I don’t like this. I don’t like being a puppet.
But are you really a puppet? Could you just be blowing all of this out of proportion?
No, that’s not possible…not after what I’ve gone through.
But is that still an excuse for how you’ve been acting? Did you really need to act so coldly towards everyone like that? Did you really need to act like a…a jerk?
Maybe I did…I had the right. I don’t need excuses after what happened to me. I have the right to make the choices that I feel are right!
Maybe so…but are the decisions that you feel are right really the choices you need to make?
That I need to make…what are you talking about?
Don’t you get it? You could end up making the wrong choice while thinking that it’s the right one, all thanks to your blind anger. Do you really want that kind of burden on your shoulders?
Do I want that kind of…of course I don’t! But don’t you think that I’m capable of making those kinds of decisions?
That single word echoed inside his mind several times. He never thought he would lose an argument with himself, but that’s exactly what happened. As he tried to think up something to counter such a direct remark, he couldn’t help but ponder the possibility that maybe, just maybe, he had been wrong all along…
But now was not the time for philosophical and moral arguments, which he had only brought up to pass the time. Only one thing really mattered at the moment, and that was finding Darunia.
Returning his thoughts to the back of his mind, Link quickly gauged his surroundings. He must’ve been walking a lot faster than he realized, because he was now standing in the entrance hall of the
, the room where he first fought a Flare Dancer and its flock of Fire Bubbles. The fires emanating from their many decorative sources across the room burned as brightly as ever, but now they all seemed to focus on a particular spot in the room, as if anticipating where Link would go next. Fire Temple
And that spot happened to be the door at the other end of the room, the room that most likely led to Volvagia.
Link continued his march across the room until he stopped about halfway towards the door. He didn’t know why he stopped, but he couldn’t help but suspect it had something to do with his conflicting emotions. Here he was, about to finally get the chance to slay the dragon, but only after he did what he was fervently against doing: saving the Gorons. He didn’t want to admit that Sheik may have been right, but there didn’t seem to be any alternative.
His eyes gazed sternly at the portal, his brow wrinkling deep in thought. Normally his breath would quicken and his heart would race, but instead he simply strengthened his grip on the Megaton Hammer in his hands. He could heard himself telling himself to remain calm, even though he already felt very relaxed. Maybe this was the calm before the storm, the storm he knew he was about to walk straight into…
“Yes…ready when you are,” a soft voice uttered from beneath his hat.
Nodding gently, Link took a deep breath. “Right, then. Let’s go slay a dragon.”
Holding his breath for the first couple steps, Link shuffled his way towards the door. Upon reaching the entry, the Hero of Time hesitated for only a moment before he reached out with one hand and grabbed the door handle firmly. With a quick motion of his wrist, he unlocked the door and gently yanked it open. The loud creak of the hinges that followed rattled in his brain like a bad dream trying in vain to discourage him.
For some reason, Link half-expected Volvagia to be waiting for him on the other side of the door, but instead he found himself standing before a long, dark passageway that seemed to lead deep into the mountain. The volcanic light in the main hall only illuminated a small portion of the tunnel before the rest was cloaked in darkness – there were no sources of light to be seen anywhere within the passage.
Deciding action would be better than a self-narrated assurance, Link began marching his way slowly yet firmly down the tunnel. The volcanic light behind him grew dimmer and dimmer with each step until he finally turned a corner and the light disappeared completely, leaving the Hero of Time in the dark.
Using one of his hands to guide him along the walls of the tunnel, Link pressed on. It didn’t take him long before he realized that the tunnel was sloping downwards and curving around, most likely twisting towards the base of
’s crater. As he continued on, a thought crossed his mind: wouldn’t Navi’s fairy light be useful here to guide him down the passage? Of course, maybe he should only call her when he really needed her… Death Mountain
Then again…after the way he treated her, maybe at the moment she needed him more than he needed her …
“Um…Navi?” Link said as he came to a stop.
“Could you…come out here, please?” Link then attempted a half-hearted chuckle. “I can’t see a bloody thing in this darkness. I could really use your help.”
It took a moment before Navi finally emerged from Link’s hat, almost as if she was reluctant to grant Link’s request. She fluttered around Link’s head a couple times, seemingly making sure of something, before her pinkish glow suddenly seemed to explode with vigor.
“Well, why didn’t you call me out here sooner, you numbskull? Where will you be without me?”
The fairy then dashed a little bit in front of Link, using her wings to motion Link on. “Come on, we don’t have all day, now do we?”
Link couldn’t help but smile a little inside, because despite Navi’s abrupt firm attitude, he could detect a hint of softness, almost relief in her voice. Nodding, the Hero of Time continued moving again.
With Navi’s light guiding him, Link could now navigate the tunnel without using his hand. However, that didn’t mean there was anything interesting to see; in fact, the tunnel was downright boring, the only monotony-breaking moments coming whenever the tunnel would bend slightly differently or slope downward a little bit more. Nevertheless, Link managed to ignore this tedium and instead focus on possible strategies on defeating Volvagia.
Sure, he had the Megaton Hammer in his possession, but did that mean he was actually going to use it? Did he really need to use the mythical weapon of the Goron race, or would the Master Sword more than suffice? He wouldn’t know until he was standing face to face with the dragon, so…
“Link…there’s something up ahead!” Navi’s shrill voice suddenly cried.
The Hero of Time skidded to a halt. “Something up ahead? What?”
“I…don’t know, but it looks alive. It’s just lying there in the tunnel, and it…by the Three Goddesses, it’s Darunia!”
Despite being unable to see that far into the gloominess, Link sprinted forward without thinking. Navi, however, anticipated Link’s actions and fluttered at a faster pace, illuminating the way for the Hylian. It didn’t take long before the fairy came to rest and hovered above a large, almost motionless yet familiar mass leaning against one of the walls of the tunnel. Even in the fay’s dim light Link could see blood escaping from nasty-looking wounds, and the look in the Goron’s eyes suggested the pain was beyond excruciating.
“Darunia!” Link called out as he rushed to the Goron’s side, kneeling next to him upon reaching him. “Are you all right? What happened?”
Up close, Link realized that Darunia’s bleeding wasn’t coming from wounds inflicted by claws or teeth; rather, they were coming from some of the deepest burn marks Link had ever seen. One of the Goron’s arms had been completely singed to the bone marrow, and the other arm’s hand was drenched in his blood from attempts to stop the bleeding all over. One of Link’s hands inadvertently touched a patch of burnt skin, and Darunia immediately winced in pain.
“Sorry…” Link apologized. “Are you okay, Darunia?”
The Goron took several deep breaths to subdue the pain before he managed a response. “I would…love to say that…yes, I am okay…but alas…as you can see, my…my arm is telling me otherwise.”
“How did this happen?” Link asked, concerned. “Was it Volvagia?”
“Yes…” Darunia grunted as he moved his hand to cover another bloody patch of his scalded skin. “The dragon awoke from its slumber as I was…sealing off the…only possible…exit and… he noticed me. He managed…to hit me with…one of his breaths of fire…before I ducked back inside…here.”
Link’s ears pricked at a few key words. “Wait…so you managed to seal up Volvagia?”
Darunia nodded, even though the movement caused his arm to flare up. “I did…and I’m thankful I was able…to do that much. I made sure…he won’t be getting out…of that place…anytime soon.”
Link’s face grew serious as he smiled. “Fantastic, Darunia. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
Darunia turned to look at Link and managed a weak smile of his own. “You’re…welcome, my…Brother…” His eyes then wandered down slightly, catching sight of the object gripped firmly in one of Link’s hands. The Goron’s mouth gaped wide open in disbelief as he recognized the object. “By Din’s Fire…the Megaton Hammer…”
Link suddenly remembered the hammer and glanced down at the tool, nodding his head to confirm Darunia’s statement. “That’s right. It helped me out quite a bit with those pesky Flare Dancers while rescuing your people.”
Darunia’s eyes lit up instantly. “My people…you’ve saved them?”
With the best smile he could muster at that moment, Link replied, “I did. Your people are safe, Darunia. They’re heading back to
even as we speak.” Goron City
Even with the pain in his arm, Darunia ignored it all as his eyes began to fill with tears. “My people…they’re safe. I…I don’t know how to thank you for this. My heart cannot contain all the happiness I am feeling right now…”
“Well, maybe you can use that happiness of yours to keep yourself alive,” Link uttered, trying to forget that Darunia had to invoke an oath to actually get Link to save the Gorons in the first place. “Your people love you very much, and I’m sure they’d hate to see you die in such a manner.”
Through the tears, Darunia’s eyes began glowing with a fierce determination. “Yes…you’re right. I cannot leave my people…not now. I will return to them…when this is all over. I shall live to see their faces…once again…”
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…” Navi abruptly cut in. “What do you mean, ‘when this is all over’? Don’t tell me you’re…”
“That’s right,” Darunia groaned. “I still…have to help you…fight and destroy…Volvagia. I will not rest…until that dragon’s bones…are buried forever within
’s fires…” Death Mountain
As he said this, Darunia tried to stand up. But before he could erect himself properly, the heel of his foot slipped on a pool of his own blood, causing him to lose his balance. Because he didn’t have enough strength to stabilize himself, the Goron went crashing to the ground, sending vibrations into his sensitive arm and stimulating the bleeding.
As the Goron bit his teeth to withstand the new onslaught of tenderness, Link placed a hand on the Goron’s shoulder, being careful not to touch the singed skin. The Hero of Time then took a deep breath before saying, “Listen, Darunia…you’re not going anywhere near Volvagia…not in that condition.”
“But…” the Goron protested. “But this is my responsibility…I must protect my people…from this wicked creature. I cannot sit by idly…while I know I can do something to stop it…”
“But look at yourself,” Link calmly pointed out. “You’re in no condition to fight. Forget those burns you got before – the one you got from Volvagia nearly took your arm off! If you push yourself too far, you could collapse!”
“I…don’t care…” Darunia grunted through his teeth. “I will not…allow something like this…to prevent me from doing…what I know I need to do. Now please…help me up…”
“Darunia, listen to me…”
But Darunia wouldn’t listen to Link. Instead he tried getting up again, with or without Link’s aid. Making sure he didn’t slip this time, the Goron managed to stand properly and use his legs to support his weight this time. Sadly, the effect only lasted a few seconds. Without warning, Darunia’s legs “caved in” and sent the Goron flying against the tunnel wall, which didn’t prop him up for long – he quickly slid his way back down to the ground, his breath heavy and forced.
Despite Darunia’s admirable resolve, Link quietly shook his head in disapproval. “See what I mean? You can’t do much in this state. I know how much this means to you, but…you just can’t do this. Trust me when I tell say this, Darunia: you’re in no condition to fight.”
“No, not another word,” Link insisted, making sure the Goron didn’t say anything more. “I promised your people you would be rescued, and I’m not going to break my word just because you got yourself killed. No, you’re getting out of here.” Link then turned to his fairy. “Navi, I want you to fly back up the tunnel and find the Gorons. Tell them that Darunia is down here and needs some help. Tell them he’s in really bad shape.”
The fairy’s light started to flicker violently. “But…what about the dragon? Don’t you need my help…?”
“Yes, I do,” Link calmly interrupted as he twirled the Megaton Hammer around in his hands a couple times. “I need you to help me get Darunia back to his people safely. You’re the one who can get to them quickly from here.”
“Are you sure?” Navi asked, noticeably concerned.
Link smiled warmly, which caught the fairy off guard, since it had been a while since she had seen him smile this genuinely. “Don’t worry about me, Navi. I can take care of myself. Please, just do this for me, all right?”
Navi seemed to begin to object, but she then abruptly stopped, hesitated for a moment, and then nodded. “Okay, Link. I understand. I’ll be back before you know it.”
The smile on Link’s lips seemed to widen slightly. “Thank you, Navi.”
With that appreciation, Navi jittered a bit in midair before she sped off like an arrow back down the corridor, disappearing behind one of the tunnel’s many curves. Now Link was left in the dark once more, this time with an injured Darunia at his feet. But luckily, Link didn’t need Navi’s light to know where his Sworn Brother was. Kneelng down and reaching out into the darkness as if guided by instinct, he placed an assuring hand on the Goron’s shoulder.
“Navi will be back shortly with help, Darunia. I want you to stay here until they arrive. Can you do that?”
The Goron grunted softly in the dark before replying with a question of his own. “Link…will you not reconsider me helping you?”
Link wavered slightly at answering Darunia’s question, but he promptly responded with the best answer he could find. “I can’t.”
The Hero of Time then stood up once more. “Take care, Darunia. May we see each other again after this.”
But it was too late. The Hero of Time had disappeared down the corridor.
The smell of sulfur and burnt rock caught Link off guard, drifting through his nostrils with its bitter-tasting fumes. Link nearly gagged as the odor overwhelmed his senses, but he quickly regained his poise and pushed on. With each step he took down the dark tunnel, the stench grew stronger and stronger, letting the Hylian know that he was nearly his goal.
Then he turned a corner and, seemingly from nowhere, there it was.
The end of the tunnel had no door, so Link could see inside the volcanic crater even before he entered it. But it was only when he stepped into the vast basin inside
that he truly grasped what he saw. The cavern was enormous, easily rivaling the chamber that housed all of Death Mountain . A dome-like surface coated the ceiling, giving the impression Link was standing in the top half of a giant egg. Sporadically dotted across the ceiling and the walls were stalactites of every shape and size, and in one far corner of the room stood an enormous, almost incongruous pile of rocks that seemed to be blocking some kind of passageway behind it. Goron City
“Darunia’s handiwork…?” Link thought to himself.
Most of the floor was composted of charred, volcanic rock, but right in the middle of the chamber was a vast lake of molten lava. Large chunks of rock floated upon the lava’s thick surface, bobbing up and down teasingly in the deadly lagoon. All of the light in the chamber seemed to be coming directly from the lake’s glowing surface; there were no other sources of light to be seen anywhere.
Or, for that matter, any signs of a dragon.
“Is this the right place?” Link asked himself as he took several steps into the chamber, leaving the tunnel. “This place is enormous, but there don’t appear to be any places for a dragon to hide. Did the tunnel branch off and did I go down the wrong one?”
Looking around the chamber thoroughly for several minutes, Link decided there was only one way to find out. Readying the Megaton Hammer, he took a deep breath…
His voice bounced off the walls of the immense cavern several times, creating a vivid echo that didn’t seem to lose its luster even after it faded away. Link scoured the chamber for the dragon during the echoes, but saw nothing respond to his call. Feeling a little miffed, Link took several more steps forward before trying again.
“Volvagia! Here I am! If you want me, come and get me!”
The echoes weren’t as intense this time, but they were strong enough to bounce off the wall several times. His frustration growing, Link took one more step deeper into the cavern.
“Volvagia…!” he started when, without warning, he felt something.
It was a rumbling beneath his feet, as if something underneath the ground was stirring. It didn’t take long for the rumbles to morph into small but violent quakes, their vibrations forcing Link to focus on maintaining his balance. He quickly realized that something was trying to push itself to the surface, and he had a pretty good guess of what that “something” was.
He scanned the cavern hurriedly, looking for any signs that indicated something was trying to burrow through the surface from beneath the ground, but he couldn’t see anything. Yet the vibrations continued, and with each passing second they were growing stronger and stronger; whatever was tunneling through the ground was nearing the surface at a rapid pace…
Just then, he saw it. The breach point…
“The lava lake!”
As Link watched, the center of the thick, bubbly surface of the lava lake surged upward into a massive bubble, the force hidden underneath it threatening to shatter it with explosive force. Link cautiously took a step back as he watched, amazed but alert, prepared for anything. The bubble seemed to stagnate for a moment, the soupy magma dribbling down its surface slothfully, before one final heave pushed it beyond the lake’s reaches, causing the bubble to burst with a loud bang…
…no, a loud roar?
“By Nayru’s Love…”
As the bubble ruptured, it revealed the creature hiding within its core. Flying upward into the air with the greatest of ease was a massive, worm-like monster that could only be the dragon called Volvagia. Covered from head to tip upon its back in molten-rock scales, the creature’s body seemed to glow a fierce crimson with its own body heat. The beast possessed no hind legs, but the forefront of its snake-like body boasted a set of robust arms, each possessing three-fingered hands that were tipped with powerful-looking claws.
The focal point of the dragon’s body had to be its face, where its upper skull was protected by a green-blue exoskeleton from which protruded two coiled horns. As the dragon soared into the air, trails of fire dangled from its head like loose bits of hair, waving through the air wildly. From behind the exoskeleton peered a set of small yet powerful eyes, which had no doubt seen the Hero of Time standing defiantly in the dragon’s domain. As if to confirm this suspicion, Volvagia opened his mouth and screamed a scratchy, soul-cutting screech.
The first thing Link noticed about Volvagia’s long jaws were that they boasted a deadly looking beak, similar to an eagle’s. But Link quickly learned that this hooked bill wasn’t the dragon’s deadliest weapon, as a stream of fire spewed from Volvagia’s howling mouth, flying all the way to the ceiling before dissipating. As the roar rang across the chamber, the walls themselves seemed to shake in fear. It was then that Link realized that the vibrations he had felt in the ground earlier weren’t from Volvagia burrowing to the surface – they were caused by Volvagia’s cries.
Link positioned himself into a battle-ready stance, his eyes fixed firmly on Volvagia, who was now flying around in circles in the air, as if practicing a bizarre ritual. The Hero of Time had no idea how the dragon was able to fly without the aid of wings, but that was hardly the most important issue at the moment. Volvagia had been summoned. Volvagia was ready to kill.
Well…so was Link
The dragon seemed to twist around in the air several times before it finally turned to face the Hylian who had dared enter its lair. It didn’t even both to hover in the air to contemplate its next move; it simply straightened out its worm-like body and charged through the air towards its prey, its mouth gaping open in a sinister grin. Link responded by running, heading in the direction lateral to Volvagia’s charge. The dragon recognized Link’s movements and snarled as he turned. A soft glow emanated from within Volvagia’s throat and flickered for a moment before a thick tongue of flame shot from the beast’s jaws in Link’s direction.
The Hero of Time managed to jump to the side just at the right moment, avoiding a repeat of what had happened during his confrontation with King Dodongo. Maintaining his momentum, Link again tried to lateral the dragon, but Volvagia’s movements were too quick. As the beast again turned to face his prey, another breath of fire aimed at the Hylian emerged from the dragon’s jaws.
Unable to jump in time, Link ducked and rolled forward, allowing the deadly flames to pass above and behind him harmlessly. Link then quickly took this opportunity to make an attempted attack against the dragon with the Megaton Hammer.
But before he could even reach the dragon, Volvagia abruptly turned upward, his snake-like body twisted upward to avoid the Hero of Time’s assault. Determined not to let Volvagia get away, Link leapt into the air and swung the Hammer at his foe. The instrument’s powerful head struck the beast’s gritty scales with full force, sending a thundering clang echoing across the chamber.
But the hit seemed to do nothing more than send the flying dragon off balance for a mere moment. A crack emerged in the creature’s armor where the Hammer had struck, but Volvagia didn’t seem to be bothered by it in the least. Instead he twisted himself up and back, preparing for another dive.
Amazed but unfazed, Link readied the Megaton Hammer for another attack. The dragon was definitely fast in the air, but with the right timing Link could cripple or at least seriously injure Volvagia with one blow. He just needed the right moment and the right means. Luckily, he had the means. Now all he needed was the moment…
As Volvagia corrected himself upward and began bearing down for another direct attack, Link saw the flickering in the dragon’s mouth that signaled another breath of fire. He waited until Volvagia had reached the right height before he started moving laterally once again. The dragon saw this and changed direction appropriately before spitting its deadly flames once again.
Link instantly reversed his direction at the last moment, missing the fires by fractions of a second. Then, propelling himself forward, he called forth Farore’s Wind and raced at blistering speeds towards his opponent, the Megaton Hammer raised above his head. Volvagia saw the attack and tried to avoid it by pulling up, but this time it was Link who was too fast.
“Got you!” Link screamed in his mind as he brought the hammer down against the monster’s underbelly, landing the head in between Volvagia’s arms, right where his heart should’ve been.
Yet the expected crippling of Volvagia’s body didn’t come. Instead, the dragon simply screamed, but out of irritation rather than pain. The beast’s body did snake backwards because of the blow, and a noticeable impression was left in the soft underbelly’s flesh, but Volvagia continued climbing as if the blow had had no effect at all.
Link was, to say the least, stunned. “But…why? I thought this hammer defeated this guy the first time! Why isn’t it working now?”
While trying to answer his own question, Link readied himself for another attack…but Volvagia didn’t ready himself for a third assault. Instead, the dragon continued climbing, flying closer and closer to the ridiculously high ceiling above.
“What’s he up to?” Link asked himself aloud.
The response came soon enough. As the dragon reached the top of the chamber, he turned completely around and seemed to head back down…before he leveled off just as his tail was pointing towards the ceiling. Volvagia then roared its abrasive screech before his tail started striking the ceiling! As Link watched in silence, Volvagia whacked the ceiling as hard as he could as quickly as he could, holding nothing back in the unusual assault.
“What the…?” Link started when he felt a rumbling.
It was a different rumbling than the one caused by Volvagia’s introduction. This one was a rumbling in the air, and Link could even pinpoint where the reverberating was coming from: the area where Volvagia was smacking with his tail. But Link only really understood what was going on when he saw for himself was Volvagia was doing.
One by one, several of the stalactites hanging on the chamber’s ceiling came loose and began plummeting down towards the ground. Following close behind were large chunks of rock torn apart by the vibrations caused by Volvagia. There was only one reason why these things were falling: to kill whatever stood underneath them.
“Holy…!” Link screamed before he jumped backwards just in time to miss being skewered by a stalactite almost twice his size.
But his problems weren’t over yet. Sharp rocks and stalactites were raining down in every conceivable direction, and it was a very good bet that Link would be impaled if he remained still. With no other choice, Link quickly turned and ran, summoning Farore’s Wind as he did. In a matter of seconds he was sprinting at peak speed towards the heart of the chamber as the hailstorm of rocks approached.
Even with the increased speed, Link still had to concentrate on dodging the debris falling all around him. Several times he had to change direction completely to avoid being crushed or pierced, and even his speed couldn’t prevent bits and pieces of fast-flying rock remnants from cutting his skin. As he ran and darted between the falling rock chunks, he quietly wondered what Volvagia was doing. Was the dragon still up near the ceiling, creating another avalanche with his tail, or was he…?
Just then, at the last minute Link caught sight of a falling boulder to his right, threatening to flatten him. Panicking, Link took the Megaton Hammer and swung it as hard as he could in the boulder’s direction, hoping to deflect it. The Hammer’s head barely grazed the boulder but, whether by chance or miracle, managed to bounce it to the side enough to miss the Hero of Time. Unfortunately, a side effect of the deflection was causing Link to miss seeing a relatively small stalactite half-buried in the ground in front of him. Before he could see it, Link’s foot was caught by the buried pillar, sending him flying at neck-breaking speed.
He landed on the ground with a sharp thud and seemed to skid across the ground for what seemed like forever. When he finally came to a stop, the burning in the scratches in his skin caused by the skidding were already beginning to flare up. But the pain meant nothing to Link; he shrugged it off as he stood up to regain his bearings, expecting to see more falling rocks heading in his direction.
To his surprise, the avalanche had subsided – all that was falling now were tiny pebbles and thick dust clouds that hid all traces of the rockslide. As he looked around for signs of Volvagia, he quickly discovered where he was: a stone’s throw away behind him stood the lava lake in the center of the cavern. Had he really run that far…?
“But where’s that cursed dragon?”
Link had reason to worry. There were no signs of Volvagia anywhere. Had the dragon disappeared into the lava lake again, or had it managed to break open the blocked tunnel…no, the tunnel was still blocked. And why would it go into the lake again? There was no reason to…
Suddenly, Link saw a now-familiar flickering in the dust clouds. He leapt to the side moments before a tongue of flames emerged from the haze, barely missing him. Moments later, the snaking body of Volvagia soared into sight from the dust, his beady eyes glaring hungrily at Link and his beaked jaw preparing another blast.
“Bloody sneak!” Link yelled, as if offended by Volvagia’s tactic.
But the dragon didn’t seem to care about Link’s comment. Instead it generated another flare from its throat, aimed directly at the Hero of Time. Link snarled as he readied to leap or roll out of the way…
…but Volvagia seemed to hesitate, seemed to refrain from shooting its blast. Link grew puzzled for an instant, wondering what the dragon was doing, but he quickly focused when Volvagia finished hesitating and released its fire in his direction…no, wait a minute! The blast was a little off-center; it was forcing Link to move in only one direction! Did that mean the dragon was planning something…?
Link had no time to ponder this idea before he was forced to dodge to the right. As the blast passed by safely, he looked up to face Volvagia…and saw his worst fear realized. Volvagia was planning something: the dragon was lifting itself slightly into the air before dipping back down in Link’s direction, its right arm raised to strike Link down. The attack was too close to dodge, so Link did the only thing he could do, which was raise the Megaton Hammer in self-defense…
Link was lucky that the beast’s mighty claws didn’t tear his hands apart, but another kind of damage was done. Volvagia’s swipe caught the Megaton Hammer within its claws and sent the weapon flying through the air into a furious spin, sailing high above the chamber floor. As Link watched, the Hammer reached the pinnacle of its arc only just as it slammed with a loud thud into the room’s wall, burying its head into the rock. And that was where the Hammer remained, remaining trapped high above the ground in the cavern’s stone and way out of reach.
At first, Link was shocked that he had both lost the Megaton Hammer and had come incredibly close to being cut down by a swipe with enough power to send the weapon flying that far. But his shock didn’t last very long.
“Can’t say I’m complaining – that thing hasn’t exactly helped me out that much in this fight. Whoever wrote the legend of the Megaton Hammer must’ve been drunk or something. Time to fight my way!”
With that thought, Link reached behind and pulled free both the Master Sword and his shield. He then readied himself into a familiar stance, ready to fight the dragon head on with the weapons with which he was more familiar. Fortunately, Volvagia’s swipe had been the only one he attempted, and right now the dragon was swinging around in an arch to lead another charge towards the Hero of Time.
“Here he comes…”
And came Volvagia did. Without a moment of faltering, the dragon leveled itself just above the ground before he aimed straight for Link and zoomed towards his prey faster than an arrow. Link expected Volvagia to prepare another blast of fire, but amazingly the monster kept its jaw firmly shut, suggesting he was going to try another strike with its claws.
Sure enough, Volvagia turned moments before reaching Link, and took another swipe with one of its powerful arms. Unable to find an opening to attack, Link raised his shield in defense.
flew as the dragon’s claws scraped across the metallic surface, and the sheer force behind the dragon’s assault was enough to push the Hero of Time back. But he quickly recovered and began thinking. Sparks
“Standing around like is making me too much of a target. I’d better move if I’m going to get a clean shot at his heart.”
With that tactic in mind, Link began moving. Keeping his shield raised and the Master Sword held behind his back, the Hylian rushed along several complex directions, making sure his destination was never certain. He was hoping he could confuse Volvagia enough to open up an opportunity to sink his blade into the creature’s chest…
…and now was the time to find out. Volvagia was leveling himself along the ground once more and heading straight for Link. The Hero of Time smirked as he dashed one way and then the other, only allowing the dragon guesses to his movements. Then, when Volvagia again nearly reached Link, the dragon turned left and lashed out with its right arm…
With practiced ease, Link rolled forward, getting himself clear of the dragon’s claws. His roll landed him directly beneath Volvagia’s chest, which was exactly where he wanted to be! Victory in sight, Link twisted the Master Sword around and sent it spiraling in a downward arch aimed at where he suspected the creature’s heart lay…
“What the…oh, no…!”
To Link’s horror, Volvagia hadn’t fallen for the trick. As Link’s sword came down, he spotted Volvagia’s left arm swinging upward, trying to slice the Hero of Time into shreds with an uppercut motion. All Link could do was force the Master Sword out of its arch and into a countering motion…
The blow was so violent that Link nearly landed on his back; instead, however, he merely stumbled backwards for several steps before he regained his balance. The moment he did, he glanced worriedly at the Master Sword, seeing if it had been damaged – after all, it had just taken a direct blow against Volvagia’s powerful claws. To his relief, the blade was still in one piece, the only result of the swipe being the resulting frightening ringing sound of the metal.
But the unscathed Master Sword didn’t comfort Link for that long. Volvagia obviously had the upper hand in this battle. The Megaton Hammer had failed to live up to its legend, and Volvagia was too quick for Link’s sword attack. He could use Farore’s Wind to speed up his movements again, but he was already growing tired from using his magic for so long…
Suddenly, he realized he was feeling heat nearby, enough heat to overcome his heat-resistant clothing. He looked behind him…and saw he was only two steps away from the edge of the lava pool! Link’s face went pale as he realized how close he was to being toasted. He quickly decided to get to a better spot and turned back around…
…only to see Volvagia once again charging straight at him.
“By the Three Goddesses…”
There was nothing Link could do. Even with Farore’s Wind, there was no way he could put a safe distance between himself and the lava pool. All he could while running was defend, and Volvagia’s powerful attacks would more than suffice in pushing the helpless Hylian into the lava. As the dragon approached closer and closer at impossible speeds, Link thought he saw his life flash before his eyes…
That voice…could it be…?
A large brown mass came rolling out of the almost settled dust clouds caused by the avalanche. Link didn’t need confirmation to know that the mass was none other than his Sworn Brother Darunia, rolling along the ground in a ball. But it wasn’t that Darunia had appeared or that Darunia was rolling along the ground that surprised Link; it was how fast Darunia was rolling! He was moving so fast that…he was matching and even besting the speed of Volvagia!
“Darunia…!” Link called out, almost forgetting about the charging dragon. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Darunia didn’t reply, but instead continued his rolling, inching closer and closer towards the dragon that didn’t seem to notice the Goron creeping up behind him. Then, just as the gap between the dragon and the Goron narrowed to within arm’s length, Darunia broke free of his curled up position and launched himself forward. With a loud, war-like cry, he wrapped his massive hands around Volvagia’s tail, and when his felt landed on the ground, he dug his heels firmly into the hard soil.
What happened next was nothing short of remarkable. Volvagia, who had Link and only Link in his sights, roared his abrasive roar when he realized his progress was being halted by someone behind him. But there was nothing the dragon could do about it; too stunned by the surprise attack, Volvagia was forced to a complete stop by Darunia’s determined grip. With a loud thud, Volvagia’s snake-like body lost its flying ability and flopped onto the ground, his head being the last to collapse.
The pain in Darunia’s eyes as he held the beast by its tail was unmistakable. The wounds on his burnt arm obviously hadn’t healed yet, and blood was still dripping down onto his hands. But he managed to fight the pain to scream out a vital message to the Hero of Time:
“Link! Kill him! Now!”
Snapping out of his amazement, Link nodded towards his Sworn Brother. “Right!”
His steadfastness returning and the Master Sword raised high, Link charged straight towards the dragon, who was starting to raise its head off the ground. Volvagia definitely looked non too pleased at being caught off guard like this, and though he wasn’t flying anymore that didn’t mean he was defenseless. One quick cut with his claws or one blast of his breath and Darunia would be dead.
Which is why Link had to hurry…
“Die, you piece of filth!”
As the dragon’s upper body lifted himself into the air with his arms, Volvagia’s underbelly was exposed. Without blinking, Link leapt forward and brought the Master Sword down with all his might.
The sword sank deep into the beast’s belly, carving a clean path deep into the dragon’s pulpy skin before slowing down and stopping altogether, wedged in tightly. Volvagia paused briefly before he raised his head into the air and screamed a cry of pain and fury, his arms thrashing around uncontrollably. Link knew not whether he had struck the beast’s heart, but he felt certain that the blow was enough to kill. To make sure of it, he thrust the lodged blade as hard as he could into the creature’s body several times, each lunge firmer than the last.
Smiling comfortably for the first time in a while, Link relaxed his grip on the Master Sword. “Finally…it’s all over…”
“Link! Look out!”
Link’s jerked his head up upon hearing Darunia’s warning…and his face couldn’t contain all of the surprise and shock he felt when he saw Volvagia, still very much alive, staring down at him viciously. The dragon snarled his grating scream once more before he opened his mouth, aiming it directly at the Hero of Time.
“Dear gods…!” Link cried out as he saw the familiar flickering in the dragon’s throat.
Seconds later, Volvagia released a rain of fire down upon the Hero of Time. Luckily, however, Link was fast enough to counter the attack. He quickly withdrew the Master Sword from the beast’s belly and raised his shield above his head. The fiery blast struck the shield dead-on, forcing Link to kneel against the strength of the discharge. The shield grew increasingly hot and started burning Link’s hands, but he forced himself to remain as still as possible, knowing anything less would result in him being charred.
The second Link no longer felt the blast pushing him down, Link wasted no time in getting away from the dragon. Volvagia, likewise, wasted no time in getting moving. Leaning his upper bodyweight upon his muscular arms, he pushed himself into the air, using his mysterious flying abilities to soar once again. Darunia, despite his best efforts, could not hold onto the dragon’s tail; it slipped free from the Goron’s hands with a soft click.
With Volvagia off the ground, Link swiftly rushed to the side of Darunia, who was relearning that his arm was horribly burned and sitting crookedly on the ground, grasping the bloody appendage where the bleeding was most severe.
“What are you doing here?” Link demanded as he knelt down beside the Goron. “I thought I told you to wait in the tunnel!”
The Goron looked up into Link’s eyes and smiled weakly. “I…I know, but…I just couldn’t bear leaving you to fight Volvagia alone. I remember…seven years ago…I allowed you to enter the Dodongo’s Cavern alone…without offering my help. I regretted that decision. Consider this…my way of…making up for it.”
Link wanted to retort, but he couldn’t find the words. Instead, he smiled. “Well…you did save my life back there, which I’m thankful for. However, we’ve got other problems to worry about.” He then looked up into the sky, where Volvagia was twisted and turning and…
Link’s face instantly grew wide with horror. “Darunia! Get up! Now!”
“Why…?” the Goron muttered through the pain. “What’s going…?”
“Volvagia’s going to bring the roof down again!” the Hylian stated, pointing anxiously upward.
Darunia quickly looked up and was just in time to witness Volvagia begin rapidly whipping his tail against the ceiling. Moments later, the low rumbling of large chunks of stone coming loose started to reverberate in the air. The Goron’s eyes widened in terror as he somehow found the strength to stand up.
“We’ve got to get out of here!” he stated.
“I know!” Link pointed out as he frantically looked around the chamber. “There! Over there!”
Darunia quickly saw what Link was pointing out. In the area of the previous rockslide, now cluttered with boulders and stalactites, one large boulder stood out. Part of the base of the rock was missing, leaving a depression in the boulder big enough for both Link and Darunia to crawl underneath.
“Hurry!” Link cried as he grabbed Darunia’s hand. “We haven’t much time!”
Darunia needed no more convincing as both the Hylian and the Goron ran as fast as they could towards the boulder, the rumblings in the air growing more and more profound. They reached the enormous piece of rock just as loud thuds – undoubtedly debris from Vovlagia’s new avalanche – started sounding behind them, and they ducked under the crevasse in time to avoid being skewered by a tall stalactite.
As the rockslide worsened and kicked volcanic dust into the air, Link prayed quietly that the rock ceiling above their heads would hold. Several loud bangs indicated that large pieces of stone were colliding with their shelter, and one crash was enough to even cause the boulder to shift slightly. But to the Hylian’s relief, the boulder remained standing, refusing to give way.
Feeling a bit safer, Link turned to the Goron, who was taking several deep breaths to tolerate the pain in his arm but otherwise was managing to remain awake.
“You all right?” the Hero of Time asked. “Are you holding up with your arm?”
Darunia nodded softly. “Yeah…I’m fine. My arm…it hurts, but…I’ll manage.”
Link nods. “That’s good, because we may need to get out of here when the opportunity presents itself.”
“Why’s that?” Darunia asked, a note of concern in his voice.
“Because we need to come up with a better strategy than the one I’ve been using. This dragon is turning out to be quite a pain. Not even the Master Sword could…”
It was then that Link looked down at the Master Sword in his hands…and he was surprised by what he saw. After all that the sword had done to the dragon’s underbelly, the blade looked remarkably clean – there was no a spot of blood anywhere on the sword’s surface! Had he missed the heart completely?
“Curses! This is worse than I thought!” Link mumbled angrily. “It did barely anything at all…”
At that moment, Darunia looked down at Link’s hand and noticed something as well. “Link…where’s the Megaton Hammer? I thought you were using that against Volvagia.”
“I did,” Link admitted, “but it did nothing but barely crack his armor. Not even a direct blow to his chest seemed to do anything. His heart must be well protected or something…”
“No, no, Brother!” Darunia interjected frantically. “Oh, dear…I should’ve told you this before you came here! Volvagia has no heart!”
Link’s jaw dropped. “Wh…whaaaa…? What are you talking about? All living things, especially something that size, must have a heart…”
“Not Volvagia…” Darunia grunted as he leaned against the wall of the crevasse. “Volvagia is a creature created in the days of old by twisted magic. Whatever mage or sorcerer gave birth to this hideous monster designed Volvagia to be as foul and wicked as possible, and the only way to accomplish this was to give him a heart of stone. This dragon, in essence, has no heart. He has no blood. He is a creature driven by evil instincts, and he cannot be slain by removing a heart he does not possess…”
Suddenly, a loud roar erupted from somewhere above the cavern. Link looked out to see that the avalanche had ceased and the dust clouds were beginning to clear. The roar seemed to be one of anger, meaning that Volvagia had lost sight of his prey. But there still existed the possibility that the dragon could still smell them, meaning their hiding place wouldn’t hold out for long.
“Great!” Link growled, almost throwing the Master Sword to the ground. “Just bloody great. So how in Hael are we supposed to defeat something like that?”
Darunia, despite the pain, managed to find the strength to speak calmly. “There is a way, Link. It’s the only way. Volvagia may not have a heart, but he can still be killed. His weakness lies in his head.”
“His head?” Link parroted. “You mean cut it off or something?”
“No. Cutting off his head won’t do anything. All of Volvagia’s life energy stems from within his mind. To slay Volvagia, you have to shatter his brain.”
Link nodded, strangely understanding what Darunia was telling him. But there was still one problem. “Easier said than done. That dragon’s skull is protected by some kind of bone structure. I doubt anything can penetrate that…”
“Except the Megaton Hammer.”
Darunia’s words struck Link almost as hard as the Megaton Hammer itself. “Okay, now this is starting to make sense. So that’s why the Hammer is needed. It’s the only thing that can break through Volvagia’s protective bone.”
Darunia nodded. “Exactly. So if we can lure him in, we can use the power of the Megaton Hammer to strike him down. Quickly, Link, where’s the Hammer?”
A sheepish look crept into Link’s face as he revealed the location of the Megaton. A horrified look on Darunia’s face followed almost instantly.
“This is terrible! We can’t defeat Volvagia without the Hammer! We have to get it back!”
“I know, I know…” Link assured when, all of a sudden, he was interrupted by a loud hiss. Seconds later, a tongue of flame collided with the boulder under which Link and Darunia were hiding, barely missing the groove in which they were wedged. But even this near-escape didn’t allow the Hylian and Goron much time to relax when the boulder itself was rocked by a robust clang.
“What’s going on?” Link spluttered when he heard a familiar roar. “Volvagia…oh, bugger, he’s found us!”
Link didn’t need to look outside to know that Volvagia had struck the boulder with his talons in an attempt to drive Link and Darunia out. Link braced himself for another attack, expecting the dragon to beat the rock several more times and shatter it…
…but the subsequent blows didn’t come. Link was surprised, to say the least. Why wasn’t Volvagia whacking away at the boulder relentlessly? Did the dragon not know where they were and was searching for them in the rubble…no, that didn’t sound right. Volvagia wasn’t that stupid. Something wasn’t making sense…
Just then, another powerful blow shook the rock, followed by another roar. Volvagia obviously knew where they were…but Link now knew something wasn’t right.
“Darunia, stay here for a moment,” the Hero of Time cautioned as he carefully edged towards one end of the wedge under the boulder. Prepared to retreat just in case, Link quickly stuck his head outside and took a look around.
To his amazement, he saw Volvagia circling upwards, making an orbit that ultimately led to the boulder on the ground. Volvagia arched around through the air rapidly until the dragon reached the rock upon completing the circle. Link quickly ducked back under the boulder before Volvagia could see him; a few seconds later, the boulder again shuddered with the cuff of the dragon’s claws.
“What’s wrong, Link?” Darunia asked when he noticed a puzzled expression on Link’s face.
“It’s Volvagia…he’s trying to weed us out, but…he’s doing it in waves. I don’t understand…wait a minute…”
It was then that Link realized something about Volvagia. From the instant the dragon appeared to when Darunia forced him to the ground, Volvavia had always kept moving; not once had he ever stood still. Link thought Volvagia could at least hover in the air, but even during the dragon’s swipes he hadn’t seen any evidence of Volvagia doing so.
Was Volvagia incapable of hovering? If that was the case, then…could…?
“Darunia, I’ve got an idea,” Link stated as a smile formed on his lips.
“An idea? For what…?”
“To get that Hammer back,” he replied as he, amazingly, returned both his sword and shield to their holding places upon his back. “It’s a little risky, but it’s the only option we have. Are you all right with that?”
Despite the unsure look in his eyes, Darunia didn’t hesitate. “Yes, of course. If it’s the only way, then I’ll do it…”
“Good. Now, I want you to run out with me the moment you feel this rock shake. All right?”
Darunia quietly nodded.
“Then get ready…”
The pair under the boulder waited for Volvagia to strike the rock once again. Seconds later, another violent shock clouted the rock, followed by another roar.
“Go! Go now!”
With his Sworn Brother’s hand in his own, Link pulled the Goron out from under the boulder and into the open, running as fast as he could without losing his scarred friend. The two of them ran for about five seconds before they stopped, Darunia the first to catch his breath.
“Okay…now what…?” he asked between breaths.
“Now…I want you to stand right here, right next to me, and wait.”
“Wait for what?”
Without another word, Link looked up. Darunia, too in pain to ask anything further, could only follow Link’s gaze. Their gazes clearly centered on Volvagia who was still encircling in the air for another attack on the boulder. But just before the worm could strike the rock again, his small eyes noticed the Hylian and Goron standing out in the open, staring back at him.
In a scream of surprise and fervor, Volvagia twisted his massive snake-like body several times before leveling off along the ground, executing another arrow-straight assault. Volvagia’s eyes were completely focused on the two figures standing quietly in the middle of the chamber, and those same eyes were filled with a burning hatred and a sinister hunger.
“Wait for it…” Link whispered to his friend.
“For what?” Darunia asked again, growing a little nervous.
“Wait for iiiiiit…” Link repeated, not hearing the Goron’s question.
The dragon was closing in rapidly, and Darunia instinctively took a step to the side. Link quickly reached out and held the Goron to where they stood.
“Um…Link?” Darunia uttered anxiously.
Then, just as Volvagia soared within throwing distance of the pair, his beaked jaws opened to reveal the accustomed flickering.
The Goron didn’t need Link’s prodding or pushing to follow Link’s order; Darunia threw his weight to the side and curled up into a ball, using his momentum to carry him away from the tongue of flame that escaped from Volvagia’s throat. Link, too, leapt to the side to avoid being burned to a crisp, but unlike Darunia he kept his eye on Volvagia, who was about to turn direction upward to ready another frontal assault.
Exactly what Link wanted.
Just as the dragon’s head turned upward, Link reached for his belt and withdrew his hookshot. Because he was by now used to aiming the device without the ruby target light, all Link did was raise the weapon, point, and release the metallic hook within the span of a heartbeat. The arrowhead sailed through the volcanic heat seemingly faster than Volvagia could ever dream to fly, and several moments later the hookshot sank into just what Link had aimed at.
Volvagia’s soft underbelly.
Once again, the piercing of the dragon’s flesh resulted in nothing save a scream of annoyance from Volvagia, but the point of the action wasn’t to kill or maim the dragon. Instead it was…
Before he could even blink, the hookshot’s spring recoiled, pulling Link clear off the ground and into the air. Link merely braced himself as the chain dragged him higher and higher towards an already ascending Volvagia. He struck the dragon’s snake-like body with a soft thump, and instinctively reached out and wrapped his arms around the worm’s body, though he did make sure to return the hookshot to his belt first.
“So…this is what it’s like to fly on a dragon,” Link thought as he watched the ground briskly move farther and farther away, his sweat-filled locks dangling in front of his eyes and flapping violently in the air.
It didn’t take Volvagia long to realize that he had a “passenger” on his body, and he screamed another abrasive roar, this time in anger. He twisted his worm-like upper body downward to attempt biting the unwelcome traveler off, but Link was already one step ahead and managed to climb onto Volvagia’s back using the dragon’s tough scales. Enraged further, Volvagia tried using his powerful arms to scrape the intruder off, but his arms couldn’t bend far down enough to reach the Hero of Time.
Snarling in fury, Volvagia then began doing the only thing it could do: whip and buckle its body aggressively in hopes of throwing the rider off his back.
But Link managed to hold on. Volvagia’s stone-like scales were rough enough to form natural, graspable reins, and amazingly Link had enough energy to avoid being tossed off the dragon’s back. He made sure he was comfortable riding the wild and infuriated dragon before he started inching his way up Volvagia’s back, making his way slowly and carefully towards the head.
Growing angrier and angrier with each passing moment, Volvagia tried twisting his body in every conceivable direction and performing acrobatic stunts of every possible variety to rid himself of the pest on his back. But Link refused to be removed; even as Volvagia’s hair-like locks of fire brushed dangerously close to Link’s face, the Hero of Time continued his crawl towards the dragon’s head.
Finally, after going through a ride that would make any normal man sick, Link found himself sitting right on top of what he believed was Volvagia’s neck. The dragon was just as relentless as ever in trying to throw him off, but Link was too close to lose now. Making sure his legs were firmly straddling the dragon’s body, Link let go of Volvagia’s scales with his right hand and reached behind his back, drawing the Master Sword once again.
He then quickly slammed his stomach against the dragon’s scales, still holding tight with his legs, and slipped the Master Sword underneath Volvagia’s body, placing the edge directly against the dragon’s throat. He then used his left hand to grab the tip of the blade, making sure he didn’t cut himself, before he took a deep breath and, with a great heave, tugged the Master Sword’s blade up into Volvagia’s flesh, pushing it up as far as he could until it reached the dragon’s thick neck bones.
Volvagia naturally howled in pain and rage as he felt his throat being cut by his opponent’s weapon. He tried again to buckle and throw off his foe, but Link now had a firm anchor to keep himself on the dragon. Of course, if Link’s guess was right, the Master Sword was now something other than an anchor…
“Let’s try it out…”
With a loud grunt, Link turned the sword to the right. With Volvagia’s head lodged on the blade, it turned with the sword. And as the dragon’s head turned, so did the dragon’s body and direction. Encouraged, Link pulled the Master Sword upward. Both Volvagia’s head and body followed. Now grinning from ear to ear, Link pushed the sword downward, causing Volvagia to dive.
“It works! It works! It…woah!”
Link’s thoughts were interrupted by an unusually sharp buckle from Volvagia. The dragon was obviously not very pleased at being treated like a horse, and his determination to throw off the Hero of Time had just been increased twofold. But Link’s grip on the Master Sword held firm, even though the dragon’s ferocious movements were causing the blade to slip and cut his left hand.
Gritting his teeth to numb the pain in his hand, he muttered to himself, “Okay…now to get back what you knocked away from me, you miserable worm.”
With a firm heave of his hands, Link twisted the dragon’s head around, forcing Volvagia to turn towards the wall of the cavern. His mind briefly considered the possibility of directing the dragon to crash into the wall, but he realized the collision would more likely kill Link instead of the dragon, so he scrapped that plan. Instead he compelled the dragon to fly near and around the cavern’s walls in search of the Megaton Hammer lodged within the stone.
Link spotted the Hammer a few moments into his search, and he nodded approvingly as he directed the dragon towards it. Volvagia was by now too furious to grow any more heated, but he still tried and tried to rid himself of the Hylian forcing him to fly at knifepoint. The buckling were so powerful that Link could feel his grip slowly yet gradually weaken.
But he didn’t mind. He wasn’t going to stay there that much longer anyway…
“Just a little bit closer…closer…there!”
At the last moment, just before reaching the spot in the wall where the Hammer was wedged, Link forced Volvagia upward, sending the dragon towards the ceiling. An instant later, Link let go of the Master Sword with his left hand and pulled it free from Volvagia’s flesh with his right, ignoring the bloodless squelch that resulted. He then aimed for the wall just above the Hammer, took a deep breath…
…and jumped off Volvagia’s back.
“Wa-ha!” he screamed almost excitedly as he watched the cavern wall rush towards him.
Wasting no time, he positioned his body so his bent legs would collide first with the wall. He then gripped the Master Sword’s hilt in both hands and waited for the right moment…
As hard as he could, just as he feet rammed into the wall, Link plunged the Master Sword’s blade into the rock. The steel sank into the stone halfway, and Link’s momentum caused the blade’s sharp edges to begin carving their way through the rock downward, carrying the Hero of Time with it. Performing a delicate balance act with maintaining his poise against the wall and grip on the sword hilt, Link concentrated as he slid down the wall using his sword as a means of transportation. But his eyes were fixed on one thing and one thing only, and it didn’t take long before his little ride brought him right next to exactly what he was after.
Without even bothering to halt his progress, Link quickly reached out with one hand and grabbed the handle of the Megaton Hammer. Because the instrument was wedged firmly in the stone wall, Link’s grip on the Hammer’s hilt instantly stopped his downward slide. Now hanging on the cavern’s wall by both the Master Sword and the Megaton Hammer, Link took a brief moment to collect his breath.
“Phew…what a ride…”
The Hero of Time then focused on the buried Hammer and tried freeing it from the wall. The weapon’s head was firmly lodged inside the rock, but that only encouraged Link to yank the handle even harder. Then, with one powerful tug, the Hammer’s head suddenly snapped free, and Link found himself dangling above the ground by only one hand via the Master Sword. But he didn’t care, because he held the freed Megaton Hammer in his other hand, which he held up high above his head.
“All right! Darunia! I’ve got it! I’ve got the Megaton Hammer! I…Darunia? Darunia…? Darunia!”
Link spotted Darunia down on the cavern floor, curled up into a ball once again and rolling madly across the ground; closely following behind him was Volvagia, snapping his jaws maliciously at his prey. The distance between the two was enough to prevent Darunia from being burnt by the dragon’s breath or torn apart by the beast’s claws, but it was painfully obvious that Volvagia was closing the gap with every second. Darunia couldn’t last much longer in his injured state. Eventually he was going to become food for the irate dragon…if he didn’t die of exhaustion first…
“Curse it! I forgot to tell Darunia to hide! Why didn’t that bloody dragon come after me?”
As he watched the scene play out before him in horror, Link felt something burn inside of him. It was a burning anger beginning to flow through his veins, an almost vile desire to see Volvagia dead. He remembered feeling this way when he saw Saria threatened by those Wolfos, and now he was witnessing Darunia, his Sworn Brother, being threatened by a demon worm.
His knuckles whitened as his grip on both the Master Sword and the Megaton Hammer tightened, and his teeth gritted together in growing fury. Even though Volvagia’s attention was fully occupied with the tumbling Goron, Link snarled in the dragon’s direction anyway. Volvagia was going to die. Right here. Right now…
Without a second thought, Link pulled the Master Sword from the rock. He started falling to the ground an instant later.
“Here I come, you bastard…”
The fact that Link had been clinging to the wall at a height that would’ve killed him in a fall didn’t cross his mind even once. He just quietly and calmly watched as the ground came roaring towards him, threatening to flatten him upon impact. Then, moments before he reached the ground, Link smiled boldly and did the only thing he could do at that moment.
He summoned the energies of both
Temples – Light and Forest – within him.
Almost instantly, his body surged with additional strength and vigor – the Master Sword reflected that surge as the blade started glowing a faint yet noticeable mix of white and green hues. His body purged of all doubt, Link then bent his knees inward before he thrust his legs outward, landing his feet squarely against the side of the cavern wall. The force of his push was strong enough to overcome a lot of the gravitational force pulling him downward…and still had enough to spare to impel the Hero of Time forward, allowing him to land safely.
But Link didn’t just land – he twisted his body around, touched the ground, and immediately started running. The moment his feet touched the ground, he propelled himself forward into a sprint, calling forth Farore’s Wind. Soon he was but a blur heading towards his Sworn Brother and the dragon of legend, his hands swinging two mighty weapons and ready to use either of them.
Halfway towards the chase scene ahead, Link raised his voice and called out as loud as he could, “Darunia! Come towards me! Come this way!”
Link didn’t know if Darunia had seen him or not, but the Goron definitely heard him. Gradually yet swiftly, the rolling Darunia changed his direction and started moving in the direction of the speedily running Hero of Time, Volvagia in hot pursuit. Link smiled as he saw that Volvagia’s anger was still blinding him to everything but Darunia…
“…meaning he won’t see me until it’s too late,” Link smirked.
With Volvagia and Darunia on a collision course with Link, the Hero of Time readied his weapons, twirling them around several times in the air. He increased his speed with Farore’s Wind just to be safe, but his confidence in his plan was too high to disillusion him now. As he ran closer and closer towards his snake-like adversary, his mind danced with images and thoughts of seeing Volvagia dead by his own hand. He sneered proudly, ready to cast the final blow upon his foe.
Yes, Volvagia will die here and now at the hands of the Hero of Time. This was what he wanted from the beginning, and now no one was here to take it away from him. Not that interfering Sheikh, not that irritating Navi…no one. Link and Link alone deserved this…
The passion raged through Link’s mind so fervently that his eyes seemed to glow with obsession. His gaze was completely fixated on the approaching dragon, almost completely disregarding the Goron that Volvagia chased. Darunia only crossed Link’s mind when the rolling Goron was almost on top of him, forcing Link to bound into the air over his Sworn Brother in order to get to his adversary, who had by now noticed the approaching Hylian.
Link’s battle cry was abruptly cut short when Volvagia’s beak swung open and released another burst of flame from his throat, the fiery attack aimed squarely at the leaping Hero of Time. Link’s burning eyes widened in terror as he watched the flames approach him, threatening to engulf him and vaporize him…
But luck was on Link’s side. Volvagia had released the fiery pillar just as the Hylian was descending, allowing the flames to pass overhead. But Link didn’t make it out completely untouched – the fires caught his hat and plucked it off his head before disintegrating the fabric in their intense heat. Landing on his feet without his cap, Link’s sweat-drenched locks of hair dangled before his eyes unhindered before flapping in his face due to his incredible speed.
Of course, Volvagia’s attack only made Link angrier…
Those words burned in Link’s mind as he pushed himself as fast as his remaining strength and divine energies could carry him, his muscles beginning to strain from all the fatigue. Volvagia appeared miffed that his attack had barely missed the Hero of Time and began to pull upward with a grating cry of renewed fury. But Link wasn’t going to let him get away. Not this time.
“Where do you think you’re going, you bloody piece of…eeeeaaaarg!”
Volvagia was fast, but this time Link was faster. Before the dragon could even look upward, Link was already passing the worm on the side. Releasing a battle cry inside his mind, Link leapt into the air, raised the Master Sword, and brought the mighty weapon down right where he wanted: the joint connecting Volvagia’s left arm to his body.
The blade sank deep into the dragon’s flesh, and even managed to cut to some extent through the bone before it could go no further. The agony in Volvagia’s ensuing scream was louder even than the one where Link had supposedly pierced the worm’s nonexistent heart, and the blow was strong enough that Link immediately saw the results he desired: the appendage drooped down the dragon’s side lifelessly, and Volvagia began to wobble uncontrollably in the air.
“Perfect! Just as I thought! He uses his arms to balance himself in the air!”
Link wasted no time as he landed firmly on the ground after partially crippling Volvagia’s arm – he knew that the dragon would correct his balance fairly quickly unless he distracted him. And Link already had a perfect way to distract him…
The Hero of Time looked up, staring directly at the exposed belly of the dragon, and hurriedly took the Master Sword and thrust its shimmering blade upward, drilling the steel deep into the dragon’s underside. Volvagia reacted with another piercing scream of pain, but Link wasn’t done yet. With Farore’s Wind still propelling him, Link ran along Volvagia’s body, pulling his sword along with him through the dragon’s flesh like drawing lines in the sand with a stick. There was no blood, as expected, but the shrill shrieks Link heard from Volvagia told him it hurt more than enough.
As he carved out the gash along Volvagia’s underbelly, Link screamed out loud, “Fall! Fall! Fall, curse you, fall!”
He got his wish just as he reached the dragon’s tail. Unable to focus on regaining his balance, Volvagia’s body twisted left and downward, incapable of stopping even if he wanted to do so. The dragon landed face first in the ground, a loud crack of bones emerging from the beast’s jaw. Despite the pain crawling all the way up his worm-like body, Volvagia couldn’t scream as he skidded along the floor, scraping the bloodless wound inflicted all along his underside.
Link emerged from underneath the dragon just as Volvagia landed with a loud snap, and he quickly turned around to face the lacerated creature. Volvagia’s head was now lying directly on the ground, the perfect height. Link now could’ve dashed towards the head using Farore’s Wind and ended this battle himself, and the fervent look in his eyes and the raging obsession in his heart wouldn’t let him do otherwise.
“This is it!” he told himself as he prepared to sprint over to the dragon’s vulnerable head. “This is what I’ve waited for! This is my moment of triumph! I get to kill one of the most feared creatures of legend! He shall die by my own hand! I’m so close I…what the? No! By the Three Goddesses, no!”
To Link’s horror, Volvagia was beginning to sit up. The dragon’s left arm may have been severed, but the worm could sense imminent danger and was trying to avoid it by getting back into the air as quickly as possible. Even if he pushed himself to the limits with Farore’s Wind, Link couldn’t make it to the dragon’s head in time to strike the final blow, and his muscles were bursting with exhaustion at the moment…
“No! He can’t get away! Not now! What am I going to…?”
“Link! Throw me the Hammer!”
Link’s eyes quickly darted to the side to see Darunia running as fast as he could towards Volvagia’s head, his unburned arm stretched out with an open fist. It took Link a full moment to realize what Darunia was asking, and another full moment before even think about it…
“What…throw him the Megaton? But this is my moment! Volvagia is my kill! Does he honestly expect me to just give it up without a second thought…? But if I throw the Hammer to him now, he should be able to finish Volvagia off before he gets back into the air…But this is still my kill! Mine! I can get Volvagia during another attack! This doesn’t have to end now…! But what if Volvagia sees through my strategies? He’s not stupid…But still…!”
An argument that would’ve normally taken several minutes flashed through Link’s mind in the span of an instant. His eyes darted back and forth between Darunia and Volvagia, struggling to make a decision between his own desires and necessity…
He finally made his choice.
Link pulled his arm behind him, his eyes glaring at a specific site just in front of Volvagia’s snout. An unknown instinct inside of him called forth the energy of the
Forest Temple, overshadowing the presence of the energy. The Master Sword sparkled a muffled green as the Hero of Time felt the essence of the forest flow through him. Despite feeling incredibly vexed at the moment, he could feel something else: serenity, calmness, poise, natural perfection. He could perfectly see the spot for which he was aiming, and he could feel himself gather just the right amount of potency and force to reach that spot. Light Temple
As much as he didn’t like what he was about to do, he wasn’t going to miss …
Link then released his arm and, with all of his remaining strength, sent the Megaton Hammer into the spinning arc through the air. The weapon whistled wildly through its journey as it almost seeming to glide its way towards the spot where Link had sent it.
“Come on, Darunia! Catch the bloody thing!”
As if hearing Link’s scream, Darunia quickened his pace, his eyes lighting up with excitement at anticipating catching the mighty Hammer while growing wide with worry upon noticing Volvagia stirring. Concern also began to fill Link’s eyes when the dragon noticed the Goron and snarled.
Forgetting for a moment his displeasure at giving up the opportunity of killing Volvagia himself, Link cried out almost in desperation:
Darunia must’ve interpreted Link’s cry as “jump!”, for the Goron all of a sudden dove into the air, his arm extending as far as it could to grab the mystical instrument heading in his direction. Link could feel his heart stop as he watched, half-expecting the Goron to miss the catch and allow this opportunity to get away…
The smack that resulted from the handle of the Megaton Hammer landing perfectly in Darunia’s massive hand was so loud that Link nearly took a step backward in amazement. Everything seemed to move in slow motion from that moment on – the Goron almost appeared to float in the air, his eyes lighting up in triumph as he wielded the weapon his ancient ancestors had wielded many generations ago…
Just then, Volvagia began moving on the offensive. Fuming with being brought down in such a humiliating fashion, the dragon perched its upper body upon its arms before opening its beak with a coarse snarl to produce the familiar, deadly flicker…
“By Din’s Fire! Darunia…!” Link called out in his mind. “Darunia…!”
But fate was on the side of the Big Brother of the Goron race. Before Volvagia could release his deadly flames, the Goron adjusted the Megaton Hammer in his good hand, aimed, and bellowed a lasting exclamation at the top of his voice:
“For my people!”
With a roar rivaling that of Volvagia, Darunia brought the mighty head of the Megaton Hammer down upon the skull of the dragon. There was a loud crash and a deafening ring as Volvagia’s head slammed into the ground, creating a shock wave that spread far enough to cause Link to temporarily lose his balance. A depression formed in the soil beneath the dragon’s skull as Volvagia tried but failed to scream after such a violent blow.
Then it happened. An earsplitting crack ruptured in the hard exoskeleton on Volvagia’s face, followed closely by multiple fractures that grew more and more numerous with each passing second. Volvagia’s eyes watched in terror as the hard bone protecting his brain evolved into a series of tiny fissures and clefts…before all the pieces imploded with a soft pop, falling to the ground as harmless dust and exposing the soft flesh of his head.
But that was not the end of it. The Megaton Hammer had not just destroyed Volvagia’s protective shell; it had penetrated far beyond the bone, sending thousands of crippling vibrations deep into Volvagia’s skull and into his brain, whipping it around furiously within the cranial cavity. Within a matter of seconds, the monster’s brain had been reduced to a piece of soggy, gummy pulp.
But Volvagia wasn’t dead yet. With his brain no longer able to interpret his movements correctly, Volvagia’s body began convulsing and trembling uncontrollably, its abandoned reflexes whipping the snake-like body around furiously. Darunia wisely stepped back as he witnessed the sight of his people’s ancient nemesis thrashing around in fatal anguish. Several cries managed to escape from Volvagia’s throat, but they were all distorted and beyond recognizable.
Then something remarkable began to happen. As both Link and Darunia watched, Volvagia’s body began to disintegrate! Starting at the tail, the dragon’s flesh gradually yet rapidly began to peel off, turning into a goo-like substance that instantly evaporated in the volcanic heat. The breakdown of Volvagia’s flesh left the dragon’s bleached white skeleton and stone-like scales, which began to detach themselves from the skeleton moments after the skin disappeared.
The collapsing flesh trailed all the way up the worm’s body, leaving in its way a lifeless skeletal corpse. Upon reaching the dragon’s arms, both appendages fell off their owner’s body before succumbing to the same kind of erosion – the dragon’s claws, once menacing and deadly, tumbled off their fingers and shattered into powder upon striking the ground.
It wasn’t until the disintegration reached Volvagia’s neck when the dragon finally stopped screaming, and even then the death-defiant beast continued thrashing around mindlessly. Oddly enough, the erosion didn’t take hold of the dragon’s skull’s flesh; the flesh remained intact, as if to deny Darunia the pleasure of slaying his foe by a single blow.
But Darunia cared not for pleasure in killing this vile creature. All that Darunia cared for were his people and his sworn duty as their Big Brother to protect them. Raising the Megaton Hammer one more time, the Goron brought the head down upon Volvagia’s unprotected skull.
The dragon’s head detonated under the awesome power of the Megaton Hammer, sending pieces of bone and beads of bloodless flesh and brain fluid flying in every direction. All that remained of the once feared Volvagia’s head now lay still, finally tamed permanently by the weapon used to seal him up all those years ago.
The dragon was dead.
An eerie silence fell across the immense cavern, as if words were not worthy of such a moment. But there were words being spoken at that moment – they just all happened to be inside Link’s mind:
“Incredible…Volvagia is dead…and he died at the hands of Darunia. Come to think of it, it is somewhat fitting that he was the one who slew the dragon…but curse it, I still can’t help but feel disappointed in all this. Volvagia was supposed to be mine! What kind of Hero of Time am I if I’m not the one who kills…say, why is it so hot all of a sudden…?”
A strange wave of heat seemed to radiate upon his head, causing Link to instinctively reach up and touch his crown. He felt nothing but his own sweaty hair, and he abruptly remembered Volvagia vaporizing his cap only moments before. Link’s eyes widened with shock as he realized just how lucky he had been – had Volvagia fired just a few seconds earlier, the cap wouldn’t have been the only thing vaporized…
And all because he had once again grown insane…
In an unexpected turn of anger, Link took the Master Sword in his hand and slashed it against the volcanic ground, burying the blade partially into the ground. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he recalled his previous fits of madness and how they had caused him to hurt, if not kill those around him. But he no longer cared whether or not he killed things that deserved to die. The Lizalfos…King Dodongo…the Barinade…they all justified their deaths. Heck, maybe even Ingo should’ve died back when Link had the chance…
But no, this moment of insanity was different. This time…Link nearly ended up dead. He didn’t want to admit it, but he couldn’t ignore it: his fits were growing more uncontrollable, blurring his judgment to the point of recklessness. What if he went insane again…and lost all rational thought? What if he did something that would get him killed or do something he would end up regretting? What if he…killed someone actually cared about…?
A loud plop snapped Link out of his thoughts. He turned to face Darunia, who had collapsed on the ground upon his belly, letting go of the Megaton Hammer in the process. Concern for his Sworn Brother replaced his alarm over his fits as the Hero of Time remembered Darunia’s burns.
“Darunia!” Link called as he raced to the Goron’s side, ignoring the carnage of the dead dragon at his feet. He knelt beside Darunia and quickly turned him over. To Link’s relief, the Goron was breathing normally, but his eyes were closed and his powerful arms were drooping to his sides lazily.
“Darunia…are you all right? Speak to me!”
Seconds later, the Goron’s beady black eyes slowly opened and looked at the Hylian towering above him. Darunia again smiled and replied, “My…my Sworn Brother…”
“Darunia, are you okay?” Link repeated.
Somehow, the Goron managed to find enough energy to nod. “I…I’m all right. It’s just that…all of this excitement…overworked me to the…to the breaking point. The pain in my arm…is threatening to paralyze me…”
Link quickly shook his head at the mention of the word “paralyze”. “Don’t you dare say that. You’re going to get through this. You’re Darunia, the Big Brother of the Goron race. Something like this is not going to stop the likes of you, do you hear me?”
Amazingly, Darunia’s response to Link’s sentimental rant was a sincere chuckle. “Ah, my Sworn Brother…say, could you please help me sit up?”
“What…? Oh, oh…sure thing. Here, let me just…omp!”
With a gentle heave, Link helped lift the Goron’s heavy upper body, allowing Darunia to rest his body’s top weight upon his hips. When he made sure that Darunia was properly balanced, Link continued, “There, how’s that?”
Darunia smiled. “That’s…perfect.”
Out of the blue, Darunia’s good arm abruptly shot out and wrapped itself around Link, pulling the Hylian into a powerful yet gentle hug against the Goron’s chest. Link was naturally caught off guard and could only respond with a spluttered, “D…D…Darunia…”
The Hero of Time blinked. “What…?”
“Thank you…for all that you’ve done,” the Goron uttered. “My people are free, and Volvagia has been slain. None of this would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for you. I already owe you so much, and yet you’ve once again outdone yourself. I am once again forever in your debt, my Sworn Brother.”
A gentle tear seemed to trickle down his cheek as Darunia added, “I’m proud…to have named my son after you…”
Embarrassingly stunned at those words, all Link could do in response was slowly wrap his own arms around Darunia’s back, returning the embrace. He squeezed as hard as he could – hoping Darunia wouldn’t return the favor – and nodded.
“You’re…you’re welcome, my friend…”
The words rolled inside Link’s mind several times, wondering if he truly meant them. After all, not too long ago Link had been threatening to abandon the Goron race in favor of fulfilling a personal desire to kill a dragon. He could still hear a touch of sadness in Darunia’s voice when the Goron had invoked that Sworn Brother oath, forcing Link to aid in rescuing the Gorons from certain death…
But wait…Link didn’t have to uphold the oath, did he? After all, what was an oath but several choice words mixed together to sound omnipotent and binding? Link could’ve easily refused upholding the oath and went on to fight Volvagia alone. But he didn’t. He instead adhered to the pledge’s words…and under his own free will. He thought he had been forced into doing something he didn’t wish to do…but could it be that he had wanted to do it all along?
Could it be he had wanted to save the Gorons from the beginning, and the pledge was the excuse he needed?
The explanation sounded too simple to be the truth, and Link didn’t believe in simplicity anymore. But there was one thing of which he was certain: after all his complaining and stubbornness and unwillingness, he was surprisingly content in saving the Goron race and giving Darunia the honor of destroying the legendary dragon.
Maybe he really was Darunia’s friend, as well as a friend to the Goron race.
Link smiled softly as he quietly mulled over the idea of building a stronger relationship with the Gorons, especially Darunia. After all, in this dark and alien world known as “seven years later”, he longed to find something from his younger days that could remain with him. His Kokiri heritage, and above all Saria, regretfully couldn’t be that remnant.
But there seemed to be no reason why Darunia couldn’t help him build a life in this frightening and hideous existence as the Hero of Time…