The Hyrulian Valhalla Saga: Side Stories
By Queenie Z
The life of a new Hero was a celebrated occasion in the realm the rest called home. On the day a new incarnation was born, his predecessors would hail his coming in the world after with immense jubilation. During his life they would watch over him intently, cheering him on and offering their prayers while he made his journeys. Then, finally, they would again celebrate on the day he died, for they all knew that the death of a Hero only meant that they would finally be able to meet him in person - there was no reason to mourn the coming of a new brother into their ever-growing family.
All Heroes would be celebrated this way, but the Hero of Time had been a single exception, for his death had been a sorrowful one indeed. He had been offered to be taken to the other side, yet he had refused, instead choosing to stay behind as a phantom in order to help the next Hero in line. The ones who came before him lamented this, yet they accepted his choice and eagerly awaited his eventual homecoming. As a result, Time was not able to celebrate the birth of the Hero of Twilight with the others; yet it was he, more than anyone else, who wanted to celebrate his death.
On that fated day, he rode into the fields of their paradise at the crack of dawn. He watched the horizon anxiously, leading Epona into a slow and steady trot as nervous thoughts ran through his mind over and over again. It had been decades since he last saw the new Hero, and since they parted he had watched over the boy as he would his very own son. His heart had nearly burst with joy the day he slew Ganondorf, and he had longed ever since for the day he could tell him just how proud of him he was. Though the other Heroes were excited to see him, even they couldn't deny that it was Time who harbored the deepest affection for his successor.
He stopped Epona in her tracks and sighed, removing the heavy knight's helmet from his head. He had decided to go and meet the newcomer not in his traditional green but in something the boy would more easily recognize; the armor he had worn in death as the Hero's Shade. His empty hand moved to his forehead, brushing back wild blond bangs and wiping away the sweat on his brow. It was only a matter of time now, he knew - soon the sign the others had told him of would appear, marking the place where a new soul would awaken in their haven.
Time gasped and covered his eyes when a bright light filled the sky. A flickering green sparkle descended slowly to the ground about two miles away. The elder Hero looked upon it with awe, then broke out into a warm smile. He put his helmet back on, leaned over, and patted his horse on the neck.
"There he is," he said to Epona. "Let's go meet him, okay, girl?"
The horse whinnied happily in reply. Her rider then gave her a gentle kick and a loud whoop, cueing her to begin her gallop towards the spot where the light had landed.
The Hero of Time dismounted his steed the moment he spotted a figure lying motionless on the grass. Although he knew the boy would be just fine in his head, it didn't stop his heart from skipping a beat at the sight. He ran over to him, stopping when he could get a good look at the newcomer's face.
He was just as he remembered him – he had come in the form of the strong youth he had taught years before. His eyes were shut and his chest rose and fell slowly; he was asleep, waiting for someone to awaken him and welcome him to his new life after death. Time swallowed the emotion that welled up inside of him. He kneeled, taking the sleeping Hero in his arms like a father cradling his young son.
His eyes flickered. Time called his name again.
"Link… come on, now." He couldn't help but smile. "You can open your eyes."
It took a moment for the newcomer's eyes to focus. He groaned, moving his head around in the other's arms. "What's… Where am I…?"
"I think you know where you are, Link."
The boy moved his head back towards the one holding him. He scanned his armor, and suddenly, an unmistakable look of recognition formed on his face.
"But you're – " he frowned. "…That means… that means I'm…"
"It's alright," Time said, "you lived a good life in Hyrule. You took my place and fulfilled your role as the Hero." He shut his eyes, trying desperately not to cry in front of his beloved pupil. "…I can't tell you how proud I am."
The new Hero stared at him, his eyes large in disbelief. He then sat up on his own, reached up, and removed the other's helmet. After a moment of examining the youthful face of his predecessor, he cracked a small smile.
"I don't believe it," he muttered. "You look just like me."
Time laughed, and for a short moment his tears beaded at the corners of his eyes. He would say that after last seeing him as a monstrous, decaying shell, wouldn't he? "Believe it or not, I was human too, once."
"But your face is exactly like mine!"
"We have a lot in common, actually." He reached out and touched his successor's face affectionately. "…Would you believe me if I told you that my name was Link, too?"
The two looked over to where the boyish yell had come from and saw two others, the eldest Hero who hailed from the sky and the boy Hero who had forged the Four Sword, running towards them. When they arrived, the smaller one paused to catch his breath.
"I can't believe you, Time," he said breathlessly, "you didn't even tell us you were going to find him first…!"
The newcomer gaped at the others. "Those clothes – you're not –"
Sky flashed a big grin, kneeling with him and Time. "We're the ones who came before you. You didn't think you and Time were the only Heroes, did you?"
The bewildered Link touched Sky's hair, then his shoulder, as if making sure he was really there. "We all look alike!" He turned to the younger one. "You guys – you're not all named Link, are you?"
Mini walked over and flopped onto his back, wrapping his arms around his neck like a younger sibling crawling over his big brother. "That's right! I'm Link, you're Link – we're all Link!" He chuckled happily. "We've been waiting a long time for you to get here. Time especially!"
"Time?" He looked back over to his former teacher. "Why 'Time'?"
Time looked back sheepishly. "Because I was the Hero of Time."
"I lived in the sky when I was alive," said Sky with a hand to his chest, "so you can call me Sky. And Mini – "
"It's not because I'm small!"
" – is called that because he worked together with the Minish people."
"Time, Sky, and Mini, huh…" the new Link said with a smile. "Wow… I never thought I would ever meet you all – I never even thought I'd see my teacher again…!"
Time scooted closer to him. "We'll answer all your questions soon," he said, putting a hand on his hair. "But for now… welcome home, Hero of Twilight. You did better than any of us could have hoped for."
Twilight laughed bashfully. "Thank you, everyone," he said, basking in the presence of the family he never realized he had. "Thank you."