Subspace Cataclysm

By Stephen Stephano

Summary - In an age where the realm has been combined and ruled by an iron fist from Subspace, Hyrule is dying. With the royal family long deceased due to the Subspace Incident, three teenagers have grown up into a grim reality of suffering. But a discovery in the basement of a shop in Ordona Province leads them on a journey that reveals a history different from what they had been taught. They soon learn their true upbringing, and the final destiny of not only them, but the kingdom’s as well. However the consequences of their actions are severe. Will the power, wisdom, and courage of this postmodern trinity be enough to overcome the evil that has shrouded their homeland? .

Chapter 1 –

The wind flutters like the withered earth over which it lies. It shows not a grace about it, but rather a crisp coolness that cuts like a knife. The frost that covers the ground is one the marks the pain and death of this land. This is a forsaken land that has little to its name but the hope of a new beginning, a new beginning that will hopefully come someday.

We know very little about our history and culture. It was largely wiped away in a great conflict some hundreds of years ago. They called it the subspace incident. We learned about it in school, but I have little doubt that we are not getting the whole truth. They say the victor is an all-powerful deity, but I simply do not believe. Deities aren’t interested in making the masses suffer every hour of every day. Why would they create a world with such vibrant life with the intention of causing pain to their creations at every tick of the clock?

As you may have gathered by this point, my life is simple. I am a goat herder at my family’s ranch. My family has been herding goats for many years. We sell the fur and hair to the clothiers in the town to the north, and when needed we use the animals for food. My father plants and grows the crops while mother harvests them. I have one sibling, but virtually no friends. There is a girl in the town to the north that I have my eye on, we have been good friends for many years now. But I cannot tell her my true feelings for I fear they will not be returned. Her family is ambivalent towards me. It could be that they are just about the only people here that are not scrapping for their last meal every day.

On this day, twenty-eight moons prior to the equinox, it is still too cold to plant. Father has sent me to the town store in order to purchase a new pitchfork and hoe. On the way to the shop, I passed several houses as well as the school. As I look past, the young kids were playing in the yard, tossing rocks and playing tag. It is a look into my own past, into simpler times, before the harsh realities of our world became fully known to me.

The last house before the store belongs to the family of perhaps the toughest kid in the whole province. It is not somebody you would expect either, for she is my only friend here.

{{…Splash! Not again…right into the puddle of mud. As I dug my face out of the puddle, I worked feverishly to get the dirt from my eyes.

“Got you again Fairchild! You’re so weak. A weakling like you should be made example of!”

“Get him again Claymore!” I heard another kid yell. The kid that hit me tried to grab me again. I tried to keep him away but he grabbed my shabby shirt and punched me in the gut. I hunched over, heaving, just trying to catch my breath. The other kids screamed and yelled, hardly containing their excitement over watching the bully beat me senseless. He brought his knee into my face, landing a blow that nearly broke my nose. I again hit the muddy ground.

The bully moved forward and wound up his fist, but somebody grabbed in from behind. It was a girl. Without saying a word she delivered a nasty punch right to the kid’s face. He fell right down as though an arrow had pierced his heart.

“Leave him alone! You have no right picking on another kid like that!”

The bully immediately got up and swung at her, but she moved, then grabbed his hand and twisted it around his back, then kicked him in the back, dropping him back to the mud. “Learn some manners you big dummy!”

He got back to his feet, showing indigent outrage for a moment.  But then he smiled. “So that’s the way it is. Fairchild is too weak to defend himself. He needs Lady Dragmire to protect him. Well, you and your little dark-skinned warrior princess can hike on out of here. Go, before we all hit you into next week!”

The kids all laughed at us. She and I left and entered the school building. Pay no attention to them, they’re mean and stupid. You’re smarter than they are but you’re also vulnerable. You shouldn’t walk through the schoolyard at sunset like that.”

“Why did you help me?” I asked.

“Because I can. Because it’s right. And because I know what it is like to be picked on, always the smallest and youngest. I had to grow up quickly. You should do the same if you know what’s good for you.” …}}

“Hey Fairchild! It’s not every day I see you down this way.” Naira said, her fiery red hair blowing round in the chilly breeze.

“You know better than to call me that, for goodness sake I’m not a stranger!” I said, feigning a streak of outrage.

She laughed. “Oh Link, you always were easy to tease. All the kids in school would make such fun of you.”

“That was before you came to me.” I said. “You showed me how to be strong. Now those kids from Ordonia would be silly to match me in a game of physicality.”

Naira smiled, her face beaming in only a way that could be accentuated by her bronze-colored skin. “You know that the event is coming up in about a month. This province would be in good hands were you to be selected.”

Now this time I chuckled a bit. “Let’s be honest, as strong as I have become, there are certainly many out there that are stronger than I. I’m not arrogant enough to think that highly of myself.”

“You did pretty well with those runaway goats last week. They didn’t even get a chance to reach the town.  You wrestled them down right on the trailhead. That was impressive, whether you’d like to admit it or not. Your father probably could not accomplish that.”

“My father is also nearly fifty years old.” I casually pointed out.

“All the more reason for you to be back at the farm and him down here. What exactly did he send you here for?” Naira asked.

“Just a hoe…and a pitchfork to use during the planting season. The soil’s still hard, but should soften up in a few weeks. We’re hoping to have a nice crop this year.” I said.

“Everybody knows we need it.” Naira said grimly. I nodded my assent. She reached her arms out for a hug, and we embraced rather clumsily, after which I moved on to the shop. After purchasing the items I returned to the farm. It was getting rather late, so I entered the house, where a supper of sweet potato soup was boiling in the pewter cauldron above the fireplace. Inside the room was my younger brother, Luke. Luke was a handsome young lad, having just turned twelve several months prior. He was excelling in school, something I never really did. Soon he would be relieved of such matters and would work on the farm all the time, which for some reason bothered him. He had big hopes and dreams. He always wanted more out of life, whereas the rest of us were simple people, resigned to the harsh reality all around us.

“Brother, when I open my shop in Castelle, the whole province will see and taste our crops and know they are the best to be found anywhere.” Luke said.

“Castelle’s an awfully long way from here, the tomatoes and radishes would likely spoil by the time they got into town.” I replied.

“Yeah, but we could get trains and cars to transport the goods. It’d take just hours, not days!” Luke said enthusiastically.

“What are they teaching you in that school these days?” Father said as he entered the room. “The nearest cars are miles upon miles away from here. Hyrule’s so poor that we’ll never see them here anytime soon. Nobody could possibly afford one.”

“You could always build in Faroquadin.” I said. “That’s less than a day from Ordonia and its closer to the agricultural lands of the north.”

“Faroquadin is way too crazy with their bartering system. Besides, you only like to go there because of that girl you love so much.”

“For the last time I am not in love with her. If there’s any girls I truly care for it is Dragmire, and not in that way.” I said with authority. Mother looked over to Luke and smiled.

“Well at any rate, you two head over to the washtub and clean your hands. Supper will be quite agreeable for the both of you.” Mother said.

The meal was very bland and without much flavor, but we ate it up and did not make comment. Some winter days it was bad enough that we had nothing to eat. When you’re truly hungry, you don’t feel like yourself, and all you think of is food. At least our shelter was fairly sturdy and did well to hold at bay the biting chill of the night. As I lay in bed, sleep eluding me to a large degree, I could not help but wonder.  How exactly did we get here? Was Hyrule always such a harsh and unforgiving province? My lessons in school did nothing to provide these answers, for they only harped on the times since the Subspace Incident. It was as though any discussion of the history before that had been silenced. But why, and for what reason? With each passing minute, my resolve to find out only grew.



Chapter 2 –

“Hand me that pot and pan will you?” I asked.

“Sure thing…make sure you wash it up good.” Luke said.

I took the steel pan and scrubbed it with a half-moldy rag, trying hard to eliminate the last bit of cheese soup that was stuck its innards. Washing the dishes was just another of our daily chores, but since we had no sink in our makeshift kitchen, we had to make do with filling a washtub and scrubbing our wares down there. Later we would utilize the same washtub to take our showers in, since we had no modern faucets or water pipes with which to carry in the precious liquid. I understand that other provinces have these coveted conveniences, but here in Hyrule they are as foreign as a goat herder in the mist of Lake Hylia.

“Get ready for it little bro.” I dumped the bucket of water right onto his head. He nearly jumped out of the washtub when I did it too. “Oh my goodness that’s cold! You must’ve put ice in there!” Luke shouted.

Mother laughed. “Now Luke, you know your brother would never do such a thing. It is winter, the water in the well is just a bit chilled, that’s all. Here Link, you might want to dry him off well,” she said as she threw me a towel that was still somewhat damp from the previous day. I grabbed it and tossed it to Luke. We retired into our room, which was a small alcove with a bunk bed taking up about half the space.

“So did you learn about Hyrulian geography at all today?” I asked.

“We did.” Luke responded. “Here’s the map they showed us. You can see the whole area between the southern woods up through the path to Castelle in the north. They say that more area lies beyond Castelle but that it is a barren plain where it is too cold to really grow much of anything, and no resources exist there.”

I scoured the map, no doubt trying to remember the nuances of it from my schooling that I had long since forgotten. Just to the south of Ordonia is a canyon, and across it lies a heavily wooded area. Much of the wood that we use for building and for warmth is acquired there. To the north the trees break around Faroquadin, and a great plain lies to the north. This plain is where the heart of Hyrulian agriculture exists. The most populous town of the province, Castelle, lies in the plain to the north. The city rests at the southern end of a giant ridge which cannot be easily crossed. To the east is Lake Hylia, which along with the ridge north of Castelle combines to form Hyrule province’s northern frontier. To the west of Castelle are more fields and prairies. Adventurous folks looking for new opportunity move there, but only if the government will let them. Rumors are that this area is lawless.

I was so drawn into the map that I did not hear my mother calling me. “Link! You have a visitor! Please mind your manners and show her in!”

I entered the main room, and I saw Naira coming into the house. “Naira, forgive me, for I didn’t know you were coming.” I said quickly.

“Don’t worry; I’ve seen worse hosts in my days. But let’s not dwell on that, we have important matters to discuss.”

I nodded my head. We proceeded back to Luke and I’s room and to the map. “Hey Luke.” Naira said playfully. Luke smiled back at her. She always thought my brother was the cutest thing, and clearly they had a thing for one another, although if they were closer in age I’m sure her rougher edges would be known to Luke and keep him easily at bay.

“I came over today because I made a discovery that I think you need to see.” Naira said.

“And what is that?” I asked.

“You know how you’ve said before that the history and geography they taught us in school isn’t the whole truth? Well, I was never sure about it myself, there seemed to be many inconsistencies in the maps I had seen. Some were rounded off in the plains, others jagged, and others blurry and rubbed out in spots. It didn’t make sense.” Naira said.

“So you agreed with me this whole time? Why didn’t you come to my aid when I got sent to the headmaster’s quarters for challenging the teacher on this exact subject?” I demanded.

Naira laughed. “Someday, you’ll learn that there is a time and place for things. In the midst of lessons is not a time to question authority. But I digress. I was in the cellar of the general store yesterday evening, helping the shopkeeper take inventory of some items when I came across this manuscript.” Naira produced a sheet of crumpled paper. I looked over it with keen interest. “This parchment talks about a lost city in Hyrule’s western plains…a village called Kakariko.”

I read the parchment. “And on the site of the graveyard was where the royal child was buried, adjacent to Kakariko. As he was lowered beneath the ground, a single sword was raised skyward, and the heavens opened in a bout of thunder and lightning. The giant windmill flashed in the distance.” I turned back to Luke and Naira. “It sounds quite intriguing. Do you suppose this place…Kakariko…actually exists?”

“I have no reason to doubt it. In fact, at the bottom of the page there are several lines written in ancient hylian. They might be directions to the lost city.”

“How do you know these are directions?” Luke asked.

“Well I cannot be fully sure.  I lack the ability to read the ancient language.” Naira bemoaned.

A big grin came across my face. “I know somebody who could help us.”

Naira turned back to me with a questioned look. Luke smiled though. “Of course, your girlfriend from Faroquadin.” He said triumphantly.

“She’s not my girlfriend.  I don’t have a girlfriend.” I said stoically.

Naira smiled. “Who’s the lovebird Fairchild?”

I was red-faced. “Her name is Adelenne. Adelenne Harkinian.” I said tersely. “I got to know her several years ago when they built the magnetic train through Ordonia. Her father was lead engineer on the project. She’s extremely smart and knows how to decode the writings of ancient hylian, very possibly one of only a few in the whole province.”

“And she lives in Faroquadin? Well let’s go then!” Luke said.

“Now now, you have school tomorrow, you can’t be just going anywhere you want.” I chided.

“But you two could go…right?” Luke said.

I paused. Naira gave me a nudge. “Don’t sweat it Fairchild…I could have one of my friends take my place at the general store for a few days. And besides, the fields here won’t be ready to plow for at least a week or two with this weather.”

That was all the reassurance I needed. “Let’s do it.” I said with purpose.

It was another cold, blustery, lifeless day on the dirt trail. For six hours Naira and I had traversed on foot through the forests of southern Hyrule. We bounded over hills, tracked through treacherous ravines, and bounded past swollen creeks that were frozen over in some spots. The snow fell gently upon us as the trees, devoid of any sign of life hanging from their limbs, swayed in the ruthless winter’s gust. The magnet train tracks passed near us in spots, with trains moving by every so often. Were we not completely poor we would have been overjoyed to sit inside a warm train car for the short trip to Faroquadin. Instead, we labored hard, and found ourselves darn near frozen to the bone.

By the time the town appeared, we had almost lost our sense of time and space. But as I gripped the parchment hanging from my cold hands, I came to think that somehow this would give us some kind of purpose beyond trying to provide sustenance for ourselves in this cruel world. It was around sunset that we came to Adelenne’s house, a small one-story home made of wood and sod. It was actually one of Faroquadin’s bigger buildings, but couldn’t bear to house more than a family of four without squeezing family members into dungeon cells.

Although she would never admit it, Adelenne was truly beautiful in more ways than one. Her long brown hair cascaded down her face, adorned with big azure eyes and a perfect little chin that jutted out just right whenever she was angry. Her figure was slender yet toned, although certainly not muscular like me or Naira. But despite her physical shape, it was her mind that I adored. She was one that, like Naira, truly understood what it took to survive in such a wasteland without having to resort to immoral pursuits like larceny, extortion, and in extreme cases, killing.

Unfortunately the latter was not a rarity in much of the province.

“Link! What are you doing here?” Adelenne asked as she ran over to me. Her cousin Sasha was right behind her holding a pot made of clay.

“I have something that I need you to take a look at. This is my friend Naira Dragmire.” I said as I introduced my brown-skinned companion. “Naira, this is Adelenne Harkinian.”

“I have heard much about you.” Naira said. “Link tells me that you might be able to decode a message for us. Is there a place we can meet quietly?”

Adelenne nodded her head. “My father is out near the train tracks and won’t be home for another hour or so. “Come, let us proceed to the table.”

We unfurled the manuscript that Naira had found. Adelenne took note of the parchment’s features, and then turned her attention to the lines in ancient hylian beneath the design. You could just picture her brain whirring with activity.

“Do you know what it says?” I asked.

Adelenne grinned. “Where did you find this?” She asked.

“I found it in the basement of the general store that is adjacent to my house in Ordonia.” Naira responded. “I didn’t think much of it, but I showed it to Fairchild and he told me you could read ancient hylian, which is why we came here.”

Adelenne continued to move her fingers over the characters, stopping every few seconds to pull the hair back out of her eyes. “It says that there is a city called Kakariko in Hyrule’s west. But it says that you have to cross the gorge to get there. Once across the gorge, you must continue through the plains for another four to five miles, and that the city is nestled in the valley of a canyon near the base of some mountain.”

“Is that all?” I asked.

“That’s as much as I can translate.” Adelenne replied.

“Something doesn’t make sense here. It says you have to cross the gorge to reach Kakariko? Are you sure that’s what it says?” Naira asked.

“I would cross my heart on it.” Adelenne replied.

“But how are we going to do that? The gorge is the boundary of the province.” Naira said.

“Yes, but that’s only what they told you in school Dragmire.” I replied. “That’s all you’ve ever been shown on a map. But what if you freed your mind? What if you told yourself that just maybe, maybe there is more out there than what we know? I say we try to find this place.”

“You do realize what that means, right?” Adelenne asked.

Her question hung in the air. At this moment our plan of action called for one part civil disobedience and two parts pure insanity.



Chapter 3 –

It was the day that they say was the rebirth of our world. But given the angry marks on people’s faces, the burned posture in which they exhibit, and the raw emotions of a populace left forlorn, I see it as the day darkness took over. I am of course referring to the day that marked the end of the Subspace Incident. That day, a great rebellion was defeated by our supreme deity, the one they call Tabuu. From our lessons we know that Tabuu was a visionary, with the goal of uniting the various lands of the universe into one interconnected country living in harmony. We also know that a revolutionary militia consisting of fighters from the various lands rose up to oppose Tabuu as he went about his work of physically moving the landmasses.

The battle raged on for weeks, possibly even months or years depending on whose account you would like to believe. In a climactic final battle, the revolutionaries, whom I’d rather liken to freedom fighters, were defeated. Since then, Tabuu has had free reign over the lands that he sought to combine. Though our time is a peaceful one, which our teachers always stressed to us on a daily basis, the simple fact of the matter is that peace came with a price. This land as well as others lost far more than its sovereignty in the Subspace Incident, they also lost their dignity and respect.

“How much farther is it to the gorge from here?” I asked Adelenne.

“It shouldn’t be long now. Look, we’re coming up on the boundary fence.” Adelenne replied.

Indeed, within the span of grass and snow covered wilderness, we had finally reached the wire fence that marked the northern boundary of Hyrule Province. Just beyond it was the gorge, with a wooden bridge lying in wait, our first clue as to the whereabouts of the lost city of Kakariko.

Naira got close to the fence. “It looks like some strong electrical or magnetic current is running through the wires. Here, help me up over it!”

Adelenne and I hoisted Naira onto our hands. On the count of three, Naira used her arms to spring off our shoulders and jumped, clearing the six foot high fence and landing in the snow on the other side. She took out her knife and cut one of the posts at its base. She then hoisted up the post, raising the wires and allowing us to crawl underneath. Once past the fence, we immediately ran toward the bridge and across it. Once on the other side, Adelenne and I continued onward but Naira stopped and looked back at the bridge.

“I don’t like the looks of this bridge.” Naira said.

“What do you mean? It’s in perfect shape, got us across well enough.” I replied.

“Exactly. Why would there be a bridge here at the edge of the country that is in pristine shape when it serves no purpose? Adelenne, your father is a builder, do you have any ideas?”

“None at all.” Adelenne replied. “If this bridge was a relic from before Subspace, then there’s no way it would be in a condition this solid. Somebody’s been using it. For what reason, I cannot possibly hope to speculate, but it must have great importance to someone.”

“Everybody be on your guard, something tells me we might not be alone out here.” Naira said as she moved to the left flank.

By nightfall, Adelenne had lead us to the second clue in the writings, the first sight of the awesome heights of the fabled Death Mountain. It rose up thousands of feet into the air, far higher than anything I had ever seen.

“How does exploring a new country feel Fairchild?” Naira asked me.

“It feels liberating. It also feels good to know that whatever we find out here, we’ll be the first ones to see it.” I said.

“I was going to say that it’s just as cold and miserable as back home, but what you said sounds a lot better.” Naira replied.

Just then, a huge ship appeared in the sky off to our left. It was gigantic! A giant mask adorned the front of it, and the wings swung out from the bridge with a wingspan of several buildings. It seemed to be moving quickly for such a large flyer.

“What in the world is that?” Adelenne asked.

“It’s the Halberd.” I said grimly.

“Run!” Naira shouted. She took off running to the right. Adelenne and I quickly followed. We sprinted as quickly as we could, running over the tall grass, which was tall enough to obscure the snow to the point where we hopefully weren’t leaving tracks. We could hear the ship gaining on us. Finally we reached a ravine, concealed with lots of heavy plant life. We could feel the heat of the boosters passing overhead as the ship continued its journey past us. All three of us were still breathing very hard after the sprint and holding onto one another closely.

“Do you think they saw us?” Adelenne asked me.

“I don’t know. The ship isn’t circling back so I can only hope.” I replied.

“I’ve heard stories of the Halberd before, but I’ve never actually thought it existed.” Naira said. “Imagine it; a ship larger than the largest building, flying through the air on fuels and power that most of our province doesn’t even know exists. But why would it be visiting Hyrule? For what purpose? I just have this feeling that we’re being watched.”

“Maybe we should turn back.” Adelenne said.

“No. We’ve come this far and this close, we have to find Kakariko.” I said. Naira nodded her approval. Adelenne’s face was flushed, but showed a more determined look as we crawled out of the grassy ravine.

A few more hours and we had reached the next clue mentioned in the manuscript, a large canyon spreading out to the north. There were a series of ruins in the area, lots of dilapidated fences, broken pots, and even a few skulls. It was a clear sign that we were on the right track. The unfortunate thing for us was that darkness was setting in over the western wilderness. We found a cave near the south end of the canyon and made camp there. The inside was hard and rocky, but far preferable to the miserable cold and wind outside. As Naira was working on getting a fire started with the little wood we had stocked, something perked Adelenne’s interest. She moved deeper into the cave and drew her bow.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Shh! Our next meal is over there.” She whispered as she pointed the bow into the darkness. I could barely make out the shadow of a squirrel, nibbling on an acorn, which I presumed to be the target. She steadied the arrow and pulled the bow back, aiming carefully. She let the arrow fly, and you could audibly hear a thud as the arrow impacted flesh. Her shot was perfect, nailing it right between the eyes.

She was about to walk out to claim her prize when I grabbed her arm. She turned back quickly in protest, but said nothing as I pointed ahead. Another squirrel was approaching from the left. I took out my own bow and strung it back. Twice the animal moved and I had to re-position the arrow, but it eventually came to a halt. Without thinking I let the shot fly. It also struck flesh, right in the squirrel’s posterior. It squirmed in pain for a brief while before bleeding out on the hard floor of the cave.

“You’re terrible.” Adelenne sassed.

“Hey, it was a clean hit, just like yours.” I protested.

“You know you’re supposed to shoot it in the head so it dies instantly. But you had to shoot it in the rear so it experienced as much pain as possible before dying.” Adelenne said.

“Whatever. It’s still a meal either way.” I said.

Adelenne looked toward Naira for some support, but the brown-skinned lady would have none of it. “Addy, we’re talking about squirrels here. Knowing Link, even though he would never admit it, he probably meant to aim at the head and hit it in the butt instead. Besides, both of your kills are technically illegal anyway seeing as we’re outside of the Province. Just be glad that we have food to eat tonight.”

We both smiled. The one great thing about Naira is that no matter how desperate things seem sometimes, she manages to keep it all in perspective. Yes, having to hunt for food is difficult, though it is something we oft have to do in order to keep our bodies nourished during the winter and spring months when there are no crops to pick. Before too much longer Naira had a decent fire going, and we used my sword to cut open the squirrels to obtain the meat, which was cooked over the open flame. It was actually more than the three of us could eat. I can tell you with certainty that this was an extremely rare occurrence in our poor, begotten country. I almost wish that some hungry children were with us that we could feed.



Chapter 4 -

The next morning we continued to the north, and about a mile north of the canyon’s south end, we found it.

“Look! There are buildings everywhere!” Naira shouted.

The three of us ran ahead, and indeed there were ruins adorning both sides of the canyon. We passed what must have been a fairly large house, followed by two other buildings.

“There’s a board with a loaf of bread on it here. This must have been a bakery.” Adelenne said. I wonder if we can find any artifacts.”

There wasn’t much to recover in the south end of town, but once we worked our way northward, there was a trail that led northwest into the mountains. At the split, there was a building that didn’t look nearly as run down as the others. It was small, yet something struck me that this was no ordinary building. Maybe it was the ancient hylian characters I saw above the entranceway.

“Hey Adelenne, could you take a look at this?” I asked. She came over and examined the characters. “I believe this is a library.” She remarked. We pushed our way inside. Once inside the building we noted the shelves of books that were still intact. I pulled down several books, and they were still in good condition, or at least readable condition considering that they hadn’t been touched in many, many years.

“Here, you two have to see this!” Naira shouted from the opposite end. We ran over to her, and saw that she was holding on to a purple hardback book. It was entitled, “History of Kakariko Village.”

“I think this confirms our location.” Naira said with a smile. She flipped through the book’s table of contents, and landed on page 4. “Kakariko was a village founded many years ago by a race of people known as the Sheikah. These people served as the protectors of the Hyrulian royal family and were known for their ability to see truth. The city was founded at the base of Death Mountain Trail, an arduous path connecting the lower portion of Eldin Province with Death Mountain, the home of the Gorons.”

Does it say anything about the Sheikah leader, or what they were like?” Adelenne asked.

Naira looked back at the table of contents, then flipped up to page 12. “Sheikah people were often mysterious in their ways. They had the ability to change their bodily form through the use of magic that is largely unknown to hylians. Some even had the ability to harness the power of the Deku Nut to disappear and reappear in another location.”

“Wow!” I shouted, not knowing what else to say.

“They must have had some strong magical powers to be able to teleport.” Adelenne added. “I’m sure that nobody today short of the supreme deity can do that.”

Naira continued to read. “The leader of the Sheikah people was a wise lady by the name of Impa. She was the attendant to Queen Zelda IV in her young age. During the Ocarina War she served as the Hyrulian Sage of Shadow, and assisted the Hero of Time in his battle at the Shadow Temple.”

Naira paged forward again. “After her passing, Kakariko grew bigger, and eventually became the second largest city in Hyrule behind Hyrule Castle Town. Today, the village is governed by its mayor, Renado, who also happens to be a shaman capable of performing tasks of physical and spiritual healing. As we approach the second century after the Evil King’s defeat, we live with pride in our town’s continued growth, standard of living, and culture.”

“Sounds like somebody found a decent read.” A voice bellowed from behind.

We all immediately jumped up from the table, weapons drawn. The voice belonged to a very large man, actually not a man at all, more like an oversized tan-colored beast. It had a strange insignia on its arms, a diamond with three spots on top.

The beast laughed at our protective instincts. “It’s not often that I see humans up this way. In fact you’ve been the first I’ve seen since the primids started causing all sorts of trouble in the plains.” It remarked.

“Who are you? What are you and what do you want from us?” I asked, my sword still drawn.

“Why, I was wondering what brought you to this lifeless place? The name’s Gor Daron, third sage of the Gorons.”

Adelenne’s eyes perked up. “I’ve heard about gorons before, but our teachers always told us that they do not exist. They never spoke of this place either.”

Gor Daron laughed. “I bet your folks told you the gorge and the central canyon was the northern border of Hyrule too, didn’t they?”

We all looked around at one another, not saying a word. Gor Daron’s expression turned serious. “Come, there is something that you need to see.”

The large goron led us back through a tunnel, into a room filled with maps. On a table was a map of a country, one that looked somewhat like a mushroom.

“Do you recognize any of the places on this map?” Gor Daron asked. We looked over it. It took about a minute, but I started to recognize some of the features. Lake Hylia was the most notable, but there were others, including the gorge we had crossed as well as the boundary between the woods and the plains. The northern canyon was noted as well.

“Hey, how come the northern canyon is in the south central part of this map? It should be in the very north.” I said.

“Allow me to fill in some blanks by filling in some of my own.” Gor Daron said. “Where do you all live?” he asked.

“Ordonia.” Naira and I replied. Gor Daron turned to Adelenne. “Faroquadin.” She meekly replied.

Gor Daron grabbed several markers. “Faroquadin…is at the intersection of the forests and the plains in the middle of Faron territory, am I correct?” We nodded. He stuck the marker down at the very bottom of Hyrule Field, about three quarters of the way down the map. “And Ordonia, nestled in the woods along the Ordon River not far from the southernmost ranching fields, yes?” I nodded once more. “Gor Daron stuck another marker in the very south, way further south than our maps had ever shown. He then took a third marker. “I understand that there is a third major town, the capital of the new provincial setup, Castelle.” He put the marker just below the northern canyon, which was in actuality south of the geographic center of the map.

“The simple truth is that you have been misled. Hyrule is a very big country. Castelle to you sits on the northern frontier, but in actuality it is south of our former capital city. There are many plains, rivers, mountains, deserts, and other landmasses to the north that you all know absolutely nothing about. For example,” he said as he took another marker. “This is Zora’s Waterfall. This is the northernmost point in Hyrule, and a group of fish people called Zoras live there.”

“Fish people?” Naira asked.

“They really are quite different from anything you’ve seen. They have the ability to live on land or in the water and are self-sustaining with their food supply, much like us gorons.”

“What do you eat?” I asked.

“Rocks.” Gor Daron responded.

“Rocks? Well that doesn’t sound very good.” Adelenne said.

“You’d be happy to know that certain rocks are actually quite delectable and are a wonderful treat. But I digress. The point is that the primids led by the supreme deity have sealed off you humans into a very small part of this country, basically into what used to be Ordona and Faron Provinces. They have done so in order to squelch the people’s knowledge of their own history, as well as to the only means of ever supplanting their despicable rule.”

“There’s a means to defeating Tabuu? What is it?” I asked.

Gor Daron didn’t answer immediately. Within a few seconds I heard strange noises from outside. “It’s the primids. We need to get out of here, now. There’s a tunnel in the back of the library that leads to the trail, follow me!” We quickly ran behind Gor Daron as he opened a door at the back of the library. Quickly we zoomed up several flights of stairs, which were lit only by torches adorning the way. After climbing upward for about two minutes, we finally reached the top of the stairs and emerged atop the western cliff overlooking the village. Down below, we could see tens of primids wielding their traditional gray outfits along with their orange zapper light guns, which were their standard weapon.

“These outsiders have taken over this region by force, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”

“Have your kind gotten into battles with the primids?” I asked.

“Once. A large group came through Kakariko and we ambushed them late at night. We decimated their entire ranks. It wasn’t a very smart decision though. Several days later a whole army of them showed up. They killed many of us, and the remainder was forced to flee deep into the mountains in order to survive. Over time we recovered the area, and ever since then we’ve been searching for a means of recovering the sacred power capable of defeating Tabuu. We mean to avenge those that we lost.”

“You said that the key to this power lie in the former capital?” I asked.

“There is a great castle there, one that the royal family used to call home. Come, you will meet the rest of my clan and if you wish, we can set out for the castle tomorrow.”

We all looked at one another and smiled. This adventure was only getting started.



Chapter 5 –

The day was, for once not ruthlessly cold. The sun was visible through the clouds and the temperatures responded rather favorably. But in our world, there is usually a catch to whatever breaks you find, and in this case it was the wind. The breeze howled across the pancake-flat plains northeast of Kakariko, almost threatening to push us over at times. We were en route to a place called Hyrule Castle Town; another abandoned city allegedly located about ten or fifteen miles to the north of Castelle. Several gorons had accompanied Gor Daron, and were acting as bodyguards for us as we crossed the plains.

“So is Hyrule Town bigger than Kakariko?” I asked.

“Way bigger. Not even up for comparison.” Gor Daron responded. “The castle itself might be as big as Kakariko on its own.”

“I would have to see that to believe it.” Adelenne said.

“Are you sure that our engineers have completed work on the west bridge?” Gor Daron asked one of his comrades. “All’s looking good. The v-frame on the Eldin face still needs reinforcing, but I’m confident that we’ll be safely across as long as we gorons don’t overload the weight on that side all at once.”

“Very well then. At any rate we should see the spires of the castle emerging soon.”

The sun was nearing its highest point in the sky when we saw it, the blue and white rooftops of a great building in the east. It was a castle all right, and a very large one at that. Other buildings began to enter our view as we moved eastward. By a little bit past noon we neared the bridge the gorons had mentioned, which crossed a large river. “The river runs past the west and south ends of town.” Gor Daron explained. “A race of fish people called Zoras live in the river valley. We’ll be meeting one of them once we get inside the city walls.”

“Fish people? You mean like aquatic beings except with legs and human bodies?” Naira asked.

“Precisely. They’ve been living here for hundreds of years, just like us. The primids occasionally go after them too, but since they can live in the water there isn’t much that they can do to interrupt their lives. You humans are much more easily herded because you are slow, smaller, weaker, and less intellectually astute.”

“I would take you to task on that last one.” Adelenne protested. “I am certain that your people would not be able to find your way back through a forest based on which side of the tree the moss grows on.”

“You have some decent wit young lady.” Gor Daron said.  “However you must realize that where we come from, there are no trees. It would not be a fair task. It would be akin to asking you to best us in a bout of goron wrestling.”

“Fairchild can herd goats and throw them to the ground in no time flat.” Naira said. “I’m sure he would be quite a challenge even for your kind.” Naira teased. I turned back toward Gor Daron. While he was barely taller than I, he must have outweighed me by at least 150 pounds. As strong as I was, it would be a nearly impossible task to toss him to the ground.

“Be careful once in the city, the primids sometimes patrol through the area and some of them have even established settlements here. They are mostly on the east side of town, so we’ll try to stay west of the South Road.”

Once across the bridge, the two gorons pulled apart the heavy iron doors that stood at the city walls. We entered the doorway to see a landscape of marble, cobblestones, and shale, with infectious weeds growing out from the cracks in the road and the buildings. Some of the buildings were completely covered in ivy and vines, while others were pretty well eroded. Even so, it was clear from just walking around that this town was once grand, probably a bustling metropolis prior to the Subspace Incident. Walking the streets it was not hard to imagine crowds of people strolling through the various shops searching for gifts and wares while the merchants peddled all sorts of goods ranging from crops to clothing.

We turned to the south, crossing through the vacant neighborhoods. The wind bristled through the alleys with fervor. The lack of any sign of life made the scene rather eerie, though the light of day managed to calm the nerves a bit. We turned to the left and headed toward the main road. Just before we got there I felt a tug on my sleeve. Gor Daron motioned for us to get behind a set of buildings. We moved there, and he and his apprentice moved out into the main road. They pointed to the right, and that’s when I saw them, a group of four primids moving toward them.

The primids were strange. They were wearing grayish-green uniforms, along with black helmets and brown gloves and boots. They were rather large in size, bigger than us but barely on equal standing with the two gorons. One of them had a red badge on his uniform, which I presume meant that he was the leader of the regiment. This primid uttered some words to Gor Daron, to which the big goron frowned. The leading primid then produced a beam sword, but before it could attack Gor Daron his apprentice moved in and disarmed him with a fierce grabbing motion. The motion tore the primid’s arm behind him. The other three moved in to attack. That’s when I saw Naira take off toward the melee. I tried to shout to her but Adelenne quickly covered my mouth, muzzling me.

Naira drew her blades and hacked quickly at two of the primids, slicing their uniforms. She pivoted backward and delivered a nasty kick to the third primid, which sent him into the grasp of Gor Daron, who slammed him to the pavement. The apprentice punched away at the remaining primid. After several more seconds, the primids started to run away. Naira began to give chase but Gor Daron reached out and tripped her. She protested but to no avail. Adelenne and I ran in from behind the buildings. “Quickly, we must get out of here. Follow me!” Gor Daron said sternly. We quickly ran down the main road, heading opposite of the castle until we reached an alley on the right side of the road. Once in this alley we headed down two flights of stairs and then back north into a dead end with a single door. Gor Daron quickly opened the door and we ran inside, the apprentice locking the door behind us.

Gor Daron immediately accosted Naira. “Are you out of your mind?! Practically the whole town just saw you out there!”

“I couldn’t help it, you were locked in a four versus two fight, it wasn’t fair.” Naira reasoned.

“I don’t care how strong you think you are or how fearsome you are with your curved swords. The fact of the matter is that the primids can easily defeat you with their advanced weaponry. They’ve been battling my kind and the zoras for years now and they’ll salivate over the possibility of bringing to death a trespassing human.” You’ve endangered our whole operation!”

Naira was indignant. “Well you’re welcome then, I probably saved your life.” She sassed.

Gor Daron was about to start shouting again but the apprentice got in between the two. “Master, its probably not very becoming of ourselves to get into a trifle in the presence of the Zora King.” Gor Daron turned around and cleared his throat. It was at this moment that I first began to inspect the building in which we found ourselves. Inside it was wide open save for a few tables and a bar area on the left. Weeds and overgrowth threatened to take over everything including the floor. But I paid no attention to that, as straight in front of us was a young man who appeared to be fishlike in nature. He had tentacles for ears, fins sprawling out from his arms, and webbed feet.

“King Rathuz, it is a pleasure to see you, and on such short notice. My apologies as I seem to have had a recent bout of anger but I have some very important people for you to meet, three young adventurers from the forest.” Gor Daron said.

“I have traveled long and far and have not laid eyes on human flesh in many years. My name is Rathuz, crowned monarch of the Zora people. Tell me brave ones, what are your names? For what reason have you come to this forsaken place?”

“Our journey is but a few days old.” I said. “My name is Link Fairchild. These are my friends Naira Dragmire and Adelenne Harkinian. We come from the villages of Ordonia and Faroquadin. Our journey began near the gorge. We set off for Kakariko based on a piece of parchment that Naira found in the basement of the general store in Ordonia. Nobody back home even knows of Kakariko’s existence. Once we arrived, we found the library, and that’s when Gor Daron found us.”

Adelenne continued. “He read to us an ancient scroll that told of an ancient power that could help us defeat the supreme deity. The scroll said that the ancient power is hidden deep within Hyrule Castle, which is why we are here.”

Rathuz stepped forward toward the three of us. “The legend foretold of time where dark clouds would cover the land of Hyrule, but that a ray of light would shoot out from the forest. It says that the ray of light would drive away the darkness and restore peace to Hyrule. But the legend also says that in order to drive back the darkness, the Golden Power would need to be utilized, in particular the element of courage.”

“Golden Power?” I asked. “What ever do you mean?”

The aquatic ambassador gleaned forward from the relative darkness. “You have all lived a rather sheltered life. I suppose that none of you learned the true history of Hyrule’s past, have you?”

“We were told that the country is one hundred years old…and…created by the supreme deity himself.” Adelenne said. “Our teachers said that he pulled the landmass together in less than a day, using nothing more than his arms.”

“But none of us actually believe that.” Naira said. “While it is true that Tabuu did manage to pull together landmass during the Subspace Incident, Hyrule is not molded together in such an irrational fashion. This country was created by a deity far greater than Tabuu.”

Rathuz smiled. “You are very astute, and so are your friends. I believe that you would be well conditioned to unlock the key to your own past.”

“Our own past?” Adelenne asked.

“You don’t know who your ancestors are, do you?” Rathuz asked.

“Well, past our parents and grandparents, it gets rather fuzzy.” I said.

Rathuz nodded to Gor Daron, who opened up a passageway in the rear of the building. This building used to be a tavern that was the main base of operation for a guild of freedom fighters. They dug an underground tunnel leading into the sewers, which ultimately lead deep inside Hyrule Castle. In order to obtain the Golden Power, you must fully understand your past, and the responsibility that comes with it.”

“We’re going inside the castle?” I asked.

“Do not be afraid of your destiny, brave children. Become one with the light and the truth shall await you. Come, we will lead the way.” Rathuz said.

We entered the dark sewers, not knowing what lie in wait on the other side. For the first time in my miserable life, my heart began to beat with the hope that perhaps, the answer to ending our suffering could be at hand.



Chapter 6 –

The castle sewers were rather musty and dank. The rock was very well eroded, and the iron bars that used to be the jail cells of the dungeon were badly oxidized and corroded. The whole place smelled as though a great number of dead bodies were decomposing nearby. The place was surely haunted, as we heard a great number of sounds emanating seemingly from nowhere, and on several occasions I could swear I felt bursts of warm and cold air moving past, even though there couldn’t possibly be any wind.

Gor Daron and his apprentice audibly moaned as they sloshed through the sewers. “Don’t you zoras do any maintenance work on these pipelines?” They asked.

“Well we try to, whenever the primids are away. But there’s a lot of work to be done. Besides I don’t think it would matter to you too much…gorons just aren’t made for water.”

“You got that right.” Gor Daron said with a striking tone.

We came to an intersection with a lever up above. I hoisted Naira onto my shoulders, and she reached up and pulled it down. A gate up ahead dropped to the ground, and we entered a circular room that had stairs leading up the outside. The stairs had crumbled away in spots, but there were so many vines covering the outside wall that it was not difficult to hoist ourselves onto them and climb upward. After about five minutes of walking and climbing, we reached a large wooden door that appeared to be the entrance to the castle. There was a large lock on the door, but it was no match for the two gorons, who punched it right off. What we saw next was absolutely breathtaking.

“Welcome to Hyrule Castle.” Rathuz said.

“As we examined the inside, it was clear just how extravagant the place must have been. There were magnificent chandeliers hanging down from the ceiling, pristine marble floors and stairs leading toward the upper levels. There were many artifacts on the walls, ranging from sculptures to paintings, even armored statues. Of course there was some overgrowth of weeds, but it was nothing compared to what we saw going through town.

“This place is incredible.” Naira said. “Just look at all the artifacts.”

“The architecture here is breathtaking.” Adelenne noted as we walked the stairs. “It is designed in many elaborate shapes. That must be why the structure has retained its integrity all this time.”

“It doesn’t hurt that the building was made of hard marble.” I said. We walked into a room on the second floor, and this area had even more artifacts and pictures on the wall. We stopped in front of one picture in particular, this had an image of three golden triangles high in the sky, with streaks of red, green, and blue below it.

“This is the true story of the hyrulian creation.” Rathuz said. Long ago, before there was any light or any matter in the chaos that was this kingdom, three golden goddesses descended from the heavens. One of them was Din, goddess of power. The second was Nayru, the goddess of wisdom. And the third was Farore, the goddess of courage.”

“With her powerful arms, Din summoned the power to create a giant implosion, gathering in hard matter from all over the universe. With her blazing strength, she created the red earth upon which we live.” Gor Daron said.

“So it was Din that created the world. Din must be far more powerful than Tabuu ever was.” Naira said. Her face beamed. The very hypothesis that she had touted for years was now being proven correct.

“The creation of the earth was Din’s doing, but the introduction of wisdom, knowledge, and the law that upholds our kingdom, well that was Nayru’s part. She poured out from her soul the infinite wisdom that would seek to govern this nation through both times of peace and war.”

“So Nayru was the one who allowed people the ability to think for themselves.” Adelenne said.

“Indeed. But it was Farore that created the people. In fact, Farore’s courageous mind allowed for the creation of all living things in the earth, sea, and sky. Her other sisters created the world and the laws in which it would exist, but without Farore there would be no life.” Rathuz said.

“So every single one of us owes our existence to the goddess of courage?” I asked.

“Precisely.” The apprentice replied.

“The goddesses, satisfied with the world in which they created, departed for the heavens.” Rathuz said. “At the very point at which the goddesses exited Hyrule’s atmosphere, they left a token of their essence. Three golden triangles, collectively referred to as the Triforce, were left behind. Within them hold the powers of the goddesses themselves. Each triangle is a creation of its element; wisdom, courage, and power. It is said that whoever touches the golden triangles will have their wishes granted, no matter what they are.”

“So conceivably, all we would have to do would be to collect the golden triangles, and wish for Tabuu’s ultimate destruction. Then the country would be back to the way it was before the Subspace Incident. That’s brilliant!” Adelenne said excitedly.

“Be very careful my child.” Gor Daron said. “The golden triangles are a burden, one with great responsibility attached to them. Your ancestor once made a very similar mistake of naiveté.”

“My ancestor?” Adelenne asked.

“Come, we have much more to see, my children.” Gor Daron said. He motioned to Rathuz, and we continued around the second level, passing many more artifacts and riches along the way. Eventually we made our way outside, crossing several bridges and going up several flights of stairs high above the courtyard. Once at the top of the stairs we found another door, this one leading back inside to the third level. This room I could swear was haunted. I felt as though somebody was breathing over my shoulder, and judging by the reactions on the faces of Naira and Adelenne, they could feel it too.

About halfway through the room stood a painting, one of a woman in a dress and a man in a green tunic facing a giant pig-like beast.

“This was the climactic battle of the Imprisoning War. This conflict was the first in Hyrule’s bloody history of hatred and greed. The war spanned over many years, most scholars claimed it was a series of conflicts over seventeen long years. It began with a fierce fight between the royal family and enemy combatants in the fringes of the countryside. The royal family won the conflict, formally unifying the land as the Kingdom of Hyrule.” Rathuz said.

“Ten years later, an insurrection occurred.” Gor Daron said. “The pig beast on the left of the painting was once a man of the desert. He led a revolt against the royal family that culminated in the fall of Hyrule Castle to him. But yet he was not satisfied with his attack.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“He sought the golden triangles, and thus the true power to rule over all. But the lad and maiden on the right were aligned against him, and sought to deny him the ability to lay his hands on the Triforce. They sought to obtain the Triforce before he could. The maiden was the princess of the kingdom, and the young lad was the hero of legend. But disaster soon befell them. During the invasion, the princess left her most sacred treasure, the Ocarina of Time, at the bottom of Zora’s River for the hero to collect. The hero already had in his possession the three other keys to the Triforce riddle, the Kokiri Emerald, the Goron Ruby, and the Zora Sapphire. With these at his disposal, Zelda told him to proceed to the golden land of the Triforce.”

“So the hero obtained the Triforce, and he and the princess defeated the evil man?” Adelenne asked.

“Remember the naiveté we mentioned? The Princess made a vital error in believing that she and the hero, at just ten years of age, could control the powers of the goddesses. The hero proceeded into the golden land when he pulled the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time. But the sword, and thus the goddesses, declared him unfit to be the Hero of Time, and sealed him away in the golden land for seven years. The desert conqueror seized his opportunity and entered the golden land behind the hero and touched the Triforce himself, causing the kingdom to fall into a dark age of ruin, rape, destruction, and death.” Rathuz said.

“It seems to me that the goddesses are to blame for that.” Naira said. “How could they let such an evil man touch their most sacred artifact?”

“It wasn’t against their laws.” The apprentice said. “But the goddesses made the Triforce extremely difficult to possess. In order to possess all three of the golden triangles, one’s heart must be in complete balance between the three sacred elements; power, wisdom, and courage. If one’s heart is not in balance, then the triangles will split apart, with the one who touched the Triforce gaining the triangle that he or she most believes in. In this case, the desert conqueror claimed the Triforce of Power, and the Triforces of Wisdom and Courage fell to two people judged by the goddesses to be most worthy of them. In a twist of fate, the Triforce of Wisdom fell to the princess, and the Triforce of Courage fell to the hero.”

Rathuz continued. “Realizing that he had not obtained the whole Triforce, the desert man looked to obtain the two lost parts. However, he was unable to find the princess. After seven long years, the hero emerged from his slumber and sought to restore his land to glory. He traveled across the kingdom to its various dungeons and temples, obtaining the power needed to break into the desert man’s fortress. It was at this moment that the princess emerged from hiding, and the final battle began. But this would not be the last chapter of Hyrule’s bloody past.”

Between the bewitched nature of the castle’s third level and the array of information coming at me, I found it hard to breathe. But in many ways this was exactly as I had hoped to someday find, that our desolate kingdom really did have purpose. That it really did have a truthfully illustrious past, one in which heroes were born and legends made to live forever. A world that was meant to be one of great victory, not the forlorn, cold, unforgivable landscape of the present.

We moved further along to the end of the floor, where we stopped at yet another painting. This one was the largest and most panoramic we had seen. In this shot you saw a great plain, one covered by a darkness illuminated by lightning high above. On the left was a man with red hair and black armor riding a steed as dark as midnight. On the right were two people. One was a young lad wearing a dark green tunic with chain mail underneath. He brandished a sword of bright silver. The other was a beautiful maiden in a white dress with a purple bodice. She had a golden bow drawn with an arrow pointed at the dark man’s heart.

“The blood lines of the combatants of the Imprisoning War ended up crossing again several generations later, during the Twilight Invasion. Allied with the ruling dictator of the Twilight Realm, the great villain on the left brought about a wave of darkness that shrouded much of this land. The princess was made captive but was eventually rescued by the Hero of Twilight, who allied with Midna, the crowned princess of the Twilight Realm. Midna was said to have been killed during the final battle, which saw the hero and the princess fight bravely against the King of Evil. In the end, the combination of the princess’s arrows and the hero’s sword slashes proved to be too much.  The tyrant was defeated and Hyrule was once again rescued from his tyrannical reign. Within several years, peace and prosperity had once again returned.” Rathuz said.

We moved past the painting and went up several flights of stairs. Around the corner were statues of the three we had seen.

“Become one with your ancestry.” Rathuz said.

We all peered ahead together at the plaques at the base of each statue. One by one we read them.

“The Princess of Destiny, Zelda Harkinian!” Adelenne squealed excitedly.

“The Great King of Evil, Ganondorf Dragmire.” Naira said as a look of shock washed over her.

“The Hero of Time, Link.” I said as my words tumbled, barely able to get out.

“Now that you three know the truth of your bloodlines, I must ask one question. Do you three believe in destiny?” Gor Daron asked.

“I don’t think we’re well versed in that line of thinking…but yes, I believe in destiny.” I said. Naira and Adelenne nodded in agreement.

“Do you believe in your hearts that the power of the ancients; the golden triangles of the Triforce are capable of defeating the supreme deity and all of his evil sorcery?” Rathuz asked.

“We believe this, firmly.” Naira responded. “And I think we can all admit that we have absolutely nothing to lose.” Adelenne and I locked arms with Naira.

“Children…behind this door lay the passageway to the throne room. What you will find in this room has the ability to change your lives forever. If you seek the golden triangles, if you truly in the good of your hearts want to restore this land to the past greatness you’ve seen here, Tabuu must be defeated. You will bear a great responsibility, not only to yourselves but to the people you know, and the people whom you have not seen. Your responsibility will ultimately extend from Hyrule all the way to the other provinces shrouded in Subspace and will change the world. Your ancestors would expect nothing less of you.”

Gor Daron stepped forward. “This is the moment of truth. If you do not wish to bear the responsibility that Rathuz has laid out, you can always return to your lives in Ordonia and forget that this day ever happened. Know that once you step forward through this door, you are empowering yourselves to be the heroes of this generation.”

The three of us all looked at one another, and smiled. We nodded our affirmative. This was our chance to change not only our simple lives for the better, but the entire course of history itself.



Chapter 7 –

The room was actually rather plain. Were it not for the great golden throne at the end of the carpeted path to give it away, it wouldn’t be out of place in the weed-infested landscape of the town below. But despite the ivy growing on the outer walls and the ceiling, despite the weeds peeking up within the floor, we all knew that this place held great significance. It was where Hyrule’s past monarchs had conducted their business. The divine right they shared was inalienable, spanning many generations until that fateful day in Subspace.

“The resting place of the Triforce is within this room. I can feel it.” Adelenne said. She walked slightly ahead of us and knelt down in front of the throne. She said some words in ancient hylian and placed her hands on her knees. We got down behind her and she continued to speak in the ancient tongue. Just then, a great light appeared surrounding the throne. We heard a voice.

“Young adventurers who seek the golden power, you shall encounter a trial to prove your worthiness. You must find the strength within yourselves in order to succeed.”

We held hands with one another as a golden light entered the room. The next thing I knew I was enveloped in the light. I felt a whoosh of speed and a gust of wind. Suddenly the light faded, and I found myself very high above the ground, perhaps thousands of feet. My body felt as though it was shaking out of control as I plummeted downward. I felt like screaming, but I didn’t have the breath to do so. As the seconds passed, I came ever closer to the ground. Just when it looked like I was going to fall to my death, a sailcloth spread out above me. I fell through the trees softly.

My breath was so heavy I could hardly get up. I finally pulled myself up, and when I did so I noticed a relic with many clear triangular shaped rungs on it, eight in all. Before I could wonder what it was, a green beam of light streaked directly toward me. I raised my arms to my eyes in an effort to avoid being blinded, but the light coalesced quickly. When it did, a young woman appeared in front of me. She had magnificent features including deep green eyes, cascading hair of roughly the same shade of green, and very fair skin. Looking closely she couldn’t have been but a few years my elder.

“Young lad of Ordonia…I have awaited your arrival.” The woman said.

“I have come to seek the golden triangles.” I said. “A voice told me I would have to make myself worthy.”

She nodded to me. “The vessel which you hold in your hands, it was once filled with tears of spiritual energy. In order to become one with the power that you seek, you must fill up the vessel with that energy. Throughout this landscape you will encounter many trials that will test your courage. Follow the green beacons in the sky, for they will lead you to your destination.”

The young woman beckoned to me, and then she flew away, high into the sky. I moved quickly down a dirt pathway. Almost immediately, a collection of bones arose from the ground and coalesced into a skeleton wielding a spiked club. The skeleton swung it rather menacingly toward me. I noticed that in between me and the enemy was a sword. I quickly grabbed it and looked to attack. It attempted to skewer me, but I dodged to the left. I deked left, then cut back rightward and swung. It connected right in the center, dislodging several bones. The skeleton fought back and ran toward me. It charged up for a furious two-handed swing. I hit the ground hard as the swing went over my head.

I got back up quickly and pressed forward. I blocked another swinging attack with my sword, and then swung downward toward the enemy’s right leg. With a furious swing I sliced it cleanly. The skeleton lost his grip on the spiked club as it fell over. I picked it up and whacked its head several times. Eventually its resistance waned and the battle was over. A tear of green light appeared from within the skeleton’s skull. It had a warm aura to it. When I picked it up it shrouded me within its glow for a second, then entered the vessel. One down, seven to go.

I continued to follow the beacon. Within several minutes I came to a set of obstacles. Within the obstacles was the tear, embedded in a rotted tree trunk with a hoard of rats, spiders, and other bugs roaming within. Never really bothered by insects or rats, I quickly made my way through the obstruction and grabbed the tear. I sustained a bite on my right arm and another on my left calf but thought little of it. After all, I had seen plenty of them back in insect-plagued Ordonia.

The dirt path continued until I came to a deep canyon. The crevasse was about fifty meters across, and the only means to cross was by a rope bridge secured by trees at either end. The wind whipped hard across the chasm as I stepped onto the bottom rope, testing its firmness.

“Don’t look down.” I told myself as I moved across. On several occasions I shifted violently in the breeze, needing to reset my position. Slowly and methodically I got further across, twenty meters, then thirty. Soon I was down to the final ten meters. My hands were starting to become splintered from the hard rope. My muscles burned. Yet I gritted through the wind, and set my feet on the opposite bank. The third tear was across the way, and I grabbed it quickly.

The dirt path now led me into a lakebed. I saw the fourth tear, out in the middle of the lake maybe about a hundred meters away. I jumped in and swam across toward it. After about a minute I was halfway there. I continued to get closer and closer. Suddenly, just meters away from the tear I felt something tug me from below. I sank into the water. Quickly I flailed, trying to break free, but I could not. After ten or fifteen seconds of being below the surface, my lungs began to scream for air. I tried to grab my left foot free, but it was impossible. I was sinking, sinking further from the surface. Try as I might, fear was starting to grip me.

Losing energy, I decided to stop flailing, and relaxed for several seconds. Then I calmly bent over toward my foot. With one quick and forceful tug, I finally got myself free. With all speed I swam for the surface. My body was shutting down, my brain losing its consciousness from lack of air. When I broke the surface I got half air, half water deep inside, and coughed violently. It felt as though I was emptying my guts out into the lake. Finally once the coughing subsided, I realized that I was, in fact, still alive with all of my body parts intact. That fourth tear I was so close to before was also right above me. I grabbed it, filling the vessel to half strength.

Across the opposite side of the lake the dirt path continued. It led very deep into a forest. The trees were so thick that they began to blot out the sun. Soon there was no light remaining. I tried to squint to see where I was but it was no use. Suddenly I began to hear voices, voices that had haunted me for years during my school years.

“You’ll never get out Fairchild! You’ll always be stuck here!”

“What’s wrong Fairchild? You afraid of the dark?!”

“You’ll never be worthy of being the great hero’s ancestor! You’re a coward, and that’s all you’ll ever be!”

Hearing the voices of the Ordonia bullies angered me. I steeled my resolve, and continued to walk forward into the darkness.

“Your father is ashamed of you, absolutely ashamed! He wishes you were never born!”

“Your mother should’ve made you a maiden! A pretty dress for you Fairchild!”

Ignoring the taunts, I continued to walk forward. Eventually I ran straight into a solid object, which felt like a tree. As I shifted around the trunk, the slightest ray of light became visible to my right. It was the tear! I made a quick bounce toward it, but was cut off as a large beehive came falling from the branches. I had to circle back, running through the darkness away from the angry, buzzing swarm. Many of the bees eventually caught up with me. My skin began to ring red with stings. At this point I about-faced and ran back toward the tear. Despite the painful stings I reached out and grabbed the tear, never stopping until I was out of the trees and into another lake that was next to the dirt path a quarter mile away.

My skin was swollen from my neck down my arms and onto my legs. These coupled with my aching muscles and splintered hands had turned my body into a painful mess. Yet I still had to complete my objective. After several more minutes in the lakebed, I moved back onto the dirt path I had been following. The path grew long. I followed the beacon in the sky for several miles before I came to a very tall mountain, one that had a cave entrance at the bottom. I followed the path directly inside to find that the mountain was actually a volcano!

The boiling magma lines both sides of the trail as I climbed its interior. Fiery prominences shot up into the sky around me. The temperature was intense. Yet I never swayed from the course, my aching body singed repeatedly by the ruthless fire all around me. My face streamed with sweat as I approached the rim of the caldera. Finally the last set of steps saw me to the summit. The sixth tear sat there, and as I grabbed it, the light that shrouded me allowed me to forget my pain if but for a fleeting moment.

All of a sudden, the temperature changed dramatically. It was now extremely cold. Snow fell at the summit and the wind whipped hard. I moved through a deep snowdrift to find an icy path leading down the mountain. A sled constructed of solid ice awaited at the head of the trail. By the time I reached it, the sweat on my face and clothes was starting to freeze. Shivering, I grabbed the icy sled and lied down on my stomach. With a push, I was heading down the trail of snow and ice.

The initial descent was at a steep grade, maybe thirty degrees or so. It was very fast, in less than a minute I was traveling faster than the fastest train in Hyrule Province. Before long I hit the timberline, and the trees showed up in great numbers on both sides of the trail. The trail began to wind, and I fought through the pain and the biting cold to steer the sled clear of the trees and the various bumps in the path. This section of the course was slow, but after a series of hairpin turns, I was out of the trees, and the trail began to turn downward very rapidly. The wind roared in my ears as I skidded down the ice. Before long the bottom of the hill came into view, a grassy clearing surrounded by rock. In a few more seconds I would be there. In my excitement, I failed to see the giant bump straight ahead. I tried to turn away at the last second but it was too late.

Through the air I flew, landing straight on my back, my head snapping backward against the icy snow. The momentum of the ride carried me down the rest of the hill to the snow’s edge, but when I finally stopped not far from the seventh tear, I felt as though I could not get up. My back hurt badly, and my ears were ringing from the shot to the head. After several minutes, I tried to get to my feet, but I staggered back to earth twice before finally getting my legs beneath me. I picked up tear number seven and stumbled across the rock. The dirt trail continued once more, pointing toward the last beacon in the sky. That last walk seemed to take forever. Literally every part of my body was in pain. I felt as though I could no longer put one foot in front of the other, and yet, in this moment, I thought of mother and father. I thought of Luke. I thought of all the suffering families back in Ordonia, in Faroquadin, and across the whole province that were counting on me. They were counting on me to succeed, to prove myself worthy of wielding the Triforce. I could hear them shouting out to me, calling my name. Their cries gave me an extra boost of spirit.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, I reached a rocky alcove with a bowl-shaped depression just ahead. There was green light surrounding the depression, and once I passed through it, I noticed that my clothes had changed. Gone was my wrinkled shirt and ragged pants. They were replaced by a green tunic and white leggings. Brown gauntlets covered my hands, and a green hat was atop my head. Up ahead were a sword and shield. Fifty meters beyond that lay the eighth and final tear. And just beyond that was a beast unlike any I had seen. It was a gigantic boar, or maybe a pig, but it was big, black, and fearsome. It began to charge in my direction.

The beast had two large swords, one in each hand. It was enormous, at least three times my size. It got closer to me and wound up for a swing. Not knowing what to do, I jumped backward to avoid the attack. I quickly got back up and ran around the left edge of the depression. My plan was to outflank the beast and grab the tear. The problem was, with the pain in my head, my back, and well, pretty much everywhere else, I couldn’t run very fast. The beast moved pretty well for its size, and kept between me and the tear.

It wound up for a second strike, and again I leapt backward. This time the hit struck my left foot as I was falling back. It sliced my boot right off and left a bleeding gash on my foot. I quickly got back up, but now pain shot through my foot. Effectively on one foot, I now had no choice but to try to attack. It swung its opposite blade, which I used my shield to block. The blow still threw me backward several feet. I took aim at its right foot, stabbing it. It came in for an overhead strike, but luckily for me, its thighs and posterior were so large that it didn’t have a clear path to swing the sword toward me. It swung and missed twice, all the while I continued to slash its right leg. Finally, it raised up its leg and stamped the ground violently, throwing me off. It then tried to slash me with the opposite blade, but from my knees I blocked the blow with the shield. The force of the blow sent me flying backward.

The beast groaned and made hissing noises as it came toward me. Both of us were wounded, fighting effectively on one leg. I tried to get around it and reach the tear again, attacking its weak side on the right. Just when it looked like I had a chance, I stumbled and fell, my injured left foot to blame. The beast swung its blade. With nowhere to go I ducked to the ground, and the blow flew just inches over my head. Back to my feet I got.

Backed up toward the edge of the depression, I realized that outflanking the beast was impossible. I waited out the next few minutes, watching the beast’s attack pattern, hoping to find some way to get by it. That’s when I saw it. The beast was picking up his injured right leg when swinging with his right blade. This made the space between the legs large enough for me to dive through. It was a crazy move, but I saw no other alternative. Two more swings came at me. I dodged the first backward, and blocked the second with the shield. Then it wound up for a swing with its right. Immediately I charged straight toward it. Just as the blow came down I dove forward, right underneath its legs. I stumbled back up and scurried as quickly as I could. I heard the beast winding up for another swing, so I jumped. The swing ended up clipping me near my right knee, and an audible crack rang out through the rocky depression.

I flipped over and landed on my right side. The pain in my knee was excruciating, yet in that moment I crawled, scratched, clawed, anything I could toward the tear, which was just meters away. With one last push from my injured left foot, I leapt forward and grabbed the tear. A brief shroud of light could be seen just before another crack was heard. Everything went dark.



Chapter 8 –

The next thing I knew, I was back in the castle throne room. The first person I saw was Gor Daron, followed by Adelenne. The latter looked as though she was the happiest girl in the world.

“Where’s Naira?” I asked groggily.

“Over here Fairchild.” Naira shouted. “You look like you just got up from a long winter’s nap. Was the challenge really difficult?”

“Well, yes it was. But how do you know about that?” I asked.

Before Naira could respond, we saw streaks of green, red, and blue shoot across the sky. They came together high above and came into view. The green-eyed, green haired maiden I had seen before was back, accompanied by two other maidens. Of the other maidens, one had red features, the other blue. It was at this moment that I understood the true gravity of their presence. I smiled, which overtook my mild annoyance with my prior density of mind.

“Children of the forest…you have done well.” Din said. “You did well not only to find your way here, but to perform to the best of your abilities upon your arrival.”

“Through the trials we had set before you, you have become one with your ancestry. You now understand the true purpose of those that came before you, and of what you will someday become.” Nayru said.

“You all now understand what it truly means to came face to face with your fears and defeat them. The golden power that we created awaits a new holder.” Farore said.

Din flew out toward Naira. “Lady Dragmire, you have completed your task well. You have a natural appetite to control destiny, including your own. Yet at the same time you possess the intelligence to know how to use power wisely. I grant that to you.”

Nayru flew toward Adelenne. “Lady Harkinian, your knowledge and ability to read and comprehend information is unlike anything I have seen from a mortal being. You were able to solve puzzles that would normally take hours in just minutes. Yet despite your intelligence you retain the courage to needed to lead the people around you and uphold the laws of your brethren. I trust in you.”

At this point, Farore flew toward me. “Lord Fairchild, you were faced with many trials meant to test your courage. You overcame every common fear people have, and paid a heavy price to defeat the demons I sent after you. The move you made to get past the great King of Evil was reminiscent of your ancestor, and brought a tear to my eye. I believe in you.”

“So, in other words, we all passed our trials?” I asked.

“Naira and Adelenne, they did very well. They arrived back here long before you.” Nayru explained. “Your battle of will was the deciding event.”

“We always waited on you in school too Fairchild.” Naira taunted. This caused us to laugh, and I could swear that even Din and Farore chuckled a bit, though they remained very dignified in doing so.

Nayru spoke again. “Now, to present the golden triangles. Understand that our world has been combined with many others in an unholy confluence, governed by the evil master who dares to call himself a supreme deity. The land of Hyrule is not simply a small, agrarian province of a larger nation. It is meant to be a sovereign kingdom, ruled fairly and justly by its royal family, with the golden power serving as the providence by which all law is founded. Once you touch the Triforce, you must vow to us that you will use the power we created in a wise fashion.”

“With the understanding that you three must rise forth and defeat the unholy dictator of Subspace, Lord Tabuu!” Din boomed.

We all shook our heads repeatedly. The goddesses came together and started chanting phrases in ancient hylian. They flew up into the air and channeled energy into the center, right in front of the throne. Instantly, three golden triangles emerged from the light. The goddesses flew back down to claim their individual pieces, and then brought them forth. Without even thinking, I reached out and touched the Triforce of Courage. Within seconds, I felt an electricity jolting from my hand. I saw an image of the Triforce emblazoned onto my hand, with the lower right triangle lit up. No doubt, Adelenne and Naira had the same experience as they touched the Triforces of Wisdom and Power.

“The great airships of the unholy deity have no doubt noticed our presence, and are incoming. Take our hands, we will whisk you out of here and back to your homes.” Din said.

Rathuz and Gor Daron looked on as we moved to leave. “Good luck.” Rathuz said. “We’re counting on you!”

“Show Tabuu what the power of the goddesses can do!” Gor Daron shouted.

The goddesses were about to whisk us away, high into the sky.

“Wait! There’s something I must know!” Adelenne shouted.

The goddesses stopped and turned toward Adelenne. “If you know of Tabuu’s evil intentions and his masquerade as a supernatural being, why didn’t you stop him?” she asked.

“Lady Harkinian, you have the brightest of minds.” Nayru said. Between the three of us, we probably could have saved your ancestors from death during the Subspace Incident and brought this country back to prominence, but to do so would be against our own laws. The function of a goddess is to keep watch over the earth and the beings within it, so that the natural forces of law would uphold a balance between good and evil. Throughout history, we have many times been tempted to intervene on behalf of certain species we have created, but it is against nature’s way to do so.”

“For every action, there is an opposite reaction.” Farore said. “Simply put, when evil rules all, a great savior or saviors shall arise to face the evildoers. Likewise, when good rules over all, a great evildoer or evildoers will rise up to challenge the good people in power. We did not oppose Tabuu directly because we knew in our hearts that one day, there would be a great force for good that would seek to defeat him. You three are that force. Be one with each other, and when the time comes to give Tabuu his last breath, you’ll know what to do.”

The three of us all smiled. The goddesses were showing their true confidence in us. Gor Daron was right, there was no turning back. Either we would succeed, or our country would continue to live in perpetual darkness.

There was a roar out in the distance, the same roar we had heard before near Kakariko Gorge. It was the Halberd. The great ship was closing in. “Children, we haven’t much time, we must leave now.” Din said. I quickly took Farore’s hand. The next thing I knew, we were weightless, flying quickly through the sky.

“Link! Link wake up!” Luke shouted as he threw a pillow at me. I rubbed my eyes and quickly bounced my aching body out of bed. Though the physical pain I felt in the goddess realm had been relieved, I still felt as though that pain was real. I pressed down on my right knee and left foot, confirming that they were in fact, in one piece.

Father and mother were at the table. A breakfast of eggs awaited us. Fresh milk from the dairy pen was on hand as well. Even though the crops were still months away, our livestock were producing, which was good because without them we wouldn’t have much of any food to eat in the raw, cold early spring.

“So how was your time in Faroquadin? You spent a lot longer there than I thought you would.” Father said.

“Well you know how the trails get at this time of the year, they’re just so muddy and miserable. I figured we might as well stay a couple of days, try our hands at bartering and finding a good deal.” I said.

“Did you find anything valuable?” Mother asked.

“Not really.” I replied. “There were various trinkets and such, but the people there were looking for food and we did not have any to give.”

“Didn’t you do any hunting on the trail?” Luke asked.

“Well sure…but you don’t just take raw meat into the center of town…you’ll have bandits come after you in no seconds flat!” I exclaimed.

“I suppose that is true.” Father said. “So how is the girl?” he asked.

“Adelenne is fine. Her family is doing fairly well, they have a self sustaining shower and latrine now. Her father is an engineering genius, and her cousin is very bright too.”

“I’m sure the town’s mayor isn’t happy about the extra water a latrine uses, but I suppose it is irrelevant seeing as it is still very waterlogged outside. It just makes their family seem very rich and unyielding though.”

“I hardly think disposing of one’s excrement in a proper manner is superfluous.” Mother said in a shocked tone. “You make it sound like they eat whole feasts of pork and bacon every night like they do in Subspace City.”

We continued to make small talk through the rest of the meal. My parents continued to press me on what all we did on the journey, and I did my best not to divulge any information as to our activities in Kakariko and Castle Town. The Triforce was concealed since I was wearing my gauntlets, but keeping it a secret for long would be difficult.

I do remember mother’s last statement about Subspace City, and so did Luke. Later that afternoon we were out feeding the cuccos and he pressed me about it.

“Big brother, do you really think the primids eat as much food as they want?” he asked.

“Of course not, you have such a vivid imagination.” I said.

“But isn’t it true that Subspace City is a wealthy place. At least that’s what our teachers told us. The supreme deity lives there as do all of his primid friends.” Luke said.

“Well, I’ve never been there personally, nor do I have any particular desire to go there. But yes, most of the primids live there and from what I have heard they live much better than we do. That’s because they were loyal to Tabuu during the Subspace Incident and our people weren’t.”

“How many provinces are in the world?” Luke asked.

“You mean your teachers never taught you?” I asked.

“Link, you told me yourself, they don’t teach us proper geography. They never have. You were the one who told me that there are other parts of Hyrule that are being hidden from us. Now I don’t know why you would think of such things…but that’s beside the point, I want to know!”

I smiled, noting the irony of Luke’s last statement. Part of me wanted to spill the contents of our voyage, but I had sworn to Naira and Adelenne that I wouldn’t tell anybody. “Follow me.” I said. Luke and I proceeded to our quarters, and I produced a large map of the universe.

“There are 12 provinces in the world. Hyrule is one of the twelve, and it is located here.” I pointed to the far west end of the map. Subspace City lies in the center of the map here, and is considered its own entity. The remaining 11 provinces are spread out from there within their own boundaries, which are collectively known as bobble warps.”

“Bobble warps?” Luke asked.

“The provinces are shrouded in what are essentially bubbles. The supreme deity has the ability to move these bubbles and change the physical location of the individual provinces. Fifty years ago, Hyrule could’ve been in the east, or the south, relative to Subspace City. It’s like a giant maze in which the individual parts can change position whenever Tabuu wants. The only ways to get through the Bobble Warps are via magnetic train or via airship.”

“So what are the other provinces like?” Luke asked.

“Well Luke, Hyrule is an agrarian country. Each province has its own special interest. The provinces of Zebes is known for mining and minerals. Corneria Province is based in scientific research and innovation. Zero Province is based in manufacturing, specifically in the areas of transportation and construction equipment. Other provinces include Mushroom Kingdom, Dream Land, the Kong Isles, and Eagleland.”

“Which province is most similar to ours?” Luke asked.

“Probably Gallia Province. It is a very backward place in which the people are just as poor as us. There are some rich people there but most of the people work for the rich people, plowing their fields, harvesting crops and tending to their animals and houses, very feudal in nature.”

“Good thing we don’t have any rich people in Ordonia.” Luke said flatly. “We’re all in this together, we help each other to survive.”

I could not disagree with this. While the forest did have its fair share of malcontents, always looking to take advantage of others, most stayed true to our moral fiber. The bigger towns were always somewhat sketchy though, especially Castelle, which was soon to be our next destination.

Several days passed. The chill of the winter began to ebb. Our food supplies were as little as they had ever been, but that was about to change, for the ground had dried to the point where plowing could begin. Father, Luke, and I rounded up our shovels, hoes, and rakes, and took to the weed infested fields surrounding our shack on the edges of Ordonia. For three days straight, as the sun bore down on us, we moved large quantities of soil, rock, and all sorts of mineral deposits in an effort to get the fields ready for planting. Planting would commence the week before the equinox, starting with hearty vegetables that would grow well in cold weather, like wheat, radishes, and potatoes. Later on in the year we would get to summer vegetables like tomatoes, soybeans, and corn.

“Link, tell me about the Event.” Luke said as he dug his hoe into the ground.

“What event?” I asked, breaking a rock with a hammer.

“The one that you’re always talking about with Naira.” Luke said.

“Oh that.” I said. “It’s really not anything that concerns us.” I said.

“That’s a lie. You wouldn’t talk about it as much as you do if it was true.” Luke said.

I looked around. Father had gone inside, and there wasn’t anybody in sight. “Luke, you have to promise me that you won’t tell anybody what I am about to show you.” I said sternly.

“Uhh, sure big brother, I promise. What is happening?” he asked.

“Naira, Adelenne and I are plotting to face the supreme deity and defeat him.” I said.

“What? But that’s impossible!” Luke shouted. I quickly threw my hand over his mouth, silencing him before any more could be heard. “Listen to me. The supreme deity can be defeated. You know that recent trip that the three of us made to Faroquadin? Well let’s say that we didn’t stay there the whole time.”

“You didn’t?”

“Naira found a parchment in the basement of the shop, it lead us across the western gorge to an abandoned city called Kakariko. There was a library there. Once we got there, we found a clue that led us further east, to the former capital of Hyrule.”

“Castelle?” Luke asked.

“No, that’s exactly what the teachers all taught us in school. Castelle is but a lie. The real former seat of power lies further north, in a great plain beyond the provincial boundary. The city is called Hyrule Castle Town, and the castle there is far greater than the one in Castelle.”

“Bigger, by how much?” Luke asked, shocked.

“By at least three times.” I said.

“You’re making this up.” Luke said confidently.

Perhaps against my better judgment, I showed him everything. With a tug, I took off the gauntlet on my left hand, revealing the insignia of the Triforce.

Luke’s eyes widened. “What in the world is that?” he asked.

“This…is the golden power of the ancients, called the Triforce. It was bestowed upon us by the true goddesses of the kingdom, Din, Nayru, and Farore. With the powers of power, wisdom, and courage within our grasp, we will seek out the supreme deity and do what our ancestors could not, to defeat him and restore the sovereignty and peace of this kingdom.”

Luke’s mind was blown. He looked as though he had seen a ghost. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I had become one myself.



Chapter 9 -

I blocked her attack with my blade, and pushed back on her. I went for a forward strike, but she jumped backward to avoid the attack. She faked an inside thrust, then spun around and went for a downward swing. Seeing this attack coming, I rolled on the ground past her leg, and attempted to disarm her. I got my right hand over her hand guard, but then she surprised me by elbowing me in the face, right on my nose in fact.

“What was that for?” I asked, holding my nose which surely had started to stream.

“For trying to take away my blade.” Naira responded.

“You’ll pay for that!” I shouted. I came at her with a vertical swing, which she blocked. I tried again from below and she stuck her blade into the ground to block it, then performed a front flip maneuver using the blade for leverage. She followed quickly into a vertical strike, but she lost balance and the move wasn’t close to me. I came back with a vertical strike of my own, knocking the sword out of her hand. She tried to reclaim it, but I stepped my foot onto it before she could get her hands on it. Her eyes widened as she saw me look to strike her down. Showing more dexterity, she performed a back flip to avoid my thrust, which actually never intended to hurt her.

“That’s not fair. Let’s settle this like true warriors!” Naira shouted.

I dropped my sword and shield, and readied my gauntlets. She came at me with a punch, which I blocked and then tried to reciprocate. My blows were glancing at best though, and she returned to a safe distance away. Looking to attack again, she tried a sweeping leg kick, but I grabbed her leg. She performed another back flip off of that, but as she came down I tackled her to the ground. Within seconds I had her voluptuous body pinned beneath me.

“I win.” I said in a cheerful tone. Naira at first tried to squirm away but I held firm. Her resistance finally waned. “It’s a good thing you’re so cute, I might be offended by such arrogance.” She said rather sensually.

“But I am this cute. Courage never looked so appetizing.” I said.

Naira didn’t wait to respond. She grabbed the back of my neck and began kissing me. Immediately I felt a heat and passion flood through my body unlike anything I had ever felt. Although Naira and I had kissed before, it was nothing like this, so rough and spontaneous so quickly after swordplay. Finally, after what seemed like a glorious eternity, she pulled away.

“Power never looked so delicious.” Naira said.

“You know, this could get us into real trouble.” I said.

“Why do you say that?” Naira responded, her heart still beating fast beneath me.

“Well just think about it, the descendant of the Hero of Twilight, showing love and affection for the one descended from the Great King of Evil. That’s an entwinement that could cause rapture across the whole of the land.” I said.

“Ah yes, but that what makes it so wrong is what makes it so right.” Naira said seductively.

I looked in my mind for a rationalization, but in this moment, none existed. I simply showed my agreement by doing as she did to me, reaching behind her neck and kissing her mercilessly.

The next day it rained a cold, miserable rain. The water streamed into our cottage through several leaks in the wooden roof. Luke and I collected the water in buckets. At least we wouldn’t have to go to the well in order to collect water for our showers.

Luke shrieked as I dumped the water on his head. “My gosh Link, can’t you put the water in the cauldron, I’m going to freeze here!”

“I told you, mother is making soup in the cauldron, we can’t use it right now. Besides, it isn’t that cold.” I said.

“Yeah, we’ll see how you like it.” Luke said as I threw him a towel. My little brother can certainly be vengeful when he wants to be, for when I took my bath he rinsed me not once, but twice, the second time as I was moving to exit the washtub.

“Twice? Now you’re just being a pest.” I said.

“All’s fair in the washtub.” Luke said as he flashed an evil grin. “Besides, I had to get you all properly rinsed and ready for your girlfriends.”

“That’s right.” I said hurriedly. I had totally forgotten, Adelenne was coming over for supper! She had written to me several days ago that her father was called to work on the magnet train near Ordonia, and she had begged him to let her come along. She and Naira would be in our kitchen this evening, but little did anyone know what we would be discussing after the meal.

“Mrs. Fairchild, your cucco and carrot soup is exemplary.” Adelenne said with a smile. Her father was across the table from her, quickly woofing down the contents of his bowl and asking for seconds. The soup had cucco meat in it, which for us was rare, and it only came about because two of our cuccos had stopped laying eggs weeks ago and were taken to be slaughtered.

“Why thank you dear.” Mother said graciously.

“So, Mr. Harkinian, how is progress on the railroad going.” Father asked.

Father began discussing business matters with Mr. Harkinian. Naira gave me an adoring look as she gulped down another batch of soup. The rest of the meal passed by quickly, and before long the three of us were in my and Luke’s quarters, which by this time of night was cold, musty and smelling of mold thanks to all the cold rain.

“What have you learned about this year’s Event?” I asked Adelenne.

“Not much. The folks in Subspace City are keeping this thing under wraps pretty well. It could be that Tabuu isn’t telling anybody any details beyond the location and the number of competitors.” Adelenne said.

“How many competitors will be in it?” Naira asked.

“24 in all, two from each province, selected by a series of random draws held four days from now. As the furthest province from Subspace City, Hyrule’s draw will be the earliest in the day, at 10:00 sharp. The draw will take place in Castelle as usual, meaning that we’ll have to travel two days on foot to get there.”

“How likely is it that one of us will get picked to participate?” I asked.

“Well Fairchild, that depends on how many able-aged lads and maidens are in the draw. Given our province’s immense population I would project the odds to be very small, almost infinitesimal.” Adelenne responded.

“Is there any way the supreme deity will show up at the draw?” Naira asked.

“Very, very unlikely.” Adelenne responded. “Tabuu hasn’t made an official appearance in Hyrule in over five years. There’s no reason to suggest that he would show up now. He’ll likely send in one of his primid underlings to oversee the proceedings.”

“That is unfortunate, I would love to have the chance to defeat him right here, on our home soil. He doesn’t deserve the respect to have it done any other way.” Naira said.

“Assuming that we have to reach Subspace City, that makes our task more difficult. It would take most of our limited rupees to even get a ticket on the magnet train to get there. There’s bound to be many patrols all over the city, and heightened even more during the Event. Getting anywhere near Tabuu is going to be difficult.” I said.

“Tabuu doesn’t stray from his entourage either, he’s very guarded. He treats himself every bit like the supernatural royalty he is. I have little doubt that between the three of us we could get through the lesser primids, but there are giant ones that are more than double our size. A frontal assault isn’t likely to work.” Naira said.

“We could always just make a wish upon the triangles and go directly to him. It would be easy.” Naira said.

“Naira, to do so would reveal us as the guardians of the Golden Power.” I scolded. “We can’t let anybody know about the triangles until Tabuu is at his most vulnerable. He could seek us out and destroy us if we blow our cover.”

“We’re going to need a solution of mind.” Adelenne said.

“Well, you’re the Triforce of Wisdom’s keeper, what do you think?” I asked.

Adelenne paused for a minute. She seemed deep in thought. “I just…don’t know. I have a feeling that something will happen at the draw. Maybe Tabuu will show his face, but even if he does not, I have a feeling that something big will happen, an event that will give us direction.”

As I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t help but think that Adelenne was right. Surely, difficult as the challenges Farore threw at me were, Nayru must have given Adelenne some very tough battles of the mind to overcome. Something big was going to happen. Not knowing what it was eating me up inside.



Chapter 10 –

Just two moons remained between now and the draw. After spending yet another long day in the fields, Luke and I gathered several of our belongings and whatever provisions we had. Our journey would take us north through the forests to Faroquadin, and from there we would take a covered wagon across the windswept plains to Castelle.

“Now do try to look respectful my dears.” Mother said as she laid out some of our nicest knit clothes and trousers. To be brutally honest, what passed for nice clothes in Ordonia was probably considered little more than rags in a less impoverished province, and mother knew it.

“We’ll do our best with the walk to Faroquadin. Hopefully it won’t rain.” I said.

“You have your hunting knife and your bow I trust?” Father asked me.

“Indeed. Luke has his slingshot as well. We’ll manage well enough.” I replied.

Luke looked rather intimidated by the conversation. After all, this was his first big journey out of Ordonia, as was typical of children in their first year of eligibility for the Event. “Luke my boy, you just follow your brother and everything will be okay. You’re stronger than you know.” Luke gave a bit of a smile but I could see the butterflies still bounding within. We embraced with our parents one final time.

“We’ll be back to tend the fields before long.” I said as we bounded up the walkway. My father nodded to me his agreement. Once we reached the center of Ordonia we were joined by many other young men and women from the forest region. We formed a legion that evening, all of us heading northward toward a possible date with destiny. I made doubly sure to keep my gauntlets on at all times, not even for one second leaving open my secret.

The crowd around us grew and grew in the morning, and at least a hundred of us descended upon Faroquadin the day before the draw. In the central square of Faroquadin, a large mass of primids were on hand to heard us into the awaiting wagons. The process was rather chaotic and involved a lot of pushing and shoving. Luke and I stayed close to one another, and managed to get on the same wagon. Before long we were heading north once again. The dirt road through the plains was long and bumpy, jarring us from our wooden seating arrangement many a time. What was worse, the road seemed to last forever. The sun completed its rise, and had been dropping toward the horizon for quite a while by the time we finally saw the buildings of Castelle begin to rise in the distance.

“So this is Castelle?” Luke asked. “The buildings look really high and tall here, very majestic.”

I almost had to stifle a laugh. While Castelle was preached to us to be the capital and center of power in the hyrulian province, the truth was that the real treasure lied across the canyon, tucked away in Hyrule Castle Town. Of course, I would not be one to divulge such a secret of homes three times as large and a castle that was ten times as large as what we were now seeing.

“Yeah, it’s not so bad.” I said in a rather dry voice. Luke turned and looked at me funny. “Is there something wrong?” I asked.

“No, I just figured you’d be more impressed. After all, they don’t have marble buildings like this in Ordonia or Faroquadin.” Luke stated.

I simply shrugged. If only he knew the truth. If only the world knew the truth.

That night it was hard to sleep. I didn’t know why I was nervous. There was absolutely no reason for me to be nervous. The odds of me being selected were next to impossible. Even if I were to get picked, I considered myself a strong young man and very capable with swords and a bow, so my chances of winning were at least equal with the others. Besides, it was only a game.

That morning, I was ushered down the cold, marble dormitory steps by several primids. All around me were other young lads and maidens. We were led in a group through the central avenue of Castelle to an abandoned building of sorts. It might have been a warehouse or grain elevator at one point, and it was very oddly shaped. The inside of it was rather creepy, with mold and even a slimy residue all over the ground. Once inside, several primids separated the maidens into one line, the lads into another. They inspected each youth very closely and peered into their eyes with a strange light. Once I went through the inspection I was lead through a tunnel, and at the other end was a stadium. There was a stage at one end of the stadium, and large banners hanging from the scaffolding behind it. In the center was a large mirror of sorts. As I lined up, I spotted Adelenne two rows in front. Naira was nowhere to be seen.

About five minutes later, the last of the youth entered. A middle-aged lady stepped to the microphone at the front of the stage. “Welcome all, lords and ladies, to the beginning of the year’s great Event…the draw for the 100th annual Tabuu’s Tournament of Tyrannous Terror! As you all know, today we will select two brave young combatants, who will have the honor of representing Hyrule Province in this grand spectacle of survival and athletic triumph.”

The mirror began to crackle in the background. It was actually a high-resolution television. I had never seen one before but had heard about them from the few in Ordonia that had visited Subspace City. A message began to play, and flames shown on the screen. “A century ago, a land was born. It was a land born out of heart and fire. Death and destruction came to all corners of the universe, festering within the great conflict known today as the Subspace Incident. Thanks to the power of the almighty deity Tabuu, the warring nations were subdued and drawn together under a new landmass, created by the mighty hand of the deity himself.”

The screen shifted to scenes of grain being harvested and houses being built. “Today, this nation is stronger than ever, living within peace and unity. But this peace came with a heavy price. The blood that was spilled by our deity was real, so real that he very nearly did not survive. In commemoration of his sacrifice, twenty-four young warriors have since waged a battle for supremacy on the anniversary of the Subspace Incident. This became known as Tabuu’s Tournament. To those selected today, you go forth knowing that you are recognized by the deity himself, and shall rest within his domain, no matter the outcome. May the way of the warrior wear well with you.”

The speaker lady smiled. “A great honor is to be bestowed upon two of you today. It is time to find out whom.”

Suddenly, just as the lady was walking up toward the giant bowl containing our names, a bolt of lightning struck from high above. All the lights in the stadium went out, and the screen behind the stage began to crackle. It eventually came into focus, and on the screen was Tabuu himself.

“Ladies and gentlemen of Hyrule Province, it is with great honor and prestige that I address you today. While it is true that this day marks the drawing of combatants for this year’s tournament, there are some things that have not been mentioned about this year’s event. Nobody knows about these items except me, yet they are of utmost importance.”

Tabuu unfurled a piece of parchment and began to read in a rather pointed tone. “Seeing as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the great victory in Subspace, I have decided to make this year’s tournament the biggest and grandest ever staged. As such, the battle will take place in the re-constructed Subspace Maze, site of the Incident. No man, woman, or child has ever set foot in the maze since the incident, until now. You should consider yourselves privileged to have the opportunity to walk on such hallowed ground.”

There were some hoots and hollers in the crowd. Tabuu continued. “Second, the prize for winning will be far more than a trophy and honor to one’s province. You see, the winner of this year’s tournament will have bestowed upon them the powers of invincibility and immortality.”

A collective gasp rang out through the stadium. This was followed by thunderous applause, first from the primids and then from the potential combatants. Something in my stomach didn’t allow me to cheer though. It was a twinge, a sort of sinking feeling. There had to be a catch.

“Thirdly.” Tabuu continued. “Whereas tournaments from the past were waged until fighters either surrendered or were injured and could not continue, I feel that such a great power as immortality cannot be put for grabs under such playful conditions. No, this tournament must have true grit, a true sense of desperation. That is why I have decided that in this year’s event, combatants must be prepared to fight to the death.”

I could not even hope to describe the noise that filled the stadium at that moment. There were cries, there were shouts, there were gasps, there was outright emotional angst in the fullest sense. But I noticed something through all of it as Tabuu’s image blinked off the screen. The primids clearly did not know about this. They had surprised looks on their faces. If it was an act than it was rather brilliant because in that moment, I truly believe they realized what I already knew was true, that Tabuu was a reckless, ruthless being bent on destruction.

While I was looking over at the primids, I lost sight of what was happening back on the stage. When I finally turned around, the middle-aged lady had already drawn the paper with the first name on it. I turned to Luke and he looked like he was about to have a nervous breakdown. His forehead was sweaty, his skin flush with goosebumps. The lady approached the microphone. I held his hand tightly and put my arm around him as she began to speak.

“Our first combatant is…Adelenne Harkinian!”

I froze. Wherever my heart truly was, it felt as though it was beneath my toes. From across the way, I saw the young maidens move away from Adelenne, forming a circle. She very slowly began to make her way toward the aisle, where several primids led her to the stage. It was surreal. Surely this was not happening! One of my best friends had been selected to engage in a fight that would most likely end her earthly existence!

Luke could see it, the rage boiling within me. He put his arms around my waist in an attempt to comfort me. Though I appreciated his concern, my anger only continued rising. The lady on the stage reached back into the bowl but at this point I cared not about whom else was selected. Tabuu was bent on murdering my friend in cold blood, and that cut my already sunken heart to pieces.

“Joining her in Tabuu’s Tournament will be our second combatant…Link Fairchild!”

At the moment I heard my name, time stood still. The clouds stopped moving overhead, and I could have sworn I heard a long cackle of thunder.  The people stopped fidgeting, the lady’s voice shushed, and all that was left was me, looking straight up toward Adelenne on the stage. I saw her reach out toward me and I reached out to her. It was as though we were weightless, hopelessly bound together. I began to move toward her. What finally snapped me out was the shrieking voice from behind.

“NOOOOOOO!!!!” Luke screamed from behind. He attempted to get to me but several primids immediately moved in and grabbed him. He kicked, he swung his arms, he did everything to try to get to me, even biting the hand of one of the primids, but it was to no avail. Two other primids escorted me to the stage, where I immediately linked hands with Adelenne. Her face showed no emotion whatsoever, but I knew her mind was spinning as fast as mine.

“Lads and maidens, our fighters from Hyrule Province; Link Fairchild and Adelenne Harkinian!”



Chapter 11 –

“You have to promise me that you’ll come back. Mother and father won’t forgive me if they don’t see you again!”

“Luke, I promise you. If I have to destroy the supreme deity myself to get back to Ordonia I will. He’ll pay for what he’s done to me and Adelenne!”

Tears streamed from his eyes. I hugged him about as firmly as I ever had. A few seconds later several primids came into the room and ushered him out. I was about to turn away toward the cold, marble wall when I heard a different voice.

“Got yourself into a predicament, eh Fairchild?” It was Naira.

“This isn’t funny. Tabuu is coming after Adelenne and I in cold blood. He won’t get away with this.” I said stoically.

“Of course he won’t. I just wish it was me in that arena and not Addy. She doesn’t seem the type for a contest like this.” Naira said.

“Addy can be more resilient than you know. She’s hunted much larger game than we have.”

“But with people it is so much different. The same in execution, but totally different in the aftermath. Lives are brought to an end and others are changed forever.” Naira said.

“Naira…if I don’t make it through this…” I said as I squeezed her hand, “Know that I am forever thankful for your friendship. Please watch over Luke and the rest of my family.”

Naira nodded. We hugged and as we did so, Naira planted the sweetest kiss on my lips. It was so soft and so warm it almost felt heavenly. As she turned and left the room, I vowed that if nothing else, I would win so that I could prove my undying love to her.

That afternoon, Adelenne and I were led to a magnet train, bound for Subspace City. We were led into a bedroom quarters with a bunk. Both of us were angry. This wasn’t what we had signed up for. By changing the rules of the fight and then having our names drawn, it almost seemed as though Tabuu had a personal score to settle with us. While it was true that we meant him ill will in response for his past transgressions against Hyrule, he had never met us personally. Most likely he had never even heard of us.

“Somehow I don’t think this is a coincidence.” Adelenne blurted out to nobody in particular.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Somebody must have tattled on us. Somehow Tabuu must have known about our voyage to Hyrule Castle. Somehow he must know that we have the golden power.” Adelenne said.

“I don’t know Addy, Gor Daron and his apprentice made sure that no primids saw us.”

“Not that it does us any good now.” Adelenne replied.

I could not even hope to disagree. We were in big trouble.

About an hour after boarding several primids came into the room and ushered us through several train cars. We walked through the train until we reached a central room containing a whole table full of food. There was a large piece of deku baba meat in the center, along with vats of carrot soup, pitchers of Ordon milk, and many other foods that I did not even recognize. It was a far greater feast than any I had ever seen. Adelenne looked back to the primids, one of whom tossed her an apple. A bright smile came over her face. She took a bite into the apple, getting the sweet juice all over her face.

We had not eaten since early on Friday morning and were very hungry. Within several minutes we had gone through several plates worth of food. We were so caught up in the feast around us that we didn’t notice two individuals enter the train behind us.

“They don’t have feasts like this in Ordonia do they?” A woman’s voice said. We turned around, and it was the middle-aged woman that had conducted the draw. An athletic young man stood next to her.

“It’s more food than we’ve seen in our lives. And I’m a farmer’s son.” I said.

“You’ve never been to Subspace City have you? You are about to see riches beyond your wildest imagination.” The young man said. “Sheik Lalith of Castelle, former champion of Tabuu’s Tournament.”

I arose to shake hands with Shiek. “So you are a former champion then? Are you here to help us?” I asked.

“Precisely.” The woman said. “Saria Verdun of Emicus, former champion as well.”

Adelenne rose to shake her hand. “You competed in this tournament and won? You must have very strong thieving and survival skills.”

“She is a very astute one.” Saira told Sheik. “As you have already deduced, winning requires much more than skill with weaponry. It requires a good understanding of your surroundings and of your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Sit, we have a lot to teach you about the battle ahead.”

Saria and Sheik sat in the chairs across from us. “Since Tabuu has already revealed the location of the battle we can determine strategy to some degree. The Subspace Maze is very large and expansive, with many different environments. Past tournaments have ended within a matter of hours, but I seriously doubt that happens this time. There is too much at stake. The other combatants are going to be very cautious, especially early in the game. There will be a lot of open territory to hide in.”

We passed a great castle on the right of the track. “What is that?” I asked.

“That is Peach’s Castle…home of the great Peach Toadstool, former monarch of Mushroom Kingdom. We are in Mushroom Province right now. Peach was one of those that fought against Tabuu in the Subspace Incident.” Sheik said.

“She was the one that always wore pink, at least that’s what our teachers told us. She championed the importance of education as she was once a schoolteacher.” Adelenne said.

“That is indeed correct. You’ll see that the abandoned asphalt track to our right is Royal Raceway. It was once one of the great go-kart tracks of the universe before the Subspace Incident. Later when we pass through Zero Province, you might get a glimpse of Mute City’s racetrack. The machines that raced there were far more sophisticated than those here. Captain Falcon was the leader of a group of mercenaries that raced there, and he, like Princess Peach Toadstool was another fighter in the battle against Tabuu.”

“Just how many fighters were there in all?” I asked.

“There were thirty-five.” Saria said. They were freedom fighters from all walks of life, from commoners to royalty, not unlike you. The battle they waged was fierce, and ultimately to the death, again not unlike what you are about to go through.”

“The circumstances are beyond our control children.” Sheik said. “We did not know of Tabuu’s intentions until he made the announcement at the draw. Believe me, this situation is dire but if you believe in your heart and trust in your abilities, you can survive this. Hyrule Province has performed very well in this contest over the course of history as our knowledge of weaponry and survival is second to none.”
“We have a long way to go children.” Saria said. “If you would like, you can retire for a spell. I’d just like one piece of information before you go.”

“Anything.” I said.

“What piece of weaponry are you most accomplished with?” Saria asked.

“A sword.” I replied. “Bow and arrow.” Adelenne replied confidently.

“Very well, Sheik and I must discuss amongst ourselves now. We’ll be back to retrieve you before we arrive in Subspace City.”

Back in our quarters, Adelenne and I lie in our bunk beds, just staring at the ceiling.

“Well, they seem kind enough.” Adelenne said. “That boy Sheik has quite the definition on him. His muscles look like they were chiseled by a sculptor.”

“He must be descended from that ninja group that Gor Daron was talking about.” I said. “But in all seriousness how are they going to be of help to us once we are on our own in that maze? We’re going to have to fend for ourselves out there, amid twenty-two others bent on making us breathe our last.”

“They’ve done this before Link, I am sure that they will impart their wisdom to us. Just be patient and let them do their job.”

“What more could they tell us?” I said in a rather exasperated tone. “Besides, I already conquered all of my fears in order to gain the Golden Power.”

Adelenne sat up and leapt down from the top bunk. “Just what kind of trials did you go through in the Golden Land?” She asked.

“I’ll tell if you tell me.” I insisted.

Adelenne leaned forward with a devious look on her face. “First, I had to match up a group of 50 cards face down. It was a test of memory, but one I passed in several minutes. Then I had to identify a large group of plant and animal species. Next came a challenge of wit and mind. I had to listen to a young man and woman talk for one minute each, and then find a way to get those two to fall in love with one another even though they had never met.”

“Wow, that sounds hard. How did you get past that?” I asked.

“It was actually easier than you would think. I preyed on each of their emotional insecurities. After that, I was taken into a room where I had to examine an imaginary kingdom and what was ailing it. I had to make a series of decisions on whether to have their people cultivate more farmland, mine for raw materials, and amass infantry for a potential war, all within several minutes. It was rather nerve-wracking.”

“What was your ultimate challenge?” I asked.

“I was placed into a large castle, and it was under attack. I had a group of one hundred people that I was trying to lead out alive before the enemy struck. However, one young girl was hit by an artillery shell while on a bridge leading from the castle. I had to decide in that moment whether to continue on with the other ninety-nine, or to try to save the girl that was injured.”

“And what did you decide?” I asked.

“The decision was easy. I stayed with the little girl and comforted her until she breathed her last. The others continued on without me. The enemy eventually surrounded us and I laid down my weapons with just the demand that they give her a proper burial.”

I smiled. “Nayru must have been very proud of you.”

“Farore must have been impressed by your exploits too.” She replied. “When you said you had to conquer your fears, what did you mean by that?”

“I was dealt a series of challenges involving common fears. First I had to fight a skeleton warlord. You could call that fear of war, or fear of the dead, if you will. Then came an insect infestation, a tightrope walk across a cliff, and a plunge to the bottom of a lake.”

“Fear of bugs, fear of heights, fear of drowning. I’m following, please continue.” Addy said.

“The fifth took me into a dark forest, and my former bullies were uttering nasty remarks at me. It was different, but I stayed resolute. Bees swarmed me too, but next came a volcano that I had to climb. Then came a sled ride down an icy mountain. And last…oh last, that was something else.”

“Tell me, tell me!” Adelenne hopped up and down.

“I had to fight a giant pig beast in combat.” I said.

Adelenne gasped. “The goddess had you fight against Ganon’s first manifestation, the one we saw in the painting inside Hyrule Castle. You know what this means right?”

“That I am the Hero of Time’s equal?” I asked.

“Believe it in your heart. These other combatants have nothing on you.” Adelenne said with a splash of warmth as she climbed back into the bunk.



Chapter 12 –

Several hours had passed. The scenery outside had changed rather drastically, from lush farmlands and simple homes and barns, to much larger buildings and a constant coat of asphalt and concrete covering the ground. We started to see not only cars, but other machinery and vehicles that we had never seen before. It was as though we were in a whole new world.

“This is Corneria Province.” Sheik told us. “This is the last province between us and Subspace City, and it is also the most technologically advanced. It was here that over a hundred years ago that the dream of space exploration became a reality.”

“Space exploration? You mean traveling to the moon and stars?” Adelenne asked.

“Precisely. The vehicles created here had the capability to make it through harsh atmospheric conditions and travel across deep space.” Saria said.

“Their weaponry must be far more advanced and deadly than anything we have.” I lamented.

“I believe you are correct.” Sheik said. “However because of their technology, people rely on their weapons to fight. They do not know what we know. They do not know how to scout an opponent and take advantage of their weaknesses. They do not realize the hardship that hand to hand combat poses.”

“What kinds of weapons will be available in the maze?” I asked.

“Basically anything that was used in the Subspace Incident. That can include primitive weaponry like bats and hammers to more advanced items like motion-sensor land mines and swords made of beams of light. But they are often hard to find. Battles sometimes come down to little more than hand to hand combat, where we Hyrulians have the advantage.” Sheik said.

We continued to cross the Cornerian landscape. A few minutes later we were out of the city and into a rocky, rugged terrain scattered with mines. This continued until we reached an ocean. The train continued over a causeway that seemed to be headed out into the deep blue yonder. About five to ten minutes passed, after which Adelenne’s eyes grew wide.

“What’s that?” Adelenne asked. She pointed out a rapidly approaching set of spires. Beyond that more structures arose from the ground. “That’s it! That must be the city!” she shouted.

What we saw next was a grand city, rising out from the sea. The track dove under the waves and headed into a tunnel. We followed the tunnel for several minutes, and then, on the other side, we were tucked inside the urban landscape. Buildings were everywhere, most of them taller than any building I had seen outside of Hyrule Castle. The train began to slow. A boisterous crowd of primids surrounded the train station. Many of them wore elaborate clothes.

“Welcome to Subspace City.” Saria said.

I do not remember much outbound the train station. Several big primids, whom were about three times the size of a normal primid, helped surround us and keep the rowdy crowd at bay. Adelenne and I could not understand why there was so much attention paid to us. Why did they care about us? Surely nobody knew who we were.

The primids led us to a rather tall building near a large, outdoor square in the center of town. Once we were inside, we came across a group of people that had largely polygonal skin, very similar to Tabuu himself.

“I see that our hyrulian combatants have arrived!” One said with vigor. “Welcome to Subspace City and the Smash Ball Emporium Hotel and Training Complex.” He turned to the big primids and nodded, sending them out of the room. “Come, we must get you acquainted with your surroundings here.”

Another polygonal subject walked over to a desk that contained many small screens similar to the one in the stadium in Castelle. She retrieved several keys and beckoned to us. “I believe that you are on the top level. Lucky you. The penthouse suite is very extravagant as I am sure you will find.”

We boarded an elevator that took us up to the top level of the hotel. When we reached the top, we walked down a well-lit hallway. Adelenne stopped briefly to reach out and touch the light on the wall. “What are you doing young lady?” the polygonal subject asked.

“It…nothing. The light is barely warm to the touch.” She said.

“You’re probably just used to fire and torches illuminating your passages.” The polygon said. “Here in the city we haven’t had to deal with such primitive ways in over a century.” The male polygon opened the door to our room, and boy were we surprised. Ahead of us was a three room complex, far bigger than any house in Ordonia or Faroquadin. In the center of the room was a fountain, with a large screen in the back. To our sides were more plates of food, just laid out lavishly, almost without regard to the struggling people back home. I almost wished they could be here just to have the opportunity for one day to eat as much as they desired.

“Take a look in the bedrooms.” The female polygon said as she flipped on lights at the edges of the complex. Inside my quarters was a large bed, far larger than any bed I had ever seen. I laid down on it and it felt like my body was being soothed by thousands of feathers amid a nice wool blanket. I turned to look at the window. We were high above Subspace City, the sun now down by the horizon as the lights of the city came alive in all of the tall buildings. It really was quite a sight.

“What is this?” I heard Adelenne ask from across the room. I followed her voice into what appeared to be a washing area. “Oh that, that’s a shower.” The male polygon said.

“What does it do?” Adelenne asked as she reached for the knob on the wall. Suddenly water burst out from the wall and sprayed her right in the face and chest. She jumped back with a shriek as the polygons laughed loudly.

“I take it you’ve never used a shower before?” The female polygon asked.

I handed Adelenne a towel. “We have no such things in Hyrule. We wash by dumping buckets of well water on ourselves.”

The polygons gave us a look of pity. Once Addy was dried off a bit we walked back to the fountain area. “You two should get some rest. At crack of dawn tomorrow morning we will head down to the training grounds, where you will meet your friends.” There was something about the way the male polygon said the word friends, as though it was a satirical irony. But as the polygon people left the room and locked the door securely, I turned back to Adelenne. She was about to go for the food, but then decided against it. “It’s so wasteful.” She said. “I realize that they want to fatten us for the kill, but they do not have to flaunt it like this.”

“The fountain is nice though.” I said. “At least the water gets recycled and re-used.”

Adelenne nodded. I was about to turn away when something caught my interest. Below the base of the fountain there was an insignia of the Triforce. Maybe it was an ancient Hyrulian relic, or perhaps its appearance was purely coincidental. But something about it being there made my hair stand on end.

The next morning we arose with the sun, which was no trouble for me as I had done so for years. However, I felt far more refreshed than ever. Figures that once you get to sleep in a plush, comfortable bed you feel better in the morning. The trouble will be to not get used to it.

We both grabbed a small fruit as the primids entered the room. Our destination was the training complex, which was down the elevator and across a long series of dark hallways. My intuition told me that we were beneath the surface because it was very warm and stuffy. The first room we came to was a theatre of sorts with another large screen similar to the one in Castelle. There were several other young people our age already in the theatre, most likely the combatants selected from the other countries. My estimate was proven correct as more filed in, until eventually there were twenty-four in all. A group of polygonal subjects entered the room and guarded the exits. A message then came on the screen. The familiar polygonal mug of Tabuu filled the room. Once again, I felt my blood start to boil, as was often the case when faced with the presence of the “supreme deity”.

“Welcome my dear friends, and congratulations on your selection to participate in the 100th annual Tabuu Tournament of Tyrannous Terror! May this be a happy day, and may the way of the warrior wear well with you.”

Tabuu took a drink of water and cleared his throat. “What you will enter now is a series of trials that will prepare you for what you have been chosen, a grand battle that will praise the very power upon which this world was created. As has been explained previously, to the winner will go riches beyond your wildest imaginations…along with the powers of invincibility and immortality. The battle will commence in thirteen days on the equinox, the hundredth anniversary of the Subspace Incident. Let me tell you that I am proud of all of you. You have been chosen for your strength, courage, and power of will. Most of you will not make it through the battle ahead, but know that when you go through to the other side you do so with the pride and honor of the supreme deity looking upon you. May the best fighter win.”



Chapter 13 –

Once we hit the training arena, everything progressed so quickly. We were led from one zone to another, where many different polygonal folks administered challenges to us. One by one, we were trained to fight with certain weapons, including spears, heavy barrels, swords, as well as many items with which I had never seen before. It was immediately clear to me that the group of combatants that Tabuu had assembled was quite accomplished. Even the young maidens were merciless, and sparred just as well as the boys despite their generally smaller stature.

The group was rather diverse. The combatants from Gallia and Green Hill Provinces wore primitive clothes just like us, while the combatants from other areas clearly were of richer families. Their clothes fit them much better and contained more vibrant colors and designs. One in particular stood out to me, a young female from Mushroom Province. She was of medium build, and was one of the tallest maidens, almost as tall as Adelenne. Her skin was very fair, perhaps the fairest I had ever seen. She hoisted a barrel over her head and tossed it against the brick wall, knocking over several rows of bricks.

“That was a nice throw.” I said.

The young maiden turned in my direction. “If you thought that was good, come take a look at my counterpart.”

“Your counterpart?” I asked. Just then, a large turtle with red hair and a rough yellow exterior came up to the barrel. He lifted it and chucked it clear over the barrier, almost halfway across the room, emitting a loud roar as he did so. I tried to maintain my composure but I’m sure he noticed the flushness of my facial features.

“Show off.” The maiden said as she walked off toward the swordplay circle. A primid beckoned to the two of us and we entered the circle. Strangely, she did not select a traditional blade, but rather a rounded defensive instrument. We began to fight, and I went immediately toward her midsection. She did well to counter my forward strikes. I tried to swing from the left and she came forward, punching the rounded piece of metal toward my midsection. It nearly connected, but I moved away and reset. In a furious moment I faked a rightward strike then spun around to the left, getting behind her and pinning her arms.

“Yield.” I told her.

“You’re good, but can you handle this?” she asked. Before I knew what happened, she swung her legs high in the air and brought them down between my legs. The quick momentum caused me to topple, allowing her to get free. We quickly got back to our feet and brought our hands to a ready position.

“That was a crazy move. You could have had your arms broken.” I said.

“I suppose, but I trusted you wouldn’t be so mean.” She replied.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because you are not like my cocky counterpart. You have a sense of chivalry about you.” She extended her hand to me. “Rosa Toadstool is my name. I come from Mushroom Province.”

“Link Fairchild. I come from Hyrule Province.” I said.

“Who’s your counterpart, the tall one wearing the rags over there?” Rosa asked.

“Oh her…that’s Adelenne Harkinian. She’s a railroad builder’s daughter, a real thinker as much as a fighter.” I said.

“Well that’s something my counterpart will never be, a thinker. His name’s Reznor Koopa, and he comes from the deepest valley in the province. He thinks he’s the baddest brute around and he is indeed strong, but also comes with the brain of a third grader. Our families have a lot of history and not favorable either.” Rosa said.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

Rosa ran her pale hands through her golden blond hair. “My great-grandmother was the supreme monarch of the province. His ancestor launched several invasions of the kingdom and kidnapped her on several occasions. She eventually got her revenge, but ever since then we have kept a wary eye of one another. Believe me, my nights in the hotel are likely going to be sleepless.”

A well-built, muscular lad tapped Rosa on the shoulder. “Mind if I show this lad how it’s done?” he said as he pointed at me. I accepted his challenge with a nod, and we both sought out our blades. A primid came to the middle to begin our bout, and he rushed me with an overhead swing. It was a powerful one, one that nearly knocked me off my feet as I blocked it. I responded by dodging the next swing to the left and went for a quick thrust in response. He deked out of danger and came back with a swing toward the legs. I quickly jumped into the air and then charged once on the ground. I met my blade with his and the sparks flew off as we pushed forward in a game of chance. His strength became overpowering, and once he had the leverage he pushed me back.

He came forward once again, and I did something that I rarely did. I got down low and burst forth with energy as he came for an overhead swing. I speared him right in the chest. It was a perfect tackle, and we both lost our blades in the process. We threw several punches at one another before the primids pulled us apart. My adversary was shocked. “What in the world was that? You can’t do that in a swordplay bout!”

“In swordplay there are few rules and I do not recall a moratorium on tackling ever being one of them.” I said with a smirk.

My adversary came at me, fists drawn. “Now you’re going to pay, you cheap bastard!” he yelled as he swung several times. He failed to land any direct hits, but even the glancing blows from his large, muscular frame were painful. Several polygonal people and primid guards were on us within seconds, physically pulling us apart. I saw Adelenne rush to my aid, and a young maiden in rags came toward my adversary. She slapped him right across the face. “How many times have I told you to not start fights! Your temper is irreconcilable!” she shouted at him.

“This lad doesn’t fight fair Lyndis! He took me off my feet when I had the advantage!” my adversary shouted at her.

“Ike, for once get a hold of your emotions. This is just practice. Lord knows when the real thing happens it will all be legal anyway!” the maiden bellowed. Adelenne looked at her with wide eyes. She was really giving her counterpart a verbal lashing, something that you rarely ever saw from the fairer sex in Hyrule.

She led him away, and the primids directed Adelenne and I to the opposite side of the room, toward the archery range. We went through our paces there, and at several other stations before breaking for our midday meal. Following that, all of us were gathered in front of a large screen at the far end of the training center. A female polygonal stood in front of us.

“My fair combatants, you have all demonstrated your training and abilities this morning. But you have much to learn about the tournament. Many of you will indeed meet your end through combat and wounds, but there are many other dangers within the Subspace Maze. Many of you will pass from exposure, some from infection, others from dehydration and starvation. Throughout the maze you will be able to find items and food. They appear in random locations, so you cannot always depend on their being there. Surviving requires a knowledge of your environment, strictly which plant and animal species are good to eat, and which bring death.

On the screen, you will be shown a grid of twenty plant species commonly found within the Subspace Maze. You’ll be given five minutes to find out as much information as you can about each one. Your task is to identify which are poisonous and which are okay to consume. Following that, you will see fifteen common animal species, ranging from insects to rats. You will have to perform the same task for those. Remember, everything you do in this arena is graded and judged by our group of primid fighters and scientists. At the conclusion of the week you will be given a numerical rating. Be sure to do your best.”

As I looked through the manual the polygonal lady issued to me, I immediately noticed many of the plant species, as many were native to the forests near Ordonia. Many of the ones I didn’t notice were of the poisonous variety. Of the animals, only one chipmunk breed was native to Hyrule but many of the insect species were simply variants of ones I had seen and read about in school. When the five minutes were up, I was feeling pretty confident. But my confidence faded as the first few combatants filed back into the screening room with depressed looks on their faces. They must have failed miserably.

About midway through the session I had my turn. All eleven of the prior combatants that had taken turns were behind me, apparently content to watch me. The plants appeared on the screen and I was ordered to press down on the ones that were okay to gather. I pressed the buttons quickly for hydrangea, lupine, and cranberry. Some were quickly eliminated from consideration, like oak, sumac, and ivy. Soon I was down to maybe five or six, but they were difficult to identify. One looked to be a blueberry shrub, so I pressed its button. The remainder I let stand as the clock ran out. The challenge for the animals went in much the same fashion, with me doing well enough early but still stuck on the last two or three as the clock ran out.

“That was one of the better performances so far Fairchild. Your knowledge of insects is a little thin but you did very well elsewhere. Well done.” The polygonal female said. I gave not a look of reassurance, not wanting to anger any other combatants like I had with the lad from Gallia.

The combatant to go immediately after me was a wolf from Corneria. He looked mean and evil, and word was circulating amongst the various combatants that he had already murdered two classmates in cold blood. I had not seen him except briefly on the shooting range, and he hit bulls-eye almost every time with the blaster hand-cannon. He walked up to the screen with a prideful gait, but much to my delight, he struggled mightily in the challenge. He even failed to identify ivy as poisonous. There were some audible chuckles in the crowd.

“You may fight well, but you’re dumber than a box of rocks O’Donnell!” somebody shouted. The wolf turned around and gave the combatant a death stare, to which they piped down quickly.
As the remaining combatants took their turns, I couldn’t help but notice how many of them were not human. The wolf’s female counterpart from Corneria was a blue-skinned fox. The two combatants from Green Hill were both hedgehogs, one also with blue skin, the other black. The tandem from Dreamland consisted of a penguin and a strange pink species that I swore looked like a marshmallow. The two from Kremisphere Province were animals too, one a gorilla, the other a monkey with very long blond hair. As I tried to comprehend the seeming impossibility of her brown fur yellow hair combination, I saw Adelenne walking toward the screen.

From the first second the plants and animals were displayed, she methodically pressed them off the screen. She quickly identified the poisons and skipped ahead. One by one the species were taken down until only poisons remained. There was still at least 30 seconds on the clock when she turned around and sat down.

“You think you have it all right?” The polygonal female asked.

“I know I do.” Adelenne responded.

It was a rare burst of bravado from Addy, and for a second, I could swear that beneath her gauntlets I saw a gleam of the Triforce insignia on her left hand. The time expired and the polygonal subject revealed the result. “Perfect score.” She said. I clapped my hands, as did several others. Adelenne did not make a comment but simply took her seat.

“There is much more training that you will have to receive before the battle begins. You will report back here at 7am tomorrow morning. You may retire to your rooms for dinner.”

Saria and Sheik were waiting for us when we arrived back in the penthouse suite. Once again, an elaborate spread of cucco meat, Ordon fruits and milk, plus several items I didn’t immediately recognize was ready for the taking.

“I understand that Adelenne knows her plant and animal species very well.” Saria said. “As a child of the forest myself, I am very impressed.”

Adelenne glanced briefly at Saria and gave a smile. I turned to Sheik. “What is this?” I asked as I held up a tomato.

“That’s a maxim tomato. These are native to Dreamland Province, and they are easy to spot because they have a giant M on the front.” Sheik replied. I rotated the tomato around, revealing the hard-to-miss letter that I had somehow not seen previously. “These are very luscious and vibrant in taste, and they are known to give people extra strength and energy. They appear in the Subspace Maze every so often, so if you find one, be sure to keep your wits about you. Somebody might be setting a trap for you with it. If you can grab it safely, do it.”

I bit into the tomato, and it was one of the best foods I had ever tasted. “What does Dreamland Province specialize in anyway?” I asked.

“Dreamland is into production of foods and renewable energy sources.” Saria responded.

I blinked as a bit of tomato juice got into my eyes. I passed part of it to Adelenne for her to try. She too gave a smile after taking a bite. “Remember this feeling children. When it is cold late at night, or if you are injured, the food you find in the maze could keep you alive.” Saria said.

The rest of the night was straight forward. We got cleaned off in the shower and readied ourselves for sleep. I have to admit, the whole idea of turning a knob and having water come out of an overhead pipe is pretty appealing. More concerning to me is the idea of having food arrive with a tap of the wrist or the push of a button. Our entire existence in Hyrule is based upon subsistence, either growing food or bartering for it. What must the people in Subspace City do with their time, not having to worry about the possibility of not being able to eat?

I pondered this as we went through the next several days of training. The days were long and the training more difficult each day. For many of us, tensions continued to grow. The battle was now just a week away.



Chapter 14 –

It was the weekend. From our penthouse suite we could see masses of primids gathering in the squares and parks of the city. The sun was out and it was very bright. Adelenne and I gathered our clothes, which by now had become torn and tattered from training.

We were about to leave the room when Saria and Sheik walked in. “There won’t be any training today children.” Sheik said.

The two of us were surprised. “We are going to get you out into the open and present you to the whole of the city.” Saria said. “This evening there will be a great procession into the center of the city. Your names will be announced to all and you’ll be shown off to the world.”

“The world?” Adelenne asked.

“Why yes Adelenne, this parade is caught by cameras from all over the town square, broadcast to every corner of our universe. Your parents and family members will likely be watching.”

Saria’s statement made me think of Luke for a moment. My heart twanged. “I don’t suppose we’ll need our ragged clothes then.” I said.

“Afraid not Fairchild. Come, we will make you the dashing hero this city longs to make of you.”

About an hour later I was in a large bath house. Several polygonal folks worked me over with tweezers and razor blades. Thankfully I hadn’t much hair on my face so they had relatively little to do away with, but they continued to pluck my eyebrows, which I found strange and on the verge of humiliating. They also swept away much of my chest hair. Satisfied with their work, they rubbed some soap on me and made sure that I washed off properly. I was given a paper dress to wear and was led to a table with a cushioned top, which I sat upon.

A human entered the room. “It seems I have come face to face with the new Hero of Hyrule.” The fair-skinned man said.

“I see you’re here to make me presentable.” I said.

“No. I am here to make you the most dashing young warrior to have ever set foot in these streets. The name’s Penthro, Penthro of Castelle.” He said as he extended his hand.

“I suppose this is where the façade begins, the glamour of a death fight.” I said.

“You have good intuition Fairchild, but there is more to this game than you know. Now I saw you fight in the training arena the past few days and I must say, you are the best prospect to come out of Hyrule Province for several years. But the other side of this game is to get people to like you.” Penthro said.

“And why would I bother to care about such things when my life is at stake?” I asked.

“Your supporters have the ability to impact the battle in ways that you do not know of yet.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Your advisors have mentioned the food and medical supplies that sometimes appear in the maze, am I correct?” Penthro asked. I nodded. “The primids within this cityscape take this battle as great entertainment, and they get behind their favorite combatants. They have the ability, if they so desire, to send gifts to them within the maze during the battle.”

My eyes grew wide. “So this tournament is part athletic ability and survival, and part popularity contest? I never knew that before.”

“You were probably wondering why the primids were taking time with your eyebrows no?” Penthro asked me. To this I nodded rather emphatically. “Come. I’m going to turn you into the hero’s reincarnation.”

Over the next several hours, Penthro sized up my measurements, had me try on several different garments, and coached me on how to stand with good posture and project confidence. It was all rather difficult for me, as I was not without manners, but in Ordonia we had no reason to make ourselves look dignified. We were all agricultural, hearty folk living a simple life.

My difficulties vanished into dignified valor when I saw the outfit he had picked out for me. It was a replica of the outfit worn by the Hero of Twilight. First there was a long sleeved shirt with a tall neck, enclosed by a drawstring. The tights were the same color. Over top of that Penthro helped me get into a layer of gray chain mail. Then came the tunic itself, a vibrant green shade that reminded me of the trees of Ordonia in summer. The outfit came with several accessories, notably the brown boots and matching belt, gauntlets for my hands, and a floppy green hat that matched the tunic.

“Where did you get these?” I asked.

“They aren’t the real thing, but I made them myself.” Penthro responded. “I have great interest in Hyrulian history, the real history, not the made up stories that the teachers taught me.

“So you know the truth, about Castle Town, about the barrier that Tabuu decreed in the south of Hyrule.” I said.

“Indeed. It is my sincere hope that someday, a warrior like the Hero of Twilight will arise and give rebirth to the country. I have faith in you. It will all come in due time, but right now we have to find your counterpart and get ready for the parade.” Penthro sighed.

Penthro and I were led by the primids down to a mansion about a half mile south of the main square of the city. It was at this juncture that I saw many of the other combatants. Most of them were dressed in traditional outfits from their own land, just like me. I immediately sought out Adelenne, and when I saw her I was absolutely blown away. I always knew she was pretty, but the outfit she had would make just about any man gasp in awe. Her gown was purple on top, and white on the bottom. She wore a tiara of gold and jewels on her head, golden armor covered her shoulders and breasts, and her arms were covered in long white gloves.

“You look fairly dashing tonight Fairchild.” Adelenne told me as we loaded into the processional vehicle.

“Your beauty is breathtaking.” I mumbled in response.

Adelenne giggled. “If only Naira was here to hear you say that, she’d be so jealous.”

The comment made me think about Naira. What was she doing while we were being prepared for this horrific journey? Would either of us ever see her again? Adelenne saw the change in my facial expression. “Link, do not think that she’s just idly sitting by. It would not surprise me if we saw her again before the battle.”

“How would she get to Subspace City?” I asked.

“I do not know. She’s resourceful. She’ll resort to thievery if she wants something bad enough.”

We emerged from underneath a bridge. Our vehicle was the last in the procession. Gallia was directly ahead of us and Corneria was in the very front. There were primids and polygonal people all over the streets, waving toward us and making tons and tons of noise. There were even a few humans interspersed into the crowd, which was disappointing. How anybody could take pride in something like this, which was essentially legalized murder, was beyond me.

We finally reached the entrance to the main square, and our vehicles moved into a single-file line. Corneria went in first, to which there was a thunderous ovation from the crowd. We could hear the public address announcer introduce them. “The combatants from Corneria Province, Canis O’Donnell, and Melina McCloud!” Mushroom Kingdom went next. “From Mushroom Province, Reznor Koopa and Rosa Toadstool!”

Adelenne and I continued to wait as the remaining combatants went inside the square. “From Gallia Province, Ike Severious and Lilly Lyndis!” It was finally our time to enter. As we emerged from the tunnel, we saw the square pan out in front of us. There were stadium stands filled with thousands of adoring fans all over. The noise was unlike anything I had ever heard, a raucous frenzy that resembled pure chaos. Adelenne reached over and grabbed my hand, a move to which I warmly reciprocated. We gazed into each other’s eyes for a moment, and then I knelt down in front of her, almost as though she was going to knight me. The move drew even greater cheers from the crowd.

“And last but not least, from Hyrule Province, Link Fairchild and Adelenne Harkinian!”

As we reached the front of the square, Tabuu became visible. I had never seen him in person before and his presence was unlike what I had seen on screen and in books. Not only was he a stronger, bigger version of the polygonals we had so often seen, but he now sported rather large wings on either side of his body. I suppose it was meant for him to look more impressive. But I took it as a sign of something else, insecurity.

“Welcome my good countrymen to the 100th Tournament of Tyrranous Terror!” Tabuu bellowed. A ruckus cheer came from the crowd, and sure enough, I was looking through that crowd, panning, hoping beyond hope for the one person who could help me put an end to this madness once and for all.

“And to the combatants, I say welcome. You will do well in the coming battle. To you, may this be a crowning event of courage and valor, and may the way of the warrior wear well with you!”

The cheering continued to be deafening. My ears felt like they were going to burst, yet it was my soul that had the most pain. It was the pain of pity upon those who were going to utilize our injuries and deaths as sacrifice at best, and sport at worst.



Chapter 15 –

Following the parade, it was back into the training arena. Four days before the start of the tournament we got some heavy instruction on some of the more explosive weaponry that could be found in the maze.

“This right here, is a cracker launcher.” A male polygonal subject said. “This has the ability to blast your opponent with fiery plumes of nearly five hundred degrees. It has a lot of ammunition too, twelve rounds in all.”

“But you must be careful when utilizing it. It makes a lot of noise and gives off a huge amount of light, so it will quickly draw other combatants to your position.” A female polygonal warned.

The male polygonal picked up a second weapon, this one a silver cylinder of sorts. “This is the Super Scope. If you hold down the button for several seconds it will release a ball of pure electrical energy at your opponent. It has the ability to fry a person with upward of 220 volts in one shot.” There was some audible shock in the crowd, particularly from the combatants from Corneria and Zero Provinces, to which I could only shrug my shoulders. Electricity was foreign to me for it did not exist in Hyrule.

Lastly, the male polygonal grabbed a black item with eyes on the front, a wick on top, and a crank in the back. “And this…is a bob-omb.” He said solemnly.

“What does it do?” Asked the female from Zero Province.

The female polygonal came up to the male combatant from Mushroom Province, Reznor Koopa, and handed him a green block with an exclamation point on it. “Reznor and Rosa will demonstrate.” Reznor gave her a look of death, but she immediately brandished a spear covered with spikes. He had no choice but to comply. Remembering her earlier disdain for her counterpart I could see the smile on Rosa’s face was beaming. Reznor hit the green block and his entire body turned a metallic silver. “Reznor is utilizing a Metal Cap, which makes his body very heavy and impervious to damage for a limited time.” The female polygonal explained.

Rosa turned the crank on the bob-omb, which caused the fuse to light. She wound up and threw it straight at Reznor. It exploded, sending him back nearly twenty feet into the far wall. He took his time getting up, struggling against the weight of the metal suit. Two members of the medical staff came to check on him, and nodded their approval.

“Were it not for that metal suit, he would be still flying right now, and surely deceased.” Rosa said. “The bob-omb is native to Mushroom Province, and is actually most native to the Valley of the Koopas, so blame him.” She said as she pointed at Reznor.

“Yeah, laugh it up now. I’ll get my revenge on you in the maze.” Reznor said strongly.

The male polygonal pulled everybody back together. “As you can see, there are many items that can be found or sent your way in the maze that you can use to your advantage. Some items are more powerful than others, but many also tip off others to your position. Keep that in mind.”

That afternoon, I was forced into a duel on the shooting range. In my hand was a ray gun, a weapon unlike anything I had ever seen. Evidently it worked just like a bow, except that the weapon fired by pulling a lever. Even so, I had difficulty aiming. I was matched up against the female combatant from Zero Province. She was good, tagging me again and again. I fought hard to keep my composure but it was hard. I was not used to losing, even if the circumstances were so foreign.

“They don’t have stuff like that where you come from huh?” She asked afterward.

“Not really. We fight with swords, and bows.” I responded.

“Well sure. But it makes little sense to take a sword to a gunfight.” She sassed.

“That assumes you know where to find your opponent.” I reasoned.

“True. But don’t think you’re the only one with good thieving skills. My world is very cutthroat. We put bounties on people.” She responded and held out her hand. “Yoko Goroh, bounty hunter in training.”

“Link Fairchild, goat herder of Hyrule.” I responded. “A good friend of mine is a thief, she would love to be able to meet you.”

“Maybe I could, if I win this thing.” Yoko sighed. She picked up her ray gun and awaited the next challenger, which happened to be the male from Dreamland Province. I moved on to the explosives area, where I got my first look at motion sensor bombs. I tried to concentrate during the exercise but it was difficult. The statement made by Yoko had been so matter-of-fact. The only way any of us would ever see Naira again, or anybody else for that matter, would be to survive the murder of twenty-three others.

The fighting in the arena became more rowdy and desperate as the afternoon wore on. Fights broke out between exercises on several occasions. To nobody’s surprise, Canis O’Donnell was right at the heart of it all, taunting other combatants and using cheap tactics to beat them in challenges. He was also very cruel with his words. The male from Skyworld Province, Cloud Icarus, finally decided he’d had enough and decided to challenge him in hand to hand combat. O’Donnell proceeded to sucker punch him in the face before the bout was ready to begin. The female from Skyworld immediately ran in and strangled O’Donnell, while the polygonals had to get her off and keep Icarus from getting to O’Donnell and destroying him.

“You’ll pay for this Canis! You are nothing but a dastardly tyrant!” Icarus shouted.

“You’re nothing but a wuss! You’re a pussy that couldn’t hump a doorknob.” O’Donnell retorted. The primids eventually got both of them out of the room, after which the training session was ended for the day. Adelenne and I washed up and prepared ourselves for dinner in the penthouse. As usual, Saria and Sheik were waiting for us, but this time Penthro had decided to join us as well.

“Tomorrow is a big day for you two.” Penthro said as he bit into a slab of deku baba meat. “Two major events will occur tomorrow, both of which will have a major impact on the battle ahead. First, in the training arena you will perform your skills in front of some of the richest primids in the city. If you are impressive enough they may reward you once you are in the maze.”

“What should we do once we are in front of them?” I asked.

“There aren’t any rules. Just make sure that you leave an impression, that they remember you. Adelenne, for you that probably means showing off your archery. Link, I would focus on either swordplay or perhaps raw strength.”

“You two do have an advantage, you’ll be last in the order to compete. Adelenne you’ll be second to last and Link you’ll be last. If you do well in there it’ll be the last thing they see before they leave for the day.” Sheik said.

I bit into a couple of Ordon nuts. “Penthro, did you say that there were no rules?”

“I did.” He replied. A smile crossed my face. “Excuse me, I don’t feel much like eating.”

Adelenne came back to me about ten minutes later. “I can always tell when you have a scheme on the brain. What do you have planned?” She asked.

“You’ll just have to wait for tomorrow. Let’s say that I have a nice show planned. You just focus on hitting the targets and don’t worry about me.” I replied.

“Okay. I trust you, you’ll do great!” Adelenne replied. “I only wish I could see it.”

The next day arrived, and all of us were placed in a holding room. While we awaited the call to begin, I became engaged in conversation with the first combatant to perform, the female from Corneria, Melina McCloud.

“Is it really true that people built ships that can fly into space?” I asked the blue-furred fox.

“I was going to ask you if your people were still living in an age without electricity, and were still fighting with arrows and blades.” Melina replied. “But yes, we had very advanced spaceships, even giant warships that could roam across deep space to faraway planets. My great-grandfather was the leader of mercenaries that sought to bring justice to all corners of the galaxy. He met my great-grandmother on one of his missions and she eventually joined his group.”

“That is really something. Why do you suppose there hasn’t been any space exploration since the Subspace Incident?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe because Tabuu feels we’re a threat?”

“Exactly. Tabuu isn’t a super-deity. He can be beaten. If we just mixed your world’s technology with my world’s sense of courage, wisdom, and power, we could bring this guy down and no future generations would have to go through silly sacrificial battles like this.” I said.

“Our ancestors tried to keep their sovereignty intact and it did not work. And in today’s world, you’d be lucky to ever get my country unified against Tabuu. Just look at what I have to deal with on a daily basis.” Melina paused as she looked over toward Canis O’Donnell, who was chatting with the hedgehogs from Green Hill.

The first call was made over the intercom, Melina was up. “Just pretend the target is Tabuu. Trust me.” I told her. She looked back at me and nodded. The blue fox’s hips swayed notably up and down as she walked confidently into the arena. The doors slammed shut behind her, leaving us to wonder what was going on inside. Several minutes later she finished, and Canis O’Donnell was called in next. Reznor Koopa and Rosa Toadstool, the pair from Mushroom Province were up after them. Then the penguin and puffball from Dreamland Province took their turns. As the day proceeded onward, I noticed Ike Severious coming toward me. I bit my upper lip. This was the guy I had tackled the other day. I tried not to look him in the eye, hoping he would walk on past.

“Hey Fairchild, I just wanted to apologize for my outburst from the other day.” Ike said.

I looked up. Surely that was not what I had expected to hear. “Why Ike, that’s not necessary. I took you down rather roughly after all.” I said.

“That may be true, but it was a clean hit and well within the rules. I happen to be pretty well accomplished with a sword so I should not have been surprised at your decision of tactics. You are fairly skilled yourself Fairchild, have you been practicing from a young age?”

“Indeed. I received my first blade when I was seven. I’ve had many years of practice at my family’s farm in the south of Hyrule. What about you?”

“I grew up in a town of miners and craftsmen in the mountains of Gallia. Our living conditions were very poor, very little food, inadequate shelter, and the worst part about it was because of how dangerous the outlying regions were, our ancestors asked the noblemen to protect us. But they basically enslaved everybody. Theft was common, which was why I had to learn the ways of the sword. Besides, it is within my family lineage to do so.”

“Was one of your ancestors involved in the Subspace Incident too?” I asked.

He paused for a second. “You know, I was just going to ask you the same thing. Yes, my great-grandfather was a great swordsman and he fought alongside others from my realm against Tabuu years ago.”

“My great-grandfather was a hero, one who arose from the rural reaches of Hyrule when the land was blanketed by darkness. He saved Adelenne’s ancestor from certain death at the hands of an evil tyrant.” I paused for a minute, then turned toward the wall where everybody was standing.

“By a show of hands, how many of you had ancestors that fought against the great deity?!” I shouted so loudly that all the primids could hear.

There was little reaction early, but then Ike put his hand up, then Lilly Lyndis did as well. Before long, virtually every hand and paw in the room was raised. It was at this moment that I realized just why we had all been brought together here. This wasn’t a sacrifice for the ultimate prize of immortality. This wasn’t about commemorating the sacrifices of those that fought so selflessly in the Subspace Incident. This wasn’t about pride or valor for one’s provincial homeland. No, this was about extermination. Tabuu was seeing to it that the bloodlines of the fallen in Subspace would be forever extinct.

“Why do you care, Fairchild?” One of the combatants asked, though I did not see whom.

“Just wondering.” I said blankly. I sat down on the hard bench, awaiting my call. Green Hill Province was up.



Chapter 16 –

The combatants took their turns one by one, until just Adelenne and I remained. The call came for her to compete.

“You’re going to do fine. Believe in yourself.” I told her.

“I know. Just don’t lose your head out there.” She replied. She entered the room and the door slammed behind her. The walls were soundproof, yet I still put my ear up against the side, hoping for any clue as to how my friend was doing.

The time passed very quickly, and the call for me to enter came. When I entered the arena, I noticed the people, a mishmash of primids, humans, and polygonals in the balcony overlooking the arena. They were all standing. I took this as a sign that Adelenne had done brilliantly. Without thinking, I moved quickly over to the archery range. I immediately took an arrow out of the quiver and strung the bow back, aiming at the target. Before I could allow myself to think too heavily I let the arrow go. It struck in the center, about two fingertips from the bulls-eye. I thought of firing another, but let that go and scurried over to the weightlifting area. There I picked up a spiked ball that weighed one hundred pounds. I wound up speed and hurled it straight away toward the wall, where it crashed with a vengeance. Many bricks came tumbling downward from the front.

I turned toward the assembled crowd, and I saw that those who had sat down were now standing again, and many were wide eyed. Another pointed out toward the open arena behind me. I quickly about-faced, and saw that there was a person wearing a hood over their face coming towards me.

“You’ve done well Fairchild. But let’s see you deal with this!” The person brandished a pair of curved swords and began to come menacingly near. My heart started to pound. This wasn’t part of the script! Quickly I ran toward the wall and picked out a blade. I then moved quickly toward my attacker and swung fiercely. My adversary jumped backward and tried a parrying jump attack. This I blocked, and followed with a thrust, which missed. The attacker swung both swords in a diagonal pattern toward me, a pattern that I noticed was oddly familiar.

The battle raged at a fast tempo. I was stronger physically than my challenger, of that I was certain because my blows struck with greater force, but only having one blade against two forced me on the defensive for the most part. My attacker came straight for my legs, and I jumped up high, pinning one arm and disarming it with a swift tomahawk chop. The blow must have hurt, but my adversary barely made a peep, and charged me with the other sword. I blocked the initial swing, then two more, before executing a roll to try to get behind my attacker. The move caused my opponent to trip and fall, but before I could take advantage the opponent stuck their leg out, sending me to the floor as well. I knew a downward thrust was likely so I rolled out of the way quickly and back to a standing position. We were at the center of the arena, blades drawn at one another.

“Stop, that’s enough!” A voice from behind boomed. I noticed it as the voice of the male polygon who had led us during training. “You, in the hood! You’re not welcome here! Guards arrest this felon for assaulting a combatant and tampering with the tournament!”

The doors opened, and armed primids began to pour into the room. Surprisingly the person, whoever it was, made no move to leave, but I could hear words come out.

“Wisdom and courage shall outlast the darkness. Power will emerge to bring about the light.”

The words burned into my soul. In another second the guards were on my adversary and removing from the room. In less than thirty seconds the room was back to normal. Having fulfilled every discipline I wanted to demonstrate, I simply took a bow and left the arena.

The next evening, looking down from the hotel, I noticed that a series of giant video screens had been erected in the square. There was nothing on them yet, but my interest had been perked.

“Looking down at the projection screens?” Sheik asked. “They’re for the battle, for people to see many different combatants at once.”

“Oh.” I said, my heart taking yet another shot across the bow. “How do they do that?” I said with feigned interest.

“There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of cameras set up all over the maze. They’ll be able to record every confrontation, every battle, every event of the tournament, even as the combatants sleep.” Sheik replied. “But let’s not worry about that, Tabuu is about to release everybody’s grade from training.”

Saria turned on the screen in the back middle of the penthouse, and we all gathered around. The supreme deity was his typically evil self, speaking in a low, boisterous voice.

“Good evening my countrymen, and welcome those of you tuning in from the outer provinces. As you know, the combatants in the upcoming tournament, which is due to begin in less than two days time have been put through a series of grueling trials and difficult training. What I can assure you is that this year we have collected forth the strongest and most determined group of young warriors I have seen in a century.”

This line by the supreme deity cut through me rather harshly, reinforcing the idea that this whole dastardly event was to exterminate the descendants of those who gave their lives in Subspace.

“But how did each combatant perform, and how well will they fare once the battle begins? That is the question we are to answer tonight. My team of experts has graded the young warriors on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most favorable rating. “We start with our first province, Corneria.” Tabuu reached down and grabbed a list. Pictures of each of the combatants as he named them off appeared on the screen.

“Sir Canis Odonnell is our first combatant. He performed well enough to score an 8.”

“I cannot even bare that dastardly tyrant.” Adelenne said under mumbled breath.

“Just looking at him, he lacks conviction.” Sheik said. “You’ll be able to take advantage of that.”

Tabuu continued. “Melina McCloud. A true heart of a champion nets her a score of 9.”

“Wow, these are some pretty high scores.” I said. I must have been visibly starting to sweat because Saria put her arm around me. “Patience child. Wait until all is revealed.”

Saria’s advice rang true, for the scores for the Mushroom Kingdom duo, Reznor and Rosa, weren’t quite so favorable, a 7 and a 6. Then another pair of 6’s for the pair from Zero Province. Then the scores got even worse as we hit the combatants from Eagleland, a 5 and a 3. The scores hardly improved through the next few provinces either, until the male from Green Hill, Sonic Boom, scored an 8. Another 8 came out for Xana Aran, a rough-cut fighter from Zebes who had the ability to knock you out both with her looks and her fists.

“She is quite pretty isn’t she Fairchild?” Adelenne said as she nudged my ribs with her elbow.

“All I know is that she’s dangerous.” I responded rather diplomatically. She nodded.

A few more negative marks came up, and it was down to the final two provinces. I moved forward in the chair as Lilly Lyndis came on the screen. She got a 7. Next behind her was the strongest combatant of them all, Ike Severious.

“Ike, he has a good heart and great passion for his undertaking. He has earned a score of 9.”

“That’s the second 9 we have seen.” Saria said. The room became rather tense as Adelenne’s picture appeared on the screen. “And now the combatants from Hyrule. First we have Adelenne Harkinian. Not the strongest or the biggest in body, but a giant of mind. She has earned a respectable score of 7.”

There were some cheers in the room, though Addy showed no expression that I could see. “That’s good, a 7, we can work with a 7.” Sheik told her.

“And last but not least, we have Link Fairchild. This young lad is powerful, has good technique, and is very resourceful. He has earned a score of 9.”

There were boisterous cheers from those behind me. I merely let out a sigh of relief as my head dipped between my legs. “9 is a really strong statement Link. You’ve proven to be one of the favorites to win this thing.” Sheik said.

“I know. I just wish winning wouldn’t cause my soul so much anguish.” I said as I got up and removed myself from the room.

Food followed the announcement of the scores, but I wasn’t hungry in the slightest. I was thinking about the other combatants, about how this would be the end for so many of them. Most of them were from homes not like my own, with parents, sisters, brothers, all sorts of people that loved and cared for them. How I would not want to explain myself to all of them that my coming immortality would be the result of their child’s blood, or their sibling’s blood all over my hands. Or perhaps more likely, why my brother Luke would have to learn that I was never coming back, merely one of twenty-three, fallen dead in the ultimate hole of senselessness.

My unhappiness only grew as I looked down at one of the screens in the square. It was a board with each combatant’s odds of victory on it. Using the little periscope on the window, I saw primids passing money to others on tables beneath the video screen. There were giant safes beneath the screen as well.

“Not enough to bear witness to the end of such youthful and vibrant life, but evidently we have to bet our hard earned currency against it!” I said with a violent shout. I collapsed back onto my bed, just distraught with the whole situation.

Adelenne entered the room with a concerned look on her face. “I saw that, the contents of the screen. I had a feeling you would be upset.”

“Well that’s certainly not the most prophetic thing you’ve ever said.” I growled.

“Yes, I feared not. But I also had the good sense to read the contents of the screen, and I feel that blinded by your anger that you failed to do so.” Adelenne said.

“Why does it matter?” I asked.

Adelenne gently took hold of the periscope and pointed it down toward the board. “Right now you and Severious are the best odds to win at 7-1, McCloud is 8-1. O’Donnell and Aran are 9-1, Koopa and Boom are 10-1. After that, you have a few others at 12-1. But Link, you’re right there, at the top of the board.”

“Where are you?” I asked.

She took another browse of the board. “I’m with Toadstool and Lyndis, the three of us are 15-1. After us it gets really strung out, the lowest combatants are 50-1, 75-1, or 100-1.”

“Well it’s not like this matters. So what if I’m on top now? Once we get into that maze we’re all going to be equal again.” I said.

“That is missing the point Fairchild.” Adelenne said.

“Well then what exactly is the point?” I asked, exasperated.

“The point is that to these people here, you are a driving force for strength and divinity. They believe in you, and they are putting their hard earned rupees in hopes that your courage will prove to be the decisive factor in showing the true warrior that Farore said you are. To everybody here, even though they don’t even know you, you are like a son to them. They will be cheering you on through every minute of the battle and they will cheer your successes just as they’ll decry your faults.”

“It’s not like they know me like the people back in Ordonia.” I said blankly.

“That may be true today. But believe me, that will change. People will know you as well as they know their own sons and daughters when this is all over.” Adelenne said confidently.

“Not if you beat me, it’ll be you they parade through the streets.” I said.

“Fairchild, I am not one for warfare. Everybody in that training arena knows it, heck even my own family knows it. I have a brain greater than all but that is all I have. You’re the great hope of Hyrule. Embrace it. I know how much you would wish not to injure the others, but they are soon to be your opponents, ready and willing to send you straight to the underworld. The sooner you stop thinking of them as friends the better off you will be.”

Adelenne gave me a pat on the back, then left the room. As I was left with her essence shrouding me, I realized that she was right. It was time to put my game face on.



Chapter 17 –

“Tell me, what is your impression of Subspace City?”

“Well, it is very bright, very noisy. The food is plentiful, and there is very little that you cannot have or find. I also like the showers.”

“The showers?”

“We don’t have them in Hyrule…we pour buckets of well water on ourselves to wash up.”

There were some gasps in the crowd. “I think I last did that at a camp deep in the Arlen Forest many years ago. There was a whole group of us, and was that ever a dark scary night!” There was laughter in the crowd. “What wasn’t dark and scary was the parade last week, and I must say that the mock knighting ceremony that you and Adelenne pulled out, that was simply spectacular.” There was applause. “I know, really. When did you get this idea and how did you rehearse it?”

“We didn’t, it was kind of made up on the spot.”

The man laughed, as did much of the crowd. “Sure, sure. How close to one another are you?”

“We have been great friends for many years. We grew up in different parts of the forest, but our lives were very similar…simple, compared to the life here.”

“It has been well documented…by the press, that many of the pairs in this event do not like one another, but not only are you two indifferent, you have now both said that you in fact like one another as friends. Is there something more to your relationship?”

“I am not willing to talk about that.”

“Well surely you would like to address the rumors yes? Is there a romantic angle to your relationship with Adelenne?”

“I will admit…that there is a certain bond that we share. It is a bond of trust, and one of virtue. I guess you could say that we are linked together, but not in a traditional sense of romance.”

“Are you referring to the triangles?”

“I do not know what you are talking about.”

“Ah, the young lad is bashful about his true secret.” The crowd laughed a bit. “The supreme deity told me a few days back when I was researching for this interview that you and your friend went on a journey to an ancient castle. This castle in central Hyrule, which I might add was far beyond provincial boundaries…” The crowd oohed and aahed. “I know, I know, such a forbidden fruit indeed. But this place was majestic, and it housed an ancient secret, did it not?”

I paused, not sure what to do. If Tabuu knew about our journey, there was no reason to hold back any longer, for he probably knew everything. “Would you all like to see it?”

“Woah, woah, woah!” There were thunderous cheers in the crowd. I moved forward and took off my gauntlet, exposing the Triforce insignia. After a brief focus of energy, a great burst of fire, ice, and electricity filled the room. One of the bursts accidently flew up high and broke one of the lights on the ceiling, causing it to fall to the ground.

“And that was just the beginning.”

The crowd clapped and cheered. “Well, we’ll certainly want to look out for you and your friend walking the streets of Subspace City, you could scare the young ones.”

“Adelenne is great with kids. She always has been, you need not worry.”

“Will you two help each other in the maze?”

“I cannot say for sure, that will depend on how the battle plays out.”

“But Link, seriously, you’ve been branded as one of the favorites in this tournament, and certainly we all saw why here tonight. Do you consider yourself the combatant to beat?”

“I cannot speak of such a matter. While I am flattered at the oddsmakers’ and the peoples’ confidence, in all honesty there are many great warriors in this fight. It will not be easily won by anybody, but I will do my best.”

“Indeed. And that you will. Ladies and gentlemen, Link Fairchild!” The crowd got to their feet and applauded me. I took a bow and shook the hand of the host before exiting the well-lit stage.

“That was absolutely splendid!” Saria said. “You wowed them out there. I can only think of the gifts the primids will be sending you in the maze.” Penthro and Sheik nodded their heads in agreement, although there was one person who was not so impressed, and she showed her displeasure by punching me in the stomach.

“What in the name of Nayru do you think you’re doing! You just outed both of us as keepers of the golden triangles!” Adelenne shouted. “After all this time we worked to keep that a secret you go and reveal it to the whole universe!” Penthro and Sheik snapped into action and pulled her away from me.

“I did it because the game was up! Tabuu knew, the host knew, everybody that knows anything about this tournament already knew! It was probably why we got picked at the draw in the first place!” I shouted in defense.

“You’re a backstabbing little twat who only thinks about himself and not on how you impact others!” Adelenne screamed, her arms and limbs struggling against the bond of the two men holding her. I felt like retorting, but there was nothing I could say that would calm her down. “Let’s go.” Saria said as she led me through an exit door.

The next few hours were very uneasy. It was the night before the tournament, and a sea of nervousness had begun to wash over me. I looked out of the penthouse window. A great thunderstorm had begun to march toward the city. The crackles of lightning and crashes of thunder added to the animosity of the current moment. We were supposed to be going over the layout of the maze and how best to strategize the tournament. Saria entered my room. “The primids just gave us the maze map, you’ll want to come take a look.

“Is she coming out of her room yet?” I asked.

“Not yet. This close to the battle, some combatants can get very emotional. It’s nothing unusual, especially this year with so much on the line.” Saria explained.

Penthro and Sheik were at the table already. I sat down, taking a nibble on a bit of Ordon nuts as I studied the maze layout. In the upper left was a giant stadium which formed the starting location. Branched off from it were doors that acted as bobble warps, leading to other passages.

“As you can see here, there are many different environments within the maze.” Penthro said. “Some environments have certain advantages over others, but all are unique in their own way. If you are thirsty, the streams of the forest or the currents of the river will quench you. If you’re looking for food and wildlife, the plains and grasslands will work. If you’re in need of solid shelter, the research facility is the place to go.”

“But even the seemingly worthless environments can be helpful. The dusty cliffs in the canyon zone might look barren and hopeless,” Saria explained, “but if you’re looking to get away from attackers, it might be an area of safe refuge.”

Just as I looked up from the map I heard a chair squeak. Adelenne was sitting down. “Glad you could join us my lady, we were just getting to important matters of strategy.” Sheik said.

“As you can see, when the game begins, you’ll all be in a circle like this, surrounding the outer wall of the stadium.” Sheik said. “At the bottom of your platform will be a pack with many provisions in it, a water jug, an incendiary device, a hunting knife, a length of rope, a day’s worth of rations, and one article of clothing. Don’t forget to grab it! In the middle of the stadium will be a massive cache of weaponry with everything you can imagine, star rods, beam swords, cracker launchers, maybe even a bob-omb or two. When the time counts to zero, a mad scramble for the wearpons in the center will doubtless occur. There are four exits to the stadium, at each of the cardinal directions.”

Sheik turned to Adelenne. “Addy, there will certainly be a bow and arrow somewhere in that central cache. I advise you not to go for it.”

“There’s going to be too many bodies in that melee.” Adelenne said.

“Precisely.” Saria stated. “Your best chance is to grab your supply pack and move as quickly out of there as possible. If you see what you want from the platform it will be very tempting. Remember your talents. Your game is to out-think your opponents, and survive in the unforgiving wilderness while the others knock each other out.

Sheik moved forward. “Here is my feeling. Link, you are a close range fighter and pride yourself on your swordplay. There will definitely be a sword or two, perhaps even a beam sword lying in the center of the arena. Yet I don’t think you should go for them either. Your strategy should be the same as Adelenne’s, just get out of there as quick as you can.”

I saw red. “To do that would be cowardly, and against my nature.”

Sheik’s face turned pale. “Link, there are combatants that are faster than you in that arena. The hedgehogs and the primates, they’ll get to the weapons before you can. Even if they don’t, the stronger combatants like Koopa and Severious will close in and corner you before you can gain any sort of advantage.”

“There isn’t a combatant out there that has the courage and heart that I possess. I will fight harder than anything they could ever imagine. I will negate whatever advantage they think they have and defeat them.” I said confidently.

Sheik was about to berate me, but Saria waved him off. “He may be horribly thick-headed, but he’s right. Link has lived his life and fought his battles like this ever since he was little. To ask him to change tactics and go for self-preservation over fighting at the start of the battle would go against everything he knows. You know that whatever we tell him tonight he’s going to sprint right for the weaponry tomorrow.”

“Is this the case?” Sheik asked me. I nodded with pure confidence. “Very well. When you get onto the platform, spot out a weapon you like, preferably on the opposite end of the cache from where the faster combatants are. When the buzzer sounds, run for your life toward it, and swing it at anything that moves. Let your instinct take over. You will need it.”

I nodded. There was a brief silence before Saria dismissed us. “I think we have done enough here. Remember what we talked about. I wish you luck in the tournament. Stay safe.”

That night, I tossed and turned. Try as I might, I just could not get any sleep. Unlike the previous days though, my mind wasn’t full, thinking of my family, about the other combatants, or about anything really. It was blank. I had begun to purge every idea of morality and chivalry from my subconscious. I could not bear to think of the sheer evil that I was about to inflict, all in the name of ensuring my own survival.

I turned over underneath the bedsheets, and that’s when I saw Adelenne. Evidently she had entered my room while I was tossing.

“Couldn’t find sleep either?” I asked her.

“It is hard to find sleep on an empty mind.” She replied. “I feel like they have turned me into a caged animal. Clearly you saw that this evening, and I am sorry if I hurt your feelings any.”

“I understand the feeling.” I said as I sat up.

“I just wish there was a way to let all these people know who I really am, what I stand for. If this is the last night that I spend in the realm of the living, they need to know that I was a sworn protector of divinity but more than that a great sister and daughter. They should know that my sacrifice is to ensure that so many others will grow to be strong, hard-working citizens of Hyrule. I only wish they could know that.” Adelenne said.

“It isn’t easy to talk to primids. I don’t think they understand us very well.” I said. “Even if they did, I am not sure they would care to hear us utter such phrases.”

“That’s what I thought too. But there’s at least one person in this city rooting for me.

“And who is that?” I asked.

“It was a human…I think, an old beggar lady. Penthro and I ran into her on the street as they were leading us back from the television studio. She asked me if I had any bread to spare and I gave her the slice of Dreamland pizza I had been eating.”

“That was rather kind of you. What did she say?” I asked.

“She told me that I was generous and resolute. But then she asked me if I wanted to hear a prophecy she had about the tournament.” Adelenne replied.

My eyes widened. “Did you hear it?”

“She told me, wisdom and courage shall outlast the darkness. Power will emerge to bring about the light. I know not what it means, but it gave me hope that I may see the end of this somehow after all.”

My eyes grew large. “I heard the exact same quote not more than a day ago.”

“Where did you hear it Fairchild?”

“While I was performing for the scouts and the oddsmakers, a masked warrior entered the room and challenged me. I thought it was part of what I had to do, but evidently it was not, for the head trainer had the guards take my adversary away after we had fought for a while. Before they took the fighter away was when it told me.” I said.

“Did you see who it was?” Adelenne asked.

“No. Whoever it was they were pretty well concealed. I don’t even know if the person was male or female.”

“I very much doubt that we are dealing with the same person. The one I saw in the street tonight was frail, certainly not one to swordplay. This must be a premonition of some kind. But what could it mean?”

“You told me once that you’ve experienced prophecy before, have you not?” I asked.

“Well sure, but they usually come to me in the form of dreams. I once dreamt when I was very little that Faroquadin would be hit by a severe famine. Sure enough, weeks later the rains went away and the crops shriveled up and died. Many families were stricken by their suffering.”

“Perhaps it was just a coincidence.” I said.

“Yes, but I doubt that this is. Two completely different people telling us the same quote word for word, it couldn’t be.” Adelenne replied.

“What do you think it means?” I asked.

“Well, if we break it down into parts, we might be able to dissect its purpose. Read me the first half please.”

“Wisdom and courage shall outlast the darkness.” I said.

“Hmm. The darkness I’m pretty sure represents Tabuu and this world, or perhaps the situation that we find ourselves in. Wisdom and courage could be in reference to the golden triangles. Read the second half.”

“Power will emerge to bring about the light.”

“Light could be a reference to a new beginning, one in which Tabuu is vanquished. But that still leaves us with power. What kind of power is it?” Adelenne pondered.

“Hey wait a minute. If wisdom is a reference to the Triforce of Wisdom, and courage a reference toward its golden triangle, wouldn’t power be a reference to the Triforce of Power?”

“You think it’s Naira?” Adelenne asked.

“I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is. But her thieving skills are better than anybody I know. If anybody could escape Hyrule and get to Subspace City undetected it would be her.”

“Which would reunite the holy trinity. That which was broken at the draw.” Adelenne said.

“If our calculations are correct, we might both be able to survive this after all.” I grabbed Adelenne suddenly and held her close. “Whatever you do, you have to promise me that you won’t go for those weapons in the center of the maze. You need to use your brain and survive. No matter how long it takes me I will seek you out, and between us, we’ll stay strong through the end.”

“I promise as long as you promise one thing.” Adelenne said.

“And what is that?” I asked.

“That you defeat every last combatant that comes near you.” She said firmly.

“I promise, with all of my heart.” We came together in a fierce hug. We must have held one another for minutes before she finally pulled away. This was truth. We would come face to face with our destiny, and we swore upon the goddesses that we would realize it.



Chapter 18 –  

Morning broke over Subspace City, revealing not the sun but a thick layer of clouds and fog.  The primids came early to take us out of the hotel complex.  As we left the building, we ran into Sheik and Saria, who wished us luck in the maze and told us to remember what we had talked about the night before. 

The streets were deserted, or at least they appeared that way because of how thick the fog was.  After walking for several blocks past the square, we came to a grassy field with a giant airship, similar to the one we had seen at Kakariko Gorge.  The primids accosted us onto the airship, right into a large docking bay with seats all around the interior wall.  I noticed many of the other combatants were already there.  Every one of them seemed completely emotionless, which was not surprising given the circumstances. 

The airship lifted off.  Several minutes into the flight I felt a twinge in my right arm.  When I looked up it was a polygonal subject holding my hand.  “It’s a tracking device.” He told me.  Great.  Not only was I going to be fighting for my life on screen for the world to see, but the people watching would be able to map my every move too.  Never have I felt more violated.

When we landed, I was led into a long metal tunnel.  There were primids and polygonals standing guard everywhere.  Each combatant was split off in the various tunnels and passageways, and I ended up in a metal room with a white floor and greenish-gray walls.  There was a single table, and a clock on the wall.  According to that clock, it was a little bit after ten.  I expected something to happen, but nothing did.  I sat there, and sat there, and sat some more.  It was well after eleven by the time the door swung open.  It was Penthro.

“Here, put this uniform on.” Penthro said as he threw me several pieces of clothing.  The pants were all black, the top mostly black except for a light blue border at the collar and along the sleeves and the hyrulian insignia on the shoulders.  The outfit came with matching boots.  I quickly got into the outfit and sat down on the table, while Penthro checked me for any unwanted articles of clothing or any illegal weaponry.  The door swung open and a primid guard walked in.

“He’s all clear.” Penthro told him.  The guard nodded and left. 

“So this is it then?”  I asked. 

“You’re going to be fine out there.  Trust all of your preparation.  Nobody out there can fight like you can, not even Severious.  I know of your ancient power, why didn’t you tell me?” 

“I didn’t think anybody knew, it was supposed to be a secret.” I said. 

“Your courage was never a secret to me.” Penthro responded.

Though inside I was beaming at that comment, I barely managed a small grin.  A voice came in over the intercom.  “The battle will begin in two minutes.  Please enter the bobble warp door at this time.”

I noticed that out of the green wall, a red door had emerged, though I knew not how.  I took one last look back at the clock on the wall.  It was two minutes before noon. 

“For all of us hyrulians, make them feel your pain.” Penthro said.  I nodded back to him, and then walked forward toward the door.  It only took a little push, and then I felt the tug of hyperspace pull me through.  It briefly took me out of consciousness, into a hole of black.  When the light returned, I was standing inside a large stadium, near the retaining wall beneath a cheering crowd of primids.  Looking down, I noticed that I was standing on a floating platform about two feet off the ground.  The other combatants were standing on other platforms, spread out in a circular fashion around the outside edge of the stadium.  Just like the map had laid out, there were masses of weapons in the center of the grassy field, and four red doors stood at the edges.

Looking in a bit closer, I saw many weapons, the better ones toward the absolute middle of the pitch.  A bom-omb was at the exact center.  Near the middle were beam swords, cracker launchers, metal boxes, and fire flowers.  The beam sword looked to be directly between me and the bom-omb in the center.  Further out were hammers, knives, axes, the occasional motion sensor explosive, and much more.  Right below my platform was my backpack of items.  Amid the cacophony of cheers from above, I looked upward.  The clouds were still as thick as ever.  On the stadium’s big screen there was a countdown.  There were forty seconds remaining on the clock. 

I turned to my right.  Young Lucas Smith of Eagleland Province was on the platform.  He was small and slow, not much of a threat.  To my left was Reznor Koopa, an obviously more skilled combatant but one who was very slow.  My odds of grabbing the beam sword were pretty good.  At this point I scanned the circle of combatants to find Adelenne.  After a few seconds I spotted her five platforms to my left.  She was between Xana Aran and Melina McCloud, two of the swifter and more dangerous female combatants.  And by the looks of it, she was in a sprinter’s position.  Why was this?  She was supposed to turn backward for the door!  After looking out straight ahead of her, I spotted a bow.  It was about ten feet from the bom-omb in the middle.  She was going for it! 

I glanced at the clock.  Twenty seconds remained.  I immediately started waving my arms frantically in her direction.  Thankfully she noticed and turned towards me.  I flashed her a hand signal, one she had given to me during the mock knighting ceremony during the parade, the symbol of the eye of truth over the forehead.  She took notice of this and stood more upright.  I then crossed my fingers and put them over my heart.  She nodded her agreement.

With ten seconds left, I got down into a sprinter’s position.  Five…four…three…two…one…

A tremendous explosion rang out above the stadium as the clock struck zero.  I burst off the platform, rolling forward through the landing.  I came up to my feet in one fluid motion and sprinted as hard as I possibly could toward the middle.  My arms and legs pumped furiously, carrying me far ahead of the others around me.  I got close to the beam sword, and started into another forward roll. 

Crash!  Somebody else had gone for it and had tripped over the top of me.  I quickly picked up the item and launched into a spin attack.  I felt the crunch of bone almost immediately along with a shriek.  Ignoring this, I pivoted to my right and speared an oncoming combatant, the penguin from Dreamland Province, right in the chest.  He fell down, writhing in pain.  All around me, other combatants had picked up weapons and were intent on using them right away.

I saw Koopa run toward me.  He threw a spear in my direction, which I dodged away to the left.  I charged with the beam sword, only for him to reveal a metal box.  He was about to use it but Xana Aran came charging in from the right and whacked him in the head with a star rod.  The big turtle fell as Xana took a swing at me on the way by, which I blocked.  I turned around and swung hard to protect my backside.  Crack!  Angus Kong, the large gorilla from Japes Province had been streaming right toward me!  But I had crushed him in the side of the neck.  With a quick pivot, I gave the mammal a second swipe, this time right in the head.  He did not get up. 

As I turned around, I continued to see many combatants dueling, others still seeking out weaponry and supplies, others on the ground, presumably dead.  Lilly Lyndis came and engaged me with a blade of her own.  Her strength was truly imposing, far greater than any female I had ever fought.  I pressed to keep her away.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rosa Toadstool.  She was going for the bom-omb in the middle! 

“Look out!” I instinctively shouted to Lyndis and the others.  In addition to Rosa, I saw Canis O’Donnell swoop in from the right with a cracker launcher.  He began shooting the fiery shells all over the stadium.  Now was the time to get away.  Before I could get far though, I felt a slicing pain in my right side, most likely from Lyndis’s blade though I couldn’t really tell.  I hobbled as quickly as possible to retrieve my backpack.  When I turned around toward one of the warp doors, a massive explosion occurred right in front of it.  I saw several bodies fly through the air like rag dolls.

I quickly turned around toward another of the warp doors, but it was far away.  I saw Melina McCloud to my right, she was chasing me down with a ray gun.  I saw her aim at my face, and I put my backpack up to block the shot.  She then shot again, this time connecting on my right arm.  It hurt enough to render my arm almost paralyzed, but I never stopped running.  Right near the door, O’Donnell fired the cracker launcher in my direction.  The fiery shot landed just a few feet behind me as I entered the bobble warp. 

Chapter 19 -

I emerged from the warp in a humid jungle area.  Instantly I looked around for any sign of life but could not find any.  I ran across the muddy trail into an alcove, where several ruined buildings could be seen out in the distance.  The temperature was high and the humidity even more severe.  I slunk down in the alcove, pulling away my skintight clothing enough to reveal the cut from Lyndis’s blade.  I had bled out a bit, but thankfully the cut wasn’t too deep.  I noticed a series of aloe plants in the valley, so I grabbed a few of them and rubbed it gently against the wound, helping to soothe the pain. 

I continued to look around for any sign of life.  There did not appear to be anything moving, so I continued further down the trail.  After several more minutes, the trail opened up into what appeared to be an abandoned city of sorts.  The sun was brutal there, and going there would put me into a position of weakness out in the open, so I made sure to stay in the trees on the outskirts.  I looked for a water source, but found none. 

“That beginning didn’t quite go as planned.” I thought to myself.  Truly, it was a daring plan, to try to fend off all the others in the middle of the arena and stand tall as the initial survivor.  It almost worked, but the presence of explosive and fire based weapons, which I had little knowledge derailed it all.  I hated running away.  Running away was cowardly.  It certainly was not courageous either.  But it was the only way to stay alive.  A direct hit from either the cracker launcher or the bom-omb would have certainly brought about my demise. 

In this jungle area, the heat was so intense.  It was not likely an area of the maze that others would have wanted to end up in, especially in the early afternoon heat.  Still I had to remain ever watchful.  I had most likely deceased Angus Kong with the two brutal swipes of the beam sword, but his monkey counterpart, Villa, the long-haired barrel throwing princess of the jungle, was still out there somewhere.  With her climbing, jumping, and vine swinging abilities she would be a real problem if she had indeed come through the same bobble warp door as I had. 

I made my way quickly inside one of the structures in the abandoned city.  Inside one of the buildings I found a lollypop sitting on a table.  Quickly, I checked the other buildings, finding a slice of pizza in one of them and a glass of orange juice in a third.  The last of the three food items would prove to be extremely valuable before too long in this heat.  I pivoted toward the doorway, looking back toward the bobble warp door, which by now was about a quarter mile away.  I stayed in this position for a while, holding the beam sword across my lap while I sat on the moss covered ground. 

I don’t remember how long I sat there.  It could’ve been hours.  I had nearly dozed off when I noticed something strange off in the distance.  I could no longer see the warp door, it was shrouded in a dense fog.  Something was happening!  I quickly put the food items into my backpack and rose to my feet, beam sword in hand.  I took one look back the opposite direction, then looked straight toward the fog.  That’s when I saw several fireballs come straight toward me from the sky!  They landed short of my position, but the tropical vegetation quickly caught fire and started spreading toward me.  I took off running in the opposite direction.

The advancing firestorm continued toward me.  I found a very rocky stretch of land out in the open to the left of the flames, one that raised up about ten to fifteen feet above the grass below.  I quickly made my way to the top of the lookout.  The flames continued to advance to the trees, which were less than fifty yards away.  The visibility dropped and the smoke continued to advance toward me in greater concentration.  Before long I would be forced to leave again.  I was about to turn and run when I saw Villa Kong emerge from the trees.  She looked to be running for her life. 

Another cracker launcher shot came from the fiery rainforest.  It struck Villa in the back.  She flopped to the ground with a horrifying shriek.  Without even seeing his face emerge, I knew it was Canis.  Sure enough it was the murderous gray wolf, who even let out a bit of a howl as he approached his monkey prey.  He picked up Villa by her long blond hair, her scarred form shaking and letting out tears of terror. 

“Where is he?!” Canis shouted. 

“I don’t know…who you’re talking about!” Villa shouted, her voice and breathing clearly affected by the vicious fireball. 

His claws closed in on her neck.  “Fairchild.  I know he’s out here, I saw him pass through this door.  Your last chance, tell me where he is!”

Instinct taking over, I jumped down from my perch and rolled forward.  “I’m right here O’Donnell!  Let her go and we’ll settle this like men!”

Canis dropped Villa to the ground and immediately pulled out a blaster.  Two shots hit me before I could even move, one in the chest, the other in a place that I would rather not describe.  I hunched over in agony, the wind knocked completely out of me.  Before I could hope to regain any hope of stamina, the dastardly wolf was over me.  He picked up my beam sword.  “You think you’re a man, but you’re nothing but a naïve little child.  You should know better than to give up a position of advantage so easily.”  He gleefully goaded.

“And you should know better than to abandon all chivalry so easily!” I said with defiance. 

“When will your kind learn that there is no such thing as chivalry and respect in total warfare!”  He shook his head.  “You’ll make a great meal.” He said as he bared his sharp teeth.  I winced.  No way was he going to do what I thought he was going to…

Before he could act on his threat, a great noise bounded from behind Canis, sounding almost like glass breaking.  The whole area, already shrouded by smoke from the flaming rainforest all around us, turned really dark except for one beacon of light.  Canis turned around abruptly and saw as did I that Villa was standing again, with a strange light surrounding her. 

“When will your kind learn some respect?!” Villa shouted in her strained voice toward Canis.  The light disappeared and she brandished a handheld crossbow.  Very quickly she loaded up a series of weapons and launched them at Canis, penetrating his midsection with extreme prejudice.  It wasn’t long until the wolf was on the ground, writhing in pain.  Within just a few seconds, blood poured out of his wounds.  He had bled to death. 

Villa, perhaps sapped for energy by the attack she had so unexpectedly unleashed, collapsed to the ground.  Noting that the flames were advancing on us again, I ran out to her, and picked her onto my shoulders.  The two of us fled the grounds and entered a bobble warp door at the far end of the ruins.  On the other side of the door was another section of the ruins, but one that was less covered in trees. 

I let Villa down and I grabbed some aloe plants I had collected earlier for the cut on my shoulder.  Slowly I rubbed them into the burn on the back of the monkey.  It was rather ugly.  She winced horribly and flailed as I tried to work in the healing agents. 

“Hold still, this is going to sting but you need this.  It will help the burn heal.” I said. 

“Thank you…for helping me.” The monkey’s voice let out, ever so strained. 

“Now that would hardly be fair.  You saved my life.” I responded.

“And you mine.” She replied. 

“Well I guess we can’t really dispute that now can we?” I surmised.  “Come on, let’s see if we can find a place to rest a spell.”

After about five minutes of walking, we found a natural cave, dug out from underneath the roots of a tall redwood tree.  This would not only provide us some protection from the elements, but would be very difficult for an attacker to find, especially at night.

I got out my rope, and swung it around several roots, eventually forming an X formation, then crossed it two more times.  “Here, lay down on this, it’ll keep you upright and you won’t have your burns exposed.  I’ll try to find more aloe in the meantime.” I told Villa. 

“You have a lot of courage.  But you’re also crazy.” Villa responded. 

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“You could just kill me now when I’m weak.  Yet you help me.  Why is this?”  Villa asked.

“Well, you could have just let O’Donnell scratch my face off and kill me too.  But you didn’t.  Somebody has to be chivalrous in a time of despair.” I responded.  “Here, take this.”  I handed Villa half of the slice of pizza I had picked up in the ruins. 

“I suppose I should be nice too.” The female monkey said as she reached down into her pack.  In her pack was a bunch of bananas.  “I found them up in the trees before the fire started.” She said as she handed me several. 

“To O’Donnell’s demise.” I said to Villa as she began to peel the banana.  She smiled at me.   I could tell that she had been touched by my deciding to help her, but that she was still surprised I did it.  As I watched her lay back in the makeshift hammock I had made with my length of rope, I considered what her mind must have concocted.  There are twenty-four of us.  Logically then, you have a one in twenty-four chance of winning, or a little better than four percent.  If you have the advantage on an injured rival and destroy them, your odds of victory improve.  But what she probably never considered was that your odds in such a situation only improve marginally.  By instead helping your fallen adversary in their time of need, you hope to gain a valuable ally that will help you later on in the fight, which could improve your odds greatly. 

There was one thing that bothered me though.  What if she had seen me strike Angus in the initial attack?  What if this was all a set up and she stabbed me in the back later?  She began to doze off in the hammock.  Clearly she was not thinking about such a plan, or my monkey combatant turned ally was one heck of an actress. 

I climbed up from under the tree to take a look around.  There were woods all surrounding the area, with no clear path.  But strangely, there was a fairly large projection screen fairly close by.  There were actually quite a few of these screens strung out through the Subspace Maze.  They were very similar to the large screen at the stadium in Castelle, as well as the one in the central square of Subspace City.  Maybe it was used to transmit messages.  Back inside the refuge underneath the tree, I noticed something else, a camera sticking out from one of the roots.  Evidently even in this small enclosed space, the viewers back home could see us and track our every move and activity.  Such an idea used to bother me, but no longer.  Now it was strictly about survival.  Everything else was secondary. 

The day began to turn into night.  The heat of the day had given way to a cooler breeze, though the humidity kept the temperature from dropping lower than room temperature.  The other combatants that found their way into the skyworld or tundra regions of the maze that were in more comfortable conditions in the afternoon would now face the chill of the night.

“So where’s your counterpart?” Villa asked me. 

“I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  She turned around and left the maze without grabbing any weapons.  Maybe she was chased down but I hope not.” I said. 

“Angus is a strong one…I’m sure he did okay.” Villa said with confidence.  That sentence cut through me.  He was strong, but there’s no way he survived that blow to the head. 

“Attention.  Attention combatants!” A voice blared from speakers imbedded all over the rainforest.  I turned my attention to the screen nearby, where Tabuu’s image had come on screen.  “Ladies and gentlemen, at this point it is 21:00 in the evening, exactly nine hours into the battle.  With most of you hunkering down for the night now seems a good time to look back on the fallen from this first day of battle.  May we be all inspired and pay tribute to their valiant sacrifice.” 

My emotions flared again hearing Tabuu talk, but I held my tongue as images of the fallen came up on the screen.  The first image was of Canis O’Donnell, who I myself had slain just hours ago.  Next up came Stephen Falcon, the male from Zero Province.  Then Semper Ridley of Zebes Province.  Then came the young pair from Eagleland Province, Lucas Smith and Nessa Allen.  Gabi Midnight of Green Hill Province came up next.  6 combatants were already dead, and Tabuu was only through half the roster!

“I only hope he’s alive.” Villa said meekly.  My own skin showed goosebumps.  Adelenne, she couldn’t be lost…she couldn’t be. 

Anthony Ketchum and Helga Oak of Kanto Province came up next.  8 combatants were gone.  Then came an image I hoped not to see.  Villa grabbed me and immediately started bawling into my chest.  Angus Kong was dead.  And the irony of it was that more likely than not, I was the one responsible. 

But the horror was not over.  Rian Dedede and Kirby Blockball were also deceased, bringing the count to 11.  I gritted my teeth as the end of the roster was reached.  Then I heard Tabuu’s awful voice once again.  “Twenty-four began this adventure, and now thirteen remain.  Continue your trials, and may the way of the warrior wear well with you.”  His image dropped from the screen, leaving a slate as black as midnight.

“I…can’t…believe…it…he’s…gone.” Villa cried meekly as she continued to produce tears.  It was a good thing she hadn’t let out a scream when Angus came on screen, such a display would have yielded our location to other combatants and prompted an attack. 

“Villa, you’re going to be okay.  We’re going to be okay.  I’m determined to see this through to the end.  Now I want you to stop crying and drink some of this orange juice, you’re going to get dehydrated losing your tears like this.” I directed. 

Villa took the cup with her ponytail and drank.  I was mystified.  But I would save the vagaries of using one’s hair to hold objects for another time.

Chapter 20 –

The night was sticky and muggy.  The bugs crawled across the ground and flew through the air around us, seemingly without a care.  Spiders and beetles of all sorts came out to play in the nighttime.  I’m sure that a few of them bit me too, but I was oblivious to their presence.  Truthfully, the conditions in these woods were very similar to that of southern Ordona in summer.  We cared not if we ever left this section of the Subspace Maze, but our primary focus on day two would have to be water.  Given that it was a rainforest, there had to be a water source somewhere.  Without it, we would surely dry out, our brains and flesh shriveling to the bone in the merciless heat and humidity of the daytime. 

Dawn was soon to break.  We had not seen another combatant since the encounter with Canis the previous day.  I privately wondered if they were out trying to hunt in the middle of the night.  From my training, I knew that there were a few combatants skilled in stealth tactics, notably Xana Aran, the bounty hunter’s daughter from Zebes Province; and Zartha Palutena, the reclusive markswoman from Skyworld Province.  Either one of them coming into our territory would surely result in hostilities.  That is, if they could find us in our perch beneath the redwood.

Villa began to stir.  I gave the monkey a small nudge.  “What do you say we try to find a water source around here?” I asked.  She nodded her head.  I checked the burn on her back.  The aloe plants had done some decent work, but some charred remnants were still quite visible.  “I don’t feel that I can even get up.” She answered. 

“I feel your pain, you definitely went through a lot yesterday.  But so did I.” I said. 

“You didn’t lose a dear friend, and you don’t have burns covering you.” Villa said defensively. 

“Yes, but you didn’t have your reproductive organs get shot with a blaster.” I said. 

Villa looked me straight in the eye.  “You know, in another setting, that would’ve been the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.  I’m sure the people watching at home thought so.”

“Really?”  I asked.  Villa nodded her head.  Maybe a career as a court jester was in my future.  Perhaps once the real Hyrule Castle was rebuilt and the country was liberated, maybe I could devote my craft toward entertaining the masses with my profound hilarity. 

We left the redwood and headed out east toward the sun.  This took us away from the charred forest and into uncharted territory.  The heat began to quickly soak through the trees.  The first day I had been fortunate with finding food items, and I still had in my pack the cookie and the banana that Villa had given me, but they were not items with a high water content.  Sweat poured down our faces and limbs as we continued forth, looking for the precious liquid. 

“We have to look for a down slope.” Villa said.  “That’s going to be our first clue.  In the DK Isles, there are many rivers and streams and the land is very mountainous.” 

“Yes, but aside from the tropical foliage I don’t think this area resembles that at all.  There’s nothing but flatlands here.  The Ordona part of Hyrule is very similar to this.  We don’t have rivers or streams, and what little ponds there are, they’re rather isolated and random in location.”

“We’re bound to come to a change in the terrain at some point.” Villa said. 

Unfortunately for both of us, Villa was wrong.  The land was as flat as a pancake.  We must have walked around in circles for hours.  At one point we identified a bobble warp door which led to the next section of the Subspace Maze.  Still more concerned about survival than nourishment, we decided to stay in the ruins.  But our search still yielded nothing.  As the day headed toward twilight, I could see that my sweat was starting to dry up.  Salt was starting to dry on my skin as well, a clear sign of dehydration. 

“Why don’t you try to climb into the trees and get a look from above?” I asked. 

“Are you sure you want to be left alone?” Villa asked. 

“No problem.  We have yet to see another combatant all day.  They have likely sought out cooler, more hospital environs.” I said. 

“They’ll probably come here once it cools down in a few hours.” Villa said.  “I’ll make this quick.”  With that, she was out of sight, scampering up the bark of the tree until she was very high above.  I tried to follow Villa, but also kept my eyes out on the ground for any threats.  About five minutes later Villa came down from her perch, swinging down from a vine.

“Here, I found this while I was up there.” Villa said as she tossed me a maxim tomato. 

“Very nice.  This will not only help keep our strength up, but it will also provide some fluids too.  Did you find anything else up there?”

“It looks like there is a significant drop in the height of the trees about a quarter mile to our east, not far from the bobble warp exit.  There could be a ravine of sorts down there on the ground but it is hard to tell.  The foliage is very thick.”  Villa said. 

“If there is anybody in this part of the maze, they would likely be down by the water source if there is one down there.  We’ll have to be careful.”

The sun continued to go down.  Soon the beam sword that I was carrying would become a liability more than a help, as its faint light would be cast all over the dark forest.  At home this wouldn’t be a problem as I would have my sheath with me.  I would have to do the same as I did last night, bury it beneath the soil in hopes that nobody would find it. 

We descended into the ravine carefully.  It was at that point we saw our prize, a fairly large lake, fed into by a waterfall and a stream just to the left of the bobble warp door.  It was a wonder how we had not seen it before.  I carefully scanned the shoreline for any sign of a settlement, when a golden star came flying directly toward me!  It skimmed my left shoulder, no doubt causing a scrape as it went by.  Then came two more.  This time I was prepared and batted one away with the beam sword, the other one flying off target to my right.  I remembered back to the initial battle in the stadium…the girl from Zebes smacking Reznor across the face with the star rod. 

“Aran.” I said solemnly.

“Who is it?” Villa asked. 

“It’s the bounty hunter’s daughter from Zebes…she’s a real threat.  You go up into the trees, I’ll follow on the ground.”  I said.  With that, Villa disappeared.  I continued down into the ravine carefully, avoiding occasional shots from the star rod until I was face to face with Xana.

“I’ve just come to collect water, that’s all.” I said. 

“You expect me to believe that?  Why do you come with a beam sword then?” Xana asked.  She had her star rod across her chest, prepared to strike. 

“Why do you shoot stars at me?” I asked. 

“Because we’re in a fight for survival.  If I let you have this water, you will grow stronger than me and defeat me.  This I cannot allow.” Xana said menacingly. 

“Fine.  I’ll just go to another part of the maze and find water there.” I said.  I started to back away, waiting to see if the trim, muscular female would come after me.  She made no such move.  I was far enough away to finally turn my back before I heard her call out to me. 

“What’s wrong Fairchild?  You still reeling from that battle with Canis?  You scared?” 

I was stunned.  How had Xana seen my fight with O’Donnell?  Had she been watching me and Villa this whole time?  If so, why?  Why had she not come after us?

“Are you prepared to meet your demise?” I asked her. 

“Why not?  Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass.” Xana replied. 

With that, it was on.  I drew my beam sword and started walking toward her.  She swung the star rod and shot several stars at me.  One of them grazed me on the thigh, but I continued to close the gap.  She had no choice but to back up to the water’s edge.  I was on her, pressing her with several horizontal swipes.  She blocked these and aimed directly at my head.  Unprepared for this, my only means of blocking was with my free hand.  I did, and the rod connected, leaving a nasty welt on my right wrist.  Ignoring the pain, I thrust forward, connecting near her lower abdomen.  The blow knocked her back into the water.  Undeterred, she avoided my vertical swing and rolled around me.  Now I was up against the water. 

Xana came straight at me again.  I blocked several diagonal swipes from her and pushed her away when she tried a game of chance.  She was strong, much stronger than the other female combatants I had faced.   By this point I was thigh-deep in the water.  We continued to slosh and try for a winning blow when I heard a shout from the trees.

“Bomb!” Villa shouted.  Without thinking, I dropped my sword and quickly grabbed Xana around the neck and pulled her into the water.  We were barely underwater when a tremendous explosion rang out high above.  The blast was deafening, and blistered my ears, as well as bursting all of the air out of my lungs.  I felt around for my limbs and tried to surface, but Xana held me down, taking me further under.  I couldn’t breathe!  I started to struggle against her grip but she wouldn’t let up.  Her hand was right around my neck.  My resistance started to wane.  Finally I felt her jerk me upward.  I gasped and coughed as I desperately sought oxygen.

And then when I got my wits about me, I realized what Xana had done.  She kept me under the water long enough for our attacker to turn his back.  It was Reznor.  The dastardly turtle had tracked us, probably from our conversation and ensuing fight, and tried to take us both out in one shot.  What an opportunist.  But luckily for us, the water had absorbed much of the blast.

“Are you okay?” Xana asked me.  Her clothes had become slightly tattered and torn, revealing a burn mark running down her spine. 

“Uhh…I think so.” I said groggily, still gasping for breath.  I swear, she could have easily killed me right then and there.  Why hadn’t she? 

“I’m in your debt Fairchild.  I’m going to track that demon down if it’s the last thing I do.”  By this point, Reznor was long out of sight, certain that he had sent both of us to our demise.  Xana came to shore quickly and grabbed her pack, taking off to chase Reznor down.  With that, I was left alone. 

Villa approached from the trees.  “I didn’t even see him coming, I was focused on Xana.” She said as she came down to water’s edge. 

“That’s quite alright.  Let’s just grab some water and get back to our tree, before it gets dark.” I said silently.  Villa nodded her head.  We filled up both of our jugs and made our way back out of the ravine.  We took a bit of a roundabout way back to our redwood tree base camp, in case anybody was following us.  The sun was dropping below the horizon just as we made it back.  Villa and I munched on the remainder of our banana and maxim tomato for dinner, and settled in for the night.  Sleep wouldn’t easily find us though.  We had yet to see any other combatants during the nighttime, but it didn’t mean that they weren’t out there.

Tabuu came onto the screen, as he did the previous night.  He did not report with the same vigor as the previous day, and I quickly found out why.  Nobody had come to their death.  Day 2 was a fleeting victory for us, as we were all still alive.  But how close it was to all being over.

“Do you think Reznor is surprised right now?” Villa asked me.  

“Definitely.  He’ll be back to the lake sometime soon.  That is if Xana hasn’t caught up with him yet.  You should’ve seen the look on her face when we emerged from the lake.”

“I saw Xana fight in the arena.  Reznor has no chance against her.” Villa said. 

“Not if he keeps finding bom-ombs.” I said.  “There’s got to be a bunch of them someplace.”

With that thought, we had found our newest purpose.  If there was an area of the maze filled with weapons, we had to find it.  We could survive in the wild as long as we had to, but not if other combatants like Reznor were constantly hunting us down with swords and explosives.

Chapter 21 –

It was deep into the night as we retraced our steps through the trees to the bobble warp door at the edge of the forest.  Villa and I entered the door and we found ourselves in a strange building.  From the top of a flight of stairs we looked down inside.  There were paintings and clocks of all sorts hanging on the walls, and gears turning amid cracks in the foundation.  As we walked, the floorboards creaked and cracked.  Add to the fact that it was very, very dark, and it just made the scene all the more eerie. 

“Did you hear that?” Villa asked me. 

“Hear what?” I asked. 

“That high pitched noise.  Somebody’s in here.  You should have kept the beam sword.” Villa said. 

“I didn’t hear the noise…but keep your knife handy.    The beam sword I had buried in the jungle would have been of assistance in helping us see through the dark area, but it would have also tipped off combatants to our position.  With some of the remaining combatants sure to have projectile weapons, that was a deadly combination. 

Turning down into the main hall, I heard a high pitched noise myself, one that almost sounded like a bird chirping.  It was very odd.  Then a few minutes later, there was another noise, this one more low-pitched, perhaps an old man calling out. 

“You know Villa, the noises I’m hearing don’t sound anything like combatants.  This area might be haunted.” I said. 

We came through another corridor, this one lined with strange statues and other works of art.  Just then, three flying enemies came at us, armed with scythes.  They were ghostly in nature, and did not seem to move in any discernible pattern.  Villa gathered her knife into her hair and threw it, taking out one of them.  The other two swung their blades at us.  I ducked to evade the strike, and then from behind ripped one of the scythes away.  Villa retrieved her knife and got onto my shoulders.  I blocked several swings from our paranormal enemies, and then thrust forward, right into the heart of one while Villa jumped and tossed the knife again.  It landed right through the head of the remaining ghost, killing it instantly. 

“So that was weird.” Villa said, retrieving her knife again. 

“Tabuu must be getting restless.  Sheik told me that Tabuu often sends his minions into the maze to hunt us down if nobody is being sent to their death.  But he’s going to have to do better than that if he wants to hurt us.  At any rate, he gave me a weapon.” I said, giving the scythe a few practice swings. 

There were more odd sounds coming from below us, quite possibly the basement.  It sounded like water dripping from a faucet.  “This place isn’t safe.  We need to find our way out.”  I said.

We circled back to the main hall, and right a bright light shown in the room.  It was a television screen.  Before Tabuu’s figure even emerged, we turned around toward a long hallway on the opposite end of the room.  As we left, I could hear the supreme deity’s tortured voice.  He was whining rather profusely. 

“I guess nobody was killed today.” I said. 

“That’s two days in a row.” Villa responded.  “He might send in the big primids tomorrow.”

“I hope that isn’t the case, but we need to be prepared.  Reaching the armory if there is one would be a great place to start.” 

We went past two or three other rooms, and then reached a bobble warp door at the opposite end of the mansion from where we entered.  We entered the door and at the other end of it was an area of deep sand with very little vegetation.  The moon was high in the sky, illuminating everything.  The sand seemed to stretch on for miles on end in front of us. 

“Looks like we found the desert.” I said. 

“If this is a desert, why is it so cold here?” Villa said, her teeth suddenly starting to chatter.

“Good question.  Maybe because it is nighttime, I’m sure it is much warmer when the sun is out.  Come on, we need to find a place to make camp.” I said. 

But the desert was unforgiving, the sand blowing around in waves, and the scenery unrelenting.  There were no items to be found, no food, no weaponry, not even any plant life.  Given that nobody had died in the past two days, it was very unlikely that anybody was here.  Still, we were on our guard as we traveled through the night.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, a speck of green became visible in the distance.  It began to spread out and fill in with trees and other plant life.

“It’s an oasis up ahead.  Let’s go.” Villa said with great pep.  She ran along ahead and I had a hard time trudging through the sand to keep up.  Before long we had made it.  The first thing I immediately noticed was a cave imbedded just above a small lake.  It was perfect for a night’s stay, assuming it was vacant.  We immediately made our way over, clearing and securing the area quickly. 

“Well this isn’t so bad.” Villa said as she climbed a palm tree looking for food.  I nodded my head as I filled up our canteens with water.  The precious liquid was so key, so crucial to our survival.  We would surely need all the water we could get going forward.  Villa tossed down a coconut to me.  There were berry bushes to our left, but they looked suspicious.  The trainers in Subspace City had shown us how difficult it was to tell a good berry from a poisonous one.  Coconuts on the other hand, were much more rare and almost always pure.  The two of us ate rather quickly before collapsing into sleep on the cave floor. 

When morning came, we refilled our canteens and started the eastward trek away from the oasis and back into the desert.  As with the previous night, there was very little in the way of landmarks, and very little vegetation to be seen.  At times Villa would climb on top of my shoulders as we moved, just to get a better vantage point.  Time passed very slowly.  The sun beat down mercilessly on us, no doubt burning my fair skin as we moved through the intense heat.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard it.  It was an unmistakable sound, the sound of a speeding arrow zooming past.  Immediately I dropped to the sand and pulled Villa down with me.  I heard it again.  Looking around I quickly found the source of the noise.  The female from Skyworld Province, Zartha Palutena, was about a hundred yards away and closing.  We were in an area with no cover at all, and she was an expert markswoman.  Worse yet, she had the ability to fly for short periods.  Din, this was bad.

Zartha came over the sand dune and fired quickly.  A gust of wind came up as she released, sending her shot off to our right.  Villa got up and threw her knife in Zartha’s direction, but it too missed, the blade flying past her right foot.  I ran out in front of Villa with the scythe, prepared to strike but the young angel-like archer kept a safe distance away.  She cocked her bow back again, arrow ready to strike.  Immediately I jumped out of the way and into the sand, the arrow just barely missing my left arm.  I heard Villa scream from behind.  She must have been hit but I had not time to look.  I instantly scampered back to my feet and took off running across the desert.

Huffing and puffing, my body giving total exertion and effort, I bounded over a large sand dune and dropped to the ground.  Zartha was flying toward me.  She was bent on hunting me down.  I noticed another arrow on the ground near me.  In a rash and quick decision, I quickly took the arrow and stuck it against my back, the sharp razor tip penetrating a shallow bit into my skin.  I winced a split second, but stayed composed, making sure the scythe was beneath me and out of view.  There was nothing else to be done but play dead and hope another arrow did not come. 

After a brief minute, I heard Zartha come to the ground near me.  She took a few steps toward me but was still out of range.  “Got him in the back.” She said.  “He was a tougher shot than the monkey was…but he had no cover.  What a shame.”

Zartha walked up and stood right over me.  In a flash, she began rummaging through my pack and my clothes, thinking I was dead.  Without warning, I turned over and stuck the end of the scythe right into her abdomen.  A shocked and painful look came over her face as I drove the blade deep. 

“That was for Villa.” I said as I quickly removed the scythe.  Blood immediately poured out.  It was a nasty wound, certainly fatal.  She remained wide-eyed, and staggered over toward the sand.  I caught her and lowered her to the ground. 

“How…did…you…take arrow and live?” Zartha asked, her voice heaving.

“You never shot me.  I stuck it into my own skin.” I replied. 

“You…bright one.” Zartha said.  “You…win…this…fight.”  With that, Zartha’s eyes began to close, the angel-like maiden breathing her last.  What did I feel at this moment?  It was on one hand a feeling of relief, but also a feeling of grave sadness.  Why did it have to come to this?  Why was Tabuu such a cruel being, to pit such innocent young people against each other in a fight to the death?  In another life, Zartha and I could have become good friends, perhaps contesting one another on an archery range and getting to know the finer points of Hyrulian and Skyworldian culture.  But no, in this world it was about destruction, not creation.  As I watched the sand blow over her lifeless body, I realized that while her parents and family were certainly grieving now, it could have very easily been Luke and my parents grieving my death instead. 

Reaching down to rummage Zartha’s possessions, I noticed her bow.  It was made of sleek wood, and the quiver held many arrows.  I would be eons more dangerous equipped with it.  Then it hit me, Villa was still out there.  I ran back across the dunes I had traversed earlier.  The long-haired monkey was lifeless, an arrow sticking straight out of her chest.  Zartha’s shot had pierced her heart clean.  Knowing that virtually every camera in Subspace City was on me at this moment, I decided to show everybody the feelings I had for my adversaries. 

“You were a good friend.” I said as I picked up Villa’s lifeless body.  I took it across the desert and laid it next to Zartha’s, near the top of a fairly high sand dune.  I wished I could do more, but in the cruel desert landscape anything resembling a burial was impossible.  I quickly took a look out around the desert, making sure nobody was around.  Satisfied that there was nobody around, I dragged my feet around in the sand, making a triangle around their bodies.  I then drew another triangle on the interior with my hand.  Extending my hand over the bodies of Zartha and Villa, I gave them my blessing.  “Brave ones Zartha of Skyworld, and Villa of Kong Isles…may your souls be at rest.  The goddesses come to bring you to eternal life.” 

I gave a last kneeldown, placing Zartha’s bow in the sand in absence of my carrying a sword.  As I arose and turned toward the desert sun, I vowed once again that Tabuu would be brought to justice.  It’s what Villa and Zartha would have wanted. 



Chapter 22 –


The late afternoon sun was simply sweltering.  My water supply was running low, and my hot, probably burned skin on my face and arms were crying out for relief.  It had been hours since I had lost Villa and been forced to bring Zartha to her death.  I continued to the east, the sun now behind me as I searched for the bobble warp leading me out of the barren wasteland.  All the while my body continued to weaken.  The urine I passed had turned from yellow to a brownish color.  I was hardly sweating any longer.  As the sun continued to drop toward the horizon I was forced to start using the scythe as a cane to hold myself up. 

I thought about the people in Ordonia that were watching me.  It was the fourth day of the battle, a Tuesday.  School was out for the day, though the planting had likely just started.  Even so, I tried to keep a stiff upper lip.  There were likely cameras all over the desert watching me.  Where was Adelenne?  Certainly she had done well to come this far.  The people of Faroquadin must be watching her with the same hope and admiration as Ordonia did for me.  Maybe I would find her soon.

I came to a large sand dune, the largest I had seen throughout the whole desert landscape.  My body ached with the heavy exertion needed to pull myself up.  My back hurt from sticking myself with the arrow from earlier, and other parts of my body were still scarred from the battles with O’Donnell and Aran.  My stomach growled too.  Groaning slightly as I reached the top, I saw it.  Salvation in the form of a bobble warp door!  I slid down the steep opposite slope of the dune and quickly scampered inside.  On the opposite side of the door was a cave of sorts. 

The cave was very strange.  There were clouds of purple gas in spots.  There were large mushrooms of all shapes and colors growing inside the rocky floor.  And there were occasional rivers of water, though it was rather murky and certainly not okay to drink straight away.  I reached into my pack and recovered a vial of iodine.  After filling up the canteen with the murky liquid I put several drops of iodine inside and swished it around.  I knew from my classes in chemistry and natural science that I would need to wait roughly thirty minutes for the solution to fully kick in.  It would be an agonizing wait.

I sat down next to a stalagmite.  I thought more about all that had been wrought up this point.  Surely at this point the betters in Subspace City had to be impressed with my kill count, which numbered at least three with Angus, Canis, and Zartha.  But that was exactly it.  That which impressed the primids and polygonal subjects of the supreme deity only served to crush my moral compass into a million shards of glass.

The remaining combatants now measured in the single digits.  My odds of surviving were improving, but more importantly, the dream of being able to defeat Tabuu was still alive, and would remain so as long as Adelenne was alive.  I had to find her.  With renewed purpose, I arose from the ground and continued to move through the caves.  I continued to slosh through the murky waters of the cavern and encountered more mushrooms.  These were a golden brown, and had clearly been hard-boiled, rather nasty in taste but okay to eat.  Since I hadn’t eaten anything all day, I made sure to gather up a whole bunch of them.  Even though I had to virtually gag to get them down my throat, it was better than starving.  Coupled with the water I had picked up earlier, the meal might as well have been sirloin steak and Ordon milk.

I moved along the underground river, and eventually it fed into an underground lake adorned with plenty of stalagmites.  Time must have been passing quickly, because I noticed a screen near me come alive.  The insignia of Subspace City came on screen, followed by the image of Tabuu.  He seemed to be in better spirits than in last couple days, which immediately made me frown.  It suggested that others besides Villa and Zartha had met their end. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are through four days of competition in the 100th annual Tabuu’s Tournament, and must I say, the battle is progressing rather nicely now.  Several more combatants saw their brave sacrifices extended today.  May we commemorate their involvement, and may they see their way to a better place.”

I checked a brief moment to see if there was anyone near, not really out of necessity but more out of instinct by this point.  Of course there was nobody near.  I then fixed my attention to the screen.  Instantly, Rosa Toadstool’s image came on the screen.  Such a sweet young maiden, of great intelligence she was.  For her to get caught up in this mess of bloodlust was simply wrong.  The female from Zero Province came up next, Yoko Goroh.  I remembered our conversation from back during the ratings, how she just wanted to go home.  Yet another heartbreaking story in a battle that was by now chock full of them. 

Cloud Icarus, Zartha’s Skyworldian counterpart came up next on screen.  Surely this would be a day of mourning for ever in Skyworld.  As Zartha’s image came up next, I started to get tense.  Tabuu was getting close to the bottom again.  Was Adelenne still alive?  She had to be!  Zartha’s image flashed off and Villa’s came up.  I gritted my teeth as the image disappeared.  A few seconds passed, then Tabuu’s ugly frame came back into view. 

“Twenty-four entered this search for immortality, and just eight remain.”

Tabuu said nothing more, and the screen went dark.  A search for immortality he calls it?  What a twisted joke.  He was making us out all out to be a group of power-hungry, ruthless individuals that only cared about some ultimate power that may or may not exist.  By this point I didn’t think it was possible for my anger toward Tabuu to rise any higher than it already had, but I was wrong.  This bastard needed justice dealt his way, and soon.  Adelenne was still in the game, but my time to find her was running out.

It was a cold, damp, and dark night in the caves.  I tried moving to the highest level of the cave I could find in order to seek warmth, but it mattered not.  The caves really were the opposite of the desert, one was hot and dry the other was cool and wet but neither was desirable.  The only advantage here was that getting a midnight snack was easier, even though the mushrooms tasted just as poorly in the nighttime as they did during the day.  After several hours of trying to sleep, I simply gave up.

The next few hours were spent wondering just what was happening in Subspace City.  No, what was happening in the rest of the country.  We were about to begin our fifth day of battle.  There were just eight combatants left.  Surely by now there was at least one camera on each of us at every hour, every minute of the day.  The reporters must be digging deep in their quest to impart knowledge of our backstories upon the masses of primids watching this play out.  Were they perhaps talking with our families or preparing to do so? 

I cringed for a moment as I imagined Luke or my parents being interviewed.  Watching me, if they were in fact watching any of the ongoing battle must be difficult enough.  Something told me that they were tilling and planting the fields and having others in Ordonia report back to them if anything happened.  Knowing Adelenne’s family, they were likely pursuing a similar course.          

I continued to maneuver through the cave, spellbound by my thoughts.  Eventually the path dead-ended above a large alcove.  I stopped to rest a spell.  I was tired, for it had to be three, maybe four hours past midnight.  I began to nod off, but I was awakened by noticed some splishing and splashing noises up ahead.  Then there was more.  I immediately grabbed my bow and prepared an arrow.  I was ready to shoot when two people stepped into the light.  One of them was Adelenne!  The other was Lilly Lyndis, the female sword wielder from Gallia Province.  Had they decided to work in tandem with one another?

“Where do you suppose Severious went?  I haven’t seen him since day 2.” I heard Lyndis say. 

“I don’t know.  He seemed preoccupied with something in the research facility section.” Adelenne replied to her. 

“Where do you think Fairchild is?”  Lyndis asked Adelenne. 

“He’s probably in the forest or the jungle.  Link’s always been a real pack rat and can survive pretty much anywhere.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we walked past him already and he watched us go right by.” 

“Well so much for our alliance with Goroh.  That turtle disfigured her pretty badly.  I wish there was more we could do.” Lyndis said.

“It could’ve been the end for us too had Aran not shown up.” Adelenne replied. 

Sure enough, it was Reznor again!  The dastardly tyrant had attacked again, and might have slain all three maidens were it not for Xana.  Thank goodness for Xana, she was keeping our dreams and hopes of total victory alive, first with me, and now with Adelenne.  Boy, if it came down to her and the two of us, having to kill her would be awfully difficult.  I disavowed my brain for thinking such dastardly thoughts. 

The two maidens made camp in the alcove, probably oblivious to the fact that I was so near to them.   I did not want to reveal my position just yet, for the research facility Adelenne mentioned was the likely site of the weapons cache if there was one, and they were headed that way.  Reznor was most likely hiding out there as well.  I wanted to be the one to end his reign of terror, but the women would not likely lead me there if they knew I was following them.  My mind made up, I dozed off to sleep.

I knew not when we awoke.  Upon stirring I found that my back was still hurting rather badly.  It was right where I had stuck the arrow in during the encounter with Palutena.  I could not see, but I had a hunch that the wound was becoming infected.  The area was rather course to the touch, and felt like a scab filled with gelatinous liquid.  Maybe Zartha’s arrows were secreted with poison.  No, that couldn’t be, because I’d likely be dead or extremely sick.  In either case I shook off the pain enough to look over the ledge.  Lilly and Adelenne were just starting to stir.  They would be up shortly.  Nothing would make me happier to be able to bring Addy some breakfast in bed, even though it would be somewhat murky water and boiled mushrooms, but I had to stick to the plan.  As I continued to watch them, I felt somewhat like a voyeur, sizing up the fruit of his lust. 

“So should we push out now?” Adelenne asked Lyndis.   

“Indeed.  Let’s smooth out the dirt here first.  We don’t want to leave tracks.”  Lyndis replied.  

Oh, but how ironic would that statement be.  I watched them leave the area, and then I walked around the back side of the alcove, eventually reaching the main area below.  Adelenne and Lilly walked ahead down a narrow path with stalagmites and stalactites all around it.  These cave formations actually made it easier for me to avoid detection.  We continued down this narrow path for what seemed like hours before we came to a steep uphill climb surrounding a waterfall.  The trail was on an outcropping in the rocks.  It was too far out in the open.  I had no choice but to let them climb and hope to catch up later. 

Once the maidens were out of sight, I quickly scampered up the pathway.  In doing so I was careful to make as little noise as I possibly could.  It only took me a few minutes to reach the top of the trail, and near the top of the waterfall was a bobble warp door.  I quickly entered it.

Chapter 23 –


On the opposite side of the door was a world of steel and neon lights.  It was relatively similar to some of the buildings in Subspace City.  I walked down the passageway and reached a room that had three doors at the end of it.  With no sign of Adelenne or Lilly, I had to choose a passageway.  I entered the door on the furthest right. 

Through the doorway was a room with lots of machines.  It also contained a giant conveyor belt that moved metal pieces through.   It looked to be a factory of some kind.  If this was the case, it was likely that the weapons cache that other combatants had been referring to was in the area.  But then again, that meant there was likely to be danger as well.  Xana and Reznor had been en route to this area and they were both still alive in the battle.  I moved very cautiously through the room, hiding behind pillars and machines in an effort to sneak behind somebody and use my bow.  In such a well lit room, anybody would be easily visible in their black battle garb. 

I continued along the conveyor belt when I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.  At the east end of the conveyor belt sat a gigantic supply of items and food.  It continued beam swords, fire bombs, metal boxes, mushrooms, maxim tomatoes, even the highly rare golden hammers!  I was about to approach it, but then I saw a dark shade of fur approach from the left.  It was a combatant I had not seen before, Melina McCloud of Corneria.  I immediately readied my bow and notched an arrow.  But I did not shoot.  I wanted to see what she would do first. 

The purplish-blue fox was carrying a large wooden branch, and was poking at the floor near the pile of goods.  She then moved toward the pile in a zig-zag pattern, eventually making it to the top.  She grabbed a maxim tomato and a golden hammer, and jumped down from the pile right onto the conveyor belt far below, a leap of about thirty feet.  She rode the fast moving conveyor out toward the opposite end of the room.  Again I thought about shooting, but it was far too difficult a shot.  I put my bow down and turned my attention once again toward the pile of goods.

Clearly, the pile was booby-trapped, otherwise Melina would not have been so meticulous in approaching the goods.  But how was it trapped?  Probably with sensor explosives.  Yes, that’s why Melina knew exactly how to get around them!  Although we did have bombs, sensor explosives did not exist anywhere in Hyrule.  I struggled in training with regard to their use.  The best thing to do was to turn around and forget this ever was here.  But I was so hungry.  And to come all this way just to leave with nothing would be disappointing, and possibly fatal too. 

Before I had a chance to make a decision, I saw another body emerge from the left.  It was Xana Aran.  She moved quickly across toward the pile, and moved in a similar zig-zag pattern as Melina, eventually making her way to the goods.  But then I heard something else.  It was the sound of cackling laughter.  From up on the ceiling, Reznor was visible, wearing a bunny hood.  He was also holding a pokeball.  He turned and chucked the red and white sphere down toward the cache of goods.  I heard Xana scream, and I immediately started running in the opposite direction, fearing the worst.  In seconds, a massive explosion rocked the room.  It threw me forward and to the ground hard.  My ears were ringing and my head feeling dizzy and disoriented as I tried to get to my feet. 

Barely able to hear or find my way, I ran hard, trying anything I could to escape from the room.  Through sheer luck, I managed to find a way onto the conveyor belt leading to the exit.  But then I saw Reznor jump down from the ceiling.  He landed with such a heavy thud that it broke the machine entirely.  He was wearing a metal suit!  This meant he was impervious to damage!  My arrows wouldn’t work against him!

“Where do you think you’re going Fairchild?” Reznor asked menacingly.

Without any other option, I started running down the broken conveyor, eventually reaching the doorway leading out of the room.  I ran and kept on running straight through the room with three doors leading out of it that I saw before.  I ran through the door on the farthest left.  Reznor was still on my heels.  Usually he was slow and with metal covering him he should’ve been slower, but the power of the bunny hood kept him fast enough to stay with me.  Twice he tried to get his hands on me.  I continued to sprint.  At the far end of the research facility was a pool with many platforms sticking out of it. 

The water looked clear, but I couldn’t trust that it was safe. With no other option, I hopped from platform to platform.  The jumps weren’t very far, and Reznor continued after me, causing the metal to twist and crack beneath him as he pursued.  Eventually the room began to go dark.  I struggled to see in the darkness, and nearly missed the edge of the last platform quickly approaching.  I threw on the brakes just in time, grabbing the railing with both hands.  This swung me around, and Reznor jumped onto the platform, again emitting a shriek of scrap metal beneath his feet.  I waited in vain that his metal powers would diminish so I could pierce his heart, but it was not to be. 

“You, the one pure of heart.” Reznor snickered as he moved menacingly close in the darkness.  “Your kind has the best blood to spill.” 

As he got within range I squared up to defend myself from what was sure to be a crushing blow.  Just then, a piercing ray of light shot from across the room.  The ray came directly towards us and struck Reznor from behind.  He emitted a loud yell as he toppled over the railing to my left and splashed into the deep pool below.  I immediately looked down as he tried to escape, but the weight of his metal suit did not allow him to surface.  He would surely asphyxiate and drown.   I quickly turned back to the right, sure that another ray of light was coming.  But nothing else happened.  As Reznor breathed his last, the lights returned to normal.  A familiar face came bounding across the platforms toward me.  It was Adelenne!

Addy ran quickly toward me, throwing her arms around me in a sudden outpouring of emotion.  “Oh Link, I’ve been looking all over for you.  I’m so glad to see you’re okay!” She said quickly.

“I’ve been looking for you too.  Are you hurt at all?” I asked. 

“No…just really hungry…I’ve found no food in nearly two days.” She replied.  “But that’s okay, that smash ball just saved your life.”

A smash ball again?  That would be the second time I’d been saved by that elusive instrument of attacking power.  And yet I had still never seen one!  “Smash ball?” I asked. “Wait, so that ray of light was you?” I asked, looking back down at the deceased Reznor.

“It was a mythical arrow of light, once used by my ancestor Zelda the Queen of Hyrule.  Reznor found me and Lilly in the storage room.  He snuck up behind Lilly and threw her head against several metal storage bins.  Knowing what was coming for me I ran away.  I thought he was going to come after me but that’s when he saw Melina.  He followed her, and I followed them.” 

“Did Lilly survive?” I asked. 

“Extremely doubtful, the blow was traumatic and she made not a sound after the second blow.”

“He blew up Xana too.” I said. 

“Yes.  And when I heard the explosion, I turned back from the storage room and tried to track him down from the intersection.  That’s when I saw you.  You were running so fast so I figured he had to be coming after you.  Right after he passed I saw the smash ball drift down from the ceiling.  When I broke it, a golden aura surrounded me and a golden bow and arrow were in my hands.  I knew then that I had to save you.”  Adelenne started crying into my shoulder, tears dripping from her eyelids.  At least if she wasn’t eating she was well hydrated. 

“You did save me, and for that I am eternally grateful.  Everybody else here will be too if we can find a way to win this battle.” I said.

“We will if you promise to stay beside me…to the end.” Adelenne said with conviction.  

“I promise.”  The two of us hugged one another firmly, with evident passion.  Perhaps in another time we would have shown more restraint given that we were only just friends, but at this moment what was between us was so much more.  It was a promise, to restore hope to our begotten kingdom, that our people would one day again be free.

Chapter 24 –


“And yet more combatants have met their end today, this the fifth day of competition.  With all of us as witnesses, we honor their sacrifices in the name of total victory and immortality.”

“Farore, does he really believe this nonsense?” I said softly. 

“He’s got the whole primid world believing, not just them either.” Adelenne responded gently.  I nodded my head in sad assent as the first combatant picture came on screen.  It was Reznor Koopa.  I cracked a big grin and turned toward Adelenne.  She smiled back.  Knowing he was out of the mix made a big difference both physically and psychologically.

As we continued to watch, we noticed Xana Aran come onto the screen.  It immediately made me think of Lyndis, who was sure to come up next.  They were two brave warrioresses, one from a harsh world of technology, air and space, the other from a medieval world like ours yet both carrying utmost bravery and chivalry in their ways.  The two would be sorely missed from this realm.  But then something strange happened.  Once Xana’s picture left the screen, it blinked off.

“Lilly is still alive?” I asked. 

“But…that’s virtually impossible.” Adelenne said quietly.  “Reznor slammed her headfirst into the steel three times.”

“Maybe she’s unconscious but hasn’t passed yet.” I offered. 

“Or wait, maybe she played dead and really wasn’t.” Adelenne figured.  “I don’t know how she would have thought to do that amid such trauma though.”

“Well I did, so she certainly could have as well.” I said. 

“What do you mean?” Adelenne asked. 

“I played dead when an enemy combatant that was chasing me in the desert.  I took one of her arrows and stuck myself with it.” I said.

“You did what?” Adelenne asked in shock.  I pointed to the spot and she took off my uniform enough to uncover the spot where the entry point was.  She let out a silent yet audible gasp.  “My Nayru, this looks all black, blue, and green.”  She squeezed briefly on the area, which made me stiffen greatly in response.  “There’s awful yellow pus streaming out of here.”

“Well that’s great to hear.” I said rather nonchalantly.

“Fairchild you’re darn lucky you haven’t gotten sick.  This is surely infected.”  Adelenne said with a heavy, stern gaze. 

“Well, what can I do?  It was the only way to stay alive.”  I responded.

“Please feel free to explain.” Adelenne said. 

“I was out in the desert being chased by a deadly markswoman, the one from Skyworld.” 

“Zartha?” Adelenne asked.  I nodded in assent.  “She shot the female monkey from Kong Isles.  Pierced her heart clean.  She was coming for me from beyond a sand dune and I picked up one of her missed arrows and stuck it in a bit.  It worked, she thought I was dead and actually started rummaging through my clothes.” 

“That was very courageous, if not very stupid also.  How did you know she wouldn’t shoot another arrow at close range just in case?” Adelenne asked. 

“Well good for both of us she didn’t right?” I asked her back.  Adelenne smiled.  “That’s what I like about you Fairchild.  You’re always so light-hearted, even in such grim matters as this.”  She ran through her pack and pulled out a plant that I noticed as native to Lake Hylia.  “Here, hold still, this will help to drain some of the pus.” 

Like an expert nurse, Adelenne helped extricate some of the worst concoction in my skin.  The leaves worked like a soothing sponge, just taking in the infected liquid and draining it out.  I did not know where she had found the leaves, but it was a good thing she had.  As she worked, I looked out toward the floor below.  The upper level storage crate from which we were perched, deep in the interior of the research facility, was virtually unassailable.  It was difficult to climb up to except from the front.  Since Adelenne and I were wielding bows and arrows, that meant certain death.  Unfortunately there were no supplies in the area that we could find, and the luminescent lights all throughout the area gave no indication that it was actually nighttime.  On the bright side, the climate was very comfortable, unlike the chilling cold of the desert night or the heat and humidity of the jungle.

We really did not have much feel for the time.  Every few hours one of us would doze off, while the other would stay on the lookout for any activity below.  Just about the only way we had of knowing how long we’d been there was the progress of my wound. 

“You’re already getting better Fairchild.  It has turned into a more general purple color now.  The worst blacks and blues are gone.”  Adelenne reported after her third bout of sleep. 

“Well that’s good.” I said, feeling a little dizzy.  In truth, I had been suffering from some infection related symptoms, like fever, runny nose, and a distinct lack of energy, in the hours following the battle with Reznor.  At first I thought it was caused by the explosion, but Adelenne was probably right all along about an infection.  In either case I was content to just stay there and not move much.  Unfortunately, one other basic need, the need for food and water, eventually trumped all other considerations and we abandoned our perch. 

“I haven’t been down this path before.” I said somewhat groggily. 

“It leads back to a jungle area with quite a few caves.” Adelenne said.  “Lyndis and I passed through it on the way here.  There are quite a few water sources in the area.”

That sounded really nice to me.  My stomach by this point was absolutely roaring, as it had been at least two days since I had anything to eat.  I was looking forward to those awful, boiled cave mushrooms again!  Heck, I would settle for an insect or two while drinking up as much clean water as possible, just anything to get some nourishment.  We walked along a narrow path for quite a ways before reaching a bobble warp door.  On the other side of the door was a cavern with a stream.  It was different from the caves I had seen before though, in that there was very little plant life to be seen.  The rock formations however were quite beautiful, and lit up in layers of purple, blue, and green. 

There was quite an echo in the cave, so we made sure not to speak or make much noise.  We quickly filled our canteens with water and helped ourselves to a drink.  About a half hour later we ascended a narrow path to the north that led toward the surface.  What emerged was a tropical forest, but more of a dry forest than the rainforest I had been in with Villa.

“So where do you think we’ll find the others?” Adelenne asked me.

“Well, we have three people left.” I said.  “Severious is probably still near the stadium or near an arena of sorts.  He likes wide open spaces and doesn’t go into places he doesn’t recognize.  Boom is probably hiding in the underground, or in an area where he can utilize his blue frame as camouflage.  He’s very quick and can strike at any moment.  I’m actually kind of surprised that we did not see him in that cavern with the colored stalagmites.”

“Maybe that’s the point.  Maybe he was there the whole time and we just didn’t see him.  Hedgehogs can be rather crafty creatures you know.” Adelenne responded. 

“Well, as long as he’s in hiding and not attacking, that’s fine by me.” I retorted.

“What about McCloud?” Adelenne asked. 

“Melina?” I asked.  “I have no idea where she is.  I saw her a while back in the research facility, right before Xana got blown up, but she’s resourceful and cunning.  She could be anywhere.”

“A real threat.” Adelenne said blankly.  I nodded immediately.  Severious was definitely a fierce fighter and would be tough to take down, but he fought with chivalry, and preferred to go at it one on one, man on man within an enclosed arena setting.  Melina though, she was a scavenger, preferring to wear down her foes and strike when they were at their weakest.  And she was well concealed and hard to find too.  The sooner we eliminated her from the battle, the better. 

We continued to the east, still searching for any food that might be lying around.  There didn’t seem to be anything out there, aside from various insects clamoring on the ground.  Adelenne took a knife out of her pack and stuck it right into the back of a rather large dung beetle that happened to be on the side of a tree.  She began to splice it down the middle, then removed the head and legs and offered part of it to me.

“It’s a dung beetle, nothing to be afraid of.  Its insides are rather full of protein.”  Adelenne said.

I took a bite out of it, and though it tasted awful, I was so hungry that I would eat literally anything.  I wanted to repay her in some way.  Then I remember my bow.  Of course!  If any animals were in the area I could shoot it with an arrow.  How silly I was to not even think of this before.  After all I was in an outdoor area now, as opposed to the protected indoors of the research facility. 

We looked around for several minutes before I spotted a decent target, a squirrel.  It was just like we were back on the plains of Eldin beyond the supposed northern boundary of Hyrule.  I took aim and fired.  I struck it directly in the backside, killing it instantly.  I was about to go get it, but Adelenne took the bow from my hands.  She pulled an arrow and aimed in the opposite direction.  I couldn’t see what she was aiming at.  She shot, and the arrow whistled through the afternoon sky, striking a rabbit directly in the head. 

I smiled at her, and she smiled back.  It had been a difficult shot through several trees, and mine wasn’t the easiest either.  But clearly this bond of marksmanship was the key to our survival now.  With some light exertion we made camp atop a jagged ridge overlooking a creek.  I rubbed sticks together until my fingers bled, eventually getting the spark I needed to start a fire.  Adelenne worked to build it up enough to cook the two small animals.  With fresh water in our canteens, it was sure to be the best feast we had since the battle had begun.  But more than that, the fire had another purpose.  Hopefully the others would see it and be dumb enough to try to attack.  Our bow and arrows would happily deal with any such combatant.   

“So what do you think is happening back home?” Adelenne asked, as she bit into a piece of warm rabbit meat. 

“I think its gotten quite heated.” I said.  “They were probably all occupied with the harvest earlier in the week, but now its almost the weekend and we are both still alive and well.  By now they are probably watching us everywhere, at school, in the square, everywhere we have a viewing screen in our primitive country.” 

“The cameras in Subspace are probably outside our houses.” Adelenne said. 

“They’re probably all over Ordonia and Faroquadin, talking to our family, friends, and neighbors.  The whole world probably knows who we are by now.  They’re probably watching us right now.” I said. 

Adelenne smiled back at me, then raised her canteen.  “For Hyrule.” She said, as we toasted one another, downing the precious contents.  We sat there for several more minutes, then started to move toward putting out the fire.  Darkness would be here soon, and to leave a fire burning at night was foolhardy at best and deadly at worst.  As we were just starting to pat down the flames, I saw something move out in the distance.  It was heading toward the creek, and very quickly at that.  It was almost a blur until it stopped along the creek bed.  I tugged Adelenne’s arm, and just about pulled her to the ground.  From the opposite side of the ridge, I noted the blue fur of our petite adversary. 

I saw him reach down toward the creek, toward the precious liquid.  I pulled back my bow.  Earlier in the fight, my heart’s want to not cause pain and to fight on fair terms would have fought my brain enough to prevent this action, but those times were over.  Now it was all about completing the mission.  I let the arrow fly.  It hummed quickly through the twilit sky, striking with deadly force.  I saw my target crumple to the ground, letting out an audible wail as it did so. 

We ran quickly down the hill toward the creek.  Sprawled out in front of me was the body of a blue hedgehog, pierced right through the back.  I kicked it over, revealing the face of Sonic Boom.  His eyes were glazed over, staring straight back.  But they showed nothing but the finality of my action, a death by my own hands.  It was not a death out of collateral damage like Rian Dedede, nor a death out of desperation like Zartha Palutena.  This death was in fact, an execution.  And I would be a liar to say that it didn’t feel good.

What kind of monster was I becoming?

Chapter 25 –


Darkness had begun to descend on the forest.  The air had begun to turn somewhat chilly as the heat of the daytime wore out and left us.  Adelenne and I had used the rope from our packs to strap ourselves into trees for the night.  The thick canopy below us made it difficult to see the ground.  There we would be well-protected in case Severious or anybody else decided to come by.  As the last flickers of light announced twilight’s descent into nightfall, the light from a screen about a quarter mile away came on.  From our spot we could hear Tabuu’s voice. 

“Today, the sixth day of the tournament, marked the end of two more of our great combatants.  As with the others before them, we honor their sacrifice.”

We could not see through the trees enough to see who the two were, but we already knew one of the deceased.  Sonic Boom, the hedgehog from Green Hill Province was surely glowering at me from above and wishing for my demise. 

“Who do you think the other is?” Adelenne asked meekly. 

“It has to be Lyndis.” I said. 

“I don’t know…she survived Reznor’s biggest blows.  They might have found each other and teamed up to beat McCloud.”  Adelenne responded softly. 

Within seconds we heard Tabuu’s voice once again.  “The developments today bring us to the final four of this year’s tournament.  In perhaps the grandest of ironies, the four hail from two of the poorest provinces of this world.  On one end of the maze, we have the combatants from Gallia Province, Ike Severious and Lilly Lyndis.  At the other end we have the combatants from Hyrule Province, Link Fairchild and Adelenne Harkinian.  To you four I bid my congratulations for coming this far.  You have proven your strength of body, of mind, and of heart.  May the way of the warrior wear well with you.” 

With that, we could see the light from the screen go out.  No crazy talk about us being power hungry individuals, no bullocks about the drive for immortality, but rather a heartfelt praise from the “supreme deity.”  It made my stomach churn though.  Coupled with my execution of Boom, it almost seemed like he was gleeful about the hard-hearted assassins that we had been forced to become. 

“I can’t believe Melina is out.”  I said meekly. 

“Me neither.” Adelenne said softly.  “She must have poisoned herself or died of illness.”

I figured that the Triforce of Wisdom was working overtime.  How odd must it be to have a sort of power that impacts your mind in such a positive manner?  But then again, Addy must wonder about the golden triangle within me, one which impacts my spirit and drives it to new heights.  At this thought, I allowed myself to succumb to my weariness. 

The weariness wouldn’t be comforted for long.  Deep into the night it began to rain.  The water ran down through the trees and thoroughly soaked me straight down to my bones.  It was hard not to shiver in the cold, damp night.  The rain continued for hours, drenching us further and making it impossible to sleep.  When it finally stopped, I felt like a sponge, unable to ring myself free of the liquid that turned my skin into a scaly mess. 

Toward daybreak, the rain returned.  Adelenne and I got ourselves out of the trees and started hiking uphill to the west, in hopes of finding some drier land.  We got what we wished for in the form of a bobble warp door.  On the other side of the door was an ominous mountainside, one that had purple skies that lit up with lightning.  There was no vegetation of any kind.  It looked like a complete barren wasteland.  At least it was dry. 

“I don’t think Lyndis and Severious are here.” Adelenne said. 

“Truer wisdom has hardly been spoken.” I replied. 

Adelenne turned back to me.  “You’re always quick with your tongue, Fairchild.  And that’s what I like about you.” 

“Aw come on Addy, you’re just buttering me up.” I said.  She came closer to me as the lightning crackled overhead.  

“Link, there’s something that I’ve wanted to tell you for quite some time.” Adelenne said.

“That I’m the greatest comedic talent in the realm?” I ask. 

“Well you might be that…just a little.”

“I always knew you had a beautiful mind.” I said, smiling.

“You know what else is beautiful Fairchild?” Adelenne asked as she moved even closer.  “You.” 

She tilted her head and planted a passionate kiss upon my lips.  My eyes widened in shock and she put one hand on my chest and the other behind my back, almost as if to dip me.  Her boldness was stunning.  My lips began to response to hers and I pulled my arms around her, even closing my eyes as I felt the heat flow from my head down to my toes.  Finally we pulled away. 

“How long have you been holding that in?” I asked. 

“I’ve always admired you, but not in that way…until we were both picked to be here.  That day in Castelle, it was a stormy sky just like this.  I remember reaching out to you from the stage and you raised your hand back.  It was like a sort of pact we had for one another.  But I wasn’t sure of myself until you told me to run away at the start of the battle.  You saved my life.” She said. 

“But then you saved me…in the research facility with your arrow of light.” I replied. 

“And now that we’ve saved one another, we need to save everyone around us.  Then we’ll…”

Oh gosh…in her stupor of passion and love she was about to spoil our whole plan!  Instinctively, I shushed her with my hand.  “Let’s not worry about such things.  Let’s just live in this moment, just you and me.”  I tilted my head and planted my own kiss on her lips.  We held one another very closely again until we could hardly breathe.  We pulled away, and as we did so, for the first time since I had shared my first kiss, the one with Naira, I felt the finality of the trinity that connected the three of us.  It was like a spiritual bond, one that could never be broken. 

The final conclusion was soon at hand.  There was but one last unpleasantry to deal with. 

“Let’s show those Gallian combatants what true Hyrulians are made of.”

The two of us moved quickly through the ominous mountain region.  Behind a bobble warp door at the end of it was another mountain region.  By this point we were both hungry and thirsty, but this mountain was very cold and devoid of either vegetation or water.  Fortunately there was an abundant supply of snow near the summit that we were able to indulge ourselves with.  Our dark colored uniforms stuck out like a sore thumb in this wintry landscape, so we quickly began to climb down the mountainous terrain.  By afternoon we had descended the mountain and crossed through a pine forest.  At the edge of the forest was a fairly large lake with fog draped over it.  We stopped there to collect some precious water supplies.  As I filled my canteen, I noticed something out in the distance.

“Hey Addy look!  I think that’s a castle out across the lake!”  I called to her.  She came over quickly and saw what I saw, two large spires rising into the sky above a pale white marble building.  Although it was difficult to see every feature, it seemed a smaller, less grand version of Hyrule Castle. 

“Gallia is an agrarian, medieval place just like Hyrule.  That castle is likely where Lyndis and Severious are hiding.” Adelenne replied. 

“Well let’s go then.” I said. 

“Wait.  They might see us if we go directly toward it.  The water is so cold that our muscles will probably seize up in there and we won’t be able to defend ourselves.” Adelenne confided.

I considered Adelenne’s plight.  “You don’t know how to swim either, do you?” I asked.  She nodded.  “I have an idea, come with me.”

We looped around a passageway to the south, leading us somewhat back into the mountains.  The lake merged with a mountain stream here and got much narrower.  I hoisted Adelenne onto my shoulders and waded into the lake.  It was freezing!  I felt as though somebody had stuck knives into my body and could hardly move.  Thankfully it took less than a minute to clear the deepest part of the passage, and within minutes we reached the opposite shore.  My arms and legs convulsed from the chill. 

“I think we might have to take off your clothes, lest you get frostbite.” Adelenne said with a twang.  Her demeanor was rather playful for such a dramatic moment.

“Just let me move around a bit, I’ll be fine.” I replied, trying to shake out the excess liquid and get the blood flowing again.  Once I convinced her I wasn’t going to freeze into an ice cube, we moved down the opposite shore of the lake toward the castle.  The drawbridge was down, and by all accounts it appeared unattended.  But if Lyndis and Severious were waiting for us, this was exactly what they wanted us to think.  We checked the entranceway as well as the scenery around the outside.  Nothing was there.  The sun began to set in the west, lighting up the sky in a brilliant palette of red, yellow, orange, and pink.    

Just then we heard a strange rumbling all around us.  It was an earthquake!  No, the shaking wasn’t uniform enough.  It was more like a series of really loud footsteps. 

“Big primids.” Adelenne said.  “Quick, get inside the castle and raise the bridge!”

I quickly spring into action.  I clear the area around the drawbridge, and then locate the crank used to open and close the drawbridge.  Out in the distance I see them coming.  They are gigantic, at least two to three times our size.  With Adelenne covering me in case of attack, I turned that crank as quickly as it would turn.  After a few minutes, the drawbridge was up completely.  I could hear the primids banging on the doors and the walls outside. 

“That was close.  Tabuu must be trying to hoard us closer to Ike and Lilly.” Adelenne said, her breath pouring out quickly. 

“Indeed.  They might be here.  Let’s be careful.” 

Quietly as possible, we moved into a series of hallways and staircases.  They were adorned with beautiful red carpets and grand paintings on the walls.  There were also statues of armor standing along the walls.  It was all quite picturesque like Hyrule Castle, but an air of danger followed us.

Adelenne tapped me on the shoulder as we reached a grand staircase.  I followed her, with bow drawn.  We opened the heavy steel double doors at the top of the staircase, and inside the room was a fantasticly extravagant throne room.  There was gold plating all over the walls and the floor, and the throne was made completely of it.  More statues of armor stood in formation around the center of the room.  There was still no sign of Lilly or Ike. 

“Wait, do you here that?  More rumbling.” I heard Adelenne say meekly.  Then I heard it.  It was the same rumbling as before.  And it was getting closer!  I turn back to see a fairly large bolt on the back of the heavy steel doors.  “Quick, we have to bolt it closed!” I yell. 

Adelenne and I spring into action once again.  We succeed in getting the first door closed but the primids are advancing too quickly.  I toss the bow to Addy and she shoots two of them right in the face.  They fall backwards down the stairs.  Meanwhile I used all my might to get the second door closed.  With one last heave, the bolt fell into place, locking us into the now completely dark room.  We moved slowly toward the interior of the room, feeling the banging of the primids right behind us.

A strange light that we did not notice before began to fill the room.  It was from behind the throne.  Holding hands, we walked slowly through the darkness, running into several of the statues along the way.  Before long we could make out the trademark red color of a bobble warp door.

“Whatever is behind here, Tabuu wanted us to find.” I said. 

“It’s the final room.” Adelenne replied.  “Behind this there can be only victory or death.” 

I nodded.  For the next minute, we just stood there, in front of the door, holding one another.  We had come so far, so far for one another, so far for our families and our friends, for our kingdom.  Now it was time to drive home the final blow.  We held hands as we entered the door.

On the opposite side of the door was a magnificent arena, with thousands of primids and polygonals in the stands surrounding it.  The ground was a strange rock, colored black, purple, and blue with a smattering of other colors as well.  Looking ahead to the other side of the arena, we saw them.  Our adversaries from Gallia.  And just behind them sat the supreme deity himself.      

“Let the final battle begin!” Tabuu boomed. 

Chapter 26 -

The first thing I noticed was that our weapons and supplies were gone, lost in the bobble warp.  Straight in front of us sat one sword each.  In front of me I immediately recognized the legendary Master Sword, the one used by the Hero of Time all those years ago.  In front of Adelenne was the sword of the royal family, once used Adelenne’s great-grandmother the Queen of Hyrule.  In front of Ike and Lilly were blades that I’m sure were of great importance in Gallia.  Spread out along the outside of the arena were statues of the deceased from the Subspace Incident.  It was yet another reminder of what we had come to do. 

I grabbed the Master Sword and ran in toward the middle.  There was no response from the other side, in fact, Severious was holding Lyndis rather tightly.  The slender female was in bad shape.  She had lesions all over her skin and her once fair face was covered in dried blood and bruises, probably dating back to her encounter with Reznor.  She was barely able to stand. In all honesty she looked diseased.  But Severious was in as strong a shape as ever.  Perhaps his body had shrunk a bit from his time in the arena, but compared to Adelenne and I, his size was immense.  He eventually left Lyndis and charged at me. 

Our blades clanged with mighty force, bringing the noise in the arena to a rousing cheer.  He went straight at my torso, which I blocked.  He continued to press forward, and engaged in a game of chance with me.  As he pushed his blade downward, I struggled to fight back.  As he was about to push me to the ground I reached my leg out and swept him to the ground.  I knew from my encounter in the arena that this would enrage Severious and it did.  He came running at me again at full speed.  I dodged his vertical swing and hit him in the face with the handle of the Master Sword. 

With Severious holding his nose on the ground I took a second to glance across the room.  Adelenne and Lilly were virtually unmoved, as if they were staring into each other’s spirit.  Severious got back up and re-engaged.  He swung diagonally this time and caught the knuckles of my left hand.  The cut hurt, but it wasn’t deep.  I retaliated by swiping for his midsection.  He blocked and punched me in the shoulder with his free hand.  I continued to fight on.  Swipe after swipe, clang after clang, the crowd grew to even greater heights.  This was what they wanted to see, two of the odds-on-favorites to win the tournament dueling it out to a finish.

I jumped into the air, trying to attack from above.  Severious ducked, but I was still able to slash him in the back.  His jumpsuit absorbed some of the blow, but a shiny red mark could be seen where the Master Sword had cut.  After several horizontal swings each, Severious prepared another.  I jumped over it and went for another jumping attack.  My jump was weak though, and I landed short, allowing my adversary to punch me right in the gut.  This sent me to the ground. 

He waited for me to get up, just as I had with him a few minutes earlier.  I readied myself, and he came forward with another overhead swipe.  I met it head on and we engaged in another game of chance.  This time he didn’t press quite as far forward, preferring to stay on his back foot and keep me out in front.  He was intimidated.  I felt a twinge on my left hand as inspiration flooded through my veins.  With a gigantic heave of energy, I threw Severious backward.  He fell right on his backside.  Very quickly I hooked his arm with my free hand and slid my blade inside the handle, yanking quickly to disarm him.  With his blade out of his hands, I pointed the Master Sword menacingly at him.  That’s when I heard the shout from Adelenne.  “Behind you!” 

Lyndis had already come roaring toward me.  She went for a stabbing blow aimed right at my torso.  I dodged that, but had the blade catch me in my right arm instead.  A nasty gash opened up there and blood started pouring out.  Before Lilly could turn around toward me again, Adelenne sprinted in from the right and swung her long blade right at her neck.  In a rather grotesque moment within the grotesque nature of the tournament, Lilly’s head went flying right into the first row of the stands, covering the seated primids in her blood.  Good.  Now maybe some of them will fully experience what we’ve been through for the past seven days.

Severious reclaimed his weapon, and after seeing what happened to her counterpart, had eyes like a madman possessed.  He charged me and had designs on slicing me to pieces with a barrage of animalistic swings.  I dodged, ducked, even dove in order to evade his attacks.  As I tried to roll around a vertical swing toward the ground, he caught me in the back.  I let out an involuntary cry as pain seared up my spinal column.  I quickly rolled, then ran a bit to get out of attack range. Perhaps sensing the end was near, Ike came straight forward again, his sword aimed right at my heart.  I held the sword behind my back.  Adelenne’s eyes went wide as did many of those in the crowd.  Had I lost my mind?  Was this the end of Link Fairchild?

{{I watched the long stick come toward me.  I jumped quickly to the right and leapt high into the air.  At the top of my jump I swung the stick in my hand, smashing it two right over her head.  She fell down, but recovered quickly.  A smirk crossed her face.  “It seems that you have learned the parry attack well Fairchild.  You knocked me right off my feet!”

“I have a good teacher.” I said. 

“You flatter way too much.  My skills are nothing compared to our forefathers.  In fact, even since swordplay became illegal in our realm, even my competency has suffered.  Nobody wants to fight anymore.” Naira said. 

“Well there must be another tactic you know about.  One that our ancestors would practice and defeat their enemies with?” I asked.

“Very well.  Do know that this technique I am about to teach you is dangerous, and should be utilized only when you have no other option.” Naira said sternly.

“I promise.” I said calmly. 

Naira ran her hands through her hair, and recovered a large stick of her own.  “This skill is referred to as the mortal draw.  Many creatures are well with the ways of the sword, and are well defended against frontal attacks and back slices.  Should you encounter such a foe, the mortal draw is most effective.  You must sheathe your sword, or at the very least hold it behind your back.  Then wait until your foe is near.  Then, before the enemy can see through your ruse, draw quickly and spin attack.  Like this!” 

In the flash of an eye, Naira spun around and held her branch right at my head. 

“There is no defense for this.  It deals death.” }}

Ike’s sword continued its drive straight for my heart.  With expert timing, I grabbed the Master Sword and launched into a spin attack.  I felt Ike’s blade drill me in the ribs at the same time as the Sword of Evil’s Bane found its mark. 

The sword flew from my hands, and I instantly clutched my ribs.  The cut was right down to the bone.  It was most likely lethal.  But as I looked over at Severious, the Master Sword was stuck directly into his skull.  He fell to the ground, lifeless.  A great cheer rang out through the arena.  Adelenne came running over toward me.  “Are you all right?  Please tell me you’re okay!”

She looked at my wounds, on my back, on my right hand, and then at the deep cut in the ribs.  This last wound made her wince.  She quickly pressed her hands into the wound in an attempt to cut off the blood flowing out.  From the corner of my eye, I saw Tabuu rise from his seat in the stands. 

“The battle is now down to two.” He bellowed.  He started walking across the arena toward us. 

Adelenne instinctively drew her blade, the sword of Queen Zelda.  Tabuu laughed.  “Oh dear me, it is not me you are fighting.  I’m not going to so much as lay a finger on you!” 

“While that may be truth, it is you that dragged us all here and made us bring death to so many others in the name of your perverted sense of entertainment!” She snapped.  She got back to her knees and looked into my eyes.  “You’re going to be okay Link, just hang in there.  I’m going to get you out of here.” 

I looked on, my vision somewhat blurry as my strength began to recede.  The crowd had become deathly silent. 

“My dear lady, what are you waiting for?” Tabuu asked Adelenne.  “Immortality awaits you.  It lies but a swing of the sword away.”

I could see Adelenne start to tremble, sword in hand.  She turned blankly toward the outer wall to the left of Tabuu.  Her Triforce piece was resonating.  Mine was too. 

“Well?” Tabuu asked. 

“I know of but three true immortals in this realm.  AND YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THEM!!”  Adelenne shouted at the top of her lungs as she swung the sword right at Tabuu, striking him in the face as a week’s worth of anger, nay, a lifetime’s worth of anger and frustration poured out in one singular blow.  The whole stadium let out a gasp as Tabuu fell to the rocky ground.

Tabuu got up gingerly, with a nasty mark across his previously perfect, polygonal face.  “Surely you have gone mad, Lady Harkinian.  You know for a fact that it is I that create life.  And I just as surely take life away!  And yours is next!” 

“Bring it!” Adelenne shouted, sword drawn.  She was clearly prepared to die in a vain attempt to try to save me.  But that made sense.  She had always been prepared to die since the day we got on the train from Castelle.  Why would it be any different now?  Tabuu closed in on her, but before he could unleash any attacks, tremendous rumbling came from the left, right where Adelenne had been looking before.  The stands above the wall gave way and collapsed, followed by the wall underneath it.  Hundreds of primids went flying into the air as a giant airship came through the arena wall, parking itself just feet away from Adelenne and I.  And it had a very familiar passenger standing on the bridge. 

“Playtime’s over Tabuu!” Naira shouted amid the wreckage.  Seeing her, I immediately sprung to my feet, my hands snapping to cover the immense pain in my ribs. 

“You!  You!!  You’re the one who broke into the training facility!  You’re the one who infiltrated my city!” Tabuu shouted. 

“Yeah and you threw me in your little prison but I found my way out of there too, what’s your point?” Naira asked, sarcasm dripping from her mouth. 

“You will pay for this!  All of you will pay for what you’ve done!” Tabuu shouted. 

“Actually, it is you who shall pay for what you have done to us, the next rightful rulers of the Kingdom of Hyrule!” Naira shouted back.  And it was at this moment, that I truly understood the words I heard during the final training session.

“Wisdom and courage shall outlast the darkness. Power will emerge to bring about the light.”


Yes.  Wisdom and courage, the two triangles held by Adelenne and I, would outlast the darkness of the deadly tournament.  Power, that held by Naira, had now arrived to bring about Tabuu’s ultimate justice.  How stupid was I not to see it.  Naira had been there with us all along.  She was there for the training sessions.  She was there for the parade.  She was there for the televised interviews, everything.  And she had been in and out of at least one dungeon in Subspace City in the midst of all of it.    


None of us had to ask what to wish for.  Naira hopped off the bridge and together we locked our hands and wished with all of our might.  Within seconds, a great streak of light appeared in the night sky.  The streak divided into three and fell upon us. 


Tabuu became enraged, and shot a giant burst of energy at us, but the streaks of light deflected it right back at him, throwing him backward and to the ground.  The goddesses turned to us.  “Brave children of my kingdom.” Nayru said.  “Let it be known that this wish which you have selected will take away a part of your life force.” 


Naira responded quickly.  “We understand and acknowledge this.  Just make it quick.” 


“My children, your wish is our command.”  Din replied.  Within seconds, I felt a jolt as energy poured out from the Triforce insignia on my hand.  This was followed by a stabbing pain right near my rib injury.  It did not take long to black out.      

Chapter 27 –


My sight was blurry, and my head felt light.  In fact, my whole body felt light.  I swung around to see Naira and Adelenne, with the goddesses standing behind them on the airship that Naira had so cleverly driven into the arena.  They didn’t look normal, in fact they almost looked disembodied, just like a poe.  That’s when I looked down, and saw our bodies on the ground.

“What the…” I started before being silenced. 

“Fear not my child.” Farore said.  “We wouldn’t have you miss this for the world.” 

Down on the ground, we listened in to Tabuu.  “Wait, the golden ones killed their children?  Hah!  Their wish backfired!  Some supernatural ability they have!  But now we won’t have a winner of the tournament.” 

“I wouldn’t say that, demon!” A voice shouted.

Tabuu swung around, but there was nobody there.  “Who said that?!” He shouted.  But there was nobody there to answer.  “I command thee to show yourself!”

“Very well demon, I shall.” The voice said again.  And then it happened.  The statue at the very top of the stadium began to crack and give off a bright light.  There was a flash, and the statue was a statue no more.  It was a valiant young warrior, an angel in fact.  He carried a bow and had a heavenly, chiseled appearance complete with a set of wings.

“Pit Icarus.” Tabuu said with a bit of strain.  “I would have expected somebody stronger, somebody with not your childish pranks.”

“Your wish is my command.” Pit said mockingly.  At this, several more of the statues began to crack and give off light.  One was that of a middle-aged man with great strength and a sly disposition.  Another was a giant turtle with a spiked shell, probably Reznor’s former.  The turtle sprayed breaths of fire, while the man held a pair of green objects that looked somewhat like pears.  Tabuu tried to conceal his nervousness.  “Snake and Bowser.  What makes you think your emergence will change anything?”

“You overestimate your power, and underestimate the power of the mortal spirit.” The man said. 

Pit the angel pointed directly at Tabuu, and Snake and Bowser charged.  Tabuu assumed a fighting position and the three began to rock punches and kicks at one another.  Snake threw one of his pear weapons, which resulted in an explosion.  Tabuu was difficult to injure though, and he used his strong and lengthy wings to keep them at bay.  “You’re all just as weak as the last time I met you in Subspace!” Tabuu laughed. 

“Looks like you boys could use a hand.” Another voice said.  Another statue must have transformed behind me.  A young woman with a skin-tight bodysuit and blond hair stepped forward.  She looked very similar to Xana.  Right behind her was a dainty young woman in a pink dress wearing a crown, most likely Rosa Toadstool’s predecessor.  “We’re going to finish what we started!” she said.  Now Tabuu was starting to get visibly nervous.  It was happening!  All the members of the original Subspace Incident were coming back to life right in front of our very eyes.

The two women pressed forward and attacked quickly, taking Tabuu’s attention away from the three males on the opposite side.  By this point, the primids and polygonal forces had begun to pour out of the stands to attack the freedom fighters of the past.   As this happened, it looked like the five would be overwhelmed, but one by one, more fighters entered the fray.  A pair of mustachioed men with overalls.  A short man in a spacesuit with strange colorful animals surrounding him.  A large yellow mouse with electricity shooting out of its cheeks.  A pair of hammer wielding children wearing winter coats.  The battle turned into a total free for all, with the emerging warriors taking on every last primid and polygonal in the stadium.  And that’s when I laid eyes on him.  Him.  My ancestor.

He had dirty blond hair hanging over his forehead and eyes of deep blue.  His hat and tunic of green was exactly as the paintings in the castle had described it, as were his leggings, chain mail, and of course, the great sword in his hand, the Sword of Evil’s Bane, recovered from the rotting flesh of Ike Severious.  He charged directly at a pack of primids and took them all out with a vicious spin attack, then drove straight forward for Tabuu.  They met with a sickening clang.

The rest of the statues continued to transform into life.  A green dinosaur with a tongue that could turn any enemy into an egg.  A masked swordsman faster than a tornado.  A blue falcon with a blaster capable of zapping an enemy to burned  toast.  Try as the primids might, they could not stop the advance of the freedom fighters.  All of them, man, woman, and child, fought with great tenacity and sacrificed life and limb as they advanced on Tabuu.   The man with the red shirt and overalls got there first and fired a pair of fireballs right into the supreme deity’s chest.  Then the electric mouse zapped him with a vicious burst of voltage.   The children with the hammers used some magic to turn into a giant block of ice.  My ancestor the hero chiseled away at the block of ice along with two other swordsmen, chopping off part of Tabuu’s wing. 

“You will never defeat me!!” The supreme diety’s voice shouted.  Tabuu fought like an animal.  He screamed and yelled.  He flailed at anything that moved.  He delivered injuring blows to the pink puffball, the robot, and the black amorphous blob that looked to be two-dimensional.  At times he resorted to use of energy crystals.  On more than one occasion he threw a boomerang shaped like a circular saw blade.  Many were injured but the freedom fighters never wavered.  Ike’s ancestor drove his great sword right down Tabuu’s chest.  Melina’s ancestor the fox delivered kick after swift kick.  And the woman in the bodysuit charged up her blaster and delivered a giant ball of energy right into Tabuu.  He went flying into the barricade at the end of the stadium.  When he got up, he was a broken, bloody mess. 

The two men in overalls, the two swordsmen in blue, and the man with the pear explosives all rushed in to corral the beast.   It was at this moment that I saw three smash balls descend from the goddesses’ outstretched arms.  They floated down to three individuals.  One was the hero.  The second was a princess in a white and purple dress.  And the third was a red-haired man wearing all black.  They broke the balls and lit up in a golden glow, the stadium around us becoming dark.

“It’s only fair that the ancestors of the victors finish this.” Pit said.  The three nodded to him, then to one another.  The Hero of Twilight raised his arms, and threw a golden beam of light.  He then rushed in, crushing Tabuu with blow after blow from the master sword.  The Great King of Evil turned into a gigantic boar-like beast.  And the Princess of the Kingdom aimed a giant bow of light directly at the heart of the diety.  In one glorious moment, the final blow of the Master Sword, the Head of Ganon, and the Arrow of Light all connected simultaneously.

Tabuu raised off the ground, green flashes of light emitting from his body.  The flashes began to turn red as his body began to break apart.  After several moments, it exploded, leaving shattered fragments of his essence all over the arena.  Immediately, the three of us started shouting and jumping up and down, only to find that we weren’t coming down.  Evidently we were flying, and didn’t even realize it!  We flew down to the floor, where the freedom fighters were celebrating their triumph, our triumph.  The supreme deity Tabuu had been completely destroyed!

The warriors of the Subspace Incident took a minute to assess and heal the injured, during which any remaining primids fled.  They then came back toward us, to the near side of the arena.  They spread out in circular formation around our bodies. 

“It is a dear shame that they have passed.” Pit said. 

“Without their sacrifice, we would never have been able to avenge our mistakes.” Samus said. 

“They have done just what any true warrior would be expected to do for their nation, to give their lives in the name of freedom.” Snake said. 

Was it true?  By part of life force, did the goddesses really mean that we were dead?  I meant to start yelling but Farore swooped behind me and covered my mouth.  “Not all is lost my child, there are powers beyond our realm that can be of assistance.” She said softly. 

“We could wish to the goddesses for their return.” Ganondorf said. 

“It wouldn’t work.” Zelda said.  These children are of the future.  The wish would be enacted in the wrong plane of time and wouldn’t take place for a hundred years.” 

This had the freedom fighters deeply troubled.  Finally, the princess in the pink dress spoke up.  “We could wish upon the Star Road.” She said. 

The two men in overalls immediately smiled.  “That’s-a great thinking Peach, it-a might just work.” The one in red said. 

“I sure-a hope so Mario.” Concurred the one in green.  At this moment, six freedom fighters, the ones in the overalls, the princess, the turtle, the dinosaur, and a pudgier man wearing a strange coat came together in the middle, offering a prayer of some kind.  Immediately, shooting stars began to rain down from the heavens.  Riding in on one of the stars was a strange person in blue.  He was so strange in fact, that he looked not unlike one of the dolls in the nursery at the school in Ordonia. 

“You have called for my assistance?” The doll asked. 

“Geno, we wish to bring these three back to life.” The princess, Peach said. 

Geno went over and examined our bodies.  “I don’t know Peach, these three are pretty far gone.  It looks like magic of another realm was involved in their demise.  It might have been of their own volition.” 

“They-a didn’t commit suicide, they sacrificed-a themselves so that we could avenge our defeat.  And avenge it-a we did.” Mario said.  The rest of the group gave some boisterous cheers in response. 

Geno knelt down and put his hand over my body where my heart would be.  He then did the same for Adelenne and Naira.  “Their hearts were indeed pure, so a wish for resurrection can conceivably be granted.  But it will take an incredible amount of earthly spirit to make it happen, far more than what your small group can provide.  It might even be too much for all of Mushroom Kingdom, nay, Mushroom World.”  The doll stated. 

There was another silence.  “But this tournament was broadcast around the whole universe.” A boy in a yellow and black shirt said excitedly.  He ran to one of the cameras at the edge of the stadium.  “People have been watching this tournament for a week, and they’re probably still watching right now.   If all of them join us in sending us their spirit, maybe the wish will come true!” 

“Ness, that’s a great idea!” Said another boy with shorts on.  “We need to ask the world, to save these brave souls who gave their lives for us and for this whole world!” 

“Lucas, you’re right.  It is up to prayer and spiritual energy now.” Pit said.  The entire group turned toward us and began to pray.  Geno flew up high above the stadium.  The next few minutes seemed to drag on for hours.  Would it work?  Was it possible for our souls to be reunited with our bodies? 

I saw more stars falling from the sky.  Then a sharp pain hit me in the legs.  I began to feel heavy, like a giant hand had thrust itself forth and was dragging me downward.  A great burst of white light flooded my vision.  I lost consciousness.

The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground, in the arms of an angel.  “Am I in heaven now?” I asked. 

“They’ve come back to us.” Pit said.  Thunderous cheers rang out throughout the arena.  I looked around to investigate my surroundings.  Pit was holding me firm. Mario and Peach were right next to Adelenne and Naira, who had come to their senses as well.  Within seconds we had stumbled over to one another in our light-headedness.  We hugged each other for Din only knows how long.  Actually, the goddess of power does know, for she was looking straight down at us. 

“Wait!  What’s that?!” yelled a boy with a red hat just to our left.  The bobble warp doors were opening.  Everybody turned toward the doors at the edge of the arena.  Out from the doors came the brave combatants we had fought against.  Rian Dedede and Zartha Palutena were the first to appear, but then more came.  Melina McCloud, Canis O’Donnell, Sonic Boom, Villa Kong, even the two pokemon trainers that both were among the first killed in the tournament.  At the back of the group was our final nemeses, Lilly Lyndis and Ike Severious. 

“The power of the spirit pouring in from all over the world…it was strong enough to not only resurrect these three.” Nayru said, pointing at us, “but it was so strong that it brought everybody back from the dead.” 

Geno’s eyes widened.  “Yes, it appears so.  I have never seen such a wish granted nor believed it possible.” 

“It’s-a miracle.” Mario said.

“This calls for a celebration.  Light it up sisters!” Farore called.

Without thinking, the newly reborn combatants all congregated around their ancestors as the goddesses lit up the skies over the arena in a fabulous display of light and sound.  The tournament was complete, and with it came the destruction of the world in which it resided.      

Chapter 28 –


“You did good Fairchild.” My former adversary said. 

“It was only a move of preservation.” I responded. 

“Straight bullocks.” Severious laughed.   “I had my sword aimed straight at your heart and you never even moved to block it.  You attacked with a tactic I would have never considered.  It showed true heart.”

“I had to in order to best a swordsman of your competence.” I said. 

“And a true hero you are to us all.” My ancestor the hero said.  He moved toward me, and in doing so showed off his features, again so similar to my own.  “I know not where the name Fairchild came about, but it is clear you are a courageous lad.  I am honored to know you as a part of my blood.”

I just about fainted hearing those words from the legendary Hero of Twilight.  I looked over toward Naira.  The tall, strong man was talking to her. 

“I like you kid.  You’ve got a mean streak and know how to manipulate people.  Since you are of gerudo lineage I am sure you have great thieving skills as well.” Ganondorf said. 

“Make no mistake, I am the best thief you’ll find in my time.” Naira replied. 

“With your cerebral use of power, you’ll make a great ruler someday.” Ganondorf replied.  The princess Zelda nodded, but then turned to Adelenne.  “My ancestor, you possess clear vision and and a fearless, courageous heart.  You fought not only for yourself but for all the people that you hold dear.  A more power-hungry or less wise person would have killed their comrade in order to attain the power of immortality.  But you fought for what was right, all the way down to facing the supreme villain alone should it come to that.”  A tear came to Zelda’s eyes, and Link produced a handkerchief.  Ganondorf folded his arms, mildly annoyed.  “I’m sorry, its just that you are so beautiful on the inside as well as outside, just like I imagined my ancestors would be.” 

“They are all rather beautiful I think.” Link said.  “Every single one of them is.  All twenty-four of them were brought together to be annihilated, yet they were resourceful, steadfast, and carried themselves with great resolve.  Your people will have great respect and admiration for eons.” 

The goddesses flew down from the skies and moved in front of us.  Link and I knelt down in front of Farore, the others doing the same with Din and Nayru respectively.  “Children linked by the golden triangles, know that with Tabuu’s death that the universe will soon separate.” Din said.  Corneria will no longer by adjoined by force to Mushroom Kingdom, Popstar no longer tied by fire to Zebes.  The universe will no longer be a maze controlled by the evils of Subspace.  Instead, it will return to its natural form.  You will all be free to do as you wish.”

Nayru stepped forward.  “Now, please go.  Regain your lost time.  Regain the lives that you were all intended to live.” 

“I shall make it so.” Geno said as he held out his hands.  A golden star flew up from the doll, into the upper atmosphere where it blotted out the darkness in the sky.  Within seconds, we were hit by a blinding light.  I was barely conscious, but I could hear myself calling out to my ancestor.

“Goodbye, Hero of Twilight.”  I said. 

“Farewell, Hero of Subspace.” Link replied to me.

The train pulled forward.  We were in a heavily wooded area.  The common blue spruces and maples that I had come to know were all around us.  To my left I noticed Sheik and Saria.  Penthro was sitting to my right. 

“Nice job hero.” Penthro said. 

I looked at Adelenne.  She was still asleep, her fair features no longer tainted by the rigors we faced in the maze.  “She did most of the work.” I said. 

“Oh she’s a heroine as well, make no doubt about it.” Saria said.  “But one of a holy trinity does not go well without their counterparts.”  Sheik nodded at this, as did I. 

“Ordonia is up ahead!” Naira called from the front of the car.  This got Adelenne stirring a bit, and we all went to the window.  Sure enough we would be pulling into the train station very shortly. 

“Treasure this day.  It’s what you deserve.” Penthro told us. 

As we pulled into the station, literally hundreds of people swarmed us.  It was a crowd so vigorous that we could not even disembark until a group of goat herders swarmed into the mass and clearing a path.  I noticed friends, acquaintances, even people I had not seen since early in my schooling years, all cheering and clapping loudly for us.  I even noticed a person that before today had made my skin crawl.  It was the bully who had tormented me all those years ago. 

“You did good Fairchild.” Claymore said.  “You did good.” 

All I could do was nod my head in thanks as the herders pushed us forward through the pack.  At the end of the station I saw my family.  Luke ran out toward me and I embraced him firmly.  My mother and father joined in the group hug.  For that minute we all just held one another, not even saying a word.  The emotions just poured out from within.  Luke was crying, which was something I never saw him do except in times of duress. 

“Luke it’s okay, it’s over.  Everything is fine now.” I said. 

“You’re just so amazing big brother.  What you did, nobody here would have been able to do.” 

Adelenne’s family was there as well.  Naira just looked on, lost in the fervor of the moment.  We were home at last.   

The next week was a whirlwind.  I barely got to spend any time at home as the three of us traveled all over southern Hyrule, meeting the various groups of people that had so badly wanted to meet us and give us their thanks.  They gave Naira, Adelenne, and I all sorts of gifts, ranging from food items to various artifacts from the different towns.  We weren’t used to all the attention, but we understood the gravity of what we had done, and that there was a lot of raw emotion that the country had to purge from their collective spirit. 

Still, I couldn’t help but think there was a greater mission at hand, to restore the Kingdom of Hyrule to its prior greatness.  Evidently, Adelenne was thinking the same thing.  One night after a dinner in the central square of Faroquadin, she made her proposal.  Literally. 

“Link…I want you to know something.” Adelenne said. 

“Anything.” I said, rather groggily because it was so late. 

“Right now, this country is as unified and as collectively happy as they have ever been.  The people’s adulation is quite remarkable.  But in a few short weeks, people will forget about all of this as they return to the difficulties of everyday life.  We have to let these people know that we are going to bring them a future that is as bright as their present.”

“What do you propose we do?” I asked.

“As the descendant of Queen Zelda, it has become rather apparent to me that I have a responsibility to restore the royal bloodline to the throne of Hyrule.” Adelenne said. 

“So you are going to assume the throne then?” I asked.  “You’re going to become the Queen?”

“Yes.  All we have to do is explain to the people the nature of the Triforce.  This next gathering in Castelle tomorrow afternoon is the perfect chance to do so.  The people already know about our lineage, they saw it in the arena.  It’s the only natural thing to do.  Believe me, without a strong ruler, this country will fall into a state of chaos.”  Adelenne said definitively.

In my haziness I tried to wrap my mind around it.  “It seems like you have been thinking about this for a while.  But governing a country is a big task.  Even somebody as wise as you will need others to help you rule effectively.” I said. 

Adelenne nodded.  “I’m sure I’ll find a King someday.” 

Her words were less of a statement and more of a suggestion.

The next day in Castelle, Adelenne spoke to the people.  She did so in the square not far from the stadium in which we were selected to fight in the tournament.  While Adelenne was speaking, trying to explain the nature of the golden triangles, I talked to Naira. 

“It sounds like she was trying to propose to you, but didn’t know how.” Naira said. 

“It seems so, but how do I know that she really loves me, and isn’t just trying to use me out of convenience to help her rule the country?” I asked. 

“Believe me, I know she loves you.  I saw it in the way she looked at you, and stayed close to you for warmth in the cold maze nights.  The way you kissed on the mountain, it was almost surreal.  It was as passionate a kiss I have ever seen.” 

“But I still have feelings for you too.  Remember the time we were in the meadow, before we were separated when Addy and I were picked.  There was passion there too.”  I said. 

“I know Fairchild, I know.  But we’re very different people.  You are caring, righteous, and loyal, to which I am none of the above.  My blood by nature makes me ruthless, uncompromising, and blunt.  A marriage between us would also merge the bloodlines of the legendary hero and the great king of evil, one that could threaten the very nation we have worked so hard to make independent and free once again.” Naira said. 

I didn’t know what to say.  She was right.  But it pained me enough for me to renounce my feelings for Naira, even though it meant I would have Adelenne.  Maybe that’s what she meant by my loyalty.  Maybe she didn’t feel the same way about losing me. 

“Don’t worry Fairchild, we’ll always be good friends.  Besides, when you become King, you better make me the commander of your infantry.”  Naira said with a smile.  I nodded, not knowing what else really to say.  Any words would have only muddied things further.  I looked back at Adelenne, speaking so eloquently into the microphone on the makeshift stage.  Yes, this was our destiny.  And I was going to realize it.

“At this time.” Adelenne said.  “Naira, Link and I would like to show you something that Tabuu has been hiding from you ever since the Subspace Incident one hundred years ago.”

The three of us came together and wished with all of our might.  The Triforce gave off a gleaming light in the sky above, and then a great burst of energy came forth to blow away the immense north wall of Castelle in a giant explosion.  When the dust settled, the view across the central Lanayru plain became visible.  In the distance were the spires of Hyrule Castle.  The crowd gave a collective gasp at what they saw. 

“That building just north of here, is Hyrule Castle.” Adelenne said.  “There is also a great city that surrounds it.  It is the rightful seat of power of the royal family, of whose blood lies within.” 

I walked toward Adelenne and quickly took her hand.  “And the one thing that every Queen needs, is her King.”  With this, I knelt to the ground.  Now the crowd really started making noise, everything from gasps, hoots, hollers, with even a few shatters of glass interspersed between. 

“Adelenne, will you marry me?” I asked, gazing into her azure eyes.  They showed shock at first, but then changed to warmth and happiness.  I knew instantly what her response was. 


Eight months later, winter’s grasp was at hand.  We had labored very hard over the spring, summer, and fall to rebuild Hyrule Castle Town into a suitable city.  Over time the debris of wood, stone, and glass was cleared.  The troublesome weeds were eradicated.  Each of the buildings was inspected, and some were razed while others were renovated with the help of the Gorons.  Gor Daron had promised his full army of miners and buildings toward producing the supplies we needed and rebuilding the city in exchange for food from Ordona and Faron Provinces, which were blessed with a record harvest that fall.  King Rathuz of the Zoras also lent the help of his people in rebuilding the sewers and waterways of the city, even helping set up a dam on Zora’s River north of the city that would one day house Hyrule’s first electrical turbine.  Seeing this made me think back to what we saw in Corneria.  Man, we were a long way away from space exploration!

But on this winter day, there would be no work, for anybody.  It was the 24th of December, the Nayru Festival.  And on this day, Adelenne and I would finally put down our shovels, our hammers, and even our bombs.  We would, in the restored Great Hall of Hyrule Castle, finally be able to express our love to one another in the most ultimate of commitment. 

The hall was ornate, decorated with the original rugs and draperies of the castle, newly restored by the finest clothiers in the land.  All of our families were there, as was as much of the populous as would fit inside the chamber.  As I stood at the altar, awaiting my bride, I saw Rathuz escort in Adelenne’s cousin.  The Zora King was dressed in a black suit with a purple accessory around his waist and neck.  Her dress was purple, and had padded shoulders along with an empire waist and long, elbow length gloves.  I looked further on and saw Luke walking down the aisle, arms locked with Naira.  He was so handsome despite his youth and Naira well, her golden brown skin provided the perfect contrast to the violet encasing her beautifully chiseled features. 

That’s when the harpist began to play, followed by several fiddlers.  Everybody in the Great Hall came to their feet.  That’s when I saw Adelenne, escorted by her father.  Her dress was simply breathtaking, a pure ivory gown that accentuated her slender frame.  She wore gauntlets of similar tone, had a tiara of gold on her head, and a matching golden belt with the emblem of the golden triangles at the front.  When she reached the altar, I could not stop gazing at her.  She was a beacon of true beauty, my goddess, now and forever. 

Gor Daron was already well into his speech before I finally focused on him.  It was at this point that he handed us the rings.  They were made of pure gold, and encrusted with a framework of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, representative of the races and provinces that made up the Kingdom of Hyrule.  They were clearly made of the finest jewels in the Goron Mines. 

The rest of it was a blur.  Before I knew it, Gor Daron was asking me the words I so longed to hear.

“Do you Link Fairchild, take this woman, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, to love and to cherish her, till death do you part?”

“I do.” 

I put the ring on Adelenne’s finger.  Her face was beaming from ear to ear. 

“Do you, Adelenne Harkinian, take this man, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, to love and to cherish him, to death do you part?” 

“I do.”  She slid the opposite ring onto my finger.  It fit perfectly. 

Gor Daron asked if there were any objections, to which there were none. 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife.  You may now kiss the bride.” 

With this, I grabbed Adelenne around the waist and placed my soft lips upon hers, dipping her slightly toward the ground as we joined together in the most glorious moment one can ever imagine.

“By the power vested in me, the Elder of the Goron race, I hereby present to you Mr. and Mrs. Link and Adelenne Fairchild, their majesty the King and Queen of Hyrule!”


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