Chapter XVI – Mount Tamaranch
The steps leading up to the Wind Fish's Egg reminded Link of a few instances in his previous adventures. With each step, he would feel the weight of the impending event on his shoulders. Each time, it was to save a land or kingdom. Whether he knew it intimately or not, Link never backed away from the challenge. That's what it meant to be courageous. That's what it meant to be the bearer of the Triforce of Courage.
Now, he climbed the steps of Mount Tamaranch. At his side was Marin, a resident of the island he'd come to care for deeply. He would not let her vanish with the rest of the island, even if it was all a dream. He would implore the dreamer to save the island and its inhabitants.
"This is it." Marin stroked the egg. It stood towering over them, ten times their size.
"So how do we do this?" Link asked, taking his ocarina out of his pocket.
"Play the Ballad of the Wind Fish." The owl said, showing up one final time.
"The owl! This is the one you were talking about?" Marin asked, hiding behind Link all the same.
"Hoot. With Marin here, the Instruments of the Sirens are complete. When you play the Ballad of the Wind Fish, the instruments will play with you. Together, the melody will wake the Wind Fish, and your dream will finally come true."
"What are you, owl? You've been helping me since the beginning." Link asked, finally having a chance to talk about something other than collecting the instruments.
"I am the Wind Fish. A spirit made to guard Koholint Island from the nightmares. When Dethl took hold of the Wind Fish in his slumber, I was forced into hiding. Only when a lad courageous enough to face the nightmares appeared could I help. I am glad you have made it this far."
"You're the Wind Fish?!" Marin's mouth was agape.
"My work is done. The Wind Fish will wake soon. Good-bye, young hero!"
For the final time, the owl took flight, this time directly up into the sky. Marin and Link watched as he flew towards the sun, vanishing at some point along the way. Left all around them were the instruments, organized and ready to be used. Marin took the Surf Harp from her satchel, and Link his ocarina.
"Go on, Link," Marin said, her hands ready to play alongside him. "You start."
The young man took a few breaths before he put the blue instrument to his lips. And so he started playing, followed immediately by Marin on the harp. One by one the instruments joined in on their own, glowing as they added to the melody. Once all eight were playing, as well as Link's own ocarina, music filled the air all around Mount Tamaranch. As the song came to an end, the massive egg before them stirred. Still they kept playing, until at last a crack appeared on the shell before them.
Bit by bit, this crack grew, until it was as tall as Link. Then the crack split sideways, trailing down until it made the shape of a door on the side of the egg. The shell crumbled into dust, revealing a pass into the egg itself.
"I thought the whole egg would hatch?" Link asked Marin.
"Me too... maybe the Wind Fish is inside?"
"Do you want to come with me?" Link asked one last time, offering the girl his hand. Marin didn't take it.
"You go. I'll wait here."
That was all she said about the matter. Link would be on his own, and the fate of the island was now up to him. The young man put the ocarina in his pocket, and entered the Wind Fish's Egg.
Inside it was pitch black.
There was no light from outside the egg, and no means of escape. As soon as Link had entered the egg, the way out had vanished. All he could do now was wander aimlessly through the dark. After a time, his eyes became adjusted to the lack of light, and he could make out bits and pieces of his surroundings. There wasn't much to make out, however. It was a series of long, featureless corridors.
In fact, it reminded him of his first dream while on Koholint Island. Surrounded on all sides by monsters, Link was unable to escape his fate. Until the voice of someone brought him back to the light. Marin's voice.
Link reached into his pocket for the ocarina. He brought it to his lips, and began to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish. Figuring it was as close to Marin's voice he could get, he let the melody fill the halls around him.
Then, everything was illuminated. Again trapped in a featureless room, with no exit in sight. The only noteworthy thing was a marking on the floor beneath his feet. It was a whale, similar to the one he'd seen at the Face Shrine. There was a dead silence all around him, until at last a voice began to echo in the chamber.
"We are born of nightmares..."
Link drew his sword.
"If the Wind Fish doesn't wake, the island will never disappear..."
He took a few steps back, keeping his eyes open for any sign of movement.
"But you had to disrupt our plans. You will perish, outsider!"
Link's eyes turned upward, seeing a black mass falling down. He dove forward, dodging the mass. When it landed, it erupted into a mass of dark clouds. When it reformed, it took on the shape of a Moldorm. Where there were supposed to be eyes, there were only blank circles. The nightmare lurched forward, snapping at Link with its mandibles.
Backed against a wall, Link sidestepped the monster when it moved in for another strike, buying himself enough time to run around behind the monster. With a swing of his sword, he struck at the monster's tail. Just as easily as the real thing, this Moldorm fell. Rather than explode into a cloud of smoke, it compressed into a smaller blob, taking a new form right away. This time, it was the shadow of a foe from Link's distant past.
The nightmare took on the form of the wizard Agahnim, the evil mastermind behind the entire plot to take over Hyrule. Holding its hands out, a glowing ball of magical energy began to form. It was thanks to the Master Sword that Link was able to defeat the real Agahnim in the past. Though he didn't have the Master Sword now, he was certain a swing of his sword would be just as effective against a fake.
The shadow released the projectile, and Link swung his sword to send it flying right back. The attack crashed against the shadow, causing to the disperse into dark clouds. The clouds regrouped once more, this time taking on the form of something much more fierce. Towering over Link stood the shadow of his greatest adversary; the King of Evil – Ganon. In hand this fake forged a staff similar to the one the real Ganon used to fight Link before.
The magic of the Silver Arrows was the only means of stopping the real Ganon. But if Link's old sword could deflect the fake Agahnim's magic, then it could also pierce through this fake King of Evil. The nightmare swung its staff in the air, causing a swirl of wind and flames above. Throwing caution to the wind, Link rushed the shadow, and plunged his sword directly into the monster's chest.
A wail echoed in the chamber, and the shadow of Ganon turned into a thin, black mist. Much of it dissipated into the air, but some reformed to become a large eyeball floating in front of Link. It was identical to the monster he faced in Kanalet Castle.
"If you wake the Wind Fish, the island will disappear." The eyeball pleaded.
"Even if it does, you don't belong here!" Link yelled, pointing his sword at the monster.
"I am Dethl. Outsider, you will die here!"
Dethl lurched forward, countless extensions in the form of dark tentacles spreading out from the eyeball and reaching down to ensnare Link. The young man did not move, and let himself be grabbed. The tentacles brought Link up to the eyeball, which was fast becoming a massive mouth. With all his might, Link hurled his sword like a spear, plunging it into the eyeball in time. A piercing screech resounded throughout the chamber, and Link was released from the clutches of Dethl and fell to the ground.
"Our world! Our world is going to disappear!" Dethl cried out, losing cohesion as it did.
"It was never your world." Link stated triumphantly.
Dethl vanished, leaving behind the sword that defeated it on the ground. Link walked over to the blade, but stopped himself from picking it up. There wouldn't be a need for the sword anymore.
"COME FORWARD." A great voice boomed through the chamber.
Link turned around, finding a staircase leading up out of the place. He followed it up as high as it went. Among the stars of the night sky, Link saw it for the first time. The Wind Fish, larger than any creature he'd ever seen before. Decorated in all manner of rich silks and fine jewels, the winged fish looked down on the tiny Hylian.
"I AM THE WIND FISH. LONG HAS BEEN MY SLUMBER. IN MY DREAMS, AN EGG APPEARED. SURROUNDED BY AN ISLAND, PEOPLE AND ANIMALS CAME TO BE. AN ENTIRE WORLD BUILT BY MYSELF AND THE NIGHTMARE DETHL. BUT VERILY, IT BE THE NATURE OF DREAMS TO END. WHEN I DOST AWAKEN, KOHOLINT WILL BE GONE."
"No!" Link called out. "I don't want it to disappear!"
The massive fish looked upon Link. "ONLY THE MEMORY OF THIS DREAM LAND CAN EXIST IN THE WAKING WORLD."
"What if I want it to be real? Can I wish for it?"
The Wind Fish let out a cry that echoed in the cosmos around them.
"If Dethl could turn someone into a dream, you can turn the whole island into a real place! Please!" Link begged.
"WHAT YOU SEEK IS IMPOSSIBLE. A DREAM CANNOT BE MADE REAL. TO REMAIN ON KOHOLINT ISLAND IS TO GIVE UP YOUR PLACE IN THE WAKING WORLD."
"If that's what it takes, I'll do it!" He yelled.
"THERE IS NO TURNING BACK, HERO. IS THIS TRULY WHAT YOU WISH?"
Memories of Marin raced through Link's mind. He took the ocarina out of his pocket and held it close to his heart.
The Ballad of the Wind Fish.
That was all Link could remember as he tossed and turned. Memories of a great battle against a fearsome nightmare were vivid in his mind for only a moment, before they vanished as he returned to the waking world. To his right, he could see the sun shining through a window down at him.
He rose from the bed, unsure where he was. His vision blurred, all he could focus on what retrieving the memory of that dream. Did the nightmare have a name? Was it even a nightmare? His pockets were empty, and his sword and shield missing. They were no where to be seen, either.
As his vision returned, he made for the door of the small house he was in. With a turn of the knob, he let himself out. A clear blue sky waited for him beyond, with pure white clouds dotting the vista. And below them, a great blue ocean.
But before all that was a person. Her red hair was flowing in the warm summer breeze. She turned around, and Link saw her face again. In her hair was a hibiscus flower, a gift he'd made to her. That much he remembered.
"What a relief! I thought you'd never wake up!" She called out to him, a smile on her face.
Link searched his memories for a name. Once it was in his head, he opened his mouth to call back.
The girl with red hair giggled. She ran over to Link and threw her arms around him. Their faces close, she closed her eyes for a moment and pressed her lips to his. Having stolen a kiss from the young man, she pulled away and looked him in the eye. With a sly wink, she asked him a question:
"Are you ready for a new adventure?"