With a gasping wheeze, Link, soaking wet, finally pulled himself up and over the edge of the platform and back up onto level ground. For a few moments, breathing heavily, he laid there, on the cold, damp stone of the platform just in front of the locked door. Finally, he heaved himself onto his feet, water dripping from his blue tunic. Link stood there, still panting slightly, facing the locked door before him.
“Link?”, a small voice inquired.
Navi popped out from under Link’s cap and started to circle his head.
Still no answer.
“Link, are you okay? Your left eye is kind of... Twitching...”
Link was still staring forward at the locked door, grinding his teeth.
“Navi...”, he finally uttered, his voice low. “I... Hate... This...
. I hate the annoying spider enemies that I can’t kill while in the water, I hate that my only reliable weapon is the hookshot, I hate that I have to keep taking the Iron Boots on and off again to get anywhere, and above all else, I hate that I’m dripping wet, soaked to the bone, and freezing cold. I hate this place with every fiber of my being.” He looked up, shut his eyes, and shook his fist at the air. “Damn you, Temple ! DAMN YOUUUUUUUU!!!” Water Temple
Navi continued to hover soundlessly near Link’s head. For a few long, awkward moments, all was silent, save for the constant sound of water dripping from the temple ceiling.
“Better now?”, Navi dared to ask.
Link let out a long breath and smiled.
“Yes, much better, thank you.”
Navi invisibly rolled her eyes, then flew over next to the locked door in front of Link.
“Well, at least you’ve got a key for this one.”
“Yeah, thank the Goddesses.”
Link pulled out the last small key he had and unlocked the door.
“Hopefully,”, he mentioned, as he pulled the undone lock from the door, “things will get a little easier from this point forward.”
The door opened, and Link stepped through... But he immediately spun around as he heard the door slam shut behind him, locking into place with unbreakable iron bars.
“That’s never good.”, Navi quipped.
“Unfortunately, you’re right.”, Link answered with a sigh.
Link turned back around... And stopped in his tracks, his eyes widening. The room he was now in was huge. The floor was covered in a thin layer of mist, with a few inches of water just below that. At the center of the room, in the middle of a tiny island, was the small, bare skeleton of a dead tree. The room was also surprisingly bright, filled with brilliant, ambient light; it was almost like being outside.
“Well, this is... Different.”, Link stated, a rather baffled expression on his face, as he began to advance into the room.
“Be careful Link, I’ve got a bad feeling about this...”, Navi warned.
“Yeah, yeah...”, Link muttered in reply, as he continued to cautiously move forward, studying his surroundings. As Link neared the center of the room, near the tree, he suddenly looked down, stopped, and grinned.
“Hey Navi, check it out! I’m casting a shadow! Indoors! Cool, huh?”
“Er, yeah... Great...”, Navi trailed off, regarding Link with an odd expression.
“No, wait, watch this!”, Link continued. Facing his shadow, he started to dance around back and forth from one foot to the other while flailing his arms around. “OOGA BOOGA OOGA BOOGA OOGA BOOGA!” His shadow mimicked his wild gyrations.
Navi could only watch, dumbstruck by the display. “Uh...”
“Wait, wait, this is even better! Shadow puppets!” Link started making various shapes with his hands as he stared down at his silhouette on the floor. “See, there’s a cow, and now a horse, and there’s an octorock...”
If there was a wall nearby, Navi would have been banging her head against it. “Great. Physically, he’s an adult, but he’s still got the mind of a ten year old.”, Navi thought to herself ruefully. “Um, Link, that’s... Spectacular... But don’t you think we should, you know... Stay focused?”
Link turned away from his shadow to look at Navi, an annoyed expression on his face.
“Look, this temple has been nothing but one headache after another for me so far. I need the break, okay?”
To Link’s surprise, Navi didn’t answer him. In fact, she wasn’t even facing him; she was looking just past him, in the same direction in which Link had just been facing.
“Uh... L-L-Link...?”, Navi stuttered, a frightened quiver in her voice.
“Huh? What is it? What’s the prob--”, Link cut himself off as he turned back around, only to find himself staring into a pair of glowing red eyes, less than a foot away from his own face.
Link staggered backwards, lost his balance and fell onto his butt in the shallow water. Still on the floor, Link pointed at the black reflection of his own figure standing before him, and stuttered several times before he could speak coherently.
“Who – ? Wha – ? What are you?”
Dark Linksnorted in amusement. “What, isn’t it obvious? I’m you.” Dark Link’s mouth spread out into a sneering grin. “Just a little darker.” With that, Dark Linkdrew forth a sword and shield that were exact, shadowy copies of Link’s own weapons. “So come on, ‘mighty hero’, let’s see if you’re all you’re cracked up to be.”
Link frowned, and stood up, drawing his own weapons as well as he got into a fighting stance. “Oh, so that’s how it is, is it? Fine. I’ve beaten a Gohma queen, a giant Dodongo, and an electricfied, tentacled jellyfish. And I did all that when I was only ten years old. So if Ganondorf thinks he’s going to beat me now with some kind of ridiculous, cheap copy of myself, he’s got another thing coming.”
Dark Linkstill had that arrogant grin plastered on his face. “Your lips are moving, but all I’m hearing is, ‘Blah, blah, blah’.”
Link growled in annoyance, then he turned to Navi. “Navi, what can you tell me about this punk? How am I supposed to beat him?”
“Um...” Navi glanced at
Dark Linkfor a moment before turning back to Link. “Conquer yourself!”
Link did a double-take at Navi and stared. Then he blinked. Then he blinked again. “...That’s it? That’s IT??? That’s all you’ve got?! How in the name of Din is THAT supposed to help me?!” Link was flailing his arms around in frustration.
“Hey, look, dealing with one of you is hard enough.”, Navi huffed. “But TWO of you? I’ve had nightmares like this. Besides, if you know your own weaknesses, then you already know how to beat him. And you don’t need me for that.”And with that, Navi dove back under Link’s cap.
Dark Linksnorted again. “Well, that was useful, wasn’t it? It’s nice to see how handy it can be to have her around.” He laughed.
Link growled as he faced off with
Dark Link. “Yeah, you just keep laughing. Hints or no hints, I’m taking you down, doppelganger, right here and now!”
And with that, Link lunged forward and swung the Master Sword at the enemy. But
Dark Linkcopied the motion exactly, causing their swords to clash together, knocking them both away from each other. Link looked surprised, but then quickly gathered himself, and swung again, this time from the opposite direction. But Dark Linkcopied this, too, and the result was the same.
“What the...”, Link stuttered. Then he frowned and charged again, using an overhead slash this time. Again,
Dark Linkcopied the movement, and knocked them both back.
Link was getting annoyed fast. Meanwhile,
Dark Link, judging by his crazy grin, was having a whale of a time. “So, want to try again, ‘hero’?” He suddenly burst out into song and dance, kicking his legs into the air as he sang. “Anything you can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than you.” He laughed.
Link was grinding his teeth together as he glared daggers at
Dark Link. “All right...”, he muttered to himself. “I haven’t tried this move yet, so let’s give it a shot, and maybe it’ll do something!” Link charged to the attack, thrusting his sword forward right at Dark Linkin a stabbing motion. There was a blur of movement, then Link saw two inky black boots right in front of him.
On the blade of his sword.
Link looked up and saw, to his astonishment,
Dark Link, standing on top of Link’s outstretched sword, staring down at him and grinning.
“Wha...?”, Link muttered, slack jawed.
“BOOT TO FACE!!!”
Dark Linkkicked Link squarely in the nose and hopped off Link’s sword just in time to watch Link crash land onto his back. Dark Linkput away his weapons and started laughing while pointing at Link, who was lying on the floor. “Oh wow! That was awesome! You should have seen your expression! That was priceless! Absolutely priceless!” He started laughing hysterically.
Rubbing his throbbing nose, Link slowly got back up onto his feet and growled. “His weapons are put away, so now’s my chance!”, he thought to himself. Link ran forward and swung his sword. But to his surprise, his blade only cut through empty air.
Dark Linkwas nowhere to be seen. “Huh?” Link glanced in all directions, looking for his target. “How did he...?” Then, Link suddenly felt something grab the back edge of his tights. “What the...?” He twisted his head around, and saw Dark Link, who was still grinning evilly, and gripping the back edge of Link’s tights in his hands. “Hey! What do you think you’re--”
Dark Linkstepped back and started laughing his head off while Link was lying on the ground in the fetal position, writhing in agony. “I can’t believe that you’re supposed to be the fabled ‘hero’! You’re the wielder of the Triforce of Courage? Ha! More like the ‘Triforce of Doofus’!” Dark Linklapsed into an overly sarcastic, sing-song tone of voice. “Ooh, I’m gonna awaken all the Sages! Ooh, I’m gonna rescue Princess Zelda! Ooh, I’m gonna defeat Ganondorf and free Hyrule from his evil grasp!” He laughed again.
By now, with a great deal of groaning and grunting, Link had worked his way back up onto his feet and was glaring ferociously at
Dark Link. “Okay...”, he muttered. “I’m THROUGH playing games with you!” Link drew forth the enormous Biggoron Sword. “TASTE STEEL, FREAK!” Link charged to the attack.
Dark Linklooked surprised for a moment, but just as Link took a swing, Dark Linkdisappeared again, down into the floor.
Link almost fell over onto the ground due to swinging such a large sword while missing his target. “Whoa!” Link looked down at the floor, and noticed the black cracks in the stone blocks for the first time. “So that’s how he’s doing that. Disappearing into the shadows between the blocks in the floor!”, he thought. But before Link could gather himself again, he felt something grab onto the Biggoron Sword from his side. Link turned just in time to get hit in the face with the flat of his own blade.
Dark Link, holding onto the flat of Link’s weapon, hit Link in the face with the Biggoron Sword again. And again. And yet again, laughing all the while. “Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!”, he chanted, mocking.
“GRAAAAAARGH!!!”, Link shouted in frustration. Wrenching the Biggoron Sword free of
Dark Link’s grasp, Link squinted his eyes shut and began swinging the weapon wildly in all directions, hoping his blind fury would connect with his hated enemy. A few moments later, Link stopped to catch his breath and opened his eyes, looking around the vast chamber. Dark Linkwas nowhere to be seen. Slowly, a smile spread across Link’s face. “I... I did it. I got him. I got him! I really got him!”
“Nah, I’m pretty sure I’m still here.”, came the snide reply.
Dark Linkpopped back up out of the floor, across the room from Link. “Looks like you missed again. Wow, you really suck at this whole fighting thing. And I’ve gotta admit, looking at you...” He seemed to pause to study Link for a moment. “I always thought I was... Taller.” He cackled.
Link felt indignant rage burn through him like a blazing Fire Arrow as he shouted a battle cry and ran at
Dark Link, the Biggoron Sword raised to strike. But once more, as Link swung, Dark Linkdodged it by vanishing into the floor, only to pop up again at another point in the room.
“Whoops. Missed again.”,
Enraged, Link charged once more. And, of course, the same thing happened.
Link tried yet again.
Dark Linkcontinued to mock the Hero of Time.
By now, Link was practically beside himself with rage. At the moment,
Dark Linkwasn’t in sight, but Link knew that his enemy would be showing up again at any moment. “All right...”, Link muttered under his breath. “If that’s the way you want to play it, popping up out of the floor like some kind of hyperactive Peahat, then...” Link, with a crazed grin on his face, put the Biggoron Sword away and pulled out the Megaton Hammer. “IT’S TIME FOR A LITTLE GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE!!!”
Dark Linkuttered, as he again started to rise up out of the shadows in the floor nearby. His glowing red eyes widened as he saw the business end of the Megaton Hammer heading right for his face, giving him no time to react.
WHAM!!! Link’s mighty, Goron-forged weapon hit home, and
Dark Linkwound up splayed across the floor, staring up at the ceiling, as tiny black-feathered, red-eyed cuccoos circled his head.
“Ooh... Look at all the pretty birdies...”,
Dark Linksputtered, with no idea where he was.
“DIN’S FIRE!”, Link shouted, as he cast the spell that finally incinerated his dreaded opponent once and for all.
Abruptly, the mist, island, and dead tree in the room all vanished, and Link now saw that the room was no different than any of the others he had seen in the
thus far; the only difference was that it was much, much bigger. On the other side of the room, a new set of doors unlocked. Link simply stood there for a minute, basking in the glory of his hard-fought victory. A few moments later, Navi popped back out from under Link’s cap. Water Temple
“Looks like you won.”
“Oh yeah, you bet I did!” Link looked battered and beaten, but he was beaming with all the happiness and joy of the shining, noonday sun.
Navi couldn’t help but smirk at his expression, unable to keep a straight face. “Well, Good. It’s about time. Let’s get moving.”
“Oh, believe me, I’m glad to get out of here.”, Link answered with relief, as he headed for the exit door. He abruptly threw an annoyed look at Navi as he continued walking. “A fat lot of help YOU were back there, I might add.”
Navi glanced away, slightly embarrassed. “I’d better stroke his ego...”, she thought to herself, as she answered with the first thing that popped into her mind. “Well... It wasn’t like you NEEDED the help, right?”
Link grinned and stuck out his chest proudly as he continued striding towards the door. “Well, that’s true. I AM the Hero of Time, after all.”, he answered proudly.
Navi smiled and rolled her eyes as Link finally opened the exit door and walked through it with her in tow.
In the next room, a giant treasure chest sat before them. Link let out a whoop of joy, hurried over, and threw the chest open.
“What did you find?”, Navi asked, hovering over his shoulder.
“Sweet! A chain extension for my hookshot! Now it’s a longshot!” Link turned to Navi with his newly enhanced weapon in hand. “Remember all those hookshot points earlier in the temple? The ones that were too far away for me to reach? Well, now I’ll be able to grab them!” Link, with his eyes closed, was still beaming with happiness as he walked through the next door and into the room beyond. “Nothing can stop me now!” Link opened his eyes... And stopped dead in his tracks.
The new room spread out before him, and it was filled with two stories’ worth of platforms, a deep pool of water, hookshot points every which way, a series of crystal switches, and at the end of it all, a door.
Which was locked.
And Link had no more small keys left.
“Um... Link?”, Navi asked.
“Link?”, she queried again.
Still no answer.
“Uh... Your left eye is doing that twitching thing again...”
A moment later, an agonized scream of frustration echoed throughout the eternally dripping, wet halls of the
. Water Temple
! DAMN YOUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!” Water Temple
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