Chapter Two: The Princess' Illness

In one of many rooms at the Fire Nation Palace, there were only two that were 'truly' occupied at the moment. In one, the Fire Lord's sacred temple, built thousands of years before to honor the spirit of fire, there was a creature of horrid appearance, its flaming dark skin and tattoos of crimson only beaten by vivid yellow eyes. Sealed within by a series of cursed weapons it was, but its dumb mind had been granted another release.

Closer... Closer... If any person in both realms would just open the door, if he only destroyed what filthy little mortal being came in his sight, he would be free... But freedom.. What was it...

A flash of blue. The sound of thunder, and the screams of children... What were these thoughts that came through his head.

The monster thrashed again, and in the other room of the palace, not at all far from where Rinku now wandered, a cloaked and now ashen woman wept. 'My dear husband... What has become of us, that we are so easily taken by the darkness...?' The woman looked down at the child in her arms, her once grey eyes a vivid gold, and her pale skin the same colour as her hair.

It was the cloak that protected her. Wearing it, she had succumbed to the fate that all of the supposedly 'strong hearted' had when the twilight came, taking this horrid form of darkness as she tried to flee with her daughter.

Mai looked down at said daughter, the girl's calm face unreadable in her sleep. She wondered... Was the light on her daughter's hand protecting her, and the reason why she had not become a monster, or a spirit? Or was it doing something more sinister... The moment the twilight had caught them, the light on her hand flashed brightly. Her cloak had become stained black in the light, and thought the twilight enveloped her, she still retained her mind.

But Zuko... The thrashing from far across the palace caused the woman to wince, a rare thing for Lady Mai indeed. But when her daughter's hand did this, she lost consciousness... And her hair had been dyed the same colour of the golden light released.

'….so we just need to find the courtyard right? Nothing will attack us?'

"!!!" Mai froze, holding her daughter close. People? But from what she could see, the spirits of the Fire Nation citizens had been unable to approach her palace door! And yet... Solid gold eyes looking down at her daughter sadly before her nearly flat face became set with determination. "......You who have come into my palace! Come here!"

There was silence on the other end. But to get to the courtyard, one had to come here after all...

And suddenly, bits of conversation entered her ears again.

'Rinku! Where do you think you're going, the courtyard is this way! There's no telling who might be in there!'

That voice was oddly high pitched really... But 'Rinku'? That was Sokka's son wasn't it? The boy's voice came over again, this time clearer. "But I know that voice! I don't know how but... I think it's Fire Lady Mai!"

"If that is the case boy, then all the better to flee! The Fire Lord's family-"

The door opened, and Mai pulled her cloak down over her face, keeping it hidden from view. What she saw however, made her gasp slightly. "Rinku..."

The boy in front of her cocked his head, frowning. "....Lady Mai?" A nod. "...Why are you wearing a cloak...?"

Mai stiffened, before calming herself and speaking with the slight monotone she had grown into over the years. "As a protection... It is this cloak that prevented me from becoming a spirit when the darkness came... But that is not important now. My fate has long been sealed... Rinku... I over heard your conversations from inside this room... Is it true, that you know of a way to leave the Fire Nation?"

Rinku blinked, before looking at Navi. The fairy, who had been hovering by Rinku's ear and staring at the currently blanket-wrapped girl in Mai's arms, looked at Mai with this stare, and decided to answer. "Indeed it is. But if you have already accepted the fact that you would need a proper body to escape, then why do you need to know?"

"My daughter..." Mai pulled the blanket off the girl slightly, Rinku gasping as the woman's hand was revealed to be a pitch black, and her daughter's hair a shimmering gold.

Navi too, was also shocked by the girl's hair. "Blond...? But how, that colour isn't natural in this realm!"

"When the wall of shadow came..." Rinku and Navi looked up to Mai's hidden face, listening intently, "When it came over us, Yuushi's hand began to glow in the shape of a triangle, and her hair took this hue... I do not know why this is but, the fact that her body is still her own..."

Rinku frowned. Mai's body.. Wasn't hers? What did she- Navi's voice cut his thoughts however, as the fairy immediately flew over to inspect Princess Yuushi's hand. "Incredible.... The triforce of wisdom, it is completely embedded in her body!" Floating up to the woman, she grinned. "Fire Lady Mai, I would be more than happy to aid in your daughter's escape!"

"Eh? What are you talking about!" Rinku walked over, looking from Navi to Yuushi before blinking. "Those are the triangles you meant...?" He thought he remembered seeing the same symbol before loosing consciousness, before he sank into the sea... Navi simply bobbed up and down as though nodding, before the cloaked Fire Lady stood to her full height before them.

She... Towered over them, but really, who wouldn't if their legs had seemingly been elongated by their own shadow? Blackened hands held her daughter out, waiting for Rinku to take her. "Rinku... Please. You need to hurry. This palace is not as safe as it seems, my husband-"

-GRYOROOOOOOOO!!!!!- Noises of violent thrashing penetrated the walls, and Mai turned with fear. "Just hurry, Rinku! The courtyard is only meters away, run!"

Taking Yuushi over his back with some difficulty, Rinku nodded, his face pale but determined. "Ok!" With Navi leading the way, the pair left, and soon after leaving the room Mai felt the room darken slightly.

"....I may not be able to be human but..." She raised a hand, her hood now across her shoulders to reveal the appearance of a twili rather than the Fire Lady. "I will at least protect them as best as I can..." A rumbling noise sounded through the palace, and slowly, brick by brick, beam by beam, it began to collapse... And as Rinku ran through the portal Navi guided them to, the same portal that she had used to enter this world, he could hear nothing but screeches of the shadow beasts, the pillars of stone crushing them to dust.

"Hraaaaaaah!!!!" Into the portal they went... Faster than Uncle Aang's bison, faster than the Mongoose Dragons he could remember from so long ago...

He saw only blackness as they fell through the portal, his eyes squeezed tight as he screamed. And then...



'Hey...' The sounds of waves penetrated Rinku's ears, the calm melody of the ocean pulling him into a deeper sleep as a young girl's voice called out. 'Hey... Wake up... Please...' Why did he have to wake up... He was having a dream...

He held a sword that glimmered with light, and a shield that reflected it clearly. He was against a pig-like demon, the creature huge and grotesque in appearance, and yet he wasn't afraid...

-SPLASH!- "Wake up!" Rinku woke up with a jolt, looking around him before blinking at what he saw before him.

"A-Ah... Y-Yuushi?" The girl in front of him frowned, crossing her arms as Navi floated around them. The fact that she was awake aside... Looking around, he saw that he was in a rather small brown boat, a single mast with a lowered sail in the centre, above the tiny cabin. And surrounding that boat... Nothing but ocean. Aside from the wall of twlight beside them of course... And the large ship that was pounding against it rather harshly. That too... Ignoring that though... "Yuushi, you're alright?"

"I'm just FINE Link... FINE." Link?

"Yuushi, my name's not L-" Huh? Why couldn't he say his name properly!?

Navi hovered between them, scowling. "Really now! This is not the time to argue about the magic's of the Hylian language! Link! Your name translates to this in Hylian you fool! That is why we cannot say it as it would be in your world! Still..." She looked around at the ocean sadly, crossing her arms. "To think that Hyrule would have changed so much...."

"Huh? You mean it wasn't ocean before?" Yuushi looked up at Navi as Rinku asked the question, her face revealing that she was curious about this as well.

The fairy sighed. "Really... No, it was not. Come, I will explain inside... It's best no one see you in those clothes right now..."

"Clothes...?" Rinku blinked, and Yuushi nodded, her own outfit an ornate dress that was most certainly not the same colour of the Fire Nation's princesses. It was... Pink... And had a sash bearing three triangles on it... But looking at his own in the reflection of the sea, he yelped. "Wuaaah!?! What happened to my clothes!?!"

Instead of the hakama and shirt he'd been wearing, he had an odd tunic of sorts, draped over a much tighter shirt and tights. Even his hat was gone... Rather than the familiar cone hat he'd had on his back, a long cloth hat was currently sitting on his head. "Hnnnnng....."

"Link! Come inside! You won't believe this!" Rinku frowned. His clothes were different, he was in the middle of another world... Why couldn't he just go home...

Entering the cabin, he looked at Yuushi with a confused stare. She had gotten rid of the dress, and was currently wearing a very tight one piece body suit, with a scarf and wrap covering her face and neck. There was a banner-like flap that hung beneath said scarf, bearing a symbol resembling an eye in the centre. "Isn't this cool!? It's like my dad's stories of the Blue Spirit, and how-" She cut off, eyes retaining a more professional appearance. "Ah... There are a few things here that you will probably need... And I thought that this would be more practical than a dress..." True as that was, she wasn't fooling him- Yuushi was reaaally excited about this wasn't she...

Walking over to the pile however, he found himself a bit interested as well. There was a worn brown shield for one, which was easily hung from his back behind Sokka's sword. It was light, but sturdy, though he was thinking more about how 'cool' it looked than when he would be using it... There was also a map. Looking it over, Rinku turned abruptly to Navi, who followed his gaze towards it.

"Hyrule... It used to be 'smaller' than this I suppose, what with most of it being covered by the ocean flood..." She sighed with nostalgia, shaking her head and alighting on the edges of the paper. "When the deceased king of Hyrule made a wish for new land, new opportunities for the world however, the once sealed nations were reborn. New islands cropped up, and races long since dead were revived. Great Fish Isle, which had been left in ruins magically repaired itself, renewing the Zoran race... Dragon's Roost became more hollow in the caverns bellow, and exploring Rito eventually found the revived and no longer endangered species of Goron living there peacefully... Even the Gerudo, and the Twili, who had not even been a part of Hyrule's lands arrived, each with an island to the southern seas..."

Yuushi blinked at the last statement, pointing to a small arrow on the map. "That arrow is where we are right? If that's the case, then doesn't that mean we're right next to the 'Gerudo Island'?"

Rinku looked at the arrow as well, nodding. She was right. Wait... The note beside it said that it was home to an Amazonian tribe of women that detested men and boys... Didn't that mean...

Suddenly, he felt Navi and Yuushi looking at him... "You are correct, Yuushi. That is because, for us to find the Hero, we will need the only thing remaining that can track him. The compass of the Gods, built by the three Goddesses and divided into the same number. And, if I'm correct, than the first piece, Din's Lantern, should be-"

"Ehhh!! No way! I can't go on that island!!" The two girls looked at Rinku incredulously, Navi being first to speak.

"Really! I never said you did! Besides, to enter the Gerudo's fortress would mean to re-enter the twilight, and that is more than an impossible feat!" She huffed, Rinku flushing with embarrassment. "In any case... You will be going onto the pirate ship that is docked beside Gerudo Isle, which is just outside... The captain of the ship, 'Tarrin', was the last person entrusted with this artifact, so I have no doubt that he holds it on board...."

Pirate ships? The pirate ship that was currently firing at the twilight wall with no mercy!? Rinku was pale enough as is, but combining that with the sweat he was now breaking out into, Yuushi had to sigh. Her friend... She had thought that he was a coward at 5, but at 12 he was even worse... She was only two years older than him and she was more than willing to do this! (And Navi had already told her she couldn't, dammit!)

At this rate, she told herself, the Hero would find them. Because trusting Rinku to somehow gather all these pieces would just be too much for his scared little brain to handle.

Or so she thought. Watching Rinku leave the cabin in silence, with Navi following after, she had no idea just how wrong she was.


AN: Already, Rinku stops being an incredible coward! Why? ..... Because he's still running on adrenaline. xD Trust me, by the time he's on board, he'll be afraid of his own shadow, and then when he get's attacked again... You get the picture.

Yuushi's magic golden hair has changed colour in a fashion oddly similar to Yue's, wonder why that is... __ .... Clearly it is because without red hair, she cannot look like Shiek. (Good thing she got her mom's eyes, or it would look weird- Can you imagine blond hair with gold eyes? Sheesh!) Read and review guys~ Read and REVIEWWWWWWWW.....