Whenever there was a meeting, a parting was sure to follow. However, that parting did not need to last forever. Whether a parting was forever or merely for a short time…
Ganondorf stood over Link’s body, his gaze fixed on Zelda, golden eyes full of hate, greed, and satisfaction.
“You did well to teleport us all here,” he caressed his foul sword. “Those Sheikari easily dispatched my phantom in the throne room, and I knew it was best to hide in the shadows while you and the Sages deliberated. Yet none of you were able to detect me. Your terror blinded you.”
Zelda’s blood ran cold. Had he been hiding in the throne room the entire time, waiting to see what she would do next? He had heard everything then, about the Triforce, its triangles, all of it.
“You didn’t think I would allow any bearers of the Triforce to live, did you?” he continued. “With you gone, I will be able to seek out the Triforce completely unopposed. Think of the despair your champions will feel when they see the lifeless body of their princess tossed out before them. In the end, it will be you they blame. You sought my destruction and ended up unleashing something far worse. Now, there is no Hero of Time and no Ocarina of Time, all because of you.”
Zelda fell to her knees, her body shaking with realization. It was all her fault. Link, the champion chosen by the goddesses, was dead because of her, and all her efforts had been in vain. Ganondorf had still won, and there was nothing she could do to stop him.
“Foolish girl,” Ganondorf spat, sheathing his sword. “Just like your mother, you underestimated me. I wasn’t able to find the Sheikari’s artifact here, though I suppose it must have gone with her when she foolishly sealed herself into the Twilight Realm for eternity.”
He laughed then, a cruel, mocking sound that sent shivers down Zelda’s spine. “No matter. Neither you nor your descendants can ever hope to defeat me. I will soon be eternal.”
Zelda buried her face in her hands, unwilling to call out to the goddesses or the Sacred Realm. What right did she have to ask for their assistance now, for their forgiveness? Her wailing sobs soon filled the air, coupled with Ganondorf’s satisfied laughter. She finally collapsed into the sand as she imagined her mother’s voice, hoping it would provide her with one last moment of peace.
“You know my favorite thing about you? You love it all, my duckling.”
A scene flashed through Zelda’s mind of a war-torn battlefield. Several bodies were strewn about, some Zelda recognized, while others she didn’t. Some were humans whose armor bore the Sheikah symbol. Their expressions were riddled with rage, pain, and horror, the eyes a mixture of red and silver.
In the center of it all were two figures, a woman covered in divine light and a monstrous black demon with a flaming mane that billowed out behind him. His glowing red eyes were fixated on the woman, and he was laughing, a great rasping sound filled with contempt. The woman had impaled him with a divine sword, and he was slowly fading away.
“The Triforce will still be mine no matter where you send it, goddess,” the demon jeered, his voice ancient and needlessly cruel. “My hate never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end!”
The woman only smiled, feeling pity for something that could only understand hate and misery. “Perhaps you think that makes you extraordinary, but it only makes you all the more pitiful, Demise.”
And the demon roared as he tried to charge at the woman, disappearing in a flash of light.
“They will come back to me, all who I have sent skyward.”
Zelda’s eyes snapped open, and she began to stand. Ganondorf sneered as he watched her struggle to her feet.
“Good,” he smirked. “Fight me one last time, so that your pathetic journey can come to a proper close. Unsheath your sword one last time, princess, and face your true destiny!”
Zelda responded by tossing her kodachi into the sand, gazing at Link’s body once more. Ganondorf paused, confused by her actions, before brandishing his sword of filth. When Zelda looked at him again, he drew back in shock as she began to resonate with a bright, inner power.
“There was once a lone goddess, the sole keeper and protector of the Triforce, who roamed the land,” she began to walk towards Ganondorf, slowly lifting her arms towards the sky. “A demon rose from the earth with a calamitous army, and that goddess was destined to battle him forever. Yet, instead of an eternal fight, she chose to make a great sacrifice. She took the Triforce and gathered her chosen people, sending them skyward along with the divine relic. Her sacrifice was giving up her godly form, choosing to be reborn as a mortal, and so she was, era after era. And the demon was eventually defeated by the first hero.”
Her mother’s face flashed in her mind, of the time she reached down and consoled the young princess in the courtyard, Zelda’s favorite place in the world.
“My darling, destiny can be broken. You are so much more than that.”
“You once asked me if I could break the cycle,” Zelda began to lower her arms, “but you see…I broke the cycle then, which means I can do it again. And I am so much more than my destiny.”
She brought her arms down as the Bow of Light materialized in her hands. Ganondorf roared in frustration as he threw himself at her, but Zelda calmly nocked an arrow and released it. It soared towards Ganondorf as she reached her hand out, calling out to Farore. The arrow disappeared as it was overtaken by the goddess’ spell, and Ganondorf was momentarily stunned, his expression full of bewilderment.
It wasn’t until Zelda saw the light arrow whizz past her left shoulder from behind coupled with a great bellowing cry of pain that she was certain the real Ganondorf had been standing behind her all along. The phantom before her faded as the true King of Evil materialized next to her, stumbling slightly as he clutched his side where the arrow had embedded itself. Zelda approached him, cupping his chin and dragging his face down to meet hers as his strength was slowly drained from him.
She pushed him away, and he collapsed face-first into the sand. He tried to get back up, but the Ancient Sages had already descended upon him. They chained his hands and dragged him to the stone pillar, binding him to it with ease. Zelda watched as the Sage of Light, once Rauru, fashioned a sword ordained by the goddesses, and she determined they would cast judgment over the King of Evil.
Ganondorf looked at her then, his eyes now filled with as much loathing as he could muster. Yet, despite his defeat, he didn’t utter a single word as the Ancient Sages made their preparations. Zelda scanned the arena until she found Link’s body, and she walked over to him, gently turning him onto his back and brushing the hair out of his face.
His eyes were closed, and Zelda embraced him, letting the tears fall as her spirit called out to the goddesses. She imagined him, as a child, running through the forest, desperately trying to return to Hyrule, only to find himself back in Termina with no choice but to venture elsewhere. She and the mask salesman had done their best to ensure he would have a proper childhood, but had it been enough? Would there ever be another as kind, as strong, and as selfless as Link?
She then recalled the vision of Hylia facing Demise, of how their final confrontation had led to the first hero of Hyrule. She closed her eyes to allow the last of her tears to fall before facing him again.
“The goddesses chose you,” she whispered, her voice breaking as new tears threatened to blur her vision once more, “and they will always choose you. You will always be worthy.”
The brilliant green light enveloped them, and within seconds they had vanished from sight.