The Maiden of Subconscious

By Stephen Stephano

Chapter 1: The Voyage


“This agreement will be splendid for our kingdoms.  With a pact to help one another in times of need, and to protect the citizenry from the despicable tyrants across the seas, we shall grow together stronger.”


“King Harkinian will be thoroughly pleased upon my return, I am sure.”


King Marxis of Marith rose from his throne, flanked by several of his advisors.  “You’ve done a lot of work on our behalf.  A fighter as strong as you would do well as head trainer of our knights.  One day our core might be as strong as Hyrule’s.  You could stay in the castle, get to know our country and travel to its frontiers.”


Link nodded, clearly in deep thought.  “Your majesty, though I am flattered by your offer, I really must return to Hyrule as soon as possible.  Harkinian has ordered it.”


“I understand.  You’ve been here for several months, away from your friends and family.  Even an adventurer like you can’t stay away from home forever.”


Link thanked his majesty, and saw himself out of the throne room.  Just as he reached the stairs, Marxis called out to him. 


“You are a good man Link.  Let Princess Zelda know that I would like to meet her someday.”


“Your majesty, if I were to return, I would see to it.” 


Marith is a land diminutive in size but flush with population as well as precious natural resources.  With a tropical climate and an abundance of ore for crafting tools and weaponry as well as many skilled craftsmen among the populace, they were a natural partner for a vast, mostly agrarian kingdom like Hyrule.  Perhaps the biggest issue between a Hyrule-Marith coalition was the presence of a vast ocean that was filled with all sorts of pirates, raiders, and dangerous sea creatures.  A major focus of the agreement was shipbuilding in order to patrol the oceans, a task that would be made easier with the help of the Triforce’s golden power. 


 Two days of travel from the castle and Link had reached the seashore, where the wind was brisk and the temperature warm.  Link unfurled the sails with the help of the local sailors, and before long he was out on the open sea.  The trip across the ocean would take roughly three to five days, depending on the wind direction.  Link made sure to load up his pack with various tropical fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water before leaving port. 


“I wonder how Zelda is doing?  I wonder if I should tell her how I truly feel?” Link thought to himself as he took a bite out of a pineapple.  Truly, although he was an adventurer and hero and always would be, of recent he had developed a longing to make Zelda his own.  They had been friends from a young age and had been through many battles together, including the fight against Ganon several years back.  Link was just a teenager then, but since then he had become a stronger, more mature young man, just as his Uncle had foretold.  While he loved Zelda, or at least he thought he did, he wasn’t sure if she had similar feelings for him.  To tell her and not have those feelings returned could destroy their friendship.


It was about two days into the journey, and Link was moving quickly through the southern ocean.  There was no sign of trouble on the horizon. In fact, the sunshine and brisk wind was making for an easy trip.  He would be back in Hyrule in no time.


Night fell, and Link’s eyes began to waver.  He took a last look at his compass to ensure that he was traveling on the proper course, and then allowed his eyes to close.  Before long he began to dream.  He dreamt of his Uncle welcoming him home.  He dreamt of meeting Harkinian and Zelda with the signed agreement in hand, no doubt the trumpeters would be there for his arrival.  That was the one thing that Link disliked about his life after Ganon’s defeat.   Before that day, Link was simply a peasant, a commoner that nobody looked at twice every time he walked by.  Now he received so much attention everywhere he went.  If he went to Kakariko, a crowd would almost always develop around him, many of them adoring young women.  While he was a virgin and could certainly have his choice of young hyrulian maidens, his devotion to Zelda was strong enough that he would always resist his suitors. 


Link was awakened to the sound of thunder.  It was still night, the skies illuminated only by the crash and crackle of lightning.  The wind was howling, and Link had to fight hard to pull down the sails.  Waves crashed and thrashed over the deck, splashing Link with salt water.  Nearly losing his hat as he stumbled to the deck, Link fought hard to keep his boat on course. 


Smack!  The boat’s front end crashed into an invisible object, possibly a reef or a sandbar.  Link attempted to steer clear out of the impact but the boat wouldn’t budge.  The rain was intense and the waves continued to crash.  Finally, a gigantic tidal wave rose up from the left.  As the ship tipped over, Link fell and banged his head against the stern, knocking him unconscious.



Chapter 2: A New Destination




“It’s good to see you’re awake.  I wasn’t sure that you would ever stop tossing and turning.”  A female voice said. 


Link rubbed his eyes, trying to see forward in the sudden light.  “Zelda?” He asked.


“What?  I don’t know any Zelda.” The voice said.  “My name is Marin.  That man over here is Tarin, my father.”


“Huh?  Where am I?” Link asked.


“You’re in our home.  I found you lying on the beach this morning and sent for help.  It took three of us to load you in the cart for the ride back here.  You had an ugly gash on your head so I bandaged it for you.”


Link felt around as he threw off the covers.  As he did so he studied Marin, noting her light blue dress, pink sash, and brown sandals.  She also had a red flower woven into her dirty blond hair.  It was not surprising that Link had mistaken her for Zelda, because in many ways her physical looks, clothes, and mannerisms she very closely mirrored that of the Hyrulian princess.  He got out of bed gingerly and walked over to the table, where Marin had sat down a bit of food for Link to eat. 


“I gathered some corn and beans for you, along with some sugar cane.  It’s not much, but it’ll have to do for now.  Would you like some berry juice to drink?” Marin asked. 


“Sure.  That sounds good.” Link said groggily.  Marin poured the liquid from a pitcher and Link began to eat.  Link took a piece of sugar cane and woofed it down quickly.  He usually wasn’t one for sweets, but following his ordeal he was rather weak and hungry. 


“That was quite a storm we had last night.” Tarin said as he came to the table.  “You were very fortunate to have washed up ashore.  What were you doing in the ocean?  By the way I do believe we recovered an artifact of yours.”  Tarin reached into the desk adjacent to the table and pulled out a shield with a hyrulian insignia on it. 


“My shield?  Yes, that is my shield, thank you for finding it.” Link said quickly, his wits still not completely about him. 


“Your shield is a deep blue, kind of like the sea itself.  And the golden triangles on the front shine like beauty.” Marin said. 


“Clearly a well to do craftsman made it, it looks to be of heavy iron.” Tarin added.


“So if you are an adventurer, do you carry a sword?” Marin asked.


“Well I do almost all the time, and…hey wait, my sword!  You two didn’t happen to pick it up along with the shield did you?”


“Why no, we did not find any sword present on the beach in which you wrecked.” Tarin asked. 


“I must find it!” Link said, getting himself up from the table.  He staggered for a moment, perhaps woozy from the blood rush to the head, where the gash was prominent. 


“Please.  You’re not well yet, you mustn’t try to overexert yourself.  We’ll organize a search party as soon as you are able to traverse the path to the beach.” Marin scolded.


“I don’t think you understand.  That sword is a grand relic of my kingdom.  If it is lost then disaster will surely befall it before very long.  It is far more important than I.”  Link said. 


Marin saw that there was no way to stop her newfound companion, and that he was determined to walk out the door no matter what his physical state.  She turned to her father.  Dad, do you suppose I could see him down to Toronbo, and we’ll look for the sword there?”


“I don’t see why not.  Maybe what the lad needs a little fresh air.  After all, he probably needs to get on his feet after all that time asleep.  Do be careful though.  I’ve heard that some of the monsters around here are getting more violent.”


Marin and Link walked out of the house, revealing a town with many buildings and houses.  The green grass swayed in the breeze and the sun shone without hardly any clouds to be seen, a far cry from the stormy night before.


“So anyway, what’s your name?” Marin asked, her hips swaying to and fro as they walked.


“My name is Link.  Link of Hyrule.” 


“Link of Hyrule.  Strange, it sounds somehow familiar, as though a place that I’ve read about in my studies of the world.  Someday I wish to leave here and adventure the world, just like a seagull flying through the sky.  You could say I envy you to a certain degree.” Marin said.


“Well, it’s a hard life, not knowing where your next meal will come from, or which locale you’ll find to sleep through the night without fear of injury.  So where are we now?”  Link asked.


“We are on Koholint Island.  This is my hometown, Mabe Village.” Marin said.  “It’s about a two and a half mile walk to the ocean from here.”


“Two and a half miles?  That is a rather long way.”  Link said.  Marin stopped in her tracks and made a devilish face.  “You’ll find that Koholint is actually quite vast, bigger than many countries this world has to offer.  You really ought to stay here a while and see things before you pack up and leave.  I’ll be your guide if you want.” 


Link thought about it for a moment, but thought quickly about the task at hand.  “Once I recover my sword, I must go about repairing my ship so that I can return to Hyrule.  Perhaps once I do I could come back at a later time but I am under orders to return as soon as possible.  I hope you do understand, miss…”




“Marin, sorry, I’m still not quite thinking clearly.”


The two continued to traverse the plains separating Mabe Village from the ocean.  About an hour after they left the grass opened up beneath them into a beautiful yellow sand beach.


“Welcome to Toronbo Shores.  This beautiful beach is where Tarin and I once lived, before monsters began to appear on Koholint and we moved to Mabe Village for protection.”


“It certainly is pretty.” Link said. 


“We found you washed up just beyond that dune on the left.  If your sword made it to the island, it is likely somewhere in that same area.  The water is safe, but leevers sometimes emerge from the sand so we’ll have to be careful.”


Link and Marin began searching for the sword.  The tide was coming in, so the beach had shrunk somewhat from the low tide of the early morning in which Link had crashed.  Link used his shield to dig into the sand while Marin used a shovel that she had brought.  After about half an hour of digging though, it became rather apparent that the sword had not been buried, but was likely in the water instead. 


Link took off his hat and belt and ran out into the water, trying not to put his injured head under the water as he searched through the shallows, waves crashing around him.  Then, only about a minute later, he spotted a silver piece of metal washing up on shore just to his right.  He excitedly ran in that direction, Marin chasing behind him along the water line.  Link bent down and grabbed the long metal piece, eventually unearthing the blue, wing-tipped handle that emerged beneath the water.  Link’s face beamed as Marin clapped her hands. 


“See this…it has my name engraved on it just above the handle.  This sword was entrusted to me after collecting the three pendants of Hyrulian virtue.  It has much significance to the security of my country.” Link said. 


“Do you suppose that you could use it to help defeat the monsters here?  Koholint could really use the help of a brave adventurer like you.” Marin pined. 


“Marin, I am under orders to return to Hyrule as soon as possible.  I cannot delay, or the king would have my head.” Link said as he turned to defeat a leever approaching them on the sand.


Just then, an owl flew across from the grassy knoll inland from the beach.  “Hoo…hoo!  So you are the lad who owns the sword!”


Link was shocked.  He didn’t know what to do, or say.  Marin grinned.  “What’s wrong Link, you’ve never seen a talking animal before?  Well, don’t be rude, say something!” 


“Mr. Owl, sir, this is my sword yes.” Link stammered.


“Call me Kaepora.  Yes, I had a feeling you had come.  Now I know why the monsters are starting to act so violently.  A courageous lad has come to awake the Wind Fish.”


“The Wind Fish?” Link asked. 


“The Wind Fish is the guardian deity of Koholint Island.” Marin said.  Link nodded.


“It is said that you cannot leave the island unless you wake the Wind Fish.  You should go north to the Mysterious Woods; I will wait for you there, hoot!”  Kaepora turned and flapped away into the wind, ignoring Link’s protestations.


“I…cannot leave the island?  What does the owl mean by that?  I mean, I lost my ship and all, but all I would have to do is build a new one and I’d be on my way.  None of this makes sense.” Link said with an air of bewilderment. 


“Perhaps you should head for the woods.  The Mysterious Forest lies on the opposite end of Mabe Village from here, and the owl might have more information then.  But first, we have to do something about that gash on your head.  Come, I know somebody who might help.” Marin said.



Chapter 3: The Mysterious Woods


“Many thanks Mrs. Syrup.  With this potion, Link will be healthy again in no time.” Marin said.


Link took a drink of the red-colored potion.  Immediately, his headache started to go away, and the still fresh wound on his head began to scab up a bit.  The short, diminutive yet very wise old lady nodded to Marin, then turned to Link, her black cloak chaffing across the floor.  “I understand that you have brought for me a mushroom of the forest, have you not?” 


“Yes I have.” Link responded.  He held out his hand, revealing a red forest mushroom.  They had come from the region of Koholint known as the Mysterious Woods. 


“Ah, this will be perfect for what I promised.”  Syrup, the wise old witch doctor of Koholint, went right to work on unlocking the mushroom’s medicinal and magical properties.  She poured in several bright solutions, and then mixed it with the mushroom’s juices and spores.  With a surgeon’s precision, she cut the pieces into a small, powdery form once the liquid dried. 


“The Mysterious Woods is one area of Koholint that has become somewhat dangerous lately.  Besides, Tarin is probably worried about me; I haven’t been home all day.”  Marin said.  “Don’t worry about me, when you get out of the forest I’ll be back in the village waiting for you.”


Link nodded.  Syrup finished work on the concoction.  “This magic powder will be of great assistance to you.  You can use it to light torches at night, as well as protect yourself from monsters, especially animals that get too close for comfort.”


Link and Marin thanked Syrup, and they departed the shop.  They walked about a half mile to the southeast back into the village.  Once they reached Marin’s house, Link left her behind to head north into the Mysterious Woods.  As Link continued down the road the ground became more heavily wooded.  The trees were largely protected by a sharp cliff that led down into the ocean on Koholint’s west coast, a far cry from the gentle beaches of Toronbo Shores.  By this time, the sun had started to descend, and the twilight turned the trees into an autumn like bloom of yellows, reds, and oranges reflected from the sky. 


It didn’t take long for Link to spot the Kaepora the owl, who swooped down toward near the forest entrance.


“Hoo hoot!  Young lad on your way to wake the dreamer!  This is the Mysterious Woods.  You will find much mystery in this uncharted Koholint Island.  I’m afraid you might find it a trifle difficult to leave the island while the Wind Fish naps.”


“And why might that be?” Link asked. 


“By the way, have you visited the Tail Cave, which is to the south of the village?  Go there with the key you find in this forest.  The Wind Fish is watching…hoot!” 


Kaepora started to fly away.  “Wait!  Why is it hard to leave the island, you didn’t answer my question!”  Link shouted.  But it was to no avail, Kaepora was out of sight within seconds.  Link was highly annoyed by this, for it seemed as though the owl was intending to torment him for reasons which he did not understand. 


Remembering what Kaepora had told him, Link set out to find the key.  For a supposedly uncharted forest, the area actually had trails that were fairly well defined.  Monsters swarmed certain areas of the forest but Link, feeling stronger after drinking the potion Syrup had given him, dealt with them quickly using his sword.  He had walked about a mile and a half to the north when he came across something rather strange.  A red raccoon stood at the edge of the trail, and it spoke to him. 


“As a raccoon, my nose is very sensitive to stuff like dust and powder.” 


Link pretended not to hear the raccoon, and kept on walking northward.  That’s when the raccoon called out to him again.


“Heh heh heh!  You’re going to be lost because of me!  Heh heh!”


Now in this particular moment, Link felt a strange, tingly feeling come over him.  But it was not a feeling of warmth that one gets from embracing their lover.  Rather, it was a feeling of fear that makes one’s hair stand on end.  He stopped and turned around. 


“Did you just cast a magic spell on me?” Link asked. 


The raccoon giggled, not bothering to give a true response.  By now, Link had decided that he had one too many talking animals mess with his mind for one day.  Remembering the raccoon’s prior statement about powder bothering it, he reached into his pack.  “You’ve had your fun, now let’s see you deal with this!”  He shouted as he tossed Syrup’s magic powder onto the raccoon.  The animal immediately convulsed, shaking as it reacted to the fine powder.  Within seconds it began running around the forest, running into trees, rocks, roots, and anything else in its path before it crashed into a large tree that stood at the center of the trail.  There was a minor explosion of dust, and when it settled, the raccoon was no more.  Standing in its stead was Marin’s father, Tarin!


Link was freaked by this turn of events.  Sure that he was seeing things, he ran in the other direction, away from Tarin as quickly as he could.  Out of sheer luck, in his effort to get away as quickly as possible, he stumbled upon a treasure chest that rose out from the soil.  He quickly opened it, and the chest revealed a key with a tail sticking out of the end.  It was the Tail Key. 


With the key in hand, Link returned to Tarin, who was woozy and spoke in a slurred tone.  “The last thing I kin remember was biting into a nice, juicy toadstool.  Then I had the darndest dream…I dreamt I was a raccoon.  Yeah, sure sounds strange but it was fun!” 


“Yes, I am sure it was fun.” Link replied.  “Let’s get you home before Marin starts to worry.”


With the sun having gone down and nightfall descending upon western Koholint, Link and Tarin made it back to Mabe Village just in time for some dinner, cucco stuffed with clams collected from a fishery in Toronbo.


“Father I was worried when you didn’t come home.  I started making the food but I wasn’t certain if you would make it back in time.”


“Let’s say that I got lost.” Tarin responded.  He looked and nodded at Link, who nodded back.  “It was all in a day’s work.” Link said. 


“How do you like my cooking Link?” Marin asked. 


“It is some of the best food I’ve ever had, rivaling that of the chefs at the Castle.” Link said. 


“The castle?” Marin asked. 


“Sit back and let me tell you a little bit about my country.” Link said.  Marin listened fervently while Link began to explain the Hyrulian topography and the people.  While Link was certainly headstrong, he also was a surprisingly vibrant storyteller.  For the first time, the island girl began to think there was much more in Link’s past just waiting to escape to the surface. 



Chapter 4: Tail Cave


“Morning Link.” Marin said cheerfully.  “You ready for a walk out on the town?” 


“Absolutely.” Link said as he stretched his legs.  “Kaepora told me to take this key to the Tail Cave.  Do you know where that is?”


“It’s not far from here; in fact it is just north of Toronbo Shores, probably no more than a mile and a half from here.  Once you have your boots on and your equipment readied I’ll show you the way there.” Marin said. 


On the way to the cave, the two passed a gaming hut.  “This shop houses what’s called the Trendy Game.  It’s a game of skill in which you try to move a crane into the right spot to pick up an item from a moving conveyor belt.  I’ve tried it before but it’s not quite so easy.  Plus, it is expensive to play as well.  You can run through your rupees very quickly if you aren’t careful.” Marin warned. 


“We have games like that back in Hyrule too.  Some of them involve opening treasure chests after making a payment of rupees.  Others involve shooting arrows at targets or digging for rupees in the dirt and grass over a certain area.  Remind me when we get back, we’ll play the game.  My treat.” Link said. 


“Really, you’ll take me to the Trendy Game?” Marin asked.


“You saved me after all, it’s the least I can do.  Besides, even though I must leave as soon as possible, if what the owl says is true, I might not be leaving for a while.  I might as well have some fun while I’m around.” Link sighed.


Marin smiled.  He was starting to come around to her, and to Koholint, though arguably against his will.  She hoped that would change before long, in fact she longed for it.  Her life had grown so lonely ever since the monsters had taken over Ukuku Prairie and isolated Mabe Village from other populated areas of the island, such as Kanalet Castle and Animal Village.  Some days there was very little for her and her father to pass the monotony.  Link’s arrival had certainly spiced things up to a certain degree. 


They continued down the trail until they reached a cave leading underground into the cliffs that stood tall above the southern beach of Koholint.  In front of the locked entranceway was a keyhole, into which Link inserted the Tail Key.  The lock clicked, and the heavy iron door blocking the entrance opened.


“I’ll wait outside for you.  Do be careful Link.” Marin said.


“You’re not coming inside?” Link asked.


“It’s all dark, scary and yucky in there.  I would never enter a dungeon like that!” Marin snapped.  Link nodded, and he entered the dungeon on his lonesome.


It barely took a minute for Link to find the compass; it lay in a chest just to the left of the entrance.  Once he had it in his hands he took a good look at it.  He had great experience with dungeon compasses from his prior adventures in Hyrule.  In almost all situations the red needle did not point north, but rather in the direction of the dungeon’s primary boss, which in Koholint were often referred to as nightmares.   


“The boss is ahead and to the right of here.  Good.” Link thought as he moved out of the room and headed forward. 


What the compass didn’t tell Link was how large the dungeon was, or what obstructions might lie between him and the boss.  Such an obstruction emerged a few minutes later when he came up to a passageway that was blocked by a pit in the floor.  The pit was at least seven feet across, a long jump to say the least.  Not willing to risk it, Link went back to the left.  Pushing a block on the ground opened the way forward.  In the next room he encountered several hardhat beetles.  Once they were defeated courtesy of a few swings of the sword, a marble slab in the floor pulled back in the corner of the room, revealing a staircase leading underground.  Once in the basement, Link moved quickly across the sandstone floor, defeating several rats that sought to steal his items.


Once he reached the staircase on the other side of the basement, he ran up the stairs.  A long hallway stood in front of him.  At the end of the hallway was a chest.  Running quickly to avoid two razor-sharp blades that crossed the room, he reached the chest and opened it.  Inside the chest was a feather along with a note. 


“You’ve found Roc’s Feather…it feels like your body is a lot lighter.” Link said, reading the note.  It was almost as though somebody had wanted him to find it.  Link equipped it and immediately noticed a difference in his movements, particularly his jumping abilities.  Before, he couldn’t jump more than two feet off the ground.  Now it was as though gravity barely weighed on him. 


Back on the main floor, Link made his way to the middle portion of the cave.  His path was quickly impeded by another chasm in the floor of the cave.  Armed with the Roc’s Feather, Link ran toward the hole and jumped.  His momentum carried him at least ten feet through the air, and he cleared it with no problem.  Up the stairs from the chasm lay another chest.  Inside it was a rather large key, most likely the key to the boss chamber. 


Turning back right, Link thought the dungeon was over, but in the room prior to the boss he ran into a pink-colored enemy that carried a large spiked pole that was the length of the room.  Upon seeing Link, it rolled the spiked pole across at him.  Link used the feather to jump over it, and then attacked it with his sword.  Eventually the baddie got away and reached the opposite wall, where it rolled the pole back the other way.  Link repeated his attack and drove the sword into its flesh, killing it.  The door forward opened, and beyond the hallway was the door to the boss room.  Link took out the Nightmare Key and entered. 


“Buzzzzz!  Buzzzzzz!  Outzzzider!!” The boss shouted.  Link immediately recognized the boss as one he had battled before, a giant worm known as a Moldorm.  In his prior adventure he had defeated one at the Tower of Hera, a great tower atop Death Mountain.  The weak point was the tail, so Link swung his sword at Moldorm’s tail.  The trouble was that a Moldorm’s movements were unpredictable, as they changed direction very easily, and one false move and the worm’s large head could knock Link into the pits surrounding the battle arena.  Moving with care, Link struck the tail several times.  Though damaged, Moldorm fought with fervor, and moved even faster, trying to ram Link with its head.  Eventually it succeeded, and Link was knocked backward against the doorway, which was now locked.  Link quickly got up and struck back, rolling around Moldorm’s backside and driving the sword into the tail again.  Immediately the large worm began to flash, and then the pieces of it began to explode.  It was defeated. 


The doors at the ends of the battle arena opened, and Link moved forward to the dungeon’s final room.  Inside the final room was a pedestal with an instrument standing on it.  It was a string instrument, like a violin, only bigger.  Link put his hands on it.  As he did so, a voice rang out to him.  “You’ve got the Full Moon Cello!” The voice bellowed.  The instrument played, and rays of energy began to surround Link, eventually turning the room a bright white.  While blinded, Link heard the voice speak again.  “Swamp, a path opens in the blooms.”  The next thing Link knew he was back at the cave’s entrance, holding the cello. 


“Where did you find that?” Marin asked.


“It was in the last room of the dungeon, it must have some magical properties to it because it began playing as soon as I touched it.” Link responded.  “I’m not sure exactly what it is but I have a feeling this is no ordinary instrument.” 


“Hoot!  Hoot!”  Kaepora’s owl shouts rang out as he descended.  “Well done Link, you’ve found one of the Instruments of the Sirens.  I have to admit.  At first I didn’t think you were real.  That instrument, along with the others in the set, has the power to wake the Wind Fish.”


“My feelings are confirmed.” Link responded.  Marin smiled.


Kaepora continued.  “Young lad, you must collect all of the instruments.  I have been ordered to give you directions to your next destination.  Your next goal is north, in Topanga Swamp!” 


“Topanga Swamp is on the other side of Mysterious Woods about five miles from here.  It’s a real quagmire in which the western ocean floods and mixes with the groundwater.” Marin said.


“I’ll need to make sure my boots are prepared then.”  Link said. 


“Maybe you’ll win a new pair at the Trendy Game.  You did promise me remember?” Marin poked. 


“Of course I did.  The sun will be down before too long, we shall return to the village now.”


But upon return to Mabe Village, not all was well.  The skies had turned gloomy, and the wind was whipping hard.  Making matters worse, as soon as Link and Marin arrived, they were accosted by two young boys who had very hurried looks on their faces. 


“The M-moblins!!  They’ve attacked the village!  It’s serious, yeah real serious!”


“The moblins came to the village!  That’s right, a whole gang of moblins!  Them, it’s for real!  They all went to the house, yeah that house, and then they went to the house of Bow-wow and caused all sorts of trouble!  It was a really bad scene, and, and!” 


“Don’t worry.  I’ll take care of it.” Link said.  “Marin, you stay with them and keep the cello safe.  I’ll be back soon.” 


Link tore across Mabe Village with all speed, defeating any remaining moblins in the area, although it appeared that most of them had fled the area.  One house looked to be in particularly bad shape on the village’s west side, as the windows were broken and shrubs were thrown about.  Link entered the house and inside a middle-aged woman was looking over her broken belongings, tears in her eyes.  She noticed Link, and turned to face him.  The sadness within her was evident. 


“Young man, I don’t think we’ve met.  My name is Madame Meow-Meow.  I didn’t want people to see me like this but I’m sure you know what’s happened.  The moblins came and took everything, destroying my home!”  She began to cry, and Link put his arms around her.


“It’s okay.  I’ll make sure that the moblins pay for this.” Link said. 


Still sobbing, Madame Meow-Meow spoke softly to him.  “You seem like a strong young man, do you think you can do a favor for me?” 


“Anything.” Link responded. 


“The head of the moblins stole my pet chain chomp, Bow-wow.  He is the sweetest thing in the whole world.  I don’t care about anything else, I can fix the house or the yard, and I have the rupees to replace other items but Bow-wow is the most important thing in the world to me.  Could you find him and bring him back to me?” 


“I will do my best.” Link said.  “Marin and I will work to locate the moblin base and then I’ll take their leader out.”


“You will?  For me?  Oh thank you young lad.” She threw her arms around Link. 


Later that afternoon, Link and Marin were in the library, researching the moblins and their mannerisms, hoping to pick up any clue of where they might be.


“They say that moblins are usually found in dark locations, often moist in nature as they require the mucus in their bloodstream to regulate the skin when it is warm or cold.  Dry conditions dry out the mucus, so that eliminates Tal Tal and Yarna from consideration.”


“Moblins are very strong.” Link said.  “They often come armed with strong tools or weaponry made of either wood or metal.” 


“If they use wood in their weapons that means their hideout could be in the forest.”  Marin said.


“They tended to avoid the trees in Hyrule, but that was likely due to the presence of guardian deities in the area.  I very much doubt we have that interference here.”  Link mentioned.


“Wait!  I’ve got it!”   Marin grabbed a book called “The Land of Goponga Swamp.”  I’ve read before about a series of grottos in the swamp that were built by the moblin after they were driven out of Mabe Village years ago.  Let me see if I can find it.”  Marin paged through the book furiously.  “Yes!  It says here that two dungeons were built into the marshland.  One was in the east of the swamp and was small yet well protected from attack.  The other was west, deep in the deepest marsh.  This was the moblin hideout for many years before a resident nightmare recently took over the dungeon, forcing the moblin out.” 


“So they must be hiding in the dungeon to the east?” Link asked. 


“Quite possibly, but didn’t Kaepora mention that the second instrument was also in the swamp?  If there is a nightmare presence in the deepest part of the swamp the instrument is probably there as well.  You’ll likely need Bow-wow’s help to eat your way through the huge flowers in the swamp to reach the western dungeon, so go to the east first.”


“But Madame Meow-Meow won’t like me taking her pet away at a time like this.” Link said. 


“Don’t worry, I’ll tell her everything.  She’ll know that he’s safe with you.  The kids and I will protect the cello, you go kick some moblin butt and find that instrument!” Marin shouted.


The other folks in the library turned around to look at Marin, who all of a sudden realized her misdeed and slunk back into her seat.  Link smiled and put his arm around her, in his own way telling her it was okay. 



Chapter 5: Bottle Grotto


“You must be an assassin sent by Madame Meow-Meow to rescue the mutt!  You came here to get me but it is I who will get you!” The moblin leader shouted. 


Link said nothing, and readied his sword and shield.  He charged the moblin with a vertical slash, which the moblin leader blocked with the iron covering his arms.  He pulled out a spear and threw it at Link, which Link ducked under.  Link moved closer and tried a horizontal swipe, which was blocked.  The moblin threw another spear but Link anticipated the move and rolled around to the moblin’s protected side, stabbing it in the ribs.  The moblin hunched over briefly but continued the fight, keeping Link at bay with his large, protected limbs. 


The moblin threw another spear.  Link dodged and threw a bomb his way.  When the moblin leader saw this, he charged at Link.  Surprised by the burly leader’s quickness, Link was knocked to the ground by the attack.  He got up gingerly and readied his sword again.  The moblin, sensing his opportunity, rushed at Link again.  This time Link dived out of the way to the left and the moblin ran headfirst into the wall.  While he was dazed, Link swung away rapidly, lacerating his midsection.  The moblin attempted to defend himself but Link showed no mercy.  He ended it with a stab right into the heart. 


Amid the bloody mess, Link found a key that opened the next room.  He opened the door and found Bow-wow tied up to a heavy iron block.  Bow-wow initially tried to attack Link, but he eventually got the fearsome chain-chomp to settle down.  He undid the knot and led Bow-wow out of the moblin hideout.  When they emerged, they walked out into the night sky of Koholint, the stars shining brightly over Goponga Swamp, the marshland in the northwest of the island separating the Mysterious Woods from the Tal Tal Mountains.  Using his lantern, Link led Bow-wow through the swampy wilderness in search of the old moblin hideout overrun with nightmares.  After about half an hour’s travel, he found it.  The entrance to the Bottle Grotto was as Marin and he had read about, at the base of the Tal Tal Mountains and surrounded by Goponga Flowers.  Bow-wow ate those, and Link entered the dungeon, leaving Bow-wow tied to some heavy pots in the first room. 


As it was nighttime, the only light in the dungeon was provided by the torches that adorned the rooms.  The second room was completely dark, as the two torches in the middle of the room had gone out.  Link sprinkled magic powder on them and the entranceway to the right opened up.  In the next room there were two stalfos knights, whom Link defeated to reveal a small key.  He opened the key door to the south and continued onward to find the compass in the next room.  Looking at the compass, it appeared as though the dungeon’s nightmare was to the northeast, so Link continued in that direction.  Before long he came to a room with many pits, along with a crystal ball that caused the floor to rise and fall in spots.  Link remembered these as he had seen them in his hyrulian adventures, specifically in dungeons like the Tower of Hera, Ice Lake, and Misery Mire.  By hitting the crystal ball, and with judicious use of the Roc’s Feather, he claimed the small key and continued northward.


Link came to a room with many pots in it.  By his calculation he was maybe one or two rooms away from the boss.  However, there didn’t appear to be a way to move forward.  Link tried to move some of the pots but they were extremely heavy, and would not budge.  Link sat down for a moment, tired from the physical exertion of trying to move the pots. 


“If only I could move these.  Wait a minute…”  Out of the corner of his eye he saw two blue blocks that didn’t appear as heavy as the pots, and two blue squares on the floor adjacent to them.  Link pushed these blocks onto the squares, and a staircase to the dungeon’s basement opened.  Link excitedly went down the stairs and crossed a long tunnel heading westbound.  When he emerged, he was again in a very dark room.  Feeling his way along the walls at the edge of the room, Link reached a revolving door on the far side.  Inside the next room was a large hinox.  The hinox, which for all intents and purposes was a burly Cyclops, threw bombs at Link from a distance.  Link responded by moving in close and swinging away with his sword.  The hinox attempted to punch at Link to keep him away, but since it was unarmed aside from its bombs, it really couldn’t protect itself well at all.  Before long it was defeated, opening the next room where the dungeon map was hidden in a chest.


“Very interesting.”  Link took out his bottle of potion that he received from Syrup.  “The grotto is shaped like a bottle.  But the nightmare is on the opposite side.  I have to find a way to get over there.”  Before Link could move to the east, his path was blocked by more heavy pots.  He went west into the northwest corner of the dungeon.  Inside it was several ghosts and the room was dark.  Link instantly looked for torches to light and found two of them.  The light blinded the ghosts, making them vulnerable to sword attacks.  Link defeated them quickly, making a chest appear, and inside was a bracelet.  A voice rang out in the room.  “You’ve found the Power Bracelet!  Wear this on your wrist and you’ll be able to pick up even the heaviest of objects!” 


Link put on the bracelet and picked up the row of pots in his path.  With the bracelet in hand, the rest of the dungeon was a breeze.  He found the nightmare key in the second to last room after defeating three enemies.  After one last run through the basement of the dungeon, Link emerged in the room leading to the nightmare.  Body coursing with adrenaline, he opened the lock. 

“Nyaah Nyaah Nyaah!  As long as I have my bottle you can’t hurt me!”  The nightmare taunted.  Link looked ahead at a large red genie, his tail stretching down inside a large bottle.  The genie threw flames at Link, which moved fairly quickly.  He did his best to dodge, but several of them flew very close by, singeing his tunic.  The genie hid inside his bottle, the bottle bouncing across the floor toward Link.  Link hit it with his sword and it stopped, after which Link wailed away with his sword, but the bottle was very sturdy, and only suffered several scratches. 


“Haha, your sword cannot affect my bottle!!” The genie taunted.  He threw more flames at Link, one of which landed near his midsection.  Link quickly rolled on the ground to extinguish the flame, and then waited for the genie to retreat again.  When he did so, Link made a bold move that turned the tide of the fight.


“I bet he won’t expect this.” Link said quietly as he picked up the bottle.  He chucked it against the wall, creating a large crack in the bottle’s exterior.  Oblivious to this as he re-emerged, the genie taunted Link again.  This time though, Link let out a smirk as he dodged more flames.  When he picked up the bottle again, he heaved it with even more strength.  When it contacted the wall, it shattered into pieces.  The genie, seeing his home destroyed, cried out to Link.  “You meanie, you destroyed my bottle!  Why you, you make me hopping mad!!”  The genie started flying around the room erratically, still throwing flames occasionally but mostly trying to hurt Link by flying into him.  Just like Moldorm before him, the genie played right into Link’s hands, as he timed his sword attacks well.  After several hits, the genie self-destructed into a ball of flames.  The door to the dungeon’s final room opened, and Link moved quickly to the pedestal.  Atop the pedestal was a conch seashell, something that did not look much like an instrument.  Still, when Link picked it up, it began to play.  “You’ve got the Conch Horn!” A voice rang out in the room.  When the instrument finished playing, bright light began to fill the dark room, blinding everything.  “Prairie, prairie…the prairie is waiting.” The voice said. 


Back under the starry skies of northwestern Koholint, Link led Bow-wow through the swamp, and then along the rocky border between the Mysterious Woods and Ukuku Prairie, the central grasslands of Koholint the voice had referred to.  It was a little past midnight when Link arrived back in Mabe Village.  As soon as he arrived he headed to the house of Madame Meow-Meow.


For some reason, Madame Meow-Meow was still awake, and Marin and Tarin were sitting at the table with her talking.  It appeared as though they had performed some repair work on the house while Link was away at the swamp. “I have returned Bow-wow for you.” Link said.  Meow-Meow’s face beamed, and she ran over and hugged Link.  “I greatly appreciate what you did for my poor, precious Bow-wow.  You are such a nice boy.  How could I ever repay you?” 


“Don’t worry about it, it was my duty.” Link said. 


“I know what I could do, but you’ll have to lean in and listen carefully.” Madame Meow-Meow said.  Link moved in close to her, and suddenly Meow-Meow grabbed him and kissed him.  Surprise came over Link as Marin burst out laughing.  When she pulled away, Link had a shocked look on his face.  Yet deep inside, he felt warm and fuzzy, knowing that despite all the trouble of the day he had brought great joy to one of Mabe Village’s friendliest residents.


Chapter 6: Kanalet Castle


The next few days following the moblin attack, Link, Marin, and other residents of Mabe Village worked together to help repair some of the damage.  At least ten buildings in town were damaged, and several were completely destroyed.  Since most buildings in Koholint were made of either wood or hard sod, which partly explained all the holes in the ground throughout Koholint’s central plains, they worked to obtain these supplies.  Much of these came from the nearby Mysterious Woods and Ukuku Prairie, which were adjacent to Mabe Village. 


As the second day of the effort wore down, Link was starting to wonder why there hadn’t been any assistance coming from the royal family of Koholint.  There had not been any soldiers or nobles present in the wake of the attack.  In fact, he had not seen any semblance of the monarchy at all since he had shipwrecked.  In Hyrule, King Harkinian and Princess Zelda would send forth disaster relief within hours of hearing the news.  Perhaps there was some force blocking the flow of information across the island. 


Link sought out Marin, who was directing some older men moving supplies of shovels, hammers, and other building equipment near the village’s weathercock.  Her yellow dress was covered in dirt and her hands and face were doused in sweat, but Link did not mind this.  It showed that she was dedicated to her fellow citizens and not afraid to get her hands dirty. 


“Who is in charge on this island?” Link asked.


“I’m not sure I understand.  What do you mean?” Marin asked.


“What I mean is, most kingdoms I know of are ruled by a royal monarchy.  There are usually castles in which a king and queen, or perhaps princes or princesses call home.  Isn’t Koholint ruled by a royal family?” Link asked.


“Well, there is a castle to the northeast of here across the prairie.  The castle is home to a man named Richard.  He likes to call himself the King of Koholint, but in reality he is quite a shy and precocious young man.  Nobody really takes him seriously.”  Marin said. 


Link was stunned.  “So there is a man of royal blood, yet he is hardly in control of the island?”


“Forgive me, for I don’t think I was being completely truthful.” Marin said as she washed her hands in the fountain near the weathercock.    “Richard is a good man, and is well respected by the people of Mabe Village.  He did well to work with us in times of need.  The problem is that several months ago he was forced from the throne by his servants.” 


“What?  His servants forced him to leave the castle?  He did not fight in defense of the throne?”


“I know not about what happened, but if you talk to him he will probably tell you more.  He has taken residence in a villa just east of Toronbo Shores, but there are heavy rocks in the way, so you’ll have to take the long route through Ukuku Prairie.”


“I will go now, for the village needs help.” Link said.  He turned and immediately left Mabe Village, crossing into the southern reaches of Ukuku Prairie, a vast grassland in the western and central portion of Koholint.  The sun was still shining but dropping ever quickly as sunset was nearly upon the island.  Link encountered several monsters in the plains but paid little attention to them, the ones foolish enough to pursue him finding the sharp end of his sword.  Sweat poured off Link’s face as the sun beat sideways on his face.  “Koholint sure is a warm place.” Link thought to himself as he wrestled briefly with the chain mail underneath his tunic.  The outfit was perfect for a temperate climate like Hyrule’s, but under the tropical skies of Koholint it proved to be an oven at times.


About a mile and a half into the journey, Link came across what appeared to be a dungeon amid the grasslands.  The entrance was sealed by heavy iron bars, and there appeared to be a lock engraved into a statue in front of the entranceway.  Remembering what the voice told him in Bottle Grotto, Link ascertained that this was likely the resting place of the third Instrument of the Sirens.  He marked the location on his map and continued onward.


Link found a new path leading to the south, and he took it.  The whole journey was about six to seven miles and took about two hours to traverse, but in the twilit sky he located Richard’s villa.  It was a fairly large home made of sod and heavy bass wood that overlooked the southernmost plain from a cliff.  There was a large backyard filled with shrubs behind the villa.  When Link entered the house, he noticed a short man with dark hair and brown eyes.  He had diminutive posture, and wore a purple cape, thereby demarcating his royal status.  He could sense the troubles within the man just by looking into his eyes. 


“Hello, and who might you be?” the man asked. 


“My name is Link of Hyrule.  I have come to report a moblin attack in Mabe Village.  Your name is Richard no?” Link asked. 


“Indeed.  My name is Richard, sovereign of Koholint.  Or rather, I once was sovereign of Koholint before my servants forced me to leave the castle several months ago.”


“What happened?” Link asked.


“My servants deposed me from the throne because of their little trifles.  They said that I didn’t pay them enough.  They said that I worked them too hard, and that the conditions in which they lived, slept, and breathed wasn’t good enough for them.  While it is true that the castle of Kanalet is not the magnificent palatial estate of other kingdoms, it is the grandest building in all of Koholint.  How they could think that partaking in its majesty in exchange for having to get their hands dirty every so often was a bad deal, well there are just some people who just cannot be reasoned with.”


“Why did you not fight to save the throne?” Link asked.  “The king of my homeland would have fought to the death to protect his throne.”


“You’ll have to forgive me.  Though I am wise, I am not courageous or physically strong.  Though I am astute to the troubles with which Koholint is facing, its guardian deity falling asleep and evil monsters taking over much of the countryside, my servants cared not.  They came by the tens and forced me with weapons they sought from the armory.  Surely had I fought I would not be alive today, and the throne wasn’t worth sacrificing my life for.  The irony is, if the Wind Fish is not awakened, all of Koholint will fall into a nightmare of death and destruction and my servants will not survive.”


Link was in awe of Richard’s mind.  He was not a fighter, but had wisdom beyond his years, almost a male version of Princess Zelda.  His protective instincts sprang forth.  “I will defeat these miscreants for you.  Your throne must be restored.  Mabe Village depends on it, and so does the survival of this island.” 


“Please, young warrior, I must not ask that of you.  There is a task I would like you to accomplish however.”  Richard said. 


“Anything, as long as you tell me how to get inside the dungeon in the prairie, and help Mabe Village however you can.” Link said.  


“The dungeon you speak of is called Key Cavern, and it is the resting place of the Sea Lily’s Bell, one of the instruments needed to wake the Wind Fish.  I know where the key is.  I know how to arrange a caravan of supplies for the village too.  The animals from the east side of the island will help me deliver it.  All you have to do for me is recover the five golden leaves inside Kanalet Castle.  These leaves are made of pure gold, and are the most valuable artifacts on this island.  You’ll find them inside my room, inside the highest tower of the castle.  All that you seek will be provided upon your return.”


“I shall make your servants pay for what they’ve done.” Link said. 


“No, please do not harm my servants, for they know not what they’ve done.”


“But Lord Richard…” Link protested.


“That is an order to you young warrior.” Richard snapped.  “You must retrieve the leaves without causing injury.” 


Link shook his head for a moment, and then nodded in assent.  Richard marked the location of Kanalet Castle on the map.  Link bowed to Richard, and left the villa.  The castle was to the north, maybe four miles to the north across the prairie.  By the time Link set out, the sun was almost completely set.  The moon and stars provided the light as he headed north. 


About an hour and a half later, Link reached the exterior walls of the castle, which were surrounded by a deep moat on all sides.   The drawbridge was drawn up for the night.  Seeing this, Link figured he would have to come back during daytime.  He set out to find a suitable resting spot for the night when he noticed something else, a bridge leading to the north around the east wall of the castle.  Link crossed the bridge and came to a tunnel leading under the wall.  It didn’t take long for Link to traverse it and emerge in the castle courtyard.  There were several guards on the grounds, but it wasn’t hard for Link to get around them.


The interior of Kanalet Castle was just as Richard had described, a fairly large building with assorted statues and treasures visible throughout, but lacking the polish and extravagance of Hyrule Castle.  Link moved quickly to avoid the guards in the initial room.  He moved as quickly and silently as possible through the lower floor, which included a study and a kitchen among other normal rooms.  After several minutes Link reached the back end of the lower floor, where a staircase emerged from the darkness.


“Clearly this is easier to do in darkness.  The guards can’t even detect me.” Link said as he climbed the staircase.  He spoke too soon though, for a pair of servants came into view as he moved around the spiral. 


“Hey, who are you?” One asked before Link drew his sword and pointed it directly at them.  “Come no closer to me and let me pass, or it’s your life.” Link threatened.  The two servants looked at each other as though they were able to wet themselves.  “Uhh, okay.”  One said. 


“Speak nothing of this meeting!” Link snapped.  “Swear it!”


“I…I swear it!” they both stammered.  Link thought about giving them a parting shot but he remembered Richard’s order and continued onward without causing further trouble.  He made it through two rooms on the upper floor before going through a door leading to the roof. 


“This place is eerie.  Where is everybody?” Link asked himself as he opened a door leading to the top tower.  He ascended the stairs quickly and quietly and found himself at the door to Richard’s quarters.  He opened the door and found a room that was surprisingly normal.  In it was a single bed, a dresser, a desk with a mirror, a bookshelf with many books, and not much else.  Hanging from the ceiling above the bed were the golden leaves, which gave off a shimming light in the moonlight.  There was just one problem.  The room was not vacant.”


“You…you have come to retrieve the leaves!” A soldier with a spiked ball and chain said.  “I will make you pay!” 


The soldier threw the ball at Link, which he dodged to the right.  Link tried to attack but his armor was strong, and did not allow easy attack.  The soldier picked up the ball and threw it again, and Link dodged by jumping with the Roc’s Feather.  Link realized that the ball was making a lot of noise when it hit the ground, so he needed to finish the fight quickly.  He tried to attack again but was rebuffed by the armor.  That’s when he noticed that the knight’s armor only extended to his knees, his boots were unprotected.  The knight took aim once again, and Link hit the floor this time.  The knight tried to attack Link from the above but Link thrust his sword forward, right into the shin and calf of his adversary.  He immediately crumpled to the floor, wailing in pain.  Link quickly used the Roc’s Feather to jump up to the ceiling and grab the golden leaves and ran out of the room before the knight could regain his footing. 


Three servants came running up the tower as Link ran downward.  They attempted to stop him but Link used the feather to jump over them.  He exited the tower and ran across the castle roof, pursued by several servants and guards reacting to the screams.  Not seeing any other option he took a leap from the castle roof, landing in some shrubs in the courtyard.  Link sprinted across the courtyard to the drawbridge, which was still up.  He instantly knocked out the door attendant by hitting him in the head with his shield.  Link turned the crank quickly, dropping the drawbridge as quickly as possible.  It dropped and Link ran onto the bridge, only to be faced by at least ten guards and servants that were waiting on the other side.  More guards and servants approached from the courtyard.  Link was surrounded. 


“Look at what we have here.  Richard sent a mercenary to do his dirty work did he?” One of the guards said. 


“He looks too pretty to be a mercenary.” Another mocked.


“Look at him, he’s practically wearing a dress and woman’s tights!” Another mocked. 


Link paid no attention to the rabble around him, focusing on the guards in front of him.  “Let this meeting pass.  Richard wants his leaves, nothing more.” 


“Sure.  You just say this in order to get out of trouble.”  The guard said.  “He wishes to exact revenge upon us and you were sent to accomplish it.”


“You’re mistaken!” Link shouted.  “Richard put me under orders not to harm any of you.  If he hadn’t a lot of blood would have spilled by now.”


“That is big talk for a pretty boy like you.  With a getup like that, I bet you don’t even know how to properly use a sword and shield.”  There was yelling of assent all around the drawbridge. 


“If you wish to face me, may the gods have mercy on your soul.” Link said coldly. 


The head guard stepped forward.  “You have yourself a duel.  If you win, we will let you pass without further incident.  But if you lose, we will imprison you and do whatever we please with you.”


Link immediately accepted the challenge, and the remaining guards and servants cleared the area around the drawbridge.  They went to opposite ends of the bridge, and one of the servants signaled the start of the battle.  The head knight charged quickly, but Link used his momentum against him and tripped him.  Link then slashed his left leg, and smashed his shield into the back of his head.  The guard got up slowly and engaged again.  They sparred with swords for a while, and the guard slowly pushed Link back toward the edge of the bridge.  A smile came over his face.  He went for a large swing, but Link rolled between his legs and slashed his back.  The man slumped and Link disarmed him quickly with another shield attack.  He took the man’s sword and crossed both blades in an X toward his neck. 


“Stop, the fight is over, the man in green has won!” A servant shouted. 


Link’s anger continued to swell.  “A great evil threatens this island.  Mabe Village is already in ruins as a result of the monsters that have infiltrated the countryside.  In time, more towns, regions, and even this castle will succumb to the powers of these monsters.  If you wish to atone for the troubles that you have caused by deposing your King, you will head to the village and help those in need.  As I speak to you today, I am on a quest to collect the Instruments of the Sirens in order to wake the Wind Fish.  The Wind Fish’s awakening is the only event that can bring about the defeat of the monsters once and for all.  I am already the savior of my own land and I intend to be the savior of Koholint as well.”


The servants had their mouths agape.  “Who are you?” One asked. 


“My name is Link of Hyrule.”



Chapter 7: Key Cavern


“I cannot give you thanks enough for finding my leaves.” Richard said.  “Pray tell that there weren’t too many casualties.”


“There were two, both merely injured, not killed.  One of them dueled me on the drawbridge. He’ll probably be in the infirmary for a little while.” Link confided. 


“I am sure you did as well as you could.  While you were away I gathered supplies for the trip to Mabe Village.  Me and the animals from the village in the east will push out tomorrow morning, but before that I will show you where to find the Slime Key.”


Link slept that night at Richard’s Villa, and the next night the warrior and the deposed despot went out into the shrub filled backyard. 


“My lord, why exactly did you hide the key again?”  Link asked, as he hacked through the bushes, some of which concealed pits in the ground where the sod had been dug out. 


“The key emits a nasty slime, it gets all over everything and it really had an odious smell to it.  I kept it in the villa but it stunk up the place so I didn’t have much choice.”


Link was going to complain further but realized it was wrong to think of.  He noticed a single shrub over in the northwest corner of the yard, and saw that the area had not been investigated.  “My lord, could you spare me a shovel please?”  Richard turned and handed Link a shovel.  He turned and went toward the single shrub and dug it up.  Instantly, a golden artifact covered in a gelatinous green substance emerged.  It was the Slime Key. 


“Well it looks like I’ve got it.  Thank you for everything, my lord.” Link said. 


“No, thank you for what you’ve retrieved for me, and for reminding me of what I came here to do.  I will go to the village with the animals and help the people there.  You go now to Key Cavern and retrieve the Sea Lily’s Bell!”  Richard shouted. 


Link bowed, and then turned and left, going northwest.  The entrance to Key Cavern wasn’t far away, less than a mile.  Link went to the statue with the lock and inserted the slime key.  Instantly, the heavy metal bars that blocked the entranceway fell to the ground.  Link walked into the dungeon, the interior of which was bathed in the morning light.


Almost immediately, Link found two keys, one in a room to the right of the entrance, the second in a room just north of the entrance.  In the third room he also found a chest with the dungeon map inside.  Examining the map, he noticed that it had two floors, both of which were in the shape of keys.  The main floor was large, and in the shape of a Nightmare Key, the basement smaller, in the shape of a small key.  “Whoever built this place certainly had a sense of humor.” Link thought as he continued northward. 


Eventually Link reached a room with a staircase leading to the basement.  He went down the stairs and came to a four-way intersection in which there were locked doors in all directions.  Left to a guess, Link went south, but found it was a dead end with several enemies.  The enemies were masked, and shot arrows at Link.  He blocked those with his shield, and waited for an opportunity to move in close.  Eventually he got close enough to use his sword, after which the fight ended quickly.  Once all enemies were defeated a small key fell from the ceiling.  Link took this and went back into the basement’s main room. 


With three choices left, Link picked the west door, but again it was a dead end.  This time, two large frogs shot magical energy at him from across a pit in the floor.  Not prepared in the least for this type of attack, Link took the shot right in the chest.  Knocked to the ground, Link got up quickly and readied his shield.  This time he blocked the attack, and jumped over the pit with the Roc’s Feather.  Once up close to the frogs, Link quickly executed a sword spin attack, defeating them both simultaneously.  Another key dropped from the ceiling and Link picked it up, and then went back to the intersection.


Link pondered his remaining two choices.  He picked the doorway to the east.  This time his intuition was true, as it led to a room with a conveyor belt on the floor leading to a staircase.  Link took the staircase back to the main floor, where several more masked enemies attempted to pounce on him.  He blocked several arrow attacks and again waited for his opportunity to get close.  As soon as he did, his sword did the rest.  Another key dropped from the ceiling, giving Link three for his pockets.  He turned to the west and faced several slime blobs that dropped from the ceiling.  These coalesced into more solid forms and attempted to attack but Link quickly dispatched them with his sword.  Having rounded the corner, Link headed to the north. 


Several more blobs of slime, enemies with arrows, and bomb-ombs similar to those seen in Mushroom Kingdom ganged up on Link in the next two rooms.  The green-garbed hero was feeling it though, and he isolated each enemy one by one before tearing into them with his sword.  Before long they were dead, and Link reached the mini-battle room.  His adversary was…two giant slugs that moved very slow, slow enough that they were virtually incapable of attack. 


“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Link thought to himself.  “This is going to be easy.”  But Link quickly found out that his sword was unable to damage the slugs.  He noticed that while their exteriors were hard, they held their mouths open constantly.  Unfortunately there weren’t any pots or other items to toss inside.  Then Link remembered his bombs.  Upon dropping some bombs into the mouths, they exploded into a hundred pieces.  The doors opened, and Link, victorious but covered in bug guts, continued to the right.  In the next room was a chest with the dungeon’s special treasure, the Pegasus Boots.  The boots were made of soft suede leather, and had wingtips on them.  They were very light, good for dashing.  Link had experience with boots of such type from his adventure in Hyrule. 


He strapped on the boots and focused energy toward a group of stalagmites on the floor.  In the blink of an eye he went through them like a hot knife through butter.  He moved quickly through three more rooms in the same fashion, picking up a fourth small key in one of them, and the compass in another.  Before long he was back in the room in which he started, near the staircase to the basement.  He was ready to unlock the four large boulders with locks in them that led toward the dungeon’s nightmare.  The only problem was that he had not yet found the Nightmare Key.  Looking up to a ledge on the right of the room, Link spotted a chest that had not yet been reached.  But he couldn’t reach it using the Roc’s Feather alone.  He moved to the south into a different room and noticed a long pit in the floor. 


The pit was at least ten feet across.  It was far too long to jump across, even with the Roc’s Feather.  Link pondered the situation for a moment.  An idea came to mind.  He laced up the Pegasus Boots and focused on the gap.  He charged forward, and jumped just before he reached the pit.  He flew through the air, far and high enough to not only clear the gap, but land close to the wall on the opposite side.  He failed to stop in time and crashed into the wall.  When he got up he had a sore knee and a slight gash on his left arm. 


There was another long pit on the floor in front of the chest.  This time Link better managed his speed and landed softer, stopping himself on the chest.  Inside it was the Nightmare Key.  With that, Link dropped himself down to the ground and toward the boulders in the middle of the main floor.  One by one he opened them up, leading to another staircase.  At the bottom of the staircase was another room full of stalagmites.  Link ran through these, ignoring the enemies as he went into the final room prior to the nightmare.  The room was full of conveyor belts on the floor.  Link followed these around in a maze like pattern to the door.


“Neener Neener Neener!!  You can’t find me!!” A shout rang out from inside the room.  There was no nightmare to be seen.  Bits of slime fell from the ceiling and coalesced into an amorphous liquid that moved to attack.  Link quickly dispatched of the slime, and then looked up to see if any more was coming.  That’s when he saw the nightmare for the first time, a large eye surrounding by the slimy liquid.  Link couldn’t jump high enough to reach the ceiling though, and up on the ceiling it sat, seemingly content to have its slime fall from the ceiling. 


Link slashed through more slime.  An idea came over him, one that made him somewhat squeamish.  He readied his Pegasus Boots, and ran straight for the wall.  The resultant impact shook the room enough for the nightmare to lose its grip on the ceiling.  One eye was hanging toward the ground, another on the ceiling, meaning there were actually two of them.  Link raised his shield and charged again, striking the wall hard and falling on his back.  The impact dropped the eyes from the ceiling for good.  Link brushed off the pain and slashed his sword into the gap in the slime that separated the eyes.  Before long he had broken the two eyes apart.  The eyes began to hop around and attack Link with their speed.  The hero held his ground and kept them away with his shield.  The eyes bounced off the shield but came back for more.  Eventually Link was able to isolate one of them and went after it with his sword. 


Upon getting hit, the eyes jumped back to the ceiling and attempted to dive attack.  Link was keen to this move and dodged by rolling on the ground.  He continued to isolate the injured eye and attacked it without prejudice.  It tried to dive attack again, but it wasn’t long before it was defeated, exploding in a ball of flames.  With one eye defeated, the other eye was easy to deal with.  After a couple more swings of the sword the battle was over.  The door to the dungeon’s final room opened.  On the pedestal sat a bell.  Link picked it up and a voice rang out.  “You’ve got the Sea Lily’s Bell!”  The instrument began to play, and a few seconds later the room was filled with a bright light.  Link lost consciousness. 


“Waterfall.  The secret is in the waterfall.” The voice said. 


The next thing Link knew, he was at the entrance to the dungeon, the Sea Lily’s Bell in his hands.  Before he could move, he saw Kaepora fly down from the sky.


“Hoot!  Very good Link, I see that you have recovered the third Instrument of the Sirens.  With this discovery you are well on your way to awaking the Wind Fish.” 


“If you don’t my mind my asking, how many more instruments are there?” Link asked, the fatigue evident in his facial expression.


“There are a total of eight instruments for you to find, hoot!” Kaepora responded.


“Eight?!  Wow, and to think that this island is not very large.  How could there be space enough to fit five more dungeons within it?” Link asked.


“You may not believe it yet, but there are whole regions of Koholint you have not yet explored.”


“Suppose I don’t feel like playing this little game any longer.  Let’s say I go build myself a ship and head out on the ocean towards Hyrule.  You say that I cannot leave this island, but yet, I have not heard a good reason as to why.  Why can’t I simply pack up and leave now?  His majesty King Harkinian of Hyrule would demand I ask such a question.”


“There is a supreme leader of the nightmares that lies in the mountains.  If you attempt to leave, it will summon the storms in which you wrecked and they will emerge once again.  By all means you are welcome to try to leave the island without awaking the Wind Fish.  But I cannot guarantee your survival if you do, hoot!”


Link’s heart sank.  Clearly, he was in for the long haul now.  “Now that you’ve ruined my conquest for the day, could you at least lead me toward my next destination?” Link asked.


“The next dungeon in which you seek is in one such region, in the Tal Tal Heights.  The entrance is hidden by a waterfall.  But first you should proceed to the Yarna Desert, the key to the dungeon is there, hoot!”  Kaepora flew away quickly, not really allowing Link to respond.  That was troubling for he knew not of any waterfall, or any desert.  He had a feeling though, that somebody in the village would.



Chapter 8: Soliloquies


“Well howdy do Link?  How have you been?” Tarin asked. 


“I’m in good spirits Tarin.  Do you know where your daughter is?” Link asked. 


“I think she went down to the beach.  She’s probably in her special place beneath the Tail Cave.  I’d check that area out.” Tarin responded. 


Link looked out toward Madam Meow-Meow’s house, which appeared to be recovering well from the moblin attack, as were other buildings in the area.  Out of the corner of his eye he noticed several talking animals as well as a purple-caped man hauling wood.  He smiled.  Richard had kept his word.  None of his servants were anywhere to be seen though.  Maybe they weren’t yet prepared, but Link doubted it.  One thing that sickened him was greed.  Another was self-centered attitude.  The servants at Kanalet Castle clearly were afflicted with both.  Were it not for Richard’s stern warning not to, Link would’ve lashed out and taught them all a valuable lesson in chivalry and respect for fellow citizenry. 


The day was burning hot.  Sweat poured from Link’s forehead as he passed the Tail Cave en route to Toronbo Shores.  Upon reaching the coast, Link walked to the east.  He eventually came to a large cliff that ran out into the ocean.  Going around it on the sand, the hero encountered several leevers that emerged from the sand.  He ignored these and came around the corner to find a stretch of white sand beach between two cliffs.  Sitting on a log near the water’s edge was Marin.  She was wearing an orange sundress and wore a white floppy hat that partially obscured her fiery red hair.


Marin saw Link and immediately smiled.  “Oh Link, I’m glad you found this place.  Will you stay and talk with me for a while?”  She asked. 


Link nodded.  Marin beckoned for him to sit down on the log next to her, and he did so.  “I wonder where those coconut trees come from?  Tarin says there is nothing beyond the sea, but I believe that there must be something out there.  When I discovered you Link, my heart skipped a beat!  I thought, this person has come to give us a message.”


“And what message was that?” Link asked. 


“I’m not sure.  But if I were a seagull, I would fly as far as I could.  I would fly to far away places and sing for many people!  If I were to wish to the Wind Fish, I wonder if my dream will come true…” Marin pined. 


Link said nothing, his focus out toward the ocean.  The sea looked so tranquil, too peaceful for an island supposedly surrounded by storms and fierce waves.


“Hey, are you listening?  Link are you listening to me?!” Marin asked frantically.


“I’m listening, I was just…distracted by the ocean, that’s all.  Wondering how it can be so peaceful now and yet so ferocious when I try to enter it.” Link responded.


Marin smiled.  “I want to know everything about you Link, where you came from, what your family is like, how you learned to fight, everything.  You’re a really interesting person, and you’ve given me hope that someday I might adventure past my homeland, just like you.”


Link was flattered.  He never really considered his life to be all that interesting.  Sure he had gone on a grand adventure to save the kingdom but that was his duty, nothing more.  It wasn’t anything to write a book about. 


“Well, I was born in the central grassland of Hyrule.  Who my parents were, I never really found out because they both passed away when I was very young.”


“I’m so sorry to hear that.” Marin said.  “What happened to them?” 


“My father was a knight of the Hylian Order.  He fought in a great conflict that took place when I was very young called the Imprisoning War.  In that war, Hyrule fought against several kingdoms surrounding it, and though we were victorious, most of the knights, including my father were wiped out in battle.  His grave is in the cemetery between the castle and the kingdom’s largest town.  After he died my uncle took me in and raised me.  Like my father he was a knight himself, and he made it through the war unharmed.”


“What was your uncle like?”  Marin asked.  “Come, let’s walk along the beach as we talk.” 


They got up and started walking along the water’s edge, taking the water route around the cliff.  “He was a neat person to be around, always smiling, never taking himself too seriously.  He instilled good values in me.  He taught me how to use a sword as soon as I was of age.  In that time Hyrule was peaceful and prosperous, but my uncle always said that it was good to be prepared.  In a lot of ways he was wise beyond his years.”


“When did you start adventuring?” Marin asked. 


“Once I was of age to use a sword, my uncle took me out all over the countryside.  We ventured across many parts of the kingdom.  We ate wild berries, made camp in the woods, and slept on pallets under the stars.  Our home was very simple, a one story house in the central plain, so we got outside as much as we could.  That is, until the disasters started.” 


“What kind of disasters?” Marin asked.  “Were they similar to the storm that you encountered here when you shipwrecked a week ago?” 


“Actually severe storms were a big part of it.  But it was different all throughout the land.  Some areas had storms and flooding.  Others saw droughts that crippled fields and farms into dust.  Still other parts of the country saw tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.  It was really a dangerous time.  That’s when the wizard appeared.” 


“The wizard?  You mean a sorcerer of magic?” Marin asked. 


“His name was Agahnim.  He had the ability to use magic to reverse the natural disasters that were happening all over the land.  When he did so, he fell into favor with King Harkinian, the crowned king of Hyrule.  But he deceived Harkinian in that he secretly sought to use his powers to take over the kingdom.  He was working with the evil thief Ganondorf, who had been banished in the world of darkness by the hyrulian sages.  By imprisoning the maidens who were descendants of the sages, he sought to break the seal and bring Ganondorf back to our kingdom, where the two of them would rule over the kingdom in darkness.  With six of the maidens imprisoned in the dark world, only Princess Zelda remained.  That’s when she contacted me.”


“So you were her protector?  That’s how you knew Zelda, you had to protect her from the evil wizard.” Marin said.  “So what happened after she called for you?” 


“It was a wild and stormy night, the thunder and lightning cackling overhead.  My uncle had gone ahead to the castle in an attempt to save her, but I could not sit still.  Something told me that the danger was too great for me to sleep away the night.  I caught up with my uncle in the sewer beneath the castle wall, he had fallen down a hole and broken his leg.  He gave me his sword and shield and told me to continue ahead.  These are the sword and shield you see now.  I broke into the castle and got past the guards, who had been brainwashed by the wizard’s magic.  Down the lowest chamber of the castle I found her, locked in the dungeon.  I fought my way back up to the throne room, and then we took a secret passageway through the sewers leading beneath Hyrule Field.  With Zelda’s help, we made it to Sanctuary, a church in north Hyrule Field.  Zelda took refuge there while I sought to collect the three pendants of virtue needed to obtain the Master Sword, the blade capable of defeating Agahnim.” Link said with purpose.


“It sure sounds big, the adventure you had back in Hyrule.” Marin said.


“Oh but it didn’t end there!” Link said excitedly.  When I returned to the highest tower of Hyrule Castle, I found out that Agahnim had found Zelda and kidnapped her.  He waited for me to arrive before sending her to the Dark World and breaking the seal of the wise men.  Enraged I moved to defeat him and did, but with his last burst of life, he used his powers to draw me into the Dark World too.  Once there I was tasked with rescuing the seven maidens, including Zelda.  This task took me to some dark dungeons, flooded palaces, frozen caverns, and it all led up to the final tower where Ganondorf lived.  The evil tyrant resurrected Agahnim, but after I defeated him again, Ganondorf fled to a pyramid in the center of the Dark World.  The final battle took place there, and the battle was anything unlike I had ever experienced.” 


“What was that battle like?  What happened?  How badly were you hurt?” 


“Ganondorf fought harder than any opponent I’ve ever faced.   He threw his giant pitchfork at me.  He summoned fire bats to burn me.  He shook the floor and caused the ground to drop away.  And when he was near defeat, he caused all the lights to go out and tried to attack me in the dark.  I had to use my lantern and my special silver arrows, granted to me by the Great Fairy of the Dark World, to utterly destroy Ganondorf and reclaim the Triforce, thus saving the world.”


“Princess Zelda and King Harkinian must have been very grateful for your exploits.  You’re a savior to them.  Now I understand why you wanted so badly to return to Hyrule, these people need you in case something bad happens.  Your uncle probably misses you too.” 


“Well, being away from friends and family is part of being an adventurer.  Harkinian realized my appetite for travel and made me an ambassador to several kingdoms near Hyrule.  I was sailing across the ocean from the Kingdom of Marith when I hit the storms and shipwrecked here.  I had never been to Koholint before, nor did I have any idea of its existence.  Why the Hyrulian libraries never spoke of this place is something I have yet to figure out.” Link said.


Link and Marin reached another cliff, this one on the west side of Toronbo in the southwest corner of Koholint.


“This is our first true walk with you Link…I just want you to know that this cliff, this will be our secret place.”


Link didn’t immediately answer.  His train of thought was interrupted.  “Well, aren’t you going to say anything?” Marin asked.


Link still didn’t answer.  Marin noticed that she had thrown him out of his thoughts.  “Forgive me Link.  I just get so emotional about my special places that nobody knows about, especially when you’re around.  I really do feel like my life changed when you washed up on that seashore.  But listen to me talk again.”  Marin came close to Link and held his hand.  “Was there something that you came to ask me about?”


Link’s mind snapped back to reality.  “Oh right, Marin do you know anything about a place called the Yarna Desert?” Link asked. 


“Indeed I do.  Yarna is a sandy area in the southeast of Koholint.  Not really a desert, Yarna is more of an extended beach that goes well inland, though you can find cacti in spots.  If you cross Ukuku Prairie you’ll come to a town inhabited by talking animals.  I have been there many times before to sing to them, but not since the monsters came.  I wish to sing for them again.” 


“I could lead the way across the prairie.  You would be safe by my side.” Link assured her. 


“You would lead me to the animal village?  Really?”  Marin asked. 


“Sure.  But not before we play the trendy game this night.” Link responded. 


A devious smile crossed Marin’s face.  “You have yourself a deal.  Just be sure not to cry when I beat you, big boy.”



Chapter 9: Trendy Games and Lanmolas


“I’m sorry miss, but you appear to have not collected any items.  It’ll be ten rupees for another play.” The shopkeeper said. 


Marin looked dumbfounded.  She had gone for the red rupee moving on the conveyor belt but had seen it drop off of the crane’s edge when it was within its grasp.  She turned to Link, encouraging him to thrown down the rupees.  


“What the heck, I’ll play this round.” Link thought.  He walked to the man and put down ten rupees, then walked over to the mechanism.  The crane was powered by two buttons, one that controlled left and right movements, the other controlling forward and backward.  Link took the control and moved the crane through the air, toward the prizes moving around the conveyor belt in the center of the room.  On the conveyor were all sorts of rupees, magic powder, clothing accessories, and much more.  Link moved the crane into position and then hit the drop button, lowering it toward the bag of magic powder.  It appeared to grapple the top part of the bag, but it slid off upon rising back toward the ceiling.  


“That was a good try, but no prize for you this time.” The shopkeeper said.  Link was privately fuming, for he thought his try was perfect.


“Maybe we’re just not cut out for this.” Link bemoaned.  He was about to leave the table when Marin whispered something into his ear.  “I’ve seen this game before, it’s never this difficult.  The guy is playing around with us and I don’t like it.  Watch this.”  Marin walked up to the table and put down ten more rupees.  She took the controls and seemingly moved the crane around for minutes, not even trying to drop it toward one of the items.  The shopkeeper eventually became bored with Marin’s actions and tried to converse with Link.  That’s when Marin acted on her devious plot.  She moved the crane directly over the head of the shopkeeper, then dropped it toward him when he wasn’t paying attention.  The crane grabbed a fistful of his shaggy black hair and picked him up into the air. 


“Hey you, let me down!” The shopkeeper yelled.  Marin laughed hysterically while Link looked on in awe.  The crane took the shopkeeper back to the winner’s conveyor, where he dropped right into Marin’s lap. 


“Ah ha ha ha!” The shopkeeper laughed, finally catching up with the prank played on him by the young maiden.  “You’re pretty good, in fact you’re a pro, aren’t you!” he said to Marin. 


“I’ll take my congratulations and run with it.” Marin replied. 


“Good idea.   Now beat it!  Pros aren’t allowed in here!” The shopkeeper said as he suddenly turned nasty. 


“Why?  Couldn’t stand to lose a few rupees on your rigged excuse of a game?” Marin questioned. “I would have expected better from you at a time like this when the rest of the village is suffering.  Come Link…we’ve got work to do, let’s leave this loser behind.”


Since it was already late at night, Link and Marin retired to the latter’s house, Tarin whipping up a quick meal of leever greens, boiled cucco, and bananas.  It was simple and primitive compared to Marin’s exquisite cooking, but it was still good to Link.  For somebody never accustomed to the best in life be it food, clothing, shelter, or amount of rupees on hand, Link cared not for material things.  It was people’s thoughts and actions that stood out to him. 


The next morning, Link and Marin performed some more work on village buildings, and then set off for the animal village around noon.  It was a very typical day in Koholint’s prairie-filled interior, very sunny and very hot.  Not anticipating much resistance outside of small enemies, Link went without his usual chain mail under his tunic. 


The trip was long, longer than any they had undertaken thus far.  It was a four mile trek across Ukuku Prairie, followed by a short trek into a cavern that led underneath a river.  The river was one of several that cut across eastern Koholint, and was actually an extension of the moat surrounding Kanalet Castle.  It would ultimately empty into Martha’s Bay, the large bay that cut into Koholint’s south central coastline.  Link had not yet ventured there but he had a feeling that he might soon. 


“What is that out there?  It looks like a rock sticking out from the water.” Link said as he looked out into the bay from the river delta. 


“That right there?” Marin asked.  “I’m not sure what that is.  It looks like a giant blue boulder.  I’m sure if we went to the library we would be able to find out.” 


“Maybe once we get past the animal village and to the desert.  For now we continue on.”


And indeed they did, moving southward along the east side of the bay for another mile before turning eastward.  About two in the afternoon they arrived at Animal Village, a town smaller than Mabe Village but nevertheless notable in that its inhabitants were all talking animals. 


Marin knew many of the inhabitants, and immediately noticed a rabbit hopping through town.  The rabbit’s ears immediately perked up.  “Marin!  It’s been so long since I’ve seen you around here!” 


“Hi Remus.  It’s been a while.  How have you been?” Marin asked. 


“I’ve been good, but it’s gotten a bit lonely round these parts.  We used to have travelers from all over Koholint but the prairies have gotten dangerous.” Remus responded.  Oh Marin, I do hope you’ll sing for us again, your voice is so beautiful.  But if you don’t mind my asking, who is this young man you’ve brought along?” 


“His name is Link.  Link, this is Remus the rabbit.  He and I have been friends for a long time.  I used to come here a lot before the monsters started to roam the prairies.”


“You’ll have to forgive me.  I’m still not quite accustomed to talking animals.” Link said.  “Do you know how to reach Yarna Desert from here?” he asked. 


“It isn’t far.  There are some high cliffs to the east but if you go south to the coast you’ll reach a passageway along the coast.  You two look tired and hot though, you should see Enzo for a nice refreshing bottle of water.”  Remus advised. 


“He’s probably right, we’ve been walking for quite some time, and Yarna is a hot and unforgiving place.” Marin said.  “Enzo’s shop is just to the northeast of the square.”


“What animal is Enzo?” Link asked. 


“A large blue crocodile.” Marin responded, not skipping a beat. 


Link gave an incredulous look.  “I’m sorry I asked.  Are you sure he’s on our side?” 


“Link!  Don’t be rude, these animals are friends and they’re going to help us if you would just keep your manners.” Marin scolded.  “Now let’s go and see if he can help us.” 


Link and Marin walked into Enzo’s shop.  Enzo, indeed a large blue crocodile, instantly noticed Marin and smiled, showing off all his razor sharp teeth.  Link wasn’t sure if Enzo intended to hug Marin or bite her head off when she wasn’t looking.  His protector genes were going crazy, and yet he felt a great pull to not make a complete jerk of himself.  It felt weird to him. 


“So I understand you two want to go to Yarna?  It is very hot today, but with some of my fresh bottled spring water you should be able to tackle the terrain.”  Enzo said. 


“How much will be it be?” Marin asked. 


“For you, anything.  I understand you’ve had some problems in Mabe Village, some moblin folk attacking from the forest.  You’ve had enough trouble…but there’s more ahead.”  Enzo responded.


“What do you mean by more trouble ahead?”  Marin asked. 


“There’s a giant walrus that’s taken up residence on the path to Yarna.  It’s been blocking the path for days because it seems to have gone into hibernation.” Enzo responded.


“Couldn’t we just go around it through the water?” Link asked.


“The water current is really rough, and there’s a bit of an undertow too.  If you’re not a very accomplished swimmer or don’t have a pair of flippers, I wouldn’t advise going in the water.” 


“Do you suppose I could try to sing to awaken it?” Marin asked. 


Enzo’s face lit up.   “Yes!  That’s it!  Your singing voice is the greatest in all of Koholint!  Surely the walrus will react to your resonant tones!  Take the water, and show that walrus what the power of music can do!” 


“Right on Enzo!  I’ll be sure to sing for you later.  Come Link, we must move quickly.” 


It wasn’t hard finding the walrus, for it was huge, and its girth easily took up all the space on the narrow pathway between the cliff and the water’s edge.  Link led Marin toward the Walrus’s face, assuring her that it was out cold and would not try to attack.  It was then that Marin struck a high note and began to sing.  After just two lines, Link was floored.  Never in his life had he heard a voice with such vigor, such rapture, such a chilling nature to it.  It was absolutely beautiful, like an angel raining down her prayer from the heavens. 


He suddenly snapped out of his stupor when he noticed the walrus starting to budge.  He steadied his sword and shield just in case, but his weaponry wasn’t necessary, as the walrus slithered into the water, presumably to find a quieter environ in which to count sheep.


“Ah ha ha!  He certainly awoke with a start!” Marin shouted as she clapped her hands. 


Link was simply blown away, almost speechless.  Thankfully, Remus emerged from the sand dunes before Marin noticed.  “That was lovely Marin.  I never cease to be amazed by your talent and grace.” The rabbit said adoringly.  Remus was joined by several other animals, all of whom wished to hear Marin sing in the village square.


“I will treat you all as soon as we return from Yarna.” Marin said. 


Yarna was a very hot, desolate place at the southeast end of Koholint.  It was in many ways an extended sandbar leading for almost a mile from the seacoast, filled with cacti and home to many leevers, millipedes, and sand worms.  Link and Marin kept their wits about them as they searched for the Angler Key, Link having to occasionally use his sword and shield against the troublesome leevers.  For almost an hour they had no luck.  Finally, Link decided to look further inland, and they came across a large quicksand pit near where the sand met an underground series of caves beneath the dunes. 


“Wait here Marin.  Be still, the leevers can’t find you if they can’t detect movement.”  Link had a bad feeling that there must be something ominous beneath the quicksand, and he was quickly proven correct as a giant lanmola centipede emerged from the sand. 


“Annoyance!  You are only getting in the way!” The lanmola shouted at Link as it flew past.  Link was rather confused by this complaint, but quickly saw that it was holding a key in its mouth.  Seeing this he quickly sought to defeat the giant centipede, which by this time had dove back beneath the quicksand.  The insect quickly rose back up into the air.  Link swung his sword directly for its head, landing a clean blow right between the eyes.  The insect responded by lashing out its pincers toward Link.  He dodged the attack, and the insect landed back beneath the sand.  Maybe he was imagining things, but he thought he had heard Marin gasp while he was being attacked.


The lanmola approached again, but this time Link was ready and charged up a spin attack.  It struck right across the face of the giant centipede, causing a deep laceration.  The centipede fought on, but was injured beyond repair.  A few more sword hits and the battle was over.  Link watched as the Angler Key fell from the air and into his arms.  He went to move toward Marin, only to suddenly notice that he was in up to his waist in quicksand and could not. 


“Hey Marin, do you suppose I could get some help over here?” Link asked. 


“Oh sure, now you want me to go in the quicksand, now that you’re in trouble.  It looks like the big strong hero needs a damsel like me to save him, now doesn’t it?” Marin taunted.


“Yeah, very funny.  Now please, before my head goes under…” Link bemoaned. 


Marin pretended to sigh.  “Oh okay, I guess you’re nice enough that I could lend a hand.  Just don’t let it go to your head.”  Link didn’t realize it yet, but he would remember Marin’s words for the rest of his life.



Chapter 10: Angler’s Tunnel


Link thought back to the previous day, where Marin had sung for the animals in the square, and she had given him an ocarina to play while she sang.  As he held the red instrument in his hand, he remembered what she had told him. 


“This ocarina is a sign of our friendship.  Whenever you play it, imagine my voice behind you, giving you the strength to face any enemy.” 


Link felt the smooth marble as he looked forward to a large waterfall.  He was in the north central region of Koholint known as the Tal Tal Heights, so named as it sat in the shadows of the northern mountains.  In front of the waterfall was a lock. 


“Well, let’s hope this works.  Kaepora said it would.” Link thought as he inserted the Angler Key into the lock.  Within seconds, there was shaking beneath the ground.  “Oh great, an earthquake!” Link thought as he ran back from the water’s edge.  But the earth quaking from below was not the disaster he remembered from Hyrule, but actually helpful as it moved the land up above, shutting off the water’s flow to the waterfall.  It dried up, revealing an entranceway and a shallow pool of water in front of it.   Link used the Roc’s feather to jump over the barrier and into the water.  A few steps later he was inside Koholint’s fourth dungeon, known as Angler’s Tunnel. 


The inside of the dungeon was coated with shallow water.   Link moved across the first two rooms quickly, evading attacks from snapping turtles in the second, and made his way to a higher level.  Drier here, Link moved along the ledge to the east, following it all the way to the end where a chest was visible.  Inside the chest was a dungeon map.  Link unfurled it, noting its shape was somewhat like a castle, with the main tunnel forming the main floors in the middle and two other towers rising in the east and west.  The nightmare was likely lurking at one end or the other, but he would need the compass to confirm that. 


Stepping down from the ledge, he came to a four way intersection, but one that had a hole in the floor in the shape of a plus sign flanked by heavy blocks.  Link decided to use the Roc’s Feather along with the Pegasus Boots to jump the gap.  He did so, running hard to the east.  The next room was filled with shallow water as well as very deep water in spots.  Tektites, a spider-like species that were aquatic in nature, filled the room.   Link took out a bomb and blew up a boulder blocking the path to a chest, which had a small key inside.  Taking this key and moving north into the dungeon’s east “tower”, Link hoped to find the dungeon’s nightmare quickly.   Alas, it was only a dead end with lots of deep water and lots of tektites as well.  They swarmed Link, causing him to take damage as he fended them off with his sword.  Their hard insect legs cut against his tunic, revealing a scrape or two, but nothing that would be all too threatening to the hero.  Link bombed another boulder, revealing the way between the deep water and to another chest, which also contained a small key. 


Backtracking to where he started, Link fought against the turtles he saw earlier.  His sword was ineffective against their hard shells, so he looked for a way to flip them over.  By using his shield to counter their sliding attacks along the water surface, he was able to get access to their weak underbellies.  His sword made quick work of them.  When all were defeated the door leading east opened.  Another flooded room with turtles was the reward.   Link used the same tactic to defeat them, opening another door to the south.  The compass was also in this room.  Link viewed the compass, and noted that the needle pointed to the northwest.  The nightmare was in the opposite corner of the dungeon, in the west “tower”.  Link’s early choice to go east had been incorrect.


In the south room, Link found another small key but not before taking more damage against the unsightly tektites that roamed the watery surface.  The hero now had a cut on his leg where his white leggings had been torn.  Ignoring the pain, Link took the key and moved north to the intersection with the plus-sign shaped hole in the floor, using several of his keys to get there.  He jumped the gap again with the Pegasus Boots and Roc’s Feather, rushing headlong toward a group of boulders.  One of the boulders had a lock in it.  Link inserted his third key to break it apart.  After he did so, moving the other boulders out of the way became easier.   He headed to the west.  A key door lay to the north.  After defeating several slime blobs, a key dropped from the ceiling, but to Link’s misfortune it landed in a hole in the floor, dropping it out of sight.  The hero would have to find a way into the dungeon’s basement or find another key to open the door.


Forgetting about his troubles for a minute, Link used the feather to hop over the deep water ahead.  He headed south, and then to the west, taking care to avoid the pestering tektites.  Eventually he found a chest, but it contained a slime blob.  “A cruel joke indeed.” Link thought as he moved north.   Soon he found another chest, and this one had the small key that he was looking for.  The hero backtracked around the dungeon and entered the key door he couldn’t earlier. 


A narrow corridor filled with shallow water awaited, as did a large octopus.  It came toward him and attacked.  Link was knocked off his feet and injured by one of its tentacles.  Ignoring the pain, he got up and started running away with his Pegasus Boots.  He came to the corner and moved north, then went back east down the opposite corridor.  Link noticed that the battle room was a rectangle.  If he got behind the octopus he might find the weak point. 


Seconds later, he closed in on the octopus’s backside, and on his back was a gash of sorts.  Link charged forward with the Pegasus Boots and took aim.  He connected directly with the gash and the octopus crumpled in pain.  It swung around abruptly and took aim at Link again.  The hero turned and ran around the other way, attempting to get behind the octopus again.  It took about five or six trips around the rectangle, but eventually Link got within striking distance again.  Again he charged ahead with the boots, and ran straight into the gash.  The octopus again crumpled, and then turned around to face Link again, coming straight toward him.  Link ran the opposite way, but this time couldn’t gain much ground.  The octopus was moving faster than before, and Link was starting to tire from all the running.


Link decided to change strategy.  In a bold move, he let the octopus draw near, and then just as it was about to lash out with its tentacles, he used the Roc’s Feather to jump high.  Link bounced off the squishy head of the octopus and landed on the opposite side.   He swung his sword but his adversary was just out of range.  Undaunted, Link tried the maneuver again when the octopus returned.  This time Link cleared it on the fly, and struck the gash easily.  The octopus came back for more, but Link repeated his attack.  On this fourth hit, the octopus finally collapsed.  The door leading north opened.  Two rooms later, Link came to a room with a pedestal in it.  For a moment Link thought he had reached the dungeon’s final room, but instead of an instrument there was a chest atop the pedestal.   Link opened it, and inside it was a pair of blue flippers.  A voice rang out in the room.  “You’ve found the Flippers!  Use these to swim even in deep water and to dive underwater!” 


Link moved back to the east, and found a staircase leading into the dungeon’s basement.  In the basement was a plain room with torches aligning the walls and a pool of water in the back.  Link strapped on the flippers and dove into the deep water.  Before long he found the key that had fallen through the hole in the floor above.  He turned around and went back to the main floor.  By using the flippers to swim through and into the deep water, he was able to avoid the tektites that had previously ganged up on him.  Looping back to the west, he came to a room with five switches on the floor.  There was a mural hanging on the wall above the deep water that showed the room with numbers on the tiles.  Link used this information to step on the tiles in the correct order.  A new passageway to the basement appeared and Link entered.


After emerging from the dark tunnel, Link found himself on a ledge with a chest straight ahead.  He opened it, and inside was the dungeon’s Nightmare Key.  Only three rooms in the dungeon remained, all to the northwest.  Link knew he was close to the fourth Instrument of the Sirens.  He moved west, and jumped across a hole in the floor to reach the door leading into the nightmare’s chamber.  Still banged up from his tangles with the tektites and the octopus mini-battle, Link took a deep breath and inserted the Nightmare Key into the lock. 


He entered the chamber, looking around for the enemy.  Surprisingly, there was no enemy to be found, just a staircase leading back to the basement.  There was a locked door ahead, presumably the last thing between him and the fourth instrument.  With no other option, Link went down the staircase.  At the bottom was another basement with torches on the wall, and another pool of water straight ahead, one that looked to be very deep.  Now Link was confused.  In every battle he had ever fought before, he had fought on land.  This fight looked like it would occur in the water.  He peered over into the water, noticing a faint light within the pool.  He strapped on his flippers and dove in.  It didn’t take long for him to find his adversary, a giant angler fish.


“Gloop, gloop, blub, gloop, food, food!” Link thought he heard through the watery lair.  The fish charged forward.  Link swam up and aimed for the angler’s hanging light, which was attached to its head.  The hero, unable to move quickly in the water, took a partial hit but also injured the fish too.  The fish slammed into the wall, causing stones to fall from the ceiling.  Link avoided these and then came up for air.  He dove once again toward the light and executed a diving attack, striking the fish’s head.  After this happened, Link felt something take a bite out of his leg.  He pivoted and noticed a much smaller angler fish behind him.  He swung his sword through the water and stabbed it.  Other small angler fish were filling the lair, and the main enemy was prepping for another charging attack.  Link quickly evaded upward, inadvertently kicking the fish in the head as he went upward.  He came up for air just as the angler fish hit the wall.  Link saw rocks falling and raised his shield just in time, the rocks banging off the shield and into the water. 


Link dove again, and once again was able to attack from above.  The angler struggled to keep swimming.  Link grabbed the light as smaller fish tried to take a fish bite out of him.  With several strong swings of his sword, Link tore into the giant fish with all he could.  His muscles spasmed as the fish began to flash.  Within seconds, it and all the small fish blew up into pieces.  Short of breath, Link hurried upward, gasping for air as he broke the surface.  He checked the gash on his leg where the fish bit him, and it was rather ugly, blood still oozing from the wound.  He took off his green tunic and pressed it over the wound for several minutes.  His body ached and he showed the wounds of battle.  Without doubt, Angler’s Tunnel had been the toughest dungeon to date, but the reward of his pain lie in the dungeon’s final room.  


Once the wound had solidified a bit, Link climbed the ladder back to the main floor.  The door to the dungeon’s final room opened.  On the pedestal was a small harp, very similar to the one that Princess Zelda kept in her quarters back at Hyrule Castle.  Link picked it up and held it high and it began to play as the voice rang out.  “You’ve got the Surf Harp!” It shouted.  The familiar white light filled the room once the instrument stopped playing.  Enveloped in the light, Link heard the voice again.  “Bay, your road goes through the bay.”


After the previous fight, Link wasn’t sure he was ready for more aquatic warfare.  But the way of the hero was to fight on, no matter where and no matter what.  The bay it would be.



Chapter 11: The Mermaid


Link tossed and turned in his sleep.  It was a stormy night across Koholint, and that coupled with the stinging pains in his ribs and right leg had not afforded much chance to count sheep.  Link looked across the room.  In her bed, Marin slept peacefully.  Link thought about waking her but thought better of it.  He turned over slowly and tried to find a comfortable position.  Finally sleep found him and dragged him into a dream. 


He found himself in Hyrule Castle Courtyard.  Across the courtyard was the princess, Zelda.  Several of her ladies-in-waiting were with her, and they curtseyed to Link as he approached.  Zelda stood regally before him wearing a gorgeous gown of white and purple, the colors of the royal family.  The sun shone brightly down on the courtyard.


Zelda raised her hand into the air, and then motioned downward.  Link knelt before her, laying his sword before her.  “To my friend and protector, Link, I am overjoyed to see that you have returned from the kingdom of Marith.  I trust that you have good news from the field.”


Link rose to meet eye to eye with her.  “King Marxis sends his regards.  Between us the seas will be ridden of pirates and our frontiers will be protected through a mutual contract of peace and brotherhood.  He has made it so, signed on this parchment a mere few weeks ago.”


Zelda’s face beamed.  “As I suspected, your skills in diplomacy are even more atoned that your skills in warfare.  My father will be very pleased.”  She shooed away her ladies in waiting, who bowed to her and then led away across the courtyard.  When they were alone, Zelda continued.  “You know Link, I’ve really taken a liking to you.  You’ve always been so selfless. Your commitment to helping others and sacrificing life and limb for the good of the kingdom can never be questioned.  When I first contacted you telepathically you were but a young lad, but you have matured in ways that even I could never have anticipated.  It was like you were a godsend for our kingdom, one without we would have surely seen our end.  But more than that, you go out of your way to make people happy, never complaining about your pains or your troubles.  When nobody volunteered to travel to Marith in my stead, you spoke right up.” 


“What is it that you are trying to say, Zelda?” Link asked. 


“I think what I am trying to say is…Link, I…never want you to leave again.  I…I love you.”


They moved closer to one another and Zelda’s eyes closed, her lips closing in for a kiss.  Link wasn’t sure what to do but he was about to know…


“Link!  Wake up!  It’s time for your medicine!” Marin bellowed as she put her hands on the bed, enough to jar Link into consciousness.  Link groggily opened his eyes, noticing the red-haired island girl carrying a cantaloupe along with a glass of red potion.  “I know you usually drink milk in the morning but I think you’ve got some bad injuries that need to heal.”


“How did you know?” Link asked groggily. 


“It’s from Syrup.  She can mix up just about any medicine you can imagine.” Marin said.


“No, I mean how did you know I was injured?” Link asked. 


“Because you’re sopping wet tunic left a pinkish-red spot in the sheets near the bedpost.  I lifted the sheet up and saw that your leg had a major cut on it.  It’ll take me weeks to get that stain out!” Marin bemoaned. 


“Ahem…perhaps your priorities are a bit off.  After all the lad is injured.” Enzo the crocodile scolded. 


“I suppose you’re right.” Marin said.  “Here Link, take the medicine.”  Link took a big drink from the red potion.  The medicine dulled the pain in his ribs and leg, and seemed to energize him a bit.  “If you don’t mind my asking, what was it that had you suffering like this?  Was it monsters in the prairie?”


“Actually it was a giant angler fish that was responsible.” Link said glumly.  “But I defeated the fiend and collected the fourth instrument.”


“Really?  Where is it?” Marin asked. 


“It’s under my shield.” Link replied.  He sat up over the side of the bed as Marin retrieved the Surf Harp.  “Ooh, a harp!” Marin said as she plucked some of its strings.  “It strikes such an exquisite tone, truly a beautiful acoustic sound.”


“You could use it to accompany your singing.  You’d be the most famous musician in the realm with that at your side.” Enzo said. 


“It is a tempting thought, but I shan’t get so greedy.  After all, this instrument must be protected until such time comes to wake the Wind Fish.  Enzo I trust that you can help us with that?” 


“You have my word, Lady Marin.  The harp, along with your other three instruments has been placed into safekeeping by me and my strongest animal friends.  The monsters would be crazy to take us all on at once!”  Enzo bellowed. 


“Well, it is time to find the fifth instrument, the voice told me to go to the bay.” Link said as he got out of bed. 


“Link wait, you’re not healed yet.  You really should rest a while before attempting another adventure.  I’ll stay by your side and we’ll get you back to normal in a jiffy!” 


“Time won’t allow for that.  I need to find the instruments to get off this island and find my way home.  Besides, the bay is less than a mile away from the animal village.  I’ll be fine.  Trust me.  I’ve been injured far worse than this.”  Link said calmly. 


Marin saw that there was no way to keep him away from his goal.  “I understand.  But wait, take this extra life medicine.  Tarin got Syrup to mix up a second batch for the road.  You might need it where you’re going.  Promise me you won’t get yourself into trouble.”  Marin demanded. 


Link nodded his head, and waved a quick goodbye to Marin and Enzo, then darted across the animal village’s main square, heading west toward Martha’s Bay.  The bay, which cut into the land of south central Koholint, was fairly vast, maybe about a mile and a half across at its widest point.  In the center of the bay was a series of rocks, with a giant blue rock raising high from the water surface.  Link and Marin had seen it before from the river delta.  There was no doubt in his mind that the rock was his destination, the resting place of the fifth Instrument of the Sirens.


Not even 24 hours after fighting the giant angler fish, Link began his swim across the bay.  It took him about twenty minutes of hard effort to get close to the outcropping surrounding the giant blue rock in the center.  Link swam around the perimeter of the outcropping, looking for a passageway inside the circle of rocks but found none.  He tried climbing the rocks but they were far too steep.  He then tried to dive beneath the rocks but they were extremely deep, leading down all the way to the surface of the bay. 


“Well this is a fine mess.” Link thought.  He put his arms on the edge of one of the rocks, finding a ridge to put his legs for a quick minute.  That’s when he noticed an object swimming across the water directly toward him.  Immediately, he grabbed his sword, thinking he was under attack.  The object flew past him quickly, looping back around.  Whatever it was, it was small, but very fast.  Fear trickled down Link’s spine for a moment, but he relaxed when he realized it was not a monster but rather a person.  In fact, it was a young woman with long hair.  She approached Link with caution.


“How did you learn to swim like that?” Link asked her. 


The woman laughed.  “It comes with the territory of being a mermaid, showing off the fin at the end of her tail.  My name’s Martha.  And who might you be, swimming deep into the bay all by your lonesome?”


“My name is Link, Link of Hyrule.”  Link responded.  “I am seeking to awake the Wind Fish from his slumber and need to collect the sacred instruments in order to do that.” 


Martha’s eyes lit up.  “So you’re the outsider, the one who has come to wake the Wind Fish?  I have heard much about you.  You made quite a ruckus upriver a few days ago at Kanalet, didn’t you?”


“How did you know about that?” Link asked. 


“Word travels quickly around Koholint, and especially along the waterways of the island.  But I’m not here to trifle with you in silly matters.  I have come to ask you a favor.”


Link thought for a moment, wondering what in the world a mermaid in the midst of a bay of water could possibly need from an adventurer accustomed to land.  “Anything.” Link said. 


“You see, the fifth instrument lies inside the blue dome you see ahead, called Catfish Maw.  But only one with the ability to breathe under the water can reach the passageway through the rocks far below in order to reach it.  What I hold in my hand is a scale of our kind, one that can grant a landlubber like you the ability to breathe under the waves.  I will give this to you if you find something for me.” 


“What is it that you need?” Link asked. 


Martha blushed.  “I feel a bit, embarrassed to ask this, but it seems that my swimsuit top has gone missing.”  Martha rose up out of the water slightly, just enough for Link to see part of her exposed chest.  “I…take it you want me to find it?” Link asked, trying to be as diplomatic as possible.


“It has a flower design on it, mostly blue and green.  If you check the shoreline it may have washed up there, but as you may have ascertained, I cannot get too close to land or I may get stuck in the sand.”  Martha lamented. 


“It is no problem at all.  I will set out for it now, and meet you back here at noon.”  Link said.  Martha smiled, and dove back beneath the waves.  Link blushed a bit, just thinking about the encounter he just had.  Although Hyrule was sometimes known as a medieval kingdom where anything could happen, people usually had a certain set of standards when it came to modesty.  Still, his feeling to help another, especially a woman in need was overwhelming.  He swam off to the south, toward the strait leading into the ocean.  He didn’t know where exactly to go, but the swimsuit top wasn’t likely to move against the water’s flow. 


About twenty minutes later, Link reached the rocky coastline of the strait.  Here the fresh water of the bay met the salt water of the ocean, creating somewhat of an undertow.  The hero moved through the sand and silt, looking for any sign of a blue and green piece of clothing.  He had no luck, so he moved northward along the east side of the bay.  He walked for about half a mile, watching as the waves crashed along the shoreline.  He was about to turn back when he noticed something protruding out of the water by a series of rocks. 


“Alas, just seaweed.” Link bemoaned.  He continued to the northeast.  He came across a pair of leevers, who turned out to be not much of a hassle.  Then he noticed something else, a speck of blue and green breaking off a small wave.  He sloshed through the shallow water and picked up the miniscule piece of fabric.  It was rather oddly shaped, with several thin straps and two larger parts in the front.  Link had never seen anything like it, but it had a flower design, and the colors matched Martha’s description.  Still, he could hardly imagine a person, even a petite young woman fitting into a garment so small. 


He took the oddly shaped garment back to the center of the bay, just as the sun grew high in the sky.  He looked around for the mermaid, and sure enough, Martha emerged from the water, just plucking her head above the water.  “Were you able to locate my swimsuit top?” she asked.


“I’m not sure…is this it?” Link asked, handing her the bluish-green garment.  Martha took it into her hands and smiled.  “Link, you’re so sweet.  Thank you so much for finding my swimsuit top.”  She quickly put on the bikini and moved closer to Link, backing him up against the rocks encircling the entrance to the maw.  “You’re just so innocent and sweet, a true gentleman.  I must reward you for your good deed.” Martha said.  Link blushed.  “Don’t be shy, I mean no harm, just close your eyes and continue to breathe.” 


Link felt a minor twinge as Martha put her hands on his chest.  After several seconds, he felt her pucker his soft lips with a kiss.  His heart pounded and his breathing got heavy.  “What you feel in your hand is the scale of a mermaid.  When you possess it, you can swim under the water as long as you desire.  Hold on to me, I must show you the path through the rocks.”  Link firmly wrapped his strong arms around Martha’s waist.  She swam downward through the water, dragging him well beneath the surface.  Even though she was slowed by Link’s weight, she was still swimming much faster than he ever could.  She led the way through a tunnel deep beneath the rocks.  They surfaced on the other side.  Link’s eyes widened as he saw the entrance to the maw for the first time, it was shaped like a real catfish, complete with a face, gills, flippers, and a tongue overlooking the entrance and its teeth forming the welcome mat. 


“I wish you luck.” Martha said.  When Link turned around, she had already dived back beneath the water…a mere ripple leaving the only trace of her essence.



Chapter 12: Catfish Maw


The inside of the dungeon had a pungent odor, which smelled something between raw fish and seaweed.  The ceiling leaked everywhere, and water flowed along the floor in many spots.  Link moved to the left, and the floor dropped downward.  Over the ceiling, he could hear the swishing of the water.  He turned his attention to the bats, which swooped down to attack him.  A couple of sword swings derailed them, opening the room to the left.  There was a door to the north as well, but it was locked.  Inside it was a chest, which contained the compass.  The needle pointed directly to the north, meaning that the boss was definitely below the bay’s waters. 


Link stumbled through a tunnel leading north, which was filled with water at the bottom.  Jumping across a series of aerial platforms, Link emerged on the first floor again, and found a chest with a key inside.  There was another room to the west with four blocks along the floor, and a skull shaped pattern on the tile floor, but nothing else was there.  Link turned back and re-entered the tunnel, heading southward back toward the entrance.  Once back in the dungeon’s second room, he opened the key door and moved north. 


An underground river faced link, as did several stalfos knights.  Link quickly moved to defeat them with his sword, but not before one threw a bone at him and struck him in the chest.  Link’s ribs, already in pain from the fight with the angler fish, hurt enough to make him wince.  He went to the west, where several sharp razor blades on the floor attempted to chop him in half.  Link jumped over those with the Roc’s Feather, and took aim at the two armadillo-like enemies on the floor.  They had hard protective armor over their face, but they were too slow to avoid Link getting around them and attacking their unprotected posterior.  Once they were killed, the doors leading north and west both opened.  Link went west. 


In the next room was an apparent dead end with more armadillos.  Link quickly struck them with his sword and expected a key to appear, or perhaps a chest with something valuable in it to appear.  Nothing appeared, and no door opened, so he doubled back to the underground river.   He moved along it to the north, defeating several more stalfos knights along the way.  He continued into the next room, which only had one block on the floor, but the same skull formation on the floor as he had seen before.  Suddenly a giant stalfos knight dropped from the ceiling.  He carried a large sword and swung it menacingly at Link.  The hero evaded, the first swing, and then blocked the second with his own blade.  Link waited for an opening, and got it when the stalfos lunged forward for a thrust attack.  Link did a front flip and brought the sword directly onto the stalfos’s skull.  Amazingly though, his attack didn’t defeat the stalfos, in fact it barely did any damage at all.  It came back with a horizontal swipe, which Link ducked under.  The battle raged on, with Link taking several more shots at the stalfos’s interior.  Nothing was working.  The enemy pressed him back into the corner.  Link fought hard to stay out of trouble. 


Another sword attack, and again Link blocked it with his own blade.  He was sweating hard in the warm, humid air of the maw.  Determined to find the weak point, Link rolled under a horizontal strike and ran his sword into the stalfos’s knees.  The stalfos quickly collapsed onto the ground into a heap of bones.  Suddenly, Link remembered back to a battle he had with several giant stalfos at Ice Lake Cavern back in Hyrule’s Dark World.  He defeated those by taking out their legs and then bombing them.  Link quickly lit a bomb and left it among the bones.  Before the stalfos could get up, the bomb exploded, causing several bones to crack, and others to disintegrate.  The stalfos got back up and tried to attack again, but Link knew what to do, and he had it back on the ground in no time.  Another bomb blast and the stalfos was in trouble.  That’s when he pulled a surprise move. 


“Arrgh!  I can’t beat you!  I’m out of here!” The stalfos yelled, and he ran out of the room to the east.  Link was shocked.  “What?! You can’t just run away!” Link shouted in disbelief.  He was so shocked by the stalfos’s retreat that he took a while to react.  He eventually entered the east room, where a chest lied on the floor.  Taking a quick look to see that the stalfos was indeed not trying to ambush him, he opened the chest.  There was nothing in it except for a note.  “I’ve got what was inside this box.  Come and get it, if you can!”  It was signed with the word master, followed by a skull. 


Link was furious.  Not only was the master stalfos a coward, but he was now running away with an item he likely needed to complete the dungeon.  In that moment, Link saw a blur of red, and anger boiled through his veins.  He took off to the north, reaching a four way intersection.  He turned to the room in the east, where he heard the clanking of bones.  Master Stalfos waited for him and tried to undercut Link’s legs.  He jumped over that and bashed his shield into his skull, knocking him down.  He quickly placed a bomb over the bones, and it exploded, causing more of its bones to disintegrate.  Master Stalfos limped out of the room and moved to the west back toward the intersection.  Link gave chase and the dastardly foe pushed the heavy rocks in his way while crossing the intersection.  This delayed Link enough for Master Stalfos to get away.


“I’m going to get you!” Link shouted as he moved the blocks apart.  He saw the knight of bones moving north, so Link gave chase quickly.  He was delayed by several enemies brandishing swords.  The hero attacked with vigor, but also with care to avoid the pits in the floor.  Once those enemies were defeated, he continued to move northward.  He fought against another sword-carrying enemy in the next room before navigating to the west.  The hero concentrated on moving around the blocks and throwing away the pots that were in his way.  Several slime blobs emerged from the ceiling in an effort to stop him, but Link used his sword on them.  Once the slime was cleared away the door upward opened. 


He entered the room and there was a thud as Master Stalfos hit the ground.  Link fought against the big-boned warrior to avoid being pinned.  He threw him off and got up in a daze, blood flowing from a cut on his forehead.  Master Stalfos came at him again, this time with his sword.  Link used his sword to block the attack, and tried to roll toward his adversaries knees.  But Master Stalfos was ready for the move, and swung his sword downward, connecting with Link’s left ankle.  The blow left Link staggering.  He limped backward and tried to defend. 


With one leg in deep pain, Link decided to use his Pegasus Boots.  He flew across the room quickly, far quicker than Master Stalfos expected.  He crashed into his midsection, knocking the stalfos down in a vicious collision.  Link laid a bomb down, and then hopped on one leg away.  The bomb exploded, fracturing Master Stalfos’s skull.  Incredibly, the evil knight refused to quit, and he stumbled away out of the room into the next room west.  Link gave pursuit, hopping mostly on one leg.  The west room was a dead end, but several smaller stalfos surrounded their master, hoping to help him and keep Link away.  Link threw bombs all over the room, forcing the smaller stalfos forward, to where Link could reach them with his sword.  Before long, the stalfos underlings were defeated, leaving just the battered master. 


“Now, the contents of the chest!”  Link shouted.  “Give it to me, now!”  Master Stalfos was slumped on the ground, virtually unresponsive, but he still put up his sword to defend.  Link smiled.  “Looks like somebody finally found some courage.  Too bad it won’t save you.”  The hero took his sword back, and drove it around the stalfos’s blade right into its head.  The stalfos blew up and disintegrated quickly, leaving behind a spring-loaded contraption with a hook on the end.  Link immediately recognized it as a hookshot, a device used to cross long pits in the floor and over crevices.  It could also be used to attack.  Also in the room was a chest, containing the dungeon’s map.  While downing a bit of the life medicine Marin had given him, Link looked over the map, which showed a dungeon that looked something like a sea creature.  He was in the northern portion of the dungeon, not far from the dungeon’s nightmare. 


Link headed back east, then south to a room that was flooded and contained several tektites.  With his bad ankle numbed up from the life medicine, Link fought strongly again, defeating the troublesome tektites with the hookshot.  He then moved to the center of the room, which was filled with deep water.  Link dove into the cavern, and swam about twenty feet down.  He saw a tunnel on the left.  Passing some squid who attempted to get into his way, he swam back up another tunnel on the opposite side.  Once above water, he used the hookshot to cross a large pit in the floor, and then walked over to a chest.  Inside the chest was the dungeon’s nightmare key. 


After swimming back through the tunnel of water, Link emerged back in the flooded room.  He went south, then east past the intersection with the heavy blocks.  He moved south again, this time moving to staircase that led back down into the basement.  In the basement was a flooded room with several bridges leading across it.  Link quickly jumped from ledge to ledge.  Pain shuddered through his lacerated ankle as he landed, the life medicine’s effects only going so far to dull the pain.  He reached the staircase on the opposite side and emerged in a well lit corridor along the dungeon’s westernmost frontier.  He moved eastward, defeating a series of enemies in the second room to open the way forward.  This led to a long corridor with a large pit in the center. 


Link walked around the east edge of the room, moving past several boulders.  He used the hookshot to cross the pit and moved along the north end of the room to the nightmare’s door.  With his ribs and ankle in pain, and with memories of the previous nightmare fresh in his mind, for the first time in the adventure Link felt a twinge of fearfulness.  He paused for a moment, his gaze fixed on the nightmare key in his hand.  In that moment he thought of Marin, but then he thought of Zelda, the princess still clear in his mind after the dream he had the previous night.  He knew what he had to do. 


The hero took a deep breath and unlocked the door.  The nightmare’s lair was very plain, except for a rectangle of moss on the floor.  Initially, nothing happened, but before long Link heard a voice ring out in the room.  “Sssssoooo, you are the outsssider…come to wake the Wind Fisssh.  Kee-hee-heeeh! I shall eat you!”  The voice bellowed. 


“You had better come up with a better insult than that!  Show yourself!” Link shouted, his emotions running high.  The room began to shake, and the floor began to give way in the center.  Link backed up.  A giant spiked tail rose up through the floor.  Bursting through the back wall was the head, a rather unsightly mess of teeth, eyes, and antennae.  It was a large eel!  The head of the eel broke through another piece of the wall on the far side, then disappeared, then broke through twice more on the near side of the room.  While Link was focused on the head of the eel, the spiked tail came around and smacked him in the back, knocking him to the floor. 


Link rose to his feet and figured the monster’s attack pattern, which was to rotate about the room.  He rose up and attacked the head when it came through the hole on the near side, but his blade bounced off the hard enamel of the eel’s teeth.  He tried again, but suffered the same unfortunate fate.  Meanwhile the tail was coming for him!  He used the Roc’s Feather to jump over it, and awaited his next chance to attack.  He aimed for the outer part of the head, and connected with it, but his blade was not strong enough to penetrate the head.  The head seemed to be coated by a hard shell that was impervious to attack.  The tail was looping around again, and Link dodged it along the wall. 


The hero considered an alternate approach.  Taking the hookshot, he aimed for the inner bowels of the eel’s mouth.  The hook landed in the eel’s throat, pulling it out from the wall and exposing its central reaches.  Link immediately noticed the eel’s heart, beating from out of a translucent skin.  With ferocity, he tore into the eel near the heart with his sword.  He connected several times before the eel fought back, smacking Link with its head.  Undaunted, Link went for the heart again the next time the eel showed its face.  Again he sank the hook into the throat, pulling the eel out.  Link got several slices in before the eel tried to bite him.  He blocked the attack with his shield, and then repositioned himself for the next pass.  This time the eel’s tail reversed direction, and came straight for his head.  The hero got his shield up just in time, but the blow still knocked him off his feet. 


Link steadied himself, and aimed for the head once again.  This time his aim was perfect, latching onto the eel’s uvula.  The eel thrashed as though it was gagging.  Link avoided the head and tore into the eel’s midsection, eventually gashing it and sticking his sword right through the heart.  The eel let out a yell, and attempted to speak.  “Tsssk…tsssk!  You…don’t seem to know…what kind of island…thissss issss.  Keee-heee-haw!  What…a…fool!” 


“What are you saying?” Link asked. 


But the eel’s time was up, as it self-destructed into a ball of flames.  The door ahead opened, leading to the dungeon’s final room.  On the pedestal was a xylophone.  Link picked it up, and the sounds of high-pitched percussion filled the room.  The voice rang out as usual, bellowing, “You’ve got the Wind Marimba!”  After the instrument finished playing, the light came from all directions, blinding Link and sending him out of consciousness.  “Shrine…an island secret in the shrine.” The voice said. 



Chapter 13: Animal Village Concerto


Crawling back onto the rocky east shoreline of Martha’s Bay, Link held the xylophone high, so as not to get it soaking wet.  It was already damp from the swim.  He touched several of the plates, and they were still perfectly in tune.


“Five instruments down, three to go.” Link thought to himself as he put a hand to his sore ribs.  His tunic concealed a bruise that ran along his side.  His ankle was still in a lot of pain as well.  He had been in worse pain before.  He remembered his epic battle against the evil thief Blind.  That was a strange encounter in which the thief had disguised himself as a maiden.  The location was the Village of Outcasts, Kakariko Village’s double in the Dark World.  Following that fight his skin was seared from Blind’s fire attack and his right arm broken by a laser beam that Blind shot from his eye.  A few days later in Ice Lake Cavern, he would use the ice and snow within the dungeon to create a cold-inducing bandage which sufficiently reduced the swelling.  Still, fighting with one arm was difficult. 


It was about an hour before sunset when Link arrived back in Animal Village.  He proceeded quickly to the hut where he and Marin had stayed the previous night, but nobody was there.  He went back outside, where he saw Kaepora the owl.


“Kaepora, do you know where Marin is?” Link asked. 


“Hoot!  I do say courageous lad, she has gone to the village square.  She has arranged a most vivid concerto of Animal Village’s musical talent.  Oh, it brings such great sounds to my ears, hoot!”


“She didn’t take the Instruments of the Sirens, did she?” Link asked. 


“Oh she did, and the others play them so well, hoot!”  Kaepora said.  “By chance did you come up with the fifth instrument?  You have haven’t you?  You do very well with your trials, hoot!” 


“Yes, but has she gone mad?!  A group of monsters could come at any moment and steal them.  She’s going to get it!”  Link hobbled out of Kaepora’s view, and he ran as quickly as his injured ankle would allow toward the village square.  Sure enough he saw her, standing next to her father and several other animals. 


“Alright, so as you already know, the song is called the Ballad of the Wind Fish.” Marin said to all gathered.  When the instruments gathered before us play, this song has the power to awaken the guardian deity.  Now I know all the instruments haven’t been gathered yet but we must begin to practice.  Do we have any volunteers for…”




Marin was delighted.  “Link, you’re here just in time, we’re learning the song now.  And you’ve got the next instrument!  Ooh, a xylophone!  That will be perfect for you Enzo.  Be a good boy and come over here, you’ll be able to play it with these mallets.  They play different notes based on the length of the plates.” 


“Marin have you lost your mind?!” Link shouted.  “You’ve left all of these instruments out in the open where moblins, stalfos knights, and other miscreants of all sorts can get to them!  What if I wasn’t here and the moblins came and attacked Animal Village like they did Mabe Village last week?  It would’ve been disastrous!”


“We wanted to play.  We wanted to have some fun.” Marin responded. 


“It isn’t right for you to put into danger the instruments that I have fought so hard to obtain!”  Surely you understand the danger of such an action!” Link shouted.


Marin was indignant but calm.  “Link, this island existed long before you.  You don’t own this place.  We have a right to live and get along together just like anybody else.  If we want to make music together then that’s what we will do.” 


Link was stunned by Marin’s seeming disdain.  “If you ever want to see the guardian deity awakened, you’ll take the instruments back to the hut right now!”


Marin was hurt by Link’s tone.  “Has it occurred to you that you might need our help to achieve your goal?  That this is something you cannot possibly hope to do yourself?” She asked.


“I’m the savior of an entire kingdom.  You cannot hope to tell me what I am not capable of!”


“Really?  How do you plan to transport all eight instruments to the top of Mount Tamaranch?  And how do you plan to play them all at the same time?” Marin asked. 


“Well I can carry each of them and then once I get there I…I…” Link struggled for a response but couldn’t come up with one.  Marin smiled.  “You can’t do it can you?” 


“It’s a tough task but it is one that I will endure like so many others!” Link said with defiance


Marin walked up to him, and put her hands around his waist.  She tugged at his chest, which caused him to flinch when she reached his bruised ribs.  “Link, you are blessed with courage and a great warrior you are, but a master of thought and strategy you are not.  I knew this from the first time we met.  Please, do not burden yourself.  We’re here to help you.” 


Tarin came to the front.  “We’ve assembled a full band capable of making musical sound unlike any heard in our world.  When the time comes we’ll be ready to give the Wind Fish a wakeup call that he’ll be most pleased to hear.” 


Enzo the crocodile moved forward, flanked by a bear and a gorilla primate.  “Worry not about protection of the instruments, Oso and Zonga here will see to it that the instruments will be protected at all times.  I’ll help too.  Trust what we say.” 


Marin pulled away from Link.  “Link, you are doing great things for us.  You have helped us beat back the tide of the invading monsters and have helped the people of Mabe Village and Animal Village start to reclaim the lives they once had.  We’re in your debt.  This is the least that we can do for you.” 


Link was stunned.  By this point he felt like an overzealous brat who had lost his temper upon not getting exactly what he pleased.  “Forgive me, for I knew not about your plan.”


“It’s okay Link.”  Marin paused as she saw a cloaked figure in purple coming up the road.  He was running very quickly toward them.  It was Richard. 


“Marin…I’m apologize for not arriving promptly.  Things are going well over in Mabe Village, all the supplies have been delivered and the village is largely back to normal.” Richard said. 


“Richard I thank you for coming, you will be able to help us greatly.  Do you know how to play an instrument?”


“Strings are my specialty.  I’ve been playing them since I was but a lad.” Richard replied. 


“Excellent.  You come over here.  This is the Full Moon Cello.  Here’s a sheet of music I pulled from a book in Mabe Village’s library, it is the cello’s portion of the Ballad of the Wind Fish.  Collectively this is the song we will play to wake our guardian deity.” 


Marin turned around to the rest of the group.  “Father, you have the Conch Horn.”  Tarin came forward and collected the shell-like trumpet.  “Remus, you’re small so I’ve given you the Sea Lily Bell.  Can you handle your part?” 


“I shall ring it with the best of my ability.” The young rabbit said with spunk. 


“Right then.  Enzo, like I said before you’ll play the xylophone.  I’ll play the harp.  Oso and Zonga, your parts will come later once the other instruments have been found, as will Link’s.” 

Oso the bear moved to the front of the group.  Alright musicians, take your places.  Let’s show the warrior just what kind of music we can bring to our guardian deity.  Five…six…seven…eight!”


To say that the first combination of the five instruments made beautiful music would be a stretch, but are Link looked on, he felt a pang of comfort in his heart.  Just hearing the Ballad of the Wind Fish, played by those who wanted him most to succeed, was enough to soothe his wounds.  He vowed to admonish himself for his earlier behavior.  By sunset, the group had practiced to the point where the parts had started to flow together freely.  At the end of the session Marin sang for the animals. 


Back at Enzo’s house that night, Marin worked on bandaging his wounds.  She was able to talk some sense into him and he stayed in Animal Village for several days, allowing his injured ribs and ankle to heal.  There was little news of monster attacks, though Richard briefed each day on their movements in the prairie. 


“Marin, the band is playing so nicely now.  I really want to get those last instruments so I can hear the song in its full form.” Link said. 


“I’m glad you like my idea.” Marin responded.  “Remember, I want to wish to the Wind Fish too, for the ability to travel around the world like a seagull.  Your wish and mine may not be one in the same but they have the same goal in mind.” 


“What goal is that?” Link asked. 


“The ability to go where one seeks their deepest purpose.  For you that’s back in Hyrule.  For me that is within lands that have scarcely been seen.  I’ll see places flying through the air that nobody even knows about.”  Marin said. 


“I don’t know Marin.  This place doesn’t seem so bad.  You could find much worse than a tropical island where everybody knows and trusts one another.” Link confided. 


“I suppose you’re right.  But we’ll never know what’s out there if we can’t make the wish.”


“If that’s the case, can you please let me go now?” Link asked. 


“Let me check your ankle first.”  Marin took off Link’s boot and took his lower leg into her hands.  She shifted his foot around forward and back, side to side.  Link showed no visible signs of distress as she did so.  She then poked him in the chest once, to which Link flinched somewhat, but more out of shock than anything related to pain. 


“Well it seems as though you’ve healed enough to start traveling again.  As long as you keep taking some life medicine daily you’ll be fine.  Where exactly are you headed?”  Marin asked.


“The shrine by the riverbed.  It is about two miles to the northeast.” Link said. 


Chapter 14: South Face Shrine


“Good morning sunshine.  Get your clothes on, I have something for you.” Marin said cheerfully.  Link groggily rubbed his eyes and made haste to put on his chain mail followed by his green tunic.  He grabbed a rag and wiped down his sword and shield until they gleamed in the morning light. 


“Are you ready?  Close your eyes.”  Marin told the hero.  Link was puzzled, but did as he was told.  “Open your hands.” Marin commanded.  Link opened his hands, and into his gauntlets he felt a long, thin object.  “Surprise!” Marin shouted.  Link opened his eyes, and in them was a bow.


Link’s eyes widened.  “Where did you find this?” He asked. 


“It was in one of the shops in Mabe Village.  I told Tarin that you were hurting and he suggested that you would do well with a weapon that could hurt monsters from long range.  So we scrounged up all the rupees we could and bought it.”


Link picked up the quiver of arrows on the table and rushed outdoors.  Marin, Tarin, and Enzo followed behind him as he went out to the north end of the village toward several trees.  Link practiced stringing the bow a few times, and then he took out an arrow.  Everybody fell silent as Link took aim at the tree trunk.  With precision, he fired and the arrow landed right in the center of the trunk, penetrating the bark by several inches. 


There were cheers from all assembled.  “Look out monsters, here comes Link!” Tarin bellowed.


“Do you like it?” Marin asked.


“I think it is well-crafted.  I once had a bow.  I found it in Hyrule’s Eastern Palace.  This one fires more strongly than that one and is just as accurate.  It will serve me very well.” 


“Oh you do like it!”  Marin threw her arms around Link.  “I could see your eyes light up with great joy.  I’m sure it will serve you well in the coming battle.”


Tarin tapped Marin’s shoulder, and she came away from the hero.  “We’ll be returning to Mabe Village today.  When you finish your business at the shrine, be sure to return to our home.  We’ll make sure you eat and sleep well as always.” 


Link nodded.  With new energy running in his veins he left the village.  He moved northbound along the river, and then turned east. The sun of the day was hot as always, but the river’s water was nice and cool, leaving a shroud of refreshing breeze over the region.  Link continued to move east for about a mile and a half and was almost to the eastern edge of the island when he came to an intersection.  The path in the north led to some caverns on the other side of the river.  The southern route turned away from the river into a rocky plateau.  Before he could decide which path to take, Link saw Kaepora swoop down from the sky. 


“Hoot!  This is the area of Koholint known as the Face Shrine region.  It is called this because of the two shrines that face one another, one in the north, and one in the south.”


“There are actually two shrines?  Interesting, which one do I go to first?” Link asked. 


“You’ll find that the shrine in the north cannot be opened without the Face Key.  You’ll find this key in the shrine to the south, so proceed there first, hoot hoot!”


Kaepora flew away, and Link took the road to the south.  Once on the rocky plateau he came to an area filled with pillars that blocked his path.  Some of the pillars were in the shape of Armos Knights.  Link was familiar with Armos as they were some of the earliest protectors of the royal family of Hyrule before they were turned evil by Agahnim the wizard.  Those knights would awaken and attack when Link came near.  Expecting such a move from these statues, Link moved carefully across the plateau. 


Link found that his arrows were quite effective against the Armos.  As one awoke, it would hop toward him in a linear fashion.  All Link had to do was take several steps back and notch an arrow pointed for the heart.  Several of the Armos statues were right in his path, which ensured their demise.  After weaving through the plateau’s maze of pillars, which took about twenty minutes, Link arrived at the entrance to the southern shrine. 


The inside of the shrine was intricately designed, with wide open rooms decorated with abstract designs on the walls and plating of silver and gold around the doorways and on the floor.  It was rather gaudy to Link, but it told him that something of great importance was housed here.  His primary objective was to find the Face Key.  He found nothing resembling a key in the first room, so he opened the door leading forward.  In the second room was a rather large knight.  Brandishing a sword and shield, the knight looked something like a cross between a moblin and an armos.  It moved forward toward Link and swung at him.  Link blocked with his shield and took aim himself. 


The knight was fairly skilled, and was able to repel Link’s sword attacks.  The knight pressed Link into the corner of the room.  His downward strike was stopped, and Link swung around the wall in an attempt to take out the knight’s legs.  He blocked the move with his shield.  Link tried another frontal attack but it was rebuffed easily.  The knight came after him again, and this time Link evaded backward, then went for a thrusting strike.  The thrust came close but bounced off the knight’s chain mail. 


With the fight not going much of anywhere on either side, Link decided to try another avenue of attack.  He drove the knight backward with several frontal sword swings, and then jumped backward.  He then cast his sword aside, a move that took the knight by surprise.  He moved quickly forward to attack.  Link expected this and notched an arrow aimed for the knight’s midsection.  The arrow flew and nailed him right in the chest.  The knight doubled over in pain.  Link notched another arrow, this time aiming at the head.  It struck right in the knight’s forehead. 


His adversary was staggering.  Link knew his chance to end the fight was at hand.  He came forward with strength and drove his sword right through the armor of the knight.  Once that happened, the knight self-destructed into a ball of flames.  The door leading forward opened up, and Link moved inside a room that was very dark on the inside.  There were stairs leading up to an upper platform, and the hero very carefully stepped forward.  He looked around for unlit torches and found two of them on either side of the stairs.  He lit them with magic powder, revealing an extravagant room filled with writings and murals adorning the walls, along with the silver and gold plating like before.  There was a rather large mural on the back wall.  It sparkled in the light, a radiant silver color that reminded Link of some of the inscribed stones deep within Hyrule Castle. 


The mural had several key features to it.  In the top left corner was a picture of an owl.  A sun adorned its upper portion.  The lower portion had a large picture of what appeared to be a whale.  Below all the pictures was writing.  There was dust over the characters so Link rubbed it off with his gauntlet-covered hand.        


Link began to read.  “To the finder…the isle of Koholint is but an illusion.  Human, monster, sea, sky, a scene on the lid of a sleeper’s eye.  Awake the dreamer and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle.  Castaway, you should know the truth!”


Link turned around, but did another about face to read it again.  After the second time, he had a vague understanding of what it meant.  “It says that this island isn’t real, that it’s actually a world within a dream.  But whose dream could it be?”  Suddenly the gears began to turn in Link’s head.  “A scene on the lid of a sleeper’s eye.  The sleeper must be the Wind Fish.  Yes!  The whale on this tablet is actually the Wind Fish!  But, if Koholint is a scene from the fish’s dream, that means that I am part of the dream too.  What happens when the dream ends?”  Link re-read the last two lines.  “Awake the dreamer and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle.  Castaway, you should know the truth!” 


Link’s mind began to race. “What this is saying, is that if the Wind Fish is awakened, the whole island of Koholint will disappear.  But, what does that mean for me?  Where would I find myself?  What would happen to the others?  What would happen to Marin?” 


These were questions that weighed heavily on Link, for there was no easy answer.  It was as though he was moving into the great realm of the unknown.



Chapter 15: North Face Shrine


Link’s mind continued to spin as he retraced his steps through the rocky plateaus of eastern Koholint.  Bothered greatly by what he had just read.  He needed something to re-assure him that everything would be okay.  Upon reaching the intersection between the plateau and the river, where he had seen Kaepora before the owl was still sitting, perched on a rock in the midst of the river. 


“Kaepora, tell me that this isn’t all just my imagination.” Link demanded.


“Whatever do you mean young adventurer?” Kaepora asked.


“I just saw something that is making me wonder what exactly is going on.  It said that Koholint is but a figment of the Wind Fish’s dream.” Link said with concern.

“Hoot!  I see you have read the tablet in the southern shrine.  While it does say the island is but a dream of the Wind Fish, no one is really sure.  Just as you cannot know if a chest holds treasure until you open it, so you cannot tell if this is a dream until you awaken.  The only one who knows for sure is the Wind Fish.  Trust your feelings.  Someday you will know for sure, hoot!”


Link thought about Kaepora’s words for a moment.  The wise owl was right, nobody could really know what would happen if the Wind Fish were awakened.  “You’re right.  I can’t worry about it, I must continue on the task at hand, which is getting home to Hyrule.” 


“That’s the spirit, hoot!  Proceed to the northern shrine, you’ll find the sixth instrument there.” 


Link waded out to the island in the middle of the river and moved a statue, revealing a tunnel underneath the river.  He used the hookshot to cross a pit in the ground, and then went up a staircase, leading him to a high plateau to the west overlooking the river.  In front of him was a lock in the shape of a face.  Link inserted the Face Key, and on the level above him, the entrance to the northern shrine emerged from the ground.  The hero took a quick sip of his life medicine and entered the shrine. 


The northern shrine was just as extravagant as the southern one, with the same gold and silver adorning the doorways, along with the polished marble tiles on the floor.  The walls were a pinkish color, which accentuated the metallic shine of the floor.  Given the surroundings, it would have been very easy for Link to forget that this was in fact a dungeon.  He started off by moving to the west, the turning a corner to head north.  He encountered a moldorm, and defeated it with his sword.  The hero zagged around another turn in the hallway, this one leading west again.  It fed into a larger room, which featured a crystal switch similar to the ones from Key Cavern, as well as a large statue of an elephant.  Link moved north past this room and into another chamber, this one with many pots on the floor.  A barred door stood to the west.  Link picked up the heavy pots using the Power Bracelet and found a switch on the floor underneath one of them.  He stepped on it, and the door opened.


Link found that his path was impeded by tall orange blocks.  He backtracked and hit the crystal switch with his sword.  This lowered the blocks and allowed him to move forward.  The next room appeared to be empty, but it housed a dastardly secret.  As Link moved through it, three wizzrobes, warlock-like wizards with the ability to shoot magical energy beams as well as disappear, pounced on him.  The hero was hit twice by energy blasts, once in the chest and again in the right hip.  Knocked to the floor and injured, Link got up as quick as he could.  He noticed the first wizzrobe was right on top of him, so he skewered it as soon as he got up.  The other wizzrobes charged up for another attack.  This time Link evaded the attack.  He fired a pair of arrows, connecting with one of his enemies and killing it.  The remaining wizzrobe hung tough, but Link wore it down eventually and stabbed it. 


A chest dropped from the ceiling on the right of the room.  Link opened the chest, and it contained the dungeon map.  He took a look at it, and saw that it looked somewhat like a face, with a notable omission of rooms where the mouth and eyes would be.  His current position was in the west, just below the left “ear”.  He continued north toward the ear, and the next room featured a bolted door just ahead.  Link picked up one of the heavy pots using the Power Bracelet and bashed it against the door, breaking through.  In the following room Link’s path was blocked by huge statues that looked like elephants.  He turned to the right and found a chest.  The chest contained the compass.  Upon orienting it, the needle pointed to the east, placing the dungeon’s nightmare in the upper central of the northern face shrine, the “brain” if you will. 


Link moved past the chest and climbed up a small flight of stairs.  He moved along the upper ledge to the east.  The ledge took him past several rooms, and into a corridor with orange tiles on the floor.  Without warning, two wizzrobes appeared and shot beams at him.  Link hit the floor quickly, the first beam brushing through his hair, causing a tingling sensation.  Link moved forward quickly and defeated the nearest enemy with his sword, but the second one hit him with its second effort beam attack. 


Link hunched over in pain.  He took out an arrow, but had the misfortune of placing it directly into one of his bombs, setting off the fuse.  He dropped it quickly and ran as the bomb blew up.  The wizzrobe attacked again, and this time Link dodged to the left.  Just then, a mischievous thought popped into his head.  He wasn’t sure if it would work, but it was worth a try.  He took out a bomb and tossed it at the wizzrobe, forcing it to flee into the corner.  Then he took out a second bomb, but this time stuck the arrow tip into it and set the fuse.  He aimed the bomb tipped arrow straight at the wizzrobe, who suddenly had great fear apparent in its eyes!  It tried to disappear, but as soon as it came back to reality, Link let the explosive concoction fly, and it connected, exploding the wizzrobe into many pieces.  A small key fell from the ceiling. 


A big smile crossed Link’s face.  He had discovered a new method of attack stronger than any he had seen or thought possible.  Feeling emboldened, he backtracked past the room with the large elephant statues and to the south.  He then turned east into a dimly lit room with another elephant statue in the center.  In the corner was a staircase leading to the basement.  Link went down the stairs and entered a dark tunnel which fed into the shrine’s southwestern corner.  He emerged in the corner, where the only apparent exit was bolted.  He quickly defeated a moldorm, the only apparent enemy in the room.  Yet the door did not open.  Link braced himself for what he knew was coming. 


Sure enough, two wizzrobes appeared.  Link quickly pulled out a bomb-tipped arrow and aimed for the wall between the two enemies.  The arrow flew quickly.  Before the wizzrobes could even get a shot off, the bomb landed near and exploded, killing both of them.  The door opened, and Link moved north.  In this room were two more elephant statues, along with a chest on the left.  Link opened the chest and found a red bracelet, one that looked identical to his blue Power Bracelet.  When he put it on, he could feel the power coursing through his veins.  He walked over to the elephant statue and tried to pick it up.  The large piece of solid bronze came right out of the ground, right into his fingertips.  He threw it against the wall and it crumpled. 


With his path now clear, Link went through the door and emerged back in the room with the crystal switch.  Found of his newfound physical strength, Link picked up the bronze elephant in that room, tossing it against the bolted door on the right.  The door didn’t stand a chance, and folded over like a pancake.  In the narrow corridor he found two chests filled with rupees.  The end of the corridor led him back to the shrine’s entrance.  Now he was heading to the right side of the “face”.  The first few rooms on the right side were uneventful.  One featured tiles on the floor rising and flying at him, but these were easily avoided.  Beyond that was a key door. 


On the opposite side of the key door was a room that appeared to be a dead end.  Link took one look at the map and determined that couldn’t be the case.  He examined the back wall of the room and sure enough, there was a large crack in the wall.  He fired a bomb-tipped arrow at the crack, exposing a doorway.  In the room ahead was a rodent enemy with a giant ball on its back.  The rodent threw the ball at Link, but the hero dodged it to the right.  Using his new and improved Power Bracelet, he picked the ball up and threw it back at the rodent, crushing it.  The door ahead opened and Link entered a room with two more bronze elephant statues.  Picking one of them up to reveal a hidden staircase, the hero wondered to himself why there were so many.  What purpose could they serve?  Were they strictly museum pieces, or was there more to them? 


The staircase led to another tunnel, this one going westward underneath the nightmare’s chamber.  Link quickly moved through it and emerged back on the main floor near the “nose” of the “face”.  More tiles came flying at him from the floor.  These were easy to evade as he simply hunkered down in the corner, the tiles breaking against the weight of his shield.  When all the tiles were gone another key dropped from the ceiling.  Link used it to unlock a door to the north.  He then tracked westward through a narrow tunnel before reaching another staircase to the basement.  This led into yet another tunnel, this one leading toward the dungeon’s eastern “ear”.  When he emerged, Link defeated several rabbit-like enemies, opening the way southward. 


A pair of large dodongo snakes, similar to the ones he had fought against in Key Cavern, awaited him in the next room.  Skillfully dodging the holes in the floor, Link tossed bombs at the snakes, one landing in its mouth and destroying it instantly.  The second bomb landed short, but much to Link’s surprise, the snake ate it!  Having only laughed a few times since crash landing on Toronbo Shores, Link let some chuckles escape before moving eastward toward an underground river.  There was a boulder on the other side of the river, and Link used his hookshot to get across.  Working his way northward, he came to a series of pots that blocked the way to a treasure chest.  Link tried to open the chest, but the bolt on the chest was rather tight.  It was rusted too and impossible to move.  Without any other recourse, Link took one of the heavy pots and heaved it at the chest.  The pot crashed into it, breaking a hole in the top.  The hole was large enough for him to reach his hand into, and within a few seconds he had fished out the dungeon’s Nightmare Key.  Feeling as confident as ever, Link took off down the river and headed for the nightmare’s chamber. 


Several minutes later, after backtracking through the tunnels and past another hoard of dastardly wizzrobes, Link was standing in front of the nightmare door.  The door was like the rest of the dungeon, rather extravagant.  It was encased with red rubies and solid gold.  Link inserted the nightmare key into the lock and opened the way forward to the face’s “brain”. 


The nightmare’s chamber was awash in gaudiness, complete with floor tiles plated with rose gold.  As with the previous two lairs though, there wasn’t an enemy immediately present in the room.  Link expected the worst, but displayed confidence as he called out to his enemy.  “May the master of this room appear!  Show yourself, for I am Link of Hyrule, I have come for the sixth Instrument of the Sirens!” 


Just then, a strange coolness filled the room, and a blue blob appeared on the floor.  It moved around until it coalesced into the shape of a face.  “Hey dummy!  Need a hint?  My weak point is…” 


Link was bewildered.  “Surely you jest…” 


“Whoops, there I go talking too much again!  My name is Façade, and your journey ends here!”  The face shouted.  Link noticed the room begin to shake, no doubt caused by the face-shaped boss on the floor.  The tiles awash in pink gold began to hurtle through the air.  They moved in groups and in from all directions.  Link evaded the first few, then blocked several with his shield before having to curl up and take several hits on his limbs at the tiles got too numerous to defend against.  When those were all broken into pieces on the floor, pots started flying through the air.  Link shattered several of these with his sword, and tried to block the others, but again, several got through his defenses and smacked him in the arms and legs.  Blood oozed from the cuts created by the hard rock and the broken ceramic of the pots.


The face laughed at Link.  The hero responded by dropping a bomb on the floor right on top of the face’s mouth.  The bomb exploded and Façade recoiled rather violently from the explosion.  Clearly, the bomb had hurt him.  Façade’s expression turned angry.  The room began to shake even more.  Tiles began falling from the ceiling.  Worse, Link noticed that holes had begun to appear in the floor.  He had to hurry to defeat the nightmare before he was sucked into one of the holes!  He dropped another bomb on the floor, this one near Façade’s right eye.  It exploded, and Façade thrashed in pain.  Oblivious to everything going on around him, Link showed no mercy.  He dropped bomb after bomb onto the floor, speed no doubt playing into his strategy.  After the fifth explosion, Façade began to flash, a clear sign that he was near defeat. 


“Okay!  Listen up you heartless invader!” Façade screamed at Link.  “If the Wind Fish wakes up, everything on this island will be gone forever!  And I do mean, EVERYTHING!!!”  Façade’s voice crackled and struck home as he exploded into nothingness.  There was a bit of a strange pause as the room ceased shaking and returned to normal. 


“Everything will be gone forever…”


Link was so entranced that he barely noticed the door at the back of the room open.  He gingerly moved over the fallen rubble and into the dungeon’s final room, where of all things, a triangle lay on the pedestal.  Link picked up the instrument and held it high, but again, not with his usual vigor.  It was as though Façade’s words had taken the wind out of his sails.  “You’ve got the Coral Triangle!” shouted the familiar voice as the instrument began to play.  When the song finished, the familiar blinding light filled the room. 


“Mountain…something calls from the mountains.” Link heard the voice say.  In his head, he knew he was getting very close to achieving his goal.  But in his heart, there was a confused sensation that he could no longer ignore.  When he emerged at the entrance of the shrine, he immediately dove into the river and began paddling downstream with all speed. 



Chapter 16: Breakdown


Link tore across Ukuku Prairie as fast as his legs could move him.  It was a nearly seven mile journey from the face shrine region all the way back to Mabe Village, and time was running short before nightfall.  Without running he would never make it.  Yet a long distance run while carrying some heavy gear in the midst of a hot, humid island like Koholint was at best a difficult task and at worst a foolhardy one.  By three miles in Link’s feet hurt and sweat was pouring off of him.  He tried using the Pegasus Boots, but had to take them off after several dashes in a row for his energy level was lowered by their use. 


He came across several moblins in the prairie and paid no attention to them.  They meekly watched the hero as he moved past.  Certainly, he had built up a reputation as a fearless and skilled fighter within his short time on Koholint.  He cared not about their plight.  In truth, moblins were some of the least intelligent, least emotionally connected creatures on the earth.  They were savages in every form.  Link hated them. 


But what he hated more than the moblins was what he was hearing from the nightmares.  The last two of them had sounded rather ominous warnings to Link as he defeated them.  Link was used to hearing enemies decry him upon their deathbed, but this was different.  It was as though the nightmares were admitting that they might not be able to defeat him physically, but they were now trying to break him mentally.  And though he would never admit it, it was working. 


The sun gave way to a massive storm cloud in the west.  Link was virtually out of breath, but continued to move as quickly as he could.  The thunderhead caught up with him about a half mile out from Mabe Village.  The rain poured over his hands, face, and tunic, drenching him within minutes.  By the time he reached Marin’s house, the lightning was very near.  It struck near the weathercock, less than a quarter mile away.  There weren’t many things that Link was afraid of, but lightning was arguably one of them.  Several times he had been zapped by Agahnim’s electrical attacks, and he was also zapped once by Ganondorf, a shot so severe that it temporarily separated his spirit from his body.  He was saved only when Princess Zelda cast a magic spell to reverse the condition. 


When he arrived back at the house, Marin and Tarin were finishing making up dinner, a delectable stew of fish, fried honeycombs, pineapple, and other mixed vegetables from the prairie.  They saw Link enter, the Coral Triangle clutched within his right hand. 


“Link, you are simply amazing!” Marin shouted as she threw her arms around him.  She quickly backed away as the water dripped all over her.  “Surprising to see a triangle as one of the sacred instruments, I would’ve expected something more powerful in sound.” 


“Well you be the judge for yourself.” Link said as he took the mallet and struck the triangle.  It made a high-pitched noise that sounded something like a metallic shriek.  It didn’t seem up to par musically with some of the other instruments. 


“Sounds like that there triangle is out of tune.”  Tarin claimed.  “I bet one of the angles is bent out of shape.  Let me take it to the bench, I’ll hammer it out straight in no time!” 


Link and Marin sat down to food while her father worked on the triangle.  After a few minutes he came to the table as well.  They conversed and ate for several minutes, but something about Link bothered Marin.  He was hardly eating his food, mostly pushing it around on the plate.  She knew it wasn’t like him to refuse food.


“Surely you must be hungry after all that adventuring today.  Did you have an easy time in the shrines?” Marin asked.  “Was the nightmare really hard to defeat?” 


Link said nothing.  He looked at her, but Marin could tell something was really bothering him.  She let him be for the rest of the meal, through which Link maybe ate four or five bites.  About an hour later, she approached him again.


“Link, did you not like our cooking?” She asked. 


“It was fine.” Link said blankly.  An awkward silence followed.  “Did you pick up a new item in the shrine, maybe another cool weapon like that boingy thing you found in the Maw?” she asked.


“I found a bracelet.  It gave me great strength.” Link said in a very monotone voice.  Another awkward silence followed.  Marin was starting to worry.  “Look Link, I get that you want to be left alone, we all have our bad days.  But know that I’m worried about you.  I’ve never seen you like this.” 


Link didn’t answer immediately.  His eyes were red, almost bloodshot.  “There are certain…things…that are bothering me.”  He uttered meekly.  “I’m tired; maybe we can speak in the morning?” 


“Very well.  I’ll prepare the sheets for you.” Marin responded. 


That night, Link found himself in a deep sleep.  He was in a dream.  Or was it a dream within a dream?  He wasn’t sure.  Where was he?  There was a giant egg up ahead.  It was Mount Tamaranch, the resting place of the Wind Fish.  Who was there?  It was Marin of course, her father, and the animal members of the band.  They were all playing instruments.  And then there was a fight, a fight against an enemy that changed form.  Link thought that he was fighting Moldorm, Wart, Blind, Agahnim, and Ganondorf all at the same time.  That wasn’t really possible was it?  But yes, it became clearer, the evil was dissipating.  The Wind Fish appeared from his keep, and the band played the instruments.  For the first time since he arrived the guardian deity rose from his slumber and with his ascent Link could make his wish. 


Marin smiled at him.  The whole of the band beamed as they basked in the light.  Link uttered some words, the words of the hero.  Suddenly the light went away.  Everything began to shake.  Rocks, gusts of wind, and lightning filled the air.    There was screaming and crying.  It was followed by an explosion that hit Link straight in the gut, almost like a piercing fireball.  But then he heard one voice.  The voice whimpered, crying out with pain in her voice.  It was Marin.  Blood poured out from her open wounds. 


“You…destroyed…us…you…destroyed…me…outsider.  Why…”


Link woke up with a shout, sweat dripping off his face.  He saw flashes of lightning from outside, followed by the crash of thunder.  He quickly looked across the room.  Marin and Tarin were asleep, and peacefully at that.  To this end he was relieved, but the nightmare really had his mind bent out of shape.  It was a long time before he found sleep again.  Even when he did, he continued to wade halfway between nightmare and nothingness. 


Finally around five hours past midnight, he could not take it anymore.  He got up from the bed and put on his boots.  He left the house and sloshed through the wet grounds of the village, walking around aimlessly for about half an hour before arriving at the weathercock.  He began to cry.  Rarely in his whole life had he been reduced to such a state, but what he felt was unlike anything he had ever felt before in his life.  It was the space between despair and insanity.  He didn’t know how long he was there, simply bawling his eyes out.  Finally, he heard a familiar voice.   


“Link!  What are you doing out here?!  I saw you weren’t in your bed and I started to worry.”  Marin saw the tears dripping down his face.  She put her hands into his.  “Please Link, you have to tell me what is bothering you.  If you allow it to fester inside you it can damage your very spirit, and you are much too nice and sensible for me to allow such a tragedy to befall you.”  She looked at Link with pleading eyes.  He had never opened up this deep to anybody, except Princess Zelda.


“Marin, I’ve come to the realization that I cannot leave this island.”  Link said. 


Marin was shocked.  “What do you mean?” 


“You were asking me yesterday about the nightmare I had fought in the shrine.  Well, it and the nightmare before it, the one in the Maw, said some odd things to me.” Link confided.


“I’m listening, keep going.” 


“The one in the maw said that I did not understand what kind of island this was.  Then in the southern shrine, I saw a mural of the Wind Fish.  I took note of what it said.  Here, take a look.” 


Marin took a peak at the scratched writings.  “To the finder…the isle of Koholint is but an illusion.  Human, monster, sea, sky, a scene on the lid of a sleeper’s eye.  Awake the dreamer and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle.  Castaway, you should know the truth.”  Marin pondered the quote for a while.


“The strangest thing is that it appears to be addressed directly to me.  It was as if whoever created the mural wanted me to find it.”  Link bemoaned. 


“If I have this right, the mural says that Koholint is a figment of the Wind Fish’s imagination, brought to life within a dream.  When the Wind Fish is awakened, the island will disappear?” 


“That’s it, but much more than that, everything within the island will disappear too.  The towns and villages, the mountains and prairies, the people, everything!” Link exclaimed. 


Marin’s face was blank.  Link continued.  “I didn’t want to believe this, but when I defeated the nightmare in the northern shrine, he got very angry with me.  It called me a heartless invader, and although it didn’t say it out loud, it meant to say that by waking the Wind Fish that I will be personally responsible for Koholint’s demise.”


“It almost makes it seem like…the nightmares are actually trying to protect the island and that you, not they, are the bad guy.” Marin said.  “But we know that can’t be the truth!  The nightmares have been responsible for the storms we’ve been having.  They are responsible for ransacking Mabe Village and making Ukuku Prairie dangerous and impassible!  And who knows what they could be plotting next!”


“I had a dream last night, actually a nightmare.” Link said.  The earliest morning light began to flood in from the east.


“Go on.” Marin pleaded. 


“I was at the top of Mount Tamaranch, you, me, the whole band played and we made it to the Wind Fish’s realm.  There was a great battle there against the mother of all nightmares, one that had the ability to change form.  I defeated it and awakened the deity, but that’s when everything broke apart.  The earth began to shake, people were dying, and then I saw you bleeding all over your body, asking me why I had doomed you and made you suffer to the point of death!”  Link started crying again.  “It…was…too much…to bear!” 


Marin grabbed hands with Link.  “Link, look at me.”  The hero tried to stifle the tears, but some still trickled down his face.  “I think the supreme nightmare, if there is one to be defeated, is scared of you.  It knows that you are a great warrior and cannot be defeated through normal means.  It has decided to attack you from within your subconscious.” 


“My subconscious?” Link asked.  “What do you mean by that?” 


“You care very deeply about certain people and things, to the point where you’ll do anything to protect them.  Am I right?”  Marin asked. 


“Yes.” Link responded. 


“Am I right in saying that one of those things is me?” Marin asked. 


Link paused for a moment.  “Wait, it isn’t like that.  I would never…” 


“Don’t take this the wrong way Link.  I know you love Zelda and would do anything for her and you want to see her again very much.  I can tell this just by the way you talk about her.  But they way you act towards me, the way you walk close to me and hold my hand, the way you hold your weaponry in case something were to surprise us, the look of chivalry you possess whenever we are conversing with others, it all means that you care.  You want me to be safe and protected, just like you would want Zelda to be protected.”


Link was befuddled.  “So what, maybe I do care for your well being, a little.  But what does that have to do with the nightmares.” 


“The nightmares have created a scenario in your mind in which your action to get back to Hyrule would end up bringing great harm to the one upon this island you hold most dear, me.  They know that you are not heartless enough to ruthlessly destroy this place in order to get back to your own kingdom, so they are playing on your emotions in order to get you to abandon the fight.  At the beginning of this conversation you said you could never leave this place.  Are you giving up the fight?” 


Link’s face was flushed.  “Maybe I am.  Maybe my destiny was never to return to Hyrule.  Maybe I was meant to land here, for you to find me, for us to live and grow old together in this tropical paradise.  Maybe that’s what fate has in store for me.”


“So what will you do Link?” Marin asked. 


The question hung in the air like a gentle sea breeze, coupled with a choking sensation enough to suffocate an elephant.  



Chapter 17: Mind Games


Several days passed.  During this time, Link was nowhere to be seen.  He spent his time wandering through the trees of the Mysterious Woods, scouting out the moblins that inhabited the area.  They all seemed to ignore him for the most part, but they sometimes motioned toward him with their hands.  It was as though they were giving him their respect, but Link couldn’t reconcile such actions.  It was totally uncharacteristic and against their nature. 


The next day he went down to Toronbo Shores, looking for the leevers that sometimes frequented the beach.  He did not find any until it was near sunset.  Several emerged from the ground and came toward him.  Link drew his sword to attack but at this motion the leevers stopped quickly.  They emitted a high-pitched noise, out that sounded almost joyful.  Then they disappeared beneath the sands.


“It’s clear that they don’t want to antagonize me…but why?  Why the strange behavior?”  Link couldn’t figure out if his enemies had suddenly turned cowardly, or if it was an attempt to lull him into a false sense of security.  One thing he knew for sure, he had to decide on a course of action, and soon. 


As he was passing the Tail Cave on the way back from Toronbo, Link saw Kaepora flying toward him.


“Link!  Hoot!  I’ve been looking all over for you!  Where have you been the past few days?” 


“Just walking around, taking in the sights of Koholint.  Not much really.” Link said glumly. 


“Hoot!  The many monsters of this island fear that the Wind Fish is about to awake!  The monsters power is real!”


“Do you suppose that is why they are acting so strangely?” Link asked.  “They are purposely avoiding me and won’t even try to fight me.  Some of the moblins and leevers have even shown gestures of respect, which is very unusual.” 


“I know not what you’ve seen, hoot, but I think the monsters may try to conquer the island and destroy their foes!  That day may come soon!” Kaepora warned.


“What you’re telling me is that they are plotting something big against the people?” Link asked.


“I cannot be certain, hoot, but if you delay, the monsters may come with an attack far greater than the one the moblins brought against the village weeks ago.  You must go to the mountain tower!  Fly like a bird!  Hoot!  Hoot!”  Kaepora started to take off.


“Hey wait, if there’s an attack coming…”  Link tried in vain to stop Kaepora but could not for the owl was gone into the western sunset.  Now Link’s head was spinning even more.  Clearly, the enemy was playing mind games with him, and he didn’t like it, especially because the people of Mabe Village and the rest of Koholint were in danger according to the owl. 


“What Kaepora says doesn’t agree with what I am seeing on the ground.” Link pondered.  “But I have to warn the village people anyway.” 


That night Link and Marin went around Mabe Village, hitting every establishment between the Trendy Game and Madame Meow-Meow’s House, warning of what could be coming.  Back at the house, Link did not sleep well.  His ears were very much in tune to his surroundings, and he stayed up for the early part of the night, vowing to protect Tarin and Marin’s house at any cost.  Finally around two hours past midnight, Tarin arose from his bed and took over night watch duties, allowing the hero to get some much needed sleep.  As with other nights in the recent past, Link found himself in a dream.  


He found himself in Hyrule Castle, in the infirmary.  He noticed Princess Zelda, as well as her attendant, Impa, looking down on him.  He couldn’t see very well, and could hardly move. 


“Do you think he’ll wake up?” Zelda asked Impa. 


“I am not sure.  All we can do is have faith that he’ll stay strong through this…trial that he finds himself within.” Impa said.


“I know he’ll wake up.  Link has never backed down from any challenge or any enemy.  I know he’ll beat this…trial…in which he finds himself.” 


Link saw King Harkinian come into the room.  “My daughter, what news do you have for me?” he asked in his typically baritone yet regal voice. 


“He’s come a long way but he has had some struggles by the looks of it.  He is still yet to open his eyes but I have faith.”  Zelda kneeled down along the bed and put her hand on Link’s forehead.  “Please stay strong Link, how I miss hearing your voice, the warmth of your hand, your very giving heart.”  She had a pleading look in her eyes, and a single tear emerged…falling right onto Link’s forehead. 


Link awoke in a tizzy once again.  He rubbed his forehead and beads of sweat were enveloped by his gauntlet covered hand.  He must have forgotten to take them off before he went to sleep. 


“Looks like you had a nightmare.” Tarin said as he brought Link a jug of water.  “Drink this, you’ll feel more refreshed.” 


“Thank you very much.”  Link said as he took a swig of the refreshing spring water.  “Have you seen any enemy activity this night?” he asked. 


“Not that I have seen.” Tarin responded.  “I’m not sure what got into you and Marin or what you thought you heard, but there haven’t been any monsters around for miles.”


Link nodded his head.  He eventually fell back asleep, only to be jolted awake once again by Marin, who treated him to a breakfast of pineapple, fresh clementines from the swamp, and days old bread. 


“Are you ready for our walk to the library?”  Marin asked.  Link nodded.  Marin held his hand firmly as they walked through the village.  Link blushed the whole time.  Tarin noticed this and gave a smirk. 


“Isn’t this nice…just a perfect morning, the sea breeze is rather refreshing, don’t you think?” Marin asked him. 


“It would be nicer if you let go of my hand.” Link said. 


“If I didn’t think you were going to run away again, maybe I wouldn’t.  Besides, I like it when a young lad like you sports such rosy cheeks.  It’s very romantic.” Marin giggled. 


After about a twenty minute walk across the village, they reached Mabe Village Library.  The library was a fairly large building, one of the bigger buildings in Koholint.  Inside, there were two stories worth of books on topics ranging from history to weather to shipbuilding to agriculture.  Marin showed the librarian her card, and the librarian nodded to her.  They went to a table in the back of the room. Richard the ostracized King of Koholint sat at the head of the table.  Flanking the sides of it were Enzo the crocodile, Remus the rabbit, Oso the bear, and Zonga the gorilla. 


Marin motioned to Richard, and he started the meeting.  He spoke softly as not to disturb others or to raise the ire of the librarian.  “Ladies, gentlemen, and animals, I thank you for coming.  Today we are here to learn the whole of the Ballad of the Wind Fish, straight from the original manuscript provided here in the book, “Great Hymns and Symphonies of Koholint.  But I understand that Link here has something important to tell us first.”


Link began with pain in his voice.  “There was a time where I thought of myself as the savior of Koholint.  I even said that to some of the guards at Kanalet Castle.  But now I’m not sure if I’m the savior of Koholint, or its destroyer.  The nightmares are telling me that if the Wind Fish is awakened, everything is going to disappear.  The tablet in the South Face Shrine says the same thing, and it was addressed directly to me.”


“Ladies and gentlemen, this mission we are undertaking may destroy the very island we are trying to protect, and that disturbs me greatly.  What disturbs me more is the idea that I might be Koholint’s destroyer, not its savior.” Link said. 


Richard smiled.  “I have it on good word that this…tablet…that you speak of may have been planted by a mastermind.  A true master of the subconscious, this being is seeking to take you down a path of mindlessness and fear when in reality you need to trust your instincts and true feelings.  Whoever it is, it is testing your resolve.” 


Richard got up and walked over toward Link.  “Do you really think, in your heart, that our own guardian deity would seek to destroy us?” He asked the hero.


“No.” Link responded flatly. 


“When you first learned of the need to awake the Wind Fish, did you ever think you were bringing harm to this place?” Richard asked.


“No.  I would never.  To it or anybody who inhabited it.”  Link said firmly.


“Then your heart and mind are indeed true.  You need not question your feelings.”  Richard sat.


“Link I understand you heard of a plot by monsters to attack Mabe Village, maybe even conquer the whole of Koholint.  Is this true?” Enzo asked.


“I heard this rumor from a dear friend.  He is a wise old owl named Kaepora.  It doesn’t make sense to me, but he has not led me wrong yet.  Since I left the face shrine I’ve noticed that the monsters in the region have been acting very strangely.  They refuse to attack me, and have even gone to so far as to show their respect and admiration.”


Richard pondered this statement.  Then he motioned to Oso.  The bear got up from the table and pulled a book down from the stacks not far away.  Richard paged through the book, entitled “The Great War of Koholint.” 


“Aha!  Right here it states that just before the monsters came through Toronbo during the great war, they got the people to believe that they were friendly by acknowledging them as their superiors.”


“Those cretins have been setting us up the whole time!” Tarin shouted.  Several patrons immediately shushed at him, and he sat down somewhat sheepishly.  “Not so loud father, you’ll scare the little ones.” Marin accosted. 


“The man speaks truth.” Oso said.  “We must learn the song if we are to get our guardian deity to help us defeat these monsters once and for all.”


“No matter what the side effects are?” Richard asked.


“No matter what.  We need the Wind Fish…and we will surely need him soon.” Marin said.


The eight members of the “band” all came together in the middle of the table, holding each other’s hands.  “Then let’s get to work.” Richard said in a regal tone.  They spent the next hour or so pouring over their parts of the melody, after which they went to the village square to practice with their instruments.  They practiced hard, for they knew that time was growing short.



Chapter 18:  The Battle of Mabe Village


“Here take a look, I’ve found out the remaining instruments.  There’s an organ and a drum.  The drum part starts out before the rest of the instruments come in and it’s filled with eighth and sixteenth notes.  It looks pretty intriguing.”  Marin said.


“It looks awfully hard to play.  But you just hit the top of the drum with a stick and it plays?” Link asked. 


“Your words are rather blunt, but yes.  You have drumsticks, and you can play with one hand or two.  It is easier to get into the rhythm if you are playing with two hands though.”  Marin said. 


“How am I going to get an organ out of a dungeon?”  Link asked. 


“It’s probably not that heavy…they make organs that can be carried in one hand.” Marin said. 


“Yes, but there are also ones that can fill up whole rooms.  There is one in the Great Hall of Hyrule Castle that is quite large, far larger than any man.  It is really quite extravagant.” 


“I’ve never seen an organ that large.  Now you’ve got me thinking.”  Marin turned to Tarin.  “Father, could you hand me the black book near the foot of the bed?” 


Tarin brandished a book entitled, “Dark Mysteries and Secrets of Koholint.”  Marin paged through the text, which appeared to have extremely small text that was rather difficult to read.  Tarin pulled out a magnifying glass and focused on the page that Marin had turned to.  “It says here that the Organ of Evening Calm is the seventh instrument of the sirens.  It is located at Eagle’s Tower, which is the tallest structure in Koholint.” Marin said. 


“Eagle’s Tower is located in the Tal Tal Heights.  It is well to our northeast.” Tarin said.  “It says that the tower was constructed as a gateway to the heavens.  Many ancient settlers of Koholint would take their deceased to the top of the tower and offer their prayers so that they would be accepted to the next life.” 


“Didn’t they sacrifice people at the top of the tower?” Enzo asked. 


“I don’t know about that, but they did toss the deceased off the tower directly into the ocean, which lays thousands of feet down the cliff below.” Remus said.  “It was meant for them to be one with the Wind Fish.” 


Just as Remus finished speaking, there was a large explosion outside.


“What in the world was that?” Tarin asked.  The group went running outside the house, and they turned to the north to see the general store in flames.  More explosions followed.  It was then that Link saw Richard running toward them. 


“Everybody!  The monsters are attacking!  Moblins, armadillos, stalfos, wizzrobes, every enemy you can imagine!  They are coming from the woods and the plains!”  Richard shouted.  “I informed the men at Kanalet of the threat, they should be able to help us, but they won’t get here for at least half an hour!”  


Marin’s face was flushed, as was Tarin’s.  They both turned to Link.  “Everybody must guard their instruments with their life.  Remus, hand me the bell, you hide in my hat.  Zonga and Oso, take my stash of bombs, when you see the enemies, start lobbing them in their general direction! Enzo, take my power bracelet, with this you’ll be able to physically destroy any enemy!  Go at them hard!  Tarin, are you accomplished with a bow and arrow?”  Link asked. 


“Very much so.  I learned from a very young age.”  Tarin responded.


“Great, you take my bow and arrow then.”  Link responded.


“I have my own bow, and I have magic powder to douse the arrows with, it will set the enemies on fire!” Richard shouted as he brandished a very regal-looking bow.


“Excellent Richard, stay in tight with Tarin, you’ll make a great team!”  There were more explosions to the north.  Enzo, you head toward the weathercock.  Wreak some havoc!  We’ll meet you there once the bombers have cleared the way.  Oso and Zonga, you head straight forward and toss bombs at the enemy.  Be sure to stay low!  Tarin and Richard will fire arrows straight into the line.  I’ll follow with my sword once the enemy has met their limit!  Men, let’s take our positions!”


“Don’t forget about me!” Marin shouted.


“Stay close to me Marin!” Link shouted, as he took position behind Tarin and Richard.  The two archers found targets easily as stalfos, moblins, and other monsters poured in from the Mysterious Woods and Ukuku Prairie.  Link stood watch, his left hand on the hilt of his sword, his right hand holding his hookshot.  He was determined not to let Mabe Village fall into enemy hands.  Link saw Kaepora fly down from the sky, flanked by several other owls. 


“Hoot!  There are monsters everywhere!  You’ll never be able to defeat them all!” Kaepora said sternly.  You’re best off retreating, hoot!” 


“We are not giving up without a fight!”  Link saw a moblin break through the line and approach.  He ran up to it and gave a big swing of his sword.  Within seconds, the moblin was on the ground, sliced and diced.  “We’re going to defeat anything that comes our way!” 


Kaepora shook his head, but acquiesced.  “I’ll watch over you, me and my brethren will scout the area, hoot!”


Link saw Enzo maim a stalfos with his bare hands.  Already a large crocodile, armed with the power bracelet he was a beast with a mean streak.  He punched out another stalfos, then grabbed a bomb-throwing avian species straight out of the sky and ripped its wing off before taking a large bit out of its midsection.  He let out a yell as he felt its blood all over him. 


“I need some arrows!”  Tarin shouted.  Richard handed him several out of his gold-plated quiver.  Tarin lined up a shot and aimed at an armos knight.  The shot landed true, causing the armos to spin out of control and fall to the ground.  Richard took aim at one of the bomb-throwing avian creatures, and his first shot missed.  Undeterred, he took a second shot and this time struck it right in the heart.  “Nice shot King!” Tarin shouted as he notched another arrow.  He took aim at a different armos knight, and his shot was perfect, striking it in the midsection.  “You’re pretty solid with a bow yourself mate.” Richard saw as he took aim again, taking care not to aim low enough to hit Oso and Zonga. 


The two hairy mammals continued to clear the battlefield with bombs.  Their proficient throws forced the enemy to divert their frontal assault and move out to the left and right instead.  Oso grabbed two bombs and tossed them at a formation of like likes.  The troublesome thief-like enemies tried to avoid the blasts, but at least one was blown to bits while others were injured.  Zonga continued to chuck the blue explosives toward the ruined general store, exposing the monsters that had sought to hide there.  “Keep on throwing, we’ve got enough ammo to last us until the soldiers of Kanalet arrive!”  Oso shouted, clutching a bomb in one hand while holding onto the Sea Lily Bell for dear life with the other.    


Link and Marin continued to watch the action, but the hero got the feeling that he was suddenly being watched.  He turned around and a leever was right behind him.  He stuck his sword right into it and saw it shrivel up and die.  The hero saw an army of leevers charging into the southern end of the village, presumably coming from their home in Toronbo. 


“Don’t worry Link, I got this.”  Marin pulled her hair back and produced a mean look, far unlike anything Link had ever seen from her.  She brandished a pinkish-purple boomerang with a silver trim, a model very similar to the he used to own.  It had her name engraved on it.  The maiden took aim at several approaching leevers and timed her throw perfectly.  It smacked against two of them at the apex of the throw and hit another on the return.  Strange purple sparks were given off by contact, and the enemies fell at though they had been pierced through the heart. 


“Syrup performed a magic spell on it for my fifteenth birthday.  It was part of my transition to womanhood.”  Marin explained quickly before firing again.  The boomerang nailed two more leevers, causing them to shrivel up and explode.  Link couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  The young maiden, though very resourceful and responsible, had always been rather dainty and did not have the appearance of a fighter.  But either through magic or concentrated effort, she was waging war and doing so very admirably. 


Temporarily stunned, Link smacked himself back into consciousness and used his hookshot to take out the leevers from long range.  Any that came close to him or Marin met the end of his blade.  Link turned around and noticed Oso and Zonga running back toward him.  “We’re out of bombs!  The enemies are still coming toward us!  We need the people from Kanalet to break the lines and help us!” Oso shouted. 


“Take my hookshot!  It’ll take out enemies from long range!” Link shouted as he took out another leever.  Out to the west, he saw moblins starting to approach from the backside as well.  Oso was right, if the men of Kanalet didn’t arrive soon, they would be swallowed.  By this point in the battle, other villagers had joined into their army, concentrated in the east-central part of Mabe Village.  They had set up a defensive perimeter from the weathercock down to the trendy game hut.  Link unsheathed his sword and attacked two moblins head on.  One fell immediately from a slash to the chest, but the other hit Link with a forearm and he fell to the ground.  Link watched in horror as he held down one arm and charged up a punch aimed at his head.  But before he could get it off, Marin’s boomerang found the moblin’s neck.  It fell with a thud 


“How does it feel to be the damsel in distress?”  Marin sassed as she turned around and flung her boomerang again.  The skirt of her dress twirled as she turned about.  Once again, Link found himself distracted by her presence, namely her shocking emergence as a warrioress.  He felt another moblin coming and it pushed him to the ground.  Link rolled out of harm’s way and kicked it while on the ground.  He used his shield to block several body blows, and then struck its arm with his sword.  Two other moblins approached quickly, but one was felled by an arrow from Tarin, allowing Link to concentrate on the other.  He executed a jumping swordslash, dicing the moblin right across the face. 


More time passed, and the villagers were starting to be worn out.  Many of the residents were on the ground, writhing in pain.  Link did not know how long they had been fighting, it could’ve been ten minutes, and it could have been two hours.  The heat was unrelenting, and the bomb blasts thrown by the monsters kept getting closer.  Richard and Tarin were running low on arrows, and the bombs were all but used up. 


“Kaepora!  Are our friends from Kanalet near yet?!” Link asked loudly.


“Hoot!  I have not seen them anywhere.  No sign of them in the prairie.  I’ll keep looking out. 


Link’s body was starting to show signs of wear and tear.  His tunic was tattered, yet he kept fighting on.  Oso, Zonga, and Enzo circled around the archers and around Marin, trying hard to protect them.  They took vicious body blows from the stalfos, armos, and moblins that infested the now ruined village.  Link knew that time was running short.


“Hoot!  Wizzrobes coming from the prairies!” Kaepora shouted.


Link’s eyes widened.  Sure enough, he saw several robed enemies appear and shoot beams of energy at a group of villagers to the north.  They were incinerated on contact!  Marin saw the attack as well, and fear gripped her mind quickly.  She quickly hung on to Link’s waist.  “I apologize for what I said earlier, get me out of here!”


“They left us for dead.  My servants even let the wizzrobes cross the prairie without any resistance.  They have surely doomed us, the cowards!” Richard bemoaned. 


“Retreat is the only option now.  Please, my friends and I will get you out of here.  We’ll even fly you straight into the mountains as far as we can manage, hoot!”  Kaepora pleaded.


Link thought hard.  He saw Enzo and Oso weaving with fatigue.  He saw blood running down the sides of Richard and Tarin. He saw villagers writhing on the ground in pain.  He saw moblins approaching on one side, armos knights on another, and the dastardly wizzrobes coming straight toward them up the middle.  He had not a cowardly bone in his body.  Yet in this moment, he knew he had to protect those closest to him. 


“Move to the weathercock!  Now!” Link shouted.  He and Marin grabbed Tarin, hoisting him on their shoulders while Zonga helped Oso and Enzo stay on their feet even though they were totally out of breath.  Within minutes they had made the short move over to the weathercock, which was an area more protected by trees and other shade than the area around Marin’s house.  Kaepora and his legion of owls descended quickly, the many of them grabbing the members of the band and lifting them off the ground.  Within a matter of seconds they were airborne, flying fast out of the ruined quagmire that was once Mabe Village.


Chapter 19: Eagle’s Tower


The iconic figure of Mount Tamaranch and the egg that lay atop it dominated the view.  They were high above Koholint, flying somewhere over Kanalet Castle.


“If it were up to me I’d drop down and kill of all them rat bastards!” Link heard Richard yell from behind.  It was true, had Richard’s former subjects at Kanalet helped them, the village might not have been lost.  But it was in the past now.  Link knew they had to focus on the task at hand, however hard it might be.    


Kaepora tightened his grip on Link, his talons holding him firmly around the waist.  The other owls carried the other members of the band, though Enzo, Oso, and Zonga were heavy enough to require three owls to carry them.  He turned to his left toward Marin.  She had tears rolling down her cheeks.  Clearly, she had gotten her first real taste of what war truly was, and though her spirit was strong, losing the place she held most dear would be difficult for her to reconcile. 


The terrain beneath their feet turned mountainous.  They were also losing altitude as well.  Kaepora flapped furiously against the breeze.  “Hoot!  I’m out of breath.  We’ll have to find a spot to drop into.”  Several minutes later they found a nice, soft ledge poking out about halfway up the northeastern mountains of Koholint.  The owls dropped their comrades onto the ground near a circle of stones. 


The other owls flanked around Kaepora, who took a few minutes to catch his breath.  “There is a great fairy living in a fountain just to the east of here, hoot!  She will be able to comfort your weariness.  As you know already, Eagle’s Tower is your destination.  It lies at the summit of the eastern mountains.  It is impossible to climb up the outside, for it is too steep.  Navigate through the caves!  You will only have a few days before the monsters invade the mountains and find you, so move quickly, hoot!” 


Kaepora and his owl friends flew away, and the band moved east toward the fairy’s fountain.  Once they found her domain, the great fairy was able to use her magical powers to heal their cuts and their wounds.  Link found that his energy had been restored as well.  With their strength renewed, the band started to explore the caves, looking for any passageway that would lead them upward.  Finally after what seemed like hours, the group found themselves at the summit of the mountain.  On one side of the summit was the steep face of the mountain, the other side featuring thousands of feet of drop directly into the sea.  In the center was a large green tower constructed of heavy stone, either a marble or shale. 


“This must be the dungeon.” Link said to the others.  “All the weaponry I’ve given to you, use it if you must.  I don’t want any monsters laying their hands on you.  I’ll make this as quick as possible, find the instrument, and we’ll head for Turtle Rock.”


“Link, don’t you think it would be best if we all came with you inside the tower?  We could team up on any enemy we find.” Tarin proposed.  There were shouts and hollers from the animals as they seconded this motion. 


“It would subject us to a lot more danger than necessary.” Link explained.  “These dungeons are usually poorly lit, cramped, and difficult to pass through.  Enemies often use the element of surprise too.  You can’t know where they are hiding.  Please, let me do what I must.” 


Marin walked up to Link, a tear still in her eye.  “Link, I trust you.  We all do.  We’ll do what you think is best for us.  Just promise me that you’ll come back in one piece.” 


“I promise.” Link said as he nodded.  The band came together for a group hug.  Link emerged from the huddle and walked up the stairs into the tower.  The insides of the tower were as green as the outside and had statues of eagles lining the entranceway.  The hero moved to the right, where he encountered several like likes.  They attempted to grab him, but Link was alert to the danger and took them out with his sword.  A key dropped from the ceiling.  He opened the key door and proceeded down a hallway leading to the north, and went up the stairs at the end of the hallway. 


On the second floor, Link encountered several heavy orange blocks.  He turned the opposite direction and went to the north.  He found a pedestal there, very similar to the pedestals carrying the instruments of the sirens.  On this pedestal was not an instrument but rather a boulder.  Link noted this, and moved west.  When he entered the room, he was near the center of the second floor.  He saw a ledge up above where the third floor sat.  Additionally, there were four support columns that held up the ceiling.  Link took a note of this, and moved north into another room.  In this room was a chest containing the dungeon map.  Upon examination, Link noticed something rather disturbing.  The fourth floor was impassible. 


“How could the fourth floor not have an access point?” Link pondered.  It didn’t make sense. 


Several slime blobs sprung out of the ground to attack.  Link responded with some well timed swings of his sword.  He jumped across several holes in the floor and moved southward toward the second pillar.  He took care to avoid the spikes on the ground and entered another room, this one with a crystal ball switch in it.  Link struck the switch and moved back to the north, this time moving to the west side of the pillar.  He moved directly north two rooms, pushing a heavy block out of the way to reach a room with a blue floor.  Several penguin-like enemies tried to attack, but Link wisely used his Pegasus boots to rush across the icy surface, spearing two penguins with his sword.  The third penguin slid toward him and cracked its beak on his right leg.  It opened a small gash, but nothing terrible.  Link recharged his attack and defeated the attacker, opening a staircase back down to the first floor.  It also revealed a chest in the corner of the room.  It contained the dungeon’s compass. 


Back on the first floor, Link took a peek at the compass.  It pointed southward, toward the tower’s middle core.  But Link couldn’t be sure if the nightmare was on the first floor, or the top, or somewhere in between.  With the pesky orange blocks blocking his path to the south, Link made his way west.  He defeated several moldorms before turning south along the west edge of the tower.  He reached the corner and turned back east, reaching the dungeon entrance.  As he hit the entrance, he checked the compass again.  Sure enough, the needle had reversed direction, now pointing north. 


“Hey Link…are you progressing through the tower at all?”  It was Enzo’s voice.  Link ran to the entranceway.  “I’ve got the map, and have moved to the second floor.  I can’t really see how to get up any higher though.” 


“Let me take a look at your map.” Richard said.  Link met Richard on the stairs, and the deposed despot looked over the drawings.  “Something is incomplete with this map.  It doesn’t show the way to reach the fourth level.  I bet you that’s where the nightmare lies.  What does the upper floor look like? 


“It has a closed layout, with four large pillars holding up the ceiling.”  Link replied. 


“If I didn’t know any better…I’d say you have to bring down the pillars.”  Enzo said. 


“What?  That’s ridiculous!” Link shouted, a rare outburst from the hero. 


“No, I have a feeling Enzo’s right.”  Richard ran far away from the tower, looking at it from the furthest point of the summit.  Link quickly followed him.  “Do you see how the tower is shaped almost like an hourglass?  There is an outward ledge between the third and fourth floors.  The fourth floor is as wide as the second.  No building is naturally built this way.” 


“What do you suggest I do?” Link asked. 


“I don’t know much about fighting, but I do know about architecture.  A building of this design has a natural way to destabilize the upper floor without compromising the structure’s integrity.  Just trust me on this.  Kanalet’s towers were built in a very similar fashion.”  Richard said. 


Link nodded.  He walked back up the stairs.  Just then, a thought popped into his head.  “Where is Marin and Tarin?”


“They left for Mount Tamaranch.” Oso said. 


“Why?  Why would they leave us with monsters on the move?” Link questioned.


“Marin said she read in the book of secrets that the interior of Mount Tamaranch is a giant maze.  They went to the summit to scout the place out.”  Remus said. 


Link’s face was flushed.  He hated the idea of Marin and Tarin going across the mountains with but a bow and a boomerang to defend themselves.  However, they knew the island much better than he did, and if there was a great maze ahead, then figuring it out ahead of time would be a great help.  “I just hope they are safe.” Link said. 


“You worry about your own safety Link.” Remus said.  Enzo and Zonga nodded.  Link nodded back and re-entered the dungeon.  He retraced his steps along the south and east ends of the main floor and went up the stairs.  This time, the orange blocks in his path were down, and a chest sat on the floor to his left.  Link opened the chest and inside it was a mirror.  Link picked it up, and upon examination it was more than a mirror, it was a mirror shield!  He took it into his hands and noted that it was made of flame resistant material.  Whoever crafted it did a fine job. 


Link moved quickly around the south edge of the second floor, passing room after room without facing much resistance until he battled three more penguins three rooms later.  This time there was no ice on the floor to assist them, so the hero defeated them easily with his sword.  In the southwest room though, he encountered a giant Cyclops.  The monster swung its arm at Link in a rather intimidating fashion.  He tried several times to get close, but the Cyclops was menacing, and refused to allow Link an easy angle to attack.  He then charged Link.  The hero rolled out of the way and decided to utilize his hookshot.  The hook banged the Cyclops in the head, temporarily stunning it.  The hero then quickly pulled out his bow and queued up a bomb arrow.  The shot was perfect, landing and exploding right on the monster’s eye.  A small key fell upon the monster’s disintegrating remains, and Link moved out of the room to the north. 


Two rooms later, Link found himself in a room where the floor tiles rose from the ground.  He used his shield to defend against these.  When all the tiles were broken a door opened leading to the east, back to the center of the floor.  Link passed two of the pillars as he moved east, ending back up in the room with the boulder.  Upon re-examining the pedestal upon which the boulder sat, he knew the simple rock had great importance.  Richard had not led him wrong, although his stomach was queasy at the thought of what he was about to do. 


Link used the power bracelet to pick up the boulder.  He heaved it at the pillar in the upper right of the floor.  The stones in the column began to crack and struggle under their own weight.  Within seconds, they all came crashing to the floor.  Link took care to dodge the heavy rocks as they fell.  Soot and dust filled the room as Link moved to the west toward the second pillar.  He repeated the move, and more dust, rocks, and soot covered the floor.  He led on to the south toward the third pillar, and hurled the boulder yet again.  The resulting collision led to more heavy rocks, ash, and dust falling down, but it also caused the whole ceiling above him to visibly sway and wobble.


Link’s heart was in his throat as he approached the final pillar in the lower right.  The whole building seemed to be swaying as though a heavy breeze was blowing on it.  This was crazy.  With this one move he could be crushed under thousands of pounds of solid rock!  He looked around on the floor, and there were several holes in the floor near the pillar.  He equipped his Pegasus Boots, then threw the boulder.  While it was in midair Link dove down into the hole.  The fall was further than he anticipated, at least fifteen feet, and he landed hard on hip and right arm.  Just after he did so, he heard a gigantic boom from above, followed by several seconds of shaking.  Once the dust settled somewhat he drank some life medicine and retraced his steps back to the second floor.


He looked up at the ceiling.  Sure enough, the fourth level had “fallen” down to connect with the third level, which had previously been an outer shell with a hole in the middle.  Link quickly moved around to the south end of the second floor, where the staircase to the third floor was located behind a key door.  He opened the door and went up the stairs.  On the third level he immediately saw the entrance to the nightmare’s lair.  The only trouble was that he was yet to find the dungeon’s Nightmare Key.  He decided to check out the tunnel on the right. 


At the end of the tunnel was a fairly dark room with a masked character standing on a ledge.  Keese bats surrounded him.  “Hey runt!  You think you can take me?!  Well I’m the Grim Creeper!  All right boys, get this punk out of my face!” 


Grim Creeper raised his arms and summoned many keese, at least six or seven of them.  They all turned toward Link and flew down to attack.  Link hit two of them with his sword but two others whirred right by his face, a third hitting him near the right eye.  It opened a small gash.  Link recovered and readied himself for the next attack.  He expected Grim Creeper to attack, but he summoned more Keese instead.  They surrounded him and looked to attack from all sides.  Link saw this and charged up energy.  He unleashed a ferocious sword spin attack as the first keese came down.  His swing took out four of them.  The other two waited a second, then attacked, flying into Link’s back and left leg.  He quickly turned around but they were gone before he could attack. 


“Ha!  That’s all you got?!” Grim Creeper taunted.  “Get ready for this!” 


Link again prepared for an attack, but once again, his adversary summoned keese to attack him instead.  By this point Link had studied their flight pattern enough to anticipate their movements.  He awaited the bats to fly toward him, and then charged forward, executing several vertical swings, then a few horizontal ones.  He had taken out the first five in a row.  He missed the sixth and it flew straight into his face.  In a strange stroke of luck, Link inadvertently caught part of its wing in his teeth, and quickly grabbed it, killing it with a close stab.


Grim Creeper glowered at Link through his mask.  “You!  You dirty rat!  You…beat my brothers!  You’ll pay!  I’ll never forget you!”  The masked enemy swung his black cape around and flew out of the room, activating the door switch as he left.  Link paid no attention as he moved north into a dead end room containing a single chest.  Sure enough, the chest contained the Nightmare Key.  He quickly moved back west toward the nightmare’s lair.  Link wiped the sweat and blood off his brow and took a swig of life potion.  He inserted the key and opened the door. 


The chamber was well lit, and very large, large enough to contain several rooms.  Link continued to be mystified by Koholint’s battle chambers.  The ones in Hyrule were always straightforward, one room, no more than thirty feet across in any direction.  It was just him against the enemy, in a battle of wit, strength, and courage.  Here, it seemed like the enemies wanted to fight him psychologically as much as they did physically.  Link wandered through the various rooms of the chamber, going north, then east around a wall, and back to the south up a ramp.  No nightmare was in sight.  Eventually he came to a ledge with a staircase leading upward.  Below the ledge was a locked door.  Unable to progress on floor level, Link headed up the staircase.  To his surprise, the stairs took him outside, to a ledge about fifty feet above ground. 


Link saw a ladder to his right.  It led at least thirty feet into the air.  Mindful that an enemy could strike at any moment, Link quickly climbed the ladder, emerging at the summit of the tower.  It was then that he saw his prior adversary, Grim Creeper.  Even through its mask, the hero could detect the air of darkness and pure hatred emitting from his enemy. 


“BAH!  I’m not going to hold back!  I’m going to make you wish you were never born!” Grim Creeper shouted at Link.  The fierceness of his words shocked Link, but before he could even think about it, a fairly large eagle, almost the size of an albatross, flew down from above.  It stopped next to Grim Creeper.  “I give to you, my little friend…Evil Eagle!!” Grim Creeper shouted as he jumped onto the eagle’s back.  The eagle took a swipe at Link as it left the platform, which Link dodged rather easily.  The battle was on. 


Evil Eagle started with a frontal assault.  Link took advantage of this move and struck it in the head with his sword.  To Link’s surprise the blow hardly fazed the large avian creature.  It flew back into the air and tried the same move.  Link struck again right between the eyes.  Once again it flew up into the air before shockingly, and perhaps stupidly, trying again.  This time though he gave Link a bit of a zig-zag move, causing his sword slash to come early.  Grim Creeper piloted the eagle right into Link, knocking him backwards.  He came within several feet of falling off the tower summit.  He got back to his feet and eventually drove home a third blow against the eagle. 


At this juncture, Evil Eagle decided to change its attack pattern.  It flapped rather furiously, building up a large gust of wind.  It then shot razor-tipped feathers at Link.  Unprepared for this move, Link took several slices to his cheeks, chin, and arms, though his chain mail protected his midsection from damage.  Seeing his prior success, Grim Creeper commanded Evil Eagle to do the maneuver again.  This time Link pulled out his Mirror Shield and attempted to block the feathers as they came at him.  The shield was effective, but it made him more vulnerable to the fierce winds.  Twice Link found himself dangerously close to the edge of the platform. 


With Evil Eagle playing from far away, Link decided to draw his bow and attack from distance.  His first few shots into the strong wind missed though.  Quickly he drew his shield again to protect against the razor-tipped feathers.  Link drew his bow again, but this time readied a bomb arrow, figuring the extra weight of the bomb would help the arrow fly true in the strong wind.  Link’s aim was true, and the bomb exploded right near Evil Eagle’s left wing.  The resulting explosion nearly knocked Grim Creeper off his mount.  The fearsome duo regrouped and executed a diving attack, which Link narrowly evaded.


On the next pass, Grim Creeper put Evil Eagle into a screaming dive.  Link raised his sword and readied for impact.  His swing was true, right on the beak of the eagle, but the force of the collision knocked Link backward and his sword went flying up into the air.  He tumbled back off the ledge, just his left hand holding onto the side of the ledge.  Link held on for dear life.  The eagle quickly spotted him.  The hero summoned all strength and courage and pulled himself back up, avoiding its attempt to clip him from the side of the tower.  He reclaimed his sword and readied for the next strike.  Grim Creeper led Evil Eagle into another dive.  This time, Link timed the attack perfectly, jumping over the beak and slashing both miscreants with a diagonal swipe.  They careened out of control, wobbling over the skies of northern Koholint for the next twenty seconds before crash-landing into the tower summit. 


“My energy…gone…I lost.” Link heard Grim Creeper wail.  “But you will be lost too, if the Wind Fish wakes!  Same as me…you…are…in…his…dream………”  Link felt his enemy lose consciousness.  Several seconds later him and Evil Eagle disintegrated.  The battle was over.


Link climbed down the ladder and re-entered the tower’s third floor to find that the locked door on the ledge below was now opened.  As he suspected it was the dungeon’s final room, and on the pedestal sat a miniature organ.  Link picked it up and he heard the familiar voice once again.  “You’ve got the Organ of Evening Calm!” It said as the organ began to play.  When it finished, the light in the room became very bright and Link lost consciousness.  “Ocarina…the music of the ocarina leads.”



Chapter 20:  Mountain Muckraking


“Hold still Link, I need to dress your wound.  That eagle put a nasty skid mark right on your forehead.  Plus you had a bit of a fall too.”  Richard said.   


“It was actually the grim reaper that was riding it, but it’s all the same to me.” Link said.  He winced a little as Richard applied a cleaning agent to his skin that stung worse than several bee stings at once. 


“You did well Link.  This organ plays with a rather exquisite tone.” Enzo said.  He played several notes, and it made a delightful sound.


“We must get to Mount Tamaranch as soon as possible.  I know a series of trails that leads to a bridge that leads west across a chasm.  That will get us within striking distance before sundown.”


“Very well Richard, you lead the way.  We’ll make sure Link stays off his feet for a while.” Oso said.  He and Zonga picked Link up and carried him on their shoulders. 


“No really, that’s very kind of you but I don’t think this is necessary.” Link protested. 


“Don’t worry, we’ll keep you strong.  You’ve got another dungeon to go and you’ve got some nasty wounds.  It’s our duty to keep you as fresh as possible.” Zonga said. 


With Link airborne, the band members headed westward through the Tal Tal Mountains.  They wound around dirt trails and through caverns.  They rounded a number of switchbacks in the road as the sun began to set.  Occasionally the group encountered tektites along the path, but unlike their watery counterparts from the bay, the mountain tektites were rather absent-minded, and paid little attention to their newfound acquaintances.  After a few hours on the trail, they passed Angler’s Tunnel.  About a quarter mile later they came to a steep climbing pass made of wood and rope.  Richard and Enzo made sure to test the structure’s integrity before crossing. 


The big egg atop Mount Tamaranch continued to get larger in the distance as the sun dropped to the horizon.  By nightfall they would be there, hopefully for a rendezvous with Marin and Tarin.  By now Link was back on his feet.  His wound had healed somewhat, but his bruised hip and right arm still hurt badly from his fall in the tower. 


“Hey, is that somebody’s house over on the right?” Link asked.  Sure enough, a wooden hut was up ahead.  The members of the band investigated it, only to find it abandoned.  “The monsters must have cleared this place out.” Enzo remarked.  Just then, a group of wizzrobes suddenly appeared at the front doorway.  They charged up energy.” 


“Get down!” Link shouted as he hit the deck, pulling Richard to the floor, the energy beams passing over their head.  Oso took a hit right in the chest to which he let out a shriek of pain.  Richard produced a bomb and passed it to Link, who equipped an arrow with it.  When the wizzrobes reappeared, Link launched the bomb arrow.  It exploded right on top of them, destroying them all instantly. 


Link immediately went over to Oso.  His fur was burned in spots, and the blow left a sensitive, painful gash similar to the one on Link’s forehead.  “Give him some of my life medicine.” Link told Remus the rabbit.  “Richard, you help bandage him.” 


“Those things must have tracked us all the way here.” Richard said as he produced his bottle of cleaning agent.  He rubbed as gently as possible on Oso’s chest, but the bear still flopped around and wailed as though somebody had stuck a dagger through his flesh. 


“They certainly could have.  Who knows what else is up in these mountains?” Enzo said.  Link looked out from the doorway and out toward the west.  There was a bridge up ahead.  He was about to turn around when something caught his eye.  Somebody was running toward them!  It was Tarin!”


“Link, Link, please come quick!  They’ve got her, they’ve kidnapped Marin!” Tarin shouted.


“Kidnapped?  Who?  Where are they?!” Link asked frantically, his mind racing. 


“They were robed sorcerers!  They came out of nowhere.  We did our best to escape and nearly did, but they caught me!  They tied me up but I was able to break free!”


“Do you know where they took her?”  Link asked. 


“Not sure, but they were headed east, toward the bridge!  There were too many on the other side so I backtracked through the lowlands and climbed up the opposite side to get here!  Link you must save her!” 


Tarin didn’t even have time to finish, Link was gone immediately, running as fast as he could toward the bridge ahead.  Two wizzrobes appeared and tried to stop him, but Link evaded their shots and plunged his blade straight into their hearts.  He continued to sprint ferociously for the next quarter mile before stopping at the edge of the bridge.  Much to Link’s dismay, the bridge was out. 


“Link!” Marin shouted from an jagged island cliff.  “Help me!  The monsters found me and put me up here!” 


Just then, a wizzrobe appeared on the island, right behind Marin.  It got its arms around her waist and chest, and looked to be charging up energy.  Link didn’t wait, he took aim with his bow and fired.  The arrow pierced through the twilight, striking the wizzrobe right in the eye.  It came within inches of striking Marin’s head or shoulder instead, a true shot in the face of danger. 


Link took out his hookshot and aimed for the wooden pegs on the ground.  The hook sunk in easily and pulled him across the canyon.  Without a word, he grabbed Marin around the waist, holding her hands firmly.  He shot off the hookshot again, carrying them across the remainder of the canyon to the other side of where the bridge once was. 


“Yow, that was a surprise!  Thank you Link!”  Marin exclaimed.  “Oh my, swept off my feet once again!”  Link smiled as Marin moved closer to him.  “Link, I don’t know how to say this, but…”  Her voice trailed off. 


“What is it Marin?”  Link asked. 


“I had the strangest dream last night.  It was as though I was lying in a bed, yet I wasn’t asleep, yet everybody else that saw me said I was sleeping.  It made me think of the mural you saw.” 


“That’s odd, I had the same type of dream a few nights ago.  I was in the castle infirmary, and Zelda and her attendant were there, as was the King.” 


“In my dream it was my mother, looking down at me.  Now that I think about it, Tarin was across the room lying on the sofa.  He might’ve been asleep too!” 


Link paused for a moment.  Marin could see he was deep in thought.  


“I’ve got it!” Link shouted.  “Marin, where were you before you came to Mabe Village?” 


Marin searched the depths of her mind, but could not find an answer.   “Link, I don’t know, but what does this have to do with anything.”


“You, and everything around me, are a figment of the Wind Fish’s imagination, and thus have been reflected through my brain.  The mural was right, this place really doesn’t exist.  It is a dream world in which the entities that travel amid the brain come to roost.  Marin, can’t you see.  You are a maiden of my subconscious!”


“I don’t think I follow.” Marin said in a confused tone.


“When the Wind Fish imagined my existence, it caused a storm that caused me to wreck on the island at Toronbo, that much is true.  But in reality, it caused me to become stranded within its own sense of reality.  The dream of the Wind Fish is its reality, our current reality.  But it is a reality that only exists within the Wind Fish’s brain, reflected upon our imagination.  We have an alternative reality, one in which we are all asleep.  You are in a house with your mother and father, sleeping in a bed, and I am in the infirmary inside the castle already back in Hyrule!”


“If this is true, why don’t I remember my alternate life?”  Marin asked. 


“You have been in the Wind Fish’s dream for an extraordinarily long time…it can be easy to forget past memories when you are imbedded within the imagination of another.”  Link moved very close to Marin, and gripped her around the waist, their chests against one another.  “The call to awake the Wind Fish is in reality a call to awakening for all of us.  For me, for you, for your father, for all the animals, and for all the villagers that call this place home…they are all a figment of the subconscious, dreamed of by the Wind Fish.  This mission is not solely about us, or about saving this island from evil, although it certainly is that.  But we must awake the Wind Fish so that these villagers and animals you know and cherish can leave this purgatory in which they find themselves, and return to their normal reality.”


Marin’s eyes grew wide.  Her brain tried to reconcile with which she was hearing.  Suddenly she felt a stinging sensation and dropped to her knees, almost fainting. 


“Marin!” Tarin’s voice could be heard across the canyon.  The animals and Richard were behind him.  “Marin is that you over there?!” 


“She’s a bit under the weather, but she’s okay.” Link said as he held his hand to her forehead.  Her eyes opened again, a blue as bright as the ocean.  “Thanks to you, I now know…our true purpose.  We must…complete this mission.”  She got to her feet and faced across the canyon to her father.  “Do not worry for me, I am unhurt.”  She said. 


“But how will we cross this canyon?!” Tarin asked.  Richard whispered something into his ear.  He nodded his head. 


“The canyon is impassible.  You two must continue on to Turtle Rock.” Richard said.  “We’ll bypass through the lowlands at daybreak and meet you at Mount Tamaranch by noon.  We will await your arrival with the final instrument.” 


Marin and Link held each other close.  They felt each other’s every breath, touch, and move.  For the first time, they had truly come together as one within the other’s subconscious.



Chapter 21: Turtle Rock


The stars shone brightly over the mountains of northwestern Koholint.  Everything was bathed in the moonlight.  The hot temperatures of the afternoon had ebbed, giving way to a crisp, cool feeling about them.  Marin and Link had continued traveling through the various caverns and across the steep mountains for roughly three hours since parting with the rest of the band.  At last, they had reached their destination.


“So this is Turtle Rock?”  Marin asked.  “I can see why they named it that.” She ran her hands over the right foot of the turtle, which was carved into the giant rock along with a corresponding left foot as well as a giant head.


“The better question is how do we get inside it?” Link asked.  He knocked his hands against the head.  Something about the head didn’t seem right.  It didn’t seem like solid rock.  Link took his shovel and tapped it against the mouth.  It felt almost like it could be hollow on the inside.


“There was a rock very similar to this in the mountains of Hyrule.  The entrance to the dungeon was behind the head.  I think we could be looking at the same situation here.” Link said. 


“How did you get inside it?”  Marin asked. 


“I had a magic spell.  With it I created an earthquake on the mountain which caused the head to fracture and disintegrated.” 


Marin’s eyes widened.  “You know how to do magic?  Can you do it again here?”


“It only worked if you had the right medallion.  Without the medallion, which is back safely in Hyrule, I can’t summon the spell.  But this time I think a simple bomb will do.”  Link said confidently.  He laid down a bomb right underneath the head.  It exploded, but nothing happened, the head was still there.  Undeterred, Link tried a bomb arrow next, but even a shot right between the eyes yielded nothing. 


“Well this is troubling.” Link said. 


“Link, you told me once that there is a voice in the dungeons, one that guides you to the next instrument whenever you collect one.  What did it tell you when you left Eagle’s Tower?”


“It wasn’t really clear, but it mentioned something about an ocarina.  But that’s not one of the Instruments of the Sirens.” Link bemoaned. 


“I have an ocarina.” Marin said. 


“You do?”  Link asked. 


“Sure.  I’ve been playing since I was little.  I don’t play as well as I sing though, that’s why you’ve not seen me play it.”  She pulled out a red ocarina, one that had the inscription of the Wind Fish engraved into it.  “Maybe the voice meant for you to play a song.” 


“What kind of song would I play?  The only song I know here is the Ballad of the Wind Fish.”  Link said.  Suddenly, something clicked in Link’s brain.  “Hey wait a minute.  If the Ballad of the Wind Fish is capable of awakening the guardian deity, it can probably wake up other creatures as well.”  He turned to Marin.  “That’s it, we need to play the song and the head will move out of the way.” 


Marin nodded.  Standing a good distance from the head of turtle rock, she played a single note…a C.  She then played a gliding melody, one that moved rather elegantly through the musical score.  It was enough to take Link temporarily out of focus.  He watched Marin play.  Her reverence was astounding…her hair and dress fluttering softly in the moonlight. 


When she finished, Link looked straight ahead at the turtle’s head.  Nothing happened for several minutes.  The smile on Marin’s face faded.  “Maybe that wasn’t the right song.  Maybe…yes, maybe I have to play the frog song instead. 


“Frog song?”  Link asked. 


“It’s a melody that the black book spoke of, one that could resurrect creatures from the dead.  It was played for the first time by a great frog of Animal Village.  Let’s try this…”  Marin played an A this time, then launched into a more up tempo song with a strange tone.  Link couldn’t reconcile it, for it sounded like nothing he had ever heard before.  Marin played the song with fire, and stamped her feet as she did so, a clear juxtaposition away from the elegance of the prior ballad.  When she finished the song Link looked ahead once again.  Suddenly, the rock of the turtle’s head began to crack and splinter.  The rocks exploded off the head in one shot, revealing a live turtle underneath.  Its neck began to extend outward from its “shell” which in effect was the dungeon underneath the giant rock. 


“Get back Marin.” Link commanded.  The hero moved toward the turtle’s head, and it snapped at him.  Link nearly got his arm taken off but was able to block the move with his sword.  He took his time and waited for his opportunity.  The neck began to swing from side to side in an attempt to get to Link.  He responded by using his hookshot to latch onto the turtle’s tongue, then cut it away with his sword.  While it thrashed in pain, Link came forward and pierced the mouth with his sword, then ripped upward, severing the turtle’s head.  It exploded into pieces, revealing a fairly large entranceway into the dungeon.


“Our destination awaits, my lady.” Link said, extending his hand to Marin. 


Marin had a pained look on her face.  “You know how much I don’t like dungeons.” 


“I’ve known it since that day I tried to take you inside Tail Cave.  But trust me, it is for the best, and it is the only way I can guarantee your safety.  Please.” Link pleaded. 


Marin thought about it, and swallowed hard.  “For Koholint.” She said as she took Link’s hand.


Even though it was nighttime, the interior of the dungeon was well lit, both by torches on the walls and by the numerous lava flows that moved through the dungeon.  As an active volcano, Turtle Rock featured many rooms in which liquid magma blocked tunnels and passageways.  The temperature was high and the air was sometimes hard to breathe.  Link and Marin made sure to stay near one another at all times and watch for enemies from around the corner.


The two wound through the main tunnel, eventually coming to a pool of lava.  Rather surprisingly, there was a large block of ice lying on the ground not far from the lava pit.  Link and Marin pushed it across the lava, causing the red hot magma to crystallize and cool.  The resulting path across the lave pit led to the left and toward some heavy blocks.  Link used the Power Bracelet to push them out of the way revealing a treasure chest.  Marin opened the chest, and it contained the dungeon map. 


“The map looks like a turtle too…see how the feet stick out from the body and the head at the top?” Marin asked.  She traced her finger along the edges of the dungeon’s rooms.  


“If I were to guess, the Nightmare is hiding in the head of the turtle, which looks to be about four or five rooms to our north.  But we won’t know that for sure without the compass.  Let’s see if we can find it.” 


“What does the compass do?” Marin asked. 


“Its needle points directly in the direction of the dungeon’s primary villain, which here in Koholint of course are called Nightmares.  I think the compass will probably be in one of these lower feet.” Link said as he pointed at the bottom corners of the map. 


They moved into a tunnel with a staircase leading downward into the basement.  The basement of turtle rock was a giant crater of lava with several stone passageways that required some precise jumps.  Link quickly leaped across the gap into the middle of the lava pool.    


“It looks awfully far to that stone in the middle.  I can’t jump that far.” Marin bemoaned. 


“Try this.”  Link lifted up the Roc’s Feather, which Marin retrieved with her boomerang.  “A feather?” Marin asked.  Taking it into her hands she felt as though a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders.  She took a small hop, or what she thought was a small hop only to leap at least four feet into the air.  Her eyes widened.  She tried two more test jumps before leaping over to Link.  Link took the feather back and put Marin on his shoulders, jumping again to reach the staircase on the other side of the basement. 


“It’s a rather nice item, isn’t it?” Link asked.  Marin shook her head in agreement.  They emerged from the tunnel in the southeast corner of the dungeon.


“Eww!  Snakes!”  Marin shouted.  Link looked ahead and saw at least four snakes on the ground in front of them.  Link used his hookshot to neutralize them, and then finished them off with his sword.  The door to the next room opened quickly.  “So you’re afraid of snakes, but you’re not afraid of a boiling sea of lava?” Link asked her. 


“I am afraid of lava too, I just hid my fear better.” Marin responded.  Link smiled.  Even in times like this, Marin knew how to make him happy.  Up in the next room was an enemy Link had fought before, the boulder carrying rodent from the North Face Shrine.  The hero evaded its initial throw and picked up the boulder, tossing it back at the rodent.  He repeated this several times until the rodent was crushed under the boulder’s weight, disintegrating it.  The doors opened and they went west, picking up a small key in the next room. 


“Now that’s a new idea…bringing back the enemies I’ve faced before.” Link said.


“You faced that mouse thing before?” Marin asked. 


“I did, back in the northern Face Shrine.  I remember it well.”


“Maybe the supreme Nightmare is getting stronger, strong enough to bring back to life his fallen friends.  If so, there’s probably more of them within this place.” Marin said glumly.


“You do trust me, don’t you?” Link asked her.  Marin’s dour expression changed to a smile.  It was as though they were on the same wavelength. 


Over the next ten to fifteen minutes, the hero and maiden couple made their way westward.  Marin’s prediction about the past enemies came true, as along the way they encountered two more of Link’s former adversaries, the Hinox Cyclops from Bottle Grotto, and the spiked-pole wielding pink blob from Tail Cave.  Well experienced against these enemies Link made quick work of them.  In the rooms directly north and south of the pink blob’s lair, they found a small key and another chest carrying the compass. 


“The needle points to the northeast, toward the head.  Link you were right!  We can find the dungeon’s master and defeat it now.” Marin said giddily.


“There are a couple more things we need to accomplish first.” Link said with a smirk. 


Marin was crestfallen.  “Why can’t we just defeat the Nightmare and leave quickly?”


“First, you need to gain the Nightmare Key in order to open the lair in which the Nightmare resides.” Link explained.  “And even once you obtain that, there is usually a special item or weapon hidden within a dungeon that is of great assistance in defeating the tyrant.  We must find those before we can complete our task here.” 


“I see.  Well, where should we go now?” Marin asked. 


“Let’s go back to the midsection, to the pool of lava.  There were other blocks of ice there that we can use to open new passageways.” Link said. 


Marin followed him back to the middle, and they slid another block of ice across the way, leading directly north to a different tunnel.  At the end of this tunnel was a key door, which Link opened with one of the small keys they had collected.  After navigating to the left down another tunnel and using a bomb to destroy a crack in the wall, they came to a room with a Cyclops statue.  Link took out his bow and fired an arrow at the eye, and it stuck a bulls-eye.  With the puzzle solved, another key dropped from the ceiling. 


“How did you know to do that?” Marin asked, bewildered. 


“There were similar statues within several of Hyrule’s dungeons.  Some were strictly for decoration, but others opened new passageways and some yielded precious items.” Link said.


“You’re quite the experienced adventurer.” Marin said in response. 


They lead north out of the room and up to a staircase.  The staircase led outside to the summit of Turtle Rock.  They crossed the summit and over to another staircase leading back into the dungeon.  On the floor below them stood the fourth of Link’s past adversaries, the Dodongo snakes from Key Cavern.  “Wow, those are really large snakes!” Marin shouted.  “Larger than any animal I’ve ever seen!” 


“Here, take this.” Link said as he gave Marin a bomb.  “You throw them into their mouth.” 


For the next several minutes, a hilarious charade of throw the bomb into the snake’s mouth broke out as Link and Marin tossed explosives downward.  The snakes were stubborn, and not really in the mood for eating.  Explosions filled the room with ash and soot.  Eventually their throws began to find their mark however, and the snakes were blown to bits.  A chest appeared on the ground, which housed another small key.  Link and Marin ventured back across to the west, reaching a series of key doors.  This led them into a dark room with two ledges on either side.  They stood on one, and another key door was opposite them. 


Link took out his hookshot.  “Hold onto me Marin.”  He commanded.  Marin grabbed around his waist, and Link sunk the hook into the door.  It carried them across the room through the air and to the other side.  Behind the door was another tunnel into the basement.  This tunnel was very similar to the last, and they again used the Roc’s Feather to cross the lava.   On the other side, they encountered an enemy with boxing gloves, clearly intending to hurt Link with them.  Link used his sword but the enemy’s defense was very good.  Link tried to attack at close range, but nearly had his head taken off in the process.  He backed up and tried a spin attack.  The swing produced a glancing blow, but the enemy got right back up and landed a jab to Link’s chest. 


After several minutes of watching Link battle the punching enemy, Marin decided to get involved.  She looped around the back of the enemy and launched her boomerang.  It nailed it in the back of the head.  Instantly, the boxer turned around and ran straight toward Marin.  The maiden quickly covered and ducked into the corner.  Just as it wound up for a fierce punch, Link tore in from behind and slashed it hard in the back.  The boxer went flying into the wall, where one stabbing blow by Link later, it was dead.   The door ahead opened, leading up a set of stairs to a treasure chest.  Upon opening the chest, they found a two-sided metal rod.


Link took the rod into his hands.  “He lightly tapped it and embers spouted out of the red end.  He turned and swung it, and a powerful flame crossed the room at high speed.  His eyes widened.  Marin’s face was beaming.  “It’s a magic rod!” She shouted.  “You can burn just about anything with that thing!” 


“Want to see what the other side does?” Link asked as he turned it around to the blue side.  He swung it and this time, a burst of ice shot across the room instead.  It hit the rock on the other side of the room and froze to the wall.  “It’s not just a fire rod, it’s an ice rod too.  This is the most powerful weapon I’ve ever seen!” Link said, his mild-mannered temper temporarily overcome by his excitement. 


Back in the basement, Link used the blue side of the rod to freeze the pool of lava, making for easy passage back toward the dungeon’s midsection.  Once there, he again used the rod’s icy side to freeze the central lava pit.  The hero and maiden crossed and entered yet another tunnel, this one on the dungeon’s second floor.  Unlike the prior tunnels, which were filled with fiery magma, these were blocked by giant blocks of solid ice.  Link took out the magic rod once again, but this time Marin put her hand on his. 


“Allow me.”  Marin said.  Link gave her an inquisitive look, but then let his grip loosen on the rod.  Marin took the magic rod and swung it hard.  It created a flame that flew straight through the ice.  At the other side of the tunnel was a plain room that fed into a room with a large lake of liquid magma.  On the other side of the room was a chest, but in the way was Link’s adversary from Catfish Maw, the giant octopus.  Link noticed it splash magma in his direction and he ran away quickly.  Marin ran back into the other room.  Link continued to run away, and hardly noticed he was on the opposite end without the magic rod in his possession.


“Marin!  Ice down the magma pit!  Quickly!”  Link shouted as the Wart splashed toward him again.  The maiden heard his cry and shot out a cold blast that quickly solidified parts of the central pit into solid rock.  The octopus was now boxed in, unable to move around anywhere except his shrinking pool.  Link moved in and dealt it several blows with his sword, keying in on his vulnerable backside.  He drove home the winning blow, but as he did so one of the octopus’s tentacles flailed and tripped him, causing a small bit of magma to splash onto his tunic, immediately setting his clothes on fire.  “Aah!!” Link cried out in pain.  Marin immediately came over and sprayed Link with the icy end of the magic rod, causing the flames to immediately cease.  Once covered with flames, the hero was now covered with a snowy residue, along with a nasty burn where the magma once was.  His muscles tensed, and several spasmed due to the sudden change in temperature. 


“Are you going to be okay?” Marin asked…checking his midsection where a hole had been dug into his tunic. 


“Give me a minute.  I feel like a giant block of ice right now.  I can hardly move.” Link groaned.


Marin got up and moved over to the treasure chest.  “There’s a rather large key in the chest.  I  think this might be the key to the Nightmare’s chamber.” 


“Well that is good news.”  Link responded as he tried to move his chilled fingers.  He got a grip of the dungeon map.  “It looks like there is one more tunnel we have to traverse.  It leads east toward the head of the turtle, right in front of the Nightmare’s Lair.” 


“Then we must go there.”  Marin helped Link up, and the hero spent the next several minutes stretching out his cold body.  There burn marks on his chest had turned white, but no longer hurt.  The skin felt soft and grainy.  It was as though it had been freeze-dried by the rod’s ice magic. 


“I don’t know what I would have done without you, I was sure I had met my end.  Come on.”  Link said as they left the room.  They quickly bounded through another second floor tunnel with ice blocks lining the passageway.  Link made easy work of the blocks with the magic rod’s fire, and before long the two were standing in front of the Nightmare Door, which sat on a precarious ledge in the middle  of another large lava pit.  Marin was nearly shaking she was so nervous.  Link opened the door and through the doorway could see another large lava pit ahead, one large enough that it covered most of the room. 


“You stay here, whatever is in that room is bound to be very dangerous.” Link said. 


“No, I’m coming too.  I can’t have anything happen to you!” Marin shouted. 


“I can’t let anything happen to you!” Link shouted back. 


“Link, you just got set on fire, if that happens again I need to be there to use the rod!” Marin pointed out.  “You’re right.  Okay, whatever you do, stay directly behind me and away from the lava.  If it splashes on me, I’ll hand you the rod.” 


The door slammed shut behind them.  “Crackle-fwoosh!  You’re finished!  I will never let you play the Instruments of the Sirens!”  A voice bellowed.  There was a lot of bubbling in the center of the pit, and it rose up, revealing a burning ball of flames that had a visible face.  It rose into the air and dropped back into the magma, splashing it all over the room.  Link used the icy end of the magic rod to freeze the wave coming toward them.  He waited for the Nightmare to resurface, and when it did, he fired the magic rod at it.  The ice interacted with the fireball, causing parts of it to solidify into solid rock and break off.  The enemy dropped back into the lave pit, forcing more splashing magma to come at them.  Link again used the rod to freeze the lava.  He then tried using the rod on the lava pit, but the magma remained hot. 


The enemy came out of the pool again, and Link was ready.  He hurled more ice toward it, which connected and crystallized.  The hero let out a deep yell as he swung the magic rod with all his might, battering the nightmare over and over.  After about thirty seconds of this, the nightmare had withered away to almost nothing.  It began to flash, a sure sign it was defeated. 


“You’re finished!” Link shouted.  “You and your kind are about to be banished from this world!”


“Crackle—Why did you have to come here?  If it weren’t for you, nothing would have to change!  You cannot wake the Wind Fish!  Remember, you too…are in…the dream.”


“We’re not scared of you and your threats!” Marin shouted.  “Now show us the instrument!”


The tiny ball of flames exploded, and the door at the back of the room opened up.  Link and Marin used the magic rod and the Roc’s Feather to cool the room and safely get across to the dungeon’s final room.  On the pedestal was what they expected to see, a drum. 


“Congratulations, you just completed your first dungeon.” Link told Marin. 


“Thanks to you, I am no longer afraid.” Marin responded.  They both picked up the instrument, which began to play.  “You’ve got the Thunder Drum!” The voice boomed out from nowhere.  As soon as the instrument stopped playing, bright light began to surround them.


“Egg…the egg on the mountain calls!” The voice bellowed.



Chapter 22: Mount Tamaranch  


Deep into the morning, a tired Link and Marin made their way back east through the Tal Tal Mountains.  With the Thunder Drum secure within their hands, they had the last of the Instruments of the Sirens.  All they had to do was get back to the others, who were awaiting their arrival at Mount Tamaranch.  The mountains were barren and deserted except for a few assorted tektites, who were either fried or frozen by the magic rod.


Link took a piece of the tektite, which he had burned to a crisp.  Examining it, he bit off part of its leg.  “It’s cooked straight through, and its actually rather good.  Here, have some.” Link said as he passed some of it to Marin.  They were hungry, and though neither of them usually ate insects, the meat was filled with valuable protein.  “It isn’t something I would put in my cooking, but it’ll do for now.” Marin said.   


About two hours after leaving turtle rock, the faintest of light began to rise in the eastern sky, revealing the giant egg sitting atop Mount Tamaranch, the tallest mountain in Koholint. 


“The egg sure is unusual.” Marin said.  “It looks so out of place and yet so picturesque.  Nobody knows where it came from or how it was made.” 


“I’m sure it isn’t so calm on the inside.  Your father once told me that the inside was a great maze.  Hopefully the black book will tell us where to go.” Link said. 


Marin nodded.  They continued for another hour to the east, then just as the sun was breaking over the horizon, they saw their band mates, sitting around in a circle near the mountain’s base camp.  Marin and Link hurried over the remaining quarter mile.


“Marin!  Link!  It’s great to see you again!” Tarin exclaimed.  “And it looks like you’ve got the final instrument!  Link, thank you so much for taking her, was she terrible?”


“Father!” Marin yelled in protest.


Link grinned.  “She held her own in the dungeon just fine.  I actually got burned pretty badly and I needed her help to douse my clothes.”  He said as he showed everybody the hole in his tunic and chain mail the magma had left behind along with the freeze-dried gash on his skin.


“So Turtle Rock was an active volcano, was it not?” Remus asked. 


“Indeed.  But we have the Thunder Drum now.  All eight of the instruments are here.” Enzo said.


At that moment, Kaepora the owl spotted the band and swooped down from the sky.  “Hoot!  The Wind Fish sleeps long and dreamily in the egg above.  When you play the eight Siren Instruments in front of the egg, he will awaken.  This, my friends, is the only way to defeat the flow of monsters plaguing the island and find your true destiny.” 


“We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us Kaepora.” Link said. 


“Do make haste.  The army of nightmares approaches from the plains, hoot!”  Kaepora said as he flew away to the top of the mountain.  The band mates spent the next few hours climbing from the base camp up to the summit, roughly six thousand feet above sea level.  The sun was getting higher in the sky, and below them to the south, most of the island could be seen, from the luscious green forests of the Mysterious Woods to the raging rapids of the Face Shrine Region. 


Marin passed out the pages containing the musical score.  “Father and I made a discovery that  we wish to share with you all.  In the back cover is a vocal score. They represent the words to the Ballad of the Wind Fish.  Tarin and I will be singing these words along with playing our parts.


Everybody cheered this news, especially Remus and Enzo.  “You’re the best Marin.” Oso said. 


“Right, just don’t be distracted.  Concentrate on playing your own part.  I know we haven’t practiced as much recently, but I know we can make great music if we try.” 


All the band members gave out a cheer as a burst of wind came up the mountain, making everybody hold onto their pages of music for dear life.  Marin sounded a C on the Surf Harp.  The rest of the group sounded the same note.  Tarin led in with the Organ, and Link lightly tapped the drum, establishing a slow, steady beat. 


The Ballad of the Wind Fish: (played to melody/score of The Awakening, by Joseph M Martin)

Full Moon Cello – Richard, deposed King of Kanalet

Conch Horn – Oso the Bear

Sea Lily Bell – Remus the Rabbit

Surf Harp – Marin the Maiden

Wind Marimba – Enzo the Blue Crocodile

Coral Triangle – Zonga the Gorilla

Organ of Evening Calm – Tarin the Artisan

Thunder Drum – Link the Hero of Hyrule


I dreamed a dream

I dreamed a dream

I dreamed a dream, a silent dream, of a land not far away.

Of all who sang, that steeples rang, and tears that fell like rain.


I dreamed a dream, a silent dream

I dreamed a dream, a silent dream

I dreamed a dream, of a land so filled with pride

That every song, both weak and strong

Was attacked, withered, and died.    


I dreamed a dream


The monsters ruled us!

By the power of nightmares!

No song of peace

No lullaby


And no band played to change the world

No horns a blared

No dancers twirled


I dreamed a dream, I dreamed a dream

A silent dream


(All instruments cease except for the triangle and bell, which ring in tandem, sounding an awakening call that is joined by all other instruments, building a great crescendo)


Awake Awake!  Awake Awake!  Awake Awake!  Awake Awake! (repeating)

God of the Fishes!  Lord of the Mountains! (overlapping)



Awake, awake my lord and sing!  A time for praise has come!

The silence of the night has passed!  A new day has begun!


Let this land never die for me!  Forever let my spirit breathe! 

Wherever emptiness is found, let there be light and glorious sound!


Let this land never die for me!  Forever let my spirit breathe!

Let all our voices join as one to praise the Giver of the Song!


Awake Awake!  Wind Fish Awake!  Wind Fish Awake!

(The instruments all come together, building to one final crescendo)




The band mates stopped playing, Marin and Tarin stopped singing, content with the music they had created.  Then the whole mountain began to shake.  Kaepora, who had been sitting atop the egg, was tossed into the air.  After about ten seconds of shaking, the egg began to crack.  With a thunderous cracking sound, the front bottom of the egg gave way, revealing the entrance inside.   Without a word, the band walked inside.


Inside the egg it was very dark.  Link used magic powder to light the torches in the room.  Marin paged through the black book, “Dark Mysteries and Secrets of Koholint.”  She turned to the second to last page, which revealed a map layout of the egg and the directions to get through the maze.  Her, Tarin, and Link huddled for a moment, then they all began walking to the north.  They proceeded into an even darker room.  Marin and Link, at the front of the group, did not see a large pit in the floor.  They fell right in. 


“Aaaaahhh!”  Tarin and Richard shouted in vain from above.  Marin and Link fell for several seconds, deep into the interior of Mount Tamaranch before landing on a very cushy landing pad.  They bounced back up into the air, and eventually came to a stop.  There were four doorways leading out of the room, one in each cardinal direction.


“Well at least the landing was soft.” Link said.  Marin was petrified.  “Don’t worry, we’ll just have to be more careful.” 


“Yes but now we don’t have the book.  We don’t have any idea where we are going.” Marin said.  “We’re lost in a mountain which no resident of Koholint has ever seen before!”  Visibly she began to show signs of panic.  Link sat next to her and put his arms around her.  “We’ve come so far, and we’re not going to give up now.  Think, you probably remember the path.  Just calm your nerves and think.” 


Marin turned to Link.  Something about him made her feel safe, as though she was always protected and never in danger.  She went back into the depths of her mind.  “The first two are to the left.  Then up, then two to the right, then up again.  The last two, I can’t remember, at least not yet.” 


Link smiled.  He took Marin’s hand and they walked into the room on the left.  They walked left into a second room, which looked exactly identical to the first.  They then turned forward, then back to the right for two rooms.  Link continued to examine each room, looking for signs of differences between them.  There wasn’t anything obvious to show that they were on the right track either, but they would find out soon enough. 


After going forward one room, they came to a stop.  The room was very dark.  Link turned back to Marin.  “If we’re on the right path, we’re two rooms away.  Have you remembered the last two moves?”


“After the sixth was a break in the pattern…but I think left is next.  It’s that last one that I just don’t remember.” Marin said.  “I just don’t think it is backward.”   


They continued left, and after entering the seventh room, Link made an executive decision.  “I think the final move has to be forward.  Every dungeon I’ve ever been in, the final boss’s lair is a forward move from the second to last room.  I think this place is no different.” 


Link was right.  When they moved forward, the room fed into a great staircase leading downward.  As they descended, a blue aura seemed to surround the room.  The chamber was square in shape but fairly vast.  At the center of the room was a mural of the Wind Fish. 


“This is it.” Link said. 


“What?” Marin asked. 


“This…is the lair of the supreme nightmare.  It is here, somewhere.”  The hero said.



Chapter 23: The Final Nightmare


Just then, a voice was heard from above.   “We were born of nightmares…to take over this world, we made the Wind Fish sleep endlessly!  If the Wind Fish doesn’t wake up, this island will never disappear!  We would have been the masters of this place!”


“Well that’s too bad, because we’re here to wake the Wind Fish and end your reign of terror!” Link shouted.


“As you say, you had to come here and disrupt our plans!  Heh heh!  You can never defeat us!  Let’s rumble!”  The voice boomed.


Link turned to Marin.  “Go back to the staircase, a great evil is about to appear.  Hurry, now!”  Marin backed away quickly, but never taking her eyes off of Link as she ascended the bottom stairs.  Link continued to look straight ahead.  From out of the floor below, a giant black blob appeared.  The blob moved around the room.  Link tried to cut it with his sword but it sliced right through to no effect.  It almost had the consistency of chu jelly.  Link tried a different strategy and sprinkled magic powder over it.  This caused the blob to bounce rapidly, turning it briefly a yellowish-white before settling back to its black hue. 


The hero saw his opening.  He continued to dump powder onto Nightmare, until it started flashing repeatedly.  As it flashed, it began to take on a new form…one that Link had seen before.  It was hooded, with short arms.  It shot a blast of energy at Link, which he blocked with his sword. 


“Agahnim.” Link said with fury in his voice.  He thought back to the encounter in Hyrule Castle’s highest tower, to that fateful twilight in which Princess Zelda was cast into the Dark World.  Fire burned in his veins.  He awaited the next burst of energy and batted it back with his sword, nailing Agahnim in the chest with it.  The image moved across the room and fired away once again.  Link returned the energy blast again, nailing the image in the chest.  For a third time, Agahnim’s image moved and shot.  This time the shot moved much faster than normal, and struck Link in the chest.  The hero went down hard on his back, his wind temporarily knocked out by the blow.  He heard Marin scream behind him. 


Link got to his knees and his feet, blocking the next shot of energy with his shield.  The image moved once again.  Link readied himself for the blast, which came quickly.  This time he timed his swing perfectly, reflecting the energy back at Agahnim.  The wizardly image took the shot right in the head.  It began to flash repeatedly, and the wizard turned back into an amorphous blob.  It began to morph into an entirely new shape.  It was a worm. 


The large worm came straight at him.  “Moldorm.” Link thought, as he swung at the worm’s head.  The blow forced Link backward into the staircase.  Moldorm’s image looped around the room, exposing its vulnerable tail.  Link moved forward quickly and struck it.  The large worm pivoted back around and swiped at Link with the barbs on its head.  One of the barbs caught him in the right arm.  Link winced in pain but continued forth, slicing the tail twice more, causing the enemy to really speed around the room.  The hero used his shield to keep Moldorm away, and awaited his chance. 


With a jump off the end of the stairs, Link jumped over Moldorm’s head, and came down right on its tail, skewering it to the floor.  The image began to flash again.  Just as before, the image of the Nightmare began to change form.  “You are skilled in your fighting abilities.  But I am skilled in preying on your worst fears.  Fear me now!” The Nightmare shouted.  Link watched as the Nightmare’s form took on a larger shape, one that looked like a giant pig-like beast. 


“Ganon.” Link said calmly, trying to hide the fear that was starting to billow within him.  Seeing the beast again reminded him of their rumble in the Pyramid of Power, one that had left him scarred, battered, and bleeding, almost near death. 


Ganon wielded his trademark pitchfork, and threw it at Link.  He jumped over the weapon with the Roc’s Feather, and moved in for a sword attack.  The blade cut through Ganon’s midsection.  Ganon caught the pitchfork on its return and swung at Link’s head.  The hero blocked the swing with his shield.  Ganon leaned forward and pushed against the blade.  Link struggled to maintain his footing.  With a mighty push he disengaged, then drew his bow.  He sent an arrow flying into Ganon’s head.  Unfazed, Ganon called upon his fire bats, summoning five of them and sending them in a flying formation toward Link.  The hero dodged two of them and sliced a third, but the fourth and fifth landed right against his midsection, burning his tunic yet again. 


Link pressed forward with his Pegasus Boots.  His charge caught Ganon by surprise, and he took the full brunt of Link’s sword right in the abdomen.  Link retreated and charged again, but this time Ganon saw it coming and swung his pitchfork, connecting with Link’s left arm and shoulder.  The blow knocked Link to the floor, right on top of the Wind Fish mural.  Ganon tried to skewer Link with it, but Link kicked furiously, knocking the weapon from Ganon’s arms.  The hero got up quickly and retrieved his sword.  He tried to swing it, but his shoulder wouldn’t allow him to.  It hurt very badly, and it appeared to be out of position.  He dropped his shield and transferred his sword to his right hand. 


Ganon sent more fiery bats against Link.  This time the hero used the magic rod to freeze them in midair.  They fell to the ground and shattered.  Rather shocked by this move, Ganon charged Link with his pitchfork.  Link evaded the move, and fought bravely with his good arm.  He sliced the evil king’s image twice more, then flipped backward to evade another pitchfork strike.  The strike never came though.  Ganon was frozen.  Remembering his battle in the pyramid, Link took out his bow.  Ignoring the pain in his left arm, he strung the bow and fired.  The shot landed right between the eyes. 


“By the power of silver, you are defeated!”  Link shouted.  He closed his eyes and imagined the Fat Fairy of the Pyramid…the one who had bestowed the power of silver upon his bow back in Hyrule.  If the Nightmare could summon his worst fears, he could surely summon his greatest powers to defeat it!  He opened his eyes, and sure enough, Ganon’s form was flashing.  It self-destructed, and the Nightmare morphed back into an amorphous blob.  Link looked back toward Marin, who was barely visible in the darkness.  Her presence gave him strength, even though his body was burned and bent out of shape. 


The amorphous blob turned into a three headed form, or perhaps one with a head and two really long arms.  “To you, the one that would destroy this isle of Koholint…your life ends here!  I give you my true form…the Dethl!”  The Nightmare began to wave his arms around in a circle.  The arms had spiked edges to them, ones that looked really sharp.  Link used his remaining strength to jump over the outstretched arms.  Even the Roc’s Feather could now barely gain him clearance.  He noticed the head open up, revealing a great green eye.  Link knew instantly that this must be the weak point.  He got in close and used his sword, but instead of going through the eye, it bounced off.  It was as though the eye was made of solid rock.  He quickly jumped over the swinging arms again and tried to use his magic rod the second time.  That too, both the ice and fire ends, proved to be ineffective. 


Link tried to jump again, but he mistimed his leap, and the spiked barbs of Dethl’s arms sliced through his right leg.  The hero flipped over, landing on his already injured right arm.  Before he could get up, the other arm of Dethl clipped him, driving him headfirst into the corner wall.  Link groggily tried to get up, using his sword as a weight.  He was in such immense pain, worse perhaps than even that battle in the Pyramid of Power.  He moved forward again, but stayed out of range of the arms long enough to notch an arrow.  When the eye appeared again, Link shot for it.  It landed straight in the eye, a bulls-eye.  Dethl flashed violently, the attack clearly having an impact.  Link quickly shot off two more arrows and connected with both before Dethl’s arms moved in close again.  Link jumped over one arm, but the second changed direction, socking him in the chest on his way down.  His head bounced off of the hard floor.


Link’s consciousness was starting to fade.  He heard Marin scream from above, or what he thought was Marin.  Despite the incredible pain in his arm, his leg, his chest, and his head, he got up and moved forward once again.  He aimed again for the eye, and connected.  Dethl flashed again, this time more rapidly than before.  Link knew that the Nightmare was nearing its final breath.  He jumped over the swinging arm once more, and then took aim again.  His shot was perfect, landing right in the pupil.  The flash was even more violent. 


“Just one more.” Link thought as he ran in close for the final shot.  But before he could get it off, both of the arms came together and sandwiched him, before throwing him backward violently toward the stairs.  He landed with a thud.  His eyes felt like they were swollen shut, and he had not the strength to get up again.  Dethl came toward him, prepared to send him to his grave.  At that moment Link thought of his uncle, but then he thought of Zelda…how could he live with himself leaving her alone in the world?


“Stop!  Stop, that’s enough!  Please, please don’t hurt him any more!” Marin yelled as she tore down the stairs and got between Link and the Nightmare.  She grabbed Link’s shield in a vain attempt to protect both of them.  If he could, he would have had her stand down, but her courage was the only thing between him and certain death. 


“Aha!  My eye must deceive me!” Dethl bellowed.  “We have a young maiden assisting the outsider!  A real nasty trick if I do say, having one of Koholint’s own betray you!” 


“The only betrayal here is you!  You and your monster friends destroyed my hometown!”


“Your village, and the village of the animals were rather nice places until they were sullied by the presence of this one!  He couldn’t leave well enough alone.  If not for him, nothing would have to change!  You realize that this one has sought to destroy this island for no other reason than to leave it and go back home to his precious little kingdom of his!”  Dethl boomed. 


“He is a lad of integrity, a lad of virtue.  He wanted nothing to do with your kind until you sought to ruin the peace and sanctity of Koholint!” Marin shouted, the fury in her voice rising higher than Link had ever seen. 


Dethl stopped swinging its arms.  Its eye opened wide, peering straight through at Marin.  Its voice changed to one of calm.  “Young maiden, listen to what I have to say.  Koholint is a lawless isle.  It is one in which anything can happen to anybody at any moment.  The Wind Fish was responsible for this when it was created within the mind.  We, the nightmares, sought to bring order to this place.  We sought to protect it from outside invasion.  It was not our intention to promote such violence, but once this lad began claiming the Instruments of the Sirens, and brainwashing residents like you to help him destroy this place, we had to be more forceful.”


Marin came to her feet, but said nothing. 


“I’ll make you a deal.” Dethl said.  “I will see to it that you and your father are made supreme monarchs of this island.  You’ll have everything you want, my comrades and I will see to it.  Do not oppose us.  Forget this lad, allow me to drive him to his death, and you’ll be the savior of this island, our island.  What say you?” 


Link looked on with fright, his eyes bloodshot.  Surely this was the end.  Marin put one arm behind her back, and registered her response.


“I’d rather die than live in a nightmare!”


Marin’s hand exploded forward, revealing her engraved purple boomerang.  It flew straight into the eye of Dethl, slicing right through the pupil.  Immediately, the supreme Nightmare flashed uncontrollably.  “This…island…is going to disappear.  Our world…is going to disappear…our world, our……world.” Dethl bemoaned as it breathed its last.  It exploded into a thousand pieces.  A great light moved into the room, and it coalesced together just behind the Wind Fish mural, forming a grand set of stairs.  Marin turned around to Link, who was bleeding badly on his leg and midsection. 


“I can’t get up…I think my leg is broken.” Link said.


Marin said nothing, but gave Link her hands.  She got him up and helped carry him on her shoulders.  Slowly they ascended the stairs.  Never the strongest physically, Marin labored to carry the hero’s weight, but she refused to give up.  The room turned into that of a starry décor, complete with yellow and white stars and clouds with specks of blue, green, and pink.  After several minutes of climbing, Marin and Link reached a great platform at the top of the stairs. 

To their surprise, the first thing they saw atop the platform was Kaepora. 


“Hoot hoot!  Young lad, young lady, I mean…Link and Marin, the hero and heroine of Koholint.  You have defeated the Nightmares!  You have proven your wisdom, courage, and power.  As part of the Wind Fish’s spirit, I am the guardian of his dream world.” 


Link and Marin looked at one another, then turned back toward Kaepora.


“That’s how you knew everything you knew about the island, and why you told me to go to certain places!” Link said. 


“Indeed.  One day, the nightmares entered the dream of the Wind Fish, and began wreaking havoc.  That’s when you showed up Link, to rescue the island.” Kaepora said. 


Marin’s face beamed.  “I knew Dethl was lying.  The nightmare tried to tell me that Link was the reason that the monsters starting attacking.  But I knew better than that!” 


“I have always trusted in your courage, both of you.” Kaepora said.  “Thank you.  My work is now complete.  The wind fish will now awaken.  Good bye, hoot!” 


Kaepora’s image faded out, and a giant whale appeared in front of them, exactly the same shape as that of the mural they had seen before.


“I am the Wind Fish.  Long has been my slumber.  In my dreams, an egg appeared, and it was surrounded by an island.  It had people, animals, an entire world!  But verily, it be the nature of dreams to end!  When I awaken, Koholint will be gone.  Only the memory of this dream land will exist in the waking world.”


“So it is true then…the island will disappear, along with its inhabitants?” Marin asked. 


“Yes.  However, in return for your efforts, I shall grant to you what you desire.” The deity said.


Link prodded Marin in the back.  She gave him a look.  “This is what you traveled here for.  Don’t be bashful, you earned this.” Link told her.  “Without you I would have never made it.” 


Marin smiled.  She turned to the Wind Fish.  “I wish that my father and I might find our true home someday, and to have the ability to travel through the air, all over the world.  Last, I wish that Koholint’s residents may find their true destiny, whatever it may be.” 


Link nodded.  “I wish for continued peace and sanctity, and that I may return safely home to Hyrule, so that I may once again be with my beloved, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda.  May we never be separated from this day forward.” 


Marin shot Link an adoring glance.  Link blushed for a brief moment.  The Wind Fish cast a shadow over the two for a brief moment and sparks shot out of the spout on its back.  “Someday, thou may recall this island…that memory must be the real dream world.  Come Link and Marin, let us awaken together.” 


The Wind Fish disappeared from sight.  At that moment, the eight Instruments of the Sirens began to play.  The Ballad of the Wind Fish rang out through the chamber. 


“Before we part, I just want you to know, how thankful I am.  For everything you have done, I am in your debt.” Marin told Link. 


“You’re a fine young lady.  It was my honor to have explored this island with you.”  Link responded.


The two embraced one another as the ballad continued.  At the conclusion of the song, the whole chamber began to shake uncontrollably.


“So this is goodbye…”


A giant burst of water rushed into the chamber, throwing the two high into the sky.





Link could hear the gentle sound of the ocean.  He gently opened his eyes, seeing nothing but water all around him.  His arms hung over the end of a makeshift wooden raft.  Link slowly pulled himself out of the water and sat up on the raft.  He looked out over the water and saw nothing but open ocean in all directions.  The sun was high in the sky, the sea calm. 


He noticed something over to his left, what appeared to be a mast or sail of some kind.  He noticed a small flag at the end of the mast.  He swam across to it and rummaged through it with his hands.  Through it all, he noticed the colors of the Hyrulian crown at the end of the mast.  There could be no doubt that this was the remains of his ship.  But how had he gotten here?  Of course!  The storm had caused him to shipwreck, but with the island of Koholint gone, cast asunder back into the dream world from which it came, all that was left was ocean.


“My pack will tell me if this is real.”  Link thought to himself.  He rummaged through the halfway waterlogged sack and picked out a piece of parchment.  He unfurled the damp paper, revealing his signed peace agreement with the King Marxis of Marith.  The ink was blotted in a few spots but otherwise was still in good condition.


Link looked up high in the sky.  The sun shone brightly, until something flew between it and him.  The hero noticed the noise permeating across the sea.  It was the Wind Fish…gliding through the air with its mystical wings.  It turned around toward Link and looked back at him for several seconds before pivoting backward and flying off into the distance.  They had done as it had foretold, they had awakened together.  This was the real world. 


Suddenly Link became very afraid.  “What am I going to do out here?” He thought.  “I could be hundreds of miles from land.  What if nobody finds me?”  These thoughts rambled through his mind for several minutes.  He sat there silently, legs protruding into the water.  The sun’s rays were merciless, beating down on him.  Then out of the corner of his eye, he saw something else emerge above him.  Whatever it was, it was getting bigger, and closing in fast.  He looked up again to see the feminine figure of Marin.


She had wings on her back.  Her beautiful blue dress shone brightly along with her beaming skin and hair.  She did several loops in the air before flying down to water level alongside Link.  The two of them came within several feet of one another, almost close enough to reach out to the other’s hand.  It was then that Marin’s lips mouthed two words, a whisper in the wind.


“Thank you.” 


Marin turned and flapped her wings, quickly flying out of sight.  But when Link looked down, he noticed something tied to the outside edge of his pack.  It was a pouch of sorts.  He opened it, revealing a letter. 


“To Link, the Hero of Koholint,

With your help the evil has been driven away from the seas.  All who called the dream world home have been saved from their bonds, free to find their true home and purpose.  My dream to see the world has been realized.  Someday my father and I will reunite with the rest of our family, perhaps in a land of paradise yet to be found.  We went through so much together, and I didn’t know how to thank you, so I left you an artifact for your beloved.  Tell her how you truly feel, you won’t regret it.

I’ll never forget you. 

Marin, the Maiden of Subconscious.”


Link looked deep into the bottom of the pouch.  In it was a ring!  The ring itself was made of gold, and had eight small diamonds engraved and set in an octagonal formation.  One large diamond in the shape of Turtle Rock was the centerpiece.  By royal standards it wasn’t gaudy, but Link cared not.  How did it get here?  It was as though a higher power was at work.


“This is for you Zelda, if I ever get home.” Link thought.  The hours moved by slowly.  Link noticed the sun dropping.  The yellow turned to orange, then to red.  As the last flickers of light left the sky, Link noticed something on the horizon.  It was a ship!  Through the last glimmers of light he could make out the colors of the Kingdom of Marith flying atop the mast.  He immediately pulled out his sword along with a medallion with a lightning bolt on it.  He raised the sword high atop his head and within seconds a great burst of arctic wind streamed downward from the sky.  It rotated all around him, and then spread out in all directions.  “They’ll feet that.” 


Link quickly replaced the Ether Medallion with the Bombos Medallion.  He raised his sword high once again, and fiery embers spread out in all directions.  They were followed by explosions that lit up the skies over the ocean.  Link waited in hopes that somehow, the ship did not miss his magical show.  Sure enough, the ship came towards him.  It dropped anchor near the wreckage, and a man who appeared to be the ship’s captain called out to Link. 


“Who are you and how did you get here?”  The captain asked. 


“My name is Link of Hyrule.  I was sailing back from Marith when my ship was lost in a great storm.  I was very lucky to survive on what is left of it.” 


Another man, perhaps the ship’s first mate, came forward.  “Your name is Link?  I have it on good word that you were with our royal family just days ago.  Our kingdom is friendly with yours now.  Please, come aboard, we will hoist you out of there!” 


Once aboard the ship, Link was seen to the captain’s quarters, where he was given a dry set of clothes to replace his sunken, salt-stained tunic.  Once he had changed and scrubbed most of the salt away, he came to the table for a bite. 


“I understand you have an agreement with our king, is that right?”  The captain said. 


Link produced the slightly soaked treaty.  The captain smiled.  “There are plenty of dangers in these waters.  This agreement will help us face those dangers head on.  We are very lucky to have found you.”


“I must say that I was the lucky one here.  Without you and your crew I would have perished.”


“Do not worry about that, it was nothing at all.” The captain said.  “Besides, I have an inkling that you will be of great assistance to us.  We are on course for the Sea of Labrynna.  We will disembark in Sandtopolis in a day’s time.” 


Link did anything but sleep for the next day.  Upon seeing the Hyrulian coastline, his heart and soul jumped.  He ran off the ship and kissed the sands, saying a prayer to Din, Nayru, and Farore as he did so.  After the landing in Sandtopolis, he bid the captain and his friendly crew farewell and made his way for the mountains separating Hyrule’s port from Lake Hylia.  Less than two days later he was moving quickly across the swamps of southern Hyrule, moving closer and closer to his uncle’s house.  In the late afternoon, despite the blisters, insect bites, sunburn, and fatigue of the long journey, Link arrived back at his rightful home. 


His uncle was sitting on the ledge just in front of the house and saw him coming.  A smile came to his face as he saw his nephew, the hero of Hyrule, emerge from the swampy grasslands. 


“Link, it’s great to have you back home safe.  I’m so glad to see you again!” His uncle said, putting his arm around Link’s shoulders.  Link said nothing initially, but beckoned for his uncle to follow him.  “What, what’s going on?” His uncle asked. 


“It’s a surprise.” Link said.  They continued up the dirt path, until it merged with a cobblestone path about a half mile to the north.  The sun continued to set.  After about an hour of walking the two had reached the gates of Hyrule Castle.  The guards immediately noticed Link and his uncle and let them through.  Several guards accompanied them into the courtyard, where others sent for King Harkinian and Princess Zelda. 


When they emerged a few minutes later, Link was simply spellbound.  He noticed Zelda’s elegant pink gown, her face naturally glowing and her blond hair shimmering in the twilight.  She was even more beautiful than he had remembered her before his voyage.  In that moment, with his uncle and her father as his witnesses, she was all he ever wanted. 


“I am grateful for your safe return.  Welcome back Link.” Harkinian said.  “Do you have news from the Kingdom of Marith?


“I do your highness.” Link said.  He produced the peace treaty and gave it to Impa, the royal family’s caretaker.  She looked over it briefly and smiled.  She gave it to Harkinian, who briefly adjusted his spectacles and began to read.  When he finished, he also smiled at Link.  “You have proven yourself in more ways than I ever thought possible.” Harkinian said.  “With this, you have secured us a valuable ally in the fight to secure the seas and to free Labrynna from the clutches of the tyrants to the south.  I cannot thank you enough for all you have done, not to mention that we would still be under the reign of the evil Ganondorf were it not for you.  Your adventures are legendary, and I have no doubt that you will embark on many more before you are through.  Your energy and appetite for life itself seems boundless.”  Harkinian lauded. 


“With all due respect, your highness, there is something that I wish to have much more than any adventure could give me.”  Link said. 


“And what is that, young hero?” Harkinian asked. 


Link shuffled past Impa, and stood in front of Zelda.  “Ever since you talked to me telepathically on that stormy night, I knew that you were special.  Though adventures have kept me away, in spirit we have always sought one another’s presence.  No matter what course history or this country took, fate would always bring us together.  At this moment I wish to seal that fate.”


Link dropped to one knee.  Zelda’s eyes immediately grew wide, and she threw her hands up over her face.  The guards looked on in stunned disbelief. 


“Princess Zelda, will you marry me?”  Link asked. 


Zelda didn’t even have to think about it.  She took one glance at her father, and then leapt into Link’s arms.  “Yes, yes Link yes!” She squealed, tears overcoming her.  Link took out the ring that Marin had somehow left in his pack and put in on her finger.  It fit perfectly!  The hero and the princess came together with a beautiful kiss, encouraging many noises from the onlooking guards as well as several of Zelda’s ladies-in-waiting.


Link turned back around and hugged his uncle, and Zelda did the same with Impa.  Then the newly engaged hero and princess held hands in the middle of the circle. 


“So this is where your heart lies, my daughter?” Harkinian said with a smile.  “I should have known, all those suitors and princes of other kingdoms could not possess the chivalry, kindness, and loyalty that which Link does.  Such pompous, rich folk born of luxury could never make you happy like our great hero could.  But I would have never guessed that the flame of exploration would have been so quickly extinguished by such a sudden, strong young love.”


Harkinian turned back to Link.  “What happened to you out in that ocean, Link?”


Link smiled at Zelda.  “You would have never believed it if I told you…your highness.”


Harkinian revealed an egg in his right hand, and tossed it briefly into the air.  “Try me.”









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