Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ What's Done In The Dark. . . Pt. 03: Nightshade ( Chapter 35 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Chapter Thirty-five

As I was saying, building a ship was more work than it appeared. I had cut down nearly every tree on the entire island when, at long last, the boat was done. This was it-our time to rejoin civilization! This was our time to cut the twine ropes and sit the behemoth in the water. This was a time for celebration, but it wasn't. We were all too tired to deal with celebrating anything. Instead, we put our attention into getting on that boat and catching some wind in our sail. There wasn't a single metal nail in the entire vessel, and many had doubts that we'd make it an arm's length away from the island because of that. Still, overall hope remained. That was the one thing we all had in plentiful supply, even though there was obvious doubt.

"This is it people," Galatea announced, cutting the final rope and releasing the ship down the splints into the ocean.

There was a moment of trepidation, as the ship made an odd groan. It dipped to and fro for a moment, giving us all time enough to settle down. I think that's when it finally began to dawn on them. After all the time spent on that desolate island, they were going home-or somewhere close. It felt good to be that kick in the butt they needed to get going. But as I settled down near the rear of the ship to control the rudder, I couldn't help wondering where I fit. There was nothing awaiting me once we reached Termina. I'd hit the beach and then what? Would I journey back to Hyrule sniffing for the scraps of my marriage? No, but in the same breath, I couldn't not go back to Hyrule. I had children there and I couldn't just desert them.

Or could I?

There was nothing that said I had survived my explosion of self. And what would my being there solve? It would only drudge up questions that I wasn't prepared to answer and feelings that mirrored. Rejoice was quickly turning into dejection on my part. In another one of those moments I'd label either fortune or irony, a storm blew in on us a couple of hours off shore sending everyone below deck, minus me. The wind threw the ship around like carrots in a stew. It was blown from left to right and bombarded by waves that would surely dismantle our ship if we didn't gain some form of control. This was truly… typical. And to make matters worse, we'd veered off course. I was controlling the secondary rudder and, aided by the silver gauntlets, I held it steady enough to stay aimed at Snowhead. How cute, Link versus nature.

Can you guess who won that battle?

I figured that I had the best chance against the storm with the gauntlets. But I didn't factor in that I didn't have someone at the helm stirring the ship. In a vein that Nabooru would've followed, Galatea comes back above deck and stumbles blindly to the wheel. It had been the only part of the original ship to survive, and how ironic that it seemed to be the head of two sea disasters. I could only see her outline ever so often, usually when the lightning flashed, and that had me disturbed. Call it a premonition, but the way the mast began to groan made my pulse quicken in anticipation for the worst. That's when I heard the snap and saw the mainsail begin to swing wildly. On instincts alone, I grabbed the severed rope as it slapped my leg, and held it along with the handle of the main rudder.

Stupid move…

While my strength amplified with the gauntlets, my stamina did not. The weight of the water pushed against my right arm, while the sail's mast tried its best to swing free of my left. At one point, I could've sworn that my body would tear in half. Alas, even with this bitter pain, I had to be resolute. I couldn't give up. This means that the rope slipped from my grasp. And that means that the sail flapped in the breeze like a freshly hung sheet. And that means, the mast spun completely around and knocked Galatea overboard. I had tried to call out a warning to her, but the thunder must've been too loud. From my vantage point, it appeared to hit her directly in the head. I didn't even notice this was the exact same way that her mother had died; I just reacted to the situation.

"Great," I mused, narrowly missing the same fate as the large wooden trunk swung over head. Instead, I caught hold of the rope as it passed and began a plan of rescue.

"Galatea," one of the guards shouted, coming back above deck and stumbling towards my general direction. "Link, are you two out here?"

She found her way over to me a moment later, where I told her what had happened. This didn't bode well with the poor woman's psyche. But it did give me the extra help required to do one thing: Tie that damn sail to the rudder. Of course, this meant the boat would sail in one direction-once someone got the wheel under control-and one direction only, at least until the storm stopped. A flash of lightning revealed the outline of Snowhead, and I immediately began to tie the sail facing that direction. What about Galatea? If you'd give me a second, I'll tell you. Have you not gained a speck of patience in these last few years? No? You sicken me sometimes…

"Have you gone mad?" the guard shouts at me. "We can't stop for either of you in this storm! And…" My interjection was one of those smiles. The type of smile that says, "I'm still going to do the stupid thing and try to save an innocent life." "Take this then! Good luck, hero," she said as the smile registered its meaning to her.

I paused for a long moment, as that familiar title found itself bestowed upon me again. She then tossed me a sheathed sword, bringing me out of my thoughts and back into the storm. I didn't think enough to ask where she had got it from so suddenly, because I just needed an easy way out. And by easy, I meant the way that involved plunging into gray waters for a woman that I hardly knew. Splash! I'm in deep now. I thought what was happening on the ship was bad, that was nothing.

The ocean tossed me mercilessly. Hell, I wasn't slapped around that much facing off with that thing in the Water Temple. That's when it hit me: What if those guards never returned because the water had come to life? The more I thought about it, the more frantically I unsheathed that sword. Granted, I may not have had any plans of where to go, but I damn sure wasn't about to become some water parasite's dinner. That's when I felt something brush against my skin. I nearly panicked, then I recognized the feeling as fingers and they were descending down my leg.

"Galatea," I remembered, taking a breath and diving below the surface after her.

I wound my right hand in what I thought to be her dress, and hauled her into my arms. It was, unfortunately, her hair. There were bigger fish than that, though. For starters, I got caught in a tremendous undercurrent before reaching the surface, and it carried us off somewhere under the water. My left was right, then up became down, and I couldn't get my bearings to decipher which was which. Heh, then to compound the insults, I began to lose consciousness from the lack of air. My last memory beneath the water was of losing my grip on Galatea and her weight lifting off my side. That's when these large, yellow eyes opened in front of me and I… woke up. Now, wasn't that special. I went through all of that and it was just another one of my twisted dreams.

Or was… blah, blah, blah… It wasn't a damn dream. It was morning, and I was still clutching that sword with my mouth full of sand. Ha! We'd reached the mainland! Well, I'd reached mainland. Galatea, however, was not. It took quite a while for me to get my head together, but when I did, I felt ill. There were the byproducts of our ship, still laying there or blown about randomly from the storm. There was the half-wood, half-brick fortress sitting up on the hill. The undertow had carried me back to the island. I was not amused. There were no trees left to produce fruit. The wildlife was nonexistent, long ago exhausted by the women. I wasn't a fisherman worth his wait in bait without a pole, unlike the pirates who used those big nets to haul in fish by the barrel. And to top it all off, I was alone. An unknown amount of days earlier, I was the supreme god. Now, there I was another mortal in peril. There was a fresh water spring in the middle of the island, so at least I wouldn't go thirsty. It's the little things we find comfort in, really.

"I wonder how long it takes before this island sinks?" I asked myself, plopping down on a rock further inland.

This is where questions began to arise. Nah, none of that typical stuff-like why me and why now. I'm talking about the deep questions like, what was I going to eat, how long until I died, and who was that washing up on the beach? I couldn't answer the first two, so I had to entertain the third. Care to… that's too obvious. But there's a swerve in the path here that I didn't see. I drug Galatea back up to the fortress, despite feeling the coldness radiating from her skin. Hey, maybe I could talk to her corpse until it began to rot… kidding. Lighten up, sheesh.

In all seriousness, I used a technique that I saw the alchemist at Lake Hylia use. This kid had fallen in the lake and hit his head, rendering him unconscious. I dragged him out, and out of nowhere, the old man comes out of his lab, blows in the boy's mouth and brings him back to life. Hey, at least I wasn't blowing into an old man's mouth or vice versa. So, I did that a few times and waited. Nothing. Hmm, I thought. That's when I remembered that he pumped the boy's chest beforehand to get the water out of him. Okay, that was easy enough to do. I just… no, then I'd be touching them. Hmm, how did I go about doing this to a woman?

"Don't hit me for this," I said, as though she could hear me.

Pushing the now see-through dress away from her chest some, I began to push down on her breast bone. Water spewed into the air from both her nose and mouth, which must've equaled a bucket's worth by the time I had finished. Once I had made sure to get all the water out of her, I alternated between pumping her chest and breathing breath into her. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick… roar? Light brighter than the sun bellowed out of her behind that sound. Into the air the yellowish light shot, nearly clipping my face in the process. The beast or spirit or whatever it was with those yellow eyes must've possessed her. And like a fool, I brought it back to life. The world suddenly lost color, though. Galatea's body disappears, and I found myself in what felt like living darkness…

"To hell with it," someone yells. "I was almost trapped in that… that body!"

The echo was familiar. No, it was more than familiar. I had been to that place before. That's when the lights came on.

"Nocturna," I asked, disbelieving at first when her bluish aura first sprang to life. She was soaked to the bone, but stiffened at the mentioning of her name. Slowly, though, she turned to face me. Then, like a blank canvas filled in with color, the world returned around me-the ocean on one side, a barren island beneath my feet, and a goddess stood behind me. Note to self: That spot-to-spot warping is more unnerving than I knew. That's when I got upset, maybe even a little full of myself. "Tell me that…" I can remember saying, more like swearing at her. What else was I supposed to think? The day my marriage ends, I'm suddenly on an island with her. Come on! This reeked of set up.

"I didn't," Nocturna interrupts, having read my thoughts undoubtedly, not flaring up at the yet-to-be-flung accusation. "The illusions were the extent of my interfering. Well, that and the bits and pieces of your life that I… watched."

I raised a seething, yet skeptical eyebrow. "What illusions?"

"The pirates," she began, suddenly losing the metal to face me. "I… they were dead, you see."

I blinked, as Nocturna tried to spin it differently.

"What I mean is the story about them being set adrift is the truth. But they didn't survive," she says, passing me a small look. "Their souls did, though. And once I appeared, I kind of manipulated your mind into seeing them as living, breathing people."

"Wait, wait," I begin, "I've been living among ghosts is that what you're trying to tell me?"

"More or less…"

"Yes or no," I stated, beginning to lose quite a bit of patience.

"Yes," Nocturna replies in the same way. "But on the bright side, you did set their spirits free! That's why we had to get off that ship, you see. You rewrote their place in history and, as a result, would've been thrust backwards in a sort of time paradox if allowed to sail all the way back with them. My subsequent drowning wasn't part of the plan, though."

I was not amused. She could tell that much, but, nevertheless, it was a nice thing to have helped with. Then again, I have the whole paranoia issue that I'm trying to work on and Nocturna's story could've been more lies from the House of Gods. That makes sense, doesn't it? A goddess goes out of her way to control the spirits of a few dead pirates, doesn't abandon you to die right away, and in lieu of that you believe that she's lying. Next thing you know, I'll be accusing the grass of a sinister plot to take over the world because it grows taller with each rain.

"Look, I only watched your people's dreams," Nocturna added, answering my mind's query in a way that I found myself lacking the ability to do.

"Why?" From egomaniac that believed the goddess wants him to the humble idiot who doesn't get it-and I did it all in fewer than 20 minutes!

"This is most certainly embarrassing," I heard her mumble. She continued by saying, "The years of being alone, I guess. I was happy alone or going on the occasional outing. Flash forward a few hundred centuries and everyone is talking about the son of Link. We were grateful that you had killed him, sure. But no one expected you to supercede our creators. Fear took hold of the populace again, as people began to whisper about your open disdain for our kind. Then the word spread of your looks…"

I interrupted her here speaking of how my looks must've 1) meant I was as strong as some claimed or 2) I was actually my father, just pretending to be his son. Neither plot played out, of course.

"No," said Nocturna, taking a seat on a small mound of sand. "Handsome is more fitting. The single females, much like with your father, plotted to cuddle up to the powerful evil. I figured you would be an arrogant heathen, so I absolved to tune out any and all mentioning of your name. Even when Victorious introduced us, I couldn't believe that this was it. I had this image of you. You would come in and start ordering people around, while disrespecting us all at every turn. Instead, you were the exact opposite-respectful and soft spoken.

You would probably kill the first person to speak ill of you, I thought. No. You simply didn't know how to control your abilities. Then why should we help this simpleton harness the power to destroy us?

All questions aside, nothing about you seemed to scream all-powerful deity. You carried yourself not like someone who could shape and destroy worlds, but like a common person. But you were a god of war, so this could've been a strategy to get in close and destroy us all at the root…"

"And I thought I was paranoid," I muttered, though, beginning to laugh at how serious she seemed to take me at one time.

"It isn't… funny," she attempted to say, but broke down and laughed herself. "See? I feel like such a child. I'm a goddess of sleep; I know nothing of battles and strategizing. But there I was, plotting to stop the unstoppable. The fact of the matter is that I found you intriguing, possibly cheesy once I heard your motives. It was surreal, in a sense, to see a god work that hard for his mortal wife and hybrid child. Most gods wouldn't do that for each other, let alone a mortal…"

"Now you see why," I replied softly, interrupting the light moment with a dose of heavy dejection. "There's no point…"

"Why were you so receptive then?"

I looked down at her, trying to put meaning to the coded question. "What do you mean?"

"Galatea's history was a large merger of events from both mortals'-Nabooru and Sepaaru-lives," she informs me, switching to an impartial attitude in the same moment. "Not to mention her looks were the same as your wife's, just with a different hairstyle and eye color." My mouth met the sand right there, before she continued. "The queen takes in the wounded hero, sound familiar? That was also a page from Nabooru. You were directly responsible for Galatea's mother's death, just as you were Sepaaru's father. So, you needed someone to talk to after your marriage crumbled. The same thing held true when you broke up with Zelda, and Galatea became that person. You needed to be a part of something, and to fit that bill, you just liberated 30 souls from an eternity of unrest on this lifeless island. Need I continue by making word of our little battle?"

That was low. That was the first time I had met Nabooru. But why would she want to recreate all of those prior instances?

"Like I was trying to say," Nocturna began, answering my unvoiced query. "I am very rusty when it comes to attracting male attention. I figured the best way to seduce you would be to recreate the life that you had, only I would not muck it up like the mortal woman." She shrugged afterwards, as if to say, "I guess I failed."

Nocturna went on to explain how she had basically spied on everyone's dreams to get the info that I'd be most receptive to. She didn't do this to me in fear of being discovered. What's odd, though, is that she totally overlooked how much Nabooru and she had in common. Nabooru had been determined not to mess things up with me like Zelda did. And now, Nocturna was determined not to repeat Nabooru's mistakes. It's funny in the sense that both of these women would be so adamant to not make the mistakes of their predecessor, yet be completely oblivious to one thing: Their own mistakes. Maybe it was just me, but I thought the point of a relationship was to be with the person you're happiest. I never knew they were about doing everything except what the other women did to dump and, or, leave you. So, if Nocturna didn't sleep around, but cut my throat, we'd be fine together is what I was hearing.

"I can't believe I did this," Nocturna said as the silence hung, shaking her head in a disbelieving manner.

"At least you didn't attempt to cut my arm off," I shrugged as I spoke, taking a seat in the sand beside her. She groaned into a spot of laughter at the memory, but soon quieted down.

"Sorry about that, I forgot that you'd lost your abilities…"

"I've had worse," I stopped for a second, as something dawned on me. "You knew that I didn't have any power?"

Nocturna gives me a confused expression, though, nodding all the same.

"And you still put up with me like that?" As she nodded, I felt my face scrunch as though I'd smelled horseshit.

"Vic and I have been scouring this world searching for you," Nocturna continued, "I took east and he went west. Of course, as a mortal, I could track your dreams-where as he had to rely solely on locating your energy, which you thoroughly emptied-without being discovered."

"Clever," I noted, feeling oddly entranced by her presence for the first time.

Call me a sentimental old fool, but you have to admire someone who goes through that much for you. Man, you have no idea how hard it is to change perceptions. It was so simple to write them all off as power-mad assholes. But there Nocturna sat, two shades darker than her usual pale blue, nearly losing her life in the quest to be with me for no gain. Then again, I only considered gods to be gaining something if there was power involved. So, you can imagine my loss of brain activity when Nocturna revealed that she knew I was basic hylian stock again.

"So, where would you like me take you?" asks Nocturna, looking quite torn between asking me to give her a chance and just saying to hell with the situation. "Your power should be muted enough to allow me to place you within a few miles of Hyrule, if you wish."

"It doesn't matter," I replied, ringing out the end of my tunic before she waved her hand and dried it. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. Now, put your hands here and here," Nocturna says, as she stands up.

The Goddess of Sleep can't warp one measly hylian without his hand on both of her hips. Right and I am a pretty, pretty princess. Despite the incredibly weak setup, I went with it. It wasn't like I had anything to lose. Well, there was one thing I had to lose. And I remembered it as the world bent by someone else's will instead of my own.

"You do realize that my life is in your hands now, right?" I asked nonchalantly.

"Of course, I…" Galatea paused, as that familiar bedroom appeared around us, turning a comical shade of purple.

"Don't look so upset. It's not like I'm exactly fighting this," I said with a little laugh.

She leaned her forehead down against mine, smiling sheepishly. "But where's the suspense then?"

"That, my dear, lies in when I'll begin." I laughed, almost with dark intent as I picked her up and carried her to the bed.

Let me be the first to tell you that something feels wrong about being the sexual aggressor when you're at least a foot shorter than your partner is. It was a first for me, being the one looking up. But what the hell, right? I was face-to-breast with her, and that's the most you think about at a time like that. Nocturna had begun to unbuckle my belt the moment our lips met, wasting not a second before moving up my torso to the tunic strings. I allowed her to fully undress me, a sign that I wasn't in that big of a hurry to please anymore. She was so fascinated by my nudity that she almost treated me with mitts. I guess she took that "life in your hands" part a little too seriously. Whatever the case, there was an underlined seduction in those lips, though. A subtle tingle within, as they came down my stomach, which let me know that this was her way of not destroying me.

"Someone's not as rusty as she claims," I groaned, as a small bolt of light flashed across her eyes.

"Maybe," came her whispered reply, before the goddess went back to her enrapt oral… servicing. I watched her, Nocturna watched me-still sucking, still licking, and still smiling.

Everything afterwards is a blur of encompassing orgasms, lights, and screams. And even though we hadn't made that initial click like we had upon first meeting, our feelings began to grow with time-my feelings, I should say. What's that? No, go ahead and say it, "I was replacing one woman with another." I know that's what you're thinking. But I wasn't… maybe I was, but it wasn't intentional! Bah, it was intentional. That didn't change the fact that we were able to exist in this kind of static harmony for the next few months. The first sign of trouble arose, oddly enough, right after our first time together. My hair had begun to turn white at the tips, which shouldn't have been considering my age.

"That's just your power returning," Nocturna informed me, as she stroked that long, silken leg of hers across mine afterwards.

"Speaking of that," I began, "when do you plan on telling my uncle where I am?"

She laughed, telling me that once things settled down she would tell him. "It's only been four or so years, I'm sure he can wait a few more days."

Did you catch that sign of trouble? I did and I wasn't amused.

"Relax," Nocturna added, undoubtedly sensing my thoughts and apprehension. "How can I explain this?"

"I don't rightly care how you explain it. Just do it." I flipped onto my side and stared at her expectantly, ruining a good mood in a matter of seconds.

"You exploded," she states matter-of-factly, "and you don't immediately come back from that no matter who you are. I have only heard the stories, but they say it's like taking a nap. You feel as though you've woke up from a few hours rest-and that's if you wake up-but that is not the case…"

"Point," I interrupted, growing more agitated by the minute.

"The point is that gods are not constructed in hours," she yells back at me. "You were hylian first, and that makes this…" Nocturna waved her hands down my body "…your core. The mortal form is rebuilt easier than that of a god. And now, as evident by your hair, you are beginning to rebuild your essence as a god. Be thankful for this mortal form because without it, you'd still be a bunch of indecipherable particles."

To make an even longer story short, it took a few years for my body to take form again. There wasn't a sinister plot to keep me there for all time-I just made myself into the biggest puzzle in history. Of course, this wasn't the last of my problems. See, I could regain my godliness in a matter of hours now that I had my mortal form back. Guess how? Come on! Just guess you gimp. Drink Nocturna's blood? What kind of answer is that? I stopped the blood gulping with those silly heart-shaped flasks in the Ganondorf Era. Sheesh, drink the blood of a few fallen demonic creatures to gain a supernatural durability and suddenly you're an incubus.

Anyway, I could gain all of my powers back by simply returning to the place where I expelled them. That place would've absorbed the majority of my essence, and held it like a giant sponge. I, in a sense, would be the hands by which that sponge was rung out. And in the same sense, I would absorb that watery essence into my being and encounter a metamorphosis along the lines of the one in the Temple of Time. This news left me with two options: One: Either I lived out the rest of my life like the hylian that I was. Two: I become the god of gods by setting foot back in that bedroom.

Looking over my then current situation-a goddess on my arm, the prime of my hylian life, and an island with nothing but the bones of dead Gerudo Pirates-I decided on the former. There was no way that I'd go back to Hyrule now. And once Nocturna allowed me to speak with my son via his dreams, the resolution of that decree was only reinforced. Still, we know what happens when Link reinforces a decision don't we? No, Deku Shrubs don't attack! The Great Deku Tree summons me! Stop laughing, because this isn't a joke.

It had been a few months, as disclosed by my son, since we began to talk about various things-most of which revolved around when I was coming back-when a fairy limped in one night. According to Nocturna, my initial discharge of power should've prevented anyone from sensing my whereabouts-given they were only looking for my power and not something specific like dreams… or a certain scent that a big tree marked you with as a baby. The latter, of course, is how the tree knew where to send his ailing minion. At first, it was "come back to Hyrule, Link!" Or "we need you in the forest!" And after a successful string of no, the fairy drops a bomb on me.

"You're killing The Great Deku Tree!" she says, breathing very raggedly at the edge of the bed. "You big dummy, your powers… powers are poisoning him! They… make the trees die! Big people come and take the trees! The Deku… Tree… can't protect us… you… replace him! And… I," the fairy pauses as her glow fades, silently keeling over… dead.

As insensitive as it was, I merely buried the poor creature under a rock and acted as though I never heard the message. Once Nocturna returned from her duties as a goddess (mainly lying to my uncle about my whereabouts), I asked her if such a thing were true. Five rupees say that the news was good. What… you don't make bets with losers? Oh, go to hell! Still, you'd be right in that assumption. I knew that fairy spoke the truth; I just didn't want to believe it. I suppose I just needed a second opinion on the whole ordeal, but even that didn't convince me to return. As the days went on, more and more fairies began to show up with similar messages. Day in and day out, "Link, listen!" I didn't want to listen! I was on the verge of another residual relationship in the middle of nowhere with a goddess that had mortal lives to tend to.

"You can't stay here," Nocturna had told me one night after witnessing the last fairy's visit.

"But I don't want to go back there," I informed her, as my right arm tightened around her waist.

"Don't be selfish," she'd go on to say, giving me a brief smile for my effort. "Your selflessness is one of your most attractive qualities, don't sully it."

"Come with me then," I continued to pine, getting a soft kiss for this effort-and more rejection to boot.

"I'd like to," Nocturna begins, "but as much as I like you, I can't tolerate the restrictions of this plane any longer."

That was the first thing that she'd said where her eyes left mine as she spoke. I didn't push the subject any further, because that would only serve to make the situation that much more difficult. It seems like a weird time to make love, but we did-with all the torches out and in complete darkness. Talk about leaving on an uncomplicated note, huh? I can't whine about leaving you for another second! Uh, can you put your legs up like that? Thanks.

There was a brief moment where she refused my touch, albeit half-heartedly, though. The night seemed to slip away, as we tried to make the most of the moment. I knew that she had lied about the mortal restrictions, but why? I wanted to stay with her in that living dreamscape, but time stands still for no one. With that said, the next day seemed to get there all too soon. We're on the beach when the following conversation takes place, and what's left of my world is on its ear.

"I should enlighten you to a number of things before you go," Nocturna begins in quite the detached voice. "For starters, you're going to notice the effects your powers have had on the world around you. I don't know the details, but you'll find out in due time."

Great, that's always the first thing a guy wants to hear when he's preparing to re-enter civilization. Next on her list: Ascension.

"The closer you get to Hyrule, the more of your powers will return, but…" there's always a "but" in these things "…they won't be active-in the mystic sense, anyway. You'll have to re-assimilate them into your being, and you must have all of them to do it. There will also be physical effects."

Her eerie tone of voice only aided in my apprehension. It was like she was cursing me with that "There will be physical effects" thing. The emphasis on that one word just let you know this was going to be some stuff that only ended in my bloodshed. Before all the doom and gloom, I had to ask a quick question.

"What kind of physical effects?"

Innocent question…

"You're going to grow old at a slightly accelerated rate."

…innocent question number two and you get…


"Beyond this island, I can no longer suspend the aging process that is your due."

…a Megaton Hammer to the face.

Let me try to explain this and the powers. Do you remember that puzzle of the Poe in the Forest Temple? Good, think of my powers like that only bigger. While you can obviously see what the picture is, it isn't a picture until the pieces are arranged in the right way. So, while I could feel my powers gradually returning, the puzzle of power wasn't in the correct order to use. My aging is, well, a different story.

See, what they didn't tell me was that time passed more rapidly inside of the time stream-and I think you know which one by now-than it did outside of it. About six months total were tacked onto the body that originally removed the Master Sword, which didn't affect the body that came out of the other end. In other words: My ten-year-old body was the only one that truly aged. The seventeen-year-old body never aged a day because it was little more than a magical vessel that housed the real me.

In addition to that, we have the time that I should have lived in, and that equation makes me quite old.

But to a put a simpler spin on it: Four trips through time, due to the Song of Time, at seven years a pop is twenty-eight years. Twenty-eight plus those four years spent as a ten-year-old equals thirty-two. Thirty-two plus the fifteen years between my first becoming eleven and aging each year until I reached twenty-six in this, the final timeline, is forty-seven. Then you have my daughter Zelda's first four years before I decided to spend the next thirty in the realm of the gods. Tada! I'm eighty-one when I come back. Now, once you added the thirteen years after returning from their realm, you arrive at ninety-four. Then you add the four years it took my body to rebuild, and that's ninety-eight.

Now, let's say I made a total of eighty trips total back and forth through the time stream, as the Hero of Time. Let's also say that in each one of those trips that I aged six months, only the physical effects were altered by the fact that I was a dormant god or from the blood of the beasts that I had to drink to become stronger. So, going by today's calendar, every two trips would've made me a year older. Divide eighty by two and you get forty-that being the amount of years I should've aged while being the Hero of Time. This brings my age to about one hundred and thirty-eight-give or a take a few months. If you were to add the ten years that made up my age each time I was sent back by Zelda, you'd get an additional forty years, making me a whopping: One hundred and seventy-eight years old. (Of course, the end of this story happened two years ago. So, let's just say that I'm a nice, round one hundred and eighty right now.)

And, seeing as how the average Hylian lives maybe two hundred and fifty years-the first half being quite young in visual appearance-I would be on the downside of my life whenever this aging thing began.

"It is precedent that you get back to the epicenter of your power loss," Nocturna went on to say. "Just like I nearly drowned in that mortal form, you can die in yours if you don't regain what you lost."

"You know what'll happen if I go there," I replied. I said it to change the subject, but there was also a truth and warning thing rolled up into it.

She laughed at me. "You should know that you'll be above petty feelings once the change occurs. Nothing has to happen unless you want it to…" her lip sort of hung there after that word, as it dawned.

As much as I've professed to have no interest in coming back to Hyrule, I was highly anticipating it. How had my kids grown up? Were they safe from these effects my failed attempt at containment had produced? And, even though I literally didn't want to know, I wondered how Nabooru existed with Cornelius' child. Perhaps I thought of such things too heavily in front of the woman I had slept with hours prior. You could see the pain in her eyes, even though they were but one solid color. She persevered, though, playing the role of indifferent deity but wearing her heart on the outside the whole time. I wouldn't get a chance to make amends. A wind blew in, by her hand, sweeping me away to the Zora's Beach.

"That's a switch," I mused, as I began to walk up the beach towards Clock Town. That's when I heard what appeared to be metal scraping against sand. I turned to see a sword wedged upright in the sand. "Now, what have we here?"

I approached the sword, looking around for a potential trap or possibly Nocturna herself. I soon realized that it wasn't a trap, and the sword was the one from that bedroom. No sooner had my fingers closed around the hilt, it began to morph. The silver blade turned an icy blue, extending until it was about three and a half feet long. The actual blade lined itself in a deep, almost trance-inducing purple. It lost its slender, nearly feminine qualities for a broader look. And in my hand, I felt the hilt extend a bit. The transformation continued until the previously mentioned hilt turned black, and the blade guards turned from angelic wings into those that resembled the dark, fleshy wings of a keese. You don't see swords like that everyday. And you damn sure don't see a goddess's face reflected in it.

"Hello again," Nocturna said, as though this were ordinary. "I didn't want to send you away unprotected, so I figured this would do you some good."

"Thanks. But why'd you make such a big presentation to give me a sword?" My question made sense the moment I asked it, though. Blue for her skin, black for her hair, and purple for her eyes-I'm not a very observant man, it would seem. "Don't answer that! Sorry." I was quick to add, bringing about a rather odd glance from a pair of Zora that emerged from the water behind me.

"That's okay, Link," she assured me. "Just regain the power that you lost, because the energy in that sword won't last forever." Back to that again, I had thought. Nocturna then added, "So, what are you going to call it?"

I gave her a curious look. "Name the sword?"

"Yes, a warrior once told me that a sword needs a name," Nocturna replies, trying to keep it light.

No, I wasn't that warrior, if you're wondering.

"Uh, okay…" maybe that wasn't the best response "…how about Nightshade?"

"Why would you choose to name it after that vile plant?" she demanded, quite hostile with having her affection put in the same league as a poisonous plant.

I smiled at her, as she pouted like a child. "It's not that. If you crush the berries, the juice can be used for temporary pain relief-kinda like the sword. It's only deadly if you make it that way."

"Oh," was her simple reply. "Well, I guess it is a pretty name."

"Yeah," I concurred, as a weird silence fell.

"Guess you better get a move on," she injected into the silent bubble. "Good luck, Link."

Her face vanished, again, without letting me get nil word before exiting. And on that, I just shrugged and went on my way.