My Inner Nightmare
By Queenie Z

Chapter 3: All The Devils Are Here

"Impa, please, you have to talk to her! I've been trying all week to get her to see some sense, but she just won't listen! You're the only one who can get through to her!"

"I understand, Link. I'll speak with her regarding her actions."

"Thank you."

Zelda tensed as she listened through the door to her room to the conversation going on outside. There was a short pause before Link spoke again.

"...I'm worried about her," said Link in a quieter voice, "she attacked Jenna in cold blood, and she was rambling about how she was a demon." Zelda could hear his feet shuffling on the floor anxiously. "I'd be all alone if it weren't for Zelda. I don't want to lose her, not like this. I'm begging you... please help her."

"I'll do what I can. ...Get some rest, Link, and leave the princess to me."

"I'm in your debt."

As soon as Link's footsteps faded into silence, Zelda let out an exhausted growl of agitation and flopped onto her bed, covering her head with a pillow and digging her nails into it. Then, she heard a knock at the door.

"He's gone, Princess."

Zelda sighed. "Come in."

Impa let herself in, shutting the door behind her and frowning at the sight of the exasperated girl. "At the very least, he has enough of his free will left to be concerned about you." The Sheikah sat at the foot of the bed, placing a hand on Zelda's back in a gesture of comfort.

"I think that makes it worse," said the princess from under her pillow.

"How so?"

"Because," she uncovered herself and sat up, squeezing the pillow close to her chest, "he thinks I've gone mad! He's so concerned for me, but he doesn't even realize that he's the one who's been bewitched! And..." She sulked. "...And he says he doesn't want to lose me, but then he turns right around and starts frolicking with that beast like he's the happiest man in Hyrule!" She paused for a moment, shut her eyes, and took a deep breath, and continued, lowering her voice to a near whisper. "Under her spell, he wouldn't really care if I was gone. All that matters to him now is that thing!"

Impa moved her hand to pet Zelda's hair, a warm smile gracing her face. "If I may be frank, Zelda, I would say that you're experiencing a bit of jealousy."

The princess inhaled sharply as her cheeks turned a bright pink, but she acknowledged Impa's words. "...Perhaps a little." She smiled bashfully. "Sometimes I've imagined him acting towards me the way he acts towards Jenna right now. But that's just my hopelessly girlish imagination getting the best of me, I suppose."

"I wouldn't call it hopeless," chuckled Impa.

Eager to change the subject, Zelda straightened up, her face becoming suddenly resolute. "In any case," she said, "we have to focus on breaking Jenna's spell and destroying her before she takes Link's soul."

Impa lowered her hand. "You said that her magic comes from her eyes," she said, "but that you haven't been able to get close to her because of Link, correct?"

Zelda nodded. "And even if I could destroy her eyes, she would flee before we found a way to defeat her for good, and that would only leave us vulnerable for her revenge. That's why we have to know exactly what we're doing before we make our next move."

"A wise plan, Princess." Impa stood. "I have a theory that may help us destroy her, but I have to leave the castle to confirm it."

"You do?" Zelda's eyes widened. "What is it!"

"I'll let you know once I'm done." Impa headed for the door. "I'll be back before dawn. Sleep well."

Trusting that her attendant knew what she was doing, the princess smiled at her. "All right. Good night, Impa."

After smiling back at her charge, Impa left the bedroom and shut the door, leaving Zelda to slip under the covers and at least attempt to get some sleep.

When her eyes fluttered open the next morning, the golden sunshine that normally came through her window to awaken her was nowhere to be found. Instead, she was greeted by a grey sky and the sound of rolling thunder in the distance. She sat up, rubbed the sleep from her face, groaned - the night before had been a restless one indeed - and finally noticed the shadow that was cast over her bed.

Gasping loudly, she turned to the door. It was open, and standing in the doorframe with a smirk on her lips was Jenna. Alarmed, the princess jumped out of bed, snatching up a vase from her nightstand and holding it defensively.

Jenna merely chuckled at her reaction. "My apologies, dear friend," she said in a mocking tone, "did I frighten you?"

"What are you doing here!"

"Can't an old friend come and visit every once in a while?"

"You are not my friend," spat Zelda, "stop saying that you are!"

"You may know that," sneered Jenna, "but all of your guards and servants seem to think otherwise. Funny, that."

"I know what you've done to them," said Zelda unflinchingly, "and I know what you've done to Link, too. If you want his soul, you'll have to face me first!"

Jenna cackled. "Aww, what's the matter, Princess? Are you jealous that I'll be the one to have Link instead of you?"

"You won't have him!"

"He's already as good as mine!" She allowed her expression to soften into that stomach-churning, fake smile of hers once again. "Do you see the way he looks at me with that handsome smile and those sparkling, eternal blue eyes? He loves me. He wants me as a part of his life. And I've let him think that I'll be leaving at the end of the week - the poor thing doesn't know what to do with himself!"

"That isn't love! That's brainwashing!" Zelda tightened her grip on the vase.

"Brainwashing?" giggled Jenna, "Oh, goodness, even I'm not capable of that. The man still has his free will; all I did was alter his perception and memories a little." She pouted. "If I could do that sort of thing, it wouldn't have taken this long to get him to sleep with me."

The princess grew enraged. "What have you done to him!"

"Nothing, yet, but I know desire when I see it." Jenna shook her head. "He's slow to open up, I'll give you that, but he's been looking at me in a way you only wish he'd look at you." She looked out the window. "And, tonight, under the light of the full moon, I'm going to give him what he wants. Won't that be romantic, Princess?"

Zelda stared at her in horror. This witch, this abomination was going to take Link's body and soul tonight! In a fury, she threw the vase at the succubus.

"You'll do no such thing, you fiend!"

Jenna sidestepped out of the way as the vase shattered against the wall, laughing. "What a temper you have!" Then, she nonchalantly turned and walked away. "Well, I'm off to share breakfast with my darling Link! Take care, my friend!"

The furious Zelda began to chase after her, but when she got to the doorway, she stopped herself. Chasing her would have done no good; she had to find Impa instead and see if her theory was correct. Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she headed the direction opposite of Jenna and towards Impa's chambers.

Impa's eyes widened at the news. "She plans to take him tonight? And she told you this?"

Zelda nodded, her eyes still burning with anger. "She had the nerve to enter my chambers and tell me everything. How conceited."

"But she doesn't know that you've identified her power source, correct?"

"I don't think so."

"That means we still have the upper hand." Impa walked over to a table and grabbed an object wrapped in cloth, presenting it to the princess. "As long as we find her in time, we can break the spell on Link and destroy her with this."

Zelda eagerly took the object and began to unwrap it, revealing it to be the dagger that Impa always carried on her hip. She blinked curiously at it. "...This? But, Impa, this is yours, isn't it?"

"I supposed, based on the type of magic Jenna uses, that she is a creature that draws her strength from deceit and the vices that fill the hearts of men. If we assume that to be true, then magic based in the qualities of truth, selflessness, and purity would be an anathema to her; the same type of magic that allows fairies and Great Fairies to heal the wounded and bless them with good fortune." Impa smiled. "I had the Great Fairy of Magic bless this knife with her power; she was more than willing to aid the goddesses' champion."

Her rage turning quickly into hope, Zelda's face lit up. After wrapping the dagger back up, she laughed and threw her arms around her caretaker. "Thank you, Impa!" she cried happily, "Thank you so much! Now we can save Link...!"

Impa returned the embrace. "Now you can save Link," she clarified. "You're the only one who's immune to her tricks and can see trough her mask." She took Zelda by the shoulders. "Now, go to her wagon and wait for her there."

Zelda shook her head. "She won't be there," she said, "Jenna told me that she would 'give him what he wants under the light of the full moon'." Her face grew serious again. "That means she's going to take him somewhere out of doors."

"That could be anywhere," mused Impa, her brow creased in thought, "although I doubt she'd go anywhere public to mate with and murder him."

"That still leaves too many options!"

The Sheikah thought some more, then smirked ever so slightly. "Well, Princess, forgive my boldness, but if you were to take Link somewhere special for your first time, where would you take him?"

With a shriek, Zelda turned beet red. "I-Impa! N-Now isn't the time for - "

"I'm asking in all seriousness, Zelda," replied the older woman, amused at her reaction.

Zelda grew even more flushed as she lowered her head, considering the question. "Well, um... I always that that Lake Hylia would be a wonderful place to - " she gasped. "That's it! Not only is it secluded, it's one of the only places you can see the full moon clearly...!"

Impa nodded. "That sounds like the most likely place." Impa turned, opening one of her drawers and taking out a chainmail top and the sheath for the dagger, handing both to Zelda. "Take these, and the Sheikah cloak as well. Jenna has control over the guards and the stable boys, so going on horseback is out of the question. You'll have to go on foot."

The young princess swallowed. "On foot...?"

"Link was able to do it," said Impa, gathering the Sheikah cloak in her arms, "and I have no doubts that you can, too."

With a determined nod, Zelda took the cloak as well. "Right. I'll stop her - I'll save Link no matter what!"

Impa smiled in approval, knowing that the princess' wisdom and courage would not fail her on her mission.

It was mid-afternoon before the princess as a chance to sneak away from the castle and begin her journey to Lake Hylia. Though the spring afternoon was warm and she was only able to carry a small amount of food and water with her, she braved the journey without a word of complaint, knowing that the person most precious to her was counting on her. She hurried past Kakariko, past the ranch, past the forest, and past the dry path to the desert before finally reaching her destination.

She looked upon the lake's surface and was stunned to see a crystal clear reflection of the moon - though the sky hadn't darkened completely yet, the full moon was still visible, meaning that she had to hurry if she wanted to stop the succubus' plan.

Uttering the invisibility spell for her cloak, she ran to the shoreline, looking all over for any sign of the couple. She looked to the east and the west, then finally towards the tree in the lake's center. She'd know that little blonde ponytail anywhere - that was definitely Link, and he was already engaged in heartfelt conversation with the creature! From afar, she saw Link hang his head in sadness.

"Jenna," he began, his voice laced with melancholy, "it's been a wonderful week with you." He turned to look at her. "Even as short as it was‚ I really enjoyed the time I've spent with you. I wish you didn't have to leave."

Jenna took his hand. "I don't want to leave either, Link," she said as she placed a hand on his face, "my love..."

Link wrapped her tightly in his arms. "I... I don't think I'll ever find someone else quite like you." He then separated from her, stroked her hair with his hand, and looked into her eyes. "I love you, Jenna."

With a gasp of false amazement, Jenna forced herself to begin crying. "Oh, Link...!" It was then that their lips met, Jenna's hands gripping his shirt tightly as they kissed. When they finally parted, she leaned in and whispered to him breathlessly.

"Make love to me, Link," she breathed, "let me have at least that much..."

At that, the young hero's eyes widened. He swallowed nervously, but he nodded. "I," he stammered, "I want to, with you, Jenna - "

Before he could finish his sentence, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he fainted. Startled and infuriated by this sudden change in events, Jenna reached over to shake him awake.

"Link!" she cried, "Link, wake up! What's the matter with you!"

"He won't wake up. Not until I remove the sleeping spell."

Zelda rematerialized before Jenna's eyes, standing up from her kneeling position on the ground and glaring into the creature's skull.

Jenna grimaced, her eyelid twitching in anger. "You couldn't mind your own damn business, could you?"

"Not only did you try to take my best friend's body by force," growled the princess, "you tried to take his soul as well." She held out her palm, a small fireball forming in it. "I won't forgive you for this - not until I've rid my kingdom of your evil!"

Jenna stood to confront her. "You think your beginner's magic tricks will stop me!" She bore her teeth - now a sharp set of fangs - to her opponent. She raised her hand, her nails elongating into sharp claws, and swiped at Zelda, tearing into her clothes and causing her to stumble back. When she saw the chainmail underneath, she hissed, then lunged forward to grab her neck.

The succubus was far stronger than she looked, for she was able to lift Zelda high above the ground with a single hand. Grinning wickedly, she watched as Zelda coughed and gasped for air, kicking her feet underneath her. Then, she stopped, not because she ran out of air, but so she could reach out and place her palms over the creature's eyes. Smoke rose from Zelda's hands, filling the air with the scent of burnt flesh and a howl of pain from Jenna. She dropped the princess, screeching hysterically and grabbing what was left of her face.

"My eyes," she cried, "you bitch...!"

After catching her breath, Zelda reached under her cloak and drew Impa's dagger. Then, with a cry of her own, she drove the knife through the infernal beast's heart, sending her to the ground in a convulsing fit and screaming incoherently.

Zelda averted her eyes as the succubus let out its dying screams. When they stopped, she turned around to see only a smoldering pile of ashes with the dagger laying on top of them. Seeing that the thing known as Jenna was finally, finally gone, she fell to her bottom, sighing in relief before returning to Link's unconscious form, cradling him in her arms.

"I'm sorry, Link," she muttered as she waved a hand over his face to dispel the magic, "I only did what I had to."

With a groan, Link opened his eyes. "...Zelda?" A few seconds later, he finally grasped the situation and shot up, feeling himself to make sure that his clothes were still on. After realizing that they were, he relaxed a little.

"Thank the goddesses," he sighed, "I'm clothed."

At that, Zelda tackled the young knight, embracing him tightly and burying her head in his shoulder. "You're back!" she cried, "You're really back...!"

Though startled, Link smiled sheepishly and patted her on the back. "Yeah, I guess so." He looked over to the pile of ashes. "...Zelda, is that...?"

She looked back up at him, nodding. "She's gone, Link," she said, "she can't hurt you anymore."

Link hung his head again. "I'm so sorry," he said, "I should have listened to you. I almost made a terrible mistake... I..."

Zelda placed a finger to his lips. "It's all right. It wasn't your fault." She stood, helping him up to his feet.

As he stood, Link grimaced at the pile of ashes. "To think I almost give myself to that - " he covered his mouth and coughed, swallowing the bile that was building in his throat, " - You don't happen to have a spell that can make me forget the past week, do you?"

Though she tried to keep from laughing, Zelda couldn't help herself. "I'm sorry," she chortled, "I'd be happy to help you forget if I could."

With another groan, Link sulked. "I may just have to give up on romance for good after almost losing my virginity to a monster."

"Oh, Link, don't say that!" Zelda patted his shoulder. "There's someone out there who will truly care about you; someone who you'll want to give yourself to out of real love."

He glanced at Zelda, then at his feet, then finally at the moon, the darkness hiding the color in his cheeks. "Well," he muttered scratching his chin, "I guess there might be someone I'd - "

"What!" screeched Zelda, "You have somebody in mind, and you never thought to tell me!"

Link furiously shook his head. "N-No, that's not what I - "

"That is what you said!" Zelda pouted. "So who is it? Tell me!"

"No!" he protested, backing away onto the bridge, "I'm not saying another word!"

"Come on, I'm your friend, you have to tell me!"

"You can't make me tell!"

"Oh yes I can, Link...!"

With that, she began to chase him over the bridge and back to the shoreline, eager to pry his secret out of him. And though she had no way of knowing for sure, she all the while entertained the possibility that, perhaps, she wasn't the only one with a hopelessly romantic imagination.