Epilogue: Destiny

When they arrived at the Temple of Time, it was already dusk and mists had begun to enshroud

the place. Neither Hero spoke a word; they knew the time was at hand that they face their destiny

and not be afraid. Before they had gotten to the top step on the outer staircase, they saw Sheik

kneeling there, his head bowed deeply against his chest.

"Who is he bowing to?" Link wondered. Then the mists parted to reveal a beautiful young

woman. Kage and Link gaped at the vision of beauty in front of them.

"Don't look so shocked, you two! It is I, Zelda, Princess of Hyrule." The woman said, with a

gentle smile. The two Heroes were speechless.

"I think you have shocked them into silence, your Highness." Sheik said, with a smile in his

voice.

"I think so too." Zelda agreed, as she soundlessly walked over to the two heroes.

"Zelda…." Link murmured, his mind so numb that he had dropped formalities.

"And to think I thought you were Sheik, your Highness!" Navi said, with embarrassment in her

voice. Zelda smiled warmly.

"I am sorry I didn't tell you where I was, Link, Kage. But I had to keep my location a secret. The

only ones who knew were Sheik and Impa. Sheik was the only one I could trust with the mission

to relay information to you." Zelda said, somewhat sheepishly.

"Sheik did a fine job. He taught us what we needed to know. But, there is one thing that still

puzzles me; what is his relationship to you?" Kage asked, before getting elbowed in the ribs by

Link for being rude.

"I am Impa's nephew. You see, I was orphaned seven years ago when Ganondorf destroyed my

village. Both of my parents and my younger brothers and sisters were slaughtered. The only

family I have is Impa, the Sage of Shadow." Sheik said, as he stood before the two Heroes, on

Zelda's right hand side.

"So that would make Impa your aunt and your teacher, since she is also of the Sheikah race."

Mizuu said, getting an affirmative nod from Sheik.

"Why are you here, Princess? Don't you realize what kind of danger you are putting yourself in?"

Link asked, finally getting his wits about him in order to talk.

"I am here to tell you more about the Triforce. There are three pieces of the Triforce; Power,

Wisdom, and Courage. Link, hold out your right hand." Zelda commanded. Link did as he was

told and held his right hand out to her. No sooner was his hand out stretched to her, burning pain

went through it and then golden light emanated from it. Kage gaped in astonishment at Link's

hand.

"You have the Triforce of Courage, I have the Triforce of Wisdom, and our enemy, Ganondorf,

has the Triforce of Power." Zelda said, as she held up her hand, showing that it too was glowing.

"What about Kage? Does he have anything special?" Mizuu asked.

"He has a power that will rival that of the Triforce of Power; the Catalyst of Hope." Zelda said, as

a single, upside down triangle appeared on Kage's right hand.

"You mean his power is the very heart of the Triforce? The triangle with its point facing

downwards in the symbol of the Triforce?" Navi yelped. Zelda nodded. Before anything more

could be said, the ground shook violently beneath the four of them, sending them toppling to the

ground.

"Princess!" Sheik shouted, as Zelda was lifted into the air by an unseen force.

"Princess Zelda!" Link cried, as he made a vain attempt to grab her hand and got shocked by a

bolt of lightning for his troubles. Link then screamed in pain and fell back, as Sheik and Kage

caught him, preventing a nasty fall.

"Link! Kage, Sheik, help!" Zelda screamed, as a huge crystal encased her and disappeared

without a trace, taking Zelda with it. The three men sat where they were for a few agonizing

moments, completely shocked over the whole turn of events. When he had regained his senses,

Link looked to his two comrades.

"What do we do, now?" Link asked, really and truly at a complete loss.

"You and Kage head for Ganondorf's Castle. I can no longer offer assistance, since, from here on

out, it is your destiny to finish. I am sorry I can't help you two any more. I can only hope that

after this is all over, we can travel together again." Sheik said, sadly.

"Sheik, you did more than enough to help us since we began our adult lives. You offered advice

when we needed it, moral support, and even some degree of irritation. There's no need to beat

yourself over the head with this. We'll get the princess back, you have our word!" Kage said, as

he put a hand on the mournful Sheikah's shoulder.

"Thank you, Kage. And you too, Link. I wish you both the best of luck and hopefully we will

meet again soon." Sheik said, before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

"Goodbye, Sheik." Link said, as he pulled out his ocarina and played Epona's Song. Kage did the

same, and soon they heard the hoof-beats of their faithful steeds.

"This is the final test, Link. Are you sure you are ready?" Navi asked, as Link mounted and sat

for a moment in the saddle.

"If we are not ready now, then we never will be. Zelda is counting on us." Link said, as he started

riding in the direction he knew Ganondorf's Castle lay in.

"They have grown up so much since that time they left the Kokiri Forest. They have truly become

the Heroes of legend." Navi thought, as she flew alongside her charge, while Mizuu did the same.

At a full gallop, the distance between them and evil king's castle was easily covered. All the

while, the hearts of the two heroes beat as one, as their horses hooves pounded a steady rhythm

on the parched earth. When they got to the castle, they paused before dismounting. Navi and

Mizuu looked curiously on as the two Heroes walked over to the edge of a huge gap and looked

down.

"It was right about here that we first encountered Ganondorf. This was the place. Now we are

about to face him again." Link said, as he looked out across the gap at the huge black castle that

now sat where Hyrule Castletown and Hyrule Castle used to be.

"How are we going to get across? There's no bridge." Kage commented. No sooner had he said

that, then a bridge made of light came into being, spanning one half of the divide, and then

reaching the other.

"This is the Sages' doing! Let's go!" Navi shouted, urging the two heroes to run across the

bridge. Epona neighed and Link turned around. He could tell that the horse wanted to come

along, but she was too frightened.

"Don't worry, Epona! Kage and I will be back for you and Ryuuhi later!" Link shouted, before

running the rest of the way across the bridge. As they entered the castle, they were assailed with

the smell of death and decay.

"This is awful. Look at all the people he has killed and left the bodies to rot!" Kage said, as he

and Link took in the grisly scene. The floor was littered with bones, decaying flesh and covered

with dried blood.

"He'll pay for this, mark my words." Link growled, infuriated by the horrible carnage that was

shown in the room. Taking care not to step on any of the bodies, Link and Kage crossed the room

and went into another chamber. They two had to move quickly, since the room they were now in

had Beamos in it!

"Kage, there's a chamber with doors in it! Let's see if we can turn these things off!" Link

shouted. Kage nodded in agreement and they both made a mad dash to the chamber of doors.

Working together, they both quickly solved the problem and could move on into the next

chamber. Once there, the glint of gold caught Kage's attention.

"Ne, Link, get a look at these!" Kage called, motioning for Link to join him.

"What is it, Kage?" Link asked, gaping in astonishment when Kage pulled out two pairs of

Golden Gauntlets.

"Looks like our arsenal wasn't complete after all!" Kage said, as he handed a pair to Link and

they both put them on. When they reached a chamber with no floor, they stopped.

"How do we get across?" Kage asked.

"Let's try the Lenses of Truth, maybe with them we can see if we are missing something." Link

said, as he put his Lens of truth on and looked around.

"I see! There's an invisible pathway!" Link said, as he took a tentative step onto the walkway.

Kage, who had also equipped his Lens of Truth, followed Link onto the path. They followed it for

about thirty minutes before they arrived at a barrier.

"This thing's gray, like the Shadow Medallion." Kage said, as he examined the barrier.

"That's because it is the thing that blocks the Sage of Shadow's power from in here! Destroy it

and Impa will be able to start using her power!" Navi said as the two heroes assessed the

situation, took out their Megaton Hammers and started tearing the thing apart. When they had

finished, Impa appeared and teleported them back to the main chamber.

"This way, I know what we are to do, now." Link said, as he ran to a green door and entered the

chamber beyond it. As before, Link and Kage destroyed the green barrier and Saria transported

them back to the main chamber. This continued until all of the Sages were in their places. With

that done, Kage and Link raced up a flight of stairs, knowing instinctively where Ganondorf was.

When they got to the top, Zelda looked at them, her eyes filled with fear and hope. Right across

from her, was the nightmare himself; Ganondorf.

"So I see you have made it, Heroes. Now the Triforce is complete and the center of power will be

mine as well!" Ganondorf sneered, his eyes sparking like burning coals under his thick, blood red

eyebrows.

"We'll just see about that." Link said, ready to draw his sword. Before he could do anything,

electricity shock out of Ganondorf's hands, forcing both heroes to drop their swords. Link could

vaguely hear Navi and Mizuu screaming and realized that Ganondorf was trying to disable them

first, so they could not offer any assistance to the two Heroes. Stubbornly, Link picked up his

sword and charged at the evil man.

"Hyaaahh!" Link shouted, furiously, swiping at his enemy with the Master Sword, managing to

slash the evil warrior's shoulder. Ganondorf let out a yowl of pain and tried to backhand Link, but

was too slow to catch the wily warrior. Then Kage attacked, with the full fury of his kind,

disappearing and reappearing in different places at different times. Zelda watched as the two

Heroes turn from the quiet, gentle, people they normally were into fierce, vengeful warriors.

Ganondorf was beside himself with rage, the two Heroes were winning! Zelda gasped when Link

was thrown back, but quickly regained footing before any damage could be done. After a few

moments that seemed like eternity, Link and Kage drove their swords into Ganondorf, killing

him.

"They did it! They won!" Mizuu cheered.

"It's not over yet! Look!" Navi yelped, as the body of the evil king started to incinerate, the light

coming from within so intense that it weakened the castle around them.

"The castle's about to collapse! Let's get out of here!" Kage shouted, when he realized what was

going on. With that said, they all started running for the exit, with Zelda in the lead.

"Follow me! I know the way out!" Zelda shouted, over the noise of the castle collapsing around

them.

"Right!" Kage and Link shouted, as they followed her as closely as they could. The race to get out

of the castle was frantic when they lost sight of one another for a few seconds in the collapsing

debris. But Zelda knew what she was doing and she led them to where they had entered the castle.

No sooner did they get across the bridge when the entire castle crumbled into the ground, sinking

into a molten puddle.

"The Sages! Did they get out?" Kage asked, suddenly realizing that they had left the Sages

behind.

"They got out before the castle started collapsing. They are now waiting for the final outcome in

the Chamber of Sages." Zelda said, easing Kage's concern for them a little bit. Then another

rumbling came from the ground beneath them.

"Now what?" Navi asked, then watched in horror as a huge monster climbed out of the remains

of Ganondorf's castle.

"Ganon…" Zelda murmured, her eyes wide with fear. Before they could react, Zelda,

Navi and Mizuu got blown back and Link and Kage's swords got blown out of their hands.

"Young Fools! I will not let you win so easily!" Ganon bellowed, as he started attacking Link and

Kage. Link let out an outcry of pain when Ganon's claws slashed his chest, blood soaking the

material of his tunic.

"Link!" Kage shouted, then went after Ganon with his Megaton Hammer.

"Link! Get up! He'll kill you if you don't get up!" Zelda cried, desperately. Link was in a world

of hurt. His vision blurred as he thought back on his earlier adventures; was this the way he was

going to die? Was it going to end like this? Then he remembered his friends; Kage, the ever

complaining Hero of Memories; Mizuu, Kage's sassy sprite; Navi, his own sprite guardian;

Malon, the wild beauty of Lon Lon; Sheik, the ever mysterious, ever kind, warrior Sheikah; and

Zelda herself. He had so much to live for, so much to fight for, that he just had to keep fighting.

For them, if nothing else.

"Please, Triforce of Courage, help me fight and defeat Ganon, once and for all!" Link thought, as

he slowly got back up and fished in his pack for a weapon. Then suddenly, something landed next

to him with a metallic 'clang' and, when he looked down, he saw an ornate broadsword!

"Use it, Link! I got you and Kage both a Biggoran Sword! Use them well, until you can retrieve

the Master Sword and Kage can retrieve the Sword of Reflections!" Sheik shouted, from behind.

Link turned his weary eyes to Sheik, nodded, a then gather what strength he had left for a charge

into battle. Kage was already using his new blade against Ganon, and was scoring some hits.

With a fierce cry, Link launched himself at Ganon, burying the Biggoran Sword's blade in the

tender flesh of Ganon's belly. Ganon roared in pain and swatted the hero off. Link landed with a

hard on the stony ground, sliding a little ways before stopping. Kage snarled with rage and drove

his Biggoran Sword into Ganon's back, getting whacked out of the way by the furious creature's

tail and landing on the far side of the battlefield. Sheik, who was trying his best not to become

involved, soon found that to be impossible and grabbed the two magical blades, leaping over to

Link and giving him the Master Sword. Then he somersaulted over Ganon and gave Kage his

blade.

"Fool! How dare you interfere!" Ganon roared, as he swatted Sheik off of the battlefield, doing

the same thing to him that had been done to Link; leaving bloody slash marks on Sheik's chest.

Through the haze that the pain brought on, Link struggled to stand and fight, on the other side of

the field, Kage was also stubbornly getting to his feet. With cries that chilled the air around them,

Link and Kage summoned enough strength to charge one last time. When Ganon realized what

was going on, it was too late. He roared in agony as the two sacred blades cut through him,

destroying the very darkness that kept him alive. Then, in the chain reaction that followed a split

second later, Ganon exploded, sending the two Heroes flying. Zelda watched in speechless horror

as the two Heroes fell to the ground, badly wounded.

"Link! Kage!" Zelda screamed, as she rushed over to them. Link looked up when the princess of

Hyrule came into his field of vision.

"P-princess? Did we win this time? Did we truly win?" Link asked, weakly.

"Yes. You won. You saved Hyrule. Ganon is gone, you and Kage did well." Zelda said, as tears

started sliding down her cheeks.

"Good. I'm glad. But….." Link trailed off, as a shudder of pain went through him.

"But what?" Zelda asked, anxiously.

"I never realized that victory could be so painful." Link murmured, as Zelda took his hand in hers.

"Neither did I, Link." Kage agreed, softly. Zelda was at a loss for what to do and could only sit

there and cry as Link and Kage suffered from their wounds. Then she felt a hand caress her cheek

and wipe away her tears. She looked down to see Link's arm up and his hand on her face, the

statement of his face a cross between peaceful and loving.

"Don't cry, Princess. I don't want to see you cry." Link said, gently. Zelda was again at a loss for

what to do. The she felt a hand on her shoulder and she turned around to see Sheik and the Sages

standing there.

"Do not worry, Princess, we will take care of their wounds." Rauru said, as he watched Darunia

gently pick the two Heroes up, ever mindful of the pain they were in.

"Zelda, I promise I will do my best to save them, since they have already saved me twice. I have a

debt to repay." Ruto said, as rays of golden sunlight bathed the land of Hyrule in their healing

light, breaking the final spell of evil that had been placed there.

"Zelda!" an older man's voice called. Zelda whirled around and saw her father emerging from the

shadows and into the sunlight.

"Father!" Zelda cried, as she ran to him and hugged him.

"My poor little girl!" King Harkinian murmured, as he held his sobbing daughter in his arms. No

one noticed when Hyrule Castletown and its inhabitants reappeared or that the Sages had gone

inside.

"Father, I have two young men I want you to meet. They are the ones who freed Hyrule." Zelda

said, as Sheik limped off, heading for the castle infirmary where he could get his own wounds

tended to. As the sun rose, the land of Hyrule regained its beauty. Everywhere that a sunbeam

touched, the land was restored. In less than a couple of hours, Hyrule was returned to its former

glory. For the first time in seven long years, the people of Hyrule came out of hiding and sang for

joy. They were free, at long last.

Link awoke to someone brushing strands of blond hair off of his face.

"Good morning." Zelda said, when Link looked bewilderingly up at her.

"Where am I?" Link asked, grimacing when he tried to sit up.

"You are in Hyrule Castle. You've been asleep for three days." Zelda said, as she gently put her

hand on his forehead to check for fever.

"Hyrule Castle? Does that mean that everything is back to normal? Hyrule had been restored?"

Link asked. Zelda smiled and nodded.

"You know, you look so much prettier when you smile." Link said, smiling when he saw that

he'd gotten Zelda to blush.

"Flirt." Navi said, as she flitted around in front of his face.

"So what if I am?" Link asked, good-naturedly.

"Kage is just as bad." Navi said, with a giggle, as Link and Zelda exchanged looks of confusion.

"Link." Zelda said, to get his attention.

"Yes, Princess?" Link asked.

"You and Kage have a choice to make. You could either stay here, as you are, or I can send you

back in time to your childhood so you can live those seven years that you missed while under that

spell. What do you choose?" Zelda asked. At first, Link was overwhelmed with the choices he

had, then he shook his head and looked at her.

"Princess, when I was told of my destiny as the Hero of Time, I could hardly believe it. Now, I

can't think of myself being anything other than the Hero of Time. If I chose to go back and live

those years, I would lose everything I have fought so hard for. I may have missed those years

physically, but I don't miss them, emotionally. My place in this world is to remain close to you so

I can help protect you, not living my life in a forest. My decision is to stay as I am." Link said,

gently, yet firmly. Zelda smiled.

"Kage said almost the exact same thing, but the woman he wants is Malon. I will honor your

decision and let you remain here, as you are." Zelda said, as she turned to leave.

"Wait." Link said. Zelda paused in mid-step and looked at him. He was sitting up, even though it

hurt to do so, and was holding her hand. Ever so gently, he pulled her back to his bedside and

kissed her. Zelda was astonished by the move, but, at the same time, she was relieved. Their

feelings were mutual.