An eerie mist swirled through the ethereal void that was the afterlife. The spirits of those that had departed from life wandered the realm, quietly thriving in their new existence. It wasn’t the bleak world that many had come to describe it, but it was certainly more sedate than the realm of the living.
Among those spirits were the ones who, in life, had been murderers and tyrants, spreading fear across the lands in which they lived. The most dangerous of these were kept in a paranormal prison, away from the others. It wasn’t like they could hurt the other spirits, but they could still influence people, living and dead. And no one wanted one of these spirits to escape into the adjoining realms.
One of those spirits paced around the small space in which he now occupied, muttering to himself. He clenched his fist tight, as though trying to squeeze the air itself. A wicked smile formed on his lips.
“There could be a way back…” he muttered quietly.
His name was Ganondorf. He had spent much of his life trying to take over the
, only to have been caught and defeated several times. An encounter with a boy named Link had been his last battle. The memories of that battle continued to play over and over in his mind. It almost drove him insane. But he wanted to escape the afterlife, and for that he needed a clear mind. kingdomof Hyrule
“As the goddesses are my witnesses,” he muttered, “I will get out of here, and I will obtain Hyrule, not to mention the Triforce.”
He looked down at his hand as he finished his vow. For years, he had been the sole owner of the Triforce of Power. But ever since his death, the Triforce had gone. It was hidden somewhere in Hyrule, he was sure of it. If he could find a way back and regain it, then maybe, just maybe, he could finally succeed in his plans.
Ever since he had appeared in the afterlife, Ganondorf had been trying to tap into what powers he had left. It was difficult, especially in his current state, but he eventually found a few stray sparks of magic within himself.
“Of course, this could all be for nothing if that cursed boy shows up again,” he growled, “Thankfully, there is still one left who will serve me while I am stuck here.” He grinned again. “I knew I cast that curse for a good reason.”
With that, he concentrated as much energy as he needed, hoping that it would reach across the void to the
. kingdomof Hyrule
High up in the mountains near the western border of Hyrule, a red dragon stirred from its deep sleep as the jewel embedded in its chest began to glow. It had been lying dormant inside a cave ever since Ganondorf had left it there, and now it was time for it to wake.
A reptilian eye opened as subliminal instructions floated into its consciousness. Its task was simple; find and destroy Link.
Meanwhile, in the lush forests of Ordona, covered by the dark of night, a wolf was walking through the undergrowth. Every now and again, it would stop to sniff at something. It wandered the forest aimlessly, almost dreamily. Although it was a full-grown wolf, it acted like a playful puppy, running through the bushes and rolling in the leaves.
He knew he should be getting some sleep, but Link could never resist a chance to explore the forest as a wolf. It was a very different sensation from when he would walk the same path in his normal form. As a human, he was only limited to what he could see or hear, while as a wolf, he could take one whiff at a patch of grass and work out what had been there before him. And a nose like that was very useful in navigating a forest in the middle of the night.
It had surprised Link that he had retained this ability to transform into a wolf. Some people would call it a curse, and when he had first transformed Link would have agreed with them. Now, however, he regarded this power as a gift. After all, he had reasoned, if it hadn’t been for this power, he would have had to wander the eerie Twilight Realm as a ghost.
Growing up in Ordon, Link was used to handling a variety of animals, and now he could become one of them. He could now communicate with them as though they were people. It still made him slightly giddy when he thought about it.
Yawning, he decided that it was time to call it a night and head back home. His thoughts were wandering to his warm bed and the night air suddenly felt chillier, despite his thick fur.
He was lost in his thoughts so much that he nearly ran into Epona, his horse, who had stamped her hoof to get his attention.
“Where the hell have you been?” she asked him angrily.
“What, are you imposing a curfew on me now?” Link replied, yawning again.
“You know how I feel about you wandering about looking like that,” Epona said.
Link didn’t reply. He knew full well how Epona felt about his powers. She believed that it would only lead him into trouble.
“Take a look at me,” he growled, turning around once, “Nothing happened. I’m fine.”
“Shh!” Epona hushed him. She inclined her head towards the rest of the village. No one else there knew of Link’s ability. As much as he enjoyed being a wolf, he had decided against telling anyone, for fear of their reactions. Wolves weren’t exactly welcome there.
“There were no hunters, and you know I’m not stupid enough to wander into that pack’s territory,” Link continued in a quieter voice.
Epona whinnied and watched Link transform back into his human form.
“Happy now?” he said, “Can I go to bed now?” He didn’t bother waiting for a reply. If Epona answered him, he wouldn’t have understood her anyway.
He fell onto his bed with a thud and fell asleep almost immediately.
While Hyrule slept, the dragon clawed. The cave it had been sleeping in was blocked off with rocks and boulders. It pushed and clawed as it slowly forced its way out. It poked its hand through a gap in the blockade and tried to dislodge a few stray rocks from the outside. Soon, it would be free...
The following morning was like any other for Link. He was in the paddock with his partner, Fado, keeping an eye on the goats that were reared in the village. He was lying on his back, staring up at the clouds and regretting the fact that he didn’t get much sleep that night. He was yawning constantly and his eyelids would often droop in a peaceful daze.
“What’s the matter with you?” Fado asked after rousing him for the third time.
“Look, I didn’t get much sleep last night, OK?” Link snapped at him.
“OK, OK,” Fado said, trying to keep his voice level.
Link rolled over onto his side and found himself staring at a goat that was munching grass right next to him. It looked up briefly at him, then dismissed him as nothing interesting and continued eating.
He smiled slightly and let himself drift off again. Fado had to do a double-take when he next glanced at Link; the boy was curled up on the grass like a dog.
“Oh forget it,” he said to himself, deciding to leave him be, “It’s not like I can’t watch these guys by myself, anyway.”
Suddenly, a great roar was heard coming from the north. Fado looked up and saw a winged shape flying towards the village. He nudged Link gently with his foot.
“Link? Link, get up!” he shouted. Link had started to respond when Fado gave him a sharp kick in the back.
“Ow! Was that necessary?” Link asked, rubbing his aching back.
“Did you hear that?” Fado asked.
“Hear what? The sound of your foot breaking my back?”
“No! That thing!”
Link glanced up at where his friend was looking and saw a great dragon flying towards them. He got up and stared at the beast intently.
“We’ve got to get the goats in before it spots them,” he instructed. He called for Epona, who was relaxing nearby, and set about rounding the herd up, all the while keeping an eye on the approaching dragon.
“It’s definitely heading this way,” Fado said as he locked the barn after the last goat.
“Let’s just hope it finds something else to snack on.” Link wished he had his sword with him, but dragon attacks were rare in Ordon, and he never felt the need to keep one with him, even after the previous events that had led to the village children being kidnapped.
The pair made their way into the village, where the other inhabitants were preparing themselves for the dragon’s arrival. The children had been ushered into their houses with their mothers, while the men were waiting outside, wielding what weapons they had.
“The goats are all locked up,” Link reported to the mayor, Bo. He could see Ilia, the mayor’s daughter, looking out through a tiny crack in the doorway.
“Ilia, get back inside!” Bo shouted at her, following Link’s gaze. The dragon was almost over the village now, smoke pouring out of its nostrils as it roared.
Link took the sword proffered to him by Rusl, the master swordsman, and braced himself. It wasn’t the first time he had fought a dragon – or indeed any monster – but it was no reason for him to start slacking.
The dragon looked down at the village below, and Link could see its malevolent eyes staring straight down at him. It dived down and swooped over the party, before soaring up again and performing a U-turn.
“Keep your eyes on it,” Rusl ordered the group, “It’s preparing its attack.”
Now focused on its target, the dragon blew a jet of flame at the group. Everyone scattered to avoid the blast, but the dragon kept its eyes on Link. It swooped down again, this time landing right in the middle of the small village, and proceeded to chase Link on foot. Link tried to manoeuvre around the beast, but his pursuer would always block his way. Even when someone tried to help him, the dragon would always swat them away with its claws or tail.
Taking a deep breath, Link tried to stab at his opponent, but a swipe from the dragon’s claws caused the sword to fly out of his hands. It was no use now; everywhere he looked, all he could see was the dragon. It had completely surrounded him using its strong and lithe tail, and was now readying itself for the final blow.
Link glared at it, eye to eye. The birthmark on his left hand began to glow slightly, but he suppressed the feral instincts that were threatening to rise from within him. In one swift movement, the dragon’s head shot downwards, grabbing Link’s upper half in its mouth and leaving the legs dangling out. Its teeth had not cut through his body, so Link was still alive and well enough to marvel at the creature’s teeth from the inside.
Satisfied with its find, the dragon took off, flapping its wings with great effort to rise up into the sky.
The villagers watched the retreating shape, horrified at what had just happened. Ilia, who had again been watching through the doorway, burst outside, shouting at the dragon and throwing rocks at it.
“Don’t,” Bo warned her, grabbing hold of her wrist, “If you hurt the dragon, it might bite into Link. Or drop him.”
Ilia wrestled out of her father’s grip and ran towards Epona, who had run off into a dark corner of the village when the dragon attacked.
“Come on, girl,” Ilia tried to calm her down, “That dragon’s got Link. We need to find him.”
“Ilia, you are not going after him,” her father said sternly.
“But if we don’t do something soon, that monster will eat him!”
“I don’t want to lose two people in one day, and I especially don’t want to lose my only daughter.”
“It’s just flown into the forest!” Rusl called, “If we go now, there might still be a chance!”
“Right,” Ilia said, leaping onto Epona’s back and setting off towards the forest.
“Ilia!” Bo cried at the retreating back.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get them both back,” Rusl assured him, patting him on the shoulder, “You just worry about getting this mess sorted here.”
“Yes, OK. Thank you,” the mayor said, sending the swordsman on his way.
Link rapped his fingers on the dragon’s tongue in a bored manner as the creature carried him off, trying not to lean forward or backward and impale himself on its teeth. He could feel the points resting on his back and on his belly, and would rather they stayed there than sink in any further. He could see some bits of sky and clouds through the gaps in the jaw at either side of him, but he had no idea where he was being taken.
The air inside felt warm and he hoped that the dragon wouldn’t suddenly decide to breathe out any flames while he was in there.
Eventually, the bits of world that he could see went still, and he assumed that his captor had reached its destination. He could feel the points of the teeth starting close in on him. He quickly grabbed the beast’s tongue and tugged on it as hard as he could manage from his awkward position.
The dragon roared in pain and spat him out onto the ground. He was covered in saliva and had faint tooth marks around his middle, but he was finally out of that mouth and away from that unsettlingly warm, vile breath.
Looking around, it turned out the dragon had landed in a part of the forest near the Faron province. Link stood up, dusted himself off and prepared to make his escape while the dragon was still rubbing its tongue in pain.
Unfortunately, the reptile spotted Link’s movements and slammed its tail in front of his path. He spun around and saw the creature once again glaring at him. It took a deep breath and blew a shot of flame at him. Link nimbly leapt out of the way and dashed through the dense woods. However, the dragon wasn’t going to let a bit of forest stop it from completing its mission and it gave chase on foot, weaving through the trees.
It quickly caught up with Link and swiped at him with one claw. Trying his best to dodge the sweeping appendage, Link tripped and fell to the ground, allowing the dragon ample time to surround him again.
“You just don’t know when to give up, do you?” Link said, getting up into a crouching position.
The dragon just snarled. It readied itself to attack again, but it soon found a large wolf had leaped up from where Link once stood and had grabbed hold of its snout with its teeth and claws.
It shook its head violently, eventually resorting to slamming its mouth against a tree to rid itself of the wolf. It roared with anger and tried to roast it with its fiery breath.
Ilia’s search would have been futile had it not been for the commotion between Link and the dragon. She had heard the monster’s roar coming faintly from the forest and had been following it, desperately hoping that Link had not been eaten.
As she neared the site where the two were fighting, she dismounted from Epona and carefully crept closer. Peeking around a large tree, she could see the dragon attacking something. Her heart leapt; it seemed Link was alive and putting up a good fight. However, her hopes were dashed when she saw the wolf jump into view.
“A wolf?” she whispered to herself, “But if it’s attacking a wolf, then where’s…? Oh no. No, he can’t be…”
Ilia leaned back against the tree, staying out of view of the two warring beasts, and held her head in her hands.
Epona nuzzled her nose against her. Although she knew the truth, she thought it was better to stay here and comfort the girl.
Meanwhile, Link was giving his all against the dragon, oblivious to his friends hidden nearby. He pounced at the dragon, who deftly swatted him away like a fly, sending him crashing into the tree that Ilia was hidden behind. She screamed shrilly, and Epona reared up in surprise.
Link, still somewhat dazed, pricked his ears as he heard the scream and sniffed the air. He could smell her, it was definitely Ilia’s scent. The dragon had also heard the scream and was staring at the tree.
Link seized his opportunity and pounced again, latching himself onto the dragon’s shoulder. Although the creature’s tough hide prevented him from causing much damage, he still managed to get a good grip with his teeth. The dragon darted about frantically, trying to bat the little pest off.
A smack on his head caused Link to lose his grip and fall, but he swiftly stuck his claws into the jewel embedded on the dragon’s chest. From his position, he could see the ‘jewel’ was really a casing for something else. A strange, dark purple mist swirled hypnotically inside. Mesmerised, he was only brought back to reality by the sound of his claws slipping on the casing. He scratched and bit at the case before eventually falling.
Growling, he braced himself for the dragon’s next attack, but it never came. The dragon now had a vacant look in its eyes, as though in a trance. Some of the thinner strands of the dark mist floated out of the jewel through the gaps that Link had made in the casing.
Once the mist vaporised into nothing, the dragon blinked a few times. It groaned and held a claw to its head.
“Oooh… What happened? W-where am I?” it moaned, glancing around at the forest. It looked down at Link, who was now watching it in amazement, and swiped a claw at him. “Shoo! Shoo! Go on, off with you, wolf!” it said irritably.
“What’s going on? Are you all right?” Link asked.
This seemed to surprise the dragon. It gasped and nearly fell onto its back. “What kind of wolf are you?” it asked, “Shoo! Go!” And as it waved its claws at him, it suddenly noticed them and gaped in fear and wonder at them.
“Are you all right?” Link repeated. But the dragon appeared to have forgotten all about him now.
“My… my hands,” it said, “What happened?” It looked down all around its body, gasping repeatedly at each body part. “What’s happening?” it asked in fear.
Link continued to watch the spectacle, trying figure out what was happening himself.
Suddenly, the dragon said, “Zelda… What if he gets to her? Oh no! Oh, my poor Zelda!”
“Zelda?” Link repeated, recognising the name of Hyrule’s princess, “What about Zelda? Hey, where are you going?”
The dragon had run off through the forest, with Link in hot pursuit. However, the reptile didn’t hear his cries. Link tried to grab hold of its tail, but the limb was swinging so wildly, he ended up being smacked by it. Giving up, he let the dragon disappear and made his way back the way he came.
Ilia had been watching the scene from her hiding place, and only dared to venture out when both beasts ran off. She had no idea why the dragon’s behaviour had suddenly changed, or why the wolf had yapped at it the way it did, but they were gone now.
She cautiously stepped into the small clearing, hoping that the dragon wouldn’t turn up looking for seconds. She wasn’t keen for the wolf to appear, either; it had appeared quite vicious from what she had seen.
Of course, at the forefront of her mind was Link. She hadn’t expected him to meet his end at the jaws of that dragon, and now he was gone, she suddenly felt very alone. She fell to her knees and let the tears run. The whole forest seemed to go quiet, leaving only her sobs to be heard.
The silence was soon broken by a rustling in the bushes. Ilia looked up tearfully and stumbled back as the wolf padded into view, growling. It suddenly looked at her with a pained look in its eyes and whined curiously. Ilia quickly rushed to her feet and ran from the creature.
She grabbed Epona’s reins and led her back through the forest, pausing briefly to see if the wolf was following them. She sighed with relief when she saw the vague white-grey blob still stood where she had left it.
She was about to continue her trek back when the wolf’s shape began to change. Transfixed, Ilia crept a little closer, making sure to remain hidden. When she saw Link standing in the very spot the wolf had occupied only a moment ago, she had to clap a hand over her mouth in order to stifle a scream. Were her eyes playing tricks on her, she wondered. But there was no doubt in her mind that what had once been a large, fierce wolf was now her childhood friend.
She recalled the stories she had been told by her parents as a child, where wolves would hunt and kill humans who wandered too far into the forest. Ilia had long ago dismissed the stories as old wives’ tales used to frighten children, but she began to wonder if the same applied to werewolves. She didn’t know very much on that subject, but she was certain that she had heard a few tales about humans attacking their peers while disguised in the form of wolves. But Link wouldn’t attack one of us, would he? Ilia thought. Looking up through the gap in the bushes, she saw Link glance in her direction.
Her heart thumping against her chest, she hurriedly stepped back and turned to leave the forest as fast as she could, forgetting all about the horse. In her haste, she ran straight into Rusl.
“Ilia? Thank goodness you’re all right,” the swordsman said. Noticing the girl’s pale face, he added, “What’s the matter? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
Ilia didn’t dare mention what she had just seen. Instead, she just wiped her eyes, took a deep breath, and assured him that she was fine.
“You didn’t find that dragon, did you?” Rusl asked, his hand resting over the hilt of his sword.
“Um… I…” Ilia started to reply, but she was interrupted by Link’s arrival.
Close-up, his wounds and the faint tooth marks around his middle were visible under his torn clothes. Even though he had fought the dragon as a wolf, he still looked quite rough in human form.
“Link? You’re alive!” Rusl said with surprise, “Where’s the dragon?”
“Something it tried to eat didn’t agree with him,” Link replied, “I didn’t kill it, but I don’t think it’ll be bothering us again.”
“What? You can’t have fought that thing single-handedly and unarmed!”
“It wasn’t too bad. I’ve fought worse.” Link looked over at Ilia as he spoke. Although she wore a pleased expression, he couldn’t help but notice a glimmer of fear in her eyes. She quickly looked away from the group and started fussing over Epona, who had followed Link.
“She tried to follow you when that dragon carried you off,” Rusl explained, “The goddesses knows what she would’ve done if she managed to catch up with that monster, though.”
“Oh,” Link said, unable to think of anything else to say.
“You’ll have to get those seen to,” Rusl added, eyeing Link’s wounds.
“I’m all right, they’re not too bad,” Link replied, looking over the marks.
“Not too bad? You’ve got tooth marks on you!”
“It’s not like their bleeding or anything.”
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Rusl said, “We can worry about your wounds when we get back.” He turned around and started walking back through the woods. Link followed him, taking Ilia in one arm and Epona’s reins in the other.
Even when he held her, he could sense there was something wrong. It used to feel comforting for both of them, but now it felt as though Ilia didn’t want him close to her. She was looking at the floor, not wanting to make eye contact.
“Ilia?” he asked.
“Hmm…?” She raised her head slightly, but kept her eyes fixed on anywhere but Link.
“You OK?” he asked.
“Well, I’d have thought you of all people would be pleased to see me alive after that.”
“I… I am,” Ilia replied. She turned to face him, but her gaze drifted down to his feet. “It’s just that I thought you were… you know…” She glanced up at his face, but immediately looked away.
Link wasn’t convinced by her explanation, but he didn’t say it out loud. There was something else eating at her, he could tell. “Did anything else happen while you were looking for me?”
“No,” Ilia replied hurriedly, “Just a wolf…” she added in the faintest hint of a whisper.
“Nothing. Just talking to myself.” She briefly looked up at Link again, smiling this time.
“You know that if there’s something bothering you, you can talk to me about it any time,” her friend said.
Ilia nodded, and tried to remain her usual self for the rest of the journey.
Ganondorf nearly shouted out loud in frustration when the dragon’s jewel had cracked, releasing some of the dark magic from it. He wasn’t able to witness the event, but he could sense something was wrong.
“The dragon is no longer under my control,” he muttered bitterly, “I’ve got no more time to waste, it’s either now or never!
“But I can’t reach Hyrule now…” he added thoughtfully. He had used a lot of his spare magical energy in waking the dragon that slept in Hyrule, and doubted that he had managed to build up enough in the meantime to allow him to cross over there himself. The magic that he had in life had been severely diminished in this world, even more so in this prison, and he was in danger of exhausting it completely if he were to try such a feat.
He resumed his thoughtful pacing, desperately trying to think of another way back. Then it hit him; the Twilight Realm.
“Of course,” he said to himself, “The Twilight Realm is much more closely connected to the afterlife than Hyrule. I’ll bet I can cross over there quite easily if I can focus enough energy. And then from there, I can find a way to Hyrule.”
Satisfied with his new plan, Ganondorf raised his hand, balling it up into a fist as he focused on drawing out as much magical energy as he could manage. It was hard work, and he was in danger of exhausting himself, but he was determined. With much more effort than normal, Ganondorf slammed his fist into the air in front of him, and was almost ecstatic when a rip started to open. Concentrating even more, he set about making the rip bigger.
Slowly, the rip cracked through the air, breaking apart the barrier between the two worlds. Feeling that his energy was about to run out, Ganondorf plunged headfirst through the gap, which promptly closed and sealed up as soon as he crossed through.
The last thing Ganondorf saw before he slumped over was the dusky sky of Twilight above him and the shadowy palace in the distance. But he had consumed all of his energy back in the afterlife and needed to rest, no matter how much he wanted to march into the palace at the moment.
Growling, he gave in to his ethereal body’s demands and fell to the floor.
Once he had returned to the village, Link once again found himself being fussed over by everyone. It had happened after he had defeated Ganondorf, and it was now happening again. The adults had urged him to try and heal his wounds in the Spirit’s Spring, while the children kept begging him to tell them about his battle with the dragon.
“Come on, Link, tell us how you did it!” Talo pestered him while he cleaned his wounds.
“It wasn’t that difficult,” Link replied, swatting away a fairy as he spoke. That was another thing that was bothering him at the moment; the spring tended to attract a lot of fairies. “To be honest,” he continued, “that dragon was a bit of a wimp, really.”
“But you beat it unarmed!” Talo said.
“Not many people can do that,” Colin added with a hint of admiration. He had always looked up to Link, and found this latest deed particularly impressive.
“Just goes to show how much of a wimp it was then, doesn’t it?” Link started looking over the tooth marks.
Malo, Talo’s younger brother, observed the marks, and remarked, “It couldn’t have been that much of a wimp if it almost ate you.”
“OK, so it nearly got me, but when it came to the fight, it was like a little lizard,” Link said.
“You weren’t putting up much of a fight before it carried you off,” Malo pointed out.
“Whose side are you on, exactly?”
“Just saying what I saw.”
“So are you going to tell us about the dragon?” Talo piped in.
“I’m sorry, but no,” Link said for what felt like the hundredth time. It wasn’t that he didn’t like recounting his adventures to them – the children were a good audience – but he didn’t want to tell them he had bit and clawed at the dragon like a wild animal. And he really didn’t want to tell them that he had been a wild animal at the time.
Standing up, he added, “Look, I might tell you some other time, but right now I’ve got more important things to do.”
“Like what?” the children asked in unison.
Link just stared down at them incredulously. Had they always been this nosy, he wondered. It seemed they were all of a sudden very interested in his private affairs. Then again, in the past, he had never had to keep a secret as big as the one he was keeping now, so he reasoned that had something to do with it.
“Nothing much,” he replied, “It’s something I need to do… alone,” he added.
The children groaned, but didn’t ask about the subject anymore. They followed Link back to
and went about their own business without another word. Link watched them vanish from sight before he transformed once again into the wolf. Ordon Village
“Link!” Epona hissed at him in an aggravated tone. She had been lying down near her master’s house, patiently waiting for him to return.
“This won’t take long,” Link explained, “There’s something that’s been running through my mind that I need to know.”
“Oh ye gods.” The mare knew where this was going.
“Does she know? About me?”
Epona sighed. “Yes, she does.”
“I had an inkling,” Link said, “I could tell.”
“See, this is why I think you should just forget about this little trick of yours and get back to living a normal life.”
“Why should I? Hey, it’s a bit of magic, surely that’s normal for a Hylian.”
“You know what I mean. Look, you’ve already alienated Ilia without meaning to. I doubt the poor lass will look at you the same way ever again. How long will it be before the others find out?”
“Well, for now, they won’t get much of a chance,” Link announced, turning towards his house.
“That dragon. I don’t know if you saw everything, but after I cracked that jewel in its chest, it started acting strangely. And before it ran off, it said something about Zelda. So I think it’s worth our while to investigate.”
Leaving his words hanging in the air, Link changed back into human form and climbed up to his house. He looked around at the simple abode he called home. The place was looking a bit of a mess; he had forgotten to tidy up the previous night, and he didn’t get much of a chance since then. There were plates that were still stained with the remains of last night’s dinner, buckets and pitchforks left lying around, the bed with sheets tossed any which way on top of it, and dirt and mud covering parts of the floor.
But they would have to wait. Link climbed down into the cellar. It was almost pitch black inside, and it took him a lot of stumbling to find his lantern among the mess. Once he could see in front of him, Link found what he was looking for. A shield was hanging on one wall. Underneath it was a table which was acting as a makeshift shelf for various other weapons Link had acquired on his previous adventure.
Link ran his fingers along the leftmost item. It was a green tunic, said to be the one worn by the Hero of centuries gone by. Next to that lay undershirts, a chain mail shirt, and a floppy green hat. Well, Link thought, if I’m going dragon-hunting, I might as well look the part.
A few minutes later, Link emerged from his cellar looking a great deal smarter than before. He found his sword resting on a shelf, and took a moment to check it over. It looked good enough for the job. It was only a simple sword, nothing like the legendary Master Sword he had once wielded, but it would do. Satisfied, Link marched back outside, took one last look at the
, and set off on his next quest. villageof Ordon
Since she returned from the forest, Ilia had been sat by the stream flowing through the village. She idly watched the fish darting about under the water. Occasionally, she would dip her finger in, swirling the water and distorting her reflection so that it became unrecognisable.
Unrecognisable. That’s how Link was to her now. Every time she had looked at him during the journey home, she could see a hint of the wolf inside him. She wondered just how long he had been able to change his shape like that, and why she had not known about it sooner. They had been friends for most of their lives, but now she couldn’t be sure just how close they were. How many more secrets was he hiding?
The girl snapped out of her thoughts and turned around to face Colin, who had snuck up behind her.
“Hi,” she mumbled, smiling half-heartedly at the boy.
“What’s wrong?” Colin sat down next to Ilia and gave her a look of sincere concern.
“You should be pleased about Link surviving that dragon,” the child said.
“I am, but…”
Ilia waved a hand dismissively. “It’s nothing.”
“Great idea, Colin!”
The two nearly jumped as they saw Talo appear seemingly out of nowhere.
“What’s a great idea?” Colin asked in a confused voice.
“Asking Ilia about the dragon,” Talo replied. Turning back, he called for Beth and Malo to join them. Once the group were together again, the brown-haired youth asked, “So, how did Link deal with that dragon? He won’t say a thing about it.”
Ilia faltered, unsure of what to say. She was aware that her breathing was becoming rapid and did her best to calm herself down.
“If Link didn’t tell you anything, then it really isn’t my business to tell you,” she said.
“Oh, come on,” Beth whined, “You were there. You must have seen something.”
“But I didn’t see much. Actually I think I saw more of the dragon than Link.”
“Great!” Talo grinned. “What did the dragon do?”
“It just roared and slashed and such,” Ilia said hurriedly, “You know, normal dragon stuff.”
“And what did it do when Link attacked it, or whatever he did to it?”
“I-I don’t know. He just chased it off. I didn’t see what happened after that.”
“Wow,” the children said in unison.
“The dragon was afraid of Link? That’s incredible!” Beth said dreamily.
“Look, whatever you do, don’t tell him I told you that,” Ilia said.
“Why?” Malo asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Because…” Ilia paused for a moment, “Because he obviously didn’t want to tell you guys for a reason.”
“So? It’s not like he’d do anything bad to you if he knew,” Talo said, “You’re his friend.”
“I’d still rather you didn’t say anything all the same.”
The children reluctantly agreed and left her alone. Ilia could’ve sworn she heard Malo say something about her making the story up, but she ignored it. Glancing next to her, she realised that Colin hadn’t moved from his spot.
“Talo’s got a point, you know,” he said simply.
“I know,” Ilia replied quietly. She briefly considered saying something to him about the wolf, but quickly decided that it would be a bad idea. At least, not until she knew more about it. She didn’t want to put Link in danger by revealing something he clearly didn’t want people to know. And she didn’t want to think about his reaction if he found out she knew about it, friend or not.
Taking Ilia’s silence as a hint, Colin got up and left her to her musings. He could tell by the way she had spoken that something had happened in the forest to disturb her, and possibly Link, but what it was he just couldn’t fathom out. He only hoped they would settle the situation as soon as possible.
Things weren’t going well for the dragon. It had spent most of the morning running aimlessly through the forest. It jerked its head around as it heard voices chattering in the branches above it. It had been very surprised to learn that it was hearing the voices of the woodland creatures speak, much like how he had heard the wolf speak.
“No, no, this is silly,” it had said to itself, “Animals can’t talk. OK, some can, but not wolves or squirrels or anything like that!”
The dragon had received an even bigger shock when it saw its reflection in a small stream. It had gripped its head in its hands and prayed that it was all a dream.
It had eventually found its way out of the forest and then began running about in search of
. It could see the castle to the north, looking as beautiful as ever, and immediately darted off in that direction as fast as it could. Hyrule Castle
It was now stood in front of the southern entrance, wondering how it was going to get in. It could just fit its girth through the gateway, like it had squeezed through the trees in the forest, but there were guards posted at the far end who were watching him warily.
“It’s OK,” it called to them, “I’m not really a dragon. I’m…”
It was interrupted by an arrow flying towards it and narrowly missing its foot. Looking up, it could see more guards stood on top of the outer wall, aiming their weapons at it.
“No. Don’t shoot!” it roared angrily at them, smoke pouring from its nostrils, “I’m the King!”
“What’s it doing?” one of the soldiers whispered to his associate.
“I don’t know, but keep your eye on it,” the other replied.
Why aren’t they listening to me? The dragon wondered as it desperately tried to dodge the arrows. It reared up onto its hind legs and spread its wings. Concentrating hard, it flapped them, slowly at first, but quicker as it gained more confidence, and leapt up, flapping rigorously to stay aloft.
“I say,” it said in amazement, “this is harder than it looks. But I’m flying!” It roared triumphantly as it rose higher and higher. “Now, how to move,” it wondered aloud.
The guards watched in surprise and amusement as the dragon twisted its body about in the air, trying to make itself fly in the direction it wanted. Amusement turned to alarm, however, as the dragon began to soar towards the castle.
It could see the town below, and all the people bustling about. As soon as they saw the beast though, they would scream and shout and run for cover. The dragon wasn’t concerned with them right now. All he wanted to see was Princess Zelda.
Approaching the courtyard in front of the castle, he tried to land as smoothly as he could, but ended up crashing into some hedges.
“Well, that was fun,” he said as he got up, “I bet I could get used to this flying lark.” Twisting his head this way and that, he called for Zelda.
During this time, many more soldiers arrived, each trying in vain to force the creature away. The dragon tried to tell them who he really was, but none would listen.
Soon, Zelda curiously walked into the courtyard, wielding a sword, much to the dragon-king’s dismay.
“Stay back, your highness,” one of the guards instructed her.
“Why? I can look after myself, you know,” the princess said in an annoyed tone.
“Look, ever since your father went missing and that mad Shadow King invaded, we don’t want to risk losing you.”
“‘Missing’?” the dragon repeated, “I’m not missing. I am the King!” But his outburst was only rewarded with a poke in his leg from a sword. “Call them off, Zelda!” he shouted, rubbing the sore leg.
But even Zelda wouldn’t listen to him. She had been arguing with the guard before his roar had caught her attention. She raised her sword up in defence.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the dragon fell back. Not even his own daughter was listening to him. He spread his great wings and clumsily flew off, leaving the gaping soldiers alone.
“What just happened there?” someone asked.
“I don’t know,” a second voice replied.
“Perhaps we scared it off,” a third added.
“It didn’t look scared,” Zelda said, “It looked more… upset.”
Link had been riding Epona towards the castle when he saw the dragon swoop down into the area. Slapping his legs against his steed’s side, he urged her into a gallop, hoping that no harm would come to the princess.
He approached the southern gate, where the dragon had originally tried to enter, when a voice called out, “Halt!”
Link pulled hard on Epona’s reins, slowing her to a stop, before looking up at the guard who had spoken. It was one of the archers.
“Who goes there?” he asked Link suspiciously.
Before Link could answer, the dragon burst out of the courtyard and into the air, followed by a volley of arrows.
“Never mind that now!” he shouted back at the guard, and rode straight into the town.
“What are you doing, lad?” the guard asked.
“Shortcut!” Link rode on through the streets, Epona running as fast as she could. She wasn’t accustomed to galloping through narrow, cobbled streets, but if it meant her master could reach the dragon quicker, she was willing to put up with it. However, she was having trouble weaving through the crowds. Link had to work hard to make sure she didn’t trample anyone.
The dragon had been heading towards the North, but it was rapidly disappearing from Link’s line of sight. To make matters worse, Epona was getting tired. She had been galloping since the two had set off from Ordon, and as good as her stamina was, she knew her limits.
Sighing with frustration, Link watched the dragon fly off into the clouds. He dismounted from his horse and suddenly noticed the chaos he had left behind him. Crates and stalls had been knocked over and people were glaring at him.
“Erm… sorry,” he said sheepishly to the crowd in general. “Good girl,” he said to Epona, patting her neck, “You did well.”
“Oi!” a familiar voice called, “What in the names of the goddesses did you think you were doing?”
Link turned around to face the guard who had halted him at the gate. “I was just trying to chase that dragon,” he replied.
“Well let’s hope there’s nothing chasing you, eh?” the guard sneered, “Otherwise this whole town will have had it!”
“Since I’m here,” Link said, “can I at least see Princess Zelda?”
The soldier snorted. “Listen, lad, we don’t just let anyone see the Princess whenever they want.”
“I just want to see if she’s all right. Last I heard, that dragon was talking about her, and I want to make sure she’s safe.” Too late did he realise his verbal slip.
“Talking?” The soldier laughed out loud, “That dragon was just roaring and flaming! If it could talk, why didn’t it tell us what it was doing here instead of just barging in? Talking, indeed!”
Growling, Link walked off towards the castle, Epona in tow. He didn’t care what the guard said, he was going to see Zelda, and nothing was going to stop him.
While Link was busy chasing dragons, Ganondorf was beginning the next stage of his plan. The Twilight Realm was rich in shadow magic, so much so that he could almost taste it in the air. It felt invigorating in his ghostly form.
Now with an air of pride and dignity, he began to march towards the
. He didn’t want to start opening portals to the Light World while one of his enemies still reigned here. It could easily lead to his early undoing. Palaceof Twilight
“First, I get Midna out of the way,” he muttered to himself, “and then, on to Hyrule.”
The various Twili people stopped in their business to stare at the ghost as he walked onwards. No one thought to stop him, but several began spreading the word of his appearance. By the time Ganondorf reached the doors of the palace, Princess Midna had learned of his arrival. Or rather, a ghost’s arrival.
“Why is it coming this way?” she asked the messenger who had told her of the stranger.
“I don’t know,” the Twili replied, looking down at his feet.
Midna rolled her eyes. She was used to stray ghosts wandering the Twilight Realm, but none of them had ever behaved the way this one was. This one seemed to be here for a reason, and that didn’t sound good to the Twilight princess.
“I will meet with it,” she said decisively, “Then maybe we can find out what’s going on.”
Her robe sweeping gracefully behind her, Midna strode through the corridors of the palace, not once suspecting the identity of the ghost she was about meet. She gasped when she saw the apparition pacing towards her on one of the balconies overlooking the Twilight.
Ganondorf grinned wickedly.
“Surprised to see me?” he asked.
“Ganondorf?! How did you…? No! You can’t be here!” Midna stammered in fright.
“And yet I am,” Ganondorf said softly.
“What do you want from this world?” Midna asked darkly, rediscovering her confidence.
“Oh, nothing much,” Ganondorf replied. He slowly approached her as he spoke. “To be honest, I’m just passing through. Do you know how hard it is to reach Hyrule from the afterlife? Without outside help?”
Midna shook her head.
“It’s very hard, indeed, Midna,” the ghost explained, “Very hard. It’s much easier to go through here first, and then go on to the Light World.”
“Fat chance,” Midna grinned. She crossed her arms and looked smugly at her opponent. “For your information, I destroyed the Mirror of Twilight as soon as I left Hyrule, so there’s no way you can return there.”
“No problem. I like a challenge.” By now, Ganondorf was standing right next to Midna. If he could still breathe, she would have felt it on her neck. “This world, it’s so full of magic, is it not? Not the kind I’m accustomed to, of course, but magic I can use all the same.
“I can tap into it easily. I’ll bet that if it’s channelled properly, I could use this magic to create a new gateway to Hyrule.”
“Over my dead body!”
“If that’s what it takes.” Focusing the shadow magic in the air, Ganondorf launched a ball of energy at Midna.
The Princess thought fast and neatly dodged the attack before launching one of her own. The attack hit Ganondorf, but all it did was make him flinch slightly. He was quick to recover.
Growling, he focused more energy into his fist, and swung it at the Twilight Princess, knocking her out.
“That was easy,” he muttered, stooping down to inspect the body.
Hordes of Twili had gathered around the scene, and were now in a state of panic. Their Princess had been defeated by this ghost, and they all felt helpless.
“You,” Ganondorf said, pointing at some of the nearer Twili, “dispose of the body. The rest of you, bow down to your new King! Bow down to King Ganondorf!”
Reluctantly, the Twili fell to their knees as he walked in the direction of the throne room. Once he was gone, they hurriedly dispersed, leaving the small group that had plucked out to get rid of Midna’s body. They didn’t want to get rid of their Princess, but they didn’t want to enrage Ganondorf, either, and they set about throwing her over the balcony edge.
However, just as they approached the body, Midna’s eyes opened.
“Not a word of this to Ganondorf,” she whispered at them before closing them and playing dead again.
The group each exchanged puzzled glances. Eventually, they got their wits about them and threw her over the edge. Peering down to watch, they saw her use her own power to slow her descent before running off.
“Not a word of this to Ganondorf,” the largest Twili repeated to the others.
It had taken a while to get past the guards, but Link finally found Princess Zelda. She had sent Epona to the royal stables to rest up, and went on to explain to Link what had happened with the dragon.
“It’s strange, everyone was armed and trying to drive it away, but it never attacked us,” she said, “Well, from what I saw of it, anyway.”
“And you say it was upset at something?” Link asked.
“I think so. I could’ve sworn I heard it whimper or something. It looked straight at me and when I raised my sword, it just drew back.”
“That is strange.” Link looked thoughtful for a moment.
“What is it?” Zelda asked.
“Did you see the jewel on the dragon’s chest?”
“That cracked thing?”
“That’s the one,” Link confirmed, “It wasn’t cracked until I scratched at it. Before then, it flew right into Ordon and carried me off. It was a one-minded killing machine. But once I cracked the jewel, this weird dark mist flew out of it and the dragon’s personality changed instantly.”
“Its personality changed?”
“It didn’t even seem to know that it was a dragon. It was like…” Link’s sentence trailed off.
“Like what?” Zelda asked.
“Like when I was first dragged into the Twilight Realm. I fell unconscious and when I woke up, I found that I was a wolf. And it came as a shock to see my paws and tail and all that.”
“So you think the dragon isn’t really a dragon at all. Just someone transformed into one?”
“Your father’s still missing, I take it,” Link said, taking the Princess completely by surprise.
She raised an eyebrow and replied, “Well, yes. He’s been missing since before Zant attacked us here, but I don’t see what that has to do with…” Taking another look at her friend’s face, realisation dawned. “No, you don’t think that dragon was really… my father? Do you?”
“It’s a possibility,” Link said, “After he stared at each body part, he then said something about ‘his poor Zelda’. I assumed he was talking about you. I don’t want to raise your hopes, but there could be a chance that it’s him. The way I see it though, we won’t know for sure until that jewel is destroyed.”
The two sat in silence for a while. Zelda then looked at Link with a confused expression.
“Did you just say the dragon spoke?” she asked.
Link nodded in reply.
“But it didn’t speak to us. Oh ye gods. You can still… you know… switch, can’t you?”
“Oh yeah.” Link grinned.
“How? I thought that was a curse from Zant.”
“I’m not too sure, but I think its origins go further than that,” Link said, “Anyway, it’s not like it’s all that bad. I can do things as a wolf that I can never do as a human.”
“Like what? Cock your leg?”
Both of them laughed jovially. In the silence that followed, Link looked around the room they were sat in. He had never seen
like this before. He had seen the dungeons and rooftops in the curtain of Twilight that had once plagued the kingdom, and he had seen the interior after Ganondorf had taken over, but he had never before seen it in its true glory. He had to admit, he was impressed. Hyrule Castle
He stood up to leave.
“Where are you going?” Zelda asked him.
“I’m going to check on Epona,” Link replied, “and then, if she’s up for it, I’m going after that dragon again.”
“I’ll come with you, then,” Zelda announced, also standing up.
“Don’t say anything along the lines of ‘but you’re a girl’, or ‘but you’re a princess’.”
“I wouldn’t dream of saying anything like that, Princess,” Link said, raising his hands in defence.
“You know I can look after myself. Besides, I could do with something like this,” Zelda stretched her arms and smiled at her friend, “Those guards haven’t let me out of the town since we killed Ganondorf, you know. It’s worse than when Zant invaded. At least then I was allowed to confront him.”
“Fine. As long as I don’t get into trouble for anything that happens to you,” Link said, following her out.
He hadn’t really gotten to know Zelda all that well during his last adventure; most of the times they met, he had been a wolf. But here they were, laughing and chatting like they were old friends. It felt strange to him. He suddenly felt very conscious about his appearance and wondered if he should sort out the bird’s nest that was his hair in a futile attempt to look cleaner. But Zelda had just laughed when she caught him stood in front of a mirror on their way out, desperately trying to make himself look smarter.
It didn’t stop him feeling dirty, though, no matter how friendly she was to him. Oh well, if she’s coming with me, she’ll get dirty as well, hopefully, he thought. That should put them on even ground, he decided.
Soon enough, the two were riding towards the northern mountains. The guards were reluctant to let the princess leave, but she had assured them that Link would look after her. She had saddled up her pale white stallion, Ghost, and rode alongside Link.
The hero glanced sideways at the horse, and decided that ‘Ghost’ was an apt name for it. It had a rather otherworldly look to its hair and eyes that unnerved him a little.
“He’s lovely, isn’t he?” Zelda said, patting her steed’s shoulder.
“Uh… yeah,” Link stammered in reply. He glanced again at Ghost, and could’ve sworn the horse was watching him. Shaking his head, Link turned back around and focused on where he was going.
“Not far now,” he announced, more to break the uncomfortable silence than anything, “Let’s just hope our dragon hasn’t decided to go exploring.”
As they approached the foot of the mountains lining the area near Zora’s Domain, they heard a low cry coming from further up.
“That’s definitely him,” Link said, recognising the cry.
“He sounds sad,” Zelda commented as the unseen creature cried out again, “Do you really think it’s my father?” She looked at him disbelievingly.
“Well, it would explain why he didn’t like you pointing your sword at him,” Link answered, “I don’t think any father would like his daughter raising her sword defensively at him.”
The two dismounted from their horses at the foot of the mountains and decided to go on ahead without them. They tethered them to a large boulder jutting out nearby and began the upwards struggle.
“Need any help, Princess?” Link asked, watching his companion climb up after him from a ledge.
“No,” the princess growled at him. As soon as she spoke, however, she slipped and nearly lost her footing.
Link rolled his eyes. “Come here,” he said, offering her his hand. He helped her up and remarked, “You know, you really shouldn’t be wearing that dress for rock-climbing.”
Zelda opened her mouth to reply, when another great roar erupted from the dragon’s hiding place. The pair immediately continued their climb.
Eventually, they came across a dark cave with various rocks scattered at its entrance. The dragon had stopped roaring for now, but Link was certain they had reached the right place.
“Here, take this,” he said to Zelda, unclipping his lantern from his belt, lighting it, and handing it over to the princess. He took her free hand and led her through the cave, his left hand slightly raised and ready to grasp his sword should they encounter any trouble.
The lantern light wasn’t much, but it was better than walking through pitch black darkness. Its glow cast various eerie shadows on the walls. What at first looked like a monster turned out to only be a few well-placed rocks.
The pair carefully edged further and further into the cave, keeping their eyes and ears open for any sign of the dragon. Suddenly, Link stopped in his tracks and leaned back towards Zelda.
“Can you hear that?” he whispered. There a faint whining coming from the back of the cave.
“The dragon?” Zelda asked, feeling a little nervous.
Link reassuringly gripped her hand as he continued the trail. The whining grew ever louder with each step. Soon, the light from the lantern cast a shadow on the back wall, causing the two to start and fall back in surprise.
The whining ceased and, with a curious grunt, the dragon turned its great head to face its unexpected guests. In the light, it looked even more terrifying than when Link had fought it at Ordon. It cautiously padded towards them, its yellow eyes fixed in their direction.
Link was the first to get up, and he immediately drew his sword and struck a fighting pose at the creature. The dragon took a few steps backwards, and glanced down at Zelda, who had struggled to her feet soon after Link. It roared pleadingly at them.
“Well, it obviously doesn’t want to fight, which is good news,” Link remarked, sheathing the sword, “Now to find out what’s going on once and for all.” He stepped towards the dragon, looking it straight in the eye as he had done in Ordon. The malice had definitely gone from the creature.
“Try not to scare it,” Zelda said, making herself comfortable on a flat-topped boulder. She picked up the lantern and rested it next to her, allowing its light to illuminate Link’s back.
The dragon reared up and roared in fright once Link had transformed into the Twilight Wolf. Then, an expression of recognition shifted onto its face.
“You!” he snarled at him, “I saw you in the forest! You spoke to me!”
“Indeed I did,” Link said, hoping his calm manner would cool the reptile down. He lay down on his belly, his tail wagging gently behind him.
“And now you… you…” the dragon left his sentenced unfinished as he glanced at the unconcerned Zelda. As though eased by her presence, he gradually relaxed, folding his wings by his side and adopting a lying down position similar to Link’s. “Before we continue,” he said sternly, “I’d like to know where I stand. First of all, who are you?”
“I am Link, of Ordon.”
“And what are you, truly? Man or beast?”
“Man,” Link answered, “This is only a side-effect from wandering into the Twilight Realm.”
The dragon bared its teeth and snarled at the mention of the Twilight Realm.
“Hey, calm down,” Link said, “I’m not like those other creatures that came from the Twilight. I’m on your side.”
The dragon relaxed again, breathing deeply and constantly looking over at the princess.
“Zelda…” he muttered. Looking down at Link again, he asked, “Why does she not answer me?”
“I would’ve thought you’d have figured it out by now,” the wolf replied, “but I’ll tell you anyway. Quite simply, she can’t understand you.”
“She can’t understand me? What do you mean?”
“I mean, humans can’t understand animals. Why do you think I had to transform just now?”
The dragon hung his head in embarrassment. “No wonder my men didn’t listen to me!”
“From what I heard, you caused quite a commotion at the castle.” Link considered telling him about Ordon as well, but he didn’t want to distress the creature any further.
The dragon continued his quiet ramblings. “And Zelda, my dear, sweet daughter…”
“Zelda’s your daughter? So you are the King of Hyrule, then?”
“I am King Taranis, yes.”
“Your Majesty,” Link said, “can you recall what happened to you?”
“A little, yes, but it’s still a bit hazy.”
“If you can tell me what you know, it might help in breaking your curse.”
Taranis took a few deep breaths as he tried to remember. “There was something strange happening at the desert,” he explained, “so I led an army there to see what was going on.”
“You went there yourself?” Link interrupted him, “Why?”
The King ignored him and continued, “When we finally got there… It’s not easy getting to the desert, let me tell you. It’s almost impossible. Anyway, when we got there, these creatures were advancing towards us. Horrible things, they were.
“And their ruler, he just marched across without a care in the world, as if he thought he owned the place! Those monsters of his were destroying everything they came across, while he carried on marching.
“By then, most of my men had retreated. Those that remained didn’t survive.”
“I tried to challenge the leader, but there was something else there. I think I must have fallen unconscious or something by then. I can remember seeing all this black everywhere, and a voice… That voice. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that was the voice of the evil from the legends of old.
“I can’t recall what it said exactly, although I think it said something about me being useful. And then I just… blacked out…
“When I woke up, I was in that forest where you were…”
“Unaware of what had happened in the meantime,” Link added.
“And nothing’s been going right for me since.” Taranis paused solemnly. “Tell me, Link, what has been going on since my failed campaign. I take it much has happened.”
“It’s a long story, really,” Link replied, “But basically, that king covered the whole of Hyrule in Twilight, your daughter and I, along with the help of another, drove it away, and since then, everything’s been well… good.”
Link uncomfortably scratched the back of his ear with a paw. He hoped that Taranis wouldn’t press him for more details. He didn’t feel like telling the whole story right now. He wanted to get the current situation over with first. Looking over at Zelda, he could tell she was getting anxious as well.
“Anyway,” he continued, rolling over onto his back and stretching his legs, “right now, before we do anything else, we need to get that curse of yours lifted. And I think I know how to do it.”
“That jewel embedded in your chest. It’s really a casing protecting the dark magic used on you. If we can destroy that, I’m certain you’ll be back to normal.”
Taranis looked down at the cracked jewel. He then turned to face Link, eyeing him suspiciously. “How did you come to that conclusion?” he asked warily.
Link rolled back onto his feet in a flash. “Uh…” he stammered, desperately trying to think of an alternative answer.
Gritting his teeth, the wolf answered, “Well, your curse didn’t just involve your form changing. You went through a whole personality change as well. Long story short, you tried to kill me, and I accidentally scratched the jewel in the fight. Some of the magic inside it flew out and you sort of… woke up.”
“So I had been brainwashed as well? Oh for Din’s sake.” The King held his head in his hands, muttering again.
Leaving the dragon to his mental anguish, Link resumed human form and approached Zelda.
“So, what’s going on?” she asked.
“Well, firstly, it turns out the dragon is your father after all. Second, he’s none too happy to hear about what had happened to him.”
“Does he know we can reverse the spell?”
Link nodded and stepped aside as the princess walked cautiously towards the dragon. She bent down and inspected the cracked jewel.
“Do you know what actually happened to him?” she asked.
“He was cursed by either Zant or Ganondorf,” Link replied, “From what he told me, I’m willing to bet the latter.”
At this, the dragon raised his head in surprise, and growled slightly at Link before settling down again.
“It’s not the magic of Midna’s people, I can tell that much,” Zelda said.
Again, the dragon made a surprised grunt. He knew Link hadn’t been giving him the full story, but just how many details he had kept from him was another matter that irked him greatly.
“What are you saying?” Link asked, bending down next to Zelda.
“Here,” the princess explained, indicating somewhere deep inside the jewel, “There seems to be a sort of core right in there. I doubt that it would escape even if you broke the whole thing apart.”
“Looks to be of similar origins to a Shadow Crystal,” Link squinted at the purple-black core, “Master Sword, you think?”
This time, Taranis’s eyes widened in astonishment.
“It’s our best bet,” Zelda said, “What did you do with it, anyway?” she added, looking at the hilt of Link’s normal sword.
“I returned it to the Sacred Grove,” he replied apologetically.
“And I’m taking it it’s a long walk to there.”
“Well, yeah, but can’t your Dad give us a lift?”
“Link!” Zelda hissed.
“Why not? He can fly. He could get there in no time.”
Taranis rumbled his reluctant approval at the idea, stood up, and walked out towards the cave entrance.
“He seems to keen to go,” Link said, grinning.
“What about the horses?” the princess asked.
“They’ll be fine, they’re not going anywhere.”
Zelda said nothing. She grabbed the lantern and huffily marched on ahead, leaving Link alone in the dark.
“Oh come on, Princess!” he called out to her, “There’s no need for that!” And with that, he stumbled on after them.
From his new, temporary domain in the Twilight Realm, Ganondorf was marvelling at how well his plan was working.
“Of course, I would have liked that dragon to have killed Link before I lost control over it, but that can be dealt with in due time,” he mused aloud to himself.
For now though, his plan was working brilliantly. Just as he had thought, he could tap into the raw magic of the Twilight and channel it into a portal to Hyrule. However, he was still quite weak with magic in his current form and had to gather the aid of the best Twili magicians to help him. Even then, it had taken them a while to rip a hole between the two worlds. But it was working, and that was the important thing. With his own power as the main source and the Twili magic complementing it, a gateway was forming outside the palace.
From the darkest shadows, Midna watched as the portal grew in size. In one hand she held a rope, which had her precious steed tethered to the other end. He was an Aquamentus, a rare Hyrulian species Midna’s ancestors had captured and taken with them to the Twilight Realm during their banishment from the Light World. Half-dragon and half-unicorn, the later Twili saw these creatures as a symbol of both power and beauty, and Midna particularly relished the time she spent with Arden, her Aquamentus. She had missed him greatly during her venture into Hyrule with Link; the wolf had been no substitute for
“Patience,” she said softly to him as he eagerly nuzzled her chin, “We can’t show ourselves yet. We must wait for the portal to finish opening.” She felt a great sadness as she watched her subjects collapse with exhaustion; the task required of them was a difficult one.
Eventually, the portal appeared complete. An archway formed on the edge of a cliff, forming into a long tunnel containing a dazzling white interior.
shook his head and stamped his hoof at the sight. Arden
“Calm yourself,” Midna said soothingly, untying the rope and mounting the proud beast.
Ganondorf had already mounted on a ghostly horse, which looked every bit as cruel and merciless as its master, and with a loud cry, he rode into the blinding tunnel and disappeared into the light.
Hot on his heels was Midna. As the portal started to close, she raced into its depths.
leapt gracefully into the void, the light shining onto his sleek scales and his long, sharp horn. Arden
From the darkness of the Twilight and through the bright light of the portal, the Aquamentus landed in the scorching sun of the
. Looking around, Midna saw that they had arrived in the Mirror Chamber, previously the only link between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. The princess turned back just in time to see the portal vanish, and realised that she was now trapped in the Light World. Gerudo Desert
But she could worry about that later. For now, her main concern was preventing Ganondorf from reaching
. Hyrule Castle
“Where is he?” she muttered anxiously, “I wasn’t that far behind him, surely.”
pawed the ground nervously. He had never seen daylight before, nor had he experienced the searing heat of the sun. He just wanted to go somewhere dark and cool. Arden
Midna petted his neck reassuringly as she scanned the area for any signs of Ganondorf. She could see the old frame that once housed the enchanted Mirror of Twilight, but very little else caught her eye.
“I knew you survived that attack,” a deep voice floated into Midna’s ears.
around, the princess could now see Ganondorf. He looked fainter now, almost see-through, but he still bore that wicked grin and that familiar lust for power in his eyes. Arden
“Well, it was nice of you to wait for me,” Midna replied, “Not a lot of people are that willing for me to destroy them.”
“You can’t destroy me,” the dark lord snarled.
“This world isn’t as kind to ghosts as the Twilight. What powers you had in my world you now lack here. I’d just give up now if I were you.” With a look of determination, Midna charged straight at Ganondorf.
ducked his head, pointing his gleaming horn forward in preparation for the strike. But the strike never came to be. A look of surprise spread on the faces of both beast and rider as they simply ran straight through their target. Arden
Ganondorf smiled broadly. “It seems this world is kind to ghosts in one way,” he said smugly.
Regaining her composure, Midna responded, “It’s not much of a kindness. How do you expect to take over Hyrule when you can’t even touch anything?”
“Stick around and you’ll see,” Ganondorf said cryptically.
Her interest piqued, Midna looked closely at the phantom out of the corner of her eyes.
“You know,” she said in a distant tone, “part of me almost wants you to take over this kingdom, just to see how you’ll pull it off.”
“But you won’t, will you? You’ll always be loyal to the Princess and her Hero.” In an undertone, the Dark Lord added, “Shame, really. You’re smart, cunning, unafraid to speak your mind, and very powerful if I do say so myself. And yet you waste these talents on the Light World.”
“The hero has done more for me than you ever did! You used my people just to get here!”
“Once I find the source of my old power, rest assured you’ll be the first to go!”
“You’ll never regain your old power. Link will find you again, and when he does, may some sick, twisted, deranged god have mercy on what little soul you still have.”
“Harsh words, Midna,” Ganondorf said challengingly, “I’d choose them more carefully if I were you.
“As for the hero, let him come. I’ll be ready for him, just like I was ready for you.”
As he spoke, the ground seemed to move all around them. Old bones flew out from beneath the sands to form an army of Stalfos warriors. At his command, Ganondorf’s horse trotted up into sky, walking on the air as if it were solid ground, while the skeleton warriors surrounded Midna. Looking up, the princess saw that the sky was now thick with Kargaroks circling the scene like vultures.
“It appears my minions are still faithful to me,” the Dark Lord observed, “Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to watch them see to your… untimely demise, I have a kingdom to invade. Hope you enjoy what little time you have left.”
“Oh, thank you,” Midna muttered sardonically as the ghostly form rode off into the sky. The Stalfos were now closing in on her, their weapons drawn and their empty eyes staring straight at her.
Midna shot a ball of shadow magic at the nearest one. It shattered into pieces that immediately rearranged themselves back into the monster.
growled and roared at the creatures, shaking his head from side to side in the hope of smacking one with his horn. Arden
“Looks like we’ll have to make a run for it,” Midna said, yanking on the reins in an attempt to regain control, “Up,
The Aquamentus obediently spread his feathery wings and took off into the warm air. The Stalfos left on the ground waved their weapons at them in fury, while the Kargaroks up above swooped down at them.
“Never mind them, just go!” Midna shouted, shielding herself from the birds’ attacks with one arm. Her steed cried out in pain as the bird pecked and bit at him, but he continued rising until they were clear of the Mirror Chamber.
Without any more instructions from Midna, the dark unicorn flew as fast as he could away from the squawking creatures. Midna quickly regained control of the panicking beast and directed him towards Hyrule.
They landed on a small ledge jutting out from a cliff face overlooking
and looked down eagerly at the sparkling water below. Lake Hylia
“Not now,” Midna said sternly, “You can have a swim later. Right now, I need to go to
and warn Princess Zelda about Ganondorf.” Hyrule Castle
But Zelda wasn’t at
. She was currently flying on King Taranis the dragon towards the Sacred Grove. Link was sat at the front near the dragon’s neck, while the princess was seated behind him. Hyrule Castle
“See, there’s the forest down there,” Link said, pointing down at the dark green patch below, “and just there,” he added, moving his finger further along, “That clearing over there. You see it? That’s where we need to go.”
Taranis rumbled in acknowledgement and clumsily altered his direction, almost knocking his passengers off in the process.
“See, I told you we could get there quicker if we flew,” Link commented to Zelda.
“I still don’t think we should be taking advantage of him like this,” Zelda replied.
Link just ignored her and turned back to the king. “Right, I think you can start lowering your altitude now,” he instructed.
Taranis swung his head around to face him and roared snappily at him.
“OK, OK, I’m just trying to help,” Link said in defence.
The dragon faced downwards and swooped in the direction of the clearing, with Link and Zelda holding onto his scales for dear life. He crashed into the open space where the Master Sword stood and tried to arrange himself so he could fit into the clearing.
Link leapt off his back and politely offered a hand to help Zelda down before turning his attention to the sword. He approached it gingerly and grasped it in both hands.
Taranis watched with a mixed expression of curiosity and suspicion. He still didn’t fully trust Link, and wasn’t entirely certain that he could be the one to wield the Master Sword. But, much to his amazement, the sword slid out of its pedestal easily. Link approached the astonished beast and studied the jewel carefully.
“You sure this will work?” he asked Zelda.
“I’m certain of it,” she replied, “If anything can banish this sort of magic, it’s the Master Sword. Just aim for the core in the centre, though. Don’t force it all the way through to the other end.”
“Right, here goes,” the hero said. Once again holding the sword with both hands, he plunged it into the casing. This time, the cracks grew wider and he kept his head low so as not to be hit in the face by the shards flying out, while still keeping an eye on how far in the blade was.
Taranis roared loudly as he felt the dark energy escaping from him. Eventually, the tip of the blade pierced the magical core of the gem. Link quickly pulled the sword out as the dragon’s shape began to change. The wings and tail disappeared into the body, the scales smoothed out, the face became more human, and the body shrunk down into the King’s normal size. Zelda rushed over to him as soon as the transformation finished.
While she was making sure her father was all right, Link spied a tiny, black gem on the ground, similar in appearance to the Shadow Crystals Zant had used for his curses. He discreetly stepped on it, shattering it to release whatever strands of magical energy still remained. Satisfied that all the dark power had gone, he joined Zelda and Taranis.
“You all right?” he asked the King amiably.
“I-I think so,” Taranis replied, marvelling at how the curse had been removed.
“Good. Now we need to get out of here,” Link said, turning around to face the way out back into the forest.
“So this was the Sacred Grove where the Blade of Evil’s Bane slept,” the King said as he looked at the ruins in wonder.
“Yep. It used to be a temple of some sort, but now it’s just ruins,” Link said distractedly. He patiently led Taranis and Zelda through the copse into the thicker parts of the forest. However, Zelda was quickly becoming agitated by his frequent stopping.
“Please tell me you know the way out through here,” she said, crossing her arms.
“Well, I do and I don’t,” Link answered.
“You don’t know? Well, that’s just great.”
“No, wait. Hear me out,” the hero said, “I can find a way out, but it might take a while. Not many people come this far into the woods, you know, myself included. It’s the imps, you see. They like to confuse people.
“However, I can sniff my way through easily. If I can figure out roughly where that pack’s territory is in relation to here, mixed in with the trails left by the monkeys, I should be able to get us out of here.”
“You’re going to get us out of here by sniffing monkeys?” the Princess asked, raising an eyebrow disbelievingly.
“Not the monkeys themselves, just the leftover scents of monkeys.”
“But still, you’re following monkeys.”
“Yeah. Don’t you trust monkeys?”
“Excuse me,” King Taranis said, “am I correct in assuming this will mean you’ll be… a wolf again?”
“Yes,” Link replied quickly, picking up the hint of fear in the King’s voice. “Oh, one other thing,” he added before anyone else could question his plan, “Take this.” He handed over his Ordon sword to Taranis as he fixed the scabbard for the Master Sword onto his back. “I’m not going to need it,” he explained, “and who knows what we might find in there.”
Taranis gave his daughter a stern look as Link changed into wolf form and started trotting through the forest, sniffing at the ground and trees as he moved.
“Look, I know he’s a bit… odd,” Zelda said as the two followed their lupine leader, “But he knows what he’s doing. He saved all of Hyrule from the Shadow King. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have…”
The King could sense her unease as her sentence trailed off.
“Oh, Dad, I’m so sorry,” Zelda said, “I tried to protect the kingdom from the Shadow King when he invaded the castle, but I failed. I let him cover the land in Twilight. I’m so, so sorry.”
“Ssh. Calm down, dear. It’s all right now,” Taranis said comfortingly, “You did what you thought was right.”
“But it almost led to Ganondorf taking over the world. Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done if it wasn’t for Link. And Midna.” The princess spoke the last part in a soft whisper.
“Someone else who had been… wronged by the Shadow King. She helped us out even though…” Zelda trailed off again. Not wanting to say any more, she looked ahead at the sniffing wolf in front of her.
Without another word, the three continued their trek through the forest. Although the air was filled with birdsong, occasionally louder squawks and cries could be heard, startling the group.
Partway through the journey, the group were surprised more than ever by a strange cry that came from somewhere in front of them.
“What was that?” Zelda asked.
The sound of hooves could now be heard approaching them. Link’s fur stood on end as he growled ferociously at the hidden danger.
As the creature drew closer, the trio could see a horse-like shape running towards them. It made no move to veer away from them, so Link charged straight at it, hoping to scare it away. The scaly creature reared up in shock, spreading its great wings in order to keep its balance.
It was then that Link looked up and noticed that the creature had a rider.
“Midna,” he muttered to himself as he watched the Twilight Princess fight to gain control over her steed. When the Aquamentus had eventually calmed down, Midna looked down at the wolf stood nearby.
“Finally!” she said in an exasperated tone, “Do you know how long I’ve been looking for you?”
Wondering what was happening, Taranis and Zelda walked towards the scene.
“Link, what’s going on?” the Princess asked, “What is that… Midna!” she said in surprise when she caught sight of the Twili.
“And you,” Midna muttered irritably as she dismounted, “Especially you.”
“I’ve been looking all over Hyrule for you and your… hero!” the Twilight Princess explained irritably.
“Well, sorry,” Zelda replied, “We’ve just been trying to lift a curse that had been placed on my father. By Ganondorf, no less.”
“What?” Midna asked, suddenly thrown off her mental balance.
“Before Zant invaded the castle, Ganondorf placed a curse on my father,” Zelda explained.
“Did he?” Midna said, sounding genuinely surprised.
“You mean you didn’t know?” Link, who had returned to human form, asked in amazement, “You mean there was something regarding Zant’s invasion that you didn’t know about? For once, we found out something before you did? Can I have that in writing?”
“Can someone please tell me who this is?” Taranis asked.
“Dad, this is Midna, Princess of the Twilight Realm,” Zelda said politely, “She helped us defeat Zant and Ganondorf.”
“She’s from the Twilight?” the King queried suspiciously.
Midna opened her mouth to say something, but Link cut her short.
“Look, before you say anything Your Majesty,” he said to the king, “the Twili aren’t all evil. Their ancestors may have been banished to the Twilight Realm for using dangerous magic, but nowadays they’re not really nasty or anything. Zant gained a lot of his power from Ganondorf, and together they were turning Midna’s people into monsters. She quite nice, actually, when she wants to be.”
“Flatter me, why don’t you?” Midna muttered under her breath.
“Fine,” Taranis said, although he sounded as though he didn’t quite believe him.
“How did you get back here?” Zelda asked, “I thought you destroyed the Mirror of Twilight when you left.”
“That’s what I need to talk to you about,” Midna replied. She went on to explain how Ganondorf had escaped from the afterlife into the Twilight Realm and created a portal to Hyrule.
“I didn’t want to abandon my people again, but I needed to warn you about him,” she explained, “He tried to ambush me in the Mirror Chamber in that old prison, but I easily escaped. Problem is, he’s now at large and we need to get rid of him before he can do anything else.”
“But he’s still a ghost. How would you go about killing something that’s already dead?” Zelda wondered aloud.
“I don’t think it’s a case of killing him as such. It’s more subduing him than anything. In the Mirror Chamber, he told me that he could regain a physical form if he found the source of his old power. I think if we can find that, we should be able to use it against him.”
“Like what the Light Spirits said about matching Zant’s power with the Fused Shadows?” Link said, recalling the advice he had been given by the Spirits during his previous quest.
“Exactly,” Midna said in confirmation, “The problem is, I don’t know what the source of his power actually was.”
“I remember the Sages said he had been blessed by the goddesses,” Link said.
“The Triforce of Power,” King Taranis said.
Link and Midna looked at him suddenly. “What?” they asked in unison, although in different tones. Link sounded curious, while Midna suddenly felt thrown off again.
“Yes, it’s all making sense now,” Taranis said thoughtfully, “The old stories, the Master Sword, the Legendary Hero, Ganondorf… and the Triforce. If the old legends are anything to go by, Ganondorf is most likely to be looking for the Triforce of Power. They say it was the only one of the three parts that he gained when he sought to take it for himself all those centuries ago.”
“Wow… If that’s true, then that must make him… Nayru knows how old,” Link remarked, “I must admit, he was looking good for his age last time I saw him.”
“Never mind that,” Midna added. Addressing the group as a whole, she asked, “What is the Triforce?”
“The most sacred relic of all Hyrule,” Zelda explained, “It was believed to have been left in this world by the goddesses themselves. Each part of the Triforce represents the virtues of Courage, Wisdom, and Power. Wars have been fought over it,” she added darkly.
“So if Ganondorf only got one part, what happened to the other two?” the Twilight Princess asked.
“The Triforce of Wisdom came into the hands of our family, where it has been passed down for generations,” Taranis replied.
Link looked over at Zelda out of the corner of his eye, quickly looking down at her hand. He recalled something glowing on it much like the Triforce mark on his hand when she had examined his curse back when Zant had taken over
. She inclined her head slightly as if reading and confirming his thoughts. Hyrule Castle
Not noticing the exchange, the King continued, “However, the Triforce of Courage has remained something of a mystery. It was said to have once been held by the Legendary Hero, but no one knows of its current whereabouts.”
As Taranis spoke, Link discreetly glanced down at the back of his left hand. He caught Zelda’s eye again and quickly hid his hand behind his back and tried to look casual. The Princess just smiled at him.
“So you think that after I killed him, the Triforce of Power somehow vanished?” Link asked, returning his attention back to the conversation at hand.
“It’s very likely,” Taranis replied.
“If that’s the case, then I suggest we try to find it before he does,” Midna said determinedly.
“But it could be anywhere,” Zelda pointed out, “Where would we start?”
“I don’t know,” Midna said, “but I do know that no matter where it is, Ganondorf isn’t going to rest until he’s found it again.”
“Link, what do you think?” Zelda rounded on the hero.
“Well, you’ve both got a point,” he replied, scratching behind his ear nervously, “On one hand, we have no idea where it could be, but then that won’t matter to Ganondorf, especially since he’s a ghost now.”
“Well, that was useful,” Midna muttered.
“We could ask the Sages or the Light Spirits,” Link added.
“I suppose that would be worth a shot,” Zelda conceded thoughtfully.
“Look, if it’s all the same to you, I’ve already been dragged across most of Hyrule today,” King Taranis said, “I’d rather just get back to the castle and give those guards a good talking to!”
“Right,” Midna said decisively. She walked over to her Aquamentus, who was resting in the shade of the trees, and led him towards the group. “
here will fly you back with no problems. Don’t worry, he won’t let you fall. Meanwhile, the rest of us can get started looking for this Triforce thing.” Arden
“I think I’ll go with him,” Zelda said as her father stared, wide-eyed, at the creature.
“If you want,” the Twilight Princess said, “Just remember to leave
somewhere dark once you get there. Poor thing. He’s not used to daylight.” Arden
“Well, I guess it’s just you and me,” Midna said to Link after the King and his daughter climbed onto
’s back and flew off. Arden
“You’re not going to hide in my shadow and let me do all the work again, are you?” the hero asked sourly.
“No!” Midna sounded offended at her friend’s words.
“Good, because you’re going to have to keep up with me,” Link said, smiling mischievously. Before Midna could say another word, he had transformed into the wolf and had started to run off, almost leaving her behind.
As she hurried after him, Midna began to regret sending
off with Zelda and Taranis. She thought back to the curse Zant had placed on her long ago, the one that had turned her into an imp. She wondered if she could cast the same spell herself. It didn’t make her look very attractive, but riding on Link’s back was preferable to trudging after him wearing robes that caught on every branch they brushed against. Arden
Then again, she thought, who knows what he’s picked up since I left him? I don’t want to end up picking fleas out of his fur.
Unbeknown to the hero and his friends, a lone Keese had been watching them from high up in the trees. As soon as the group had dispersed, it flew away to the cave that was currently Ganondorf’s makeshift lair.
There, Ganondorf was pacing around the interior in much the same way he had done in his paranormal prison. He was surrounded by some of his minions who were watching him anxiously. It pleased the sorcerer that he could still inspire fear in his minions even as a ghost.
The Keese burst in, screeching and squeaking wildly as it hovered in front of Ganondorf. He sat down and, for a moment, appeared to listen to the bat with interest, before turning to the nearest creature and asking, “What is it saying?”
The Aeralfos who he had spoken to leapt up in shock. When he realised that he wasn’t in trouble, he listened to the Keese’s squeaking.
“Um… well, he’s saying that that Link guy and the Princess have broken the curse you placed on the King,” he translated in a croaky voice.
“They what?” Ganondorf sighed in anger and then asked the monsters to continue.
“He also says that that Midna woman survived your ambush, s-sir.” The winged lizard warrior was growing ever more uneasy, but he carried on translating nonetheless. “And he says that Link and Midna are now trying to find the Triforce of Power before you. He thinks they’re going to ask the Light Spirit of Faron about it.”
“Good,” Ganondorf smiled wickedly and rubbed his chin.
“P-pardon me, master,” the Aeralfos said nervously, “but how is that good? Surely if they find it first, then they could defeat you again.”
Ganondorf was about to reach out for the reptile, but he soon remembered that he was unable to do so in his current state.
“Could someone just grab this guy by the neck for me?” he asked in a frustrated voice.
A Stalfos marched at the monster and picked it up firmly by the neck.
“No don’t choke him, I want him to remain alive while I speak,” the Dark Lord instructed.
The Stalfos loosened his grip slightly, allowing the Aeralfos to breathe.
“Right,” Ganondorf leaned closer towards the lizard, “If those two pests can find the Triforce of Power, then it’ll save us a lot of searching. All we need to do is watch them carefully. OK, you can drop him now.”
The Stalfos dropped the Aeralfos to the floor. While the lizard rubbed his sore tail, Ganondorf called forth a small flock of Keeses and a few other monsters, and ordered them to keep an eye on Link and Midna.
“As soon as they find the Triforce or are well on the way to finding it, one of you must come straight here to inform me, while the rest of you get them. Understand?”
The various minions nodded and cried out in acknowledgement and set off on the search.
“And that’s how it’s good,” Ganondorf said matter-of-factly to the bemused lizard.
The sun was just beginning to set as Link approached the Spirit Spring of Faron. He had managed to navigate the dense forest with few problems and now felt a newfound burst of confidence and determination.
As he trotted towards the spring, Link caught sight of a squirrel scampering through the flowers, and his stomach rumbled fiercely. He suddenly remembered he hadn’t eaten anything since leaving
. He quickly looked away from the critter and tried to think of something else. He wouldn’t say no to ripping apart Ganondorf’s minions as a wolf, but a squirrel? What had that thing ever done to him beside look incredibly appetising? Anyway, it was only a small morsel. Hyrule Castle
He resumed human form more to dispel the feral instincts than anything, and watched the squirrel dash off into the trees, wondering if it realised just how lucky it was. He then turned around to see Midna catch up with him breathlessly.
“Oh dear. Is the great Twilight Princess tired?” he said teasingly.
“Would it have hurt you to just wait every so often?” the Twili grumbled.
“I’ve been waiting for you now,” Link pointed out.
Midna chose not to say anything else on the subject and looked over at the spring.
“So, how do we get to speak to the Light Spirit, then?” she asked.
“I… have no idea,” Link admitted.
“Wonderful. Still as full of bright ideas as ever, I see.”
Undaunted by the remark, Link waded into the spring, wondering if he ought to say something to summon the Spirit.
“H-hello?” he asked nervously at the air in front of him, “I am Link… from Odorn… and I erm… request an audience with the Light Spirit.”
Midna had to stifle a giggle as the hero attempted to contact the Spirit. However, she soon noticed the bright ball of light materialising over the spring; it looked like his idea had worked.
Link nearly fell back into the water in surprise as the Monkey Spirit appeared. He hadn’t expected it to arrive at such a meek request, but here it was.
“Oh chosen hero,” the Light Spirit said, “what is it that you wish to know?” Its voice sounded deep and wistful, and Link could’ve sworn it filled him with courage as he listened to it.
“The Triforce of Power,” he replied, feeling bolder, “I know Ganondorf owned it when he invaded Hyrule, and now we need it to prevent another invasion. But what actually happened to it after I killed him?”
“A powerful and dangerous artefact, even more so than the Fused Shadows,” the Light Spirit said sagely, “But if that is what you truly seek, then I will tell you what became of it.
“After Ganondorf was killed, the Triforce of Power quite simply left him. It disappeared from him as his spirit reached the afterlife. I am afraid I do not know the full details, but I believe it ended up lost somewhere in the place where the Dark Lord fell.”
“I defeated Ganondorf over in the
,” Link said as he recalled the battle, “Are you saying that the Triforce of Power is just lying around there now where anyone can get it?” Eldin Province
“Not exactly. It cannot be found by just anyone. Only those who can follow its essence can find its true hiding place.”
“The power that it contains resonates quite strongly in that area. All can feel it at varying strengths, but it takes a good, strong mind and a good hand at magic to follow it to the source.”
“So it’s sort of like following a scent trail, then. Only without the scent.”
“If you wish to use that comparison, then yes.”
“Right.” The Hero took a deep breath to prepare himself for the next part of his quest.
“I must warn you though,” the Spirit continued, “if you do choose to search for the Triforce of Power, you must be aware at all times. I have already said that the Triforce itself is a powerful object, but there is also a more immediate danger lurking in the darkness. Do not allow your guard to drop at any moment, not even when you believe yourself to be safe.”
Before Link or Midna could say anything else, the Spirit vanished, leaving behind it the slowly setting sun.
“Eldin?” Midna repeated, her patience slipping rapidly, “We have to go all the way there? On foot?”
Link reached down inside the breast of his tunic and held up the horseshoe-shaped charm he wore around his neck as he approached the frustrated Twili. Ilia had given it to him during his previous adventure. If he blew into it, he could call Epona to his side. It can’t work over this distance though, surely, he thought as he observed the charm. Besides, he had tied Epona up, so there was no way she could get to him even she did hear it. The hero cursed his stupidity.
“Yes, it is quite a trek,” he said distractedly in reply to Midna’s comment. He raised the charm to his lips and gently blew into it. As he expected, nothing happened.
“Where is your horse, anyway?” Midna asked, breaking the awkward silence that had followed.
“I left her by the northern mountains when I went to look for the drag- I mean, the King. I have to go and find her.”
“No. It’ll only waste time,” Midna said firmly, “She can look after herself. We might as well start the journey to Eldin now and if there is anything to that whistle of yours, then she’s bound to turn up sooner or later.”
Link wanted to say something against the idea, but he knew it was useless arguing with Midna. Once she had her mind set, that was it. You either had to go along with her or else go your own way. He looked at the horseshoe charm again before putting it back down his tunic and following the Twilight Princess. His stomach rumbled loudly, annoying the already impatient Midna, who marched towards the nearest shrub she could find and started rummaging through it. Link looked up as he heard the rustling of wings above him, but his thoughts were brought back to earth when Midna thrust a bunch of red berries into his hands.
“Just eat them,” she growled at him, “Anything to keep that stomach of yours quiet! I don’t want to hear it whining during this journey.”
Link looked at the berries, still thinking about the creature he had seen flying above him. “Um, these are poisonous, actually,” he said eventually, dropping them onto the floor.
“Did you not think to bring anything with you?”
Link shook his head sheepishly. “All I’ve got is this bottle of water,” he added, “Come to think of it, I haven’t had a drink for a while, either.” He took a big sip out of the bottle and offered some to Midna.
Once the two had drunk enough, they resumed their long journey. They had finally reached the edge of the forest when Link heard a rustling in the bushes.
“Did you hear something?” he asked, stopping suddenly and looking around.
“Nothing,” the hero replied.
Midna rolled her eyes and walked on. Link took another look behind himself before following her.
Suddenly, a gang of monsters jumped out at the pair, taking them by surprise. Link rolled out of the way and unsheathed the Master Sword.
“Good thing I kept this,” he said. Looking around him, he saw a small pack of Bokoblins and Lizalfos closing in on himself and Midna. A Keese swooped down and hovered by his face, taunting him with its high-pitched squeaking. Link swiped his sword at the creature, oblivious to the Bokoblin sneaking up behind him.
Midna deftly dispatched the monster with a shadowy blast, only to find herself grabbed at the arms by one of the larger Lizalfos.
“So, we find you at last!” the lizard snarled triumphantly.
“Get off me!” Midna shouted, kicking her legs back at the lizard, but to no avail.
“Forget it, Twilight Princess,” the Lizalfos hissed, “As we speak, a messenger flies to the Dark Lord Ganondorf, taking with him the information on the Triforce of Power that you so kindly got for us. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was already on his way to the Triforce’s hiding place.”
Link, who had managed to successfully dispose of the Keese and some of the other monsters, turned his attention to the Lizalfos holding Midna captive. He bashed the reptile’s head with his shield, causing the creature to momentarily release its grip on the Twilight Princess. Once Midna rushed out of the way, he sliced at the monster, finally defeating it. The two looked around to make sure there were no others hiding. The only ones left were running away from them. Satisfied with the result, Link sheathed his sword with a flourish.
“That was easy,” he commented.
“Well I’m sorry we can’t celebrate. Come on!” Midna exclaimed, grabbing Link’s arm and dragging him off.
“What’s the matter with you?” Link asked, pulling himself free from her grasp.
“They’ve been looking for us,” Midna explained, “and one of them has been spying on us. He’s already gone to inform Ganondorf of what we learned.”
“I thought I saw a Keese flying off earlier.”
“So what are you standing around for?” Midna grabbed at Link’s arm again as she ran in the direction of Eldin.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” The hero’s stomach rumbled again as he set off after her. “Shut up!” he hissed at his gut.
Taranis and Zelda had returned the castle quickly with
’s help. The King’s return had surprised everyone, but he didn’t waste any time in reasserting his authority and preparing the guards for Ganondorf’s possible attack. Arden
While he busied himself with these tasks, Zelda snuck back to the stables where she had left Midna’s Aquamentus. She approached him warily. Now Midna wasn’t here, she couldn’t be sure how friendly – or unfriendly – he would be.
“Good boy, good boy,” the princess said encouragingly with each step. She flinched slightly as
made a strange, horse-like noise. He remained quiet as she took hold of the loose reins and led him outside. Arden
“And where do you think you’re going?” Taranis’s voice punctuated the peaceful silence. He had been watching her out of a window and followed her to the stables.
“I’m just going out to find Ghost before it gets too dark to look for him,” Zelda replied truthfully, looking up at the slowly darkening sky.
“No you’re not,” the King said sternly, “Not while Ganondorf’s about.”
“I won’t be long, I just need to…”
“No! You’re staying right here, young lady.”
Zelda leapt up into the saddle and gave her father a steely glare.
“I won’t be long,” she said again. And before Taranis could say another word, she had taken off into the dusky sky.
It felt strange for Zelda to try and direct a flying creature, but she eventually managed to get
on course for the mountains. He seemed to be more energetic than before and the princess found herself gripping his neck tightly as he gracefully soared through the air. Arden
Looking down below, she could see the two horses still tied to the boulder, her white stallion contrasting with the dull rocks.
“Down there,” she said softly to
, leaning forward to emphasise the command. She screamed as the beast turned sharply into a swoop, and then landed smoothly next to the horses. The descent had been so quick and so sudden, unlike the gentler trip she had been given back to Arden , that Zelda had to take a moment to get her breath back before she could do anything else. Hyrule Castle
When she got around to untying the horses, Ghost remained in a state of quiet dignity, while Epona seemed agitated. Once she had been freed, the mare bolted away from the princess at a startling pace.
“How’s that for gratitude?” Zelda muttered to herself. She climbed onto the familiar back of her steed and set off after her.
watched the princess leave, but made no effort to follow her. After that harsh daylight, he was glad that the sun was setting and that the air was turning cooler. Why would he want to follow that Light World being when Twilight was approaching and he could now rest properly? As the sky turned darker, he caught and munched on an unsuspecting Tektite and set about relaxing in the cool air. Arden
Squinting in the fading light, Zelda raced on after Epona. She was thankful that Ghost had been able to keep up with her, eventually drawing level with the panicking horse.
“Where is she going?” Zelda wondered aloud. She followed Epona all the way to large field that occupied most of the Eldin province. The princess watched her surroundings carefully. The open plains didn’t provide any cover from monsters, and she didn’t want to be caught off-guard.
Just when she thought all was well, an Aeralfos swooped down suddenly from the night sky. Ghost reared up in fright, knocking Zelda from his back, while Epona galloped on without a second glance.
Zelda jumped back onto Ghost and tried to resume her chase, but the winged lizard blocked her path at every turn. Soon, packs of monsters began to appear, all riding on great boars. They circled the princess menacingly, growling and snarling at her. Zelda tried to remain indifferent, but there was no hiding the fear she felt.
“What have we here?” a deep, cruel voice spoke out above the various grunts of the monsters.
Zelda looked up to see a ghostly shape making its way towards the scene. As the figure drew nearer, there was no doubt that it was Ganondorf, riding the same ghostly beast that he had when he confronted Midna. As he neared the ground, the monsters made way for him to approach Zelda.
“All on our own, are we?” he asked.
Zelda didn’t reply.
“Seize her,” he commanded the Aeralfos.
The creature swiftly dragged Zelda off the protesting stallion and gripped her tightly as it hovered near his master. Ganondorf dismounted from his ethereal steed and approached the princess, his lips twisted into a cruel grin. At this close range, he looked more solid than he really was.
“So fascinating,” the ghost said with an eerie softness that chilled the princess to the bone. “Such a fragile thing. And yet, underneath that delicate exterior, there lies such power. And that’s not even considering the power of the goddesses that you wield.”
Zelda followed his gaze down to the back of her hand, where the mark of the Triforce of Wisdom glowed briefly.
“Word has it that the Triforce of Power is hidden here,” Ganondorf continued, “right where I left it. Problem is it takes a bit of magic to track it down, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m a bit magically challenged at this current point in time. I can feel it, somewhere, calling to me, but I can’t quite follow it.”
“If you think I’m going to help you, then you can think again!” Zelda spat at him.
“Oh, you talk at last.” Ganondorf sounded amused, “Well, you are going to help me, Princess. You’re going to find the Triforce of Power for me, or else suffer a premature death! I know I’ll probably end up killing you anyway, but I’d rather keep you alive for now while you’re useful. If you do help me, though, I’ll make sure your death is quick and painless. Unlike what you’d get if I left it in his hands,” he indicated the Aeralfos, “He’s such a messy thing.”
Unable to think of a way to get out of the situation, Zelda conceded defeat. “OK,” she said, “I’ll help you.”
“Good girl. OK, lizardbrain, you can put her down now. But stay close by her.”
Zelda glared over her shoulder at the lizard as it placed her back on the ground. She dusted down her dress and looked over at all the monsters.
“Don’t think you can escape,” Ganondorf said, “Now can you feel it? The essence of the Triforce?”
Zelda didn’t know where he had managed to get this information from, but she didn’t dare ask. All she did was concentrate and hope that she could think of a way out of her current situation. She could definitely sense something in the air that felt odd. It made her feel ever so slightly stronger.
“You feel it? Good girl,” her captor repeated, “Now, follow it to its source!”
Taking a deep breath, Zelda tried to work out where the stray magic was coming from. The Triforce of Wisdom glowed again, picking up the presence of its sister piece. Feeling more and more like she was being led by some unknown force, Zelda walked slowly in the direction her subconscious was giving her. She could feel the magic increasing in intensity, almost wrapping around her like a blanket. The air seemed to feel warm and refreshing at the same time. Zelda felt energised, as though she could take on anyone who challenged her, even the whole world if she had to. She had never before experienced power such as this. It felt welcoming, and as she embraced it, Zelda could see the Triforce of Power materialise in front of her.
The surrounding monsters gaped in awe at the golden triangle. Even though it didn’t look like much, they could all sense its overwhelming power.
However, none could sense it as much as Zelda. She reached out her hands, almost dreamlike, hoping to touch it, to grasp it in her long, slender fingers. But the dream soon turned into a nightmare.
Taking the opportunity, Ganondorf ordered the Aeralfos to grab her again while he went for the Triforce. Zelda snapped back to reality as soon as the clawed hands took hold of her.
Suddenly an arrow flew through the air and dug itself into the lizard’s shoulder. Distracted, the whole crowd looked to see where it had come from, and found Link riding towards them. He held his bow awkwardly as he charged straight at the group.
“Take the bow!” he hissed urgently at Midna, who was seated behind him.
Once the Twilight Princess took the weapon from him, Link drew his sword and proudly held it aloft.
The lone Aeralfos gulped and flew off clumsily, while the remaining monsters didn’t hesitate to charge at Link, their battle cries filling the night air. As they charged past the hero, he swiped his sword at them, attempting to knock them off their boars. Midna ducked her head to avoid the swinging sword while she attacked some of the creatures Link missed with her shadow magic.
As the two fought valiantly against the monsters, only Zelda saw Ganondorf make a grab for the Triforce of Power. When his ethereal hands flew through the artefact, she inwardly cheered.
“Tough luck,” she said smugly. With an air of confidence, she walked up to the Triforce and attempted to snatch it from under Ganondorf’s nose. Red sparks crackled as her hands neared the object, causing her to flinch slightly.
Although he couldn’t touch the Triforce, Ganondorf could feel the power coming from it as Zelda tried to take it from him. It was strong enough for him to find and manipulate.
The princess screamed as she found herself being thrown back by an invisible force. Link looked up over the heads of the monsters to see Ganondorf standing proudly, two solid hands clutching the Triforce of Power. While he was distracted, one of the boars slammed into Epona, sending him and Midna sprawling onto the ground.
“Didn’t you see that one coming?” Midna asked him in frustration.
Link ignored her, his gaze firmly fixed on Ganondorf. Now only half of his ethereal form remained. Coming to his senses, he jumped to his feet and weaved through the monsters, hoping he could reach the dark sorcerer before he could completely transform.
Midna tried to call him back, but to no avail. Sighing, she continued fighting Ganondorf’s minions on her own by sending wave after wave of her magic at them.
Meanwhile, Link dashed at Ganondorf, sword at the ready. By this time, the sorcerer’s transformation was almost complete. He looked at the hero and calmly sent a dark blast in his direction.
“Link!” Zelda cried as the blast hit him square in the chest. She rushed to his side and helped him up. “Are you all right?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about me,” the hero said. He looked over at Midna, who had commandeered one of the boars and was now chasing after her opponents. She looked like she was having a lot of fun despite the graveness of the situation.
Turning back to face Ganondorf, Link held Zelda in his free arm briefly before stepping towards his newly-revived enemy.
“Come to meet your fate?” the Dark Lord sneered at him.
“Far from it,” Link replied, “I’ve killed you once already. Who’s to say I can’t do it again?”
“This.” And with that, Ganondorf shot another, stronger blast at Link.
This time, the hero rolled out of the way, letting the blast hit the ground. Gritting his teeth, he rushed at his opponent again, only to find himself on the receiving end of another blast. Much to the amazement of all who saw, he was still able to get to his feet for another go.
Trying to keep his wits about him, Link made another attempt at attacking his foe. All seemed to be going his way, until Ganondorf swung a fist at him. Link blocked the assault with his shield, but the force was enough to unsteady him for a moment.
He quickly regained his balance and ducked the next swipe, making a few slashes at Ganondorf as he did so. Although they appeared to harm him, it wasn’t enough.
Even as Midna cleared the area of lowly minions, the battle between Link and Ganondorf raged on. Regardless of his earlier beatings, Link was getting into the swing of things and making the most of his skills.
“Link! Move!” Zelda shouted from her position outside the battlefield.
Link looked up at her briefly and then somersaulted out of the way as a large beam of light shot towards Ganondorf. The sorcerer cried out in pain as the bright light engulfed him. Once it vanished, he fell to his knees, panting heavily. The hero and princesses watched him warily.
“It seems I have underestimated you,” he gasped, looking over at the astonished Zelda as he spoke, “or perhaps you are just beginning to understand the power you hold.” He stood up again in a slight daze and added, “Either way, it looks like I need to rethink my strategy.”
He swiftly grabbed Link by the throat and tossed him aside like a rag doll as the hero tried one last strike at him.
“Don’t think this is the last you’ll see of me,” he said weakly, “I’ll be back!” As he spoke, a black and purple portal formed above him.
“No, no, no, no, no!” Midna yelled out as he disappeared into it, “He’s going back into the Twilight Realm!”
However, the portal disappeared, leaving the three alone.
“Leave it, Midna,” Link said calmly, staggering to his feet, “Even if we could find a way there, I don’t think we’re in much shape to deal with him now.”
He wandered over to Zelda, who appeared close to exhaustion. She smiled at him as he looked into her eyes.
“Well…” she said.
“That was impressive,” Link replied.
“But don’t do it again.”
“If I hadn’t done it, you would’ve been dead. You should be grateful!”
“I didn’t say I didn’t appreciate it, I just don’t want you collapsing on me.” After the couple exchanged friendly smiles, Link added, “Come on, we need to get back to the castle. Can you ride by yourself?”
“I’ll be fine,” Zelda assured him, walking towards her stallion.
“Are you coming with us, Midna?” Link asked as he climbed onto Epona.
“I don’t think His Royal Highness would appreciate me joining you,” Midna answered bitterly. After a short pause, she sighed and continued, “But, seeing as there’s nowhere else for me to go right now…” She seated herself behind Link as he set off, with Zelda riding next to them.
As the three made their way to the castle, Zelda suddenly said, “Midna, there’s something I have to tell you.”
“What?” The Twili sounded curious by this.
“I erm… I took
with me when I left the castle, but once I found Ghost, I lost him.” Arden
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Midna said reassuringly, “He’s probably gone exploring somewhere. He’ll come back once he’s bored.”
Link didn’t listen to the conversation, as he had his own worries to dwell on. As he looked up at the towering castle far ahead of him, his thoughts drifted to Ordon, and to Ilia. He really wanted to go back and patch things up with her, but if Ganondorf was going to be causing problems for Zelda and her family, then he wanted to be close by and ready to protect the Princess. Maybe it’s better I stay away from Ilia for now, he thought.
Although he didn’t voice these concerns, he did say to the princesses, “You know what? All this running and fighting has left me with quite an appetite. I’m starving!”
The King had been fraught with worry ever since Zelda ran off, so he was especially pleased to see her safe return. He had also been alarmed upon hearing about what had happened at the Eldin plains, despite his daughter’s claims that she had been fine and that he had nothing to worry about.
Link had been looked over by the doctor in the town and was resting on a couch while, nearby, Taranis, Zelda and Midna discussed what to do about the recent events and Ganondorf’s threats of invasion.
“I really think it’s best if Midna stays here since he’s taken over her world,” Zelda said, “I know you don’t particularly like her, but she is on our side. I would trust her with my life if I had to.”
“Besides, as long as we both have a common enemy, we’re allies,” Midna added, “Whether you permit me to stay or not, I will still fight for your cause, out of loyalty to the Princess and the Hero.”
“And what about Link?” Taranis asked, eager to change the subject.
“If it’s all the same to you,” Link replied drowsily, “I would rather like to stay here for the time being. I’m not sure if I should go back to Ordon for now, and I would like to stay somewhere where I can be in a prime position to move should Ganondorf attack.”
“Fine, you can both stay, if it means that our guard here is strengthened even by just a little bit,” Taranis said after some thought.
The three exchanged triumphant looks as the King spoke. It was obvious he wasn’t keen on the idea of letting people with Twilight connections stay under his roof, but they were grateful that he had succumbed to it.
After he had sent a servant to show Link and Midna the rooms they would be staying in, he turned to his daughter and said, “I hope you know what you’ve let us in for.”
“Don’t worry.” Zelda grinned at him as she stood up to leave the room. “All you’ll have to worry about is whether or not Link’s taken to howling at the moon.”
Despite the excitement of the day, Midna felt unable to sleep. She walked out onto the nearest balcony and looked up at the starry night sky, wondering what was happening in her world. She held her robes tightly around herself to shut out the chilly breeze.
She was soon joined by Link, who also felt quite awake.
“You OK, Midna?” he asked the Twilight Princess.
“Yeah. I just can’t sleep, that’s all.”
“You’re worried about your people, aren’t you?”
“I didn’t want to abandon them again, Link, you know that.”
“I know,” the hero said sympathetically, “and I understand. I’ve as good as abandoned everyone in Ordon. I just upped and left them so I could stay by Zelda.”
“It’s not the same,” Midna said in a monotone, “You can return to Ordon whenever you want. You can go back right now if you so wish.”
“Can I?” the hero asked darkly, “This morning, Ilia – you remember her, don’t you? Well, this morning, she found out about my little trick. She didn’t take it too well, and she’s now afraid of me. Ilia, my closest friend, is now scared of me! I can’t go back to that.”
“What about everyone else in your village?”
“They don’t know, and I don’t want to risk anything by going back. No, it’s better I stay away from them for now.”
The two looked out in silence. Although neither of them said it out loud, they both felt very alone.
“We will defeat Ganondorf,” Link said determinedly.
“You know I don’t doubt that for a second,” Midna replied, smiling at her friend.
Link smiled back. Midna stroked a hand against his face before turning to leave for her room. The hero looked back at the sky, eyeing the full moon hovering in the inky darkness. His smile broadened. He knew he shouldn’t do it, not in this form. But even after the events in Ordona and Eldin, he still felt the results were enough to make him feel like this. He wanted to get his feelings out in the open, and he didn’t care who heard him.
The hero chuckled to himself, threw his head back to face the stars, and howled as long and as loud as he could.
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