PREVIOUSLY: I mean… at this point, is it really necessary to do a recap?

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter contains references for the newly released BOTW 2 trailer from E3 2019

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Title: It All Must Start With Us
Chapter: Epilogue
Author: Sailor Song
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Deep down, below the surface of Hyrule where only darkness exists, a pair of Hylians with a lumbering beast of burden made their way through ancient Zonai ruins. The only light sources came from a pair of torches as well as a random smattering of luminous stones, which emitted an eerie green light; the only sounds coming from their footsteps that echoed throughout the hollows.

The path was long, but they stopped only for short rests, mostly so that their sumpter animal could get a drink. A horse would have been more preferable to the blue-eyed hero, but the unstable path and the long stretches of dark would have spooked even the tamest mare he owned. Occasionally he would ride atop the mount with his wife, but he felt that his own two feet were more dependable.

Their tunnel opened up, and they found a great chasm, impossible to traverse but for the large, ancient bridge that extended across the spanse. Once he was satisfied that the structure was sound enough to bear their weight, he helped his companion down and the pair began to lead the creature. They were forced to stop midway when they encountered a large crack. Though they had no problem getting across, the beast refused to attempt the short jump, even with them urging it on. With no other choice, they were forced to lead it off the bridge and tie it up loosely so that it could get free if there was a problem.

With only one torch, the other having been left with their creature, the pair continued on. They had no trouble crossing the bridge, and on the other side of the gorge they found an elaborate temple with a single entrance with claw-like structures on either side. After the horrors they had experienced over the past one hundred years, the pair walked through the opening without pause or reservation.

Maybe they should have thought twice about entering the ruins.

As they walked onward, they found the walls were lined with strange markings that seemed to tell a story. As Zelda held up the torch, she let out a gasp in surprise as the scene came into view, causing Link to look in her direction.

"We've seen something like this before," she said breathlessly as she looked in awe at the painting.

They could clearly see an ancient battle centered around a large man on horseback. With long flowing hair and covered in golden adornments, the man seemed intimidating because of the great spear he wielded, raised high with the intent to strike down all those who stood in his way.

One name was on her lips, but she didn't dare speak it aloud.

The followed the painting along until they reached a dead end. Confused, they doubled back and tried to see if there was another route they might have missed, only to be deposited once more in the same dead end.

"Why build all of this, only for a painting?" Zelda asked, making a note in her new research journal.

Why indeed. Link had been through three Zonai labyrinths, and all of them had something more hidden. And all of them had a special puzzle to solve. He looked all around, and finally a glint of gold beneath his feet caught his eye. He kicked at the dirt and found the very symbol he was looking for.

"Zelda, look," he said.

With a nod, she put her torch in a nearby sconce and pulled out a curved musical instrument. "Let's hope my music lessons paid off," she said and began playing a soft melody through the oddly shaped flute. When she finished, the Triforce symbol in the floor began to let of a bright golden glow. It illuminated a hidden pattern in the wall. In the middle of it all, a hole became visible; one that was slim and too big for a key, but the perfect size for…

He removed the Master Sword from its sheath, and ever so gently slid it into the hole. He pushed until he met resistance, but nothing happened. He looked at her confused as she put her hands on his. "Turn," she said, and together, like a key opening a lock, something in the wall clicked.

There was a rumble as the wall began to open, revealing behind it a large, cavernous room. Link sheathed his sword before retrieving the torch, and as they slowly walked inside, their eyes were first drawn to the swirling ribbon of light. As their eyes began to adjust, they could see spikes all around pointing inward towards the center, and beneath the glowing light, what appeared to be Malice excreting from a figure.

"These swirls of light look like they might form letters, Link," she said softly. Zelda stepped forward a little closer than he would have liked, but she stopped just outside the tentacles of Malice.

"Zelda, look," he said, reaching for her shoulder. "The hand."

The ribbon of light was emitting from a ghostly hand, covered in jewelry that was neither Gerudo nor Sheikah. It was of the Zonai Tribe. The hand belonged to a Zonai warrior, and upon closer inspection, they could see that it was clutched around the chest of the mummified remains of the thing the Malice was pouring out of.

"A Gerudo," Link said, recognizing the long, red hair. "I didn't there were males born... It's him, Ganon, his corpse. Stay alert and-"

Suddenly and without warning, the room began to tremble, and before she could even scream, the floor beneath the princess's feet collapsed.

"ZELDA!" he screamed out, dropping the torch and racing to the side of the bottomless hole. He found her struggling to hold on to a ledge. He extended his arm downward, but he was not able to reach her. "Grab my hand! Trust me!"

She nodded, and on his signal, she reached up towards him. Link was able to grab hold of her hand, and was about to tell her he would pull her up when the floor beneath him became unstable and crumbled.

"I love you." Whether he said it or thought it, he wasn't sure because what occurred next happened so fast, he barely had a second to breathe. He felt a jerk as his left arm was grabbed suddenly. Fearing it was the corpse, he was just as shocked to see the glowing green and golden hand wrapped around his wrist. It pulled both Link and Zelda up and deposited them back to the solid ground.

They held each other tightly for only a second before Zelda broke free and grabbed the torch. "The seal is broken. Link…"

The body, now freed from its glowing seal, fell back upon the pedestal. Everything was quiet, oddly still. There seemed to be a slight movement in the corpse's fingers, but no, that could not be right. It had to be a trick of the torch light, or so she thought until the head of the corpse began to tremble. A sickly snap could be heard, as the being looked at Princess Zelda, and within its eye sockets, eyes the color of the blood moon began to burn red, dimming only slightly to become golden, glowing eyeballs.

The Malice then erupted to the ceiling and the room began to shake once more.

"Link, what do we…" Zelda's thought was unfinished as she let out a gasp at the sight of her hero, her husband, engulfed in a green glow. He screamed in pain as his right hand, his sword hand was stripped of glove, of chainmail, of sleeve, of flesh, and she could do nothing to help him. Despite the excruciating agony, he wouldn't let her touch him, fearing whatever was taking over him might spread to her too.

In the corner, a spirit in a white dress stood with arms open as a hero in green garb ran into her waiting embrace. The reunion was only cut short but a sudden gasp from Zelda, who knelt over her fallen hero.

"He wields Farore's power now," the man told her. "Goddess protect them both from what is about to come."

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From the Great Plateau, if you were to stand on Mount Hylia beside the tomb of King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule, you might see a most unsettling sight. The stillness of the wild was broken when, without warning or cause, the castle began to shake.

And then, more unbelievably, Hyrule Castle began to rise up from the ground.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I kind of feel like this all went full circle - the prologue was a direct narrative of the game ending for BOTW, and now the epilogue is my interpretation of the chronological order of the BOTW 2 trailer. I can't believe my luck, and at the same time, I also cannot believe this is over!

I was asked if I plan to write more LoZ stories. Honestly, nothing is planned at the moment, but as new information comes out about the next game, who knows if/when inspiration will strike!