It was something that grew over time, a true friendship. What started as a feeling in the heart became even stronger over time. The passion of friendship would soon blossom into a righteous power. Through it, one would know which way to go.
Zelda peered down the hole that led to the Fire Temple, where the next Sage waited. She tried to maintain her focus on the task at hand, but the shadow’s words continued to echo in her mind.
“You are not Sheikah.”
The heat hadn’t entirely scorched her sense of dread. It lingered, as if she’d soon be forced to endure its weight as she did before. It was true, after all. She wasn’t truly a member of the Sheikah clan, though it was unclear how the shadow knew this. Zelda sighed. There wasn’t time. She had to keep moving.
The heat of the volcano crater should have reduced her to ashes by now, but she’d made preparations before she left. The magic she infused in her tunic would keep her safe while exploring the depths of Death Mountain. Still, she’d have to act quickly and avoid danger as much as possible.
She felt the wind rushing past her nose as she descended down the ladder. It wasn’t long before she reached the bottom and turned to face the temple entrance proper. It was faint, but she swore she could hear the distant sound of chanting deep within. Whatever it was, she didn’t recognize its source, and it seemed far off. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come between her and the Sage of Fire.
She entered a large chamber with a stairway leading up to three statues, each with a flame blazing in its open mouth. Fire Keese hovered overhead, and Zelda was certain the bat-like creatures would fling themselves at her the second they detected her presence. She needed to decide on a direction quickly, noticing how the path split where the three statues stood.
One of the Fire Keese seemed to flutter for a moment before turning to face her direction. Zelda’s body tensed up. She’d been spotted. As the Fire Keese swooped down toward her, she sprinted up the stairs and darted to the left, heading straight towards an iron door.
Zelda barely registered she’d closed it behind her, thinking only of escaping the annoyance that was now trapped in the previous room. Before her, across a pool of lava, rested a colossal door with a flame symbol carved into its surface. Zelda smiled. That had to be it!
The Hero of Time would have to find a way to cross the lava pool to the other side using his wits, strength, and courage. Luckily, Zelda had a much easier way to get across.
She closed her eyes, calling to the Goddess Farore, asking for a guiding wind to send her to a new destination. Within seconds, her body was covered in a green light as her body flew across the room. She reached out to open the door when a great booming voice startled her.
“I think not!”
Zelda barely had time to dodge the massive hammer as it fell upon her from behind. She lost her balance, rolling until she slipped over the edge of the platform. She dangled over the pool of lava, hanging on to the ledge with one hand as her assailant leered down at her. Her eyes widened as he came into view.
It was a Goron!
“Trespasser!” he roared. “You come to this sacred place uninvited!”
“Please, I don’t mean any harm!” Zelda begged, trying to think of a way to get back up. “I just need to get through the door!”
“Lies!” the Goron accused, raising his hammer. “I will not let you harm my people or enter that wicked dragon’s resting place!”
Zelda’s brow furrowed. Wicked dragon? Then, the realization washed over her. Volvagia, the monster that allegedly feasted on Gorons. Apparently, it had been defeated by someone only known as the Goron Hero.
Zelda gritted her teeth. She’d have to distract him before her fingers gave out. She slowly exhaled, listening as the Goron brought his hammer up once again. As soon as he’d lifted it as high as he could, she launched herself into the air, unsheathing her kodachi as if preparing to strike.
“I call upon the Goddess Farore…”
The Goron brought his hammer down on Zelda, swiping through her as if she were a phantom. She reappeared back across the room, coughing and gasping for air.
“Please!” she rasped. “I am not your enemy!”
The Goron grunted before whipping his head around, searching for the intruder. His beady eyes landed on Zelda, his face twisting in rage.
“I am Darunia, Big Boss of the Gorons!” he shouted, pounding his chest with a giant, rocky fist. He then pointed his hammer to where Zelda was standing. “You will not enter this chamber! It is forbidden!”
Zelda finally managed to stand, suddenly feeling much more drained than she had before. The heat was getting to her. The more she used magic, the more precarious her predicament would become.
“Yes, you are Darunia,” Zelda said. “You are the leader of the Gorons, and you are the sworn brother of the King of Hyrule. I am Sheik, a member of the Sheikah clan sworn to protect the royal family.”
Darunia’s expression faltered, his rage morphing into confusion.
“I thought the Sheikah were gone,” he said.
Zelda nodded. “Most of us are now. Only myself and Impa remain.”
Darunia brought his hammer down in front of him, leaning on it like a cane. Zelda sighed. It seemed she might get through to him.
“Are the Goron people safe?” she asked.
Darunia nodded. “I’ve been clearing out the temple for some time, in case we ever need a place to hide. Ganondorf’s been threatening to wage war on our city for quite some time now.”
Zelda scoffed. “He wages war on anything that breathes, even his own shadow.”
Darunia guffawed. “I like your spunk, kid! You’re not all bad at all.”
Zelda exhaled. It seemed she was finally getting somewhere. “Please. I need to get into the room behind you. I’m here to speak to the Ancient Sage of this temple. With his help, I can defeat Ganondorf.”
Darunia rubbed his chin, considering her words.
“Fine,” he said. “On one condition. When you get ready to fight Ganondorf, give us all a call. We’ll join you. We’ve been dealing with that guy long enough.”
Zelda nodded. “Agreed.”