Chapter 14: Reunification
To Lunatic Pandora: Thanks for reviewing! Hmmm... not a bad guess...
but read on, hey?
To Maniac Swordbreaker: Sorry for making you wait! Glad you like it - the plot should be moving forward more shortly. Don't know when the remake is gonna surface - it's in progress, but college is getting in the way.
Anyway, read on!
To Vicc The Blackwolf: Never read Arxane's stuff, but thanks... and might check yours out later. Glad ya like it.
To Sir Miles, for In the End review: Thanks for the compliments. Hmm, maybe I'll do a sequel someday...
..."Due to unusual circumstances, we are offering you a place at the
Three Peaks Academy. You will be
able to take up your place straight away. Additional information is enclosed..."
what do you make of that, then, link?
"You lucky nerd, Garry!" Link laughed to himself. Not too loudly, though.
He was trying to illicitly check his email for the first time in three days
from the back of the school's computer lab. Among the usual array of junk
had been hidden a familiar address.
His happiness for his friend was tempered, though, as he looked at the header and remembered what he had heard too recently. You're not... no. They don't give foreign scholarships to Dark Kings. Not at any school I've heard of anyway. The thought made him smile, but not for long.
He returned to the email.
i'll be flying out in two days. quick work, huh? you know how planes are, but should be landing @ KKR abt. five...
Link quickly worked it out. That was tonight. Maybe he could just
make it there in time."You do that. Good luck."
"What's this? Who'd want to write to you?"
"Shut up..." Link blinked, and looked around. "Cal?" For a moment, Link wasn't quite sure if he was seeing right after his experiences over the past few days. But his rival was standing there, sneering, exactly as he used to be. With one difference - the red mirrored shades that he wore. Thinking quickly, and making sure no-one was watching, Link made a lunge for them. Cal veered back, but not quickly enough. He narrowed his eyes.
Link could still see what they looked like, though. Burning red and pupil-less. Dark Link's eyes. "What happened...?"
"As if you don't know!" Cal half-spat. "Your friend. That... the... On'..." He seemed unable to say the name. "He ripped me apart and stuck me back together. I'm not who I was before. ...I'm neither of them. I'm both of them." He paused. "And I'll have those back, thank you." With that, he stalked off and returned to his own work.
Man, I'm confused. Shaking his head, Link began a reply to the email, although he doubted it would get there in time. When Garry had sent the message, Link had been fighting off imps in another world. It all just goes to show... he thought.
The skies above the city were cloudy as ever when Link finally left school,
heading for the park as always for his usual rendezvous. The earphone of
a pocket radio was firmly in place in an attempt to bring some cheer to the
It was a hard proposition when, every step, he was watching out for something out of the ordinary. He didn't think that the effects of the past few days were going to go away so easily. Every movement in the shadows was making him jump, every noise seemed to mean something else than what it should. It was one thing to put on a relaxed face - another to feel it inside.
One thing was wrong, though, as Link arrived.
It's not like him to be late. Come to think of it, is it actually possible for someone who can twist time around to be late?
(But, hell, Oni, you could've told me...)
After about ten minutes waiting in the cold, Link gave up. Not a word. Or a thought. Then again, whenever did he ever bother?...
You're not doing anything stupid, are you? he yelled mentally. There was no reply.
No, I'm not doing anything 'stupid', Link. I'm just doing what Hyrule needs me to do. Oni climbed off his motorcycle and stared at the sky. He could see a plane dropping through the cloud layer as he did so. It looked like he was going to be on time. While reading Link's mind without his consent went against everything he stood for, it had seemed like the only way to get the information.
It had paid off. He jumped back aboard and followed the plane. He'd never been to Kakariko airport himself, even if it was the biggest in Hyrule - he'd never had any need to bother with that sort of means of transportation - but he'd never had any reason not to trust his intuition.
In the plane, a young man craned to see out of the window. Not that there
was much to see from where he was sitting. Mostly wing and engine, though
as the plane now tipped there was more ground in his view. Beside him, a
businessman tapped away at his laptop.
If only he'd thought to put his in his hand luggage, Garry thought. Then maybe he wouldn't have been so insanely bored the whole journey. Most of the time, there had been nothing to do but sleep. Even if the only time he'd been able to manage that since they'd passed the Hyrulian coastline had resulted in the worst nightmare he'd had in a long time.
Still, it looked like they were just about there. He watched in nervous excitement. Although nearly everything had been planned, this was still a novel experience. In a way, he was almost feeling homesick already, even before he'd got off the plane.
As it was, things went smoothly. The landing was a little bumpy, but nothing awful. He found himself swept along by the rest of the passengers, down corridors and through gates. What if I do something wrong, though? he kept thinking.
Waiting, staring at the baggage carousel, he finally managed to breathe again.
He'd just have to ring home now, and find his taxi somewhere. It was going
to be easy from this point in.
He sniffed. Something smelt a little odd, though. The people next to him were muttering "Can you hear anything?" but he couldn't make it out at first. There it was, though, in a few seconds. A rumbling noise.
The luggage hall started to fill with smoke. Alarms rang loudly. Garry coughed as he looked around, worried again, and started to run for the exit. He shoved his way through the crowds.
Get me out of here, he thought. What's going on? This... this doesn't feel right.
As he glanced over his shoulder, he saw a wave of light bursting through the far end of the hall. He picked up his pace. He didn't care where he went as long as he got out of there. It seemed like everyone else was thinking the same thing.
What the hell is that?
Someone let me in! It's freezing out here! Link thought, stabbing
at the doorbell. It was Zelda who answered it. She looked more than a little
shell shocked. "You're home early..." she said quietly.
"I know. 'Class' was cancelled," Link remarked with a quick shake of his head. He followed her into the living room, where the news was playing on the television. He nearly ignored it out of habit, but the voice of the announcer caught his ear.
Fire in the airport... strange shockwave phenomena... almost identical to three weeks ago...
"But why the airport? What's that got to do with anything? Who'd be there?" Zelda asked.
A thought as to who flickered through Link's mind, but he dismissed it as
impossible. The question remained unanswered as a flicker of movement on
screen attracted Link's attention. "Zelda! Just look at the TV! There!" Link's
finger stabbed the screen. The helicopter footage was a little out of focus.
But it wasn't hard to spot who was running into the complex. "He once told
me that he doesn't look human on camera! What the hell does he think
he's doing?" Leaving his sister staring in shock, he pounded up the stairs
to his room.
An idea had come to him. Under other circumstances, he wouldn't even have considered it. But it seemed to be the right thing to do. He could remember that night all too well. I've got to help. And I've got to see...
Link scrabbled wildly under his bed. It had to be here somewhere. Had to be. The damn thing hadn't left his room since he'd moved in there.
I know what you are, what he is now. God of destiny. Controller
All I ask for now is time to do what's right...
The transformation didn't seem to hurt as much this time. Maybe it was because he knew what to expect.
I'm coming! Hold on!
Link bolted out of the front door, not bothering about concealment. He knew he was going to attract attention like this. But at the moment, he didn't care. People were in trouble, and he knew who to blame. A friend was probably in just as much trouble - and it would be his fault. Every second was going to count. Even now, he was moving far faster than any human had a right to. He could feel his muscles tense to send him into the air - he could well imagine that his powers in this assumed form could include flight, but the part of him that was still Link Hunter was none too willing to do so.
He only hoped that this would work.
Oni stared. Appearances were deceptive, he knew. And as far as his eyes were
concerned, he was looking at a tall, tanned teenager with spiky red hair.
If he closed his eyes, however, he could see something far different - straight
into the running boy's soul.
To compare what he saw there to anything in the physical world would have been a futile task. The closest description that could have been made was to a shining matrix of copper, red and black, of lights flickering in a million dimensions - an incredible if flawed pattern. He knew what it looked like to his eyes, though.
It was as alike the Dark King's as he remembered it as his own soul was like Link's. A near perfect match.
Running through the chaos, Garry paid very little attention to the shout. It sounded angry.
He froze and looked around. It wasn't like his nickname was exactly common. But hardly anyone who knew him online knew what he looked like. And, in any case, who would... Link? he thought? Nah... he wouldn't be...
Oni stepped out of the flames. His eyes were glowing. As he walked forwards,
time seemed to slow around them. "Nice try. It nearly worked. I guess that
it feels a lot different, being young again? After two thousand years?"
"What the..." Garry was frozen on the spot. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"You can stop pretending. I know who you are. You might have been able to hide from mortal eyes - who's going to suspect a teenager? But you're not going to hide from me. And a nice try fooling the Hero, too. That way, it'd be all too easy for you to..."
"Whoa! What the... Who are you?"
"As if you don't know." He smiled thinly.
Garry's insides turned to ice. Ohmygodohmygod. It's real. It's all real. Link wasn't kidding. And he thinks I'm really... hell, I'm in trouble... this is impossible! Maybe I should've called myself something else? But how did he know? Well, he's... he's...
He didn't have much longer to think, as Oni charged into him and knocked him to the ground. A stabbing pain shot through his arm as he landed awkwardly.
"Yeowch! Look! I know what you're thinking..." I think. "But you've
got it all wrong! I'm not really him! It's just a nickname! I just thought
it sounded cool, the evil king from some old legend, but if I'd ever thought
that it was all as really real as..."
"And you really expect me to believe that? I can see who you are." Oni's eyes narrowed. "I should have done this a long time ago. I couldn't chase you into the Dark World. But you're here now. In my world. And that means no holding back."
Garry wasn't looking at his face, though. He was looking over Oni's shoulder, at an armoured figure running into the room. But if this is... then who's that? he thought.
"Leave him alone!" Link yelled, slowing to a standstill. "What are
you doing? I saw you on the telly, I thought you were going to help! Not
to beat people up!"
"I'm only doing what you were too blind to see, Link! I've let this go on too long! I wasn't going to let the chance go!" Oni stood up. Garry edged away in confusion.
"You certainly picked your moment..."
"And you seem to have, too," Oni stated icily as he looked Link up and down.
"I've got it under control!" Link snapped back. "I just wanted to get here and help! I saw what was happening on the news. And you think I'd have been able to get here in time if I was..."
"You know what happened last time!"
"Look! You've got my word. We sort out what's happening here, and I go back."
They locked eyes. "You'd better," Oni said quietly. "Those powers are not toys. You're not supposed to be a superhero."
"Just the normal sort, right?"
There was a quiet before anyone spoke again. This time, it was Garry. "...I know I told you when my plane was landing, but I wasn't expecting this sort of a welcome..." His words came out cracked and broken, unsure of themselves. But with all the madness around at that moment, something so crazy and improbable as running into the one person he knew in the city out of two million no longer seemed so unlikely.
"Welcome?" Oni snapped, and turned on the frightened teenager. "How about
a farewell, Ganon?"
"Stop it! I'm not him! I swear!"
"You were saying I'm blind? You're the one who's being blind here! Are you going to take revenge on someone who's done nothing to you?" Oni opened his mouth to argue back, but Link got in there first. "Look into his mind. Look at what he's feeling. What he's thinking. Does he look evil to you?"
"I saw his soul. His spirit."
"And then you stopped seeing anything else! If he's really your Ganondorf, it's my butt that's on the line if I'm wrong!"
Oni paused a moment to think. Am I really being that foolish?
It's not my place to make mistakes. Hyrule is the one which suffers when I do.
But... am I making one now?
"Fine," he sighed. I can't believe I'm doing this. "I'll ... let him be. For now."
Link walked over to a still stunned Garry and held out his hand. "Sorry you've
had to put up with this. But... well... you can see what's happened..."
Garry got to his feet. "Yeah. ...You weren't kidding when we talked that time, then?"
Link shook his head, and broke into a grin. "You don't know half of what's
been happening around here," he said.
"I know there's been trouble happening. My folks weren't sure whether I should've come here. But the school's not in the city, so they thought I'd be okay... it's not like we could really pass up the chance. "
"I think they were just proved wrong." As he spoke, the shockwave burst through the walls of the hall. "The way out's that way. Run like hell. I'll see you later..." Link yelled, running straight towards it. Oni turned, and chased him away.
Telepathic words resounded in Garry's head as he made his escape. I'm keeping an eye on you. I know where you are. Link trusts you. I should too. But step out of line and you'll be answering to us both.
It was some time later that the three met up again, on the outskirts of the airport. Link was spinning the mask he had been wearing in his hands. Garry needed to look twice before he worked out what was going on.
There was quiet for a while as the three started on their way. Link shot a few glances at his immortal counterpart, who eventually spoke up.
"I owe you an apology."
Garry looked aside. "Thanks. You didn't need to."
"I don't understand it, though. If you're - I don't know, some sort of reincarnation of the original Ganondorf - " Link waved his hand vaguely, as if to show just how up in the air his ideas were - "then how can the original still be around?"
"The same way you are, Link." Oni glanced at his younger counterpart. "The timeline - it's complex. The time around when I was born and the Dark King came to power - it's looped and knotted a million ways. I'm certain that one of those 'loops' contains a time when the first Ganondorf died normally - it would be the same one where I developed my full powers. It might not have affected history as we know it, in amy major way. But it does seem to have one unforeseen consequence." He looked back over at Garry. "I hadn't known anyone else except for Link and myself that this had happened to."
"Well, as long as I'm off the hook," Garry said, laughing. "This is all...kinda weird, though, isn't it?"
Link grinned back at him. "If you'd been living my life for the past coupla months, then you'd know the definition of weird."
There was a pause. "You think this was... my fault, though? Somehow? If I
"Don't blame yourself, man. I think the real thing is probably just trying to cause hell."
They walked out through the chaos. Ambulance sirens blared and reporters
and police still packed the area.
None of the activity seemed to touch the small group. It all seemed kind of distant. The boys' minds were filled with things that either of them would have ever have thought about before. There was no speculating what Oni was thinking about, though.
"We need to get in touch with everyone we know that's been involved in this."
"It is believed that the same organization behind the attacks nearly three weeks ago is behind the events at the airport. Citizens are advised to remain calm... And on related news, people have reported that the 'Phantom Knight', the alleged rescuer of many following three weeks ago, has been seen in the airport vicinity... "
The television snapped off. Everyone who in any way knew him had been very surprised to find out that Oni'kara was in possession of a television, even a small one. They had been nearly as surprised to find out where he had been staying.
The flat didn't look like anyone actually lived there, more that they just
needed somewhere to call an address. It was virtually undecorated, and whatever
furnishings were there had obviously been provided by the landlady. It overlooked
one of the city's many temples to various gods, though no-one had as yet
asked whether the god in question existed. It didn't seem polite to bring
Equally, no-one was in the mood to bring up the way in which the flat seemed to contain far more space than the size of the walls suggested it should. This was probably a good thing. There was no way that nine people would have felt comfortable in there if it had.
As it was, the group gathered round began to talk. The concept of Link being any sort of a hero, ironically, made least sense to his closest friends. But what did make sense to everyone was that they were in trouble.
"That's what we're up against."
"That's the sort of power the Dark King's packing."
"And he's just getting started." Cal folded his arms. "You don't have a chance."
"Define 'you'?" Maddi remarked. "You said you were on our side on our way here. Even after what happened two days ago."
"When did I say that? I just said I'm not working for Ganondorf any more." Link and Garry exchanged glances, which went unnoticed. "Doesn't necessarily mean I'm working with Mr. Hero there."
There was a pause.
"Okay. So what do we need to get a chance?"
"You could always pull off that quick change trick..."
"No. He can't do that. Hyrule wouldn't thank him for it. I wouldn't either. And using that power in such serious combat has... its consequences."
Spoilsport. Yeah, I know, but... "The rest of... the heroes managed okay, right? I can too." Link thought. "It's a question of what they had that I didn't have."
"Well, there was a lot of magic around then, right? They used that, didn't they?"
"But there isn't a lot around now. That's probably out."
"A big ass sword?"
Link laughed, and fidgeted in the bottom of his sports bag to fish out his own. "Well, I've got this."
Lynna, Mel and Ralph stared. This was the first any of them had seen of it. There were vague whispers of "Cool..."
"Isn't it illegal to carry something like that around?"
"I don't know. But I'm not planning on going through any metal detectors with it."
There was another pause. "Does the phrase 'Master Sword' mean anything to
anyone?'" Garry asked.
Link laughed, as the words struck home. "Yeah...! I'd read something about it when I was looking into everything!" He sighed. "Of course, then I kind of found myself having to move house without packing. I didn't really have time to retrieve my notes." He looked over at Oni. "You know about it, right? I mean, you've used it..."
Most of the group looked rather confused by this turn of questioning. Oni, however, blinked and replied. "It was lost a thousand years ago. Even I don't know where it is."
"So where did you last see it, then?" Link let out a breath. "Lost shouldn't matter. They've, we've, been on the lookout for lost treasures all the time. This whole continent was lost at one point. Why didn't you tell me, remind me, I needed this thing?"
"I..." Oni paused, for once uncertain of how to reply. Link's remark had stung. "I... didn't think you were ready."
"When's 'ready?' You were about ten, weren't you? I looked it up... And who was it next? He was just a kid too! Don't tell me I'm not ready!" Link pushed back his chair and stood up. "Okay. Maybe it's still early days. But things are getting crazy quickly. If Ganon - the real one - keeps this up, we're not going to have a city soon! And you know it won't stop there! You want to destroy this world to save it, go ahead! I can't stop you! But maybe it would be a better idea to let me do my job?" He was hitting his stride now. The others just stared, mostly in incomprehension. "Don't tell me I'm not ready. You said you'd help me. You didn't have to. So how about helping me now?"
Oni looked away. "It was left to rest in what they used to call the Lost Woods. Kakariko Forest Park, I think it is now. But rangers and archaeologists have been through there with a fine toothed comb."
Zelda peered at him. "But none of those archaeologists was the Hero of...
of... what are you Hero of, anyway, Link?" The group started to laugh.
"Maybe they just weren't meant to find it."
Link nodded. "Yeah. And even if it's not there, that seems like the right place to start looking. Anyone with me?" Ralph and Lynna threw in their support first; Mel next, and Garry and Maddi shortly afterwards. With great reluctance, obviously swayed by group pressure and his cousin's kicking his ankle, Cal eventually agreed too.
"That's settled, then!" Link paused for a second. "There's just one problem. Who's driving?"
A/N: Okay, delayed again. But it's an improvement, right? ^^;; And next chapter's already got a large chunk written. So, with any luck, I might be able to haul it back to monthly updates... *crosses fingers* College pending, of course .
Any volunteers for a beta reader? I'm having to put this one out unbeta-d - when it gets sorted, I'll replace this chapter. Sorry. (Bad H.B.)
And a quick poll. As I've said, my original trilogy is getting a rewrite.
(I'm two chapters in.) But I need a bit of help.
The second story, 'Guardian of Time', is having a name change. (Blame Sailor Pluto. Damn it. Now I want to write a crossover.)