The Master Sword was a sacred blade that evil ones could never touch. Only one worthy of the title of “Hero of Time” could pull it from the Pedestal of Time. The power to fight alongside the Sages made Link worthy of being chosen.
Yet, he did not have the Master Sword now.
“Be strong and hold onto your courage, placing all your hopes into the Sacred Realm,” Adelora’s words still coursed through Zelda’s mind like venom. “Do you believe this, Hero of Time?”
Link said nothing, grasping the hilt of his sword. Adelora laughed, his voice carrying an edge of madness. “And where is your sword? Your true sword?”
Zelda willed herself to move forward, but her body was frozen in place. All she could do was watch as Link stepped towards the Sheikari, shifting into a battle stance. Adelora sneered, dark energy crackling around his body.
“And will your courage be enough?” he launched forward, swinging his blade. Link barely dodged in time, the wind from the attack ruffling his hair. Adelora swung again, and Link quickly parried, the force of the blow sending vibrations up his arm.
He then slashed at Adelora, who leaped back effortlessly. The two continued their dance, the sound of metal ringing through the air. Zelda tried to move again, but it was as if her body was glued to the spot.
Adelora was slowly driving Link back, each attack becoming harder and harder to dodge or block. Zelda could see the sweat on Link’s brow, the way his breathing was coming out in pants. He was fighting with all he had. Adelora finally gained the upper hand, kicking Link in the stomach and sending him flying back.
He hit the ground with a grunt, his sword skidding out of his hand. Adelora slowly stalked towards him, a victorious smirk on his face. He brought his sword down, aiming for Link’s heart.
Just as the blade was about to make contact, Zelda finally regained control of her body. She leaped forward, throwing herself in front of Link. The blade met her kodachi, the force of the blow sending her toppling backward.
Adelora began to pursue her before letting out a pained grunt as the tip of a sword protruded from his chest. His smirk faded, replaced by a look of confusion, as Link shifted from behind him, removing his blade. Adelora then faded away into nothing, leaving behind only the faint wisp of black smoke which quickly dissipated. Zelda let out a sigh of relief, but Link remained on guard.
Every torch in the room flickered as the Sheikari materialized once again, with Adelora taking on the form of Dark Link once more. Without warning, they were upon Link, swords raised.
Zelda moved to stand, blade at the ready, but Link held his hand out towards her, motioning for her to stay back. Zelda froze in place, though her grip on her sword tightened.
If this was to be Link’s fight, then she must trust him.
Link was a blur as he fought the Sheikari, his blade a shining silver in the torchlight. The Sheikari, their black robes billowing behind them, were relentless in their assault, but Link was unflinching. He fought with the skill and strength of a true warrior, as if he had been born to wield a sword.
Yet, every time one of the Sheikari fell, they would rise again with renewed vigor. Link was slowly being driven back again, his breathing coming out in ragged pants. Zelda could see the fatigue in his eyes. It was as if they were an endless horde, determined to take him down. His arms began to tremble with the effort of keeping them at bay, and Zelda felt her breath catch in her throat.
No. He had to keep fighting. He was the Hero of Time.
Adelora managed to break through Link’s defenses, slashing at his side. Link let out a cry of pain as he fell to the ground but quickly hopped back to his feet, clutching at his side. Zelda could see the blood seeping through his fingers.
“Link!” she cried out, preparing to run to his side, but he once again motioned her away. The Sheikari surrounded him, slowly closing in. Zelda could hear Link wheezing now, his desperate attempt to catch his breath echoing through the chamber. Once the Sheikari were close enough to strike, he unleashed a spin attack, yet his blade passed through them as if they were merely specters.
“You have allowed your hands to become weak. You can no longer fight against someone who would take your courage.”
With Adelora’s words, the Sheikari all raised their swords. Zelda screamed as she started after Link, who turned to look at her. His eyes were still filled with determination, though it was now joined by acceptance. He gave her a small smile, as if he was asking her to join him in that affirmation, and the Sheikari’s blades descended upon him.
“LINK!” Zelda let out a cry of anguish as she reached out toward him, but it was too late. He was gone, consumed by the shadows. The Sheikari turned to face her, their silver eyes savage in the torchlight.
“Courage falls,” Adelora turned and pointed his blade at her, his voice dripping with venom.
Zelda’s vision blurred as she continued towards Link’s body, but she was surrounded by the Sheikari before she could reach him. Yet, she managed to fight through them as she called out to Farore one last time.
“Please…you must help! He’s gone! Link is gone!”
She saw the flash of green light just as she was about to grab Link’s hand. Adelora stood over him, a satisfied grin on his face, just as Zelda was plunged into the darkness. She fell for what seemed like an eternity before splashing into the water as she landed in the Chamber of Sages.
The six Sages surrounded her, expressions of grave concern etched into their faces. Zelda whipped around, looking for Link, but he was nowhere to be found.
“Where is he?” she demanded. “He was supposed to come with me! Where is he?”
“Zelda…” Rauru began, his eyes filled with sadness, but she wouldn’t hear it.
“No!” she shouted. “No, I won’t believe it! Where is he? I reached him in time! Farore, where is he? You must bring him here!”
“Zelda…” Rauru repeated. Zelda pounded the water with her fist, causing it to splash up around her, the water mixing with her tears as they dripped back down into the pool.
“He can’t be gone,” she whispered, her voice trembling. “He just can’t.”
She then looked up, her breath catching in her throat as she looked upon all of the Sages. “You have to go to sleep, all of you! Now! While there’s still time!”
Yet, Rauru shook his head. “It is too late, Zelda. They are already here.”
The chanting began without warning, pouring into the chamber within seconds. Soon the entire hall rang with wails and screams as the Sheikari descended upon the Sages one by one. Abnar let out a horrible gurgling noise as he was engulfed by the shadows, while Nove’s body was twisted into an unnatural position as he fell. Grig seemed to fall in slow motion as his body was torn apart, while Odan and Mison simply vanished into the darkness. Rauru was the last to fall, and with his final words, he begged Zelda to flee.
“You did all you could, Your Highness.”
Zelda covered her ears, at a loss for what else she could possibly do. She felt the tip of a blade at her throat and began shivering as tears streamed down her face.
“Dearest Hylia,” Adelora lifted her chin, and Zelda saw nothing but coldness in his red eyes. “Do you still believe Courage can endure?”
Zelda dropped her arms to the side, her body going limp as she felt the last of her magic finally leaving her. She looked back up at Adelora, who was becoming a blur as the tears continued to fall. From her peripheral, she could see the Sheikari dragging the bodies of the other Sages away, casting them into the dark depths of the chamber. She then closed her eyes, accepting that all was finally lost.