Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda is not owned by me. This is not for profit. I am but a lowly geek.
Notes: In Wind Waker, falling into lava equals hilarity. In Twilight Princess, it is the stuff of nightmares. I was inspired to write this after re-reading TVTropes’ “Nightmare Fuel” section for LoZ: TP… being reminded of it.
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Midna was fairly impressed at the technology in the Goron Mines. She was beginning to suspect that Light World Hyrule was completely static in development. The Twilight Realm had high development in magic and science and had married the two seamlessly. Her time spent in Hyrule had been giving her shamans and faeries and very little in the ways of industrial technology or practical science. Sure, the shaman knew the ways of herbs and mineralized water, but Midna suspected that the little kid Link had rescued would expire of internal injuries while they were here. If he were a Twili child in the Twilight Realm, he’d probably be on his feet by now due to their superior technology.
If the brat did die, she wondered how it would affect the performance of her “dog.” She’d latched herself onto this Hero, having seen the Prophecy of the Wolf fulfilled in him. She was still a bit skeptical of him – Zant would utterly butcher him if the two met now. He was just a kid, a goatherd from the sticks. Good with a sword, determined and outright fierce when dealing with monsters and with those bulbins who’d been harming his friends, but she was still unsure if she’d bet on the right dog in this race. The death of his young friend could crush his spirit and render him useless.
She watched from Link’s shadow as he dodged past a relief-vent. It spat fire as soon as he’d cleared the path. She wondered just what the Gorons mined here. Perhaps this was the source of those little gems Link had been using for currency. Link had told her the lumbering creatures ate certain kinds of rock, so maybe they were just mining for food. She didn’t care. They just needed to get the Fused Shadow.
She felt herself fly up as he leaped over some flowing magma. It was the light from it that made her shift in Link’s shadow as it shifted. Again, he leaped deftly and then he exterminated a keese that flew at his head.
The young Hero jumped again, only this time, Midna felt an odd shift. His boot had shifted on the dirt of the platform he was on and he slipped, throwing off his leap. As she felt herself shift upward with his shadow, away from the lava-light, she watched as the unthinkable happened.
It was the sound that was the worst – a kind of hissing sound… of steam. Then the scream – Link’s gut-wrenching, painful scream of instant, unimaginable agony. He sank into the magma, his sword arm out and flailing.
Midna, having cut herself out of the shadow, floated above the scene. Instantly, she unfurled her hair into the large, prehensile hand her magical prowess allowed her to use and grabbed him.
“Ow, hot! Hot! Hot! Hot!” she complained as her fingers found his form and drew him from the molten rock. For a split second, she wondered why she was even doing this. Surely, he was dead. The Gorons deserved to know that their savior had failed them, perhaps?
She felt movement. She heard screaming.
She laid him out on a large portion of stable rock. The kid was still alive and for a moment, she wished he wasn’t. A second prior, she’d thought him dead from one of the most horrible causes imaginable, but it least it had been quick. At present, Link was alive, writhing and screaming. He wasn’t screaming like a girl, or like a child, or even like a man who’d just hit his thumb with a hammer. His lungs were expelling pure, unfiltered agony.
Midna held him in place. “Sssh,” she tried coaxing. “Calm down. Calm down!”
She knew it was futile.
“FARORE! FARORE! OH FARORE IT HURTS!” He cried.
“Farore.” Midna tried to register that word, then she remembered that it was the name of one of the Goddesses that ruled the Light World. The Twili had their own gods and had nearly forgotten the gods of their ancestors. Farore was the Goddess of Courage and Life, correct? The imp shuddered as she recalled that in her world, the Goddess of Life was sometimes considered also the Goddess of Death as the two were different sides to the same coin.
Steam and smoke were coming off of Link’s clothes. The smoke was from the lava itself. The steam was from his body. Midna noticed something strange about Link’s clothing. It had not burned. In fact, it was quite intact. She retracted her hair-hand and touched the outer tunic with her natural hands. There was quite a bit of magic in them. This was why Link was still alive – the Hero’s Clothes had given him a measure of protection. Not enough, in her opinion. She wanted to smack that stupid monkey-light spirit Faron, if only he were not a light spirit with directly opposing magic that could cancel out her own. She could see bloody, blistering burns trailing up Link’s neck. His head, having not sunk into the lava before she’d rescued him, was intact, though the skin on his face had a heat-blush, like a sunburn. His eyes were tightly closed. His hat was still in place.
“H-h...help me…” he pleaded. Midna did not know if he was talking to her or to his goddess. His voice was now barely above a whisper. Was he screamed-out? Midna noticed his throat beginning to swell, a result of the heat and burn-damage.
Curse the lack of technology here! If they were at the
(and it had not been taken over by the usurper), she could have had him in the Infirmary with an expert team. As it was, she was stuck in a cave with a dying dog. She rummaged through Link’s belt-pouch, hoping that, like it, certain items had survived the fire. Twilight Palace
She forced a bottle of Eldin spring water to his lips. Most of it poured over his cheeks, but she managed to get a little trickle of it down his throat. The Hero relaxed slightly and opened his eyes a crack.
“Hush,” the imp replied. “Just don’t die, okay? I still need you. You can’t die yet. You’re Mr. Important Hero, remember?”
“I know. I need to…um… I need to see how bad the damage is,” Midna said, feeling awkward. “I’m going to need to take your clothes off. I just need to see how bad you’re hurt.”
“Farore will take me if I’m ready,” Link whispered before passing into unconsciousness. Midna did not know if this was a good thing – something merciful, or if it meant that he was losing the fight to live. She was not a medical expert, especially when it came to Hylians.
She began stripping off his tunic, his mail, and his shirt. The white shirt with the lacing on the collar… it might as well have been dyed red. Patches of blood oozing from burnt flesh and burst blisters soaked it. Link’s skin laid bare was charred in patches. Plump blisters swelled, threatening to erupt with every heave of his labored breathing.
Midna did not know if she could save him. She needed him, but, maybe it was not meant to be. Perhaps there was another Hero out there. Maybe she should build her power and take on Zant alone. Light dwellers were fragile beings. He was such a sweet kid, though. She was actually starting to grow attached to him. She was severely tempted to take out her hair-hand and snap his neck as a mercy.
Instead, she took off his boots and peeled away his pants. She tried not to look at his “pride,” but she had to evaluate damage. His midsection was mostly intact – pink and tender-looking, but not like the torso. His legs, however, brought fresh horrors.
Portions of Link’s skin peeled away, sticking to the cloth of his pants. The legs were burnt and blistered. Midna cautiously touched one to find that the shin was peeling away from the bone like meat on a cooked cuccoo-drumstick.
Then, she realized what that strange aroma she’d smelled all this time was. She couldn’t place it before, but she could now. Bacon. A scent like a cross between pork and beef roasting.
Midna squinted back tears and swallowed down vomit.
“I hope your Farore takes you someplace nice,” she whispered. She sighed, rummaging through his belt pockets again. It was hopeless, but she found a bottle of red potion. This was battle-medicine, supposedly good for speeding the healing of any kind of wound. She poured a few drops of it past Link’s still lips and then began pouring it on him. She rubbed it into the skin of his chest, hoping it would so some good. She tried to ignore the bits of surface-skin that came off on her hands.
She caught herself crying. Why was she weeping? He was just her tool, right? A means to an end? These light-dwellers had persecuted her ancestors. They meant nothing to her, except…. He didn’t deserve this. Link didn’t deserve to die like this. He really was a good kid, despite being a creature of light.
His skin was looking a little bit better where she’d rubbed it with potion. It was tender, but clean. Some of his blisters were disappearing, as well. It wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough potion to cover him entirely and his legs were beyond help. Even if he did survive at this point, the boy would be a cripple. The dusk would inevitably fall again and he’d be a wolf with no hind legs. Terrible.
Midna heard a distinctive tinkling sound. Her ears twitched. She knew that sound. A fairy! She listened carefully and traced the source of the gentle chiming, empty bottle in hand. If she could catch the little bugger, Link had a chance! She’d watched one of the things bring Link back from a place close to death before.
She floated over to a group of clay pots. She had no idea what the Gorons needed with the things. She did not know if they drank water – perhaps they kept water or beer in them. Maybe they used them for some of the things that Hylians used them for, sometimes… unpleasant things. Link loved smashing pottery for some reason. She didn’t know if he liked the sound of pots when they broke, or what. It was almost an obsessive-compulsive thing. He often found interesting things stored in random pots. One time, however, he slammed into a pot with the flat of his sword and found out that it was, in fact, a chamber-pot… a used chamber-pot.
With a grunt she lifted up the pot she heard the tinkling noise coming from. She threw it against the stone wall of the cavern. A little pink fairy flitted about. Swiftly, like a child catching a firefly, she swept the bottle over it and cupped her right hand over the top.
She made her way back to Link. His face was pained. Midna did not know whether he was awake or still out. He was obviously suffering either way. He was still breathing, that was the most important thing. The fairy looked out at the world from behind the bottle’s glass, miniscule hands pressed up against it.
“I have to…” the fairy whispered. Its voice was surprisingly strong for such a small creature.
“Huh?” Midna asked, looking at the thing. She’d never heard one of them actually speak before.
“He’s bad off,” the fairy said. “Restarting a heart is easy. So is healing a cut. My people can heal a man of that and go off, back to the Great Fairy to replenish our energy. This person is half-cooked! I think if I try to heal him, it will take all of my energy and kill me.”
Guilt clenched Midna’s heart for a moment. “He’s…” she began. She intended to say He’s the Hero, but instead, what came out was “He’s my friend.”
“I don’t want to die…” the fairy said.
“I won’t make you,” Midna said slowly, hanging her head. “Link… is very important. He’s supposed to be the Hero of this world. I’ll let you free. The decision is yours.”
Midna uncapped the bottle a few inches above Link’s chest. She watched the fairy hover for several seconds, then, the little creature dove in close to him, spun around his body, leaving sparkles of holy light and then vanished. Midna did not know if she had died or if she had just enough energy to get back to her Great Fairy.
It had worked, however. The burned tissue had sloughed off Link, leaving skin that was fresh, if a bit pink and tender. His breathing evened out. He cracked his eyes open briefly, and then closed them in natural, peaceful sleep. Midna smiled and saw to the pile of clothes she’d tossed off to his side. She looked back to the young man and decided that it might not be the best idea to dress him just yet, as his skin was so new. Instead, she took up his mail and his clothing and carefully folded each piece.
Link’s eyes fluttered open. He groaned and sat up. “I’m alive,” he said breathlessly.
“That you are,” Midna confirmed.
He touched his hand to his chest and winced. He looked down at himself and quickly crossed his legs. “I’m naked.”
“Yes,” Midna laughed. “Your skin’s still a bit fevered. You should wait before you dress.”
“But you’re right here, and you’re a girl.”
“Your ‘sword’ is impressive.”
Link made a face and squeaked; “Urk!”
“Just rest. You almost died. I had to use a fairy.”
“Th-thank you. Really… It was awful.”
Link turned his head and looked down at the glowing magma that was undulating just past the stone he was on. He began shivering and clutched his arms around his torso. He tucked his face in and moaned.
“Link?” Midna asked, “What’s wrong?”
He looked up again at the magma and looked away, once again burying his face in his arms.
Before Midna knew what she was doing, she found her hand-hair out, rubbing his back. “Oh, Link,” she said gently, “It’s okay. You’re alright now.”
Link shivered and looked up at her cautiously. “These mines are full of the stuff.”
Link sighed and forced himself to look at the flowing fire. He gritted his teeth and swallowed. “A job needs to be done,” he said. “Pass me my clothes.”
“Maybe you should rest a little bit more?”
“Pass me my clothes and boots, Midna. I want to finish this and get out of these mines as soon as possible.”
Hopefully, now ya’ll hate the lava as much as I do.
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