Link stayed in Hyrule Castle that night, in a completely different wing that the Princess was in. He knew it probably wasn't her doing, since the company might object to the little common boy in the Royal Suites, even though he was the Hero of Time. The bed was comfortable, and the room was nearly the size of a house in Kakariko village, but he couldn't sleep. It was a strange place to be.
Not only that, but his mind spun with all the events from the past few days. Saria confessing her love, which was probably harder for her to do than leaving everything behind to become the Sage of Forest, Link finally feeling at home again with the Kokiri children, even though Mido continually frowned upon it, and then Princess Zelda calling him back to the castle without any real reason to. Link knew better. She did call him back for a reason, but she might never admit it to him. She didn't even speak to him during dinner, much less make eye contact. Afterwards, she scurried off to bed without so much as a 'goodnight.'
He rolled over onto his back, tucking his arms behind his head and gazing out the window at the dark sky of glittering stars. The great white moon, not nearly full, loomed in the sky above all. Link eventually closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Early the next morning, Link felt the heat of sun baking the right side of his face. He grumbled and rolled over, burying his face into his pillow. Half-awake, he heard the servants moving around downstairs preparing breakfast and the guards marching down the hall outside his room.
"All this noise," he grumbled into his pillow. "Can't anyone sleep in around here?"
Link climbed out of bed, pulled on his boots, slapped his green hat on his head, and grabbed all of his weapons. He slung his sword and shield in place and dug into his backpack for his Fairy Ocarina, the one that Saria gave to him. It was still there. Satisfied, he marched to the door and out into the hall.
"Joining us for breakfast today, eh Link?" a servant asked him as he stepped into the hallway. She was a very round middle-aged lady carrying a basket with folded blankets in it.
"Nah, but thanks," Link replied. "I think I'll just run down to the kitchen and get some bread and fruit, if that's okay."
The lady laughed. "Oh, you're welcome to whatever you can carry, dear." She continued down the hall. "And stay safe out there on the field."
Link rubbed the back of his head. "Yeah," he muttered. He glanced down the other side of the hall and decided to head for the kitchen.
Downstairs, everyone moved. Servants kept running into each other in their hasty preparation of breakfast, others lugged huge trays of food up to the rooms of some of the nobility who refused to come down to the dining hall for breakfast but insisted it brought to them.
Link dodged some dangerously teetering servants and made it to the kitchen. The cooks and kitchenmaids waved and shouted hello over the racket.
"I just need some bread, maybe a couple of apples," he said.
One of the kitchen maids, a slender young woman with a face that was a little too long, waltzed around the kitchen gathering exactly what he asked for in a square of beige cloth. When she found everything, she tied the cloth up and handed it to Link, batting her eyelashes at him.
"Uh, thanks," he mumbled. The girl smiled and went back to her work.
Link opened his backpack and tossed the cloth into it with the rest of his items and weapons. Carefully, he backed out of the kitchen avoiding more of the servants with trays of drinks.
He wandered around in the great hall and in the dining hall but couldn't find the Princess. He finally asked one of the guards, who told him she was out in the gardens.
"Princess?" he asked, stepping out onto the lush green lawns of the courtyard gardens.
The red roses were in full bloom, as well as the daisies, violets, and daffodils. The air was thick with the scent of honeysuckle and lilac. Even some of the trees held flowered buds on their branches. Link followed the stone paths to where the fountains were just outside of the hedge maze, what he knew to be Zelda's favorite hiding spot from the rest of the world.
Sure enough, she sat on one of the stone benches beside the central fountain, trailing her fingers in the water. Link peeked out behind one of the trees to watch her.
The sun shone down on her flowing golden hair, creating a pale halo around the top of her head where her crown was. She wore a sleeveless sky blue robe over her simple white gown. Link didn't like the look of discontent on her face, so he snatched a small bouquet of daisies from one of the flower beds and walked out of his hiding place.
Princess Zelda looked up. "Link," she sighed.
Link stepped up to her, holding out the daisies with a silly heroic grin on his face. "These are for you," he said.
Zelda took them, smiling. "Thank you."
Link sat down on the bench beside her. "You okay?" he asked. "You look tired."
The Princess nodded. She had dark circles under her eyes and she appeared much paler than usual. "I am tired," she replied. "I hardly slept last night. I was worried. I had these horrible nightmares..."
"About the whole demon thing? Don't worry, Princess. I'm getting ready to head out for the Desert Colossus."
"So early?" she asked. "We haven't even eaten yet."
Link shrugged. "I grabbed a bite or two from the kitchen. I'll be fine. Plus, the sooner I go, the sooner I get back and the sooner you can stop worrying about this whole thing."
"Well," Link retorted, standing up. "I'm off. I'll be back soon, Princess."
She glanced up at him. "Be careful."
"Me? I'm always careful." He reached into his backpack and pulled out his Fairy Ocarina. "Later." He left Zelda alone in the gardens and headed out of the castle.
Just outside the castle wall, before he reached the town, he spotted a strange-looking woman dressed in a hooded black robe scurry out of the castle carrying a basket. Link ducked behind a boulder and watched her rush by. Once she passed the guards, she pulled down the hood of her robe.
She ventured out into town, and Link followed her at a distance. However, he soon lost her in the crowds at the morning market. Luckily, the townsfolk hadn't spotted him yet, so he side-stepped into an alley and played the Requiem of Spirit on his ocarina.
Seconds later, he opened his eyes to the brilliant sunlight relfecting off the pale gold sand of the desert. For a few minutes, he squinted, glancing around at the huge statues and palm trees of the Desert Colossus. He saw the Spirit Temple, which towered above everything else he could see.
"Man," he groaned, wiping the sweat off his forehead. He hadn't been here for more than a minute and already he was burning up. He took off across the sand towards the steps to the Temple, and the Leevers who buried themselves beneath his feet emerged, trying to ram him. Link swiftly dodged them and raced up the stairs.
Inside was much cooler. He took a look around, remembering how difficult it was to get through it. He stepped up the stairs and looked at the big Armos statue in the center of the room, making sure he stayed far from it.
"Well, if it isn't the Hero of Time," a voice exclaimed.
Link peered down one of the dark passageways to see Nabooru. She walked into the same room he was in, carrying a feather duster.
"Hey, Nabooru," Link greeted.
"Long time, no see," the Gerudo remarked, grinning at him. "Hey, I took out those obnoxious flying pots at the entrance, what do you think?"
"Great." Link pointed to the Armos statue. "He's still here though."
"Oh, I had to leave him there," Nabooru explained. "He's just so...vintage. It's just a pain to dust him is all. Plus, it gives me someone to talk to."
Link looked at her puzzedly.
"Just kidding, hon," she cooed. "Now, does coming back to visit me mean I get to keep you?"
"No," he blurted out, blushing a little.
"Rats," she muttered. "Just checking is all. I bet every girl in Hyrule is falling off their feet trying to catch your eye."
"No, well, kinda."
"Ah," Nabooru sighed, "the price of being a Hero. However, it is obvious that you've already chosen a girl as your sweetheart."
"It's not that fish princess is it?" She shuddered. "Just think of the wedding! No, really, you can tell me."
Link glanced at her. "No, I can't."
"Sure you can," Nabooru replied. "Who am I going to tell? Good old Armos over there? The springtraps? They're even worse company than the statues are. I'm not going to run around the kingdom spouting gossip about the Hero of Time. You saved my life. So...who is it?"
"Later, Nabooru," Link mumbled. "I came here to ask you something. It's really important."
Nabooru huffed. "All right. What do you need to know, hon?"
"Is there a demon that lives under the sands of the Haunted Wasteland?"
She laughed. "Link, you don't even want to comprehend how many demons lurk out there."
Link shook his head. "No, I mean just...there's supposed to be a buried city with a huge demon trapped there. Some magician did it..."
She nodded. "That would be Damonos, one of the most foolish sorcerers of all time."
"Second only to Ganondorf, of course," she added, grinning.
"So there is a huge demon under the sand?"
"Well, yeah. More than one, actually. But they can't get out, Link. They've been there for thousands of years."
"Not even if the sand stopped moving?" the Hero suggested.
Nabooru narrowed her eyes, placing one hand on her hip. She twisted the feather duster around in the other hand. "How do you know about all this, hon?" she demanded. "Some of this is strictly forbidden beyond Gerudo society. So did you beat up half of my clan in order to find out about some legends or what?"
"No," Link answered. "A group of Gerudo came to the castle yesterday and nearly scared Zelda to death with these stories about demons destroying the kingdom if they escaped from the desert."
"Who? Do you know their names?"
Link scratched his head. "I don't...wait, no. Their leader's name was Jo-something."
Nabooru's eyes grew wide. "Jocasta? Are you positive that was her name?"
The Hero shrugged. "Sounds familiar enough. I'm pretty sure it was her. Why? What's the big deal?"
"Link, Jocasta is an evil, evil sorceress," Nabooru explained. "During Ganondorf's reign, she was an apprentice to those two witches you killed here in the Temple, Koume and Kotake. She was a very wicked woman."
"That's not good," Link replied.
"Oh, it gets worse, hon. Even though the Black Arts are forbidden for Gerudo warriors since that privelege is left to the males in the clan only, Jocasta continued gaining strength in her powers because Ganondorf willed it. She was to be his bride."
"His..WHAT?!" Link cried, his jaw dropping.
"His bride," Nabooru repeated. "Ganondorf and Jocasta were to be married. He chose her to become Queen of the Gerudo, since her heart was as dark and wicked as his own. Only problem was, the ceremony never occured. As you know, Ganondorf headed off to the castle to eventually rule the world, promising he'd return for her, and Jocasta locked herself in the depths of the Gerudo fortress, practicing her magic. I didn't know she was still alive. The rest of the Gerudo were making sure she'd never escape, but apparently that didn't work. She probably used some of Koume's and Kotake's brainwashing techniques to get some of the Gerudo warriors to protect her and to break her out. It's pretty powerful stuff, I would know."
"I remember." Link was in shock. "To think Ganon had a bride. That's just really..."
"Disturbing," Nabooru finished, shivering again. "Think what their wedding would look like..."
Link shook his head. "So. Back to the demon. Zelda said something about some ritual a Gerudo king is supposed to do. Something with a crater of sand and a magic spear. It's to keep the demon from escaping for another one-hundred years."
"Link, the demon can't escape. I promise you. This is all just a story the Gerudo tell the young ones to scare them away from the Black Arts. So far, it's worked. And I've never heard of such a ritual. The demon is trapped. Completely."
"What about the sand stopping?"
"What about it?" she demanded. "It can't. It's the Haunted Wasteland. Those sands have been shifting and swirling since the day Damonos condemned the desert to imprison the creature he summoned. They can't just stop and start again. The only way the sands would stop is if someone were powerful enough to cancel out Damonos' spell. Even then, it wouldn't last long. The spell is one of the most binding ones in our history, or any history for that matter. It never weakens."
"Three hours," Link muttered.
"Zelda said the sand would stop for three hours. Then the demon could get out."
Nabooru shook her head and marched down the stairs to one of the cobra statues and dusted with her feather duster. "If the sand did in fact stop, the demon's still asleep and can't get out. This is all speculation, you understand. Nobody's done it before. Except...wait a sec."
"What is it?" Link asked.
"During Ganondorf's reign, I remember him dabbling with the notion of calling to the demon. I don't know if he ever went through with it or not because that's around the time I left to go sabotage his stuff here at the Temple. Hmm."
Link plopped down on the stairs, watching her.
"If Ganondorf did in fact call to the demon, it would've woken it up. Boy, this sounds like a really bad idea, but then again I wasn't a psychopathic dictator in any point of my life either."
"So," Link interrupted, "what would happen if Ganon did in fact wake it up?"
"You see, Link," Nabooru sighed, "while underground, the demon is...well, asleep. It's dormant. It can't do anything. Even if the sands were to stop, it still couldn't get out...probably. Again, I'm speaking from speculation. This is just all a bunch of silly legends."
"And if it wasn't asleep if the sand stopped?"
"Then...it would escape and terrorize the kingdom for all about six hours before everything was toast."
"You're not very optimistic there, Nabooru."
"What's to be optimistic for?" she asked. "If it did escape, we couldn't do anything. We wouldn't even have time to run, especially us down here in the desert."
Link rubbed his chin. "Okay, I'm going to go ahead and assume that Ganon did in fact wake it up, to make this whole 'what if' thing easier." He narrowed his eyes. "Could Jocasta be a strong enough sorceress to stop the sands?"
The Gerudo shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. It's possible. She was buried in the basement for a very long time and there's no telling what she was practicing down there. Link, if I was in your place, I'd definitely be after Jocasta instead of some other-worldly being. If this is her plan, then you have to stop her before she can unearth this creature. I'll go back to the Gerudo fortress and do what I can, but I can't promise you anything. She may have the entire clan against me by now. You, in the mean time, should get back to the castle and tell Zelda what you've figured out."
"How many days until full moon?"
Nabooru wrinkled her nose. "Two, I think. Today and tomorrow. Why?"
"I'll come to the fortress tomorrow. Right now, I'm heading back to Hyrule Castle." He reached out and squeezed her hand. "Thanks for everything, Nabooru."
"No problem, Link," she replied. "Now get going."
Link nodded and leapt to his feet. He waved as he stepped outside of the Temple, then played the Prelude of Light on his ocarina.&
Back to Story Menu