Shadow and Light 1: Princess Tears by Red Sparrow
Summary: Shadow and Light. Good and Evil. They are only words. A Princess loses her savior and descends into the abyss, taking Hyrule down with her. (WARNING: Graphic Violence and Strong Language)
Categories: Fan Fiction Characters: Zelda
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Shadow and Light
Chapters: 14 Completed: Yes Word count: 18745 Read: 55981 Published: Jan 19, 2005 Updated: Feb 08, 2005

1. Shadow Revealed by Red Sparrow

2. Anniversary! by Red Sparrow

3. Good Night by Red Sparrow

4. Saria's Link by Red Sparrow

5. Reunion by Red Sparrow

6. The Split Up by Red Sparrow

7. Flashback by Red Sparrow

8. Another Roadblock by Red Sparrow

9. A Set-up by Red Sparrow

10. Link's Decision by Red Sparrow

11. A Set-Up (Part Two) by Red Sparrow

12. Fallen Leaf by Red Sparrow

13. Wisdom Versus Courage by Red Sparrow

14. Waking the Wind by Red Sparrow

Shadow Revealed by Red Sparrow
“Perhaps I have been wrong all these years. I’ve gone and done the very opposite of what I had set out to do. I’ve done things that I would’ve thought was decadence back then. Yes...back then. I’m tied to destiny. It’s these things I find in my thoughts that keep me going. I know I can’t change history, nor do I think that I can succeed without harming others. This is my ambition: To save my people from the wasteland...from the home the goddesses cursed us with.”

--Ganondorf Dragmire
==================================


Shadow and Light
By: Red Sparrow

Intro:

Footsteps echo along a dark alley. The steps were frantic. The sky was black, no stars. No sun. No moon. There was no telling what time of day it was.

“No...Please!” a young boy’s frantic cry echoes down the alley. The boy was running from something. There was fear in his eyes. He was covered with blood. His eyes were wet from crying the entire time. Behind him, a figure in cloak walked lazily after him, a dark silhouette of his death.

The boy ran into a dead end. He clawed the wall frantically, crying and sobbing. The figure behind him stopped. The boy turned around his eyes widened, “Please...Princess Zelda, don’t!” The figure removed its hood to reveal Zelda’s face. There was nothing but insanity in her eyes. She spoke, “Don’t beg. I know you did it. You killed him. You killed LINK!!!”

The boy curled up into a ball, sobbing “No, please! I didn’t!!”

Zelda grinned evilly, “And now...you shall die along with everyone else who took my future away from me.”

Another dark shadow appeared behind her, the shadowy figure’s eyes glowed with a fierce red. It wasn’t Hylian. It was some sort of monster. Its wings spread as it growled menacingly. The boy whimpered again. Zelda said slowly, coldly, “You shall die for your crimes against Hyrule.”

She glanced back at the monster behind her and said in a cutting tone, “Volvagia, Kill!”

The boy screamed. Volvagia lunged.

Blood...

Darkness...
Anniversary! by Red Sparrow
“I often wonder what I’ve been doing all these years. I wonder if it’s worth it. I wonder what I would do if I were to get caught. Where would I go? What would I do? This is my mess, and I’ve dragged many souls down with it. I shall fix my mistakes. I shall undue my childish actions.

...What am I saying? I must wait...I can’t act yet, can I?

...Seven years...It’s just too long a wait.”

--Zelda
=====================


Chapter One
“Anniversary!”

The sky was bright and peaceful. The birds were singing. There was a soft rustle of grass as a pair of boots flattened the grass with each brisk step. It was Link.

Link smiled at everyone around him. He was very popular. Of course there was no mistaking why. He was a hero. He had saved Hyrule from destruction time and again.

Link was wearing an arm sling and had a bandage wrapped tightly around his forehead, but that didn’t stop him from feeling like he was on top of the world.

Finally, he had reached his destination. The castle courtyard, this was the place where it all began. More importantly, this was the place where he met Zelda.

Zelda was standing there as she was 7 years ago, looking into the window. Link smiled and stepped forward. Zelda heard the sound and turned around, “Who are you? What are you doing here?” she said jokingly, thinking of the time they first met.

Link played along, “I’m here because the Great Deku Tree sent me, are you Princess Zelda?”

She walked forward and gave him a soft kiss on the lips, “Yes, I am...happy 7th anniversary.”

Link smiled back, “Has it been that long?”

Zelda nodded, “Yeah, it was so long ago! Wait...don’t say that! You’re making me feel old!”

They both laughed.

Link reached behind his back and pulled out a small black box, “Here, happy anniversary!”

Zelda’s eyes lit up as she took the box and opened it, inside was a plain, yet beautiful silver ring, engraved in it were the words ‘Forever Your Hero”.

Zelda beamed, she placed the ring on her finger, “Is this what I think it is?”

Link blushed, “Well, uh...”

Zelda laughed, “I’m kidding...I know, a princess can only marry those of royal descent. But...it’s still a nice thought, though.”

They both thought of the possibility of getting married, but they knew it was only a dream, nothing more.

“Here!” Zelda said, holding out a box with a tarp on it. “I hope you like it!”

Link took the box and pulled the tarp off, then opened it slowly. He jumped in surprise as a little winged dragon popped its head out of a hole in the box.

“Aw...it’s so cute, look at the little wings!” Link said, talking to the tiny dragon, which blew out a small fireball, scorching Link’s face. Luckily it was still too weak to do anything harmful. Link blinked and laughed.

“What’s its name?” Link asked. Zelda thought for a second and replied, “I think its name is Volvagia or something.”

“Volvagia? What kind of name is that?” Link thought again, “Wait a minute, isn’t that what the dragon at the Fire Temple was named?”

Zelda shrugged, “Who knows? Maybe it’s a popular dragon name?”

Volvagia let out a coo and fluttered up with its tiny wings, landing on Link’s head. “Aw, see Link? She likes you already!”

Link smiles nervously, “Ok, you can stay there. As long as you don’t go to the bathroom on my head, its cool.”

LATER THAT DAY...

Link and Zelda were at Lake Hylia, having a picnic. Volvagia was chasing the butterflies around, squeaking and cooing at them.

Zelda looks at Link’s arm sling and finally asked, “So, are you feeling better?”

Link looks at his arm, “Yeah. I can’t believe I’m still alive, though.”

Zelda looked down at the ground for a moment, “I thought you were going to die, Link. He seemed really strong.”

Link put his working arm around her, “Its alright now, Shadow Link is gone. He won’t come by anymore.”

Zelda closed her eyes, “Link, have you ever wondered why he was so intent on killing you?” Link shook his head, “No, he was my opposite, he was evil, I was good. There doesn’t have to be a reason.”

Link saw where this conversation was taking their picnic, so he changed the subject, “Anyways, let’s just forget it. We’ll leave the past behind us. Plus, it’s getting pretty hot. How’d you like to go for a little swim?”

Zelda smiled, “You’ve read my mind.”

Meanwhile, within the Kokiri Forest...

Saria opened her eyes slowly. She was inside the Forest Temple. She knew something was wrong. It was as if everything in the world went haywire. She had felt a shiver run up her spine, and then she had fainted. She breathed slowly, but her breathing was shaky. As she was trying to catch her breath, she stood up slowly, using the wall to help prop her up. She said quietly, “Something’s up, and whatever’s going to happen, it’s not good.”

Saria took a step forward, but her knees buckled and she collapsed again, she lay there for awhile, trying her best to catch her breath. Her recent premonition was intense. Images had blown so fast before her eyes that she couldn’t make anything out.

Her body trembled, “I think....that almost killed me!” She said, astonished. Her body wasn’t built to handle such stress.

Then, another image flashed before her eyes, she started to fade away again, she whispered softly, trying to drag her way outside, “...Link.”
Good Night by Red Sparrow
“If you find Link, please tell him that once...Saria had really...really liked him a lot.”

--Mido
============================


Chapter Two
“Good Night”

“Saria?” there was a voice calling out to her. Saria slowly opened her eyes to see all the other Kokiri crowded around her. She was lying on the grass outside of her house, there was a wet towel draped over her forehead.

She sat up, “How did I-” one of the Kokiri raised their hand and pointed at Mido, “He found you lying on the ground in the Forest Temple.”

Mido looked away.

Kiri, the Kokiri doctor, helped steady her, “What happened in there?”

Saria’s eyes widened as she remembered what had happened, “I need to go.”

Kiri, along with the other Kokiri asked, “Why? Where are you going?”

Saria stood up, brushing the dirt off her tunic, “To Hyrule Castle.” With that, she began to walk.

Mido stood up and grabbed her, “You can’t!” Saria turned and looked at Mido, “Why?”

Mido looked away, unable to look her in the eye, “Because...”

Saria broke loose, “I’m sorry, Mido. But I have to...please understand. It’s for Link’s sake.”

Mido gritted his teeth and said, “He’s not a Kokiri, why do you love him so much?!”

Saria stopped. Everyone went quiet. Saria said, without turning to face Mido, “...because unlike you, Mido. Link means the world to me...even if he doesn’t know it.”

There wasn’t a single attempt to stop her as Saria walked through the opening tunnel which leads out of Kokiri Forest.

It was dark now, fortunately, everything was lit up majestically by the bright moon. The stars only add to the atmosphere. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky.

Zelda and Link were standing outside the castle entrance. They walked past a guard whom had opened the gate for them. They were chatting and telling jokes. Volvagia had fallen asleep, and Zelda was cradling her in her arms.

Soon they neared their destination, the main castle’s front door. “Well, Link. I had a great time.” Link smiled, “Me, too.”

They both looked down at the sleeping baby dragon. Zelda looked at Link, “Here, she’s yours remember?” Link thought about it and said, “She’s sleeping, and I don’t really have anything I can use to take care of her. How about I pick her up tomorrow? That way, I’d get some dragon stuff and whatever they eat.”

Zelda smiled, looking down at Volvagia, the baby was purring and making little cute sounds in its sleep. “Oh...well, alright. I was going to ask you anyways, but it didn’t feel right.”

“So, I’ll see you tomorrow?” Link asked. “...Of course!” Zelda replied.

They kissed and bid each other goodnight.

Link walked back down the path, passing the guard, the guard smiled and sighed, muttering something about young love, when Link just collapsed right in front of him.

The guard left his post and rushed up to Link, “Sir, are you alright?”

Link shook his head, blinking and trying to get himself together, “Huh...yeah, I’m...I’m fine.”

The guard helped Link up, “You sure?”

Link turned and gave the guard his famous smile, “Of course!”

Suddenly, Link fell forward, The guard reached up to catch Link, but before he even touched, Link fell through the guard—literally, and faded into thin air.

The guard stood with a confused look, “The hell?!”

The guard drew his sword, looking around quickly, he slowly backed up, not knowing what exactly was going on, he finally got the idea of informing his superiors about this. He quickly bolted for the castle, praying to the goddesses that he wouldn’t share Link’s fate. Whatever that may be...
Saria's Link by Red Sparrow
“I try to tell myself that I can keep going, maybe for what it’s worth...I’ll be remembered. I’m called the Hero of Time...yet I still don’t know what that really means. I’m not much of a hero. I try to do what I think is right. I try to right the wrongs. I...try to survive. I can transcend time...yet I still can’t transcend destiny.”

-Link
===================================


Chapter 3
“Saria’s ‘Link’”


Zelda stood within the deepest chambers of the hidden Temple of Sages. Books lined the walls of the dimly lit room. Across from her, Rauru, the Sage of Light, was looking through various old scrolls, there was a knock on the iron door, Zelda and Rauru glanced at the door as the other sages, all wearing cloaks of different designs, entered.

Zelda shuts one of the books she was looking at and nodded at each of them while they filed into the room.

“I take it that you’ve all heard the news?” Zelda asked. One of the sages removed their hood, to reveal Impa’s face. Impa nodded, “We all came as soon as we could.”

Rauru straightened out, “I assume all sages are present?”

Impa nodded, “Impa, Sage of Shadow, present.”

The other sages nodded from under their hoods, and answered the role call.

“Darunia,” Darunia removed his hood, “Sage of Fire.”

“Nabooru,” Nabooru followed Darunia’s example, “Sage of Spirit, here.”

“Ruto,” Ruto said, “Sage of Water, at your service.”

Zelda looked around, “We’re missing Saria.” The others glanced towards the door. There was no sound of anyone approaching. Impa shook her head, “Princess...”

Ruto and Zelda looked up. Impa sighed, “Princess Zelda,” Ruto shrugged, and Impa continued “Saria is a Kokiri, and leaving the forest will mean death to a Kokiri.”

Zelda nodded, agreeing, “Oh, I’m sorry...I’ve forgotten.”

Suddenly, there was a creak as the last cloaked sage stepped through its opening, Zelda and the newcomer stood there, looking at each other. All the other sages knew of the silent rivalry between these two. They both wanted Link’s Love...and only one was the true winner.

“Saria...” Zelda began, but was interrupted. Saria finished the sentence, pulling back her hood, “Sage of Forest, present.”

They both stood there for a long time, neither moving nor making a sound. The silence that enveloped the room was terrible.

Saria, Link’s life-long friend, who had secretly loved Link for a long time now, was looking at the girl who took him away. Zelda, the Princess of Destiny, who couldn’t marry anyone without royal blood, decided in her heart to love Link anyways.

One knew, because of her child-like appearance, she wouldn’t have a chance, the other knew that she and Link couldn’t marry and have a family.

“Saria,” Zelda said, “have you realized what you’ve done?”

Saria was silent, contemplating Zelda’s words. Finally, she looked up and said, “Yes...I, like Link, have given up my childhood. I’m not going to be a child forever anymore. I’ve given it a lot of thought...and I’ve realized that, staying a child and living forever wouldn’t be worth it, if it took away my chance at being happy.”

Zelda’s eyes met Saria’s, the two girls silently hated each other, they had tried their best to get along, but they had hurt each other’s hearts for much too long to even be friends.

Rauru cleared his throat, hoping to break the tension, “Ahem...as you all know, Link, the Hero of Time, has disappeared. There have been no trace, and an eye-witness reports that he simply vanished into thin air. Does anyone here have a theory as to what may have happened?”

Zelda and Saria broke their silent gaze and looked at Rauru, Saria spoke, “I do.”

All eyes turned to Saria, “I had a premonition. It told me Link was taken to someplace no normal being can go to. The Great Deku Tree had told me about this place, Link is in another place: A parallel version.”

Ruto tilted her head to one side, “What do you mean ’parallel’? Like an alternate world?”

Zelda asked, “You mean, like an opposite world to ours? Like a shadow version of Hyrule?”

Saria nodded, “Yes, Princesses, that’s right. Only, it isn’t a complete opposite.”

Darunia crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall, “Explain.”

“Well,” Saria began, she took out a coin. Both sides had the same icon: a Triforce, “Link hasn’t actually gone to another world, but another Reality. There are two realities involved in this. They are both linked together, like this coin.”

Saria turned the coin and revealed that one side had a few scratches while the other was relatively clean. “Even though they are alike, both have many differences about them.”

Impa joined in on the discussion, “So Link is in a shadow version of our ‘reality’?”

Saria flipped the coin and caught it, stowing it into her cloak. She reached over and picked up an object resting on the table beside her. “Here, this will explain it better.”

She showed everyone the object, an hourglass, “Lets say our reality is like this: An hourglass. The side with the most sand prospers, while the one with less is driven into shadow: The Shadowed Reality. Right now, this reality is basically prosperous. But once, like during Ganondorf’s reign, this world would be considered the shadow world.”

“Eventually, though...” Saria turned the hourglass. Sand started to pour into one side, soon emptying out the other completely. “If one side falls too far into shadow, it is destroyed. If that were to happen, both realities will be destroyed.” Saria set the hourglass back down.

“Why’s that?” Zelda asked.

“Because...” Saria said, “When theres light, theres shadow. If theres good, theres evil. If one side were to disappear, the other one would simply not exist.”

Rauru nodded, as if already knowing this, “...which means we’ll have to find a way to bring him back.”

Saria nodded, “We’ll have to send one of us to get him back, I know how...”

Ruto smiled, knowing the answer, “Through the Sacred Realm?”

The others looked at her, surprised. She looked at the others, “What? Just because I spend most of my life underwater, doesn’t mean I’m stupid.”

Nabooru closed her eyes and said, “So...the Sacred Realm is the link in the hourglass. It’s a ‘link’ to our Link.”
Reunion by Red Sparrow
“How many days has it been, Link? I’m tired of this...I can’t stand this. You say it’s only been three days? Of course, it always will be...

...I’m sick of it, and I know you are, too. We know what happens while we try to help someone. We know what happens while we're within yet another dungeon.

...The old lady is getting mugged.

...Kafei dies.

...The ranch is pillaged.

...But we both know we can’t be in two places at once. We help them, only to set back the clock once more and become yet another uncaring passerby. It’s hard.”

--Tatl
===========================


Chapter 4
“A Reunion”


Link’s eyes slowly opened, his head was beating like a drum. He held his head and groaned, “Ow...what hit me?”

Link’s eyes adjusted and he saw someone before him, Link squinted, and as his vision cleared, Link jumped back with shock.

The person in front of him walked up to him, it leaned in to reveal Saria’s face. A much more adult looking Saria, she no longer had the body of a 10 year old, but a young teenage girl. Saria spoke, her voice more mature, “Link...”

Her eyes watered as she cried, she wrapped her arms around him. “Thank Nayru you’re still alive! I’ve brought you back just in time!”

Link didn’t know what to think, “...what...what happened to you?”

Saria held Link close, “So, you’ve noticed? I...I left the Kokiri Forest so I could...so I could...” Saria let go of Link, she shook her head, “No, don’t worry...it’s nothing.”

Link shook his head, “What do you mean, ‘it’s nothing’? You left the forest!”

Saria cried, “It was for you, Link. You’ve been gone for six years. Six long years...”

“Six years...?” Link repeated this to himself, “Where’s Zelda?!”

Saria looked extremely hurt,

Even after all I’ve sacrificed, he still loves her?

“Zelda...she...” Saria couldn’t get the words out. Link grabbed Saria, shaking her, “What happened to her!?” Saria sobbed quietly, “She...Zelda went insane. She’s killed a lot of people, Link. She’s torn Hyrule apart, looking for your killer ever since everyone thought we’d lost you forever.”

Link couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “The sages...what about the others?”

Saria looked down, “They were all killed. Zelda did it.”

Link was speechless. He couldn’t believe any of this. How could this happen? This must be a dream.

He glanced at his hands, he finally noticed that his sling was gone, his arm had healed. He didn’t have the bandage wrapped around his head anymore. But he didn’t think about this for long. “I’m going after her!” Link said, getting up and running for the exit. “...Link! Don’t! Please!!”

Link disappeared through the broken doors leading to the outside world. Saria collapsed to her knees, “...I love you...” Saria whispered, even though Link wasn’t there to hear it.

The Hyrule before him was in even worse shape than the Hyrule of Ganon’s reign. Everything was in shambles. The sky was dark. There were no stars, no sun, no moon. You couldn’t tell what time of day it was.

Link looked around, he saw a small sword impaled into a skeleton. The skeleton was hanging on the side of the building. The bottom portion of the skeleton was either severed off or had fallen off during its rotting period. Link grabbed the hilt of the sword and yanked it free, the sword was rusty, but it was still in one piece. The skeleton, with nothing holding it up, fell and crumpled at Link’s feet.

Link quickly picked a random direction and ran. He didn’t know what he would do if he found her, he wasn’t even sure if he would, he just ran.

He passed house after house, and each told the same story, Death.

Finally, as he reached a part of town he’d never seen before, the killings looked more recent. The smell was so strong, Link gagged on it. The ground was soaked with blood. Link tried not to think about it too much.

As he passed yet another bloodied house, he heard something. Link readied himself and entered the tattered ruin that used to be a home.

Inside he saw signs of a fresh kill, there were two bodies before him with severed heads. The saddest part was, they were only infants. Across the room was the parent, Link couldn’t tell for sure, because all he saw were shreds of flesh and bone, along with clothing.

Link backed away from the sickening sight. That was when he heard that noise again. It was like a brushing of cloth, followed by a soft creak.

Link slowly turned and he stumbled back in shock, he backed up into a wall. There, before him was the mother of the house, she was hanging on the wall, pinned to it by a knife through her head. Blood dripped from the open wound. The body was swinging lightly in the awful death filled breeze. The knife creaked softly as the body swung, the blade holding fast to the wall. The cloth of the victim’s tattered clothes brushed against the wall. The victim’s mouth was hanging open, her eyes open as well. She died screaming.

Link fell on his knees and threw up.

This was something that would even make Ganondorf sick to his stomach.

Link stumbled out of the house, taking heavy breaths. Was Zelda really capable of doing something like this?

There was a clatter of footsteps coming from an alley across from him. There, he saw one small figure running past, along with another figure slowly stalking it.

Link, grasped his sword tightly and ran towards the scene, as he neared, however, Link slowed down.

Link listened. The steps were frantic. Then as soon as Link built up his courage, he rushed in.

“No...Please!” a young boy’s frantic cry echoes down the alley. The boy was running from something. There was fear in his eyes. He was covered with blood. His eyes were wet from crying the entire time. Behind him, a figure in a cloak walked lazily after him, a dark silhouette of his death.

The boy ran into a dead end. He clawed the wall frantically, crying and sobbing. The figure behind him stopped. The boy turned around his eyes widened, “Please...Princess Zelda, don’t!” The figure removed its hood to reveal Zelda’s face. There was nothing but insanity in her eyes. She spoke, “Don’t beg. I know you did it. You killed him. You killed LINK!!!”

The boy curled up into a ball, sobbing “No, please! I didn’t!!”

Zelda grinned evilly, “And now...you shall die along with everyone else who took my future away from me.”

Another dark shadow appeared behind her, the shadowy figure’s eyes glowed with a fierce red. It wasn’t Hylian. It was some sort of monster. Its wings spread as it growled menacingly. The boy whimpered again. Zelda said slowly, coldly, “You shall die for you crimes against Hyrule.”

She glanced back at the monster behind her and said in a cutting tone, “Volvagia, Kill!”

The boy screamed. Volvagia lunged.

Blood...

Darkness...

The blood dripped slowly, splattering onto the cobblestone-lined ground. There was a slow gurgle that broke the silence. The boy looked up slowly. There, in front of him was Link. Link had his blade jammed through Volvagia’s throat. Link planted his boot on the dragon’s belly and booted the dragon loose from his sword.

Volvagia fell before Zelda with a loud thud, dead.

Zelda looked down at her fallen companion, and then her eyes slowly took in an image she thought she had lost forever.

Zelda spoke softly, “...Link?”

Link looked at her, he took in what Zelda had become, a murderer. Had she kept this killing up for six straight years?

Zelda dropped a knife she was carrying, “You came back to me...”

Link pointed his weapon at Zelda, “Stay back.” Link said with the same spiteful look he gave Ganondorf.

Zelda gave him a absolutely confused look, “What? Why? Do you have to go away again?! Is that boy making you go away again?! I’ll kill him, Link!! I’ll save you, Link!!”

The boy held on to Link, hiding behind him, trembling in fear.

Link held the kid close with his free hand, “No...I-“

Link was interrupted as a gust of wind blew in from nowhere. Leaves were suddenly abundant, blowing every which way.

And there, in the middle of all the commotion, Saria appeared. She extended her palm at Zelda and yelled, “Get Away!!” Blowing Zelda back with a quick gust of wind, followed by a flurry of forest leaves. Saria ran towards Link, “C’mon! We have to go now! Take my hand!”

Saria extended her hand, running towards Link as Zelda stood back up, fury in her eyes. The boy held on to Link tightly, closing his eyes as the leaves blinded him. Zelda crossed her arms and a small, but intensified ball of fire formed in front of her, “No one will take Link away from me again!!! NO ONE!!”

Saria and Link touched hands, just as Zelda unleashed her spell, Din’s Fire.

A split second before Din’s Fire hit, Link, Saria and the boy disappeared in a bright green flash followed by a quick flurry of leaves.

As the burning leaves slowly fluttered to the ground, Zelda, with pure fiery hatred in her eyes, stood alone.
The Split Up by Red Sparrow
“It’s horrible. My kingdom is falling apart. Yet I am powerless to stop it. I can only rely on blind faith. Then again...faith was always blind. It’s what makes it so hard to keep. Perhaps it’s a dream that I can wake up from. Alas, it isn’t.

I can only wait...

...As my kingdom...

...My countrymen...

...My family...

...Lay frozen beneath the waves.”

--Daphnes Nohanson Hyrule
==============================


Chapter 5
“The Split Up”


“...well, did you HAVE to complicate things that much?” Nabooru asked with a frustrated tone.

Rauru sighed and said apologetically, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t think we’d need to travel through the Sacred Realm again. Nonetheless, we’re the Sages of Hylian legend. I’m sure we’ll be able to recover the objects in no time.”

Darunia shook his head, and Ruto spoke up, “Well, I suppose none of us is perfect. I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d have to become a sage again so soon.”

Impa looked at Ruto, “What do you mean, ‘become a sage again’? You can’t suddenly stop being a sage whenever you feel like it. Once you’re given the title, you stick with it. You can’t blame Rauru. He did what he thought best, he hid the three keys to the sacred realm simply to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands. Do you really want Ganondorf to return? We must act carefully.”

Saria spoke up, “Even if we find the three keys to open the realm, what’s to keep Ganondorf from escaping into either reality?”

The others looked to Rauru, “...I’m sorry, theres no other way around it, it’s a risk we’ll have to take.”

Saria, furious, said to Rauru, “So you’re going to sacrifice Hyrule?! Even though it’s a different Hyrule, there are still people on the other side! You can’t be that cold!!!”

Zelda looked at Saria and silently agreed.

Rauru looked around at his fellow sages, he knew they were all thinking the same thing as Saria, “...I’m sorry, but theres no other way...unless we’re willing to leave Link in a place he does not belong, we have to risk it. Besides...it’s a one-in-ten chance Ganondorf will find the opening before we manage to bring Link back.”

Saria said softly, as if afraid to speak, “...but it’s still that one chance. Is everyone here really willing to risk millions of lives for only one person?”

Zelda looked surprised. Saria, of all the other sages in the room, was the one to say something like that.

Saria noticed Zelda’s look, “...I am a sage, and I am tasked with protecting the lives of Hyrule. You all are also sages. I have to put duty before personal feelings.”

There was silence.

Zelda clenched her fists and Saria saw it, “...don’t take any offense, Zelda. I’m only stating facts. We have to put our duty before our feelings.”

Zelda responded, “Is that why you left the Kokiri Forest?”

The silence settled in again. No one moved a muscle.

This time, Impa broke the silence, “Regardless, we must procure the safety of the Hero of Time.”

Rauru nodded, “Yes, we must split up and recover the keys.”

Nabooru raised a brow, “So, Rauru...do you even remember where you hid them?”

Ruto joined in, “Yeah, it’d be kinda stupid if you hid them and didn’t remember.”

Rauru smiled, “Of course, it would stupid if I forgot. I know their GENERAL location, just not EXACTLY where they are. Besides, I didn’t hide them.”

The other sages, except Impa, said in unison, “WHAT?!”

Rauru sighed, “I’ve had someone else hide them. They’re located in the Shadow, Water, and Forest Temples.”

“What?” Saria said, confused, “I’ve been in the Forest Temple for awhile now and I’ve never noticed anyone come and hide them.”

Rauru closed his eyes and smiled, “Of course you didn’t, I made sure to use the best there is.”

He looked at Impa, she smiled and nodded. Everyone glanced at Impa, and Nabooru laughed, “You? ...Zelda’s little babysitter? Not too shabby if you managed to sneak by everyone here.”

Zelda chimed in, “I suggest we all split up in groups of two. That way, we’ll cover more ground and recover them quicker.”

Rauru nodded, “Alright, then...we’ll draw straws.”

Nabooru raised a brow, “Draw straws? Why don’t you use magic to pick?”

Rauru sighed, “Don’t be so obnoxious. Not everything a sage does must revolve around magic.”

He held up six straws, “There are three sizes, two of each size, the two who picks the same size will be partnered up.”

Nabooru whispered to Ruto, “Where’d he get those straws from? What would an old fart like him do with straws when he's all by himself?”

Ruto gave her a disgusted look, then closed her eyes and giggled.

Nabooru spoke aloud this time, “I’ll hold fort, alright? Since it’s an odd number anyways” Everyone gave Nabooru a funny look, would you trust your house to a professional thief? “Oh, c’mon, I’m a thief but I would never steal from my fellow sages!” Rauru sighed and nodded.

Zelda walked forward and drew the first straw, it was the longest.

...Impa drew the second, medium.

...Rauru drew medium.

Ruto drew the smallest.

Darunia drew smallest.

That left the final straw. Saria looked at Zelda. Their eyes met.

Ruto muttered to herself, “...sheesh, what’s the deal? He’s MY fiancÚ...” Darunia shot her a dirty look.

Ruto sighed, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding...”
Flashback by Red Sparrow
“My very own prince shall come from that moon to carry me off from all the bad things in life. It was from a bedtime story my mother used to read to me. I know, it sounds kinda childish now that I look back on it. I sing because it helps me cope. I work because it helps the ranch. Yet...I don’t know what to do to help myself. Oh, my prince, where art thou?”

--Malon
========================================

Chapter Six
“Flashback”


“This is horrible...” Link whispered. He set down another bundle of flowers on a small grave. They were inside the Kokiri Forest. There were so many memories here...Link knew that he’d remember this moment even if he didn’t want to. Saria stood behind him with the little boy they rescued. She spoke, “...I know. The Kokiri were struck second—right after the ranch.”

Link looked down at the rows and rows of graves before him. There, in front of him lay Mido, Kiri, and everyone else he had grown up with. “...Mido never deserved this.”

Saria held the little boy tightly as she spoke to Link, “...Link, we have to go to the Forest Temple. We’d warp there, but the warp point was destroyed.”

“I know...Hyrule Castle, Lon Lon Ranch...she’s gotten to everything.” Link recited solemnly “...how is she able to do all this?”

“The Triforce...” Saria whispered, “...the Triforce gave her the power she needed. She’s turning out like Ganon before her.”

They all stood there in silence.

“Link...” Saria started. Link replied quickly, “I know. Let’s go.”

The three of them walked into the Lost Woods, the boy tagging along wearing an uncertain face. Finally they reached another familiar spot. This was a place Saria had dubbed: “Saria’s Secret Spot”. The name was from the mind of a child, now Saria looked at the world differently. Violence always produces change in people. That’s the sad truth of life.

Everything was left as it was.

...Everything.

It was just as Link remembered it. Saria noticed, “I tried my best to leave everything the way it was after you disappeared. I wanted to let you have something to come back to when you came back. I never lost hope. I went through all this hell, but even through all this, I had always told myself, ‘Link’ll come back. He’ll save us again.’”

Link let a tear slide down the side of his face. Saria took a deep breath, “Let’s go...theres something I need to show you inside the temple.”

Link nodded, wiping the tear away.

They walked into the temple. The torches hanging along the walls illuminated the rooms. They reached the main section of the Forest Temple. In the center of this room was the familiar elevator that Link used to reach Phantom Ganon and Saria.

The three of them boarded the elevator and it took them down.

As they reached the basement, they trudged onward until they reached the site of Phantom Ganon’s battle. Around them, portraits of various people were hung along the walls. Link didn’t recognize any of them.

“Why are we here?” Link asked. Saria turned and looked at the place where they had just come from, “There are people here eager to meet you.”

Footsteps were heard. There was a small group headed straight for them. Link kept his eyes fixed on the hall they were to come from. He saw the first figure, then a second. A third, fourth, and fifth figure arrived. Link noticed that the last was in a wheelchair.

The figures stopped in front of Link, their faces still hidden in shadow, they were all armed. Saria watched all this silently.

The figure in the wheelchair came forward, showing its face.

Link looked horrified, “Malon?”

Malon nodded, “Nice to see you again, Fairy Boy.” Her legs were gone, and there was a bandage wrapped around one of her eyes, she looked horrible.

Link stood there, stupefied. Malon tried her best to smile, but she couldn’t, “Link, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks.”

“How...Zelda, did she-” Link started.

Malon nodded, “-yes...she did. She came to the ranch looking for you, when I told her I didn’t know where you were, she killed my father. Ingo ran off. I tried to run, but she caught me. She tied me up to the wall and tied my legs to the horses.”

Link couldn’t believe this either, but the more he was hearing, the less like Zelda this was all starting to describe.

Malon continued, “After that...she took her knife and grabbed my head, she-”

Link couldn’t take the details, “Please, stop...”

Malon closed her eye and stopped. Link looked at Saria and Malon, then at the other figures in darkness. “Who are they?” Link asked Malon.

Malon replied, “They are the rebellion. They were formed to combat Zelda and save Hyrule. They are the Red Lions. I’m part of them. Our leader is someone you know. He has been waiting for you along with the rest of us. He is the King of Red Lions.”

The leader stepped forward bringing his face out of shadow, “Daphnes Nohanson Hyrule.”

Link stared in shock and instinctively kneeled in respect, “Your Highness...”

Daphnes looked at Link and placed his hands on Link’s shoulders. Daphnes pulled Link to his feet, saying solemnly, “Please Link, don’t kneel for me. It would be a grave insult to the people of Hyrule. I am only the leader of the Red Lions. It's my way of fixing things.”

Link looked at Daphnes and nodded slowly, “...Your daughter-“

Daphnes interrupted, “Yes. As much as it pains me, I must look after my people. I must place the millions of lives taken as top priority. Zelda has done horrid things and she must be stopped. The Red Lions were formed to stand up to her, but unfortunately, the Triforce has made her too strong. We need another holder of the Triforce to go against her. We need you, Link.”
Another Roadblock by Red Sparrow
“In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend. A legend held dearly by the royal family. That tells of a boy who became a man. He embarked on a great journey to the deepest, darkest corners of the earth.

...Battling the forces of evil.

...Testing the limits of his will.

...All to fulfill his destiny.

...Which is, above all else...to save...

...me.”

--Aryll.

=================================


Chapter Seven
“Another Roadblock”

“C’mon, get in the water!” Ruto shouted. Darunia shook his head and crossed his arms, “No, I refuse...just get the key and come back out.”

They were inside the Water Temple.

Ruto sighs, “Dammit, would you just come in? It’s a lot like how you Gorons swim in lava.”

Darunia backed up, “That’s different! Lava is denser! Plus, I’ll drown! You’ll have to promise to pull me back up.”

Ruto laughed, “HAH!!! Let me get this straight, you want ME to carry YOU, me and what army?” Darunia glared, “Are you talking about my people’s weight?”

“No, I was talking about YOU.”

“Why you little-” Darunia stepped forward and dove into the water. As Darunia sunk, Ruto swam beside him and crossed her arms, laughing at him, “Alright, tubby, now that we know you aren’t as heavy as we thought you were, follow me!”

Ruto swam into one of the narrower hallways, Darunia tried to follow, but couldn’t fit. Ruto sighed and muttered to herself, “I hope the others are having better luck.”

Impa and Rauru trekked along the Shadow Temple with Impa leading the way. Rauru, not used to walking due to his old age, slowed them down greatly.

Rauru said, “You seem to know your way around your temple, Impa.”

Impa turned and gave him a funny look.

Rauru corrected himself, “I meant that you seem to know about your temple more than the other sages know theirs.”

Impa smiled, “I was born here.”

Rauru stopped to rest, “You were born here?”

Impa nodded, stopping to let the old man catch his breath, “Yes, this was our village. We were intentionally close to Hyrule. We had our most confidential meetings within this place, only the Sheikah were able to enter. We knew exactly where the traps were, how they were set, where illusions were projected. It was all to protect us. It was all to protect our secrets, our way of life.”

Rauru caught his breath and they continued walking over a long invisible bridge built over a dark seemingly bottomless gap. Impa spoke, “I’m surprised Link was able to get through everything in one piece. He solved every puzzle, got through every trap and saw through the most powerful of illusions, when many others have failed before him.”

Rauru agreed, “Yes, he is indeed special. That was why fate had chosen him. That is why we must get him back...for everyone’s sake.”

Saria lead the way with Zelda by her side. They hadn’t spoken a word ever since they entered the Forest Temple. It was very tense.

They stopped at a door and Saria looked confused. Zelda finally spoke, “What’s wrong?” Saria pointed to the door, “Something’s wrong...don’t you sense it?”

It was then that they both felt a dark presence inside the room, they looked at each other. Zelda walked in front of Saria, “Stay back.”

Saria pushed her way to the front of Zelda, “I may have the body of a child, but you should stop treating me like one!”

Zelda looked at Saria, “I treat you like a child because that’s how you act like!” Saria narrowed her eyes, “Don’t give me that crap! You’re just a spoiled princess who takes anything she wants!!! You don’t care about anyone else’s feelings, its just want and take! I hate you! I hate you!! You took Link away just because you felt like it! It’s not fair, dammit!! It’s not fucking fair!”

Zelda yelled back, “Link chose me, and that’s all that matters anyway! Either way you look at it, you’re still a kid and that’s how you’re going to stay!! I don’t care if you left the forest, I don’t care if you’ll grow up! Well, guess what, you’re not gonna grow up in time! Don’t tell me that I’m spoiled, YOU’RE the one who-”

Zelda stopped as Saria fell on her knees and cried. Saria kept her head down as tears rolled down her face.

Zelda felt like the biggest jerk in the world. She said softly, “Saria, I...I didn’t mean to...”

Saria looked up, hatred in her eyes, “...I hate you so much.” She said it in such an acidic tone that it made Zelda’s blood run cold.

Zelda looked down, “I’m sorry, I-“

Suddenly, the door exploded. The force of it threw both girls into the opposite wall. Saria bounced off the wall and landed hard, screaming as she felt intense pain racking through her body. Zelda merely hit the wall and slid down to her knees, she would have cried out in pain also if the wind hadn’t been completely knocked out of her.

They both managed to prop themselves up against the wall as the dust began to settle and thick, heavy footsteps were heard echoing along the empty halls of the Forest Temple.
A Set-up by Red Sparrow
“The flow of time is always cruel...Its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it...A thing that doesn't change with time is a memory of younger days...”

--Sheik
================================

Chapter Eight
“A Set-up”

Zelda opened her eyes. The pain was almost too much to bear. She gasped for breath as the shadow before her began to show its form. Right next to her, Saria was busy wiping her tears away. The pain had been so great for her that it had caused her to cry. She still was, only quietly.

The dust cleared to reveal a skinny fellow with a strange witch’s hat. He wore a flowing black cloak that covered everything but his head. He was a very ugly man who had a bluish hue to his skin. He held up a little bag, “Hello, ladies. Looking for this?”

Zelda was the first to recover. She spoke, “Who are you?”

The man bowed, “The names Aghanim. It’s a pleasure to meet two beautiful maidens as yourselves.”

Zelda and Saria felt more disturbed than flattered at the comment.

“So, this is how the sages look like, funny, I was expecting a group of old seniors with asthma. Not that I’m disappointed anyway.” Aghanim said with a perverted tone.

Saria still couldn’t catch her breath. Her young face was stained with tears. Yet, despite the pain it caused her, she managed to say, “What do you want?”

Aghanim smirked and responded, “Aww is the little baby okay? Did she get a little boo-boo?” he was the only one laughing, “Well, if you two really want to know, I plan to release my master, Ganondorf, from that infernal prison you trapped him in. Be sure to tell your friends that, I like challenges.”

Saria stepped forward, Zelda followed,Saria said, “I’m your challenge right here! I’ll take back the key!”

Aghanim laughed, “Just because you say you will doesn’t mean you’d succeed! I mean, think about it! You’re just a-“

Aghanim never got to finish as a strong gale of wind struck him hard in the chest, knocking the air out of his lungs, a flurry of leaves followed shortly afterwards. Aghanim was thrown backwards, landing flat on his back.

“You talk too much.” Saria said, lowering her hand.

Aghanim was no longer wearing a smile. He glared and said, “Fine!!! If that’s how you want to play, little girl, then take THIS!!!”

Aghanim fired off a flurry of ice, the shards of ice were sharp enough to pierce through steel. Saria didn’t flinch as Zelda casts a high-level barrier spell on both of them, Nayru’s Love was what it was called. The ice shards shattered as they hit the barrier.

Aghanim blinked, he looked absolutely shocked, but he quickly recovered himself and smirked, “Hah! I'm only playing around with you!”

“Then shut up and fight!” Zelda said as she extended her palm at Aghanim, blowing him back once more with a burst of telekinetic energy.

Aghanim groaned, muttering to himself, “Sheesh...I thought the new sages were pushovers...” Aghanim glances at the bag containing the key and smiles, “...but still. They’re still a bunch of kids. I’ve got experience and that’s what I’ll use to bring them down.”

Aghanim stood back up, “You’re Princess Zelda, aren’t you? A prodigy in the arts of psycho kinesis and telepathy, I’ve heard stories about you. I never thought you’d have the honor of becoming a sage.”

Zelda narrowed her eyes, “What’s your point?”

Aghanim smiled, “My point is this: I know what happened to Link.” Saria glances at Zelda, and Aghanim continued, “If you let me go, I’ll guarantee that you will have him back.” He looks Saria in the eye, “I will also grant you a bonus, I’ll make your deepest wish come true.”

Saria and Zelda looked at each other. Saria spoke slowly, “You mean...you’ll make me older? Like...her age?” Saria gestured at Zelda.

Zelda gave Saria a look, “Saria, don’t...”

Aghanim nodded, “Yes...its a simple spell. I can make all your desires come true. All you have to do is help me retrieve the other keys.”

"Anything I...want?" Saria repeated to herself.

Zelda, unable to take this anymore, says loudly, “Saria!! What are you talking about?! Don’t you see that he’s just spewing a bunch of BS?”

Aghanim looks at Zelda, “The same applies to you, Zelda my dear. I can even take the title of Princess away from you. You won’t be bound to the laws of royalty.”

Zelda gave Aghanim a spiteful look, “Don’t even. I’m on to you, even if you could, I’d never agree. Besides...” Zelda charged up Din’s Fire. “...It won’t matter since you’ll be ashes by the time I’m finished with you!”

Saria stepped in front of Zelda’s path, “No...I won’t let you!”

Zelda shook her head, “Dammit, Saria! Don’t let him get into your head so easily!” Saria extended both hands at Zelda as forest leaves began to flutter around her, “This is my chance to be happy!! I won’t let you take that away! I wont let you steal my happiness again!”

Behind her, Aghanim stuck his tongue out at Zelda and blew a raspberry.

Zelda doubled the energy in her attack, the ball of fire glowed with more intensity, “Saria, if you don’t move, I’ll be forced to take you out along with that creep behind you.”

Saria glared, and said with a cutting tone, “We both know that’s your excuse to get rid of me so you’ll have Link all to yourself.”

Zelda, with a hint of desperation in her voice, said, “Saria, use your head! If you want me to stop treating you like a kid then stop acting like one!”

“There you go again! I’m not a kid anymore! You’re the kid here! You always get what you want!”

“Can’t you see that this is exactly what that prick behind you wants!? Stop thinking only about yourself! Like you said before, we have to put duty above personal feelings!”

Saria shouted, “Well, you can go to hell for all I care! This is our chance and I'm not going to let it slip!"

The two girls looked at each other, Saria winked.

Zelda smiled. Saria quickly spun around, ducking and firing off her attack at Aghanim. Zelda aimed straight at Aghanim and let her spell fly, Aghanim’s eyes widened as he was blown backwards and into the wall behind him. Saria's wind spell kept him pinned as Zelda's ball of fiery death flew right for him. Aghanim managed to skid a few inches to the right as the ball collided with him.

The explosion was enormous, but both Saria and Zelda stood their ground. The dust cleared to reveal Aghanim lying on the ground, his left arm was completely blown off. Zelda walked over and picked the bag with the key up. Aghanim groaned as Saria joined her, they both stood over him, Aghanim cursed, “Damn you two...I’ll be back...you haven’t won yet!”

With that, he vanished with a flash.

Zelda said with a smile, “What a wimp.”

Zelda handed the bag to Saria, “Let’s go back. The others are probably waiting for us by now.”

Zelda and Saria looked at each other and smiled.
Link's Decision by Red Sparrow
“Your power has been firmly sealed within this mask. Your power shall be a menace no longer. I truly pray that you can sleep peacefully for all eternity.

--??? (Carver of Majora’s Mask)
========================================


Chapter Nine
“Link’s Decision”

Link tucked the blanket tightly around the sleeping boy. He turned and looked at Malon. The others were on the other side of the room talking amongst themselves, probably planning the next course of action. Saria and Daphnes seemed to be the most active speakers of the group, Link noticed Saria glancing at him before continuing the conversation she was having with Daphnes.

“Malon” Link began, “are you really part of the Red Lions? It’s hard to believe you are because of...your condition.”

Malon looked down for a moment before looking Link in the eyes and responding slowly, “Well...I don’t join them in the battles, but I help nurse the sick. So, in a way...I consider myself part of the Red Lions. Anyways...I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for them. After what happened at the ranch I couldn’t take over the family business since I couldn’t use my legs, plus I’d never be able to pay for the reconstruction. So...Lon Lon Ranch is no more. I had nowhere else to go. And the Red Lions, after saving me, offered me a position as a nurse. So here I am.”

Link sighs, “I...still can’t believe it. How can Zelda do something like this? It doesn’t make sense...”

Malon shook her head, “No, it does...she really loved you and it’s understandable.”

Link looks at Malon and clenches his fists, “How can you act like that?! Look what Zelda did to you! Aren’t you even a bit angry at what she’s done?!”

Malon closed her eye and said, “Angry? There isn’t a word strong enough to describe how much hate I feel for her,” Malon opened her eye and continued, “but I understand her reasons for her actions. Noone wants to be truly alone.”

Link was about to say something when Saria taps him on the shoulder, “Link, Daphnes wants to speak with you.”

Link nods and tells Malon goodbye before walking off towards Daphnes.

Saria sits down beside the sleeping boy, “What do you think?”

Malon blinked, “Huh? Oh, uhm...well...Link’s pretty cute, he seems kind...just like I remembered him, and he still has that charm to him that seems to come naturally and his eyes are so...”

Saria raised a brow, “I was talking about the little boy.”

Malon blinked again, “Oh! Well...” she cleared her throat, “he’s been quiet since he arrived here, and he’s still in shock. We should let him rest and when he wakes up we should make him feel welcome and slowly ease him back to normal. By the way, what’s his name?”

Saria shrugged, slowly brushing the boy’s hair out of his sleeping face, “I don’t know...he hasn’t said a word since we rescued him.”

The two girls sat there in an awkward silence.

Finally, Saria looked at Malon and asked, “...what was that you were saying?”

Malon smiled nervously, blushing slightly, “About what?”

Saria smiled teasingly, “Link.”

Daphnes lead Link into the next room so they could speak in private. Daphnes spoke, “Link, have you come to a decision?”

Link looked Daphnes in the eye and said, “What decision?”

“Whether or not you’ll help us...” Daphnes responded.

Link sighs and leans back against the wall, “I’ve given it a lot of thought and...”

Daphnes waited before asking, “And...?”

“After all I’ve seen and heard, I still can’t believe this is all real. It’s like a dream or something...like I don’t belong here.”

“Sadly, it’s not a dream.”

“I know...” Link agreed sadly, “I just don’t feel right about this. This is wrong.”

Daphnes inquired, “Wrong? We’re trying to save Hyrule.” Link looks down to the floor, “Look, Zelda, she’s...she’s not herself, and well...I think I should talk to her, maybe I could get her to change...to get her back to normal.”

Daphnes shook his head, “No.”

Link looked back up at Daphnes with an angry expression, “Why not? She’s your daughter! I’m trying to avoid murdering her!”

Daphnes sighs, “How do you think I feel? I’m her father after all.”

Link responds softly, “I’m sorry. It’s just...I don’t think I can do it.”

Daphnes puts a hand on Link’s shoulder, “Listen, Link...I understand how you feel, but Zelda has performed mass genocide of her own people. I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s a very big offense against Hylian law. The law MUST be allowed to run its course. Even royalty can’t be exempt from the law. Zelda is my daughter, my own flesh and blood. Don’t you think I’ve tried to reason with her? I’ve done everything I could. It was out of my hands as soon as she drew blood from her first victim. Now, she is a threat to this great land of ours. She has killed millions over the span of two years. Ever since you were presumed dead six years ago, she had never truly been herself.”

Link caught on to something suspicious, “Wait...I disappeared six years ago, I know that, but...you’re saying she started killing only two years ago? What happened the first four years?”

Daphnes remained silent before hesitantly speaking, “Why don’t you ask Zelda that yourself? She knows better...since it affected her the most.”

Link replied slowly, “...does that mean you’ll let me speak with her?”

Daphnes closed his eyes and nodded, “You have only one chance, if anything goes wrong, then we’ll have to...kill her.”

Link nods slowly, looking slightly grateful at the former king’s kindness, “Thank you, Daphnes, sir.”

Daphnes tried his best to form a smile, “That’s only because I trust you, Link...you’re the only one who can get close to her. You’re the only one that will make her let her guard down. That will be our most opportune time to strike. Like I said before, we’ll give you time to try to talk to her and get her back to normal, but I can guarantee that as soon as something goes wrong...we’ll attack.”

Link sighed, “I pray that...the Goddesses will give me the courage to do this.”

Daphnes responded at this, “No...the Goddesses have nothing to do with this...you’re the holder of the Triforce of Courage, the courage you need is only found inside yourself, you need only look there.”

Link smiled faintly, “Yes...how stupid of me. I’ll need a bit more time to prepare and think this over. When do we do this?”

“...We leave for Hyrule Castle in thirty minutes.”
A Set-Up (Part Two) by Red Sparrow
“I never forgot the vows we made to each other seven years ago!

You're a terrible man to have kept me waiting for these seven long years...”

--Ruto
=======================================


Chapter Ten
“A Set-Up”
(Part Two)

“Saria, Zelda! You’re both back!” Rauru said happily.

Nabooru sat up, “And it looks like you two had a bit of trouble.” She gestured at their slightly torn clothes.

Saria spoke, “We...uhm, ran into a little roadblock.”

Zelda smiled, “But it’s been taken care of.”

The other sages showed Zelda and Saria their keys, the Goron Ruby and the Zora Sapphire.

Zelda smiled, “I guess that means we have the Kokiri Emerald.” Saria agreed, “I’m glad we managed to get it before Aghanim managed to steal it away.” Rauru raised a brow and stepped towards the two girls, “Wait...who did you say was trying to steal the Kokiri Emerald?”

Zelda opened the bag, “I think his name was Aghanim. Why?”

Rauru thought about this as Zelda reached into the bag, suddenly Rauru’s eyes widened, “WAIT!!! DON’T OPEN THAT BAG IN HERE!!!”

It was too late. A flash of light escaped from the bag and blinded everyone in the room.

As the light faded and the sages slowly regained their sense of sight, Zelda, Saria, Impa and Nabooru found themselves trapped inside a barrier of some kind. Electrical currents etched along the barrier’s blue hued walls.

Ruto, Darunia and Rauru had managed to dive away and escape capture. Suddenly a sinister laugh filled the room, “Hahaha! I’ve already rendered four out of seven sages useless with just one spell. You are all such amateurs!”

The voice was Aghanim’s and a second later, Aghanim appeared in another flash of light in front of Rauru and the others, he wore a cocky smile and clapped sarcastically.

Zelda glared from behind the barrier, “I see you got your arm back.”

Aghanim smirked at Zelda, “Nothing a little regeneration spell won’t fix.”

Ruto rushed forward, “Hey, peon! How dare you treat the Zoran Princess this way!” Aghanim turned and looked at Ruto. Ruto extended both palms out and fired off two pressurized blasts of water. The water was strong enough to carve through the hardest of metals. Aghanim smiled, sidestepped the spell and fired off a bolt of electricity at Ruto. It struck Ruto in the chest and she screamed as electrical currents flowed through her body. She collapsed, steam rising slowly from her unmoving body.

“Kids...” Aghanim said with an annoyed tone while wearing his ever present smile, “they’re so predictable.” He turned to Rauru, “Don’t you agree, Rauru old buddy?”

Rauru glared, “We were never friends...not after you betrayed us.”

Aghanim smiled, “Well, I see we’re still as grumpy as ever. Look at you, you’re old. You’re tired and cranky and quite frankly, you’ve overstayed your welcome on this world.”

Zelda whispered to Saria, “We need a distraction. Something the other three...” Zelda glances at an unmoving Ruto, “...the other two could use to take out Aghanim.”

Saria nodded, already knowing this, they really needed a distraction for Aghanim...but what?

Darunia knelt down beside Ruto, tending to her.

Meanwhile, Rauru and Aghanim were catching up on old times, Aghanim was speaking. “...You really should’ve used that youth potion I offered you so many years ago.”

Rauru stepped forward, looking Aghanim in the eyes with a fierce expression, “I’ve refused before and I’ll refuse once again.”

Aghanim shook his head and shrugged, “Eh, don’t worry gramps, I’m not going to offer you the potion, it’s too late now.”

Darunia stood up and looked at Aghanim, Aghanim had his back turned to him, this was his chance.

Aghanim smiled, leaning in closer to Rauru, “Anyways, as a former Sage of Shadow, I think I should take this pathetic group of so-called sages off your old hands and show you how a real pro leads.” Without warning, he grabs Rauru by the throat and slams him against the wall, pinning him there and slowly tightening his grip.

Darunia was about to rush forward when Saria whispered to him, “Darunia, stop.”

He stopped and looked at Saria, Saria glances at Zelda and the others with her, “I think we have our distraction right here.”

Darunia looked confused, “What do you want me to do?”

Saria leaned in as close as she could to Darunia, without having to touch the barrier, “I need you, Darunia...to dance.”

Darunia backed up and whispered back hoarsely, “...you WHAT?!”

“Shh!” Saria whispered back, glancing quickly at Aghanim, who was still slowly choking the life out of Rauru, “I said...I need you...to dance. It’ll distract Aghanim long enough for Rauru to take him out.”

Darunia crossed his arms, “No, I’m sorry, but theres got to be a less...degrading way. I, Darunia, Sage of Fire and Leader of the Gorons, refuse to do something so stupid.”

Saria sighed, backing up, “Then you leave me no choice.” Saria reached into her shirt pocket and pulled out her Fairy Ocarina.

Darunia’s eyes widened, “Oh, no.”

Saria put the Ocarina to her lips and...

Aghanim smiled at Rauru, “So...Rauru. I’ll do you a favor and end it now. Goodbye old man!” Aghanim blinked as he heard some loud, catchy, fast beat song being played on an ocarina. This song was called by the simple title of: Saria's Song. He released Rauru and turned, “What the hell?”

Darunia was dancing like mad. He had no control over his body as he continued to dance rather poorly. It was just...stupid looking.

Aghanim spoke, absolutely confused, “What the fuck is this?!”

Saria was playing her Fairy Ocarina masterfully, her fingers skillfully managing the notes and rhythm of her song. She tapped her foot to keep the tempo.

Aghanim smirked, “I don’t know what kind of stupid plan you kids have thought of, but I’ll end the Goron’s ridiculous tantrum right now!”

Aghanim stepped forward his body began to charge with dark energy. Meanwhile, Darunia was dancing, totally absorbed in the music to do anything about it.

Aghanim laughed, “I’ll give you this, Goron...you’ve got heart, as if it’ll help you! Hahaha! Now, DIE!!!”

Suddenly, a chair broke over Aghanim’s head and he collapsed before he had a chance to fire. He lay on the ground, unconscious. Pieces of the wooden chair covered him. Ruto muttered, dropping what’s left of the chair she was holding, “Take a seat, asshole.”

Saria took her lips off the ocarina as the barrier faded. They all rushed towards Ruto and jumped on her. Saria laughed, “You did it!”

Meanwhile, Impa had gone to Rauru to help him up, “You alright, Rauru?”

Rauru took a few breaths, coughing, “Yes...I’m fine.”

Impa and Rauru glanced at the other sages. Saria and Ruto were at the center of the circle. Darunia laughed and said, “Hey, I kept him distracted! I should get credit!” They laughed again.

Rauru sighed, “You know, Impa, at first glance, you’d never think any of these people were sages. They certainly don’t act like it.”

Impa nodded in agreement, “They’re young. They’re all still in their teens. Well, except for Darunia. I think they add personality to the order of Hylian Sages, don’t you think?”

Rauru chuckled, “I suppose.”

Impa laughed quietly, “Although I have to admit, their style for taking down the bad guy is a bit...unusual for a sage.”

Rauru shrugged, “Smashing a chair over the villain’s head....I’m pretty sure this is the first time a sage has done that.”

Nabooru smiled, “Ok, how about we all just split the credit before Darunia keeps whining?”

Rauru stepped forward, “I’m pretty sure the credit belongs to me, since I’m the one that made you all sages in the first place.” He smiled.

Nabooru crossed her arms, “Pfft, right.”

Rauru smiled proudly, “If it weren’t for me, you’d all be living meaningless lives.”

Nabooru raised a brow, “What are you talking about? I’m the leader of the Gerudo Thieves.”

Saria smiled, and said, “I’m the second highest ranking official of the Kokiri Consul, plus I’m a chosen caretaker of the Great Deku Tree.”

Zelda nodded, “I’m the Hylian Princess.”

Ruto, not to be outdone, said, “I’m a Princess also, you know, Zoran.”

Darunia smirked, “I’m the leader of the Goron people.”

Everyone looks at Impa. Impa closed her eyes and smiled, “Well, I was the ex-caretaker of Princess Zelda. Now I’m the Commanding Officer of the entire Hylian Infantry. And I’m the head advisor to the throne.”

Everyone looks at Rauru, he blinked, “Oh, yes...uhm...well...I’m...a Sage. That’s all.”

The others snickered.

Suddenly there was a loud crackle behind them, and they all turned in the direction of the sound, their smiles faded.

Aghanim had used all three keys to open the entrance to the Sacred Realm while the sages were celebrating, “I’d like to thank you all for being such idiots! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a special someone to free!”

With that, he jumped into the portal.

Zelda rushed forward, “Oh no you don’t!!!” she leapt into the portal after him as it began to close.

The other sages rushed after her, Rauru yelled, “Everyone, hold the portal open!!”

The remaining sages extended their palms at the portal, straining to keep it from closing. The portal was the size of a baseball by the time they managed to stop it from shrinking. The sages strained as they struggled to open the portal wider, finally, they managed to open it wide enough for someone to pass through.

Saria looks at the others, then at the portal, “I’m going after them!” she yelled to the others and ran forward.

“NO!” Darunia yelled back to her. Saria stopped and turned, “Why not?”

Darunia said, “I know how you feel, but you must help us keep this portal open. Link is my sworn brother and I’d hate to not have a chance to save him. But, we need to keep this portal open so Zelda and Link will be able to return! We can’t lose another sage before they return. We need as much help as we can to keep the portal open!”

Saria hesitated and nodded slowly, looking into the portal, she whispered, “Good luck, Zelda. Bring Link back...for everybody’s sake. Bring him back for mine.”
Fallen Leaf by Red Sparrow
“Time passes, people move....Like a river's flow, it never ends...

A childish mind will turn to noble ambition; young love will become deep affection...

The clear water's surface reflects growth...

Now, reflect upon yourself, look into your reflection....

What do you see?”

--Sheik
==================================


Chapter Eleven
“Fallen Leaf”


“It’s sad, isn’t it?” Zelda was saying. She knelt by the grave of her fallen companion, Volvagia. She was in a ruined portion of the castle. The grass was all dead, replaced by lifeless dirt.

Zelda placed a bundle of flowers on the grave and kept her head down, whispering, “I’ve finally found Link. I felt alive again as soon as I saw his face. And even after all this...I let him get taken away?”

She stood up slowly, holding herself as the wind blew. She shivered.

She was all alone.

Her ears perked up as she heard footsteps behind her. She turned and found Link. The two of them looked at each other quietly, neither moving a muscle nor saying a word.

Meanwhile, across the castle yard and safely behind some rubble that used to be the castle’s wall, Saria, Malon, Daphnes and one other member of the Red Lions stood at the ready. Daphnes had ordered the other two to stay behind and guard the boy.

The one with them was a young boy, about eleven years of age. He was the fastest runner out of the group. He would run to the horse waiting in the ruined Hylian Marketplace and pass the message to evacuate the others along with survivors at various parts of Hyrule if something were to go horribly wrong.

Zelda and Link’s eyes locked.

Zelda’s lips formed a very faint smile, “...are you real? You’re not a fantasy?” She stepped forward, walking slowly and cautiously towards Link. Finally, they were less then an arm’s length away from each other. Link didn’t move as Zelda slowly raised her hand up, touching Link’s face, “...you’re real.”

Zelda’s eyes watered as she leapt forward and hugged him tightly, burying her face in his shirt, crying.

Link and Zelda stayed like that for a few precious minutes before Zelda let go slowly. Link looked down at her and said quietly, “Zelda...what have you done?”

Zelda gave him a confused look, wiping the tears from her face, “...What?” she didn’t expect his first words spoken to be so accusing.

Link backed off, out of her reach. Zelda looked as if she were about to cry again, but then she said, “...What’s wrong?” she searched Link’s eyes for the answer, finally, she noticed the sword strapped to his back, she said sadly, “...Are you...going to use that?”

Link stayed quiet. Zelda stepped closer, “What did I do wrong?” she lowered her eyes, “Did...my father send you?”

Link drew his sword, the steel blade made a metallic shing that echoed along the walls of the ruined castle.

Zelda took another step forward, “Link, don’t let him trick you. He’s evil and he’s trying to kill me, Link. You’re still my hero, right Link?”

“Stay back!” Link yelled. Zelda stopped. They were so close they could feel each other’s breath.

Zelda unbuttoned the top portion of her shirt, letting it open partially as she reached out and touched his left hand. She looked down at the sword he was holding. The sword was meant to cut her up. She looked back up to Link’s eyes, “You‘re my hero, right?” She leaned her face in for a kiss, the first kiss she would have after six years of loneliness. Link tilted his face away. Zelda stopped, heartbroken.

Now, after all these years, he wouldn’t even let her kiss him?

“Don’t you love me?” she said, as if nothing was fair in the world. She places her other hand on the side of his neck. She leaned in and lightly brushed her soft lips against the skin of his neck. She missed this feeling.

She lightly kissed his neck, then she brushed her soft lips up to his cheek, then to his ear. She leaned in closer, breathing into his ear, she whispered, “Link, I missed you...I want you.”

Link dropped his sword. He couldn’t do it.

Saria, who had been watching intently the entire time along with the others, stood up with fury in her eyes, Daphnes grabbed her arm and yanked her back down before they were seen. Saria looked at Daphnes and said with an angry tone “She’s manipulating him! I—we have to stop this now!”

Daphnes looked at Saria sternly, “Saria...calm down. Don’t do anything you’ll regret!”

Saria couldn’t believe what she was hearing, “Regret?! I’m regretting sitting here doing nothing while Link is being toyed with!”

“Give him some more time.” Daphnes said softly, trying to calm her down.

Saria angrily yanked her arm away and went back to watching Link and Zelda.

Zelda whispered again, kissing Link’s cheek, “Don’t you love me?”

Link suddenly pushes Zelda away. Zelda stumbles backwards and looks at Link, shocked. Link regains his composure and says defiantly, “No.”

Zelda’s face filled with shock, she said almost speechless, “...What?”

Link repeated, “I said, no. The girl I loved was kind and sweet. You’re just a murderer.”

Zelda’s sad face was suddenly filled with anger, “Is it Saria? Is that stupid bitch responsible for this?! Where is she!?” she looked around quickly and saw Saria, their eyes met.

Saria quickly moved out of view, she exclaimed, “Shit! We have to move, NOW!”

Zelda charged up an explosive spell and was just about to pitch it at Saria and the others when Link rushes forward, grabbing her wrists just as she fires. Link managed to disrupt her aim as the wall a few yards away from the others exploded.

Zelda and Link struggled a bit as Zelda screamed in frustration and blew Link away with a telekinetic blast. Link kept his footing as he slides along the ground, kicking up dust and dirt. Zelda looked at Link with a hurt expression, she shouted, “Saria’s controlling you, isn’t she!?” Zelda still refused to believe that Link was doing this on his own free will.

Zelda turned and ducked as an arrow flew over her head, she looked around and saw Malon in her wheelchair with a bow in her hands and a quiver full of arrows strapped to her back, Malon yelled out to Zelda, “Back off, Princess! Fairy Boy’s with me!”

Zelda, in a rage, charges up another blast and was about to fire it, but Link intervenes once more causing her to miss and hit the ground a few inches to Malon’s left. The force of the explosion knocks Malon off her perch and she lands on the ground.

Malon uses the fall as momentum and rolls onto her side, drawing another arrow from her quiver.

Zelda looks at Link, tears streaming down her face, “Why are you doing this?”

Link was about to say something when an arrow flies and slices Zelda’s right leg, if the arrow had hit it’s target, then Zelda wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

Zelda screamed, letting her emotions go as she releases another blast of psychic energy, knocking Link away once more, Malon muttered, drawing another arrow, “That’s payback!”

Zelda looks at Malon with fiery hatred and launches another powerful spell directly at her. Malon’s eyes widen as the spell struck her in the chest with deadly accuracy, she screamed.

She never had a chance to fire her arrow.

The explosion threw fire, dirt and blood every which way. When the dust settled, there was only a puddle of blood and burnt cloth where Malon had been. Malon’s flaming arrow falls from the sky and the arrowhead impales itself into the center of all the blood. Malon was no more.

Link got up, and yelled, “MALON!!!” he ran straight for Zelda, picking up his sword without losing pace.

Zelda didn’t know who to trust. Link is obviously trying to kill her, she didn’t understand why. Link swung his sword at her, she moved in time as the blade cut her cheek, this made her panic and she fired the spell at the ground in front of Link, Link yelled out as the ground directly in front of him exploded, he flew back and hit the wall, sliding down it slowly, blood dripped slowly down from the back of his head. He didn’t move.

Zelda realized what she had done and rushes towards Link. As she neared Link she was suddenly blown away by a strong gale of wind, forest leaves followed.

It was Saria.

Zelda got up as Saria rushed forward and tackled Zelda back into the ground. The two girls rolled along the ground, each trying to get the upper hand. Finally, Saria managed to fight her way on top, pinning Zelda down by the shoulders.

Zelda laughed, “I win.” Saria looked confused.

She glances down to see Zelda’s palm pressed firmly against her chest.

“No...” Saria whispered as Zelda unleashed her attack. The red orb of light struck her in the chest, launching Saria off Zelda and into the air with a trail of smoke. She landed a few yards away with a thud.

Saria gasped for air as she rolled onto her back, she crawled to the wall nearest to her and backed up against it. She slid up to her feet, her breathing was shaky.

Zelda rushes a disabled Saria and her fist slams into Saria’s stomach, knocking out her second wind, Saria tried to scream, but couldn’t as tears rolled down her cheeks, blood oozed out of her mouth. Zelda’s free hand grabs Saria’s hair and pulls her higher off the ground, letting her feet dangle. Saria couldn’t move.

Zelda laughed, insanity once again creeping over her visage, “...Saria...oh Saria...I’ve waited a long time for this. I’ve dreamt of killing you for so long. This is like a dream come true.”

Another tear fell from Saria’s face, splattering onto the ground.

Zelda lets go and slams two hands into Saria’s stomach, shooting off a blast of pure light, the light flies through Saria’s stomach and through the wall behind her, she screams while Zelda laughs.

Zelda shoves her hands deeper into Saria’s body, soaking them in blood, she held her there.

Saria coughed violently while crying at the same time, tears streamed down her face, blood poured out of her wound and onto the ground.

Zelda leaned in to Saria’s ear, whispering with pleasure,

“No matter how much you’ve grown, Saria, you’re still a scared little ten year old girl on the inside who doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into. You’ve never amounted to anything. You’ve lived a pointless life trying to win Link’s love when he obviously loves me. Nothing you did was worth anything to Link. Look at yourself. You’re a stubborn, stupid, idiotic little bitch. Link doesn’t deserve some little runt like you. He deserves me. I’m a Hylian like him, you Kokiri are just second rate garbage. That’s why I did the world a favor and killed your little friends.” She laughed.

Saria managed to whisper faintly, “...I...may be a little girl on the inside...but...at least...I’m fighting...for someone I love!” Saria raised both palms out at Zelda’s face. Saria yells as loud as she could and launches a powerful wind at Zelda from point blank range. It was like being blown away by a hurricane. The blast blows Zelda away, slamming her hard into the opposite wall, the wall cracked.

Saria charges up another spell and fires blasts of wind at Zelda, again and again and again, yelling as she fired each volley. Zelda felt her body racked with pain as Saria’s machine gun attacks began to drill her deeper and deeper into the wall.

Finally, the flurry of rapid fire attacks stop, Zelda slowly looks up to see Saria, who was bleeding profusely, putting the last ounce of her strength into her final attack, Saria screamed as loud as she could as she fired, striking Zelda dead on in the chest, blowing Zelda through the wall and through the one behind it, then through another wall and another.

Link regained consciousness and had seen the entire thing.

He ran towards Saria, catching her as she fell forward.

Link held Saria, lowering her down and holding her head, Saria gasped for air.

Link felt tears rolling down his face, “Saria...”

She cried, “Link, it hurts so bad. I’m scared. I...I don’t want to die.” she grabbed on to him, holding tightly. She was shivering.

Link shook his head, “Its ok, just keep quiet, save your strength. You’ll be fine.”

Saria smiled softly, “...you were never good at lying.”

Link wiped a tear from Saria’s face and said “Sorry.”

Saria coughed out some blood and said weakly, “...Don’t be. That’s not really a bad thing. That’s why I like you, you’re honest.”

Link cried, “Saria, why didn’t you leave? ...you could’ve run away.”

Saria whispered softly, “People do crazy things for love. Besides....” she moved a trembling hand up to Link’s face and nudges his head back playfully, “....that’s what friends are for, silly!”

Link laughed quietly at this and brushed the hair from Saria’s face.

Saria gasped again for breath and spoke weakly, “...I...I never thought it would end like this. I wanted so much to be with you. I was...I was just too scared to say anything about it to you.”

Link shook his head, “Its ok. Don’t worry about it.”

Saria coughed and tried her best to smile, “Remember that time when I first showed you our secret spot?”

Link nodded, holding Saria close, Saria coughed again, the pain slowly began to numb, she said, “I missed those days. Everyday was fun. I liked being with you, I wanted us to stay best friends forever.” She felt herself fading away, “When Zelda took you away, I felt all alone. And you didn’t seem to think about me anymore, I didn’t want you to forget me. I figured that if you grew up without me, you’d never come back. That’s why I left the Kokiri Forest. Even if you hadn't disappeared, I would've gone anyways.”

Link said, “Saria...you didn’t have to.”

Saria closed her eyes, “...I don’t regret doing it. It gave me a chance to be with you. That’s how much you meant to me. I knew I’d give my life for you because we were friends, and I had hoped we might have been...more than that someday.”

Saria felt herself fading fast. She knew she had to say it. She had to tell him openly how she really felt. She wasn’t going to hide it anymore. “Link...”

Link leaned in.

Saria trembled as everything got dimmer, “I......love....y-.....y-...” Saria didn’t know if she had said it or not as she let out her very last breath.

Her body went limp in Link’s arms.

Saria, Link’s childhood friend and Sage of Forest, was dead.
Wisdom Versus Courage by Red Sparrow
Dear Diary,

I awoke this morning to some terrible news! Link seems to have disappeared somehow. Whatever’s happened to Link, I pray that he makes it back in one piece. I know I have the support of my people and my family. I just...want him back. My seventeenth birthday is coming up next week. I’m just not sure if I can celebrate with Link missing. Please, Link, wherever you are, be careful.

---

Dear Diary,

It’s been 4 years since Link has passed on. I know I should let go, but I can’t. Father and the others are worried about me, I can understand why. I’ve been quiet and closed up since that day. I’m not sure what happened to Link but so long as a body hasn’t been found, I’ll pray that he’s safe...wherever he may be. I can’t lie and say that I’m not losing hope, but I swear that I will never let go of that dream when Link comes back and sweeps me off my feet once more.

I pray everyday to the goddesses, and I try my best to be my normal self, but it’s hard...I’m not sure why I’m even caring...no, I can’t think like that. I’m a grown woman, I’m twenty now! I’ve got to be strong for my friends and family. The people of Hyrule look up to me, and I can’t be seen as a weak heir.

---

Dear Diary,

I’m slowly losing myself, everything is crumbling around me. I feel sick, I can’t think this way anymore. Thinking about Link is slowly killing me on the inside, I can’t seem to let go. Damn you, Link! Why can’t I forget you?! I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of you stranded somewhere...maybe you really are dead. No, I can’t think like that, I have to keep hoping that you come back, Link please don’t leave me alone!

This feeling won’t go away...it’s like my heart is crying. I cry everyday now. Father is forcing me to forget Link now. He says its killing me on the inside. What does he know? Doesn’t he know how hard I’ve tried to forget him? I just can’t...how can I?

---

Dear Diary.

This will be my last entry. I’ve decided to run away. Father has gone too far. He’s threatened to use force if I don’t obey him. What kind of monster is he?! I refuse to love another man. I don’t know where I would go, but I’ll just have to wing it. Maybe this is my chance to find out what exactly happened to Link. I would do and give anything to have him back. Anything.

As I write this, the wedding guests have assembled. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to write anymore entries. So many thoughts and good memories are in this diary. But, along with those memories are the ones I’d rather forget. If I take this diary with me, I fear that maybe it would hold me back. I can’t hold back, I’ll go to any length to find the people responsible for taking my hero away from me.

And so, I end this entry with the word running through my head at this very moment. This word, I believe, will keep me going. It will forever be my only motivation. I will find the truth. I won’t hold back. I won’t give up. I won’t lose sight of the one thing that Link has taught me to never lose...

Hope.

--Diary of Zelda.
=======================================

Chapter Twelve
“Wisdom versus Courage”


Link places his hand over Saria’s eyes and closes them as he sets her fragile body down. He leans in and kisses her on the forehead. He stood up and looked away from the body, he felt sick all over. He clenched his fists and struggled not to break down and cry right there. He knew he had something to finish. He was going to see this through to the end.

Link limped over to his sword and kneeled to pick it up slowly, the wind was blowing softly, rustling up some forest leaves. The leaves swirled around him. He stood back up, replacing his sword back into his scabbard.

Link sees a tunnel of broken walls. Saria had blown Zelda through those walls and created this trail of broken brick and debris. This tunnel was his path to Zelda.

He caught his breath and rushed into the makeshift tunnel. After a few minutes of running, he found the end of the tunnel. The last wall was cracked and Link noticed a trail of blood. It looked like Zelda was injured, and had dragged herself away from the wreckage. Link slowly followed the trail of blood and eventually it stopped. Either she had disappeared, or she had managed to stop the bleeding.

Link looked around. He knew exactly where to find her.

Link walked into the small garden, Zelda’s private courtyard. This place was where he and Zelda had first met, sure enough, he saw Zelda with her back turned to him. She was standing at the exact same spot as when they first met. She had a fabric wrapped around her arm. Her wound was a large dark red stain on the cloth. Link guessed that the cloth was from her shirt, since she was missing a sleeve.

Link walked over the green, fertile grass, and stopped in front of a garden of flowers. This place hadn’t changed a bit, it seemed like this was a completely different place than the ruin on the outside.

Zelda, without turning around, spoke with a soft, sad voice. It was as if she had been crying, “...Who are you? What are you doing here?”

Link remembered this conversation as if it were yesterday, he spoke, softly, “...I’m here because the Great Deku Tree sent me, are you Princess Zelda?”

Zelda turned slowly, pure sadness reflected in her eyes, “It...It really is you...” She said as if she didn’t believe what she was hearing.

Link stepped towards her.

Zelda stood and didn’t make any effort to avoid him, when Link neared her, he drew his sword and Zelda spoke once again, “...It’s strange, after all these years, I had prayed everyday for your safe return. I never thought that...if you were to come back, you’d kill me.” Zelda let a tear drop, “After you disappeared, I tried my best to stay hopeful, but eventually, it faded away. After a few years, my father tried to force me into a marriage with some jerk from another land.”

“Zelda, you and I know that it was going to happen anyways.” He said.

She shook her head, “I know...but, I just couldn’t do it. All those years ago, the thought of me marrying someone other than you seemed so far away. I knew it would happen one day. Part of me just kept hoping for a miracle.” Zelda held herself and shivered as a cold wind blew into the courtyard, “I just couldn’t marry someone else, I felt as if I were betraying you. I felt like I was stepping all over those moments we shared together. I lost myself. My father threatened to use force. I refused and he locked me in my room until the wedding. That was when I ran away.”

Zelda glances at Link’s sword and continued, “That was when I decided to find out the truth on what happened to you. I asked around and someone told me they last saw you heading for the Temple of Sages.” Link caught something wrong with what Zelda was telling him, he wasn’t headed for the Temple of Sages at all. He simply disappeared in front of the gate. Link decided to stay quiet as Zelda spoke, “I headed there, happy and worried at the same time after I found my first lead in such a short amount of time. As I went into the temple, I found that I was alone and by myself, I decided to check all the past entries. I thumbed through the logbook and came upon one that was written on the night you disappeared. It said you went somewhere to try to save Hyrule. It sounded confusing and I couldn’t quite understand all of it, but I figured that the sages had sent you there. It said that it was a place where no normal person could go to.”

She glanced down at the ground, “I never got to finish, because two of my father’s guards had found me. They wanted to escort me back. I refused. We had a little struggle and I ended up killing one of them. I ran.” She looked Link in the eye, “I was so scared. I had become a criminal. I didn’t mean to do it and the thought of killing made me sick.”

She explained, “Father then began to send some more guards after me, and I was forced to kill them. I slowly grew used to it. Then, father sent mercenaries and bounty hunters. They were the same. I decided to go to the source and find out once and for all what had happened to you. I went after the sages.”

Link spoke, “And that’s why they’re all dead.”

Zelda nodded, “They tried to kill me, and I was forced to defend myself. Soon, I had the entire kingdom against me. No one would take me in. And most of the people even tried to kill me. I killed them. Don’t you get it, Link? I kill because I had to, it was all for you. When I saw you again today, I knew the goddesses saw how good I was and decided to reward me.”

Link knew she was only lying to herself. Link shook his head, “No, you’re only using me as an excuse. Don’t lie. I know you enjoy killing.”

Zelda surprised Link by actually agreeing, “You’re right. I was. I’m sorry.”

She stepped towards Link. Link pointed his sword at her. Zelda hesitated and spoke, “I don’t understand why you would want to kill me. But I had sworn long ago that I would give anything to see you again. And if that means losing my life, then I’m willing to do it.” She walked up to Link and held his hand, “But...please, before you do it. Can you kiss me one last time?”

Link noticed the ring he had given her a long time ago. It had seemed like only yesterday. On the ring it was engraved with the words like he remembered. It said ‘Forever Your Hero’.

Link leaned in and kissed Zelda passionately. Zelda responded and kissed Link back, wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him in and deepening the kiss. Tears dripped from both their faces. They held that kiss as Link raised his sword and places it against Zelda’s chest.

Link wrapped his free arm around Zelda’s waist and pulled her body closer to his. He plunges the sword into her. Zelda and Link still had their lips locked in what they both knew would be their final kiss. Zelda made a small sound of pain. Link could taste blood in her mouth. Zelda’s hand reached up slowly. Her hands were trembling as she gripped the handle of the blade and helped Link plunge it deeper into herself, all the way up to the hilt.

They stayed like that for a few more minutes, until Link stopped feeling Zelda responding to his kiss. He broke the kiss and gasped for air. He still held the blade. Zelda’s hands slowly lost their grip and fell to her sides as her head leaned forward. Her body was held up by the blade.

Link let another tear drop as he quickly withdrew the blade from her chest. Zelda slowly fell backwards, her beautiful blond hair flowing in the wind. Her lifeless body crumpled in the flower garden. Zelda was dead.

Link looked on and felt sick to his stomach. He looks at his bloodied sword and angrily chucks it away from him as hard as he could over the castle wall.

Link turned around and saw Daphnes standing at the doorway, Daphnes spoke, “Link...you did it.”

Link looked at Daphnes, his eyes seemed lifeless, “Yes, I did, didn’t I?”

Link walked away from Zelda’s fallen body and past Daphnes. Daphnes grabbed Link’s shoulder and asked, “Where are you going?”

Link spoke, “Someplace else...I can’t stay here. I can’t stay in Hyrule.”

He looked at Link with an alarmed expression, “Why?”

Link responded, “If you can think of anything that will keep me here, I’ll stay.”

Daphnes nodded slowly, taking his hand off Link’s shoulder without saying another word.

Link walked out of the courtyard, past Saria’s body. Past what was left of Malon. And out of the castle.

As Link entered the ruined marketplace, he heard a scream. He looked around, puzzled and alarmed. Finally, he looked up as a sixteen year old, blond Hylian princess fell out of the sky and landed on him.

Link pushed the girl off of him and looked in shock as they both sat up, “Zelda?!”

Zelda blinked and looked at Link, “Link?!”

They pointed at each other and both said at the same time, “I thought you were dead!”

Suddenly a large portal opened and a familiar sinister figure stepped through.

Zelda and Link instantly backed away and bolted to their feet, Link said in shock, “Ganondorf?!”

Ganondorf smirked, “Yes, boy. I see you’ve remembered me well.”

Link was utterly confused, first Zelda comes out of nowhere, now Ganondorf?! Zelda and Link looked at each other, and without saying a word to each other, ran right for Ganondorf. The portal was still open, and they hoped to push him back in. Ganondorf’s hand flew forward, catching Zelda by the throat as Link threw a punch at Ganondorf.

Ganondorf caught Link’s punch and pulled him in closer, grabbing Link’s throat as well. Ganondorf began to strangle both Zelda and Link. He watched their faces as they squirmed and struggled to breathe. Ganondorf laughed, “You both are very foolish to come at me with half strength and no weapons! Now is my chance to confiscate that which is mine! Starting with you, boy!”

Link felt the Triforce of Courage being stolen from him, and just before it completely left his body, Link said between breaths, “Not today, Ganondorf.”

He focused his willpower into shattering the sacred Triforce into eight smaller pieces right before Ganondorf’s eyes. The pieces floated high into the air before scattering across the kingdom. Link smiled, but his victory was cut short as Ganondorf retightened his grip, “Damn you!!!! You two always seem to be a hindrance to my ambition! I will do myself a favor and kill you all!”

Ganondorf then had a change of heart and looks at Zelda, “Then again...I’ll just keep you both alive until I learn how to abstract the Triforce of Wisdom without shattering it. And what better way than to trap you both inside the place you imprisoned me?”

He turned and held out both now unconscious heroes in front of the portal to the Sacred Realm, “Goodbye, for now!” He tossed both Link and Zelda into the sacred realm before sealing them both inside.
Waking the Wind by Red Sparrow
“It’s a legend that was never meant to end. The times change, but the story remains the same. Hundreds even thousands of years from now, I’m sure this legend will repeat itself once more. It’s as Aryll had once said:

‘This legend will forever echo within the strands of time...only to be carried forth by the winds of destiny.’

--Vale
===================================


Chapter Thirteen
“Waking the Wind”

Zelda slowly opened her eyes. She heard voices, but couldn’t really make anything out. She heard Saria’s voice, “She’s awake!”

Then, she heard Impa, “Everyone back off, give her some room!”

Zelda slowly regained her vision and sat up slowly, he held her head and asked, “...how did I?”

Nabooru spoke up, “Saria sensed that you and Link were in trouble, and as soon as Ganondorf threw you in, she rescued you right before he sealed the gate.” Zelda looked around worriedly, “Wait, where’s Link?”

Saria spoke up slowly, “He...left to get you some water. He’s probably on his way back by now.” Zelda didn’t say a word and bolted up, running for the door. Saria stood there and watched quietly as Impa put a hand on her shoulder. Impa said in a comforting tone, “Saria, don’t take this too hard...”

Saria took Impa’s hand off of her shoulder and walked off in the same direction Zelda had gone.

The others looked at each other.

Zelda rushed to the door, throwing the wooden doors open, smacking Link on the other side just as he reached for the door. Buckets of water spilled on the grass. Link quickly regained his balance as Zelda leapt on top of him, hugging him tightly, “Link! You’re back!!”

Link laughed, “Glad you noticed!”

Zelda kissed Link all over the face and looked into his eyes, “What happened back there was...”

Link interrupted her, “It’s ok, the others told me everything.”

Zelda nodded, “Then...what about Ganondorf? Shouldn’t we go back?”

Link shook his head, “We’ve talked about it and eventually, we decided against it. Besides, Ganondorf sealed the sacred realm, no one can pass through anymore.”

Zelda looked worried, “But what about all those people?”

Link frowned.

They stayed silent for awhile. Zelda spoke up again, “What’s wrong?”

Link responded slowly, “I met the alternate you.” Zelda leaned in, curious, “Oh? You did? How was she...or uhm...me?”

Link thought about this for a bit, he forced a smile and lied, “She’s just like you, she’s kind, beautiful and intelligent. I have a feeling that Ganondorf will run into some trouble with that Zelda around.”

Zelda beamed, “I knew it!”

“Yeah...” Link said uneasily. Zelda then looked to the ground and said with a serious tone, “Listen, when you disappeared, I was so worried about you. I didn’t know what I would do if you were to disappear forever. I couldn’t think of losing you. I knew that I would do anything to get you back. I’d do anything to see you again. Anything.”

Link froze then quickly regained himself, “...I know.” He kissed her on the cheek and smiled. Perhaps...the two Zelda’s weren’t so different after all.

Saria was watching this from inside. She touched the window with her small hand. She didn’t hear what was going on, but the sight of Link kissing Zelda made her feel worse than she already was.

She felt so alone.

She watched as Zelda and Link held hands and sat in the grass, watching the clear blue sky. She saw them begin to kiss each other deeply and had to look away. She jumped in surprise to see Nabooru and Ruto standing there.

“How long were you watching?” Saria asked in a half angry, half embarrassed sort of way.

Ruto spoke, “Not long...”

Nabooru glanced outside the window before speaking, “They both seem so happy together don’t they, Saria?”

Saria nodded sadly, “I know...I just wish that...I just wish that Link felt the same way about me. I want to be the one he’s with outside, not Zelda.”

Ruto put a hand on her shoulder, “You did a very mature thing, Saria. You sacrificed your wants and stepped aside so that the two of them could be happy. You’re growing up, Saria. I’m not surprised, though. You’re the most mature member of our group.”

Nabooru agreed, “Yeah, you should be happy for them.”

Saria sighed, “I know. But, I want to be happy, too. Is that wrong?”

Ruto knelt down, looking Saria in the eyes, “Of course it isn’t. Everyone has their needs, their wants.”

Nabooru was watching the window, “Hey! I think I see some tongue action!”

Ruto glared at Nabooru and jabbed her in the arm. Nabooru winced and said, “Ow! Ok, sorry...”

Saria couldn’t look Ruto in the eyes. Ruto smiled and said, “Saria, think of it this way: Link and Zelda are running on a time limit. You see, one day Zelda will be forced to marry some prince guy, regardless of whether she wants to or not. They’re making the best of their time. But you, you’re still a kid on the outside, and maybe you should start acting your age.”

“But, I’m not really ten years old.” Saria said.

Nabooru cuts in, “What Ruto’s trying to say is, after you’ve left the forest, you’re pretty much a Hylian now. You’re a ten year old Hylian with the wisdom of many many years. You should take advantage of your extra time. Maybe this is your chance to meet other people. You, unlike those two lovers out there, have all the time in the world.”

“I...never thought about that...” Saria said softly.

Ruto agrees, “Exactly, how about, we all head out and go around town or something? I’m sure we’ll be able to find you a date or something.”

“No.” Saria said smiling, “...I’m still a kid you know, I have all the time in the world to do that!”

Meanwhile in the Shadowed Hyrule, Ganondorf had run the already unstable kingdom into the ground. The land was buried in darkness.

Hundred of years later, the events of that land are written in legend:



“Long ago, there existed a kingdom where a golden power lay hidden. One day, a man of great evil found this power and took it for himself, and with it at his command, he spread darkness across the kingdom.

But then...just as all hope had died, a young boy clothed in green appeared as if from nowhere. Wielding a blade that repelled evil, he sealed the dark one away and gave the land light.

This boy, who traveled through time to save the land, was known as the Hero of Time.

The boy's tale was passed down through generations until it became legend.

And then a day came when a fell wind began to blow across the kingdom, and the great evil once again crept forth from the depths of the earth. The people believed that the Hero of Time would again come to save them.

But the hero did not appear...

What became of that kingdom...?

None remain who know. The memory of the kingdom vanished, but its legend survived on the wind's breath.

On a certain island, it became customary to garb young boys in green when they come of age. Clothed in the green of fields, they aspire to find heroic blades and cast evil down. The elders wish only for the youths to know courage like the hero of legend...”




It was raining heavily on Windfall Island. Lightening tore at the sky, lighting up the swirling sea. Thunder rolled along the backdrop, it’s roar forbidding anyone from sailing the seas.

A young boy clothed in green jumped over the fence, running right for the docks where a boat with the head of a lion was ported. This boat was special. It had this peculiar ability to speak. It was called the King of Red Lions.

The greened clothed boy hopped into the boat, the boat turned its head and asked, yelling over the roar of the wind, “What have you discovered, Link?”

The boy named Link yelled back, “Tetra and the other pirates are staying at the inn until morning!”

The boat nodded, “Which means we’ll have just about enough time to make it back the Outset Island and meet with lord Jabun for the final pearl!”

The boat faced the seas, “We must hurry, Link!”

Link nodded pulling up the sails. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in the completely opposite direction. The boat yelled over the thunder, “Link!”

Link nodded, “I know!” Link pulled out his conductor’s baton known as the Wind Waker. He conducted the Wind’s Requiem. He pointed towards his home, Outset Island. The wind swirled around him and blew in that direction, filling the sail with gusts of wind. The boated speeded forward, Link had grown more daring and courageous since the start of his journey. His eyes were full of determination as he and his boat sped towards the dangerous waves.

...towards Outset Island, his home, his friends and family...

...his destiny.


THE END
This story archived at http://www.kasuto.net/efiction/viewstory.php?sid=1118