Malron was restless, throughout the night she envisioned red eyes in the dark, watching her. She opened her eyes to always find the same emptiness. Anything could have been in there, though she was sure she was just anxious, until she heard a whisper, calling her name. Malron grabbed the ax she was to train with on her mission, set it on the hooks on the back of her shoulder, then grabbed her bow and strung an arrow.
Malron followed the sound. While she questioned the logic of sneaking into a Sheikah base and not murdering or capturing the sole resident immediately—unless it was a Sheikah or some benevolent spirit—in her mind she saw Skulltulas to be hunted, and felt as she had on those hunts.
She followed the presence to the depths of the woods. She anticipated an ambush but also felt that whoever she was chasing meant well, though the growing number of presences that she knew were there but didn't see made her anxious.
It was too late to go back, they were all around her now, though if this person wanted her dead, she wouldn't have woken up, there was a deeper purpose that involved her helping or receiving help, she tried to reinforce that thought, but the idea of an ambush kept her aware.
The deeper she ran the more she thought she was losing her mind, and wondered if it was actually anything at all, but as those thoughts entered her head, she came across a tombstone. Now the center of her attention, she knelt by it, read and reread the inscriptions, then looked up and around to find more and more darkness, but no one to have led her, but she was guided here, she was sure.
"This is the grave of Linkle's mother!" she cried to the shadows, "Is this what you wanted me to find?"
"You have chosen your road," Malron jumped to her feet and turned around, arrow drawn, "as she has chosen hers. Neither will be an easy one, the dark path of loneliness, guided and guarded by shadows, the lit path full of danger."
"You...mean someone specific." Malron stared at the tall blonde woman and glanced at her weapons. She was armed with a bow and a knife, a buckler on either arm, and scimitars. Malron startled when she saw the blades, "I thought only Gerudo used those blades...was there a war?"
"First answer first. I do mean some specific, not the woman buried here, but her daughter. As for the swords, a good friend gave them to me before what was to be my final battle. All you see now are my...memories...I tried to sleep on the ground where those swords are crossed; alas, I found no rest. Enough about me, I've come to aid you." suddenly the fallen Sheikah turned away and stared at the moon, "You want to be a Sheikah, I will teach you some shadow magic. There's only so much you should obtain until your capacity for it grows, but a very basic one involves melding your senses with shadows, you see wherever the shadow you touch leads, but the shadow itself can only take you so far, a master like...Impa could see from here to the castle. Before you learn, you must be well steeped in shadow, the path to the temple is far more sacred to the spirits of shadow than the hideout, though their blessing has reached you there."
"Speaking of senses...there's more than one presence here." Malron glanced at a nearby tree, then to the trees to her left. Her eyes would settle on spaces briefly, as though she found what she sought.
"You sensed the spirits of shadow, they live in the place you stayed, you've become attuned to their presence and they revealed themselves to you, now they will guide your steps to their sacred temple. You've only now sensed their presence, but they've been here all along, their aura increases your own affinity for shadow, as I said, steeped in shadow. You must now go to the Shadow Temple, where you will gain a deeper connection with the shadows, but before then, you must know what it is to become a Sheikah, to hold such mighty magic in your hand, and the goal of it." Aya paused before continuing, "Do you pledge to defend the Royal Family of Hyrule?"
"I do." Malron replied confidently.
"And will you protect their charge—Hyrule—from those who would harm it in any way?" Aya narrowed her gaze, "Even if you'd be branded a traitor by removing a corrupt figure?"
"I will." Malron nodded. She closed her eyes, "I see what you meant by being lonely...so much killing."
"Indeed, but many in our ranks have supported even a wicked minor noble, don't follow their mistakes, they'll say they know best, but as the shadows of Hylians, we have to decide on what's best. Few see us as little more than protectors, guardians...but what happens when we have to protect the Royal Family from itself? As you might imagine, that can create drama, no one wants to kill a monarch but our foremost concern should be the land itself, if a king can be replaced easier than the people, our answer is clear, but that is a secret from everyone."
"Usually I just hear about Sheikah pledging to defend the Royal Family, never about killing them." Malron sighed, "I guess my job's to protect Hyrule, and the Royal Family is the most sure way to."
"Right, we try to find alternatives to shadow magic, though, such as causing the king to suddenly fall ill if his enemy is in a ball, a sick king cannot socialize." Aya frowned, "Of course, the king never finds out...that makes it lonelier, your public actions are praised, your work in the shadow goes unnoticed."
"I see...what should I do if I end up having to use magic?" Malron wondered.
"Smart question, use any greater offensive magics sparingly, they corrupt you and drain magic easily, while defensive magic drains your energy less and doesn't corrupt you as quickly. While this holds true with most magic, you must especially be wary with shadow magic, our red eyes are merely a sign that the spirits of shadow defend us from corruption against shadow magic, often even boosting our own magic, which is why you should never fight a Sheikah who stands in shadow, especially if you're out in the sun." Aya waved for her to follow her, but not without a passing glance at the marker, "In the end, it comes down to how you feel, magic's a part of you, the effect you feel is the effect on your soul."
Aryll stared through the rain at the monster and grimaced when a boulder the giant monster spat at them hit the hull of the ship. The Octorok was in the middle of what appeared to be a whirlpool, and, to make things worse, there were ships approaching them.
Aryll pulled out her telescope and discovered a Gerudo armada, "Okay, guys, we've got desert colors flying!"
"You know they have magic on their side," Rustle frowned, "flying through this kind of weather...should we withdraw?"
"No way, the Zoras can't be left here, there looks to be a swarm of them watching us...what color's the water?" Aryll cried, "Rustle, something's off with the water! The Zoras won't be able to do anything!"
"Captain, something from under hit our ship!" a voice called out.
"Well, tell me if we can hit whatever it was, if not, then we'll have to handle these Gerudo first!" Aryll ran to the mast and flexed her fingers, before pulling out a blue potion, "Rustle, this is an emergency, right?"
"I'd say so." Rustle confirmed, standing next to her with his own potion in hand, "Just remember to focus on your breathe."
"Right! I'll move on your signal." Aryll held her palms to the sails, pulled her wrist back, and turned to her mentor. She took a deep breath following Rustle's, and they shouted in unison as they thrust their hands toward the sails, "Wind!"
Rustle stepped back and nodded, "Just keep focusing, and take steady breaths, the moment you stop the spell will fall apart." Rustle slipped out of his coat and dropped it to the floor, then held onto a mast, "I'm going to meet with the Zoras, I'll probably stay there until the armada's sunk."
"Something's off," Aryll took a breath before continuing, "with the water!"
"Yep, and the Zoras are the ones to know why! Wind!" he cried, dashing off the rails, into the water.
Aryll shook her head as Rustle darted over the edge of the ship, "Someone watch him for me!"
Suddenly cannonballs hit the hull, "Sir, I can't! We'll have to man the cannons and such!"
"We won't be firing until I've boarded them!" Aryll watched the ships looming nearer and took a deep breath, "Get me close, get us hull to hull with a hard left, I'm going to jump aboard, then you can rain fire on the ships I'm not on, trust me, you'll know where I am!"
"Once you stop using magic-" someone began.
"You guys should be able to at least fire, they won't be up long enough to sink us, at least—trust me, I wouldn't do something that would get us all killed!" Aryll promised, "I'll just do something that could get us all killed! Same risks as always!"
Linkle ran through the sweltering passage leading to the hammer, the light of the compass' growing brighter and the light and needle seeming to jump erratically. At first she passed it off as her getting closer causing the shift, but as she stopped she realized that Drake's Bane, a hammer, was moving.
She took a deep breath and reached down, pulled her crossbows off her boots, and exhaled. Linkle kept her back to the wall and peeked around the corner to find a door sitting between her and Drake's Bane. It was iron like the door she found earlier, and was barely sitting on the hinges. She set down a bomb and backed against the wall. She pulled the trigger and leapt back into the hallway, then turned and held her bow in front of her, arm bracing the weapon in case the door bounced against the wall and fell upon her.
Linkle tossed another bomb underhanded, and shot it as it fell in the doorway. She heard a monster's cry and jumped into the room, she turned to face the monster inside. Welcoming her was a large monster in gray armor, with the hammer she wanted. She yelled and shot at the large monster, but it blocked the strike with a slight turn of it's wrist to catch the arrow in the handle.
"How?!" she yelled, "This monster's display of intelligence is frightening...only a brave hero could stand against this, and I'm the one, I have to be, the fate of Hyrule depends on it!"
The monster roared in answer and she leapt out of the way before the monster brought the hammer down on her head. She focused on the bombs Ohirume gave her, and pulled one trigger, the result left a blast mark on the wall and a staggered monster, but it recovered quickly and bounded towards her.
Linkle jumped out of it's way and rolled a bomb under it, the heat from a nearby gush of lava instantly exploding it.
She rolled another bomb at the monster, but it kicked the bomb at her. Linkle swung her heel at the bomb and ran across the room. When she turned she saw the monster running towards the bomb.
"Smart enough to figure out my goal...it'll follow the bomb. I need it to end up close to the lava, but not where it'll explode, yet the monster needs to be within the range of the blast. How to do that, though...I'm faster than anyone back home, that talent is surely fate!"
Linkle quickly put together a plan and kicked the bomb past the monster, then started after the bomb, giving the monster swinging room.
Linkle gave the bomb a weak kick, and the monster followed the line the bomb should follow. She took a deep breath. The monster was waiting for her. She gave the bomb a slight push with her foot, narrowed her gaze. She stepped a little towards the wall to her left, and the monster took a step forward and to it's right, expecting her to kick the bomb beyond it. She took another deep breath and picked up the bomb, then tossed it towards the lava fountain.
The monster ran to intercept and Linkle jumped forward, sending the bomb quickly into the lava, then monster stopped short of the lava, but the blast tore the armor in the front, the back armor fell of as well, revealing red skin underneath.
Linkle screamed as she rushed towards the monster, jumping back to avoid a horizontal swing, then approaching with a fast walk, leaping side wise as it brought the hammer down to shake the floor. Linkle darted forward and shoved the monster, hoping to knock it off balance, but when that didn't work, she pulled at the hammer in it's hand, letting go when it pulled back.
Linkle fell forward as the monster fell back, a harsh cry of pain was followed by a silent thud, and the monster made what sounded like a breath. Linkle relaxed on the floor and realized that that monster could have been a dragon, it could have been Volga, she'd rather not have a similar confrontation with Volga.
Linkle sighed and crawled to the monster. She waited for it to move, and breathed out as it remained still. She grabbed the handle of the hammer, and stood up. She found that the hammer shrunk to accommodate her height.
"Time to fight Volga." Linkle grimaced. She had no way of knowing how powerful this weapon was, and didn't want to gamble on it being enough to instantly slay even a Lizalfos, even if she knew for sure that she and not Malron was the Hero, she didn't want to think about the fight ahead.
"Before you proceed, Hero," a voice called out, "you might want to take this."
Linkle watched the doorway and found Sheikah that didn't look or sound like Ohirume, holding a bottle of what looked to be soup, "Who are you? Why are you here?"
"Call me Tsuki, I found you with a Sheikah Stone. A friend of yours asked me to bring you this and let you know that it's your turn to do the dishes when you return...red hair, blue eyes?"
Linkle's smiled accepted the bottle, "Mal...of course she would say something so...certain...Mal." Linkle held up the bottle and smiled, "Thanks for bringing the soup, I didn't realize how hungry I was." with that, Linkle turned the bottle back and took a long, leisurely sip.
"You seemed a little worried when you first started out," Tsuki noted, "scared you could be the Hero?"
Linkle opened one eye and pulled the bottle from her lips, "I'm not scared of being the Hero."
"Hmm, the feeling is mutual." Tsuki observed, "Why not be worried? The burden of the Hero if heavy."
"I know I can get Ganondorf's attention if I'm a big enough threat; he'll want to deal with me himself." Linkle shrugged, "I've got a plan, if I stick to it, then fear's just a shadow, and my plan's a torch in the cave of destiny...I don't know where it ends, but that's part of the thrill!"
"Hmm, having a plan erases fear? Well, I'm sure you have some motive and that beating Volga will catch his eye, good luck, Hero." Tsuki turned swiftly and Linkle watched inquisitively. A blinding white flash appeared a moment after Tsuki's hand flicked back at her.
After the spots in front of her vanished, she turned back to the lava spout behind her. She was sure she heard it gushing up just before the Sheikah vanished. She drank up some more soup until she had finished half of it, "Probably my ears playing tricks on me."
Linkle turned and started back the way she came from.
Marching down the hall she encountered three Lizalfos. She stood ready for the monsters, and observe that they took a breath as they lunged at her. Linkle danced backwards until they stopped breathing fire, and as they took a breath Linkle swung her hammer guaranteeing it was their last.
She stared at the dragons on the floor and let out a deep breath, then lowered the hammer and glanced at her compass, she saw where Volga was, now she just needed to follow the needle's motions to where the golden light pointed her.
Linkle followed the compass to a round room that opened ahead of her and to the right, Ohirume was watching through a hole in the wall, the dim light keeping Volga from detecting the Sheikah.
"I'm ready." Linkle announced, "He's down there, right?"
"It's impossible to reach without jumping...see him, down there?" Ohirume pointed and Linkle approached the large hole in the wall, "He's observant so far...maybe waiting for you."
Linkle pulled the hammer out of her pocket and presented it to Ohirume, "You said I need to jump?"
"Not right now! There...follow the path behind me, it leads to a sealed off area that only Drake's Bane can get through." Ohirume returned full attention to the ground below and waved Linkle away, "Hurry, the Big Brother of Gorons Dargun is holding up, but for how long, I cannot say."
"I was going to look around before jumping...I'm not that eager to battle...I'll be back in a little bit." Linkle assured, and ran down the other path in the room.
"But will we have time to spare?" Ohirume breathed as Linkle's footsteps faded.
Linkle found a statue of a winged man the horns on his helmet, armor blending into him, leaving scales partway up his torso instead of skin, "Okay, well, you're a dragon...and only Drake's Bane can open the way." Linkle grunted as she swung the hammer into the statue, sending hairline fractures through it. She took a deep breath and with a grunt swung again, crumbling the statue and revealing a narrow tunnel that was dark, but there seemed to be stars at the end.
Linkle put the hammer away and slid along the rough, narrow passage until she noticed the walls seemed marble. Looking up and down she found the marble tiles were everywhere.
"This ought place too narrow for a dragon!" she muttered, one hand on the back of her head while her other elbow scraped against the wall. She was shocked when she received an answer.
"Indeed, it is!" Linkle was even more surprised to find the voice belonged to a woman in a red dress with gold markings, emerging from what appeared to be a very large, very extravagant bath, or a relatively small pool, "Welcome, young explorer! Welcome to the Great Fairy's Fountain!"
"The Great...Fairy, is that you, then?" Linkle inquired.
"One of them, yes, I am the Great Fairy of Power! Won't you, Linkle, please sit down," the Great Fairy gestured to the marble rim of the pool, "you must be exhausted after your journey here!"
"I...actually, I was sent here for that, wasn't I?" Linkle remarked.
"Well, then, allow me to soothe your spirit and ease your troubled mind." she reached into the water and presented a tray, "Tea? I assure you, we have plenty of time!"
"I...I don't know-" Linkle turned around, hand clenched as she gazed back at the narrow path she took.
"The powerful must know when to reserve their power, Volga observes this and waits, bides his time to unleash his terrible might upon a foe he deems worthy. Take time to rest, you'll feel much better."
"Fine...I'll take a break." Linkle sat down and the Great Fairy presented her a cup of tea, "I don't mean to be ungrateful, I'm just...concerned, really, thanks for this. So, you know I'm here to slay Volga, right? If you have any advice at all, I'd greatly appreciate it."
"I thought you would try to kill him...I can't aid you beyond this small reprieve, the rest is up to you. Since monsters attack the spirit directly—and he's a powerful one—you will need to rest your spirit." the Great Fairy floated a bowl of diced melon to the adventurer, "Perhaps I should have said rest twice, would you have been humored?"
"I think so...really, the snack's enough for me."
"Good, never forget how to smile, what use is strength if you're lost to despair? You have a long road ahead, find something, anything, to smile at."
"Well, this looks good, great that I have this," Linkle fished in her pocket for a moment before she found the fork she acquired from the princess years ago, "um, though it may need to be washed, it's seen some action, I had to use it to open a window a while back."
"This fountain should clean it." the Great Fairy remarked offhandedly, resting her elbow on the marble, swishing the water with her hand absentmindedly, you're welcome to it, since you've come so far, and feel free to wash up afterwards."
"Great." Linkle removed a glove and instinctively held the fingers in her gloved hand in her bare palm.
"Is something wrong?" the fairy inquired.
"I'm fine, I just remembered my run in with the Gerudo king, he tore my clawshot off my hand...well, not mine, I'm just borrowing them from the Royal Family."
"I see, I know of him, he's fierce." the Great Fairy replied, a focused gaze fixed on the water.
"There we go, all clean!" Linkle announced, having washed her golden fork, "So, where's the fruit?"
"Floating." with a gesture, the Great Fairy drew Linkle's attention to the bowl floating out from behind the Great Fairy, who was balancing a pink ball of light on her fingertip, "Have you ever seen a fairy?"
"Hmm?" Linkle swallowed a melon and shook her head, "No, but I've heard of them."
"I'm in charge of the fairies in this domain, they may appear to you as little pink stars because their aura is so strong. They'll seek to heal the wounded, energize the weary, mend the broken, and though my power is greater than most fairies, I cannot use it outside this room...I cannot aid you in battle, you must turn inward, draw on the will of your spirit, and call on your inner strength, be brave, Linkle...remember why you fight."
Linkle silently turned to her tea and fruit, contemplative of the trial ahead, "How do you know-"
"I'm allowed to know the name of my visitors." the Great Fairy replied simply, "though I know less and less, the evil here makes it hard to communicate with my fairy subjects, it grows stronger by the minute...I sense a troubled heart, shaking with a fury...not a human heart, the volcano's."
Suddenly the ground shook and Linkle quickly rinsed her fork and wiped her mouth.
"Be careful, brave child, and never forget why you fight!" the Great Fairy called after her.
"Okay, thanks for tea." Linkle shouted back, squirming through the narrow passage.
"Good luck, and visit any time you're in the caverns, until then, I bid you farewell!"
"Thanks!" Linkle grunted as her face scratched against the wall, suddenly she felt it heal.
"I can only heal wounds from here." the Great Fairy explained.
"Thanks again!" Linkle smirked, before running to the battle ahead.
"Not looking back." the Great Fairy smiled, "Onto duty, just like always? Yet, this is our first time meeting...no, that can't be, I'm just weak from the evil air outside...yes, that's it...I need rest."
The Great Fairy slowly lowered herself until she lay on the surface, closed her eyes and sunk into the water and peaceful slumber, waiting to be awoken once more.
Aya led Malron deep into the woods, then solemnly turned to the new Sheikah, "This is as far as I go. I'll wait for you, follow the shadow spirits to their home. Now it's time to teach you that power I promised. With a touch of the power of shadows you should be able to extend your awareness, try to connect with a shadow. In the place you're going, you'll learn four other powers and your capacity for shadow magic will grow, allowing you to use the powerful magics, at first you'll need to survive off the magic I'll show you, and your wit and skills solely, any magic you use within will not be your own, but the blessings of the spirits, who will spar with you."
Malron watched as Aya knelt down and touched the shadow of the leaves under the moonlight, "So, what should I do?"
Malron caught her breath as her hand passed under a shadow, "I can see...so much. Can see myself, like a reflection, it's like I can hold the shadow in my hands." Malron smiled as she pulled her hand out, shadow following it, "It's like water...the possibilities are limitless."
"You'll find the spirits take form of stone soldiers within, they will try to drive you out, you will use your skills to get through, destroy their golems, and obtain four ancient magics that have been invaluable to the Sheikah for generations, powers taught directly by the shadows. As you go your understanding will grow with your soul's ability to contain magic itself and your affinity for shadow will increase, and you'll be able to find new and inventive ways to use them. You're a smart girl, I knew that before we met, surely if use your creativity and wit you'll never fail." Aya pointed to a path in the woods and the spirits floated forward, "Follow them, if you hurry, you can be back in three hours."
Malron remembered Tsuki and wondered if this was foreseen by the Sheikah, "Three hours is good."
Malron ran after the spirits into the dark forest, sensing a shadow of a path under her footsteps
Author's Notes: Sorry to keep you waiting!
I feel like I should make a guide to magic or something...maybe a skit for LoL:CGA, (Legend of Linkle: Chibi Great Adventures), I don't know if everyone reading one is interested in the other, so if I do, I'll say which chapter has the guide in it.