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Chapter 8: Cavern Creature
“You!” Darunia shouted in outrage.
Link shrank back as Darunia started walking towards him, his footsteps shaking the ground. Zelda’s Lullaby had taken him past the door as it did last time, but now Link seriously doubted whether Saria’s Song would do anything to calm Darunia’s frightful mood.
“Play it,” Navi said, once again huddled behind Link’s head.
Link reached inside his Pouch and wrapped his fingers around his ocarina. Here goes nothing, he thought, pulling out the ocarina and putting it to his lips. Darunia’s hands had almost reached Link when he started to play.
The first notes were weak and out of tempo, but they echoed around Darunia’s chambers, causing an entrancing sound. Darunia stopped and stared at Link with curiosity. There was more softness to his eyes.
Link closed his eyes and continued playing, growing more confident as he progressed. He felt like Saria was standing right beside him, contributing to the wonderful melody. The tune danced and sung around the chamber. Despite himself, Darunia found that he was tapping his foot in rhythm. Then he started swaying his body a little. Finally, he broke out into a full dance.
The music continued to rise until it reached a dramatic climax and then fell to a relaxing finish. When Link finished playing and opened his eyes, he saw Darunia sitting on the floor, a broad smile on his face.
“That was wonderful!” Darunia exclaimed. “I didn’t realize how much I needed that.” He walked over to Link, who couldn’t help backing up a step in worry, and gave him a bone-crushing bear hug. Link coughed when Darunia released him, making the Goron laugh.
“You have done me a wonderful service,” Darunia said. “Such kindness borders on the brotherly. Now that my mind is clear, I can approach our predicament with confidence that it will be solved. Amazing, a boy imparts wisdom to a mighty ruler!” He laughed, Link joining in out of relief. “I’m sorry for misjudging you before,” Darunia continued. “If there’s anything I can do to repay you, merely ask.”
Finally, Link had his chance. But as he thought for a second, he realized that he couldn’t ask for the Spiritual Stone just yet. Darunia would only give the Stone to an equal. Link knew what he had to ask for.
“I have one request,” Link said, bowing, “that I may enter Dodongo’s Cavern and prove myself as a warrior.”
Darunia seemed surprised by the request. He placed a hand on Link’s shoulder, causing him to look up at Darunia’s face. “You do not know the danger of what you ask,” he said. “Many horrible creatures inhabit that cavern now. They grew numerous several weeks ago and prevented most people from harvesting food. Ganondorf offered to exterminate the monsters in return for our Spiritual Stone, but I was wary of him and denied his offer. I suspect he put the monsters there in the first place. After that, a large boulder fell down and blocked the entrance. Ganondorf claimed full responsibility and will only open the cavern when he has the Goron’s Ruby. Even if you wanted to face the terrible beasts inside, there is no way for you enter and do so.”
“I will find a way,” Link said. “I know I can.”
Darunia chuckled at the boy’s determination. “I’m sure you will,” he said. “If you do, perhaps I can give you something to help.” He walked over to some shelves jutting from a nearby wall and grabbed a golden bracelet from the top shelf. He turned and offered it to Link. “This is the Goron’s Bracelet,” he explained, “intended only for one who wishes to join the ranks of the Gorons. This bracelet will grant you enhanced strength, if you choose to accept it.”
Link stared at the bracelet with a sense of awe, and then gently took it from Darunia’s hands. It slipped firmly around his left wrist. His body felt a little different, more energized somehow.
Darunia smiled at the boy’s reaction to this new item. “With this added strength,” he said, “you may even be able to pick the mighty Bomb Flowers.”
That started an idea racing in Link’s head. “Thank you,” he said. “You may have given me the answer I need. I won’t fail!” He bowed and left Darunia’s chambers hurriedly.
“Link, what’s the rush?” Navi asked as she fluttered behind him.
“Remember the Bomb Flowers?” Link asked as he raced towards the exit of Goron City. “That Goron threw one and it completely destroyed a boulder. Maybe it’ll do the same for the boulder blocking Dodongo’s Cavern!”
He sprang out into the glaring sunlight and turned to his right towards the alcove beside the main entrance. Dorug was still resting there, curled up and guarding the Bomb Flower. He sleepily sat up to see what the matter was, and then snapped to attention as Link ran past him and plucked a Bomb Flower. “Kid, what are you doing?” the Goron yelled.
Link ignored him and the thin smoke rising from the Bomb Flower. If he remembered correctly, the Dodongo’s Cavern was at the bottom of a steep cliff-face on the other side of the fence. Looking over the wooden posts, he was relieved to see the enormous boulder below him. Feeling the Bomb Flower growing disturbingly warm in his hands, he pulled back and threw the Bomb Flower down with all his might. It hit the boulder and exploded in a fierce rush of smoke and flames.
Link started a little victory dance as Dorug walked up beside him. “I see,” he said. “You wear the symbol of the Gorons.”
Link held up his new Bracelet. “Yeah, Darunia gave it to me.”
“Impressive,” he said. “However, next time could you not rush past and scare the pebbles out of me? Just what were you attempting to do?”
“Blow up the boulder,” Link said, pointed down. However, he was surprised to see that the boulder was still sitting there without a scratch. “How’d it…?”
“Do you think we didn’t try that?” Dorug asked. “It’s enchanted so it can’t be destroyed.”
Link pursed his eyebrows together in thought. There had to be some way to destroy it, or how could he enter the cavern? But wait, did it need to be destroyed?
He reached down beside himself and plucked another Bomb Flower. Dorug inhaled sharply. “Would you stop doing that?” he asked nervously. “I told you, it can’t be destroyed.”
“I don’t need to destroy it,” Link said. “I just need to move it.”
He aimed carefully and tossed the volatile plant. It fell through the air and landed in a small gap where the round boulder didn’t lie flat against the mountainside. The Bomb Flower nestled in this crevice. Link held his breath as the bomb exploded. At first, nothing happened. Then, the boulder slowly shifted, and finally started rolling away from the cavern opening. A very surprised Goron who had been waiting for the King’s men frantically rolled away as the boulder started tumbling after him.
“Sorry,” Link called, and then turned to smile at the Goron by his side.
“Bravo, Link!” Navi exclaimed.
Dorug smiled in return. “Quite impressive,” he said. Then he sighed. “Unfortunately, the cavern is also full of monsters, and our warriors are too weak from lack of food to do much good.”
“Then I’ll help,” Link said. He drew his sword and displayed it. “I’m a brave warrior, too.”
Inwardly, Dorug sighed. You’re not ready to be a warrior yet. But you may be of some good. “Then hurry,” he said. “You must not waste time.”
“At once,” Link said. He spun and ran down the mountain path to Dodongo’s Cavern. I pray someone is watching out for you, the Goron thought as Link sped away.
Rauru awoke in the Chamber of Sages. His reincarnation was earlier than the prophecies predicted. Such discrepancies did not bode well. That black creature that had killed him, it was a chaotic element in the stars. With such deviousness at work, there was no telling the horrors that could be unleashed.
The Sage looked down at the platform his was standing on, suspended in a cascade of pure blue light. His appearance was reflected in the platform’s clear sapphire surface. He straightened his yellow robes and ran his hand along the white mustache that connected with his white hair. Wisdom and strength were conveyed by his appearance. The gods had chosen his reincarnation well.
He closed his eyes and stretched his mind out into the world. The Chamber of Sages enhanced his mental vision and all of Hyrule lay before him. His awareness moving among the people, noting their day to day lives with no realization of the destinies woven into each of them. But some of those destinies had been taken off track. He could feel the tears starting in the fabric holding Hyrule together. What was causing this chaos?
The reality around him came rushing back and he fell to his knees, trying to catch his breath. He had been reincarnated too soon; the strain was too much for him. Gradually, his breathing returned to normal and he stood up. There was little he could do now, except watch and make sure that no harm came to the boy. All hope rested on Link.
Link stood before the black gaping mouth of Dodongo’s Cavern. Strange, wicked noises were coming from the darkness within. For the first time, Link found the prospect of entering the cave very scary.
“Come on,” Navi said softly. “A hero must be brave.”
“A hero must be brave,” Link repeated to himself. He took a step forward and entered the cavern. With every passing step, the joyful daylight fell behind and was replaced by a darker form of light, one that hid moving shapes in the shadows. Link was very grateful for the reassuring light of Navi by his head. He noticed that there were many Bomb Flowers growing in the darkness.
Link passed through another doorway and entered a large chamber. He craned his head and warily peered into every corner. Far above his head, two hanging bridges stretched across the cavern. Keese fluttered in the space close to the ceiling. Along the side wall stood immense doors, three times his height. But most impressive was the stone statue emerging from the wall opposite him. It looked like the enormous head of a vicious lizard, waiting to devour him. Between him and the statue was a plateau, on which rested a small pillar with a wandering eye.
He walked forward and peered down into the space between him and the plateau. Hot air brushed against his face and continued rising upwards. Below him, a small river of glowing red liquid was sluggishly moving around the plateau. “What is that?” Link asked.
“It’s lava,” Navi answered, “rock that has melted.”
“Melted?” Link said in disbelief. “How does such a solid material turn like water?”
“Enough heat can turn anything to liquid,” Navi said.
Link straightened in worry. If that was true, then this lava must be incredibly hot. It would be something he’d have to avoid. He sighed and shook his head. In all his games of pretend, he had never imagined anything like this. The world was more dangerous than he had realized.
One of those dangers was lurking in the shadows. Vindari had been watching Link’s latest progress with amusement. You could see how this young pup had grown up to slay his master. He had to work hard to suppress the urge inside him to kill Link right then and there. However, even if they didn’t need Link to collect the three Spiritual Stones, it wasn’t his place to kill Link. That right belonged to his master. Still, he could torment Link as much as possible before his death.
Vindari chuckled and jumped into a different part of the cavern. Mustn’t delay destiny, he thought.
Link froze when he heard strange scratching noises. He slowly turned around, but he couldn’t see anything. Still, the noises grew louder, and Link drew his sword and readied his shield. The scratching seemed to come from…beneath the ground.
The dirt in front of him broke and a creature jumped out. It looked like a little green worm, soaring through the air with fierce, snapping jaws. Link wasted no time and dealt a death blow to the worm creature. It thudded to the ground behind him.
He turned away and then jumped when he felt an explosion shake the ground behind him and a rush of hot air hit his back. Whirling around, he saw that a small crater remained where the worm had fallen. The worm had been a living Bomb Flower!
“What was that?” he asked Navi.
“It seems that was a Baby Dodongo,” Navi replied. “It packs quite a wallop.”
Link wiped his forehead. “That was just a baby?”
His thoughts were interrupted by more scratching sounds, accompanied by rustling and stomping feet. All around the room, the enormous doors were opening, letting in an army of green lizards, some small like the one Link had just killed, but there were many others that were much larger. There were also reptiles that walked upright and carried swords.
“Let me guess,” Link said as the monster army amassed itself and looked eagerly at him, “those are adult Dodongos.”
“Accompanied by their masters, the Lizalfos,” Navi continued.
The Lizalfos chattered wildly in anticipation, while the Dodongos snorted small streams of flame from their mouths. One flame actually set off a Baby Dodongo, causing a small ruckus in that corner of the room. Link raised his sword. His work was cut out for him
The commotion was silenced by a load roar. Link, eyes wide, slowly turned his head. It seemed like the roar had come from the giant Dodongo head, but how was that possible? It was made of stone; it couldn’t make noise.
However, it could move. Gradually, the jaw of the gigantic head opened. With a solid clunk, the lower mouth rested against the plateau. It seemed like there was a door inside the statue’s mouth, and that was where the noise was coming from.
Suddenly, the statue exploded, sending chunks of stone flying across the room. Link fell to the ground as teeth skidded the ground feet away from his head. When he looked up, a shape was appearing in the smoke where the statue had previously stood. But wasn’t the sculpture destroyed? How could it still be…oh no.
Standing in place of the statue was an enormous Dodongo. Link could hear the rattle of black armor plates as the tremendous creature shifted. Deadly spikes ran along the Dodongo’s back to the tip of its tail. The force of its roar shook the entire chamber.
“It’s the King Dodongo,” Navi said. “Defeat him and the others will run in fear.”
“Simple job, really,” Link commented with an air of nervousness.
The King Dodongo eyed Link and then opened its cavernous mouth, inhaling a great amount of air. Before Link could understand what was going on, the Dodongo expelled the air, only now it was a jet of fire, shooting directly at him. Link quickly ducked behind his shield. “No, Link!” Navi cried, but it was too late.
The flames hit his shield and flowed around it, leaving Link untouched. Unfortunately, it also set his shield on fire. When the onslaught stopped, Link yelled in pain, threw the burning shield away from him, and shook his arm to extinguish the fire on his arm. He peered at his smoking arm and saw horrible burns on it. His right arm was now completely useless. Worse, the agony was keeping him from thinking straight.
“Move, Link!” Navi called. Link looked up to see that the King Dodongo had curled into a ball and was rolling directly at him. Quickly, he ran to the side, feeling a rush of warm air as the Dodongo breezed by him. The Dodongo continued rolling and crashed into a wall, shaking the ground and causing Link to fall into a chasm beside the plateau. He turned and hit the ground on his good left arm, but he felt the uncomfortably warm lava flowing next to him. It was dangerous down here, but the opening was probably too small for the King Dodongo to come down after him. For a moment, he was safe.
That moment didn’t last long enough. He could hear the King Dodongo uncurl and stomp around, searching for its prey. The reptile army raised a great chorus of screeches and calls, making Link’s head hurt even worse.
Vindari was rolling with laughter. He could see everything from his high vantage point. What are you going to do now, little “hero”? he thought derisively. He relished the sight of Link hurriedly roaming around the chasms as the King Dodongo searched the air for his scent. Oh, Vindari would step in and save the kid if he needed to, but he was having a tremendous amount of fun first. He sighed and rested his head against his thin arm. This almost makes me feel sad for when he’ll be dead and gone. He let out another harsh cackle that echoed in the cavern.
Link was startled by this cackle. Another monster out to get me? he wondered. He already had enough to worry about.
The King Dodongo finally sniffed out his position and peeked down into the chasm. Link tried to run, but it was too late. The Dodongo opened its mouth and inhaled again.
“Link, use your new shield,” Navi said. “It’ll be strong enough to stand up to the assault.”
That’s right, Link thought. I’d forgotten about that. Before they had returned to Goron City, Link had traveled to Castle Town and purchased a Hylian Shield. He quickly reached into his Pouch and pulled it out. Unfortunately, it was still much too big for him to use on his arm, but maybe there was another way he could carry it.
Just as the King Dodongo released its stream of fire, Link finished slipping the shield’s holding straps around his shoulders. Then he crouched down, the shield completely covering his body. He felt the force of the attack against his shield, but he was protected from it. However, the metal started to feel unpleasantly warm against his back.
When the fire barrage stopped, Link scuttled away, keeping the shield ready against another attack. A heavy weight landing on him made him stop. He stood up and flung the Lizalfos to the ground. It tried to stab at him, but Link blocked the attack with his sword and swung in retaliation. The Lizalfos also blocked.
Another Lizalfos landed behind him and started attacking. This is too much, Link thought as he looked up to see the King Dodongo inhaling yet again. He bent down under his shield as more flames scorched the area around him. The Lizalfos screamed in pain as they were blown away. This monster doesn’t even care if it kills its own allies.
When the fire assault stopped, Link stood up and ran, his feet skipping across the smoking ground. “Navi,” he called, “how do I defeat this thing?”
The poor fairy, which had been huddling inside Link’s shield, flew out and whispered in his ear. “I’ve been trying to read it,” she said. “Its outside is almost completely indestructible, but it has a soft inside. That’s the key to beating it.”
“Some key,” Link said. “How do I hurt the inside if I can’t get past the outside?”
“That’s just the pain and fear talking, so I’ll ignore what you just said.”
Link huffed and turned to face his adversary. The King Dodongo had followed him and was opening its mouth for another fire attack. The pink inside of the creature’s mouth gave Link an idea. He grabbed his Slingshot, wincing with pain, and fired a Deku Seed inside the King Dodongo’s mouth. It merely shook its head in annoyance and resumed preparing for its deadly attack.
Right idea, but not enough power, Link thought, putting his Slingshot away again. He was interrupted by screeches above his head. Two Baby Dodongos had fallen into the chasm and were heading straight at him. He cursed, causing Navi to chide him softly, and swung his sword, making two pulsing red bodies fall to the ground. No, Link thought. Wait, yes!
He grabbed the dead Dodongos and threw them at the King Dodongo. Because it was still inhaling, the intake of air guided them into its mouth. The King Dodongo snapped its mouth shut in curiosity, and then let out a horrendous groan as the Dodongos exploded inside its body.
That’s the key, Link thought, but now no Baby Dodongos will come near me. I need another weapon.
His eye wandered and latched upon a Bomb Flower sitting in the shadows. That will work perfectly! He ran over, plucked the black ball, and held it in his hands. The King Dodongo, not realizing Link’s plan, drew in air for another attack. Link tossed the Bomb, the rush of air again guiding it into the Dodongo’s belly and causing a fresh wave of pain.
This made the King Dodongo furious. It turned and aimed its flame breath at the river of lava snaking around the plateau. The force of its attack made the river rise up and a wave of molten rock to rush towards Link. Navi screamed in terror and Link ran for his life. Behind him, the tide of lava was thundering towards him, shaking the ground as it detonated any Bomb Flower it ran over.
Link almost cried out with relief when he saw a ladder leading up out of the chasm. He jumped onto it and climbed as best he could without using his right arm. The lava sloshed and filled the ground beneath him. Fortunately, the ladder was attached to the wall and would not sink down into the burning liquid below him.
When he reached the top, he looked out and saw numerous Dodongos waiting for him. Also, there weren’t any Bomb Flowers in this corner of the room for him to use. He growled in frustration and prepared to leap out into battle.
“Link, down!” Navi called behind him.
Link also felt the ground shaking behind him. He let go of the ladder and fell down, grasping it again when his head was out of reach of the King Dodongo’s rolling attack. It raced over the chasm and rammed into a wall. Link was surprised by the intensity of that crash. It almost sounded as if the wall had broken open.
He climbed up and saw the King Dodongo unrolling itself for another assault. Behind it lay the hole it had smashed in the wall, revealing another room. Link blinked and looked again. In that room was a treasure chest.
He remembered the previous times he had found treasure chests. There was always something good inside, some helpful item he needed at the moment. Maybe there was something in that chest he could use.
Unfortunately, the King Dodongo stood blocking that hole. There was no way he could get past it, unless he used some sort of distraction. “Navi, I need to get into that room,” he said.
“Understood,” Navi said. She fluttered off and flew directly into the King Dodongo’s mouth. It roared in annoyance and tried to chomp the little fairy, but she deftly avoided its teeth. Link pulled himself out of the chasm and ran. He didn’t know how long Navi could last like that.
As he raced past the King Dodongo’s hulking body, two Lizalfos jumped out and blocked his way. Link jumped, sliced off both their heads, and left them to dissolve in mystical fire. A normal Dodongo aimed a fire blast at him, but it hit his shield and propelled him forward into the chamber, causing him to smack right into the treasure chest. He quickly opened it with his left arm and reached inside. His hand felt a rough leather bag, which he pulled out and held in his hands. A smile crept over his face as he looked inside.
“Navi,” he called, “get out of there!”
The fairy gratefully left the King Dodongo’s mouth and fluttered over to Link. The monster, free of its annoyance, turned to face the meddlesome intruder. Dodongos and Lizalfos gathered eagerly around him, but the King roared for them to stay away. He would be the one to eliminate the intruder. The ground shook as he lumbered over to the kid.
Link stood his ground as the fearsome creature approached. He reached into the leather bag and pulled out a black ball. Then a worried expression crossed his face. “Navi,” he said faintly, “how do I make it…go?”
“Wow, that’s a bomb,” Navi said. “It’s been cultivated from the Bomb Flower to make a portable orb of destruction.”
“That’s nice,” Link said, “but how do I start it?”
“Push the knob on the top,” Navi replied. “Ah!”
Navi screamed as the King Dodongo starting running towards Link, its mouth gaping open and aiming for the young boy. Because the fire attacks didn’t work, it was going to try to devour Link instead! He quickly ran over the bomb with his hands, felt a small protrusion, and pushed it. A spark sounded inside the bomb and a thin line of smoke issued out. Then Link held up the bomb, lightly tossed it into the air, and fell backwards. The black jaws snapped shut where Link had been and swallowed, ingesting the bomb instead of the boy.
He actually did it, Vindari thought with a small twinge of disappointment. Then he teleported away with the small consolation that the cavern was now a dangerous place to remain in.
Link watched as an explosion erupted inside the King Dodongo. It screamed in pain and fell to the ground, finally defeated. Link sat up in relief, strained from the fight, but a throbbing red light from the slain creature bothered him.
“Since I killed it, shouldn’t it be burning away into nothing?” Link asked.
“Link, it’s a Dodongo!” Navi cried.
Link shook his head with exasperation. The army of Dodongos and Lizalfos screamed and scattered. Link was too tired to do the same. Instead, he pulled the shield from his back and held it in front of him. Perhaps it would lessen the force of the blast. He couldn’t think of anything better to do. Navi huddled inside his shirt.
The King Dodongo blew up, sending Link flying backwards. He held on to the shield as best he could. His body rammed into stone walls and debris, and eventually he found himself sliding down a long tube that seemed to tunnel into the center of Death Mountain.
The tube spit him out into the open and he slid to a stop on the warm rock beneath him. Link had no idea where he was. He heard bubbling noises that echoed all around him. The air felt painfully warm, and it made Link feel dizzy and weak. He just lay where he fell. His body was covered with scrapes and bruises, and it felt like several bones were broken. He had never felt so much pain before, and he cried as he lay gripping his shield. I don’t want to be a hero anymore, he thought just before losing consciousness.
|Chapter 7<--||Back to Legend of Zelda||-->Chapter 9|
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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.