CHAPTER 8 SHOWDOWN


Flying over buildings she nearly had to lean back to see the tops of, Amber began descending. Carl's voice soon came over the com. system. ~You doin' okay?~
~I'm scared shitless!~ Amber screamed.
Carl began to laugh. ~Don't worry, just hit the ground evenly then jump off again.~ He demonstrated on the nearest building and shot back high into the air.
~Ooooh,~ Amber soon hit the top of the same building and landed and lept back into the sky. ~Wow, I did it!~
~Good, just keep following me and we'll get there in no time!~ Carl said leaping building to building, a trail of white energy from the jets on his armor trailing behind him.


***


"Sir-r-r-r" A stalfos materialized infront of Ganon in his large personal officer inside Ganon Tower. "The Trrrrrezen and anotherrrrrr suit of arrrrrrmorrrrr is following him."
"Ah, so the Trezen has grown a back bone has he?" Ganon disappeared and reappeared in an under ground room with dozens of military mobiles. "Take your positions!" He ordered. They all soon began filing out of the room save two. "Guard them." Ganon said nodding to two blindfolded figures hanging in the air above a pit of lava. "It seems that my bait has done it's job." He turned and laughed evilly. "Do enjoy your last few hours alive." Ganon walked out into the darkness and emerged into a scientific facility filled with scurrying scientists. He grabbed one by the collar that was rushing by. "Get my suit ready." He growled.
"Y-yes sir." The skinny man said meekly. Ganon sneered and shoved him away.
"Weakling." his attention was drawn to the platform that was slowly dropping from the ceiling. The business suit he wore morphed into a black spandex suit that strained against his buldging ancient muscles. "Let's see what this thing can really do."

***

Carl landed on the roof and waited a few seconds for Amber to land beside him. ~Hey stranger.~
~Heh, heh. Hey back.~
~Ready for this?~
~You bet.~
Carl's left knuckle bombs activated and hit a hole into the top of the building. ~Is your arm okay?~
~You should know, you built it.~
Carl laughed and slipped into the hole. ~Touche.~ Amber slid into the hole as well, and was enveloped by darkness.
~Doens't Ganon pay his light bill?~ They were soon confronted with four mobiles armed with AK-47's and immediately began firing at the pair.
~Get down!~ Carl yelled pulling her down to the ground. He lifted his arm and returned fire, getting one down. ~Yea, bullseye!~
~Let me have some fun!~ Amber said firing her rail gun into two other mobiles, causing them to explode.
~Nice shot.~ Carl congratulated her as the blade on his arm came into existence
~Thanks.~ She said watching him stand and rush forward at the machine. It didn't last long as Carl sliced its head from its body. The body of the mobile slumped to its knees then fell all the way.
~Ganon is gonna have to do better than that to get me.~ Carl smirked. ~Come on, let's keep going.~ they both started running down a corridor.
They heard a shot and a ping off Amber's right shoulder. ~Eh, what the hell?~ Two uniformed Hyrulians stepped into their view. It was Ganon's lackeys Moe Blin and Al Fos.
"Well, well, well." Moe grunted. "Look who's here."
"I believe its the Trezen, and who's that with him?" Al hissed.
"I believe it is that bitch Amber Hailee."
~Bitch!? why you!~ Carl clamped Amber's shoulder tightly and held her back.
"Carl, I'm starting to pick up something from those two."
~Huh? what do you mean?~ The officers began growling, their clothing started shifting as well as their bodies.
Moe's body began growing fur all over and his eyes glowed. His teeth began to get sharp and his lower incisors stuck out of his mouth. the uniform tore away and replaced by a chain of spikes running on either side of his shoulders with leather covering his chest and legs. The gun he carried turned into a spear.
Al's body began melting away completely, making Amber want to vomit in her helmet. ~Ung, disgusting.~ His gun turned into a twisted red blade and his uniform turned into rusted green and silver armor and suddenly had a shield on his left arm. "We will stop you beforrrrre you get to Lorrrrd Ganon." Fos's voice rattled.
~A moblin and a stalfos?~ Carl asked aloud.
~A what and a what?~ Amber asked Carl.
~Creatures from ancient Hyrule, and the main force of Ganon's armies.~
~Well, whatever they are, they're dead!~ Amber screamed shooting her rail gun at the ancient evils. The stalfos blocked the shots while the moblin just stood there letting the shots slide of his body. ~What?!~
~Ya just gotta know where to hit them!~ Carl said rushing ahead and hitting the stalfos in the jaw so hard it's head spun around. ~Ha!~ After the head stopped spinning the skeleton staightened it out and sneared ~Ummmm,~ He soon was hit in the chest and fling back to the wall ~Mmmm, that hurt!~
~Carl!~ Amber shouted over to him
"Amber duck!" Kathy shouted. Amber did so in just enough time to have the moblin slice the air above her head. She reached up and grabbed it's wrist and flung it over her body. Moe landed on his stomach and began to get up. "Quick stab him in the back!" Kathy instructed.
~Okay, okay! No need to shout!~ Amber said taking out her thermal balde and taking care of business. The former sergeant of the city's police force started burning away in green flames.
The beady yellowed eyes of the eight foot stalfos peered down at Carl as he stood with his gamma blade at the ready. "You have annoyed Masterrrrr Ganon forrrr long enough."
~I have just begun!~ Carl retorted swinging his at the stalfos, cutting it in half at the spine. ~Ha!, Huh?~ Carl's mouth hung open as the living skeleton put itself back together.
It's laugh was the dead leaves of a winter's wind. "Not so confident now, arrre you?"
Carl sneered and the knuckle bombs slid over his right fist and swung at the body. It put up the shield to block, but the force of the blow went right through the ancient metal and blasted the stalfos apart. ~Yes! I-Din damn it!~ Carl shouted in annoyance as it began reassembling itself again. ~What do I have to do to kill you?~ The Trezen fired his gun at the stalfos.
Soon, Carl felt the blunt hit of the skeleton smashing it's shield into his helmet. Amber, seeing this, lept through the air and tackled Ganon's servant. She got on her knees as bones fell around her. ~Hmmm, why such trouble Carl?~ She asked, hands on her hips. Her companion pointed behind her.
~That's why! Carl said as Amber dove out of the way before the stalfos made a grab for her. She got beside Carl , their enemy standing menacingly infront of them.
~What now?~ Amber asked, standing with her blade at the ready.
~Hmmm, I think I have an idea.~ The gamma blade activated. ~When I cut off his head, make sure you catch it, and when you do, shatter it. Understand?~
~Yea,~
~All right...Yaaa!~ Carl kicked in the jets and attacked, slicing off the skeleton's head. ~Amber! Catch it damn it!~
~I know, I know Sheesh!~ She flipped in mid-air to catch the cranium, She could feel the magical pull from the head trying to reattach itself. One of Amber's knuckle bombs popped up and hit the skull, shattering it to a fine powder. But she could still feel the dark magic somehow and looked up to see The Trezen still fighting.
~A little,~ Carl flipped backward to avoid the red curved blade of the now headless stalfos. ~help here!~
~Jeez, do I have to do everthing around here?~
~I heard that!~ Carl said slicing back at his attacker. Amber smirked and as the stalfos was busy with Carl, slammed another knuckle bomb into the back of it's armor and blew it apart. She felt the dark magic quickly dissapate from the area.
After the concussion from the knuckle bomb, Carl picked up a bone, looked at it and tossed it back down on the floor. When the bone hit, it broke in two. ~That was, interesting.~
~Harder than mobiles?~
~Definatelty.~


Ganon sighed half-heartedly. "Well, at least I don't have to put up with their stupidity any longer." He had watched the entire conflict form the security camera monitor in the lab. He turned around and faced his personal secretary. "It's your turn, do not fail me."
The man bowed deeply. "I never have and I don not intend to start at this point." He smiled evilly and silver energy poured from his body. "RAAAA!!!!" It got brighter and brighter. There was a deafening clang of metal and the small man wan now a black armored Ironknuckle
"And do not show them any mercy."
The ironknuckle bowed. "Ho!"


~Shhh,~ Carl held out his hand in front of Amber.
~What is it?~ She whispered guardedly.
~I head something.~ They came to a long bridge over a seemingly bottomless pit.
"In deed you did Trezen." A deep voice echoed. The ironknuckle faded into from view from the surrounding semidarkness. Carl stepped forward ~I say, you mind stepping out of the way?~
"None shall pass."
~What?~
"None shall pass." The ironknuckle repeated.
~I have no quarrel with you, but I must pass this bridge.~
"Then you shall die."
~So be it.~ His blade activated and the ironknuckle hefted it's ax. Carl grimaced. ~Esh, what a monstosity.~
"Sticks and stones may break my bones....But my axe will kill you!!" It yelled as the weapon was swung expertly, giving Carl just enough time to duck and jive the blows. The axe came down and Carl stepped aside and cut off the evil spirit's arm.
~Now stand aside worth adversary.~ Carl said.
"'Tis but a scratch!"
~A scratch your arms off!~
"No it isn't."
~What's that then?~ Carl said pointing to the dismembered arm with his gamma blade.
After a pause the ironknuckle said, "I've had worse."
~You liar!~
"C'mon ya pansy!" The knight swung at Carl twice, each time it was block before it charged forward the armored hero. As the foe went past him, Carl cleaved off the other arm.
~Victory is mine!~ He knelt down on one knee. ~Thank you Goddessess, in thy mercy-oooff!!~ The knight kicked him onto his side.
"Come one then." The armless evil danced around Carl.
~What?~
"Have at you!"
~You are indeed brave sir knight but that fight is mine.~ Carl said standing up.
"Oh, running away, eh?" It still danced around Carl.
~Look you stupid bastard, you got no arms left!~
"Yes I have!"
~Whats that then?!~ Carl motioned to the arms on the metal floor.
"It's just a flesh wound." It kicked him in the rear.
~Mmmf~
"Cucco! Cucco!"
~Look, I'll have your leg!~ The ironknuckle kicked him in the butt once again. ~Right!~ As the leg came up, Carl sliced it off.
"Right, I'll do you for that!" The one-legged, no armed knight said.
~You'll what?~
"I'm invincible!" He said shoving into Carl.
~You're a looney.~
"The Black Ironknuckle always triumphs! Have at you!" It said bumping into Carl again. "Come on then."
Carl rolled his eyes and hacked off the last limb. The ironknuckle now down on the ground on his nubs and looked up at Carl. The Trezen de-activated his blade. ~Alright, we'll call it a draw.~ He motioned to Amber. ~Let's get going.~ She nodded and followed him along the bridge.
"Oh, I see, running away, eh? You yellow bastards, come back here and takes what's comin' to ya! I'll bite your legs off!"
~What a twit.~ Amber said as they stepped onto the other side. Carl agreed with a nod.

Ganon let out a long, tired sigh. "I do so tire of watching losing battles." He shook his head at the remains of the ironknuckle.
"Sir,"
"What?" Ganon asked, looking over at the scientist.
"We," He hesitated for a moment, "we still have Kobold."
Ganon's lips teased into an evil smile. "We do, don't we?" He began to laugh.

***

Five stories down in Ganon Corp. Tower, Kathy picked up an energy signature. "Carl, something is here, and its BIG."
A huge wall slid away and two yellow eyes came from the darkness, The duo lept out of the way just in time as a huge blade swung out at them. ~Son of a bitch that was close!~ Carl cursed as he landed on his feet. A horrible roar came from the darkness and a pig head emerged, then two arms as wide as tree trunks, one hoofed foot then another came next. The same monstrous roar and the mechanical monster fully emerged.
~Holy shit.~ Amber whispered in awe and fear.
~Amber move! That thing is coming right for you!~ Carl shouted firing at the beat. The rounds ricocheted off and it turned around on Carl. ~uhh, oops.~ After leaping from another blow Carl asked Kathy. ~What is that thing?!~
"I'm trying to find out, but nothing so far.....hold on!" A second passed by. "According to an old text it is an ancient incarnation of Ganon." Carl caught a glimpse of Amber firing her rail gun, having no effect on the beast other then annoying it.
~Anything on how to bring it down?~
"I'm working on it! okay, it says that the tail is it's weak point!"
~All right.~ He rushed forward and activated three of his left foot bombs, kicking the Kobold in the tail. It screamed in pain and whipped around. Wham! The Trezen took a blow from it's hoof that sent him crashing into the wall.
~Carl!~ Amber screamed as she quickly came to his side. ~Are you okay?!~
~Yea, I think so.~
"Good thing we strengthened the armor, you would have been killed." Kathy said.
~Can say that again.~ Carl said as he stood up. ~Amber, you go on ahead. I'll finish this hunk-o-junk myself.~ Back flipping from a blow they landed next to each other.
~Are you insane?! You can't beat that thing by yourself!~
Carl fired more rounds at the thing's head. ~Probably not, but one of us has to save your relatives. Right?~
~Well, I guess so...~
~Then get a move on for Nayru's sake!~ He went off and began tangling with the enemy.
I hope you know what you are doing Carl. Amber thought running as fast as she could, getting directions from Kathy in her ear.

It began getting very hot and Amber's cooling system kicked in. It didn't help much. Stopping for a moment she looked around cautiously and removed her helmet. "Whew." She said wiping the sweat from her brow. "Wonder why it got to hot." A bullet whizzed by her ear. Amber ducked and put her helmet back on the way down. ~Thanks for the warning Kathy.~ A dozen military mobiles started advancing on her.
"I'm sorry! I didn't pick them up, they must be some kind of stealth mobiles."
~Stealth or not, they are still just mobiles.~ She drew her blade and activated her shield. Charging, the bullets just slid off her shield and the blade cleaved easily through their metal bodies. ~And they will not stop.......MEEEEEE!~ She screamed as she beheaded the final mobile.
The teen heard applause and looked in the direction it came from. She saw an armored figure in the distance. ~C-Carl?~
"Amber, that's not Carl!" Kathy shrieked in Amber's pointed ear as a magical energy ball came hurtling at her. The girl in black armor had just enough time to bring up the energy shield but was still blown back by the force. "Like I said....." Kathy made a sighing sound, "I lost communication with Carl nearly five minutes go."
~And you didn't tell me why?~
"I didn't want to worry you."
Amber shook the webs from her head and evil laughter came from the blood red suit. ~So, the Trezen's friend has come to resue her Aunt and Uncle?~ More evil laughter as a cage came down from the seemingly endless ceiling and the floor opened up beneath them, revealing a pit of lava. Five mobiles came up beside the armored figure.
Amber's eyes lit up from beneath the helmet. ~Aunt Panrah!? Uncle Jaykob?!~
"Amber, is that you?" Jaykob asked from the cage.
~Yea, hold on, I'll get you two down in a minute.~
"Be careful." Panrah warned.
~This is borring me.~ The figure said, and with a wave of it's hand said, ~Kill them.~
~What?! NO!!~ Amber yelled as the mobiles' guns spewed rounds into the couple's bodies.
~Ah, much more entertaining.~ The male voice said as the cage dropped into the lava.
Tears rolled down Amber's cheeks and her body shuddered in anger. "Amber, your heart rate is too high." Kathy warned. The warning fell on deaf pointed ears as she tried to attack the red armored man. But it was protected by the military mobiles. The barrels of their rifles lit up again as they fired. Rounds plinking off her electronic shield, Amber slaughtered them easily.
After the last one exploded, the armored man came forward. ~I would expect no less from someone who hung around The Trezen.~
~Are you Ganon?~ Amber said between heaves of air.
~That is a rather rhetorical question, is it not?~
~AAAHHHH, I'll kill you!!!~ She raised the saber above her head but was blown back by evil energy. ~What was that?~ She asked to no-one in particular.
~Come, come now girl, surely you can do better than that.~ Ganon said belittilingly.
~Of course I can! And don't call me Shirly!~ The two began engaging each other, It was like fighting an uphill battle for Amber. Ganon hit her so hard and so fast.
She lept back from him and took a defensive position. ~Where the hell did you get that suit?~
~Does it really matter?~ Ganon sneered.
Gunfire ripped the air and explosions hit Ganon. He put his hands up to block any further rounds from hitting his armor. The smoke cleared and clanking came on the floor. ~What? Who?~ Ganon growled. The Kobold's head whizzed through the air and crashed by Ganon's feet. He scowled down at that head, ~You're next Ganon!~
~Am I?~
Carl stepped into the light. ~By The Three Carl, your suit...~
~I know, bad shape.~ The helmet has a crack running almost down the middle of it, the body had numerous dents, dings, and scratches. ~I must admit Ganon, that was some machine. It almost got me too....but I'm just too good.~
Ganon growled again. ~Die!~ He hurled a magic sphere at the two.
"Donner Krieg Zerschmettern!" Lightning blew the attack in a different direction.
~What?!~ Ganon bellowed.
A jade cloaked figure came out from beside Amber. Long dark hair flowed from the hood.
"Urasche beunruhigen wieder, Ganon?"
~Nein! Sie geneigte Flache sein!~
~Eh, what the heck are they saying?~ Amber said.
Ganon seemed to loose interest in Amber and Carl and continued talking in the strange language. Carl tapped the side of his helmet. ~Ah, there we go, Kathy can ya hear me now?~
"Oh! There you are Carl!"
~Yup, anyway, its ancient Hylian.~

"Diese zeit du sterben fur gut." The figure pulled back her hood.
~Emily McIntire.~ It came as a hiss from Ganon.
Her green eyes still danced with the power of the Power Triforce. "Ich haven schuten Hyrule fur die beendet funftaunsend Jahr in Gehause zu oder irgenjemand sonst versuchen zu nehmen er heruber."
~Could someone please tell me what they are saying.~ Amber said, rather confused.
"Oop, sorry about that Amber." Kathy said. "There, now you will be able to understand." Their conversation replayed in her ear.
~Ah, much better.~ She said with a nod.
~So, what are you going to do now Emily?~ Ganon sneered as black energy formed above his head. The triforce of power flashed on her right hand. ~That is mine!~ Ganon screamed as the huge black sphere was flung at her. The Power Triforce caused the energy to dissipate as it came closer to her.
"This is quite a handy little thing....no wonder you always desired more of this power." The air around her turned red as she taunted Ganon.
~Uh, oh.~ Ganon said.
"Now burn in hell Ganon!" Emily shouted as her balefire spell shot from her hands and hit the armored man.
He snarled as flames swirled over his armored form. ~You're spells can't affect me any longer.~ His thermal blade activated and rushed at Emily. Strangely Amber could sense the attack and flung forward with her shield up. The blade hit her shield. So strong was the force at which it hit, it went right through the shield, through Amber's armor and right through her mechanical arm.
The pain didn't hit Amber's mind for a second and when it did, she screamed in sheer pain and dropped to her knees, Bringing her hand up to her shoulder, tears welled up in her eyes. ~Amber!~ Carl cried and tackled Ganon hard and fast, turning his cybernetics to level six.
As the two fought farther from the two women, Emily bent down and cradled Amber's face in her hand "You'll be alright child." She said in modern Hyrulian,. which startled Amber. All of a sudden Amber felt a HUGE power flow from the emerald eyed woman into her. She looked down and saw a glowing triangle on her right hand. It kind of burned. "My time of protector is done. You have deep power with in you,. It is my hope that you use it wisely." Amber looked back up to ask what she meant, but she was gone.
~Eh?~ She looked around but only saw Ganon and Carl fighting. The fatigue from Carl was obvious. He was getting slower, even with his cybernetics that high. His body was going to give out soon.
~Give up yet Ganon?~ Carl said in between gasps of air.
~Oh, please Trezen.~ Electricity crackled as Ganon spoke. ~You are hardly in the condition to be saying such things.~ He hurled the magic at Carl. the hero rolled forward and as he threw a left punch at Ganon's head the remaining three knuckle bombs activated. The punch landed true, however, it did little but to amuse the King of Evil as he struck Carl's helmet with three knuckle bombs of his own.
There was a large cracking sound and Carl's green helmet split in two and fell to the floor. Ganon's eyes widened and his face paled at the face he saw "What's the matter Ganon? It looks like you've seen a ghost." Carl quickly wrapped his arms around Ganon's arms and body and locked the finger joints of the armor in place.
~Fool McIntire! What are you doing?!~
"Kathy, start the self-destruction program for the Trezen armor."
"Yes Carl," Kathy said sadly.
As Ganon struggled harder, Carl said "You know Ganon, you not letting me into your corperation made it alot easier to destroy you, just as my ancestors did."
Ganon screamed in anger and steam from the armor's arm joints started seeping out from the struggle the Gerudo was putting up. Carl gritted his teeth from the immense effort from keeping Ganon in check. "Carl, self-destruction program complete, just give the command."
He gave a quick nod and turned his head to Amber. He smiles warmly and the Trezen armor began to glow red. "Amber....I love you..." She was so surprised at what Carl had just said, she was speechless. Seconds later she found her voice and could barely say that she loved him back. Carl turned back and sneered up at Ganon. "Now, Ganon join me to my journey into Hell!"
The armor exploded loudly and Amber put up her arm to shield the enhanced vision caused by the helmet's visor. Smoke and shrapnel flew around her and clanked against the armor. After the shockwave passed she put her arm down. ~I don't think anyone could have survived a blast that powerful that close.~
"Then I don't think you should think. I'm still picking up a large amount of energy." Ganon rushed out of the smoke and slammed his fist into Amber's head, knocking her back ten feet. After picking herself up from the ground she saw Ganon standing with an angry look on his face. His blood red armor was no more, and his burn-scarred face had blood trickling down and over his left eye.
"You bitch, you destroyed my armor!" Ganon growled and shot out fingers of lightning at Amber, surrounding her in pain, concrete flying up around her.
Shrieking in pain, Amber fought back and the wisdom triforce glowed through her armor and the attack was blown back. ~Destroyed your armor?....Destroyed your armor?!~ She said through gritted teeth. ~My parents and baby brother died because of your company, my body had to be almost totally reconstructed, my aunt and uncle slain by your tin cans, and the man who loves me sacrifices him-self for the good of Hyrule!~ The earth began to shake and look of concern flashed over Ganon's face before regaining his composure. The amulet slipped out from under her armor and glowed with the power of Hyrule's ancient magic. ~So don't start talking about DESTRUCTION!!!!~
'Somehow this feels familiar.' Ganon thought trying to steady himself. He formed a blade of flame in his cybernetic right hand and Amber picked up her thermal sword. The king of evil roared and quickly made up the ground between them. "Die!"
ZZZAT!! The blades struck hard and the ground shook violently. The ancient Ganon lost his footing and fell back. The amulet grew brighter and it caught Amber's eyes. ~Huh?~
"Anubis, I knew that power felt familiar. No matter, I won't let you escape here alive!" He shot more lightning at that teen. The raven haired Amber was once again untouched by the spell. On the outside of the building, the street started moving, fire hydrants erupted from the concrete. Chunks of Ganon Corp. Tower crashed onto the street, crushing unsuspecting Hylians into spatters of blood and mush.
~Kathy, give me full power to my legs.~
"You got it."
Amber moaned as her legs filled with power. ~Din I love how that feels.~ In less than a heartbeat, Amber crashed into Ganon's body with so much power she took him and slammed him into the steel wall, breaking his rib cage and collapsing a lung. ~Now you die for good Ganon.~ Amber said coolly as she made one quick, clean cut though the Gerudo's neck, his head falling to the ground.
A warning sounded in Amber's ear, "Amber, the tower is collapsing. You need to get out of here fast!"
~You don't have to tell me twice!~ She said looking around. ~What is the quickest way out?~
"Searching...all elevators are out of service and the stairway has been cut off, looks like you have to bust through fifty stories."
~Fifty huh?~ She paused in thought as dust and concrete fell about her. ~Kathy, can you put the rest of my battery's power into the jets?~
"No problem." Thera's jets burst to live and lifted Amber off the ground.
the teen sliced through the concrete layers above her with ease with the thermal blade. ~YAAAAAA!!~
"Fifteen more stories Amber." Kathy informed her as a lead pipe nearly hit Amber in the head.
~Good, its gettin' too damn dangerous in here!~ Moments later she saw the hole Carl made on the roof and flew right up through it. When she landed on the roof Kathy tried to giver her warning, but didn't have enough time as the cement crumbled around her. Amber screamed and thirty feet down and graded a steel beam jutting out from the wall. ~Too close.~ The jets turned on again and she flew to a building three city blocks away.

Her helmet reflected the setting sun, With her right hand she took off the midnight black helmet and breathed in the evening air, sweat trickled down her forehead and cheeks. Amber watched with a sad face as the tower collapsed in on itself.
"Amber....I love you..." Carl's voice echoed in her head as a stiff breeze blew her black hair out behind her.
"Amber, Thera's battery is at 10%, you need to get back home."
"Okay...." Amber wasn't sure if she wiped a tear or sweat out from under her eye before putting her helmet back on, which was rather difficult with on hand and turned around jumping from roof top to roof tom on her bay back to the gray brick dwelling that she and Carl shared for that wonderful, short time.

THE END OF THE TREZEN'S FIRST TRIAL