The Legend of Zelda

Secrets of the Lost Woods

Chapter 12: The Eastern Palace

You know what to expect from here, boy. As long as your friend needs to be tended to, I cannot come along. However, I can guarantee you that help will certainly come when you least expect it. Trust in your mark. Let it guide you.

Link felt Sahasrahla's last words to him finger around in his mind. It had been an hour before dawn the following morning when he first told him of his powers. Link had learned quite a bit about the old man since then, but even more so about the trials that awaited him in the Eastern Palace.

Link hugged close to the side of the rock face, approaching the old ruin's huge staircase with caution. Memory of the monsters that had lurked in the village still haunted him, and the very idea that there could be more didn't please him in the least. Though his sword and shield were both sheathed on his back, he kept mentally aware of where they both were; his hands constantly flinching into a grasping position on his weapons whenever something moved in the shadows.

Link's boots clacked silently on the rocks. His tunic flapped in the wind brought down from the walls of the valley. His pointed ears twitched at every sound; at every rock that fell from above or every whisper the grass made as the wind brushed through their stems. As Link moved slowly and stealthily towards his goal, he felt apprehension and fear grip his heart at what lay around the next corner.

As he turned, he quickly drew his sword and shield under the prospect that something could have been waiting for him. Nothing but the bleached stone of the stairs met his gaze, and the only thing breaking the monotony of bleached browns and stony grays was the occasional burned skeleton sitting upon the stairs; evidence of either the civilization that once lived here or of the battle that had taken place before.

Relaxing slightly, Link sheathed his weapons. Taking a deep breath, he began to walk up the stairs; taking two at a time to quicken the pace. He eyed the skeletons warily as he made his way up the stairs, gazing into their empty, burnt eye sockets as he did. The soulless stares disturbed him, and he quickly gazed his attention back up to the palace gates at the top of the stairs.

The gates would have been made of polished iron, were it not for the centuries' worth of rust all across their surface. Link had no problems opening them, seeing as the gates opened on their own accord. Two horned, armored statues gazed down upon him as he approached the entrance to the Eastern Palace, which was open and gaping wide. It was dark inside, almost like a gaping mouth that was preparing to swallow him whole. Link gulped visibly, and sheer discomfort began to grip him tightly as he gazed inside.

So, my destiny resides in there? Link asked himself. Likely to die in there and become one of the corpses. I'm not cut out for this stuff, I'm going—

There was a thudding noise. Link felt the ground rumble beneath him from two different places. He could tell that there was something; perhaps two somethings; really big approaching him from behind. Link felt his hands tense for his weapons instinctively; his body shook in fear as he slowly began to turn around.

The horned statues had moved!

As if they had hopped around on the pedestals at their feet, the statues had completely turned around, their stone eyes gazing directly at the shadowy entrance to the deep, dark palace. All of a sudden, their eyes began to slowly glow bright purple, as if being charged by a powerful force from within. Link watched as the statues suddenly began to snap and crackle as what he thought were carved representations of limbs actually became the arms and legs of two mighty stone statues. Both of them held mighty, stone axes, horned helmets for heads, and stood up to 14 feet tall. Purple runes glowed brightly atop of black, soulless stone as the statues directed their attention to none other than Link.

Link was frozen solid. The statues had come to life, just like that! Though he instinctively wanted to draw his sword, how could a sword's metal break stone? In all of his fear, he didn't even register the fact that one of the statues was lifting its axe and preparing to strike at the would-be intruder to the palace.


Link almost hesitated when he heard a tiny whisper in the back of his mind. However, the whisper managed to break his frozen state, and, just in time, he managed to jump away from the steadily falling axe, which landed with a crash upon the ground! The second statue slowly began to approach Link while its brother lifted its weapon from the newly-made cut in the tile floor. It slowly began to approach him; not as slow as a ReDead, but slow enough that it emphasized its already intimidating appearance by suggesting just how much power was within it.

Run…into the Palace. Run!

Link didn't know what the voice in his head was, but he wasn't going to wait and ask. Before the second statue could strike back, Link quickly rushed to the entrance, ignoring his earlier fears about the darkness and void beyond. As an axe struck a blow right behind him, the force of the shockwave sent him head-over heels into the Palace, causing him to tumble down a long flight of steps into the darkness. His fall was agonizingly long, and was only stopped when Link's head landed hard on the stone floor; his world instantly going black.

Link stepped into the forest of his dreams once more. Inside, the pedestal containing the marvelous sword stood beautifully in the center of the clearing. Link knew that he was dreaming, but he felt all the more convinced that the sword was real as he stared deeper, and deeper into his reflection on the blade.

Again, he felt an incredible urge to touch the beautiful weapon. Link tried to resist, but the beauty and splendor of the thing was too great. Reaching forward, he extended his fingers and slowly reached for the beautiful sword.

The dark shadow fell from above. Like an evil cloud, it spread throughout the forest clearing, completely enveloping the entire area in darkness. Link backed away as a pair of glowing, red eyes gazed at him from within the abyss of doom.

"I have you now…L…"

Link awoke with a start. The sudden pain in his head made him wish he hadn't. Closing his eyes, he reached back and rubbed the back of his throbbing head. He tried to get up, only to find that he was upside-down. His back and legs felt the worn and carved stairs of the palace where he fell, indicating that he had fallen quite a ways before hitting his head.

Getting up and turning about, he didn't bother opening his eyes as he felt the back of his head. It felt wet, and after smelling his hand he could tell that it was blood. He reached for his bag as best as he could, only to find that he couldn't get at it without seeing. That was when he opened his eyes…to find pitch blackness.

He couldn't see anything. Anything at all; it was all completely black. He could only describe it as a patch of midnight sky that had never bothered to touch a star or embrace the sunlight. Looking up, he could see the faint glow of the entrance where he had originally fallen, though there wasn't enough light for him to see anything.

"Din's Fire," he whispered, pointing his finger into the air as he did. As expected, the warm feeling of friendship flowed through his body, lighting a small spark on his right finger. Reaching down with his left hand, he rummaged through his sack of supplies until he managed to find a strip of woven cloth. Pulling it out, he lifted his cap and tied the bandage tightly around the wound; trying his best not to ignite himself with his lit finger. When he was done, he put his cap back on over the bandage and tightened his bag back up.

Not long after dealing with his wound, he quickly began to use his makeshift light for a means to make his strange predicament more convenient. It didn't take long for that convenience to be revealed in the form of an unlit torch. Link reached up and grabbed the object, quickly engulfing one end with flames by a simple touch with his finger before extinguishing his own light. Grabbing the torch and pulling it off of its holster, he began to get a good look at his surroundings.

He was just halfway down a long flight of stairs heading deeper into the palace and the mountain it was carved into. Markings all along the palace walls indicated events that had long been forgotten through time. The markings and runes, however, were almost indescribable, especially seeing as most of them were covered in what only could be described as claw marks. Link took a good look at the marks and decided that he didn't want to know what had set them into the stone walls.

Link furthered his descent downwards, lighting torch after torch as he went. As he continued down, he could see that there was much in the way of history about this strange place. Most of the markings had been etched in stone; carved into the rock and then painted over later. As such, the fact that they were still around was surprising, though the faded and worn stone suggested that it had been there for over thousands of years; perhaps even before the war between Hylians and Humans began. Indeed, none of the pictures that Link could see had the characterized mark of rounded ears, the signature trait of Humans.

Link continued down, his interest piqued once he could see more of the strange markings that dotted the walls and the ceiling. They depicted a time back when the world was new; when Hylians roamed free without fear of death or destruction. They revealed a world where great banquets were held, where mighty battles against savage beasts were made, and where powerful warriors stood proudly to receive the praise of entire nations for their accomplishments. All of them, every last man, woman, and child depicted in these carvings, had pointed ears.

To see this place back in its heyday, Link thought. What I would give for it…

As Link brought his foot down upon the last step, his thoughts were distracted by an odd scurrying sound. Holding the torch in one hand, he drew his sword in another, taking care not to make too much noise or attract too much attention as he did. The noise did not continue, however, so Link decided to dismiss it as a rat or something.

As Link looked around, he could see that he was in some kind of strange lobby. More markings depicted a time back when many nations would use ritual sacrifice to appease the Gods and Goddesses. Link could tell that, by the way each carving was depicted as a whole, the events were not just of the civilization that the palace was once a part of, but of many, many more. The lobby walls revealed depictions of religious ceremonies; from incense embalmment to sacrificial offerings. The detail that depicted every event was staggering, and Link found that he could only stand and look on at every carving of every wisp of smoke, every monk's robe, every cow's heart being burnt in a fire, every moving intestine creature, every jewel and piece of art…


Link yelped aloud as something suddenly jumped out from the shadows of his own torch. Something very slimy, full of tentacles, and very swift had managed to jump out from the other wall and latch on to his leg. The slimy beast was trying to get a good foothold on his leg as Link began to bat at it with his torch and his sword; trying not to hurt himself in the process. Link's eyes went wide as he spotted a horny beak right at the center of the tentacled mass, which was beginning to snap loudly as the beast prepared for its eventual feast upon Hylian flesh. He quickly doubled his efforts at prying the creature off, hacking as best as he could at each slimy tentacle while slapping its base with a flame-covered torch.

Finally, the monster was pried off. Link jumped aside and inspected the creature as he tried to make sure he was as far away from it as possible. It was an odd, multi-colored creature, which did indeed look as if it was made of several intestines all wrapped around each other. Tentacles that weren't cut off writhed and slathered each other in the creature's slimy mucus, while the horny beak, now pointed upwards while the creature's strange base was situated on the ground, opened and closed in an upset.

It didn't take long for the creature to begin to move again. Strange feet-like objects on its base allowed it to move around, and its mucus allowed it to move swiftly. The creature, though small, had little trouble scurrying over towards its trapped victim.

Link, however, was ready for the monster. In one swift movement, he brought his sword down hard. The blade clanged against the stone ground as it sliced the creature cleanly in two. The monster struggled for a moment before its tentacles slowly began to stop writhing, the monster's dead fluids now mixing in with its mucus all across the ground where it was slain.

Link felt grossed out by what he saw. Whatever the monster was, if it could be explained by anything short of divine knowledge, it was even more disgusting when dead. Link quickly reached down and tried to wipe the gunk off of his left leg that the monster was originally going to call lunch. He instantly regretted it, as without a rag or a handful of grass all he succeeded in doing was spreading it onto his hand.

Gross, he said to himself.

He tried to keep himself from retching. Quickly, he reached into his bag. Managing to find an extra strip of cloth, he managed to wipe himself of the thing's sticky fluids. Most of it came off, but he was still left with a very clammy feeling; like death was still touching his leg.

As Link got up, he suddenly noticed something. There were three doors, each on the wall opposite of the stairs, with two on the corners of the wall and one in the very middle. From what Link could see, the monster had attacked him from the very middle of the room, so he guessed that, wherever it had come from, it had approached from the middle door.

Link sheathed his sword and decided, by right of I'm-not-going-to-look-for-one-of-those-things-again, to take the door on the left. Approaching it, he simply placed his hand on the smooth, latchless stone in order for it to open on its own. Entering past the doorway, he looked around carefully, only to find that it was a dead end.

The door led to a balcony, which looked as if it had seen better days. The balcony extended from a single, huge wall that stretched on all sides. Below, there was an endless abyss; a single point of no return that could be only described as a bottomless pit that extended from either side of the wall. Opposite of the balcony, well beyond jumping distance, was another wall that had several other openings as well as vines and other growths attached to it. The two walls were connected to each other by a single bridge, which was all that allowed someone to go across.

Link gulped. It was a long way down. There was no way that anyone, let alone himself, could survive a drop like that. Looking down a few seconds longer, he moved away from the edge and went through the door back into the dark, dank lobby.

Drawing his sword, Link warily opened the center door; knowing that the bridge was the only way across. As such, he felt it wise to keep himself armed; there was no telling what creatures would cross it.

The sound of creatures squirming across the floor filled his ears. From what Link could see, three of the strange, tentacled creatures squirming across the surface of the bridge. Two of them were lurking atop an old skeleton; their beaks clacking as they attempted to tear apart the bones to get at what little marrow was left; while the third was busy waving its tentacles around in a strange and eerie manner. Link knew that he would have only one chance at crossing the bridge without getting himself hurt.

As Link approached, the creatures stopped moving. They each waved their tentacles and began making slurping, gurgling noises. As Link stopped moving, so did the creatures. He stood perfectly still; watching carefully as the creatures continued to make the noises and generally pointed their multi-colored arms in his direction.

They're communicating, Link said to himself. I guess that they must be blind; otherwise, they would have attacked by now.

Link looked around. There was no way to get around the monsters without attracting attention, and Link knew for a fact that only one of these things was enough of a handful. He didn't want to have to deal with three. He was beginning to smell their musky stench in the air, and he almost wanted to vomit. As he stood there, the creatures continued to make their noises, and the closest one began to inch its way closer.

If they are blind, they must see through sound or something, Link said to himself.
I should try getting their attention away from me.

Link bent down and picked up a rock from the bridge floor. The creature was still advancing on him like some tiny wraith that was seeking for nourishment. Link waited a few seconds before tossing the rock as hard as he could. The object bounced on the ground in front of the skeleton; the landing echoing throughout the chamber; before landing flat on the ground on the other side.

The creatures flinched. They obviously heard the sound. One of the two that were busy devouring the skeleton came to investigate; its passage revealing gross, disgusting ichor caking the cracked and torn bones it had been feeding upon. The other two continued communicating, though at the rate that they gurgled and spat it was obvious that they were confused.

Come on, come on, Link thought. Why don't you move already?

The creature that inspected the spot where the rock landed made a gurgling noise. The other two moved closer to Link. Link felt sweat slowly drip from his hair as they approached. His trick didn't fool them one bit.

Suddenly, the creature inspecting made a slurping sound. The other two stopped in their tracks. In a moment, the three of them approached the place where the rock had landed; using their tentacles to sense the object and figure out what it was. Link could see that some of the tentacles had opened up, revealing strange holes that reminded him somewhat of a nose.

Link felt his stomach do a flip. They were getting his scent!

He couldn't take it any longer. Striking his sword on the ground, Link let out a mighty war cry. The monsters stopped moving and looked up with their tentacles. In an instant, they were crawling in the direction that Link had yelled; slurping and squeaking as their beaks clacked with the prospect of fresh meat.

None of them would get the chance. As soon as they had passed, Link jumped from the side of the bridge that he had sneakily moved to, and began to race across to the other side. The monsters, sensing their folly, began to follow, though by the time they managed to catch up it was already too late.

Link burst through the door and slammed it shut. He could hear muffled smacks on the stone door; the monsters were busy attempting to get through to no avail. The door wouldn't budge; none of them were strong enough to push through. Link let out a sigh of relief as he leaned against the door frame.

"That was close," he said aloud.

He began thinking carefully. Those things weren't exactly strong, but one was more than powerful enough to overpower him when he was caught off guard. If he didn't watch himself, it could happen again…and who knows what other strange and dark creatures lurked in the shadows of this place.

I've got to be more careful, he said to himself. Just because I'm alone it doesn't mean I'm the only one lurking in these dark halls. Who knows what monsters could have made this lair their home while the Hylians went away.

As if to confirm his point, he felt cold steel prick gently against his neck.

"One wrong move, and I'll gut you like a Gerudo game hen."

See. What'd I tell ya?

Saria's dreams were fitful. They had no feeling of form or structure; they were all a jumbled mess. She seemed like she was on the verge of waking and falling into a deeper sleep; like she was walking upon a knife's edge. Every so often, she felt herself tipping more and more towards the deeper sleep; a sleep that seemed to beckon to her temptingly, promising nourishment and freedom from the pain she was feeling. But another force seemed to drag her away just in time, returning her to the knife's edge.

She knew she was vulnerable. She had never been this far away from the forest in all of her life. Whenever she was sick or injured, she knew she could always count on the forest to grant her aid, but here she had no such help. She felt trapped, isolated, and neglected…alone, truly alone in the world.

The darkness seemed to whisper to her. It told her that they could cure her of her loneliness. She would never be alone every again if she stayed for a while. It was a temptation almost too great for her to listen.

But she felt the other side that dragged her back was a comforting force. The darkness seemed cold, hungry, and frail. The other side gave her strength. It seemed to comfort her; telling her that despite what she thought, she was never alone.

Whenever that force pulled her back, it reminded her of someone…someone close to her…


It took Saria a while before she realized that she had woken up. Despite her body's weak response, she did her best to will herself not to go back to sleep. Slowly, aware of how heavy her eyelids seemed to be, she opened her eyes.

The first thing she noticed was the stone cave ceiling above her. Shadows danced in the light of a fire and candles. It was warm, and she was beneath a massive, wool blanket. As she breathed in the air she could smell the scent of the earth and stone, combined with the smell of burning wood.

While she didn't like fires, she had to admit that she didn't mind the warm feeling they gave. Despite herself, she took in the scent. These trees had never known the forest she called home, and so didn't have the same essence of life that fed her body and that she fed in return. Her actions stirred movement as a large, robed figure slowly approached the bed.

As she opened her mouth to speak, the figure shushed her. "Hush now, my child," he said in an elderly male voice, "You are still fighting the infection, so do not speak yet. Here, drink this."

The man handed her a mug. She looked in it. Green tea with leaves flowed inside. She could sense something familiar about it, and then she suddenly noticed that she recognized the scent of the leaves.

Slowly, she drank from the cup. Energy and warmth flowed throughout her entire body. She felt rejuvenated; the pain on her body slowly reducing to a slight tickle. However, she still felt weak. She could barely keep herself in a seated position as she drank her fill of the mug. She took a deep breath and let its healing powers work inside of her.

"Where did you come by this?" she finally asked.

The old man smiled at her as he tugged his massive, white beard. "I am a very old man," he said, "When the world was less dangerous and my body could still withstand travel, I used to wander many places in Hyrule. The Kokiri Forest has many natural herbs legendary for their healing powers, and so when I was there at one point I made sure to collect many samples. Fortunately for you, my magic of preservation kept them fresh after all these years."

Saria looked down at the mug. She had no idea how far away the Kokiri Forest was, but from what the man had said it seemed like such a long way away. Just how long ago did he visit?

She looked over at the other beds in the cavern room. "Where…is Link?"

The old man tugged on his beard some more. "He isn't too far," he said, "While you were passed out, he told me about your quest. I gave him knowledge about the location of the nearest stone you both seek and he went out to find it."

Saria suddenly sat upright in bed. "He left! Where is he? I've got to help him-augh!"

She gasped and put a hand to her neck. Her eyes widened. A heavily wrapped bandage covered it completely, and she could feel that somehow it seemed deformed or pulsating with some kind of unnatural feeling. The strangeness of what she felt beneath the bandage almost made her vomit back out her own tea. She knew that it couldn't have been her own neck that she felt.

"Be still now!" the man scolded as he took her hand away from her neck and gently pushed her until she fell back upon her pillow. "Your body has not healed all the way yet! You are still recovering from the infection."

Saria's eyes opened even wider. "Infection?"

The old man nodded. "You are very lucky that you and your friend arrived when you did. Had you have come moments later, I would never have administered these potions in time, and you wouldn't be speaking with me right now."

Saria looked back up at the ceiling. She felt very afraid for herself. She was on the verge of dying? She had never been in such danger before. Was this why the Kokiri should never leave the forest?

The old man placed a hand upon her forehead, causing her to cringe. He seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

"The fever is reducing," he said, "That is a good sign. Your body has fought back most of the toxins. The rest will take time."

Saria didn't show it, but inside she relaxed. She wasn't going to die just yet.

"How long have I been out?" she asked.

The old man had gotten up and was busying himself with a kettle on the fire, which was whistling hot steam. "Three days," he said, "Three days since the boy brought you before me. You're very lucky to have such a caring friend as he."

Saria gasped. "Three days?"

The old man chuckled. "If you keep repeating yourself you'll turn into an echo. Rest now, and we can talk later. You need to save your strength."

Saria sighed as she laid her head back against the pillow. Her concern was starting to increase as she lay there; not for herself, per say, but for Link.

"How long has he been gone?" she asked.

The old man reached into a box and pulled out a set of leaves, which he began preparing in a bowl for more tea. "At least an hour, if not more. He should be well into the Palace by now."


"Again with the repeating, gel. If I wanted to hear what was said again, I would have shouted in the nearby valley. The echo at least stops after a while."

Saria couldn't help but smile. The old man had a strange sense of humor. It wasn't long before he was by her side again with another mug of hot tea.

"What is this place?" she asked, "I've been thinking about it ever since I got here. This is so different from my home."

The old man sighed. "It should be, I would think. We are a very long way from the Kokiri Forest, my dear. Some strange magic must have brought you here; magic beyond even my understanding. I can't say for certain what it was that had brought you this far from the forest, but I can say that it isn't without a purpose."

Saria sat up and looked at the old man. "What do you mean?"

The old man tugged his beard as he pulled up a chair and sat down. "This place is known as the Valley of the Ancients," he said, "Long ago it was a sanctuary for the Hylian Race. Many say that this could have been one of our first cities; the birthplace of our kind. Whatever powers that had existed here in the past are long since gone, but it has since been considered a sanctuary for all of our kind.

"Once, this place was converted back into a place of safety over a century ago by the great Zelda, last of the Hylian royal line. But Ganondorf, the one who now controls Hyrule, found this place, and soon tore it asunder. Thanks to him the blood of thousands now lies beneath our very feet, still feeding the earth and stone which we stand upon. The sanctuary has never been the same since. It is as if a veil had entrapped itself upon this land, forcing dark creatures to surface. The Redeads that had attacked you are the very same creatures of darkness, though they are now at the very least dispelled thanks to your friend."

Saria cringed when the old man mentioned the name of those monsters. She could remember plainly as if it had happened just moments before when those creatures bit into her neck and threatened to suck the life out of her body.

The old man noticed this. "It is alright, my dear," he said, "When I sent Link to search for the first of the three stones you seek, it was for a double purpose. You see, I believe that whatever dark force has been bringing back the undead lies within the Eastern Palace ruins, and that it ties somehow with the massacre long ago. Finding the stone and bringing it out into the light of day again may yet stop the evil from spreading."

Saria looked absently over towards the nearest empty bed. "There's more of them in there, isn't there?"

"There may very well be. But I am more than certain that Link can take care of himself."

Saria thought about it. She was concerned for Link. She had only known him for a short time, yet he had given him the one thing that she needed most; friendship. After being alone for so long, having a friend was the one thing that kept her from falling into abysmal despair. With Link being gone, she wondered whether or not he would be safe.

She smiled to herself. Link could take care of himself. After all, he had saved her life many times over the last few days. There was no reason to think that he was at all helpless.

Still…she couldn't help but feel like he was in danger.

"Thank you," she said, "for all your help."

The old man smiled. "It was nothing," he said, "Drink this. It will help you to sleep."

She drank the tea. This one was much darker green than the tea she drank before. It seemed to soothe her; caressing the inside of her body like a blanket. She slowly found herself drifting off.

"I never did learn you name," she said before she could doze any further.

The old man was already lifting himself from his chair. "It is Sahasrahla, child."


The old man laughed. "At the rate you're trying to say my name you'll have run out of the energy needed to fight that infection. Rest easy, child. You'll remember my name when you awake."

Saria nodded. She slowly drifted back to sleep. This time, her dreams were much more comforting. She could feel herself walking among the trees again in her sleep. The forest seemed much younger than when she last remembered, but it was still her forest.

She smiled. She was no longer alone.

Link gritted his teeth. He was dead where he stood.

"Move an inch and I'll rip open a hole in your neck," the voice behind him said.

Link didn't budge. He felt the figure behind him feel across his body. His sword and bag were soon taken away from him. A loud clatter of metal on stone told him that they were tossed upon the ground.

"Who are you and why are you here?" the figure hissed.

"I should be asking you the same thing," Link growled back.

"Don't play games with me, boy!" the figure said in a dangerous tone of voice, "I'm not all for playing games. I wasn't kidding when I said I'd gut you if you moved."

Link gulped. He knew that the figure meant every word. He had to stall somehow; find a way to get his sword again.

"I was told that there was no one alive down here," he said, "That this place used to be a Hylian sanctuary. You…you're not a Hylian, are you?"

"No. Are you?"

Link gulped and shook his head. He was lucky that his pointed ears were covered by the bandage that was wrapped around his head. Had he not done so, he likely was dead where he stood.

The figure seemed to almost breathe a sigh of relief. Link felt the knife lower from his neck.

"You can turn," the figure said, "But don't move otherwise. I'm faster with a blade than I look."

Link did as he was told. He finally managed to get a good glimpse of his assailant. The figure was wearing robes and a hood that covered the body, and had a mask that covered the spot where a mouth would be. There was something that looked like a horn sticking out of the figure's left temple, but other than that she was completely normal.


"You're a girl?" Link asked.

The figure grunted in annoyance. "Don't look so surprised. 'Course I am. Women always make the best thieves."

Thief. Any sense of relief Link had felt was gone now. She was going to steal from him.

"I'll ask again," Link said, pressing for time and distraction, "What are you doing here?"

"I asked first," the thief said, "I suggest you tell me. If not, I can just gut you now and leave you here for the monsters to eat. I can still hear them pounding on the door."

Link could hear them too. The monsters hadn't stopped trying to get their way inside once since he had locked them out. He had thought that the stone door would keep them at bay, but these things had tentacles. They probably could climb really well. There were other ways of getting in a place besides through a door.

"Fine," Link said, "I guess I should tell the truth. I got here on accident. I have no idea where this place is, but I had heard stories about a palace hidden far in the east, where there were treasures of the Hylians who lived here before. I thought that since I was here I should try my luck."

The girl looked him over once. Then she chuckled. "You're lying to me."

Dammit, Link said to himself. "I am not!"

"Your body posture and the way you speak makes you open to me like a book," the girl said, "I believe what you said that you have no idea where this place is, but the whole accident bit and you trying to find treasure…that's a load of crock. I ought to cut your tongue off and sell it since it seems so silver."

Link gulped again. He had to think, fast. "I wouldn't do that."

"I'll bet you wouldn't."

"I'm good with a sword. I can help you…you said you were a thief, right? I'll bet you've heard of the stone too."

The girl's eyebrows rose. "Stone?"

Link clapped his mouth shut. He said too much.

"Uh…well, you know. I'm sure there's a lot of diamonds and jewels down here. You'll need all the help you can get carrying them all, right?"

The girl shook her head and smiled deviously. "You just mentioned one stone."

Link gulped. He was in trouble.

"Listen," the girl said, "I don't like people lying to me, but in a sense you did help me out so I've decided I won't kill you after all."

Link almost breathed a sigh of relief. However, his eyes widened with shock as he saw the girl take his sword and his bag.

"You can't do that!" Link shouted.

The girl chuckled. "I'm a thief. It's what I do. You'd better hope that those monsters don't kill you before you get out; it'd be sad to find yourself dead and alone in a place like this."

Before Link could do anything to stop her, there was a sudden flash of light. He found himself on the ground, clawing at his eyes. When he finally managed to open them, spots danced across his field of vision, and the girl was gone.

He was alone again, and he was unarmed.

He was totally dead.

To be continued…

KerianH: SURPRISE! Bet you thought that the Secrets had come to a close, didn't you? Huh, didn't you? Admit it...XD

Well, this is an update that has been long coming. I'll bet you thought that I was going to give up on this. Truth be told, I have been leaving this alone so that I could finish Legacy of the Sages, but given that I've not been in a fanfic mood for a while I've not been really updating anything of late. Thanks to an image on DeviantART, however, I've been given new ideas for this fic that I just had to write down, and so I'm back to writing it again.

Anyway, just to let everyone know, I've been taking a break from fanfictions for a while. I've been working on original work for the sake of selling it to magazines for some extra cash (writers' gotta eat, after all), so that's part of why I've not been updating much recently. However, that's not to say that I've forgotten about you guys. Soon enough, when I get the free time, I'll finish my fanfics one way or another. That way 1. I get them out of my hair, and 2. you guys get to read full fanfics from start to finish without having to wait on me updating them constantly.

Now that we have that finished, I'm off. Oh, and before you guys say anything Darin's taking a vacation as well. He and I have been discussing and it turns out that he wants to have a bit more to do with my work than just would appear that I can't get him out of my hair just yet.

Until next time, me out!