Disclaimer: I do not own The Legend of Zelda.

Summary: Post TP. When Link returns the Master Sword to the Sacred Grove, a new journey awaits him.

Shadow Hylian: Just an idea that occured to me while playing TP. This fic has originated from the connection between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Possible TP spoilers.


"Remembered speech"

Written text

The Return of the Hero

Chapter 1

The early evening sun tinged the rich foliage of the Sacred Grove a rusty orange as twilight approached. Crimson rays filtered through the trees, illuminating the ground and bathing the forest in a welcoming glow, the light sparkling across the surface of the shallow spring at the very heart of the woods. At the time before twilight fell, the forest was at its most magnificent. However, the one who walked through these woods hardly noticed the beauty of the Sacred Grove.

Link trudged through the thick undergrowth, following the confusing path that led to where the Master Sword Pedestal lay. He walked deeper into the woods, lost in his thoughts and straying from the forest path as the mysteriously enchanting music lured him closer to the ruins of the ancient temple. The Hero had absolutely no desire to return to this place, but it was his duty to return the Master Sword to its rightful place, so he dejectedly continued to wander through the trees.

As he reached the ruins of the Temple of Time, Link saw that the entrance to the Master Sword clearing was still open as he had left it, the stone sentinels still in place on either side guarding the doorway. Link made his way down the marble steps, walked across the moss-covered floor towards the archway and through it into the clearing.

The Master Sword clearing was as silent and as lifeless as the first time Link had visited the resting place of the Blade of Evil's Bane. The silence was so complete that it was as if the trees waited indefinitely for the time when the hero would return to the forest. The clearing, itself, gave the immediate impression that this was a sacred plain; it was an area of sanctuary among the trees, deep within the Sacred Grove where only few people have walked. It felt as if the Goddesses, themselves, were watching over the clearing as the bright sunlight pierced through the trees, the light falling over the marble pedestal that stood vacant.

Link walked slowly towards the pedestal, hesitating for a moment before he came to a halt. He removed the Master Sword from the sheath on his back and turned the blade over in his hands, considering what he had sacrificed in order to become the true hero and wield this sword. He wondered idly, how much the heroes before him had suffered; how much anguish they had endured in order to defeat the evil that was their duty to vanquish.

"You must persist on the lonely path of the sword to obtain true courage and earn the strength to conquer the great evils of this world."

The words that the Hero's Shade had spoken were becoming truer as time passed. All of the heroes of the past were alone in their quest, burdened under their title as "The Hero" and weighed down by the inescapable knowledge that they were Hyrule's only hope.

Now unable to return to the life he once led and separated from his companion, Midna, who had returned to her own realm, this had become true for Link as well. He was alone, like the heroes of the past.

It was his fate as the Hero.

With one last glance at the Sacred Blade, He gently placed it back into the pedestal and headed back to the archway. As he reached the doorway, Link paused and looked back towards the pedestal, where the Master Sword sat looking as if it had never left the Sacred Grove, light illuminating the finely crafted hilt.

Link made his way back to the ruins and headed over towards the lost woods, but as he passed the stone doors of the ruined Temple of Time engraved with the Royal family's emblem, he hesitated. The temple was once a great landmark in Hyrule, with many of the legends mentioning its significance. After some consideration, Link decided to have one last look around the past Temple of Time when it stood proudly, an image of grandeur in days plagued by evil. It was unlikely that Link would return to the Sacred grove again, so he thought that he should at least see the temple at its most impressive before he left Hyrule.

Link stood before the Temple doors and opened them gently revealing a monochrome image of the interior of the temple which wavered slightly when touched. This was the time window which allowed Link to enter the temple many decades into the past when it was intact.

Link walked steadily into the time window, his vision blurring as he walked blindly into the past. When his eyes adjusted, Link found himself standing inside the past Temple of Time, which looked as if it was newly built. The light streaming into the temple from the high windows onto the marble floor, the smooth surface reflecting the light and the temple theme chanted magically gave the temple a very revered atmosphere which made him tread very quietly through the temple as he headed towards the Master Sword Chamber.

However, as Link approached the doorway into the chamber, he noticed that there was a new line of Hylian text engraved onto the stone wall that surrounded the opening, just above the archway which read:

Here lies Hyrule's bloody history of greed and hatred.

Frowning, Link continued to stare at the writing that had most definitely not been there the last time he had visited the temple. Link could not understand why such writings would have appeared on the doorway anyway, since the only thing behind the door was the Master Sword and the magical stairway that led to the heart of the temple.

Dismissing any further thoughts, Link walked through the archway, into the Master Sword Chamber. As Link descended the few steps into the room and looked around the large chamber, his eyes immediately were drawn to the pedestal, where the Master Sword was resting. Link approached the pedestal and, after a few seconds, he realised that there must be a connection between the Sacred Grove pedestal and the one in the temple. Since both the Sacred Grove pedestal and the Temple of Time pedestal are in the exact same place, but in different times, they were linked to each other. When the sacred grove pedestal is vacant; so is the Temple of time pedestal. The last time Link had visited the temple, he had the Master Sword with him so the pedestal was empty. This time, because he had replaced the Master Sword before he had entered the temple, the blade was present in the Temple of Time as well.

In the ancient texts, the Master Sword was described as "the final key". This notion intrigued Link, and he wondered if the temple would reveal some of its secrets now that the key had been returned to the pedestal. Maybe this was the explanation to the text that had appeared above the archway?

Link looked around the rest of the chamber carefully and noticed a mural beneath every one of the stained glass windows on each wall of the chamber. As Link moved closer to the nearest mural, he noticed that each depicted a scene from Hyrule's troubled past, with many of them showing scenes from the last great battle against evil, the Imprisoning War. As simple as they were graphic, the images engraved on the walls made his blood turn to ice. The sheer desperation and panic that was carved into these wall was almost overwhelming. There was one particular mural that caught Link's eye; the main series of images of the wall at the very back of the temple captured the despair and suffering that the people endured at the time of the Imprisoning War so completely that Link felt his heart sink. He shifted his gaze from the image of the people pleading to the Goddesses to help them, and instead concentrated on the inscription below the mural:

The People believed that The Hero of Time would again come to save them,

But the Hero did not appear…

Facing an onslaught of evil, the people could do nothing but appeal to the Goddesses. As the time of doom seemed nigh, they left their lives in the hands of fate.

A fierce surge of anger coursed through link's mind as he tried to comprehend what he had just learned. The Hero of Time…ran away? He fled when his people needed him the most?! Link felt as if all he had ever believed in was a lie. How could someone as courageous and true as the Hero of Time leave his people to die while the evil that he was meant to destroy claimed Hyrule for its own?

"After fighting many wars in distant lands, The Hero of Time became weary of battle and turned his blade upon himself. No one in Hyrule knew what became of the Hero; many beleived that he had returned to the Sacred Realm."

As Link remembered the words of the Hero's Shade, his anger lessened slightly as he could relate to the struggled that the Hero would have endured during his adventure, but he still resented the fact that the Hero of Time fled, troubled or not. Feeling that he had seen the secrets of the past that no one was meant to see, Link turned away from the murals and, again approached the Master Sword pedestal. The Master Sword was the key that revealed these secrets to him. He couldn't leave the sword there ready to give up to anyone who wandered into the temple, so he reluctantly grasped the hilt of the blade and took it from its pedestal.

The moment that the blade left the pedestal, Link knew something was wrong. As the sword left the stone plinth, the air around him condensed forming a crystal around the raised platform, encasing him within it. Beginning to panic slightly, Link attempted to break to crystal by slamming the hilt of the master sword against the barrier, but it remained intact without so much as a scratch on it. He was trapped, he thought desperately as he quickly looked around trying to find some way of breaking out of the crystal. The crystal was too magically powerful for Link to break out of it by normal methods.

The moment that he had realised this, his field of vision became obscured as the crystal began to revolve slowly and a blinding light poured from the ceiling. Link quickly became disoriented and dizzy as the crystal rotated faster and the light grew brighter still. His head ached as his vision became blurry and his hearing became distant and faint. Link's vision faded into darkness as the sharp pain in his head doubled, making him become light-headed and faint, his strength wavering as he fell into unconsciousness.

"Look, Link's came back!" Link heard a child's voice ring out brightly, as if from a great distance away as he began to regain consciousness.

"He never usually reacts as badly as this when he gets transported here," a second, concerned voice said, "What's happened to him?"

"Be quiet, he's waking up," a third person spoke as Link slowly began to open his eyes, blinking a few times to adjust his hazy vision and looking around him.

Link was lying flat on his back, on a cold stone plinth. Above him, he could see the bright cerulean blue ceiling shining as the colour swirled around indistinctly, and three anxious faces looking down at him. A girl of about ten years old with bright green hair, a fierce-looking Goron with wild hair, and an old Hylian man. Link sat up quickly, one hand clutching his head and stared at them uneasily. Who are these people?, He thought nervously, Where am I? As he looked around, Link found himself in the centre of a large octagonal room with platforms that had odd symbols on them in each corner of the room, every one a different colour. His attention was brought back to the stranger standing before them as the girl spoke up.

"Are you okay, Link? She said in a worried tone, "We've been searching everywhere for you-"

"Yes tell us, Link." the Goron cut in sharply with a very angry expression on his face, "Where in the Goddesses name have you been?!" he demanded aggressively. Link recoiled slightly, and tried to back away. How did these people know his name?

"W-Who are you?" he said nervously as the Goron continued to stare menacingly at him.

"That's enough, Darunia." the old man said sharply to the Goron, who quietened reluctantly, "This is no time to act the fool, Link. The Sages seal has cracked and the Evil King Ganondorf has escaped back into Hyrule. We have been searching for you for the last four years, but we could not find you anywhere within the realm of Hyrule."

"What do you mean you've been looking for me?!" Link shouted, "How do you know my name? Where am I?" he yelled angrily.

"You know perfectly well why we are looking for you!" the man shouted, "Why did you abandon your people, Hero of Time?!"

Shadow Hylian: The first chapter may be a bit confusing, since I was trying not to give too much of the plot away in this chapter, but this will be resolved when the plot begins to take shape. I would also like to point out that this fic is not just a case of mistaken identity, but also does a bit of soul-searching into the character of the Hero of Time and this, in particular will be implemented in the next chapter.

Comments and constructive criticism are welcomed. The feedback would be very useful so review please.