Objective: Save the Princess, Save the World.
You are stronger than when you started and the all-knowing man with foretelling powers of the shadow warriors says you are ready when he meets you again at the Temple of Time. A final battle with those dark clouds but there’s more to that legend than what was told, a prophecy disguised as fairy tales of the nighttime and long ago. Three elements, three dispositions, three pieces in three people to keep the balance. Three, always three. And when the three come together, only when one has out lived the others may full power be obtained and you know you are one of those three because why else would you have been chosen? Why else would you have emerged out of the darkness into color and have a future of such importance? It has always been you, always been in you, the courage, the element of steadfastness. And it is this element that you must call on, depend on, trust to get you through this last piece of the journey where everyone is at your back, helping you fight the good fight, and you must be victorious because only one of you can still be standing at the end of it all. You or him, and that will determine the fate of the world and bring the entire quest to an end, that glorious end at while you hope you are the one who stands above it all, delivering that final blow, you also allow the contemplation of death, that final sweet release from duty and honor and maybe that wouldn’t be a bad way to end either. No. Your princess is depending on you. The world is depending on you. What a waste of your time and energy if you got to the end only to fail miserably, but a thought occurs to you. Where is the princess? She’s depending on you, but is she safe, has she asked about you, does she know of the progress you’ve made, but the shadow warrior cuts you off, tells you she’s always been near, and then there’s white light and for a moment you’re blinded and you wonder if you’ve been ambushed, but that would involve pain and you feel fine, but the light dissipates and the shadow warrior is gone and instead you look straight into blue eyes that feel like home and future possibilities and she’s there, in front of you, solemn and hesitant on where to begin and you can see how hard it was for her to wait all that time, hiding in plain sight so as not to get in the way or draw unwanted attention, and you can see the regret of not staying that night seven years ago, of not helping and leaving you to your destiny as she rode of to hers and safety, but it couldn’t be helped and now is not the time to dwell on a past that cannot be changed, and when she looks away, golden veil covering her face, you want to take her hand, feel her warmth, and pull her towards you for comfort and you think, why not, if the world comes to an end at least you did something, showed her that despite the time and the distance and the doubts you will be there for her, so you’ll reach for her hand and instead of flesh you hit something hard and when you look, those blue eyes you hoped would be glad you took her hand are blank and staring right through you and the rose glass around her and she won’t answer to her name, she won’t look at you, and you can see she’s fading and you pound harder but its useless and there’s a laugh reverberating through the rafters of the stone temple and then nothing. Just you, the empty temple, and a resounding fury that burns in the middle of your chest.
- Light Arrows: It would only be right that the princess is the one who gives these to you, and it is only right as well that you should be given them now, the moment of truth, where good will battle evil and the world with watch with bated breath to know the outcome. Let the light illuminate the darkness on this earth.
- Golden Gauntlets: Feel the world in your hands and know that you can carry its weight now, almost nothing more powerful than you with hands that can bring the most gruesome monster to its knees. You are practically indestructible, but you’re not so absent minded to think yourself such because you know that only leads to soured souls. What you know you are, is ready. For him, for the world, for anything.
It’s just you and him. Everything else has fallen to the wayside and now, courage must face power and prevail. He laughs at your boldness, and anger drives you into a profound sense of determination to vanquish. He shoots pure energy at you and you’ll bat it back, very similar to his disappoint apparition and perhaps this will also end in disappointment because you’ve had the advantage of practice. When you hit him, he is still too far away, stunned and floating, like the image of her in the glass, glazed, and you remember the gift of light and illumination that tips your arrows and drives itself straight through the darkest part of him, binding his shadow into momentary uselessness, bringing him within swords reach for a few good strikes before he is released and you must repeat the process. You deal blow after blow and you can see the blue sparks of power leaving him and this feels just a little too easy and your heart isn’t pounding in your ears and there’s the hint of a smile on your face and you’re not longer really in this because he’s weak and you’re chipping away at him and his power and those eyes that are starting to glow angry and you think you’re done when the blue erupts from every part of him, the shell of the man falling away in self-destruction, but this is not the case. The tables have turned and power has been entirely unleashed and you are left facing a monstrosity beyond imagination and this was his true form all along, the devil himself. The man was predictable and contained, but the beast is unpredictable and now, unstoppable, his horns nearly ripping the clouds in the sky, which is starting to crack from the power emitting from his whole being and you think, now, now is the time to be truly tested as the hero. This is what you’ve been waiting for, the silence of the world, the beating of your heart in your ears, the dead silence of your swing, the sweat that soaks into the collar of your tunic as you take advantage of the extra space his bigger size allows to slip behind and hit his weak spot, his tail because he’s not the kind of beast to just turn his back on you, thus hiding his weakness, but you see it and you hit it and in the process you’ll take some blows and feel a couple bones break, feel skin rip and blood drip and this time you’ll show it because those are the marks of a truly epic battle between two equally powerful forces and you can feel the earth cracking beneath you, trying to swallow the battle whole because it’s down to the wire and you can feel it in your soul that this, this blow, this final blow will bring him to his knees.
And it does.
And the princess has come to and come closer in his weakened state and brings forth a binding light and your sword glows with a finality that drives itself into the monster’s core, breaking the shadows, opening that one precious second for the new old ones you save to banish the darkness to the realm of nothingness one more, one last, time, and everything goes white.
It’s quiet. So quiet and your thoughts echo in the whiteness, wondering if the earth just couldn’t take it and broke and all was for nothing, but you won, a voice, not your own, tells you, and the whiteness ebbs and a blue grows warm around you and you see her blue, you see her white skin and blonde hair, but you are grateful for her blue and the happiness reflected in them, but that becomes regret again and you can see she is struggling internally to find the words to say now. It’s over, all over and you never thought you’d make it this far, but it’s over and now, the possibilities are endless and she doesn’t know where to begin. Maybe she didn’t think you’d both get this far. You want to reach for her hand again because she didn’t know how much you wanted to before her world went blank, but she speaks and you stop and she thanks you for everything, for believing in her and yourself, then apologizes for taking away the only life you knew, that she wants to give that lost time back to you. She asks for the key back, and reluctantly you hand it over, holding your hand on top of the instrument in her hand because you think this is the only time your hands will ever touch, but she closes her own hand on yours and that’s the touch you needed, but she knows, like you do, that you two can’t be together and she will do the hard thing and not let you stay and she’ll send you back and she will not watch you go, eyes downcast, but you see the tear as it all just goes blue and white and black.
And you wake and you’re at the Temple again where the Master Sword is in its pedestal and you’re young and small again and everything is quiet and still and peaceful. Peaceful. It’s over, but now what? What now: you walk away.
She told you to go, enjoy your life, and the possibilities are endless and those goodbyes that weren’t forever can be said hello to again, you can return the endless favors of freely given hearts with your own. Clear blue skies, mildly warm afternoons spent playing tunes or telling stories on tall grass or under tall trees or with your feet in the lake making little ripples that roll to the middle and disappear into the deep void below, and there will be laughter and laziness and a life lived in the way you wanted to and eventually there will be children with your jaw and their mothers eyes because children should always have their mother’s eyes. A romantic notion, but still, your future is bright and wide and endless, but still you ask yourself, what now? Return to the forest, go to the lake, seek the other princess, make the red headed farm girl happy, embrace your passion’s fire? For a moment, in the market, you stop and glance at the castle, and you wonder if she’s in a tower looking down, looking for you, wondering what you’ll do and if maybe she secretly wishes you would disregard her order and go back for her, break the rules, and spend that night watching a sunset from the top of that tower. Not to mention, you still want to know what her hair would feel like beneath your fingers, even though you’re so young now, but you’ve grown, you’ve aged, and what you want in this world and from life is a grown up notion of happiness, but right now, all you want is to not let things end the way they did, laced with regret and unspoken words because there’s a connection there that can never be ignored, so you will turn away from the drawbridge and the forest and other possibilities and turn back to the castle, sneak past the guards as you have before, and return to that first meeting place.
She’ll turn, she’ll look, and nothing will be said, but you know, looking into those blue eyes, you know you made the right decision in going back, and in a moment, because you feel captured by her eyes, you will walk up to her, you will grab her hand, and you will hold it. Then, you will wait to see what happens next.
You are a hoarder of broken things because in a way, you too are broken in mind and spirit with every long sleep, every sudden waking. The broken hearts you find and piece together for yourself make you stronger in the long run, and you need the strength of others to withstand the stress of long battles and ignore your sustained wounds as though only mere scratches. And it’s not like you take these pieces of other’s lives for granted, completely disrespecting who they come from, why they were broken to begin with. It is important to keep that in mind with every addition so that these pieces don’t turn sour, make you sick, make you weak, so you must pay respect to the heart lost in battle, the heart betrayed, the heart lost in water or sand or darkness. There are hearts buried away for no one to ever find again, even by those who buried them in the first place and may have come back to find them, give them again to someone else, and then maybe return the heart in more pieces to their resting place beneath the earth once more. It’s a cycle of heartbreak and loss and disappointment in this world and you see it everywhere you go, but you are a gentleman who knows how to turn trash into treasure, repurposing these supposed useless trinkets into something worthwhile, and you hope these broken souls are at peace with the liberties you take in possessing the broken pieces of their lives in the sense that you are making them feel useful and needed again, and who in this world doesn’t feel the need to be needed in one way or another, no matter how small that need may be. Hearts were made to be needed, and some exchanges are wholesome and long lasting, while others are greedy and only want to consume rather than share. Hearts are fickle and dangerous when they aren’t in the right place or given in the right way, but hearts are also delicious in the way it can make you feel when you find that other person whose heart completes your body, your soul and this is why you search for hearts and hoard them with a passion befitting a romantic hero. You hope that one of the pieces you find will finally complete you.
Appendix: Gold Skulltulas
The Midas touch is a deadly one. You’ve never been one for seeking riches. When you look, they find you, and you thank the heavens, pocket your find, and move on. But others, they find riches, feel it’s power take hold of their heart and squeeze, and the need for more consumes their blood and eyes and that’s all they can see, those dainty clicks and clinks in a pocket and their bones turn brittle and break under the pressure of wanting and needing more, their body dispersed through fields and lakes and mountains and their golden glint attracts and infects, but you are immune and when you return the gold to where it belonged, those greedy eyes turn humble and shamed in their lust for immoral material. Disfigured inside and out, you are asked, begged, to free the souls whose insides have been frozen solid gold and yearn for the flow of real blood again, real bones, because they have now seen the error of their ways, and this task seems almost impossible because the body can break into so many tiny pieces and the thought is daunting. A hundred little pieces of greedy consumption that hide in tall trees and deep holes and sticky webs and dank wells and dark corners, but they have a call that pricks your ears and teases the weakest parts of you, beckoning you to come closer, inspect them, want them, take them, but you will shun them, knowing you have enough in this life and you will reject them, destroying their power, and the piece of that golden cursed soul will be released and sent back to its body’s core, slowly piecing itself back together bit by bit until complete and the eyes of those once greedy creatures have been veiled to the evils of glinting temptresses, will power strengthened through the knowledge of pain and suffering. The Midas touch is a deadly one, but the lessons learned are forever practiced to prevent a second failure.