As his soldiers clash with Cornelius's undead army, Eliwood sees for himself the lengths that Cornelius is willing to go to acquire Hyrule. Cornelius nearly kills Lord Pent in a magical duel and transforms one of his wyvern riders into a monster to kidnap Nils and Ninian for Nergal. Despite these challenges, Eliwood is victorious with the assistance of Hector and his friends. As the battle for Hyrule's freedom reaches its climax, the fighting will determine the future of not only Hyrule and its people, but the future of all Elibe.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: THE DARKNESS OF AMBITION PART THREE
The rooms were dark as part of the wall slid aside in one of the rooms of Hyrule Castle. Lyn peeked out and seeing the cost was clear, stepped out with Shad not far behind. A quick glance revealed that she and her friend had ended up in one of the castle bedrooms.
"A tunnel behind the fireplace… Hmph! It never ceases to amaze me how paranoid some lords can be," Shad commented as the hidden door sealed itself shut. Lyn gave him a flat look.
"You do recall that my grandfather has a tunnel like that in his room, right? It saved his life… Twice," Lyn reminded him flatly. Shad nervously chuckled.
"Ahem, right. Let's find the library," Shad coughed. Lyn nodded and the two moved to the door. Looking through the door, they saw no one was around. Pulling out a candle and conjuring a quick flame for it, Shad led the way through the darkened halls of the castle.
"Do you know where the library is?" Lyn whispered.
"Yes, around this corner," Shad pointed, approaching a junction. As they neared it, a red glow and some voices made the two intruders freeze. Immediately, Shad and Lyn stepped back and quickly bolted through the closest door and locked it. Shad blew out the candle as the two quietly waited for the voices to pass by. Seconds passed like minutes as the two waited quietly for the guards to pass by. They watched anxiously as the light from the guards' torch started flowing beneath the door and then faded from sight as the guards moved on. To be safe, they waited a few minutes before poking their heads out.
"That was close," Lyn sighed as she and Shad stepped out. To their dismay, the hallways were now lit by the torches hanging on the walls.
"It's going to be closer. Those guards must be the ones responsible for lighting the torches after sundown," Shad theorized. Lyn nodded.
"In that case, we better hurry. Where's the library?" Lyn pressed.
"This way," Shad insisted, taking the lead again. Moving swiftly, they darted quietly through the halls until they reached a pair of ornate brass doors.
"This is it," Shad said, grasping the knob of one of the doors. He gave it a quick pull and was dismayed to find it wouldn't give. He then pulled on the other door's knob and found it too was locked.
"This isn't good! The doors are locked!" Shad frowned, glancing around the hallway.
"We can't afford to be caught out here. We have to get in there," Lyn reminded him. It was then more voices could be heard from down the hall.
"Wait! I know! Maybe…" Shad perked up and reached into his shirt and extracted a key hanging on a leather cord around his neck. A quick glance and Lyn could see the bronze handle was crafted to resemble a lion roaring. Without a second thought, he forced it into the lock and tried to turn it but to no avail.
"Hurry Shad! The guards are coming!" Lyn urged quietly.
"I know. Patience," Shad insisted back. He placed his hands around the key's grip and quietly mumbled a spell. To Lyn's amazement, the key briefly glowed with a gentle gold light. While the key glowed, Shad immediately turned the key again and easily opened the lock. The two intruders stumbled into the library and quietly shut the door. Using his key, Shad locked it from their side and sighed in relief.
"What is that?" Lyn asked quietly, pointing at Shad's key.
"A project of my late father's. He always used to forget where he stored the keys to our doors and chests at home so he decided to create a magic skeleton key," Shad explained as he tucked it away, "It's very useful but I have yet to fully master the key's magic."
"Then we are indeed lucky," Lyn smiled.
"Let us hope that our luck holds out in here," Shad prayed, looking at the room before them. Lyn gasped in surprise as she found herself standing in a room lined with nearly a hundred bookshelves, each filled with books and scrolls. Tables and chairs were strewn about the room for the use of the reader and plenty of oil lanterns provided the room with plenty of light to see by. Unfortunately, Lyn could now see why her friends had been skeptical about Shad finding the information they needed.
"There must be thousands of books and scrolls here. How are we supposed to find one piece of information among them all?" Lyn asked, "It'll take years to search all of these."
"Not if you know the right spell. Watch," Shad replied. He closed his eyes in concentration and raised his right hand into the air. Light flashed within his palm and with eyes still closed, Shad waved his arm about, casting the light on the books. Lyn ducked beneath it as Shad turned in a full circle, bathing the whole room in light. The light then faded from his hand and the room. He opened his eyes and scanned the books around him.
"What was that? Another spell of your father's?" Lyn asked. Shad ignored her as he walked through the room, his eyes scanning the books and scrolls throughout the room. Lyn followed him to a back corner of the room where to her surprise a single green book glowed with the light. Shad removed the tome and the light faded from it.
"No. It's one of mine. I find it very useful for my research. Ah, here we go," Shad mumbled, opening the book, "This shouldn't take long so you might as well make yourself comfortable."
"I'll do that after we help the others. Please be swift Shad," Lyn pleaded. Shad nodded, already absorbed in the book. Seeing that she would get nowhere speaking to him, Lyn walked back to the doors they slipped through and sat on a chair near it.
I hope Link's investigation is going better than ours. Lyn sighed, her gaze focused on the doors for anyone who would come to investigate.
Outside Hyrule Castle in the eastern courtyard, a statue of a knight on a horse quivered as it slid back. Link poked his head out and a quick glance around showed him that no one was around patrolling the castle. He pulled himself out and reached in to pull Zelda out of the tunnel.
"No one is around. Our distraction must be working," Link commented.
"So it would seem but let's not let our guard down yet," Zelda insisted, dusting herself off, "We must get to the tomb quickly." The two slid the statue back into place and moved quietly towards the north side of the courtyard where a hedge maze awaited the two. Taking cover near some hedges, Link could make out several guards patrolling in the darkness.
"What do we do? They block the entrance to the tomb," Zelda whispered.
"All by Cornelius's plan I wager. I'll handle this," Link said, reaching for the dark shard in his pouch. Channeling its power, he shifted into his wolf form and crouched low into the hedges. He focused his senses and was instantly granted the ability to sense who was guarding the door.
Hm… Three distinct smells, all armed with silver weapons and thick armor… They're alert as well. This won't be easy, Link processed. Their armor is going to be a problem. A frontal attack will be too dangerous. It'll draw too much attention. With their positions now in his mind, Link carefully crawled through the hedges to the location of the door. It was a statue of an ancient Hyrulian king but Link knew better. The statue in question concealed the door but someone had taken recent liberties with the statue and had wrapped it in at least three different sets of chains, all sealed by one lock.
It would seem Cornelius doesn't want anyone exploring the tomb. Here's hoping Cornelius's men were stupid enough to keep the key with them. Link thought as he crawled back into the maze. He waited in the darkness until a guard walked by. As he did, Link could make out the key ring hanging on his belt. Quietly sneaking up behind him, Link's jaws wrapped around the key ring and a quick tug pulled it from the guard's belt. Key in teeth, Link slipped back into the bushes and back to the statue. Returning to his human form, Link slipped the key into the lock and turned. But to his utter surprise, the lock did not open. Instead, the chains glowed with purple light and a loud whistling sound filled the air. The guards quickly reacted and raced towards the sound.
No! It's some kind of alarm spell. Link realized. He drew his sword and shield just in time to see the guards surround him.
"Halt! Access to this area is forbidden by Emperor Cornelius! Throw down your arms or forfeit your life!" The lead guard ordered, illuminating Link with his lantern, "You! You're…" The guard never finished his sentence as Link pounced on him. He quickly shield attacked his foe before removing his helmet with a helm splitter. The stunned man was too slow as Link continued his attack by slashing at the straps holding up the man's torso armor before stabbing his defenseless back. The knight fell dead to the ground in time for his two friends to try to impale Link on their spears. His shield however protected him from both attacks but nearly knocked him off balance. Link recovered enough to bat one of the spears aside and perform another helm splitter on the second guard. This one was fast enough to prevent the follow up and knocked Link back with the flat side of his spear. Link recovered by rolling but found himself in a corner.
"That's enough! Surrender!" The second guard ordered.
"That's not going to happen," Link growled. Before the guards could make good on their threat, the second guard gasped in surprise before falling to the ground dead. The cause was Zelda, whose royal rapier had penetrated the gaps in his armor. Before the third guard could react, Zelda placed the tip of her rapier at his throat.
"It is you who will surrender," Zelda ordered quietly, "Right?" The guard nervously nodded and dropped his spear and lantern.
"Now, tell us how to open the tomb door," Link commanded, before adding in a low growl, "While you can still speak."
"If I tell you that, I'm a dead man," The guard pleaded, "Cornelius will kill me."
"And if you don't tell us, we'll kill you right now," Zelda hissed, "The tomb door?" The guard sighed in defeat.
"I have it. My friends had false copies linked to a seal that triggers if you use the wrong ones," The guard explained, reaching into his armor. He slowly drew out a different key, this one made of bronze and sporting a red jewel in the grip. Link seized the key and Zelda promptly bashed the guard in the head with the hilt of her blade. The guard fell unconscious.
"Thanks," Link replied sarcastically, looking to Zelda, "You do realize I could've handled them."
"It didn't look that way to me," Zelda replied wryly, "We should tie him up and get moving." Link nodded in agreement as he pulled rope out of his pouch. A quick tie and gag later, the two found themselves at the tomb door. Link slotted in the key and this time the lock fell away easily. With the statue untied, Link and Zelda pushed it aside, exposing a pair of stone doors in the floor. With a mighty heave, Link pulled them open and a gust of stale air rushed to greet them.
"From the look of things, no one's been here in a while," Link noticed, coughing at the thin air. He lit his lantern and with sword in hand, descended into the shadows with Zelda at his heels. The scent of mold, dust, and stagnant water assaulted Link's nose as he descended down the steps and into the first of burial chambers. Rows of shelves for bodies lined the walls, all appearing untouched. Link was unconcerned with these though as he headed towards the back of the room and towards another metal door. The door was rusted shut however and Link was forced to shoulder check it open. The second chamber had more walls lined with graves but also possessed stone coffins lying about. Link glanced down at the floor and saw something he didn't see in the first room. The dust had been disturbed.
"Look at the dust on the floor. Someone's been here recently," Link noticed. Zelda placed a hand on one of the coffins and noticed odd markings on the side between the lid and the casket.
"I see scratches on this one. Could it be…?" Zelda wondered, trying to push open the lid. Link set his lantern down and helped push. The stone casket resisted but eventually it fell away revealing the remains of a person. A few tattered pieces of cloth were the only thing covering them.
"Every member of the Royal Family that dies are buried with their most precious possessions. So where are her belongings?" Zelda wondered.
"It appears Cornelius gained wealth not only from the treasures he hunted but from corpse robbing as well," Link grimaced, looking at the number of caskets behind him. He walked over to the next one and noticed more scratches and footprints near it. He pushed off the lid and found that it too had a corpse with little in the way of clothing or belongings.
"He must've robbed them all," Link said.
"How dishonorable. Not only is that man a traitor, he's a thief as well," Zelda spat angrily.
"But a question remains: The only door to the tomb was sealed, so how did he get in?" Link wondered, looking around. Nothing stood out. Following the dust and prints he was lead to a dead end. Holding his lantern close to the wall, he noticed that the bricks in one part of the wall were a lighter color than the rest. Several cracks between the bricks gave Link a narrow view of the castle dungeons on the other side of the wall.
"It would appear that he made his own door," Link announced, "He had his men open their own way into the tomb from the dungeons. When he got what he needed, he sealed it back up again."
"But what of Ganondorf? Did Cornelius find him?" Zelda asked, looking to the end of the room where a third door rested. This door was even more ancient than the last. Passing through it, Link's gaze followed Zelda's to a single casket at the third room's end. They walked over to it and nervously opened it. Link's blood chilled at the sight. Inside the case was nothing but a faint outline of a human body formed by dried blood.
"…He's gone. Ganondorf's body is gone," Link breathed.
"But does that mean Cornelius has it? Does he have the Triforce of Power?" Zelda wondered.
"I hope not but it would appear to be so… But the only way to know for sure would be to face him," Link insisted. The mark of the Triforce glowed on the back of Link and Zelda's hands then began to glow, drawing their attention.
"Something is wrong… My Triforce of Wisdom is resonating," Zelda said, concentrating, "I sense powerful dark magic…" A tingling sensation filled Link's body as he too sensed the dark magic as well.
"I sense it as well. We must go. Eliwood needs us," Link insisted.
Back on the battlefield, things were not faring well. Eliwood and Hector's anguished cries filled the air as Cornelius sent them flying with his magic.
"You may have stopped Vaida but you will not stop me," Cornelius declared, "I'm simply too powerful for you." Cornelius's words only made the two lords angrier as Ninian's magic wrapped around them once more, speeding them up as they charged once more. Their weapons flashed at speeds unknown to the two of them, but they were either blocked by Cornelius's shield or easily parried by his blade.
"You are skilled," Cornelius admitted, backing away from the two of them, "However…!" Dark magic focused itself into his sword as Cornelius pointed it at Eliwood.
"Without your friend, you're nothing!" Cornelius roared, changing targets. He moved his sword, pointing it at Ninian and launched a focused blast at the dancing girl.
"Ninian! Look out!" Eliwood warned but the warning came too late as the beam struck Ninian in the chest. The girl cried out in pain as the black magic wrought havoc on her life energy. Black sparks ran across her form as she fell to the ground.
"Ninian!" Nils cried out, kneeling at his sister's side, "Speak to me!"
"Nils! Get Ninian out of here!" Hector commanded. Her spells faded away and Cornelius couldn't help but smile cruelly as he pressed his advantage. Eliwood and Hector were hard pressed to hold back Cornelius's powerful attacks. Even Hector, the big brute that he was, was finding difficulty in blocking Cornelius's mighty blade. Ultimately, Cornelius blocked a combined attack by the two of them and knocked them off balance. He took a powerful swing at both of them. Hector barely managed to get his axe up in time but Eliwood lost his sword entirely. Cornelius saw this and viciously stabbed at him. Eliwood nimbly dodged the first thrust but gasped in pain as the blade dug into his right side. The sight of Eliwood's blood encouraged Cornelius further as he swung his blade in a vicious upward slash. The blade itself missed but a quick pulse of magic sent Eliwood flying. Crippled with injuries and exhaustion, Eliwood couldn't move as Cornelius moved in for the kill.
"No!" Hector shouted, firing a bolt of lightning from his magnetic gauntlet. Cornelius saw it coming and ducked under the bolt as he charged Hector. Hastily, Hector brought up his axe but it was knocked aside. With both hands free, Hector tried to grapple Cornelius. A quick burst of magic however froze Hector in his place, paralyzed. Cornelius sheathed his sword long enough to grab Hector's arm.
"Valdez's toy won't help you here," Cornelius hissed, tossing Hector effortlessly over his shoulder. The paralysis wore off as Hector flew through the air. The blue-haired lord hit the ground and bounced once before coming to a stop. Blood flowed from fresh cuts on his face from the impact as he pulled himself to his feet. Behind him, Eliwood groaned as he tried to find the strength to get back up.
"You fools, just give in! You've lost!" Cornelius declared.
"Not yet!" The warriors turned in time to see the massive form of Darbus rolling headfirst at Cornelius. Ralis was right behind him, fishbone sword in hand. Cornelius sidestepped the massive Goron's attack only to be forced to clash blades with Ralis. Darbus unrolled and unleashed his massive fists on Cornelius's shield. Despite his overwhelming strength, Cornelius stood firm under the force of the blows.
"For the crimes against our people, you will be stopped!" Darbus grunted, punching harder and harder.
"That's right! We will not allow the likes of you to subjugate any more of the innocent!" Ralis vowed. Ralis ducked another swing and thrust at Cornelius's exposed knee. A gasp of pain escaped Cornelius's lips as blood began to flow from underneath his armor. The general fell to one knee as Darbus put all his strength into one vicious punch. The blow cracked Cornelius's shield as the general forced himself to roll with the impact to avoid injury. The Goron and Zora leaders readied themselves once more but Cornelius would have none of it.
"Enough!" Cornelius bellowed. His hand glowed brightly as he sent the combatants flying with his magic. Ralis and Darbus hit the ground, knocked unconscious. Pain shot through Eliwood and Hector's bodies as they tried to get up, still wanting to end the fight.
"How dare you draw my blood…! You are beneath me! All of you! And like all things beneath me…" Cornelius roared. His speech however was abruptly ended as the energy running through his body suddenly vanished. A sense of weakness ran through Cornelius's body as he watched the mark of the Triforce vanish from his hand.
"What? My power…! This can't be!" Cornelius gasped, staring in shock at his hand. Seeing that he was distracted, Hector tightened his grip on his axe.
"Eliwood! His power is gone! Now is our chance!" Hector urged, getting back up. Eliwood nodded as he pulled himself up and drew his blade. Cornelius however was not to be caught off guard as he readied his broadsword. Blades locked once more but Cornelius proved to be the stronger opponent as he effortlessly pushed aside Eliwood and Hector.
"You fools! I still have my own magic to call upon. Even without the Triforce, I'm still more than a match for any of you," Cornelius growled.
"Then why don't you face me instead?" A new voice asked calmly. The combatants turned and saw none other than Link standing behind him, sword and shield drawn.
"Everyone scatter! Do not let them trap us!" Louise shouted, firing another arrow into a hapless soldier. Since the enemy had charged them, Louise's team of archers were hard pressed to keep their enemies at bay. Arrows were becoming scarce as the archers nimbly dodged charging enemies before countering with another deadly salvo. Most of the cavalry had been dispatched but foot soldiers were proving to be troublesome as Louise was forced to use her silver bow as a staff to block yet another sword strike. Nicks and cracks were taking their toll on her weapon as she slid away and batted her foe in the face with it. A quick arrow dealt with her attacker. A quick glance around revealed the Louise's force was outnumbered two to one. Half of the mages that had accompanied them had injuries from the fall, those that could stand were barely holding their own. The archers were the ones taking the beating however as Louise watched another archer get overwhelmed and struck down. Two of Louise's arrows slayed the attackers but as the string in her bow snapped back, the cord snapped, leaving Louise with a broken weapon.
"Not good," Louise remarked, looking up in to block a swordsman's blade. The enemy launched into a flurry of stabs that the noble woman could barely block. Ultimately, the bow itself gave out, leaving Louise completely disarmed. She jumped back and drew an ornate dagger from her belt. The soldier grinned mercilessly as he pressed his advantage. The woman however was very agile, dodging every blow with feminine grace. The soldier ultimately went for a powerful thrust, giving Louise an opening to slide into his guard and plunge her blade into his collarbone. The man shouted out in pain as Louise wrenched her blade further into his body. Blood spurted from the wound but Louise didn't even flinch as the man fell dead. She pulled her blade out and turned to look for another opponent only to freeze in horror. One of the enemy soldiers had made their way to Pent's crumpled form. Louise made a mad sprint towards her husband's attacker only to be blocked by two more soldiers. They grabbed the frantic woman's arms as the soldier raised his spear to strike the injured man down.
"Pent! No!" Louise screamed, struggling to escape. A stray fireball was the fallen man's salvation as the soldier shouted out in pain from a sudden strike to the side. The surprised soldier turned in time to face Ilia's sword which plunged into his neck. The soldier fell dead as a flash of bright light engulfed the battlefield, blinding all of the fighters. Fortunately, Louise and Ilia's forces recovered first and took full advantage to incapacitate a few of the enemy soldiers. Louise wrenched herself loose and stabbed one guard while kicking the other in the chest. A pair of fireballs from Ilia dealt the killing blows to the two men. Louise pulled her knife out of the scorched corpse as both groups hastily regrouped with their respective armies. A quick look showed that the number of fighters had evened out. Louise's forces however were significantly weaker as many of her people were injured or barely standing. She herself was weaponless and many of the archers had few to no arrows remaining. What few mages she still had were also exhausted, both from the initial surge against Cornelius but also from the narrow escape they had avoiding his wrath. Only Ilia seemed to have any strength left in her as she stepped forward with sword in hand. One of the enemy soldiers stepped forward. His ornate armor showed he was clearly a man of higher rank than the other men.
"Your strength is impressive. I would not have thought a force so small could stand for so long against so many of my men. My respect to your general," The leader greeted.
"And to you as well. It would seem you lack the clumsiness of your comrades," Ilia acknowledged.
"My men and I have served since the days of good King Harkinian. Our skill has been tempered with time," The leader said proudly.
"Not tempered enough. You were unable to prevent this from happening," Ilia said coolly.
"Though you are traitors to the realm, your words hold some truth to them. However as you are no doubt aware, my loyalty is to my new sovereign, one of greater strength than Queen Zelda. It is my hope that with your surrender you will come to see the truth of this," The leader declared, "At the very least, you will have some time to contemplate the results of your poor decisions before Emperor Cornelius decides your future."
"Hah! You serve a false king! There is no honor in this!" Ilia countered, a furious wind surrounding her, "Everything your king has done has threatened the peace of Hyrule, nay the world! I will not allow you to get away with this, even if I must defeat you all alone."
"And just how do you intend to that? Your forces are decimated, barely standing enough to be a threat," The leader scoffed.
"You forgot something though… Or perhaps you didn't know… I'm the wife of the Hero of Twilight," Ilia growled, a blue aura filling her entire body. The enemy soldiers stepped back in surprise as Ilia summoned a powerful spell. Snowflakes formed around the combatants as an icy chill filled the air. The leader recovered first, charging headfirst with his sword in hand. Ilia's grip on her blade tightened as she countercharged. She leaned back to dodge the leader's sword and magically jumped over him. She landed in the middle of the enemy soldiers as her aura flared. With a loud cry, she thrust her hands to the sky before swinging them outwards in a wide circle.
"Fimbulvetr!" She cried, a shockwave of ice erupting from her body. The enemy soldiers, save for the leader, cried out in agony as they were flash frozen. Entombed in ice, they were frozen in place as red fire engulfed Ilia's blade. With a mighty cry, Ilia swung her blade in a circle, imitating her beloved's spin attack. A circle of red fire erupted, shattering the helpless soldiers into meaty pieces of ice. The leader of the enemy soldiers swallowed nervously as the flames died and Ilia pointed her blade at him.
"Surrender," Ilia ordered quietly. The leader dropped his sword and fell to his knees in surrender. Two of Louise's people restrained the man as Ilia's façade of toughness fell away. The girl fell to her knees, out of breath from the efforts of her magic.
"It's over," Louise said with finality, moving to join her husband.
"Not yet," Ilia said, looking towards the southeast.
"So the hero returns at last… I was hoping for the chance to kill you this day," Cornelius sneered, turning all his focus on Link.
"Sorry to disappoint you but I still have much to do. Today is not my day to die," Link growled. Link's taunt had the intended effect as Cornelius swung his mighty sword towards him. Link retaliated by shield attacking the blade, stunning Cornelius long enough for Link to jump over him in a helm splitter maneuver. The blade missed Cornelius's head but was on target to cut off his left ear. The usurper cried out in pain at the first blood and lashed out by firing a sword beam from his sword. Link backflipped over the attack and landed in a stance where his legs were spread wide and he crouched low. He took a two-handed grip on his blade as it slowly glowed with energy. A few undead soldiers that still lingered gathered protectively in front of Cornelius as he felt up his wounds.
"Argh! Soldiers! Get him!" Cornelius commanded. Before they could make good on the command, Link let out a powerful yell, jumped towards them, and slammed his blade into the ground. The jump strike created a powerful shockwave that knocked all the soldiers down and stunned Cornelius enough to make him drop his tower shield. Link used the opportunity to throw two bombs at the undead, blowing them to pieces.
"No more cowering behind your pawns. Let's finish this man to man," Link challenged, pointing his blade at Cornelius. Cornelius let out an anguished cry as he took a two-handed grip on his blade and charged Link again. Their blades locked but Link was stronger as he forced the blade up and away from him. Cornelius was open for Link to swing at his head again, this time leaving a deep gash on his face. Cornelius backed away and felt the blood on his face. The sight of his blood on his hand enraged him further and he let loose a flurry of strikes that forced Link to block with his shield.
"I will… not be… defeated… by a peasant… like you!" Cornelius declared angrily, the force of his blows increasing.
"Oh yeah? Well this peasant didn't violate Ganondorf's body to get the Triforce!" Link countered.
"What are you babbling about? I got this power from that bitch Sonia! She said she had no use for it so I seized the opportunity before me to get real power!" Cornelius replied, confused by Link's words, "After all, why serve a queen who can't rule? I deserve this land and I will have it!" Seeing Link struggle, Eliwood tried to stand only to fall on his face again.
I have to do something. Eliwood frowned, but how can I help when I can barely move? Eliwood wearily watched as sparks flew when Cornelius's blade continuously made contact with Link's mirror shield. The shield reflected the sparks, briefly intensifying their light with each hit. Seeing the light flashes, Eliwood became inspired and reached for the fire rod. Holding the rod up, he concentrated and launched a fireball into the sky. The flame's light did little to distract Link. However, the flame's light on the shield was more pronounced. It reflected off the shield and directly into Cornelius's face as a bright red flash. Cornelius recoiled in agony, giving Link the opening he needed to remove the man's sword hand from his arm. The sword clattered against the ground as Cornelius fell to his knees. Link's blade rested at his throat as Cornelius realized he was defeated. Cornelius closed his eyes in defeat as Link slit his throat.
"And thus your reign ends," Link whispered. As the life left Cornelius's eyes, four streams of light shot out of his wounds. The battle ceased as the three lights took the form of three creatures. The first was a monkey with a massive tail holding tightly onto a ball of light. The second was a great bird which cradled a ball of light in its talons. The third was the familiar form of Lanayru and the last was Ordona. The lights of the four light spirits illuminated the battlefield, eradicating what undead soldiers remained. As the undead vanished, color began to return to the landscape to the joy of the living soldiers that had survived the conflict. The cleansing light of the spirits seemed to give strength to the survivors. It allowed Eliwood and his friends to stand. The siblings hid fearfully behind Eliwood as the light spirits floated over to the heroes.
"Ordona, Faron, Eldin, Lanayru… It's the light spirits," Link gasped.
"Noble warriors from another land… By your actions, our powers have been restored and we have been set free from this one's control," The spirits said.
"Restored? Control? You were being manipulated by Cornelius? How is that possible?" Eliwood asked.
"It was by the actions of a dark and evil man, one whom you have encountered before," Lanayru replied, "The one who seeks to channel the power of dragons."
"Nergal! How far will his treachery go?" Hector spat.
"To think he could bend the wills of the light spirits and masquerade their essences as the Triforce… Just how strong is he?" Eliwood wondered.
"That is something you will find out in the days to come. By the efforts of Nergal, he threatened to throw the balance of this land out of order. However, now that you have defeated Cornelius, the land will eventually return to its original state," Ordona explained.
"But for that to happen, this fighting must end. The peoples of this land must make peace," Faron said.
"And we will. I swear it," Link promised.
"I know you will Hero of Twilight. However, before that, there are things you must do. You seek the Master Sword's resurrection do you not?" Eldin asked.
"Yes we do," Eliwood replied, stepping forward, "Do you know how this is to be done?" The spirits nodded as one.
"Yes. Take the three Pendants of Virtue into the depths of Faron Woods," Faron explained.
"That will be a problem. We do not have all three," Hector pointed out, "we only have two in our possession."
"Then our revival was not an act of chance. For we are the guardians of the final Pendant of Virtue," Ordona announced. The lights of the four spirits intensified as each spirit summoned a green sphere from within the lights they protected. The green sphere hovered over Link and exploded in a flash of light, exposing a circular emerald set in a golden, y-shaped frame with matching chain. Link held out his hand and the pendant gently floated into his hand.
"This pendant, the Kokiri Emerald, once belonged to the guardian people who lived in the forest. When they met their end in the Scouring, the gemstone was used to restore my forest. At that time, we took possession of the stone in hopes that its power would not fall into the wrong hands," Faron explained, "But now its power is needed once more. Take the three pendants to the Temple of Time. It is there you will find the Master Sword. Within the ruins, use the pendants to open the door to the ancient world. It is there you will find what you need to restore the blade."
"I understand," Link assured them, "And thank you."
"But be warned young hero – Evil still lurks in the forest. Use caution for the darkness is still hunting you," Ordona warned before the four spirits vanished in four flashes of light. As they vanished, Marcus rode up to them as did numerous soldiers.
"Lord Eliwood! Are you OK?" Marcus asked.
"I'll live. What of the enemy?" Eliwood asked back.
"We've routed the last of the undead and are pushing into the city," Marcus reported.
"Good. Split our forces in three. One force is to search the city for any stragglers. The second group is to find our friends in West Hyrule Field and make sure they are safe. Let the last move into the castle itself and seize it," Eliwood ordered.
"Of course milord but what of you and the others? Surely you need medical assistance!" Marcus protested.
"We'll see to Eliwood and the others. You need to get into the city before they fortify it against us," Link insisted, gesturing towards the returning Gorons, "The Gorons will assist me."
"Marcus, do not concern yourself over me now. You need to secure the city. We'll be fine. I promise," Eliwood pressed. With great reluctance, Marcus nodded in agreement.
"If you say so milord. Everyone, let's ride!" Marcus shouted, urging the soldiers forward. Link moved to Eliwood's side as the horsemen vanished into the city. As they did, exhaustion filled Eliwood anew as he fell to his knees. Link was there to catch him.
"We'll handle things from here Eliwood. You just rest now," Link assured him.