Without even thinking, Link hopped off the speaking platform and raced towards the gleaming object behind King Zora. The ruler of the Zoras, naturally, was surprised when he saw the Kokiri jump from the platform into the shallow pool beneath him, but that was nothing compared to the shock he experienced when Link jumped onto the waterfall the king was sitting on.
“What in Farore’s name are you doing?” King Zora demanded, his gregarious tones replaced with pitches of anger and fear. “Get off! Hey, what are you…? Guards! Guards! Help me!”
Link didn’t pay attention to the king’s screams, but instead concentrated on the item behind King Zora. He quickly realized it was behind the waterfall’s stylized grating, and it was obviously buoyant enough to float in the relatively shallow cascade because it moved left to right with the ripples.
Seeing that his hand was small enough to fit through the grate, Link reached through the metal grid with his right hand and tried to grab the item from the water. This only caused King Zora to become more hysterical.
“What are you doing? What in Din’s name are you doing? Get away from me! Get away! I order you to stop this immediately!”
“Link! By the Great Deku Tree, what are you doing? Stop this before something happens to us! For the sake of the Three Goddesses, listen to me!”
But Link ignored both King Zora’s and Navi’s pleas. He simply continued to splash his hand around in the water behind the grating until it finally closed around something slick and hard.
“Got it!” the Kokiri cried out loud.
Before Link could react to the new voice, two powerful sets of hands wrapped around his arms and yanked him off the waterfall. He felt the thing in his hand strike the metal grate with a soft yet painful clang, but some hidden instinct made sure he didn’t drop it and carried it through the grid. His feet then landed in the shallow pool moments later with a splash, and it was then Link managed to see who had grabbed him.
Two Zoras that Lizel were glaring down at him, their slippery yet firm hands clamped tightly around his arms. From the looks in their eyes, they weren’t too happy. Neither was King Zora, who was hopping up and down – as best as his portly body could, anyway – in a gentle rage.
“This is an outrage!” King Zora cried. “A messenger from the King of Hyrule has dared to defy and disregard the king of the Zoras like this! I demand an explanation! What is the meaning behind your rudeness and disrespect? Answer me, you – what are you again? Oh, yes – you Kokiri!”
Link swallowed uneasily before he started, “King Zora, I meant you no harm…”
“Silence!” one of the guards demanded.
Link turned to the demanding guard in puzzlement. “Excuse me? But King Zora just told me to answer him…”
“You shall answer him, but upon the pedestal. Do not speak a word to King Zora until you are allowed to do so with respect and regard.” Then, as if on cue, both guards shoved Link towards the podium. “Now stand upon that pedestal, and only then may you answer King Zora!”
Link couldn’t help but wince slightly. “A little strict, aren’t they?” Link whispered to an anxious Navi on his shoulder.
“Just do as they say,” the fairy urged. “Things are bad enough, thanks to you stupidity.”
“Gee, you’re very encouraging!”
“Just get on the podium!”
Deciding not to waste his breath with Navi, Link sighed before heading for the communication pedestal. The guards weren’t blocking the way to the entrance to King Zora’s throne room, so he could make a run for it. But then he would have to deal with those slippery ramps again, and he’d probably be caught on the second or third slipup.
“This just isn’t my day,” Link thought as he climbed onto the pedestal. The Kokiri then turned his gaze and attention to King Zora, who was looking very irritated, to say the least.
Clearing his throat, Link started talking. “King Zora, I meant you no harm. I was merely trying to get something I spotted behind the grating of your waterfall.”
“You were?” the king inquired. “Interesting story. And I suppose you have evidence to back it up?”
“Yes, it’s right here in my hand.” Link then held out the object in his hand for King Zora, the guards, Navi, and him to see for the first time.
It was a glass bottle, made of a glass so clear it rivaled the cleanliness of the Zora River. A cork made of a rough material Link had never seen before sealed its neck. The bottle caught the light in the room so fiercely it nearly blinded the Kokiri when he turned it in a certain direction.
“Oh, ho, ho, is that a glass bottle I see?” King Zora asked, half-excited and half-irate. “And I suppose you have proof that this bottle came from behind my throne and not from your own supplies.”
Link started to feel uncomfortable. “Well, uh…it’s…it’s wet…”
“So are you,” one of the guards pointed out.
“Then, um…I could say that…you’ll just have to take my word for it…”
“After what you did?” King Zora uttered. “Not very likely, my little Kokiri. Unless you can conclusively prove that that bottle isn’t yours, you will be punished accordingly for showing such disrespect to the Zora race…”
“Hey, there’s a piece of paper inside!”
Navi’s sudden outburst caused everyone to turn his attention eyes back to the bottle. Sure enough, there, partially hidden by the powerful glint of the bottle, was a piece of paper, scrunched up into a careless wad.
“Interesting,” King Zora noted. “There is paper inside your little bottle. Tell me, Link, does it have anything written upon it?”
“I don’t know,” Link replied. “But let’s find out.”
Without any objections from King Zora or the guards, Link grabbed the stopper and yanked it. It was wedged in surprisingly tight, but a few good turns and yanks managed to budge the small plug from the bottle’s neck. Link then proceeded to dump the wad of paper from the bottle onto the palm of his hand.
Hoping that this paper would save his skin from punishment, Link unfolded the scrunched sheet. To his partial relief, there was something written on the paper. Smiling weakly, the Kokiri started to read the note.
He was partway through reading the piece of paper when King Zora spoke up. “Excuse me, but could you please read it out loud?”
“What?” Link asked before he suddenly realized the request. “Oh, yeah, sure. Sorry. Let’s see here: To anyone who reads this, please help me. I am stuck inside Lord Jabu-Jabu and can’t get out. You will be rewarded handsomely once I’m rescued. Princess Ruto. PS – Don’t tell my father. And…that’s it, King Zora.”
Link had been looking at the note the entire time he was reading it. When he looked up again, he saw something he never expected. King Zora and the two guards were frozen in a state of shock. Their blue skinned faces had drained to a deep white, and their thin eyes were wide and hollow.
King Zora was the first to speak. “Princess Ruto? My darling daughter? Inside Lord Jabu-Jabu? Lies! You speak nothing but lies, Kokiri! Guards, get me that letter!”
Before Link could react or object, one of the guards walked forward and snatched the wrinkled letter from Link’s hand. The guard then carried the letter to King Zora, who used his thin, weak hands to take the note and hold it before his face to read it. He appeared to read the note several times before he finally responded.
“It…it’s not possible…this…this is surely my daughter’s handwriting, but…how can my dear Ruto be inside Lord Jabu-Jabu? Why would Lord Jabu-Jabu…our patron god, our protector…why would he do such a thing? It’s just not possible…is Ruto playing a joke…? No, she would never joke like this…but how…how can this be? How can this possibly be?”
As he witnessed this scene, Link suddenly came to two conclusions. First, he had discovered where Princess Ruto, the holder of the third Spiritual Stone was. Unfortunately, from what he was hearing, he also realized it was going to be some time before he would even see her and the Stone.
The Kokiri couldn’t help but shake his head in frustrating defeat. “This just isn’t my day…”
That thought was still ringing through his mind when he was back downstairs beside the basin of Zora’s Domain, waiting for Lizel to return with breakfast.
After the note had worked King Zora into a panicked frenzy, the guards quietly escorted Link and Navi out of the throne room, where they apologized for their rude behavior toward him. They offered to get him something to eat, but Lizel showed up at that moment and declared that that was his honor.
Link didn’t know how getting an emissary food was an honor, but the Zoras were strange enough as it was, so he wasn’t going to argue.
Even before Lizel returned with Link’s breakfast, the domain of the Zoras was abuzz with news of Princess Ruto’s fate. Some refused to believe that Lord Jabu-Jabu had swallowed their beloved princess, while others started to see if rescue parties were being organized. In any case, Zora’s Domain had gone from calm to chaotic in the span of under an hour.
And Link still didn’t have the third Spiritual Stone.
Whatever Ganondorf had done, he had done it well.
“What are we going to do now, Navi?” the seated Link asked as he stared at the vast sink that was the domain. “Princess Ruto has the stone, and this Lord Jabu-Jabu has the princess. And unless the king stops crying and these people get organized, we’re not going to get the stone any time soon.”
“I don’t know,” the fairy admitted on his shoulder. “I’m fresh out of ideas on what to do.”
Link sighed and drooped his shoulders before he suddenly realized he was still holding the glass bottle that had held Princess Ruto’s note. He had seen bottles like this back at Lon Lon Ranch, but none this clean or burnished. He realized it might make a useful accessory for carrying water over long distances, and since no one seemed to claim ownership of it…
Suddenly, a familiar shape climbed out of the basin and onto the rim without so much as a splash of water. Link gave a sincere yet muffled acknowledgement towards Lizel, while Navi didn’t say anything. The Zora merely walked up to the Kokiri and fairy and threw something in Link’s lap.
Almost instantly, Link jumped up in fright at the cold and clammy thing that touched his legs. He looked down and saw a small, blue fish lying on the ground, and by the vigorous flailing he realized the creature was still alive.
“There you go!” Lizel said cheerfully before Link could ask a question. “Eat up!”
Link gaped in confusion. “Excuse me? You want me to eat that thing? Right now?”
Lizel’s face displayed a confused look. “Why? Is there another way you’d like to have it?”
“Well, uh…could you at least cook it over an open fire…?”
“Good gracious, no!” Lizel exclaimed in a horrified tone. “You can’t do that! If you do, you’ll hurt the fish!”
Link’s amazement only grew more severe. “Wha…? Let me get this straight. You eat fish raw, which ends up killing them, but you don’t cook them over a fire because it’ll hurt them. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t make sense…”
“We are Zoras,” Lizel interrupted, “born of the water, in the water, by the water. We maintain a delicate balance with the creatures that live in and around this basin. These fish, the blue-tailed cavefish, are one of these creatures. We feed it and protect it from harmful happenstance, and they allow us to eat them when we require nourishment. We both understand what kind of balance is needed to maintain a good relationship within the waters of life. We eat them raw out of respect for their sacrifice. Cooking them over a fire would be a shame toward their race.”
The Zora then made a revolted face. “Besides, cooked fish is disgusting.”
“So says you,” Link grumbled. “Fine, fine, fine. But I’m afraid I…uh, have never eaten a raw fish before, but I’m willing to try it. But I’m also not that hungry right now, so can I please save this fish in…um, this bottle, if you don’t mind?”
“Sure thing,” Lizel stated. “But you’ll have to change the water every few hours, or else the fish will suffocate. Here, let me do that for you.”
With that, Lizel gently took the bottle from Link, picked up the still-flopping fish, and headed to the basin to perform the task. As the Zora did this, Link’s mind was filled with thoughts of roasting the little bugger once he was out of Zora’s Domain. Then again, Lizel’s little speech might make him not look at fish the same way again…
“Oh, stop it, Link!” he thought angrily to himself. “You’ve got better things to do than kill small, defenseless creatures…”
That word echoed in his mind like a bell. He shuddered as he recalled his frightening ordeal with the Lizalfos, and then how he became a mindless murderer in the blink of an eye. He glanced down at his hands. The black blood that had once slid down his skin was gone, but he could still feel its sticky wetness and dark eeriness.
He prayed to the Three Goddesses that he would never become that “person” again…
“Here you go!”
Lizel’s voice broke his trance and he looked up to see the Zora handing him back the bottle with the fish conveniently bottled inside of it. Link smiled weakly as he accepted the future meal and laid it down beside him. Lizel, apparently satisfied with his deed, sat down, motioning for Link to do the same. The Kokiri complied.
“With things as they are now,” Lizel started when Link was seated, “it’s going to be a while before you can see King Zora again. I’m not sure if he’ll even allow a rescue party, because Lord Jabu-Jabu is so sacred to him and Zora race. But his love for Princess Ruto will make his heart ache for a while. In any case, until this issue is resolved, you’ll have to put your duties on hold. So, is there anything you’d like to ask me?”
“Yes,” replied Link. “Can you tell me who this Lord Jabu-Jabu is?”
“Nothing easier. Lord Jabu-Jabu is our patron god and the protector of our people. He is the connection between this world and the Three Goddesses that created this world. He has chosen to take the form of a giant fish so that he may feel in touch with the people he has sworn to protect. We protect his fragile, mortal body in his shrine, and he guards our people from evil.”
“Hmm. Sounds a little silly to hold a fish in such high respect. But then again, these people might find it odd that we Kokiri held the Great Deku Tree in such high respect.”
“Sounds like this Lord Jabu-Jabu eats a lot,” Link suddenly blurted out. He made that comment because of what had happened to Princess Ruto, but he almost immediately wished he hadn’t said that.
Thankfully, Lizel wasn’t offended. “Actually, until recently, Lord Jabu-Jabu only ate what he needed. He is a kind god and doesn’t needlessly squander the precious resources of our people. But that was only until recently. For some strange reason, he is acting very differently these days. His appetite has grown substantially, and he only seems to be pleading for more. It’s as if he isn’t getting enough nourishment, despite all that we are giving him. Some of us are convinced that Lord Jabu-Jabu is dying, but I only feel he is sick.”
The Zora then lowered his head in sullenness. “Whatever the cause of his illness is, it must’ve been the reason why he ate our beloved princess.”
Link hesitated to give Lizel a moment of silence before saying, “I see. So how big is Lord Jabu-Jabu? The size of King Zora’s throne room?”
“Oh, no. Lord Jabu-Jabu can easy outmatch the length of this basin. He is a very large and mighty god, and it’s amazing that he lived on such small rations before his illness.”
“I see.” For some peculiar reason, Link wasn’t surprised by Lord Jabu-Jabu’s size. In fact, he felt like asking more questions, as if wanting to come to some sort of conclusion. “Is it possible to live in Lord Jabu-Jabu for some time, even if it were a day?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know. No one has been inside Lord Jabu-Jabu, expect for Princess Ruto, of course. It might be possible to survive by feeding off of scraps of food in Lord Jabu-Jabu’s stomach, but this does have its limit, even with Zoras. And we don’t know when Princess Ruto sent that note. For all we know, it could’ve been behind King Zora’s throne since day one! For all we know, although I’d hate to admit it, Princess Zora could be dead.”
Link wasn’t so sure about Lizel’s last possibility. From what he had seen, a Zora doesn’t have a place on his body to carry things like bottles and pieces of paper and writing utensils. So how did Princess Ruto have such items on her person? She couldn’t have just found them inside Lord Jabu-Jabu; the only answer was that she had them with her all the time.
And this suggested one other thing: she planned to go inside Lord Jabu-Jabu since the very beginning.
“It sounds crazy, but I can’t think of anything else right now. And besides, these Zoras are just crazy enough to pull something like that. The only question is: why? Why do something like that?”
Maybe he could find out himself…
“No! No, Link! Don’t do this again! You nearly killed yourself back at Death Mountain…”
But wasn’t it the right thing to do, he realized. Helping out the Gorons? Why should the Great Deku Tree get special attention and not the Gorons? Why should he willing risk his neck for his patron deity and feel uncomfortable with helping a race of rock-eaters to survive? The same applied to the Zoras…
“No, no! I can’t! I don’t want to!”
But it wasn’t a question of whether he wanted to or not, and he knew it.
But so was helping the Great Deku Tree and the Gorons.
“But I’m going to…to…to…get eaten, and…and…”
Nothing. As much as Link didn’t want to admit it, he knew what he had to do. Now he realized why he was asking those questions; his conscience was preparing him for another heroic escapade. Something inside of him was actually convincing his mind and body to get ready for an adventure. As insane as it sounded, he was unwittingly preparing himself for the upcoming task. He even knew how he was going to do it…or part of it, at least.
“Do I have to go now?”
He knew he did. A gut feeling told him time was running out, and he didn’t have a chance to prepare like he did on Death Mountain. No restful night to ready himself this time. He had to go now.
“Link?” Lizel’s voice entered his mind again. “Link? Are you all right? You look like you’re…”
“I’m going, Lizel,” Link interrupted suddenly as he stood up, his eyes tight with reluctant determination.
“Going? Going where?”
Link looked down to face the Zora and squinted. “To rescue your princess.”
That statement caught Lizel off guard, and the Zora didn’t have a chance to reply before Link cried out, “Come on, Navi. We’re going to save Princess Ruto! If you want to stay behind, that’s fine by me! But I’m going!”
With those words, Link picked up the bottle with the fish in it and headed in the direction of King Zora’s throne room. Navi barely had time to yell at the Kokiri frustration and confusion before she was forced to dash after the hasty Kokiri.
“Link! Link! Wait!” Lizel called as he stood up. “Wait, please! Wait! Stop! You’re not allowed to see the shrine of Lord Jabu-Jabu! Wait! Stop!”
The stairs were as slippery as ever, and Link skidded and fell as many times as before, but this time he didn’t care. He was only focusing on the goal ahead, which was to make it find Lord Jabu-Jabu and somehow find the Zora princess. He also figured all of Zora’s Domain would be after him to stop him from entering the shrine, so running seemed like the best thing to do.
As he slipped up halfway up the ramps, the familiar voice of Navi bellowed in his ear. “Link! What in Din’s name are you doing?”
“Ask me that question when I know myself,” Link answered.
“What? You don’t even know what you’re doing? Link, what has gotten into you? Why are you acting like this all of a sudden…?”
“I don’t know! All I know is that something is telling this is what I have to do. Call it a gut feeling, if you will. Or maybe call it a warning.”
Navi, whose light was now flickering wildly, fluttered in front of his face. “A warning? And what do you mean by that, might I ask?”
“I don’t know why, but we’re running out of time. Something’s going to happen, Navi, and unless we hurry up, we won’t be able to do anything about it…”
He was interrupted by another slipup on the staircase, but he quickly got up again and pressed on toward the throne room.
“You’re not making any sense!” Navi declared angrily. “What’s this ‘something’ you’re talking about? Do you even know what it is? And how do you know that we can even do anything about it?”
Link didn’t have an answer for any of those questions, but that wasn’t the point. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what the point was, either. His actions right now were based on instinct and impulse alone, and even now he could tell that wasn’t anything reassuring.
He couldn’t help but recall the feeling that got him to enter the Dodongo’s Cavern…
“Link! Are you listening to me?” Navi’s voice was so loud now that Link was sure all of Zora’s Domain could hear her. “Link! Didn’t you even hear me? Why are you…?”
“Navi, just shut up!”
It wasn’t the forcefulness in Link’s tone that caused Navi to fall silent; rather, it was the feeling in his voice that seemed to say, “Look, I know what I’m doing, even if it doesn’t look like it! Just let me do this and you’ll see I’m right!”
With Navi finally silenced, Link was free to concentrate on his ascension to the throne room, where the entrance to the shrine of Lord Jabu-Jabu lay. Of course, his constant slipping sometimes distracted him…
He reached the throne room in what felt like record time, and he didn’t waste any time nursing his fall bruises or pondering whether or not to change his mind. He simply entered King Zora’s throne room without announcement or invitation.
King Zora, who was apparently still bewildered by his daughter’s letter, was surprised to see the Kokiri again. “What is it, my dear boy?” the king inquired through his jerky voice. “Is something the matter? Is there something you want to ask me?”
But Link didn’t pay attention to the Zora king. Instead he looked around the throne room for any sign of a door or tunnel. He almost immediately located a dark tunnel entrance on the right side of the room, elevated above the small lake and draining cave by a staircase ramp. Link didn’t need to ask to know that that was the way to the shrine of Lord Jabu-Jabu.
Without heeding any of King Zora’s questions, Link made a dash for the tunnel. King Zora immediately grew hysterical again.
“No! What are you doing? You’re not allowed to go that way! Hey, stop! Stop before I have you arrested! What in Farore’s name do you think you’re doing?”
Deciding to put an end to King Zora’s frenzy, Link stopped on the ramp and turned to face the overweight ruler in order to answer King Zora’s last question. The Kokiri made sure his stare grabbed the King’s attention before he said spoke in a monotonous yet determined voice.
“I’m going to save your daughter, that’s what I’m doing.”
The silence that followed was so powerful Link could hear the sounds of soft feet, most likely the feet of angry Zoras, climbing the staircases to the throne room. Naturally, Link took the king’s stunned silence and the advancing patrol of Zoras as a cue to get moving.
Without uttering another word, he disappeared down the tunnel that led to Lord Jabu-Jabu’s shrine…
The early morning sun peaking over the trees caught Saria off guard when she looked out her window. She shielded her eyes until they adjusted to the sudden change of brightness; she then stuck her head out the window and, with her eyes closed, took a deep breath. It was a morning ritual she had performed for as long as she could remember, and she never grew bored of it. Morning forest air somehow always made her feel refreshed and energized for the day ahead.
But some of that renaissance was lost when she turned her attention back to her room and saw who was lying on her bed.
It had been less than a day since Dakt had left him, but Mido was already feeling the emptiness of not having a fairy. When Saria had left Mido yesterday so he could think about his actions, he thought he would come up with some excuse for what he had done. Instead, he had come to her with eyes as empty as an open sky and a face as pale as milk sap.
It was when he had come to her, at that very moment, that Mido said two words Saria never thought she’d hear from him.
Saria had still been a little angry with Mido then, but those words had helped ease the anger slightly. “I forgive you, Mido, but you should really say those words to Dakt.”
At the mention of Dakt’s name, Mido had suddenly burst into tears and rushed toward Saria, wrapping his arms around her and crying his eyes out against her chest. Unable to believe that Mido, the Kokiri bully and self-proclaimed tough guy, was crying, all Saria could do was return the hug and try to reassure him.
For the rest of yesterday, Mido and Saria had talked after Mido had finished crying. Saria had used the opportunity to explain to Mido what his attitude problems were and why he needed to fix them. Amazingly, Mido had listened intently and patiently, and had seemed to take in everything Saria had told him. When night had set in, Mido had asked Saria if he could spend the night at her house, in case he needed any more comfort. Normally, Saria would be suspicious of such a request from Mido, but at that moment she honestly believed he was being sincere, so she had accepted.
To Saria, the change in Mido’s behavior was nothing short of miraculous.
As she watched Mido sleep, his dirty cheeks fluctuating with his heavy breathing, Saria couldn’t help but feel pity for him. He was going through something that not even Link had experienced. Oh, sure, Link didn’t have a fairy to begin with, which was bad enough, but Link never went through the process of developing a bond of friendship with a fairy and then losing that fairy.
It wasn’t something she didn’t even want to think about.
She had sent Katl out last night to try and find Dakt and convince him to return to Mido, and she prayed the Dakt would be as forgiving as much as Mido was sorry. If Dakt didn’t return, then Mido would never be the same for the rest of his life. Not even Mido deserved something like that.
Speaking of never being the same again, Saria couldn’t help think about her nightmare, the one about Link being cruel and malicious. Her ocarina conversations with him had eased that fear slightly, but that fear wouldn’t leave her completely alone. Why couldn’t she shake off the feeling that Link, a kind and fun-loving boy, was going to change into something horrible and repulsive?
And why hadn’t he called her recently on the ocarina? What was he doing right now…?
Lizel had said that Lord Jabu-Jabu was huge, but Link never pictured the deity of the Zoras to be this big!
The tunnel had taken Link to a rocky piece of ground situated next to an enormous lake, almost twice the size of the basin of Zora’s Domain. From bubbles that appeared all over the lake’s surface, Link could tell the source of the lake was underneath it, probably an underwater spring or something. A small outlet of the lake passed through a tunnel to the Kokiri’s right, probably towards the waterfall used as King Zora’s throne. And Link could also hear the distinct sound of the waterfall that hid the entrance to Zora’s Domain, indicating that this lake was the source of that waterfall.
But the main focus of the lake was, without a doubt, Lord Jabu-Jabu. Just as Lizel had mentioned, the fish god was enormous. He easily outclassed the size of the Zora’s Domain cavern and took up nearly the entire lake. Unlike other fish, however, Lord Jabu-Jabu actually had a defined head with a face. The beast’s two, round eyes were placed at the end of its huge muzzle, which boasted a well-defined set of nostrils and a set of powerful-looking jaws that probably hid hundreds of jagged teeth. Upon the beast’s muzzle were what appeared to be clothes of vibrant colors and design; they were obviously made by the Zoras themselves for their patron deity. The rest of the enormous god, the body and tail, were mostly hidden underneath the crystal clear surface of the lake.
Although Link could tell the giant fish was alive – the god was breathing very heavily, after all – Lord Jabu-Jabu didn’t move at all in the lake. Instead the god simply remained still with its head before the rocky piece of ground Link was standing on. Link could also tell that something wasn’t right with the giant god. He didn’t appear to be happy, as if something were stealing something vital to his existence.
Whatever the case, Link had to get inside of this enormous brute to find and rescue Princess Ruto.
“Wow, this guy is huge!” Navi commented in awe.
Link didn’t say anything is response, but instead tightened his grip on the bottle with the fish and walked up to face the Zora god, eye to eye, Kokiri to deity.
Lord Jabu-Jabu obviously noticed Link’s presence, but didn’t do anything in reply. He just watched as Link walked up a small flight of stairs to a stone stage that was obviously used by Zoras when they confronted their patron god. The Kokiri was so close to the giant fish that he could feel the wind flowing from between Lord Jabu-Jabu’s lips and nostrils. Link could also swear he was hearing a heart beat from within the giant beast, although it was probably his own, but he couldn’t tell.
Fully realizing what he was about to do, Link took the bottle with the fish and uncorked it…
“Link! Look out!”
Navi’s warning came just in time. Link spun around to see something thin and long heading straight for his head and he ducked at the last moment. The thing harmlessly bounced off of Lord Jabu-Jabu’s muzzle and landed on the stage with a soft clunk at Link’s feet. Link, who had closed his eyes when he had ducked, opened them and found himself staring at what appeared to be a bent, polished stick.
But it was obviously more than that; someone had just tried to hit him with it.
Link stood up and turned his attention to the tunnel entrance. There, standing in front of a group of hostile-looking Zoras that appeared ready to tear something apart, was Lizel. The Zora was in such a stance that suggested he had just thrown something, and his face was filled with grit and disappointment at the same time, as if he hadn’t done what he had wanted to accomplish.
And Link could guess what Lizel had just wanted to do…
“Curses, Lizel!” someone in the crown yelled angrily. “You throw the boomerang like a recently-hatched fry! If I had thrown that, I would’ve knocked him down and taught him a lesson at the same time…”
“Shut up!” Lizel yelled at the Zora in the crowd before turning his attention back to Link. “Link! Come here right now! You are violating our sacred laws by being here!”
“Hey!” Link declared loudly. “I’m going to save your princess, Lizel…”
“That doesn’t matter!” Lizel boomed almost irately. “You are a Hylian, so…”
“Kokiri, Hylian, it doesn’t matter what you are! What you are not is a Zora, and non-Zoras are forbidden to even look at this place! You are already in deep trouble as it is. Now come back before you do something that’ll force us to use the harshest punishment our laws allow!”
“And then what?” Link was starting to get angry himself now. “Are you just going to let your princess rot inside your precious deity’s belly? Are you simply going to leave her in here? You aren’t doing a single thing to help her; I am! If that is a crime, then I’m guilty!”
“If you must arrest me, then do so after I’ve rescued your princess!” Link was now starting wave his arms furiously in the air. “Arresting me now won’t do anything, but letting me do this will! Are you people so stupid that you don’t see that? If you won’t let me go save Princess Ruto, then who will?”
“Link, all of that will be taken care of…”
“But not quickly enough! You can’t decide whether to save your princess or to leave your precious Lord Jabu-Jabu alone! Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the greater good, and that’s what I’m doing right now! I know that this has to be done if…”
“You know nothing!” Lizel declared in a tempered voice. “You have no comprehension of how our people function as a society! You have no idea how we live and what must be done for our survival! If Lord Jabu-Jabu were your god, you wouldn’t be doing this!”
Link jerked his head in surprise, and then tightened his face in anger. “What…? How dare you say something like that! You have no idea what I’ve been through! Do you hear me? I went through a living nightmare to try and save my own patron god, the Great Deku Tree, from dying! I faced one of the most frightening creatures I’ve ever seen inside the Great Deku Tree so I could save his life! My efforts saved the life of my home, the forest, but they couldn’t save his life! The very reason I exist, the Great Deku Tree, is dead! But at least I tried! I didn’t want to do what I did, but I knew it had to be done! Do you hear me? It had to be done! What do you know about what must be done and what mustn’t? Tell me! Tell me!”
Link ended his speech on such a loud note that the entire lake seemed to echo with its fervor. The Kokiri then folded his arms and waited for a response from the crowd, which had grown eerily silent. All pairs of dark eyes were upon him, and no one seemed to have anything to say.
“I thought so,” Link stated in a quieter yet still firm tone. “Now, I’m going to…”
“Link! Look out!”
The warning didn’t come from Navi, but this time from Lizel, who was pointing frantically behind Link. Link, not knowing what was going on, turned around…and found himself staring into a dark abyss bordered by rows of sharp teeth. Lord Jabu-Jabu had opened his enormous mouth so all could see his murky throat.
So this was why everyone had grown quiet…
Suddenly, a fierce wind started to pick up, but Link knew it wasn’t an ordinary wind. It was Lord Jabu-Jabu sucking air. The patron deity of the Zoras was trying to pull something into his mouth!
“What’s going on?” Link thought frantically. “Why’s he doing this…?”
Just then, he saw something fly by his head and into the monster’s mouth. It was the fish from his bottle. Instantly, Link realized his ranting must’ve caused the fish to fall out of the bottle, and Lord Jabu-Jabu, with his proclaimed unusual appetite, had obviously been attracted by the smell of the fish and had gotten impatient for someone to feed it to him.
The ferocity of the wind grew quickly, and Link found it difficult to remain where he was. He tried to fight being sucked into the monstrous cavern that was Lord Jabu-Jabu’s mouth (even though it was part of his original plan), but he knew he was going to lose the battle sooner or later unless Lord Jabu-Jabu realized he had swallowed the fish and closed his mouth…
“Link! Help me!”
“Navi…? Navi! No…!”
But that was all Link could get out before he watched the familiar pink light of his friend get pulled into Lord Jabu-Jabu’s jaws. The fairy tried to fight the suction, but the flow was too fast for her. Her light and scream disappeared inside the god’s throat within a matter of moments.
“Navi…!” Link cried out as he stretched out his hand in a futile attempt to help her. “No! Don’t! Navi…!”
That moment of distraction was all the suction needed. Before he could even think, Link was lifted off the ground by the strong winds and dragged past the jaws of Lord Jabu-Jabu and down towards his throat. The world spun around so fast that Link couldn’t make out anything as he began his descent into the belly of the beast.
The last thing he remembered before hitting something and passing out was the soft sound of the god’s jaws clamping together shut and the world turning pitch-black before his eyes…