The Maiden of Subconscious 2: Revenge of the Nightmares

By Stephen Stephano

Summary: Upon returning to Hyrule from Koholint, Link proposes to Princess Zelda, setting up a royal wedding in Hyrule.  Just days into their time as husband and wife, Link and Zelda find their kingdom under attack.  Over time, they realize that Koholint's nightmares have not taken well to the destruction of their isle and have invaded Hyrule.  Defeating them is a job too great for Hyrule alone, and the royals find they must harness an ancient power in order to repulse the invasion.  The search for this power leads Link and Zelda across land and ocean, where they find old friends, new enemies, and the secret behind Koholint Island's true purpose.




Chapter 1: Surprise for the Hero


It was a beautiful spring afternoon.  The birds sang a harmonized chorus and the flowers graced the soil with their perfumed essence.  The sun shown as though there could be no doubt as to its inspiring presence.  It was on this day, the first of May, that at last the countryside shown its colors so vibrantly.  As the maiden pranced through the meadow looking over the beauty of her kingdom, she reminded herself of what was to come. 


Yes, what was to come was indeed special.  For nine long months her engagement had lasted.  It was an engagement of warmth and happiness as she moved closer to her hero.  But the princess knew the hour was near.  Two moons hence would be the third of May, the Farore Festival, the grand day of feast to the Hyrulian Goddess of Courage, Farore.  On this day, she would finally be wed to her hero in front of the entire nation. 


Many had expected differently from their princess.  The speculation had always been that she would marry a prince of a neighboring kingdom.  Such an arrangement would have brought great riches and prosperity to Hyrule, as well as a blanket of security through military alliance.  However as nobility from all over the world attempted to court her, it became increasingly apparent that these lads wanted her for her riches and her power.  Their attitudes were generally stuck-up and spoiled.  By her seventeenth birthday, she loathed having to meet her suitors.  By this time there was but one man whom she wished to spend eternity with, her hero. 


The king was keen to this development, and had urged the hero to reveal his true feelings.  He was hesitant to do so.  He feared he would not be accepted due to his lowly peasantry.  He worried about destroying their friendship if his feelings were not returned.  But most of all, the king noted that the hero lived for adventure, and that by asking for the princess’s hand in marriage, he would no longer be able to do what he loved most. 


All of this changed in one dramatic denouement last year.  Just days after the Din Festival, the hero had returned from a diplomatic mission in the Kingdom of Marith.  But as she would soon discover, that was but one place he had seen on his travels.  In reality, the hero had found himself swallowed whole by a world that existed but only in dreams.  This dreamscape, known commonly as Koholint, had thoroughly tested not only his physical strength, but also his mental and emotional stability as he weighed the option of destroying the island in order to return to Hyrule, or staying and allowing the residents to live on within their prison of dreams.


The princess dropped to her knees and picked a beautiful red tulip from a patch growing next to the bridge.  Ahead of her was Zora’s River, the gentle stream of water that moved through the countryside and crossed just south of the castle.  She lifted the tulip to her nose and took in its essence.  A wonderful smell consumed her consciousness.  She was so entranced by it that she hardly realized the ruffled steps emerging behind her.


“They are rather lovely aren’t they?” Link asked, holding out a group of azure lupines that nearly matched the color of her gown. 


“They certainly are.  Have you picked them for me?” Zelda asked. 


“Precisely.  For this is likely the last time we will meet until the ceremony.  Tomorrow we will be consumed with all sorts of tasks.  Tonight we have our single gatherings.  I trust that the six maidens will be treating and pampering you?” 


Zelda blushed.  “Indeed the descendants of the wise men will be hosting a dinner party at the castle.  They tell me that they have all sorts of surprises for me, but we’ll probably be dressing up and doing all sorts of womanly things.  Is your uncle doing something special for you?”


“I am told that some visitors will be arriving from Calatia.  It has been forever since I have seen them.  Between them and my uncle, we will probably have a nice meal and have some rousing discussion I’m sure, since my uncle invited several of his friends from Kakariko.”


“I don’t believe I have met your parents.”


“Unfortunately, they have passed on.” Link replied.


“Oh…you never told me that.  What were they like?” Zelda asked.


“My father’s name was Arn.  He was an officer in the Hylian Knights and fought in the Imprisoning War.  He was strong and somewhat rotund, not unlike your father.”


“I am sure his swordsmanship was exemplary.  What about your mother?” 


“Her name was Medilia.  She was fairly tall and slender, and had vivid blue eyes.  She was raised as a huntress in the plains of Calatia, so she was very resourceful and knew how to use a bow very well from what my uncle told me.”


“It is easy to see where your strength of body and strength of mind came from.  They were loyal servants and citizens of their kingdom.”  Zelda said confidently.


“I suppose this is goodbye for now.” Link said.  “Just think, the next time I see you, I’ll be standing at the Sanctuary’s altar, waiting for you, my love.” 


“It’s enough to remind me of the first time we stood together in that place.  We were soaking wet and dirty from the trek through the sewers.  You were my knight in shining armor.”


“And I always will be.”  Link said confidently.  They came together and kissed, time seeming to stop completely while they held one another.  There could be no mistaking the passion between the two, which had built up through several years of adventuring. 


As Link walked away, Zelda thought of their third meeting, which occurred several months later and under much more dire circumstances.  It was actually just the second time she had seen him, for she had been unconscious for their second meeting, which occurred in the tallest tower of Hyrule Castle after she had been kidnapped by Lord Agahnim.  That day she was banished to the Golden Land of the Triforce, transformed by the evil wizard into the Dark World. 


She remembered it like it was yesterday.  She had been trapped inside a prison made of solid crystal and locked inside a dangerous dungeon known as Turtle Rock.  It was not enough for Link to simply find her, for she was defended by a nasty three headed monster known as a Gleeock.  She remembered seeing Link dodge the spells of fire and ice that the Gleeock cast in his direction, the ice turning the floor into slippery rink.  She was certain that Link would not be able to defeat the beast, which was more than quadruple his size.  But Link destroyed two of the heads with prejudice, causing the inner shell of the Gleeock to self-destruct.  It made a final attempt to attack with its remaining head but Link did well to defeat it.  As her crystal prison fell into his hands, she knew at once that he had been willing to die for her.  And after she had spoken the words the wise man Sahashrahla had instructed her to tell, Link mouthed it to her.


“I love you.”


The next day, she remembered her and the other maidens coming together.  As they moved in formation, chanting the ancient hylian language of the sages, there were three blinding flashes of light.  The stairs leading into Ganon’s evil tower lair had been created and the barrier broken.  From there, Link fought like a man determined to save everything he held dear.  He reached the top of the tower and engaged the evil thief, eventually forcing Ganon to flee to the Pyramid of Power, where the final battle took place.


As she greeted her maidens, her sage descendant comrades who, like her, had been subjected to the worst of Ganon and Agahnim’s horrific reign, she was overcome with sheer joy.  It was the joy that she felt whenever her hero was near.  Were it not for him, they would all still be locked away in the Dark World, possibly forever.  All of it was possible because of him. 


The morning of the ceremony had finally arrived.  Zelda’s handmaiden, Impa, came bounding into the room very early. 


“It is time to prepare the blushing bride for her big day.”  Impa said happily.  She was practically skipping around the room, a dramatic departure from her normally calm, demure demeanor.


“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you quite so chipper.  It is as though you got twenty years younger.”


“I have waited long to see Hyrule’s princess be wed to its hero.  Get up and get to the bath, your ladies-in-waiting will be here before long.” Impa said. 


As Zelda slunk into the warm bath, she thought ahead to what a beautiful day it would be.


Just a few miles away to the south, Link’s uncle, Toby, was grasping the bed sheets in an effort to wake his nephew.


“Let’s go sleepyhead!  Today’s the big day!” Toby said.  “You can’t be late to the sanctuary.”


“No I suppose not.” Link said. 


Link quickly scarfed down a piece of bread and washed his face.  He then returned to his bed, where he was about to take off his night clothes but Toby stopped him. 


“I have a big surprise for you.  Close your eyes.”  Link closed his eyes for a moment. 


“You’ve become such a handsome young man.” A deep voice said.  Link immediately opened his eyes and laid his eyes on a slightly rotund, somewhat burly man with dark brown hair and blue eyes.  Instantly, his mind began to race. 


“F…Father!  Is that you?  But…” 


“Now you don’t think I would bear to miss my son’s marriage to the heir of the Hyrulian throne?  What say you Medilia?” 


“I think I would rightly have your head for such a transgression.”  A slender woman with blond hair and blue eyes said in an alto voice. 


“I…don’t believe it.  I thought that you were both…” 


“Dead?  Hah!  That’s what everybody here believes.  Toby, I don’t suppose you ever told the lad the truth, did you?”


“Link, when the Imprisoning War was in its darkest days, your father fought in battle not far from Kakariko Village.  As the enemies ransacked the town, he found your mother and they joined with several other survivors, forming a rogue division that waged guerrilla war against moblins, darknuts, and other evil minions along the Hyrule-Calatia border.  Your father was eventually declared a traitor for running away and not dying on the battlefield, but his actions were in effect heroic, as they led to many lives being saved and the enemy not being able to squash the resistance in the frontier.”


“The graves that you saw for mother and me in the graveyard were a lie.  They wanted our fellow soldiers to believe that we had died defending Hyrule instead of running away toward Calatia.  With us unable to return to Hyrule by the decree of us being traitors, we had no choice but to settle there and to leave you in the care of your Aunt Dayan and Uncle Toby.”


“But…what will happen to you now that you have returned?” Link asked. 


“The two of us asked Queen Seline to work out an agreement with King Harkinian.  His majesty has allowed us to attend, on the condition that we do not overstay our welcome.” Arn said. 


“I know that this is a lot for you to take in right now.” Medilia said.


“Uhh…yes I guess it is.” Link said absentmindedly. 


“We just wanted you to know that, no matter what the circumstances may be; that we love you with all of our hearts and that we are always watching over you.” Medilia said.  She snapped her fingers and Toby and her walked across to the closet on the other side of the house.


Medilia returned carrying an outfit that she had created for Link.  It was layered, and started with a ruffled white undershirt and white leggings.  Then came a tunic with a vivid green color.  Over the top of that went a black cape, which attached just below Link’s neck with a golden charm that had the insignia of the Triforce on the front.  The cape dropped down in the back almost to Link’s feet.  A black belt and a nice pair of black boots completed the outfit. 


“So what do you think?” Link’s uncle asked as they looked into the circular mirror that hung on the wall near the table. 


“I…I’m amazed.  I almost look regal.” Link said. 


“Don’t get ahead of yourself son.  At least fluff up your hat.  And for goodness sake brush your hair before the castle folk take you for a ragamuffin.” Medilia responded. 


“Oh come on, his hair looks fine.” Arn said.  “Just like mine after a hard day in the field.  It’s you.  Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”


Leave it to his parents to quibble over such a minor matter on a day of such importance.  But this mattered none to Link.  Just having them around to see him wed to Hyrule’s princess meant the world to him.



Chapter 2: Happily Ever After


The day progressed slowly.  By the time Link and his family reached the Sanctuary, people had begun to pour in from all over the countryside.  There was excitement in the air.  Because of the royal wedding being held on a feast day, King Harkinian had taken the unusual step of opening up the reception to all hyrulian citizenry.  The Knights would be on their best guard for the occasion, but since it had been several years since the defeat of Ganon and Agahnim, there was not expected to be much to deal with outside of a few drunken revelers. 


At high noon, Link met his groomsmen.  To his immediate right was his uncle, Toby.  He had raised him from the day his parents had left Hyrule for Calatia and found a country embroiled within the worst of a conflict known as the Imprisoning War.  Toby had fought bravely during the conflict, incurring injury after injury, but he never gave up.  Link was inspired by his uncle’s determination. Were it not for his righteousness and courage Link may have never grown up to be Hyrule’s hero.


To the right of his uncle was Sahashrahla, the wise old elder of Kakariko.  It was he who had told Link his destiny of fulfilling the last of the Knights’ royal bloodline by obtaining the three Pendants of Virtue.  This brought him to the Master Sword, the blade that had destroyed both Agahnim and Ganon.  Without it not for the elder’s wisdom and faith in him, this day might never have come about.


To the far right was King Zora.  His presence was rather interesting.  The hylians and the zoras had been on bad terms for many years, mostly due to quibbles over hylians taking water from the river for farming and fishing in protected areas or without permission.  King Harkinian was not fond of the giant fish, whom he claimed was responsible for holding up transportation along the waterway and for gouging hylians, often charging hundreds of rupees for zora-made goods.  Since he was a great help to him on his journey.  Namely, he allowed him to transit waterways impossible to most hylians.


Link took a brief look down the aisle.  He immediately saw two of the maidens he had saved in the dark world processing toward him.  Behind them was Impa.  The old handmaiden was looking very happy, perhaps more so than she had in years, Link thought.  As the bridesmaids took their spots on the altar, Link felt many butterflies in his stomach.  Suddenly he was more nervous than he had ever been.  It was a similar feeling to that he felt prior to the battle at the Pyramid of Power.  Only this time, there wasn’t a great evil to be slain.


The organ rang out.  Everybody in the Sanctuary came to their feet as King Harkinian and Princess Zelda entered the room.  The instant he saw her, his nervousness melted away and was replaced by pure excitement.  She was a vision of radiance, purity, and innocence.  Her dress was a white ball gown with a very long train that seemed to stretch on forever.  The bodice gathered softly over her bosom, revealing a sweetheart neckline with a golden Triforce insignia.  She wore long white gloves that covered her elbows, and a crystal tiara was visible beneath her veil, a blusher that fell over her face.  As she reached the altar, Harkinian looked solemnly toward Link. 


“Who gives this maiden’s hand in marriage?” The high priest of the Sanctuary asked.


“I, the King of Hyrule, approve of this union.” The king said with confidence.  For the longest time he had thought of Link as a son, and now he would be his son-in-law.  A stark contrast to the haughty, spoiled princes that had sought his daughter’s love, he could not think of anybody more deserving than Link. 


Zelda moved forward to stand beside Link.  As she took his hand she could sense his nervousness.  She gazed into his eyes, her eyes showing calm and clarity.  Link began to smile.  Zelda smiled back.  In truth she was just as nervous, but knew that their love was far too strong to be denied.


The princess and the hero continued to look adoringly toward one another as the high priest talked about love and commitment.  Before long the moment of truth had arrived.


“Do you Link, son of Arn and Medilia, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love her, to cherish her, to care for her in sickness and in health, to honor her, to stand forever loyal to her, till death do you part?”


“I do.” Link said.


“Do you, Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, daughter of King Harkinian of Hyrule, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish, to care for in sickness and in health, to honor him, to stand forever loyal to him, till death do you part?”


“I do.” Zelda said.


“To all who are gathered here today as witnesses to this union, if there is any reason that these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.”


Link and Zelda looked out over the crowd.  Silence pervaded the Sanctuary.  The people of Hyrule had given their assent. 


“I now pronounce you husband and wife, Prince Link and Princess Zelda of Hyrule.  You may now kiss your bride.”    

The parties went on deep into the afternoon and into the night.  The wedding party had pictures taken in several different Hyrulian locales between Sanctuary and Hyrule Castle.  When they arrived back at the castle a brief ceremony took place amid the flower beds of the castle courtyard, a feast of sorts to Farore.  Surely on her feast day, the Hyrulian Goddess of Courage was looking proudly down on the hero and princess, for they had overcome their fears and professed their truest love to be forever.


By the early part of the evening, the Knights were resigned to clearing out drunken revelers that had more than their fair share from the bottle.  Inside the castle, the families and friends of the bride and groom continued to celebrate.  Right after the succulent dinner meal, Link and Zelda shared their first dance together.  They danced to a fast, fiery number of ancient times known as the Bolero of Fire. 


“I hope this moment lasts forever.” Zelda said. 


“May nothing ever come between us.” Link responded. 


The night finally came to a close around midnight, but not for Link and Zelda. 


“Come, I have something I want to show you.” Zelda said.  She gave Link a look of eager passion.  He didn’t have to think twice.  Zelda led him onto the roof of the castle, and then to the entranceway leading into the highest tower.  The princess led the hero up the various levels of the tower, which included several dark corridors.  Link remembered the area well from his adventures.  After collecting the Master Sword, Zelda had sent a distress telepathy that soldiers were coming for her.  When Link arrived at Sanctuary, she was gone.  He had chased Agahnim up these very floors to the chamber on the top floor.  Whatever surprise Zelda had was probably inside that very same chamber. 


They came to the room with the stone altar; the one Agahnim had used to send Zelda across the void.  They went around it to the curtains in the back of the room. 


“Wait here for a minute…I’ll call you in.”  Zelda told him. 


Link waited next to the stone table.  The suspense was killing him.  Finally Zelda called to him several minutes later.  He entered the room, finding that it had been transformed.  The whole room was covered in white sheets and pillows.  There was a great, four-post bed in the spot where Link had first seen Agahnim standing on that fateful day years ago.  He did not see Zelda initially, but heard her call to him from behind.  When he turned around his heart started beating furiously, as though he was in a dead sprint. 


Zelda walked toward him seductively, swinging her hips.  She was wearing a very small red dress.  There were no sleeves, and the hem barely went past her hips.  There were also two slits across the front of the dress, exposing her navel and her chest nearly up to her breasts.


“Oh…oh my goodness.” Link murmured. 


“I think somebody is in love.” Zelda playfully taunted.


Link snapped out of his stupor enough to pick Zelda up and carry her to the bed.  Once consumed by nervousness, Link’s mind was overwhelmed with excitement.  As the clothes came off, the hero and the princess held one another tightly.  As their movements mirrored one another, their hearts began to beat together as one.  The union between hero and princess was finally consummated.



Chapter 3: A Honeymoon Cut Short


The first rays of morning light saw the newlyweds holding one another lovingly beneath the sheets as they slept.  Link saw the sun illuminate the room, symbolizing the beginning of his new life, the new life he had chosen.  He looked at Zelda.  She was so peaceful, so beautiful when consumed by her dreams.  She turned over, still half asleep, and Link snuggled up to her. 


“Good morning my love.” Link said softly. 


Zelda opened her eyes and looked into Link’s.  They showed a nurturing, loving message.  She immediately sat up surprised Link by pushing him down and pinning him to the bed. 


“Oh great hero, whatever will you do now?” Zelda asked playfully.


“Oh your highness, I am under your power.  Do with me as you please.” Link said.


“Oh make no mistake hero, you are at my mercy.  Pray to the goddesses that I don’t work you too hard.” Zelda said with fervor.  Link smiled maniacally.  Before long the two lovers were back in the throes of passion, so deliciously celebrating their union.


Finally after several hours, they came down from the tower for breakfast.  A warm glow accompanied the both of them as they sat down at the table. 


“Well it appears that the newlyweds have arrived.” They looked up and saw Arn bounding toward them with a plate of food in hand.  “I can only suppose what you have been up to.”  Link was about to speak but Arn hushed him.  “Don’t feel bashful my son.  Besides, you’re a man of royalty now, and married to the heir of the throne.  Practically the whole country is waiting for you to have a child now.” 


“Father!” Link said indignantly.


Zelda put her hand on Link’s shoulder.  “No really, it’s okay.  One of the responsibilities of royalty is to ensure that the bloodline continues.  The reason a royal wedding is such a big occasion is because after a marriage there will be children to continue on the family name.  The more children we have, the better.”


“Well then we better get busy.” Link said.  Zelda gave him a seductive glance, and then went up to the main table where the cooks were to get some food.  Link was about to follow her when he noticed something.  One of the Knights was making a bee-line right for him.  Impa was right next to him and so was Sahashrahla.


“Link, we have really big news to share with you.” The Knight said. 


Link grabbed a piece of bread and took a bite.  “I don’t think we’ve met.  What is your name and what news do you bring?”


“My name is Krin.  I am the commander of the Hylian Knights’ 3rd division.  We’ve been assigned to the area around Kakariko.  Last night we had an incident there.  We were awoken just past midnight by some villagers.  They said that enemies emerged from the forest and began to break into houses and some were set on fire as well.” 


“Oh my…were you able to respond to the enemies’ arrival?” Link asked.


“Indeed we were, and we fought well, only two men were injured.  But we were unable to put out the fires that had already begun.  Four houses were completely lost and five others were damaged in the fight.”


Zelda had come back from the table to see Link and Krin’s conversation.  She knew that Sahashrahla’s presence meant that it was serious.  “May I be a part of this conversation?”


“Your highness, Kakariko was attacked last night be a band of miscreants, mostly moblins.” Sahashrahla said.  They emerged from the forest and set fire to several homes on the western side of town.  Krin and the Knights were able to drive them out, but not before several villagers were hurt and houses destroyed. 


“That is horrible news!  We haven’t had a moblin attack since the defeat of the hero’s shadow years ago.  Krin, were you able to defeat the enemy?” 


“Your highness, several of the moblins were defeated but we think most of them were able to retreat back into the trees.  They might have even retreated back across the Calatian border.  We have briefed your father on this event and he says he is waiting for your command.”


“My father is waiting for me?” Zelda asked.


Impa came forward.  “Your father told me that a newly married princess must learn to make decisions on her own for when the day comes that she will ascend the throne.”


Zelda thought for a moment.  Arn stood up from the table.  “It may not be my place to speak at a time like this, but as a retired and respected knight of Calatia, I reckon we go to Kakariko and teach these moblin renegades some respect.  You know that Selene would demand that of us.”


“Arn, you speak the truth.” Zelda said.  “Krin, I want you to lead your men and the men of the 4th division into Kakariko.  The 4th division is currently stationed near the town of Ruto.  I will send a messenger to their command; he will tell them to move south and link up with your forces.”


“It shall be done, your majesty.” Krin responded.


“Good, there’s just one more thing.” Zelda said.  


“What is that, your majesty?”  Krin asked.


“Call me Zelda.”


Krin nodded and left the room, leaving Sahashrahla and Impa behind. 


“Say son, what would you say to an old-fashioned moblin hunt, just you and me?” Arn asked. 


Link’s face lit up.  “It’s been far too long, father.” 


Zelda sensed her new husband’s excitement.  She didn’t like the idea of him going on adventures without her, certainly not now that they were married.  However, she also knew that he was headstrong and that old habits would die hard.  Besides, his father would be with him, so it wasn’t as though he would truly be alone.


“Just make sure that you stay within range of Krin’s army.  If you run into trouble I don’t want to have to explain why my husband and his father are missing or deceased.” Zelda said. 


“We’ll be fine.” Link said.  Arn nodded his head.  They went over to where Medilia was sitting, and Zelda saw her hug both her son and husband.  They truly were a closely knit family.  Zelda saw this and wondered if her family would be so loving and so caring toward one another.  With Link by her side, it was possible.


That afternoon, Link and Arn were on their way toward Kakariko.  Although other towns had sprouted up in the years following the defeat of Ganon and Agahnim, Kakariko was still the oldest and most populous.  Its location not far from the Lost Woods and the border with Calatia made it a major hub for traders and economic activity, but it was also in the heart of the Moblins’ historical domain.  It was not surprising that they would choose it to make their grand return. 


They pulled into Kakariko a little before sunset, which in early May was probably around 20:00.  About ten minutes later they reached the weathercock in the center of town.  Link remembered this weathercock well, for the duck inside of the statue had helped him traverse around the countryside during his fight against Ganon and Agahnim. 


“So this is where you found the duck?” Arn asked. 


“Indeed.  This wandering lad had found himself in the Dark World, a victim of a magical transporter that he had stumbled into.  He couldn’t move, but he wanted to hear the sound of his flute again.  I told him I would play it for him, so he gave me his shovel.  Back in Hyrule, I dug all around the grove and found it.  By the time I saw him again he was on his deathbed.”


“How did he die?” Arn asked.


“He actually didn’t die; the Golden Power turned him into what was in his mind, which happened to be a tree.  When the Dark World was destroyed his was restored to his true form.”


“How did you know to play the flute at the weathercock?” Arn asked.


“I knew the lad’s old man; he lived in the longhouse on the south side of Kakariko.  He had been looking for the lad a week earlier.  When I told him I located him, he told me to play the flute at the weathercock.  Boy was I glad to find the duck.  It made traveling so much easier.” Link said.


The father and son went a block to the north, into a tavern called Bright Light’s Blind.  Arn and Link moved about the room to a table near the center.  It wasn’t long before the people realized Hyrule’s hero was in their presence. 


“Link has returned!  My lord, I must buy you a drink!” 


“Yes indeed, a round for him and his comrade!” 


A server immediately brought two glasses of ale for Arn and Link.  Arn took a swig of his drink, but was mindful that they were there for a mission.  Link was about to take a drink himself when he noticed somebody across the room, a woman in a red dress. 


“Could you excuse me for a second?” Link asked.  He walked up the aisle to the woman, who had brown hair and wore a crystal necklace with the insignia of the Triforce on it. 


“Kylara?” Link asked. 


The woman turned around.  Once she put her eyes on Link, her heart fluttered.  “Link!  I’m surprised to see you here so soon after the wedding.  How are you?”


“Good.  Hey listen, can I introduce you to somebody?” Link asked. 


“Sure.” Kylara said.


“This is my father, Arn.  He is a knight of Calatia, my homeland.  Father, this is Kylara.  She is a descendant of the seven wise men of Hyrule.”


“Well what a lovely maiden I feast my eyes upon.” Arn said as he took her hand.


“You are an amicable and mannered one, just like your son.” Kylara said.  “People like you don’t come into my establishment too much anymore.  Now that there is peace, most of my customers like to drink to excess and find excuses to cause trouble.  What brings you two here?”


We’re here investigating reports of a moblin attack yesterday evening.” Link said.  “Do you know anything about it?”


“There wasn’t any trouble in this immediate area, but a few blocks to the west there was fighting in the street just past the midnight hour.  Sahashrahla briefed me this morning.  He told me to be careful and to be wary of any suspicious activity.” Kylara said.


“How do you two know each other?” Arn asked. 


“It’s quite a story.” Link said.  “We first met in the Dark World, in the hideout of a great thief named Blind.  The dungeon was the fourth I had ventured into on my quest there, and it was by far the strangest.”


“Why do you say that?” Arn asked. 


“Well for one, Blind was hiding.  Usually the bosses of the dungeons are there waiting for you.  Second, I found Kylara locked in a jail cell. She was never crystallized like the others.  Speaking of which, why did that happen Kylara?” 


“I…I don’t know.  When Agahnim sent me across the void, something weird happened.  It’s like the spirit within me caused the spell to spiral out of control.  Instead of crystallizing me, the spell ended up warping my brain instead.  When I awoke I was in the Village of Outcasts.  I was mean and nasty, evil you could say.  My physical strength increased dramatically.  I stole from people.  I hurt them with my bare hands if they resisted.  By a week into my banishment I had amassed hundreds of rupees and hid them in chests throughout the Dark World.  Eventually a group of Goriyas came after me in retaliation and locked me away deep in Blind’s Dungeon.”


Link’s face lit up.  “Yes!  That’s exactly it.  Kylara, I remember you being very bossy and mean when I rescued you.  You even tried to strangle me.  If not for my Titan’s Mitt you would have probably killed me!  I remembered taking you to the room with the light shining down, and once you entered the light, you transformed into Blind.  That’s it!  Agahnim possessed you with Blind’s spirit!  That explains why you were stealing everybody’s rupees. Once Blind was defeated, you returned to normal.”


“Sounds like you two have gone through a lot together.” Arn said.  Kylara was about to speak, but just then an arrow came right through the window, thankfully lodging itself in the wall and not hitting anybody.


“It’s the moblins!  They’re back!  Kylara stay down, get back behind the counter.” Link said.  Arn and Link moved outside the bar, taking refuge behind the stone steps leading inside. 


“Time to do some hunting!” Arn said as he and tens of others headed out into the street.  Across the way, they saw them.  There were hundreds of them! 


Arn brandished his bow and drew an arrow.  Link did the same.  They watched as the moblin line move toward them.  At first they carried no apparent weaponry but once they were within a block they brandished their trademark spears and clubs, as well as bows of their own.  There could be no doubting their intentions. 


“Fire!”  Arn shouted.  The father and son pairing launched their arrows, piercing the heart of two of the moblins.  Two of the men from inside the bar launched bombs at the moblin group, blowing up several.  They immediately ducked beneath the stairs as the moblins returned fire.  A group of arrows flew over their heads.  They notched another batch of arrows and fired again.  Two more moblins fell to the ground.  More bombs were thrown into the street.  The moblin group returned fire, this time wounding several of the bar customers.  The moblins were really close now. 


“One more, and then we charge the line!” Link said.  The group behind Link yelled their assent.  A third volley came across, dropping many more moblins to the ground.


“Stay close to me father.” Link said to Arn.  They ducked once more as the return volley from the moblins came.  As soon as the volley ceased, Link noticed the remaining moblins launch into a charge toward them. 


“Charge!” Link shouted.  It only took about five seconds for the first moblin to come face to face with Link.  As the hero stared into his eyes, he noticed that his eyes told a story of confidence having eroded into sudden fear.  Link took his sword and speared him right in the chest.  He pivoted sideways and took out two other moblins with a spin attack.  By this point the others in the bar had reached the line.  A battle of disjointed attacks broke out in the block just north of the weathercock.  Arn had his sword ripped out of his hand, but he pivoted backward and punched his attacker straight in the face, dropping him immediately.  Link picked up his blade and took out another moblin coming from behind. 


“You’re welcome father.” Link said as he handed Arn his sword back.  From across the starlit sky, Link could see Krin’s men fighting two blocks to the south against another moblin pack.  With their numbers dwindling and men getting tired, Link called to his men to prepare to drop south toward the weathercock.  That’s when he noticed two moblins going inside the tavern.  He saw red. 


“What a pretty little maiden we have here.” One of the moblins said.  You will be very good for our master to lay his eyes on.”


“Get off me you blubbering fool!” Kylara screamed. 


“Oh, quite the feisty one too.  We’ll have to break down her resistance.  And I know just how.”


“Let her go…now!” Link shouted. 


“Oh no, it’s Link!” One of the moblins shouted. 


“Don’t worry about it, we can defeat him!” the other moblin shouted as he brandished his spiked club.  Link moved forward and engaged.  They went back and forth for several swings before Link rolled on the floor and tripped the moblin in the process.  He immediately skewered him in the back before engaging the second.  The second tried to defend himself as Link heard a strange noise from behind.  He punched the moblin out and turned around.  Within an instant, he felt a massive pain in his chest as a bolt of energy struck him.  He faded in and out of consciousness.



Chapter 4: Jealousy of a Sage


Kylara came forward, quickly tying his hands with a rope to the leg of the table he had fallen next to.  She then brandished the Cane of Somaria.  A big shock came across Link’s face as he regained consciousness. 


“What?  Kylara?”  Link said meekly. 


Kylara laughed.  “It looks like I’ve figured out what it takes for you to notice me.”  She took the cane and whacked him in the face with it.  She administered smacks to his midsection and arms as well. 


“Why in Hyrule are you doing this to me?” Link demanded. 


“Do you remember, in the weeks, the months after the adventure was over?  Do you remember what you put me through?!” Kylara asked.  Link was silent.  Kylara hit him again across the cheeks with the red cane.  “Do you remember when it was your knighting, and it was midwinter and I knitted you a warm sweater to cover beneath your tunic?  Do you remember when on the night after I opened my tavern I gave you the very first drink of ale from my first barrel?  Do you remember that on your birthday, when I found the prettiest gemstone in the Desert of Mystery, by pure accident I couldn’t think of anything but giving it to you, my hero?” Kylara asked. 


“I remember these things, yes I do.” Link said.  “But what does that have to do with…”


Kylara cut him off with another smack to the forehead.  Blood gushed out of the wound.  “Did it ever occur to you even once that I was madly in love with you?  For weeks, for months, I had hoped, I had prayed that you would see me as the one who would go anywhere, do anything, and want nothing from you, if I just had your affection.  I longed so greatly for you to hold me tenderly and cuddle me to sleep on the cold Hyrulian winter nights.  From the day you rescued me from the crystal inside Blind’s Dungeon, I made it my mission to make you love me.” 


Kylara got up close and held Link’s head toward her.  “But you were too preoccupied with your precious princess to ever give me a chance.  You were so infatuated with her haughty attitude, her endless riches, and her cross and shallow demeanor to even look me in the face.  You were so caught up in her spell that you married her just this past day, to which my heart broke into a thousand pieces.  All this when you know that she’ll dump you the minute she lays her eyes on a fair prince that will treat her better than you.”


Link’s anger rose inside of him.  “You know in your heart that Zelda is nothing like that!  She is intelligent, wise, and courageous, none of which you are!  Her love is genuine and has been since the day I met her.  I tried to be reasonable and friendly to you but you have clearly had your lust warp your thoughts beyond a reasonable state.  You say I want to marry for status and riches when it is actually you who wants to be with me on account of my status as savior of the kingdom!” 


Kylara spit in Link’s face. “Enough!  You have led me on for long enough Link.  You broke my heart, and now, I’m going to break yours.”


Kylara grabbed a stool from the bar and put it between Link’s legs, just feet from his chest.  She then swung the Cane of Somaria, creating a red block on the stool.  Link’s eyes tried not to show fear, but in this instant, he knew Kylara had bad intentions.  He was vulnerable, bound, and not able to defend himself.


“Now…you’re going to find out what true heartbreak feels like.” Kylara said with a devious smile on her face.  She began to swing the cane backward.  Just then, a crash came as several knights came streaming through the doorway.


“What’s going on in here?!” shouted one of the knights. 


“How did you get that cane…is that the Cane of Somaria??” The other shouted to Kylara.


Kylara turned around and smiled at Link again.  “We’ll need to finish this off some other time.” She said as she grabbed the red block off the stool.


“Finish what off?!” The knight demanded.  “Is that Link?  What in Hyrule is going on here?”


Kylara swung the cane forward, triggering the block and breaking it into four bolts of lightning.  One of the bolts struck the knights, sending them sprawling to the ground unconscious.  Another of the bolts hit Link in the back.  The hero’s body fell over limp to the side.  Satisfied with her work, Kylara quickly grabbed a second cane, this one blue, and swung it.  The power of the blue cane turned her invisible.  She escaped into the night without a sound. 


“I haven’t seen him since the moblins went into the tavern about twenty minutes ago.  But I’m sure he’s fine.” Arn said.  “He likes fighting on his lonesome.” 


Krin nodded his head.  “We’ve cleared out most of the moblin resistance in the south of Kakariko, so we don’t have to go back.  I think we should check and see if he’s still there.” 


Arn led Krin into the tavern where he had last seen Link.  Two moblins and two knights lie lifeless on the floor, with a fifth body in the center, tied to the legs of a table. 


“Link!  Oh my goodness, Link!  My son, please get up!  Here me!” Arn shouted.  He saw Link’s face, the bruises and cuts evident all over.  His tunic was in tatters as well. 


“I need a medic in here!”  Krin shouted.  “Three men down, including the Hero of Hyrule!” 


Immediately, tens of knights came rushing in from all over the battlefield.  Two of them were knights that specialized in healing injured comrades.  They came into the tavern brandishing potions, bandanges, gauze, and other items. 


Back at Hyrule Castle, Zelda was in bed.  For some reason she was having trouble sleeping.  Normally when she had trouble sleeping, it meant that her mind was telling her something.  She tried not to think about it too much.  Eventually sleep found her. 


“Impa!  Impa!”  Zelda screamed down the hallway.  She banged on the door to Impa’s quarters as hard as she could for nearly a minute.  Finally her longtime caretaker opened the door. 


“Zelda, what is all the commotion?  Are you okay?” Impa asked. 


“I just had a dream.  Link’s hurt.  The moblin attack, it must have hurt him badly.”


Impa knew better than to mess around with Zelda in the aftermath of one of her prophetic dreams, for they were hardly ever wrong.  “Come with me.”  Impa led Zelda down the hallway to the castle laboratory.  She picked out two blue potions off the wall along with a faerie’s spirit.  “Zelda, go down to the messenger’s quarters and give these to Arich, tell him to ride like the wind to Kakariko.  Did your dream tell you where he was?”


“He’s in one of the buildings near the weathercock, the dream didn’t tell me exactly which one though.  It was a shop though, not a house.” Zelda said confidently. 


“Good, go tell this to Arich.  Have him find Link and then if Krin hasn’t rounded up a wagon to transport him back, tell Arich to have him do this as soon as he can.  I’ll summon Maple from the magic shop to the castle by telepathy.  We’ll need her healing abilities if Link’s injuries are anything beyond what a blue potion can heal.” 


Zelda nodded.  She ran quickly to the messenger’s quarters.  The head messenger, Arich, was sleeping.  Zelda quickly nudged him awake.  The tall, slender young man was initially annoyed by his sudden awakening but quickly gained his senses once he realized it was Zelda.  Once he knew her prophecy, he sprung into action.  Running to the stables with all speed, he saddled his horse and took off for the bridge leading across Zora’s River into Hyrule Field. 


Zelda could not sleep that night.  By morning she was tired and her eyes were bloodshot, but she was waiting for any news and would not rest.  Daytime began to turn into nightfall when the Knights’ regiment led by Krin arrived with Link in tow.  She immediately ran down to the infirmary to see her newlywed husband.  He was comatose, and not responding to any commands.  She put her hands and ear against his chest.  He was still breathing, but his pulse rate was slower than it should be.  Captain Krin entered the room and put a hand on Zelda’s back.


“I’m very sorry Zelda.  I take responsibility for this. I should not have let him and Arn break off from our regiment.” Krin said.


“You wouldn’t have been able to keep him in line anyway.” Zelda said.  “He’s a lone wolf.  You would have expended too much energy trying to keep him in the pack.  Don’t blame yourself.”


“How badly is he hurt, Captain?” Harkinian asked Krin as the King entered the room. 


“Your majesty, he took a real beating.  Some of the moblins surrounded him and utilized dark magic of some kind.  He took some nasty blows to the head and a few to the back as well.  Here, let me fold back the tunic just a bit.”  Krin said.  He folded back the tunic, revealing the gashes from the Cane of Somaria.  Harkinian winced.  “That doesn’t look good at all.  This isn’t a normal wound either.  Do you see how the area around the wound is burned?  Whoever did this must be a powerful mage of some kind.”


“Highness, Ganon or Agahnim would have had the ability to do this surely, but they are dead.  If there are mages of their competency in the moblin ranks, we do not have any knowledge of them or their whereabouts.”  Krin said. 


“I’m not convinced that a moblin would be capable of performing such magic.” Zelda said. 


“What makes you say that?” Krin asked.


“Moblins are very primitive when it comes to matters of knowledge.  Ganon designed them to be dumb, burly enforcers that would not question his authority.  Any moblin with enough magical strength to defeat Link in battle would be able to defeat Ganon as well, and there’s no way he would have ever allowed that become a possibility.” Zelda said.


“So we’re looking for somebody else then.” Harkinian said grimly.   


Just then, Impa walked into the room with an older lady wearing black. 


“Ah Maple, it is good to see you at a time like this.” Harkinian said.  “We have three men that were badly injured in the battle in Kakariko that looked to be injured from an attack of a magical sort.  One of them is Link.”  Harkinian said.


“Let me see him, your highness.”  The others cleared the area around Link and Maple examined him.  She noted as Zelda did earlier that his pulse was faint, but he was still breathing.  She looked at the abrasions on his face and back.  “He appears to have been knocked unconscious due to trauma to either the head or the spinal column.  Have you given him potions yet?”


“We have.  At least whatever we were able to pour down his throat, which was about half a bottle of blue.” Impa said. 


“Blue potion is definitely the way to go here, he probably suffered a reaction between his own magical abilities and that of his adversary, and that is contributing to his comatose state.  Blue repairs magical power as well as health, so make sure you continue to administer those.  I’m going to examine his spinal column further, I think he might have broken a vertebrae or at least had it knocked out of place.” Maple said.   


Harkinian turned to Impa, who had just entered the room.  “Could you summon Arn and Medilia please?” he asked.  Impa nodded and exited the room.  A few minutes later Arn and Medilia arrived.  There was great shock on their faces when they saw their son.” 


“My goodness, is he okay?  Is my baby okay?” Medilia asked. 


“He is unconscious.  We are doing our best to heal his wounds and wake him.” Zelda said. 


“I am deeply sorry.” Arn said as he hugged his wife, then did the same for Zelda.  “I should have stayed closer to him.  We were in the midst of battle and he took off after some moblins in the tavern.  I was battling several others, but I could have broken off and followed him.” 


“Honey, it’s okay.  You didn’t have any reason to think he would have been hurt like this.  He’d been through so many battles before.  I too thought he was invincible.  I should have known better myself.” Medilia said as she produced a handkerchief.


“Where did you say he was?” Zelda asked Arn.


“It was in a tavern a block north of the weathercock.” Arn replied.


“Do you recall what the name of it was?” Zelda asked. 


Arn scratched his head.  “It was Bright Light’s…Bright Light’s something or other, there was a third word I just can’t remember it.” 


Zelda nodded.  She put her ear to Link’s chest again.  She heard his faint heartbeat. 


“Do you think he’ll wake up?” Zelda asked Impa. 


“I am not sure.  All we can do is have faith that he’ll stay strong through this…trial that he finds himself within.” Impa said.


“I know he’ll wake up.  Link has never backed down from any challenge or any enemy.  I know he’ll beat this…trial…in which he finds himself.  He’s come a long way but he has had some struggles by the looks of it.  He is still yet to open his eyes but I have faith.”  Zelda kneeled down along the bed and put her hand on Link’s forehead.  “Please stay strong Link, how I miss hearing your voice, the warmth of your hand, your very giving heart.”  She had a pleading look in her eyes, and a single tear emerged…falling right onto Link’s forehead.



Chapter 5: The Maiden Returns


Link sat up.  He could hear the sounds of seagulls, but he could not yet see.  His vision was blurry.  When it finally came into focus, he was sitting on a beach.  To his left was the ocean, the sun hanging overhead and baring down with intense heat.  To his right was a grassy knoll that overlooked the dunes.  Straight ahead of him was a cliff that jutted out into the water.  Link tried to sit up, but his legs gave out on him. 


“Link.  Link is that you?” A woman’s voice chimed.  He looked around, but could not see anybody around him.  “Yes, it is me.  With whom am I speaking?” he asked. 


A young maiden with red hair wearing a blue dress appeared atop the cliff.  Link immediately noticed her.  He had not seen her in almost a year.  Her emergence meant that something big had happened. 


“Marin?  Marin is that really you?”  Link asked. 




“Is this, where I think it is?  Am I back on Koholint?” Link asked. 


“Well, for this moment yes.” Marin said.  “This is just a dream.”


“Well the last time I was here it was a dream too.” Link said. 


Marin laughed.  “I guess I hadn’t thought about that, but I suppose you’re right.  But this time I’m merely communicating with you via telepathy.  I just thought that Toronbo would be a nice place for us to meet.”


“I can’t really complain.  But, if you are contacting me like this, how did I get here?”


“You’re asleep right now.  You suffered injury during your fight in Kakariko and you’re lying in the Hyrule Castle infirmary.  Right now I too am asleep, in the house with Tarin.  Don’t you remember the dreams that you told me about, the theory of subconscious?  Well you turned out to be absolutely right.  Zelda told me that she has dreams about the future, but I never knew that you did too.  You’re such a cool person, Link.”  Marin said. 


“When did you talk to Zelda?” Link asked. 


“Oh about five minutes ago.  That ring I gave you looks beautiful on her hand, I’ll have you know.  She said she displays it lovingly every day and loves showing it off to all of her former suitors when she sees them.  Did you propose when you got back?” Marin asked.


“The first time I saw her.” Link said.  “Marin, is there a reason that you came to see me, other than to chat?”


“Actually, there is.  We have a bit of a situation on our hands.  It seems that when we left Koholint by awaking the Wind Fish, that there were some unintended consequences.”


“What do you mean?” Link asked. 


“I understand that you and your father, along with many other Hyrulian soldiers were summoned to put down a series of moblin raids near Kakariko.  You’re probably wondering where these moblins came from seeing as Hyrule has been immune to their presence since the fall of Ganon.”


Link’s face was flushed.  “What does this have to do with what we did on Koholint?”


“Have you ever suspected that the moblins might be of Koholintian origin?” Marin asked.


“Well, honestly no.  The ones in Koholint bore the insignia of Dethl.  I did not notice that during the battle.” Link answered. 


“You always were very astute to details.  But let me say that near my home, we have been ransacked for days by various beasts.  These include leevers, goriyas, tektites, and even wizzrobes in some areas.  Raids and attacks like these are becoming increasingly common.” 


“All of those creatures are native to Hyrule.  What makes you say they are from Koholint?”


“Among the ones I previously mentioned are spade penguins, dodongo snakes, and so many globs of slime that you couldn’t possibly imagine the countryside filled with them!  Are any of those native to Hyrule?” 


Link’s face was flushed.  “Okay, so they’re from Koholint.  So what?  What does it matter where they came from?  All that matters is that we have to defeat them.”


Marin sighed.  “Look Link, I told you this when you told me you would try to play all of the Instruments of the Sirens at once, and I’ll tell you again.  Intelligence is not your strong suit.  You may be courageous.  You may give people hope.  You may be interesting and funny.  You may have a great body that Hyrulian girls fall over themselves for.  But the simple fact is that you have trouble comprehending the root causes of why things happen.  Your beloved knows exactly how to do this well, you should ask her for a crash course sometime.”


Link was exasperated.  A wave crashed over him, knocking him over onto his side.  He was still unable to get up, so he sat again in the wet sand. “So what do you know about it?” He finally asked her. 


“In my homeland, I went to the library, looking for any clues about Koholint’s link to the monsters’ recent uprisings.  What I found was surprising.  A scroll in the library told me that Koholint was created by the goddesses as an island paradise, but that a great hurricane arose and swallowed the island.  The only being that remembered that it ever existed was the Wind Fish, who proceeded to dream about it whenever it fell asleep at night.  Having been driven out of the kingdoms of Marith, Holodrum, and Sosaria far to the east, Dethl and his minions had been driven out into the sea.  They needed a landing point, and the nearest kingdoms, Hyrule, Calatia, and Labrynna, were far too advanced and strong for them to survive in the long term.  So they hatched a plan to put the Wind Fish to sleep and revive Koholint to be their dream world.”


“Some plan.” Link said.  “They probably didn’t plan on me showing up.”


“They actually didn’t plan on having anybody show up.” Marin said.  “But the storms that Dethl created to surround the island and protect it from invasion grew so large that they swarmed out of Dethl’s control.  They trapped the nightmares on the island.  They could not escape.  But the storms also had the unintended impact of intercepting travelers from across the Great Sea.  Once people like us arrived, they had no choice but to share their island paradise with us.  But once you embarked on your quest to escape Koholint and return to Hyrule, hence destroying Koholint forever, well they freaked out and did everything they could to deny you.  Of course, they failed in their mission.” 


“Darn right.” Link replied.


“But when we awoke the Wind Fish and destroyed Koholint…the nightmares did not go away along with the island.  They, like us, were redistributed to their old homelands.” Marin said. 


This reality hit Link like a truckload of bricks being dumped right onto him.  “They were sent back to their previous countries?”


“How else would my hometown be carved up by space penguins and moldorms?” Marin asked.


“Well then this means that we have to bring Koholint back to reality…or the dream world, whichever state it exists in.” Link said.


“Indeed.  Koholint’s true purpose, according to the scroll I read, is to be a prison for the nightmares, a prison from which they cannot escape and cannot wreak havoc on the rest of the kingdoms within the continent.  To bring Koholint back, we are going to have to do what Dethl did and put the Wind Fish to sleep.”  Marin said.


“And so it shall be done.  Where are you now?” Link asked. 


“Here of course, silly.” Marin said.


“Wait, I know you’re here, but in the real world…” Link’s voice trailed.


“I am in the town of Ebam, in the central reaches of…”


“Darkmar.” Link said stoically.  “For Din’s sake Marin, why on earth are you there?  That’s a seedy, dangerous kingdom, and it borders the lawless lands of Tanol!”


“There is something of great importance here.  It’s the first key to restoring Koholint to its purpose of being a nightmare prison.  It lies in a cave not far from Castle Darkmar.  I want you to meet me in Ebam as soon as possible so we can recover it from the cave.  I’ve arranged for you to get on a ship in Saria as soon as your injuries have healed and travel to Darkmar’s northeastern port.  Ebam is but a half day’s journey from there on foot.” 


“Marin…I will see you soon.” Link said as another wave crashed over him.   



Chapter 6: Voyage to Darkmar


Link awoke groggily.  His senses tuned into his surroundings very gently.  He was in the infirmary still.  His hands felt tingly, a clear sign that he had not used his limbs in some time. 


The door opened.  In came Maple, the witch that ran Hyrule’s magic shop.  She immediately noticed that he had awoken, and retrieved a blue potion from the shelf. 


“Long time no see, hero.” The witch said to him. 


“Have you been taking care of me the whole time?” Link asked. 


“It was the least I could do after all you’ve done supporting my business over the years.” Maple responded.  “How are you feeling?” 


“Kind of groggy actually, and it seems like my arms and legs are still asleep.” Link replied. 


“Here, drink this.  I’ll let the others know you’re awake.” Maple said.  She left the room.  Link moved to drink the potion and downed a swig when he noticed that there was a slip of paper on the nightstand next to the bed.  He grabbed it and read it.  The slip of paper was a fare ticket from Saria to the town of Lamina, in Darkmar.  How had it gotten there?  Of course, like his engagement ring to Zelda, Marin must have put it there somehow.  He made it a point to ask her how exactly she was able to do that.


“Link!   Link you’re awake!” Zelda cried as she ran into the infirmary.  She sat down by his bedside and kissed his forehead.  “I was so worried about you.  I had not seen you so badly hurt since the battle against Ganon at the Pyramid of Power.”


“It’s not a feeling that I am accustomed to.” Link confided. 


“What exactly happened?” Zelda asked. 


“I was fighting against the moblins in the village.  As I was clearing out two of them from a tavern in town, I was ambushed by one of the wise men’s descendants.”


Zelda’s face showed profound surprise.  “I had a dream that you had been injured, but by one of my closest friends and advisors?  That shocks me.  I bet I know who it was too, you do not have to tell me any more.”


“Fair enough.  I had a dream last night I need to tell you about.”  Link said.


“Did Marin visit you too?” Zelda asked. 


“I was going to ask you the same thing.  She told me that the nightmares have been released upon the world because of our adventure in Koholint.”  Link said. 


“You don’t know this, but a group of moblins and darknuts attacked the castle last night.”


“Really?  What happened?”


Impa was standing behind Zelda.  “They came in and broke the gate over the moat.  Those that could swim made it into the courtyard, but our archers knocked down a whole bunch of them.  The moblin force was decimated due to their lack of armor.  Those that survived the barrage made it to the front door, where they were met by knights.  Mariel led them.”


Zelda showed visible shock on her face.  “Mariel?  My maid of honor?” 


Impa shook her head positively.  Link smiled.  “Actually that doesn’t surprise me.  While I was in the Dark World, she was the first maiden I found.  As we were leaving the Palace of Darkness, Mariel told me that she would no longer be a damsel in distress, and that she would become a knight.  At first I was skeptical but by the time I reached Misery Mire I could see this raw emotion in her eyes.”


“She was extremely impressive in training.” Impa remarked.  “Due to our ranks being thin, it wasn’t long before Krin promoted her.  There was initially some dissention over it but after Mariel defeated several brash males in swordplay, she gained respect.  In just ten months she had risen to third in command of the Knights, and with Krin and Marquis out in Kakariko, she was picked by King Harkinian to lead the counterattack.  The knights fought bravely and struck with brutality.  Within five minutes they had the darknut force surrounded, and forced them to lay down their arms.  Most of them are in the dungeons now.” Impa said. 


“Marin told me in the dream that more attacks would be forthcoming.” Zelda said.  “I’ve relayed this information to my father.  He is mobilizing the Knights across the whole countryside, and has issued an edict to all the young men of the kingdom to take up arms and begin training.”


“It’s not a situation that we saw coming.” Link said.  “Had I known this would happen, I would’ve just stayed in Koholint.”


“But you would have been trapped for the rest of your life.” Zelda said.


“If it meant that hyrulian blood would be spared, then yes I would make the prison my home.”


Zelda smiled.  “It was because of your righteousness and sense of duty that I became so attracted to you.  It’s going to be hard seeing you leave again.  As soon as you’re cleared to start traveling again you must make haste for Darkmar.  Maple how soon will he be ready?”


“He is very lucky.” Maple said.  “His vertebra was hit by that energy blast, but instead of cracking or becoming displaced, it suffered temporary paralysis, which caused the rest of his nervous system to shut down.  It actually protected him from further injury.”  Maple tapped Link’s knees and elbows, testing his reaction time.  “His reaction seems to be normal.  I expect after another day’s rest he should be able to move normally again.”


“Won’t you be coming Zelda?” Link asked.  


Zelda frowned.  “I wish I could…but I have to help my father and the Knights’ commanders with defending the castle in case any more nightmares decide to attack.  Besides, I have a certain sages’ descendant on my mind that needs to be taught a lesson.  I won’t let anybody attack my husband and get away with it.”  Zelda said with a twinkle in her eye.


“Just promise me you’ll be careful.” Link demanded.


“I will as long as you promise the same.” Zelda replied. 


The next two days passed quickly, and Link spent the time walking around the courtyard.  Very quickly his strength returned.  That night he picked up his sword again, and trained with several of the Knights.  As the sun rose the next morning, Link boarded a covered wagon bound for Saria.  The town was a port city on Hyrule’s western coast, lying between the Calatian frontier and the Desert of Mystery.  The trip was much quicker than the walk on foot to Kakariko, lasting about three hours.  


Saria was one of the larger cities in Hyrule.  It was the center of commerce and trade within Hyrule’s western half.  Foods, spices, textiles, ores, and other goods from kingdoms across the oceans poured into Hyrule.  Hyrulian goods, like timber, precious metals, and grain, left for other lands from the port every day.  In the center of town was a statue of Saria, the town’s namesake and the ancient forest sage of the Kokiri.  She had been one of the seven who had helped to seal Ganondorf in the Golden Land generations ago.


That afternoon Link boarded the passenger ship to Darkmar.  Oddly enough, the ship was devoid of cargo.  It was empty aside from a few passengers bound for Lamina, Darkmar’s northeastern port.  Hyrule had been on poor terms with Darkmar for some time because of the latter’s lack of moral values and human dignity.  Societal issues such as theft, gambling, prostitution, and outright slavery were not uncommon.  King Solon, the monarch of the country, was embroiled in a campaign to keep the lawless barbarians of Tanol out of his kingdom.  Unfortunately this did not leave much time for applying law and justice.  This often left people to fend for themselves. 


The time passed slowly on the voyage, which lasted almost three days.  As dawn broke on May 10, Link noticed the land growing larger in the distance.  Within an hour, the ship had entered the port of Lamina and dropped anchor.  He wore a gray shirt with chain mail underneath, and loose fitting black leggings.  His gray hat matched his tunic.  Link disliked wearing such drab colors, but they were common in Darkmar and he did not wish to attract attention to himself.  For that reason, he had left his sword and most of his weaponry behind. 


As he entered the marketplace, several things were readily apparent.  First off, a lot of the buildings were worn down and dreary looking.  Second, the market area was nearly abandoned, which was strange given the time of day.  Third, most of the food stands were empty.  Those that had food charged prices that after converting rupees must have been two to three times higher than that of Hyrule.  Link went over to a fruit stand.


“There’s been a shortage of goods from the fields so far.” A merchant said.  “There has been a significant drought in the plains and it has hurt the supply of grain, fruits, and fresh meat.”


“That’s okay…I wasn’t really hungry anyway.” Link said.  He had gotten a bite to eat on the ship prior to disembarking at port, for he knew the day’s journey to Ebam would be long.  He started on the path leading southwest out of town.  As the sun rose higher into the sky, the temperature rose to over ninety degrees.  Link had not been prepared for such oppressive heat.  By afternoon, he was extremely thirsty.  He stopped at a river for a drink and to fill the two bottles he had carried with him. 


“The river’s water level is very low.  The merchant wasn’t lying about the drought.” Link thought as he continued his trek toward Ebam.  Castle Darkmar became visible in the distance.  The main road continued southwest toward the castle, so Link veered off to the east at a fork in the road.  The road was rough, so Link bypassed into the southern countryside.


“What are you doing on my land?” A farmer asked Link. 


Link stopped.  He had to think of something.  “Because I heard in Lamina that you grow the best cabbages in all of Darkmar and I just had to have one!” He said excitedly.


“Well that will be three zilches.  And make sure you keep your wits about you.  There’s bound to be snakes in these fields.” 


Link handed over the three zinc coins and took a bite into the cabbage.  It tasted horrible.  “Delicious.  I must say that your crops are delectable.  Thank you.”  Link made haste out of the field and over a hillside, after which he chucked the cabbage into a ditch on the side of a dirt trail.  “Din that was horrible.” Link said to himself. 


Finally, after about seven hours of travel, the town of Ebam came into view.  At the northern gate leading into town Marin was waiting for him.  A sparkle came into her eyes as she saw Link for the first time since their journey in Koholint.  She threw her arms around him.


“Oh Link…I just knew we would meet again someday.  I was hopeful that you would come.” She said as she finally let go.  “There is much that I have to show you.”


The town of Ebam was another rudimentary place, but not nearly as dark as Lamina.  Sitting in a prairie just to the southeast of Castle Darkmar, it was a major agricultural center, although like Lamina, the drought had caused crops to rot and prices to skyrocket.  The buildings were mostly constructed from sod.  Marin led Link through the middle of town.  She veered off into an alley on the town’s southern corridor. 


“This is my house.  My parents have prepared a nice meal for you.” Marin said. 


“You didn’t have to have them do that.  But if they cook like you do then I can’t wait.” Link replied.  Marin blushed at this.  The interior of the house was covered with stone floors and the walls were made of clay.  In the corner was a cauldron made from heavy basalt rock, and Marin’s mother was stirring the pot vigorously.  Link noticed Tarin sitting on a couch propped up on wooden pallets.  The sometimes farmer, sometimes artisan stood to his feet. 


“Well I’ll be darned, if it isn’t the hero of Koholint.  It’s good to see you again Link.”


“It has been a long while Tarin.” Link responded. 


Marin tapped Link on the shoulder.  “Link this is my mother, Marie.” 


Marie was a tall, slender woman with red hair.  It was easy to see her resemblance with her daughter as their body type and facial features were nearly identical.  “My daughter has told me so much about you.” She said. 


“I’m sure she has.” Link responded.  Marin shot Link a churning glance, but then beckoned to all in the room.  They sat down at the table in the center of the house.  A heaping bowl of soup had been placed in the center, and several fruits had been placed on the table as well.  Link took a taste of the soup.  It had chunks of cucco in them, but also some carrots and cabbage as well.


“I understand that you are engaged to the heir of the Hyrulian throne.” Marie said.


“Actually, we married just a week ago.” Link replied.


Marie’s eyes lit up.  “So it is true, you are wed to Princess Zelda.  What a beautiful couple you two will make.  Hyrule is in good hands for years to come.”  Link blushed. 


“Mom, don’t flatter him.  He doesn’t like being gushed over like a shiny new toy.” Marin chided.


“My apologies.  It isn’t often we get visitors from over the oceans.  How was the trip?”


“It was easy.  The ship left three days ago, and I got to Lamina this morning.  The walk across from there was hot.  It reminded me of Koholint actually.”  Link said. 


“That is where you and my daughter first met, was it not?” Marie asked. 


“Indeed it was.  We met on the beach, though certainly not of my own volition.” Link said.


“So Link, what brings ya to Darkmar?” Tarin asked. 


“We have a problem with monsters wrecking the peace in much of Hyrule’s countryside.  I understand it is a problem here in Darkmar as well.” Link said.


“Tell me about it.  Those dang moldorms came through town again today.  They eat up all the crops and they ram into things, causing messes all over the place.  And then, a group of moblins came running through and shooting arrows all about.  I’m surprised we didn’t have nobody get killed or hurt badly.”  Marie nodded her head in agreement.


“Link and I will be heading out to the forest I was telling you about tomorrow morning.  There is an artifact there that will help us repel the nightmares.” Marin said.


“Hey Marin, that cave be a very long way away, did ya do any flying today?” Tarin asked. 


“Just a little bit down by the riverbed.  I went southbound for a few miles.  You just never know what can happen near the castle, the archers will shoot at anything.” Marin said. 


“Wait…you know how to fly?  How?” Link asked. 


“You do remember when I gave you your engagement ring right? Marin asked. 


“Well…yes I do, but I thought that you were a mirage, that you weren’t real.” Link replied.


“Oh I was definitely real. I’ve had wings ever since I was a baby girl, but I was never able to really use them until we wished upon the Wind Fish. My mother is a Great Fairy.” Marin said.


Link’s eyes went wide with shock.  “You’re a Great Fairy?” he asked Marie.


Marie smiled.  “It is true.  I am a Great Fairy of Magic.  My pond is in a cave at the end of the street.  My fairy’s fountain is the only one in the central part of Darkmar.  I was originally born in Hyrule, but Venus the queen of fairies assigned me to this area.”


“You know Venus?  The fairy from the Wishing Pond at Lake Hylia?” Link asked.


“She was the maid of honor at our wedding.” Marie said, batting a wink in Tarin’s direction. 


“They say that human-fairy matches are unusual.” Tarin said.  “But when I first laid eyes on her, it was a hot day like today and I had spent twelve hours in a mushroom field.  She comforted my weariness, and I could swear it was love at first sight.  We’ve been together ever since.”


“Love works in mysterious ways.” Marin said.  “My existence as a human-fairy is a testament to that.” Marin said.


“Well at least you got your wish of being able to travel and see the world.” Link said.  Marin smiled.  Link scarfed down the rest of his soup with fervor.  He was ready to fly.



Chapter 7: The Tree of Temptation


“I never thought you would be able to carry me all this way.  You’re a lot stronger physically that you appear to be.” Link said. 


Marin laughed.  “Actually, if it wasn’t for my fairy magic, I probably wouldn’t be able to pick you up off the ground.  My arms are pencil thin you know.”


Link smiled as he looked out over the Darkmarian landscape.  The sun was just beginning to rise behind them, illuminating a great forest that spread out beneath.  They were at least several hundred feet in the air.  From his vantage point on Marin’s back, he could see just about everything.  He could see Castle Darkmar far to his right.  A grand range of mountains spread out to his left.  Straight ahead beyond the forest, Link could see more plains and farms.  This area of Darkmar was near the Tanolian frontier, and was an area the hero wanted nothing to do with.  Luckily, they were not on course for the lawless kingdom.


“I think I see our destination.” Marin said.


Link looked ahead as Marin dropped toward the trees.  There was a giant redwood up ahead, much larger than all the others.  They navigated through the canopy and landed on a dirt trail deep in the woods.  Marin pulled out a shawl, which covered the top half of her dress and tucked in her wings so they couldn’t be seen. 


After a brief walk, they came to a small clearing.  The redwood was majestic, stretching several hundred feet into the sky.  At the base, it was nearly thirty feet wide, and had a large entranceway.


“This is one of Darkmar’s most sacred temples.” Marin said.  “It is the Arbol de Puta.  Nobody knows where the name came from, for its origin is of a language not native to here.”


“How did you find this place?” Link asked.  


“Oh you know me, just out randomly flying around, seeing the world.” Marin said.


“This place brings back memories of an ancient Hyrulian legend I heard once.” Link said.


“What legend is that?” Marin asked. 


“Long ago, they say that there was a race of children that lived in Hyrule’s east.  They lived in a great forest protected by a spirit called the Deku Tree.  Historians claim that the Deku Tree was at least as large if not larger than the one before us.  Supposedly, the race of children were elf-like, for they had long ears, wore green, and each one had a guardian fairy that protected them day and night.” Link said. 


“I know all about the Kokiri children.” Marin said.  “Venus told me all about them.  She said that her great-great-grandmother was the guardian fairy of the Hero of Time.  Her name was Navi.”


“Is that right?  I don’t ever remember reading about this.  Not even the scrolls in the royal library of Hyrule Castle mention that.  You’re related to the Hero of Time’s protector?” 


“I was told that Navi lived a long life, and eventually retired to a cave in the desert.  Venus told me that the cave was teeming with monsters, but that the Hero of Twilight fought his way through them and found her.  She gave him the rarest of all healing items, the Great Fairy’s Tears.  Clearly, my blood line is well linked with that of the legendary hero.  It seems right then, that we are together today.” Marin said.


“I thought you didn’t like dungeons.” Link sassed. 


Marin frowned.  “To a degree, I still don’t.  But I feel safe when I’m with you.  Besides, we really need this artifact if we are to send the Wind Fish back to dreamland.” 


Link smiled and took Marin’s hand.  Together they walked through the entranceway.  The inside of the tree was dark, save for a faint light coming from the bottom.  Link looked and discovered that there was a hexagonal hole in the center of the room.  Torches were visible on the floor.


“It looks as though there is a passageway down in the basement.” Link said.  “Let me hitch a ride and we’ll fly down.”


Link took the shawl off of Marin and she spread her wings out.  They were quickly in the basement, Marin just as quickly replacing the shawl.  She was rather secretive about her status as a fairy, for flying creatures were seen as evil in Darkmar.  Just the previous year, King Solon had dropped massive amounts of poisons in Darkmar’s west and north in an effort to destroy the peahats that were native to the region. 


Once on the basement floor, there was a door that led forward.  Link opened it and they entered a room with torches all around the outside.  There was a young woman in a dress sitting on a ledge in front of the next doorway forward. 


“Hey there handsome.” She called to Link.  Her presence was unnerving to Link.  Who was she, and why was she down here?


“A good morning to you too.” Link responded.  He noted her presence with a slight bow, then continued onto the ledge.  He was about to enter the next room.  “Hey wait!” the woman called.


“Is something the matter?” Link asked. 


“Does this dress make me look fat?” The woman asked him. 


“Of course not.  You are rather slender and petite, if I must say.” Link said nervously. 


“My sisters say I am fat and won’t get a cute boyfriend.  But you seem like a nice guy.” The woman said as she approached Link.  Perhaps we could be friends.”  She took his right hand.


“We…could be.” Link stammered, “but right now my friend and I are busy.  Maybe I could come back later.”


“Okay.  I’ll be here.” The woman responded.  She walked back over to the ledge and sat down.


“She’s really odd.” Marin whispered. 


“I don’t know about that, I just want to know why she’s down here.” Link whispered back.  They opened the door and entered the next room.  It looked to be a kitchen of sorts.


“Oh yay, we have visitors!” A woman in a cooking apron responded.  “Bring the soup over to the table will you?”  Link immediately noticed that she had nothing on under the apron. 


Another woman in an apron was standing next to a pewter cauldron in the corner of the room.  She used her ladle to scoop up the soup into two bowls and brought them to the table.  The other woman in the room beckoned to Link and Marin to sit down, which they did. 


“You must be very hungry after the long trip here.” One of the women said as she placed the bowls on the table.  She leaned down very far to do this, and Link could swear that she was purposeful trying to place her breasts near his eye level.  He was about to dig into the soup when his protective genes went haywire.  “Marin stop.” He said sternly. 


Marin dropped the spoon.  “What’s the problem Link?” 


“Look, I don’t know why you are here, what exactly is here, or why you call this place home, but I can’t trust your intentions.  I can’t eat this.”  Link said. 


“What is wrong adventurer?  Are you afraid that you won’t like our soup?” One of the women asked.  Her eyes showed sadness, almost that of a rejected puppy.


“It’s not that.  It’s just…I’m not trusting of those I run into in dark places like this.”  He hurriedly sat up and motioned to Marin.  They left and entered the next chamber quickly.


“What’s gotten into you Link?” Marin asked. 


“Let me ask you something.  Have any dungeon enemies asked you to eat soup before while inside their keep?  No, something is amiss here.  I think they were trying to poison us.”


“Link don’t be ridiculous.  They were welcoming us into their home.  This is their home, and we are their guests.  The scrolls I’ve read describe the Arbol de Puta as the home of a group of women that were seen as outcasts within their own land.  Stop acting so mean-spirited.” Marin scolded.


Link shook his head, and entered the next room.  In that room, there was a woman lying on the floor.  This one was even more scantily clad than the prior three.  Upon getting close to her, Link noticed why, her dress had been torn, and there were cuts across her neck and chest.  She sobbed uncontrollably, tears streaming down her face.  Link quickly embraced her. 


“Are you okay?  What happened?  Who did this to you?” He asked. 


“That!  Look out!” The woman screamed.  Link quickly turned and fell backward, just barely evading the horizontal swipe from an oncoming darknut.  Link shielded the woman and grabbed her, pulling her out of harm’s way.  He studied his attacker.  He wore the colors that he had seen the servants and knights wear at Kanalet Castle.  He thought back to his conversations with Richard.  In an instant he remembered how these people had unfairly made Richard abdicate the throne of Koholint and how they had left the residents of Mabe Village for dead as nightmares invaded and burned it to the ground.  Link vowed to make this miscreant pay. 


The only problem was, Link did not have his sword with him.  The darknut pressed forward again, pushing Link backward.  He moved quickly to avoid getting cornered.  His assailant continued to press forward, swinging every so often, but hitting nothing but air.  After a while of this, the darknut got bored with Link and decided to focus his attention on the injured young lady.  Link saw this and came in with a vicious tackle, taking the darknut out at the knees.  The armored knight kicked him in response.  Link felt the wind go out of him as he fell to the floor. 


The darknut moved to skewer Link in the chest.  The hero rolled out of the way, but he was punched as he tried to get up.  Once again the darknut went for a sword slash, but before it landed, a purple boomerang flew in from the darkness and struck it in the helmet, causing it to fly off in a cloud of purple and pink dust.  Link took advantage and punched the darknut in the head several times.  After several such blows, it dissolved into black dust. 


“Saving you never gets old.” Marin said as she wiped off her boomerang.


“Please, I could have defeated him myself.” Link said.  Marin laughed.  Link turned back toward the young woman.  As he knelt to dress her chest wound, she suddenly got up and kissed Link on the lips.  Caught off guard by this, Link dropped her, but she held onto his neck.  Finally after about five seconds, he separated himself from her.


“What was that about?!” Link asked in a shocked voice. 


“It was but a kiss for my hero.” The woman said.  “It’s not often I see a man so big, so strong, and with such a righteous heart.”


“Well I thank you for your kind words.” He produced a bottle of red potion.  “Here, drink this it will help your wounds.”


“You know, it gets pretty lonely down here.  And you never know what could be around the next corner.” The woman said.  “Why don’t you stay close to me?” she asked. 


“I could, if I could trust that you have noble intentions.” Link said. 


“My intention is for you to see me for who I really am.  A really nice girl who wants nothing more than to submit into the arms of her hero.” She responded.


“Your kind down here is rather dangerous for a married man like me.  I must be going.”     


The woman’s wounds had healed to a degree, but a pouty look emerged on her face.  Marin shrugged as they left the room.  The next room was nothing like the other rooms of the underground dungeon.  It was very elaborate in design, decorated with marble pillars and a grand altar made of either smoothed granite or shale.  The altar was in the shape of a triangle, and appeared to have markings near the corners.  In the center of the altar was a pyramid-shaped emerald, most likely the dungeon’s primary treasure.  Link couldn’t get close to it though, not before figures began to emerge from the darkness behind the altar. 


“Get him!” A voice shouted. 


Before Link knew what had happened, the four women he had seen earlier all ran up to him and tackled him to the ground.  He fought against them, pushing several out of the way but eventually the numbers game was too much to overcome.  Marin tried to aid him, but one of the women punched her in the face, knocking her unconscious.  He struggled against the bonds of his captors, but they eventually dragged him over to one of the pillars and used several ropes to tie him up. 


Link was dumbfounded at the strength of the slender young women.  Normally it took an army of men to subdue him.  Something wasn’t right.  He had known not to trust them earlier, and he had little doubt that he was in big trouble.


“He definitely has the hero’s blood in him.” The woman from the entrance said.  “Most wouldn’t have had the courage to get this far.”


“What are you talking about?” Link demanded.


“As we suspected, you have come for our treasure.  Many have come down through our temple in search of it, but we have always been able to…distract them sufficiently.” 


“I don’t think I follow.  And why have you tied me up?” Link snapped.  


The women laughed.  “He really must have hero’s blood in him.” The leader said.  “I don’t suppose you realize just where you are, just where your lady friend has brought you.”  Link nodded.  “This is the Arbol de Puta, resting place of the Emerald of Promiscuity.  Literally translated, this is the Tree of Prostitution.” 


Link’s eyes went wide.  “So that’s it…you thought that I would…”


“Put out?” The leader asked.  The other women giggled.  “Yes.  Most men would not have lasted past the first room, much less the second.  The kingdom of Darkmar is a land where people live for today, and do not care for tomorrow.  They seek the pleasures of the body and often pay good money for it.  If you’ve ever been around Castle Darkmar at night or been on the streets of Lamina after sunset you would know exactly what I mean.  Often times the citizenry engage in plain sight.  They think nothing of it.”


Link was repulsed.  “That’s disgusting.  And to expose others to it…” 


“The woman wearing the torn dress with blood stepped forward.  “Most men who come to seek our treasure never see this room.  Given our luscious figures, we are able to get them into our arms easily.  But from the beginning we knew you were difficult to distract in such a manner.  You have pure blood, the kind of blood that any woman of this kingdom would love to defile for their own amusement.  Once we found out you were married, well, we really couldn’t resist.”   


“This is sick.  I will not cheat on my newly wedded wife.”  Link said. 


“Oh but you will, and you’re going to like it.” The leader said as one of the other women put her hands underneath his tunic and started groping him.


“You’re all nuts!” Link shouted.  “You’ll have to kill me!”


“Fine.  Have it your way.” The leader said.  “Girls, let’s show him a good time.”  The women came together and suddenly their bodies began to change form.  Shadows consumed them.  When they had settled, a group of four mummified creatures known as gibdos stood before him.  Link struggled mightily against his bonds but could not escape.  One of the gibdos came forward and put its mummified face on his lips.  The hero tried to scream but it was stifled.  Another of the gibdos punched him down low, causing him to lose his wind.  Another began to strangle his neck.  Surely there would be no fighting out of this.  He began to panic.  He couldn’t have this happen to him, not here, not now! 


Suddenly, there was a purple explosion straight in front of him.  Two of the gibdos fell to the ground.  Marin rushed in and tossed her boomerang again, taking out the remainder.  They quickly blew up into clouds of dark matter which dissolved into the air.  She immediately ran over to Link and began to undo him from his bonds around the pillar. 


“You know you really need to watch yourself getting into these predicaments.  I might not always be around to save you.” Marin sassed. 


“If you would have let me take care of them earlier, this wouldn’t have happened.  Good thing you came to your senses though.” Link said as he examined Marin’s face.  “You’ve got a big bruise on your cheek.  You should drink some potion for that.”


“I will.  But first, let’s get that emerald and get out of here.” Marin said.  Link nodded.  They walked across the altar and laid hands upon the Emerald of Promiscuity.


“To our second dungeon together.” Link said.  Marin smiled as they held green pyramid.    



Chapter 8: Duel of the Descendants


“My lord, we have been only charging for the quality of the goods that we produce plus a standard profit margin enough to upkeep the shop and to feed our families.  We have not charged a rupee more in overhead.” The shopkeeper said.


“Loyal Arich, will you please fetch me that manuscript over there?” Harkinian said. 


“Yes your majesty.”  Arich moved quickly across the royal court and retrieved a document.  Harkinian unfurled it with care.  He handed it to his daughter.  “Will you read it Zelda?”


Zelda hated this.  Matters of justice were so boring and tedious.  But it was a regular task for a Hyrulian monarch to administer and interpret the laws fairly.  One day her father would pass on the duties of the royal court to her, either by old age or by death, and she had to be ready.  “Good day Lord Gardin.  In my hands I have a manuscript that was retrieved by one of our soldiers on a recent trip to Mido.  Here is what it reads.  “Lord Denarch, please let it be known that due to the recent troubles overseas, we are raising the price of empty bottles by ten rupees, the price of bombs by fifteen rupees per pack of ten, and prices of thirty arrows shall be raised by twenty rupees.  All other items can remain the same except for potions, which will be raised by twenty-five rupees each.  Lord Gardin, can you tell me exactly why this edict was made?”


“Your highness, there are miscreants of all kinds in surrounding kingdoms as well as parts of Hyrule.  They have made transportation of goods very difficult in some cases.  We had to take measures against an imbalance of supply and demand. 


“What you say is true to a large degree.  However, according to the Hyrulian Medicinal and Sorcery Edict, sale of potions that originate outside Hyrule are strictly forbidden.”  Zelda called out to the back of the court.  “Maple, my good witch, have you or your apprentice had any interruptions in the creation of your red, green, or blue potions?” 


“Your highness, no I have not.  Our supplies are the same as always.” Maple said. 


“Lord Gardin, it seems to me that you have done wrong one way or the other, either you have provided an illegal product to the citizenry, or you have unfairly gouged them on the price of the potions you sell in your shop.” Harkinian said. 


“Now my lord, I can fully explain…” 


“You’ll have time to concoct an alibi in the dungeon.  I will determine sentence in a few days hence.  Dabicus, escort Lord Gardin to the castle dungeon please.” 


Lord Gardin shouted vociferously as one of the guards shackled him and led him out of the room.  Harkinian rose from his throne, as did Zelda, and the others in the room followed.  “With that, court is adjourned for the day.” Harkinian said.  The others left the throne room quickly.  It seemed that they, like Zelda, did not have a vast interest in the application of justice. 


“My daughter, how is Link doing?” he asked. 


“He is out of telepathy range at present, so I cannot confirm what is going on in Darkmar.  Once they are on the ship back I should be able to talk to him.”


“What have your dreams told you?” Harkinian asked. 


“Very little other than I see many ladies in Darkmar throwing themselves at my husband.”


“Does this bother you?”


“A little, but I understand why it happens.  What is much more bothersome is us being apart.  I miss him already.  We never really got a proper honeymoon.” Zelda lamented. 


“It will all come in good time, my child.” Harkinian said.  Zelda smiled.  “There was something I wanted to ask you too.” Zelda said.


“What is that, my child?” Harkinian asked.


“When Link and I were engaged, and you asked Link why he had changed during his team in the ocean, Link said that you would never believe him.  When you said the words, try me, was that in reference to Koholint?” Zelda asked.


Harkinian smiled.  He took his daughter’s hand.  “I had been waiting for you to ask me about the island of legend.  Yes, I have known very much about Koholint.  There are scrolls held by the monarchs of this country, scrolls not even held by royal library, that tell of a great guardian deity called the Wind Fish.  This deity of the air and sea had a vast imagination, and used that power of imagination to preside over the seas and preserve safe passage for travelers in the region.  But one day, a great evil arose, and this evil decided to take over the eastern kingdoms of our world.”


“This was the evil that Link faced in Koholint, was it not?” Zelda asked.


“This creature had the ability to transform, and play on people’s fears.  But a series of heroes and heroines from Sosaria and Holodrum forced the evil one into the ocean.  The evil one, unable to conquer others’ territory, then sought to create his own.  But it could not think creatively for itself.  It only knew of power, but not of how best to utilize it.”


“What did the evil one decide to do?” Zelda asked.


“The evil one used its power to create a mechanism capable of putting the Wind Fish to sleep and use its own imagination against it.  Thus, when Koholint was dreamed about by the Wind Fish, it created a real, living landmass to the Wind Fish’s exact thoughts and designs.  The evil one quickly brought forth his once-defeated minions, and they claimed the territory as their own.”  Harkinian said.


“Why did you not warn Link of Koholint’s existence before sending him to Marith?”


“Up to the point of last year, the story was but a legend, and our surveyors had not been able to locate the island’s whereabouts.  That is why the royal library had no information about it.  Link was likely the first hyrulian citizen to ever land on Koholint.” Harkinian said. 


“I wish he did not have to go to Darkmar.  I miss him already.” Zelda replied.


“He will be back before long, I trust.  I have business to attend to in my office.  I will see you in the Great Hall for dinner.”  Harkinian turned and left the throne room, going down the stairs.  Zelda sunk back in the throne.  Her brain was mentally tired from the long day of court.  She closed her eyes for a moment, imagining for a moment what it would be like to be the Queen of Hyrule.  Always having to deal with even the pettiest of quarrels would be such a bother.  However, getting to help the citizens directly would be empowering.  With the golden power restored to its rightful place, there would be no challenge to her authority either.  She would be able to do whatever she desired. 


Zelda was so caught up in her thoughts that she hadn’t noticed the footsteps coming toward her.  She opened her eyes to see a slender brunette in a red dress coming her way.  She had a sheath strap coming across the front of her dress.  She was armed. 


“Good afternoon Princess.” Kylara said. 


The two looked at one another for a while as a heavy silence pervaded the room.  Finally Zelda rose from the throne.  “I have been waiting for you.” She told Kylara.


Kylara said nothing, but simply stared into the eyes of the princess.  Very calm and collected, she unsheathed a sword from behind her back.  She held it firmly and pointed it at Zelda. 


“Is your quarrel with me so great that you feel the need to kill me by your own hand?”


“Princess, I have done everything in service of this kingdom.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have labored in the fields, in town, and at the castle, all in the goal of serving Hyrule and all within it. I went through hell in the Golden Land, forced to fend for myself amid hordes of monsters that would have delighted to taste my blood.  There was but one thing I desired through all of this, to be with the one I called my savior.  From the minute I laid eyes on him in Blind’s Dungeon, I knew he belonged to me.  But you…you, the anointed leader by blood, just had to take from me the one thing I most held dear.”


Zelda was confused for a moment.  “Link?” She asked. 


Kylara nodded her head.  Zelda smiled and started laughing.  “Kylara, he never even fancied you, certainly nothing beyond friendship.  Maybe you were so caught up in your fantasies that you were blind to this reality, but he was never going to be yours.  He always fancied me.”


“He isn’t of the proper blood.  You’ve married a mongrel.  Hyrule has lost its opportunity to grow and thrive through a marriage of blood order and you’ve ruined us.” Kylara said.


“My father approves of our union, and if he were here he would order you to cease your complaint and repent for slandering our marriage.” Zelda said.


“My heart will not allow such suffering any longer.  For too long I have been the forgotten one, lost in the shadows, asked to give and give and give while getting nothing in return.”  Kylara moved ever closer to Zelda, the sword pointed at her neck.  “You will feel my pain.”


“If it is my death that you seek, then come and take my life.  Do it.” Zelda said. 


Kylara pulled her sword down to her chest for a moment, then thrusted forward toward the princess.  In the blink of an eye, Zelda dodged and hit Kylara with a burst of magical energy.  The princess ran as fast as she could across the throne room and down the stairs.  Kylara got up quickly and gave chase.  Before long they were back in the Great Hall.  Kylara was slower than Zelda, but had more stamina.  Zelda sprinted through the main door out into the courtyard.  Right before Kylara could catch up, another figure sprinted in wielding her own blade.  Kylara barely evaded her sudden attack. 


“I knew you would try to do this, you jealous little hag!” Mariel shouted, her blond hair cascading down over her soldier’s armor. 


“Why are you defending her?  You know that she’s wronged me and the kingdom by marrying Link!” Kylara shouted.  By now there were servants and guards of all sorts pouring into the Great Hall, seeing what the commotion was. 


“You have no right to criticize the actions of a royal!  Whatever she may have done, however you like it or not you are her inferior, and you shall be loyal to her every command!” Mariel screamed. 


“You would turn your sword against one of your own to protect her?” Kylara demanded.  “You’re nothing but a traitorous wench, turning against a fellow sage like this!  Rauru would be rolling over in his grave right now!”


“And what do you suppose Ruto would think of you, watching you attempting to murder the princess!  She would have you hung in plain sight!” Mariel screamed. 


Kylara tore toward Mariel, confronting her with a horizontal smash.  Mariel blocked, but was knocked down from the force of the blow.  There was a gasp in the room as Kylara went for an overhead stab, but Mariel tripped her first.  They both got to their feet and started swinging with purpose.  Kylara went for an driving stab only for Mariel to dodge and hit her blade away.  Mariel then came forward herself with a vertical swing, but Kylara dropped to her knees and blocked.  She rolled around Mariel and swung for her legs but the soldier woman jumped over this and kicked Kylara as she tried to get up.  The kick knocked Kylara into the doorway.  Kylara fought hard and brought her blade down again, Mariel did the same, the two sages’ descendants engaged in a game of chance. 


Both maidens strained with exertion.  Kylara pushed forward, forcing Mariel back.  However, since she had trained formally as a knight, Mariel was stronger and knew how to get proper leverage on her adversary.  With a great burst of inspiration, she got below Kylara and thrust with all her might, tossing her outside.  She landed hard on the front steps of the castle.  Kylara’s head snapped back on the ground, and her eyes stared straight into the sun.


“Gyaaah!  Too bright!”  


In an instant, an explosion of energy surrounded Kylara’s body.  When the energy settled, a dark face looked upon them.  Nobody gathered in the castle courtyard had seen the face before, except for a certain female knight. 


“Blind.” Mariel said tersely.  Knowing what was to come, Mariel quickly jumped behind the staircase.  A blast of energy came from Blind’s head, singing the marble.


“Everybody, get back, get back as far as you can!” Mariel shouted.  She charged Blind with her sword and swung hard.  She connected right between the eyes, causing her adversary to shoot fireballs at her.  One of them connected with her dress, burning a hole through it.  Another energy blast came, but it was errant, landing in a flower bed to Mariel’s left. 


“What is that thing?” A soldier asked hurriedly.


“It’s Blind, a manifestation of a Dark World thief!” Mariel shouted.  She charged her adversary again and struck, hitting beneath his cheekbone this time.  Again fireballs spewed about the courtyard.  Zelda looked on with concern.  Was this the thing that Link told her about, the demon that had once possessed Kylara when she was sent to the Golden Land?  She had an idea.  Quickly, Zelda ran back into the castle.


Mariel continued to engage Blind, who continued to shoot energy at her.  One such blast landed right between her legs, but she continued to courageously fight the evil thief.  At one point, its head flew off and started flying around the courtyard, spitting flames as it moved.  Another head sprouted and shot energy at her.  Through all of this, one thing bothered the maiden turned soldier.  When Link had fought Blind, his body was a brownish-orange hue.  Why was he black?


Mariel struck between the eyes yet again.  This time two fireballs struck her during Blind’s counterattack, one singing her left hand.  Her white gauntlet was now molded to her skin, causing tremendous pain.  Temporarily distraction, Blind hit her right in the chest with an energy blast, knocking her to the ground.  The blast put a hole into her dress but thankfully did not penetrate the chain mail underneath.


“Are you okay?  Let us help you!” A soldier called to her.


“No!  This is my fight, I’m going to finish it myself!” Mariel called.  She got up and charged Blind once again.  She stabbed for his head once again, and this time a second head flew off and started spitting fireballs around the courtyard.  By this time, the grass had been burned to a crisp.  Mariel knew if she didn’t win soon the whole courtyard would explode into flames.  She charged again, but this time Blind’s energy struck her in the leg, knocking her down.  She tried to get up, but her knee buckled and she fell back to the ground.  She put her hands up in a vain attempt to block the energy blast that she knew was coming.  Before it came though, a silver-laced projectile streaked through the afternoon sky and struck Blind in the head. 


“By the power of silver may you be thrust into the void!” Zelda bellowed.


The body of Blind flashed violently.  Several soldiers came to help Mariel to her feet.  As they did so, Blind’s body began to change form.  It now had the form of an amorphous black blob.  Zelda’s face turned pale when she realized the true nature of the beast.


“Hahaha!  I had been waiting for so long to set foot in the country of my assassin.  Where is he?”


“You’re not Blind!  Who are you?” Mariel demanded.


“I can answer that!” Zelda shouted.  She ran out into the courtyard to confront the blob.  If you’re looking for Link, he is not here.  But I am certain that we have more than our fair share of warriors that would be willing to send you back to the void from which you came.”


“My business, lady Zelda, is not with anyone but your husband.  He destroyed my island, and forced my underlings to fend for themselves scattered about this cruel world.”


“You clearly had business with me and my sage friend.  You possessed her and tried to kill me through use of her body!  Forget Link, I will defeat you myself!” Zelda shouted.


“You would not stand a chance, lady Zelda.” 


“Save your insults Dethl!  My husband has told me all about you, how you manipulate people and play on their biggest fears.  He has taught me well in the ways of archery and swordplay.  I can defeat you by my own hands!” Zelda snapped. 


Dethl laughed.  “So feisty and yet so naïve.  You’ll make a nice decoration for my domain when the time comes.  But for now, I will have my revenge on your beloved.  I hope you kissed him goodbye before he left.”


Dethl quickly flew across the courtyard back to Kylara’s limp body and prodded her, causing her to turn over onto her side.  “Such a quaint beauty, and such a raw, passionate mind.  I’m sure she’s been possessed before, and it won’t be the last.”  Dethl slapped her face, causing her to awake and emit a startled gasp.  Then the amorphous blob flew up high into the sky, hurtling through the air in a southwesterly direction away from the castle.



Chapter 9: Reroute


“It’s really pretty…prettier than any stone in my fountain.” Marie said as she viewed the green emerald pyramid.  “Yet I can detect a strange force coming from it.  It seems to be infused with evil power of some kind.  Only people with pure blood should carry this artifact.”


“Link is of the bloodline of the ancient knights of hylia…he’s as pure as they come.” Marin smiled at Link, who returned with a smirk of his own. 


“No doubt Zelda made a good choice when she married you.  She must miss you terribly.”


“I am sure.  But she won’t have to wait much longer, we’ll be leaving tomorrow.” Link said.


The next morning, the four walked down to Marie’s fairy fountain.  The great fairy helped to comfort any weariness they had.  A long journey back to Hyrule awaited.


“Marin, don’t do anything dumb now.  You stay by Link and you help him.  Marie and I are gonna miss ya.” Tarin said. 


“Don’t worry daddy.  Once we find what we need, herding the nightmares back into the island of their creation won’t be very hard.  Before you know it I’ll be back to eat all the mushrooms you’ve harvested.” Marin said. 


Marie, Tarin, and Marin came together for a group hug.  After saying their goodbyes, Link and Marin walked out of the fountain and into the streets of Ebam.  They walked for about five miles to the northeast before Marin felt comfortable enough with flying.  They traveled through the air for much of the midday before landing again a few miles outside of Lamina.  By this time, it was late afternoon.  The hero and maiden made their way through the central square and to the port.


“Hello, we would like two tickets to Hyrule please.” Link said. 


“I am sorry, but the last ship to Hyrule left this morning.” The attendant said.  “You’ll have to wait until Thursday for the next ship out.”


“Thursday?  But that’s four days away!” Marin exclaimed.


“I am sorry miss, but travel between Darkmar and Hyrule is restricted right now.  King Solon has decreed that only necessary trade and passenger ships make the voyage.  I could get you on a ship to Holodrum tomorrow morning, and you catch a connection to Hyrule there.”


“We’ll think about it.  Let’s go Marin.” 


Having to stay in Lamina for the night did not sit well with Link.  He remembered the undesirable things the gibdos disguised as young women had to say about it.  Their first order of business was to find a reputable inn, but it was really not an easy task.  Finally they reached one that looked fairly legitimate, a brown stone building on the north end of the town square.  Even this place was not without flaws however.


“Look over there Link.  Are they doing what I think they’re doing?” Link asked. 


Sure enough, two young women wearing really low-cut articles of clothing appeared to be propositioning two scraggly men.  Two of them left arm in arm as Link and Marin entered the inn. 


“I probably should have warned you, but I figured the gibdos did enough of that.” Marin said.


“Hello there, can we get a room with two beds please?” Link asked the innkeeper.


“Certainly.  That will be forty zlotys.  But, might I ask why you need two beds?”


“Does it matter?  We want two beds.” Link asserted.


“My apologies sir, we will accommodate our guests as they wish, of course.  It’s just a rather odd request around these parts.  Usually one is sufficient.”  The innkeeper turned away and walked across the counter to retrieve two keys.  You’ll be in room seventeen.  The bellhop will see you to your room.” 


The beds were rather hard, and not very comfortable.  After settling in, they went back out into the town square for a bite to eat. 


“Hey handsome!” A woman called out to Link.  “I bet I’m better than that redhead you’re with!”


Link shot her a glare, but Marin got between him and his suitor.  “Don’t get mad, just keep walking.” Marin said.  They rounded a corner and found a half-decent pub.  As they ate, Link couldn’t help himself.


“How do you live in a place like this?  This place is wrong on so many levels.  Better yet, how did you not grow up to be like them?” Link asked.


“I never had any desire to get involved in it, but I had friends who did.  Ebam is somewhat more reputable than Lamina.  Here, you have so many travelers and merchants on business that working women congregate here.” Marin replied.


“Why does King Solon turn a blind eye to all of this?  I mean, I realize he has his attention out in the west with the savage Tanolians, but you’d figure he would not allow his kingdom’s port of entry to be such a dishonorable place.”


“You’re so naïve Link.  It’s cute.  No wonder Zelda loves you.” Marin said.


The next day, Link and Marin were on a ship bound for the land of Holodrum.  The ship took them across the southern reaches of the Great Sea, a voyage that would take a little over a day.  Unlike most lands near to Hyrule, Holodrum was unique in that it did not have any central forms of governance.  It never had a royal family, and it was sparsely populated for the most part.  Power was so decentralized in fact, that in the land’s principle city, Horon, the people directly governed themselves.  It was a revolutionary concept the residents called direct democracy.  Most Hyrulians looked down on Holodrum for this savage notion that people could govern themselves, but Link was never quick to judge.  He had seen too many ill-sighted despots to believe that the peasantry could do any worse.


Unlike Darkmar, Holodrum was a familiar place to the hero.  About eight months following his victory at the Pyramid of Power, Link had been sent by Harkinian to Holodrum to help put down an uprising there.  Harkinian believed as his people did that the uprising was caused by a lack of a strong monarchy, but the truth was that its purpose had nothing to do with governance or power over Holodrum.  In reality, the uprising was a well-conceived attempt at Ganon’s revival, though he never told anybody that for fear of inciting panic back home.


“So have you been to Holodrum before?” Marin asked Link.


“I know it like the back of my hand, for I have explored almost every inch of it.” Link replied.


“I should have figured, you’re just such an amazing adventurer!” Marin exclaimed. 


“Oh I see, it’s not okay for your mom to flatter me but for you it is perfectly fine.” Link said.


“Well maybe if you’d ever tell me about your adventures beyond Hyrule I wouldn’t have to scream like a fawning wench.” Marin said.  Her eyes pleaded him to tell her.  Link’s eyes showed concern, as though he had secrets he did not wish to tell.  Finally, he relented.


“When I defeated Ganon at the Pyramid of Power, as you I was knighted by King Harkinian, but I wished to retain my autonomy.  Harkinian granted me my wish, and he conceived of the idea to make me an ambassador of the kingdom.  Whenever he would need to conduct trade deals, coalitions to fight enemies, or make peace, I would often be sent across the seas to talk with kings and queens of other countries.  That’s why I was in Marith prior to crash landing on Koholint.  Months after defeating Ganon, I was sent on my first mission, to the Kingdom of Sosaria.  In that winter I was also sent to Calatia.”


“Very interesting.  Please do continue.” A smiling Marin said.


“My third trip was that spring, to Holodrum.  As luck would have it, I arrived in the midst of a seizure of power.  This one army general, named Onox, led a regiment of knights and other monsters across Holodrum and seized control.  He constructed a tower in the northwest of the land and consolidated his hold.  I traveled across the country into its dungeons, collecting the eight items needed to access his keep, known as the Essences of Nature. Once I had those in hand, I went up to Onox’s keep and defeated him, bringing peace back to Holodrum.”


“So the Essences of Nature, there were eight, just like the Instruments of the Sirens on Koholint, where there were eight.  Interesting how that works.”


“It is an interesting coincidence, but the impacts of the Essences of Nature were far greater than that of the Instruments of the Sirens.  Without the Essences, the climate and atmospheric conditions over Holodrum were very unstable.  You could go from stifling heat like you would find in Koholint on one end of the island to find heavy snowfall at the other end.” Link said.


“Really?  So it was like spring, summer, fall, and winter all at the same time?” Marin asked.


Link nodded.  “You had newly blooming shrubs in one town, and falling leaves in the next. Truthfully it was amusing to me.  It was annoying though, because I never knew what clothes to wear under and over my tunic.  But Holodrum was enjoyable, at least compared to the next place I had to explore.” 


“Where was that?” Marin asked. 


“It’s another story for another time.” Link said with a grin.  Marin gave a pouty face. 


On the night of May 14, the ship reached port near Horon, the unofficial capital and largest town in Holodrum.  Link and Marin were sent ashore, with the guarantee that another ship would arrive to carry them to Hyrule the next morning.  However, when they awoke from the port’s overnight barracks on the 15th, there was no ship in sight.  They waited the day, but nothing happened.  Just before twilight, an announcement was made that no more ships would arrive that day.  Link and Marin decided to walk into town.


Horon was not dissimilar to Kakariko in that the village was densely populated, yet had adequate space for streets and green areas.  The two adventurers looked for an inn, and quickly found one near the center of the city.  They checked in to find out that it was much cleaner and fresher than the place they had stayed at in Lamina.  It was late, and Link had begun to close his eyes.  Just before he could find himself completely into dreamland, a loud bang rang out nearby.  The hero ran to the window to find that there were darknuts, moblins, gibdos, and all sorts of miscreants causing trouble in the streets.  They were attacking people with spears and bows and arrows!  Another explosion rang out just to their left.  From Link’s vantage point, he could see a dark black figure moving closer.  Even though it was dark, the amorphous blob was impossible not to recognize.  Link would notice it anywhere.


“Marin, Marin wake up!  We have to get out of here!” Link said. 


“Uhhh…why all the noise?”  Marin asked groggily.


“We’re under attack.  Nightmares have invaded Horon.  We have to get out of here as quick as we can otherwise we’re going to be overrun like we were in Mabe Village.” Link said. 


Marin quickly put on her nightdress and boots.  Link gathered their provisions, and in the blink of an eye they were out of the room and heading for the back exit of the inn. 


“Stay close to me Marin.” Link said.  He noticed a pair of Stalfos coming.  To his left he noticed a series of bombs stacked up on a shelf.  The hero quickly picked up two of the explosives and lit them, rolling them outside the doorway.  The blast was quick, and left the Stalfos in a heap of bones.  Link led Marin quickly to another exit further down the building from the blast site.  Sure enough, a group of nightmares had congregated near the spot where the last blast had occurred.




Link and Marin took off into the night, running as hard as they could.  They continued to run through the night and had gone about a mile or two into the countryside.

“Why are we simply running like this?  We could’ve hid, or stayed to fight.” Marin quipped.


“No we couldn’t.” Link responded quickly.


“But now what are we going to do?  How are we supposed to get back on the ship to Hyrule?”


“That ship for Hyrule won’t be coming.  If it does come, Dethl will make quick work of it.” Link said.  Marin stopped dead in her tracks.


“The supreme nightmare has returned?” Marin asked with a stunned voice.


“It’s more like he never left.  Remember, the last adventure we had technically never happened, it was all a dream.  With Koholint destroyed and the nightmares scattered across the world, it was only a matter of time before it showed its evil face.  Marin, Dethl is out for blood.  He wants his island back.  And if he doesn’t get it, you know that he’s going to make us suffer.” Link said.


“Of this I have little doubt.” Marin said.  “But simply wondering through wilderness isn’t going to help us.”


“I agree.  We will have to try to find a way out of here.” Link said. 


Just then, Link thought he had heard a faint noise coming from his right.  It was the last thing he heard before a sudden crack sent him straight into darkness.


Zelda awoke in her bed with a startled scream.  Her worst fears had been confirmed.  She ran down the tower as quickly as she could, avoided the various pits in the floor as she went.  One day, by Hyrule they would be properly fixed.  She reached a bedroom on the third floor of the tower and banged on the door rather loudly.  Impa came to the door and opened it. 


“Zelda, what’s all the commotion?” She asked.  “Is Link back?”


“No, he’s been captured.  Somebody with a ball and chain captured him and Marin!” 


“In your dream where did this happen?” Impa asked her.


“I don’t know...wait a minute.” Zelda said hurriedly.  She thought back carefully.  She could have sworn that there was snow on the ground.  But it was May.  The only places were there would be snow would be the highest mountains.  That meant it was either Death Mountain, the great coastal range of Marith, or the northern range of Holodrum.  She could have sworn that she had seen a giant goron head inscribed into the mountainside.  Gorons used to live in Hyrule, but that was generations ago.  Now they had all migrated.


“He’s in Holodrum.” Zelda said with conviction.  “Goron Mountain.”


Impa smiled, but then gave a look of concern.  “Their ship back must have been re-routed somehow.  Dethl probably paid the shipping lanes between here and Darkmar a visit.  Then again, the Tanolians might have been responsible too.  King Solon hasn’t done the greatest job keeping them at bay, and you know that without any effective rule whatsoever, Holodrum is helpless.  Queen Seline had to send her soldiers to the frontier last month to help.”


“Either way, we have to send out soldiers to rescue Link and Marin!” Zelda shouted.  Just then a smile came across her face.  “And I know just who to send.”  Zelda whispered into Impa’s ear the name of her rescuer of choice.  Impa’s face stiffened.


“Are you sure Zelda?” Impa asked.  Zelda nodded her affirmative.


Chapter 10: Fate and Faith


When Link awoke, he found himself lying on a cold, hard floor.  The air in the room was chilly too.  His head was pounding.  He felt around to notice nasty wounds on the side of his face and underneath his hair, much of which had been turned red with blood.  He tried to get up on his feet when he felt a chain haul him back down.  He turned slowly to notice a heavy spiked steel ball in the corner of the cell.  He had been chained. 


Immediately, he heard a door fling open.  Light filled the chamber.  A solitary knight walked into the chamber.  He had the appearance of an iron knuckle, but wore golden armor.  The hero immediately had flashbacks to his past journey in Holodrum.  Could it possibly be?


“I never thought I would see the day where the legendary hero would return to Holodrum.  How long I have waited for such a day to arrive.”  The knight opened the door to the cell and entered, closing and locking it behind him.


“It’s been a long time, Onox.” Link said.


The knight laughed.  “Yes, I figured you might call me by that name.  It is true, I remember with a wrench in my heart the day you fought my father.  How you mercilessly twisted your blade right through his ribs.  How you defeated even the greatest of his forms and made him breathe his last.  Yes, I remember all of that.”  The knight punched Link right in the face.  His ears rang and his eyes blurred from the blow.  “I am the son of Onox.  My name is Nobrax.  And my mission is to make your life a living hell.  You murdered my father in cold blood.  Now you will feel what he felt as you pierced his organs with your blade.  You’ll feel every bit of his pain.”


Nobrax took out a rope and wrung it around Link’s neck.  He then punched him thrice in the stomach with his armored hand.  He then slugged him twice in the face, dropping Link to the ground unconscious.  He waited a minute, and then threw a bucket of water onto the hero, causing him to stir groggily. 


“That was just the start of my mission, my statement, my…fun…with you.  Sweet dreams.”


Each day in the dungeon was progressively worse as Nobrax torchered Link.  Later that first day he pulled hairs out of his scalp and body with tweezers.  The next day, he ripped out several of his nails. The next he cut into Link’s skin and then rubbed salt into the wounds, which caused the hero to cry out in pain.  The next day he cut into Link’s back with a metal brush and sprayed an acidic solution into his bleeding exterior.


“You thought that you were invincible, didn’t you?” Nobrax taunted as he relished in Link’s screams of pain.  “You thought that the forces of evil couldn’t defeat you, huh?”


“You better kill me now when you have the chance.” Link mouthed.


“Such big talk from such a helpless weakling.  With the purity of your blood on my hands it’s a matter of time before Holodrum is mine.” Nobrax said.  He dug the wire brush in again, causing more gut-wrenching pain. In all of his journeys and battles, the hero was sure that he had never felt such pain, and worse, such helplessness.  Because he was tied up and bound, there was nothing he could do to stop Nobrax. 


His kidnapper punched him ruthlessly at the end of the session, giving him welts and bruises all over his body.  He was certain that at least one of his ribs had been broken.  “Just wait until tomorrow, when I break your legs.  You’ll be begging me to take your life, oh legendary hero.”  He spat in Link’s face, then closed and locked the cell door behind him. 


Link was overcome by his situation.  Because of his success in his adventures, he was not used to being physically and mentally broken down.  With little food and water, his body was malnourished, and the wounds only got worse by the day.  He was sure infection would come soon.  On that fourth night, Link became desperate.  Remembering the golden triangles, he vowed that the next time Nobrax showed his face, he would make a wish and kill him.  Then he would use its power to heal himself.  Satisfied with this plan, Link went back to trying to ignore the massive pain he felt in his ribs, head, and back.


Just then, a bright green light appeared in the dark dungeon.  Link looked up to see a tall, slender young woman with green hair approaching him.  “Link, my chosen one.” 


“Farore?” Link asked meekly.


The woman nodded.  He was in the presence of the goddess of courage.


“Link, I know what you are thinking about doing.  I understand fully the predicament in which you find yourself.  I realize that in your position I would probably consider taking a similar course of action, but you must not.”


Link was incensed.  “So you want me to suffer and die instead?!” he asked furiously. 


“Link, right now you are not thinking rationally.  Your want and need for comfort and release from pain is driving your thoughts.  If you wish to have Nobrax killed and heal yourself, the evil power of that wish will taint you.  It would be akin to Ganon killing a soldier and robbing his soul to energize his magic.”


“But Ganon was evil.  As the one of pure blood such a wish would not consume me.” Link said.


Just then, another flash of light came into Link’s vision.  This one was red.  The light formed into another young goddess, this one with slightly darker skin and fiery red hair.  “You might not believe it, but there was a time when Ganon was pure of heart as well.” Din told him.  “His lust for power eventually consumed him.  The Triforce was just a vessel toward feeding his lust.  But in your case it can be all the more tragic.”


“In what way?” Link asked.


A third flash came into the room, this one blue.  “The Triforce is a reflection of the heart of the one who contains its essence.  The law states also that the stronger the wish of its holder, the stronger the power of the Triforce will be in carrying out that wish.  Right now your heart is filled with anger and hatred.”


“For all of your sakes I’m dying here!  I’m only doing what I can to escape!” Link yelled. 


The goddesses were taken aback.  No earthly being would ever talk to them this way, certainly not their chosen protector of all that was good and righteous.  “Link,” Farore said carefully, “There is a fate for everybody.  People are born, they live, and then they die.  To a certain degree living things can change the course of their destiny.  That much is true.  But in the end, when it is a person’s time, it is their time.”


“Time is cruel.” Nayru said.  “The flow of time can seem fast to some, and slow to others.  Some people are fated to have a lot of time to accomplish their earthly deeds, while others are not.  In your lifetime you have done more to advance the cause of righteousness and good than most would do in centuries.  You have defended the lands of Hyrule, Holodrum, Labrynna, and Koholint from the forces of evil.  If your fate is to let the next of your bloodline take the next journey, then it shall be done.”


“The next of my bloodline will never be born if I perish now!  Besides, what will you tell my beloved when I am dead?  I cannot leave Zelda alone in this world.  My heart will never allow it.  Either you three find a way to change fate, or this world falls into a new dark age where evil runs unchecked without a hero to rise to stop it!  I know this to be against your law!” Link shouted.


A look of concern came across Farore’s face.  She beckoned to the others, and they huddled together for a brief moment.  Link wanted badly to know what they were discussing.  One of two things was about to happen, Link figured.  Either the goddesses were going to strike him dead for being so rotten in their presence, or he had made sense with them and they were going to help.  Finally, Din turned back to Link. 


“It was here, very near to this place that you saved my oracle, was it not?” Din asked.  Link nodded.  Din nodded back, and huddled with her sisters once again.  About a minute later, Farore emerged with the other goddesses flanking her. 


“Link, your plight is one that we cannot assist you with directly.  But we will leave you with this.  If you retain the goodness of your heart, and believe that good things will come, they will.”


The goddesses all nodded to him and raised their arms into the air.  In a flash, they were gone. 


The next thing Link knew, he was lying on the dungeon floor again, groggy and tired.  He must have fallen asleep.  He sat up and tried to find a position free of pain.  He heard murmurs from somewhere near the dungeon.  He listened carefully.


“So have you killed the hero yet?”


“I have not…I’ve enjoyed torturing the poor bastard.  I’m going to start breaking limbs soon.”


“Where is the maiden he was with?”


“I cannot be certain.  I tried to capture her but she ran away too quickly.”


“Ran away from you?  That’s not surprising.


“Well she was a fairy…she had wings.  Even if I had pursued her she would have gotten away.”


“I still say you’re making a mistake, you should have offed him in the plains.” 


“Oh well.  Did you come to deride my decision making or is there something important?”


“The Ruby of Malice, its resting place has been found.” 


“Really?  Where?”


“It’s in a cavern along a cliff overlooking the northern seashore.  If you slide down the funnel just north of here and walk along the outcropping a ways you’ll find it.” 


“This is great news.  We’ll be able to make sure Koholint never comes back unless…”


Nobrax’s speech was cut off abruptly by a whirring sound.  Link would realize the sound anywhere, for it was the sound of a speeding arrow.  There were shouts after this, and what sounded like the clanging of blades.  This went on for about thirty seconds before everything went silent.  The door to the dungeon opened quickly.  Link got to his feet just in time to see the face of his savior.


“I told you never to leave home unarmed.”



Chapter 11: The Cavern of Reunion


“We have to get out of here and back to Hyrule.  The mountain pass to the coast will be difficult in your current state but I know how tough you are.”


“We can’t leave yet.  There’s something we need first.”


“We already recovered the emerald you were talking about.  You’re hurt Link.  You’re hurt badly, we must get you back home.”


“There’s another stone here, a ruby.  We need to collect it.”


Toby turned around and confronted Link.  “Look, at this point I don’t know if you’ve got the stamina to make it back to the ship much less attempt another ridiculous quest right now.  I was your guardian for many, many years.  I know how thick headed you can be.  Your current guardian knows this as well as I do.”


“Zelda would not wish me to leave here without recovering the Ruby of Malice.”


“She would certainly wish to see you alive!” Toby shouted. 


The two just stared one another down for a minute.


“This is about Nobrax isn’t it?  You want revenge.” 


“He’s probably trying to obtain the Ruby himself.  And yes, I want to kill that bastard by my own hands.  Is that so wrong?  Give me a potion, give me a blade, and let’s do this and we’ll get back to the ship before nightfall!” Link shouted. 


Toby realized that it was no use.  He handed Link another bottle of red potion.  “In all seriousness, that was my last one.  Remember that with your wounds potions will only delay the onset of further pain and possible infection.  If this quest goes critical you may not make it.”


“Uncle, just trust me.” Link said.  He beckoned, and started walking up the rocky mountain pass.  He used the sword Toby gave him to steady himself against the rocky terrain.  In all honesty, Link looked very much like an older gentleman who needed a cane to get around.  His ribs cried out in pain as did his burned back.  His face showed many bruises.  With each step, Link vowed to get justice on the one who had put his body into its miserable state. 


After about fifteen minutes, they found the dungeon.  It was a cavern carved almost literally into the cliff overlooking the ocean on Holodrum’s northern coastline.  Toby held Link’s arm as they traveled along the outcropping.  Before long they were inside.  Torches were lit on the walls, illuminating the dungeon’s interior. 


“Before I killed Nobrax’s henchman and forced him to run, I overheard that the Ruby was on the second level, just past the giant lavafall.” Toby said. 


“Well we know where we have to go then.” Link said.  The uncle of the hero nodded, and led the way forward.  Before long they came to a door and walked into a large cavernous room with a lava pit in the middle.  Almost immediately they were hounded by a pair of lizafos.  Toby used his shield to keep the two lizafos at bay while Link stumbled around the outside of the oncoming attack.  The hero thrust his blade right into the back of one, killing it.  To fight in such a cowardly fashion was against Link’s nature, but at this point revenge was the only thing driving him.  Toby made quick work of the other, pressing it backward with his strength, and then evading a vertical swing and slashing the lizafos right in the ribs.  He then grabbed the reptile and tossed it right into the lava.  Their adversaries left bombs behind. 


In the next room, a pair of stalfos immediately came upon them.  Toby again moved first to engage.  He held off the bony knights of the dead with his blade and shield while Link lit a pair of bombs.  The hero rolled them into the chamber, calling to his uncle to retreat.  He did, and the bombs exploded, destroying the stalfos in a single shot of explosive power.  Their defeated enemies left behind more bombs.


“Keep using them if you can.  Try not to get directly involved unless you have no other option.” Toby told Link.  Link nodded.


In the next room, they noticed that their path was blocked by a river of lava.  In the midst of the chaotic flow ahead of them, they noticed a pair of dodongo snakes coming their way.  Behind them was an even more sinister force.


“It’s an iron knuckle.” Link said.  “It’ll stay asleep as long as the snakes eat the explosives, but any loud noises may cause it to awake.” 


“We can’t get too close either.” Toby said.  They went about lighting the fuses and tossing the bombs in the direction of the dodongo snakes.  They hungrily ate most of them, although their movements were unpredictable enough that some of the bombs went uneaten.  One of them bounced off a snakes tail right to the feet of the iron knuckle.  The bomb exploded, knocking off a large part of its lower armor.  Immediately it arose and began to seek out its attackers. 


“I didn’t plan on that, sorry!” Toby yelled. 


“It’s probably for the best, he’s missing some armor now!” Link shouted back.  He used the last of his bombs to finish off the last dodongo snake, exploding it into a thousand pieces.  Meanwhile, Toby moved to engage the iron knuckle.  With one swing of the axe, the bearded old warrior knew that it was too strong for his shield to repulse.  He threw his shield to the ground and wielded his sword with two hands.  He evaded the next strike and jumped toward his adversary, slicing off a large section of armor on its ribcage.  Unfortunately, Toby no longer had the dexterity of his younger years, and could not evade the return blow from iron knuckle.  With no other option, Toby grabbed iron knuckle’s axe hand, making a full swing impossible.  The iron knuckle responded by elbowing Toby in the face twice, dropping him to the ground. 


Iron knuckle prepared for a kill swing, but Link slashed him hard in the side, cutting off more armor and distracting the iron knuckle’s attention.  Toby got up, panting hard.  They all faced one another down.  Link tried mightily to fight through his injuries.  Toby fought against his own pain and father time, trying to summon the inspiration and imagination of his youth.  With less armor on, iron knuckle’s movements became quicker.  He pressed toward Link and swung.  Link rolled on the ground to avoid the attack, and swung for its legs.  As he did so he let out a yelp of pain as his back flared with what felt like fire. 


The battle wore on for several more minutes.  All three combatants were tired, sore, and looking for a way to end the battle. 


“Let’s both go forward and dive at him.” Toby said.  Link nodded.  They awaited iron knuckle’s pursuit, and he swung the axe vertically toward Link.  Link evaded the strike with a backflip, then Toby dove at iron knuckle’s left leg.  He sunk the sword in, and Link followed with a slash to iron knuckle’s right leg a second later.  The one-two attack knocked it off its feet.  At last, Toby and Link sunk their blades into its stomach, killing it. 


They pushed hard against iron knuckle’s throne, pushing it over into the lava stream.  It created a bridge for them to cross on.  They moved gingerly across the room to the door and opened it.  The next chamber was one Link immediately recognized, for it was exactly the same as the one inside the Tree of Prostitutes.  A pyramid shaped altar was in front of them, flanked by pillars surrounding it.  On the altar’s table was a pyramid shaped ruby.  And standing behind the table was Link’s kidnapper. 


“I knew that you would come.” Nobrax said.  “Your pride wouldn’t let you simply leave.” 


“Revenge…is what I have come for.  I will make you suffer the way you made me.” Link said.


“Hah!” Nobrax said.  “I know how much pain I put you through.  You may be a great hero but right now you’re weak.  You wouldn’t stand a chance.” 


“Like I told you, you should have killed me when you had the chance.  Now I will vanquish you like I have so many others.”  Link said with confidence.


Nobrax pulled out a sword and hopped down from the altar.  He moved to engage Link, but before he even got there, an arrow sped through the room, piercing Nobrax in the left arm.


“I’ll show you what happens to people who hurt my boy.” Toby shouted as he stepped out from behind a pillar.  He came up and punched Nobrax in the face twice, then kicked him in the solar plexus.  Nobrax was on the verge of passing out.


“I’m also not stupid.” Link said.  “I care not about anything but making sure you suffer for what you did to me.  Link ripped the arrow out of Nobrax’s arm, and then proceeded to make a cut on his chest with his sword.  Blood poured out of the wound.


“Dear lord help me!” Nobrax shouted.


“Too bad the goddesses won’t have pity on you after what you’ve done!” Link shouted.  He was readying his blade to make another incision right on his neck.  Suddenly, a great burst of dark energy rang down from the ceiling, knocking Link and Toby backward about ten feet.  Link’s back again flared with a fiery, stabbing pain.  When the energy cleared there was a young girl draped over Nobrax.  She had golden blond hair and was wearing a purple dress.  Her skin tone was almost as green as Link’s tunic. 


“You meanie, you’ve beaten him within an inch of his life!”


“Who are you?” Toby asked her.


The young girl, who Link figured couldn’t be more than eleven or twelve, looked into Nobrax’s eyes for a moment, and then turned toward Toby.  “What would you know about losing everything you have?  What would you know about watching the person closest to you in the whole world die?  What would you know about being alone in the world, forced to fend for yourself in a cruel world not meant for an innocent child?!”


“Maybe if you told us who you are, we could tell you everything we know.” Link said.


The girl zipped across the room, quick as lightning, and looked Link directly in the eye.  He could sense a strange power emanating from her.  It was ghostly, almost like that of a poe.  It was as if she had power over his subconscious.


“You want the truth?  Come to my mother’s grave.  I’ll be waiting.”


In a flash, the girl zipped back to Nobrax and grabbed him.  Another flash of dark energy filled the room.  When the energy dissipated, both Nobrax and the girl were gone.


“If that is who I think it is…” Link said.  His mind became hazy.  


Link found himself slumped on the floor.  The encounter left him totally weak.  Toby rushed over to help him back to his feet.  The two weary warriors made their way to the altar, and picked up the Ruby of Malice.  Raising it high above their heads, they finally let out a collective sigh of relief.



Chapter 12: The Pyramids of Sin


“Zelda, I don’t know what to do with myself.  I don’t know what you should do with me.  I cannot guarantee that it won’t happen again.  Alicia even said so herself, and she’s an expert in dark magic.  It breaks my heart knowing what I’ve done.”


“Kylara, you can’t blame yourself for this.  You had some very powerful villains come after you.  First it was Agahnim, and now Dethl.  These are fiends that only a sacred few can possibly hope to defeat.”


Kylara was despondent, just moping in the corner of the dungeon cell.  “I’m serious Zelda.  I’m not leaving this cell.  Either I stay here locked up, or I leave the country.  I’m not going to take a chance on myself trying to kill another important person like you or Link because my mind is too, too, too possessable!  I love this kingdom too much!”


Zelda was crestfallen.  “I wish I knew what to do to convince you that it’s okay.  Really, you are your own worst enemy.  I do not hate you.  I do not look down upon you.  Ask Mariel.  She feels bad for you and you tried to take her life while under possession.  We all know that you are not a person that would knowingly try to hurt others.”


Kylara looked up and gazed into the eyes of the princess.  “If there is a way for me to help, please let me know.  I want to help defeat Dethl.” 


“Of course you do.  We are working on a solution.  Once we figure out the riddle, Impa, Link, Krin, and the rest of the royal guard and myself will make a plan.  I will be sure to include you, Mariel, and anybody else that will be of assistance.”


Zelda was about to leave the dungeon.  “One more thing.” Kylara said.  Zelda turned around.  “Please thank Mariel for me and, tell Link that I’m sorry.” 


Zelda nodded her head.  She left the dungeon and walked up two flights of stairs into the basement of the castle.  She walked into a small room, then out into a large room with statues.  Just to the south of there was a large room that was filled with stacks of books.  The castle library was very large and contained books and scrolls on all sorts of topics.  From the table at the east end of the stacks Zelda looked up to the bridge leading across the room.  It was three, maybe four years earlier when Link had rescued her from the dungeon and led her out via that same bridge.  That stormy night was the turning point of her life, and surely that for her hero as well.  How she longed for him to finally return. 




The voice of Alicia, another descendant of the wise men, knocked Zelda out of her stupor.  She immediately sought out the maiden, who had blond hair.  Her gown had a green skirt and a purple bodice with the sheikah eye on it.


“I’ve uncovered a scroll here that might be of help to us.  It describes how the Pyramid of Power was created by Ganondorf.” Alicia said. 


“Now that is rather interesting indeed.” Zelda said.  “What is it called?”


Alicia beckoned to another maiden who was standing along the wall.  This maiden wore a turquoise gown and had much darker skin than her comrades.  Her hair was as red as a flame cascading down her back. 


“Alicia, me being linked to the ancient line of the desert and all, perhaps I could better explain.”


“Sure thing Annabelle, tell us what you’ve uncovered.” Alicia said.


“So, we all know that when Ganondorf found the Triforce and touched it, his heart was twisted with evil.  The Triforce is a reflection of the heart, and it ultimately changed him into the ugly, pig like beast that we knew as Ganon.  It is said here that every evil being in the world is guilty of at least one of seven primary character flaws.  According to the laws sent forth by Nayru, the goddess of wisdom, these seven are lust, wrath, envy, pride, gluttony, sloth, and greed.”


“These are the seven deadly sins, are they not?” Zelda asked.  “I understand that other kingdoms are known to adhere to these even though they do not believe in our goddesses.”


“That is true.  But listen to this.” Alicia said.  “It is said that Ganondorf was the perfect villain, a divine representation of the goddess of power.  The scroll says that had Din created one to carry out a wish of true power over all, she would have created Ganondorf herself.  He had everything.  He had the wrath to destroy all in his path.  He had the envy of other rulers and other monarchs that which developed a desire for him to become greater than all of them.  His pride was unmatched, so unmatched in fact that he never lost a battle.  If he lost a drop of blood in battle, he would literally cut himself afterward in the same way in which he was injured, just to show that nobody could hurt him like he himself could.”


“That is mindless and stupid.” Zelda said. 


“It was the gerudo way.” Annabelle said.  “Remember that Ganondorf, as the lone male of his tribe, sought to make his nation of female thieves and warriors invincible.  He tried mightily to get them never to feel any sort of pain or fear.  Many times he would shed his own blood for his people.  He was actually a just man in his early years prior to his betrayal of the King.”


“The betrayal that set off the Ocarina War?” Zelda asked.


Anabelle nodded her head. 


“At any rate, this scroll right here, entitled “Triforce Turmoil, How the Golden Land went Dark” goes on to detail the creation of the Dark World after Ganondorf touched the Triforce.  While Agahnim was hard at work tracking us down and sending us there, Ganon was hard at work shaping the landforms of the Golden Land.  He created a giant citadel in the mountains first.  His ultimate goal was to make the place impenetrable.  He did this through the creation of seven crystal pyramids, one for each of the seven deadly sins.  In his heart, he believed in the power of these seven sins, and with the Triforce’s granting of the wish, Ganon’s Tower was rendered impenetrable.” Annabelle said. 


“Until the seven of us came along and broke the barrier.” Zelda said.  “The good powers within the seven crystals defeated the evil powers within the seven pyramids.”


“Allow me to read off the names of the seven pyramids.” Annabelle said.  They are the Emerald of Promiscuity, the Ruby of Malice, the Sapphire of Jealousy, the Topaz of Arrogance, the Amethyst of Materiality, the Peridot of Mindlessness, and the Diamond of Infinity.”


“It sounds to me like each of the seven pyramids references one of the seven deadly sins.  Promiscuity is a sign of lust within a person, as does Malice for wrath.  Arrogance is definitely a sign of overarching pride, and the want for material wealth coincides with gluttony.  Combined together these pyramids must be quite a concoction of evil, dark magic.” Zelda said.  “Interesting that back then we were able to overcome this despite not knowing what we were up against.”


“If memory serves, we were the last three, were we not?” Alicia asked. 


“Indeed.  Kylara was the fourth, you were the fifth, I was the sixth, and Zelda was the seventh.”


“Where is Kylara right now anyways?” Alicia asked. 


“She has locked herself in the dungeon.  I just conversed with her but she does not want to be bothered.  Not to detract ourselves, but are we not missing the main point?  What happened to these pyramids after their powers were deactivated?”


“We aren’t sure what happened to them.” Alicia said. 


Zelda had an idea.  She turned through the scroll frantically until she reached the end, only to not find what she desired.  She turned to several other scrolls but found nothing.  After about ten minutes of looking she was about to give up when she spotted a book on one of the shelves entitled, “The Pyramids of Sin”.  She took the book back to the table and turned to the back few pages.  After a few moments of skimming through the text, the truth was unearthed. 


Zelda’s eyes showed complete joy.  “Here it shows a map of the Dark World deconstructing, and where the pyramids of the seven deadly sins went to.  It says that they were spread out all across the world, so that no being would be able to find them all and reunite them.” 


Zelda continued to page down.  “The Emerald of Promiscuity is in the Kingdom of Darkmar, in a resting tomb known as the Arbol de Puta.  The Ruby of Malice is in the Canyon Cavern, in the cliffs overlooking the northern seacoast of Holodrum.  The Sapphire of Jealousy…” 




Zelda stopped reading and looked up.  Krin was charging into the room as quickly as his body would allow.  “Pardon me your majesty, but I have big news.  Your husband is back!  He has arrived just now and he’s in rather rotten shape!”


Zelda, Annabelle, and Alicia quickly made their way north through several rooms and took the stairs back to the main floor.  Servants and guards quickly made way for the three sprinting maidens as they ran with reckless abandon for the main hall.  They were out of breath when they laid eyes on Toby and Link.  Link looked terrible.  He had bruises covering his face, and a major laceration visible on one of his hands. 


“Zelda, I can explain everything.” Krin said.  “We may have uncovered a greater evil than what we previously knew.”


“I’ll hear everything, but get him to the infirmary.  Now!”  Zelda shouted. 


Maple looked over Link’s wounds, and grimaced when she laid eyes on the abrasions on his back.  It was just weeks earlier since Link had been incapacitated by Kylara.  It was as though whomever did this knew exactly what the hero’s weakness was. 


“Curses on whoever used lemon juice…that stuff is acidic.  Once that gets into your blood its painful, very painful indeed.” Maple remarked. 


“How long will it take for him to heal?” Zelda asked. 


“Well, the abrasions are deep.  I think his face is fine and it’ll get better quickly.  The back though, that’s a lot more troublesome.  I think he may have some permanent scars there.”


“More battle scars for me, I take them with honor.” Link said with a grin.


“He wasn’t that difficult to locate.  All I had to do was track the enemy movements, and they led to a mountain hideout in northern Holodrum.” Toby said.  “But when I reached the cavern, I noticed something really strange.  Everybody in the place suddenly started spilling out of the hideout and started marching toward the plains.  As Link and I were leaving, I could see rising smoke and fire to our south.” 


“You don’t suppose there was fighting taking place in Holodrum on a large scale?” Krin asked. 


“Oh there was.” Link said.  “The night before I was kidnapped, Marin and I were at an inn in the town of Horon when the town was ransacked by nightmares.  We tried to escape to the north, and that’s when this dastardly villain named Nobrax knocked me out with a ball and chain and dragged me back to his lair.  He told me that he was the son of Onox, the villain I defeated in order to free the Oracle of Seasons.  He did this to me in retribution and said he was going to take my life.  But right before Toby got to me, I overheard him say something about wanting to acquire the Ruby of Malice, and by doing so they would prevent Koholint’s re-emergence.” 


“The Ruby of Malice?  That’s the second Pyramid of Sin!” Alicia exclaimed. 


“Yeah, we have it right here.” Toby said as he produced the red pyramid along with a green one.  “We have the Emerald of Promiscuity too.”


“Marin and I collected the green one in Darkmar.” Link said. 


“Where is Marin now?” Zelda asked.


“I don’t have the slightest idea.  Nobrax tried to capture her but she was able to escape.  She’s probably still in Holodrum.” Link said. 


“She’s in danger.” Krin said.  “It looks like this Nobrax has a problem with Dethl, and they are fighting over control of Holodrum.  The civilians of Horon and other parts of the…republic…Din it sounds so wrong to say that word, are in a lot of danger.” 


“She has the ability to fly.  Her mother is a Great Fairy.”  She probably can’t fly across the sea but she could definitely take refuge in Labrynna.” Link said. 


“Were you two able to eliminate Nobrax?” Krin said. 


“We had the upper hand.  I struck him with an arrow and Link landed several blows with his fists before he was saved by an unlikely individual.” Toby said.


“Nobrax wasn’t working alone?” Zelda asked.


“No, evidently he was not.” Toby said grimly.  “A young girl appeared and attacked with dark magic.  She confronted us and basically told us that we were bad people because her late mother told her so.  Then she told us to go to her mother’s grave if we wanted to know the truth.”


“That sounds like a threat to me.” Alicia said. 


“But maybe it means that one of the Pyramids of Sin is there!” Annabelle exclaimed.


“What are these Pyramids of Sin you speak of.  Are these them?” Link asked, holding the emerald and ruby in his hands. 


“Precisely.  Ganon created seven Pyramids of Sin to represent the seven deadly sins.  Their original use was to maintain the evil power barrier around Ganon’s Tower.  We researched this extensively in the castle library while you were gone.” Zelda said.  “According to the scroll, it says that the pyramids were scattered across the world when the Dark World was destroyed when you destroyed Ganon.  As we know now, one of them went to Darkmar, and another went to Holodrum.  We were just discussing where the others are when you arrived.”


“Can I hear where the other pyramids are?  This is the journey I must take.” Link said.


“As long as you promise to do everything Maple and I tell you to do to heal.  I’m not letting you leave here again until you’re well.” Zelda said sternly.  “I care too much about you.”


“I’m not really in a position to disagree.” Link said.  “But if I don’t know what I must do to restore peace, it will eat away at my soul.  Please.”  


Zelda turned and nodded to Krin, who nodded back.  He took Annabelle’s hand, and the two left the room.  They all waited in nervous anticipation for several minutes.  Finally, Annabelle and Krin emerged with the scroll.  They handed it to Zelda, who quickly looked up the key passage.


“The Sapphire of Jealousy is located in the Kingdom of Marith, inside Abraxis Seashore Palace.”


Link nodded.  It had been a long while since he had last been to Marith. 


“The Topaz of Arrogance is located in the Kingdom of Calatia, inside the Temple of the Hero’s Nativity.”


“A very interesting name for that one.” Toby said. 


Zelda continued to read.  “The Peridot of Mindlessness is located in the Kingdom of Hyrule, inside Chris Houlihan’s Secret Room.”  She shook her head.  “I have never even heard of that.  Is this a riddle meant to play with our minds?”


“Was the scroll correct as to the location of the first two pyramids?  They were in a giant tree and a clifftop cave overlooking the seashore.” Link said. 


“Indeed it was correct.  But who is Chris Houlihan?  It’s such a bizarre name.” Zelda said. 


“My lady, I am certain that we were figure this out later.  Please continue.” Krin said. 


“The Diamond of Infinity…can only be found once the first six pyramids have been unearthed.  It was entrusted to the Wind Fish, grand deity of the oceans.”


“Wait, we missed one…the Amethyst!” Annabelle exclaimed. 


“Oh, that is right!” Zelda said quickly.  She paged back.  “The Amethyst of Materiality…is located in the Kingdom of Labrynna, in the deepest basement of the Black Tower of Lynna.”


Link was absolutely stone faced as Zelda finished reading.  He scanned the depths of his mind, flashing back to his encounter with the girl.  He could hear her voice playing in his brain.


“You want the truth?  Come to my mother’s grave.  I’ll be waiting.” 


“I know who the little girl is.  Oh Farore, why must you torture me so?”



Chapter 13: Labrynna Falls, Love Rises


Over the next few weeks, Link was beside himself, confined to an infirmary bed for the most part as his wounds healed.  As May gave way to June, the temperatures rose across Hyrule, turning the kingdom into an oven during the daytime.  It reminded him of Koholint, the very place that they were now seeking to return to the world. 


Holodrum was lost, the kingdom being completely overrun by the armies of Dethl and Nobrax, who had taken to fighting against each other for control of the territory.  With such strong enemies on the loose, it was only a matter of time until somebody else felt the pain as well. 


On the third of June, Link was walking in the castle courtyard when Krin approached him. 


“I have grave news.” Krin said.  He mouthed it to Link. 


“We have to let the King know.” Link said. 


Link stepped forward before the King.  “If I may, your majesty, I have come with news of another letter, one that was sent to me by my dear friend from Darkmar.”


“Very well Link, what does the letter say?” Harkinian asked. 


“Dear Link.  I am sorry about what happened to you in Holodrum.  The evil man came so quickly and I didn’t know what to do.  By the time this letter arrives, I trust that you will have arrived back in Hyrule.  I am writing because from my hiding place in Labrynna, it is clear that we will be facing invasion soon.  The nightmares that have overrun Holodrum have been preparing for an attack on Lynna for about a week now.  The townspeople have been scouting the outskirts of the city and are bracing for the worst.  Scouts in the area have also reported that a second large force is coming our way from the west.  They are led by a young girl named Viranda.  This girl despite her young age commands a large group of followers and she claims to be the daughter of an evil sorceress named Veran.  She is aligned with Nobrax, and vows to gain revenge for her mother’s defeat just a few short years ago. With these three forces of evil bearing down on Lynna, I am certain that I will flee, but to where I am not certain.  Please tell the King of Hyrule to amass whatever forces he can muster and prepare for battle.  There is going to be a massacre in Lynna.  Labrynna must be free if the Amethyst of Materiality is to be recovered.  Marin.”


Harkinian sat back and stroked his bearded chin.  “This situation seems to be getting more unstable by the day.  At first I thought that Koholint’s disappearance was solely to blame, but the fact of the matter is that a new generation of evil has risen to cause trouble.  These children, Nobrax and Viranda…they likely were born into their situation.  Their minds probably cannot comprehend the pain they cause to others, all in the name of avenging their mother and father.” 


“Your majesty, I understand everything you say.  But regardless of the circumstances, we must deal with the threat at hand.” Krin said. 


“Your majesty, what Krin says is true, but let me tell you the nature of the battle ahead of us.”  Link knelt down in front of the throne.  “I swear to you, there are three enemies that I have faced that still haunt my dreams.  One is Ganon.   The second is Dethl.  But the sorceress of shadows, Veran…she is the third. There is a reason I never speak of her.  She was evil in its purest form.  She cared only about her own vanity.  She cared only about having complete control of everybody around her.  She possessed people.  She literally took control of Ambi’s body, and did so to others.”


“Ambi?  The monarch of Labrynna from centuries ago?” Harkinian asked.


“Yes.  Veran used the powers of Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, to make the land go back in time four centuries.  It was all part of a plot between her, Onox, and Twinrova to revive Ganon.  Once Veran was separated from Ambi’s body, she attempted to possess me in retribution.  In those precious seconds, I felt a dark, pure evil attempt to permeate my very soul.  I felt so sick that I thought I would perish.  When her attempt at possession was unsuccessful, she attempted to kill me.  The battle I had with her atop the Black Tower of Lynna was no less fierce than the ones I waged with Ganon at the Pyramid of Power or the one against Dethl at the Wind Fish’s Egg.”


Link rose.  “When I was in his possession, Nobrax was much more cerebral, much more sadistic, much more purely dedicated to his want to inflict pain than Onox ever was.  And Onox, he was a whimp compared to Veran.  Nobrax was powerful enough to make me beg the goddesses for salvation.  I fear that if we go to Labrynna…if we set foot upon Veran’s grave, Viranda and her forces will defeat us.  And trust me, she won’t take any prisoners.”


Harkinian sat back once again.  He took a moment to think.  “If this young mage is truly as strong as you think she might be, and with Dethl and the nightmares so near, our forces really won’t be enough to liberate Labrynna.  We will need our allies to assist us.”


The King rose from his throne.  “Link, last year you made an alliance with the Kingdom of Marith.  Is there any reason to suspect that King Marxis would not commit his armies to the fight to liberate Labrynna and Holodrum?


“I think we will have to convince him that the survival of Labrynna and Holodrum impacts Marith in more ways than he can imagine.  I think I could easily manage this.” Zelda said.


“Captain Krin, would a combined force between Hyrule, Marith, and Calatia be enough to achieve victory?” Harkinian asked. 


“Labrynna is an unpredictable place to conduct a large-scale battle, but I think such an army would be sufficient.” Krin said.  “The danger would be if the evildoers were to unite, in which case an attack would be more difficult to conduct.” 


“There is very little chance that Dethl would align with Nobrax and Viranda.” Zelda said.  “His aim to bring back Koholint runs counter to the evil childrens’ aim to conquer Holodrum and Labrynna.  Dethl is looking for a country to make his own without Koholint in existence.  He is an unwanted neighbor to Nobrax and Viranda.” 


“Well then, it is settled.   Zelda, you and Krin will go with the Knights’ first regiment and proceed across the ocean to Marith and meet with King Marxis.  Your other objective will be to recover the Sapphire of Jealousy.  Link, once you are cleared for battle you will join with Mariel and the Knights’ third regiment.  You will go to Calatia and meet with Queen Seline, after which you will seek to obtain the Topaz of Arrogance.”


Everybody in the room knelt and curtseyed for the King.  Then they took their leave.


That night, Link found himself in a place he wished he had seen more of in the month since his was wed to Zelda, and that in their bedroom high atop the castle tower.  They had already been through so much.  Their homeland had been invaded.  He had journeyed to two other kingdoms and nearly been killed in the process.  Now they were about to split up again.


“Zelda, have I ever told you just how amazing you are?” Link asked.


Zelda looked up at her hero, the satin folds of her nightdress cascading to the ground.  “Of course you have.  There was a time where you would tell me of my bright, beaming smile and my glimmering azure eyes.  There was a time where you would take my hand and tell me that I was everything that you ever desired.”


Link looked sad.  He took Zelda’s hand.  “I must apologize, my love.” 


“For what?” Zelda asked.


“For allowing recent events to get in the way of making you feel like the truly breathtaking woman that you are.” Link responded.  “For me not being able to give you everything that you truly deserve.  We should be together on holiday, getting closer with one another and realizing the goals and duties that are ahead of us as heir to the throne.  The times of fighting and ruthlessness against us should have been over long ago.  We shouldn’t be bound to having to fight like this during the first months of our marriage.”


“Link, do not talk as though you do not realize the seriousness of the situation we are in.  Of course I would want nothing else in the world than to be with you every day, every hour, driven wild by the way you look at me, the way you talk to me.  I know in my heart just how much you love me and to the incredible lengths you went to protect me and the Kingdom of Hyrule.  This battle is as much as mine as it is yours.  My father has laid forth our quest.  If it does not include us being together for a while, then that is how it must be.” Zelda said.


“Zelda.” Link said passionately.  He held her closely around her waist.  “When I was imprisoned in that cave in Holodrum…I realized just what true love means.  The thought of me dying and leaving you alone in this world, it was such a burden on my heart that I literally cried for divine intervention.  This whole situation has unfolded so quickly…I feel as though fate may not allow us to live as long as we wish.  And yet…I cannot allow myself to let go of you.  You mean the world to me…you are the world to me.”


“Link…I know not what the goddesses intended for us going forward.  I know not what they intend for Hyrule either.  But I do know this much.  They intended for us to become one in mind and spirit.  They intended for us to be together until death do us part, and perhaps beyond that.  And I know in my heart and soul that they intended for us to carry on the royal bloodline.” Zelda said. 


“But how are we going to…” Link started.  He was hushed by Zelda, who quickly raised her lips to his and kissed him passionately.  She quickly put her hands around his neck and held him tightly.  His lips began to respond to hers.  Waves of passion quickly flooded over them.  Finally, Zelda broke the kiss and stepped playfully to their bed.  “I want this night to be about us, and not anything else in the world.  I want to be with my hero.” 


“In your premonitions, did the goddesses intend for this?” Link asked playfully.


“The details were best to be figured out as we go.” Zelda said.


What followed next was the most intimate, passionate, and loving moment of their lives.  The hero and the princess had realized that true love that they had denied one another.  Come the morning, they would be ready to make that love last forever, no matter the consequences.



Chapter 14: Marith Beckons


The next night, Princess Zelda found herself in the newly founded town of Darunia.  The village, named for the bygone Hyrulian Sage of Fire, was nestled in a very strategic location in Hyrule’s northeast.  It was right between the source of Zora’s River and the foothills leading toward Death Mountain, which ran along Hyrule’s north.  In fact, if one stood on the large statue of the Goron leader in the town square, one could see Zora’s Waterfall, then about face and see the Tower of Hera rising high above the landscape.


She, along with the other knights of Hyrule’s first regiment, were here on a mission.  They were to catch a ship the next day for the Kingdom of Marith.  Zelda had never been there, but Link had told her stories about it from his diplomatic mission there a year earlier.  It was a land that was rather mountainous and volcanic along the coastline, but more flat in the interior, giving it a rich abundance of raw materials but also plenty of areas for farming too.  The trouble was the harsh climate.  Situated east-northeast of Hyrule, the country had a tendency to get whacked by driving rainstorms coming off the ocean. 


One such rainstorm of course, would live in Hyrulian lore forever.  Of course, the storm that marooned Link on Koholint was not of a natural origin.  It worried her greatly that they were sailing on the same course her hero had almost a year ago to the day.  For the first day of the voyage she engrossed herself in a book about Koholint.  The book, one that the royal scribes had penned from Link’s descriptions of the island, was one of Hyrule’s greatest treasures.  Harkinian had nearly forbid her to take it, but Zelda would not leave the castle without it.  To her detractors, Zelda seemed very stubborn and selfish, but such emotion was never without reason.


The next morning Zelda was reading once again, when Captain Krin knocked at her door.  “Your highness, are you still pouring through that book?” Krin asked her.  “Why don’t you come up to deck and take in the view?  It is a glorious day.”


Zelda looked down at the book.  “I suppose you’re right.  Perhaps some fresh air would do me well.”


Up on deck, the 11th of June was a beautiful sunny day.  Zelda looked out to the south toward the sun.  It reflected off of the ocean like a beautiful wave of light. 


“The natural world never ceases to amaze me.” Krin said.  “Having traveled all over the world has lead me to take great appreciation for it.”


“It is rather breathtaking, the size of the ocean.  The idea that you can sail out here and not see any land for days truly is something.  Given the distance between us, it is remarkable that we have such a strong relationship with Marith.  Link really did a great job.  I ought to send him to Darkmar again once this battle is won.”  Zelda said. 


“It would be a decent proposal my lady, but King Solon is not a forward-thinking or enlightened despot.  King Marxis of Marith seeks to grow his country and improve his people’s standard of living through trade and cooperate.  Solon seems only to be interested in making himself rich.  Hence why the Tanolians keep attacking his kingdom.” Krin said. 


“You know Krin, for a commander, you sure know a lot about diplomacy.  You would have made a good King were you born into the bloodline.” Zelda said. 


“You flatter too much, my lady.  Your wisdom and intelligence far surpasses mine.” Krin said.  “Pray tell, what is in that book that is so important?”


“It describes all the landforms, people, and monsters found on Koholint.”  Zelda said. 


“Why is that such necessary information if Koholint no longer exists?” Krin asked. 


“Oh nothing really, just a security blanket just in case Dethl decides to show up and create another massive storm that causes us to wash up there.” Zelda said. 


Just then, there was a screeching sound from the south.  Zelda and Krin both looked up into the sky.  Within the next few seconds, a dark blob became visible in the distance.  It was flying toward them.  Another screech was heard as it blocked out part of the sun, casting a shadow over the ship. 


“Is that…is that what I think it is?” Krin asked. 


Zelda was breathless as a giant whale in vivid colors of blue, green, and purple flew toward them, letting out high pitched noises as it flew through the air.  It passed quickly, continuing its flight to the north.  The giant flying whale turned back around and skimmed along the water before turning away again to the west.  It was seemingly carefree, without a care in the world as to them or anything else. 


“This must be where Koholint once was.” Zelda said.  “It is where we must return.”


A day later, Zelda, Krin, and the knights landed in the port of Abraxis, a bustling town along the rocky seacoast of southwestern Marith.  Seeing the Wind Fish in person for the first time renewed Zelda’s sense of purpose.  And yet, she felt a twinge of remorse, for she knew that their actions would ultimately send such a happy, cheerful creature back into slumber.


After a ruthless day of climbing, they descended the opposite side of the mountain range late on June 13th.  On the morning of the 14th, Marith Castle became visible in the distance.  Trumpets blared in the foreground as the caravan pulled up to the castle gates. 


“Welcome to Marith, your majesty.  Allow us to escort you to our royal quarters.” One of the soldiers said to Zelda.


“It is our pleasure to be in your presence.  I trust that King Marxis is prepared for our meeting.”


“Indeed your majesty.  The chefs have even prepared a feast of broiled Octorok with mushrooms straight from the Lost Woods.  It has been quite a delightful treat for our citizenry since Prince Link signed our accord last year.” Another soldier said. 


“It is good to see that our treaty is reaping benefits already.” Zelda said. 


Zelda had never seen Marith Castle before, but had heard about it from Link’s descriptions.  It was not as large or as extravagant as Hyrule Castle, but the treasures inside were no less precious.  Inside were portraits, statues, and illustrations of various people and events in Marithian history.  One glimpse across the hall into the library revealed thousands of books.  When they reached the throne room, banners with the colors of Marith hung from the ceiling and a great silver throne lay at the back of the room.  Other royals may have thought of it as primitive and cheap, but Zelda thought it to be charming. 


“Good day to you, Princess of Hyrule.  I have waited long to finally meet you.” King Marxis said as he rose from his throne.  Zelda curtseyed, then extended her hand and Marxis kissed it.        


“Your highness, I present to you the first in command of the Knights of Hyrule, Captain Krin.  These are some of his closest henchmen, Aldeus and Cintor.”


“It is a pleasure to meet you all.” Marxis said.  “But pray tell, where is Prince Link?  I was certain he would be on this voyage.”


“My apologies for any misunderstanding.  My husband is on a diplomatic mission to Calatia as we speak today.  It is likely that he is meeting with Queen Seline right now.  His message is the same as the one I present to you today.”  Zelda said.   


“Go ahead.” Marxis said.


“I’ll break the news very simply.  Labrynna has fallen.” Zelda said. 


Marxis was shocked.  “To whom?” He asked. 


“My understanding is that an army of nightmares originally from Koholint has overrun Holodrum, and played a part in capturing Labrynna as well.  But there was a second army, one led by the daughter of the Sorceress of Shadows that has captured Lynna.”  Zelda said. 


Marxis sunk back into his chair.  “This is a most unfortunate development.  I had heard about the trouble in Holodrum but was unaware of this new threat in Labrynna.  Veran’s daughter is to blame you say?”


“Indeed.  My husband came face to face with her in a cavern in the north of Holodrum.  He tells me that she ultimately wants to restore her family name to greatness, and to avenge the death of her mother.  I swear that she seeks retribution against my husband for his role in her death.”


“She probably wishes for retribution against Nayru and Ralph as well.” Marxis said. 


“Who is Ralph?” Zelda asked. 


“Ralph is the husband of Nayru, the Oracle of Ages.  He is the leader of the Knights of Labrynna.  If the country has already fallen it is likely that he and many others have already been killed or captured.”


“How do you know all of this?” Zelda asked. 


“We signed peace and trade agreements with Labrynna at about the same time as with Hyrule.”


“But how is that possible?  Labrynna is a republic of the people.  How do you make agreements when you do not have a monarch ruling the country?” Zelda asked.  She was surprised at the direction of the conversation, for she was the one asking all the questions, not Marxis.

Ralph may not be a monarch in fact, but he and Nayru command so much respect among the citizenry that they elected them as leaders.  I actually traveled to Labrynna to meet with Ralph about two weeks after Link left here.  Since the agreement was signed we saw an influx of fish, whale oil, and other marine goods from Labrynna in exchange for iron, nickel, and precious metals from our mountains.” Marxis said.


“It sounds as though you have established a deep connection socially and economically with the people of Labrynna.  I suppose then, that you would not be opposed to aligning with us in a campaign against the invaders in an effort to liberate Labrynna?” Zelda asked. 


Marxis thought for a moment.  “We do not have a large standing army like that of Hyrule, and we don’t have quite the training that I am sure Captain Krin and his henchmen have put them through.  However, what we do have is vast natural resources, and great craftsmen.  Our weaponry is second to none.  If the nightmares and this new army led by Veran’s daughter were able to overtake Labrynna so easily, who is to say that our kingdoms couldn’t be next?”


“That is my thinking as well.” Zelda said. 


“I only request that our soldiers be left to defend Marith until the time of the attack arrives, and that they be led by my first in command.”  Marxis said. 


“Who might that be?” Zelda asked. 


Just then, a young man wearing a purple cloak entered the room.  He had hair down to his shoulders and had a handsome face that had Zelda been single, would surely have made her go weak in the knees. 


“Allow me to present the head of the Knights of Marith, Richard.


“It is a pleasure to meet you, your majesty.” Richard said as he bowed for Zelda. 


“Richard…I know I have heard that name before.  Weren’t you one of the band members that broke open the Wind Fish’s egg?” Zelda asked. 


“Indeed I was.  I was stuck in the dream world of Koholint longer than just about anybody there, which was why I claimed the Kanalet Castle for myself.” Richard said. 


“It will be a pleasure working with you to liberate Labrynna.” Krin said. 


“I assure you that my men will be ready to go at the appointed time.” Richard said.  “Oh, and Zelda, there’s one more thing.” 


Richard moved forward and examined Zelda’s hand “That ring…its Koholintian isn’t it?”


“Link gave it to me when he came back from Koholint, he proposed to me that night.”


Richard looked Zelda straight in the eyes.  “If you seek the treasure of Abraxis…the third Pyramid of Sin…do not yield to depths of jealousy.  Our kingdom’s history is steeped within the shroud of envy, always wanting what others want; riches, resources, an easier day’s work.  Let the wisdom of your heart guide you and you have nothing to fear.”


“Thank you Richard.  I will do well to follow your advice.” Zelda said.  She curtseyed before Richard and Marxis, and the rest of the hyrulian delegation bowed.  The parties all signed a pact that guaranteed the liberation of Labrynna would occur within the second week of July, giving the armies three weeks to prepare and another half week for transit.  After the signing they retired to the great hall for the dinner meal of Hyrulian cuisine.  It was a remarkable gesture for a kingdom that had just recently become friendly with Hyrule.


The next morning the caravan left Marith Castle for the return leg to Abraxis.  After another rough day of climbing they reached the outskirts of town.  Just east of town was an elaborate shrine that stretched across the beach.  It was partially carved into the jagged hillside, with the remainder sitting on an outcropping nestled above the water. 


“Krin, I want you to enter with me.  Ned, you take over the group in his stead until we return.  If we do not arrive back within two hours, you are to leave and return to Hyrule without us.” 


“But your highness, the King would never…” Ned started.


“Just do as I say, please.  The fate of the world may be at stake here.” Zelda said sternly. 


Ned nodded his head, and led the men away from the palace entrance.  Krin and Zelda entered the dungeon slowly.  The initial room was a room filled nearly to the ceiling with treasure.  A grand collection of gold, silver, and bronze with objects from teapots to gauntlets filled the way.  There was a sign in the center of the room.


“To those who enter this place, take what you want.  Have the wealth you have always desired.”  Krin read.  There was an insignia but it was in an ancient language. 


Zelda looked around for an exit into the next room, but could not find one.  Remembering what Richard had said, see made sure not to touch any of the artifacts piled high into a mountain of wealth greater than that of Hyrule’s royal treasury.  She continued to search, but was interrupted when she heard clanging behind her.  She drew her bow, only to find that Krin was digging through the treasure and throwing heaps of golden coins into the air behind him. 


“Krin!  You’re going to get us into trouble doing that!” Zelda snapped. 


Krin did not respond, but instead continued tossing the gold around everywhere, as though he had lost his mind and become a little kid in a candy store.  Zelda was about to knock some sense into him when suddenly an avalanche came at them.  The giant pile of coins settled down about three feet from the ceiling, revealing a doorway up above. 


“The way forward, my lady.” Krin said as he extended his arm toward Zelda.  Zelda smiled.  Just like Link, Krin could be so pig-headed at times, but he really did have good intentions and really cared deeply about his subjects.  In the next room, there was a great hall, with lots and lots of food piled onto a pair of tables.  It suddenly hit Zelda that she had not eaten in nearly two days and felt famished.   In her observation of the room, she noticed that the door to the next room was locked.  Quickly she went after a plate of what turned out to be a fresh loaf of bread.  Surely given their location it must have been enchanted, Zelda figured. 


“My lady, you really shouldn’t eat that!” Krin shouted. 


“Oh but my lord, I haven’t eaten in two whole days!” Zelda joked in a sassy tone of voice.  How will I ever make it through this awful place without starving?”


Krin realized that he had been fooled.  The princess could be so mischievous when she wanted to be.  “My lady, all trickery aside, shouldn’t we be looking for a key?” he asked. 


Zelda flashed a smile from across the room.  In her right hand was a busted open, tender piece of Deku Baba meat, and in her left was a key she had found secreted within the roast.  “I hope I’m not slowing down your train of thought.” She sassed. 


Krin tried hard to stifle a laugh.  He thought Zelda’s playful demeanor was humorous, but didn’t want her to know that.  Zelda turned the key into the lock and they entered the next room.  The next room was a circular one, and had two sides to it.  One side of the room had the look of a knight’s quarters, and was complete with swords, shields, scimitars, bows, all sorts of weaponry.  Krin surveyed the area quickly.  The swords gleamed with polished hues, and looked brand new.  Some of the shields were equipped with a reflective outer coating, quite possibly enchanted with magic.  Compared with his equipment back home, it was unbelievable.  His regiment would be unbeatable with these swords and shields. 


“Come take a look over here!” Zelda shouted.  Krin came to her.  The other side of the room was a boutique fit for a princess, complete with cloaks, tunics, dresses, shoes, and accessories of all sorts.  Scanning them quickly, Zelda noted that the dresses were likely made of silk, for they were much nicer than all of her wardrobe with the possible exception of her wedding gown.  Several of the crowns and tiaras were adorned with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and other valuable gemstones, and necklaces and bracelets with the same sat nearby.  With such a wardrobe, every woman in the castle right down to the lowest of servants would be treated like true royalty.


“Whomever left this for us is panging my heart of hearts.” Zelda said. 


“Mine too, my lady.” Krin responded.  But we really must complete the mission at hand.”


“I suppose we must.  A shame…you would have looked rather dashing in that gown of pure purple silk!” Zelda laughed.       


“You flatter way too much, my lady.  My figure is much too obtuse for such finery.” Krin sassed.

Zelda gave him a wink, then picked up the key sitting in front of the door and unlocked it.  The next room had a giant staircase leading down into the ocean. 


“Looks like we’re going to get wet, my lord.” Zelda said.


“Well check out the brain on you, highness.” Krin responded with a quip. 


“You’re just as terrible as Link, maybe even worse!” Zelda said.


“I give it as I get it, highness.  It makes days of mundane marching and drilling go by faster.”

Krin said.


Without thinking, she jumped right into the water, splashing Krin as she did so.  Krin immediately followed.  They swam across the watery cavern for quite a while.  There were fish, crustaceans, even some jellyfish in the water but they made seemingly no effort to go after them.  After about ten minutes of swimming, they reached the opposite side of the ocean cavern.  At the opposite end, Zelda and Krin came upon a sandy alcove with a giant seashell in the middle.


Krin immediately drew his sword, and Zelda had her bow at the ready.  “Stay back my lady.”  Krin said as he slowly moved his hand to the edge of the giant seashell.  He put his hands on it and forced some pressure.  The seashell opened.  Inside was not an enemy, but instead a mermaid lay on what appeared to be a couch on the interior of the shell.  Right in front of her was the Sapphire of Jealousy. 


Zelda studied her for a brief while.  She had a blue and green colored swimsuit top and long black hair.  Her fin was a yellowish-peach color.  “Hello there miss…is this your home?” Zelda asked her. 


The mermaid sat up.  “It has been a while since I have had visitors.  Most who seek me out don’t even make it past the first room.” 


“So you are the one who set up all of the rooms before this?” Krin asked.


“Were you tempted by the riches you saw?” The mermaid asked.


“Honestly, yes we were, a little.” Zelda said in a stupor.  “Was this a sort of morality test?”  


“It is indeed true.   I only consult those who are not motivated by the comforts and status brought about by material wealth.  My name is Martha.  With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”


“My name is Zelda, and this is Krin.  We come from Hyrule.” Zelda responded informally.


Martha noted Zelda’s appearance.  She paid particular attention to the turtle-shaped ring on her left hand.  She was sure it was the ring of the maiden of subconscious.  “Pray tell, young Zelda, are you betrothed to Link, the hero of Koholint?”


“We are married, actually.” Zelda responded, not sure what else to say. 


“If you are here, and have done well enough to pass through the palace without fail, there must be a purpose behind it.” Martha said.  “You have come for the Sapphire, have you not?”


“We have.” Krin responded.  “Link, with the help of a girl named Marin, has already recovered the Emerald of Promiscuity and the Ruby of Malice.  He has been sent to Calatia to recover the Topaz of Arrogance as we speak.” 


“Marin…the maiden of subconscious herself.   Then the prophecy is true.  Dethl has returned, and he wants his island back.  Return to Koholint we must.  By virtue of your passage through the Abraxis Palace you are fit to take hold of my greatest treasure.   Please, take the Sapphire.”


Martha held up the Sapphire of Jealousy, and placed it in Zelda’s hands.  Its blue hue was beautiful, yet enchanting.  She felt a cool rush of emotion as her gaze met its azure hue.  She was about to turn around and leave when Martha put her hand on Zelda’s shoulder.


“Protect your husband.  He is the pure one, the key to saving our world.  Keep him close.”



Chapter 15: History in Calatia


“My lord, I hereby challenge you to a duel.”


There was shock and awe in the crowd.  This girl, this maiden, challenging the hero of the land to a duel?


“As you wish my lady.” The hero said as he drew his blade from his sheath.  They took positions about twenty feet apart, just yards away from the statue of Ruto, the ancient sage of water.  In the center of the town square there were hoots and hollers.  Who was this girl?  Why was she dressed in the garb of a Knight of Hyrule?  Was it all just make believe?


A page walked in between them.  “Alright I want a clean duel, it shall be a fight until one yields or until bodily injury is made obvious.  There is no use of weaponry besides your blade, and for Din’s sake, no swinging below the belt.”  The hero and the maiden both nodded. 


The page threw down his towel, signaling the start.  Link came forward with a frontal attack, which Mariel blocked.  She pivoted around and swung for his right side.  He blocked this and went for a jump attack.  Mariel responded by rolling forward and trying to thrust before Link could react.  Her blade was just out of range, but it was enough to make the people gasp. 


Mariel came forward again, this time with a jump attack of her own.  Link blocked, and the two engaged in a game of chance.  Despite her early leverage, strength was not Mariel’s strong suit, and she was eventually thrown back.  Link tried a horizontal swipe but was denied.  Mariel spun around and attempted to disarm him but Link grabbed her attacking arm in response, keeping it away from his blade.  Having been thrown back for a second time, Mariel saw a thrust coming her way and performed a back flip to get out of harm’s way. 


The crowd looked on in bewilderment.  Here was one of their maidens, a descendant of the wise men, holding her own against their hero.  In a patriarchal society like Hyrule, it was nearly unheard of for women to fight.  Mariel knew this and sought to open the eyes of the people.  Her imprisonment at the Palace of Darkness had changed her.  She wanted them to see what the female mind and body was capable of when given purpose and desire.


Mariel came forward thrust, followed into a swinging uppercut.  Link blocked, and he went for a  vertical swing of his own.  Mariel evaded this, and launched into a spin attack, a maneuver she had just learned from Link himself.  However, she lost her balance as she completed the spin, and tripped on her own feet.  Link quickly took advantage and seized her weapon, pinning her against the cobblestone street. 


“I guess this means you yield.” Link said with a smile. 


“You’re terrible.  Besides, it isn’t proper for a married man to be so close with another.  What would Zelda think?” Mariel quipped, to which Link felt a pang in his heart.  Zelda.  How was she doing?  Surely she was on a ship somewhere near where Koholint used to be. 


Back at the inn, Mariel received many complements from the townsfolk, as well as from her fellow knights.  It had been hard to get their true respect, but with this being her first voyage in a commanding position, she felt that by challenging Link to a duel that they would see that she was serious and not to be taken lightly.  Even though she lost, it was clear that her skills would have bested most men in the Knights’ third regiment.  They saluted her. 


The morning of June 11th came, and they pushed out of town of Ruto, moving into the deep forests that covered Hyrule’s northeast and the border territory with Calatia.  Underneath the canopy it was often difficult to see the sun, and the mornings were often covered with dense fog.  Climatologically speaking, this was the coolest region of Hyrule with the exception of Death Mountain.


“It is a good thing Harkinian had us come this way in summer.  I can only imagine how cold, wet, and miserable this place must be at other times of the year.” Mariel told Link. 


“I can attest firsthand.  When I first retrieved the Master Sword, it was a foggy, misty day and it was cold.  You couldn’t see much further than fifty or sixty paces ahead.  The theives that live in the forest gave me some trouble because I couldn’t see them until they were right on me.”


“How did they even see you?  You wear green and there’s nothing but green everywhere you look.” Mariel said. 


“That’s a good question.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to answer that, seeing as their leader had the ability to possess people.” Link said. 


“Do you worry that what happened to Kylara might happen again to one of us?” Kylara asked as she stepped over a downed tree in the path.


“It does worry me a little.” Link admitted.  “We already know that Dethl has the power of possession, and I have little doubt that Viranda probably does as well.”


“I feel bad for her.” Mariel said.  Link gave a questioning look.  “Well, think of it this way.  What if when you were born, Arn and Medilia were a loving couple, normal in every way imaginable except that beneath the surface they were evil and the power to make people do exactly what they wanted?  What if they sought to take over Hyrule and Calatia, and they taught you everything they knew?  What are you going to do, disown your own family?” 


“I suppose I wouldn’t know any better.” Link said. 


“Exactly.  If we play it right, there’s a chance that we could get Viranda to change sides.”


“You really think so?” Link asked. 


“Hey, Dethl was able to get Kylara to change sides.  All it takes is a little mind control.” 


Mariel’s idea was very intriguing.  As they crossed the border into Calatia, marked only by a long line of large tree stumps stretching north to south, Link wondered if it really was possible to convince any of the people aligned with the nightmares to change sides.  He doubted it.


The next day, the caravan continued through the trees, emerging into the fertile central plains of Calatia toward the latter portion of the day.  As the sun began to set, Calatia Castle became visible in the distance.  But as they got closer to the distinguished landmark, it became increasingly obvious that something was amiss.  There was smoke rising up from the plains, and loud noises that sounded like booms eminating from the west. 


“Something big is happening out that direction.” Link said.  “If I didn’t know any better, I would say that a battle is taking place.”   


“What do we do now?” A knight asked him. 


“I think we have to figure out what exactly is happening.  For all we know the castle might be under attack.  Knights, we march as quickly as possible for the castle!  Do not engage anybody you see under any circumstances!  Upon reaching any weaponry halt and wait for my signal!”


They continued to march west.  As they did so the explosions became louder, and the sounds of shouts could be heard over the cacophony of noise.  They were barely over a mile from the castle when Link spotted a young child running toward them.  It was a girl.  She had blood on her dress and her face was all covered in soot and ash.


“Please help!  Please help us!  The Tanolians are attacking!” the girl shouted. 


“What happened to you?  Tell me what they did to you.” Link said calmly.


“Seline sent me away from the castle, she commanded me to go to the town of Andalus, about three miles from here!  A great group of knights are there.  But a bomb exploded near one of the exits and I was hurt.  Still I must complete my mission because the castle will surely fall without their help!


Link couldn’t understand why Queen Seline would send a young girl into the country on her own, unless the situation truly was desperate.  “Which way is Andalus?” Link asked.  The girl pointed to the north along a river they had just crossed.  Link nodded.  “Shane, Ian, and Zeke, you three go up the river to Andalus and tell the knights there to go to the castle immediately.  The rest of you…prepare ye for battle!”


They marched on to the west toward the castle.  As they advanced, they could see the colors of the Tanolian militia as well as those of the Calatian knights defending the castle.  Link ordered the attack.  Within seconds, the Hyrulians moved swiftly into harm’s way and drew their blades, cutting down tens of Tanolian fighters.  The Calatians, upon seeing the surprise arrival of the Hyrulians, gave out a cheer of their own and redoubled their efforts.


“Take that you invading scum!” Link shouted as he performed a spin attack.  His attack knocked two of the Tanolians down.  He quickly stabbed one right in the heart, then pivoted back to attack the other but his adversary had run away.  Mariel moved quickly into the middle and ran hard into another Tanolian, confusing him with her agility.  With a quick pivot and a snap of her left wrist she disarmed the soldier with ease.  Her adversary turned and ran, but Mariel shouted to one of the archers in her command, who downed him with a perfect shot in the back.


Link and Mariel led their army across the bridge and into the confines of the castle.  Several Tanolians met them at the entranceway, but a couple of spin attacks later, they were on the ground writhing in agony.  They quickly made their way through the main hall, when a Tanolian archer lined up an arrow notched at Link’s heart.  Link immediately hit the ground, but no shot came.  When he looked up the archer was down.  Link turned around and noticed several Calatian knights, one of whom looked very familiar. 


“Boy am I glad to see you!  Let’s clear these savages out!” Arn shouted. 


Seeing his father fighting alongside him only caused Link’s emotions to rise even higher.  He took out two more of the invaders with his blade, then smashed a pot over the head of another, knocking him unconscious.  Across the castle and on the outside, the Calatians, with the Hyrulians’ help, had gained the upper hand.  Minutes later, the Tanolian commander called for his men to retreat.


Shouts of exultation rang out across the castle grounds.  Link and Arn embraced one another, as did many others.  The battle had been won. 


“How did you know to come?” Arn asked. 


“We didn’t know about the attack.” Link responded.  “We were already on our way for a diplomatic mission when a girl came running out of the woods warning us of the strike.  That’s when we made the decision to come here and defend the castle at any cost.” 


“And for that, we are in your debt.” A voice sounded from behind.  Link turned around and noticed that the Queen of Calatia, Seline, had emerged.  “Without your knights showing up when they did, it is not certain that we would have been able to drive the Tanolians back.  But pray tell, where is the girl?” Seline asked. 


“I’m here mommy!” The girl shouted as she ran into Seline’s arms. 


“Oh Adelle, I’m so glad that you’re back.  You were so big and brave!  Without you Link and his knights wouldn’t have known to come here.” 


“What you did was nothing short of heroic.” Link said to Adelle.  Had you not followed your mother’s instructions and ran out into the field looking for help your kingdom may have been lost.  The hero of time would be very proud of you.”


Adelle’s face beamed.  “You really mean that?” 


Link nodded, as did Seline.  The Calatian monarch turned back to the others.  “I suppose that you have something you wish to discuss with me, that you have come all this way?”


“Indeed we do.  There is a force of evildoers causing trouble all over the world.  Our primary opposition is a group of monsters called nightmares.  They are led by a supreme nightmare who calls himself Dethl.  They have already invaded Hyrule once and have also invaded and conquered much of Holodrum.”  Link said.


“A clan of nightmares?” Seline asked.  “These folk are not common to me.  Why have I not heard of them before?” 


“It is likely because these nightmares only existed in the dream world of Koholint.  But when Koholint was destroyed last year, it effectively left these monsters without a home.  They as well as the residents of Koholint were scattered across the world.  Over the past ten months, the nightmares have rejoined forces and are now looking for a new place to call home.  Given the battle that has just occurred here, I fear they might look toward this place next unless we take them out at the source.” Link said. 


“If I hear you correctly, you wish to obtain our assistance to drive the nightmare army out of Holodrum?” Seline asked. 


“Yes, your majesty.” Mariel said.  “However, there is more to it than we have said thus far.  There is a second force of evil currently camped in Labrynna.  The descendants of the evil general Onox and the evil sorceress Veran have raised an army of their own and have used it to take over Labrynna.  What makes this development most distressing is that the descendants, a young man named Nobrax and a young woman by the name of Viranda, are acting to avenge their fallen parents and believe their actions are in valor to their family names.  At this time they are hostile to Dethl and the nightmares but our fear is that they will merge forces and create an army of evil strong enough to take over the world.” 


Seline was stunned.  Here in the immediate aftermath of perhaps her kingdom’s greatest victory, she was now being told that it was basically for naught, that a greater enemy was at hand, one that could enslave the world.  She called in several of her most decorated knights, including Arn.  They discussed the situation in private for several minutes as Link, Mariel, and the other hyrulians looked on.  At last, Seline shooed them away. 


“I feel as though we do not have much of a choice.  To idly sit by would be paramount to letting other kingdoms fall into the clutches of these new threats.  The Kingdom of Calatia and its knights will join forces with you in your effors to liberate Holodrum and Labrynna, on one condition.” 


“What condition is that?” Link asked. 


“I must know that you have discovered the means to bringing Koholint back into our world.”


Link was taken aback.  “You know this information?”


“Harkinian told me everything he knows on the subject last year.” Seline said, smiling. 


“We must obtain the seven Pyramids of Sin to send the Wind Fish back into slumber.” Link said.  “So far, two of the pyramids have been obtained, one in Darkmar, and one in Holodrum.  As we speak my wife the princess Zelda is leading a legion of knights to Marith to obtain the third pyramid and to secure Marith’s help for the attack on Labrynna.  We are here to obtain the fourth pyramid, the Topaz of Arrogance.  Do you know where to find the Cave of the Hero’s Nativity?”


Seline smiled again.  “You are a very astute one, and so is your beloved.  The cave is to the southwest of here, in a sandy desert region of Calatia.  It is not far from the border with Tanol, so you must exercise caution getting there.  Look for a dried up lakebed about twenty miles from here.  The dungeon will be about four miles past that, in the midst of a petrified forest.


Link nodded.  As it was late in the day, the soldiers took leave in the visitors’ quarters on the lower level of the castle.  Seline had prepared a nice arrival feast for the hyrulian convoy but the Tanolians’ arrival had thrown her best laid plans out to dry.  Still, the servants were able to scrum together some much needed bread and water for the traveling group. 


The next morning, just before they were to depart, Link noticed his father coming toward him, his mother arriving right by his side. 


“I told Seline as well as your second in command that we wish to make this journey with you.”


“But father, don’t you have duties back at the castle?” Link asked. 


“Well sure, but with the knights from Andalus having arrived, there is no place for me in the castle right now.  Besides, it was actually your mother’s idea.” 


Link was taken aback.  Medilia nodded.  “One of my greatest regrets was that I never became close to you because of the banishment.  What better way to make up for lost time than to see my son in action, leading his men and women on a quest to fight evil?” 


Link thought about it for a moment, and then dropped his sword.  He, Arn, and Medilia came together for a family group hug.  Once they broke away from one another, Link commanded Mariel to lead the soldiers out from the castle to the southwest.  They traveled all through the day.  Gradually, the ground became rockier and less covered in vegetation.  By nightfall on June 12th they had reached the lakebed that Seline had told them about.  During the night, the soldiers took turns watching over the camp, in case the Tanolians had any thoughts about retribution for their defeat.  No enemies emerged, and on the morning of the 13th, they reached the dungeon.


The cave had a circular entranceway, hollowed out from a fairly large mesa.  Petrified trees lined the area both outside and inside, where little stumps could be found.  Link instructed Mariel to wait with the others outside, while he and his parents entered.  In the first room, they came across a grand statue of the goddesses.  Also within the room were several enemies.  They were little shrubs that shot seeds at them.  Link got in close to attack but the shrubs would hide beneath the ground when he did so. 


“Try reflecting their shots back at them.” Medilia said.  Link backed up and took out his shield.  The shot came flying toward him, and it bounced off his shield toward the shrub.  The first attempt was just off target, but the second shot was true, and the shrub started to run around, most likely injured.  Link ran it down and struck its midsection killing it.  Across the room, Arn had found out an alternative method to dealing with the shrubs.  He deflected the nuts back by swinging the broad end of his sword horizontally.  The nuts came flying back with such force that it killed two shrubs instantly.  With the enemies defeated, the door to the next room opened. 


“That was good thinking dad.” Link said. 


Arn nodded, and they entered the next room.  It had a Triforce statue in the center, and in this room the enemies were large green lizards.  When they came near, they breathed fire in Link’s direction.  Link attempted to use his sword against the head and body of the lizards, but their skin was almost as hard as rock.  The three lizards in the room began to surround them. 


Medilia didn’t panic.  She quickly took out a bomb and lit the fuse, rolling it on the ground toward the lizards.  To their surprise, one of the lizards ate it.  The bomb exploded inside of the lizard, killing it, but also spewing out lizard guts all over the room.  Their weak point having been spotted, Medilia handed two other bombs to Arn and Link.  They performed the same maneuver and sure enough, the remaining lizards ate those too, destroying them. 


“Mom, I would have never thought of that.”  Link said. 


“Well dear, all it takes is a little imagination and you can do just about anything.  But truthfully, I was just trying to injure them from the outside.  I didn’t think they would eat them!”  Medilia laughed as did Arn and Link, even though they were covered in lizard guts. 


The next room featured a pool of water that cut across the center, with a statue of the three Pendants of Virtue raised above it.  From the water came three octoroks.  Using much the same strategy as they had with the shrubs earlier, Arn, Link, and Medilia quickly defeated them and cleared the room.


“This seems really easy.  They must be holding something big for later.” Arn said. 


“I have a feeling you’re right.” Link said.  Medilia nodded.  The three were in agreement that things were about to get rougher. 


They went through the doorway and into the next room.  This room was very dark, and had a statue of the Book of Mudora in the center.  Link couldn’t make it out, but he could swear that he heard groaning in the rear of the room.  As they crossed toward the center, a very loud screech rang out.  There they were, a group of undead mummies, numbering three.  The screech was such that all three of them stopped in their tracks.  Link unfroze first and tore into the mummified creature directly in front of him, killing it.  Arn was able to do the same, but could not get behind his adversary.  It stared him down, freezing him a second time.  Right before it could get his hands on Arn, Link stabbed it savagely in the back. 


“Link!  Your mother!” Arn shouted. 


Across the room, Medilia had frozen like ice.  The undead enemy grabbed her and began to choke the life out of her.  Link quickly ran across as did Arn.  Link considered slashing it, but it was near a wall and with it using Medilia as a shield, it was too risky.  He instead grabbed it from behind, in an attempt to pull it away.  It resisted, but only long enough for Arn to come from the side and stab it in the head.  It died almost immediately. 


Medilia coughed repeatedly on the ground.  Link and Arn were immediately at her side.


“Let me stay down a minute, I need to catch my breath.” Medilia said. 


“That demon gave you a nasty mark on your neck.  I’m so sorry I wasn’t there sooner.” Arn said.


“It’s quite all right.  I don’t think you would have fared any better had Link not come to your side first.” Medilia said. 


Arn would usually make a retort in such a situation, but he truly had been scared himself.  He nodded his head, as did Link.  They entered the next room and found another statue, this one comprising the seven crystals that Agahnim had used to imprison the seven maidens.  There were two individuals in this room.  They were both female, one wore all green and had green hair as well, the other had brown skin, white colored clothes, and fiery red hair.


Remembering his encounter with the women in the earlier dungeon in Darkmar, Link approached them slowly and carefully.  “Hello there.  And who might you be?” He asked. 


“You are the descendant of the Hero of Time, are you not?” The green-haired girl asked.


“Yes.  I have a feeling I know you…but I can’t be sure.”


“You had a bad experience in the Tree of Prostitutes.  It’s okay.  Not all trees yield good fruit.  This place was once a great tree, one greater than any the land has ever seen.” 


“So wait…this was the site of the legendary Deku Tree?” Arn asked.


“You are a very astute one.” The red-haired girl said.  What was once a luscious forest is now a desert, changed by hundreds of years of time’s essence.  But what remains here is a great truth along with a great treasure.”


“You are Saria and Nabooru…the ancient sages of Forest and Spirit!” Medilia chimed. 


“It is true that on this very spot,” Saria said, “in what used to be my forest village I helped raise the great Hero of Time.  He grew into a great young man full of valor, courage, and humility.  It is also said that at some point in the future when the need arises, another of the bloodline will be born near to this very location here in Calatia.  Like my friend, he will rise up to defend the world against evil.” 


“So what exactly does this legend have to do with us?” Link asked. 


“This dungeon was a test to see just what traits of humility and humbleness you possess.  Any trace of arrogance would have been met with a much stiffer challenge, perhaps one by my own hand.” Nabooru said.  “But thanks to your loving companions and your righteous heart, you have passed the test.  I would have thought that one as well traveled and as successful as you, having defeated Ganon, Onox, and Veran among others, would have shown arrogance or overconfidence in the early chambers.  Kid, you have proven me wrong.”


“Your country, nay, your world needs you.” Saria said.  “The Topaz of Arrogance lies in the next chamber ahead.  When you touch it, think of all that have come before you, and who all may come after you.  Like Nabooru and I, they are rooting for you, just like all who live today.”


“I will be sure to do that, thank you.” Link said.  He came forward and bowed before Saria and Nabooru, kissing both of their hands.  They were at the doorway to the pedestal when Nabooru called to him.  He turned around. 


“Give that nightmare creature a dream he’ll never escape!” The gerudo sage shouted.


In the next room, the family came together to collect the Topaz of Arrogance.  When they returned to the room with the crystals, the sages had disappeared.


Chapter 16: A Lucky Find  


As luck would have it, the soldier groups led by Zelda and Link both arrived back in Hyrule on June 21st, the date of the summer solstice.  They had accomplished their mission, to obtain the support of the armies of Marith and Calatia for an attack to liberate Labrynna, and obtain the Pyramids of Sin within those kingdoms.  They had now collected four such pyramids.  Upon returning from Marith, Zelda immersed herself into various texts in an attempt to locate any clues as to the whereabouts of the fifth Pyramid of Sin.


“Impa, have you found any leads on the room of Chris Houlihan?” She asked.


“Unfortunately, I have not had success.  Nowhere in the historical text nor in the maps is there any sign of the place.” Impa said. 


“Annabelle have you had any luck?” Zelda asked.


“No Zelda, I have not.  Every book I’ve read fails to describe anything about it.”


“Well we must continue to look.  The security and prosperity of this kingdom and the world may be riding on this task.” Zelda said.


Unfortunately, despite immersing herself in the royal library for upwards of twelve hours a day, Zelda did not have any success.  She walked down the stairs and into the dungeon.  There she found Kylara, still sitting back in the corner of her cell, just the same as she had before they had left for Marith.  Her head was pointed at the ground, and she did not acknowledge Zelda.


“Kylara, I have found a way in which you can assist us.” Zelda said.


The fallen maiden looked up at the princess.  She immediately dropped to her knees, her voice nearly wailing.  “Anything I can do…with all of my heart.” 


On the 25th, she led Impa, Annabelle, Kylara, Mariel, and Link to Kakariko Village in an effort to break open the secret.  Upon reaching Kakariko Library, the group split up and began pouring over books and scrolls of all kinds.


“Can somebody remind me exactly what she is doing here?” Annabelle asked Link. 


“Kylara has as much right to be here as you do.” Zelda said.  “Her mind cannot go blank otherwise she could be possessed again.  You would do well to be more understanding of her plight.  Remember too that your ancestor, the great Nabooru, was once brainwashed by evil.”


Annabelle nodded, but one could not tell if she was fully convinced.  They continue to look through book after book.  Hours passed with no success.  Frustration was starting to boil over.  Finally, the twice-possessed maiden spoke up about something just before sunset. 


“I see a grand gathering.” Kylara said. 


“What do you mean?” Link asked. 


“I see two people, two lovers.  They go from a house to a castle, running all the way.”


“Wait, where do you see this…I don’t even see where you’re reading.” Impa said.


“Maybe she’s having a prophetic vision…everybody be quiet.” Zelda commanded.


“The sun is hot, the air heavy.  The two try to find their way but they cannot go as intended.  They run, they run…to the underground.” Kylara mumbled.  Then she passed out, her face dropping against the table.


“Alas, she was probably just having a dream.” Impa said. 


“A real pity…I was hoping to hear just where else her crazy mind was about to take us.” Annabelle said.  Mariel nodded her head in assent. 


Back at Hyrule Castle the next day, preparations began for the Din Festival.  This day of feast and sacrifice to Din, the Goddess of Power, was held every July 1st.  Along with the festivals to Farore every May and to Nayru every December, the Din Festival was one of the most sacred days on the Hyrulian calendar.  It commemorated the anniversary of earth’s creation, the day Din came down from the heavens and created the red earth. 


“Yes.  We will have the organ and the trumpet players over here.  The chamber orchestra will be in the back rows behind them.  The tables will be adjacent and the main floor will be open.  Make sure that we have the red banners hanging from above.” Harkinian said. 


“Yes father.  Shall I have the knights in their normal positions?” Zelda asked. 


“Indeed, but make sure we have extra forces around the perimeter.  I have a feeling that the nightmares will be up to no good and we cannot allow them anywhere near the castle.”


“I’ll instruct Krin to have his best men on guard.” Zelda said.  The king nodded. 


Later that night in the castle tower, Zelda discussed the situation with Link. 


“The festival is in a few days.  We only have a week or so afterward before the soldiers from Marith and Calatia begin arrival.  If we cannot locate the fifth Pyramid of Sin before then we may run out of time.” Zelda said. 


“I have faith that we’ll find it.  Kylara certainly thinks that way.” Link said. 


“Kylara?  You talked to her?” Zelda said. 


“She told me that it will be in the underground somewhere…a dark tunnel.” Link responded.


“Well then we will have to search the tunnels near here.” Zelda said. 


“Oh that we definitely will.  But there’s something else I feel we must do first.” Link said. 


“What’s that?” Zelda asked.


Link hopped up onto the bed and picked up a pillow.  Without warning, he threw it in Zelda’s direction, hitting her in the face and knocking her over. 


“Oh you’re going to pay for that!” Zelda shouted.  She grabbed another pillow and whacked him in the face with it.  Link responded likewise.  The two continued their fight until feathers were flying all across the tower bedroom.  Eventually Zelda was able to get behind Link and hold him tightly against the side of the bed. 


“It looks like I have you, oh great hero!  What ever will you do now?” Zelda asked. 


Link pretended to struggle.  Zelda laughed.  Within seconds, a devilish smile appeared on Zelda’s face.  She slipped her right hand under Link’s tunic and began to tickle his sensitive midsection.  A charge of electricity jolted through Link as he tried to evade Zelda’s grasp.  Zelda hung on and continued her playful inflicting of pain.  


“Have I tortured you enough?  Or must I cast my spell on you?” Zelda asked.


“You’ll never get me to turn to evil!” Link shouted.


“Hmm…well I guess I’ll just have to consume you in the best way I know how.” Zelda said devilishly.  She leaned forward and planted her lips on his.  She held him close as they lowered down into the sheets, her kiss working well to turn Link’s body weak beneath her.  When she finally pulled away, Link had only one thing on his mind.


“I guess I haven’t gotten used to your dark side yet.” The hero said as he put his hands under her nightdress.  She raised her arms, and the darkness consumed him. 


Several days later, Link and Zelda were out in the countryside, a rare time away from the castle in the buildup to the festival, which was now just a few days away.  With a running jump, Zelda threw herself into the cool waters.


“Oh yeah, see how you like it!” Link said as he splashed Zelda.  The princess responded by tossing a handful of water into the hero’s face.  The two battled for a while longer before embracing one another within the waters of Lake Hylia. 


“I wish we had more days like this.” Link said.  “A day where we don’t have to worry about anything but each other.”


“It isn’t easy being royalty.” Zelda responded.  “You have so many tasks, and some of them are so boring.  Holding court every day is simply dreadful, and then you always have to be dressed in a certain way, walk in a certain way, talk to people in a certain way as not to offend them.  One day when I’m queen, I’m going to be a different kind of ruler.” Zelda said. 


Link smiled.  He began to swim out into the lake. 


“Hey wait for me!” Zelda exclaimed.  She quickly put on her pair of Zora flippers and chased after Link.  They swam for quite a while.  Finally they reached the island that stood prominently at the geographic center of the lake.  Link got out of the water and helped Zelda up the ladder.  They moved past the magical transporter and into the cave that the queen of fairies, Venus, called home.


They walked up the path through the cave.  When they got to the pond, Link took out several rupees and stood solemnly.  Zelda did the same. 


“Queen of fairies, we ask that you look down upon not only us, but every man, woman, and child in Hyrule as we enter this scary time.  Please look after the many soldiers of Hyrule, Marith, and Calatia as they make their way to Labrynna with the hope of liberating that land from evil.” Link said solemnly.  He tossed his rupees into the pond.


“We do not wish to inflict punishment upon anybody, but with hyrulian blood spilled by the malevolent forces against us, strong action must be taken to protect our citizens.  Please be there for us to comfort the weariness of the injured, and for the continued protection of this kingdom against the forces of evil.” Zelda said.  She tossed her rupees in.  Within seconds, there was a ripple effect in the water of the pond.  Then she emerged, Venus, the queen of fairies. 


“Welcome, majesties Zelda and Link, Princess and Prince of Hyrule.  It shall be I that is honored by your presence here.” Venus said. 


“Such flatter is not necessary, great fairy.” Zelda said. 


“I have listened to your wishes, and they shall be granted.  I will order that the fairies of this land be made ready to assist with the upcoming liberation of Labrynna.  With any luck I may be able to secure the assistance of fairies from other lands as well, maybe as far away as Darkmar.  Speaking of which, Link, I have some important news for you.”


“What news do you speak of?” Link asked. 


“I have spoken with Marie.  She is very concerned about her daughter.” Venus said. 


“Marin?  I worry about her.  I have not seen her since I was kidnapped in Holodrum.” Link said.


“Marie told me just days ago that she received a letter from Marin.  In the letter Marin describes the savagery of the tyrants that have taken over Labrynna.  They have thrown people out of their homes, taken all the food and resources for themselves, and basically left people to fight amongst themselves for the scraps.  Marin also wrote that she saw people beaten and maimed in the streets of Lynna.  It is a very grave situation.” 


“It is just as I would have expected.” Link said with pain in his voice. 


“It looks like Dethl might have made an agreement with Viranda and Nobrax after all.  The nightmares wanted shelter and a place to call home, and the children wanted to claim the land as theirs to rule with an iron fist to avenge their parents.  They probably told the nightmares that they could move in as long as they helped bring the population under their control.” Zelda said. 


“Did Marin say where she was in the letter?” Link asked. 


“She said that she was still in Lynna, but that she was hiding.  Marie says she was fearful for her life because she knows that Dethl is after her.”


“If he finds her before we do…” Link said.


Zelda gripped Link’s hand.  She looked into his eyes, almost as though to quench his sudden burst of fear.  His nervousness instantly began to fade.  Zelda smiled.  She turned back to Venus. 


“Just a parting question…do you know anything about the whereabouts of Chris Houlihan and his secret room?”


“Look for the link to your past…by that I mean between the two of you.” Venus said. 


Zelda nodded her head.  Venus cast a heal spell on the two, and right after she did so, she dove back into her fountain.  Not more than a few seconds later, Link noticed the sound of feet approaching from behind.  They swung around quickly to the sight of an arriving Captain Krin. 


“Thank the goddesses you’re here!”  Krin shouted.  “The nightmares are attacking!  They’ve already ransacked parts of Kakariko and are advancing on the Sanctuary!” 


“Oh no…we must return right now!” Zelda said hurriedly.  Link nodded.  The three immediately ran from the cave and dove back into Lake Hylia.  Avoiding the Zoras that seemed to swarm all around them, they quickly located the whirlpool that teleported to Sanctuary Lake.  


When they emerged at Sanctuary Lake, Krin led Link and Zelda to a group of nightmares that were causing trouble just east of the sacred building.  A group of gibdos led the way, but were flanked by many armos, spade penguins, and other creatures native to Koholint. 


“It’s time to start teaching these nightmares some respect!” Link shouted as he drew his blade.  He immediately took out a pair of gibdos with a spin attack.  Some leevers emerged from the dirt trail, but Link was able to take care of these as well.  Meanwhile, Zelda drew her bow and took aim at a group of armos.  Within seconds, two of them were skewered.  With the path cleared ahead of them, Krin used his blade to knock down any remaining nightmares that got close as they linked back up with the line of knights defending the exterior of the Sanctuary. 

“I wonder if they got inside?” Zelda asked.  Krin was not sure, so they carefully made their way to the entrance and opened the heavy door.  The interior of the Sanctuary showed no visible damage, so they came back out to the steps.  The nightmare attack had begun to fizzle out.  With a crushing counterattack the knights used their heavy shields and armor to inflict physical punishment.  Slowly they drove the nightmares back toward Kakariko.  It was at this moment that Link saw somebody emerging, somebody he never expected to see at such a time.  Her red hair and azure eyes made her all but unmistakable.


“Kylara!  What are you doing here?” Link asked. 


“It’s…the castle!  The nightmares…are attacking there too!  Moblins…wizzrobes…even goriyas!  Simon’s regiment…they are fighting them.”


Krin’s eyes widened.  “This was a setup!  A diversionary attack by their lower quality fighters!  Their main target was the castle!”


“They’ve…taken…Mariel.” Kylara strained.  “You…must…help her!”


“I know a way through the haunted grove.” Link said.  “Let’s go!” 


Link and Zelda ran with all speed to the west.  They approached the retreating nightmares, but paid no attention to them as they roared down the path.  Upon coming to a clearing in the trees on the left, they moved to the south through a heavily wooded grove.  Oblivious to the danger around them, the hero and the princess continued to run as fast as their legs could take them.  It must have been at least thirty minutes, maybe even an hour, before they reached the path that took them around the south end of Hyrule Castle.  Arrows from moblins wizzed past them as their tired legs did what they could. 


“The gate is closed!” Link shouted. 


“They must have gotten inside and the knights must have closed it!”


Link quickly swiped at a moblin that had run in toward them.  Zelda ducked down and fired an arrow at another out of sheer instinct, killing it.  The moblins backed off, but a group of wizzrobes appeared from just beyond the moat.  They were headed right toward them. 


“I have an idea…follow me!” Zelda shouted. 


They ran as fast as their tired legs and their burning lungs could muster.  The hero followed the princess around the southeast corner of the castle and up to the ring of bushes on the east end.  Very quickly, Zelda dove into the bush in the center of the ring.  Link waited a split second, then dove in after her.  They fell into the darkness, figuring to land in a shallow pool of water in the basement of the castle. 


Only that simple pool of water was not their destination.


They landed in a strange, square room.  Almost immediately, they noticed a pedestal in front of them with a yellow pyramid on it.  There were blue rupees spread out on the floor in all directions.  At the back of the room was a young man of slight build, with shoulder-length hair.


“I see you’ve found my secret room.” The man said. 


“Huh?  Your secret room?  This is the way into Hyrule Castle.” Zelda said. 


“Wait.” Link said.  He walked around the pedestal to the man.  “Is this Chris Houlihan’s room?”


“Yes.” The man replied. 


“So you are Chris Houlihan?” Link asked. 


“In the flesh.  You must be Link.  How honored I am to meet you after all these years.”


Zelda walked over.  “How did this place come to be?” she asked. 


Chris smiled.  “You must be the princess of Hyrule.”  Chris bent down and kissed Zelda’s hand.  “I must say, you are every bit as fair as the games and instruction manuals depict.”


“Games?  What games?” Link asked. 


“Oh you don’t know?  My friend, hero of Hyrule, you are being played right now on television screens all throughout the Earth.  You and Zelda, your friends, the maidens, even your enemy Ganon, you are the agents of the most popular video game franchise ever made.”


“So we’re some kind of avatar to your world?  You pretend to be us…to control our movements in a looping fight against the likes of Ganon, a fight that rages forever?” Zelda asked. 


“Why my lady, you know a lot about Earth.  I must say, you have a beautiful mind.”


“And the minds of your world are quite rubbish.” Zelda said sternly.


“But you do not realize the pedestal on which you occupy in the world of gaming.  People of all different countries spend their hard-earned dollars to get their hands on the latest adventures that you two are able to fulfill.”


“Dollars?” Zelda asked.


“It’s just paper currency on Earth.  It’s our version of rupees.”


“Countries?” Link asked.


“They are our world’s versions of kingdoms.  They don’t have kings and queens, but rather presidents and prime ministers, elected by the people.” 


“Oh bother…your world is just like Holodrum.” Zelda said. 


“In a way.  Which reminds me…Oracle of Seasons really was a great game.  I remember playing through your adventure in Holodrum.  I was rather disappointed about the final battle though…Onox was pretty easy for a final villain.” 


Link was absolutely bewildered.  “How do you know all this about me?”


“I know almost as much about you as you know about yourself.  I know the names of everybody you fought against, who all your allies are, and where you’ve traveled.  It is acquired through time as you play the games depicting your quests.”


“Well now that you have thoroughly frightened me with your obsession about my husband, could you let us know if this adventure will succeed or fail?” Zelda asked, her tone showing a bit of exasperation.


“The pyramid which you collect now, the fifth, is another goal attained.  As for the ultimate goal of driving the nightmares back to their homeland and defeating them…well, only the player controlling the avatar can decide that.  But I know the player personally, and I must say that the two of you are in very capable hands.”


“Well at least that’s reassuring.” Link said sarcastically. 


“Hmmph!  Let’s just grab the Peridot of Mindlessness and get out of here.  I can’t suffer this insufferable and deranged man any longer.” Zelda said. 


“What?  Not even an autograph?” Chris Houlihan asked.



Chapter 17: Cataclysm’s Eve


Zelda and Link tore through the castle courtyard and into the main doors of Hyrule Castle.  They found several knights down on the ground injured. 


“What happened?  Where are they?” Link asked. 


“The supreme nightmare attacked, he’s taken Mariel to the roof.  The King escaped into the sewers with Impa and several knights are with them.” One of the knights said. 


“How badly are you hurt?” Zelda asked. 


“I was hit with a bolt of energy, my shoulder is burned and broken, but never mind me.  You must go and face Dethl!” 


At that moment Annabelle and Alicia came tearing in from the right.  They were being pursued by a group of wizzrobes.  Immediately Link unsheathed his sword and slashed one of the wizzrobes in the chest, killing it.  Another wizzrobe fired a magic bolt at Zelda.  She moved to get away but could not.  It struck her in the right arm, causing immense pain.  Out of instinct, she fired a blast of her own back, injuring the wizzrobe.  Link finished it off with his sword before it could disappear and re-appear in a new location.  With just one of the evil sorcerers remaining, Alicia faced her adversary and used her own shadow magic, defeating it. 


“Zelda are you okay?” Link asked with concern.  He pulled back her gauntlet, revealing a burned patch of skin. 


“It hurts…but I’ll get by for now.” Zelda winced.  “Let’s go!”


Link, Zelda, and the two maidens quickly made their way to the roof of the castle.  Once there, they noticed many moblins, spade penguins, dodongo snakes, moldorms, and other nightmares surrounding the entranceway to the castle tower.  In the middle was Dethl, holding Mariel by the neck. 


“Let me go you dastardly fiend!” Mariel shouted..


“You must have thought that our battle was the last you would see of me.  But you see my pretty, I have unfinished business with you.”


“Why?  Because you’re sour that you couldn’t best me in fair combat?  For that you’re going to bring me to my end?  For what?  So that every man, woman, and child in Hyrule hunts you and your kind down until your dying day?” Mariel asked.


Dethl laughed.  “Ah but you were so wrong my pretty.  I don’t seek to kill you, nor even hurt you.  I am only interested in you because only you can tell me where to find them.” Dethl said.


“We’re right here!” Link shouted.  “Now give her up!” 


Dethl turned around, still holding on to Mariel.  “Well if it isn’t Hyrule’s hero.  The one who landed on my island and proceeded to screw up both geography and time.  So as I stand here now, having so boldly invaded your castle for a second time, what do you have to say for yourself?”


“I’m here to tell you that you had better leave this place, or you will die here.” Link said. 


Dethl increased his grip around Mariel’s neck.  “Such a pig-headed and inconsiderate man, wouldn’t you say Mariel?  He doesn’t even care about your well-being.” 


“Shut up!  I don’t even know you, and I’ve had enough of you!” Zelda shouted.  “What right do you have to come here and cause trouble throughout my kingdom?  Your domain may have suffered its demise but given the evil in your heart and mind you and your kind probably deserved it.  You should be grateful to see the day that Koholint may again rise from the sea.”

“Lady Zelda…I know of your plan.  I’ve been following you all voyage.  Such big plans and such big ambition.  I would have expected nothing less from a mind so precocious and bright.”


“Then why do you oppose us?” Link asked. 


Dethl gave Mariel a last squeeze, and then dropped her to the green roof below.  She did not get up, but stirred slightly, grabbing at her neck.  The supreme nightmare moved closer to the hero.


“Don’t come any closer…I swear I will destroy you right now!” Link shouted.


Dethl laughed.  “I oppose you not just because you stole Koholint from me.  I oppose you because of one simple fact.  “Unlike Ganon, unlike Onox, unlike Veran…I am the one villain that has looked you, the great hero in the eye, and lived to tell about it.  I’m the biggest, baddest dude in the whole world.  I don’t fear you.  If Nobrax had done his job and offed you when he had the chance like Viranda did with Marin, you’d be in the ground and this world of Hyrule would be mine.”


“You are a bloody liar!  The Queen of Fairies knows of Marin’s whereabouts, and told me of it no more than a few hours ago!”


“Venus lied to you.  She knew that if you knew the truth, you would shrivel into a miserable shell of your former self, that you couldn’t deal with the guilt of never even attempting to rescue her from her untimely demise.  Isn’t that right Link?” Dethl taunted. 


“You dare to make this personal?!  The punishment I unleashed on you in the Wind Fish’s Egg will be nothing compared to the suffering I will inflict on you now!  Time to die!” 


Link drew his sword and rushed at Dethl.  His sword slash went right through Dethl’s amorphous body though, inflicting no damage.  Dethl laughed once again.  The supreme nightmare quickly flew into the air and fired a bolt of energy at the hero, striking him down.  Zelda quickly shot an arrow at Dethl, only to have it fly right through his body.  The nightmare shot another bolt, this one at Zelda.  Immense pain flooded through her consciousness.  Both the hero and the princess struggled to get to their feet.  The others standing behind them were stunned, and very scared at the sudden turn of events. 


“It looks like the tables have turned.” Dethl said smugly.


“No…” Mariel said faintly.


Just then, a faint sound of a flute was heard from the courtyard.  A white duck came flying across toward a maiden on the ground.  The duck picked her up, the both of them flying directly at Dethl.  The supreme nightmare just barely got his head turned around in time for the maiden to splash him with a giant pouch of magic powder.


“Take that you bastard!” Kylara shouted.


Within seconds, Dethl’s body began to flash and change form.  He let out a giant scream of pain.  Link got to one knee, then to his feet, hobbling toward Dethl, hoping to sink a massive blow into the nightmare before he could get away.  A group of moblins and spade penguins got in between him and Dethl in the nick of time, taking the blow for their master.  Dethl finally came to his senses and flew out to the east, fleeing for his life.


Kylara flew down to the surface and knelt down next to Mariel.  She produced a bottle of red potion and urged Mariel to try to drink whatever she could.  The soldier-maiden had difficulty swallowing from the pressure applied to her neck by Dethl. 


“That was for you, Mariel.” Kylara said.


“Well…now we’ve saved each other.” Mariel strained.  She coughed rather violently.


“Not just her…we were all in trouble.” Link said, holding Zelda closely.  “You showed up at just the right time Kylara.”


At this moment, several soldiers emerged, with King Harkinian behind them.  The castle servants quickly moved the injured to the castle infirmary.  Harkinian ordered the soldiers to immediately hunt down any nightmares found anywhere within the boundaries of Hyrule.


“Get Simon’s regiment and Krin’s regiment and make sure that they link up with the soldiers of Marith and Calatia!” Harkinian ordered.  “We must see that they arrive safely, and that the nightmares don’t learn of our alliance!”


The next day, things were seemingly back to normal, but the castle and countryside still bore the scars of the sudden attack.  The Din Festival was the next day, but celebration was the last thing on anybody’s mind.


“I want that fiend!  I want him to feel the end of the Master Sword and know that he was sent to his death by one greater than he.  I want Dethl.  I want him dead!” Link shouted. 


“Child, I know exactly how you feel, but going on a senseless tirade about it isn’t going to help anybody, save you getting your nerves up unnecessarily.” Harkinian said. 


“It’s not fair!  How was he able to escape anyhow!  I destroyed him myself!”  Link shouted. 


“In the dream world.” Harkinian said. 


Link paused for a moment.  “Queen Seline said you knew all there was to know about Koholint.  But how could you know about a place that the scrolls don’t even mention?”


“Good lad, I wish you knew the truth.”  Harkinian rose from his throne and motioned to Impa.  “Please send forth for my daughter, I wish her to hear this.”


Zelda entered the room several minutes later with Impa at her side. 


“You wished to speak to me father?” Zelda asked. 


“Zelda…a few weeks ago, you met Richard of Marxis, did you not?” 


“Why, yes I did.” Zelda responded.


“Did he seem familiar at all to you?” Harkinian asked. 


“Well, not really.  But he did have the same eyes as me, and his nose, mouth, and chin were shaped like mine.  Come to think of it, he was slender like me, and spoke very eloquently.  If he were from Hyrule I would have thought him to be related. 


Harkinian rose from his throne once again.  “Richard is your brother Zelda.”


A wave of shock came over Zelda’s face.  “But…how is that…”


“Possible?” Harkinian said.  “Yes, I understand how this probably comes as a big surprise.  Allow me to explain.  Back when your mother and I were first married, we received a big surprise of our own.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, the goddesses appeared to us.”


Now it was Impa that was taken aback.  “You never told me that.” She replied. 


“I never told anybody.  But I’ll never forget what they said.” Harkinian responded. 


“What did they say?” Zelda asked. 


“After blessing our marriage, the goddesses told us that we would be blessed with two children, the first of whom had been selected for a historic mission.  He or she, being of royal blood, would become the ruler of a landmass that the goddesses had just newly created in order to separate the forces of evil geographically from the good of the world.  Our firstborn would be raised by the goddesses themselves within this new kingdom, which was to be called Koholint.”


“I’d imagine your wife wasn’t happy hearing that your firstborn would be taken away.” Impa said.


“It was a bit of a dark realization at first for both of us, but given its true purpose, we understood why Din, Nayru, and Farore had made such a determination.  The island of Koholint has always been a place designed to harbor evil.  That is why the nightmares’ escape was destined once the island was taken out of existence.” Harkinian said. 


“Wait a minute.” Link interrupted.  “Is Koholint real or not?  When I washed up there, it was known to be a dream world that would disappear once the Wind Fish was awakened.”


“The dream world of Koholint is that in a sense.  The actual truth is that the dream in which you speak is actually an alternate reality.  Several hundred years ago, there was a rift in time.  This rift occurred around the point in history when the Hero of Time and the Princess of Destiny fought the Great King of Evil.  When the rift occurred, the goddesses felt the need to create an agent that would be able to control the rift and the events occurring on either side of it based on whether the agent was awake or asleep.  This agent is the Wind Fish.”


“So in effect, I wasn’t dreaming on Koholint.  Well, I was, but what was actually happening was that I was existing in a different time across dimensions?” Link asked. 


“You can think of it that way.”  Harkinian said.


“Now I know what you meant when you said, try me." Link said, shaking his head.


“So does Hyrule exist across the rift in time?  What about Calatia?  What about the other kingdoms throughout the world?  What about the people within them?” Zelda asked.


“That is which we do not know with any certainty.” Harkinian said. 


“So let’s say that we complete our mission, we use the Pyramids of Sin to travel across the rift in time created by the original Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf.  We go back to Koholint and defeat Dethl and the nightmares.  At that moment, the storms surrounding Koholint disperse.  We travel across the ocean back to where Hyrule should be.  What do we find?” Link said. 


“That’s for the great adventurer and hero to find out.” Harkinian said. 


“And if we don’t follow through on the mission?” Link asked. 


“We face ruin at the hands of the nightmares, whose numbers could be endless.” Harkinian said.


“I guess we have to figure out if we truly trust the goddesses.” Impa said.


“I wonder if my brother does.” Zelda said, staring off into space.


The next day, the entirety of the castle was scurrying around, preparing for the arrival of the armies from Calatia and Marith, as well as many ordinary citizens in honor of the Din Festival.  Link and Zelda had another objective on their minds though.  They arose before dawn from their slumber and quickly dressed themselves.


“This is it Link, we need to get going or else we won’t make it back in time.” Zelda said. 


“Hey, aren’t you forgetting something?” A voice sounded across the main hall.  They turned around and Kylara was standing amid the statues of hyrulian knights near the entrance to the throne room.  Flanking her were Catronia and Silvia, two other maidens who happened to be the descendants of Saria and Darunia, the ancient sages of Forest and Fire. 


“Of course…the Pendants.” Link said rather groggily.  He came forward and Kylara put the Pendant of Power around his neck.  Silvia and Catronia did the same for the Pendants of Wisdom and Courage.  After they did so, Kylara beckoned to Link.  They moved off to the side. 


“I just wanted you to know that…what I did yesterday, doesn’t make up for the wrongs that I have done.” Kylara said.  “I’m still in your debt.”


“Don’t worry about it Kylara.  Like we’ve said, you didn’t mean to hurt me.  I think it worked out great that you were able to exact revenge directly upon Dethl for what he did to you.” Link said.


“Link…make sure Zelda knows that you’ll always be there for her.  Be her hero, just like you were mine in the Dark World.” Kylara said.  Link nodded.


The walk to the Lost Woods was fairly long, but took place on a rather pleasant summer afternoon.  The sun shone and illuminated the plains of northeastern Hyrule, touching every nook and cranny of earth.  With Simon and Alicia flanking them, the hero and the princess carefully made their way into the depths of the Lost Woods. 


“This used to be Blind’s hideout?” Zelda asked.  “This little stump here?”


“That’s what the thieves here say.  They were none too happy to see Agahnim and Ganon fall, but when they learned that I had dispatched with their master, they actually took rather kindly to the news.  Evidently he wasn’t well liked. 


“Well it’s not hard to figure out why.  Dethl’s doppelganger form of him nearly destroyed two of my brethren.” Alicia said.  “That supreme nightmare sure has some strong dark magic.”


“At this point I don’t care what it possesses…I’m going to take him out.  And we’ve almost reached the weapon that will help me finish him once and for all.” Link said with confidence.


It was high noon when they finally entered the sacred meadow of the Master Sword.  The clearing, the only area devoid of trees for miles, was about a hundred yards across.  In the north of the meadow it lie, the Sword of Evil’s Bane. 


“The Hero’s triumph on Cataclysm’s Eve wins three symbols of virtue.  The Master Sword he will now receive, keeping the Knight’s line true.” Link read from the pedestal.  He laid down the Pendant of Courage, followed by the Pendants of Power and Wisdom.  He moved quickly behind the pedestal and put one hand on the handle.  “Let’s see if it chooses me again.” 


With a giant flash of light, Link again drew the Master Sword from the pedestal. 


Chapter 18: The Invasion of Labrynna


Back at Hyrule Castle the various dignitaries and soldiers from Marith and Calatia had begun to arrive.  Link and Zelda watched as the phalanx from Calatia moved in from the west, and the group from Marith came in from the east.  A very familiar face was at the front of the Calatian armies, that being Link’s father Arn.  At the fore of the Marithian force was another face to whom they knew much more than they could have imagined, that being Richard.  Coupled together with Krin and Mariel’s groups, the force was several thousand in number. 


Yet the biggest surprise on this night was not who was leading the charge, or in the sheer gravity of the army that had come together.  No, the big surprise was yet to come, to be unearthed in the castle tower.  Link and Zelda had prepared the bed and were ready to get some much needed rest.


“Link, I want you close to me.” Zelda said.  Link obliged by wrapping his arms around her in bed and snuggling up to her.  Their hands felt around each other’s bodies for several minutes as they each warmed each other up.  Before long the hero and the princess were without their clothes, locked with one another in the throes of seemingly endless passion.  Like they had so many times, the two young lovers saw and felt their essence meld together in a perfect display of love and affection.  After the peak, the two held together tightly, as if they would never let go.


“Link…do you think that you and I will have children someday?” Zelda asked. 


“I think so.” Link responded.  “It is bound to happen eventually.  Besides, Hyrule will need an heir to the throne soon.”


“That day will soon be at hand.” Zelda said.  She flashed a mischievous grin. 


Link’s eyes lit up.  “Wait…you’re saying that you’re…” 


Zelda nodded her head yes, smiling from ear to ear.  Link immediately smothered her, hugging and kissing her with fervor.  The fruit of their love was soon to be realized.  It wasn’t long before their prior passion returned to a fever pitch.


The next morning, the 3rd of July, King Harkinian addressed the combined army as well as the hyrulian people that had gathered outside of Hyrule Castle. 


“Lads of Calatia, Marith, and Hyrule…and maidens too, we have gathered here to confront an evil that has so malevolently invaded our countryside and within the boundaries of many other countries within our world.  We have gathered here to confront this evil, to support our brothers and sisters in Holodrum and Labrynna who have suffered the worst of the evil power.  This unholy confluence led by the nightmares of the former Koholint must be put down if this world is to return to peace and prosperity for all.  It is with my heart, my soul, that I entrust my best wishes to all of you tonight.  You are truly great men and women…by the power, wisdom, and courage in your hearts, may your journey be blessed, may you stand together and fight, and may you emerge victorious!”


There were massive shouts of fervor from all around the castle exterior. 


That afternoon, the armies left Hyrule Castle.  Through a strategy meeting earlier that day, the leaders of each army agreed to split the total force in half.  The Calatian army along with Krin’s division would depart to the west for Saria, where they would sail across the sea.  They would land on the northern shoreline of Labrynna and move through the mountainous north of the country.  Their presence would attract the attention of the nightmares, making them engage them in an effort to keep secure their hold on the country. 


The second group, the Marith army along with Mariel’s division, would make the longer trek on foot around the end of Lake Hylia to the town of Nabooru.  From there, they would sail southward around the east coast of Calatia into the Ambi Archipelago.  Upon the signal, they would launch an amphibious invasion on Labrynna’s southern coast just east of the Black Tower.  With any luck, the enemy will have chased the first army into the mountains, leaving Lynna unprotected and ripe for capture.  The two armies would then link up, destroying any remaining resistance.


“Father, I’m glad you have come.  A shame you had to leave mother behind though.” Link said.


“What was that?” Medilia asked, poking out from behind a wall. 


Arn laughed.  “Hah!  She practically begged Queen Seline to let her come along.”


“Actually, your father refused to command the army if I was left behind.” Medilia quipped. 


“I’m pretty sure neither of you are telling me the whole truth.” Link said.  “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Besides, I have something really important to tell you, now that we’re about to go to war.”


“What is that son?” Arn asked. 


“You two are about to become grandparents.” Link said. 


Medilia’s face lit up with joy.  “Oh goddesses!  Zelda is pregnant?  Oh son, this is joyous news!”     


“I always knew you were a little rascal.” Arn quipped.   


“So when is our invite to the christening?” Medilia asked.


“When we get back home I’ll be sure to let you know.” Link said.  He looked across the wagon train to Zelda, who gave him a smile in return. 


That night, they set sail from Saria.  Link did not have great memories of his last sea voyage, but he vowed that this time he would right the wrongs of that fateful adventure.  His thoughts turned to Marin.  Should he have gone back to Labrynna sooner to rescue her?  Such an adventure would have been foolhardy, but Dethl’s words gnawed at him.  Had he really left her to die?  Based on Venus’s letter, he was confident that he would find her.  The only question was whether or not the enemy had captured her.  If they had, he would fight to the death to save her.


After a day and a half voyage, the sun rose high over the eastern seas, and the mountainous north of Labrynna spread out in front of them.  The north of Labrynna was rugged and not very fertile, and was thus sparsely populated.  The shoreline was abandoned when the ship disembarked.


“Let’s make our way through the mountains as quick as we can, so as not to be detected.”  Krin said.  Link and Arn nodded their heads in assent.  The group spread out into small teams of three and four, and made their way over the rugged trails of northwestern Labrynna.  The sun was high in the air, but as they climbed, the temperature dropped.  It was actually quite chilly once they were a few thousand feet above sea level.  Right before sunset, Link and Zelda’s group came up against their first enemy resistance, a moblin unit hiding on an outcropping.  With arrows, they quickly overcame the threat and moved southward.   The army group reconvened in a clearing near the summit of the mountain range and set in for a clear, cold night. 


The next morning, July 5th, they continued the march southward, eventually linking up with a canyon overlooking the Lynna River.  They encountered more resistance there, this one a group of gibdos and stalfos.  Krin called for the army group to split into three, and the first group led by Arn went straight at the enemy.  The Calatians fought admirably, and pushed the enemy back.  By the time the other two groups swooped in from the west, the stalfos had retreated. 


By evening, the Calatian/Hyrulian force had crossed the Lynna River and were on the outskirts of town.  Krin instructed his group to spread out once again, sending his force into Lynna’s northern suburban reaches.  Link’s force went south toward the coast.  Arn’s group was instructed to hold position just due west of the Black Tower and wait for the signal.


While this was all happening, the fleet from Marith was arriving into the archipelago just south of the mainland.  They were ready to strike.  The night before the invasion, two bright young minds discussed strategy.


“So if we come up east of the Lynna River, it won’t allow us access to the Black Tower, but it will give us the easiest trip into town.  Our success or failure will be partially dependant on how fortified the enemy position is.” Richard said.


“If they’ve kept all of their troops in behind, then Krin’s army will move in from the north and force them to fight in two directions.” Mariel replied. 


“Why do you say that?  They could have held up in the mountains.” Richard said.


“No, the nightmares wouldn’t do that.  They like to stick with places they know, particularly populated areas.  That’s why they attacked Kakariko once and Hyrule Castle twice.  They’ve probably set up in Lynna without any thought of pulling out.  We’re going to have to fight hard to clear the city.” Mariel said. 


“But with the Calatians and Link’s army pressing in from the west, they’ll be like caged rats.”


“Exactly.”  Mariel said. 


“You know, I like you girl.  How did you ever become an officer in the Hylian Knights?” Richard asked. 


“By sheer, sweat, blood, and tears.  It wasn’t easy being kidnapped and forced to live inside a prison of crystal for nearly two months.  It just ignited a side of me that I never knew I had.  But I suspect that being a knight really wasn’t your first choice of occupations either.” Mariel said.


“It certainly was not.  I was a teacher, a master of a guild of learners actually.  I could recite and write sonnets in perfect iambic pentameter.  I played a mean fiddle too.  But Marith was attacked one day by a kingdom to our south, and I was pressed into service.” Richard responded.


“If only our enemies would have left us alone.” Mariel quipped.  Richard smiled.     


The day of reckoning had finally come.  At dawn on June 6, the Marithian/Hyrulian army led by Richard and Mariel slogged through the seas and landed on Labrynna’s mainland.  Almost immediately, they were pitted against an army that was armed and ready.  There were dodongo snakes, leevers, moldorms, stalfos, gibdos, and spade penguins all vying for the opportunity to wreak havoc on their adversaries from across the ocean. 


“Archers, let them have it!” Richard shouted.  A torrent of arrows crossed the beach.  Many arrows found their mark, causing enemies to crumble.  Mariel commanded her fighters to roll bombs across the hard sand.  This caused massive explosions that broke a hole in the enemy line. 


“We have an opening!   Charge!” Richard shouted. 


A few miles down the beach, Link saw and heard the explosions.  He quickly gathered his knights.  “Knights, that was the signal.   We move to link back up with Arn’s group and take back Lynna!”  With a shout, the army moved back north, linking up to begin the second phase of the attack.  This move took them very near the Black Tower and the center of town.  Here Link and Arn’s forces encountered even stronger enemies, including moblins, armos, darknuts, and even wizzrobes.


“There’s wizzrobes up ahead!  Toss bombs at ‘em!” Link shouted. 


With a furious volley of bomb tosses, they cut into the enemy lines.  The physical darknuts moved forward to engage.  Link sprung into action, rolling on the ground to disarm one from behind before knocking the helmet off another with a parry attack.  Arn assisted by launching into a spin, taking out several moblins.  The wizzrobes returned, hoping to injure Link by zapping him with magic.  Zelda saw this, and fired a magic blast of her own, reversing the attack and sending magic back in their direction.  One of the wizzrobes responded by running straight at Zelda and grabbing her.  They locked arms.


“So we’ve got ourselves a sorceress.  I always liked a little wench to trifle with.” The wizzrobe said condescendingly. 


“I’m not little, and I’m not a wench.” Zelda said, pushing back. 


“Oh you pretend to be just like Ganon.” The wizzrobe mocked.  He readied an energy blast, but without even raising her hand, Zelda focused on the wizzrobe’s wand, disarming him with a burst of psychic energy.  The wizzrobe dropped to the ground, stunned. 


“I don’t pretend to be Ganon.  I am better than Ganon.” Zelda said coldly. 


The wizzrobe unit was unnerved.  Within seconds, they retreated, scattering back across the city in fear.  The whole army gave a shout of cheer for Zelda. 


Link took down several more darknuts.  He pivoted back the other direction and felled a stalfos with a spin attack.  Dropping a bomb, it exploded into a zillion bony pieces.  The hero turned again and quickly felled yet another darknut.  Suddenly he detected a presence behind him, a very sinister presence.  He took a shot in the back from a moblin spear.  Several moblins advanced on him quickly only to be felled by arrows.


“Nobody hurts my boy and lives to tell about it!” Medilia shouted. 


Link turned and smiled, though his pain was still obvious.  “Thanks mom.” He said.


The battle continued to play out in the central reaches of Lynna.  Krin’s army arrived from the north around the same time Mariel’s army arrived from the south.  In central Lynna the Hyrulians, Calatians, and Marithians came upon an army of humans.  They fought just as hard as the nightmares.  With fresh blood in the mix, the enemy did better, the battle lasting deep into the afternoon.  They fought from house to house, room to room.  They claimed territory foot by foot.


Despite the appearance of enemy humans, the plan was working.  Just when it appeared that the enemy could take no more, Link noticed one solitary figure in golden armor standing on the bloody ground that had once been the village square.  The hero saw a streak of red across his brow.  Immediately, he disengaged from the front and ran to the blood-stained grass.


“We meet again, Nobrax.”



Chapter 19: Last Stand of the Children


Link bore down on Nobrax like a tiger having circled and marked its prey.  Anger coursed through his arteries, and at that moment, he swore he could feel his scars produce a bubbling rash that consumed his consciousness.  He would have his revenge. 


Nobrax said nothing.  He stood silent, waiting for Link to make his move.  The hero didn’t waste any time.  He charged forward at full bore.  The master sword gleamed in the dying sunlight of the evening as he brought it around for the first strike.  It clanged off of Nobrax’s armor, but not before part of his breastplate was ripped off.  Link followed with an immediate spin attack at close range.  This knocked some armor off of Nobrax’s left arm. 


“My turn.” Nobrax said coldly.  He took his trusty ball and chain and fired it at Link.  The hero attempted to evade, but it grazed him in the chest, enough to knock him to the ground.  Link quickly got quickly back to his feet and took aim again with the Master Sword.  It connected again, knocking some armor off of Nobrax’s right hip.  Nobrax responded by swinging at Link’s head.  His punch landed near Link’s injured shoulder.  The hero let out a yelp of pain.  Nobrax tried to capitalize with his ball and chain, but Link quickly got his shield up to block it. 


Nobrax continued to stalk Link, and backed him up to the edge of the grassy arena.  Little did he know that he was walking into a trap.  On the next throw of the ball and chain, Link quickly ducked and rolled beneath the strike, swinging upward with the Master Sword right into Nobrax’s right arm.  The strike knocked his armor clean off and caused him to drop the ball and chain.  Link quickly grabbed it and tossed it out of the arena.


“There.  Now I will have my revenge!” Link shouted 


“You’re going to have to do better than that.”  Nobrax said coldly.


He pulled out a sword of his own and engaged Link with it.  Initially Link was able to outrun Nobrax because of the weight of his armor.  With swing after swing, he methodically removed Nobrax’s armor plating, and inflicted painful blows against his arms and legs.  But as the armor came off, Nobrax became more and more mobile, and began to press forward.  He challenged Link in a game of chance, gaining the advantage with his raw strength.  With a furious push, he knocked the hero back to the ground.  Nobrax wound up for a fatal strike, but Link rolled out of danger just in time. 


The hero remembered his imprisonment and torturing.  With a furious burst of inspiration, he engaged Nobrax once again, swinging high and low.  The son of Onox struggled to hang on.  Link methodically took out the remainder of his armor, exposing his midsection completely.  In the process, Link took several shots to his left arm, and his injured shoulder eroded to the point where it was basically useless.  With a giant swing, Nobrax clanged his sword against Link’s shield, knocking it from his hands.  Link ran away to the edge of the arena to regroup. 


Nobrax saw his opportunity.  He charged toward Link, readying a furious overhead swing.  Link held his sword behind him for several seconds as Nobrax came forward.  Just when it looked like he would be skewered from above, the hero burst forward with his Pegasus boots, tackling Nobrax with a vicious spear.  Link hit Nobrax several times in the chest, then used his sword handle to batter him in the helmet, which was the only protection left on his body.  With a fury of pressure, Link ripped off Nobrax’s helmet.  He punched him thrice in the head, and then prepared to strike the final blow when he stopped suddenly. 


“What’s…wrong…hero?” A bloodied Nobrax asked.  “Can’t…finish the job?” 


“Marin.  Where is she?” Link asked. 


Nobrax said nothing.  Link pulled him up by his hair.  “Look, as pathetic a human being as you are, even though you damn near killed me, I might just spare your life.  Just give me something.”


Nobrax coughed as he tried to speak.  “You…would keep me alive…to save her.  That’s…cute.”


Link waited. 


“Your heart…you wish to right your wrong…from that day…in Holodrum.  Nobrax coughed violently again, coughing up some blood this time.  Link held firm.  Finally Nobrax made his decision.


“May your…heart bleed.” Nobrax said.  He spit on Link’s tunic. 


With a furious cry, Link drove the Master Sword through Nobrax’s heart.  Within seconds, he crumpled to the ground, dead.


“Zelda!  Arn!  Medilia!  To the Black Tower!”


Link motioned to Krin and Mariel to finish the fight on the ground and take control.  Behind him, his wife the princess, as well as his mother and father, traveled to the entrance of the Black Tower.  The towering structure, perhaps the tallest in the entire world, had been built during the era of Queen Ambi I.  The ominous building was not her vision though.  The evil sorceress Veran had directed the people of Lynna to build the tower through Ambi by infiltrating the monarch’s body, effectively possessing her.  During Link’s prior adventure in Labrynna, Veran had also possessed Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, and used her powers to flip Labrynna’s existence between the present and the time of Ambi I.  It was in this place that Link had fought Veran, a battle that rivaled his battle with Ganon in terms of difficulty and pain incurred. 


Given his personal history with the place, Link took no chances.  Zelda, Arn, and Medilia stayed close as they entered the tower.  They immediately tried to find their way into the basement of the tower, which was the resting place of the Amethyst of Materiality.  But there was one slight problem.


“I should have remembered, all the staircases lead upward.” Link said. 


“So how do we get into the basement?” Arn asked. 


“I don’t suppose that this place was built with one.” Medilia said.


“If there’s no basement, where is the Amethyst?” Link asked. 


“I might have translated the location wrong.” Zelda said hurriedly.  “I know the text was talking about this place, but maybe it is in a different part of the building.” 


“Well we have to try everything.” Medilia said.  “It must be here somewhere.”


They searched every floor of the abandoned tower.  They searched every staircase as well, which took a very long time since the tower had a great number of staircases.  Finally, about two hours after they initially entered, they reached the fifth floor of the tower.  This floor was effectively the roof.  Beyond the stone railings, one could look out over the seas south of the Labrynna mainland or clear to the mountains of the north.  One thing that was readily apparent was the change in the weather.  Dark clouds gathered around the Lynna region.  Crackles of thunder and lightning lit up the sky.  But none of that was of interest to Link or the others at the moment, for as they emerged from the fourth floor staircase, they laid their eyes on a familiar maiden standing on a pillar across from them.  She held a purple pyramid in her hand.


“Marin!” Link shouted.  Marin turned and faced Link.  A big smile crossed her face.  He hopped down from the pillar and raced across the roof to the opposite pillar, throwing his arms around her.  His long lost friend had been found, and so had the final Pyramid of Sin.  Koholint could now be reborn.  Link finally let it all out, all the pain, all the aggression, all the unhappiness that had once consumed him.  Just like it had so many times, the evil was about to be defeated and peace would once again reign across the world. 


Suddenly, Link felt a sharp pain in his chest.  It came out of nowhere.  What could it be?  Magic?  No…it was worse, like heavy metal going through him.  He pulled away, and that’s when he saw it.  There was a dagger stuck deep into his chest, blood pouring out.  He heard screaming behind him as he looked up into Marin’s eyes.  They were a fiery red.  Her eyes were usually blue.  And then the truth hit Link like the cold metal twisted inside him. 




The hero fell off the pillar, landing with a thud on his head and shoulders, the Master Sword skidding across the tower roof.  Zelda and Medilia shrieked, both of them on him in two seconds.


“Oh my goodness!  No!  Please, please Link, please hold still!  Please stay strong, you’re going to be okay.” Zelda said hurriedly.  She held him down as Medilia pulled the dagger out.  It was completely soaked with blood.  Link’s breath was raspy and quick.  He looked up and saw Marin’s face, which launched into a twisted, almost evil smirk.  She was gone, and so was he.  The last thing he could see was tears running down Zelda’s face.  Everything went black.


“Hahahahahahahahaha!” A possessed Marin boomed.  “Like I had said before, I would be waiting at my mother’s tomb!”


“What have you done?!” Medilia shrieked. 


Arn’s mouth dropped.  “That voice!  You’re that girl from the cave in Holodrum!  What have you done to my son?!” 


“I killed him.” Viranda’s voice said rather matter-of-factly. 


Arn snapped.  Immediately he grabbed his blade and ran after Marin.  He was about to skewer her right in the chest before another, much sweeter voice stopped him. 

“Please!  Please don’t hurt me!” Marin shouted.  “It’s not my fault, that evil sorceress made me do it!”


“What in tarnation do you mean?!” Arn demanded.    


“Yeah what do you mean?” Viranda’s voice sounded.  “I killed Link in cold blood!  Come and avenge your son’s death!”


“Yeah…that’s what I’m going to do!” Arn shouted.


He readied to land a blow right in Marin’s stomach when Zelda screamed from behind. 


“Wait!” Zelda cried.  “This woman has been possessed by the demon!  If you cut her down you’ll kill them both!”


“What do I care?  My only son is dead!  Dead!  Your husband just died in front of you and you’re worried about saving another who is probably lost already?! 


“She’s not lost as long as I get to the Master Sword first.” Zelda said.  She ran after the sword.  Marin’s possessed body immediately showed concern, and fired an energy blast at Zelda.  It hit her square in the chest and knocked her down.  The wind knocked out of her, Zelda struggled to get up.  She agonizingly struggled toward the sword but her adversary got there first. 


“Hah!  You thought that you could deny me my prize.  Even true knights from Hyrule to Labrynna know that by killing a man you obtain the spoils of his possession.  Which includes his weaponry, his dowry, and of course, his woman.”  Marin’s possessed body moved over the Master Sword and glared at Zelda.  “You’re mine now princess.” Viranda’s voice sounded.


“Don’t you touch that!” Zelda demanded. 


“You’re in no position to demand anything from me, princess.  My revenge awaits, and my destiny calls.”  She bent over slightly and blew Zelda a kiss.


“Mother, may you finally be avenged.” Viranda’s voice sounded.


Marin’s possessed body reached over to grab the Master Sword.  But as she did so, a massive spark of energy emerged from the blade.  It traveled up the handle quickly, shocking her with a massive amount of voltage.  Viranda’s voice let out a terrifying scream of pain.  Within seconds, there was an explosion of light and dark energy.  When it settled, Marin’s body had crumpled to the floor, and Viranda had come into her own being.


“What?!  I’m no longer in possession of her?” Viranda asked.  “But that’s impossible!” 


Now it was Zelda who laughed.  “Child, every true knight from Hyrule to Labrynna knows that a demonic little sorceress like you is not fit to hold the Sword of Evil’s Bane.  No evil can touch it.  Even with you in another’s body it recognized the malevolent force within you and spat you right out of your little façade.”


“A façade?  I should show you just what a façade I really am!  You will pay for insulting me and my mother this way!” Viranda shouted.  She built up a burst of energy inside her, a burst that began to consume her body. 


“She’s about to change form.” Zelda warned.  “Get back!” 


But before Arn and Medilia could react, the young girl had morphed into the form of a giant spider.  It immediately shot out a web, which took a direct hit on Link’s parents, constricting them at the base of one of the pillars.  The spider began to quickly advance on them.  Without any other option, Arn took out a bomb and rolled it on the ground toward Viranda.  The bomb exploded, but did not do much damage other than revealing some of Viranda’s facial features.  Zelda knew that she had to do something and do it quickly.  She retrieved the Master Sword.


By now the spider was very close.  It showed its fangs menacingly.  Medilia was terrified, as was Arn though he managed to hide his fear somewhat better.  Unable to escape the web, Arn moved his hand over Medilia’s.  They clasped hands firmly and looked resolutely into the eyes of evil.  If this was the way they were to go, they would go together, defiant to the very end.


The spider moved forward for the kill.  At that exact moment, Zelda had ascended the pillar above Arn and Medilia.  With a desperate dive, she drove the Master Sword right through the spider’s head just before it could reach Arn and Medilia.  Zelda landed hard as the spider began to self-destruct.  Dark, purple energy flooded the zone before eventually phasing out in a series of explosions.  Viranda was dead. 


Zelda got up gingerly.  She used the Master Sword to hack through the web, freeing Arn and Medilia.  The princess saw that they were okay, so she made her way over to Marin.  She took the maiden’s body into her hands, to which she began to move her head. 


“Uhh…where am I?” Marin asked. 


Zelda smiled.  “You’re in a better place now.”


“Huh?  Who are you?  Where are we?” Marin asked.


Arn and Medilia rushed over to their fallen son.  After just one touch, they knew what they had already suspected, that their son was dead.  Upon seeing this sight for the first time, Marin immediately broke down into tears.  Arn and Medilia joined in.  As Zelda held the Master Sword in her gauntlet-covered hands, the truth finally began to sink in.  Her husband, and the savior of her country, was gone.    


In another place and time, the Flame of Sorrow’s blue hue burned as bright as ever.



Chapter 20: The Dimensional Gatekeeper


“I don’t care what the high council or anybody else says, we’re going to Koholint!”


“Your majesty, we’re low on supplies and the men are tired.”


“My husband would demand that we finish this now while the enemy is on the run.  For the sake of the goddesses, anyone who does not agree with this course of action can stay in Labrynna and be branded as a deserter.  Do I make myself clear?” 


Krin sighed visibly.  “We will set sail immediately for the Wind Fish’s domain.  Move out!” 


In the brig of the ship, Zelda laid her husband’s body down on the metal grates.  This was not the way things were supposed to end.  They were supposed to have forever together.  Zelda vowed that Dethl and the remaining nightmares would feel the heights of her vengeance.  She knelt down in prayer, then broke down in tears once again. 


“He will be a hero to all, just as he wished to be.” A voice said from behind.  Zelda turned around to see Kylara.  She was holding the Sapphire of Jealousy.  Zelda immediately buried her head into her bosom. 


“They will pay for what they’ve done!” Zelda shouted.  


“Of course…we will do our part.  As soon as the Diamond of Infinity comes into view, grab it and we’ll get our revenge.” Kylara said.  The sage descendant handed Zelda a handkerchief, to which she quickly did her best to dry her eyes. 


“This is the end.  Either we have total victory, or his life will have been lost in vain.” Zelda said.  A determination unlike any other coursed through her veins. 


For the next day, Zelda trained with the Master Sword in solitude.  She practiced all sorts of swings, swipes, parries, rolls, basically every technique that Link had ever shown her.  The blade cut through the air with a seamless precision, as though the princess had been a veteran of swordplay her whole life.   


“Not bad your majesty.” Mariel said, the descendant maiden emerging from the deck above.  “The Blade of Evil’s Bane has taken a liking to you.”


“I suppose it has.  It never would have allowed me to wield it atop the Black Tower if it did not trust in my abilities.” Zelda said, her words a virtual epiphany.


“You two did a lot more than read books in the library.  I can tell.”  Mariel said. 


“What is that supposed to mean?” Zelda asked. 


“He trained you well.  He must’ve done it right under everybody’s nose, but it is obvious.  You could probably hold your own with me, maybe defeat me even.”  Mariel said. 


“I do not know this.  What I do know is that he wanted me to be prepared in case this day ever came.  This is about much more than avenging my husband.  It is about every man, woman, and child that calls our kingdom home.  It is about every wood, mountain, plain, and river that snakes within.  This is about the restoration of everything that we hold dear.  Link did all he could.  I must finish this fight.  I don’t have to be better than you, I just have to be better than the evil that opposes us. 


“We’ll all be at your side, your majesty.” Alicia’s voice chimed from behind.  Zelda noticed all six of the sages’ descendants, holding their respective Pyramids of Sin.  The seven maidens all came together for a group hug.


The decisive moment was soon at hand.  Shortly before midnight, Zelda was standing on the deck looking eastward over the ocean.  The gentle winds of the ocean blew ripples through the air on the midsummer’s night.  The moon above illuminated the waves as they struck the bow. 


“Flying object up ahead!  It’s casting a shadow on the ship!” A shout came down from the crow’s nest.  Zelda looked up into the sky and sure enough, a giant whale emerged on the horizon.  She immediately ran down below deck to alert the other maidens. 


“Catronia!  Silvia!  The Wind Fish has been spotted!”  Zelda shouted.  The maidens quickly awoke Kylara and the others.  Zelda moved above deck and ordered the men on deck to ready the lifeboats.  They sprung into action.  As the ship moved closer, Zelda noticed something that she hadn’t seen on her prior trip to Marith.  There was a stone plateau in the water up ahead.  The Wind Fish’s flight path seemed to track fairly close to the plateau.


Before long, the lifeboats were lowered into the ocean.  Each of the seven maidens were flanked by several hyrulian soldiers, who steered the lifeboats closer and closer to the plateau, which only came out of the water by a foot or less.  As they got closer, Zelda noticed the moonlight begin to illuminate a gleaming object in the plateau’s middle.  It was the seventh Pyramid of Sin.  She ordered the lifeboats to spread out in formation around the platform.  Accompanied by Krin and Simon, Zelda’s boat reached the bottom end of the plateau a few minutes before midnight.  She emerged from the boat and began to walk toward the Diamond of Infinity. 


The Wind Fish, startled by her arrival, swooped down from the sky and hovered directly above.  “Thou hast entered my domain?” It asked.  “Who art thou, and for what have you come?” 


“Great deity of the seas…my name is Zelda Harkinian, Princess of Hyrule.  I have come to usher in the rebirth of island of Koholint.


It was at this moment that the Wind Fish noticed the other boats, and the descendants of the sages holding the other Pyramids of Sin.  “For what reason has thou labored so long and hard to bring back such a forsaken place?” It asked.   


“The world has been invaded by the nightmares that used to call this place home.  They have done so with the intention of finding a new home for themselves.”  Zelda responded. 


“I trust that you have been able to live amicably amongst them?” The Wind Fish asked. 


Zelda was taken aback.  “No.  Unless you consider having our towns and villages invaded, people being injured, and entire lands being subjugated as living amicably.” 


“Great Princess of Hyrule…understand the plight of the nightmares.  When the Hero of Koholint caused me to awake, the nightmares had their country destroyed.  They had not a choice but to move on to new lands.  What happens to them is no longer my concern.  I do not wish to return to a dream world where they pervade my subconscious.”


“So you oppose me then?” Zelda asked, surprised. 


“You have no right to return the prison world from the deep.” The Wind Fish said. 


Zelda was irate.  “I do not care if you are deity of the seas, you still answer to the goddesses of creation!  Their laws would not stand for this imbalance of good and evil forces caused by a kingdom of the world disappearing beneath the waves for eternity!”


“You speak as though I do not realize the evil powers that these creatures possess, or of the evil that they are capable of spreading.  I was perhaps their greatest victim of all.  But I have learned to deal with their presence.”


“Only because my husband saved you!” Zelda screamed at the top of her lungs. 


There was dead silence across the seas for a brief moment.  Even Zelda was surprised at her loss of self-control.  She gathered her emotions and launched into impassioned soliloquy. 


“The Hero of Koholint you spoke of earlier…his name was Link of Hyrule.  He was a knight of my kingdom, a man who embodied the honesty, fidelity, chivalry, courage, and righteousness within the greatest of humanity.  He was first my friend, then my betrothed, and then my beloved husband.  For months he fought his way across the world to obtain the Pyramids of Sin just so that I would have this opportunity to seal the nightmares away in their rightful place.  Everybody you see around you now played a role in this endeavor, but it was because of my husband’s relentlessness, his endless desire to help the people of my kingdom and the kingdoms of all the world that we are here, on the doorstep of ending this eternal nightmare.”


“If this is all true, if your husband wanted me to go back to sleep again so badly after he fought so hard in Koholint to awaken me, then why is he not here?”


The Wind Fish’s question cut right across Zelda’s heart.  She sank down to her knees. 


“He was killed in battle just two moons ago.  His last request for me use his sacred blade to make Dethl breathe his last.  You surely would not deny Koholint’s hero his final request, would you?”


The Wind Fish hovered above Zelda for a brief moment.  Everything seemed to stop, the wind, the waves, the movement of the stars, all hanging on the answer of the great whale.  Finally the Wind Fish registered his response. 


“If the Hero of Koholint has made it his final request, then back into slumber I will go.  Realize that this will have far reaching impacts on the world, some that thou might not be prepared for.  I just hope thou knows what thou is doing, for a road of hardship lies ahead.” The Wind Fish said. 


“We acknowledge this.  I promise that we will make your second slumber much more pleasant than your first.” Zelda said. 


The Wind Fish nodded.  He then flew away from her, splashing into the ocean below.  Salty ocean water splashed upon all assembled.


Zelda stepped forward to claim the Diamond of Infinity.  As she took the white pyramid into her hands, it began to glow.  “At this, the darkest hour of day, may the elements of evil come together to rise from the deep the prison meant to house the evil which bewitches our world.”


“Sloth!” Mariel shouted.


“Lust!” Catronia bellowed.


“Wrath!” Silvia cried.


“Envy!” Kylara belted.


“Pride!” Alicia boomed.


“Gluttony!” Annabelle exclaimed.


“Greed.” Zelda said. 


Together, the seven maidens held high the Seven Pyramids of Sin.  Six colored beams of light shot into the air and crossed in the middle above Zelda, where it met the white light coming from the Diamond of Infinity. 


“May the Great Kingdom of Koholint be reborn!”  Zelda shouted. 


The Pyramids of Sin lifted into the air above the maidens.  The six outer pyramids began to rotate around the plateau, pivoting around the Diamond of Infinity.  They then expanded outward as a big flash of light lit up the night sky, followed by a second, then a third.  A giant burst of wind came from all directions.  Waves crashed all around as giant boulders rose from the sea.  The last thing Zelda heard was a giant cracking noise.  Everything went dark. 


Zelda slowly opened her eyes.  She groggily rubbed them to get the sand out and examine her surroundings.  White, marble walls surrounded her.  She recognized these walls, for they were of the inside of her quarters.  She lay in her bed.  But why was she in her bed? 


The Princess quickly rose and ran to her door.  She opened it quickly and started running down the hallway.  One of her ladies-in-waiting was around the corner and called to her. 


“My lady, where are you running to?   Shouldn’t I help you out of your nightgown?”  She asked.


“Francine, you know that you can call me Zelda.  Please, can you answer a question for me?”


“Sure Zelda, anything.” 


“What day of the week is it?”


“Uhh…Tuesday.” Francine’s response came. 


Zelda thought back.  She was pretty sure it wasn’t Tuesday before.  “What month?” she asked.


“August.” The lady-in-waiting replied. 


Zelda thought for a moment.  It definitely was July before.  “I have to see my father immediately!  Prepare my adventuring clothes, the blue dress with the white leggings and brown boots.  If you see Kylara or Mariel have them come to my quarters and wait for me.”


“I will do it now Zelda.”


Zelda ran down the hallway and up the stairs to the main floor.  She passed many guards, who were all giving her strange looks as she flew past.  Certainly it was not in her nature to be seen dressed in such a manner, but this was no ordinary situation.  She tore up the stairs as quickly as her legs would take her. 


“Father!” Zelda cried as she entered the throne room.  Harkinian rose from his throne.


“My daughter, what a surprise it is to see you in this place, and so early too.  What is the trouble?” Harkinian asked. 


“What happened to time?  I went to sleep in July and woke up in August.” Zelda said. 


“Well child, first of the month wasn’t that long ago.” Harkinian said with a laugh. 


“No seriously, I was in the ocean near where Koholint used to be.  Everything went dark, and now I ended up here.”  Zelda said.  She looked to her right hand.  “Hey wait a minute!  My ring is missing!”


“What ring are you talking about?” Harkinian asked. 


“My engagement ring, the one with the turtle design…it’s missing.” Zelda said. 


“I think the Princess has lost her marbles!” One of the guards remarked. 


“Did anybody here ask for your opinion?” Harkinian asked sternly. 


The guard returned to his post.  Harkinian thought for a moment.  Could it possibly be that the legend of Koholint was coming true?  Or was it just another crazy dream of hers?


“My child, what did you do in the ocean?”  


“It’s hard to explain.  We had just fought a vicious battle to retake Labrynna from the clutches of the nightmares.  We pursued them into the ocean and the seven maidens came together there with the Pyramids of Sin.  We wished to have Koholint brought back to existence.”


“And the next thing you knew you woke up in your bed?”




Harkinian rose from his throne.  “Impa!  Please let my advisors know that court is cancelled for the day.  We have business in the castle library.”


“So you’re saying that the timeline might have turned to the alternate dimension?” Impa asked. 


“I suspect that might be the case.” Harkinian said. 


“And why do you come to this conclusion?” Impa asked. 


“When the Princess of Destiny and the Hero of Time faced the Great King of Evil, they created a break in time.  On one end of the time continuum, the Hero of Time was defeated, and a new era of darkness covered the land, finally vanquished many years later during the Imprisoning War.  This is the history that we know.  But there was a second version of history, created when the Princess sent the Hero back to reclaim his lost time.  That was the version in which the Hero of Time defeated the Great King of Evil.  If we examine the Book of Mudora, that should tell us which version of history we are dealing with.”


Zelda opened the green book and paged to the chapter on the Ocarina conflict.  She moved her tender fingers between the pages, scanning the text.  Her eyes suddenly lit up as she reached the end of the chapter on the Spirit Temple. 


“Thanks to the Hero’s defeat of Twinrova, the Sage of Spirit, the exalted Nabooru, was able to awaken.  This completed the awakening of the Six Sages, leaving only the seventh to appear.  The Princess of Destiny did so at the Temple of Time when the Hero arrived from Gerudo Valley, shedding her guise as a sheikah.  She also revealed the location of the Triforces of Courage and Wisdom, which lied within the Hero and the Princess by destiny.  At the conclusion of this meeting, the Princess entrusted the Arrow of Light to the Hero.


The Princess was later captured by the evil Ganondorf, which prompted the sages to create the Bridge of Light leading into the tower.  After deactivating the six barriers that protected Ganondorf’s keep, the Hero confronted the Evil King.  Their battle was fierce, and resulted in the destruction of the tower as well as the King of Evil using the Triforce of Power to morph into his ultimate form, the pig beast known as Ganon.  The conclusion finally came with the Princess holding Ganon down on the ground while the Hero stabbed Ganon in the face with the Blade of Evil’s Bane!  After the battle, the Princess sent the Hero back in time seven years to reclaim his lost childhood.  This action was responsible for creating an alternate reality that runs alongside the main dimension of time, governed by Din, Nayru, and Farore.”


Now it was Harkinian whose eyes became wide with shock.  “The prophecy of the Wind Fish has come true!  I never would have believed it!” He exclaimed.


“What is the Prophecy of the Wind Fish?” Impa asked. 


“The prophecy is that the island of Koholint is the gatekeeper that allows us to move across the break in time caused by Wind Fish, as guardian deity of Koholint, has the ability to have the island come in and out of existence based on what side of the dimension we exist.  The alternate dimension, in which the Hero of Time was victorious, was commonly referred to as a dreamworld, and the one in which the Hero of Time was defeated was our reality.” Harkinian said. 


“But now, because of the seven maidens bringing together the Pyramids of Sin and sending the Wind Fish into slumber, our time has shifted to that of the dream!” Zelda exclaimed.


“In effect, we have been taken back in time eleven months, prior to the initial battle against the Nightmares.” Harkinian said.  “That battle hasn’t happened yet.” 


“That means Link is alive!” Zelda said. 


“Link was killed in the other dimension?” Impa asked. 


“He was surprised by the Maiden of Subconscious being possessed by the daughter of the Sorceress of Shadows and was stabbed in the chest and bled out.  Oh Nayru, I have to save him!”


“We must get you to Koholint.” Impa said.  She looked over to Harkinian.  He nodded his affirmative.  “Yes.  Link is in Koholint, marooned on his way back from Marith!  You must go to him before he reaches Dethl inside the Wind Fish’s Egg.  You must convince him to wish for the Wind Fish to stay asleep, and keep us in this timeline.”


“Or else Link and masses of people all over Hyrule, Labrynna, and Holodrum die.” Zelda said.        


“Correct.” Harkinian said.  He hugged Zelda fiercely and bid her farewell. 


Zelda ran down the hallway back to her room, where Mariel and Kylara were waiting.


“Pack your things, we’re going to Koholint!” Zelda shouted. 


“Koholint?  What’s that?” Kylara asked. 


“A place you could only dream about!” Zelda exclaimed.



Chapter 21:  Return to Koholint


They were nearly two days into the ocean voyage, the stars settling over the seas like a brightly freckled masterpiece.  The gentle sea breeze blew about, seemingly absent-minded to the heavy air surrounding the Hyrulian ship.  There was a ring of four bells on deck, signifying that it was four half hours into the morning watch, or about 06:00.  The sun would be soon rising to the east.


“So you’ve brought me on this journey, but for what reason?”  Mariel asked. 


“I figured you needed a break from training.” Zelda replied. 


“Won’t this put me farther away from realizing my dream?” Mariel asked. 


“Not at all.” Zelda replied.  “I brought you here to give you a great opportunity to help our kingdom as well as the world.  I did this because I’ve noticed how serious you are in your quest to make it in the Hylian Knights.  Just a few short months ago, you were the dainty, prissy, slightly stuck up maiden you had always been.  You were essentially the stereotypical damsel-in-distress that you always read about in fairy tales.  When you came out and said that you wanted to be able to defend yourself physically and would do so by becoming a knight, I have to admit that I was skeptical.  But through your training you’ve grown stronger, faster, smarter, and far more courageous than ever.  When you challenged Simon to duel last week and took the physical punishment that you did but continued to fight, it brought tears to my eyes.  I thought surely, this young lady is going to be commanding officer someday.


“You really think I could be a commanding officer?  The men of the regiment would never accept me as their superior.” Mariel said.


“You turned a lot of heads yesterday.  Being a lady knight is difficult, but if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll make it to top rank someday.  I know this in my heart.”  Zelda said.


“Zelda, your words mean so much to me.  Thank you.” Mariel said.  The two maidens embraced one another, just as another maiden called out from the crow’s nest.


“We’ve got lightning up ahead!  You can see it crackle!” Kylara called. 


Zelda got on the ladder and began to climb up.  The height of the ship was roughly thirty yards up from the sea and about twenty yards above deck.  It was still a dizzying height at times to Zelda, but climbing in the dark, it was difficult to see downward, which helped.


Kylara was visibly tired.  She was standing with a bit of a slouch and her eyes showed clear fatigue from having such an early morning duty without much rest.  “Your highness, there appears to be a storm out in the distance.  If you listen closely you can hear the swirling wind and thunder from here.” 


Zelda listened carefully.  The wind seemed to have a mercurial tone and presence.  The lightning seemed to dance about the skies without a care. 


“This looks to be quite a thunderstorm.  You need to get down from here.  Follow me and we’ll warn the people below deck.” 


Below the deck, Captain Krin was fast asleep when Zelda and Kylara knocked on his door.  After warning the sailors below deck, they emerged on deck once again.  They continued to look to the east, toward the dark, stormy eastern sky.  A strong northerly wind began to blow.   


“Your highness, how much further must we go to reach Koholint?” Simon asked.  The knight captain fought hard with the ship’s wheel in an attempt to keep on course.


“I estimate we’re about six hours away.” Zelda responded. 


“Hopefully this wind dies down.  Otherwise the ship won’t stay on course.” Simon said.


The two knights, two maidens, and the one maiden-turned-squire all continued to look out toward the advancing storm.  The lightning began to move dangerously close.  The wind whipped up harder and harder.  The waves began to crash hard, as hard as a dozen darknuts crashing into a phalanx of knights. 


“It’s strange how the sun should be rising, but yet the skies aren’t getting any lighter.” Kylara remarked. 


Krin was deep in thought as the rain began to pour down.  “Your highness, how exactly did Link end up marooned on this island?”


“He shipwrecked in a giant storm.” Zelda said nervously. 


“I’ve figured it out.” Kylara said.  Look at the clouds above!”


“I can’t see anything.” Simon said. 


“There’s just enough light that you can see the rotation in the clouds!  They come in from the left and go out rightward.  They are traveling around a circulation center to our east!”  Kylara yelled.


Zelda’s face beamed.  “Yes…that’s it!  Link…the nightmares have created all of this!  When the Wind Fish fell into slumber, they took over the island and created a giant hurricane as a means to keep outsiders out.  Link must have driven right into it on his way back from Marith!”


“Well gee, that’s just swell!  He’s probably dead!” Krin shouted.


“No…he’s not dead, in fact he’s just fine.  He’s on Koholint waiting for us!” Zelda shouted.


“How do you know?!” Kylara asked loudly.


“I’ve had a few dreams about it.” Zelda said matter-of-factly.


“So you’re driving us right into a hurricane because of dreams you’ve had?!” Simon asked.


“Don’t worry Simon…I have a secret spell that will protect us.” Zelda said.  She then walked over to the ladder.  Amid wind gusts of forty and fifty miles per hour, the princess climbed the ladder to the crow’s nest.  Fully winded by the effort, she held the railing for a minute to catch her breath.  The wind and rain continued to pound against her slender frame.


“Be careful up there!” Krin shouted.


Zelda gave a brief nod, and then concentrated intensely on the growing hurricane.  She then looked down toward the ship, and built up a large mass of blue energy in her hands.


“The Hero of Time once used this spell, but not on a scale this large.  I hope this works.”


She knelt down against the wind, sending the energy downward.  It reflected off the ocean surface, surrounding the ship in a bubble of protective blue magic.  Inside of the bubble, the wind and rain suddenly ceased.  The waves that crashed all around them began to bounce off of the force field that now surrounded the ship. 


“That is unbelievable, your majesty!” Krin bellowed.  Simon nodded his affirmative, as did Kylara.


“It is a spell called Nayru’s Love.  It requires a great aptitude for not only magic, but of wisdom and the spirit of law and order.  It also works best against repelling that which Nayru created, namely the water, the wind, and the effects of the sun and stars.  Had we been attacked by living creatures, or if we were on land, the effect of the spell wouldn’t be as great.


“How long until your magic runs out?” Krin asked. 


“I’m not sure.  Maybe fifteen minutes, but I can re-cast it at least once.” Zelda said. 


“Full speed ahead!” Simon shouted. 


Protected by the force field, the ship powered through the massive storm surrounding them.  The clouds only continued to get darker and the lightning more powerful.  Amid the scurrying on deck by the crew, Zelda continued to concentrate solely on the spell.  She knew that if it failed, she would be blown right off the crow’s nest to her death.  She had just enough magic power to re-cast the spell twice.  The ship went up and down the massive waves, avoiding a sure demise by the power of Zelda’s magic.  A waterspout passed them on the left.   


About forty minutes in, Zelda felt a sense of light-headedness gripping her.  Her legs started to get wobbly.  Visibly beginning to sweat, the princess re-doubled her efforts.  Time was starting to run short. 


“Just a few more minutes now.”  Simon said.


“She’s not going to hold out much longer!” Krin shouted.


“We’re going to make it, just have faith.  The princess wouldn’t have brought us here if she us failing in her dreams.” Kylara said.


A few seconds after Kylara finished her sentence, the clouds began to lighten.  The lightning went away, and the winds began to die.  The sun broke through the clouds, which seemed to disappear within a matter of minutes.  The natural beauty of Koholint spread out ahead of them.   Zelda smiled, and broke off the spell, falling to the floor of the crow’s nest as she did so.


Zelda was exhausted exiting the ship, so tired that she had to be carried off by Krin and Simon.  As she set her toes onto the pristine beaches of Toronbo, she felt even more energy leave her.  She slumped down onto the sand. 


“Here your majesty, take this.” Kylara said, handing Zelda a bottle of blue potion.  “Your magic force is drained so much that your life force is strained.”


Zelda took a minute to steady the bottle in her hands, and then drank some of the blue liquid.  Its taste was rather insidious, something between spoiled blueberries and a day old soup broth.  The princess downed the rest of it as quickly as she could. 


“Amazing how beautiful the ocean looks from here.” Zelda said. 


“It hides an awful secret.”  Krin said. 


“It sure does.  Those storms would have almost certainly killed us were it not for you knowing that spell.” Mariel said to Zelda. 


“We have leevers coming in.” Simon said.  He drew his blade. 


“Evidently this pretty beach hides secrets too.” Zelda said as Kylara and Mariel helped her to her feet.  Simon and Krin moved quickly to dispatch of the leevers, who didn’t provide much resistance once the two knights sliced through a few of them.  The five of them went hand in hand across Toronbo Shores.  Before too long they were off of the sands and traveling across the grasslands of southwestern Koholint.


“So where is our destination?”  Krin asked. 


“We have to go to Mount Tamaranch.” Zelda said.  “That is where Dethl has holed himself up, and where Link is trying to find him.  We must get there before he does!” 


“Why do we have to get there before Link?” Kylara asked. 


“If we don’t, the Wind fish will wake up, and the island will disappear, sending us back into the other timeline.” Zelda said.


“Other timeline?” Mariel asked.


“The time where you are the captain of the…” Zelda started, before suddenly stopping.


“Captain of what?” Mariel asked.


“Don’t, worry about it.” Zelda backtracked.  “Just think of it this way, Hyrule will be in a lot of trouble, and a lot of its citizens will die if we don’t get there in time.”


“Oh.” Mariel said.  “I thought you said I was going to become captain of the Knights someday.”


“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Mariel.” Simon quipped.  “You’ve got a long way to go to make it into the Knights’ leadership.  But you being here on a secret mission is a good way to start.” 


They continued to walk northward.  About a mile and a half north of Koholint, the vegetation on the ground began to show signs of distress.  The grass became worn and dried.  Before long it went away completely, obscured by dust and soot.  Then they saw it.


“Is that…a town?”  Mariel asked. 


“More like what used to be a town.” Krin said. 


“You are absolutely correct, hoot!” A voice shouted from above.  They all looked up toward a burned tree straight ahead.  An owl was perched atop it. 


“A talking owl…would you look at that!” Kylara shouted. 


“Shhh!  Don’t be so loud my lady, the monsters might find you if you make too much noise.”

The owl said. 


“If you don’t mind my asking, who are you, and what exactly is this place?” Zelda asked. 


“My name is Kaepora.  I am the spirit of the Wind Fish, a manifestation of the deity whenever he sleeps.  It is my duty to direct the various people within the dream to do the will of the deity.  Where you stand now is what used to be Mabe Village.  This was once a beautiful, peaceful place before the nightmares ransacked it.”


They walked past a destroyed building, then past another that was burned down.  Still another building had its remnants strewn all over the dirt path that probably used to be a street.  Giant craters in the ground were all over the place as well, such that they had to watch their step or be engulfed into holes three to four feet deep. 


“Sweet Din of mercy, what in the world happened here?” Simon asked. 


“I don’t know, but whoever did this must have had access to either a huge mass of bombs or magical abilities.  This is almost total destruction.” Krin said.


“The nightmares are very strong in numbers.  They are capable of destroying entire fleets that oppose them.” Kaepora said.   


They walked across a clearing, with a statue what appeared to be a bird lying on the ground.


“I think this used to be a weathercock.” Kylara said.


“Our owl friend is right.  This is what the Nightmares are capable of.  If we don’t make it to Mount Tamaranch before Link does, Kakariko Village could end up like this.” Zelda said.


“Hyrule Castle could as well.” Krin said. 


The two knights and the three maidens looked at each other with somber looks in their eyes.  They came together for a group hug.  “Nobody leaves each other’s sight.  We’re in this together.  We’ll travel day and night until we reach our destination.” Krin said.


“That’s the spirit.  Stay positive, stay strong, and nothing will stop you.  I will do my best to track the nightmares’ locations and keep them away from your path.” Kaepora said.  With a hoot, he took off into the late afternoon sky.


To the immediate north of the ruined village was a dense forest.  To the east was a great prairie that seemed to stretch out for miles.  They decided to enter the prairie on the grounds that that any potential enemies would have many places to hide in the forest and it would be harder to defend against any attacks there.  As they moved further north, Mount Tamaranch and the giant egg at its summit became visible for the first time.


“So that’s our destination.  It looks really here.” Kylara said.


“How in the world did that giant egg get up on top of that mountain?” Krin asked.  “There must be some kind of supernatural force at work.”


As the sun continued to beat down on them, sweat poured down from their brows.  The humidity of the afternoon made things doubly uncomfortable.  Neither gender had the right mix of clothing for the occasion.  Knights Simon and Krin sweltered from the heat-absorbing chain mail beneath their uniforms, and maidens Kylara and Zelda labored from the poufy dresses that covered their slender frames.  Only Mariel, who had insisted on wearing a chain mail-less knight’s uniform with a simple skirt covering her legs, seemed to be the least bit comfortable.


“What’s with these random holes in the ground?” Kylara asked, pointing to a deep pit in the earth.  The pits were in seemingly random places throughout the prairie, as though the island was really a giant piece of swiss cheese. 


“There’s no real explanation for that.  I don’t really know what to say other than that the soil and rock that formed this island must not be very solid.  Be very careful, we don’t need anybody falling into a sinkhole or worse.” Zelda said. 


The sun dropped to the horizon.  They were past the forest now, and a great swamp spread out to their west.  The sunset lit up the sky in a group of vivid pink, yellow, and orange.  The mountains were getting much closer now.  The giant egg atop Mount Tamaranch was now visible to the north.  It appeared to be at least several thousand feet above the prairies of north central Koholint. 


“My lady, we should probably make camp here before the sun goes down.” Krin said to Zelda. 


“I must agree.  We’re all tired, hungry, and thirsty anyway.  We’ll need to eat, drink, and get some rest for the climb up the mountains tomorrow.” Zelda responded. 


Simon brought out the wood he collected from the eastern fringe of the forest, and Zelda used a magic spell to light a fire.  Kylara unpacked the food, and Krin and Mariel collected water from the edge of the swamp in jugs.  They would bring the water in the jugs to a boil in order to remove any impurities so it would be safe to drink. 


As the stars began to appear overhead, they sat down in a circle around the fire.  Zelda passed Mariel a piece of cucco.  Krin and Simon feasted on some keese wings.  Kylara, the lone member of the group that wasn’t starving, looked out toward the mountains.  A stray light was coming from one of the ledges. 


“Hey Simon, look behind you.  Do you see that light from the mountains?” Kylara asked. 


Simon paused a moment to swallow his food.  “Yes, I do see it.  What is that?” He asked.


Just then, two other beams of light shot at the first beam.  The first beam went up in the air then crashed to earth.  More beams came flying from the east in the direction of the original light. 


“If I didn’t know any better, I would say that somebody was holding a lantern and just got attacked by somebody else.” Mariel said with alarm in her voice. 


“You think so?” Krin asked her. 


“I’m not sure how else to explain that.”  Mariel said.  “Everybody quiet a second, I think I hear something.”  Mariel listened hard.  There was something out there, a faint, high pitched noise. 


“Somebody’s coming toward us.  I think they are friendly but they likely have enemies behind them.  Get your weapons everybody!” 


Zelda and Kylara grabbed their bows, Simon, Krin, and Mariel their swords.  They anxiously looked out to the northeast.  Two figures quickly came into view, one a young girl, the other an older male.  Behind them, one could make out hooded figures giving chase. 


“That’s Marin and her father.” Zelda said under her breath.


“Run!  Run for your lives!” Marin shouted to them as she drew near.



Chapter 22: Battle in Ukuku Prairie


 “We’re not running from them!” Krin shouted.   “Grab your friend and get behind those rocks behind us, we’ll hold them off!”


Marin quickly stopped, waiting for her father to catch up.  She quickly took his hand and they hid beneath a rock.  The enemies moved closer, the ones in hoods were in the front, followed by what appeared to be large, hulking monsters. 


“They are definitely wizzrobes in the front.” Zelda said.  “Kylara take aim and wait for my signal!”  The maiden nodded from her perch just behind a bush.  Zelda scanned the rolling hills toward their targets.  They were within range. 


“Fire!” Zelda shouted.  The two maidens fired their arrows into the field, finding their mark.  Within seconds two of the wizzrobes fell to the ground, presumably to their death.  Zelda and Kylara reloaded their bows and shot again.  Two more were hit.  Then came another volley of arrows from the right.  This volley came from other hylian soldiers from the ship that had been tracking Zelda’s group.  These shots were less accurate but still managed to incapacitate several of the hooded sorcerers. 


The wizzrobes, seeing that they were under attack, returned fire quite literally.  Fiery magic blasts filled the dark skies, lighting up the night.  Zelda and Kylara were nearly singed, dodging to the ground just in time.  The bushes that they were taking refuge behind caught fire, forcing them to move away from the growing ball of fire and smoke. 


“Charge!” Krin shouted.  Within seconds, Krin, Simon, and Mariel rushed toward the wizzrobes and the moblins behind them.  They used their shields to deflect the energy blasts, and used their blades to overcome the defenses of the nightmares.  With a brutal spin attack, Krin took off the head of one wizzrobe, then pivoted around to spear another in the chest.  Two moblins immediately rushed toward him and he used his shield to defend.  This allowed a wizzrobe to disappear and re-appear behind Krin.  It charged up energy.


“No!” Mariel shouted.  She was too far away to help.  A new magic attack was about to be sent right for the back of the captain’s head, but just as Krin was about to be sent to his demise, an unidentified projectile swooped through the night and took the wizzrobe out, causing it to explode in a ball of flames. 


“What was that?” Mariel asked frantically.


“Glad I could be of service.” Marin said, holding what appeared to be a purple boomerang.


“I’m grateful to see you can fight.” Krin said hurriedly.  He overcame the moblin facing him and knocked it out with a strike of his sword handle. 


Mariel smiled, and then quickly had to react to defend against an oncoming moblin.  Marin threw her boomerang once again, killing it.  The two unlikely women warriors quickly found a rhythm together, working in tandem with one another.  Marin used her boomerang to keep the wizzrobes at bay, while Mariel used her blade to overcome the moblins that moved close to their position.


“Fire!” Zelda shouted once more.  Her and Kylara continued to wreak havoc on the enemy, this time taking out a pair of moblins.  Another volley from the support troops followed.  Across the field, Simon imposed his will on the moblin duo paired against him.  He evaded one swing, moved past another, and then jumped high into the air for a parry attack, knocking both off their feet simultaneously.  He knocked one out with a fierce kick to the temple before overwhelming the other and spearing it with his sword.


About five minutes after the battle had started, the nightmares  began to realize that their pursuit of Marin and Tarin had led them head-on into a new group of opponents that they could not defeat.  They started making quick hand motions to one another, and then began to flee into the night.  It was all over as quickly as it had started. 


Krin looked closely at Simon’s left arm.  It had been gashed rather badly just below the elbow.  While he and several other soldiers in the support group gave medical attention, the maidens tried to make sense of what had happened. 


“Who were those monsters we fought against?  I’ve never encountered any in training.” Mariel asked. 


“They were the nightmares that destroyed Mabe Village.  More of them will be coming.” Marin said. 


“There were such different types though.  The burly ones were no problem, you could take them out at a distance easily, but those sorcerers are dangerous.” Mariel said. 


“The hooded sorcerers are wizzrobes.” Zelda said.  “They are known to possess very powerful magic.  Annabelle told me all about them as she saw great numbers of them while imprisoned in the dungeon at Misery Mire.”


“Their base of operation in Koholint is in the face shrine region, far to the east.” Marin said.  “They may retreat now, but they’ll be back with greater numbers in a few days.”


“If I may…you three are very brave souls, yessir.  I thought when Marin earned her boomerang that she was the only woman fighter for miles and miles but I was wrong.  Where did you three learn to fight like a group of trained soldiers?” Tarin asked.


“It’s fairly standard among women in Hyrule to at least learn some rudimentary self-defense.”  Mariel explained.  Our country has had a nasty and bloody history of wars, invasions, and all sorts of trouble.  I just took it to an extreme by becoming a knight myself.  Zelda and Kylara here are archers.  They’ve been training in that craft for as long as I’ve been training in swordplay.”


Marin’s eyes lit up.  “So you’re the Zelda that Link keeps talking about?  It’s great to finally get to meet you!  He’s told me everything about you, from your sparkling blue eyes to the warmth of your hand.  It is evident by the way he talks that he really cares for you a lot.” 


“Is this so?” Zelda asked.


“My daughter tells you no lie.” Tarin said.  “I’s gots the idea that your admirer in green just might get down on one knee for you.”


“Let’s not be presumptuous.  Link is an adventurer first and foremost.  He may like me, maybe even love me but he’d be miserable living a stationary, boring life inside the castle walls.  But let’s not get caught up on that right now.  We need to find your friends, and Link.” Zelda said.   


“If you don’t mind my asking, what were the two of you doing out here alone at nightfall in such a dangerous place?” Kylara asked. 


“Well ya see, we had to investigate this here dungeon atop Mount Tamaranch.” Tarin responded.  “We reckon the place is a giant maze, and by gaining any information we can about its layout, it will make the final pass through easy.  It should’ve been done in a jiffy, but those dang nightmares came after us.”


“What was your location after the village was destroyed?  You were coming from the opposite direction.” Zelda said. 


“When those dang nightmares sacked us, a flock of owls helped us into the sky.  We flew across the island to the mountains.” Tarin responded.


“More specifically, we were with a bigger group.  There were eight of us, and this owl named Kaepora brought his friends to the weathercock to airlift us out.  We ended up climbing high into the mountains to this skyscraper known as Eagle’s Tower.  The seventh Instrument of the Sirens lies within.  Link and the others were there when we left for Mount Tamaranch.  They should be returning very soon.” Marin explained.


“In that case, Mount Tamaranch is where we must go.” Krin said.  Zelda nodded her head, as did Marin.  Within minutes, they had packed up any loose belongings and began to trek further north into the mountains.  The path through the mountains was steep, and had many switchbacks that were often difficult to see in the darkness until you were upon them.  It had already been a long day of traveling, and Zelda in particular was exhausted.  Just as they took a break to rest a spell, Zelda noticed people emerging from the east.  They carried no lanterns, but in the moonlight the figure in the front was unmistakable.  It was her hero.  And he was being carried by a bear, with a giant crocodile walking right next to him!


Krin and Simon went out to meet them, while the maidens stayed back.  Eventually they all made their way back to the makeshift camp. 


“Zelda?” Link asked.  “Zelda I can’t believe it, you’re here!” Link immediately dropped his sword and shield and ran over and hugged her.  He did it with a fierceness and passion that Zelda immediately noticed.  All sorts of warm sensations ran through her body as he held her in his strong arms. 


Finally Link pulled away.  “Why have you come here?” He asked her.


“We’ll talk about that after you introduce me to your animal friends.” Zelda responded. 


“Indeed.”  Link turned back to his traveling companions.  “This is Enzo the crocodile, Oso the bear, and Remus the rabbit.  They are from the Animal Village in the southeast of Koholint.”


“Pleased to meet you.” Enzo said as he extended his scaly arm toward Zelda.  Zelda at first didn’t make a move toward the blue crocodile. 


“It’s okay, he’s quite gentle actually when you get to know him.” A man wearing purple said. 


“And who might you be, young lad?” Zelda asked. 


“My name is Richard.  I was once the Prince of Koholint before being forced to abdicate my throne.”


Zelda stopped.  She gave a proper curtsy.  “Please forgive me, your highness, I did not realize I was in the presence of royalty.  I am deeply saddened to hear of the nightmares that have befallen your kingdom.”


“It is our hope to put an end to that.” Krin said.  “You see, we landed here after Hyrule was invaded by creatures native to this island.  We arrived with the intention of weeding out the miscreants right at their source.”


“Hyrule was invaded?!” Link exclaimed.


“Not just Hyrule, but several other countries as well, including Holodrum and Labrynna.” Krin said.


Link slunk to the ground, slumped over a boulder.  “Are the people there okay?  Have we lost the throne?”


Mariel was about to speak, but Zelda cut her off.  They huddled for a brief moment, after which they each nodded and turned back toward Link.  “There have been difficulties, but Hyrule and its people are well protected from the nightmares at present.  We are assisting the other kingdoms of the world in doing the same for their citizens.  With the situation stabilized, the time was right to strike Koholint and finish the war the nightmares have started.”


“But how did you make it here through the storms?” Link asked. 


“Let’s say that some very powerful ancient magic was used to accomplish that.” Zelda said with a wink.


“You really are quite mischievous, you know that?” Link said.


“Now now children, there will be plenty of time to get re-acquainted.” Kylara said.  “For now, we need to get to whatever place we need to be and figure out how to defeat these nightmares for good.”


The large group spent the night near the border of the Ukuku Prairie and the Tal Tal Mountains.  When Zelda awoke the next morning, she noticed that Link, Simon, and Mariel were gone.  She rummaged through the camp and came across a group of musical instruments.  She picked up one of the instruments, a violin she thought, though it seemed rather large to be one.  It came with a bow too.  She dared not make any noise with it, for she knew that the nightmares would be drawn to their position.  Yet she could not help but wonder what beautiful sound it could make. 


“Do you play a fiddle too, Princess?” A voice came from behind.  Zelda turned around to see Richard standing there.  Unlike the previous night, he was in plainclothes.  He really was quite the catch.  His eyes were a deep blue just like hers, his hair shoulder-length and deep brown.  His body was well proportioned, though not muscular like Link. 


“I don’t play myself, but there are quite a few in the royal court who indulge in it.” Zelda responded.  “I believe I overheard somebody say that you were the best in all of Koholint.”


“You have not heard wrong.” Richard said.  “I entertained crowds at Kanalet on many an occasion.”


“Kanalet?” Zelda asked. 


“It was the site of the royal throne of Koholint.  Now the castle means nothing, all because of my servants.” Richard lamented.


“Your servants?  I do not think I understand.” Zelda said. 


“Last night, I did not say much about the fall of Kanalet Castle, and I may have given the impression that the nightmares forced me to abdicate.  I wish this was true, but it is not.  My servants threatened to kill me if I did not leave.”


Zelda was horrified.  “Why that’s awful!  Why would they do such a thing?”


“They complained about their living conditions.  They complained about their food.  They complained about how much I made them work.  They complained about everything.  A less enlightened despot would have had several of them sent to the dungeons or killed, but in my heart I just could not bring myself to inflict such pain.  The nightmares have surely accomplished that now.”  Richard sighed. 


“They never realized how good they had it.” Zelda said. 


“I was hoping my servants would realize that before it was too late.  Maybe some got out before the nightmares arrived, but I doubt it.” Richard replied. 


“It looks like you have an admirer.” Zelda said.  She looked over to the bushes on the left, where Marin was peeking over the shrubs.  Richard turned around and she ducked down. 


“It certainly does.”  Richard said.  He beckoned to Marin, and she gingerly made her way over. 


“I’ll leave you two alone for a while.” Zelda said.  She walked back across the camp to Captain Krin, who was still on the ground asleep.  This wasn’t normal, Zelda thought.  He was almost always up the earliest of all the Knights and the last to retire for the night. 


“He was up really early.” An approaching Mariel said.  “Apparently Simon, Mariel, and Link went to some dungeon up high in the mountains.”


“They went to retrieve the last Instrument of the Sirens.”  Tarin said.  “Says they went some place called Turtle Rock.”


“Turtle Rock?!” Zelda said excitedly.  Immediately flashbacks to her imprisonment in the Dark World flooded back into her brain.  “That place is in Ganon’s Dark World.  How would they even get there?”


Tarin laughed.  “Princess, I know nothing of what you speak.   I reckon you are talking about a different place of the same name.  Koholint’s Turtle Rock is in the northwestern mountains.  It’s an active volcano too if my memory serves me.”


“The last Instrument of the Sirens is there.” Enzo said.  “We have seven so far, and we need eight to open the egg atop Mount Tamaranch.” 


Zelda smiled.  “So that’s what the musical instruments are for.  They are for a big symphony, and the symphony is the key to reaching Dethl.”


“You know about the Instruments of the Sirens?” Tarin asked. 


“Not really, but in our kingdom, there is a vast history of heroes who had to collect a fair number of important keepsakes in order to progress in their quest.  Some of these keepsakes were stones or medallions.  In our time, the three most precious artifacts are three golden pendants of virtue.  One was kept in an emerald-colored palace in Hyrule’s east.  The second was in a palace hidden with the desert, and the third was in the highest chamber of a tower that sat atop Hyrule’s tallest mountain.” Zelda said. 


“That sounds absolutely magnificent!  I never would have believed there were other lands out there.” Tarin said.  “Marin would always believe in kingdoms across the sea but dang nabbit, I would never have believed it.  Now I know it’s true.” 


“Oh yes.” Kylara said.  “There are no less than seven other nations within our greater world.  Hyrule is one of them.  A couple of ancient texts I have read describe a group of nation states referred to collectively as the Demiari.  It suggests a world in which there was cooperation between kingdoms separated by oceans.”


“A tall tale you tell there lady.” Tarin laughed. 


“It is not a tall tale, but rather our emerging reality.” A groggy Captain Krin said as he approached.  “As soon as Link and the others arrive with the instrument, we will be able to destroy this nightmare and do away with this merciless hurricane that surrounds us.  Then you’ll be able to see for yourself just how vast our world really is.” 


“Well dang, if the captain doesn’t fill my heart with joy.” Tarin said.  “I reckon this might be a new beginning for all of us.”       



Chapter 23: The Ballad Rings Forth


The sun and heat bore down on the group throughout the hot, summer afternoon. No nightmares had been seen since the previous evening, but they remained ever vigilant. Zelda passed the time by looking over the other Instruments of the Sirens. They really were well crafted, beautiful music makers. She had the Wind Marimba on her lap. It was an instrument that intrigued her, for she had never seen one like it in the castle. It looked somewhat like an organ, but had hard metal plates for keys. If she hit the plates with her fingers it made a faint sound, but the princess supposed there must be a more proper way of playing it. Before she could investigate further, Richard approached her.


“I have a situation I would like to talk about, but I’m not sure this is the time or place.” Richard said.


“And what might that be?” Zelda asked.


“We’re stuck in this horrible situation, trying to defeat the nightmares that plague this isle, and yet, there’s one person here that just makes me feel like everything is going to be okay. Somebody who makes me feel happy, invincible even.” Richard confessed.


“It’s Marin isn’t it?” Zelda asked.


Richard nodded his affirmative. Zelda thought for a minute. “You are asking me how best to tell her that you love her, are you not?”


Richard nodded again. “When we defeat the nightmares and I reclaim the throne, it will doubtless be a watershed moment in Koholint’s history. But if there is one thing I have learned, it is that the job of ruling a country is too big for me to do alone. Being surrounded by people that hate you and only wish ill will towards you, especially without being with somebody you love and need to be with every day…well it just breaks you. That more than the nightmares was why I abdicated the throne.”


“I am sure that your servants will be much better behaved this time now that they have suffered under the rule of the nightmares.” Zelda said. “But I do agree with what you have said.”


“How should I approach this? I feel like I shouldn’t tell her while we’re fighting, but after the fight it might be too late.” Richard lamented.


“Just keep her close. Protect her when we go into battle, and every so often, give her a passing glance or comment that shows your affection. She will figure it out. That way when you do get the chance to profess your feelings, it will not be such a shock.” Zelda said.


“Thank you princess. You have been a big help to me.” Richard said. “Say, do you play the xylophone too?”


“Oh this?” Zelda asked as she held up the Wind Marimba. “I have never seen such an instrument. I am not even sure how you play it.


“You play it just like a drum, with mallets.” Richard said. “I would demonstrate but the last thing I want to do is give away our position.”


“Speaking of drums, wasn’t that what Link and Mariel were searching for in the mountains?” Zelda asked.


“Indeed. We have seven instruments on our person right now, all collected by Link. As you’ve probably seen, we have a cello, a conch horn, a bell, a harp, a xylophone, a triangle, and a miniature organ. The drum is the last of the eight.”


“As soon as we have it we can launch the attack on Mount Tamaranch?” Zelda said, looking up to the giant egg staring down at them from the mountains.


“If that’s the way you prefer to think of it, yes. I think it will be a beautifully crafted symphony. Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, I think I see them now.” Richard said, pointing to the northwest.


A few minutes later, Link, Mariel, and several other soldiers walked into the camp. The hero held a drum in his left hand and several mallets in the other.


“My goodness Link, you look like death warmed over!” Zelda said hurriedly. “Here, lay down for a bit while we get you something to drink.”


Link said nothing, but sat down in the grass. He had an awful burn mark on his tunic, which Kylara and Marin turned their attention to.


“How did this happen, this burn of yours?” Kylara asked.


“A piece of lava splashed all over my tunic.” Link said.


“He caught on fire. I had to use this to put it out.” Mariel said as she brandished a long rod that was red on one end and a light blue on the other.


“What is that?” Captain Krin asked.


“Do you want to see?” Mariel asked. They all nodded. She picked out a large tree stump up ahead and took aim with the rod. Mariel made a swinging motion, and a fireball came out of the red end. It struck the stump and immediately set it on fire. Just as quickly, she flipped the rod around to the blue end and swung again. This time it threw out a blast of ice. The ice landed on the flames, instantly putting them out and freezing the vast majority of the stump.


“It’s a magic rod!” Remus the rabbit exclaimed.


“Yes, it’s very powerful and not to be trifled with.” Link said as he took a sip of red potion.


“We have weaponry like this in Hyrule, but not double ended or with more than one magical element within a single rod.” Krin said. “Whoever made this was a very skilled mage, and probably a master craftsman as well.”


“At least this will give the nightmares more reason to stay away from us.” Enzo the crocodile said.


“Indeed. I’m feeling better already. Let’s get to Mount Tamaranch and finish this.” Link said.


Zelda went over to Link and knelt down next to him. She put a hand on his forehead. It was very warm. “It seems as though you’re quite feverish. The climb into the mountains will put a lot of strain on you. Are you sure you want to proceed so soon?” She asked.


“I’m only feverish because Mariel turned me into an ice cube.” Link sassed. The maiden turned soldier playfully swatted in his direction. “Besides, magic weapons or not, we still aren’t safe here. The sooner we get moving and defeat the nightmare leader, the sooner this will all be over.” Zelda smiled. She was about to walk away when Link grabbed her arm and pulled her close to him. “I’ve been stranded here for weeks already, I want to go home, with you.” Link said.


Zelda wasn’t entirely sure what to make of Link’s statement. Did it mean that he really truly wanted her, or was it just a cry of desperation? Whatever it was, Zelda vowed that she would do whatever she could in the final fight.


The trek up Mount Tamaranch took hours, and saw them climb thousands of feet up above the ocean. Zelda never left Link’s side. Kylara was near as well, with Krin, Simon, and Mariel keeping a lookout for any nightmare activity. Richard and Marin led the second group, with the big animals Enzo and Oso staying ever vigilent in search of nightmares. They did not encounter any on the trip, and right before sunset, they reached the summit of the mountain.


The giant egg beckoned to the allies of Hyrule and Koholint, casting a giant shadow over them as the sun dropped toward the western ocean. Way out in the distance, it was possible to see out all the way to the eyewall of the giant hurricane. The great storm clouds beckoned to the north, south, and east. Link looked out wide-eyed at the horrible storms that were responsible for wrecking his boat and nearly sending him to his death. His anger rose, and his resolve to defeat the nightmares only grew.


“Let’s get into position just as we practiced.” Marin said. Within a few minutes, the group picked up the Instruments of the Sirens and took position several feet in front of the egg.


“Is this where you play that song we talked about earlier?” Zelda asked Marin.


Before Marin could answer, Kaepora the owl spotted the band and swooped down from the sky. “Hoot! The Wind Fish sleeps long and dreamily in the egg above. When you play the eight Siren Instruments in front of the egg, he will awaken. This, my friends, is the only way to defeat the flow of monsters plaguing the island and find your true destiny.”


“We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us Kaepora.” Link said.


“Do make haste. The army of nightmares approaches from the plains, hoot!” Kaepora said as he flew away to the top of the mountain.


They all took their instruments and played a sharp C. Richard had the Full Moon Cello, and Oso the bear readied the Conch Horn. The Organ of Evening Calm was played by Tarin, and the Thunder Drum by Link. The two of them flipped furiously through their musical scores, for they had not any time to practice their parts previously. The fearsome animals, Zonga the gorilla and Enzo the crocodile brought forth the Coral Triangle and Wind Marimba respectively. Marin stood at the front of the formation with the Surf Harp, and right in the center was tiny Remus the rabbit, holding the Sea Lily Bell.


“My lady, would you like to conduct us?” Marin asked. Zelda looked to the rest of the makeshift orchestra. They all nodded their approval. Zelda nodded back to them and looked over the musical score briefly before calling for all to play a sharp C once again. At once, she cut off the note, and then rose her hands forward, beginning a slow tempo. Link lightly tapped the drum, establishing a steady and slow beat, and Tarin led in with the organ over it. The other instruments entered in one by one, and when they were all combined, it created a melody so soothing that it brought Zelda an energy that could not hope to be quenched. She put fervor into leading the orchestra. The melodic notes of the harp could be heard over the undertones of the xylophone, and the cello’s mellow sound contrasted beautifully with the stinging high notes of the conch horn.


They continued to play and play until the final notes crashed forth with a bass as unyielding as the ocean and treble as unwavering as the skies above. When Zelda cut off the orchestra at the end of the ballad, a tear dripped from her eye. The song had been so beautiful. She knew in her heart that like the songs played by her ancestor the Princess of Destiny, this song had a strong power that was about to be manifest before their eyes.


Indeed, just seconds after they had finished, the entirety of Mount Tamaranch began to shake. They all ran back from the egg down the mountain a ways, taking refuge behind a series of boulders. After about a minute of shaking, an explosion was heard from within the egg. When the dust settled, a large pathway into the egg could be seen.


“It’s time.” Link said. “Captain Krin, you, Kylara, Simon, and Mariel guard the outside of the egg. The rest of you, let’s go.”


“I thought it was your custom to go into dungeons alone.” Richard said.


“Not this one.” Link said stoically. “This time, we do this together, all of us.”


Link took the hands of Marin and Zelda, and the three walked in together hand in hand, the others following behind. The first feature inside the egg was a giant pit in the center of the main room. Link looked around for a way around the pit, but there was none.


Marin produced a black book entitled “Dark Mysteries and Secrets of Koholint.” She pulled out a magnifying glass to read it, for the print was extremely small and hard to read. “It says that one must first take a leap of faith before getting turned around within the innards of Tamaranch.”


“It seems as though that there book is a tellin us to jump!” Tarin shouted.


“That’s crazy!” Enzo shouted. “How in the world are we going to just jump without getting ourselves seriously hurt or killed?”


“I can help with that.” Zelda said. “Here, everybody come to me and I will get us down there.”


One by one, they all put in their hands. Zelda focused energy for a minute, and a great ball of green energy rose above her. She put both hands together and tossed it down into the pit. The ball of light dropped away a great bit, at least one hundred feet, before coming to rest on the ground far below.


“Return!” Zelda shouted. There was a brief flash of light, and the next thing anybody knew, they were on the ground where the ball of light was.


“That was amazing!” Marin shouted. “How did you do that?”


“It was an ancient Hyrulian magic spell called Farore’s Wind. It allows a person or group of people to transport themselves over a distance by casting a warp point and then calling to return to it. It also has the ability to dispel the warp point you created and make a new one by calling to dispel instead.”


“Princess, I don’t know would we would do without you.” Richard said.


“King Richard, do not worry about such things. We just need to make sure we can find Dethl.”


“The path leads this way.” Marin said. Marin and Link led the group through the dark maze. The rooms were all exactly identical, so there was no way to know which direction one was headed. Only the black book in the hands of the maiden could guide them to their destination. About five minutes later, they descended a great staircase into a large room. The insignia of the Wind Fish was on the floor.


“He’s here.” Link said. “I just know it.”


Captain Krin pulled out his sword and beckoned for Mariel and Simon to do the same. Link would have none of it though, and commanded them to sheath their blades. Link walked forward to the Wind Fish insignia and waited. It was as though he could detect the enemy presence in the room even though it was impossible to see.


“It appears the outsider has come. He has come to wake the Wind Fish.” A voice said from above. Zelda, Mariel, and Kylara instantly recognized the voice of Dethl. The supreme nightmare appeared before them quickly.


“Let’s rumble!!” Dethl shouted at Link.


As Dethl prepared to attack, Link did something unusual. He took out his sword, and laid it down on the floor. He then walked backward several steps, rejoining the larger group behind him.


“What is this?” Dethl asked.


“I come not to fight, but rather to negotiate terms of peace with your kind.” Link said.


Dethl was confused. “For what reason would an outsider have of dealing with those that would protect Koholint?”


Link smiled. “I could ask you that very same question, for neither of us is native to this island.”


Dethl grinned maniacally. “So it is. You have seen the mural and decoded its message.”


“Yes. The two of us, we come from different worlds. So do my friends here. We all come from different places in the world of reality. But in this dream world, we are truly here, speaking to one another right now because of the dream of the Wind Fish. And its dream has turned into one of misery and death.”


“Indeed it has. But that is because of you, outsider.” Dethl chided. “Before your arrival, Koholint was but a peaceful isle filled with promise.”


“That is a blatant falsehood.” Marin said as she stepped forward beside Link. “Prior to Link arriving here your monsters have ransacked the island and ravaged it for its natural resources. You took the food from our prairies, you destroyed our walking trails, and you made it impossible to travel from one end of the island to the other without threat of injury or death.”


“Lady of Koholint, you speak as though your kind has some kind of divine right of possession, as though Koholint was meant to be yours. My people have just as much a right to it as your kind does!” Dethl raged. “The Wind Fish brought us here in his dream. How can you say that your kind got here first? How do you know that it was not us that arrived before you?”


“You were the one that created the hurricane! Before your kind arrived we never had such storms!”


“That was done with the intent of keeping people like him out!” Dethl boomed, pointing at Link.


“Well your hurricane was the reason why I shipwrecked here in the first place!” Link boomed back. “And were it not for that storm being created, my friends here would not have had to come looking for me.” Link took Zelda’s hand and held it tightly. Zelda nodded her assent in reply. “And now we’re your problem, stuck here without any means of escape.”


“Well that’s where we rumble, I defeat you, and then I go to work on your friends.” Dethl said without any expression.


Quick as a fox, Link retrieved his sword. Dethl launched an attack at him, which he dodged. He dropped his head, and motioned for the others to gather close to him. “I guess you and your kind know nothing but violence. It’s too bad, because the power of the mind will always be stronger than the power of any blade.”


Dethl was angry. “And what is that supposed to mean, outsider?!”


Zelda raised her hands in the air and shouted. “Return!”


In a flash of green light, the group was gone, leaving the supreme nightmare in wonderment.



Chapter 24: Revenge of the Monarch


From the top of Mount Tamaranch, the stars shown down on Koholint in a beautiful array of light dappled across the sky.  The moon was absent, giving the group a good opportunity to get away.  They made their way carefully down the mountain in the darkness, reaching the site of their base camp in northern Ukuku Prairie by midnight.  Some fell asleep at that point, others ate what little food they had remaining while they stood watch.  If Kaepora’s warning was true, it was only a matter of time before the nightmares attacked again.


Link held the magic rod in his hand beside Simon and Mariel, both of whom had their swords and bows at the ready.


“What do you think is worse, death by fire, or death by ice?” Simon asked.


“I don’t know.” Mariel responded.  “Both seem equally displeasing to me.”


“I say any death that is without purpose is the most painful.” Link said. 


“That pretty much describes where we are now.” Simon said.


“Indeed.” Link responded.  “These nightmares hate us and want to see our demise firsthand.  They’ve been ruthless towards me this entire journey, and by what Dethl said, he sees all of you as an extension of me.  We’re all outsiders.”


“There seems to be no purpose to Dethl’s aims, other than to cause destruction.” Mariel said. 


“Which is why this tragedy that has befallen us is my fault.” Another voice said from behind.  Zelda was standing right behind them.


“Zelda, I thought you were asleep.  You were so exhausted, you really should get some rest.” Link said with concern.


“I cannot find sleep at a time of such danger to you, to all of us, and to my people, knowing that I have caused this pain by my own hands.”  Zelda said. 


“How do you figure this is your fault, princess?” Simon asked. 


“You might not understand what I am about to say, but please try to follow along.” Zelda said.  They all nodded their assent.  Zelda continued.  “We are here in Koholint because I made the decision to send Link on a journey to obtain a sequence of jewels known as the Pyramids of Sin.”


“The Pyramids of Sin?” Link asked.  “You mean the jewels that Ganon used to barricade his tower?  The ones that were powered down by the power of the seven maidens?”


“Precisely.  After the Dark World was destroyed, the Pyramids of Sin were spread about the world.  These jewels were the key to bringing Koholint back from the deep.”


“Bring Koholint back from the deep?  What are you talking about?” Link asked.


“Please Link, allow me to explain.”  Link sensed Zelda’s uneasiness, and took her hand.  “It’s okay Zelda.  Please do tell me about where you sent me, I want to know.  Our survival now could depend on it.”  By this time, most of the group had awoken and was gathered around the princess. 


Zelda looked into Link’s azure eyes.  She felt calm and peace in that moment.  She smiled.  “Right now we are in an alternate timeline.  As you are all probably aware, our concept of time was split into two different entities at the end of the Ocarina conflict.  In our current dimension, which to Koholint’s inhabitants is known as the Wind Fish’s dream, we are fighting against Dethl and the nightmares.  But in the other dimension, the one in which the Hero of Time was defeated, were are fighting against the same enemies in Hyrule and in other places in the world.”


“Link, I sent you to the Kingdom of Darkmar, to the republic of Holodrum, and to Labrynna and Calatia as well.  The nightmares were everywhere.  They had to be repelled on a broad scale.  Others were sent to other kingdoms in the world, with the goal of collecting the Pyramids of Sin.  All of this was done with the idea that the nightmares had taken up residence in these lands because their native land of Koholint was destroyed by a wish upon the Wind Fish at Mount Tamaranch.”


“The wish I was about to make before we decided to retreat.” Link said.


“Yes.  Such a wish would have destroyed Koholint anew and restarted the cycle over again in this timeline as well.” Zelda said. 


“So that is why you all came here through the hurricane.” Marin said.  “To stop us before we made the wish to the Wind Fish.”


“Yes.” Zelda replied.  “It was the only way to ensure that the invasion of Hyrule and the other countries would be reversed, and all the blood that was shed would be restored.”


“How much blood was shed?” Link asked. 


Zelda stared grimly.  “Yours.”


Link’s eyes went wide.  “Wait, but how did it…happen?” 


“The daughter of the Sorceress of Shadows, Veran, possessed her.” Zelda said, pointing at Marin.  “While she was in Marin’s body, she stabbed you in the heart and killed you.”


“So that’s it then.  As the descendant of the Princess of Destiny, you decided to reset time completely back to before the invasion.” Captain Krin said.


“This all seems like a perfect plan to me, so how is this all your fault?” Kylara asked.


“My fault is twofold.  I did not detect Dethl’s true intent, which was ultimate destruction instead of reclamation of nightmare territory.  Had I realized this, I would have told my father to send Hyrule’s entire army against Dethl and with the help of the other kingdoms we would have destroyed him and his evil forces in time.  Instead I sent people all over the world for no reason.  And second, I did not act in Hyrule’s best interest by deciding to reset time.  I did it for my own personal feelings.  I did it because Link…I simply couldn’t be without you.”  As she said this, tears began to stream from Zelda’s eyes.


Link was shocked, and at once a great passion began to flood through him.  He grabbed Zelda and gave her a forceful hug.  The rest of the group looked on as the hero and the princess embraced one another, a moment in time under the stars where time seemed to stop completely.  By the time they pulled away, the members of the group all realized just how much had been wrought to get this far, both in Koholint and in the other lands across the dimension of time. 


“Well there’s only one thing left to do.” Marin said.


“What is that?” Richard asked.


“Make the nightmares rue the day they ever set foot onto this island.” Marin said stoically.


Richard looked back at Marin with intensity in his eyes.  “I know just how we do it.”


“How?” Marin asked.


“Zelda claims that her indecisiveness and her personal feelings got us into this mess.  Well Princess, if you are ready to confront your demons, then I might as well finally confront mine as well.”


“We are going after your servants.” Zelda and Marin said simultaneously.




Amid minor skirmishes against various nightmares roaming Ukuku Prairie, the group made their way south and east toward the outskirts of Kanalet Castle.  In the darkness, they stayed close to the beaten path so as to avoid the notorious sinkholes that dappled this part of the island.  The sun began to rise in the east as they crossed the Kanalet River.  As they neared the castle, Richard immediately noticed that something was amiss. 


“The drawbridge looks like it has been damaged, and of the towers too.” He said with concern.


“Do you think your servants did it?” Marin asked. 


“I know them well enough to know that while many of them are bastards that won’t extend a helping hand to anyone, they aren’t so low as to vandalize Koholint’s seat of power.  It was their home after all.”


“So what happened?” Remus the rabbit asked.


Richard got a better look through the drawbridge into the courtyard as they approached the river, which surrounded the castle very much like a moat.  There appeared to be structural damage in spots, and a noticeable amount of blood stains on the walls. 


“I think the nightmares have already been through here.” Richard said grimly.


“I reckon them dang nightmares probably took this place out after they attacked Mabe Village.” Tarin said.  “They was probably looking for us when we fled to the mountains and then came across here and took all them servant people out.” Tarin said. 


“I have a bad feeling you are correct.” Richard said.  “In which case, this place is probably teeming with nightmares of all sorts.  We’d be best advised to sweep through and see what we can find before Dethl’s army is on us.” 


“Wait.  If we attack, the nightmares will certainly alert Dethl as to our position and we may be surrounded.  If that happens, we’re toast.” Captain Krin said. 


“He’s right.” Zelda said.  “We cannot be forced to fight in two directions, our numbers are not nearly enough to fight our way out of this kind of entrapment.” 


“That’s what would have happened in Mabe Village were it not for Kaepora and his owl friends.” Marin added.


Richard thought for a moment.  “Well then it’s time for Plan B.  It’s a little crazy, but it is worth a shot.”


“What does this plan involve?” Captain Krin asked.  Richard turned to him and whispered into his ear.  Krin backed away quickly.  “I say!  That is extremely reckless and dangerous!”  Krin whispered it to Link.


“And very brave too.” Link commented.


After investigating the interior of the castle, Richard could not identify any nightmares present.  However, he did run into a large pack of his former servants.  They immediately surrounded him, to which Richard made a most interesting proposal.


“So let me get this straight.”  One of the servants said.  “You’re willing to help us repulse the nightmares when they come back?”


“That is true.” Richard said. 


“Even though we weren’t able to help you during the attack on Mabe?  Even though we ingloriously deposed you from the throne?” Another asked. 


“I have made peace with what is past.  What matters now is the future, and right now, with Mabe Village destroyed and Animal Village abandoned, this is the last holdout against the reach of the nightmares.  Now you guys have done well to hold out against the nightmares once but they ransacked this place pretty badly.  You know they’ll be back to finish the job.”  Richard said.


“Why should we trust you?” A third servant asked. 


“Because trust is all you have standing between you and your demise.” Richard said.


“I don’t like your tone right now.” One of the servants said.  He motioned to one of his henchmen to move forward.  He punched Richard right in the face.  Richard grimaced and wobbled for a moment before steadying himself.  The servant punched him again, this time in the gut.  Richard bent over, trying to gain back his wind. 


“For a former monarch, you still haven’t learned any manners.” The second servant said.  “You belong in the dungeon I reckon.”


“Fine!  Throw me in the damn dungeon!  I don’t care!  Just know that your stupid selfish attitude already resulted in one village being destroyed and that this place will fall just as surely!” Richard shouted.


The servant kicked him in the back of the leg, sending him to his knees.  Richard instantly felt the cold steel of a dagger against his back, with another against his neck.  “That will be enough out of you.  We’re taking you to a place where you won’t be able to bother us ever again.  Now let’s go!” 


“Can’t let you do that, you ragmuffin!” A shout came from the rear entranceway.


“This doesn’t concern you old man.” One of the servants said.  He and another servant accosted Captain Krin with daggers in hand.  Krin responded by brandishing his blade.  “I’d be watching who you call old.  By the looks of it you have trouble respecting your elders.”


“Ha!  You think you have some kind of authority over me, when it is you that is surrounded by people that are faster and stronger.” The servant taunted. 


“And certainly not smarter.” Krin retorted, still holding his blade in an attacking position.


One of the servants laughed and made a move toward Krin, only to have his dagger struck from his hand by an unidentified object.  He stopped in his tracks.  “What the heck?”


The other servant picked up where the other left off, but his dagger was also struck from his hand in much the same way.  A voice boomed from the overhead balcony.  “Both of you don’t move a muscle, or the next one will be in your head!”  Krin looked up to see Princess Zelda with her bow drawn, arrow notched directly at his two would-be-attackers.  He smiled. 


 “And that goes for you as well!” Boomed Kylara and Mariel in the direction of the servants that were holding Richard.  In an instant, Simon, Marin, and Link rushed into the room. 


 “That’s it.  All of you, put your weapons on the ground!  Now!” Link shouted.  Completely surrounded with blades on the ground and arrows in the air, the servants saw no recourse.  They immediately dropped their weapons onto the ground. 


 “I knew that you people had not any sense of valor when you deposed your king from the throne.  But I knew not just how pathetic you truly were.” Link said.


 “You bite your tongue, you little green fairy boy.” A servant mocked.


 “Yeah, just because you beat one of us in swordplay doesn’t give you a right to talk badly of us.”  Another said. 


 “Perhaps not.  But maybe being the savior of this land and others does.  And the way I see it, you all left Mabe Village to burn out of spite and selfishness.” Link said. 


 “Men, women, and children, my neighbors and my friends died that day!” Marin shouted.  “Don’t you see what you’ve done!  You let the nightmares feel so emboldened that they practically own this island!  Under your pathetic leadership Koholint has turned into a brutal, dangerous place where few survive!”


 “I gave you a chance to repent, and to take my offer to join forces and beat back the nightmares, but your selfishness doomed you once again.” Richard said.  “Now you are our subjects, and you will do as we say.”


 “I will never bow to you.” A servant remarked from behind.  Richard immediately noticed it was the servant that had punched him earlier.  Without thinking, he turned around quickly and threw his fist right between his eyes.  The servant immediately crumpled to the ground.  Richard grabbed the man by his armor and brought his face to his.


 “You will kneel, and bow to my feet.  You will grovel in every manner I demand.  If you fail to do so I will make your life so miserable that you will wish for death!  And that goes for all of you pathetic lowlifes!  Me, Link, and the rest of us here, we have a plan that could mean the difference between life and death for every one of you once the nightmares return.  But it requires your utmost cooperation to succeed.” Richard said.  “One step out of line, and I will not hesitate to feed you to the wolves at destiny’s hour!  Do I make myself clear?!”


 There was no dissent in the room.  An eerie silence pervaded through the interior of Kanalet.



Chapter 25: Koholintian Cataclysm


“They have to be around here somewhere.  They have to be!”  Dethl bemoaned.


“Why do you say this?” A wizzrobe asked the supreme nightmare.


“One of our groups found them in Ukuku not more than a day or two ago.  They couldn’t have gone far.”


“But the villages…” a moblin started. 


“Look, I know about the villages.  Mabe is destroyed, and the animal town is abandoned.  The outsider has seen to it that his friends are in hiding.  They couldn’t have left Koholint, the hurricane is too strong and their ship is too heavily damaged.  We must press on until we find them.” 


Dethl and his army of nightmares had picked up in numbers ever since they ransacked Mabe Village.  They now numbered in the hundreds.  There were regiments of all sorts, moblins, wizzrobes, leevers, octoroks, like likes, spade penguins, even the occasional gibdo.  For the last two days straight they had searched the entirety of western Koholint but found no trace of any living creature, native or outsider.  This greatly frustrated Dethl.  He had worked so hard to consolidate his hold on Koholint, yet only because of a fluke, it was all threatening to come undone.  Surely the outsider should have been destroyed in the hurricane, yet thanks to the native girl he had befriended, he survived.  And now he had been joined by many of his outsider friends.  This, the supreme nightmare vowed would not stand.  He had to destroy Link and those that were allied with him, otherwise more outsiders would come, eventually usurping his power over the island.


It was nightfall when they arrived at Kanalet Castle.  Just a day earlier, a scout group of nightmares had engaged the servants defending the castle. 


“It looks abandoned.” A gibdo commented. 


“I wouldn’t be so sure.” Dethl replied.  “The scouts said that they fought very hard here.  I want every room searched thoroughly before we call anything abandoned. 


“Are you absolutely sure about this, Link?” Richard asked. 


“Yes.  If his intentions are what I expect, I’ll be fine.  Now go, don’t worry about me.”  Link said. 


Dethl and his army of nightmares ransacked the main hall, knocking portraits off the walls, banging into statues, and just generally making a large mess.  Their hope was that by making so much noise that the defenders of the castle would come to engage, but there was no response. 


“Let us proceed to the second floor.  They must be up there.” Dethl surmised. 


A group of wizzrobes lead the way, constantly fading in and out of existence but always keeping their magic wands drawn.  They went through each room but found nothing.  Finally, they reached the end of the hall, where King Richard’s old quarters were.  The head wizzrobe was about to open the door when Dethl stopped him.  “Allow me.” The supreme nightmare said.  Dethl opened the door and much to his surprise, he noticed a familiar figure sitting in a chair.  He appeared to be bound by a series of ropes.


“Well isn’t this a pleasant surprise.  If it isn’t the outsider, the dastardly Link.” Dethl said.


“The pleasure is all yours.” Link said.


“Hah!  And to think, not only did your friends leave you alone, but they allowed your enemies to capture you too.” Dethl boasted.


“The servants here never liked me.” Link said with a sigh.


“I never liked you either.” Dethl said.  He wound up and punched Link right in the face.  He then punched him in the gut, causing Link to lose his wind for a brief moment.  The hero remembered what it was like to face Dethl in a fair fight, how much pain he was put through.  But this, this was something else.  He tried to suppress the fear that was starting to creep up his neck. 


“You know, with you completely tied up like this, totally helpless, there are so many things that I would love to do to you right now.  Do you realize what horrible things you’ve done?  You’ve tried to destroy this island by waking the Wind Fish despite my underlings’ constant warnings not to do so.  You’ve endangered every living thing on this island because of your insatiable selfishness.  For that, I would pull out your hair one by one, maybe yank out your nails, maybe slice your skin until you bled mercilessly.  And I would do it on behalf of every native creature of Koholint.”


Link said nothing.  He gave a defiant glare.


“But I’m not going to do that.  For I have a feeling that you don’t fear death.  In fact, you are so fearless of death that you would bring about your own to destroy this island.  No.  You’re looking to be a martyr.  You’re looking to make the people of your land mad, and rile them to arms against me and my nightmares.  They would come here by the hundreds or even thousands and overwhelm and destroy us!  Well I’ve figured out your plan, and I’ll tell you what I’m going to do!  I’m going to find every last one of your friends and I’m going to make sure they never leave this island.  I’m going to bury them here.” 


“You’ll never find them.  Never.” Link said defiantly.


Dethl motioned to several of his wizzrobes.  They moved forward toward Link and raised their wands.


“Do it!”  Link shouted.


“All I want is a few words…a mere hint will suffice.” Dethl said. 


“I said do it!  Burn my flesh because I’m never going to betray my brethren!” Link shouted.


The wizzrobes waited for the order.  Dethl was about to give it, but then backed away.  “I had a feeling that you would be difficult.  You’ve been that way ever since you set foot on this island.  So I’ve arranged an alternate solution to get you to talk.  Bring her in.”


Several moblins appeared from the darkness.  They carried Princess Zelda into the throne room.  Her hands were tied behind her back, her feet bound the same way.  Her face was flushed.  Upon seeing her, Link turned pale.  This was a situation he wasn’t prepared for.  Dethl walked up to Zelda and laid his amorphous black hand on her face.  Zelda turned away but he grabbed her and made her face him. 


“Such an innocent, youthful face.  And what a beautiful mind and body.”


“Leave her alone!” Link demanded.


Dethl turned back to Link.  “If I have it right, this is the one who came to rescue you, is it not?  I can only hope to understand the gravity of such a selfless and foolish decision.”  Dethl turned back toward Zelda and put his hand on her chest.  “Yes, such a decision could have only come about from a feeling of true love.”


Link looked longingly across the room toward Zelda.  She had admitted this just a day ago, but Link hadn’t truly wanted to believe it.  But his enemy was right.  And he knew it too.  This was bad. 


“It would be such a shame to hurt such a lovely young maiden.” Dethl said as he brandished a sword.  The two moblins behind Zelda pushed her to the ground and held her down.  “But then again, an advantage must be properly utilized.”


“If you even so much as lay another finger on her…” Link started. 


“Tell me where your friends are and I’ll let her live.” Dethl said. 


“No!  Don’t do it Link!” Zelda screamed. 


Dethl got into position.  “Don’t move my pretty…it’ll be all over in a flash.”


He put the blade on the back of her neck.  Zelda gave Link a fierce look.  She was about to be beheaded yet she was willing to die for Link and the others.  Suddenly, feelings poured out from within his heart and overwhelmed him.  As soon as Dethl began to take the sword upward, he snapped.


“They’re at Catfish Maw!” Link cried out.


Dethl immediately pulled the blade back.  The moblins threw Zelda forward toward Link’s feet.  She gave a look of displeasure to her hero.  Deep down inside, he now knew his weakness.  His love for Zelda was the one thing in the world capable of breaking him.  And now others would pay for his being broken.


It was a dark and stormy night.  Lightning strikes lit up the sky as Dethl and the nightmares advanced down the Kanalet River toward Martha’s Bay.  Their clothes drenched, their spirit broken, Link and Zelda were led with magic wands aimed at them all the way.  After several hours of walking in this manner, they reached the mouth of the river.  Working westward along the northern coast of the bay, Dethl and his comrades moved closer to the maw.  The only problem was the weather.  With the darkness and all the clouds and rain, there was no clear view across the bay to Catfish Maw.  Stuck between the coastline and a group of hills just to the northwest, Dethl told his nightmares to hold position.


With the very first light of day starting in the east, the moblins and wizzrobes grabbed Link and Zelda, thrashing them up from what little sleep they could gain in the sopping wet coastline.  The hero and the princess were temporarily freed from their bonds, but were merely tied up together on a plank for the voyage across Martha’s Bay.  When they reached the water’s edge, Dethl ordered the wizzrobes to lead the way.  Just as they were about to start swimming though, a singular figure emerged from the bay.  Link immediately recognized her.


“Who dares enter the waters of my bay?” Martha demanded, her tail flapping against the water surface. 


“It is by my authority.” Dethl said.  “We must transit across to eliminate a group of outsiders that have taken shelter inside Catfish Maw.”


The woman immediately frowned.  “Surely you must be mistaken…for there are no outsiders in these waters.”


“So it is then.  The outsider has lied to me.” Dethl said.  He turned around to where Link was, but when he did so, Link and Zelda were nowhere to be found.  The ropes around the plank hung loosely.  Dethl let out a shout of despair and frustration.  The supreme nightmare turned back around to the water, but at that moment, Martha called upon the waters of the bay and created a giant wave, which crashed into the coastline.  Dethl’s army was struck fiercely, knocking them backward quite a ways from the coast. 


“Fire!” Richard shouted from the hills just northwest.  Immediately, a hail of arrows came flying down at Dethl’s army.  Within seconds, many moblins, like likes, gibdos, and wizzrobes were struck by the sudden torrent.  With the western sky still very dark, it was difficult for the nightmares to identify where the arrows were coming from.  Another volley came, sending more nightmares to the wet ground, many of them pierced through the heart.  Around the same time, Martha sent another wave crashing into the shore, once again taking the nightmare army off their feet before Dethl could use his magic to stop it. 


“Form ranks!  Move out to the northeast!  Get away from the water!” Dethl shouted.  He finally spotted the archers on the hills and sent a dark energy blast in their direction.  Several archers were hit, and fell from their perch. 


“That was close!  Should we fall back?” Kylara asked.


“No...we must thin their ranks out further if the final strike is to be successful!  Get ready and take aim!”


“Will do!  I reckon it’s goin to be a darn hard ending for these vermin!” Tarin shouted as he notched an arrow.


The third volley came in just as fiercely as the 2nd, and picked off many of the retreating nightmares.  This volley was accompanied by bomb-tipped arrows that exploded on contact.  Any nightmares hit by these were blown to bits.  The remaining moblins and wizzrobes returned fire with arrows and magic blasts of their own.  The wizzrobe volley injured several more archers, but the armies continued to battle back and forth.  Then suddenly, Richard instructed his men and women to douse their arrows in magic powder and shoot a volley straight into the air.  When the arrows came down, they splashed down into the bay, sending off an aurora of vivid colors. 


“That’s the signal!  Move in and take them out!” Captain Krin shouted.  Within moments, Simon, Mariel, and the rest of the knights moved in and engaged the battered nightmares.  In a just a few minutes, the disorganized nightmare army was on their last legs.  Mariel spun around and crushed a gibdo right in the gut with her blade.  Simon engaged a Stalfos and used its own bony arm to crack it over the skull.  Captain Krin dropped a bomb, blowing it to pieces.  Around them were a group of Richard’s former servants.  Seeing the early success of the attack invigorated them, and they fought with rising courage.


Dethl continued to lead the nightmares north toward salvation.  He used his long, spiked arms to keep attackers away and inflict punishment.  Several of Richard’s servants foolishly came too near to the supreme nightmare and ended up scrunched completely.  Blood poured out from their internal injuries.  The nightmares continued to move back toward Kanalet Castle, when suddenly, they were pressed by an arriving army from across the Kanalet River.  Enzo the crocodile pointed straight at Dethl, and led a group of large animals directly at the nightmares.  Oso the gorilla was in the lead group, dealing massive body blows with his big, strong arms.  Enzo did the same once the center of the formation arrived.  His spiked tail took out several spade penguins, while his big mouth and razor sharp teeth assisted him against several like likes, which bled out and crumpled once their soft bodies were no longer whole.


Pressed by the knights and archers to the west, the animals to the east, and with the waters of Martha’s Bay stopping any escape to the south, the nightmares only had one escape route available.  But the northern road was about to be sealed off.  From up in the distance, Link, Zelda, and Marin approached.


“Yow, what a brilliant plan!” Marin said to Link.  “You gave yourselves up in the hopes that Dethl would believe you, and lead his nightmare army directly into our trap.”


“It wasn’t really my idea.” Link said.  “Zelda decided to let him take us prisoner, and Richard came up with the attack.  He really does have a warrior in him, he was just afraid of abusing power.”


Marin nodded.  What Link had told her revealed so much.  Koholint finally had the ruler it needed.


Once within attacking distance, Link did not waste any time.  He drew his sword and told the animals and knights to clear the way between him and Dethl.  This happened within a matter of minutes.  In fact, it was Dethl that made the first strike, sending his brutal spiked arms against the hero.  Link ducked and then readied a jump attack with the Roc’s Feather.  The sword slashed Dethl right in the eye.  Another attack followed in much the same way, with Link getting the better of the supreme nightmare.  On the third pass though, Dethl clipped Link, and knocked him five feet in the air.  He landed hard on his right shoulder.  Dethl came forward quickly to squeeze the life out of the hero but Zelda quickly fired an arrow into the eye.  Dethl thrashed and fell backward.  Several wizzrobes took aim at Zelda but Marin fired the magic rod in their direction.  The wizzrobes retreated back from the flames. 


Link got back to his feet and attacked once again.  The sword slashed through the eye.  Dethl tried to knock Link down but the hero used the Roc’s Feather to jump over the first arm, then blocked the second with his shield.  The impact knocked him backwards.  Dethl spread his arms for the next attack.  Link saw his opportunity.  Using his Pegasus Boots, he charged very quickly and stuck out his sword.  Dethl saw the hero coming but did not anticipate the increased speed, and could only watch as the hero dug the blade deep into the eye.  Dethl flashed a golden light over and over again.  Link leapt away with the Roc’s Feather and prepared to drive home the final blow when he heard Marin calling to him. 


“Let me finish this…for Mabe.” Marin said fiercely. 


Link nodded.  Marin brandished her enchanted purple boomerang.  With one final burst of energy, she flung the boomerang forward, directly into the eye.  Within seconds, Dethl’s amorphous body began to flash violently.  It thrashed and thrashed until finally, it exploded, leaving a crater behind in the brown earth of the prairie. 


The remaining nightmares, upon seeing the death of their leader, threw down their weapons.  Richard’s servants immediately rushed in and seized them.  Out in the distance the stormy skies hanging above Koholint parted.  The great hurricane that had sealed off the island was no more. 


Shouts of celebration could be heard from all across the prairie and from the bay.  The knights, archers, and animals all came together and embraced one another in a grand display.  The victory they had fought so hard to attain was finally theres.



Epilogue: Rise of the Demiari


“No!  You cannot take him away from me!” Zelda shouted.  The woman in blue was taken aback.  Her servant had never spoken to her this way. 


“Wisest Zelda, please understand that it is for the best.  Link met his end in the opposite timeline very near into the future.  Please understand that we must come for him at the same time in this timeline as well.  Otherwise we risk another rapture in time.” Nayru explained.


“You’re talking about when Veran’s daughter killed me?” Link asked. 


“This is true.” Din said. 


“Brave Link, you may not remember this because of the time shift, but in the other time, you were captured and torchered by the son of the General of Darkness.  It looked as though you would pass then, but you called upon us.  You said that your beloved would be left alone, and Hyrule without a hero, and that as such you would not have fulfilled your purpose on earth.  But now the evil has been defeated.  You have saved Hyrule twice from invasion, as well as Koholint, Holodrum, and Labrynna.  You’ve done everything that I have asked of you as my servant and much more.” Farore said.  “An eternity of splendor awaits you in the afterlife.”


Nayru turned back to Zelda.  “You will lose him eventually, through one way or another.  It is best for the both of you if you let him leave this world now.”


Zelda immediately grabbed Link and pulled the magic rod out, aiming it directly at Nayru.  “I would never let you kill my beloved.  I would die for him.  I would die to protect him from you, or anybody that comes for him, now or in the future.  Don’t make me turn against you!  He is mine, and he shall be mine forever.”


Link could not believe what he was seeing.  “Zelda…does this mean…that you are proposing to me?” Link asked.


Zelda suddenly blushed.  “I…”


All the others, including the three goddesses, looked at the princess and the hero.  This was the culmination of something that had been building for a long time.


“Link…ever since that first night I spoke to you, I knew that you were special.  When we first met in the castle dungeon, when I felt the warmth of your hand…I could sense the goodness in your heart.  When you rescued me from Turtle Rock, I just knew that you would do anything for me.  You saved me many times before…now I wish to save you.”


Zelda pulled out a pair of golden, diamond rings with the triforce insignia on them.  “Link, will you marry me?” 


The hero did not hesitate.  “Yes.  I would be honored to be your husband.”  Link put the ring on his finger, and slid its double onto Zelda’s finger.


Zelda immediately hugged Link and gave him a passionate kiss as the others cheered.  The goddesses looked on as they pondered this maddening conundrum.  Nayru huddled with Din and Farore for a moment.  As the great cheers began to subside, Nayru spoke once more. 


“Wisest Zelda, we will acquiesce to your wishes, and to those of your beloved.  The powerful love between the two of you cannot be denied.  But realize that your beloved’s time is limited.  Time is a cruel thing, one that cannot be altered even by us.  I would treasure each of your remaining days.” 


It was as though Nayru had pronounced Link with a future death sentence.  But in this moment, Link and Zelda did not care.  They finally had what they had fought for, to have each other without any evil to come between them.  But to keep it that way…


“I suppose I have an admission to make myself.” Richard said. 


Everybody turned to the young monarch.  Richard appeared deep in thought.  He paused to collect his thoughts, then spoke once again. 


“If we are to make this island, this kingdom strong again, and to make the region strong so that no evil rises again…Koholint will need strong leadership.  I may have overcome my fears and helped defeat the nightmares, but I am not infallible.  And as hard as this might be to admit, my biggest liability was not my want not to get dirty and make people angry.  No, my biggest flaw was the loneliness that gripped my heart.  Just as Hyrule’s queen must have her king, Koholint’s king must have her queen.”


As Richard finished his sentence, Marin felt butterflies in her stomach.  Was he going to?


Before she could move, Richard was at her feet, holding her hand. 


“Fairest Marin…will you marry me?”


Marin didn’t know what to say at first.  A nervous look came across her face. 


“Please.  I’ve known you for so long.  You are so resourceful, so brave, and so courageous.  Koholint needs you just as much as I do.  I asked your father and he approves.”


Marin turned to Tarin.  Her father smiled back at her.  At that moment, her mind was at ease. 




A big smile came across Richard’s face.  He immediately pulled out a ring with eight diamonds embedded into the setting, symbolizing the eight Instruments of the Sirens.  After putting it on her finger, he embraced her and they shared their first kiss.  Once again, everybody cheered and hollered, no doubt shocked by the fact that they had seen not one, but two engagements within minutes of each other.  Even Din, Nayru, and Farore were pleased.  Like the others, they knew that this was a brave, new era for the world that they had created. 


Over the next several months, the royal families and heads of government of the various lands converged on Koholint to rebuild the ruined island, and draft a new region wide treaty.  This treaty focused on the concept of regional alliance against any evil that seeked to permeate the countryside.  The region, which would henceforth be referred to as the Demiari, brought together Hyrule, Calatia, Darkmar, Labrynna, Holodrum, Koholint, and Marith into a new vision of political and economic cooperation.  As one would expect, such talks led to some interesting meetings and happenings, one of which happened to be Richard and Marin’s wedding.


It was a beautiful October evening in Mabe Village.  As Richard stood before the preacher, he wore a black shirt and pants with his trademark purple cape over it.  He looked out into the crowd to see many familiar faces and many new ones.  The newly married Link and Zelda were there.  King Marxis of Marith, Queen Seline of Calatia, and King Solon of Darkmar were present.  Just to his left, he could see Marie, the great fairy mother of Marin, who was about to become his wife.  And then she appeared, escorted by her father Tarin.  She wore a brilliant white seashell-shaped headpiece in her fiery red hair.  Her dress was empire-shaped, and had a beautiful beaded bodice that led down into a slender skirt without much floof.  It was quintessentially Marin; forward in intention, without any unnecessary extravagance.


 “Do you Richard, King of Koholint, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love her, to cherish her, to care for her in sickness and in health, to honor her, to stand forever loyal to her, till death do you part?”


“I do.” Richard confidently responded.


“Do you Marin, daughter of Tarin and Marie, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love him, to cherish him, to care for him in sickness and in health, to honor him, to stand forever loyal to him, till death do you part?”


“I do.” Marin responded without hesitation.


“To all who are gathered here today as witnesses to this union, if there is any reason that these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.” The sage said.


Richard and Marin looked out over the crowd.  Silence pervaded through Mabe Village.  The people of Koholint and the various rulers present had given their assent. 


“I now pronounce you husband and wife, King Richard and Queen Marin of Koholint.  You may now kiss your bride.” 


Richard and Marin embraced and kissed passionately.


That night was a massive celebration on the beaches of Toronbo Shores.  Link had just had a dance with a lovely maiden from Marith and had made his way to the punch bowl, which oddly enough was right near his and Marin’s “secret spot”.  He was about to turn around and return to the dancers, when something caught his eye.  A youth in a purple dress was standing alone, ankle deep in the water, looking out over the ocean.  Link was sure he had never seen her before, but she seemed somehow familiar.  He approached her. 


“Is something the matter?  Are you having a good time tonight?” Link asked her. 


She turned around slowly.  Even in the moonlight, Link could tell that she had an odd skin tone.


“Yes…I’m okay.” The girl responded.  “I’m just not one for parties.”


Link understood.  He had always been quiet and reserved in his ways, at least before he and Zelda became close.  Now it was impossible to get more than a few moments alone, it seemed.


“You’re Link right?” The girl asked.  Link nodded.


“You’re the one who killed my mom.” The girl said blankly.  It was Viranda!  Link had put himself alone with the one who had supposedly killed him in the opposite timeline, with nobody close enough to help him if things went awry.  Din, this was bad, Link thought. 


“I want to tell you a secret.” Viranda said. 


“Uhh…okay.” Link mouthed, not knowing what else to say. 


The young girl stood on her tip toes and Link bent over as she whispered into his ear.  “My mom was an evil witch and I hated her.”


Link was shocked.  Viranda began to walk away, but turned around once she made it to dry sand.  She returned to him. 


“Thank you, Link.” 


Not knowing what else to do, Link nodded to her.  Viranda smiled, and skipped across the sand back to the party.  Link was left alone.  When he looked down, he felt the Amethyst of Materiality lying in his hands. 







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