Silent Courage

Chapter 6: The Search for the Water Sage Part 2

Chapter 6: Looking for the Water Sage Part 2

-Link’s POV-

The next morning, the first thing I do is go to the lake and take a much needed bath. ‘I’m not going to be small any time soon,’ I think as I look at the stone before putting it into my bag, just to be safe.

I hear footsteps and look over my shoulder to see a familiar boy standing on the shore, not seeming to have noticed me yet. Smirking, I dunk into the water and swim to the shore quietly before coming around and sneaking behind him. Before I can tap his shoulder though, he turns and puts a knife to my neck. Seem familiar?

“Oh, it’s you,” he lowers his knife and I roll my eyes.

‘Nice to see you, too,’ I think sarcastically. ‘Why would you be here? I thought you didn’t care about others.’

“I don’t,” he scoffs, but doesn’t give a reason why he’s here.

‘Can you tell me yet why you hear my thoughts? It’s weird,’ I put my hands in my pockets.

“Like I said before, I don’t know why I can read your thoughts. So, anyone else find out your secret?” he asks, leaning on the pillar to Jabu-Jabu’s dock.

‘Only Alex, but the coal-headed idiot should have known for a while,’ I think. Jabu groans and I walk over to him, crouching down to pet below his eye.

After a few moments of silence, Sheik speaks up, “I’m just curious, what are you afraid of?”

I look at him, wondering why he would ask that, it’s a really personal thing, and I don’t know if I fully trust the Sheikah. ‘I…can’t tell you,’ I say, straitening and not fully looking him in the eye. For some reason something in me wants to trust him, but I know I can’t. I barely know him.

“Why can’t you tell me?” he asks, looking generally curious.

‘Sheik…I don’t know if I can trust you yet,’ I admit, biting my lower lip. ‘With everything going on, me looking for the Sages, finding Zant’s alive, Nura becoming blind, my mind’s starting to get messed up enough for me to have really bazar dreams.’

He crosses arms, looking me over. “Why can’t you trust me?”

What is this guy’s deal? ‘I just can’t,’ I shake my head, wrapping my arms around me as a cold wind blows over the lake.

“That’s not an answer,” he says as he walks up. I look up at him, frowning.

‘Do you need an answer?’ I ask. ‘And what about you? If I asked what you were afraid of, would you tell me?’

He blinks for a few moments, I almost think he’s not gunna tell me before taking in a breath, “Losing someone close…” he finally says.

I feel my ears drop slightly and tilt my head to the side a bit, blinking. ‘I see…so you…trust me with something like that?’ I look down at my boots.

“Yeah, I lost my entire family except for my cousin. If I lost her…I don’t know what I’d do,” he sighs, looking away.

I glance at him through my bangs and close my eyes. ‘Magic.’

His head snaps to me, “What?”

‘I’m afraid of magic. I keep it to myself, and the only people who know are Zelda and Midna, but I’m absolutely terrified of magic. It’s what took my parents from me, it’s what started the Twilight and it caused so much pain for everyone, it’s what almost killed both Midna and Zelda, and so far it’s caused me more harm than good,’ I explain, not fully looking up.

“The Kokiri Stone uses magic.”

‘The first time I used it I threw up later when Navi wasn’t looking, and I always shiver when I do use it. When I was fighting with Vaati the first time we met, my mind kept racing and all I could do was run.’

“Magic,” he shakes his head slowly. “So, the great ‘Hero’ of Twilight is afraid of magic?”

‘I never said I was grate, Sheiky-Boy,’ I mind-grumble. ‘But what do you care? And why did you suddenly show up and ask me this anyway?’

“It’s been on my mind since we had that argument over whether to help the Gorons or not. You obviously weren’t afraid to sacrifice yourself, and I got to thinking about what did scare you. Now I know magic does.”

I just shrug, finding it weird that, even after telling him I don’t trust him completely, I told him one of my darkest secrets, he already knows the other. Another strong, cold gust of wind makes me shiver, since my tunic isn’t very thick, and I rub my arms to keep warm. “You’re cold,” Sheik states as he walks closer.

‘I am not!’ I shake my head stubbornly.

“You’re such a horrible liar,” I see him smile under his shawl as he steps closer, only a meter away from me. “You’re ears twitch and you blink too much when you lie.”

My shoulders slump slightly, ‘I’m fine, I don’t need to be warmed up.’

He rolls his eyes and I catch a familiar look, but it’s gone as fast as I saw it. Maybe I just imagined?

Then it starts to rain, soaking me to the bone. My ears drop fully and I glare at nothing, why?

“You look like you need to be warmed to me,” his eyes smirk.

I shake my head, taking a step back, ‘No I don’t-!’ I’m cut out of the thought when something pushes me forward, I get ready to fall, but I feel arms wrap around me and catch me. Feeling a faint blush rise on my cheeks, I look up to see Sheik looking at me with shocked eyes, a blush on his own face. I look over my shoulder and glare at Jabu-Jabu, who had pushed me forward.

I straiten and pull the rim of my tunic down and adjust my hat over my head. ‘I gotta go,’ I think and walk passed the still red Sheikah, wondering why my heart is racing so fast. It’s now I realize that his arms were rather warm…

I shake my head fiercely from the thought. ‘No Link! You’re not supposed to think like that!’ I yell at myself. ‘He’s just some boy!’ but for some reason, my mind doesn’t feel convinced. Stupid mind.

I come back into the cave and reset the fire, blowing on the embers to start the flame up again. I look at the others and sigh sadly when I see Nura leaning on Adam, his arm wrapped protectively around her. I hope they’ll be alright. I have no doubt that they’re going to go back to the castle with Shadow in the morning. I hear wings flutter and glance at Navi as she sits on my shoulder, warming the spot she’s on. ‘Where were you?’ she asks.

‘Just out for a short bath, I’m glad I got to do it before the rain came,’ I smile with a yawn. ‘I should get some more sleep, I don’t know what might happen tomorrow.’

-The next morning-

I’m woken to three things licking my face. Opening my eyes, I let out a tired sigh when I see Cerberus standing over me, his stinky breath not a very nice wake-up call. ‘Hey boy,’ I think and pet him behind his three necks, making his tail wag. ‘Alright, get off,’ I push his chest but he doesn’t get the message, instead he lies down on top of me, and considering he’s about the size of a small Bulbin... ‘Navi,’ I mind whine when I see her fly out of my hat.

She laughs when she sees me and I glare at her as she tries, and fails, to quiet down. “Heh-that’s sort of cute-teh-heh,” she giggles.

I huff, blowing my bangs away from my eyes, and look at Cerberus for 1 to lick my face. At least it’s better now that I’m normal again. I shiver when his tongue goes over my ear and I look at Navi again. ‘Can you please get him off?’ I ask.

“Alright, alright, Cerberus, come on boy!” the fairy calls him and all his heads perk up before getting up, stepping on my gut in the process, and sits down in front of Navi, wagging his tail in my face. I sit up and give her a grateful smile before getting to my feet and cracking my back.

We all leave the cave to see the sky clear and blue, making the water’s surface gleam in the sun. ‘Wow, this place is beautiful,’ I smile to myself as I wade into the water to my waste. I look at the platform Sheik and me were on last night and I look away quickly, getting confused with the bubbly feeling in my stomach and my racing heart when I think of him.

It’s going about as fast as when I danced with that guy-

No! I will not think about that!

Luckily Navi doesn’t seem to notice my inner problems as I come out of the water, Cerberus splashing the liquid down my back. I just ignore it and lie down on the sandy shore, arms behind my head as I close my eyes.

Unwillingly, I slip into the dream world again.

I’m floating in air before it softly lets me land on my feet, a small dust cloud forming when I land. I start walking through the blurry place and see a man in the distance. But he doesn’t look much like a man. He has white skin with grey diamonds going up his legs, arms and torso, white lips and hair and onyx black eyes. He grins at me as he flips a bright red cape over his arm, letting me see the curved black sword on his waste.

“You won’t escape me again, Child,” he says in a deathly cold voice. It sounds slightly familiar too. Before I can think, he runs at me and swings his sword in an upward diagonal strike, cutting across my torso and making my skin burn as I fall to my knees-

‘Ga-ha!’ I sit up fast, my breathing heavy as I look around. The sun has risen higher in the sky and I guess it’s about midmorning. ‘Who was that man?’ I wonder.

“Are you alright, Link?” Navi asks as Cerberus whines beside me in concern.

I nod, rising to my feet as I see the fire’s glow die in the cave. ‘They’re going,’ I think and walk in to see Adam taking care of the fire. He looks up at me and smiles half-heartedly, eyes shifting to Nura, flash with worry, and look down.

I go over to the Gerudo, who’s fingering her twin glaives. “Hey Link,” she greets, smiling up in my direction. “You know what’s funny? I might have lost my sight, but I used my hearing more than anything, and I can tell where everyone is and who everyone is by how they walk. Adam walks loudly, tall and upright and slowly. Shadow has quitter feet, takes long strides, and walks proudly and smugly. And you have the funniest walk I’ve heard so far,” she laughs at this and I raise an eyebrow.

With a chuckle, she keeps talking, “You’re footsteps are more like trotting, quiet like a cat, quick and cautious. It’s funny hearing you trot beside Adam and Shadow just to keep up with them.”

I huff, rolling my eyes at my friend as I help her to her feet. She looks at me with her now sightless eyes but the grin never leaves them. “Link, I know I’ll need to relearn to fight, but no matter what happens, I’ll stick with you and help if we do end up in a battle,” she says, putting a hand on my shoulder.

A smile breaks out on my face and I put my own hand on her shoulder. ‘I know,’ I nod, I never thought she wouldn’t still fight.

“Alright, so we’re going to go back to the castle and explain to Zelda what’s going on,” Adam says while Shadow packs the rest of the stuff. “Hope you can find the Water Sage.”

‘Yeah me too,’ I think as he picks up the small bag he brought and helps Nura walk out of the cave.

I walk with them and Coral comes out of the water, grinning at me. “Hi Link, ready?”

I shake my head quickly before going behind a rock to change into the Zora Armour. Once I put the weird fish skull over my head, I walk out and grin at Coral’s shocked face. “Wow, so you’re the person who Prince Ralis said his mom gave that to. Never thought the Hero of Hyrule was so…” she trails off, looking me up and down with a small blush.

‘Short?’ I put my hand down and out, she smiles sheepishly and nods.

I just smile and shrug it off as we head towards the water. With one last look at my friends, I dive in and the cloth around my neck moves up to my mouth. Only thing I like magic for.

Still find it weird that I told Sheik my fear…and why do I keep thinking about him?

Shaking my head, I follow Coral to the bottom of the lake, which gets darker and darker as we progress. Soon absolutely no light is seen from the top and I feel the bitter cold reach through my tunic and touch my skin, making me shiver slightly and slow down as my body tries to heat myself up.

‘Are you okay, Link?’ Navi asks, holding onto my hat to stay with me. I nod slowly, but I start to feel slightly drowsy as the cold water and my body fight each other. I feel cold, scaly hands grab my wrist and drag me down further, and I faintly see Coral in front of me before we swim up through a stone archway and into an air pocket.

‘Oh thank Farore’s Spirit!’ I gasp and pull the cloth down my face, looking around to find ourselves in the middle of a large chamber with sand covering the ground, doors leading off to the East, West and South-East directions, two of which are locked, and a weird plaque on the wall. Curious, I climb out of the water and see it’s a diagram with a small wave of water reaching the middle red line and notes underneath it.

“Oh my Goddess, I didn’t think I’d ever see this again,” Navi mutters and flies close to the plaque. “This song will raise the water at this spot, this is just like in the old Water Temple.”

I look at the fairy and turn to Coral, who’s looking around the room with wide eyes. “This isn’t right, the doors aren’t supposed to be locked, there are supposed to be fish swimming in these pools and I’ve never seen that before!” I look up and get into a fighting stance when I see a creature with a body of a cat and the head of a woman.

“Well well well, a nice snack as come to play,” she lands on the ground gracefully, purring loudly as she circles around us, making Coral hide behind me and grab onto my tunic. The creature, which I assume is a Mythical Monster, brings its large head down to us and I narrow my eyes as she looks us over. “Hum, you are barely a mouthful,” she purrs to me before spotting Coral behind me, but it’s really not that hard, the Zora’s taller than me by a head and shoulders. “Ooh, you look much more appetizing than those skimpy fish from this place,” she moves forward, but I stand protectively in front of Coral.

“Humph, out of my way,” the Monster bats me aside with her paw before stepping on me with her back paw, making sure I can’t move. I hear Coral whimper and look at the giant cat/woman in fear as she leans in closer, opening her mouth.

‘No way, ugly!’ I think and manage to get out from under her foot before shooting her in the side of the head. She snaps her head to me and I lure her away from Coral, but my plan doesn’t work well when she pushes me into the wall with her paw. But luckily Coral dives into the water and out of sight.

The cat-woman seems to realize this, since she looks around and hisses. “You’d better be grateful I don’t eat something so small,” she growls, leaps off of me and climbs up the roof and into the hole on the top.

Once her tail disappears, I walk to the water’s edge and wave for Coral to come out. The Zora slowly breaks the surface and looks around, sighing in relief once she sees the cat-woman gone. “What was that?” she asks.

I just shrug as I head towards the unlocked door. No doubt we’ll have to fight that thing eventually, and maybe she’s the one keeping the ball of fire in the Domain. Only one way to find out. We come through the door to see a fast moving river with white rapids slamming on the walls and rocks. I grimace, no way can I swim in that.

“Alright, let’s go!” Coral says with a surprising perkiness in her voice.

‘What?’ I stare at her as she smiles at me.

“Don’t worry, I can easily swim through these rapids! And it’s not much more difficult with you holding onto my belt! C’mon,” she waves for me.

Gulping, I jump into the water and get pushed down a bit before she grabs me and makes me hold onto her belt. She dives under the water and soon I’m forced to close my eyes at the speed we’re going.

“Wow, this is amazing! This is the fastest current I’ve ever swam in!” Coral laughs happily as I grip her belt tighter.

‘Isn’t that nice?’ I think sarcastically and try to open my eyes, but I can’t see anything but bubbles. We finally come to a stop and I bump into her back before we climb out. I take the mask off and gasp at the room we’re in.

Well, it’s not really a room, more like a cavern. Glowing stones make light on the walls and roof, shining in all sorts of different colours. A smaller, steadier river runs down the cavern and leads into darkness, but the walls of this place are just amazing. I walk up to one and see a cave drawing of a squid-like thing with one eye and tentacles for hair.

My vision becomes fuzzy as something runs through my mind. I only catch a few glimpses of what I’m seeing, but it’s enough. I see a creature, much like the one drawn here, and it’s battling someone on a destroyed ship it looks like. A storm is raging and lightning strikes across the sky, making the only light on the scene as buckets and buckets of rain pours down.

I snap out of the daze and find myself in darkness, none of the glowing stones around to help me. What? Was I walking while having that? It didn’t feel like a vision, it felt more like…a memory…

“Link!” Navi flies in front of my face and I jump. “Don’t go wandering off! Look, you almost fell,” she moves out of the way and I look down at my feet, water rushing quickly below me.

Nodding slowly, I start to back up but freeze when I see the shadow something tall and skinny. I hear a moan and gulp as I take out my sword and shield, what’s here? “Oh-no, a Gibdo,” Navi’s aura turns yellow as a Redead like creature wrapped in bandages comes into her circle of light. “Run…Link, run!” she yells but the Gibdo looks up and locks its eyeless sockets with mine, making me paralyzed.

Unlike the Redead Knights I fought in Arbiter’s Grounds, the Gibdo slowly moves towards me and lunges forward, trying to grab me but I gain movement of my legs and jump out of the way in time for it to fall into the waters below. ‘Okay, that’s enough time spent here,’ I think and back up to bump into something else.

I gulp and slowly turn my head to see a Redead Knight and an army of Redeads and Gibdo slowly coming at me. I try to calm my breathing and take out my bow, quickly tying the bombs on, but not quickly enough.

The Redead Knight screeches, making me cringe violently as the other Undead creatures come within two meters of me. I’m able to lift my bow and shoot one arrow before the Knight slams its sword down on the ground at my feet, making it crumble under me. I wave my arms around like a windmill, trying to regain footing, but nothing works and soon I’m falling.

‘How did this even happen?’ I think, grabbing at the walls in panic. Suddenly my hand catches a small piece of rock jutting out, and I hear a sickening pop in my shoulder as I come to a fast halt. I moan in pain and put my other hand on my shoulder, that’s not good. Ignoring the pain, I move my free hand around and find a small hole it can fit in. Sighing in relief, I let myself hang for a few minutes before looking up.

What I see is enough to take away a good ten years of my life.

A Gibdo is looking right into my face, mouth gaping open and it freezes me. But this one is obviously smarter than most. Instead of biting me or doing whatever it was gunna do, it stands up and kicks me in the face, making me lose my grip and start falling again. “LINK!” I hear Navi scream before I hit the water.

Luckily the mouth mask slips on, but unluckily I find myself unable to move at all from the current. I keep trying to grab any rocks, but they’re too slippery to get a hand hold and I’m pushed further and further away from the other two. Suddenly I feel something strike the back of my head and everything becomes dark.

__________

The next moment I wake up, I feel something wrapped around me but I don’t take that into account when I sit up and cough up any water that managed to get into my lungs. I feel a hand rub my back and look over my shoulder to see red eyes looking at me. “Will you stop trying to get yourself killed?” Sheik asks, glaring at me but I don’t see any real heat behind it.

I huff and turn away, about to get up when something holds me back. I look down to see his arms wrapped around my middle. Blushing slightly, I narrow my eyes back at him, not even needing to tell him to let me go. With a quiet sigh, almost one of disappointment for some reason, he lets go and I stand up, looking around to find myself in a small cave beside the river.

Suddenly my head throbs, and I hold the back of my head with gritted teeth. I feel something wrapped around my head and dampness. I pull my hand away to see blood covering it. “You’re lucky I have that shawl wrapped around my head all the time,” I turn around to see Sheik standing up, crossing his arms. “Or else you would have been killed by blood loss. I’m surprised you didn’t get a concussion from the way you hit that rock.”

‘Midna did always say I have a thick skull, though I never thought she meant it literally,’ I muse, smiling to myself. He rolls his eyes and I look around. ‘So, how are we going to get out of here?’ I ask, walking to a wall.

“I can easily climb up the wall, but you don’t have anything. Although I do have an idea,” I hear a smirk in his voice but don’t have time to turn around before he grabs my tunic, pulls me back and somehow gets me on his back before getting a chain out of his belt.

‘What are you doing?’ I ask as I’m forced to wrap my arms around his shoulders to not fall back and hurt myself more.

“We’re getting out of here,” he says before swinging the chain and whipping it at a rock coming out of the side of the wall.

‘You’ve got to be kidding-’ he cut’s me out of my thought when he swings off. I quickly grab onto my hat with one hand as I wrap my arm more around his shoulders, looking below us as everything blurs. ‘I think I prefer doing the actual swinging,’ I gulp.

I hear Sheik chuckle as he makes it to the edge he was aiming for. “Too bad, this is the only way out,” he turns his head to look at me.

I mind groan and look up, ‘What about the Gibdoos?”

“Gibdo,” he corrects. I just roll my eyes. “They don’t like light,” he says before readying his chain-whip again.

‘But there’s no light up there,’ I frown.

“Exactly,” he says and sends the chain-whip.

‘I hate you,’ I think dully as he swings again. We’re swallowed by the darkness of the cave before I feel him land. My eyes adjust quickly and I see a tunnel leading up to our left. ‘Sweet!’ I think and get off his back, starting to head over.

He puts a hand on my shoulder to stop me. “Not so fast, we’ll need to make a fire if we’re going in there, Gibdo and Redead won’t come near us,” he says.

‘How will we-’ he creates a fire in the palm of his hand and I jump back, knowing it’s magic. ‘Don’t do that around me!’

He just ignores me and walks towards the tunnel. I stay in the light of the fire, but I don’t dare go any closer, there’s no way I’m getting near him with that. The moan of a Gibdo comes from the darkness and I have to calm myself so I don’t instinctively go close to Sheiky and his fire.

“Suck up that courage of yours, no need to be afraid of controlled magic,” he looks back at me.

‘Magic is magic, and it’s the controlled kind that scares me the most. It’s as unpredictable as someone’s mind,’ I’m forced to walk faster when he starts to take longer strides. Stupid jerk and mocking my shortness.

He rolls his eyes and stops walking, making me stop in turn. He sighs in annoyance and starts walking towards me, I step back away from him, eyes fixed on the fire in his palm. Eventually he backs me into a wall, and I shrink back, trying my best to get away. I close my eyes and feel myself shiver when I feel the heat of the flame. ‘Get it away from me!’ I mind-yell.

“…You really are afraid of magic, aren’t you?” he asks, stepping closer and making me back farther into the wall.

‘What was your first clue?’ I wonder.

I hear him sigh and peek my eyes open once I don’t feel any heat. I look up at him before quickly looking down, cursing myself for seeming so weak like that. “I’ve never seen anyone react like that to magic,” he mutters.

I just look at my feet more, not thinking anything. I hear him come closer and soon I’m looking into his eyes as he lifts my chin. “I won’t hurt you you know,” he says quietly.

I nod slowly but my eyes move behind his shoulder when I see a Redead Knight coming out. I duck under and around him, taking out my sword and shield as I narrow my eyes at the Knight. Sheik soon joins beside me, swinging his chain around. The Knight screeches, making us both cringe, and slowly starts to walk towards us. We’re able to shake off the paralyses and Sheik lets his chain-whip fly and wrap around its neck. I waste no time and jump forward, stabbing the sword through its middle and making it groan in protest.

I hear Sheik take out something from his belt and roll under the Knight’s legs as he sends five throwing knives into its face. Wanting to end this, I jump to the side, roll, and preform the Back Slice just as Sheik pulls his chain-whip and we send it to the ground, dead before it can do anything else.

We only have a short time to take in our victory when we hear moans from all around us. We jump to each other, back-to-back, and I take out my bow as Sheik takes out more knives. The moans become louder and Gibdo, Redeads and a Skulltula come, the spider-like monster climbing down the wall. “You ready, Shorty?” Sheik whispers.

I ignore the name and smirk over my shoulder, not taking my eyes off the monsters around us. ‘Ready when you are, Jerk,’ I think.

-With Navi and Coral-

“Do you think he’s alright?” Coral asks as she unlocks a door and finds a spiral cave with waterfalls all over.

“I sure hope so, he has the Zora Armour, so he shouldn’t have drowned. I just hope he didn’t get servilely hurt,” Navi says as she flies forward, lighting the slightly dark room. “But I’ve never seen that many Gibdo or Redeads in one place, it was almost like they were guarding something.”

“…Maybe the way to the Lost Item,” Coral’s eyes grow wide.

“The Lost Item? What’s that?” Navi asks, she’s never heard of it.

“Well, the Lost Item is something that the Zora got from our ancestors a long, long time ago,” she explains as she spots a cave marking. She goes up to it and smiles, “This was them! They were called Parella, they were like squids and lived deep in water, they had this thing called a Water Dragon Scale, it lets anyone to breathe under water and it lets anybody jump over fences in the water. It was put into this Temple for safe keeping when we built it.”

Navi just blinks, she’s never heard of something like that. Had it been created before her time?

She’s taken out of her thoughts when Coral starts moving again. “How will we find Link?” the Zora wonders, putting a hand on her chin to think.

“I think we’ll find him soon, how much trouble can he really get into?”

-With Link and Sheik-

‘Fifty-seven, fifty-eight, fifty-nine,’ I keep count of the Redeads and Gibdo I’ve been killing as Sheik and I circle on the spot, taking out all the Undead with arrows and knives.

“Sixty-three, sixty-four, how many have you got, Shorty?” Sheik asks, throwing a knife through a Skulltula’s head.

I smirk, shooting a Redead in the heart. ‘Just killed seventy,’ I tell him before finding myself out of arrows. ‘Looks like it’ll be up-close and personal from now on,’ I think, taking out the Master Sword and my Hylian Shield.

“You out of long-range, too?” he asks, taking out his chain-whip.

‘Yep,’ I nod shortly.

“Let’s get this done and over with, I just hope this is the last of these guys.”

We start fighting the Undead, doing our best to help each other if one of us is frozen by a scream or locked eyes with one of them. It’s strange, but we make a good team, we barely have to look at each other and we jump to the other’s rescue before the monsters even get to us. Soon we’re facing off agenised the last few Undead, one Redead, a Gibdo and two Redead Knights, both of us panting and sweating from the fight.

“Hang in there, we only a few more left,” Sheik pants, shaking his shoulder length hair out of his face, but it sticks to his neck and forehead.

‘Don’t need to tell me that,’ I think, not even bothering to wipe my face. ‘Just-’ -SCREECH!-‘What was that?’ I ask, looking over my shoulder.

Sheik looks at me, smiling out of all things. That’s not how I feel. “Just a friend I met,” his smile grows when the Undead turn and are all incinerated by fire. It barely snaps at my feet and I back up to feel Sheik behind me. He puts an arm around my shoulders and my jaw drops when I see a large bird of fire land in front of us. It’s about as large as a swan, with bright fire red feathers and gold plumage, it looks at me with beady black eyes before screeching and flying to my shoulder, making my legs buckle slightly at the sudden weight.

‘It’s amazing,’ I think, risking raising my arm and stroking its wing. It pecks at me lightly and nibbles on my fingers.

“It’s called a phoenix, I found it this morning when it was flying around Jabu’s lake. It took me through a cave that lead here and flew off after that. It seemed to know something was wrong, because not two seconds later I saw you floating through the water with blood coming out of your head,” Sheik explains.

‘Huh,’ I continue to pet the fire bird and it tugs my hair before flying off, smacking me in the face with its wing. ‘Hey!’ I glare at it, but not with any heat.

“C’mon, it most likely knows a way out, without magic,” Sheik says and starts walking.

I sigh in relief and relax, putting the sword and shield away before trotting to keep up with Sheik and the phoenix. With the help of the fire bird, we find ourselves in a large-ish room with water rising to our waists and a large living tree in the middle. ‘Weird,’ I think and walk forward. The phoenix flies out of the room but I don’t pay attention.

“Short-!” I turn to Sheik when he’s cut off to see him surrounded by purple spikes. I start to walk, but a barrier stops me suddenly. I stumble back and look around with bated breath, what’s going on.

I turn around and walk towards the tree, but my ears twitch once I pass it and I turn, unsheathing the sword and shield, to see…me?

The person…thing in front of me looks exactly like I do, right down to the Zora Armour and Master Sword. ‘Wha?’ I narrow my eyes at it, it mirrors my movements. I step back, it steps forward, I back flip, it front flips. I don’t understand!

Suddenly, it stops mirroring what I do and attacks, starting with a horizontal slice. I jump back, but it keeps following my steps. I stab forward, but it jumps over my head and catches me on my back. I’m sent stumbling forward and turn in time to block a blow that would have killed me. The clone pushes its strength down on me and I grit my teeth before gaining my own strength and knocking it back. Time to turn on the offensive!

I bash my shield at the unsuspecting clone, and flip over it, but the sword hits thin air and I land on my feet, looking around with quick, narrowed eyes. I hear splashes behind me and spin, slashing up at the clone as it’s caught by surprise. I manage to catch its arm, but the skin repairs itself. Oh crud, I’m fighting with magic.

Gulping down the fear growing in my stomach, I tighten my hand around the hilt of the sword and with a yell of fury, I cut forward, pushing the clone back and sending sparks everywhere.

-Sheik’s POV-

“Crap!” I yell as I see, uh, one of the Links get hurt? I’m really not sure who is who. “Shorty, which one are you?!” I ask.

‘Me!’ two voices, which sound the exact same, mind-yell at the same time. The clones look at each other and both swear. ‘Sheiky, it’s me!’ I shake my head, this isn’t helping.

One of the Links thrusts forward and gets the other on the thigh, making the other Link wince and roll around. Then the Link with the bleeding thigh kicks the other in the back, sending her forward to land in the water. The Link not in the water jumps up and comes down with a Final Blow, but the Link in the water rolls away and gets to her feet.

‘This is so confusing! And I can’t attack, what if I hurt the real Link?’ I think to myself angrily. Is there any way I can call out the fake? This whole thing is like…

Magic.

I look down at my hand, I’ll have to, I need to see if this will work. Sorry, Shorty.

I clench my fists and manage to teleport as I throw a Deku Nut down. Luckily the two Links are too occupied to notice me escape. I summon fire in my hand and walk up to the two, the fire behind my back. “Hey!” I call, making them both turn just as they put their Master Swords to each other’s throat. “Mind telling me who’s who?”

‘Sheiky, I’m Link!’ they both think and look at each other. ‘Stop reading my thoughts!’ they yell.

‘Oy vey,’ I really think I’m getting a headache. I look both of them over, they look so alike! They both even have the makeshift bandage I used my shawl for. Alright, last resort. “Sorry, Link,” I say, closing my eyes and looking down slightly. Both of them tilt their heads in confusion before I bring out the fire.

Immediately, the Link on the left backs away, eyes wide. The other one mirrors her movements, but not nearly as fast. But I have to be sure. I walk towards them and manage to back them into the wall, shaking exactly alike. I’m forced to intensify the fire and the one I now know is the real Link shrinks back into the wall as far as she can go, while the other doesn’t look as fazed.

I close my hand, extinguishing the flame, and look at the fake, smirking. “Found you,” now it grows afraid. When the clone is distracted, Link pulls out the sword and stabs through its chest, making blood fall all over. The fake falls to the ground and Link grabs her shoulder, finding a cut neither of us had seen there before.

-Link’s POV-

I rub my bleeding shoulder and look at Sheik, smiling slightly, ‘Thanks…even if you did have to use magic.’

“No one can duplicate someone else’s fear, because no one has the exact same fear, you might get someone who’s afraid of Skulltulas, but there are also people who just don’t like them and squirm even if it’s a small one. And you have the biggest reaction to magic I’ve ever seen,” he says.

‘Yeah,’ I mind-mumble as the water drains from the room and something falls from the roof. I walk over to it and pick it up, it’s a small blue scale and it feels like Rocky’s, so it’s from a dragon I guess?

“What do you know, the Water Dragon Scale,” Sheik bends down beside me. “With that anyone can easily jump over a blockage in the water.”

I hand it to him, ‘Here, I can swim just fine with my tunic.’

“But you might not always have your tunic, that thing can easily be destroyed with fire, or even somewhere really cold, so it might not always be helpful. With this, you’ll be able to breathe underwater and not worry about it as long as you put it on your forearm, like this,” he takes my arm and pushes the scale, curved side down, into my skin. I yelp and try to get away as the feeling of bloody magic enters me, but he holds me firm, not even giving me a slight chance to run.

‘Jerk,’ I think as I finger my skin, where I can see the scale. ‘That’s kinda disturbing.’

“Hey, what works works,” he shrugs and starts walking to the now unbarred door on the other side. “Well? What are you waiting for?” I jog up behind him and he opens the door. He puts an arm out and I look down to see a large gaping hole with only about a meter of wall space to the other side circling the round room.

I start to sidle across when Sheik stops me. “That will take too long,” he says and takes out the chain-whip.

‘I’m fine with long,’ I shrug, eyeing the weapon.

“Well I’m not,” he says and somehow gets me on his back again.

Resisting the urge to growl, I’m forced to wrap my arms around his shoulders after putting my hat into my belt, not wanting to lose it. Sheik grabs a hook-like rock and swings off, but it jerks down and almost causes me to fall off. We miss the edge, and now we’re hanging in the middle. ‘Great plan, you got another one?’ I ask sarcastically.

He’s about to retort when the walls shake and arrows poke themselves out of the walls. They shoot at us, but Sheik takes the chain-whip back and we start falling. I stare at the darkness below and manage to spot spikes, oh Goddess we’ll be killed! Sheik seems pretty relaxed considering we’re about to die.

I notice the hole starting to get skinner, and soon he’s able to stop us by putting his hands and feet on either side and pushing up, making us come to a fast halt just above the spikes. Shit.

That’s when I spot something on the side of the spikes. Paper. Curious, I get off Sheik’s back and manage to slide between him and the wall. “What are you doing?” he snaps, looking down at me as I slowly descend. I just ignore him as I grab the paper. I tug at it and see a small switch under it. This’ll either help us or kill us.

Biting my lip, I press the switch and the spikes shiver for a moment before going into the ground. Smiling, I go down and see the floor not too far away from us. I drop but land my butt, oh well, didn’t hurt that much. I only get to look around the room a little before Sheik falls on top of me, making dust come up from the floor.

After coughing and opening my eyes, I see Sheik’s face really close to mine and just staring at me with wide eyes. ‘Um…can you get off?’ I think and he scrambles off of me. I nod in thanks and look around the room, the walls are covered in those stones like before, two doors on either side and a small pool of water.

“How’d you know there was a way to get rid of the spikes?” Sheik asks.

I smile, ‘I didn’t.’

He just sighs and shakes his head. I shrug and go towards the door on the right, opening it, I see a slow moving river with vortexes all around. ‘We’ll have to be careful if we go this way,’ I think and turn around, bumping into Sheik’s back. ‘What is it?’ I ask, standing on my toes to try and see over his shoulder. I spot some blue guy in a purple and blue robe and holding a staff standing there, he looks really old and has a beard.

“A Wizrobe, these guys are annoying,” Sheik says. My ears drop at ‘Wiz’, oh great this guy knows magic.

His eyes zero in on me, seeming to know my fear, and teleports out of sight. ‘Huh?’ I wonder before I’m picked up from the back of my tunic. I yelp and struggle to get free, but the Wizrobe has me dangling over a vortex from his staff. It looks at Sheik, seeming to dare him to take a step forward, before nodding and teleporting away with me.

Colours flash before my eyes and once we land I throw up, stupid magic! I look up to see the Wizrobe slam his staff into my gut, making me curl up into a ball, gasping for breath. “I’ve got the Hylian,” he speaks in an old, croaky voice to something behind me.

“Oh, good. Leave!” the voice behind me demands and the Wizrobe doesn’t waste any time. “So, I see you enjoy getting in and out of trouble,” I look over my shoulder to see the huge cat-woman thing from before. I try to get up, but she slams her heavy paw on top of me, preventing any movement. She brings her head close to me and looks me over. “You really aren’t enough to fill me, but bringing those other human-like things will be enough strength for me to escape this prison.”

I glare at her, but she only laughs in my face, making my ears ring at the volume. “Glare all you want, but that won’t stop me from eating those things. But I am curious on how you taste,” she says and licks my face with her scratchy tongue. I shake my head and she spits in my face. “Plah! Two good. I can’t eat something like you, especially with all the light in your blood. But I can still play with you,” she grins evilly and I gulp.

She lifts me up in her paw before throwing me into the air then batting me to the side. Her tail comes around and whips me back and I slam into the ground, where she starts batting me between her paws like I’m a ball. The world blurs and I feel my stomach turn as she continues to ‘play’ with me. She throws me into the air again before catching my tunic in her mouth and shaking me like a rag doll.

“Hey!” I hear Navi’s voice yell and the shaking stops.

‘Ooh,’ I moan as dizziness swarms my brain.

“Put him down!” Coral yells.

I feel the cat-woman smirk before I’m dropped, landing in the sandy ground face first. I groan as I start to pick myself up, but gasp when she steps on me with her back paw, making my body sink into the sand. “Well well well, the little fish snack has come,” the cat-woman purrs and steps off of me, circling Coral. I slowly get to my feet and see Coral backing up, cornering herself in the wall.

‘Coral!’ I think, doing my best to ignore the bruise that’s now on my back, and limp to the cat-woman’s back paw, jumping on when she’s stopped and distracted.

Not my best plan of action. I’m forced to grab onto her fur and get onto my stomach so I don’t fall off when she leaps forward. Coral screams and runs out of the way just in time and the cat-woman skids to a stop, sending sand all over her paws and me. I shake the sand out of my face as she turns around and hisses at Coral. “You think you can outsmart a Sphinx?” she asks, crouching down and getting ready to pounce.

“Yes?” Coral asks, not sounding sure.

“Well you thought wrong,” the Sphinx jumps again and manages to bat Coral to the side and into the wall. I start to climb up her leg, and luckily she doesn’t notice me as she starts walking again, making me grab onto her fur once more. “There is one thing Sphinxes love so much, riddles. If you can get these riddles, I will not eat you, if you don’t get them, I will have the best snack in all my life,” the Sphinx laughs.

“First riddle:I do not breathe, but I run and jump. I do not eat, but I swim and stretch. I do not drink, but I sleep and stand. I do not think, but I grow and play. I do not see, but you see me every day.”

“A leg,” Coral says.

“Correct,” the Sphinx whips its tail, hitting me in the face and almost making me fall. “Second riddle: When I am young, I go on four legs, then I go on two legs, then I go on three legs, and then I die.”

“Uh…” Coral thinks for a moment. “A human! In the morning, which is the beginning of the day, they’re a baby, crawling on all fours, when its noon, they’re an adult and walking on two legs, and at night it’s an old person, who’s sun is about to set, and they walk with a cane.”

“Correct,” I make it to the Sphinx’s back and start to tip-toe up to the head.

“And final riddle: To you, rude I will never be, though I flag my tongue for all to see. (Gery: I don’t own these riddles, look at Riddles of the Sphinx if you’re curious for more). What is it?” I make it to its ear just as Coral’s eyes grow wide. She doesn’t know it.

“Um, eh,” she fidgets, folding her hands in front of her. “A…lizard?” she guesses.

The Sphinx laughs and shakes its head, making me almost fall off. “Wrong! A dog! Those stupid things,” she mutters under her breath.

Stupid cat thing, I take offence in that!

Wait, that’s it! ‘Navi! Change me into a wolf!’ I think to her as she flies up to me.

‘Are you sure? You might start getting attacked by the Sphinx.’

‘But she’ll kill Coral! Don’t think, just do!’ I tell her and she hits the back of my neck. I shake my head once the change is complete and trot over to the Sphinx’s ear. ‘You are not going to eat her!’ I think and bite down on her ear before she snaps at Coral.

She hisses in pain and stands up on her back paws, sending me flying to crash into Coral, who was running away. We end up in a tangled heap but she easily fixes it and looks at me, “That’s weird.”

I nod as I get to my feet, crouching down as the Sphinx looks at me in fear. “A dog,” she whispers to herself before her eyes go completely black and sightless, like she no longer has control. What did I do?

The Sphinx rushes forward, extending its claws and swiping at me. I jump over the paw, but she head butts me into the wall, creating a hole. I slowly get to my paws once she backs away and I shake my fur from the dust and to try and rid the ache, when something hits the back of my neck and changes me back to Hylian. The Sphinx’s eyes grow back to normal and she hisses at me before slamming her paw into me, pressing me agenised the wall. “You stupid human! Tricking me to think you’re a dog! I won’t stand for it!” she yells and picks me up around the middle with her mouth.

I try to get free, but she shakes me around again and throws me up before moving and letting me hit the ground hard. I crawl out of the crater I somehow made when everything around me goes darker. Looking up, I see the Sphinx’s underbelly coming down. ‘Oh-no!’ I mind yell and try to move but she soon crushes me.

“Now that he’s out of the way, I can deal with you,” I hear her say as I sneeze, managing to wiggle slightly under the weight. I find myself at the Sphinx’s side, only my arms, head and torso out from under her, and push on the side all I can, but it’s really difficult. I look over at Coral to see her get picked up in the cat-woman’s mouth, which opens wide before snapping down.

I force myself to look away and close my eyes as the screams echo through the room, filled with pain and agony. I look back at the limp Zora and feel anger boil inside me, this Sphinx is not going to get its meal. I get myself out from under it and stab its side with the sword, making it drop Coral’s body in surprise.

It looks at me and hisses, silver blood staining its teeth. “It looks like I’m going to have to deal with you, too,” she says, slamming her paw down. I roll out of the way but find myself on the edge of a deep pool. Seeing this, the Sphinx knocks me back and I fall in. Reaching the surface, I look around and try to climb out, but the walls are too slick and wet.

‘Great,’ I hit the back of my head on the wall. I see Navi fly down and she sits on my shoulder.

“Are you okay?”

‘Yeah, I’m fine. But how am I going to get out?’

“You could always use the-”

‘No,’ I cut her off. I am not using the stupid stone for a long time.

“I know, I just thought I’d try,” she shrugs. “You’d need to be a Zora to jump out of here…”

The Zora Armour won’t let me do that…but the Scale might. Grinning, I pull up my undershirt sleeve and look at the Scale, could this work? “So you got it?” Navi asks, looking at it.

‘Yep, got it earlier. But how does it work?’ I wonder, looking up at the top of the hole. I look around me to see enough room for me to swim, so that might be a good start. I dive under and go to the bottom before starting to swim, the Scale helping me go a lot faster. Once I gain enough speed, I head up and spin out of the water, managing to just grab onto the edge. ‘I have no idea how I did that,’ I think, slightly dizzy, as I climb out.

I look up to see the Sphinx attacking someone, and I recognize the swift movements. “Is that Sheik?” Navi asks.

‘Yeah, he helped me. Hey, Sheiky!’ I mind yell as I run over, sword and shield ready.

“Don’t call me that, Shorty,” he states, whipping the Sphinx with his chain.

‘Alright, Jerk,’ I shrug and duck under a blow from the cat-woman. ‘Ready to kill this thing?’

“Ready when you are,” he replies and jumps up, hitting the Sphinx’s nose with the chain-whip. I run at the paw and jump up, coming down with a Final Blow, and making the thing scream as blood comes out of her paw. She lifts it, with me still on, and shakes her paw in an attempt to get me off, but it only makes me hold tighter and make the wound bigger. She hisses angrily again and stops flailing her paw to swipe her other at Sheik, who easily dodges and lands on her head, throwing three knives into her eyes.

She growls and shakes her body and Sheik jumps off, landing on his feet as I keep cutting the leg. The Sphinx eventually flicks me off and I land on my back at Sheik’s feet. I give him a sheepish grin and he rolls his eyes as I get up. “What’s her weak spot?” he mutters.

I look over her body to see if I can find anything, but there’s nothing I see that can indicate weakness. ‘I’m not sure,’ I tell him.

He sighs, rubbing his forehead. “Looks like I’ll have to do it,” he mumbles to himself.

“‘Do what?’” me and Navi ask.

He doesn’t say anything, he just lifts his hand and summons the fire again. I jump back and away from him faster than a rabbit, making Navi hang onto my shoulder in surprise. He glances at me for a second before sending it towards me, making me back up to the wall as I stare at the flames with wide eyes. What’s he doing?

He moves his other hand up and creates some sort of black, glowing ball. It expands and I try to walk forward, but the flames jump at me and I’m forced back, I fall to my butt as the magic surrounds me and I feel myself shake as I watch him throw the ball at the Sphinx.

The ball covers the Sphinx in the black glow before dying down. For a few, tense-filled seconds, nothing happens. Then the Sphinx starts to hiss and jerk around, making the ground shake. Seeming to know I’ll try to move, Sheik makes the flames come even closer but all I can do is stare as a black orb of light appears outside of the cat-woman’s heart before contracting and exploding.

I scream and duck my head into my arms, shaking violently as wave after wave of magic hits me, making my skin tingle. ‘Why won’t it stop?’ I ask myself, making myself go into a tight ball to try and block out the magic.

Once everything dies down, I hear Navi speak, “Link?”

Hesitantly, I look up to see the room destroyed and I’m surrounded in a blue diamond with Sheik standing beside me with his own diamond. ‘Was that necessary?’ I mind-whisper.

“Yes, it wouldn’t have been able to get killed any other way,” he says.

‘You could have warned me, then it wouldn’t have been as…frightening,’ I look down.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Navi says and I stand up shakily.

“There’s the way to the Sacred Realm, you can leave through that,” Sheik says before throwing a Deku Nut down and leaving.

Gulping the rest of my fear down, I stumble over to the light and quickly find myself in the Realm. The blue circle glows and Coral shows up, although I’ve got to say I’m not really surprised she’s the Sage. “Hey, Link. You’re lucky that that Sheikah could use Nayru’s Love, or you and him would have died from that spell.”

‘Another reason I hate magic,’ I mind-mutter.

“Alright, I’ve wasted enough of your time. Here, take my Medallion,” like every time before, the power of the Sage comes down and I grab it, the world flashing white as I leave.

“And Link? Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.”

Once the light fades, I find myself beside the cave we slept in last night, confused about her final words.

“Alright Link, let’s go back to the Domain, hopefully the water’s back,” Navi says and starts flying towards the tunnel. I follow and smile to myself as I see the water returning, slowly, but returning nonetheless.

The guard my friends talked to yesterday smiles at me gratefully and I smile back as I start to head out of the Domain.

As I walk out, my mind keeps going back to Sheik for some reason. He used magic, so he could use magic to keep me away from the blast, but why does it feel like something inside me is buzzing? Is it the result of the explosion? I hope it dies down soon.

-Unknown POV-

I growl to myself as I watch the kid leave the Domain from my perch on top of a bolder. He is starting to foil my plans more, and without that Sphinx I can’t get that Twili to corrupt that fish again. I see I will have to take it up a notch with this.

But wait, this is good. I now know the Hero’s weakness and I will definitely be using it agenised him. With a smile, I snap my fingers and disappear from the fish-people’s home.

-Link’s POV-

Why are my legs so stiff? It feels like they’re being weighed down by rocks. The buzzing in my body hasn’t left yet and it’s almost nightfall, I’ll need to get back to the castle soon, I think I might be getting sick.

“Link, are you alright?” Navi asks slowly.

I just shrug, not sure myself, when my legs buckle and I slam into the bolder beside me, dizziness swarming my mind and the world spinning. W-what’s happening to me?

I fall to my hands and knees, suddenly gasping for air. “Link!” Navi calls and I try to lift my head, but it’s so heavy.

With short breaths, I fall forward and feel my head pound harshly, I hear my heart thudding in my ears and everything gets fuzzier and fuzzier as my heart quickens. I try to get up, but I can’t move my arms or legs, I can’t even feel them. I…I’m so con-confu-

Everything goes black as the last thing I see is a large shadow hovering over me.

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