Impa sat quietly in the castle sitting room wondering what she should do next. Turning to look out the window she gasped as a ring of dark mist circled most of Death Mountain, something was going on and she needed to find out what. Just as she was about to leave the doors flew open to reveal…
"Hey Impa, did you miss me?" Zelda stood smiling in the doorway.
"Zelda? What are you doing here? You know it's dangerous in the castle right now."
"Yes I know but I couldn't leave Hyrule in its current state so I convinced Father to let me come back to help out." Zelda looked out the window to see what Impa had previously been staring at, "and by the look of it you need it."
Although she didn't like Zelda's decision Impa had to agree that having Zelda around to get everything in order was a good thing
"It looks like they'll need our help up on the mountain so I'm going to contact some of the other Sages then we'll be off." Heading to the door the two left the castle as Impa telepathically contacted Nabooru who she asked to bring some of her strongest warriors. She then contacted Darunia telling him to meet them in the mountain cave.
Entering the market a tall dark haired man that Zelda didn't know stepped in front of them. "So you must be the famous Princess Zelda." He smiled kissing her hand. "I'm Marcus a semi friend of Miss Saria and her charming boyfriend Link."
"Oh nice to meet you." Zelda looked slightly confused but let him say his bit. Spotting a long sword strapped to his back she had a burst of thought. "Say you wouldn't be a knight would you? We're kind of in need of all the help we can get right now. If you'd be willing to help that would be great." Gladly agreeing the new trio walked out into the field to await Nabooru and her warriors.
Saria sat frozen by the wall, the room was pitch black the only sound being slow dragging footsteps moving around. Squinting into the darkness she made out the outline of a large figure heading in the direction of the still chained up Link. Raising up a giant cold hand the figure placed it around Link's throat sniggering wickedly.
"I told you I would return Hero of Time." The thing hissed breathing its stale breath all over Link's sweating face. "But this time I am at my most powerful, Now I, Lord Ganon will destroy you." Swallowing hard Link prepared for the worst since there was nothing he could possibly do to avoid this.
Suddenly Ganon felt a sharp pain in his side as a green orb smacked into his body. "Leave him alone." Saria said nervously getting to her feet, no one was going to take Link from her again without a fight.
Seeing that the monster was distracted Ruto dived at a stunned Saffron who was staring in awe at her long lost master. Knocking the girl to the ground Ruto snatched the locket from her neck tossing it to Saria who swiftly grabbed it slipping it on just as Ganon charged over to her.
"You dare challenge me?" He snarled flailing his blades around in the air threateningly.
Although she was terrified Saria stood her ground. "You're just a big bully." She was about to continue when Ganon slammed the blunt end of one blade into the girl knocking her unconscious against the wall.
Ganon chuckled, "and you're just an annoying pest that should have stayed where she belonged!" He reached down in a blink of an eye grabbing a helpless Saria lifting her into the air. Link was furious, he thrashed in the chains like a caged animal but no matter what they wouldn't come loose. The Triforce of Courage began to glow on the back of his left hand sending a bright light across the room.
"Lord Ganon what are you planning to do?" Saffron asked watching her Lord's every move.
Ganon glared at her harshly. "You can shut up, if you'd kept your nose out of my business this would've ended long ago. But at least you got them to come here so I guess you have some uses. I'll deal with you later." He finished still clutching Saria in one hand pondering whether to crush her now or prolong the torture like he had originally planned to do. Raising one of his golden blades over her he smirked triumphantly at Link who was staring at him with pure hatred. Driving the blade straight into the unconscious Saria Ganon loosened his grip as she disappeared from sight in a flash of purple light.
"What have you done with her?" Link growled mentally vowing to punish Ganon for hurting her.
"Don't worry, I redesigned these blades to only wound a holder of the Triforce piece. The others will be transported to a dark world filled with shadows of the past which will tear them apart anyway!" The evil king laughed to himself insanely as he knowingly waited for Zelda to arrive.
"Am I dead?" Saria wondered in her mind, opening her eyes all she could see was darkness. She appeared to be laying on something concrete but it was hard to tell with no light. Suddenly an explosion of images and voices filled the space around her.
She was standing on a bridge watching her best friend leaving not knowing if she'd ever see him again.
Darkness consumed her village, monsters roamed freely destroying anything in sight and haunting the temple.
Phantom Ganon cackled wildly turning the Forest Temple into his lair ready to battle the one who came to save Hyrule.
Cascades of unwanted memories from the past flooded into view, Saria closed her eyes hoping it would end soon but the images pierced their way through her eyelids breaking into her mind. Was this the end?
"Why don't you just finish me off if you're going to?" Link yelled becoming more and more frustrated as he watched a silent Ganon patiently biding his time. Stopping to take a breath Link heard faint footsteps in the lower level of the tower. Turning his head to look at the room entrance he smiled when a familiar group of people barged in.
"Give it up Ganon we're not going to let you win!" Zelda exclaimed pointing an accusing finger at the beast. Behind her stood Marcus, Impa, Darunia with a couple of Gorons and Nabooru with some of her finest warriors who were holding a distraught looking Ebony between them.
"You're late Princess." Ganon chuckled, "you should all step into the room quickly if you want to live a little longer." He began to glow a deep red as he held out his right hand letting the Triforce of Power work it's magic. The tower began to shake, Zelda pulled everyone in as the floor started to rip from the rest of the tower. Ganon let out a roar of power as he proceeded to make the ceiling crumble away causing large pieces of stone to tumble all over them.
Marcus jumped through the falling rubble towards Link. "Time to get you out of these chains don't you think?" He smiled taking out his knight's sword. With a few swift swipes of the blade he managed to neatly cut the chains.
"You're a real Mary Sue aren't you." Link muttered falling to the ground wincing as he rubbed his aching wrists and ankles.
"I'll take that as a thank you." Marcus grinned. Link gave him a half smile then dragged himself up to take a peek through one of the now many cracks in the old walls. They were floating hundreds of feet from the land, everything looked so small and insignificant from above. One false move up here and it would be game over, exactly what Ganon had planned.
"I've always dreamt of pushing the Hero and Sage of Time plummeting to their deaths from a huge cliff." Ganon got his blades ready to do battle. "Today will be that day the dream comes true!" Slamming a blade into the stone floor he created an earthquake strong enough to send a series of cracks slithering towards the walls which instantly fell away leaving nothing but a floating platform for the final event. Holding out the other blade he charged directly towards Zelda who instinctively summoned Nayru's Love which she didn't need since Marcus appeared in front of her. Expertly he drove off each of Ganon's attacks with little trouble. Their blades clashed sending sparks everywhere, neither would give up.
"He's not bad." Nabooru whistled watching what could only be described as a dance of death. Unsheathing some Gerudo twin swords she raised them into the air. "What are we waiting for? Let's get in there!" She ran in slashing at an angry Ganon who managed to hold them both off at once.
Seeing that most of the group were keeping Ganon busy Link spotted his dagger that Saria had dropped laying on the floor. Picking it up he looked over to Saffron who was watching the battle nervously. Holding the small blade in his hand he decided it was time to teach her a lesson, the dagger would have to be an alternate for his sword right now.
Spying Link dashing towards her Saffron back flipped out of the way taking out her dark sword she smiled menacingly.
"Back for round two are you Hero of Time? I'm surprised you can do anything without your little girlfriend around to save you. Oh that's right, she couldn't!" Link gritted his teeth at that comment swinging the dagger at her sword blocking the first few attacks skilfully.
"I was brought up not to kick a girl but I'd say you're an exception." Link swiped her sword aside again then sent a foot around one of her legs tripping her over. Pushing the girl to the floor he held her down pressing the dagger against her throat. "If I was him." Link stared over at Ganon, "I'd kill you on the spot. But since I'm not I'll spare you if you tell me what he's done with Saria."
For the first time in a long while Saffron was feeling that word she hated, fear. "I….I don't know." She wheezed under his weight. "All I know is that the shadow world is not a place you want to be." Reaching for her sword Saffron brought it up slyly stabbing Link in his side.
Link glanced down at the place she'd wounded him seeing a red patch staining the material. Ignoring the immense pain in his side Link fumbled in his item pockets finding the Megaton Hammer. Giving it a light swing he knocked it into Saffron sending her flying off her feet.
"If you want to live you better stay right there." Link commanded shoving the hammer back in his item pocket. Closing his eyes he took out his ocarina, placing the instrument against his lips he played Saria's song in the hope it would at least connect with her.
Saria lay on the solid surface below her fighting off mental images of terror every second. Thinking she wouldn't be able to take this for much longer she got ready for the worst when suddenly the locket began to slightly glow. Struggling to block out the images she managed to hear the faint melody of her song.
"Saria are you there?" She heard Link's voice echoing around her.
"Link…" She mumbled trying to clear her mind to give a decent reply. "I don't think I can hold on much longer."
"You've got to fight, we need you back here, I need you.." Link trailed off. He wasn't familiar with situations like this but he knew if Saria didn't snap out of that daze she may never get out. Focusing his mind he channelled all of his positive thoughts through the ocarina.
The locket began to glow even brighter as the positive energy flowed through it sending out better memories. Feeling the pressure lifting Saria clung to the locket which was beginning to shake as a blinding light filled the area. A moment later she was laying on the ground next to a startled Link. Leaning down he helped her up pulling her into a big hug.
"You're bleeding." Saria gently touched his side.
"Oh it's nothing." He lied, he was used to hiding physical pain. "Come on, Ganon isn't tiring."
Link was right, Ganon had thrown Marcus to the floor and was now leaning one foot on the man's back slashing away the rest of the group who weren't doing so good. Morphing one of his blades into a long golden rope Ganon lassoed it around Zelda and Impa to keep them occupied for some time.
"Hey Ganon, fancy a real challenge?" Link told to Saria to stay back, he wanted to finish this one himself.
Chucking down the rope Ganon prepared his single sword, without warning he dived at Link attempting to land a hit which Link blocked easily matching Ganon's slashes move for move. Tossing a deku nut at the evil king's face Link rolled between his legs slashing at his tail. The Kokiri Emerald in the dagger's handle began to flash a bright green. Link realised the small dagger wasn't doing much damage but there was nothing else he could think to do.
Ganon span around slamming a fist into Link's back. Managing to remain standing Link drove the dagger into Ganon's empty hand causing the Goron Ruby to also light up. Not wanting to appear weak Ganon fought through the pain. Suddenly he knew how to get the upper hand, pretending to slash upwards he made Link block his face then swiftly moved downwards tripping the hero up craftily.
"Looks like you're history." Ganon went to deliver a final blow but Link held the dagger in front of himself hoping to block the sword. Just as Ganon's blade made contact the last stone began to glow a blinding blue. Link stared in wonder as the dagger span around in his grasp, one more flash and a long silver blade grew out of the handle. Gripping it firmly Link slung Ganon backwards knowing he had a chance to end this at last.
Slash, slash, parry, slash. The clash of swords raged on, neither boy nor beast giving in. The pair moved slowly closer to the edge of the platform focusing too much on the fight to even notice. Ramming his whole body into Link Ganon succeeded in making him slip from the edge. Sheathing his new sword Link clung to the edge desperately trying to pull himself up.
Unable to watch the fighting anymore Saria ran up behind Ganon jumping onto his back with immense force. Flipping his head down Ganon chucked her off sending her flying over the edge, luckily Link stretched out grabbing her arm with one of his hands leaving only one free to carry on holding he platform.
"Link if I let go you'll have a better chance to pull yourself up!" Saria shouted.
"No you don't! We either both survive or both die! There's no in between! Grab on to my leg so I can pull us up." Saria quickly took hold of his leg letting him use both hands to climb up but of course Ganon was having none of that.
"It may not be the Hero and Sage of Time but it's pretty close." Ganon laughed thrusting his sword down cutting right through one of Link's hands.
Link screamed in pain before letting go of the platform causing them both to fall to their deaths.
"I'm sorry I wasn't good enough Sar, look what I let happen to you." Link telepathically apologized to her
It's alright, at least we got the locket back and I got you back." Saria smiled taking his hand squeezing it tightly. Unexpectedly the locket began to glow yet again but this time it felt different. A moment later the two flickered from sight landing amazingly back on the platform. Ganon snorted in anger glaring at the cursed locket.
"Quick give me the locket." Link whispered, Saria had no idea what he was doing but handed it over anyway. Ganon aimed his blade at the piece of jewellery he loathed so much, taking a deep breath he threw it at the locket. Link dodged out of the way but the sword twisted in the air.
"I also designed it to home in on that piece of junk." Ganon sneered, "Five years gave me a lot of time to perfect it as you can see." Indeed Link did see, the blade sunk itself into the centre of the locket cracking right through into his chest. Falling to his knees Link snapped the thing off his neck chucking it to the floor coughing and spluttering as he did so.
Splitting in two the locket turned into a large swirling vortex. Ganon held onto a loose piece of wall but it wasn't very helpful, he gradually got pulled along the floor closer to the portal with an unknown destination.
"I came back once and I can do it again!" He yelled before getting sucked into a new world. Saffron was also trying to keep herself in one spot but the vortex was calling her to it. A large gust of wind swept her up dragging her viciously over.
"No. Saffron…." Ebony whispered watching her sister helplessly falling through the portal. A figure fell out of the vortex just as it closed, the locket was no more. Saria who was standing closest cautiously walked nearer to the figure which seemed to be a middle aged man. He looked up at her, his eyes full of regret.
"I'm so sorry young lady…sorry for everything." He turned to look at Ebony who blinked a few times before running over to him.
Uncle? Uncle Alfred is that really you?" She quietly asked not wanting to get her hopes up.
"Of course it's me, I've missed you so much my darling Ebony." He smiled happily embracing her. Saria stood there putting two and two together.
"Alfos Red? You were him weren't you."
"That I was." He replied. "That monster said he'd hurt my nieces if I didn't obey him, he eventually moulded me into that evil creature changing my name, my whole personality. I was sent to a place worse than death, after the spirits realised I wasn't truly evil they promised to release me when the portal opened and today it finally did."
"But they took Saffron." Ebony cried into his shirt.
"If she has a pure heart she'll return someday." He reassured his youngest niece.
Link was now laying flat on the ground having a lot of trouble breathing. Ganon's sword had made a small gash along his chest, a deep cut in his hand and he had to put up with the other deep wound in his side from Saffron. Saria ran over kneeling by his side.
"It will be ok, we'll get you out of here." She promised holding him close to her. "You saved my life."
Zelda ordered the Gerudo warriors to go get help from the castle immediately. She rose her arms into the air chanting an ancient spell causing the platform to gently float back down to the land. As soon as they could the Gerudos and Gorons were off back to Hyrule for assistance.
Shortly after the group was walking back down the rocky path of Death Mountain. Some castle guards were carrying an injured Marcus who hadn't come away too badly but Link was in agony. Entering Kakariko Link managed to say a few words.
"I want to die in the Forest." He breathed through the pain. If he wasn't so beat up Saria would have slapped him right there.
"You're not going to die!" She shouted holding back tears that were burning to come out. "I won't let you." She watched them carry him towards her old home. Clenching her fists she hurried into the castle straight for his room. Diving under the bed she rummaged around searching for it. Soon she found what she was looking for, the pink potion. "It's got to be worth a shot." She sighed stuffing it in a pocket.
Exiting the market Saria realised she still didn't have her ocarina so calling Epona or warping wasn't an option. Breathing in the cool fresh air she ran like she'd never ran in her life. Past the path that led to Lake Hylia, past Lon Lon Ranch, past the running man who frowned at another person running in his territory. Gasping for oxygen she stopped at the Forest entrance to catch a breath. Starting up a run again she dashed across the bridge into the village.
The guards had awkwardly lifted Link into his old tree house which is where he'd requested them to take him. Clambering up the ladder Saria burst through the curtain, only one guard and Zelda were in the small room. Zelda had been trying some simple healing spells she'd learnt but nothing was working. Shoving the bottle in Zelda's hand Saria urged her to use it. Seeing no other options the princess nodded examining the bottle noticing it was one of those rare potions only sold once in a year at the local potion shop. Twisting off the top she carefully poured some on to his wounds and a little in his mouth.
"A potion this powerful will take time, let's leave him over night." Zelda wrapped a bandage neatly around each of his wounds putting an arm around an exhausted Saria telling her to go get some sleep. She resisted at first worrying about leaving Link but tiredness ended up getting the better of her so she told Zelda she'd stay in her own house tonight.
Going into her house Saria grabbed the deku nut she'd left on the table throwing it against the wall in agitation then she slumped down on the bed letting the tears flow free at last.
The night was a long one, Saria tossed and turned all night having nightmares about lockets, Ganon and Link being stabbed over and over. Sitting upright she wiped her forehead of sweat deciding sleep was a thing to avoid at the moment so she took herself off to the Sacred Forest Meadow. Sitting on her faithful stump she sighed heavily picking up some grass twisting it between her fingers. Without her mysteriously disappearing ocarina she needed to keep her fingers busy. About an hour later Saria drifted off to sleep at the base of her seat.
Link drowsily opened his eyes to be greeted by tiny sunbeams dancing on his house floor. Afraid to hurt himself anymore he carefully moved his bandaged hand.
"Wow that feels a lot better, I wonder if the rest of me feels like this." He slowly moved off the bed feeling that his chest and side also felt more alive than they had the day before. Pulling the cover over his bed he headed into the morning air hoping Saria was in her house.
The before mentioned was just waking in the meadow. Looking at the sun she gathered it was morning meaning time to go see if Link had recovered. Hastily walking into the village she entered Link's house to find an empty bed. Thinking to check her own house she slid down the ladder anxiously hurrying through her door. There stood Link with his back to her, he was taking something out of his tunic.
"I believe this belongs to you." He turned around smiling handing her the ocarina he'd had all that time. "Sorry I didn't give it back sooner, some little things got in the way."
Placing her instrument on the table Saria wrapped her arms around him trying and failing not to start crying again. Returning the hug Link closed his eyes enjoying the peaceful moment.
"We can finally do what we originally set out to do." Saria managed to say after she'd calmed down.
Link nodded. "Yeah, let's go see the world."
--One year later--
Ebony sat lazily swinging her legs over the edge of the platform at the entrance to the Forest Temple. After everything had gone back to normal Saria suggested she and her uncle could stay in the temple if they promised to clean the mess from the fire. It had taken some time but she eventually came to terms with the fact that Saffron may never return but in the end she realised it was probably for the best.
All of Hyrule had recently celebrated the royal engagement of Princess Zelda and Sir Marcus. Of course they wouldn't be marrying for a few years yet but the king liked to make things official.
Ruto had returned to Zora's Domain to continue on as best she could. Getting over Mido's leaving had been hard on her but after many years she'd figured she couldn't always get her own way and to just deal with that. Her father had wanted to start a search to find her a real Zora man as he'd put it but she was having none of it, she wanted to fully enjoy her last years of childhood without anymore hassle.
Slowly getting bored Ebony had nearly fallen asleep when she heard voices travelling through the woods, a second later she saw the owners of those voices coming up through the meadow maze.
"Hey Ebony did you miss us?" Link grinned. They had been coming and going throughout the year, where they went only they knew.
"Not much," she smiled. "I actually have something for you Saria, I found it in the temple library." She took out a small dusty book with the title 'Ancient Forest Artefacts; Flipping to a certain page she handed the book to Saria.
"It's the locket." Saria gasped starting at an old picture of the locket.
"It says the past Forest Sage used to own it using its power to protect the temple. You were destined to have it all along." Ebony informed them.
"Someone must have stolen it from the temple ages ago and lost it in the market, that's how it ended up on that stall." Link summed up the locket's story. "Shame my sword isn't in there too." He said looking at the long sword resting in its sheath on his back.
"I guess that's one of the mysteries we'll have to solve on our next adventure." Saria grabbed his hand waving goodbye to Ebony as they set off again.
"We'll be at the lake if you need anything!" Link shouted before they disappeared from view.
"It's beautiful." Saria marvelled at the orange sunset over Lake Hylia. She had seen many amazing places over the past year but this would always be one of her favourites. Link who had been taking something out of Epona's saddle's side pocket joined her on the grassy bank.
"Here I got you something." He handed her a small box. "Don't worry I checked at the shop to make sure it's not some all powerful world conquering item."
"Oh Link I love it." Saris opened the box revealing a silver heart pendent. Gently picking up the chain she read the inscription on the front.
Link and Saria
Turning it over there was one more word carved on the back.
Author's note: Well that's it! I was wondering whether or not to split this chapter into two shorter ones but decided to end with one extra long one. Thank you to all who read and reviewed, I finished this just for you.