Monday, August 16, 2010

Chapter 4: Duel within a Heart

"Here it is."

Saria affirmed her soft statement of discovery as she pulled from the pouch on the table Link’s ocarina. She didn’t feel too comfortable going through his things in his home, but she felt she had to. It was the only way she could feel absolutely certain of what she wanted to do later.

As she held the ocarina in her hands, Katl encircled her temple, his wings buzzing vibrantly. "Okay, now that we’ve found it, can you please explain to me why we’re taking it? After that speech of why he should continue playing it I don’t know why you’re…"

"He’s leaving," Saria suddenly exclaimed without looking at her fairy.

Katl stopped abruptly in the air. "Leaving? What are you talking about? You haven’t made sense at all today. First you say some bizarre remark about destiny, and now you say that he’s leaving. By Farore’s Wind, what are you talking about?"

"I’m not sure I know myself," Saria answered as she slipped the ocarina into her own pouch. "All I know is that something is telling me destiny is tearing us apart, and I can’t argue with destiny."

"Maybe, but…"

"Enough," Saria interrupted. "I need to go fetch something back at the house. Hopefully I can catch Link before he leaves."

"If he leaves, which will be never…hey, wait up!" Katl, annoyed, brightened his glow as he struggled to keep up with Saria, who had disappeared onto Link’s balcony…


Din’s Eye was beginning its slow descent beyond the horizon, but the encampment outside the Lost Woods hardly noticed as it struggled to get ready for departure. Despite the fact that they were going to travel at night, nobody questioned anything but instead tried to stay on task. Failure could mean anything, they knew, and they hoped not to find out.

The one who oversaw the dismantling of the camp smiled a wicked grin. He didn’t help, of course, but why would he? They obeyed him and only him, so why should he do any menial work that didn’t matter to him in the least?

But his mind wasn’t on the disassembling of the encampment. Instead, it was on what he had done earlier that day. He had hoped it wouldn’t be too troublesome, but he wasn’t that fortunate and he had to take extreme measures in order to set in motion the events in his favor.

"Worn-out fool," he thought as he took a sip of wine in a gauntlet he held in his hand. The liquid was bitter, just the way he liked it. "You thought your precious magic could save you from my power. When I return, you shall be nothing more than a large heap of firewood. Your Stone is mine."

He then laughed softly yet nefariously, spilling some of the wine onto the soil-plush ground. When he noticed the splash, he ordered someone to lick it up. He didn’t want any visible traces of his visit left…


"Come on, Saria, let’s go pick some berries…ouch…"

As Link struggled to open his eyes, he didn’t notice the words he spoke and their obvious randomness. His vision was blurred, but he could see enough to make out his surroundings…wait a minute, he could see? Suddenly realizing that he had fallen through the dark hole inside the Deku Tree, Link made an effort to stand up, but his muscles felt stiff and sore. Even so, he managed to get a good look at his new environment.

He had apparently fallen inside a great cave, a grotto of dirt underneath the Great Deku Tree. Looking in every direction couldn’t yield any estimate of the cavern’s size. Surrounding and even protruding through the cavern were enormous roots, searching the surrounding soil for nutrients. As Link labored to stand, he thought of the Deku Tree’s battle to sustain its life while Link broke the curse.

One thing about the roots that Link notices was that they were glowing! The light they emitted wasn’t anything spectacular or breathtaking, but it was bright and strong enough to illumine the large cavern. This explained why Link could see in the "dark" cave. Why they were glowing he didn’t know, but he guessed it was because the Deku Tree’s energy was attracting nutrients through magic…

Just then, Link heard a soft sound behind him. His vision still hazy, he turned his stiff body around to look. He squinted hard and managed to make out…a bright, pink light heading towards him.

"Navi…!" Link began to yell when something completely unexpected happened. The pink light changed into a dark red! "Navi? What…!"

Quick as a flash, as if his stiff muscles hadn’t existed, Link reached behind for his shield and, in a surprisingly smooth and swift movement, brought it around to defend himself. He was just in time to feel the owner of the red light push all of its weight against his shield, trying to push him over. The thing succeeded, but Link quickly did a maneuver he had done several times when Mido tried to beat him up: he trust the thing with all his might over his head.

Without wasting time, Link stood up and turned around to face the thing that had attacked him. His vision had by now grown accustomed to the faint light and he saw what it was. He nearly reared back in fright.

The creature was nothing he had seen before. Its height reached the size of his waist, but it was obviously stronger than it appeared. It appeared to possess three body sections, two appendage limbs and a round main segment. The two appendage limbs boasted a pair of legs as scrawny and scaly as a bird’s. The main body was horribly disfigured and held a single, enormous red eye. Underneath its main section poked several incisors that obviously led to a hungry mouth awaiting flesh.

Link’s flesh.

Link tried reaching for his sword, but found it missing from its scabbard. Remembering his fall, he looked around frantically for it, but was forced to look back at the beast when it gave a weak yet commanding shriek before it charged. A tuft of green bone upon its "head" bobbed and swayed as it balanced its charge.

Link raised his shield again, and managed to hold steady as the creature performed an impossible leap toward him. It again landed on the shield, allowing Link to throw it to the side. It landed on the ground with a thud, but Link doubted that his defense would work again. He needed his sword if he was going to…

"Link! Over here!"

Navi’s familiar voice caused Link to turn around, and he found the fairy hovering just a few feet away…hovering underneath his sword! But before he could say anything, the creature’s shriek reminded Link of its existence. Realizing he had one chance, he made a dash for the blade, dropping his shield.

He reached the blade quickly enough and picked it up, not even looking at Navi as he did so. He then turned around to face the creature…and nearly jumped when he saw it close enough to make another leap at him! The beast let out yet another scream when it launched itself, its mouth wide open to bite its prey. Link, in fright, slipped on the ground as he lifted his sword in defense…

When he finally managed to open his eyes, he wished he hadn’t. When he had closed them, he felt the creature throw its entire weight against him before landing on him. He thought it was going to start devouring him alive, but for some reason it didn’t. He discovered why. His blade was wedged into the monster’s eye socket, leaving a pussy mess where the red eye once stood.

With his stomach churning uncomfortably, Link was forced to remove his jammed blade by shoving the creature away with his foot. As he stood up, he tried wiping the pus off his clothing and blade, but it was too sticky for him to make any difference.

"Link!" Navi cried as she flew in front of his face. "Are you okay?"

"I’m okay," Link answered. "Just a little surprised." He then pointed with his sword at the bloody corpse. "Navi, what in Din’s name is that thing?"

"I have no idea," Navi answered, a hint of shame in her voice. "I honestly don’t know. But Link, are you sure you’re okay? I thought you were done for when you…"

"I’m fine, Navi, really." Link then gave the carcass a final disgusted look before he went to retrieve his dropped shield. When it was on his back and his sword in its sheath, he continued, "Do you think there are more of these things around?"

"Maybe. But I don’t think it’s responsible for the Great Deku Tree’s hollowness. It’s too small to make those enormous bite marks we saw. What we’re looking for is much bigger."

"Bigger. What a fun thought!" Link tried not to turn pale at the thought. At least he now knew what made those sticky strands of web. These creatures must use them to catch live prey until they could…develop into whatever was destroying the Great Deku Tree…

"Any idea where we can start looking?" Link asked.

"Well, we can try heading that way." Navi pointed as best she could towards a section of the cavern blocked by some of the Deku Tree’s roots. "From the way those roots are bent, something must’ve passed through there recently. Let’s try there."

"Why not?"

Gathering up his courage but keeping his reflexes ready to draw his sword, Link headed towards the indicated direction, with Navi following closely behind.


She easily pushed down the great roots that were in its way. She would’ve ordinarily eaten them, but she didn’t require any nourishment at the moment. She would attend to that matter soon enough. Then she would have enough stored energy to begin nesting again.

A sudden, faint odor aroused her. It smelled of dead flesh, yet it mingled with the smell of one of her young, the only live one that she had at the moment. Excited, she changed her direction towards the odor and headed towards it, believing her young to be feasting upon the carcass of a recently killed creature.

But it was nothing of the sort. When she arrived near the burrow she had created after gourmandizing upon the mighty tree’s trunk, she found something she completely didn’t expect. Her young was dead, lying in a pool of its own blood dripping from its torn eye. The carcass occasionally twitched a leg, but it was undoubtedly gone.

The excitement was replaced by anger. How dare something kill her young! How dare someone slaughter her precious offspring and leave it to lie in its own fluids. She wasn’t going to allow that to go unpunished. Never!

Completely enraged, she sniffed the surrounding air, searching for traces of whatever had killed her young. When she found these traces, she followed after them, determined to find whoever had committed the crime. She may prefer the delicious taste of woodland, but she could eat flesh if she wanted to.

And she wanted to!


The two wandered through the maze of roots for what seemed like forever before they finally emerged in a "clearing" of some sort in the cavern. It would’ve been any ordinary clearing, but Link and Navi noticed that the floor had been trampled recently and very frequently by something enormous.

This was definitely the place or at least a place…

As Link cautiously stepped into the clearing, Navi scouted ahead for anything dangerous. She returned with an all clear. The further he entered the seemingly forbidden domain, the more he felt he was violating something that could very well retaliate against him. He didn’t want to find out what that was, but if he was to save the Great Deku Tree he had to…

Just then, Link noticed something on one of the smaller roots surrounding the clearing. Curious, he treaded towards and gave it a closer look. To his surprise, it was something he thought he’d never ever see.

A slingshot.

Slingshots were once common playthings long ago in Kokiri Village, but that all changed when one accidentally fired a shot that blinding a Kokiri in an eye. After the incident, the Great Deku Tree banned the playful weapons indefinitely. Link wasn’t around when the ban was issued, but every Kokiri know about it. How a slingshot found its way in the Deku Tree’s root system was a mystery, but Link decided not to contemplate on the matter.

Without thinking, Link grabbed the imbedded slingshot, yanked it from the roots, and slipped it underneath his belt.

"Hey, Navi!" Link called out. "Do you see anything…?"

Before Link could continue, a chilling sound echoed throughout the cavern. Link immediately remembered the weak cry from the strange creature he had killed earlier, but this was a different sound. It may have sounded the same, but it was undoubtedly a lot stronger. It wasn’t a cry; it was a roar.

And the owner sounded very, very angry.

Navi, who was on the other side of the clearing, hovered and began glowing a nervous light. "L…L…Link! Something’s coming!"

"I know!" Link cried back as he reached for his shield and sword. The sticky goo of the creature still covered the blade, but that was the least of his worries. Moments after drawing his weapon, loud, rhythmic thuds followed. The resounding footsteps grew in intensity and shortened in duration as whatever made them approached closer and closer…

Then it came. With a loud crash, a gigantic thing jumped over the surrounding roots and into the clearing. The creature was much larger than the previous beast, towering to a height over twice Link’s size. Instead of thin-like bird legs, its appendages were enormous, armored claws. The main part of its body was covered with a thick shell that possessed a pair of small yet deadly pincers over its shoulders. Underneath its body dangled a deformed and sickening pulp of skin that probably served some purpose.

Like the smaller creature, it possessed a deep red eye and a mouth filled with sword-like teeth. But with this larger beast, the red eye glared with a deep hatred and the mouth snapped loudly not because of hunger but because of spite.

"Navi!" Link cried, but that was all he could say before the beast bellowed another roar and charged straight at Link, its jaws clapping for Link’s flesh. Link, realizing that waving his sword would be a useless gesture, held up his shield to stop the oncoming attack. The beast struck the shield with full force, but the blow sent Link flying across the room. He struck a large root square in the back, but he luckily didn’t lose consciousness. He managed to get back up before the beast again charged.

This time, he was ready. As the creature tried to strike him again, Link ducked and rolled right underneath the beast, touching the moist bag of skin underneath it. The beast was surprised by this sudden maneuver, and this gave Link time to think.

"Great!" he thought frantically. "Now what am I supposed to do? This thing is enormous! I can’t…"

"Link!" cried Navi’s voice suddenly, interrupting his thoughts. Link looked around to find her…and he gasped when he saw Navi hovering above beast. The fairy was playing a deadly game of tag with the beast’s pincers, which were snapping reflexively and furiously to grab her.

"Navi!" Link bellowed, drawing the beast’s attention. "Get out of there!"

"Link!" Navi cried as she continued to dodge the pincers. "Go for Gohma’s eye! It’s unprotected! The eye, Link, the eye!"

Gohma? Was that the creature’s name? How did Navi know that? But Link didn’t have time to ask before the creature, Gohma, saw Link with its spiteful red eye and charged yet again with another cry of anger. Link timed himself before he ran forward and rolled underneath Gohma yet again, this time just before she snapped at his legs with her mouth.

She obviously wasn’t stupid enough to fall for the same thing twice.

But the maneuver did force the parasite to turn around, and this bought Link the few precious seconds he needed. He looked around furiously for what he needed and found one: a small, solid rock on the floor. He picked it up and removed the slingshot from his belt, thankful that it hadn’t fallen out, although he also realized he had dropped his sword and shield.

"Please let this work!" he prayed as he positioned the rock inside the slingshot, pulled back…

…and found Gohma almost on top of him, ready to strike him down. As quick as he could, Link dove back as the giant behemoth brought her two pincers down on the ground like a pair of spikes. The pincers sent a loud crack and shudder through the ground, but not through Link. Gohma, who was now very angry, turned her eye towards the small Kokiri.

But Link was ready. Despite diving back, he kept the stone and slingshot in his hands. When the eye faced him, he pulled the rubber back and sent the rock sailing through the stale air. The pebble landed on target. A loud mashing of pus could be heard, followed by a moment of silence.

Suddenly, Gohma roared again, but this time it was a roar of pain. She waved her pincers and loose skin around in agony as she fell to the ground, her bruised eye shivering vibrantly. Her mighty armored legs now looked as sturdy as the rubber in Link’s slingshot, and her mouth trembled with shock.

Link, amazed at what he had just done, quickly remembered the situation and looked around for his dropped sword. He saw it, ran for it, and picked it up. He then walked up to the stunned parasite and looked deep into its bright eye.

"I know you haven’t done anything to me," Link said, "but I cannot allow you to destroy what is precious to me. Forgive me."

Then, with his eyes closed, Link took his sword with both hands and thrust the blade into Gohma’s eye. Although he didn’t see the act, he could feel the sword sink into the soft flesh of the eye until it reached the bone at the end. He also felt the stunned creature try desperately to escape, but it was already too late.

As Link twisted the blade further into Gohma’s eye, the beast struggled further until she finally stopped. Link, however, waited a while before he opened his eyes. The sight was even worse than the previous one. The eye had virtually exploded because of the sword, exposing a small mass inside the head cavity that must’ve been Gohma’s brain. The blade had sunk right through it.

She was dead…and so was the curse she carried.

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