Time passed. People moved. Like a river’s flow, it never ended. A childish mind would turn to noble ambition. Young love would become deep affection. The clear water’s surface reflected growth.
Zelda gazed into the depths of Lake Hylia, knowing she had every reason to hesitate. She’d awakened two Sages, and both had agreed to help her. Yet, each awakening was accompanied by something she couldn’t explain. She’d heard its voice in the Forest Temple and watched it walk through the flames of the Fire Temple as if they were nothing. And she knew, deep down, that whatever it was carried a sinister purpose. Was that purpose getting stronger with each encounter?
It was clear. She was awakening more than just Sages.
“You are not Sheikah.”
Each time it appeared, she was overcome with a sense of dread, but there was more to it. The voice she heard was not of this world. It seemed to come from some lost place, some forgotten corner of time.
It was ancient and angry, but it was also in pain.
The water’s surface sparkled thanks to a passing breeze, sending ripples and waves as Zelda looked on. She wanted to find it relaxing, but comfort wouldn’t be her companion. Not today.
Zelda looked up, just now noticing the young Zora woman who surfaced from the water. Her head was wider than the other Zoras, and her beauty was striking. She clearly wasn’t a guard or sentry, so why was she here? She was staring at Zelda with an intensity that made her feel uncomfortable.
Zelda sighed. As with Darunia, she’d have to convince her she wasn’t a threat.
“I do not intend any harm,” Zelda lifted up her palms. “I must speak with the Ancient Sage of this temple. My name is Sheik.”
The young Zora scoffed, rolling her eyes. She pointed a finger at Zelda. “There’s no Sage in this temple! The Zoras use this place to honor the water spirits. We know nothing about any Sages! You will leave at once!”
Zelda didn’t flinch. Instead, she stepped forward and bowed gracefully. “Princess Ruto, it is an honor.”
Ruto gasped in surprise. “How do you know who I am?”
Zelda lifted her head. “Your beauty is unmistakable and known throughout the land, but I also know of your station as the Zora heir.”
Ruto was quiet for a moment. A passing breeze caused Zelda’s hood to flutter, and she instinctively reached for it before snatching her hand away. She’d hoped Ruto didn’t notice, but the Zora princess continued studying her.
“What you say is the truth,” she said at last. “I am the most beautiful woman in all the land, even more beautiful than Princess Zelda herself. I’m glad you can at least recognize that, even if you speak nonsense.”
Zelda smiled despite herself. Yes, this was indeed Ruto, feisty and stubborn as ever.
“I implore you,” said Zelda. “I must enter the Water Temple. The royal family’s safety depends on it.”
Ruto’s eyes widened. “The royal family? They’re alive?”
Zelda nodded. “Yes, and I need the help of the Ancient Sages to save them and stop Ganondorf.”
Ruto stared into the water below, pondering . Zelda could see the conflict raging within her. Finally, she sighed and looked up at Zelda.
“Ganondorf has threatened to poison Zora’s Fountain if we don’t swear allegiance to him,” she said. “We and the Gorons decided to become our own kingdoms when the royal family vanished. Ganondorf didn’t oppose it at first, but now that has changed.”
Zelda’s body grew rigid. It must have been because she’d shown herself to him. He knew as long as she was alive, she’d try to unite everyone. He was
“Hyrule Field is covered in darkness and a never-ending storm now,” said Ruto. “Soon, it won’t just be us. It’ll be everyone, won’t it?”
Zelda nodded. “We must stop him before he destroys Hyrule.”
Ruto looked conflicted. “How can I trust you?”
Zelda held out her hand, a small globe of water with a luminescent scale floating in its center.
“This is the scale you gave Princess Zelda long ago,” she said. “It’s been entrusted to me as I complete my quest. I’ve already awakened two Sages. Four still remain. Please.”
Ruto studied her for a moment, then finally nodded. “Fine,” she said, “but I’m coming with you.”