Pitching a Zelda Cinematic Universe – The Plane of Masked Yearning: Chapter One
After completing my fan-fiction of an original Zelda story meant as a pitch for a Live-Action trilogy series (which you can read in the Fan Fiction section of the website), I felt that, due to the enjoyment I got from writing it, I wanted to carry on with the stories. So this sparked an idea. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the first Iron Man movie was actually meant as a single stand-alone film. However, due to the roaring success the film gained, the movie spawned a sequel and eventually, an entire movie franchise introducing multitudes of story-lines and characters inspired by the Marvel Comics. In the same vein, I imagined a scenario where the Zelda trilogy became a massive success story, inspiring old Zelda fans and bringing in a new audience who then began to play the games. Inevitably, such success would lead to the creation of further films. So, with this in mind, I emulated the MCU in having the final film in the trilogy having both a mid-credits and post-credits scene teasing future story-lines. The next story to tell will pick off from the ordeals of Link, Zelda and co following the brutal but ultimate triumph in the battle against the demon Demise and subsequent exile of the Gerudo King, Ganondorf. Although the post credits scene introduced Fire Emblem’s Marth, the story will begin after what would be an Avengers-style team up between characters of Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem and Kid Icarus, which would have vague references in this story. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
New Training Grounds of Hyrule Castle
“Cocky little farm boy! I’ll get you now!”. It was a day when the sun shone brightly upon the brand-new training site at the back of Hyrule Castle. The destruction, caused by a combination of the now-exiled Usurper King Ganondorf and the rampage of the demented demon Demise, although a traumatic episode in the history of the Land, provided the Hylians with an opportunity. A whole year had passed since one of Hyrule’s most desperate moments. However, it had proven to be ample time for the King, Daphnes Bospheramus Hyrule to order a complete revamp and refurbishment of the Castle grounds. Not only had this been conducted with great prose, but everything looked better than before. Until today, the new training grounds had been used by the numerous Knights of Hyrule who now had an even greater incentive to be at the top of their game. The Land of Hyrule had been through a lot and had opened up a Pandora’s box in that the people of Hyrule could, at any time, be at the mercy of threats as terrifying as Ganondorf and Demise in future. However, there was a ray of hope. That experience had unearthed great power within the ranks of the Hylians. And one of those was Link. A boy, who only a mere two years ago, was a common farmer with dreams of becoming a Royal Knight. Now, not only had he realized those dreams, he discovered himself as being one of three wielders of an ancient power known as the Triforce, his segment being known as the Triforce of Courage. Along with that, he was also the inheritor of his ancestor Farore’s fearsome blade, the Master Sword, and upon playing his part in saving Hyrule from Demise’s destruction, was anointed by the King himself as a Champion of Hyrule, a title only given to one recognized as an unconditional saviour of the Land. And it had given him the power to command his own team of warriors.
“Missed again, my beaked friend”, sniggered Link. This was the first day Link had found the opportunity to gather his warriors for training. Following the battle with Demise, he and Zelda had to leave Hyrule on an unexpected mission to liberate the Land of Altea on the request of their then-fugitive Prince, Marth. As that battle progressed, it was revealed that the takeover of Altea had been orchestrated by a demon from another plane called Orcus, and the consequences could have been dire had it not been for help from a mysterious pair of angelic figures, one being a short brown-haired kid with wings and a tall woman with long, green hair. Upon the conclusion of that battle, Link and Zelda had returned to Hyrule and needed some time to recover. After their recovery, Link began his duties as a Champion and gathered the warriors he had selected as part of his team. One of these was the brave, but abrupt and outspoken Rito, Holu, with whom he was currently sparring against. “I’m your boss now, Holu! Ya still think you’re better, he he?”. Holu flew straight at Link and replied: “Even if you become the King of Hyrule, I will still be better than you!”. Link got out his Hylian Shield, stopped Holu’s advance and rotated his shoulder to the right, diverting Holu’s flight in that direction. “Well, of course I’m gonna be King of Hyrule someday!”. Turning his head to face the seating area at the side of the ground, he stated: “Once I take that lovely lady sitting over there to be my wife”. That “lovely lady” he was facing towards was none other than the Princess of the Land and wielder of the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda. She began to giggle, and Link gave his characteristic wink towards her when suddenly, he felt someone kick him from the back, sending him stumbling forward. “Distracted by Her Highness again I see”. It was Impa. After her time as an enemy to the Royal Family, Impa had come a long way to now become the Castle’s Head of Security and the Knight’s Academy Principal. Given her new titles, she was also invited by Link to take part in the training session. “Hey, that was a cheap shot Impa! No fair!”, complained Link. In a stoic tone, Impa replied: “You think the enemy will shy away from cheap shots? Naive! As a Champion, you need to be prepared for anything. Cheap shots, dirty tricks, all of those things!”. Smiling, Holu laughed: “Well, I don’t need cheap shots to take out this chump”. He then flew once again towards Link, however, his flight was impeded by what looked like a giant boulder intercepting him from the side. This sent Holu tumbling to the ground. The “boulder” suddenly expanded into a big and brawny figure: “AHA HA HA HA HA. TALK OF CHEAP SHOTS EH? SHOULDA KEPT YER EYES PEELED FOR CHEAP SHOTS ON YOU, AHA HA HA HA HA!!”. Standing over Holu was the Head of the Goron race, Darbus the Ventripotent. He had also been picked by Link to be one of his warriors. The strength and brutality of Darbus made him a no-brainer. Angry, Holu picked himself up and bellowed: “I was going to bring Link down until you have to stick your pot belly into my business, you big lug!”. Darbus began laughing even more. “WELL, IF IT’S A RACE TO FIGHT THE LITTLE GUY, THEN YOU GOTTA GET THROUGH ME FIRST, AHA HA HA HA!!”. With that, the both of them began to battle.
Link looked towards their direction and gave a chuckle. “Well, looks like people are lining up to battle the greatness that is me”. “Greatness eh? The only greatness in this fine space of Castle Land is the Princess sitting over there watching our moves”. Link turned around to see a woman with scarlet red hair, olive skin and an imposing presence. Link replied: “You’re partly right, Gerudo Chief Nabosa. But in terms of pure fighting genius, greatness would be yours truly standing right here!”. Giving a cheeky smile, Nabosa responded: “Aha. If you can talk the talk, let’s see you walk the walk!”. With that, Nabosa took out her scimitars and charged towards Link, who brought out his Master Sword and blocked her attack. On both ends of the training grounds, there were sparring battles going on. Holu vs Darbus and Link vs Nabosa. Impa was merely observing these matches when Zelda made her way to her presence. Giving her usual smile, Zelda stated: “You must really be enjoying watching these hardcore battles, right Lady Impa?”. Impa turned her head to Zelda and stated: “Firstly Your Highness, how many times have I told you, there’s no need for the formalities, Impa will do just fine. Secondly, it was my understanding that Link appointed four warriors to make up his team?”. Zelda replied: “Oh yes, now you mention it, Link did also choose the Second Zora Prince, Imbelius to be a part of all this. Wait, Holu will know”. She then brought out her hand. A blue triangle appeared. From her hand, a golden ball of light materialised. It travelled into mid-air and gave off a bright sparkle. Both sparring battles ceased with all combatants stopping their advances and immediately facing the Princess. “Hey! I was on the verge of embarrassing this big buffoon…”, shouted Holu, but before he could finish the sentence, Darbus gave him a firm nudge, to which both knelt down. “Forgive me, Your Highness”, stated a slightly embarrassed Holu. “Don’t worry about that. I just had a small question to ask of you, given your closeness to the Zora race. We seem to be lacking the fourth member of Link’s team, Zora Prince Imbelius. Are you familiar of his whereabouts?”. To this, Holu replied: “Unfortunately Your Highness, I am not. However, Imbelius is not much of a fighter, so it doesn’t surprise me that he probably cuccooed out”. Link replied: “But after going over the rules and responsibility of a Champion with the King, should one of the appointed warriors turn down the role, they must nominate someone to take their place. Maybe Imbelius forgot…”, but before the conversation could continue, loud shouting could be heard. A terrified knight came running to the training grounds. “RUN!!! RUN FOR COVER!!”. Perplexed, Zelda inquired: “What is going on?”. The knight bellowed: “D…D… DRAGON!! A DRAGON IS HERE!!”. His words didn’t need long for validation. From the direction of the castle, a gigantic dragon appeared. It had a slender body, black, scaly skin, but a menacing look. “HE HE HE!! I’M HERE TO SCORCH THIS LAND!! WHO WILL DARE TO STOP ME?!!!”.
Link brought out his Master Sword. He had no idea where this dragon had come from, but he knew that the first challenge of his role as a Champion had come, and he had to shine. “If it’s a fight ya want, then a fight you shall get!”. He turned to Holu and pointed to the sky. “Holu, show me your bow skills!”. Holu smiled: “With pleasure!”. Holu flew up and began shooting a barrage of bomb arrows at the dragon. However, none were having any effect. “HE HE HE, PITIFUL INSECTS!!”. Darbus then threw his Megaton Hammer towards the dragon, who simply covered itself with its wing. Suddenly, a golden arrow was seen shooting at the dragon’s face. Although it didn’t seem to hurt the dragon, it affected its sight, causing it to descend to the ground. Zelda was shocked as the dragon seemed to have its vision restored in quick time. Link, Impa and Nabosa charged at the dragon and began an all-out assault with their respective blades. However, nothing seemed to be working. Holu and Zelda kept shooting arrows, but even Zelda’s Light Arrows were having no effect. Beginning to show signs of panic, Link shouted: “What… WHAT IS THIS. NOTHING IS WORKING!! HOW??!”. Giving a laugh, the dragon taunted: “Because you are all WEAK, he he. Weak fighters, weak people. THE WEAK DESERVE TO BE OBLITERATED!!!”. The dragon spread its wings and began to fly up. Worried, Zelda stated: “Why are my Light Arrows having no effect on this beast? They were enough to turn the tide against Demise”. But with that, a horrifying thought stuck her mind. “D… don’t tell me… this dragon… is even stronger than Demise!? Surely not!”. The dragon was beginning to fly further upwards. Link replied, “No way in hell is this thing stronger than Demise! Let me prove it”. Link brought out his Hookshot and fired it at the dragon’s tail. The dragon was flying around the grounds, but once it noticed Link climbing along its body, became agitated. “VERMIN!! Get away from me!”. Link laughed and replied: “Not today, cursed creature. You underestimated me, the most powerful knight of Hyrule!”. He began to clench his fist. His eyes began to glow a familiar green. “And now, you DIE!!!”. Link stood up, jumped in the air and landed a powerful slash at the top of the dragon’s head. However, to his utter horror, the dragon was unmoved. Perhaps from the shock of this, Link fell away from the dragon. In the nick of time, he got out his Hookshot and fired it to one of the trees of the training grounds. Bringing himself to the ground, his green eyes became blue again, but full of terror. His skin had gone pale. Zelda ran towards him. “Link… what’s wrong?”. With a blank expression, Link replied: “Zelda… we… we’re doomed. That attack was everything I had… and… it didn’t even faze the dragon. I… don’t know what to do”. From a moderate distance, the dragon stopped and turned to face them. “WEAK!!! YOU ARE ALL WEAK!!! NOW, I SHALL LAY WASTE TO YOU ALL!!”. The dragon began to aggressively glide towards the training grounds. Still not giving up, Holu and Darbus brought out their weapons in perhaps an optimistic attempt to fight the dragon off. Impa, Nabosa and Zelda gave looks of resignation. Link simply stared into space. “I… I’m sorry… I… I failed you all”. The dragon was getting closer and closer. It opened its mouth to reveal a fireball. However, before it could make contact with the ground, Link sensed a figure. Then, from the corner of his eyes, something, or someone flew in at the dragon. It landed an almighty flying kick right at the dragon’s face. The dragon’s attack had ceased as it tumbled to the ground. Once the dragon hit the ground, the figure performed a flamboyant backward flip and landed on the ground in a kneeling position. Everyone looked at this figure completely flabbergasted, except for Holu, who interestingly just gave a vexed expression and rolled his eyes. Snapping out of his depressed trance, Link gazed upon this new figure. It was three times his size. It was bright red with a tall, but muscular physique. The back of its head looked like the tail of a shark. The figure then turned around to face Link. The front of the figure’s face was blue. It was a male member of the Zora race, however the crown on his head signified that he was Zora Royalty. Suddenly, he flexed his right bicep and gave Link the most over-the-top smile. “Pardon the late entrance, but let me take care of this overgrown lizard for you!”.
After a few moments, the dragon managed to pick itself from the ground and faced the newcomer. “Arrggh, that actually hurt, you pest! You may not be as weak as these insects here, but you’re still a weakling”. The Zora again gave a smile, and with a boisterous reply, stated: “I feel a sense of pity for you. All this way you came, simply to forfeit your lamentable life. Now, what I need is for you to humour me a little. Come at me with all you have, dragon!”. Link was struggling to keep up with this latest development. He and the other participants of the training session had been expecting a fourth warrior and for the warrior to be from the Zora race, however, this was not Imbelius. For starters, Imbelius had never smiled at any time Link had known him. Secondly, it had become apparent Imbelius was no warrior, so it was impossible for him to have landed such a blow upon a foe no one else could lay a finger on up to this point. Heeding the newcomer’s words, the dragon began a quick ascent into the sky. “HA HA HA!! YOU HAVE JUST CONDEMNED YOUR PATHETIC LAND TO ITS COMPLETE DESTRUCTION!!! YOUR POMPOSITY WILL BE THE DEATH OF ALL OF YOU!! THIS ATTACK WILL SCORCH YOUR LAND TO CINDERS, HA HA HA HA!!”. With that, the dragon began to shoot towards the ground whilst charging a most fearsome fireball from its mouth. Everyone began to panic. Enraged and terrified, Link began to shout at the newcomer: “ARE YOU STUPID OR SOMETHING?!!! WE WERE ALREADY DOOMED, AND NOW, YOU’RE GOING TO ALLOW THIS MONSTER TO RUIN THE ENTIRE KINGDOM!!!”. However, the newcomer gave no response. He stood there, arms folded and a calm smile. Link was surely tempted to confront the newcomer, however, he felt someone tap his shoulder. He turned around to see Holu who, to his complete mystification, had not a hint of concern on his face. The dragon was coming closer and closer to the ground, the fireball growing bigger and bigger. It had now come close enough to unleash its furious attack, however, just before it could, a giant splash of water materialised. It momentarily blinded everyone. Once Link had regained his sight, a most stupefying sight awaited. The fireball had completely vanished. The dragon was completely stunned in mid-air. The newcomer had a large trident in his hand and was pointing right where the dragon’s nose was. “W..WHAT…I… IMPOSSIBLE!!! THIS WHOLE LAND SHOULD HAVE DISAPPEARED IN A BALL OF FLAME!!! HOW… HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!!!”. With a sigh, the Zora replied: “Seriously, that was the absolute best you could throw at me? How anticlimactic I’m afraid. And I was so looking forward to showing you something close to my best, but it seems this will have to merely suffice”.
Everyone watching this scene couldn’t believe their eyes. However, before they had time to process it, the Zora batted the dragon away and jumped on top of one of the walls of the training grounds. Gaining its bearings once again, the dragon bellowed: “CURSE YOU!!! YOU DARE MOCK ME, FILTHY SEA CREATURE!!! I’LL KILL YOU, IN A MOST PAINFUL MANNER!!”. The Zora simply smiled with breath-taking confidence and stated: “Now now, you’ve had your opportunity, let others have their turn too”. With that, the Zora lifted one of his tridents. In what seemed like no time at all, a giant ball of water appeared. The dragon began to fly towards the Zora, but with one swing of the trident, the ball of water shot right at the dragon and engulfed it. The dragon was completely immobilised. After this, the Zora jumped into the ball of water and started swimming all around inside it with powerful aggression. No one could see what exactly was going on inside the ball of water. Suddenly, the ball popped. The dragon was suspended in the air, stunned and with a battered body. Everyone then looked into the sky to see the Zora several feet above the dragon. “Yeah yeah, I know what happens now”, whispered Holu to himself. Giving another bright smile, the Zora exclaimed: “And for the grand finale..”. He then brought out both of his trident, pointed them downwards and zoomed in towards the dragon. Moments later, he landed on the ground with similar flamboyance as before. Following him down were two parts of a dragon which had been sliced in half. He then stood up, faced the on-lookers and with a smile, declared: “And that’s the end of today’s show”. No one could quite come to terms with what they’d just seen, least of all, Link. Who was this Zora, he thought to himself? Despite his Triforce power, his Master Sword, his Champion warriors, Zelda’s Triforce power and Bow of Light, none of those things could even produce a scratch on the dragon. But suddenly, an unknown Zora he’d never seen before showed up out of nowhere and annihilated the dragon as if it were some ordinary hunting expedition. Suddenly, Holu stepped forward: “Well well, it seems after all these years, your propensity to make a commotion never ceases, Your Highness”. With curiosity, Link turned to Holu and inquired: “You know this guy Holu?”. Before Holu could reply, the Zora cut in: “Where are my manners? I should formally introduce myself. I am Prince Sidon, eldest son of the Zora King!”.
It suddenly occurred to Link. During Ganondorf’s trial, he recalled how Holu had mentioned Prince Sidon’s name and how he was a completely different character to Imbelius. But what he hadn’t anticipated was how different they would be on the subject of battle. But before he could complete his thought, Sidon hastily went up to Holu and put his arm around him. “It’s been a while, my feathered acquaintance! Got a little more serious since we last met!”. With his usual annoyed tone, Holu replied: “Well, aren’t you perceptive? Don’t show up for years and suddenly, you announce your big return in bombastic style. Why am I not surprised?!”. Sidon released Holu and suddenly turned to Link. He grabbed Link’s hand and started shaking it with great enthusiasm. “And you must be Link. I’ve heard some neat things about you from my little brother. Wow, you’re quite the warrior, fighting off Gerudo Kings and demons!”. Slightly confused and apprehensive, Link replied: “Well yeah, I guess I’ve come along in my fighting, he he…”, but Sidon interrupted: “Come along? You’re rather meek for a Hylian. You’re a Champion now, I have nothing but respect for you! I’m so glad Imbelius passed off his Champion warrior tag to me. It was the perfect comeback gift!”. This was the first time Prince Sidon had come back to Hyrule for ten winters. He had been away on various missions outside the Land. “Uuugh, yeah, I suppose”. However, Link hadn’t realised Sidon was no longer in front of him. He began looking around, but then, he spotted him. He was before Zelda, kneeling down and holding one of her hands. “It is truly a pleasure, Your Highness. When I last saw you, you were just a small child holding your mother’s hand. But now, you’ve grown into a fine young lady. Both the King and Queen must be proud of their brave and beautiful daughter”. Zelda was very much blushing, and of course, Link had noticed. Why wouldn’t she be blushing? Prince Sidon was the epitome of handsomeness. He was tall, muscular, energetic, and had made his pedigree as a warrior very apparent. Suddenly, feelings of envy began to envelope Link when seeing the Zora Prince doting on the woman he clearly believed would be his future wife. To break the interaction, Link stated: “OK Sidon. You want to be formally accepted as a Champion warrior? You must face me in single combat”. Everyone looked in surprise. Nabosa replied: “None of us had to fulfil such a condition. Why this sudden declaration?”. Link responded: “Well… because Sidon was late showing up here”. Excited, Sidon jumped up and turned around. “Really? It would be my absolute pleasure! To duel the Champion of this Land would be a true honour!”. Holu turned to Link and shook his head. “You’re as hot-heated as you’ve always been. You have no idea what you’ve just gotten yourself into”. Link laughed and stated: “I don’t care what feats he may have accomplished. He won’t stand up to my power”. Link then got out his Master Sword. The rest of the warriors, Impa and Zelda went to sit at the side, with only Link and Sidon at the middle of the training grounds. “Right Sidon, let’s see what you’re made of”, stated Link. Sidon simply smiled.
Link charged in and began aiming slash after slash at the Zora Prince. However, he dodged each blow with ease. At the seating area, Darbus said: “WELL, CHAMPION LINK HAS MADE A FAST START. A FEW BLOWS AND SIDON WILL BE TOAST, AHA HA HA HA!!”. However, Holu replied: “No. You don’t truly understand how over his head Link is here”. Everyone looked at Holu in astonishment. “Don’t believe me? Just keep watching”. Link had aimed almost 100 slashes, but none came even close to connecting with Sidon. “Your attacks are fast, Champion Link, but could do with a little more conviction”. Link completely ignored the comment. He then jumped to the side, rolled behind Sidon and aimed a shot. However, Sidon merely backflipped behind Link and aimed a light kick. It seemed to send Link hurtling quite a few yards forward. Sidon then brought out one of his tridents. Small balls of water began materialising. He started to swing his trident and the balls of water kept shooting at Link. One of them hit him on the stomach, bringing him to the ground. Back at the seating area, Holu explained: “Sidon may look like someone merely in the prime of his age, but the fact is, given the Zora lifespan, he is well over a century old. In that time, he has dedicated decades to honing his skills as a warrior”. Link picked himself up. He clenched his fist and his eyes began glowing green. The fight was about to get serious for him. To this, Zelda stood up and exclaimed: “Link, stop! This is just a simple duel, don’t hurt him”, but Holu brought out his left wing to signal Zelda to sit back down. “You won’t need to worry about that Your Highness”. Link was now utilising his Triforce power. He began dodging all of Sidon’s water balls. With the momentum he’d built, Link jumped up and aimed an almighty slash towards Sidon. To his bewilderment, Sidon easily blocked the attack with one trident. He then batted Link away. “My, that attack was powerful Link. I’m impressed by your strength”. However, Link’s teeth were gritted. Green bolts of lightning were coming off of him. “Don’t… don’t you dare mock me!”, he stated with anger. Impa remarked: “Good grief, Link’s going with his full, unrestrained strength. Holu, are you sure Sidon will be safe?”. Holu simply nodded with great confidence. Link ran up and tried to stab Sidon in the leg, however, Sidon dodged with ease. Link’s failed attack had left him leaning far forward and completely off balance. “Again, your strength is awesome. But… I think we should call it a day here”. With that, Sidon elbowed Link in the back. Link gave an audible gasp. The pain radiating in his entire back was crippling. In the many battles Link had fought, he’s never felt such tremendous agony. To this, Zelda again stood up and exclaimed: “Link!”. The green triangle had now disappeared along with the green glow in the eyes. Sidon then dealt Link a horizontal blow with his trident, sending him rolling almost 50 feet on the ground. The duel was well and truly over. All the onlookers stood up. Again, Holu continued: “Those decades of training have turned Prince Sidon into a force of nature. Formidable doesn’t even begin to explain how powerful a warrior he is. Putting it simply, Sidon is the mightiest warrior, possibly in the history of Hyrule. To put things into context, had he been here during the Ganondorf and Demise incidents, neither of them would have been able to stand up to him, even if they had teamed up”. Everyone looked at Holu in utter shock as he said those words. Link lay on the ground comprehensively defeated and Sidon simply stood there with a bright smile.
Link was lying on the floor, feeling empty and humiliated. His first mission as a Champion of Hyrule had ended in abject failure to defeat a dragon. If this wasn’t enough, he had to watch a Zora whom until recently, he never even knew existed, comprehensively dispatch that foe. And for the icing on the cake, he had been marmalised in a duel against this same Zora. All before the eyes of his Champion warriors and worst of all, the Princess. But, he thought to himself, how could a fighter even as remotely tremendous as Prince Sidon exist? Sure, Ganondorf, Demise and Orcus in Altea were more than a handful, but even when he’d lost some of those battles, he still landed some blows and held his own, albeit for a very limited time. But here, even when he harnessed the Triforce’s full, unrestrained power, he couldn’t get close to touching Sidon. Suddenly, Sidon walked up to Link, crouched down and offered his hand. “Hey, the battle may have come off differently, but trust me, you are an awesome fighter, Champion Link! I can see why His Highness the King made you a Champion. Don’t worry too much about our fight, you’re still only learning. I look forward to doing this again soon”. Sidon’s words were said with genuine intent, however, Link didn’t react as such. Frowning, he pushed Sidon’s hand away, gingerly stood up and stormed off back towards the Castle. Sidon gave a surprised look. Everyone who’d been watching the duel made their way to where Sidon was standing. “Hmm, was it something I said?”, he politely enquired. Quickly moving to defend the Champion, Zelda replied: “No, don’t worry Sidon, Link’s just been through a lot lately, with his duties as a Champion and recent battles”. Hearing this, Holu began to laugh. “Ahem, what she means to say is that Link is throwing tantrums after realising that his belief of being the best Hyrule has to offer is complete and utter hogwash. He’s probably in the changing chambers crying his eyes out!”. Everyone began to give Holu stern looks, to which he replied: “What? Sometimes the truth hurts”. Slightly embarrassed, Sidon started rubbing the tail on the back of his head and giggled: “Oh dear! Maybe I got slightly carried away. I’d just come back from liberating a place called Outset Island from their tyrannical rulers and was itching for a fight. I have really got to remember that people don’t have my experience. Sorry for causing such a bother!”. Zelda gave a wry smile and replied: “Not to worry. My father is holding a Royal Banquet at the Castle tonight and has invited all the warriors of Hyrule. He’d love it if you came”. Smiling, Sidon exclaimed: “And how could I turn that down? It’s a date then! I’ll also be sure to bring my glum little brother along too!”.
A Few Hours Later, Hyrule Castle Banquet Hall
As mentioned by Zelda, the King held a lavish banquet that evening for all of Hyrule’s fighters and warriors, including Link’s entire team. Everyone had come to attend the banquet and were stood around in groups, except for one person, the Champion himself. Holu and Darbus looked at one another, and with an uncharacteristically low tone, Darbus stated: “Hmm, the little guy seems awfully quiet. For the glutton that he is, he would usually be all excited for a chance to dig into a banquet”. Holu replied: “Well, guess being humbled by a far superior fighter can do that to your appetite, he he”. Shrugging the comment off, Darbus walked up to Link and stated: “Hey! Cheer up fella! Maybe you… were just a little hungry, AH HA HA HA!!”. Nonchalantly, Link looked back at Darbus and replied: “Appreciate the words Darbus, but I…”, but before Link could finish, the main door of the banquet hall flung wide open. The King, Zelda, Impa and some other Royal advisers walked up to the door. Three figures emerged through the entrance. The first of these was not hard to miss, especially for Link. It was Prince Sidon, with his confident demeanour and calm smile. To his right was a very contrasting figure. It was his younger brother, Prince Imbelius, walking in with a secluded and hunched over figure, looking as disinterested in life as he usually did. But next to him was a much younger and smaller female Zora. However, much like her eldest brother, she exuded an energetic demeanour, with a bright smile on her face and waving towards everyone. Her eyes then met Link’s, and she smiled even more brightly, waving with added vigour. The three Zora siblings stopped near the entrance of the hall. The King then walked a few steps forward. This was followed by Sidon responding in kind. Both the King and Sidon stared at one another for a few moments. Suddenly, they began giggling and then, Sidon grabbed the King and lifted him into the air. “Daphnes my friend! My my, how you have grown! Looks like you’ve been training hard, ha ha ha!!”. Laughing, the King replied: “No no, Prince Sidon, I was so excited you returned, that I forgot to keep tabs on my celebratory feasts!”. Laughter filled the entire hall. Link stood there completely bewildered. “I see that you are in a daze, hotshot”, remarked Holu. He then continued: “Don’t forget, Sidon is almost 150 winters of age. When Daphnes was born, Sidon was a full-grown adult in Zora terms and given the ties between the Hylian and Zora Royal Families, Sidon would regularly train the young Hylian Prince. Sidon is one of the King’s main mentors, not to mention a very close friend”. Unsurprisingly, this made Link feel even more down than before.
It was well into the banquet. King Daphnes and Sidon were sat next to each other, laughing and joking all the way through. They were referring to events going back decades, when both Link and Zelda hadn’t even been born. “I still remember your face when we went to Zora River and that Octorok jump-scared you. Being the whipper snapper you were Daphnes, you began crying and I had to convince your father the King back then that I had nothing to do with it!!”. Again, laughter filled the room. Even Link could not help but break a smile at this. The King replied: “Well Sidon, it seems as if everyone re-enacted the same face expression earlier today when that dragon came and attacked. This is the first time on record such a fiercesome dragon reared its head. Any idea where it came from?”. After a few moments of deep thought, Sidon responded: “Come to think of it, when I was a child, my mother would tell me stories of how before the existence of our races, the land was occupied by scary dragons called Argoroks. Of course, I thought of them as nothing more than fairy tales. But today, when I saw the dragon, its physical features very much matched how my mother would describe the Argoroks. So maybe, just maybe, those stories my mother would tell me weren’t stories. And therefore, we were faced with an Argorok”. Hearing this, Link spoke up. “But what amazes me was how powerful this Argorok or whatever it’s called was. Me, Zelda and the rest of the Champion warriors couldn’t lay a finger on it. Even with mine and Zelda’s Triforce powers and weapons. If what Prince Sidon is saying is true and this dragon comes from a time much before the emergence of our races, then who knows how powerful such dragons were”. With a smile, the King turned to Sidon and exclaimed: “Then how lucky we were today, that this fine Zora warrior was here. Right place at the right time. Who knows where Hyrule would be without him!”. Sidon pumped his fist and flexed his bicep, smiling in the process. Those words pierced Link’s heart like a dagger. He had never felt as inadequate as this in his life.
After the banquet, Zelda went up to Link. “I’ve noticed you’ve been very quiet this whole evening. I know the events of today weren’t easy, but you’ve only just begun as a Champion. Your progress will be an inevitability, trust me”. Link merely returned an empty daze back at Zelda. “Yeah… sure. I just need some air”. With that, Link walked away. He made his way to the Castle Balcony. “Sigh… what business have I as a Champion? Sidon is the real deal. He’s well respected, a formidable warrior, handsome and such a likeable guy. I’m nothing compared to him. In fact, Sidon would probably be more worthy to wield the Triforce of Courage and the Master Sword”. To his knowledge, Link was all alone on the balcony. However, this notion was quickly broken. “He he he, you think rather highly of my brother, don’t you?”.
Link quickly turned around. Behind him was the small female Zora, Sidon’s little sister. With a cheeky smile, she stated: “Princess Rufa, in case you didn’t remember. And yeah, when you visited Zora’s Domain last year, you didn’t respond to my proposal for marriage. Now you have your chance!”. Confused as to how he would respond, Link gave a slight smile and replied: “OK, Princess Rufa… even if I were to say yes, firstly, you are too young for me, and secondly, once you are of age, I will be all grey and old. So… I shall politely decline!”. Annoyed, Rufa replied: “That’s not fair! You can’t turn me down! I’m going to tell my big brother and he will force you to say yes!”, but before long, Sidon suddenly appeared on the balcony. “That’s about enough of your childish chatter Rufa”. Rufa ran up to Sidon and moaned: “But… big brother, I want Link to be my husband!”. Laughing, Sidon replied: “It’s far too early to talk about husbands for you, little madam. Now, go to Imbelius, he’s waiting for you inside”. With that, Rufa reluctantly made her way back into the castle. Sidon smiled and turned to Link: “I must profoundly apologise on my sister’s behalf. She’s grown rather fond of you since you visited Zora’s Domain and rid the Water Temple of that ferocious electrical spider. Speaking of that incident, I want to offer my utmost gratitude for helping my people back then. I only learned of it on my return from Outset Island recently”. It was true that after their short-lived duel earlier, Link had strong feelings of animosity towards the Zora Prince. However, it was clear from his words that he had genuine respect for Link and his achievements. Every time he was in Sidon’s presence, Link couldn’t help but be more and more impressed with his manners, persona and way of speech. And it made him feel increasingly bad for the way he treated him after their duel. “Your Highness, I just wanted to apologise for the way I behaved with you after our battle. I had been demoralised from the battle with the Argorok and when I came up against you, it merely highlighted my own inadequacies. I should in fact be thanking you for showing me that instead of being so proud of my achievements, I still have a long way to go as a warrior”. Slightly embarrassed, Sidon started giggling and rubbing his head. “Firstly, no need for such formalities. As the Champion of Hyrule, you’re technically my boss. So just refer to me as Sidon. And also, don’t be so discouraged by our duel today. I’ve been at this for decades. You’ve been a warrior for a mere year or two, and trust me, I could only have dreamed of achieving what you have in such a short space of time. You helped save our Land from certain doom when I was not around, so please, don’t put yourself down like that. I know that the longer we will work together, you and me will improve splendidly as warriors, and when we next battle, it will be a duel to savour”. Sidon again pumped his fist and flexed his bicep. “I believe in you, Link!”.
Any negativity Link felt that night dissipated. Sentiments of envy began to change towards a sense of excitement at being able to regularly work and train which such a colossal warrior. Reciprocating a smile, Link replied: “Sure thing! May this be the beginning of an awesome partnership!”. Suddenly, Link heard a voice. “Link”. He began to look around, but other than Sidon, there was no one else there. “Link”. He looked in all directions. The only other people he could see were guards near the entrance of the castle. But it couldn’t be them. The voice was of a female. It came again. “Link… Link… help… help me… help us”. This stimulated a response from the Champion. “Who’s there?”. Perplexed, Sidon reacted and stated: “Is there something wrong Link?”, to which he replied: “Did you hear that Sidon? Someone is calling out to me”. Shaking his head, Sidon replied: “I’m afraid I cannot answer in the affirmative”. “But I swear I heard the voice of a girl ask me for help”. Again, Link heard the voice: “Link… help us… the forest… the forest is in trouble”. These words sent a massive chill down Link’s spine. The moment he heard the words ‘forest’, he realised who the voice belonged to. “S…S… Saria, it’s Saria! She’s in trouble, she’s somehow calling out to me for help. I’ve gotta get to Kokiri Forest now!”. He had no idea how Saria was calling out to him, but immediately, Link began running into the castle. Turning around in his run, Link called out to Sidon: “This maybe something I need all my warriors for. Will you join us Sidon?”. Without a moment’s hesitation, Sidon nodded and stated: “Not a shadow of a doubt Link. I’m right behind you”.
Meanwhile, all the guests of the banquet were standing around and chatting to one another. Zelda had been discussing important security issues with Impa when she decided to go and check on Link. She was making her way towards the balcony, but near the exit of the main hall, she heard someone call out to her. She walked through the exit and to the left corridor, she saw her mother, the recently returning Queen. “Mother, you shouldn’t be out here so late in the day. You still need to take it easy on yourself”. After over a decade of being brainwashed and being used as Ganondorf’s unwitting slave in Gerudo Fortress, the Queen wanted to resume some form of Royal duties. But due to the toll her years in secret captivity had on her physically and mentally, it was deemed that she needed to rest more than the average Hylian. Smiling, she replied: “Dear Zelda, your kindness has only multiplied since your childhood, especially your consideration for others, but I’m just doing what a good mother should do, look out for her hardworking daughter and make sure she is OK”. Clasping her mother’s hands, Zelda smiled and replied: “Mother, the fact that you are standing before me is a divine blessing. It’s my duty to take care of you and make sure you are safe and always happy”. Both mother and daughter embraced on another for a few moments. Following this, the Queen began to tear up a little. Inquisitively, Zelda asked: “Mother, what’s wrong?”. To this, the Queen gave a smile. “Dear Zelda, there’s something your Father and I want to tell you. You will be so happy to hear what we have to say to you”. After a few deep breaths, the Queen stated: “Zelda, you will soon become…”, but before the Queen could complete her sentence, they felt someone run past them. It was Link. He re-entered the main hall and clamoured: “Warriors! Gather here right now!”. Distracted, Zelda immediately turned around. She looked towards her mother, who nodded and signalled Zelda to go forth. While she made her way back into the main hall, Zelda couldn’t help but wonder what her mother wanted to tell her. The fact that she would be kept in suspense was borderline tantalising her. But there was nothing she could do right now.
Hastily making his way to the middle of the hall, Link loudly stated: “Champion Warriors, I’m sorry to cut the night short, but we have our first mission”. At this point, Sidon also entered the hall. “I have word that the forest and its inhabitants are under attack from forces yet unknown”. This stimulated a collective gasp from all inside the banquet hall. It had just dawned to Link that only he knew of the Kokiri as no one had ever been able to traverse the mysterious Lost Woods before. He had wanted to keep it this way, but he had no choice given the perils the Kokiri found themselves in. The King responded: “I have only vague memories of being told of a group of Hylians who once lived in that forest, but how is it that you have information of their continued existence?”. Link replied: “Your Highness, I only learned of the existence of a civilisation in the forest when I was in hiding during Ganondorf’s invasion, but it isn’t how you think it is. Once we have saved them, I will tell you all you need to know, but they are in danger, so there’s no time right now”. The King simply nodded in agreement. At this, Darbus walked to Link and exclaimed: “A HA HA HA, THE FOREST IT IS THEN, LET’S GO LITTLE GUY!!”. Holu and Nabosa also walked into the middle. So did Sidon, whilst stating: “Well, looks like action cannot possibly stay away from me for too long. Let’s get to it!”. Link was leading his warriors out of the hall when suddenly, Zelda came from behind and said; “Then I’m coming as well!”. Link turned around and argued: “But Zelda, we will take care of it all”. Shaking her head, Zelda replied: “As a future Queen of Hyrule, I must do more to learn about all the inhabitants of this land. I must also play my part in their well-being”. With that, Impa also stepped forward. “Where the Princess goes, I will also follow”. This provided a semblance of reassurance to Link. With that, all the warriors left the Castle.
Link, Zelda, Impa and Nabosa all mounted a horse each, Darbus curled himself into boulder form and Holu took to the sky. However, Sidon’s mode of travel was the most unorthodox, materialising a ball of water and swimming forward inside it. Whilst making their way to the Lost Woods, Link kept on hearing Saria’s voice. “Please Link… please help us… we need you… please come”. Remembering his memories in the forest, Link was determined more than ever to obliterate whatever or whoever dared to threaten his beloved friends. Before he knew it, the party had arrived outside the Lost Woods, but something was very different. Holu was the one to break the silence. “This is very strange. The Lost Woods are usually covered in a thick haze, with practically no visibility. But there’s not even a trace of any haze here”. This gave Link a terrible feeling in his stomach. He feared the worst. With no haze to get lost in, Kokiri Village was totally exposed. But on the bright side, they could make their way easily through the woods. Link pointed forward and exclaimed: “We’re going in. Let’s reach the Deku Tree”. Link went charging in with the rest following his lead. In what seemed like no time, they reached Kokiri Village. However, it was completely empty. Confused, Nabosa stated: “Seems like you were right all along. There is a whole civilisation in the depths of the forest”. However, Link was not listening. He began running around the forest in a state of panic. “Saria!! Saria!! Please answer me!!! Saria!! Mido!! Fado!!! Anyone!!!”. He was clearly distressed. Holu had flown around the entire vicinity of the forest and shook his head. “No sign of anyone”. Zelda then went up to Link and put her hand on his shoulder. “You mentioned a Deku Tree, maybe he could have some answers”. Nodding his head, Link began running out of the Village and up a hill. The rest followed suit.
Once Link reached the top, he exclaimed: “Great Deku Tree, what is happening here. Where are Saria and the others…”, but before he could finish, he was met with an awful sight. The Deku Tree’s colour was completely different to what he remembered it. Instead of a distinctive brown, the Deku Tree was reddish-orange. Many of its leaves had fallen, but most strikingly, its face expression was gaunt and was constantly letting out a small wail. In clear distress, Link exclaimed: “WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU!! WHO DID THIS!!!”. Suddenly, everyone could hear a strange laugh. Lifting his spears, Sidon remarked: “Where could such a repugnant laughter be coming from?” They all looked towards the right and could see a figure. It was small, around the same size as a Kokiri, but most strikingly, was sporting a peculiar-looking mask. The mask had spikes all around it, but the most noticeable feature was a pair of giant, yellow eyes with green pupils. Without a moment’s hesitation, Link brought out his sword and shouted: “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY FRIENDS!!”. The masked figure gave no reply, but simply turned around and ran the other way. Charging behind it, Link clamoured: “ANSWER ME!! WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM!!”. Zelda stated: “Link wait! It could be a trap, be careful!”. However, Link was in no mood to listen. Rolling his eyes, Holu remarked: “As hot-headed as ever I see”. But Darbus added: “WE GOTTA FOLLOW THE LITTLE GUY. EVEN IF IT’S A TRAP, HE’LL NEED OUR HELP”. So the entire party followed suit. All of them managed to catch up to Link, however, the masked figure was still much ahead of them. It was continuously laughing. His rage increasing, Link shouted: “IF YOU’VE HURT ANY OF THE KOKIRI, I WILL KILL YOU, YOU MASKED SCUM!!”. But there was no response, other than a strange laughter. Whilst the chase progressed, the haze was beginning to return, and visibility began to decrease. Suddenly, the party noticed they were surrounded in a circle of trees. The forest was pitch black. Link began to clench his fist and the green triangle appeared on his hand. Gritting his teeth, he exclaimed: “Get ready for battle, because I’m going to slaughter you and save Saria, the Deku Tree and the rest”. Zelda got out her bow, Impa her giant sword, Nabosa her two scimitars, Darbus his Megaton Hammer, Sidon his two tridents and Holu his spear. They all looked up to then see the masked figure floating in the air. After another brief bout of laughter, it finally spoke. “Enjoy your trip, he he!”. With that, the figure vanished. Suddenly, everyone felt the ground beneath them disappear. They began to fall.
Whilst they were falling, strange shapes began to appear all around them. Link then felt someone clasp onto his hand. It was Zelda. The strange shapes became intense until suddenly, they disappeared. They were replaced by what seemed like a normal, bright sky. Link realised that he was lying on some ground. He noticed that he was still holding Zelda’s hand. Both of them immediately stood up. They were standing in an empty field. Both of them looked around and noticed that the rest of the party was no longer there. “Hey, Holu, Darbus, Sidon, Nabosa, Impa!!! Where did they all go!!”, stated Link. Zelda added: “Why are we no longer in the forest? And where did the masked figure go?”. Taking out the Master Sword once again, Link shouted: “HEY!! I KNOW YOU’RE AROUND HERE, MASKED FREAK!! COME HERE AND FACE ME, AND GIVE BACK OUR FRIENDS!!”. Suddenly, Link felt something hit the back of his head with force. With that, he lost consciousness.
He then woke up and noticed his hands were bound by ropes and was in a kneeling position. He looked to his side to see Zelda in the same predicament as him. They were in a large chamber with strange markings all over the walls. But to their surprise, the room was full of what looked like Rito guards. Inquisitively, Zelda stated: “Are we in Rito Village? If so, could you tell us what is going on? Maybe Holu will know?” To this, one of the Rito replied with a stern look: “Silence!”. Zelda had never experienced such rudeness towards her. Although she never wanted to talk in such a tone, she replied: “That is no way to talk! I remain the Princess of this Land”. But at this, they heard the laughter of a lady from behind. “Princess you say? Don’t get ahead of yourself, fool!”. As the footsteps got near, all of the Rito bowed down. “We are honoured to be graced by your presence, Empress Ria!”, they stated. The figure then came and stood before Link and Zelda. It was a woman sporting a red and purple attire. But to the shock of both Link and Zelda, she was wearing the same mask as the figure they encountered in the forest.
To be Continued
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