"You pronounced your words as if you refuse to acknowledge the existence of either shadows or evil. But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living things beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid." ~Woland, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

My God I've missed you guys and this story. This is dedicated to my sister Selestyna Arpa364. Feel better, okay sis? I love you very much. After too long, I give you:

Chapter Twenty Eight

I feel her. I shivered as the Triforce on the back of my hand seemed to tremble with excitement and close proximity. Zelda was here. Unfortunately, that meant Ganondorf was, too.

Link was silent and serious. His eyes were bright and alert. Finally he stopped focusing on Midna and me, and finally thought of himself, and the reason he was on this quest. Zelda. It was always Zelda. Now, this quest was about him, and the one he loved. It was comforting that he never once waivered in his fidelity or love for Zelda. He was dedicated to her, and this adventure proved it.

It shamed me. Here I was upset by something Midna had admitted before I had told her I loved her, and Zelda could be gone forever, yet he never doubted. It made me double sure that I did not deserve Midna's love, or Link's friendship. I was a child.

Yet did admitting it to myself mean I was an adult? I hadn't ever revealed my musings to anyone else, and I felt so young compared to Link and Zelda, but did not admitting my childishness and immaturity and mistakes mean I was becoming an adult? Or was it part of the Triforce of Wisdom that made me think so? Or was I so desperate to deserve Midna and Link that I thought such things?

I shook my head, hard, and followed Link to the drawbridge. The water beneath us was brown, sluggish and disgusting. A rotting smell came from it, and I pinched my nose through my cowl. Link covered his face with his sleeve and peered at the water.

"It was never this filthy while I was here. I made sure that you could see down to the bottom," he gasped, trying not to inhale the stench.

"It's almost as bad as the reekfish," I agreed. Link made a face at me in agreement, and then we saw what had happened. The bridge was blown completely to smithereens, and knowing Ganondorf by reputation, we had no doubt that he had done it, and wouldn't put it past him to poison the water. I tried to longshot across, but it was too far. Link's face darkened in anger as we desperately tried to think of a way to get across to his home. Finally, with an almighty swing, and a loud thunk Link drove the Master Sword deep into the remnants of the bridge. He yanked it free, his jaw set.

"Why" thunk "can't" thunk "it" thunk "be" thunk "simple" thunk "just" thunk "ONCE!" THUNK! For every word, he punctuated it with a swing from the Master Sword, driving it deep into the wood where no ordinary man could hope to pull it.

Midna jumped out of his shadow and put a hand on his shoulder. Before she could say anything though, bright lights shone, and the Sages appeared again.

"Sages! Lend me your power!" Rauru instructed. The Sages made different colored magics in their hands: green magic for Saria the Sage of Forest, blue magic for Prince Ralis the Sage of Water, red magic for Darbus the Sage of Fire, purple magic for Impa the Sage of Shadows, orange magic for Nabooru the Sage of Spirit, and yellow magic for Rauru the Sage of Light. All the magics were absorbed by the magic in Rauru's hands, and with a grunt, he threw the magic in the air, and it flew through the air, hovering over the water, and extending in both directions, finally resting on either bank, right at our feet. It shimmered between the colors of the magics, not quite a rainbow, but like the ever changing colors of oil on water as the sun hits it.

Link and I looked up at the Sages, speechless and thankful. They smiled at us, knowing exactly what we were going to say.

"Go, Prince of Heroes and Savior of Sheikah. You are Hyrule's hope!" Rauru commanded, and the Sages disappeared. My heart sank to somewhere around my liver. The pressure was unnerving. Then my heart rose. Savior of Sheikah. Did my race have a chance!

Confidence restored, we darted across the rest of the bridge. The rain was even worse now. Instead of falling, it began pelting us, like tiny needles. And even though it was almost summer, the rain was freezing cold. I shivered. Why couldn't the weather just stay mild like it had been through most of this quest!

Link and I made it to another set of heavy wooden doors. He threw his weight at the one on the left, I pushed the one on the right. They slowly opened, as if they forgot how. Link and I glanced at each other, our hearts pounding painfully against our ribs, and we walked into the courtyard.

Immediately, the doors we had so painstakingly opened slammed shut behind us, and black magic locked them. Link and I tried opening them again, but they were sealed as if they weren't even doors.

"No going back, now, Link," I said. The words sounded ominous to me. But his face was set.

"I've been ready for this since I ran from the Twilight, Sheik. This is the end," he responded, finality in every word. I nodded. Then I looked at the courtyard. I had never been to the Castle before, through the front gates as myself at least. I was in Zelda when she called on Link before she left for finishing school, but I wasn't dominant that day. But apparently by the look on Link's face, this wasn't his Castle.

In front of us was a tall, imposing statue, intertwining around itself, and topped with a figure of the Triforce. However, the Triforce was broken. Only the Triforce of Power was still intact.

"Seems metaphorical, doesn't it, Sheik?" Link asked, staring at it. I nodded. "This wasn't here before."

"What was it?"

"The courtyard where carriages drove and visiting gentlemen left their horses. In the middle was a white marble fountain, lined in gold. It was in the figure of the Goddesses."

"Grand way to welcome guests, Link."

"It was the only way to welcome guests, Sheik." He looked wistfully at the spot where the fountain used to be. Sadly, he walked away, towards what looked like a doorway leading to extensive gardens. I followed, guessing that he'd know his was around the Castle better than me. Suddenly, we were blocked in together by Twilight pillars, in a very small area. A door opened somewhere, and numerous rat-like sentries swarmed us like flies on a carcass.

"I don't think they were expecting company, Sheik," Link said, drawing the Master Sword which glowed brightly in the gloom of the courtyard. The sentries advanced, and we disposed of them as quickly as possible. We advanced through a gate, and closed the door on the courtyard we had just left. Suddenly, white light from the ground rose up the gate, and spread to the courtyard we had just rid of monsters. The courtyard lit with the pure energy the light gave off, and it glowed. It glowed brighter and brighter till we shielded our faces. When we dared to look, the courtyard we had left was returned to the pristine beauty it had been before. But from the look on Link's face it was different. Slowly, we returned to the courtyard.

It shone. Each leaf, petal, stone, droplet of water, even the ivy climbing one wall, it all shone! It shone like a thousand suns glittered through the flora and exuded pure, bright energy refreshing us. It was as if we had walked into the goddesses' embrace.

Link took a deep breath, his eyes shining like the courtyard. I imitated him, and I felt every shadow in my soul, every hurt feeling, every doubt disappeared, cleared by this miracle of a place. Hope, love, faith, determination, every emotion that I had thought dried up with my helplessness and heartbreak blossomed in my chest anew, completely restored, making me lighter, happier than I had been since my birth. Tears sprang to my eyes; the goddesses had embraced me and restored me. At that moment, I knew that if everything went horribly, horribly wrong, that I would be able to move on, to love again, to live life, to honor the ones I had loved and lost. At that moment, I knew that I finally had broken away from Zelda. I no longer needed her. I was me, Sheik, and I had finally completed myself.

"It's a miracle, Link," I murmured. Midna came out of Link's shadow, breathing deeply too. I hadn't ever seen her so happy, nor so beautiful save that one moment. I saw the princess in her then. My healed heart and soul wished to take her in my arms, but my mind said no. Our quest was peaking, and we couldn't afford distractions. I would tell her after. In the meantime, I let myself gaze at her lovingly, watching hope cross her face when she looked my way. My heart swelled. I loved her more than ever then.

Link took another deep breath, and turned back to the gate. We strode through, healed in body, spirit, heart, and mind. More monsters attacked us, and we fought them easily, our swords strengthened by the light. When the last monster was disposed of, the light shone again, and restored the garden, just like the courtyard. We basked in the light, and went through, deeper into the gardens. Sentries upon sentries swarmed upon us, but with every garden we cleared, more sunlight cleared, and more hope filled us.

After we had rid the entire castle grounds of the darkness (including the tiltyard, lists, stables, and pastures), Link led us up to the grand entry of the Castle. Large, broken Triforces stood there, waiting for us, including some Stalfos. Link plugged his ears and stabbed them through the eye sockets. I had barely drawn my sword.

Link and I pushed our shoulders against the doors, but to my surprise, they swung open easily on well-oiled hinges. Inside was a sad, sorry sight.

The magnificent staircase we stood at the top of was ruined, the marble cracked and crumbling in places. An arrow shot from a balcony or the ruins of the chandelier grazed Link's chainmail. His eyes glittered with anger as he whipped out his bow and arrows and shot the creature down. He aimed around the rest of the hall, and hesitantly took a few steps further in.

"They've defiled my home, ruined my country, and murdered my love. I'll see them pay," Link growled. Midna came out of his shadow surprised, and startled. We exchanged glances. Link wasn't calm and collected anymore. He was stark, raving furious.

I started to follow him, Midna floating into my shadow until Link threw out his arm and caught me in the chest.

"Wait," he whispered. I frowned and listened. I heard distant bellowing, and answering roaring.

"King Bulbin," I whispered to Link. He nodded, and raced forward, which was a big mistake.

The ruined stairs beneath him began to give way, and Link was going down too. Unsure, he turned around and looked at me, but he was already falling. Quickly, I grabbed my whip, flung the end to him, and when he caught it, I warped us to the center of the room.

We sighed in relief until the chandelier above us started clinking. The rumbling throughout the room was getting louder, and a large crack appeared just behind me, zigzagging into the next room, and to the stairs. Midna cried out and her shadowy arm pointed at the ceiling. Link and I looked up, and I felt the color drain from my face.

The chandelier was shaking and the chain holding it up was being strained. With a soft clink I barely heard, it came hurling towards us. I shoved Link backwards as hard as I could and dove to the side, barely missing falling into the crack. The chandelier crashed right where we had been, sending shards of crystal, glass, gold leaf, and brass everywhere. Link and I stood, and looked around. The hall was eerily silent now. There were four doors for us to follow, not to mention the doors leading onto the balconies above us, making a total of seven doors. Link pointed to the one ahead of us, directly in front of the crumbled stairway.

"That door leads to the public rooms, the library, the dining hall, the ballroom, and everything." He pointed to the door to the right of it. "That one leads to the state rooms." He pointed to the door that was on the left side of the room. "That one leads to the private chambers."

"And that?" I asked, gesturing to the small wooden, insignificant door between the public and state rooms.

"Servant entrance. Leads to the kitchens and other places."

I looked at him. "Let's do that one first. Ganondorf won't expect us to go to where the servants worked."

He nodded, and we raced into the room.

It wasn't really a room, it was just a dark, dank corridor that led who knew where. Link pulled out his lantern and we proceeded.

The corridor was lined with doors that had only one room behind them, and they were always empty. We moved quickly and collected anything we may have found need for, like shurikan, arrows, and bottles of magic, but I was uneasy with the lack of monsters. Surely as Ganondorf's seat of power he'd have some servants around to dispatch unwanted visitors?

Unless he wanted us to find him.

We came to the kitchen which was completely empty. We found some bread and a bit of wine and cheese that wasn't spoiled or filled with maggots. Dividing it between the three of us, we thanked the Goddesses that we had come safely thus far and for the food that we had found. I cast a spell, making sure that it wasn't poisoned or anything else foul and we fell on the food like ravenous wolves.

Revived, we continued on, growing more and more uneasy as we passed through the castle undisturbed. Midna fidgeted restlessly in our shadows, and Link was looking more and more on edge the deeper we went and the more we saw. Only the grand hall had been touched. The rest of the castle looked as if it had merely been abandoned. We attempted to bring the light in farther, but it would not penetrate the castle walls. Not even the windows let in light. It was dark, dank, musty, and forbidding.

"Sheik, I think we're looking in the wrong places," Link finally said after we had examined the state chambers. He plopped down onto the floor with a sigh, and a cloud of dust floated up around him. Midna jumped out of his shadow.

"I think you're right, Link. Maybe we should try the dungeons," she suggested, not looking very thrilled.

"No, I don't think so," I added in. They looked at me. "You both already have gone through the dungeons and looked for him there. Obviously, he isn't. If he wants to rule Hyrule, he'll be where he'd set his throne." Realization dawned on Link and Midna's faces.

"Throne room! Just like Zant!" Midna cried. Hope bubbled in my chest. We'd save her still. Link sprung to his feet, and Midna dove into my shadow (making my heart do some strange things in my chest), and we took off running to the grand staircase that would take us to the Hyrule Chapel where Link's throne had stood.

Outside, we heard a roar, loud and close by. Link's eyes narrowed, and his fingers tightened around the hilt of the Master Sword. I drew my sword out, and adrenaline began to pump. My sister was so close, the castle practically abandoned, and the one thing standing between us and her rescue was King Bulbin, a creature whom we had to beat too many times to move on. I saw my frustration doubled in Link's eyes; he was even more impatient to reach her than I was. We quickly made our way up the outer staircase, Link occasionally using the spinner to avoid questionable sections whilst I and Midna squeezed into his shadow, or leapt from shadow to shadow. My palms began to feel moist the farther we climbed. Then when I emerged from Link's shadow, he threw out an arm to stop me from running up the steps. Standing in front of us was King Bulbin, just as ugly and repulsive as he had been when we met him at Arbitor's Grounds.

Link glared at him, and King Bulbin planted himself in the middle of our path, a clear challenge. I pulled my cowl farther up my nose and swung my sword around in a circle ready for battle.

"I'm too close to regaining my kingdom and the love of my life, so don't think this will be an easy battle," Link growled. King Bulbin roared at us, and charged. I sprung to the side and threw three kunai that embedded in his shoulder, ribs, and thigh as Link sliced and stabbed, immediately dodging to the side to roll behind him and cut straight up King Bulbin's back. He roared in anger and swung his club around wildly. Link ducked, but the club connected with my side and I felt ribs crack as I flew down a few steps.

"Sheik!" Midna shrieked, jumping out of my shadow, but I forced her back in as I ran up the stairs three at a time and snapped my chain whip around King Bulbin's ankles to trip him. He went down with a thud and Link used the opportunity to swipe at his back and run across him to stand next to me. Quickly I unwrapped the whip from King Bulbin's legs and withdrew some shurikan, readying myself to jump in the air, and eyeing the shadows where I could hide. King Bulbin stood and turned, eyes blazing. I threw the shurikan and Link shot him with an arrow, rolling to the side and shooting again. I hid in the shadows briefly.

"Midna, stay in here," I whispered. I felt tiny fingers brush my face quickly.

"I'm sorry for everything, Sheik. I am," she said sadly. I caught the fingers in my own and held them to my cowl-covered lips.

"As am I, Midna," I answered, and leapt out of the shadows, heart soaring, blade prepared. I managed to cut into King Bulbin's already injured shoulder and pushed off of him to launch myself over to Link as King Bulbin fell. Link leapt into the air, stabbed King Bulbin in his stomach, and flipped off, performing the landing blow he told me the ghostly vision had taught him once. King Bulbin roared and then wheezed. His enormous head lifted from the ground as he glared at us, and with a sigh that sounded like rocks clanging grinding together, he died, exploding before us, leaving behind a golden key. Link let out a cross between a sigh and a huff and hunched over, his hands on his knees and a relieved look on his face. Midna emerged from the shadows and hugged his neck.

"We're almost there! We're almost there!" She jumped from Link to me, and again my heart flipped as her arms wrapped around my neck, embracing me gentler than she'd hugged Link. I brought my hands up and rested them on her back, wishing that Link would turn his back and not make stupid faces at me involving puckered lips, wide eyes, and silent hysterical laughter. Midna let go and smiled at me, her hand resting on my cowl as if she could caress my cheek. My face heated up and I averted my eyes as Link snorted in the middle of his silent hysterical laughter. Midna let go quickly and smiled, her cheeks flushed. Link picked up the key, and showed it to me.

"This is the key to the chapel. Ganondorf must have holed himself up there. Let's go, Sheik, Midna. Zelda's waiting for us." Link pocketed the key, and we ran up the stairs only to emerge onto a large balcony, flanked by two enormous and intimidating stairways, leading up to formidable locked doors. Our hearts pounding in anticipation, we ran up, inserted the key in the gargantuan lock, and pushed open the door.

The air was still, different from the gusts outside. It was almost as if the world inside the castle was holding its breath, waiting for us. Midna emerged from Link's shadow as we warily moved into the chapel, unable to see through the darkness. My hand scraped against something and I looked down to see the fallen marble head of Nayru. My heart clenched. Heresy.

Link let out a cry and I looked to see where he gaze was directed. Suspended above us limply in the middle of a large Triforce surrounded by damaged statues of the Goddesses, her eyes closed and looking as beautiful as I remembered was Zelda.

Link and I began to rush forward, our eyes fixed on her, but Midna threw out her arms and stopped us, a hard look on her face as she glared at something below Zelda's lifeless form. We looked down and my heart fell, feeling ice cold into my stomach. Boldly sitting on Link's throne was an enormous man dressed in black armor with blood red hair and beard, golden ornaments along his armor and in his hair like a twisted version of a diadem, holding a sword that glowed brightly. He smirked and his low chuckle reverberated around the room, sending chills down my spine and making my hair stand on end. The feeling of pure, cold-hearted evil permeated my skin and I felt the Sheikah Shadow magic begin to roil in rebellion against the unnatural evil. Shadows and darkness are different from each other because while one is natural and neutral, the other can only be pure with the worst intentions.

"Welcome to my castle," he said. His voice was deep and measured, as though he chose his words carefully and he spoke with a strong conviction that indicated he was accustomed to intimidation and total obedience. Link bristled, a chord sticking out of his neck, his anger choking his words as he clenched the Master Sword. Overwhelming hate swelled within me, and I gathered shadows in readiness. Midna floated forward defiantly.

"So you're…Ganondorf," she huffed uninterestedly, as if she had forgotten his name temporarily. Slowly, he got to his feet, still chuckling mirthlessly. He examined us in a bored way, sneering down his nose and letting a bored "hm" escape. Midna went on and I grew afraid for her life; he was very dangerous to rile up. "I've been dying to meet you." She grinned wickedly at him.

Ganondorf stepped forward and the temperature dropped as thunder crashed outside and lightning lit up the room in an eerie way. I clenched my hand around my sword. "Your people have long amused me, Midna. To defy the gods with such petty magic, only to be cast aside…how very pathetic," he growled boredly. I felt Midna tense, and I brushed her fingers with mine, hoping that I would calm her. She remained tense, but did not act to my relief. "Pathetic as they were though," he continued, "they served me well. Their anguish was my nourishment." He raised one enormous arm, reaching towards Midna with an open hand as if he could strangle her. He clenched it in an unrelenting fist and laughed. "Their hatred bled across the void and awakened me. I drew deep of it and grew strong again." Slowly, almost lazily, he lowered his arm, and paced a few steps to his left, his gold eyes never leaving us. "Your people had some skill, to be sure…but they lacked true power." He looked up at Zelda, dangling in midair and his voice lost all amusement as he spoke again. "The kind of absolute power that those chosen by the gods wield." He whipped around and took an offensive stance, making Link and I tighten our grips on our swords, his left hand and my right. Ganondorf lifted his right hand and showed us the back of it. The threats in his voice were strong as he spoke "He who wields such power would make a suitable king for this world, don't you think?" And his hand glowed. It glowed with the golden power that glowed on the back of both mine and Link's hands, only instead of the Triforce of Wisdom (me) or Triforce of Courage (Link) glowing brighter, the top triangle, the Triforce of Power glowed brightest, mocking us that such a terrible man could possess a piece of the powers that I, Link, and Zelda housed.

"Ha! Such conceit!" Midna scoffed, and I recognized the royal tone she took on, sounding more and more like the princess she was. "But if you are one of the chosen wielders of power, as you claim…I will risk everything to deny you!" she cried, her small chest rising and falling rapidly with the force of her defiance. My heart stopped.

"No…no Midna, you mustn't—" I began to say but I was cut off by the rumble of Ganondorf's voice as he sneered at her.

"Shadow has been moved by light, it seems…" Ganondorf observed dangerously. The shadows around me danced in fury at his words. "…How amusing." Suddenly he started to dissolve, black pieces of matter floating up around him as if he was about to warp. "Very well…deny me, then!" he commanded. He looked back up at Zelda and belatedly, I realized that the black matter was moving towards her. A gasp beside me told me that Link had noticed too. "Yes, try to deny me…you and your little friend and lover…" I blushed deeply, feeling it spread across my face and even to my ears. Ganondorf lifted a hand towards Zelda, as if aiming. With a cry, Midna raced towards Zelda's form and Link and I yelled out, unsure if we were trying to stop Midna from risking her life, or longing for Zelda. Midna stopped in front of Zelda and spread her little arms out as wide as they'd go, trying to protect her. Ganondorf smirked at her, and dissolved completely, the particles rocketing up towards them. They paused in midair, mockingly, before suddenly shooting towards them darting through and around Midna to get to Zelda behind her who twitched sickeningly as the particles disappeared within her. A shout rang out, but I was unsure from whom it came from, Link or I. Midna whipped around, panicked, and time seemed to slow down as she darted to Zelda's face and pulled back her hand, as if ready to destroy her to get to the evil within her. But she hesitated; in her hesitation, we heard a sob as her arm was lowered, and she reached out her hands to cradle the face of her dearest friend. And everything was horribly wrong.

Zelda's skin took on a ghastly, sickly blue color and black hieroglyphs snaked up her neck to her beautiful face. Across her arms and chest, all the skin that we could see turned the same ugly blue as her face and more hieroglyphs appeared, marking her as not her own. Bile rose in my throat as I heard Link let out a mournful cry, twin tears rolling down his face as he stared at the woman he loved, watching her be taken over by the very force we fought against.

Suddenly Zelda's eyes flew open, and I knew that she was not our Zelda. Zelda's eyes were a beautiful, clear, laughing midnight blue, soft and velvet. The creature whose eyes opened possessed eyes the color of corrupted gold, glaring and cold, hieroglyphs criss-crossing the whites. Midna was thrown backwards with a hurt and startled shout, bouncing along the marble floor until she tumbled out the doors. Before I could run to her though, walls exactly like the walls that housed us when we fought the Shadow Beasts sprung up around the room, building until it formed a dome, leaving us with no chance of escape. Our eyes darted everywhere, looking for some sort of purchase out so that one of us may get to Midna, but footsteps echoed behind us, making us whirl around. A choked sob escaped Link's throat and I bit my lip, drawing blood.

"Both of you, faithless fools who would dare to take up arms against the king of light and shadow…" The voice that came from Zelda's throat was not hers, but Ganondorf's as he chuckled madly and a rapier flew into Zelda's gloved hand. Her eyes glowed with hatred and contempt as she surveyed us and sneered. She rose in the air, laughing. "So you choose. And so you shall feel my wrath!" Link and I did not need to exchange glances as we drew our swords and prepared for what would be the worst battle we'd fought thus far.

She floated around us tauntingly, occasionally cackling as we hesitated in attacking. If we attacked, we risked destroying her body and thus losing any chance we had of saving her. If we did nothing, we risked being destroyed ourselves. I cast Sheikah spell after Sheikah spell at her, hoping to wound what was controlling her, but she dodged them lazily, as if she was merely playing a game. Then she lifted the rapier over her head and a ball of magic began to form at the top of it. I recognized the attack.

"Link, it's just like in the Forest Temple. We don't have to attack her, just use her own magic against her," I murmured, glad the cowl concealed my lips to avoid her learning of our plan of attack. Link nodded once tersely and readied the Master Sword.

Zelda launched the ball of magic at us, faster than the Phantom Ganon had in the Forest Temple. Link swung with all his might, connecting, sending it back to Zelda. She cocked her head to the side as if watching an interesting game, and with a flick of her wrist, sent the magic hurling right back at us, faster than the last time. Again Link hit it, again she sent it back, faster. After three more volleys, Zelda was too slow, and the magic hit her. She screamed in agony, but the sound was like fingernails against the blackboards at university and finishing school. I clawed at my ears to stop hearing it as Link dropped to the floor, covering his head to block out the sound. Zelda shook off the magic residue, and Link and I got to our feet shakily, ears ringing. Zelda cackled again and floated around us taunting us. Link and I readied ourselves, but we wouldn't attack.

Zelda raised her rapier again but the magic didn't reappear. The floor began to glow in a triangle shape and I quickly jumped out of the way, but Link wasn't so lucky. The floor suddenly exploded with light and Link screamed as the magic threw him to the side and he writhed in pain. Panicked, I ran to him and rolled him over, grabbing one of his potions and dumping it down his throat. He sputtered, but leapt to his feet before he could get blasted by another ball of magic. With an angry yell he hit it so hard it smashed into Zelda's chest and she screamed again, twitching from the force of her own magic. She shook it off, and the shining triangle reappeared. Link and I both leapt aside, and I sent shadow magic towards her. It hit her in the back, but she shook it off and threw another ball of magic at Link. He hit it again, and they sent it back and forth six times until it hit Zelda again and this time she screamed and fell twitching and writhing to the floor.

Link and I froze in our stances ready for the next attack, but Zelda didn't immediately rise. She flopped onto her stomach and slowly—shakily—got to her knees. The walls faded, and I saw Midna stand; Link's eyes trained on Zelda. Midna floated up, and brought out the Fused Shadows. They circled around her faster and faster just as they had when she transformed, and then fastened to her. This time, I watched as the Shadows morphed, creating what looked like a shell around Midna, and growing growing growing. Zelda gasped for air and her cold golden eyes focused on Midna as a shaking hand slowly rose to ward off what was to come. I gave a shout and dove to the side, knocking Link off his feet, dodging the pending attack. Zelda finally stood, and the Fused Shadow's arms flew towards her, the hands completely engulfing her and pining her to the throne behind her. The Fused Shadow squeezed and squeezed as black particles fell off and exploded away from Zelda's form. Then the hands parted as if a veil was being lifted, and there Zelda sat, free of evil, untouched, and looking as perfect as my memory recalled. I wished with all my heart that her eyes would open and she would smile at us. Link and I stood and I looked at her sadly, not knowing what else to do to help her. Link gazed at her longingly, as if the force of his staring would wake her and bring her back to us. But the black particles flew backwards and as we watched and Midna returned to her usual imp form (looking rather worse for wear and a bit cross-eyed), the dark particles began to solidify into something else. Midna flew over to us, putting her elbow on Link's shoulder and exchanging smirks with us. She was ready for a fight, and her enthusiasm was contagious. We would defeat Ganondorf.

The form kept building and building out of the darkness, forming a beast I was sure I'd never seen before, or never would if we defeated it. It was on all fours, and it began growing, doubling, tripling, quadrupling in size until it was five times its original size. The darkness faded and we finally saw what it looked like as it reared into the air, exposing a vulnerable stomach that was cleaved nearly in half by a wound that glowed with light; the wound the Sages had dealt him so long ago. The beast landed heavily on its forefeet before us, large and threatening, and roared. Two tusks protruded from its mouth and it possessed a mane of blood red fur, like Ganondorf's own hair, the diadem still in place. Its beady gold eyes glowed maliciously, and it bared its fangs at us; a challenge.

"Ganon," Link and I murmured in unison. If we had been at university we would have laughed at each other for copy-cating, but this was not university, and what was at stake was much more dire than just our marks. Midna dove into Link's shadow as Ganon leapt backwards, preparing to charge.

Ganon suddenly burst forward and I shot him in the forehead (in the center of the jewel of the diadem) with two shurikan as Link leapt to the side. Ganon fell over and skidded on the floor, making me have to roll out of the way, but it was advantageous for Link as he charged up to the wound in his belly and with the Master Sword began hacking into it, worsening and widening it, inserting more light into a being of pure darkness. Ganon roared with rage and leapt to his feet again, charged around the room, crashing into the pillars and sending pieces of what was once marble ceiling hurling to the ground where Link dodged and I sank into the shadows on the floor.

"He disappeared!" Midna yelled, and Link whirled around, searching wildly as I emerged from the shadows. Suddenly I saw a shadow growing above Link.

"ABOVE YOU, LINK!" I yelled, readying a kunai. Link ran forward as Ganon dropped from the ceiling onto the spot where Link had been standing moments before. Ganon began to charge, his longer legs and larger body quickly catching up to Link, but I managed to hit him again in the forehead as Link threw himself to the side. Ganon fell and skidded, allowing Link to scramble to his feet and rush to Ganon's side, slicing the Master Sword into the wound again. Ganon roared and Link leapt back; I rushed to his side. Ganon rampaged around the room again, only to disappear. Link and I split up before he could reappear and Midna suddenly popped out of Link's shadow.

"Link, try wrangling him like you did with the goats in Ordon! Sheik, you attack his stomach when he falls over!" Link nodded and turned into a wolf, I sunk into his shadow to wait.

Ganon fell out of the air and began to charge. Right when he was about to hit Link, Midna stopped him with the arm from the Fused Shadow on her head. We skidded back several paces, but Link managed to hold his ground and throw him to the side. I warped out of Link's shadow to the beast's stomach and hacked as much and hard as I could with my short sword that I had wrapped in Sheikah magic. He roared in as much agony as he had when the light touched him. Suddenly he reared, screeching an unholy sound that made Link whine and paw at his ears and made my teeth clack together in Link's shadow. I emerged as Link returned to his human form, Midna staying out in the open. Ganon swayed where it stood on two legs back and forth, before collapsing heavily at our feet.

Link, Midna and I all let out a collective sigh, weary from the intense consecutive battles. We backed away from what seemed to be a burning corpse, towards Zelda in case Ganondorf decided to make a puppet of her again. Our eyes did not leave Ganon as black particles and fire seemed to consume the beast slowly while it gasped for breath.

Suddenly, Midna began to glow a bright white that spread from where her heart was to her mind, and then to the rest of her body. Link and I stared at her and she stared at her hands as the light got brighter. Then tiny particles, barely the size of dandelion fluff began to break away and float gently behind us. We watched in awe as the first particle of pure white light touched Zelda's lifeless body, making it glow just as brightly. More and more particles floated away from Midna to Zelda until they had all left Midna and gone to Zelda. Zelda's skin took on the glow of health, not the pallor of one sleeping for so long. Her chest rose and fell in a deep breath and finally—finally!—she opened her eyes and smiled.

I collapsed to my knees, my legs too weak to support me. At long last she was alive. After wishing and praying for so long, there she was in front of me: alive, breathing, and smiling at me. I felt something dripping down my face and realized they were tears. Before, I would have wiped them away. Then, I let them flow free, my joy too overwhelming. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Link's hands shaking with emotion as he stared open-mouthed at the woman he hadn't seen in what seemed like years. Midna's eyes were full of tears and her lips trembled as she spoke.

"Z-Zelda…" she whispered. "I…I…" she couldn't finish her sentence. I took her small hand in mine as Link pulled me to my feet, resting his forehead thankfully against my shoulder. My heart felt as if it'd burst with happiness.

"Say nothing, Midna…" Zelda said, her voice melodious and beautiful as always. Goddesses, I'd missed her voice! "Your heart and mine were as one, however briefly…such suffering you have all endured…" Zelda's voice trailed off; emotion choking her as tears welled up. Even though the moment was emotional and serious, I still found it strange how differently her voice sounded when I wasn't within her soul. It was higher than I thought, richer. Midna hung her head and descended a little. I gathered her in my arms and she buried her face in my neck, wetting my cowl with her tears. Zelda stood, her eyes trained on Link, perhaps speechless for the first time in her life. She raised her hand towards Link, as if about to take his hand, but she paused. Her eyes slide past us to where Ganon had laid. Midna looked up, and she gasped. Link and I turned as Zelda let one out too.

Where Ganon had laid was now an insubstantial cloud of black particles, glittering gold in the twilight. The particles formed the grotesque form of Ganondorf's head, shifting and leering, grinning and cackling at us, mocking our hard fought battles. Link and I prepared to fight, blocking Midna and Zelda from Ganondorf's view. He only laughed again, bigger and louder than before.

"This is far from over, Sheik," Link growled. I nodded, my eyes never leaving Ganondorf's enlarged face. He and I began to move slowly backwards, Zelda moving backwards. Midna, however, did not move. She turned and looked at me, and the love I saw there I knew was reflected back to her in my own eyes. It was past the time to conceal my feelings for her. But she turned away and I realized what she'd do the moment before it happened.

The Fused Shadows appeared again and spun around her and her shoulders were set in her decision. "No," I whispered, horrified. The Fused Shadows spun faster and faster. I sprung forward, my arm outstretched to stop her, but I stopped mid-stride. My feet were disappearing quickly, and the startled gasp from Zelda and yell from Link behind me let me know that they were also warping. I couldn't tear my eyes from Midna as she sent me away from her with Link and Zelda. My heart shattered and I screamed as I lost sight of her and I was unwillingly whisked away from her. "MIDNA!"

We reformed outside, and for a moment, I was confused as I looked around. Slowly I recognized Hyrule Field, and I turned to see Link and Zelda looking just as confused, their hands linked together. Zelda turned to both of us and opened her mouth to speak, but suddenly an enormous explosion shook the ground and I turned to see Hyrule Castle burst, raining debris over Castle Town. Midna is in there…

Then there was screaming and I was moving but too slow and Midna's name was falling from my raw throat. I realized that I was the one screaming, but I wasn't moving anymore. Link held me back and Zelda's arms were around my waist, stopping me from gathering the shadows or just running to Midna.

"NO, NO MIDNA! IT'S MIDNA SHE'S IN THERE I NEED TO GET TO HER I NEED TO BE WITH HER!" Words fell from my mouth without my notice, along with the tears. My cowl fell from my face and I fell to my knees but I couldn't feel anything as I struggled against the arms that held me back from the love of my life.

"Sheik! Sheik there's nothing you can do!" Link yelled, his arms hooked under mine, pulling me backwards.

"Let go, Link! I have to save her!"

"You can't, Sheik! She's gone!" Zelda cried and I stopped.


I sank to the ground, cold and empty, still staring at the place where Hyrule Castle had been. Where Midna had been.

I wept. I'd lost her. I lost my Midna.

I have not forgotten this story, or you my wonderful, wonderful readers. I hit an ENORMOUS writer's block (more like a dam) with this story, and then life decided to chew me up and poop me out. Not only did I get kicked out of the music school, I had to find a new major, a new group of friends (the anime club is freaking AWESOME), and deal with more issues. Remember Alan? We broke up. Three years. Damn…but if a guy tells you he doesn't love you, don't you think it's time to end the relationship? Damn, I did not need the misery. And I've missed you guys and this story, even though I've started other ones. But I am determined to finish Zelda Enchanted. It will be finished, I tell you! There is probably just one chapter left and an epilogue. I promise to finish this.

God, I've missed you all so much, I can't tell you how much I've missed this. I feel like all my stories are my children, and this one decided to run away and finally came home. I know it's been almost two years, but hopefully this will be finished soon.

I KILLED MIDNA, OH MY GOD! *rocks back and forth in horror* WHAT SORT OF MONSTER AM I!

One that can't finish her fics, apparently.

Please leave a review guys. Please tell me you haven't forgotten me or this story. I love you all deeply, and am so very thankful for all your support. Until next time, my dear friends.

~La Principessa Dell'Opera