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Chapter 31: Ganondorf
Chapter 31: Ganondorf
Link almost dropped the Triforce piece in surprise. Even though he had never seen him before, the man in the reflection was recognizable. Link knew him from his eyes, those dark, foreboding eyes, pock-marked with the blaze of the sun, glaring with the hatred of a thousand years. The same eyes as Agahnim, his alter ego. His long pointed nose made him look like a carrion bird. His head was crested with a dark orange jewel encrusted with silver. His flaming red hair contrasted with his dark olive-colored skin, tapering down to his scowling eyebrows, looking daggers at Link.
"That's right... you recognize me," he nodded, "Your generation knew me as Agahnim, the dark wizard."
"It can't be, I killed you. How are you doing this?" Link asked the piece of Triforce.
"Don't play dumb with me, boy. I've been watching you, you already know the truth," he laughed.
"I saw you," Link said, "I followed you down to the temple of the Triforce in the Dark World. I slayed you with my own hand."
"Haven't you learned anything, boy? I am a legend. I am infinite. I am ageless. I am the incarnation of power. How could a mortal like you expect to kill me?"
"Then it is true," Link said dejectedly. The last element of certainty locked into place. The fighting across generations, forced to be reincarnated over and over again, inexorably intertwined to two other people. "Then you've been behind all this from the beginning. How?"
"My abilities extend far beyond the reaches of space and time. They are limitless. I need no body to execute my desires."
"You designed this entire plot. You were behind the existence of the moblins."
"My creation. As vicious as the dogs they are modeled after."
"Just to lead me down here. Then there is no fourth piece of the Triforce. It was all just a hoax."
"Indeed," the Gerudo said.
"Don't you see? We are invariably linked... Link. The three of us. We are the three chosen ones, destined to live beyond the abilities of mere mortals. We have a legend most men dream about and can never hope to achieve. We are the personifications of the Triforce. I with power, Zelda with wisdom. You are the bridge between those two. You are the missing key to it all. The link to the past. You tread the fine line between good and evil.
"What the others don't realize is that there is no line. It's all one gray area. Good and evil do not exist. It's every man for himself out there. Everyone has to follow what's in their heart and in their mind. Do you know why Hyrule has been in such strife for so many years? Why it has remained in such a archaic state for so many millennia."
Link shook his head no.
"Because they are not united. They live in small villages in houses, barely in touch with the others. They live on farms, afraid to go out beyond their territory for fear of the next thief seeking to slit their throat. Without unity, they live in squalor, without ambition or self-improvement. These are the people who you've defended. Look at your friend there."
Link slowly turned to Mega Man, feeling disconcerted that Ganondorf knew about him.
"We should have achieved ten times the advancements that he has in all the time this land has existed. A mechanical man. Ingenious innovation. It took many unified people over the course of time to make that. And they did it."
Mega Man shrugged, "It's true." Many people researching and slaving away over computer screens and sautering irons worked to see a creation like himself come alive.
"The same goes for us, Link," the man in the mirror said.
Link turned back to him as he continued.
"We are disjointed. You and I are a Triforce without the other two pieces. We lack solidarity. But think of what we could achieve when we were united with a single purpose. The leaders of Hyrule - Zelda, you, and I - finally brought together with a common goal." Ganondorf raised his fist within the mirror to emphasize his point. "Think of the feudal suffering you've had to endure. Think of the meagerness of your life and everyone else's. It would all be ended by this. Now think of the things we could accomplish, Link. Think of the possibilities. I can see a world where we three stand in Hyrule palace, with all the Hylian people united under our leadership. Crime, starvation, disease, war, fear, all a thing of the past. Cities where people come together and work together reach to the sky. It will be glorious. It will be legendary."
Link stared at Ganondorf's grinning form in the mirror. He looked back to Mega Man who was standing idle, looking at his blue tempered armor, his child-like face framed by his form-fitting helmet. This was not his fight. He could not make the decision for him. He thought of what Ganondorf had said about his robotic friend, that they could reach that level someday. To have good people around making other good people. The way Mega Man described his world, it sounded like a utopia, where people helped each other, where they depended on each other and lifted everyone on their shoulders to the stars. He thought back to his life, all of it. He remembered all of the suffering he'd have to endure. All the trials and tribulations, the separation from the rest of the world, not quite royal, not quite a peasant. He remembered all the adventures he'd had and all the new people he'd met. And he thought of the room he'd just seen, detailing his legend in full - the good and the bad of it.
"Well, what do you say?" Ganondorf repeated.
Link turned slowly back to the golden triangle in his hand. "I say no."
"No! What's the matter, boy. Have you no ambition?"
Link responded audaciously. "That's why you always lose, Ganondorf, you have too much ambition. You don't want to unify Hyrule, you want to conquer it."
"I want a better Hyrule!"
"You want power! Don't you know how many people would be harmed by your tyranny. They'd be unified under fear of you. Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. That's what we've learned from the Triforce. All those who sought it to use it for its omnipotence fell into darkness. Just like you. The Triforce is a symbol of what we can become if we all work together. But not for our own ends. For the good of everyone."
"You need me, boy. You cannot exist without me. The prophecies have decreed it. Just like the Triforce is powerless without its two counterparts."
"I don't know, I seem to be just fine," Link said impetuously.
Inside the reflection, Ganondorf fumed. His jewel on his forehead seemed to glow in proportion to his rage. "You pathetic little fool! You or Zelda don't exist without me. We are forever linked, don't you realize that? You and her will be locked in a constant state of suffering as long as we are separated, to live and die over and over again, forced to find each other over and over again. I will continue long after you are dead, and I will rule the world long after you're dead and cold in the ground. I will permeate Hyrule with my power until it seeps out of the earth. You dare refuse my offer. Do you know who I am? I am Ganondorf Dragmire. I am the ultimate sorcerer of the world. I am a legend."
"A legend trapped in a tiny mirror," Link smiled.
Ganondorf looked like he was about to scream with unbridled anger in a second. Then it seemed as if a wave of calmness washed over him and returned him to a composed demeanor.
"You are useless," he spoke. "You will be caught in a constant cycle of suffering until the end of time. You are nothing more than a puppet of fate, doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past until eternity ends. Goodbye, Link. I hope you had a nice life."
"Link, look out!" Mega Man shouted.
The triangle gleamed in Link's hands. Mega Man jumped forward and plucked the false Triforce piece out of his hands before Link had time to react. The triangle's edges suddenly ejected sharp razor blades, cutting into Mega Man's hand, tearing the skin of his glove. He dropped the triangle on the pedestal where they found it.
"AAAAARRRRGH! CURSE YOU, LINK!" Ganondorf swore.
"How did you know it was going to do that?" Link asked Mega Man.
"I... I don't know. I just saw it coming. I saw something around it resonating."
"Heh, heh. Magic," Link said, pointing a finger upward, knowing he was finally adapting the world he lived in. Link and Mega Man leaned over the triangle, which had retracted it's blades as the figure in the mirror muttered loudly.
"You prying little wretch," he said to Mega Man. "You're not even supposed to be here! These are not your matters."
"I'm making them my matters," Mega Man said.
"This is not your world. You cannot survive here much longer. Despite all your advancements you can still fall to a sharpened blade just as the rest of us. In your world you may be mighty, but here you are just as helpless as a kitten. But I have the power to send you back to your own time. I know your friends are suffering."
"You don't know that, there's no way you could know that."
"They suffer without you. You must get back there immediately. I have the power to make it happen. I have the ability to open portals to other dimensions. All you need to do is put three drops of Link's blood on this pedestal."
"No deal, Ganondorf. I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. The laws of robotics prevent me from harming a human."
"You stupid mechanical man. You do what I say, or you'll never get back to your own world."
"Even if I thought I could get back home, I wouldn't like who I have to thank."
"Hey," Link piped up, "What's the deal here?"
"You ignorant fool. You don't know your own past, you don't know your own future. Look on this blasted pedestal, do you see anything? These are the ashes of the body of Ganon. By sprinkling your blood on these ashes I can live again. I will be resurrected."
Link and Mega Man scrutinized at the pedestal. Sure enough, what he thought was just dust were ashes.
"But again, you can't seem to accept your fate. It is power that's destined to take this land over. Courage and wisdom are useless, but power is where all potential is derived."
"You talk too much," Mega Man said. Link laughed uproariously at his friend's precociousness.
"No matter. Whether by myself or others, I will have my revenge. I will see the light of Hyrule again."
They heard the door behind them open and saw that the old woman was standing in front of the now locked door. The same one who had betrayed Link in the temple.
"You!" Link said, stepping closer in battle readiness. The old woman's cloak was covering her eyes and she smiled sadistically.
"Yes, Link," Ganondorf's voice came from behind. "I will exist again. Long after you are dead. If I have to lay waste to this land, I will have it. If I have to wait until the end of the world. If I have to rip my own soul out of my chest, I will have it."
The woman put her hand under her neck, like she was preparing to scratch it. She gripped the thin wrinkly skin and pulled upward. The face and cloak tore away and fell at the floor. From the costume emerged the tall form of Ganondorf in the flesh... but not quite flesh. His skin was gray and translucent. He wore a black armored tunic adorned with golden rivets. Two spiraling horns jutted out of his head and his eyes glowed with an ethereal yellow empty gaze, his lower face cloaked from his raised collar. He held a large three-pronged harpoon behind him with battle readiness.
"Remember, Link," Ganondorf said as the phantom floated up above the ground with a whooshing noise. "A legend is someone who becomes immortal by being dead."
Next Chapter: Reflection