Chapter 19: The Sheikah Crypts
Chapter 19: The Sheikah Crypts
After getting over the shock of what happened, I get to my feet and use the stone to grow as I run out of the room. I need to tell the others about this. I sprint through the entire Palace before crashing into somebody. I fall back but the person catches my arm and helps me stand. “Easy there, Little Beast, you don’t want to hurt yourself so soon after all you went through,” I look up at Charlie and feel relief.
‘Charlie, you’ve got to help me! Sheik got taken by a monster called the Hollow and I don’t know where it took him! I think it’s going to kill him!’ I think frantically, but Charlie just frowns.
“What’s wrong, Beasty?” he asks.
I curse myself. This is one of those times I wish I can talk. ‘Sheik got taken by the Hollow!’ I think as loud as I can, but he just puts his hand on my forehead.
“You’re not coming down with something, are you?” I shake my head and push his hand away, repeating my thoughts as if doing that will make him hear me.
‘Charlie, please! I need to save Sheik! He might be killed!’ I feel my eyes start to sting and I look down, my ears falling.
“Hey, it’s okay, Beasty,” he hugs me and rubs my back. “We’ll go find that fairy friend of yours.”
Before we can get to that, Sonja comes running up, panting. “I can’t find Sheik anywhere,” she tells us. I nod and try to tell them, but they don’t notice.
“Where do you think he is?”
“I don’t know, we were going to meet up in the morning but he never showed up,” Sonja says. I wave my arms frantically, trying to get their attention. When this doesn’t work, I settle for tugging Charlie’s sleeve.
“Do you know what happened, Link?” he asks and I nod, flustered at the time we’ve wasted.
“Come on, we’ll go to a study so you can tell us,” Sonja waves and I follow behind her, starting to get fidgety. If only I could talk, then we would already be after Sheik! Why was I cursed with this inability to speak? I’ve tried so many times when I was younger to say things, but nothing would come out. Even now I try to speak, saying ‘hi’ to myself or small words, but it’s like my throat locks up when I try to say it. I’ve never been more frustrated with my problem in my life.
We come to the study and I write what happened as fast as I can, not caring about spelling or grammar. I hand it to Sonja, who raises an eyebrow and passes it to Charlie. He reads through it, the seconds feeling like hours, and his eyes widen. “Are you serious, Link?” he looks at me. I nod quickly.
“What is it?”
“Apparently Sheik was taken by a monster called the Hollow this morning,” Charlie explains.
“Why would it take him?” Sonja mutters, putting a hand on her chin.
I look down, feeling guilty. The Hollow was after me, but it couldn’t find me when I was small. I know Sheik was the one who risked himself, but I can’t help but feel it’s my fault the Hollow took him. If I hadn’t gone after that goat by myself, then maybe I wouldn’t have even gone into that forest and it wouldn’t be after me. I clench my hands into fists and start to think about where Sheik could be.
Then I remember what that lady in the kitchens said about the creature in the crypts. She must have meant the Hollow. So, it’s in the Sheikah Crypts. Good, I know where I need to go, but how do I get there? I look at the doors, then to Charlie and Sonja, who are talking about possible places the Hollow would take him. I can’t waste any more time, I need to find someone who knows the way to the crypts and can help me. I sneak out of the room before either of them can stop me and I sprint through the Palace, trying to find somebody who can help me.
It doesn’t take long to find them. When I run passed a courtyard, I notice a boy with silver hair fixing a propeller on some sort of flying thing. He might be Sheik’s friend Naoko. I walk into the courtyard and he looks up, frowning a little when he sees me. “Something’s wrong, isn’t it?” he guesses. I nod. “It has something to do with Sheik, because he’s not with you,” I tilt my head at that, he smirks. “If I know Sheik, I know he won’t leave a friend of his alone so soon after they got out of trouble. And I’m positive he wouldn’t have left you for any old reason.” Okay, now he’s just confusing me. “So, was he attacked by someone?” he holds up one hand. “Or something,” he holds up the other. I blink at that. He’s giving me a choice, not just a “yes” or “no” question. I lift my hand that mirrors ‘something’ and he lowers his hands. “Okay. So something attacked him and took him?” I nod. “Well we’re a step further. Do you know what took him?” Nod. “Any clue where it’s going? Alright, is it near the Palace, or near the City?” he crosses his arms when I answer ‘Palace’.
He snaps his fingers. “It went to the Crypts, didn’t it?” I nod, wondering how he got it so fast. “Alright, we can’t hold up any longer. Come on, I’ll leave a note for Sonja and we’ll head to the Crypts. You’ll need someone who knows how to handle that place to go with you,” he says.
“I will warn you know, Link, these Crypts are not anything normal. They’re a dungeon in themselves,” Naoko says as we stand in front of the stone double doors to the main part of the Crypt. “It hasn’t been used for a long time, but when I was younger I came here, it was a place filled with nightmares and images I wished to never see again. The Crypts play a huge mind game on anyone who enters, granting deepest desires to the eyes of the beholder. What do you desire beyond anything in the world?” I shrug. “You’re about to find out then.” He opens the doors and I feel a rush of freezing cold wind blow passed us, seeming to seep as far as my bones. “No matter what, keep in mind of what’s important. This place is truly a mad-house.”
We go in after Naoko grabs a torch. I hug my arms to myself as we go down the stairs of the crypts, worried. I know I’ll face the Hollow again, but will I be ready? That thing’s immortal, so how can I possibly kill it? I shiver, hugging myself tighter. What if we don’t find Sheik in time? What if it…kills him? My eyes sting at the thought. I don’t think I could bare it if Sheik died. We’ve grown so close, to lose him, it’d be like if I lost Ilia, Midna or Zelda, who are my closest friends.
“Wha’ I’…de ‘ollow ‘akes Sheik’s sol?” I hear a voice mutter, too deep into my thoughts to register it, when Naoko stops short, making me bump into his back. He turns, looking behind us, and I look over my shoulder. There’s no one there.
“Did you hear that? I just heard a voice,” he whispers, reaching to his belt and pulling off a dagger. That weapon seems to be the Sheikah favorite. “I don’t know where from, but it sounded like a girl’s. Keep your eyes peeled,” he lowers his voice more and I keep walking. I watch the walls and shadows, hoping nothing will come out of the corners and kills us. Or worse.
“I ‘onder i’ de ‘ollow wou’ ‘urn us inta pup’ets,” the voice comes again and I feel my jaw move and for some reason, my throat vibrates. The voice sounds weird, like whoever’s speaking isn’t experienced with it. I rub my throat. I hope it’s not getting infected or something from all my screaming. This would be a horrible time to become sick.
“There it is again,” Naoko snaps his head around as we enter a circular chamber. “Strange. Okay, Link, this is the spot most of the problems start. This place likes getting into your head, and gives whoever enters something they’ve never had. For example, I’ve never been able to see in the dark well, but I can spot every detail of the floors,” he looks at me thoughtfully. “I wonder what you would gain...”
I shrug. “Pro’bly summat ‘upid,” my jaw moves again and I rub my throat, Naoko’s eyes grow as wide as plates. I tilt my head, frowning. “Wha’s ‘e lookin’ a’ me like dat fer?” I spin in circles, the room may be large, but it’s open and I can see every corner. Who in Hyrule is talking?
“Link,” Naoko says slowly, walking up to me. “T-think something. Anything.”
I raise an eyebrow. ‘Anything,’ I think, but my jaw moves and the voice sounds again. “An’thin.” Naoko goes pale.
“Oh…so that’s what you gained,” he mutters. “Link…do you desire to talk?” he’s saying it so slowly, as if talking to a kid.
I shake my head. “Well, apparently this place thinks you do. You’re…talking. Granted, you have horrible speech, but…” he trails off, letting it sink in. My ears fall. That was me who just talked? I shiver, looking around this place. It…gave me what I lacked. And I lack in speech. What is this trick? I don’t trust it.
“Ah do’ ‘ust i’,” I mutter before clasping my hands over my mouth. I don’t want to talk! I feel myself start to shake. I don’t like this. I hate this! I don’t want something I’ve never had! That way, when I leave this place, I won’t feel sad about not having it!
Naoko sighs, giving me a friendly hug. “Shh, it’s alright. I can tell you don’t like it, and that you’re scared, but you know not to be happy. That’s good. The reason some people waste away in here is because they wanted to keep what they gained. But the deeper you go, the more this place takes for what it gave you. Try not to talk, the less you talk, the more you’ll just shrug this off once we get out of here.”
I nod. ‘Shouldn’t be that hard,’ I think, but say it as “‘Uln’t b’ dat ‘erd,” and stuff my hands into my mouth, eyes going wide. I didn’t want to say that!
“Oh dear, you can’t hold your tongue,” Naoko says, turning to look at the door on the other side. “Just…try not to think words, that way you won’t say anything,” he starts walking and I gulp as I follow him. I really hope I don’t get used to talking. It feels so weird! Feeling the inside of my throat vibrating as my tongue moves around in my mouth along with my lips is just freaky. Sure I’ve opened my mouth plenty of times, but the only sound that comes out is laughter or screaming.
Well…I guess besides the first time I went to the Sacred Realm, but that’s different. That place can heal poison, so I guess it can make it so I can talk without having it feel weird or be a problem. I notice my speech is kinda broken, and hard to understand. I know what I’m trying to think-er-say, but it comes out so strangely. Midna will never let it go if she finds how stupid I sound.
We go through the door and find ourselves in a similar chamber, only this time doors are in each compass direction and look the same. Oh man, this is going to be a puzzle-maze thing, isn’t it? I feel my shoulders slump, how am I supposed to know which way to go? It’s not like I have a guide to tell me how to get passed these things.
Naoko makes a ‘hmm’ noise like he’s thinking hard and walks into the center of the room, beckoning me to follow. “Can you look around this room and point to which door is the darkest?” I blink at the strange request, but look at each door. It would be easier of they were side-by-side. I point to the door to my left after a few minutes and Naoko nods. “Okay, let’s go that way,” he heads the opposite direction. I follow, reaching into my bag and pulling out my bow and two arrows in case something pops up.
We come into a similar room and continue the pattern of going the opposite way of the darkest door. Soon we come across a different chamber that has a large hole in the middle and several smaller holes scattered around the floor. I have a feeling I won’t want to fall through those. Naoko crouches, looking over the floor. “We’ll have to be careful crossing this, it doesn’t look very sturdy,” he says, straightening up.
“Kik,” I nod and clamp my hands over my mouth, feeling my eyebrow twitch. I can’t stop talking!
Naoko ignores me and hesitantly steps on the ground in front of him, pressing down and making sure it’s steady. He goes on like this until he comes to a hole. He looks down and whistles before looking over his shoulder at me. “I suggest not looking down there, unless you want to hurl,” he himself looks a bit pale, and my shoulders sag. Now I’m curious, dammit! I start walking forward, being careful not to step on any parts where it looks like it could break as Naoko starts going again.
I come to the hole, the edge just blocking out the bottom, and gulp before looking over. I don’t see anything, just a dark floor. Then a long, white arm comes out of the ground. It has red soars covering its skin, long red claws and looks like it’s about six feet tall. I shiver, unnerved by it, but not that scared. Wonder why Naoko paled. I’d better not risk asking.
I look up to see Naoko stop for a moment, frozen on the spot as a loud groan echoes around the room. I glance at his feet when he does and from here I can see the stone starting to crack. Seconds pass, both of us waiting with bated breath, but nothing happens. But still, Naoko doesn’t move. “Link,” he whispers, like talking louder will make him fall. “If I go through this floor, keep going on ahead. But be careful, this place may give you something, but it gives you it for a price. Keep to the task we’re on, and you should be fine.”
I don’t like the sounds of that. At all. And Naoko will be dammed if I leave him here to rot. He shifts his foot just a little and that’s enough for him to fall through the floor, dust and stones falling after him. I hear a thud and click my tongue, looking down the hole in front of me to see Naoko’s foot. “Ouch. Alright, remember what I said,” he says, moving out of my sight. “I’ll find a way out, so don’t worry about me.”
The arm I noticed earlier moves, as if to grab Naoko, but he’s too far away and I soon start hearing his boots scrunch on the floor. I go to step around the hole when I hear a strangled gasp and the sound of something bursting out of the ground. Forgetting about what he said, I jump down the hole and land on my butt beside the hand. I crab walk away from it and turn my head to see Naoko being held by another arm. I scramble to my feet and look around, frowning. I don’t see anything. The arm lets go of Naoko and he runs to my side, grabbing my arm and pushing me away. “What did I tell you? Sheik’ll kill me if you get hurt on my watch,” he whispers harshly, eyes darting around the room quickly.
I tilt my head, wondering what can be wrong, when he backs me into the wall. “Link, stay here and don’t go near those arms. They’ll grab your throat and it will come out,” he shivers at ‘it’. Why does everyone say ‘it’ instead of what ‘it’ actually is? It’s just annoying, not scary.
I look up at the roof, but there’s no way to reach the holes. There are no doors, and the room is just one big place with more of those arms. “I’ll look for a way out,” Naoko carefully walks around the room, not daring to get close to the arms. I don’t blame him, they are a little unnerving.
A chill goes down my spine and I feel something tug my ankle. I look down to see a hand holding me and I pull, but it holds me firm. I look at Naoko, he’s not looking towards me. My ears twitch and I turn my head to see some weird creature come out of the ground, almost silently. It’s tall, about seven feet, and has a fat body, a thin neck, and a head with a huge mouth. Its skin is like the arms, an ugly white with red soars covering it. I’m not sure how it moves, but I have a feeling there are very small feet under the skin of the bottom.
I can see why Naoko freaked out, this thing is creepy!
Gulping, I back up, but the hand moves and wraps around my neck, choking me. The creature comes closer, but I don’t dare say anything. I struggle to pry the hand off my neck, but it just clamps down harder, its claws digging into my skin. The creature brings its head back and snaps forward, biting down on my shoulder and I let out a cry of pain. The hand lets go and I have the chance to grab a bomb. I squeeze it and drop it at the things ‘feet’ as I see Naoko running over, dodging the arms. I shake my head, trying to tell him to get away, but he doesn’t see and the bomb explodes just as he gets in range. It sends us both back and we hit opposite walls as the thing burrows back into the ground. Wow, what a coward.
“You alright, Link?” Naoko asks, stepping around the arms.
I nod and stand, wincing at my stinging shoulder. I can’t worry about that now, Sheik’s still in danger. I look around the room again, but still can’t find a way out. Naoko goes to lean on the wall, when he falls through it and I brighten. Fake walls, eh? I step through the fake wall and see a hallway leading to a bared door, so at least we know where we’re going. I help Naoko up and he tries the door, sighing when it doesn’t open.
“I think we might have to kill the Dead Hand,” he mutters, looking at me. I raise an eyebrow. Is that what that creature was? “One of us will have to play as bait to lure it out, while the other attacks it. You can only hit its face since its skin is tough. Who will do what?”
Please don’t ask me, I don’t want to tal- “Ah b’ bit,” I say and groan, Naoko grimaces slightly.
“Right, sorry, shouldn’t have asked,” he scratches his cheek sheepishly. “But you want to be the bait? Are you sure?” I nod. “Well…alright,” he says slowly. I step out of the hallway and walk to one of the arms before poking it making it come down and grab my hair. I hear the Dead Hand emerge and try to keep calm as it comes at me. I spot Naoko come out of the fake wall and he throws a dagger at the Dead Hand’s face, catching it right in the eye. The Dead Hand groans and swipes at me with its stubby arms, but misses. It crawls away, but Naoko takes out a fan and tosses it like a boomerang, making it fly around and slice the Dead Hand’s head off.
The hand lets go and the arms retreat into the ground as the Dead Hand falls forward, its mouth gaping. I rub my side as I walk over to Naoko, who’s prying the fan from the Dead Hand’s neck. That’s an interesting weapon of choice. “If you were wondering, yes, I use a fan as a weapon,” Naoko mutters, not looking me in the face.
It’s unexpected, that’s good. I tug his arm and jerk my head to the fake wall, the door’s probably opened.
We go through the door to find ourselves in a dark room and I blink a few times as my sight adjusts. My eyes go wide when I see what’s standing in the middle of the room. Ghirahim smiles, seeing that I spot him. “Why hello. It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Forest Child?” I unsheathe my sword and shield as Naoko darts his head around.
“You are not wanted for this conversation,” Ghirahim waves his hand and the floor opens under Naoko’s feet, sending him deeper into the crypts. Oh great. Ghirahim, his task done, nods slightly and looks at me before teleporting. I turn, looking at every corner of the room, when he appears right in front of me, eyes shining when I jump back out of shock. “It seems you came after all. I must say, bringing that creature here was such a difficult task. I had to stop him from eating just anybody by telling him about a certain Hylian who escaped his grasp long ago,” he says, walking towards me. I walk backwards in the same pace, making sure he doesn’t back me up into a wall. “When he had had enough, I let it go and ordered it to bring the boy I was looking for here. But imagine my surprise when he brings a Sheikah to the deepest part of the crypts and not you. Care to explain why?”
I bite my lower lip. He probably knows I can speak now, and he’s trying to take advantage of my loose tongue. He laughs, teleporting again. I don’t have time to react when he grabs my arm and runs forward, slamming my back into the wall and I hear a crack from the pressure. He holds me off the ground by pressing his hands into my arms and leans his face close to me, freakishly calm. “My my, not going to tell me? After all your ancestor and I went through, you won’t tell me anything?” I answer by spiting in his face. He holds me into the wall more and wipes his face, looking irritated and annoyed, but not angry. That makes it worse. “Don’t try my patience. I know you have some memories of your past lives. And I would love to see them and discover just what problems you all went through.”
I struggle, but he punches me in the nose, making my vision blur. “Now, you listen clearly, I am not above killing you,” I feel him put his sword on my neck. “But I need you for a little longer. But just your body. The Hollow will take your soul and spirit, but your body will remain and with it I’ll use human parts to revive my master and give my ally what she needs to power above her brother.”
‘Ally?’ I think, forgetting I say whatever’s on my mind and it comes out as “A’y?”
Ghirahim chuckles, rubbing his thumbs in circles on my arms. “Do you not remember my ally from the first time we met? She’s a tad crazy, but she’s a good help. Unlike that Twili, I want to keep her around.”
There’s him calling Zant ‘that Twili.’ How can that guy be so stupid as to see he’s only playing a small part in this? Doesn’t he realize that Ghirahim will kill him after his job is done?
My vision starts to come back and Ghirahim smiles. “Now, tell me your secrets,” he presses me into the wall further and I bite my lip again, desperate not to tell him anything. “Come on, I can find out the easy way or the hard way,” he lets me drop onto the ground and I bite my lip, making it bleed. I’m not even recovered from my old injuries, and this isn’t helping them heal at all. Ghirahim steps on my stomach, making me gasp as he pushes his foot down, even turning it slightly. “You are one stubborn kid. The pain will all end if you tell me your secrets.”
When he sees that this isn’t making me talk, he rolls his eyes and does something that completely catches me off guard. He snaps his fingers and the next second, Sheik is dropped behind him, still unconscious. ‘Sheik,’ I feel my heart flutter but that quickly dies when I look back at Ghirahim, who’s smirking like the Demon he is.
“Now, if you tell me you’re biggest secret, I will leave you two alone. But if you refuse, I will kill him,” he summons his sword and holds it at Sheik’s head. “Your choice.”
Well, I don’t really have much to hide, anyway. Only my fear of magic, which he already knows, and that I’m a girl. I mentally shrug, people will find out eventually anyway, besides, it wasn’t my idea to hide it. “Ah g’l,” my mouth feels dry and my throat hurts from the little talking I’ve done.
“Ah’m…eh…gurl,” I say, slower this time. It sounds weird for me to be talking.
Ghirahim raises an eyebrow, seeming more interested for some reason. “Hmm, should have known,” he slaps the side of my face gently-wait what? Why’s he being gentle now? “But your little guise did fool me, nonetheless. Oh, and before I forget,” he turns his head to Sheik, smirking. “This isn’t actually your Sheikah friend. He’s still being held captive by the Hollow. This is just an illusion. Stupid girl,” he snaps his fingers and the illusion vanishes, making me grit my teeth. I should have known. Ghirahim laughs and slams his foot into my stomach, knocking the air out of me before turning his back to me. “I should get going, someone is coming who has quite the appetite,” I sit up and rub my ribs as he vanishes, leaving me alone in the dark.
What’s he planning? I get to my feet, trying my best to ignore my injuries, and look around. Something with an appetite? All I can do is hope I don’t have to face the Hollow yet.
After a few moments of silence, I start to walk to the other door when I see something move out of the corner of my eye. I take out my bow and ready an arrow, looking around quickly as I hear a rumbling. Something smashes the floor behind me and I turn to feel my jaw drop. A huge thing lifts its club, which looks like a tree, up onto its shoulder, roaring in my direction. My mind snaps back to that vision the Stalfos Brothers showed me, and I gulp. This is an Orc, isn’t it?
The Orc roars again and runs at me, holding its club up high. I shoot it in the head, but the arrow bounces off and thuds into the ground at my feet. I feel a cold sweat break out on my forehead; this will be one Din’s Hell of a fight. The Orc swings its club and I duck under it, hearing the wind from the blow, and take out my sword, slicing at its leg. It kicks me away as if I’m a bug and I somehow land on my feet a few meters away. I jump away and look into my bag, trying to see what can help me right now.
I snap my head up when the Orc slams its club down and roll away, taking out a bomb. I toss it at the Orc but it catches it and tosses it away, making the explosion light up the room for a millisecond. Thinking fast, I reach in and grab the Megaton Hammer, hefting it up as high as I can get it and slamming down after ducking the Orc’s swing. The hammer lands on the Orc’s foot and it lets out another roar as it kicks, sending me skidding across the floor on my back. My head slams into the wall and I let out a moan as I hold my head.
“So’ o’ ah bick,” I mutter, then scowl at myself. Dammit, it’s starting to get a little harder not to talk.
I sit up to see the outline of the Orc before seeing it looming over me. It brings its foot up and I snap out of my daze in time to roll between its legs and come up behind it. I spot the Megaton Hammer and run at it, fumbling to pick it up. Aw c’mon! Why now of all times? I gasp when I’m picked up by the Orc and grit my teeth, doing my best to keep a hold of the hammer.
It turns me to its face and roars, making my hair fly back as I lose my hat. But that’s the least of my problems. Somebody needs to wash their mouth! I manage to pull my arm out of its hand and plug my nose as it stops roaring, snorting into my face like a wild goat. “Me…want…food!” it shouts in my face, making me gag at its breath.
Aw man, I need to risk talking to get out of this. I cough and unplug my nose so it, uh, he can understand me better. “Loo’, ya do’t wanna eat may. I ‘aste ter’bil!” please let him understand.
He blinks slowly, snorting again into my face. “That not what demon say,” he growls, sniffing me.
“‘Rust may, I’m ‘ucky,” I swallow the lump in my throat. I’m expecting to be licked and prepare for it. But he doesn’t do that exactly. He runs his thick finger over my face and head like he’s stroking a cat, then sticks his finger in his mouth. He spits in my face, making me wipe it with my sleeve, and squeezes me.
“Demon lie, now I kill,” he grunts.
Goddess Dammit, this is getting worse. I look down to see the Megaton Hammer and try to think of how to get out of this, when something hits the Orc’s head with a flop and we look to see Naoko standing there, looking stunned. “Wow, I threw that point-blank and still got the brute.”
I smile, when the Orc drops me and roars at Naoko, dragging his club after him. “You smell better than scrawny rat,” I stick my tongue out at the Orc as I get to my feet. Stupid meat head, not my fault I haven’t gotten the chance to have a bath yet. I shake my head, somehow, I don’t think that’s what he means. I pick up the hammer, my muscles are screaming right now, and try to limp after the Orc, but Naoko is running around too much with the Orc in his pursuit for me to catch up. Dammit, stay still!
Biting my lip, I look around the room to see if there’s anything that can help me. Sadly, I don’t see jack all. I look into my bag to see the ocarina I got from the Deku Tree. Maybe if I play a song, I can get the Orc to sleep or something. I take the ocarina and drop the hammer, making sure it doesn’t land on my foot.
That would be bad.
I put the instrument to my mouth and start blowing, somehow knowing how to play it.
I blame Link-er-the Hero of Time.
I’m not sure what I’m playing, but rain suddenly starts falling. From. The. Ceiling. Bloody Din’s Hell, what did I do? The ground becomes slippery and muddy, causing both the Orc and Naoko to stumble and slide in their running. “Link, what did you do?” Naoko yells as I wipe my bangs out of my eyes.
I shrug, biting my lip to hold my tongue. I’ve been talking too much and I’m starting to get used to it, and I don’t think that’s good at all. I pick up the hammer as the rain stops and look up in time to see Naoko slipped and is coming at me. I don’t have time to move and he slams into my legs, making me fall forward and face-plant. Yay. I pick my head up and wipe the mud off my face to see the Orc on the other side, slumped into the wall.
Here’s our chance. I pick myself up and run as fast as I can at the Orc, bringing the hammer up and slamming it down on his skull.
The resulting sight is something I wish to never see again.
I back away from the still mass of Orc, trying to fight down the bile threatening to rise from my stomach. Never, do I want to see the brains of any animal, creature or human again. Ever. I wipe the head of the hammer on the Orc’s rags and refuse to look at his caved-in head, not liking what I did to him. He had been tricked by Ghirahim, and probably wouldn’t have even fought me if the Demon hadn’t bribed him by saying I taste good. I close my eyes, feeling tears burn my eyes. I hate killing. Why can’t it stop? I don’t want to kill anything, but the things I kill always make me kill them, or I will die. I feel selfish thinking that. Thinking I’m any better than those I kill.
I blink, confused. I haven’t thought like this for a long time. I always feel sorry for killing anything, even if it’s a Keese or Deku Baba, but I haven’t been so saddened by the thought since I killed Di Baba. When I was finished puking my stomach out, Midna had slapped me and yelled at me that it was either the monster or her ‘servant’, and she didn’t want to lose her ‘servant’ because that ‘servant’ was a weakling who couldn’t hold their emotions.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and look up to see Naoko, he’s smiling sadly. “You’re experiencing the second stage of this place, revisiting old memories of your flawed self. If we don’t keep our heads and think about the present and future, then we’ll lose our minds. This place gives and takes, and we need to push what it gives us away and embrace what it tries to take. Okay?” he helps me up, his smile turning genuine. “Now let’s get going. We need to save our friend after all.”
I smile slightly and follow him, but not before looking at the Orc’s dead body and bowing my head. “Ah sarry, res’ i’ peace,” I say, cursing myself for speaking, but feeling like a weight lifts off my shoulders.
Naoko and me enter the next room to see a corridor. Not doors, no other ways except a straight path to the door on the other side. The corridor seems to stretch longer than it is and I tilt my head. Is this another of the Crypt’s tricks? Naoko starts walking, gently keeping a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t look anywhere else besides the door. If you do, you won’t be able to leave,” he whispers. I nod and lock my eyes on the door, refusing to look away. I wonder how Naoko knows all these tricks and illusions of this place. Has he been here before? Or is there more to him than I first thought?
As we keep walking, the corridor seems to become longer and longer, and it’s like we aren’t moving at all, even though I know we’re walking forward. I feel my nose itch, and my eyes widen when I sense a sneeze. Oh no, if I sneeze here, I might look down and be stuck. If I’m going to save Sheik, I can’t be stuck in a corridor! I hold my finger to my nose, gulping as I start to breathe in short breaths. No, don’t sneeze, don’t sneeze.
“Ah-ah-ah choo!” my head jerks down and I lose eye contact with the door as I cover my mouth with my sleeve. Naoko freezes as I open my eyes and look at the door again, sniffling quietly as if hoping that didn’t count.
“Run,” he says, and I feel my ears twitch as moans come from the walls. “Run Link!” he pushes me forward and we start sprinting, I see out of the corner of my eyes that long, purple arms and hands come out. They resemble the Dead Hand’s arms, but they aren’t clawed and seem to have an eye in their palm. “Great, Handmasters,” he mutters sarcastically, annoyed. “Just keep running, Link! We’re almost at the door!”
I blink doubtfully, we’re not even halfway-
I don’t get to finish my thought when my nose gets slammed into the door suddenly. I stumble back, but Naoko keeps me from falling and he opens the door, pushes me through, and closes it behind him, locking it with a conveniently placed piece of wood. He looks at me, huffing and puffing, looking confused. “Why didn’t you open the door? It was right in front of you.”
I tilt my head. What does he mean? It was so far away, then it just showed up in front of me. I rub my nose, finding that there’s blood on my hand. Oh yeah, Ghirahim punched me in the nose, and it bled. Looks like I was too distracted to notice. I wipe my face as I look around. We’re now in a fully lit room with a green mist hanging around in the air. Other than us, the room is empty. I reach out to touch the mist, but it evades my hand and dances around it, making me smile curiously. I walk forward, and chuckle when the wisps of mist dance around me, filling me with a renewed joy and determination to save Sheik. I look at Naoko to see he’s staring at me, gobsmacked. “You are one of a kind, that’s for sure,” he says, awed. “Those are Misty Moths, they live in dark places filled with misery and are very viscous; they attack anything that has even the slightest bit of darkness in them. The fact that they don’t attack you shows just how amazing you are.”
I tilt my head at the ‘Misty Moths’ as one of the wispy things lands on my nose, making me go cross-eyed. They don’t look like moths to me, they look like streams of gas or something. I can’t help but smile though as I feel the Moth tickle my nose.
Naoko can’t help but shake his head in fascination. No one has ever been able to get a Misty Moth to come close to them, let alone touch them. It really shows how innocent and young Link is, despite all she went through. Naoko can see very clearly as to why Sheik is so fond of the girl. It’s hard not to like her, though he knows many people probably do. It’s a shame really, she’s probably the most caring person Naoko has ever seen. She willingly came to the Crypt to save Sheik, and refuses to back down, even though she’s terrified about speaking. That’s true courage right there, and he can tell now why she has the Triforce of Courage.
The silver-haired boy smiles as more and more Misty Moths land on Link, covering every part of her skin they can touch. She doesn’t even seem to care as she twirls in them, spreading her arms and laughing happily, giddy from their magic touch. One stray one pulls back a bit and Link notices. She smiles at the young stream of mist and gives out her hand, letting it rest on her finger.
Then, all at once, the Misty Moths fly off her and vanish, making the room dim as they leave. The only one that stays is the small Moth, which seems too weak to fly for very long. Link grins and gently runs her finger over the mist, hearing a soft tingling from the moth. “Ah ca’ ya W’sp,” Link’s broken speech seems to reach the Moth, because it floats up and lands on top of Link’s head, nuzzling into her dirty blonde hair. Another smile breaks across her face and she looks at Naoko with childish glee.
“Looks like you made a rare friend,” he says, looking behind Link at the other door. “We should get going. With that Moth around, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your mind. Despite being quick to attack anyone with a cruel heart, they radiate happiness, that’s the main reason their found in these places, because they give off hope.”
Link just smiles fondly and turns to the door, keeping an eye out for anything that can attack them. The two head on, now with their companion, and go through the now empty room. Even Naoko feels refreshed from the Misty Moths’ short presence and has a determined fire burning in his reddish-brown eyes. They are going to save Sheik, no matter what the cost.
Link clenches her fist, taking a deep breath. Even if she has to face the Hollow, she’ll make sure it’s the final time she ever encounters the monster. She doesn’t care if the Hollow can’t be killed by mortals, she’ll give it her all, and even call upon the Power of the Goddesses if she has to. Yes, Link will even use magic if it means saving Sheik.
She smiles at the thought of Sheik’s face, and her eyes spark with an emotion that Naoko catches, which makes him smirk gently. So Sheik’s love isn’t one-sided after all.
With Wisp lingering on my head, I feel as if nothing, not even Ghirahim or the Hollow, can stop me. Heck, I feel as if I can defeat Ganondork again without a problem! Oops, shouldn’t get too carried away. The Dork Man is still an overly tall jerk, even if he is dead.
Well, for all I know, he could have been resurrected. I shiver. Okay, I should really calm down. I don’t want to imagine The Dork Man coming back to snap my spine in two.
I start to calm down, although I’m still a bit giddy and ready to fight, and we go through the door. We find ourselves in a corridor that branches off into two ways, one to the right of us and one that to the left corner. I look at Naoko, since he knows more about this place than I ever will.
“We should go right. If I remember correctly, then the left way leads to a fiery pit of death,” he says, walking right.
My ears twitch a bit as I tilt my head. Yep, he’s been here before. But why? What purpose would he have here? Was it something like what we’re doing now? I guess that’s a big possibility, but I shouldn’t ask. It might make him remember something he doesn’t want to talk about.
We come down the corridor to find ourselves on the edge of an outcropping, a dark, seemingly endless pit below us and another outcropping on the other side. I look around, but don’t spot anything that can help us. “Hmm, let’s see, what can we do…? Well, I guess we could do…yeah, but she’s too big to just…yes yes, I know,” I raise an eyebrow at Naoko as he continues to talk to himself, his eyes are unfocused, yet somehow focusing on the other side at the same time.
Is this another trick of this place? Do you slowly start to lose your mind after being here so long? Naoko snaps his head at me and I jump slightly in surprise. “Link, do you have anything that can make you lighter and/or smaller than you already are?” he asks. I feel the Kokiri Stone, nodding slowly. “Good, do whatever it is. I have a plan to get us over there.”
Not understating any of this, I hold the Stone tighter and shrink down, finding it odd how Naoko doesn’t even seem to freak out about it like most people have. “Perfect!” he lays his hand flat on the ground, palm up, and I get on, sitting in the center as he brings me up to his face. “This helps us a lot. Alright, you see this crack?” he points to a spot in the wall at his eye level that I didn’t see. “It might lead somewhere. Be careful and go through it, it might just lead to the other side.”
Wisp, crackling, flies at Naoko’s face, and he holds up his free hand, silently asking for Wisp to calm down. “She’ll be fine. You could go with her if you want. I’ll put up a barrier around me so nothing can see or feel me. They’ll pass straight through me and be none the wiser.”
I shiver, that sounds uncomfortable. He lifts me up to the crack and I crawl through. It’s a tight fit, bit I manage to get in with the help of Wisp, who I know see is similar to a speck of dust. I look around the crack to see it’s not just a crack, but a huge tunnel. Wow, who’s the person who created this place? It’s like they knew.
Shaking my head at how silly that is, I start walking to my left, wondering if this will lead all around the pit and let me out on the other side. The chances of that happening on my first try are very, very low.
Wisp flies ahead of me and lights up the way, since it’s too dark in here for even my Twilight sense. Me and Wisp eventually find ourselves looking down at a pit of darkness, and I edge away from it and back up into the wall. Wisp suddenly dings as I feel the wall behind me move. Suppressing a gulp, I turn to see a lizard sleeping, moving slightly in its sleep. I back away slowly, making sure to also stay far from the pit, and go around the lizard, spotting another crack. I smile as I head over to it and get on my hands and knees, hoping I’ll be able to fit. It looks pretty small even tome. Wisp dings again and I look over my shoulder to see the lizard standing, tasting the air with its tongue. I tense and flip around so my back’s against the wall, eyeing the lizard.
Carefully, I turn back to the crack and start to crawl through, only to get stuck halfway. I struggle and grunt as I try to pull myself in, not even sure how I got stuck in the first place. Stupid cursed luck. I feel a chill go through me and soon Wisp is in front of me, hovering above my head and tingling. I give it a smile and grab a piece of lose rock, pulling it and trying to get unstuck. The sound of claws scraping against stone alerts me that the lizard’s walking, and all I can do is hope I can get unstuck before it spots me.
But guess what? My luck sucks.
I feel something wrap around my ankle and gasp as I grip the stone hard, trembling as I feel like I’ll be ripped in two. Oh Goddesses. Wisp goes through me again, sending another chill up my spine, and surprises the lizard, making it hiss as I finally get unstuck
I pull myself to my feet, dusting off my breeches and grateful of Wisp, who flies back in glowing with pride. I look around for a few seconds and see Wisp flying off. Not wanting to be left behind, I run after it, being careful not to trip. I groan in annoyance when I come to another crack, but this one is way too small for me to get through. Gee, now what?
“Hey, kid, how ya doing?” I jump and spin around, recognizing the voice. “Good to know you heeded my warning and got out of the Palace. And it’s the night of the full moon! Oh the luck!” it clicks.
“Lun?” I say, forgetting not to speak. The night spirit laughs.
“Ah ah ah, kid, you don’t want to go around talking, it could be bad for the future,” he says. I still can’t see where he is. “Oh, I’m in the shadows. I don’t think you’d like me squashing you.”
I shake my head and he chuckles. I wonder what he meant by his warning. “Do you not remember the old merchant in the market? That was me! I took his place to warn you about the Hollow. Nobody noticed because I slowed down time to have a chance to talk with you. Now, step away from the crack, it may or may not explode,” I back up into the opposite wall and the crack glows for a second before exploding, sending up a cloud of dust. I cough and wave the dust from my face and when it settles, I see a hole in the wall. I walk to it and look to find I’m on the other side, somehow.
Geez, this place really disorients a person, doesn’t it?
“You got that right, kid,” I look up to see Lune leaning on the wall opposite of me, arms behind his head as he floats, legs crossed. “This entire crypt is full of lies and deception. Of course, what else could you expect? This place was built to make the souls of people who committed murders and such suffer. It was never meant for living people to enter. But it appears that Demon had different plans.” He looks over to the other side and I hold onto the edge of the hole to look. Naoko kept his word, I don’t see him.
“You’re friend over there was smart to send you over. But I don’t think it would end well if he saw me. Considering who I look like,” Lune’s moves his head as if rolling his eyes. I feel my ears fall as he says this. How could I have not noticed before? He looks an awful lot like the Hollow, what with being tall and having no face other than a mouth. Only difference is that Lune’s skin is such a shadowy black, while the Hollow’s is a more greyish-white. “So you see it? I’m surprise you didn’t notice before, but I guess you were more preoccupied. Now, let’s get you down and you can stand on that switch there,” he nods to a floor switch and I nod, jumping onto his hand when he lends it. He puts me on the ground and he backs off into the shadows.
I wonder why he and the Hollow look so similar. “I’ll tell you another time, kid. Just promise me one thing,” he turns around and ‘looks’ at me from over his shoulder. “Don’t get blinded by your fear. I know you’re scared of the Hollow, you’d be foolish not to be, but don’t get distracted by it. You’re Farore’s Champion for a reason, kid. Oh, look at the time,” he looks at his wrist, some sort of weird gold thing is strapped around it. Do I hear it ticking? “I must get going. Those accused of being witches need me to help them out. People are so stupid,” he says, shaking his head fondly before vanishing.
Who are being accused of being what? I shake my head, I think it’s worth not bothering to deal with. Lune does seem like the type to be crazy. I use the stone and step on the switch, mind going back to Lune. I wonder how he knew I was going to be here.
A loud thud brings me back to reality and I wait as Naoko comes over, smiling brightly. “Good, that didn’t take long at all. Come on, I think we’re getting closer to the deepest chamber.”
Can’t tell whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’ll go with both.
We find ourselves in one long hallway, much like the other one we went through, but without the feeling of being watched. But this time, it inclines down steadily and we walk carefully, keeping our eyes peeled for any signs of danger. Wisp still flies in front of us, acting as a guide, and I’m grateful for its companionship, even if it’s a little, at least Naoko and me are calm.
Once we make it to the door, I feel a cold chill run down my spine. I don’t think I’m going to like whatever’s beyond this door. Naoko opens the door and walks through, entering another dark room. I go in, a bit tentatively, and look around, getting more than a little unnerved when Wisp hides in my hat. Crap this can’t be good.
“Oh, finally! You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for you, little hero,” something pushes Naoko away and he crashes onto the floor. I spin and gasp, taking a step back when a very tall-thing?-stands behind me. It’s about eight/nine feet tall, with purple skin, a bright, multi-coloured torso, a dark red X on its chest, two spikes on each shoulder, talon-like feet, a large head with dark eyes, with a single eye on its forehead between two horns. But those aren’t the only eyes. There are two eerie orange/yellow eyes with jade green irises on its chest. It also has long whips where its hands should be. Holy Goddesses, this thing is so freaky. “I suspected that Orc would die quickly, but I didn’t know how long it would take you to get here. Silly of me, isn’t it?” she, as I can gather from her screechy, high-pitched voice, says. I think this is the…uh…person that was with Ghirahim the first time I met him.
Naoko groans and I peek around the thing to find him struggling to get up. I shake my head and raise my bow, ready to shoot the thing as she comes closer, forcing me to back up. I make double sure I don’t end up in a wall. “Aww, how cute, that’s exactly what that brat did when he was first fighting me. Give it up, you don’t have the power to stop me. Without my brother’s help, you won’t be able to hurt me, let alone kill me,” she giggles. “But enough talk about my brother. I’m here to make a proposal,” I don’t wanna marry you! “If you give up with this whole ‘saving Hyrule’ thing, you could join us and become richer beyond your wildest dreams, you can continue living and become a true ally, and,” she pauses for some reason, probably to look dramatic, but it gives me the feeling she forgot what she was going to say, “we can give you a real voice.”
I scowl, furious. Ganondork gave me that choice, and my opinion on the matter hasn’t changed. Now is as good as any to speak. “Ah’d ‘ather die!” I yell, louder than I ever thought possible. I shoot the arrow, but the thing just knocks it out of the air with her whip and sends the other at me, wrapping around me and lifting me into the air.
“I was hoping you would say that,” she grins, showing sharp teeth. I struggle as her whips coil tighter around me, like a snake. She squeezes the air out of me and I close my eyes, grunting as I try to fight back.
“Hey, Majora, did you forget about me?” Ma-Majora? I peek one of my eyes open to see Naoko send a throwing knife at…Majora apparently. That sounds…familiar.
Majora drops me and I land on my side, cursing the living daylights out of her. “You’ve heard of me?”
“Of course,” Naoko says as I lift myself up. “Sheik isn’t the only one who’s interested in history.”
‘That explains so much…’ I think thoughtfully, surprised that I didn’t speak. Maybe I’m getting back in touch with my muteness.
Majora rolls her eyes and advances on Naoko. “You will get in the way, I can tell. Debby warned me not to kill the hero over there, but he didn’t say anything about killing you,” she grins and I tilt my head. Who’s Debby? I shake my head from the thought as Majora brings up her whips and sends them at Naoko. I jump to my feet and run at her, trying to grab her from behind, but she jumps into the air and smashes her whips into Naoko, who flies through the air and hits the wall head first. I wince and roll back as Majora lands where I was standing, laughing like crazy. “That was too easy! But of course, no mortal can match a Goddess!” she twirls around like a little girl and her eyes settle on me, though I’m not sure which ones she looks out of. Heck, maybe she can see out of all of them.
Wait…too easy? No, Naoko can’t be…Majora runs at me, but I duck under her legs and run at Naoko, bending down to feel his pulse. The blood drains from my face when I find none. I feel my eyes sting, Sheik’s closest and longest friend died, just like that. I turn to Majora, who’s no longer there.
“Pft, you are so stupid, taking your eyes off of me. You’re not worth my time, I really should be getting back to those plans of ours. So long,” Majora’s voice echoes as I look down at Naoko. I wipe my eyes and bend down beside Naoko.
“Ah’m sarry, Na’ko. Bu’ ah’ll b’ dam’ i’ I ‘eave ya ‘ere,” I whisper and get Naoko’s body onto my back, stumbling a bit when I get to my feet. Wisp flies in front of my face, tingling in concern. I give a weak smile. “Ah go’ sommat ta ‘inish,” I say, no longer cringing at my voice. I won’t miss it, but I won’t feel scared of something that’s not fully real.
I walk on, Naoko’s weight making every step harder, but I don’t lose sight of what’s ahead. I need to find Sheik, no matter what gets in my way.
Luckily, I don’t run into any monsters and I soon find myself at yet another door, but this one is bigger than the others, and I know it’s the final chamber. Beyond that door, the Hollow waits for me, and Sheik waits with it. Show no fear, and be strong. The door opens as I come close to it and I enter a grey room.
The first thing I see is Sheik lying on the opposite side of the room, still unconscious. I lay Naoko’s body beside the door and look around, there’s a circle of weird runes in the center of the floor, and I have a feeling that if I go into that circle, I’ll summon the Hollow.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath, mentally preparing for the next battle. Mustering up all the courage I have, I walk forward, head high, and stand in the center of the runes. The moment I do, the runes flash white and the room lights up with it, blinding me momentarily. I hear a screech and spin, my composure falters for a moment when I see the Hollow, not looking any different since the last time I saw it. I stand tall and unsheathe my sword, determined to save Sheik. We stand unmoving for a few moments, waiting for one of us to make the first move. That honour goes to the Hollow.
It runs at me, and slashes at me with its hook, but I manage to duck under it and take a swipe at its arm, only to be blocked by its other hook. The Hollow keeps slashing and hacking at me, weighing me down and trying to exhaust me as I’m forced to take the defensive route. It suddenly takes a different approach and catches my upper arm, hooking under my armpit and tossing me through the air. I land on my butt, facing away from the Hollow, and scramble to my feet, taking out a bomb. I light it and throw it at the Hollow as it comes closer, but it dodges the explosion and stabs low, cutting across my thigh.
I grimace and run backwards, not daring to take my eyes off of it for too long, but I trip (Sweet Nayru, what a time to be a klutz) and fall onto my back, bringing my shield up just in time for the Hollow to puncture through it and bend it, breaking my arm. I let out a scream of pain as the Hollow rips the shield off, tossing it to the side. I roll to the side as it hits down again, getting its hook stuck, and I get to my feet, trying to ignore my arm with little success.
I need to be careful, if I get killed, the Hollow will escape and created more problems for Hyrule, and everyone in it. There’s no good outcome of me failing. This is what I hate about being the hero’s incarnation, the entire kingdom rests on my shoulders, and I’m not allowed to just be a normal person.
The Hollow runs at me, too quickly for me to stop it, when something pushes me out of the way of its hooks. I fall to the side and sit up to see Sheik standing there, and rage fills me when I see the Hollow’s hook is dug into his side. He gives me a soft smile before falling, breathing heavily due to that injury on top of others. Before I can help him, the Hollow grabs him and tosses him away, making my rage slowly build. I once again get to my feet and slash at the Hollow, but it’s too agile and I can’t land a hit. It feels like it’s playing with me.
No matter what I use, bow, sword, bombs, hammer, it doesn’t matter, the Hollow is too quick and smart to let me hit it, and I realize it’s just trying to worn me out so it’s easier for it to kill me. I can’t waste my energy, but there’s no chance for me to rest, and there’s no way I can have any defence, since my shield is out of reach. I’m covered in cuts and skin punctures, all of them stinging and causing me to become sluggish. More than once I look at Sheik, and my rage builds with every glance.
The Hollow keeps pressing my boundaries, hitting me more and more as I become slower and less aware of my surroundings. It slashes at me and sends me across the room, making me land beside Sheik, who’s slowly getting up. “Come on, Link,” he helps me up, glaring at the Hollow. “We need to fight this thing together. You can’t do it on your own,” he takes out his chain-whip as the monster runs at us again.
Sheik heats up the whip, making it glow white hot, and sends it at the Hollow, but it easily dodges and hits both of us away. We land and I look at Sheik, feeling my face become hot in pure hate. The Hollow hit him in the exact same spot as before, and made the injury deeper and gushing with blood. I seethe as I look at the Hollow, my rage finally making me snap. I stand and growl, speaking without thinking. “You will pay for that,” I say, my voice cold and unbroken. I notice Sheik stare at me from the corner of my eye, but don’t pay it any heed as I walk forward, lifting both my arms despite my broken one and I feel energy fill my body. I close my eyes for a second and reopen them to see fire covering my arms, burning brightly and hot, but I don’t feel it. Even though I know I’m using magic, I kick my fear of it to the side, my anger feeding me. It let out a war cry as I run at the Hollow, surprising it. It quickly gets over the surprise and runs at me, ready to take me out. It swipes at me with its hooks and I punch at it, both of us hitting one another.
I skid on the floor and jump a little to turn around, facing the Hollow as it faces me again. I smirk when I see a burn on its side. Oh yeah, this monster will pay for all the people it’s killed, for almost killing my father-figure, and being the reason Naoko is dead. I’m going to cause so much pain for it, that it will wish mortals could kill it.
I gape at Link, my mind dull with shock. Did she just…speak? And where did she learn that spell? Even I don’t know it. How come she’s not freaking out? I can’t wrap my head around this. Link and the Hollow run at each other again, and Link sends a long burst of fire at the monster, engulfing its torso in flame. It shakes the fire off and slashes at Link, ripping the side of her neck, but luckily not going so deep as to kill her. I try to get up, but for some reason my injury hurts more than it should. I look down and see just how injured I am. The Hollow must have been raking me for a while.
Wait…how did Link even know I was here? I look back to the fight to see Link somehow ended up on the Hollow’s shoulders, hugging its head as the fire on her arms becomes stronger. The Hollow screeches, trying to get Link off, but its short arms can do nothing but get her legs. She’s biting her lower lip and I see tears running down her face, which make my heart ache. A sudden jolt gets me to my feet and I summon my own fire, ready to help rid this world of the Hollow.
“Hey! Hollow!” I yell, getting its attention as he throws Link off. I narrow my eyes at it. “I’m not afraid of you! You’re nothing but a bad excuse of a grim reaper!” I taunt, making it screech at me. It comes at me and I stand my ground, sending my fire spell at it. I hit it, but it also hits me again, sending me into the wall behind me. It stands above me and I try to summon my fire, but it dies out as I run out of magic. Dammit, what a time.
“Hollow!” I can’t get used to Link’s voice coming out of her mouth. I look beyond the Hollow as it turns to Link, who no longer has fire on her arms, but she lifts her hands in front of her and moves them apart. In the space between her hands an icy blue staff appears, a crystal ball on the top. Link herself seems surprised by it, but smirks as a man appears beside her. He’s similar to the Hollow, but looks much more pleasant. “You surprised, Hooky?” Link smirks.
“Hey kid, I think it’s time for the Hollow to come back to my realm, don’t you?” the man asks and for once, I see the Hollow’s faceless face become scared. Don’t ask me how I can tell.
Link’s smirk turns into a grin as she points the staff at the Hollow. The brightness of the runes gets sucked into it and the crystal ball glows in the same brilliant light. Link closes her eyes and I watch in amazement as a beam of light shoots at the Hollow, hitting it dead on and causing it to screech loudly, making the entire room shake. I get to my feet and limp over to Link, going behind her and wrapping my arms around her to help hold the staff and whispering into her ear, “Let’s finish this.”
She peeks open her eye and looks at me, smiling a little, and nods. We both close our eyes and I feel our own power transfer to the staff, making the beam larger and stronger. I open my eyes to see the Hollow rip off one of its hooks and throw it at us. Luckily the man catches it and the beam stops. Exhausted, Link and I collapse, the staff falling to the ground. I hug Link to me as she pants, shivering. I look at the man to see him walking to the Hollow, which is ‘looking’ up at him. “Time for us to go…brother,” before either of us can ask, the man disappears with the Hollow, the monster’s screech the only thing left of its existence.
I look down at Link, who’s smiling up at me. “‘Ook ‘ho’s do’n da savin’ ‘ow,” she says and I chuckle, finding her speech cute.
“Yeah yeah, I wouldn’t talk anymore if I was you. Am I to assume you’re talking because of this place?” she nods, turning in my lap and hugging me gently, burying her face into my shoulder. “Thanks, Shorty.”
She laughs. ‘Anytime, Jerk.’
I look at the door and feel my face fall when I notice a still body. I can recognize that silver hair anywhere. “…Naoko?” I ask, my voice cracking. Link flinches, looking up guiltily.
‘We were fighting a person called Majora, and, well, she killed him. I’m sorry,’ she looks down, biting her lip.
“For what?” I ask, helping her up as we walk over to my friend’s body. I feel tears run down my face as I try to hold back a sob, but I find it nearly impossible. He was my best friend, and he died trying to save me. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.
‘If I hadn’t gone after the stray goat, I wouldn’t have found myself in the Dead Tree Woods,’ she looks away, tears running down her face as she wavers on her legs. ‘I wouldn’t have met the Hollow, and you wouldn’t have been hurt, and Naoko would still be ali-’ I don’t know what causes me to do this, but I kiss her cheek softly, and I see her face become beetroot as I pull away, giving her a soft, comforting smile. ‘Wh-wha?’ she tilts her head, looking confused and baffled.
“You’re cute when you worry, but you’re cuter when you don’t know what to think,” I say honestly, grinning when her blush deepens. “Now stop blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault, we need to get out of here.”
She nods silently and we’re just about to make it to Naoko when he vanishes, nothing being left behind. “What?” I wonder when we’re lifted off our feet and teleported away.
Once we land, I find myself in a strange place, and I can only think of what happened to Naoko when Link thinks, ‘The Sacred Realm? But we didn’t find the Sa-’ she cuts herself off with a gasp when her eyes fall on a person standing on a deep purple circle, smiling.
“Naoko?” I whisper, wiping my eyes. “You’re the Sage?”
He shrugs. “Apparently. Though I really wish there was another way to come here other than having to be killed. It hurts, you know?” he rubs his head and I laugh.
“No, I wouldn’t know,” I say. “Are you going to be alright?”
He waves his hand. “Of course I will be. Everything will go back to normal and you two can relax for a bit. Maybe together,” Naoko smirks as I roll my eyes. “Well, I need to send you guys back. You’ll be outside crypt. Oh, and Link, I’d watch out for your uncle’s wrath,” I look at Link as she winces. “He’s not happy to find that you disappeared.”
‘Oh boy,’ she thinks sarcastically.
Naoko tosses Link a Medallion and I nod at him and he nods back as the Sacred Realm vanishes and we find ourselves at the doors to enter the Crypt. I look at Link to find her opening her mouth, and she smiles in glee when nothing comes out. ‘I’m mute again!’ she cheers and I laugh.
“Only you, Link, only you,” I shake my head and we help each other leave the Crypt. “That was some powerful magic you used back there,” I say. “But what made you use it?”
She looks down. ‘You were so hurt, and I couldn’t take it anymore. So I did…that,’ she shivers. ‘I scared myself.’
I put my arm around her, drawing her close gently. “You used your greatest fear to save me, you really are something.”
Then I get another shock when a small wispy sprite flies out of Link’s hat, hovering in front of her face before flying over our heads and towards the Crypt. “…What?” I ask after blinking a few times.
‘That was Wisp, it helped me in the Crypt,’ she shrugs. ‘I’m so relieved that the Hollow is gone. I never have to see it again.’
I just smile and we start heading towards the throne room when I hear a shout. “Link! Where the Din’s Hell did you run off to?” and here’s Charlie. “I turn my back on you for one second and you’re off! And-” he notices me and stops short. “You went to save him, didn’t you,” he says, he seems more scared than angry. She nods and Charlie sighs. “But you really had me worried. Don’t go running off again,” he says, looking us over. “Come on, let’s go get those injuries healed.”
As we walk, I explain what happened in the Crypt and about the Hollow. Charlie listens without interrupting; only nodding here and there. We come to my room when I talk about Naoko being the Sage. “So you found the Sage without evening meaning to?” he asks as he bandages Link’s arm into a sling.
I nod. “Yeah, but I’m surprised it was Naoko. I was half expecting the Sage to be Sonja.”
“What where you expecting me to be a Sage of?” I look to the door to see Sonja standing there.
“The Sage of Shadow. As it turns out, that’s Naoko.”
Sonja raises an eyebrow. “Really? Oh. I’ll be back later, then,” she says and turns.
“Where are you going?” Charlie asks.
“Somebody needs to tell Penny that her son is a Sage,” she says over her shoulder as she leaves.
‘Ow,’ I turn to Link as she rubs some blue potion onto her leg, eyes squeezed shut. ‘How are your injuries?’ she asks.
I sit beside her on the bed, taking some bandages to wrap around my hand. “I’m fine, just a bit sluggish and my side stings,” I say when I hear someone clear their throat. “Are you alright.”
‘I’ll be fine after I sleep,’ she yawns and I resist hugging her. Oh Goddesses, this is getting harder than I thought.
“Sheik, I would like to speak with you,” Master Hitoshi says as he comes in, giving a nod and smile to Link and Charlie.
I follow him to his study and he sits down, looking exhausted. “Sheik, you can hear Link’s thoughts, can’t you?” he’s looking through a book while he says this.
“For how long?”
“Almost as long as I’ve known her. Why?” I ask.
Master Hitoshi sighs and closes the book, showing me the cover. Guardians and Connections, a History. Why is he showing me this? Before I can ask, he explains. “Sheik, you know that a Connection between a Sheikah and someone else is rare, right?” I nod, obviously. “Well, a Guardian is even rarer. Guardians are Sheikah who are born to protect a single person with all their strength. But was has never been imagined before was that a Connected Guardian would be born. And the first one was born nineteen years ago, almost twenty in the New Year. Do you know who it is?” I shake my head. “It’s you Sheik,” my eyes widen. “You’re the first Connected Guardian.”
“B-but I don’t have a Connection with anybody,” I stammer, finding it hard to believe.
“Yes you do, you have since the first time you saw her as a day-old baby,” Master Hitoshi sits back, smiling at the memory. “Sheik, you may not remember, but your father was close friends with Link’s parents,” I give Master Hitoshi a thoughtful look. “He brought you and Sonja to meet Amethyst and Joshua, Link’s parents, many times. And one day, they had Link. I went with you three to see her, and when I was walking through the house to go outside, I heard whispers coming from Link’s room when everyone was downstairs letting her rest. I looked through the room to see you, a two-year-old, looking into the crib she was in and whispering to her. It took all I had not to go and get everyone downstairs.”
My mind works double-time and the conclusion to my thoughts is hard enough to feel like someone slapped me. “Master, are you saying that I’m…I have a Connection with Link?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. You heard her thoughts, and I believe she can now hear yours. But you two have more than just a Connection, you’re not just close to hear each other’s thoughts, you’re her Guardian and…” he looks like he wants to say something, but shakes his head and carries on. “And you feel the need to protect her. You’re her Guardian, and you two share a strong Connection,” he stands and walks over to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Go rest up, Sheik. Charlie was talking to me, and we wants to do something for Link, that involves you.”
“Really?” I raise an eyebrow.
“He wants to show her the village where the Hylians are, and he wants you to come,” Master Hitoshi says.
I smile. “That sounds great. I’ll see you tomorrow, Master,” I say and bow to him before going.
My mind brainstorms as I walk to my room. Link’s birthday is in the next few days, so this will be a good present for her. I plan to make her eighteenth birthday something to remember, that’s for sure. I enter my room to see Link resting in the bed, Charlie standing beside it and watching her. “I guess Hitoshi told you about my plans?”
“Good, we’ll leave tomorrow so we get there in time for Little Beast’s birthday,” Charlie smiles and brushes Link’s cheek. “Good night,” he says fondly before nodding to me and leaving. I go and wash up before coming to the bed, getting under the covers and turning my back to Link, when I feel something poke my back. I look over to see Link grinning at me goofily. I turn so I’m resting on my back, about to ask why she poked me, when she moves closer and snuggles into me, letting out a sigh.
‘Night, Sheik,’ she thinks, closing her eyes.
“Night, Link,” I say and when I hear her snoring, I whisper into her ear softly. “I love you.”