“Knight of Hyrule Link, I have summoned you on important matters.” Princess Zelda said, speaking softly despite her serious posture, “I have summoned you because only the Hero of Courage may fulfill this request.”
Link was knelt in front of the Princess with the Master Sword in hand, his blue eyes steady on Zelda's features, “What is it, Zelda?”
Zelda inhaled, furrowing her brow, “I received word from Princess Hilda from Lorule this forenoon. Something sinister is on the rise. She had sensed it. It is absolutely crucial for you to make your way immediately to Lorule.”
Link widened his eyes, “Lorule? But that was-”
“A year ago.” Zelda said, nodding, “I know. It is odd, concerning even, how sudden this matter arose. Which is why you must go.”
“But the fissures? It's not possible to go to Lorule if-”
“But, alas, Link, the fissures have returned, I'm afraid. They also seem to be bigger rifts than before.” Zelda said, turning to look at the window behind the throne, “Impa had gone to observe them, and they seem to keep growing in size. The line between our kingdom of Hyrule and Lorule is thinning.”
“I don't understand. How? Why?” Link asked.
Zelda turned from the window and smiled, “Very good questions. Questions with no answers yet. At ease, Link. You may get up, after all, we are friends, aren't we?”
Link stood up, but the worry from his face did not leave. Zelda sighed, walking up to him and taking his hands into hers, “I don't know why any of this is happening, but I do know we will need you when the time comes. And if Princess Hilda needs you to stop something sinister in Lorule, then so be it.”
“Right.” Link nodded, “I will do whatever it takes.”
Zelda giggled, “You're very brave.”
Link blushed, “Shucks, Princess.”
Zelda laughed again, but soon her features returned serious, “Now, you must head for Lorule as soon as you can.”
“I have everything need with me already.” Link said, tucking the Master Sword back into its sheath, “I'll go now, in fact.”
“Very good. Please...don't be too courageous. You may be the Hero of Legend, but you do have limits.” Princess Zelda said sincerely, then she leaned over him and gave a him a kiss on the forehead, “Be careful.”
Link grinned, nodding, “I will, Princess! You can count on me!”
Zelda smiled softly in return, watching as Link left the throne room to make his way to the Kingdom of Lorule.
“May the Goddess smile upon you.” Zelda said in a whisper.
And she stood in the middle of the empty throne room with her hands folded in front of her chest in prayer.
Link, indeed, did make his way to Lorule as quickly as he had said. First, he had to traverse Hyrule field to actually reach a fissure, which was conveniently guarded by Impa and a couple other sages. Impa sensed him first, and hurried over to greet him. Link bowed upon standing before the great sage Lady Impa.
“I received word from Zelda of your arrival. I am glad you are here.” Impa said, “Traveling through the fissures should be safe. Have you prepared, Hero?”
“Yes, I have.” Link said, “I'm ready.”
“Hey, Greenie!” Irene shouted from the sky, hovering from her broom, “Go ahead and give that bell a jingle whenever you need my help!”
“I will, Irene!” Link shouted back with a grin.
“Sahasrahla asked me to deliver this book to you.” Osfala said as he approached Link with a book in hand, “It's called the Book of Mudora. It's a very old book, and from what I know, it was in the previous hero's possession.”
Link took the book and tucked it under his arm, “Thank you, Osfala.”
Osfala stood up straighter, putting his hand on his hip and smirking haughtily, “Of course.”
“And, if you do need anything, we sages will be waiting for you.” Impa said.
“Thank you, Lady Impa.” Link said, nearing the fissure—though it was more like a doorway now—on the rock wall, “I'll be going.”
So, Link stood before the fissure oozing a dark, wispy aura, took a deep breath, then took a confident step into it. He vanished into the portal in a blink of an eye.
The bridge from Hyrule to Lorule was exactly the same as if was one year ago, and it felt the same, too. At least for Link. The swirling stain-glass pattern was still dizzying and the feeling that his body was turned into water was still sickening. But Link also reminisced the times he would travel through the fissures during his quest to save Hyrule and Lorule and that thought overwhelmed him with nostalgia.
As soon as Link stumbled onto the grey-green grass of Lorule field, it almost felt like home. There was a familiar humidity of dew and the smell of dried dirt, and the sky was an alluring auburn and violet, like a fire had burnt itself into the clouds. Link picked himself up from the ground and brushed himself off. In a distance sat Lorule Castle in all its glory, the tall stature of the building daunting even the most fearless hearts.
Well, most of the most fearless hearts. Link faltered not and made his way immediately to Lorule Castle. Even if he was not courageous, Link realized, he would have been too curious about the growing ominousness to resist.
Upon arriving at the base of the castle, Link felt, again, overwhelmed with nostalgia. It had been so long since he had last been at Lorule Castle, especially since he had resided in Lorule for a great portion during his journey. It was like coming back home, in a way.
Link cautiously entered through the grand entrance of the castle and into the grand entry room. The castle's inside appearance was very different than the interior of Link's memories, but the musty smell of dust still hung strong in the air. Instead of a threatening pit of fire, smooth black and white marble covered the floor. Above him, there was a magnificent chandelier with jewels the color of purple and diamond which hung from the painted ceiling; the painted ceiling was of a map of Lorule. It fit well with the room, or at least Link thought.
As he stood there in awe, he fail to realize a very familiar body standing stiffly on the winding grey stone steps. It was Princess Hilda, her skirts draping on the stairs like a rug.
“Honorable Hero of Hyrule and Lorule, Hero of Courage, Sire Link, I bid you welcome to my kingdom of Lorule.” Hilda said strongly from where she stood on the steps, and she bowed.
“Thank you.” Link said, bowing back, “I come here on Princess Zelda's orders. Or actually, I'm here upon your request, so I suppose I don't really have explaining to do.” Link said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head.
Hilda tilted her head and smiled, but to Link, the smile seemed empty. Beckoning him closer with a nod of her head, Hilda said, “Come along, now, Link. We're about to serve dinner. I would like for you to join me.”
Link looked to her with a confused expression, “But...why am I needed?”
But Hilda did not even turn to spare him a glance as she took small steps up the winding staircase, so Link had no other choice than to stop asking so much questions and follow the quiet princess.
Link thought it was odd how it was only Hilda and him who were seated at the table. The very long table with wood the color of charred logs. And there was a lot of food on the table, but it was hard to see what exactly due to the dim lighting the fireplace provided. Once Hilda took a small portion of her food, Link dug in, too. Not that he was extremely hungry, but he would never reject a chance to eat.
But Link was not used to such formal dinners. Usually, he would take his dinner onto his bed and read a book or look out of his window. Sometimes Irene would stop by—of the late, Irene and he had become great friends, so this was not unusual. In fact, Irene almost felt like a second sibling because she was always teasing him or caring for him, and he enjoyed her company for that.
Regardless, Link only really knew how to act in front of Princess Zelda because she was also a good friend of his and would forgive him should he ever accidentally insult her royalty with his terrible etiquette. Though, as he ate he realized Princess Hilda was not the talkative type, or even that attentive, so that put him at ease.
What did not put him at ease, however, was the situation. He had come for something, hadn't he? What exactly was the sinister situation Princess Zelda was referring to?
Hilda had barely eaten anything, yet she pushed away her plate and cleared her throat. Link looked up to her curiously.
“You're likely wondering why I asked for you to be here. But for that, I cannot tell you. I must show you.” Hilda said, but paused, looking to the fire, “I am just unsure whether I should.”
“Well...what is it?” Link asked as he put a bite of a sweet apple slice into his mouth.
Hilda sighed, her gaze dropping to the floor. Slowly, she rose from her chair and turned to look to Link, “Are you done eating?”
“Yes.” Link said, but he was far from it, but that was not his main concern.
“Then, please, would you follow me?” Hilda requested, motioning to him with her hand to follow her.
Link did so obediently, and off they when to...well...wherever Princess Hilda was leading him to. As they walked, Link soaked in the structure of the castle. They went through halls he didn't even knew existed. In these halls were rows of portraits of the Royal Family of Lorule. Further into the long hallway were rows of doorways. To Link, it felt as if the hall would never end. But soon, Hilda's shoes stopped their thumps on the carpeted marble and she stood at a door which was opened ajar. Hilda shuddered. Link reached out to comfort her, but pulled his hand back before he touched her.
“This...is what I wanted to show you.” Hilda said, pushing open the door to show the innards of the room.
And at first glance, Link gasped sharply. It was...Yuga...
Link took small steps into the room, his curiosity getting the better of him. Yuga was not awake. Link wasn't even sure if Yuga was alive; Yuga looked sickly. His skin was pale and dotted with sweat, his frame was without muscle, and his cheeks were hollow. The only way Link would know Yuga was alive was by the ragged breathing, but it was otherwise impossible.
However, Yuga being alive was also difficult to believe, as Link thought Yuga had already perished when he bested the body of Ganon and sealed him away a year ago.
“How is this...possible?” Link mumbled, continuing to near the sleeping body curiously.
Hilda took a deep breath and closed the door behind her.
“It was a year ago when Ravio and I found him. You had just returned to the world of Hyrule and our Triforce had just returned. Prosperity was reigning once more. Everything was as I've always dreamed.” Hilda inhaled again, covering her mouth, “And then, he was laying there. In the center of the throne room, barely even breathing, his body and mind in a sorry state. And as you see, that has not changed.”
Link looked back to Hilda, “And what does this have to do with me? Did you ask me to come back so I could...how do I put this...'finish the job?'”
Hilda's eyes flew open and she grasped Link tightly by the arm, “Goodness, no! I summoned you because I sensed an evil presence, and I can't help but think...Yuga...” Hilda looked to him quickly, then reverted her attention to Link, “I fear he is in danger.”
“But...why would you want to save him if he tried to destroy you and your kingdom?” Link asked with a shake of his head.
Hilda let go of Link's arm, and sighed, “He did not want that for Lorule. He was under the possession of Ganon the whole time, from the minute he allowed his body to merge with that malicious spirit. The betrayal, the thirst for power. All that was Ganon.”
“ Uh-huh. So, now you want me to...wake him up somehow?”
Hilda shook her head, “No. After being under the stress of possessing not one, but two pieces of the Triforce, I doubt he will wake, even if you try . The power...i t was too much for him to handle. Hence why he hasn't woken since.” Hilda said, looking to Yuga, “However, I would like for you to keep a watchful eye on him. In case my feeling s are true.”
“I see...and that's all I have to do?”
“Yes. I will provide you with a room beside his until I am sure everything is back in order.” Hilda said, “Everything is already arranged. I'm sure you are tired. Would you like to rest?”
Link nodded, looking to Yuga, “ Yeah. That's a good idea.”
Hilda walked to the door and opened it, “Follow me, again, please.”
Link didn't need to be asked twice and he quickly went to Hilda's side. Hilda closed the door softly behind her. She took several step forward and stopped at the door directly next door, and opened that door. Inside was a normal, vacant room, just as Link had expected. Link walked inside.
“If you need anything, I will be in my study- but, oh, the castle is much different than what you remember.” Hilda said, “Let's see...”
“ Actually, I think I will be okay.” Link said.
“I see.” Hilda nodded, “Well, now. Tomorrow morning, one of the castle servants will come fetch you for breakfast. Then, I will show you around the castle.”
“ Okay. Thank you, Princess Hilda.” Link said.
“Goodnight, Link.” Hilda said, retreating back into the hallway and closing the door.
Link stood there for a second, then he looked around the room in interest. It was quite a big room, maybe the same size as his small house. It had a large bed pressed up against the wall with elegant side tables on either side of the bed. There were candles on these side tables, a nd a fireplace on the opposite wall from the bed. And there was a desk in one of the corners of room while, in another corner was a door which Link assumed led to the bathroom. Finally, on the furthest wall from the door, there was a large glass door which led to an outdoor balcony.
Link walked over to the desk and placed the Book of Mudora and the Master Sword on it, then he went to open the doors to access the balcony.
The night was setting in with the moon barely peeking out from behind snowy Death Mountain. It was beautiful to see, but not unlike what Link gazed upon back in Hyrule. What captured Link's interest more than the view, however, were the new paths connecting each of the different terrains of Lorule, for once. Link thought it was weird to see Lorule in one piece—he was so used to miles of crevices separating the land throughout his adventure, he had not considered how different and how beautiful it would look in one piece. Like a portrait. Link took in a breath of the night's air and reentered the room.
“ I should go to sleep.” Link thought to himself out loud, “It's pretty late.”
Not that Link felt exhausted, but he was never the one to pass up on sleep. So he trudged to the bed and plopped his body into the comforters which felt like clouds. Though he did not sleep right away, it was hard to resist the temptation anyway.