The mask salesman's beady eyes stared directly into Link, analyzing every part of him. "Your instrument," he said. "What happened to it?"
Link played with his fingers, looking at them rather than the mask salesman. "The Skull Kid destroyed it. He took it from me while I was trying to fight him and using the mask's power, which was incredibly powerful, he ripped it into pieces." Link shuddered, remembering the sound of his ocarina being ripped apart, the ocarina one of his closest friends had given to him. What would Zelda say when she found out? She probably wouldn't want to be his friend anymore if she discovered he got her family's sacred instrument destroyed.
"Stupid boy," the mask salesman said. "You stupid, stupid boy! I only asked of you to get the mask for me, something that should be quite easy for someone like you; when I saw you, you emanated greatness. What that greatness is, I don't know." The mask salesman scowled, then turned away angrily from Link.
Link looked around the wooded area that he and the mask salesman had escaped to, then to the remains of Termina in the distance. Smoke still rose from where Clock Town had been, and he could still see the wooden remains of the clock tower. It was burnt and broken into pieces, a sight the boy had thought he'd never see, but it was the clock tower no less.
"I'm sorry," Link said. "You know I didn't allow all those people to die on purpose! Why would I do that?"
The mask salesman turned to face him again. "Of course you didn't do this on purpose."
Link felt a small smile come, glad that the mask salesman realized he hadn't done it on purpose.
"Don't smile," the man said, which was hypocritical of him because the mask salesman still had his sickening smile on his face, the one Link had seen many, many times before. "Just because you didn't mean to kill all of Termina doesn't mean that makes amends for destroying them all. Their blood is on your hands no matter what you do, and it will always be that way, boy." The mask salesman sighed, then turned away from Link again. Link was surprised to see what he thought to be a tear in the man's eye; he could never see the man as being able to cry, only able to have that sick, sick smile glued on his face.
The mask salesman turned to him once more, tapping his fingers on the hem of his purple jacket. "Give me your masks," he said.
"W-Why?" Link asked. He still had them all from his adventures across Termina, including his transformation masks. Despite having them, he couldn't bear to look at them. Each mask held a memory of the friends he'd made in Termina, the friends whom he had killed.
The Romani's Mask, the one Cremia gave me, and the one Romani would always laugh at and call me a cow head. She'd tell me that if I didn't take it off then I'd be taken away by "them" too, but then she'd tell me she'd fight them off for me with her bow. Link thought. The blast mask, which I'd been given for saving the lady. She'd been so glad to get her items in, and even more glad that she'd been safe. I'll never forget the way she smiled at me when she gave me this, and how she asked me to put it on the next day when I went to shop at her and her son's bomb shop.
Link began to hand the masks one by one to the salesman, memories flashing through his mind as he looked at each one. It pained him to keep them and it pained him to give them to the salesman. If Link listened close enough then he could hear the sound of the ghosts of all the people he knew whispering to him. Why didn't they whisper to each other? They probably had more things to say to each other than they had to say to him.
Cremia could finally tell Anju that she loved her, that she had no idea how anyone thought she'd loved Kafei, when Cremia had only wanted Anju but had no idea how to tell her.
Lulu and Mikau could finally acknowledge how much they cared for each other, and then they could leave with their children, off to finish the rest of their existence in the spirit world.
Romani could finally admit to Cremia why she only spoke in third person, which was because she was afraid to speak in first person after being taken by "them" so many times before, not just this year.
"I see these masks have been filled with a great happiness," the salesman said.
Link nodded absently, not even looking up at the salesmen, only at his pouch, which held his masks, which he was slowly losing. He watched his supply diminish with no way to save them.
"But I also sense a tremendous sadness," the mask salesman said. "And I cannot tell if it is from what you let happen or something going on in the original owners' lives, or if it's a mix of both."
"I couldn't give you the answer," Link whispered.
"Speak up, would you, boy? My ears are getting older by the day."
"It was nothing," Link said in a louder voice. "Don't worry about it, sir."
The salesman nodded.
Link gave him the final mask, the Romani mask, the one that he wished he could put on his head now and be captured by "them" with. Strange, hideous creatures would be a lot easier for him to face than the salesman and the memory of what he'd allowed to happen.
The salesman put the mask in his already bulging backpack, and Link wanted to yell at him for simply putting it in there. It was a special mask that deserved only the greatest respect.
"Boy," the mask salesman said.
"Yes," Link replied, then looked up, straight into the salesman's eyes.
The salesman put his hands on the boy's thin shoulders. "There is one of your masks that holds incredible sadness but surely will bring great happiness to many."
"Which one of my masks is it?" Link couldn't hide the hope he felt from his voice.
"Your mask," the salesman said.
"My mask?" The boy asked. "But I own a lot of masks."
The salesman grinned once more. "It's your mask." He began to whisper something quickly, in one moment holding the boy's shoulder, and in the next the mask. It had Link's creamy skin, hair the color of the sun, and the very bottom part of his green hat, though it never reached the top. But it did not have his bright blue eyes, and where they would be would be the new owner's, at least until they became Link. It'd likely sell at a higher price than his other transformation masks would, even the mask of the Fierce Deity. Something about being able to become a hero makes people act as if though money is no object.
The mask salesman cradled the mask tenderly. "You probably wish you'd saved Termina, but this will surely atone for your sins."
The mask was blank, and the salesman imagined Link's spirit to be sleeping.
"Sleep well," he said. "There are many other universes besides this one. I won't sell you in Hyrule, in that universe I was nearly driven out of business. Perhaps I'll take you to Wendant? I'm sure I can fetch you for a good price in that world; they always need a hero there! Or maybe I'll take you to Haradan, where I'll also find a good price worth for you." As if wiping away a tear, he touched the edge of the mask's eyehole. "This wouldn't have happened if you'd simply gotten me the mask, but without your precious instrument we cannot change the past. Don't worry, boy, you will surely help out another hero, one who hopefully won't fail like you did."
The mask salesman began to walk towards the remains of Termina, the mask still held in his hands. He whistled, the only living sound in the remains of this shattered world. He planned to get Majora's Mask once more, now that it was likely searching for something else to destroy and wreak havoc on, though there'd be none left to find in this world. It'd slip into his hands easily, and this time he'd make sure no one else got it. The mask may plan on escaping his grasp to wreak havoc on another world, but he wouldn't allow it again.
The mask salesman heard a sound, then turned to the direction of it. He was quite surprised to see the Skull Kid, walking by himself without even his fairies. Could they be dead? Even if they were still alive, they'd likely abandoned the wretched little imp.
"Come here," the man said.
The imp turned to him, a look of both shock and surprise coming across his face. He didn't have Majora's Mask with him, but that was no bother to the salesman at this point. He'd get the mask later, but right now he had another mask to make. A two for one deal - buy a hero, get a villain! It'll be perfect for the ultimate game of good guys and bad guys.
"You don't know how happy I am to see you," the mask salesman said. "Although you helped cause this destruction, I do have a way to help you redeem yourself."
"You do?" the Skull Kid asked, completely amazed. He jumped up and down excitedly "Can you please tell me what it is?"
"You'll see," the mask salesman said. "Believe me, you're really worth the price."
Author's Note: I don't plan on continuing this unless I come up with ideas for another world and new characters, but if I do I promise to make this a series. I'm kind of caught up on my other Zelda fic though, which is Living Demons, a post-SS story.
This story was partially inspired by a drawing made by the artist ~wings33 on Deviantart. The drawing was called "Sale of the Century" and it showed the happy mask salesman with masks of many forms of Link on them. It's quite a good drawing.