The Great Fairy of Wisdom
Link's life flashed before him in a hue of rose. Then he was slapped in the face by something cool and wet, but he couldn't gasp for something was blocking his nose and mouth. He thrashed desperately to remove it but it covered him completely, pressing in on him from all sides.
Then his hands burst free, catching a cool breeze that stung his fingers with needles of ice. With a kick of his legs, his face burst into the air. He shook his head, his hair flopping heavily. After blinking a few times, he realized that he was swimming in water. What's more, he was in the lake where Lord Jabu-Jabu was resting amidst bobbing fleshy parts. From the sound of his wheezing, his breaths were deep and steady - which must have meant they had cured him! In the sky, the sun, big and rosy, hung low, almost touching the teeth of the mountains behind the great fish. The red light shimmered on the water, flashing in the boy's eyes.
Navi took a sharp intake of breath. "We were in there that long?"
Thinking of why they had been in the belly of the Zora's deity in the first place, Link suddenly gasped and spun in the water. "Where's Ruto?"
There was a small explosion of water almost directly in front of him that blinded him with moisture and then a delighted laugh, "You worry too much!" When the mist cleared, Link blinked until Ruto's grin came into focus. Then she lowered her head and gave him a sly sideways glance. She kicked herself forward.
The Kokiri wasn't sure what to make of the look the Zora princess was giving him, but about her closing the gap between them he had not doubt. He reacted by kicking backwards to keep the distance between them. He was unable to manage this when he bumped against Lord Jabu-Jabu's enormous body. He had nowhere else to go, so Princess Ruto was able to swim uncomfortably close to him - almost to the point where they were touching.
She giggled and batted her eyes at him. Link was still trying futilely to swim backwards. Ruto said in a soft, silky voice, "That was impressive in there… I don't think I've seen anyone fight as good or as bravely as you before." She giggled again.
"You weren't half bad yourself," Link replied, swallowing a large lump that had developed in his throat. He was vaguely aware of his fairy snorting as she tried to contain her laughter.
The princess shrugged modestly. "Well, anyway, I guess I have to give you a token of my appreciation." She batted her eyes at him again. Her voice dropped lower and silkier, "Name it, and it's yours…"
Originally, Link's plan was to explain to her about his mission to collect the Spiritual Stones for Princess Zelda and why he needed them. Ever since learning that Princess Ruto owned the Spiritual Stone, he had thought carefully about how he would convince her how important it was that she give it to him. But Link had not expected this from Princess Ruto at all and it was leaving him flustered. He blurted out, "I just want that stone you found."
Her smile faded fairly quickly, and his heart sank. She slowly backed away and fixed him with a curious look. "My mother's stone? So you knew all along it was the Spiritual Stone of Water?"
Link stuttered in astonishment, "Wha… you… huh?" She knew? She knew that the stone was more than a trinket? But what did that mean? Was this good or bad?
He waited anxiously, his heart beating painfully against his ribcage. She finally said, "I was charged with keeping it safe by my mother. I could give it to no one other than my most trusted friend." She looked down and fingered her neck.
Which was not good news to Link at all. He needed that stone from her, but if she could only give it only to her friend, how was he going to get it to Princess Zelda?
Then an idea came to him.
"You can come back with me!" he exclaimed excitedly. Navi and Ruto both gave him strange looks, so he explained, "You can bring the Spiritual Stone of Water to Princess Zelda while I bring her the other two stones. I'm sure that once she sees they're fine she'll let you keep your stone."
"Or…" said Princess Ruto with an expression that was both exasperated and amused, "I could just give you the stone."
"Wait…" Link's screwed up his face in confusion, "are you saying…"
"Oh, you really are a simpleton!" she burst out. "Just take it, and take it respectfully!" She cupped her hands and scooped water into it. She stared fixedly at it. Cheeks burning, Link followed her eyesight.
Then he forgot all about his discomfort and instead felt growing amazement. The pool of water in her hands began to ripple from the center outward. Then it split in thirds, forming three drops of water connected by thin streams that twisted around them. By a strange trick of the light, the three drops reflected the color of Ruto's blue skin but the streams reflected the red light of the sinking sun.
The light flashed, blinding Link for a moment. When his eyes cleared, he found himself staring down at Zora's Sapphire - three shimmering blue stones connected by a beautiful pattern of fiercely gleaming gold between them.
"Wow," Link breathed.
"Take it," Ruto almost whispered, "as a token of the oaths we have exchanged. Take it so that you will always remember the promise we made to each other… until you return."
Link glanced up at her in puzzlement for a moment. Oaths? What oaths? What promise? They never promised anything to each other. But with the solemnity of the occasion, he didn't dare ask for fear of upsetting her again. In a strange way, she reminded him of Navi. He accepted the Sapphire and cradled it reverently in his hands. Ruto removed her hands somewhat reluctantly from his. Then without warning she lunged forward and gave him a peck on the cheek. He stiffened and his mouth dropped open in shock. Flashing him a mischievous grin, she disappeared under the water.
She reappeared a ways off and yelled back to him as she swam back to Zora's Domain, "Keep this between us!"
Link gazed dumbfounded after her, still cradling the Spiritual Stone of Water in his hands. Above him, his fairy gave in to mirth and laughed until tears came out her eyes.
Her Kokiri looked up at her reproachfully. "What's so funny?"
"Oh nothing," Navi assured him with a wave of her hand before she burst into laughter again.
"Do you know what all of that was about?" Link insisted as he reached for his pack to put the Zora's Sapphire away. "Why she just all of the sudden kissed me like that?"
"Perhaps," she answered impishly, a new trait for her, which Link didn't appreciate much at all. It felt like this was some sort of elaborate prank that Ruto and Navi had cooked up just to torture him. And his mood didn't improve when he continually missed grabbing the pack at his hip. He looked down in irritation, which became panic when he discovered that the pack was no longer there. He twisted in the water, scanning the area. "Where is it?"
"Where is what?" Navi asked, a smug smile still on her face. Then seeing that Link wasn't looking at her, her smile vanished and she asked in genuine concern, "What's wrong?"
"My pack," her Kokiri answered as he twisted around. "It's gone. I don't know what happened to it…" He paused to take a breath and then ducked under the water. A few moments later he resurfaced and cried, "I don't see it anywhere!" A lot of his things were in there, including the two other Spiritual Stones. He had come so far; he couldn't lose them now!
A splash attracted their attention. Something leaped out of the water, its body forming an unnatural loop before splashing back in. Then it resurfaced and they discovered it was a large fish with scales that shone like silver. It stared at them with large sea green eyes that looked almost intelligent. But what Link was most interested in was what was clamped in its mouth.
The fish ducked under the water. "Hey!" Link cried and dove under the water after it.
"Link, wait!" Navi cried. She had a strange feeling about the silver fish. A feeling that it was more than just. She couldn't just let her Kokiri go after it without her. So she shot into the water, grabbing onto Link's tunic before he dove deeper into the water to give chase.
The fish was fast. Even with Link's pack in its mouth, it sped through the water like a pellet fired from a slingshot. It was taking all that he had to keep up with it. If he hadn't had the silver scales, the silver fish would have been long gone before the boy could perform a stroke. It glanced back at Link from time to time, only to dart forward, going deeper under the water. Link pushed himself harder in an effort to catch up with it.
It came to the entrance to an underwater cave. It glanced back at Link one last time then shot through the entrance and vanished. Link pushed himself to the cave's entrance and peered inside. It was too dark though. With his fairy clinging to his back, her light couldn't shine very far inside.
He lifted the Spiritual Stone of Water. Its deep blue light colored the cave walls though it didn't provide much detail. It didn't matter too much though. He just needed to find the fish with his pack and take it back, so he swam forward.
The cave climbed upward. He was surprised when he soon saw a light rippling ahead. Without warning he broke through the surface of the water and found himself staring at an amazing yet familiar sight.
The walls were curtained with water that glowed soft blue like Navi's light. The water burbled into a pool set on a marble platform that was reached by a set of shallow steps. And hovering just above it, with her legs crossed, was a Great Fairy smiling down at him. Navi stiffened.
"Welcome, Link," she greeted him. "I am the Great Fairy of Magic."
Immediately, the boy saw this Great Fairy was different from her sister on Death Mountain. The Great Fairy of Power had reflected power in her voice and movements, but this one spoke more softly and seemed more serene. And while her sister had been covered from head to toe in jewels and bangles, the Great Fairy of Wisdom had herself garbed in fish scales of many shimmering colors and her hair was braided with seaweed and pearls of white, pink, and black.
"I hoped to meet you," she continued. "My sister told me you might find me - though you'll forgive me for taking the liberty of ensuring that you did." She held up Link's pack and her smile widened a bit.
"That's okay," Link assured her. "Are you going to teach me a new magic power?"
She tossed her head back and laughed. "I take it then that you've mastered Din's Fire? Extraordinary. Not many are able to wield such power."
"Oh, you mean the fire that comes out of my sword? Well, it tires me out when I use it," Link admitted. "I've only used it twice, not counting when the Great Fairy on Death Mountain taught me."
"Your strength is remarkable," the Great Fairy insisted. "Most would have been consumed by the power that you wield with such ease."
Navi bobbed into the air, sparking red. "And yet you grant this power to him! Knowing that much power could have killed him, you grant it to him anyways! How could you be so callous, so heartless, so… so irresponsible?"
A knot formed in Link's stomach. The power could have killed him? The Great Fairy on Death Mountain hadn't told him that!
The Great Fairy of Wisdom inclined her head at Navi. "You speak of my sister. She believed he could wield the magic without fear. After what she had witnessed, she was convinced he had the strength."
Which made sense to Link. And she had been right, hadn't she? The power she had given him hadn't killed him, so it was all right.
It didn't seem his fairy was convinced though. She screeched, "Strength?! That was what she said when we asked why she didn't interfere on the Gorons' behalf. They were starved nearly to death! And I see you didn't aid the Zoras in their time of need either! What do you say to explain that? To exercise their wisdom?"
The Great Fairy's mouth twitched in a wry smile. "My sister spoke of your audacity. I'm afraid she was rather affronted by it. But then, she has always been afflicted with pride. It isn't likely she's told you of the oath we had taken long ago, is it?"
"Oath?" said Link.
"We have sworn to never interfere in the affairs of this world unless we are expressly asked to, and even then only through a delegate; otherwise, there could be disastrous consequences."
"Like what?" Link asked.
"Are you familiar with the War of the Seven Kingdoms?" The Great Fairy's eyes darted between the boy and his fairy. Her expression was serious.
Navi answered in a faltering voice, "It was… one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the world. Hundreds of thousands of lives… were lost… Are you saying you're responsible for that?"
The Great Fairy seemed to droop as though a great weight had settled on her. She closed her eyes and sighed. Then she began the story, "Long, long ago when history was young, there was a people who settled in the land of Hyrule. Among them lived seven sisters of great power and wisdom, who served as their teachers and guardians. In time the people grew and spread across the land, dividing into townships and later into kingdoms. To maintain their watch over this people, the seven sisters spread with them and in those kingdoms where they made their homes the people prospered and grew rich and powerful.
"But it wasn't long before they began to covet more. Kingdoms turned to other kingdoms and saw only that which they didn't have. This covetousness turned to envy and envy turned to hate. Six of the sisters attempted to show the people the error of their ways, but the eldest sister had grown corrupt and wished to make her kingdom, which she had come to rule, the grandest and most powerful of all, forcing her sisters to join with their people to fight against her. And so began the War of the Seven Kingdoms.
"The war was long and bloody. Many people died at the hands of their own. Brother fought brother, and the seven sisters, who were immortal, were soon left with nothing but ruins to watch over. Still Veran would not rest until she had her empire and so the younger sisters had no choice but to shatter her body and scatter the pieces throughout the land. At the end of the war, only a handful of the people survived. They banded together to found the new kingdom of Hyrule and for a time there was peace. The six sisters remaining after the war, having witnessed the terrible destruction as a result of their interference, vowed to seal themselves away - to only lend their power to those worthy to receive it when they were called.
"Over the course of time, their existence was all but forgotten, save for a few. And many of their secrets were lost - perhaps for the better, for if one with wickedness in his heart were to obtain the power they possess, swift destruction is sure to follow." She opened her eyes, which were moist with tears.
Link lowered his gaze to the ground as he digested this story. His stomach was having a hard time of it though. Navi shook her head in disbelief and muttered quietly, "How awful… to have lived through that… awful…"
The Great Fairy spoke, "So now you see why my sister on Death Mountain did not tell you the truth about our noninvolvement with the people of this world. The havoc we could unleash is too great a risk. With the sheer amount of power we possess, had the Great Fairy of the mountains intervened, she would have likely brought down the entire mountain. And had I attempted to purge Lord Jabu-Jabu of the parasites within him, I more likely than not would have killed him instead. That is why we needed you."
"Me?" Link was a little confused. The Great Fairy's next words were only more confusing, "Do you paint?"
He shrugged. "Uh, sure."
She nodded. "To help you understand what I am talking about, imagine you are painting a picture. To paint a sky, what will you use?"
Link scratched his head. This wasn't helping much. "A… paint… brush?" He shrugged.
The Great Fairy smiled. "Now you wish to paint a bird flying through the sky, every feather on its wing in detail. Will you use the same paint - brush?"
Link tapped his chin. "Well, if I was painting every feather, I'd probably get a smaller brush… wait, am I the smaller paintbrush?"
She laughed. "Yes, exactly! We Great Fairies are the large brushes you would use to paint the sky. But to paint in the details, you need a smaller brush, and you are correct that it is you. You are the one who brings focus to our magic to create the larger picture. And you have done very well indeed."
"Ah, well, Ruto helped," Link said humbly, turning red. "And Navi, too."
The Great Fairy tipped her head in acknowledgement. "You recognize the source of your strength. Very wise, young Link."
He shuffled his feet. While Link was speechless, Navi bobbed in front of the Great Fairy and bowed to her. "We appreciate everything you have told us, and I apologize for my offenses. Will you tell that to your sister on the mountain?"
The Great Fairy returned the bow. "If you get the opportunity, it may be better if you told her yourself."
Navi cleared her throat nervously. "Of course. At the earliest opportunity. But for now, we had better be going. We have all three Spiritual Stones, so we'd like to get back to Hyrule Castle before it gets too dark." She started to drift back to where they had come.
"Before you go," the Great Fairy stopped her, "I have a magic spell to teach to Link. Do not worry about time, for I have frozen it temporarily." Seeing the astonished look on the faces of the boy and fairy, she laughed, "It can be a useful spell to know, but perhaps a bit too difficult for you to master now. Instead, I will teach you Farore's Wind. For this you will need to be fully energized. Allow me to ease your weariness." She kissed her hand and blew on it. Sparkling bits of light surrounded him and he felt a familiar rush of power. The aches and pains from his battle inside Lord Jabu-Jabu were wiped away, and the grime on his clothes was dissolved while the tears were re-stitched.
Link studied the magic working on his body in awe. He looked up at the Great Fairy and said, "Thanks." Wondering what this power would do this time, he pulled out his sword.
The Great Fairy shook her head and laughed. "No, Link, you do not use your sword for this skill. Sheathe your weapon and follow my movements." She swung in her arms, drawing her right arm over her chest while her left arm was thrust out, the fingers spread apart. She nodded to the Kokiri, who imitated her, positioning his arms as hers was.
She smiled, pleased. Then she drew in her left arm into her body and spoke, "Now draw in your arm. Be sure that you can feel the energy being pulled in toward you. Can you feel it building up inside you - like a dam with too much water?"
"I - I think so," Link replied uncertainly as he drew in his arm. Then he said, "Maybe I should start again…" He stretched his arm out and then pulled it in again. This time, to his surprise, it felt like he was pulling something in. It resisted and he found it was almost too powerful to bring in.
The Great Fairy smiled and nodded. "Good. You can feel it resisting, can't you?" You are drawing in the energy."
Link nodded. He felt hot and was sweating under his tunic. He was also beginning to shake from holding in the flow of power.
"Now - don't let go of the energy, but bring both of your arms down and then swing them up to control the flow of magic to your hands. Use your hands to focus that energy into a ball between them. Concentrate that energy. Force it into a ball." After saying this, she demonstrated, finishing by thrusting her hands high into the air.
Link followed her motions. His heart thudded in panic when the power began rushing through him into his arms. He thrust his arms up quickly before the magic could explode from his hands. He tipped his hands together and found a force keeping them apart. The energy was rushing up his body, through his arms, and out of his hands into an invisible ball.
Then he began to see a glow of light - a round outline of green between his palms. It grew brighter and brighter until the entire chamber was suffused with green light. He felt the energy slowing in his body but he didn't dare move.
The Great Fairy of Wisdom smiled and nodded. "It's all right, Link. You may release it."
Cautiously, he did. He gasped in alarm when the ball exploded, a rush of green wind tugging on his body for a moment before it vanished. He looked up at the Great Fairy, who seemed to be colored in green as though the wind had painted her in passing.
She laughed in delight and then said, "Well done, Link. You have cast Farore's Wind. This spell renders you invisible to foes. They will neither see nor hear nor even smell you while this spell is active, which you'll see as a green tint on the world. But it consumes a lot of magic, so bear that in mind if you decide to use it. To dispel Farore's Wind, simply blow it away as you would a candle." She demonstrated with a puff and her green color disappeared.
Link nodded in understanding. "Okay. Thank you, Great Fairy."
She nodded to him. She handed him his pack, saying, "Now hurry, Link. Take those Spiritual Stones to the Princess. Protect the Triforce!"
"Come on, Navi," said Link as he clipped the pack to his belt. "Let's hurry back to Hyrule Castle!"
She drifted into his palm where he held the silver scales. She waved to him, "After you."