Interests Before Death
AN: There's a theory on the Zelda wiki that I find extremely intriguing and interesting. In Ocarina of Time, after traveling to the devastated future of Hyrule, the market is destroyed and only undead apparitions remain. But someone else remains: the ghost shop owner. Who is he and where did he come from? Why is he so loyal to Ganondorf? And why did he make his shop in a place where only Link dared to walk to?
There's actually two theories to his origins, but I only believe in one. My best friend fully agreed with my reasoning and told me to turn it into a oneshot, so I did. Enjoy and feel free to agree or disagree. I'm not really a debater, though, so let's not try and start arguments, mkay?
He couldn't believe his eyes. The market grew devastated and stank with littered corpses left by the second attack not too long ago. It was only yesterday that Ganondorf and his minions had attacked Hyrule Castle and the king was forced to surrender, but the Gerudo leader had not been merciful. The castle treasures had all been taken and the servants now all had to bow to a new king. The one silver lining was that Princess Zelda had been taken by her nanny and they had escaped far away from this hellish scene.
His colleagues were either dead or dying. It was a disgrace and he couldn't bear to keep his eyes on the devastated sight for too long. They were soldiers of Hyrule, sworn to protect the peace and their king, but they had failed. A few soldiers had managed to escort some survivors to Kakariko Village, but the monsters Ganondorf commanded ensured they could not return to fight against him.
It was all over for Hyrule. Ganondorf had already announced he had the power to conquer the world after he was finished with Hyrule and there was no power on this earth left to stop him. He had no idea how he came into such power, but the facts were clear: anyone who opposed Ganondorf would be killed without an afterthought. It seemed the only way to stay alive was to serve him.
His soul rebelled at the very idea. He was a Hylian soldier, for Din's sake! It would be the greatest act of treason, ever! Yet he was the only one left alive and it would only be a matter of time before he was killed as well. One entire army of soldiers could not stop such evil, so what hope did one single soldier have? Besides, the king was dead and the princess was missing. There was no one left to serve and there was no honor to be found.
Two Stalfos nudged him in the direction of the throne room. By the Goddesses, Hyrule Castle looked terrible! The decor that was once beautiful and elegant was becoming ugly and brown. Monsters wandered the hallways and he shivered, feeling very cold...and very frightened.
The throne room was worse. A few corpses still lingered, many whom he recognized, much to his horror. The king's body was nowhere to be found, but Ganondorf sat on the throne with a satisfied look on his face. It was as if the bastard was already home.
"So," the evil king started. "You are the last of the Hylian soldiers."
He didn't reply, just started at Ganondorf with hatred in his eyes.
"All the other soldiers have chosen to oppose me and you can clearly see the result," Ganondorf continued, waving his hand towards the corpses. "I have kept you alive because I can see you have not put up much resistance. This makes you smarter than the other fools."
The soldier shrugged with indifference. He wasn't grateful for being the lone survivor, especially since he was alive with the knowledge there was nothing he could do to save his friends or the people. He wondered how long this verbal torment would last before he would be beheaded.
To his surprise, Ganondorf rose from the throne and started for him. The smirk on the evil king's face suggested to the soldier that he had other ideas besides death.
"I sense some fury in you, but I can tell you're not someone who wants to die so willingly. Tell me something...what is it that kept you from putting up a fight against me and my monsters?"
The soldier hesitated. Ganondorf frowned. "You don't appear to have anyone to live for. I see no wedding band on your hand, so it could not be some lover."
"My research," the soldier blurted. Ganondorf raised an eyebrow.
"Your research? You don't appear to be a scientist," the evil king said.
"I'm not. It's a hobby of mine. My studies are considered controversial by a lot of people, but it's all I had that interested me...and enough to keep a woman from wanting me," the soldier confessed. "It is the only other thing important to me, aside from my honor...which has been lost with your triumph!" he added angrily.
Ganondorf waved the anger away like smoke. "Pray tell, what subject did you research?"
That simple word brought the smirk back to Ganondorf's face. "I see. A very dark subject indeed, at least in accordance to Hylians. But that was all in times that will soon pass. Perhaps your knowledge on the subject will become useful to Hyrule's future."
The soldier looked up in alarm. "What do you mean?"
"Soon, ghosts will be wandering all over Hyrule. They will be tormented and angry at the world, but their ethereal existence makes them difficult to control, even for me," Ganondorf stated, showing the soldier his left hand. For the first time, the soldier could see what the source of power was: the mark of the Triforce was clear on the back of his hand. "I need someone with knowledge of ghosts to act as their guiding beacon so they do not betray me in my reign."
"You're asking me to serve you?" the soldier asked.
"It will not be so bad," Ganondorf shrugged. "You get to use your knowledge to your advantage as well as my own. You will live out your life doing something you enjoy, something that your fellow citizens turned their backs on you for. But that can change. You will be given a certain degree of power and the freedom to do as you please. In return, all I ask is for you to show me your loyalty and round up all the ghosts to your heart's desire. You will be given the ability to communicate with ghosts and hold power over them."
The soldier hesitated. The idea was absurd but also somewhat appealing. "And what if I refuse?"
"You will die," Ganondorf simply said. "Surely you know that."
He was right. The soldier had walked into this room preparing to join his comrades in death, but instead he got an offer to serve practically the devil himself. And for all intents and purposes he used to live for, the offer seemed like the most logical thing to accept.
He remembered what he had said to a young kid wearing green clothes one night. "Hey, I'm really interested in ghosts! Studying them is a hobby of mine, but you never know...the day may come when that kind of knowledge will be useful!"
Ironically, he was right and that day had come at last.
"Very well," the soldier said. "I accept your offer."
Seven years had passed and the soldier had changed shape so drastically that no one would recognize him, or even believe he was human. He wore robes over his body and head, but his face was ripped away and a single red eye stared at anyone in front of him. This inner eye allowed him to read the minds of people, dead or alive.
His business was a fine one. He bought ghosts and, true to Ganondorf's word, he had been given power to control them. His loyalty to Ganondorf was strong and he was happy with the changes in his life, even after the market was utterly deserted and ReDeads roamed the streets. Unfortunately, the haunted market was enough to keep customers away and business was at a standstill, until the day a young man wearing green garb entered his shop.
"Hey young man, what is happening today? If you have a Poe, I will buy it."
The theory is that the soldier you meet in that small room outside the market at night later becomes the Ghost Shop man. The soldier mentions how he wishes a ghost would come out and he displays his interest in studying them. As that small room becomes the Ghost Shop seven years later, it seems to make perfect sense that he becomes the manager.
The other theory on the Zelda wiki is that the little boy in the graveyard who buys the Spooky Mask from you becomes the Ghost Shop spirit. But there isn't too much evidence in the game to support this, only that he hangs around the graveyard all day and pretends to be Dampe, the gravedigger. I don't see him turning his loyalty to Ganondorf and starting a shop near a bunch of dead guys.
I think I may have delivered this a bit weakly, but I'm trying to get back in the groove of writing after a two week vacation. Hope this was good and entertaining.