Her eyes suddenly began to open. As opposed to the hostile and threatening atmosphere where she had lost consciousness, Zelda sensed something more calm and peaceful. For sure there was an air of tension, but nothing close to where she was before. Her body felt as if a thousand arrows had pierced through her. However, her left hand felt different. She could feel the soft and gentle touch of flesh grasping her hand. With a great amount of difficulty, she turned her head towards her left hand. “L… Link… is… is that you?”. However, her eyes were not met with the sight of the Hero and Champion of Hyrule. Instead, she saw someone very unfamiliar indeed. “Well Hello! You’re finally awake, he he”. It was a young girl, no older than 10 winters. She had vibrant, blonde, pig-tailed hair, much like Zelda herself. Her eyes were light blue and she wore a white and blue dress and jet black shoes. However, the strangest feature of her attire were the patterns of butterflies on her dress. “Who… who are you?”, enquired a quizzical Zelda. The girl smiled and replied: “They call me the Queen of the Butterflies, Her Highness Agitha!”. Zelda smiled back at her and slowly, using the little bits of strength she had regained, sat upright. Agitha was still holding her hand. “Nice to meet you, Agitha. But if you could be so kind, would you tell me where we find ourselves?”. Smiling back, Agitha replied: “I would, but as the Mistress of my subordinate little creatures, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the best person. However, my friends must be outside this room, and they will be better explaining things to you”. Zelda was about to attempt getting off of the bed she was sitting on, but Agitha gripped her hand tighter. Zelda looked Agitha in the eyes. There was a hint of longing in the young child’s face expression. Zelda enquired: “Is everything OK?”, to which Agitha replied: “Yes, it’s just… I’d been waiting a while for you to wake up… and now… you’re preparing to get up and leave. Can we just… sit and talk… just for a few minutes… please”. Zelda knew not the feeling that suddenly came upon her. After the events she had experienced before her loss of consciousness, she knew in the back of her mind that she had to discover the whereabouts of Link and the other Champion warriors, but her heart could not turn down the pleas of this child. She gave a warm smile and put her right hand over Agitha’s hands gripping her left. “Sure”. Agitha’s face lit up. Zelda looked at Agitha’s dress and stated: “This dress of yours is lovely Agitha. Where did you get it from?”. Agitha replied: “It was passed on to me by my mother”. Zelda replied: “Where is your mother?”, to which Agitha replied: “She… she and my father do not live in this world anymore. I never met them. I was raised in this place by two nice people. When we leave this room, I’ll take you to meet them”. There was something strange about Agitha, Zelda thought to herself. Sure, she was an orphan girl, but despite the fact that she only encountered the child a mere moments back, it felt as if she had known her much, much longer. Zelda then put her hand on Agitha’s head and said: “Sweet Agitha, I really like you and I want to talk to you more, but I think if you took me to meet those people who raised you, I can gain a better understanding of what is going on and after that, we will have more time together, how does that sound?”. Agitha smiled back and nodded. Having regained much of her strength, Zelda stood up from the bed. Holding Agitha’s hand, she made her way to the exit of the room.

Once Zelda and Agitha left the room, they found themselves in the main chamber. In the middle of this chamber stood Keaton and Sara. To the left were stood Link, who had his arm around his sister, the now adolescent Aryll. But with a slightly confrontational demeanour,

Holu was standing opposite Keaton and Sara. They all turned around to face Zelda. Sara smiled and exclaimed: “Your Highness! I’m so glad your OK! Now… make yourself at home!”. This was followed by a sudden grunt from Holu: “Don’t be so distracted! We have questions to ask, so cut to the chase! What is going on here and what do you mean we are in some future time period!?”. Keaton replied: “Now that the Princess has awoken, it is time to provide you with the information you require. You say that the three of you, along with your comrades, were in pursuit of a masked figure in the Sacred Forest when you fell through a void and found yourselves in this predicament. Well… that very much adds up to the time when Ria took over the Land of Hyrule. It makes sense that the one who sent you through time was Empress Ria herself. Given that Hyrule’s Champion, Princess and most powerful warriors mysteriously disappeared, we can ascertain that Ria wanted to rid you all in the most simple way she could to gain a free hand in conquering this Land”. Link interrupted: “That’s all well and good, but even without us, Hyrule had a whole army. Could none stand before her? Is she that powerful?”. Keaton replied: “This wasn’t an orthodox usurping of Hyrule, seen by the likes of the former Gerudo King Ganondorf before. No, Ria became the Empress in a bloodless manner. Her sorcery enabled her to manipulate the Hylians”. He then turned towards Zelda and continued: “Princess, this maybe very hard for you to hear, but Ria manipulated the Hylian population into believing that the King and Queen were traitors to Hyrule, in league with the likes of Ganondorf and the demon Demise to consolidate their grip on power, and eventually, she manipulated the masses to execute the King”. Those words hit Zelda like a dagger to the heart. Agitha gripped Zelda’s hand tight. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. However, she just about managed to control herself and reply: “What… what about Mother?”. Keaton replied: “The Queen was also due to be put to death, but before that, she somehow managed to escape, and since then, the Hylians could not locate her”. Zelda wanted to do nothing more than collapse and cry at hearing of the fates of her beloved parents. However, as someone who had pledged to look out for the good of all the people of Hyrule, she wanted to know about what happened to the rest of the people. Keaton continued: “As a result, Ria’s sorcery made her Empress of the Land, and she is a most revered leader. Her spells also extended to the Rito, whom she utilises as her minions”. Holu gritted his teeth in disgust. “So that explains it all. Darn witch thinks she can take over the minds of my people! When I’ve snapped them back to reality, there’s gonna be hell to pay!”. Again, Keaton continued: “Ria made Rito Village one of her headquarters and built the Stone Tower, a building specifically made where the Rito can serve her needs”. At this point, Link entered the conversation: “OK, so the Hylians and the Rito are under Ria’s spell. What about the other races? Are they also being manipulated by her?”. Keaton replied: “No, her manipulation only extends to the Hylians and Rito. The other races weren’t so fortunate”. This planted an awful feeling in Link’s stomach. “The worst hand was dealt to the poor Gerudo race. Ria entered the desert and completely obliterated them from the face of the Earth. She, along with a band of delinquent Sheikah who were always against the Hylian Royal Family, destroyed Gerudo Fortress and built a fearsome prison known as the Arbiter’s Grounds. Here, the Gerudo were imprisoned and one by one, mercilessly killed. Ria presented this Arbiter’s Grounds to the group of delinquent Sheikah, who call themselves the Yiga Clan, and now, they rule the desert”. Zelda shook her head. “The Gerudo had worked so hard to redeem and reintegrate themselves into Hyrule. That monster took it all from them. I… I swear she will pay for what she’s done!”. Link went on to ask: “What about the Zora?”. Keaton replied: “The Zora’s fate was not as miserable as the Gerudo. Their home,

Zora’s Domain was submerged into the sea and around it, Ria erected a barrier of electricity. Given that the Zora are very weak against electricity, they are essentially prisoners in their own home. Coming to the Gorons, well that is a more complicated situation”.

Link shuddered when he heard those words. The Gorons had already been through so much when Demise had destroyed their home Death Mountain, something which they had barely survived. It was tormenting him that more misfortune would have inevitably extended to them. Keaton continued: “Following her overtaking of the Land, Ria had plans for the Gorons to be enslaved, given their strength and skill for mining. However, the home of the Gorons was the scene for the revival of an ancient race of dragons known as Argoroks”. Link replied: “That word… Argorok. I heard Sidon mention tales about them at the Royal Banquet. So they weren’t tales after all. Darn it! If it weren’t for Sidon, one Argorok would have been enough to wipe Hyrule off the map. Now you’re telling me that there’s a whole race of these creatures?”. Keaton replied: “That’s not all. Their resurrection was followed by the revival of their King. A fierce and ruthless dragon named Volvagia. And this revival was to date, the biggest threat to Ria’s reign on Hyrule. Ria’s sorcery would have been enough to manipulate the Argoroks, but not the King Volvagia himself. Volvagia himself is powerful enough to hold his own, had Ria had turned all the Argorok against him. In an all-out war, even if Volvagia were fated to be defeated, he would certainly have the might to take down Ria and the rest of the Land with him. Ria knew that this would be a scenario of mutually-assured destruction. Hence, Ria negotiated a truce with Volvagia and the Argoroks. Should he agree to not attack Ria and her forces, she would cede the Goron Caverns to him and allow the dragons to enslave the Goron. For the time being, Volvagia expressed contentment at this and agreed. So the Goron are currently the slaves of Volvagia and the dragons”.

Zelda was visibly overwhelmed at hearing of what had become of the Land she swore to protect. She looked towards Sara, who inexplicably, was smiling. She returned her glance towards Zelda and stated: “This may sound grim, Your Highness, but do not fret, because there is a way to bring back everything you have lost”. This came as a point of astonishment to all three of Link, Zelda and Holu. With his sceptical tone, Holu replied: “What are you talking about? That lunatic Empress has turned this Land into a shambles with her mind tricks, and you’re saying we have a way of undoing everything, even bringing back those who have died?”. Keaton stepped in and replied: “Sara is absolutely correct. Ria’s spell was such that, although we have lived through the 10 years of her tyranny, you and your party have been sent into a future of a world without you there. The source of Ria’s power is, as you have probably figured, the mask she wears. That mask was created at the time when Sara and Ria’s ancient clan was still thriving. It is a creation of pure evil and houses some of the most wicked spells imaginable. However, this mask, along with Sara and Ria, are the only survivors of that clan. And to stop Ria, that mask must be taken from her and destroyed. However, Ria has never been seen without the mask, so separating her from it will not be easy. But, should you accomplish this task, the spell will be undone, and this future will be reversed, consigned to your memories and returning you back to the time before you were sent here”. At this, Link stepped forward. Gripping his sword’s handle, he smiled and stated: “Well, we’ve faced challenges against the odds before and prevailed. We shall do so once again! We went to the Forest on a mission to rescue Saria and the rest, now, we will rescue all of Hyrule!”. Saying that, Link’s mind couldn’t help but be cast back to Saria. “When we went to the Forest, there was no sign of Saria or the Kokiri. Do you know what fate they

met?”. Keaton replied: “The ones that you seek are being held as captive by Ria. Defeating her will bring you the answers”. It was a rather strange and evasive statement, Link thought to himself, but he decided not to dwell on it for the time being. “First, we need to find the other four. Impa, Darbus, Nabosa and Sidon. Once we have everyone back together, we’ll mount an assault on Empress Ria, destroy the Mask and restore everything!”. However, Holu replied: “Sorry to burst your bubble, slacker, but you have any idea where to even start looking? You really think we can find them all whilst that insane Empress has eyes all over the place?”. At this, Keaton stated: “Based on what you told me Link, you and Zelda appeared in the middle of a field, whilst you Holu, appeared in the Stone Tower. As has been said already, Stone Tower is what used to be Rito Village, but Link, the field you and Zelda appeared in used to be the farmlands of Hyrule”. Link clenched his fist. He turned to Aryll and asked: “What… what happened to the Ranch?”. Aryll’s head dipped. Her voice was trembling when she stated: “One… one day… we were working in the farmlands… when Ria came and cornered all of the farmers. I hid in the house. The Rito then bombarded the area. I… I managed to escape just before our house was blown up. I ran and ran for miles… with tears in my eyes, not knowing what happened to Mama and Papa, whether they are alive or dead. I collapsed and lost consciousness. After that, I found myself here, where Sara told me that she rescued me. Since then… I trained myself to fight with crossbows… to ward off Ria’s minions and be a part of the Resistance. But when I returned to the Ranch, all that was there were empty fields”. Link then remembered, when they were falling through the void, he and Zelda were holding each other’s hand, which explained why they reappeared together. “So if me and Zelda reappeared where the farmlands used to be, and Holu reappeared where Rito Village used to be… that means… the rest will have reappeared in their respective homes. That’s it! I know where to find everyone!”. Keaton replied: “Well that is the good news. But, I’m afraid that it means your comrades are in grave and imminent danger”.

Link, Zelda and Holu immediately understood why Keaton made this remark. Holu replied: “He’s right. That means the big lug Darbus will be a slave to those overgrown lizards, Nabosa at the mercy of the Scum of the Sheikah and Sidon a prisoner along with his fellow Zora”. Link replied: “Sidon could never be a prisoner. I’m sure he…”, but before he could finish, Keaton stated: “No matter how mighty a Zora is, a Zora is a Zora, and they won’t stand up to electricity. Your friend will be trapped in the submerged Zora’s Domain”. Link replied: “How about Impa”. To this, Zelda replied: “I don’t know the birthplace of Impa, so I know not where to begin looking for her. Having said that, I’m not concerned. Impa has time and again proven she can take care of herself”. Link then nodded. After a few moment of deep thought, Link began to speak. “Right, so we have three of our comrades to rescue. With that in mind, we need to separate into three parties”. Zelda stepped forward and stated: “Back when Ganondorf had taken the throne, Nabosa was responsible for rescuing countless Hylians from his clutches. Along with that, she helped me and my mother escape Gerudo Fortress. I am indebted to her, and now, it’s my turn to stand up in her time of need. Therefore, I will venture to the Arbiter’s Grounds and rescue her”. Holu added: “The Zora and Rito have always had a pact that when one is in strife, the other will come to their aid. Since the Rito have all lost their mind, it then falls upon me to honour this pact. I will rescue Sidon and the Zora”. With that, Link stated: “Although it maybe by default, but Darbus is my sworn pal, and I would go to any length to save him!”. Keaton, Sara and Aryll were stood together. Keaton stated: “Link, although your objectives are admirable, venturing into the home of the Argorok is akin to suicide. You will need one with you who can provide

protection at all times. Therefore, I will accompany you”. Link replied: “That is indeed noble of you, but… I have no idea how you intend to protect me or what your powers are”. At this, Keaton replied: “Not to sing my own praise, but all I can tell you is… I will ensure your protection… you have my word. Just trust me”. This did little to convince Link, but he believed that it wouldn’t at least be a detriment to him, so Link simply nodded. Sara walked up to Zelda. With an uncharacteristic air of apprehension, she said: “Your Highness… I want to accompany you. Not only will my skills help you navigate and possibly combat the Yiga Clan, but I just feel as if I owe you”. Slightly confused, Zelda replied: “I know not why you feel you owe me, but I would be happy to have you”. Agitha grabbed on even tighter to Zelda and added: “I… I am also coming with you”. Immediately, Zelda shook her head. “Absolutely not. I can not put an innocent young child like you in danger”. However, Sara interrupted: “She can come with us. Agitha can handle herself very well in dangerous situations. You will be very surprised”. Eyebrows raised, Zelda replied: “Well, you know her better than I, so I guess… welcome aboard little Agitha”. Agitha’s eyes lit up. She pulled Zelda’s hand towards her and kissed it. Albeit that Zelda was surprised at just how attached this young girl had become to her in such a small space of time, she also developed her own attachment to Agitha and felt a sense of joy that she would gain more time with her. Aryll looked at Link and then at Holu. “I will accompany Holu to free the Zora. We are both archers and Holu will need another archer to help destroy the pillars forming the electrical barrier around Zora’s Domain”. Without a hint of concern on his face, Link smiled and replied: “Go Aryll, I know you have it in you to fulfil the task. You are, after all, the sister of Hyrule’s Champion. Plus, my beaked friend can bail you out should you find yourself in any trouble”. With that, Link confirmed: “So, Zelda, Sara and Agitha will go to Arbiter’s Grounds to rescue Nabosa and take down the Yiga Clan. Holu and Aryll will rescue Sidon and the Zora. Finally, me and Keaton will rescue Darbus and get out of there before any Argorok sees us. And once we have the party together, we will coordinate an assault on Empress Ria, defeat her and destroy the mask!”.

One Hour Later

Everyone was preparing for their respective rescue missions. Holu was running a few repairs to his bow and manufacturing some new arrows when Link walked up to him. “If you didn’t notice, I’m a little busy right now slacker. What do you want?”. Link had a slightly mischievous smile. “Your bow looks fine to me. Are you really running repairs to it, or is this just some facade you’re putting on as you really reminisce with thoughts about that Rito with the harp back in the woods, he he?”. Holu’s cheeks went visibly red. He slammed his bow to the ground and immediately stood up. “What the hell are you blabbering about!? I’m preparing my bow to defeat that little harp girl”. Link smiled even more. “You’re going to kill her right?”. “It’s… it”s not necessary for a warrior to kill all of their adversaries. you should know as much, Mr Champion”, replied an embarrassed Holu. “Yeah, especially when you’re clearly in love with them, right Holu”. Holu pointed one of his arrows at Link and exclaimed: “Look, we’re here on a serious mission, nothing else you clown! Now, I suggest you get on with it!”. Link then turned away whilst giggling.

Everyone stood in their respective groups. Zelda stated: “We will now split up in the endeavour to save our friends and bring back the Hyrule we love. Let us go forth and take down the menace responsible for all of this!”. With that, all departed from the hideout.

End of Chapter Three

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By Usmania

A Medical Education Researcher by day and a gamer/anime nerd by night. He's just a little obsessed about seeing Legend of Zelda transitioning to the big screen and thinks Demon Slayer is the greatest contribution to TV of all time.