The Legend of Zelda: Union of Evil Powers

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 41: A clucking problem[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group arrived in front of the Great Fairy’s Fountain, where the Great Fairy of Magic appeared before them. Seeing the three children and learning of what happened, the Great Fairy wasted little time and used her healing powers to restore Link, Saria and Zelda back to normal, although it took a few minutes as the final traces of the poison had to be eliminated first. But it was a success. The entire group breathed a sigh of relief when Link, Saria and Zelda got up again and flexed up a bit to show that they were indeed back to normal.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You can say that again.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What happened?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, I confronted Sakon the thief and managed to get the antidote from him which we applied to you before we went to here. Later on I learned from a shadow clone that Sakon didn’t live long after that though; he was killed.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? How?” Link asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“My shadow clone observed the appearance of the dark selves of you and Zelda, this time accompanied by a dark version of Saria and Nabooru, the latter two being responsible for the murder.” Impa replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Say what?! Are you saying that there is a dark version of me?!” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes. Apparently Ganondorf used the same procedure that was used in the creation of Dark Link and Dark Zelda, by applying magic on blood that was collected.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But from where would they get the blood?!” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I can only think of one place…” Link said, his expression stern and serious.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And where would that be?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It would be on the abandoned tower of the ruined Hyrule Castle, were the five of us met our untimely demise first.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda, Saria, Ruto and Nabooru blinked at this, remembering what had happened there all too well as shock set in.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But… why?!” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps they anticipated our resurrection later on and did this as either a new act to hinder our progress or perhaps even try to set up things that could give us a bad name, I don’t know for sure.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmmm, those can be good reasoning… but this does leave the question if they will do the same with Impa, Darunia and Rauru too…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Just be careful when you’re on your way out…” The Great Fairy said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What for?” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s Corrupted Soldiers patrolling around in Clock Town, keeping a tight rein on the citizens while letting them continue about their daily business…” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’ll take care of them first, we owe them at least that much.” Link said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right, I wish you good luck. Don’t let any of the civilians get caught in the crossfire.” The Great Fairy said, before the group made their departure.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We will be cautious, thanks.” Link said with a smile towards her before they left.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Upon re-entering North Clock Town, the group could already see a group of soldiers entering East Clock Town, deciding to follow them. Link was cautious, as if waiting to see where they would go or if they would even notice them in the first place. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Let's remain cautious, you never know what can happen in town..." Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Right. It's only for the best that we watch each other's backs." Zelda said as the group went towards East Clock Town, following Link as he knew where to go in town. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"The whole town looks bigger than Hyrule Castle Town, I've never seen any other district other than East and perhaps south before, or I just didn't have the time to properly look around." Impa commented as they arrived there.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Indeed, although it's easy to find your way around eventually due to the broad paths and all..." Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I've spotted the soldiers... they seem to watch Cremia and Romani..." Ruto said, just as the soldiers saw the group.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"They've clocked us!" Rauru said as the Sword Soldiers immediately went to charge at them, the Bow Soldiers standing by and one Assault Spear Soldier went in a different direction...[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Cremia and Romani managed to find a safe haven close at the bar, while the other townspeople also came to see as the group from Hyrule engaged the Sword Soldiers. Some of the guards as well as the four Gerudo Pirates who traveled with them offered assistance as a massive swordfight broke out, although two of the Gerudo Pirates preferred the use of their glaives, while the Guards had their lances to charge at the Sword soldiers at the same time. The Bombers also stood by to assist, having taken refuge to the Veranda of the Stock Pot Inn to pelt the soldiers with rocks. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"These freaks must have been keeping this town occupied for a while now, considering how numerous they are..." Link said, parrying one Sword Soldier's strike before using a Great Spin to knock him away.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I agree, I wouldn't be surprised if they would call for reinforcements from other parts of town..." Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"You're right, Zelda; I'm seeing more enemy Soldiers coming in." Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Watch our backs in case more come in!" Ruto said, with Darunia looking behind them after using one Sword Soldier as a bowling ball to knock several others aside. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and Zelda used their Light Arrows to take out the Bow Soldiers, the Light Arrows killing them instantly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"We have Soldiers coming from behind!" Darunia said, with Impa and Rauru and two of the Pirates ready to assist him as the fight came from two sides now. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]One of the new soldiers that came in the area was a Bomb Soldier, whom tossed a lit Bomb towards the group. Link, Saria and Zelda rolled out of the way as the Bomb bounced off the wall and rolled down the stairway as the group continued their attack. However, just as the Bomb exploded, there was a loud crowing sound that came from the center area of East Clock Town. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"What the-?! Where did that come from?!" Link asked as the fighting stopped all of a sudden.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I don't know, but it doesn't sound good." Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"It's coming from the far side of town... wait... is that a Cucco out there?" Saria said, just as the Cucco crowed loudly again and the group saw it... at the explosion site.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Merely seconds after the Cucco had crowed, an entire flock of other Cuccos flew into town towards their comrade, while Link and the others looked at the flock as they came in rather rapidly...[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"What's going on?!" Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then the clucking and crowing of the Cuccos increased and began to flock around first, tending to their injured comrade while more came in, flying around a bit… before they turned around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! Are they coming towards us?!” Rauru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They sound quite aggressive…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, they heard some of the Soldiers yelp as they were knocked down by one of the Cuccos as they came closer, three of them knocking Link, Saria and Zelda over.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What are they doing?” Impa asked, helping Zelda up just as Ruto was knocked over.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They must be looking for the one who harmed their comrade…” Link said, getting up. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But what for?” Zelda asked as Link helped Saria up, right before he was knocked over again by another Cucco, taking Saria with him as she landed on top of him. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“OUCH! WATCH IT!” One of the Gerudo Pirates said as one of the Cuccos hit her, just as the Bomb Soldier was knocked over… dropping a lit Bomb in the process which rolled down to the stairs and blew up, catching a few of the Cuccos in the blast radius in the process.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Instantly the Cuccos turned to the Bomb Soldier and began to swarm towards him, now in full rampage mode as their crowing and clucking increased. The flock of Cuccos swarmed at the Bomb Soldier, who did his best in fighting them off, going so far as to knock several Cuccos around, one of them into Link and Zelda, who frantically tried to fend the aggressive animal off as it took off back towards the Bomb Soldier. Another one was sent into Saria, who had to shield her face to prevent her eyes from being picked out, yelping as the Cucco was now going postal as it charged back at the Bomb Soldier in turn.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“RUN! THE CUCCOS HAVE GONE MAD!” A villager screamed as the Cuccos were now on a full rampage, pecking at anyone trying to stop them or otherwise knocking them over.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Without hesitation, the remaining villagers did their best to high-tail it out of the area and find shelter within the buildings or otherwise go into other parts or even out of town, Link and the Sages among them. The remaining enemy Soldiers were also knocked down while trying to help their comrade as he tried to fend the Cuccos off, grunting as the Cuccos apparently had trouble in getting through his armor, but beginning to make dents in it. One of the rampaging Cuccos flew against Nabooru, causing her to stumble and fall down the stairs that led to the main square of East Clock Town, accidently knocking Impa, Link, Saria, Zelda, Ruto and Rauru over along with her, while Darunia shielded his eyes and face to prevent the birds from flying into it. Romani rushed towards Link, trying to help him up, which in turn caused Cremia to go after Romani, trying to shield her from the onslaught of Cuccos, although the Cuccos seemed to be primarily concentrating on the Bomb Soldier, who was now beginning to lose parts of his armor, causing him to yelp and scream as the birds now began to peck at his legs and other exposed body parts, while trying to fend the Cuccos off with more bombs, although this only succeeded in making the birds even angrier, swarming the offending soldier more and continuing to knock him over, pecking at him and resuming their charge, eventually making the Bomb Soldier try to get away himself, but the constant onslaught of Cuccos made him stumble or trip over them continuously, making him fall which gave the Cuccos time to peck at him relentlessly. Darunia, Cremia and Romani helped the others up, just as they saw the Bomb Soldier stumbling towards the stairs they just fell from. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh no!” Link said as the group tried to get out of the way, just as the Bomb Soldier, with several mad Cuccos attached to it, fell down the stairs, shattering his armor, also badly injuring a few Cuccos with his landing as well as causing other birds as well as bits of his armor to be thrown off, some of them even hitting other civilians who peeked out of the doors or hid elsewhere in the open as well as the group of heroes, knocking most of them down due to the frantic state of the birds, causing some of them to have a few cuts here and there as well, just as the flock now completely swarmed the fallen Bomb Soldier, who was now screaming in pain as the flock pecked him all over, not giving him a chance to get up. This was made even more morbid as patches of blood became visible here and there on the ground as well as on the birds themselves.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh, dear Goddesses!” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We have to get out of here now, before they turn on us next!” Link said, getting up while the other villagers also fled into the buildings for real this time.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The screams of the Bomb Soldier now turned into howls of agony as the flock of Cuccos just kept pecking on him, while the other Sword Soldiers were either fending off the birds themselves or fled elsewhere. While the Guard of East Clock Town helped in leading the Sages out of town, coupled with Romani and Cremia, the lightly injured Link and Zelda managed to see the movements of the Bomb Soldier being reduced to spasms before laying still, a pool of blood surrounding him, after which they simply turned tail and got out of town as fast as their legs could carry them out. Thankfully the Cuccos didn’t come after them as they were too busy in pecking apart their primary target, but the horror remained, as it was clear the Cuccos did not take kindly to see one of their comrades injured… [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Upon exiting the town, Link and Zelda found the Guard, the four Gerudo Pirates, Romani, Cremia, Impa, Nabooru, Rauru, Darunia, Ruto and Saria either standing or slumped against Cremia’s wagon, panting. They were happy to see Link and Zelda having exited the town safely, with Navi, Tatl and Tael flying towards them as if acknowledging their safety. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew… take it from what we’ve witnessed… don’t mess with the Cuccos.” Link said, moving to Saria and plopping down next to her, with Zelda joining his other side right away.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say…” Zelda said, panting.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What just happened? Why have they gotten so aggressive?” The East Clock Town Guard asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The Bomb Soldier tossed a Bomb towards us in an attempt to damage us with it. We evaded the Bomb, but a Cucco was caught within the blast radius of the bomb’s detonation.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Note to self: Do NOT harm ANY Cucco wherever you find them, their comrades will come to its aid.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I agree on that.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That is duly noted by us as well…” Cremia said, nodding as she comforted the shivering Romani.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where are you planning to go?” The Guard asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We have to get back to Hyrule in order to reach the new Ganon’s Tower; our arch nemeses await us there.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The East Clock Town Guard nodded. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It definitely is going to be a long trip,” One of the Pirates said, nodding, “but I’ve heard rumors that a shortcut exists between the coast that leads to the mountain area where the tower is located and the forest connecting Hyrule with Termina. Back when we were under control of Ganondorf, I’ve heard some enemy forces making use of that particular shortcut to springboard their invasion of Termina before it was apparently abandoned as the task was completed. Perhaps you can now use it to reach the coast quicker than traveling straight on through the forest…” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmmm, that deserves some thought. How can we reach it?” Link asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“To reach the entrance, you must first travel through the sewer area of the Clock Tower and move into the forest area there. If you are in possession of the eye that can see the truth, a hidden path towards that temple will be revealed.”  The Pirate said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded, getting up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We should go around to the South Entrance of Clock Town, so we will avoid the rampaging Cuccos as much as we can. The entrance to that sewer area will be straight ahead for us, so we should be able to reach it safely.” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wise idea.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Just one last thing; there will be some puzzles in that temple or even in that shortcut itself that have to be solved in order to progress. Also, be on the lookout for secrets. Who knows what useful items are in store for you there…” The Pirate said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thank you, where are you going? Weren’t you planning to join Reimu and Leia in the forest?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We will meet her soon, but first we will join miss Cremia to the ranch. Even though it was beyond our control due to us being possessed, we still have done things that we aren’t proud of doing and wish to atone for it nonetheless.” The first Pirate said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I understand. At least you have the chance to fully repent. If you feel you have repaid your debts, come and see me in the Gerudo Fortress once the whole crisis is over and the evil beings defeated. I may assign you to a new job under command of Aveil, my personal sub-ordinate and second-in-command of the Fortress itself.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thank you, Lady Nabooru.” The Pirates said, bowing politely before the group went their ways, the East Clock Town Guard moving with Link and the Sages to get back into Clock Town himself.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Making their way to the South Entrance, the group re-entered Clock Town from there where the East Clock Town Guard moved to stay with his colleague.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s going on?” The South Guard said, confused as why people fled East Clock Town in such a panic.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A Bomb Soldier invoked the wrath of the resident Cuccos.” The East Guard said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh my!” The South Guard said, shocked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]At the same moment, Link and the Sages made their way to the sewer area of Clock Town while avoiding the townspeople running around at the same time, moving all the way to the twisted corridor that led to the forest part. Once they were inside the forest, they slowed their pace to a walking speed, moving carefully along the way. As they entered the area with the abyss, they came across the Deku Butler who was kneeling in front of what appeared to be a twisted tree stump with a face. The Deku Butler looked up at seeing them, bowing to them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t know other people would travel along these Catacombs…” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Catacombs?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes. This area serves as a land bridge between Hyrule and Termina Proper, which can be accessed from the forest on the other side.” The Butler said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Ah, I see. How come you are here?” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This tree… this used to be my son, but he went missing after leaving home long ago… it wasn’t until we received a visitor from Hyrule who resembled my son that I eventually learned of his fate…” The Butler solemnly said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded, seeing that the others were confused.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This was Majora’s doing; he killed the young Deku Scrub here and sealed his spirit into a mask, which he then used to curse me with to turn me into a Deku Scrub.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Immediately the Sages understood as Link told them the story about his adventures in Termina before, but now they learned the origin of the Deku Mask with this form of proof. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The worst thing about it was that Her Royal Highness, the Deku Princess, actually was in love with my son…” The Butler said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This brought tears in the eyes of Saria, Zelda and even Ruto, while the others mourned as well. Link was saddened too, even more as it brought memories back to him of Majora cursing him with it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Ever since he returned to these lands, the state of Hyrule and Termina have gotten worse than before. But I swear, as the Hero of Time, that all the souls slaughtered and/or cursed by the hands of Ganondorf and Majora both will be avenged.” Link said, with determination in his eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This oath is also sworn by the Seven Sages to bring peace to those who seek it.” Zelda said on behalf of herself and the Six Sages, who nodded.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Deku Butler was confused, but decided to nod in respect, making it evident that they obviously had a bone to pick with the murderer of his son.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After paying respect to the Butler and his deceased son, Link and the Seven Sages went on their way again, intending to make good on their oath and finding the temple that harbored the shortcut as the Gerudo Pirate had said. Even though there would be puzzles to solve, it would likely be something that could test their skills as true heroes in order to continue on their path towards justice and peace. Using the Lens of Truth, Impa located a hidden platform that was at the far side of the platform that contained a chest with Deku Nuts, with Saria using her own Sage Powers to guide the group to the platforms safely using tough vines in lieu of a bridge to walk over. Once arrived at the hidden platform, Impa led the way across the hidden path that she saw with the Lens of truth, using her Medallion to light the way under her feet to show the group where to go. Through this, the group walked in a line to prevent others from falling off, keeping some distance to allow them to watch each other’s footsteps. Eventually the group came across a pathway that was visible, which consisted of grass, much like in the Kokiri Forest, but the area around them still being dark and the huge trees around them didn’t help either, as if they were the cause of the darkness around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh man, talk about going deep in the forest…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s best that we stay together now, otherwise we WILL become either Skull Children or Stalfos. The Great Deku Tree said that something like this will happen to those who get lost in the forest.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Understood.” Link said as the group looked on, looking around suspiciously while moving on, as if keeping an eye on their surroundings.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After what appeared to be a half an hour, the group finally came across what appeared to be a building up onto a hill. So far, no enemy forces were around at all, basically allowing the group to climb the hill and enter the building without having to worry about being attacked. Upon entering the building, they noticed that the tiles first had a cyan-colored tint to it, making it appear a bit brighter than the Water Temple, but this time there was no water around, nor was there any sand at the bottom. There was however a lower part of the floor that separated the entrance corridor from a larger room, where four Iron Knuckles were standing on the other side. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh dear, again these Iron Knuckles!” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good thing we have new weapons to deal with them.” Link said, grabbing his bow.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Targeting one by one again?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s for the best; that way we can take them out quicker instead of tackling them all at once.” Link said, firing a Bomb Arrow at the first Iron Knuckle, damaging and waking it to make it walk towards the group. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link, Zelda and Saria just pelted it with Bomb Arrows until its outer Armor broke off, before two well-aimed Light Arrows ended it, making the Iron Knuckle disintegrate in sheets of blue flames. This procedure was repeated with the three other Iron Knuckles, until each of them was defeated, raising a platform that acted as a bridge to cross the lower floor to the other side, although four chests appeared at the lower area. The pathway where the group stood on also had a set of ladders that would allow them to climb back on the main path. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, that’s that.” Link said, hopping down to the lower floor with the others, letting them reach the chests that contained bundles of bombs and arrows to refill their supplies with.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. It’s as if we’ve become stronger or more versatile lately.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s possible, I figure that we might haaAAAAAAAAAHH-!”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link couldn’t finish his sentence as, while leaning against the pillar to readjust his shoe, he fell through a hole in the pillar, falling down a shaft in the ceiling and falling down into a pool of water, which was small enough for a Goron to walk through unfazed, with a loud *SPLASH*.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Immediately Zelda and Saria ran to the pillar, seeing that there was in fact an open passage that led to the hole inside the pillar. Seeing the other Sages coming, Saria and Zelda hopped down the platform and also landed in the pool, soon joined by the other Sages. As they eventually got the water out of their eyes to properly look around, they could see that the room they were in had several rupees around, mainly red and purple rupees, but also a single, Giant/Orange Rupee. Furthermore, there were fairies flying around all across the pool, which indicated that the group in fact discovered a Fairy’s Fountain by mere coincidence. Immediately Navi, Tatl and Tael went flying to chat a bit with the fairies, which all had a red glow around them that indicated that they could simply heal any wounded person with their magic.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, is this like a treasure room or something? Look at all the Rupees!” Zelda said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Possibly, and we found it…” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You know what they say: Finders keepers. We should take the rupees under the shared responsibility; who knows what we may encounter on shops or even Business Scrubs to get supplies from.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good idea. They can come in use anyhow.” Impa said, nodding.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Getting out of the water and letting whatever injuries they still had from the assault courtesy of the Cucco Revenge Squad by the resident Fairies, Link and the Sages went to collect the rupees before using a portal that was present to end up back in the main room, this time crossing the platform to the far side of the room where they saw the passageway that opened up, leading to another shaft going down, similar to the entrance of the Royal Family’s Tomb, but this time big enough for everyone to move in. With Navi, Tatl and Tael at their side, the group prepared themselves and hopped down that hole…
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 42: The Longest Shortcut[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group landed in what appeared to be an empty room that looked similar to the temples they may have been in before, especially regarding Link, but it was just a plain room. One side had a door ahead that was sealed shut, the other part led to a corridor that had a portal at the end. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, this must be it…” Link said, looking around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah. I wonder what needs to be done to progress.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Maybe we need to go through that portal over there to see what we can find there?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good point. Perhaps it can give us any clues or something.” Ruto said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group headed for the portal, finding themselves inside a large room with windows and tiles so shiny it left a mirrored image of the room around, as if the tiles had a property like a mirror. However, one wall had a mirrored window on the floor, but there was no window on that part…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That is weird, normally there should be a window…” Link said, moving over to investigate.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The acoustics sounds nice here; I can hear my voice echoing a bit.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There are gratings on the wall at high spots…” Impa noted, while Zelda went with Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Using the Lens of Truth, Impa looked in the same direction as Link and Zelda were going in.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s a fake wall; there’s a Big Chest and a couple of Rupees behind it.” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright, thanks.” Zelda said, smiling at her attendant while Link hopped in the room beyond the fake wall, indeed finding the chest and several rupees around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Moving to open the chest, Link blinked at what he saw.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“More Clawshots?” He asked, taking one.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? You found even more Clawshots?” Zelda asked, arriving in the room.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes. Perhaps we can use these in combination with the ones we already have.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s take them, who knows what use they can be for us.” Zelda said, helping Link in gathering the Clawshots to hand them to the others, before collecting the present red and purple Rupees. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What an adventure we’ve been in so far.” Link said softly so only Zelda heard him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say… and to think that this isn’t over yet…” The Princess said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I feel certain that we will make it. If not, I’ll make sure I won’t go down without a fight. He won’t get us off-guard like last time.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right. Now that we have the Purified Fierce Deity Mask as our secret weapon…” Zelda said, smiling which made Link smile in kind.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“True. Hopefully the tables are turned in our favor this time.” He said as they went to the others who were waiting for them.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Handing over the additional Clawshots to the group, giving each of the group Double Clawshots in turn, they looked around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, how do these work? I mean, we can use only one of these at a time, right?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes and no,” Link said, “I believe that we can use the second one to reach another target while were hanging off the first one.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Can you show us?” Saria asked, confused.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sure thing.” Link said, using the first Clawshot to reach the first target after stepping on a switch that opened several doors in the higher floors in the room. Once attached to the first target, Link took his second Clawshot and fired it at a target close by, letting the first target go as he was pulled to the second one. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With this, Link worked his way over to a room in the first floor area, after which he let go and entered the room. Looking around, he noticed a chest standing in the room that looked akin to the chests that contained the key leading to the Boss door.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s strange; normally I’d expected something like a map or a compass or something.” Link said, before opening the chest to collect the key, before making his way down again, using the leaf that Saria gave him in the Stone Tower Temple to gently float down and through that land safely back on the ground without any form of damage. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What did you find?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found this key right here.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh? That’s it?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I guess so…” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wait, I thought to have seen some keyholes in the giant door ahead. Perhaps we need those keys to open the door.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmmm, this is weird.” Link said, getting ready to climb his way up again, using the Clawshots to climb to the second floor, discovering two more chests that contained the Big Key, but these were in a different color. Where the first one he found had a black color, he now had keys with a Sapphire and an Emerald color. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Seeing the others following him, he waited for them as he climbed his way to the top area, using the Clawshots to reach the far side of the area using the gratings at the ceiling. While underway, he spotted that there was a portal right up ahead in the room in front of him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, looks like we have to go through here.” He said, switching to his Hookshot to get a ceiling target and pulling himself towards it when it hit. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once in the room, he waited for the others, who were also working their way up with the Clawshots. After the group had gathered again, they went through the portal and arrived back in the room with the giant door. Now Link noticed the three different Locks on the door, handing a key out to Zelda and Saria.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s see if this works.” He said as the three went to put the keys in the corresponding locks, twisting them around until they heard the familiar *CLICK* of the locks unlocking. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Instantly the markings on the door began to glow, before the door opened up by separating itself in columns, one part going up, the other going down, leading to a single room outside, with a very small stairway with what looked like a large switch at the end, the switch being so heavy that it required a serious pounding to activate. Realizing that this was his job to do, Darunia approached the switch. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is weird, there are no enemies around as far as I have seen…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, you think something like this must have been occupied somehow…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps this temple was eventually abandoned to be left in obscurity after it has served its purpose for Ganondorf?” Impa theorized.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That could be possible, but as long as we can go through…” Rauru said.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Darunia went towards the switch, climbing on top of it before forming himself into a ball as usual, before jumping up and delivering the trademark Goron Pound on the Switch. This caused a siren to go off, sounding twice, making the group instantly draw their weapons, ready to face what was about to come… only for a thick circle of tiles on the ground in the room move and parts of it lowering, each tile going lower than the other… making it in fact a stairway that led to a doorway down on a lower level. Blinking at this, the group put their weapons away.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was odd…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, I wonder what will be next…” Zelda said as the group then went down the stairs.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Another hallway. This temple looks solid, but a place without traps and the like is a bit unsettling to me. It’s like you’re expecting things to happen, but when it doesn’t, it makes you even more paranoid that you already are.” Rauru said as they went through the open doorway and into a long hallway, hopping over platforms where necessary.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, as if things are trying to throw us off…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, as long as we can progress…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link giggled at this as the group went on.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As they traveled further down the hall, the tiles that were a bit reddish in color were now a mixture of blue/cyan, as if they entered another section of the temple. No sooner did they see another room in sight and approached it, when a door closed behind them, separating the first section they were in before from the one they were in now, effectively locking them in and through that preventing them from backtracking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Just as I thought…” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But where are the enemies?” Darunia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Look, there’s another giant door in that room up ahead.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But this one has FOUR locks. So that means we need four of those Big Keys this time around.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like the search game is afoot once more.” Zelda said as the group went the other way, only to see a spider’s web blocking their path, which Saria took out with a Fire Arrow.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“At least it’s something.” She said as the group entered the room, which had several floating platforms ahead that went upward, which in effect would make the group go and find their way upstairs to the next room.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is going to be quite a climb.” Link said, looking up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a floor switch directly ahead.” Zelda said, pointing to an area before Link’s feet. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Stepping on it, Link could hear a nearby door responding to it by opening up, only to close directly after Link stepped off of it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Great…” Link said as he stepped back on the switch, grabbed his Ocarina and played the ‘Elegy of Emptiness’ song, creating the statue of himself on top of the switch he stood on, after which Link himself walked away while his statue kept the switch pressed down. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We can advance now.” Nabooru said as she hopped on one of the floating platforms, with the others following step by step, right before Saria entered a room where she found a few small chests containing some arrow bundles, which she took. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]She also saw another floor switch in that same room and, following Link’s example, she stepped onto the switch and played the Elegy of Emptiness on her Ocarina to use her own statue to keep the switch pressed down for good measure. The door that opened because of the switch was leading into a small room which Zelda located, which also sported a suspicious looking crack in the left wall. Since she wasn’t in the room itself, she prepared a Bomb Arrow and fired at the cracked wall, destroying it as the bomb detonated, which on its turn revealed a crevice in the wall containing a big chest with the same colors as the one she had seen with Link before in the secret room of the first area of this temple. She entered the room with the crevice and opened the chest, obtaining the Big Black Key in the process. Seeing another floor switch, she grabbed her Ocarina of Time and, while standing on the switch, also played the Elegy of Emptiness to keep that switch too pressed down with her own statue. Once that was done, she left the room to join the other Sages and Link, with the door now opened leading to a portal that would help them progress.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Entering the Portal, the group arrived now in a room that had a shadow moving left and right, But there was no visible clue as to what the shadow was. This prompted Impa to use the Lens of Truth to look around, locating a platform that was invisible to the naked eye. She also saw a few Rupees around and one Skulltula guarding the entrance to the ledge in front of a Spider’s web. Zelda took both the Skulltula and the web out with a single Fire Arrow, before the group climbed on the only visible platform to get on top of the invisible ones, hopping over the platforms with care until they reached the ledge with the Big Chest, containing a Big Sapphire Key. Advancing ahead on the nearby platform, the group now arrived in a room that had a mirror in front of them. In the mirror and on the ground, the group could see a set of shadows in a straight line on a path to a high ledge that contained yet another Big Chest, once more guarded by a web with this time a Big Skulltula in front of it, which were also taken out with a single Fire Arrow, this time courtesy of Link. Making their way carefully over the platforms, using the Lens of Truth and the polished, mirrored wall as their guides, the group reached the crevice and opened the Big Chest to receive the Big Emerald Key. Advancing once more through the teleporter, the group now landed in a large, square room with yet again invisible platforms a polished floor, a crevice at the far side with a Big Skulltula and a web guarding it, but this time even the entrance to the crevice was made invisible to the naked eye. Saria fired another Fire Arrow to take out the hostile arachnid and the web in a single strike, before the group proceeded on the platforms to the crevice, although there were now going half a circle forward in the path in a counter-clockwise direction before they could enter the crevice. Once in the crevice, the Big Chest was now opened to reveal a Big Ruby Key. Stepping on the teleporter afterward, it took them back into the room where the Giant Door was, with Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto moving to the big locks in order to use the keys on them in the right places, which made the door open for them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, that’s the endeavor through this part of the temple.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Check this out, this setting could be fitting for a town’s square.” Zelda said, seeing the clear, blue sky, the presence of two trees, a stairway underneath one of the trees at the far side of the room and seeing the sun shine overall. There were also some metallic rattling sounds, three inside the trees and one on the ground. These remained in place however, not making a move except turning around in position constantly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! Gold Skulltulas? What are THEY doing here of all places?” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Is someone cursed here?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I don’t know, but whatever the reason, we should deal with them, just in case.” Link said, firing an arrow at the Gold Skulltula on the ground, instantly killing it before Link collected its token. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The other three Gold Skulltulas were also taken out in a single strike, or two as Saria used her Slingshot for one occasion, while Ruto used her Magical Boomerang to collect the tokens. After that, the group moved on to the staircase, the area around them being completely silent. The staircase was long, but also a bit low with the small steps that it contained. Upon reaching the top, the group moved into another hallway, descending down the stairs that were present there and making a turn to the right to climb another set of stairs to move into the next area. Link yawned and stretched as he went on, but making sure not to hit any of the others. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Getting a bit sleepy, huh?” Zelda asked, giggling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sorry…” Link said, sheepishly grinning.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“No need to be sorry; I think we can use a bit of a rest. We’ve been traveling on for quite a long time now I believe and, with the previous events considered, things have been rather hectic for all of us.” Impa said, patting Link’s shoulder as they entered a section of the temple that was technically a giant room with beige colored tiles.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Looking around the new room, they saw an open door with yet another giant door up ahead, this time the door had FIVE locks that needed the keys to open with. Moving to the left, the group could see several floating platforms up ahead, while at the ground floor area, there was a lower section that was filled with water that was flowing softly and gently from a present fountain. Smiling at this, Link simply hopped down to the ground floor and into the water puddle, seeing that it reached up to only his feet and felt rather comfortably, as if it was something like Spring Water. Yawning again, Link set down his equipment against the wall on the dry area and sat down into the water-filled area, finding the water soothing his legs a bit despite it only being a shallow pond. Chuckling at this, Saria and Zelda joined him by sitting at his sides, soon followed by Ruto, while Nabooru also joined in, providing a bit of a cushion for the group as she sat down as well. Rauru and Darunia decided to remain on the dry area, taking turns in watching over the group, while Impa also went inside the pond to help Nabooru, seeing that Link, Saria and Zelda had already fallen asleep, leaning against each other and Nabooru as they rested. Princess Ruto herself yawned as well before settling down in the water, deciding to lay down in the water instead due to her being a Zora. Soon enough, the entire group was vast asleep, resting peacefully inside the temple.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Several hours later, Link and the Seven Sages woke up again, yawning as they had a good rest indeed. Link walked to the fountain, using the stream of water coming from it to wash up his face to get it refreshed. It was of no surprise that Saria and Zelda both followed this example immediately. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, that felt nice.” Link said, using part of his outfit to get the water out of his eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa smiled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Feeling better now?” She asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, I really needed that rest, apparently.” Link replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We all did. At least we should have the energy to continue on.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where do we have to go?” Darunia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Those floating platforms obviously are present to make us reach the other side, but that path is blocked by means of a fence that has to be lowered first.” Link said, walking to the fence first to see how high it is, moving through the water to the other side.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just as he went to move on the path going up to the fence however, Link yelped as he slipped and fell back on the ground on his rear, immediately causing Saria, Zelda and Ruto to rush at his side.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A slope?!” He asked after getting up and testing the upward path with his foot, now noticing it was slippery overall.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The fence itself is also somewhat high nonetheless.” Zelda noticed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you alright?” Saria then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m fine, just made a slip, that’s all.” Link said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Just be careful, we wouldn't want you to break anything." Zelda said as the children made their way back to the far side of the area, climbing the vines to get to the higher area, where the other Sages were waiting for them. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Darunia stood on top of yet another Goron Switch, which he then gave a Goron Pound onto once the group had gathered near him. As the switch was activated by the pound, the gate at the far side lowered itself into the ground, leaving the road open for the group to travel across the area using the floating platforms. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"This could be... an excellent... training course... if you... ask me." Link said between jumping.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"You got that right." Impa said, following after Zelda and Link himself, while Saria was behind her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group managed to cross the platforms in time, as right after Rauru and Darunia landed in the corridor at the far side, the gate raised behind them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Timed switches. Haven't seen those in a while." Link commented. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Hey, isn't that a Red Emblem on that glass/crystal disk or whatever it is on there?" Saria then said as she looked ahead, spotting the emblem she had seen in the Stone Tower Temple before.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Oh dear, I hope it doesn't turn this place upside down..." Zelda said, as Link fired a Light Arrow at it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]However, all that happened was the symbol spinning around once, before it went back to normal.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Huh?!" Zelda and Saria asked, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"That's weird..." Link said, firing a second Light Arrow at it, but was met with the same result as before.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"It appears that it doesn't have any results..." Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Maybe it requires something stronger." Link said, setting up a third Light Arrow, readying himself to fire it, but held the arrow at its place, feeling strength increasing in it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After about 10 seconds or so, Link fired the Powered Light Arrow, which caused the disk to suddenly spin around like crazy in position once it was it, with sparks coming from its sides. In the distance however, the group could hear a scraping sound as if another gate was opening. This caused the group to blink.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"What could be hiding here?" Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Only one way to find out." Link said as he hoped down, yelping as he landed on a platform that had a trampoline for its surface, launching Link up a bit before he landed safely on the ground. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Making his way to the right, Link looked around in the room, seeing different portraits or paintings at the wall to the left, but one of them had moved up and revealed a path behind it...[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I have to give it to this place, it knows to hide its secrets." He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Yeah. I wonder what we will find here this time..." Zelda said as the group went up to a platform that raised using a Crystal Switch, although a ticking sound indicated that this one too was temporal as the group moved to the second platform, raising it to reach the new crevice they made, which led into another room with a pool of water.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As the group approached the pool however, a presence made itself known. It was yet another Great Fairy, with the same appearance to the one they saw in the room back in the land between Ikana Canyon and the Woods of Mystery, being dressed in a green dress, with majestic, green wings flapping softly behind her, sporting the sweetest smile on her face that showed she was friendly too.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Welcome, great Warriors. I can see you have been through quite the hardships." The Great Fairy said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"That we have, ever since the Evil King Ganondorf and the wicked being known as Majora returned..." Princess Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I understand. I will help you by upgrading some of your weapons. Receive it now!" The Great Fairy said, before spreading her arms.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]A glow appeared around the group, making them blink, but not moving. It was then that their respective swords and their bow and arrows began to glow, as if they were being changed...[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This glow lasted for several seconds, before it dissipated, leaving the group now with a different color on their swords and bow and arrows. The hilts of their swords have now colored green while the blades themselves were now completely of pure gold. The bows had a little darker shade on them, so it wasn't that much of a different, but the primary change was seen in the arrows, which instead of the regular brown arrows with metal tips, they were now completely colored in Silver.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"What happened?" Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"You now are in possession of the strongest weapons at your disposal, being the Golden Sword and the Silver Arrows. By extension this also powers up the combination items you can make, being Silver Bomb, Silver Fire, Silver Ice and Silver Light Arrows. This will let you kill most enemies in a single strike, deal with obstacles quicker and regular Silver Arrows can now also directly harm armored enemies like Iron Knuckles." The Great Fairy said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Really? Thank you very much." Link said, bowing politely to her. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"As an added Bonus, I also attuned your 'Burst' Skill to some of your weapons. If you wait a bit before firing a weapon, not only will it have increased power, but will from now also have an extra effect: The Bow will fire THREE Arrows simultaneously in one shot, the Boomerang can be fired three times in rapid succession to stun multiple incoming enemies, Bombs and Bombchus will do twice the amount of damage and have a wider blast radius (making the Bomb Arrows extremely powerful), the Hookshot will have a three-pointed hook to deal damage, extends farther and is faster and the Nice Ice Rod will drop four Ice Blocks in a diamond formation." The Great Fairy said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Wow, thank you!" Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"However, do not get careless; these upgrades come at the cost of a greater consumption of ammunition as well as magic power, so use these Charged abilities wisely." The Great Fairy said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"We will be careful, thank you." Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"No problem, may the Goddesses be with you." The Great Fairy said, before departing.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After watching her leave, the group then saw a Big Chest standing at the far side of the pool. Link went to open it, retrieving the Big Gold Key. After that, the group turned back to the room they came from, spotting the gate to the left on the first floor, realizing the platforms they used to reached the crevice is like a switch-based staircase, intending to test the skills of the group. Locating another Goron Switch in front of the first platform, Darunia gave another Goron Pound on it, which lowered the gate, thus opening the road ahead. The group then got on the first platform, using the Crystal Switch to make it rise, before hopping onto the next, repeating the procedure to reach the third platform and then finally the upper floor, where they saw yet another Big Chest, this time Zelda opened it to retrieve the Big Black Key. Moving on and walking down a few steps, the group now moved over a path that was part of the first floor, that also acted like a bridge to reach into a room directly ahead. To their left, they saw floating platforms that moved left and right, with a crevice containing another big chest, while to their right there were a few trampolines that led to plaforms left and right against the wall, going up while at the top there was another crevice where they also assumed that sported a Big Chest. A grating with vines was lowered on the far side of the bridge on the opposite wall, allowing them to reach the bridge again in case of an unfortunate mistakes that makes them land back on the ground again.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"How about we split into three groups, with each group going after a chest?" Link asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"A splendid idea. That saves a lot on time." Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"I'll handle the path to the left with Darunia." Rauru said, pointing to the chest to the left side.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"That room ahead looks like a challenge for me to take." Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Alright, Impa and I will accompany you for this." Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Okay, that leaves us three for the last chest to the right. We'll meet back down here at the fountain once we're done." Link said, nodding.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With this, the group went on their way to complete their mission. Rauru and Darunia had little trouble in crossing the floating platforms to reach the Big Chest, which contained the Big Sapphire Key, before they moved back to the ground floor, standing inside the water. Link, Saria and Zelda hopped on the two trampoline platforms which brought them to the platform ladder, jumping from one to the other after activating a smaller timed switch that lowered a gate to the room near the ceiling. Using the Giant Leaves that Saria generated for them as parachutes, the three glided in the air from the highest platform into the room, where they found the big chest which contained the Big Emerald Key. Afterwards they used the leaves to glide back to the ground floor to meet up with Darunia and Rauru. Ruto, Impa and Nabooru entered the room directly ahead, with Ruto using her Magical Boomerang to activate a distant crystal switch behind a pillar, which let the platform they stood on float to the far side of the room, where a smaller room with one more chest awaited them on a slightly higher level which they reached by climbing vines, this one contained the Big Ruby Key. With the key in hand, the three returned back into the main room and also hopped down the bridge and into the water area of the fountain where the others were waiting for them. Meanwhile, Link went back to the fountain and filled an empty bottle he had with some of the fresh, clean Spring Water, before drinking from the bottle to lessen his thirst a bit. He then handed the bottle out to the others one by one to refresh them, whom accepted it with a smile. Afterwards, the group went back to where they entered the section of the temple, moving now into the room that contained the giant door. Link, Saria and Zelda gave the others now the honor to open the door, which they did; Ruto had the Big Sapphire Key, Darunia the Big Ruby Key, Nabooru the Big Emerald Key, Impa the Big Black Key and Rauru the Big Gold Key, setting them simultaneously in their respective locks, which opened the door ahead... which actually glided back to what appeared to be a tunnel area, the door locking itself against the wall at the far side of the tunnel while revealing the exit. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Climbing into the tunnel, Link took a moment to observe the flowing lights around the walls, with what appeard to be stones floating around beyond it. He slowly made his way onward, as if watching the area carefully, the Sages soon following. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"This must be one of the very few temples where there is actually no boss around." Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Yeah, I'm actually beginning to like this place, as strange as it may seem." Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Perhaps we can use it as a training center?" Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Good idea. It can test the skills and endurance of the soldiers easily." Zelda said, nodding as the group turned to the left into the large corridor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After turning to the right, they found themselves now fully outside in what appeared to be a high area, from where they could see the coast. A bit to the left, they could see the fragments of the ruined Hyrule Castle, while ahead, they saw what appeared to be dark clouds moving in a focused position over the area, while the water had an ominous dark appearance to it. There was also a boat that apparently had docked nearby. Link sighed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Well, this is it, no more turning back." Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]"Indeed. I guess we should take the boat to go to where their lair is." Zelda said, as the group went on towards the boat, moving over the dock to reach a net to climb in the boat...
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 43: Onto the high mountains[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]A large boat was sailing its way over the ocean ahead, moving in a straight line towards its destination. On the boat were a total of eight people: four adults and four children. The trip itself went uneventful as Link and the Seven Sages just waited, with Rauru and Darunia steering the boat, while the others sat near them. As they did, they studied their newly upgraded weapons, as a gift of one of the Great Fairies they had encountered not too long ago, which in turn left the group with stronger weapons than ever. Link sat against the wall on the deck area behind Rauru and Darunia, obviously contemplating things. For a brief moment, he drew his sword to observe the now pure-golden blade area, feeling it brim with power to smite evil of any sort, before putting it back in its scabbard, sighing. He knew that the upcoming days would be hard, perhaps even suicidal. But to save their lands, he would gladly do it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A Rupee for your thoughts?” Ruto asked as she sat next to him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link looked towards her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh, nothing much. Just thinking about the days to come.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s going to be quite tough for us, huh?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You bet. Which is why I hope that this time we will be victorious…”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We all hope so. I am certain we’ll make it through, as long as we stick together and watch over each other closely.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed.” Link said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And there’s no way back for us at all, I assume…” Ruto then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“No. We’ve gotten too far now to turn our backs and hide or go with another training course. By the time we think we are prepared, Ganondorf and Majora will likely have made their fort impenetrable so no one can be of a decent threat to them anymore and they could take us out in a blink of an eye. We must end this now before both Hyrule and Termina will be left in a state worse than it has been before with all the monsters and cursed people around.” Link said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Ruto nodded, sighing herself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It sounds a bit poetic, that only a handful of people are even remotely capable of mounting a proper defense against evil…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link chuckled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I bet that songs will be sung about the events in the days to come.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I hope it will be happy ones that tell about us overcoming evil…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link laughed at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Trust me, Ruto. If we manage to win from Ganondorf and Majora both, I’d accept nothing less than a full opera.” He said, making Princess Ruto chuckle at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s definitely something that will be enjoyed by everyone.” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Besides, we already died once and I don’t intend to die again, unless it’s of old age.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We all feel the same on that.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded with a smile, acknowledging that even Ruto has mellowed out somewhat due to the seriousness of the situation as a whole. Where she was once boasting a little to be Link’s self-proclaimed fiancé due to the importance of Zora’s Sapphire to her, it appeared as if she was given a reality check due to events of the Future That Almost Was, coupled with what has transpired with her too over the past several weeks…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Upon reaching the mountain area, already the group could feel a cold wind blowing over the area.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Geez, reminds me of Snowhead with its winter climate, but without the blizzard.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, it’s only typical for them to stick around the mountainous area.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder why Ganondorf and Majora have made their fort all the way over here instead of just replacing Hyrule Castle…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They either wanted something bigger around to house their soldiers and prisoners, make things overall tougher for us, or they could have chosen the place to make us fade in obscurity in case we fall by their hands. I intend to prove them otherwise, no doubt about that, but it’s a possibility.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Given their overall powers and their animosity for us, I see no reason to doubt your reasoning for thinking like that.” Rauru said as he slowed down the ship and prepared it for docking alongside the pier.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The others nodded as the cold wind blew over the deck as Rauru docked the ship at the pier, making sure the net was out for the group to climb off.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Still plenty of snow around…” Saria said as the group got off their ship and onto the pier, before walking into a cavern that led to the mountain trail towards the new Tower of Ganondorf and Majora.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s hope we don’t catch a cold underway.” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It would be quite messy if we did.” Link said with a chuckle.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After climbing over a stack of crates that were set up almost like a makeshift staircase, Link and the Seven Sages arrived at the first part of the new mountain area, landing on a small path which had the road blocked to their left by means of a large pine tree. The path continued to their right, only for them to come face to face with yet ANOTHER Iron Knuckle. This one was clad in black armor and stood silent as a statue while holding its fearsome battle axe in his hands.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Time to test these babies out.” Link said, preparing a Silver Light Arrow to strike the Iron Knuckle with. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]It immediately took damage and awoke, approaching the group as Saria took a shot herself, damaging it further. Zelda shot a Silver Light Arrow at it, making the Iron Knuckle lose its outer armor, which in turn made it faster as it now ran to the group. Thankfully Ruto assisted with first her Nice Boomerang to stun the Iron Knuckle as well as damaging it, before Link, Saria and Zelda took it out for good using their Silver Light Arrows. This in turn gave the group now room to progress, but in the distance they could see what appeared to be giant snowballs rolling against the wall at the far side of the path the heroes stood on. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmmm, looks like we’ll need fire based attacks to help with this.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll go ahead using my Fire Punches to cover you. Just cover me using your Fire Arrows.” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Zelda said, giving the group a plan to progress.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With Darunia taking the lead, the group went onward, taking a turn to the left to enter the larger path up ahead, directly confronting the giant Snowballs heading to them. Darunia simply Fire-Punched those in his path, while Link, Saria and Zelda backed him up with Silver Fire Arrows, instantly obliterating any Snowball that was hit by them. Moving on, they climbed their way carefully to a higher ledge using nearby rocks and crates, with Darunia, Link, Saria and Zelda still keeping the Giant Snowballs at bay as much as they could to give the others time to join them. Once on the higher ledge, the group saw another Iron Knuckle standing there in position.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’ll handle the Iron Knuckle, just cover us with the Snowballs.” Impa said to Zelda.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Understood.” Zelda said, nodding as the entire group went on the offensive, with Link aiding the group engaging the Iron Knuckle with the best of his abilities, while also helping to strike any incoming Snowballs that would form a hazard to the others.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Iron Knuckle was this time a bit more challenging to deal with due to the snowballs continuously rolling by. The Fire Punches and Silver Fire Arrows proved of great assistance to them, which made the fight somewhat easier as the Snowballs didn’t pose much of a threat, allowing the major focus on the Iron Knuckle instead. Once it was defeated, although Impa narrowly avoided a swing of its axe, the group climbed their way to a higher area, going further up another ledge to see a cage on a larger area of flat ground. Breaking it open, the group blinked to see a villager of Hyrule Castle Town being released from it. The villager was an old man wearing a blue suit. As the group went to him, the flow of the rolling snowballs stopped.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh? You… came to free me?” He asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That we did.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The man then saw Princess Zelda.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Your Highness, it is an honor to meet you in person.” He then said, bowing politely.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda nodded.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Rise, civilian. Do you know what’s going on around here?” She asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This area is the outer section of the greatest stronghold of the Evil King so far. I overheard some of the Stalfos around here say that their actual headquarters lies around here somewhere. The stronghold itself, being a massive tower, cannot be accessed unless a barrier that protects its entrance has been disabled. This barrier is powered by generators that look like a sophisticated machine using Terminan technology, one of them is located in the Stone Tower Temple.” He replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So THAT was what the machine we saw was for! That explains their significance to the soldiers out here!” Link said, reaching an epiphany. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“How many generators are there?” Darunia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So far, I overheard that three of such generators exist, one of them being located in the Stone Tower Temple. The other two are located both somewhere in this area as well as in the actual headquarters itself, the one located out here being a small back-up generator to the main one in case it has to be taken off-line for maintenance.” The man said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like we have a job to do on top of this.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Be warned; these generators are likely to be heavily defended, so make sure you are well-prepared when you find them.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thanks for the heads up. You should better get out of here as things will go hectic out here very soon.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a boat we’ve taken here that will allow you to get out of here. I suggest hiding around and wait until other prisoners have been freed so you can make your escape.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright, thank you very much.” The man said, before taking his leave.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After the man was gone, the group used their Clawshots to reach a higher ledge, from which they moved onto a bridge that led to a greater platform, with wooden structures being in place as if something was under construction, perhaps something more akin to a Lookout post. No sooner had they arrived on the area when several Stalfos and Dinolfos arrived in the area to attack the group. Using their upgraded blades, the Dinolfos were dealt with rather easily, while the Stalfos were still tougher to beat, even though the heroes’ superior weapons allowed them to deal significantly more damage than before. But the group was not allowed to rest after this short battle; two more lizard-like beings arrived in the area… by flight! They looked similar to the Dinolfos and Lizalfos, which indicated that they were related, but these lizard creatures sported wings as well as a sword and shield. These were Aeralfos, whom took position around the group. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What in the world?!” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hey, those shields look like they have some kind of grating on them…” Impa said, just as the Aeralfos got in a defensive position and charged at the group from two sides. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link, Zelda, Saria and Nabooru were hit, Ruto, Darunia and Rauru avoided it and Impa side-stepped the Aeralfos, striking one of them in the back with a Silver Arrow, making it yelp in pain. However, the two Aeralfos took back in the air, ready to dive down again. Link however spotted what appeared to be a grating-like pattern on the shield, so he decided to wait until the shield was moved forward again, which was something the Aeralfos seemed to do before charging in with a dive attack. Immediately, Link grabbed his Clawshot, aimed and fired at the shield, the claw latching onto it, much to the shock of the Aeralfos itself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“COME HERE!” Link snapped, retracting the claw which dragged the Aeralfos towards him, before clobbering it with his own shield, dazing it, after which Link knocked the creature down and performed the Ending Blow on it, killing it instantly. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Seeing this, Saria performed the same action Link did just before the second Aeralfos could dive down on them, also using the Shield Attack followed by the Ending Blow to defeat it, bringing victory for the group.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was unexpected; they’re bringing in air support now?!” Ruto asked once the battle is over.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They obviously must have been here for a reason, I can’t think of anything else other than them wanting to kill us.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps they’re here to protect something?” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That old man did say something about a back-up generator for a barrier that supposedly prevents us from entering Ganondorf and Majora’s lair, so we may be quite close to where it has been placed.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s take a good look around here then…” Link said as he moved toward the wooden platform that he could reach easily, intending to use it to climb his way up. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The others followed as Link approached an apparent dead end, but then Navi moved on and was floating in place at a small distance ahead.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the matter, Navi?” Link asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There must be something here, Link,” Navi said, “perhaps your Ocarina can help with this?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The Lens of Truth only shows a few platforms that are out of our reach…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And how is the ocarina going to help?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps if I do this…” Link said, before playing the Song of Time on his Ocarina.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Instantly a blue glow appeared in the air, as blocks with the symbol of the Door of Time on every side were generated right before the group’s eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, you have your answer.” Nabooru said with a smile. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Ruto smiled as well, while Link got on the first block, moving onward and making his way up towards the invisible platforms which Impa saw.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just before Link wanted to turn to the right, he saw what appeared to be tracks in a crevice to his left. Feeling that this was a bit out of place, he hopped over to it, seeing that the tracks led into a path he hadn’t seen right away from the ground up, the trees at the edge having hidden it well as well. His curiosity peeked, he went to investigate, following the tracks along the way, with the others behind him. They eventually arrived in a large room with what appeared to be a cart on the tracks and a total of five doorways around, almost in a six-way pattern. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What is this?! Is this like an abandoned mine or something?!” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s possible, but I wonder what is out here…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]It was then that Link heard the eerie sound of something coming from above.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh for Nayru’s sake, not THESE guys again?!” He said, jumping forward to avoid a Wallmaster, which landed on the spot where he just stood, with Ruto taking it out in a single strike of her Golden Zora Sword.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]However, before Link could thank her, he was suddenly hit in the back with something, right before Saria was met with a similar treatment, causing Link and Saria to crash into each other, knocking them out for the moment. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?!” Zelda asked, before she was hit at the side of her head, also rendered unconscious. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa instantly put on the Lens of Truth and discovered to her shock that there were not one, not two, but FOUR Invisible Floormasters in the area, which turned their attention to the remaining Sages. Gathering his own power, Darunia raised his hand in the air, gathering his powers, before smashing it on the ground, creating a geyser of fire-based energy that promptly incinerated the Floormasters, making them split in three, although most of the smaller Floormasters were caught in the remains of the Fire Geyser, instantly incinerated as well, while Impa struck swiftly to take out the others before they could siphon the energy of the others to grow back to their normal size. Taking the unconscious three with them, the group moved on into the central shaft, where they heard a humming sound as if something was being produced there. As they arrived in a single room, they could see a smaller adaptation of the device they had seen in the Stone Tower Temple before, the humming sound waking the three up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! What happened? Where are we?” Link asked, shaking his head to remove the stars out of his vision.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I think we may have found the back-up Generator.” Impa said, whom had crouched down near him and Zelda, while Nabooru intercepted another Wallmaster and let it land on her swords, impaling it in the process which meant its death as well.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, so the back-up generator is here, huh?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yep, but it looks protected against bombs.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps this Powder Keg can be of help.” Darunia said, lighting up a Powder Keg and laid it in front of the Generator’s main power supply, before the group made their way out to take cover. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With a loud explosion, the Powder Keg detonated, the force of it severely damaging the power generator, which caused it to overload and began to explode itself, destroying the generator in the process. Feeling the explosions, the group decided to make a run for it to outside and into the invisible platforms outside, with Impa leading on to make them visible for the group. No sooner were they outside and about halfway over the platforms, when a fireball blasted outside the mineshaft, causing the entrance to it to collapse and the snow that was on top of it to move down, creating an avalanche that made a more safer path to travel down on at the bottom, while also making one of the invisible platforms directly visible because of it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, that was a close call.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say. At least that back-up generator’s destroyed, so we won’t be bothered by it anymore.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s continue on, our job’s done here.” Rauru said.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Moving into a different mineshaft, the group went first with a curve to the right, then to the left, where another barrier was blocking their path. With the barrier having the same appearance as the one seen in the Stalfos Outpost within the forest, Darunia knew that a Powder Keg could break them, but he used the one to destroy the generator before and this time there were no chests around. Link wasn’t giving up and instead tried to charge up a Silver Bomb Arrow.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Take cover!” Darunia said, before the group moved behind Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link then fired the Charged Silver Bomb Arrows, which made him shoot three at once, which blasted the barrier to bits![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, it takes a bit of time, but it gets the job done.” Link said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say, but we may need to conserve ammo sooner or later.” Zelda said as the group then ventured through the open door, coming across what appeared to be a small look-out post or a wooden framework that allowed soldiers to climb up the higher path at the far side of the area. Overlooking the path, as if guarding it, was a single Bomb Soldier, whom instantly began to toss bombs in the direction of the group once it spotted them, only to be taken out by a single Silver Bomb Arrow courtesy of Zelda, giving the group the opportunity to climb up to the far side of the area over the wooden platforms. Once having reached the higher path, the group made their way along towards another mineshaft, taking out a single Lizalfos along the way and climbing a ladder at the end of the short tunnel, which led to a higher-laid path, leading to a cliff where at the bottom was another snow-covered path leading to a frozen pond with a frozen waterfall. Directly ahead was another Lizalfos, accompanied by another Bomb Soldier, both of whom were easily taken out, although Link caught the bomb that the Bomb Soldier threw and tossed it away before its explosion could do any harm, exploding harmlessly in the air instead. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, this area’s big.” Nabooru commented. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sounds fitting for a stronghold to me.” Darunia said as the group moved to a nearby ladder and climbed down onto the path leading to the frozen waterfall, where a doorway was between two slabs of ice, sealed with the same wooden barrier the group had seen before and a single Moblin was guarding it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Seeing this, the group waited while Link took out the Barrier with another Charged Silver Bomb Arrow, while Zelda used a regular Silver Arrow to take out the Moblin. Afterwards, the group went into an open doorway, which led into a tunnel where a chest was in the center. Opening the chest, the group found a large bundle of arrows to use with their bow, increasing their supply of Silver Arrows along the way. Exiting the tunnel led the group into a single room in the outside field, with towering wooden structures present that did serve as a Lookout post for real, occupied by three Lizalfos, two Moblins and three Bomb Soldiers. Immediately two of the Lizalfos jumped down to ground level to confront the group, ready to attack. Rauru and Impa took out the two Lizalfos with ease, but then the Bomb Soldier came to ground level, tossing a bomb at the group. Saria, imitating Link on this, caught the Bomb and tossed it back to the Bomb Soldier this time, damaging it when it detonated. The Bomb Soldier on its turn got angry and tossed a sudden cluster of FIVE bombs at once to the group, making them scatter in order to stay out of their blast radius. At the same time, Saria managed to fire a Silver Arrow at the Bomb Soldier, defeating it, which in turn allowed the group to climb up the first wooden platform. No sooner had they arrived there, when a second Bomb Soldier landed on the bridge, while the first of the two Moblins arrived and got ready to charged at the group, while the third Lizalfos stood behind him, moving as if taunting the group. Launching a Silver Arrow himself, Link took out the charging Moblin, whom knocked the Bomb Soldier off the bridge in its fall, where Saria tossed a bomb after him to defeat it. Zelda used a ray of her own magic power to blast the taunting Lizalfos to bits, before the group moved on over the bridge to the second wooden platform.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just as Saria worked on making vines for the group to climb onto the higher part of the second platform, the third Bomb Soldier arrived, along with the second Moblin and two Dinolfos, the latter two jumped off a high part of the mountain and onto the far side of the area, onto a ledge near the third wooden tower. Darunia defeated the Bomb Soldier with ease, while Nabooru used a Golden Sword Spark to kill the Moblin instantly, leaving only the Dinolfos to deal with. Link and Zelda both successfully pulled off the Mortal Draw against them, finally defeating all the enemies in the area . Darunia in the meantime broke open a cage, freeing a Goron in the process.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thanks for rescuing me.” The Goron said, whom gave Darunia a free Powder Keg in gratitude.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“No problem.” Darunia said, smiling as he felt a bit of pride coming to him for being able to aid a comrade in their time of need.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Be careful around here though, the road to the Headquarters is near here, but the base is SWARMING with enemies.” The Goron said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Don’t worry, we can take them on.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you sure? I’ve overheard that some of the weaker enemies have now received armor to increase their defenses against you; their testing ground is within these headquarters and the tower itself.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We are sure. Rest assured, comrade; the enemy won’t last long.” Darunia said, turning to the others, whom nodded with confidence to him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Very well. I must urge you to remain cautious; the headquarters is located underground, so be wary of areas that will have either lava or molten steel around.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright, thanks for the heads up.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Don’t mention it.” The Goron said, before leaving the area himself. Following after him, the group went back through the tunnel and into the area that now had platforms to the right the group had to climb up on, with yet another Moblin arriving in the area, only for Nabooru to take it out with yet another Golden Sword Spark.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With the enemies dealt with, the group began to climb on top of the platforms to the right to make their way up to a higher path on the far side of the area.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Evening is about to fall…” Ruto said, looking up in the sky.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. We may have found the headquarters either during the night or otherwise during the next day.” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But we can’t stop now to rest though; we may freeze to death if we do.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I have a feeling we won’t be able to have any rest in the upcoming time, we’d better prepare for the worst.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Agreed. Our lives and those of the people in Hyrule and Termina depend on this.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But what if Ganondorf and Majora are still too strong?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thinking of the worst case, huh?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is a possibility,” Darunia said, “but even if that is the case, we will show them that they are not invulnerable.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. And I intend to spend every bit of my energy in fighting them until I can’t fight no more. And as far as I’m concerned, I’ll fight them until my very last breath.” Link said, determination shining in his eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hahahaha! That’s the spirit, brother! Songs will be sung of your outrageous courage and determination.” Darunia said, patting Link’s shoulder.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Majora said that we were thorns in the sides of Ganondorf and Majora. How long can they survive our stings?” Nabooru said with a smirk.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa, while remaining serious, nodded with a smile.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Either way, we will make them pay.” She said, just as the group went through another tunnel, headed for the next area.
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 44: A Race to the bottom[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]It was night when the group finally arrived in the next area, outside of the tunnel. At the far side of the platform they were on was a shed that was blocked by a single Mad Scrub, with a path going all the way down and up the mountain. Saria prepared a Silver Arrow to shoot the Mad Scrub with… only for the arrow to be blocked by a barrier, courtesy of a Barrier-Generating Wizrobe![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“These guys again?! I haven’t seen them since Saria, Zelda, Ruto, Nabooru and I ventured through the land between the Woods of Mystery and Ikana!” Link said, just as the Wizrobe vanished.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“How do we beat these guys?!” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whenever we fire at who or whatever the Wizrobe is guarding, it will appear to cast the energy barrier around the creature for several seconds before turning invisible again. That is the ONLY time that the Wizrobe on its turn can be harmed.” Nabooru said, demonstrating it with Zelda as Zelda fired a Silver Arrow of her own at the Mad Scrub, making the Wizrobe with the barrier appear, only for Nabooru to slash the Wizrobe with her Golden Scimitar Swords, damaging it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria then fired at the Mad Scrub again, making the Wizrobe appear on a different spot, where Princess Ruto slashed at him with her sword, defeating it. Zelda then fired an arrow at the Mad Scrub, instantly defeating it. Link then saw a cage hanging in the air and fired an arrow at it to break it open, only for the Silver Arrow to strike another barrier, generated by a SECOND Barrier Wizrobe. Seeing as how they had been defeated, Darunia rushed at the Wizrobe and hit it in the face. Link fired at the cage again, forcing the Barrier Wizrobe to remain in place to generate the barrier again, allowing Darunia to finish it off with a second Goron Fire Punch. Firing a Silver Arrow for the third time at the cage, Link smiled as this time, the cage broke open and another Goron came out, this time it was a much younger Goron, although slightly older than the Elder Goron’s son in Snowhead.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh? Wha-?! You… you freed me?!” He asked, looking around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That we did, my friend.” Darunia said as the others came towards him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thank you.” The Goron said with a smile, just as chests appeared on the ground around the spot where the cage was hanging before. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Opening the chests, the group smiled at finding another set of bombs and bundles of Arrows to replenish their ammunition with, while the Goron waited for them at the shed.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once the group had restocked, they went to see the Goron again.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What are you doing?” Ruto asked, scratching her head, while Saria was shivering in the cold, causing Link to put an arm around her in order to try and keep her warm, making Saria blush.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I want to make a little race with you. You can use these planks here to stand on and follow me down the mountain.” The Goron said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Okay, but where are we going?” Link asked, deciding to humor him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s a secret, but it’s definitely something that is of great importance to you. In fact, it will allow you to continue your journey towards where you’re planning to go.” The Goron said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You have our interest now. Are there any conditions to this?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Just one: all of you have to reach the bottom before me. That’s it.” The Goron replied with a smile.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sounds like an interesting challenge.” Link said, sheathing his weapons and adjusting his outfits as he grabbed one of the planks.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, how do these work?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Just stand on it. With how this mountain runs, speed won’t be an issue. Just make sure you maintain balance.” The Goron said as he moved to the far side of the shed, rolling up to charge up a roll himself, while Darunia did the same.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The others did as they were told, making sure their feet would hold on the plank.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you ready, then let’s go!” The Goron said, starting up his roll, before he went on his way.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link used his left foot to take a few steps to gain speed before moving it on the plank, gaining speed as he went now down the mountain, shifting his body to steer in the direction that the Goron was moving on. Link decided to take it easy on this route, as if wanting to see where the Goron would be going. The remaining Sages followed with a bit of distance, ensuring they wouldn’t bump into each other by accident this way.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh man, talk about a sudden change in travel methods.” Link said to himself as he slid further down, first going to the right, then left as the tail moved in a bit of a snake trail, before hopping on a smaller path further down and hopping from there on lower ground, the speed he was traveling with being enough to knock an Iron Knuckle who stood in the way to the side, causing Link to blink at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Now that’s a heavy crash.” He said as he kept going, moving further down through a narrow passage, knocking a second Iron Knuckle aside at the end of the path, letting Link pass through. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, this is putting a new spin on things.” He said as he continued on his way.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Going over a higher path and taking a curve to the left, Link continued onward while taking a turn to the right, knocking a third Iron Knuckle aside as to give the others free rein to pass.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the deal? It’s as if I’m going so fast I’m knocking these guys over like bowling pins!” Link said, taking a small turn to the right, moving onward and knocking a Dinolfos aside as well, moving on and knocking even a Stalfos over along the way.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Meanwhile, Zelda gulped as she narrowly missed bumping against the edge of the path, not being used to this. Then she remembered a bit of what had happened within the Tower of Light that she had been in with Link, Saria, Ruto and Nabooru, where they also had to pull off such an act just to get back downstairs from the tower itself after presumably being locked in and dealing with a Bomb Soldier whom was protected by a Barrier Wizrobe, the major difference being that now she was still in her normal sized self, as were the others. This brought some sense of comfort for her as she made her way along, following Link’s trail as much as she could. Similarly, Saria, Ruto and Nabooru adapted well, while being on the lookout for Darunia as he had his Spiked Goron Roll on, not wanting to get impaled by him.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Another boat was making its way over the ocean to the island that the group was on, although this one looked different from what the group had used. Still, it had several passengers present who were also battle-hardened, ready to take on what was coming to them. On the front side of the deck, there stood two Gerudo, one with dual-scimitar swords strapped on her back, while the second one carried a glaive, while a bow and a quiver with arrows was strapped on her back.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“When do you think we’ll arrive here, sis?” The younger Gerudo asked the one next to her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Probably over the course of the next day. Let’s hope that we’re not too late as I feel that they need our help more than ever. They have helped us out before, now it’s time for us to return the favor.” The older Gerudo said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Lady Reimu, we have land in sight straight ahead.” Another Gerudo then shouted to her from the crow’s nest.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Understood. Maintain course towards that land!” Reimu replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“As you wish, my Lady.” The Gerudo controlling the ship said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Leia, have the troops ready for a final check. I want everyone to be ready for this for when we go in.” Reimu said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, sister.” Leia said, nodding before she moved off. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Reimu watched her go, before sighing.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]‘Rest assured, Lady Nabooru, we will come to help you and your friends out. You are going to need our help soon enough, I know it.’[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] She thought to herself as she continued looking forward, seeing the mountain range coming into view. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]On the deck of the ship, several other Gerudo, the four Pirates whom were with the group at the Stone Tower Temple before among them, presented themselves before Leia. Several soldiers from what remained of the Hyrulean and Terminan armies were also present, battle-hardened and ready to avenge their fallen comrades, having taken up some additional training from the Gerudo, who for once have put their differences aside in regards to their normally reclusive nature and took up arms to help in fighting the greater evil that was rampaging across their lands. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Romani and Cremia still tended to their ranch, assisted by a few Gerudo whom decided to stay behind in order to provide at least some form of a last defense in case things would go awry, while at the same time also ready to treat any wounded that came their way. Having seen the rampaging Cuccos in action, the civilians of Clock Town have taken up arms and drove whoever survived of the Corrupted Soldiers out of town after stripping them of their weapons, effectively creating the Terminan Resistance Group, with one division led by Kafei, the husband of the Stock Pot Inn-keeper Anju. The main commander of the troops was Captain Viscen, whom now had the opportunity to prove his worth. Working together with Mutoh, the boss of the Carpenters, construction was underway to repair and reinforce the town’s walls as well as forming a more formidable defense against any oncoming enemies. Ironically, the enemies that remained swarming around the direct vicinity of Clock Town, the ChuChus, Real Bombchus, Blue Bubbles and Dodongos proved to be of excellent target practice as these creatures kept coming back to replace any of their fallen comrades. A few soldiers also took pleasure in injuring the Takkuri, mainly to keep it away from any travelers that moved around in order to get the supplies needed to feed the townspeople and soldiers alike. As for Clock Town itself, the mess that was left behind during the rampage of the Cucco Revenge Squad was eventually cleaned up, the remains of the soldiers whom were slain by the Cuccos were tossed out, buried in an unmarked grave and forgotten about once it was done, letting nature run its course on the corpses underground. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Gorman Brothers in the meantime were eventually caught in another, rather careless, attempt of sabotage and were subsequently captured, tried and put into prison, which in turn disappointed the Gorman Brother leading the Gorman Troupe act as he couldn’t believe his hard-working brothers did such acts simply to hinder the competition, in particular Romani Ranch. Whatever animals were stolen from the ranch were eventually returned, much to Cremia’s delight, so she could treat them properly to have their strength recover. Nobody would ever hear from Sakon ever again, much less find his rotting corpse as it was still behind his own self-made hideout with the closed rock wall as main security barrier. Even if they would learn of his fate, their common reaction would be: ‘Good riddance’, considering how much of a bad person Sakon has been. Especially Kafei would be satisfied to learn of his demise, although he would be slightly disappointed in not being able to deliver a punch or two of his own against him for stealing his precious Sun’s Mask, which was now the Couple Mask which Link still had with him.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Deku Royal Family in their palace in the Southern Swamp also made some additional preparations, with the King being much more rational and letting the monkeys help in forming a defense alongside the Deku Guards. The Gorons in Goron Village also prepared themselves, mostly to defend their Elder and his son, hoping that this time there will be no harsh winter like last time. Each of the Gorons in Snowhead remembered Darmani the Third, one of the bravest Gorons that ever lived, inspiring the Gorons there through his spirit to be determined to defend their lands of any evil that would try to come close at it with the best of their abilities. At the beach areas, the friendly Zora were on patrol a lot more, while others formed an escort force for those who were needed to go on errands or in case other Zora wanted to be visited, one of those Zora groups escorting Lulu to the lab so Lulu had the time to finally see her children again, whom were excited at seeing her. Mainly thanks to the efforts of Link, the Zora babies were growing in a steady, healthy pace, soon old enough to grow from their tadpole forms to the Humanoid forms like Princess Ruto. It brought great relief to Lulu to see that her seven children were healthy so far, hoping they would soon be strong enough to come with her to Zora Hall. This brought a sense of confidence and safety as well to her, knowing what she must do to protect her children… [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]A whole different story however was, as usual, Ikana Canyon, since that land was already haunted by the dead. It was logical that the cursed land by itself would remain untouched as many travelers would avoid the area like the plague, unless they had the right courage and determination to overcome the dangers of the area, considering the Garo Robe Ninjas still dwelled there to this very day, ready to report to their master about their findings concerning the Ancient Castle of Ikana. It was as if Ikana itself, regardless of whom had tried to ease the lingering souls there, would be cursed for eternity, considering the history full of bloodshed and suffering of the Kingdom as a whole. It would be the kind of curse that was not of Ganondorf or Majora’s doing and could therefore not be lifted so easily; the only achievements that could be made would be to ease and heal the souls lingering with suffering and regrets instead, which in turn would allow such souls to rest in the peace they were seeking.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Having knocked another Iron Knuckle aside along the way, Link sped on his makeshift snowboard on a large slab of ice in a cavern, gritting his teeth at the scraping sound, but not slowing down one bit. Seeing the path split up ahead, he took a slight offset to the left, leading him to a higher area over the snow, maintaining his position to maintain balance. Apparently the experience back in the Tower of Light has done him well as he remembered to shift his position well enough to change course where necessary, ensuring he would stay on the path. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Talk about getting some excitement in during the night,” he said as he properly hopped over several gaps, making a turn to the right to stay on the higher path, “I hope the others are alright…”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“If anyone told me that I would be snowboarding across this area, I would have laughed them out of the castle for this…” Zelda said as she exited the cavern herself, seeing Saria further ahead.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh wow, if the other Kokiri would hear about this…” Saria said, shuddering a little while trying to maintain focus.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“If I ever said that I wanted some more excitement in my life in the past, I would go back in time to where I said it and make me eat those words.” Ruto said, gulping a little.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ve heard of some rather harsh training courses, the Training Grounds in the Gerudo Fortress being an infamous example, but THIS goes beyond it!” Nabooru said as she attempted to stay on the right path.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good thing this isn’t used as a race track in the Goron Races…” Darunia mused as he rolled on, knocking several Lizalfos over like bowling pins along the way.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder how this will eventually benefit us…” Impa said as she now exited the same cavern, with the silent Rauru not too far behind her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link could feel his body bouncing a little as he then moved over a bridge made of logs while knocking another Stalfos to the side, passing underneath a building and going in a circle in a counter-clockwise direction to a higher part of this building, before entering a narrow path that would be more ideal for a sled to ride, considering the steep hills that pretty much acted like guard rails. He had the young Goron in sight, but he would be unable to catch up on him. He did spot a small ice platform that laid in the center of the path he slid on once he was past the steep hills, while he moved on to what appeared to be a cart that would take him back to where he started the race, the young Goron ahead. As the cart took off, he saw that Saria was coming in as well...[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I feel a déjà vu coming on…” Link said as he prepared to get to the course a second time, the others not too far behind.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]On their second round, Link decided to get more speed in to catch up on the Goron rapidly and hopefully get past him during the course.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder where we will eventually end up in once this race is over…” Link said to himself as he went on ahead, memorizing the course this time around as he made his way over the course, taking the same route he had taken before, but now there were no enemies that acted as obstructions.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria was now getting closer, intending to catch up with Link to follow his route for a change and see where he was going once the paths would split over different courses overall.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I have to admit, this is kind of fun. It’s something else for once other than being chased around or fighting for your life.” Link said as he entered the cave a few minutes later.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder if this place can be explored without the snow… or the snowboard…” Saria wondered herself as they sped onward, the others following not too far behind…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Ganondorf and Majora in the meantime were making their final preparations for in their tower, unaware of the group being on the same island as they were...[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hopefully the confrontation comes soon; the sooner those fools are dead, the better.” Majora said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Getting a bit anxious, are we?” Ganondorf asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That group of eight are an insult to our existence, Ganondorf and you know it. How they manage to revert back to normal from being turned to stone still baffles me.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The answer is very simple, Majora; they possess the powers that destiny has blessed them with that offers them a degree of protection against such spells and curses.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? So those very powers you seek are protecting them in a way?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Correct. It also grants them powers in their own right, which in turn makes them already formidable opponents.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And I suppose you want those powers as well…” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That is correct, but that is not the main reason. You obviously are not familiar with the holy relic that is native to Hyrule known as the Triforce, which has been said to be able to grant any wish to those who touch the complete Triforce.” Ganondorf said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Pah, myths and legends of ancient times. Who cares about that?! It’s likely a bunch of rubbish anyway; just deal with those pricks so we can finally rule the world the way we see fit!” Majora snarled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This made Ganondorf stop in his act for a moment, turning to Majora, who merely frowned at him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I shall remember those words of blasphemy, Majora. You will be eating those words once the proof is shown in your face.” Ganondorf said, narrowing his eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whatever.” Majora simply said, moving on to make a few more of their henchmen stronger and curse a few prisoners along the way, leaving Ganondorf by himself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Ganondorf on his turn kept his eyes narrowed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Insolent fool,” he drawled in a low voice, “you have no idea what you’re up against. It’s no wonder why Termina was technically doomed in the first place… I wonder if your existence was also meant to be an insult to the people who blasphemed the Goddesses…” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Ganondorf then stood up, moving on towards the top of the tower himself.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Passing over the logs and going through the building again, Link found himself shifting positions to maintain speed and balance, as if it became a natural skill of his to pick up on new skills rapidly than any seasoned warrior. Then again, the Triforce of Courage allowed him this ability to master most of these new skills and weapons in a shorter time, which was needed to pass specific trials as well as to fight evil. Granted, he too needed the occasional training in order to keep his skills spic and span in the first place, but with the way he has been holding out so far makes him quite the exceptional warrior, with skills in practically almost every weapon; melee, ranged, explosives… something that the soldiers of Hyrule could take lessons off in order to become much more competent as a whole. While the Hyrulean Army did have competent soldiers by itself, there were of course those who has shown acts of cowardice or recklessness, something that didn’t sit well with Impa and Zelda in particular. Which is why they were looking for additional training courses to truly test the soldier’s vigor and determination. Perhaps Link could show them a thing or two himself…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As Link exited the trail with the steep snow hills, he slowed down and came to a stop onto the slab of ice.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, I guess this must be it, the last bit of this track.” He said, just as Saria came to join him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Have we gone ahead this far?” She asked as she stopped.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I guess. Hopefully the others will arrive shortly…” Link said, just as Zelda arrived with Impa in tow, shortly followed by Nabooru and Ruto. Shortly after, Rauru arrived while Darunia stopped in front of the group in a distance, before walking up to them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like we made it before the Goron did.” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Phew, what a ride.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You said it. Although I have to admit, I was quite enjoying it.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you serious?” Nabooru asked, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, I didn’t feel the pressure of being chased or anything for once, which is quite nice to experience if you ask me.” Link replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda chuckled at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“To be honest, I liked it too,” she said, “I felt like I was free to simply move where I wanted to go.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found knocking some of the enemies aside like bowling pins quite hilarious.” Saria said, giggling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You weren’t the only one who found that funny.” Link said, laughing himself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where do we have to go now? We have done what the Goron wanted us to do… so now he must keep his end of the bargain…” Impa then asked, just as the Goron himself arrived.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Easy now, guys and girls, the ice platform isn’t quite stable here…” Link said, feeling the ice underneath him beginning to sport a crack.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, you managed to reach the platform before I did. Great job.” The Goron said with a smile.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Okay, we raced with you, so why did you want to take us here for?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, we’re looking for the lair of our nemeses, so…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Actually I brought you a bit closer to that location. Located underneath this slab of ice you’re standing on is an underground area that will lead you straight to the enemy’s lair.” The Goron said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s terrific, that saves us a lot on having to find out where to go.” Ruto said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But how do we get there?” Darunia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Goron responded by rolling up and using a Goron Pound to break the ice slab the group stood on, which in fact was the cover for a hole in the ground that caused them to fall down into it…
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 45: Going underground[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group slid down a chute, eventually landing on a wooden platform, between several stacks of crates alongside the walls and the path ahead.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“OUCH!” Link said as he landed on his rear.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was quite sneaky.” Nabooru said, grunting as she got up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, he showed us the way, but he didn’t need to be so rough!” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right. I only wonder where on Hyrule we are now…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This looks like one giant storage facility… check out all those crates!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It could be more than just a storage facility…” Rauru noted once the group had recovered altogether and got ready to explore the area.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Why is it so hot in here?!” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’ll find out as we’ll explore the area. Let’s go.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Moving past the stacks of crates, the group entered an area that apparently had a kind of machinery working around a small pool of what looked like lava.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Might as well switch to the Goron Tunics again.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good idea.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the matter, Link? You seem rather… annoyed by the device there…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s nothing, it’s just that such contraptions remind me of the Great Bay Temple… I just hope we don’t have to tamper with it to change the flow or something…” Link said, before moving back behind the crates to get changed into his Goron Tunic.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is hot, but is it really lava? Seeing as several crates are standing IN it…” Ruto said, blinking before putting her tunic on.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s probably reinforced by some kind of lava-resistant magic or materials that can withstand such hot temperatures.” Impa mused.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmmm…” Darunia said, nodding as he waited for the others.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once the group had switched back to their Goron Tunics, by extension benefitting from its heat-resisting properties, the group made their way down the platform they were on, landing in a wider area that was separated by a small lava river. The gap was too big to be merely jumped over and on the far side were already a few enemies present. This time, there was one enemy that stood silent like an Iron Knuckle, but instead of an axe it carried a massive broadsword that could inflict just as much pain as the axe itself. The enemy itself was completely covered in armor. Nearby this enemy was a Dinolfos, also clad in armor, carrying crates to and fro around a small crevice in what appeared to be a small storage stack.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This must be something big; if the enemies here are armored…” Ruto said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, perhaps this could be more than your run-off-the-mill outpost.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But how do we cross this lava river to fight them?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a metal plate held in the air by ropes. If we can find a way to get it down…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Won’t it be easy to just cut the ropes?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That is the easy way out indeed, but there is the risk of the metal plate coming down wrong or otherwise fall in the lava, rendering it useless for us.” Link said, moving to the other side of the area to a more numerous stack of crates. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So we must find another way to lower the plate then…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Exactly. Considering the amount of ropes and how they are connected to the plate, makes me believe that a machine of some sort is keeping that plate up, so we need to find a switch to lower it.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a switch right here behind this wooden barrier.” Zelda said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s see if we can find an explosive around here that can be of help while at the same time allowing us to conserve precious ammo; I have a feeling we will be needing our bombs more than ever.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wise idea.” Saria said.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Hopping over several crates, Link eventually saw a bigger crate that led to a crevice to his left. It was too small for him to crawl through, but instead he settled for the use of a Bombchu to see what was behind the crevice. The Bombchu traveled past the debris and pillars and struck a crystal switch hidden behind one pillar, activating it to let a big chest appear on the area where the others stood. Opening it, Darunia discovered a Powder Keg, which he immediately used on the wooden barrier, destroying it in the process while Link returned to the group. Nabooru then hit the switch, which activated the device that lowered the metal plate and make it cover the gap precisely, the ropes still keeping it in place, creating a makeshift bridge that allowed the group to cross the lava ditch below. Immediately as they got close, the Armored Dinolfos dropped the crate and went to engage the heroes, while the Darknut, the armored foe wielding the big sword, remained in place for the time being. Believing that the Armored Dinolfos would be a test regarding things to come, Link first rolled around the Dinolfos and performed a Back Slice against its weak behind, causing it to yelp in pain as it was hit, before turning around to attempt to set Link ablaze with his Fire Breath. Saria intercepted and struck the lizard from behind, defeating it. This only left the Darknut as Zelda woke it with a Silver Arrow, making him move to the group to charge at them. Link intercepted this time and clobbered the Darknut with his shield, dazing it enough for him to perform the Helm Splitter, followed by subsequent strikes that also fragmented its armor as it sustained more and more damage, akin to the Iron Knuckles. After several more strikes, the Darknut lost all of its armor and, in rage, tossed its broadsword to the group, whom narrowly avoided it, before it drew a shorter sword to combat the group in a quicker speed. Zelda intercepted with a shield attack of her own before slashing the Darknut several times while it was dazed, with Impa coming to her aid. Impa and Zelda both managed to defeat the Darknut, despite the being putting up a fight itself.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With the fight over, the group was presented with a new puzzle, as the gate at one side was sealed shut, while in several crevices, there were floor switches available, four on each side.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, looks like we all partake in solving this puzzle.” Link said as he moved to one floor switch, only to see something on it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hey, isn’t this the symbol of one of the Medallions of yours?” He then asked, turning to the Sages. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Blinking at this, they went to investigate.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, I can see the symbol of the Water Medallion on this one.” Ruto said, standing on it, to which the switch was pressed down… but nothing happened.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s check the others.” Zelda said as the group went to check the other switches here.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found the Spirit Symbol here.” Link said on one of the switches on the other side.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found one bearing the Forest Symbol.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This one has a Triforce mark with the down-left triangle highlighted.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found one with the same mark, but now with the down-right triangle highlighted.” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I found the Fire Symbol here.” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Here’s the Light one.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And here’s the Shadow one.” Zelda herself said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, time to check for the respective symbols and stand on the switches.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Moving around so each of the group found the switches corresponding with their symbols and marks and stood on them to activate them, opening the gate.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, that was quick.” Ruto said as the group went off the switches, moving on to move through the opened gate, entering a corridor filled with stacks of crates around them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are they preparing an invasion?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is likely more like a giant storage facility… or perhaps this could be their main base!” Zelda said.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As the group made a u-turn through the corridor, they came across a regular Dinolfos, whom Ruto struck down with a single sword strike. Turning around the corner and entering a larger room, the group saw, to their shock, a second Darknut, coupled with an Eyegore and an Iron Knuckle standing in front of a path that led further down into the area. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“How mean, to place the strongest henchmen here!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s try the tactic we’ve used before back in the land between the Woods of Mystery and Ikana, taking them out one by one.” Link said, before firing a Silver Arrow at the Darknut… only to find it blocked by a barrier, courtesy of another Barrier Wizrobe, whom had hidden itself behind a stack of crates on a higher level![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hey, no fair!” Ruto said, pouting. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like we need to circumvent around the area to lower the platform with the stack of crates to reach that Wizrobe.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a crevice with a ladder that can perhaps be of help…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Then let’s not waste any time, let’s go!” Link said, heading for the crevice, but just as he and the sages stood in the crevice and Link wanted to climb the ladder, the platform itself suddenly broke and fell down into a hole, taking Link and the Sages with it…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group landed in a larger storage room, with numerous crates stacked against the wall, several placed on the ground and others suspended in the air by means of ropes being attached on it on every corner of the crate itself. This time the group landed on their feet as they slid down a tube at the end and rolled forward to prevent damage.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“From one section into the other…” Nabooru said, nursing her feet for a second or two before getting up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’ve got company!” Impa then announced. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Looking to their left, the group instantly spotted three more Armored Dinolfos, two Stalfos and two Assault Sword Soldiers on ground level. Three Assault Spear Soldiers stood on the crates suspended by the ropes, while at the top on the far side of the room stood a single Bomb Soldier. A crevice bearing another screw-stilted platform was guarded by a Skulltula. Ruto instantly took out the Skulltula using her own Bow and Arrows, moving on to explore the crevice that had the screw-stilted platform to see if there was anything of value, with Rauru backing her up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link, Zelda and Saria engaged the Armored Dinolfos, using first the Helm Splitter each, while Impa, Nabooru and Darunia attacked the Assault Sword Soldiers, with Darunia providing a decent shield for the spears of the Assault Spear Soldier by using his rock-hard back to make the spears bounce off harmlessly, with Nabooru and Impa occasionally grabbing hold of such spears and tossing them back at the offending soldiers to damage them or intercepting other spears. Link then clobbered one of the Armored Dinolfos in the face using his Ball and Chain to knock it down, before rapidly moving in to perform the Ending Blow before the lizard creature had time to get up, instantly killing it. Saria and Zelda both used the Helm Splitter a second time, slashing away at the stunned Armored Dinolfos afterwards. Ruto used her Boomerang to lower the screw-stilted platform in place so she and Rauru could reach the higher placed platform, locating a set of rupees and a Business Scrub whom offered to sell Red Potion upon its defeat, which Ruto bought. Impa and Nabooru received a few sword slashes of their own while fighting the Assault Sword Soldiers, before Darunia grabbed the two and clobbered their heads against each other, crushing their helmets and defeating them in the process, while Link boldly climbed his way up the crates to engage the Assault Spear Soldiers, using his shield to intercept them before firing a Charged Silver Arrow to fire three at once, striking two of the Spear Soldiers which defeated them right away, while the third arrow intercepted a spear thrown by the last Assault Spear Soldier, to which Link responded by firing another single Silver Arrow at it, this time striking its mark, just as Ruto and Rauru aided Saria and Zelda with the remaining Armored Dinolfos. This eventually left the single Bomb Soldier at the top of the area, close to the ceiling, who was throwing bombs down a path similar to what a Bomb Soldier did back in the Tower of Light, much to the annoyance of Link, Saria, Zelda, Ruto and Nabooru.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This one better not have any Barrier Wizrobes with it or so help me!!” Link said, moving over the crates towards the stack where he could enter the path leading to the Bomb Soldier.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That bad?” Impa asked, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You have no idea. Back during us scaling the Tower of Light between Ikana and the Woods of Mystery, one of these pricks pulled the same act, throwing bombs down the path. It was protected by a Barrier Wizrobe, much to our annoyance…” Nabooru said, following Link with Zelda, Saria and Ruto in tow.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Much to Link’s greater annoyance, there were gates that blocked his path, but fortunately there were blocks nearby to help him press the switch down, while at the same time using it as a platform to climb up to the higher path. But this left the danger of the Bombs as well as the steep paths. He grabbed the first block and proceeded to push it upward, hoping it would shield him from approaching bombs to a degree. However, it wasn’t easy due to the steep path working against him, feeling as the block was trying to slide back to its position downstairs. Fortunately for Link, Nabooru, Zelda, Saria, Ruto and even Impa and Rauru came to his aid, with Darunia using a Fire Barrier to let the bombs detonate prematurely before helping the group as well. Eventually they managed to push the block onto the switch, opening the gate on the higher level and allowing them to climb further up to reach their target, only for a second block to be placed, forcing the group to repeat their previous action. Thankfully the Fire Barrier helped in blocking the Bombs for the most part, while Zelda casted Nayru’s Love over the group to shield them from actual damage for the time being. Still, the massive teamwork of the entire group ensured that the second gate was opened like the first, allowing the group to finally engage and defeat the Bomb Soldier, before Link used a Nice Bomb to destroy the wooden barrier. This in turn allowed the group to proceed into the corridor, with Rauru activating a switch that opened the gate ahead and lowered the wooden platform with the crates on it to the ground. This allowed them to return to the area where the Eyegore, Darknut and Iron Knuckle were still standing, proceeding to engage them to lure the Barrier Wizrobe out. The Barrier Wizrobe was indeed lured out using a Silver Arrow courtesy of Zelda, before Link took the Wizrobe out in a single Jump Strike, leaving the Iron Knuckle, Eyegore and Darknut without their protector. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Now the battle began as the Iron Knuckle and Darknut went to engage the group, the Eyegore first trying to zap them with its laser before tossing rocks, only to be taken out instantly with a Silver Arrow fired by Saria, leaving only the two heavily armored foes to deal with. Link decided to engage the Darknut this time around, mostly to learn more about its battle pattern properly and finding ways to counter it, while at the same time luring it away from the Iron Knuckle to ensure he wouldn’t be unexpectedly caught in a swing of its giant battle axe. Saria and Zelda went at his side right away to assist him, shortly followed by Ruto, while Nabooru aided Rauru, Darunia and Impa with the Iron Knuckle. The group’s tactic of luring the two armored fiends away from each other to have proper room for battle was successful, although it was somewhat tedious due to their slow speed. Still, Link and his girlfriends engaged the Darknut, first stunning it with their shields before slashing away to break off its armor, while Nabooru used a form of deceptive hit and run tactics on the Iron Knuckle, taunting the behemoth into using its axe and using its momentum from it to rapidly sneak in a hit or two before backing off to prevent being struck with the axe. At the same time, Darunia prepared a few Nice Bombs to bring in additional damage, eventually leading to the Iron Knuckle losing part of its outer armor. The Darknut then tossed his giant broadsword away after losing its armor, with Link and Zelda narrowly avoiding decapitation as they dived out of the way in time. Both the Iron Knuckle and the Darknut had increased speed, but the group was for the most part much more agile and were still able to inflict damage, the Iron Knuckle was eventually slain by a Silver Light Arrow, while the Dark Nut got impaled on the Golden Swords from Link and Zelda both, defeating it as both fiends disintegrated in sheets of flame, finally letting the group through the path the armored fiends were blocking before.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, that was tough.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed, and I have a feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg,” Link said, “if this is supposedly their main base, we should expect more heavy resistance further on.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh dear…” Impa said, looking worried.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]It was then that Link grabbed something from his hammerspace bag, taking out a bottle of milk… but not just your ordinary milk…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link? What are you doing?” Impa asked, seeing it as he handed out bottles to the others.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m going to ensure we have the means to fight them. I’ve been saving this up until now, but I feel that this will come into use more than ever.” He said, handing a bottle to Impa.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see, so what is this?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is a special kind of milk known as Chateau Romani. Whoever drinks it will be energized and have unlimited magic for the next three days after consuming it.” Link said, opening his bottle after handing out the other bottles to the others.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“For three days?!” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You bet. I’ve used it myself when I had to deal with the Stone Tower Temple and Majora himself a year ago. It works wonders I tell you.” Link said, as the others opened up their bottles as well.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see.” Impa said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, bottom’s up.” Link said, before gulping down the contents of his bottle completely in one serving, feeling the energy flowing through him right away, its mystical effects beginning to manifest within him. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria and Zelda followed his example, both of them blinking for a moment as they felt the energy beginning to soar within their bodies through a gentle flow that eased their insides. Ruto and Nabooru also felt the milk refreshing their very beings, giving them the energy boost they needed, Rauru, Impa and Darunia were thinking along the same lines.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Say, this definitely is delicious.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is, isn’t it?” Link asked, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, I feel as if I have so much energy that I HAVE to burn it up!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Trust me, you’ll get your chance soon,” Zelda said, “just make sure we are NOT on the receiving end, but the enemy is.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Don’t worry, the enemies will be my target.” Ruto said with a giggle.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good.” Zelda said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Darunia smirked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is probably the only time I’ve enjoyed something else other than those Sirloin Rocks found in Dodongo’s Cavern.” He said, giving the bottle back to Link who stored it back into his hammerspace bag, just like with the other bottles, before the group proceeded onward, over the bridge and entering yet another large storage room, filled with numerous crates around the area.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, they really are prepared for an invasion or massive occupation!” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say…” Link said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Do you think we can put a stop to them?” Saria asked, just as several Assault Sword Soldiers came charging at the group. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Without hesitation, the group engaged the Assault Sword Soldiers and it seemed they would have an easy victory, were it not for being pelted by Bombs courtesy of a Bomb Soldier standing on a higher area in the room. The group were in possession of stronger blades, allowing them to get rid of the Sword Soldiers with relative ease, despite continuously moving to avoid the incoming bombs.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“These guys are really getting desperate now.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say, now we need to get up there…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll go in first, that way I’ll have that Soldier’s attention regarding the bombs.” Link said, moving to a crate to climb on top of it, hopping on a net to climb his way further upward, keeping the pace to remain out of the bombs’ blast radius whenever they were dropped.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This proved effective as the Bomb Soldier did turn its attention to Link, tossing the bombs at him while Link just kept moving, the bombs missing him fortunately, despite some close calls. Link kept working his way further upward, dropping down once he reached the other side and climbed now on top of the net, moving onto it, only to be launched a bit further up as if he stood on a trampoline, making use of the momentum he gained to reach the second platform, before Ruto went after him, seeing as the Bomb Soldier was still distracted by Link. Making his way to the far side of the second area, Link then turned to face the Bomb Soldier…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What?! He’s standing on a wobbling platform?!” Link asked, while using his shield to deflect the Bombs.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Then he obviously tried to get a greater view on us to strike at us.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link, catch!” Ruto then said, tossing Link her Nice Boomerang.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thanks, Ruto.” Link said, catching the Nice Boomerang before hopping on the second net, being launched in the same fashion as with the first, before tossing the Nice Boomerang directly at the platform the Bomb Soldier stood on, causing it to break in pieces and making the Bomb Soldier fall on the ground, after which Link jumped on the platform and booted the Bomb Soldier to the ground floor, with Darunia catching the soldier and punched him high and far away using an uppercut, defeating it instantly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link then handed the Nice Boomerang back to Ruto after she joined him on the higher platform where they waited for the others to join them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s the first time I’ve actually seen you kicking someone.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“To be honest, it felt quite good.” Link said, causing Ruto to giggle.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once the rest of the group had joined the two on the higher floor, Link used another Nice Bomb to blow the wooden barrier away, giving the group access to the hallway further ahead.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, that’s that for now…” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, might as well rest up for a bit so we can nurse some injuries. While the Chateau Romani does give us infinite magic power for 3 days, we can still get injured or killed.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Point taken.” Impa said as the group settled down for a moment.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Dark Link, Dark Saria, Dark Zelda and Dark Nabooru were still waiting for further orders in the tower, after killing off Sakon. They were soon joined by Dark Ruto, who looked just like Princess Ruto, but also with the dark gray to black skin color and the blood red eyes. She returned from having made the water in the tower poisonous, simply to add another hazard in case the group moved into the lair.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Do you think they will come here anytime soon?” Dark Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Positively. Knowing them, they’ll do whatever it takes to move into the lair of the Dark Lords and defeat them once and for all. They’ll come across a big surprise once they get there.” Dark Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. By all accounts, we should have the advantage of being more deadly, considering how they seem to fight.” Dark Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But we must not underestimate them at any level. They already managed to defeat Link and myself, so they are apparently aware of how we fight, just like how we are aware of how THEY fight.” Dark Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hm. At least there can be different possibilities on the battle’s outcome…” Dark Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. It all depends on how the conditions are.” Dark Saria said, nodding.
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 46: A trapped shot[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After a few minutes rest, Link and the Sages got back up, moving onward down the hallway. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, I wonder how much time it took for them to set this place up…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Probably in the days when Agahnim was around,” Impa said, “He must have taken his time with planning and everything, keeping his forces in check to make us believe that peace had finally come to our land.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s a plausible possibility. Given his limited powers he had with Ganondorf being sealed, despite the possession of the Triforce of Power, he must have used this base as a stronghold for him to build up enough power to resurrect Majora in the first place.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I agree,” Link said, “given the time he had and needed, he must have been thinking things through. Ganondorf may be evil, but he certainly isn’t stupid; he knows when to take his chance, like how he tricked us to enter the Sacred Realm, creating the Future That Almost Was.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You got that right. You believe that he’s done this again, but by lying in the shadows?” Rauru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Ganondorf’s smart enough for it; how else would he have used Majora to regain his true form? Apparently their mutual animosity for us is what drove them to make this alliance. Even though Majora only has a grudge against me since I defeated him, he obviously hates you too.”  Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Either that, or Ganondorf could be looking for Majora’s Mask as an additional power source to boost his own powers and prevent us from defeating him once more.” Zelda said, just as the group entered the next room.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Entering the next room, the group would already see an Armored Dinolfos and a Stalfos ahead, which were soon joined by an Assault Spear Soldier and yet another Bomb Soldier, while in the distance a Floormaster could be seen in standing position. The Soldiers spotted the group immediately and went on the offensive, just as two Lizalfos, Sword Soldiers and a second Stalfos moved in the area, ready to attack. Without hesitation Link and the Sages went on the defensive, mostly to block the incoming spears and the charging Floormaster, before moving in to retaliate. Link killed the Floormaster in a single strike with his Golden Master Sword, with Zelda and Saria helping him in getting rid of the three smaller Floormasters, while Darunia kept the Stalfos occupied. Ruto used the Nice Boomerang to stun the Assault Spear Soldier, with Rauru and Impa providing cover to keep the Bomb Soldier and the Lizalfos occupied, while Nabooru engaged the Armored Dinolfos. Darunia’s rock hard body was able to withstand several blows inflicted by the Stalfos before using several Fire Punches to break their skulls after their guard was lowered. Nabooru displayed great agility as she leapt over the Dinolfos to strike at it with the Helm Splitter, before using a Golden Sword Spark to knock the Bomb Soldier off the crate it stood on, giving Rauru, Ruto and Impa the opportunity to deal with the Assault Spear Soldier properly. Link, Saria and Zelda came to their aid after destroying the tiny Floormasters and defeated the Lizalfos in turn, before engaging the Bomb Soldier as it recovered. Nabooru joined in after breaking through the Dinolfos’ armor and decapitating it in the process, although she got a slash in her arm during a failed attempt to perform another Helm Splitter. Once the Bomb Soldier was slain however, two hatches at the wall ahead opened up and two Aeralfos flew out of it, ready to engage the group. This forced the group to switch to their Clawshots in order to pull the creatures towards them and strike at them using their swords, although one of them managed to hit Ruto on the shoulder. Although they were tougher, the Aeralfos were hardly able to fight back once the group put pressure on them with their own blades, causing the two lizards to eventually be defeated more quickly than the group’s first encounter with them back in the snowy mountain. There was no time to rest however, since as soon as the Aeralfos were defeated, the gate to the left side of the room opened and TWO Darknuts came out of it, moving in to engage the group. The group retaliated using their Helm Splitter techniques, while at the same time remaining wary of the giant broadswords that the two Darknuts carried with them, being sure that they wouldn’t be hit by them as their armor was removed from them piece by piece. Their upgraded blades were of excellent help to the group, being sure to inflict as much damage as possible before the stunning effect courtesy of the group’s shields wore off for the time being. Once the two Darknuts’ armor was annihilated and their broadswords tossed away, the group had an easier time in dealing with them, with Link and Saria using a Great Spin in order to get in as much damage as possible, before the Darknuts were eventually defeated.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once the two Darknuts were defeated, the gate lifted up again as it had closed up once the Darknuts were in the same room as the group, allowing the group to pass.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you alright?” Link asked Ruto and Nabooru.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’re fine, it’s not as bad as it looks.” Nabooru said, nodding as the group moved on in the dark corridor, only for another eerie sound of something approaching coming on.  [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]However, since the area was dark, the group couldn’t exactly see where it was, only for Link and Saria both to suddenly scream as they were suddenly lifted up from the ground, vanishing from sight, only to be unceremoniously dropped back into the room they had just fought the group of enemies in! Thankfully the remaining Sages came to them right away to see if they were alright, only to see Link comforting Saria, whom looked as if she had seen a ghost. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That does it; those Wallmasters are going to get it this time!” Zelda said, just as Saria calmed down enough to proceed once more to the dark corridor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s go.” Link said, moving on. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This time the group kept moving, making the Wallmaster miss its target and allowing Saria to exact revenge on it on her and Link’s behalf by slaying the Wallmaster in a single strike, before the group arrived in a room where there was  a higher platform that they couldn’t climb on unless they lowered a plank with crates on it to ground level that acted as a stairway, this plank being moved in the air through a crystal switch by a Sword Soldier, locking himself in through a gate. There was a small hole in the side of the wall at the far side of the room where the Sword Soldier was, which had a curve moving to the left. While the hole was too small for the children in the group to crawl through, it was more than enough for a certain weapon to travel into the room…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Time for a Nice Bombchu…” Link said, picking one up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Is there a difference with the Normal Bombchus, other than the damage of course?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I think it could have a longer range or that we can control its directions, I’m not sure…” Link said as he picked one up, putting it into the hole, after which it began to track down its target, first being the Crystal Switch. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Crystal Switch was hit, activating and through this lowering the platform with the crates, only for the Sword Soldier to come to the switch and hit it again, deactivating it and raising the platform because of it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Okay, you’re in for it now.” Link said, launching another Nice Bombchu, moving in the same direction… only for it to switch targets and chase directly after the Sword Soldier before detonating, defeating the Sword Soldier instantly. Now Link used a THIRD Nice Bombchu, which this time hit the Crystal Switch as well. Now it was staying activated, allowing the group to climb up the crates and onto a higher floor. This awakened another Armored Dinolfos and an Assault Spear Soldier,  whom were protected by yet ANOTHER Barrier Wizrobe.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“These freaks are really pissing me off!” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I hear you on that. Good thing we can take them out quicker than before!” Zelda said, firing a Silver Light Arrow at the Barrier Wizrobe, killing it instantly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]This left only the Assault Spear Soldier and the Armored Dinolfos, both of them being slain quickly with the Ending Blow performed on the Spear Soldier, while the Helm Splitter was used on the Armored Dinolfos, allowing the group to strike it in the back to eventually defeat it.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Relieved, the group moved to explore the area, spotting another Wooden Barrier a bit high on the wall nearby. Using a Nice Bombchu, Link destroyed it, revealing a large tube leading downward. At the same moment, Darunia discovered some rupees that he took along, before the group went inside the tube one after the other, each of them sliding down into another room further down, where another Armored Dinolfos confronted them, although he was swiftly defeated thanks to a well-aimed Helm Splitter courtesy of Nabooru. However, the group was faced with another problem; the path they had to cross over had spears flying over it at random intervals, with the path itself being a large plank that was placed over a small ditch of lava. This lava was something that Darunia could walk through, but would be less pleasant for the others, especially Ruto.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Now what?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a large block out here, but what is it for?” Link asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We should check it out first before we act…” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But why are these soldiers tossing their spears for? We’re nowhere near them!” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link moved closer to see what was happening with those soldiers. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wait, what? Are we in a shooting gallery or something?” Link then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Check it out; these soldiers are tossing spears at these wooden targets with badly drawn images of what’s supposed to be us, but I’m also seeing such images of Ganondorf and Majora…” Link said, observing the targets rail.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“How do you know this is a shooting gallery?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ve seen similar rails in the Shooting Gallery in Hyrule Castle Town and Kakariko Village, which transported Rupees over them to be shot by the player.” Link casually explained.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But why are they doing this for?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Obviously this must be some kind of training center, as if these soldiers are being trained to improve their aiming and targeting skills and see if they can hit the right targets at the right time.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m inclined to agree,” Nabooru said, “We have similar concepts in our Training Ground and the Horseback Range in our Fortress in the Desert area.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Now we need to see where we can go first though…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll handle this.” Darunia said, moving through the lava as he was resistant to it, keeping his head down to avoid the spears.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The others waited, although Link did proceed to move the block he saw in the proper position, before Ruto used her Nice Boomerang to strike at another screw-stilted platform, lowering the platform and making a crevice with a chest available to the group. Nabooru went to check out the chest, opening it to find some additional ammunition for the weapons the group carried.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Finally some supplies.” She said, smiling as she took some of the weapons to hand over to the others.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Darunia returned in less than a minute to the group, still avoiding the incoming spears and arrows as he noticed some Corrupted Bow Soldiers have joined them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a switch at the far side of the area that’s too big to be pressed down by any of the statues from the Elegy of Emptiness; it needs the block.” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright then,” Link said, getting ready, “at least we know where to take it.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll go on ahead to direct you ahead; those arrows and spears will be quite a bother if you ‘re not careful.” Darunia said, moving back to the far side of the path through the lava, while Link got ready to push the block onward, with Zelda, Saria, Ruto and Nabooru coming to his aid. Impa and Rauru worked together to protect the group’s sides by intercepting any arrows and spears that came their way. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I really appreciate your help, girls.” Link said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“No problem at all. We’re all in this together after all.” Saria said as Darunia gave the signal for them to push the block onward.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As the group moved onward, pushing the block onward carefully, while stopping at certain spots to rest up and let some spears and arrows pass by before continuing on when it was safe to continue, being out of the firing lines wherever possible.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Talk about… a challenging puzzle…” Link said as he pushed on.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say… as if they… are really trying… to stop us… in desperation.” Zelda said, grunting.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah,” Saria said, pushing with her might. “we must have gotten something… really… big if they go… this far.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After about a minute or two, which felt like an hour or so, the group were relieved of their pushing duty when Darunia aided them by taking it over for them, pushing it onto the switch and opening the gate, just as Impa and Rauru arrived at where the others were. Now they could enter the room which was not only a shooting gallery, but also an armory as numerous weapons were stored in that room! Immediately the group was attacked by the resident Assault Sword, Assault Spear and Bow Soldiers, giving the group another fierce battle as the Soldiers were fighting with great vigor, despite the group having more superior weaponry. The Bow Soldiers were easily taken out by the Silver Arrows in a single shot, while the Assault Spear Soldiers were a bit more difficult to hit head on due to the arrows occasionally intercepting the incoming spears, although the Assault Spear Soldiers went eventually down in one strike as well. The Assault Sword Soldiers were more of a hassle due to them practically charging at the group, although Zelda did successfully pull off a Mortal Draw against one of them, right before Link knocked another one down before performing the Ending Blow, defeating it. Once the Sword Soldiers were also taken out however, the block that once held the switch was taken away through the ground, lowering the gate and trapping the group in the firing range, with the only holes available to them being the ones that looked at the rail that carried the targets over continuously. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! We’re trapped!” Saria said, trying to open up the main gate by force.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Great, now what are we going to do?!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Attention, soldiers,” a voice then sounded, obviously having the authority of a commanding officer, “Ganondorf and Majora, our masters, are not pleased; Link, Saria, Zelda, Ruto, Nabooru, Darunia, Impa and Rauru are still alive!”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So they know who we are…” Nabooru said, narrowing her eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“As long as you don’t know how to shoot, you will remain trapped in the firing range until you do. Now, practice!” The voice said, before it ceased.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, looks like we have a job to do then.” Link said, grabbing his bow and standing in the center shooting range, while Saria and Zelda took up positions to his left and right. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder how long this will take…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Probably until each of us has met a specific criteria…” Nabooru said, sighing as she waited her turn.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The boat which was led by Reimu and Leia finally arrived at the mountain area, where they saw the boat that Link and the Sages used to reach the island docked at the pier, with the male civilian and two Gorons with it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? Gerudo?” The male asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Don’t be afraid, we’re here to help you fight against the forces of Evil and assist the true heroes of this land.” Reimu said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see.” The male said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright, ladies, move out and follow the trail that our allies have gone through first. I want status reports on the situations around here and report back to me the minute you have discovered their locations!” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, ma’am!” The Gerudo said as they moved out right away, some of them moving to stand by the escaped prisoners to protect them, others went in groups to patrol the area, following the trail that the group had set out before.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The male civilian blinked at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, I must say that I honestly didn’t expect this to see, no offense.” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You mean us Gerudo helping you out? Well, I honestly don’t blame you for that; we haven’t exactly got the best of reputations out here. However, the atrocious actions performed by our supposed ‘king’ Ganondorf and his accomplice Majora has led us to turn against him. Heck, he even caused a civil war among us.” Reimu said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? How is that even possible?!” The man asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, one side of the Gerudo wish to remain with Hyrule’s Royal Family’s good graces, especially since the exalted Nabooru, our current leader, is friends with the Hyrulean Princess Zelda as well as beings from other races. The other side however consists mostly out of those Gerudo who were openly joining Ganondorf and Majora or otherwise brainwashed in doing so. I regrettably was in that brainwashed camp once, until my younger sister, with the aid of some of Nabooru’s personal friends, liberated me and my comrades who were with me at the time. Ever since I’ve been performing acts to help out refugees and other victims as a partial wish to repent myself for the crimes I committed during my brainwashed state.” Reimu replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hey, you couldn’t do anything against that; he made you do it, right?” One of the Gorons said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is true that, because I was brainwashed, I was forced to do Ganondorf’s bidding. Yet I can’t help to feel responsible for what I have caused, so I chose this route in order to repent myself and show everyone that I am no longer with Ganondorf’s camp. The only good thing is that every Gerudo whom have been liberated from Ganondorf’s side so far have defected to the side of the good guys, fighting against their former superiors in this fashion.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I understand.” The male civilian said, nodding.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link, Saria and Zelda managed to get their quota of shots after the holes they had to shoot through to strike their targets closed up, making them leave the area, before Ruto, Nabooru and Impa went to the firing range, taking the bows and arrows from the weapon racks where needed. The three children sat down on a nearby bench where they waited for the others to complete their jobs. Link put his head on his hands, sighing.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the matter?” Zelda asked, worried.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I don’t know… for some reason I feel that we all will be facing death itself once more. I’m not stopping now, but to think that this could very well be the last time we’re facing our nemeses…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see where you’re coming from. Apparently our first actual deaths must have impacted you a lot more than originally anticipated.” Saria said, looking sad herself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It has, as if the whole thing gave me some kind of reality check… and yet I feel that those two will be stopped somehow…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, what do we do now?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I say we simply stick together and fight our enemies together. By all accounts, we’re going to need each other a lot more soon. Once the battle has finally been won, we can finally go and take some time off to relax properly.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I agree, but where do you want to relax then?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Perhaps moving to Lake Hylia or the Great Bay seem good enough for me, but I’m always open for suggestions from you lot. As long as it’s a place where we can do things we WANT to do, I’m okay with it.” Link said with a smile as he rested.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria and Zelda both smiled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We both agree with you on that.” Zelda said, while Darunia and Rauru waited their turns. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I wonder what we can find here for the rest…” Saria then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Since this is obviously their main base, it must be something of great importance. Perhaps the final generator to the tower’s barrier is here even, so we need to find that one and disable it before we can make our way to the Tower. We should probably expect heavy resistance, so we need to be geared up properly.” Link said, just as Rauru and Darunia took their turns once Ruto, Impa and Nabooru were done.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was quite tedious I tell you; those effigies of us give us points, while the effigies of Ganondorf and Majora do the opposite!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, this IS meant to be the bad guy’s training center after all, so it’s logical that this was meant for them.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You got me there. For a moment I thought I only had to shoot those effigies of our enemies.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I made that same mistake too,” Link said, “it would make sense though, since it’s also meant to trick us in a way…” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“True, although they weren’t subtle; we would have found out what to do quickly enough.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I do am puzzled by the fact that the enemies here aren’t bothered by the heat…” Ruto then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They must have either adapted to it or have some heat-resistant armor, like what the Goron Tunics are for us.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Both are indeed credible possibilities, given our nemeses’ resourcefulness and their powers on top of that.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed, they definitely aren’t stupid at all. While their actions are not exactly the smartest, I have to admit that they definitely can plan things ahead and catch us off-guard. Although there is a potential weakness in their alliance…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And what would that be?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Given their respective behaviors, Majora is the exact opposite of what Ganondorf does. Sure, both are evil and everything, but where Ganondorf wishes for power to rule the world, thus wanting the True Triforce, Majora simply doesn’t give a rat’s behind and only craves for destruction, although the Skull Kid’s influences could make him a bit more of someone who can indulge in psychological warfare as well.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Psychological? What do you mean?” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The whole ‘messing with one’s mind’ thing. I’m not talking about being brainwashed, it’s more about rhetorical questions that can really make one think about things. Majora’s illusion on the Moon tried this on me in relation to the masks that I had with me at the time.” Link replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I remember you mentioning something about that when you told us about it all those months ago.” Nabooru said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes. But it didn’t deter me to finally show Majora his place…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And that’s a good thing…” Zelda said, smiling. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, Darunia and Rauru were finally done with their targets, the satisfaction being that the gates finally opened for them, allowing the group to finally progress throughout the area. Getting up, the group gathered together once more and moved into a wooden corridor. Following a curve to the right, the group hopped down to a lower level, moving further on.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, there’s no turning back here now either.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. But once we find our way around, we’ll find a way out.” Link said, smiling.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Is it me or is it getting warmer all of a sudden?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is getting warmer Saria,” Nabooru said, “we must be approaching an area where there’s plenty of lava directly around.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Feels like that lava outpost all over again.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You can say that again. It’s a good thing that these Goron Tunics are pretty much life-savers in such areas.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s what we all can agree on.” Darunia said as the group moved on, following along the path towards an exit with a red glow at the far side of it…
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 47: The Last Generator[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and the Seven Sages entered a very large room, filled with lava around them, with the only suitable paths to walk on being crates that somehow floated in the lava, although some sank and rose from the lava in an alternating pattern, of where one would rise and the other would sink and where the one would sink, the other would rise and so on. Looking around, the group could see that the room was one big machinery contraption, with platforms moving on and on over a set of rails, conveyor belts on a higher floor, retracted ladders and even two poles that extended from a shaft in the ceiling all the way down into the lava. Oddly enough, the lava here seemed partially transparent, while the red-patterned surface made it obvious it was hazardous. This time however, it was hazardous even for Darunia, since it would make him sink into it in case he would fall in it, it was THAT deep. Link wiped some sweat from his forehead, indicating it was indeed incredibly hot. While the group had the advantage of the Goron Tunic making them somewhat heat-resistant, they were still not out of danger or being otherwise unaffected by the heat. There were visible safe platforms further up the building, almost as if the room itself consisted of multiple floors of a building, yet the seemingly haphazard construction, the lack of guard rails, stairways and the numerous hazards alongside would make it either ideal for extensive training for enemy forces or have a construction site that one would want to fire, apprehend and sue the architect of the contraption for even designing such a lethal area that could harm any unsuspecting traveler. It wouldn’t make use as a living area at all, just like a facility for troops to watch over the machinery around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What is this place?!” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s obviously meant for transportation of materials and everything, or otherwise aid in the production of the weaponry that the enemy forces are going to use in the full scale invasion and occupation of our lands.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. Or they could be utilizing the lava around here for something…” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, how do we make our way up here?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s a ladder close by, but that’s beyond our reach.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like we need to cross the path of crates to the other side of the room to see if we can make it through there.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But watch your step on those sinking and rising ones.” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We should take turns following the pattern of those platforms.” Impa suggested.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Great idea. That way we won’t knock each other off of the platforms or slip up.” Zelda said, as she saw Link already moving on his way, carefully studying the pattern and timing his jumps between platforms with caution, following him as the second one to go.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa couldn’t help but maintain an expression of concern on her face as she watched Link and Zelda go, soon followed by Saria, Ruto and then Nabooru, before she went on next. It was as if there was a continuous sense of tension around, she couldn’t explain why, but the whole area seems so out of place, with all those devices working while having pipes and whatnot going in the lava… perhaps there were some lava-resistant materials after all… [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]It took Link about a minute or so to cross the rising and sinking platforms to the other side of the room with care, now standing on one that remained safely surfaced above the lava, while a ladder was attached to it, leading to a higher floor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, here goes nothing.” He said as he began to climb the ladder, moving towards a higher platform where he was immediately being confronted by a single Bomb Soldier, whom Link took out with a Silver Bomb Arrow before he could do any actual harm, hopping over to the platform on the other side where he waited for the others. Zelda arrived shortly after he made it up there.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is going to be quite a climb, won’t it?” She asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, it will,” Link replied while trying to get the pattern of the moving platforms on the rails down while Saria climbed up, “and given how complex this room is, it won’t be easy.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda nodded.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, how do you think we should cross this?” She then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“If I’m not mistaken, these rails are carrying platform in a constant alternating fashion between large and small. Given that we must travel in the opposite direction of where these platforms are going, this won’t be easy, especially when you have these things in your path…” Link said, pointing to cylindrical tubes that stuck out from one machine directly above the platforms. Each of the tubes had holes on every side, while the inside part of it was glowing red-hot, being made more obvious by the constant jets of steam which came from the end part of the tube itself. Zelda, Saria, Ruto and Nabooru each took a peek at where Link was pointing at, seeing what he meant. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh, man. As if things weren’t difficult for us enough already.” Ruto said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Studying the pattern carefully, Link eventually hopped on one of the larger platforms, before hopping on a smaller that appeared from below the first tube, before he hopped over the tube itself to another large platform. He didn’t stop however, as the platforms were still moving and any collision with the tubes could send him back onto the floating path or even in the lava itself! He repeated this procedure as he went on, although he yelped a little as he came a bit too close to the second tube, nearly burning his hands on the red-hot pipe, while also nearly burning his rear as he narrowly hopped over an edge of the big platform and landing on a short one, before immediately hopping over to a larger one to get some space between him and that red-hot metal tube. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda on her turn was happy that she wasn’t wearing her Royal Dress in favor of her Goron Tunic at the time, mostly because she was afraid that her dress would either get stuck on one of the pipes and make her get stuck or fall down into the lava below, or otherwise catch fire due to the immense hot temperature that the tubes emanated. Ruto in particular was the most nervous of the group, although some reassurance from Saria and Nabooru gave her the courage to proceed herself as well, imitating Link’s behavior of studying the pattern and above all thinking before leaping, primarily to time the jumps carefully to prevent being burnt alive. Of course Darunia had lesser problems in dealing with the heat, but remained cautious nonetheless. Even a warned Goron counts for two.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link finally managed to reach the ladder on the far side of the area again, but as he climbed it, a section of the ladder extended itself all the way to the ground floor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Great, NOW you decide to make a shortcut for us? It will at least save us some trouble in the future…” Link said in dismay, before climbing his way up to the next level of the room, once more waiting until the others had arrived. It was as if Link was upholding a policy of ‘no one gets left behind’.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m more surprised by how stable everything here is.” Zelda said as she climbed up the ladder herself, while Link made room for her to stand on, spotting several metal rooms ahead, of which one had its entrance opened and available as a platform for the group to move onto.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say. I have to give it to them, they sure know how to design something.” Link said, nodding in agreement as Saria climbed the ladder to join them.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As Link made room by hopping on the opened door of the first metal room, a second door lowered itself, revealing a Bow Soldier! Link was quick and fired a Silver Arrow which intercepted the arrow fired by the Bow Soldier, before firing a second Arrow that defeated the Bow Soldier instantly, its body falling in the lava below, sinking rapidly until it was gone. Link gulped at this, feeling uncomfortable, while the others arrived shortly with Zelda joining Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s up?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It sickens me to witness someone falling in the lava like that.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Better avert your eyes next time.” Zelda said, patting Link on the back.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thanks, I will.” Link said, smiling as the two advanced, this time confronted by an Assault Spear Soldier who came out of a similar cage like the Bow Soldier. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda and Link both worked together to defeat it with their Silver Arrows, looking away as the Spear Soldier met the same fate as the Bow Soldier. Moving on, the two hopped on the second opened door, when the third one opened and revealed a Mad Scrub, whom began to spit its Deku Nuts at the two. Deflecting them with the shields, Link and Zelda then retaliated with a single Silver Arrow, instantly defeating the Mad Scrub, whom did not fall in the lava this time. But as the two moved on top of the larger platform this time, they were given a nasty surprise by the appearance of a Cannon Soldier, whom immediately fired a Spiked Cannonball towards them, striking the two in the stomach area, causing them to land against what appeared to be a console-like affair or more akin to a control center to control the machinery. The Cannon Soldier however wasn’t given the chance to strike again as it was immediately killed by a Silver Arrow courtesy of Saria. At this moment, Link and Zelda managed to get the Cannonball off of them, both of them having pain in their chest and back areas, as well as having bleeding wounds from their arms from where the spikes of the cannonball punctured through their skin. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was…” Link began.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“…incredibly cheap!” Zelda said, both of them grunting as Saria, Ruto and Nabooru helped them up, with Impa administering some Red Potion to them to help them in recover some of the wounds more rapidly. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was also new; I’ve never seen one of those Soldiers before…” Impa said, blinking, while Nabooru went to a large switch that had a handle on it, indicating it had to be pushed or pulled in order to activate something. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Grabbing hold of the handle, Nabooru pulled with her might, but was so far unable to move the switch.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Man, either this thing is rusty… or incredibly tough!” She said through clenched teeth. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Both Link and Zelda went to aid her, soon followed by Saria and Ruto, but they were unable to pull the switch.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll give it a shot.” Darunia said, taking advantage of his strength to pull the switch this time successfully, activating a contraption that began to lower platforms in a left-right alternating fashion from the two metal bars that stuck out of a shaft in the ceiling all the way down into the lava. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, looks like this is similar to that platform stairway we had back in that abandoned Temple.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, but now these platforms are moving…” Saria noted.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They are the least of our worries, Saria; what is likely going to be a bother are those conveyor belts.” Link said, nodding to the conveyor belts which not only moved in the opposite direction of where they had to go, but also had gratings in pipes on one side that sprayed jets of steam at regular intervals, likely capable of inflicting serious pain if not careful.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What in the name of my father is this? A room filled with complex machinery or an elaborate obstacle course?!” Zelda asked, blinking at where Link was nodding to.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Looks like both of them to me.” Ruto said, while Link got ready to cross the conveyor belt, trying to find a pattern between the steam jets being sprayed for accessing the area proper.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once again going one after the other, Link and the Sages managed to cross the first conveyor belt without much hinder, reaching the platforms that were constantly lowering themselves into the lava from the ceiling, forcing the group to hop from platform to platform to make their way up towards the second conveyor belt, which led them towards a more safer path that was apparently part of the top floor of the room as a whole, considering they were now close to the ceiling. Once at the safe area, the group went to rest, although they were wary as there was a lack of guard rails in the room itself. Despite this, they had a clear overview of the room itself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I feel funny under my feet.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Must be because of our current altitude and the view we have of the rest of the room, as well as the imminent danger of falling down.” Darunia said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Look, there’s a platform at the far side of the room near the ceiling!” Saria then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hopefully that must contain the door for us to proceed to the next area.” Link said, looking to where Saria saw it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That platform has grating alongside of it. Perhaps that’s the only safe area?” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Very likely. I just hope we can reach it in one piece.” Link said, spotting another set of moving platforms which were headed, fortunately, in the right direction, allowing the group to use them to advance towards that safe platform.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria gulped a little, but regained her composure as she saw Link boldly using the platforms to his advantage, timing his jumps with care once more. With the prospect of being able to reach safety and leave the room as a whole was something she could look forward to. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Reimu and Leia’s troops in the meantime discovered the trail that the group used to snowboard down and through the whole mountain area, intending to follow it to ensure they would reach them in time for assistance. However Reimu advised the use of a new craft that could make the search easier. Created from the remains of the boats and airships that they could salvage from the Great Bay area, the Gerudo had taken these craft with them aboard their ship as cargo in order to ease the search for when the time was right. Now it was time to put these craft to use as in the overall areas they searched, no trace of the group was found other than what remained of the slain enemies which did not disintegrate, as well as the burnt remains of the supposedly hidden back-up power generator. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Holy Toledo,” One of the Gerudo said, after observing the burning remains of the generator, “somebody had fun!”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say,” a second Gerudo said, joining her, “they really had a blast.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Geez…” a third one said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There’s no time to waste though; we have to bring our report to our leader, now that we have a clue of where the group has been so far.” The first Gerudo said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right. Let’s hope we can find them in time before all hell breaks loose.” The second one said, before the three left to look for Reimu in order to report their findings and give her intel on where the group has gone to after observing their tracks, this being notable by traces of snow floating in the air, which was apparently the location of the at first invisible platforms in the air.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once Link and the Seven Sages landed on a grating that stuck out from the main platform itself, they took one last look around the room, before entering the safe path. But no sooner had they entered the path itself completely, when the grating behind them rose, locking them in the area. A gate at the far side opened, revealing a single Darknut, who went to engage the heroes. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Alright, time to get some action again.” Saria said, firing a Silver Arrow at the Darknut… only for it to be blocked by yet another Barrier Wizrobe! [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]At this point, Link lost his temper for a moment and with a precisely timed jump attack, he cleaved the Barrier Wizrobe in two, allowing the others to focus on the Darknut while the Wizrobe’s remains disintegrated, allowing Link to assist his friends in the fight against this tough enemy. However, the fight was made difficult due to the limited space the group could move in, as well as there were two crates standing at the far top right and the far down left corner of the platform itself. While those platforms could be used to hide behind or gain some leverage against the Darknut, it still remained quite hazardous to confront the behemoth as its broadsword swinged once to the left, almost cutting of Zelda’s scalp had she not ducked in time, before she used her Shield attack to stun it. This allowed Saria to perform the Helm Splitter on the behemoth, before Link aided Zelda by repeatedly slashing at the stunned Darknut before it recovered, despite losing bits of its armor along the way. Darunia clobbered the Darknut with a barrage of Goron Fire Punches, which proved to be very effective as more parts of the armor were punched off with great force, before the Darknut was now armor-less and tossed his broadsword away in favor of its more rapier-styled blade, which by itself increased its speed as it also had no shield available to defend itself against the incoming attacks of the group itself. Still, the Darknut managed to knock the sword out of Link and Saria’s hands for a brief moment, before slashing at them, which effectively delivered a cut in their faces, while Zelda had a stab wound in her arm and Ruto had a slash would across her right arm. Nabooru pushed Link and Saria out of harm’s way, bringing them in reach of their swords, but she could not prevent the Darknut from striking her in the side, causing Nabooru to scream in pain. In retaliation, Nabooru’s eyes then glowed orange for a brief moment, before stabbing the Darknut in the stomach area with her right hand, extracting a sphere from him which had an eerie glow to it, as if it was made of magic or energy, before heaving it high in the air, and squashed it with a loud *SPLAT*, causing the Darknut to recoil in pain, although it recovered. However, this brief moment allowed Saria to constrict the behemoth with her vines, leaving the Darknut struggling to cut through its defenses, before she and Link picked up their Golden Swords to perform a Dual Helm Splitter, critically damaging it in the process. It was then that Nabooru held her hands in front of her, gathering a bit of energy from herself as well as Link and the remaining Sages, almost like a miniature Spirit Bomb, before launching it at the Darknut, finally obliterating it into nothingness. This allowed the group to properly recuperate, just as the gate where the Darknut itself came from before opened up again, this time showing an empty corridor which obviously meant that the group had to go through. Taking some sips for the Red Potion they had left, the group relaxed for a moment to let it take effect to let the worst wounds stop bleeding, before moving on through the corridor. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I swear, these sudden surprises are really not the things I like.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say. Especially in such a confined room…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, let’s see what we can find here…” Saria said as the group traveled onward through the corridor.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Traveling onward, the group came eventually across a set of pipes that ran through the corridor, crossing over or otherwise following along the path. Hopping from the path to a lower section, the group eventually came across a room that was like a large tube by itself, with platforms being moved over rails to the right, with the platforms being held on the rails through ropes. To the right, the path was blocked by constant jets of steam that was potent enough to lambast anyone who would come close to it or even touch it.  To the left, the path was completely free and available to be explored, but this meant having to jump from platform to platform. On ground level however were several pots and chests that the group could use. Hopping down to the ground level, the group went to open the chests, discovering some additional supplies for their weapons and medications, like arrows, bombs, Red Potion and even a Green Potion. The Pots however contained Red Fairies, which instantly went to heal the group upon close approach, restoring the group in effect back to full health.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, that sure felt good after those battles.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I have a feeling they were here for a reason, other than to heal us…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You think we have gotten close to the area where the one in charge is?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Possibly, or otherwise something that could be of similar great significance.” Link said, waiting until the others had gathered their supplies.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, I wonder what it will be this time…” Saria said, looking around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There is only one way to find out.” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. Let’s hope it will be something that will allow us to progress.” Nabooru said, as Link climbed up the ladder back to the main platform the group had stood on upon entering the area, looking to carefully jump on the moving platforms to cross the area carefully and prevent being burnt to cinders by the steam jets behind him. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The trip itself went tediously slow, mostly due to the platforms constantly moving to the opposite direction, but the group was making progress, although Ruto and Impa missed one platform, causing them to slide back down to the beginning where the pots and chests were. Still, it was of no consequence as they could simply try it again, with Link using his Bow and Arrows to take out two Assault Spear Soldiers that were trying to block the group’s path or at least hinder them in some fashion, before he proceeded to continue on his way towards another path to the left, as another set of pipes emitting constant jets of steam was blocking his path directly ahead, giving him not much of a choice. He waited for the others once he had landed on the path itself, which led into a dark corridor. The others arrived in total after a few minutes, as a couple of others made a few mishaps along the way. Even though Link himself has made it in one go, even he had moments where he nearly lost his balance during almost miscalculated landings on the platforms. He was happy that Saria and Zelda could join him quickly, followed by Nabooru and Darunia, later on followed by Ruto, Impa and finally Rauru.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, it wasn’t easy, but we made it.” Ruto said, earning a playful pat on the back from Saria.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wait, do you guys and girls hear that?” Link then asked, hearing something as he put a listening ear deeper into the corridor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It sounds like heavy machinery being operated.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But what is it for a contraption?” Zelda asked her attendant.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Only one way to know for sure…” She said, as the group made their way down the corridor.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Exiting the corridor, the group could hear the sounds of the machinery coming closer as they entered a room that was again filled with lava around them with platforms in the middle… coupled with a gentle bridge leading to the center platform. But what made the group stop was the machine ahead… It looked like a complicated contraption, with twin doors on either side of the machine’s upper path, a wheel that was similar to the wheel of fortune things the group had seen on funfairs as well as in Termina, being modeled after the Clock Tower’s design, even though it had images of enemies on it. There was also a bar in the center that had an unlit light at the top and an obvious target with a blood-red gemstone in its center. In the center itself stood something that resembled a large cannon, while four Cannon Soldiers were standing on the higher path, aiming at the group itself. A humming/droning sound was heard, which indicated the machine was powering something for sure.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Is this what I think it is?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yep, this must be the last generator.” Link said as he entered the main platform, while the enemies surprisingly remained docile for the time being.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]As he took his position, the Sages moved to stand in a row, narrowing their eyes at the machine. It was then that a *THUD* was heard, followed by a bubbling sound from behind the group. Looking behind them, Link and the Sages saw that a gate had closed at the entrance area, blocking anyone else from getting in, while the bridge they used to move onto the platform they now stood on sank into the lava.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Cripes, that’s another déjà vu…” Link said, blinking.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Back when I had to go through the Fire Temple and was about to face Volvagia the dragon, I also witnessed a platform I needed to cross to the main battle area sinking to the lava, as if trapping me in that area while fighting the boss.” Link replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see.” Darunia said, just as he saw the Cannon Soldiers taking position.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Everybody get ready,” Rauru said, “this is going to be quite tough…”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Goddesses bless the Chateau Romani…” Zelda said, as the effects were still in place.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s show them.” Link said, preparing his Bow and Silver Arrows…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hey, what do you think you’re doing here?!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] A menacing, high-pitched voice then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Majora!” Link and the Sages said in unison.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You may have made it this far, but you’ll never be able to stop us now! This machine will end you now!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Majora said, before vanishing again, the Cannon Soldiers taking position…
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 48: The Lava Run[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The battle began as the four Cannon Soldiers began to unleash their spiked cannonballs to the group, while the cannon directly in front of the group was firing regular cannonballs at a relatively slow fire rate. But this didn’t make it any easier as the group was moving about, just to avoid those cannonballs and spiked cannonballs while at the same time making sure none of them would have a one-time lava bath.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That cannon ahead doesn’t have something to disable it!” Zelda said, imitating Link’s behavior of strafing around to prevent being hit while keeping an eye on the targets.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Then ignore it for the time being while still avoiding those Cannonballs. Concentrate your firepower on those Cannon Soldiers to relieve some pressure instead! I’ll try to strike at the target with that blood-red gemstone.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Zelda said, firing one Silver Arrow at one of the Cannon Soldiers, defeating it instantly, leaving three more to deal with.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria fired a Silver Arrow at a second one, only to intercept its spiked cannonball, before Darunia came to her aid by lambasting one with one of his own fireballs. Link managed to fire a Silver Light Arrow at the target he was aiming for, raising a red object within the central bar for a moment. Firing a second Silver Light Arrow raised it even further, but the third one was intercepted by one of the cannonballs fired from the main cannon. While Ruto and Nabooru kept the third Cannon Soldier at bay, Zelda aided Link by firing a Silver Light Arrow of her own at the target, raising the red object even further upward, approaching the top of the bar, just as Rauru disabled the third Cannon Soldier and Impa and Nabooru helped in taking out the fourth one. This now left only the  central cannon and the primary target to deal with. Darunia caught one of the cannonballs with his bare hands and tossed it back, effectively intercepting another cannonball which was aiming for Saria, while Link scored another hit on the target with a Silver Light Arrow, bringing the red object to the top. This caused an alarm to go off, the pointer on the wheel to spin and the cannon itself ceased firing.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s going on?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa turned her attention to the machine in the far background, noticing that its motions had slightly increased, before the pointer stopped, landing on an image of lizard-like creatures… just then, the twin doors on the platforms of the machine opened up and a total of six Lizalfos came out, taking positions as two of them were poised to land on the platform Link and the Sages stood on to engage them in close quarter combat. Nabooru engaged them both, while Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto took out the four ones who remained at the back with Silver Fire Arrows, effectively slaying the lizard-like fighters within less than half a minute. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Now, two more Cannon Soldiers appeared to engage the group, while the main cannon fired again, this time with a slightly increased fire rate, making things a bit harder for the group. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh man, I have a feeling that this may take a while…” Ruto said, avoiding a spiked cannonball which had her name on it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I agree, but we should be able to best it somehow; we now know its primary weakness.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Ruto said, just as Zelda fired a Silver Light Arrow at the target, shortly followed by Saria, while Nabooru used a Golden Sword Spark to take out the first of the two Cannon Soldiers and Darunia lambasted the second one, removing those threats for the time being, letting the others focus on avoiding the regular cannonballs and striking the primary target. After two more Silver Light Arrows, courtesy of Link and Ruto, struck the target, the sirens blared again, repeating the procedure it did the first time, but now instead of Lizalfos, Dinolfos appeared. They had no armor, but it was the variety that utilized the Fire Breath as a secondary weapon. Initially attempting to immolate the whole group with their Fire Breaths, the Dinolfos were dismayed that Ruto cast a Water and Ice Barrier to cancel the stream of fire out, before Link and Zelda used Silver Ice Arrows to freeze two of the Dinolfos solid, after which Ruto and Saria lambasted two others with Silver Fire Arrows. The two last Dinolfos hopped on the platform to strike at the group with their blades, only to be knocked into the lava by Rauru and Darunia, both Dinolfos howling in agony as the lava burned and melted them alive. Ruto used her Nice Boomerang to strike at the two frozen Dinolfos, breaking the ice and stunning the two creatures which also made them fall in the surrounding lava, ending them. This time, four Cannon Soldiers once more appeared as the main cannon fired as well, again with a slightly faster rate of fire than before, while the Cannon Soldiers began to fire in alternating order instead of all simultaneously. This made it in effect harder for the group to properly engage the machine and the soldiers altogether. Link aimed at the main target, only to receive a spiked cannonball in his side by one of the Cannon Soldiers, with Saria receiving a similar treatment, although she managed to take out the Soldier whom shot at Link before she was hit. Ruto and Zelda managed to take out two of the other Cannon Soldiers along the way, before Zelda was hit by another Spiked Cannonball from the final Cannon soldier, who was promptly taken out by Impa, allowing the group to concentrate on the central target. While the Cannonballs were now easier to avoid due to it being the only things shot at them, the group still had it a bit more difficult due to the increased fire rate. Despite this and their injuries, Link and Zelda both managed to hit the target with their Silver Light Arrows, before Saria hit her mark, before Ruto made it reach the top again, causing the sirens to go off once more…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“How many times have we done this procedure now?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is the third time, if I’m not mistaken.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It is the third time indeed.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, the pointer stopped again, before the twin doors opened up, unleashing four Bomb Soldiers, whom instantly took position and began to toss their Bombs at the group! Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto used their shields to protect them from the most part of the bombs’ detonations, while Darunia tossed a Nice Bomb back at them, instantly killing two of the Bomb Soldiers as the greater explosion of the Nice Bomb gave it an area-of-effect blast radius, coupled with greater splash damage when compared to regular Bombs. Nabooru repeated this procedure with the two remaining Bomb Soldiers, before two Cannon Soldiers appeared again, while the main cannon began to fire as well, this time at an even faster rate than before.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the deal?!” Ruto asked, avoiding a cannonball while Link and Saria managed to take out the Cannon Soldiers before they could deal any damage. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I believe we’re inflicting some serious damage to this machine, perhaps it reacts to the damage it has received so far.” Nabooru said, hopping to the left to avoid another incoming cannonball. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the matter, Impa? You seem concerned… we will defeat this machine.” Zelda said as she successfully hit the target with a Silver Light Arrow.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This isn’t my main concern, dear,” Impa said, managing to get a strike in herself using a bow she took from the armory in the firing range, “it appears that the machine in the background is also working faster, in correspondence to this machine…”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That is weird…” Link said, managing to strike the target again with another Silver Light Arrow, before Nabooru hit it again, letting the sirens go off for the fourth time, the two hatches opening to reveal a total of four Aeralfos, two from each side! [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The Aeralfos roared first at the group as they took positions to surround them, while Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto took out their Clawshots, getting ready themselves. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Get behind us; this is getting tricky!” Link said to the others, getting ready to aim his Clawshot to fire and pull the Aeralfos he targeted in.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Nabooru said, nodding as she stood behind Link. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa took position behind Zelda, Rauru stood behind Ruto and Darunia went behind Saria, right before the four Aeralfos raised their shields, giving the group the signal to attack, as the four children pulled the flying lizards in using their Clawshots, before the adults clobbered them several times, straight into the lava as the four children stunned them with their shields first. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Again, four Cannon Soldiers arrived to attack the group, while the main cannon itself began to fire at the group with half a second between shots, making it increasingly difficult for the group to properly retaliate. This time, Nabooru and Impa were hit by shots from the Spiked Cannonballs, while Darunia grunted as a regular cannonball hit him. Both Link and Saria were able to take down two of the Cannon Soldiers, only for them to be hit by the two remaining ones about a second later, which prompted them to retaliate, although they couldn’t prevent Ruto and Rauru from being hit as well by them, effectively wounding the group as a whole now that all of them sported injuries. Ruto got her revenge by taking down the third Cannon Soldier, while Zelda killed the final one using her own Silver Arrows, allowing the group to concentrate on the main cannon and its target again. Rauru, Impa and Darunia managed to get hits in together, with Nabooru managing to strike it back to the top, making the sirens appear for the fifth time. This time, Assault Spear Soldiers came out to strike at the group, tossing the spears at them, only to be defeated instantly with the Silver Arrows by the group. Once more, four Cannon Soldiers appeared to strike at the group while the main cannon attacked with once more a higher rate of fire, making things harder for the group. However, Darunia grabbed the Cannonballs and tossed them at the Cannon Soldiers, helping in defeating them this time with Link and Saria aiding him, before the group could focus on the main target once more. Zelda and Ruto managed to get in a hit with their Silver Light Arrows, before Nabooru got the third hit in and Rauru finished it off with a Silver Light Arrow of his own, finally causing the machine to cease its operations, falling silent while a hatch to the far right opened up, revealing a path.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“NOOOOOO!!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Majora wailed, as if it had observed the fight of the group with the machine.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Too bad for you.” Link inwardly snarled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link! You and your pesky friends aren’t getting off that easily. If the factory goes, you go with it!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Majora said, clearly agitated, before the group went off into the now-revealed path, which was a corridor with wooden planks and metal walls around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh man, he sounds like he’s lost it!” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And that’s what scares me about him; if Majora goes nuts, he’s more dangerous than ever.” Link said, looking around with extreme caution.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group entered the next area, which was leading to a path upstairs, but as they went on, a crate fell down into the lava and the bridge they went on before collapsed, effectively preventing them from going back! To make matters worse, the area was shaking at random intervals…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! The whole place is coming apart!” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Not only that, but the lava appears to be rising at an alarming rate…” Darunia said, seeing it almost reached the platform they stood on.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh no! EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!” Link then shouted, making sure his weapons were tucked away as he made a run for it, Zelda and Saria close behind him as the Sages followed right away, the lava now reaching the platform they just stood on as they made their way in a circle to a higher area. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Careful, don’t drink more than you can handle! HAHAHAHAHAAAA!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Majora’s voice cackled across the area, revealing that he was the one who was deliberately causing the place to begin to fall apart, as more debris and crates fell in the lava at the sides…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“CURSE YOU, MAJORA!” Link snarled as he and the Sages managed to reach the higher path in time.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]A Sword and Shield Soldier tried to block their paths, only to be clobbered aside by Darunia, while the others went around it, hopping across a gap to a broken path at the other side, moving then to the left, hopping over two platforms before reaching a crevice in the wall where they climbed up rapidly to a higher part with grating close by, while the paths the group just had been on vanished below the surface of the lava. Being in full-panic mode let the group run as fast as their legs could carry them, climbing up the grating quickly before moving to another set of platforms, with Saria summoning a bit of wind to give the group a speed boost to prevent them from falling in the lava. Hopping from the platforms swiftly to reach a straight path to the left, Link smacked a Sword Soldier away to continue his way, while the path below him began to creak, shake and crumble already, before he hopped on wooden platforms onwards, smacking another Sword Soldier to the side along the way, while the Sages weren’t far behind, while Darunia was already making plans of his own.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“THIS IS INSANE!” Zelda exclaimed as she climbed higher in another crevice after Link, with the former already hopping on platforms that acted like a stairway upward towards another grating.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN!” Saria said, seeing as the lava was rising rather rapidly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“DON’T LOOK BACK OR DOWN, JUST GO!” Darunia exclaimed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link was already making his way on other platforms, moving as fast as he could to stay clear ahead of the lava, while smacking another Sword Soldier away as he waited for a little bit. The others arrived within a matter of seconds, the heat of the rising lava already becoming prominent as it kept rising, as if it was chasing the group. As they went onward, Zelda smacked yet another Sword Soldier to the side herself, not wanting them to hinder her and her friends as they reached another grating…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link climbed his way up the grating as fast as he possibly could, already beginning to sweat as he moved rapidly. However, it kept him occupied for a moment as suddenly what appeared to be a stone hit him on the head, causing the young hero to yelp in pain as it hit him, but he quickly recovered and climbed on to a higher path. He was alerted to another yelp, this time coming from Saria and Zelda both as they too were hit with similar debris, before reaching Link’s position with the others just as he hit another Sword Soldier, defeating it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“STOP THEM! THEY MUST NOT REACH OUR TOWER!!!”[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Majora screamed throughout the tower as Link and the Sages scaled the last staircase, of which the platforms were already beginning to shake and crumble, the lava now rising rapidly as the entire place was falling apart![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Smacking a final Sword Soldier away, Saria helped Link further up as he was hit by one strike of said Soldier, reaching the top in time before the platforms they just scaled collapsed and fell in the rising lava, with the group heading for the final bridge where they stopped, seeing that there was a large abyss underneath them…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good grief, he has gotten completely mad.” Impa said, while Saria and Zelda tended to Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you okay?!” Saria asked in worry.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m fine, it’s not as bad as it looks.” He said, seeing that his shield blocked most of the strike at his right side. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, the place shook a bit, a rumbling sound coming from below.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Huh?! What was that?!” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, the faint sound of a massive explosion was heard from below, as the machine they had just fought against suffered from too much pressure and exploded. This resulted in a fireball spreading around in every direction, killing the troops that were looking after the machine itself or tried to run away from it. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It’s coming from below!” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Right as the group looked down, all they could see was a fireball heading into their direction as it was looking for a way to disperse as more and more machines were annihilated throughout the whole underground headquarters. In utter horror and fright, the entire group tried to shield their eyes and quickly prayed for a quick, swift end… only for a gust of wind emanating from the shockwave of the explosion itself blast them right into the air, just ahead of the fireball that was chasing after them. Whether it was desperation or determination, Saria and Ruto both combined their powers and created a water spout that was enough to let them keep their speed and distance ahead from the fireball, just as the group was literally blasted out of the air chute they were in, sending them in the direction of the final tower of where Ganondorf and Majora resided. The last thing they saw before losing consciousness, was that they approached the ground at the tower’s base at high speed, unaware of Ruto, Saria and even Nabooru trying their best to cushion their landing as best as they could…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Leia and Reimu were with their troops inspecting the area the group had just traveled through, when they felt the ground underneath them shake.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! Is it an earthquake?” Leia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“LOOK! OVER THERE!” A Gerudo shouted, spotting an explosion in the far distance, although it looked like a fireball being blasted from the ground…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good grief!” Leia said, appalled at seeing the explosion.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“EVERYBODY MOVE BACK TO THE SHIP AND UNLOAD THE AIR FIGHTERS! WE’RE GOING IN NOW!” Reimu then barked, intent on investigating this, causing the resident group to abandon their current tasks and fall back to the ship at the dock to do as their commander has ordered them to. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Reimu herself saw her sister looking on, who was terribly shocked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sis, we need to go back to get the air fighters.” Reimu said softly to her sister.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you sure they will work? These motorized air ships haven’t been tested thoroughly… “ Leia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Now is a better time than never. We managed to take some stuff from the enemy’s camp after all and the prototypes were a success, so now’s our chance to repay our debt to Nabooru and her friends and help them out as they had helped us out.” Reimu said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I understand, sister. Let’s go.” Leia said, nodding.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Nabooru briefly woke up from her unconsciousness, looking around. She immediately held her head as she felt pain shooting up at the side of it, making her hold it, wincing a little as she felt a fresh wound there, which was obviously bleeding. Trying her best to regain focus, she tried to get a good look in of her surroundings. She saw Impa, Darunia and Rauru lying at a short distance to her left, still out cold, before looking to her right. There, closer to her, she found Link, Saria and Zelda close together, with Ruto behind Zelda, also out cold. Each of them were lying in a very shallow puddle of water, to which she mused that this water was probably Ruto’s doing in her attempt to cushion their fall as best as she could, since any normal collision with the ground from such a fall would have killed them all instantly. She gently stroked Ruto’s face, before looking up. She could see that they must have landed in a stone cavern, while the humongous tower that had dark clouds bellowing around the top was directly ahead. The Tower’s height almost resembled Ganon’s Tower in the Future That Almost Was, but now much taller and more menacing looking, with numerous high towers and what appeared to be dark fog around certain levels. Bolts of lightning were visible in the dark sky at regular intervals, coupled with an occasional rumbling in the air. But there was no rain…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This… this is it… this tower…” Nabooru said to herself, “this is where Ganondorf and Majora are… we reached their fort.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, she saw three small balls of light coming her way. It were Navi, Tatl and Tael![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You three… you made it… as well…” she said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Where have you been? We lost track of you during that snowboard thing!” Tatl said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Tatl!” Navi then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Wow, you look awful! What happened?” Tael asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We… we managed to… reach Ganondorf and Majora’s headquarters… and… and messed up their plans there…” She said with a pained chuckle.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We heard an explosion not too long ago…” Navi then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That… that was from the headquarters… we… we destroyed its main power generator… and Majora tried… to take us with it… we… barely escaped in time…” Nabooru said, trying to stay awake, finally also spotting the thing that was generating the barrier in the first place in a deactivated state.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good grief!” Tael said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Nabooru then chuckled, before her eyes rolled to the back of her head, passing out once more as she fell over, her face close to Link and Saria’s.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“N… Na…. Nabooru?!” Navi asked, alarmed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Tael immediately went over to her, flying over to examine her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“She’s still alive, just unconscious. We need to find something to heal their wounds, otherwise they will perish at the sight of the finish!” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Navi said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But where can we find some fairies here?!” Tatl then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We’ll try to look around, or otherwise donate a bit of our energy to AT LEAST ensure they’ll stay alive.” Tael said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Navi immediately caught on to this and began to fly around Link, Saria and Zelda, being in close range. Tatl moved over to Ruto and Nabooru, while Tael sought out Darunia, Rauru and Impa…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link… please… stay with us… we can’t lose you again like we did before…” Navi said as she flew over to Link, right before she heard him grunt a little. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Moving closer to his mouth, Navi tried to check his condition there. She could hear him breathing. It was slow, a little labored, yet stable. This gave her the confirmation that Link was very much alive, just out of commission for the time being. But how long he would stay out cold like that was something that not even she knew… she also failed to notice a faint orange glow around each of the unconscious group…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link shot up as he found himself in a white void, blinking as he looked around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! Where is this? Where am I?!” He asked. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link? Is that you out there?” Saria’s voice then said. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link then looked to his right, seeing Saria appear beside him, followed by Zelda, Ruto, Nabooru and finally Impa, Darunia and Rauru.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What happened?” Ruto asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I guess you could blame me for this,” Nabooru said, “in my efforts to aid you in at least softening the fall, I must have pulled us into the Spirit Realm by mistake.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It wasn’t a mistake, Nabooru.” A feminine voice then said, which Rauru immediately recognized.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What the-?! Venus, Your Highness!” Rauru then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Just then, the faint image of Venus appeared in front of the group, floating gently. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“If anyone would be responsible for taking you here, it would be me. I have sensed your distress and when I felt Nabooru invoking her Spirit powers, I reacted accordingly, as the landing on the ground would have likely separated her body from her spirit by violent means, which would not only kill her, but also left her unable to be revived, despite her good intentions.” Venus said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group blinked at this.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What?! I… I didn’t know! I…” Nabooru said, trying to explain.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I know you tried to soften the blow for yourself and your friends during that fall. It was very brave of you to do so. I merely aided you in this.” Venus said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I… I understand. Thank you.” Nabooru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There is something you must know, however. Ganondorf and Majora both have been working together on this tower and are planning to use the top of it as a site of what will likely be the final battle against you. While you have gained a vast number of new skills and weapons, you must remain cautious. If Ganondorf and Majora would, by any chance, combine their powers properly, they would be a force that can breach the fabric of dimensions with their sheer power alone. It is this that should be considered your greatest danger, as this could give him the opportunity to give you a fate worse than death; a banishment to the void between dimensions.” Venus then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“The Void between dimensions?!” Link and the Sages asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes. If that happens, you would still be alive, but you would have vanished from the face of Hyrule and Termina, leaving both lands and beyond unchecked and unprotected against their might, dooming them to a Kingdom of Eternal Darkness and Evil, where the friends you have left there will also likely suffer an unjust or cruel demise.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The group gasped at this, apparently appalled by this revelation.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There is a chance however that this fate can be avoided. If both Ganondorf and Majora would be lured in this inter-dimensional void along with you for a showdown without restrictions, it would take them away from the face of the world as well. The only way to return to these lands safely is through the acquisition of the complete Triforce.” Venus then said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, it would require us taking Ganondorf’s Triforce of Power, or Ganondorf taking my Triforce of Courage and Zelda’s Triforce of Wisdom then.” Link said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. Just remember that, if the Triforce is used to take you back, the ones whose powers have been taken cannot return. This is the risk that one has from traveling between dimensions.” Venus said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“At least we have a chance to FINALLY get rid of Ganondorf and Majora once and for all.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“True, but Majora’s insanity and power alone might still do considerable damage and perhaps render all our efforts in vain. So I suggest we strip Majora of his mask and destroy it so he won’t have that power again.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A very wise suggestion.” Venus said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But we… we aren’t dead, right?” Ruto then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“No, each of you is very much alive. You were knocked out by the fall, but what Saria, Ruto and Nabooru did ensure your survival. Give it a while and you should be back on your feet.” Venus said, smiling as she casted a warm glow around the group, before she and they vanished from sight, as everything turned back to normal for the group…
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 49: From one battle into the other[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link finally regained consciousness after what seemed like hours, Saria, Zelda and Ruto sitting near him as they had recovered a couple of minutes before, while Darunia and Rauru were already awake, Impa also just woke up and Nabooru was stirring. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Ow, my aching head!” Link said as he carefully sat up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Thank the Goddesses, you’re alright!” Zelda said, before gently hugging Link along with Saria and Ruto.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link smiled, returning the hug gladly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m happy to see you too alright.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was… quite a harsh landing…” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah. At least the headquarters of their troops is now destroyed…” Nabooru said, before Link felt a slight kiss on the cheek.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Looking around, he suddenly spotted Navi flying close to him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Navi, glad to see you back with us.” He said, smiling before nodding at seeing Tatl and Tael nearby.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Glad that we managed to reach you again.” Navi said with relief in her voice.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed.” Tael said, while Tatl blushed a little, her tsundere side acting up again.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where are we?” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m pretty sure we’re now at the base of the tower of Ganondorf and Majora.” Nabooru said, looking up.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and the other Sages looked up as well, blinking at the mere size of the tower.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Good grief! I knew that the Stone Tower already is tall as it is, but this could pretty much rival or even go beyond it!” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say, it’s as if they too have tried to reach the Goddesses.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And we have to scale the whole thing too!” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link sighed as he went to check his inventory.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, I still have my weapons, but I’m running a bit short on ammo, in particular arrows. I spent a good amount of them against that machine we fought.”  He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Same here, although I have still my Slingshot to full capacity.” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“At least it’s better than having nothing at all. I just hope we can get some new supplies underway.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Link said, just as Navi floated beside him. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Tatl went towards Zelda, while Tael floated beside Saria, deciding to hide with them while they went underway.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The area flashed for a moment as another lightning bolt crossed the dark clouds above, followed with some distant rumbling as the group walked on towards a chest, which contained some additional medical supplies in the form of bandages and a couple of Red Potions. Taking them with them, the group then carefully climbed to a higher part of the outside base of the tower through a net that was hanging in the area safely, taking it slowly to not overexert their bodies yet, considering they have just recovered from unconsciousness. Once on the higher ground, the group stopped to take another look at the tower itself. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Do you think they know of our presence here?” Zelda then asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Positive, but I bet they’re simply waiting for us to come to them, provided we get past whoever’s left of their troops here.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“True. Given that this is their stronghold, we should expect heavy resistance.” Rauru said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded, adjusting his outfit and popping his neck a little to loosen up the muscles there.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, here goes nothing.” He said as he entered the tower’s main entrance, which was now nothing more than a stone hallway that almost appeared to be simply carved out of the stones and rocks that were present in the area. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda and Saria followed him silently, until they saw Link stopping at a torch, looking at it in wonder or confusion.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s the matter?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Check out this torch; it’s green flame reminds me of one I saw in the Forest Temple.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That’s odd. Perhaps it’s some kind of magic?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Possibly. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would find the Poe Sisters in here somewhere.” Link replied as he made his way around the corner towards a ladder, which he climbed, now standing in the entrance room and the first actual room of the grotesque tower.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]No sooner had he entered the tower’s first room, or Link could already hear the squeals of Lizalfos in the room, hearing their steps coming closer as they were preparing for combat. Immediately Link drew his blade and readied his shield, just as Zelda climbed in the room, soon followed by Saria and Ruto, each of them also drawing their weapons. Even though they waited for the others, Link and Zelda already took on a defensive position, with Link peeking around the corner from behind a pillar, seeing not only a good number of Lizalfos, but also a few Assault Spear Soldiers, Bow Soldiers and even a Ball and Chain Soldier.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We have company… and quite numerous too.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda took a peek around the corner of the pillar herself.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yep. Good thing most of them are easily dealt with…” She said, as Darunia came in the room as the last one of the group.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, shall we have a good time and give those creatures what’s coming to them?” Link asked with a very uncharacteristic smirk.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda returned the expression with a nod.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Let’s do this.” She said as she was ready.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]With that, the battle went underway as Link and the Sages moved from behind the pillar, immediately seeing the group of enemies charging at them. The group had very little trouble in cutting through the Lizalfos, four of them charging at the group only to be taken down in a single strike each. Four more of them were at the back, while Link took down one of the Bow Soldiers, but when Zelda engaged the Ball and Chain Soldier, she bumped into a barrier casted by yet ANOTHER Barrier Wizrobe, whom had casted the barrier around the Ball and Chain Soldier. Nabooru relieved her by striking at the Wizrobe, while Impa and Ruto took down two of the Assault Spear Soldiers, followed by Saria aiding Link with taking down two more Bow Soldiers. Rauru helped Zelda by using his Light-based attack to blind the Ball and Chain Soldier, allowing Zelda to take it out herself. This left the remaining five Lizalfos and six Assault Spear Soldiers as Impa took down the last two Bow Soldiers with great vigor. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Using his shield to deflect incoming spears, Link boldly charged at one fo the Assault Spear Soldiers, whom at first backed off, only to be hit by a slingshot projectile from Saria, allowing Link to take the soldier out using the Ending Blow technique. Nabooru and Zelda both took out two Lizalfos each, while Saria and Ruto defeated one Assault Spear Soldier each. Darunia took out two more of them while Rauru fought the last one and Impa slashed the final Lizalfos to bits, the group’s gold-colored blades proving very effective at dealing heavy damage against the enemy forces. However, the group was given no time to rest; as soon as the last Lizalfos was killed and its body vanished into nothingness, a large horde of Dinolfos, both with and without armor, as well as Assault Sword Soldiers and Stalfos entered the room as if ambushing the group. Of course, the group didn’t take kindly to this and retaliated with the same vigor, this time changing tactics. Both Link and Zelda kept attacking the enemy targets with their swords and shields, making good use of the abilities they learned at the Swordsman’s School, the Helm Splitter, Back Slash and Ending Blow being used quite often. Saria summoned vines to constrict or hold enemies in place or pulling allies out of harm’s way, allowing Darunia to strike the constricted enemies apart with his Fire Punch Barrage or use his own fireballs or summoning fire from the ground to lambast the enemies in range. Ruto doused some of the enemies in gusts or spouts of water, occasionally using a water-based shockwave-type attack to knock the enemies back in case they put on too much pressure. Impa produced two Shadow Clones to aid the group, bolstering the group’s numbers a little as it gave them a greater fighting chance, especially as Impa was manipulating shadows to make some of the enemy Soldiers hit each other or their reptilian allies. Nabooru was now adding her own abilities to aid the group, one in particular being a self-enhanced version of the Mortal Blow that, when striking a desired target, separated their spirits from their bodies, effectively killing the victims instantly due to the spirits having no body to return to, leaving the bodies as nothing more than empty, lifeless husks that soon disintegrated into nothingness, never to be seen again. Rauru’s light-based spells allowed him to effectively blind his targets, allowing the elder Sage to come in quickly for close combat, or otherwise stun them long enough to smite them to their doom with his own Light Blasts. This varying amount of attacks and defense patterns allowed the group to plow through the enemy forces, easily slaughtering the attacking Dinolfos without the armor, although their armored comrades were tougher to beat. Still, it did happen that one Dinolfos managed to strike both Link and Zelda with its Fire Breath, although the damage was minimal due to the heat-resistant Goron Tunics the two were still wearing, leaving them with only a few marks which were easily extinguished thanks to Ruto being nearby and using a gentle spray of water to cool their burns down. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Saria in the meantime was cut in the right shoulder by one of the Assault Sword Soldiers, but Nabooru quickly came to her aid and drained a portion of the Assault Sword Soldier’s life-force, donating its converted energy to Saria to quickly revitalize her and lessen the cut wound she received to a minimum. At the same moment, Darunia was having a great time smashing several Stalfos to bits, using fire-powered punches to break through the Stalfos’ shields and shattering their skulls with following punches, despite the Stalfos’ attempts to cut him all over. Link and Zelda came to his aid after the Dinolfos were finally taken care of, effectively dwindling their numbers rapidly while Impa showed several Assault Sword Soldiers who’s boss using her Shadow Clones to intercept those who tried to strike Link and Zelda in the back, although one of the Sword Soldiers managed to stab her in the side, at which Nabooru responded by cutting the Soldier’s head off, before donating its energy in a similar way to heal Impa’s wound. Once the army of Dinolfos, Stalfos and Assault Sword Soldiers were finally taken care of, a single Big Poe appeared in the area, ready to swoop down towards the group and strike them with its lantern, although a few Silver Arrows easily defeated the ethereal being with only a few hits. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Finally, the room was cleared, as a few chests appeared in the area, which allowed the group to restock on arrows, before Link used a Nice Bomb on a Wooden Barrier that was blocking the group’s path. Moving through the now opened area, the group entered a corridor that was lit by more of the green flame torches, as well as a very undeep patch of lava in the middle of the path. Although there were two nets at the side to help the group over, the adrenaline within Link and Zelda was apparently high enough for them to move through that patch of lava, bearing the same effects as if one would run through the lava patches within Dodongo’s Cavern or the Fire Temple, with the added protection of the Goron Tunic that allowed them to move through this part of the lava unharmed for the most part, despite their feet being a bit too hot now. Ruto chose the safer option using the nets, just as the group reached a lava room that had platforms floating in it. Fortunately, these platforms didn’t sink as the group hopped over them one after the other, seeing as the group could see the floor of the room itself through the lava surface. Still, they decided to play it safe this way as they made their way along to the far side of the room where a pathway went down to a lower section of the area, into a small room with a bridge over another lava ditch. It was there that the group stopped for a moment to get a breather.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Whew, if I didn’t know that this was their final stronghold, we could be far worse off.” Link said, panting as he stood next to a wall where a few crates were being stacked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say. To think that this is only the first floor…” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Coupled with it being just the outer section… “ Nabooru added.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah. It makes Ganon’s Tower in the Future That Almost Was look like an apartment store compared to this.” Link said, to which the others nodded, right before Saria managed to defeat a Business Scrub nearby, who offered the group some Red Potion, which they accepted and drank from it after paying the Business Scrub the 40 Rupees.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Revitalized after drinking from the Red Potion, the group made their way into the next room, first entering a lower section of it, but after climbing into the room using a rope net, the group stopped as they blinked at what they saw. For starters, the room itself was really big, possibly big enough to rival the Kokiri Village in size, from the log that was the entrance/exit of the village itself, all the way down up to the entrance to the path leading to the deceased Great Deku Tree. A total of nine stone Pillars were present in the room, obviously meant to provide support to the ceiling area, with at eye level holes in the pillars that contained the same green flames the group had seen with the torches along aside the wall. At the back side to their right was a stack of crates set up as a form of a last-resort supply chain, but that wasn’t what the group was worrying about. Like with the Entrance Room, the Central Room was filled with enemies at the back, this time being four Aeralfos, a Darknut, two Iron Knuckles, four Eyegores, three Floormasters, four Red Taros, four Ball and Chain Troopers, a group of four ReDeads huddled together in the far side corner, two Spear-wielding Moblins and a single Club Moblin guarding a gate.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, crud.” Saria said, annoyed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Chin up, Saria. We survived the onslaught back at the entrance. I’m sure we’ll be able to live through this too.” Link said, patting her on the shoulder, making Saria smile.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They’ve spotted us!” Darunia said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Everybody move to the back! Let’s show them who will have the endurance to fight on!” Link said, moving as the Aeralfos were flying up in position, the Ball and Chain Troopers were moving towards the group, as were the Taros. The only enemies that remained docile for now were the Darknut, Iron Knuckles, ReDeads, the Club Moblin and Eyegores, giving the group the initiative to ignore them for now, letting them focus on the approaching group. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and Zelda managed to snag two of the Aeralfos out of the air using their Clawshots, before slashing at them with their swords to deal damage, while Saria managed to take out one of the Spear-wielding Moblins and the Club Moblin with Silver Arrows from a distance, making them much less of a nuisance. However, before she could target the last Moblin, it was already charging at her at high speed. Although she managed to avoid being skewered by the spear, she along with Link and Zelda were unceremoniously knocked aside, before Ruto took the offending Moblin out instead, while Darunia intercepted the last two Aeralfos by grabbing them as they swept down to strike at the children, breaking their wings afterwards so Nabooru and Impa could finish them off. Helping Link, Saria and Zelda up, Impa and Nabooru then clocked two of the Taros and Ball and Chain Troopers coming quite close to the group. Nabooru had little difficulties in dealing with the Taros, slashing their throats with a few quick swipes of her blades, only to get clobbered in the chest by one of the Ball and Chain Troopers, which in turn received a Ball and Chain in the face, courtesy of Link. Zelda saved Impa from the Ball and Chain of the second Ball and Chain Trooper, allowing Saria to take it out with a Silver Light Arrow, before Ruto helped Link in taking out the first one as Rauru helped Nabooru back on her feet. Darunia managed to incinerate the first of the Floormasters as it got into range, using a Goron Pound to tackle the Mini Floormasters along the way as Link and Ruto took out the two remaining Taros as they came in at the group, while Saria and Zelda worked together in defeating the two remaining Ball and Chain Troopers, leaving only the two Floormasters to deal with as the moving enemies, which Link and Saria first took care of by striking them with Silver Fire Arrows, after which Zelda casted Din’s Fire to destroy the mini Floormasters that came from the fallen normal ones. This left only the silent monstrosities to deal with, but not before Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto used Silver Fire Arrows to take out the ReDeads from a safe distance. But just as the four children moved onward to engage the Darknut first, a Like-Like dropped from the ceiling and promptly swallows the four children whole, before spitting them out… but now without their Shields and Goron Tunics! Immediately Nabooru fired a Silver Fire Arrow at the gelatinous creature, defeating it instantly and allowing the four children to regain their Goron Tunics and Red Shields, just as two of the Eyegores woke up and moved in to engage them.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]While the four children equipped their shields and got hold of their Tunics to put them back on in the safe corner, Nabooru and Impa helped by taking out the two approaching Eyegores with the Silver Arrows, defeating them instantly, before luring the other two Eyegores over to take them out as well, leaving now just the two Iron Knuckles and the Darknut. After having put their tunics back on, the four children resumed their plan of attacking the Darknut en masse, while the four adults went to engage the two Iron Knuckles, two against one Iron Knuckle each. Using Silver Arrows to wake them up, the behemoths went on their way in a spreading motion towards their attackers, just what the group had intended all along. This allowed them to properly focus on the slow moving enemies, yet also prevented them from getting in each other’s way and/or getting caught in the attacks from the other swinging parties. Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto managed to stun the Darknut before slashing at it from all sides, effectively destroying its shield and armor in less than a minute, before diving out of the way as it tossed its broadsword away in favor of a smaller, rapier-like sword while also having increased speed. Darunia, Rauru, Impa and Nabooru stayed clear of the Iron Knuckles and their massive axes, Nabooru in particular, instead opting to pelt the behemoths with Nice Bombs, Nice Bombchus and Silver Arrows to inflict the damage, also rapidly destroying the outer armor of the behemoths, while keeping their distance as the two ran towards their attackers, making sure they had free path behind them as more Arrows and Bombs eventually did the Iron Knuckles in, just as the four children finished the Darknut off. This cleared the room of the enemies so far, but as the group got back together to regroup, a gate closed at the entrance area of the room, locking them in the room itself! The gate that the Club Moblin was guarding first then opened up and another large group of enemies moved in the room, being Assault Sword Soldiers, Stalfos, Eyegores, Garo Robes, a single Garo Master, Armored Dinolfos, Moblins, Red Taros and Flare Dancers![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Brace yourselves!” Link said, getting ready as his Golden Master Sword and Red Shield were ready.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Remind me to give my blessings to that Swordsman whom taught us those skills…” Zelda said, standing next to Link, her own Golden Sword and Red Shield ready as well…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You can concentrate on the Garo and the Sword-wielding enemies,” Darunia said, “I’ll handle the Flare Dancers!” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Right.” Link said as the battle began…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Rolling up, Darunia prepared his Magic Goron Roll, using his spikes to knock two of the Moblins, a Garo Robe, several of the Assault Sword Soldiers and Armored Dinolfos and four Red Taros aside, reaching the Flare Dancers within seconds and using the Goron Pound to disable the suits of those he could reach, ready to squash them flat. Four Assault Sword Soldiers charged at Link and Zelda, with the hero and the princess coordinating their attacks and making sure not to hit each other as they fought for their lives against the aggressive, corrupted soldiers. Saria and Ruto provided cover by tackling the Moblins from a safe distance using their Silver Arrows, repeating this procedure with the Eyegores, while Impa and Nabooru engaged the Armored Dinolfos, while Rauru himself took on the deadly Garo Master. Despite being one of the elder Sages, as well as being the eldest of the entire group, Rauru was still very much capable of combat if the lives of himself, his friends and his home were at stake, doing whatever is necessary to smite evil. With this, he was easily capable of observing the Garo Master’s moves and, using the knowledge that Link provided him about them, he knew when to strike, avoiding his attacks several times before dealing the death blow with a powerful Light Blast, causing the Garo Master to commit its form of ritual suicide upon being defeated. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Once the Eyegores had been taken care of, Saria and Ruto went to assist Link and Zelda against the ruthless Assault Sword Soldiers. Although the two had slain a decent portion of them, there were still several more to deal with, all of which attacking with quite the vigor inspired by the need to take them down in the name of their dark masters Ganondorf and Majora. Darunia had no problems in slaying the Flare Dancers, his Goron Pounds, Goron Roll and Goron Power Punches proving very effective in dealing quite the damage, taking out several Garo Robes and Red Taros along with his actions, even if they were just in the way to his intended targets. Nabooru and Impa attacked the Stalfos after taking out the Armored Dinolfos using the Helm Splitter and Ending Blow, while on occasion Nabooru used her Enhanced Mortal Blow to take care of the nemeses. Impa deployed her Shadow Clones this time to assist the four children against the raging Assault Sword Soldiers, seeing that they were in quite the deep trouble due to the aggressors’ relentless attacks on them. Still, the four stood their ground, despite having several cuts, bruises and slash wounds, diminishing the enemy numbers rapidly. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Having killed about four Flare Dancers, Darunia looked around to ensure there were no more of them, before he went to assist Rauru against the remaining Garo Robes, who were furious after seeing their Master being killed by the hands of an elder Sage. While Rauru was capable of handling them, personally taking out two of the Garo Robes in a single strike, he did find himself surrounded and using evasive maneuvers to dodge the attempts they made to strike him from the sides or from behind. Link and Saria both took out a few more of the Red Taros that tried to attack them from the sides before focusing on the last of the Assault Sword Soldiers, who were now rapidly dwindling in numbers as now only less than ten of them were in the room, while Impa and Nabooru both plowed through the Stalfos forces as if they were nothing, sending bone fragments all over from those who literally shattered after taking too much damage. Once the last of the Assault Sword Soldiers were finally slain, Link, Saria, Zelda and Ruto aided Rauru and Darunia by attacking the remaining Garo Robes from the flanks, with Link striking several of them down in a single blow with a well-timed Quick Spin attack. Once the Garo Robes were dealt with, the group joined up with Impa and Nabooru and together the eight fighters attacked the remaining Stalfos en masse, making sure not a single one of them remained behind, along with the remaining Red Taros. Once the room was empty again, save for the group itself, each of them either leaned on their weapons after stabbing them in the ground, or otherwise collapsed to hands and knees as they were quite exhausted. Impa managed to get herself and he others some more of the Red Potion she had saved, something which the group could definitely use to revitalize a bit and have their worst wounds treated.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Dang, that was one battle I wouldn’t want to experience again.” Zelda said, wincing a bit as Impa nursed her sides, while Nabooru tended to Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“It definitely won’t be of this kind, but this is only the beginning of what has yet to come.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You’re absolutely right in that. I must admit that you are quite the smart kid for someone of your age… I wonder why you and the three other children aren’t playing with other toys instead of those you have now…” a dark voice said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Immediately the group was on alert as the gate ahead opened once more… and Dark Link stepped out from it![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Surprised to see me? Yes, you did manage to defeat me back at the forest outpost, but Ganondorf apparently had some more use for me and gave me another chance.” Dark Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I take it you’re not alone?” Link scoffed.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Cheeky and yet catching on so quickly… you’re right. I’m not alone…” Dark Link said with a chuckle… just as dark versions of Saria, Zelda, Ruto and Nabooru appeared around the group… along with Dark versions of Rauru, Darunia and Impa, surrounding them!
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Chapter 50: Going back[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and the Seven Sages were disturbed at the fact that they were facing dark versions of themselves, each bearing the ominous dark gray to black colors all over the hair, skin, body and clothes, with the only thing being colored were those piercing, crimson red eyes. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“This is far enough, kid. You’ve done well in penetrating the outer section of the fort, but this is what they say, end of the line.” Dark Link said, approaching Link, who in turn approached him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“For you, yes.” Link said, once more battle-hardened.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Please, your condition is wavering to say the least. I’m surprised you can even STAND with all those wounds. Just hold still right there, I’ll be nice enough to make it quick and painless.” Dark Link said, still approaching.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Surprisingly, Link stood indeed still, leaving the good and evil Sages in wonder what he was doing. Dark Link also found it odd that Link was actually listening and just stood there, silent and not afraid.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]‘Why is he not cowering in fear? Doesn’t he fear death?’[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Dark Link wondered as he raised his blade, but remaining weary of Link’s movements. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link on the other hand was indeed sweating, but ignored the pain as he continued to watch Dark Link.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]‘That’s it… come closer, you twit; I’ll show you!’[/font][font=Verdana, sans-serif] Link thought with focus.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Link? What in Hyrule do you think you’re doing?” Saria said, only to receive no answer.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Soon enough, Dark Link stood in front of Link himself, the two staring in each other’s eyes, studying each other. A sudden wave of deadly silence fell in the room, enough to make a heart beat itself out of control in anticipation or aggravation…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A brave kid you are, showing no fear in the face of death… I shall remember this…” Dark Link said, raising his blade…[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]…only for the group to hear the sound of steel meeting flash… and seeing Dark Link in sudden pain![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The entire group watched as Link pulled his Golden Master Sword from Dark Link’s body, before kicking him backwards, sending him backwards on the ground. Link didn’t stop however as he charged onward, jumping in  the air before thrusting his sword down to perform the ending blow… only for Dark Link to roll out of the way, making Link miss his target, but allowing Link to regain focus as Dark Link had difficulties with getting up… only to hear him chuckling darkly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“H… heh, heh, heh… you certainly got me good, kid. I didn’t expect you to pull something like this off… possibly the best shot you had against me.” Dark Link said, a smirk plastered on his face.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hmph. I should have known; Ganondorf and Majora must have had something to do with this.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They had indeed, they created me and the counterparts of your friends…” Dark Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That I know, the Stalfos Commander told us this.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I see,” Dark Link said, drawing his own sword and shield, “this is going to be an interesting fight after all.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I take it you want this fight to be just between you and me, huh?”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Exactly; my friends would like to go one on one with their counterparts… your friends.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I have to give you this; you do know how to play fair in this.” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Of course, why else would I go after the others if my only target is you?”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I don’t know, perhaps using them as a leverage to lure me out?” Link replied sarcastically.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh please, don’t give me that crap; with how you have been able to stay together, it’s hard to find you without any of your buddies around.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Hm. You got me there.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Now, are we done talking?” [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“As for me, yes. Let’s do this then.” Link said, getting in his battle stance, while the Sages got ready to fight as well.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The fight begun less than a second later, with each of the heroes moving to attack their dark counterparts. With almost each of the group, the fight as an actual sword fight individually, the only exception being Darunia, whom was engaging his Dark self in an all-out fist fight. At first, the fight seemed to go equally, with metal going against metal, scraping noises all over, but this was partially a ruse on part of the heroes… this was proven as Link was at first going his usual routine to see if this Dark Link still fought the same, which he so far did, which brought a smirk to Link’s face.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What are you smirking at, boy? You caught me by surprise with that one sneaky move, but truly you can’t beat me now…” Dark Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link merely responded by first thrusting his shield forward, clocking Dark Link full in the face to daze him.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ve learned some new stuff.” Link retorted as he rolled around Dark Link to get behind him and delivering a Back Slash against him, causing Dark Link to grunt in pain as it struck him. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]In retaliation, Dark Link moved in to strike back, but Link used his shield to block and his own sword to parry the strikes with the grace of a well-trained knight, making use of his full body to avoid as many strikes as possible and using his shield as a weapon, at a few occasions even striking his dark self with the hilt of his Sword.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda was fighting with a similar grace, although adding a bit of the Sheikah fighting style fitting for children as her attendant Impa had been teaching her some form of self-defense in secret, as well as the knowledge she had obtained during her time when she was disguised as Sheik in the Future That Almost Was. This, in combination with the moves she learned in the Swordsman’s School, allowed the princess to maintain a bit of leverage against her dark self, making use of her agility to avoid incoming swings, while using the momentum in her attempts to land in blows of her own. Saria was in the meantime studying her own dark self, deciding not to resort to her Sage powers just yet. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I do have something to tell you…” Dark Saria then said as she and Saria were parrying each other’s strikes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“And what would that be?” Saria asked, narrowing her eyes.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You remember Sakon the thief?”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, that prancing fool… what about him?”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, I made sure you won’t be bothered by him anymore…”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What? You mean that…?!”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, I killed him. Consider it a ‘favor’ of some sort.”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“A favor?”[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yes, since the one who will end your miserable life will be ME! Not such a prancing idiot!” Dark Saria said, intending to strike down the stunned Saria, only for the Forest Sage to recover and block the incoming strike with her shield.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]In retaliation, Saria moved in to stab at her dark self, only to have that blocked by her dark self’s shield, creating a stalemate.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Nabooru was having it quite tough against her dark self, whose smirk that was plastered on her face would make one believe she could devour the Gerudo leader’s soul at any given time. Nabooru wasn’t stupid however and remained focused, yet she wasn’t exactly half-hardened in her moves… almost timid even. But with the way Nabooru had narrowed her eyes made it apparent that she was trying to feel her dark self out, as if trying to find a pattern between her attacks. She decided to hold off on the use of her Sword Spark skill, deciding to use it as a last resort and in case she was sure her counterpart didn’t have that particular skill. Ruto on her turn was keeping a close watch on her dark self, who was circling around her in an attempt to find an opening, while Ruto kept a close watch on her. She could understand why Link and Zelda both have gone more on the offensive; they had faced their dark selves before and knew what they were capable of. But since she had never fought someone like that, she was much more cautious and test if what Link had remembered in previous encounters of his dark self also applied to her in terms of moves, repetition and specific openings or weaknesses she could exploit in this battle.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Impa was also being very careful, seeing as her dark self seemed to exploit the shadows a lot more than Impa did, the darker areas making her practically invisible. Hence Impa was moving closer into the illuminated center of the room, while using her Shadow clones as a plan of her own, intending to lure her dark self out in the open, illuminated area and strike her from behind using the clones. Rauru on the other hand seemed to be in quite a struggle himself, finding his own magic attacks cancelled out by Dark Rauru, even though neither of them was having the advantage at this time. Darunia however was getting tired of his dark self and promptly charged at him, with Dark Darunia returning the same gesture, resulting in the two Gorons getting embroiled in a rapid-fire fisticuffs contest, where the furiously attempted to pound the other’s skull in, yet finding themselves meeting the opponent’s fist halfway, leading to nothing. Whenever Dark Darunia managed to clock Darunia in the face with a strike that broke through his defenses, Darunia recovered quickly and delivered a punch in the face back at his dark self, resulting in a similar stalemate.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Both Link and Dark Link showed signs of frustration as neither of them had the advantage, but Link seemed more focused despite sporting some fresh new wounds here and there, while Dark Link was having difficulties with standing straight due to the injury Link gave him while delivering the Mortal Blow. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Why won’t you die?!” Dark Link snarled.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Because destiny has chosen me as one of those who will bring salvation to Hyrule and Termina. I intend to fulfill that destiny by defeating Ganondorf and Majora!” Link retorted.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Like hell you will! Ganondorf and Majora will gladly kill you again! There’s no way you will have a chance against them now!” Dark Link said, kicking Link away, getting ready to rush at him to end the fight.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link however recovered, and got ready as he promptly discarded his shield for the time being, gripping his sword with two hands![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh yeah?! We’ll see about that!” Link said, as he rushed straight towards Dark Link, who was already charging at him, sword held back as he was now faster due to not carrying the shield with him. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]At the same time, Dark Saria caught Saria in a vine-trap, almost similar to the one she used on Sakon, but she soon found her own movements restrained due to Saria deploying a vine trap of her own, pulling her arms to the side which released the Forest Sage herself. Darunia managed to clock Dark Darunia to the far side of the room in his own fiery rage and Zelda managed to gain the upper hand on her own Dark self once again, using her own magic blasts to counter and prevent Dark Zelda from re-igniting the Dead Man’s Volley routine once more. The group then saw Dark Link and Link charging at each other, with the Sages blinking at seeing Link having dropped his shield, charging at his dark self head on. Both Dark Link and Link raised their weapons as they came closer and swung towards the other, with the distinct sound of flesh being penetrated by steel being heard in the area, seeing Dark Link and Link right opposite each other in a locked position. All they could see was a smirk on Dark Link’s face… and a weary look on Link’s face… seeing blood trickling down his face due to a fresh cut in the cheek.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Suddenly a gasp of agony resonated in the area… but Link was keeping his focused expression… this was soon followed by the clatter of a sword landing on the ground… it was Dark Link’s! Now the group could see, after moving positions, that Link managed to plunge his sword straight into Dark Link’s chest, causing the latter one to gasp out in pain, blood trickling down the edges of his mouth, blinking in utter shock.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“B… but how?!” Dark Link asked, as Link pulled his sword out of his enemy.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link didn’t answer as he promptly kicked Dark Link to the ground, before jumping at him again, sword pointed below… this time using the Ending Blow successfully to defeat him. Dark Link gave a last agonizing howl as he was being stabbed, before laying still. Link himself waited for a few seconds more, before pulling his Golden Master Sword out of him, twirling it around before sheathing it. Seeing this, Dark Saria rushed at him in an attempt to strike at him, only for one of Saria’s vines to wrap around her neck in an attempt to intercept her, but then… [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]*SNAP*[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Instantly Dark Saria was sent to the ground, not moving an inch as she eventually came to a stop, her neck broken, making Link and Saria herself blink at this. Dark Zelda was then unceremoniously zapped to death by one of Zelda’s more powerful spells, similar to the one she used to bind Ganon in the Future That Almost Was, but now in a more offensive fashion. Ruto managed to avoid her dark self’s last attack, before knocking her back against a pillar… right into a torch! Dark Ruto screamed in agony as she was being burned by the torch, before falling to the ground, her movements ceasing. Nabooru on her turn managed to slice the throat of her Dark self before using a Spirit Ball she made to knock her to the far side of the wall, while Darunia delivered a massive power punch against Dark Darunia to send him head-first against the ceiling, crushing his skull in the process. Like with Zelda, Rauru zapped his dark counterpart to death, while Impa used her own shadow to trap her dark self before slicing her across the chest, neck and legs, severing the tendons inside before stabbing her blade in the neck to cut Dark Impa’s jugular vein, ending her as well, finally ending this fight. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link looked down upon the corpse of his dark self with a look that spoke a totally different language than the expected victory one. It was as if Link felt he had overcome his own dark demons of the past in a way, considering the way Dark Link had fought was similar to how he had fought before his own initial demise and resurrection… and yet Link wondered what the point was of this kind of battle. Sure he knew that he had to face his fears, but why did it have to manifest itself in an exact copy of himself, like it did in the Water Temple? What was Ganondorf and/or Majora even planning with these dark copies? Why did it feel the need to pull such an atrocious action like that? Why was it created in the first place? With these questions in hand, Link solemnly returned to the others, feeling a bit empty inside. Fortunately, the Sages understood the raging conflict within the young hero, with Zelda ironically thinking along the same lines as Link on this part. But their peace was short-lived as the cackle of a single Stalfos resonated through the area. Looking around, the group spotted the skeletal warrior coming from above in the center of the room. Link fired a Bomb Arrow at it, only to find the Stalfos being guarded by a Barrier Wizrobe. Zelda moved to shoot the Wizrobe, only to find out that it was being protected by ANOTHER Barrier Wizrobe in turn![/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Okay, now I am really pissed at these guys!” Link said, jumping at one of the Wizrobes to attack it, only for it to vanish at the last moment, making Link miss its target. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Fortunately, Saria managed to make him appear again along with the other one, allowing Link to take down the Barrier Wizrobe that was unprotected, before Zelda took down the second one whom now lost its protective shield. This now left only the Stalfos, which was taken out by Darunia himself. Finally, the group were confronted by a group of Mad Scrubs which appeared at locations between the pillars in the room, but they were taken out with a single strike each or by reflecting the Deku Nuts back at them, after which the room was finally void of enemy troops, the entrance gate into the area re-opening to the lava room, but the gate that released the onslaught of enemies was closed and appeared to be sealed shut. Relieved, the group finally sat down on the floor, with Ruto handing Link’s shield back to him, which he accepted with a smile, now having the time and the chance to nurse each other’s wounds. Navi, Tatl and Tael appeared with the group to provide assistance in this. [/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Oh man, if this keeps up, we’ll still be too vulnerable against our hated enemies.” Ruto said after a minute.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Yeah, but I feel confident that we will make it, somehow.” Impa said, nodding.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link winced a little as Zelda helped with the cut in his cheek, bandaging it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“We should look for a Fairy’s Fountain or otherwise Red Potion or both… we’ll need them more than ever.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link nodded.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed. I’m already quite worn out as it is, it was literally one battle after the other.” He said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“But we will continue on, right?” Nabooru asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Of course; we’ve come too far to retreat now. This would only work in Ganondorf and Majora’s advantage if we did, so we have to press on with our assault and finally defeat them once and for all. That way we all have had our revenge in a way and we can finally lead Hyrule to an era of peace and prosperity.” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“You took the words right out of my mouth.” Zelda said, hugging Link gently.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link smiled and returned it, before giving a similar hug to both Saria and Ruto, making the two girls smile and blush at the same time. Oddly enough, Zelda was genuinely smiling along the way, knowing how much Link cares about all of his friends after all…[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where do we have to go? The gate where the enemies came from is closed and it doesn’t look like there is a switch around that will open it to let us through…” Saria then said after a few minutes, her arm in a makeshift sling to let it rest for a bit.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“There are gratings at a part of the wall and on parts of the ceiling. Obviously this requires the use of our Clawshots to progress. It may take us back to the entrance room even…” Link said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Zelda and the others looked up, seeing what Link was talking about. There were indeed patches on the ceiling with gratings on them, as if forming a small path or something to a room at a higher floor on the side of where the entrance was.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, at least it gives us a new room to explore once we’ve rested up.” Zelda said, with Impa sitting close to her.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Indeed.” Impa said, sighing as her Shadow Clones stood guard at the entrance area, just in case.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Are you alright, Ruto? You’re shivering all over…” Link said in genuine concern.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I… I’m fine… it’s… it’s just the thought of not making it in the end…” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Of course we will make it, just remain calm and focused. And even if we would fall, we’ll make sure that the enemies will have their victory taste as bitter as defeat.” Nabooru said, determined to make it.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link then grabbed his Ocarina, looking at it for a moment, before sighing. Then he began to play the Song of Healing on it, only to blink for a moment when he heard Zelda playing the same song in perfect synchronization and harmony with him, in effect doubling the Song’s power to soothe the regrets of troubled souls. This had the desired effect of calming Ruto down, but not just her… it was calming in fact everyone of the group and also seemed to have a positive effect on their spirits, as if re-strengthening their vigor and backing up the reasons for going on.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]After about two minutes, both Link and Zelda quit playing, smiling as they too felt relieved at the whole state of affairs, now feeling somewhat revitalized, despite their injuries. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“That was… beautiful…” Saria said, smiling as she hugged both Link and Zelda.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link and Zelda both smiled at this, returning the hug  and allowing Ruto to join in. Impa smiled at the scene, getting up slowly.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Well, I think it’s time for us to go. Let’s take it easy and not strain ourselves too much, or otherwise we’d worsen our injuries.” She said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]The others nodded, moving slowly towards the area of where the closed gate was, before moving to the left. Stopping at the corner there, Link looked up as he saw the grating on the wall, before using his Clawshot to grab the wall and drag himself to it, climbing a bit higher on it before using the Double Clawshots to make his way over the grating pads on the ceiling to reach the open room on the far side of the room, the room having an eerie red glow to it as it led into the lava room. Defeating a single Mad Scrub along the way, Link used the gratings on the ceiling in the lava room to cross this one as well, entering another room on a high level where he defeated another Mad Scrub before waiting for the others, who were fortunately not too far behind him.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Proceeding again on their way, the group eventually re-entered the Entrance Room from a higher point, this time ambushed by a single Aeralfos who tried to stop them, only to be reeled in like a fish by Nabooru using her Clawshot and decapitated by Impa, the corpse of the Aeralfos disintegrating within a matter of seconds. This also exposed a Hookshot target into a room the group had not seen before or otherwise missed it due to the intense combat they had been involved in when first entering the room. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What’s in there?” Saria asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Link responded by using his Hookshot to latch onto the target, pulling himself in the room, after which he looked around.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“What luck, guys and girls! I found a Fairy’s Fountain here!” He said, waiting for the others.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]He didn’t have to wait long as the others came into the room one by one, just to prevent being in each other’s way while using the Hookshot to pull themselves up into the room. To their delight, they saw that Link was very much right, allowing the group to seize the opportunity and get properly healed by them, which they did without hesitation, as well as it allowed Navi, Tatl and Tael some additional conversations with their fellows. With that over with, the group removed whatever bandages were left, being completely revitalized as a whole. With this now accomplished, the group took a sip of the water for some additional nourishment, before moving back into the main Entrance Room.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“So, where do we go now?” Impa asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I can see a grating at the opposite side of this part of the room to our left, spanning across a lower ceiling area. Perhaps we need to use that to cross towards a platform at the far side of the room itself?” Zelda asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Sounds feasible to me. With the Clawshots we should be able to latch onto it, but watch out for the steam jets that are up against the wall.” Link said, hopping down before he moved to the grating, using the Clawshot to latch onto it and from there moving his way as if he was climbing upside down on a vine towards the far side of the room. Once there, he waited again for the others, before the group entered another corridor, which went in a ‘Z’-pattern of first going to the right and then to the left, leading into a room where platforms were raising and lowering constantly like unstoppable elevators. Thankfully, there were no enemies or other hazards around this time, but the group did have to make their way up using those platforms and the wooden gratings on the wall and the ceiling. Once more, the Clawshot proved its worthiness by allowing the group to reach those very gratings, which eventually brought the group into another corridor that was right on the upper level of the room where they had fought the large amount of soldiers and their Dark selves before. Entering the corridor to the right, they could see the final remains of their dark counterparts disintegrating on the floor.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Why is this still going on? They should have been disintegrated into nothingness by now…” Saria said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Remember that these clones were made from the blood we spilled in our battles. Obviously Ganondorf and Majora have made this into a punishment for them akin to how Phantom Ganon was sent into the void between dimensions in the Future That Almost Was…” Link replied.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]No sooner had he said this, when a dark portal suddenly appeared on the ground, which dragged the bodies of Dark Link and the other Dark Counterparts into it, before sealing itself once more. The group all watched this occurring, blinking at the whole thing. [/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I believe you just called it.” Zelda said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’d agree.” Link said, before the group proceeded onward, seeing a single jail room which had a Goron in it.[/font]

[font=Verdana, sans-serif]Opening the cell, Darunia smiled as the Goron bowed to him in respect and granted him with another Powder Keg.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“Where are you from by the way?” Darunia asked.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’m from the Goron Village in Snowhead, I was one of the people who were captured during the Invasion of Termina.” The Goron said, before he left off, moving to find his home once more.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“They sure have the right, twisted minds to capture all these people…” Ruto said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“I’ll say.” Impa said.[/font]
[font=Verdana, sans-serif]“If this is their stronghold and they have taken prisoners to here, it is likely we may also come up against brainwashed people around whom want to kill us, so let’s proceed with caution.” Nabooru said as the group returned from the corridor to the larger room, which had crates stacked against the opposite wall and a wooden barrier blocking the path to a staircase to the right on the far side of the area.  After Darunia blew the barrier itself to bits, the group proceeded to the staircase, using the Clawshot to reach another Wooden Grating which took them over a stone wall into a larger part of the room itself on the higher floor, finally allowing them to proceed further in the tower, now entering the inner section of it…
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