The sky glowed deep orange as the dying sun began to set, the smell of burning and death thick in the air. Smoke billowed up into the throne room from below, and little flecks of ash floated gently through the windows like flower petals from hell. The sounds of fighting from down below had begun to dim, but this was not a good sign. It meant that there were few left to fight.

Chusai stood at the entrance to the throne room of Hyrule Castle, the Princess Zelda standing far behind her at the opposite end. The Princess and her bodyguard had attempted to escape through several secret exits, and had found each one blocked. They had fought their way through the invading army to the safest place they could find.

Gritting her teeth, Chusai wondered if the rumors were true; the whispers of intelligence agents over several months that suggested that the one who had broken the Triforce now sought to collect the pieces, starting with the guardian that stood behind her. She knew there was little to no chance of winning a battle against one who wielded the power of the gods; but it was her duty to try.

She heard the jingle of armour, the deep thud of heavy footsteps, moving without any urgency. Only one person was coming up the stairway, but Chusai knew who it had to be. She gripped the hilt of her sword and steadied her Hylian shield, preparing for what she knew was likely her final battle.

The intruder emerged from the balcony, framed in fire behind the huge doorway. He was dressed in black armour edged in silver, with a cape that made him look larger than he really was; already twice as tall as Chusai. His red hair had been woven into a thin crown of bronze, and he looked down upon the last barrier before him with piercing red eyes and a mocking smile. In one hand was a sword nearly as large as himself, which he held casually to his side, fearing no threat from the woman in front of him.

So this was Ganondorf, leader of the Gerudo. Chusai drew in her breath and tightened her grip on her sword, pulling it from its scabbard. The dying light glinted off her shield. "Halt in the name of the Hylian royal family!" she ordered. "I am Chusai Ordana, bodyguard to the Princess Zelda!"

It was just a formality; she didn't really expect him to stop. So she was prepared for the sweeping blow of his sword, raising her shield just in time and staggering back as the two connected.

She leaped forward, swinging, stabbing, slicing. Each and every move she made, he deftly blocked with a flick of his wrist, his sword a constant barrier between her blade and his person. She aimed for his face, the joints of his armor. The few times her blade did connect it rang off his metal shell without scratching him.

He chuckled, a deep rumbling sound that threatened to bring her to her knees. "You fight well," he said, "but you battle someone a thousand years beyond your level."

Chusai said nothing, but continued her attack. Slowly she was being driven backward, feeling her defence erode like a sand castle in the oncoming tide. Still she kept it up, not feeling his blade connect with her own flesh again and again, crimson staining her blue tunic.

He drew his arm back, and with lightning speed, dealt Chusai a blow across the head that sent her flying. Her sword rattled a few feet away. As she painfully picked herself up off the floor, blood running from the gash in her head and dripping into her eyes, she watched him walk slowly, unhurried, toward the Princess.

Struggling to her feet, Chusai grasped her sword and sprinted to the dais of the throne, skidding to a stop in front of Ganondorf.

He stopped briefly, looking down at her with a strange expression. "I admire your loyalty," he told her, "but you cannot stop the inevitable."

They crossed swords, once, twice, three times. Then he made a false pass and thrust into her unprotected chest. Chusai looked down in stupefaction to see the hilt of the sword protruding from her own body. Her sword dropped from nerveless fingers.

He pulled the sword from her and she fell to her knees, blood spurting from the hole between her ribs. As she collapsed to the ground, she silently begged the Princess for her forgiveness, secretly relieved that she could not see Zelda kneel to her conqueror.

She watched listlessly as the pool of blood expanded before her, waiting for the release of death. She could hear voices behind her. She did not care what they said; her role in this was over now.

Light footsteps made their way quickly toward her. Going numb, she still could feel someone turn her over on her back. Someone pressed a bottle to her lips, and cool liquid drained down her throat. She swallowed out of instinct.

An extraordinary feeling came over her, as if she were being pulled from a dark well. The room came sharply into focus, and as she bent her head down to her chest, she could see the gash seal on its own. An empty bottle of healing potion stood next to her.

She looked up to see Zelda at her side, and Chusai smiled in relief; her smile froze as she realized the Princess was not looking at her, but instead had kneeled and bowed her head, eyes closed, toward someone above them.

Chusai stared at her in horror, then turned her head slowly, fearfully, dreading what she was about to see.

Ganondorf sat in the throne of Hyrule, as comfortably as if it had been made for him. "Well, Chusai Ordana?" he said conversationally. "Bow to your King."

Chusai stood. Having been brought to the brink of death, she did not fear it. "I will not," she said in a quiet, firm voice.

"Chusai." The word was an order…and it came from the Princess.

As Chusai stared in disbelief, Ganondorf chuckled. "If you will not obey me, then obey your Princess."

"Your Highness," Chusai protested. "You cannot possibly-"

"Chusai." Zelda's voice was sharper, more urgent. "Obey your oath of protection. I still live, so your role has not yet ended."

Chusai stood, wavering. Doubtless Zelda had some plan in mind, which she intended to carry out even in defeat. With utmost loathing, she kneeled to the ground and bowed her head to the throne.

"I am sorry you did not accept my offer, Princess," Ganondorf addressed Zelda. "It is always open to you, if you wish to take it. I would hate for you to spend the rest of your life hiding in your tower in shame."

"I must follow my own path, ordained by the Goddesses," she replied.

"Very well. You may go."

Zelda stood and turned to leave. As Chusai stood to follow her, Ganondorf spoke. "Where are you going, Bodyguard?"

She stopped, but did not turn. "To fulfil my duty."

She could feel the smile in his voice. "Your duty has changed, Chusai Ordana. You shall serve me from now on."

Chusai turned slowly. "It would seem that you hardly need a bodyguard, least of all one whom you defeated."

"Chusai." Zelda turned around and faced her. "He allowed me to restore your life in return for this."

Clearly looking like she preferred death, Chusai rounded on the Princess. "What purpose does this serve?" she hissed.

Zelda stepped close to her and spoke softly. "Dark times are ahead for Hyrule. I will do what I can to draw the third piece of the Triforce toward me, and out of his hands. In the meantime, I need you to ensure that there will still be a Hyrule left for him to save!"

Speaking louder to address both her and Ganondorf, Zelda said, "You shall serve as his bodyguard and advisor. Please acquaint him with his new kingdom." She turned and left.

"Chusai Ordana." She watched the Princess depart, and then obeyed the order, taking her place standing next to the throne.

By the Goddesses…what can I do?