Unconventional Tactics

Deep within the Temple of Time, Link approached a locked door, eyeing it warily. He had followed the twisting path of the temple here, where the missing statue from the entrance had to be located, along with whatever method had been used to move it.

Midna appeared out of his shadow. "What is it, Link?" she asked. "Why are you stopping?"

Link frowned at the door, crisscrossed with heavy chains. "What's behind here, do you think?"

"What do you mean?" Midna asked, looking at the door herself.

Link gestured at the chained door with one hand. "Well, in every other one of these things we've gone into, there's some kind of monster waiting about halfway through, guarding whatever it is that's hidden here that I'll have to use to kill the biggest, ugliest monster at the end."

Midna turned, bobbing slightly in the air as she glanced over at him. "So?"

Link paced back and forth in front of the door. "So, with all the other weird things I've seen in here, it's either going to be a giant ugly spider or some kind of robot thing. It's probably going to be a real pain to fight, too."

Midna scoffed. "So what else is new? We've done this five times already, Link; let's just go in there, kill the thing, and then go get the Mirror shard. You've got all those fancy skills you learned from that dead guy with the pretentious accent, so let's just get rid of the thing."

"Hmm," said Link. He shrugged. "Okay then."

He fit the key he had found into the lock, kicked away the chains, and opened the door. Inside, the chamber was huge and lined with white stone, like most of the rest of the temple, with enormous windows stretching up to the ceiling and a large black mosaic of the symbol he'd been seeing with increasing frequency on the floor.

Standing in the middle of the mosaic was what seemed to be a statue, an enormous figure nearly twice Link's height in heavy plate armor. Link frowned; this was almost certainly the monster he'd have to fight to get this dungeon's item.

However, since it appeared to be at least human-shaped, albeit incredibly large, he decided to try a slightly different tactic before he drew the Master Sword and beat the stuffing out of it.

"You there!" he called to the huge armored figure. He made up a name on the spot. "Iron Knight!"

The armored behemoth turned around to stare at him from within the dark visor of its helmet, but did not otherwise respond or even move.

"You're the… guardian of this place?" Link asked, taking a few steps forward.

The Iron Knight did not respond.

"What are you doing?" Midna whispered to him from the shadow cast on his shoulder by his head at this angle. "Why are you talking to it? Just go kill it!"

"In a minute," Link whispered back. To the Iron Knight, he said, "I just want what's in that chest over there and the statue. We don't have to fight."

The Iron Knight said nothing until he drew closer, at which point it intoned, in a voice much deeper than was possible for human vocal cords, "None shall pass."

Ah, Link thought; it was sentient after all. He just might get through this without having to resort to violence. He'd been doing that an awful lot lately, and to be frank, he was getting a little tired of whacking things with various pieces of metal he carried on his person.

"It'll cost you absolutely nothing," Link went on. "All you have to do is keep up your 'not moving' routine for another few minutes, and I'll be out of your… helmet."

"None shall pass," the Iron Knight repeated.

"Are you absolutely positive you have to keep me from taking whatever's in that chest and that statue up there?" Link asked, gesturing at the statue. "I mean, it must be pretty boring just standing there all day waiting for some guy like me to come along so you can bash him into the floor. Don't you do anything else with your time?"

The Iron Knight's helmet shifted slightly, angling downwards to regard the Hero. "None shall pass," he repeated again, though he sounded slightly less obstinate this time.

Link put his hands on his hips, staring up at the gargantuan warrior. "Are you going to tell me that you spend all day, every day, just standing there in front of that box? That's all you do?"

The Iron Knight did not respond, though he seemed to slouch, just a little.

Encouraged, Link went on. "Really, how much would it cost you to just let me through? If I take that box and the statue, you can be free to just go off and do whatever it is you'd rather be doing. I'd be free to pursue my goals, you'd be free to pursue yours… Don't you have any ambition in life?"

"NONE SHALL PASS!" the Iron Knight bellowed irately. He seemed a little embarrassed now, and this was likely the source of his anger.

"Come now," Link said, still making no move towards his weapons. "You must have something you want to do with your life besides stand there and shout at people. You can tell me."

The Iron Knight shuffled a bit, his tremendous metal boots scuffing the floor. "Well," he began, "I always wanted to…"

"Yes?" Link said patiently.

"I rather wanted to be a singer, when I was younger," the armored giant said. "Do ominous chanting for soundtracks and the like. I only got into minion work because of me father; he said it was a waste of talent for a lad my size to not go into the smashing-things business."

"Well, you've certainly got the voice for it," Link agreed. "You should look into that."

The Iron Knight straightened. "Why, thank you," he said. He lowered his weapons. "You know what? I am tired of standing here all day. It's yours."

"Pardon?" said Link, cautiously starting to think his new tactic had worked.

"The statue thing," said the Iron Knight. "All yours. I'm going to go now. Thanks for the compliment, mate; I'll go and do some auditions, now."

Link turned to watch the tremendous armored man walk away, shaking the floor with his heavy footsteps. "Good luck!" he called after him.

Midna appeared out of his shadow again, looking first at the Iron Knight as he tossed away his sword and left, then back at Link, who was opening the chest at the back of the room.

"Huh," she said. "You should do the talking more often."

Author's Note: The real reason Link doesn't talk; it would get in the way of bashin' stuff. ;)