This is a fic about Dark Link in the Water Temple,
because Dark Link is awesome.
Revised August 3rd, 2006.
Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda and all characters, places, etc. mentioned hereafter are property of Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo, all rights reserved. The author of this work is in no way affiliated with the aforementioned parties, or any legal proceedings concerning The Legend of Zelda and the like. This story has been written purely out of enjoyment, without intending to profit, offend, or steal ideas. Any similarities between this work and that of any other fan author is purely coincidental.
By The Last Princess of Hyrule
False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. – Plato
The Water Temple was cold, and I was lost. Miserably so. For what felt like days—but was probably only a couple of hours—I had been wandering this accursed domain without logic or direction, opening identical doors made of granite that led to identical rooms of dull gray stone. I'd been walking so long through inch-deep water that I could no longer feel my feet, and for all I knew, I was no closer to my goal now than I'd ever been. It was only by order of my master, the King of Evil, that I continued my pursuit.
Yawning, I opened another door and walked into a new room, latching it closed behind me. As I took in my new surroundings, I had to rub my eyes to be sure I was seeing things right and I was struck by indescribable relief at the sight. This room—at long last—was different from all the others I had entered.
If I hadn't known I was at the bottom of Lake Hylia, I would have sworn I'd stepped outside into a marsh. A thick fog obscured even the walls from view, and all I could see—apart from the usual inch of water—was a small, green tree growing out of the center of the room. My lip curled at the sight of it—lush and flowering, fully alive despite the plethora of water and lack of soil. It was as much out of place in this sacred temple as I.
The reason for my intrusion was this: my master had instructed me to find the Hero of Time and destroy him. "How exactly am I supposed to accomplish such a task?" I had asked him as I knelt before his throne some days ago. "I couldn't possibly beat him—our skills are the same."
"Fool," my master had replied. "Did you really believe I didn't know that? I created you to be a perfect shadow of him."
I had hesitated with my next thought, but as it concerned my mission, voiced it anyway. "Forgive me, Master," I said, "but why would you create me unable to beat him?"
My master stood and slapped me across the cheek, throwing me to the floor. "Perhaps I should have created you with more intelligence," he said. "Steel isn't the only weapon that can kill a man. Sometimes, more pain can be inflicted with a few well-chosen words."
I had gingerly fingered the bleeding gashes on my cheeks made by my master's rings and said nothing. I didn't understand what he was implying until I arrived at the Water Temple and spent a few hours thinking about it while wandering through doors in lost aimlessness.
I sighed, returning to the present with another glance around. Where was I? This annoying enigma of a room reeked of magic—which I suppose was to be expected, considering its location leagues underwater and its inarguable illusion that I stood, in fact, outside. As if its appearance wasn't enough to confuse me, the energies of the room threw off my own magical senses when I tried to sense my quarry. In here, his aura seemed to emanate from all over the place.
I shook my head roughly, further jumbling my muddled thoughts. I couldn't make heads or tails of a single thing in this goddamn temple. Every moment spent in it was making my task—which had already promised to be near-impossible to complete in the first place—unbearably more difficult. He was here, somewhere in this underwater mess, searching for the Sage of Water to awaken her power, and I was here to make sure he didn't. Our roles were simple—why couldn't we play them out without this miserable maze?
I folded my arms and walked further into the room-that-did-not-seem-to-be-a-room. As I came closer to the tree, the fog thickened, closing in on me until I couldn't even see the door I'd entered through. Each of my steps created tiny ripples flowing away into the mist, and the impossible silence of the room magnified my breathing tenfold. When I reached the tree—which I figured must have been the source of the room's magical anomaly—I pressed my palms against it and mumbled a few words under my breath. A flicker of light started at each of my fingertips, a tiny anti-magic flame that engulfed the entire tree as I removed my hands. Within seconds, all that was left was a charred, twisted skeleton, and the magical barrier surrounding me conveniently vanished.
Freed from interference, I closed my eyes and tried again to locate the Hero of Time's aura. Distinct as his aura was, I still had trouble finding it over the many enchanted traps my master had placed throughout this temple. At first, all I picked up where mixed signals, shattered mental energies bombarding my mind from all sides. Each one was a tiny image of my adversary, but old—memories from things he had already done and places he had already left.
Frustrated, I tried to enhance my focus and follow the shattered images to their source. That was when his aura suddenly became very strong, and I opened my eyes as I heard the clicking of the lock on the door I had entered through. Immediately I hurried around the tree out of view and peered around it slowly. The door opened, closed, and through the thick fog I could make out the image of my quarry, the Hero of Time.
He walked into the room with practiced caution, and as he moved closer, came clearer into view until I could make out the faint glow of a blue fairy perched on his shoulder. "Something's not right about this," I heard her warn him.
"Well, of course not," the Hero of Time replied. "We just walked outside in an underwater temple."
"It's not just that," said the fairy. "I can feel something strange in here . . . something very powerful." I had the sense that she was looking around as she said this, having as much trouble as I was seeing through the mess of fog. She knew I was here. As they came up beside the tree, I slowly sidestepped around it, hoping they wouldn't distinguish my black clothes from its black bark.
"Is it Ruto?"
"Definitely not." The fairy was certain of my presence. "It feels evil . . . like Ganondorf, but not quite as strong."
They passed my tree and continued on, but I knew I only had a second or two before they turned around and spotted me. When I was sure his back was to me, I stepped out into the open arms crossed in arrogant confidence. My master had said that the time when I met the Hero of Time would be my hour of destiny, the moment I proved that my existence was worth my master's effort. By the three Goddesses was I going to prove it so.
"Damn, it's locked." I could hardly make out the Hero of Time's form anymore through the fog, but I knew he had found the door on the other end of the room. "All right then—looks like we'll have to find a key." With a sigh, he turned slowly back to the center of the room and met my eyes.
I smiled in my true malicious nature and drew my sword. "Ah, Hero of Time . . . I've been waiting for you."
He jumped back and covered his mouth at the sight of me, his eyes full of fear, as if he'd just seen the most hideous monster at my master's command. In reality, all he'd seen was himself. "What the hell . . .?" he murmured in disbelief.
"You're so pale," I went on. "You look like you've seen a ghost." In all respects, this was not far from the truth. I suppose I was a ghost, in a way. A shadow, in better words, of the Hero of Time. My master had crafted me out of an ordinary man, manipulating my form with his magic until I was neither human nor monster anymore. My master claimed me to be the physical representation of the dark side of the Hero of Time. What drove my master to think this, I did not know, but it was the reason for my existence, and I was in no hurry to question it.
"I have to admit, you're slower than I thought." I took a step forward, shaking my head at the ground with a disappointed expression. "I expected more from the legendary Hero of Time."
His eyes narrowed and he drew his sword. I smiled again.
"Be careful, Link," warned the fairy. "We don't have any idea what that thing could be."
"Thing?" I laughed. "How uncomplimentary. If you don't mind, I am a Shadow, and I deserve more respect."
"A Shadow?" the hero repeated.
"Of you, naturally." I was beginning to understand why my master enjoyed toying with this boy. When confronted with the extent of my master's powers, I at first couldn't comprehend how the Hero of Time had survived so long after awakening from his seven year slumber. He should count himself lucky that his heroic antics so amused my master.
The hero laughed nervously at my words, a reaction I wasn't expecting. Caught off guard, the smile froze on my face. I had been watching him for a very long time since my creation, observing every aspect of him until I was certain I knew everything I could expect in a fight. I should have been able to predict his every action and reaction. My pride would not stand for it.
"A Shadow?" he asked again, his words doubtful. "Is this another one of Ganondorf's tricks?"
"Link, I think he's being serious," said the fairy. I imagine she was watching me, though I couldn't tell beneath her glow.
The Hero of Time, his laughter more confident, ignored her. "Oh, how will I ever beat a horrible Shadow?" He held up his hands in fear.
"I can assure you, hero, that I am no farce!" I bellowed, my words echoing off the walls and causing ripples in the still water around our feet. "I'll make you rue your words and wish you'd kept your mockery to yourself," I threatened, aiming the point of my sword at his neck.
"Or what? You'll fly through me?"
"I'll strike you down!" Before he had a chance to react, I flew forward in one swift, soundless movement and my sword glanced past his face. I stopped with my face only inches from his, the blade of my sword barely touching his right ear. With a slight flick of my wrist, the sword nicked his ear, drawing a drop of blood. "Enjoy the warning."
The Hero of Time smiled at me. His eyes were full of confidence, strength built from the thousands of battles he'd already endured on his journey to this point, and the older battles far below his skin with their victories marked all the way back to his childhood. It was something I hadn't seen in all my time watching him. It was then that I considered, in my anxiousness to fight him, that I might have overlooked something vital. Those eyes were no fake's, as my master had led me to believe. Those were the eyes of a hero.
"Thanks, I will."
Simultaneously, we leapt back to put several yards between each other. I quickly raised my sword to regroup, which gave him just enough time to draw his and crouch in a ready position before I drove at him again. This time, he raised his shield to block my attack, and my sword glanced off the heavy iron like a frail stick. I staggered back, my arm resonating with shock. The hero lunged at me in counterattack, lowering his shield and swinging his sword at my stomach. I raised my own shield and jumped back, barely managing to block him. When he backed away, I countered with the same attack, which he blocked again. Things went on like this for several minutes, both of us swinging wildly at each other with our strongest attacks only to meet the broad side of a shield.
As anticipated, it didn't take long for the Hero of Time to grow frustrated. I could see him beginning to tire. His strained muscles shook under the force of each consecutive blow to his shield, and I could see perspiration sparkling on his forehead. Determination or no, he was still human. With each attack that failed to mark me, his next was more hurried, more impulsive. Each rash movement came more from his heart and less from his head. His tactics broke the ground rule of good swordplay.
"Watch where you're slinging that thing," I abashed, ducking a wild swing aimed to take off my head. "You're getting messy."
"What would you know?" he growled as we lunged at one another, swords raised above our heads.
I thrust my boot into his stomach before the blades could connect and kicked him back. I laughed coldly. "More than you think, hero. I learned from the best."
He sprang to his feet and threw another swing at my neck, which I parried without hesitation. "A stable hand?" he panted.
His next move was toward my sword arm, as was his pattern, and I whipped it around my back as I felt the whoosh of air from his blade. "Witty, aren't we?" I quipped.
"Don't let him get to you, Link!" shouted the fairy, whose darting form hovered near my eyes as if trying to blind me. "He's just trying to provoke you."
I laughed again. "It was the great King of Evil himself who taught me, but better I had learned from any man—even a stable hand—than a worthless forest sprite." I ducked and, as she dove to follow my head, batted her away with my upraised shield.
"Navi!" The hero dashed to where she'd fallen, plucking her out of the water before she could drown.
"Why would that ignorant little princess put all her trust in you to save her country? Did you actually merit that stupid dream of hers? Or—" I stepped toward him and looked down on his crouched figure through narrowed eyes. "—was it that she merit yours?"
"You—" he started.
"Don't be so shocked," I said with a shrug. "I know everything about you. Even some things you don't know about yourself."
"Don't listen to him, Link!" the fairy piped up. "It's all lies! He's just trying to get a rise out of you!"
The Hero of Time ignored her, setting her on his shoulder where she wrapped herself in the fabric of his collar. He glared at me, but remained silent.
I took my cue to continue. Now I would show my true strength. I already knew I couldn't beat him with a sword, even though it appeared I was winning. He would come back in the end, like he always did, and finish me when my guard was down. But may the Goddesses damn me if I wasn't going to take a piece of that heroism down with me. "Oh yes, I know all about you," I started. "That old forgotten past of yours isn't so old and forgotten in my mind. I know all about that family you don't even know is yours, the house of heathens from whence you—a bastard child of scum and fornication—came forth."
The Hero of Time stared at me in wide-eyed wonder. Just the reaction I knew to expect. Like anyone who's never known a reason to lie, he wore his heart on his sleeve with no way to protect it. All I had to do to break him was weave my story according to his expressions.My fierce smile widened, baring all my teeth, and I almost felt fire dancing in my red eyes. "You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? That's too bad, because I heard all about you in Kakariko when some drunk in the tavern insisted I sit and share a drink with him. He swore at the sight of me that me looked just like your father, and from there he spilled the entire story over two mugs of ale." I shook my head, eyes downcast. "The Goddesses only know where your father picked up your mother, but once he found her, he—"
"—That's a lie!" the hero interrupted. He leapt to his feet and drove at me fiercely, holding his sword at arm length. I sidestepped him without even needing to think about it. "That is a damned lie!" he spat. "No man like that could be my father!"
"Once your mother gave birth, she left you to die in the forest in order to spare herself the shame of having a child out of wedlock," I went on, ignoring him. All his protests died away in the choking silence of the room, just as I knew they would. "But I suppose she was doing you a favor, since your father would have killed you to save himself that same dishonor. Yet, without even knowing your father, you still grew up to act so much like him. I know you remember all those times when you caught yourself daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to see the ones who teased you—especially that Mido—writhing on the ground, drenched in their own warm blood. You thirsted for it in the late hours of the night, cold and alone."
The Hero of Time stared down at the water through glazed eyes. He shivered, but whether it was from the cold air blowing over his wet clothes or the effect of my words, I couldn't tell. I didn't know if he was even listening to me anymore, but it didn't matter either way. His sword lay in the water next to him, its clean blade shimmering. We both stood very still now, completely off guard, swords abandoned and shields down. The fight was forgotten.
"You still thirst." I broke the silence after a long moment. I watched him flinch at the sound of my voice. I closed my eyes and dropped my sword in the water. I knew what the Hero of Time would do the moment I finished speaking. Though I knew it was coming and could block the blow, I knew the fury he would put into subsequent ones would eventually overpower me anyway. I had seen it before.
"You've never admitted it, and you never will, but you wish with all your noble heart that everyone else would suffer the way you've suffered. You try to complete these noble tasks as if they could wash away your dark thoughts and make you into the great hero you're destined to be. But what makes you think you can be anything more than the son of a rapist and a murderer yourself? You've killed more people than you can even count. Oh yes, those monsters my master sends were once people too. You can say that it's for the good of Hyrule, but when you look at it simply, with all things aside, your evils are no different from the evils of your parents."
And sure enough, with perfect predictability, I felt a sharp jab as the tip of his sword plunged into my chest before the echo of my voice could die away in the expansive room. With a horrific crunch of blade breaking bone, he forced me to the ground and thrust the sword deep into my heart, wrenching it sickeningly.
My eyes snapped open and I met the glare of the Hero of Time as he leaned over me, hands clenched around the hilt of the Master Sword that I saw rising up out of my chest. He was panting, little flecks of sweat and blood collected on his face. I tried to laugh at his intense expression, but all that came up was a clot of blood that splattered across my face.
"Can't speak with your throat full of lies, can you?" the hero snarled in a low voice. "You can't make me believe any of that shit. That darkness you spatter doesn't exist in me."
I coughed and choked on the blood in my throat, struggling to take in enough air to speak. Excruciating pain licked my skin like raging flames, and if not for the lack of air and the utter shock my body had entered, my only words would have been only screams. But somehow, I managed to rasp, "I wouldn't . . . even exist if . . . it didn't. I'm . . . made from everything you . . . won't allow yourself . . . to be."
He jerked his sword roughly, twisting it around in my cruel heart. I forced a grimacing smile, blood pouring over my trembling lips. I tried to breathe, but found it impossible. His sword must have punctured my lungs. "See? You just . . . proved me right . . . Link, the hero . . ." My entire body shook with seizures, and I choked up more blood. "What a . . . sick joke. . ."
That was how I killed the pure heart of the Hero of Time.