Chapter 1: The Emergence
It was inside of him now. Link's mind was being slowly invaded by it. It began to work its way into the depths of Link's soul. It was changing him, little by little. The invader was once the greatest power in the Universe. Now, it was all but gone. What was left decided to seek vengeance. Vengeance on the one who destroyed it. This child had taken its tortured souls. There were no souls left for it to torment, except for one. At the moment before its destruction, part of it invaded Link's soul. There was only enough of it to seek vengeance on one person. This one person would be Link. If it could not take trillions of souls, one would have to suffice. It was going to kill Link, and take him back to hell.
It was an average day in the Kokiri Forest. Link really hoped that his life would finally return to normal. After his adventures as the Hero of Time, Link thought that his life would go back to the way it was. Then he met Kasuto and the Guardians. That practically turned his life upside-down, again. But now, his life would go back to normal. It was time for some rest and relaxation.
Link began his day with his usual morning routine. It had been a couple weeks since his encounter with the Guardians. The injuries he sustained from fighting that awful creature were finally starting to heal. His arm would have to stay in a sling for another month or so, but his face was healed. Link decided to take the bandage off today. He looked at his face in the mirror. The five gashes had healed, but they left ugly scars that would probably remain for the rest of his life. He wondered how Saria would react to this. Link hadn't taken the bandage off in front of her, so she didn't know how bad the gashes were. This would be a surprise. Link made a mean face into the mirror. The scars would definitely make him look tougher; maybe Mido and the others wouldn't pick on him anymore.
After he got dressed, Link walked to Saria's house like usual. They always had breakfast together. They decided long ago to meet at her house every morning instead of Link's. Link didn't like people coming over in the morning; he was usually a grouch when he was waking up. Saria finally suggested this arrangement after having one too many pillows thrown at her. Link knocked and walked into Saria's house. She had already prepared breakfast for the two of them. Fruit, berries, bread, and nuts lay in bowls on the table. Link tried baking some bread for Saria once, but he ended up turning it into a burnt cinder. Link left the baking to Saria, and they alternated gathering fruit everyday. Link walked to the table and sat down.
"Morning, Link," Saria said cheerfully. She saw the scars on his face. "Ouch, you didn't tell me that your face was that bad." She gently brushed her fingers against the scars and shuddered. "Does it still hurt?" she asked.
"No," Link replied. "They're all healed, but I think I'll have these scars for a while."
"You never really told me what happened to you," Saria said as she poured milk from a pitcher into two glasses. "I felt that it wasn't wise to ask you right away because I figured you needed some time. You know you can tell me anything; I won't tell anyone else." Saria gave Link a sad-puppy-dog face. Saria always had a knack for finding out what was bothering Link. "So, what did happen to you? And what in the world gave you those cuts on your face?"
Link sat silently for a moment, contemplating his response. He couldn't tell Saria what really happened. He never lied to her before. Maybe he could bend the truth a little. "Well…" Link stammered, "A big…animal attacked me. When I was walking. In the mountains."
"Uh-huh," she replied. "Well, it must've been pretty big to make a mark like that."
"Yeah. It was a big mountain lion." Link stretched his arms out for emphasis. "It had huge claws and it charged me and swiped at my face. Luckily, Kasuto was there, and he scared it off. Then when we were climbing down I slipped and fell down the side of a hill. I landed on a rock and broke my arm."
"Oh," Saria said. "Well…why did you wait so long to tell me what happened? That's no big deal." Link breathed a mental sigh of relief. Saria believed his story.
"I know," Link mumbled. "But I thought maybe you would think I was a klutz for falling down a small hill."
"Oh don't be silly," Saria said. "I already know that you're clumsy, why would that surprise me? By the way, how does your arm feel?" Link rubbed his right arm with his left hand.
"It doesn't hurt that much," he said. "It's just a little sore." Link continued eating his breakfast silently. Saria was talking to Link about all of the usual Kokiri gossip when she noticed that the conversation was becoming one-sided. This was unusual because Link usually talked Saria to death, not the other way around.
"What's wrong, Link?" Saria asked with concern. "You're usually a lot more cheerful and talkative at breakfast." It was true. After Link started eating in the morning, he would begin his usual babbling. Link would often out-talk Saria, but today was different. Link was very quiet and kept looking down at the table, as if he were trying to avoid eye contact. Link looked very depressed today, and this worried Saria.
"Nothing's really wrong," Link finally replied. "I just feel a little…depressed."
"Are you sad about Kasuto?" she asked. Saria could understand that Link would be upset about Kasuto's death. He died just a few days after Link met him.
"Well, yes that's bothering me…but it shouldn't be this bad. I just feel so…down." Link was feeling more than depressed. He didn't want Saria to worry about him. What Link didn't tell her is how sad he really was this morning. Link felt so depressed that he didn't want to even get out of bed. He did it anyways because Saria would suspect something if he missed breakfast. "Don't worry," Link continued. "I'll be okay."
"All right," Saria said. "I'm sure you'll be fine." Saria got an idea. "Why don't you go see Zelda? It's been a while since you two have seen each other; maybe she can cheer you up."
"Yeah," Link said, his face brightening a little. He hadn't seen Zelda in ten days. The king told Link that he was free to come to the castle any time he wanted to; maybe it was time for Link to take advantage of his offer. "I think I'll go over there," he said. Link finished his breakfast with Saria and left her house. As he walked through the forest, some of the Kokiri children gave him strange looks. They were probably looking at his scar. Link ignored them and continued to walk towards the forest's exit.
As Link journeyed through Hyrule Field, his mood began to improve. Nevertheless, he still had a strange feeling in the back of his mind. He'd never felt as depressed as he did this morning. Link wondered if there was something wrong with him. Then again, maybe it was normal for him to feel this way. Link tried to push the depressing thoughts out of his mind and concentrate on Zelda. He was going to see Zelda. She would make him feel better.
When Zelda woke up this morning, she felt depressed. All through breakfast, she couldn't stop thinking depressing thoughts. Impa thought that Zelda might just be having a bad day, so she didn't bother her. Zelda knew that she had no reason to be depressed. Maybe it was Link. Yes, it was Link. There was something wrong with him. He was upset about something. He would probably come over today; Zelda had a feeling that Link would. I can cheer him up, she thought. She decided to wear her new dress for Link. She'd bought it a few days earlier, and knew that Link would like to see her in it.
As Zelda was looking herself over in the mirror, a servant knocked on her door. "Come in," she said.
"Um, your highness," the servant said, bowing. "Someone is here to see you. A boy."
"Oh goody!" Zelda exclaimed as she ran past the servant and headed towards the castle's foyer.
Link was waiting patiently for Zelda. The servant he talked to had said that she would be down in a minute. In his left hand, Link held a small bunch of wildflowers. He'd decided to pick them for Zelda while he was walking to the castle. Girls like getting flowers; he hoped that Zelda would appreciate them. Link heard footsteps rapidly approaching from down the hall, and Zelda came into view. She ran excitedly towards Link. He smiled and held out the flowers. "Oh you got me flowers!" Zelda exclaimed as she took them from Link's hand. "That's so sweet!" she gave him a light peck on the cheek.
"I came over here because…"
"You needed some cheering up," Zelda interrupted. "I know how you felt this morning." Link remembered their empathic connection. "What do you think of my dress?" Zelda said, twirling around. Link looked at the dress she was wearing. It looked so familiar. It was all green. The dress Zelda was wearing looked exactly like the one that Saria wore everyday. She was wearing a Kokiri dress. All Zelda needed was a fairy and she would make a perfect Kokiri girl.
"Wow," Link managed to say. "You look really…nice in that." Zelda smiled. Link really liked the way she looked in that dress. Zelda definitely looked like she belonged in the Kokiri forest.
"Thank you," Zelda said. "I knew you would like this. I saw it at the market the other day and I just had to buy it. I wore it today because I knew you'd like to see me in it when you came over."
"How'd you know I was coming over here?" Link asked.
"Oh, I just had a feeling," she answered mysteriously. Zelda grabbed Link's hand and led him on a journey through the castle. She did this only because they had nothing else to do. "You know…" Zelda said after a minute of silence, "I've never actually been to your house, or the Kokiri forest. Of course, I did tell Daddy that I was going over to your house before, but that was when we had that stuff to do with Kasuto. Now I'd really like to see where you live. That is, if it's okay with you."
Link had been waiting for her to say that. He was anxious to show her where he lived. Link had been in the castle many times, and he wanted Zelda to see the Kokiri Forest. The only reason he never asked her was because he was afraid she'd say no. Deep inside him, Link knew that Zelda would never reject him like that. But he still worried about that anyways. "Sure. I'd love it if you came over to my house," Link responded, trying to hide his excitement.
"Oh great!" Zelda said cheerfully. "We can get Impa to take us over there." Zelda grasped Link's hand and dragged him to Impa's room. Impa resided in the room right next to Zelda's bedroom. Impa turned her head when she heard Link and Zelda enter. She was surprised when she saw the dress Zelda was wearing. It was so similar to the clothes Link was wearing. The two children looked so adorable together. Judging by the look on Link's face, Impa could tell that Link was uneasy. He probably wasn't accustomed to a crazed girl dragging him all over the place. They were so cute.
"Hi Impa!" Zelda said. She had that 'I want something' look on her face. "Impa, you're not doing anything, are you?" It was more of a statement than a question.
"No, not really," Impa replied. She never had much to do. After all, her only job was taking care of Zelda. And Zelda was surprisingly self-sufficient. Impa often found herself with nothing to do.
"Well, I was wondering if I could go to the Kokiri Forest with Link. You know, for a few days." Impa didn't see any problem with that. Normally, this decision would be up to Zelda's father. But he would be gone for a month on a diplomatic mission. He had left Impa in charge of the castle. "I'd really like to go," Zelda continued.
"I don't know…" Impa said
"Oh please," Zelda whined. "There's never anything to do here, and it's always so boring." Link just stood there, not wanting to get involved. He would leave the whining up to Zelda.
"Well, I suppose it's okay. How long are you planning on staying?"
"I don't know," Zelda said, looking at Link who shrugged his shoulders. "A few days. A week maybe?"
"A week?" Impa said. "I don't see any problem with that. But I can't stay there with you. Are you sure you'll be okay by yourself?"
"Oh yes," Zelda replied, putting her arm around Link. "Linkie-pooh will take care of me, won't you?" Zelda looked at Link's flushing face. He didn't want anyone else to know what Zelda called him.
That's so cute, Impa thought. They have pet names for each other. "I can tell that Link is a responsible person," Impa said. "You should go pack your things, Zelda. Try not to take too much stuff." Zelda gleefully agreed and ran into her bedroom, and Link waited by the door. Impa entered and helped Zelda decide what to take. Zelda placed a small duffel bag on her bed. She began to fill it with various items. She packed a small hand mirror, a brush, and other various toiletries. The only clothes Zelda packed were underwear and socks.
"Aren't you going to pack any clothes?" Impa asked. "What are you going to wear?"
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Zelda asked defensively. Impa looked at Zelda's Kokiri dress.
"Nothing. You can wear that if you want to. But do you really want to wear the same clothes everyday for a week? What if that dress gets really dirty?"
"Link's friends have clothes," Zelda responded. "I'm sure they'll let me borrow some if I need to. Besides, I have two Kokiri dresses." Zelda walked over to her closet and retrieved a Kokiri dress identical to the one she was already wearing. She folded it and placed it into the bag. When Zelda had finally finished packing, she closed the bag and hurried back to Link's side. "I'm ready to go," she said. Link offered to take Zelda's bag for her, and she gave it to him.
"Okay, I guess I'll escort you over there now," said Impa. She began to make her way out of the castle followed by Link and Zelda. Instead of walking to the forest, Impa took them in a small, horse-drawn carriage. It was simple and unadorned, so it wouldn't draw any attention. Zelda was enjoying the ride, but Link wasn't. All of the bumping and jostling was starting to make him sick. Link always got motion sickness when he was riding in something he had no control over.
They finally reached the entrance to Kokiri Forest. Link immediately stepped out of the carriage. He was so relieved that the ride was over. A few more minutes in that thing and Link would've vomited. He forced a smile and picked up Zelda's duffel bag.
"Are you okay?" Zelda asked, concerned. "You don't look so well."
"I'm fine," Link replied. "I just got a little sick on the ride over. I'll be fine in a couple minutes." He was starting to feel better already. He carried Zelda's bag to the entrance of the forest.
"I'll be back in seven days, at about noon," Impa said from the driver's seat of the carriage. Zelda acknowledged and waved back at her. Impa snapped the horse's reins and headed back to the castle. Link and Zelda turned around and entered into the Kokiri Forest
Zelda was amazed when she entered the forest. This place was beautiful. It looked so peaceful. Many of the children ran around, going about their daily business. As Link walked Zelda to his tree house, some of the Kokiri children looked at her. Zelda certainly looked like a Kokiri girl, except she had no fairy; just like Link. One of the boys saw Link and approached him; it was Tarin.
"Hi, Link," said Tarin.
"Hello," Link said. Tarin was one of the few people in Kokiri Forest who didn't pick on Link. Link and Tarin weren't really friends, but they weren't enemies either.
"Who's your friend?" Tarin asked, looking at Zelda. "I've never seen her before."
"This is Zelda," Link said. Zelda smiled. "Princess Zelda. Of Hyrule."
Tarin stood silently for a moment with a confused look on his face. Then a smile formed on his face. "Oh yeah, right," Tarin laughed. "Princess Zelda. I suppose she lives in a castle, too. She doesn't look like a princess; where's her crown?" Zelda scowled. "Oh I'm sorry your highness," Tarin said sarcastically, "I'll leave you two alone. You always were the joker, Link." Still laughing, Tarin walked away from Link and Zelda. They continued to walk towards Link's house.
"What…" Zelda mumbled with a confused look on her face.
"Don't pay any attention to him," Link reassured her. "They're all like that, except Saria. Everyone else here doesn't even believe that there's a world outside the forest. I've told them about what's outside, but they don't believe me. They think I'm just making it up. If anyone bothers you, just humor them."
"Okay," Zelda said. This was weird. She'd never met people that were so sheltered. When she was younger, Zelda knew there was more to the world than only the castle. Apparently, the Kokiri children don't think that anything else exists outside their world. Link stopped in front of a tree house.
"This is where I live," he said, pointing to the second-story door.
"Oh neat. You live in a tree house," Zelda said, smiling. "How come you have a tree house and everyone else has houses on the ground?"
Link shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, I guess it's 'cause I'm special," Link said, smiling. "Go ahead, climb up." Zelda looked at the ladder and began to climb it. She stopped halfway and looked down at Link.
"How are you going to get up here?" Zelda asked. "I mean, with your arm…and you carrying your bag. I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"I'll be fine," Link replied. "I've gotten used to climbing up the ladder using one arm." Link slung the duffel bag over his shoulder and motioned for Zelda to continue climbing. When Zelda reached the top, Link climbed the ladder. Zelda was worried that Link would slip and hurt himself. When he made it to the top, Zelda let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. "See, I told you I'd be fine," Link said with a smirk.
Zelda walked into Link's house. It was small, but cute. Zelda thought it would be fun to live in a place like this. She could be a normal person and not have to act like a princess. Zelda often tired of having to do 'official' things. Every time she had to be present for some kind of royal ceremony, she faked being sick. It worked a couple times, until they caught on to her. She had to try more ingenious method to get out of doing things. Like the one time she dyed her hair pink. That worked really well, but she got into a heap of trouble. In addition, it took almost two months for the color to wear off. But this place was nice. She could be a normal kid here.
"Sorry this place is so small, but…"
"Oh I just love it!" Zelda interrupted. She ran and jumped onto Link's bed. "This place is so cozy. So, where am I going to sleep?"
"Um…Well, I was thinking that if it doesn't rain, then we could put some blankets on the grass and sleep under the stars. It's really pretty at night." Link often preferred to sleep outside. He liked to watch the night sky and the shooting stars. "And if the weather goes bad," he continued, "you can sleep on the bed and I'll sleep on the floor." Zelda thought it was so nice of Link to offer her the bed.
"What do you want to do now?" Zelda asked.
"I don't know," Link replied. "We can go to Saria's house, I'll introduce you to her. She'll probably want to meet you." Zelda agreed. She followed Link out if his tree house. Zelda looked forward to meeting the girl that Link talked about so much. When Link first told Zelda about Saria, she started to feel jealous. Zelda was relieved when Link told her that Saria was a sister to him. That meant that Zelda didn't have to compete with her. Zelda tried not to let it show, but she was very possessive of Link. She didn't want people trying to take him away from her.
"This is it," said Link when they reached Saria's house. They walked in the house and saw Saria sitting at her table, reading something. Saria closed the book and smiled at Link and Zelda. "Hi, Saria," said Link. "I want you to meet Zelda."
Zelda smiled politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you," Zelda said in her 'princess' voice.
"So, you're the one Link's always talking about," Saria said. "He really likes you." Link blushed slightly. "I like your clothes. They look just like mine." Zelda looked down at her dress and then at Saria's. They were almost identical.
"Thanks," Zelda said. "I bought it at the market. Some weird lady had a whole cart of clothes and I saw this dress and I thought 'this looks like what Link wears, I think I'll get this and see what he thinks.' And when Link came over I decided to wear it for him. So, does it look authentic?"
"Yes, it does," Saria answered. "It looks like something I would've made myself."
"Oh, that's great," Zelda continued. "I'm glad that it looks real because I didn't want to spend all my money on something that didn't look real. Of course, I have a lot of money and I can afford it, but it's the principle of the thing, you know?" Wow, Saria thought, she rambles just like Link does. They're definitely made for each other.
"So you're the princess of Hyrule," Saria said.
"Yes," Zelda answered. "You actually believe that I'm a princess?" Zelda was somewhat surprised that Saria believed Zelda was a princess. After the reaction Tarin had given, she didn't think anyone would believe her.
"Of course I do," said Saria. "Link told me all about you. And Link never lies about anything."
"Saria is the only one who believes anything I say," Link told Zelda. "Everyone else thinks I'm crazy."
"You are crazy," Saria said with a smirk. Link stuck out his tongue at her.
"Oh, my Linkie-pooh isn't crazy, he's just misunderstood. Right Link?" Zelda said, hugging him. Link's face flushed even more. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for him to put these two girls in the same room. Zelda and Saria looked at each other and giggled. Link had no idea what they were giggling about, but he knew it couldn't be good for him.
"You know, Link…" Saria began, "It's almost time for lunch."
"Yeah, I'm hungry," Zelda whined playfully. "What're we having? What do you usually make for lunch?"
"Well, Saria eats lots of fruit and stuff," Link answered. "And I usually go over to the stream and catch a fish. She bakes bread and I cook the fish."
"Oh Zelda, you should've seen the time Link tried to bake a loaf of bread," Saria said, trying not to laugh. "He ended up mixing it wrong, and then he baked it too long. He filled the whole house with smoke and burned the bread to a crisp." Zelda looked at Link and giggled. "It was like a big lump of coal. Link can cook the fish, though. He seems to be pretty good at it, but I don't eat meat so I've never actually tasted it."
"I like fish, Link," said Zelda. "Will you go catch one for me, too?"
"Sure," he replied. "I'll go catch some now. And I have to gather some berries and stuff, too. It's my turn today. I'll be back in a little while. You two won't talk about me when I'm gone, will you?" Zelda and Saria smiled slyly.
"Oh, of course not, Linkie-pooh," replied Zelda.
"We'll be fine. Zelda can help me make the bread," Saria said to Link as he was walking out the door. Suddenly, Zelda got an embarrassed look on her face.
"I…don't know how," Zelda mumbled. "I mean, I can't…cook. I never had to cook anything in the castle, and I've never even been in the kitchen. I'm not saying that I'm some kind of spoiled brat or anything, but I've never needed to cook anything before."
"Don't worry," Saria reassured her. "I'll show you how. It's not hard to make a loaf of bread. I really don't know how Link messed it up when he tried to make bread one time. I guess baking isn't one of his talents. He can cook the fish, though. He cleans it and everything."
"Cleans it?" Zelda asked curiously.
"He cuts it open and takes the, you know, guts out," Saria said with a disgusted look on her face. "It's really gross. I watched him do it one time. That's when I became a vegetarian."
"He pulls the guts out?" Zelda said with a fascinated expression. "That sounds so neat! Are they all gooey and slimy?" Saria looked sickened. The first time she saw Link gut a fish, she puked. How could this girl, a princess, be so fascinated by gutting a fish? Maybe Link was right about Zelda being a tomboy.
"You mean you'd actually want to see a fish being gutted?" Saria said, surprised.
"Well, I don't know," Zelda said, self-conscious. "I think it might be interesting to see it once."
"Oh, well, you can help him do that later. Right now, I'll show you how to make bread." Saria opened a cupboard and removed a sack of flour, a small pouch of yeast, and other various materials that she needed to make bread with. Zelda listened and watched attentively as Saria explained everything to her.
Link sat on the bank of a small stream deep in the Kokiri forest. He had his fishing rod in the water, waiting for a bite. It was a lot more boring trying to catch fish in the stream than in the fishing pond at Lake Hylia. They raised fish at the pond; catching a fish at this stream was mostly luck. He'd been sitting there for twenty minutes, and hadn't gotten a bite. Link sat there, thinking.
He started to feel unusual. Physically, he was fine. But his emotional state was changing. The deep depression he'd had this morning was starting to return. Why do I feel this way? Link thought. I should be happy. Zelda is here. She made me feel better earlier, so why am I sad now that she's here? This depression wasn't normal. Link never felt this sad.
The sadness was replaced by something else. A voice. It was a voice in his head. It wasn't an alien voice, it seemed like it was always there. It was the voice from deep inside him, the voice he never listened to. It seemed to be breaking from its prison inside him. It was the darkness in Link's soul that was talking to him now. What am I doing here? Why I am doing this for them? What is the point of life? Why am I wasting away on this miserable world, with nothing but suffering? This voice inside him was asking the questions Link never asked. But they were the questions he always wanted to ask. He never listened to this voice before, but now he was. The voice was louder than it had been any other time in his life. It was Link's dark side. The part of him that was everything bad, everything angry, and everything evil. The shadows deep inside his soul were fighting with the rest of his soul. Link's good side, the one he cherished and lived for, was being attacked from the darkness within. The part of his soul that he always suppressed, the darkness, was starting to emerge from its prison. It was starting to take him over, and it wouldn't stop until Link was dead.
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