Link never expected the room on the other side of the valve to be so dark. Ever since he left Lord Jabu-Jabu’s throat, the deity’s fluorescent blood had always been there to allow him to see. So why now, of all times, did that have to stop? Did the blood vessels suddenly decide to turn away from this part of the body, or was there another reason?
Could something actually be draining the blood, or the light-emitting nutrients in the blood?
Link wanted to laugh at such a thought, but something told him not to dismiss the idea. Come to think of it, the brightness of the enormous pink tunnel he had just left did seem a little dim compared to the rest of the body. But did that add up as conclusive proof, a gut feeling and a coincidental finding?
Thankfully, because she was no longer drenched in Lord Jabu-Jabu’s saliva, Navi’s glow shone bright enough for him to see a respectable distance…respectable in that he would know if he was about to fall off a high edge or something like such. Actually, the situation felt exactly like the time he and Navi walked inside the Great Deku Tree’s hollow trunk, looking for whatever had cursed him. He hadn’t found that giant hole until he was right on top of it.
So what exactly would he find in this place only if he was right on top of it?
He didn’t want to think about it…
“Link,” Navi suddenly said as she hovered lightly over the Kokiri’s shoulder. “Any idea where we are and why it’s dark all of a sudden?”
“I don’t know where we are, “Link answered rather nervously,” or why it’s so dark. But hey, I thought you could see in the dark. Can’t you see where we are or something?”
“Well, yes and no. I can see in the dark, but it’s not like seeing the world in broad daylight; it’s like seeing a dark-colored shadow of something, so I can’t exactly see things clearly, just know that they’re there. But I can tell you that this room is quite large, though not as large as the heart. The ceiling isn’t as high, but the walls do span quite a bit apart from each other. But I can’t see anything that resembles an exit…no, wait, I take that back. There appears to be something resembling a tunnel at the other end of the room. Maybe it’s another valve, but I can’t be sure. Still, it’s worth a look.”
Link breathed a sigh of relief. Things were looking up again. “Well, then, let’s get going…”
Navi’s voice was so sudden and so urgent that Link immediately grew anxious. “What? What happened? Isn’t a door?”
“No, that’s not it. I thought I saw something move in front of it. It was there for a brief moment, and then…gone, as if it never existed. I’m not even sure what it was shaped like, but it looked vaguely familiar…I don’t know, maybe it was my imagination.”
Link wasn’t sure about that; if there was one thing he had learned, it wasn’t to let down his guard. And to dismiss something as Navi’s imagination when he had a weird feeling about this place didn’t exactly sound like a good idea.
“Navi, where exactly is that door? I want to get over there right now.”
“Sure thing, it’s actually directly in front of us and…wait! There! I saw it again! This time, I’m definitely sure I saw it. But I still don’t know what it is, yet I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere before…”
All of a sudden, before Navi could continue, the chamber lit up like a daytime sky that hadn’t seen the sun in years. Link quickly shielded his eyes with his right arm to adjust to the brightness, but he also made sure he didn’t drop Ruto, who didn’t even flinch from the vividness in her sleep. He had no idea where this light was coming from, but it differed from the kind of light that the deity’s blood emitted. In fact, there was something…tainted…about this light, and he somehow guessed it was being released in the very center of the room.
Navi was the first to comment about the light…or rather, the source of the light.
“By the Three Goddesses, what in all of Hyrule is that?”
Deciding he had adjusted to the brightness enough, Link removed his right arm to see what Navi had discovered. His vision was still a little blurry, but he could see exactly over what the fairy was fretting.
As he had guessed, the source of the light stood in the very center of the chamber. Exactly what it was, Link could only imagine. This…thing stood taller than the deformed Gohma rearing to strike and was wide enough to double as a house for several Kokiri. Its lower half was pudgy and obese, as if a storage area for something, and covering it was a kind of sickening pink blubber that was in turn protected by transparent splotches of an odd-looking gelatin. In between these slabs of gelatin swayed small tentacles that were colored a purple that resembled a bloody purple. The creature’s upper half thinned out into a strange-looking sac that most likely was its main nerve center, covered in blue and red spine-like decorations. Protruding from this nerve center were three long, red tentacles of tissue that were connected to the top wall of the chamber. In between those three tentacles were three more tentacles that were colored a the same purple as smaller ones and each one ended with what appeared to be a fur-like cup with a single antenna dangling out.
Whatever this thing was, it was definitely alive. The three red tentacles connected to the ceiling of the chamber throbbed in a nauseating rhythm that suggested they were sucking something out and feeding it to the nerve center, and the lower body pulsed like Lord Jabu-Jabu’s heart, only in a careless and sloppy fashion. The three main purple tentacles were also adding to the idea that this thing was alive by examining – not waving, but examining – its surroundings by pointing its peculiar hair-like bowls in various directions around the room.
Link then realized they were the creature’s eyes to the world, because one of those bowls was pointed directly at him, sweeping in a small arc but generally aimed at him…
“Navi, what…what…?” Link whispered loudly and nervously to the fairy.
“I…I have no idea,” Navi answered just as anxiously as the Kokiri. “But I don’t think it’s here to escort us out of here. I think it would be best if we left. Maybe we can go back the way we came, because making it to the other side doesn’t look like a good idea right now…”
That sounded like a good idea. Hopefully, the valve would open for them on this side of it. Making sure Ruto was still secure on his back, Link started to walk backwards, towards the area the valve was located, all the while keeping his eye on this hideous freak of nature in front of him. Yes, just a few steps and he would be home free…
But Link immediately sensed something was wrong when the fur bowl that was eyeing him suddenly stopped its sweeping movements and stood very still. Link stopped as well, but by then it was too late. As he watching in horror, the small antenna in the bow stiffened like a dried-up twig before inexplicably creating a small yet noticeable charge of electricity on its tip. Then, before Link knew what was happening, that small charge surged down the antenna and spread across the bowl, creating a brief, bright flash of light.
Link didn’t even have time to cry out when the bowl spat with a loud fizzle an enormous surge of electrical energy in Link’s direction…
Lord Jabu-Jabu groaned. Loudly.
Lizel looked up from the ground in puzzlement and disbelief. Lord Jabu-Jabu had never groaned this loudly before. This could only mean one thing: the god of the Zoras was in intense pain right now. Whatever was hurting the poor deity was strengthening its attacks, and that meant the deity’s death was drawing to a close even faster.
Lizel didn’t know what to do. Should he call the other Zoras? Should he inform King Zora? Or should he stay here with the god in his final hours, if these really were his final hours…?
No, that wasn’t right. If Lord Jabu-Jabu was going to die here and now, the whole Zora kingdom deserved to witness it. Every Zora male, female, and child deserved to pay his respects to the god that had protected their race for so long. It was only fitting for the great Lord Jabu-Jabu.
But first, he made to make sure this was truly the end. He had to find a doctor and quickly. If the fish god truly was going to die this day, then preparations for bringing King Zora to the shrine had to be made.
As Lizel stood up, Lord Jabu-Jabu released yet another loud groan, solidifying the horrifying possibility of his death in the next few hours. His heart racing, Lizel apologized to the enormous deity for leaving before turning around and heading into the tunnel in search of a doctor…
It wasn’t easy dodging a possibly fatal blast of electricity with an unconscious princess on his back, but Link somehow managed to pull it off. The stream of deadly energy passed his leg by a hair’s breath as he leapt to the side and landed on the ground with a loud thud. But he guessed there was no time for a rest, and he was right. The blast was short and instant, and almost immediately after firing it the purple tentacle turned its bowl towards Link for a second shot.
Without a second thought, Link scrambled to his feet, making sure Ruto was still with him, and sprinted as fast as he could. A second later, another shot struck the very place Link had been laying.
With no other option, Link simply ran. It was his only defense against those blasts of energy, and it worked pretty well. The creature had to take a moment to ready its shots, and those moments were all Link needed to avoid them. But Link knew he wasn’t going to be able to run forever; he needed to find a way to beat this thing, or at least distract it long enough to get away…
Just then, the tentacle stopped turning in Link’s direction. Link, surprised by this, stopped running. Had the monster run out of energy to fire or something…? No, it hadn’t! It was simply positioning the next tentacle to fire because he had run out of the first one’s firing range!
Both angry and uneasy at the same time, Link resumed his defensive running just moments before the second tentacle fired its first shot.
“This is just getting better and better, isn’t it?” he grumbled before something occurred to him. “Hey, where’s Navi? She can’t be under my hat…oh, great! Just great! I hope she’s all right, because I don’t know if fairies can survive being touched by electricity!”
Hoping that the fairy was okay, Link placed his full concentration on the situation at hand. Resting would be suicide, and any hesitation might just kill him…
It was during his scurrying from the third tentacle’s blasts that Link had an idea. Ruto was slowing him down immensely, but he wasn’t prepared to just throw her down while he ran. But after judging the way the creature maneuvered its tentacles, he might just have a chance to put her down so he could have a better chance at fighting this thing.
As he ran, he also curved his way towards the wall of the chamber until he ran directly alongside it. He then waited for the right opportunity, when the attacking tentacle could go no further and the beast had to use the next available one. The chance arrived a little longer than expected, probably because he was running around a longer radius, but when it came he was ready.
As the tentacles interchanged, Link stopped running and quickly made his back face the wall. He then carefully yet quickly set Ruto down lying against the wall so that she was propped upright in a sitting position. Link badly wanted to make sure she was all right, but he couldn’t; if he stayed around that spot, the creature would fire there and probably hit Ruto.
No, he simply laid her down, gave her a brief glance, and then ran again. Moments later, an energy blasted was fired, and it missed Princess Ruto by a reasonable yet close distance. Link’s heart skipped a beat at that shot, but when it missed he felt a great burden fall off his shoulders.
“There!” he thought excitedly. “Now it’s time to get serious!”
As he continued his dash around the room, Link examined the situation. The creature was obviously not very bright; if it were, it would do something to counter Link’s running maneuver, like overshooting. The beast also appeared vulnerable at its lower half; that pink blubber didn’t appear very strong, and hurting it just might distract the creature from firing. Of course, getting closer would increase the likelihood of being hit by one of those shots, but that was a chance he had to take. Running around like this wouldn’t last, and he was already feeling tired.
If only he had a weapon he could use against the monster other than his sword…
Wait! He did have a weapon other than his sword! Without taking his eyes off the direction he was running, Link reached for his belt and felt around it until he found the bomb bag. He then reached into it and pulled out one of the bombs that Malachite had given him. He smiled gleefully. If this didn’t distract that thing, then nothing would!
Hoping the fuse would ignite, Link used his free hand to grab the fuse and gently stroked its tip. To his complete relief, a spark ignited on the fuse and started to creep down towards the explosive seeds in the sac.
Link, feeling extremely confident, waited until the creature fired another shot before he turned to face it.
“Here you go, you monster!” he bellowed loudly. “A little gift from the Gorons!”
The Kokiri then threw the small yet deadly item right at the beast. Link was then forced to run again to avoid the next blast, but he already knew it had landed right near the creature; the trajectory was, for lack of a better work, perfect.
Then the waited for the explosion, waited for the distraction he needed to get him and Ruto and Navi, wherever she was, out of here. He waited for the deafening explosion and bright light that would be the signals for escape.
But the wait turned into a delay, and the delay grew longer than it should’ve been. There was no deafening explosion, no bright light, and no other sign that the bomb had gone off. Something was wrong; what had happened? Did the creature somehow manage to disarm it…? No, it was too stupid and inept to do something like that. Then what had happened?
Link had to find out…
For the first time during his dodging sprint, Link turned around and ran the other way. That change of direction nearly caused him to walk into an energy shot right behind him; luckily, he noticed it in time and managed to sidestep it. He darted over to where he had thrown the bomb and turned his head to face the monster and find the bomb.
He found it almost immediately, lying quietly by the base of the creature. Although he was quite far away, Link could still see a fuse projecting from the bomb’s sac. To his complete horror, he realized the fuse had fizzled out. Maybe it was because of all the moisture it had been exposed to, especially the swim he had taken in that blood pool.
This wasn’t good. If one bomb couldn’t do it, then the others were probably just as unlikely to detonate. Now he had to find another way to distract this oversized piece of lard. Maybe he would have to use his sword after all…
“…What’s…going on…? Where am I…? What’s go…? What? By Din’s Fire…a Barinade! No, stay back! Stay…back…!”
When Link heard Princess Ruto’s voice, he immediately turned his attention to the Zora on the other side of the room. The princess was standing up and staring in horror and the giant monster before her that she called a Barinade. The Barinade had obviously noticed her as well, and as if forgetting all about Link it turned the closest of it its terrible tentacles towards Ruto.
“Princess Ruto!” Link screamed as he realized what was going to happen. “Get out of there! Move before that thing shoots! Princess Ruto! Get out of the way!”
But Ruto didn’t move; either she was too fatigued or she was too frozen in horror to move. This worked to the Barinade’s advantage as he steadied its purple tentacle and prepared to fire one of its deadly blasts.
“Liiiiink…!” Ruto managed to scream.
“Ruuuutoooo!” Link screamed back before he started to run.
He didn’t know why he was running; it was pointless. He was too far away to even get to her before the Barinade fired, and he was simply wasting his energy. But something inside of him told him to run, to go and save the Zora princess from possible certain death. Ruto might not be the most likeable or predictable person he knew, but he couldn’t stand the thought of anyone being killed by a monstrosity such as this Barinade. If he could do anything – anything! – he would do it.
He didn’t know why, but he was running.
Then he felt it, felt something inside of him come alive. He didn’t know what it was, mainly because he was concentrating on saving Princess Ruto, but he felt something. It resembled that odd experience he felt when he had faced King Dodongo, but at the same time it was different. It surged through his veins, coursed throughout his muscles, and flooded into his mind. He didn’t and did have control over it at the same time. It entered him without warning or permission, but he welcomed it. It would help him, he knew. How he knew, he didn’t know…or care.
As the something intensified, he felt its effects. His legs were gaining strength, enough strength to overcome the immense fatigue that was sapping his energy. That energy not only increased his strength, but his speed. He didn’t have to look down to see that effect; he could see the effect all around him. The world always seemed to fly by when a person runs, but right now it was flying by so fast that he couldn’t even see most of it anymore. But for some reason, he could still see the main reason he was running. He could still see Ruto and he could still see the Barinade preparing to fire and possibly kill the frightened princess.
Without even realizing what he was doing, Link pushed himself harder, and he ran even faster. He was going to make it; he didn’t know why or how, but he was going to make it.
He didn’t even lose his concentration when he heard the familiar sound of the Barinade’s energy shot. He simply kept focusing on his objective, which was reaching Ruto before it was too late. As he neared the frightened Zora, he could almost swear he was watching the electrical blast as it was being fired. The world was moving in slow motion in his eyes, and he was using this to his advantage. He was not going to mess this up. Ruto would be safe; he would personally see to that.
“Liiiink!” Ruto screamed one more time, just moments before he reached her.
But the Kokiri quickly realized there was no time to get Ruto out of the way. Doing so would only end up getting both of them hit by that energy blast. So there was only one thing to do. Without a second thought and still allowing that strange something to course through him, Link jumped.
The blast struck him in mid air; he felt its effects almost immediately. Electricity gushed all over his body and gave the sensation of frying all his muscles and nerve endings. Even early on he could tell he couldn’t move as the energy touched him. He screamed out a scream that seemed to last for an eternity, but all he heard was a loud fizzle as the energy crackled across his skin and gave off a smell that resembled a burnt tree after a lightning storm. To top it all off, the sensation was so painful Link nearly blacked out before hitting the ground just a short distance away from Ruto. He ended up passing out the moment he did strike the ground.
There he lay, motionless and still on his stomach, his eyes wide open and staring at nothing but the ground. Strangely, his lips were curled into an open smile, as if satisfied with what he had done…
When Ruto watched Link fall like a lifeless rag doll after taking that blast for him, she nearly died of fright. Her eyes went wide with disbelief, her mouth gaped in horror, and movement suddenly returned to her muscles.
Not even thinking about the Barinade that had just tried to kill her, Ruto ran to the boy that had just saved her from a similar fate and knelt down beside him. She grabbed his shoulders and shook them firmly while calling out his name and pleading for him to wake up. When that did nothing, Ruto reached for his head and lifted it so she could see his face clearly. When she saw what he looked like – wide, lifeless eyes, gaping mouth, and pale cheeks – she nearly broke down and cried.
“Link…no, no, no, no, no…this isn’t possible…please, don’t die on me like this…please, Link, don’t die…you can’t die…please, don’t die…”
But all her begs and pleas were unanswered as Link’s frozen body remained the same. She couldn’t even detect breathing from the Kokiri’s mouth. Ruto didn’t know what to think. The boy she had mistreated and molested had done something she never expected he would do: he offered his life to save her own. She had done nothing for him, and yet he had offered the ultimate sacrifice. It was a painful irony that she was going to have to live with for the rest of her life…
“Link…no…” Ruto bawled before the tears started to fall from her eyes. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to be mean to you…I swear to the Three Goddesses, I’m sorry…forgive me, I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”
She muttered pleas of forgiveness pleas for forgiveness for several moments before she finally opened her eyes to face one more time the person who had given up his life to save her…
…and she was just in time to see him blink!
Link didn’t move his body when he managed to regain his sight; instead he moved his eyes so he could see what was going on around him. For some reason, he had felt drops of water splash onto his face, as if someone were crying over him. They were too big to be Navi’s tears, and Barinade definitely didn’t cry, so it could only be one person, the last person he expected to cry over him…
“Princess Ruto?” he managed to mumble weakly.
“Link…? You’re alive…?” the princess uttered back. “You’re really alive?”
“Barely, but yes,” the Kokiri stated. “I’m feeling a little sore, but at least it didn’t kill me. Are you okay? Are you hurt in any way?”
Link expected Ruto to suddenly regain her proud persona and snuff his worries as wasted energy, but instead Ruto remained speechless for a moment before smiling and answering, “Yes, I’m all right…all thanks to you.”
“All thanks to me, huh?” Link thought smugly. “I never thought I’d hear that from you.”
The two then stayed silent for a brief second before Ruto started speaking. “Link, I…I wanted to say…that is, I wanted to say that…well, I…”
“Wait a minute!” Link interjected. “The Barinade! Where’s the Barinade?”
Ruto jerked her head back; she had obviously forgotten about the monster that hade nearly killed her. His heart racing, Link turned his head in the direction of the beast. Was it preparing to fire another shot at the two of them…? Come to think of it, why hadn’t it fired another blast by now? He wasn’t moving, and neither was Princess Ruto, so…
He immediately saw why. Instead of the beast preparing to fire its tentacles, something else was going on. One of the gelatinous blobs he had seen on the Barinade’s lower body was…floating directly towards them, connected to the creature by what appeared to be an arm of pure electrical energy. The blob looked so familiar, like something he had seen just a short time ago, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was, so he asked Ruto.
“The Barinade is reaching to grab you,” she explained as she remained absolutely still. “It probably thinks you’re dead or immobile enough for it to grab you. That thing is actually a harmless type of Bari without the deadly tentacles; its soul purpose is to grab powerless prey and drag it back to the Barinade where the Barinade will eat it.”
He didn’t know why, but a sly smile grew on Link’s lips. “Powerless, huh? Well, I think I’ll prove otherwise.”
The Bari was very close to Link and Ruto, within arm’s length, when Link made this decision. Somehow, despite being shocked unconscious, he still had a lot of strength surging through his muscles. He wasn’t prepared to let a colorless blob carry him like a dead animal to the Barinade so he could be eaten; he was going to show this creature he was still alive and kicking.
Just as the Bari prepared to hover over Link and use small, feathery tentacles to grab him, Link reached for his sword behind his back and swung it hard. The blade sliced through the gelatinous glob like a carnivorous bird’s talons tearing through its food. Ruto tried to stop Link from doing this, but it was already too late. The Bari didn’t even have time to react; it simply allowed a milky sap to gush from its enormous wound before falling to the ground with a sickening plop.
But Link didn’t have time to feel proud of himself. As the Bari hit the ground, the electrical arm connecting it to the Barinade hissed out of existence, and the Barinade responded to this sudden and unexpected event by throbbing faster and aiming the closest purple tentacle in Link’s direction.
“Nooo!” Ruto cried before a stream of energy was fired from the tentacle directly at the two. “Nooo!”
When Link cried that one word in his mind, he felt it surge through his body once more. But it felt strange again, different to the other times he had experienced it, and this time he felt in full control of it. The moment the blast was fired, Link stood up using the strength swelling through him and held out his arms. He then channeled it into his hands and caused that something to spread out in all directions, like the wings of a mighty bird riding the winds.
When he did this, he met the blast of energy head on. The blast should’ve struck him and knocked him out again…but it didn’t. Instead, it struck that something with a loud crack and sputtered out of existence, as if it had struck a wall placed directly between Link and the Barinade. There was no wall or anything of the kind to be seen, and yet something was there, protecting the Kokiri and the princess from the attack of the Barinade.
“Not this time, you overgrown bloodsucker,” Link taunted softly. “You’re not getting me or Ruto, not when I have the power of…of Nayru’s Love!”
But Link immediately recognized a flaw in the strange ability he had unexpectedly named Naryu’s Love. The invisible “shield” did protect him from Barinade’s attack, but the attack had weakened the shield considerably; it probably wouldn’t effectively block the electrical shot a second time. He would have to “recreate” the shield again, and that would take more of the something that allowed him to do such a thing. Recreating the shield countless times would drain his strength, leaving him vulnerable yet again.
He had to find a way to defeat this creature before that happened…
The familiar voice of Navi echoed in his mind several times before the fairy appeared in front of his face from seemingly nowhere. Her intense flickering and twinkling demonstrated how excited she was.
“Navi! Where have you been…?”
“Link, I think I know of a way to stop this thing!”
The Kokiri immediately stopped talking and allowed the fairy to continue.
“Those three pieces of tissue connecting the creature to the ceiling…I noticed every time that monster fires one of its blasts, those things throb uncontrollably, as if drawing needed energy from somewhere. They’re probably the source of those energy attacks. If you could somehow sever those things, you might be able to defeat it somehow.”
Sever those three pieces of tissue? Link didn’t know whether to thank Navi or call her completely insane. The idea did seem like a good one, but how in all of Hyrule was he going to even get near them? His bombs weren’t in good enough condition, he had no usable ammo for his slingshot, and his sword was completely out of the question. He had no weapon capable of reach those things…
No, wait! He did have a weapon capable of reaching those things! He didn’t move his hands to make sure the boomerang was still on his belt; he could feel its ends dig into his side with its sharp blade threatening to cut his clothing. If he could throw that thing just right, the blade might…
“Thanks for the tip, Navi. I think I know of a way to do just that.”
“Great! Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask how you managed to survive an electrical shock like that, and I’d also like to know how you managed to stop on of those blasts!”
“Well, first I’d like to know where you were while I was being electrocuted…”
Ruto screamed when another one of Barinade’s electrical attacks struck the distracted Kokiri and sent him flying backwards. He struck the wall with a soft thud and landed on the ground a split second later. Ruto rushed to the struck Link, expecting to find him unconscious again. But to her surprise, she found him groaning in slight pain and grinding his teeth together to ease it.
“Link, are you okay…?” Ruto started before Link held up a hand.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” he managed through his teeth. “Nayru’s Love managed to take the full brunt of that shot…but boy, it still hurts. I’ve got to be more careful…ouch, that really hurt…”
“Nayru’s Love? What are you talking about…?”
“Link! Link! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Navi,” the Kokiri answered as the fairy fluttered over his right shoulder. “I’m fine. But there’s something you can do for me. Stay with Princess Ruto and make sure she doesn’t move. I don’t want that thing to see her before I’ve taken care of its energy source.”
“So you know of a way to sever those tentacles?” Navi asked as if already knowing the answer. Link replied with just a nod. “Then I’ll take care of her for you. You have my word.”
“Thank you, my friend” Link said with a smile before turning his attention to Princess Ruto, who appeared confused and scared at the same time. “Princess, I’m going to go face this thing and finish it off. Promise me you’ll try not to move; I don’t feel like taking one of those blasts for you again. Okay?”
“But Link, I don’t want you to get hurt…”
“Please, Ruto, Trust me.”
When Ruto heard Link give that simple request, her eyes locked with his. She had never noticed how deeply blue they were, almost as deep as her own. But these eyes possessed something she had once sworn she’d never show to anyone: compassion and kindness. What she saw in Link’s eyes she wanted to hide away forever inside her, but this boy was revealing them to her without a second thought.
Maybe all her beliefs and ideas weren’t justified. Maybe what she believed a princess should be was completely inaccurate. Maybe…she had been – dare she say it or even think it? Yes – wrong! Maybe she had been wrong…
The smile she beamed was a weak one, and yet she felt so many raw emotions flowing through it she knew it was something she hadn’t experienced in a long time. She couldn’t see them, but she knew her eyes were also flooding with those same emotions; any moment now they would be expressed as tears. But she couldn’t cry now. She had to give this brave, young, handsome boy her blessing…
“All right, Link. You may go. Just be careful…”
It was then Ruto started to wonder why she had never noticed before how handsome Link was …
“Thank you, Princess Ruto,” Link uttered with a bob of his head before he stood up, ignoring the pain delivered by the last blast, and turned to face the Barinade. The next sentence was spoken more to himself than to Ruto and Navi. “It’s time to end this.”
As Link stepped forward to confront the creature, the first thing he noticed was that instead of readying another attack, the Barinade was reaching with one of its Bari again; it most likely thought that Link had been knocked out by that last blast. This only confirmed his suspicion that the Barinade really was stupid. If it had any kind of brain in that blubbery skeleton, it was either severely underdeveloped or underused. Either way, Link’s chances of success just shot up a notch; he could feel confidence replace his fatigue almost immediately.
Deciding not to wait for the Barinade to realize that its prey wasn’t immobilized, Link reached for the boomerang and yanked it out with his right hand. He then held it parallel to the ground; if the blade was going to cut those tissue tentacles, then it had to be positioned right. He just hoped he could throw the stick just right; he needed three good, clear shots, and his first shot would undoubtedly alert the Barinade.
“Make it count,” he thought to himself. “Just make it count.”
Taking a deep breath and whispering a silent prayer, Link wound back his arm and then, with a brief yet loud grunt, threw the boomerang as fast as he could in the direction of the nearest piece of tissue.
The weapon seemed to whistle as it sailed through the air like a spinning insect with its quarry in sight. It seemed to curve as it flew, but Link knew that was ridiculous; why would a thrown stick suddenly change direction? He just hoped it would hit, hoped it would sever the source of the creature’s power…
The throw was dead on. Like hungry teeth tearing through a piece of bread, the boomerang sliced through the first tentacle as if it were nothing. The piece of the tentacle still connected to the ceiling hung there for a brief second before falling to the ground like a dead leaf falling from a lifeless tree. The part attached to the Barinade drooped across the creature’s nerve center like a piece of dead skin, allowing a vile green substance to drip out slowly, and the Barinade itself bulged and contracted in pain. Link was also sure he could hear a soft thunder that resembled the scream of a dying animal.
It didn’t take long for the Barinade to realize that Link was still alive. It positioned its attack tentacles for another round of shots, but Link was ready. The creature was too stupid to do anything but shoot aimlessly, and all he had to do was outrun them until he found the boomerang and threw it again…
Just then, he noticed something heading straight for him. To his complete amazement, it was the boomerang, still spinning wildly but in his direction! How was this possible? How could a stick just turn around and return to him? Without thinking, Link waited until the boomerang reached him before he held out his hand and caught it. He then stared at it in astonishment, unable to believe what it had just done…
But his thoughts were shattered when he heard the familiar blast of Barinade’s attack. His concentration on the boomerang’s ability had distracted him long enough for the creature to take a decent shot! He was a sitting target…
No! He was not! He summoned it, and felt it surge through him like a monstrous flood. But it wasn’t Nayru’s Love; summoning that too many times might weaken him. No, instead he summoned the other…ability he had performed that day. The ability to move like the wind, the ability he couldn’t help but name…Farore’s Wind!
The power flowed within the span of a heartbeat, and Link then ran. He didn’t wait to see how close the Barinade’s attack had come to hitting him; he simply concentrated on how he was going to defeat this monster once and for all. Even though the world passed him by rapidly, he could still make out the two remaining tentacles that had to be destroyed in order to cut Barinade from his power supply.
While still running, Link readied his boomerang and, with a great jump into the air, threw it at the nearest of the remaining piece of tissue. Because he was possessed by Farore’s Wind, he could see every spin the boomerang made, every vortex of air it created as it sailed through the air like a deadly bird. He could even distinguish exactly how the boomerang’s sharp blade carved through the second tentacle with the greatest of ease and how the beast’s green blood oozed from the wound like the sticky black blood of the Lizalfos. Link could hear the Barinade “scream” again, but he ignored it. He simply watched as the boomerang did the impossible: curve around like an in-flight beast riding the air currents and head back towards him.
“So, this is the boomerang’s true weapon,” Link thought as he ran to meet the trajectory of the boomerang. “Not the blade, but its ability to return and be used once more.”
He paused running momentarily only to catch the boomerang, and then summoned Farore’s Wind again before the Barinade had a chance to get off another shot.
As he ran, Link felt excitement within him grew. For some reason, fighting was getting more and more natural. And with these abilities that he didn’t question but openly accepting, fighting was even easier for him. He didn’t know why, but he was really enjoying this. Combat was growing to be a part of his life, and he was welcoming it with open arms.
He wasn’t even ashamed of it anymore.
Now there was only one more tentacle, and he had it in his sights. He ran for only a short distance before he stopped and readied his boomerang. The Barinade immediately saw its fast prey and prepared to aim the closest firing tentacle. But Link was not afraid; in fact, he was having the time of his life.
“I’m feeling lucky, you monster!” Link boomed loudly. “How about you?”
With that, he threw his boomerang at the third tentacle. At the same instant, the Barinade fired. Although two tentacles had been severed, this blast appeared to be more powerful than another other before it, as if the Barinade had somehow grown desperate. Link, in his heated excitement, only noticed this when the shot was almost right on top of him.
There was a blinding flash of light when the blast of electricity found its target…
“Any idea what’s going on, doctor?”
The Zora doctor ignored Lizel’s question for a moment as he continued to watch Lord Jabu-Jabu. The great deity seemed to be squirming awkwardly, as if a terrible battle were being waged within him. The doctor had never seen anything like this; either the god truly was dying, or he was fighting off the threat with unimagined resolve. Whatever was going on, he didn’t like it one bit.
“I’m not sure, Lizel,” the doctor answered. “Lord Jabu-Jabu still looks as sick as ever, but this behavior is beyond my knowledge. I can only imagine that Lord Jabu-Jabu has created some kind of holy medicine to cure him. Still, we can’t be too careful. We must summon King Zora here and warn him of Lord Jabu-Jabu’s possible death.”
“I’ll do that right away,” Lizel said before turning around and heading to the throne room.
The doctor remained, puzzled and curious as to what was going on. “Could there really be some new kind of medicine that is attempting to cure you, o Lord Jabu-Jabu?” he asked the fish god, who looked really uncomfortable at the moment. “And if there is…is it enough…?”
Ruto didn’t know what to think after the Barinade’s last attack. The light had been so bright she still couldn’t see well enough to make what had happened. She could faintly make out the Barinade’s enormous, plump shape, but that was about it. She couldn’t see Link at all. Had he really been…?
“Navi, do you see Link?” she asked the fairy.
“Just a minute,” the fairy urged. “That flash was so bright even I can’t see that well. But no, I can’t see him right now…”
No. This couldn’t be. Link had appeared to have everything under control. He had even severed two of the three feeding tentacles and had prepared to cut the final one. He looked so confident, so determined, and so passionate about finishing the Barinade off. How could things end this way? How could the Barinade win after…?
Just then, Ruto saw something as her eyes readjusted. She could barely make out a small figure standing to the right of the Barinade, short compared to the monster yet tall and erect, nevertheless. When she was able to focus her eyesight, she nearly jumped for joy against Link’s request.
There, standing like a soldier with his arms outstretched, was Link. His face was filled with undeniable triumph and in his right hand he held the boomerang he had used to cut the first two tentacles. He was staring at the Barinade with a mocking facade and he even seemed to be challenging the creature for another try.
But had Link done it? Had he managed to actually use the boomerang to…?
Yes! He had done it! She didn’t know how, but Link had done it! The third tentacle was no longer attached to the ceiling; it had been completely severed. The Barinade was now a harmless parasite that would die within a short time; without its feeding tentacles it couldn’t live.
She had to let Link know; he would surely be glad he didn’t have to do anymore fighting. In giddy excitement she waved to the Kokiri and called out at the top of her voice, “Good job, Link! The Barinade it harmless now! It can’t do anything anymore! It’ll die within a few hours, and…Link? Link, are you listening? Link, what’s wrong? Link!”
For some reason, Ruto had a bad feeling…
Link stood still for a long moment, holding the boomerang high in a direct mockery of the Barinade. The creature was still trying to use its firing tentacles to shoot its deadly energy blasts, but all its efforts were in vain. Without its power source, it couldn’t do anything to Link.
But he could still do a lot to the Barinade!
He thought he heard Ruto calling out to him, but he ignored her. He wanted to do something to this creature, something it rightly deserved. Smiling slyly, he lowered the Nayru’s Love he had used to block the Barinade’s desperate attack at the last minute. That summoning certainly had taken quite a bit of energy from him, but he still had plenty to spare.
So, what was he going to do to this pathetic creature? What was he going to do…?
Just then, Link’s eyes fell upon a familiar object lying at the base of the Barinade. It was the bomb he had thrown, the one whose fuse had fizzled before it reached the explosive seeds. And idea suddenly came to Link. He remembered something he had done back at the Dodongo’s Cavern, when he was battling the gigantic King Dodongo. It involved both a bomb and another strange ability he had performed.
Funny thing was, now that he could perform both Nayru’s Love and Farore’s Wind like second nature, he could also recall how to perform that first ability. He smiled wickedly, because it was a perfect way to punish this wretched creature. He even knew what to call this ability.
“Barinade!” Link called out. “I would like to introduce you to…Din’s Fire!”
With those words, Link held up his hand and, like before, sent a powerful stream of fire from his hand and directly towards the bomb he had thrown. Like before, the flames licked the bomb for a brief moment before it suddenly exploded with a deafening crash and blinding radiance.
Actually, the explosion of this bomb wasn’t as powerful as the one given off by the raw and unrefined Bomb Flower; the Gorons had probably done that on purpose. But that didn’t matter to Link. When the blast settled down, he marveled at the bomb’s handiwork. The bomb had done quite a bit of extensive damage to the Barinade by gouging the creature’s side, making an uneven crater in the beast. Pieces of pink blubber hung all over the place, and green ooze flowed across the wound like a natural waterfall. Other juices dripped like thick rain, and the smell of fresh blood danced throughout the chamber. The Barinade itself throbbed in intense pain; it even seemed to be crying, as if knowing it couldn’t do anything to save itself.
But Link didn’t care. The Barinade deserved this, and he was going to make sure it knew that.
“So, you don’t like fire, do you?” Link laughed as he drew his sword. “Well, I got something for you right here!”
Then, Link concentrated on his sword and summoned the something that created Din’s Fire. He focused it on his sword in a way suggesting he had always known how to do this, and within a matter of moments he accomplished what he wanted. With a loud breath of air that sounded like an out-of-control wind, the blade of the sword ignited, covered in flames like a deadly red tongue.
Satisfied, Link grabbed his sword in both hands and cried to the dying Barinade, “You want to eat me? Do you? Well, here’s something you can chew on! I hope you choke on it!”
Then, releasing a loud and raucous cry, Link charged, waving the sword above his head like a red flag that signaled the beginning of the end. As he reached the Barinade, Link brought his sword down and plunged its blade deep into the soft pink flesh of the Barinade’s enormous wound. Using all his strength, Link made sure he pushed the blade all the way in. He wanted the Barinade to want to die before it really died.
When the blade sank all the way into the flesh, Link…“pushed” the something that summoned Din’s Fire, pushed it into the Barinade. He forced Din’s Fire to flow within the monster, to course throughout its entire body. He wanted to let it suffer, and pouring the flames of the gods into its entire body would more than suffice. Almost instantly he could feel the effects; the Barinade was growing warmer, and the beast would die any moment now.
Who knows? It might burst from all the heat! Won’t that be something!
“Die, you pathetic creature!” Link screamed. “Die, die, die, die, diiiiiieeee!”
“Link! Stop it! Link! What are you doing? Link!”
Link blinked, and immediately something in his mind snapped back into place.
“No…it can’t be…”
The Kokiri quickly yanked the sword from the Barinade’s flesh and looked at it. The fire that had once surrounded its blade was gone, replaced by the thick, gummy, green blood of the creature he had just sworn he would kill. But even though the substance was green, it reminded him of another time that a syrupy, sticky was found on his sword like this. The only difference was…it was black…
“No…not again…” Link whispered as he felt his heart race in fright. “Not again…by the Three Goddesses, not again…”
How could he let this happen again? He thought if Navi were with him, he wouldn’t lapse into such a state…but she hadn’t been with him, had she? She had been with Ruto; she couldn’t have done anything. Her sudden plea was what had awoken him, was what had prevented him from pushing himself to the edge of his insane fit.
He couldn’t believe it. He had lost control again…and it was much worse this time. There was no denying it; had Navi not stopped him, he would’ve…would’ve…
Link didn’t have time to even think of what he would’ve done when, like before, he fainted. It was more out of exhaustion than anything else, but the shock over his actions made a respectable contribution. As the world blacked out, he thought he heard two distinct voices call his name. He also felt his fingers loosen and let go of his sword.
Maybe, just maybe, if the Three Goddesses were just and fair, they would let him fall on it…