Someone was shaking Link, saying his name, trying to wake him up. He opened his eyes and saw Masao looking at him with concern.
"Link, are you all right?", Masao asked.
"I think I'm okay", Link replied.
Link sat up.
"What happened, Masao?", the eighteen years old young man said.
"You were screaming in your sleep. As if you had seen things too horrible to think of. Probably nightmares caused by the fever. You are still sick, but I've got good news for you. Your fever has broken and you're almost completely healed. But you'll have to take things slow for a few days. You need to rest and drink plenty of fluids. I will see to it that you get better soon, you don't have to worry about a thing", the Ancient One replied, petting his son's hair.
Link found the touch comforting.
"Shaw is sleeping, so I made your potion myself. You need one final dose of potion to help cure you of this illness. Thankfully, the potion helps but doesn't heal you, you need to build an immunity", Masao added.
"My screams didn't wake him up?", Link asked.
"I don't think so. He's probably so tired that he didn't hear anything. You both need rest", Masao replied.
"What about you?", Link asked.
"I'll get more rest once I have given you your medecine", Masao replied.
Masao left and came back with the potion and filled a glass with water. Link took his medicine and drank some water.
"Thank you, dad", Link said, half asleep.
When Link realized what he had said, he turned to Masao.
"I... sorry... I usually don't call you that... I didn't know if you'd want to...", Link started.
"It's all right, Link. More than all right . I adopted you and Shaw as my sons and you can definitely call me that should you so choose. If Shaw breach the subject with you, be sure to tell him that, okay? Tell him that I'm totally okay with it, and send him to me if he has questions, will you, Link?", Masao replied.
"Good. Now, let's get some more rest, shall we?", Masao said.
"That'd be nice", Link replied.
Link laid down and Masao covered him with a light blanket.
"Goodnight, dad", Link said, as he drifted off to sleep.
"Goodnight, son", Masao replied with an affectionate smile.
A few days later, Link had fully recovered. After he, Masao and Shaw had dinner together in the kitchen, Masao offered to help Link and Shaw practice. Link wanted to practice his sword fighting. It had been a little while since he last used his sword, and he wanted to practice so he wouldn't get "rusty". Something told him that he would have to return Hyrule soon, to break curse on the bearers of the triforce and he wanted to be prepared. Shaw wanted to practice his magic, so he'd be able to help. After spending some time with Shaw in his work room, helping the Wizzrobe magician practice his magic, Masao took a break and then the twenty-one years old Wizzrobe magician sent him to help Link. Masao and Shaw were sitting in front of a campfire, just outside of the lightouse.
"Link, as you know, over the years, I had to use my magic and spells to make your Gilded Sword bigger and wieldable by a teen and then by an adult because you didn't want to part with it. I couldn't help but notice that there was sadness and remorse emanating from your sword. Would you let me take a closer look at it and do some tests with my magic? I will not damage it, that I can promise you", Masao said.
"Yes, of course", Link replied.
Link unsheated his sword and extended the sword handle first. Masao took it. The Happy Mask Salesman held the handle in his hands for a while, then cast various spells on the sword. He returned it to Link and Link sheated it.
"Did you find something?", Link asked.
"Yes. It's exactly what I thought it was. I mean, I've heard about it but I didn't know what to make of it. It is said that a long time ago, on the surface of the world that is now called Hyrule, there was a being who was indoctrinated by Demise into believing he was a demon and so the child grew up believing that lie and Demise used dark magic to create a demonic aura around that being once he reached adulthood to deceive the demon armies so they would follow this being's commands in battle. Your long dead ancestor defeated Demise and the sword that being had bound himself to was shattered and dissolved in the final battle between your ancestor and Demise after Demise was stabbed in the chest. So the sword that being had bound himself to was no more, but he survived. Overwhelmed with sadness, regret, guilt and remorse, he bound himself to another sword, one put in a maze somewhere in the Kokiri Forest. When you had your Kokiri Sword forged into the Gilded Sword, it began to show his former colors", Masao replied.
"You mean to tell me that there's some kind of being living in my sword?", Link said.
"Yes", Masao replied.
"Do you think the Kokiri knew that this being bound himself to the Kokiri Sword?", Link asked.
"They might have. As you already know, they're smart and perceptive", Masao replied.
Do you think we should have this being manifest himself?", Link said.
"Maybe not right now. We can do that later. If you want to be prepared for what's to come and break the curse on the bearers of the triforce, I suggest you practice your sword fight ing, your battle skills, your strategy skills and your intuition skills. You have to be prepared because anything could happen", Masao replied.
The Happy Mask Salesman prepared to leave.
"Follow me", Masao said.
The Ancient One summoned a sword and Link practiced against him for a while. The One ones were really not so bad with blades.
"Link, I know a few places where you and Shaw can hone your skills. Some monsters are causing harm and trouble and you would do the entire world a favor by eliminating them", Masao said.
He summoned warm clothes for all three of them.
"We're going to need them, because the first place I'm going to teleport us to is cold!", Masao added.
Link looked at his warm coat, boots, hat and gloves, they were rather comfy. His shoulder strap and scabbard weren't too tight and didn't get in the way, he could move just fine. The Happy Mask Salesman teleported them to a plain covered in snow. Link heard monsters growling in the distance.
"Link, Shaw, you'll have to get across the plain and eliminate the monsters there, then you'll make your way into that cave and eliminate the vicious monster in there. I believe in you two, but should you find yourself in difficulty, please send me a telepathic call for help. Promise me you'll do that. Good. One last thing. You see this hourglass I just summoned? When you start walking across this plain, I will turn it over. Try to defeat all the monsters before the timer runs out of sand. When you get back, I'll be right here. Now go", Masao told them.
They nodded and started walking across the plain. It didn't take long before they were attacked by White Boes and Eenos. After they defeated these monsters, they kept walking across the plain. Then they made their way into the cave and eliminated the White Wolfos in there and went back to the Happy Mask Salesman.
"Well done", Masao said.
He teleported them to another plain.
"There is another cave here. Same as the previous area. Be careful", Masao told them.
Link and Shaw walked across the plain once again and defeated the monsters there and the vicious creature in the cave, then went back to the Happy Mask Salesman.
"Well done", said.
He teleported them to a swamp.
"One last time. This swamp is said to be home to an evil and vicious monster that has killed and devoured people. Destroy it and be careful", Masao added.
Link and Shaw fought together and t hey destroyed the ogre that wandered in the swamp.
Then they were teleported near a peaceful lake so that they could rest and relax. Link was looking at the waves and the ripples, lost in his thoughts. The Ancient One joined him and listened to the sounds of the waves.
"I don't want to go back, dad", Link said.
"I know. You don't have to stay in Hyrule when this is over. But deep down, you know you have to go back at least one more time, even if it's one last time. It's going to be all right, Link. You can do this. You're not alone, son. Your father and brother are going with you", Masao said.
Link gave him a look of gratitude.
"We're coming too!", Tatl and Tael said, joining them on the beach.
"We might be simple fairies and not Deities, but we want to lend you our strength and support like Ciela, Leaf and Neri did with your replacement from the alternate timeline", Tatl said.
"And you can count on our help whenever you need it", added Tael.
"Thank you", Link replied.
Link looked at the Ancient One.
"Can we go home, now?", he asked.
"Of course", Masao replied.
Masao teleported them home. While Shaw was working on making potions in his work room, Link and Masao sat outside in front of a firecamp.
"Dad, I don't know what's going to happen and I don't know how I'm supposed to break the curse", the young man said.
"You will know when the time comes. As I once told you, son, believe in your strengths. And you are not alone, because your friends and family are by your side", the Ancient One replied.
Link jumped to his feet.
"Then let's get this over with", Link said.
"Now?", Masao asked.
"Very soon. I just want to take a moment alone to pray to the Goddess of Time, then we can leave", Link replied.
Masao nodded and went back inside. A moment later, Link joined Masao and Shaw in the lighthouse. Ciela was with him.
"Navi... or Ciela... is coming with us. She will accompany me, just like back in the days", Link said.
"Thank you, Ciela", Masao said, with gratitude in his eyes.
"You're most welcome, Masao", Ciela replied.
"Then let's go now. Let's finish this. The sooner we break that damn curse, the sooner we're done and I can go back to Termina with my family and friends and get the "hell" out of Hyrule for good", Link said bitterly.
They gave him a look of sympathy.
"Let's leave then", Masao said, leading the way.
When they emerged from the portal, they turned to Link.
"What do you want to do now, Link?", Masao asked.
"Let's go to the castle", Link replied.
And so, they made their way to the castle. When they got there, they went in search of Zelda. Of course, the guards tried to stop them, but Ciela temporarily blinded them with a flash of light while Tatl and Tael tied some of the guards' boot laces together in knots so that if the guards did try to chase them, it would be pretty uncomfortable. If people can imagine - a big commotion in the guard house, those involved tumbling over themselves, falling over each other and the the fearful faces of those going detention for sleeping on duty.
"You know, Zelda, for someone who didn't want me to leave, you don't seem to facilitate my return", Link said.
"Are you here to stay then?", she asked.
"Not really. I'm here to solve a problem. I'm here to break the curse and to rid us of the accurse divine relic that has caused so much suffering, bloodshed, death and destruction", Link replied.
"What in the world do you hope to accomplish here, Link? You're going to make things worse and the best thing you could do is just forget you ever saw the journal", Zelda said.
"I don't think so", Link replied.
A sassy familiar voice seethed out.
"Oh, can it, princess! That young man has more common sense than you!", Ganondorf snapped.
He whirled around and looked daggers at her.
"So maybe you need to shut up for once and listen", the Gerudo added, annoyed.
"I'm going to help. I'm going to solve this problem once and for all. As one of the Deities of The Many Worlds, I demand to speak to the creators of the accursed divine relic", Ciela said with a firm voice and a look of determination on her face.
"The Goddess of Time!", Zelda exclaimed.
Ciela who was in her fairy form flashed a grin at the princess.
"Hello, Zelda. How have you been since you caused chaos in an alternate timeline or alternate future?", Ciela said.
Zelda said nothing and backed away in shame and embarassment.
The three Goddesses, Din, Nayru and Farore appeared in the room.
"What can we help you with, Ciela?", they asked.
"Take the divine relic back, it is a curse in and of itself to the mortals, but also, you must break the curse that the demon Demise cast on its bearers. You owe Link that much, after everything he's been through, and his predecessors. Let him and the other two bearers be free", Ciela said.
"But you know we cannot use the triforce for we insured that only mortals could use it ", said Farore.
"We do not ask that you use it, only that you take it back with you, away from the world and the reach of the mortals. That accursed divine relic has already caused too much suffering, bloodshed, death and destruction. And as you know, if the mortals destroyed it, it would destroy their world. So you must take back the relic and leave it in your home dimension, out of their reach. Not even the Sacred Realm is a safe place for that accursed relic. So take it back and ensure that it never cause harm again", Ciela said firmly.
"Is that what you want, Link?", the Goddesses asked.
"Yes, it's what I want", Link said cooly.
Link, Zelda and Ganondorf extended their hands toward the three Goddesses and the pieces of the triforce were extracted, then a flash of golden light washed over them and the three Goddesses disappeared along with the triforce.
"Good riddance to them and their accursed relic and good riddance to that curse that was finally broken", Link through his teeth.
Link looked at his "fairy" companion.
"Thank you, Ciela", he said.
"You are most welcome, Link", she replied.
She flew over to the Gerudo.
"And you too, Ganondorf. You are free now. Return to your people and tell them about these good news", she said.
"Thank you. And I will", the Gerudo replied.
Ganondorf whirled around and looked at Zelda.
"You, princess, and your family, have caused enough damage to my people as it is. We don't want Hylian intervention in our affairs. Unless it's genuine help with ressources and the basic necessities of life, mind your own business. You have your own kingdom to run, so don't come to our door telling us how to run our own", Ganondorf said.
"Pfff, wouldn't dream of it", she replied.
He looked at Link.
"Thank you, Link. And thank you, Ciela", he said.
"We wish you and your people all the happiness in the world", Link and Ciela replied.
After Ganondorf left, Link breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm glad we managed to solve this problem while keeping violence to a minimum", Link said.
"So are we", Tatl and Tael replied.
Masao and Ciela gave them looks of sympathy.
"How about we leave and go home now?", Link said.
"Yes, let's", Masao replied.
Shaw nodded. He had been keeping a close watch on the guards the whole time to ensure they wouldn't do anything stupid and wouldn't make everything worse for all of them.
Wait a minute! Your place is here in Hyrule. You can't be seriously thinking of leaving permanently", Zelda said.
"I can and I will", Link replied.
"Masao, talk to him", Zelda said.
"I have nothing to say right now", the Happy Mask Salesman replied cooly.
"But why?", the princess asked plaintively.
"Don't pretend that you genuinely cared about Link, princess. So how about you just let him live wherever he wants to live and however he wants to live and you start fixing your wrongs, redeeming yourself and helping your people?", Masao replied.
"Termina is where I really feel home, where my heart is, and there I have a father and a brother to return to and true friends I can count on. Zelda, tell Saria I'm never coming back to Hyrule this time, but that no matter the distance she and I will always be friends", Link said.
"Think on what I said", Masao told her.
And on what I said", added Ciela.
Zelda opened her mouth but couldn't think of anything to say.
They went back to Termina and gathered in the lighthouse. They were sitting at the kitchen table and they were eating a delicious stew Masao had made with meat, vegetables, gravy and herbs. Shaw had cut the bread. Link had set the table and filled their cups with wine. They were eating, chatting and having a great time. Tatl and Tael too. Even Akio was there to keep them company.
"To our family and our future", Link said as he raised his cup in a toast.
They smiled as they clinked their cups with his cup.
They took a sip of the wine, and kept chatting and joking as they shared this meal together.
The being inside Link's Gilded Sword was finally at peace with himself and the world and had forgiven himself for the past.
Link, his family and his friends were happy to be home. They would have many more adventures in Termina and as a group of family and friends they would enjoy every minute of it. Because every time a story ends, a new one begins. And an ending is just another beginning.
- End -