Malron slowed with the shadow spirits and beheld the imposing building before her. The walls glowed a beautiful but eerie purple in the moonlight, and the two large doors with raven heads carved into them made the building even more eerie. She focused on where the spirits were gathered and found a shadow at the door. Malron looked but found nothing that would cast the shadow where it was.
She rested her hand on the watery surface of the shadow and took a breath before reaching her arms in and crawled along the bottom until she emerged on the other side of the wall.
Malron sensed no presence, except the faint ones laying beyond the three tunnels ahead of her. As the other two paths had purple seals blocking the way, she went to the left tunnel first. A candle cast her shadow on the wall and startled her for a moment; after determining it was hers, she proceeded.
The tunnel emptied into a round room stairs raised to other side of the room. She took a step before noticing a statue carved into the wall on stairs, it's eyes turned red and two shadows darted out to her, pulled her up by the arms.
The shadows pulled her to the statue, but Malron crossed her arms and grabbed the other wrist's shadow, and sharply spread her arms out, snapping the shadows like rope. She watched the statue and held the shadows in her hands together, then let go with her left hand. As she held the two pieces of shadow she connected, she felt an understanding of the power rise within her.
She leapt to the side and rolled to her feet as two shadows darted out behind her, then leapt over them and ran to the stairs. Malron held her right hand across her to touch the wall, and waited.
When the shadows attacked again, Malron pulled a shadow off the wall and extended her arm, the serpentine shadows recoiled and she turned her back to the shadow, her feet mixing shadows with her senses so that she saw the whole room.
Malron jumped up and turned as the shadows struck again. She landed on her feet, leaning forward, and held out her hands. Malron's vision turned scarlet as she held her hand along the shadows, willing them strike the statue on the wall. The shadow ropes were pulled off the wall, until the shadows bound to the statue were conformed around the statue.
"Well done, young warrior, you understand my power." a voice rumbled from the statue as the shadows melted away from it, "To use shadows to affect the battle. The more refined you want them, the more energy you will have to use."
"That, in turn, will corrupt me faster." Malron observed.
"Indeed...proceed, young champion, may the shadow and your knowledge serve you and Hyrule well."
Malron nodded and passed the statue, the hallway stretched out to the right and left, she touched the wall to her right and followed the darkness through the tunnel to the first room, she went left, uninterested in returning to the beginning. As she rounded a corner, she found her shadow on the wall. Surprised, she backed away and reached for her hammer, but stopped and turned to find a candle behind her, "I suppose it's light is stronger than it seems...still seems pretty dim, for that."
Aryll watched the Gerudo ships as the Aloft rushed forward. She let out a deep breath before darting along the deck. The Aloft turned and Aryll leapt onto the ship. She avoided the spears and blades as she ran to the helm, calling on her training with Rustle as she avoided two spears in the same step, and three or more by springing forward.
Aryll gave the helm a quick spin and turned to the crowd of Gerudo. She shoved her hands forward and the prow of the ship smashed into the hull of another, Aryll had her stance ready for it, though she was surprised when she saw the prow run against the hull of it's sister ship. Aryll turned to find the captain wincing, apparently she tried to save the ship, but Aryll's wind spell brought the prow to the hull quicker than she could act. Aryll winced too, that Gerudo's plan could have worked.
She turned around and glanced at the recovering Gerudo, then turned back to the captain.
"Wind!" Aryll shouted, sending the captain overboard, then jumped behind the wheel and summoned a powerful gale, one hand on the wheel, and one focused on the sails, swiping at the Gerudo when they were too close. She passed by the Aloft a few times as she crashed the ship into the others, and sailed circles around the Gerudo vessels.
Between the Aloft's cannon fire and her smashing the ships, the other four were sunk fairly quickly. She turned to see her ship behind her and glanced to the Gerudo. With a powerful gust she knocked them down, then sailed past the Zora's island and with a final call on the wind, she jumped ship and rolled along the shore. She heard the monster cry out in pain and smiled up at Rustle, who watched her with crossed arms as she struggled to stand, "It seems I've fallen and can't giddy up."
"You used too much magic, you have to be careful." Rustle chided.
"I know...is the monster still floating?" Aryll inquired, closing her eyes.
"Nope, you sunk it." Rustle announced, unsure if he was proud or jealous.
"Ha, good...the sea's that much safer." Aryll sighed, falling asleep.
"Looks like the young head priestess will have someone to practice her healing on!" Rustle chortled.
"Afraid not, she's still investigating the ruins of a city underwater." a Zora informed him, "She's in for quite the nap, especially since all of our healers lost their abilities of late!"
"Ah, too bad...that'll teach her to ignore her limits, she hates oversleeping." Rustle snorted, "Meanwhile, I want to see this city of yours, to pass the time."
"I don't know that the king will appreciate you showing up uninvited, as far as King Zora XXV is concerned, if you're not invited, you're being a nuisance...he takes being respected seriously...maybe a bit too seriously."
"I'll say! Well, I'll carry her to the healing room and hope your healers get their magic back." Rustle picked Aryll up and nodded at the door, "If you'd show me where the room is...I may have misplaced it, and I don't want to carry her all night...call it age, call it laziness."
Linkle checked her bows as she walked pass Ohirume, who was watching the fight below, "The volcano's going to erupt soon." Ohirume remarked, "Ganondorf has cursed the mountain, and now any hate and malice from monsters, Gorons, or Hylians will result in Death Mountain awakening from it's dormant state." Ohirume exhaled nasally and looked up at Linkle, "If you have to run, there's a tunnel just under this ledge."
"Well, what's at risk?"
"Castle Town and Kakariko Village, possibly the Lost Woods and maybe Zora's Domain."
"And if Volga dies, we can do something about the curse?" Linkle inquired.
"Even if you just repel him; Volga's channeling the curse to this place. I'll stay up here, and keep you and Dargun from getting swarmed. I doubt Volga will try to stop me, he hasn't yet."
Linkle knelt beside Ohirume, consulted her compass as she readied her clawshot, "So, what's a particularly strong monster? Has a red skinned thing?" Linkle kept her finger on the trigger as she awaited the answer, "It's large, with a face smashed onto a small head."
"Moblins?" Ohirume squinted.
"Thanks!" Linkle released the trigger and sailed to the coat of arms.
Malron walked across several narrow paths before reaching a door. She opened it and remained against the wall, and observed a darkness the horizon. She jumped into the doorway and found a plain, circular stone room, behind her the darkness along the floor revealed itself as the floor falling away. Malron pulled a beam from the wall and held tightly onto it as she brought her feet up on the wall. She turned around and saw an armored knight walking along the shadows.
"The vast emptiness...and it's walking as though there was a floor!" Malron winced and lowered a foot, but lost her balance. She took a breath and struggled to pull her feet back up to the wall, then turned to find the knight, still approaching with calculating steps, "Floor...there is a floor. See, there's Linkle walking...running after some excitable cucco...oh, wait, I need to be back in three hours...if I'm fast. Could she have known it'd take so long? Or have I been walking around for a while? Wait, I can't see the floor, but it's there...it has to be there."
Malron let out a frustrated groan and let go. She stared below her and heard her feet connect with something solid, then took her own ax into hand, "The floor never fell away, it was just swallowed in darkness!"
Malron let out a cry as she charged at the armor, focusing on her feet as she came to understand the concept of the power she was using, her progress impeded by battle, "The floor...is all around me...the power is in my own two feet."
She looked at the floor between her and the armored knight, glared at the armor as it took a step forward. Malron imagined an endless expanse behind him and swung her ax, knocking him to his back, he fell for a while before flying back up.
"I saw that you were afraid." he remarked, "Yet you persisted."
"I was afraid...okay, I still am, but it's all in the feet...apparently."
The knight nodded and stomped his foot. The floors returned and Malron turned back to hallway.
She made it pass the stairs where she learned the first power and soon found herself jogging out of the center tunnel. She turned around and regarded the final tunnel for a moment before running ahead, then jumped as she rounded the corner, "It's like half these lights are invisible until I pass them! This darkness must be making me anxious."
She shrugged off the scare and continued onward, but not for as long as she expected. She was in another round room, statues standing around the room in a circle. Suddenly a statue came to life and began running around her, as it halted a stream of darkness fanned out. Malron narrowly avoided the blast, but when the statue turned to face her, she flew into a wall.
Pushing herself upright, she found the foe with arms crossed over it's chest. She quickly adopted the same stance and focused on the darkness that hit her, then unleashed to send the statue stumbling back. Malron ran towards it and readied her ax, swinging as she passed her opponent.
"Is that it?" Malron inquired, as the statue stared silently at her.
"Indeed, you've learned my power...we are done here."
She nodded and went back to the first room, but as she reached the door, her shadow appeared again. She narrowed her gaze and stepped back, "I understand now...you blocked the light, spirit of shadow, and startled me...but I'm not afraid."
She started to approach the door when her shadow stepped out of the door and smiled at her, face shifting from Linkle's to Talron's before settling back to Malron's, "Challenge accepted." she muttered.
Her statue grabbed a bow off the wall and an arrow from the floor, while Malron leaned against the wall. When the shadow shot at her, Malron pulled a disk out, after blocking the arrow, she threw the disk at the shadow, then crouched down and opened a shadow on the ground. She sensed the shadow's location and opened another shadow, and pulled her shadow down, then surfaced and closed the shadows.
"Ah, how did you know what to do?!" the shadow demanded, with Malron's voice.
"I realized that the first magic I encountered here was actually the shadow puddle." Malron replied.
"Clever, huh? You probably think you can leave now," the shadow grinned, "well...you can, bye-bye!"
Malron found Aya waiting where she said she would. Aya smiled at her and gestured for her to follow, "That was fast...maybe you'll get an hour of sleep at this rate?"
"I don't know...I'm pretty hungry, maybe I'll just have breakfast." Malron sighed, "I can scarcely wait for that oven to arrive."
Linkle landed against the shield and turned around to find Volga watching Dargun. She let go and landed on the throne, "Hey, Volga, over here!"
She smiled nervously as his cold stare fell on her and chilled her blood, "Go away, petty Hylian girl."
"U-um, n-no! Never, this...is my castle now, and the name's Linkle!" she stepped forward, feeling bold as she locked eyes with the dragon, "Know my name...and fear it!"
"You must be crazy." Volga scoffed, "Can't you see I'm considering giving this Goron his death wish?"
"Are you, though?" Linkle smiled as she pulled Drake's Bane from a pocket, "I took this from a Moblin, I suppose it was hard enough, but really, what is your personal experience with Moblins, anyways?"
"You! Drop that accursed mallet!" Volga demanded.
"The curse will break if you leave, that happens one way or another!" Linkle raised the hammer.
Volga narrowed his eyes at her, then stepped forward, "I suppose there's no declining your offer!"
"Hold on, Dargun!" Linkle called out, catching the claws on the hammer's handle as Volga attacked. Linkle watched him for an opening, and when he jumped up, sprouted wings and spun around to bring his claw down, she knew she had it. Linkle yelled and swung her hammer at him.
Volga dropped to his feet, "You call that Drake's Bane? It's no threat to me, I thought the Gorons gave it some powers...I suppose they didn't have time to finish it." Volga walked away and a squad of Lizalfos ran to block her path.
She blocked several claws and used her clawshot to reach the shield across from her. Linkle grabbed a crossbow and shot at Volga, hitting him several times. He flew up and approached her, weaving on his path to her. His movements made it difficult, but she rarely missed.
"Linkle, we're out of time!" Ohirume yelled from above, jumping into the room, between Dargun and the monsters, "Volga stop this madness, now! Kakariko Village, Castle Town, don't let them burn!"
"Ganondorf will rule the weak," Volga replied icily, not turning to Ohirume, "and remove the Gorons from this mountain or bury them here, either way my people will grow stronger under his reign...I may attack him, take the Triforce of Power from him as a trophy...the whole Triforce may be a worth goal."
"Why not fight him now?" Linkle demanded.
"Because right now, he's dealing with the Gorons, a task too tedious for me." Volga replied evenly.
"You realize Kakariko Village will be burned, right?!"Linkle demanded, "That's my home!"
"Yes, I know," Volga replied easily, "but that's not my concern."
"Ohirume," Linkle cried, "they're not prepared for this!"
"I've asked the Gorons to help where they can." Ohirume informed, "your rage is effecting the curse!"
"Don't worry, the curse will be dispelled—very soon." Linkle growled, and pulled the trigger, but no shots were fired. She pulled the trigger several more times, but with the same lack of results.
For a brief instance fear chilled her, in the next instance, she leapt upon Volga, crossbow held high, eyes on Volga. She expected Volga would easily dodged or swat her against the wall, but if nothing could be done, she was going to try everything.
Volga pulled back his fist, but before his punch connected, a deep orange light danced across his face, and flew from her crossbow, sending Volga stumbling back in a fiery blast, much to Ohirume's surprise, "The choker and crossbow gems are glowing...but not the Seeker?"
Linkle landed, crouched, right foot forward to take up her second crossbow. She glared up at him and he spat fire at her, but she fell onto her back, rolled to her feet, and unleashed a flurry of shots, "You should have backed down when you had the chance, dragon!"
"Bold words from an empty spirit, just like the rest of them!" Volga growled as her held up his hands to block the barrage. He jumped over her and bounced off the wall.
Linkle set her crossbows down and grabbed Drake's Bane. Red lines shot up and down the hammer as she glared at Volga, waiting for him to fall into range. Volga leaned back, but he was too close and she was too fast, and brought him down with a strike of Drake's Bane, "Volga, you're going to regret it if this mountain erupts!" Linkle threatened.
"Not much stronger than before," Volga remarked with a smile, "but you wield it well...this should prove interesting, if nothing else."
"I'll send you away before this volcano explodes!" Linkle screamed. Suddenly Volga's wings opened and he lunged forward, grabbed Drake's Bane under the hammer's head, and flew up.
Linkle gripped the handle tightly and fire erupted from Drake's Bane, he dropped her hammer and she rolled along the ground. She forced herself up onto her feet, weary of the dragon who landed some distance away, and Linkle held Drake's Bane so the head was behind her and ran after him, fire erupting from the weapon, that strike sent him stumbling backwards.
Volga flew up, then darted at her, sending her and the hammer rolling away, "Pathetic!"
She picked Drake's Bane back up and charged at Volga, he blocked with his hand and breathed fire, then flapped his wings, knocking her across the ground with a sudden gust. Linkle rolled onto the her side and pushed herself up on one arm, but Volga's foot pinned her arm down before she could sit up, and stared impassively at her, "And here you showed promise, I am disappointed...but not surprised."
"No, you can't do this-" Linkle stopped and stared at the lava rising over the crater of Death Mountain. Linkle cried out in grief as the lava rose higher, "No, you can't do this, you can't! No...I...I...can't...fail!"
Linkle tensed her arms and shook with rage, she yelled as a blast of light radiated from her compass, sending Volga stepping backwards. Linkle climbed to her feet and took a deep breath, and let out a cry that rose above the roar of the eruption as she rushed at Volga and shot him with her crossbows. She ducked and spun slowly as he swiped at her, then kicked him in the side, her leg aflame.
He lunged forward and grabbed her arms with his claws, crushing her arms as he inhaled to breath fire, but the compass' shined brightly and the fire flowed around over her. Two orange lights rushed from crossbows, the explosion sent them flying apart from each other. Volga fell against a rise in the mountain and Linkle crashed into a pillar of stone.
"Your courage is...unexpected from your kind," Volga breathed, taking an uncertain step forward, "a shame to kill you now, and yet...opposition is...if I let you live, will you battle me once more?"
"I'm losing everyone I fought to protect right now, I can't save them here...I couldn't slay you, can't save them, I lost." Linkle closed her eyes after staring at the orange tower in the sky.
Volga looked up as well, then turned away, "I'm leaving...for now I'm content to watch you grow."
"Get back here, Volga!" Linkle cried, watching the dragon fly away, her vision darkening as a blur ran pass her, the world silent except for her fading voice, "Get back...here, monster."
Linkle opened her eyes and found Ohirume crouched next to her, "Linkle, you did it."
"I've failed...I couldn't repel him before the volcano...Ohirume!" Linkle cover eyes with a gloved hand and rolled onto her side, "Malron, Talron...I've failed, I'm no hero."
"'Ash rained from the sky upon the green clothed figure as lava towered beyond the clouds and death rained upon us from the sky, later I saw snow fall upon Hyrule, why do I feel it will never cease?'" Linkle looked up to find Ohirume reading a letter, "I see no ash on you, Hero, so let me forecast the sunny future you've secured, 'The drake flew from the mountain and the inhabitants of it rejoiced, in the calm, and feasted at a large table, a strange hammer sitting at the end on a large chair, I saw no hero, and no snow. The absence of the warrior may bode well and represent a happy departure.'"
"What...?" Linkle asked, wiping her eyes as she listened to the Sheikah.
"What Zelda saw as she wrote this was today's fight, in those dreams your battle's end was represented in terms of ultimate victory or loss, and you didn't fail," Ohirume replied, "the future is not endless snow. I wanted to tell you before, but I feared it would delay us and lead to your defeat."
"Ha...ha, ha, s-so...did the princess see my home, does she know if everything's alright?" Linkle asked eagerly, "Everything's going to be alright, right?!"
"I'll bring you word of your home, but I have a feeling I'll like what I find there, for now, Hero, rest."
"I want to go too!" Linkle jumped up, but instantly stumbled backwards. Linkle bumped into what she expected was a Goron, and looked up to meet Dargun's grin. She turned to face him and got pulled into a fierce hug that she hadn't expected. Upon release, a few solid pats sent Linkle to the ground.
"You did it, Brother! You saved me and the people below!" Dargun cheered, "You came through just as said you would! Ah, I can imagine how it went, too, we'll be retelling this day for ages to come!"
"Ow...how did you get up here," Linkle wondered, rubbing her head, "was there a secret way up?"
"It's been closed for a long time now, but the path leads around the volcano from the hot spring!" Dargun informed, "You're more than welcomed to swim in it, Brother!"
"Linkle, you've worn yourself out with magic and need rest, after I discuss magic with you, I must go." Ohirume informed, "The spring should be a good place to rest."
Dargun nodded and held out his arms, "Brother, I will carry you!"
"U-uh, well—whoa!" Linkle looked around frantically as she was suddenly lifted up and carried to the trail on the back of the mountain, "Okay, that's good, too...just stop sprinting, please, I feel like my stomach's about fly away."
"Ha, ha, like Volga?" Dargun laughed, slowing to a jog.
Linkle covered her ears at the Goron's spirited laugh, "Yeah, just like that!"
"Brother, for you I would crawl like a turtle while you sit atop my back!" Dargun replied.
"I feel pretty tired, too tired to hang on, so thanks for offering to carry me." Linkle held onto Dargun's wrist, as though she could hold on if he dropped her, "But I'm not sure I like this path much."
"Would you like me to turn back, Brother?"
"Not at all! This is good, we're more than halfway there!" Linkle shouted frantically, "Wait, 'brother?'"
Before he replied, he dropped her to crash into warm water, "How does this place suit you, Brother?"
"There's three things I need to tell you!" Linkle yelled, "One: I'm still in my boots, so now they're soggy! Two: I'm a girl! Three? Three: I don't like being dropped in water!"
"I agree with all three points, Brother, but Gorons relax in the spring at night, during the day we wrestle, so please enjoy the peace while you can!"
Linkle's jaw dropped and she ran her went hand through her hair, but remained silent.
"Now," Ohirume sat down, "There's a lot you need to know about magic."
"Well, while you explain," Dargun sat up, "we will prepare a feast in honor of our great hero, Linkle!"
Author's Notes: Well, here it is...I tried to do Linkle's fight with Volga justice, I took a few rewrites before I was satisfied with it, I tried to keep Volga as close to his HWL counterpart as I could.
Malron's trials were also difficult to write, but at least she just had to show mastery with her magic...though it wasn't so simple for her, either. And...Aryll didn't see quite as much excitement as those two, but she got wind magic...so that's a something?