Hey there everyone! I'm back again with another update. Aren't you happy? Sorry about how long it took. Like seven months . . . Hopefully I will get on a roll and get the next several capters out more quickly. There are not very many chapters left in this story, and I WILL finish it. The end is near! Well, fairly near. Sort of.

Anyway, as you now know, I have brought Sheik into the picture! (All the Sheik lovers rejoice) Now notice, this is NOT the same Sheik from OoT. He's sort of an original character. Sort of. In Zelda I & II, Princess Zelda has a nursemaid named Impa. I wanted to use this Sheik as a blood link between the Impa in OoT and the Impa in Zelda I & II. Also, the Sages are - for the most part - dead. When Ganon rose again they were kicked out of the Sacred Realm and the Chamber of Sages. Saria is still around because Kokiri don't grow old and die like the other races. So all the others are dead . . . supposedly. Alright, so on with the story!

I hope there are still some people around who remember this story. If you actually have read up to this point previously, you might want to reread at least part of it, as it has been a while. If your new, yeah! I have new readers! Please enjoy. If you actually read this, please be sure to drop me a review. I would like to know who (if anyone) is still reading this.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own The Legend of Zelda . . . yet.

The Legend of Zelda The Golden Land

Chapter Twenty-three The Sorceress of Earth Part II

"So you dressed up like a Sheikah boy for seven years to hide from Ganon?" Tetra asked, making sure she had heard correctly.

"Not quite," Zelda replied. She was again adorned in her Shiekah-style outfit. "I only had to pretend to be Sheik for the last year or so. Most of the seven years was spent training with Impa so I could pass for a Sheikah."

"You really got to train under the Great Impa?" Sheik asked in awe. The boy was wide eyed, having never dreamed of meeting someone who actually knew Impa, let alone the long thought dead princess of Hyrule.

Zelda nodded an affirmative as the trio continued down the halls of the Sorceress of Earth's palace. Their footsteps echoed throughout the empty halls of sandy stone. Their way was lit by basins of fire held up by statues os an ancient six-armed goddess. The fires danced as they reflected off the trio's weapons. Zelda held her katana in one hand hanging off to the side. Tetra held her pronged dagger dangling be her side, while her sabre rested against her shoulder. Sheik held his twin eastern short swords each in a reverse-hand grip so that they rested against the backs of his forearms. They had encounter several groups of monsters after the young Sheikah had joined them.

Fortunately, Sheik had proven himself competent in combat. Apparently, he considered learning how to fight more fun than learning how to sneak around. As such, he was considerably better at the former, while he needed to work on the latter. When not engaged in combat, Zelda had taken to filling the other two in on her past and catching Sheik up on current events.

Tetra frowned as the reached another locked door. "You sure we're going the right way?" she asked as she picked the lock. The door swung open.

"Yeah. Pretty sure," Zelda replied as the five large heavily armored creatures carrying massive swords and axes in the next room turned to face the intruders.

"I hate it when you're right," Tetra groaned, readying her sword.

"Uh, what exactly are those?" Sheik asked as he brought up his short swords.

"The two with axes are called Iron Knuckles," Zelda replied. "They are big and strong, but slow. We won't be able to hurt them unless be get rid of some of that armor."

Tetra nodded. "The ones with swords are called Darknuts. More of the same," she stated. "Watch out for the red one with the cape, though."

With a cry from the Mighty Darknut, the group of armored monsters charged. The trio of adventurers readied their weapons.

"Here we go," Tetra muttered.

"Hey," Sheik replied, crouching. "This is the fun part."

The pirate girl rolled her eyes. "Right. How could I forget?"

"Alright people! Scatter!" Zelda called as the monsters approached. Tetra and Sheik both darted off in opposite directions. "The red one is mine!" the princess yelled, charging straight forward. She leapt into the air, aiming for the closest Darknut. The monster raised it's shield above it's head to block the downward blow, but, instead of striking, Zelda landed on the horizontal shield and spring-boarded off, flying over all the enemies and landing behind them. The Mighty Darknut, how was at the rear of the enemy charge, quickly turned to face her.

Sheik went after the Darknut Zelda hadn't used as a trampoline. He darted just into the creatures range, and handsprung back to avoid the sword stroke. As soon as the Sheikah's feet touched the ground, he leapt into the air, jumping over the beast and flipping as he did so. Sheik passed over his enemies head in the middle of his flip, while he was upside down. He swung his twin short swords in a downward ark, snapping off the Darknut's helmet. As Sheik landed, the dog-headed Darknut brought its sword over its shoulder and made a diagonal downward swing at the boy. Sheik dove to the side to avoided the blade. He curled up into a ball and rolled, just avoiding an Iron Knuckle's massive axe, which embedded itself in the floor behind him.

The Sheikah quickly tossed a Dekunut to the ground, causing a bright flash of light, which stunned his enemies. Seizing the opportunity, Sheik made several quick strikes against the Iron Knuckle, ending with a hard kick to the breastplate which knocked the armored giant back a bit and allowed the boy to flip backwards, putting some space between him and it. Sheik reversed his grip on the short sword in his left hand, holding it down in front of him while he held the other above his head, blade pointing the opposite way. With a cry, Sheik leapt forward, spinning and twisting as if to imitate a windmill with his blades. He hit the Iron Knuckle hard, cracking its armor and causing it to fall off.

Tetra squared off against an Iron Knuckle of her own. The monster swung its axe at her horizontally, forcing her to hop back to avoid it. After the blow passed, Tetra charged in, thrusting with her sabre. She scored a clear hit, but unfortunately, did little the pierce the beast's armor. The piratess was forced to leap to the side as the Darknut Zelda had jumped off of came after her, swinging its massive sword at her head. Tetra dodged, rolled, and hopped to avoid repeated blows from the sword and axe.

Realizing her weapons were useless against the heavy armor of her opponents, the pirate girl adopted a new strategy. First, she baited the Iron Knuckle. It took two horizontal swings at her, which she dodged in and out of. As she did this, the Darknut rushed towards her. As it neared, Tetra disengaged the Iron Knuckle and charged the Darknut, jumping in too close for the beast to use its large sword. Not being a complete idiot, the Darknut swung it's shield in an attempt to clobber the pirate. Tetra ducked and rolled to the left, avoiding the shield and a vertical blow from the Iron Knucke, now behind her, who got its axe stuck in the ground. Tetra quickly jumed back and to the right, nearly into the Iron Knuckle who was trying to dislodge its axe.

Now, the Darknut was not a complete idiot, however, it was not a genius either. It took the bait and made a hard horizontal slash at Tetra. The piratess quickly dove forward, rolling on the ground while the large sword sailed by overhead . . . right into the Iron Knuckle. While not killed, the Iron Knuckle was thrown to the ground, its armor crushed and ruined, its axe thrown from its hand. Tetra reversed her grip on her dagger as she rolled behind the Darknut. As she rose, the pirate princess slashed her dagger across the beast's back, cutting the straps that held its breastplate on. As the armor fell off, Tetra quickly stabbed the beast, withdrew her sabre, and made two quick slashes against it in an X pattern. The Darknut cried out as it fell and died.

As the Iron Knuckle struggled to right itself, Tetra sheathed her sabre and put away her dagger. Using both hands, she hefted the fallen Darknut's sword into the air. Unable to hold it up as such, she rested the flat of the blade on her shoulder, allowing her whole body to support its weight. She trudged over to the Iron Knuckle as it finally righted itself and began searching for its fallen axe. "I don't think so," Tetra stated, hoisting the great sword and twisting her body slightly. The Iron Knuckle turned to her and froze. Giving a war cry, Tetra spun around, swinging the sword down and killing the Iron Knuckle.

Zelda faced the Mighty Darknut, circling just outside of its range. Red eyes glared down at the princess from the helm of the armor clad behemoth. Suddenly, with a twirl of its cape and a grunt, the Darknut leapt forward, hoping to split its adversary in half. Zelda hopped to the side, nimbly avoiding the blow. She countered, dashing in and slicing her katana horizontally across the creature's chest as she passed. She found her mark, however only cored a small scratch on her opponent's armor. Zelda spun to face the Darknut again, just in time to duck an attack meant to decapitate her. Falling backwards, the princess turned her duck into a series of handsprings designed to put some space between her and her opponent. Coming out of her flip, Zelda gripped her katana in one hand and began to gather magical energy in the other. After a second, she released the energy in the form of a small red ball that flew towards her opponent. The Mighty Darknut raised its shield just in time, the ball of energy struck it and blossomed into a ball of fire.

After a moment of silence, Zelda charged her opponent. She ducked a sword swing on the way in, and spun around a swipe from the shield before leaping and aiming a blow at the Darknut's head. Unfortunately, the beast spun and ducked, and Zelda only met with red cape. She landed slightly off balance, ducked, and rolled to avoid the overhead stroke the monster countered with. The princess glare at her opponent over her shoulder for a moment before spinning and charging again. The Darknut cut diagonally at her, but it didn't matter. Zelda dove forward, dodging the blade, and rolled under the Darknut's legs. She quickly spun and pointed her hand at the creature's back. "Block this," she mocked as Din's Fire erupted from her hand.

The Mighty Darknut howled in pain as his cape and back caught fire. Its armor fell off as the straps were burned away, it was forced to pull off its helmet and discard it. Finally, the beast managed to detach itself from its flaming cloak and turned to glare at Zelda, bearing its canine teeth. The princess crouched low, gripping her sword to the side with both hands. The Darknut narrowed its eyes and raised its massive sword holding it parallel to the ground. Both opponents eyed each other for several moments, before charging at the same time. As they neared, the Darknut swung horizontally, keeping the blade about waist height, so Zelda would have trouble ducking. At the last second, Zelda leapt into the air, gripping the sword in one hand and pushing off of the flat side of her enemies blade with the other. She cleared the blade by mere centimeters and then brought her own blade forward, slicing the Mighty Darknut in half.

Sheik dodged repeated blows from th Darknut and Iron Knuckle both bent on tearing him to pieces. Fortunately for the Sheikah, he was much quicker than his opponents. He danced in and out of their blows, never getting hit. Doing a tight handspring, he simultaneously avoided a horizontal slash from the Darknut and a downward swing from the Iron Knuckle. He quickly ducked behind the Darknut ans sliced across its back, knocking of the dog-like creature's breastplate. He spun to avoid the retaliatory strike and flipped over the beast's head. He spun to the side to avoid the Iron Knuckle's axe. Coming up beside the axe-toting creature, Sheik stabbed both of his blade into its chest. After a second, he violently yanked them back out. The Iron Knuckle wavered and fell dead.

The Darknut swung its massive sword at Sheik's back, but the boy simply flipped over it. He smirked at the dumb, spinning monster . . . until its shield came around and smacked him in the back, throwing him to the ground. The young Sheikah swore to himself as he climbed back on his feet. He charged the Darknut, again leaping and flipping over it. This time, however, Sheik swung and twirled his blade so that he took the monster's head off. Landing, he slowly stood gazing the scene with a stoic face.

"You done yet?"

Sheik was pulled from his revere by Tetra's question. "Huh?" He turned to find the girls waiting over by the exit at the other end of the room.

"Good," Tetra stated. "We've been waiting."

Hanging his head, Sheik went over to join them.

Zelda opened the door to the next room and took a step in . . . only to immediately stumble back as she was bombarded by intense light.

"Ah, what the-?" the princess muttered, raising her arm to shield her eyes. Tetra and Sheik did likewise.

"That is really bright," the pirate girl stated as the group slowly entered the next room.

The room was none too large. It was, of course, made of tan stone. However the intense lighting bleached out the stones color, making it look nearly white. On the far end of the room was a giant sun-switch, just like the one back at the entrance to the temple. In the center of the room was a small ebony obelisk, standing about 4 feet tall. At the top point of the obelisk rested a . . . well, a bright light. The point of light hung inches above the obelisk, supported by seemingly nothing and emanating from nothing. It was just there, glowing brightly and lighting the room.

"So what do we do here?" Sheik asked.

"No clue," Zelda replied. "That big thing is a sun-switch. Supposedly shining enough light on it should activate it."

"This isn't enough light?" Sheik asked, amazed.

"I guess not," Zelda replied.

"I know!" Tetra exclaimed. "Maybe these ones only respond to Light Arrows."

"I guess that is possible," Zelda said. "But how does that help us?"

"How about we shoot a Light Arrow at the switch through the big bal of light?" Tetra asked.

Sheik grunted, still shielding his eyes. "Well whatever you're going to do, do it quickly. Preferably before I go blind."

Tetra shrugged and pulled out her bow, squinting to see. She notched an arrow and infused it with Light magic. She then shot it through the ball of light and his the sun-switch. With a chime, the eyes on the switch opened and the smile broadened. The light in the room faded to a more normal level, and a chest materialized.

"Much better," Tetra commented as she proceeded to open the chest. Inside she found a magic crystal. The crystal seemed to split in two, half of it merging with the crystal the Tetra used to make Light Arrows, while the other half floated over to Zelda and merged with her Light Arrow crystal.

"I'm guessing we can use more powerful Light Arrows now," Zelda commented.

"Thank you Captain Obvious," Tetra replied sarcastically. "Come on, we should go back to the entrance and activate that big sun-switch." Zelda and Sheik agreed and the trio headed back to the entrance. It was a long walk, but fortunately they had already eliminated all the monsters. It was actually good that the walk was so long – that was how long it took for the spots to clear from their vision.

Once they reached the entrance, Zelda shot the giant sun-switch with a powered up Light Arrow. The switch activated and the door lifted out of the way. The trio proceeded on through a dark tunnel until they arrived at a massive, well-lit cavern in the earth.

"What an entertaining group."

The two princesses and the Sheikah all turned to face the rear of the cavern, where the feminine voice had come from. There, on a raised dias sat the owner of the voice, perched on a stone throne. It was a woman who appeared young, but her true age was anyone's guess. The woman wore a long dress made of a flowing green material. The dress was strapless, coming up only high enough to make her decent, and stopping under her armpits. It was trimmed in a gold color. Around her neck was a large Egyptian-style necklace, which at the top wrapped snugly around her neck and extended down far enough that the tip of it overlapped the top of the dress. The necklace was made of gold and adorned with precious stones. The dress extended down to her ankles. However, on the left side of the dress was a slit that extended up the side of her leg almost to her waist. Several thin, golden belts wrapped around the woman's waist. She wore sandals trimmed with gold, with an emerald embedded just above the toes. She has on long, green gloves that extended from near her shoulders, where they were clasped in golden cuffs. She also wore a large golden tiara adorned with precious stones. The woman held a golden scepter, again adorned with precious stones, the tip of which housed a large emerald.

The princesses stared at her for a moment. Sheik openly gawked. Well, until Tetra elbowed him in the gut, that is. Then he just blushed and looked away from the underdressed woman.

Finally Zelda stepped forward. "We are looking for the Sorceress of Earth," she stated.

The woman smirked. "Oh, how convenient, little princess. I am she."

"Er, alright," Zelda stuttered. "We are here to-"

"I know why you have come," said the Sorceress, rising from her throne. "You wish to have my piece of the Talisman of Ages. However, before I can give that to you, you must prove your worth."

"And how do we do that?" Tetra asked, stepping forward as well.

"You must defeat my pet, Amethyst," the Sorceress replied, gesturing to the side.

"Pet?" Tetra mumbled to herself as she turned to see what the Sorceress was pointing to. ". . . . oh bugger."

Out from the shadows came the figure of a very large lizard. It could almost have been an iguana . . . if it hadn't been over 20 feet tall while still on all fours. That and the head was a little different. It actually looked more like a Kimono Dragon. Which was a pretty good comparison.

"This is Amethyst," the sorceress stated. "She is an Earth Dragon."

Amethyst gave a roar at the mention of her name. The dragon was a dark green color all over, though it's belly was a bit lighter colored. She had no wings, but did have a rather nasty looking set of spines protruding from her back. Her tail had several spikes on it, not unlike the Stegosaurus.

"If you can defeat her I will give you the talisman," the Sorceress of Earth stated.

"Oh. Wonderful," Tetra grumbled.

Zelda quickly pulled Tetra and Sheik close to her. "I need you two to distract it," she whispered.

"What?!" Tetra nearly cried.

"I'm going to cast a spell, but it will take some time. I need the two of you to keep the dragon busy and away from me," Zelda explained.

"Easy for you to say," the piratess muttered. "Alright." Sheik also nodded in agreement. It didn't really look like his swords would do much good against the dragon, so magic was their best option.

Zelda nodded. "Good. But, when I yell 'now,' you need to get as far away from the dragon as you can."

"You may begin," the Sorceress of Earth stated.

With a roar, Amethyst began to charge towards the trio. Fortunately, the green Earth Dragon was fairly slow . . . at least compared to Ice of Fire dragons. Sheik and Tetra charged at the dragon, while Zelda backed off some and folded her hand in front of herself, closing her eyes.

As the attackers neared the dragon, Amethyst swung her head out, snapping her jaws at Sheik. The young Sheikah nimbly leapt to the right side, avoiding the dragon's teeth. Amethyst then swung her claw at Tetra, who leapt to the left side to avoid it.

The pirate-princess rolled to recover from her dive – only to find the dragon's spiked tail headed towards her. Tetra leapt further to the side to avoid the large spikes. She missed the most dangerous part, but the tip of the tail still caught her, throwing her to the ground.

While the dragon swung it's tail at Tetra, Sheik quickly attacked it's face, his twin short-swords flashing wildly. He tried to reach the dragon's vulnerable eyes. However, Amethyst took a bite at him, forcing the Shiekah to abort his first attempt. He quickly tried again, this time to be knocked away by the dragon's snout. Before the boy could try again, the Earth Dragon's throat swelled and it swung it's open jaw at him, a putrid green-ish liquid spewing out. Sheik quickly leapt out of the way, tucking and rolling on the ground. When he rose again, he was greeted by a sulfuric scent and a hissing sound. The liquid was burning and sizzling as it are it's way through the rock where it had landed. "By the Triforce," Sheik muttered. He then yelled so the others could hear, "Watch out! It spits acid!"

"You have got to be kidding me," Tetra muttered as she got to her feet. Gripping her sabre tightly, she charged at the dragon, who was busy trying to spit more acid at Sheik. She ran up under the dragon's legs and took a long slash at its belly. She managed to draw a thin line of blood, which really did more to anger the dragon than to hurt it. Amethyst swung one of it's four legs and managed to knock the piratess out from under it.

Zelda concentrated hard, blocking out the sounds of the battle around her. An unseen wind began to ruffle the princess' hair and clothes. The symbol of the Triforce began to glow on her hand again. She whispered words in an ancient Hylian tongue. Magical energies began to build up in and around the princess.

Sheik dodged the dragon's spiked tail as he tried to get under the beast to attack it's less defended belly. At the other end, Tetra was dodging the creature's jaws and claws . . . along with the occasional stream of acid. The pirate girl didn't have a chance to try and attack, as she instead had to run for her life. Finally, Sheik managed to get close enough to strike the dragon's. For his troubles, he got the wind knocked out of him by the dragon's tail.

Zelda continued to chant as magical energies gathered unto her. A faint golden aura surrounded the princess, as her hair whipped about in the unseen wind.

Amethyst seemed to notice the increase in Zelda's magic, as her attention was suddenly drawn to the princess of old. Abandoning the pirate girl, the Earth Dragon began to scurry towards Zelda.

"Oh crap!" Tetra exclaimed. "Zelda watch out!" Unfortunately, the princess was unable to hear, having blocked out all external stimulus to concentrate on her spell.

"It's no good!" Sheik yelled, charging after the dragon. He struck it with his swords, but the dragon ignored him, focused instead on Zelda.

As Amethyst neared Zelda, Tetra quickly put away her sword and drew her bow. She notched an arrow. It instantly began to shine with a bright golden light. Taking aim, she let the powered up Light Arrow fly. It struck the dragon's side, exploding in a giant blast of light.

That got Amethyst's attention.

The dragon roared as it turned back to Tetra, Zelda forgotten. Tetra quickly notched another arrow and fired, but the dragon juked slightly to the side, avoiding the golden missile. Tetra began to run away as the dragon approached. Sheik snuck in to attack it's belly, keeping Amethyst's attention split between the two of them.

Zelda's eyes suddenly snapped open as she completed her spell. She raised her arms above her head and a golden ball fo magical energy formed at her fingertips. "NOW!!" She cried. "Get clear!"

Tetra and Sheik heard her and both instantly took off in opposite directions. Amethyst was confused for a second, before her attention was drawn back to Zelda.

The ball of magic in Zelda's hand suddenly shattered, showering the entire cavern with golden sparks. The ground began to shake and strong winds suddenly picked up. Dust and small rocks were picked up and carried along with the winds towards a sort of magical vortex . . . which had formed directly under Amethyst.

Amethyst realized she was in trouble a little too late. The vortex swirled and grew under her. She tried to move, but it was to late. The magic portal swirled and grew, until it was finally as large as the dragon. Slowly, Amethyst was pulled into the vortex and vanished from the cavern. Immediately after, the portal dissipated.

All was silent for a few moments. Then a soft chuckling could be heard, followed by laughter. The trio turned to find the sorceress laughing. She finally stopped and smirked at the princess. "That was most unorthodox," she stated.

"What did you do?" Tetra asked Zelda.

"I banished the dragon to the gap between dimensions," the princess replied.

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Ganondorf's first great creation floated in nothingness. The first of Ganon's great creations. And the first of Ganon's great failures. The original prototype of Phantom Ganon. The creation had been banished into the void by it's own creator after the Hero of Time had defeated it. And it had been there, alone, for centuries.

The skull-faced shade gave a slight start. Something was out of place. There was the sound of heavy breathing where there had been no sound for years. Slowly, the Phantom turned around, only to find itself face-to-face with a large, green dragon.

Oh crap, was the last thing the original Phantom Ganon thought before large jaws closed over it.

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"Well," the Sorceress stated. "I suppose that qualifies as a victory. I will give you my shard of the Talisman. But first . . ." She raise her hand and snapped her fingers.

In the middle of the cavern, Amethyst reappeared.

"I cannot leave my precious pet there," the Sorceress commented. She then held out her hand. In it rested one third of a pendant. It was silver and had a single golden triangle on it. The shard floated from her hand over to Princess Zelda. The princess plucked the medallion from the air.

"Thank you," Zelda said.

The Sorceress of Earth nodded. She gestured with her hand and a swirling blue light appeared on the ground. "This will take you out of here. Good luck, Princesses of Destiny."

Zelda, Tetra, and Sheik stepped into the blue light and all disappeared.