I opened my eyes. The sun was descending in the sky. Deep shadows covered everything; on one side, they were bathed in orange light, and on the other they were the deepest shades of green and black. I blinked and sat up. Someone had laid me under on the few trees dotting the clearing. My pack had been lain next to me, the bedroll that was held was now unrolled beneath me.
I was contacted as soon as I retained my bearings. Mistress, you’ve awakened.
It was Fi. You can just call me Lorica. I paused. Where is Link?
There was another pause. He is in the Spirit Realm, going through a trial.
The trial? How does he fare?
Fi paused again, as if she was uncertain how to tell me. He has just failed the trial again.
Alarm shot through me, and I suppressed it before it could reach Fi through our telepathic link. I… I see. How many times has he failed?
Twice? It must be difficult if he’s failed so many times…
I discarded the thought, though, for I was being na´ve and was thinking far too highly of him.
What is he doing? I asked Fi.
I cannot tell you, she said cautiously, for it is something he must face alone.
Ah. Forgive me for asking.
There was no response.
I cut the connection between us and watched the sun descend farther into the sky. It reminded me of the sunsets over the lake.
A sense of melancholy grabbed me again and tears began to flow from my eyes like a waterfall. I hugged my knees close to my chest, allowing them to fall onto the grass and moss below me. There they lay, like translucent pearls before being absorbed into the loam. I wasn’t sure what was so sad; just thinking of the lake and forest upset me.
My thoughts returned to the beautiful, perfect scenery around me. It was nothing like some places where I was from before. I remembered in some places the air was so thick that I couldn’t breathe and had to be specially treated in a place that was covered in white and smelled of medicine and disinfectant.
I thought of how I had woken up in this strange world. I had always wanted an adventure, but this…
It’s much more frightening than I thought. There is so much adversity I was once blind to…
I thought of how Ghirahim had defeated me so easily. I was so weak, beaten by someone who looked more woman than man. I felt as if I was going to cry again.
And here I am, being weak again. I rested my forehead on my knees, feeling like the loneliest person in the world.
“Hey, are you okay?”
I spun around to see Link looking down at me with a concerned expression. I forced myself to smile. “I’m fine!” I laughed. “What are you talking about?”
“You were crying.”
I cocked my head and made my expression confused. “I wasn’t crying.”
I stood up and made it over to the bedroll.
“You look like you were crying.”
I trembled. “I wasn’t crying…” I whispered.
“I wasn’t crying! I shouted as I lay down, back to him.
I jerked as he put his hand on my shoulder. “I would be disturbed if I had been shoved off of a balcony, too.”
I was silent.
“I caught you, you know. You would have been in a much worse position if I hadn’t.”
So that’s why I didn’t die.
“You saw him then?” I asked, indicating Ghirahim.
“Yes. He said that he would have revenge for your behavior. áJust what did you say to him? He seemed quite angry.”
I didn’t answer, only stared at the thick blanket in front of me. “Your trial… You passed it, I assume?”
“Yes, else I would still be in the same place I was earlier. I got something from it.”
“Did you now?”
“From the Goddess. A Water Dragon scale.”
I shrugged my shoulder to shake off his hand, but it remained. I turned toward him and raised one of my eyebrows. “Can I help you?”
He sighed and stood up. He looked back at me and said, “Don’t make problems were there aren’t any,” but I was already asleep.
The dreams I had that night were filled with my memories.
The warmth and joy of being with my family as a child, when I grew up and became more and more distant until I found company so trying I hid away in the depths of the forest…
The books I read, filled with “destiny children” who are whisked away to worlds unknown, how I always wished I could be one of them…
My love of art, how music compelled me to create things that would never otherwise occur to me…
Then my thoughts suddenly turned to something I did not recall seeing before.
The sooty smudge of a caved-in roof against the night sky… Bright, dancing flames surrounding me… Searing agony, breaking down my body as I stared blindly ahead, tears stinging in my eyes… The agony of the screams that racked my body, evidence to some horrid torture… Thick, smoky air that clung to my throat and squeezed the life out of me with each breath, each breath an unattainable effort…
I was trapped, and could not escape.
I jumped up alarmingly, sweat coating my limbs. I reached at the empty air, trying to relive the pain that was there, trying to clear my eyes from the sting of smoke. Link was shaking me, but I felt nothing but the burning, saw nothing but the fire, heard nothing but the roar of the fire…
I began sobbing violently, knowing that the fire would soon blot out my small blaze of life, that the flames would leech the life out of my limbs…
I trembled, fear overtaking me.
I don’t want to die!
The fire disappeared, and I was again in the forest. I blinked and looked around.
“Lorica! What’s wrong with you? You’ve been so…”
I looked him in the eye. “Do you truly wish to know? Very well then, I shall tell you. I am afraid.”
I turned around, obscuring my face.
“Then… I-I’ll keep watch! So… So that you won’t be scared!”
I blushed then, as I had not expected such a response. I stared hard at the ground as I waited for the color to drain from my face again. I turned to him again, hiding my emotions under an unreadable mask, all of the fear, sadness, and above all, slight warmth that stood out, unknown to me before now. A ghost of a smile lifted my lips, though.
“That would be most appreciated.”
Link sat on a branch of a tree, head turned toward the sky as he watched the stars turn. The forest was peaceful, but still he stayed.
Fi, He asked. What is love?
After a light breakfast, we set out looking for the doorway Ghirahim had mentioned. Link was the one who found it, and I hurried over with haste. As he had said, it had been demolished, rubble in a large radius around it. Some of the bridge had also been destroyed, but not so much as to make it impassible. When we got to the end, the forest cut away at a sudden cliff.
I looked over the bridge. A huge, clear lake dominated the entire valley, fed by four waterfalls cascading over an even higher cliff from another lake.
“Can you swim?”
I looked at the water, hundreds of feet below.
“I have to jump…?” I paled at the thought, if that was even possible for my already colorless skin.
“Of course! How else will we get down there?”
I backed up, closer to the wider portion of the bridge.
“Isn’t that a little… I don’t know, daring?”
“You’re scared?” I blushed a little and looked to the side, embarrassed. He doubled over laughing.
“I… I get scared a lot,” I defended.
He stood straight then, and I looked back out to the lake. “It is really far down…” I swallowed.
“No time to think about that,”
“Wha-” My sentence was cut off as Link picked me up. I blushed, but such feelings were swept away as he jumped off of the bridge. The lake rushed toward us at an alarming rate. I looked away from the huge expanse of water, clenching my eyes shut. Link pointed into a dive as we plunged into the water. The liquid was perfectly clear; we were forced deep into the water from the momentum of his jump. The frigidity of the water shocked me. I pushed away from Link and swam up to the surface, glad I had so much practice. I shook out my wet hair, the air cool and moist near the surface. Link resurfaced next to me.
“How long will I have to hold my breath?” I asked, eyeing the deep expanse of water.”
Fi came from the sword suddenly, surprising us both. Master, there is an entrance to the deeper portion of the lake. I estimate a 90% chance that there will be bubbles which will supply Lorica with air along the way.
I smiled. “Thank you, Fi.”
She reverted back to the sword.
Link dived back under, with me following close behind, swimming into a tunnel deep beneath the surface. Just as Fi predicted, there were large bubbles of air along the passageway. The clung to my head and throat, allowing me to get short gasps of air, before exploding into millions of smaller bubbles. Soon we reached a large cavern. I burst to the surface, refilling my lungs with long breaths.
I looked down. A seahorse-like animal spotted us and cowered behind a spur of rock. “M-more humans! Just like Ghirahim!” It swam to behind a barrier of wood.
“Watch this,” Link said, smiling at me. “The water dragon’s scale is really amazing.” He dived back under, swimming to the barrier, then spun faster than I thought was possible and shattered the barrier. The seahorse thing kept swimming, frantic to get away from Link. I dove after it, trying to follow.
It stopped in the middle of the clearing. “Wait a second… You have one of Her Highness’ scales! Are you the one who will overthrow Zant?”
Link nodded. The seahorse immediately looked flustered. “Well, come on then! I’ll lead you to her!” It swam through a barrier with high walls and metal bars. Link resurfaced, gasping. I eyed the barrier distastefully. “I can’t scale that while in the water you know.”
He looked at me again, and laughed. “Well, I can.” He grabbed me again, and, diving deep under the water, he faced the surface, spinning at such a speed that the gray-blue rock around us was only a blur. He cleared over the barrier and crashed back into the water. I swam to the surface, amazed.
“I would say you’re amazing, but it’s only Our Highness’ scales that allowed you to do that!” The seahorse thing scoffed. I glared at it until it quailed under the intensity of my gaze. “S-straight ahead, then!” It unlocked a door with the top of its head and allowed us to pass.
A huge cavern lay before us, populated with a congregation of seahorse thingies. In a huge basin in the center of an island before us was the water dragon we had been told about. At least, that is what I thought it was. It was very small, and its face was quite strange. It had huge, broad lips and small eyes. Its skin was blue, with a waterfall running down the center of its serpentine body.
I bowed to it, as I knew that dragons obviously would demand the highest levels of courtesy. “I am Lorica, at your service,” I said, straightening.
“At least not all you humans are devoid of manners.” The dragon scoffed, peering at us. “You are the goddess’ chosen one,” She said to Link. Her head swung to me. “And I am unfamiliar with you, Lorica.”
I lifted my head toward hers as it towered above me. “I do not know myself as well.”
“You are not sure? Or cannot remember?”
I smiled sadly. “Both.”
Her gaze softened a bit, and her head swung back to Link.
“Why is it that you are here?”
“For the Sacred Flame,”
She looked angry then. “How did you find the flame?! How did you even know of my existence?!”
Link replied without even cringing, something that impressed me. “A legend from my village.”
The dragon’s eyes narrowed then, though it did not object. “I cannot show you the entrance.”
“And why is that? We’ve come all this way. You owe us an explanation!”
Link’s flinch was the only thing to prepare me for her outburst.
The dragon’s head snapped around, and its eyes flared with anger. “Child! Do not think to lecture me! You demand things with an arrogance, impatience, and disrespect rarely seen! It seems that no one has bothered to teach you courtesy.”
I laughed humorlessly. “And you truly expect me to remember such trivial things? Did I not tell you I have amnesia?” I spat the last word, hating it as much as I hated my weaknesses.
Link looked afraid, which truly unnerved me.
“YOU!! IF YOU WERE ANYONE ELSE, I WOULD HAVE EATEN YOU FOR THAT INSULT!!” She roared, eyes wild. Her countenance still enraged, she hissed, “But I shall forgive you for your songs have power. Two days ago a man known by Ghirahim came in here with a horde of demons. I defeated them, of course, but not without casualties. He wounded me, and I now sit in a basin of Sacred Water. However, this has lost its potency, and I considered sending out for more, but I see that is no longer needed. Sing to me, and I shall be whole again.
A song? A song… Right, what do I need? A song to bind her flesh, a song… A Song of Healing!
The song took form in my mind, and I sung,
A man at a swamp being executed
For a crime he did not commit
At sea, a musician playing his final song,
A king, powerless to save his people…
A valley, where the spirits of the past still fight an age old war that had ended long ago,
The hero, a boy, with all of the time in the world, and yet none at all, to save this realm…
This is Majora’s Mask.
The dragon hissed at the mention of Majora. What is a Majora? My question remained unanswered, though, as a burst of light ended all thought and the dragon burst from the basin, rising to her full height. She was enormous, nearly touching the ceiling. A small blue kimono covered part of her body, and her slim coil-like body ended with dark blue frills.
She smiled. “I am Faron, and as thanks I shall show you the Ancient Cistern. Follow me.”
Ancient Cistern? Fear jolted through me, a thought of darkness and undead warriors. I hugged myself without even realizing it. Link looked at me with concern in his eyes.
Faron lead us to a huge waterfall, pounding the surface with its force. Faron let out a single cry and the pounding water ceased.
“The waterfall has protected this place for millennia, but monsters have made their way in there, and there they flourish.”
Link and I crossed the water and entered the dark cavern. Light blinded me though, after I stepped into the structure, and I looked around. Pure, clear water filled much of the area, lotuses covering the surface. In the center of the room was a huge Buddha statue, crafted of gold, as was everything around it.
Huge red birds flew near the ceiling, calling out to each other in high voices. The air was clean and pure as well. It was like I stepped into heaven.
I took a deep breath, trying to calm my fears.
We had reached the Ancient Cistern.