• Chapter Eight: Chief Gosthard (Part 1 of 2)

    The dungeon wasn’t far from the throne room. Once inside, Lila gathered her wits and tried to formulate a plan. She took a close examination of the room, looking for anything that could help her. There was one support beam in the center with a pair of lanterns hanging off of the sides. Other support beams and lanterns were recessed into the walls so there was nowhere to hide like the hallways. For such a gloomy place, the number of lanterns made it well-lit. The room was filled with various devices that were probably made for torture. Lila thought the dark stains covering them were from blood. A tool rack hung from the wall near the entrance. Now that was something that could be useful.

    The bulblin took her to the far wall and chained her up. This would have been a good opportunity, but the other bulblins had followed and blocked the only door. Once she was secured to the wall, the bulblin leader ushered the others out. They closed the door behind them, though she imagined they wouldn’t venture too far.

    Lila wished she could do something, but with her hands shackled above her head, she felt powerless.

    Powerless…

    That word sparked something in her mind. Power. Like the Triforce of Power. The Triforce was formerly held by Ganondra, whom Lila had defeated just days before. She had a crazy thought. Could she have the Triforce of Power, now? And could it give her power? In all of the legends of the Triforce, they never mentioned what happened after the hero defeated the villain. It was always just a happy ending. Now, Lila had defeated the villain, and she wondered what came next.

    Lila decided to try out her theory before someone came in. She pictured the pieces of the Triforce on her damaged left hand. She imagined two of them lit up for courage and power and squeezed her fists. Then she pulled at the chains with all her strength.

    “Ow!”

    The chains groaned under the strain. It was working! Though it hurt to do so, she continued pulling, feeling the rock giving way to her strength. It was slow going, but it was going nonetheless. Eventually, she broke the chains free from the wall, and they dangled from her bruised wrists.

    Lila stifled a shout of excitement. She could feel the power surging through her. It felt like she could lift anything, like when she used the Gauntlets of Strength. Her heartbeat quickened with the confidence it gave her.

    Now on to the next step. Lila hurried over to the tool rack by the door and started taking things down. She grabbed everything she thought could be useful and stashed them in her pockets, her boots, and even her hat. She decided to leave the chains on her wrists to use as bludgeoning weapons. The bit of rock that was clinging to each end would surely knock an enemy off of their feet.

    When she felt ready, she stood nervously behind the door… and knocked.

    “It’s really stuffy in here,” she called out.

    The door burst open, and a bulblin came in. Lila sprang into action and attacked him on sight. She swung the rock on her chain and hit him in the head. He went down instantly. Another bulblin followed, club raised, but he went down with a punch to the nose. Lila came out from behind the door but was surprised to see no other enemies for her to fight. They must not have thought she could escape. She checked on the two she had attacked and saw that they were out cold. Satisfied, she stepped out of the door.

    Looking both ways down the hallway, Lila saw nothing. She remembered the way to the throne room and crept her way there. At the entrance to the throne room, she peeked her head around the corner. The Moblin Chief was still sitting there, laughing with his subjects. Lila looked around and found all of her weapons and supplies in a pile on the other side of the room. There was nothing left but to attack. She took a deep breath and began.

    Lila used the tools as throwing knives and started with the blins closest to her. They fell to the ground before anyone noticed her. She took out another group as the blins figured out what was going on. Then she had a real fight on her hands.

    “Get her!” roared the chief. He jumped off of his throne, picked up Lila’s things, and ran.

    “Oh no, you don’t!” Lila shouted. She fought her way through the blins, but there were just too many of them. There was no way she could catch up tot he chief and get her things.

    That’s when she noticed that he didn’t get everything. One lesser moblin fought with her boomerang, though he had no idea how to use it. Lila quickly stole it back from him. Another bokoblin was wearing her gauntlets, which she also took back. The combined might of the Triforce of Power and the Gauntlets of Strength allowed her to take out the rest of the blins with ease.

    After every enemy was unconscious, Lila took a careful look around the room. She gathered whatever the blins had stolen, which ended up being everything except her sword and bomb bag. She even got her shield back! With her stuff back where they belonged, she followed the chief to get back her sword.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Eight: Chief Gosthard (Part 2 of 2)

    Outside of the throne room, Lila had no idea where to go. She considered picking a random direction but then thought of something else. Would the chief be susceptible to goading?

    “Hey,” she called out. “I beat up your minions. You can’t hide from me! I will get my sword back!”

    Lila paused to listen but was rewarded with a group of blins attacking from one side of the hallway. They weren’t any trouble at all now that she had most of her gear. She dispatched the blins quickly and continued going the way they had come from.

    “Is that all you got?” Lila tried shouting again at the next juncture. More blins appeared, and more blins went down. She continued goading the chief, “It’s no use. Give me my sword and this can end.”

    One more round of blins showed up, and afterward, Lila could see a darkly-lit room. She rushed into the room without considering the consequences. The door slammed shut behind her, and bars blocked the way. Lila braced herself for the possibility of a fight.

    Because it was so dark, she couldn’t see her enemy right away. What she could see were pedestals and displays lining the walls, each with its own tiny candle. That was the only light source now that the door was closed. The displays held some gruesome objects, such as skeletons and severed hands. Some of the displays held weapons. At the other end of the room stood the Moblin Chief, clutching the Master Sword in one hand and a trident in the other.

    “You stole that from the Gerudo!” Lila accused, recognizing the trident. “And you stole my sword. I’ll be taking both back, thank you.”

    “I take, make mine!” the chief roared back as he lunged forward with the trident.

    Lila used the Boots of Sturdiness to stabilize her position then grabbed the trident with both gauntletted hands. The Moblin Chief was stronger than she expected, and he pushed her against the wall. A crackle of blue lightning danced down the trident’s haft and jolted her. She cried out and had to let go, shoving forward as she did so. The moblin took a few steps back.

    “What did you do to that thing?” Lila shouted.

    “Make mine,” the chief repeated. “Upgraded with power. Dark. Demonic.”

    Lila took heavy steps forward, keenly aware of every ache and injury that hadn’t yet healed. The electricity had awakened her nerves with a fresh wave of pain. But she couldn’t let any of that slower her down. She had to fight her way out of there.

    She shifted her shield to her left arm. Then she pulled out her boomerang and threw it at the moblin. The moblin charged at her again with the trident, so he was unable to block her attack. The boomerang hit his head, which made him stumble and fall to the side.

    Lila rushed forward and wrenched her sword from him. Then she slashed downward but only hit armor. The missed attack gave the moblin time to jump out of her way. She cursed but didn’t have time to regroup. The moblin chief jabbed at her with the trident, and she could feel the trident scraping against her shield as the metals screeched against each other.

    Another jolt of electricity made Lila back away. The moblin followed her, pressed her. Soon her back hit the wall again. The electricity wouldn’t stop. She squeezed her eyes shut and screamed in pain.

    “You suffer,” said the Moblin Chief in satisfaction. “You will die.”

    In desperation, Lila thrust her sword at the moblin’s gut. The squelching sensation told her that she made a hit. The moblin roared in pain, and the electricity stopped. Lila ducked to the side, taking her sword with her. The Master Sword slashed through the Moblin Chief. Lila stumbled to her feet to see the chief lying on the ground, the fight gone out of him. Relieved, she finally took a deep breath… and coughed from the stench.

    After regaining her composure, she said, “I’ll take that,” reaching for the trident.

    The chief clutched it closer to himself and said, “No! Mine!”

    Lila sucked on her teeth. “Give me the trident, or I’ll have to kill you for it.”

    The chief hesitated, but decided to loosen his grip. Panting, Lila bent down to grab the trident. As she did, she felt electricity crackle up her arm. Quickly, she yanked the trident away from the chief, and the lightning stopped.

    Lila backed away from the chief to survey her situation. First, she made sure she got every one of her items back, which she did. Then she looked around the room. The bars had disappeared from the doorway, so that was good. She noticed a familiar sparkle in the air and saw a glowing heart gem laced with gold. She had seen these hearts before at the end of particularly difficult battles. Excited, she reached for it and watched it vanish in a dance of gold and ruby flecks that reflected what little light was in the room. Instantly, she felt refreshed, though sleepy. The aches and pains were gone but at the cost of her energy. As long as she could get out of there quickly, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    “I’ll return this for you,” Lila said to the moblin chief. “I’m leaving now. No need to get up.”

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Nine: A Rescue (Part 1 of 2)

    The forest was a maze. Zale felt lost without Lila. Link was an excellent tracker, though. He seemed to follow a direct path even when Zale saw no sign of passage. The way Link moved reminded Zale of a wolf. Zale shivered, thinking of the last time he had encountered wolves during Lila’s trial. His memory was hazy, but he knew she was brilliant. All he could recall was a warm sensation and a flash of light.

    Link stalked ahead of the group, just within sight. Finally, he signaled the group to wait. He scouted ahead for a moment and then returned to talk to Zale.

    “This is it,” Link said. “There’s a cave in a clearing up ahead. It looks constructed. There are two guard towers on either side of the entrance, and two more at the far end of the hill. I saw no other guards.”

    Zale asked, “How many are in the towers?”

    “Just one bulblin each.”

    “Good. We should be able to take them out quietly,” Zale said. “I’ll shoot one with my crossbow at the same time you shoot the other. Meredith and Arden can take out the other two at the far end.” He whispered his plan to the named volunteers, and they slipped off into the forest. They were to whistle when they were in position. Zale and Link moved to where they’d have a clear shot on their targets. Zelda, Salvatore, and the last volunteer Kolba stayed behind.

    At the sound of the whistle, four arrows flew to their mark and each landed true. The bulblins fell from their posts without noise, leaving the path open. Zale waited and watched for any movement. When none came, he went back to the clearing. Link was already there.

    “Nice plan,” Link said, no longer whispering.

    Zale said, “Thanks. Are you willing to take point when we go in?”

    Link smiled broadly. “Of course!”

    “Then when Arden and Meredith get back, we’ll make our move. Until then, watch the entrance.”

    Link nodded and left. A few minutes later, the two volunteers came back, and they all went to join Link. Zale arranged them strategically, and then they went to the cave entrance. They were all struck by the horrible smell as they approached. They didn’t reach the cave, however, when Link held out a hand to stop them.

    A bokoblin was running out of the cave. Link ran forward and attacked it at the entrance. It vanished in a puff of smoke, but Link kept his guard up. More blins started spilling out of the cave. They all seemed to be afraid of something inside.

    “Pull back!” Zale shouted and did just that. Link remained, though, killing as many blins as he could with each stroke. Zale watched as the blins that escaped scattered away from the cave in every direction. They totally ignored Zale’s group. It seemed like they didn’t even have weapons.

    Zale told the others, “Let them pass.”

    After a minute or so, the flood abated. No more blins were running from the cave. Link stood with his sword still raised, though he was winded from his one-sided fighting. Zale wondered what Link was waiting for. Were more blins coming?

    Without warning, Link ran into the cave and out of sight.

    “What is he doing?” Zale wondered aloud.

    “Let’s go check,” Zelda said, worried.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Nine: A Rescue (Part 2 of 2)

    The group moved forward, though the smell was almost unbearable. Meredith had to run aside and throw up because of the stench. Zale ignored her plight. He was stunned by what he was seeing.

    Link was fighting Lila!

    “Stop it!” Zelda shouted, rushing ahead. She reached out to touch Link, and he stopped fighting. Lila stopped fighting as well but didn’t put her sword down. She looked worn out and ready to collapse. Zale ran to her and swallowed her in a tight hug. Then she finally let her sword drop.

    “You’re alive!” Zale said. He felt tears pouring down his face, both from relief and the smell.

    Lila’s voice was as rough as she looked. “Yeah, I’m fine, no thanks to him.”

    Link retorted, “Just give me the Master Sword and I’ll get out of your way.”

    Zelda held him back and said, “Not now.”

    “Yes, now!” Link growled. “It’s my sword–”

    “This is not the place for this discussion,” Zelda said shakily. She was looking green. LInk looked down at her in concern, and Zale actually saw him relax.

    “You’re right,” Link said. “Let’s get out of here.”

    “I second that,” Lila chimed in.

    The group left the cave and didn’t say anything until they were back in the forest. Lila closed her eyes and took in a deep breath of fresh air.

    “That was the worst dungeon I’ve ever been in,” she said.

    “Are you hurt?” Zale asked frantically.

    Lila laughed. “That’s not what I meant. I meant the smell. It was revolting!”

    Everyone laughed along with her at that. Except for Link. He stood with his arms crossed with a glower on his face.

    Zale noticed Link’s expression and said, “Let’s get back to Castle Town and see if we can get things sorted out.”

    “Why not now?” Link challenged. “We can fight it out here and now.”

    Zelda put a hand on his chest. “That wouldn’t be fair to Lila. Can’t you see she’s been through an ordeal?”

    “I can fight,” Lila defended, “and I’ll win.”

    Zale scolded her, “You need rest! You haven’t even recovered from your fight with Ganondra! I’ll bet you had to fight your way out of that place,” he added, pointing with his head toward the cave.

    Lila sighed, “You’re right.”

    “Then it’s settled,” Zale said. “We go back to town.”

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Ten: Discussion (Part 1 of 2)

    After the group traveled for a while in silence, Meredith said, “I have to ask. Why do you all look the same? I mean, why are you in pairs? I mean, she looks the same as you, Sire–”

    “It’s okay, Meredith,” Zale sighed. “That’s what we want to figure out. But–I need the three of you to keep this a secret for right now. We don’t know what might happen if word gets out. Understand?”

    “Yes, Sire,” Meredith, Arden, and Kolba answered.

    “Good. Since you’ve helped us out so much already, I’ll keep you informed.”

    Arden looked surprised. “You don’t have to do that for us, Sire.”

    “Nonsense. I’m sure you’re all curious, just like us. As long as you keep your promise, things will work out.”

    “Then,” Meredith wondered, pointing to Link and Zelda, “shouldn’t you two put on disguises?”

    The two looked at each other and then at Zale, who sighed again. “That’s a good point. Do you two have any other clothing that will hide your face?”

    Zelda answered, “Yes, but where can we get changed?”

    Zale answered sheepishly, “Would you feel comfortable changing behind some trees?”

    Zelda replied, “Sure. It’s not like I haven’t done it before.”

    After Link and Zelda changed clothes, the party shared a pleasant conversation the rest of the way back to Castle Town. By unspoken agreement, they didn’t talk about Link and Zelda’s past. Zale wanted to question them in a more secure setting. He also wanted to keep an eye on them in case they had worse plans in mind. Arden, Meredith, and Kolba mostly stayed quiet, but Zale coaxed them into chatting more and more until they carried the conversation on their own.

    Castle Town was still a mess, but residents worked cheerfully to repair buildings and, subsequently, their lives. As the group passed, people shouted praise for Lila and her courageous triumph over evil. Seeing so much energy gave Zale a little hope for the future, but the thought of his father’s death brought him right back down to earth.

    Meredith and Kolba took the horses to the stable. Arden stopped in the town to continue fixing things. Zale gently took Lila’s hand and led the way inside. She tried to catch his eye, but he busied himself with finding a proper room for discussion. Sometimes they had to stop for a moment when someone needed something from the prince. The gratitude toward Lila continued through the halls. No one asked about the two hooded figures, and Zale imagined the sideways looks made Link and Zelda uncomfortable.

    Finally, with Salvatore guarding the door, the four of them sat in a private room. The room was so cramped that it almost felt like a closet, but a small table with six straight-backed chairs was crammed in there. Simple torches on the walls provided enough light to make them comfortable. Once seated, Zelda removed her hood and Link followed suit.

    Lila had a million questions but didn’t know where to start. Realizing this, she looked to Zale to get them going. Link and Zelda watched him expectantly. His head stooped, examining the table as though answers were hidden there. Before long, he spoke.

    “We each hold a piece of the Triforce, correct?” The others were startled at the question but all nodded. “Two copies of the Triforce of Wisdom and two copies of the Triforce of Courage. It stands to reason that there should be two copies of the Triforce of Power, but you don’t know who that could be.”

    Lila remembered her theory about the Triforce of Power and pulled her gloves off, but Zelda spoke first.

    “We have one other companion, but I’ve seen no evidence that she has the Triforce of Power.”

    “Zale, look!” Lila interjected. She thrust her left hand forward. Two triangles glowed on her hand. She had a huge smile on her face when she said, “Defeating evil comes with a few extra perks.”

    There were gasps around the room. Even Link showed his surprise.

    “How…?” said Zelda.

    “By defeating Ganondra, of course,” Lila answered. “She was the one who had the Triforce of Power. I imagine there’s a Ganondorf somewhere running around with his own Triforce of Power.”

    “Right,” Zale said, gathering his wits. “If you don’t know who that is, it’s possible he’s behind all of this. We need to find out who it is and learn if they have evil intentions.”

    Zelda asked, “What makes you thing they’re evil?”

    “History,” Zale said simply. “In all of the research I have done, the one who bears the Triforce of Power is always looking for more power, usually to the detriment of others. That’s what Ganondra was after.”

    No one said anything after this statement.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Ten: Discussion (Part 2 of 2)

    “Okay,” Zale continued. “Now, on to the question of you two. Where to begin…?”

    “I’ll tell you where,” Link said. “We’re here to get the Master Sword. Rova said it belongs to me and that it’s time for me to claim it. Once I have what’s rightfully mine, we will leave and you’ll have nothing to worry about.”

    “Not so fast,” Lila countered. “The Master Sword belongs to me, fair and square. I rescued it from Ganondra, and I went through the Trial of Light to earn it. You can’t just take it from me.”

    Zale was glad they were talking civilly about it, even though they were both glaring at each other across the table. He tried to think of a compromise.

    “Why do you need the sword?” he asked Link. “Maybe you can borrow it for a time and then return it.”

    “No!” both Lila and Link said.

    Zale deflated, feeling outmatched. How was he supposed to settle their dispute?

    Zelda came to his rescue by saying, “Let’s talk about this later. I can tell Lila is about to collapse from exhaustion, and Zale looks like he needs to rest, too. I, for one, could use a break. Prince Zale, is there a place Link and I could stay for the night?”

    “Of course, I’ll find you some rooms,” Zale said, relieved.

    He opened the door and told Salvatore to take Link and Zelda to some empty rooms. He also instructed him to get Impa and meet him at Lila’s room. Then it was just Zale and Lila left.

    “Let’s go for a walk,” Zale suggested. “We’ll go to your room.”

    He took her hand again and entered the hallway. No one was in this particular hallway, which was part of why Zale had chosen it. He began a leisurely stroll toward Lila’s room.

    At first, he didn’t know what to say. So much had happened since he last talked to her that fateful night in her room. He felt like it had been ages. They walked in silence for a while before Lila spoke.

    “That was some adventure,” she said to break the silence. “I almost didn’t get out of there. The smell was horrible!” She smiled at Zale, but he still couldn’t look her in the eye.

    “Yeah, the smell,” he said absently.

    Sensing his distress, Lila comforted Zale. “What’s wrong?”

    Zale was surprised to find himself blinking back tears. A lump formed in his throat which he tried to swallow but couldn’t. “I-I…”

    Lila stopped and wrapped him in a hug. “It’s okay, I’m here now. Everything will be alright. I promise. I won’t get hurt anymore.”

    Zale’s breathing was ragged, and he couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. He knew she was lying. She couldn’t stay out of trouble. It wasn’t in her nature. She would be a protector for the rest of her life. But that wasn’t the only thing on his mind. Before he knew it, he was sobbing uncontrollably. He and Lila sank to the ground.

    “Please, tell me what’s going on,” Lila said.

    Zale tried to breathe normally. He pushed into Lila’s embrace, wishing she could take his hurt away. He licked his lips, trying to find the right words to say.

    “I… I can’t tell you… in the open… like this,” he said unsteadily. “The public… doesn’t know… yet.” He took a deep breath, shuddering with the exhale. “Please,” he added, “let’s go to your room.”

    Lila nodded and helped him up. She supported him as they walked. She wanted to ask more questions, but he didn’t seem capable of answering them. So she stayed quiet. Zale hoped no one would see him like this and was glad they didn’t pass anyone in the halls.

    Salvatore and Impa were waiting outside of Lila’s room by the time they got there. Salvatore stayed outside, and Impa entered the room with Lila and Zale. Zale quickly shut the door behind them and then he turned to Impa.

    “Tell Lila what you told me. Tell her about the Shiekah and what happened with–on the road. No buts. She needs to know.” He paused and added, “I need her to know.”

    Impa tried to protest but nodded in obedience.

    Lila once again asked, “What’s wrong?”

    Zale couldn’t look at the girls anymore for fear of crying again. “Impa will explain.” He put his hand on the doorknob. “I gotta–there are things–” He paused and risked a glance at Lila over his shoulder. “Just… we’ll talk later.”

    He hurried out the door and leaned against it, breathing heavily. Salvatore eyed him with concern and said, “You need your sleep. It’s time for bed.”

    By this time, guards had appeared for their post at Lila’s door, so Zale felt secure leaving her. He nodded to Salvatore and let his friend lead the way to Zale’s rooms.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Eleven: Death of the King (Part 1 of 2)

    Lila turned to Impa with concern for Zale plain on her face. For a third time, she asked, “What’s wrong?”

    Impa gestured to sit and they did. “It’s a long story since Prince Zale wants me to tell you about my tribe. If I tell you the ending first, will you promise not to run off?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You’ll want to comfort him right away.” Impa couldn’t speak without showing her own sorrow.

    Lila thought about it. “I think I can do that.”

    Impa whispered in her ear, “The king is dead.”

    Lila gasped and reeled away. “The… you mean Zale’s father?” Impa nodded. Lila looked at the door but kept her promise. “I’m listening.”

    “My tribe, the Shiekah, was formed by the princess of the Era of the Hero of Time. There have been rough patches, but for the most part, we’ve stayed by the royal family to protect them from the shadows. We knew Ganondra was going to attack, so we took King Gaepora to our secret village.”

    “Wait,” Lila interrupted. “You knew Ganondra was going to attack? Why didn’t you protect Zale? Zale got captured because you left him behind!”

    Impa winced. “I didn’t know he was captured… We were told to just protect the king. I’m sorry. We should have protected the entire royal family.”

    Lila softened, seeing Impa’s discomfort. “I’m sorry for getting angry with you. Please, continue.”

    Impa nodded and did so. “At the village, the king became sick. We figured out that he had been poisoned, but we had no idea how. It took days of intense healing magic for him to get better. As soon as he was, we made our way back to Castle Town.”

    Impa paused, her eyes misty. Her voice was choked when she continued. “On the way back we were attacked by two witches. They had the powers of fire and ice.”

    “Kotake and Koume,” Lila said in shock. “I defeated them!”

    “Then at least justice has been served,” Impa said with a small sob. “They were too strong for us to overcome. They killed everyone, including the king. I only managed to escape because the king sacrificed himself for me.”

    Lila took a moment to process everything Impa had told her. There was a secret tribe that lived to protect the royal family. They took the king to safety only for him to be killed by Kotake and Koume. Then a thought occurred to her.

    “If you had taken Zale to your village, then he would be dead, too…”

    Impa gasped, having never made the connection. “You’re right! Thank Hylia things went the way they did!”

    “Yes,” Lila agreed. “Maybe it was a divine decree that ultimately kept him safe.” She waited a few seconds and then said, “Well, I should go see him, now.” She stood up, wavering, but Impa protested.

    “It’s late! Prince Zale needs his rest. By the looks of it, you need rest, too. You can talk to him in the morning.”

    Lila felt a wave of exhaustion wash over her. She grumbled, “Fine. I’ll wait until tomorrow.”

    Impa turned to leave, but Lila held out a hand to stop her.

    “Thank you,” Lila said softly. “For telling me all of this. I’m sure it was hard for you.”

    Tears welled at the corners of Impa’s eyes. “You’re welcome. Thank you for listening.”

    With that, Impa left, and Lila was able to go to sleep.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Eleven: Death of the King (Part 2 of 2)

    After Salvatore had found them a pair of rooms next to each other, Link and Zelda were talking in Link’s room. Link was pacing in agitation.

    “I should just get the sword while everyone is sleeping,” Link said.

    Zelda said, “You tried that already, remember? Did it work? No.”

    “Lila was already awake when I got there,” Link protested, not sure if it was true. “This time I’ll be ready. I know about the guards now.”

    “Don’t tell me you plan to kill the guards.”

    Before Link could answer, there was a flash of light in the corner of the room. Link and Zelda looked to see their teacher, Rova.

    “What are you doing in the castle?” Rova demanded.

    “Relax,” Link said. “We’re trusted here.”

    Rova looked at him, one eye fiery and one eye icy. “Then why don’t you have the Master Sword yet?”

    Link’s calm faltered. “Um, well…”

    “We’re working on it,” Zelda supplied.

    “Work faster!” Rova raged. “The sword belongs to you, Link, not that girl.”

    “But ‘that girl’ also had the Triforce of Courage,” Zelda said cooly.

    Before she could elaborate, Rova said, “I don’t care about that! It doesn’t matter. Get the sword, or we will have a problem.”

    Link and Zelda both blanched at the thought. With one last glare at each of them, Rova vanished the way she had appeared.

    “I gotta get that sword.”

    “Yes, but how?”

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Twelve: Final Farewell (Part 1 of 2)

    Zale had a hard time sleeping and eventually woke up early. He decided to visit with his little sister. Little Zelda was asleep in her room, looking like an angel. Zale brushed her hair with his hand and let the blond strands slide between his fingers. She always kept her hair clean and soft. The motion made her turn and open her eyes blearily.

    “Hey, sis,” Zale said softly. “It’s time to wake up. I have something I need to tell you.”

    Little Zelda sat up in her bed, blinking away the sleep. She asked, “What is it?”

    “Not yet, little one,” Zale said. “Get dressed and then we can talk over breakfast.”

    Zale stepped out to Salvatore to bring his and Zelda’s breakfast up to them while Zelda changed out of her nightclothes. Once Zelda was dressed, Zale returned to her side and waited for the food to arrive.

    “Can you tell me now?” Zelda asked, excited.

    Zale’s heart sank. How was he supposed to tell her? He had to be the one to do it, though. She had to know before he told anyone else.

    “Sit down, Zelda,” Zale said, his voice husky.

    Zelda caught the mood immediately and sat down, subdued.

    “This isn’t something fun,” she said.

    Zale shook his head. Slowly, his eyes closed. He took a deep breath and began.

    “You know how Father’s been missing?”

    Zelda’s breath caught. “Yes.”

    Zale took another deep breath. “I’m afraid he… he didn’t make it home.” He saw tears in his sister’s eyes. “He… he… father… well, he was… killed.” Zale swallowed hard as Zelda looked desperately at him. “I’m so sorry, little sis.”

    Seeing her tears brought out his own tears, and together they started crying uncontrollably. They hugged each other fiercely. The pain was unbearable, but it was worse now that Zelda felt it, too. Zale wanted to take all of the hurt from her, even if it meant taking it on himself.

    Zale didn’t know how much time had passed when there was a knock on the door. He quickly stood up and answered. Salvatore and Nellie stood there with Zale and Zelda’s food. Zale gestured for the food to be brought in but stopped Salvatore.

    “Did you tell her about my father?” Zale whispered.

    “Yes, Sire, just like you asked,” Salvatore responded.

    “Thank you.”

    Nellie was Zelda’s handmaiden and best friend, just like Salvatore was to Zale. She knelt beside Zelda and gave her a great big hug. Zale watched for a moment. Maybe things would be okay. They had friends by their sides.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Twelve: Final Farewell (Part 2 of 2)

    After eating, Zale and Zelda went to the shrine of Goddess Hylia. It was a sacred place in the center of the castle that only the royal family could visit. Therefore, Salvatore and Nellie waited in the chapel that led to the shrine’s entrance. Zale and Zelda entered the shrine by themselves. It was a small, rectangular area that was open to the sky. A pool of water separated the Goddess’s statue from the viewing platform. The morning light reflected beautifully off of the water.

    Zale held Zelda tight beside him. He looked at the Goddess’s statue, not currently feeling tears in his eyes. His mind wandered, thinking about all of the things he needed to do next to become king. Occasionally, Zelda’s soft sobs broke into his thoughts.

    After a few minutes of silence, Zale said, “We’ll be okay. Don’t worry, Zelda. I’m here for you.”

    They turned to leave. A bright light made them pause and turn back around. To Zale’s astonishment, a semitransparent figure floated above the water.

    “Father?” Zale gasped. The figure looked exactly like the king.

    “Yes, my dear son, darling daughter,” said the ghost of the king. “Lady Hylia has granted a special meeting between us. Our time is short. Know that I love you both and am very proud.”

    Fresh tears sprang to Zale’s eyes. His mouth hung open at first. He squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again. The image of his father remained.

    “We love you, too, Daddy,” Little Zelda cried out. “We’ll always love you!”

    King Gaepora addressed Zale. “My son, I know the task ahead of you may seem monumental. There will be times that you doubt yourself. But know that in the end, your father believed in you and knew you could handle yourself with grace.” Then he spoke to Zelda. “My dear. My darling Little Zelda. You may be sad for a while. It may be a long while. But someday, you will find the strength to help your brother run the kingdom.”

    Zale could sense that their time was running out. He said, “Your will. Did you mean what you wrote for me?”

    “Of course,” King Gaepora said, spreading his arms. “It’s time for me to go. I love you, my children. Never forget that.”

    The king began to fade. Zelda held out a hand, and after a moment, so did Zale. Within seconds, King Gaepora was gone for good.

    After a long silence, Zelda said, “Let’s go, brother. Tell me how I can help you.”

    Zale laughed at the unexpected words. The two left the shrine, and he said, “Stay with Nellie for now. I’ll let you know when I need you. I think I know exactly how you can help.”

    “How?” Zelda asked.

    “I’ll tell you when I’m ready,” Zale answered.

    “What am I supposed to do until then?” Zelda pouted.

    Zale laughed again. “I don’t know. I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

    Then he and Salvatore went to check on Lila. On the way, Zale told Salvatore about the encounter with his father’s ghost.

    “You’re very lucky,” Salvatore said. “Not many people get to say goodbye the way you got to.”

    “I know,” Zale said. “Hylia honored Zelda and me.”

    Once they arrived at Lila’s room, Zale knocked on the door. There was no answer, so he knocked again. Fearing the worst, he pushed the door open.

    “Lila?” he asked, worried she was gone again.

    His fears receded when she bolted up in her bed.

    “Hu-what?” Lila wondered, reaching for her sword.

    Zale laughed and held up his hands to calm her. “Relax, it’s just me.”

    “Oh,” she said, leaning back on her pillows. “What do you want so early in the morning?”

    “It’s not that early,” Zale said. “I just wanted to check on you.”

    “I’m here, I’m alive.” Lila put a pillow over her face, so her next words were muffled. “Can you make it dark in here?”

    Zale laughed again. He grabbed her arm and pulled her into a sitting position. “Come on, it’s a great day!”

    Lila raised an eyebrow at him. “What’s gotten into you?”

    Zale had a small smile as he said, “I spoke to my father’s ghost.”

    Now Lila was awake. “That’s amazing!”

    “Yeah. He told me that he loved me, and now his death doesn’t seem so hard.”

    “I’m happy for you,” Lila said with a smile. “You’re very lucky.”

    “That’s what Salvatore said. Anyway, I have a lot to do today. You should get something to eat and we’ll chat later.”

    “Okay,” Lila agreed.

    “Se ya around.”

    “Goodbye.”

    Zale left, feeling better than ever. He wanted to see Impa next, so he went to the infirmary. He asked about her and was told she had opted to return to her own home. They told him where to go and he went on his way. He was glad to find her still at home.

    “Good morning,” Zale greeted as she let him in. Salvatore waited outside.

    “Good morning,” Impa replied. She seemed weary.

    “How are you holding up?” Zale asked sympathetically.

    Impa didn’t respond at first. She guided Zale to a sitting room and motioned for him to sit.

    “Can I get you anything?” she asked.

    Zale shook his head. “No, thank you. I want to know how you’re doing.”

    Impa stood for a while, seemingly lost in thought. It looked like she was holding back tears. Then she sat across from Zale with great sigh.

    “It’s tough,” she finally admitted. “I feel like it was my fault that the king died.”

    Zale frowned, feeling sorry for her. “It’s not your fault. I said it the other night, and I’ll say it again. Don’t feel bad about what happened.”

    Impa bowed her head. “I know… I know. It’s just… hard to wrap my head around.”

    “It will take time,” Zale said, “but you’ll feel better eventually.”

    “Thank you,” Impa said. She siped her eyes and looked up at him. “What about you? You seem to be doing alright.”

    Zale smiled softly. “Yes, I’ve made peace with my father’s death. Actually, his ghost visited me and Zelda. He told me he loved me and that made everything better.”

    “Wow,” Impa breathed. “How wonderful!”

    “It was,” Zale said with a nod. He paused for a moment and then said, “Are you up for helping me with a big task?”

    Impa sat up straight. “Yes, anything, Sire.”

    “This might be hard for you, but you’re the only one who can do it. I need you to retrieve the bodies of my father and the Shiekah that fought beside him.”

    Impa gasped.

    “Can you do it?” Zale asked.

    She quickly nodded. “Yes, of course. I’ll leave right away.”

    “Good. Take as many soldiers as you need. The time for secrecy on the matter is over.” Zale stood and Impa did the same. “Be quick about it. I want a proper funeral as soon as the generals return.”

    Impa saluted to him and said, “Yes, Sire. We’ll be back by the end of the day.”

    “Good. And, Impa.”

    “Yes?”

    “Thank you.”

    “Anything for you, my Prince.”

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Thirteen: A Race (Part 1 of 2)

    Lila at her breakfast in the dining hall. She was tired of being in her small room all the time. Admittedly, she didn’t spend much time in there anyway, but it was too much. The dining hall was much better.

    She still got looks and praise wherever she went. She figured all of the attention would eventually die down. At least, she hoped it did. She wasn’t used to receiving accolades from everyone around her. All growing up, she had been like a pariah, someone looked down on. It was because she grew up among the Gerudo, where everyone else was stronger than her, a Hylian. Now, she was looked to as the strong one.

    Link joined her while she was still eating. Zelda wasn’t with him. A couple of servants standing at the ready were the only others in the room.

    “Are you here to take my sword?” Lila accused.

    Link held up a hand. “No, no. Not this time. I actually want to make a peace offering. How would you like to meet my Loftwing?”

    “Your what?”

    “Loftwing. It’s a rare bird large enough to fly on. Zelda mentioned that she told you about the ocarina. Loftwings come from a time long ago.”

    Lila glanced at the servants but could read no reaction. She was worried that Link was too loose with his words. Out loud, she said, “Yeah, I guess that sounds like fun. Maybe we can race. You on your Loftwing and me on a horse.”

    “Great idea!” Link said.

    He waited for her to finish eating and then they wen to the stables together. Lila picked out a horse and guided him to Hyrule Field. In the field, Link pulled out a whistle and blew. Then they waited until a large, bright red bird landed next to him.

    “This is Crimson,” Link said, stroking the bird’s head and beak. “He has been my faithful companion throughout my journey.”

    “He’s beautiful,” Lila said in awe. Her horse brayed as though feeling left out. “You’re beautiful, too,” Lila said.

    “Shall we get going?” Link asked.

    Lila nodded. “Let’s see what you’ve got!” She mounted her horse and waited for Link to do the same. Once he did, she pointed out Lon Lon Ranch. “We’ll race to the ranch,” she said. “Ready?”

    “Go!” Link shouted and took off.

    Lila spurred her horse forward. “Hey, that’s cheating!”

    All she could hear was Link’s laughter fading away as he climbed into the sky. She concentrated on riding as fast as she could. He swooped down and glided next to her, taunting.

    “Looks like I’m going to win,” he goaded.

    Lila pushed her horse, willing him to go faster, but it just wasn’t enough. Link landed his Loftwing easily while Lila skidded to a stop. He was the clear winner. Both riders were panting fiercely when they dismounted.

    Lila stomped over to Link and got in his face. “You cheated by starting early!”

    Link laughed and backed away. “I didn’t need to cheat. I was way ahead of you.”

    Lila had no real response to that, but she was still angry. “Why you–”

    She heard a scream and all of her anger evaporated.

    “Someone’s in trouble,” she said, looking around.

    “Yeah, so?” Link said, frowning.

    “We have to help them!” Lila ran off to the entrance of the ranch. Link shrugged and followed her. The Loftwing flew off, and the horse ran away in fear.

    Within the ranch gates, the ranch keeper and his daughter were cowering from deformed black figures. The figures had big, flat heads, and walked on two legs. They had two arms and a number of whip-like tendrils sprouting from their heads. There were nine of the creatures.

    “Help me defeat those things,” Lila said to Link and then rushed to attack the nearest one. Link grunted in acceptance and attacked another one. As soon as they were within range of the monsters, a translucent fence fell out of the sky to trap them. Lila didn’t care. She wasn’t planning to leave until they were gone.

    Because there were so many creatures, Lila tried to lure them all close to one spot. It wasn’t hard. Five of them had their attention on her. The other four were surrounding Link. Once she deemed her five were in a tight enough circle, she raised her sword to the sky. Her sword glowed with blue light, and she spun on her toes, hitting each monster. They fell to the ground and didn’t get back up. She checked one to make sure it wouldn’t fight anymore and then went to help Link.

    He was holding his own, but since he didn’t have the Master Sword, he couldn’t use the spin attack like Lila. She slashed at one of the monsters, drawing it away from the others and Link. After that one was defeated, she drew a second one away. Then only two remained.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?

  • Chapter Thirteen: A Race (Part 2 of 2)

    “Wait!” Link warned. “You can’t leave one still standing or it’ll awaken the others!”

    “What?”

    “Trust me!”

    “We’ll kill them together, then,” Lila said. She squared up beside Link, ready for the final kill.

    “Together. One, two, three!” Link said.

    On three, the two of them attacked the remaining monsters, both of which fell at the same time. With the battle over, the monsters burst into black squares. The squares rose into the air and into a portal that Lila hadn’t noticed before. Then the fence also disappeared.

    “What were those?” Lila wondered, looking at the portal. It shrunk until it also vanished.

    “Shadow Beasts,” Link answered. “But it doesn’t make sense.”

    “What doesn’t make sense?”

    Before Link could answer, the ranch keeper and his daughter came up to them with smiles on their faces.

    “Thank you!” said the ranch keeper.

    “You saved us!” said the daughter.

    Link looked uncomfortable, but Lila said, “It’s all in a day’s work. I’m used to fighting monsters.”

    “Wow,” the daughter said.

    Then they heard clapping from near the barn. They turned around to see a tall Gerudo woman with green skin walking toward them. Her two-toned hair was pulled up into pigtails to emphasize the red and blue portions. Something about her gold eyes made Lila’s skin crawl.

    “Rova, what are you doing here?” Link asked. Lila saw that he stiffened, but didn’t seem ready to attack. So he knew the mysterious person. Things seemed tense between them, but she obviously wasn’t an enemy.

    “Those monsters chase me here,” Rova answered, drawing near. “Thank goodness you arrived when you did.”

    “So, those monsters weren’t your doing?” Link asked.

    “Good heavens, no,” Rova responded. “I don’t know how they got into this realm.”

    “Excuse me,” Lila said, “can someone tell me what those monsters were?”

    “They were from the Twilight Realm,” Rova explained.

    Link added, “Which was supposed to be sealed off.”

    “What’s the Twilight Realm?” Lila asked.

    “Long story,” Link said.

    “Yes, it is,” Rova said dramatically. “I’ve had such a hard day. Maybe we can go someplace to get a bite to eat.”

    “You can eat with us,” offered the ranch keeper.

    “No, no,” said Rova. “Let’s go to Castle Town. Link, lead the way.”

    Link shared a look with Lila and shrugged. Then he did as he was told.

    “Thank you for the offer, but we really do need to go,” Lila said before following Link and Rova. The ranch keeper tipped his hat as she hurried away.

    The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage :grinning:

    The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the prince of Hyrule place his faith in the wrong person?