ATTENTION: I AM CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF REWRITING THIS STORY DUE TO QUALITY ISSUES AND PLOT-HOLES. THE PROLOGUE AND CHAPTERS 1-31 HAVE BEEN UPDATED, AND I AM WORKING ON CHAPTERS 32-TO-WHENEVER-I'M-SATISFIED. AS SUCH, THINGS MAY SEEM A BIT JUMBLED DEPENDING ON WHERE I'M AT IN THE REWRITE PROCESS. YOU CAN, OF COURSE, READ ON ANYWAYS - AND I HOPE YOU DO. IT'S WORTH IT, I PROMISE :)
Demise was absolutely furious.
Granted, this wasn't anything new. Lots of things made Demise angry. The Kikwis, for one, had always annoyed him, and for the record the Gorons weren't much better. Sunshine innately ticked him off. Plans being foiled made him murderous even on his best days. The very concept of life in general was, in his opinion, the worst thing the goddesses had ever come up with because it had resulted in so many of the things that he hated. Like Kikwis.
Demise hated the Kikwis.
So the fact that he was angry really wasn't anything that hadn't already happened multiple times before. It was the reason why he was angry that was worth noting.
After millennia spent reconstituting and extricating himself from within the Master Sword – it'd had to be done very delicately, lest the goddesses notice – he'd finally succeeded in pulling himself together. But instead of being met as the conquering ruler of all creation, he was instead presented with the absolutely disgusting legacy of the Hero.
Specifically, the Hero whom he'd cursed so long ago. The Hero who, from what he could tell, was impossible for his Hatred Incarnations to defeat. The Hero who was responsible for his legacy failing time and time again despite everything he'd given them-!
Demise took a moment to calm down, since in his rage, he was idly burning away the very fabric of reality around him. It wouldn't do to reveal his location so soon after his escape, especially not if he wanted to stay escaped for longer than ten minutes.
The point was that a great number of things, mostly named Ganondorf, were tap-dancing on his very last nerve. His Hatred Incarnations were just that: incarnations of his hatred. They were literally embodying the force of his emotions and channeling his rage.
So WHY IN THE NAME OF EVERYTHING HE HATED DID THEY KEEP FAILING!?
He could count on ONE HAND the amount of times any of his Incarnations had succeeded, and the worst part was that NONE of those times had been permanent! The longest one had lasted approximately seven glorious years before the Hero had resurfaced and put that sword (which ironically, Demise had been trapped inside of at the time; he'd spent the entire fight screaming profanities at both the Hero and his Incarnation depending on who was annoying him more in the moment) straight through his Incarnation's head.
Demise realized he was obliterating reality again and made a concentrated effort to stop. If he kept losing control like this the goddesses were sure to find him.
The most curious part about that particular Incarnation was that he hadn't even been close to being the only one to get stabbed through the head. It was a concerningly large trend he'd noticed over the centuries, and it only served to make him more fed up. At what point did the idiotic excuses for his Incarnations think it was a good idea to leave their skulls unprotected?
Cocky and overconfident, that's what they were, Demise decided. Clearly not suited for the task he had intended so long ago. Luckily, he was now free to take over where they had... failed.
...Keeping his cool while continuing this thought train was proving a lot more difficult than he'd initially thought. However, he was Demise, Demon King and He Who Causes Much Screaming. He could handle his own emotions.
Therefore, Demise returned his attention to the problem at hand. If he wanted to make any progress in his mission to destroy the universe, he had some issues to take care of. Most of them were named Ganondorf. And Demise was about to fix everything they'd ever done wrong.
At their core, the only thing that his Hatred Incarnations really were were pieces of himself, split off and given their own agendas to conquer the world while he was gone. This of course had failed spectacularly (Demise felt his eye twitch at the thought), and so the Demon King was going to take matters into his own hands.
He was going to reabsorb them.
A simple matter, he thought to himself. Wouldn't take more than five minutes at the most.
He reached out into the reality of the Universe and wrapped his hand – or rather, the manifestation of his hand – around the first of his Incarnations, an odd little purple creature who had chosen the designation 'Vaati'. He gave the Incarnation a tug.
Nothing happened. Demise frowned; that was unusual. It felt as though the universe itself was resisting him.
Well, no matter. He was, after all, Demise, Destroyer of Worlds, Burner of Reality, and He Who Made The Honey Badger Feel Fear. The universe was made to bow to his wishes.
With this thought in mind, Demise gave his Incarnation a sharp jerk. The purple creature came free with relative ease and was promptly absorbed. Demise gave a satisfied nod.
Then he noticed the hole.
Sitting in reality where 'Vaati' had been was a hole, utterly black and slowly, inexorably growing. Demise raised an interested eyebrow and stretched a hand towards the object. It was... a void, he realized. Caused by the impossible contradiction of something integral to the very fabric of existence suddenly and violently ceasing to be.
Demise felt a grin grow on his face.
While destroying reality and everything in it had always been his goal in godhood, there were a vast amount of things that always got in the way. Nearly all of them wore green, had pointed ears, and had an infuriating ability to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time with exactly the right set of skills to stop him.
This, however, was a reality-devouring hole powered by a universe-shattering paradox. Demise sincerely doubted something like that could be stopped with a mere metal sword and a green floppy hat.
And if all his Hatred Incarnations produced this kind of response in the Universe…
Demise's former grin turned vicious. In one violent snap on his arm, he ripped every single Hatred Incarnation that had ever existed out of their places in time and sucked them all in, ignoring the tiny insignificant screams of rage and confusion that they made. Just as he'd hoped, the resulting chaos in the fabric of reality tore open multiple other voids, all identical to the first.
The vicious grin turned into equally vicious laughter.
He couldn't wait to see how that so-called 'Hero' tried to deal with this.
Nayru, Keeper of the Triforce of Wisdom, Lady of Knowledge and Watcher of Time, cringed and clutched at her head. Her temporal senses, normally calm (unless the Hero of Time had gotten himself into another paradox again) were suddenly screaming at her that SOMETHING WAS VERY WRONG.
As cringing was not a behavior normally exhibited by Nayru, her two sisters immediately took notice.
"Nayru?" Farore asked. "What's wrong?" As the Keeper of the Triforce of Courage and Lady of Life, she had been designated as the one who usually asked questions, mainly because her sisters had said, 'Courage means being brave enough to ask Hylia if her Hero boyfriend has proposed yet'. Needless to say, that particular question had ended in an all-out prank war which Hylia had managed to win despite being reincarnated as a mortal at the time. And somehow, Farore had never quite managed to lose that reputation of being The One To Ask The Questions.
The green goddess glared up at something above her head and determinedly pulled the plot back on track by anxiously waiting for her sister to respond.
"...Not sure," Nayru managed, cradling her temples in her hands. From what she could tell, there was only the one anomaly and although it was significantly dangerous it wasn't going to be impossible to-
Her thought train was viciously derailed as her temporal senses SHRIEKED and skyrocketed in their insistence that SOMETHING IS NOT VERY WRONG SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY IRREVOCABLY WRONG. Nayru doubled over and all but collapsed to the floor, trying desperately to think past her senses but failing spectacularly.
That was her other sister, Din, the Keeper of the Triforce of Power and Lady of Earth. She was forceful, loud-spoken, and fiercely protective of the things she deemed important. Nayru happened to be one of those things, and Din only wished that the reason Nayru was in pain was a physical being so that she could punch it.
"I'm fine!" Nayru gasped, forcing her senses to calm down. They subsided reluctantly, still insistent on warning her that SOMETHING WAS HORRIBLY WRONG, but as far as Nayru was concerned they could do that quietly.
"I'm fine," she repeated, in a more normal voice. "My temporal sense just went haywire, that's all."
"That's all?" Din repeated, eyebrows raised and voice highly skeptical. "You were on the ground! Writhing!"
"What could possibly make you react like that?" Farore cut in.
Nayru's face twisted. "Something's happened to the timeline. Something big."
There was a moment of silence. Then all three sisters lunged for the portal that led to the universe, as opposed to the primordial space that was what the deities called home. There was a brief moment of shoving before Din, being the strongest, won and peered through the window at their creation.
"We really need to make that thing bigger," Farore muttered. Nayru nodded ruefully in agreement.
A few moments later, Din stepped back, face white, and wordlessly motioned for her sisters to look. Another minute later had all three of them in mute shock, sitting and staring as they processed what they'd seen.
"...That," Nayru said eventually, "is most definitely horribly irrevocably wrong."
"It looks like swiss cheese," Din said. "It's so riddled and mottled..."
"How did this happen?" Farore whispered. "Why didn't we notice?"
"I did," Nayru said, looking rueful. "But since it was very painful I'm not going to gloat about it like I normally would."
Thanks sis," Din said dryly.
"One would have been manageable," Farore mused, getting the conversation back on track. "We could have handled that without worrying about the Interference Laws. But this... there's no way. There's absolutely no way."
"And we all know there's only one person who can cause this type of thing," Nayru said grimly. "I'm going to ignore the fact that we previously thought it impossible on the grounds of his being imprisoned because that line of thought is clearly faulty and instead point out that we don't have the power to match him."
"Hello? Goddess of Power sitting over here? I invented the stuff," Din snorted. "I think we could take Demise no problem."
Farore cleared her throat. "You put the majority of it into the Triforce."
Din paused and scowled darkly. "Why the heck did I think that was a good idea!?"
"Demon War," Nayru coughed.
Din growled and subsided into discontented mutterings.
"We do know someone who's faced him before though," Farore pointed out. "Courage's first aspect did admirably."
"That was before Demise gained millennia more experience and power," Nayru sighed. "Besides that, the first time Demise wasn't fighting at his full strength. He's a god, just like us. He was humoring Courage and purposefully limiting himself to have some fun. He lost because he underestimated Courage the first time, and we all know that won't happen again."
"You need to stop bringing your Wisdom into this," Din grumbled, rejoining the conversation. "It's making me depressed."
Farore frowned as she took that in. "Well... what about all of them?"
Her sisters stared at her.
"...What?" Din asked intelligently. "I could have sworn you just suggested sending all of Courage after Demise, but since I know you're smarter than that I'm going to ask you to repeat that so I can fix my ears."
"No, hear me out," Farore argued. "This is what Courage does. He fights to keep the world safe. Imagine what he could accomplish if all his aspects gathered together to take down their enemy."
"Chaos of a collapsing timeline as the Universe snaps in half due to an irreparable temporal paradox," Nayru said.
"Isn't it already doing that though?" Farore asked slyly.
Nayru opened her mouth, stopped mid-syllable as Farore's words registered in her head, and gave her sister an irate glare.
"She got you," Din teased, giving Nayru an elbow nudge. Nayru swatted her away irritably-but-good-naturedly.
"...You have a point," she grudgingly conceded. "And I guess things can't really get worse from here, as far as breaking the universe goes. But why Courage? Why not Power or Wisdom?"
Din cleared her throat before Farore could answer. "About that... Power's gone."
Her sisters gaped. "How long has that been a thing!?" Farore sputtered. Din grimaced.
"It turns out that most of those holes correspond to where Power is supposed to be. He's not going to be much help, sorry girls."
"Well... Wisdom's still an option."
"She's not a fighter," Farore said. "She's a thinker, a planner. She sets schemes into motion to handle her problems with someone else. I'm not saying she isn't an asset, because she is, and no doubt Hyrule would have been lost dozens of times without her. But Demise won't give her the time she needs to set any kind of plan into action, and he definitely won't give her time to talk. He knows what words can do."
"Whereas Courage will meet him on the battlefield, where hopefully his superior numbers will be enough to equal Demise's superior skill," Nayru finished slowly. "...You're right."
"Where should we start then?" Din asked.
Farore pondered that for a moment, then turned to Nayru and, in an effort to make her sister feel better about the whole mess, asked, "Is there any point on the timeline to have Courage meet himself that will do the least amount of damage?"
Nayru furrowed her brow and consulted her temporal senses. A large majority of them were still screaming about the voids, but she was able to focus enough to get the answer she was looking for.
"Start at the most recent end," she said eventually. "That's got the least amount of damage at this point, so if this whole idea turns out to be a terrible mistake the universe might be stable enough that we can contain it."
"Got it," Farore said, reaching out to her Attribute as she spoke.
Courage was going to be in for his biggest adventure yet.
So... I'm re-editing. Again.
It's occurred to me that, not only is my current quality vastly different from my First-Twenty-Chapters quality, but I've also made some horrendous plot-hole mistakes along the way. Therefore, I'm going to fix it.
Here's hoping I can do a better job this time around.
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