The Legend of Zelda: The Alternate Link

Chapter 36: The Beginning of the End

Unconsciousness was a strange thing. It wasn't exactly a state of sleeping as it yielded no dreams. However, that was not to say that everything was completely black and devoid of life. It was more like being trapped in your own mind with the inability to think clearly. If you did manage to have a few muddled thoughts now and then, the void of pressing pitch would retreat into a different color scheme or setting that you wished to see or simply recalled to give yourself something more fascinating to behold.

It wasn't really seeing. It was more akin to your mind's eye envisioning a picture. Regardless, it never lasted more than a few seconds, and Kid soon forgot the vision after the black replaced it again. On a few occasions he felt as if he was half conscious since he could hear voices. However, he couldn't identify a specific owner and the words being spoken were always muffled and echoed like their owners were lost somewhere in the shadowy depths of a cave.

He didn't feel anything. No pain, no hard ground beneath him, or even the fabric of his clothes brushing against his skin. It was as if he was a part of the blackness. Sometimes his mind told him that he should be scared, but he wasn't. Perhaps it was because of the fact that he could not feel that he lacked emotion as well. Fear and happiness, relief and concern…they were just jumbled words lost somewhere in the dark along with him. They didn't register as good or bad. They simply existed.

There was no way to judge time in that place. He couldn't even judge how big the area was. As small as a rupee? As endless as the ocean? He couldn't tell and his brain refused to focus on anything for more than a couple seconds to allow him to puzzle out the answer.

Suddenly the black receded like a curtain to reveal a bizarre scene that did not fade out of existence like the others. The background seemed to be constantly changing from what looked like a calm spring, to some place that appeared to be a courtyard of some kind, to a grassy plain, to an open sky in a sea of clouds. Through all of this there was one constant. A girl that he didn't recognize was cradling a small harp, plucking at its strings. Despite her motions, he couldn't hear anything. The instrument produced no sound.

There wasn't much certainty in his situation, but Kid was almost positive that this was not a dream. It wasn't real of course, but it wasn't a dream of any kind either. His senses still hadn't returned to him, so all he could do was survey the soundless scene before him and try in vain to understand what it was he was seeing.

It seemed as if he was half in and half out of the blackness, caught somewhere between unconsciousness and a dream. The landscape before him was colorless, a pallet of black, white, and gray, but it held more illumination than the dark void he was currently a part of did. It was tantalizing, just within reach, if only he could step into it. However, Kid soon found that trying to move limbs you couldn't feel, or rightfully see, was impossible.

The darkness clung to him like a stubborn child who didn't want to let go of its toy. Kid desperately yearned to reach the dim scene. Though it was dull, it promised something more than the black nothingness did.

Somehow, he didn't quite know how, he managed to wrench himself free of the icy, grasping fingers in the dark and step into the new scene. Instantly color sprang to his eyes and for a split second he was in the same strange place as the girl in the dress that he could now see truly was white. Sound returned to him as well and he barely caught the lilt of her voice as she sang with the vibrations of the golden harp's strings to accompany her. All contained in single second, the girl stopped what she was doing, perhaps sensing his presence and turned to him, smiling warmly. As soon as her crystal blue eyes locked onto his, familiarity surged through him. He knew her. Just as quickly as it had sparked to life, the scene flickered and died, leaving him floating in the inky blackness once again, alone with the excited whispers of whatever else lurked inside.

Kid could no longer say he couldn't convey emotions. He certainly could, and at the moment he was on the verge of panic. The things in the dark, whatever they were, were not kind. Even though he couldn't understand their words, he knew they weren't well intentioned, and he wished to escape them. To be back in the company of the familiar, yet unfamiliar, girl and her singing with a forever shifting scene surrounding them. Unfortunately, whatever force had allowed him to step into the mirage earlier had deserted him, and moving proved to be as ridiculous a notion as speaking at the moment.

When he finally did feel something, it was pain, racing up his back as phantom claws cut into his flesh. Kid cried out to express his discomfort, or at least he tried to. He wasn't sure that anyone had heard him or if he'd even made a sound since all noise seemed to have fled as soon as feeling returned to him. Suddenly he found himself wishing for the absence of all sensation like before, so he didn't have to feel the knives that he was sure were digging into his back.

His hearing returned next, fading in and out as if figuring out how to function properly. Broken voices, not the eerie whispers, reached his ears again. Maybe it was only one voice, maybe a million. All he knew was that it, or they, were much too loud for his liking.

The pain intensified and he flinched, surprised to feel his body respond to him after he was so used to it disobeying him for however long he had been trapped in the clutches of the shadow-like sleep. Next he became aware of another person's touch. Someone was holding him. Who? He wasn't sure. Now the person's presence receded a little as they set him down on something hard, presumably the ground.

A word met his ears. Kid. What did that mean? Kid as in child? No. It wasn't a word. It was a form of address. Kid as in him, but why would someone be calling him Kid? His name was Link. Wait, Link. That's who was talking. Kid was just a nickname. His nickname.

Remembering things was odd. They were obvious things that he'd always known but the black had stripped them away to confuse him. "My name's Link. I'm fourteen. I have a little sister and a grandmother, I'm the Hero of Winds…"Kid thought to himself, reviewing everything he could recall as his memory returned and listed each as they came one after the other, a steady stream of information. His likes, his dislikes, past events, the names of his friends, the names of his enemies, the names of places he'd visited; they were all there along with much more.

Once he had finished remembering enough to keep himself somewhat updated on the situation, Kid listened attentively as his ears began to cooperate and properly catch the sound waves traveling through the air. "...ake up, Kid. Open your eyes." Link's tone was almost pleading, and Kid didn't want to worry him any more than he probably already had.

Complying with his companion's request took Kid longer than he wanted it to, but when he did manage to force his eyes open the scene before him was blurry which didn't help with the fact that he was already disoriented. Up and down seemed to be the same direction, or opposite directions, or even no direction at all. Kid blinked to clear away the fog that disrupted his vision. The renewal of his sight did little to brighten his mood. He'd much rather that his muscles didn't feel weighed down with lead and his head didn't feel like it was floating somewhere in the sky with the clouds.

"Thank the goddesses. Are you alright?" Link questioned him, relief evident in his tone. Kid could still identify the concern it held as well.

Kid took a few seconds to assess himself. Physically he felt weak, mentally he was confused. Where were they anyway and what had happened to Ghirahim? Tetra? The last thing he remembered was his Triforce of Courage being stolen from him, then blacking out.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Kid answered automatically, his mind only half attentive to the conversation. The other half was solely focused on figuring out what had happened before he awoke, but his mind refused to remember, and he thought that maybe it was for the best that he couldn't recall the events. After all, it couldn't be important if he didn't remember it.

"You were never much of a good liar," a girl's voice that sounded as if it was carried by the wind, chided, somehow managing to sound sweet and sympathetic at the same time as it did condescending. Kid turned his head to seek out the owner of this new voice and was left staring into the delicate face of Princess Zelda. His Princess Zelda with the pale blonde hair and fancy pink dress that brushed the floor. Kid had to agree with her statement. He was good at being honest. Lying, not so much. That was definitely Tetra's forte.

"What'd you want me to say?" Kid mumbled defensively. He wasn't really in the mood for an argument. Sleep was a more alluring notion at the moment, and it took all of his will power to resist the temptation especially since he'd noticed that he was laying down. His companions seemed to get the message that he wasn't feeling well, and how couldn't they? It was pretty obvious.

"This doesn't make any sense," Link muttered, mostly to himself, "Tetra's fine, you're not, so why? You're not injured that badly."

Kid gave a small shrug. "Ask the goddesses, I'm sure they know." He had momentarily forgotten his injuries until Link mentioned them. Now their presence made him wish for sleep even more. In the clutches of sleep, he wouldn't have to feel anything.

"Goddesses! That's it!" Tetra exclaimed, snapping Kid back to reality and out of his fatigued thoughts.

"What?" Link wondered, confused.

"That's why I'm completely okay. My soul is divine so whatever force from the Twilight Realm that's affecting him now was chased out of me almost as soon as we got here," she explained.

"So does that mean it'll go away on its own?" Kid ventured hopefully. He didn't want to feel like this much longer.

"Maybe," she admitted, "but more likely than not, you'll need some source of pure light to chase it out completely."

"So a light spirit then?" Link proposed.

"Or the Triforce of Courage," Tetra added to his suggestion, "Either way, we need to get out of here first."

Link helped Kid to his feet. He stumbled immediately and had to rely on the older teen for support as he got his bearings. Once he'd somewhat found them, Kid could stand on his own unaided, though Link kept a hand hovering near enough to grab him if he fell.

"Are you sure you don't want me to carry you?" Link inquired, noting Kid's unsure footing with skepticism.

Fighting to maintain his balance, Kid stubbornly refused the offer. "I can walk on my own." Link opened his mouth, presumably to argue about the subject, but Midna stepped in before he could.

"Look, if the kid says he can walk, then he can walk," Midna declared, "If he passes out or whatever then you can have the satisfaction of telling him, 'I told you so' later. Now get moving!" As grateful as he was for Midna's interjection, Kid wondered if his stubbornness was really wise. After a small amount of consideration, he concluded that it was. He wasn't a child and didn't need to be babied. He'd gone through entire temples and dungeons on his own with no one to aid him if he managed to get himself banged up, which had happened quite often. Back then, there was no one to cry to about how it hurt. He had sucked it up and moved on. Just because he had friends at his side now didn't mean that he had the right to wimp out. Kid chose to push away the reminder that, in those previous instances, he had normally had potions available for use and slept off the problem until he felt well enough to continue.

Fortunately, his legs chose to support him, but they wouldn't allow him to go very fast. Walking was enough of an effort, but he didn't want Link to carry him. He'd been enough of a burden to his counterpart already, who was injured as well and didn't seem to terribly mind the slow pace. However, Tetra, now an out of place princess, strolled ahead of them with a minuscule air of impatience, hands clasped behind her back in an effort to appear as if she knew where she was going.

As they walked, Link answered all of Kid's questions that he couldn't answer himself. Soon, he discovered that they were beneath Hyrule Castle Town. They seemed to be the only presences in the underground waterway which Kid viewed to be fortunate. His experience with places underneath the earth were not pleasant ones, and he quickly shook away the memories. Now was not the time to be thinking of redeads or any other corpse-like monstrosity. For now he had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and act like each step didn't send a fresh jolt of pain coursing through him.

The rhythmic footsteps up ahead came to an abrupt halt, and Kid's wary gaze focused on his friend who had frozen in her tracks, staring at something around the corner that he couldn't see.

"What is it?" Link asked her, his hand grasped the hilt of the Master Sword as he suddenly became cautious of their surroundings.

"It's a…butterfly," Tetra said without taking her eyes off of the point of interest.

"Why would a butterfly be down here?" Kid wondered as he and Link caught up with Tetra who gave a small shrug of her shoulders in response. Kid could see the insect now. Borne on elegant wings of blue, it flitted in the air not two feet away from where they stood.

"What type of butterfly is that? I've never seen one with wings like that before," Link commented, letting his hand fall to his side.

"Me neither," Tetra agreed, reaching out a tentative hand towards it as if to invite the specimen over. To their amazement, the butterfly accepted the gesture and landed on the back of her outstretched hand, slowly folding and unfolding its wings which were light blue and bordered with a darker shade, decorated with swirling patterns and raindrops of white.

After a few seconds the butterfly decided that they'd admired it long enough and took to the air, letting its unique wings carry it farther down the path they had yet to tread. It stopped after a few feet, flying in circles, almost as if waiting for them.

"Do you think we should follow it?" Tetra inquired, looking to him and Link for their input.

"I don't know about that…" Link trailed off eyeing the insect with distrust as if expecting it to grow into some otherworldly beast, "It's kind of strange to see a butterfly down here."

Suddenly Fi appeared in her usual discrete manner and announced, "Master that is a Goddess Butterfly."

"What makes it different from a regular butterfly?" Kid asked, more so out of aspiring to keep himself awake than out of curiosity.

"Goddess Butterflies congregate in places designed to aid the chosen hero. I calculate a ninety percent chance that following this Goddess Butterfly will yield fortunate results," Fi reported.

"Okay, we could use some fortune right about now. Let's follow it." Link decided, stepping forward as Fi retreated into the Master Sword. Kid trailed behind him with Tetra at his side. As Princess Zelda she almost always looked forlorn. He shot her a wan smile and she returned it, hooking her arm with his as if escorting him, though he knew it was really just to help him keep his balance which seemed to be failing him every now and then.

The three of them trailed after the special insect, allowing it to lead them through the maze-like underground passages. Kid thought that it was a bit foolish. What could a butterfly really do anyway? Weren't they just getting themselves more lost the longer they followed it?

After turning at the next corner, he spotted two more butterflies, identical to the first in every way, lingering near the middle of the long wall to his left. Their escort joined its companions, apparently finished its mission. This appeared to be their destination, but Kid couldn't figure out what made this particular area any different from the others they'd been through. It didn't feel exactly magical. The rough grey walls and worn cobblestones were the same as they had been everywhere else.

"So….now what?" Link wondered, glancing around as if he expected something to happen. Everything remained still, exactly as it was before.

"Maybe we hit that ten percent that this little trip doesn't benefit at all," Kid suggested, slipping his arm out of Tetra's and sliding down the wall into a sitting position since all of the physical activity wasn't exactly helping his condition. If anything, it was making it worse and he suddenly regretted, just a little, refusing to allow Link to carry him through the sewer's tunnels.

Tetra sighed on his right, touching her back to the wall and letting it support her as she stood there. Suddenly a purple line created a rectangle surrounding the place she had touched, and she jumped away quickly as if it had shocked her, which it probably had. Kid had felt a tingle run along his back, irritating his wounds, when the shape appeared, and the indigo bordered rectangle hadn't even touch him. He inched away from the wall and stood up to regard the strange phenomenon.

"What did you do?" Link questioned her immediately.

"I-I have no idea," she confided in a small voice, backing farther away from the wall, regarding it as one would a hungry monster they were staring straight into the mouth of.

"Ask Fi what it is. She'll probably know," Kid pointed out. Link was about to do just that when the sword spirit appeared next to him, apparently already prepared with an answer.

"This is a Goddess Wall," Fi explained, "It was placed here by the goddess Hylia to aid her chosen hero. Using a skyward strike, it is possible to draw shapes on the wall that will yield helpful items."

"What kind of items?" Link wondered, his suspicion transforming into curiosity.

"Bombs, arrows, rupees, and fairies are the only objects that I have recorded observing a goddess wall produce," Fi reported.

"Fairies? How do we get fairies?" Link interrogated her, clearly excited. Kid was too. Fairies were extremely hard to come by and for that reason they were a reliable, if elusive, healing source. The little sprites were adept enough to heal fatal wounds if administered swiftly enough. A fairy would be able to heal him completely if they got a hold of one. Kid knew that Link had the same idea in mind and eagerly turned to Fi for her answer.

"To be rewarded with fairies, you must draw a Triforce in one stroke on the wall," Fi responded, "Be careful Master, if you do so incorrectly, the wall will disappear and you will not obtain what you wish." With that, Fi vanished into the sword in a flash of pale purple, her advice on the topic apparently exhausted.

"One stroke? How would I do that?" Link muttered to himself staring at the intricate square of indigo with the goddess crest in the center as he contemplated the answer.

"I did something like that before," Kid chimed in. 'Finally, the temple of the Ocean King was actually good for something,'he thought to himself.

"You should do it then. If I mess up we won't be getting anything according to Fi," Link said, unsheathing the Master Sword and holding it out to Kid. He took the sword by the hilt, and Link stepped aside to give him room as he pointed the blade to the ceiling, gathering energy for a skyward strike. Once the shining metal was bathed in purple light, Kid lowered the sword. He had a feeling he wasn't supposed to release the beam of energy at the wall. Instead, it was to be focused into a drawing tool.

He hesitantly pressed the tip of the sword to the middle of the rectangle and began to draw. He was surprised to find that lavender light spilled out of the tip like ink and he struggled to keep his hand steady. It was actually quite difficult to draw decently with a sword held out in front of you, and in the end his lines weren't exactly straight. It probably didn't help matters that he was a bit shaky to begin with, courtesy of whatever force of twilight had latched onto him and refused to let go. However, the crude picture was still recognizable as a Triforce.

His drawing burst into fragments of light and immediately he was given the impression of failure. However, the show wasn't quite finished. Just as his drawing disappeared, and with it the rectangle, an outline of the sacred crest in the middle flashed once, spitting out three fairies, before fading into the grey stone as if it had never been.

Elated and in awe at the same time, Kid lowered the sword and stared at the pink fairies. One of them made its way over and spiraled around him, shedding brilliant sparkles in its wake which clouded his vision for a moment. Kid hardly cared about that though. He could already feel the fairy's healing magic sealing up his wounds and soothing the tension out of his sore muscles. He momentarily closed his eyes and let out a content sigh as his strength returned to him. No longer did he feel weighed down by anything. Whatever had clung to him dispersed at the fairy's gentle touch. His fatigue had also retreated to the back of his mind.

He opened his eyes just in time to see the fairy disappear. Kid always felt a little guilty using fairies. The helpful creatures were compelled to heal anyone in need of it and by doing so they gave up their own life forces. All healing fairies were created for this specific purpose and none of them viewed giving up their life as a sad event. It was always an honorable one as it was literally the only thing that gave their fragile lives meaning.

"Link, catch the last one in your bottle before it flies away," Tetra advised, pointing to the remaining pink sprite.

"You don't need it?" Link queried, taking out a bottle.

"No," she replied, shaking her head a little. Link trapped the fairy before it could fly off farther down the tunnel and corked the bottle, so it couldn't escape. Kid also despised doing such a thing. The fairies always looked so sad to be in there. Of course he couldn't blame them. He wouldn't be too happy to be trapped in a bottle either. Still, fairies were rarely found outside of fairy fountains and it would be a crime to waste them in any way.

Shortly afterwards the three of them were moving through the underground waterway at a much swifter pace. Link took the lead since, out of all of them, he had a better idea of where the exit was located. Midna returned his weapons to him, and Kid was relieved to have their familiar weight on his back.

After a few more minutes of wandering around the sewers they came to what appeared to be a spiraling staircase. It was long past its glory days and was now in a tragic state of disrepair. The stairs were broken and crumbling in many sections which made Kid wonder how they were supposed to climb it to the upper level since most of the gaps weren't within jumping distance of each other.

"How do we get up?" Tetra inquired, stopping at the first gap in the staircase.

"Midna, we need your help," Link announced to his shadow. The Twilight Princess appeared with the shadow crystal in her hand.

"I was wondering when you were going to say that." She grinned cheekily before touching the crystal to Link's forehead. Black Twili particles instantly consumed his form. They dispersed to reveal a grey wolf, and Kid had to say that he was less taken aback by the transformation. He'd witnessed it quite a few times already, so he couldn't bring himself to be even mildly surprised anymore.

Kid volunteered to go first upon sensing his friend's reluctance to do so. Once he was situated on Wolf Link's back, the sacred beast leaped across the first gap at Midna's encouragement. When they landed, Kid realized just how decrepit the stairs were. However, he failed to realize how structurally unsound they were as well. Maybe that was why Wolf Link thought it was safe to take a step forward. Instantly, the floor that should have been sure footing crumbled without warning. Wolf Link somehow managed to catch the edge of the broken stairs, and attempted to pull himself up. The sudden change in positions caught Kid off guard and his grip momentarily loosened. This was more than enough to ensure that he wouldn't be able to retain his place on the wolf's back and he promptly fell off with a loud shout. Thankfully, there was water to break his fall, unfortunately it was freezing cold. Kid quickly swam over to land and he heard his animal companion drop down into the murky water with a splash behind him. Wolf Link hastily joined him on dry land, shaking out his now dripping wet fur.

Tetra hurried down to see if they were alright. Midna seemed less concerned for their well-being and more amused.

"Eee hee hee! Maybe I should have accounted for the extra weight, huh?" Midna considered, shooting them a mischievous grin. Kid said nothing and simply remounted the wet wolf. He wasn't much better. He was soaked from head to toe, but at least he was used to it. Living with pirates was, at times, very interesting, and other times very dangerous. Their idea of fun, was quite outlandish sometimes. Kid couldn't count how many times he'd been thrown or fallen into the ocean because of some dare or game of theirs that he'd somehow found his unfortunate way into.

On their second attempt, they managed to land on more stable ground. The three of them went ahead, promising to return for Tetra once they reached the top. Said girl looked to be apprehensive about this decision but didn't utter a protest.

On a few occasions on the ascent, Kid had to use his sword to dispatch some pesky keese lurking in the darker corners of the room. As they climbed higher it seemed to only get more perilous and every step taken was a risk. It was a feat in itself that any of the stairs could be relied on to not dump them into the empty space below. Hearts pounding, they finally came to the peak of the staircase, and Kid noted the door to their right which was most likely their ticket out. He slid off of Wolf Link's back, and Midna took his place. His two companions left, only to return with the pirate turned princess a few minutes later.

When everyone was at the top of the staircase, Link was returned to his original form, and they stepped out of the door. What awaited them outside was a bit alarming. They were high up on top of Hyrule Castle's battlements. The stone beneath their feet was cracked and chipped, but it seemed to be in better condition than the staircase had been. Since the battlements were here, Kid didn't see any reason why the previous staircase hadn't be repaired. Perhaps no one cared enough to take on the project. Up above the sky was laced with clouds, recently emptied of rain which was why the ground shone with a wet glimmer. Weak slivers of sunlight managed to slip between the spaces in the clouds and put tiny spotlights on various sections of the rain-coated ground.

"There's a tower somewhere over there," Link informed them, gesturing in the general direction of their destination, "If we can get there we'll be inside of the castle and all we'll have to do is get out of the castle and to whatever part of Hyrule field Zelda said she'd be in."

"West," Tetra supplied helpfully.

"Right, west then," Link nodded, motioning for them to follow him across the battlements. Heights normally didn't deter Kid, but up here everything seemed so precarious, as if the stones beneath his feet could give out at any second and send him plummeting to the land below. For this reason he endeavored to stay closer to the center even though there were low lying walls that somewhat resembled railings on most of the sides so they should have saved him from any unexpected drop.

The wind was also noticeably stronger up here which didn't agree with his damp clothes. Puddles dotted the grey stone, and water dripped from drying flags, occasionally spraying droplets of the liquid onto their group when the wind teased the pieces of cloth. Despite these inconveniences, traversing through the rooftops wasn't too bad until they got to the actual roof that is. It was barely wide enough to tread safely on the peak, not to mention that the tiles were slick due to the recent rainfall that must have occurred sometime when they had been in the Twilight Realm.

Carefully crossing the first section, Kid could now see the open window that would allow them access to the tower Link had mentioned earlier. He became extra cautious. If he fell now…he wouldn't like to imagine what would happen if he fell. For now he concentrated on where he was placing his feet.

A high-pitched scream bred from pure terror rang out from behind him, raising above the whispers of the chilling wind. He whirled around, an action that one would not recommend when balancing on top of a roof, just in time to see Tetra slip, and begin to fall down the side. Off balance now as well but intending to help, he caught her hand before she could fall completely. Unfortunately, this caused his balance to fail him altogether, and Kid soon found himself slipping down the slick tiles along with the princess whom he just barely managed to keep a hold of.

Grappling for a hand hold, he scraped up his free hand on the rough tiles but just when it seemed like the two of them would slide off the roof completely, his left hand found what it had been looking for, and they came to a jarring stop. His heart was pounding in his ears in time with his aching hand. Tetra was just below him, holding his other hand in both of hers as she struggled to find something solid to stand on. She didn't seem to be succeeding.

"Are you two okay?!" Link called down to them. Glancing up, Kid found that they were quite a ways from the top.

"Just peachy!" Kid shouted back, unable to stop himself from sounding a bit sarcastic. His fatigue was slowly returning which wasn't helping him keep a clear head.

He readjusted his grip on Tetra's hand, the silky fabric of her glove making it more difficult to prevent his hold from slipping.

"Don't let go!" she cried, misinterpreting the re-positioning of his hand.

"I'm not," Kid assured her, as he tried to pull her up beside him. He managed to get her farther away from the very edge to a point where they could both, more or less, stand on the tiles without slipping.

"I'm not sure if I can come down there without knocking us all off. The roof is pretty slick," Link reported.

"It's fine," Kid responded, "I think I can get us back up."

Link didn't even have to say be careful. He well knew the penalty for making a wrong move. Kid surveyed the blue tiles in front of him, shiny with droplets of rainwater. A few of them were slightly out of place. Once he was positive that his boots had a good grip on the shingles and wouldn't budge if he moved around a little, he dare to take his hand off of the single tile that had been his savior and move it to one a little higher up. He found a new foothold next and helped Tetra climb higher.

"Sorry, I slipped," Tetra apologized, her eyes pleading for forgiveness, "I'm not used to wearing high heels or wearing long dresses."

Well, it was no wonder she fell. The whole princess get-up wasn't very efficient for traveling across rooftops, or anywhere outside of a castle for that matter.

"It's not your fault," Kid said, giving her a small smile of reassurance before trying to find another handhold. In retrospect, it probably didn't take as long as Kid imagined. He did earn a few more scrapes and bruises on the way up, but compared to the cuts that Ghirahim's flying daggers had made earlier, they were but tiny pinpricks of pain. Other than being shaken, as would be expected of a person who almost fell off of a roof, Tetra seemed to be unharmed.

When they were within reaching distance, Link helped them both climb up the rest of the way to relative safety. Even when they were on top of the roof, the young princess would not release Kid's hand, probably fearful that she'd slip again. Kid didn't mind her clinging so much as her altered personality. It was overtly changed. Of course, he expected it more so this time than the first time she'd transformed. As Princess Zelda she naturally acted much nicer, but the role of damsel in distress also held firmly, and Kid thought that he could do without it. Yet, he had to remind himself that as Princess Zelda, all of the emotions that Tetra normally withheld were of free reign. Her feelings weren't trapped somewhere deep inside like they usually were, they were fairly close to the surface, so she exhibited doubts and fears that would otherwise be concealed with a burst of anger, an indignant shrug, or a cheeky remark.

He was relieved when they made it to the window since the ever present danger of falling to their deaths was immediately extinguished as the little alcove was much more closed in and comforting. The window was higher than Kid would have liked it to be, but Link aided them both in reaching it. Dropping down the short distance into the tower, he was greeted with a winding staircase, a much smaller and more stable version than the one they'd ascended before.

"Which way?" Kid wondered when Link dropped down from the window's ledge.

"Down," his counterpart responded. They all hastily descended the steps. Now that their near death experience was over, their initial mission stood out clearly in their minds. Princess Zelda needed saving from possibly the worst villain since Ganon.

Leaving the castle turned out to be the simplest task of the day. No one stood in their way, and if anyone suspected anything the three of them were there and gone so fast that no one had a chance to pose an inquiry to anyone but themselves. At any other time running through the halls of Hyrule Castle would have gotten them in trouble. However, the few strict servants and guards that were left inside the castle were too taken aback by the unfamiliar princess in pink to reprimand them.

Even the sentries outside the castle didn't challenge them when they ran past as if the demon's hordes were on their heels. Castle Town itself was deserted, just as they'd left it earlier in the day. That was for the best judging by the battle that would likely take place in a few short minutes.

Nervous was an understatement. Kid was terrified that they were already too late. How much time had they wasted underground, recovering and trying to escape? A half hour? An hour? Longer? All time that Ghirahim had no doubt been using to achieve his goal which was still an enigma. The most that they'd been able to figure out based on what he'd taken so far was that he wanted to put together the entire Triforce to make a wish. This prospect wasn't too far-fetched that Kid didn't believe it, but he didn't understand how Ghirahim planned to obtain the Triforce of Power. Not to mention that his plan included a divine soul. That fact both unnerved him and confused him. Taking away someone's soul was like wiping out their entire existence. He didn't even want to entertain the notion of what a person could do with another's soul.

The threesome made their way down the west side street, which was just as abandoned as the rest of the town. Once they stepped out of the western gate, Kid was startled to find so many monsters lying in wait. He quickly drew his sword and shield. Suddenly he realized that Tetra didn't have anything to defend herself with and took out his bow and quiver of arrows, handing them to her. She accepted the weapons with a bit of hesitance.

As he scanned the area before him, he didn't see any Hylian soldiers and hoped that they hadn't been tangled up in the fray. Perhaps they had fled or been concentrated at the other two gates, whatever the case, they weren't here.

Ghirahim, on the other hand, certainly was. Farther into the field, Kid could distinctly see the white clad figure, though it was difficult to make out anything else from their viewpoint since a horde of monsters, not quite as impressive as the army in the sacred grove, blocked their line of sight. The monsters ranged from featureless Chus, to mindless Bulblins, to cocky Lizalfos. None of the creatures were unfamiliar, but there was an abundance of them impeding their path to the demon lord. They would have to be dealt with first and foremost.

Kid tensed into a battle stance along with Link as soon as the first monster caught sight of them, and without any further delay or displays of grandeur, the final battle began.


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