Link, listen! I need for you to listen to me!
Link panted and collapsed on the steps of the Qaza Tokki Shrine. That had been so stupid. Teba warned him against being cocky. You’re alone out there, Link , he reminded him, and Link had nodded but hadn’t listened.
Each breath hurt. So stupid.
Link! Listen to me!
Mipha. Link let his head loll back on the stone and closed his eyes. He could feel her, just like he felt Revali and Urbosa. Revali’s Gale almost exhausted, and it was strange that he couldn’t hear Revali’s spirit scolding him for his reckless use of it. He used the last of Urbosa’s Fury -- and the Master Sword’s power -- to finish off the final Guardian below the shrine. He felt her, distantly, her attention forever focused on the castle and Calamity Ganon.
He remembered so little of Princess Zelda, but he remained Urbosa’s looks toward her. He also remembered her scolding him for a previous injury. This would surely make her angry.
Mipha. Licking his lips, Link ignored the taste of blood in his mouth and focused on her voice.
Link, I know you are weary, but you must listen. I need to build up my strength before I can use my Grace to heal you. Please, hang on a little longer. Use your Slate and find shelter. I will heal you as soon as I can!
Link exhaled and the taste of blood grew stronger, thick in the back of his throat. Internal bleeding then. The Sheikah Slate hung from his left hip, which was not good. Even in the midst of battle with the Guardians, he heard the crack of bone when the blast hit his shield.
All because he wanted that damned treasure chest. All because some part of him still flinched when their red lights shone on his chest.
Link shifted his left hand for the Slate and pain blazed up his arm, fingers falling numb and unresponsive, and he let his left hand go limp along his side again. The stone steps dug into his back as he trembled, breathing through the pain. Just a moment and he would try again. Just a moment…
Link! Open your eyes!
“Zelda?” he breathed, and for that breath he was there again, in the water, cold and alone, and not even the Guardians awakening in demonic red around him sparked the same icy fear in his heart.
Then there was a breeze, cool and strangely refreshing, and something touched his right hand. Link squinted and Revali knelt beside im, cupping Link’s hand in his feathers. His beak moved but Link couldn’t make out what he said. He blinked and he was alone, the breeze gone, but the air didn’t seem as stale, the fingers of his right hand no longer so cold.
Bruised and bleeding from the fight, yes, but no longer so cold. His hand shook -- his whole body shook -- but Link forced it aside. They killed him once. They made him fail once. Link refused to fall to the Guardians again.
Twisting to grab the Slate with his right hand hurt , and it felt like something tore inside him with the motion. Still, Link didn’t relent, gritting his teeth and pushing onward. His perception shifted, from the flickering torches before the Shrine to the stone floor. Red dripped down the steps.
Telling himself that he had worse didn’t help: dying killed that comfort. Link clutched Mipha’s words to himself instead, felt the warmth of her power building inside of him, and as his trembling fingers grasped the Slate, Link thought of shelter. He thought of safety.
He thought of a bright grin and optimism which warmed the air around him and a voice boasting of his faith in Link.
He thought of comfort .
Sidon , Link thought, his fingers fumbling on the Slate.
Yes, Link. Go to Sidon. We’ll take care of you.
Habit and luck more than anything led Link’s fingers where they needed to go. By the time he pulled up the right screen and focused on the shrine in Zora’s Domain, Link’s vision was a blur and sweat slicked his skin and burned his wounds. It felt like another set of hands helped guide him, but Link could barely see anything anymore.
Then his finger hit the right spot and the world spun away.
It had been weeks since Sidon had last seen Link.
Understandable, of course! Sidon could only imagine the burden on Link’s shoulders. Three beams of light now lit the sky, all aiming for Hyrule Castle. Soon enough, undoubtedly, a fourth would join in, and then Link would prepare to fight Calamity Ganon itself.
Sidon had faith in Link. Of course he did! Link’s courage and strength inspired him. He had never seen anyone as brave and brilliant as Link! But…
Hands clasped in front of him, Sidon stared at Mipha’s statue. A hundred years since he had last seen her true face, and he feared that he was forgetting details. He had lost her when he was so young, and childhood stole many memories from him. Yet even after a hundred years, Sidon remembered Mipha’s final kiss on his forehead, her whisper for him ( I believe in you ), how she hugged him close before running toward Vah Ruta.
He hadn’t the heart to tell Link, but some part of him hoped for all those years that she waited inside for him. That Vah Ruta’s terrifying glow would fade back to its bright blue and Mipha would jump out and tell him how proud she was of him. He held onto that hope until Link emerged, victorious but alone.
Always beautiful, the statue seemed cold and distant since Link freed Vah Ruta. No matter how hard Sidon looked, he saw nothing of Mipha in those stone eyes.
“I wish I had your courage,” he said quietly. “I tried to sleep, but dreams of you and Link haunted me. What if he is hurt somewhere and needs my help? I try everything I can to help the Domain and Link when he comes, but I feel helpless.”
No response, of course. Sidon stopped expecting one decades ago. Mostly.
Sidon sighed and shook his head. “I should try and sleep some more. With the rain stopped, Father is seeking to open trade routes again.” He couldn’t help a small smile. “And the attitude changing toward the Hylians helped, too. I don’t think Link realizes how much he has helped us.”
As if saying his name summoned him, Sidon heard the faint but familiar noise of Link’s strange arrival at the Shrine. Sidon still didn’t understand how it worked, but he didn’t care: not when it brought his friend to him. Sidon smiled brightly at Mipha. “Good night, sister! I will speak with you more soon!”
The statue remained still and silent, but Sidon swore it shone a little brighter. Pleased, he jogged around her statue toward the Shrine. Truly, it had been too long since he had seen his dearest friend. Resting his eyes on him would surely soothe --
Sidon’s steps faltered. His chest grew cold, his fingers numb.
Link lay sprawled on the steps of the Shrine. Already the platform under him was coated in red Hylian blood.
Sidon spun around toward the guards close to Mipha’s statue. “A healer!” he shouted and watched them start. “Find a healer and bring them to the Shrine! Now! ”
Without waiting for a response, Sidon sprinted toward the Shrine. Link never moved. Sprawled and still and too much like Sidon’s nightmares and Sidon was breathless with terror by the time he fell to his knees beside Link.
Something else Sidon never told Link or anyone else: often in his dreams he saw Mipha exactly like this, still and bloody and sprawled on the floor of Vah Ruta, with not even her Trident to help her anymore. Sidon’s hands shook when he gently pulled Link’s torso into his lap. It was selfish, it was so selfish, but Sidon couldn’t bring himself to care about the fate of Hyrule if its Hero died: all he cared about was not losing his dearest friend like he lost his sister.
Up close, it looked much worse. Link’s blood was hot against his skin, and his left arm shifted oddly, in a way Sidon knew Hylian limbs shouldn’t move. Yet when Sidon moved Link, Link grimaced and moaned and Sidon could accept all of it, all of the damage, as long as Link lived.
“Link, my friend, hold on,” he whispered, and then Sidon raised his head and shouted, “Where is the healer?!”
Despite the late hour, Zora were gathering outside of the Shrine. All of them stared in growing horror at the wounded Hero. Captain Bazz shoved his way through and dropped to Link’s other side. “She is coming, my prince,” he said. Even as he spoke, he grabbed the bottom of Link’s tunic, tore it off, and then pressed it against the wound on Link’s torso. The tunic around it was blackened, what skin Sidon could see blistered. What had happened?
It didn’t matter. Bazz was right. They needed to care for Link until the healer arrived.
Mostly importantly, Sidon needed Link to wake up. He moaned. That had to be a good sign. Sidon’s fingers trembled as he tapped Link’s cheek. His cheekbone was bruised and there was a gash along his temple. All things the healer could handle, Sidon thought frantically. This wasn’t like Mipha. Link was here and there was help. Link would be fine .
“Link,” Sidon said softly, “I need you for you to open your eyes. Link, can you hear me? Link, open your eyes.”
Link stirred. “Mipha?” he murmured. Sidon’s heart broke. He heard Bazz choke.
Sidon pushed back tears, but they still burned his eyes. “No, no, it’s Sidon. Mipha…” He swallowed. “Mipha is waiting, but not yet. Please, my friend, open your eyes!”
Link stirred and Sidon’s breath caught as Link’s eyelashes fluttered. He saw a flash of blue and then Link’s eyes were open and he was staring at Sidon. There was a glazed look in his eyes which terrified Sidon. “Sidon?” he whispered, sounding confused.
“My prince,” Bazz said, voice pained and grim, and Sidon shook his head. No. No. Link made it here. They would take care of him.
Raising his head again, Sidon screamed, “Get the healer here now !”
Link coughed and when Sidon looked down, blood covered Link’s chin and mouth. Sidon shuddered. “No, Link, you’ll be fine. Just hold on. The healer is coming. You’ll be fine , my dearest friend, you are so strong, everyone knows you are so strong, you are strong enough to survive this, please , Link!”
Yet it didn’t seem like Link heard his fevered words. Link cocked his head, delicate ear twitching, as if he heard something else. Then he looked at Sidon and smiled with his bloody mouth. “She’s here,” he whispered, and Link’s eyes closed.
Sidon’s heart stopped. He pulled Link tightly to him, heedless of Bazz speaking, of the voices rising before him, and just held onto Link like he could make him stay. “No, no --”
A small hand touched his arm. Tears streaming down his face, Sidon looked up.
For the first time in a hundred years, he looked at his sister’s face.
Mipha smiled at him. If Sidon tried, he could see through her. Green instead of red, ghostly and graceful, Mipha smiled at him and Sidon couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. “I’ll take care of him,” she said, and it was her voice, for the first time in a century, and Sidon couldn’t stop crying. “Thank you for helping him.”
“Mipha,” he choked out. People were talking but Sidon couldn’t focus on them. His entire world was narrowed to Mipha and Link.
She reached past his arm and rested her hand on Link’s chest. As Sidon watched, the green energy floating around her poured into Link. Before his eyes, the bleeding stopped. The bruise on Link’s cheek faded. The blistering smoothed into dirty white skin. Even his arm shifted, the broken bone resetting and healing. Link’s eyes fluttered and opened, meeting Mipha’s gaze. Her smile turned him to him.
“It was my pleasure,” she said and then she was fading away. Sidon gasped and her translucent hand grabbed his, impossibly strong and warm for just one breath. “And Sidon. Thank you. I am so proud of you.”
Then she was gone, and Sidon panted, wide-eyed and shaking. That was...that was…
“Lady Mipha,” Muzu whispered. Sidon’s head shot up and saw Muzu standing beside Ala, the healer’s bag gripped in her hands.
“I didn’t know if anyone else could see her,” Link said. He sat up carefully in Sidon’s lap, testing his left arm and touching where his wound. He smiled at Sidon like he hadn’t been dying seconds ago. “If you can see her when she heals me, then maybe you can always see her. She’s still in Vah Ruta.”
All of Sidon’s grace and words had left him. Link’s smile faded, and he looked confused when Sidon said nothing. He reached up to touch Sidon’s face. There was still blood on his hand. “Sidon?”
With a choked sob, Sidon yanked Link against him again. Link squeaked but Sidon barely noticed, hugging his friend for dear life. He knew he needed to be strong, especially with so many people watching him now, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He wept into Link’s hair and felt Link wrap his short arms around him to hug him back.
“Thank you, Link.” For surviving, for bringing Mipha back to them in some form, for letting Sidon hear his sister’s voice again, Sidon didn’t know. “ Thank you. ”
Link said nothing. He only hugged him back.