Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chapter 50: Hollow Victory

“Hmmm….remarkable. Absolutely remarkable.”

Malatite’s giant yet tender hands gently probed the slumbering Sheik’s arm one more time just to make sure his assertion was correct. When he confirmed it, the Goron shook his head in disbelief.

“Incredible. There’s not a broken bone in him. These Hylians sure are resilient.”

With that confirmation in place, Malatite took a moment to step away from the bed Sheik was lying on to get a drink of water. He walked up to a shallow well in his doctor’s office and lapped up some of the liquid inside hungrily; he also used some of the cool water to soothe some of the burn marks on his skin, grateful to feel relief after many days of torment at the hands of hideous creatures.

After refreshing himself, Malatite stretched his back before turning his attention back to the Sheikah. “Looks like you’re going to recover a lot faster than I thought you would. Still, might as well check you for bumps and bruises. Can’t be too careful these days with inner blood clots. And let’s not forget about those bite and burn marks…”

The Goron doctor made his way back to Sheik’s side and then carefully rolled the Sheikah into a comfortable position on his back. Malatite then carefully lifted Sheik’s hand and held it close to his face, examining the bite mark given by one of the Fire Bubbles. He realized the damage caused by the burning in the creature’s bite was already infecting the wound and it would have to be patched up for a couple days…

Malatite suddenly giggled softly. “Funny…wasn’t the last burn mark I treated for a Hylian also on the hand…?” he muttered to himself before returning to his work.

Taking great care, the Goron gently slid the sleeve of Sheik’s shirt sleeve up his arm, revealing another burn mark. A similar rolling of Sheik’s pants leg revealed the bite given to Sheik’s shin. All of them were very serious, but nothing special cream and several days of rest and relaxation couldn’t fix…

“Hmmm…you’re a slender fellow, aren’t you?” Malatite commented as he delicately applied some disinfectant to Sheik’s wounds, causing the Sheikah to twitch slightly but remain asleep.

“Poor lad, you’re completely exhausted,” Malatite smiled as finished applying the disinfectant. As he waited for the liquid to dry, he decided to check for possible bruises that might be life-threatening. “Might as well start with your neck. Anything damaged in there could be fatal.”

Lifting Sheik’s head gently up, Malatite lightly grabbed the top of the mask covering Sheik’s head and pulled it off, revealing Sheik’s face…

The Goron abruptly gasped. “Oh, my word…!”

Just then, Sheik’s eyes opened…


“Link…is something wrong?”

Link looked around the cavern for a few moments longer in a resolute before he finally shook his head and turned to Darunia. “Nope, I guess not. Here, come on. We need to get you to Malatite quick before those burns get any worse.”

As Link helped the worn out Goron to his feet, Darunia asked, “What were you looking around for, anyway?”

“I’m not really sure. I thought something was going to happen, but…never mind, it’s not important. Come on, let’s go.”

Slinging Darunia’s arm around his neck, Link helped the Goron lean his weight upon the Hero of Time’s shoulders. After making sure that Darunia was all right, he nodded and started moving forward slowly and carefully, allowing Darunia to keep up with him. Darunia flinched with each step he took, but quietly pressed on.

The two were halfway across the cavern towards the corridor that led back to the Fire Temple before they stopped to take a breather. “You holding up there, Darunia?” Link asked, concerned.

Darunia heaved in and out heavily, as if he had run a mile, but he nodded weakly. “Yes…I’m fine, thanks.”

“Good,” Link smiled before he looked down and noticed that Darunia’s free hand was once again clutching the Megaton Hammer firmly in its grasp. “Better hold onto that thing. We don’t wanna lose it…unless you want me to carry it for you…”

“No…no, that’s okay,” Darunia mumbled, still breathing forcefully. “I’m fine…”

“Well…if you’re sure, then all right. Okay, here we go. Carefully…” Link stretched out his last word as he took a step forward leisurely, making sure the Goron resting on his shoulders could follow him. Darunia took several deep breaths before he put a foot forward…

…and his footing slipped, sending the Goron crashing to the ground. Darunia made no attempt to catch himself; his entire body went limp as he fell. Link instinctively took a step back so as not to be crushed by the Goron’s massive weight, but his concern quickly grew when he realized that Darunia wasn’t moving at all.

“Darunia! Darunia, are you all right? Say something!”

The Hylain quickly knelt down to examine the fallen Goron. To his horror, Darunia’s eyes were shut tightly and his breathing was dangerously shallow. The pain in the Goron’s arm must’ve engulfed him completely…crippled him, just like Darunia had said!

“Darunia! Can you hear me? Say something, please!”

But there was no response from the Goron. Darunia remained perfectly still, and Link’s panicking eyes almost swore Darunia’s breathing was slowing down. Growing more terrified by the minute, Link reached underneath the Goron and carefully turned him over onto his back, hoping it would allow Darunia to breath more easily.

But it didn’t work. Darunia’s breathing remained as shallow as ever, and now the Goron’s charred arm was beginning to twitch slightly and uncontrollably. His face growing as white as a cloud, Link instinctively placed his ear against Darunia’s massive chest; blood drained further from his face when he could only hear a faint resemblance of a heartbeat.

It seemed unimaginable, but it was happening. Darunia was dying.

“Oh, no!” Link cried out in his mind. “He needs help now! But where am I going to find someone…? Wait, that’s right!”

“Wait here, Darunia!” Link told the unconscious Goron before he took a deep breath and started sprinting towards the tunnel that led back to the temple. Within the span of a few seconds, he was inside the tunnel and running as fast as he could up the sloping floor.

If Link’s hunch was right, then Navi should’ve returned by now with the Gorons he had asked her to fetch earlier…the Gorons who were called to help their injured Big Brother. There was no way that Link by himself could carry Darunia all the way back to Goron City, but a pack of Gorons would more than suffice…

“Hang on, Darunia!” he hollered within his psyche. “Help is on the way! I…there!”

As he darted with frightening speed (without using Farore’s Wind, no less) up the dark corridor, using his hand to feel out the wall, his eyes spotted a faint pink link up ahead. It didn’t take him much to recognize the glow of his guardian fairy, and as he approached the glow he began hearing a familiar voice squeaking loudly amongst a crowd of what could only be Gorons.

“He should be here,” the fay assured in the distance. “Link left him right here. Look, you can see the blood right…”

“Navi!” Link called out at the top of his voice. “Over here!”

“That voice,” the Hylian heard. “That’s Link! Link! We’re over here…!”

“I know!” Link replied. “I’m coming and…what the…?”

Before he could continue, Link’s line of vision was blocked by an abruptly emerging white glow. The glow had no known source, and it was spreading all over. Link skidded to a halt as he watched the white radiance engulf the corridor before him, trapping him into a illuminating yet non-blinding cocoon of light. Within a few moments, there was nothing left of his original surroundings.

At first Link was wondering just what was going on…until he remembered a similar experience back in the Forest Temple

“The Sage!” he exclaimed in the white nothingness. “He’s awakening!” Link then slapped the side of his head. “Idiot. This is what you were expecting after you killed Volvagia. Don’t tell me you’re surprised…”

Just then, he remembered Darunia. “No! No! I can’t be taken to that chamber yet! My friend needs help! Don’t take me away! Not yet! Please, send me back! Darunia needs me! Please!”

But his cries went unanswered. Dread filled Link’s mind as he looked around the void frantically, hoping whatever was taking him to the Chamber of Sages would listen to him, but his hopes were in vain. When he saw the identifiable blue waterfalls of light begin to emerge from the white abyss, his heart sank at realizing he was losing precious time in saving his Sworn Brother.

Yet somehow he managed to keep his cool, and his dread was replaced by impatience. The emergence of the rest of the Chamber of Sages – the pool of blue light, the colored islands – seemed to take forever, and Link thrashed his hands around in the air as if to encourage them to hurry their materialization. If he was to meet this new Sage, he might as well make it quick. He just hoped that this meeting didn’t take that long…

When the remaining traces of the white light had dissipated, Link quickly looked around for the red island, no doubt where the Sage of Fire would emerge – red equaled fire, right? He did, however, take a moment to glance at the green island, where Saria had stood not too long ago; sadly, like Rauru, she was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed, Link returned his attention to the red island and waited.

Sure enough, the red island slowly began to glow with a circular red light around its edges. As before, the light was faint overall but bright enough to be seen. Then, as Link tried to control his impatience, the light started to twist itself into a shape; because Link knew what to expect, he could already see the vague outlines of a person being molded by the bending light.

As he watched from the center island, Link half-expected to see someone the size of Saria being molded, but that expectation was gone when he saw the light curve higher than Saria’s stature…way higher, in fact. To Link’s surprise, the light was forming a figure that was noticeably taller…no, larger than him. Then he started to see recognizable features: muscular arms, enormous hands, a burly potbelly, a scraggly hairstyle…

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Before Link could protest aloud, the light exploded, forcing Link to turn away. When he turned to look once more, he confirmed his suspicion: the figure standing on the red island, the Sage of Fire, was none other than his Sworn Brother.

“Darunia…” Link stuttered in disbelief.

“It seems, my Sworn Brother,” Darunia uttered as his lips widened with an enormous grin, “that we are related to one another in more ways than one.”

Link struggled to find the words for this unexpected turn of events. “I…I don’t believe it. You, Darunia…you’re the Sage of Fire?”

Darunia couldn’t help but chuckle himself. “I’m finding it hard to believe myself, but standing here before you with the power of the Fire Temple flowing through me means I cannot deny it. I am indeed the sacred keeper of this temple, one of the legendary Sages who will aid you in your quest to save this land from evil.”

Link shook his head as he took several deep breaths of incredulity. This was nothing compared to the shock of seeing Saria become a Sage, but it certainly caught him by surprise. Not even the fact that he no longer had to worry about saving Darunia from his wounds could dampen the shock…wait a minute…

“Darunia…your arm. It’s no longer burned!” Link abruptly pointed out.

The Goron looked down at his once charred arm to see what Link saw: a completely undamaged limb with no scars or reminders of the burn marks that had nearly paralyzed him. As if assuring himself of this, Darunia squeezed his hand into a fist several times. Satisfied, he looked back up at Link.

“It feels…good as new,” the Goron grinned, as if he knew something Link didn’t.

“But…why?” the Hero of Time asked.

“It was because of my awakening. Whenever a Sage is reborn spiritually through the power of the temples, he is also reborn physically. The power will bestow upon the Sage a new body that is fit for him to wield such a responsibility. In this case, the power of the Fire Temple healed my arm and restored my strength. I feel…incredible.”

Darunia’s explanation made sense, once Link thought about it. Saria had nearly been killed after being struck down by Phantom Ganon, and yet when she was reborn as the Sage of the Forest, she appeared without a scratch on her. And he also recalled Sheik mentioning something about how the Master Sword sealed him up because he was too young to wield it…not to mention it chose the clothes he would wear as the Hero of Time. And since the power of the Sages mimicked the power of the Master Sword…

Link’s expression suddenly grew serious as he started remembering the reason he was awakening the Sages in the first place. He still couldn’t come to grips with the fact that Darunia was the Sage of Fire, but questions concerning that matter could wait, at least for now.

“So…I guess your awakening has given you the knowledge of what’s been going on, right?”

The Goron nodded in response, his smile waning gently. “It has. It’s amazing, actually. Not too long ago, all I was concerned about was saving my people from being fed to that vile dragon…but now I possess the knowledge of the Sages and the ability to see what has really been happening not only to my people, but to all of Hyrule. I can feel the pain and suffering that this land has undergone over the past seven years, and it is but a fraction of what my people and I have suffered through.

“And all because of one person who stole the Triforce from the Sacred Realm…one person with a heart blacker than the deepest night imaginable.”

Link nodded. “Then you know about the one responsible for this…the man called Ganondorf.”

Darunia’s eyebrows knitted together upon hearing that name. “Ganondorf…wasn’t he the one who sealed up the Dodongo’s Cavern all those years ago? The one who resurrected the Dodongos and threatened my people with starvation unless I gave him the sacred gem he demanded?”

“The same,” Link answered.

“That…wretched, wicked man…” Darunia sputtered angrily before he forced himself to calm down with several long, deep breaths. “No matter. This Ganondorf, the coward that he is, cannot hide behind the power of the Triforce for very long. He will have to face you, the Hero of Time, in due time, and with the power of the Sages behind you, you shall overcome his evil.”

The Goron then smiled once again. “And I, as the Sage of Fire, am proud to help you rid the world of this creature known as Ganondorf.”

Despite Darunia’s obvious pride and enthusiasm, Link couldn’t bring himself to find any delight in this revelation. His heart was weighed down by many thoughts relating to the other side of the coin, with one thought in particular that may as well have cut him down. Still, he chose to ask something else to the animated Goron…

“I’m…I’m honored to receive your help, Darunia. But…” He then paused to make sure of himself before be continued, “…but what about your people? They love you, their Big Brother, so dearly. As a Sage, you can never return to them, never lead them again. And that’s just your people. What about your son…your son Link…?”

Link almost expected to see Darunia crushed by the question – after all, one can’t walk the path of this kind of role without abandoning his previous life in the process. Saria learned that when she became the Sage of the Forest. Link learned that the hard way when he became the Hero of Time...

But instead of break down, Darunia merely frowned sadly, as if he had already thought about the consequences and was only now being reminded of them. The Goron stared down at the pool of blue light, seeing his hazy reflection upon the surface. He blinked several times before he finally spoke.

“I understand that being a Sage requires me to sacrifice everything that I hold dear. In order to battle the evil in this world, I must give up my home, my people, even my own son…and face the reality that I may never see them again. Whenever I see my face in a reflection of some sort, I’m always reminded of how my people see me: as their infallible leader, the one who will never lead them astray. For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried my best to live up to that image.

“And now it pains my heart to know I’ll never lead them again as their Big Brother. It pains me to know I’ll never see my son’s face again, see that beautiful child smile when he looks up to me with those innocent eyes…”

Darunia then returned his gaze to Link and tried his best to smile despite the obvious heartache. “And yet…it cannot be helped. As much as I want to be with my people, it would be selfish of me to choose them over all of Hyrule. By remaining the Big Brother of the Goron race, I would only be leading them. As the Sage of Fire…I will help lead all of Hyrule against the evil polluting this world.

“Destiny chose me for this role. I have to accept it.”

Destiny. Destiny. Destiny. Link was almost sick of hearing that word…

“But do not worry about my son, Link,” Darunia continued. “A child of the Goron people is always raised to face the possibility of death of either himself or anyone close to him – living on a summit known as Death Mountain wouldn’t allow us to live any other way. My son knows that, in the event of my death or absence, he will be placed in the custody of my closest relative, Malatite.”

Link jerked his head forward. “Malatite?”

Darunia’s face lit up as he nodded. “Oh, you didn’t know, did you? Malatite’s my first cousin, once removed.”

Link again shook his head, this time in amazement. He probably should’ve seen something like that coming, but it seemed that there were still a few more surprises in the world left for him to discover.

Darunia smiled seemingly to himself for almost half a minute before his face grew serious. “I appreciate your concern for my people and my son, Link, but there are more important matters we need to attend to at the moment.”

Darunia then started moving forward and – just like Saria had done – walked upon the surface of the pool of light so he could stand on the island upon which Link was perched. The Goron then motioned for the Hylian to step closer; Link obliged without pause.

“Hold out one of your hands,” Darunia instructed, “and clench it into a fist.”

Link did so, holding out his right hand and tightening it into a ball.

Without another word, Darunia raised his left arm and gently wrapped its enormous hand around Link’s clenched fist. Almost instantly, a soft humming sound started to ring throughout the chamber as a gentle, yellow glow began emanating from the Goron’s hand. Link was initially startled by this, but he remembered Saria doing something similar and patiently waited for Darunia to finish, wondering what he was doing.

Darunia held Link’s hand for about half a minute before he let go, leaving the humming spark wrapped around Link’s clenched fist. Link was about to ask Darunia what he was doing when, without warning, the luminosity from the light shot out in opposite directions, creating a loud clang that sounded like metal scraping against metal. The abrupt bang caused Link to look away for a moment, but for only a moment. When his gaze returned to his hand, he saw something inside his fist.

“The Megaton Hammer?” Link blurted out upon seeing the legendary instrument in his grasp. He quickly glanced at Darunia, who was smiling in approval. “You…you can’t be serious. You’re giving this to me?”

“I am,” Darunia acknowledged.

“But…I can’t accept this!” Link objected. “This is the thing that has been with your people for generations! This is what defeated the dragon that haunted your race for countless years. Why are you giving me something so…precious?”

“Because we have no more need of it,” Darunia answered firmly. “Yes, it symbolizes the destruction of the evil worm known as Volvagia…but symbolism cannot allow us to ignore the fact that this is a very useful instrument. Symbolism can only do so much before it becomes nothing more than a façade.

“No, I cannot allow a powerful weapon such as the Megaton to remain in Death Mountain when it could help you in your quest. I’d much rather see it being used than being worshipped. And since I have no use for it…I am entrusting it to you, the Hero of Time.”

Link gave the Megaton Hammer a long, hard look. The Hammer had barely been abraded from its battle with the Volvagia, and its glossy surface seemed to shine with untapped power. Link couldn’t help but agree with Darunia: to not use this magnificent item in the fight against Ganondorf would almost be a crime. He couldn’t refuse it; he had to take it. It could come in handy…

The Hero of Time swung the hammer several times in the air, which reminded him how surprisingly light the weapon was, and then faced Darunia and nodded. “All right. I’ll accept the Megaton Hammer. It will be used well.”

That statement made Darunia smile warmly. “Wonderful. Now, with that settled…”

Before the Goron finished, Darunia took several enormous steps backwards, backtracking his way over the pool of blue light all the way towards his red island. Once there, the Goron finished his sentence.

“…now it is time to bestow upon you the power of the Temple of Fire. Please accept it, with my thanks and my eternal friendship.”

Darunia didn’t wait for Link’s acceptance before he raised his powerful arms into the air like Saria and Rauru did before him. The familiar whistling sound shrilled above Link’s head, and the Hero of Time looked up to see the recognizable sphere of white light descend down from towards him. With one of his hands still holding the Megaton, Link used his free hand to reach upward and grab the orb of light. Disappearing without a sound, the light transformed into the expected shape of the medallion the moment Link touched it. As anticipated, this medallion was colored a passionate crimson, and the symbol on the decoration’s face matched the pattern on Darunia’s island.

Knowing what was coming, Link knelt down to the floor and placed the Hammer to the side so he could hold the pendant in both hands. He stared quietly at the glossy surface of the medallion, still amazed by how such trinkets could look so enchanting. Gripping it firmly on opposite sides, he patiently waited for the absorption process…


Even though he had anticipated it, the full force of the exhausting procedure still managed to overwhelm Link, forcing him to drop to his hands as he struggled to endure it. The power surging up his arms and throughout his body felt just as intense as the power he received from the Forest Temple, and yet something else seemed to make the overall experience more overpowering. Was it because the energies within him were mixing? Or was it because the energies were growing in strength as each Sage was being awakened…?

Not that Link was even able to consider such things. The energy of the Fire Temple managed to almost clog his windpipe, causing him to gasp for breath for several minutes. His muscles grew as rigid and taut as stone; one false movement would’ve almost certainly broken a nerve. He could feel a cold sweat break out over his entire body, and the idea of his pores bleeding crossed his mind for an instant…

Then he heard Darunia’s voice.

“You have accepted the power of the Fire Temple and the soul of the Goron race. May it serve you well.”

“Geez, do Sages have to be so melodramatic?” Link sarcastically thought as he felt the paralysis in his body abruptly evaporate.

“Now stand up, Hero of Time,” Darunia commanded.

Link found himself doing so, despite not having recovered most of his strength. This had happened with Rauru and Saria as well. Were they doing this to him…?

“Now you must return to your quest,” the Goron continued commandingly. “The Chamber of Sages will return you to the Fire Temple.” His eyes then loosened with painful remembrance. “Thank you for everything you’ve done, Link…for me, for my people. I’m honored to have met you.

“Farewell, my friend…”

Link wanted to say something in response, but his mind was clogged with conflicting feelings and emotions that refused to allow him the opportunity. He was glad to see that the Sage of the Fire Temple had indeed been awakened, but his heart was pained to know that the Sage was Darunia, one of his few remaining friends in this cruel world…

Suddenly finding the courage to speak, Link reached down and picked up the Megaton Hammer at his feet. He then reached out with his free hand and cried out, “Darunia, wait…don’t leave me, please…!”

But it was too late. Before Link could even finish calling out the Goron’s name, the figure of Darunia disappeared within the white haze.

Link arms drooped to his sides; his head lowered itself moments later. He stood there in the eerily silent void, allowing himself to build up inside before finally releasing a cry that had no echo:

“Damn iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…!”


The hard feeling beneath Link’s feet as the white luminosity began to fade indicated that, just as Darunia had said, he was being taken back to the Fire Temple. The only question now was where in the temple would he be placed. Would the Chamber of Sages return him to the tunnel, or did it have another place in mind?

He received his answer soon enough. A scarlet afterglow started to peek through the white haze, meaning he wasn’t returning to the unlit corridor. A few seconds later, he could make out the sources of the glimmering: intense flames radiating from the mouths of several facials sculptures set in the wall. The size of the chamber soon followed, then a set of stairs leading up to a stage, then a door set on either side of the stage, one of them broken…

Link hummed an acknowledgement to himself when he realized he was inside the foyer of the Fire Temple, standing near the staircase on the upper deck, where he had first reunited with Darunia. He surveyed the scene quietly for a few moments longer before he finally sighed to himself, still able to hear his scream in the echoless abyss…

Destiny chose me for this role. I have to accept it….

Darunia’s words almost seemed to scream their way into his thoughts, trying to pound in an argument that he refused to accept. He tried not to think of that provocative statement, but the words refused to leave and almost seemed to increase their frequency.

“Get out of my head,” Link demanded softly, holding his free hand to his head. “Get out…”

But his request was denied. Darunia’s words continued to scratch at his mind, and soon a new phrase entered his thoughts, one spoken by Rauru:

…that person would be chosen by destiny as the one who will save Hyrule…

“Shut up…just shut up!” Link angrily commanded, beginning to thrash around in an attempt to rid himself of such thoughts.

But the thoughts remained and were soon joined by another voice, this one belonging to Saria:

Time and destiny have separated us forever…

“Get oooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuut!”


The ground beneath his feet cracked as Link slammed the head of the Megaton Hammer down as hard as he could. Almost instantly the voices inside his head dissipated, leaving nothing more than memories and a festering anger…

“Is this what you are, destiny?” Link screamed out to the chamber. “Is it? First you take my life, then you take the one who meant everything to me…and now you deny me starting a new life with one of the few friends I have left? Why are you tormenting me like this? Answer me, curse you! Answer me!”

Despite the forcefulness in his voice, Link expected no answer, and he received none. Frustrated just the same, he glanced down at the Megaton Hammer and growled softly before he spat to the side.

“You can’t ignore me forever,” he muttered angrily as he removed his shield from behind his back. “One of these days, I will receive an answer from you…”

He trailed off as he inspected the back of his shield carefully, looking at several metal locks distributed across the metallic surface. The locks were obviously meant to hold smaller weapons to make them within reach during the heat of battle. He carefully studied the placement of several of the locks before realizing a couple of the metallic catches were perfect for what he needed.

With surprising ease, Link took the Megaton Hammer and slipped its slender handle through two of the locks, securing the weapon firmly against the back of the shield. He tested holding the shield as if he were defending from an attack – the Hammer in no way interfered with the shield’s efficiency. In fact, he could hardly tell the Megaton was there at all.

“Hard to believe such a powerful weapon can be incredibly light,” he mused to himself as returned his shield to his back. “Well…now what do I do? I guess I could head back down that tunnel. Navi’s probably wondering how I disappeared…”


Link abruptly turned around and looked down the stairway, half-expecting to see Navi or Sheik standing at the bottom of the flight. To his surprise, he instead saw a small Goron standing meekly on the first step, staring up at him quietly. It didn’t take the Hero of Time long to realize that the Goron was Link, Darunia’s son.

“Link…” the Hylian started before being gently interrupted by the Goron’s soft voice.

“Link…you have the Megaton Hammer.”

Goron Link’s statement caught the Hero of Time off guard. How long had the Goron been standing there? Had he been there since Link had been transported back from the Chamber of Sages? Had he been listening to Link’s angry mutterings all this time? Unable to do anything else, Link quickly nodded at the Goron.

“Um…yes, I do. This is the Megaton Hammer…given to me by Darunia…I mean, given to me by your dad…”

“So my dad is all right…?”

Link had to swallow several times before he could find the courage to reply to that question. “Yes…your dad is alive and well…he’s perfectly fine. How…” He then quickly shut himself up, hoping to postpone saying anything more.

But Goron Link could tell something was amiss. “Link…something has happened to my dad. Something has happened to him, and you know what. You were screaming earlier for a reason…is it because of my dad? Has something bad happened to him? Please, tell me…”

So the Goron had been there since the beginning…

“Link, I…” the Hylian stammered, trying to find the right words, “I’m not sure if I should tell you this now…maybe in a better…”

“No!” the little Goron asserted almost forcefully as he took several steps up the stairway towards the Hero of Time. “I need to know now! I haven’t seen my dad for so long! I need to know what’s happened to him! Please! Tell me!”


“Link! There you are!”

Link turned around again, this time to watch a pink fairy flutter out of the corridor at the end of the stage and immediately dart in his direction. Navi stalled in front of his face and wasted no time in berating him.

“I knew I’d find you here. When I heard that loud booming sound just a few moments ago, I thought to myself, ‘You know, I bet Link has something to do with that.’ And what do you know? I was right! So now that I’ve found you, maybe you can enlighten me why you disappeared so suddenly back in the tunnel…or why Darunia was nowhere to be found where you left him…?”

“Navi…!” Link hissed harshly at the fay before he toned down his voice a tad, “Now is not the time I’d like to talk about this…”

Just then, another sound interrupted Link, though this time it wasn’t someone’s voice. Instead it was the sound of several large feet stampeding across the ground together in a hurry. Link’s attention again darted towards the corridor that led to Volvagia’s lair, and he was in time to see a small pack of Gorons exiting the tunnel, no doubt following Navi to investigate the loud bang Link had caused with the Megaton.

One of the Gorons noticed Link and pointed him out to the others; an instant later the entire group swarmed around the Hero of Time, forming a mini-mob with no exit point. Link tried to remain calm (as well as standing) as the Gorons surrounded him, but the anxious look in all their tiny black eyes suggested Link was about to be asked things he didn’t wish to answer…

“We couldn’t find Big Brother where you asked us to find him,” one of the Gorons rapidly asserted.

“Yes, he was nowhere to be found. His blood trail ended up in an enormous cavern,” another pointed out.

“I saw fallen rocks inside that cavern…is Big Brother buried under all that rubble?”

“No, Darunia is quite all right, I can assure you…” Link tried to tell the Gorons before being cut short again by another Goron.

“Then what happened to our Big Brother? Doesn’t he need medical attention?”

“I thought I heard you back in the tunnel, but you disappeared. Why is that?”

“I think I heard roars as I went down that corridor. Were you fighting the dragon alongside Big Brother…?”

“Please…just tell us what happened to my dad!” Goron Link cried above the yelling of the other Gorons. “I want to know what happened to my dad!”

“Tell us what happened to our Big Brother!” several of the Gorons seemed to demand simultaneously.

“Yes!” the remainder ordered. “Tell us now! Tell us!”

Link could feel his blood drain from his face. It was happening again, just like in the Lost Woods. He was being forced to tell someone something that he didn’t wish to reveal. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t what he wanted…

…but then again, “destiny” was denying him a lot of things these days. With a sigh on his lips and a heavy feeling on his heart, Link did exactly what the Gorons were demanding.

He told them…

“How are you…feeling, Link?”

“Awful. Pretty bloody awful, thank you for asking.”

Link wanted to punch something after answering Navi’s stupid question, whether it be her or the wall of the storage room in Goron City, but he managed to contain his aggravation enough to allow the feeling to subside. When he felt calm again, he resumed removing his heat-resistant clothing so he could get dressed once more in his green threads that the Master Sword had chosen him to wear as the Hero of Time.

As he slipped his white undergarments over his legs, Navi perched softly on his left shoulder. “I’m…I’m sorry you feel that way, Link, but look at it this way…”

“Look at it what way, Navi?” Link snapped. “I just told an entire race that their great and mighty leader Darunia, their Big Brother, isn’t going to return to them because he has been chosen to be the new Sage of Fire. And what happened? I’ve sent nearly every Goron in this city into a bloody depression! If there’s a silver lining in this, I sure as Hael can’t find it!”

“But…but it had to be done,” Navi quietly uttered. “There was nothing you could do. It was either that or lie to them, and I know you’re no good at lying…”

“Maybe I should practice,” Link spat as he slipped his boots on.

“Link…listen to me. Darunia isn’t dead. He is still alive and he is now a Sage, helping you in your fight to save Hyrule. The Gorons may not realize that now, but they will in due time…”

“You sure about that?” Link grumbled as he stood up, reaching for his green shirt.

“What do you mean?” the fairy inquired as she flew off Link’s shoulder to allow him to dress unimpeded.

“The Gorons seem to base a large portion of their lives around their Big Brother,” Link continued as he slipped his shirt over his head. “After I saved them, one of the first things they wanted me to do was save Darunia. The way they care for him is frightening.

“I mean…when I told them that Darunia was never coming back, it was like I stabbed them all in the heart. I told them that Darunia had slain Volvagia…but they didn’t care. I told them that Darunia was now the Sage of Fire to help save Hyrule…but they didn’t care.”

As he adjusted his shirt to fit more comfortably, Link’s eyes grew a little sad. “Navi…I didn’t even tell the Kokiri that Saria had become the Sage of the Forest, and yet they understood and accepted she wouldn’t be returning. I told the Gorons a lot more than I told the Kokiri…and yet look at them. They look as if they’ve died inside.”

He then smiled a weak, almost sardonic grin as he added, “I wouldn’t even be surprised if they hate me now…”

Navi’s pink light flickered with disbelief. “Link…how could you even think such a thing? You saved the Goron race from the Dodongos seven years ago, and you saved them again only a couple hours ago. They may be saddened to lose Darunia…but how can you honestly believe that they hate you?”

“I don’t know,” Link said as he placed his cap on his head. “Maybe it was the way Darunia’s son ran away crying when I told him he won’t be seeing his father again. Got a response for that?”

Navi thought carefully for a few moments before shaking her head sadly. “I…don’t.”

“Then let’s not speak of it again,” Link continued while slipping his leather gauntlets onto his hands. “Once I’ve gotten dressed, I want to find Sheik and get out of here as quickly as possible. I just hope he can still walk…”


Hearing the soft, gentle voice of Malatite caused Link to jerk his gaze abruptly towards the door to the storeroom. He expected to find just the kindly old Goron doctor standing there, but to his surprise he also saw another Goron standing beside him. Link quickly stood up when he recognized the other Goron.

“Link…” the Hero of Time blurted out.

Goron Link nodded once in acknowledgement. “Hello, Hero of Time. I hope we’re not disturbing you?”

Link quickly glanced down, his gaze falling upon his pile of weapons and pouches he hadn’t yet returned to his person. He then looked back up at Goron Link and Malatite. “No, uhh…I was just finishing up getting dressed and…well…”

“And you’re leaving us as soon as you’ve finished getting dressed and found your companion Sheik, correct?” Malatite said, as if finishing Link’s sentence.

“Did…did they just hear me speak?” Link thought. “Curses…why do I have to talk so loudly…?”

“Well, I…that is…what I mean is…”

“Link…you don’t have to hide anything from us,” Malatite calmly stated. “Please speak your mind and tell us the truth, because that is all we want.”

Realizing he couldn’t lie to these Gorons, Link took a deep breath and frowned in seeming defeat. “I…yes, I am. I…I just don’t think I should stay here longer than I need to, especially after what I did.”

“After what you did?” Malatite repeated. “And what is it that you did, exactly?”

Before Link could answer, Goron Link wrapped his arms around Malatite’s leg, hugging it tightly while his eyes peered quietly at the Hylian. The realization that Goron Link was attempting to come to terms with the sad fact that Malatite was now his new father made the heavy feeling in the Hero of Time’s heart that much more painful.

“Well, I…” Link stammered, trying to find the right words, “I failed your people, Malatite. I failed them.”

“I see,” Malatite murmured softly. “In what way, my dear boy?”

Link blinked in gentle amazement. Was Malatite toying with his or something? “I…I failed to bring back your Big Brother…I failed to return Darunia to you.”

“But Darunia is still alive, as you pointed out not too long ago,” Malatite indicated.

“Yes, but…but he is no longer here…with you…leading the Goron race.”

Malatite nodded and thought for a moment. “So…what you’re saying is this. You saved the entire Goron race from certain death. You rescued our Big Brother from being recaptured or killed after he escaped. You aided Darunia in slaying Volvagia, the dragon that haunted our race in countless legends. You even were there to witness him become reborn as the Sage of Fire. And yet you consider all of these accomplishments a failure because Darunia is no longer with us. Am I correct, my dear boy?”

Link nodded weakly. “Yes…that’s correct.”

“Well, pardon my slow and wandering mind,” Malatite apologized as he scraped some grit out of his eyes with his fingers, “but it seems to me that it’s not you who thinks you’re a failure. Rather, you think everyone else believes you’re a failure.”

Malatite’s explanation did resemble some of Navi’s arguments in a more clearly defined manner, but they still did little to comfort Link. “Myself, everyone else…what does it matter? I’m still responsible for not doing what I promised you and the rest of the Gorons, which is bring back your Big Brother. He was such a big part of your life…and I failed in returning him to you. Can you honestly blame me for thinking everyone else considers me a failure?”

Malatite couldn’t help but nod his head in understanding. “Yes, it is rather difficult to believe otherwise, isn’t it? After all, the Gorons are a very peculiar race, aren’t they? They live in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world on a mountain named Death. They eat one kind of rock as a delicacy; anything else and they would starve. And they admire their Big Brother to the point where he is considered the most important thing in their lives. Without our Big Brother, it seems doubtful we can survive.”

Link wanted to nod in agreement with the doctor, but Malatite didn’t give him the opportunity. Instead, the Goron took a couple steps forward into the room, leading Goron Link in with him. “However, it seems that again you’ve made an understandable yet erroneous conclusion, my friend.”

“Excuse me?” Link blurted out, not thinking about Malatite’s statement completely.

As an initial response, Malatite smiled a weak though noticeably goofy grin. “In other words, Link…you’re wrong, just like back then.”

Now Link was getting confused. “Just like back then…? Malatite, what in the name of the Three Goddesses are you talking about?”

The doctor sighed softly but managed to keep his smile. “Seven years ago, I remember when a young boy made a promise to the Goron race to rid the Dodongo Cavern of Dodongos. I remember volunteering to help this little boy because I had grown quite fascinated with him. I also remember something rather interesting he told me after he first entered the cavern and confronted a monstrous Dodongo skull.

“I believe his exact words were, ‘I’m a coward. I’m afraid. I’m no hero. I can’t do this.’”

Link didn’t need to ask to know that Malatite was talking about him; his mind juggled wildly with thoughts trying to remember that moment more clearly.

“And you know what happened to that boy?” Malatite continued. “He discovered that he was wrong. He wasn’t a coward. He wasn’t afraid. He was a hero, and he could do it. The rest, as you undoubtedly know, is history.”

Link couldn’t deny that Malatite was indeed correct in his reasoning. However…

“Malatite,” Link muttered with a regrettable sigh, “what’s your point?”

“Just this,” the doctor answered as he placed a reassuring hand on the head of Goron Link, who continued watching the Hero of Time with quiet, deep eyes. “Seven years ago, you made a judgment of yourself that was needlessly harsh. You called yourself a coward, and yet by all measures you were braver than many heroes of legend who claimed to be the boldest in all the land. We all make honest mistakes sometimes, even about ourselves.

“And now you’re making mistakes once again…not just about yourself, but about the Goron race. For you see…we Gorons do not consider you a failure. Not now, not ever.”

Malatite’s words almost sent a chill running up Link’s spine, and he couldn’t find the words to formulate a response. Malatite took this as a sign to continue speaking.

“We Gorons loved our Big Brother Darunia…in fact, we still do. He means more to us than most anything we can think of, and losing him is certainly something we would rather not think about. But let me tell something you probably haven’t even considered, Link, something that might be a little hard to swallow but I assure you is the truth.”

“Oh? And what is that?”

As if on cue, Goron Link spoke up in a quiet yet firm voice. “We…we haven’t lost my dad at all.”

A stunned silence befell the room as the little Goron’s answer ran through Link’s logic several times. “But…but that doesn’t even make sense…”

“But it does,” Malatite assured. “Darunia isn’t dead. He still lives as the Sage of Fire. He may not be with us in the flesh, but his spirit remains with us through his teachings, through his people, and especially through his son. Darunia remains with us, and though he will be missed we will continue with our lives and await his son to grow and take his place as our new Big Brother.

“It’s a tough concept to grasp, especially for a slow-thinking race such as the Gorons, but I assure you that we are capable of understanding this. Now the question is…can you understand it, my dear boy?”

Malatite’s challenge seemed to slice through Link’s mental defenses like the Master Sword cutting down all who stood in its way. He struggled to find a hole in the Goron’s reasoning, but he couldn’t find any large enough to exploit…then again, why was he trying to find weaknesses in Malatite’s arguments? Shouldn’t he be glad that one of his friends – his few remaining friends in this cruel world – had found a solid reason for him not to bear such a terrible burden?

Still feeling a little unsure, Link stared deeply into Malatite’s eyes before asking, “I…I just want to ask you something first…you said that I’m wrong in believing the Gorons think I’m a failure. Am I also wrong in thinking myself as a failure?”

Malatite paused for a moment and thought carefully before he finally replied. “My dear, dear Link…I think you already know the answer to that question. I’d tell it to you, but…I have to let you think for yourself every now and then, don’t I?”

Link took a deep breath and sighed…and then produced a very weak smile on his lips. “All right, Malatite. I get what you’re saying. You’re right…just like before, you’re right. I feel a lot better.” He then thought for a moment before adding, “And…thanks.”

His acceptance of Malatite’s logic was certainly less enthusiastic than the one he gave seven years ago…but the widening smile on the doctor’s lips was more than enough assurance that Malatite accepted Link’s approval. Sadly, however, Link didn’t feel the same acceptance but rather a festering hollowness inside his heart. And he knew exactly why that hollowness was there.

He had just lied.

He didn’t feel better at all – in fact he felt worse. It seemed that at any given moment something would happen to pull his emotions in the opposite direction, and the mood swings were beginning to get to him. He was growing frustrated and weary of putting his heart into something that resulted in such intense changes in his temper…especially something for which he was beginning to greatly despise…

“I hate this…” he thought to himself quietly. “I hate being the Hero of Time…”

It seems that, after all, he could lie to these Gorons…

“You’re welcome, my dear boy,” Malatite said, replying to Link’s gratitude. “And never forget how much we appreciate what you’ve done for us. The Gorons will always be your friends and, if you so choose, your family. You still are Darunia’s Sworn Brother, and thus a brother to every Goron.”

Malatite then looked down at Goron Link, who was now shivering gently, as if nervously awaiting a cue for something. The Goron doctor gently patted Darunia’s son’s back with his hand; Goron Link gulped a little as he took a step forward and bowed his head very formally in the Hero of Time’s direction.

“Thank…thank you…for everything you’ve done, Link…I will never forget what you’ve done for us nor what place you will forever hold…in the hearts of my people. I…I am deeply honored to bear your name as heir…as heir to the title of Big Brother. We are forever in your debt.”

The little Goron then quickly stepped back towards Malatite’s leg and clung to it once more. It was easy to tell that Goron Link’s statement had been preplanned and rehearsed, but Link didn’t know if Malatite had asked the young Goron to do it or if Goron Link came up with the idea himself. It didn’t matter, either way – it was just another piece of melodrama that for some reason Link closely associated with the Goron race.

A brief silence fell over the chamber before Malatite finally coughed. “Well, then…since we’ve cleared that little business up, I think it’s time to reunite you with your friend Sheik.”

Link’s eyes lit up as he remembered the injured Sheikah. “Oh, yes, that’s right…how is he, by the way? Is he all right…?”

“Sheik is…” Malatite hesitated a moment, as if wondering whether to reveal something. “Sheik is doing wonderfully. The bites he received will heal in no time, and he should be able to move within a couple days.”

“A couple days?” Link repeated. “But we’re short on time as it is and…”

“Not to worry,” Malatite interjected with an assuring hand raised. “I’ll just have a couple Gorons carry your friend down the mountain in a stretcher. Gorons can navigate the mountainside a lot easier than any Hylian ever could – he’ll be sleeping safely in Kakariko Village in no time.”

Link released a sigh of relief. “Good to know. Is he awake at least?”

Malatite nodded. “Oh, yes. He awoke not too long ago, and we…” The Goron again hesitated, fidgeting around with his fingers for a moment. “…we talked a little about exactly what we’re talking about now: getting him down the mountain.”

The doctor then motioned with his hand as he made steps indicating he was about to leave the room. “We can go visit him now if you’d like.”

Link nodded. “Sounds like a plan. But first let me finish getting dressed…”


The Hero of Time entered the dark room quietly in case the Sheikah was asleep, but the flickering of shadows against the light from outside torches indicated Sheik was fully awake. Link grinned a little as he walked further in, thinking a smile – even a forced one – might cheer Sheik up.

“Link…?” a weak voice muttered through the darkness. “Is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me…” Link started when the room abruptly brightened. He turned around to find that Malatite – sans Goron Link, who had left to “help his people cope” or something – had walked in with a lit torch in his hand. The doctor beamed as he placed the torch inside a lock on the wall, and motioned for Link to proceed with whatever he was doing.

Link nodded and turned his attention back to Sheik, whom he could now see. The Sheikah was lying on a bed of straw at the end of the room, covered by a blanket knitted from some kind of coarse material. Only his face wasn’t underneath the quilt, and to Link’s gentle surprise even that was covered – the Sheikah was still wearing his heat-resistant mask.

“Are…are you all right?” Link asked after hesitating for a moment, deciding not to ask about the mask.

Sheik smiled weakly under his mask and managed to find the energy to nod. “I…I think so. Malatite said I should make a full recovery…but that still doesn’t stop these bite from stinging like Hael…”

“Do you need some more ointment?” Malatite politely interjected, shuffling his way next to his resting patient. “Do they still hurt?”

“No…thank you,” Sheik feebly declined. “It doesn’t hurt. It’s just annoying…that’s all.”

Malatite nodded. “All right. Just remind me to give you some when you leave. You won’t find better burn creams than the ones made in Goron City.”

Sheik again nodded. “Again…thank you…” He then turned his attention to Link, who was still standing a short distance from the bed. “So Link…you’ve killed the dragon and awoken the Sage of Fire, is that correct?”

Link looked down a little. “Well…Darunia was the one who killed Volvagia, but…yes, he is dead. And with Darunia awoken as the Sage of Fire, I think we’ve basically finished our business here. So whenever you’re ready to leave, we can go…”

“Wait, Link…did you remember to play that song?”

Link blinked. “Song? What song?”

“The Bolero of Fire, of course.”

Link’s mind snapped to realization when he remembered Sheik teaching him a song back in the Fire Temple, just before they had parted ways with Darunia to free the Gorons. Sheik had taught Link the song there so the melody could be associated with the mountain, and Link remembered being told to play that song once the Sage of Fire was awakened.

It seemed he had forgotten about that little bit…

“Oh…right,” he uttered with a sheepish look on his face. He quickly digs into one of his pouches and produces the Ocarina of Time. “All right…where do I play this thing? Do I have to go back into that crater or something?”

Sheik shook her head. “No, that isn’t necessary. We’re still inside Death Mountain, so the song should work right where you’re standing. Go ahead, try it.”

Link glanced down at the ocarina before looking back at the Sheikah. “All right…”

Link took a couple steps backwards from the bed, deciding not to take the chance of any “results” affecting the injured Sheik. He turned to everyone in the room, using his eyes to tell them to remain clear of him for the moment, before he again looked down at the mythical instrument in his hands.

“Well…here goes nothing.”

Link then raised the instrument’s mouthpiece to his lips, took a deep breath, and started playing the song known as the Bolero of Fire. Like he did with the Minuet of Forest, he tried picturing Sheik’s harp in his mind during the places where the strings were meant to play, trying to as best he could perform the melody on a single instrument.

The song itself was rather short…like all the songs he knew, actually. It was one of the more complicated tunes Link had learned, but he didn’t find the difficulty beyond his capability with the ocarina. The beat felt very rigid compared to his other songs, as if provoking a sense of order in its notes. As he played the Bolero of Fire, he could almost hear the strict beat of a drum accompany it.

Like before, Link didn’t have to wait long for something to happen as a result of playing the song. The moment he finished the final note of the song, he felt something build up inside of him similar to the first experience. He knew that the power of the Fire Temple was being awakened within him by the melody, but he admittedly had no idea what would happen this time…


Once again Link felt the growing power within him snap like a thunderbolt, imploding within his body before spreading outward, exiting his body effortlessly and painlessly. It all happened in an instant, but Link felt the effect linger a little bit more noticeably this time. Maybe he was growing used to it or something…

Lowing the ocarina from his lips, Link turned to the others in the room, who appeared to be anxiously awaiting something. The Hylian looked into everyone’s eyes once before looking around the room.

He then shrugged. “That was it…”

Just then, there was a deafening explosion…


“There you are, Andrew.”

The young boy turned around in time to see his elder sister Melissa – a young woman with pitch black hair and a lank profile – calmly walk up behind him. With a stern look on her face and her arms crossed tightly across her bosom, she stared down at her brother for a moment before continuing to speak.

“I’ve been looking all over for you, young man. What are you doing here on the outskirts of the village? It’s nearly sundown.”

Andrew looked away from his mother and to the horizon, where the threatening figure of Death Mountain could be seen towering in the distance. The dark storm clouds hanging over the mountain’s crater thundered continuously, their blackness peppered with flashes of lightening that caused flickering shadows on the mountain’s forbidding surface.

“I’m waiting for mother.”

Melissa blinked in confusion. “What are you talking about? She’s right back at home…”

Andrew shook his head. “No, my other mother.”

Melissa was still a little puzzled…until she suddenly understood what he meant. “Oh, I see…but you don’t have to worry about…er, mother, Andrew. She’ll be back soon. There’s no need to wait for her out here like this.”

“Yeah, I know…” A sad look creeps into the boy’s eyes. “But…I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her, especially on Death Mountain. It’s very dangerous there, even for someone like mother.”

Melissa shook her head in gentle amazement, marveling at how her brother refused to refer to the one called Sheik by anything but her “codename”. He even referred to him as a her, undoubtedly necessary to fool mercenaries and spies of Ganondorf. Everyone in the village sympathetic to the underground was required to maintain this ruse, but it still astonished her that such a young boy would be so deeply involved in such a dangerous responsibility.

Trying her best to smile, Melissa placed her hand on her brother’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, Andrew. Mother will return soon. Now come, we need to get home and get you to bed. I’d rather not be caught out here when the sun sets…”


Melissa quickly jerked her attention to where Andrew was looking anyway: Death Mountain. The thunderous detonation had most certainly come from there…


Two simultaneous explosions quickly followed, and even from where the two siblings were standing they could clearly see spouts of molten rock spew from the mouth of the volcanic crater. Both Andrew and Melissa knew that Death Mountain was an active volcano, but they had never seen an eruption this powerful before. Could this one be powerful enough to reach Kakariko Village…?

Melissa quickly yanked on his little brother’s arm. “Quick…we must get the village to evacuate! Andrew, come on…!”

“Sister, look!”

Despite fearing for the village, Melissa looked to where Andrew was pointing…and froze in astonishment at what she saw. Before her very eyes, the dark storm clouds hovering over Death Mountain’s crater began dissipating, dissolving upward into the air as if being sucked by an invisible vortex above the volcano’s mouth. A roaring succession of thunderclaps managed to escape in stern protest, and wild forks of lighting spewed fervently from the clouds as if to cling to the mountainside in an attempt to save themselves.

But all efforts were in vain as the black clouds vanished quickly and fluently from the top of the mountain, taking their menace with them. Remaining in their wake were more lightly colored clouds, the kinds of clouds that once were a staple of Death Mountain before Ganondorf conquered Hyrule. These clouds possessed no wicked thunder and no terrifying lightning, and thus the surface of the mountain was dead calm once again.

By no means did Death Mountain look friendly and inviting. Rather, it looked like…Death Mountain. The real Death Mountain.

Even as villagers began to gather around the outskirts of the village to see what had happened, Andrew and Melissa were still too dumbstruck to look away…


“The clouds changed back to their original form? Are you sure about this?”

The Goron who had burst into Malatite’s office with the news nodded feverishly in answer to the doctor’s question. “Yes, yes, they did. They look as calm and as healthy as they did seven years ago. And not only that, but I’ve also gotten word that the volcano’s fires are settling down to their original state as well. I haven’t seen that for myself, but I have no reason to doubt it, either.”

As Malatite conversed with the Goron, Link quietly sat on Sheik’s bed, thinking to himself. He really had no interest in what the Bolero of Fire had done to the mountain; rather he was pondering the next move he was supposed to make as the Hero of Time. Undoubtedly that would be to visit another one of the temples. But which one of the remaining temples…?

“Sheik?” Link said to the Sheikah quietly enough so that he wouldn’t interrupt Malatite. “What’s the next temple on the schedule?”

“The Water Temple…but I’m afraid there are a couple complications, Link,” Sheik whispered back.

Before the conversation could progress further, Link felt a massive hand on his back. He turned around to see Malatite looking down at him. “Am I…disturbing something?”

Link quietly shook his head. “No, not really. Just didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The Goron doctor nodded. “I see. In that case, thank you for your courtesy.”

“Courtesy…” Link thought almost with a snarl. “Why does it feel like a bloody chore to me these days…?”

“In any case,” Malatite continued, “I think it’s same to assume that that song you played earlier has indeed ‘healed’ this mountain…so you say, Sheik. If that’s so, then I take it you’ve done everything you need to do here?”

Both the Hero of Time and the Sheikah quietly nodded.

“And since you’re short on time, as Link indicated earlier, I take it you would like to get moving as soon as possible?”

Again both Link and Sheik nodded.

“Very well,” Malatite stated with a grin. “I’ll make arrangements to lead you down the mountain. I’ll ask a couple of my friends to fetch the stretcher that will take Sheik down to Kakariko Village, and…”

“Link! Link! Link!”

The squeaky voice that abruptly tore through the room made everyone fall silent and look up. It was Navi…and she was fluttering around the room in a frantic state, her pink light flickering wildly in frenzy and excitement.

“Navi, what in the name of the Three Goddesses are you doing?” Link asked with a sigh.

“Link! Link! I heard her! I heard her! She just spoke to me!”

Link felt his eyebrows raise in confusion. “Excuse me? ‘She’? Who is this ‘she’?”

Navi didn’t even seem to hear Link’s question as she continued to flutter around in an almost restless state. “She just spoke to me! Just now! She wants me to come to her! She wants me to bring you to her!”

“What’s this nonsense you’re babbling on about?” Link asked almost angrily. “Navi, I’m not in the mood for games. Just tell me what you’re talking about before I…”

“She wishes to speak to the Child of Destiny! She wishes to speak to him about the power that dwells within him.”

Link almost froze in resentment when he heard that phrase, Child of Destiny. He was growing to strongly dislike anything related to destiny or fate or the like, and to be called a Child of Destiny certainly didn’t help change his feelings on the idea any. However, he was a little curious about this “power that dwells within him”…

“What about my…power that dwells…?” Link started to ask when Navi frantically cut him off.

“She wishes to meet you! She wishes to reveal to you the secrets of your power and how to control it…and the madness that comes with it.”

Link’s face grew white.

“What?” he bellowed, standing up hurriedly. “She knows something about that? She knows what sends me out of control?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Navi spouted eagerly. “She does! She certainly does! She does! She wishes you to come to her! All will be explained there! Yes, it will!”

Everything in Link’s mind concerning his quest as the Hero of Time quickly moved itself to the back of his mind. Thoughts ran wildly inside his head, wondering who this ‘she’ Navi kept rambling about was and how she knew about his fits. The only person Link ever told about them was Ruto, and he doubted the Zora princess was anywhere near Death Mountain…or able to send Navi into a state of hysteria, for that matter.

Without a second thought, Link made up his mind. “Very well. Navi, take me to this...‘she’. I want to speak with her now.”

“Yes! Yes!” the fairy giddily squealed. “Follow me! I know the way!”

With those words, Navi scurried out of the room, her pink light sparkling madly at a rapid pace. Link wasted no time in chasing after his guardian fairy, rushing out of the room without even a second look at Malatite or Sheik. In fact, by the time the Sheikah could say anything the Hero of Time was long gone.

“Link! Link, wait…! Drat, he’s gone.”

“My, what’s going on?” Malatite pondered aloud.

“I don’t know…but I’m not going to be left out of this…” the Sheikah declared breathlessly as he made an attempt to get out of bed.

Malatite quickly stopped Sheik from taking a single step onto the floor. “No, no…you are not walking around in your condition. You could permanently damage something if you move around too much.”

But the determined Sheikah refused to accept defeat. “Then carry me.”

Malatite blinked. “What? Carry you…?”

“You heard me. Carry me on your back. And hurry up, before we lose those two…!”


Returning to Death Mountain’s crater had been one of the things he least expected to do, but after chasing his eager and nimble fairy to the bottom of Goron City and into Darunia’s chamber, he was forced to come to that conclusion. Still, it wasn’t until he entered Darunia’s quarters and was staring at the statue that once blocked the entrance to the crater that he decided to speak.

“Wait, Navi…” Link cried out, coming to a stop. “If we’re going into the crater, maybe I should first get dressed again…”

“There’s no time!” Navi squealed as she hovered edgily. “She wishes to meet you now! Besides, you don’t have to worry. The entrance isn’t that far. You only have to tolerate the heat for a little while.”

Link’s common sense dictated that he should’ve gone back and changed into his heat-resistant clothes anyway, but Navi’s enthusiasm was somehow rubbing off onto him. Whoever this “she” was, he was just as impatient to meet her as Navi, if only to get answers that he desperately sought…

“Fine. Lead the way.”

Link quickly reconsidered his decision as he stepped into the volcanic heat of the crater. Without the heat-resistant garb, the high temperature in the air began crawling upon his skin like thousands of tiny maggots. He quickly found it difficult to breathe, and the smoldering smell on his clothes made him fear they would burst into flames any moment.

“Navi…which way…?” he coughed as he stepped a little deeper into the crater.

“Follow me! Follow me!”

The fay then swiftly darted towards the fork in the road ahead and chose the right path without hesitation. Link remembered Goron Link mentioning that the right path led to the top of the crater; he just hoped that he didn’t have to climb all the way to the top – he couldn’t survive in this heat longer than a few minutes.

Driven by his desire to meet this mysterious “she”, Link followed his guardian fairy at his best pace, ignoring the heat as best he could. The right path started sloping upward quite rapidly, and Link only had to look about to see the path twist its way all around the inner edge of the crater towards the mouth high above. Each step he took felt like he was climbing a flat rock face, and soon the amount of sweat he was manufacturing began to overtake the volcanic heat’s ability to evaporate it.

As he climbed the path, he did take the opportunity to look around for any possible signs of the flock of Keese that had attacked him and Sheik earlier. To his relief, he didn’t see any indications that they were around anymore. Maybe they had fled after Volvagia had been destroyed, like how the Moblins had fled when he had destroyed Phantom Ganon…

“Not too far now, Link. Not too far now!” Navi animatedly exclaimed.

“Yeah, I’m sure!”

Actually, Navi was telling the truth. Although the remainder of his hike felt like it lasted for hours, it only took about a minute before they reached their destination, signaled by Navi’s high-pitched squeals of delight.

“We’re here! We’re here! Link, we’re here!”

His skin itching like crazy and his lungs desperate for a breath of cool air, Link heaved his way up the path to where Navi was hovering elatedly. He took a look around to see…nothing.

“Navi…what are you pulling? I don’t see anything…”

“Watch, Link! Watch! Watch!”

Without waiting for a reply, Navi suddenly dived towards a section of the rock wall…and passed right through it! Link, caught off guard by this, blinked several times and wiped the dripping sweat from his eyes to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. Even then he still felt compelled to call out to his fairy:

“Navi! Where’d you go?”

“I’m right here!” came Navi’s shrill response. “Follow me! Follow me!”

Link still felt a little unsure about what Navi did, but he decided that it was a lot better than allowing himself to stand around and be cooked alive. Wiping the sweat out of his eyes one final time, he walked up to the wall where Navi had disappeared. He then hesitated for a brief moment, closed his eyes, took a deep breath of boiling air, and stepped forward.

The first thing he noticed was that the air around him no longer felt scorching – in fact, it felt remarkably cool! He had to take a deep breath of this refreshing air before he could convince himself to open his eyes, and when he did he gaped in amazement by what he saw.

Link was standing inside a corridor that carved its way deep into the shell of the mountain. But instead of rock covering the walls and ceiling, it was light. A deep blue, delicately undulating light that seemed to flow across the walls and ceiling like a magical river. Link was instantly reminded of the blue waterfalls of light that decorated the Chamber of Sages, but these rivers of light held their own unique kind of beauty. The floor itself was bare rock, but amazingly there was not a single loose stone anywhere – even when Link took several steps into the tunnel, his feet didn’t kick up one speck of dust.

“Navi…where are we…?”

“Her home! Her home!” the fay exclaimed loudly. “She’s anxious to meet you! She really is!”

“Okay, Navi…you’re starting to scare me now…” Link starting thinking when his eyes caught sight of something.

Someone was coming down the far end of the tunnel.

Instinctively, Link reached for the Master Sword and his shield, but he didn’t draw them just yet. “Who are you?” he bellowed down the corridor. “Identify yourself!”

Even with all the blue light floating all around them, the figure approaching from the far end of the corridor had to move within a stone’s throw of Link for him to really see who it was. To Link’s surprise, the figure was…was…

“…A little boy?” he stammered all at once.

Actually, as the boy came closer, Link could see that he wasn’t an ordinary boy. His size suggested he would be about the age of five if he were a Hylian, but his size ended many possible comparisons of him to a Hylian. The boy’s skin was whiter than the purest snow, and his short hair darker than the blackest night. His physique seemed quite fragile, but the air of confidence radiating from him made him feel a lot stronger than he appeared. He possessed a pair of slit eyes colored the deepest green Link had ever seen, and the tips of his ears were more pointed than even a Kokiri’s. He wore a set of clothes colored a light blue, and in one of his hands he carried what appeared to be a doll of some kind of bird.

The boy continued quietly approaching the Hero of Time until he was close enough to reach out and touch him. He then stopped, looked up at the puzzled Hylian…and smiled one of the warmest smiles Link had ever seen.

“Welcome, Link, Hero of Time. Welcome to the home of the Faria Garuia.”

Link snapped out of his astonishment. “Wait a minute…what’s going on here? Who are you? Where am I? And who is this… Faria Garuia?”

The little boy grinned in a way that seemed to suggest he knew something. “All will be revealed soon enough. However, for the time being, I need you to make your way down this corridor. You should enter a chamber with a pool at the end. Wait there for me to return.”

“Return? Where are you going?” Link demanded.

The boy’s grin widened. “Why, to fetch your friends, of course.”

Without another word, the little boy began scurrying his way down the way that Link had come. But as he passed the Hero of Time, the boy paused for a moment to take Link’s hand and press into it his bird doll. He then nodded in Link’s direction before scampering off, disappearing through the strange wall that covered the tunnel’s entrance.

Still confused, Link glanced down at the toy that the boy had given to him, wondering why he would give Link such a thing. His heart nearly skipped a beat when he realized exactly what kind of bird the doll was.

It was an Owl…

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