Chapter fourteen… The Sin of Omission
It is not long at all before Riana stops fuming and returns to her normal, overdone self. Zelda is still on the receiving end of a few death glares now and then, but for the present, the Mary Sue has occupied herself with trying to hold Link's hand without him noticing.
Link, of course, will have none of it.
"Stop that," he hisses as he brushes her away again. "We're on a quest, not a date."
"But romance can blossom anywhere," Riana insists in a whisper. "And the very fact that we're saving the world together can only mean that we were meant for one another."
"No," he retorts, "the fact that we're saving the world together can only mean that the author lacks sufficient creativity to write a developed, original story and has resorted to you."
"But I am developed," the Sue protests, seeming indignant. "I already told you my tragic past, didn't I?"
Link rubs his left temple gingerly; he can feel a headache coming on. "That doesn't cut it. Your present is what's bothering me."
Riana purses her lips in frustration. "I am an extremely deep character!" she says. "And I can prove it, too!"
"No, you can't," Zelda snaps, sounding as if she is about to die of exasperation. "You are a pathetically flat, one-dimensional projection of what the author wishes she could be. And stop doing that!" she adds as Riana makes another grab for Link's hand.
The Sue glowers at her. "You don't think I can prove just how heartfelt and provoking I can be? Fine then. From now on, this is going to be in first person."
"You can't do that," Link points out in frustration. "This section is following my point of view. Switching perspectives in the same section will only throw people off."
"That doesn't matter," I say matter-of-factly. "We're going to follow my point of view, and then you'll see just how deep my character is."
Zelda gives an aggravated scream. "Don't you care about the story itself?" she shouts, gesturing wildly at the maze of spikes through which our party is trekking. "We have to save Hyrule, not cater to your every need!"
"I'm sorry," I reply with a sarcastic sort of sweetness, "but I'm being too deep and thoughtful right now to listen to your childish ranting." Before she can go off on another of her rants, I begin to reflect on Ganondorf and the pain he's bringing to the civilians of this world. My own heart aches as I feel the sorrow and despair coming from those who feel as though the light of hope is flickering out, and with a determination stronger than steel I vow to bring them that light once more.
My beloved Link heaves a rough sigh, but I am positive I can hear longing in the rush of his breath. "We're almost to the castle anyway," he says. "Once I begin a serious battle with Ganondorf's minions, the focus of the story is going to have to shift back to me anyway. Then we can hurry up and finish this and get things back to normal."
Normal, I think with a twinge of yearning. How I wish happiness could be normal in all the world. And how I wish Link's own normal could be a peaceful life. With me.
Our party continues trekking throughout the vile maze for quite some time afterwards. We are accosted by monsters at every turn, and as valiantly as Link fights them, as hard as my beloved twin sister tries to aid him with holy magic, they always need me to finish the job with my own brand of attacks. We encounter more doors and gates with magic seals, and I am always required to solve the puzzle, collect the gems, beat the time limit, finish the job and open the way. A few times, I notice Zelda grimacing at me when she believes I'm not looking, clenching her hands into tight fists, even baring her teeth once or twice.
It's such a shame that she is so jealous of my infinite usefulness to Link.
I ignore her like the saint that I am, though, and we continue on our way until finally, finally, we are standing before the moat of lava surrounding Ganondorf's Secret Fortress of Darkness and Evil. A few seconds pass in silence before Zelda says, "Now what?"
Link raises an eyebrow at her. "What do you mean, 'now what'? Isn't this the part where you unleash your Super Princess Power and create a magic bridge over the lava for us?"
"Um, hello," Zelda answers irritably. "I'm only one Sage. I'm not all seven. I can't make the bridge by myself."
"Excuse me," I say politely, eager to help. "I think I forgot to tell you this, but I have the power of all seven Sages."
"Of course you do," Zelda mutters under her breath. At the same time, Link asks me, "How is that even possible?"
My modest nature causes me to blush as I explain, "Well, the goddesses knew I had been blessed with special qualities since the time of my birth. It's partially due to the fact that I'm part goddess myself—but to make a long story short, they only gave the Sages part of their mystic abilities. The rest of the powers were given to me, since I can withstand the force of seven Ancient Magics residing within me and even master them."
"What is the point of giving you Sage powers?" Zelda wonders. "You never guarded an ancient temple or anything. And if that's all true, then where were you during Ocarina of Time? You would've saved Link a lot of time and dungeon-crawling had you just made a bridge for him right off the bat."
"Oh, I was in the Sacred Realm itself," I answer. "I was battling the devil that whole time. He was trying to steal the Triforce while everyone else was distracted by Ganondorf's attempts to do the very same thing."
"Does the devil even exist in these games?" Link asks Zelda under his breath, and my sister merely shrugs.
I, of course, hear them perfectly—my enhanced senses would put Superman's to shame—and grin. "Not anymore. I banished him."
"Surprise, surprise," Zelda mutters.
"That's fascinating," Link says to me in a tone that heavily implies otherwise, "but it isn't helping us get across the moat of lava." He waves an arm towards said moat. "If you really are so powerful, make the bridge so we can get going."
The bridge would be so easy for me to create—all I would have to do is will it into existence, and it would be—but the fact of the matter is that it isn't nearly romantic enough. Especially not with Zelda here. I'm going to have to take action if I want love to blossom before the end of the story.
But how can I do that without being malicious? Angel-goddesses are incapable of showing malice to any except the most vile of beings. And as much as Zelda falls under the vile being category in my book, she is still blonde and blue-eyed, meaning she is one of the good guys. I will just have to wait until opportunity presents itself.
And almost instantly, it does. I couldn't have planned this better myself—well, alright, I could have, because no one can do things better than I can, but the sight of my beloved sister suddenly vanishing into the earth as a trapdoor swings open underneath her feet makes my heart swoop with hope.
"ZELDA!" Link shouts, diving forward, but the trapdoor closes and seals itself before he reaches it. Undaunted, he claws at the ground, but it's no use—it's as if the trapdoor never existed, and only compacted earth remains where my sister fell. It's all I can do to keep from cheering. Zelda is out of the picture! Could this get any better?
As it turns out, it certainly can.
Maniacal laughter rings through the air, and webs of lightning rip through the sky as the theme from Psycho blares. Link and I look up, up, up, craning our necks to see Ganondorf leaning out the highest room of the tallest tower in his Secret Fortress of Darkness and Evil. "I have kidnapped your precious Zelda… AGAIN!"
"How did you do this?" Link demands. "Even you can't just spirit people out of the scene like that!"
Ganondorf laughs his evil laugh again, and suddenly the ground is littered with skulls. "You fool! The author is all-powerful in fanfiction! She delivered Zelda into my hands! It involved a lot less time and effort to create a random portal than to develop another aspect of the plot!"
Here it is! It's my chance to show off my valor and courage and impress Link with the power of my righteous fury! Then he'll be so overwhelmed by the way I flawlessly balance my strength with my graceful charms that he'll drop to one knee immediately, take my hand, and insist that we get married!
"Ganondorf!" I cry, my voice suddenly a little deeper and more authoritative. "Your vile schemes will no more plague our people! You have forfeited all rights to mercy with your treachery! Prepare yourself well, for when we next meet, you will be forever banished from this world!" I have to suppress a smile as I reach my favorite part. "I am Mariana Susana Starlight Bell Skydream Amethyst Phoenix Sonatina Jubilee the Life-Giver, the Water Spirit, the Chosen One of Destiny, the Sword of Hope, and the Goddesses' Avatar! I am Princess of Hyrule and avenger of the oppressed! In the name of all those whose lives you have destroyed, I myself shall vanquish you!"
"We shall see, Princess," Ganondorf booms down at me. "We shall see who shall be forced from this world!" He vanishes back through the window.
Link's brow suddenly furrows in puzzlement. "That tower is over a mile high," he says. "How could he hear us? How could we hear him?"
"Lazy author," I remind him. "Come on, Link, we have to cross this moat and storm the Secret Fortress of Darkness and Evil and save the world!"
"Well, if you would just make the bri—"
"There's no time for that!" I insist. "Link, we must embrace each other as tightly as the threads of fate that bind our souls to one another! Hold me, and I will fly us over this deathly moat!"
He stares at me blankly. "…what?"
Reminding myself that I can't expect him to fully grasp the complexity of my beautiful declaration (after all, no one alive is as deep and thought-provoking as yours truly), I clasp my hands in front of me and bow my head, and my white-feathered wings unfurl around me. The radiant light of heaven shines down on me, a beacon of divinity in this ocean of evil darkness, and for a brief moment an invisible choir can be heard striking up the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah".
"You know," Link says, "you could have created the bridge in the time it took you to do all that."
I wrap my arms tightly around him. "No! We must fly together!" And without waiting for him to say another word, I take off, and the two of us sail on the wings of love over the lava.
Link has never wanted to hit a girl so badly before in his life. However, Riana is not just any girl: she is the Mary Sue from hell, and she definitely deserves to be hit. Multiple times.
The only problem is that while they are suspended in midair over certain death, he has no choice but to cling to her. After all, she's the one with the wings. But while this saves him from being toasted like a campfire marshmallow, it also wreaks havoc with the Pendant of Sanity. It simply cannot handle the close proximity, and to his horror Link finds that his mouth is filling with drool. His mind has started to go fuzzy already after only a few seconds of hug-flying, and he cannot keep his thoughts straight: The Pendant… so pretty… the Pendant is failing… I love her… failing because her perfection is over… want to hold her forever… is overloading it… marriage… not even the author… she's so amazing, so wonderful… not even the author can reign her in now… love… love… love… love, love, love, love love love lovelovelovelovelovelovelove—
His mouth opens, and those cursed words fight to cross his lips—but they touch down, and he finds the sense to shove himself away from her. His mind clears instantly. His body, though, is still trembling—he'll need another few seconds to regain control of himself fully, but what if Riana pounces on him before he recovers?
Thankfully, he has no need to worry. The Sue is distracted. Glaring sharply around her, she folds her arms tightly against her perfectly-shaped chest. "Why isn't it in first person anymore?" she demands. "I wasn't done showing everyone how profound my personal insights are!"
As if in reply, the heavy front doors of the castle swing open of their own accord to reveal a figure waiting for them, their features shrouded by a heavy cloak.
"That's why," Link answers. "It's the mini-boss fight. I'm the main focus of the story now." He unsheathes his sword and steps forward, relieved that for a while at least he doesn't have to put up with Riana's narcissism first-hand.
As expected, the shrouded figure does not move as Link approaches, but a gutteral voice issues from the cloak's dark folds. "The King of Evil has no need of you, Hero of Time. Stand down or be destroyed."
"The King of Evil has no need to destroy Hyrule," Link replies. "I will stop him, whether or not you stand in my way."
"Then we duel, hero," the mini-boss says matter-of-factly. "May the goddesses have mercy on your soul."
"Show yourself," Link answers, "and then we duel."
After being subjected to fifty-four pages' worth of corny text, one-in-a-million coincidences, and holes in the plot bigger than the one in the ozone layer, those last few lines of dialogue seem like something out of a dream. Sterotypical, yes, but much less cheezy than the flowery words Riana normally spouts off. It's a welcome relief—but as all good things do, the promise of a well-written, epic battle comes to a terrible end as the mini-boss unwraps the cloak and tosses it aside.
No twisted goblin born of the darkness stands before him. The mini-boss is Sheik, holding two curved swords and wearing a pair of dark brown shorts that draw unnecessary attention to his scrawny legs. He crosses his weapons and glares through the blades at Link, trying to look menacing—and failing miserably.
"Zelda?" Link asks incredulously.
Sheik throws his swords to the ground angrily. "NO!" he shouts, loud enough to make a nearby flock of ravens take flight. "I'm Sheik! I'm my own person! I EXIST TOO!"
"No you don't," Link points out simply.
In a rage now, the Sheikah snatches his weapons off the ground again and points one straight at Link. "Look," he snaps, "I've been having a really crappy day. I humiliated myself, almost fell to my death, then lost my pants and ended up having to agree to fight you in the mini-boss's place in exchange for his shorts. I definitely don't need you questioning me! Just accept that this is fanfiction and that I can exist!" His grip on the sword hilts tightens, and as he raises the blades and rushes forward he cries, "Now you die, Link!"
Zelda opened her eyes to find herself back in the highest room of the tallest tower of the Secret Fortress of Darkness and Evil, alone and covered in dirt.
Well, things weren't quite as bad as they seemed. For one, the story had gone back to past tense, meaning that Riana wasn't close by. Besides, she had the Harmonica of Time. She could escape exactly the same way she had escaped before. Slightly cheered, she began to shake the grime out of her skirt, making a mental note not to travel through wastelands of evil while wearing her royal best anymore.
It was then that she noticed her royal pocket was empty.
No! she thought furiously, searching herself over for the Harmonica-turned-lockpick. No use—it was gone. Had she dropped it when she was pulled into the ground?
What am I going to do? she wondered in horror. If I don't have the Harmonica of Time, I can't get out of here, and if I can't get out of here… then Link's going to have to storm the castle alone with the Mary Sue!
Riana watches as Link and Sheik charge at each other with weapons drawn, happily waiting for her beloved to show the slightest sign of weakness or fatigue so she can fly to his rescue… and as she watches, she slips her fingers into her pocket, feeling the cold metal of the Harmonica of Time resting there snugly.
Of course, she knows exactly what this instument is. She is, in fact, the one who plucked it from her sister's pocket before they even reached the moat of lava.
As the first clash of blades rings out, she smiles to herself. Zelda is out of the picture… and this time, she will stay out of the picture. Link is as good as Riana's now.