“Well, we won’t exactly be going back in time, but there is something you should see,” the mask salesman clasped his hands together.
Zelda huffed in frustration, her head drooping. “There is nothing I need to see or learn or protect, for that matter! I can achieve nothing so long as the Sheikari have the Triforce.”
“You’re correct,” The mask salesman held up a finger and chortled. “And you’re wrong as well. It’s very fascinating!”
Zelda stomped her foot in the sand. “You will not have me listen to any more of your riddles! What is it that you must show me?”
“Very well,” the mask salesman sighed as Zelda deflated his fun. “But first, I must tell you something about me.”
He turned to face the large stone pillar, cupping his chin as he became lost in thought. “I was once a candidate to become a Sage, you understand. My father trained me in the ways of the mystical arts, so I came to know of a great many artifacts and relics with strange powers. I learned how to communicate with the Gossip Stones, how the Lens of Truth allowed you to see through walls, and even how to correctly harvest the souls of Poes. Oh, I was quite proud of that!”
He turned to face her, his expression an odd combination of determination, madness, and delight. “But nothing quite caught my interest like masks. It was always peculiar how lingering sentiments, regrets, and even love could be contained within these inanimate objects. I became quite obsessed with them, and my father began to worry that I would never take on the mantle of Sagehood. He was quite right, however, as I quickly lost interest in it altogether. I began searching high and low, collecting as many masks as I could. Then I learned of a relic known as the Fused Shadow that was supposed to be hidden deep in the desert, and so I came here in search of it.”
“What does this have to do with me?”
The mask salesman didn’t answer, instead simply waving his hand, which caused the arena to transform. Zelda yelped as she found herself on the edge of the arena, perched two stories above along its wall. She then looked down and gasped at the sight of several figures below. Some were situated close to the large stone pillar in crouching positions. Opposite them were several Hyrulean knights and Sheikah warriors standing at attention. Zelda watched as a large man with a powder-white beard wearing regalia approached the crouching figures, his crown glinting in the harsh sunlight.
“Father?” Zelda whispered.
The man stopped just in front of the crouching figures and addressed them. “You understand why we must do this. I am the ruler of this kingdom, which the Sheikari have tried to destroy along with the Sacred Realm. The goddesses have declared you as Interlopers, and so you must face their judgment.”
“Heretic!” one of the crouching figures shouted. “You do not serve the Golden Goddesses, only your own greed!”
“Silence!” the king shouted. “Honorable Sages, protectors of the Sacred Realm, reveal yourselves!”
Zelda watched as Odan, Mison, Grig, Nove, Abnar, and Rauru each appeared atop the six pillars with their respective symbols.
“Your Majesty,” Rauru bowed. “We are prepared to banish the Interlopers from Hyrule.”
“Traitors!” the man continued to shout. “By the breath of all life, you will perish!”
“Hmph,” the king waved his hand, and the Sages lifted their arms in unison. However, the man who had shouted would not be silenced. He too raised his arms to the sky, his shackles mysteriously undone, and he was suddenly covered in black smoke. When it started to clear, Zelda noticed something was different about him. A strange, black, helmet-looking object was now fused to his head and ran down past his chest. It bore a sinister-looking eye carving on its left side, and the top of the helmet had four slender prongs that curved upwards.
“Then the Sheikari’s anger must burn against Hyrule!” the man’s voice was now resonating and distorted underneath the dark helmet. “You will soon have no nation at all, a kingdom full of wanderers!”
His body began to shift and transform as extra arms and legs sprouted from his sides. His body began to glow as it morphed and elongated, becoming bulbous and inhuman. His extra appendages followed, and he was soon at least three times his original size, a massive, glowing monster with the helmet as his visage. The Hyrulean knights charged at him but were knocked back by an invisible force. The Sheikah drew their weapons and waited for their moment to strike.
“You will all feel the wrath of the Sheikari!” the monster lifted its many arms into the air. “You and your precious Sacred Realm!”
Yet, before it could strike, four orbs of light appeared in the sky and bombarded it with holy light as he roared with pain, an unnatural sound that made Zelda cover her ears. When the light faded, the creature was gone, and the black object that covered its head now sat in pieces where its human form once stood. The four orbs of light flashed before transforming into ethereal beings resembling a goat, squirrel, bird, and serpent. The broken helmet’s shards floated into the air before vanishing from sight.
“Who are they?” Zelda asked.
“Ancient guardians of Hyrule,” the mask salesman sounded positively delighted. “They were created by the goddesses to protect the Sacred Realm from evil. They are the Light Spirits known as Ordona, Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru.”
“And that thing on the Sheikari’s head? That was the Fused Shadow?”
The mask salesman nodded. “Yes, the Fused Shadow. It contained some of the most powerful sorcery we’d ever seen. The Sheikari were brought here so that the combined effort of the Sages and the Light Spirits could contain it. And yet…”
The Light Spirits descended upon the arena as the Sages finally lowered their hands.
“Begin the execution,” the king said solemnly.
“And yet?” Zelda prompted.
“Well, you see, even darkness is no match for madness, Your Highness.”