Aurora Shadowglen : (Looks around suspiciously then places a finger over her lips) "Shh! Don't let Diane know I'm here."

(Scans the room once more) "Here, I managed to find this with some help from Roxy and J.A. Take it. It's dangerous to go alone."

(Hands Reader a sheaf of papers bearing the title...)

Chapter 25 – Immersion of Shadows


I whirled around, my hand barely an inch away from passing through the portal, to see someone running and stumbling through the last reaches of Hyrule Field towards me. As he drew nearer, I could see a Sheikah amulet bouncing on his chest with each step and the familiar navy hooded half-cloak that only one person I knew insisted on wearing even in the extreme heat.

"Ko?! What are you doing here? And why do you look like you've been in a race with the mailman?"

Gasping for breath, Ko stopped in front of me and placed his hands on his knees. "Don't… use…. The portals…"

Curious and overly tired of getting either enough information or too much, I asked, with some impatience, "And why not, Ko?"

He held up a hand as he finished catching his breath, before replying, "The portals were manipulated by Ganondorf to act as a trap. Anyone going through them is stuck! Vizen can go into more detail on the repercussions, but I was sent to warn you to not use the portals."

"We'll let's get going then," I stated, reluctantly grabbing Midnight's reins again. "Vizen has a lot of explaining to do."

(As reported by a fairy that traveled with the Hero from the Arbiter's Grounds)

The Mirror Chamber was deserted, as befitting an open-area chamber in the desert. The occasional hot, dry breeze stirred up the sandy floor, creating mini-tornados for a brief moment. The sages, their work done for now, returned to their slumber, awaiting the time when their knowledge and power was once again needed in the world. Even the Mirror of Twilight, the thing that caused a horrible imbalance of magical power, lay dormant.

All was utterly still and quiet.

Then the mirror's power awoke.

Magic surged into the mirror from the surroundings and created the special Twilight warping hole that connected the two parallel worlds together. The symbols all along the black mirror glowed turquoise blue upon the black obsidian slab behind it. From that glow, emerged a series of black squares.

They flew straight towards the mirror then veered sharply towards the ground to form into two figures: one a tall and slender male, the other a diminutive female.

The male made his way around the mirror and sat upon the steps before it, pulling out a glass jar full of red jelly from his leather side pouch. The female floated forward until she sat to the man's right.

Looking up with her one uncovered eye at her companion, Midna asked, "Link? Are you alright?"

Link took a sip of the red potion and sat silently for a few moments before he gave his reply. "No, Midna. I'm not 'alright'."

"What's wrong? Did you think all our troubles would be over by defeating Zant? Villains have a tendency to be either tenacious or have an overly annoying master in your realm."

"I had hoped it wouldn't be the King of Evil…"

"Well," Midna said, her hands clasped behind her head. "If you ask me, you're either cursed with rotten luck or fated to be the greatest hero of this era. You'll be a Hero in both worlds this way."

Link smiled and shook his head. "I thought I was supposed to be the optimist."

Midna huffed and turned away, crossing her short arms. "Humph. Someone has to pull you out from your unusually dark thoughts. Be grateful I even decided to deem you worthy, farm boy."

Link laughed, his sour mood slowly reforming back into his good-natured one. "Thanks, Midna. I don't know what I was thinking. We've come this far, and with the help of all the friends we've made along the way I'm sure we can defeat Ganondorf."

"The friends we've made along the way?!" Midna exclaimed. "Surly you don't mean those half-witted oafs in the Resistance, or worse, that bow-wielding urchin Diane."

"The Resistance may not understand everything that's going on, but they're trying their hardest anyway. You shouldn't look down on them," Link countered. "And Diane's not so bad."

"So you say… Link, I'm telling you, that girl is definitely connected to some shady people. Seriously, you can be far too trusting at times."

"So? By your own admission, you were once a shady person yourself, trying to use me to restore your own world at the expense of mine, yet I trusted you and look how things have turned out. You should stop being so hard on Diane."

Midna looked away, arms folded, in embarrassment.

"Wow, I don't think I've ever made you speechless," Link stated with a wide grin on his face.

"And I don't think I've ever heard you talk so much," Midna snapped as she turned her head in mock indignation.

There was a tense moment of silence before the pair chuckled at each other's friendly jabs and walked slowly underneath the warp portal above.

(At the Sheikah Hideout, the Impa's quarters, the night before the Battle of Hyrule Castle)

Ko gazed at me worriedly as I sat, silent and emotionless, absorbing all the implications and details of Vizen's report. Most of the Sheikah fighting force was gone, the Resistance was still waiting for the barrier around the castle to drop, the Hero had yet to appear in Castle Town, and the Sheikah's main form of strategic attack was now a huge trap.

As if getting the title for Impa wasn't hard enough… Now I have to deal with this?

"Diane… Are you…?"

"I'm fine, Ko," I replied shortly, still working on deciphering the puzzle that was my few remaining options to help the Hero. "Will you and Vizen please excuse me? I need to think."

"I'll stay and help."

"No, Ko. I need to be alone for a little while."

"But I'm the most senior warrior available," Ko insisted, taking a step towards me. "It's my duty to help you form a plan!"

I opened my eyes and looked at Ko, pleadingly. "Please don't make me order you to leave me, Ko."

Ko stood there, stunned, his normally friendly face growing tight and emotionless. "If that's what you want, Diane."

I sighed, my heart heavy with each word I spoke. "Yes, Ko. I'll send for you if I need you."

Vizen stepped in and led Ko out of the room. Before he left, he turned back and was about to say something, but thought better of it, merely giving me a fake smile and happily stating, "If you need help, you can find me in the mess hall! All that running made me hungry!"

That fake smile was almost as bad as if he had gotten angry at me. He was hurt that I didn't want me around, but I had other reasons behind the more obvious fact that it would be quieter. Truth be told, I wanted Ko to be with me as I figured out what the Sheikah needed to do next, but I wouldn't be able to focus with all the memories and feelings that I, Shea, recalled whenever I saw him.

Focus, Diane! You have bigger issues to deal with… The situation with Ko can be settled after Ganondorf is defeated!

But the words Jara would have spoken to me, to return my focus forward, felt hollow and forced when I recalled the hurt expression in Ko's vibrant red eyes. The red eyes… of the one I had grown close to so long ago.

In my mind, I heard him introducing himself to me. I was 9 and he was 8, at the time, both of us old enough to start the true training of a Sheikah maga and warrior, respectively.

"You look bored reading that book by yourself! Do you want some company? My name's Korin, but I like to be called 'Ko'. It's quick and strong, like the warrior I'll be one day!"

A faint smile crossed my face. The name, 'Ko', was the Hylian word for 'child', his full name meaning 'dignified child'. Jara had named him well.

At the time he said those words, I had never been formally introduced to my 'blood cousin'. Sheikah children were not like our carefree Hylian equivalents. We started learning the generalities of the Sheikah's craft as soon as we could walk and then our training split into the two main Sheikah roles when we were old enough (others training under a mentor for more specialized training after their main course for the day was complete). Even at play, we were always applying some aspect of our training. As such, I had heard about Ko from my mother in passing, but never truly met him due to our strict training regiments.

I distinctly remember that Ko made it a point to meet with me every day that year, even if it was just a small greeting. I soon started to look forward to his appearance, since most of the children my age avoided me when I received the Eye of Destruction and started my maga training when I had turned 7. However, soon our training consumed our time and I drifted away from most contact with the other Sheikah. There were a few people I grew close to as I trained, but Ko's face and infectious smile soon became a distant memory. I didn't even recognize Ko when he came banging on my door that fatal night the Bulblins attack the Hidden Village, because I had not seen him in 3 years.

I forced myself to get up and focus on objects in the room, to avoid continuing to replay old memories.

The large, rectangular office had originally been my mother's, with Jara being the current occupant. If I hadn't been told whose room it was, I would have thought it was another one of Vizen's 'storage' rooms. There were two bookshelves chalk full of books and scrolls, most of them having been transferred here from the Hidden Village after the attack 6 years ago. Along the walls were maps of Hyrule and a few choice tapestries, the most prominent being two crests on the left and right sides of the rectangular room; the Royal Family Crest with the sacred bird and Triforce and the Sheikah's Eye of Truth. In the center of the fairly large room was a simple, yet sturdy desk, stacked with reports from the various operations within the tribe and a few notebooks where the Impa would summarize the day's events and plan for the future (everything spelled so only specific Sheikah could read them, of course).

I leafed through a few of the notebooks, reading entries in Jara's jagged and forceful scrawl, Vizen's simple script, and my mother's elegant penmanship. I had thought that perhaps there was an entry that described a situation similar to the current issue, but to no avail. If there was anything remotely close to an example, it would be in records much older than these and stored in areas I had no time to search.

I placed the notebook down, looking across the room with a somber expression. No matter how much I avoided the subject, everything was boiling down to two questions. I knew Link would eventually show up at the castle, hopefully with a way in, since he is the Hero. But should I go to the castle alone to help Link or risk taking the others with me?

And what about the invasion? Given the size of the force headed towards us I doubt I could stop them even with the help of Ko and the trainees. But the Hero couldn't be in two places at once. And if we tried to fight the army before fighting Ganondorf and Ganondorf attacked simultaneously with his army, we're doomed.

It's hopeless. If I brought everyone with me and failed to defeat Ganondorf, then the entire Sheikah race would be done for. If I left everyone behind and I failed, there was a chance the Shiekah might survive. But this is assuming Ganondorf couldn't or wouldn't track them down eventually. I could just bring Ko with me, he was the only remaining Sheikah who was near warrior status and had completed all his training. However, if I lost him…

"No!" I berated myself. "I've got to stop thinking like this. If I even think of what might happen to him, I'll…"

Break apart.

I clenched my teeth and slammed a fist into the wall, next the banner with the Sheikah symbol. My breath was deliberately slow as I struggled to control the whirling thoughts and emotions inside me. There was no optimal choice to make. Whether I chose to go alone or take them with me, I would have to risk their safety! Which was the lesser risk?

Who will die tomorrow? And who will live?

My eyes fell upon a single sheet of parchment placed on the desk, set apart from the notebooks and with only the light of the sole candle on the desk to reveal its presence. One glance was all it took to realize it was in Vizen's handwriting, another glance revealed the information written on the page.

The names of the few Sheikah left in Castle Town.

I grabbed the paper and scanned all the names and abilities they each possessed. A dark heaviness of despair engulfed me as I read the names of those whose lives were in my hands. The despair quickly built up into fury within me and I was half-tempted to burn the paper in front of my eyes, but I restrained myself and placed the parchment back on the table. Without a second glance, I marched out of the room.

No matter what decision I made, I was exhausted after battling and traveling. It was time for everyone to get some rest.

Once I was out in the hallway, I was slightly surprised to see Vizen waiting for me. Her hunched, fully cloaked body seemed tense while standing in the small hallway, as she lifted her head to address me. "Have you come to a decision?"

I shook my head. "I'm not in the right state of mind to make a decision of that magnitude. No matter what I choose, we all need some sleep. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and we need to be well-rested and ready. Please inform those still awake to turn in for the night, Vizen, and then get some rest yourself."

"Of course, Impa Shea."

I started at the new name, but replied anyway. "Thank you."

Sleep eluded me for two hours as thoughts and plans spiraled in and out of my mind, insisting to be analyzed and criticized. Finally, I had enough and sought out Vizen, who, despite my order to rest, was in her library, reading away at some ancient book.

I sighed and leaned against the doorpost. "Have you heard of any spells that force someone to sleep, Vizen?"

She hardly glanced up from her book as she answered, "Is the target of the spell an enemy or yourself?"

"Myself. I can't seem to get to sleep."

"And with good reason. The decision to go into a battle is not an easy one." She paused, scribbled something on a piece of parchment next to her right hand, and then continued. "You should find the spell you're looking for in that black book, The Shadow Tome, you found earlier."

I quickly located the book and soon found the spell. "Thank you, Vizen. I'll return the book to you in the morning."

"Keep it. I've been meaning to give it to you anyway."

"Are you sure?"

Vizen waved away the comment. "Think of it as a present on your appointment to Impa."

"Thanks, Vizen."

I was halfway out the door when I paused and turned back to Vizen, who responded before I said anything. "And before you start thanking me for working with you, I just pushed you in the right direction. You were the one who did all the work. Good night, Shea."

I smiled and shook my head. Vizen would never cease to amaze me. "Good night, Vizen."

(Dawn, Day of the Battle at Hyrule Castle, at the Sheikah Hideout, Castle Town)

The gray morning light had yet to streak through the sky over Hyrule Castle when the rain struck. It wasn't a large thunderstorm, but a dreary drizzle of a rain shower that made the depressing atmosphere even more disheartening.

I sat in a small alcove on the church's roof, watching the rain falling over the city, but my eyes were constantly drawn towards the yellow, diamond barrier surrounding Hyrule Castle. I had come to a decision when I woke after a solid, yet seemingly insufficient, 8 hours of sleep.

I would go alone.

There would be very little that the Sheikah could do with their present numbers and besides, I did not want their blood on my hands if I threw them into a hopeless battle. This way there would be at least a small chance that the Sheikah would be able to escape to fight another day.

I focused hard on the barrier around the castle and I could feel the malicious power radiating from within. Ganondorf…

After one last longing look at the castle, I traveled back into the twisting and turning catacombs called the Sheikah Hideout and went straight into my small room, knelt down, and threw open my war chest. Pulling out and setting my side pouches on the bed, I took out the contents and placed them in front of me. A sigh escaped my lips as I saw just how much I had been carrying.

"Three red potions, two green potions, an empty bomb bag, various papers, maps for Hyrule's portal system, flint and steel, two spare bowstrings, mother's journal, a bag of dried food, and a… small blue scale with a thin chain running through a small hole?"

I had completely forgotten about the scale I found in the ashes of the Zora Queen's body. At the time I found it, my magical abilities were not as keen as they were now so it was understandable that I had missed the fact that this item had magical properties. It was not a significant amount of magic, but enough to spark my curiosity.

Readying a spell I had learned from my mother, when I first began my maga studies, I grinned. "Let's see what you can do…"

(Around two hours before the sun's zenith, 5 hours before the Gerudo and Bulblin forces were predicted to arrive)

After making sure my weapons were cleaned and sharpened, my quiver was full to the brim with arrows, and my magical energy was at full capacity, I donned my armor, weapons, and pouches before setting out towards the main exit of the Sheikah Hideout (leading to the church entrance). Before leaving however, I had ordered Ko to gather everyone together while I was preparing so I could share my plans with them. I sighed deeply as I began mentally prepared myself for the inevitable disapproving arguments I would get from Ko and the others, when I told them I wanted them to run and hide, only to have a messenger burst out of the main entrance and run towards me.

"Impa Shea! A report!" shouted the young trainee eagerly. After a brief delay, I remembered her name was Roxa. Taking a moment to catch her breath and brush away a strand of her shoulder-length hair in front of her small, sharp red eyes partially hidden by her hood, she placed her right fist over her heart in a salute and waited.

I forced my face to remain impassive, even though I was annoyed. "Report, Roxa."

She stood at attention a few paces from me and began her missive. "The Hero has been spotted at Malo Mart here in Castle Town, Impa Shea. He was stocking up items in preparation for his assault on the Castle."

I nodded. Link was already here and would most likely stop by Telma's Bar before heading to the Castle. "Anything else?"

"The Resistance plans to begin their assault along with the Hero. However, because of a miscommunication, only half their men are present. I doubt they will be able to follow the Hero into the castle even an hour after he goes in."

At this I paused. If the Resistance was going to be delayed, then Link and I would be facing an army of monsters alone.

Great. Just great.

As I approached the main exit, Roxa following behind me, I saw that everyone had gathered as I ordered. They stood in a line, starting with Ko, awaiting my instructions.

Ko was ready to go into battle by the looks of his weaponry. He carried two tantos on his waist belt, a short katana strapped across his back, a pouch of throwing needles, and a pouch of deku nuts. Over the top of his normal outfit, he wore the traditional Sheikah tabard, with the Eye of Truth blazing a brilliant red on his chest. A navy cloth, used as a face cover, was pulled down around his neck and his red eyes were glowing underneath his hood. I could tell he wanted to go with me, but my mind was made up.

"I'm going alone."

"Diane-!" Ko attempted to interrupt.

"I've made my decision!" I shouted over him. "You are to take the Sheikah into hiding in case we fail to stop Ganondorf. That way the Sheikah will live on no matter what happens."

"Live on to do what, Diane?"

"If you all come with me and we all fail there won't be any hope for the future. The Shiekah will be wiped out!"

"Diane, the night before an apprentice warrior leaves to begin their apprenticeship, they must follow the same path taken by the Hero of Time through the old Shadow Temple. We're given a map and must use all of our training to make it through the traps and remaining monsters. If we die or give up before we reach the final area where the Hero faced the evil spirit Bongo-Bongo, we are relieved of our duties as warriors and instead take on duties to supply or aid the Hideouts. However, if we face our fear and make it through the temple, we make a certain vow to the current Impa or the Impa's second-in-command. We swear that 'we will aid the Impa in the protection of Hylia's descendant and the land they dwell in, no matter the cost'.

"What's your point?"

"That the Sheikah's entire reason for being is to protect the royal family and Hyrule! It's not just our job, it's who we are. If we flee now in violation of our oath, we won't be Sheikah anymore. All the sacrifices of the generations of Sheikah before us, including your mother, would all be in vain if the King of Evil wins now."

I froze at the mention of my mother. I wanted to refute Ko, but I couldn't think of anything to say.

"And what about our brethren trapped in the warp portals? Are you saying we should abandon them to?"

Uncharacteristically unsure of myself, I stuttered, "N-No…"

"Besides, what makes you think we can hide from someone as powerful as Ganondorf? If we can track people by sensing their magic, then surly he can to. There's nowhere we can hide. If you fail, the Sheikah are doomed anyway, so, we might as well go all in."

Unable to answer Ko's logic I finally gave in. "Ok, I see your point. But that still leaves us with the problem of how to stop the army that's headed our way. I don't see how we can protect both Zelda and Hyrule at the same time given our numbers."

"You don't need to stop the army, Impa," Vizen interjected. "If the difficulty is in fighting them both simultaneously then you need only find a way to delay them long enough to defeat Ganondorf."

"And that sounds like a perfect job for us!" Ko continued. "We can set traps and explosives along the route they'll have to take in order to get here, while simultaneously performing hit and run attacks to cut down their numbers. What do you say, Diane?"

I paused for moment, silently thanking Hylia for blessing me with such good friends.

I looked up at Ko with a smirk. "You better hope that you don't die on me or I'll find the Ocarina of Time so I can travel back in time to kill you myself! Now, come on! We've got a battle to plan!"

Ko laughed as he followed me back to prepare for war.

(Five minutes before the sun's zenith, approximately 3 hours before the predicted arrival of the Gerudo-Bulblin forces, at the gates to Hyrule Castle)

My eyes scanned over the old, well-trod, ornate bridge leading to the front gate of Hyrule Castle. No one was on the bridge yet, but Link would be coming any moment and the plan would be set into action. Underneath the stone bridge was a large and dark moat, rumored to be filled with Bari, Bombfish, and Shell Blades. I stood on the parapet on the secondary outer wall (overlooking the bridge) waiting for enemies, Link, and my part of the mission to begin.

The plan I had come up with relied heavily on stealth and luck the size of Lake Hylia. No, the size of Gerudo Desert. That's not to say there was no hope of my plan succeeding, there was a good chance everything would go smoothly, but it wouldn't be prudent to tempt fate by believing everything would go perfectly.

The plan, overall, was simple. Ko and other Sheikah warrior trainees would place bombs created by Idra's son, Tor, in strategic locations around the route taken by the Gerudo and Bulblin forces then the two magi-in-training would set off the explosions with either a Pyro or Flame Spout spell. After the traps ran out, Ko would lead the trainees through a basic strategy of hit and run tactics to slowly detain the enemy. Vizen, who was no longer able to go into combat, was tasked with setting up traps near Castle Town which would delay the forces even further. Meanwhile, I would help Link and the Resistance by sniping off key targets to aid Link on his way through the Castle.

There was only one small problem for this simple plan – the barrier around the castle had yet to fall. I had cursed profusely when I learned of this development, but there was nothing that could be done. I had already spent the better part of an hour trying to develop a counter spell to destroy the barrier, but that would require more magical energy than I had. So I had to settle for either Link to unleash a miracle or to forcefully open a small segment of the barrier to allow myself through. Needless to say, I was praying to Hylia for a miracle.

As I waited, I recalled the recent conversation I had with Ko and Vizen concerning the trainees.

"Okay, Diane, I can understand taking Idra's three 'Thunder brothers' – Loka, Adin, and Tor – since they're warrior trainees with a fair amount of magical training. But, Roxa? She's too young."

"She's been training as an assassin, Ko," I replied calmly. "Vizen's list of the trainees stated so. Which means hit and run tactics are perfect for the training she's completed."

Ko shook his head, still not believing me. "Little Roxa, an assassin? There's no way a sweet girl like her could undertake that profession. Besides she's too young to have even started the assassin's training."

"Actually, Ko," Vizen said, stepping into the conversation. "My granddaughter lost her parents in the battle of Hyrule Castle six years ago and Hanso took advantage of the chaos and reformation to start training her in the ways of an assassin, without my knowledge or approval. She has always been a talented girl -having completing her basic training long before she was expected to - which is why Hanso wanted her. I was so busy helping Jara at the time, months went by before I found out what he had done. By the time I pulled her out of that intense training the damage had been done.

"Because of my negligence and because she was only 8 when she start the training, she developed…a dark side. Make no mistake, she is still a kind girl at heart - always smiling and eager to help. But I've kept her running minor errands for a reason. Whenever she enters battle, her smile becomes a façade for a dark and twisted thirst for killing. She will follow your orders, Ko, but I ask that you keep a special eye on her. She is, as you said, 'young.'"

Ko and I stood in stunned silence for a moment before I spoke. "Good luck, Ko."

Sighing in defeat, Ko saluted. "Yes, Impa."

I was startled out of my revelry by the sounds of the gates opening beneath me. Link didn't hesitate as he passed through the gateway and onto the bridge, only stopping when he was in front of the barrier. I almost envied his bravery or extreme foolishness as he and Midna stood in front of the one thing blocking them from entering the Castle.

While he and Midna conferred briefly, a raindrop fell from the sky and splashed on my head. I glanced up at the inclement sky above me and sighed, "It would rain when we're storming the castle…"

Strange, magical sounds brought my attention back to Link and Midna before I froze at the sight before me.

"I knew she had to be a demon!" I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists. I hope you know what you're doing Link…

The object or thing under scrutiny was what Midna had transformed into by combining pieces of a mask filled with dark magic and fusing it with her body. Instead of her normal impish body, Midna now resembled a glowing, writhing insect-like mass with the mask as her head. Magic poured out uncontrollably from her body in such a degree I winced just looking at her. She flew sideways, bounced, crashed, and slid across the castle's inner and outer walls until she finally scrambled onto the barrier. Seemingly out of thin air, she summoned a spear and shoved it point-first into the barrier.

The resulting light sent me retreating behind the parapet, until it finally died away. Once it was gone, I stared at the now barrier-free Hyrule Castle. After taking a moment to gaze at the sight, I smiled. "I think Link and Midna can handle things here by themselves…"

With the barrier gone, I had clear shots at the Bulblin archers peaking over the walltop. After taking out as many as I could (which turned out to be all the sentries stationed at the front wall to the keep), I ran along the ramparts until I was above the moat. Fishing out the blue scale around my neck, I placed one foot on the parapet and dove out into the moat.

"Here's hoping this thing still works!"

The world underwater is quite different from the world above. There is a sense of fascination and awe of the wondrous plants, creatures, and beautiful kaleidoscope of reflected sunlight around you before a cold dread sinks into the pit of your stomach as you realize that you could die easier in this new world, if you are not careful and get a fresh breaths of air frequently. Then as you respect that this new world is dangerous, you grow paranoid, watching and waiting for an enemy or something to come out and drag you down to the dark depths.

I was extremely grateful that the rumors were only partially correct. There were Shell Blades at the bottom of the moat but, aside from a few harmless fish, there was nothing else that could be seen. The blue Zora scale provided short bursts of air into my lungs, but not enough where I could stay underwater for more than two minutes. Whenever I surfaced, I hid behind an outcropping of reeds or a bush if possible. Perhaps I was being a bit over cautious, but I would rather not be turned into a pincushion if any Bulblin archers spotted me from atop the keep walls.

I continued in this way in the moat until I was underneath the bridge. There just below the surface of the moat was a small 'tunnel' barred by metal rods that allowed the water of the moat to come up into the large sewer system beneath the castle walls. After using an underwater bomb to remove the bars, I took a large breath before I dove and made my way through the tunnel and into the sewers.

I only allowed the top half of my head to surface at first, so as to scout out any enemies with my eyes and ears before committing myself to step into the open. Everything was in a state of disarray, not mentioning the Skulltula webs everywhere. I managed to follow the crumbling tunnels through to a tower where I ascended a broken staircase and alighted atop the roof of the keep.

There were only two Bulblin archers atop the roof, pitifully curled up next to a dying fire underneath a tarp stretched over the north-western corner of the rooftops. With a sigh, I focused on the fire and forced it to explode in a shower of sparks, sending the two Bulblins skittering out of their hiding spot and straight into the two arrows I fired.

After spending ten minutes performing a balancing act on the rooftops, I finally made it to the south roof and scrutinized the expanse of Hyrule Castle. The castle keep reached ever towards the heavens, casting a great shadow upon the lands around it when Din's sun shone upon it. The once bright and magnificent structure was now cast in such a light that it seemed as if the sun or moon would soon descend and bring about the end of the world. The white walls were now the color of dried out parchment in the rain-induced twilight surrounding the castle, the elegant spires seemed harsh and malicious, and the very air was heavy upon my body as I gazed with increasing unease at this strange, 'new', and fog-encompassed castle.

I pulled an arrow out from my quiver and checked the wind. The air was still and silent, though the clouds above the castle were steadily descending as the rain continued to fall. Shielding it as best as I could from the rain, I lit the arrow with Pyro and took my stance, aiming for the north-eastern corner of the keep where explosive barrels were stacked next to two watchtowers.

With a deep breath and a quick prayer to Hylia, I loosed the arrow into the stormy air.

The battle for Hyrule Castle had begun.

Aurora: (Whips sweat off of brow) "Phew! That took forever to find! Now all I have to do is find Diane agai-"

Diane: "What are you doing?"

Aurora: (Jumps up from chair and looks around innocently) "Me? I'm doing nothing, just some homework. (Forces a laugh) So what brings you from your lovely little world to this dingy computer room?"

Diane: (Gives Aurora a disbelieving look and hands her a stake of papers) "Here's the outline for the next section of my story. Try not to mess up the dialogue."

Aurora: (Salutes) "I'll do my best not to!"

Diane: (Shrugs then glances at the computer screen) "Hey! That's-!"

Aurora: (slams computer shut and holds up hands defensively) "This isn't what you think Diane..."

Diane: (Summons Din's Fire in her right hand) "How could you start writing a Metroid story when you haven't even finished my story yet?!"

Diane uses Din's Fire!

Critical Hit! Aurora fainted! Diane gains -10 Exp for incinerating the author!

Diane: (Sighs) "Well, since Aurora's... busy, I'll finish up this segment by saying this. Read and Review please. It apparently gives Aurora a speed and experience boost whenever she receives one. I'm sure you want to see the last few chapters soon, so it would be to your benefit if you read and review. Thank you in advance."

(Diane burns paper with previous lines on it before stalking away) "Ko! Where'd you put my bow?! I need to go destroy some Bulblins and let off some steam!"

Aurora: (waits until Diane is gone then whispers) "Hope you all enjoyed! Until next time!"