Here we are, guys- can you believe it's finally here? The LAST chapter of the Four Swords: Reiteration! Are you ready?
Everything comes full circle in the conclusion to my first epic Zelda fanfiction, all questions will be answered and the adventure of the brave Four Sword heroes will finally come to a close.
Before you guys start, I just wanted to say one final, last time...
Chapter 35 – Fulfillment
In one last, brilliant burst of light… the beams completely covered the form of the beast formerly known as the God of Evil, bursting from every inch of its monstrous body and drenching the pale darkness of the night in its luminous glow. The brightness washed over the entire stone tower, cascading over the harsh, rubble-scattered stone ground of the castle… and as the Links watched with wide-eyes, the wave of light flowed over the tower like a streaming river, draping down over the walls and covering the entire, ruined castle in its glow.
The light radiated from the center of the explosion, where the form of the beast was no longer noticeable behind the pure, brilliant blast of light. The heroes watched in amazement as the light poured over the stone floor of the tower… and as it drenched the unholy, cursed atmosphere in its purity, the heroes could only stare as the castle… began to change. The dark, cold shadows of the stone were washed away, leaving the pure, white glow beneath. Light drenched the terrible steeples of the bewitched tower, and the terrible, hooked towers transformed into the majestic, regal towers that had once beautified the castle of the kingdom of Hyrule. The blackened, burst glass in the halls of the tower… were repaired, and in their place, the beautiful, colored stained glass windows once more painted their beautiful pictures across the tower.
Hyrule Castle had returned to its state of glory and wonder- no longer was it poisoned by the terrible curse of the God of Evil. With smiles on their faces, the Links turned to look at each other, feeling refreshed by the bath of light which flowed over the castle, and danced across the world in its splendor. They…. They had done it. Things were being set right once more.
And yet, their sights set upon each other were soon distracted away- and back up to the center of the light's source, as their gazes were snapped instantly to the sudden appearance of a figure, hovering in and above the light, with the holy glow radiating across its aura.
Slowly, the small figure descended upon the heroes, enveloped by the righteous glow yet gradually becoming visible to those on the ground… and as her dainty feet touched the purified, white stone of the tower, her hands were brought up to her chest… and, opening her eyes, the Princess of Hyrule, Princess Zelda, looked upon her Four heroes with wonder and joy, her eyes brimming with crystalized tears as relief flooded over her like a revitalizing waterfall. The light around the heroes and the Princess slowly dimmed… and the Princess took a step towards the heroes, her chin bowed and her overjoyed, soft smile pushing dimples up into her cheeks.
"Link… you… you did it," Zelda spoke softly, her voice and eyes pouring out her gratitude and happiness. Clasping her hands together gently, the Princess looked up towards the light above her… and, back at the heroes, she smiled and gave a comforting nod. "You've defeated Ganon… and saved me from his darkness. Thank you…"
Overjoyed, and crying out her name in jubilation, the four heroes ran up to the Princess, forgetting the pain of their battle almost instantly and instead rushing to crowd the rescued Zelda, large grins on their faces and talking ecstatically and all at once to the Princess.
"You're okay! You're okay!"
"We beat him, and for good! Ganon'll NEVER hurt you again!"
"You're safe now- the God of Darkness will never again trouble our world."
"Hyrule's back to normal now… and everything's back to the way it should be!"
The Princess giggled as a maroon blush warmed her cheeks, and she brought a hand daintily up to her mouth to hide her grin as she looked to and from each of the four Links, who were still rambling on, excited and overjoyed at her return. She… she remembered, the very first time she had seen her childhood friend as four different heroes. It was when they had first rescued her, almost a year ago… Though she understood why now, it didn't help the almost silly feeling she got, surrounded by four nearly identical copies of her best friend. Still…
"Link…" The heroes quieted down as Zelda began to talk- but even she was suddenly quieted, her expression changing from that of a reserved, quiet glee to a wide-eyed gasp of awe and surprise, her eyes suddenly trailing upwards at the light which once more grew in fervor above the children. And as the light grew, the eyes of the others were also drawn upwards to it… And as another figure emerged from the light, the expressions on the heroes' faces turned to those of even greater surprise and joy.
Looking down upon the heroes, basking in the warm and pure light of her brilliance, the Keaton hovered a few feet in the air in front of and above the children, her form blowing lightly in the wind. Though her figure itself was transparent- she appeared more as a ghostly wisp than the firm, solid form she had taken before- it still glowed with same amount of grace and magnificence as before, and her three, luscious tails swirled around her in abundance and majesty.
"Four Sword Heroes… my children, you have defeated the God of Evil… as I knew you would. He is once more sealed within the Four Sword… you have done well."
Their confidence and belief rekindled in one another, the Four Heroes- Red, Blue, Vio, and Green- looked at one another, wearing quiet, yet relieved smiles, nodding at each other briefly before returning their gaze to the goddess up above them.
And yet, though her sight was truly beauteous to behold… Red couldn't help but frown slightly as he looked almost directly through her translucent form, a sadness passing over his eyes. "Keaton… you're… you're okay, right? You're… alive?" The others looked at Red, their expressions also becoming saddened as they, too, remembered what had happened at the beginning of the fight- she had sacrificed herself to destroy Ganondorf's invincibility, and although she was in front of them… it was true, her form was intangible and fluttered like a leaf in the breeze, almost as weak as a leaf itself.
However… the fears of the others, and their sadness, were dashed away in an instant as they felt her warmth rush over them like the sun, her smile lighting up her muzzle and once more looking down upon the heroes through her ever-closed eyes.
"…I no longer have a physical form in this world, my child. However… You each have spoken true. As long as there are heroes to defend me, and uphold the Light… I shall live on."
The Links once more looked at each other, wearing soft, reassured smiles. The Keaton… she may have given her physical form for them, but… she would not die. She was their Goddess, their protector… And they all knew, looking around them at the reverted Hyrule Castle, it had been she who had so carefully looked after them, changed their home back to normal, and returned to them their Princess. They owed her so much. Without thinking about what they were doing, the Four Links knelt down before the Keaton, placing their hands over their hearts and bowing their heads before the great Goddess.
"Whenever Hyrule needs us…"
"Whenever Darkness threatens the Light…"
"Wherever we are called to…"
"And however we may help…"
The Four Sword heroes, speaking as one, looked up to their Princess, and their Goddess, with powerful, wise, courageous, and heartfelt eyes.
"We will fight."
The Keaton returned the glowing smile, growing in its radiance and love as her children pledged themselves to her protection. They were truly the heroes her kingdom cried out for… the heroes who would, and who already had, face the darkness and take on impossible odds to restore and protect the Light of their world. They were legends in themselves… and yet… Her smile grew slightly sad, and she once more bent her chin, speaking again to the heroes.
"… My children… it is time… for you to return to your life. You have made such sacrifices… and now, I wish for you to be freed of your burden… The Four Sword must be protected. The God of Darkness has once more been sealed in its blade… and the safest place it can reside…"
"… Is in its pedestal," Green finished with a quiet, though bittersweet, smile. He nodded once… he understood. The whole problem had been Ganondorf stealing the power of the God who was sealed in the sword… and now that the Links had fully concealed the last of his powers into the blade, it was the integrity of the Four Sword alone which kept his powers at bay. It was not a sword to be used lightly- nor one intended to be used for any common fight. Above all… it needed to be protected. And as she had said… there was only one place it would forever be safe.
"You… you mean…" Red whimpered quietly, realization also dawning on him and the others. Sadly, he looked over at his friends, who returned his morose, solemn gaze. "We… we've got to return the Four Sword again… don't we?" His heart sunk as he spoke the words he knew to be the truth… Truly, it was the right choice- but merely the thought of once more parting with his friends… the somber truth stung and ate at his soul.
"It makes sense…" Vio's words were quiet, calm and controlled- and yet, even he could not hide the soft sorrow behind his eyes, the melancholy tone seeping through his words and aching around his heart. He knew, just as well as the others, what needed to be done. "Ganon's power is not destroyed… merely contained. The safest place for the sword to rest is not in our hands…"
Looking down at his shoes, Blue's eyes softly narrowed in his sharp, bitter sadness as he nonchalantly kicked at the stone floor with his boots. He looked through the corner of his eyes up at the others, his voice biting- yet also, laced with his own heartache. "Guess that's just how it goes, then, huh? No use crying over it… it is what it is."
Having remained silent the duration of the conversation, the Princess cast her gentle, tender eyes over the four heroes as they each dismayed in the sad truth of having to part with each other once more. She knew… she could never truly understand their sorrow. It would be ludicrous of her to even think she would be able to sympathize with them… she had no idea the hardships, the adventures, they had gone through as a team of four- only to ultimately need to return to one person once more. Instead, she remained silent out of respect for the heroes- for her friend.
"Keaton… will we…" Red spoke up, forcing a weak smile onto his face, for the sake of the others and looking up at their Goddess. "… Will we ever see you, again?"
The six in the tower were quiet… but once more, the warm smile grew across the Keaton's face, and she gave a small, soft nod.
"Yes… in many ways, and in many times… Though I may take different names or forms throughout the ages… I shall always be there to look after the Chosen Hero."
"… What about… each other?"
The heroes looked with quiet surprise at who had spoken next- and each wore a small, sad smile at Blue, who spoke under his breath, looking off to the side to hide his pain. They then returned their gaze back to the Keaton- as they all felt the same question tugging at their hearts. True, this was the second time they had formed together as a team of four to defeat the darkness… but once the sword was back in its pedestal again… would they ever meet again as four?
"That, my child… is a question, you can only find in your hearts. Even I cannot predict the future… but if you Four truly believe, and hope with all your heart, that you may one day meet again…"
Between the four heroes, each exchanged a soft, brotherly smile of their friendship and kindred love for one another. Through all they had experienced… all the adventures they had taken together, learning to overcome their differences and work together as a team like no other… reassured in their own strength, wisdom, courage, and heart, the four looked back at the Keaton, smiling quietly and nodding in response to her words. And in the loving, warm smile of the Keaton… once more, the Goddess nodded, her warmth flooding through the Links in her calm and reassuring words.
And as the Goddess once more opened her muzzle to speak to the heroes, the glowing light from around them began to grow and spread, engulfing the heroes and the Princess in its holy, enchanting embrace and shrouding away the outside world. The figure of the Keaton, as she spoke, slowly began to drift away… until her words of love and hope were the last presence she graced upon her world, and unto her children.
"…Then, perhaps… perhaps, one day… you shall… Farewell… "
Fading away into the light, the voice and image of the Keaton slowly drifted off into the brightness of her glow, and the four heroes looked around them as the light grew and spread across the tower, surrounding them and nearly blinding them in its light. Joining them by their side, even the Princess raised her hand, along with the others, up to her eyes as she squinted, trying to see past the bright, luminescent glow which obscured their surroundings from view.
The bright glow of the light around them didn't last long, however… and it was only seconds later that it began to fade, allowing the children to lower their hands and squint past the dying glow to gaze with surprise and awe at their new surroundings.
The soft sounds of birds chirping and blades of grass swaying in the gentle wind caressed the atmosphere of the sacred place where they stood… and each of the heroes looked down at their feet, where they stood in a half-paved, half-covered in grass circle of stone. Around them was a crumbled, half-standing wall of stone, with heavenly carvings etched onto their sides. The sounds and echoes of the forest around them, coupled with the silence of the castle's courtyard nearby, reflected around the ruin-like structure and sent warm feelings of peace and comfort through the hearts of the children who stood in its presence.
First to talk, as she took a step forward and looked around her in quiet awe, the Princess smiled briefly, her eyes directed to what was at the center of the ruin-circle. She looked over her shoulder lightly at the others, her eyes filled with understanding and faith. "The Sanctuary…" she spoke quietly, turning once more to look at what still firmly stood at the center of the circle of stone. "The resting-place… the pedestal of the Four Sword."
It had changed drastically since the Links had last visited it, and even they couldn't help but take a step around the Sanctuary, looking up and around them at their surroundings. When the attack and cave-in of the Sanctuary had occurred… they never would have thought this was what would happen to it. And yet… despite how it had crumbled to the ground, it seemed… right, almost. The peaceful air of the forest, and the loving hearts of those from the castle, stretched out towards the resting place of the Four Sword… open to the outside world, with the sun shining on the pedestal… Briefly, in the back of their minds, each wondered if the Keaton had some part to play in rejuvenating and changing the beloved Sanctuary.
And yet… lastly, as they looked around the Sanctuary, their eyes ultimately fell on one final thing- the pentagon-shaped block of stone in the center of the circle, with a thin, narrow slit driven through its top. On the stone was inscribed something- and the Links' eyes narrowed, then widened, at the inscription carved into the holy stone, which they had never noticed before.
Following the gaze of the Links, the Princess smiled as she walked up to the pedestal, daintily kneeling down before the stone and gently placing a hand on its cool, smooth surface. The language written upon it was fresh, and new… even she, who had often prayed and visited the holy place, knew these letters had not been there before. And yet, a smile grew across her face, and she closed her eyes, reciting perfectly the ancient Hylian text inscribed across the smooth surface.
"The One divides to Four… The Four unite as One."
Quietly, the Links exchanged looks upon hearing the Princess speak the symbols etched on the stone pedestal, quietly thinking about its words. And as Zelda rose back up, turning to look at the others with a smile, her smile grew onto the faces of the heroes, who looked at each other with renewed faith and confidence.
"Y'know… I had a bunch of fun," Blue admitted with a small, though still wry, grin. Crossing his arms, he looked away for a moment to think- musing to himself, yet aloud, "Running all over Hyrule, getting our butts kicked and then kicking butts… fighting monsters and defeating evil… Insane, but fun. So… thanks." He then glanced back to the others with a wild, enthusiastic glint in his eyes, "I'll go an adventure with you bunch of idiots any day!"
"Idiots? Speak for yourself," Vio responded instantly with a smile, also crossing his arms a little smugly. And yet, his eyes looked at the others… and, letting his hands fall back to his sides, he spoke through his heart as he looked at his friends, "I… I'll never forget you all. No matter what. You all have taught me so much… So much more than I thought I could learn. What we went through, our failures and our triumphs… They'll be with me, forever."
Sniffing, Red rubbed the ends of his tear-brimmed eyes with his fists, looking to each of his friends, his heart both breaking and lifting in sadness and in joy. "You guys… we're the best team, ever! In all of Hyrule! Nothing can ever tear us apart… even when we join back together…" Here, he lowered his hands, blinking away the tears and looking over in hope at the pedestal… With a calm, reassured nod, the hero grinned as he looked back with cheer at his friends. "We'll always have each other."
"Yeah…" Green gave a quiet smile as he looked to those who spoke, laughing slightly when he knew it was his turn to come. Already, the four had, almost unconsciously, moved to stand around the pedestal, looking down at the incision through which the blade was to be placed. Green's gaze drifted down towards the pedestal… and then, back upwards, to his friends who stood around it, and beside him. What… what was he to say? He could hardly think of anything. And yet… as he held up his own Four Sword, looking from it to the pedestal… he was suddenly filled with a warm, uprising feeling of hope and reawakening.
"I… I just know we'll see each other again," the leader of the Four Sword heroes spoke with a quiet, yet assured smile in his voice, the others turning to look at him. Lightly, the hero bowed his head, his gaze settling calmly on the pedestal before them. "In our memories, in our hearts…" Instinctively, the hero raised his sword in his hands, looking to the others, who were doing the same- reassured, confident smiles on their faces. Finally, the hero gave a nod, looking one last time at his friends- the memories of their adventures flooding back to each of them, and giving them the hope and drive to plunge the sword into the pedestal.
"Always… we'll be together!"
Standing strong together, the Four Sword heroes lifted in tandem their holy sword, and, with bravery and resolution overflowing in their hearts, plunged the tip of the Four Sword securely and into its pedestal. As soon as the pure blade sunk into the divine stone of its hold, the entire Sanctuary was doused in the light which shone from the blade- and the Princess, witnessing the sight, could only watch in awe as the light seemed to envelop and wrap around the four heroes, shrouding their forms in brightness and lamination. And as the light grew around the Four Sword heroes, their forms slowly began to grow close together, merging together in the light and forming into a single, solitary figure.
The light slowly began to dim, soon after it had exploded outwards from the sword, and, once more able to see past the illumination, the Princess Zelda looked first with eyes of wonder, then eyes of peace, at what the light had left behind.
Slowly, the single grip on the hilt of the firmly-placed Four Sword was released, and the boy felt his hand drop lightly to his side, looking forlornly at the sword held so dear to his heart. The single, solitary eyes of the hero Link widened slightly in a moment's surprise as the memories and feelings of four rushed back to him all at once… and yet, looking back at the Four Sword, his expression lightly calmed… and a smile crept across his face as he gently lifted his hand, and set his palm lightly atop the jeweled end of the sword's hilt.
Smiling past his tears, Link tried not to choke on his words as he bowed his head one last time, his hand set gently on the sword. And as he spoke… the memories, feelings, thoughts, and hopes of each of his friends rushed to him, overflowing him in their emotions. And yet… the hero Link knew just what to say, his eyes closed, Link spoke to his Goddess… and to his friends.
"Thanks… guys… for everything."
The child had his moment of silence- and, letting his hand fall once more off the sword and down to his side, he found himself looking up, and into the beautiful, comforting eyes of the Princess.
Taking a deep breath, the hero looked one last time at the sword- and gave it a small, smiling nod. Stepping around it, Link focused his gaze now on the girl who stood before him- his childhood friend, the one he and his friends had worked so hard to rescue, fought the very demons of hell to save… And, despite himself, gave a small grin in return to her smile.
"Zelda… I, uh…" the hero tried to speak, looking a bit awkwardly off to the side, wearing his weak smile as he tried to summon the right words to say to her.
And yet, the hero blinked, looking suddenly to the side and at his hand- which the Princess had gently taken in her own, looking up at him with an understanding smile.
"Link… let's go home," the Princess said quietly and gently, her warm smile flooding the hero in her kindness. She giggled softly, looking off to the castle. "After all… you have your life to return to, as she had said. The Kingdom… your father, as well."
Link should have been surprised… and yet, surprisingly, he wasn't. Instead, the comforting smile returned, and he took Zelda's hand in his own, returning the show of friendship. He knew… deep down, he knew his father was alright. Through all his hardships, the Keaton must have known, and would never have let him go.
The Keaton… his life…
She was right. It was time for him to go.
Returning her words with a nod and a smile, Link walked beside her, hand in hand, as the two slowly began to exit the Sanctuary. Before they reached the end of the circle, however, he slowed his footing and stopped- looking down at the ground in quiet thought. The princess looked after him in silence, with a quiet, waiting smile.
Grinning widely, Link looked over his shoulder at the shadow which was cast behind him, the sun's rays flooding past him and drawing the clear outline on the grass beneath him.
"We… we did it, Shadow," Link said quietly with a confident, cheerful smile. Was what he was doing foolish? After all… he could not know for certain if… Dismissing these thoughts away in a heartbeat, the hero grinned as he lifted his free hand, flashing a brave and bold thumbs-up to the patch of darkness on the ground behind him. Whether he was there or not… he had still mattered. And he was not about to forget that. Once more, the hero nodded and grinned, remembering to give their lost friend his due.
"We did it."
Turning back towards the friend at his side, Link smiled once more at her, nodding as his indication that he was ready to go. Hand-in-hand, the Hero and the Princess continued their stroll out of the Sanctuary, their shadows trailing behind them…
And as they passed the rim of the stone-ruins, the shadow of the hero flashed for a brief moment- almost seeming to grin as it independently raised its opposite hand, returning the gesture of triumph, his thumb jerked high in the air.
The Sanctuary was left in peace, and as its only two inhabitants left, the atmosphere was once more filled with peace and calmness, the only sounds echoing throughout the stones that of the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves in the nearby trees. And as the sun began to rise in the sky, slowly beginning its climb towards the center… though it cast its beauteous, warm glow over the world, in particular, the glow off the Four Sword, secured in its pedestal, radiated off its shining, silver blade and the gem seated at its hilt. Once more resting in peace, the Four Sword, in its glory and magnificence, shone in the light of the coming dawn, glistening in pride as it brought in the new day, and sending out its power of hope to the land of Hyrule.
A new day was beginning…
A day of peace.
Wow... what an adventure. What a fun, incredible, exciting journey- both writing this fic and reading ya'll's reviews, has been so much fun. Words can't fully describe how wonderful- and how sad- it felt for me to write the Links' final good-byes, and those last few words of my creation. It's truly been an honor, guys, to write this fic and hear all your amazing reviews and comments, encouraging me to keep going and cheering me up with your compliments and helpful comments. I'm incredibly proud of my accomplishment, this roughly 180,000 word, 35-chapter story, and I would never have gotten done with it if not for my readers and reviewers.
Well, we've finally made it to the end. It's been a heck of a ride, everyone, and I just want to say: Thank you. I would have NEVER gotten this far, to the end of my story, without the amazing support of my readers and reviewers. To those that were with me from the very beginning til the very end... your reviews were invaluable, thank you SO much- you know who you are! :) To all other readers, non-reviewers, and those who are only just now finding my fic- I still appreciate ya'll, just as much! :D
Anyways, I guess it's time for me to say my own good-byes, now, huh? :) I had so much fun writing the adventures (and sometimes, misadventures!) of Green, Red, Blue, and Vio- and Shadow, too!- and, rest assured, there will be more! I'll let you all know now, I am planning a mini-series of one-shots revolving around the Four Sword Links. I haven't started writing any yet, but I've got a good half a dozen already planned out, and I plan on writing them in my free time, and uploading them whenever they're done. :3 Don't think this is the end of my fanfic writing career- On the contrary! Heck, I've only JUST begun! :D
So, one last time: THANK YOU. You all have been amazing reviewers during this crazy trip, and I couldn't ask for a better bunch of readers to help me along as I wrote this story. Ya'll are the greatest- thanks for putting up with my craziness, and I hope you all stick around for my later fics in the nearby future! ^^