“Now, it is time for you to pull the sword of evil’s bane, Link.”
Link stepped up to the pedestal and placed his hands firmly on the hilt. He pulled with all his might, bracing himself for the time it would slide from the gray stone. It didn’t even shift. He let go for a moment, and then attacked the blade again. It would not budge. His arms were shaking with exertion. He had to be the one to pull it; the King of Red Lions said so. But still with all his sweat and strength, he could not move the Master Sword. “I can’t do it!” Link yelled.
“It is not possible. The Gods acknowledged you as the hero. You defeated Gohdan! You cleared the monsters from Forest Haven, got the approval of Jabun, and defeated Gohma! You have to be the Hero, there is no other!” King Daphnes was nearly hysterical. Link had done so much already, and he wasn’t the one to be the Hero of Time.
Link felt helpless for a moment, then was struck with inspiration. Maybe he could rescue Aryll without the blade. All he needed were a few things to help. “King Daphnes, could we leave and try to find the pirates again? Oh, and we need to stop at Windfall Island before going back to Forsaken Fortress.” The king was puzzled by the boy’s request, but seeing as how the attempt to pull the sword had ended unfortunately, he supposed he would go along with Link’s plan.
Luckily, because Link had control of the cyclones, he was able to reach Windfall before the pirates left. Tetra was surprised he was there. It seemed he had only just left, and he claimed to have gotten the last pearl too.
“Well, thanks to Ganon’s magic, daybreak didn’t occur until just a little while ago. And I knew that after a night of pirate partying, no one would want to get up so early.” Link smiled.
“Since when did you get to be the leading expert on pirates? Last I remember, you could barely even say ’Aarrgh!’ right. So why do you need us?”
“I need to go back to Forsaken Fortress, but since I didn’t get the thing I needed to defeat Ganon, I, or rather, we, are going to sneak the girls that were kidnapped out of there. And with your crew, you can distract the bird while I get the girls out. Once I have done that, we will shoot down the bird with our combined firepower. Then we return the girls to their fathers.”
Tetra could only look on in surprise at the boy. His plan was insane! “Are you nuts?! That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! There are some major holes in that plot. First of all, how do you propose we distract the bird for that long? And what about the canons?”
“ I’ve destroyed the canons with my own, and the bird? You’ll only need to distract it for a few moments, tops. I know the place pretty well; I wandered around for a few hours, remember? I also noted that there were some secret passages, which I used before. I can get the girls to go through there. One leads-”
“Ok, hold it. Before we do anything else, we have to make a map of this place. Then we can make our move according to the paper, not some boy’s faulty memory.” Tetra laid a piece of paper in front of Link on the table of the café. She asked the woman behind the counter to get her a pen. Link thought for a moment, and then began to draw the floor plan of the fortress. He included all the passages and corridors and ledges he knew of that would make for a speedy escape.
Once the map was finished, he and Tetra made some calculations on how many bombs and arrows it would take to kill a bird of that size. The astronomical figures put a hefty dent in the pirates’ and Link’s wallets. Link estimated he would need thirty bundles of 100 each to keep the bird stunned long enough for the crew of sea rats to load and fire the bomb canons. With the supplies stored in the hull of the pirates’ ship and The King of Red Lions secured on board the ship, they set sail two days later. The 24 hours spent sailing to the fortress were full of tension. Link showed off his new weapons he acquired in the dungeons he cleared. Most impressive was the boomerang. Tetra’s crew had never seen a weapon that would come back once thrown.
The sinister silhouette of the garrison loomed on the horizon, perched on top of the waves like a deadly shark’s fin. The waves that sloshed against the sides of the ship now lapped angrily, as a warning sign to stay away. Some sporadic bomb-barrels exploded at their passing, shaking the wood planks. As they drew closer to the island, small details became visible in the fortress: anchors hanging off gallows as trophies, Moblins patrolling the outside wall of Forsaken Fortress, and the monstrous bird in its dirty roost near the top of the fort. Next, the lights of the torches, shedding some brightness across dark and gloomy corners. And there were the seagulls gathering at the same spot where Aryll was. Link could almost hear his sister speaking softly to the birds in her nonsense language while hand feeding them bait. It had only been a week or two since they last saw each other, but it seemed like an eternity.
Tetra looked over at Link, and saw the pain and anguish on his face. She felt sorry for him. She knew what it was like to lose a family member. But he could save Aryll; Tetra could not bring her dead mother back.
An unexpected call sounded from Gonzo brought Link and Tetra out of their thoughts. The bird had seen them. He flapped his wings a few times, stood up in his roost and lazily ran his beak through his feathers. Helmaroc shook his head and screeched loudly. Flapping his wings and taking off, the great bird flew towards the ship. But the crew was waiting. Link let loose his arrows, three at a time towards the bird’s breast. Tetra’s underlings shot the cannons at his faceplate until it cracked. Not only did it crack, but also it fell off entirely, exposing his tender crest. Link shot three more arrows at it, dead center of the appendage. Looking like some grotesque porcupine, the Helmaroc King was in great pain now. Every time he approached the ship he got a face full of arrows and a barrage of bombs to his chest. But in addition to the pain, he was tiring of the constant flying back and forth from his roost to the ship.
Finally the monstrous bird fell. Link yelled victoriously as the Helmaroc King splashed into the water. By now Moblins and bokoblins were swarming and readying to board the ship. But Link was shooting them down with his arrows and Tetra commanded the rest of them to keep shooting the canons. Thankfully, the Moblins were as stupid as they were big. So they kept coming until the last one was shot.
Now the fortress was empty.
Link and Tetra used the map to find the tower where the prisoners were being kept. Only a few pesky rats impeded their trek. But they eventually made it to the prisoners. Link opened the door and Aryll flew out and grabbed him around the waist.
“Oi! Big brother! You came back! Oh, my brother’s here to save us, everyone!” Aryll said to her cellmates. One of them was particularly shabby and asked, “Wait! Where’s Moe? He was going to marry me! What happened to a big burly Moblins with many skull necklaces??”
Tetra looked at Link uneasily. She knew for certain she had stripped every Moblin of its necklaces. A very ugly one had yielded more than she thought, and he was still alive. But she had stuck him with an arrow. “Uh, he got away.” she lied quickly. “I told him, ‘you get out of here or I’ll stick you with an arrow.’ He ran. I don’t know where, but it was north, and that is a very big place. You’ll probably never see him again. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, that’s alright. I knew it would never have worked anyway. He had terrible breath. But I have known love, and I will cherish it always. Oh, Moe, I wish I could have loved you back! By the way, I’m Maggie.”
“And I am Mila. My father is the richest person in the world.”
“Yeah, honestly rich that is.” Tetra said under her breath. “So, we’ll return you home and Link, Aryll and I are going to do something important. We may need you, Aryll.”
Back at the Tower of the Gods, Tetra, Link, Aryll and the King of Red Lions entered Hyrule again. Link showed Aryll and Tetra the room of the Master Sword and explained how he couldn’t pull it. Tetra looked at Link sadly. She understood. How many times had she planned and planned but got nothing? Too many. Link and Tetra walked around the outside of the room, looking at the stained glass windows, leaving Aryll alone for a moment. They just looked at the window of Ruto when they heard a strange noise. Like grinding stones and then a heavenly sort of tone. A bright flash of light blinded the two of them as they ran to get back to the platform. Link’s jaw dropped when he saw Aryll standing at the altar in front of the King of Red Lions. And in her hands was the Master Sword.
“What?! How could she do it? How come I couldn’t? She’s only 9! Can you put it back? I want to try again.” Link blurted loudly. But the king only shook his head.
“No, Link. It seems the Gods have acknowledged Aryll as the real hero. And so she shall be. The hero of Time of Old was only ten, and he defeated Ganon with little help. If he could do that, then Aryll should be able to banish Ganon forever. Congratulations, Aryll. You will take your brother’s stead. He wasn’t any good anyways.”
“What a loser. You couldn’t even save Hyrule. Your sister has to do it.”
Laughter, mocking laughter filled Link’s ears, he couldn’t escape it. Then he woke up. Goddesses, I hope that doesn’t happen Link thought as he sailed towards the Tower of Gods.