Sin of Sheikari: Chapter 29

Power

Those who did not know the danger of wielding power would, before long, be ruled by it.

The Sheikari remained perched atop the stone pillars as if waiting for their next meal, never tiring. Adelora stared down at them, his red eyes glaring. Wasting no time, Zelda reached out with her magic, scanning all of Hyrule for any sign of the Triforce of Wisdom. Kokiri Forest, Zora’s Domain, Goron City, she scanned every part of the kingdom she could imagine but could find no trace of it, her brow furrowing in frustration. She’d been able to detect the locations of the other two triangles the moment they’d been separated. Why couldn’t she sense the third?

However, if she couldn’t see them, then neither could the Sheikari. Perhaps, that was why they’d arrived so quickly.

“Link,” she whispered, placing a hand on his shoulder. “The one who mocks your appearance calls himself Adelora. He is the one with the Triforce of Power. I will do my best to locate the Triforce of Wisdom, but I fear that once I discover it Adelora will go after it. We have to survive until I can detect it and bring it to us.”

Link nodded, drawing his sword, while Zelda took a deep breath as she undid her braid, allowing her hair to fall freely. It fanned out behind her as she brandished her kodachi, intending to use it one last time. Link gave her an approving smile before turning his attention back to Adelora. The dark apparition remained at his post, but something about him had changed. His eyes were no longer focused simply on them. Rather, they seemed to be looking beyond, peering into a vision only he could see.

Suddenly, Adelora leaped from his perch, soaring through the air towards them, and within seconds the Sheikari were also upon them, lashing out with all their might.

Link and Zelda, as if on instinct, split up, each taking on a group of Sheikari for themselves. Link wasted no time in dispatching his foes, his sword cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. Still, his opponents continued to rise back up as if Adelora had an endless supply of allies.

Zelda ran along the border of the arena, keeping the Sheikari as far away from the Sages as possible. She leaped over their outstretched hands and dodged the swipes of their black swords, only returning their attacks when she needed to slow them down. While she engaged them, she continued her search for the other triangle, though she was still unable to pinpoint its location.

Suddenly, she heard Link cry out in pain, turning to see him clutching his arm where one of the Sheikari had struck him. She started to run towards him, but he motioned her away just as he’d done before. She clenched her fists, deciding she would grant his request one last time before turning her attention back to the Sheikari, now more determined than ever. Adelora continued his assault against Link, but the Hero of Time was able to parry each and every one of his attacks.

Still, they were running out of time. Zelda dodged another swipe just as Link cried out in pain once more. This time, she didn’t listen to him and launched into a full sprint just as Adelora brought his sword down upon Link, slashing him across his face.

“Link!” Zelda raced to his side, dispatching the other Sheikari that barred her way. She pushed Link out of the way of Adelora’s next attack and leaped to meet him, her kodachi at the ready. Adelora prepared to strike again but froze in place as his body was covered in light.

Zelda turned to see the Ancient Sages, who had joined hands, glowing with the power of the Sacred Realm. Adelora shrieked in pain as he was forced up into the air with the other Sheikari, held in place by the Sages’ power. Zelda knelt in front of Link, who was still clutching his face.

“I will not leave your side,” she told him. He raised his head, and she could see that the Sheikari had taken his right eye, a neat scar now running down his face. He didn’t seem to notice and simply looked at her with gratitude.

“Do you not tire of this dance you have prolonged?”

Adelora shot his hand forward, and the Ancient Sages let out a chorus of horrible screams as they were reduced to dust, their light extinguished from the world.

“No!” Zelda screamed as she flung a fireball at Adelora, which dissipated before it could reach him. He cackled as he floated towards her, the other Sheikari descending as well, their blades at the ready. Zelda felt Link move to stand but placed a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back down.

“I will face them,” she told him. “You have fought enough.”

“You know their shame, yet you continue to fight to save this kingdom, this nest of abominations,” Adelora hissed.

Zelda’s eyes fell to the ground as she began to think of the shadows of Hyrule’s past, the kingdom whose lies, greed, and bloodshed had created the apparitions before her. She imagined the Sheikari praying to Hylia in her temple, their children approaching the altar with innocent hearts, only to be slaughtered by the Sheikah, their brethren, who once walked alongside them to protect Hylia against the forces of darkness.

She gazed inside of Adelora’s spirit, into the heart of his anger and resentment. She saw the pain of being rejected by those he once held dear, of being labeled a traitor and an outcast, of being hunted and persecuted.

“You have earned your vengeance.”

Adelora paused, and the other Sheikari’s expressions were identical, their striking silver eyes clouded by confusion.

“I, too, was once consumed by vengeance,” Zelda continued. “An evil king had subjugated my people and defiled my kingdom. I wanted nothing more than to destroy him, to eradicate his evil from existence. You appear to me in the form of the Hero of Time to remind me of what is possible, what our hubris can lead to. I understand that now.”

She continued walking towards the Sheikari and finally stopped once she was certain Link was far enough away that he would not be harmed.

“But I am more than vengeance,” Zelda pointed her kodachi at Adelora. “I am you, the Sheikari, the Sheikah, the Gorons, Zora, Kokiri. I am Hyrule’s light, and I am also its shame. That is my burden as its princess and eventual ruler, but you will know that I will wear that shame. I will answer for it, as we all must, but I will not allow this kingdom to be burned away, taking more innocent lives with it.”

At this, Adelora snarled and flew at her, his body now engulfed in dark flames. Zelda did not move, her sword stretched out as far as she could manage. Adelora was soon inches from her face when Impa’s voice sounded in her mind.

“You must use what I have taught you about moving through the shadows.”

Adelora’s blade phased through her as though she were an illusion, and Zelda spun in place, pulling Adelora into her body and casting him back out. He hit the ground with a thud before quickly rising back into the air, shrieking in frustration. The other Sheikari swooped in, yet none of them could touch Zelda, their attacks having no effect. Zelda then shot her hand forward, her face now full of determination and understanding.

“My father wanted to banish all darkness from Hyrule, and that became our undoing,” Zelda’s hand began to glow with a golden light, her stance firm. “Shadow and Light are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.”

With that, the Triforce symbol appeared on the back of her hand, and the Sheikari wailed in agony as they were engulfed by a brilliant light. Adelora threw his hand forward too, his Triforce marking glowing alongside Zelda’s, but it soon began to fade away. He studied the fading symbol in disbelief, as if all hope of regaining the innocence he’d lost would vanish along with it, and despite all that he had done Zelda still felt sympathy for him.

“Ancient Sages!” she called out. “Rise once again! And with renewed strength, we will save Hyrule from destruction!”

Six pillars of light rose from where the Ancient Sages had once stood, new figures emerging and taking on ethereal forms made of light. They were now faceless with a mask that hovered in front of each of their heads, while their hands floated before them, disconnected from their bodies. They raised their arms, and all of the Sheikari were once again bound in the air, shrieking and convulsing as the light burned away at their dark souls.

Adelora, having finally given up on maintaining his haughty composure, whipped around, looking on in horror as he saw his brethren reduced to nothing. At last, he took on his true form, a tall young man with bronze skin, long white hair, and piercing silver eyes. He too wore black robes that were emblazoned with the red Sheikah symbol. His silver eyes met hers, and she expected to see nothing but pure hatred in them. Yet, he merely nodded as he began to disintegrate just like the rest of his kin. “Perhaps you will not be discouraged.”

The Ancient Sages lowered their arms as they flew to their respective perches atop the stone pillars. Zelda breathed a sigh of relief as she finally allowed herself to relax, the Triforce mark still glowing on her hand.

“Light cannot be without shadow. Yes, it seems you remembered my lesson well, princess.”

A guttural scream suddenly sounded from behind her, and she turned around to see Link huddled over the sand, the tip of a black sword running through his chest. He struggled to get up, but the blade was holding him in place as his Triforce symbol began to fade away. Standing over him…pushing the sword even further into his back…

“Ganondorf!” Zelda screamed, nearly choking from the force she unwittingly put behind it.

The Gerudo King looked up at her with a sadistic grin, pulling out his sword as Link’s lifeless body fell to the ground. Zelda’s eyes widened in shock and horror as she realized what had just happened, and she fell to her knees as the arena filled with her cries of anguish. Yet the Gerudo King merely smiled as he whipped his sword to the side, flicking Link’s blood into the sand.

“And now the cycle is complete.”