Like a Stranger
part two!

Obligatory Disclaimer: Nintendo owns everything, I don't.
Author's Notes:
A big ol' thank you and kiss goes out to everyone who has reviewed Chapter One for me! ^_^ You guys ROCK!
Oh Yeah…: In Chapter one, towards the end, I wrote, "Her opponents weren't there yet!" --- that was a brain fart on my part (hey, that rhymes). It was supposed to be teammates, not opponents. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused. ^^;

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Any vehement words Zelda had in store for her delayed teammates were cut short when she was approached by one of them. From far away, she could discern his clothing, which was not outlandish in comparison to the dress in her homeland of Hyrule; he wore a blue-violet cape, cobalt armor laced with gold, and white trousers.

As he neared her, it was easier for Zelda to make out his features. He looked no older than fifteen years of age with a handsome, youthful visage and a wiry build. His most noticeable feature was his unruly-looking dark auburn hair kept somewhat 'tame' by a gold and sapphire forehead ornament. In one of his hands, he held a sword that was no longer than Link's infamous Master Sword.

If not for his short ears, sort of like that of a Gerudo's, she would have assumed he was a Hylian.

He finally reached her, his cerulean eyes wide in amazement. By now, Zelda had gotten used to receiving such looks from strangers---it was a given, considering she was the princess of an exotic land.

"A-are you…Zelda?"

She nodded.

"I'm Roy, one of your partners for this match," he nodded his head, meekly, in greeting. "Sorry 'bout being late. Marth and I ended up somewhere else. There was a miscommunication…"

"Marth…? Where is he?"

"Oh, yeah, he's over there sizing up the competition." Roy pointed to some distance behind his shoulder with his thumb.

Curiously, Zelda peered at the indicated direction. She had to squint some, but she was able to make out the form of a young man, with the same type of build as Roy, although a bit taller. His back was to her, showing off the faint slate designs on his gorgeous royal blue cloak and a head of hair of the same color. He too carried a sword.

She was instantly intrigued.

"I see… Well, it's good that you're here, Roy. I was afraid the match was going to start without you two."

"Eh heh!" Roy chuckled, sheepishly. He rubbed the back of his head and put on a boyish grin that made the reserved Zelda break into a grin. "So, do you have any ideas?"

Zelda's golden eyebrows furrowed. "Ideas?"

"Yeah. Do you have a planned strategy for fighting these people? I figured I'd ask since I don't know them…"

"Oh." Zelda tucked an unkempt strand of her hair behind her pointed ear. She realized she didn't have a planned strategy. "Nothing really. I was planning on going after Luigi, the plumber in green."

"So it's a free-for-all, then?"

"Something like that."

"Alright!" Roy grinned widely and turned to jet towards Marth to tell him the news.

"Wait…!" Zelda's voice halted the young swordsman in his tracks. He skidded along the rock surface and glanced over his shoulder at the princess. "The other two, Kirby and Fox, are my friends… Can you take it easy on them?"

Sheer confusion was evident in Roy's face. "But if we do, we won't advance any further in the tournament…"

A soft sigh eschewed from Zelda's lips. "I know," she uttered, "but I don't want them seriously hurt."

Seeing the genuine look of distraught breaking through the ice-cold and serious countenance expected of princesses, Roy acquiesced. "Alright. I'll tell Marth," he said. "Let's do our best!"

The warmth of Roy's enthusiasm made Zelda's worries melt. She felt more confident with having him on her team. She smiled and nodded towards him before the youth jogged in the direction of his blue-haired partner. From her spot underneath the stone canopy, she saw Roy utter something to Marth, who glanced her way and back to his friend. He nodded and both warriors drew their swords.

One minute until the start of the match!

Zelda remained where she was. Unlike Roy and Marth, she didn't drop into an automatic fighting stance for she didn't possess one in particular. Instead, she stood as still as she could be, controlling her breathing patterns and keeping her arms at her sides while making sure not to lock her knees. Although butterflies were swarming in her stomach, she had to represent tranquility for if she were to reveal her anxiety towards the opposition, the match would be over for her. That was a tip she had learned from her nursemaid Impa, a Sheikah gifted in the art of battle.

As she mentally counted down the remaining sixty seconds, Zelda hoped all of Impa's training would pay off.

Ready?

Nayru, Din, and Farore. Grant me wisdom, strength, and courage…

Go!

A soft wind picked up the second before the assembled combatants sprinted forth towards their opponents, their spirits fueled by the glory of battle. To Zelda, a tenderfoot when it came to such a battle, it was amazing. Her knees almost buckled from underneath her but somehow, she kept her ground. She decided to stay where she was, playing a bit of a porcupine game; as soon as an opponent got to close to her, she'd attack. It was her safest bet considering her lack of physical strength was evident in her delicate looking body.

To get closer to the action, however, Zelda neared the crevice in the ground which led to the lower levels of the temple's structure. She couldn't see but could hear the child-like voice of Kirby and the tenor-voice of Marth battling below. In the north, she caught a glimpse of Fox McCloud and Roy in their own fray. The renard was dishing out kicks that looked like nothing but blurs while the swordsman hopped and counterattacked at any time he wasn't being pummeled by those lightning-fast attacks. As she had hoped, she wasn't fighting Kirby or Fox.

But where is Luigi?

As if in response to Zelda's internal query, a white glove balled into a tight fist sprang up from the hole in the ground; followed by the fist was the rest of Luigi Mario's body. His fist grazed the princess' soft cheek with an intensity she hadn't felt since her days of training with Impa. Her eyes widened as she regarded the calm, blue-sky overhead. She was down?

Natural instinct kicked in, and before Zelda knew what she was doing, she was rolling backwards and into a kneeling position, ready to strike out. Her narrowed blue eyes were focused on the form of the plumber advancing towards her. When Luigi was a good two feet in front of her, Zelda swung both of her long legs out in a wide arc, catching the Italian off guard and sweeping his legs out from underneath him. Luigi rolled backwards with the blow. He would have fallen into the hole that led to the temple's lower regions if he hadn't held on for dear life to the ledge.

He grunted and climbed back onto the same ground level with Zelda. She eyed him carefully, waiting for him to make the next move. And that he did. He extended his palm and a faint glow surrounded it. Although the glow was an unnatural green, there was no mistaking its fire-like blaze or the smell of smoke arising from it. Luigi's palm spat out a materialized ball of emerald fire towards Zelda. The Hyrulian princess would have been singed severely; luckily, with her lightweight body came the advantage of speed and quick reflexes. She leapt skywards, avoiding the fireball in its entirety and landed on top of the stone canopy she had been standing under a few minutes prior.

The platform was sturdy enough to carry her weight, thank the Three Goddesses, so she didn't have to worry about it collapsing underneath her. Her trained eyes caught a glimpse of a glowing pink blade. She smiled widely at her immediate fortune. The tournament committee had dropped a Beam Sword! She immediately reached for it.

~ Flashback ~

"Link, what's that?"

It was a few days prior to the official start of the Smash Brothers Tournament and Link, Zelda's good friend and a veteran of the tournament, had given her a tour of the tournament's locale. The two Hylians had stopped at a museum that showcased the various items used in the tournament, including a peculiar looking pink…thing.

"Huh? Oh, that's a Beam Sword."

Zelda peered closely at the peculiar item in Link's grasp. At first glance, it looked like a sword handle with a soft pink light above it. "It looks more like a candle or a knife of pink liquid than a sword to me," she commented.

Link chuckled. "That's the whole point of it. It looks like it's nothing but a harmless and eye-catching object, but in reality, it is a very lethal sword; it lengthens and swings with a power in direct proportion to whomever is wielding it…"

That caught Zelda's interest. Demonstratively, Link took the Beam Sword in hand and swung it away from his body and the princess'. Zelda marveled at how the sword's translucent blade extended to twice its initial length. It made a funny whirring sound when it sliced through the air, too.

"Can you give me a rundown on how to use it?" she asked him.

"Sure. You hold the sword by its handle firmly in one hand…"

~ End of Flashback ~

By the time Luigi was teetering near the westernmost edge of the temple's area, he had lost count of how many times he had fallen victim to a swipe of the Beam Sword. Zelda's prowess with it had overwhelmed him so much that the plumber didn't get a chance to attack her after his failed attempt at a fireball. He had underestimated her; he was tired and was acting slapdash---now, he was suffering the consequences.

Zelda had exerted all of the physical strength she had into a quick but strong overhead swing, knowing that it was the last of such swings she could make before the Beam Sword's energy would dissipate forever, leaving her weaponless and taking away her advantage over Luigi.

The Three Goddesses of Hyrule had granted her wishes for she had connected solidly with Luigi. The Beam Sword's blade struck, rather than sliced, against the Italian's battered body, shoving him violently off the edge of the stage like a powerful gale. He was going…going…gone!

Luigi eliminated!

Zelda tossed the blade-less Beam Sword aside, and smiled a relieved smile. She was rather proud of herself. Not only did she not have to resort to using magical attacks, she didn't have to transform into her alter ego either!

Now, if only my teammates are as successful as I was

Zelda strongly believed in a fair fight, so when she turned about face and headed to where the others were, she decided to not interfere and watch them instead. She knew she would have points deducted for such an act, even if it was a dishonorable thing to do. Forget the points, she thought, I'm not about to gang up on---

Kirby eliminated!

At first, Zelda did not know how to react when that announcement interrupted her thoughts. Part of her was glad that her team had only one more opponent to eliminate before they were declared the winners while the other part felt a small knot of guilt within her stomach.

During her reverie, the princess didn't notice the events that unfolded before her.

Fox and Roy's battle had led them near the western area where Zelda had finished dueling with Luigi. The nimble Roy had jumped over Fox just in time to cleverly avoid the head-on collision the latter's signature Fox Illusion would have made. The move was notorious for its incredible speed and momentum and its incredible results. However, it was also known for its uncontrollability and kamikaze aspects. Basically, once Fox bolted forward at the start of the move, the only thing that could stop him was either a stationary person or object in his path.

That stationary person, in this case, was Zelda!

From a good distance away, Roy gawked with horror. "Zelda! Watch out!"

Zelda didn't have time to react to Roy's shout, which startled her out of her trance. She blinked and saw that Fox was on a one way course towards her; if he managed to impact against her lightweight body, she'd either get seriously hurt or sent flying off the ledge, or both. Too stunned and realizing it was too late to move out of the way, Zelda braced herself for what was to come.

There was a sudden flash of indigo followed by added weight against her body. With her initial surprise, Zelda instinctively squeezed her eyes shut. However, rather than flying backwards off the ledge as she had thought she was going to, she felt her body moving to the side with a few graceless tumbles and skids along the rugged terrain. The quick and nauseating motions finally came to an end when Zelda, whose eyes were kept shut through the entire ordeal, found herself on top of something that felt like molded steel. But still warm, still flesh and blood…

Fox eliminated!

Slowly, Zelda pried open her eyes.

GAME!

Azure met azure.

She was fretfully staring into the eyes of Marth.

Zelda realized Marth had tackled her out of harm's way. "A-are you alright?" he whispered.

His chocolaty breath felt warm against her neck. They were *that* close.

Zelda didn't reply. She *couldn't* reply. She was awestruck, absently using their proximity to her advantage and studying Marth's every feature. His breaths came out as short, stunted pants. Several indigo-tinted strands were plastered to his forehead with sweat. The heat of the battle was still evident in the rosy color of his cheeks. And his delicate face…

"Zelda?" he asked her again, more urgently this time.

Zelda noticed a small trail of blood trickling down the side of his face. "You're bleeding," she whispered.

"Yeah…"

A frantic Roy ran up to the strewn duo, out of breath. "Zelda! Are you okay!?"

"I'm fine," the princess replied. I think…

"Marth?"

"My ribs have had better days, but otherwise, I'm…-ngh!-… hunky dory."

"Oh," the redhead breathed a sigh of relief, his hand to his sternum. "Thank Heaven…"

The three remained quiet until Roy broke the silence with his realization and abrupt outburst. "Ack!" He flailed his arms wildly. "Zelda! Don't just lay there on top of him!"

"Huh?" Zelda blinked at Roy then peered down at Marth again. She had almost forgotten she was still on top of him! Not only that, his limber and protective arms were still coiled about her waist.

Attacked by a sudden case of embarrassment, a blushing Marth removed his arms from around the blushing Zelda. The princess got up to her feet first and daintily dusted herself off. She and Roy then helped the injured prince up to his feet.

Team Zelda, prepare to be transported back to HQ. The teleporting pods are waiting.

"That's our cue," Roy uttered. "We'd better head back. Pronto."

The youngest of the trio began to help his partner towards the nearest teleporting pod and Zelda followed suite, all the while thinking of the seemingly intimate moment she had shared with this stranger Marth.

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A/N: So, whatcha think? ^^; I'm thinking of ending it here, by the way.
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