WARNING: Contains Skyward Sword Ending Spoilers.
Turn back now if you don't want spoilers~!
Hylia gazed down on her incarnation's sleeping form. A soft smile on her lips. She had done well, as the boy. Her plan had been successful. Demise would not break free of his new seal in many centuries. Her dream had finally been realized.
It had not come without sacrifice though.
She herself was merely a spirit now. A ghostly reflection of her former self. Her divine soul and power now slept permanently in the girl. She had detached herself temporarily to reminisce.
She was preparing to put her consciousness - Hylia's consciousness- to a rest. She had been fully awakened by the girl's trips to the Sacred Springs. Now finally, she would rest. She would live her own life, not as a venerated Goddess but as Zelda. She would still have the memories of Hylia but would not be burdened by them so clearly.
In fact, Hylia herself embraced the idea of such rest. Something an immortal could not easily have. Though a god, she realized now that immortality did not suit her. In her mortal body, she had experienced much more than any of the gods. She had become human, acted like one, lived like one. It was not as bad as she had once thought. She wished to remain like that if it meant staying with him....
Her gaze fell from Zelda to the boy. He was asleep as well. Both of their backs rested against the smooth bark of the Tree of Life. Her tree. The warm tendrils of light coming in from the upper windows rested on their still forms. His face was tranquil for the first time in weeks. Zelda's head rested contentedly on his shoulder, a similar expression on her face. They could sleep well now.
Ah...seeing him now...It was uncanny how much he resembled him. Her Hero of old.
Every time she looked at him through Zelda's eyes, the ancient pain and guilt blazed within her.
She sensed him though. His spirit now slept within the boy. She was surprisingly comforted by this. If only he remembered as she had... No. That would be too selfish of her, he did not need his old memories. They would bring nothing but pain. There was no good reason for it. Nor was there an easy way to do it.
Zelda was a different matter. Possessing the soul of a Goddess had made it considerably easier to restore hers... Hylia allowed her to explore them but mercifully buried the painful ones a bit deeper. It would not do for the girl to remember everything so acutely. Not if she was to live a life of her own. After all, Hylia was now someone of the past. Someone she had been. Hylia's old memories would slowly dull, as she created new ones.
Hylia raised her hand in a graceful arc and an invisible portal to the Sacred Realm appeared before her. Her ghostly form stepped into the realm that shadowed her own. Everything gave off a pale, cleansing light. No vibrant colors shined here.
Behind, her body and the boy had disappeared. Only spirits belonged here. Her own form appeared more solid. Her very presence seemed to have renewed the state of her Temple. Divine glowing particles swirled about her, like moths to flame.
She glided up the stone stairs that led to her Temple's most sacred chamber. The great doors were shut tight. She approached, and as if some unseen force had bidden them to, the grand doors opened. One would expect noise to come from the ancient hinges, but there was none. Time did not exist here. Nothing here made noise not on its own anyway. It was a world of reflection. Silent.
The room that she had resided in for an eternity lay before her.
Instead of a crystal in the center, she found a longsword embedded in a pedestal. Very much the same one from the world of the mortals. The invisible power that dwelled within its blade glowed brightly here.
True, Hylia had created Fi. But the blade had never been meant for her to wield.
The Master Sword, Blade of Evil's Bane, would forever belong to him. She had ordained that so many eons ago. He was the sword's rightful master.
Hylia placed her hand on its smooth hilt. Demise was sealed in the Holy Blade now. No dark aura tainted the sword. It served as a testament of Fi's true power.
How ironic. The spirit she had created was slumbering in the same place she herself had. Charged with the same task.
Hylia felt a pang of sadness. Unlike her, Fi would not awaken. But her consciousness would not completely fade either. She was fully one with the blade now. Her current purpose was fulfilled.
Of course, even with Fi, Demise would return. Of that she was sure.
One day he would find a way to break the bonds that held him. Seals could only ever contain him for so long. He would escape just as he had done so before. His hate and lust was just too strong. It was inevitable. However, they would be prepared when that time came. Whenever it may be. She would rise again, with him. And they would send the Demon back into the abyss.
He was an ancient evil. She wondered if he could even be utterly destroyed. How he had been created she did not know. She only knew that as long as he still existed, he was to plague her beloved world. And it seemed he was definitely intent on haunting them as well.
It pained her to think of the fate that would fall to their descendants...Such a heavy burden. Oh Great Goddesses, they would never be fully granted rest would they?
The future and for that matter, the past could not be changed anymore. There was no use thinking about it. However, she couldn't help but wonder...
If she had taken other actions...would the present and future have become a more pleasant place?
She would never know.
Hylia closed her eyes wearily, losing herself in these thoughts
Behind her, at the top of the stairs, a soft shimmer of light glowed. Particles swirled around it and gave the light form. After the dazzle had settled, a cloaked man stood there.
Hylia recognized his voice and presence instantly. She reopened her eyes but did not turn. How could she face the one she had sent to his death, along with so many of his men?
"Link," she whispered. His name sounded wistful in her voice. Her Link?
Mixed dread and hope began to creep up her heart. She simply couldn't bring herself to turn. She had never felt this hesitant before...this vulnerable.
After a few moments of pondering, she did turn. To her surprise she found him on one knee, bent low in a bow. She composed instantly. "My Chosen Knight," she began, her strong voice echoing around the chamber. It disguised what she felt.
"Rise. There is no need for formalities between us. If anything, I should be bowing to you."
He stood, his eyes flickering from the floor to hers. Pale storm blue against her radiant azure. He had not changed.
It seemed so many ages ago... the last time they had met. But at the same time, very recent...
"Your Grace..." He repeated, trailing off. He stepped toward her in a couple of strides until they were both only a few feet away. His form shimmered as he walked.
A spirit, like her.
His war-torn features broke into a faint smile. "You've done it."
"No." She said instantly. "We did it."
His smile faded. "No, Hylia," he looked away. "I failed you."
He let out a sharp laugh. "To think that my incarnation, a boy in all ways less experienced than me, fought against the Demon King with minimum loss and won...while I was simply tossed aside like a rag."
It nearly brought her to tears again. She didn't bother to point out that he and the boy were one and the same. That same guilt that had influenced her so much welled up inside once more.
It had been her fault! Demise had been at full power then...If she, a Goddess, had trouble containing the beast, why did she expect a mere mortal to be able to do so? Even a mortal as determined as he...So why?
Why had she allowed him to face that monster even though he himself had not even recovered from his earlier wounds?
And worst of all was that she knew... She knew what could have helped him.
The Triforce, the divine power of the gods she so jealously had guarded. If only she had bestowed that power upon him sooner...
There had not been enough time though...Demise's forces had attacked sooner than she had expected. It had forced the Hero and his men to take action.
"You don't understand," she said bitterly. "There could have been greater actions I could have taken to prevent so many casualties." Her eyes moved toward his side, searching for the bloody wound that had cost him his life.
Of course, the blood was not there. Such a mortal sign was not possible in this realm. However, the giant tear in the tunic was. He immediately sensed her discomfort. He shifted his cerise-colored cloak to obscure the area.
She closed her eyes again as tears threatened to burst forth again. She had spent too much time among humans it seemed. These emotions were getting harder to control...
"Do not trouble yourself with this. I was reckless. My death was not your fault."
Hylia did not listen. "You didn't even have chain-mail!" This definitely was getting to her.
He scoffed softly, a bit amused though. "That would not have made much difference."
She shook her head. She realized now, how deeply she regretted not prepa-
Her thoughts were abruptly stopped as he placed a gentle hand on her cheek.
Surprised, she opened her eyes and was met with the deep depths of his. His eyes, they showed everything to her. He had been through so much. Years of imprisonment had done nothing to deter his spirit. Hate for the ones who had betrayed him had not consumed him either. His heart was true. And that is why she had chosen him.
He had defended her land to the very end. The land he loved.
"My Hylia..." She moved her own hands to cradle his touch against her delicate face as he continued.
"Demise has been fully sealed, isn't that what is important? Even if it did take a millenia to do so. No matter how brief this respite, we must enjoy it. The past will stay in the past. It cannot be changed any longer."
She could not restrain her tears any longer. Crystalline droplets formed at the corner of her eyes and flowed freely down her face. All the mixed emotion she felt since those ancient days poured out.
"You are wise," she whispered. How could he simply forgive her? After she had used him for her plans... twice!
He seemed startled.
"Hylia...!" How was he supposed to console her?
"Don't cry, Goddess! Please! There's no need to cry!" His hand lowered to her chin and lifted it a little higher.
She did not respond.
"My dearest Hylia, it pains me to see one as proud and strong as yourself cry!" She only clenched her eyes tighter. He was baffled.
"Tears don't belong on your face." He tried in a softer tone.
She couldn't help but smile at his panicked reaction. He didn't know this wasn't the first time she had cried over him. Her tears were indeed very alien to him.
"I think I am entitled to these human sentiments now that I am one, don't you think?" She said finally.
"Tears are not a form of weakness. It is only a way to alleviate our pain. Holding it in will only makes it stronger. Your own people have taught me that."
He was still staring at her in concern, his pale golden hair leaving his eyes in shadow.
"You are right." She said. Her keen eyes studied the faded scars of ancient battles on his face for some seconds. He held her gaze.
"No good comes from regretting the past." She moved closer to him. "This new future is ours now."
She embraced him, catching him off guard. After a moment's hesitation of surprise, he returned it.
"Let us enjoy the new lives we have been granted. And be what the nature of our former ones did not allow us to be," she murmured, pulling a little back and gazing lovingly into his eyes.
She rested her fore against his and squeezed the last bit of tears out of her eyes. She reopened them to find, not the battle-hardened warrior she had chosen eons ago, but the cheerful, young face of the boy he had become.
He smiled at her and laughed softly. The sound was like the sweet ringing of bells. And his eyes, there was no more deep pain in them. They held a mischievous twinkle in them now. His scars were completely gone.
She had changed as well.
That divine glow that seemed to hang about her did not fade, nor did her regal beauty. But the seriousness her godly form had embodied was gone.
In her place was a slender young girl with golden hair and whose bright, wise eyes were full of mirth.
"Of course, Hylia," his young voice said coolly. "No...you aren't Hylia any longer." He grinned.
"I suppose you want me to call you Zelda now, Your Grace?"
"Precisely, Hero," she smirked.
"Fate does not dictate us anymore. Let us embrace this new life the gods have granted us."
Link awoke to find Zelda snoring soundly at his side. Her head rested on his shoulder, and he blushed fiercely as he realized how close she was. He debated briefly on whether to move or not, but decided against it. The motion would probably wake her and he didn't want that. She looked so peaceful while she slept.
He looked up and saw the beautiful, lush green leaves and branches of the Tree of Life looming above him. Had they fallen asleep here?
He tried to recall, but there was some sort of cloudiness in his memory. He could only vaguely remember a strange dream... Ah, no use worrying about it. It would come back to him later.
Instead he focused on a random new feeling he felt. What was it?
He shrugged it off. Strange.
He was shaken from his thoughts as Zelda stirred beside him.
"Mmmm." She struggled to straighten up and yawn.
"Good morning, sleepyhead." He said, using her pet name for him.
She noticed him there and laughed. "What are you doing awake before me?" She nudged him playfully as she stretched. "Goodness, my back is sore from leaning against this tree for so long."
She turned to him and their eyes met. They held their gaze for a few seconds. In an instant, details returned to him. He blinked rapidly, breaking their connection.
Being in the Silent Realm...a celestial woman in white? Had he been conversing with the Goddess herself? He couldn't remember clearly.
"I think..." He began.
Zelda studied him quizzically. "What's wrong?"
"I had this weird dream."
She stared blankly at him before a slow look of recognition spread across her face. A bright, knowing smile spread across her features. "Oh really?"
"Funny. I did too." Despite her earlier complaint, she settled back against the tree next to him. "But it wasn't quite a dream..." She added the last part very softly. Too softly for him to hear.
She inched a tiny bit closer to him. How much did he really remember? She contemplated on whether or not to ask him about it. Her curiosity was rather strong... She did something very different though.
"Hey, Link?" She asked her childhood friend.
Her cheeks flushed rosy, surprised at her own impulsiveness. She stuttered. They simply stared at each other for what seemed like forever, until she regained her senses first.
"What do you mean, 'what'?" She snapped. "It's....a chilly morning! I'm...I'm cold!"
He nodded and placed his arms over her shoulders, hugging her tight. She sighed contentedly and he let out a quiet chuckle. It was no where near cold.
She collected her thoughts and prepared herself for what she was going to say next. His warmth seemed to have given her strength.
"I know people from Skyloft will eventually warm up to this place." She said suddenly. "It's our job to built some sort of town."
"Yes. Start some place to live. Some sort of human civilization down here. You didn't expect to be living at this old temple the whole time did you?"
He frowned. That's what he had been thinking actually. He didn't say it though.
"Building a town will require an awful lot of work though," she continued. "So we can start with something small." She took a breath. "How about a little cottage nearby? That way we can watch over the Triforce."
He listened intently, his usual stoic expression stuck on his face. In truth, he had had a similar idea himself...
"People were not meant to live in the skies for so long. They'll come down here, I'm sure. Eventually, we'll work on the town. It'll get bigger and..." She trailed off.
"We will rebuild Hylia's realm." She finished with conviction.
He was silent, processing all her words carefully. She waited for him to emit some sort of reaction.
"What will we call it?" He asked finally.
She quietly led out a sigh of relief. "I don't know."
"Hylia? Like it was once called?" He said. "New Hylia?"
She hid a smile. "Wow, so very original!" She giggled. "But no, Hylia I mean I... I wouldn't want it to be called the same thing."
"Zelda's Realm?" He asked playfully.
"No!" She laughed.
"How about...?" He started, already getting warmed up. He grinned. "Grooseland?"
Zelda looked horrified. She stared at him as if he had lost his mind.
"What?" He asked innocently.
"Grooseland?" She repeated with a scoff. "You don't seriously want to name this land after Groose, right?" She said incredulously, but Link barely heard her above his laughter.
She couldn't help but join in. His laughter was so nice. It seemed ages since she'd heard it...
"No really!" She punched his arm softly. "Grooseland? Where did you get that?"
He tried to compose himself but found he couldn't. He let go of her and hugged his stomach instead, forgetting to breath. Her confused expression was too great for him to handle. He was contagious and she burst into giggles at the silliness of the name as well.
"Alright! Alright! I got it!" He said suddenly. Her giggles stopped.
"Are you serious this time?" He nodded soberly.
"Then?" She waited expectantly.
"Hy-rule?" She repeated.. Testing the word on her tongue. A thoughtful expression crossed her face as she mulled over the name. "Hyrule..."
Link waited for her answer anxiously. He leaned forward as she placed a hand on her chin in mock concentration, her eyes raised to heaven, pondering.
"Hmmm, could do."
Link blinked. "Yes?"
She glanced at him, breaking her stupor as if she just realized he was still there. She broke into a wide grin.