"THE LOVE THAT TIME FORGOT"
Link fired his last Light Arrow at Ganon and kept his fingers crossed that he would be able to escape his swinging blades. When he saw that his arrow had fired true and Ganon froze, he rushed around and pounded the beasts’ tail with the Megaton Hammer once more, careful to avoid the wall of fire that separated him from Zelda. He held his breath as he waited to see if this would be the last time he would have to hit that tail, because if not, he was out of arrows, on his last bottle of blue potion, and Ganon’s swinging blades would spell certain doom for him.
Gosh, how he loved the excitement of it all!
To his amazement, his hammer struck true, leaving Ganon helpless as he swayed toward the ground before him. Link rushed quickly toward Zelda, where the wall of fire around her had finally been released, and the Master Sword was in his reach once again. It was time to put this beast down once and for all. When he pulled the Master Sword out of the ground, he turned to Zelda and without a word but a loving glance, lifted the back of his hand to her cheek, and stroked it tenderly with one finger, letting it linger there for a moment. There wasn’t time to say what he wanted to say. He ran toward the faltering Ganon at full speed, raising the Master Sword above his head and let out a cry of victory as he leaped forward, and with a final whistling sound, the Master Sword struck true into the beast’s heart. Ganon rose up in pain, making one final attempt to attack Link one more time, and the light of Zelda’s magic suddenly pinned him down with such a force it kept Link from moving. She kept her magic focused on him while she called up the power of the other Sages. Before Link could blink, the beast was banished into the Evil Realm, muttering thinks like "Curse you, Link and Zelda," and "I shall come back to exterminate your descendants!" and soon his voice echoed away into the Sacred Realm, and then there was no more of him.
Not that Link was paying Ganon any more attention. His eyes were focused on Zelda. Was this the same Zelda he saw seven years ago as a child? No. She was more beautiful now than he had ever seen her. When she had revealed herself as Sheik in the Temple of Time and the seventh sage, before he’d had to rush off to face Ganondorf in this final battle, he wanted so badly to tell her how much he had missed her and how his feelings for her had awakened within him. She was not the child he had last seen leaving the castle on that dark stormy night seven years ago. She had fear in her eyes then, now her eyes held in them a contentment that was brought about by Ganondorf’s defeat.
Link’s exhaustion was finally catching up with him. He was feeling weak. He didn’t realize just how exhausted he was until he tried to walk to where Zelda stood. After conquering the evil in the last five temples and fighting this last brutal battle against Ganondorf, his body had had enough. Zelda could see it in his eyes as he tried to walk toward her.
Her arms caught him as he collapsed and his body fell forward onto her. She cradled his head against her as she lowered his body slowly down onto the ground, taking great care not to hurt him in any way. Link closed his eyes, relaxed, and felt her hands gently stroking his hair.
"Link, wake up. Please."
Her sweet voice and embrace felt like a dream. He wanted to touch her face to see if she was real.
But he couldn’t, he was too weak. His hand felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. He couldn’t lift it, not even to make this barest of gestures.
"Zelda, give me one of my potion bottles," he whispered desperately.
She felt around his tunic until her hands grasped the last blue potion bottle in his possession, then she opened it.
She tilted his head up and slowly poured its’ contents down Link’s throat.
"Drink," she said sweetly.
All of the weariness began to leave his body.
But he didn’t get up.
His eyes opened slowly and he looked up into the caring eyes of the beautiful creature holding him next to her. Being there in her embrace was the best feeling in the world. He couldn’t think of anything more he wanted at this moment.
"It’s been seven long years," he said to her. "You’ve…changed," he managed to say.
"I hope not for the worst," she teased, smiling down at him.
"On the contrary, I think you look….like a sweet flower that has finally blossomed."
He took her hand in his and placed a tender kiss on each one of her fingers.
"You look different too," she said.
"How?" he asked, his eyes closed, enjoying the caress of her fingertips.
"You’re…tall and your voice has changed too. And you fight so much differently than you did seven years ago. Very differently."
He opened his eyes, sat up slowly and leaning on one hand, moved his face very close to hers.
"Does this please you?" he asked, his breath feathering her ear. His lips brushed her cheek.
"Yes. Very much so," she said.
Then her face took on a more somber expression. Her eyes fell away from him, filled with sadness.
"What is it?" he asked, tilting her chin up to face him. She could see the look of concern in his eyes.
"Link, all the wrongdoing that befell Hyrule was all my fault. I was too young to understand the consequences of opening the Sacred Realm. I didn’t mean to drag you into it. If it hadn’t been for me, this might not have happened. I would hate to think of you losing those last seven years all because of something foolish I did."
Tears welled in her eyes as she took Link’s hand and kissed it.
"Link, if you give the Ocarina of Time to me, I can return you to your original time, where you are supposed to be, the way you are supposed to be." Her voice cracked as she said the last few words. They seemed to stop in midair, stinging through Link’s heart as if he’d been struck down by the Master Sword itself. What was this? Go back seven years? No way would he do it. He didn’t care about going back to the forest to live again as a Kokiri child. He could come and go wherever he pleased throughout Hyrule now. If he went back to being a child, he wouldn’t exactly have those same freedoms. Now that he had finally seen Hyrule in all of its splendor and fought to restore it after Ganondorf took the Triforce of Power, he simply would refuse to go back. He knew he would be possibly making a big mistake, disobeying the girl he loved, and he did not wish to disobey her, but he could see that she was not at all happy about this situation either, and it was at that moment Link decided to finally come forth with his true feelings. She may have felt responsible for drawing him out of Kokiri Forest, but deep down he was very, very glad she did. He was a man now, and he liked being a man. He would not leave this time…or this woman. His feelings for her had matured over these last seven years, and he wanted to tell her so…right here…right now.
He shook his head.
"No," he said softly, but with absolute conviction. "I will not do it, Zelda."
Her eyes widened. She couldn’t believe her ears!
"But Link, do you know what you’re saying…"
"Shhh"…his fingers quieted her lips.
"Hear me out. I have something very important to say and I am going to say it to you now."
He stood up, and not taking his eyes off of her, took her hand in his and pulled her up to stand beside him.
He then placed her hand upon his heart.. She felt its beat quickening underneath her touch.
"Do you feel how my heart beats for you? When I look at you, the most beautiful and sweet of all women, how can I go back to my childhood? I’m feeling things I’ve never felt before. I like these feelings. There is no reason at all for you to feel guilty for taking me out of the forest. I’m…glad you did it."
He smiled at her.
What was happening to Link? Seven years ago he wouldn’t dare miss a day in the forest, playing mischievous games with his friends.
Zelda suddenly realized it had to do with the way he was holding her hand and looking at her now. He’d never done that before. What if he regretted his decision…no, she couldn’t be responsible for that. He’d been through way too much.
What was that he said about being glad she took him away from the forest? Her palms started sweating and something was flying around in her stomach. His blue eyes were fixed on her, with an intensity she’d never seen in him before.
She started to feel dizzy and faint.
All she could do was lower her head. She didn’t want to risk anything more, lest he really not feel about her the way she felt about him. She couldn’t bear it if he didn’t tell her what she’d been wanting to hear. She couldn’t let his blue eyes captivate her any longer if this was truly not meant to be.
"Link," she whispered, holding his hand, "you’ve been through so much getting the Sages’ Medallions. Surely you long now for your carefree days in Kokiri Forest once again, where there is no evil to contend with, no more battles to face," she said.
His smile widened. She felt his hand touch her hair.
"Yes, you’re right, Zelda, I did have to deal with some pretty tense situations back there, and I do feel very weary right now. But…"
She felt the gentle touch of his hand pulling her face up to look at him. There were those blue eyes again.
He began to speak in a soft voice that he obviously meant for her ears alone.
"I would endure any hardship, face any foe, do any task given to me, all if it meant having you beside me, looking the way you look to me now."
He was quiet, not saying a word, just running his hand gently through her golden hair.
"And as for being a child again…"
He moved closer, took her face in his hands, and cradling it ever so gently, brought his lips to hers and spoke softly against them.
"A child cannot feel for you what this man does."
A quiet sound escaped from her throat as she felt his lips cover hers in a velvety smoothness she’d never felt before. The way he held her made her feel very safe, that nothing bad could ever happen to her again. It was the first kiss for both of them, and Link was going to make the most of it, take in every bit of her that he could. He wanted it to be as deep and slow as she deserved. She was the most precious thing to him, and he wanted her to know it. She answered him with a passionate embrace and he could feel her fingertips slowly curling around his neck, pulling him even closer to her. Her lips responded to him sweetly and he felt a sound escape his own throat.
When it was over, he pulled back slowly, wanting to see the expression on her sweet face. Her eyes were wide with excitement. He could see that this had pleased her. But he still held her tightly in his embrace. He wasn’t going to let her go. Not just yet.
"Please don’t send me back, Zelda. I want to stay here with you. I could never leave you now….I would die for you."
As she looked into Link’s eyes, all she could see was the handsome man he had become. He still had that childlike curiosity within him that she had always loved, only now the eyes that searched her soul were a man’s. The arms that held her now were a man’s. And that deep soft voice he spoke to her with now was a man’s. She felt completely safe in his arms, and she didn’t want him to ever let her go. She thought about the last battle she had just witnessed, and her heart skipped a beat. How gallant and noble Link was. He’d always been that way, though. He rose up to any challenge, no matter what the odds, and that was what she loved about him. He was a fierce and mighty warrior, but yet here he was expressing a tenderness she had only begun to know. She liked it and wanted more. This was the Hero of Time holding her in his arms. And it was obvious by what he had just done that he was in love with her. She realized that she, too, had the same awakening feelings within her that had been asleep for seven years. They weren’t children anymore. He had just proven that.
"Don’t leave me, Link. I don’t want you to go"…she whispered softly.
Link took a deep breath. He needed to do this now or he might never have another chance. He slowly pulled away from her. This was it. The moment of truth. No turning back now.
"Zelda, close your eyes. No peeking."
"What are you doing?" she asked curiously.
"Just close your eyes."
She did as he asked.
He tilted her head down playfully with his hands, studying her eyelids, to make sure they were closed. He looked hard at them, squinting.
"Uh….are you sure they’re closed? I think I see you peeking," he teased.
"Yes, Link, they’re closed." She wondered what he was up to.
"Okay," he said, then took another deep breath.
She could hear him reach into his tunic and pull something out, then she felt his hand gently uncurl her fingers.
"I’ve been saving this for just the right moment."
Something round, something metal was being slipped onto her finger. She gasped suddenly and a slow smile began to spread across her face.
"Okay, open your eyes," he commanded.
She looked down at her hand. The large emerald surrounded by tiny diamonds took her breath away.
She ran her other hand over it and twisted it, almost to see if it was real.
She covered her mouth in sudden emotion. "Link, it’s beautiful"….
"This was my mother’s," he said. "It was the only possession she left me, Zelda, and I want you to have it. I know it’s not as large as what you deserve, but it’s all I can offer," he said humbly.
She began to shake from the tears that overcame her.
"No Link, it’s absolutely perfect. I don’t care about that"…
He stood back, slowly unsheathed the Master Sword and got down on one knee, holding it down into the earth with one hand as he took her hand in his other.
"Zelda, I love you. I have not known that more than I do right at this moment."
He suddenly blushed, forgetting what he wanted to say next. I love you. He’d never spoken those words to her until now. He’d put that ring in his tunic a long time ago, on the wild gamble that he might someday have time to propose to her, if she would have him. In the back of his mind he knew what he would say if the time was ever appropriate. Now that the time had arrived, the words would not come out of his mouth. Suddenly he was speechless. His mouth turned dry and his heart fluttered.
"Uh…I had a speech sort of prepared….and....I can’t say the words."
He cleared his throat and started again.
"Zelda… I know that to love you is a treason against time…but not to love you is a treason against my heart. You have no idea just how special you are to me. You are the only girl I’ve ever had eyes for.
This man wants to be your husband more than anything, if you’ll have him."
He swallowed hard.
"Zelda, will you marry me? I promise to take care of you always."
He nervously awaited her response.
She didn’t know what to do. Her father had taught her much, but did not prepare her for the day the man she loved would be asking for her hand in marriage.
All she could do was fall to her knees, and take his face in her hands and kiss him.
He could feel her body shaking harder in his embrace, then a cold tear against his cheek.
He pulled back suddenly, a look of concern in his eyes, his hands on her shoulders.
"What’s the matter? Did I upset you?" He delicately cupped her chin in his hand, letting his finger catch her tears..
She couldn’t hold back. She threw her arms around his neck and let out all of her emotion. Finally, it was okay to let him see her like this, to open herself up to him. To let him know just how much this touched the heart that had ached for him for seven long years.
"Oh, Link, this is just like a dream I had about you"…
He held her tightly and stroked her hair.
"Shhh…it’s okay," he whispered as he rocked her back and forth in his arms.
She continued to cry. How he’d always wanted to hold her when she was like this. Finally, they could catch up on all the time they had lost, and he wouldn’t have to be pulled away from her side anymore.
When she gathered herself a little bit more, she pulled back a little to face him.
"I had a dream that you came to me and proposed to me just like this and it came true. I am just…so glad it did. It was the most beautiful dream I’ve ever had"…
"So, does this mean you accept?" his voice cracked as he pulled back and looked at her, almost overcome by his own emotions at the sight of her.
She nodded her head and looked down at her hand, twisting the beautiful ring once more.
"Oh, yes. I would be honored to be your wife, Link. It would make me the happiest woman in the whole world."
She didn’t care about the humble way he lived. All that mattered was that he held a love for her more strong and true than anything she had ever known. She felt pride at wearing the ring he had just given her. It symbolized the true nature of him, that even in the simplest of gestures, he had unknowingly just given her the whole world.
He continued holding her there in his arms for a while longer and neither one of them said a word. So many thoughts raced through both of their heads. There would be plenty of time for them to talk later.
Link stood up, took her hand, and said, "It’s time for me to lay the Master Sword to rest." His eyes told her he was happy here now in this time, that he wouldn’t regret this decision. There was a finality in that statement that gave them both pause.
Taking out the Ocarina, and keeping his eyes steady on Zelda, he said, "Hold on to me."
Her hands firmly grasped his shoulders.
He played "The Prelude of Light" and warped them back to the Temple of Time.
When they stepped out of the vortex, they were right in front of the Spiritual Stones.
They walked through the Door of Time, to the pedestal of time and Link unsheathed the Master Sword slowly and looked at it one last time, the way it glistened in the light coming through the window above.
"This was my destiny….and now I lay this magnificent sword to rest where it belongs. Hopefully it will never move from this pedestal again," he said.
Zelda looked on with him, knowing that he had bonded with that sword that had saved his life so many times. Her hand curled around his arm.
"It was meant to be yours, anytime Hyrule needs defending. I’m sure if it is needed again, it will call to you, my Hero of Time," she said, smiling.
Link stood back and raising it above his head, struck it true into it’s resting place. They felt the vortex pulling them away from it. Blue light surrounded them. Link held Zelda close to him and he could hear her voice echoing as they were being pulled away, "It is done."
Since he hadn’t given up the Ocarina of Time to Zelda, Link did not go back in time. Instead, he found himself outside the Temple of Time, with nothing but blue sky and peacefulness surrounding him.
Birds were chirping, and he could see that the nearby reflecting pool had been restored to its former beauty.
"Do you hear that?" Zelda asked as she squeezed Link’s hand.
In the distance they could hear music and laughter.
"It sounds like a big party," he said, his voice filling with anticipation.
"I am sure it is a celebration for you," she said.
They walked hand in hand into Hyrule Town, where there indeed was a celebration taking place.
The townspeople rushed to Link and carried him all throughout the town on their shoulders. They chanted his name over and over. Zelda smiled from a distance. The Redead’s were gone. The town had been restored to its original beauty. Peace had finally returned to Hyrule.
That night, after much celebrating, Zelda and Link took a few moments alone to watch the moon come up over Hyrule. They sat on a small hill in front of the castle, and they could hear the water softly gurgling in the moat behind them, and an owl hooting somewhere nearby. Link wondered if it was Kaepora Gaebora. He leaned back on the hill and stretched out his arms.
Zelda leaned back into them. He enveloped her with his embrace.
Link took her hand and intertwining his fingers with hers, pointed out the stars above and told her that all during his quest, he had always thought of her when he went to sleep while looking at those same stars. He caressed the ring he had placed on her finger, feeling satisfied that he had done the right thing today. Then he leaned over and looked down into her eyes.
"The promise of you is what kept me going," he whispered.
She could feel the night breeze in her hair, softly blowing it in Link’s face. When she tried to move it away, he took her hand gently in his, and not moving his eyes from hers, moved closer and lowered his lips to hers. Her response was even more inviting than the last time he had kissed her.
He answered her with another deep and slow kiss. His body told him that he could do that with her all night long, but his head told him he needed to wait. Lying here next to her was different than standing next to her. He slowly pulled away from her again, and gave her another sweet peck as he did so. He spoke to her softly in her ear.
"I should probably go, because if I don’t, I think I shall stay here all night kissing you." He laughed a little.
"We will be married soon, and then I will be able to kiss you all I want."
Zelda murmured, "I’m so glad you stayed with me, Link. That you didn’t go back"….she touched a finger to his lips.
"So you’re glad I didn’t give the Ocarina back to you?" he asked her, smiling.
"Yes, I am. If you had I would be all alone now," she said.
"You’ll never have to be alone. Not as long as I’m around, I swear it."
And when he gave her his word, it was as good as the goldest rupee in Hyrule.
He had always kept his promises to her.
"I shall return tomorrow," he said. "Please wait for me. Soon we won’t have to part like this anymore."
"I wish you could take me with you, Link."
She didn’t want him to leave this night.
He touched his finger to her nose.
"I would like nothing more than to steal you away from here tonight."
She felt his lips brush her forehead. Then he stood up and brushed the grass off of his legs, and held out his hand to her. She took it and they walked together hand in hand to the end of the road by the drawbridge. Everything in Hyrule Town had closed up for the night, and all of the little dogs were out and about, following them.
At the drawbridge, Link took out the Ocarina and called Epona.
When she rode up to him, he placed his left foot in the stirrup and swung his other one effortlessly over her body, Zelda couldn’t help notice his muscular legs. He hadn’t had those seven years ago. Sitting there on Epona at that moment, he was a vision straight from the same dream she’d had of him proposing to her. Only in the dream he had stolen her away into the night with him. She knew his parting tonight was for the best. It was the proper and decent thing for him to do, especially since she was a princess and all, and she loved him all the more for it, but it wasn’t what her heart or body wanted. How she wanted to forget all the rules, and ride with him on the back of Epona, with nothing but the sound of the wind rushing in her ears, the moonlight above, and the feel of his steel embrace around her, making her feel safe. Like she felt today. Tonight she would go just about anywhere he wanted to take her.
Her heart skipped a beat. Link smiled down at her. "What are you thinking, my love?" he asked, knowing all too well what was on her mind. He could see it in her eyes.
Zelda shook her head.
"Nothing, just wishing you didn’t have to leave."
He let out a small laugh.
"I will return to you tomorrow. I promise."
He leaned down and gave her a soft kiss and caressed her cheek.
"Good night," he whispered.
"Good night," she whispered back.
Then he turned and rode off into the moonlight.
Zelda was in deep love with Link. She just didn’t realize how much until today.
She reluctantly turned and went back to the castle under guard escort.
When she returned, she found Impa waiting up for her.
"How was your evening?" she asked.
"Today was the best day I could have ever dreamed of," Zelda said, extending her hand out, proudly showing off her engagement ring.
Impa’s eyes widened excitedly as she admired the beautiful emerald and the tiny diamonds.
"Oh! That’s so wonderful! He finally proposed to you!!"
She hugged Zelda tightly.
"When are you going to have the wedding?" she asked.
"As soon as possible," Zelda replied. "I need your help getting everything ready. We will be married here, at the Great Hall. That’s where my mother and father were married.
Oh, Impa, I’m so happy! At first I thought it would be best if Link returned to his original time seven years ago because I didn’t want him to be angry with me for taking him away from the forest, but…I found out that he truly does love me.
He proved it by the way he kissed me, and the way he proposed to me was so romantic, there was no way I could let him go. He’s all I want in this world, Impa. I just didn’t realize how much until today. And tonight"….
She spun around excitedly.
"What happened tonight?" Impa asked curiously, smiling.
"We were outside and he told me how he always dreamed of me when he went to sleep every night during his quest, looking up at the stars, and he kissed me again. I could never want anybody else except him," she said.
Zelda could still feel his arms around her and his lips on hers. She went to sleep that night dreaming of it.
On the way back to Kokiri Forest, Link’s thoughts raced through the events that had transpired today. He couldn’t believe that Zelda had said she would be his wife. He could feel her kisses still wet on his lips, and smelled her scent on his tunic. Zelda was definitely not the girl she was seven years ago. She was a woman now, with a womanly voice and figure that had cast a spell on him. She had curves now that she didn’t have seven years ago, which he had noticed as he lay on that hill kissing her. He blushed. He’d never held a woman in his arms until today. He figured he must be the only guy out there that had feelings like this. It was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him. He made a fist, pulled his right arm back in excitement and let out a "Yes!" as he urged Epona to go faster. Yes, life as an adult was beautiful.
She was the only woman he would ever want. Not that he couldn’t have had his pick.
All over Hyrule as the word got out about the heroic adventurer, young girls throughout the kingdom would try their hardest to get a glimpse of him as he swiftly rode through Hyrule on magical Epona. Any of those girls would have gladly let Link sweep them off their feet. He even remembered what Malon was rumored to have said a long time ago, that she wanted him to sweep her off her feet. He smiled at that thought. But it was only Zelda he wanted to marry and spend the rest of his life with. It was only Zelda he would wait for.
As he slowed down and made the turn into the forest, Link decided to tie Epona just outside and wait until morning to talk to the Kokiri. This would be the first real nights’ sleep he would have since he finished his quest. As he dressed for bed, he noticed something on his tunic. It was a strand of Zelda’s long blond hair. He smiled and placed it on his pillow. At least if he didn’t have her with him tonight, he had a lock of her precious hair.
He wondered what she was doing at this very moment.
He lay back in his bed, took out his Ocarina and played "Zelda’s lullaby."
Then he turned out his light, and he could hear the sounds of the forest all around him, calling him to sleep.
He crossed his hands behind his head and lay there motionless. He could see stars through the hole above his bed.
Then he looked over to the other side of his bed. He was all alone.
He longed for her embrace and her kisses. Somehow, in his thoughts of her, he drifted off into a deep sleep.
The next morning he awoke to the sound of someone in his room.
He sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes. He could make out a female figure.
"Saria, is that you?"
"Link? You’re back!!"
It was Saria.
Link stood up sleepily. Saria ran to him and hugged him tightly.
"I returned late last night,’ he said. "I wanted to wait until this morning to see everyone because I am so exhausted."
"That’s ok," she said. "You deserve your rest. Everyone is very anxious to see you!"
"How have things been here?" Link asked.
"Great! Ever since you defeated Ganondorf yesterday, the children have been so much happier. They will be so glad to see you have returned to stay."
Link would have to break the news to her. As she stood there smiling innocently at him, he couldn’t think of anything else at that moment but their childhood, and how much fun they’d all had together.
He truly would miss that, but he knew he’d made the right decision yesterday. He decided to take her outside. It wasn’t proper for her to be here with him like this now.
"Saria, I have an announcement to make to everyone. It involves me. But I think I should tell you first."
They walked outside and sat down by the entrance to his treehouse.
The sun was bathing the forest in all of its warmth, bringing it gently to life.
"So, what is it you wanted to tell me?" she asked, pulling on a stubborn blade of grass.
"Saria, you know we’ve been close friends ever since childhood, right, and that I would never want anything to take the place of that, or my time here in the forest with all the children?"
"Well, I’ve made a decision that is going to affect me for the rest of my life. I know now that I’ve grown up, not just in body and mind, but in heart also."
She had a puzzled look on her face.
He swallowed hard. This was indeed hard for him to do.
"Saria….yesterday I asked Zelda to be my wife, and she said yes."
Saria slowly smiled.
"Oh, Link, that’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you! Ever since you found out you were a Hylian you’ve felt differently about her, haven’t you?"
She pegged it right on the money. She always could.
He felt instant relief.
"Yes, I have. Saria, I love her more than anything and I would do anything for her. She means so much to me."
Saria’s expression changed.
"Well I am happy for you, but the rest of the Kokiri won’t understand. Since they are children, they won’t understand why you will obviously be leaving."
"That’s why I came back," he said. "I need your help. I need you to help me persuade them that I’m not leaving forever, I’m just going to be with the woman I love. I will still come back as often as I can. I promise."
"Link, you know I will do all I can. Maybe if they can come to your wedding, they can see it firsthand and then they will understand."
She always came up with the best ideas.
They came up with their plan, and then Link went to wake all of the children up with his Ocarina.
They were all overjoyed to see that he had returned!
They held a party for him and it was at this party that Link would have to break the news to them that he would not be living among them anymore.
He stood up and cleared his throat to speak.
"I am very honored that you have held me so close to you," he began. "You’ve meant a lot to me and I will never forget that. This has been my childhood home and I will always have fond memories of this beautiful forest."
They suddenly grew silent. What was he saying?
He looked over at Saria. It was now that he needed her help.
"Yesterday," he began slowly, "As you all know, was the defeat of Ganondorf and that means he cannot harm Hyrule again…at least for a time."
They all cheered.
"Your place here in the forest will be safe," he assured them.
Now to the hard part. This was turning out to be more difficult than he expected.
"Yesterday was also a special day for me personally. I asked Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, to be my wife, and she accepted."
The children all cheered. Wow! The princess living here in the forest! How cool!!
"The only thing is, you see, is that I have to move to the castle to be with her since she is the princess and has to make important decisions about her kingdom."
It was at this time that Saria stood up. The children all had long faces.
They all looked so sad that it nearly brought tears to Link’s eyes.
"We should all be happy for Link." Saria said. "He is not really a Kokiri but a Hylian and that means he is destined to leave this forest and be with princess Zelda! But that doesn’t mean he can’t come back and visit us"…
"That’s right," he said, "I can come back and visit whenever I want to."
He motioned for Saria to join him at his side.
"We are going to get you out of the forest to come to the wedding."
They looked at each other in surprise. They would actually get to leave the forest?
Link and Saria’s plan had worked. If the children actually could see Link getting married to princess Zelda, then they would be more accepting of him going away.
Link was glad to finally get this off his chest. He packed up what few belongings he had at his treehouse. He decided to leave it to Saria. She would take care of it for him. As he mounted Epona to leave, the children all piled around him, giving him hugs of goodwill.
Saria waved goodbye to him as he turned to leave.
"Give the princess my best wishes," she said.
It was rather hard to watch Link ride away like that. Now she knew they had really grown up and that there would be no turning back.
But she was truly happy for him. He deserved all the happiness in the world. She knew he would be back someday.
Later that day, Link decided to ride out to Gerudo Valley to the archery ground before returning to the castle. He wanted to keep his skills up. That sore shoulder didn’t help much, but he figured there probably wasn’t a better way to loosen it up.
Even though Hyrule was safe for now, Link wanted to always remain in top form in all of his skills...just in case. He slowed Epona down in front of the bridge and walked her slowly across the canyon. The cool mist from the waterfall nearby felt refreshing, and the afternoon sun warmed his face.
No sooner than he passed the entrance to the Thieves Hideout than he heard somebody whispering to him.
"Psst! Link! Over here!"
He couldn’t see who it was but he knew it was a woman’s voice.
Was she in distress? This was the Gerudo women’s turf. They could defend themselves with no problems. He had witnessed that firsthand when he came out here to rescue the carpenters. What a fight they put up. They had shown him no mercy.
But what if something was wrong now?
He decided he’d better check it out. It wasn’t like Link to ignore somebody if they were in need.
He dismounted Epona and tied her to a nearby post. Then he proceeded cautiously to the dark entrance. Even in the sunlight overhead, he couldn’t see what lay beyond it.
"This way, Link!"
There was the voice again. It was closer. He followed and slowly drew his Biggoron’s sword…just in case. Placing both hands on it, he cautiously made his way into the hideout. He took a few steps inside and then he felt arms grabbing him, and the Biggoron’s sword fell from his hands. Something was placed over his face so he couldn’t see. He heard giggling, and he could tell it was from more than one woman. He struggled but he couldn’t win. He felt himself being dragged inside.
Suddenly his mask was ripped off. He was in a room surrounded by Gerudo Thieves.
His eyes scanned them slowly, trying to figure out what was going on. The surprised look on his face must have been evident, for one of them stepped forward.
"Don’t be upset with us, young Hero," she said. "We heard you coming. We wanted to…surprise you."
She approached him slowly. Her eyes held a look in them that told him they weren’t going to let him go so quickly. They had a flirtatiousness in them he wasn’t comfortable with.
He started to get a very bad feeling about this.
"Where is my sword?’ he asked her.
"Oh you’ll get it…after we let you go," she said with that same flirtatiousness.
They all giggled.
She moved in closer.
"Link, the Hero of Time, is that what they call you?" she asked him, very softly, very teasingly.
He could feel her breath feathering against his ear.
She circled his body slowly, her hand lingering on his shoulder, then slowly dropping to his waist to pull him close to her, making certain he would feel the flimsiness of her purple veil against his skin.
Her necklaces jangled alluringly, the scent of musk filled the air.
As she completed her circle around his body, Link could see the silhouette of her form from the glow of the lit torches around the room.
She was indeed a powerful looking woman, yet at the same time, he sensed she was as gentle as a kitten.
Being seven years older, his response to something like this was quite different than it would have been before.
She wouldn’t put up any resistance against him, that was obvious. But Link knew what he must do. What he had to do. This Gerudo was throwing herself at his feet, and he had to figure out a way to get out of here. Waves of panic quickly shot through his body.
"Look...it’s pretty obvious why you’ve dragged me in here," he said nervously, "but it was a really manipulative thing to do. I need for you to let me go…I cannot give you what it is you seek. I’m engaged to Princess Zelda, and I will give myself to no other. I’m simply not available for whatever sort of games you’ve got in mind here."
The Gerudo’s face turned sad.
"Please don’t be angry with us, Link. We’re just really lonely out here, and since you’re the only man we ever allow here now, you hold a place that not even Ganondorf himself could hold. Not that we would ever want Ganondorf. He isn’t the man that you are."
"Well," he began, "I’m not sure if I should feel flattered by that remark, but I cannot be unfaithful to the one I love…not now…not ever. Please let me go."
He said that final statement with such conviction that the Gerudo finally backed away from him.
"What a lucky girl Princess Zelda is," she said sadly.
She gave Link his Biggoron’s sword back without another word.
Link left the hideout quietly.
Glancing at the sky, he noticed the sun was about to set.
He decided he’d better leave so he could make it to the castle before dinner. He didn’t want to keep his betrothed waiting for him.
As Link rode Epona past Lon Lon Ranch, in the distance, he though he heard something behind him, and he slowed down to see. Whatever it was stopped at the same time he did. He drew his sword and turned around quickly. There was nobody there. Must have been his imagination. Man, what a really weird day.
Link decided not to tell Zelda about the incident at the thieves’ hideout today, because he didn’t want to upset her unnecessarily. He just wouldn’t ever trust a Gerudo again unless it was Nabooru.
All of Hyrule prepared for the grand wedding that was soon approaching. Goods were donated from all around Kakariko Village and the markets in Hyrule Town. The people knew that the Princess would never need for another thing as long as she lived, but they wanted to make the gesture just the same. The children of the Kokiri forest came and helped with decorating the castle, putting up beautiful royal blue and white streamers everywhere.
Flowers were brought in from around the kingdom to turn the Great Hall into a truly extraordinary place to hold a wedding. It hadn’t seen the likes of anything as beautiful since Zelda’s father and mother were married there long ago.
Grand festivities were planned. The people of Hyrule planned to celebrate well into the early morning hours.
The night before the wedding, Link was invited to Goron City for a party in his honor. All of the Gorons wanted to give him a great send-off, and so they spent most of their time toasting to Link’s heroic adventures in past months, and Link let his hair down a little in front of them.
They all playfully reminded Link that once he was married, he wouldn’t be able to have fun like this anymore, so he’d better take advantage of tonight.
"Oh fellas, fellas," Link said, "the fun doesn’t stop tonight," he said, "this is merely the beginning," he laughed as he held out his bottle and drank.
He heard a rousing cheer from all of them.
"Way to go, Link!" "Ooo, ooo, ooo!"
"Here’s to Darunia," Link shouted, "and the Gorons! And Volvagia!"
"Here here!" they all shouted in unison, and drank another toast.
They decided to make the party even more lively by holding a bomb-throwing contest on the second floor to see who could spin the vase the fastest. They even made bets against each other.
The more Darunia drank, the more he missed the vase.
"Shucks," he said. "I used to be so good at this, and now I just keep blowing everything up. That shopkeeper down there will be angry at me for sure for making such a racket."
Link stood up slowly, a little tipsy himself, and laughed at him, slapping him on the back.
"Poor Darunia," he said, "Here..have another drink. It’s on me, old buddy."
He handed Darunia another bottle of the Goron’s special potion, and Darunia threw the whole thing back, then wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
"Ahhhh," Darunia said.
Link’s eyes widened.
"Wow"….he looked at all the Gorons and pointed at Darunia in mock amazement.
The Gorons were all laughing at Link. He was certainly entertaining them this night like never before.
"You sure can hold your poison, buddy." He handed Darunia a bomb.
"Here you go…have at it."
Link sat back and watched the fun begin, taking a drink from his bottle, eager to see what would unfold next.
Darunia stared at the vase. His high amount of concentration made them all laugh even more.
"Stop laughing," he said, his face looking really serious.
The room fell to a quiet snicker.
Then with all his strength, Darunia staggered forward and hurled his bomb at the vase.
It didn’t go in.
Link laughed so hard he spit out what was in his mouth, and just rolled back in hysterics, holding his stomach, pointing at Darunia.
"Air bomb! Air bomb!" they all shouted.
Link’s face was turning red. He was still in a ball on the floor, his sides hurting.
"Shucks," Darunia said.
Link, the son of Darunia, stood up, pointing at his dad and laughing.
"I think you’d better give it up, dad!"
Then he turned to Link.
"Okay, Link it’s your turn, see if you can do it now," he said.
Link got up slowly. He could feel the room swaying just a little.
"Whoa," he giggled as he rolled up his sleeves.
"No problem. I can do this," he stuttered.
He picked up his bomb and threw it into the vase.
Out came a bunch of Deku Nuts.
"Darn," Link said. "I needed some more rupees. I’m running out of money betting on you, Darunia."
He went down to the first floor and got his Deku Nuts.
Darunia was passed out by this time when Link returned.
"Watch this!" Link whispered loudly to the Gorons as he tiptoed over to Darunia..
He threw a Deku Nut at him.
Darunia jumped clear out of his skin.
Again, Link and the other Gorons hurled back in hysterical laughter.
They continued that way well into the night, until they were out of bombs, potion and rupees, until they had all passed out.
What a pathetic sight they were.
At Zora’s Domain, Princess Ruto had taken it upon herself to throw a little party for Zelda.
They went swimming, played diving games, ate a bountiful feast, and admired the beautiful ring Link had given her.
Zelda hadn’t ever had the time to play like this, and she was truly enjoying herself.
She was also a very graceful diver and swimmer.
Princess Ruto was quite impressed by her abilities.
"You would make a great Zora," she told her.
Saria, Nabooru, Impa, and Malon all took their turns at the diving game.
The other Zoras held up score cards in fun as each one took her turn.
Later, they all sat around the torches near King Zora’s throne and swapped funny stories about Link.
Each one turned out to be funnier than the last.
Zelda was eager to hear them all. Then she would have something she could use against him in fun if need be. She relished it.
Saria told an especially funny one, about how Link really got lost in the Lost Woods one time.
"He was so hilarious, because every time he tried to go through the next door, he’d wind up right back where he started. He got so mad at all of us for not helping him out! Then he’d go back in again, and he’d come right back out at the entrance. It must have taken him a whole year to figure it out."
Zelda laughed hysterically.
Malon told a story of when Link had fallen asleep at Lon Lon Ranch one time out in the barn, and awoke to find a cow mooing right over him. He lit out of there more scared than anything she’d ever seen.
But they all agreed that Link was not the same now. He was not scared of anything anymore.
He truly was the Hero they’d all dreamed of.
Princess Ruto took Zelda’s hand and spoke to her very seriously.
"Zelda, when I was little I had a big crush on Link when he saved me from Jabu-Jabu’s belly, and I made him carry me when he needed to be concentrating on his enemies. I was a silly little girl then. But if he hadn’t saved me, he wouldn’t have gotten the last Spiritual Stone that was needed to open the Door of Time. And then he couldn’t have saved Hyrule. So I am grateful for what he did. But I think we’re all in agreement here, that even though any one of us would love to have Link around, it’s you he is destined to be with. And we are all happy for you. We hope the two of will always be happy together."
They presented her with a gift, a beautiful necklace that held emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds.
In the middle was a tiny Triforce laid out in gold.
She was absolutely speechless.
"Oh my goodness...thank you so much. You’re the best friends a girl could ever have."
She promised Ruto that she would give her a grand party when it was time for her to be married.
"I’ve seen the way that handsome Zora looks at you," Zelda said. "I’m sure you’ll be the next to wed."
Ruto blushed. Yes, she did have her eye on one of the Zoras. But it would all depend on her father’s wishes, of course.
The next morning, at Goron City everybody all slowly woke up, some hung over pretty good. Darunia had to throw Link into a cold bath to wake him up.
Later, Link nervously tried to get the new tunic made for him adjusted so that it would look perfect. Darunia had fussed and snapped at some of the Gorons because he wanted everything to be perfect for his "brother."
Once Link had dressed in his finery, and Darunia brushed off the shoulders of his tunic, he turned him around to straighten his collar.
"It’s too stiff," he muttered. " I told them to make sure this was pressed just right."
There was just one more thing to do.
Link wanted to add a special touch to his look so that he could really impress his bride, who he thought about nervously. So much so that his hands began to sweat profusely. The secret item had been tucked away with Darunia for awhile now. It was finally pulled from its hiding place.
"Ahh, here you are, brother. Just like you requested."
Darunia placed the royal blue cape around Link’s shoulders and fastened it.
Link backed away from the mirror and swirled it in fun.
"Do you think she’ll go for it?" he asked Darunia.
"I think she will do nothing short of fall straight into your arms," he replied.
Link smiled at himself. Yes, he did look quite handsome on this day. He only wondered what Zelda looked like at this moment. The thought of her made his stomach go crazy with excitement.
He took out his Biggoron’s sword and knelt down in front of the mirror, practicing.
"Where is Zelda’s ring?" Link asked. He had it brought back to him this morning to have more diamonds added to it. Now it was even more magnificent than before. More befitting for a princess.
Darunia checked his pockets and was silent.
"Gee I don’t know," he said as he looked around him on the floor.
"Darunia"…Link stood up quickly and squinted his eyes at him.
"Just kidding." He pulled the ring out of his jacket pocket, and showed it to him.
"Don’t let it out of your sight," he said as he adjusted his cape once more.
Yes, Zelda would melt at the sight of him. He was sure of it.
They then proceeded to the castle.
Zelda looked more beautiful than she ever had on this day. She had a special dress made just for this occasion. It was white but had a hint of pink to it. She had the royal crest added to the front in royal blue. It was very fitted at the arms and torso and had a drop waist with a low bustline. She ordered that it be made with a thinner weight of fabric, because she wanted to be the most beautiful and exotic creature Link had ever laid his eyes on. When she had put it on, she could just see a hint of her skin through it. She was pleased. She wanted to look every bit the part of a princess today. She had applied soft makeup and her hair was gathered up high to show off her long neck. The train was long enough to extend just about the entire length of the Great Room at the castle. She wanted to make a grand entrance. In her hand she would carry a bouquet of flowers descended from the same bouquet her mother carried.
Impa stood by her side as she put the finishing touches on her hair and face, then placed her jeweled crown atop her head. She had not worn it for a very long time. Not since her coronation. Today she would proudly wear it again.
"Impa, do you think Link will like the way I look?" she asked.
"Silly girl," she said, hugging her shoulders as they looked at their faces in the mirror.
"You look more like royalty than you ever have. If Link doesn’t faint at the mere sight of you, then he is crazy."
They both laughed and Zelda turned around.
She threw her arms around Impa’s neck.
"You have meant so much to me over the years. I don’t know how I would have gotten this far without you. Since I don’t have father and mother anymore, you’ve been both to me, and I don’t know how I could ever repay you."
"Nonsense," Impa replied. "Seeing you here, the most beautiful of all women, and how you have matured and become the princess that your people love, is enough for me. I’d like to think I contributed to that."
Just then there was a knock at the door. It was Rauru.
"They are all ready downstairs," he said. "They are waiting for you."
Zelda asked excitedly, "Is Link here?"
A slow smile spread across his face. "Yes he is. Don’t keep him waiting, Zelda." He winked.
"I’ll be right there," she said.
She turned to look at herself in the mirror one last time. Maybe she should keep him waiting just a little longer, tease him a bit.
"Link is going to die when he sees me," she said to herself.
Zelda stood at the head of the stairs…waiting for her cue…her heart pounding.
Link stood at the altar…waiting for her…his heart pounding.
Finally she could hear the harpist’s soft music flowing throughout the Great Hall.
She held herself with a regal air as she walked slowly, down the stairs. One, two. One, two. It was harder to do this than she thought.
Her eyes caught sight of Link before she even made it to the end of the stairs. He and Darunia were enjoying a light hearted moment, quietly looking at their pocket watches, in mock amazement that Link had made it to the church on time. Butterflies flew in her stomach. She stopped suddenly. She didn’t want him to see her just yet.
He was standing at the altar looking as handsome as ever in the special tunic Darunia had made for him. It was royal blue with the Hylian crest on the front, and markings that would be fit for the head of a king’s military. He wore dark boots, with silver tassels on them, and his silver gauntlets. She noticed the cape around his body and she almost lost her footing. It set off his blond hair very nicely, making him look like a true prince. He looked simply dashing, very cavalier. Wow. As far as she was concerned, he could take her away right then and there.
Her heart beat even faster, and her mouth turned dry. She hoped her lips still looked as moist and kissable as they did a few moments ago. She couldn’t look at anything else but him.
All around her were the citizens of Hyrule. Not that she noticed. There were Princess Ruto and her father King Zora, Darunia, and it looked like he was crying tears of joy. There were also Malon, Talon, and Ingo, the Cucco lady, Nabooru, the carpenters, Saria, and the children of the Kokiri forest, that Link had arranged to be brought here for this very special occasion.
Suddenly there she was, in her flowing gown of white. Link’s mouth dropped open and he suddenly felt as if he would faint. Even though he’d had a terrible headache from last night’s festivities, seeing the woman he was about to marry washed his "Goron’s hangover" away. Their eyes met and neither one of them saw anything else but each other.
A hush filled the room.
She was indeed the most beautiful woman Link had ever laid his eyes upon. He’d never seen her wear her crown before. She held herself so proudly, so royally. He couldn’t help but notice the soft features of her body, the deep beauty of her eyes, and the way the gown hugged her curves, and he wanted to bow down to her right then and there and tell her how much he loved her. He thought of her scent, like a red rose. He thought of her embrace, her lips on his, and took a deep breath. He could never get enough of her.
His heart pounded so hard he was afraid everyone would see it beating underneath his tunic. Then before he knew it, she was standing in front of him. His eyes fell to her plunging neckline, and he suddenly couldn’t breathe. They traveled up her slender long neck to her adoring face. He was so caught up in her that he almost forgot what to do next.
He took her hand in his, bowed down on one knee, lowered his head, and kissed her hand. This wowed the crowd, and it did even more for Zelda.
When his fingers touched hers, he felt butterflies in his stomach. They were lost in one another’s eyes.
They said their vows to one another, but didn’t remember the words they had spoken. As Link slipped the ring with the emeralds and diamonds on her finger, his hand trembled. He was so afraid he would drop it. But he didn’t. It slipped on Zelda’s finger perfectly like a glove. It was a symbol of Link’s past and Zelda’s past coming together.
Once Rauru had pronounced them man and wife and given Link permission to kiss his bride, Link formed the words "I love you" with his lips even though he did not say them, tenderly took Zelda’s face in his hands and gave her the same deep slow kiss he had given her that night at the castle. She curled her soft fingers around his neck and wove them through his hair as he did so. The crowd cheered.
Link was presented with a special sword from all of the Sages, the Hylian Sword of Truth, which he could use with his Hylian Shield. This sword would be as powerful as the Master Sword.
Once they were announced Prince and Princess of Hyrule, they began to make their way toward the back of the Great Hall. Impa detached the long train from Zelda’s dress so she could move about more freely.
But somebody else was watching this day. Somebody from Link’s past that he thought was gone forever.
Just as they were about to reach the open doorway and the welcoming citizens of Hyrule, something caught Link’s eye in the distance. His instincts told him something was very wrong. He stepped back suddenly, took Zelda’s hand, and leaned into her ear.
"Stay behind me, and don’t move," he whispered.
She knew something was going on by the tone of his voice. Something bad. But she trusted Link with her life, and didn’t ask any questions. He knew what he was doing. She got behind him as he’d asked, and held onto his broad shoulders.
His eyes darting through the crowd, Link slowly pulled out the new sword and tried to maintain his composure, so he wouldn’t cause a panic. The cape hid his sword well. He tapped the point of the blade nervously against the step beneath him as he walked.
Zelda moved with him slowly down the steps. The crowd’s roars were deafening.
Suddenly Link’s blood ran cold, and Zelda sensed it.
She felt him freeze, and his muscles tensed up.
A hush fell over the crowd.
A man moved through the crowd to face Link directly. He was the spitten image of Link, only not wearing the same clothes.
The crowd gasped in horror.
Zelda’s grip tightened against Link’s back. Her eyes widened with fear.
It was Dark Link, back from the dead.
The two stood and looked at one another with steely eyes, Link at the top of the stairs and Dark Link in the crowd.
Link felt like he’d been punched in the stomach.
"Did you miss me?" Dark Link asked, bowing to him in mockery, dipping his head.
Link gritted his teeth.
"You have no business here. I demand that you leave at once!" he said in a low but deliberate voice.
Dark Link laughed.
"What’s the matter, old chum? Did you think me dead? You can’t get rid of me so easily," he replied.
"I came here to settle a score with you, to finish what we started back at the Water Temple."
He slowly drew his sword and pointed it at Link, then he noticed Zelda standing behind him. He humbly bowed to her.
"Your highness, forgive me for intruding on your special day. But how else would I know where to find this…this…excuse for a man. Why don’t you come with me, you’re far too beautiful for him.….I’ll take care of you. I’ll bet you taste as sweet as you look."
He licked his lips and smiled at Link.
Link charged, angry fire in his eyes, his hand on the hidden sword…ready….
"You miserable son of Gohma….this is between you and me. You leave Zelda out of it….or I swear to Hyrule I will cut you where you stand"…...
The crowd began to surround them.
Dark Link knew he had struck a chord within his enemy’s heart. He smiled and tossed the blade of his sword up over his shoulder and began to pace around Link, looking terribly relaxed.
"So…I see the master of the blade has defeated the great Ganondorf and won the woman of his dreams, eh? Well, I guess you forgot about me, Hero of Time. As long as you live, I live."
He circled Link slowly, took the cape in his hand, rubbed the material between his fingers, then let it fall away from him, as if it were the most unpleasant thing he’d ever touched, and thew his head back in laughter.
"Fancy, fancy my brother! I’ll just bet you’re the heartbeat of every woman in Hyrule, aren’t you? A regular Don Juan, I’d say…those Gerudo women sure couldn’t seem to keep their hands off of you the other day"….
Link seethed at him.
"How dare you"….
"Ah, yes," Dark Link threw his head back again in evil laughter, "it was me you heard following you that night. And I must say those ladies were very surprised when I showed up after you left…yes, yes, they were."
His eyes fell on Zelda. He bowed to her, then looked back at Link.
What was this man saying? Zelda silently asked herself. Gerudo thieves had touched her man? When did this happen?
"I’ll bet your new bride here wouldn’t appreciate seeing your blood shed here on these palace steps today. So…why don’t we take this somewhere else? Just you and me"…
He suddenly swung his blade and stopped it at Link’s throat.
Zelda shrieked in fear. The crowd pushed back. Who was this double of Link’s?
"No, please!"….she pleaded. Her hands covered her face.
Darunia started to move in. Link motioned him back with his hand and said, "No, Darunia. This is not your fight."
He scanned the crowd and found his beloved Epona standing nearby. He looked up at Zelda slowly then looked back at Epona. His eyes told her what he was planning to do.
"Very well then"…Link said, backing away from the blade a little. "First blood drawn?"
He reached for his sword.
Dark Link reveled in his statement.
Link quickly grabbed the end of the evil twin’s sword with his hand and pulled it back. He exposed it to Dark Link. Blood ran from the cut.
"Very well done, my friend," he laughed.
Zelda broke through the crowd and ran to Link. The two quickly fled toward the waiting Epona. Zelda mounted her quickly and Link leaped onto her from behind, looking behind him. Impa threw a satchel of something at Zelda and she caught it.
"Go, girl!" Link shouted and squeezed the stirrups.
Epona took off faster than lightning, faster than Dark Link could register what had just happened.
The crowd all laughed at him.
Anger filled his soul, but he didn’t move from where he stood. He slowly placed his sword back at his hip, wiped his chin and spit on the palace steps. He turned and watched them ride off until there was nothing but a cloud of dust. His deep blue eyes were on them, filled not with tenderness but with hatred.
"You’ll wish you hadn’t done that….brother."
Epona ran as fast and as far away from the castle as she could go. Zelda felt Link’s arms tightening around her, protecting her. She could feel the wind in her face, and saw the moon rising above Hyrule. She closed her eyes. Just like her dream. Her heart beat so hard she knew Link would feel it. He kept looking behind him to make sure Dark Link hadn’t seen where they were going..
"I don’t think he’ll follow us," he said. "That’s not like him. He’ll likely appear when we least expect it."
He began to slow down once they were getting close to Lake Hylia. Then he whistled loudly. The fisherman from Lake Hylia seemed to appear from nowhere. Link dismounted and helped Zelda down quickly. There was an urgency in his voice.
He handed Epona’s reins to the fisherman.
"Get her out of here…fast," he said. "Somebody’s on my tail, and I don’t want her harmed."
"Don’t you worry, Link." the fisherman replied.
"I’ll take good care of her."
Link patted Epona on her head and said, "Behave yourself."
Then they were gone. Link looked around nervously, then led Zelda to a boulder.
With one swift move, Link pulled back the stone.
"Zelda, go. Hurry."
She disappeared down the hole. Where were they hiding, she wondered excitedly.
He followed behind her, making sure the hole was covered back up. He would have to move it again whenever it was necessary.
Link was pleased. Dark Link would never find them here.
Zelda looked around the room and couldn’t believe her eyes. The entire place was magically aglow with candlelight and fire from a nearby fireplace. Flowers surrounded her everywhere. It was a paradise she had never seen before. Her eyes widened. Link could see that she was pleased.
"Link!! What did you do? This is so beautiful!"
"It’s a secret place I found here a while ago, and I wanted to make it our special place, away from everything. I wanted it to be really nice for you."
He stood behind her and held her, rocking her back and forth.
She smiled dreamily, so happy that he had made this wonderful effort to be romantic. It was working.
"Do you like it?" he murmured, kissing her cheek.
But she had to know about the Gerudo thieves. She wanted to know why that evil man had said what he did about the Gerudos. She really didn’t want to believe, deep down, that Link would ever betray her.
But she had to know.
She turned around to face him.
"Link….I’m going to ask you something, and I want you to tell me the truth."
He knew what she meant, and he quieted her lips with his finger.
"Please don’t be angry with me. I’ll explain….I went out to Gerudo Valley…alone...to practice archery. When I got there somebody was calling my name from the Thieves Hideout. I went to investigate and before I knew it I my face was covered and I was dragged inside by several of the Gerudos. Then I found myself in a room with them, and they told me that they were lonely and wanted my, er, company."
He was a little embarrassed by that last remark.
Zelda was speechless, but Link could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t pleased.
"Zelda, I told them that I would never, ever betray the woman I love. I told them I was waiting for you, and no other woman. And I meant every word of it. Once I was finished talking, they let me go quietly, without further incident. That’s all that happened."
Zelda took a minute and thought about what he said. Silly girl. Link did love her more than anything in the world. He had said he would die for her.
Gazing at him, she thought of his romantic kisses, the way he had proposed to her, the way he always looked at her, and the way he honored her so. He captivated her now with his loving eyes. She couldn’t be angry with him.
"Well…she said, "I’m glad you didn’t stay there long, and that they backed off from you. But, I’d better not meet face-to-face with the ones that did this. I’m not about to ever share you with any woman."
"There’s no way you will ever have to," he said, taking her hand in his and kissing it gently.
Satisfied that she had gotten her answer, she turned around and leaned back into his arms.
She watched the glow of the fire in the distance as Link cradled her, and then her eyes shifted to the right.
There was a big beautiful four-poster bed, covered in white silk. On the pillow lay a single red rose.
Wow, she thought. He really meant it when he said he wanted it to be romantic. The firelight danced upon it, making it look very inviting.
"I’m so glad you’re my wife now"…he said.
She reached up behind her and smoothed his hair. It always felt so silky to the touch.
Link suddenly realized he would have to tell his new bride who that dark shadow of him was.
He turned her around slowly to face him again.
"Zelda, that man back there…he wasn’t me. I hope you know that. He only looks like me. I fought him in the Water Temple. But he has come back stronger, this time with a vengeance. As long as I live, he lives. I’m afraid he may have come back to take more than just my life, and I will eventually have to face him soon. He will not stay away from me forever."
He took her hand and gently placed it against his heart.
"If he ever…ever lays a hand on you he will die for sure. I am enraged just thinking about what he said to you."
Zelda placed a finger on his lips.
She lifted his hand to hers and kissed the sword wound. It healed magically. Link could feel the warmth of her magic flow throughout his body, relaxing him…
Then he heard her speak in a sweet voice, but with underlying tones of command.
"No more talk of him, Link. You might have to face him…but not this night. Tonight…you are mine.
He would have to come through me to get to you, Link. Nothing, not even a dark shadow of you, will deny this princess what she has waited the world for."
Her eyes widened.
"I swear it."
He melted at the words she had just spoken. He wouldn’t want to be Dark Link this night.
She started to back away from him slowly.
He reached out to her.
"Where are you going?" he asked desperately, the longing for her evident on his face.
"Shhh…close your eyes".…she whispered.
There was a mischievous tone in her voice.
What was she up to? She tucked her satchel under her arm and walked to the other corner of the room.
Link played along with it, eagerly anticipating whatever it was, closing his eyes.
He could hear her undressing and images began to flow through his head.
"Are you peeking?" she asked.
"No," he whispered….."but I so desperately want to."
He could hear her giggling.
What was she doing?
When she finished, Zelda wanted to just look at her husband, standing there against the shadows, his eyes closed, completely unaware that she was watching him. She wanted to linger in this for a moment. The fire’s glow danced all around his muscular body. She was savoring the fact that she was about to surprise him like he’d never been surprised before.
He was so handsome, this man that had saved her from danger over and over, who had told her that he would die for her, how he loved her above anything else, how he held her so sacred to his heart. And now he had finally made her his wife. He had waited for her, and that meant more to her than anything else in the world. For a fleeting moment she saw the innocent Kokiri child standing there within him, reaching up and taking his adult hand, trusting him completely, to continue on with their destiny. A destiny that included her. Always. Until death do we part, they had said to one another today.
Then, with the quietest of quiet, faint whispers she called to him.
"Come here….my darling. Open your eyes and come to me."
Link’s body temperature shot through the roof.
That whisper came from across the room. Link opened his eyes slowly and turned to face it.
He suddenly couldn’t speak. Something had knocked the wind out of him.
There she was on the four-poster bed, in a red silk robe that had a black dragon painted on it, hugging one of the bedposts and leaning back. She loosened her blond hair and it came tumbling down her shoulders. She was on her knees. She shook her hair back playfully and ran her fingers through it and looked at him with loving eyes.
Then she motioned him to her with her finger playfully.
He couldn’t get to her fast enough. He almost tripped on his own footsteps.
He stopped just short of her. He wanted to soak her all in. The little girl in her was gone, and now before him was the most incredible, alluring and desirable woman in the world, and she was his wife now. And she wanted him this night like she wanted nothing else! His heart was pounding uncontrollably.
She took his hand and pulled him to her.
She looked deeply into his eyes and whispered, "Make me yours, Link"…
When their lips touched it was like fire breathing fire. The slipperiness of the silk robe between his fingers and softness of her skin against his caused Link’s legs to suddenly go weak. He had to grab onto the nearby bedpost to catch his balance. He felt her hands around his waist reaching for his sword. His hands covered hers, and they slowly detached the sword from his body together, not taking their lips away from each other, and he tossed it to the side of the bed. He felt his cape fall from his shoulders and slink to the floor. When he reached back to take off his shield, he dropped it and it crashed, startling both of them for an instant. They both giggled.
Taking her in his arms, he slowly guided her down onto the bed, and he had to use his knees to support them both until he got her to where she would be the most comfortable. He was careful not to crush her with his weight. She was so beautiful, lying there bathed in his favorite color. She must have known it was. He was going to take his time and treat her with the kindest, gentlest embrace that she deserved.
His face above hers, bathed in candlelight, he spoke to her with a voice he didn’t recognize as his own.
"Do you have any idea how beautiful you are to me and how much I love you?"….
She curled her hand around him, and pulled his lips down to hers. She suddenly shivered at the deep way he was kissing her now.
"Are you cold?" he whispered in her ear.
"No, it’s just the way that you touch me…it makes me tremble. I’ve never felt like this before."
Then, in one swift move, she rolled him over so that her face was above his now. She took both his arms and pushed them back against the bed, holding him down. He was suddenly at her mercy.
He looked at her entirely with wide and fascinated eyes but couldn’t say anything.
"Shhhh"…don’t move"….she whispered, placing a finger to her lips, smiling down at him. What an exotic goddess. She was taking his breath away.
Her hands ran along the crest on his tunic. "I love you, Link. Now you don’t have to wait for me any longer"….
He took a deep breath in suddenly, and a slow grin spread across his face as he closed his eyes and reached up to touch her hair. This was far more beautiful than he had ever imagined. To finally be married to his beautiful princess, the one person he could always share his thoughts with, and to have her here in his arms, wanting him like she did, and taking delight in making him feel so sacred to her, here and now. She could do to him whatever she wanted. Always.
He was so glad he had waited for her. That was going to make this even more special to him.
"What a wanton I’ve wed."….he whispered.
And that was the last thing he said.
That night they experienced the most magical of all moments, something neither one of them would ever share with anyone else, something that brought them closer than anything else ever could, not even the defeat of Ganondorf. They had become one that night for the first time.
The next morning, as the sun began to rise over Hyrule, Link awoke to find his beautiful bride next to him. She slept so soundly. He watched her body rise up and down as she breathed. He could never tire of looking at her.
He sat up in the bed slowly, reached over to the vase nearby, pulled out a rose and smelled it, fully taking in its sweet scent. It smelled like her.
He wanted to go outside for a moment, partially to see if Dark Link had followed them and had left any traces of his presence nearby. He moved quietly so as not to wake her. He lay the rose on the pillow next to her, with a note that read, "I’ll be right back…don’t you dare go anywhere. I love you…Link."
Once outside in the morning sun, Link could not see any signs that his dark twin had located them.
Meanwhile, Zelda stirred from her sleep in his absence, and saw the rose on the pillow. She reached for the note and read it. Link had beautiful handwriting. She smiled.
He could write little notes to her all he wanted. She could never tire of it. She was going to save this one. She kissed it, took the rose, rolled back over, dreamily going back to sleep.
When Link returned, he saw that she had read the note and was clutching the rose in her hand, and her back was facing him now.
And what a beautiful back it was. Even though she was fully clothed, he could see her delicate features. He smiled, then moved quietly, his body shifting softly on the bed as he got back under the blanket. He positioned himself right behind her and leaned on one elbow, looking down at her, taking delight in watching her. She looked so peaceful. He wondered what she was dreaming about. Was it last night? He hoped so.
Last night was something words could not describe.
He had no idea so much passion lay within her. What an incredible surprise. It was like the best gift he could have ever received, with a big red bow on it, just waiting….for the right time to be opened, the best of both worlds.
Just thinking about her made his temperature rise. He looked at the way her hips curved, and the way her hair fell onto the pillow as she slept. The beauty of a woman’s body was the most intriguing thing in the world, and because it was hers, even more so. He debated about whether or not he should wake her. He slowly slipped his arm under the blanket, curled it around her tiny waist and pulled her close. Then he kissed her shoulder, moving slowly. This time of day was the most beautiful time. He wanted to wake her slowly, gently. Not too quickly.
She stirred again and smiled, raising her hand up behind her to stroke his face.
"Link," she said sleepily, in the sweetest of voices, rolling over to face him. "Good morning."
"Good morning, my beautiful wife."
"Where did you go?" she asked.
"Oh, just went outside to see how early it was."
She stretched and sat up against the bed.
He cradled her next to his body, her head against his shoulder, his arms behind her.
"I feel wonderful," she said, still half-asleep.
She looked over at the fireplace, and the fire had gone down some. There were just a few embers left. She smiled.
"You feel pretty wonderful to me," he said softly to her.
She blushed and let out a small giggle.
She picked the petals on the rose.
"He loves me, he loves me not..."
"He loves you," he said as he stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.
"You look particularly ravishing this morning," he joked. "Would that have anything to do with last night?"
She blushed again. "Link"…
She reached behind her and poked his ribs.
He bent forward. "Ouch."
"You’re making me blush," she said.
"Me?" he asked, "I should be the one who’s blushing. I wasn’t expecting…well you know"…
She smiled and looked up at him and touched his face tenderly.
"You’ve awakened something within me, Link. Something very wonderful, that I didn’t even know was there. I felt it for the first time when you were with me that night at the castle, and I didn’t want you to go"….
"Oh really?" he asked, as he kissed her fingers tenderly. "I’ll have to remember that."
"I like surprising you," she whispered.
"Well"…he said, "this man likes it very much too and you have his permission to do whatever you want. You’ll never have to ask."
Then he paused for a moment.
"This very beautiful thing we now share as a new part of our relationship is very sacred to me. I will treasure it above all of my life experiences, and I shall share it with no other. You have my word as your ever faithful husband, Zelda."
"As will I. How could I ever fall into another man’s arms when you say these romantic things to me, my dear Link? You make me feel so safe and warm. Yours is the only embrace I shall ever desire, the only touch I shall ever want."
She pulled his face down to hers and started kissing him. The waves began to overtake them once more.
"What would you say if I told you I wanted a baby someday?"
That statement took him by surprise.
Well, that certainly was something he wanted, but hadn’t really thought about it until she said it.
"Is it too soon to want a baby?" her wide innocent eyes looked up at him.
He had never been able to refuse her anything, and he would not start now.
No, it wasn’t too soon.
As he gazed at her, he pictured a tiny version of her in his arms. How beautiful that would be.
That moved him to emotion.
"No...not at all"…..
"I would just love to have a little boy that looks like you," she said.
"That would be pretty neat," he said.
He was about to kiss her, but then decided not to.
His hands moved across her body to tickle her.
She shrieked in laughter, then leaped out of the bed.
"Oh no you don’t," she laughed, pointing at him, trying to catch her breath. "I’ll get you back."
He moved across the bed slowly like a cat, raising his eyebrows at her.
"Just wait until I catch you," he said.
They chased each other around the room until he had her trapped back on the bed again. How good it felt to be married to his best friend.
They spent several glorious days together at the grotto. They also went fishing, riding, and Link taught Zelda some swordfighting skills. Her father had shown her some things when she was little, but she’d forgotten a lot of it. She knew how to use a bow and arrow just fine. Link was patient with her, teaching her every little trick he knew. He loved watching her get better at defending herself. It was all fun and games right now, but Link feared that she might need these skills in a serious situation someday. They only did these activities during daylight hours, because Link didn’t want his dark shadow somehow finding out where they were spending their time. At night, they went back to their secret place, away from the world’s eyes.
After some time, they returned to the castle where they would begin their new life together, but promised to return to their secret hiding place someday.
Life went on in Hyrule.
The days passed, the nights came without any incident.
Zelda never gave Dark Link another thought.
Link, however, kept a watchful eye over his home and his wife. He didn’t want his evil twin coming near her. Didn’t even want him looking at her.
One morning several weeks later, Link decided to go to Zora’s Domain to do some fishing. Zelda wanted to stay behind at the castle. He left her in the capable hands of his guards, or so he thought. He had alerted them that Dark Link might come around.
He was unknowingly being watched again from the bluff overlooking Kakariko Village as he made his way across Zora’s River.
Once Link was deep inside Zora’s Domain, a place Dark Link couldn’t enter, the dark twin decided to make his move.
He entered the castle through the front and explained to the guards that he had forgotten some of his fishing lures. He wittingly convinced them he was Link and they didn’t suspect him as being the evil twin Link had spoken of. He was allowed to pass.
Once inside the castle, he snuck his way upstairs to the bedroom, where he found Zelda smoothing down the bed and fluffing the pillows. He watched her from the doorway. She moved so gracefully. She had brought some wood in the room for a fire and had a book nearby to read. She was humming happily to herself and hadn’t seen him standing there.
Then he made his move.
He entered the bedroom like a cat and closed the door behind him, turning the key in the lock, and it clicked.
Zelda turned around suddenly. Then she smiled.
"Hi there"…she said lovingly. "Did you forget something?"
"Sure did," he said.
He made his way to the bed and jumped upon it, stretched out, and patted it.
"Come here," he said, "I missed you."
She put her hands on her hips.
"Now Link, you’ve only been gone a few minutes!" she exclaimed playfully.
"I love it when you say my name like that," he murmured.
She walked over to the bed and sat down on it, facing him.
"You should go fish now, we can make time for that after you come back."
She teased him with her eyes.
"Besides…I might have a surprise for you when you return"…she said seductively.
Dark Link couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How lucky that Link was to have a wife like this!!!
Why couldn’t he be so lucky?
She started to get up. He grabbed her hand suddenly. It startled her.
"Sit back down," he commanded in a harsh tone. "You’re not going anywhere."
Zelda had never heard Link use that tone of voice with her before. He’d never been anything but kind and gentle with her. She slowly looked over at the locked door, then back at the man on her bed. This wasn’t her husband.
Then she remembered the words, "I bet you taste as sweet as you look."
Her face went awash with horror and her stomach rose up into her throat. It was that dark twin of Link’s. And he’d gotten in here somehow, sneaked past the guards, or he’d outright lied to them to convince them he was Link.
"You’re not Link," she said, her eyes widening with fear.
"Oh, but I am. You just haven’t seen the best of me yet."
He reached out for her and she got up from the bed and backed against the stone wall. She looked over at the locked door, trying to think of a way to escape.
She wasn’t going to give this dark version of her husband what he came for. At least, not willingly. She would put up a fight.
He suddenly got up from the bed and walked to her.
He lifted his hand to her face, caressed it, then ran his fingers through her hair. Her stomach turned. Where was Link?
He leaned over and spoke in her ear.
"For a moment there I thought I would be allowed within your intimate embrace, my dear."
She spoke to Dark Link in a deliberate and slow voice, "I will think you dead until my husband makes you so. Then I will think of you no more."
He snickered, and Zelda tried to run for the door.
He cornered her against it, his arm stopping her.
"Where’s your brave hero now?" he sneered, pulling her close to him.
"I demand that you let me go at once," she commanded.
"I don’t think you’re in the position to demand anything, your highness," he said, placing his hand over her mouth.
"Don’t you dare try to scream," he hissed.
She mustered all her strength and kicked him hard. Taken by surprise, he faltered back.
Angry, he reached forward and grabbed her by the waist.
"Come here!" he shouted.
Link was returning from Zora’s Domain, happy and whistling with his full days’ catch and he was about to enter the front of the castle when he heard faint screams coming from his bedroom window. Zelda!
It was too far away for the guards to hear.
Without another thought, he threw the fish down and reached for his Longshot.
Targeting the wood beam over the window, he quickly fired it and when it met its target, let it pull him to the bedroom window. He used the force of his legs to break the window and crashed into the room to find Zelda struggling against Dark Link. Glass went everywhere.
Zelda cried out, "Link!"
When Dark Link saw Link, he quickly tore a sword down from over their bed and held it against Zelda’s throat, in one swift move.
"Well, well, you sure do make an entrance," he hissed at Link, backing away from him slowly, his arms around Zelda.
Link quickly drew his sword. No way would he let him hurt Zelda!
"Drop it," Dark Link ordered.
"Drop it, or she dies!"
He tightened the blade against Zelda’s throat.
She shrieked then chokingly pleaded with him, "Please, Link. Do as he says."
There was an awful fear in her eyes that broke Link’s heart. He hadn’t been here to protect her. She was suffering and he couldn’t bear that. He would make this man pay dearly for what he was doing to her now.
He dropped his sword and backed away, hands up, trying to calculate his next move. He couldn’t call his guards. Too dangerous.
"Good, now kick it over here to me."
Link did as he was asked.
"How did you get in here?" he demanded.
"Oh, it was so easy," his evil twin recoiled.
"You see Zelda, even your own husband can’t take enough precautions against me," he spoke in her ear while keeping his eyes steady on Link.
He laughed again.
"Your little bride here almost mistook me for you, and if she had, well, I might be right there where you would be…old friend." He glanced over at the bed and snickered.
He looked right at Link and kissed Zelda’s cheek. She grimaced and closed her eyes.
"She does taste as sweet as she looks."
Link’s blood boiled. All he wanted to do was strike that evilness down where he stood, but he couldn’t as long as he was holding Zelda hostage.
"I told you….you leave her out of it. This is between you and me. She’s done nothing to you."
"I think not," Dark Link hissed. "I think she’s the perfect thing to have between you and me. This way I have some insurance that we will finally settle this score. In fact, I think we should fight for her. She would make a fine prize."
He threw Link’s sword back to him.
"You’ll never have Zelda," Link sneered.
"We’ll see about that."
The captor let Zelda go. She ran to her husband and stood behind him, her eyes wide with terror.
"Are you alright?" Link asked her, checking her for any cuts or bruises.
"I am now." But she shook as he held her. She was terrified beyond reason at this point. He could only imagine what had taken place before he showed up. Zelda turned and looked back at her captor. Her gaze of hatred burned through Dark Link’s soul so much that he had to turn away.
Link clenched his jaw, and without another thought, decided that here and now he would defend his honor, his wife and himself, and suddenly didn’t give death another thought. He didn’t care if he died today, if it would remove this nightmare from Zelda’s life forever. All he felt was hatred welling up inside of him. How dare this man come here to deceive and harm the woman he loved? If he hadn’t gotten back in time, what would he have done to his precious bride? He moved her behind him. He wasn’t going to let him get close to her again. He would avenge her….right here…right now.
"Very well," Link conceded. "You’ll get your way," he hissed.
"We’ll go to the Great Hall downstairs. It’s empty and cold. Should suit you just fine."
The evil twin grinned at him.
"After you," he declared, bowing to him.
"No, after you. I insist," Link ordered. Keeping Zelda behind him, they proceeded to the Great Hall. This time, it would be a fight to the death.
At the door to the Great Hall, Link turned to Zelda and caressed her face.
"I can’t use any magic or fairies this time, Zelda. I have to rely on my own wit. I hate to have to leave you here, but this is between him and I. I don’t want you to watch this. Alert the guards and Darunia if all is lost. Get Epona and get away from here as fast as you can if"…..
"Shhh"…she touched his lips.
"You will emerge victorious. I can feel it." Her voice was always so comforting.
"I just don’t want him near you ever again. The thought of him touching you makes my blood boil."
She squeezed his arm and kissed his cheek.
"You are my faithful husband and I your faithful wife. That’s all that matters."
He took her hand and kissed it. He mouthed the words "I love you" but did not say it.
It was too painful to speak them. Their fingers intertwined with one another until the door closed between them, separating them.
Link didn’t know if he would ever see his beloved wife again.
This fight would be far worse than he could imagine. Because of his hatred, Dark Link’s strength had grown considerably.
Zelda sat down in a huge chair that engulfed her, making her look like a child once again. She stared at the door. All she could hear was silence.
Link walked to the center of the room. No words. No rules.
He went to one corner and swung his arm and listened to his blade whistling in the air. He hadn’t really broken in this Sword of Truth. It handled much like the Master Sword, which he had been used to, but it wasn’t the same. It had a lighter weight to it. Link liked a heavier weight to his swords. Did more damage.
He watched Dark Link over in the other corner. He was doing much the same as he.
Then they faced each other at opposite ends of the large hall.
Such a large room. Why did Link feel he was suffocating?
Dark Link walked toward him and bowed.
Link stood still. He wouldn’t bow to this evil thing before him. He was going to kill it and avenge Zelda, even if it meant the end of him.
Dark Link just laughed at him, then he began to pace the floor, sizing up Link.
Link was unwavering.
His evil twin ran to him and lunged with his sword and cried out.
Link retaliated, drawing up his sword. Left, Right, Down. Up. He blocked each blow.
Dark Link moved back to his corner, swinging his arm.
He removed his belt.
Link did the same.
Staying focused, Link kept his gaze right on his dark twin, trying to anticipate his moves.
He lunged again.
This time Link raised his sword and attacked offensively, forcing Dark Link into a corner. He miscalculated while blocking one blow, and felt a sting on his arm.
He grabbed his arm and grimaced in pain, and on the other side of the door, Zelda knew it was her husband’s voice. Her heart pounded in fear.
He moved back.
Dark Link smiled and wiped his mouth with his arm, then got into position again.
Link stood, waiting.
The two began to draw each other in closer with each attack. Each time the circle got tighter around them. Link envisioned the circle of fire that separated him from Zelda when he fought Ganondorf.
This guy was on his turf. Period. They would fight his way.
Focusing his anger, Link sliced the air and blocked each one of Dark Link’s blows. He kept his eyes steady on him.
Dark Link began to feel Link’s strength and it choked him.
Then he got even meaner.
The next time he hit Link, he spun around with too much speed for Link to block him.
When that happened, Link felt something burning in his chest.
He’d been cut deeply just below the ribs.
Zelda knew that again, her husband had been struck.
Link staggered back to his corner again, He couldn’t call for Zelda. He wasn’t going to use fairies, or potions, or any magic.
Just strictly his skill against the evil presence in this room.
Dark Link smiled.
Link was bleeding badly from his wounds. He was becoming weaker.
Dragging his sword behind him, he moved slowly toward Dark Link again. He was starting to see double, and his footing wasn’t sure.
When he tried to lift his sword, Dark Link attacked again and knocked Link to the ground and kicked him hard. Link cried out in pain, this time much louder and more horrific. Dark Link’s evil laugh echoed throughout the Great Hall.
Zelda couldn’t stand it. She buried her face in her hands and tears overtook her.
"Please don’t falter, Link," she whispered to herself.
Link felt the blade of Dark Link’s sword against his throat.
He swallowed hard. This was it.
"She is mine now…Hero of Time," he gritted between his teeth.
Link felt the anger boiling inside him again. He didn’t care now what it took. He summoned all the energy that was left in him, grabbed the tip of Dark Link’s sword so tightly that Dark Link couldn’t move it. The pain in his hand was excruciating, but he wouldn’t let go. There was no way he was letting him have Zelda. No way.
In one swift move, he raised up, cried out, and struck Dark Link true in the chest with the Sword of Truth.
Dark Link screamed in pain and as he did so, Zelda looked up and smiled.
"Link!" She flung the heavy door open in time to see Dark Link’s body fall to the ground in defeat. Her husband stood over the lifeless body and didn’t say a word. He dropped his sword.
Zelda stopped. She knew Link needed a moment to absorb what he had just done.
Then he turned to her and spoke her name just before he collapsed.
"No!!!!" she cried out and ran to him, horrified, pulling his body to hers and cradling his head in her chest. She finally saw the seriousness of his injuries. Her hands ran all over his body.
"My Link, no, you’re wounded bad, please don’t die, no"…
Even though she knew Link didn’t want any fairies or magic used, she quickly opened a bottled fairy she had retrieved from a secret place near the Great Hall, then poured it over his body. At the same time, she pressed her lips to his feverishly in an attempt to regenerate him, but it was too late. Not even her own healing magic would work now. His blood was all over her.
"Link...please wake up…please…I love you…please don’t leave me"...
She started sobbing profusely.
"No!!!!!" Her cries echoed throughout the castle.
He didn’t wake up.
The guards surrounded the door.
She continued sobbing until she could sob no more. She looked over at Dark Link’s lifeless body, and remembered what Link had said to her on their wedding night.
"As long as I live, he lives."
Her body shivered…afraid. Alone.
The room became ominously quiet.
The only sound she could hear was her own breathing as she continued cradling Link’s body in her arms, rocking it back and forth.
She bent down and kissed his lifeless lips, over and over, her body still shaking silently from her sobs.
"Please…somebody help me…he’s all I have in this world"…she whispered desperately.
The room grew dark and suddenly the images of Nayru, Din, and Farore appeared before her.
"Don’t cry, princess Zelda," their voices said.
She looked up and saw three glowing figures rise up in the air. One red, one green, one blue.
She was scared at first, and when she realized who they were, she begged them to help her husband.
"Please...please help him if you can"...she buried her face in his shoulder. It was still warm.
They hovered over Link’s body.
"This is Link, the Hero of Time and your husband, Princess Zelda?"
"Yes," She said, hardly any voice left within her. She couldn’t feel anything now except a growing numbness.
"He is....my husband and…the father of our unborn child. I was going to tell him today"...she stroked his face.
Even in death, he still looked just as tender and loving.
"He deserves to see our baby born, he deserves so much more than he has ever received. I beg you…please help him"…she cried out.
"He loves you very much, more than life itself, that we can see," they all three said in unison.
"Yes...he does. He told me once he would die for me, that’s how much he loves me," she whispered, tracing his lips with her finger.
"It is a true, deep and pure love the two of you share, more pure than the Triforce itself, and your wish shall be granted. Reign Hyrule peacefully, and you shall see many rewards bestowed upon you," they said.
She suddenly felt a rumbling beneath her, and bright light filled the room for a fleeting moment. So bright she had to close her eyes.
A glow emanated from their ghostly figures toward Link and filled his body with it.
She held him as the glow healed his wounds and awoke him from his deep sleep.
In his dreams, Link was hearing Zelda’s cries but he felt as if he were in a tunnel and couldn’t reach her.
Everything swirled red, green and blue. What was happening? Was this a dream? He was floating forward. He wanted to speak, but couldn’t make the words.
Then he felt her hand against his face.
He suddenly opened his eyes and saw her face above his.
Zelda began to sob tears of joy. She could speak no more. All she wanted to do was hold him.
She looked up. The three creators of Hyrule were gone, and the room had returned to normal.
She quickly looked behind her. Dark Link’s body was gone!!!
Link sat up slowly. All of his wounds were healed and the blood had disappeared.
"What happened to me?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
Zelda took his face in her hands.
"Your evil twin is dead, Link, do you remember killing him?"
He shook his head against his hand as if he had a ringing in his ear. He was dazed.
"Yes, and I remember having this beautiful and peaceful dream. I was floating…and I could see you but I couldn’t touch you. What happened?’
She swallowed hard.
"Link, you died in my arms because your wounds were so severe. I tried to use a fairy, but it was too late…
then I was here all alone with you. You wouldn’t wake up, and I just knew you were gone when you didn’t respond...then the three creators of Hyrule came here and brought you back to me! Look"…
she pointed to where Dark Link’s body had been.
"He is gone from us and our lives forever," she said.
"Wow"…was all he said, unable to comprehend it all.
"Link, I was sure you were dead and had left me all alone"….she grabbed him and held him close to her.
"Shhh…it’s okay…I’m here now, " he whispered as his strong arms pulled her next to him and comforted her.
"I’m sorry this scared you so much"….he pulled back and smothered her swollen face with kiss after kiss. He wanted so badly to take away every tear she had cried today.
Then Link stood up, and pulled his wife up beside him. They looked around the room. There was no sign that any battle had taken place. It was like time had forgotten it.
Neither one of them saying a word, they walked upstairs with their arms around each other.
They picked up the glass that was scattered all over the floor of their bedroom.
"I’m sorry I broke our window," he said, on his knees, picking up the big pieces.
Zelda snickered. Somehow that was funny. Link saw her and started laughing himself.
"Oh..I think we can fix it," she said. Even after something like this had happened to her, she could still maintain her sense of humor.
"You really were my dashing hero, Link, the way you flew in here like you did. Very dashing. I was pretty scared, but you still took my breath away when you did that."
"I did?" he asked.
"Well, you never know," he said, "I may just swing in here when you least expect it one day and take you right into my arms. What would you think of that?"
"I think I would do just about anything for you if you did that"….
"Oh, you would?" he asked.
On his knees, he crawled over to her.
"Come here," he took her in his arms and kissed her.
They cleaned everything up, then Link built his wife a decent fire, and they lay together on their bed for a long time, neither one saying anything.
They were just glad to be in one another’s arms again and listened to the fire crackling, enjoying the peace it brought them.
They watched the glow of the fire as Link stroked her hair and intertwined her fingers with his own.
"I’m so sorry I wasn’t here to protect you"….he whispered, sounding truly regretful.
"Nonsense," she said. "You love to fish. How could you have known he would come here today?" she asked.
"I feel like I’ve broken a promise. Don’t ask me to explain it...I just do."
Zelda sat up and looked him in the eyes, and took his face in her hands.
"Don’t you dare say that. You did protect me. You died for me today defending me. How much more of yourself than that can you give?"
She started to cry.
"I love you…and I don’t know what I would have done if you were truly gone forever…you are my whole world…my whole existence"….
Tears started to form in his eyes. He buried his face against her, shaking.
"Oh Zelda…Zelda"…he cried against her shoulder. "I love you so."
She cradled him and rocked him back and forth in her arms.
She decided now was the time to tell him.
"Link"..she whispered, pulling him away from her shoulder and wiping his eyes.
"There’s something I have to tell you."
"What is it?" he asked, kissing her hand.
"I’m going to have a baby."
What did she say?
"Say that again..I want to hear you say it again"…he whispered, keeping his eyes steady on hers.
"Link….we’re going to have a baby."
It had the most beautiful sound to it. A baby.
"Oh sweetheart,"….he placed his hand gently over her stomach.
"You mean there’s…. a tiny life in there….. that we made?" he sounded as excited as a child getting his first toy.
She nodded her head.
Emotion filled his eyes unlike Zelda had ever seen.
"Are you happy, Link?"
"Happy? You have no idea how happy a man you’ve made me, Zelda. So happy. A baby……"
He grinned from ear to ear.
Finally he felt that his circle was complete. Not only did he have the most beautiful woman ever created as his loving wife, but now they were going to have a baby together. That filled him with an excitement that no battle in any temple, no foe beaten, not even the great Ganondorf, could ever fill.
One night, a few months later, as they were sound asleep, something shook Zelda awake.
She felt her stomach. She had gotten really big but Impa told her it might be another week or so before she would give birth.
She rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. She could see Link sleeping peacefully.
Must be nice, she thought.
If only she could have the same peacefulness. She rolled her eyes.
Lately, it seemed, during these last few weeks, she couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. She looked over at the crib that lay empty, waiting for this baby.
She was suddenly hot and sweaty. She threw off all the covers.
She lay there and tried to breath slowly.
She felt Link’s arm around her.
"What’s wrong?" he asked sleepily, not even opening his eyes. She wondered if he was even awake, if he even comprehended what was happening.
Then it happened again.
She had to tell him it was time.
She shook his arm. "Link"…
What a time for him to be so sound asleep. Now she understood why Navi had so much trouble with him as a boy. She took one deep breath, and was determined to wake him up.
"Link!!!" she yelled.
His eyes opened suddenly.
"Huh"…he said, dazed. Was he dreaming? His wife had never, ever yelled at him.
She grimaced again and grabbed her stomach.
It took about one second for it to register what was going on.
He leaped out of bed.
"Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry!!" He truly was. What an idiot, he told himself. His wife was in labor!
He sent for Impa right away.
Link stayed by her side all night long as she gave birth. He held her hand and tried to be so comforting even though it wasn’t much help. He’d never seen Zelda like this before, in so much pain. Impa told him this was to be expected. She’d delivered the royal family’s babies for years, and this was no different.
It was a long and exhausting night for all of them, but finally Impa handed Zelda their newborn son.
Then she suddenly realized something wasn’t quite right. She smiled at them.
"We have another one," she said happily.
Link and Zelda couldn’t believe it. Twins!
The second was a daughter.
Impa handed Link his baby girl. He was overcome by emotion.
He looked down at her sweet face, imagining that must have been what Zelda looked like when she was born.
He’d gotten his wish. He now had a daughter that was just like his wife in every way.
Zelda cradled her son close and thought the same thing about Link.
They looked at each other and smiled.
"We’re doubly blessed, my dear," Link said, his voice filled with emotion. "Two beautiful babies."
He looked at them with pride, and made a silent promise that he would fiercely protect them from anything that ever wanted to harm them.
Zelda’s face now looked at peace. She knew now what the creators of Hyrule had meant when they said she and Link would be blessed.
"We’ll have to get another crib," she teased, then reached over and touched her husband’s cheek with her hand.
"I’m so sorry I yelled at you this morning. I was just in so much pain"…..
"Shhhh"……He took her hand and kissed it, not taking his eyes away from hers.
"I love you," he whispered. "You’ve made me so happy."
She looked down at her son, then at Link. She felt as safe as she could ever feel, like nothing could ever harm her or her family again.
Everything seemed complete.
"I love you too," she whispered. "Always."