Chapter 17


The Mask Salesman felt the invigorating rush of power. His existence stretched to infinity. Power, wisdom, and courage, all lay before him. There was nothing he could do or see… or change. All he had to do was wait for a reason, someone to ask him to use the great abilities he possessed.

This was his purpose. Everything felt right. He was in total peace.

Suddenly, it was all snatched away. The strange emptiness he thought would be filled tore open, making him more lost then he ever was. Power was taken first. He felt control of himself slipping, as something far stronger tossed him away.

What was happening? The answer started to play in his mind but then Wisdom was taken away, closing away the vast stores of knowledge he once possessed.

He shook in panic. He became vulnerable and afraid as the dark presence swallowed him. No longer streaming into infinite space, he became small and isolated. Huge imaginary chains tore though him, binding him in a mental prison.

He could no longer speak, due to the sheer terror. Death loomed over his eyes, as he shrank away to nothing.

Courage, the most core piece of him, was removed.


The figure stood ominously on the pedestal. His face was concealed behind shadow. Only the eyes penetrated the darkness, with an eerie yellow glow. Its clothes flared in a now dissipating cyclone, still giving of small solitary sparks of magic. The lights within the pyramid had vanished, as if the very power source was used up.

The figure looked down; his yellow eyes momentarily blocked form everyone's sight, as it became lost in concentration. In one second he sharply looked up once more, gesturing for the surrounding lights to come back to a comfortable luminescence.

Link was so lost by what he was seeing; he had actually stopped breathing. The eyes were hypnotising. There was a mixture of power, wisdom, and courage evident in his frame. A complete balance of the forces greeted his senses, as beautiful as anything he could imagine. But there was also something else he could see. Was it really there? Yes. A flicker of a shadow passed, breaking the glamour that had held him. He stopped moving towards it, rethinking.

His two companions were not as lucky. They were still enamoured by the presence and were slowly taking their curious steps forward.

"Stay back" commanded Link; the sound reverberated in the chamber.

They both stopped, reflexively obeying him. They were surprised by how powerful his voice had become in that instant.

Link was also surprised, but all he could do was stare at the thing in front of him. He realised his left fist was clenched and lightly relaxed it. Unnoticed to him, the Triforce on his palm became visible.

The figure continued to watch them, not moving at all.

Slowly, as more light became visible, Link began to see more of this… creature. He couldn't call it anything that tagged it as mortal, despite appearances. It's clothes were a perfect match to the Mask salesman's strange design. It stood straight and regal, with an addition of a purple cloak attached. It carried itself like a king, not the nervous confused or occasionally whimsical nature of the salesman he knew. The shadows still hid its face, like it was a part not manifested fully- or simply did not matter. Link could trace outlines of the three masks on it.

He also knew it was smiling.

"And so I live…" The male voice was neutral, yet hinted a musical tone. It was content to quietly analyse them. Its stare bore into them like daggers. Probing deeper, past their essence and boundaries unknown to them, as if searching for the meaning of their existence.

Link was not undaunted by this. He held his sword ready. It felt tiny in his grown up form, but it will have to do. Despite the comforting blade, he had a feeling it would do little good. The creature seemed to take amusement at being threatened with it.

"A strange weapon," it said while regarding Link. "Tell me, is it the shape you find appealing? Or the gold is has? No, yours is not a soul bent on greed… righteousness; that was a dying breed in my time. This blade… I see… it is a link to where you come from… or where you choose to come from…"

"Mask salesman?" Link ventured hopefully. It sounded like him, but he was suspicious something wasn't right.

The figure didn't respond. It just stood there contemplating.

Link was put off by this inaction. "What's he doing? Navi, what can you get from it?"

Navi strained to understand what she was detecting while Z targeting it. "It is too powerful. I can not get past any of the defences. I think I sense-"

The figure glared venomously at the fairy, showing the white of his teeth in his shadowed face. Instantly, an invisible force threw Navi back.

"Navi!" Link turned to her as she fell to the floor hard several feet away.

"I'm alright," she said floating wobbly in the air back to him.

Link turned back to the dark figure. "Why did you do that!"

"The mask salesman…" The figure responded stepping towards them finally making a move.

"Huh?" he said uncertain.

"Yes… The mask salesman." he repeated, taking another step. "A shadow of promises of existence… of times shared and a never ending tale of nothing. I am the something that counters his nothingness. And I have a divine task to fulfil. Let me see…" his eyes glowed strongly. "Of course none of you are true to yourselves, but I sense one of you is hiding. I must see…"

Link felt himself rooted down and paralysed. The creature floated with guile towards him.

"Hylian. You are true, and yet… conflicted. And I sense something within. Something I can not touch yet." It wondered to Ruto, who was equally frozen. "Zora. Yes. You are equally conflicted. Strange, but you are true. Perhaps… in time."

It floated next to Saria. You!" he glared at her. "You are the one. You are not true in my presence! Rise," the figure turned his palms up gesturing upwards.

Saria strained against the magical field lifting her into the air. "Let me go! Help! Link!"

"Saria!" shouted Link finding enough will power to move. He tried to jump and grab her, failing by an inch. Ruto just stood there, petrified.

An unnatural light began to emanate from the dark robes, as he continued to speak. "I see your true existence buried underneath. Do not fear, for I shall free it for you. From now on, all will be free." His eyes glowed briefly.

Saria felt a numbing cold. Something was wrong. "P-please. Stop. Link-" she wanted to cry out as the numbing pain filled her.

"Stop it!" shouted Link. The Triforce of Courage on his hand glowed in response. Instantly, Saria dropped, falling into his arms.

Emotion cascaded though the shadowy figure. "Hylian! So that is what I sensed … You that would dare use the powers of the goddesses? It is not to be! Not mortals!" He paused slightly, his attention diverted elsewhere. "Who else has dared to use my powers? Zelda… Where is my other? How could you have hidden it?"

Nobody said anything.

"It matters not. Soon, I shall have my powers back. At long last, everyone will be free. The wish will be granted." He was then distracted again. "Strange... what is this feeling? It distracts me. It must be removed..." He floated himself to the top of the pedestal, to where the masks once resided. Then, he sat cross-legged, with his eyes closed in contemplation.


The mask salesman tried to think. Such an act proved extremely difficult in his currant circumstances. It was as if every thought he formed was denied to him. Every trail of an idea was destroyed before completion. Still, a constant trickle of consciousness cascaded. Most were not his own, and yet some were familiar. Now all he could sense was the removal of his will. He tried in vain to collect himself together.

* You are no longer, Mask salesman. *

* Who are you? * He tried to question.

* You should not ask. Surrender yourself to me. *

*But who am I surrendering to? * It was barely a whisper.

* Yourself… *

*Myself? I don't understand. *

*You must surrender for us to be complete. Your doubt is preventing us for the task ahead. *

*The task? What task? *

* The world will be what it truly is. This is our destiny. *

*I don't understand * The salesman tried to think what it meant. In vain, he tried to read the mind of the masks, just as he always had.

* You will understand. Just… let yourself go. *

It didn't feel right. In fact, it felt like… he was dying. He tried to rise against the forces that pushed him into submission. * No! I will not! * He refused to surrender the last of his will. He had to escape.

* Fool! Just accept your fate. I have already all I need from you. You will be destroyed. *


Ruto, finally able to move, felt this was their best chance to escape. The thing that the salesman had become has lost all interest in them. It looked completely insane to her. "He's too powerful. Let's get out of here." She didn't want to know what it could be capable of if they stayed. She eyed it carefully, as it sat there.

Link also thought it best to get some distance while they thought of a plan. "Can you walk Saria?"

"Yes," she said a little shaky standing herself. Something caught her eye. "What is that?"

Around the robed creature came another light. It was a softer shade of blue and teased around like a gaseous entity or… a child. To Link, one thing became certain. It was confused. Looking up, he could see the light trailing away from the creature.

"What do we do?" asked Saria frightened.

*Run* echoed a familiar voice.

The robed creature was still concentrating. "I must purge you completely. I do not understand how you have come to be as strong as you are, but I will. Even now, I summon wisdom… This place is done. My shackles are destroyed."

The whole pyramid started to shake. Giant columns were working like a piston, pushing the structure downwards. They could feel everything fall back into the ground. The entrance they used to reach the inner chambers started to close.

"Let's get out of here!" Link pushed them out into the dark corridor before the chamber sealed. As they ran in the darkness, all the doors began to close within the pyramid.

"Hurry! This way!" said Navi.

Giant slabs of marble were coming out of the walls, impeding their escape. There was no longer any light to guide them, but it was a straight and linear route to the exit. The fairies used the last of their own light to guide them past marble stones that had begun to fall, as the pyramid shook apart.

In the final corridor, Link could see daylight on the last door. But it was already half-closed. In a minute, it would seal them in. He glanced back to see Saria and, trailing even further behind, Ruto. It was going to be very close. "Come on! Faster!"

Using his superior speed, Link made it to the door and brought out the magic boomerang. He jammed it into the marble doors; it held in place firmly. The boomerang started to bend, as the colossal doors continued to close on them. The magic within the enchanted item fought back against the force.

Saria was first though the door. "Come on Link!" she beckoned.

"Where is Ruto! Ruto!" he shouted down the darkness.

"She was right behind me! I'm sure of it."

The magic boomerang started to shimmer red, as the doors began to win against the obstacle. Blackened cracks formed around its surface. There was no way it could hold out for long.

Link turned to the dark passageway. "Go as far away as you can. I'm going after her."

"But Link-"

Link had already dashed back inside.

Saria, heeding Link's words, ran away from the sinking pyramid. She remained close enough to see the door, timing how long it would remain above ground. She guessed there was a little over one minute before the entrance would be gone. "Come on Link…"


"Ruto! Where are you!" Link called for her. Another marble stone fell, grazing his arm like a sharp knife. Still he pressed on in the dark tunnel.

It was Navi that alerted him to the Zora. He found Ruto slumped on the side of the corridor. One of the marble stones had fallen, injuring her left fin and leg. He started to help her up, as more marble fell like a great hailstorm.

"Come on!" he said grabbing her.

"I'm alright," she got up groggily starting her run again, regardless of the pain in her leg.

Together they ran for the exit, just a few metres away. The boomerang still held, but the red colour was now extremely deep. The edges had turned completely black and charred. Slipping pass, Link could feel the heat it generated. As they jumped the last of the steps and to freedom, the magic boomerang exploded in a shower of light. They rolled to the earth, away from the flames.


Zelda got up startled. A terrible feeling had interrupted her rest. Her hand started to itch. She saw the Triforce of wisdom glowing in a yellow light, although she had not called its power.

"What is happening?" she asked herself. Is this a sign? What could it mean? They were meaningless questions. She knew Link had to be in danger again.

As the Triforce symbol formed, her hand started to register pain. That was strange; the Triforce never made her feel pain before. The burning sensation continued deeper, reaching her bones, and spreading though her arm and body.

She felt something pulling against her sprit. "What is happening?" she shouted as she fell in pain. "Link…"

The pain was too much, making her call upon another power. She felt the rabbit mask she had become alive in response to the pain. It's power added to her resistance to stop this invasion, a power she now actually welcomed. Still, it was not much and was a loosing battle.

The Triforce was ripped from her body instantly. The yellow triangle greeted her eyes only for a moment, before speeding at terrific speed through the window and headed to the ocean.


Saria helped Link and Ruto up from the ground. "Are you okay Link?" she asked relieved. She had watched the explosion of the boomerang and was extremely worried if they had not escaped in time.

"We're fine. Thanks," he said grateful for the hand.

"Link- um, thank you for helping me back there," said Ruto. She was very grateful, although she felt bad for putting Link in danger like that. She guessed her adult Zora body seemed to do less well on land then when she was young. Either that or she still needed practice being a grown-up.

"It was nothing," said Link. "Is your leg okay?"

"Yes. It was just grazed. I'll be fine."

The three watched, as the pyramid continued to sink. The landscape seemed to reset back into the timeless state it was, before they walked onto it. The Jungle receded, revealing bear soil. No life was around anymore. Small plants were the only remnants left, but they too were going to disappear.

Time seemed to pass slowly, as they absorbed what had happened.

"What do we do now?" asked Saria.

"I say we get as far away from here as possible," Ruto said simply.

"We can't," said Link.

"Well why in Hyrule not Link! We barely escaped from that. Besides, it got buried inside with everything else, and I say good riddance to it and that demon thing."

Link lifted his left hand, with the Triforce of courage glowing. "It's not over. It's calling me- or the Triforce to itself. We have to defeat it before it gains a piece."

As the tip of the pyramid began to disappear underground, a bluish vapour started to pour out from the top. It was the same light the robed figure had given just before the pyramid fell. Cohesively, it moved in front of the trio and started to take shape.

Link at first thought it might have been another attack, but he didn't feel threatened. His fairy didn't sense danger either, so he remained relaxed.

Saria also didn't feel afraid of it. In a few moments, the gas took on a humanoid shape.

"It's the Mask salesman!" said Ruto recognising him.

The face of the mask salesman started to take form. However, he was extremely transparent. Most of his body simply was not there. He started to speak softly.

"It's my fault. I didn't realise my folly." His face started to sink down, as he gave up on reforming the rest of himself. His eyes were glazed over, like he was in a trance.

"What is it? What is that thing?" said Link. They had to find out as much about this quickly.

"It was me. I was the key. I thought it would be me behind the door. It was only a mirror. And something else was behind the mirror. How could this have happened? I- I was separated for too long. It is alive now, and I am not. Never was. Tricked by myself. Why?"

Link was becoming angry at his ramblings. "Make sense! We need to know how to fight it."

"Fight it? There is no point. I see it now. All of it was a trick. I am gone forever… I only wanted to spread… happiness..." The ghostly hands covered his face.

"But what is it? What did it try to do to me?" said Saria. She shivered, as the coldness of the spell still lingered inside.

The mask salesman stared at her in an expression of guilt. "All my fault. Saria- you- that thing, it was me. A part me, taken on a life of it's own. I was scattered. Power, wisdom and courage. Majora, sam'kemesa, and the fierce deity, the voice of the Triforce. The three masks are now one, releasing me- it."

"But what is it?" repeated Link.

"Something born of the masks… I have a part of its- our memory. The wish, that made us separate. No wish is allowed to affect the Triforce itself, for it is a holy symbol. We were a part of the Triforce; something lost aeons ago. But I remained. I was the template for the pieces. Empty, devoid, non-existent. At least I was, once. It was my instinct to search for myself. I thought I was supposed to be real, not- my other. I guess it really was… just another mask. And I didn't know… The mask Salesman; could not see my own mask for what it was…"

"Try to think," said Link hurriedly. "What was the wish? Can your remember? What does it want to do?"

"Something… the power of the Triforce… It doesn't matter. Too long has passed since then. The seed of an evil wish has blossomed in the isolation, turning it mad. The madness will consume all. It is a mirror of the heart and mind of the wisher, turned evil. Much like a shadow… I… must be a product of the madness. One can not create a mask of such power without creating a specific wearer somewhere… It nearly consumed me completely. It has even less purpose then I did." The salesman closed his eyes. "And I have no purpose anymore… Now it calls for the Triforce..."

Link felt the pain in his hand grow. The Triforce of courage felt like it was being ripped out of his soul and spirit. Link fought it with everything he had.

"Once it has Power, it will be unstoppable… I sense its madness. Its desires…" The salesman visibly started to shake as said this.

"Link! The Triforce of power is behind the barrier of the sages!" realised Saria. "There is no way it can call it here."

"There is no barrier to stop it. It will break though… in time." The salesman's face became even more ghostly. "Remember, I gave masks to your counterparts… it will use this to weaken the sages guarding the seal. Masks give it strength over the bearer… Don't use a mask! Not now…" He started to fade. It looked like it took all his power for what little remained of him to exist. "Be true to yourself… The only weakness… it doesn't have any of the Triforce… yet…"

"Link! Look!" Ruto pointed. Up in the air, they saw one of the Triforce pieces. It stood there high in the sky. It twinkled like a waiting star.

"Wisdom. Zelda…" the salesman trailed away, feeling self-defeated. "It's over. One-third the power…"

The robed figure instantly appeared where the Triforce had appeared. Holding out his hand, the triangle disappeared and reappeared on the palm with a yellow glow. He glanced down to see the group smiling, as it floated to them.

Now Link could see more of the face. However, it was not what he expected. The creature had a vague resemblance to the mask salesman, with pieces of the three masks as well. Now though, he could swear its face was modelled from Zelda's face. The creature either didn't know this or didn't care.

Link had his sword ready once more.

"You are Link," its voice had even changed. It sounded like Zelda's voice along with the salesman's. "With wisdom comes courage… Come to me."

"Leave Link alone!" shouted Saria. She brought out a deku nut, the only weapon on hand to her, and threw it. The nut bounced harmlessly off a shield, with a small spark.

"Saria…" it said remembering her. "I now know all about you… I have wisdom. I lack power, but I will still try. Untrue being, become free!" he held out his hand, with the Triforce glowing.

Saria again felt the coldness envelope her. She felt like her body was like an eggshell being shattered. Cracks formed in her very being as if she were nothing but a crystal.

"No you don't!" Link brought out the Kokiri sword, giving a swipe. The shield around the being came back into power, completely blocking any of Link's blows.

"No mortal weapon can harm the bearer of the Triforce," it stated. "She will be the first of many." He continued the spell.

Saria screamed in pain, as the powers ripped through her. Link continued to slash regardless of the shield. The Triforce of courage on his hand glowed onto the hilt, turning the blade into a yellow light. Somehow it cut though the shield, nicking the being's tunic.

The creature stepped back in shock at the contact of steel. "So you still try… But you still know nothing. You can not use its power against me. Courage is mine… as it is meant to be. I call it to me…"

Link began to feel the Triforce slip away. He fought against the cold spirit hands reaching deep into his soul, but they were too strong for him.

"This was _not_ meant to be," The real mask salesman asserted, although his voice was small and unsure. He came in between, lessening the strain on Link as he absorbed the power into himself. His ghostly form gained new sustenance. "_I_ am the true power of the Triforce… Not you… What are you?"

The figure looked at the mask salesman strangely. "How could you still be here, non-being? The triforce was never meant for a shadow. You compare yourself to me? You interfere. Be gone."

"I will not go! You were the one… all those times… it was all you. I don't know what you are. But what of the other salesman? I have met others like me. Lost in search for something…"

"Others?" The creature laughed. "You are the nexus of them all. They are the same pieces of you. No, only you were as close to real as one can be in your state."

"Please… Let me understand… I wish to share the wisdom…"

"Non-being, fade away from me," he commanded again. "I call the power of the Triforce to rid me of this shadow. Be gone!"

The ghostly mask salesman still approached, even as the yellow light engulfed him. He disappeared like a wave in a puddle. * I'm sorry… *

"Mask salesman!" shouted Link as he vanished to nothing. "What have you done!"

The figure sighed. "Finally. He is gone. Now, Triforce of Courage… join with me."

The Triforce shed away from Link as easily as clothing. The Triforce of courage flew into the creature's palm instantly. As it did the face changed once more, taking on some of Link's features. Great confidence radiated from his expression.

"Courage is a part of me. Only one remains…"

"No…" Link whispered, feeling weakened by the loss of the Triforce. His only advantage was gone. The grip on his sword loosened. He stumbled and lost his balance. As he fell, Saria caught him.

"Help me with him Ruto," she said.

The figure watched them. "Now to test these new powers. I sense great potential in both of you… let me see-" it smiled as new ideas came. Great possibilities were within his grasp.

* Stop this madness! *

Saria and Ruto saw the creature pause in mid step as they heard the voice of the salesman emanate. It seemed to sound from everywhere.

The mask creature started to snarl as he tried to move against the paralysis. "It is not possible! You are gone from this world! Where are you? You can not protect them…"

*But… They are my customers… A salesman must help his customers…* the voice trailed, although the source still could not be pin pointed.

"So, you still hide behind the mask of a salesman..." the creature said feeling more sure of himself. "Is that how you continue to live?"
* It is not a mask… It is… who I am. *

Very well," the entity conceded. "Use the last of your existence and doom yourself forever… I have time."

*All of you. Run… I must understand… *

"Link! Wake up!" screamed Ruto.

In actual fact, Link was completely awake. He was concentrating with ferocity of nature. "Come around me" He said. He started to murmur words too difficult to understand to repeat.

"What are you saying Link?" said Saria.

Link continued to murmur, opening his eyes. Suddenly, they were all engulfed in a green light. Link stood up and with as much composure as he could, completed the spell. "Farore's wind!"

The three disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.


The shadowy figure had not reacted when they disappeared. He had done what he wanted to do… for now. He felt the last remaining tendrils of the mask salesman vanish. Once again, he was free. This time he knew, he would not be bothered again. "No escape… Saria… for you, it has already started… The first of many… I sense a world of people… all the same. I will know the absolute truth soon."


"It's True! The Triforce has been taken!" said Zelda. She had explained everything to Impa, who had told the King, who then, had to seek Shusar. Now they were all gathered together in the wizard's sanctum.

"Why did you not say you had its power within you?" said Impa. "You should not have kept it secret."

"Would you have believed me?"

"I… might have."

"I don't know if I would before all this," said the wizard honestly. "But right now, I believe her. I'll believe anything at this point. Still, the loss of the Triforce concerns me. That it was ripped from an avatar, I don't know what it could mean." That was when he saw it. The green orb Link had cast in the lab flared brightly. "Strange, I haven't seen it do that before" he commented as it flared even brighter.

"What is it doing?" said the King.

"Perhaps our friends are returning." He just realised they would need a lot of room to make their appearance. "Get back! All of you!" They all scrambled away from orb of Farrore's wind.

The green light flared a third time and exploded releasing Link, Saria, and Ruto from it. They fell to the floor in a giant heap. Link, having used everything he had in warping them such a distance collapsed from exhaustion. His brow was thick with perspiration from enacting the spell.

"We made it!" said Saria happily getting up. "Link?"

Shusar stepped towards them. "Lie down boy," he said, not realising how old Link was just now. He recognised Link had depleted his magic to an incredibly low level, taking some of his life force with him. It happened to magic users only occasionally and could be fatal if gone too far. He brought out a bottle of blue medicine.

Link sipped the vile slowly at first, becoming more like his old self. "Thank you. Ill be fine now." He got up slowly as he recovered.

"That was a bumpy ride Link," said Ruto jokingly. She was glad to be back. "Perhaps a bit of warning would be nice next time."

"What happened?" asked the King. How is it you… are all older?" The King was shocked. How long had they been gone?

"Are we?" commented Ruto. "Oh yes, I forgot about that. Yeah, we got older while there" she said casually.

"It would seem they have spent longer away from us then we could imagine," guessed Impa.

"Perhaps," said Shusar, although he felt there was more to this than met the eye.

Zelda actually had to look up to see the eyes of Link and his friends. It was really weird. Only a few weeks ago, they were the same height. She actually felt a twinge of jealousy. The rabbit mask wanted her to jump up to meet him heads on, but she didn't let it.

"Did you get the mask?" said the King hurriedly.

"There was trouble," said Saria.

"What happened? How is it you have aged so?" asked the wizard.

"A time trap on the island," said Link. "But that doesn't matter. Something has happened to the masks."

"That's an understatement," said Ruto. "Those three masks somehow became one! The Mask salesman turned into this… thing. But then he got out. But the thing is still around-"

"What thing? Which masks?" interrupted Zelda. None of what Ruto said made sense.

"The three masks somehow fused. It was powerful. Very powerful," said Link. "That's why I had to warp us away. There was no way we could fight it."

"Perhaps we should discuss this in the conference room," suggested Shusar. "I fear my laboratory is not as spacious for as big a group as this."

They all laughed at this. It was a bit cramped Even Link gave a short smile feeling a little better despite the gravity of the situation.

"Very well," said the King.


Wisdom had shown it much. It started to understand more about the world and about it's own consciousness. It was a strange feeling, to become suddenly aware of oneself… to be born. He had yet to decide on a name. The truth was, he had no name. But the mask salesman did.

He wondered, just how could he have the gall to decide for himself an existence? He was never meant to be anything more then the empty space for 'him' to fill; a simple shadow of his own potential. It was as if he filled himself with what he desired on his own, and took on the form of a mask salesman by choice.

"The salesman is not a he!" he chided himself. It is nothing more then an 'it'. In fact, it is not supposed to exist! Only he was.

"Still, he had a name. But that alone does not grant existence," he mused. Or did it? He yearned for a name of his own. Thanks to the wisdom mask and Triforce, he knew every name in existence. Still, none of them were… him.

He once had a name, but it was lost when the masks split with the Triforce. He realised technically his own name was a mixture of the three masks. But he couldn't think of any way to refer to himself with that in mind.

Wisdom still had more to show. However, there was a limit. He did not have… understanding. Courage showed it understanding, but it was a slower process. Especially without power to aid it. Difficult question brought difficult answers.

"Show me where Power is," he said. That question brought illusive answers. For some reason, the answers were coming from courage, not wisdom. He tried to understand as a flicker of images came.

In this world but not of this world… a passageway… a temple… a sword… a battle… a fairy… a window… a king… The sages were the key. He had known this from the beginning. Past their seal was the one place he could not sense in his prison.

"Where is the seal they guard?" The answer came for this simple question.

He now knew where to go.


In the conference room, Link slowly began to explain, with the help of Saria and Ruto. They had previously drunk the water provided and ate as well. It had been a while since they had this. The last time they had anything was on the ship before the storm destroyed their provisions.

"So, the power of Majora, the wisdom of Sam'kemesa, and the courage of the fierce deity." summarised the princess.

"And evil." added Saria.

"Evil?" said Shusar raising an eyebrow.

"I saw it. I know you saw it too, Link. The darkness it possessed was terrible."

"We will raise the army of the alliance against this foe," said the King. "I'm sure even the Gerudo will help and even the Gorons!"

"You can be sure we Zora will help to," said Ruto.

"It won't work," said Link at the thought of warfare. "This thing is not mortal. It is like the energy of the Triforce. Even the Triforce can not destroy it, only imprison it at best. We don't have any pieces to make a wish either."

"Just what does it want from us?" said Ruto.

"It's after the Triforce itself," thought Link. "Also it doesn't look like it needs to go look for them. It can summon the pieces from anywhere he is. Except maybe the Triforce of power…"

"But there has to be a way," thought Ruto

Link could only think of one. "There is one chance. Maybe the master sword… I need to go to the Temple of Time right away!" Without further comment, Link ran out, followed closely by Saria and Ruto.

"Wait!" Zelda shouted. "How will you open the door Link? The keys are scattered!"


Link did not hear her as he ran down the stairs and into the courtyard. Guards were around in numbers, right up to the gate. They paid Link and the others no heed, since they were concerned only with throwing people out.

Sunset had long past, and the market place was deserted. Oddly there were no dogs around. The three looked up at the sky. It was a cloudless night, yet the stars and even the moon was fading. A great darkness filled the air.

"What's happening?" said Saria.

"I don't know. I think we are almost out of time," said Link.

They continued, where the Temple of Time was. One of the most important places in Hyrule, yet quite viewable for all to see. Just as Link started past the market well and into the temple's gate.

* Link…. *

Link spun around. A gaseous cloud emanated from the window of the Mask salesman's shop. It glittered before his eyes only slightly before disappearing.

"Did you see that?" he asked his friends.

"See what?" said Ruto.

"I didn't see anything," said Saria.

"I sense nothing…" said Navi.

Link didn't know what it was the called him to the shop now. He decided to follow his instincts. "There's something there, I know it." He walked towards the shop instead.

"But we've been there already!" said a despairing Ruto as she followed.


The happy mask sales shop was just as Link saw it before. Dust and cobwebs were everywhere. He walked to the empty counter not certain at what he was looking for.

"Mask salesman?" he asked.

It was took time before a reply was made.

* Yes Link, mostly. * A blue ghostly apparition was before them. It had no substance or form anymore. *

* What has happened to you? * Ruto said concerned.

*I feel so lost… but here I am fine. This was the center of my existence. I could only come here. I can not help you, but I feel… sorry… I have doomed this world. I think I understand its purpose now. I have read much in our minds… he does not follow the rules I have set for myself in this shop… he knows no bounds… *

Saria started to feel dizzy. They all felt a tiny tremor run though the ground at the same time.

"Are you okay?" Ruto asked her as she started to glaze over.

"Y-Yes," she said weekly. The strange feeling subsided. "I think that thing took a lot out of me when it attacked." The cold sensation of the spell trickled inside her.

The salesman looked at her only slightly in concern, but focusing only on getting his message across. * The masks are the lock, I was the key. When I journeyed as far as I did, I always saw masks. Almost everyone I saw wore a mask, not always a physical one. I think I now understand… Link, it will 'change' people, to match what is in their hearts and minds. *

"Change them? What do you mean?"

* Remove the masks from everyone. First all the ones I gave then, the ones people wear everyday. Not… happy… sheer madness… *

"But-" Saria tried to comprehend this. "How will it decide? People are complicated. You can't just wave a wand and do this!"

* Consider the darkness everyone carries to some degrees. Some carry the hearts of demons. It will take form in these people more then others. * He stared at Ruto.

"Now wait a minute," The Zora said getting angry. "I am _not_ evil! Never was!"

"What can we do?" said Link desperately.

*I… don't know. Hyrule will be turned into a dark world soon… *

The Hylian widened his eyes at the thought of losing. "We are not going to be defeated yet! He must have some weakness. He was sealed and removed before from the Triforce. Can't we do it again?"

*That was his- perhaps _our_ creation. We can not simply 'create' it again. Besides, is your heart dark enough to make an evil wish, strong enough to shatter the symbol? More evil then the wish that started this? Would you want to? *

"Okay," thought Saria, realising that was not going to work. "Can't we… just defeat him? We can get the master sword." She hated seeing destruction, but this thing terrified her.

* Defeat… the Triforce… If only... I don't know if even the master sword can do that. *

"What about you?" said Ruto. "We saw you. You stopped him for a little while. Can you do something?"

* Ruto… I wish I could. I am not complete, even in this place. It has taken from me all that I am. All I could be…. *

Link tried to think. "This can't be real," he said as he planned his action. Unfortunately, he knew full well the damage and power a corrupted Triforce wish can bring. Any solution is self-defeating, when dealing with an ultimate power such as the Triforce.

* Real… Reality is what this is all about. My reality outside this shop is over. It's is just beginning. It will wash this land with what it believes the world should be, a true reflection of everyone's mind. Hylians are not ready for such a world… *

"Sounds like he and Gannondorf would become good friends," Ruto thought sarcastically. She would do anything to deal with him instead.

"Gannondorf…" Link repeated what she said, thinking about the Triforce of power the Dark King carried. There is no way to reach the sacred realm anymore, especially now that the seal was in place. "Can we trap it in the sacred realm?" he thought aloud.

The salesman started to think. It was something he never considered. * Possibly… *

"How can we do that?" asked Saria.

"Do you know of a way mask salesman?" asked Link.

* I- I'm not sure, * The salesman sighed in defeat. * It doesn't matter anymore. *

"Yes it does!" Link interjected. " _You _ made the mistake, so _you_ will be the one to fix it! Now tell me, how do we trap it in the sacred realm!"

* I lack the power to stop him now… I am no longer living… even less then when I started this. Perhaps I am as evil as that thing. I can not remove its powers; it removes mine. I lack… existence. *

"You listen to me," Link started to lose his temper. "You said that thing used you for his own ends. If you can think of any way, anything at all to stop it, we have to know!"

* There is great risk… *

"I don't care! Tell us."

* I must… concentrate. There is something I did it wouldn't know. Perhaps… it can be used… * The gaseous mask salesman started to focus on one spot. As it did, another mask started to come into view. It shimmered itself, and floated to Link's hands.

* Remember Gannondorf… *

With that, the last remains of the Mask salesman vanished. His last words echoed across the empty shop, leaving a subtle vacuum in his wake. It was no longer a mask shop. It was just a shop without an owner.

Link's hands clasped themselves around the last item he would get from the salesman.

"What mask is it Link?" asked Saria.

"It's… the mask of… Dark Link."

"Dark Link?" questioned Ruto. "Who's Dark Link?"

"An evil shadow," he explained. "It is- was something created by Ganondorf. It was a powerful being but lacked its own substance. I don't understand how a mask would have come from it at all. From what I know, Dark Link should not have a mask."

"What in the world would we use that for!"

Link looked at the mirrored face of his darker self and wondered. Dark Link, Gannondorf, this Triforce entity or what ever it is. How could he use this mask as a weapon?

"Be careful Link," said Saria as she saw the mask glint in the shadow. "I sense evil behind it."

"I know," Link said feeling it. He knew he shouldn't wear it. That was not the answer. Besides, he somehow knew it wasn't a transformation mask… it had to have another power, a reflection of Dark Link. So what would be reflected in that shadow? Then, he smiled as realisation dawned on him.

"We have a chance," he said holding the mask with great care.

"You have a plan?" said Ruto.

"Perhaps," he said. "This mask and Gannondorf… if the sages can drop the barrier at the right moment-"

"Gannondorf," said Saria as if reading his mind. "Yes. I think I understand."

Before Link could explain though, the ground started to tremor.


They ran outside into the market place. They could see the Temple of Time being shaken up.
Link heard a faint telepathic message.

* Link this is Rauru. Someone is trying to break though the barrier of the sages! *

"Oh no. It's here already!" he said. "We have to get in the temple."

"Wait Link," said Saria as she stumbled. "I- I feel-" she couldn't continue as her body felt like it was on fire. Suddenly, she felt a great weight press on her. She began to feel light-headed, as a green light coalesced around her body. She felt something on her face.

The Hylian mask.

"No." She had forgotten she was wearing the mask, the only reason she was able to leave the forest. Everything started to spin around.

"Saria!" Link shouted seeing her collapse and in pain.

The mask fell off silently, with whitened cracks forming all around. It shattered, the pieces falling on the ground. She became smaller, younger. Her entire body was going back to her Kokiri state. * No! I don't want to- don't want to go back like this-" She closed her eyes, wishing it were not so.

When she opened them, she saw Link standing over her with a concerned look on his face. She also felt a strange suffocation around her, and couldn't breathe properly. "Link…"

"Saria… are you ok?"

She tried to get up. She could see now just how small she was relative to Link. She was a child again, while Link was all grown up. A strange déjà vu sensation passed though her. "I'm a Kokiri again." As she said it, she felt that suffocating feeling intensify. She couldn't stand anymore, and started to drift down again.

Link tried to find the pieces of the mask, but they were too numerous. He then tried to place another mask on her, anything else, but none of them were working on her either. She was completely locked in her present form.

Saria's true Kokiri self began to feel cold. She knew no fire or warmth could get rid of the coldness, not for this sickness. Still, the warm feelings from Link comforted her far more then any fire could.

Link knew only one thing will make her better, and made his choice. "Come on, I'm taking you back to the woods." He picked her up ready to carry her.

Saria coughed, trying to get some air. "No Link. I know your plan. You have to do it now while he is here…"

"I can't! Saria you are more important to me."

"Please Link… I hear the voice of the sages… they are ready. Go, take the Master sword…"

Ruto came into this. "I'll take her back, Link. You get rid of this thing." She picked up the young girl from him.

"Wait a second," said Saria. She reached Link, and gave a kiss on his cheek. "Good luck."

"Thank you," he whispered. He played Epona's song, to summon his horse. "Epona will be waiting outside the bridge. She'll know what to do. Go take her back. I'm counting on you Ruto."

"I won't let you down," she vowed as she got going at top speed.

As Saria became unconscious, only one thought continued to play. She prayed for Link's safety, and for him to come home soon.


Link watched them go for a brief moment, feeling somehow more… empty. He had become used to the presence of his friends. The ground shook again.

His emotions steadied. Now was the time for a final confrontation, and he had to face it alone. He resigned himself to this final encounter in the temple of Time. Still… worries of Saria made him hesitate. He trusted Ruto to get there as fast as possible. But what if she didn't make it in time? If only he remembered the warp songs! But those memories were taken away long ago.

All these thoughts ended the moment he entered the Temple of Time.

The interior lacked the calm divine feelings he normally associated within the temple. The doors of Time were already open. He could see they were forced magically by the cracked stones. Navi alerted him also to the vestigial magic left behind.

He glanced upwards of the destroyed doors. The normally yellow Triforce symbol on the top was a dark black. It hurt his eyes to look at it.

Powerful emanations were forcing him back as he pressed on towards the doors. He walked pass the pedestal, now mostly destroyed as well. He made his way though the doors.

Link slowly walked up the stairs, seeing the great pedestal with the true treasure of the Temple of time. There, resting, was the master sword, just as he had left it. However, the Triforce Entity was already at the top, studying the hilt.

The creature tried to touch the mystical sword, but was only greeted by a powerful spark. For the first time, it looked at Link. "This is the place," he gestured around. "My power resides here, doesn't it? How do I pull it out? This sword is part of the seal, yet I do not sense the sage."

"Triforce creature," started Link. "Or what ever it is you are, you can not go pass here."

The creature didn't seem bothered by Link's presence although he did hint some surprise. "There is more to you then I thought. A mortal passed though the Infinite Sea as fast as I? That is very interesting… And you speak with courage, as if you still wore my symbol. Tell me, true being behind the Fierce Deity, how to pass though the passage? This sword must be pulled, is that right?

"I can't do that," said Link.

"A _lot_ of courage," the creature nodded. And heart. My powers are still in their infancy, but I can see the truth of all your feelings. Especially for… that one. Saria…"

"What did you do to her?" he said as thoughts of her once again poured in.

"She is my guide to the seals. Using her as my path, I freed her from the masks. Everyone wears a mask, and I will free them all. It is what I do."

"Please… let Saria live" Link pleaded. He didn't know how long she would live, or if Ruto can make the journey back fast enough.

"You… care for her, don't you... I can not help you. She is what she is." The figure stopped concentrating on the sword." It doesn't matter. I will summon the Triforce of Power from here. It will find its way to me."

The Temple of Time started to rumble. Just then, Link was interrupted by another telepathic message.

** Link! This is Raruru. Something is trying to penetrate though the seal! The seal is weakening! **

"The sages!" Link said his eyes widening. "Stop it! You don't know what you are doing!"

"Triforce of power come to me!" The creature laughed.

Link quickly brought out a light arrow and hit it dead on the Triforce creature. It was so surprised at the attack that it fell back.

"How dare you!" it screamed.

Before it could react again, Link rushed forward. This was his only chance. He placed his hands on the hilt of the master sword. Lights started to flare in response as the passageway though time opened.

The creature looked around at the glowing lights, and looked upwards. He could almost see the final triforce heeding his call. "Yes…this is it! Come to me! No… what is this!" he found himself paralysed and unable to move.

** We are the sages of the Sacred realm ** echoed the voice of six beings. ** This is not your place. You are bound forever. **

The creature tried to laugh at the thought. "I have two of the pieces of the Triforce. No sage can stop me! I sense your barrier weakening as you imprison me… the triforce of power will find its way to me and I shall be complete!"

* Do it now Link, * said Saria's voice quietly.

"Saria?" he said.

* We can not hold him for long. Do it now... *

Link wasted no time in this distraction. He brought out the mask of dark Link and quickly ran in front of the being. With all his might, he thrust it into its face.

This was the last thing the creature expected. The mask seemed to dissolve into him and disappear.

The temple of Time began disappear as well around them.

They were flung though time and space.


Ruto had placed Saria on Epona. Unfortunately, due to her adult Zora stature, she could not ride on the horse as well. Still, with the help of the horse, they were cutting though the path in record time.

"Come on Saria, just a little bit longer. We'll be in the forest soon…"

The kokiri started to cough again as her breathing became more laboured in the steady gallop. "Link… do it now…" she whispered. The cold night was eating into her. She felt herself get weaker and weaker. Her fairy was always close to her, easing the pain.

"Come on!" Ruto screamed mostly at herself. She was the one slowing the group done. "If only I was young again!"


Link and the being were in the place between the sacred realm and Hyrule. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Streams of water flew from the voids above, only to fall to the void below. It was an endless cycle. Around were the six figures of the sages, standing on the six representations of the Talismans. They were like statues, glowing their respective colours. The minds of each were in harmony., sharing the responsibility of strengthening the seal.

Link stood in the centre of the circle along with the triforce entity. His opponent was still reeling from being forced a mask upon his face. Link watched him calmly and impassively. He knew that right now, he was the one in control.

"What have you done to me!" shouted the Triforce creature. It had not change much, although there was an odd quality to the face now. The darkness was there for all to see, no longer under the glamour that was there before.

"I have learned much from the Mask Salesman," said Link as he viewed him.

"You think that by forcing on me a mask you can defeat me?" The creature said unimpressed. "Fool! I can take it off as easily as I took it off Saria."

"Try," Link said confidently. This was it.

The creature tried to pull of the mask of Dark Link. However, the mask was impossible to remove. It was binded to his soul. Almost as if- No. That was impossible! "You… You have sealed it! How can this be? You know nothing of these powers."

Link breathed a short sigh of relief. "I have not sealed it," he explained. "The Mask Salesman has shown me something. When dealing with masks, you must be able to tell the difference between a false mask and the truth. You were not true to yourself either. The darkness within you has embraced the mask as itself. It would be a mask to anyone, except you. You see, that mask- it really is… you."

"You think so?" smiled the creature. It wasn't going to be that easy. "The Triforce is who I am, and I shall prove it. I summon power!"

The sacred realm shook. The triforce of power suddenly appeared, ripped though the air. It instantly appeared on the palm of the figure. "And now, I will rid myself of my own mask by wishing it."

Link calmly shook his head. "No, you can't."

"W-What…" the creature trailed as an unfamiliar sensation crawled upon him. He was on fire. His body contorted and twisted beyond all recognition.

Except to Link.

"I noticed," explained Link. "Every time you took a Triforce, you took the form of those who last carried it. The last person who carried the triforce of Power was Gannondorf." He approached it clutching the master sword at the hilt. The creature averted his eyes from the glowing blade, unable to look into its light.
"You now carry the mask of Dark Link. He was created from my shadow, but he has Gannondorf's substance! That is what the mask represents, a link to the Gerudo King. Your master now!"

The creature snarled as he became more like the Evil King. Strange thoughts began to form in his mind. "W-what is happening?…"

"You are now Gannondorf's shadow, " said Link. "His wishes are the ones in play for the Triforce. What is left of you is nothing, and I can now fight you. Sages! Now!"

The power of the sages started to glow. Instantly, a portal opened. This was the hardest part. Link had to force it though with the master sword. However, by giving it the mask of Dark Link, it has powers and knowledge of all his moves and was his equal in terms of skill.

The creature tried to enact the complete triforce, but could not. To the triforce, he was a shadow of a greater being and was not real enough to make a wish.

"Very well," said the Triforce being; now the Shadow of Gannondorf said. "I will kill you first!"

And so they fought.


The Mask Salesman, or the echo of him, stood alone in his shop. Quietly, he went to the back stores. He viewed the empty shelves with ghostly eyes, which were forever invisible to the rest of the world.

He cried.

A single tear at first, but a constant stream later on.

He could not talk, but at least he could think now. He had all the time in the universe to think.

Happiness was all he wanted… he loved making people happy with my masks… but that was denied now. And now, he will go soon.

He wanted to stay.

He used a tiny fraction of his powers left to try and feel for Saria's life force. He was extremely worried when he couldn't find it. Then again, he could barely detect anyone in Hyrule. He looked though his window.

Sunrise was starting. At least, he hoped it would soon. It all depended on if Link was successful. Link had to risk all on this and gave the three Triforce pieces to it. As long as it was in the sacred realm, no wish will affect Hyrule or Link… but Gannondorf will have it, even if they won.

He felt a pain rip though him. Link was fighting his other. As soon as the skilled Hylian disposed of it, he knew his existence would be finished. Their fates were locked together. He could see the light emanating from the Temple of Time, like a brilliant firework display. Every slash Link made with his sword in the Realm between worlds as he fought his foe was having consequences here in Hyrule.

Magic was flying everywhere, like great comets across the land.

He hoped the magic would be contained in the Temple of Time. He lacked the power to help anybody at all now, even if it was Mask Magic. As if to dent his optimism, a huge flash lit the sky, as more magic flew to the heavens, only to crash elsewhere. It infuriated him that he could not tell exactly where.

It wasn't a bad go at living, he thought. He collected some wonderful masks. Yes, he could be happy about that. He wasn't sure, but maybe… he had friends too.

A glimmer of sunrise was starting.

He felt the happiness Link generated with all the masks he gave and traded. It was this, which gave him sustenance most of all. He helped Link accomplish this at the very beginning. Such happiness would not have happened if he didn't start it with the young boy.

Perhaps… it wasn't too late… to live.


The fighting was fierce. As Link realised, it had every skill he had and more. It was locked in a misshapen mass of Gannondorf. Link carried the fight truly, reacting in split seconds at every change he could.

A tough as the fight was, Link held his ground.

Every slash was countered. The thing mirrored his every move. It was a lot smarter then Dark Link, and used powers Link had no idea how to counter. Still, the mask of Dark Link prevented him from using the power of the Triforce to it's full potential.

"I sense Saria is no more," it said smiling at him breaking another swipe of the master sword.

"You're lying!" Link said angrily, letting the enemies blade come too close for comfort.

"She will die. But I have the Triforce. I can undo it…"

Link momentarily paused, as they fought to a standstill. Steel met steel, and he came close to his face.

"Yes…" The triforce creature smiled. It locked it's eyes to the Hylian, not letting him blink away. "I will let you wish this… just let me back to Hyrule…"

"Never!" he screamed pressing on his attack. He then back stepped and brought out a light arrow, quickly hitting it square on the chest.

The thing writhed in agony at the magic light.

With one mighty swipe, Link pushed it into the brink of the portal.

"No!" The creature felt its will slipping into the vortex. Gannondorf on the other side was taking control of his shadow.


"I will not relent to you!"

Link charged and hit it with the sword again. This time, the being fell though the vortex.

"Curse you!" It shouted as it fell though. "But remember, the wish will be granted wherever I go. You may save Hyrule, but another world will be changed!"

Link fell as exhaustion took him over.

The sages began to close the barrier. Link thought he could hear them whisper thanks to him. His weary body regained health, as the trial became over. His vision started to gut blurry as he flew once more though time and space.


Slowly, the Temple of Time became visible. The master sword glinted, as it rested once again in the pedestal. The sacred realm became like a dream to him sealed hopefully forever.

"We did it," said Link.

Navi floated towards him, showering a comforting light. "Yes Link," she said happily.

Link remembered Saria. Hopefully, he played their song. He never felt like this in his life. He waited anxiously for a response.

* Link… *

* Saria you're ok!*

* No Link… I'm sorry… I love you… *

* Wait! Saria are you still there? *

* Good… bye *

Link felt his heart in his throat.

He was already pass the drawbridge and heading for the forest, as sunrise started.


Ruto took Saria off the Horse.

She raced into the tunnel of the Kokiri village, holding the young girl in her arms. The Zora realised that she was no longer breathing.

"Come on girl!" she said. "You're in the forest now! You're going to be okay!"

Saria started to go blue from sickness.

"What's wrong! Please…" she whispered. She promised Link she would be okay. She promised! "You've got to be ok! What do I do? Do I go into the village?"

Saria's fairy buzzed around her. "You can't. The forest will stop you and her. If she doesn't wake here, she won't be safe inside either."

The Zora became frustrated. She tried to wake the Kokiri girl.


The salesman was slipping. The remnants of his shop could no longer sustain his form. He knew the world was not for him. He could not be completely a part of it. Yet, he did share something in it. He wanted to fight back, to become that what he was.

"You are the mask salesman," he said to himself. "That is who I am. I choose to _be_ the mask salesman."

He saw three points of light pass. He witnessed his other vanishing into another world, where Gannondorf resided. He also saw the two dark beings fuse. A mighty explosion erupted though the fusion, as a wish on the Triforce was granted. Gannondorf was ruler of a world, where the hearts and mind of oneself is reflected.

Gannondorf had the Triforce now. A problem, to be fixed later perhaps.

He felt saddened. They had basically given the Triforce to Gannondorf. Still, for as long as the seal held, they would be fine. He knew too though, that nothing was forever.

He didn't know exactly where he should go now.

His ghostly body found itself on the hilt of the master sword, the blade of evil's bane. He tried to touch it lightly, feeling his hands go right though. The sword glowed in response, but it did not hurt him. At least he knew he was not evil to it.

"Great Goddesses," he whispered. The creature he was a part of… no. The creature he _was_ if only for a brief moment caused so much unhappiness. If only he could fix it.

Then he saw it. A smooth disturbance on the stairs patterns. It was a mask. Not Majora, Not the fierce deity, nor Sam'kemesa. It was a blending of them all… but it smiling. It was his own face, smiling at him sincerely.

"Could this be a trick?" he wondered. He saw the darkness fled to Gannondorf's prison. It could not be in this mask anymore. Was it? He approached the mask cautiously.

"Is this… me?"

* No… You are you. You were always yourself. * A voice spoke gently, and calmly.

"I… see. And the other?"

* The wisher… he wished to become as powerful as the Triforce. He wanted to be you. *

It made a certain sense. "And who am I?"

* You are what ever you choose to be. *

"What ever I choose… Then who are you, if not me?"

* I am what you were aeons ago. But is not important in your life anymore. You are what I have become."

"You were what I seek?"

* You seek what was already given. *

"And I can be what I choose to be?"

* Grant it to yourself. *

The mask salesman let out a great sigh. "I choose, to be the mask salesman."

The mask floated up to him. * You were always, the mask Salesman * it said.

"Yes. I realise that now. I desire… something else in addition…"

* You have one wish. Choose wisely… for then I will never be a part of your life. *

That was okay, he thought. He had a new life now.


Link came as fast as he could. He had run faster then he ever ran before. He nearly wanted to throw up, except he had no food in his stomach.

"Saria!" he shouted. The young Kokiri girl lay motionless beside Ruto on the bridge.

"I'm sorry Link," the Zora cried to him.

"It can't be over," said Link tears welling into his eyes. "Please Saria, wake up."

Saria stirred slightly at the sound of his voice. She opened her eyes.

"I am glad… to see you one… last time…" she said.

"Saria," said Link. "You'll be okay. We're here."

"Link… why do we always say goodbye on this bridge?"

"This is not goodbye. You'll be fine," Link tried to convince her and himself.

* Such a needlessly unfortunate fate… *

Link turned to see the salesman. "You? You are here?"

"Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated!" He looked concerned for a moment as he saw Saria's frail body on the bridge. "What have we here? Why, it is my first customer of Hyrule!"

"Please, can you do anything for her?" Link asked not carrying how he managed to come back in the first place.

"My friend Link. Masks are not supposed to hurt people. I thought you knew that!"

"She's dying," said Ruto.

"Nonsense." The salesman frowned slightly. "I happen to have my instant-quick-super healing Kokiri medicine!" He smiled to them genuinely. "Well, okay, not really a medicine of such, more of a technique. Actually it's a promise. My promise to satisfy my customers! Come on, to the Deku tree! Bring her along. Quick march!"

The salesman started marching towards the village.

Link didn't know what was going on. Still, with Saria's life at stake, he followed on.


The children of the forest were a sleep still. They hardly ever got up at sunrise. The salesman made a quick sleep spell to make sure they wouldn't get up to interrupt this. Besides it would spoil the surprise!

"Okay, place Saria on the Deku tree's roots. Wonderful!"

"But the Deku tree is dead," said Link. "How can he help?"

"Don't you know Link? The Deku tree is everywhere. Much like my mind is sometimes... Sure, his body was poisoned, but there is a chance to help him and Saria in the process- I think. First time I'm trying something like this, but oh well!"

Link tried not to lose his patience. "What do we do?"

"Actually, it is what I must do" he said seriously. "Deku tree"… he spoke to the lifeless trunk. "Do you know who I am?"

A wind blew, rustling the leaves.

"Great!" he smiled. "I want to use my wish now." He whispered to himself.

A powerful vortex emanated around them. The forest was awakened, as a collective life force began to throw itself around. It touched the birds, the grass, and the seeds. It touched the Kokiri, most of all.

The Deku tree started to turn a living brown. The grey poisoned wood receded. Leaves started to sprout on its branches.

In a shot space of time, it was exactly as everyone remembered it.

"I… am alive." The voice boomed in strength. It echoed thoughout the lost woods. Creatures of Darkness fled in terror at the sound of the returning guardian. "Link, was this thy deed?"

Link had trouble believing it. Tears fell as he heard the mighty tree speak to him.

"Saria… my dear child." The deku tree began to glow green, as the life force joined with her.

Saria started to get up. "Link? What happened?" she said.

"Saria!" Link couldn't take it anymore and ran to her in embrace.

"Great Deku tree," the salesman bowed. "I hope you grant permission for me to enter your realm. Forgive me, I could not ask it before."

"Was it thy deed that restored my being to health?"

The salesman took a modest pose. "Link was the instrument. I merely directed. I owe him, literally, my life."

"So it is written. Thy form, it is familiar to me. From ages past."

"That was a life time ago," said the salesman. "I am… the Mask Salesman. That is all."

The deku tree fell silent. "I understand."

"Thank you. Oh, I need do one final thing for Link," he said. "Be true to yourself!" He played on an organ the song of healing. Link was immersed in a light, as he went back to his younger self.

"Thank you," said Link.

"Not a problem." He picked up the Mask of adult Link. "I had better keep this safe. Is this alright with you?"

Link nodded.

"Excelent. And now, the Zora princess if you don't mind."

"Wait!" she said. "I want to stay like this."

"You do?" the salesman arched an eyebrow.

"Who wouldn't? I have to see my father! He will love this. Tee he. Bye!"

The salesman became a little unsure but conceded. "Well okay. As they say, the customer is always right."

"I can't wait!" said Ruto excitedly. "It'll take me days to reach the caverns from here."

"Zoran, thy shall be transported to thy realm by the magic of the woods," said the Deku tree.

The zoran disappeared in a flash of light. "Thanks!" she shouted.

"Well," the salesman rubbed his hands. "I know I'll be seeing her soon enough. If you don't mind, I have a lot of cleaning up to do. You have no idea what Darunia as a baby Goron has done to the place! Not to mention Nabooru, I am really looking forward to meeting her! And Zelda too! Oh, be sure to visit my shop. I promise happiness to all! You'll see. I have many new ideas for a mask. Do you think people would be interested?" He asked figuratively then laughed. "I know they will!

He started to disappear from sight.


Saria and Link were left alone, with only the Deku tree and their two fairies circling them. The past weeks started to play on them. The times they shared, the danger that had passed… it was something they would forever remember.

"So Link," said Saria.


"We saved the Deku tree." She smiled to him.

"Yes," Link said. They achieved their goal. It was a goal they had almost forgotten about, but it was there. Link viewed Saria's emerald eyes as they shimmered with tears of joy.

The great Deku tree glowed as it exerted it's power over the woods. "I thank thee both, my children Link and Saria."

Link's heart sank. "It is time for me to go now…"

"Wait Link" said Saria. "We can stay here together for a while. Like before."

"I can't this time," Link sighed.

The Deku tree rustled his branches. "Link. Thou art always welcome in the Lost woods. Thy need not fear the magic of thy father in spirit. I consider thee a child of mine, as any other Kokiri."

"Thank you, Great Deku tree. But I must leave. The others will not understand…"

"You are not going away alone," decided Saria. "Please, is there any way I may go with him, great Deku tree?"

The Deku tree became silent again. "Saria… thy art truly of my own spirit. My powers can only go as far as the woods. All Kokiri…" he trailed away.

"I want to go with him. Even if only for a short time."

"My child Saria… in truth, I fear what is outside. I can not help you in times of great need out there as I have done here."

Saria tilted her face downcated. "Deku tree, there is something you must know. I also can not stay. I… have tasted mortality. I have been away from here for a long time."

"True mortality, my child?"

"Yes," she nodded. "I don't think I can be with the others for eternity. My heart will always be… with Link."

"I… see. Saria, Link, step closer and take one of my leaves."

They did so.

"Now, hold it together, with both hands… and think about thy song."

A strange magic started to form between them as they did this. Link felt a cold tingle pass though him. Leaves blew around them, and the woods imparted power into their joined spirits.

"Thy spirits are now tied. Saria, thy may leave the forest, with Link nearby. Thy carry the forest in thy hearts forever. You will age together, as will thy descendants, who would too carry the forest. I wish thee well on thy travels."

"Thank you," said Saria bowing.

Link equally bowed.


The salesman checked his recites. All 'fairly' neatly organised. He had removed the sealed mask from every single person. He just had Zelda to do. He instantly appeared in the castle in front of her.

"Hello princess," he bowed.

"You are the mask salesman?" she said.

"That I am. I am here to take back the rabbit hood."

Zelda smiled a little. "One second." She concentrated slightly. * Time for you to go * she voiced. * Don't worry, you will have much more fun with him. I know it. *

After convincing it, the ears started to glow. As they did, Zelda's form shifted back to normal. In a matter of moments, she held in her hand a normal rabbit hood.

The salesman was shocked to say the least as he accepted it.

"Be sure to take good care of it," said Zelda. "That rabbit is quite playful."

The salesman laughed. "Princess, you are a one in a lifetime customer. Be assured, it will be quite safe."


Ruto wondered back to the Zora cavern. She was greeted with stared by everyone.

"Hi father! I'm back!"

"Ruto?" he wanted to ask a thousand questions. "You've grown up! Where have you been? You were only gone for two weeks. What happened to my little girl?"

"Oh you know. We all have to grow up sooner or later" she smiled. "It's fun being this old, you know. I can do anything! And you wouldn't believe just how fast I swim now."

This was becoming too much of a headache for King Zora. "But… we should get a wizard. This might be bad for you. Isn't it?"

"No way! I like being like this."

The King couldn't think of what to say. But he knew one thing. "Well… in that case, you should get married right away."

"Huh?" the princess said confused.

"You know the law. A Zoran princess by the age of twenty-one must be married."

"W-wait a sec!" Ruto said alarmed. "I think I'm twenty. Yeah. I still have a year to go for that. Perhaps two or three. I am nowhere near twenty-one…"

"Nonsense. Why, you will be laying eggs in no time."

Ruto started to back away. The thought of that gave her the creeps.

"We must ensure the continuation of the Royal Zora line," her father continued. "In your absence, I managed to decide on a future husband for you."

"No! I love Link!"

"Oh please, you are too old for that fantasy aren't you? Besides, there are many to choose from. And this time, you have little choice."

"I- I got to go. I need to find someone to change me back to normal. Bye!"

As she ran, the King could hear the cries of Mask salesman! Mask salesman!

King Zora let loose a chuckle. He knew that would work. She had better find a way to turn back, or he _will_ have to marry her.


Two children walked away form the woods that had been their home. Hands together, they were not afraid by what would greet them. They had each other.

"So where will we go now?" said Saria as she stared at the Hylian fields. The sun had finished rising, showing gently sloping hills, and glittering grass from fallen dew. Every point was somewhere new to see and go.

They stood there quietly, hearing the sounds of workers in Kakariko, the breeze from Lake Hylia, and the sounds of the rivers far away.

"It doesn't matter," said Link holding her shoulder. "The world is there for us to see."

Saria nodded.

This would be the start of their adventure.



The End.

Hi. I wanted to say thank you for reading this story. It was a big challange, but I enjoyed it a lot. In particular, I want to give thanks to Stacie Hawking, who without her support I may not have concluded the story. I also want to thank my brothers for putting up with my writing.

I give a big thanks to all who reviewed. All your comments were encouraging, and pushed me to better myself. I also wish to thank, for hosting the site.