Chapter Three: The Quest Begins
I looked at the hero, sitting proud and tall on that horse of his, and felt a mix of emotions seeping through me. Happiness. Anger. Love. Hate. The mixture of mismatched emotions congealed together to form who I was- Sheik, a Sheikiah, suffering from internal turmoil.
Or at least, that's who I kept reminding myself who I was.
I looked upon the hero, my hero, and felt love seep through my every bone. He was riding tall and proud upon the back of his beautiful horse, Epona, who was loaded down with bags. She didn't seem to mind, though- it made me wonder just what Link had in those bags, just what he had seen.
"Going somewhere, hero?" I ask, trying to keep my voice from quaking.
"Yes," said Link, "and you're coming with me."
"Me?" I ask. "I wasn't informed of this earlier."
"You're coming with me," said Link. "I need you." There was a fire burning behind his eyes.
"Need? You need me, Link?" I gulped, confused. Link nodded.
"That's right. I need your knowledge. I need you to guide me. I'm in this war, whether you like it or not, and I need you to tell me everything you know. I need you to come with me, to be my partner." Link chewed on the inside of his cheek.
"I'll only be a liability to you, hero," I said. Link shook his head.
"I'm used to fighting for two, if not more. But I need a guide. I need someone who knows something about what's going on. Please, Sheik. Come with me. Help me. Be my guide- I need to know where to go."
"Why?" I asked, doing my best to keep from whispering. "Why?"
"Because I love this world," said Link. "I've shed gallons of my own blood to keep her safe, and I'm not about to let some dark lord crush this land. I'm doing it for the sages, and for the princess."
"Why the princess? And why do you need me?" I asked, totally taken aback.
"The princess, because she is my inspiration- it was the idea of her, of fulfilling her wishes and saving the land she so loved, that kept me going throughout my last quest in Hyrule, and so it will be again. I want to do anything I can to help her," said Link, clenching his fist.
"You know," I said, my heart fluttering within me, "I knew the princess very well."
"How?" asked Link. I smiled lightly, though I knew Link couldn't see it.
"My mother, Impa," I said, "was the princess' attendant for many years, do you not recall?"
"Yes…" said Link slowly. I nodded, lying as reasonably as I could.
"I grew up in the palace, alongside the princess. She was my childhood friend. But, not long after Ganondorf first arrived, my mother sent me away to train to become a Sheikiah warrior."
"Oh," said Link. He then squinted at me. "Didn't the princess and her attendant disappear the same night that I met you?" My heart thudded in my cage. How would I cover for this?
"Yes," I said. "The princess was in the very house that you slept in. We were hiding her until we could help her to a safer place where she could work against the oncoming war."
"I see," said Link. "But…" I waved my hand.
"No more questions, Hero. My turn to ask. What is it you plan to do? I told you not to get involved…"
"I love this land as much as I love this horse here," said Link, fondly stroking Epona's neck. "You told me not to get involved, but I can't not get involved when it comes to Hyrule and the well being of her people. And I plan to stop this war, even at the cost of my life. I will stop Ganondorf again. It is him that's causing all these problems, isn't it?" he asked me. I nodded once.
"Nobly spoken, Hero," I said, touched. "Well, I suppose the first thing we must to is ascend to the evil realm."
"Why?" Link asked me, confused. I looked pointedly at him.
"Because that's where Ganondorf is right now. We can't defeat him yet, however, there's matters we must take care of there first if we wish to defeat him."
"Matters like what?" Link asked. "Isn't it a void?" I shuddered at this.
"It would be better if it were. The evil realm is an exact copy of Hyrule, but without any of the good. Ganondorf leeched it all out when he acquired the Triforce of power so long ago. So, our first order of business would be going through the evil realm and making it good again."
"How?" Link asked. I blinked.
"Hero, you should know this. When Ganondorf reigned over Hyrule, the evils he inflicted on our world leeched from the temples, remember? So we'll have to go through and defeat the temples all over again."
"Oh…" mumbled Link, scratching the back of his neck. "I see."
I nodded to Epona. "Take her to Malon," I said. "She'll keep care of her whilst we're gone. Only take what will be useful," I added, noting the many saddlebags. Link nodded, and quickly opened several bags, extracting what looked to be masks.
"What are you doing?" I asked him as he shoved a mask that resembled a mummy into his bag.
"Masks," Link explained.
"Why do you need masks, hero?" I asked, thinking that surely, Link had lost his marbles. Link sighed, pulled out a mask that looked rather like a child's interpretation of a statue face, and placed on his face.
And was gone.
"Hero?" I asked tentatively. Link reappeared, pulling off the masks.
"I'm packing my six most useful masks," he said. "The Zora, deku, and Goron masks transform me into those creatures, then there's the stone mask, which causes invisibility, the gibdo mask, which keeps gibdos and redeads away from me, and the fierce deity's mask, which will aid in our final battle."
"Where did you get them?" I asked, walking over to him and picking out a mask that looked rather like an evil man's hooded head. Link shivered.
"Put that one back," he said. "It calls the dead. The mask is stained with blood." I shivered lightly as well and put the mask back in its bag, wondering why Link possessed such a thing.
"I acquired it in Termina, on my quest for my fairy," he said, then pulled out a great multitude of swords and shields, and I wondered how he managed to fit so much into so few bags. Link handed me a shining shield with a screaming face upon it.
"Mirror shield," he said, and then handed me two swords- one sword very much like a golden dagger, the other one long with swirling characters, and, to my infinite amusement, very pink and very sparkly.
"Great Fairy's Sword," he said, frustrated at my amusement. "Go hit a tree with it." I obliged, if only to amuse my hero, and swung the sword at a tree.
The tree snapped in half.
"Holy Din," I exclaimed. Link nodded.
"It's a bit fruity, but I figure anyone who sees it is dead in one blow anyway. That'll be your sword- it should even us out a bit."
"Right then," I said, putting the sword in its sheath and slinging it across my back. He also presented me with a bow and a multitude of magical arrows, a hookshot, and two bomb bags- one for regular bombs, and another for bombchus. I packed it all into my own Sheikiah bag, which was nice in that it shrank everything down enough so that I could carry it with me. I figured Link had several too, when he pulled out…
"A keg?" I asked skeptically, and noticed what care Link was handling it with.
"A powder keg," Link said. "I only have one of these. It's… very, very strong. Very dangerous. Don't worry, though," he said as I took a step back. "It won't explode on us until I detonate it." He magically packed it into another bag, which he slung over his shoulder.
"Right," he said. "That should be everything we need. Oh, wait," he said, and threw two tunics at me- a red and a blue.
"Good foresight," I commented, stashing them in my own bag. Link nodded and tucked a small book into his own bag… was it a journal? He apparently saw my curious glance.
"Every single song I ever learned," he said. "Very useful." He then walked to his horse and murmured something into her ear. She whinnied and he slapped her rump. She trotted away through the woods.
"Are you sure that was wise, Hero?" I asked him worriedly. Link nodded.
"I'm certain. Epona can handle herself. Are we ready to go, Sheik?" he asked me. I pulled out my harp.
"Ready when you are, Hero," I said. Link grinned and pulled out the ocarina of time, and together we played the Prelude of Light, being whisked off to the temple of time as we played in sweet unison.
"Sheik…" Link said to me once we'd arrived.
"Yes, Hero?" I asked him.
"When we get back from this… thing, there's something more I want you to help me with," he said to me.
"What?" I asked him guardedly.
"You see, the thing is… I need to catch the Masked Mystique. Do you know anything about h- them?" he asked. I sucked in my breath- the weight of his journal was present in my bag and now it seemed to be weighing me down.
"I will help you if I can. I do not know much about them, but I can try and be of assistance," I half-lied. Link nodded and smiled at me, his beautiful blue eyes crinkling.
"Thank you, Sheik," he said.
"No problem, Hero. Now, don't we have an evil realm to ascend to?"
"Aye," said Link, making his way towards the altar of time and briefly touching each stone. They rose into the air and whirled, and the Triforce above the doors of time grew bright. Behind me, the temple doors slammed magically shut- a precaution the sages had taken since Ganondorf's unexpected intrusion upon Link's first venture into the sacred realm. Link stepped into the room, and I followed him, both of us making our way to the pedestal of time. Link pulled the sword from his back, looked at it once or twice, and then plunged it roughly into the pedestal of time. Blue light encircled us, and I gripped Link so that I would not be left behind. Together, we flew towards the ceiling of the temple, but astoundingly did not hit it. We rose into the sky, higher and higher, surrounded by blue, until…
I landed unsteadily on my feet and let go of Link's stomach. He held tight to the master sword still, steady as a rock. I blew some strands of blonde hair out of my red eyes and tanned face, and turned to Link.
"This is definitely the place," I said, looking around the temple. It was the same as the temple of time, and yet… different. Somehow, though, I knew. It was exactly like it had been so long ago…
"I agree," said Link, giving the master sword an anxious glance as we made our way out of the pedestal room. Something seemed off, though, somehow…
Sure enough, the seals on the floor of the temple were all reversed, as were the windows, the stones…
"How odd," Link commented, feeling across his back for a gigantic sword. "I don't like it."
"Me neither," I said, "but that's the evil realm. Now come on- we're far too close to Ganondorf's center of operations. We need to go to the forest temple. Come on," I said. Link nodded, and pulled out his ocarina.
"No," I said. "The song is void here, because we're not in Hyrule. That's not the song we need to play. Play it backwards," I said. Link gave me an odd glance, and then a light clicked behind his eyes.
"Oh," he said. "Right. That makes sense, considering everything else is backwards here…"
"Yes," I said. Link thought for a moment, fingering his ocarina, then began to play. I played along with him, and we were swept up in bubbles of green light.
"Is this the lost woods?" Link gasped, looking around. The trees were all black, dead… evil. The temple above us was resplendent in marble beauty, as perfect as the day it was first built, but still, there was something wrong.
"Look," I said in a whisper, making my way up to one of the 'marble' columns. I touched one of the stripes in the marble, and pulled my hand back, my fingers covered in a sticky, purple-red substance. "It's blood."
"We're in the evil realm, alright," said Link with a shudder. I wiped the blood off on a tree, and looked to the door of the temple.
"Well," I said weakly, "shall we enter?"
"Right," said Link, still looking a little shaken. He walked in before I did, drawing the massive sword resting across his back. I did the same, and we both groped for our mirror shields. We stood in the middle of a courtyard of sorts, filled with beautiful plants blooming. I shivered.
"Link, do you see that pink plant over there?" I asked him. He nodded. I tore off a small bandage from my hands and tossed it at the pink plant, which came alive, sprouting massive jaws with acid green bile dripping from its pointed teeth. It gobbled up the cloth quickly and went back to being a beautiful flower. Link shuddered.
"This place is sick."
We continued into the next room, where there was a locked door. Link turned to me.
"Well," he said, "locked. If I remember correctly from when I did this the first time, there was a key in the previous room…somewhere."
"Yick," I said at the thought of going back into the twisted garden. Link's eyes went wide.
"Duck, Sheik!" he said. I hit the ground and rolled, looking up as a gigantic spider covered in blood fell from the ceiling. Link slashed at it with his sword and it screamed and combusted into blue flames. I stood up with a shudder.
"You alright?" he asked me. I nodded.
"You?" I asked. Link nodded, and we both made our ways back into the previous room.
"By Din, this place is messed up," I muttered as we looked around the toxic garden. "Where would a key be?" Link and I both looked around, and suddenly, I spotted something unusual.
"Link," I said, "there's something different about the soil in the far left corner, do you see?" I asked him, pointing. "The soil is a light brown near here, but over there it's black. What do you think?"
"Hm," said Link. "I'm going to check it out. Stay here, keep on your toes."
"Of course," I said. Link unsheathed the mighty sword again and slashed at one of the disgusting pink flowers that was growing over the soil. Instantly, the entire garden came to life, crawling, creeping, spitting, and chomping. Link ran back over to me.
"Uh oh," he said as we stood, back to back, swords raised against the carnivorous flowers. "You ready to fight?"
"Ready as ever," I said, tightening my grip on the Great Fairy's Sword.
"Alright," said Link. "Go for it." We both dove into the flowers, chopping, cutting, hacking… finally, the entire garden combusted into blue flames. I shielded my eyes, and, when the fire cleared, I whirled around and found Link inspecting the corner where there was black soil.
"A switch," he said. "Clever." An odd noise echoed through the room, and a chest appeared in the middle of the room. Link kicked it open, and pulled out a key.
"Right, well," he said, "solves that problem."
We proceeded back into the next room, very aware of our surroundings, opened the door, and entered the main chamber of the temple. As the door opened, the lights grew bright, then dimmed, revealing four different colored torches in the middle of the room, as well as a lift, which sank into the ground. I kept a tight grip on the Great Fairy's Sword as the lights in the middle began to swirl, then transformed into four ghastly Poe ghosts, cackling and vanishing. Link smiled grimly.
"At least they haven't gotten any more gruesome," he said. I nodded. Link pointed over to the left.
"Come on, Sheik," he said. "This way first." We ascended a staircase into a small hallway. Another of the bloody spiders descended quickly from the ceiling, but this time, Link and I were ready for it. Link hacked it apart magnificently, with the brutal skill of an excellent swordsman.
After all, Link was only the best swordsman of all time.
Link displayed his excellent skill time after time as rooms began to blend together. Finally, we came out in a room with a large staircase and a black painting.
"Look, Link," I said, pointing. "There's something strange about that painting…"
"Blast," Link hissed. "Lovely. I always hated this part."
I decided not to ask what he meant. Link drew out his bow and arrow and crept up the stairs on his belly. I wished I had a camera. He drew his arrow and shot- I heard the unearthly scream of a Poe. A ghost appeared in the painting, screamed at me, cackled, and vanished. I saw Link creep around the corner of the stairs, then vanish, and then that unearthly scream came again. The ghost appeared in the painting before me again, trapped. Link came down the stairs.
"You ready?" he asked me. I nodded. He smacked an arrow into the middle of the painting and the ghost screamed and whirled, then combusted and appeared before our very eyes.
"Sheik, stairs," Link instructed. I nodded and hurried to them, and the battle began between Link and the Poe. I watched in fascination as the ghost made itself invisible and hovered around, detectable only by the lantern it carried. Link would always pull out his hook shot, though, and wait until the Poe returned to full visibility.
Then he would strike.
"Finally," Link muttered when the Poe screamed once more and erupted into flames, leaving behind a handful of arrows. "I thought that would never end."
"How many more times do you have to do that?" I asked him.
"If I remember properly," he said, kicking open a small chest, "it's once. Then we have a puzzle to solve, we battle the head poe, and then there's the boss battle just after that."
"Aren't we lucky," I said sarcastically. Link nodded and sat on the ground.
"At least this wing of the temple is clear," he said. "Or should be, at least. Sorry, Sheik, but I'm starving," he told me. I nodded as he pulled out a loaf of bread from his bag and bit in. He tore off a massive chunk and handed it to me. I carefully pulled down the bottom of my collar and ate the bread, grateful that Link had thought to feed me, too.
"So, Sheik," Link said, and I looked up, halfway through swallowing. "What are you planning on doing once we clean up this mess? What do you want to do with your life?"
I gulped, the rest of the bread sliding roughly down my throat. How to answer this… I certainly couldn't tell him that I had every intention of spending the rest of my life by his side in any way I could, nor could I say that I planned on going back to my old life. No. Impa and I had left for just that reason.
"I plan on making a difference," I said to him, my red eyes meeting his crystalline blue ones. "And I will do it in any way I can."
"Determined, aren't we?"
"Yes," I said to him. "But I love y-" I broke off, my eyes widening at what I'd just said, and inserted a huge coughing fit to cover what I'd just nearly said.
"You okay, Sheik?" Link asked, thumping me on the back. I nodded and straightened.
"Sorry about that. Like I was saying, I love nothing more than the land of Hyrule, and am willing to do anything I can to bring her to the beauty that she once had."
"That's noble," said Link, leaning back against the wall. "But… don't you want a family? Something to make your life concrete? Helping Hyrule will only get you so far…. I learned that the hard way…" he said softly. A pang echoed within my heart.
"Yes," I said softly. "I would like a family. However," I said, choosing my words carefully, "I do not think it will happen. The one I love shows no sign of returning my affections. I watch from afar. I do not think I can have that."
"Sure you can," said Link. "It's just a matter of waiting for that person to come to their senses," he said with a nod.
"What about you, Hero?" I asked, leaning back against the wall as well. "What do you want to do?"
"Well," Link said, thinking, "I'll probably go on a quest of sorts to find the missing pieces of my past that I can't remember, if I haven't found them by the time you and I are done. Then I suppose I'll travel around Hyrule, helping people where they need it."
"What about the whole love thing?" I asked him. Link sighed.
"I don't know what love is. I've never felt it. I'm hoping to fall in love someday, but I'm thinking that I might already be in love, and don't know it, and never will."
"Why do you say that?" I asked Link. He shrugged.
"Well, I mean, girls don't interest me- but I'm straight, I know that much," he added hastily. I smiled lightly. He continued. "Sure, I think they're pretty and all, but none of the girls that I know are girls I'd want to be in a relationship with. I don't know. I think that maybe I'm in love already, but with who? I thought maybe it was someone from my alternate future, but that's been scratched out because I never loved then, I don't think. And it's not someone from my travels, because I never knew anyone well enough for that. I just don't know, Sheik."
"You'll figure it out sometime, Hero," I said, hope welling within my chest. "I'm sure of it."
"Yeah, I guess so," said Link. "Come on," he said, standing up and offering me his hand. I took it, and he hauled me to my feet. "We've got a temple to clean."
"Ngh!" Link gave a final grunt and whacked apart the spinning purple Poe, which combusted into purple flames and lit the last of the four torches. I stepped forward from where I'd taken security.
"Well done, Hero," I said to him. Link nodded and sat down on the ground, breathing heavily. I fished a bottle of red potion sympathetically out of my pouch and handed it to him. He downed it in one gulp and made a face, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
"That stuff is nasty," he grimaced. "I'm feeling much better, though." The elevator rose out of the middle of the ground, and Link looked to it.
"Well," he said. I nodded. "Down we go. How long have we been in here, Sheik?" he asked me suddenly. I thought hard for a moment.
"I'd say about half a day, by my estimation."
"Well, we can't stop now," said Link. "Boss battle time." I nodded.
"If we leave the temple, the evil will regenerate and we'll have to go through and clean it out again after we defeat the boss."
"Yeah," nodded Link. I looked at him and he looked at me, and we made our way towards the elevator, cramming ourselves onto the tiny box-like structure. Down it went, and quickly landed in a room carpeted in red and blue. Link exhaled and studied the walls.
"This room isn't too bad," he told me. I nodded.
"We just push the walls around in a circle, right?" I asked.
"Yeah," said Link, beginning to push. I stopped him.
"Link, you rest," I said. "I'll take care of this so you have all your energy for the boss battle."
"Thank you, Sheik," he said gratefully, sitting down on the ground and removing his pack. I began to push on the wall as he rested, solving the puzzle of the chests and spiders. Finally, the door to the boss battle was clear and open. I walked over to Link and looked down at him.
"You ready?" I asked him. He nodded and stood, brushing himself off and pulling on his pack.
"Sheik, you stay here," he told me. I nodded.
"I know. In a major battle, I'll only be a liability. Don't worry. I'll stay here. Good luck, Hero," I said do him. He nodded.
"Thanks, Sheik," he told me, and walked towards the boss arena with his head held high. He unlocked the chains covering the door, entered, and then I was alone.
"Oh, Link," I mumbled, taking off my turban and raking my hands through my short blonde hair. Tears welled behind my eyes, making them redder than ever as I stared at the door to the boss chamber. I took a shuddering gasp and began to sob.
"Why?" I wailed. "Why do I always have to hide behind masks?" I drew Link's journal out from my small side bag, and threw it down upon the ground, glaring at it.
"A thousand curses upon this evil realm," I said vehemently. "Were it not for this cursed land, I wouldn't have three faces, but one!"
Feeling the hot tears coursing down my face, in a desperate search for comfort, I recounted a prayer Impa had taught me long ago. "One for the family who I so love, two for the dead in the stars above. Three for the land where my life did start, four for the man who I've given my heart." I began to relax. "Five prayers I send to the goddesses above, for myself, my family, the stars, land, and love."
I slumped down, drained, but warmed.
"Three faces," I mumbled, studying the back of my left hand, which was bound to conceal the mark of the Triforce. "Just like three triangles…"
"Yes," I heard the Triforce of wisdom speaking to my mind. "The three holy triangles. Alone they are strong, united they are beautiful and unstoppable. Like your three faces."
"The face of the thief," I mumbled, tilting my head back and staring at the sky. "The 'Masked Mystique', goddesses how I hate that name. She stalks by night, speaking to none, taking what she knows she will need to survive.
"The face of the shadow warrior, who wields the power of words more often than the blade of strength. Mystifying and unknown, Sheik is the most helpful of the three, though he is more often than not invisible to those who are not looking for him.
"Lastly," I said, sighing, and stopped. "The princess. Widely known. Widely loved. Widely admired. She's the light of Hyrule, some say. She can wield the power of her authority like the deadliest blade; however, she prefers to dream." I sighed and buried my face in my hands. "She is the one who loves. She is the one doomed to unhappiness." I heard a loud crash come from the boss arena, and sighed.
"Link can take care of himself," I reminded myself through my worry. "Your hero and love can look after himself well." I grabbed the journal and clutched it to my chest, rocking my body back and forth for comfort. "He has proved as much," I whispered. "He's proven it a thousand times once, then a thousand times over. He's seen the unthinkable, endured the unspeakable. He deserves nothing more than my love, and I wish with all my heart to give that to him, and not hide behind a false face."
I sat there in silence for a while, listening to the rumblings going on in the boss battle, worrying so much it felt that my heart would break in two.
"I will make my own wish come true," I finally whispered when the noises began to dull. I placed my turban on my head and stood, straightening myself up. I pushed Link's journal into the bottom of my bag, and spoke to myself as a great inhuman roar came from the battle, then all was silent. "I will wait until this mess is over, and then I will reveal everything to him. My hopes, my dreams, my fears, my heart. I will give him everything- he will love me."
"Sheik?" the door to the boss battle opened. I made my way inside.
"Link," I said, giving him a good look up and down. "You're wounded."
"Yeah," he said. One of his eyes was black, thick blood was dripping down from a cut above his eyebrow, and a hole had been burnt through his right sleeve, scorching the skin raw pink. "I'm in terrible shape. You should've seen the devil, though," he snickered, inclining his head to a platform above us. I fished around in my bag and pulled out another bottle of red potion.
"Drink it," I instructed him. He nodded, uncorked it, downed the bottle, grimaced, and handed it back to me.
"Blegh," he said. "Well, come on," he told me, climbing a staircase that led to the platform. "Let's go see what the chamber of sages has in store for us."
"You go first," I said to him, indicating to the blue light in the platform. Link shook his head, smiling.
"Nah," he said to me. "We're partners. We go together."
"Partners," I said. I smiled at him lightly, and he in turn grinned. We walked over to the shining blue light and were sucked upwards, and I recall that as I looked at him floating in the blue light, I wanted nothing more than to hug him for a job well done.
"Good job, Link and Sheik. Thanks to you, a section of the sacred realm is pure once more. My powers will make things good once more now that you've removed Ganondorf's servant, the cork on my powers."
"Thank you, Saria."
"Take this medallion. I know you've received it once before, but here, it is nothing short of pure power. Keep it safe."
"Yes, Sage of forest?"
"Bear your mask with pride."
Link and I landed outside the forest temple. I gasped.
"This place is beautiful," I said. The trees were no longer black and dead, but shining and bright and beautiful, an impossible color of green. Spirits wafted here and there, laughing lightly. Together, Link and I turned to face the temple. The blood was gone- it was beautifully pure and white, looking as gorgeous as the day it had been created.
"Well," he said, looking up at the setting sun in the crystalline blue sky, the color of which I'd never seen before, "I think we should spend the night in the temple, now that it's safe."
"Yes," I said, and together, we climbed the steps to the holiest of woodland places.
"One down," I said to myself, "six to go."
Watching the days slip by so fast
Knowing our fate has long been cast
Working our fingers to the bone
Cause nobody loves you when you're gone, gone, gone, gone
Coughing up feeling just for you
To find something real to hold on to
But there is a hole inside my heart
Where all of my love comes pouring out
You know you'll always be my man
But grab yourself sweetness where you can
Cause sooner or later we're gonna die
Left to the dogs under the sky
I cracked a piece of broken glass
I cracked a piece of broken glass
Coughing up feeling just for you
To find something real to hold on to
But there is a hole inside my heart
Where waves of my love come tumbling out
You say that all the good is gone
That I have forgotten who I am
Free as a bird
Wild as the wind
But somehow I cannot let you in
~Nobody Loves You, by Garbage
Back to Story Menu