(Shortly after the events of Precedent)

Goddesses damn it. I would wake up with an earful of water – in a dark space, with the ghostly outline of some sort of creepy tree nearby, and nothing else remotely familiar or otherwise comforting. Coughing and spluttering, I raised myself up onto my forearms, cracking my neck loudly and painfully in the process. "Dammit." The left side of my body was soaked through, and, after stumbling unsteadily to my feet, patting the clothes only made my gauntlets slick and my hands numb. Beneath my boots I felt the disturbing impression my body had made in the soft silt arranged into a small, oblong mound. Perfect. It was almost as if someone had been expecting me. Except, this place had a ceiling.

Bloody brilliant.

"You would fall off a balcony and somehow end up in the secret Twili swimming pool."

Now that I could see the rest of the cavern, I noted the lack of an immediate exit, the seemingly infinite space, the lone scraggly tree, and the stuffy air. To top it off, my one boot felt like a leather bucket, and judging by the strange swirling pressure around my ankles, a current of some kind was probably responsible for the flooding. For all I knew, I was standing in ye olde abandoned bathhouse or something, with goddesses-only-knew what else lurking in the shallow depths – and although the freezing, brackish water only came up to my calves when I left the island, I in no way found this amusing or reassuring or anything other than eerie as hell. There weren't any windows, or any doors, or any signs of life aside from my own uncontrollable shivering. This wasn't a manmade place, most likely… although it struck me as hair-raisingly familiar somehow.

Well. It was entirely possible that I'd died and gotten myself thrown into purgatory or something. I did, after all, take a swan dive into oblivion courtesy of that lieutenant, so it was reasonable to assume I'd burst into smithereens upon impact. Or, I could be somewhere else entirely. Zant could pop out of the floor. Or Ganondorf. Goddesses, that would ruin my day. Well. It would ruin my day that much more. I shook my head decidedly, and, reaching a hand behind me to unbuckle the straps, I emptied the water trapped in my sheath and quiver. I think you've reached a new level, Link. Of what, I didn't care to speculate. The place was deathly quiet as well, and when I sloshed around, things crunched under my feet. Crunchy things. Probably discarded bones of unfortunate wayfarers. Not that you could really fare your way into a place like this without colossal effort and a pinch of bad luck or overdue karma.

I hate karma.

"Midna?" I called out. My throat was scratchy and my voice sounded awful, like I'd just swallowed a mouthful of gravel. I almost wished that I had, if it meant avoidance of this particular situation. If I stood still too long, it felt like the unseen walls were creeping towards me, inching closer and closer to the ultimate goal of making wood pulp with Dark Link sprinkles. "Midna?" The echo bounced back quickly. Small? Great. I just loved deceptively small, dark, impossibly enclosed spaces that confirmed my worst predictions. I stepped around the tree, even whacked at it with my sword; it quivered like it was real. But this didn't freaking feel real. One second I was admiring the sky, and the next, I was waking up here, in some goddesses-forsaken place, sopping wet and with a goddesses-awful headache – and, as I quickly realised upon an automatic attempt, I couldn't warp out.

Cue the panic.


I wondered vaguely what Link would do if he were here. I couldn't sit down anywhere to think, and dissolving just annoyed me because of the inappropriate effort. The exhaustion didn't really make sense though, even following an apparently nonfatal fall – assuming I wasn't dead. And I felt alive… definitely found a pulse at the wrist, fluttering and frantic but most definitely there. And if I really fell all that way, supposedly landing here, shouldn't I be physically injured? Couldn't be purgatory. Couldn't be dead. Couldn't have fallen, unless this place had a trapdoor hidden in the ceiling, and as far as I could tell, it most definitely didn't.

Calling out again, I waited a split second for a response – but nothing answered, aside from what appeared to be mist rising from the surface of the water. Annoyed, I elected to skulk around in the shadows beneath the tree while waiting for something important to happen, since important things always happened unexpectedly in dark, dingy, and apparently wet places such as this. Although, despite anticipating varying degrees of excitement, I knew that even if something did happen, I probably wouldn't be able to defend myself very well; no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't summon much feeling into my numb fingers, and with only the sword at my back and my bow sans arrows, I didn't stand much of a chance. Oh, I had the cold fear swelling in my throat, too. That made me feel so much safer. And hypoxic.

But I didn't have very long to wait: the clatter of metal scraping against metal, and boots trudging through water abruptly reached me, headed in my direction. The person drew nearer; first the sounds, then an outline in the mist, and as my heart leapt into my throat to join the fear, I found myself face-to-face with a certain blonde guy in a disturbingly familiar hat.

"Link?" I stammered. "What the hell are you doing here? Where the hell are we?"

His only reaction was to raise his shield. But when he did, I immediately picked up on the different battle stance. Rather than the Link we all knew and loved, this was some other guy parading around with a certain hat and a sharp sword – and the Triforce of Courage, blazing away like the sun on the back of his left hand, right through the thick leather of his gauntlet, even as he leant into a charge. I felt myself swallow thickly.

"Hey, can't we talk about this?"