"I don't believe this! I just don't believe this!" Maltzar scoffs angrily. "Do you believe this?" he turns to Fi. "No, of course you don't!" He answers for her, dismissively. "First we go to the Mountain, Raine says to go to the desert. We end up going through hell and high water just to get to the damn place and then we are told to go to Zora's Domain? We should be done by now!"
"It could have been worse." Zelda says.
"Oh don't get all optimistic on me," Maltzar snaps. "I want to brood about this." He crosses his arms. We walk in silence.
"Has your memory returned?" I hear Fi ask Maltzar.
"You said you have amnesia, is any of it coming back?"
"No." he sighs. "I'm just as in the dark about my past as these two are." I feel him gesture to me and Zelda. "The only thing I know is that I'm a sword hunter."
"You mean? You look for blades like me?" Fi asks.
"Yeah I suppose I'm a collector of sorts...you'll be in good hands when this is over."
I glance back. Is Maltzar planning to keep the Master Sword? They are staring at each other...deeply. I turn away feeling a twinge of annoyance and sadness.
We follow the river upstream towards the north mountain range. We come to the mouth of the river at the base of a cliff. The way is slippery inside and the paths along the walls are narrow. Rapids rush passed. I can hear the distant thunder of a waterfall.
Something cold grabs my ankle. I'm yanked toward the water.
"LINK!" Zelda grabs my arm.
"Oh shit!" Maltzar grabs her waist. Fi kicks the assaulter. More blue hands reach out and grab the others. We all fall into the water.
We are dragged up stream in seconds. I swallow some water. I thrash as my head breaks the surface. I am pinned to the banks and my arms and feet are bound. I can hear Maltzar cursing somewhere. I realize my blue skinned captor is of the Zora tribe. We are carried into Zora's Domain without any concern if our heads are above water or not. They keep pushing Maltzar under. As we near the undertow of the massive waterfall, they dive us down. I struggle. I'm losing air. Suddenly my captor spreads her magnificent fins and flexes them rocketing her out of the water and to the top of the water fall. She carries me into the throne room.
My companions and I are thrown down at the feet of a woman. She is blue skinned like others but not at all a Zora. She wears a skimpy purple gown, with pointy shoulder pads.
"Very good," she purrs. "Everyone is accounted for, splendid. Now the questions is..." she paces inspecting us each. "Which body would do best?"
I don't like the sound of that.
"We must wait for Ghirahim," A men steps in. He is so heavily armoured he looks like a golden trashcan with a duns cap. I try not to laugh. Maltzar snorts. "Something amuses you?" he growls, lifting a mace threateningly.
"Easy now." The woman chides. "They will die soon. After Lord Ghirahim decides their fate."
"You promised to leave." One of the Zoras speak up. "We have captured the wanted ones, so let us be."
The woman eyes him shrewdly and looks to the man. He swings his mace and the Zora crumples, smashed and unmistakably dead. I look away trying not to vomit.
"Any other complaints?" The woman asks.
"Yes." Comes a clear voice like a wind chime. Maltzar perks up. Fi is gliding into the throne room. The Zoras back away from her.
"And you are?" Sneers the woman.
"Your reckoning." Fi smiles with a murderous glare. She charges. The woman throws her down easily.
"Do you know who I am?" she scoffs.
"I don't know: a worm?" Fi says back coolly. Maltzar chuckles.
"I am Veran, Sorceress of the Night!"
That sounds familiar. She steps on Fi's chest and pins her. I struggle angrily.
"Where do you people keep coming from?" Maltzar scoffs.
"From the gap between dimensions." Veran says. "We were called to service, by Demise." her eyes gleam as they turn to Zelda. She shows no expression. "In the mean time, before Ghirahim arrives, why don't I do his job for him." She turns to me. I roll my eyes indifferently, though I care very much. "Take her." she kicks Fi over to the man. He holds her captive with one hand. "And make sure this one's bonds are tight." she nudges my foot. One of the Zoras checks the ropes. But I feel something being forced into my hand. It's sharp, and is forced up under the ropes. She has given me a knife.
"Now then." Veran lifts me by the throat. "I never did get to know your flavour." she purrs. I'm remembering something, I remember that this witch could posses people. She'd threatened me with it before. I had managed to fend her off then, but I was nowhere near the predicament I am in now. I work the ropes with the dagger quickly.
She slams me down and grabs my hair, forcing me to look in her eyes.
"Tell me, Link...where is the Ether Blade?" She asks. I glare trying to move the dagger without catching her attention.
"You're wasting your time." Maltzar laughs. She turns her red eyes on him sharply. "We don't have any more of a clue than you do."
"Onox." she looks to the trashcan holding Fi. He lumbers over and lifts Maltzar by the scruff of his neck.
"And why is that, prey tell?" he growls. Maltzar smirks.
"The Singing stones haven't been that helpful." He shrugs. "They keep passing the buck to the next one."
"Which is next?" Veran asks, her attention still on Maltzar. My arms are almost free.
"Martelle, where ever that one is." Maltzar says.
"You certainly have a co-operative friend." Veran gloats to me. "Uncover Martelle."
Zoras hurry over and pull a rope. Blue drapes fall from the ceiling revealing a giant red crystal, hanging down like a chandler. My hand his free, I carefully shift the ropes off the other.
"Alright, I'll make a deal with you your highness." Veran turns to Zelda. "Play the music that will awaken Martelle or lose your chosen hero."
Zelda regards her like stone.
"You will kill him anyway." she says with no emotion. But I see a slight tremor in her knees.
"Oh so you are tired of him? You think you can survive without him?"
"Of course she can." I say. "She a warrior now."
I see the warmth in her eyes when she looks at me.
"Have it your way." Veran advances on me. I quickly cut the robs around my legs and spring to my feet. I draw the Master Sword.
"Careful!" Onox taunts, his hand wandering over Fi's chest crystal. "I can rob that sword of all its power by ending her here and now."
Fi whips him in the face with her drape. He grunts clutching his eye. She drives her heal into the toe of his boot viciously and is immediately released. She flips and in a flash she is in my sword.
"At your service, Master," her ethereal voice sings. I attack. The Zoras, angered that their leader has fallen, join me and free the others. It would seem we have an easy battle. But that was before I receive that rude awakening to a memory. Both have alternate forms. Deadly ones at that.
Onox transforms into a giant dragon, much like Volvagia. He fills the full Zoras Domain breathing balls of blue fire.
"Leave this one to me!" Maltzar winks, heaving the megaton hammer over his shoulder.
"Careful!" Fi voice chimes as he runs off with a band of Zoras. Meanwhile Veran has sprouted wings and is swooping down on us like an evil bird. I catch her in the side with my blade and she changes. Eight legs, eight eyes and hair all over. I feel my stomach drop as the huge arachnid creeps toward me, clicking her pinchers. Web splatter everywhere trapping all of us. But she advances on me. She cradles me like a lover. I see my terrified face reflected in her eyes. An arrow strikes one of them, sending her screaming. I cut through the webs desperately. Zelda is on a ledge above the mess knocking another arrow. Veran turns into a giant wasp and thunders up towards her, stinger aimed.
"LOOK OUT!" I yell. Too late. Zelda falls, clutching her side. I run and pick up her bow and aim. The arrow shatters one of Veran's wings. She lands and turns into a massive shelled creature. She shoots her head out and snaps at me. I dodge and move back tantalizingly close to her reach. She cocks her ugly head, red eyes gleaming. She lunges again and I jump. The Master Sword swings down and beheads her. The body of Veran disintegrates. I hurry to Zelda. She is white as a sheet. She yanks out the stinger.
"The t-tip is broken." She gasps. "It's still inside."
"What do I do?" I ask, gripping her hand. Shaking, she pulls out her pack and drops it in front of me. "W-wooden chop sticks. Use...them." she winces, tears in her eyes. I riffle through it.
"Here." A Zora comes, with her own pack. She pulls out tools that are so delicate I didn't think they could have been handmade.
"Go!" Zelda shoos me.
"But I want to-"
"Yes I know but Maltzar needs you!"
I run and kiss her hard before rushing from the cavern.
Maltzar was doing fine. His Zoras were distracting the Dragon while he beat the red crystal in its forehead. Onox tried to shake him off but it was too late. With one final swing a fountain of blood sprayed as the crystal itself lodge into his brain. A tidal wave proceeded him as he fell. The dragon was slain. I hold the Master Sword feeling a wave of relief that was long wanted. So many days of toiling on my own. So many enemies I had to kill myself. But now I have support. Now I have a team.
Fi flips out beside me. I look at her. I'm not used to seeing her smile like that. Maltzar hollers out in triumph from below.
"DUDE, DID YOU SEE THAT? BAM, I HIT HIM GOOD!" He stomps on the bloody crystal laughing like a maniac.
"He knows how to do it." Fi says. I suddenly feel my throat constrict.
"Fi," I say without looking at her. "You know it would never work."
"I've told him." Fi says calmly. "But that doesn't change a thing."
Worry rears inside me and I hurry back to my Zelda.
"I'm fine." She pants. "She got it out." The Zora mops up the blood as Zelda helps bandage herself.
"Thank you!" I hold her arm. The Zora nods.
The chamber is empty. The three of us (technically four) stand beneath Martelle. Zelda readies her harp and plays. It is a haunting beautiful tune, filled with the deep currents of the ocean. Martelle echoes the song gracefully and suddenly ignites. Flames rush out all over the walls. I look around startled. We are trapped. But for some reason I feel safe, like warm arms are holding me, protecting me. Martelle speaks with the genderless voice, saying the same words as the others:
"You have a question to ask of me,
Ask it now and I will set you free.
Dally not for my time is short
For my place is in Hylia's court"
"I am Hylia." Zelda says, allowing me to support her. She is so tired. "And I ask that you tell me where I can find the Ether Blade."
"The cutlass you seek was lost at sea,
No longer could this blade be free.
It fell far down from Heavens' mouth,
And then landed miles to the south.
But where it can be found,
I cannot lie.
For the answer does stay
With the stone of Arski"
"ARKSI?! HOW MANY ARE THERE YOU BITCH!" Maltzar explodes. "USELESS!" He throws up his arms. I too am crestfallen so I don't scold him. Suddenly a beam of light shoots out of Martelle and constructs a three dimensional map of Hyrule. It is blue but for one golden star gleaming in the south, in the outer islands where Zelda made her first kill.
"Hey...isn't that where you sent Ghirahim?" Zelda asks. Maltzar turns to look.
"Weird..." He says. "I sent him there because it was the first thing to pop into my head. In fact I remember being there briefly, like in a dream actually."
"What were you doing?" Fi asks.
"Fighting." Maltzar shrugs.
"Who?" I ask.
"Funny enough, Ghirahim."
"Do you remember why?" Zelda presses.
"Or anything else?"
"It's guess work now, but I suspect it had to do with the Ether Blade. I am a sword hunter after all- well according to him, as reliable as that is." He finishes in a derisive mutter. There is a long pause where we all just stand for a moment.
"Well, before we go, I'd like to pay a visit to home." Zelda says.
"I agree." I sigh. Goddess knows we need it.
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