Disclaimer: After all these years, we still don't own the Legend of Zelda. Goddammit.

"Watch out!" Navi squealed as Malon tried to dodge the attack of the Wolfos. Its claws grazed her upper arm. She swung her sword at it, but it leaped back out of her range and began to circle her slowly, snarling.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Link with his shield up, defending himself against the slashing attacks of the other Wolfos. The monster's back was to her. She saw her opportunity and slashed at the creature, leaving a raw, gaping slit across its back. It whirled around with a howl to defend itself, but fell dead at Link's sword. The second creature backed away from them, snarling, but it too soon fell.

Malon examined the scratch on her arm. It was bleeding slightly, but didn't look too serious.

"Are you all right?" Link said, looking worried.

"I'm fine," she said. It stung, but she'd had worse. She wished that she had a shield, or a pair of gauntlets, or even sleeves for gods' sakes. Her arms weren't long enough to carry a Hylian shield; they hadn't exactly been designed with women in mind.

"Are you sure you want to come along?"

"Of course," she said, wiping her sword on the grass. She'd made a choice after all, less than a week ago.

Link looked around the room, in order to make sure they didn't miss anything. He was glad she was coming with him, but at the same time he was terrified to see her get hurt.

"Hey!" Navi called from the top of one of the trees. "There's a chest up here!"

Malon watched Link climb up the vines on the wall. It seemed terribly high. She had to look away as he crossed the precariously narrow branches above. Just thinking about it made her dizzy.

"It was a key," Link called as he climbed back down. He held it out as he approached where she sat on the steps. "Can you hold onto it?"

Malon nodded, threading it onto her belt. "Shall we?" she said, nodding her head toward the door. Link nodded back.

They passed into a corridor guarded by a huge, swollen Skulltula that dropped down on them as they approached. It spun slowly, its weight seeming far too great for the wisp of silk that supported it. Malon hung back, learning from Link's example. When its distended, black abdomen faced them Link fired the hookshot at it. The arachnid burst open with a horrible popping sound, splattering them both with its yellow-green innards. Malon recoiled, wiping it out of her face.

"Y-you'll get used to it," Link said, looking rather sickened, and very much as if he were not used to it at all.

They continued through the next door. The air in the temple was cool, but stale, and it left a peculiar smell in their noses like dust and rotting plants. The main room was vast and dark, illuminated by four eerie, colored flames in the center of the room. A strange wooden frame stood at the center, like a box with no sides.

As Malon and Link descended the stairs, the four flames seemed to separate from their torches, twisting, melting until they had morphed into the shapes of four ghosts with mischievous eyes, each bearing a torch. They each turned and drifted off in separate directions, and as they went, the strange box sank into the floor.

"The- the Poe sisters?" Link whispered. "I-I didn't think they were real."

"It's an old Kokiri legend," Navi explained to Malon as they passed through the vast central chamber. Link paused to tap on the square of wood that now lay flush with the floor at the center of the room. "Four sisters once were the caretakers of the temple until an evil force sealed them inside, and they died here. Their spirits still remain trapped inside, guarding the temple against intruders. I guess it's true after all."

Link shivered a bit, thinking of the nights in his childhood when he'd been too frightened to fall asleep after Branch told a story about lost travelers dying horrible deaths at the hands of the spirits in the forest.

"What's that?" Malon wondered aloud, peering through the gloom. She trotted towards it to get a better look.

"What?" Link parroted, following her. Then, "Oh. Oh, goddess."

It was the body of a warrior, though not much was left of him but scraps of petrified skin stretched across bones. He'd encountered corpses before, even animated ones, but this was the first time Link had seen a dead body, a dead person, outside of a tomb. The prospect of death within the temple seemed suddenly much more real and imminent. He backed away, then realized Malon was reaching out to touch it.

"What are you doing?" He hissed as she took the corpse by the arm. The limb detached from the body and a few fingers fell off as she wrestled with its gauntlet.

"What?" she said as she liberated the other gauntlet from its former owner. "I need these." She shook the dust off of them and slipped her hands inside, tightening the straps. They were plated with steel and went all the way up to her elbows.

"But..." Link felt he should protest, though he didn't have a rational argument to present.

"It's not like he's using them," Malon said, moving her wrists and fingers. They were loose around her hands, but the straps pulled tightly enough to fit around her forearms. She was secretly almost as repulsed by what she'd done as Link was, and she felt a shiver run down her spine as she adjusted the buckles. But she needed something to protect her arms, especially if she couldn't find a shield she could carry properly.

Link felt Navi fly back into his hat. "Straight ahead is the only way that's not blocked off," she told him.

"Let's keep going," he said. Malon nodded.

Malon was sweating bullets. The Stalfos was huge, had at least a foot and a half on her. And every blow she struck at it seemed to just bounce off its ribs, doing no harm. She was doing her best to parry its attacks, but she was getting tired, fast. Rauru's words were suddenly ringing in her ears.

"You may not find it useful for hacking through bone..."

She wanted to call out for help, there was no way she could kill the monster by herself, but she was afraid if she so much as glanced away she'd lose her head.

She blocked another strike with her sword. She could feel herself being pushed back into a corner. The Stalfos' glowing, hollow eyes seemed to burn into hers. Her back hit the wall. She was trapped.

Suddenly she had an idea. She dropped to the floor as quickly as she could, scrambling through its skeletal legs. She grabbed one of its ankles and pulled as hard as she could. The Stalfos was thrown off balance, and toppled to the floor, its joints shattering. She saw its bones twitch on the ground and knew it wouldn't be down for long.

Link was having trouble of his own. The Stalfos just kept coming at him and seemed to block every attack.

Something flew through the air and struck the Stalfos square in the skull. It froze.

"Hey!" Link heard a voice say. "Over here!"

Link and the Stalfos both turned away. Malon was waving her arms in the center of the room. Was she crazy? The monster charged at her and she sidestepped it. Its spine and ribs were now exposed to Link. He lunged for it, understanding her plan now. Its bones shattered under the weight of the Master Sword.

"The other one's not down," Malon said, breathlessly. "My sword – I – I couldn't hurt it." The Stalfos Malon had tripped was beginning to reassemble itself. She saw the femur she had chucked at the other skeleton begin to skitter across the floor. She snatched it, wrestling desperately to keep it from reuniting with the rest of its body. "Link, now!" she called.

Link rushed at the crippled Stalfos. It thrashed around on the ground, unable to stand without its missing leg bone. Link bashed its head in with the flat side of his sword, smashed its ribs, its arms, its spine. Finally, it lay still. Malon dropped to her knees with a sigh. The Stalfos femur crumbled to dust in her hand. She grinned up at Link, breathing heavily.

"Are you... are you okay?" he said, panting slightly.

"Fine," she laughed. "Just- just out of breath." A few stray red hairs were sticking to her face.

Something was beginning to materialize in the center of the room – a chest. Without the Stalfos, the spell concealing it was broken.

"Another key," Link said. He tossed it to Malon and she slipped it onto her belt.

"Ready to move on?" she asked, peeling her sweaty hair out of her face.

He nodded, holding out his hand to help her up.

They headed back to the main room of the temple and attempted to unlock the chains barring their passage through the western door, but neither of the keys they'd found fit the lock.

"What do we do now?" Malon said, leaning against the door. The temple air felt dead inside her lungs.

"Er..." he scratched his head nervously. His eyes caught hers in the dim light and his heart jumped up into his throat. She was sweaty and her face was smudged with dirt, but she still looked beautiful to him.

"There's one way we haven't tried," Navi said, bobbing up and down. "It's blocked off."

"Blocked off how?" Link said, allowing himself to rest for a moment against the stone railing.

"With a block, idiot," Navi said dryly.

"Maybe we can move it," Malon suggested. She brushed some dirt off her tunic, though after being splattered with blood and spider guts it was a futile gesture.

"There are markings on it," Link said as they approached the huge stone block. He squinted.

"Hey..." Navi said. "Isn't that the same design that's on the Door of Time?"

Link rummaged for a moment in his bag and pulled out his ocarina. Malon watched in amazement as the block began to glow blue, then disappear.

"How'd you learn to play, anyway?" she asked, wondering if Link had somehow been indoctrinated into some secret musical society that had taught him all the magical songs he seemed to know.

"Saria taught me," he said simply.

"The girl we're here to rescue?"

"She's my best friend."

Best friend... Malon didn't have a best friend, unless horses counted. Aside from Link, her cousins, and a few kids from the castle town, she hadn't known many people her age.

Light poured in at them as Link opened the door. They found themselves in a courtyard, blinking under the sudden light. Link breathed deeply. Fresh air had never tasted so good.

Malon felled the big Deku Baba as Link dispatched the Octorok spitting stones at them from the water. Once the yard was cleared, Malon knelt to drink from the stream.

"It looks like the water's flowing from under the wall here," she said, pointing. "Maybe we could swim under and see where it takes us."

Link shook his head.

"There's no way to know if you'd be able to come up for air," Navi explained.

"We need to go that way," Link said, pointing to the far wall. Malon looked up. Vines led up the wall to an alcove, nearly two stories off the ground. She blanched.

"What's wrong?" Navi asked.

"You're afraid of heights," Link said quietly. He'd noticed in Kakariko Village, where so many stairways were built directly into the cliff faces, how she'd deliberately stayed as close to the wall as possible and would never look over the edge. "You can do it," he said. "Just keep climbing and don't look down."

It didn't bother Link to look down while he was climbing, but he did make the mistake of looking up. Malon had started up the wall first, and her round, firm buttocks were directly in his line of sight. Link wondered if Malon looked like a Kokiri without clothes on or if... he didn't know. He'd never seen a Hylian girl naked. He felt blood rush to his face at the thought – and to other places as well.

But suddenly, he was falling. Distracted, he'd allowed a Skulltula to knock him off the wall. He hit the ground with a thud, sending a shuddering shock of pain through his whole body.


He groaned, unable for a moment to move.

"Are you okay?"

He sat up, slightly dazed.

"Get up," Navi hissed, flitting back and forth around his head. "And for Din's sake, can't you keep your eyes to yourself?"

"Soo... we're here?"

"No, we're here. We just came from over there."

"You're holding it upside down."

"I am not!" Link pulled the map away indignantly.

The wicked laughter of the orange-flamed Poe sister ricocheted off the walls as she vanished from portrait to portrait. Their swords couldn't slice the canvas, nor could they remove the frames from the wall. The ghost's taunting was grating on their nerves – Navi included.

"Well, either way," the fairy said, flitting back and forth in agitation, "we're heading into that central room, right?"

Malon nodded. Strands of her hair were falling out of her red braid and getting in her face. Link's blue eyes had drifted away from the map and towards the door in front of them. He had a feeling there was a difficult fight behind that door.

When they felt rested enough (and could bear the snickering ghost no longer) they crossed into the next chamber, a round room with a hole about two yards across in the center of the floor. Malon was relieved that it wasn't under the dizzying spell of the Wallmaster. The twisted corridor had given her such terrible vertigo that she'd had to be led along by the hand with her eyes closed.

As they stepped into the room, iron bars slammed down over the door, blocking their exit. In the dim light, they could just make out an armored figure rising from the dust on the other side of the room. Another Stalfos.

Malon put her sword away. It was useless to her here. "I'll try to distract it," she said. "Just... don't let it kill me." She flashed a smile that seemed even more dazzling and white against her dirty face and scabbed lip. Link nodded, his heart jumping a bit, and they both took off running. Link met the monster head-on, small sparks flying from the forceful meeting of their swords. The Stalfos leapt away nimbly with a low growl that a creature with no windpipe shouldn't have been able to make. Link made a slash for the creature's legs, but the Stalfos blocked it. Link put up his shield just as the crooked skeleton-sword came down on him. He felt the impact rattle all the way up his arm. Suddenly the Stalfos turned away – Malon was throwing rocks at it. Link brought the Master Sword down on the Stalfos' back as heavily as he could. As the creature swung around wildly, the hilt of its sword struck Link in the side of the head. He stumbled, dropping his sword and falling to one knee.

Malon was still throwing rocks, but it didn't seem to phase the Stalfos now that it had easy prey in front of it. Thoughts raced through her mind like flashes of lightning, and everything seemed to move in slow motion. The Stalfos was raising its sword again, but Link still wasn't standing, she had to do something...

Link heard the sound of something shattering, and a sliver of something flew past his face, grazing his ear. The Stalfos roared in indignation and turned away. Link realized that Malon had thrown a jar at it. He looked at the monster, then at the gaping hole in the floor just a few feet away. Hardly giving himself time to think, he lunged at the monster, ramming it with all his weight. It toppled over the edge and met its demise with an unholy crunch.

Link sighed and let himself go limp on the dirty floor for a moment, then began to pick himself up with a groan.

"Link! Watch it!"

The room's central platform came crashing down, carrying two more of the cursed knights. There was a groan of fatigued wood and Malon thought for a second that the whole room was going to cave in on itself.

"Hell," Link said to himself.

"Get up!" Navi shrieked. He dragged himself up off of the ground, his body whining in protest, and managed to get his shield up just in time to block the monster's crooked sword. He took an arching swing at the monster's lower legs. He got lucky and his blade struck bone. The Stalfos fell, crippled, and he broke its bones with the Master Sword.

Meanwhile, the gauntlets Malon had taken off the dead man were saving her life. The Stalfos was upon her before she had the chance to draw her sword to defend herself, and all she could do was put her arms up and hope that the Goron's Bracelet gave her enough strength to resist its attacks.

"Link!" she screamed. "Help!"

She felt the blows shuddering through her, and her arms seemed to weaken with each impact. Strong or not, her joints could only handle so much.

The Stalfos apparently heard Link coming, because it spun around to face him. Link parried just in time and the Stalfos leaped over his head with an unearthly groan. Malon stumbled backwards. She was running out of adrenaline. She saw Link chase after it, having a hard time matching its agility. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move.

Link turned as the Stalfos finally fell, only to see Malon tackle the other one, the one he thought he'd killed.

"They must be linked by some spell," Navi called. "Kill the other one fast!"

Link was more than happy to oblige. Malon had somehow managed to wrestle its shield away, so it was left defenseless. Finally, they were both dead, and their bones crumbled into dust on the floor.

"Oh man," Malon said, short of breath. "Fuck those guys."

And Link, who didn't smile much, smiled. In fact, he was so surprised by it that he didn't realize until after the fact that he had put his arms around her, and she had returned the gesture.

Little by little, they made their way through the rest of the temple. Link proved to be hopelessly inexperienced with a bow, so Malon, who had done archery for sport since she was very young, had taken over the responsibility. As they rode the elevator down to the basement, Link wondered how he would have fared without her. She'd been able to fire an arrow through a torch's flame into a switch from a moving platform when he could barely shoot straight, and she had jerked him out of the way just in time to save him from being crushed by a falling ceiling. Now, she was helping him push the walls of a rotunda that he might not have been able to move himself. Finally, they stood before a massive door, and Malon held the key in her hand.

"What do you think is on the other side?" she asked, turning the golden, bejeweled key over in her hands.

"Something big," Navi said, bobbing warily.

"Saria," Link murmured. He was still hoping that they would find her behind that door, alive and unharmed. But his past experiences taught him that the most terrible monster of them all would be behind this last door, the last sleeping guardian of the temple. If Saria had disturbed it... he knew she never carried a weapon other than a slingshot. She would hardly have been a match. Hundreds of horrifying images flashed through his head as Malon turned the key in the lock.

"Are you ready?" Malon asked as the giant door opened.

Link nodded, staring ahead into the gloom. He was exhausted, his whole body ached, but there was no turning back now. They stepped through the door, which slammed down heavily behind them. Link caught his breath, hastily looking back and forth in the low light. The fact that nothing leapt out at them caused him more anxiety than relief. He knew there was something in this room.

As their eyes adjusted to the light, they saw a stairway to their right, leading upwards. They climbed it silently. Malon's breath was shallow and uneasy. She had no idea what to expect, but she could sense Link's tension, and Navi's as well.

They found themselves on a platform emblazoned with the Triforce. The room was octagonal, and beyond the velvet rope marking the edge of the floor, they saw that each wall bore a copy of the same painting – a winding trail lined by twisted, dead trees. Though the air here was so still and stale it was almost choking, the paintings remained miraculously free of dust, as if some ghostly curator had dutifully maintained them.

"There's nothing," Malon said after a few moments. "Nothing's here."

Link felt as though he had been deflated. Where was Saria? Where was the temple's most devilish guardian? And what would they do now, after having come so far only to find nothing?

"Something isn't right," Navi said warily. Link nodded in agreement. He and Malon circled the platform slowly. Perhaps there really was nothing here, after all.

Link sighed, and motioned towards the stairs with a toss of his head. Malon nodded and the pair moved back towards the stairway. But as they approached the threshold, iron spikes shot up from the floor, blocking their path.

Link's hair stood up on end.

Behind them, out of nowhere, a tall, redhaired main on a devilish black stallion had materialized. Malon instantly recognized him as the man who had attacked Link at the castle gates... what seemed like merely days ago, but in fact was seven whole years. Link was frozen in place. He knew that he'd have to fight Ganondorf, he just didn't realize it would be so soon.

But as the horse whinnied and reared up on its back legs, Malon realized the its eyes were milky and dead. The Gerudo man chuckled quietly to himself, and as he reached a hand up to smooth back his hair, his whole face seemed to catch fire, skin and flesh burning and peeling back to reveal an empty, jawless skull with two demonic horns. The horse whinnied again and leapt up into the air, where it levitated effortlessly.

"He's a phantom!" Navi cried, darting back and forth. "An evil spirit from beyond!"

The horse and rider reared up again, in midair, the phantom Ganon laughing again as they disappeared through a portal, into one of the paintings. Link drew his sword, trying to keep calm. Malon stared, frozen in place, as the specter galloped away down the painted path.

"He's coming back!" Navi shouted urgently. "Malon, shoot him! Shoot him!"

Malon drew the fairy bow and her eyes darted wildly around the room, watching for him. Then she saw the horse running back down the path towards them in a different painting. She fired an arrow, but the ghost turned around, fleeing once again.

"It's a trick!" Navi hissed. "There's two of them!" But phantom Ganon had already leapt across the room, dropping a ball of lightning with a deafening crack. Every hair on Malon's body stood on end, but fortunately, both she and Link were unharmed for now. She trained the bow on each painting, watching for some glimpse of the ghostly rider. This time she saw the vortex start to open with a rush of wind and purple smoke, and as her arrow struck home the rider was sucked back into the painting with a grunt of pain. Her heart was pounding so hard she thought it would explode from her chest. With the help of Link and Navi's watchful eyes, she sunk a second and a third arrow into the phantom as it attempted to emerge from the painting.

As the third arrow struck, the black horse threw its rider, running back into the painting alone. Ganon hung in the air before them for a moment, his body dangling limply like a rag doll. Then he spun his heavy staff around and lobbed a sparkling ball of light across the room. Link and Malon both leapt aside.

"Answer his magic attack with an attack of your own," Navi whispered to Link.

"What does that mean?" he hissed back, putting up his shield, but the fairy had flitted away. He felt the attack strike his shield, tossing sparks up into his eyes. He reeled backwards, temporarily blinded, and when he opened his eyes, he saw another ball tearing through the air towards him. Hardly even thinking, he batted it away with his sword. To his surprise, the magical attack bounced off, careening away towards the wall, where it left a scorch mark on the wall.

The phantom turned towards Malon, who was trying to draw her own sword to defend herself with. The attack struck her with the blade halfway out of the scabbard, and rather than deflecting away from her, the metal conducted the lightning straight into her body. She screamed, feeling as if her whole body were on fire, and staggered backwards. Link turned to see her fall back against the velvet rope, where she seemed to balance for a split second before tumbling over it, off of the platform.

"No!" he shouted. He ran to where she had fallen, rolling to dodge another ball of lightning. His eyes combed the ground below, but it was too dark to see anything.

"Watch out!" Navi shrieked, too late. Phantom Ganon's attack struck Link square in the back and he writhed in pain, his muscles twitching involuntarily. He staggered to his feet, using a metal post for balance, and turned to face his opponent. He tasted blood in his mouth and his body tingled. This time when the lightning flew, he was ready for it, and he knocked it back towards its caster. The phantom fell to the ground, electricity crackling over its body, and Link rushed forward, striking out with his sword. He only got one hit in before the spirit revived itself and cast another glowing orb towards him. Unprepared, Link was struck again and he fell to the floor, unable to keep himself upright.

"Get up, get up, get up!" Navi called frantically, spinning around his head at a dizzying pace. He managed to sit himself up just in time to roll out of the way of another spell. Dragging himself to his feet, Link raised his shield and kept a watchful eye on the floating phantom. He hit it away with his sword, and it flew into one of the paintings, which smoldered for a moment and then began to burn.

Malon was slipping in and out of consciousness. She had fallen six or seven feet from the platform and then continued to roll down the stairs. She now lay splayed near the bottom with her head at an unnatural angle. She seemed detached from her body, and though she wanted to get up, she couldn't move. She heard Link screaming in agony, and she knew it was a familiar voice, but she couldn't make sense of anything. Darkness encroached upon her, fingers of black fog that seemed to be covering her vision from the insides of her eyes. She drifted away again.

Link's whole body was shaking as he swung his sword. The apparition of Ganon had caught on to his tactic and now would volley the lightning right back at him, over and over until one of them was hit. The Master Sword was dragging on the ground behind him as he rushed towards the fallen phantom. With the last of his strength, he stabbed the blade into Ganon's ghostly flesh.

The phantom Ganon flew through the air, dislodging itself from the Master Sword, still twitching from the electric shock. Link stared, unable to think, as the demon hung in the air like the marionette it was, and slowly began to burn. Link's knees gave way and he collapsed in a heap on the ground.

"Hey kid, you did quite well..." said a familiar voice, a voice that would have sent shivers down Link's spine if he had been capable of any feeling. "It looks like you may be gaining some slight skill..."

The purplish vortex opened up in the floor below the burning phantom of Ganon. Link was sure that he was going to die.

"But you have defeated only my phantom... When you fight the real me, it won't be so easy!"

Link found himself laughing, though it burned in his chest.

"What a worthless creation that ghost was!" said the disembodied voice of Ganondorf. "I will banish it to the gap between dimensions!"

Link's eyes closed. If Ganondorf had any more to say, he didn't hear it.

Malon lay in the stillness. She could smell something burning. So that was an improvement – she had at least one of her senses.

"Malon?" said a voice. "Malon, please wake up!"

Her eyes flickered open. The glowing ball of Navi was hovering in her vision. She blinked a moment, but seemed unable to do anything else. Navi flitted away.


What had happened to him?

She coughed. Whatever was burning was filling the room with an acidic smelling smoke. The cough seemed to send a shock of feeling through her body. She was lying on her back, with her head somehow below the rest of her... she was confused for a moment, then remembered falling down the stairs. With immense concentration, she managed to flex the fingers in her hand. She felt the hilt of her sword still clutched between them. She squeezed it, and it seemed to give her strength.

With tremendous effort, she managed to sit herself up, leaning against the wall to keep herself upright.

"Navi," she called, weakly. "Navi?" She coughed again.

The fairy zoomed back towards her, flitting back and forth in agitation. "Malon!" she cried. "You're awake!"

Malon nodded weakly, and as she did her neck popped loudly. She winced.

"It's Link," the fairy said desperately, sounding as if she were near tears. "He killed the phantom but he's unconscious... I can't wake him up!"

Malon allowed her head to fall back against the wall for a moment. She could feel nothing but pain. Her hands tightened around the hilt of Din's blade. She didn't know if she could stand, but maybe she could still crawl. Link was the Hero of Time... what would happen to Hyrule if he died?

What would she do if he died?

Every tiny movement was agonizing as she dragged herself up the stairs, and she had to stop to rest several times, but she finally managed to crawl up onto the platform, where she lay still for a moment, panting. The smoke was so thick here it was hard to see, but out of the corner of her eye, she saw the shadowy figure of Link, lying still on the floor. A spark ran through her and she pushed herself up onto her elbows, crawling towards him as quickly as she could.

"Link," she said hoarsely, doing her best to sit up. A bluish glow was emanating from the center of the platform, illuminating his face. "Link, wake up." She coughed, and waved her hand weakly, trying to dispel the smoke. She leaned in towards him, trying to listen for his breathing, but her own breath seemed so loud she couldn't hear anything else. She tried to feel for a pulse at his throat, but her own heartbeat was too tangible for her to be sure if what she felt was his heart or her own. Smoke stung at her eyes, which had begun to tear up. With all the strength that she could muster, she pulled his torso up into her lap.

"Please wake up," she said. She brushed some hair out of his face, then allowed her fingers to follow the lines of his cheek over his jaw and down his neck. His skin was soft and flushed with sweat.

Link's blonde eyelashes began to flutter. "He's waking up!" Malon said, coughing again. Navi swirled around them, shimmering rapidly.

"That blue light," Navi said, "You'll both be safe if you can get into that blue light!"

Link's eyes opened. He stared up at her for a moment, as if unsure of what had happened. "Don't cry," he mumbled as a tear started to roll down her cheek. She didn't know anymore if the tears were from the smoke, or if she were actually crying. All she knew is that her hair had come loose and was trailing over both their faces, that her lips had touched his, that she was kissing him and he was kissing her back. Slowly, his arms came up to encircle her.

They stayed like that for a moment before Malon pulled away from him, blushing. Link was embarrassed but at the same time he wasn't. Finally they managed to drag themselves into the ring of blue light, and then they were floating away, and neither of them felt any pain.

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