Large bipedal reptiles with sinuous bodies, lizalfos were carnivorous, with their preferred method of predation being ambush. Once they spotted their prey, they leapt from their hiding spots and attacked before their victims could react, clamping down on their neck with their tiny but sharp teeth to paralyze them or puncturing their vital organs with their knives made from the bones of previous victims, sharpened by running the edges through their teeth.
This lizalfo had gone for Link's neck. The shriek before its attack usually paralyzed the prey, leaving it vulnerable, but when it had leaped for his throat, Link had reacted by crouching defensively, inadvertently shrinking into his shield. So instead of closing around his tender neck, the lizalfo's teeth clamped on the edge of the shield. The boy's life had been spared for this moment, but it wasn't long before the lizalfo took its sharpened bone knife and started jabbing where it could. Its prey was trapped beneath its weight and it didn't want to release its hold to give Link the chance to escape.
It wasn't expecting a fairy to appear to chase it away, but that was what happened. Navi darted down to its pointed face, screamed, "Get off of him, you scaly fiend!" and then rammed into its eye while letting out a burst of light at the same time.
It screeched in pain, unclenching its jaws from Link's shield and raising its claws to shield its eyes. Its legs slipped off the shield, causing it to stumble. Link immediately crawled out from under it and then leaped to his feet, drawing his sword while spinning around to face it.
"Now, Link, while it's stunned!" Navi cried.
The monster was shaking its head and licking its eyeballs furiously but when Link tried to charge at it, it swung its knife. It was a confused slash, not getting at all close to the boy, but it was enough to ward him off. The lizard continued slashing in wide arcs and began backing away.
"You need to get close enough to finish it off," Navi told Link, "before it recovers. You have a small advantage now, but if you don't act quickly, you'll very quickly lose that advantage! Lizalfos are very fast and agile, which makes them very dangerous predators."
Even as she spoke, the lizalfo started focusing its watery eyes on the pair, its left eye bright pink. Its long tongue - a pale blob that made Link think of defenseless, little baby cuccoos - lashed repeatedly at the offended eye. Then it unleashed a primal shriek and lunged forward, bringing its knife swinging down. Link dodged its attack, scuttling backwards until his fairy warned him, "Watch out for that drop behind you, Link!" He would have looked backwards but he was too intently focused on the murderous lizard skittering forward and back, trying to get him to react and open a defense for it to target. Keeping his sword in front of him, Link reached into his pouch for anything that might help him fight the lizalfo and then pulled it out. It was his slingshot. He quickly reached into his pellet pouch and pulled out a Deku seed, which he fitted into the sling, stretched, quickly aimed, and fired.
He missed, for the lizalfo had bobbed its head out of the way just before Link released. Now it darted forward, bringing its knife swinging down. Link only just managed to duck under his shield in time. The lizalfo leaped backwards and then began its dance again - darting forward and back to confuse him.
Link put away his slingshot and grasped his sword again. His palms were sweating again and they were cold. His heart was beating so hard that he was seeing red pulsing around the edges of his vision, and his body was trembling - a result of fear. He channeled the fear into an intense focus, tracking every little motion the murderous reptile made: the nod of its head every time it hopped forward, the flex of its claws as it landed, the twitch of its leg muscles as it changed direction, the roll of its shoulder as it drew back its knife…
The hazy light rippled over the bone, painting it an ugly yellow-brown color. As it swished through the air, a memory flashed unbidden into Link's mind…
"Come on, Link. You're not even trying," Saria taunted, stepping out of Link's reach and lifting her stick, stripped of its bark, to point at him.
He gasped for breath, grateful for this little reprieve. He drew his hand - in which he held his own stick - across his damp forehead. "But you're too fast! I can barely defend myself!" He indicated his body, which he was certain was going to be sporting some spectacular bruises the next morning.
Saria grinned wickedly. "Don't try that on me. You're holding back. I know you're better than that."
"Probably not, after what you've done to him," Anai remarked from the sidelines.
Saria ignored her fairy. She said, "Come on, Link. This is a swordfight. You've got to try harder than that. Do you want Mido to win again?" The Kokiri liked to have swordfight tournaments every week, and Mido was the champion almost every single time.
Link sighed. "What difference does it make? Win or lose, Mido would still hate me, and everyone else, too."
"But then Mido would know you could beat him if you wanted to, and he might not pick on you so much."
"I doubt it," Link scowled.
Saria shook her head. "Look, Link. Just pretend I'm Mido." She raised her weapon with the clear intention of beating him with it. She put on an ugly sneer, "Hey, you, Mr. No Fairy! Shouldn't you be hiding yourself in bed? How dare you show your ugly face?" Then she lunged forward, bringing her stick in from the right. Link was too slow to deflect it so it got him on the arm, stinging it badly.
Saria barked out a laugh. "Whatsa matter, dope? You too stupid?" She swung her stick down on top of Link's head. He caught it with his own stick but the force of her attack caused it to strike his forehead, where a lump formed. And with it, a rage started to boil inside him. "Stop it!"
"Why don'cha make me, dope?" Saria swung again. This time, Link answered it with his own swing, blocking it. But immediately, Saria swished it around to catch him on the side. Link threw his shoulder into the next block, hitting her stick with enough force to send her staggering backwards. But like a thirsty mosquito, she dove toward Link again with her weapon thrust in front of her like a spear. He sidestepped her.
"You gonna just take that?" Anai shouted, her blood pumping with excitement.
Saria swung to face Link, her stick held high. She barked, "Ha! Is that all you got? When am I going to see some real fighting?"
"Stop it, Saria!" Link yelled, his voice high with emotion, his eyes streaming with tears.
But she didn't stop. She attacked him relentlessly, mercilessly, and sneered at him, threw insults, laughing mockingly at his attempts to block her. And she only got fiercer and fiercer while the churning in Link's stomach grew worse and worse, his counterattacks becoming more ferocious, driven by rage.
She swung her stick at Link, aiming for his left ear. There wasn't any way he could block it - she had gotten past his defense. But driven to his instinct to survive, he drove in his weapon as hard as he could. It struck Saria's wrist with so much force that the stick snapped in two, the top half spiraling away through the air with a whizzing sound before it plopped into the grass.
"Ow!" Saria dropped her stick and clutched her hand to her stomach, doubling over. Anai gasped.
Link's mouth gaped in horror. "Saria! I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"
"It's all right, Link," she said, looking up to give him a smile, but it was pained and her voice had come out thin. She ducked her head back into her chest. "That was pretty good… that was a solid hit… good job…" In spite of her best efforts to sound proud, there was something in her voice that made it clear she was holding back tears.
"Are you… are you okay? …I didn't… you know I wasn't trying…"
"I think that's enough for today," Saria said. Link heard her choke back a sob. "I'll be home… I'll be fine… take a break, Link… you earned it…" She turned and began hobbling to her house. Anai gave Link a wide-eyed look that he couldn't read before she zipped over to her Kokiri and followed over her shoulder.
Link's gaze fell down to the broken stick still in his left hand. With an angry yell, he hurled it as far as he could toward the trees, and then he broke into sobs.
The knife whistled as it came down. Link brought his sword up and deflected it, the bone screeching across the flat of his steel blade. Having failed in its attack, the lizalfo leaped backwards and began its bewildering dance again.
"Link, what happened?" Navi cried. "That monster nearly got you! You looked as though you were stunned."
He shook his head. He said quickly, "Just thinking… can you stun it again?"
"When I do, you will need to move in quickly and finish it off," she answered. She darted over to the lizalfo, which was hopping closer as it dodged from side to side. Its beady, yellow eye locked on to her, and then as she tensed herself for another burst, its long tongue shot out and whipped for her!
Navi screamed as the tongue struck her. Link charged at it with his sword raised, having reacted immediately when he saw the lizalfo eyeing her hungrily. As it whipped its tongue, with Navi screaming at the end of it, towards its mouth, Link brought his sword down and rammed straight into the heart of the carnivorous lizard.
It dropped without any preamble, its sinuous body coiling on itself like a bundle of cords. Its tongue, so nearly having swallowed Navi whole, dangled from its languid head. Link dropped down and carefully eased his fairy from the mucus-covered tongue - being especially careful with her wings. He lifted her onto his shoulder where she could perch while she flexed her wings to get rid of the sticky slime.
"Thank you, Link," she said, heaving a sigh of relief. "I'm so glad you were so quick."
"Right after I asked you to blind it, I remembered how the fire keese nearly got you. I saw that lizalfo looking at you like it wanted to eat you, so I hurried to stop it." After tugging his sword out, he stepped back from the dead lizalfo.
"Well done. Now if you'll allow me to remain a brief while on your shoulder, I can shake off this mucus… the edge, Link!"
He had been about to back off the end of the bridge, which was anchored to the top of a wall leading down to a cavern far below. He hastily leaped away. Then he noticed something that brought him curiously back.
The cavern floor was writhing with scaly bodies of dodongos, all crawling over each other and tackling each other. At the edges of the cave, Link could see contraptions. Then he spotted the lift he had climbed and then the top of the giant dodongo's skull directly below, and he realized he was looking down into the main cavern.
"There's so many of them down there!" he exclaimed in both awe and horror.
"And doubtless many more we cannot see and still more to come," Navi added. "At this rate, they'll escape the cavern and spread throughout Hyrule, destroying all in their path."
The thought chilled Link. To think that disaster was very close to breaking. If he had decided not to go into Dodongo's Cavern, they would never have known about this until it was too late.
"Good thing we're here to stop it," he said out loud. Looking down at the mass below, he suddenly had an idea that stretched a smile on his face. He reached into the bomb pouch and pulled out a fist-sized bomb. He plucked the stem.
The hissing attracted Navi's attention. "What are you doing?"
"Getting rid of dodongos," he answered and dropped the bomb.
It had been a simple plan - simple enough to be foolproof: drop the bomb into the swarm and cause a chain-reaction that would annihilate every dodongo in sight. But it didn't quite work that way. The bomb, with a trail of gray smoke marking its descent, exploded just a few feet above the floor of the cavern, too high to affect the combustible lizards directly. However, it did affect the hole from which magma flowed through and down the wall. After the blast, the magma suddenly gushed outward and cascaded over a fairly large section of the swarm. There was a moment in which the dodongos whined in agony before they exploded. The blast quickly spread outward throughout the swarm, building up until the entire cavern shook from the force, causing rocks to tumble from the ceiling and magma to spout from the floor, and throwing Link to his hands and knees. The cavern echoed with deafening cracks of rocks fracturing, shrieks of metal ripping apart and teeth-rattling clanging as they collapsed.
"Oh no! The machines!" Navi cried.
Link realized too late the catastrophic results of blowing up the dodongos. All the Gorons' feats of engineering were now destroyed.
I really should listen to Navi more often, he thought, feeling a little sick.
The deafening cacophony seemed to echo longer than it should have, blasting out of every corner of the cave like a fresh wave of chaos. Just as it seemed the din was starting to die, there was a new sound that shook the ground - a deep-throated roar that could only have come from an enormous monster.
"That's coming from behind us!" exclaimed Navi, pointing across the bridge.
Link spun around and squinted through the dim red light. Beyond the length of the bridge, he didn't see much else, but the fearsome roar shook the ground again. It sounded muffled as though it was coming through the rock but it also sounded close.
"That must be King Dodongo," said Navi, her voice dropping to a hoarse whisper. She crouched on Link's shoulder, her light dimming and her wings dipping as though she was trying to make herself smaller - less noticeable. Her Kokiri didn't blame her. The dodongo king sounded angry.
"At least now we can find him easier," Link said though his voice was no louder than his fairy's. With a dry swallow, he started across the bridge. At the lizalfo's carcass, he heaved its heavy body over the side where it plopped into the molten rock and slowly sank out of sight - the magma glooping at the spot - before he continued on. The monster's roar got louder as he crossed the bridge and his steps slowed. When he finally reached the end of the bridge, he stopped altogether.
A vast space opened in front of him, far greater than the chamber before the entrance. It stretched on in all directions, vanishing into the dark reaches. In this vast space, arranged in long rows and columns within large squares, were what appeared to be plants - round, black plants with ropy stems, each sitting within a crown of large leaves.
Navi hopped from Link's shoulder and drifted forward for a closer look. "Bomb flowers!" she said. "The Gorons have cultivated bomb flowers in here!"
Link followed behind her with trepidation. He was surprised to discover the ground was very moist here. His feet sank easily into the loamy soil. He paused before a bomb flower and said, "These bombs are pretty big." Each one was about as big as his head.
"The conditions in here seem to suit them very well," his fairy said. Then she explained, "You see, bomb flowers are unique in that they require certain conditions to grow well…" she counted them on her fingers, "they can only grow in dark places, in high temperatures, in moist environments, and in volcanic soil. This place appears to fit all the requirements."
"What about for King Dodongo?" Link asked nervously. He glanced into the dark edges around the bomb flower crop, waving his sword in front of him. Then he wheeled around when he heard something approaching, which was quickly growing in volume.
"Dodongos!" Navi gasped. "They're burrowing…"
The ground shook beneath them as they heard again the furious roar of King Dodongo. Link's feet were sinking into the soil, and then suddenly a hole appeared as the ground collapsed, quickly swallowing everything as it expanded. Link had no time to react except to lunge for a handhold, which was a bomb flower, just as he was about to be swallowed too. He had a terrifying sensation of tumbling through nothing before he was suddenly jerked to a halt by the bomb flower to which he was clinging. He automatically clambered with his legs to find some sort of ground and was surprised to actually find something to drape them over. A moment later, he realized he was straddling a pipe, which was part of a network that crisscrossed where the dirt had been - an irrigation system that fed hot spring water from a reservoir above directly into the soil by means of tiny pores in the pipes. Many of the bomb flowers had fallen when the floor had collapsed, but some dangled from the pipes by their tangled roots. The pipe that the Kokiri clutched like a lifeline was warm - almost uncomfortably so - and the moisture was seeping through his clothes. It was starting to burn his skin.
Navi bobbed in front of him and exclaimed, "Don't let go, Link!"
It was a long way down from where he clung desperately to the pipe. It was made even more terrifying by what he saw below: the largest swarm of dodongos he had seen yet, including some of the larger Queen Dodongos, which were shuffling through the smaller lizards like plows through a field.
But dwarfing them all like a giant tree before tiny blades of grass was King Dodongo. Link remembered Darunia saying the legends claimed King Dodongos grew to be as big as mountains. Now he could see what they meant. He was larger even than the giant dodongo skull - easily ten times as large! His black, arrow-shaped head alone was like a hill! His yellow eyes were twice as large as Link's head. And when he opened his mouth to blast a roar at the boy, it was like staring into the opening of a cave.
The boy had never been more terrified. Queen Gohma had been a mere Deku Scrub compared to this monster! What had he been thinking? He should have just taken the Spiritual Stone and used the Triforce to solve this problem for the Gorons, but instead he had to go and decide to take on King Dodongo, blinded by his own self-confidence! Now he was paying the price for it. He'd fail everyone: Navi, the Great Deku Tree, Princess Zelda, Saria… he'd never get to tell her about how he made the big boss of the rock people dance with her song.
Navi smacked into his head. "Wake up, Link! If you don't do something quickly, you'll die!" She spun around and looked about for an idea, "Come on! There must be some way to defeat King Dodongo! You have the advantage at the moment. You're out of his reach."
Link looked down at the monstrous reptile below and realized this was true. King Dodongo was big but there was a considerable distance between them. King Dodongo seemed to realize this, for he roared in frustration, causing the metal pipes to rattle.
Then he began sucking in a huge breath. The suction was so strong that Link felt it tugging at his back. He grabbed his hat to keep it from sailing into the lizard king's mouth. Navi gasped as she started to be pulled down but she managed to catch her Kokiri's collar. The pipes Link clung to rattled with the force but they held. As long as Link and Navi kept their grips tight, they would be safe.
That's what they thought at first. But then they noticed that as King Dodongo filled in his massive lungs through his cavernous mouth, the dark chasm in his throat was beginning to glow an ominous smoky orange.
"He's going to blow fire at us!" Navi cried in realization.
"He can do that?!" Link exclaimed in terror.
"We need to move, Link! Get away from his mouth! Hurry!"
The Kokiri boy obeyed. With his cap clutched in one hand, he shimmied along the pipe hand over hand while he used his legs for balance. He ran into a bomb flower whose roots were tangled around the pipe, but he quickly ripped it off, tossed it down, and continued across. Working his legs over the intersections was terrifying work, for he feared he would either catch his ankles at the joints or overbalance and plunge to the cavern below where he would either be swallowed alive by the massive dodongo or be torn or blown to bits by his smaller offspring, but he managed to cross two intersections safely. He was about to crawl over a third one when he heard the monster let out a blast of crackling flames behind him. The heat of it hit him like a solid wall, almost knocking him loose. At the same time, the metal pipes shrieked as they snapped and then dropped a foot, bobbing wildly, trying to throw Link off, steaming water pouring out of the ends. Then the pipes snapped again and the severed irrigation network dipped even lower, becoming almost vertical. Link's legs were now entwined at the pipe joints and his knuckles were white as he gripped his pipe as tightly as he could. His heart was hammering in his chest and his head was pounding so hard his vision was flashing red.
Navi's voice came out in gasps, "We've… got to… get… to… to safety… higher gr… ground!"
Then she screamed as King Dodongo lunged upward and snapped his jaws shut on the dangling pipes, just below Link. He shook his head, ripping off an enormous chunk of the network with shrieks of shearing metal before he came back down on his feet, taking the chunk and Link with him. He crushed a swarm of baby dodongos under his trunk-like feet, creating an explosion that rippled throughout the cave. The framework that King Dodongo had ripped free now fell from his mouth and fell into the fiery cloud that plumed as the explosions spread outward, ravaging the ground and then the walls. One wall in particular was affected by the explosions, cracks appearing on its face and snaking upward. Steam slowly rolled out from the cracks, hissing like angry dodongos and gradually getting louder.
It had been fortunate that Link had finally lost his grip when King Dodongo shook his head or he would have fallen into the billowing cloud of fire. Instead, he tumbled onto the monster's broad back, bouncing over the dark scales toward his tail. He tried to stop himself but he was moving too rapidly and he couldn't tell which way he was from one moment to the next. He finally managed to stop his mad tumbling when his scrabbling fingers latched onto some sort of fleshy crease - a large scar that ran down from the rear of King Dodongo's back to the flesh of his leg, and it was through sheer dumb luck that Link had managed to grab it.
King Dodongo must have felt the Kokiri boy tumbling down his back for he wheeled his head around and snapped his jaws at Link, though he couldn't quite reach. When that failed to unlatch him, King Dodongo tucked his head in and launched himself into a roll, becoming a ball.
Against this strategy, Link could not hold on. He dropped, throwing himself headfirst so that he could tuck into a roll as he touched the ground, and finally wound up on his feet. Then he sat there dazed, amazed that he was still alive.
King Dodongo rolled out of his ball form, his feet crashing against the ground and sending up a spray of flint. He twisted his body around to face Link, roared, and then launched into a ball again, barreling toward the boy like a mountain-sized boulder.
"Move, Link!" Navi screamed, tugging on his ear.
Just in time, Link leaped out of the way. King Dodongo popped out of his roll, skidding for a distance and leaving deep ruts in the rock. He spun around to charge again at Link, who was running as fast as he could.
"Do you have a plan?" Navi asked breathlessly. She forced herself not to look behind her, even when she heard the giant dinosaur tumbling after them.
"I don't know! King Dodongo - I can't think! If he would just stay still long enough…"
The ground was rocky after the dodongos had all exploded, which made running strenuous, the gravel grinding under his boots and causing him to slip a little with each step. The rumbling of King Dodongo's rolling behind him was getting louder and more violent much too quickly. He dove to the side, and not a moment too soon it sounded like. As the monster skidded to a stop, Link rummaged through his bomb bag and pulled out a bomb. He plucked the stem as King Dodongo wheeled around to face him and then hurled the bomb as hard as he could as the lizard curled into a ball.
Navi had warned him this would do nothing more than annoy the monstrous lizard, but Link had been desperate. It was a surprise to discover that something good came out of that desperation. When the bomb exploded, it halted King Dodongo's rolling. As a result, he collapsed on his back, rocking from side to side with his legs clawing the air, howling in frustration.
Both boy and fairy were stunned by this development. Then Navi cried excitedly, "This is our chance! Find his weakness and exploit it!"
"I think he has a scar," Link said as he began running around the fallen king. "We can try attacking there!"
But although he found it after running around to the dodongo king's right side, he was thrashing too violently for either him or his fairy to get close. So Link pulled out a bomb and prepared to pluck the stem.
"I don't think that will work," his fairy cut in quickly. "That scar of his looks very thick and tough - tougher even than the rest of his skin."
"But you said he has to have some sort of weakness!" Link cried, throwing out his arms, still holding the bomb. "There's got to be some way to get past his armor!" He circled around the giant dodongo's body, trying to spot some sort of weakness. Then something brought him skidding to a halt.
Navi spotted it at the same time. She cried excitedly, "Wait, Link! A way under his armor! Or rather, inside his armor!"
In his frustration, King Dodongo had his mouth gaping for his thunderous roaring - a giant opening straight into his stomach. A fist-sized bomb could easily sail through. It stoked in Link a burning excitement - victory at his fingertips! He brought up the bomb he was holding, plucked its stem, and then hurled it toward King Dodongo's cavernous maw. From there, it was up to the bomb to secure his victory.
Yet somehow it failed. Its target was massive with almost no chance of missing, and yet it did. For as it was sailing for King Dodongo's mouth, he gave a great lurch to the side in another attempt to get back on his feet, throwing his head against the ground in this effort. It was against his shoulder that the bomb exploded, giving the lizard king a boost onto his feet. He immediately planted all four of them against the ground with earth-quaking stomps and then blasted Link with an enraged roar that sent the boy's cap flying off his head. Link didn't wait for the king's breath to be spent before he ran, following his cap although he wasn't concerned about retrieving it. King Dodongo launched into a ball again and barreled after the Kokiri.
"Try throwing a bomb at him again!" Navi yelled, streaking behind Link like a tiny blue comet.
He tried but the bomb bag was bouncing around too much against his hip. He didn't dare slow down with the rumbling of King Dodongo behind him, and it was difficult enough concentrating on not slipping on the rubble or tripping over the ruts. To his horror, it happened anyways. He took a misstep and then fell face-first on the rough ground, skidding painfully on his face and palms. The pain was sharp and biting but with so much adrenaline rushing through him, Link was able to ignore it and instead roll to the side to avoid being flattened, the rush of air as King Dodongo passed him seeming to take his stomach with it. King Dodongo popped out of his ball and braced his legs against the ground although he slid for a distance, carried by his momentum.
Link was soaked with sweat, some of which got into his eyes, adding stinging to his already battered body. Blinded with pain and panic, Link got to his feet and then began staggering to where he thought he might be safe.
Navi screamed to him, "Not that way, Link! You're running toward King Dodongo!"
He veered off to correct himself but wound up collapsing onto the ground. He scrambled back onto his feet and started to run again but now he was hopelessly disoriented, his body tipping him to the right. He fell again, landing against his side with a gasp that was almost a sob of despair.
Or perhaps of surprise, for his hand touched something unexpectedly soft. Blinking through his teary eyes, he saw that it was green and floppy like a little blanket. After picking it up, he realized it was his cap. He quickly used it to wipe the sweat from his eyes and forehead and then got to his feet again. Then Navi darted around his head.
"Are you all…" she began.
A loud rush of air drowned out her voice then. It was King Dodongo sucking in the air into his massive lungs, with a light starting to glow inside his throat. The suction was tugging at Link's tunic. It was also trying to take Navi though she fought against it, flying to her Kokiri to latch onto his shoulder.
But then he ran toward the monster. Navi was so astonished that she started to tumble through the air before she caught herself and fought harder against the wind. She screamed above its howl. "Where are you going? He's going to fry you!"
But Link continued resolutely toward the infernal dinosaur. The suction was getting stronger as he got closer and now he was starting to slide on the rubble. This is where he braced his legs against the ground and reached toward his belt. He stuck his hand into the mouth of the scaly bomb bag and then withdrew it again, clutching a shiny black bomb. He lifted it to his eyes and then reached with his other hand for the rope-like stem. He plucked it and then let it go, where it sailed into King Dodongo's gaping maw.
His eyes narrowed as he stared up at the massive beast - the overgrown pest that was causing the Gorons so many problems, driving them to starvation. He stared into the furnace that was its mouth as the fiery orange light, laced with dirty smoke like dark bolts of lightning, grew brighter. Then he drew the bomb, hissing and sending up a ribbon of silver smoke, behind his head and then, with a furious cry, hurled it forward.
The bomb shot straight into the furnace like a slingshot pellet - a black blur carried on by a rush of wind. Link didn't hear the explosion that happened in its throat, but he saw its effect on the massive dinosaur. King Dodongo suddenly convulsed and then gave a strangled cough that blasted a plume of fire straight at the ground. The blast of heat knocked Link backwards but a roar of pain told him that it did worse to its originator. He pushed himself upright to see what had happened. While the dodongo king's black snout looked relatively untouched by the eruption, he was screeching and shaking his head with a ferocity that made him stagger. Link also noticed that the lizard's eyes were scrunched together.
Navi flew up to him. "What happened?"
For a brief moment, King Dodongo paused and opened an eye that rolled before scrunching it shut again and shaking his head. In that moment, Link had noticed that it was blood red. King Dodongo must have burned his eyes, and the pain from it was enraging him.
"I think he's blinded himself," the boy answered his fairy.
King Dodongo wheeled his head in response to Link's voice and began sucking in a huge breath. Navi caught Link's tunic before the suction could get her and Link braced his feet against the floor. He pulled out a bomb from his bomb bag, plucked the stem and then hurled it into the giant lizard's throat again.
The explosion sent the king staggering backwards before he collapsed onto the ground. Then he got back to his feet and launched into a roll, rumbling toward Link again. Link ran to the side. King Dodongo leaned in his direction but was unable to make the turn sharp enough and rolled past him. He looped around with the apparent intent of running the boy over, but his perception must have been skewed, for his turn was too wide and when he started back toward Link again, he was rolling about ten paces from where the Kokiri boy stood.
Navi whispered excitedly to Link, "He's confused! We can use this to our advantage!" She bobbed forward, beckoning her Kokiri. "Come on!"
He followed obediently although he hissed in exasperation, "But where's his weakness? I've thrown two bombs into his mouth and he's still going!"
"But it's affected him," she pointed out. "Maybe if we throw a few more, we can finally bring him down!"
As they were running, they started to hear a strange noise above the rumbling of King Dodongo's rolling and the crunching of the scree under Link's boots. It was a wheezy constant whistling like a young Kokiri practicing with his tongue between his teeth. It was punctuated by loud cracks that sounded strangely familiar to Link. He had heard it before when the frozen creek in the village had begun to thaw during one unusually warm winter day. But there wasn't any ice in here! It was too hot for that!
"What's that sound?" Link asked, pointing ahead.
Rather than try to describe it to Navi for her to figure out, Link decided to find out for himself. He sprinted ahead, causing his fairy to cry out in surprise. She quickly caught up to him and then screamed in his ear, "Look out!"
"Huh?" Link turned to her and then yelled when he discovered King Dodongo had swerved toward him and was about to crush him. He sprinted faster in an effort to get clear of the tumbling dinosaur's path. It almost worked. The dinosaur clipped him in passing, sending him flying forward and then skidding across the gravelly ground until he flipped sideways and tumbled like a barrel, coming to a stop when he slammed into the wall.
He screamed. The pain was like a giant bolt of lightning through his body - instant and forceful. His head was pounding, his vision pulsing red. He tasted something acrid like metal and it was in his nose too. When the lightning bolt pain faded, it left behind searing needles all over his body. His hands and arms were cut up by all the gravel and his knees were scabbing over, the dirt inside it causing it to itch terribly.
Navi appeared by his side, her voice frantic, "Are you all right, Link? Can you move? Please, try to move! King Dodongo is coming!"
Her voice came in distorted as though Link was listening to her underwater, and it seemed to take a long time for his brain to recognize what she had said. But when it did, he looked over, his red vision swimming. After a moment, he recognized that Navi was right. The giant ball of black scales was coming for him.
He struggled to move, but it was as though his right side was heavier than his left. As a result, his left arm flew into the air like a bird while his right arm anchored him.
"Oh no!" Navi cried. "We need to do something! I need…" She cast her frantic gaze around. Behind her was the wall that Link had crashed into, and it had many cracks in it from which steam hissed. Almost subconsciously, she realized that there must be a large amount of pressure behind it - possibly a reservoir of hot water. But her concern was King Dodongo, who was rumbling closer with each passing second and if she didn't find some way to stop or divert him, he was going to crush Link!
Wait, that was it! Diversion. She immediately shot along the wall, avoiding the jets of steam along the way, yelling nonsense at the top of her lungs. It wasn't necessary that she made sense, she just hoped it would attract the monstrous dodongo.
And it worked. King Dodongo swerved to follow her, missing Link's prone form by an arm's length. She was relieved, but only for a moment for it struck her that King Dodongo was approaching her alarmingly fast. She veered upward just before the monster crashed into the wall.
The impact caused an effect that was both loud and dramatic. The wall cracked with the ear-splitting sound of lightning and then great fragments of the wall struck his body with enough force to make the king buckle. It was followed by a cascade of dark molten rock with searing red veins that coated King Dodongo like a fiery blanket. He roared in agony, causing the ground to shudder. He whipped his head, trying to shake off the burning sludge, and stomped at the magma slowly pooling around him.
Navi heaved a sigh of relief. The infernal dinosaur would be preoccupied with his predicament for a while. She flew back to her charge, who had now managed to prop his back against the wall. He rolled his head back and focused his glazed eyes on her. "What happened?" he slurred. They could hear the dinosaur roaring.
"King Dodongo has crashed into the wall and has covered himself in magma," his fairy replied, a hint of smugness in her voice. Then she asked him, "Are you better?"
Link grunted as he shifted his back. "Still sore all over, but I think I'll be able to move in a little while. Hopefully before…"
Both of them heard it at the same time. A change in King Dodongo's roars. It was rising in pitch and becoming distorted, wavering. They looked over and saw a disturbing sight.
The giant lizard seemed to be swelling, his dark scales rising like tiny spines; even his bloodshot eyes were bulging from their sockets.
Navi jumped in the air. "Oh my goodness, Link! King Dodongo's going to blow! We need to get clear!"
Link immediately scrambled against the wall to get to his feet, but he didn't have the strength and merely slid back down. Navi darted in, grabbed him by the collar, and heaved him upright. Back on his feet, Link staggered forward a few steps until he got into the rhythm and began running as fast as he could.
"What finally got to him?" Link yelled above the wind rushing past them. The ground was still slick with rock fragments, yet somehow, his fairy was keeping him from falling with his collar in her hands.
"It must be the magma!" Navi answered. "Its heat was enough to cause King Dodongo's insides to combust. If it wasn't for his thick skin, we'd have been caught in the blast long before we knew it was coming. But also thanks to his thick skin, the explosion will be even more devastating."
Link looked back though it was too dark there to see. He asked, "How big…"
His voice was drowned by the massive boom, like a bug in an ocean. The shockwave threw the two of them apart, sending Navi spiraling and picking Link up and throwing him through the air like a human spear, at a speed much faster than he had ever gone before, which made his head rush. The thought crossed Link's mind that he would most likely hit the ground hard, but he still tucked into a dive as he came back down. On the ground, he rolled to minimize his impact though his momentum carried him forward into a series of tumbles that finally ended with him skidding along the ground on his shield. He braced for a jarring impact from the wall on the opposite side but it never came. After skidding on his shield for what seemed like an eternity, he gradually came to a stop, and there he lay, breathing hard and listening to his fluttering heartbeat.