground. The path he now stood on went over a rise where it met a fence and then separated to go in opposite directions. He walked to the fence, put his hands on it, and swung himself over. In front of him, a small pond fed by a miniature waterfall shimmered in the sunlight. The young man pulled off his boots and placed his bare feet in the cool water. He wiggled his toes and sighed contentedly. He closed eyes, lifting his face to the sky. He wasn't tired but he was so comfortable on the lush turf that he could have fallen asleep- if it hadn't been for the gruff voice that suddenly boomed behind him. "Is your name Link?" the voice demanded.

He scrambled up and turned to look at the speaker. A tall, very muscular man stood before him. He was probably in his forties already. His tanned face was slightly wrinkled. His unkempt black hair shot at all angles on his head and his hard brown eyes glared icily. "Uh, well I - I, uh," he stammered. "Yeah, I - I'm Link." The big man gave him a half smile. A very smug smile.

"So, did you enjoy your breakfast?" he asked, his tone not as frightening. The young man, Link, wasn't sure what to say. He had enjoyed breakfast. Was this the person who had made it for him? He nodded slowly. "Good. My name is Ithamar, and I made it especially for this occasion." Link was getting confused. There was no occasion that he knew of. Ithamar must have noticed the question in Link's face. He explained, "Today is the big day. Your application has been accepted. We start in a half hour."

With that said, he turned and walked away. Link watched him leave, dazed. What is going on? My application for what? He hoped an answer would come to him, but none did. Well, I guess I'll find out in half an hour.

Chapter Two

When half an hour had gone by, Ithamar returned to the pond where Link was still pondering his words. "OK, it's time to get started," Ithamar announced as he rubbed his big hands together. Link gulped, almost afraid to ask his question.

"Um, start what? What did I apply for?"

Ithamar raised a bushy eyebrow. "What? You're telling me you don't know or something? You applied for training." He made it sound like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I'm going to beef you up."

"What?!" Link cried, then slapped his hand over his mouth. He hadn't meant to shout. But he had never applied for any training. He looked down at his bright green tunic and white tights. He was scrawny underneath all of that. But I don't want to beef up! he told himself. There's no reason to.

"Listen kid," Ithamar went on. "I got an application for long-term training from Link of the Kokiri Forest. That's you, you already said so. Now stop gawking and listen up. Here are your instructions for today. See that?" He pointed to the fence. "Go jump over it." Link wanted to know how long long-term was but Ithamar's steel gaze told him he should asklater and obey now. He approached the fence, placed his hands on it and swung himself over like he had earlier. "No, no,no." Ithamar shook his head. "Don't hop over it. Jump it!"

"Uh, OK." Link retreated a few step then ran toward the fence. Right in front of it, he lifted both his feet in the air. A split second later he slammed into the ground. He looked up. At least he had gone over the fence. Ithamar gave a loud snort.

"Well, you jumped it. Try it again. And this time land on your feet." Embarrassment burned in Link's face. He could feel his ears turning a rosy shade of red. He stood and ran at the fence again. Only he didn't raise his feet high enough and they caught on the top board. His head crashed to the ground, his legs staying up on the fence. A big, hardy laugh exploded from Ithamar. "I see I'm going to have to work harder on you than my other trainees." Link was sure his head would burst into flames any moment. Now he was angry as well embarrassed. I'll show him. I can do this if I really want to. Determined to get it right, he got up and once more jumped the fence. And this time he did land on his feet. He grinned, feeling relieved that he hadn't messed up again. Ithamar slapped him on the back, nearly toppling him over. "Very good. Now just do that until lunch and we will move on."

"Until lunch?!" Link could hardly believe what he had heard. "Are you trying to work me to death?"

"Hey, it's all part of beefing up. Now get jumping."

Finally, the sun was directly overhead and the two stopped for lunch. Link flopped to the grass, breathing hard while Ithamar went to get some food. He felt as if he had been working an eternity. His limbs were like rubber; he could hardly move them. His muscles ached and his throat was as dry as sand. Deciding he couldn't wait for Ithamar, he put his lips to the clear water of the pond and took several gulps so big he almost choked on them. Ithamar came back a short time later. He carried a leather sack in each hand. He held one out to Link and said, "Here. This is your lunch. You have an hour to eat it and let it settle until we start again." Link took the sack and forced himself not to groan. The last thing we wanted to do was jump fences or whatever else his new trainer had in mind. He opened the sack and found a loaf of barley bread, an apple, an orange, and a section of meat along with a bottle of water. As he started on the bread he asked, "How long is the long-term training?"

"What? Can't you read? It was on the application form."

"I forgot exactly how long." Link lied.

"It shouldn't be hard to remember," Ithamar replied between bites of apple. "Three years." The bread in Link's mouth caught in his throat and he coughed.

"Three years?" he repeated weakly. "I can't do this for three years." Ithamar shrugged his massive shoulders.

"Sorry, you have to. You signed the form, you can't go back now. Besides," He took a sip of water, "you could use some beefing up." Link looked at the tip of his boots. Three entire years? He couldn't keep working so hard every dayfor so long. It was a waste of time anyway. He would probably faint if he had to work anymore today. They finished theirlunches and Link lay in the grass to get some rest before having to start again. He didn't think he could sleep, but as soon ashe closed his eyes he drifted off.

Chapter Three

Link awoke to Ithamar's gruff voice telling him to get up. He rubbed his eyes and slowly stood. He did not feel at all rested. He still ached from jumping and even more from falling. He hoped he looked pathetic enough that Ithamar might let him stop for the day. But the big man didn't seem to notice. "All right, here's what we're doing next," Ithamar told him. "We're going to do something that requires a little less physical activity but it's not any easier." Link let out a sigh a relief. Anything other jumping would suit him at the moment. Ithamar ran his finger along the top of the fence. "This is pretty thin, but the tougher the better. What you're going to do is walk along the top of this to help you learn to balance better." Link's jaw dropped open. He wanted protest but Ithamar gave him that steel look again. So he put his feet up on the fence and shakily stood upright. He took a few steps forward, his arms held out. On his next step he slipped and fell, landing hard. "Doik," he moaned. "Get up." Ithamar commanded. "Try again. You've got to be able to go from one end to the other and back."

Why? Link thought angrily. What kind of training is this supposed to be anyway? But rather than speaking his thoughts and getting into trouble, he climbed back onto the fence. After several attempts, he was able to walk the length of the fence twice. "Hah!" he whooped as he sprang off the fence. "I did it!" Pleased with himself, he grinned at Ithamar. "I think I did well for today."

"Nope." Ithamar objected. "You've got to keep on balancing until dinner."

When the two had eaten their meals and relaxed for a while, Ithamar informed Link that they were ready for the hardest part yet. Link shuddered at the idea of something harder than what he had already accomplished. He wished he could go home and sleep for a couple of weeks. He hated his training and hated even more the fact that he didn't know why he had to do it. He never remembered filling out any application form. And now he had to "beef up" for the next three years.

"You're going to balance on the fence as before and backflip off," instructed Ithamar. Link had to use all his strength left to keep from screaming. Backflipping off the fence? That was absurd! He had never been very good at flipping, much less flipping backwards. A million things that he would rather do rushed into his mind at once. He began checking each thing off. I would rather fall off a cliff, I would rather eat worms, I would rather go swimming while it snows, I would rather shave my head. "OK, get to it!" Ithamar said impatiently. Reluctantly Link mounted the fence. For a moment he was still. He wasn't exactly sure how to do this. But he had to for the time being. He pushed off with his feet and flung himself backwards. Grass then sky then grass again whizzed past him. Touching down with a thud, he looked for approval from Ithamar. The big man just shrugged and told him he could have been more graceful. Link clamped his jaw tightly and bit his tongue to keep from complaining. He continued to laboriously flip off the fence until the sun dipped below the horizon. By then, he was surprised he made it up the ladder of his tree house. He lay on the bed, and as he closed his eyes, he knew he would be sore tomorrow like he had never been sore before.