Chapter 10: Zelda
Ganondorf sat with a towel draped over his lap sitting with his back to the wall in a tub. Grabbing wooden bucket at his side he held it to a pipe in the wall and pulled down on a chain and watched with an amused look as cold, clean water poured out and filled the bucket till it was overflowing and poured onto the floor where it ran down a drain. Lifting the bucket over his head, he poured all the contents over his head and let the water run down his body, over his muscular arms, down his chester and abs and making their way to his feet and into the tub where they vanished down another drain. He had done this over a dozen times and started filling up the bucket once more intent on doing this till he was satisfied that his body was washed clean of any and all dirt and sweat.
"Admittedly," he thought to himself. "I am impressed that they have found such a way to conveniently transport water so high up in a castle. They have fountains that squirt water out endlessly like magic and even have a moat flowing with water around the entire castle. They have so much of the stuff they can heedlessly waste so much of it and still have so much they could not get rid of it all if they wanted to. This land is nothing like Gerudo Valley." Releasing the chain from, the water in the pipe stopped flowing leaving only a few drops to drip out. "Our wells rarely have any water in them. Those that do go dry in less than a day." Lifting the bucket over his head once more he poured it down onto his head. "Rain rarely falls from the sky. What little does vanishes as soon as it hits the ground." Holding out his hand and keeping his fingers together, Ganondorf watched as the water flowed down his arm and pooled into his palm. "Some days there is so little water we could hold the amount we drank that day in the palm of our hand." Opening his fingers he let the water fall into the tub. "But soon, all this water will belong to me. All of Hyrule will belong to me."
Standing up, Ganondorf grabbed another towel and began to try his body off and he approached his change of clothes and began to get dressed. "I only need wait till the keys to the Golden Power fall into my possession," he continued. "I only need to bide my time until then."
Even after Link crawled to the other end of the water duct and reached a fountain he didn't sit up to catch his breath. Instead, he remained crouched and silent, slowly moving to the edge slowly peering out to make sure nobody was there. When he saw there were no guards around he finally let out a sigh of relief and then breathed in some fresh air.
"Navi," he breathed. "You can come out. We've made it inside."
"Good job," praised Navi slipping out from beneath Link's cap and flying around curiously. "Looks like we're definitely in the castle. The princess must be around here somewhere. We should hurry. No telling if there are guards patrolling around here."
"Just give me a couple minutes," replied Link getting out of the water and sitting on the edge of the fountain. He removed his boots and turned them upside down in the fountain to pour the water out of them. "I don't think that the princess would want to see me soaked from my head to my feet.
"Good point," agreed Navi, watching as Link attempted to wring as much water as he could from his tunic and his pack. He finished taking off his hat and squeezing out the water accumulated in it. After finishing, Link still felt soaked, but was at least happy his clothes didn't feel weighed down and his boots didn't make a wet squishing sound as he walked. Link then stopped and looked up towards the sky and the top of the castle.
"Ready to go?" Navi asked after waiting a short while. "What's the matter? See something up there?"
"Huh?" asked Link turning back to Navi. "Oh, I thought I did, but it must've just been my imagination. Let's get going." The two of them started to make their way through the castle garden.
"A child dressed in green," pondered Impa sitting atop the castle. "Just as the princess foresaw. It cannot merely be a coincidence, but it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye on him a while longer. If he is truly supposed to be some sort of hero, he shouldn't have any trouble making to the princess on his own."
"So this is what a castle is like," commented Link staring at the tall, neatly trimmed hedges and the vibrate rose bushes. "It is a lot more green than I thought it'd be."
"This appears to just be a garden within the castle," Navi told him. "Hyrule Castle seems to be a lot bigger than I expected. It'll be a lot harder to find the princess if we have to search through the entire castle."
"I don't see why we need to be patrolling the garden," said a voice approaching Link and Navi. They heard the familiar sound of armor clanking along with footsteps and instantly recognized the approach of the castle guards.
"Quick," whispered Navi flying over to a nearby bush. "Hide in here." Dropped to his hands and knees, Link snuck crawled into the bush as far as he could and remained silent as he watched a pair of soldiers approach and stop so close, Link could see the scratches in the legs of their armor.
"It's our duty to ensure the safety of the royal family," said the other soldier.
"I know the oath," the first soldier sighed. "But do we have to be the ones out in the garden?" He sniffled and let out a series of sneezes. "Ugh, all this pollen is aggravating my allergies. And now I got spit all over my helmet." Taking it off, he did his best trying to wipe it clean, but another sneeze made him fumble it in his hands and drop it. The helmet bounced under the bush and right in front of Link. "Darn it. Where'd my helmet go?"
"It rolled under there, Sneezy," snickered the other guard. "Go and get it. You don't want to be chewed out for not being in uniform."
"I know, I know," he grumbled trying to kneel over, but his maneuverability was staggered from his armor. Clumsily he managed to do it and then he reached into the bush trying to find his helmet. He moved his arm all around, attempting to find it grabbing at branches and dirty as he neared the helmet and Link.
"What's taking you?" asked the other soldier growing impatient.
"I can't see anything in there, but I think I'm close," he replied. "I think I get just about reach it."
Sliding a bit closer to the bush, the soldier continued to reach for his helmet, his arm aiming too high and his fingers nearly touching Link instead and moving slowly closer to him. Clenching his teeth, Link slowly moved his hands to the helmet at his feet doing his best to keep from trembling. With both hands on the sides of the helmet, he carefully lifted it up into the path of the soldier's searching hand watches as he felt his helmet, grabbing it. Link careful let go of the helmet as the soldier pulled it out of the bush. Link waited nervously as the soldier inspected his helmet.
"Is everything okay?" asked the other soldier watching the one on the ground inspect his helmet.
"No," he answered back. "We've got an intruder." Hearing this, Link tensed up. The soldier then got up starts moving and shaking the branches on the bush, nearing where Link was hidden.
"An intruder?" asked the other soldier alarmed and getting his spear ready. "Hiding in the bush?"
"Take a look," he replied moving aside to show him. When he looked, he quickly calmed down. "You got me all worked over some bugs." He stared at a half dozen beetles with shiny, blue-green abdomens and black heads. Link was visible in the gaps between the bush's branches, but went unnoticed.
"Heh," he snickered. "What did you expect, a person? There's no way anyone could make it in here. Still, we'd best tell the landscapers about this." He reached into his helmet and plucked out another beetle that had crawled into it and watched it take off to somewhere else in the garden. "The princess would be very upset if her flowers got eaten up by a swarm of these things. I forget, is she afraid of bugs?"
"I don't know, but she's tending to the flowers further in," the other soldier mentioned, a fact that caught Link's attention. "We should take care of the issue before she finds out. Besides, I want to wash my helmet out. It's all covered with dirt."
Heading down the path that Link and Navi came from, they soon were out of sight and Link crawled out of his hiding spot and brushed the dirt off his body. "I thought I was caught for a second," he breathed a sigh of relief. "But did you hear what they said?"
"Yeah," Nave replied. "The princess is just up ahead. Seems we won't need to search the entire castle after all. That's very fortunate."
"We better hurry before they get back," added Link.
"Careful," Navi warned as she flew after Link. "Those two might not be the only guards in here."
Fully dressed in his black armor, Ganondorf made some final adjustments until he was satisfied, adjusting the pieces until it was comfortable and secure. Grabbing his velvet red cape, he secured it to the mantel of his armor. Finally, he fastened the scabbards of his swords to his waist and then took up both swords, inspecting the blades before sheathing them. Standing before the mirror, he checked himself over one final time and then took his leave of his room.
"Oh, Ganondorf," Augustine the advisor to the king said surprised as he watched Ganondorf come out of his room. He was dressed in his usual red robes. "It is nearly time for the meeting with the king. King Hyrule is not the type to gripe over tardiness, but it would still reflect bad on you. Best to hurry on over."
"I was just about to go on over," Ganondorf told him as he made his way to the throne room. Augustine followed behind him having to take two steps to keep up with one step from Ganondorf.
"Good, very good," praised Augustine. "A few of the other nobles will also be in attendance so I think we should go over the proper etiquette. First, you will wait outside the throne room until your presence is announced. After which, you will proceed ten paces along the red carpet, shoulders straight and eyes facing forward. Upon the tenth step you will stop then descend to one knee and then bow your head to the king." Ganondorf suddenly stopped, catching Augustine off guard as he continued walking forward. He quickly turned back to Ganondorf and saw a slight agitation in his expression. "What's the matter? Was it something I said?"
"Bow," Ganondorf spoke to him. "I am expected to bow my head to another?"
"Well, it is customary to do so when in the presence of the king as a sign of respect," he told him sounding a bit nervous. "Is that a problem?"
"I find it beneath me to do such a thing," explained Ganondorf. "I am a king as well, and for a king to bow their head to anyone else is to admit their own defeat and inferiority to another. It is something I have never done before."
"Try not to think of it like that," pleaded Augustine. "Remember why you are here. This is to help your people. Surely, bowing your head should be an insignificant price when compared to all the good it will do."
"Very well," sighed Ganondorf. "For the good of my people I will cast aside my pride."
"The Gerudos are truly blessed to have such a good-hearted king like you leading them," he praised. "It is the people that is the true pride of the king. No matter what you might feel you lose, their gratitude towards you will return it to you ten fold. Of this I am sure."
"Perhaps, that is how you see it," thought Ganondorf as he resumed walking to the throne room. His fingers itched with eagerness to draw his swords merely from the notion of having to bow his head. Willing himself, he managed to restrain the bloodlust he was craving. "But the only true way to gain back one's pride is through battle."
"Are we past all the guards?" asked Link quietly to Navi as he looked behind him.
"Looks that way," she replied flying high enough to survey the area ahead. "We're at the end of the garden, but looks like their is a sanctuary just up ahead and I can sense someone in there. Someone with a mysterious power. I cannot quite describe it, but it has to be the princess. Who else could it be?"
"Then we've finally found her," Link stated excitedly and he rushed forward to the sanctuary. He stopped as it finally came into sight and the sheer elegance of it left him in a state of awe. Even compared to the rest of the garden, the vibrant colors of the flowers appeared brighter, more vibrant. The water that flowed in the man-made stream in the middle area seemed even more pure and even the grass look greener. Link continued to look around in wonderment, but just as Navi was unable to put into words a moment ago, he couldn't understand why everything here felt so different from what they had seen prior. There were even dozens of different birds scattered around the sanctuary. As Link took some steps forward the birds fluttered away to keep their distance, but remained within the sanctuary.
Link reached the stream in the middle of the area and crossed the bridge as he continued to search for the princess. Peering ahead, he finally spotted someone, not too far off peering through a window. He couldn't see her face, but she was dressed in a lovely pink dress. With nobody else in sight, Link knew he couldn't be mistaken and hurried over to her. He ran up till he was only a few steps away and then froze. She didn't seem to notice Link, too fixated by what was on the other side of a window.
"What's the matter?" Navi whispered to Link. "We've finally found the princess. Go talk to her."
"But what do I say to her?" Link asked nervously. "I've come all the way here, but just what am I supposed to say to her?"
"Say something," Navi told him and nudged him another step forward.
"H-h-hello," Link managed to say catching her attention.
Turning around and gasping with surprise. "Who?!?" she asked, alarmed at his unexpected appearance. "Who are you?" The girl stared in awe at Link eyeing him up from head to toe unsure of what to make of him. All she could think to do was keep on questioning him. "How did you get past the guards?"
"It wasn't all that hard," commented Navi. "They are a little too relaxed with their duties."
Turning her focus on the fluttering little ball of light, Zelda stared at it intrigued. "Oh? What's that?" she questioned him, but realized it a moment later. "Is that... a fairy?!"
"Y- yes it is," Link answered slowly nodding. Little by little the two began to loosen up as their conversation continued.
"Then, are you... Are you from the forest?" she asked taking a step closer to him.
"I am," he told her. Hearing this, her unsure expression changed to a hopeful smile.
"Then... then... you wouldn't happen to have..." she continued to speak, holding her hands together as she questioned him and eagerly awaited his answered. "The Spiritual Stone of the Forest, would you?! That green and shining stone..." She paused for a moment then asked him once again. "Do you have it?"
"See for yourself," Link responded as he put down his pack and unwrapped the stone so that the princess could see the stone and admire it's glowing, green hue. Link held out his hand so she could get a better look and without even looking at it, the princess knew for certain that it was the genuine article. Hesitantly, she reached a hand out to touch it like the stone would pop like a bubble the second she came within reach of it. But as she brushed a finger across the smooth, green sphere it did not pop and it only aided in her excitement.
"Just as I thought!" she exclaimed with such excitement she startled Link causing him to fall backward and accidentally pull her down with him. Link fell onto the soft grass, breaking his fall and the princess fell onto Link breaking her fall. The Kokiri Emerald fell out of Link's grasp in the fall, but he didn't even notice, too preoccupied as he and Zelda were momentarily lost in one another's eyes.
"Uh, I don't mean to interrupt," Navi broke the ice. "But we've had to come a long way to see you and no telling when some guards might come over to check up on you."
"Oh, right, sorry," she apologized attempting to hide her blushing face. "I knew you two were coming, but I didn't know when. Certainly not so soon, but it is much better than later."
"You knew we'd come?" asked Link.
Nodding, she explained. "I had a dream... In the dream, dark storm clouds were billowing over the land of Hyrule... But suddenly, a ray of light shot out of the forest, parted the clouds and lit up the ground... The light turned into a figure holding a green and shining stone, followed by a fairy... I know this is a prophecy that someone would come from the forest..."
"That certainly sounds like us," commented Navi. "Then you really did foresee us."
"Yes," continued the princess. "I thought you might be the ones..." She paused for a moment and blushed a bit with embarrassment again. "Oh, I'm sorry! I got carried away with my story and didn't even properly introduce myself!" Grabbing her dress, she bowed her head to Link and Navi as she introduced herself. "I am Zelda, Princess of Hyrule."
"It is a pleasure to meet you," Navi replied bowing her head, though it only appeared like she was fluttering a bit lower. "My name is Navi, fairy of the Kokiri Forest, faithful servant of the Great Deku Tree."
"It is nice to meet you, Navi," Zelda told her then turned to Link. "And what is your name."
"I'm Link," he answered her plainly.
"You have to bow," Navi whispered to Link.
"Huh?" asked Link a bit confused.
"It is rude not to bow your head when greeting royalty," Navi told him. "Now bow your head and show her some respect."
"No, that's quite alright," Zelda assured them. "Link... Strange... it sounds somehow... familiar."
"But this is the first time we have ever met," Link commented scratching his head. "But somehow you feel familiar too. I think I've seen you before, but I can't seem to recall when or where."
"Perhaps it is simply due to fate," suggested Navi. "It is said that people whom have never met one another before can somehow be attracted to one another due to having intertwined fates. The two of you were destined to meet, so it is only natural that you both feel like you already have a bond of sorts." Content with Navi's explanation, Link and Zelda smiled and gave a nod.
"Ok then, Link," continued Zelda. "I'm going to tell you the secret of the Sacred Realm that has been passed down by the Royal Family of Hyrule. But you must promise me that you will keep this a secret from everyone."
"You have my word," Link answered. With a finger, he crossed his heart to further reinforce his words.
"The legend goes like this..." Zelda recited, recalling the tale as it had been told to her. "The three goddesses hid the Triforce containing the power of the gods somewhere in Hyrule. The power to grant the wish of the one who holds the Triforce in his hands." Her face became alight as she said the next part. "If someone with a righteous heart makes a wish, it will lead Hyrule to a golden age of prosperity..." She then lowered her head, her voice growing dark and cold for the next part. "If someone with an evil mind has his wish granted, the world will be consumed by evil... That is what has been told... So, the ancient Sages built the Temple of Time to protect the Triforce from evil ones."
"The Temple of Time?" asked Link. "Wasn't that the place we passed by on the way here?"
"Yeah it was," replied Navi. "I did have a strange feeling about it, but I didn't think something like the Triforce was hidden in a place like that."
"That's right..." said Zelda. "The Temple of Time is the entrance through which you can enter the Sacred Realm from our world. But the entrance is sealed with a stone wall called the Door of Time. And, in order to open the door, it is said that need to collect three Spiritual Stones."
"Three stones," repeated Link reaching down and picking up the Kokiri Emerald. "Then this is one of the three stones that are needed."
"And another thing you need..." she added. "Is the treasure that the Royal Family keeps along with this legend... The Ocarina of Time!"
"The Ocarina of Time?" asked Link recalling the instrument that Saria had given him not too long ago.
"It is kept within the treasure vault of the castle," she explained. "To most, it would seem to be merely a child's toy mixed in with gold, silver, and jewels that have been apart of the Royal Family for generations, but in truth, that ocarina is older and more priceless than anything else there."
"If it's in there, will we be able to get it?" asked Navi.
"When the time comes," Zelda explained. "I will retrieve it, but for now it is best to keep it in there, out of reach of those who are aware of its true worth."
"Like who?" asked Link curiously.
"Oh," gasped Zelda. "I forgot to tell you... I was spying through this window just now. The other element from my dream... the dark clouds... I believe they symbolize... that man in there! Come over and take a look."
Zelda stepped aside, giving Link space to approach the window. Hesitant at first, Link took a deep breath and walked to the window. His heart pounded in his chest and his hands shook. "Why do I feel so nervous?" Link thought placing his hands on the base of the window and peered through.
"Link," said Navi quietly as she watched from a distance. She didn't join him to look through the window. There was no need. She could already sense the powerful darkness residing on the other side of that pane of glass.
"What is the next order of business?" the king of Hyrule asked and waited for someone to answer. He was dressed in a lavish red robe with a navy blue silk shirt beneath. He sat on his throne with his crown upon his head. His eyes were blue and his hair was blond, but age was starting to turn it white. He had a noticeable gut on him that was made more ample due to his robe, but while it made him seem relaxed with his life as king, his hands were still strong and rough from his years of wielding swords.
"That would be the matter of the relief efforts for the Gerudos," Augustine spoke up.
"So it is," replied the king rubbing at his chin and scratching at his thick blond beard. "Step forward, Ganondorf."
Standing at the other end of the blue carpet, Ganondorf began to walk down it. On either side of him were soldiers lined up and at attention with spears in hand, but remained as still as statues. Once Ganondorf was a few steps short of the king he paused in place and gritted his teeth a moment. The king and the nobles waited in confusion and Augustine watched nervously for Ganondorf to bow. Letting out an invisible sigh, Ganondorf moved one hand to his chest and the other behind his back as he got down on one knee to bow before the king. Lowering his head to face the ground he hid his complete contempt for what he was doing.
Outside the window, Link had been watching. "Can you see the man with the evil eyes?" asked Zelda. Link silently nodded. The truth of the matter was that from the moment Link had looked through the window he had his sight affixed on him and he couldn't look away. The feeling of dread he had grown greater and Link could feel his sweat drip down his brow. "That is Ganondorf, the leader of the Gerudos. They hail from the desert far to the west. Though he swears allegiance to my father, I am sure he is not sincere." Link nodded as Zelda spoke to him, half hearing her words. "The dark clouds that covered Hyrule in my dream... They must symbolize that man!"
"I can see what you mean," agreed Link. "Just looking at him gives me chills."
Raising his head a bit from his bow, Ganondorf spotted Link looking at him and turned to him abruptly. Their eyes met for an instance and scared Link off his feet and tumbling backwards. "Those clothes?" he pondered. "A child from that village in the forest? What is he doing here?"
"Is something the matter?" asked the king to Ganondorf. "Do you see something?"
Ganondorf paused to think for a moment and then gave the most sincere fake smiled he could manage. "It was nothing," he lied. "Just a bird caught my eye for a second. Now, as for the matter of the relief effort. I know your time is very precious and I'd shudder to allow myself to use up any more of your valuable time than need be."
"What happened?" asked Zelda looking down at Link on the ground, unable to keep from shaking. "Did he see you?"
"Yeah," panted Link. "He looked right at me. He must know we were watching him now."
"Don't worry," assured Zelda. "He doesn't have any idea what we're planning... yet!"
"Link?" asked Navi in the most calming voice she could muster and fluttered over to him. "Are you ok?"
"I'm... I'm fine," he answered getting back up and dusting himself off and attempting to shake off any lingering fear. He then turned to Zelda. "If you know that Ganondorf is such a threat, why not tell your father about your dream? If you we can stop him now, then we won't have to even worry about protecting the Triforce, the Sacred Realm, or the Triforce."
"Yes," agreed Zelda. "That does sound like the simplest solution. I did tell my father about my dream... However, he didn't believe it was a prophecy... He cannot sense the darkness hidden beneath his facade. But... I can sense that man's evil intentions!" This time it was Zelda who started to shake fearfully. Link could see the terror in her eyes as she spoke about Ganondorf. "What Ganondorf is after must be nothing less than the Triforce of the Sacred Realm. He must have come to Hyrule to obtain it. And, he wants to conquer Hyrule... no, the entire world!" Taking Link's hands in hers, she squeezed them and pleaded with him. "Link... we are the only ones who can protect Hyrule! Please!"
"Zelda," Link answered back looking into her eyes and suddenly his body stopped shaking and his heartbeat became calm. With a smile, he nodded. "I will do everything I can to protect Hyrule. You have my word."
"Thank you!" she replied quickly becoming overjoyed and hugged Link. Tears ran down her face and soaked into Link's tunic. "I... I am afraid. I have a feeling that man is going to destroy Hyrule. He has such a terrifying power! But it's fortunate that you have come... We must not let Ganondorf get the Triforce! I will protect the Ocarina of time with all my power! He shall not have it! You go find the other two Spiritual Stones! Let's get the Triforce before Ganondorf does, and then defeat him!"
"The Great Deku Tree died because Ganondorf wanted the Kokiri Emerald," Link told Zelda. "Whoever has the other stones, Ganondorf has probably done something terrible to try and obtain them and if he were to get the Triforce he would making everyone suffer." Link began to shake again, but this time not from fear, but from anger. "I won't let that happen. I won't allow him to harm anyone else for his own selfish desires." Full of determination, Link turned to take his leave.
"One more thing," Zelda called to Link making him trip and fall to the ground. "Oh, sorry." Reaching down, she helped Link up and then took a piece of parchment out and a quill. Quickly, she started to write something down on it and then rolled the parchment up and handed it to Link. That this letter... I'm sure it will be helpful to you."
Taking the letter, Link placed it and the Kokiri Emerald back in his pack. Thanking Zelda, Link took his leave once more and started to make his way out of the garden with Navi flying right behind him. However, he didn't get far before he was blocked by a woman clad in armor. She gave a kind smile to Link and he cautiously approached her.
"I am Impa of the Sheikahs," she told him. "I am responsible for protecting Princess Zelda."
"I am Link," he answered back to her.
"I know," she explained. "From the very moment that you arrived here I have been watching you. I am quite impressed that you were able to make it all the way over here without being spotted by any of the guards. Admittedly, they have become far too relaxed in their duties, but even so, for you to make it all the way here was quite a feat." She paused for a moment, looking towards Zelda who watched the two of them converse from afar. "Everything is exactly as the Princess foretold. Just watching, I can see that you are a courageous boy... You are heading out on a big, new adventure, aren't you?"
"Yes I am," nodded Link. "I have to find the the other two Spiritual Stones before Ganondorf can obtain them."
"I am certain that will be a very dangerous task," she admitted. "I wish I could be of more help, but I must remain close by the princess. My role in the princess's dream was to teach a melody to the one from the forest. This is an ancient melody passed down by the Royal Family. I have played this song for Princess Zelda as a lullaby ever since she was a baby... There is a mysterious power in these notes. Now listen carefully..."
Placing two fingers in her mouth, she whistled the song to Link. After repeating it a few times, Link took hold of his ocarina and played the song back to Impa. Impa practiced the song a few more times with Link till she was certain he had learned it.
"That song should prove very useful in your adventure," she explained. "Those who know of its connection to the Royal Family will surely offer you their support." She paused as the sounds of clanking armor began to approach. "If the castle soldiers find you, there will be trouble. Let me lead you out of the castle." Approaching the wall, Impa pushed in a stone. The wall beside it began to slide open and reveal a staircase leading down into the dark depths of the castle. Waving Link to hurry over, he did and followed her down. As they vanished through the passage, the wall closed back up before the soldiers arrived. They looked around curiously for a moment and then went on their way.
Taking a torch off the wall, Impa led Link through the darkness. "Where are we?" asked Link looking around, but besides the walls and some pillars, the darkness hid everything else.
"The catacombs of the castle," she explained. "Very few even know of the existence of this place and aside from me, nobody ever uses them. They would get lost down here and perish."
"Then why were they built?" questioned Link as he walked into some cobwebs and struggled to shake them off.
"They were built for the Sheikah," Impa explained. "We could use them to come and go as we pleased without the notice of anyone. For generations we were the hidden protectors of the Royal Family. We were spies, assassins, anything that was needed to protect Hyrule that could never be allowed to be known by the populace. It was our job to stain our hands with blood so that the Royal Family's would remain clean and to allow the people of Hyrule to maintain a state of ignorant bliss. You must have seen while you were in Castle Town, the carefree attitude of everyone going about their day without a care in the world."
"I saw something like that," replied Link recalling his less than pleasant experience earlier.
"They are able to live in such peace because they do not realize all that has been done to ensure their safety for countless generations," she continued. "During the great war and countless events prior, we Sheikah have played vital roles that have never been recorded in normal history. All of it has been at the request of the current king and we have loyally followed our orders without question."
"You keep saying 'we,'" Link pointed out. "But where are the other Sheikah? Didn't you say this was your home?"
"It was," she told him. "But all that changed years ago, when the current king, Daphnes Hyrule, ended all that. At the time, my father was the head of our tribe and I was still a child. The war had been over for years, but we remained ever vigilant should our services be needed again, but on this day the king came to use with very different instructions."
"I can never thank the Sheikah enough for all they have done," the king spoke to Tovu, the chief of the Sheikah. Crowded behind him in silence were the other members of the tribe and standing close at this side was Impa, still a child, but she already had the steely gaze and calm demeanor. "And now I must ask for two more requests from you."
"Please do not hesitate to ask us," Tovu assured the king. "It is our duty to protect Hyrule and the Royal Family. No matter the task we will obey your words without question."
"These are not normal requests," he explained. "For the first, I ask for the Sheikah to retire their role as protectors of Hyrule and the Royal Family."
Immediately, the silence of the Sheikah was broken with dozens of whispers in the darkness. Tovu was at a loss for words, but finally managed to snap out of the shock. "At ease," he spoke to everyone before turning his attention back to the king. "As you wish... we will obey."
"Even such a request and you do not question me," spoke the king. "True to your word as always." Getting down on his hands and knees, the king bowed his head to the Sheikah causing another flood of shock and whispers. "Hyrule is forever indebted to you as am I. Now allow me to explain. Hyrule has entered an era of peace, that for many, thought it would never come. You all played no small part in that, but the Hyrule I wish to rule from now on must not be tempted with the use of darkness for survival. I wish to rule peacefully, to work out disputes with negotiations and respect. I wish to do my best to avoid conflict before it arises to avoid wars in the future. It is my hope that when my child is born, that they never have to experience such things. I know it is unbelievably cruel of me to ask for you all to leave like you were never existed."
"Do not burden yourself with such guilt," Tovu assured the king. "We never have existed. Just as shadow vanishes when light is shined upon it, so too shall the Sheikah once Hyrule is filled with light. That is how it should be and to us, it means we have fulfilled our role. Now, you said you had two requests. What is the second?"
"One that I make not as a king, but as a soon to be father," he continued. "My child will be born soon and I fear for their safety. Though this is even more selfish than my first request, I beg for one to stay in order to watch over and protect my child. Whoever you think would be best for the task."
"There is only one choice for such a request," Tovu answered quite swiftly and turned to look down at Impa who looked back up at him. She understood what he intended before he even spoke. "My daughter Impa will be the one to watch over and protect your child. Though she is young, she has been taught well and will fulfill your request."
"No!" cried Impa hugging at her father's leg. "If I do this, then we won't be together anymore, father."
"I am aware of this," he admitted.
"Then pick someone else," she begged. "Anyone else."
"Please do," agreed the king. "It would be unthinkable for you to give up your child for mine."
"My decision has been made," he stated and knelt down and placed a hand on Impa's head. "Please know that I do this with an important reason. The symbol of our tribe is an eye because we can see things while others cannot. Not merely through the dark, but the truth within lies and even things that have yet to happen. When you were born, I foresaw that there was a great role you were to play and it begins from here."
"And since then, I have fulfilled my role as Princess Zelda's caretaker," concluded Impa as they began to ascend a staircase leading out of the catacombs.
They reached a dead end, but Impa placed the torch into an empty holder and pushed against the wall forcing it to slide open. Light of the outside world seeped in through the opening, forcing Link to shield his eyes till they adjusted. Impa walked out her eyes just as unaffected by the light as they were in the dark. When Link was finally able to see again, he discovered that they were in one of the back alleys in Castle Town, quite a ways away from where the underground passage started.
"I can't believe that there's a passage that leads into the castle from all the way over here," commented Link as Impa sealed it again.
"Not just here," she explained. "There are many other passages they lead to both in and out of the castle. But just because I showed you these passages does not mean you should use them, especially on your own. The only reason you were able to find your way out again was because I was here to show you the way."
"I understand," answered Link none too eager with the idea of getting lost down there. "Now I've to got to go search for the other stones, wherever they are."
"About that," said Impa. "While I cannot help you out with your quest, I can still point you in the direction you need to go from here. But first, let's exit the town." Walking out of the alley and into the main street, Impa guided Link through the crowd by the hand like a mother making sure not to lose her child. Fortunately, they managed to make it back to the front gates to both their delights. "I forgot how crowded the main street gets."
"I don't like it much either," agreed Link. "It is a lot different from my home in Kokiri village, but it isn't really a bad thing."
"Not at all," she agreed. "They are able to live such carefree lives because they have hardly a thing to worry about. At least nothing particularly terrible."
"There you are!" shouted someone that Link quickly recognized. Turning around, he saw it was the soldier that had chased after him for stepping on the flowers. "Trying to sneak out of town? Not when I'm on duty!"
"I guess you had some trouble in town earlier," commented Impa as the soldier came over to apprehend Link.
"Lady Impa," said the soldier surprised to see her as he approached. He held his spear in one hand and had something wrapped up in a cloth in the other. "I see you were hunting down this vandal too?"
"Actually, I had urgent business with him," she explained. "I need him to handle an errand for me in Kakariko Village. If there was any issue in town, I will take full responsibility for it, so please forgive him for any transgressions he might have caused."
"Oh, yes," he replied bowing his head to her. "Anything you say. I apologize. I did not realize he was on official business."
"Do not give it another thought," she told him. "Now, tell me. What is it you have wrapped in your arm over there?"
"Oh, this?" he replied looking at the wrapped item he was holding. "I was actually on my way to Kakariko Village too. My brother's new shield was just completed and I was planning to bring it over to him."
"Hmm," pondered Impa. "Perhaps Link here can give you a hand in delivering it for you since he is going to be going there anyway."
"It would really help me out," he agreed. "But are you sure he can handle it? It is rather heavy?" He held it out for Link to take and the second he removed his hands the weight of the shield nearly forced Link to fall to the ground, but with all his might he managed to hold onto the shield and remain on his feet. Carefully, he attached the shield to his back took several deep breaths as he continued to struggle with the weight.
"Seems he can handle it perfectly fine," Impa stated despite Link struggling to keep his balance.
"Uh, it doesn't look like he could make the trek all the way to Kakariko, but if you are confident in him, then I'll get going for now."
"See that you enjoy the rest of your day," Impa told him and watched him take his leave.
"Did you really have to tell him I would carry this heavy thing all the way there?" groaned Link, legs shaking threatening to give.
"Consider it strength training," she said to Link. "You will face greater and greater challenges on your adventure. It would be wise to improve yourself whenever possible. I can tell just by how much you struggle to hold up that shield that you lack even the strength the castle guards possess. I pray that you take my advice to heart." The two of them then made their way across the drawbridge connecting Castle Town to Hyrule field and Impa turned in the direction to where a tall mountain laid in the distance, thick clouds covering over its summit. Impa remained silent for a bit as she took in the scenery brightly illuminated by the sunlight. "Hyrule truly is a wondrous place so lucky to be blessed with ushc light. It is something that I had not been able to truly appreciate while I lived in the dark. When I see this, I can understand why the king wished to make Hyrule a land that did not have to rely on the darkness to survive. We must protect this beautiful land of Hyrule. Take a good look at that mountain. That is Death Mountain, home of the Gorons. They hold the Spiritual Stone of Fire. At the foot of Death Mountain you will find Kakariko Village. Go there to deliver the shield, but also spend some time there before moving on. You never know what you might find if you take the time to look."
"I'll remember that," Link replied using his arms to help hold up the shield on his back and relieve some of the strain it was putting on him.
"The princess is waiting for you to return to the castle with the stones. We're counting on you! May the Goddesses watch over you!" Impa grabbed a Deku Nut she had in her pocket and threw it at the ground. It broke on the ground and unleashed a flash of light. Link shut his eyes by reflex and when he opened them up again Impa was gone without a trace.
"Where'd she go?" asked Link looking in every direction for her. He even looked in the moat in case she tried to hide down there. "Navi, did you see where she went?"
"No I didn't," she told him as she flew out from beneath his hat. "I can't even sense her anymore. It's like she was never here. The reputation of the Sheikah is well earned."
"Was carrying heavy shields a part of their training or is this just for me?" asked Link taking his first heavy steps towards Kakariko Village.
"I can't say," she admitted. "My knowledge on them is very limited."
"Well, what can you tell me about the ones on Death Mountain? The ones that Impa said have the Spiritual Stone of Fire."
"Those are the Gorons," answered Navi. "Of all the races living in Hyrule, the Gorons are by far the most powerful in terms of raw strength. An average Goron would have strength equal to ten adult Hylians at least. Their bodies are so tough and hard that it is like they are made of stone. Their bodies can even withstand the extreme heat of a volcano. The downside to having such a strong body is that they are also rather slow and would sink like a rock in water, but that is hardly an issue since they prefer to live in mountainous areas."
"If they are that strong," gulped Link nervously. "Then I hope I won't have to fight any of them. Do you know if they are friendly?"
"They're supposed to be very friendly," Navi explained. "They are typically rather mellow preferring to spend their time eating rocks rather than fighting. Not that they can't fight, but so long as we don't give them a reason to, you shouldn't have anything to worry about."
At a tavern in Kakariko, a bartender was serving up some drinks to a few soldiers on break at the counter. He had a couple in hand when a sudden explosion sounded and the ground shook violently. Caught off guard, the bartender fumbled with the drinks and they spilled all over the counter. "Darn it all!" swore the bartender. "We've been getting eruptions for how many days now? If Death Mountain was to blow it's top I wish it would just get it over with already."
"It's not the volcano that's erupting," one of the soldiers told him. "The Gorons have been setting off explosions doing who knows what."
"I was among a few that went to try and ask what they were doing," added another soldier. "But we couldn't get an answer from anyone."
"What about their leader?" asked the bartender. "What was his name again? Dar- something or other."
"Darunia," corrected the soldier. "We couldn't even meet with him. In the end we had no choice but to leave and shut the gate to Death Mountain. We can't deny the possibility that the Gorons might be planning on attacking. They've sure been causing a lot of worry in town with the constant explosions. Everyone's having trouble."
Another explosion went off followed quickly by the sound of something collapsing outside. "Not again!" a man shouted. "Those blasted Gorons! It'll take seven years to get this place built if we have to keep starting over!"
"Come back here," cried a woman. "Oh, please go back into your pen. Someone, please! A little help!"
"Those Goron are being nothing but a menace," said the bartender. "You soldiers are supposed to protect and serve, so why aren't you doing anything to put an end to all this already?"
"As we've said before," reminded the soldier. "We don't know if the Gorons are planning an attack or not. As we are, we're not equipped with enough weapons or manpower. We've only ever had enough men stationed here to keep the village safe from monster attacks which are few and far between. We've sent word to the castle and we've been waiting for a response. We can't do anything without more manpower let alone orders from the higher ups. Until then, we can only remain on guard and wait." The bartender poured more drinks for the guards, but just as before, there was an explosion and the ground trembled again making him spill his drinks once again. The bartender was turning red-faced with anger at wasting another drink while the soldiers looked disappointed that they still haven't been able to enjoy their break yet. "And hope we can get a peaceful moment to get something to drink."
Part 2: The Princess of Destiny – End