Author’s Note: I take no credit whatsoever for the characters and places in this piece, they belong to Nintendo. Please, do not smite me, Miyamoto! I have not sinned…
A brief synopsis of the events of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
In the kingdom of Hyrule, within the small ranching province of Ordona, a young, blonde-haired boy approaching adulthood named Link lives a life content with his friends, namely Ilia, and the younger children that admire him above all else. However, this peace is shattered when evil creatures steal away Ilia and the other children from Ordon village, leaving Link to pursue them into a Hyrule cast over by twilight, the dark twin of light. Here, Link, by the power of the Triforce of Courage held by his ancestors, turns into a wolf and is guided by a girl of the twilight. An imp named Midna, this girl helps him rid the twilight and return to human form in exchange for his help in retrieving three parts of the Fused Shadow, an ancient power once held by her tribe (she wears the fourth on her head as a hat of sorts). After scouring the Faron woods, Death Mountain (home to the rock-composed humanoids called Gorons), and Zora’s Domain (home to aquatic, amphibious humanoids named Zoras), the duo find all the Fused Shadows, only to have Zant, the false king of twilight and the cause of all the mischief already seen. He exposes Midna to the light (which is fatal to Twili), turns Link back into a wolf, and leaves them to die. Thankfully, Link is able to bring Midna to the Princess Zelda, a benign brunette who uses her third of the Triforce (wisdom), sacrificing her physical self to heal Midna. However, Link and Midna must travel to the ancient Sacred Grove, trespass through the puppets of a wooden creature named Skull Kid, and use howling stones to bring to life ancient statues in order to find the Master Sword, an ancient blade that evil cannot touch.
Link reverts to human form and the story progresses pretty easily from here. Midna now changed from her previous, mischievous ways into a gentle being, requests that the two travel to the Gerudo desert and find the Mirror of Twilight, a device that is the bridge between the Light and Twilight. Also, Midna reveals in a lengthy monologue that the Twili were an ancient tribe who attempted to overpower the Goddesses and seize the Triforce with the Fused Shadows, leading them to be banished to the Twilight Realm. Link and Midna travel throughout an ancient prison and find the mirror, only to discover it had been broken it into four shards, the remaining three scattered in Hyrule. Guardian Sages at the Mirror Chamber also tell them that a thief of the desert, who had attempted to seize the Triforce as well, named Ganondorf, had been cast into the Twilight after he was imprisoned at the Arbiter’s Grounds. From there, Link and Midna travel to a blizzard-prone mountain range home to benign yetis, further into the Sacred Grove to reveal a temple of time, and into the very reaches of the heavens at the City of the Sky (a floating metropolis constructed by winged beings with human features) to find the mirror shards.
Finally, the four shards are united, and the Sages tell Link that Midna is the true Princess of the Twilight. The duo fight through the corrupted Twilight Realm and find Zant, defeating him in battle only to reveal he is resurrected by his so called ‘god’, Ganondorf. Taking back the Fused Shadows forcibly from Zant, Midna throttles Zant and tells Link they must find Ganondorf, now realizing he is the cause of all the evils of the story so far. Finding that
is encased in a magical barrier, Midna utilizes the Fused Shadows and demolishes it. In a mad sweep of the castle, Link and Midna fight through and eventually find Ganondorf sitting upon the throne and holding Zelda prisoner. He possesses Zelda’s body and engages Link in battle. When this doesn’t work, he transforms into a gigantic boar and attempts to gore Link. Fortunately, Link is able to turn into a wolf and reduce Ganon back to a spirit form. Midna teleports Link and Zelda from the scene to protect them and does battle with Ganondorf with the Fused Shadow. However, the Triforce (of power) that resides within Ganon prevails, leading him to destroy Hyrule Castle and appear before Link and Zelda on a dark steed, crushing the Fused Shadow, implying he has murdered Midna. Zelda pleads with the light spirits to help them, and they successfully defeat Ganondorf on horseback. Once he has been thrown off his mustang, Ganon decides to have a mano y mano (man on man) swordfight with Link, obviously unaware of Link’s prowess with the Master Sword. And hey, let’s face it, Link is the hero, Ganon is the villain. Who’s going to win? Anyway, Link casts the Master Sword within Ganondorf’s chest. In a last ditch attempt to claim the home-field advantage, Ganon transports himself and his attackers to the long-abandoned Hyrule Castle . Here, he sees a vision of Zant snapping his neck, symbolizing Ganondorf’s death. Suddenly, the light spirits appear and leave Midna, in her true form, upon the dunes, leaving Link to run with his mouth gaping like an imbecile to her side. Here, our story begins… Gerudo Desert
* * *
She looked like a goddess. Her flaming hair flowed down her back like a waterfall, cascading in beautiful locks and seeming to have a life of its own. Her features were breath-taking; her face was one that would heal a cripple. Her gown was no different; it seemed to perfectly highlight the contours of her body and left one leg bare, once again reminding Link that she was more than just a friend. They had been through a whole lot together, and she had certainly changed. Not just her physical appearance, but her mindset as well. She had gone from being a sarcastic, rude, and mischievous imp to a thoughtful, caring, yet still mischievous girl standing before him.
But never had he thought of her as more than a friend, not until these past hours. Not until now. Now, she was all he could think about. Did she feel the same way? As these questions ran through Link’s head, his mouth fell open and he gasped. Gawking at Midna seemed to be the only thing he was capable of doing at the moment. She saw this and laughed her haunting laugh that nonetheless calmed him when it escaped from her lips.
“What?” she mused. “Am I so beautiful that you have no words left?”
Yes Link thought. Yes you are. Presently, Link caught himself and gasped “No! I mean, yes, you’re beautiful, but I’m perfectly capable of…”
“Are you always this articulate?” Midna giggled. She took his hand and flitted over to Zelda. As she walked, (Link had never seen her do this before) she seemed to dance, kicking the sand into brilliant swirls matching those on her clothes. Link stepped alongside, his heavy, unwieldy boots stomping the sand into foot-shaped imprints, completely lacking the aesthetics that Midna’s feet seemed to make. Finally, they came to stand by Zelda. Her royal garments fluttered in the wind as she laughed with the joy of victory. This laugh was one of a proud, yet honest nature. It didn’t soothe Link’s battle-racked body like Midna’s did. Then again, it didn’t torment like Midna’s did, either.
“This boy,” Midna began, “has just triumphed over a dark god, rescued two princesses, and saved a nation, but he can’t even muster the strength to talk to me.”
She stared at him with her amber eyes, flashing with the light that only a friend’s eyes could. “Yes, either strength or courage” Zelda proclaimed. She strode forward and took Link’s free hand in hers. It was gloved and cold, but Link could tell that she was grateful for all that he had done. As for all these epic deeds, Link was still processing them. He had no time to think, though. The two girls had looked at each other and came to an unsaid agreement. Together, they lifted Link’s hands and pressed their lips to them. The quirky little “pop” that the lips made forced Link to laughter.
“I am certainly honored to be in the company of such regality” Link laughed as he took a funny little bow. Midna was taken aback with the oddness of the moment. She giggled and took off his cap from his golden mane. “And indeed, a princess needs a crown,” she said as she ran away with it. Link chased after her, smiling all the way. He outran her after a while and tackled her. They rolled cackling down a dune, scrambling over the green cap. When they came to a stop, they were embraced.
“You seem to be on top of things” Midna said, barely suppressing a laugh. Link blushed and rolled off of her, eventually coming to where the cap had landed. He placed it back on his head, not without remorse. Zelda walked up to them and smiled. They seem to be meant for each other she thought. O! That they live in different worlds! She watched as the two friends stood and brushed the sand off of each other, holding back tears at the thought that these two must soon be parted. A sense of duty compelled Zelda to end this reunion as fast as she could, if only to spare the pair the pain.
“Come, my friends,” she announced. “Our kingdoms pine for their rulers and a village longs for its lost children.”
Link and Midna seemed not to notice. They were locked in each other’s gazes. Fire met ice as their eyes came to a virtual standstill. Neither one spoke, they only stood close to each other and were at peace. Zelda couldn’t stand it any longer. She let the tears flow for these star-crossed lovers and blamed it on the sand.
* * *
“Well, I guess this is farewell, huh?” Midna asked as the three of them stood atop the Arbiter’s Grounds, staring into the massive rock that conveyed the portal inside the Mirror of Twilight. “Light and shadow can’t mix, as we all know. But don’t forget that there’s another world bound to this one.”
Zelda jumped in and thoughtfully said “Shadow and light are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. I know now the reason the goddesses left the Mirror of Twilight in this world…” Link started as he realized that the mirror was the only gateway from his world to Midna’s. Nevertheless, Zelda continued, “They left it because it was their design that we should meet… Yes… That is what I believe.”
Midna smiled half-heartedly and replied “Zelda, your words are kind and your heart is true. If all in Hyrule are like you, then maybe you’ll do all right.” Gracefully, she flitted over to the mirror. She seemed hesitant to go, and relished one last glance at Link. “Well, the princess spoke truly- as long as that mirror’s around, we could meet again,” she said. Is this right? She thought. This mirror must be destroyed to prevent another catastrophe, but … I’ll never see him again… She sobbed and closed her eyes, attempting to remain calm in the face of this grim necessity. A single, glittering tear ran down her soft cheek. She caught it with her finger and let it float off into the mirror. If you’re ever going to tell him… she thought. “Link, I…” Choking again on her own words, she muttered “See you later.”
The tear shattered the mirror while simultaneously activating it. Off she ran, up the stairs made of solid light and into the portal. She turned back for one last glance and saw Link gasping and gaping at the sudden betrayal and abandonment. Midna desperately wanted to stay and tell him how much he meant to her, to comfort him and hold him forever… But it was too late. The portal did its grim work, and its light tore her into tiny fragments and stole her away to her own home.
Link couldn’t stop the tears from running down his face. She was gone and he could never get her back. The Mirror had taken her away, and she hadn’t regretted it. “No.” he simply whispered between choked sobs. “Please give her back to me…” Link couldn’t muster the energy to move. He stood and watched as the sun went down, barely noticed as Zelda embraced him and told him it would be all right. His eyes stared at the scenery passing by as he and Zelda rode home on their gallant steeds, but none of it processed in his mind. He had lost the only thing that meant something to him in a single instant, and with five words his heart had been broken.
Eventually, the pair reached Ordon province. They rode across the lengthy, wooden bridge and came to the flowered gate that Link had so often passed through in his youth. Next, they drew near to the light spirit, Ordona’s spring. The water remained as clear and placid as ever, but its familiarity failed to comfort Link. Finally, they rode into the clearing where Link’s house was situated. Link mindlessly climbed off Epona, his brown mare, and stumbled to the ladder that led to his front door.
“Fare you well, Link. I cannot possibly hope to share my gratitude for all you have done, not only for me, but for the entire world of Hyrule.” Zelda said as Link reached for the first rung. Link paused, thought for the longest time, then turned and said “It was my pleasure, princess.” Zelda stared at his listless eyes and his now unconfident posture and sighed. She had obviously meant the world to him. Zelda dismounted, with some difficulty due to modesty and her dress, and then walked to Link and held his face in her hands.
“Look at me.” Zelda demanded. “I know she was special to you. I know how she felt about you and how much you returned these feelings. But it was not meant to be, Link. You and Midna come from different worlds and cannot be together always. You must realize this, Link.” Link’s usually stern lips now trembled as he choked “I already have.” Zelda felt tears herself at his sorrow. Empathy was one skill she had developed perfectly, sympathy, though, was not an option here. She had never been in love, but she knew how much this separation must be hurting him. Before she could offer another word of condolence, Link ripped himself from her gaze and stole up the ladder and into his home. The door shut with barely a sound, causing Zelda to shudder more than she would have if it had slammed.
As she rode away trying as much as possible to distance herself, Zelda couldn’t help but hear the shattering of glass and a scream of anguish coming from Link’s house. Zelda whispered aloud “I’m so sorry, Link.”
* * *
The sun set over the fields of green. Its lingering lilacs melted with the crimson light and set off a fire in the sky. Link observed it with mixed feelings. It was certainly a remarkable thing to witness a sun-set in Hyrule, but all he could think of was a lasting memory that refused to stop irritating him. Eventually, he gave in and relived the conversation between himself and Midna a week previously, two days before she had left him here in this cursed realm of light.
Link’s bum dug into the crisp snow at the top of Snowpeak. Midna sat on his lap, gazing at the sun’s last regrets. “How do you like it?” Link asked. He stroked her hair without realizing it, and then stopped hurriedly. “Sorry.” He mumbled. She turned, barely missing hitting his face with the Fused Shadow mounted on her head. “It’s fine.” Link reached for her face, but she quickly added “The Sun-set I mean.” Link blushed. Midna laughed and worked around her legs to get comfortable in his lap.
“I’m glad we helped that Yeta girl.” Midna said. “It feels good to know that she’s all right, safe in her love’s arms.” Link nodded appreciatively. He thought a bit and replied “Yeah. I couldn’t have left without making sure she was okay. I’m just like that, I need to help people or else I feel bad.” Midna stirred uncomfortably. After a while, she turned to him again and said in a hushed tone “Link? I’m a good person, right? I mean, do you think that I am?”
Without hesitation, Link replied “Of course you are! You’re helping me to do this, right? To save Ilia. But, I forgot, it’s not for her. It’s for your people that Zant has enslaved.” Once he was done, Midna whispered, “Link, you’re the kindest, most selfless person I know. I’m glad to have met you. It makes me feel better about myself.” Link grunted a sort of “I’m glad” affirmative. After a few silent minutes, the sun was gone completely and all light ebbed away from the sky. As the cold set in, Midna added “You can keep playing with my hair. It felt good.”
In the world of the present, Link sighed and stood, beginning the slow ride back to his house in Ordon village. He mounted Epona, rubbed her nose affectionately, and said quietly “Let’s go home, girl.”
* * *
It was dawn and Link was already tired. He stared at the flash of the rising sun until it hurt his eyes and emitted a sigh. He hadn’t been able to sleep for three nights in a row. The children had not yet returned to the village, and no had even heard of his arrival, so he had remained in his house for these days. Sometimes he would practice his sparring skills, sometimes he would sit and relive the events of the past two weeks. They were certainly a harrowing set of occurrences, and he could still hardly believe that he had been through them all. But most often of all he would just lie down in his small bed and stare at the light coming in through his uppermost window, his feet hanging out of the sheets and his head attempting a rendezvous with his headboard. In this manner he would sit for hours, thinking only of one thing. He would whisper her name from time to time, just to make sure she had even existed. Her separation from him had been so real, so definite, that at times he wasn’t even sure if she had ever been there beside him.
Presently, however, Link stood and watched the sun rise. He could barely think that three days ago was the last time he had been outside, watching the same celestial occurrence backwards. Link was now tired of staring at the billowing flames that now spread across the entire heavens, so he climbed down off his little platform beside the window and immediately winced with pain. He collapsed and chanced a gaze at his bloodied feet. Glass he thought with a sense of self-irritation. It was lying all around him, covering the floor with its transparent blades. Link picked the shards out of his right foot and clambered to his feet. Wiping the blood from the floor, he walked over to his cupboard and produced a makeshift broom and dustpan. Chiding himself for being so idiotic, Link swept it up and dumped it out of his back window.
Link came back to the accident’s location and stared at the now-empty wooden frame. He kicked it under a shelf and wished it never to torment him again. Now he climbed down to the main room of his house and walked up to his footlocker. From it he produced the Ordon sword that Rusl had made two weeks ago. It weighed little, but Link knew the blade had strength behind it. Link swung it through the air, remembering all the Golden Wolf had taught him. As Link delivered another fatal blow to an imagined enemy, he heard the neighing of horses and the squeaky wheels of a wagon outside his house. Sheathing the weapon, Link came outside and witnessed Renado, the shaman of Kakariko village, driving a wagon into Ordon. When the rear of the wagon was visible, Link was able to see the children huddled inside. So they’ve come back Link thought. The peace and quiet won’t last for long. Link couldn’t help but smile as he ran back into his house to properly clothe himself so as to greet the children and the rest of the villagers.
Walking through the gorge that led from his house to Ordon, Link whistled a tune that one of the howling stones had whistled. This particular stone was odd in that it had the symbol of the Royal Family, the Triforce, on it. The melody had sounded almost like a lullaby, and had proven itself to be very useful on his quest. His whistling helped to calm himself down, even though he had gloomy thoughts ever present in the back of his mind. In a minute or so, Link came to the village just in time to see Uli, Rusl, and Colin embracing as a family. Malo and Talo ran to the arms of their father, while Ilia ran to Mayor Bo. Everyone was with the ones they loved, all happy and warm in each other’s arms. All except for Link.
* * *
Link’s sour mood had ended by the time Colin knocked on his door. “I’m coming.” Link said aloud as he walked to the door. Thrusting the door open, Link saw the blonde boy standing proud and tall with his hands behind his back. “Colin! Come on in, buddy.” Link laughed as he gestured for Colin to do so. “Hay Link!” Colin said as he sat on Link’s rug-covered floor. Following his example, Link sat and asked “What brings you to my house, Colin?” Shuffling his feet a bit, Colin answered “Well, it’s a long story.” Link laughed. Colin and he had been through a lot together, and it was funny to see Colin being so wonderfully in charge of things. “I’ve got plenty of time.” Link warmly said.
Colin began with a retelling of his brave stand against King Bulbo and how he had pushed Beth out of the way of the brutish fiend. Link recalled how proud Colin had been that he had saved her, and had finally found his inner courage. Although Link was dying to know where Colin was going with the conversation, Link sat patiently and let Colin express his feelings at the event. Finally, Colin surprised Link by stating “Well, Link, after I saved Beth, she looked at me in the funniest way, and, well, I think she might…” Link smiled and instantly knew what Colin was trying to say. “Don’t worry, Colin. I’m sure that she likes you too.” Link finished. Colin looked up at Link with hope. “She does?” Colin asked. Link stood and helped Colin to his feet as he replied “Yeah. I really think she does.” Colin “woo-hoo”ed and raised his fist in the air triumphantly. Still grinning, Link said “Have you told her how you feel about her?”
At this, Colin sank slightly. “No”, Colin sighed, “I haven’t been brave enough to do it.” Link crouched so as to be at the small boy’s eye level and told him “Just be brave like you were when you saved her.” Colin made the sternest face and nodded assent. Link stood back up and put a hand on his shoulders. “Now, go tell her!” Link encouragingly said as the door opened and Beth herself stepped in. “Tell who?” she quizzically asked. Colin gasped for a moment until Beth shrugged, saying, “Never mind. It doesn’t matter, this is important!” Link was alarmed to see her so serious and immediately inquired as to what was wrong. Beth jumped up and down as she replied “Well, we were at the store, my Mom and I, when Link got loose and ran out his kitty door and ran out of the village!” Link resisted the urge to chuckle when he understood that she was referring to their cat. “We’re afraid,” Beth continued, “that he may get lost forever. You have to go get him, Link!”
Link slid on his boots and replied “I’ll go get him, Beth. Don’t worry.” Climbing out the door, Link realized that Colin was following him. “I wanna’ come too!” Colin cried as Link saddled Epona. “No, Colin.” Link softly said. “Stay here and be brave for Beth.” Colin nodded his solemn nod again and put his arm around Beth’s shoulder as Link rode away. Beth stopped crying for a minute and smiled, then the sobs returned and she leaned her head across Colin’s shoulder. Colin himself smiled for a minute as well, then went back to his stoic mode and was indeed brave for her. Link looked on this with joy, but more so than this, he felt grief at the fact that he didn’t have anyone to be brave for anymore.
Thinking back to the cat that had been named after him, Link was able to be lost in the past. The cat had first been discovered by Beth, hiding in the village’s pumpkin patch. It must have traveled far from the other settlements in Hyrule, because no one in the village had ever owned one. Beth had managed to bring the feline curiosity out of the pumpkin patch only to have it scared away by the other children. Scampering out of her arms, the cat had fallen head-first into the village pond. “Link,” the children had cried. “Save him, Link!” Their words were not needed, for Link had already jumped in after it. As the cat sank down to the icy depths, Link started to fear that it might never make it back to the surface. However, after a quick sweep of the bottom of the pond, Link had brought the cat to the shore and had let it dry. Eventually the cat had coughed up all the water from its lungs, and the children had cheered. Beth, in a result of her then strong crush on Link, had named the lucky feline Link, and no one had complained against the name since.
Now, Link had to rescue the cat again from whatever trouble he had gotten in outside of the village. Link rode into the Spirit’s spring and didn’t find it there, and then he checked the southern outskirts of the Faron woods. He didn’t meet with success there either. Link rode past the mellow, curly haired Hyrulean named
, and asked him whether he had seen a cat. “What? Oh, it’s you, guy!” Coro responded. Link asked once again whether any cats had passed through. “Yeah, guy. It passed right through here. It ran right into Hyrule field, man!” Link rode past Coro and into Hyrule field, dreading what he would find. As Epona rounded the corner into the wide expanse of the fields, Link saw the cat. Link (the cat) was surrounded by Bulblins, angrily hissing. Knowing that these foul monsters would cherish fresh meat, no matter how scant in supply, Link kicked Epona gently in the ribs and shouted his infamous “Hyeah!” Epona complied, breaking into a sprint and ramming one of the Bulblins with her head. Link slashed the rest with Rusl’s sword while still atop his mount until none remained. Coro
Only then did Link dismount and scoop up the frightened puss in his strong arms. “Well, now, Link. Let’s get back,” he whispered to the cat. Placing the cat in a saddle bag to assure its safety, Link galloped on back to Ordon.
* * *
Link’s eyes shut tight, clamping in an instinctive form of protection as it happened again. He extended his arm, clutching the pitcher in his hand, and let it fall to about ninety degrees. A steady stream flowed from the cupped tip and graced his fair-haired head, rinsing out the grime of another day spent rounding up stray goats on the Ordon Ranch. The work was both tiring and monotonous, but at the same time it allowed him to focus on anything other than…
No, Link thought to himself. I shouldn’t be thinking about her. It only makes it worse. Yet, he couldn’t help but let his thoughts dwell on every aspect of her, physical and spiritual. He had loved her farther than the infinite, emerald hills of Hyrule Field. He had loved her higher than the pinnacles in the Oocca’s city in the sky. He had loved her more deeply than the sparkling pools in Zora’s Domain. Did she, could she, did she now or ever feel the deep emotions that welled up in his youthful, yet battle-hardened, heart the same extent for him? Link shook his head in heartbroken frustration and filled the pitcher once more. Don’t think about her, he thought. Wash your face. That’s it. Complying to his thoughts (but not his true wishes), he let the frigid water run true down his elfin face and tried to think of nothing else. Then again, thinking of water led him to think of the water in Zora’s Domain… And the time he had spent there with someone he loved….
“So,” Midna remarked with her charming sarcasm, “We need to find this ‘reekfish’, and it’s known to swim at the ‘Mother and Child’ rock.” Link nodded complacently as he stared from atop the highest waterfall that took the river from Zora’s Domain to the rest of the
in a frenetic, live-giving surge. “Hmm…,” she mused. “Where is this rock?” Link looked around and spotted it. “Right over there,” he responded with a sense of purpose. “That one, the tall one and the little one. It’s like one is comforting the other. Loving the other.” landof Hyrule
Link tried not to look at Midna as he said these words, but he did anyway. His entire body seemed conspiring against his better judgment. His head leaned slightly towards hers as she floated so many feet above the ground looking at the rocks he had pointed to and not seeming to notice his more than eager attentions. “Well, well.” She said as her eyes turned back towards him. “It looks like the wolf-boy has a brain after all.” Link took comfort in the fact that she did not seem to be repelled by his closeness. It was all Link dared to do. They were only friends. Friends together on a quest to save an enslaved people and to free his companions he had been raised along with in his home of Ordon.
Friends play around with each other, Link thought. He stared at Midna for a brief time, and then seemed to have made up his mind. Midna sensed that something was afoot. “Why are you looking at me like that, Link?” she queried. “Because I’m going to do this.” He laughed back. All in one, fluid motion, he swept her up, clutching the back of her head and her right, rune-covered thigh, and leaped over the precipice and into the gorgeous pond below. They tumbled through the air, the one thrilled and courageous, the other screaming and pounding her fists at her captor. Eventually, they crashed into the until-then placid water and fell ten feet deep in the running water. Link held Midna with one hand around her waist and used the other and his legs to swim his way back to the top. As they surfaced, Midna gasped for air and took in as much as she pleased. Once she was done, she was calm. Calmer than Link had ever seen her. Her slight snaggle-tooth hung over her bottom lip, her long, delicate ears relaxed into an easy position, and her flaming eyes for once burned down into a soothing smolder. Link felt a slight flutter in his chest. What was this sudden aching near his heart? What was this sudden desire to lean his head against hers and comfort her, apologize to her for this sudden stunt, and to stroke her luxurious, red hair with a soft, brushing hand that did not belong to his warrior side?
Then it was all over. She turned to him with her squinting, accusing eyes and shouted “What were you thinking?! What was the point of that?” Link flinched a bit at her sudden fierceness, but then said “I wanted to see you get wet. It’s all as simple as that.” She still grimaced at him for a few moments, but the two of them knew what was coming. Their cheeks had ballooned and their eyebrows had raised, and they couldn’t hold it back any longer. Together they emitted a laugh that was so innocent, so tender, that it soothed both of them and almost made them forget they were swimming in a reservoir with a bunch of finned, amphibious hominids. Eventually, though, their task was remembered. They swam to the far shore, Midna clinging to Link’s laboring shoulders, and Link took out his fishing pole now equipped with the coral ear-ring the Zora Prince had given him and cast a line, waiting for the reekfish to come to him.
Link was drawn back to reality by the clang of metal on the floor. He came to realize that he had dropped the pitcher as he remembered that dive of the past week, three days before she had walked out of his life forever. No, she hadn’t walked. She had flitted with her nimble feet and dashed back to her home-land to reign sovereign over her twilit kingdom. And he could never get her back… At least, that was the fate that he was sure he would have to be resigned to. The mirror in the desert was the last and only link that existed between the light and the twilight. She had shattered it herself, so it was clear that she felt nothing in return for him. How couldn’t she feel something? Link thought desperately. After all that we went through, after all that I did for her! How could she leave me like this without a second thought?
* * *
Flecks of dappled light played across Link’s brow and graced his amazingly blue eyes. The sun had once again come through his uppermost window and now fell upon his bed. He had lain there all of the last day and through the sickeningly cold night, whispering her name when he once again saw her face with his clamped eyes. Her dazzlingly bright hair, her small nose, her canine tooth extending over her petite lips, and lastly, her eyes all came to him in his lungful imaginings. These eyes were ones that would melt through solid stone and build up the foundations of a kingdom. Their flaming curiosity and subtle glints of innocence were more than enough to make Link remember his adventures spent with her, the moments where they could rest from the ever-crowding storm, and the feelings that had sprung up over time. They had started as only a small, dull blossom, only a vague hint of the full emotions that were to come. Then, as quickly as the Twilight had engulfed the
, this small feeling bloomed and exploded with vibrant emotions and vivid memories that served to seal his heart forever to one woman. landof Hyrule
He hadn’t fallen asleep over the night. Awake the entire time, he had remembered the times he had laughed with her, the times she had annoyed him deeply, and the times when all he could remember was her voice telling him to go on, to keep going. Now, he regretted this, for he was entirely exhausted with the knowledge that he now had to work a full day on the Ordon ranch with no rest besides that of lying there for hours. Yet, even that had spent him fully. She had a way of occupying every function of your life until she was all that existed. Even when swinging a sword or galloping on Epona, Link could think of nothing but her.
Then, a familiar and not unwelcome voice sounded from below his house. “HEYYYYY!” cried Fado. “The goats were terrible yesterday, Link. Today I really need your help.” Link took this as a temporary reprieve from his haunting thoughts and scattered heart, so he threw on his tunic, slipped on his boots, and came out the front door to aid Fado at the Ranch. Link climbed down the ladder leading from his house to the forest floor and immediately started to his left to look for Epona. He was startled, though not entirely surprised to find her missing from her usual patch of grass. “Has Ilia been through here?” Link asked Fado nonchalantly. “Er, yeah, I think so,” was Fado’s muttered reply. Instinctively, Link walked to the small grove that led to the light spirit Ordona’s spring to look for the pair.
Walking down the path, Link noticed a glimmering light shining from the bottom of a small stone. Picking up the stone with a repressed grunt, Link saw a shining rupee beneath it. Throwing away the rock, Link picked up the rupee and put it in his wallet, the larger one that he had received from the curious girl, Agitha, who had insisted she was queen of all insects. In it he held countless numbers of the gems, ranging from the base green to the purples, worth a small fortune. However, Link did not care for the money he had collected from the past two week’s adventure. He had only picked this rupee up so that it would not be carried away by the hording monkeys or stepped on by one of the children. In fact, all the rupees did were pay for his food, seeing as he insisted on not taking charity from the more than willing members of the Ordon village. Recently, though, he had made plans to travel the land of Hyrule once more, to get his mind off of… her… and onto visiting the multitude of friends he had made in the past weeks alone. He would need this for supplies, or simple curiosities, he saw fit to purchase along the way.
Presently, though, Link came to the flowered gate to the spring, and, sure enough, saw Ilia washing Epona with a small cloth that she wore around her waist for the sake of modesty. When she saw Link approaching, she made a small, curious squeal and put it back around her hips. “I washed Epona for you.” She said. Link chuckled half-heartedly and replied “I noticed.” They stood there for a time, not really thinking or saying anything in particular. Link stared down at his feet, wriggling his toes in the small pool and digging his digits into the soothing clay at its bottom. The cold water swirling around his feet calmed his nerves and allowed him to process the occasion practically. Eventually, he looked back up at Ilia to find that she had been watching him. She nervously tucked her head away from him the moment she noticed his gaze coming towards her again. “I need her back now.” Link sighed, not exactly looking forward to the work at hand.
“Here, then.” Ilia said, offering Epona’s reins to him and smiling the slightest bit. He took them back without much reluctance and swung on top of his trusty mount. Epona neighed appreciatively and started off in the direction of the village and, therefore, the ranch. Ilia watched them go with much more reluctance than Link had at the parting and swooned to see Link riding away with such consent to his present task. Hesitantly, she secreted away her feelings for him. She was sure that he must feel something in return, but she wasn’t the kind to take the direct approach in matters of the heart.
Meanwhile, Link rode on into Ordon and greeted the faces as he passed. Rusl, then his wife and newborn child, then Mayor Bo, then Colin and Beth were all complacent with smiling hellos, but Link simply did not feel their enthusiasm. This place, his home-town, even the entire expanse of Hyrule seemed barren without her by his side, or hiding in his shadow, as she had used to do. Eventually, Link came to the pathway that led to the Ranch and was able to sag in his saddle and reveal his true exhaustion and lack of emotion. The gate to the Ranch was locked, so Link shouted, kicked Epona, and the pair leaped over the fence and into the Ranch, where chaos had set in. Fado had already returned, but things were not going as planned. The goats were crowding around him, shoving and grunting their animal roars. Link seemed to be the only one in the village capable of soothing these beasts, so he galloped forward on Epona and whooped loudly, cupping his mouth with one hand to make the sound carry.
This worked to its purpose; the goats were soon scampering about and running away from Link and into the barn, where Link was corralling them. One, however, was resistant. It turned around and faced Link with a determination not often seen in the blue-hide, Ordon goats. Its entire body seemed to steam with a fierce anger as it kicked one of its hind limbs into the ground behind it, sending up a clod of dust that landed nearly ten feet away from the troubled beast. Link stiffened in his bridle and prepared for the inevitable charge. Then, seemingly as lightning out of a blue sky, the goat charged, thundering toward Link with a feral moan that Link would take with him to the grave. They were on a dread course, coming right towards each other. It was a test of will to see who would cower first. Link’s course never faltered, no matter how drastic it seemed. The goat bowed its horned head and never once looked up, instinct propelling it to an end that would shatter the bones of any in its way. However, at the last minute, Link swung Epona to the side and delivered a shocking kick to the goat’s side. It flipped over on its haunch in an instant, propelled by its own speed and massive bulk. The goat was unharmed, but it certainly had the fight taken out of it today.
After the slightly dangerous encounter, all the goats were herded in due time to the barn, and Fado and Link began the long and tiresome process of milking the goats for cheese and such: the exports of the village that kept it alive in the eyes of the Hyrulean markets. Link averaged twenty buckets an hour, keeping a tedious but steady pace to get the work of the day done as quickly as possible. After keeping this up for two hours, the milking was finally complete, and the goats could be let out of the barn for the second time that day to graze until twilight fixated the ranch’s meadows and marked the time for the livestock to be settling for the night. Link decided that he could temporarily leave the ranch and come back when needed at sunset, so he left Epona grazing on the meadow and hopped the fence to walk through the village once more.
Coming down the gorged path, Link saw Mayor Bo coming to meet him. Link regarded the Mayor as one of the many father figures he had in the village, and respected the man’s opinion, strength, and considerable girth. The Mayor set off the conversation by ejaculating “You’re quite the man now, aren’t you Link?” Link replied in a modest tone that he did what any young boy in his position would have done. Bo laughed heartily and remarked “You know what? You remind me of what Rusl was as a boy. We grew up together, Rusl and I, even though I was three years older than him.” Link nodded, Rusl had told Link only a few of the troubles that he and the young Bo had gotten into, yet even these few were enough to amaze and humor. “Anyways, what I’m trying to say is, he always had that ‘hero attitude’ too. He was sword fighting and herding and keeping the other kids away from trouble all the time.” Link felt confident and warm to be compared to Rusl, his mentor, in such a noble way. He couldn’t help but smile and say “I guess we’re just alike.”
The Mayor consented and then continued. “Link, I have to tell you something, though.” As he said this, the two rounded the bend and were in the village. Link, throbbing with curiosity, asked the Mayor to go on. “Well, Link, what I’m trying to say is that Ilia has taken quite a liking to you.” Link’s eyes grew wide and he stopped walking for a spell. “What?” he queried amazedly. “She loves you, Link, and I’m surprised it’s taken you this long to notice.” Link was stunned. He had only ever thought of Ilia as a very good friend, one just his age that he had played with many a summer day in Ordon. Not once had he considered her as anything more. Yet, now that he knew she felt this way, he could look back and remember the times she had looked at him with a pleading, almost imploring, eye. He knew now what she had been pleading for. “Mayor,” Link began. “This is quite a surprise. I”- But Bo had cut him off. “A good one at that, eh, Link?” Link realized where the conversation was headed and desperately wanted out of it.
“It would be most advantageous if the town’s eldest and strongest boy was wed to the Mayor’s beautiful daughter, now wouldn’t it?” the Mayor asked Link. Stammering, Link replied in the affirmative, and then tried to explain his indifference for Ilia. Yet, the Mayor would have nothing of it. “I know a place in the Faron woods that you two could be alone with each other, and come to grips with your feelings for each other,” the Mayor drudged on. “Mayor, please stop! I” Link protested. But the Mayor cut him short again, silencing his words with a grunt of deep satisfaction. “Yes, I know a real nice place.” He patted Link on the back with his massive hands and then walked on, leaving Link completely and utterly lost in the center of the village that had previously been his home. Now it was his nightmare.
* * *
Zelda turned and stared at the ashen ruins of the once grand castle. Ganondorf had done quite a number on it when he unleashed his near god-like powers to destroy this hallowed palace. It was up to her to rebuild it brick for brick to its original splendor. However, this was more than just a place to live or govern. It was the legacy of all the ages of Hyrule. This castle was a monument to the times of war, to the times of peace, to the lives and deaths of the people of Hyrule, from the lowliest Hylian foot-soldier to the mightiest Gerudo king of old. In it were contained memories that deserved never to be forgotten, and nearly all of that had been destroyed by the dark lord Ganon. Zelda thanked the very goddesses for the fact that the far west tower had not been destroyed by Ganondorf’s blinding rage. In it were contained the records and riches of the Hyrulean family, including some that needed to be hidden away forever.
Presently, a tall, lanky, red-haired man with a pair of eye-glasses and a small book with a dagger holding its place walked up and stood beside her. He gazed at the damage and shook his head in pity. “It is a shame, is it not, Princess?” he murmured. She gazed at the youthful, yet seemingly wise young man and replied “It is. But now we can rebuild it, retaining its beauty and making it stronger than before.” The man smiled a wide, toothy grin and replied “If that’s the case, then I’m your man.” As he said this, he drew up a small chunk of marble column that had been blown out of the crater by the explosion, flicked open his book to the page where the dagger marked it, and set the tome down upon the makeshift table. When he said this, Zelda blushed and tried to hide her face. Noticing this, the young man’s eyes grew wide and he burst out laughing.
The fit subsided in a matter of seconds, and his face took a sudden grave turn. “No, no, Princess! I meant that comment not as a romantic pursuit (the female race seems determined to keep me unsuccessful in that regard) but as a legitimate concern of duty.” After he finished this soliloquy, he pointed to the page he had opened his book to. Scrawled minutely but precisely on the dual-spread of pages was a detailed map of the first floor of the Hyrule castle. “How did you acquire this knowledge of the castle?” Zelda asked, impressed at the youth’s resources. “Oh, my father drew this. He was a butler and scholar to the Royal Family for many years. I spent the first ten years of my life in the castle, Princess,” was his reply.
Zelda searched her memory and came upon the image she had been searching for. There, in fact, had been a tall boy with flaming hair, three years her senior, which had lived in the castle’s halls. “What is your name?” Zelda inquired. Without hesitation, the young man held out his hand, tucked the other along his waist-line, bowed, and announced “Shad, at your service, your Highness.” Zelda smiled with recognition. “As a matter of fact, I do remember you, Shad.” At this, he grinned, rising from the dramatic bow. “But,” she continued. “I wish it that you would not call me ‘your Highness.’ That is a name only those who do not know me well take to calling me.” Shad seemed amused at this. Curtly, he asked “What then, am I to call you?” Zelda laughed and replied “I do not know presently. I will think of something more appropriate for a friend, but for now you may call me ‘Princess’ if you so insist on calling me by a regal name.”
Shad grinned again, and said “Very well, then. Princess.” Zelda, for reasons she could not quite put a finger on, blushed once more and tried to hide this fact by bending down to gaze at the book Shad had brought with him. His father’s hand was a steady one; the map looked as if it had been traced from the very foundations of the castle itself. Having had her fill, she flipped the page and looked upon the next two pages. On these there was a different hand, one much more artful but not nearly as precise. The lines were airy and spacey, with a certain definition to them all the same. It was as if the vagueness of the lines more clearly defined the image the artist had been striving for. “Who,” Zelda queried, “drew this one?” Shad did nothing but point to the signature at the bottom-right corner of the map, this one a map of the second and third floors of the castle. In a hasty but gravitated way, there lay the signature ‘Shad, Fin’s son.’ “Ah!” Zelda cried. “It was you, then?”
Surprised at finding his work this appreciated, Shad merely laughed “Yes, this is my work. I hope you enjoy glancing at it.” Zelda flipped to the next page and found another map by Shad detailing the fourth and final floor of the castle. She thought for a brief second, and then told him “I do at that. Clearly, only someone with skill could have made a drawing of this clime.” “Thank you for this praise, though I do not deserve it, Princess.” Shad replied as he picked up the book and stuck the dagger in the crease between the pages and slammed the volume shut with the satisfying ‘thump’ Zelda came to expect when a book was closed. “You do, though.” Zelda said. “I would greatly appreciate your aid in reconstructing the castle, though rebuilding it stronger than it had been before.” Smiling wider than ever he had before, Shad beamed “Of course I will help you, Princess. I’ll be here whenever you request me!” He began to leave, taking the book with him. Zelda called “Can you be of leave tomorrow, Shad?” Glancing over his shoulder, Shad called back “Indeed, I can!” Emitting a hum of satisfaction, Zelda bit her gloved finer. “Er,” she began. “Come at !” Already far away this point, Shad cried “Yes, !” Nodding and turning away, Zelda began to walk away, but something in her compelled her to say something else. “Make that two hours earlier, Shad!” Laughing at the incredulity of the prolonged conversation, Shad yelled back “I’ll come at dawn, then, if only it will appease you, Princess!”
* * *
Dawn filtered in through the framed window of the western tower onto Zelda’s sleeping face. Her face was at peace then with an expression of calm and content across it. But, as suddenly as the dawn had come, she woke with a start and realized that the events that had just flashed across her eyes were just a nightmare. Taking a deep breath and trying to calm herself, she reflected across what she had just seen. In a room as clear to her as the one she lay in now, she had seen Link, the proud hero, walk up to a mirror hanging on a wall that seemed to be part of a tree. With a slouched back and a glum expression, he stared at the mirror for what seemed like ages. Then, a sudden turn took over him. He stared at nothing in the mirror and then yelled, emitting a sound that was halfway between deep mourning and intense anger. His face was as equally mixed as the vocalization as he drew back his left fist and brought it crashing into the glass mirror, shattering it and spraying a fine mist of blood upon the wall on which it hung. The fragments of glass fell on the floor like so many raindrops, mixing with the drops coming from his wounded hand. The sound felt so prolonged that Zelda wondered if it would come at all, but soon it did. Grimacing at its sourness, Zelda heard the sound of glass being shattered and crashing upon a hard surface.
Soon after she heard this, Zelda woke. She often found that her dreams were very realistic, and sometimes even coincided with events in the real world. In fact, she had dreamt before it happened that darkness would fall upon Hyrule, though in the dream it had appeared as dark clouds rather than the Twilight. Also, she had dreamt that the castle would be destroyed before she even knew that Ganondorf had reigned over it. However, Zelda had taken all this as merely coincidence before, and there was no reason why she should now. But… the vision had seemed so real! Was Link really hurting this much? Could it be that even after nearly a week of separation from her that he really still loved her as deeply as he had before? Then again, Zelda had never felt that deep emotion herself, and really had to be a biased judge in this case. She had to do something to comfort him, to console him, or to at least get his mind off of the one he loved so but would never see again. Well, Zelda darkly remarked to herself. Maybe…
Just at that moment, though, her handmaiden burst into the room and proclaimed “Master Shad is expected any minute!” Zelda took a few precious seconds to process this. Then, she realized the exact connotation of this message. “Oh, goddesses forbid! Why this early?” The handmaiden gave an ‘I’ve no idea’ shrug and hurried to make back Zelda’s bed as she sprung from it and searched for something suitable to wear. She rushed to her wardrobe, opened the ornately designed doors, and began rummaging around in her significant amount of clothes for something that would be tailored to the occasion. Tailored, Zelda mused. I believe I’ve just made a joke. She found a dress that she wore for battle or overall endangered situations, with armored shoulders and a loose fitting dress with as few ‘frilly bits’ as possible for greater movement. No, Zelda decided. Too grim. Next, she saw a purple dress that was extremely ballooned, but elegant in its own way. No, purple suggests royalty, and on this occasion I wish to appear as far from that as possible. Her final decision was a tight-fitting blue gown with sleeves that drooped past the waist and an excellent hood to accompany it. She wore it mostly when it rained, but she thought it would suit her nicely now.
Throwing it on, this time without the assistance of her handmaiden, who was hurriedly picking up Zelda’s scattered undergarments from the night’s sleep and hustling on to prepare the small library for the meeting, Zelda began planning in her mind what she and Shad were to do in the protective design for the new castle. Should the battlements be stronger, or should the actual, intricate infrastructure change to be more defensible and easier to take damage from a cannonade or enemy bombs? These were the sort of thoughts that ran through her head as she stepped out her bedroom door and walked into the staircase adjoining it to walk into the library. Stepping into the cozy room, Zelda breathed a sigh of relief. She had spent a lot of time in this room in the past days, and it would certainly calm her nerves for this meeting. The plush sofas, the beautiful, wooden bookcases, and the dim-yet-easy-enough-to-read-in light that streamed in through the windows soothed her more than she could tell. But, why do my nerves need to be calmed at all? She desperately thought. I who has faced the false King Zant with a rapier at the ready, I who has made negotiations that would have cost many their lives, and I who has faced the dark lord Ganon in battle with Link, the hero of Hyrule, and lived to tell the tale am afraid to meet with a nobleman’s son to discuss brickwork?
Trying to convince herself otherwise, she came over to one of the many windows of the castle. Looking out, she perceived Shad walking with his close yet eager stride to the back door of the western tower (now the front seeing as the rest of the castle had been destroyed). Zelda found it hard to breathe. Silly girl! She chided herself. Deciding that a good book would calm her, she pulled down a tome that had never failed to pique her interest. The volume was in itself a long one and one that had kept a young Zelda away from her bed for many hours of deep night. It was entitled The History of Hyrule through the Eyes of All. Written by a scholarly monk only thirty years before this year, it told of the long past ages and adventures of Hyrule that had passed since time had started being recorded. It told of the first Hylians that had come to set foot in the blessed Land of Hyrule, of the first accounts of the Goddesses descending and bringing order to the world (one often told to Zelda by her father), of the first Goron king who had first pounded his way into Death Mountain, of the Zora warrior who had battled Shell Blades, Bari, and Stingers to fight his way upstream and discover the source of the water in Hyrule (later established as Zora’s Domain), the Gerudo King who had sealed away dark spirits into the Forbidden Desert, and lastly, and most interesting, of all, the tale of the young boy of the forest (now settled by the humans, cleared, and named Ordon,) who had collected the spiritual stones of the three races and, together with the then-Princess (also named Zelda), brought to light the misdeeds of the evil Gerudo King Ganondorf Dragmire and had him locked away in the Arbiter’s Grounds. Of course, due to this past experience, Zelda now knew that the Sages at the prison had only succeeded in locking away the villain in the Twilight realm where he had amassed the powers of a god.
Suddenly, Zelda’s thoughts were interrupted by the sudden question “The History of Hyrule through the Eyes of All, eh? A good read at any rate, and the most accurate documentation of this great land in a single volume.” As this was said, Zelda’s heart seemed to flop in her chest, and she dropped the book in her lap and gasped. When the book fell, Zelda discovered that Shad was sitting in the sofa opposite her and, judging by the closed library door, had been for some time. “My, Master Shad,” Zelda wheezed. “You certainly are very stealthy.” Shad appeared slightly hurt at this and defensively answered “Well, you did seem so content and at peace whilst reading, and I didn’t want to spoil it.” Zelda smiled at this. Shad did seem to be more considerate than many of his class, and he had a certain charm to him as well. Maybe it was the way his eyes appeared wittily sarcastic when framed in his sharp glasses. Or perhaps it was his sweeping gestures with his hands that drew anyone into deep conversation with him.
Then, Zelda remembered what Shad had said when they parted yesterday. She laughed and laughed and didn’t seem able to stop herself. Shad seemed to notice what she was laughing at, and joined with his short and exaggerated laugh as well. Zelda got up and walked to relieve herself of the laughter, placing her hands around her middle. Shad laughed even more at this, laughing until nearly no sound came out of his lips. He threw back his head and hit his forehead on the wall behind him, cursing quietly but still trying to suppress a giggle. At this, Zelda entirely gave up, feeling almost weak at the absolute delight and humor of the situation. Her knees buckled, and she fell into Shad’s lap with her legs turned horizontally and her face towards his. Now the laughing stopped. Only smiles were present now as the two looked at each other with a fondness not often seen. Her legs lay across his, with her bare feet resting on the arm of the sofa. One arm of hers lay across his chest and the other was pressed to hers. His arms were behind her head and under her upper legs, almost as if he had caught her when she fell upon him.
Shockingly, the two did not notice the impropriety of this until they had thoroughly examined the situation. Zelda sprang up, coughed politely, and sat to his right upon the sofa. Shad sat straight up and adjusted his lenses. Neither of them wanted to. Shad then pulled out his handbook and pulled it to the page where the dagger marked it and proclaimed “Well, we’d best see about the design of our great Hyrule’s castle now, shouldn’t we, Princess?” Zelda agreed. She pointed to the initial masonry detailed in the first of Shad’s sketches and said “I was thinking that we should brace the actual brick with a framework of light metal placed every few feet to strengthen the underlying stone.” With this, the two set to work until the soon rose high in the heavens on its course and Zelda’s handmaiden called them for luncheon.
* * *
After Shad and she had dined, Zelda led him back to the library, and plans began again for the rebuilding and reconstruction of the castle. Shad piped up his opinion as soon as they had settled down on the couch. “I think there should be more arches here,” he said pointing at a specific part of the diagram, “because they help to spread and hold weight. As pretty as they may be, all they are is that: an architectural tool.” Zelda laughed slightly at this. Shad had a witticism about him that she found hard to ignore. Appearing happy at her laugh, he continued. “Well, the whole point of it is that if one part of the ceiling were hit by a bomb or cannon, the entire ceiling and all the floors above it would collapse. But, if you implement another row of arches between here and there, it splits the roof into three sections and allows only one of them to fall while the others remain, you see?” Zelda nodded, she did see. “I give my approval for that, Master Shad.” “Of course you do.” Shad said rather suddenly. Then, he noticed how blunt and absurd this comment had been. “Oh, Princess, I’m dreadfully”- but there was no point. Zelda was already nearly dying with laughter, brushing away a tear from her joyful eyes.
“You know, I’ve never made anyone laugh this much in my entire life.” Shad continued. “I certainly don’t know what it is. Usually it’s me that’s laughing whilst others expect serenity.” Zelda stopped laughing, tired out from the prolonged period of expending her breath on it. She swooned and laid her head on Shad’s shoulder. “I assure you, Master Shad, you bring me serenity enough.” Grinning ever so slightly, Shad placed his hand on her head and brushed the hair back behind her ear. “I’m very glad, Princess.” They sat there for what seemed like an eternity, but it was certainly over too soon. Shad bolted up, stared at the position of the sun in the sky, and cried “My, it is late! I must be going!” He gently lifted Zelda’s head from his shoulder and stood. In a single swooping motion, he flicked the dagger into his book, picked up the said object, and strode towards the door.
Zelda was so stunned at the sudden turn that she couldn’t do anything but sit for a moment. It was only when the library door slammed closed that she thought to stop him. She leaped from the sofa and made for the door faster than the wind of the goddesses, her dress fluttering around her all the way. Rushing down the spiraled stairs, Zelda cried “Shad please wait!” Shad, two flights ahead of her by this time called back “Whatever for, Princess?” At saying this, he stopped and turned to face her. Not wasting anytime, Zelda ran down the staircase three steps at a time and finally caught up with him. Flustered, she replied “I was wondering if Master Shad would like to stay for dinner. Here in the castle.” Smiling, Shad humorously said “Only because your face is so much bettered by the flush of exercise, Princess.”
They would have laughed, but they decided there had been quite enough of it for that day, so instead they ascended the steps back up to the library together. Once inside, Zelda waltzed over to the window and looked out at the expanses of Hyrule Field. Its size alone was a matter to amaze any man, but its beauty was quite another. She surveyed it as any queen might survey her kingdom, yet Zelda had humbleness about it that Shad observed easily. He decided to wait and watch to see what unfolded. Zelda’s views were these: to the South lay the Ordon province and Link… Don’t let your thoughts dwell on him, now Zelda, you’ll have ample time after your guest has left… to the East was Eldin province and Kakariko village.
hung on the horizon nobly and emitted its signature cloud of smoke. Lastly, Zelda took a long gaze at the West, where both the Gerudo desert and the Death Mountain loomed in the sky. Snowpeak Mountains
Shad realized Zelda was done, so he strode forward and put one hand on her right shoulder. Zelda turned and then saw that it was only Shad. Against her better judgment (was it against her wishes, though?) she let him rest it still. She shot him a funny glance and he grinned. Then, he leaned forward, bringing his lips close to her pointed ear and whispered two words: “You’re it.” He then ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction, sprinting through the sections of the library reserved for current issues in the kingdom. Zelda did not take long to catch on to his game, so soon she was after him. They dashed down the current issues aisle, Shad accidentally knocking off several scrolls, leaving behind a trail of documents that read “Bridge to be repaired” and “Murderous prices in Castle Town Market”. He discovered his mistake and made a long loop in his path to turn back and pick up the papers. Difficult as it was, he managed to pick up and replace all the documents before Zelda came back around to catch him.
On they sped, Zelda gaining on Shad every moment. She suddenly jumped, landing two feet behind him and managing to place a single, gloved finger on the small of his back. “No, you are it, Master Shad.” However, the last sprint had made her exceedingly tired, so it was only a matter of time before Shad caught her. He lunged and caught her on the back of the neck, sending her to the floor with him tumbling from the momentum of the lunge. They ended up facing each other on the cold, stone floor, Shad on his stomach and Zelda on her back, about five feet away from each other. “It appears that you’re it, Princess.” Shad mused. “Similarly, I think that you are, Master Shad.” As she said this, she scooted towards him and touched his knee with her bare foot.
After calling the game of tag quits for the moment, the two sat down, Zelda with her legs crossed in the fashion of the members of the Kakariko village and Shad with one knee bent and the other extended fully, and discussed the principle elements needed for the construction of the castle. After a while they decided they had made enough architectural choices for the day and Zelda pulled out The History of Hyrule through the Eyes of All and the two looked together. The illustrations presented by the Monk were most illuminating, detailing nearly every subject that he wrote of. One particular portrait caught Shad’s eye. It was of the past Princess Zelda and her bodyguard by the name of Impa. “Look at the symbol on her breastplate!” Shad cried. “The three-lashed eye and the single tear! It is that of the Sheikah, a race nearly forgotten by the common Hylian today.” Curiosity piqued, Zelda asked “The Sheikah?” Shad gave her an ‘I-told-you-so’ glance and began.
“Years ago, longer ago even than the documented or orally preserved tales of Hyrule were kept, the Hylians and Sheikah were at war. Hylians, as you know, is the race you and I are a part of. The Sheikah, though, were an ancient race that looked similar to the Hylians, but were generally taller, leaner, and had red eyes, every one of them. More tribal perhaps than us, they had a culture of spirits and shadows, and of fierce combat running through their veins. Now, we Hylians are more of a monarchy than a tribal community, and we both wanted control of this
. Naturally, the two went to war. Based on my description, it would seem that the Sheikah would have the advantage, but they did not. They were a small race to begin with, and the war had taken tolls on their numbers. The Hylians were and still are a thriving race, so they had the advantage of numbers, and sometimes that can make all the difference. Eventually, we won against the Sheikah, and a peace treaty was negotiated. Surprisingly, the Sheikah had felt a deep respect for the Hylians at the end of the war. They felt impressed that they had been beat, so in the peace treaty the Sheikah voluntarily made an oath to forever serve the Royal Family. I believe that the woman depicted in this illustration is a Sheikah, and she is a bodyguard for this princess. It’s all theory and speculation, though.” landof Hyrule
Zelda was impressed at Shad’s knowledge of Hyrule and its history, and found it funny that he would consider his little theory which now made so much sense ‘speculation’. She smiled a little and laid her head on his bent knee. “You absolutely need to bolster your self-confidence, Shad.” He looked at her, brushed her hair back behind her ear, seeming to understand why she had dropped the ‘master’ moniker. “If only because you want me to, Zelda.” They smiled at each other for the longest time, then he shifted a bit. “Zelda, could you place your lovely head somewhere other than my knee? I think it’s time for dinner to be ready.” Slightly confused, Zelda sat up and asked how he knew this. “Your handmaiden came to the door to announce it, saw us like this, and then left.” He said this with such seriousness and with such a straight face that Zelda found it hard to contain herself. He rose, held out a hand, helped her up, and then the two laughed down the staircase to the makeshift dining room that had been prepared.
* * *
Zelda didn’t quite remember how it had happened, but she certainly knew why. One thing had led to another, and she had invited Shad to spend the night in the castle. He had complied, and was now washing in the room of the tower devoted to it. However, Shad had left his book complete with its ornamental dagger in the library, and Zelda’s curiosity to know more about him led her to pry open its worn pages and read a journal entry Shad had written, dated two days before.
Professional log: Today I took another trip to the sacred grove to once again examine the ruined temple and its remarkable etchings that seem to label it a ‘temple of time’. My reasons for doing so were that I was looking for answers that I have not yet found, though I already have found out so much. The races of Hyrule are my main aspects of study, and I have already, with the aid of that brilliant, young fellow, Link, proven the existence of the Oocca and their remarkable technology, culture, and city in the sky. The Kokiri were obviously driven to extinction when the humans moved in and cleared out their forest, settling there for life in the Ordona province. It’s obvious that the Gerudo were unable to survive due to the fact that the only male of their kind was imprisoned in the Arbiter’s Grounds. They inbred with the Hylians and now there are none left. But there is one race that cannot be accounted for. The Sheikah! Where have they gone in the past hundred years? This tribe protected the Royal Family, so I cannot just believe that they would disappear without a trace! There must have been some indication of their existence or non-existence. Naturally, I was inclined to find the answer. The temple in the sacred grove seemed the obvious choice. It had already regurgitated to me its secrets pertaining to the Oocca, so why wouldn’t it also have some record of the Sheikah?
I trekked across the rather perilous bridge that led to the grove (a bit of a blessing, it is much more comforting than trusting Rusl’s dreadful cuckoo across the ravine) and found myself in the company of the strangest creatures. These… things... they seemed to be made of wood and crept towards me in the most eerie position, with their heads cocked to one side with their hands outstretched as if to grab and attack me. But, the most frightening thing about them was the fact that they didn’t walk but floated several feet above the ground. Whatever these things were, they were unnatural, and when one started clawing at my shoulder, I decided to take action.
To the casual observer, I may appear frail, but I can be rather fast and nimble with a dagger. I produced the one I am used to keep the place in my book with, but now I flourished it to defend myself. With a few blows, I had sliced most of the dreadful things in half, leaving only one floating towards me. This one I dispatched by tossing the dagger in between its carven eyes, sending it to the ground immediately. However, I had too soon discounted these assailants as defeated, for the four of them rose back to their regular, levitated haunt soon after I rid the world of the last one. I realized that the creatures were in a supernatural way, and would forever plague me unless I destroyed them completely.
I acted quickly, rustling through my satchel to find the bomb that Auru had given me in the case that trouble should arise (Thank the goddesses that a man as dangerous as he is part of the Resistance). I then lit the fuse, shoved the bomb into the gash in one of the wooden fiends’ chest, and ran as far as I could in the opposite direction. When I heard the reassuring “boom” and saw a slight cloud of splinters descending in the patch of grass where the creatures had previously been, I let out a sigh of relief.
The laugh came next. A chilling yet heartwarming laugh that led me to turn around for its source. It seemed to be the laugh of a young boy, but when I turned to look, I instead saw another wooden creature, this one smaller, wearing a buckled, worn hat, smiling with a row of sharp, glistening teeth, clasping a lantern in one hand and a brass horn in the other. His garb was orange and his back was clad with an extremely large piece of moss. Leaves adorned his chest and hat, seeming to flare out and establish his presence firmly. There was something about him that called to me that let me know that this creature was not malevolent as the others had been, but instead was a playful, boisterous thing, similar to a child. I decided to trust him for the moment, and put away my dagger within the confines of my essential tome. I started my approach by extending my hand and proclaiming “I am Shad, lore-master and historian. Who are you, my friend?”
The boy giggled and twirled around in a circle, vanishing within a cloud of leaves and feathers and leaving behind no trace that he had been there at all. I wasn’t about to let this remarkable fellow get away, so I glanced around the grove. Disappointed to find no trace of him, I resolved to continue on my way and disregard the experience. However, I soon heard the notes of a horn braying a fast and melodious tone. Instinctively, I followed its reassuring notes and eventually found the child secure upon a rock that bore the symbol of the Royal Family. Glad to have found him, I offered my hand again, but he flitted away again, leaving me fumbling to follow the tune once more. After this had happened many times, he stood there and watched me, not vanishing this time. He observed me with curious eyes, those I had often seen inhabit the brain of a child, searching for answers and always game for a new adventure. Eventually, he spoke, saying “Hello, Shad!” “Ah,” I replied to the curious thing, “I’m glad to observe that you have remembered my name.”
The child did a somersault, landing before me in the light grass of the grove. Smiling so widely that I feared his wooden head would split down the middle; he ejaculated “I remember a lot of things, mister. Like that song I just played. Guess who I learned it from?” I was eager to keep him interested, so I urged him on. “That boy taught me it, the one with golden hair and the green clothes. Last time he had a fairy with him, but this time he was taller, and he was alone.” I was stunned. Was there any way in the realm of the blessed goddesses that this corporeal boy could be referring to… Link?
Desperate to know, I implored him to tell me the name of the one he spoke of. “He told me his name was Link. He was a good friend… I did some bad stuff, and he stopped me from doing more.” Now I was past the point of amazement; Link had conversed with this child, a previously unknown species that seemed to be a sentient being composed of wood. Grinning wider than before, the wooden boy danced round me and cried “My name is Skull Kid, by the way. Would you like me to tell you about Link and the song he taught me?”
I couldn’t speak, so I simply nodded. The boy, Skull Kid, began “A long time ago, I lived in there” (He pointed south) “I lived in the Lost Woods. The fairies and the Kokiri were nice to me. Whenever they came in the forest, they would get lost, and I would help them out sometimes if they were nice. One day, the fairies were really sad and wouldn’t play with me, so asked them what was wrong. They told me that their guardian, the Great Deku Tree, was dying, and that they weren’t sure if the boy without a fairy could save him. I didn’t know what they were talking about, so I went to my favorite tree stump and started playing my flute, because I didn’t have my horn back then. Then, this boy with a fairy came into the Lost Woods, and he was crying, and I wondered if he was from the
Forest. I saw that he had a fairy, and I asked him if he wanted to play a song with me. I played a song on my flute. Then he said the song reminded him of his friend, so he played the song I just played now with my horn, a song that his friend taught him. So I play it now all the time.”
He finished with a far-off gaze and then whispered “But that was a long time ago.” I took a step forward, already suspicious with Skull Kid’s reference to the Kokiri and the Deku Tree (long gone, nearly a hundred years had gone by since the Kokiri still roamed the forest) and asked him boldly “How long ago was this?” He turned to me with his glowing red eyes and muttered “I don’t know. It was really long, though. A hundred years, I bet. But don’t ask me when I met him again, because I did really mean things to people… Because I thought I had no friends… But after Link saved me from the mask, I knew I did have a friend. Him. Link was my friend.” I swore I could see a slight tear roll out of the child’s eye, but he turned so fast that I only caught a moment’s glimpse. After a few resigned sniffles, he turned back and asked me what I had come for. After telling him I was there to examine the temple, he played the horn, and I was amazed to see that an entire portion the rock wall surrounding us vanished and led into the entrance grove to the temple. I thanked him with bewilderment, and couldn’t help but feel so blessed that a boy like Link exists in this world, having a positive effect on all around him. Next time I visit Lanayru’s spring, I must remember to pray that Link will find someone to bless him equally.
Zelda finished with tears in her eyes. Now more than ever she realized how brave and compassionate Shad was, and how Link was the best of all of the citizens of Hyrule, that he more than anyone else deserved the one he loved. Zelda wondered if it was selfish that she had the one she had come to love just in the next room, unwittingly washing his face and changing into night garments. I have to write to him, Zelda thought. I must find a way, some way, for Midna and him to be reunited. “I must write to him!” Zelda proclaimed out loud on a sudden burst of regal impulse. “Those are affairs of the day, Zelda. Now it is time for rest.” Shad’s voice startled Zelda so much that she flung the book out of her hands and shrieked. Why did she always fail to notice Shad’s presence? Regaining composure, Zelda began “Yes, rest is what is needed now. I will show you to your room, Shad.” The two of them willingly joined hands and walked from the library to the room denoted for guests’ over-nighting the castle. Tomorrow.
* * *
Link felt Ilia’s hands clench around his waist, her soft arms clinging to him to keep her from falling of Epona. He couldn’t enjoy it know that he know how she felt for him. The touch of a friend was one of the many things Link had taken joy in before, but he felt so utterly lost now that this touch seemed to burn his sides and he felt the urge to cry out in pain. It was a real pain that he felt in his chest but knew came from his heart. They had ridden to the spot in the Faron Woods where Bo had told them to go, and now Link realized it was the spot he had found an Owl Statue in his fervent hunt for the missing symbols in Shad’s sky book. Link kicked Epona gently, requesting her to stop. Sliding off the saddle he had ridden in countless times before, Link made a resolution to forget Midna for the time-being. He would never see her again, and Ilia wanted him to be here for her. Link’s overriding sense of kindness and duty urged him to at least act like he enjoyed Ilia’s advances for the time being, if only to make her happy.
With this new goal in mind, Link reached up and took Ilia’s hand, gently helping her down from Epona’s broad back. They walked to the reclusive space behind a wall of boulders, and sat down upon the short, stubby grass that grew there. Link sat down first, crossing his legs with one over the other in the fashion of the inhabitants of Kakariko, and Ilia followed suit opposite him. Link stared at the grass and searched for what he sought. Then, he had it. The horse grass that Ilia loved to hear him play. He picked it from its roots and pressed the mouth of it to his lips, then began to play the six notes that brought her such warmth. She smiled; her dimples appeared from their hiding place within her face. Her cheeks glowed with a rosy light, and the teeth in her upper jaw came forth, white as the pearls found in Zora’s Domain. She was very pretty, but Link felt nothing for her compared to the deep love he felt for… Suddenly, Ilia spoke “Link, thank you for taking me out here. I actually feel sort of, well, embarrassed. Because I know my father told you what I asked him not to say. In a way, though, I’m glad that he said it. I don’t know if I could have mustered the strength myself.” Link couldn’t help the tears that formed in his eyes. “Ilia, you’re my best friend. You really are.” He swallowed the tears that threatened to explode from his eyes at any moment. “And…” Link, for the first time in his life, had no clue what to say to her. He decided to say what would make his dearest friend happy. He did what Zelda would have wanted him to do: He moved on. “I love you, too.”
Ilia smiled and her eyes glistened with moist drops. She looked down, attempting to hold them back as Link was. Now that she observed the ground, she picked up the reed of horse grass Link had picked and blew into its mouthpiece. The notes did not come, though, only a long, sustained tone that ended with the reed dropping from her mouth and her face rising to meet his with tears streaming down her soft face. “I’m so glad, Link. Glad that you feel it, too.” She leaned forward, her mouth yearning for something Link had never given to anyone. If jumping off the
would make her happy, Link would do it. And now all she asked for was a kiss. Link tilted his head to one side, closed his eyes, brought his hand to her left cheek, and their lips met. Hers were slightly above his, and caught on the groove between his nose and upper lip, while his lower lip hooked around her small chin. Their mouths moved for a moment, and then the embrace broke. Link fell back to the ground, his shoulders resting upon the grass. Ilia advanced, placing her feet on his knees and bending her legs so that her head rested on his. As the sun set and shadow engulfed them, she kissed him again. For what seemed like a lifetime, her hands groped his chest and his rummaged through her hair, and their mouths were one. Hyrule Bridge
But nothing could stop what came next. When they began their third kiss, their third kiss they had ever been given, he closed his eyes and saw those of the woman he loved. Her eyes were fiery red, with a smoldering yellow in the space between. These were not Ilia’s eyes. They were Midna’s, and Midna was the only woman he had ever loved and would continue to love for the rest of his life. Kissing Ilia was the ultimate betrayal to her, and his entire soul begged him to stop. Lunging forward with the strength of a madman, Link screamed “I can’t!” Ilia fell back on her side; her face had such an expression of fear on it that he felt like a monster. With the most guilt he had ever suffered in his life, Link sobbed “I lied! I’m so sorry, Ilia, but I lied. I never have and never will love you, and I can’t kiss you for any longer.” As tears blurred his vision and ran into his weeping mouth, Link jumped onto Epona as fast as he could and kicked her with savagery he had never exposed. He wanted to be away from Ilia for the rest of his life, and he wanted someone he could never have.
Link rode as far and as fast away as he could possibly go on Epona’s trusty legs, carrying himself over the Hyrule Fields, across the expanse of Eldin province, skirting around the edges of Death Mountain, trudging through puddles that collected from the rainwater near the bridge that had been repaired recently due to Link’s efforts, into Lanayru province and eventually back to the center of the Hyrule Field before he stopped and asked himself where he was. He was far gone and he knew it, not only physically, but mentally as well. In his deep love for Midna he had forsaken all other people in his life; he had even been more negligent to Epona than an irresponsible toddler would be. Cutting himself off from the rest of the world had left deep wounds, in his own heart and those of his friends, friends that he may never have again because of his isolation. Link decided that he must go home to think about what he had to give and what he might have already lost in this world, the world without the one he loved. Gripping Epona’s reigns, he urged her to a stop and then dismounted, walking her all the way back to his abode, letting himself feel the pain of each step, each broken tie he had severed between himself and the ones he had cared about. It was only then that he realized it was the morning.
When he returned home, Link observed that there was an envelope caught fast between his door and the wall surrounding it. Curious, he pulled it out only to discover that there were three envelopes wedged in the crack of the door. The first one he had spied was the first to be opened. It turned out to be from Telma, asking Link to come to her bar and enjoy a few drinks with the rest of the resistance to commemorate their victory over the evils that had been plaguing Hyrule. The second was a slip of paper folded over and sealed with a flower. Link opened it and realized that it was an apology from Ilia. Trying to swallow the large lump that formed in his throat, Link saw that the page’s ink was smeared and blotted by tears. Clasping the note between the fingers of one hand, he read.
I rode behind you on Epona with mixed feelings- partly of deep fear that you would not share my feelings and partly an overwhelming excitement that you would even bother to come with me to this secluded place at the request of my father. I enjoy so much being with you, smelling the pines of our forest on your neck; even the tones of your voice comfort me in ways you do not understand… Unless what I fear is true… You’re in love, aren’t you, Link? Not with me, but with some other girl. Whoever she is, she is extremely lucky. If you kiss her anywhere near the way you kissed me, she will be the happiest one in the world. I’m so sorry if I caused you pain, Link. My feelings were strong, but I was so inconsiderate of what you may have or may not have felt that I ended up hurting you… And that is one thing I cannot stand. Link, all I want is for you to be happy, and if that means that you won’t be with me, then I can accept that. Just never forget that I am always your friend… And that is all I am for now.
Link pressed the letter close to his heart, then folded it and placed it on his bed. He felt so ashamed that Ilia had even thought she had to apologize when it was he who had caused her so much pain. If anything, it should be Link who had to writhe on his knees and beg for forgiveness, yet she had legitimately believed it was her that was at fault. Link had to mend the wound that both of them had suffered on his account.
Just then, he noticed the third letter, or, rather, the symbol of the seal on it. It was the symbol of the Triforce, the one he bore on his left hand… And it was also the symbol of the Hylian Royal Family. With the only surviving royal member being Princess Zelda, Link knew it must be from her, and must be important. Using a small knife to slit open the letter, he unfurled the pages and read it.
Once again, I must thank you for saving our beautiful
from the grip of evil, and offer my eternal gratitude. However, I do not wish for you to always be helping others- someday someone must return the favor. You are the most selfless person I’ve ever met, Link, and everyone knows it. Yet, they let you do their work for them. Many others were under obligation to save us from the shroud of twilight, yet it was you who did the entire deed, forgoing the expectations of all and delivering us from an unspeakable evil. As your friend, I desperately want to help you in some way… The only thing is that I do not know how to do that. Therefore, I wrote this letter to tell you in the simplest way I can: If there is anything that I can do for you, do not hesitate for one moment to ask it of me. Even if you doubt that I can, please ask anyway. Lastly, I wish that someday you would come to visit at what remains of landof Hyrule . I am in the process of rebuilding it with a friend, someone you know. Please, come at your earliest convenience! Surely the hospitality of royalty will be a welcome relief. Hyrule Castle
Zelda, Princess of Hyrule
Link closed this letter with a warm feeling in his heart. Zelda was a friend, though he had only known her for a brief time. And he was burning with curiosity to know who she had commissioned to help rebuild the castle. Furthermore, both the castle and Telma’s bar lay in
, so that seemed to be the place to commute to. Yet, the obligation that was most important of all was here, in his hometown of Ordon. If he did not fix the wounds he had made himself, they would affect all that lived here. He knew exactly what he should do, yet he hesitated out of fear. If anything, he knew that the best thing for him was to get some time away from Ilia, but there was something he had to do first. Heading out the door, Link mounted Epona, rubbed her forehead gently, and spurred her into a slow walk, heading into the village. He rode through with a fluttering feeling within his stomach, and when he eventually arrived at Mayor Bo’s door, he felt he could hardly dismount. Hyrule Castle Town
Walking up the steps with languid movements, Link felt anxiety spread through all his limbs. He finally mustered the strength to knock after what seemed like a lifetime. The Mayor flung open the door with a fury. His very eyes seemed to simmer, and Link felt himself melting under his gaze. “What could you want, Mr. Heart-breaker?” Swallowing and firmly clamping together his lips, Link lisped out of clenched teeth “I want to see Ilia, please.” The resulting shout made Link cower as he never had before. “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT SHE’LL SEE YOU?!” the Mayor bellowed. Link answered in a withdrawn voice “Mayor Bo, I know what I’ve done, and that’s why I’m here. I need to fix this, and I need to fix it now. I would appreciate it if you would let me.” The Mayor’s face mellowed and he finally nodded, allowing Link to enter his house.
Link knew the way to Ilia’s room; he had been there many times before as a child. Grasping the knob with cold hands, he twisted it to the left and pushed open the door as quietly as he could. Ilia sat on her bed gazing out her open window. The brilliant light falling through the panes seemed to make her glow, nearly forcing to Link to squint and cover his eyes. He walked silently up behind her, sitting down beside her on the bed. She knew he was there, but she did not turn to him or speak for a time. Knowing he had to start the conversation himself, Link began. “Ilia,” he started with bated breath, “it was my fault, and we both know it. When you apologized to me, I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s my fault, and I’m the one who needs to apologize. You guessed right.” She turned towards him at this. “You’re right: I’m in love. The reason I’ve been so despondent lately is because circumstances have taken her from me, and the way we are doesn’t allow us to be together.” Grinning with sympathy, Ilia replied “It must be terrible to come from different worlds.” “You’ve no idea,” Link said back with a hint of depressed sarcasm. “Now I have to leave,” he continued, “to get over these feelings. I think we need to be away from each other for now, Ilia. But I’m going to kiss you one last time as my final form of apology. I hope you accept it.” He leaned forward to kiss her, but she stopped him by placing two fingers on his lips. Then, she took his face in her hands and kissed his forehead. “You don’t have to do that. Save them for the one you love. The one you truly love.”
Link held her hand for a moment, and then left the room. The Mayor watched him like a hawk as he left the house, eventually going out the door and mounting Epona, galloping away faster than he ought. Seeing him leave relieved some worries in the Mayor’s mind, but he had to know what had happened between Link and Ilia. He rushed to her room and saw her sitting on her bed, a single tear flowing from her eye, caressing her cheek, and eventually rolling off her chin. But the smile that graced her face was so peaceful and so pure that he wished that it would stay there forever. The Mayor was so delighted that he nearly gave in to tears himself. He strode away from the room and wished Link would return soon.
* * *
As the ring of hammers and the shouts of men filled the air, Zelda embraced Shad and proclaimed “Everything is going so splendidly!” Shad locked his arms around her mid and replied “Yes, the castle will be repaired soon. And then my job will be complete.” Zelda looked up at him with an expression of worry on her face, only to find the same look adorned his features. Simultaneously, Zelda said “And then you’ll leave” just as Shad cried “And then you’ll make me leave!” They looked at each other for a long time before they realized neither of them wanted for him to leave. “May I stay, Zelda?” he asked with a loving look in his eyes. Zelda held him even tighter and whispered “I’ll never let you leave.” Eventually, they turned to oversee the rebuilding of the castle. Zelda was garbed in a flowing green dress with gold trim adoring the bottom and with a tight-fitting sash clasped across her waist. Shad was clothed in a rich blue jacket with coat-tails draping to the backs of his knees, loose fitting black pants, and tall boots reaching to his thighs.
Before them labored hundreds of Gorons, each one hand-picked from
and hired on a salary of a hundred rupees an hour (quite a handsome sum) for their formidable skills in masonry and of sheer power. It was actually amazing to see how much had been done in the matter of a day, with half the foundation already laid by the rocky hands of the monstrous, magma-loving mountain-dwellers. Shad was officially hired to oversee the construction, but he found that there was nearly no flaw in their work, and had time for leisure with Zelda. He would have felt guilty for standing on the sidelines and cuddling with a princess whilst the Gorons exerted themselves in the noon-day Hyrule sun, but he was too much enamored to mind. Death Mountain
Just then, he observed Link riding upon his steed to the west gate of
. He dismounted, and then was hidden from Shad’s eyes because of the twin gates protecting the capital of Hyrule from assault. Finally, though, Link walked through the double gates leading directly to the castle and raised his right arm in acknowledgement. Zelda stepped forward to greet him, happily saying “I’m glad that you’ve come!” Shad followed her and gave Link a two-fingered salute across his brow. Link saw him and smiled, replying “So you’ve hired Shad to oversee the rebuilding, eh, Princess?” She grinned and nodded. “Don’t just sit out here in the sun, Link. Come in and have some lunch, if you would enjoy it.” Zelda added. In the mood for some humor, it seemed, Link took off his cap and placed it on his stomach, making amusing growling noises. Shad patted his belly as well, saying “Don’t worry, Link. I’m sure you’ll find the royal table will sate the beast that is your stomach.” They all laughed and strode into the tower, ascending the winding stair to the make-shift dining room. Castle Town
After they had eaten to their content, Zelda and Shad left the room looking for Link, who had finished early and excused himself. They split up, Shad going down the staircase with Zelda heading up. Checking the library, Zelda found he was not there. Next she tried her bedroom, praying to the goddesses that he wasn’t there. Her prayers were answered, so Zelda ascended the last flight of stairs up to the uppermost room, one with a fireplace and a bed that was the Queen’s until the ague had taken her. This was the room where Link had first seen her, and the one in which Zelda had sacrificed her physical form for a temporary time to heal an injured Midna. It was here that she found him, staring out the large window with a blank expression on his face. “Link?” she asked quietly. He turned to her and replied with a voice just as quiet, “I miss her. I miss her more than anything.” Zelda felt a quiver in her lip. “It’s the only reason I came,” Link continued, “and you know it was. You said to me that I should ask you any favor that I desired, even if I thought you couldn’t do it. This is that favor. Please, I beg you with all that I’ve ever felt in my heart, find a way for me to see her again.”
Zelda tried to reply, but found her voice had been taken from her. She could only mouth the words “I don’t know how” as Link walked to the bed and sank into it, sitting with his back bent over and his hands covering his down turned face. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she knew she had to console him in any way she could. She started to move towards him as she began “Link, she lives in the Twilight. You live in the Light. There is no way for you to be with her again.” Her heart panged, seeing as she knew she was lying. Unbeknownst to her, someone else did too, and he standing taut at the doorway. “Actually, there might be a way.” Shad’s voice jolted the two of them, Link lunging off the bed and landing in a crouched position in front of the hearth, and Zelda shrieking and standing as upright as she could. Link stood and queried “Does he always do this?” Shad walked forward and apologized to Zelda. He then replied to Link “Yes, and you’d think she’d be used to it by now.”
“You said there was a way to find her again. What is it?” Link demanded, the very essence of hope contained in his eyes. “Well, as I’ve said before, I’m extremely learned in the lore of Hyrule and especially its Royal Family, and one of the stories passed down from it is that of the Scepter of the Goddesses.” Zelda, apparently recovered from the shock, rose her head and said with barely contained rage “How did you know that?!” Shad rolled his eyes with a wry smile and said “You should keep a better watch on your library. My father knew this, and his father did before him.” Zelda’s countenance eased, and she laughed abruptly, stopping just as suddenly, and finally muttered “I suppose you are very resourceful.” Link wasn’t going to stop now for chatter, and pressed on “What about this Scepter of the Goddesses? What does it do?” Shad cleared his throat and began. “Long ago, when the Oocca still maintained contact with the Royal Family and when the Sheikah had just been assigned to the Royal Family as bodyguards, the King of Hyrule made a pact between the three races. Since dominion over the Sacred Realm was still in debate, he deemed that the Three Races should keep the ancient power of the Goddesses safe. So, two courses of action were made. One was that the three races not bound to the pact should each receive a sacred stone that would seal the doors to the Sacred Realm unless bound together and added to the power of time itself. The second was that the Three Races in the pact should have a second way to protect the Sacred Realm in the event that the first and lesser method failed. Together, the Three Races constructed a golden scepter that was the only way that one could possess all three aspects of the Holy Triforce. The Sheikah brought power, the Oocca brought wisdom, and the Hylians finished the pact with courage, sealing away the possibility that any one man could possess the Triforce. If the stories are correct, this Scepter should still be in the possession of the Royal Family.”
Thus he ended, and, turning his gaze to Zelda, he asked “Am I correct?” Zelda nodded gravely. Link was confused, however. “How can this unite the two worlds?” This time it was Zelda who answered. “The Scepter of the Goddesses had the power of the goddesses within it. Still has, rather. And if it has this power, it surely must be able to mend the Mirror of Twilight, thus allowing you to be with your one love.” It was now Shad’s turn to be puzzled. “Love? You love a denizen of the Twilight?” Link smiled and let a single tear run down his cheek. “With all of my heart.” Shad couldn’t help but grin at this. “Do you hear that, Zelda? True love, that’s what it is. We can’t let them be apart. Would you want to be apart from me?” Zelda stared into his bespectacled eyes and endearingly replied “Never in my life.” They embraced, and Link’s jaw dropped so far he was afraid it would hit the marble floor. He tried to process in his mind what had just happened, but the lovers stood on either side of him and grabbed his hands, leading him down the staircase to the dungeon of the castle, leaving his mind to reel.
Coming down the lengthy staircase, the trio found themselves at the locked door to the dungeon. “Where is the key, Zelda?” Link asked. Zelda hesitantly replied “Safe.” The two men glanced at each other, coming to an unspoken agreement that Shad should try next. “Where is it safe?” Zelda blushed furiously, and then murmured “I never thought anyone would be with me when I needed to produce it.” In unison, Link and Shad stressed “We need it.” Still blushing as if she had just run from
to Snowpeak, Zelda ordered them to turn around. When they were allowed to turn back, she held the key in her hand and the sash around her waist was a tad askew. With held breath, she inserted the key into the rusty look and turned it. The door slid open with a creak, emitting a smell of rot and the sound of dripping water from the dungeon. “How long has it been since someone has been down there?” Shad inquired. Zelda raised her eyebrows and covered her nose. “A while,” she said simply. The three each took a deep breath and descended into the bowls of Castle Town . Hyrule Castle
* * *
Midna twirled again, bending one leg so that its foot rested upon the calf of the leg she was spinning on. Her parents had encouraged dancing early on in addition to politics, and many said that the grace she held while dancing exhibited itself in many of her daily motions. Dancing seemed to be the one thing that took her mind off of… No, don’t give in now, Midna thought. She continued her routine, dancing all across the stone floors of the
. Instead of letting her thoughts drift, she turned her mind to the running of her kingdom. In truth, there wasn’t much to think of. All the wounds that Zant had brought on the world of Twilight with Ganondorf’s power had been healed. The denizens of Twilight had all been restored to actual Twili with the Sols, the Palace itself had been repaired to its original state, and the evil creatures that once polluted the depths of the Twilight Realm had been defeated with the aid of the Fused Shadows. Everything had been fixed… Everyone was whole… Except for me, thought Midna. Palaceof Twilight
Shaking her head, Midna once again diverted her thoughts from the only thing that had occupied them ever since she had left the
. She leaped into the air and landed on her feet, completing her routine. Now that she was done, there was nothing occupying her brain, and her thoughts began to wander. The last time that she had fallen, she hadn’t caught herself… Someone had caught her. He had caught her… landof Light
Midna viewed the barrier surrounding
with dread. She knew the only way she could shatter it was to give in to the power that she had just acquired. Yet, the Fused Shadows were so mighty, so omnipotent, that she feared that she would be consumed. She looked towards Link, and he gave her a reassuring nod. That was all she needed to be spurred into action. The Fused Shadow surrounded her, then slammed shut and sealed her within its dark confines. She was lifted into the air by a will not her own. The sheer power of the device threw her against the wall, then the next until she was dragged into a space large enough for the full darkness to be unleashed. Finally, a dark entity composed of some liquid that resembled fire erupted from the Fused Shadow, and its dark work began. Its spear penetrated the barrier and split it down the middle. As light spewed forth from the broken barrier, the Fused Shadow fell apart along with the wall it had just destroyed. Hyrule Castle
Now back to her regular state, Midna fell from a breathtaking height, fearing she wouldn’t be able to regain her floating ability in time to save herself. She closed her amber eyes and praying to the gods of her realm that she would live to see Link again. When she opened her eyes, he was the first thing she saw. He held her in his arms, glancing at her with such a look of adoration that she felt her entire body shiver. Every part of her except her mouth begged for him to kiss her, to embrace her, to do anything he could to sate the rumbling beast that was her love. For a moment, Midna sensed he wanted the same thing, but then he looked on at the newly visible castle. The two of them had a job to do, and even though Midna knew she was obligated to save this
, the rebuke left her broken… landof Light
In the present, Midna’s guilt consumed her. Her nature was one of revenge, and when she had abandoned Link by shattering the Mirror of Twilight, she had been trying to cause him the hurt she felt when he had done nothing to advance his feelings. Now she resented that more than anything. It was the cruelest action that had ever been committed, not only because it had split her soul in two as well as Link’s, but also because she realized now that she had destroyed and abandoned the one she loved forever. She fell where she stood; curling into a ball and sobbing as she had the day she was born into the cursed world that she was now in, the one without Link. She loved him more than she loved life itself, and she wanted him beside her. But now, because of her, he never would be. Her desperation seemed to seep into the consciousness of the entire Palace. As rain fell from the Twilit sky, Midna showered herself with tears she had brought upon herself by her own actions.
* * *
The ancient room had been sealed away for as long as any member of the Royal Family could remember. Its loam floor had begun to decompose, and the vines entangling the marble walls had long since rotted into dry, thin strands. The door into the room was covered by bars cast into the very surface of the ceiling, and could only be lifted by putting weight on a floor panel outside the doorway. Inside the decrepit walls lay a chest, eight feet by four of a blue hue with numerous carvings in its very enamel of beings of ancient days long since forgotten. Suddenly, the still, stale air was broken by a cry. A panel in the ceiling opened and dropped its load of a boy approaching adulthood who fell in a straight arc to the earthy floor. Next, the iron bars blocking the doorway slid up and it opened to reveal a princess and a lore-master rolling down the stairs leading to the room; it was obvious they had not expected the drop. They rolled down and eventually came to a stop next to the boy clad in green.
Seeing as they had found each other, the three youths stood and the teasing began. “If you hadn’t pushed the statue onto the floor panel,” Shad began to Zelda, “Link wouldn’t have dropped through the hole in the ceiling and sent us rolling down the stairs.” Zelda, with a hint of anger, shouted “Well, if you two ‘men’ had killed the enormous rat that assaulted me, I wouldn’t have run into the statue and pushed it!” Link decided to be the voice of reason and declared “Does it really matter now that we’re in the room with the Scepter?” With that, they walked to the indigo chest and perceived it would not open. “You’re the experts here,” Link said, turning to the couple behind him, “how do we get the chest open?” Shad knelt and observed the carvings on the front side of the object. In it there was an indention in the shape of the Triforce, and in each section of it there was a separate indention in the shape of a hand. “It would appear that we need someone with the value of each Triforce to press their hands into the carving and therefore unlock the chest to the Scepter.” Shad stated. Link and Zelda gave each other a glance and then stepped forward and pressed their hands to the bottom two triangles, sending a bright illumination shooting forth from each. “Wisdom” Zelda said, with Link also saying “Courage.”
Shad sighed and muttered “I’m not sure I make up the remainder for power.” The other two begged him to try, but when he consented and placed his palm in the uppermost triangle, nothing happened. “It’s alright; we can find someone to represent power.” Link said, trying to hide his disappointment. Just then, the loam floor erupted, sending chunks of clay into every last corner of the room. The trio was astonished to look into the gaping hole in the ground and discover a Goron shaking his head in utter confusion. “Hello, brother,” he proclaimed to Link once he had recovered his senses. “The boss told me to dig a hole in the ground to lay foundation, but the ground was hollow, and I fell once I had dug deep enough. I had to pound my way through the earth to get here.” Link, still kneeling at the chest with Zelda, replied “Then you must be powerful.” Shad looked at the two of them on the floor, caught on to the idea, and then led the Goron over to the chest and asked “Can you place your hand right there, please?” The Goron happily agreed, putting his clawed hand onto the surface of the chest, brightening the whole room and unlocking the contents of the chest.
Seemingly unaware of what had just transpired, the Goron headed back into the hole in the ground and dug through again with his bare fists. Shad and Zelda were awed at the Goron’s strength, but Link was preoccupied with the vessel inside the chest. The Scepter of the Goddesses was about four feet long; the golden rod ended in three claws, each ornamented with either a ruby, a sapphire, or an emerald. The claws encased a glowing pearl that seemed to be the source of power within the Scepter. “How do we use it?” Zelda asked. Link shrugged, still in wonder at the powerful thing he held within his hands. Taking a guess that he hoped was correct, Link brandished the Scepter in his hand, and then flourished it forward with a subdued shout. The trio found themselves dematerializing, and within moments found themselves being pieced together again at the Mirror Chamber in the
. The fragments of the mirror lay spread across the top of the Arbiter’s Grounds in a fine dust, crushing all hope that they could ever be put together again. However, Link now had the power of the Goddesses within his hand. Gerudo Desert
Zelda and Shad beheld with apprehension the spectacle being played out before their eyes. Link moved the Scepter as if it was a conductor’s baton, attracting the fragments together like shavings of iron to the call of a magnet. Within minutes, four distinct fragments were formed. When these four interlocking pieces came together, Link commanded the Mirror to be set in its frame. Link’s heart leaped within his chest for joy and extreme nervousness. If everything went accordingly, he would soon see his love once more. With its task being accomplished, the Scepter disappeared in a flash of multicolored light; presumably back to the chest it had been found in. Zelda and Shad came to stand beside him. Together, they ascended the stairs that led to the terrace where they could be transported to the Twilight. The Mirror shone, and the trio found themselves transported to the place where Link would find the only one he had wished to see for as long as he could remember. When they finally materialized in the Twilight Realm, the three of them wished they had dressed accordingly. It was storming fiercely, the rain pouring down as if entire bucketfuls of
were being cast down from the heavens. Link drew his cap further up his head as Shad took off his jacket and proffered it to Zelda. Lake Hylia
Next, the three Hylians stepped out into the bleary landscape searching for the Palace where Link would find Midna. As they passed, the Twili were amazed to see creatures of the light strolling through their isolated world. Shad saluted them as best he could as they walked on to the Palace. Coming to the rune-inscribed doors, Shad and Zelda gasped appreciatively as they lit up and opened themselves. Link remembered that they had not been here before, and were relatively new to the extent the Twili had incorporated their ancient tribe’s magic into their architecture. Link rushed through the rooms of the Palace, searching like a bloodhound on the scent of a bird. Scanning each room more quickly than the Princess and the lore-master could keep up, Link ran through the entire building before he found her. She lay on the floor on her side, staring out the window into the rainy expanse of Twilight. Link ran to her as he had on the day she appeared in the Gerudo desert after he had defeated Ganon, and he ran to her as if she was the only safety in a world of peril. Sensing him, Midna stood and smiled so beautifully that Link ran even faster.
They embraced, and the entire world seemed to rejoice. Tears flowed from their eyes so quickly and in such quantity that Zelda and Shad, usually somber on romantic occasions, burst into tears as well. The four lovers came to realize that love was the best thing they had ever possessed. Link would not let go of Midna for the world, and she was game to return the favor. Shad and Zelda poked each other silently, whispering to each other “You’re it”, not wanting to disturb Link and Midna’s ultimate happiness. Link drew his head back to see Midna’s face. Her eyes were clamped shut, brimming with tears. If there was one thing Link had dwelled on, it was her eyes. Her eyelids were soft and damp with tears, so he kissed them passionately, first the right, then the left. Now she opened them. Her eyes were so brilliant that Link smiled with sweetness she had never observed on his face before. She brought one hand to his face, stroking his cheek and caressing his chin. “I love you.” Midna said simply. Link whispered “I love you, too. More than I can describe.” Zelda and Shad observed their absolute peace and then turned to each other. “Why can’t something like that occur to us?” Shad teased. Zelda drew him closer and kissed him endearingly on the mouth. “I believe it just did.” The two kissed again, enjoying each other’s company infinitely.
The sighs of happiness emitted from the room were suddenly quieted by a booming voice “A man of the light and a woman of the twilight have fallen in love… It seems the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled.” All four looked skyward and saw a spirit in the form of a predatory feline. Midna gasped astounded “It’s the spirit of Twilight, the deity of our realm…” The immense cat turned to her and nodded. “I am Nordin, the Spirit of Twilight. For centuries I have oversaw the events of this realm and ensured that the Twili remained contained here. However, before I was entrusted to this task, the Goddesses of Hyrule told me that one day lovers from opposite worlds would have the purest love ever seen, and it would be this love that would allow the Twili to return from their banishment and rejoin the citizens of Hyrule. The lovers would offer redemption for the crimes committed by their ancestors.” As he ended, Shad muttered “I’ve never heard about this in the books of lore.” Midna and Link faced the Spirit while holding hands. “What must we do to join the realms?” Midna asked. Link continued “What will we do to offer redemption?”
The Spirit delivered its ultimatum. “You must go to the swirling chaos that separates the two realms and cast the Fused Shadow, the power that mocked those of the Goddesses, into the Abyss.” Link looked into Midna’s eyes. As long as he was with her, as long as he could love her, as long as he could be with her forever, he could do anything. “We will do this,” the two replied in unison. Nordin lunged forward, engulfing the two of them in his mass. Shad shouted and rushed forward, but when everything had settled and the Spirit had disappeared, Link and Midna were gone, nothing left in their place. “Come,” Zelda said, tugging on Shad’s arm. “We must leave here. This is their task, not ours, and I am sure we will know when they succeed.” With that, the two Hylians left the chamber and made their way back to the portal, only to discover that it had stopped raining.
* * *
Link had never known anything remotely resembling darkness until this moment. It wasn’t that Link couldn’t see anything, it was that his irises took in no light, all that existed in this netherworld was light’s polar opposite. Nothingness consumed him, sending him into a frivolous frenzy. The ultimate primal fear that all beings had of the unknown and the dark erupted from his consciousness. Not knowing whether he was feeling pain or if his nervous capacity had failed him, Link stumbled on through the dark with no way to know if he was actually moving. He continued in this way for what seemed like a life-age, the pitch blackness decaying him from the inside. There was no torture in the world that could stand up to this test of reasoning, a test of the very malice of his being.
Then, a light appeared. Still feeling the gashes that the darkness had wreaked on his mind, Link cautiously stumbled forward as a tribal human might have approached Promethean fire. Coming closer to the source of light, Link realized that he was struggling up an incline. Each step seemed to question his entire essence. It was a testament of his will every time he decided to bring forth his boot once again. Finally, Link found that the light was emanating from a mid-sized lantern, sitting upon the dark. The light was sitting there yet illuminated nothing, simply because there was nothing to illuminate. This nearly drove Link to madness. It was the hardest decision he had ever made in his entire existence when he grasped the handle of the lantern and brought it to the level of his chest. He looked out on the expanse of nothingness and tried his best to maintain sanity.
Nothing could have prepared him for what he felt next. The lantern suddenly cast light on a human figure. He ran forward and discovered that the incline had ended and that he was now rushing down a nearly even slope. When he arrived at the figure, he saw that it was Midna, her eyes betraying the intimate fear that he had felt until the lantern had called to him. “Where are we?” she asked him, hoping more than anything that he could deliver an answer. As the lantern threw its feeble beams on his calmed features, he stated “Chaos.”
They came closer together, their sides meeting at the hip. Midna looked at him with a curious eye and then whispered “You’ve grown.” He stared back and noticed himself that he was nearly her height now. “It has been nine days since we last saw each other.” Midna sighed, and said what they both felt, “It feels like a lifetime.” They walked forward, the inclines and slopes the only sign that any progress was being made. Eventually, Midna broke the silence and continued. “It’s interesting to think that you could grow so much in a week.” Link smiled as he recalled the pain of the last few days, quietly speaking “I have been sleeping an awful lot.” Never even thinking that at least five years separated them, they persevered on through the darkness.
At long last, they perceived an enormous cliff in front of them. They could only tell it was there because at the moment they came within fifty feet of its precipice, two torches lit up and cleaved in half the darkness, illuminating a rugged ground of a dark nature, a black soil that seemed crusted in some parts yet soft in others. The sky above them was still dark, but was no longer pitch black. Instead, a dark shade of purple was overcast and seemed to betray a sense of otherworldliness the two had never experienced outside of a nightmare. In time they gathered the courage to come to the edge of the cliff and look into its abysmal crags and depths. It was only then that they noticed that there was nothing on the other side of the abyss. It was as if the very limits of the world stopped here at the cliff, and the other side was a hell that not even the most corrupted being deserved to be confined in.
Knowing well the task before them, Link asked Midna “Do you have the Fused Shadow?” Midna nodded in the affirmative and outstretched her hand. Within her palm swirled the four fragments of the ancient power. She came to the very edge of the cliff and stared into its mind-boggling depths. Then, with a passion Link had never seen exhibited through her, she flung her arm as far as she could. The Fused Shadows tumbled into the darkness of the abyss, falling faster than the winds of the Goddesses, forever resigned to this ultimate fate of eternal non-existence. It was then that they began to resist.
As Midna turned to return to Link, dozens of mottled hands broke through the soft earth and clasped around her legs. She screamed and fell to the ground in front of Link, begging to be saved. The words were not needed; Link had already drawn his blade crafted for him by Rusl. In one swift motion, he brought the sword down upon the hands, severing them from their rotting wrists and releasing Midna. He offered a hand, and she accepted it, standing and observing the appendages that had imprisoned her. Then, with a suddenness none of them could expect, the wrists, arms, and heads of the undead creatures burst out of the damp ground, writhing and wriggling to be free of their loamy prison. They were free faster than Link could decapitate all six of the imprisoned, mangled things, and now that they were out of the clammy earth that had held them so firmly, they were gaining speed. However, Link doubted that he and his love couldn’t outrun them, and decided to turn and fight. It was then, though, that one of the vile beasts screamed, ripping open its rotting jaw, sending flecks of green flesh and blood running from its gaping maw.
When the bloodcurdling shriek resounded through the dense air, Link and Midna found themselves paralyzed. Unable to move as the re-dead fiends closed in on them, shambling with uncertain and moldered feet, they could only stand and stare as death itself approached them with ravenous fangs. One caught hold of one of the sleeves on Link’s tunic, mechanically vying to sink its yellowed teeth into his warm skin. Just then, the spell was broken; the hold of the dead on their bodies was reduced to simple fear. Spurred forward by an animal instinct of self preservation, Link leapt back and heaved his sword across the re-dead’s neck, chopping of its grisly head. “Midna,” Link said as the beasts drew in closer and prepared to cry once more, “cover your ears and stand back please.” Link moved forwards and with a dedicated air spun his entire body in a complete circle while extending his arm and holding his blade straight out. The resulting attack devastated the walking corpses, reducing them to lifeless hunks upon the ground.
Only one remained, its arms hacked off by Link’s effective spin. It stumbled forward and opened its jaws, sending a smell worse than rot emanating from the very contents of its soul. Link moved quickly, not wanting to allow it the chance to paralyze him again. As he stepped forward and heaved his blade towards its head, the creature slipped upon one its fallen comrades and fell right onto the Ordon sword. The cutlass pierced its skull, penetrating the loose strands of skin hanging off of its bottom jaw and emerging through its decaying scalp. Link cast away the body of his undead attacker and then spun around to ensure that Midna was secure. She was, standing dutifully and glad as ever to find that the re-deads would trouble them no more.
“Let us leave, now!” Midna demanded, grasping Link’s hand and tugging on him to depart from the abyss. However, the Fused Shadow’s vengeance was not over yet. Link, complying with her request, was sheathing his sword the instant some new form of evil emerged from the violet sky, descending in grey clouds and enveloping the two of them in a haze incomparable to anything either had seen in their own worlds. Link found the lantern through the swirling fog and swung it around, clearing the crowded air and allowing him and his love to perceive the new attackers. Before them stood five spirits, each one bound in shackles of a crimson tint. They all had a grievous wound of some sort upon them, whether it was a gaping hole in their chest or a snapped neck. Two were immediately recognizable to the heroes. The one most prominent was Zant, the former false king of the Twilight. His head dangled uselessly at his side and he uttered a crazed, high pitched squeak every few moments. Next was Ganondorf, a bright light being emitted from the wounds caused him by the Master sword, one in his breast, one in his forehead, and one across his face. The other three were unknown to Midna and Link. Third was a heaving man who looked like a magician in velour robes with strange, blue symbols embroidered on his cloak. The penultimate spirit was one of smaller stature with lilac shaded skin and red irises. Yet, it was the final that was most shocking. An ancient demon from ages past, it was a creature with mottled, green skin and long, sharpened fingernails wearing a mask across its face in the shape of a heart with different tinctured spikes adorning its sides. Most shocking were the two designs of eyes in the center of the mask.
Against the reasoning that ordered him to stay away, Link came closer and asked “Who are you five?” Suddenly, the source of their bindings was revealed to be a large man clad in red clothes with the symbol of a lion emblazoned on his front. On his head rested a small crown. In his right hand was a lever with three scales, the three being perfectly and precisely balanced. “They are the worst villains that have ever been suffered to crawl upon the blessed ground of Hyrule,” the king proclaimed in a booming voice, “and are being tried for their crimes. These crimes are enough to drive lesser men insane. Now we will see your true mettle.” After he had spoken, Link reached for Midna’s hand and received it. Standing together with their hands interwoven, they watched the proceedings with courage, but it was a faltering sort of courage. The five criminals suddenly had their mouths flung open; their entire faces seemed to be stretched to their limits. Eyes rolled back into their sockets and lips stretched so far as to tear. Then, the king proceeded to come by each fiend and reach his hand down their throats. From each villainous maw he produced a white feather. Now, he came to the scale and began by placing carefully the first feather upon one of the scales.
A vision appeared to all standing there of a man murdered while a small boy with hair so blonde as appear to be pink watched with horror in his eyes. Monsters ran amuck the land, slaughtering innocent people with veracity and delight. Seven young maidens were captured and forced into a world of darkness, an evil mirror image of the world in which they had stood before. Then, it was revealed that the magician crimes were being tried, for he was shown battling the pink-haired boy before finally being defeated by what appeared to be the Master Sword. Link and Midna bore this first trial with ease, only faltering slightly at the sight of the magician’s body transformed into that of an immense, humanoid beast that resembled a pig. When the magician crimes had been seen by all, the feather weighed down every scale as if it weighed a thousand tons. The noble king nodded, and then wrapped the chains around the felon’s neck. The magician was slowly forced into the abyss, reeling and screaming mercilessly.
The second vision appeared as the king returned to his scale and placed another feather. Two elves wearing red caps were at work when one, not content with his lot, forced the other to change into a grotesque Hylian form. Two oracles were subject to fear and capture by the elf, now transformed by ill-begot power into the lilac-skinned criminal. It was not until a boy with a cap in the form of an emerald bird stood up against the fiend that he was brought to justice. Like the magician before him, the red-eyed elf was cast into the gaping darkness and left to stay there until the end of time itself.
Midna and Link found the betrayal showcased in this trial not to their liking, their clasped hands were beginning to grow sweaty. The third feather revealed a glowing ball of yellow fire granting power to a defeated Zant. From there, he turned Midna, the true princess of Twilight, into an imp, banishing her from her own home and seizing the throne. Then, the invasion of the world of light began. Children were taken in the night from their homes, and twilight was cast over the entire
. Light spirits were robbed of their light, reducing them to weak beings not able even to moan. The Mirror of Twilight was broken into pieces, spreading decay into several regions that had never known evil. A princess was imprisoned in her own castle, encased in a barrier that could not be broken by mortal hands. A young, fair-haired youth was cast into a dark metamorphosis, the end result being a wolf bearing a sliver of the Triforce. The last crime was the most disturbing, and even though Link and Midna had witnessed it themselves, they were brought to tears when Midna was nearly killed by being exposed to the light. landof Hyrule
The king continued his work; casting Zant and his snapped vertebrae away in the same manner he had the previous two. Not expecting the disturbing images that flashed before them, Link and Midna nearly lost their fortitude. Yet, they knew they would never escape this dark netherworld if they did not proceed over the trial as jurors. Another feather was dropped on the scales. Dark secrets of magic were taught to a young boy of the desert by two hags riding upon broomsticks. The boy became a thief, stealing even from his own kind. Finally, his greed consumed him and he began an assault on a Hyrule newly begun. Three guardians of three realms were forced to corrode and waste away until a boy clad in green saved them from the torture, however, one did not survive. A city was invaded, burned to the ground and subject to evil things defiling its ashen streets. A princess was forced to hide from this dark overlord, veiling herself with the form of an ancient tribe. Sages were clouded over and not able to hear the call of their dying world. Sacred things were made impure by the touch of malevolence. An entire world was flooded over and forgotten by the denizens that had survived. An ancient protector of the world of light was massacred, and a divine power was used for evil when bestowed upon a mentally infirm king. Three times Ganondorf had been defeated, each time by a boy clothed in a green garb and graced with golden hair. Only by Link had he been truly spent, transporting himself and his assailants to the Desert in a last ditch attempt for the home-field advantage. Finally, the darkest vision so far ended, and Ganon was sent bellowing with unheard pleas into the darkness his predecessors had fallen into.
Link and Midna held onto each other, needing an anchor of hope in this dark place. Finally, the last criminal, the masked one, was put on trial; his feather dropped slowly, as if it had a lazy disposition and could hesitate for as long as it wanted, upon one of the three scales. Images too horridly vivid to be described flashed before their eyes. An ancient tribe gifted with dark magic sealed their powers within a mask. Devastation was wreaked upon every level of life and every person, whether guilty or blameless. The ancient demon that resided within the confines of the mask felt no shame, feeling the entire affair was a game, playing with the mind of a child with the countless lives and souls of the populace. Finally, the citizens plagued with evil mustered the strength to seal the dark entity away… Then, the unthinkable happened. A traveling merchant unbound the chains surrounding the mask of evil and unwittingly brought its power into the world once more. A boy from another world was turned into a plant-like creature. Dark beings surrounded a small ranch, claws vying for a taste of the inhabitants. Winter plagued a land that deserved the deliverance of spring, and life-giving water left a swamp. The entire world nearly decayed before someone stood up against the one possessed by the mask, taking the form of a fierce deity to defeat the demon hidden within the carven features of the mask.
It was one particular crime, however, that sent Link and Midna to their knees. Days before a man was to be married to the love of his life, his joy was crushed and mocked by his transformation into a small boy, unable to greet his love through the cloud of shame that cursed his visage. Not even able to imagine the horror of not being able to see each other, the two lovers fell to the ground, holding on to each other so tightly that the king presiding over the punishment of the criminals thought they might be frozen there forever. Midna whispered into Link’s ear “I need you.” With equal conviction, Link replied the same words. Then, they tilted their heads to either side and came so close, so fast, that it was breathtaking. At the same time, the king hefted his mighty arms and punished the final criminal, the demon defeated a hundred years past, by cleaving the mask in two and exposing its true falsehood; he discovered that underneath the playful, boisterous mask was a face that was exactly the same. Filled with disgust at this fiendish mockery of all things pure, the king hefted the creature by its scrawny neck and flung it into the end of all rational thinking, into a hell that would never end, even if the rest of the world did. Once he had done this, he turned to find Midna and Link in a passionate, heartrending kiss. No fear existed in their hearts. It was drowned and flushed out by the power of their ultimate love.
“Now,” the king boasted in his loud, thundering warble, “the utmost worst criminals of our world have been punished, and the farce of the Goddesses’ power has been disposed of.” He smiled heartwarmingly and continued, “And now the worlds have been joined. You two may return to your world now. A world you both may share your days together in.” Link smiled so largely that Midna feared it would split his face in two. They both shed a single tear, and then Midna had the boldness to ask the king “How do we return to Hyrule?” He stepped forward and produced the lantern within the hand not holding the scale. “This lantern is the only thing anchoring you here in Chaos.” Link accepted the lantern from the king’s massive palm, grasped the handle firmly, then smashed it upon the black soil, sending shards of glass sprawling through the air and letting loose the all-consuming flame. The fire itself covered Link and his love, and when the fire burned down to nothing, they were no longer there. Instead, they were transported to the world of light by the fire’s vehicular motion. The king nodded, and then spun in a circle, his robes and sleeves swirling into a blur. As quickly as he had appeared, he vanished, leaving the Chaos to exist until the end of time. The torches’ light was quenched, and nothingness reclaimed its abode.
* * *
It was dawn in the
, the one created by the three golden goddesses. The sun rose and sang its well-known song of hope and redemption, the promise that no matter how dark the night seemed, light would return and grace the world with its beams. Lying on the ground of the immense Hyrule field lay hundreds of Hylians, not sure of how they had arrived upon this place. Seeing the welcoming prospects of a walled town and what seemed to be a half-built castle with one tower standing resolute, they walked with ease towards this settlement, quite prepared for a new life. They passed through the first gate of the landof Hyrule , and then crossed the moat in a mass-exodus, eventually coming through the second gate and entering the main courtyard featuring a fountain adorned with the symbol of the Royal Family. A group of well-meaning, friendly Hylian soldiers approached the newcomers. Castle Town
“Ho, friends! What is your business here?” the captain of the guard bellowed. One of the newly arrived Hylians at the head of the group replied “We’ve finally come out of, well, let’s say a prolonged twilight. Now we are here and ready for a fresh start.” The captain smiled and beckoned for them to enter the confines of the city, saying for all to hear “Strangers are welcomed as neighbors in
, and you are no strangers here.” The Hylians gazed at the town and the bright, shining sun with awe, knowing full well that this was a chance of deliverance, and no shadow magic would send it awry now. The captain ushered all of the new ones in and only found it the least bit odd that all of them were wearing clothes of black with runes of bluish-green. Castle Town
* * *
The primal arachnid crept ever closer to Beth, taking its time to move each of its eight, thin, hairy legs. “Colin,” Beth squeaked in the familiar voice of an agitated young girl, “kill it!” Seeing the uncomfortable position she was in and willing to help her, he took of his small, worn sandal and walked carefully over to the spider, eight inches long from its beady eyes to its web-weaving hind. He raised the shoe above his head and brought it down with a resounding crack, smashing the spider into a collective goop of blood and stray legs. “Eww.” Colin said simply. Beth ran to Colin (but she was mindful not to step in the guts of the killed insect) crying “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” the entire way. Colin slid his sandal back on his child’s foot and replied “It wasn’t that hard, Beth.”
Stopping for a moment, Beth stood puzzled. “But I thought you hated spiders. You always used to scream and run away from them like a little girl.” Colin took this in stride and looked into her eyes while saying “Yes, I used to hate spiders. But I’m a braver person now. And I have someone to be brave for.” In his mind, Colin wished to say three guesses who? Yet, he did not speak it aloud for fear he would be perceived as childish. Beth smiled and whispered “I think I already know.” She stood on one leg, bending the other back in a dainty position and gently kissed Colin on the cheek. Then, she ran away laughing as Colin stood dumbfounded, but not unhappy. Boy, he thought. I like being brave. He then pursued her through the village, leaving the other children to join in on a game of tag.
* * *
It was growing late, and the beams of sunset shone in through the shuttered windows of the rebuilt
Hyrule Castleinto the library within the , the rays growing feebler as each minute passed. Shad was reclined upon the sofa, staring down at Zelda, who was sitting beside him and running her fingers through his brilliantly red hair. “Those two have really done it, haven’t they?” Shad nonchalantly said. Zelda couldn’t help but laugh at this ludicrous statement. Finding his own comment humorous, Shad restated it so as to clarify its meaning. “Link and Midna have really succeeded in uniting the worlds, haven’t they?” Zelda’s giggles came to a stop and she replied softly “Yes, they have. I’m so joyous at their love.” Shad glanced at her with a mock expression of worry on his face and stated “But aren’t you more joyous at ours?” Kissing him compassionately and taking of his spectacles in one motion, Zelda took her time to eventually tell him “Yes. More than anything.” West Tower
Finally, the sun set, casting its final flames upon the romanced world of light, and with its departure telling the populace, including the newly brought in denizens of the twilight, to sleep well as its sister moon looked over them. Zelda kissed Shad again, feeling his body move at the advance. He put one hand on her face and brought her wavy hair back behind her pointed ear with his two largest fingers. With moistened eyes, he told her “I can barely see you, Zelda, seeing as you’ve removed my eye-glasses.” Zelda swung herself upon the couch snuggling close to him and letting him place his arm over her mid, locking her in a one-armed embrace. “Must you see me if you know so well that I am here and will never leave you?” Shad shook his head slowly, then swept Zelda’s hair away from her neck and kissed it on its side. He then kissed her on the ear and quietly told her “But I want you to hear me say this: I love you.” They smiled and laughed once more. Zelda’s violet dress’s creases fell into the wrinkles of his tight frock, and the two embraced for the longest time.
When darkness fell complete upon the tower, Shad reached into a shelf above them and pulled a worn quilt from its contents. Unfurling it with a single flick, he cast it ballooning over he and his love, and the two slept together, innocently enjoying the night with visions of the morn playing through their dreaming minds. Eventually, Zelda’s handmaiden came to the doorway to bid the two ‘Goodnight’, but observing the two already peacefully at rest; she doused the lantern in the room and placed a single kiss upon Zelda’s cheek. The bond between the two was that of mother and daughter, and she fully approved of Master Shad’s advances. Her only concern was that the wedding would keep her waiting far too long.
* * *
The sun had already finished its long journey through the perilous sky when Link and Midna came back from the Hyrule Field on their long ride across its hills and dips. Quietly reigning in at Link’s house in Ordon, they dismounted and climbed one after the other the wooden ladder that led to his door. Once inside, Link lit a lantern and similarly lit the stove, placing a cuckoo to roast over its smoldering flames. Midna sat upon one of his chairs and observed his home. “This really does feel like home.” Midna observed. Link grinned and lit yet another lantern, casting sufficient light in his one-roomed house for the two to see. Taking off the leather straps, sword and shield, and leather boots that were his garb of the day, Link walked over to her, barely containing his joy that she was here with him. He sat on the floor beside with his legs crossed, but Midna plead “Link, there’s plenty room in the chair.” Complying, he hefted himself into the seat, letting her rest with one leg on his, the other filling the empty space of the chair.
Link draped his arms down her torso, hugging her around the waist. Midna wanted to scream with delight, but turned and kissed his nose instead. They both laughed at this, leading Link to do her the same compliment. Then Midna, perceiving that Link had taken off his gear, took off the headdress that rested on her crown, unleashing her hair that was, as ever, pulled back into a flaming ponytail. Link took the ponytail in his hand and kissed the multi-shaded hair. Smiling, Midna flicked off Link’s cap and placed her headdress on his golden mane. “A prince should have a crown.” Link blinked confusedly at this comment, leading her to explain. “Marriage is the next step, isn’t it? I love you Link, with whatever heart I have left. If I don’t spend my life with you, I won’t want to spend it at all.” A tear dropped from his sapphire eye, fell down the groove of his nose, and rolled off his cheek. Midna caught the tear with her forefinger and let it drop on the floor.
“Midna,” Link began. “Thank you. I thank the goddesses that I have someone as wonderful, as beautiful, as perfect in every way as you. And I thank you more than I can express that you’ve said that.” Turning her body so that her legs rested perpendicular to his, she replied “I wouldn’t say that to just any man, you know.” Link ran his hand down her nubile face, brought it down her neck, and down her chest. Then, the hand came to her side, running along her hip, and finally it came to rest on her thigh. Midna proceeded to bring her hands on his chest, resting her palms flat upon his tunic. “I know” Link finally brought himself to say. Next, Midna swung herself around so that her legs were bent and she had her knees placed on his thighs. Resting on her legs, Midna brought her face to his. He tilted his head to the side opposite hers, bringing his wiling mouth to hers. Their lips closed on each other, and then opened once more. His open lips rested on hers, less ajar than his own. Link then kissed her again; putting in so much love, so much passion, that Midna hardly felt she could return its fervor.
However, Midna knew that she loved more than she had anything or anyone ever before, and she knew she never would love anyone but him. This time, she took her turn at beginning the kiss, moving quickly but purposefully. When the kiss ended, her lips closed around his and then pressed themselves against his bristled chin. She looked up endearingly at Link and with complete and utter seriousness told him “You need to shave, love.” Link’s drooped eyes snapped to attention as he cried “Really?!” Seeing the complete innocence and excitement on his face, Midna laughed like she never had before. Her entire chest heaved with the effort. Link stopped smiling and stared at her in a concerned way, then stood with her in his arms, carrying her over to the wall.
He was distressed for a while to find what he sought for was missing, but then he calmed, and remembered what he had done to the object. He set Midna down in the chair and checked on the roasting cuckoo, leaving her to wonder what he had been at. “Link, what were you looking for?” she wondered. He found the roast satisfactory, left it on the spit, then came to her and pointed out his back window. A light from the fire refracted in the shards of glass and wove a rainbow in Midna’s eyes. “Glass?” she asked. “What was it?” Link pulled the broken frame out from behind the shelf he had shoved it under. “It was a mirror.” Letting the frame drop, he strode to her with the utmost happiness. “But now that you’re here,” he continued. “I will never need a mirror again. Not when I can look at the absolute beauty that is your eyes.” Midna began to weep with joy, she reached for him and he came.
He held her as he never had before, crying with equal ferocity. They stood there, the happiest beings in the world, and cried for the absolute peace they felt when they were with each other. Midna’s eyes were closed and damp, so Link obliged her by once more kissing each perfectly smooth eye-lid, loving her more than he could have loved anyone else in the entire expanse of Hyrule. Then, her eyes flickered open, sending their ruby brilliance throughout the entire room. Link returned the gaze with his eyes that were the tincture of the sea on a calm day. The two stood there for what seemed like forever, unaware of anything else, because, to put it in words, there was nothing else besides each other. Now that they had each other, they were stronger than the foundations of the earth, happier than a child with its mother, and more content than any cat with its favorite ball of yarn. Fire met ice once more, and would for many further times to come, coating the years with love never equaled again.
* * *
Hello, this a quick word from the author. I wrote this as an excuse to write a romance, figuring if I disguised it with enough Legend of Zelda back-story; I could get away with it. However, my abiding geekiness and love of the franchise led me to work more hints to other games, side-characters, and overall Zelda mythos into the story than I ever could have imagined. In the long-run, though, I find that the romance prevails. At least, I intended it that way. :)
Of course, I am a very romantic creature at heart; yearning for love like Mr. Ed yearns for oats. Suffice it to say it will be a cold day in Hell when I do not feel romantic feelings at least once for one endearing person. I wrote this out of two ill-met romantic ventures, though I bear the objects of my affections no ill-will. They are still the best friends I’ve ever had, even leading me to wonder whether we would be so chummy if it hadn’t been for my doomed advances. Anyways, I also wrote this story out of a deep need within my spiritual self to find my other half. I have found that stepping into the shoes of these characters really helps.
Now, of course, when I started out to write this epic, I consulted with the classic romantic works. I didn’t have time to re-read Pride and Prejudice, so I just watched the movie. I felt exceptional heart-throbs while cracking open my Complete Works of William Shakespeare and delving once again into the pages of Romeo and Juliet. I even caught up on a few Fruits Basket chapters in the midst of the writing process for inspiration. Then I asked myself if I was ready for this task (a long[er] love story.) Looking through my Word documents, I saw a six-page short story I wrote about an abused, bird-creature finding love. And a romantic comedy that never got off the ground, leaving the second chapter pleading for me to finish it. And that was it. But was that going to stop me? Of course not! I would be trailblazer, making my own path, and overcoming personal obstacles was no trouble for me! Therefore, this pathetic little victory led me to start typing.
The idea to have the whole side-story with Zelda falling in love with Shad never even came into my head until I started writing and found myself introducing Shad into the story. It was then that I found I loved the character of Shad too much to let him go (probably because he resembles me in many ways.) It was inevitable that the two should fall madly in love, so I kept writing for ten pages, never even thinking that I should return to Link until I had exhausted their romance for the time being. I found it really interesting to see a whole sub-plot evolve just out of the whole creative process, and it was extremely satisfying to see the two characters come together nearly on their own.
I want to apologize if people were overloaded with angst or found the story overwhelmingly depressing when I wrote about Link’s sulky broodings over Midna, but I was spurred on by my own ill luck in love and the fact that he loved her with all of his teenage heart; surely it would crush him if she left suddenly and cast away any hope of connection for them? I actually had to hold back tears when I wrote the scene where they reunite, simply because I felt I had taken the full adventure and ups-and-downs with the characters as if I was a reader. Though, it’s probably much more emotional for the author.
Now, I will discuss the secrets/bonus features of this novel:
The prologue was written after the fact for a friend I hope will read this, seeing as she’s never played Twilight Princess.
This afterword I always had in mind, because I wanted the opportunity to get in touch (sort of) with readers.
I considered putting in footnotes, but decided that was too conceited to actually think readers would scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to find out what I was talking about, so I discuss the weird Zelda jargon and other such stuff that non-uber-Zelda-fans wouldn’t understand here.
-“You seem to be on top of things.” This is a line from one of my favorite movies: it is a tribute to a line spoken in Van Helsing (2004) when the heroine is atop the hero.
- the shattering of glass and a scream of anguish: this is one of the most important parts of the story, coming to a head in the final scene of dialogue between Link and Midna.
-“… that Yeta girl…”: During the course of the video game, in Snowpeak, Link goes through a mansion to find a shard of the mirror owned by two yetis: Yeto and Yeta, a husband and wife. The mirror turns Yeta into a monster, and when Link defeats the monster, she is returned to her regular self.
-Glass: another hint at what the object that Link has smashed is.
-Link whistled a tune: This is referring to Zelda’s lullaby, a song first featured in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as Zelda’s theme, and featured in Twilight Princess as one of the songs you learn at a Howling stone, a stone carved into a wolf that whistles a choice melody from previous games in the series.
-‘reekfish’, ‘Mother and Child rock’: in the course of the game, Link must find the reekfish, which swims near two rocks, one large, the other small, to discover its scent. If he follows the scent, he finds the yetis at Snowpeak.
-“Has Ilia been through here?”: throughout the game, Ilia will innocently take Epona and wash her, and you must get her back on two separate occasions.
-‘Shad, Fin’s son’: The name Fin is borrowed from a character from a separate Zelda game. Not only if Fin similar to Shad in character, they also both have names that have to do with fish. It was only fitting.
-he drew back his left fist and brought it crashing into the mirror: This pretty much gives away that Link smashed a mirror, but I don’t see this as the reveal. The emotion that comes with the discovery in the end is the true importance of the mirror.
-armored shoulders and a loose fitting dress: The dress Zelda wears both in Ocarina of Time when she is an adult and in Twilight Princess.
-Should the battlements be stronger, or should the actual, intricate infrastructure change?: This is where an architectural unit in Critical Thinking comes in handy.
- Shell Blades,
, and Stingers: Enemies found near water in the Legend of Zelda series. Bari
-the tale of the young boy of the forest: This is the first half of events from Ocarina of Time.
-“Bridge to be repaired” and “Murderous Prices in Hyrule Market”: References to side-quests in Twilight Princess.
-the past Princess Zelda and her bodyguard named Impa: These are Zelda and Impa from Ocarina of Time.
-The Kokiri: a race of youthful forest-dwellers that each had a guardian fairy. They appeared in Ocarina of Time, the race Link is raised in before he finds out that he is actually a Hylian.
-trusting Rusl’s dreadful cuckoo: In the game, Link must hold on to a cuckoo glowing gold and use it to glide down into the Sacred Realm.
-the strangest creatures: In Twilight Princess, wooden puppets controlled by Skull Kid attack you until you find Skull Kid.
-“That boy taught me it!”: A reference to the side-quest in Ocarina of Time where you may teach Saria’s song to Skull Kid. In Twilight Princess, Skull Kid plays this song on his horn when the present Link enters the Sacred Grove, mistaking him for the Link of the past.
-“the Great Deku Tree… the boy without a fairy.”: In Ocarina of Time, the guardian of the Kokiri is the Deku Tree. Ganondorf curses him leaving Link, the boy without a fairy (until the Tree grants him Navi) to save the protector.
-“I did really mean things to people… after Link saved me from the mask”: A reference to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where Skull Kid seizes Majora’s Mask and uses it to wreak havoc on the separate world of Termina by bringing the moon crashing down onto it unless Link succeeds in his quest. If Link succeeds, the Mask detaches from Skull Kid.
-Owl statue, missing symbols: In Twilight Princess, Link must travel Hyrule to find owl statues that have missing letters from a book needed to travel to the City in the Sky, held by Shad, the lore-master.
-the horse grass that Ilia loved to hear him play: In Twilight Princess, link can pick up a reed resembling a wind instrument and play Epona’s Song (first featured in Ocarina of Time) and summon his trusty steed, Epona.
-in the fashion of the inhabitants of Kakariko: What we like to call “Criss-cross, applesauce.”
-It turned out to be from Telma: Telma is a character in Twilight Princess. The owner of the local bar in
, she also plays a part in the game’s complex plot. Castle Town
-the page’s ink was smeared and blotted in tears: A tribute to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Hagrid writes a cried-on letter to Harry about his abnormally large pet spider’s death.
-“Does he always do this?”: This line and Shad’s entire habit of sneaking up on people is a tribute to the Batman mythos. The Caped Crusader’s renown for coming out of the blue to a conversation and leaving just as unobserved is known to every fan, even parodied sarcastically in Commissioner Gordon’s line from Batman: Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, “And he usually says a pleasant goodbye.”
-“How did you know that?!”: A tribute to Princess Vespa’s outburst in Mel Brooks’ classic parody of Star Wars, Spaceballs. She asks “How did you get that?” to the villain, Dark Helmet, when he produces a picture of her crooked nose before her plastic surgery.
-the three races not bound to the pact, sacred stones, time itself: All references to Ocarina of Time. The Kokiri are granted with an emerald, the Gorons with a ruby, and the Zoras with a sapphire. These stones, when joined in the
and the Song of Time is played, the doors to the Sacred Realm and, therefore, the Triforce, are opened. Templeof Time
-the door creaked open a bit, emitting a smell of rot: A tribute to the novel Dracula, in which a room filled with crates of earth from Dracula’s homeland emits a smell so disgusting that the heroes nearly turn back from their quest.
-the Sols: In Twilight Princess, the Twilight Realm has no sun, but instead has two glowing orbs called Sols that illuminate their world and heal the wounded.
-they lit up and opened themselves: In Twilight Princess, the doors in the
open by magic from the Sols. Palaceof Twilight
-dozens of mottled hands broke through the soft earth: Partly out of a love for zombies and partly out of a respect for the Zelda series, I included the Re-deads. They appear in nearly every Zelda game, but feature most prominently in Ocarina of Time.
-One in his breast, one in his forehead, and one across his face: A reference to the ways in which Ganon is defeated in several games. In Twilight Princess, he is stabbed through the chest with the Master Sword. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, he is stabbed through the forehead with the Master Sword, and in Ocarina of Time, he is slashed across his face, right down the middle by the Master Sword.
-a heaving man who looked like a magician: This is Agahnim, the main villain of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the alternate form of Ganon.
-smaller stature, lilac shaded skin, red irises: This one is Vaati, the villain from The Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Seasons and Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
-an ancient demon with a mask across its face: The final one is none other than Majora, the evil spirit inhabiting the mask from Majora’s Mask.
-a man clad in red clothes, a lion emblazoned on his front, a small crown: This was meant to be the Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, or, the King of Red Lions from The Wind Waker.
-The first vision is a recap of the events from A Link to the Past. Hair so blonde it appeared to be pink is a reference to the graphics of that particular game portraying Link with pink hair. The second vision is a recap of Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, and the Minish Cap. The third is a recap of Twilight Princess. The fourth and longest is lengthy due to Ganon being the main villain of the series. However, only Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess are covered here. The fifth and final is a recap of Majora’s Mask.
-“It was a mirror”: This is my grand payoff for the mirror-smashing mystery. The mirror not only mocks Link with its resemblance to the Mirror of Twilight, it also represents his life in misery, his life without her. His smashing it represents his struggle to have her back, and its remains are the new parts of his life with her: he is free to put together whatever he wants from the ashes of his old life. I’m not sure if everyone will get that, but I put a lot of effort into making it work.
Finally, let me say thank you to the following: the soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet (1996), the Bee Gees, and Elton John for musical inspiration while I wrote this, to Shigeru Miyamoto and his team at Nintendo for creating the best gaming franchise in the world, and to anyone who reads this humble piece of fan fiction. :)