Link bent over, panting, as the monstrous amoeba Morpha collapsed into its pool in the Temple of Water. It had been the hardest battle of his entire journey thus far, but somehow he’d managed to pull it off, even as tired as he’d been from the slugfest with his dark reflection just fifteen minutes before.
Still, the result would be well worth the effort. Link imagined Lake Hylia would be filling back up now. Heck, maybe the ice that gripped Zora’s Domain would melt as well. Sure, this had been a bit more touch-and-go than the other temples, but at the end of the day, it was a job well done.
Just as in the last two temples, a ring of blue light appeared in the floor by the pool. He knew that when he stepped inside, he’d meet the sage of the temple in the Chamber of Sages. The last two Sages had been people he’d befriended in his childhood - Saria in the Temple of Forest and Darunia in the Temple of Fire. If the pattern held up - and Link knew that it would - there was only one possible candidate for the Sage of Water. And it was someone he wanted to see - and spend time with - more than anyone else.
Not to mention, he’d actually encountered her in this temple.
The familiar blue glow surrounded him as he stepped into the ring of light. Moments later, he found himself once again in the Chamber of Sages. The chamber consisted of a large cyan platform in the midst of inky darkness. In the center was a large Triforce-shaped pedestal, upon which Link was now standing. Surrounding that were six smaller, hexagonal pedestals, each bearing the image of the Sages’ medallions. At the moment, he was alone, facing the deep blue pedestal - the most logical color for the Medallion of Water to be, he supposed.
He was not alone for long, though. As he watched the pedestal intently, a figure began to appear upon it. Within moments, Link found himself looking at Ruto, princess of the Zora people.
They had met when they were nine years old, back at the start of Link’s quest. After trudging through the bowels of a great fish together, she had bestowed him with one of the Spiritual Stones. With her gift, she had told him that the stone functioned as an engagement piece for the royal family. Link hadn’t really paid attention to that part when he was nine, but earlier today, when they’d met again in the temple, she had made sure he would understand.
Had they had such a conversation when he was still nine, he likely would have not taken it well. But Link was sixteen now. He hadn’t figured out yet why he was noticing the women he came in contact with now. But as they’d talked in the temple...Boy, did he notice Ruto like he’d never noticed anyone before. He recalled wondering what it would feel like to hold her; he didn’t remember wondering that about Malon, Sheik, or Saria.
And now, she was standing before him, a warm smile on her face as they gazed at each other. There were a few quiet seconds before she opened her mouth to speak to him (as the other Sages had). But she was forestalled when Link bounded off the central pedestal, crossed over to hers in a few quick strides, and swept her into his arms, burying his face in her shoulder. That was a first for him; he’d always stood there before, almost passive as the other Sages had given their medallions to him. But he couldn’t hold himself back from Ruto, even if he’d not spent much time with her before; she attracted him like a fish to bait.
Ruto couldn’t help but smile excitedly in Link’s arms. “I’m glad you’re happy to see me,” she said in amusement. “When I reminded you of our engagement, you seemed so shocked. I guess you must not have known what it was seven years ago. Should I take this to mean you want to be with me?” Link looked adoringly up into her eyes and nodded, which brought a grin to her face. After a few seconds, her smile turned sly. “It’ll take a little while longer before you defeat Ganondorf and we can be together,” she said. “I’d better make sure you remember us. I’m going to give you something you’ll never forget.”
She didn’t give Link any time to wonder what that something was. Without another word, her lips were on his as she pulled him flush against her. Their lips parted and closed over each other again and again as they pressed themselves tightly against each other. Several seconds in, Link’s knees gave out, and he fell backwards onto the floor of the chamber, his fiancé landing atop him. But even that didn’t stop the unending torrent of kisses between the two as they carried on, pausing only to catch their breaths and whisper to each other of their love.
In fact, they didn’t stop for another half-hour. Eventually, though, Ruto finally summoned the willpower to climb off from Link and help him back to his feet. “We can’t stay like this too much longer,” she said. “You still have two more Sages to free and Ganondorf to defeat. But take this - it’ll help you on the rest of your journey.” That said, she pressed a round, flat object into one of Link’s hands. It was a deep blue disc, embossed with the symbol of water.
Link looked for a few seconds at the medallion, then back at the Zora. “Ruto, I promise you,” he answered, “I will take this in my hand every day, and look at it to remember you.” Then he leaned back towards her until his lips were almost touching hers and whispered, “I promise, I will always be yours.”
Ruto kissed him on the lips again, tenderly this time, knowing the time had come for them to part once more. Even so, it took great effort to separate her lips from his. As she did, she whispered, “Be safe out there, Link.”
Link pecked her on the lips once more and replied, “Anything for you, my lady.”
A few seconds later, he was back on the Triforce pedestal, his form fading as he left the chamber. Ruto looked around for a few seconds, then stepped back to her own pedestal. It was time to meet the other Sages and prepare herself for the final fight against the king of evil.