Chapter 3: Queen Gohma
Saria gazed at the Great Deku Tree from a distance, waiting for something, anything to happen, but the only change was caused by the wind blows through its branches. She was so transfixed on it she failed to notice as a Deku Baba quietly sprouted out of the ground behind her, saliva dripping from its opening maw as it prepared to tear her body down the middle. An apple smacked it in the head, changing its attention to who threw it, snarling as it spotted Mido.
Hearing the creature, Saria turned to see it and quickly backed away. "Don't worry," called Mido, approaching the carnivorous plant. "The Great Mido won't let any monsters harm his fellow Kokiri."
"Now is not the time to be grandstanding," cried Saria. "That thing is very dangerous!"
"I'm fully aware of that," replied Mido as he rushed the Deku Baba. It pulled back its head then rammed it forward bearing its venomous teeth at Mido. The brave Kokiri back-stepped out of its reach then leave over its head towards its vulnerable stem grabbing it in one hand and holding a knife in the other. He weeded the plant with a single slash and watched it flail about till it died. "I'm not like the squirt that needs to have his hand held when crossing a bridge."
"This is hardly something to compare to that," Saria stated. "But thank you for saving me. I was too impatient waiting for Link to return."
"He's probably dragging his feet," commented Mido. "Or he might be dead already. What did the Great Deku Tree want him to do anyway?"
"I don't know about it either," answered Saria a tinge of anger in her voice from Mido's insulting words. "But Link is neither being lazy or dead. I can feel he is close to the problem afflicting the Great Deku Tree."
"There's a problem with the Great Deku Tree?" asked Mido looking more closely at the Great Deku Tree noticing the mouth-like opening in it. "I knew something was wrong, but if it is bad enough to harm the Great Deku Tree then just what is happening? Why, Saria?"
"Why do you think I would know?" she asked staring back at the Great Deku Tree, her voice quieting.
"Don't try and play ignorant," he snapped. "You are closer to the Great Deku Tree than anyone and you always just seem to know about problems in the forest before they happen. I can hardly believe this time would be different."
"You're right," she admitted. "For a while now I have had a bad feeling like I normally do whether it be a wild animal drawing near the village or a forest fire, but this time was different, so much worse. It was like something was strangling the forest. It was so terrible I could barely breathe when I thought about it. I was not sure what it meant, but then he came into the forest one night, the man in the black armor."
"The man in the black armor," stuttered Mido, his body trembling. "I saw him while I was patrolling the village while all the others were asleep. I approached him, but as soon as he looked at me I froze up. Something about him did not feel right, like he was not a man or even a beast. He just smirked and walked past me like I was a joke. After that I just convinced myself I had just been dreaming since there didn't seem to be any trace of him after that night, but now you're telling me he was real?"
"He was very real," explained Saria. "After you encountered him he made his way to the Great Deku Tree. I was there too and that was when I realized what my premonition was telling me."
"Somebody is coming," said Saria to the Great Deku Tree, spotting the man in Black Armor approaching.
"Hide, dear Saria," instructed the Great Deku Tree. "No matter what words you hear or what you may see, do not confront this man."
"What does he want?" asked Saria.
"I fear I already know the answer," he told her. "Now hide, he nears."
Saria quickly hid behind some of the Great Deku Tree's roots, peeking out just barely enough to see the man as he approached. "Great Deku Tree," he greeted. "Allow me first to say how humbling it is to be in the presence of such greatness. As one king to another it is an honor."
"The forest may be my home and the place that I watch over and protect, but I am no king," the Great Deku Tree stated.
"Forgive my assumption," he apologized.
"You say you are a king," the Great Deku Tree said. "By the hue of your flesh and design of your armor I presume you are the Desert King, King of the Gerudos."
"As wise as I have been told of," he answered. "Indeed, I am Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudos. The Gerudo tribe consists entirely of women, but once every century a male is born to be their king. That was my destiny, but I intend to grasp at an even greater destiny as you have."
"Destiny is not something that can be obtained through any mortal means," stated the Great Deku Tree. "It is not for the likes of a mere man such as yourself to stray from the path the Gods have placed before you."
"That is indeed true, but I believe there is a means to receive a greater destiny. It is a puzzle of sorts and a piece to solving it resides somewhere in this forest and a legend has helped me narrow my search to this place, to you. Tell me, have you ever heard the tale of the Forest Sage and the Knight?" The Deku Tree remained silent and an eager smirk appeared on his face. "Well, I don't mind telling it to you."
Long, long ago, when this forest was born it was due to the power of the Forest Sage. Her hard work created a flourishing forest for all kinds of animals to live in. Deep within the woods she also built a temple to live in and made the inner depths of the forest impossible for anyone to every venture into. That was how she preferred to live, away from the outside world that was full of relentless war. Anyone who entered into the forest was doomed to never be found again and that was how it remained for years.
However a young knight had gotten lost and separated from his fellow knights. His only choice was to venture into the forest in spite of what he heard happened to all who entered before him. He too met their fate of wandering it endlessly. Each day he frantically searched for a way out only to find himself more lost, tired, and hungry than the day before. He was soon too weak to even move and collapsed on the forest floor. As he lied dying he thought about the war he had been so desperate to return to and realized that leaving the forest would have meant he would only died on the battlefield surrounded by bodies of both enemies and allies. And for the first time since he entered the forest he realized how beautiful it was, so full of life and peaceful compared to the outside that was filled with death. If he had to die, he realized he was going to prefer to do so in the forest.
That was when he heard the music, a gentle melody that he had been deaf too until then. It filled him with strength to stand again and he followed it through the forest like it was leading him. Soon he arrived at the temple in the forest and met the Forest Sage, a frail women sitting beneath a tree in front of the temple. She was very old and wrinkled, her hair a silvery white and her eyes a milky blue. She looked up at the young knight slowly, the mere effort of moving a great difficulty on her old bones.
"I have been waiting on one such as you," she told him, her voice sweet as the music that brought him to her.
"For me?" he asked. "What do you mean?"
"I have been waiting for someone who could look after my forest for me when my time has come," she said. "I have been waiting for someone who could see the beauty of the forest. You are the first. All prior have been too tainted by war to see the true beauty in the world. Now I ask for you to allow me to bind your soul to this forest so that you may forever protect it and another treasure almost as dear to me as my forest."
"Why do you need someone to look after your forest for you?" he asked. "Are you not able to do it yourself?"
"Not for much longer," she explained. "I have spent my lifetime raising this forest and now I am near the end of my lifetime and unfortunately as a sage my destiny is to be reborn into a new life. I am glad that you have come while I still have time to do this. Will you please accept this selfish request of mine?"
The young knight answered without hesitation. Her words moved his heart and he agreed without question. Smiling, the old lady handed him an emerald and instructed him to keep it protected. Without another word she finally earned her eternal rest.
"The end. Now wasn't that a delightful tale?" asked Ganondorf. "Well, it is not over, of course. What happened to the knight, right? Well, he lived out his days as the Forest Sage told him to and when his time came he was reborn within the forest as a mighty creature living there and when that creature died his soul was reborn again and again and every time he always fulfilled his promise to protect the forest and the emerald too. And now I get to my point. I believe that legend is far from fictional. In fact, I believe the knight's soul still exists and protects the forest, but now it has chosen to do so in a most interesting form, a tree. Great Deku Tree, I believe it to be you. Do you deny it?"
"I do not," he answered. "Like you have suggested, all of it is true. I was once that knight and I have kept my promises since that day though life and death."
"So very noble of you," Ganondorf replied. "So then you also admit to having the emerald. I would be ever most appreciative if you would relinquish that jewel to me."
"If you know the story then you know that I would never give it to anyone," the Great Deku Tree stated. "It is neither mine to give nor yours to take."
"But you must understand, with it and all the other pieces I can create a new age for not only the land of Hyrule, but the entire world. I can bring about a golden age that even shines brighter than the one King Daphnes Hyrule has brought about when he ended the war, the very same one that had been going on long before you had been born a man and still been waging while you have been in this form."
"Your words are chosen with great care and you speak with great compassion, like a true great king. If you were my king as a knight I would have followed your words with pride," the Deku Tree began to say; a greater, darker smirk appeared on Ganondorf's face. "But I am no longer a knight and my many lifetimes have given me great wisdom and perception. You may talk like a king with a silver spoon in your mouth, but I can see that faced for what it is and see the venomous snake with a forked tongue underneath. Your soul reeks of evil and your intentions are clearly greedy and self-serving. The age you bring about will be one far darker than the war or any incident ever to befall the world. That is what awaits the world should you obtain this greater destiny that you desire."
"So that is your answer," said Ganondorf. He raised his arm and aimed his palm towards the Great Deku Tree. "Be that as it may, but I refuse to allow a stupid tree to stand in my way. I gave you a chance, but now I will see to it that both you and your precious forest suffer my wrath." Dark purple flames appeared and grew on his hand and out of it appeared a spherical egg. Laughing devilishly, the egg shot at the Great Deku Tree and entered into his wooden body.
"What have you done?" stammered the Great Deku Tree, his normally calm and gentle voice full of rage.
"Just a simple curse," cackled Ganondorf. "You will be fine for now, but it won't take much time for that egg to hatch and it should find you a perfect meal to grow and mature from. Once you are gone the emerald will be a simple matter to find and my dear creature will work on the rest of the forest afterwards. I would take great pleasure in seeing it happen, but I have other matters to attend to. Another key lies on Death Mountain and I have similar negotiation tactics to prepare for the holder of the ruby. So now I must take my leave. It was an honor to speak with you O Great Deku Tree. Enjoy what time you have left. I guarantee it will not be very long."
Ganondorf took his leave, walking down the tunnel to Kokiri Village and then down the path out of the forest afterwards. As soon as she was sure it was safe, Saria ventured back over to the Great Deku Tree. Her body was trembling fearfully over all she had seen and heard and it was all she could do to hold back tears.
"Great Deku Tree," she spoke in a trembling voice. "What he said, it isn't true is it? And even if it is, you will be able to handle it right? You can break the curse can't you?"
"Everything will be fine," answered the Great Deku Tree. "This is a sign that the fates of the destined ones have once again come into motion. We will all have our roles to play and regardless of where those roles lead we can neither refuse them or defy them, but what we can do is believe that fate will smile on the light of hope as it has done so many a time in the past. Now take your leave of me, kind and caring Saria. The hour is very late and you should get some rest."
Silent for a moment, Saria bowed. "As you wish, I will." She went quiet again and remained still. Tears drops dripped from her face. "Just please promise me. Just promise that you won't die." Te Great Deku Tree didn't respond to her and after giving up waiting for an answer she took her leave.
"So that's what the Great Deku Tree wanted Link for?" asked Mido. "To kill the creature this Ganondorf guy put into the Great Deku Tree and break the curse?"
"Yes it is," answered Saria. "I just wish I knew why the Great Deku Tree waited until now. Already vile creatures like that plant have starts to appear in the forest. That is proof that the curse has taken affect and that the Great Deku Tree's power is weakening. I wish there was more that we could do to help."
"Of course there is," stated Mido. "We just have to go in and help Link defeat that creature."
"We cannot do that," retorted Saria. "The Great Deku Tree has requested just Link to handle this task. It is not our place to interfere no matter how much we may want to. This is his role to play. All we can do is play our own roles."
"And why is Link so special?" snapped Mido. "He is a Kokiri just like the rest of us, so why was he destined to do this?"
"You know as well as I do," she answered. "Link is not like the rest of us."
Navi cautiously flew up to inspect the strange gooey substance on the ceiling, the light of the fairy illuminating it for Link to see, though nauseated look on his face showed he was far from glad. "Any idea what it is?" asked Link feeling an urge to gag.
"I do," she called down to him. "It's an egg sac. There are hundreds, no thousands of eggs in here and by the look of things they are not too far from hatching."
"If they do, then the forest will overrun with them in no time," cried Link. "And the first place they'll reach is Kokiri Village."
"Now I understand about that second dark aura," explained Navi. "It was a ton of little auras all together. So this was what Queen Gohma's big invasion is."
"Isn't there any way to stop it?" asked Link. "And please don't tell me we have to kill all the eggs before they hatch. They are repulsive just to look at. I'd rather not have to touch them."
"That wouldn't work," answered Navi. "It'd take days to kill them all and we don't even have half a day I'd wager. But if we can break the curse on the Great Deku Tree then with his power restored he would be able to dispel the darkness. All we have to do is kill Queen Gohma, but where is she? She was guarding her eggs so she can't have gone far."
"N-Navi!" cried Link trembling and pointed behind the fairy. As she turned to look she came face to face with a great, big, green, bloodshot eye. Attached to it was a massive spider with red and black fur along its body and sharp fangs dripping with venom. The creature roared fiercely as it glared at Navi like she was a tasty fly.
Frantically, Navi flew to Link and urged him to the passage back. "I'm sorry," she pleaded to Link. "I should have never brought you here and the Deku Tree should not have asked something impossible of you either. We have to get out of here now!" Pushing on Link, urging his to run, his legs didn't budge. "He's scared stiff. Please Link, come to your senses. We have to move!"
Looking down at where Navi had flown, Queen Gohma spotted Link and salivated at the much more succulent morsel that had wandered into her nest just before her babies were going to get their first meal. Spraying her venom at the only passage in or out of the room, she sealed it shut.
"Hey!" cried Navi. "Look at what just happened. We're sealed in. Link, why won't you listen to me?"
"I am listening," answered Link, looking at Navi, his eyes didn't contain fear, but sadness. "We cannot run. Even if the passage wasn't sealed we cannot leave this job unfinished. Yes, I'm afraid. We both are, but I'm even more afraid of what will happen to my friends if we don't stop Queen Gohma and her offspring now."
"Link," commented Navi in awe. "You really are courageous."
"Thanks to you," he replied. "I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own. You helped me find my strength. We're only partners for this mission so let's make the most of this, our final battle together."
"You got it," agreed Navi. "I'll keep on Queen Gohma to keep her in sight. Remember, when her eye is red that's when you've got to attack her."
"I got it," said Link holding his slingshot. "I'll stun her with this and then I'll slice her with my sword."
Jumping down from the ceiling, Queen Gohma made her way to Link, approaching head on. Link armed his slingshot and pulled back on the elastic as he aimed for her eye and waited for the right moment. Navi fluttered just over the parasitic spider, ignored now that her attention was on Link. She rushed up to Link and once in range stood up on her hind legs, preparing to pin him under her body and inject her venom into him. As she reached her max height on her hind legs, her eye changed from green to red.
"Attack now!" cried Navi and Link took the shot.
Letting out a shriek as her eye was hit, Queen Gohma's body became numb and she began to collapse. Link jumped back to avoid her falling on top of him and then lunged forward with sword in hand, cutting and slicing at her eye, goo and blood oozing out from the wounds. She wailed in pain from the attacks, but this only told Link his cuts were not reaching deep enough to kill her.
Link kept attacking until his sword failed to cut into Gohma's eye as she recovered from being stunned and her eye turned green again. Gohma snapped at Link, but already on guard jumped back to avoid it. Hissing and screeching in rage and pain, Gohma retreated back up to the ceiling.
"I almost had her," grumbled Link readying his slingshot again. "She won't be so careless again."
"Link!" called Navi still staying on Queen Gohma. "She's opening the egg sac!"
"But isn't it still too early?" asked Link as he saw the eggs spilling out and fall to the ground.
"Maybe, but I think you provoked her into starting early," she told Link. "You have to kill her immediately!"
"I can't," shouted Link observing Queen Gohma's eye. "Her eye isn't red." He then turned his attention to the eggs as they began cracking open and baby spiders as big as Link emerged from them. They scurried at him in twos and threes, quickly swarming around him. Switching back to his sword he hacked and slashed at them, their bodies easier to cut down then their mother, but their numbers kept increasing every time Link killed one. Link frantically swung at them with the sword in his left and rammed them with the wooden shield in his right hand, but it was not enough as they forced him back where more were moving to surround him.
"No, we were so close," cried Navi. "We can't let it end this way."
"Navi!" Link shouted, barely visible against the swarm that was covering the floor all around him. "Is her eye red yet?"
"No!" she called back. "It only turned red when she was about to attack you so I doubt she'll become vulnerable now not that it would do any good with her young attacking. You don't even have a chance to attack her."
"I think I can get a moment, but I need you to make her vulnerable again during that moment," explained Link. "We just need to be synched like before."
"I have to be bait?" whimpered Navi, nervously looking at Queen Gohma, then back to Link, his determined look showing exhaustion, his tunic and body showing cuts and scratches where the spiders managed to get him while his focus was on another cluster of enemies. "Ok, I'll do it, but this is our last chance. You need to give this everything you've got!"
"Don't worry," panted Link. "I intend to."
Changing his stance, Link widened his stance and swung his sword back, holding it in position. At the same time, Navi fluttered teasingly around Queen Gohma trying to tempt and taunt the big spider to attack her. Seeing Navi, Queen Gohma drooled in delight at the fluttering creature mere inches from her fangs. Navi remained in place, watching for her eye to change. As she saw the pigments began to change to red from the pupil outwards Navi turned to call down to Link.
"Link, she's vulnerable!" she shouted, but she couldn't see Link as the babies had swarmed over top of him and it was impossible to even tell if he was still alive. "No. It can't be. Link..." At a loss for words, she then remembered the danger she was in as Gohma attacked her. "Help!"
"Yahhh!" shouted Link as he swung his sword with all his might, cutting down the spiders all around him with a spin attack. Those that weren't cut in two were knocked off by Link's spinning. With the babies scattered, Link quickly took out his slingshot and fired a Deku Seed at Gohma and hit her dead center in the eye, stunning her before she could sink her fangs into Navi and forcing her to drop from the ceiling as her grip on the ceiling was lost. As she plummeted, Link dashed at her. The young in his way lunged at him to stop his advance, but Link cut them down without slowing his pace. When the last opposition was defeated, Link clasped his sword with both hands and shouted as he thrust the blade through Queen Gohma's pupil nearly plunging the entire blade into her.
After that, the room became almost completely silent. The only audible noise was Link's heavy breathing as he gazed at Gohma, waiting for some kind of reaction after his attack. Her head lowered causing his blade to cut into more of her eye. Then abruptly, she began to spasm backwards, dislodging Link's sword from her eye, causing blood to gush out as she flailed wildly. Then her body began to burst into dark flames that consumed her entire being. She shrieked wildly then went silent as the flames vanished leaving only the ashes of her remains.
A distance off, in the great castle of Hyrule Ganondorf was following behind one of the King's advisor's as he discussed the relations of Hyrule with Gerudo Valley. Uninterested and barely paying attention, he gave occasional remarks while the old man rambled on and on.
"What I must endure to continue my masquerade," thought Ganondorf clenching his fists. "All to fulfill my ambition. The instance it is no longer required, he will be the first to die by my hands." As he passed by a window, he stopped and looked off into the distance where the Kokiri Forest was barely visible over the horizon of the evening sky. "My curse has been broken. Queen Gohma has been slain, but how? By who? There was nothing that tree could have done anything. At this point it is already too late. Was it one of those little villagers or perhaps some outsider?"
"Is something the matter?" asked the advisor Augustine. "There is much I need to discuss with you before your meeting with the King in two days."
"Forgive me," apologized Ganondorf. "No matter how many times I see it I cannot help but be envious of your beautiful land, so full of lush green fields and the setting sun only adds to the charm of your land, but I must insist that it pales in comparison to the sunsets over in Gerudo Valley."
"I am afraid I have only seen desert sunsets drawn on paintings," admitted Augustine. "But I will surely get the chance to see a real one once we start bringing in relief supplies to Gerudo Valley."
"Supplies that I am truly grateful for," Ganondorf lied. "Let this be the start of a long and prosperous union between our two lands."
"All the advisors and nobles hope the same thing, but especially the king," stated Augustine. "I just wish we had been made aware of your plight sooner."
"The Gerudos are a proud woman race," explained Ganondorf. "Their pride prevents them from asking for help from outsiders, especially from men. I received my coronation a few years ago and it took all this time to finally obtain the necessary support to seek out aid from Hyrule thanks to a merciless summer drought. By the time I had arrived at the castle gates I was in such a sorry state. I was nearly starved and on the ground pleading like a beggar."
"But now all that can be put aside," insisted the advisor. "You have been restored to health and have made great strides with the relations between our lands. Together our two lands will enter a new, more prosperous age."
"I am admittedly a very greedy and ambitious man," said Ganondorf. "Uniting Gerudo Valley and Hyrule feels like a good start, but I hope that this could be the start of an even greater union of all the lands, or the entire world. It must sound like a childish dream, but I still young for a king."
"The same was thought of King Daphnes Hyrule, but it was his determination that brought peace to Hyrule when war seemed without end. In this world, nothing is impossible."
"That is what I believe too," commented Ganondorf with a grin. As they continued to go, a young woman with long, white braided hair stood guard at a door. Her body was slender, but well built, dressing in skin tight fabrics and armor on her arms and legs. At her side was a sword as long as she was tall resting in its scabbard. "How are you fairing today, Miss Impa and how is the young princess?"
"She is fine," Impa answered, not budging from the door. "She is readying herself for bed."
"Would it be all right if I had a chance to speak with her," he asked. "She has been rather distant from me since I arrived and I had hoped I could show her that I don't bite."
"I do not believe it is your bite that she dislikes," Impa stated. "And under her orders I am not to allow you near her, simple as that."
"Please pay her rudeness no mind," interrupted Augustine. "Impa is very protective of the princess and the princess is quite eccentric. She tends to let her imagination get the better of her so please do not fret over it."
"I won't give it another thought," replied Ganondorf. "But now that I think about it, I think I will go to turn in for the night. I was planning of riding over to Zora's River and wanted to get an early start."
"As you wish. I bid you farewell for now," said Augustine taking his leave one way down the corridor and Ganondorf down the other. Impa glared at Ganondorf as he walked away.
"I wish for once your premonitions were wrong," thought Impa. "But my eyes can clearly see that he is a monster hidden in the form of a man."