Double Trouble

By Ben Berntsen

Part 1: The 4th Medallion

   Ganondorf, the Prince of Darkness, stood atop a steep sand dune somewhere within the Desert of Mystery, and watched thousands of Moblin slaves digging in the hot sun. Somewhere here, he would find it, unless the sand monsters and vultures picked off his workers first. But that wouldn't happen. Everyone feared Ganondorf. Even Link, the meddling brat who had always enjoyed foiling his plans. No longer. If he could find what he was trying to find, the Triforce would be his once again. And then he would own all of Hyrule, and one day, the world! The Moblin Captain approached.
   "Sir, we've stumbled onto a cave atop one of the sand dunes!" the moblin bowed.
   "Excellent! Bring me there at once!" Ganon got up and padded towards the dune.
   It was tall and very steep. At the top was a trap door that led to the inside. Ganon wrapped a rope around one of the cacti nearby and lowered his huge, piglike body into the room. He found there a single stone slab with an anciant writing on it.

   Nearby, Link watched. His clothes were covered in sand as he peered down the hole to where Ganon stood, preparing to remove the contents of the Slab. He wouldn't have a chance. Link took out his Hookshot, and fired it's hard, pointed front towards the ground. It shot forward, dragging it's long chain behind, and plunged into the roof of the room below. Link lowered himself down quickly, his hookshot in one hand, and his sword in the other. He hit the ground with a thump.
   Ganon turned around with fire in his eyes. Link smiled confidently. "Ganon, you've just won a vacation to the Hyrule Dungeon for the rest of your life. Are you going to come quietly, or do I have to get rough."
   The monster gritted his teeth, as if he were uncertain of his actions, then prowled closer to the slab. Raising his Magical Trident, Ganon thrust it into the three round hole on the top of the stone slab. A compartment opened up in the center and out came a medallion.
   "What kind of trick are you trying to pull, pig?" Link growled.
   "In a minute, you'll think you're seeing double!" Ganon laughed. He pointed the medallion at himself, and fire rose up all around him, as blue beams of pure energy bounced everywhere. Link found himself looking at not one, but two Ganons, both holding their magic tridents, and charging at him like mad bulls. Link used his Hookshot to pull himself up and out of harm's way.
   "What kind of magic is this, Ganon?" Link demanded.
   "It is the fourth medallion, Link!" one of the Ganons laughed. "You thought you had found all three: Bombos, Ether and Quake! But you missed the most powerful of all! This medallion gives me unlimited possibilities!" The two Ganons turned towards the Moblin Captain behind themand pointed their medallions at him. Where one moblin had once stood, there was now an entire mob of them, all ready to attack. The first Ganon pointed his medallion at the second, and he vanished. Then he turned to his army. "Moblins, attack!!!" The army made a "human" ladder and the one on top was boosted to a height where he could reach Link. Link jumped down and swung his word at the one on the bottom, and the piramid of moblins collapsed.
   I don't know how long I can hold these guys off, thought Link, But I have to get that medallion away from Ganon! Link ran past the now tangled mess of moblins to where Ganon was. Ganon swung his huge trident, and Link held out his sword to block the blow. Link tried to shove his sword into Ganon's fat belly, but the beast swung his trident again, and knocked Link's sword out of the way. Link made another swing, and this time caught a hold of the medallion. Link pulled it towards him, but the moblins had regained control and began to charge at him. Just before they attacked, Link pointed the medallion at him and let it rip. The entire mob dissapeared into nothingness, leaving behind only a trail of blue energy. But before Link could get up off the ground, Ganon threw his entire body into the air and pounced Link like a giant cat. Link shoved his sword deep into Ganon's stomach, and he let out a scream of inhuman pain and jumped away, clutching his wound. Ganon fell to the ground, and Link grabbed a hold of his Hookshot again. He hoisted himself up and away, out of danger.

   Link jumped onto his horse and rode off, leaving Ganon rolling in the sand, cursing and spitting. Link didn't stop until he reached Hyrule Castle. He jumped off the horse and ran into the King's throne room. He bowed. The King smiled. "Arise, boy. Did you find it?"
   "Sure did!" Link answered. He pulled the medallion out of his pocket. "What are we going to do with it?"
   "This medallion is truly evil, Link." the King said. "Otherwise, how would Ganon have found it? The best thing to do is use it on itself." Link nodded.
   "I guess so, your majesty." Link said. He held up the medallion, closed his eyes tightly, and it dissintedgrated into a cloud of dust and energy. Link wiped his forehead. "Just think what Ganon would have done with it!" Link said, exhausted. Suddenly, a horrified scream filled the room. Link ran to Zelda's room-- she was gone! A black arrow was burried into one of the walls, with a note hanging from it. Link plucked it off the stone wall and read it.
   Link-- If you don't show yourself at Spectacle Rock on death mountain by midnight with the king, I will use the destructive nature of the Duplication Medallion on none other than your beloved Princess Zelda! It is useless to resist. --Ganondorf
   Link ran back to the throne room and showed it to the King. "What are we going to to?" Link asked.
   "What else can we do, boy?" the old man answered sadly.

   The wind on top of Death Mountain tossed Link's hair, and from here he could look down and see everything in Hyrule all the way to the southern border. The night sky made it very chilly, and cast a dark shadow across everything on the mountain. Link squeezed his coat more tightly. The King stood behind him, his white beard whipping wildly in the wind. "Ganon!" he shouted. "I'm here! Release Zelda!" Ganon lept out of the shadows like a mountain lion, holding the medallion in one hand, and Zelda, who was squirmy like anything to get away, in the other. Ganon said nothing, but threw Zelda towards him, where she landed in a heap.
   Zelda grabbed Link and squeezed him. "Link!" she huffed.
   "Now prepare to say goodby, Link!" Ganon laughed. He pointed the medallion at him.
   "Where'd you get that!?" Link yelled.
   "From my duplicate!" laughed Ganon. Ganon pointed it at the King and the man found himself buried waist-deep in the dirt.
   "Ganon, you fiend!" the King snorted in disgust. Ganon pointed it at Zelda, but Link drew his sword and charged. Ganon laughed. Dust swirled into the air, and Zelda covered her eyes, unable to watch. Energy flew all over the place, lighting up the night sky, and when the dust cleared, and Zelda opened her eyes again, she could not believe what she saw.

   For a minute, Link wondered if he was looking at a mirror. But his reflection was wearing red and black clothes, unlike Link's green and brown. The other Link had an evil, saddistic glare in his eyes, and drew his long, blue sword. Link drew his, and held it in a "ready" position. Ganon said, "Link, meed Knil!" he chuckled. "I have used the power of the medallion to create your mirror image! But Knil isn't like you, Link! He is the exact opposite! I could have killed you, but I figured it'd be more fun to watch you get completely annhililated by none other than yourself!" He let out a blood curdling laugh that send shivered down his spine. Knil smiled, and brought his blade into a block position, before Link even started to swing his sword. They clanged together with a noise that made the mountain shake. The impact knocked both of them to the ground, and they struggled to get up. Link was standing dangerously near the edge of the mountain-- a fall from here was fatal. Link had never med an enemy he couldn't fight, but how could he defeat someone who knew his thoughts, strategies, and actions before he even thought them up?
   Zelda clawed at the dirt restraining her father until her fingers bled. It was no use. "I wouldn't advise that!" Ganon growled. The King's golden crown dissapeared right off his head. Ganon smiled. "I'll do worse than that in a minute." Zelda's shoes turned to concrete, and she sank to her ankles in the ground, unable to move.
   Link and Knil stood in a death lock. If either one lost grip of his sword, he would plung to his death into the darkness below. Knil cackled an evil laugh. "Farewell, Link!" he smiled. He pulled his sword away from Link's creating a shrieking sound. Link covered his ears and lost his balance. He leaned too far over the edge to recover, and his feet lost their traction.
   "NO!" cried Zelda, as Link plunged towards the kingdom below, screaming. Knil spun around.
   "You're next, Zelda." he raised his sword and brought it down for a lethal blow...

Part 2: The Evil Link

   Link plunged into the shadows as Zelda could only watch in pain. Knil prepared to bring down the final blow, when Ganon stopped him. "No. Leave her." Ganon growled. "Leave her to dig up her fat father. We have more pressing business." Knil snarled at Zelda, then turned on his heels to follow his master. Zelda flung herself onto the hard dirt and sobbed loudly. Link was gone. After all this time, he was gone, just like that. He'd been defeated by himself. Oh, Link... Link...
   "Princess..." a voice groaned from the mountainside. "Princess!"
   "Now I've become deluvious." Zelda shook her head and walked to the edge of the cliff. To her total surprise, Link was there, hanging on with every ounce of strenght in his body to a little shrub sticking out the side of the mountain. Zelda helped Link up, and they soon got the King back on the ground.
   "Hey, Zelda..." Link began when it was all over, "Where you crying about me?"
   "Um, no." Zelda lied, rolling her eyes. "C'mon. It's almost morning. Let's get back to the castle."

   Ganon jumped in the air with glee inside his armored fortress, singing. "Link's dead, Link's dead! Link's finally de-ead!" He relaxed a little, and flopped into his throne. "That troublesome cow pie finally got what was coming to him. Very good, Knil." Knil said nothing, only continued to sharpen his sword. "I'm going to block every entrance to the kingdom with a wall of moblins. We cannot have any reinforcements, can we?" Ganon arranged pieces on a small map of Hyrule like chess. "Let's burn the town. No mobs. And then, once I've got an army twice the size of the Royal Guard, we attack."
   "And I kill Link." Knil smiled. He stopped sharpening his sword, picked it up, and threw it full force into the stone wall. It dug down to the hilt in the solid rock. He responded to Ganon's puzzled look. "He isn't dead. Your spies found him buying some bread from the baker in Kakirako Village just yesterday. I suppose I underestimated his (I mean, my) powers."
   "After all, he is the Hero." Ganon yawned. "But, that's your purpose. The prophesies say the Hero will destroy himself. I've tried everything else." Knil smiled again, showing his yellow teeth. He trotted out the door of the throne room, after pulling his sword out of the stone wall.
   Ganon turned the Duplicator Medallion round and round in his hands, sighing. Even Ganondorf, the mighty Prince of Darkness, felt doubt in this triumphant hour. But it didn't matter. This plan would work. It had to work. He would make it work.

   Link and Zelda sat across from each other at a small table. Zelda said, "We've got to figure out your weaknesses."
   "Why?" asked Link.
   "Because what your weaknesses are, so are Knil's." Zelda explained. "Are you afraid of cats?" Link shook his head. "Heights?" Link shook his head again. "Mobins? Water? Bridges? Snakes? Anything?"
   Link huffed out his chest. "The True Hero has no fear!"
   Zelda pointed to Link's shirt. "Link, there's a spider on your shirt." Link was so startled that his chair flipped over. Link squiggled around on the floor.
   "Where? Kill it! Kill it!" he was wide eyed with fear.
   "Nothing, huh?" Zelda grinned. "It looks like we've got a hero with Insectophobia." Link skowled. "If it's spiders we need, that's what we'll get. All we need is to figure out how to get them to Knil." She nodded at Link. "Ahh..."
   "No, Zelda. You're not thinking... I can't! You'll kill me! Don't!" Zelda approached him, calling for the guard.

   "I'm gonna die!" howled Link. "I'll die! I'm dying! I've been bitten! I've been acidized!" he was chained to a dungeon wall, as Zelda dumped more buckets of spiders on him, until Link was a walking carpet of bugs.
   "Link, these things are harmless." Zelda said. "They wouldn't hurt a fly."
   "Liar!" Link tried to pull his arms free. "Augh!"
   "Link, if my plan is going to work, you have to get over your fear of bugs, first. That way, I won't kill both of you."
   "I'm dying already!" Link screamed.
   It took a while and a bath to get all of the spiders off of Link and out of his clothes, but when it was finally done, Link was okay again. "See Link? You didn't get bitten once." Zelda said. Link nodded. Zelda grabbed his arm and pulled him up to the top of the castle, where the pots of boiling liquid were kept. Zelda ran to the main guard. "Captain, next time our castle gets attacked, don't fill the pots with boiling acid. Fill them with... spiders."
   "Spiders, eh?" the captain scratched his bearded chin. "Why's that?"
   "I figure if Knil has all of Link's strenghts, he'll have all of his weaknesses, too. Erko: spiders. We wait until he's down there, and dump 'em! It'll scare his pants off!" Link grumbled to himself in a corner of the roof. Suddenly a messenger ran up to the roof, out of breath. His clothes were tattered, and his body was bruised.
   "Milady!" he gasped. "They are in Kakirako!" Link darted down the stairs, followed by Zelda and the Captain.

   Knil held a villager by the throat. "Where is Link?" he snarled, with fire in his eyes. He crushed the man's throat and threw in aside. The entire village burned. Every house was a-fire, and the once green grass now burned. Knil pushed a chicken out of the way to move to the center of the town. He hopped onto the statue. "I want Link!" he hollered at the top of his lungs.
   "You've found him then." Link smiled. He took his sword and whacked the statue, making it clang and vibrate. Knil was thrown off. He landed in a heap on the ground, got back up, and snarled, drawing his sword. "This is your lucky day." Link jumped into action, swinging his sword. Knil moved to block, then swung himself. Link blocked the blow and tried to take a piece out of his side. Knil bocked the swipe with his sword. Meanwhile, the Royal Guard arrived to attack the moblins. Link swung and swung again, then butted into Knil with his head. Knil fell over. Then Link stomped his stomach with his foot. But with a quick jerk of his body, Knil was back up, and swinging his blade like a madman, his eyes red and bloodshot.
   "Hey, Knil! Look at that!" Knil turned anround, and Link kicked him in the back. The other boy fell to the ground, rolling. Link picked him up and threw him into the statue, knocking him out. Link smiled and nodded his head. Suddenly, Knil came back to life and punched Link in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
   Knil picked up a nearby rock and brought it down on Link's skull...

Part 3: The Last Link

   Knil brought the huge boulder down at Link's head, but the boy used the last of his strength to jump out of the way of the weapon. It hit the ground so hard that it crumbled. Link literally pounced Knil and had him in a headlock, but Knil broke free, and knocked Link's head against the statue in the center of the town. Link hit the ground in a cloud of dust. An evil smile crossed Knil's face. He picked up the rock once again, and this time, he wouldn't miss. Suddenly, an arrow cut past his ear. Knil turned around to see Zelda, holding her bow in an attack position, and ready to let her next arrow fly straight to his heart. Knil dropped the rock and dissapeared into the forest with the rest of the attackers. Zelda lost track of how long it had been that Link was unconscious, but when he finally opened his eyes, he appeared to be fine.
   "Okay, Link?" asked Zelda.
   "Yup." Link nodded, then got up. "OUCH!!" he hollered, grabbing his arm. "I think I broke my arm." Zelda ran up to take a look.
   "No, just sprained it." Zelda assured. "All the same, you shouldn't use it for a couple days."
   Link got up, and looked around at the wreckage Knil and his moblins had caused. The entire town burnt to it's death, as villagers watched and used buckets of water to put out the fires. "I'm sorry, Link." Zelda said softly. "You tried, but Knil is unstoppable."

   "Our horses are dead," Zelda explained as they walked down the dusty road towards the castle. "So we'll have to walk back. And I have another idea about how we can defeat Knil, if the first one fails. Do you remember where the Master Sword rests?"
   "Roughly." answered Link. "And I've still got those medallions. Let's go for it."
   They turned and walked towards the mouth of the forest. By and by, they arrived there. Link crept inside, looked around, then crept back out. "Be careful Zelda. There might be thieves in here." They walked around the maze of trees and brush, and could hear the crackling of leaves under their feet, the calls of birds, the croaking of crickets, and all the other noises of the forest. Most of the trees in the forest were dead, and rotting, which added an eery touch to the otherwise peaceful forest. Finally, they came to a waterfall. "Okay. Behind that waterfall is a path which leads directly to the master sword." They jumped through the waterfall, and found that behind it was, indeed, a sort of tunnel. They walked through, and when they got to the end, there, in a grassy meadow, atop a stone platform, was the master sword. The entire meadow felt almost... magical. Link walked down the path, to the stone platform. He grabbed the hilt of the sword and pulled. Zelda shielded her eyes and lightning flew everywhere. When the dust settled again, Link was holding the Master Sword high in the air, smiling. Zelda and Link walked back to the entrance as Link practiced different attack and defense techniques. When they were about ten meters from the entrance, Link stopped, and turned around. "Hey, Zelda?"
   She was not there. Link looked around, and an icy cold sense of fear stuck his spine. "Zelda?" Something zoomed past behind a shadowed path. "Anybody?" Link began to grow very nervous. He pulled the Master Sword back out of it's hilt. It shone brilliantly, casting light on everything in the woods. Suddenly, he was surrounded by woodsmen. "Uh, would any of you happen to have seen the princess anywhere?" he asked, timidly.

   Link's hands and feet were bound, and he had to be carried along by two of the thieves. The "Robbing Hoods" as they called themselves. The walked through a secret passage in a tree, deep underground to a gigantic room where hundreds of similarly dressed theives yelled and cheered. Link was taken up to the center of the room, where there were two chairs. Zelda sat in one, tied firmly to it, and in the other sat a boy no older than Link. It appeared that he was hosting the whole thing. I've seen that face before, thought Link. It's... It's...
"BLAZE!" the words slipped out of Link's mouth. "You slimy gutfish. What are you doing here?"
   "Link." the boy shouted back. "I was hoping I'd never see your ugly face again. What do you think you're doing walking around in my woods?"
   "Your woods?" Zelda piped up. "You happen to be in the presence of this country's next queen, mister, so you'd better hold your tongue."
   "Look, Blaze." Link shouted. "Maybe if my hands and feet were free, I could talk about this. But if we aren't out of here in a day or less, Hyrule will be owned by Ganon! And when the King finds out why, he'll send his men out everywhere to find us. And I've not a doubt in my mind they'll come here. And when they do, you'll wish you could run as fast as an arrow can fly!"
   There was silence. Then, finally, Blaze motioned with his hand, and Link was cut free of his bonds. Another thief tossed him his sword. Zelda was cut free as well. "Now get lost. And stay there. I never want to see your face again."
   Link turned to leave, then stopped. "Come with us. You're a skilled fighter."
   "Look." Blaze snarled, obstinately, "I don't care who own Hyrule as long as they leave me alone and they leave my people alone. Now scram."

   "Boy." Zelda remarked as they left the forest. "Not one of your friends, is he?"
   "Can't say he is." Link replied. "Now come on. We've got to make haste and return to the castle before it's too late!"
   They both bolted towards the castle, passing by the lumberjacks' house, the cave entrance to Death Mountain, and the Sanctuary. The finally arrived at the northern gate to the Hyrule Castle. Zelda shuddered. The two guards lay dead on the ground, with spears sticking through them as if they were shiscabobs. Link ignored them and ran inside. "Hurry." he huffed to Zelda. "To the Throne Room!"
   They arrived, but when they did, Link's eyes grew wide with fear. Then, standing in the center of the room was Knil, standing next to Ganondorf. On the throne lay the king, either dead or unconscious, Link could not tell. The pig laughed at Link. "Why if it isn't Link." he said. "We've tried to kill you twice, but I suppose you're just too foxy. But you know what they say: three times' the charm. Knil, spear him."
   Knil approached Link with the look of death in his eyes. When he was just within striking range, Link grabbed the hilt of his sword, and pulled it out of the room. The Master Sword shone brilliantly in the dim light of the throne room. Knil shielded his eyes and screamed.
   "What's the matter, Knil?" asked Link. "I guess that the power of the Master Sword, Evil's bane, is just a little too strong from a pure evil being like yourself. Let's see how strong you are now." Suddenly, in another flash of light, the sword disintegrated into acid that fell on the ground. "Wha...?" Link turned to see Ganon, holding the Evil Medallion in his hand.
   "Caught you off your guard, Link." Knil said, recovering. He grabbed Link in a death lock, squeezing his throat. Link began to see stars as he felt his life being squeezed out of him. This was truly the end. Knil threw Link on the ground. His limp body made a thump that sent a chill down Zelda's spine.
   "Oh, my word..." Zelda choked. It was unbearable to see Link lying on the ground, dead. Knil kicked him to make sure he really was dead.
   "Heh. Third times' the charm."
   Abruptly, a dark figure pounced Knil from the back. It was Blaze! Knil hit the ground. Ganon screamed and held out the medallion again. Zelda, Blaze, and Knil saw the world spinning around them bubbling into nothing. When they recovered, they were in the Dark World. Blaze pulled a moon pearl out of his pocket. "Zelda, touch this and you'll be safe." Zelda tapped it.
   "Why? What's dangerous about being here?" Zelda asked. Blaze said nothing, only pointed to Knil. He was rolling on the ground, screaming and wriggling. His nose grew longer and longer, and his arms seemed to melt into his ribs, as his two legs turned into one long, green, wriggling appendage. His entire body turned green, and what was Knil one moment was now a gigantic, screaming serpent.
   "Now I'm going to put you out of your misery, you serpent." Blaze dashed towards the snake at inhuman speed. He yanked a knife out of his pocket, and jammed it into the snakes neck. Ooze and green slime were thrown everywhere. The monster that had been Knil let out one last scream of mortal pain, then hit the ground and dissolved into dust. Blaze and Zelda found themselves standing back in the throne room. "Now for you, Ganondorf." Blaze growled. He dashed towards Ganon and tore the medallion out of his hands.
   Blaze threw the weapon onto the ground and stomped on it with his foot. "NO!" cried Ganon. Lightning spewed everywhere. When it cleared, Ganon and the medallion were gone! Slowly, the king opened his eyes.
   "What's just happened?" the king asked. The arrow in his chest dissapeared into a cloud of vapor, and he stood up. "How did that get there?"
   Zelda looked back at the corpse that had been Link. Slowly, the boy got up, looked at his hands.
   "Was that a... dream?" asked Link. Suddenly, the master sword appeared back in his hand. "Where's Knil?"
   Zelda smiled. "Three times' the charm, Link. Three times' the charm."

   Zelda and Link stood to watch as Blaze set off for the Lost Woods. "Goodby, Blaze." Link said. "Now don't go back to being a jerk, now."
   "You, neither." Blaze said back. "Take care, Link."
   "You too." Link said.
   "Well, Link," said Zelda, "I guess you've fought just about every foe there is. Including yourself."
   "Yeah, well," Link began, "I'm just glad we didn't have to use that barrel of spiders."
   "Say," Zelda interupted. "What did happen to those spiders, anyway?"
   "Gee." Link thought a minute. "I dunno."
   Suddenly, the king's voice came ringing over the hills. "WHO PUT SPIDERS IN THE BATHTUB?!"
   Link and Zelda looked at each other. "Uh oh."


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