“So, how will we find this Sacred Flame?” I asked, rearranging the position of the bow and quiver Link had just got me.
The quiver was quite large and crafted of sturdy leather. It could carry the bow as well, even while strung, which allowed more room for the small pack I now shouldered.
“I’m not sure,” Link confessed. “Before I can even go about finding it, however, Fi said I’ll have to pass a trial of sorts.”
“What exactly is Fi?” I asked. “She comes out from your sword, how is that possible?”
“Fi is the spirit of the Skyward Sword,” He explained. “She has a lot of information to tell me; she’s quite helpful.”
“Ah, that explains her strange appearance.”
“The trees are getting thicker.”
Link gave me a strange look. “Can you even stay on topic for five minutes?” He asked, though not in a mean fashion.
I laughed. “Actually, I can’t, at all. I notice the strangest of things at the strangest of times.”
“You’re quite loud too. The father we go into the forest, the more monsters there will be. You should keep your voice at a whisper.”
“Sorry. I honestly can’t tell when I’m being loud or not.”
“Just whisper then,” He said, sounding a little annoyed.
Silence reigned over us then, neither wanting to make a sound. I looked around at the peaceful forest, a smile lifting the corners of my lips. I loved the forest.
An image flashed across my mind again:
Running through the forest, laughing with all the joy of a child. The sound of small feet crushing leaf mold underneath, the sun warming all around… Young trees, surrounding the king of the forest in a respectful circle… Sitting in the branches, breathing in the scent of the warm forest floor, surveying the woods…
The land of my childhood.
The image shattered, and I felt as if I remembered something, but it was gone, and I didn’t recall a thing about the memory. Nostalgia took root in my stomach, and I felt tears burn in my eyes, though I did not understand why. I bit my lip and then quickly rubbed my eyes. Link was far ahead, looking at me askance.
“C-coming!” I stammered, running to catch up with him. “Sorry about that… It’s…” I felt my breath catch in my throat. “It’s nothing,” I whispered, knowing that now he knew it obviously was something since I seemed so out of sorts.
When it was obvious that anything else from me was not forthcoming, Link cleared his throat and said, “So I was thinking. How do you think we should go about finding the gateway to the trial? Faron Woods is fairly large. Fi said ‘when the Blessed Butterflies gather in abundance and a beautiful melody is played, a gateway shall open’. Maybe we should split up at search for it. But… You’re still not that strong, and this place has a lot of monsters. Plus, you’re… Well, you’re a girl.”
I stopped in my tracks. What? “Well,” I spat, whirling around “Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I’m defenseless. It doesn’t mean I’m inferior to you!” My voice rose with each word I spoke until I was nearly yelling.
Link looked taken aback. “I… I didn’t mean it like that, I-”
I clenched my fists so hard that it hurt. “Then think about what you’re going to say before you say it!” I hissed.
I noticed how quiet it was. The forest had been so filled with life before, now it was dead silent. I realized how loud I must have been. But… I cut of the while it was forming, and allowed the sound of the wind in the trees to calm my anger. I sighed and then put my hand on my forehead. “Sorry about that. I don’t know what-”
“No,” Link interrupted. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have said that. I should be the one apologizing.”
Silence again pervaded over us. For me, it was because I didn’t want to say something I would regret. The warm weather and sounds of the forest quickly tempered the rest of my anger, and I could again enjoy myself.
Soon we reached a huge tree. And when I say huge, I mean ENORMOUS. Its gargantuan girth was thicker than fifty normal trees, the crown brushing up against the clouds. Small holes pocketed the surface; it looked as if you could climb up its immense range.
“This,” Link said, looking up to the tree, “is where we part. Remember to get me if you find anything. I’ll take the left, you right.”
I watched him go, then forced myself to look ahead. The path split here, part going left, part right. In the distance I saw a large pool of water running beneath one of the Great Tree’s roots. I began to walk down the path. Seeing water filled me with a pleasure; I remembered swimming as well. Yes, where I grew up there was a forest and a lake. I was starting to remember!
…Wait. Maybe there were two houses? Yes, there were two, one with a small wood in the back, the other with a large lake and greater forest. I remembered… Singing? Yes, I loved singing, both while gliding through the water and walking in the forest. I didn’t care how it sounded; I adored the sound of music. My mother loved it when I sung as well.
Everyone else laughed.
I didn’t notice the monster closing in on me until it was nearly upon me. I didn’t hear its feet upon the ground, the sound of its approach. A branch cracked, and I spun around in surprise. A large, ugly brute was running toward me. It had red skin and a blue mouth. It’s only clothing was a leopard-spotted loincloth. It had a huge black knife in one hand.
Loosing a war-cry, I leapt to the monster. It yammered in some unknown language, stopping my blow with ease. I jumped back and began to run, pulling out my bow and nocking an arrow. It raised its knife above its head and cried out, chasing after its prey that was fast escaping. I spun around, stopped for a second to aim and let an arrow loose. It hit it in the core, cutting off its cry. It fell to the ground, dead.
Revulsion overtook me, and I looked away. I put a trembling hand to my mouth to block the bile that was rising in my throat.
Something is dead because if me.
I felt as if I might cry.
Despite myself, I looked back over at the corpse. I jumped.
It was gone.
Somehow, the body had disintegrated, leaving my arrow. I quickly retrieved it and ran toward the water, not wanting to encounter any other enemies.
As I got near the water, however, a plant growing on the top sprouted a head attached by a long vine. The head was eyeless, with only a huge, snapping mouth which acid dripped from. Its head swiveled toward me, and it lunged, jaws open. I stumbled backwards and leased an arrow at its head. The shaft bounced harmlessly off, and it attacked me again.
That means the only way to escape this… I backed up, putting the bow into the quiver. I jumped forward, diving into the water. I swam as low as I possibly could, aware of the plant-demon jabbing into the clear liquid after me. My lungs began to burn from lack of air.
I looked up, to resurface, when I realized how deep the pool really was. I clawed frantically at the water, wanting to resurface as soon as possible so relive my agonizing lungs.
But, the surface seemed so far away, and my head was in the clouds…
I burst out of the water, gasping at the clear air. I scrambled out onto the shore and ran toward a structure near at hand, desperate to escape the monsters. I put a hand on the white stone and looked up.
Two staircases lead up to a platform with two levels, supported by pillars. The top of it created a watch-out tower, with a statue of a bird facing even deeper into the woods.
I looked behind me and saw that the plant had reverted to what it was before, a plant. Large mushrooms dotted the clearing and a group of butterflies circled a small ray of light.
Where the blessed butterflies gather in abundance, play a beautiful melody and the gateway shall open…
A melody slowly took form in my mind, and I gave it creation with my voice, not sure what it was, just wanting it to be created before it slipped away. It was playful, the melody rising and falling. It seemed to be filled with the essence of a spring day; it was bright and cheerful.
Slowly, to my surprise, a blue circle appeared on the ground. Petals seemed to unfold from it, and I was soon looking at a shimmering flower-like symbol. It was 2-dimensional, and in the middle there were the same three triangles as on my cloak.
Is that the gateway?
“Well, now, it looks like you got here before me. But, no matter. The boy will come anyway.”
I spun around. I hadn’t even noticed someone coming up behind me. The man, for I thought it was a man, was very tall with pale grey skin. Startling white hair covered one side of his face, which was, admittedly, somewhat fair. At least if he took off some of the makeup he had. His eyes were outlined a dark black, his eyelids purple. His lips were colored white. His white shirt was partially covered by his deep crimson cloak, his stomach bare. Diamond patterns covered the inside of his cloak. White gloves covered his lower arms with diamonds cut into them, while gold bands clung higher up. His belt had a huge diamond, much like Fi’s. Tight white pants constricted his legs with more diamonds cut into it. He had huge diamond earrings hanging from pointed ears.
“Oh, aren’t you darling!” He exclaimed when he saw my face. I stumbled backwards. What?
“Um…” I stepped closer to the temple.
“Oh, now look. I’m being positively uncivil. Allow me to introduce myself.” He narcissistically brushed his hair to the side and let it fall over his face again. He had another diamond painted under his eye.
“I am the Demon Lord who presides over this land, Lanayru, Eldin, and Faron. My name is Ghirahim, though I prefer you refer to me with the respectful title of Lord Ghirahim. But I’m not fussy.”
“Demon Lord?” I asked, desperate to keep him talking. An image flashed across my mind; long silver hair, red traditional Japanese clothing, white dog ears. Then it was gone, but this time I still could remember it. “You must be pretty powerful.”
He laughed then, and my hand flew to my sword hilt at the sound of it. I pried my hand off before he could see my action.
“Well, aren’t you sharp! Yes, I am many times stronger than a human, or so someone would unfortunately find out if they ever had to fight me. But enough about me. How did you open the gateway? I thought only a goddess instrument could do that.”
“I… I sung,” I stammered, not knowing if it was wise to tell him such thing.
“Is that so?” He said, nearly whispering. His eyes glinted with an emotion I could not identify. I thought it was either malice or desire.
“Why are you here, may I ask?” I questioned.
“And so the topic returns to me. Well, I’ll let you know that I am the commander of Zant’s army. The Water Dragon here has been such a nuisance; I came here to get rid of her altogether. Though,” He seemed angry here, and his voice dropped lower, “I was only partially successful. She won’t be able to annoy us for a while now, though. No, not for quite a while.”
I looked at him suspiciously. “Water Dragon?”
“Through the doorway leading to Lake Floria! Did you not see how fabulously I destroyed it?” Suddenly he caught himself, as if he had gone too far. “Ah, now, my young lady, answer my question. Why are you here?”
I lifted my chin and put my hands on my hips, appearing aloof and distant. “I’ll not tell anything to the likes of you.”
Anger flashed across his eyes, and his former pleasant demeanor vanished. “Such arrogance! Do you not understand whom it is you are talking to?”
“You said you were a Demon Lord. I got that much.”
A blade materialized in his hand, a streak of night against the green forest. “It looks like you’ll need to be taught some respect.” He hissed. He jumped forward, faster than I thought was possible, and slashed at my right. I jumped back, drawing my sword, and blocked his sword. We disengaged, and I swung at his left, unguarded side. Instead of trying to block my attack, however, he simply raised his hand and caught the blade mid-stroke. I paused, stunned. He took my momentary confusion to slash at my wrist, driving me backwards. My wrist dripped hot blood, but the most uncomfortable thing about it wasn’t the pain but rather how cold his blade was. It felt as if he had sharpened an icicle to a point and drove it into my bone. He laughed, licking my blood off of his sword. I shuddered.
He pointed his sword under my chin. “Dead. Now you know where you stand.” His sword pressed harder. “Though it won’t be-”
“For long? Well, you won’t kill me.” I smiled as sweetly as I could. “You know you won’t.”
“And why do you say that?”
I laughed. “Because I’m not about to die here!” I kicked his wrist as hard as I could, breaking the skin on my throat in the process, and somersaulted backwards.
I remembered that was one of the only things I could do in gymnastics.
I ran up the watchtower, desperately trying to spot Link. If anyone could fight him, it was Link.
I knew it was weak of me. I knew it just justified his opinion of me being weak, I knew I might resent proving his point, but I had to.
I stood on the balcony, searching desperately for him. I glanced over my shoulder. Ghirahim was nearly upon me. I scanned the forest again, hoping to glimpse him somewhere. “Link!”
“You have caused me far too much trouble, and now you’ve backed yourself into a corner. How… Convenient.”
“However, I’ll not waste any more energy on you.” His blade disappeared. “I’ll just dispose of you… Right now!”
The ground heaved under me as I was shoved off the balcony. I twisted my head to glare at Ghirahim with all of the menace, fury, and hatred I could gather. His sneer quickly changed to anger, though, before the world went black around me.
I wonder what he saw.