A/N: This is just a random Twilight Princess one shot that I wrote a few months ago to practice my action scenes. Of course, later in the story isn't really action... I actually have NO idea what it is... but yeah. Oh, and somehow it ended up having hints of ZeLink, even though I always tell myself that MidLink is a WAY better pairing in TP. That's even on my profile. Anyway, I didn't post it because initially, I thought it was stupid... but then I reread it and decided it couldn't hurt. Enjoy this somewhat pointless and over-dramatic story!
Live with it, Wolf-Boy
Still panting heavily, I allowed myself to slump backwards, solidly thumping against the wall. "Goddesses," I moaned. "Did they really have to put so many stairs in Hyrule Castle?"
"Stop complaining," a voice from my shadow snapped. "You're not even done yet."
"Right," I muttered, "because crossing a gaping pit with nothing but the Spinner and avoiding spiked… spiked… thingies that were trying to impale me wasn't enough."
"Shut up, Link," Midna – the owner of the voice from before – popped out of my shadow. "You've only got one hallway to go, and then you're at the throne room."
"Really?" My voice sounded so hopeful that it was almost sad.
Midna was apparently thinking the same thing as she snorted with barely restrained amusement. "Well, yeah. If you'd bothered looking forward, you would see the door right there."
Perking up, I glanced down the hallway. She was right! Holy Din, she's right! There was a huge door with an oversized ornate golden lock that could only signify the boss room of the dungeon.
Hmm, I hadn't thought of it earlier, but I guess Hyrule Castle is a dungeon. And I bet this Ganondorf guy is the boss…
Unfortunately, Fate apparently still hated me and wasn't about to let me finish this dungeon that easily. As I approached the door, a flicker of movement and heavy clanking of metal caused my heart to sink. What I had taken for a decorative suit of armor was marching toward me.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Midna giggled at the dismay that was clearly displayed on my face and melted back into my shadow. The all-too-familiar twilight-magic-empowered wall appeared, blocking off the exit.
The Darknut raised its sword.
I back-flipped out of the way to avoid being bisected, causing the Darknut's sword to slam into the ground. Unsheathing the Master Sword, I tried swinging at its chest while it heaved the sword upward again, but somehow it miraculously managed to switch positions and halt my strike.
I sighed. Of course, things could never be that simple…
I moved as though to stab to the left, and as the Darknut shifted its position to block, I changed my move. Instead of using the momentum to thrust with my sword, I leapt to the side and rolled behind the monster's back, twisting to my feet with an expertly aimed slice at the only unprotected part of its body.
It grunted as the sword tore flesh (or whatever it is that Darknuts have) and turned towards me in frustration, but I didn't stop. I attacked again and again, slashing until the Darknut regained enough sense to raise its sword to meet my blows.
I was about to try another Back Slice, but it caught me off-guard first. Due to my strikes, quite a bit of its heavy arm had fallen off, and now it was a lot swifter. It unexpectedly stepped forward and knocked its shield into me, making me stumble back in surprise. Now I was left dangerously opened to attacks as I struggled to regain my balance, and sadly, the Darknut didn't miss such a great opportunity.
I managed to step to the side just in time to avoid the blade puncturing my chest and definitely killing me, but instead it left a long gash on my left arm. I growled. Crap! My sword arm, too!
Biting back the pain as I'd been forced to do way too many times during this quest, I shifted my sword to my other hand. I debated over what to do with my shield – adrenaline may have been blocking out most of the pain for now, but I knew that I didn't want anything making the wound worse.
But I had just the way to defeat this Darknut. It had surprised me by using its shield as a weapon…
Maybe I should return the favor.
I ducked under another swing and then came up with a strike of my own. As I expected, the Darknut raised its shield to block. The Master Sword clanged uselessly against its defenses, but already my shield was coming forward to meet his. I pushed with all the strength I had left in my injured arm – which, admittedly, wasn't much. Fortunately, it was just enough to cause my opponent to stumble. I was left with a searing pain in my arm afterward that even registered in my battle-focused mind, but I could ignore it for the moment. Not wasting any more time, I stabbed and penetrated its chain mail, then pulled the sword back out again at an angle, effectively pulling off the Darknut's hard outer armor.
Without the armor, it possessed inhuman speed that made it difficult to keep up with. It jumped back and hurled its broadsword at me, which I just barely evaded. Then it drew a smaller, thinner blade and charged.
This part of the battle was actually easy. Or, if not easy… at least easier. Although my adversary was faster, it was shaking with fury and apparent fear of failure. It was becoming hasty. All I needed to do was knock it off balance a couple times and attack. Then it would be history.
…Or so I thought.
I prepared to perform a Back Slice. It lunged with its sword and I leapt to the left, deftly dropping to the ground and landing on my side–
Pain erupted from my wounded arm and instead of springing up to attack, I cried out and hurriedly rolled off of my arm and away from the Darknut. Grimacing and clutching my arm, I got up on one knee, knowing that if I remained on the ground the Darknut wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of my weak state and do much worse than a small gash.
Heaving myself back to my feet, I looked up to see a sword coming at me. Startled, I narrowly managed to deflect it with the Master Sword. I swiftly backed away to consider my next move.
I didn't have much time to think. Already the Darknut was circling me, as though looking for the best angle from which to attack.
Contemplating this for a moment, I eventually nodded to myself decisively. I'd finally thought of a strategy.
…Well, it wasn't so much of a strategy as the realization that there wasn't anything I could do besides mindlessly swing and see what happened.
So, after avoiding another sword strike, I gathered my strength and leapt forward, sword raised for a jump attack–
–and then my body connected with something hard and I collapsed to the ground with a gasp.
The Darknut had oh-so-kindly kicked me in the stomach. Oh my goddesses… that thing was strong. Holy Din…
Suddenly acutely aware of the pain throbbing in both my arm and now my stomach, I struggled to my feet. I think Midna murmured something from my shadow, but I was too focused on slaying this stupid Darknut and getting on with my life to care about what she said.
That Darknut would pay. I'd fought hundreds of enemies over the past few months – Bulblins, Deku Babas, Keese, Lizalfos, even other Darknuts – and not one of them had defeated me. Not even the overgrown maniac plant in the Forest Temple. Not even the possessed Yeti woman in Snowpeak Ruins. Not even the colossal spider in the Temple of Time. Not one of the bosses. Not one of my enemies. I'd never lost. I wasn't about to start now.
I'd kill this Darknut. And after that, I'd kill Ganondorf.
My abrupt burst of energy caught the foe off-guard, much to my delight. It stumbled and I slashed at its chain mail relentlessly. It tried bringing its slender sword up to block, but I effortlessly adjusted my swings to attack from a different angle. While in such a weakened state, the Darknut did not possess the energy to adapt and shift its sword position. In one final act of desperation, it fell to its knees and aimed at my feet, but I easily dodged the swipe.
The Darknut groaned in pain and fell, disappearing in orange smoke.
With the battle finally over, I felt adrenaline and the thrill of victory fading away, replaced by pure and simple pain.
I collapsed into a heap where the Darknut had just been. "Midna," I called weakly.
She appeared and raised an eyebrow at my disheveled appearance. "Merciful Farore, that Darknut nearly did you in, didn't it?"
"Shut up," I growled. "I totally had him from the very beginning. I wasn't going to lose." I tried to sound confident, but the whole effect was ruined by my deep breathing and weary undertone.
Midna giggled. "Sure. So you just let him slash your arm to pieces?"
I glanced down at the wound. It was still an angry red and was staining my arm the color of blood, but it seemed to be healing up a bit. I'd always healed quickly. I wondered if it had something to do with being the Hero of Light or whatever. "Of course. I let him hit me."
"Oh, right. I apologize. I should have never doubted you, oh Hero chosen by the gods." I glowered at her, which only made her grin. "Oh, no! I've upset the Chosen Hero! Please spare me! Perhaps if I am lucky, he will give me the honor of allowing me to make a gash in his arm."
We stared at each other in silence for a few moments – Midna with a smirk, me with a glare. About five seconds passed by before we burst out laughing. The fact that we'd done it at the same time only made us laugh harder. It caused my irritation to dissipate like water poured on fire. I felt more relaxed than I had in days.
Despite the fact that we were sitting in the enemy-infiltrated Hyrule Castle, with me bleeding all over the floor and steeling myself for the upcoming fight with the ancient King of Evil, I was actually enjoying myself.
Only when a sharp pain in my stomach reminded me of my injuries was I forced to stop. My smile, however, remained firmly plastered on my face.
"Thanks, Midna," I said warmly. "I needed that."
"No kidding. You were acting way too serious. It was boring."
"Boring? Me? Never." I grinned and tried to shift my position. I say "tried" because when I put pressure on my left arm, a searing pain went through it and my expression melted into a grimace. "Midna, do we have anything for healing left?"
She smirked. "I was wondering when you'd ask." With a flash of Twili magic, an empty bottle filled with Red Chu Jelly appeared in her hand. She held it out to me.
I recoiled. "Are you serious? We don't have any more potions? Or fairies?"
"There are two fairies, but you don't want to use them up now, do you?"
"Yes, I do," I answered automatically.
She scowled at my arguing. "No, you don't. You're about to fight the guy who had enough power to destroy my kingdom and curse me into this form. I don't want you to die." Sadness flashed through her eyes briefly at this statement, her shoulders slumping ever so slightly. By the next moment it was gone, replaced by her carefree disposition. I felt a wave of sympathy for her. She'd lost so much, and now she hid it behind a mask of mischief and indifference. "Anyway, fairies are smart enough to free themselves if you're fatally wounded. They'll protect you. This, on the other hand…" She shook the bottle of Chu Jelly. "You would have to drink this. You can't do that if you're bleeding all over the floor."
"I'm bleeding all over the floor right now," I pointed out.
"Then I meant dying all over the floor. That's not a bad wound, and it'll stop bleeding in a little while. You were just stupid enough to reopen it earlier. Now drink."
I took the bottle reluctantly and stared at the thick substance inside. Chu Jelly had to be the worst thing invented for healing. I feel terribly sorry for the guy who first decided to try and eat it. It tasted absolutely horrible, despite how effective it was. At least this was the red kind… that wasn't nearly as bad as the purple…
"Are you sure we can't just free the fairies?" I asked meekly.
"Alright, fine." Mumbling something rude about stupid Twili and their stupid princess that would have made Uli ground me for months, I uncorked the bottle and peered at the slimy liquid within. Yep, just as disgusting as last time.
Taking in a deep breath and then pinching my nose, I quickly emptied the contents into my mouth. Immediately I was overwhelmed by the putrid, dirty taste and it took all my willpower not to spit it back out again.
With quite a bit of difficulty and a dramatic grimace just to spite Midna, I swallowed, but the revolting taste remained in my mouth. I could already feel it working magic on my wounds, speeding up the healing process immensely, but I was too focused on keeping the contents on my stomach in place that I didn't care.
"Water," I gasped. "Gods, please tell me we have water…"
"Oh, come on. It wasn't that bad," Midna said.
"How would you know? Have you ever tasted Chu Jelly?"
"No. But I'm sure it's not that awful. You're just a wimp."
"Holy goddesses, Midna, just shut up and give me the water!"
Her smile widened. "What if I said there isn't any?"
I stared at her in surprise. "You're lying," I said flatly. "There has to be water. There's no way I forgot to bring water."
"Are you sure?" she asked mockingly.
"Um…" I frowned, trying to think back to earlier. I hadn't even stopped to rest after slaying Zant and learning Zelda's location. All of this morning was kind of a blur – all I could remember was pushing through the crowds of Castle Town, fierce determination overpowering every other emotion and thought.
But… surely I didn't forget…
"You can't be serious," I moaned. "Oh my goddesses. I can still taste it…"
"But your wounds are gone now. Don't you feel better?"
"You do. You just don't want to admit it."
She was right, but of course I couldn't let her know that. "No. Now I feel sick."
"Live with it, wolf-boy. It's better than passing out from blood loss."
"You know my name, Midna. Please use it."
"Hmm…" She pretended to look thoughtful. "Uh, no thanks. I don't think I will."
"Because I like 'wolf-boy' better, of course! It suits you perfectly."
"It does not! Look, just because I happen to turn into a wolf in the Twilight…"
"Uh-huh. And that's why you love being scratched behind the ears."
"I do not–"
Before I could finish my protest, Midna floated to my side and reached behind my ear, rubbing just the right spot. My body instantly relaxed without my consent and I closed my eyes contentedly. This went on for a full ten seconds before I regained enough self-control to realize what she was doing. I slapped her hand away.
"For the love of Nayru, Midna!" I shouted as the Twilight Princess fell into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. My face burned with embarrassment. "We've talked about this! You said you wouldn't do that anymore! That was totally unfair!"
"Golden Goddesses above!" she shrieked between giggles. "Gods… that look on your face…"
"It's not funny!" I cried, which only made her laugh harder.
"Then why are you so upset?" she teased, patting my head endearingly. I resisted the urge to bite it. No need to give her even more canine qualities to make fun of.
"You're unbelievable," I sighed in defeat.
"Why, thank you," she responded smugly. "You can be pretty unbelievable yourself sometimes."
"I'm not even going to bother asking what you meant by that," I muttered. I glanced at my arm, which was now completely healed. The pain had faded to a dull throb that I knew would disappear given a few more minutes. Chu Jelly really was powerful stuff. Too bad you had to go into dark, dangerous dungeons to get it. Plus it tasted disgusting.
Pointedly avoiding her amused gaze, I looked around the room. Seeing the royal hallways forced me to recall the reason I was here in this castle. Quite unpleasantly I was reminded that Zelda was waiting. Hyrule was waiting. Ganondorf was waiting...
I stood and brushed myself off. "We've wasted way too much time here. Come on."
"Whoa, hold up, wolf-boy," Midna declared, floating in front of me to block my path to the door. "Why the sudden haste? You weren't even thinking about this a second ago. What happened?"
"Nothing happened," I responded shortly. "I just remembered that we have a job to do. The country is depending on us."
"The country?" Midna snorted in disbelief. "Yeah, right. Why would you care? You're from Ordon, which is a province of Hyrule only on paper. No one considers Ordona Province truly a part of the kingdom. You owe no loyalty to these people."
"But after everything Princess Zelda's done for us..." I began, but I was stopped by Midna's smirk.
"Oh. So that's what this is about."
"What?" I asked, uncomfortable with her knowing smile. "What are you talking about?"
"What about Zelda?"
Much to my annoyance, Midna simply turned and looked the other way. "Oh, nothing."
My patience was at its limit. "Midna, seriously! What–"
"I just wouldn't want to interfere with your wonderful relationship with Zelda. It would be wrong of me to keep you two away from each other any longer than you have to be."
"What in Hyrule are you implying?"
Her wink only infuriated me more. "I think you know."
"No! I – you – Zelda – we're not–" I couldn't make out a sentence, so I glowered.
She laughed. "That's the second time today I've embarrassed you. You're so predictable."
"Princess Zelda and I are not–"
"Don't try hiding it, Hero!"
I growled, exasperated and furious. "Look. First off, Zelda's never even met me in my real form. Second, she's a princess. I'm a ranch hand. End of story. And third, my name is not Hero, wolf-boy, or whatever other nickname you've come up with. It's Link. Link, okay?"
She looked at me smugly. "You know, my point from before still stands. It it's not true, then why does it bother you?"
I was at a loss for words, so instead I just glared at her in silent chagrin.
She grinned. "Better work on those argument skills. You make winning way too easy. I mean, if I can defeat you this easily, Ganondorf should have no problem."
"I highly doubt we'll be exchanging playful banter, Midna," I mumbled unhappily, finally pushing past her to the boss door and withdrawing the key.
She shrugged. "Well, you never know, right? Always best to be prepared."
The key inserted into the lock, which opened with a click and clanged to the ground. The chains binding the door slid off as well, revealing the intricate patterns painted upon it.
I placed a hand on the door and closed my eyes. The whole familiarity of this routine – fighting through the dungeon, chatting and joking with Midna, and then unlocking an enormous, ornate door with a key just as lavish to battle a boss – was actually kind of relieving. It helped distract me from the fact that I was about to duel the King of Evil. Even armed with the Blade of Evil's Bane I didn't quite feel ready for that.
"Are you going to stand there all day or just open the door?" Midna demanded.
I took in a deep breath of air, held it for five seconds, and then let it out again. Then (after shooting Midna a well-deserved scowl for interrupting my one chance at mentally preparing myself for the battle ahead) I placed both of my hands on the door and pulled it upward. Like all the other boss doors, it slid up on its own once I put the initial pressure on it. It must be some kind of technological mechanic thing that makes it do that. Or maybe magic. Whatever.
Midna melted back into my shadow as I stepped through the doorway. It slammed down behind me. I didn't have to look back to know it was locked.
We were very high up – at the top of the castle. I could only dimly see the royal grounds far beneath me, and beyond that, the far-away outline of the shops of Castle Town. A thin layer of fog filled the air, providing an eerily silent atmosphere that set my nerves even more on edge.
I walked forward to the stone railing, peering over the edge and into the unbelievably still castle courtyard. Just under an hour ago, I had been down there, scampering around and thoughtlessly slaying anything that got in my way. I tended to get that way when someone I knew was endangered – nothing could stand in my way, and if it did, it would quickly be removed. I'd been too focused on my mission this morning to allow any hesitation in sword swings, or for any distractions to tear my thoughts away from the battle ahead. As a result, my memory was slightly fuzzy... but I could still distinctly remember a multitude of enemies. Kagoroks. Bokoblins. That sort of thing. Where had they all disappeared to?
For some reason, their absence made me uneasy. I suppose I might have killed them all – with my blur of a memory, it was a possibility – but monsters always seemed to reappear the moment I turned my back. Reinforcements were always available. Why not this time?
Either they were running out of monsters to throw at me... or they'd been called back. Maybe it didn't matter anymore. Maybe they knew I was coming up here and wouldn't be returning to the courtyard any time soon.
Maybe Ganondorf was waiting for me.
Shivering, I turned around, hastily pushing these thoughts out of my mind. So he was expecting me. Who cared? It changed nothing. I still had to be prepared, and for that, my mind had to be clear.
Looking upward, I realized I was standing in front of an enormous pair of staircases. They extended up on either side of me, with the door I'd just come in from being located between them.
Somehow, in some inexplicable, supernatural way, I knew he was up there. Waiting for me.
I felt a pulse of warmth from my left hand, where my triangular birthmark was. A sudden rush of energy and indescribable courage flooded into me. Suddenly, I wasn't nervous anymore.
I was ready. I could do this. This was just another foe, another battle. No one else had been able to defeat me throughout my journey – King of Evil or not, he wasn't going to be the first.
I took another step toward the stairs.
Ganondorf, here I come.