The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

 

第7章:運命(Destiny)

Over the past few days, there have been quite a few moments when I could have sworn that time was moving slower, for example while fighting against the spiders, or during the desperate pursuit by monsters near Lon Lon Ranch. This thought briefly flashes through my mind as I observe the girl in front of me raising her hands to her face, with her eyes widening in surprise.

During that one perfect moment of fear, it feels like I can make out every little detail in her dress, the jewelry in her hair and every crack and flaw in the walls and windows behind her, while simultaneously evaluating possible routes of escape.

Before I get a chance to force myself to turn around and make a dash back for the relative safety of the tunnel, my surprise turns into confusion as I note that the girl does not appear to prepare to scream for help. Instead, a big smile forms on her face while she claps her hands together in apparent joy.

 

As time seems to resume its normal flow, I suddenly realize the awkwardness of my situation. Standing here, uninvited, in the midst of the castle garden, with this strange girl whom I presume to be the princess seemingly happy to see me even as I’m feeling both extremely confused and exposed. Around me, the gardens are still quiet and peaceful, with birds and insects making themselves known just as they had before.

You’re the fairy boy, from the forest, aren’t you?”

Upon hearing these words, I snap back to reality. Focusing on the girl in front of me, I clear my throat and respond quietly:

“I am from the Kokiri Forest, yes.”

Upon hearing my answer, the girl clasps her hands together and laughs gently. Lowering her arms and joining her hands together in front of her lilac-and-white silken dress, she visibly relaxes and smiles at me.

“Welcome, fairy boy. Do not worry, you are safe here. The guards know not to disturb me in this garden.”

You’re the princess.” I manage to say, awkwardly.

Indeed I am.” She says, before curtsying. “Where are my manners. I am Zelda, princess of Hyrule, and you are the fairy boy who I saw in my dreams these past nights.”

I am? What dreams?” I stammer.

Putting her dress back in order, she looks directly at me. Something about what I catch in her eyes makes me want to avert my gaze. Yet finding some of my old courage again, I answer her gaze as she begins to speak.

In my dreams, I saw a Kokiri Forest that caught on fire, until it was engulfed in flames. A dark figure rode in front of this blaze.” Princess Zelda begins. “This man, and the blaze following him, went on to engulf the entirety of Hyrule. When everything was on fire, the flames were smothered by perfect darkness. That was when a green light began to shine in the darkness. First small, then ever increasing in brightness until I had to avert my gaze.

That was when I saw that the light came from a green gemstone that was being held by a young boy, dressed just like you are, with a fairy at his shoulder.”

Princess Zelda pauses for a moment, while her eyes seem to study my response to what she has told me so far. At this point I’m honestly not sure what to think. When the Deku Tree had told me that this princess would be able to help me, I’m not sure this is what I had expected.

You do have this green gemstone with you, don’t you?” Zelda suddenly asks.

Flustered, I think of what to answer. Fortunately at that point Navi suddenly appears from behind me.

Sorry for being late, I had to make sure nobody was snooping on us.” Navi says, to both Zelda and me.

Turning towards Zelda, she says: “Hello Zelda, I’m Navi. I see that you have met Link already.”

Briefly inclining her head towards Navi in greeting, Zelda returns her gaze to me, as if expecting me to produce this green gem of which she spoke. Without being aware of it, my hand strays towards the pack which I’m carrying on my back.

I find myself wondering whether I should I trust this person, this princess. It all seems too convenient, but then Navi seems to know her, and she did lead me here after all…

Just then Navi lands on my left shoulder. Whispering, she tells me: “You can trust her. She will help us.”

 

Relaxing my tense pose, I meet Zelda’s gaze and respond: “Yes, I have this gemstone with me. You must forgive me for being hesitant. After everything that has happened so far, it is not easy to place one’s trust in others.

This gemstone, it’s called the Kokiri Emerald, and it is was given to me by the Great Deku Tree before he passed.”

At these last words my voice begins to break from the emotions that surge to the foreground. Blinking away the tears that have appeared in my eyes, I notice Zelda’s eyes growing wide in apparent shock before returning to their previous intense gaze.

“I…. see.” She responds, lowering her head in grief. “My condolences. It’s a great loss for everyone, as well as for Hyrule.”

After a brief, awkward silence, I reach for my pack and put it down so that I can take the Kokiri Emerald out of it. Unwrapping the protective coverings which I had put around the jewel, I can’t help but admire the way it catches the bright, warm light here in the castle garden. Seeing its flawless surface here, in this peaceful environment, the events which led to me being entrusted with it suddenly seem so far away.

Wiping away tears from my eyes with the back of my hand, I get back onto my feet and hold the Kokiri Emerald up towards Zelda.

Hesitating, Zelda reaches out and gingerly touches the gemstone’s surface with the tips of her fingers.

It appears to the eye as just an ordinary emerald… and yet when I touch it, I can feel something. Almost like it’s vibrating with power. Do you feel the same thing, Link?

Holding the gemstone closer again, I put my own finger tips on its surface as I have seen Zelda do a moment ago. Looking up at Zelda again, I find it hard to hold back the emotions which I’m suddenly feeling.

It does seem to vibrate, or tingle.” I say. “What is this stone exactly? Navi?”

Looking questioningly at Navi, she flies closer to the gemstone before touching it with her own, small hands.

After a few moments Navi begins to speak, in a quiet, far-away voice.

What you’re feeling is the core essence of the Great Deku Tree. His power, dreams and ambitions. For Hyrule, but above all the forest and the Kokiri living in it.”

Staying quiet for a moment, Navi’s eyes seem to refocus on Zelda and me, before she continues.

Gather the three core elements that make up the land of Hyrule: forest, fire and water. They combined will grant access to the Sacred Realm that protects Hyrule.

Isn’t that right, Princess Zelda?”

Zelda inclines her head in acknowledgment at this question by Navi.

Yes, it is something which every member of the Royal Family is taught and expected to know. The secrets of the Sacred Realm, and the power that exists there. Unfortunately, I have only been introduced to the most elementary secrets there.”

 

I believe that I can be of assistance here, if I may?”

Hearing a voice from almost right behind me almost makes me jump out of my skin. As I dart away from where I presume the voice came from, I find myself holding my sword in front of me before having realized that I have drawn it.

As the rush of blood in my ears subsides, I lower my sword at the sight that confronts me. A tall woman of indeterminate age stands in front of me, holding her arms crossed across her chest in a relaxed fashion. Her hair is short-cropped and her whole demeanor radiates the promise of a swift death. Even so her, her eyes seem gentle and caring, especially when they wander over to where Zelda is standing.

Please excuse my sudden appearance. People have often told me that they find my soft footfall to be… disquieting. It is a hard habit to ignore, alas.”

Briefly bowing her head towards me, she continues: “My name is Impa. I am Princess Zelda’s attendant. Her Highness has informed me about her prophetic dreams, and I find myself in full agreement about their meaning.”

At this point Zelda steps forward, to a gap in the hedges which leads deeper into the garden.

I’m tired of all this standing around, let’s move to somewhere with benches so that we can all sit down.” Zelda says.

As we follow her lead, I briefly glance behind me, at the castle’s walls and the large windows set into them. It could be my imagination, but for one brief moment I imagine I can see the face of a large, cruel-looking man behind one of the windows.

Trying to shake off the sudden sensation of discomfort that besets me, I continue following Zelda and her attendant as we make her way through what appears to be a genuine hedge maze. I imagine that for Navi it was a bit easier to find her way around in the garden, what with being able to fly.

Only as we are approaching our destination and Zelda slows down to make us aware of this, do I notice that Impa’s feet do not appear to be leaving any imprints on the grass which she treads upon.

 

* * * * *

As we have made ourselves comfortable on the broad, stone benches in the tree-shaded meadow which Zelda has led us to, I find myself wonder what to ask about next. Meanwhile my gaze first wanders from Zelda who is sitting on a bench to the right of mine, then back to the entrance to this secluded spot on my left hand side. There are so many questions which I dearly wish that I had the answers to. Not the least about this quest that was seemingly forced upon me, and the implications which it seems it may have for Hyrule.

Before I have a chance to sort through this jumble of half-formed thoughts and formulate a question to ask, my attention is drawn towards Impa, who has remained standing near Princess Zelda. I become uncomfortably aware that Impa’s gaze is focused on me.

Meeting her gaze, I experience something similar to what I felt with Zelda earlier, only much more intense. Casting down my gaze, I suddenly feel naked, as if every secret fear and desire which I might have kept have suddenly been revealed for the world to see. Again I feel completely out of my league; just a Kokiri who should have stayed in their forest, blissfully unaware of what was going on outside of the forest. Least of all meeting up with princesses to plot a way to save the world from some evil.

And yet… as my thoughts cast back to those last moments with the Great Deku Tree and the great evil that was done to him, I can’t help but feel that me being dragged along in these tides of fate is no coincidence.

“You saw him too, didn’t you?”

Torn from my musings, my gaze snaps up towards Impa, who has just asked this question of me.

The cruel-faced man?” I begin to respond. “I think so, but I thought it might have been my imagination. You want to say that there really was someone watching us the whole time, listening to our conversation?”

My hand clutches around the Kokiri Emerald, feeling its sharp edges cutting into the palm of my hand.

Do not worry, he may have seen us, but he could not have heard us. The windows in that part of the castle do not allow for a quiet conversation to be eavesdropped upon.”

Feeling somewhat reassured, I ask the next question that’s on my mind.

“Who is this man? Does he have anything to do with… Princess Zelda’s dream?”

Impa does not respond for a moment, as if weighing her words.

“Very likely this is the man who killed the Great Deku Tree.”

I involuntarily gasp in surprise. Then something clicks inside my head and the face’s cruel features merge with that of the man who I saw in that one dream. The dream where that man killed me.

A gasp from Zelda makes me realize that I have said that least part out loud. Looking around me and seeing the worried expressions on the faces of Zelda and Impa, I tell them about that dream which I had. The dream in which this cruel man has lit the entire forest on fire and killed the Great Deku Tree, before confronting me and taking my life.

I see.” Impa says, thoughtfully, after I have finished my tale. “It seems then that he was already aware of you. We may have been careless.”

 

Having momentarily allowed myself to relax a bit after telling about that rather unpleasant dream, I find myself pulled away again from the peaceful atmosphere in the garden.

“What do you mean, careless? What is going on?” I ask Impa.

This time it is Zelda who responds, her quiet voice puncturing the peaceful silence of the garden as she stares at her hands which lie folded on her lap.

“It means that it wasn’t just me and you who had a vision. This man, this Ganondorf must have had visions too. Just as it is our destiny to stop him from destroying Hyrule, so too is it his destiny to accomplish that very goal.”

Looking up at me with an intense look on her face, she continues.

“If we are to triumph, we must be first. Because of you, Link, we have won the first battle by obtaining the Kokiri Emerald. Yet if we are to triumph in this war, we must be the first to gather all Spiritual Stones, and use the power from the Sacred Realm to forever seal Gandondorf away.”

Feeling confusion rising inside of me, I blurt out the question that’s bothering me the most.

“So why is this Ganondorf here if he is such a terrible person?”

At this question Zelda sighs deeply.

“Unfortunately my father does not share my concerns. That’s why Ganondorf is currently visiting, as the current leader of the Gerudo, a proud folk from the desert which borders Hyrule to the west. Supposedly it is a diplomatic mission, but Impa and I know why he truly is here.”

Holding the Kokiri Emerald in front of me, I watch as brilliant light reflects off its many facets and imagine I can see something more inside its emerald depths.

“All to get his hands on the three Spiritual Stones, so that he can access the Sacred Realm and obtain the powers within.” I say, quietly.

“Exactly.” Princess Zelda replies.

Putting the Kokiri Emerald down again, I look up at Zelda and Impa.

“Tell me what has to be done.”