Part the Eighteenth
I felt the Triforce leave with detachment; I knew with conviction that such power should never have been mine. For a moment, the lack of power ached bitterly, but I quickly became accustomed to its absence. And then I felt freedom blossom in the pain's wake, and I was certain. I wasn't supposed to have been granted its might, ever.
It briefly crossed my mind to be concerned. The deity or Ganon could easily claim the Triforce as their own, and use its power for their evil purposes. But, surrounded as I was by darkness, I realized I didn't particularly care. Ganon could have his Dark World, and his glory. The Fierce Deity could claim this land as his domain, and there would be no more masks to lure children to their dooms. It didn't matter which won, after all. All that mattered was that the fighting would continue until only one remained. And I was sick to death of fighting. If I were to step down completely, and let them finish it, the end would be much quicker. Guiltily, I considered my world, and everything I'd even known. If I lay down, I would be betraying all of them. Faces flickered through the darkness, features blending and fading as they passed.
There were my guardians: Navi and Tatl, and the Great Deku Tree and its Sprout. None of them remained, having left or died or not arisen yet. Next, I saw my opponents: Mido, the Skull Kid, Ingo and his brethren. Some remained, and some where long gone, but I could not bring myself to care for their interests. For Mido, I felt a pang of guilt, but knowing the pain I had already caused him I doubted he would be better off if I survived. My enemies: the monsters and beasts of the fields, Majora and Ganon and the Deity within my mind. Those images flickered by without pause; I was not so kind as to care for them. Most importantly, though, I saw my friends. Saria, Darunia, Ruto, the imps of the woods, Malon, and even Kafei. I realized that I didn't know what had become of them, except Saria. Would they forgive me? I wasn't sure. That realization was enough to convince me. I barely knew them. War buddies and fair-weather friends were all that remained. And I knew that it didn't matter if they could forgive me, not when they didn't even know who I really was. The only question left to ask was if I could forgive myself.
A scream broke through the comforting darkness, and I was certain I knew whose it was. It was Ganon's, as he wrested the sacred power for himself. I sympathized, in a distant way. Magical artifacts could hurt, as I knew all too well. Especially when the magic didn't wish to be bound. One could only hope that the Triforce didn't contain an angry God's spirit, hungering for escape. At least, I thought, he will have the power to destroy the demon with the Triforce. I wonder if he will realize that he kills two souls when he destroys me.
I knew the moment that his wish formed. I could feel its power invading the darkness, could see tainted gold glowing amidst the shadow. For a moment I fought back, against the power and against the pain. I would not submit, and I most certainly would not scream. But as the pain grew strong enough to eclipse even the golden light, I found myself giving up. No one would hear anyways, I thought. But then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. The pain stopped, the noise stopped, and everything began to fade away. As the golden light seeped away into darkness, I heard a voice, so quiet I was certain that I invented it. The real Zelda wouldn't apologize, not when it ought have been me begging for her forgiveness.
The Evil King watched, gleeful, as the body of his adversary crumpled to the ground. His only threat was vanquished, and the world lay bare at his feet. Soon, they would know the true power of darkness. Ganon turned to the people of his world. "The Hylian line has long been dead, and now the Goddesses have gifted me with their blessings. I am Mandrag Ganon, and I am your King." With a laugh, he surveyed his new subjects, amused by their terror. As his eyes drifted over the trembling figures, a tiny Goron fell to his knees. And all the rest bowed down with him. A few hesitated, most notably Nabooru, her fellows, and the little Sheikah whose face was still marred by tear tracks. After a moment, though, even they fell to their knees before their Lord.
Ganon stood ready to kill those who had not been quick enough to submit. But something made him pause. Something in the Sheikah boy's expression. He looked as though his world was ending, and he realized that perhaps some things truly were worse than death. It will kill them to bow to me, he thought. Perhaps that would be a more fitting end. The tense form of his deputy made Ganon laugh. "I am considering letting you live, Nabooru. It might be a good time to explain your faults."
Nabooru's eyes went wide with panic at the threatening tone. She frantically began to think her way out of her predicament. She had little time, however, and the longer she hesitated, the more certain she as that there was no hope of escape. Her mind made up, she spoke. "You're a bigger fool than I thought, Dragmire, if you plan to keep me around. How can you know I won't plan a revolution behind your back, then?" As the King of Evil narrowed his blood red eyes, she gulped. The determination drained away, and she wasn't willing to die any longer.
"Do you want to die, Nabooru?" Ganon asked, smirking as if he could indeed read her thoughts. "Do you want to be slaughtered like a lamb?" The red-haired woman shook her head, feeling more fear than she had ever experienced. She didn't want to die, not like that. She didn't want to live under him, either, but surely death wasn't the better choice. The maddened eyes loomed above her, waiting. "No." She squeaked, voice high in panic. Ganon merely stood, waiting, with a hand raised encouragingly. "I don't want to die for no reason," she said, certain that a fully formed answer was what Ganon had waited for.
With a laugh, Ganondorf stepped closer, and with a surprisingly gentle hand, he lifted up Nabooru's chin. Looking into her eyes, he spoke. "Trust me, my dear. Making an example is all I'm going to do. And surely that's reason enough, no?" The thief's eyes widened and she opened her mouth to protest. Before she could even raise a finger to defend herself, however, the King's red eyes glinted gold, and his hand tightened impossibly around his deputy's neck. The crack of bones beneath his fingers brought a smile to his lips, and he cast her body away from him without a second glance.
Turning to the others, he spoke. "Let her death be a warning to all of you. I will not allow revolutionaries in my land, and should you act even the slightest bit resistant, you will be treated as such. Without mercy." The small group seemed torn between rage and terror. In the end, of course, terror won out, and they huddled together, fear making them weak. Turning to the less panicked of his new subjects, he quickly chose a pair of Gorons to remove his ex-deputy's body. They looked about to protest, but, glancing at the traitor's still form, quickly swallowed their complaints.
The masquerading princess watched, horrified as Nabooru's corpse was carried from the courtyard. The red gold eyes of the youth were dimmed with sorrow, his tears distorting the vibrant color. He was scared, and felt ill with guilt. He shouldn't be so relieved that Ganon thought the Hylian line was dead. He had thought that perhaps in dying with dignity he could honor his ancestry. After witnessing Nabooru's end, however, fear kept him from stepping forwards. I'm sorry, Father, he thought, eyes closing in misery. I need to live, for my people and for myself. And dignity cannot accompany me, there. I'm so sorry.
With a fierce glare, Ganon looked around the assembly, seemingly impatient. His subjects slowly stirred, breaking free of the bonds of terror. Though before it had been a Goron to break the silence, none stood forwards now, and with a hopeless look at her companions, a young Kokiri girl stepped forwards. All of the Gerudo stood still, as though they knew what must happen. No one moved to take the girl's place, and with a last wide-eyed glance around, she knelt. "Your highness?" She asked. The King turned to look at her, and with a squeak of fear, the girl ducked her head. After a moment, the man spoke.
"The world is to know of my rule by nightfall tomorrow. Should any of you, or your fellow men consider disobedience, remember. Obey me, and you may live your lives unhindered. But if you wish to rebel out of honor or idiocy, I can make your worst dreams reality. All it takes is a simple wish..." The King of Evil chuckled, basking in his subjects' fear. With an amused smile, he addressed the crowd once more.
His threat sent chills up the masquerading princess's spine. I'm must live, Father, she thought. Even if I must bow, and cast aside all dignity, I cannot abandon my people to this. I always thought things would turn out alright; I assumed the light would be strong enough to drive back the darkness. Now, though, it looks as though shadow will rule forever. She let out a final sob, and wiped the tears from her face. Struggling to compose herself, she whispered. "I'm sorry I've failed you... Father, Impa, Nabooru... But most of all, Link, I'm so sorry..."
And as the Princess of Hyrule bowed her head to her new King, the world sensed its doom. The impending darkness grew closer, and as shadow sealed itself over the land, the first drop of rain fell.