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Chapter 6: To the Top
Death Mountain loomed in the distance, a ring of smoke hanging over it. Link leaned against the outside wall of Lon Lon Ranch and looked at it. That was his destination: Death Mountain. Why was it called that? He had a feeling he didn’t want to know, but at the same time had a feeling he was going to find out anyway.
“Majestic, isn’t it?” Navi said.
“Home of the Gorons,” Vindari said, “and the Spiritual Stone of Fire. Ready?”
Link reached into his Pouch and checked that everything was there: Kokiri’s Emerald, Slingshot and Deku Seed Bag, Deku Nuts, Deku Sticks, ocarina, Zelda’s letter, and the lunch Talon and Malon had packed for him. He made sure his sword and shield were secure, then turned to Vindari. “Let’s go.”
They set off towards Kakariko Village. They had walked a short ways before Navi spoke up. “What are you still doing here?” she asked.
Link turned to see that Vindari was still with them. He hadn’t really given much thought to Vindari coming along. In fact, he had sort of assumed it would happen.
“Why can’t I join you?” Vindari asked.
“It’s fine with me,” Link answered.
“I don’t trust you,” Navi said.
“Why not?” Vindari asked, some frustration showing in his voice. “I’ve done nothing but help you.”
“I question your motives,” Navi said.
“My motives?” asked Vindari in anger. “I want to lift this curse on me!”
“So you say,” replied Navi, “but how do we know that you’re not just hanging around Link in order to get the Triforce for yourself?”
Vindari roared and wrapped his spider-like hands around Navi. “Now listen, you stupid fairy-”
“That’s enough,” Link shouted, grabbing Navi from Vindari’s grasp.
Vindari instantly looked apologetic. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but my condition makes me very irritable and impatient.” He turned to Navi. “Please forgive me.”
“Navi?” Link asked.
“It’s his dark aura,” she explained. “I’m very sensitive to it. I can’t help my suspicions.”
“But still, you could keep those suspicions to yourself,” Link said. He looked at Vindari and for some reason, though he couldn’t see it, he felt that Vindari was smiling. It wasn’t a nice smile, either. He shook off the sensation.
“Thank you,” Vindari said.
“Don’t mention it,” Link replied. “However, now that I think about it, it would be a good idea if you didn’t come with us.”
Vindari was taken aback. “But why?”
“I know it’s not your fault,” Link explained, “but this dark aura of yours is a problem. If we’re going to be asking the Gorons for their Spiritual Stone, we can’t have you scaring them away. It’s for the best.”
Vindari sighed and slumped his shoulders. “I suppose it is for the best,” he said. “But I’ll watch you from a distance.” He turned to leave. “I have nothing else to do.”
Then, suddenly, inexplicably, he disappeared.
Link blinked. It had been without fanfare or extravagant magic. He was simply there one moment and gone the next. “I didn’t know he could do that,” he said.
“Neither did I,” Navi added.
Link turned to head for Kakariko Village. While walking, he remembered something Navi had said that morning. “You know how you said you could read magic?” he asked.
“Can’t you read Vindari?”
Navi thought for a moment. Link kept walking in silence and waited for her answer.
“I don’t know exactly how to say this,” she finally replied, “but he’s blank.”
“There’s nothing there to read,” Navi continued. “I think something’s blocking me from reading his magic.”
“Weird,” Link commented. “Has that ever happened before?”
“No,” replied Navi. “It should be impossible. It would take some very powerful magic to shield someone’s magical blueprint.”
“Ganondorf must be pretty powerful, then,” Link said.
“I don’t know,” Navi replied. “He didn’t seem that strong when we saw him at the Castle.”
“Hmm,” said Link. “Very weird.”
There wasn’t much more to say about the subject. Link snacked on his packed lunch, and eventually they started talking about other things. But still, Vindari wasn’t far from either of their minds.
“The boy is approaching Death Mountain now, master.”
“Good. How long do you expect until he has retrieved the second Spiritual Stone?”
“It’s hard to say. The leader of the Gorons has taken the Stone and is guarding it personally. The boy may have to do some sneaking to get it.”
An idea occurred to Ganondorf. “Isn’t there some way that you can take it yourself?” He started to get angry. “Are we wasting our time on that boy? With your teleportation powers, we could have the Stones in no time!”
“I would if I could, master. But when I teleport, I can only transport myself and cannot take any physical object with me.”
Ganondorf sighed. “Ah, well. Our plan will work, anyway. But this act with the King is getting old. I hunger for the Triforce. I am so close, after all these years.”
“Patience, master. It will come to be.”
Kakariko Village wasn’t as big as Castle Town, but it was only the third settlement of people Link had ever seen and he was still intrigued by all the new things he saw. Though it was smaller, there was no less hustle and bustle. After passing through the gate (to protect against Stalchildren at night), Link was immediately almost run over by two carpenters carrying some lumber. He stepped out of the way and they kept walking without paying him any attention.
There were lots of carpenters around Kakariko Village, and this was made especially apparent by the noise. They were working on several new buildings, and one head carpenter was shouting at all of them to hurry up. Children were also numerous, and Link had to decline a few offers to play. It was very much indeed a growing village.
There was a large central tree that Link rested under while looking around the village. In one direction was an enormous windwill, slowly turning in the breeze, and an entrance to Link wasn’t sure where. A well sat in front of the windmill. In another direction could be seen several small houses, including one especially derelict-looking one. Turning the opposite way, Link saw a local inn, some stores, a pub, and...the gate to Death Mountain Trail!
Link got up and ran toward the gate. He slowed down when he saw that the gate was closed and a guard was standing in front of it. The guard looked down at him when he walked up.
“Shouldn’t you be playing with the other children?” the guard asked.
Link cleared his throat. Here goes. “Actually,” he said, a little nervous at first, “I need to go to Death Mountain.”
The guard chuckled softly. “Of course you do, kid,” he said. “Now run along and play somewhere else.”
“I’m serious,” Link said. “I need to go there to save Hyrule.”
“Of course, so do all the children. However, Death Mountain is no place to play.”
“I’m not playing!” Link protested loudly.
The guard eyed him suspiciously. Link didn’t like the way he was looking at his sword. “Does your mom know you have that?” he asked, and reached for Link’s sword.
Link dodged away and pulled out Zelda’s letter. “Here,” he said, proffering the letter. “Princess Zelda said I could.”
“That’s a new one,” the guard commented with a smirk. He snatched the piece of paper from Link’s hand. “Okay, then, let’s read the letter from the Princess.”
His tone of voice and facial expression showed that he thought this was all a game, but his face immediately became serious when he started reading. He read it through once, reread it, scratched his head and read it again to be absolutely sure. When he was finally done, he looked at Link in a new light.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “This is very hard to believe. However, there’s no doubting that this is the Princess’s handwriting. I guess that means you have permission.” He pushed a switch in the wall behind him and the gate slid open.
With a clunk, it was fully open and Link walked through. He paused to thank the guard.
“Any time,” said the guard. “I’m sorry for not believing you at first. It’s just that so many other kids want to go off and have adventures, so I’m used to turning away children. Speaking of which, things are pretty dangerous up there. You need to be better prepared.”
Link stopped and looked back. “What do you mean?”
“That wooden shield of yours will be toast in no time,” the guard explained. “You need a Hylian Shield. It’s the kind the Hylian Army uses. They sell them in Castle Town. Tell the guy there that I sent you and you can get a discount.”
“Okay,” said Link. “Thanks!” He turned and continued walking. The gate closed behind him.
“That was a nice guard,” Navi commented.
“True,” said Link, “but where am I going to get money to buy a Hylian Shield?”
The question wasn’t answered because at that point, they turned a corner in the road and got their first look of Death Mountain Trail. Death Mountain loomed incredibly close, the cloud of smoke sitting lightly above. Huge boulders were strewn along the path, which itself made a few sharp turns on its ascent. But the thing that caught Link’s eye were the creatures heading towards them.
Link drew his sword and readied his shield. “What are those things?” he asked Navi of the red monsters hopping towards them.
“They’re Red Tektites,” Navi told him. “Be careful. Living next to the mountain has made them tough.”
The two Red Tektites landed right in front of him. One of them pounced, but Link deflected it away with a sword blow. He faced the other one, which also launched itself at him. “Not very creative attackers, are they,” Link commented as he swiftly uppercut. His sword raked along the monster’s underbelly and flung it onto its back. It lay there, flinging its legs in the air.
Link was about to celebrate when something landed on his back and sunk its teeth into his skin. He yelled and swung his sword behind his back, taking off one of the creature’s legs. It fell to the ground and Link speared it. The dead Tektite burned up in magical flames.
The other Tektite had righted itself and was attacking again. Link glared into its one red eye and viciously swung. It too incinerated into nothing. He then turned his attention to the Tektite bite.
“Don’t worry,” Navi said. “Tektite bites aren’t poisonous.”
“That’s a relief,” he said. “That guy really got the jump on me.”
“I told you they were tough,” Navi said.
Link ignored her and made his way along the trail. He walked around boulders and sometimes climbed over them. “So, Navi,” he said, “just where exactly are we going? Where do the Gorons live?”
“They have a bunch of cave cities in the rock,” Navi answered. “The one we’ll want to go to is Goron City. That’s the capital, and their leader, Darunia, lives there. He’ll be the one who has the Spiritual Stone.”
“Ah, I see,” said Link. “And how long will it-”
He was interrupted by a loud scream. Link froze where he was on top of a boulder. It seemed to come from up above. He turned his head upwards to see a Red Tektite falling straight at him! He didn’t have time to get his sword ready. He had just grabbed it out of its sheath when the Tektite hit him and knocked him off the rock.
He fell to the ground, and the sword dropped from his hand and landed out of reach. Link only had time for some very quick thinking before the Tektite pounced again. He reached into his Pouch and brought out his Slingshot. He fired a Deku Seed and caught the Tektite in mid-air. It landed, slightly shaken, on its feet and glared at Link. He fired another shot straight into the monster’s eye, and that was the end of it.
Link put his Slingshot away and retrieved his sword. He was about to put it away and thought better of it. “Navi,” he said, “are there any other monsters around I should know about?”
“There’s a Goron just up ahead,” said Navi.
“That’s good,” he said, and ran to where Navi was floating about. “Where is it?”
“Where’s what?” a voice asked.
Link gave a cry of startlement and saw what he had thought was a rock unfold into a person, if a very short one.
“Right there,” Navi whispered into his ear.
The Goron scratched his head and looked at Link. Then he made a great effort and stood up. “I thought the King would have sent somebody bigger,” he said, looking Link over.
Link was speechless. He didn’t know whether to point out he wasn’t sent by the King or to object to being called small. He decided on the former. “I think you’re mistaken,” he said as politely as he could. “I’m not here on the King’s business.”
“Oh,” said the Goron. His face fell, though it wasn’t very bright to begin with. “I suppose not.” He plopped back down on the ground with a thud.
“What are you doing way out here?” asked Navi.
“Waiting,” the Goron replied. “Isn’t much else to do.”
“Waiting for what?” Link asked.
“Someone from the King,” answered the Goron.
“We kind of gathered that,” Navi said.
“Actually, probably a whole bunch of someones from the King,” the Goron corrected himself. “You would need a lot of people.”
“To do what?” Link asked.
“Move this boulder,” the Goron replied. He turned and indicated the rather large one behind them.
“Why does it need to be moved?” Navi asked.
At that moment, the Goron’s stomach growled loudly. “That’s why,” the Goron said, pointing to his belly.
Link was confused. “You’re waiting for people to come and move this boulder because you’re hungry?” he asked.
“Exactly,” the Goron said.
Link paused for a moment. “Am I missing something here?” he asked Navi quietly.
“Gorons eat rocks,” Navi answered just as softly.
“Oh,” replied Link. “But it looks like there’s plenty of rocks around here.”
“There’s no need to whisper,” the Goron said. “I can hear just fine.”
Embarrassed, Link smiled and turned back to the Goron. “Aren’t there plenty of rocks around here?” he repeated.
“I suppose,” said the Goron, “but these rocks are so bland tasting.” He picked up a rock, give it a little lick, then grimaced. “You see? None of us can stand the stuff. The rocks from Dodongo’s Cavern are so much more delicious.” He let out a wistful sigh. “What I would give for some delicious Dodongo’s rock sirloin right now.” As if to accentuate the point, his stomach let out another loud growl.
“You mentioned Dodongo’s Cavern,” Navi said. “Where’s that?”
The Goron turned to the gigantic boulder. “Behind that.”
“Oh,” Link said. “I see your problem.”
“Yep,” the Goron said. His stomach growled again. He groaned. “Do you know when the King’s men will come?”
“I have no idea,” Link replied.
The Goron sighed. “Oh, well,” he said. “I’ll just have to wait.” He curled back up into a ball.
Link quietly stepped away so as not to disturb it. He followed the trail away from Dodongo’s Cavern and up the mountain. When they was out of hearing range, Navi started talking. “Poor guy,” she said.
“Yeah,” Link said. “Let’s hope that all of them aren’t that bad.”
They walked down the trail in silence a ways before Link spoke up again. “I have a question,” he said.
“Was that an adult Goron?” he asked.
“Good,” Link said, smiling. “I’m not going to feel so short, then.”
They continued their way along the trail. The day was getting very hot, and Link was sweating heavily. “How much longer?” he asked as they rounded another turn.
“To where?” a voice asked.
Link turned to see who had spoken. There was another Goron sitting in a shaded alcove.
“I’m sorry,” Link said. “I didn’t know you were there.”
“You didn’t?” the Goron asked in confusion. “Then who were you talking to?”
“Me,” Navi answered, flying out in front of the Goron’s face.
“Amazing,” the Goron said. “Lights that float.” He gazed at Navi for a little while longer, then turned his attention back to Link. “Still, I am curious to know where you are going. We don’t see very many Hylian children up this far.”
“First,” started Link, “I am not Hylian. I am Kokiri.”
“So you say,” the Goron interrupted.
This threw Link off. “What?”
“I am an excellent judge of character,” the Goron explained. “My name is Dorug. I have been placed here to monitor those on the trail. Well, that’s one reason.”
“What’s the other?” Link asked, who decided not to think too much now about the Goron’s comment.
“I guard this,” he said, and gestured back to a strange plant.
Link walked to get a closer look. It looked like a round black ball with a crown on top. He reached out to touch it.
“I wouldn’t,” Dorug warned. “Only the Gorons are strong enough to pick this.”
“What is it?” Link asked.
“A Bomb Flower,” Dorug answered. “Here, let me show you.” He reached over and roughly plucked the plant from the ground. A small amount of smoke immediately started hissing out from the top.
“Picking the plant causes it to go unstable,” he said. He tossed the Bomb Flower away from them. It landed next to a boulder and exploded. When the dust had cleared, the boulder was gone.
“We make bombs from them,” said the Goron. “The Bomb Flower is our special crop.”
“Wow,” said Link. He looked at the spot where the Flower had been picked and saw that another had just regrown there. “They must grow very fast,” he commented.
“Wherever they can find some relief from the sun,” Dorug said. “Most grow in caves, especially Dodongo’s Cavern, but since that is closed up now, this is one of the few Bomb Flowers we have to harvest from. Our bomb-making business is sure to suffer.”
“Gee,” Link said, “I’m sorry.”
“How do you pick the Flowers and make bombs with them without having them explode?” Navi asked.
“A little sprinkle of water will dampen it and keep it from exploding,” Dorug explained. “I believe that part of the bomb-making process involves drying out the insides again.”
“Fascinating,” Navi said.
A high screech broke the silence. Link drew his sword. He knew what that sound was.
Dorug laughed. “Oh, don’t worry,” he said reassuringly. “The Red Tektites will stay away from this part of the mountain.”
“Why?” Link asked.
The Goron brandished a large fist. “One punch and they’re toast,” he said proudly. “It took a while, with many battles, but they finally learned to leave us alone and prowl somewhere else. The Red Tektites are the scourge of Death Mountain, but we have gained our freedom here.”
“Well,” said Link, “this is all a lot of fun, but we’d better get going. We need to reach Goron City. It was fun talking to you.”
“Goron City?” Dorug repeated. “Just follow the path straight ahead.”
“Thanks,” Link said. He waved goodbye and left.
By chance, their route took them next to the demolished boulder. “That blast really did a good job,” Link remarked. There wasn’t much left except small chunks of rock and a lot of dust.
There was something else there, too. At first, Link thought it was just a shadow. However, it seemed too dark. Link walked closer to it and discovered that it was a hole.
“Navi,” Link called. “The boulder was covering up a hole.”
“Interesting,” Navi said. “I wonder what’s down there.”
“Can we find out?” Link asked. The darkness intrigued him. He thought he heard sounds down there. “It doesn’t look like there’s a way to get back up, though.”
Link walked a little closer and found that his feet were sliding on the loose gravel on the ground. He tried to back up but instead his foot slipped and he fell down into the opening. He cried out as he dropped and landed heavily on his face. After groaning a little, he picked himself up and took a look around.
It was a small cavern, and a very dark one at that. It was also very cold. He shivered a little. The only light came down from the hole above and Navi as she floated down and joined him.
“Are you okay?” she asked worriedly.
Link brushed some dirt off his clothes. He felt his face and found a few scrapes, but nothing serious. He moved various parts of his body and, except for some aches and pains, he was fine.
He picked up his cap and put it back on his head. “I’m fine, Navi,” he said. “Just a little battered. Nothing to…”
He froze. “What?” Navi asked, noticing that he was tense. “What’s going-” Link shushed her. He pointed out into the small cavern.
There were lights shining there. Little red lights. They looked awfully like eyes.
“What are those things?” Link whispered to Navi.
“Hey, down there,” Dorug shouted from above, “are you going to need any help?”
The loud noise disturbed the things in the cave. They shrieked and started flying out, forcing Link to shield his face. The great tide of creatures swept Navi up and out of the cave. Link fell to the ground to avoid them and covered his ears to block out the noise of flapping wings and screeching things. At last, they had all flown away.
“What were those?” Link asked wildly.
“Keese,” replied Navi, flying back down to Link. “Those bats are known to inhabit dark places, especially caves.”
“Uh, sorry about that,” Dorug said from the top.
“That’s okay,” Link said. He started to walk deeper into the cave and tripped over something, falling flat on his face again. “This has not been my day,” he said, pushing himself back up.
“Maybe it has,” Navi said. “Look what you tripped over!”
Link turned and saw a small treasure chest lying on the ground! “Amazing,” he said, taking it and putting it in his lap. “I wonder what’s inside.”
“Only one way to find out,” Navi said.
Link ran his hands along the wooden chest, slid his fingers under the lid, and flipped it open. He reached inside and pulled out a purple jewel. It shone when he held it up to the light. It looked familiar.
“Wow!” exclaimed Navi. “That’s worth fifty Rupees!”
Link’s eyes went wide. The Forest had had Rupees, but never had he held an amount this high. He was now richer than he had ever been in his whole life, and he knew what that meant.
“So,” he said, “this means that I can buy a Hylian Shield now, right?”
“Wonderful,” Link said, and slid it into his pouch. “I’ll have to go back to Castle Town sometime.”
“Indeed,” Navi said. “Now, let’s get out of here.” She flew away and floated up out of the cave.
“Uh, Navi?” Link called after her. “How do I get out?”
“That’s easy,” she replied. “Just follow me.”
“But I can’t-” he started, but as soon as he entered the circle of light created by the hole, he began floating upward. He rose out of the hole and was gently set down next to it.
“When Hyrule was first settled,” Navi explained, “the grottos, as they were called, were given exit spells.”
“Very neat,” Link commented.
He turned to see Dorug standing next to them. “Are you okay?” he asked. “That was quite a fall.”
“I’m fine,” Link replied. “Now, I’d best be on my way.” They said their goodbyes again and Link left for Goron City.
Along the way, Link noticed that he was getting hungry. “It must be almost suppertime,” he said. “I wonder if I can get anything to eat at Goron City.”
“I wouldn’t ask,” Navi advised.
“First,” she replied, “the only food they usually have is rocks. And second, they don’t even have that now. I’m sure that the Gorons are a lot hungrier than you are.”
“True,” Link said, sobered by the thought. He thought for a moment. “Do you suppose we should help them?”
“Maybe,” said Navi, “if we could roll an incredibly heavy boulder out of the way.”
“True,” Link repeated. “But there has to be something we can do.”
“If there is,” Navi said, “we shall soon find out. There’s Goron City!”
Link looked and saw an entranceway cut into the mountain. He ran the rest of the way and went inside.
His first impression was that it was cool. Not chilly like down in the grotto, but nice and cool. The rock provided natural relief from the heat of a summer day.
The next thing Link noticed was that it was big. The large cavernous chamber was built to hold a lot of Gorons. Link walked to the edge and found that the city had several levels. Looking down, he could see many Gorons lulling about. Apparently, they were feeling the effects of no food.
“That looks like a good place to observe from,” Navi said.
Link looked up and noticed that she was indicating a platform suspended out in the middle by three ropes. “Okay,” he said tentatively. “How do I get out there?”
“How do you think?” Navi said. “Walk on the rope.”
Link felt a little woozy looking at the drop down. However, he knew that he had to be brave. He swallowed his fears and confidently walked out onto the rope.
When he arrived at the middle, he found that Navi had beaten him there and was talking to a Goron. “So where is it?” she asked.
“Big Brother took it,” said the Goron. “He seemed really angry.”
“What happened?” Link asked.
The Goron turned to look at him. “What are you doing out here? It’s dangerous for a kid like you.”
Link sighed. He hated everyone judging him by his age. However, he decided it wouldn’t do any good to argue. “What happened?” he repeated.
“The Spiritual Stone is gone,” said Navi. “Darunia took it, and it was a good thing, too. Mr. Munchy here was going to eat it.”
“What?” the Goron asked in embarrassed outrage. “It looked nice and yummy.”
“Do you have any idea how important that is?” Navi asked in real outrage.
“Settle down,” Link told Navi. He turned to the Goron. “Where is it now?”
“Big Brother has it,” the Goron replied. “He’s locked himself in his chamber and won’t come out until the King’s messenger arrives.”
“Excellent,” Link said cheerfully. “And where is his chamber?”
The Goron pointed down. “The bottom floor,” he said. He turned to eye Link suspiciously. “Why do you want to know?”
“Later,” Link said. He was walking back onto the rope. “I have a kingdom to save.” He left before the Goron could protest.
It took some work, and a bunch of looking around floors to find the right stairways, but Link was able to find his way down. He made his way across the floor and stood in front of the door that was the Gorons’ leader’s chamber.
A Goron was sitting next to the door. “What do you want?” he asked, sounding as though he was very tired and hungry and wished nothing more than to curl back up and go to sleep until some food arrived.
“We want to see Darunia,” Link said purposefully.
“Oh,” the Goron said. “Good luck. He’s in a very bad mood.” Then he curled back up on the ground.
Link hesitated a moment then walked up to the door and knocked on it.
“Who is it?” a cross-sounding voice said from inside.
“A messenger from the King,” Link answered.
“Uh, Link?” Navi said softly.
“Well,” Link answered just as quietly, “it’s the only way he’ll see us.”
“How do I know,” the cross voice demanded, “that you’re really sent by the Royal Family and not by Ganondorf?”
“Ganondorf?” Link said in surprise.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about,” the voice ordered. “You must give proof that you are from the Royal Family!”
“I have a letter from Princess Zelda,” Link offered. He started searching through his Pouch, but to his horror found that it wasn’t there! He rummaged through everything, but he couldn’t find it.
“Where’d it go?” he hissed.
“It must have fallen out when the Tektites attacked you,” said Navi.
“Wonderful,” Link said. “Now how do I get in?”
Navi thought for a moment. “Wait!” she exclaimed softly. “The song that Impa taught you!”
“Of course.” Link pulled out his ocarina. “Now, if only I can remember how it goes.”
He put the ocarina to his lips and began to play. The melody came back easily. When he had finished, he brought it down and waited to see what would happen.
At first, there was just silence. Then, the door came to life and slid out of the way. The opening was dark and ominous. “Here goes nothing,” Link whispered as he went inside.
|Chapter 5<--||Back to Legend of Zelda||-->Chapter 7|
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Link and all related characters are the property of someone else. This is a work of fanfiction and no copyright infringement was intended. Vindari is my own creation.