The group quickly walked onto the bustling streets of Chicago. The sun beat down comfortably and Master Hand's clothing choices seemed appropriate for the weather at the time. As Ike looked around, he saw how few people even acknowledged his existence. Back in his universe, people at least had the dignity to say hello before walking off. The people here were too busy with their own thoughts, or reading a paper, or talking on what Zelda called a cell phone. Ike looked one man dressed in formal attire directly in the eye, a friendly expression on his face, and the man just turned away and his step speed increased noticeably. Turning back to where everyone else was, Ike commented, "Lovely city."

"Get used to it," Samus commanded somberly, "It's the way things are in the city. Save your own ass and damn everyone else's." She kicked a rock into the road as she shook her head. For a second she actually seemed to be lost in a myriad of thoughts and her face softened considerably. However, she quickly returned to her senses and her face hardened again, eyes squinting in the harsh sun. She put on her glasses and removed her jacket, slinging it over her shoulder casually. "Alright, let's get started," she stated, sounding just as professional as Ike did.

"Yes," Ike agreed. He pulled out a small map to give out directions. "Samus, you'll head down 59th street with Pikachu and me, but you'll stop at Midway Plaisance Park, while Pikachu and I will investigate the exterior of the University." He turned to where Link and Zelda were standing. "You two will head across 55th to Washington Park, but try to focus around Morgan, understand?"

Zelda nodded but Link spoke up. "I have one question, who told you that you're the leader?"

Ike smirked and said, "I'm the guy who was smart enough to grab a map from the display in the hotel." Link's face dropped and turned red with a mix of anger and embarrassment as Zelda laughed.

Link let out a sigh of frustration and grabbed Zelda's wrist. "Come on," he grumbled. He started to drag Zelda along but stopped when he met resistance.

"Link," Zelda said, "We're going the wrong way."

Link looked at a sign and saw that he was, indeed going the incorrect direction. He had been heading up the street they were currently on, Woodlawn. ("Goddess damn it!") he cursed in a bizarre language that only Zelda could understand.

"How did you manage to find Zelda again?" Samus asked teasingly, causing Link's fists to clench.

"Yes, how did you?" Zelda teased. She pulled out of Link's grasp and walked in front of him, a mischievous expression on her face. Samus joined her, with an equally amused grin, topped off with a plastered on grin.

Link shouted in contempt and yelled, "Will you guys just relax? That was Hyrule, this is Chicago! Goddess!" He sat down on a curb and took a long breath. He was seething a bit, but Pikachu was the only one to try to speak with him.

She lightly put a hand on his shoulder and spoke softly and sweetly. "How about I go with you and Zelda goes with Ike?" she suggested with a comforting smile.

Link put his hands on his knees and stood up. He took a deep breath in and then out and said, "Fine, just don't make fun of me when I do something stupid."

Pikachu giggled and assured, "I promise, I won't…well I'll try not to, it depends on how stupid you are." The rest of the group laughed as Link just readjusted his hat and pushed his square sunglasses up further. With that, Pikachu walked off, in the correct direction, with Link in tow.

Samus shook her head. "That guy and his temper sometimes, damn!" She laughed for no apparent reason and then spoke directly to Zelda and Ike. "The University starts only about a block from where we are, so I'll keep heading down while you guys look there." Zelda and Ike nodded and began to walk off until Samus grasped both of their shoulders and pulled their heads closer to hers so that her mouth was right in their ears. "Just remember," she whispered almost silently, "If you run into anything, use the communicators Master Hand gave us…and don't hesitate." She released the two and then began to walk, almost as if she had never said anything at all.

The three walked down the street, careful not to draw too much attention to themselves. Even if they'd tried, they probably couldn't get people to look at them. From the tired-looking and dirty homeless people, desperately begging for change to the flamboyant drunkards from what could only be described as the result of a rave gone wrong, the city was used to its share of freaks. It wasn't so much the way they were dressed that bothered Ike, but rather that he lacked the familiar weight on his back that lent him strength and security. He felt like he was leaning forward awkwardly from the disappearance of dead weight. He felt so open and so exposed. He didn't have the martial arts and fighting training that Samus and Link did, and he lacked magic like Zelda, and he lacked whatever defense Pikachu could use. The only thing he had was his muscles and his sword, at least that's what most people could tell anyway.

"This is where we leave you," Zelda stated, fishing Ike back into reality. "We'll probably meet up in a little, so tell us if you find anything." Samus nodded and continued her walk. Ike looked at her and noticed how much of a gait she walked with, swinging her hips enticingly with every step. It gave her, not a seductive atmosphere, but a rather intimidating one. The fact that she pulled out a cigarette just added to her tough demeanor, Ike knew that she'd be fine on her own. "So where should we start?" Zelda asked, once more having to draw Ike out of his own mind, a thought not commonly connected with muscle-clad figures such as Ike.

"I don't know, lemme look around." Ike looked at the buildings carefully. They were tall and had a very gothic style of architecture to them. The red brick they were made of masked what kind of advanced technology and theorems were no doubt being studied within its halls. It was the kind of place where geniuses flourished…including mad ones. Ike knew that trying to enter the college would just look stupid and get them thrown out, and could result in their cover being blown to any agents in hiding. He and Zelda would have to find a bench or something and merely observe the comings and goings of all who entered or exited the college. "Let's find a place to sit for a while, close to the entrance," Ike stated.

"Should we split up to get a better view?" Zelda asked casually as she began to walk towards the main gate. She had been doing missions for a while now, but preferred not to lead. Leading from behind the scenes, in a castle, was where she excelled the most. She could make tough decisions and give wise answers, in part due to her piece of the Triforce. However, when it came to making snap decisions on spot, she wasn't the best, and with the pressure of others depending on her, it just made her more nervous.

Ike thought for a moment before saying, "No, it will be better if we just sit together. It will make it less obvious that we're up to something than if we walk together, talk together, and then just suddenly split up to sit on things five feet apart." He smirked as Zelda laughed. Ike had made the notion sound quite ridiculous, but not in an insulting way.

"I suppose you are right," she conceded. "Are you sure you just don't want to sit with me, Ike?" she asked teasingly, earning a light blush that told her she was successful.

Ike's smirk widened and he responded, "I don't know, you didn't particularly fight me, now did you?" He had to admit, at least to himself, that the idea of sitting with Zelda for a while wasn't an unpleasant one.

Zelda began to blush although it was more pronounced against her fair skin. Suddenly, she felt like somebody was watching her. It wasn't a threatening kind of gaze, but rather an unwanted one. It reminded her of when her father had lined up some suitors for her. She gently shoved Ike playfully, but her face was dead serious. "Hold my hand," she whispered.

Ike, reacting to the push, gave a soft punch to the shoulder. His face showed no indication that he knew something was up with Zelda. "Uh-huh, just so you can tease me some more?"

Zelda stiffly shook her head. She then grabbed Ike's hand and held it, rather lovingly. Her face burned with anxiety and guilt. She wanted to let go and sit, but at the same time, a part of her loved how her hand felt with Ike's. He had rather small hands for someone who managed to wield such a large sword, and it was also surprisingly and pleasantly soft. It wasn't as soft as most girls, but it was a sharp contrast from Link's hard and callused hand. "Just hold it until I say so," she commanded, although it truly lacked a lot of conviction.

Ike wasn't blushing as heavily as Zelda, or so it appeared. His bandana covered the blush on his forehead and he wasn't as susceptible to blushing as Zelda was. He felt odd though. A part of him felt simply bizarre for doing this. After all, they had only met less than a week prior and… His thoughts stopped there. He and Zelda were unusually good friends for those who had spent a relatively short period of time together. She wasn't anything like he'd first imagined, which was a selfish, entitled brat, but was instead a good person who seemed to be missing something. Her hand in his felt nice. It was soft and fit perfectly in his, almost as if the two were two halves of a puzzle that were finally connected.

Finally, Zelda said, "Okay, we can let go now." However, the two stayed holding hands for a while. The reluctantly let go, but neither allowed their face to betray their disappointment. Zelda sighed and began to pick up her pace when she realized that they had literally gotten about thirty feet from where they had decided to go. She twisted her hands together, wanting her gloves so that she would at least have something to play with. She would never admit it, even to herself, but she quite enjoyed Ike's presence. He was not only the strongman warrior that everyone seemed to think, and he actually provided her some of the most intellectual conversation of anyone in the mansion.

Ike matched Zelda's pace and in a no time had reached the front of the school. He sat down on a bench just across from it and looked up. The arch was made of some sort of iron and it twirled and glided beautifully. The simplistic designs seemed to accentuate its beauty and showed the true value of minimalism, in Ike's mind. However, the basic intricacies of the arch quickly faded from Ike's mind and another took its place. Zelda. She was sitting next to him, their hips almost touching. She was watching the entrance with greater determination than Ike was. He couldn't help his desire to reach over and simply touch her, even if it was something as simple as tapping her shoulder. Ike really admired Zelda, not only because of her vast intelligence, but also because of her strength. It seemed that people never gave her the time of day when it came to physical things. If they needed something carried and she was right there, they would pass her by in exchange for someone like himself. It was the reason she became a little bit peeved when Ike gave her and Pikachu assignments with Link and himself, respectively. He had seen her work out before, alongside Samus. And although Samus was definitely more athletic and fit than Zelda, they both looked toned and ready to fight. He also admired her will. In the few days he had known her, he'd never seen her give up on anything. If Samus gave her a challenge to lift a certain weight, she would always do it, no matter how hard it was. If Samus, or anyone, offered her anything she didn't want, she would never give in. Even though those were rather pitiful examples, Ike truly believed that in a true scenario the same will would shine forth from the quiet embryo that was Zelda.

"Ike, what is that?" Zelda whispered suddenly, shocking Ike and making him jump a bit. Ike shook himself to clear his head and looked to where Zelda was pointing. A man was running, his head down like he knew a secret, and a hat that was low over his eyes…almost as if to prevent someone from seeing them. "I think that was a member!" Zelda stressed, tugging on Ike's arm as she stood up. "We have to tell Master Hand!" She pulled out the communicator. It was a small orb, painted in the Smash Bros. colors with three colorful buttons on it. The red one, which Zelda pushed, was the on-off switch. The green one was to connect with the others, and the blue one was to connect with Master Hand.

Right as Zelda was about to connect to Master Hand, Ike swiped it from her. Before she could complain, Ike said, "It looks like he's going somewhere, and in a hurry. Let's follow him and see where he goes. If he goes home, we'll call Master Hand, if he doesn't, we may be in for a fight!" Ike said the last line with unexpected glee.

Zelda shook her head. "According to both Master Hand and our plan, when we see activity, we report to him!" She reached for her communicator, but Ike moved it out of her grasp.

He looked around and was thankful that the few people who were out that day weren't at all caring about Ike and Zelda's presence. "Look, I don't really care about the plan."

"You were the one who made it!"

"Yes," Ike conceded, "But part of being a mercenary, which when you think about it we are, is being able to improvise." He chose his words carefully, making sure to not let it slip that he wanted a real fight, to sate Aether's unsavory appetite for bloodshed, to nourish his own flesh-deprived needs.

Zelda tried to protest once more, but a message from Link and Pikachu came through on the communicator. "Guys!" The voice sounded feminine so it was probably Pikachu. "You have to get here, there are at least twelve of them, they're around a lake and they're armed… I think they might be onto us too, they keep looking at us weirdly!"

Pikachu cut off and Samus' voice echoed into it, "I'm on my way. Ike and Zelda, I'll meet you by the entrance to the college, I hope you know a shortcut." With that, Samus' voice ended and Pikachu's started again.

"There's something weird going on here, they're setting something up…and coming closer!" Her voice became an octave higher and she began to speak extremely quickly. "Hurry up guys, they have guns…and they're aiming…" In the background a scream that Ike could recognize as Link's shouted something in the same language he had heard before. Pikachu screamed and then heavy footsteps were heard.

Zelda looked at Ike with a look of pure terror in her eyes. "We have to go, now!" she said, her voice barely louder than a squeak.

More heavy footsteps and Ike and Zelda looked as Samus came up behind them, hardly breathing hard despite her run. Ike wordlessly began to run as Samus and Zelda followed, both hoping that Ike knew where he was going. He followed the path that the suspicious man had taken, including jumping over a small hedge. Samus and Zelda both easily made the leap and started following Ike. Although they were in the park, it was in a more heavily wooded part, trees and roots impeding progress, although Ike seemed to have very little trouble. His large size came in handy as he bulled through the growth. Samus' agile form and quick reflexes from training allowed her to deftly maneuver around most obstacles. Zelda didn't have the agility of Samus or the sheer size of Ike, so she lit small fires on both her hands and burned her way through, careful not to accidentally set the whole place on fire. She burned through several branches before stopping for a second to take off her sandals. Although comfortable, they weren't built for running. When she resumed she had to double-time it due to Samus and Ike's lead.

When they emerged from the forest, the sight shocked them. About twelve people, all with blank eyes and an unusual white garment were all gathered around two people, pointing different guns at them. Link and Pikachu were the two people. Link's sword and shield were in his hands and he was standing protectively in front of Pikachu, who seemed to be crying a bit. A few bullets flew towards them, but they bounced harmlessly off of Link's shield.

Ike tried to remember how to summon Aether. He needed it in his hands, it was his only weapon. Suddenly, a sheath appeared on his back and a heavy sword materialized in his hand, gleaming in the afternoon sun. Ike looked behind him and saw that Samus' Arm Cannon was the only thing she had taken for now, which was probably for the best considering she'd be the first to draw attention to herself…although there didn't seem to be any people around. All Zelda needed was her leather boots, which replaced her sandals in her hand. She quickly pulled them on and two fireballs appeared in her hands.

With a small grunt, she sent them both flying towards the ever closing group of Bringers. They exploded in a flurry of fire and grass, scattering the people, who all took refuge behind a metal structure that looked like a wall with several guns attached to it. They manned the guns and began firing with blinding speed. Bullets flew through the air as Link covered Pikachu as she ran behind the trees that the others were using for cover.

Pikachu gasped for air as she tried to regain her composure. Master Hand never explained how she was supposed to use her powers in this form…or if she even had any! The deafening roar of bullets hitting trees was silenced and the bark finally stopped flying around. Ike looked to his left where Samus and Zelda were standing, occasionally glancing their heads out, only to be gifted with another volley of bullets. When he looked to his right, he saw Pikachu trying to keep calm and Link had pulled a bow and cocked an arrow. He didn't doubt that if he could get a shot off, he'd do well and hit his target.

"Damn it, we can't get a fucking shot off without something getting shot in their fucking head!" Samus shouted in a rage. Her feet were twitchy and she wanted to just run out and start blasting away with her full suit on, but she knew it could only take so many bullets before things started busting and she didn't want to chance it, not with people like Pikachu with them.

"I have an idea," shouted Zelda. "Ike toss me my communicator!" He fished it out of his pocket and threw it to her. She caught it quickly as another spray of bullets responded to her reaching out her hand. She pressed the blue button and waited for Master Hand to answer.

"Hello, Zelda, what have you all found?" he sounded as if he genuinely didn't know what was going on.

"We're stuck. The Bringers have us pinned against trees; literally, can you send any back-up?" Zelda's voice was high and frantic.

"The only fighters that can go out in the field right now are Shade and Alanis, that's all I can send."

"ANYONE!" screamed Zelda.

A snap was heard over the communicator and two flashes appeared, earning a round of applause in the form of bullets slamming against tree trunks. "I wish I could pull you out of there, but you know I can't! Good luck!" Master Hand quickly shut off the communicator, much to the fighters' dismay.

Shade and Alanis were dressed in their normal combat gear. Shade in his overcoat and jeans and Alanis in her dark, skin-tight clothes, and short jacket. The both hid behind trees. "What the hell is going on?" yelled Shade, angry that he'd been teleported without any warning.

"Bringers are attacking us on the other side of the park," Ike responded, his head staying level and calm.

"How far to the other side?"

Ike glanced to the no-man's land that was the park and said, "About a hundred feet, give or take."

Shade's mind worked frantically. "Okay, does anyone have anything indestructible?"

"My shield," answered Link.

"Aether is," Ike called.

Shade nodded, which went unseen by everyone else. "Okay, here's my plan. Ike, Link, and I will charge, taking their fire. Zelda and Samus, I want you two to keep us covered and blast any time you get an open shot. Alanis, Pikachu, you two will rush in once we three have made it!" Shade saw Alanis barely nod as she curled up into a small ball and covered her ears.

"But I-" Pikachu attempted to squeak out but was cut off by Ike's commanding voice.

"On three! One! Two! Three!"

The three warriors dashed out as fast as they could. The bullets restarted their rain of destruction as the glanced harmlessly off of Link's shield. It was big enough that he didn't have to do too much footwork to keep safe. Ike was slowly twisting Aether so that he was actually managing to block two lines of fire with one sword. The bullets seemed to disintegrate against Aether as it was now flaming. Shade has his two swords, Conqueror and Liberator, out and adjusted the according to the patterns that the bullets were making. There were also several columns made of pure shadow that blocked any stray bullets from reaching the girls.

A fireball exploded behind the metal wall as the Bringer screamed and desperately tried to beat out the flames. Several balls of energy flew overhead as Samus laughed with sheer joy. Finally, the three warriors managed to get to the metal wall. They leapt over it, with the exception of Shade, who was now trying to fight off two of the Bringers, both of which were firing Ak-47s at him.

Ike, after leaping over the wall, engaged one of the Bringers. He was larger than the rest and took out a saber, curved a bit at the end. Instead of having nothing on, this man had a mask on with the letter L on it. It was eerily white. Since his eyes were so white, they seemed to blend straight into his mask. Ike and Aether began their deadly dance with the man. He was quick with a sword, which quite surprised Ike. The two struck over and over again, Ike contorting his body to block the incoming blows that L was delivering. Finally, he saw an opportunity. The man swung low and brought his sword up so that it glanced off of Aether. However, he expected Ike to raise his sword up to block, so he went to the left, exposing his right side. Ike hefted Aether and slashed the man's right side, forcing him to the ground as blood spurted from the new wound across his midsection. Ike slammed the pommel of Aether into the man's head and he was knocked unconscious.

Ike wasn't winded, his adrenaline was pumping much too fast for that to happen, but sweat dribbled down his entire body, staining his shirt with disgusting blotches. He observed the battlefield. Shade had managed to take out one of the men he was fighting, but another had joined his weakened buddy. Link was also taking on two of them, keeping them at bay with the glow of the Master Sword. Fireballs, energy beams, missiles, and other such projectiles flew and exploded around the battlefield as Zelda and Samus shot and then took cover.

Ike turned just in time to see a man jump to one of the mounted machine guns. Alanis appeared in front of him and grabbed him harshly with both hands. He screamed a gut wrenching scream as tiny…things…started to come out of Alanis' body and cover him. When his arms were covered, she released him and touched the machine gun, allowing more of the things out and Ike watched with disgust as they seemed to eat the machine gun's barrel to nothing, returning to Alanis soon after. The first batch of things she dispatched returned to her as well and when Ike looked, the man was now lying dead, a look of absolute horror on his face. His arms were gone and there was a hole through his chest where his heart should have been. Alanis faced Ike and then sat down on the grass, rocking back and forth…as if she was a scared child.

"Ike, help!" he heard a girl's voice cry. Pikachu was slowly backing up towards a fence with a woman pointing her pistol at her. Pikachu held up her hands and crouched on the ground. The woman grabbed onto Pikachu's hand and yanked her up so that she stared into the woman's unblinking, blank eyes.

The woman let out a maniacal laugh as she said, "The Lord will be so pleased for such a pretty pretty mind to break!" The woman gripped Pikachu's hand so tight that she could almost feel the bones breaking.

"Let go of me!" Pikachu screamed. This was the second time that day that someone had decided to take advantage of her, and it pissed her off. If only she had back in her old form, she could at least use her abilities. She just imagined the pain of inflicting such a lovely electric shock to the woman holding her. Then, she felt a weird tingle in her hands as the woman began to tremble. Her entire body shook and a foamy substance came out of her mouth. She went limp and fell to the ground, still holding Pikachu's hand. Pikachu removed her hand and looked at it. Electricity jumped from her fingertips and danced around her palms. The same went for her other hand. A giddy grin came onto her face. She gazed at the battle. Six of the Bringers lay dead. Link was fighting one; Shade was facing off against another. Samus had entered the fray with her full battle armor and she was blasting things off every which way, not trying to hit anything, but more so as to cause confusion. Ike was fighting two and Alanis was sitting on the ground, but none dared to get near her. Two people, a man and a woman started to gun at Samus, their powerful handguns causing her to take cover behind a rock. Pikachu's grin was pulled so wide by the invisible strings of joy that it actually began to hurt. She channeled her power into her hands and launched a dazzling display of lightning at the two. The hits struck dead on and the two Bringers fell to the ground, singed and writing in agony.

Samus stood up from her crouch and gave a thumbs up to Pikachu; she could practically see Samus smiling from inside her helmet.

Ike was facing off against two people. One was holding two switchblades, striking with Sonic style speed, but still no match against the integrity of Aether. The other still held his gun, a colt .45, a classic one according to Snake's journals. The man was reloading, so Ike took the advantage to focus solely on the man with the knives. He couldn't get a good angle without leaving himself open to a potentially fatal hit. The blows rained down upon Aether and a few even managed to scratch Ike's hands, but he didn't particularly care, it wouldn't hurt until later anyway. Out of nowhere, Zelda appeared, having teleported directly behind the man. She reached out her hand and with a quick rush of energy knocked the man forward straight onto Aether's tip, piercing his lungs.

Ike smiled at Zelda, but his expression rapidly turned to fear as the man with the gun took aim and fired, hitting Zelda square in the shoulder. It wasn't going to be fatal, but she fell into Ike's arms in surprise, holding the wound carefully. Ike placed his sword in front of her as the man fired two more shots, the second of which ricocheted off his blade and lodged itself in the man's jugular, causing blood to spurt rather sporadically. Zelda, who felt rather tense, slowly loosened in relief. Link had finished off his Bringer and rushed over to where Zelda was laying on Ike's lap, carefully cupping her shoulder, cursing in the strange language that Link would sometimes speak in.

The only one who remained fighting was Shade, although, at this point, he was mostly toying with the Bringer, like a cat with its prey. He only had one of his blades out and the man was out of ammo. He had a tiny knife and was desperately stabbing at Shade, who was casually swinging his sword around to block his blows. "Alright, Shade, give the little fucker an end!" shouted Samus, although she had to admit that it was funny how easily Shade was messing with the man.

"Alright, alright," complained Shade. "You're just like my fiancée, never letting me have any fun with this!" He laughed heartily and then stared into the man's blank eyes intensely. The man stopped his attack as Shade's eyes flashed, literally. They seemed to glow for a moment before the man dropped to the ground, screaming in utter terror. He was clawing at his face and hitting his head against the ground, still screaming. Shade knelt down and lightly touched the man's head. He whispered a few words and the man lost consciousness. Sheathing his sword, Shade walked to where the rest of the group was standing. "Well that was fun!" he said happily, as if he'd just gone on an amusement park ride.

"It's really not the time for humor, especially dark humor," Ike chastised, but he had to admit that the battle was exhilarating. It had been far too long since he'd been in a good fight where his ranks were still full. He assessed the damage each person had sustained. Ike's hands were scratched beyond belief, but he was used to it and they would heal quickly. Samus' suit was a little dented, but with her helmet off, he could tell she didn't care and could easily repair it. Link and Shade both only had a few scratches, although it looked like a stray bullet had grazed Link's ear. Alanis and Pikachu managed to come out unharmed, if a little shaken.

Exhaling deeply, Zelda grunted in pain. "Anyone want to treat the wounded?" she asked, face twisted between indifference and discomfort.

Shade sighed and shrugged innocently. "Sorry, my fiancée could do it if she was here, but I guess basic first aid will have to do until we can get back to the mansion." He looked around at the dead and dying bodies around him and said, "By the way…how do we get back and what do we do with this mess?"

Zelda, although rather comfortable in her current position lifted herself off of the ground and after Samus steadied her, she explained, "We'll leave a communicator here and any evidence will transported back to the mansion. In order to get back we have to wait the time to wear off on the semi-permanent teleportation device."

"In simple terms, please," Pikachu stated with a bewildered look on her face.

"Basically we're stuck here until 11:00 in the morning tomorrow, and then we'll be automatically teleported back to the mansion."

"First things first," Ike demanded, "We need to treat your wound. I know first aid and I have some bandages in my pack." He stood up and relaxed a bit as Zelda removed her hand from her shoulder. He saw that the wound was not deep and improperly placed, most likely due to the assailant's haste in drawing his weapon.

Samus handed Zelda off to Link, who was saying something in his own language. She pulled out her communicator as her suit vanished from her body, leaving her only with a laser gun attached to a holster and belt. Ike noticed everyone's weapons were disappearing. Link's sword and shield were gone along with Shade's blades and his own sword. Samus laid the communicator in the grass and pressed all three buttons at once.

"Get out of range," she barked. Everyone speed-walked away from the beeping device and in a flash everything was gone, as if the park had never been touched. The bodies were gone, the metal wall had vanished, and it seemed as if the grass had gotten somebody to soak up all of the blood on it. "…Could really use one of these…" Samus muttered to herself so only Pikachu heard.

She didn't want to know what Samus could need it for.

Ike released some tension in his shoulders as he saw people were coming from everywhere now. Buildings, other streets, and even the park now swarmed with the ravenous city crowd. But Ike had one thought. Where were they a few minutes ago, during the battle? He rolled his shoulder in its socket and said to Samus, "Give Zelda your jacket to cover up that wound until we get back to the hotel and I can bandage it."

Samus nodded and gingerly rested the leather jacket over Zelda.

Zelda winced as the soft inner side of the fabric laid on the bullet hole, sending a small sting that permeated through her whole body. "Can we go now?" she complained, her tone indicating both hurry and jest.

(=)(=)(=)(=)

When the group arrived at the hotel, one more room had been mysteriously rented out. After a few arrangements it was agreed that Ike and Shade would share a room, Samus and Pikachu would share a room, Link, despite his constant protests that Zelda take it, would have the single room, and Alanis and Zelda would share.

The seven stood outside in the hallway, blocking the non-existent traffic. Samus said her farewells and good nights and eagerly shoved her magnetic key in the slot. She opened the door, ran to the bed of the far side and practically jumped inside. Pikachu laughed as she closed the door and watched Samus gleefully caressing the bed's comforter. "Oh I need this after a battle," she moaned into the bed.

"It's only 8:00," Pikachu chided. "Don't you want to watch TV or something?"

Samus pushed herself up and placed her arms beneath her so that she was supported by her forearms. "No, I want to get into my nightclothes, turn off the light, and attempt to go to sleep!" She had said the words without a trace of hate or annoyance. It almost came across as lighthearted.

"Ugh, you're no fun!" Pikachu prodded, a smile tugging at the ends of her lips. "Can I at least watch TV for a while?" She laid down on her bed with her legs hanging over the edge. She heard Samus grunt apathetically and she held up her hands in front of her face. Her hands sparked slightly as electricity danced in between her fingers. Being human was so strange to her. It was such a foreign body, as if she'd taken it from another. The only thing that really got to her, though, was walking on two long legs. She was used to either walking on all fours or taking short and stubby steps on two legs. She reached over to the nightstand and picked up the remote. It felt better in her human hands that nestled in between her legs as a Pokemon.

Samus lugged herself off of the bed and reached into her pack. She pulled out her t-shirt and shorts and walked into the bathroom. She closed the door and Pikachu heard it lock. She sighed heavily and thought back to the fight earlier that day. Before the others had arrived, she had been cowering behind Link like some scared Pichu. He had thrust himself headfirst into danger just so she could be safe. Then there was Ike, who willingly took sprays of bullets, but just deflected them off of his sword as if he'd been doing so his whole like. Zelda was so sure of her abilities. The way she wielded her magic came easily to her and her level head simply added elegance to her battle style. Alanis scared the heck out of her, the way she effortlessly tore a man and gun apart. Shade was so sure of himself and seemed to know exactly what to do despite being warped there unexpectedly. Then there was Samus. She was itching to run, Pikachu could see it. Her feet were twitching and her hand never left her weapon. Her eyes were fierce and bloodthirsty, full of confidence that out of everyone there, she would be the one to come out alive. Something had held her back, something that overcame her reckless nature. Pikachu didn't know what, but she didn't have the gall to ask. Pikachu sighed dejectedly once more. She was worthless in battle. She had only managed to get into this whole mess due to Samus' stubbornness and she had only discovered what she could really do in an act of desperation…everyone else knew how to handle themselves.

The door opened and the light from the bathroom flooded Pikachu's eyes before a click told her that Samus had turned off the lights. "You alright?" Samus asked, unsure where the care had come from.

Pikachu turned towards Samus, who happened to be next to a mirror. It showed Pikachu's face, drained of color and her tired eyes. "Just tired, I guess," the smaller girl mumbled.

Samus chuckled and said, "Well Master Hand made sure to give you some clothes for the night, so get changed and we can both go to sleep!" Samus walked over to her bag and leaned over, placing her used clothes messily inside and pulling out a bright red shirt, with a Pikachu on it no less and some yellow pants. "He really needs to work on varying up colors," Samus commented, causing Pikachu to giggle.

Samus threw the clothes onto Pikachu's lap and she stood up and entered the bathroom, locking the door like Samus had. She placed the apparel on a marble-topped sink and looked at herself in the mirror. She lifted up her shirt over her head carefully and deposited on the floor. When she looked again in the mirror, she saw that she was still wearing a bra. Deciding not to tackle it, she quickly removed her skirt and pulled the pants on over her legs. It was comfortable and soft, perfect for sleeping in. She looked at her bra, which held her newly acquired breasts. She blushed at her own body as she tried to unhook it. After several failed attempts, she tried to simply pull her arms through it, but ultimately failed, getting one caught between the strap and her body.

Panicking and blushing harder that anyone, she made her way over to the door and unlocked it nervously. "Samus," she called timidly.

"What?" came an annoyed reply.

Pikachu heard the squeaking of bed springs and imagined Samus sitting up from trying to sleep. "Could you…help me…please," she squeaked out, just loud enough for Samus to hear.

Footsteps crossed the room and Samus opened the door saying, "What could you need-" She cut off mid-sentence. A grin grew on her face as she saw Pikachu, half naked, caught up in a bra, and with one of her breasts hanging out. She then outright laughed, clutching her side in pain.

"Please," Pikachu begged. She wasn't hurt by Samus' laughter, if the situation had been reversed, she would've been laughing as well.

The bounty hunter was in hysterics, tears falling from her face. By the time she had calmed down, Pikachu couldn't help but begin to feel embarrassed. Wiping the wetness from her face, Samus moved close to Pikachu. "I'm sorry, this is just too funny. I'd imagine this is how difficult some males find these things to be. Here, let me help."

Samus managed to quickly get the mouse turned girl free before showing her how to properly do it with her own bra. Pikachu blushed heavily and hung her head, defeated. "Hey," Samus said quietly, placing her hand gingerly on Pikachu's chin and lifting it up. "Don't worry about it, we all had to learn. Believe me; I'd be fucked if I became a Pokemon."

Pikachu smiled and Samus pulled her into a quick hug before disappearing back into their dark room.

(=)(=)(=)(=)

Zelda sat patiently in a chair as she waited for Ike to arrive. Her wound was still bleeding, but she had been taught long ago never to show a face of pain or sadness, even if hurt physically, mentally, or emotionally. She had Samus' jacket pressed against the entry wound, helping to soak up some of the blood.

Alanis had vanished inside the bathroom, locking herself inside. After a while, Zelda became a little worried, especially when she could hear voices from inside the bathroom. She couldn't quite make out what they were saying, except for one line from Alanis' somewhat husky voice. "Did I do well, Doctor?" Her voice was melancholic and small.

Zelda did not hear the rest of the conversation as Ike burst in, roll of bandages in hand. "Sorry," he breathed, "Got caught up talking to Shade. Did you know he has a fiancée?"

The princess gave him a critical, yet playful look. "No, did you know I have a bullet in my shoulder?" Ike gave a nervous laugh as he pulled up a chair and carefully removed the blood-soaked jacket. The wound wasn't deep and missed anything important, but it still would be a pain in the ass until Zelda got back to the mansion where there were better healing supplies. "Anything you can do?"

Ike nodded and unraveled one of the bandages and a small square pad of absorbent material. "Okay," he stated, "Let's get started. Now…I need you to take your shirt and somehow get it out of my way. I'll need your shoulder and some of your arm"

Zelda blushed heavily as she pulled down one side of her tank top; pulling her arm through the socket and holding the fabric up with her other arm to keep herself covered. It left one arm completely bare with the other holding up her shirt. "Will this do?" she asked calmly, although her face raged with blush.

"Yes, that'll work," Ike said like the professional he was. He wasn't viewing Zelda in a sensual way with her clothing like that, but rather as a patient that deserved his utmost respect. He softly placed the pad over the wound, glancing quickly at Zelda's face to gauge her reaction before continuing to press, applying just the right amount of pressure. He held one hand there and with the other reached for his gauze. He began to wrap around Zelda's arm and up her shoulder. The entire time he remained focused and she remained quiet and motionless. He finished her up and tapered off the end and tucked it into the already wrapped gauze. Breathing loudly he joked, "My lady, you be done!"

Zelda laughed and put her shirt all the way on, being careful as not to disturb the newly wrapped hole. "Thank you, my mercenary!" she replied just as comically. Ike stood up and stretched for a moment before looking at the clock. The time read 9:00. Zelda stood as well and gave Ike a quick hug with her good arm. "In all sincerity, thanks for patching me up. No one else seems to be able to do it."

Ike returned her hug, avoiding the covered area and answered, "It's no problem, and I have no idea why anyone else can't do it!"

The princess gracefully sat down on the bed and invited Ike to sit with her on with a gesture of the hand. As he sat down Zelda speculated, "Link is used to having potions, but he didn't think we'd need them, Samus is used to technology doing this kind of stuff, Pikachu wouldn't know how to do this, Alanis…I don't know anything about her, and Shade seems perfectly capable."

Ike scratched his head and removed her sweaty headband, shoving it in his pocket. "Shade was talking with his fiancée when I left."

"How did he contact her?" Zelda asked with a scrunched up face.

Ike chortled, "Careful, your face will get stuck like that." The princess giggled and relaxed her face. "You'd still be beautiful, but Shade did it with that creepy shadow magic he has. He opened a portal or something and I could see the girl, Shine, I think was her name."

Zelda nodded, making sure not to show her flattered face at Ike's compliment. "Shade is a bit mysterious isn't he? I'm sure he has a reason though, everyone does."

You don't know how mysterious and creepy he is, Ike thought to himself. "Anyway, I'll re-check your shoulder in the morning before we leave, so goodnight."

He lifted himself off of the bed's frame and rolled his shoulder. As he prepared to walk out, he reeled around as Zelda gave him one last hug. "Goodnight, and you have my thanks, again."

Ike smiled down at Zelda and wrapped his arms lightly around Zelda. The two stayed locked together, feeling as if they could sleep just like that. Finally, the bathroom door clicked and the two snapped out of their stupor. Ike stared at Zelda and she stared back before both walked off without a word.

Zelda laid down in her bed, shutting off the light as Ike shut the door. She had felt so comfortable in his arms. He was a big man, but actually rather gentle and her head seemed to fit right on his shoulder, in the crook of his neck. She sighed quietly as she draped her sheets over herself, cautiously watching her injury.

She settled down and began to drift into her dreams right as the light from the bathroom illuminated part of the room. Zelda's bed was closer to the bathroom and she watched as Alanis' shadow appeared in the doorway. She quickly shut off the light and dashed over to her side of the room. Zelda blinked as Alanis crouched behind her bed. The Hylian rubbed her eyes once more as she saw a faint blue glow emitting from behind the furniture. Alanis stood up and Zelda closed her eyes, though the blue light still was fresh in her mind. After a few seconds the creak of springs ceased and Zelda opened her eyes slightly. She saw intricate designs that seemed almost mechanical flow down Alanis' arms that were hugging her body. A chip in her shoulder blade stood out against the rest, but was partially covered by a black, body hugging shirt. The almost cyan luminescence gave Alanis an almost alien quality.

Alanis' voice shocked Zelda as she said, "Please stop staring… I know that I'm a monster."

A/N: Wow, this is the longest chapter I have ever done in a story; it's even longer than some of my one-shots! I really like this chapter as we see some more characterization, some action, and some romance. All said, please review, I would like to know what I'm doing well and what I need to improve upon. Also, if you flame me, just know that all you'll do is make me laugh.

One last bit of news, I posted a new poll on my profile that will impact the story significantly, but I will close it after about chapter 10 or somewhere around there, so please vote!