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Intervention in the Era of Calamity

Chapter Text

"Y-You... traitors!"

Zant's angered cry drew Link's attention. The Usurper King was all but limp on his throne - no, Midna's throne - after the beating Link had administered him; his helmet was gone, leaving the pained, furious expression on his face clear for them to see.

Midna turned to him with more fury than he could ever express. "Traitors? Ha! You want to know why none would call you king? It was your eyes, Zant." The usurper shifted, just slightly, in response to her words. "All saw it, a lust for power burning in your pupils... Did you think we'd forget our ancestors lost their king to such greed?!"

The weakest of sinister smiles rose on Zant's face. "Midna... Foolish Twilight Princess..." His gaze rose to the impish figure at Link's side. "The curse on you cannot be broken." Midna started in response, her body tremoring with rage. "It was placed on you by the magic of my god...! The power you held as the leader of the Twili will never return!" In his weakened state, he failed to see her hair starting to rise, starting to shift. "Already he has descended and been reborn in this world...!"

Link took a ready stance, prepared to draw the Master Sword at a moment's notice; and Zant's gaze rose as though seeing a phantom before him.

"As long as Ganon survives, he will resurrect me without cease!"

Midna had other ideas.

The orange strands of her hair turned a pale, violent grey, dividing into thick, bladed tendrils, and Link pulled back as they surged forward, impaling Zant once, thrice, five times, skewering through his heart and eliciting a shriek of pain. His body contorted, moving in ways no body - not even his - should be able to move; he could only watch as his body bloated... and burst.

The Twilight Princess pulled back, and the tendrils retracted, her body writhing as her hair returned to normal.

"Midna..."

Impish hands slammed to the sides of the Fused Shadow upon her head. "I... I just used a small portion of the power that's in me now..." Her eyes were wide in terror at the force she had just used. "I-I did that using only a fraction of my ancestors' magic!?"

The throne was empty - there was nothing left of the Usurper King that had sat upon it.

Slowly, Midna lowered her hands, turning to Link. "...Now's the time," she said firmly. "We have to save Zelda!"

Link turned to her. "Are you sure? If you-"

"The evil power Zant was wielding... I couldn't take it from him," Midna admitted. "But I still have the magic of my ancestors." She ran her hands over each other, and Link saw the spark of the heavenly power on her skin. "With that, I can return the cherished power Zelda bestowed upon me." She aimed a finger at the floor, and a portal of Twilight appeared on the floor. "Let's go! Princess Zelda is waiting."

Link nodded; and as Midna dove into his shadow, he stepped onto the portal, letting his body become particles of Twilight that departed the throne room of the Palace of Twilight.


When he opened his eyes, he was not in the Palace of Twilight.

Nor was he in any region of Hyrule that he recognized. This was a dark, clouded valley, with temples of some sort scattered about. Stone formations that looked like hands were reaching from the earth around him; trees without leaves, their branches glowing with an eerie light, dotted the area around him. Visible from here was a temple that loomed over the rest of the valley threateningly.

Midna emerged from his shadow, her body silhouetted and faded, as Link looked around, confused. "Where are we?"

"I don't know," Midna admitted. "I... I didn't bring us here. I couldn't. The only way in or out of the Twilight Realm is through the Mirror. I couldn't possibly bring us here. I don't- AH!"

Her cry caused Link to turn as she reached for her forehead. "Midna!"

"I-I... I... Ah!" She doubled over in midair, briefly; then her gaze rose to the temple. "What... What is this...?"

Link blinked. "What...?"

"I've been here," Midna murmured. "No... I will be here..."

"Will?" Link glanced around. "What do you mean, will?"

Midna shook her head. "I don't know." A flicker from her hair, and she turned round. "Link, behind you!"

The hero reached for his sword and shield, turning round, and he was shocked at what he saw.

Thirty paces away was a figure - a boy clothed in green.

Chapter Text

"The Cistern. Of course it's the Cistern."

The Sky Keep hidden beneath Skyloft's Goddess Statue consisted of eight fluid rooms which could be altered by several terminals within. It was in three of these rooms that were hidden the pieces of the Triforce; when finally Link had located one such room, as Fi had marked on his map, he was rather bothered to find it was rather reminiscent of the Ancient Cistern in Lake Floria.

Specifically, its lower level, infested by Cursed Bokoblins.

A whistle of power drew Link's attention as Fi manifested at his side. "Master, look this way." He followed her beckoning with his gaze to see a familiar crest glowing on the floor behind a caged passage. "The design carved into the floor here is the Mark of Farore. I detect the sacred power of the Triforce emanating from its vicinity. To reach the area where that mark is located, I propose you pass through the door, here."

The door in question was locked with one of the cross-chained locks of which dungeons on the Surface were surprisingly fond. Fortunately, Link had located a key on his way here; he drew it out as he approached the door, setting it firmly into the lock. The gear that ringed the outside of the lock rotated, and Link released the key as it was irrevocably sealed into the lock, which fell to the ground as it released the chains. The chains themselves extended further out from the wall - unjamming the door - and Link quickly knelt down and shifted the door upward just enough to hook his fingers on the underside of it, throwing it high enough for him to step through before it dropped back down behind him.

And a metal gate followed it down. This was an irrevocable round trip.

Two Moblins carrying heavy metal shields stood on the narrow bridge that formed their route, and Fi's thoughts began to mingle with Link's own when his fighting instinct kicked in. This gave her timely reaction in response to what Link needed in a given combat situation - so when Link raised his right hand forward without going for the Master Sword on his back, and reached his left hand to his side rather than the Hylian Shield on his back, Fi was already manifesting the Sacred Bow in his hand and a quiver at his hip. He quickly drew an arrow, nocked it, and pulled the bowstring to full draw, loosing the arrow straight towards the lead Moblin, and the arrow pierced its eye with enough force to dent the back of its helmet.

He quickly charged forward, bow and quiver vanishing as he drew his sword and shield. The Moblin was still recoiling from the arrow to the eye, and Link quickly drove the Master Sword into its side with just enough force to throw it over the edge of the bridge. The one behind it thrust its lance forward, but Link let the bladed tip skim off his shield - Lanayru's prize being more than durable enough to take a strike like that without him worrying for its body - before landing a sharp thrust into its chest, followed with an earthward slash and a swipe to the right. The Moblin raised its own shield at this point, but Link only drove his boots into it, charging up its side and landing behind it before arcing into an outward spin to strike twice at its back.

One, two, three blows more were enough to have the Moblin reeling, and Link stepped away as it fell forward and burst into smoke. The metal gate barring the next door slid up and out, and Link pressed his hands to its surface to slide it up, throwing it out of the way just long enough for him to pass under it. Again did the gate seal his round trip, and he found bow-readied Bokoblins already taking aim at him from across a dark room; the Sacred Bow reappeared in his hands as he fired one, two, four arrows at the opponents immediately before him before stepping out just enough to take aim at the archers to his left.

That was also enough for two piles of bones nearby to rise up, the Stalfos gripping its twin swords. Link finished off the last of the archers before letting his bow vanish and drawing his sword and shield again; two, three, five blows past one's swords were enough to end it; a stray blow collided with the swords of the next, but Link only thrust his shield forward to meet its counter, repelling the strikes with enough force to knock its arms off before cleaving its skull with the Master Sword.

In the next room waited the four-armed skeleton of a Stalmaster, and as it rose the surface around it trembled, a gathering of cursed Bokoblins digging themselves out of the earth. Fi had doubted him for thinking this would come up (although keeping his preparations around since the Cistern, just in case, was admittedly excessive); the Hylian Shield vanished on his back, replaced with a refined Goddess Shield, and when Link drew it and thrust it forward to meet a strike from the Stalmaster's blades, the glimmering imprint of Hylia's revered form caused the Cursed Bokoblins to cower away.

Once the Stalmaster and its four blades were felled, the Cursed Bokoblins were a simple matter; Link sheathed his sword and shield, and Fi replaced the Goddess Shield with Lanayru's prize again, as the gate to the left of that which he came from. When he opened it, the mark of Farore was before him - as was a switch to open the bars that had blocked him from it - and Fi emerged from his sword, hovering at his side.

"Master, you have reached the mark. Offer your sword to it."

The Master Sword he drew without his shield, turning it to backhand; and he quickly raised the sword above him and drove it into the mark - and he felt a familiar sensation as his spirit parted from his body.


Link's spirit manifested in an isolated region in a Silent Realm, deep in the recesses of Skyloft. As he got to his feet, he saw - floating above a stage of sorts - a shining figure, glowing with a powerful light; the Triforce of Courage. Even to just his spirit, the golden triangle exuded an essence that had Link wary; slowly, carefully, he stepped towards it, and once it was in arm's reach he held out both hands.

The Triforce suspended itself over his grip, even as he turned around with his hands held before him; and after a moment it seemed to dissipate into golden particles, which slowly flowed towards his sword hand.

A sudden darkness overtook the Silent Realm in which he stood; and as Link started, he felt his spirit fading out, to return to his body.


And his body was lying on the ground.

Link got to his feet; his body was considerably less stiff than it had been after he'd returned from each of the four Silent Realms previous. The Master Sword had ended up under his chest sometime between his departure and return (making him thankful now for the chain mail under his senior-class tunic), and as he picked it up Fi emerged from the hilt and came to a stop at his side.

"My apologies, Master."

"What happened?"

Fi's gaze fell to the Master Sword. "While your spirit was separate from your body, a power from outside of Skyloft transported us here. I apologize for being unable to prevent this."

Link shook his head. "A power from outside of Skyloft? You have nothing to apologize for." They were in what looked like a valley of some sort, with several ominous temple-looking structures scattered about. "I have no idea where we are... but I'd love to know how I missed this. Wherever this is."

The sword spirit glanced down. "Master... I have memories of this place."

"You what?" Link was chuckling as he spoke, amused at the amount of preparation that Fi's creator had shown. "You mean Hylia was prepared for us to be dragged out of Skyloft to some-"

"No." Fi's firm interruption took the smile off Link's face faster than Ghirahim ever had. "The information that the Goddess instilled within me, and the experiences that I have accumulated during my time in the Goddess Sword, are distinct. The Goddess did not forsee this - my memories of this place are my own. I know where this is."

Her gaze rose.

"I know when this is."

Link started at that. "When...? You mean, we're..."

Fi nodded. "Yes. This place is temporally disconnected from where we were previously." She turned further towards the valley. "To the north resides an individual who should be able to explain why we are here."

She faded back into the Master Sword, and Link sheathed his blade on his back as he started north. The small brick temples were ominously empty, and as Link passed through one of them he caught sight of a towering structure in the distance. He was about to ask Fi if that was their destination when her voice, hastened, caught his mind without her emergence - as it did when she needed speak to him in the midst of battle.

"Master, an armed individual is approaching from your right at threatening velocity."

Link quickly reached back, drawing his sword and shield, and he had only time to catch a flash of green before he raised the Hylian Shield to defend against a leaping blow.

A blow with a sword which gleamed with the power to repel evil.

Chapter Text

"Now that was a good show!"

It was the Carnival of Time in Clock Town, and the morning performance of the Indigo-Go's at the Milk Bar was a stunning success. As the Zora musicians arrived at the Stock Pot Inn, Lulu was quick to hand their guitarist a small note while Evan was speaking with the girl at the counter.

"Did you see those dancer girls from the troupe heading to Latte?" Japas mused. "Think they're gonna hit the stage?"

"Maybe," Tijo admitted. "But that organ grinder wasn't with them. Not sure what kinda crowd they're gonna draw without any music."

"There's that pikeman from the west gate," Japas observed. "He'd probably stop by."

Tijo scoffed. "Oh, that lech? Yeah, he'd be all too eager."

Evan turned round. "Right, then. You guys rest up. Tonight's performance is gonna have a way bigger crowd, make sure you're in top form."

He headed up to their room; Japas slapped the guitarist's shoulder as Tijo and Lulu took off. "Hey, Mikau, you wanna jam for a bit?"

"Uh, no thanks, man," was the reply he received. "I've got somewhere to stop before tonight."

"Where are you goin' all of a sudden?" Japas accused.

"Found someone who said he'd hook me up with some Chateau Romani out of Latte hours without charging me double. "

This earned him a laugh from the bassist. "Oh ho! Big Zoran hero needs some liquid courage, does he?" He gave his friend a friendly punch to the shoulder in the shoulder. "What, a rock star's high isn't enough for you to keep Lulu happy?"

The guitarist had a bright crimson blush on his face. "I'm not gonna answer that."

"Well, whatever," Japas mused. "I'll be at the Laundry Pool if you change your mind, alright?"

He took off, and once he was sure he was alone, Link breathed a tight sigh. He wasn't quite sure how he had managed to bluff his way through a concert performance when he barely knew their opening ballad; but somehow, he'd gotten through it. He wasn't gonna let Mikau's spirit mourn a missed concert; hopefully this would let the Zoran hero rest in peace. Warily, he glanced down at the note Lulu had given him.

Meet me on the second-floor balcony

Nervous and worried, Link decided on his way up that, yes, a hero does need a little extra courage sometimes. Fortunately, his experiences back in Hyrule had taught him a few things about carrying around a large number of items; a golden glow emerged on the back of his left hand, and a bottle materialized in his grip, full of Chateau Romani. He quickly raised the bottle to his lips and drained it in short order, wiping a few drops from his mouth and letting the container fade before he stepped out onto the balcony, finding Lulu waiting for him.

"You wanted to see me?"

The vocalist turned to him with a sorrowful look on her face. "Tell me the truth," she prompted. "You're not Mikau, are you?"

Link sighed, closing the door behind him. "I guess I should have seen that coming," he admitted. "I'm surprised I fooled the rest of the band; I'd never convince his lover."

"Just... tell me what happened to him," Lulu insisted.

"The pirates of the Great Bay," Link replied. "They bested him when he was trying to save your eggs. I promised I'd help you in his stead."

Lulu nodded. "I suspected as much," she admitted. "Thank you. For everything." She set a hand on his arm. "Would you... show me what you really look like?"

Link glanced around. No one in East Clock Town looked to be in a position to notice him; he promptly reached for his face, and Lulu pulled back as a light wrapped his form. When it faded, the Zora guitarist was gone; in his place was a young Hylian boy - young enough to be mistaken for Kokiri, back in Hyrule.

"You...?"

A small smile rose on Link's face. "You weren't expecting a kid, were you?" he asked.

"Not as such, no," Lulu admitted. "Mikau or not, you seem... more mature than you ought be. Like you have experienced far more than one your age ought."

"You're not wrong there."

Lulu sighed. "...You should go," she prompted. "You have somewhere to be, don't you?"

Link nodded. "Something like that," he admitted. "But..."

"No," the vocalist insisted. "I'll explain things to the others. I'd rather you weren't kept if you're not needed."

"...Alright, then."


Epona was waiting for him outside of Clock Town; Link was quick to mount his young steed and take off. The Happy Mask Salesman had encouraged him to ride, and trust that the Goddess of Time would take him to the join between this world and his. Suspicious he might have been, but the salesman had not led him wrong so far; and so Link directed the mare to gallop towards the woodland.

He was halfway there when a powerful, unfamiliar magic took hold of him - and Epona skidded to a stop, throwing him from the saddle. He landed roughly on the ground as his surroundings warped; panicking, Link drew his Gilded Sword and Mirror Shield, ready to defend himself the moment an enemy appeared. The area around him was surprisingly dark; yet as he stood there, it seemed to be devoid of enemies. Even so, he was wary; this place was flooded with a darkness comparable to the four Giants' imprisoners in Termina.

A gleam from his left hand drew his attention. On the back of his sword hand shone the crest of three triangles - the Triforce - with the right corner filled to show that he carried Courage. Farore's blessing had come back to him after his return to his own time, and his meeting with Zelda had revealed that Nayru's had gone to her; the two pieces had resonated on nearing one another. And now, it was resonating again - in response to the presence of another piece of the goddess' gift.

Is Zelda here?

Warily, Link sheathed his sword and hooked his shield over it, stepping forward with his weapon hand out to guide him. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, in spite of the Triforce's glow, he saw that he was in a valley of sorts; several squared stone structures were scattered about, and dead trees with ominous lights on their branches spotted the earth between them. One of them rested in a fork in the road, and the Triforce directed him to the right - yet the sound of clashing blades to his left drew his attention there.

Two figures stood there - two swordsmen in green tunics.

"What the...?" Is that... me!? No, it can't be... He shook his head. Whatever the case, I can't let them kill each other.

Now he was thankful for the darkness that surrounded him; he held out his shining hand, and a mask appeared in it - a Hylian-esque face decorated with war paint, bearing silvery white hair and empty gaps for the eyes. As Link charged forward, he grasped the Mask in both hands and pressed it to his face, whereupon a powerful force washed over his body. His shield and sword vanished from his back as it did, and his body grew taller, stronger, his strides lengthening and his footfalls becoming heavier. He held out his left hand as a shaft of black steel appeared in his grip; then he closed his other hand upon it, and two blades manifested from one end of it - one in heroic green, one in divine blue - twisted into a dual helix and coming to a point.

One swordsman drew his sword back in his left hand, meaning to thrust it into the other's heart.

One swordsman raised his sword high in his right hand, meaning to bring it into the other's head.

The ferocious god swept his own sword forth, catching each blow an instant from its target; and both swordsmen turned in a shock as their swords - each with the mark of the gods imprinted on the blade - came to a halt.

Chapter Text

The War Across the Ages - a cataclysmic battle that had rent time and space. The age in which that war was seated would come to be known as the Era of Warriors - as could be attested by the twin entities which overlooked the balance of the Triforce from the Valley of Seers. The sorceresses Cia and Lana were all too aware of the consequences that battle had wrought on the victim eras; ever since the war had concluded, they had been tracing up and down the flow of time, watching for any scars that might remain from the ruin that had ensued.

It was a month since the final clash of that war - in the Era of the Great Sea, an age part of another flow entirely. The realization of what that clash ensued had brought a new diligence to their observations; Lana in particular was reaching their perception of the flow as far as she could, seeking out eras that until now had been outside of their purview - in case the rending of time should cause something even in there.

And it was during that search that she saw something terrible.

"Cia!"

Lana's call drew Cia's attention; the two of them had divided their task in mending the scars of war, with the Dark Sorceress seeking out any lingering damage in the Era of Warriors while the White Sorceress traced the flow. As soon as Lana called her name, Cia turned to her, approaching the crystal ball before her. "What is it?"

"It's Link," Lana replied. Then, seeing Cia's expression; "Not- Not our Link. Not in this Era. It's the Era of Calamity."

Those words brought immediate concern to the Dark Sorceress. The Era of Calamity was a new discovery for them - an era Cia had never seen before the two of them had been split. The curse of Demise, which plagued the soul of the hero and the blood of the goddess, took the form of an amalgam of Malice known as Calamity Ganon. In truth, it was one of two such eras, the first being the Era of the Slate - after a Sheikah device that was all but omnipresent in that time - but the sheer havoc with which Ganon had plagued Hyrule during the age had lent the name of his form to the Era of Calamity.

In both of those eras, Lana had confirmed the hero's victory - with the aid of Sheikah constructs known as Divine Beasts - and his journey's end. So when Cia looked into the crystal ball, and saw what was happening to Link within it, terror wrought her. Link was struggling in a mass of darkness; as she watched, his tunic - a goddess azure, in sharp contrast to the courageous emerald worn by many other Links - turned black as pitch, his eyes lights of red.

"What's happening to him?" Cia demanded.

"Malice," Lana replied. "He made contact with a body of active Malice, and it's changing him."

Cia shook her head. "No, that can't be possible," she insisted. "Ganon's dormant in this era. The Malice around Hyrule is inert. Where did he find active Malice?"

The image of the hero faded out as Lana shifted the temporal focus on the crystal ball. "He didn't. I think the Malice found him."

She showed what she had seen up to that point; Link had stepped into a ruined Coliseum, just north of the Great Plateau in the middle of Hyrule. The monsters normally present in that era (which Cia had watched the hero fight for himself, much to Lana's chagrin) were absent, and there was a mass of shadow writhing in the base-level battlefield. As Link approached it, it surged towards him with an unforseen suddenness, and Lana faded out the image as it segued into the seize.

"It's an outsider," Cia realized. "The Malice came from the Era of the Slate."

"I think so," Lana agreed. "But... how? We never even touched those eras. And there's no inter-temporal bridge. How did it...?"

Cia reached towards the crystal ball. "Hold on," she insisted. "Something just occurred to me."

Lana watched as she brought up their own time - the rifting between the Era of the Great Sea and the Era of Warriors. After a moment, she shifted the image to the Valley of Seers the moment Lana was attacked by Phantom Ganon; the cloud of darkness approaching her from behind, and the shadowy figure attacking her before she could react. With only one piece of the Triforce in hand, it couldn't reach between the eras as precisely as Cia had - and that was when she realized what they'd missed.

"It's not the Great Sea."

Her words lit confusion on Lana's face. "What?" she demanded. "What do you mean, it's not the-"

"It's not the Era of the Great Sea," Cia insisted. "They're locations from the waters over Hyrule, and it grabbed Tetra, so we just assumed it was the Era of the Great Sea. But it's... it's not. The King was wiser. Tetra was more cunning. It's the Era of the Great Voyage."

The White Sorceress glanced at the crystal ball for a split moment before turning to Cia. "Okay," she mused, disbelief palpable on her voice. "That's a difference of... a year. Three years, tops. It didn't take them five years to find the new Hyrule.

Cia shook her head. "It's not the timeframe that matters," she reprimanded. "When they defeated Ganondorf, and the King washed Hyrule away for good, that was the end of the era. And the beginning of the next." She ran her fingers over the crystal ball, and the sight of Tetra - and that era's Link - sailing away from Outset Island appeared there. "The phantom came from the Era of the Great Sea, but his rift was to the Era of the Great Voyage. It bled the two over. That bleeding effect must have drifted across the flow - connecting to other eras. Which flow is the Calamity in?"

Lana's gaze fell. "...I-I don't know."

"What...?"

"I'm sorry," she pleaded. "I didn't realize it was happening. I've spent so much time reaching between the flows I can't separate the events anymore. I-I mean, if I stop down and think, I can tell the ones I'm familiar with. The Twilight is part of ours. The Great Sea is separate. But with the ones I've been seeking out, they... the flows blend together. I'm sorry, Cia."

"No," Cia assured, her voice hurried. "Don't worry about it. I can sort it out for you once we're done." She took the crystal ball from between Lana's hands, and the White Sorceress watched as images sped past on the surface - and she loosed a thick curse, shocking Lana, as they faded out. "It's affected both flows," she admitted. "But they're all solid connections, where the bleeding is occurring. The Sky Era to the Era of the Goddess... the Twilight Era to the Era of the Hero of Time... and the Era of Calamity to the Era of the Slate."

"What effects are they having?" Lana asked.

Cia shook her head. "N-None," she stumbled. "It's just the Malice from one Calamity to the other."

"What."

"The darkness in those eras... it's all conscious," Cia explained. "Ganondorf. Zant. Ghirahim. Demise. The bleeding is too subtle for them to notice it. It's just having minor effects, like individual monsters jumping from one to the other while nobody's looking." She shifted to the Coliseum again. "But Calamity Ganon is acting on pure instinct. It doesn't even realize it's in a different era. It just saw Link and tried to attack him... Oh, shit."

Lana stepped forward. "What now?"

The Dark Sorceress showed the image; Link, now consumed by the darkness, looked all too much like the shadows of the hero Cia had invoked in her most unstable moments. As they watched, he was starting to walk. "It's controlling him," Cia realized. "It's trying to reunite with the Calamity... and drag Link to it!"

"Wait," Lana insisted, "the Calamity is-"

"Dormant," Cia confirmed, her breath growing heavier. "But his power surges in response to the hero's spirit. Zelda can quell it when he wakes up, and when he enters the castle grounds, but if he makes it to the Sanctum she'll never be able to stop him! Link's gonna get himself killed!"

"Cia, stop!"

Lana's hands collided with Cia's shoulders; the magic they were using to keep the crystal ball suspended came to an abrupt cease, and it fell to the ground, colliding with a soft dink. "You have to calm down. If you try and act without thinking it through, it's all gonna go to hell."

"But-"

"We're separate from that right now," Lana insisted. "We've never connected to the eras on either side of that bleeding. Until we connect, we're in no hurry. Alright?"

Her words caused the panic to fade out. Cia took a series of deep breaths, and once Lana was sure she was no longer panicking she pulled her hands away. The crystal ball lifted back up to her hands, and Lana looked into its surface, bringing up the darkened hero. "How do we undo this?"

"We have to mend the bleeding of eras," Cia replied. "But we can't mend it while Link's like that. The spirit of the hero is a crucial part of each era. We have to get him out of that Malice before we can mend it."

"The Malice isn't still connected to the Era of the Slate," Lana observed. "It's being driven by this era. That would be... the Blights." Images appeared in her crystal ball, one at a time - four constructed creatures from Calamity Ganon. "The Scourges of the Divine Beasts. If we can destroy all four Blights, that will sever the Malice from Link."

Her theory prompted Cia to shake her head. "We can't," she insisted. "We'd never make it in time. Even if we split up, and took pairs closest to each other, we'd never pull that off. Zora's Domain, Death Mountain, Rito Village, and Gerudo Desert. They're too separated from each other. We'd never make it."

A bothered hum from Lana. "If we divide ourselves..."

"That makes us weaker," Cia reminded her. "You handed my asses to me. We'd never pull it off."

"Maybe Link and Zelda could-?"

"No," Cia interrupted. "Ganondorf was careful about that. If he carries memories of meeting himself, it blends their essences together. That wreaks havoc on the timeline. The same goes for the hero and the princess. Others meeting multiple incarnations of each doesn't have effect, but if they meet themselves it's dangerous." She shook her head. "He convinced me - he made sure I took from each era from after he had been dealt with. He was gone, Link had departed, and Zelda was stuck doing royal boredom. And in the Sky Era, he took from before Link or Zelda was even born. None of them could meet themselves. If we take Link and Zelda from this era to the Era of Calamity, they're going to meet themselves eventually - we can't stop that."

Lana groaned. "There's gotta be something we can do. This can't be impossible."

She faded the images on the crystal ball, looking into its empty surface in an attempt to discern a method.

"...What happens when we mend the bleeding?"

The question confused Cia. "What do you mean?"

Lana lifted an image onto the crystal ball, showing the moment when Cia had spurred the war. "I mean, this is different from the rifts you and the phantom did before," she replied. "That was whole regions being dragged into this world. Warped, yes, but they were still whole places, and the people were dragged along with them. And when we put them back, with the Triforce, we returned them and the people the way they'd come. But this bleeding effect is different. What happens when we mend that?"

Cia thought for a moment. "It... it'll never have happened," she replied. "Anybody and anything in that era will be reset to the way it was when the bleeding started - nothing they've experienced since then will remain in their memories." She scoffed. "But that doesn't solve our problem with Link and Zelda. They'll retain the memories. There's no bleeding in this era."

"But Link isn't just a fighter in this era," Lana countered.

Those words sparked Cia's realization. "That... that could work," she mused, reaching a hand towards the crystal ball. "If we take the hero from eras where the bleeding is affecting it, they won't remember when we return them. As long as we solve things with the Calamity first, they'll be returned to their own eras without a problem. We just need to..."

She fell quiet as a particular image appeared on the crystal ball - the image of Link and Tetra on the Great Voyage.

"...Hylia's tits, I was out of it."

Lana turned to her. "Out of what?" Then, realizing what she had just said; "And what about Hylia?"

"I mended the bleeding," Cia muttered. "In the Era of the Great Voyage. You gave me the Triforce of Power after you brought me back. I'd noticed the bleeding, and I mended it when we fixed the rift. And I forgot about that!"

"Okay," Lana dismissed, "so that's one Link we can't call on. What about Hylia?"

Cia slapped her in the stomach. "Nothing about Hylia," she reprimanded. "I was just cursing."

Lana's expression implied she was biting her tongue - and requiring a great amount of willpower to keep it between her teeth.

The Dark Sorceress turned back to the crystal ball. "Six eras. That's five Links to choose from, and we have four Blights to deal with. We want each one at the best of their abilities."

"We can't take the Era of the Slate," Lana insisted. "If we connect to that, we've linked to the bleeding. That puts us on the clock. We won't have time to brief them."

"I wasn't going to pick that one," Cia replied.

The White Sorceress blinked. "Huh?"

With a chuckle, Cia brought up an image. "That Link curb-stomped Calamity Ganon," she explained. "The Divine Beasts battered him, the Guardians defended the hero, the sword ran into his face, and the sealing power hit him in the back. He's not tough enough to fight in the Era of Calamity."

The speed with which she projected the fight put a concerned sideways glare on Lana's face. "...How many times have you watched this?"

"Um..."

"Is this why your bedsprings keep squeaking at night?!"

"I-I..."

"Are you telling me that I'm washing my crystal ball every morning because you're covering it in-!?"

"Lana!"

Chapter Text

A long moment passed when two blades of evil's bane were caught on the sword of a ferocious god.

Then the Hero of Time lashed his sword skyward, forcing the two weapons from their owners' grips. He quickly set his sword between the two green-clad swordsmen, so as to dissuade them from going at each others' throats - or his - until the blades struck the ground, a few metres away from each other; well within reach of their owners, but on the sides of their shield hand... although he doubted they would have too much trouble drawing them opposite.

Mirror images of the Master Sword.

With a stalemate between the two, the Hero of Time could see faint differences in the two swordsmen. One's tunic was a more muted shade of green than the other; where one wore simple blue rings in his ears, the other had red rings that looked like fire; and the Hylian Shield was worn on one's left hand and the other's right.

After a moment, unfamiliar presences caught his mind - they each had someone accompanying them.

"...Show yourselves."

Both swordsmen seemed concerned by his statement. "What do you mean, show yourselves?" asked the left-handed one.

"Not you two," he insisted. "You, in the sword - and you, in the shadows. I know you're there."

An arcane-sounded whistle preceded gleam of blue light emerging from the jewel in the hilt of the Master Sword closest the brighter-clad swordsman, and at his side manifested a blue figure. A young girl, so it would seem, were her body not entirely in hues of azure; her face seemed blended into her garb, and her eyes could be closed, or simply blank. She seemed to have no arms, though the cape that flowed from her shoulders moved as though there were arms beneath them; her feet looked like she wore sharp high heels, but she never touched the ground, instead hovering at the swordsman's side.

The darker-clad swordsman's shadow rotated around him, as though the faint light of a nearby torch was arcing around him, and from his shadow emerged a small figure in dark colours. An imp was how many would describe her; her body was not so tall as the swordsman's torso, and nearly devoid of features. Her small hands carried fingers not long enough to curl around a sword; her feet were without toes. Upon her head was a shadowy helmet, with twin horns rising up and an eyepatch of sorts over her left eye; it top was hollow, letting bright orange hair in a short ponytail hang over it's rim.

For a moment, the two newcomers regarded one another.

The spirit spoke first. "Twilight Princess, do you remember me?"

The imp scoffed. "I don't know whether to say 'nice to meet you' or 'good to see you again'."

The ferocious god pulled his sword away, trusting the swordsmen not to go for their blades. "Perhaps introductions are in order?" he prompted.

"Fi is the name I was given," said the spirit. "I am a guide to my Master, placed within his sword by the Goddess Hylia."

"Midna," offered the imp. "Ruler..." She cut herself off, glanced down at her hands, and corrected, "Former ruler of the Twili people."

The right-handed swordsman turned to the one who had stayed their blades. "What about you?" he demanded. "What's your name?"

The reply he received, chuckling, was, "I could ask both of you the same thing." Then, propping his sword upon his back like a soldier; "And I think we would all give the same answer."

"...I'm Link."

All three of them spoke the same words at the same instant. A bitter smirk rose on Midna's face in response. "Okay, that one I can kind of buy," she admitted, pointing to Fi's master. "But you?"

Fi nodded. "I am inclined to agree." Turning to Midna's companion; "You are not the Master, but it is clear to me that you are a Master." Then, to the ferocious god; "You, however, do not carry the sword, nor do you wear the hero's green."

"Wear the-" He glanced down at himself. "Oh, yeah, that's not even a little bit."

His hand went for his face, and a light wrapped his body, causing all four of his onlookers to turn away. When the light cleared, the two-handed sword was gone, replaced with a polished, reflective shield and a golden-bladed sword on the back of a small figure in a Kokiri tunic.

Midna and the right-hander both threw hands to their mouths to fight off a fit of giggles. The left-hander raised an eyebrow, glancing at the blades of evil's bane and then at the boy where a ferocious god had stood, and even Fi's nigh-unchanging expression seemed concerned.

"You are quite the little Master," the spirit observed.

"Maybe seven years too young?" the 'little Master' prompted.

Fi did not press the matter further, turning to the others. "I would recommend each of you assign a designation to yourself," she offered. "As you all share the name, 'Link', using that name would raise confusion."

"Then, call me Sacre," prompted the darker-clad swordsman.

"Caelum," offered the brighter-clad.

"And... I'll be Fierce," replied the youngling.

Midna's hair shifted, and she turned round. "Glad that's over - we've got company!"

The Master Swords were drawn from the earth; yet Fi spoke before any of them could act. "Stay your blades," she instructed. "This individual is not hostile."

It was a young woman, not appearing much older than the holders of those swords - with pale skin, bright blue hair, and a tome in her hand.


"So, the Era of the Goddess, the Sky Era, the Twilight Era, and the Hero of Time."

Cia's observations caused Lana to shake her head. "No," she insisted, "that won't - not from the Era of the Goddess."

"Why not?"

Lana brought up an image - the Link of that era, stripped of his green tunic and shackled to the wall in a dungeon. "He's taken far too much hardship. He's a good man, at heart, but... he's bitter. We can't take him to the Era of Calamity and show him what happened."

With a sigh, Cia shifted to their destination era - specifically, the gates of Gerudo Town. "I suppose that's for the best," she admitted. "I'm surprised that Link got into Gerudo Town. We'd better handle that one ourselves."

"Alright," Lana mused. "Let's-

"Wait, dammit."

"What now?"

"Midna." The Dark Sorceress tapped their crystal ball, bringing up the Twilight Princess. "We can't grab the Sky Era or Twilight Era without grabbing Fi or Midna. I grabbed the Sky Era before that Link's journey, but I got the Twilight Era after that Link's journey. Midna won't remember us."

Lana scoffed. "Oh, I can fix that," she insisted.

Cia shot her a look. "What are you planning?"

"The bleeding gives me a little more room to work with," Lana replied, letting her Book of Sorcery fall open. "You know how Hylia instilled Fi with memories of the Sky Era? I should be able to give Midna a few of her memories from the Era of Warriors. And when we mend the bleeding, they'll never have been there."

"Clever," Cia admitted.

The pages of the tome glowed, showing the magic was ready. "Right, you wanna bring them here? I'll get Midna her memories and make sure they don't take each others' heads off."

"Alright."


The Links ended up on the other end of the valley; fortunately, the Hero of Time had managed to figure out enough to stop the fighting. When Lana got there, the three heroes were already set to fight her, at each others' sides - and were it not for Fi, they would have.

"I see you guys have already sorted things out," the White Sorceress greeted.

Midna expression implied the memories hadn't quite settled yet. "You're... Lana, right?" she asked.

"Yeah, sorry about the whole out-of-time memories thing," Lana offered. "That's my fault." Beckoning towards the high rise in the valley; "Why don't you guys come with me, and I can tell you why you're here."

The three heroes made to follow her, Midna and Fi following suit; the sword spirit hovered close to her. "If I may," she offered.

"You may."

Fi turned, floating backwards as she spoke. "In this era - known as the Era of Warriors - a powerful sorceress known as Cia opened rifts in time and space. These rifts summoned locations from different eras to the present. Once the sorceress was defeated, the rifts were closed, returning the locations to their eras of origin. The Twilight Princess and I were among those who were brought from those eras to this one, and partook in the ensuing war. Once the war had come to a close, we were returned to our home eras."

Lana sighed, coming to a stop. "That was only half of it," she admitted.

"Did the war continue after our dismissal?" Fi inquired.

"Something like that," Lana confirmed, turning round. "After we'd dealt with... the matters that corrupted Cia, we had another intruder from a separate era." She shook her head. "No, 'era' isn't quite accurate. It was another dimension - an alternate flow in time. The intruder generated rifts to regions in that flow... but in an era separate from the one it had come from."

"What is the significance of the difference in eras?"

"They were separate eras, but they were closely linked," Lana replied. "We didn't even notice the difference - it was three years, at the most. And the intruder being transferred from one to the other caused the eras to bleed over."

Midna spoke up. "Is that why we're here?" she asked. "To help you in this... other flow?"

Lana clicked her tongue. "Not quite," she admitted. "We dealt with the bleeding between those eras, but the intruder... was a form of Ganon."

Fierce and Sacre both started.

Caelum turned to Fi. "Who?"

"Ganondorf - or Ganon - is the name of a dark one who has long been a cause of suffering in the kingdom of Hyrule," Fi explained. "He was the ultimate instigator of the war in which we partook."

"The bleeding of ages was directly linked to Ganon," Lana explained. "It connected to another era - or rather, another pair of eras that were closely linked. It's instigated a similar bleeding effect there - and that one has had a dangerous effect in that era. One we can't unmake ourselves. We need your help."

"Who is 'we'?" Sacre asked.

A glow from Fierce's hand drew everyone's attention; he glanced down to see the mark of the Triforce on the back of his hand, shining again - more brightly than before. "We're getting close," he mused. "Lana, is Ganondorf somewhere in this valley?"

Lana shook her head. "No," she insisted. "But you're right in thinking it's the Triforce of Power." She turned around. "During the dealing with the intruder, I found Cia again. She'd been freed of Ganondorf's corruption. Now we watch the ages together. That is 'we'."

Sacre glanced down at his own sword hand. "How come ours isn't reacting the way his is?" he demanded, beckoning to himself and Caelum.

"The Triforce is much less reactive in your eras than it is in his," Lana replied.

She resumed leading them up the steps of the temple; once they'd made it to the highest chamber, they found Cia standing there with her scepter in hand. "Welcome, heroes."

Midna sighed. "So," she prompted, "what's the situation with this 'bleeding'?"

Cia held out her hand, causing a bright light to appear on the floor; everyone gathered quickly stepped back to make sure they didn't end up standing in it. A reflecting pool was much more visible than a crystal ball, but also much harder to alter the image without prior preparation - which is why the sorceresses rarely made use of it. In the image appeared the Link of that Era, wrapped in darkness.

"The era in which the effect is occurring is known as the Era of Calamity," Cia explained. "In this age, and the age the bleeding is connecting to, Ganon takes the form of 'Calamity Ganon' - an incarnation of Malice. The hero in the Era of Calamity has been captured by Malice which has bled over from the other era - and the only way to sever that Malice from him is to deal with four bodies of Malice around Hyrule."

Fierce stepped forward. "That's why you've called us," he observed. "We'll take three of these Malice bodies, while you two deal with the fourth."

"Exactly," Lana confirmed. "We've already determined which target will be best for each of you, and when you're ready, we'll send you as close as we can safely get you."

Midna coughed lightly. "Is there a reason you can't do this yourselves?"

"The bodies of Malice are too far away from each other," Cia replied curtly. "And we're on a time limit."

Sacre hummed. "So, where are these... Malice bodies?"

Cia tapped her scepter to the ground, and the image divided to show four colossal stone structures, in four corners of Hyrule.

"The Divine Beasts," Lana introduced. "They were made by the Sheikah tribe in the Era of the Slate - the era from which the Malice has bled over. They succeeded in helping the hero of that era deal with Calamity Ganon before he could do anything. But in the Era of Calamity, Ganon was able to take them over. His method was sending four smaller entities of himself to each Divine Beast. They're referred to as Blights. Those are the bodies of Malice we need you to deal with. Each Divine Beast is bringing trouble to one of the four races of Hyrule. Those are your destinations."

"Alright, then," Caleum mused. "Where are we going?"

The image changed to a large area surrounded by water. "Zora's Domain," Cia told them. "Little one, this is your destination."

Fierce crossed his arms indignantly. "I take it my being a 'little one' has something to do with that?" he accused.

"Zoras in these ages are long-lived," Cia replied. "The hero in the Era of Calamity has been in stasis for a hundred years, but most of the Zoras know him... and resent him. You're the only one who won't be mistaken for him, and have a lot more trouble for it."

The image changed again, this time to a flaming volcano that looked familiar to just about everyone. "Goron City, and Death Mountain. Fi, you and your master will go here."

Caelum hummed. "I take it the heat has something to do with it," he proposed, reaching for his ears.

"Yes," Cia confirmed. "The activity of Death Mountain in this era puts the Eldin Volcano of your era to shame, but your earrings are made for anything excepting walking in magma."

"Is that what those do?" Midna accused, reaching for Caelum's ear - and getting her hand slapped away.

The next image was that of a burning desert. "Gerudo Desert, and the Gerudo Town within. Lana and I will deal with these ones."

Sacre raised an eyebrow at her. "I can deal with the desert," he insisted.

"Not this one, you can't," Fierce reprimanded.

"I've been to the Gerudo Desert," Sacre argued.

"But have you ever met a Gerudo?"

The question brought Sacre to a halt, and he turned to Lana. "The Gerudo are a race of women," the sorceress told him. "They have one man born every one hundred years. In this age - after the death of one king, and before the birth of the next - they won't even let a man in the city walls."

"Oh."

One last time did the image change, showing a spire of stone in a snowy lake and a village built upon it. "Rito Village. Midna, you and the wolf are going here."

"By elimination," Sacre observed.

"Not quite," Cia reprimanded. "You have ranged explosives. And you're well-suited to handle the cold."

Fi had been quiet for a good while; now she spoke. "At risk of offense, I have noticed an inconsistency."

Cia bit her lip, and the reflecting pool faded out.

"During the intertemporal war, Lana refrained from elaborating on matters not directly relevant to the battles in which we partook. The only information we received was that concerning the Era of Warriors, and inferences from what our allies stated whilst we fought. Now, however, you have given us a detailed briefing concerning the Era of Calamity." Her gaze rose to Cia. "Further, if this is a matter which you cannot deal with yourselves, there is no need to invoke allies from other eras; you have several allies originating from this era, all of whom would be able and willing to assist you."

Midna hovered forward as well. "Another thing," she prompted. "These memories you gave me... When you brought in the world of my era, it was after I'd returned to ruling the Twilight Realm. So why would you call me in from before then? And why would you give me memories of those events?"

The sorceresses exchanged worried glances.

Fierce spoke up. "It's not just the Calamity," he observed. "There's bleeding in each of our eras, too. Isn't there?"

"Yes," Lana confirmed. "Each of your eras is suffering a bleeding effect from another era. We've called on you, instead of asking assistance from allies in this era, because... if the hero of one era carries memories of meeting the hero of another by being temporally displaced, it wreaks havoc on the flow of time, by the blending of the spirit of the hero."

Caelum's gaze fell. "So, when you mend the bleeding in our eras..."

"You'll forget everything that happened since it started," Cia confirmed. "Anybody who cannot watch throughout the flow of time will forget that the bleeding ever occurred."

"That's why you're dealing with the Calamity first," Sacre observed. "If you mended ours first, you couldn't call us in. But you can't do this yourself, and you can't call on the hero in this era. We deal with the Malice..."

"You mend the Calamity's bleeding..." Caelum continued.

"Then we go back to our origin eras," Fierce finished, "and you mend the bleeding in each of those."

Lana was surprised. "You're not offended?"

Simultaneously, the three Links scoffed at the notion.

Cia sighed, a smile on her face. "Always the hero."

Caelum rolled his shoulders. "So," he prompted, "any other preparations you need us to do?"

Cia's eyes widened. "Yes," she replied, "there is. Hold out your sword hands."

He held out his right, and Sacre and Fierce held out their left. Cia and Lana closed their hands over each other and moved them to collided with the others - and a spark of magic crossed each of them, causing them to pull away.

"The Divine Beasts could only be accessed by a device the hero carries," Lana explained, "known as a 'Sheikah Slate'. We've grafted a magic that will identify the same way to the Triforce of Courage that each of you possesses. That will let you inside."

Her tome started to glow, and she tossed it skyward before leaping after it, grabbing it in one hand, and slamming the other to the earth. Four glowing sigils appeared around them, causing the Links to turn, and the White Sorceress quickly rose up. "Head in," she prompted. "You might experience some slight warping. I promise it's not gonna hurt you."

"How slight?" Sacre demanded.

"Bon voyage," Cia interrupted.

She and Lana headed through their sigil; and the heroes exchanged brief glances before departing into their own.

Chapter Text

Rain.

That was the first thing the Hero of Time noticed as he stepped out of the portal Lana had generated for him. The area around Zora's Domain in the Era of Calamity was swamped in rain as he emerged; when the light faded from his eyes, he found himself standing on a tall cliff, overlooking the community in the water that Cia had shown him.

"So this is Zora's Domain in this era," he mused. Something feels... different... After a moment, he held out his sword hand, and the Triforce on the back of it cued Fierce Deity's Mask appearing in his grip; slowly, he grasped the mask in both hands and set it over his face.

It made no effort to merge with his visage.

"Thought not," he admitted, pulling the mask away. This place doesn't have the same level of darkness that the valley did. Probably for the best; those eyes would scare anyone half to death. He brought it down with his sword hand and hooked it idly on his belt - and was surprised when he felt something brush against his wrist. Something paper. He quickly drew it out, pulling his cap off and holding it over the note to stop it from getting soaked to illegibility by the downpour.

Dear Link
If my magic worked as well as I hope it did, you should be standing on the cliff between Akkala and Lanayru, overlooking Zora's Domain. I made a few... enhancements to the form you'll take when you put on your Deku Mask. You should be able to generate Deku Flowers at any time to keep you in the air. My advice would be to use those and glide your way to the top of the large fish structure you should be able to see from there.

Fierce glanced over the note to see that the top of the domain did indeed look like a giant fish with its tail raised.

That structure holds the Zora king's throne room. Take off your Deku Mask once you reach the top, then climb down and make your way inside. Be on your best behaviour - the Zora elders in particular are hostile towards Hylians. Do not give them the name 'Link'. They may mistake you for this era's Link at first, but you must not let the misunderstanding continue beyond that. Tell the king that you have come to help calm Divine Beast Vah Ruta.
Best of luck.
Love, Lana

"You messed with my masks?" Fierce protested to no one, pocketing the note and putting his cap back on. After a moment, he let the Deku Mask appear in his hand, holding it up to his face. The shifting of his form loosed a bright light, and when it faded, a Deku Scrub was standing atop the cliffs.

So how does this work? Something like this...?

He lashed both hands forward and closed them into fists like he was holding the flowers tight - and as Lana had promised, Deku Flowers appeared in his hands, spinning and generating a light wind downward - not enough to keep even a Deku Scrub in the air, but enough to slow its fall. As soon as he opened his hands, the flowers disappeared; with a chuckle, he turned round and stepped back to give him a running start. Once he had forward momentum, the Deku Flowers were more than enough to get him to the top of the fish structure, whereupon he shifted back to the form of a Hylian boy.

Any thoughts of keeping Lana's note dry were quashed when he slipped on his way down and ended up painfully belly-flopping into the domain waters.


With some slight difficulty, Fierce managed to get to a nearby shore and make his way to the Domain's plaza by way of a long bridge. When he reached the end of the bridge, he was rather confused to see a dark-scaled Zora standing near a post that seemed to be electrically charged... given that he was zapping his fingers on it. Repeatedly. And screeching in pain with every shock.

"Lady Mipha, watch this!" the Zora muttered to himself. "I, Seggin, the aptly-named Demon Sergeant, shall strike down the Divine Beast Vah Ruta!"

Fierce approached him warily. "Um... what are you doing?"

The Zora, Seggin, turned to him, and reacted at the sight of him. "You... You're Link!"

How am I supposed to say 'no' to that and sound convincing? The Hero of Time had done a few deceptions he was not proud of in Termina, most of which he'd gotten through by not correcting assumptions - and even then, his impersonation of Mikau had fallen apart under Lulu's scrutiny. This, however, was an assumption that was not, technically, wrong, and so Fierce found himself biting his tongue.

"No, wait," Seggin muttered. "You can't be Link. You're far too young. It has been a hundred years since he showed his face." He cleared his throat with a nasty-sounding cough that implied a Zora in this era was not made to handle electricity - at least not as much as this one had. "My apologies. Be on your way."

He turned back to the pole and resumed his self-inflicted shocks; Fierce decided not to ask again. After a moment's thought, the Keaton Mask he'd received from Kafei appeared in his grip, and he placed it over his face as he started towards the open maw of the fish that was supposed to hold the throne room. Cia wasn't kidding, he observed. Even at my age, I look similar enough to the hero of this era. They must have known him when he was younger. If it was Sacre or Caelum, they'd never convince these guys otherwise.

"And who might you be?"

The call snapped him out of his reverie; he raised his gaze to see a very huge (and dark-scaled) Zora seated in what he presumed to be a throne. If size was superiority, this guy put the King of his era to shame. At his one side was a Zora who looked almost... manta-ish, with bright orange scales, and on the other was a hammer-headed Zora in what almost looked like regalia of sorts, who seemed to be speaking. "The Zora king is not accepting visitors at this time. I shall escort you out."

Fierce quickly shifted his mask out of the way, realizing what a stupid idea it was to be hiding his face in an era where Ganondorf was a calamity.

The hammer-headed Zora started. "Pardon my manners," he prompted, "but are you a Hylian?!"

"I am, yes," Fierce replied.

"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place!?" The Zora beckoned the hero forward. "Please, please, come in."

Leaving the mask hanging on the side of his head, Fierce stepped forward, coming to a stop on a stage of sorts before (who he assumed to be) the Zora king. A glance at the hammer-headed Zora only had him beckoned towards the King, who nodded his head slowly.

"Well met, traveler," he greeted. "I am King Dorephan, ruler of the Zora. You did well to come all the way here." His gaze narrowed, and he leaned forward slightly. "Hmm? Are you...?"

Don't ask if I'm Link, don't ask if I'm Link, don't ask if I'm Link, I can't lie to save my life, don't ask if I'm Link...

To his great relief, the king did not ask if he was Link. "My apologies. You look very much like an old acquaintance of mine. Might I ask your name, young one?"

"You can call me Fierce," the Hero of Time replied.

The king laughed. "Not without a more intimidating mask!" he argued.

Oh, if only you knew, the young one observed, though he couldn't help but chuckle at the unintentional claim his alias had resulted in.

The manta-Zora's curious hum drew everyone's attention. "What is that?" he demanded. "That mark, on your hand."

Fierce glanced down at his hand, realizing that the crest of the Triforce, though not glowing without either invocation or resonation, was still prominent on the back of his sword hand if he didn't have a glove on.

"That is the mark of the gods!" the hammer-headed Zora observed. "Wherever did you find someone who would brand you with that?"

"It-It's not a brand," Fierce insisted.

"A birthmark, then?"

The hero angled his head. "Something like that," he murmured.

The Zora king pulled back. "A young traveler who bears the mark of the gods... Tell us, Fierce, what brings you to Zora's Domain?"

Remembering Lana's instructions, he replied, "I have come to help calm Divine Beast Vah Ruta."

"What!?" The manta-Zora's outburst drew everyone's attention. "Do you honestly think that we would ask the help of a lowly Hylian!?"

Fierce raised an eyebrow at him. I thought they resented the hero, not the people.

"Muzu!" the hammer-headed Zora reprimanded. "How dare you speak so rudely to the king's guest? This Hylian has come to us in our most dire hour of need. That our paths have crossed is certainly the work of fate! He is the key to saving Zora's Domain - I have no doubt in my mind."

"Indeed," the king agreed. "Have not already deliberated and agreed that we would seek out a strong Hylian who could aid us? Sidon was about to depart for that very task. As things now stand, Zora's Domain - nay! Perhaps all of Hyrule is doomed to be swallowed by the sea. This is bigger than all of us, my friend. Zora and Hylians alike must put aside our differences and band together."

Muzu clenched his fists. "Have you forgotten already, my king!?" he demanded. "We cannot trust these lowly Hylians! A hundred years ago, they abused the power of an ancient civilization and turned Hyrule into what it was today! And that is not the least of it!" He shook his head. "It was their fault that Lady Mipha was lost to us..."

Oh, flames of Din, what have I gotten myself into? The Hero of Time realized at this point that he hadn't gotten nearly as much information about this era as he would have liked.

After a moment, King Dorephan turned back to their guest. "Fierce... Divine Beast Vah Ruta has great power. It has the unique ability to create an endless supply of water. Of late, it has been mercilessly spouting water into the air. As a result, this area has been plagued by heavy rains. For us Zora, water and air are as one, so you would not think this to be quite so critical a problem. Sadly, the rains have filled the eastern reservoir nearly to the point of flooding. If the reservoir bursts, as it soon will, I fear immense damage will befall not only Zora's Domain, but also the area downstream from us. There, Hylian lives are in very grave danger."

A sound like an elephant's trumpet drew everyone's gaze, and the king's expression became concerned. "The Divine Beast is crying out again..."

What is this? Fierce set his sword hand over his chest. I've never even heard of these Divine Beasts. I don't even know what this one looks like. So why does that cry make me feel... guilty?

King Dorephan spoke again. "In the time before the Calamity, Princess Zelda of Hyrule often studied the Divine Beasts." The name drew Fierce's gaze. "According to her reasearch, the orbs located on Ruta's shoulders are mechanisms that can control the water it generates. However, they require electricity to properly function. These orbs are clearly now out of control because there is no electricity coursing through to stop them."

Sidon spoke up at this point. "Seggin, who is quite shock-resistant for a Zora, hit one with a shock arrow. Sure enough, it slowed the water a bit. Unfortunately, we Zora are terribly vulnerable to the power of electricity. Perhaps because we could not safely strike it with enough electricity at once, the water soon returned to full force. That is why I meant to go in search of a Hylian who could help us!" He pumped his fist before himself and grinned.

So that's why he's zapping himself on that pole, Fierce observed. "You guys can't handle electricity?"

"As an aquatic race," Sidon mused pointedly, "electricity does not bode well for us."

Fierce nodded. "So, you need me to hit these orbs with shock arrows," he observed. "Then I can get in."

Muzu yelped. "Get in?" he demanded. "Are you a madman, or have you simply a death wish?"

"Not everyone in Hyrule knows the particulars of how the Divine Beasts work, Muzu," Sidon insisted. Turning to Fierce; "The Divine Beasts can only be entered by the Champions of old. And they were felled in battle, one hundred years ago."

He knew he was asking for so much trouble; yet he needed a drastic measure to convince these Zora.

"Was one of these 'Champions' named Link?"

King Dorephan leaned forward, shocked. "The Hylian Champion," he confirmed. "You know him?"

"O-of him," Fierce corrected. "He was supposed to be the savior of our kingdom - redeemer of Hyrule. And if the legends hold true..."

The mark of the gods on the back of his hand began to glow, startling the Zoras around him; at first only the bottom-right triangle was filled, but soon the other two shone with a slightly fainter light.

"...he carried the blessing of Courage."

"By Hylia," Sidon exclaimed. "You mean to say that...?"

Fierce nodded. "With Courage's blessing, I should be able to board the Divine Beast... and appease it from within."

The king pulled back. "I do not believe it," he gasped. "And here I thought the notion impossible. The events of one hundred years ago cannot be altered, it is true. But if we can regain control of the Divine Beasts... they may yet prove to possess the power to seal Calamity Ganon away!"

Sidon huffed, amused. "I did not know you had such grand ambitions, Fierce," he admitted. "Wondrous! Naturally, I shall help in any way I can!" He grinned. "Once it has stopped rampaging, you can easily climb inside it. Let us appease Ruta together!"

The young hero gave a joyful smile for himself. "I'm in," he agreed. "Let's do this!"

"Thank you, Fierce," the king praised. "Truly. We are in your debt. Our goal is the same. That means our meeting was nothing short of destiny."

The glow of his Triforce faded on his hand, and Fierce lowered it at his side. "What all do we need to deal with Ruta?" he asked. "Just electricity?"

"It would be impossible to deal electrical damage to Ruta at close range," Sidon explained. "Its barrier deflects anything that gets closer than bow range. You will need shock arrows." His face fell suddenly. "But further, in order to reach an altitude at which you can reasonably strike Ruta's orbs, you will need the ability to climb waterfalls."

Muzu started to steam on the other side of the room. "Do not tell me you actually believe a Hylian - let alone one so young as he is - could possibly be trustworthy enough to aid us!"

Fierce turned to him. "You're pretty big on judging a book by its cover, aren't you?" he reprimanded.

"What could a boy like you possibly do to a Divine Beast?!" Muzu demanded. "Courage's blessing or not, you are still but a hatchling! Zoras twice your age and half your size would not stand a chance!"

"Give me a sword strong enough," Fierce argued, "and get me close enough to swing it, and I will slice the moon."

Muzu scoffed. "I would never put the sword in your hands in the first place," he cursed. "The moment your fingers touched the hilt, you would turn it on us without a moment's notice." He turned away. "I am sorry, my liege, but this is too much! I refuse to place my trust in a Hylian hatchling!"

A heavy sigh emerged from Fierce. "I could have handled that better," he admitted.

"You could have handled it worse," Sidon countered.

"That Muzu is not easily swayed once his mind is set," King Dorephan comforted. "You must understand... He was in charge of educating my dear daughter, Mipha. She was called upon as one of the five Champions... and fell in battle when the Calamity struck. Ever since, he has grown to despise Hylians. I hope you can forgive his rudeness." He hummed, worried. "But what shall we do now? I tasked Muzu with finding the shock arrows we will need to appease Vah Ruta. But now he has rushed off in a huff..."

Sidon shook his head. "Fierce, do not let his words concern you," he assured the hero. "I will work this out with Muzu. I shall return shortly!"

He took off after the older Zora, towards the plaza, and Fierce turned to the king. "That's not gonna be a short matter, is it?"

"No, it is not."


"Muzu, please, listen...!"

The older Zora turned round towards the prince. "Don't try to appeal to me!" he snapped. "I refuse to lend my aid to a Hylian, after what they have done!"

Sidon shook his head. "Then don't," he insisted. "Lend your aid to me. To my father. We all want to put Ruta to rest!"

"Don't act like you haven't realized it," Muzu reprimanded. "The hatchling has no manner by which to ascend Ruta's waterfalls! Even if you had enough shock arrows for every archer in Hyrule, you would never be able to appease Ruta!"

"That's not true," Sidon insisted. "If I aid Fierce-"

Muzu scoffed. "Then you put yourself in range!" he interrupted. "The electricity from firing a shock arrow had Seggin unable to move his fingers for a week, and he is the most resistant of us all! If you take the hatching high enough to strike at Ruta's orbs, you put yourself in range of the connection! With the rain the Divine Beast is inducing, the discharge will kill you!"

"Um, excuse me?"

Both of them turned to see Fierce was standing there; the yellow fox mask was still askew upon his head, and at his hip remained the war-painted mask that he'd not touched since they'd met him.

Muzu only scoffed. "You came all the way after me," he observed, "but it was in vain. I have no intention of helping you."

"I think they could hear you guys from the area under the throne room," Fierce insisted. "You think I can't get to Ruta?"

"The only way to get into firing range of Ruta's orbs is by climbing the waterfalls pouring from its shoulders," Sidon admitted. "And only Zora can ascend waterfalls reliably enough to do so."

"You think I can't?" Fierce argued.

"Your delusions of ability are all that is befitting of your age," Muzu reprimanded. "In order for a Hylian to ascend a waterfall, they would need the aid of a dragon's scale. And the only way for such scales to allow that ability in a Hylian is with the weaving techniques passed down from every Zora queen to her daughter, in preparation for her to marry. Have you ever been engaged to the Zora princess?"

Fierce looked incredibly awkward. "I... have been engaged to a Zora princess," he admitted.

"Huh?!"

"What!?"

The Hylian youngling shook his head. "Look," he insisted, "I'm pretty sure you're the only guy here who knows how to get shock arrows. If I can prove that I can ascend a waterfall, will you tell me where to find them?"

Muzu laughed a single, harsh laugh. "If you should prove to be capable of ascending a waterfall, I shall tell you whatever you want to know, should it be within my ability!"

"Alright, then," Fierce prompted. "What would be an appropriate fall? The ones around here don't seem like they'd be tall enough."

"No, no," Sidon assured him. "The Divine Beast rests low in the water. These falls may actually be taller than Ruta's."

FIerce nodded, starting towards the nearest fall. "Okay, then. Muzu was it?" Here he turned to the elderly Zora, who was watching with a mix of incredulity and smugness. "You might want a closer look."

He quickly turned and leapt, diving over the edge; Sidon quickly dashed forward, slamming his hands against the railing as the Hylian hit the water and sank. Muzu idly stepped up to the ridge - and his expression went from condescending to concerned when he found no Hylian floating there.

"...Can he not swim?"

Sidon turned to the elder. "Muzu, if your attitude has gotten our only hope killed, then so help me-"

A rapid splash - like that of a Zora cutting through the water - drew both of their attentions as a bright-bodied figure shot up the waterfall and launched high into the air - higher than Sidon had ever succeeded in leaping off a waterfall climb for himself. After a moment, they reckoned that the brightness was an arcane light, draping Fierce's body as he performed the waterfall climb, for it quickly faded to reveal the bemasked Hylian as he dropped to the ground - and loosed a high, stuttering hiss through his teeth as he landed.

"A little too high after I hit the top of the waterfall," he observed, standing tall. "I mean, that should give me more time to use my arrows, but it's not a good idea when I need to land right away."

Muzu had a look of shock on his face. "What in the Land of Hylia was...!? How could you possibly...!?"

Sidon stepped forward. "Fierce... was that...?"

With a grin, Fierce held out his hand, and a bow appeared in it as a quiver hooked itself onto his hip; he quickly drew a single arrow and nocked it, and both of the Zoras started as an icy glow wrapped the arrowhead.

"First rule of magic," the Hylian prompted. "Always be the smartest guy in the room."

He let the arrow fly; an icy streak tore off his bow and slammed into the water below, causing a patch of ice to generate there.

"I recommend a side of veggies when you eat your heart out."

Chapter Text

The downside to high altitudes is that the wind has nothing to get in the way. It had been true in his era, as the Oocca who lived in the City in the Sky could attest to - and as he emerged from the portal Lana had generated, and was nearly thrown back into it, Sacre saw that it was true in the Era of Calamity all the same.

For he stood on a tall pillar of stone, on the sides of which a village was built.

Midna emerged from his shadow, rising at his side with her eyes on the skies above him. "I think that's our Divine Beast."

Sacre followed her gaze to see what looked like a massive bird flying high over the city. It seemed to be made of stone, although he reckoned that at this range he wasn't in the best position to judge materials; on its underside spun several propellers similar to those in the Oocca's city, keeping it aloft without needing it to flap its wings.

"Yeah, that looks familiar," Sacre agreed, remembering the images Lana had shown them. "How are we supposed to get down from here?"

"If I change you to your wolf form, we should be able to jump your way down," Midna offered. "But we might end up scaring the locals if you..."

She trailed off, drawing his attention. "If I...?"

"...Where's your sword?"

Sacre's left hand went over his shoulder, finding the Master Sword gone from his back. Reaching his right hand for his Hylian Shield revealed it was similarly vanished. "Oh, dammit," he muttered. "Is that was Lana was talking about when she said warping? I thought she was talking about my-"

He fell quiet when he let his hands fall, and his fingers brushed against something sticking out of his pocket. He reached in to find a paper note there, and he drew it out - keeping his hand on it tight to make sure the wind didn't take it - and unfolded it as Midna perched over his shoulder to take a look.

Dear Link,
Sorry about your gear. The Master Sword exists in this time as well, and carrying that around is going to raise a lot of unpleasant questions. There are several asshats in this era who think they know about it and won't accept anything but what they believe. And the Hylian Shield is a collector's item in this age. You'd be surprised how many people will put their lives on the line for a couple Rupees even after an apocalypse. I haven't done anything to the gear from your hometown, I promise.

Midna quickly snapped her fingers, and the Ordon Sword and Shield appeared on Sacre's back.

I also made a few... enhancements to your Spinner. It'll actively slow your fall - and if you hit an updraft, it should actually catch enough wind to get you back up into the air.  If my magic worked as well as I hope it did, you should be standing on the spire around which Rito Village was built. Fair warning: the Rito are bird-men. Try not to say anything rude. Speak to the village elder and tell him you've come to help calm Divine Beast Vah Medoh.
Best of luck.
Love, Lana

"Well, I guess that solves that problem," Midna admitted.

"I suppose it does," Sacre agreed, pocketing the note. "Not sure where the bomb arrows come in, though..."

The Twili scoffed. "You think anything made of that is gonna feel a shot of wood?

"Point."

He hopped up just slightly as Midna caused the Spinner to appear beneath his feet; the spire had a long protrusion that looked the the post on a birdhouse, and once Midna had dived into his shadow Sacre shot forward along its surface before popping it off the spire and falling towards the ground. He found that his fall was slowed, rather considerably at that; he directed himself to one of a series of stones rising from the lake in which the spire stood, connected by rope bridges, and landed on the one closest the village's lowest level, signalling for Midna to dismiss the Spinner once he was low enough to land without hurting for it.

'Bird man' was an apt description; just seeing the guard at the gate, Sacre knew he had never seen anything like the Rito before. It was a humanoid body, in essence; but his feet were sharp talons (bare against the dirt), his arms broad wings (with fingers that would blend into his feathers if he didn't have them closed on a sharp spear), and his face carried a pointed beak. He seemed rather surprised to see a Hylian drop out of the sky like that, starting slightly. "Woah!"

"Sorry," Sacre prompted. "Maybe a little further next time?"

"How...?" The guard glanced up. "Where did you just fall from?"

Sacre pointed at a nearby updraft that must have been rising from the lake below, for it was all to visible for the water particles it carried. "Got a little more lift out of that than I meant to," he lied.

The guard turned to him. "Are you a traveler?" he asked. "Not the best time to be coming here, I'm afraid."

"Let me guess. That thing."

"That thing," the guard confirmed. "Divine Beast Vah Medoh, or so the stories go. It's been shooting down anything that gets much higher than the top of the spire. It's been pretty demoralizing, having to fly so low."

So they can proper fly. That should help. Maybe. Sacre set his hands on his hip. "I'm actually here about that," he admitted. "Could you direct me to the village elder?"

The guard gave him a once-over before nodding. "The village curls around the spire," he instructed, "so it's impossible to get lost. The elder's home is the topmost building."

"Thank you."

He started up the village, and Midna's silhouette rose at his side. "Not to sound rude," she prompted, "but do you really think they're gonna let some random farm boy who scared the droppings out of their watchman try to fight this thing?"

Sacre gave her a look. "A hundred years being terrorized by something with a moniker like 'Divine Beast'?" he argued. "Nobody in their right mind would try to be picky about who gets to get in its way."

"...Okay, point."

A dozen or so flights of steps later, the walkway up the village came to a stop seven paces past a house with a large Rito who seemed to be dozing in a rocking chair. As Sacre stepped in, he raised his gaze as though surprised to see him. "Ah, a visitor," he greeted. "Welcome to... Oh?"

The Ordonian raised an eyebrow. "Is... something wrong?" he asked.

He had seen an expression similar to the Rito's on several others before, which they had often explained as their vision having trouble adjusting after a sudden change in lighting. "Forgive me," he mused. "I must still be half asleep. I am Kaneli, elder of Rito Village. Whatever brings you here?"

Sacre bit his lip. "Divine Beast Vah Medoh," he replied, choosing his next words carefully. "It's circling your village and shooting down high-flyers. I have it on very good authority that I can do something about that."

"Oh, my!" Kaneli exclaimed. "You mean to say that you are a Champion, like Master Revali - one of the few able to board the Divine Beasts?" Then, before Sacre could respond; "No, what am I thinking. The Champions have all been dead for 100 years. This boy must be a mere descendant..." Sacre decided to let him mutter for a bit, and after a moment the elder spoke up again. "Ah, forgive me. Champion descendant, if you would, I have something I wish to ask of you."

"Go on."

"Only one with the blood of a Champion can enter a Divine Beast and appease it," Kaneli informed him. "I tried to explain this previously to the more... headstrong among the Rito warriors, but they wouldn't listen to reason. Teba and Harth tried to confront Medoh, but it did not go well, and Harth was injured." Sacre had seen one of the Rito on his way up nursing what looked to be a wounded wing; it must have been Harth. "Teba escaped unscathed," the elder continued, "but I fear he now plans to face Medoh alone. Please, you must find Teba. Alone, he stands no chance - and as a Hylian, you have no means by which to reach the Divine Beast. But if you work together, you may be able to stop Vah Medoh."

Sacre nodded. "Understood."

He made his way out of the elder's home - and Midna's silhouette rose from his shadow again as he started to walk.

"He saw me," the Twili told him.

"What?"

"It was just for a moment," Midna murmured, "but... I'm sure he saw me. Some of the older Twili in the royal court have mentioned this - elders in the realm of light can glimpse through the curtain of Twilight and see those who thrive in the shadows."

A realization rose in the Ordonian's mind. "Rusl," he recalled. "He spoke to me, a couple days before we first met. He was talking about the 'hour of twilight', and how it lets us see those who have departed from this world."

Midna nodded. "There is a faint intersection between the realms at sunset," she confirmed. "It's not surprising that you would mistake our people for yours."

As Sacre started down the village, a Rito woman just next door from the elder hailed him down. "Um, descendant!" she called. "Champion descendant!" As he stepped inside; "Forgive my intrusion, but I overheard you speaking with the elder. You mean to help my husband, Teba?"

"I do," Sacre confirmed.

"I wish I could assist you somehow," she admitted. "But I'm afraid there is not much I can do beyond telling you where my husband went."

The Ordonian nodded. "That's more than enough, miss..."

"Saki," she replied. "My husband headed to a place called the Flight Range. It's in Dronoc's Pass, at the base of the Hebra Mountains. It's a place where Rito warriors prepare for aerial combat... I imagine he's gone there to gather weapons for another run at Medoh. As it happens, he made his way to the Flight Range on foot this time." She beckoned out a window, where Sacre could see a large balcony that he could rest a Sky Cannon on. "If you go to Revali's Landing and look north, you should be able to see a pair of great flags that mark the Flight Range."

"Alright. Thank you."

Chapter Text

A gleam from his Fireshield Earrings was all the warning Caelum had before his body registered the sudden heat by which he was surrounded. As he adjusted to the lighting, he found himself standing at the end of a bridge - one which extended over a large, lava-swamped community. A vast lake of fire extended over a ridge, from which rivers of lava flowed through the community, and behind him was a massive mountain - upon which was climbing what looked like a giant lizard made of rock.

A whistle of power drew his attention as Fi emerged from his sword, hovering at his side. "Master. We have arrived at Goron City." Turning her gaze to the mountain; "I calculate a 95% chance that the entity you see there is one of the Divine Beasts mentioned by Lana. However, attempting to immediately approach the Divine Beast and locate the Blight within would be ill-advised. I suggest you gather information within the community."

"Gorons, huh." Caelum glanced down at the community. "There are a lot more rockmen in this era."

"An analysis of the city layout indicates that this bridge leads to the area preceding the lake of lava," Fi informed him. "So as to avoid appearing suspicious, I suggest utilizing your Sailcloth to descend to the area near the city entrance." She beckoned to a large, dark home with a sigil of some sort in fiery orange. "The emblem above that residence matches that of the Goron community in the Era of Warriors, and other connected eras. I surmise that the leader of the community will reside in that building."

Caelum nodded. "That makes sense," he admitted. "Alright, let's get going. Better we not waste any-"

"Master." Fi's interruption drew his attention. "Your sword appears to have regressed to a previous state."

"What!?" Caelum reached back and drew his blade. It was indeed not the Master Sword that was in his hand - the hilt was not winged, with its feathers aiming towards the tip, but arced with its points towards the pommel, and was a pale white rather than shining blue. The jewel, too, lacked the significant luster it had possessed with Hylia's blessing, and the shorter blade had a fuller lined with pale blue. The Hylian Shield he had received from Lanayru was also missing; and as Caelum returned the sword to its sheath he grumbled, "So that's what Lana meant.

The sword spirit turned her gaze down. "There appears to be a letter in your pocket. It was not on your person before we left the Valley of Seers." Caelum reached in and drew out the note, holding it before him.

Dear Link,
Sorry about your gear. The Master Sword exists in this time as well, and carrying that around is going to raise a lot of unpleasant questions. There are several asshats in this era who think they know about it and won't accept anything but what they believe. And the Hylian Shield is a collector's item in this age. You'd be surprised how many people will put their lives on the line for a couple Rupees even after an apocalypse. I only undid the tempering from Din's Flame, and you should still have your Goddess Shield.

Fi felt her master's silent prompt, and the Goddess Shield manifested on Caelum's back.

I also fireproofed your bombs. You're gonna need it so they don't blow up as soon as you pull them out. Fair warning; the Gorons are loathe to ask for help. You're looking to deal with Divine Beast Vah Rudania; the best way to do that is to find out what's going wrong and do something about that while getting in the way of as few people as possible.
Best of luck.
Love, Lana

"As long as you didn't do anything to Zelda's Sailcloth," Caelum muttered, "I'm fine with it."

"Your tone is not one of utmost sincerity," Fi observed.


Goron City had a bit of a haphazard layout, but it was easy enough for Caelum to make his way to the emblem-marked house that Fi had mentioned. There was a Goron with an eyepatch and a white beard, glaring up at the mountain; the Skyloftian spent two seconds wondering how a rockman grew facial hair and saw him pound his fists against each other. "Blasted Rudania!"

"Something wrong?" Caelum prompted.

"With Rudania runnin' wild recently, Death Mountain's eruptions have gotten real bad," the Goron replied. "You see him stompin' around up there on the mountain!?" He pointed skyward, and Caelum realized the Divine Beast wasn't staying in one place; it was constantly moving, and if his experiences in Eldin had taught him anything, powerful creatures being forced to move on a volcano was not good for then. "They say a hundred years ago it actually used to protect our people from harm... but that was then, and this is now! Now all it does is mess up our mining operations! We're all suffering because it's stoppin' us from doin' business! I can't tell ya how many times we've used the cannons to chase off that fiend. But it always comes back!"

A yelp of pain and a sudden stiffness in his movement caused Caelum to start. "Woah, you alright?"

The Goron huffed. "It's just some back pain," he groaned, reaching for his back. Then, turning to him. "Wait. Who are you?"

It took you this long to notice you didn't know me? "I'm a... um... traveler. Kinda."

"So then, you came all this way to pay your respects to me?" the Goron asked. "I like you already, brother."

Caelum was about to protest when Fi's voice caught his mind. "Master, I recommend allowing him to maintain his misunderstanding."

"Well, my name's Bludo," the Goron continued. "I'm the great Goron Boss who's fearsome enough to silence a crying child! Or, to make a silenced child cry, either way. Yes, it is none other than I, Bludo!" He pounded one fist against the ground. "I was plannin' to drive off Rudania like I always do, but then this blasted pain in my back flared up outta nowhere..." Shaking his head, he muttered, "Blasted Yunobo... When will he return?"

"I-I'm sorry, Yunobo?" Caelum inquired.

"Yunobo's a young Goron who helps me drive off Rudania," Bludo replied. "He went to grab some painkillers for my back from the Abandoned North Mine, but he hasn't come back yet..." He turned towards the lava lake that Caelum had seen when he arrived. "Slacker... I bet he's off wastin' time..." The Goron shook his head. "Hey, if ya happen to see Yunobo, will ya let him know I'm lookin' for him?"

"...Sure," Caelum replied.

Fi spoke again. "Master, I suggest seeking out the young Goron. Learning of the methods they use to divert the Divine Beast may enable us to enter it and seek out the Blight."


The Abandoned North Mine was more or less what it said on the tin... although Caelum had to assume that Gorons could handle a short trip through magma, given that the flows passed over what would otherwise have been land bridges. Another Goron was standing at a fence that blocked the way, with a heavy-looking blade over one shoulder, and as Caelum approached he seemed annoyed. "Yeesh! What's goin' on today?! So many peeople out and about!" He shook his head. "You should know it gets much hotter past here, and there are also looots of monsters. It's reeeally dangerous."

Caelum smirked. "I think I can handle staying out of the lava," he insisted.

The Goron seemed to object to his claim, but he missed it when Fi spoke. "His statement indicates the young Goron has been through here. You should inquire as to Yunobo's whereabouts."

"Have you seen Yunobo?" Caelum demanded.

"Why's a stranger like yoooou askin' about Yunobo?" the Goron demanded.

"Boss wants to know what's taking him so long."

"Boss does?!" His reaction told Caelum he's chosen his words right. "Well, then I guess I better tell you wheeeere Yunobo is." He turned round - causing Caelum to duck as he realized the blade over his shoulder was just long enough to whack him in the face - and pointed towards what looked to be a cave at the edge of the mine. "Yunobo... went to that vault over there, to fetch some painkillers. But now that ya mention it, I suppoooose he never came back."

Caelum shot him a dirty look. "You 'suppose'?" he demanded.

The Goron turned back around. "This place is daaaaaangerous," he warned, "so ya probably shouldn't go lookin' for him."

"Oh, up that."

The Skyloftian stepped past him, approaching a large structure nearby. Fi emerged from the Goddess White Sword once he was behind the Goron guard. "This device appears to be a cannon of sorts," she informed Caelum. "It seems to function via the insertion of an explosive here." She indicated an opening atop the base, which linked up with the barrel of the cannon. "There is a large stone loaded which looks to be durable enough to avoid structural damage from the detonation, allowing it to be launched by the explosive force. It appears that triggering this lever will change the angle of fire."

"So that's why she fireproofed my bombs," Caelum mused, climbing up onto the cannon's base. The cannon was presently lined up with a wide-open section of lake; a shift of the lever caused it to turn, directing itself away from the further regions of the mine and towards a weak-looking boulder - behind which he could see something with a bow. "Here, something like this...?"

A bomb appeared in his hand, and he rolled it into the entry port as the fuse lit. Quickly leaping down to avoid getting caught in the blast proved to be unnecessary when the cannon's barrel contained the attack entirely; the stone within was launched ablaze, slamming into the monster's cover and throwing it dead into the lava.

"Oh, this is gonna be good."

Lizalfos archers littered the North Mine, but Caelum had no need to engage them; well-aimed shots from several cannons nearby eliminated them with almost no effort on his part, leaving the main difficulty being the maneuvering from stone to stone without hitting the lava (Zelda's Sailcloth was meant to slow a fall, not enable a glide). In time, they reached the vault that the guard had mentioned - and although there did not seem to be an entrance, a voice could be heard from within.

Fi emerged from his sword again. "There is a Goron presence behind these stones," she confirmed. "I calculate a 70% this presence belongs to Yunobo. It would appear that the entryway has been barred by Rudania's provocation of the volcano."

Caelum scanned the area and saw a cannon nearby. "Think we could blow it open with that?"

"Given recorded Goron durability, I surmise that would be an effective method," she agreed.

Climbing up to the cannon, however, revealed that it was aimed to just beside the vault; triggering the lever aimed at the other side. "I can't get it to aim at the entrance," he muttered.

"The ideal method would be to have the explosive detonate while it is moving," Fi offered, "but the fuse's timing may make it difficult. Lana's fireproofing of the explosive means we cannot trigger it through flame."

"I think I've got a better idea," Caelum admitted. "My bow's not flammable, is it?"

"Not in its enhanced state, Master."

Caelum quickly dropped a bomb in and triggered the lever; then, while it was moving, he took aim at the bomb inside and fired an arrow at it. Fireproofed or not, the impact was enough to trigger the bomb's blast; the shot of stone tumbled through the air and slammed into the rockslide at the vault's entrance. From there, it was a simple matter to leap back towards the vault and make his way to the entrance - where he found a Goron hunched over in the back... and covered in a shimmering orange aura. "Oh man, oh man oh man, what am I gonna do?"

"Um..."

The Goron glanced over his shoulder - revealing a single spiral of dirty silver hair - and popped up screaming. "Monsters!" he yelled, dashing around the vault in a panic. "They're here! They found me! Help!"

Caelum glanced back towards his sword. "Why does everyone mistake me for a Bokoblin?"

"The colour of your tunic is more reminiscent of the Lizalfos of this era," she corrected.

"Whatever," Caelum muttered, stepping forward. "Hey, calm down! I'm not a monster?"

"Hmm?" The Goron turned round. "Woah... You're a Hylian! Were you the one who broke through that crag to rescue me, goro? Thanks, brother! But what brought you all the way out here to begin with?"

"There's supposed to be a young one called Yunobo out here," Caelum replied.

"So Boss told you to come find me!" He sighed. "Thank goodness. In any case, I sure am glad you saved me, goro! The name's Yunobo. Everyone calls me... Yunobo. Makes sense, goro." He sighed. "I came to get some painkillers for boss, but the magma bombs caused a rockslide and sealed the entrance, goro." He glanced. "How did you break those rocks at the entrance, goro?"

Caelum chuckled. "There's a big cannon with an almost-perfect shot out there," he replied.

Yunobo seemed surprised at that. "You used Boss' cannon!? That thing is so difficult to use. I thought only Boss could handle it!" He smiled, impressed, for a split second before it fell. "Oops, this isn't the time to chat. I've gotta deliver these painkillers. Sorry! But come by and see the Boss later, okay? He may be gruff, but he always repays a favour! I'm sure there's a reward in it for you!"

He stepped out of the cave, and Caelum watched as he started rolling back to Goron City.

 

Chapter Text

"They didn't build walls just to keep the men out, did they?"

Cia's question as she and Lana approached Gerudo Town earned her a shake of the head from her light half. "No, that's not it," Lana admitted. "I mean, it might've been part of it, but that's not reason enough." She beckoned her empty hand towards a rocky outcrop not far from the beaten path, where several Lizalfos were visible. "Deserts and life do not cooperate. Sandstorms, monsters, wind-"

"Wind?"

Lana nodded. "Oh, yeah. He had a sermon about that on the Great Sea. Days are blazing hot, and nights are bitter cold. The wind itself carries death."

Cia shook her head. "Is that why you brought us here at daybreak?" she asked. "Because it's the middle period?"

"More or less," Lana admitted. "I don't trust myself to protect us without feeling it gradually."

They had nearly arrived at the city by now; the guards were carrying long, three-pronged spears, and as the twin sorceresses approached the northern entrance they found the spears crossed to bar their way. "Halt!"

The White Sorceress raised an eyebrow. "You're not seriously gonna tell me you think we're voe in these outfits, are you?" she asked.

The Dark Sorceress turned to her. "What? Boe?"

"Not 'boe'," Lana and the guards said at once, "voe."

"It means 'man' in our language," one of the guards elaborated. "And on the subject, 'vai' is our word for 'woman'. Easy to remember?"

Cia chuckled. "Easier than 'man' and 'woman'," she agreed.

"My apologies," the other guard prompted. "You'd be surprised how many young vai your age think they can bring dates into town."

Lana blushed. "That's not- no," she insisted, "we're both vai."

The guards uncrossed their spears, and the sorceresses stepped into town. "When did you learn to parley in Gerudo?" Cia asked.

"Have you only ever focused on his fights?" Lana accused.

It was Cia's turn to blush.

Lana giggled, glancing around the community. "Get you a dye job, and you'd fit right in here," she observed.

"Anyways," Cia insisted, "who are we looking for to deal with the Divine Beast?"

A concerned expression crossed Lana's face as she came to a stop. "Um..."

Cia turned to her. "You do know, right?"

"Y-Yeah," Lana insisted, opening her tome. "I wrote this down to make sure I didn't forget..." She turned a few pages and pressed a finger to the page. "The Gerudo Chief. Top of the town."

"Um...?" Cia glanced towards the large stone spire in the center of town, from which a desert spring poured cool water down.

Lana shook her head. "Not that top. That top." She aimed a finger at the building built into the base of that spire.

"Alright."

The two of them made their way inside; the guards made no attempt to block their way as they did. The Gerudo Chief was sitting on a throne inside; a younger vai than they, with an impressive-looking headdress of bright gold. She was reclining upon her throne, giving her the illusion that she was taller than she truly was. "Yet more travellers," she observed. "What are you two doing here?" Her gaze narrowed as the sorceresses approached. "Oh, what's this...?"

There was an armoured vai standing next to her throne, with a claymore in hands; as the two drew near, she lifted it just enough to slam it to the ground with a fierce clatter. "You stand before Lady Riju, chief of the Gerudo!" she roared. "Declare your business, but come no closer!"

The Chief, Riju, rose upright in her seat. "Hold on, Buliara," she prompted. "These ones appear to be more than simple travellers." She turned her gaze back to the newcomers. "What are your names?"

"I'm Lana," the White Sorceress replied. "This is Cia."

Riju hummed. "And what is it you've come all the way here for?"

"Divine Beast Vah Naboris," Cia replied. "We're here to calm it."

Buliara scoffed. "You think you have what it takes to subdue something so powerful as a Divine Beast?" she demanded. "The only ones who could ever control them were Champions like Lady Urbosa - and all of the Champions-"

"-died in the Great Calamity one hundred years ago," Cia interrupted.

A smile rose on Riju's face. "You almost sound as though that has something to do with your being here?"

Lana bowed her head. "One of those Champions carried a sacred power," she told them, choosing her words carefully. "A gift from the Goddess Hylia. If the gift of a goddess were seen in the hands of another, that other would be in decent position to take up the Champion's mantle, wouldn't you say?"

Cia held out her hand - and a golden triangle, the Triforce of Power, manifested above her grip, causing the two Gerudo to pull back in a shock.

"Oh, my," Riju gasped. "You two... you mean to pick up where Lady Urbosa left off, do you?" Her smile returned as Cia faded the Triforce from the air above her hand. "And if you're here to help us with Naboris, then we are allies." The smile faded in short order. "I presume you saw it on your way to town - the Divine Beast, cloaked in a sandstorm, hurling lightning at any who dare approach. We have to do something to stop it, but we have yet to find any away to appease Naboris on our own. If you carry the mantle of a Champion, perhaps you will be able to enter Naboris and calm its anger."

Buliara shook her head, disbelieving. "Lady Riju, I don't see how you can trust a couple of complete strangers with something as important as this task."

Lana grunted weakly, reaching for her forehead, and drawing everyone's attention; Cia set a hand on her shoulder. "Lana?"

"Are you unwell?" asked Buliara.

"I-I'm fine," Lana insisted. "A goddess' gift is not to be taken lightly." She shook her head. "If you... Perhaps there is something we can do to earn your trust, if you are unwilling to give it at the moment."

Riju touched a finger to her chin, thoughtful. "Ah, yes," she mused. "An interesting suggestion." Her gaze turned to an empty pedestal beside her throne. "You see, there is only one thing in all of Hyrule that can withstand the lightning from Naboris. The Thunder Helm, a family heirloom and relic of the Gerudo. But unfortunately, it was stolen from us..."

"By the Yiga Clan," Cia prompted. "Right?"

"You know of this?" Buliara demanded.

The Dark Sorceress shook her head. "We know of them," she corrected. "If someone had the balls to break into Gerudo Town, the information to steal an heirloom from the chief, and the skill to take off without getting caught, it must be someone from the Yiga."

Riju shot a look at Buliara, who seemed rather awkward. "Our soldiers can tell you more about the incident," she insisted, beckoning to the visitors' right. "Through there is the barracks, where Captain Teake can give you a full report."

The Chief giggled lightly. "You know," she prompted, "I take heart in having such rare visitors as yourselves. Lady Urbosa must be looking out for us."


The briefing from Captain Teake pointed the sorceresses in the right direction - Karusa Valley, to the north of town, at the ridge between the desert and the mountains. Lana and Cia thanked the Gerudo for their help and left town; with the heat beginning to beat town on them, Lana quickly draped them in a protective magic to keep them cool.

Cia waited until her magic had taken effect on them both before she spoke. "That wasn't the Triforce that hit you in the throne room, was it?"

"No," Lana confirmed. "It wasn't."

"What's going on?" Cia demanded. "At first, you weren't even sure who we had to talk to. And you didn't even mention this thing with the Thunder Helm. Now you're almost doubling over in the middle of a conversation. What's with you?"

"I'm sorry," Lana pleaded. "This era is... fluid. It's like, every time I watch the journey, Link goes through it differently."

"What do you mean, differently?" Cia asked.

Lana shook her head. "There's something about this era," she insisted. "There's a hundred different paths he can take, and a thousand ways for him to go about it. Sometimes he'll scour Hyrule for the Sheikah Shrines, and other times he'll ignore them after he gets off the Great Plateau. Sometimes he'll spend, like, seventeen thousand rupees on clothes and armour to make sure he's well-equipped for any situation, and other times he'll opt to cook elixirs for the weather and just tough out the combat. Sometimes he recollects all of his memories before he makes it to the Calamity... and sometimes he'll never even get his tunic back from Impa."

Cia shook her head. "That can't be-"

"It is, though," Lana insisted. "The Divine Beasts are the same. Sometimes he'll free them all, sometimes he'll get half of them before he panics worrying about Zelda, and sometimes he'll completely disregard them." She shook her head. "Even the Master Sword. One time, he ended up at Korok Forest and drew it before he ever saw Kakariko. Other times, it's sat there, and he never even saw the Deku Tree. There's so much fluidity to this era. I forgot about the events with Riju and the Thunder Helm."

"That's why you didn't-"

"That's why I didn't notice the Malice grab him the first time I saw this era," Lana confirmed. "Because it didn't - not the first time. I could have watched him travel a thousand times before we ended up seeing it."

Cia groaned, reaching for her forehead. "How did he even manage that?" she demanded. "How could he possibly defeat Calamity Ganon without the Master Sword? Or without the Divine Beasts?"

Lana scoffed. "Or without either," she added. "The only constant is that he wakes up in the Shrine of Ressurection, King Rhoam briefs him, and he fights Calamity Ganon in the Sanctum, then goes to Hyrule Field. Every so often, that's all he does."

"No way," Cia accused.

"Oh, yes way," Lana confirmed. "One time, he marched into Hyrule Castle and played Dead Man's Volley with a pot lid off the Plateau. In his underpants."

Cia's mouth dropped open. "You watched that!?"

The White Sorceress raised her hands defensively. "I don't ditch the journey in the middle of things!" she defended.

"Sorry, wrong tone," the Dark Sorceress insisted. "You watched that and you didn't tell me?"

Lana's face fell. "You're kidding," she muttered, stepping away.

"Oh, come on!" Cia protested at her back. "That's awesome! I can imagine - him dodging by a hair, just barely never getting hit, beating back attacks..."

"Stop talking."

"The Calamity's got fire to him, that's gonna do something for him..."

"Just stop talking!"

"The sweat tracing down his-"

"Cia!"

Chapter Text

"Still nothing..."

The Hero of Time pulled the Fierce Deity's Mask away from his face as he approached his destination. Muzu had directed him to a peak known as Ploymus Mountain (and a jump they called Shatterback Point), where a creature called a Lynel apparently carried far too many shock arrows... and had a tendency to mark its territory with them. He'd been hoping the apparent terror of the domain would be dark enough for him to fight it as a ferocious god - but alas, it seemed this 'man-beast' was nothing particularly violent.

With a sigh, Fierce hooked the mask at his hip again, glancing around. To his surprise, a tree nearby had an arrow impaled in it - an arrow with a head of forked lightning bolts. The youngling quickly stepped forward and pried it out of the tree, looking over it. "So this is a shock arrow..." Warily reaching his finger towards the arrowhead revealed a slight charge just by getting close; and he quickly slipped it into the quiver he had emptied before he got here. I can do fire and ice just by taking aim and focusing, but of all things, this Divine Beast needs electricity and Mikau can't get close enough.

More shock arrows were impaled on trees as he made the climb up to Shatterback Point. By Muzu's predictions, he'd need twenty shock arrows to consider taking on Ruta (with four orbs on the Divine Beast's shoulders, that would give him five tries each in case he missed or was interrupted); Fierce had gathered ten when he found the mountain levelling out. To his shock, man-beast was no exaggeration; pacing on Shatterback Point was a creature with lion's mane of crimson, on a muscled torso that put the Ganondorf he knew to shame, on the body of a horse with hooves that could break Terminan shields.

On its back was a massive sword, a bladed shield, and a bow designed to split arrows as they flew.

Fierce quickly leapt behind a nearby boulder as the Lynel turned towards the sound of his footsteps. His breath was tight as he listened for the sound of the beast resuming its pacing, and he glanced down at the mark of the Triforce on his left hand. Darmani should be able to take a shock arrow without getting hurt, but that means I'm gonna have to get up close and personal if I want to take it out. This rain means I can't light a powder keg. He glanced around at the trees, finding more shock arrows impaled in the trees; a cursory glance revealed there were at least ten more shock arrows scattered up here. I might be able to grab the arrows I need without tangling with the Lynel...

His face set. No. The Zoras are terrified of this thing. I'm not gonna let it rampage around here any more.

The Goron Mask appeared in his grip, and he set it over his face - and as it gripped his visage, a bright light from behind the boulder drew the man-beast's attention.

Then a stone figure rolled out from behind it, spinning in the rain until it was aiming straight at the Lynel, and as it shot forward stone spikes made of magic ripped out of its back. The beast had no chance to draw its weapon before Fierce slammed into it, throwing it into a painful spin and continuing past it. He quickly spun back around and uncurled, slamming a weighty hand to the ground to slow himself down as the creature turned towards him. It quickly drew its bow from its back and a shock arrow from its quiver, and as the arrow was nocked in its bow, the head sparked with a powerful voltage.

Fierce quickly turned, hunching over so that when the arrow flew - splitting down the shaft as it did, so that he had an effective three arrows flying at him - it connected with Darmani's stone back; the collision was negligible, and the voltage nigh painless. The Lynel started galloping towards him, readying another arrow, and Fierce promptly tanked it and arced into a solid punch, colliding with the man-beast's chest and knocking him back. It promptly slung its bow over its shoulder and drew its sword and shield, and when it made to slam that sword down on the Goron's head, Fierce crossed his arms so that the stone bracers on both forearms would meet the blade.

The hero winced at it connected. The Lynel's sword was very sharp.

He promptly lashed his arms forward, causing the blade to be thrown back, then quickly moved his first forward and slammed a heavy left cross into the Lynel's jaw. As it was knocked back from the blow, he quickly grabbed the sword out of its hands and slammed it blade-first into the beast's side. It roared in pain, and Fierce promptly ripped the shield off its hands and swung that across the beast's face once, twice, thrice before it leapt away, prying the sword out with another roar.

Then flames gathered on its maw.

"Oh, come on!"

Even amidst the rain, the breath of fire surged forward, and Fierce leapt away, landing with a roll and continuing to move as the Lynel launched another stream, and then a third. He quickly directed his roll towards the beast, magical spikes rising up at he slammed into the beast again. He quickly skidded to a stop, turning around with a whirling backhand that struck the Lynel in the maw - which was currently blazing again, proving that the flames were actual, heated flames.

And that gave Fierce an idea.

The Lynel leapt away again, and he quickly raised his hands over his head. A Powder Keg appeared over his head, the fuse refusing to light in the rain - but as the man-beast readied its flames, he hurled the keg forward, and then quickly braced himself against the nearest boulder.

Fire breath, meet anti-avalanche explosive.

The detonation was so powerful that Fierce and the boulder he was braced against were both knocked forward as the blast roared around them, eliciting a scream of pain from the Hero of Time. When the last of the embers faded, he got to his feet to find the Lynel was lying dead on Ploymus Mountain... and if it had been his first time seeing one, he would have thought they came in maneless, fire-charred black.

The trees with shock arrows impaled in them had ceased to exist... but the Lynel's quiver had burned away, revealing the copious bundles of shock arrows the beast had carried.


Shatterback Point overlooked the East Reservoir Lake in which Ruta was positioned. The Divine Beast looked like an elephant made of stone; from its trunk poured the endless supply of water that brought the rain to Zora's Domain, and from its shoulders emerged rapid waterfalls - indeed, not much higher than those in the Domain. Fierce briefly considered gliding straight to the Divine Beast with his Deku Flowers... but remembering what Sidon had said about close-range creatures getting deflected, he decided against it. Instead, the Zora Mask appeared in his hands, and he dove off Shatterback Point as he set it over his own face; by the time he struck the water, his form was that of a Zora, and he dashed towards the shore at the climb from Zora's Domain.

Sidon was waiting there - and he seemed rather surprised to see a bright-bodied Zora pulling himself onto the shore. "Who are you?"

"Come now, your princeness." He raised his left hand. "You recognize this, don't you?"

"The mark of the gods...?" After a moment, Sidon started. "You're... Fierce!?"

"A little more so like this, huh?" the Hero observed.

"How?" the Zora prince demanded. "How did you...?"

Fierce raised his right hand to his face, and a light wrapped him as he pulled the Zora Mask from his visage. Oddly enough, the Keaton Mask on his head and the Fierce Deity's Mask on his hip hadn't stuck around on Darmani or Mikau, but were always there went he went back to being a Hylian. "A memento from a friend," he insisted with a tone meant to indicate he didn't want to say anything further than that.

Sidon hummed. "So, when you climbed the waterfall in the Domain..."

"Yeah."

A grin from the prince. "When you said 'magic', I didn't think you meant sleight of hand," he reprimanded.

"Oh, no," Fierce insisted, "that arrow was the real thing. I can do fire, and ice, and holy light - but shock arrows are new to me." The Hero's Bow from Termina appeared in his left hand, and he handed it to Sidon with a pointed "Hold this" before detaching his quiver full of electrical arrowheads and setting the mask back over his face; once he was a Zora again, he re-donned the quiver and took the bow back, slinging it over his shoulder.

Sidon looked him over. "Are you sure you can handle shock arrows... like that?" he asked. "Zora are terribly vulnerable to-"

"Don't worry about it," Fierce insisted. "This is a Zora who knows his way around electricity. If it weren't for that barrier, I'd be able to zap Ruta without them."

"If you're sure." He glanced back at Ruta. "Alright, then. Let us go and appease this Divine Beast as one!"

He leapt back, landing in the water. "Gaze now upon the Divine Beast's back!" he prompted. "Do you see those glowing pink orbs? You will need to shoot each of them with a shock arrow! I shall take you right up to the side of the Divine Beast, and from there, you can ascend the waterfalls and take aim! Get on my back!"

Fierce nodded, leaping into the water after him and taking hold of the prince's shoulders. "Go!"

Sidon shot forward at incredible speed, the water seeming to part almost ahead of him. "Haha! I am unstoppable in the water!"

As they got close, Fierce saw the Divine Beast start to thrash. "Ruta's reacting to us!"

"Alright," Sidon prompted, arcing away. "I'll stay at a distance until we have time to act." He glanced back. "Listen closely! Vah Ruta will undoubtedly use its ancient and mysterious powers against us. That will include creating giant ice blocks to throw at us! You have to hold them back!"

Fierce grit his teeth. "I think I can do that!"

As though on cue, three massive cubes of ice appeared on Ruta's back. One of them shot forward with a sound like an icicle breaking loose from its hold, and Fierce quickly realized that he couldn't fire a shock arrow - even if he draped it in fire - while he was on Sidon's back. "Dive!" he yelled.

"What!?"

"Now!"

In the same instant Sidon dropped in the water, Fierce leapt from his back; and as the ice neared him, he lashed both hands forward, and Mikau's Zora magic draped his figure in voltage. The ice collided with it and webbed with fractures, fragile by the time his hands connected with it, and as soon as it shattered he killed off the voltage and hit the water - whereupon the Zora prince rose for him to catch. This repeated once and then twice more, and as soon as the ice was gone Sidon moved towards the Divine Beast. "Shock arrows ready?"

"Yeah."

"Three, two, one, now!"

Fierce leapt off his back, surging up the waterfall as fast as he could, and as he cleared the top of the fall he found himself given a perfect shot at the one below him - and a nearly-perfect shot at the one to his left. He pulled the Hero's Bow from his back and nocked a shock arrow, loosing it to collide with the nearest orb - and as soon as it connected, the arrow burst with voltage, the orb's glow intensifying as the charge ran through it. He quickly nocked another arrow and took aim at the other as he fell, loosing it at the last moment; it skimmed the waterfall below it, loosing a discharge as it continued into the orb and caused it to shine.

"Marvelous!" Sidon praised.

As soon as he was near enough, Fierce seized his shoulders again, and he shot through the water, arcing around to Ruta's other side. No sooner were the remaining orbs in view than ice appeared at Ruta's side again - these ones massive spiked balls that could gore a Zora, and when one of them broke through it sought to chase after them and strike them from behind. Fierce cursed under his breath. "Give me ten seconds!"

He leapt from the Zora prince's back and draped himself in voltage, breaking through the ice as before. The next one shot forward, but he charged out to meet it and broke through it as well, and when the last one emerged he dove out of the water to shatter it before ending the charge as Sidon rose up below him. "That took you seven."

"Just get close!"

"Three, two, one, now!"

He dove out slightly to give Fierce more lift, and the hero charged up the waterfall, bursting out high. His bow was already in his hand, and a shock arrow nocked on the bowstring, by the time he reached the peak of his jump; he loosed the shot and didn't even wait to see it connect before drawing another shock arrow and firing at the other one.

The arrows connected, one-two, and Ruta gave what sounded like a shout of pain as it's trunk slammed into the water, the flow worn down to nothing.

By the time he hit the water, Fierce had removed Mikau's mask.

"That was astounding!" Sidon cheered. "An absolute thrill!"

Fierce didn't have a chance to respond before a sudden lack of preciptation drew his attention; he raised his gaze to see the rain had ceased entirely. "It worked!"

The Divine Beast started to move, and Fierce quickly grasped Sidon's shoulders as he arced around. "Ruta is floating higher. If you want to get inside, now's your chance!" The entrance was smack on the other side of the Divine Beast - a small ledge nearby with a slanted stone pedestal nearby.

"Looks like this is where the real work starts," Sidon mused. "Best of luck." As soon as he was close enough, Fierce leapt off and turned to him, prompting him to pump his fist. "Show the enemy no fear!"

"If was gonna show the enemy fear," Fierce argued, "I wouldn't have gotten this!" He pumped his own fist to show the Triforce mark on his hand.

The prince grinned. "I'll see you back at Zora's Domain."

Fierce closed his eyes. "Maybe," he offered.

The Divine Beast shook, and Fierce turned around as it started to rise higher still - high enough that a Zora couldn't leap to it from the water. Sidon quickly swam backwards to make sure he wasn't vulnerable to whatever it tried to do.

"Finish the job... hero."

Chapter Text

What the hell was that?

"I have no idea, but I hope we never run into another one."

Something huge, fat, and cycloptic had been sleeping next to the path that led around Lake Totori. Sacre had made the mistake of walking just close enough to wake it and not close enough to realize it until the creature had uprooted a tree and made to throw it at him. A few panicked, ineffective arrows later, Midna had shifted his form to that of a wolf - whereupon they had torn through it with claws and dark magic.

He elected to remain in his wolf form as they made their way through the snows north of Rito Village; dark fur is much better suited to cold temperatures than a hero's tunic, as their experiences in Snowpoint had taught them in their own era. In due time, they found the Flight Range that Saki had mentioned; the wind was lifting particles of snow out of a pit in the earth, which he could not see the bottom of when he glanced down into it, and scattered around it were what looked like archery targets. A small hut was nearby, with a balcony that hung over the pit, and from the land path Sacre could see a figure in white sitting a good ways away from the ledge.

The hut was elevated, but had a convenient ladder for non-aerial sorts; Midna shifted Sacre back to human form, and he quickly climbed his way up. A warm fire was burning under a cooking pot nearby, and when he stepped towards it to warm his hands, a floorboard underfoot creaked at the weight of his boots.

"...Yeah?"

A white-feathered Rito was sitting there, holding an impressive-looking bow. His voice creaked a little with that one word, the way one's voice will if they've been silent for a good while; as he continued, his voice was significantly firmer. "I don't know you. And I'm actually pretty busy here. You should probably go."

Midna rose up at Sacre's side - not silhouetted this time. "Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine," she mused.

"What do you want?" the Rito demanded.

"I'm here to help you," Sacre told him.

The Rito turned at the second voice, realizing that there were two people there. After a moment, he shook his head dismissively. "Help me?" he asked. "With what exactly?"

Sacre beckoned his head in the direction of Rito Village. "That Divine Beast."

"Let me get this straight..." There was a sudden ferocity in the Rito's voice. "Some random Hylian with a little imp on his shoulder wants to help me bring down Dinive Beast Vah Medoh? I'm not buying it."

"Do we look like you're trying to sell you something?" Midna demanded.

"Midna."

The Twili turned away. "Sorry."

The Rito huffed. "What's your name, Hylian?"

The Hylian shrugged. "I go by Sacre."

"Sacre?" He seemed to contemplate it, like there was something off about it that he couldn't put his finger on. "Well, Sacre, I'm Teba. But you already knew that." His words had an accusatory tone to them. "I'm guessing the elder asked you to come here and talk some sense into me. Am I right?"

"Well, something like that," Midna admitted.

Teba turned back to the bow in his hands. "Just like the elder to trust any fool who wanders into town," he muttered. "Look - you two seem alright, but let's make one thing clear: I'm not going anywhere. As a Rito warrior, I can't rest until my people are safe. There's only one way I'm going back to the village."

"And that is..."

"When Divine Beast Vah Medoh falls from the sky." He drew the string on his bow back to full draw, then brought it back slowly. "If I have to kill Medoh, so be it. Only then will I return to the village."

Sacre nodded. "Alright, then. I'll lend you a hand."

Teba turned to him with a suddenness he hadn't before. "Are you serious?" A derisive laugh broke through his beak. "Well, far be it from me to talk you off the ledge. But it's as the elder said - the only way to stop Medoh is to get inside it. Fat chance of that happening. There's no way we can set foot in there."

"Tell that to my wolf," Midna dismissed.

"So not only are you wingless," Teba mused, "you're brainless too." He shook his head. "Let me fill you in - the only people able to enter the Divine Beasts are the five Champions of old. And unfortunately for us and the rest of Hyrule, they all died a hundred years ago." Then, getting to his feet; "Let's focus on bringing down Medoh - one step at a time. If we approach recklessly, its cannons will blast us out of the sky before we even get close. So I'm gonna need to test you before I take you with me."

Midna beckoned to Sacre. "Then test him. I'm just here to keep his hands empty."

Teba gave her a once-over. "Fair enough," he admitted. Turning to Sacre; "We Rito use the updraft in this ravine to hone our aerial archery skills. The updrafts are so strong here that anything but a Goron could just open up a cloth over their head and float up easily. Do you have a way to catch the updraft?"

"I do," Sacre confirmed.

"Then let's see what you're capable of," Teba prompted. "You'll have to maneuver through the air and destroy five of the targets set up in this valley in less than three minutes. If you can't manage that, you don't have the reflexes to deal with Medoh."

Sacre glanced into the ravine. "These are just breakaway targets?" he asked. Then, at Teba's expression; "Like, they'll break with a normal arrow? I don't need to use bomb arrows to smash them?"

Teba nodded. "Yeah," he confirmed. "These things are just painted driftwood, a normal arrow should be more than enough."

"Alright." He stepped out onto the balcony... and Midna started laughing behind him. Sacre quickly shot Teba a look. "My cap's catching the wind, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is, yes."

He pulled the headwear off his head and handed it to the Twili. "Give me a count?"

"Three, two, one, now!"

Sacre charged forward, leaping off the ledge, and particles of Twilight gathered around his hand as his Hero's Bow appeared in his grip. He quickly nocked an arrow and loosed it towards the nearest target; then he turned round and fired at one almost immediately below the balcony. His Spinner manifested under his feet, and with Lana's modifications it shot him into the air, over a spire in the middle. He fired over the stone at a target on the other side; then he leapt off, and the Spinner vanished as he fired at two more on the sides of the pillar. Not one to do things by halves, he promptly continued into a spin, striking two more targets nearby and then a third clear across the ravine before he mounted his Spinner again and launched back into the air.

"That's more than enough!" Teba called. "Come back here."

Midna had an impressed look on her face as Sacre landed on the balcony. "Where did you learn to shoot in conditions like that?" she demanded.

"There's a river at the bottom of the bridge in Ordona," Sacre replied.

Teba shook his head. "You're... a skilled archer," he praised. "And that thing you were riding... You're no stranger to Sheikah tech." He shook his head. "I've gotta tell you, Sacre, when you two showed up, I thought someone was trying to prank me. But seeing you handle that bow, I can tell... You're the real deal. You must have seen a battle or two."

Sacre nodded. "In conditions you wouldn't imagine," he admitted.

"I believe it," Teba conceded. "Those blue eyes... they're wild, like a feral beast." He shook his head. "Well, if you really want to help me bring down Medoh, it's now or never. I'll get you into position, and you can give its cannons all you've got." He stepped into the hut. "Normal arrows won't make put a dent in Medoh's cannons. You'll need to hit them with bomb arrows."

So that's what Cia was talking about, Sacre realized. Ranged explosives...

"...So where the hell are my bomb arrows?"

Teba's yell caused Midna to turn, finding him standing before a large cabinet. "Something happen?"

"There was a cache of bomb arrows sitting in here," Teba uttered. "Where the hell are they?"

Sacre stepped in. "It's alright, Teba," he insisted. "I've got bomb arrows."

The Rito turned to him. "You do?"

"Well, I've got bombs, and I've got arrows, and I know how to put them together," Sacre admitted.

"That's... unorthodox," Teba accused. "But I suppose it'll work." He glanced up. "Also, it'll be cold up there. I hope you know how to handle a chill."

Midna chuckled. "Don't worry about that," she assured him. "Wolf fur does more for that than feathers will."

Teba gave Sacre's outfit a once-over. "That tunic's lined with wolf fur?"

"...Sure, let's go with that," Sacre muttered. "Whenever you're ready."

"Alright." Teba sighed. "But let me ask you something. Why are you doing this? Why risk your life to bring down Medoh?"

Sacre glanced at his sword hand. "Someone's in danger," he replied. "And something inside Medoh is responsible. So if I want to help him, I need to get in there."

The crest of the goddesses appeared on the back of his hand, glowing through his glove.

"I don't care how much it hurts."

A sigh from Teba. "I suppose I know a little what that's like. Medoh's been terrorizing my village since before I was born. That's fair enough."

A moment of quiet.

"...Right. Get on my back."


Vah Medoh was still circling the skies above Rito Village when Teba, Sacre, and Midna approached. The flight of the Divine Beast was generating an updraft that put the one in the Flight Range to shame. "Alright, it's showtime!" Teba announced. "Man, even I feel like I'm gonna freeze up here." Sacre couldn't blame him; the cold was bitter up here, and he hoped Midna would be able to keep his fingers working well enough to draw a bowstring.

"What is that?" Midna demanded, seeing the crimson light that wrapped the Divine Beast.

"It has its barrier up again," Teba replied. "What a pain..."

Sacre shook his head. "What's the plan?"

"You see those cannons, on the edges of the barrier?" Teba called. "I'll draw their fire. While I'm doing that, use your bomb arrows, and blow them to Hylia. If you need a breather, just mount your device and float straight up in the updraft for a while. That'll keep you out of range. I'll take that as a sign that we need to regroup. Don't bother aiming for anything covered by Medoh's barrier. Even Ancient Arrows can't go through that, it's impenetrable. And whatever you do, don't get close enough to touch it."

"Got it. Let's fly!"

"Alright!"

Sacre released Teba and fell off his back, tumbling through the air; as soon as he was was upright again, the Spinner appeared beneath him, and he quickly directed his flight forward as the Rito warrior dove earthward. A crimson light cut through the air, seeming to join the nearest cannon - on Medoh's left wing - to Teba, and he quickly flew out of the way as a menacing beam of blue light ripped through the air and narrowly missed Sacre. He promptly leapt off the Spinner, directing his fall, and the Hero's Bow appeared in his grip as he neared the cannon.

The first bomb arrow collided with the cannon and exploded - with a violence that only Barnes' Bombs could. That, however, wasn't enough to take it out, and the cannon quickly directed its port towards Sacre. He quickly mounted his Spinner, flying up as it tried to lock on him, and fired again while he was still rising; this one finished it off, and Sacre saw the cannon sparking before it burst in a shower of stone shards.

"One down!" Midna announced.

The updrafts were powerful; Sacre leapt off the Spinner, trying to give himself as much forward momentum as he could, and found he was having trouble. "I don't have nearly enough control with that thing!" he told Midna as he tried to direct his fall towards the cannnon at Medoh's beak. "Can you give me a boost!"

The Twili nodded. "I figure, yeah!"

He nearly hit the barrier on his way down, remounting his Spinner; Midna's ponytail quickly extended into a long arm, the hand on the end of which connected with Sacre's back and pushed him forward. Once he was near enough, he leapt off, turning as he fell to take aim with the Hero's Bow; the second bomb arrow was fired before the first had connected, and the consecutive blasts were strong enough that the shards were falling out of smoke as Sacre and Teba made their way towards the one on Medoh's right wing. Another lift with the Spinner, and once he was high enough Midna gave him another sharp push to get him going before he leapt off and dove towards the cannon as it took aim at Teba. Bomb arrows were fired, and the cannon shattered.

"One more!" Teba called.

Sacre mounted his Spinner again, realizing his trouble was not with control so much as with momentum; still riding the momentum of Midna's push, he was able to arc around towards the cannon. An attempt at firing while he flew revealed that he was too far; the fuse on Barnes' Bombs wasn't long enough for him to land the shot without getting close enough, and Midna helpfully gave him one more push before he dove down; the cannon was already aiming at Teba, and as he got into firing range it loosed a shot that passed way too close to the Rito warrior's leg.

One shot; two shots; gone.

A remounting of the Spinner launched Link into the air, but to his surprise, the updrafts were fading out; he held his altitude for a moment before starting to descend, gliding after Medoh's tail as Teba flew up beside him. "Well done, Sacre!" he praised; but his voice was strained. "That thing is history!"

Midna glanced towards him, and was shocked at the singed wound on his leg. "You're hurt!"

"Yeah," Teba forced out. "Looks like I got hit pretty good back there. I think... I think I need to head back to the Flight Range. I just hope... I can make it back..."

Sacre glanced down before turning to the Rito. "You should go to the village!" he insisted. "Without the cannons, that's a safer trip than trying to get back to the valley!"

Teba shook his head. "You head down to Medoh," he instructed. "Good luck - it's all you!"

One wing curled into a thumbs up; then he arced off north, and Sacre and Midna continued their way towards the entry point at the Divine Beast's tail.

 

Chapter Text

It started raining fire on Caelum's way back to Goron City, and the blasts of magma would be more than enough to send a few loose boulders falling. When he got back, Bludo hailed him down with a call of "Hey, it's the tiny traveler!"

Caelum stepped forward. "I'm not that small, am I?"

"Yunobo told me all about how you helped him, brother," Bludo praised. "Here's a reward for ya. Hylians like you need this sorta thing, right?"

He held out three small bottles full of dark liquid, which Caelum accepted carefully - the Goron's large hand could hold them all comfortably, but he need a little more caution to avoid dropping them. "Um... thanks."

Bludo pounded his fists together. "Well, I took my painillers, so I guess it's time to go meet up with Yunobo. I mean no disrespect to Daruk's legacy, but if I'm not there to give that Rudania a good walloping..."

"Slow down," Caelum interrupted. "How do you about 'walloping' something that big?"

"Yunobo can use a power they call Daruk's Protection," Bludo replied. "He uses that to protect himself and we fire him a Rudania. Normal cannonballs are useless, but when we do that it manages to drive him away for a bit."

Caelum turned away, glancing at his sword. If we follow them when they- Bludo's pained yelp drew his attention. "Woah, you okay?"

"Oh, yeah, just peachy," Bludo groaned. "Dumb traveler. Of course I'm not okay."

"But didn't you just-?"

"Yeah," the boss admitted, "but I guess I need somethin' tougher." He groaned. "I hate to put ya on the spot, but... can ya please go tell Yunobo that I'm gonna have to cancel for today? He should be at Eldin Bridge."

Caelum hummed. "Yeah, I'll give it a check." He stepped away, starting towards the North Mine again; once they were out of view; he held out one of the bottle. "Fi, can you tell me what this stuff is?"

Fi emerged from his sword. "Analysis indicates it is a potion of sorts that induces flame resistance in Hylian bodies," she replied. "It would be ineffective on you, Master, due to your Fireshield Earrings, but I suspect that it may have its use. I suggest keeping it until we depart this era."

The Skyloftian let her fade the bottles. "We'll need to find Yunobo," he told her. "I don't suppose you read his aura, did you?"

"I did, Master," she confirmed. "I have added Yunobo as a dowsing target."

"You're a lifesaver."


Yunobo was easy enough to find... but was under assault from two large figures that Fi identified as this era's Moblins. A few Skyward Strikes got their attention away from the Goron youth, and from there it was a simple matter to deal with them with his shield and his sword. One of them was wielding what looked like a spear, at first, but on closer scrutiny looked like an Ancient Robot's mining tool.

"Thanks for savin' me, brother!" Yunobo praised. "I would've been in real trouble if you hadn't shown up when you did, goro." He chuckled awkwardly as he added, "I never got your name, goro."

"I'm Caelum."

Yunobo glanced around. "Still no sign of Boss, eh?"

Caelum shook his head. "He's not coming," he told the Goron. "His back's still acting up."

With a groan, Yunobo gripped his head in both hands. "After we went through all that trouble to get them... the painkillers didn't even end up working, goro." He sighed. "Well, if Boss can't help, there's nothin' else we can do. I suppose I'll just head back-"

"Wait!" Caelum insisted. "I want to get on Rudania."

"What!?" Yunobo's reaction told him that was going to be harder than it sounded. "You're gonna try to board the Divine Beast? Who do you think you are, Lord Daruk? It's dangerous in there, goro!"

A whistle from his sword caused Yunobo to yelp as Fi emerged from the Goddess White Sword on his back. "Bludo has informed us that you play a vital role in efforts to divert the Divine Beast's assaults," she told the Goron. "If the Divine Beast is forced to retreat, it should be a simple matter to board it."

"What the heck are you!?" Yunobo demanded.

Caelum sighed. "Fi, I thought we talked about this."

"Your coercion efforts were proving ineffective, Master," Fi informed him. "My apologies."

Yunobo was tremoring a bit. "Well... I suppose if you weakened it first, you could get inside safely," he admitted. "But... why risk it?!"

Fi turned back to him. "There is a creature within the Divine Beast responsible for a danger to Hyrule at large," she replied. "By entering the Divine Beast, we should be able to nullify it."

"Well, I don't really get it," Yunobo admitted, "but I'm sure you have your reasons, goro..." He turned towards the nearby bridge - a raised drawbridge that was not going to be crossed in its current state. "Problem is, good ol' Boss raised the Bridge of Eldin to make sure that mean Divine Beast couldn't get over here. In order to get to Rudania is, we'll have to find a way to get the Bridge of Eldin back down, goro. Boss would normally use the cannon to lower it..."

Caelum nodded. "Well, I can use the cannons," he reminded the Goron.

Yunobo grinned. "You can, goro! Maybe we can get across after all..." He nodded. "Then let's just do what I do to help Boss sometimes," he told the Skyloftian. "That means I'm gonna be the cannonball!"

"Yeah, you're gonna be the cannonba- Wait, are you nuts!?

That orange aura lit up around Yunobo. "I've got Daruk's Protection, goro!" he assured him. "That means I can smash into anything and it won't hurt one bit! My ancestor's power can't possibly fail me, goro!"

Fi floated towards the aura. "The defensive strength of this power should be impenetrable by anything in this era," she confirmed.

"My ancestor, Daruk, was apparently a big deal," Yunobo explained. "Well, that's what Boss says, so it's gotta be true. And I can use Daruk's Protection, so there's no need to worry, goro!"

Caelum sighed. "Alright, then. Let's get this thing in position."

This one didn't require any mid-movement detonations; once the cannon was aimed appropriately, Yunobo leapt inside, and Caelum dropped a bomb in. He found himself rather impressed when the blast sent Yunobo flying into the bridge... and the Goron youth ricocheted skyward as the bridge fell. It landed in perfect line with the opposite shore of the lava bridge it fell from, and Yunobo bounced lightly on the ground before landing on his feet.

"We did it..." he groaned, seeming dizzy. "See that, goro... If we put our heads together... anything is possible!"

"Jeez," Caelum muttered. "Groose is gonna eat his heart out."

Yunobo straightened himself out. "Anyhow," he prompted, "I guess my time as a cannonball isn't over yet, goro. So let's move on and cross that bridge, brother!"

Unfortunately, Rudania seemed to have noticed them; as Fi, Caelum, and Yunobo crossed the bridge, the Divine Beast came to a halt, and a low, rumbling cry echoed across the mountain. Segments on the beast's back seemed to open up, and the Goron yelped as several smaller figures emerged from them, flew into position around the mountain... and cast a menacing light down on the mountain.

"Are those Ancient Robots?" Caelum demanded.

"Guardian sentries, goro!" Yunobo corrected. "If one finds you, Rudania will go nuts, which will cause Death Mountain to erupt, goro!" He gripped his head in his hands. "I... I always get spotted, and then magma bombs keep raining down one after another. If Boss were here, he'd swat the bombs away like they were nothin' and force his way up! But I don't think you can do that, goro. And I don't wanna cause you any trouble...!"

Fi had her gaze on the nearest sentry; now she turned back to Caelum. "Master," she prompted, "the sentries appear to be utilizing a strict route of patrol. It should be sufficient to take cover at appropriate points." Turning to Yunobo; "If you will follow my instructions, we should be able to avoid detection from the sentries."

Yunobo nodded. "Alright, then! I'll leave it to you to tell me when it's safe to go!"

The first one was simple enough; its path ended up tracing over a rocky outcrop that provided more than enough cover for them to wait for it to pass and then advance while it was gone. The second, however, was remaining stationary above a very narrow path between a stone wall and a sheer drop.

"I see several loose boulders," Fi informed them, directing their gaze to the top of the wall. "The rotors keeping the sentries aloft appear to be of weak build compared to the main body."

"Wait here," Caelum instructed, clambering up the uneven stone just out of sight of the sentry. Once he was there, it was a simple matter to shove the boulder hard enough to drop it on the sentry's propeller; it fell into the magma, and Caelum leapt down before beckoning Yunobo and Fi to follow him. Another cannon was waiting just ahead; Yunobo loaded himself into it, Caelum dropped a bomb in, and Fi made sure he pulled the lever to aim it at the Divine Beast.

"Fire one!"

The blast sent Yunobo flying, and he slammed into Rudania's back with a ferocity that had Caelum stumbling. The Divine Beast started to move away as Yunobo landed nearby. "We did it, goro!" he praised. "If we keep this up, we should be able to corner Rudania!"

The next couple sentries had patrols so close to each other that they nearly collided with each other. The nearby cliff didn't have any convenient stones to shove, but it was near enough for the Skyloftian to lob some bombs into their rotors; unfortunately, the next one had its light on a path between walls lacking in both height and projectiles.

"What now?" Caelum asked.

Fi directed their attention to a large sheet of metal nearby that looked like it had been broken off a bridge. "If we can move this above ourselves to block the sentry's beam," she replied, "it will be unable to detect our presences."

Yunobo managed to lift it off the ground and grind it into place between the stone pieces, allowing the three of them to make their way under it without getting noticed. A Moblin was waiting in front of the next cannon, brandishing a large hammer; Caelum managed to throw it off Death Mountain with a Skyward Strike to the face, clearing the way for Yunobo to load into the cannon.

"Fire two!"

The shot collided with what looked like an archway on Rudania's back, and Caelum winced when it smashed at the contact, leaving Yunobo to arc off and land again. "Direct hit, goro!" he called. "And thanks to Daruk's Protection, that didn't hurt me one bit, goro!"

One sentry was hovering above a stack of ore, whilst another was circling it rather tightly; the nearby stones were a bit tall for Caelum's tastes, but it was enough for him to throw bombs into their rotors and blow them apart. The next three were doing fast circles around a series of cracks - from which wind was rising quite violently - but there was little cover for them to hide under, and the stones nearby were on the other side of their routes.

"Oh, come on," he muttered.

Fi glanced around. "The strength of the updrafts here may be sufficient to lift your bombs into the air," she told her master, "but they appear to be flying lower than its maximum lift. You may experience difficulty in timing your throw so that they make contact."

Caelum rolled a bomb into the updraft, and was unimpressed to see that 'lifted into the air' was lower than he could jump. "They're not getting lifted high enough," he corrected.

"The bomb's momentum carries it away from the updraft," Fi determined. "It's impossible to set it down in position."

Yunobo hummed. "Could use the wind to get up above them?" he offered. "And then maybe drop your bombs on them from there?"

"Only with sufficient speed," Fi warned.

"Worth a shot," Caelum argued.

He managed to charge forward and deploy Zelda's Sailcoth before the sentry passed over him - although he ended up uncomfortably close to its propellors on the way up - and with instruction, Fi materialized a bomb between his ankles, which Caelum managed to lob down at the sentry for its rotor to detonate. This repeated with the second, while he simply tossed bombs at the third from the nearby cliff; another Moblin ate holy power at the remaining cannon, and Yunobo promptly loaded himself into it as Caelum tossed a bomb in.

"Fire three!"

The blast seemed to slam into the back of Rudania's head, sending a nasty tremor down its body; flames upon its feet that Caelum had assumed to be from the vicinity to the volcano faded out, and it climbed its way to the peak of Death Mountain... and dove in. He and Fi climbed up after it as the sound of something landing inside send a tremor across the mountain, and they found Yunobo had landed near the rim as they got closer.

"That was so cool!" the Goron youth praised. "You really put a licking on that thing, Caelum!"

"Hey, you were the one playing cannonball!" Caelum argued. "That licking was all you!"

Fi rose up at his side. "Master."

"Right." Caelum gave him a wave. "I'd better wrap this up."

"Yeah, you'd better- WHAT!?"

Yunobo was shocked to see him charge the rim of the volcano; Caelum leapt into the volcano, no different than the way he leapt off of Skyloft every day, and dove towards the Divine Beast resting inside.

Chapter Text

"The Yiga Clan..."

Cia scoffed at they stepped into the hideout, three dead Yiga Footmen behind them. "I know Ganon's fond of the whole 'puppet' thing," she muttered, "but how did he get a whole cult?"

Lana clicked her tongue, glancing down at her tome. "Ganon doesn't actually have anything to do with these guys," she admitted. "They just worship him, and want to kill Link for him." She aimed her right hand at the side. "Third one on the right."

The Dark Sorceress swung the flailing tip of her scepter forward, knocking a torch into the third banner from the right of the entrance; it burned away in short order, revealing the passage inside, and the two of them stepped through. One of the Gerudo soldiers was trapped inside, and she seemed rather surprised to see them. "You...? What are you doing here?"

"We're looking for the Yiga," Lana admitted, picking up a bundle of Mighty Bananas. "Looks like we've got the right place."

"The bananas are how you know it's the Yiga?" Cia demanded.

"It's all they do," the Gerudo's inside admitted. "They just eat bananas and keep guard. I hear they sneak into Gerudo Town as travelers and buy the vendors out as soon as they have any in stock."

Cia sighed, grabbing the bunch from Lana. "You bring a spear with you?" she asked.

The pages of Lana's tome turned, starting to glow; after a moment, a surge of water shot out of the ground at her side, and she seized the spear as it rose and propped it over her shoulder. "Always," she confirmed.

"We're gonna need to take these guys out before they can see us," Cia told her. She tapped the butt of her scepter against the Gerudo's cage, and a spark of darkness ripped down its surface as the gate shot up. "You should get out of here."

"Th-thanks," she admitted. "Are you sure you're gonna be alright?"

"I am one-hundred percent sure of what's gonna happen," Cia replied.

The Gerudo quickly took off, leaving the sorceresses inside; Lana quickly turned to her dark half. "What's gonna happen?" she accused.

"This is all gonna go to hell," Cia admitted.

Lana cuffed her in the back of the head. "We can sneak through here," she insisted. "It should be easy. Link's done it a few times."

"Was he wearing a whole Sheikah stealth series?" Cia demanded.

"Sometimes," Lana defended.

"Did he cook Blue Nightshades and Stealthfin Trouts the other times?"

"Maybe."

Cia sighed, glancing at the bananas in her hand. "We're not stealthy," she insisted. "I have one idea... but it's not pleasant."

Lana shook her head. "We need to get Link out of that Malice," she said firmly. "If you're willing to do it, I don't care if it's pleasant or not."

"Alright, then." Cia stepped forward and tossed the bananas forward where the nearest guard could see them, then leapt forward and balanced precariously on a slight ridge in the wall. As the blademaster came around the corner, he caught sight of the bunch sitting on the ground; he briefly glanced around before tiptoe-ing forward none-too-quietly towards the bananas.

Once he had arrived, Cia dropped down behind him; the blademaster barely had time to turn in response to the sound of her landing before the butt of her scepter slammed into his mask, throwing him back. Lana quickly dropped down while he had his attention on her dark half, spear at the ready, but Cia swung her scepter forward, the flail tying it to the shaft curling around his neck - and a powerful darkness surged across his body.

"Don't!" she told Lana. "I need this one."

The darkness slowly draped his body entire; then he went limp, and when the flail uncurled from her scepter the blademaster stood at the ready.

"What did you just...?"

"He's under my control," Cia told her. "Like I did with Volga and Wizzro. We can use him to distract the others; then you can move in and hit them in the back."

The White Sorceress gave her a wary look. "You're sure you can keep this hold on him?" she asked.

Cia nodded. "That madness has no grip on me anymore," she promised. "I can keep it."

She directed the Yiga down to the lower level, where another Blademaster was waiting with a torch in his hand. He stepped aside to let Cia's pawn pass; the controlled one quickly grabbed his arm and twisted it, drawing his attention, and as he started to turn Lana dropped down and drove the blade of her spear into his back, causing him to drop to the floor lifeless. The three of them - Cia, Lana, and the puppet - continued forward; when they reached a branch between a wide-open area with several more blademasters and a ladder to an upper level, they elected to take the upper level, with Cia instructing her pawn to watch at the bottom rung.

What they found was less-than-impressive.

"Holy banana hoard, Donkey Kong," Cia muttered on seeing the massive stash of Mighty Bananas sitting there.

"Yeah," Lana mused, "they go a little ape sometimes."

A snicker broke through Cia's lips before she managed to muffle it in her hand. "Shit," she hissed, elbowing Lana in the side, "don't make me laugh."

Lana quickly drew Cia's attention to a guard near a doorway. "The Helm's through there... I think. That's where we'll find Kohga. If we can take him out, it'll be easy."

"Right, then. Give me those bananas."

They crossed the rafterwork, and Cia quickly dropped them in position for him to notice them; as soon as he was away from the door, Lana landed behind him and slammed her spear into the back of his neck. The thud of a Yiga blademaster falling to the ground drew the attention of the others, and Lana took cover behind the doorway as the other four started to approach; Cia directed her pawn to charge in, slashing the throat of one before receiving a similar blow from another; then she lashed the head of her scepter down and grabbed that one's throat, dropping from the rafterwork so the flail would hang him. Lana quickly rushed in as a third and fourth tried to flank her, breaking one's neck on her spear; the other turned towards her and got a flail around the neck, and Lana knocked his head back sharply with the butt of her spear before driving it into her heart as Cia pulled hard on her scepter.

Five Yiga blademasters lie dead in the largest room of the hideout.

"You fight dirty," Lana muttered.

"You're not complaining," Cia observed.

The two of them made their way inside, where there was a treasure box sitting on a raised platform that looked oddly... ritual. Cia started towards it, but Lana quickly held her spear before her dark half to bar her way. "Hold on," she insisted, opening up her tome again. "...Bananas."

"Bananas? What?"

"What? Bananas." Lana aimed her spear at the chest. "That one's a decoy. The Helm's with Kohga... through there." She aimed her spear at the wall. "There's a metal lining in a rotating segment. If I can find something else metallic, I should be able to imitate the magic of a Magnesis rune and-"

She was cut off when Cia slammed a kick into the wall, and the metal clanged against her heel as the segment spun, slamming into a defaced guardian statue on that wall.

"...Or that," Lana admitted. "I suppose that works, too."

"We're on a time limit, remember?" Cia reprimanded.

"R-Right."

The Dark Sorceress took the lead as the two of them stepped out onto the battlefield. "Hello!?" she called. "Anyone here?"

A puff of darkness and the scattering of spell papers drew her attention; standing behind them was the one they were looking for. "Who the heck are you?" he demanded. "And what're you doing in my napping spot?"

"Are you Master Kohga of the Yiga Clan?" Lana asked.

"Oh-ho-ho!" Kohga hummed. "A couple little girls lookin' to join us, are they! You'd be fine footsoldiers! Those arms would be good on a bow-"

He was interrupted when Lana slammed the butt of her spear into his forehead, knocking him back. He started to stumble forward and found the blade held to his neck; Lana had a death glare on her face, and Cia stood with the shaft of her scepter in one hand and the head in the other, letting the flail hang between them.

"We're not here for the clan," Cia reprimanded. "We're here for you. Where's the Thunder Helm."

Kohga spun away from Lana's spear, standing near the edge of the pit in the center of the battlefield. "So those Gerudo hired a pair of little girls to do their dirty work, huh!?" he snapped. "Well, I'm not just handing over your-"

Cia lashed her flail forward, and he failed to react before it curled around his neck; she quickly dragged him forward like a dog on a leash, and Lana raised the tip of her spear to his forehead.

"A quick push, and your neck snaps," Cia warned. "A slower shove, and your brain gets impaled. A little yank on this, and I strangle you to death. Do you want to try your chances?"

"Why, you little...!" Kohga reached up, trying to pull the flail off his neck. "You think you can-"

"If you die, your magic drops it," Lana reprimanded him. "If you hand it over willingly, we let you live. The choice is yours."

A few more futile tugs on the flail; then Cia gave a light tug on the shaft of her scepter, causing the flail to tighten just slightly. "Alright!" he screeched. "Alright, fine! I'll hand it over! Just let go!"

The head quickly looped around his head, and she pulled away. "Good boy," she mused. "Now..."

She had no chance to react before Kohga slapped the spear in Lana's hand, causing it to slam into Cia's stomach. The Yiga Clan leader quickly pulled away, spinning over the pit. "Foolish little girls!" he screeched. "Did you really think I was gonna hand it over that easily! Taste the power... of the leader... of the Yiga Clan!"

A massive, spiked ball appeared over his head, and he lashed his hands down to direct it to crush Lana.

The White Sorceress hurled her tome forward - and voltage raced across the cover as it connected with the orb, the static knocking it back.

Then she swept her spear forward, and a wave of water surged out of the ground between the orb and Kogha - and voltage ripped across his body.

Cia quickly lashed her scepter at the ball, throwing it back at Kogha - and the connection killed off the magic he was using to levitate, whereupon he fell into the pit.

A moment's quiet; then a treasure box appeared at the rim of the pit, and Lana dismissed her spear in a wave of water.

"There's no way Link had it that easy," Lana muttered.

"I think Link might've actually had it easier," argued Cia - who had seen the hero fight this battle. She kicked the box lightly, causing it to pop open and reveal the Thunder Helm inside. "How do you propose we carry this back to Riju?"

A blast of fire at Lana's side drew her attention, and she watched as a summoning gate materialized beside her light half. "Like this."


The trip back to Gerudo Desert was largely uneventful - although the sun was on its way down as they arrived. When they got to the throne room and found the throne empty, Buliara directed the sorceresses to Riju's quarters on the second floor, where she was waiting for them.

"I've been waiting for you," the Gerudo chief greeted. "You needn't say a word; as chief of the Gerudo, I can sense the power of the heirloom flowing from you. I know you've succeeded."

Lana smiled. "You've got us there," she admitted, opening her tome. "Hold on, this might be a little startling..."

A blast of fire in the air caused Riju to pull back as Lana's summoning gate appeared in the air at her side; she held out her hand as it rose up before her, and a light filled the twin rings as they pulled away, causing the Thunder Helm to fall lightly into her grip. "One family relic, delivered to order."

Riju smiled. "I thought as much," she admitted. "The two of you... you are Hylian witches, are you not?"

"Sorceress is the proper term," Cia corrected. "You could tell when we met, couldn't you?"

"I could indeed," Riju confirmed. "It is often said that children have better perception of magic than adults do - and I am still a child, despite my station." She reached for her ornamental headdress, detaching it from her hair. "I've been spending so long trying to prove I'm worthy to be the chief of the Gerudo people... And when my family heirloom was stolen, I felt like I had let so many people down. It was refreshing to see a reminder that there's something I'm well capable of. Like seeing there is more to you than there appears to."

She held out her hands, and Lana set the Thunder Helm carefully into her grip. Warily, she lifted it above her head and set it so that the six-jeweled visor rested over her face, holding it in place with her hands.

"Um... how do I look?"

Cia smiled. "You look like a Champion."

Riju's mouth was still uncovered, and her smile was all too visible to the sorceresses. "Thank you."

Lana angled her head. "It is a little big," she added.

The Gerudo chief lowered her hands... and the helm slipped down on her face, falling to an angle. "You don't say," she murmured, lifting it off her head. "The threat of Naboris has only grown since the heirloom was stolen. As chief, and as a Gerudo, I must find some way to stop it before it threatens my people. Will you help me?"

"Of course," Lana insisted. "That's why we're here."

"You can count on us," Cia promised.

Riju giggled lightly. "Who would have thought that, just before something so momentous, such simple words could put my heart at ease?"


The three of them made their way to the lookout post south of town, where Riju had preparations waiting; Golden Bows, bomb arrows, Gerudo Shields, and the best-trained sand seals in Gerudo Desert. Lana and Cia assured her they knew how to handle a sand-seal (although they were mostly hoping that their magic could compensate where their skill failed them); then the three of them ran through the plan.

"We'll need to get really close to Naboris," Riju warned the sorceresses. "Patricia and I will take the lead. Strike its feet with bomb arrows - that should stop it from drawing the energy it needs from the ground. But the lightning could kill any of us if it hits." She set her family heirloom over her head again. "The Thunder Helm will protect me from harm from lightning strikes, but it can also shield a limited area around me. You'll need to stay close when Naboris prepares to strike." She shook her head. "And promise me you will retreat if you get injured," she insisted.

"You have my word on the Sacred Realm," Lana assured her.

"And mine, as well," Cia confirmed.

"Then let's go."

Riju stepped out, sweeping her hands skyward, and Lana could feel the magic trembling about them as she chanted.

"My name is Riju, descendant of the royal line, and leader of the Gerudo people. With the power of the heirloom passed down in my family, I shall calm the Divine Beast Vah Naboris. Ancestors of the Gerudo! Answer my call! Aid me in this task!"

It was one thing to see the magic of the Thunder Helm in a crystal ball; it was another entirely to feel it surge out around them, draping them in protection, and Cia coughed as the outflow of the aura kicked up sand. "That's... powerful," she mused.

"Yes," Riju agreed. "I can feel their power coursing through me." She seized Patricia's leash, prompting Lana and Cia to drop their shields and take the leashes of their own seals. "Let's move!"

With the Gerudo chief at the lead, the three of them soared across the sand, vanishing into the sandstorm that surrounded the Divine Beast. As they drew nearer, the sound of Naboris' footsteps were the guide that directed their surfing - and rings of purple light lit up around Lana, Cia, and Riju as voltage charged through the air.

"It's preparing to strike!" Riju warned. "Stay close to me!"

The lightning ripped out of cloudless skies and slammed into the earth around the barrier, unbidden; but the moment the bolts connected with the barrier, they ceased to exist. "Go now!" Riju instructed.

"No!" Cia yelled. "Stay close!"

"What?"

"Trust me!"

The two raced alongside Naboris, taking a long arc around, and they had returned to the point behind it when the voltage sounded again. A grin rose on Cia's face, and she called to Lana. "It takes a while after one strike to ready another! We can take out all of its legs in one go!"

Riju turned to her. "Are you mad?"

Lana chuckled. "No, I've seen her in madness! This is brilliance!"

The lighting surge down outside of the barrier, and the sorceresses spurred their sand seals while the voltage was still fading. They rushed out in opposite directions, flanking Naboris, and they both hooked the leashes on their belts and drew the bows Riju had given them. Bomb arrows flew from both sides in tandem, striking the Divine Beast's hind legs and then its forelegs; single shots were not enough to disable the beast, and they arced around its front and switched flanks. Riju could only watch as they loosed new volleys of bomb arrows, the blasts disabling Naboris' forelegs and then its hind legs, and she quickly directed Patricia to soar away as Lana and Cia met up behind the collapsing beast.

They arced their sand seals to Riju's side, leaping off their shields and casting the bows to the ground as the chief drew the Thunder Helm from her head - and the magical aura faded out around her as they drew near. "Unfortunately, I cannot appease Naboris on my own," she told them. "I have no choice but to entrust the rest to you."

Lana nodded. "We won't let you down."

Cia grinned. "See you across a sunny sky!"

The two of them charged forward as Naboris started to move again; the entry bridge was a quick climb, and Riju could only watch as the Divine Beast walked away.

"Don't let us down, you two..."

Chapter Text

The first thing Fierce noticed when the Divine Beast settled? Vah Ruta was dark. Not in the sense that visibility was lacking; rather, there was an ominous, shadowy force permeating the air. After a moment, he held out his hand as a small magnifying glass - the Lens of Truth from Termina - appeared in his grip, and he saw the layer of magic draping the archway through which he would have been about to step.

So that's how they keep people out if they're not carrying a Sheikah Slate, Fierce noted, letting the Lens fade. I was wondering why it was open. The pedestal nearby - almost taller than he was - had a Sheikah Emblem marked on its surface, and as he neared it the crest of the Triforce on his hand glowed - not with Courage shining brightly, as it would in response to another piece of the Triforce, but rather the whole mark bearing a faint shine - and warily, he set his hand to the center of it.

And a bright blue glow burst out around it, causing him to pull his hand back.

A distorted voice - not quite male, not quite female - rippled out around the pedestal. "Sheikah Slate denied."

Oh, no.

Fierce was about to swear so loud the Calamity would hear him when a strange sound like an untuned barrel organ echoed from the pedestal. Sheikah Slate denie.... Sheikah Sla... Shiek... Sheiiiiii... Sheisheisheisheisheishei-

The Hero of Time glanced at his hand. Lana, what did you do?

Sheikah Slate authenticated. A bursting sound caused him to turn as a ring on the entrance platform, also marked with the Sheikah emblem, shone bright blue. Travel gate enabled.

"Well, that was weird."

You're here...

This female voice, reaching into his mind, caused Fierce to turn back to the entryway. "Who...?"

No... What...? You're not him. You're not Link. She sounded as though she was about to cry. You're not Link... Who are you?

"You can call me Fierce," the hero said quickly. "I'm a friend of Link."

A friend? You mean... he's alive?

"Yes. But he's in trouble. I'm here in order to help him." He glanced around. "Who are you?"

...My name is Mipha. Her voice sounded most relieved. I was the Champion who piloted Vah Ruta. How... How can you being here help him?

Fierce reached for his Keaton Mask, setting it to cover his face. "I'm looking for something called a Blight," he replied. "A body of Malice, somewhere in this Divine Beast. I need to kill it to help Link." He drew his Gilded Sword and Mirror Shield, their edges gleaming. "Can you help me find it?"

Are you sure you're up to the task? Mipha asked. Malice is a dark and powerful thing. The strongest warriors in Hyrule have died trying to fight it.

The hero reached for the mask at his hip. "I have bested stronger darkness than this," he assured her.

Mipha sighed, the sound echoing around him. If you're sure. She sounded as though she didn't want him to try - like she was fearful for his well-being, uncertain of his chances. But it will not come to you. You must lure it out. I... I'm not sure how you were able to fool the entry stone into thinking you carried a Sheikah Slate... but if you can convince one, I'm sure you will be able to convince the others. Step inside.

Warily, Fierce did so. There was a black gunk barring his path with a sequence of spikes, and an orb of the stuff sitting in the middle of it - as he got close, the orb shifted, revealing a glowing yellow eye - and the hero quickly drove his sword into it. It writhed the moment he struck it, closing up - and then the gunk burst, turning to a wispy black smoke that faded into the air.

Just past it, a small figure was standing - a three-legged thing that looked like it was made from some kind of metal, with a single, glowing blue eye. Despite its build, it didn't seem to be too durable; a single blow from his Gilded Sword caused it to start twisting and sparking, eventually detonating like a bomb. That was of little comfort, however, considering that there was another nearby - and around its eye was shining a bright, violent light.

The light shot forward in a concentrated attack... then it connected with the Mirror Shield, and Fierce couldn't even react before it returned on its path and struck its attacker, causing it to burst.

Do you see the Guidance Stone behind the gate, there? Mipha asked. Fierce glanced around to see the gate she was speaking of, and stepping towards it, he could see a pedestal similar to that at the entrance. It was slightly different, though; it was segmented, the center portion raised, and it held a rectangular slot with a strange protrusion emerging from it. Hanging above it was a stalactite with a Sheikah eye upon it. It contains information on the layout of this Divine Beast. If you can activate it, you should be able to control Ruta... although it will be limited so long as she is under Ganon's control.

Fierce nodded, stepping towards it; an Ice Arrow to the water under the gate caused it to lift (although making an Ice Arrow out of a shock arrow meant it was more fragile than he would have liked, it was enough to get the job done), and he quickly stepped inside. "I take it the, uh... Sheikah Slate... is supposed to go in here?" he asked.

...Yes... Mipha confirmed, similarly uncertain as to what he was supposed to do now.

The Hero of Time glanced at his hand, realizing he did not know nearly enough about the Triforce to try and do anything with it. After a moment, he reached his hand in, gripping the protrusion as the crest glowed; the protrusion angled into the slot, then rotated - producing some unpleasant friction on his hand - before the whole segment rotated and sank into the pedestal.

Sheikah Slate confirmed. Distilling map of Divine Beast Vah Ruta.

The stalactite above glowed, and Fierce glanced up as unfamiliar runes appeared on it, slowly moving down towards the tip, where a shining bead of light was gathering. After a moment - like water gathering on an ordinary stalactite in a cave - the bead fell towards Fierce's hand, and he quickly twisted his hand so that it connected with the crest on the back.

It connected, and streams of light splashed out around it as he yanked it out of the pedestal. "That was weird."

Divine Beast controls have been enabled.

A tremor sounded above Fierce as he glanced at his hand. To his intense amusement, there in the center of the Triforce crest - in the gap between Power, Wisdom, and Courage - was a tiny image of Ruta. "Okay, that's kind of cool."

You got the map of the Divine Beast? Mipha asked.

"Yeah," Fierce confirmed. "But it said 'controls'. How do I... hmm." He angled his hand, finding that the image of the Divine Beast in the crest didn't change; then he pinched his fingers together and angled it the other way, and he was surprised to see Ruta's trunk in the image started moving - and he heard the trunk moving on the outside. "There we go."

To lure out the Malice, Mipha told him, you will need to activate five terminals that control Ruta. I can help you find them.

"Much obliged."

The hero made his way out of the gate, kicking it to get it to shatter - and as he got out into the open, he was shocked and angered to find himself suddenly taking a waterfall to the back of the head, strong enough to knock his Keaton Mask off. "What the...!?" He stumbled out of the flow, growling angrily. "What was that!?"

Mipha giggled lightly before replying, I think Ruta likes you.


With Mipha's instruction, Fierce was able to trigger the five terminals throughout Ruta's structure; once the fifth had been activated, she instructed him to return to the entry level, where there was an arch that she had told him to ignore until now.

Through there is the main control unit, she told the hero. If you make to activate that... the Malice should retaliate. Are you certain you're up to this?

Fierce shifted the Keaton Mask away from his face. "I'm sure," he promised.

He stepped through the arch, finding himself in a wide-open area with ankle-deep water - a battlefield waiting to happen. At the opposite end was a structure that looked like a series of pipes - at the front of which was a pedestal like the terminals he had activated. The crest of the Triforce on his hand glowed, and carefully, he reached up and set his hand against the center of the eye.

And the darkness that permeated the air in Ruta intensified.

storm of shadows surged out of the terminal, causing Fierce to pull away as it wrapped around the control unit. Streams of light - similar to, but distinct from, the drop that had carried the map and control information - twisted through the air, and the Hero of Time turned as a massive, glowing figure appeared there.

One one side formed a cagelike figure like one might expect on a zipline - and from it appeared a long, bladed spear of solid light.

On the other side formed a clawed hand of dark, writhing gunk.

And in the center appeared a face - a three-pronged mask with a single glowing, blue eye, with no mouth to source the enraged screech that followed.

This is it. Mipha sounded terrified, like the appearance of this thing was bringing back a whole swathe of unpleasant memories. That... thing is the Malice you're looking for.

"So you're the Blight," Fierce accused. A smirk rose on his face. "Do you want to play with me?"

A sense of confusion echoed in the air around him. Play...? Are you mad!? If you treat this as some sort of game, you'll-!

The hero paid it no mind. "What game, what game..." He reached for the Keaton Mask atop his head, and the moment his hand collided with it, it vanished. "I know. Let's play good guys versus bad guys." His left hand grasped the war-painted mask on his hip. "Yes, let's play that. Are you ready?" He pointed with his right hand at the body of Malice before him. "You're the bad guy."

Then he closed both hands on the mask, and raised it to his face.

"And when you're bad, you just run."

Power surged across his body, and the Hero of Time gave a battle roar as his body shifted. His frame grew larger, a size comparable to that he had possessed when he had faced Ganondorf in his own era - yet it exuded power, far beyond anything that any race of Hyrule could possess. His tunic and trousers vanished, and in the same split instant he was garbed in armour; two golden marks shone on the chestplate, a crescent moon whose horns aimed at a solid triangle, and purple whose texture resembled blood draped his legs. Steel rose on the underside of his boots, heavy enough to let him stand his ground but light enough that he would not sink in the water, and his cap turned to stunning sky blue, trailing halfway down his back.

The pupils and irises of his eyes faded to white, striking fear into any who would look on him.

He held out his hands as though grasping a long weapon - and in his grip appeared a sword with two blades arced into a dual helix.

That heavy blade was lashed down, and a battle roar emerged from the ferocious god who stood there.

The Blight drew its weapon back, thrusting it forward, and the shaft of the spear slid across its grip to reach him from clear across the battlefield; the Fierce Deity only raised his blade, meeting the head of the spear against the point where the blades crossed. It skidded across his blade as he charged forward, and once he was in range he swung the weapon away from himself and swung his sword. A disc of light surged from the blade, striking the Blight before the sword did - and carrying with it all the power of the blade itself, so that any other creature would swear the Fierce Deity carried two swords.

As soon as the blow passed, he redirected it to strike again, and again, and again. The Blight turned to an orb of energy, through which his blade passed ineffectively, and he could only watch as it moved across the battlefield, reappearing before the control unit. Light gathered in its hand, and the water level around it started to rise - the Fierce Deity found himself swimming, although four squared pillars of stone rose to give him something to stand on. As he made his way to he nearest, the Blight moved its way to the opposite corner, and three blocks of ice manifested from the water around it, launching forward left, right, center.

A disc of light from the blade shattered the first; another broke the second, and when the third was nearly close enough to strike him he swung his weapon into it. The blade cleaved the ice in half - the disc surged forward, and collided with the Blight's eye, knocking it into the water. The Fierce Deity leapt forward, making it halfway across the water, and he quickly swam to the stone as the Blight started to rise - and found itself struck with the blade for its efforts. One strike, two strike, each landing in conjunction with the light it launched; on the third strike, the water fell, and the body of Malice landed between the four pillars of water.

Its attacker landed before it, and as it tried to rise he raised the weapon above his head so that the blade aimed at the water behind him.

"Begone, troublemaker!"

The earthward blow had such force to it that the blight was launched back into the air, writhing in pain. Darkness spewed from its body like geysers struck, and it lashed its head back as light consumed it from within, Malice bursting in every direction.

One hand pulled away from the sword, and the Fierce Deity reached for his face - and as a light consumed him, his figure receded. The Hero of Time pulled the mask away from his face and hooked it on his hip once again as he turned to the control panel; when he set his hand against the pedestal, the crest of the Triforce upon it began to glow, and a blue light rippled out around it.

"Thank you..."

The voice now had solid form to it - yet as the hero turned, he saw that there was no one there. Rather, the Zora who stood upon the water's surface, her red-scaled body adorned in a sash of goddess azure, had no substance. He needed not see the ethereal flames surrounding her, or take note of the glow in which her body seemed to be draped - for he had met with the spirit of a hero, in Termina, and the presence of this Zora Champion was all too similar, and brought a painful weight to his heart.

"Mipha..."

A sorrowful smile rose on her face. "Tell me the truth," she pleaded, slowly stepping forward. "You are Link, aren't you?"

"I am," the hero admitted. "But... I am not your Link."

His words seemed to confuse her. "What do you mean...?"

Link hummed. "I am the hero... of an era in the distant past. I was brought to this era to help save the hero here - your Link. And once I've done that, I'll return to my own time - and nobody will remember that I was ever here. In your age, or mine."

Mipha closed her eyes, and bowed her head. "But... he is alive."

"He is," Link confirmed. "I swear on the Sacred Realm, he is alive."

Joyful tears rose in her eyes, with a smile on her face. "Thank you," she said again. "For coming here. For telling me that. For setting me free..."

A hand on her cheek.

She hadn't seen the young hero cross the water - and she was shocked at the sensation of his touch against her face as he wiped her tears away. "What...?"

"You love him, don't you."

It wasn't a question. Weakly, the Champion nodded.

Link bowed his head. "You should go to him," he prompted. "Your Link will need all the help he can get. I've done my part, but I'm not the only one here to help him. I want you to go to him. I want you to show him you're there."

"I-I... I can't," she insisted. "Ruta... I promised him. I promised Princess Zelda. I swore that, no matter what, I would ensure that Ruta's light was turned on Calamity Ganon once he showed himself."

"And you will," Link promised. "I'll be here."

Mipha was shocked at that. "You...?"

With a smile, the Hero of Time raised his crested hand, showing the image of Ruta in the center of the Triforce. "Ruta's control, remember? I'll get her where she can give the Calamity what's coming to him. And when the time is right, I'm gonna show him what she can do."

"You would do that...?" A smile rose on Mipha's face. "You would do that, just so I can see him again?"

"I've got time to kill," Link admitted. "Might as well kill something else while I'm at it."


The water flowing from the Divine Beast ceased.

Ruta began to move, slowly advancing, before sinking into the waters of the East Reservoir. Once she was completely submerged, her entire body vanished, reappearing in the river below - and from there, she began to advance. Atop a high mountain, south of Zora's Domain, she found her perch - her trunk was raised, to bare two tusk-like protrusions below... and those protrusions extended, and between them appeared a menacing crimson light.

It blasted forward, slamming into Hyrule Castle - for now the Divine Beast had a lock on Calamity Ganon.

Link stood atop the Divine Beast. The Keaton Mask hung from the right side of his head; on his left hip hung the Fierce Deity's Mask; and his hands was an ocarina, carved from a blue stone which resonated with the power of time itself. On that ocarina, he played one of many tunes he had been taught by a purported Sheikah tribesman - a serenade whose notes resonated with the power of water - and only once the tune had faded out did he lower the instrument.

"Ruto. The Zora princess... and my would-be fiance. That's where your name comes from - isn't it, Ruta?"

A scoff broke through his lips, despite the smile on his face. "Jeez," he muttered. "Do all the heroes have this problem? Even in a totally different era, the Zora princess is playing sweet with the other me. That wasn't the kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind."

After a moment, he turned his gaze to Zora's Domain in the distance. "I suppose it could be worse," he admitted. "If Mipha cares about this Link that way, that means that - before this whole Calamity thing happened - the Zoras were on good terms with the hero. And with the castle. And with Zelda."

His smile fell at that name.

"Zelda..."

His gaze turned to the instrument in his hand. "That's a thing. My search hasn't turned anything up. But Zelda's waiting for me, back in Hyrule. In my Hyrule."

The Ocarina of Time was raised to his lips again, and he played a royal melody - a song that Zelda, in her youth, had been played as a lullaby.

"When we're done here, I'm going to go see her again. Goddess of Time, don't let me forget that."

Chapter Text

"So this is a Divine Beast..."

Sacre's landing had been more or less safe (though he'd misjudged his height above Vah Medoh's tail a bit, the resulting landing was nothing he couldn't shake off), and Midna was quite impressed with what she saw. "This place gives off the weirdest vibes," she mused. "I mean, this put Twilight magic to shame. I wouldn't think people of the light could... No, don't-!"

Her warning came too late; Sacre had started towards the nearby opening in the Divine Beast, and promptly collided with a layer of magic that covered it. "Ow," he murmured. "And here I thought the cannons would just come back without a Champion."

"Here," Midna prompted, drawing Sacre's attention to a slanted pedestal nearby. "This thing's got concentrated vibes of weird coming from it. I think this is where you're supposed to put that 'Sheikah Slate' thing."

"She said it was grafted to the power of the goddesses," Sacre recalled, glancing at his sword hand as the crest appeared upon it.

Midna nodded. "Try touching this with that hand."

Sacre did so, and a pulse of light emerged around the pedestal; a strange voice - genderless, even - emerged from it. Sheikah Slate denied.

"Well, dammit," Midna cursed.

"We don't have time to go to the desert and find them," Sacre muttered. "How are we supposed to-"

The nastiest noise emerged from the pedestal, causing Midna to cover her ears. Sheikah Slate denie.... Sheikah Sla... Shiek... Sheiiiiii... Sheisheisheisheisheishei-

"I guess that's what happens when you try and trick it," the Twili observed.

Sheikah Slate authenticated. A resonation behind them caused them to turn as a bright blue ring, which had been dark when they landed, started to glow. Travel gate enabled.

"And succeed," Sacre added.

Well now... What this? A male voice - a slick voice - emerged in their minds, and the two glanced around. You there, Hylian... I almost feel like I've seen that face before. But it's different, somehow - harder, angrier. And that little thing in your shadow isn't the companion he'd prefer.

Midna scoffed. "Little thing?" she demanded.

What's your name?

"I'm Midna," the Twili replied. "This beastie here is called Sacre."

If you think that's a beast, the voice taunted, I'd hate to see you run into a Lynel. I'm Revali. I was Vah Medoh's piloting Champion. What brings you here?

"We're looking for a Blight," Sacre answered.

The voice went silent.

"A body of something called Malice," the Ordonian continued. "It's supposed to be-"

I know what a Blight is, Revali said firmly. Why would you come here specifically to fight something like that? Malice isn't some Moblin you can just take on for a challenge and run from if it turns sour. If it sees you, it's not gonna let you go.

Midna set her hands on her hips. "That face you've seen before," she replied. "It's in trouble. And that Blight needs to die if we want to do something about that."

The confusion and realization in the words that followed seemed to tremble in the air. In trouble...? You mean he's still alive? Revali chuckled. After a hundred years, he's still well enough to get in trouble, is he?

"Yes, he is," Sacre confirmed.

Well, throw me in a fire and call me poultry. A sigh. How you tricked the entry stone I'll never know, but you've got enough of a Sheikah Slate on you that you should be able to get Medoh working again. If you try and set him free, it should lure out the Malice you're looking for. Come inside, would you?

Stepping through the area where the barrier had been revealed a wall of spikes made from a black substance... and an eye in black and gold looking at them from the wall nearby. Sacre drew his bow and an un-bombed arrow and shot it before it could do much more than widen in surprise; when it burst into smoke, so did the spikes, revealing a large pit. An updraft nearby seemed to lead to the top of Medoh's wings, and five large slabs formed a haphazard bridge across that gap - three of stone, two of metal; although it was a bit of a wider jump than Sacre could make as a Hylian, it would be pup's play for his wolf form.

That Guidance Stone at the far end had the information you'll need to make your way around, Revali told them. Turn it on, and you'll be able to change Medoh's flight path - a little bit, anyway. With Ganon holding onto him tight, you can only do so much. He gasped. Oh, but that pit is a bit much, isn't it? And you don't have the runes necessary to cross the gap, do you? However will you get there...

"Runes?" Sacre raised an eyebrow. "You use the Sky Language to control your Divine Beast?"

"He's being a smartass," Midna insisted, "ignore him."

She snapped her fingers, and Sacre fell forward as Twilight particles draped his form, shifting to that of a wolf. Revali's disbelieving yelp echoed around them as he charged forward, leaping across the gap with ease - and not even needing to take half of the bridge to get there. As they approached the stone, Midna realized it was a bit different than they expected; the slanted pedestal had a raised segment with a rectangular gap in it, with a protrusion sticking out of that, and there was a stalactite hanging from the roof above. "Well, this is designed for a Sheikah Slate proper," she observed.

Oh dear, Revali taunted. I guess you're stuck with the way Medoh's flying now.

"Yeah, right," Midna snarked back. Then, glancing down at the wolf below her; "We've got fancy magic of our own, haven't we?"

She hopped off as Sacre shifted back to Hylian; the shadow crystal that allowed them such ease of transformation appeared on her finger, and she set it carefully against the protrusion. It quickly drew the crystal into the slot (it was just short enough to fit in the slot against the protrusion comfortably) and rotated it 180 before the segmentation revolved 90 and sank to sit flush with the rest, and Sacre set his sword hand against the segment of the pedestal.

Sheikah Slate confirmed. Distilling map of Divine Beast Vah Medoh.

Blue light draped the stalactite above, and Sacre and Midna both watched as unfamiliar characters drifted down the surface, gathering at the tip like water draining from a cave roof. After a moment, it fell and collided with the crystal, and Sacre pulled his hand away as it splashed, minute streams of light dancing in the air around them as Midna pulled the crystal out of the stone.

Divine Beast controls have been enabled.

Midna peered at the crystal for a moment. "Okay, how do I do this...?"

She flicked the crystal back towards herself, causing it to vanish; then she yelped, pulling back in the air and causing Sacre to turn to her. "Midna...?"

"I see it," Midna replied. "Its on here." She set a hand over the eyepatch portion of the Fused Shadow she wore as a helmet. "That is weird."

So you've got the map, Revali observed.

"You sound so horrified," Midna taunted. "What does it mean, controls...?" After a moment, the crystal appeared in her hand again - horizontal, and balancing atop her fingers - and she slowly shifted it to an angle. In her vision, Medoh began to angle to one side - and Sacre stumbled slightly as the Divine Beast did just that. "There we go." The crystal vanished again.

If you want to see this Malice, Revali instructed, you'll need to trigger the terminals that will activate Medoh. Think you're up to it?

Midna narrowed her gaze. "Is that what those glowing spots are? This should be easy. Come on, beastie."


 

The five terminals they needed were easy enough to find in Medoh's wings; although getting to them was a bit trickier, the activation didn't have any of the troubles they'd had at the entrance. Once they had the last one, Revali instructed them to make their way to the pit they'd crossed when they got in.

The updraft will take you up to Medoh's back, he explained. The main control unit is up there.

"You know, I almost get the feeling you're just stringing us along to get this thing working proper," Midna argued.

No, I promise, Revali insisted. Once you activate the main control unit, the Malice will come for you.

The two of them made their way onto the back of the Divine Beast; the unit looked like a heart had been ripped out of someone and plopped on its back, with one of the Slate-recognizing pedestals sitting in front of it. The mark of the gods on the back of Sacre's hand began to glow, and Midna watched as he approached it and set his hand on the pedestal.

And the instant it made contact, darkness draped the air.

Swirling shadows surged out of the pedestal, causing Sacre to leap away, going for his sword and shield. The darkness surrounded the control unit - and a menacing light emerged from behind them in streams, gathering above the unit. Hylian and Twili stepped back, their gazes raised to see a figure forged of glowing light materializing there, ready to attack them.

A clawed hand on one side, forged of the same black substance that had tried to bar their entrance.

A pipe that looked like a cannon on the other, glowing with unnatural light in the barrel

Three more beneath it, jetting black smoke to keep it aloft.

Four long spikes emerging from behind its head.

The creature turned round, revealing an inhuman visage with a single blue eye - and no mouth despite the scream it loosed.

Good luck! Revali taunted. That thing is what you're after. It's one of Ganon's own - and it plays dirty.

Sacre scoffed. "Playing dirty never got my opponents anywhere before," he snapped. "I've taken on bigger creatures with less, and I've won. If Ganon brings the darkness, we'll bring the shadow and light!"

He drew his Ordon Sword, readying his Ordon Shield before himself. "Midna! Shall we illustrate?"

"Let's rock!"

The Twili lashed her head forward, and her hair extended into a long arm, a fist on the end of which slammed into the Blight's eye. The punch carried enough force that it started to fall, but Midna grabbed it by the cannon and dragged it to the ground on their side of the control unit, prompting Sacre to leap forward; his blade lashed right and then left before he slammed it to the ground with enough force to launch a powerful burst around his feet. The Blight faded into light, soaring away, and as the two of them turned towards it, the creature raised its cannon; a shot of light surged out of it, weaker - but faster - than those from Medoh's defenses, and Sacre quickly thrust his shield forward to meet the blow, redirecting it towards its owner.

While it was still stunned, the Hero's Bow appeared in Sacre's grip, and he raised it and loosed an unbombed arrow to slam into its eye; Midna then proceeded to grab it by the hair and drag it to the ground, leaving the hero to swing his blade once, twice, thrice before it could rise - and when it did, he leapt to the side before it could see him, rolling along the around and rising with a blade-first spin. The Blight faded out again, soaring above the control unit, and Midna propped her arm on Sacre's shoulder, earning a smile before they turned their attention to the Malice.

The spikes emerging from behind it detached, hovering as four additional targets to deal with.

Midna quickly snapped her fingers, attaching bombs to the arrows in Sacre's quiver as he drew one and aimed it at the nearest spike. While the Blight was fading out, he loosed the arrow, causing the hovering piece to burst; he quickly drew another arrow and launched it at the next, and then the next. The Blight had reappeared at this point, and he shot it in the eye with a bomb arrow before aiming at the last spike and charging towards the Malice with his sword drawn. No sooner had the enemy risen than Sacre slammed the flat of his shield into its eye, and he leapt over it, bringing his sword down in a flip mid-jump before landing on its other side and arcing into a crimson spin.

The Blight quickly faded out, and Sacre turned round as his hovered above the entrance into Medoh's body. To his displeasure, however, the spikes had regrown by now, and they quickly detached again, hovering into four positions around him. "Okay," he muttered, "this is not working."

"I've got an idea," Midna admitted. "But it's risky."

"Us being here is risky," Sacre told her. "Go for it."

The Blight shot at one of its hovering spikes - and the shots ricocheted between them, aiming to strike Sacre from all directions. Midna shifted his form to that a wolf before flying up above one of the spikes; Sacre realized what she was doing, and as soon as the first shot made to redirect towards him, he leapt after her, landing on the spike for a split moment before leaping towards the Blight. Midna grabbed its head with her hair as he connected - biting promptly revealed that its face was made of something resembling stone, and Sacre elected to slam his claws into its eye until it shook him off.

"I'm gonna try and put the Fused Shadows to use," she told him. "You need to keep it busy on your own!"

I can do that.

The Twili floated away, and Sacre watched as the Blight faded out and soared off to the end of Medoh's wing. The spikes flying after it gave him a perfect line; he was no good at judging split-second leaps, but with them lined up like this it was a simple matter to leap at the first one, then land on it just long enough to give him footing before leaping again. When the Blight reappeared, Sacre slammed into its eye, holding onto it with three paws and raking his claws across its eye with the fourth. In time, it threw him off again - and this time, he nearly tumbled off the edge, barely finding a ridge to hook his claws into.

"Link!"

Do it, now!

The Blight was soaring towards the control unit, where Midna was waiting; she quickly glared, and the other three Fused Shadows appeared around her, their power making her body tremble. She didn't dare try to use their full power - not in another era, like this - but with what she had done with only the faintest amount of their strength, just having them around her gave her more power than she had ever known before.

Her hair split into strands of bloody pink - and when they lashed out, all in different directions, portals of Twilight manifested in the air around her, into which the strikes vanished. The Blight had no chance to react before another series of portals appeared around it, and it found itself impaled one, three, five, seven, thirteen times. The magic of the Dark Interlopers of Hyrule surged through it; it writhed, struggling to act, and bursts of Malice surged out from its body like geysers struck. Its body shone with light, consumed from the inside, and Midna pulled her hair away, the portals vanishing as she dismissed the Fused Shadows.

The strands merged to form a single arm and hand, and she lashed it forward as fast as she could, grabbing the sacred beast by the paw as he started to fall.

"...Got you!"

She quickly pulled him forward, shifting his form back to that of a Hylian, and the Ordonian stumbled to a stop in front of the control unit as she withdrew her hair. "That was... awesome," he admitted.

"Just don't ask me to do it again, alright?" Midna panted.

Sacre stepped up to the control panel again, setting his sword hand against it; the mark of the goddesses glowed on his hand, and a blue light rippled out around it.

"So, you defeated him, eh?"

The voice nearby drew the attention of both as a dark-feathered Rito dropped to Medoh's surface, a sash of goddess azure hanging around his body. Ethereal flames danced around his body, and his form was wrapped in an ominous glow, yet his voice had far more substance to it as he spoke. "I'll be plucked."

Midna smirked. "You almost sound dissatisfied."

Revali shook his head. "Never thought something like you would end up saving me," he admitted, glaring at the Ordonian.

"Most people would welcome being saved by anything," Midna reprimanded.

"Yeah, but not a dog."

"It was a wolf," Midna insisted, "not a dog."

"It's the same thing!" Revali protested indignantly. "They're dirty, vicious, and they hunt birds. The number of Rito who have been jumped by one of those things with vicious intent is nasty."

"Fine," Midna snapped. "Next time we save you, I'll turn him into a mealy worm."

"I'll be saved by a mealy worm, gladly," Revali conceded. "Anything but a filthy, stinking- Ow!"

The blow from Midna's hair gave a pause long enough for the Ordonian to get their attention with a pointed cough. "You should get going," he told the Champion.

Revali raised an eyebrow at him. "What?"

"We're done here," the Hylian replied. "The Blight's dead. But we're only part of a bigger effort, so now we have to wait for our friends to finish their parts. And Link's still in trouble."

The Twili grinned. "You don't wanna pass up on the chance to save him and say 'I told you so', do you?"

The Rito opened his beak to argue; then he paused, and turned to the Ordonian. "...How did you know his name is Link?"

A smile rose on the hero's face, and he raised his sword hand - showing the mark of the gods on the back of it. "So is mine."

"You're not...?"

Midna could see the mistake he was about to make. "I don't think so," she told him. "But it doesn't matter. Go on. Go show him up."

Revali sighed. "I'm tempted," he admitted, "but I can't. I'm a Champion - sworn to pilot Medoh. If he's not in position to fire when the Calamity rears its ugly head, I'll never hear the end of it."

"Then leave that to me."

The Twili's words earned her a sharp look. "You?"

The shadow crystal appeared along her fingers again. "Medoh's flight path is an easy enough job," she assured him. "We'll put him on top of the village and fire him up if we get the cue." It vanished as she hooked her hands behind her back. "Kinda hope it doesn't happen... but hey, anyone can step on a pressure plate."

"You're an ass," Revali snapped.

"One could make a very convincing argument that you're a cock," Midna countered.

A sputtering chuckle from behind her caused both of them to turn. Link raised a hand to his mouth as he attempted to put on a straight face, only to fail and find himself laughing out loud. Midna was startled.

"I haven't seen you laugh since I met you!" she accused. "That's what it takes to get you giggling?"


The flight path of the Divine Beast changed.

Medoh's flight had continued to circle the skies above Rito Village whilst he had been traversed; but now, he soared away, just enough to arc back towards the spire in the center of the village. His wings ceased to remain flat, rising slightly; his legs reached forward, his talons splaying. The beast pulled up, slowing his flight as he neared the perch at the top of the spire; the grip of his talons was careful enough that the stone did no more than tremor, and around its beak appeared a menacing crimson light.

It blasted forward, slamming into Hyrule Castle - for now the Divine Beast had a lock on Calamity Ganon.

After a few moments, Midna flew up to the Divine Beast's head, guiding Link's flight as he leapt after her. Once he had solid footing, she shifted his form back to Hylian, and he rolled his shoulders before taking a seat on the bird's head. The Twili was quiet for a moment, taking in the view of Hyrule; then she glanced down at the bird below them.

"Medoh, huh."

Link turned to her. "What?"

Midna reached for her head. "Somewhere in the memories Lana gave me, I think I talked about that name with some of the other warriors. Or, something close to it. He was a 'friend' " - here she drew the word out long, making air quotes with her fingers - "of the hero in a different era."

"What's with the 'this'?" Link asked, mimicking her air quotes.

"Well, he was an asshat," Midna insisted. "He was always talking the hero down, and getting friends to gang up on him, and insulting him for things he couldn't help. Always making him feel like second best."

Link hummed. "Why bring it up all of a sudden?"

Midna jerked her head down towards the control unit on Medoh's back. "That Revali guy," she replied. "He was mocking us because we haven't got a real Sheikah Slate. He was talking smack because you're a wolf. You guys can't help that. It just kinda brought the memory back."

"I see." Link turned towards the castle. "So what did this... namesake... do when the hero turned out to be better?"

"I think he helped the hero kick some demon king."

Chapter Text

"Deploy your Sailcloth in three... two... one..."

Caelum didn't let Zelda's handmade gift be subjected to the same vanishing act that Fi did to the rest of his equipment. He kept it perpetually at the ready, just under the collar of his tunic, carefully folded so that - when he grasped the corners and pulled it out - it unfolded just perfectly to slow his fall. He hung in the air for a split moment as his momentum died; then he released one side of the Sailcloth, dropping to the ground. A moment's pause, to make sure there was nothing waiting to ambush him; then he started re-folding it as Fi descended beside him.

"For something with a name like 'Divine Beast'," Caelum mused, "this place doesn't exactly seem godly."

"Divine Beast is a moniker," Fi reminded him, "meant to-"

"I know," Caelum insisted. Then, when she fell silent; "You are getting better."

Fi turned to a pedestal nearby, with a slanted surface. "The entrance is covered in a barrier," she informed him. "This appears to permit entry. Per Lana's instruction, the Triforce of Courage should recognize as a Sheikah Slate. Set your sword hand against the pedestal."

Caelum did so, and a blue light emerged from it. A voice that reminded him unpleasantly of the Demon Lord emerged from it: Sheikah Slate denied.

"Well, now what?" Caelum demanded.

"I don't know," Fi admitted.

An echo like the flat of a dagger being ripped across layered harps caused Caelum to cover his ears. Sheikah Slate denie... Sheikah Sla... Sheik.... Sheiiiiiiiii... Sheisheisheisheisheishei....

"This thing isn't gonna blow up, is it?"

"I don't know, Master."

Sheikah Slate authenticated. A sound from behind drew their attention as a ring of light appeared on the stone floor (although Caelum reasoned it might have always been there, and the way the heat was distorting his vision had stopped him from noticing). Travel gate enabled.

Caelum sighed. "Okay, never mind."

Hey there, little guy! A heavy-set voice - a male voice - reached his mind, and he glanced around. Wait, what? No, you're a different little guy. Who the heck are you?

The sword spirit spoke up. "Fi is the name I was given. My master goes by Caelum."

Well, that's a trip, the voice mused. Me, I'm Daruk. I was the Champion runnin' Vah Rudania. What's a little guy like you doin' on Rudania's tail?

"On Rudania's...?" Caelum glanced back to see that the entry port was indeed at the base of the Divine Beast's tail. "Oh, yeah, I guess we are."

"We are seeking out a manifestation of Malice, known as a Blight," Fi replied. "We have determined that it is somewhere within this Divine Beast."

That's a dangerous trip, Daruk warned them. Why are you huntin' Malice? I always figured that-

"That your 'little guy' would come after it?" Caelum interrupted. "He was going to. But now he's in trouble. That's why I'm here.

No way! Daruk yelled. You mean he's still alive and rolling?

Caelum clicked his tongue. "Well, I don't know about rolling, but...

Daruk laughed. Alright, then. If you're doin' this to lend him a hand, then I'll lend you. You're not gonna find that much Malice just sitting around. Try and take Rudania's control back - that'll bait him out. How the heck did you get in without a Sheikah Slate?

"That information is classified," Fi insisted.

Ah, doesn't matter, Daruk admitted. You've got enough to make it work. Head in.

Caelum stepped in - and a door slammed closed behind him, casting shadows across the area. He quickly drew the Goddess White Sword and raised it skyward, causing a holy power to trace down the blade; when it connected with the hilt, the blade began to glow with a blue light, and held it before him like a lantern as he stepped in. As he emerged, he found two torches burning with a blue flame - and he could see two glowing yellow eyes staring at him through the darkness, at different distances; he quickly launched the Skyward Strike at one, and Fi materialized his Sacred Bow as he drew an arrow, nocked it, and let it fly into the other.

There's a Guidance Stone in the back, Daruk told them. It's got info for the map of the Divine Beast. And once you trigger it, you'll be able to control him, just a little. But you'll need to carry that blue flame to a couple torches if you want to do it. You got anything wooden on you?

"The shafts of your arrows are wooden," Fi informed her master, "and were not affected by the fireproofing your bombs received. You should be able to carry a flame on those ."

Caelum pulled an arrow from his quiver and held it into the blue flame, then stepped forward. The first torch was easy enough, and lighting it with blue fire opened a cagelike door nearby. This revealed a different sort of eye - in bright blue, and lined with glowing lights - nearby; Caelum quickly hurled the arrow forward before drawing another and firing it with his bow. A glance in revealed more of the yellow eyes, all of which were quickly ruined by arrows; then he drew another, lit it on the torch, and made his way to the next. Behind that gate was a pedestal similar to - but distinct from - that of the entrance, with a rectangular slot glowing with a faint orange.

Uh oh, Daruk realized. This is gonna need a real Sheikah Slate. I don't know how you're gonna-

"I should be able to gather the information from it," Fi interrupted. "A moment please, Master."

Caelum quickly stepped back as Fi's body faded into light. Rather than return to his sword, however, the light quickly landed in the slot; it quickly sunk into the pedestal and rotated 90 degrees, causing patterns to light up across it.

Sheikah Slate confirmed. Distilling map of Divine Beast Vah Rudania.

A blue light revealed that there had been a massive stalactite hanging above the pedestal, down which unfamiliar glyphs started to travel. They seemed to be gathering in a tiny drop of shining water, and after a moment that dropped into the light that Fi had become, splashing with surprising range; the light quickly pulled away from the pedestal, and the sword spirit manifested at Link's side.

Divine Beast controls have been enabled.

Um, Fi? Daruk called. Did you get the map of the Divine Beast?

"Confirmed," Fi replied. "The 'controls' mentioned appear to be a reversible ninety-degree rotation of Vah Rudania. Several points within the beast are noted with circular markers; I believe these to indicate points of import."

Uh, yeah, Daruk confirmed, his hesitation more from trying to understand her manner of speech than from being deceptive or secretive. Those are the terminals that control Rudania. If you want to take out the Malice, you're gonna have to activate all of those. You got this, little guy!

"I appreciate the confidence," Caelum admitted.

"Your tone is significantly more sincere than before," Fi noted.


Between Fi's information and Daruk's advice, finding the five terminals was simple enough; and further, the activation of each individual terminal didn't suffer the weird behaviour of the entry stone. Once they were all complete, Daruk advised them to make their way to Rudania's back.

Up there is the main control unit, the Champion told them. The Malice ain't gonna sit back and watch you turn that on; it's gonna come after you.

Caelum nodded, emerging onto the Divine Beast's back. Sitting there was a giant, glowing mass that gave off the most ominous aura; he quickly made his way around to a pedestal at the front which resembled those of the terminals, and set his sword hand against it.

And the darkness surged.

He leapt away, watching as an unnatural black smoke draped the control unit - and streams a menacing blue light arced through the air, gathering behind him. The Skyloftian turned, drawing his Goddess Shield and the Goddess White Sword as the light became a dark figure that seemed to be made of pure evil.

A heavy sword's hilt appeared on one side, from which emerged a massive, crushing blade of solid light.

A clawed hand appeared on the other side, above which appeared a flame.

The face of the figure was unlike anything that he had seen before - with a single, glowing blue eye, and a screech that came from no mouth.

There's your Malice! Daruk warned. That ugly pain in the crag is Ganon's handiwork!

"This is the Blight," Caelum muttered. His teeth ground against each other as he shifted his grip on the Goddess White Sword. "Fi, analyze it!"

The jewel in its hilt glowed bright blue.

"Yes, Master!"

His eyes saw the blade drawn back to the left, and he quickly ducked down as it lashed forward with much less warning than its weight should have given. He quickly thrust his Goddess Shield forward, meeting the blade - and the shock of the meeting traveled down the Blight's arm, halting it just long enough. Caelum quickly charged forward, slamming his sword into its body once and twice, causing it to pull away; then he raised his blade heavenward, and the holy light raced down the blade before he lashed it forward, the Skyward Strike slamming into the Blight's eye.

It quickly faded into a bright light, flying over Rudania's back and arriving near its head. An orb of flame appeared in its grip, and was hurled forward; Caelum was about to charge the Blight and meet the projectile halfway before Fi's voice yelled, "Master, take cover!" He quickly dove aside, hiding behind one of the arches that lined Rudania's back - and the flame connected with the Divine Beast and exploded, sending flames out in every direction. Once the blast faded, he turned round and resumed his charge at the Blight, landing two, four, six blows before it turned to light and flew over the control unit.

A flame manifested in its hand; and when it was held to the blade of its weapon, the blue light turned red-hot, and a crimson sphere wrapped it.

Fi spoke before he could charge it. "Its barrier will only hurt you; you cannot get near enough before it will kill you!" Caelum quickly came to a stop as it faded out, flying towards a far corner. "It is beginning to draw fire from its surroundings; there will be no way to avoid it!" As the draw began, Caelum could feel the suction around him; he sheathed the Goddess White Sword, and a bomb appeared in his grip as he flung it forward. All the fireproofing in the world wouldn't have kept it intact when it collided with the barrier, and the blast was great enough to strike the Blight within; the barrier faded, though its blade remained heated, and Caelum rushed forward, landing seven blows as it tried to rise.

It drew its blade back across its body, and Caelum stepped back to give him room to defend; when the blade was swung, he thrust his Goddess Shield forward to meet it.

He was not prepared for the blow to continue across its surface, and then come around again; the second blow knocked his shield aside, just barely not destroying it.

And the third blow collided with him undefended, with such force that he could not keep his grip on his sword.

The Goddess White Sword clattered to Rudania's surface as Caelum was launched across its back; he rolled as he hit the ground, scrambling for something to hold onto, and as his moment died out he found himself halfway off the Divine Beast. His connection to Fi was severed without the sword in his hands, and as he attempted to invoke anything - his Clawshots, his whip, his bug net - he found that he was devoid of anything but his shield and Zelda's Sailcloth. The orb of light hovered before him as the Blight reappeared, and it raised its blade skyward in a cruel mockery of his own strikes, with intent to bring it down on his head.

"Combat appropriation complete."

The Blight turned in response to the voice - and promptly received a heavy blow across the face. Caelum was shocked as he saw Fi hovering there, her leg extended after a powerful kick, and she arced into a spin and drove another kick into its face; her body shifted, becoming the Goddess White Sword as it arced into a buzzsaw blow, and the Blight faded into the orb of light, flying across Rudania as Fi dropped low to the Divine Beast.

"Master!"

The whip appeared in Caelum's sword hand, and Fi leapt skyward as her body became the blade again; it impaled itself in Rudania's surface, and he quickly lashed it forward. The glowing orb on the tip closed on the sword, and he managed to pull himself forward... and simultaneously pull the sword back. It quickly faded out, becoming Fi again, and she skidded to a stop behind him as the Blight hurled another orb of flame at them.

Master and sword leapt behind separate arches as it blasted against the surface of the Divine Beast; then the Sacred Bow appeared in Caelum's grip, and he nocked an arrow as he pulled around the arch, drawing it back as far as the string would go and firing it into the Blight's eye. It tumbled to Rudania's back, and Fi soared towards him as he charged forward; she leapt forward, becoming the sword again, and he raised it heavenward as he charged, the Blight trying to rise again.

The Goddess White Sword slammed into its eye, and as it recoiled it became Fi again, draped in the holy light of a Skyward Strike; she arced into a flip with heels extended, and sacred power launched the Blight into the air above the control unit. Malice burst out of its body like geysers struck, and Caelum raised an arm over his eyes as it was consumed with light from the inside, launching Malice into the flames of Death Mountain.

Fi waited until her master could see again; then a powerful surge ripped across her body, and the Goddess White Sword appeared in the air before him, prompting him to catch it before it hit the ground.

"Why didn't you do that when we got separated in Eldin Volcano?" he demanded.

"My apologies, Master," Fi pleaded. "I could not."

He sheathed the sword on his back. "Oh, this oughta be good," he accused, stepping towards the control unit.

"I am unable to act without the presence of a Master," Fi insisted. "While were separated in Eldin, you were too far away for me to come to you; by the time you were near enough, you were already in position to draw the sword, and there was no need for me to act until you had."

The Skyloftian came to a stop before the unit. "...A master?"

"Yes," Fi confirmed. "As the Master Sword exists in multiple eras, so too does an individual fit to be considered a master, which I am bound to serve as instructed by the Goddess."

He scoffed, turning around. "I suppose that's for the best," he admitted. "With something like this Calamity hanging around, I'd rather not be jumping around to deal with it."

Fi floated up to his side as he set his sword hand upon the control unit. The blue light rippled out around his touch in response to the magic on the Triforce of Courage, and as he pulled his hand around the unit started to glow blue.

"Great work, little guy!"

The voice behind them caused them to turn. A Goron stood there, with a veritable mane of white; his body was wrapped in an otherworldly glow, and ethereal flames danced around him as he stood with his arms spread.

The Skyloftian only chuckled, crossing his arms. "I thought I wasn't the little guy," he reprimanded.

"But I can consider you a little guy," Daruk reprimanded, aiming one finger at him. "Isn't that right? The way your sword's been talkin', I wasn't quite wrong when I first saw you, there."

Fi bowed her head. "The individual you mistook my Master for; his name is Link."

Daruk chuckled. "And so is your master's," he accused.

"You got me there," Link admitted.

"So what are you doin' here?" Daruk asked. "What's you dealin' with Rudania doin' for the Link I know?"

Link sighed. "Malice has got him," he replied. "It's getting power from different places in Hyrule. We deal with the Blight here, and our friends take on the ones elsewhere."

A sigh from the Goron. "But he is alive."

"He's alive," Link confirmed. "And we want to keep him that way. So why don't you go lend him a hand?"

"Me!?"

"Oh, come on." The Skyloftian spread his hands. "Big name around Death Mountain is 'Lord Daruk'. They carved a hill in Goron City to look like you with a kid hanging off your arm. The power that fueled our cannonball is called Daruk's Protection. I figure, that means you can keep his body safe until his mind is the one moving it."

Daruk looked awkward. "Well, yeah," he admitted, "but I can't just up and leave Rudania! I'm a Champion! I've gotta have him in position to light Ganon up. I can't just leave it in the crater of Death Mountain!"

Link shook his head. "You don't have to," he insisted. "Fi?"

The sword spirit nodded. "With the termination of the Blight, I have appropriated full control of the Divine Beast," she confirmed. "I have scanned the aura of the Blight, and recognized a similar source in Hyrule Castle. When that presence manifests, we will be capable of initiating an assault from the Divine Beast."

"There you go," Link prompted. "You go lend your hero a hand. We'll keep Rudania company."

Daruk chuckled. "Well, I'll be gravel."


The magma around the Divine Beast shifted.

Rudania burst out of Death Mountain, launching lava about so violently that anyone without a good view would swear the volcano had erupted by the earth's own whims. His feet slammed to the rim of the crater, and Rudania's head popped out of the peak, roaring as he did so. Once both forelegs had a solid grip on the slope, his head aimed towards the castle in the center of Hyrule; after a moment of shifting, it opened up in six segments, revealing a single long protrusion that extended - around which appeared a menacing crimson light.

It blasted forward, slamming into Hyrule Castle - for now the Divine Beast had a lock on Calamity Ganon.

Link stood there at the ridge of the Divine Beast's neck, looking over Hyrule between the segments of his head. The land looked amazing in this era - a sharp contrast to the violent wilderness of the Surface in his own time. Fi hovered at his side, her expression unreadable as ever; yet after a moment, she spoke, her voice oddly solemn.

"Master... I have something to report."

Her tone drew Link's attention. "What is it?"

Fi's gaze was on the castle. "Per your instruction, I analyzed the Malice present in the Blight while you were in battle. The essence of Malice is similar to a powerful presence I felt connected to the Demon Lord, Ghirahim. The presence you have fought in the Sealed Grounds, three times now."

"You mean Demise," Link observed.

"Yes," Fi confirmed. "I..." She hesitated - for the first time of which Link was aware. "I theorize that Demise must have left a legacy after his ultimate defeat in our era, in the same way that Hylia has left a legacy in the one you call Zelda. Which means that Ganondorf - and, consequently, Calamity Ganon - is... the reincarnated form of Demise."

"No..."

Terror wrought Link, and he turned his way back to the castle. "Then..." He fell to his knees at the forefront of Rudania. "Then, what we do in our era... It's all for nothing..."

Fi bowed her head. "I apologize, Master." Her voice carried an uncharacteristic sorrow to it. "We are destined to forget the matter once Lana and Cia have mended the bleeding of eras. I did not mean for you to return to our era with a sorrowful heart."

Link closed his eyes, tears starting to well up.

"However, if my theory is correct, there is another conclusion I must draw." Fi raised her gaze as Link turned to her. "The presence of an individual known as Link in other eras has always been tied to the essence that Lana identified as the spirit of the hero. The same essence that I have identified within you, Master. Every Link of which I am aware has existed in an era in which an individual named Ganondorf appears. Prior to Ganondorf's rise, Hyrule is at peace - and after his termination, peace returns to Hyrule. Which means that, even after your eventual death in our era, your spirit has returned to put an end to Ganon."

She turned to her master. "What you have done in our era is not in vain. Your legacy carries on through the ages."

"Fi..."

Chapter Text

Sheikah Slate denied.

"Oh, dammit," Lana muttered, glancing down at her tome.

Cia pulled the Triforce of Power away from the pedestal at the Divine Beast's entrance. "I thought you said you'd grafted the magic to our Triforce too," she reprimanded.

Lana let the tome fall open. "I did," she insisted. "If it's not letting us in, the others aren't letting the Links in either. Hold on..."

A powerful magic danced around the golden triangle suspended over Cia's hand, and the entry stone loosed a nasty crackle like falling shards from a crystal ball, echoing out of the image displayed in another. Sheikah Slate denie... Sheikah Sla... Sheik... Sheiiiiiii.... Sheisheisheisheisheishei...

"What are you doing?" Cia demanded.

"Running a few corrective spells on the faux-Slate magic," Lana replied. "...At once."

Sheikah Slate authenticated. The magic circle under the White Sorceress lit up, causing her to step away before it tried to warp her unintentionally. Travel gate enabled.

"We're in Vah Naboris," Lana sighed, a smile rising on her face.

And who is 'we'?

The female voice echoing around them caused Cia to turn her gaze to Naboris' underside. "Is that you, Champion Urbosa?" she called.

Urbosa seemed surprised. You know me?

"We know everyone," the Dark Sorceress replied. "My name is Cia. This is Lana. We're here to lend you a hand."

Lend me a hand? Lana could practically see Urbosa's disapproving look in her mind's eye. How do you mean to do that?

"Your killer," Cia replied. "Ganon's piece of work. It's contributing to some trouble with a friend of yours - a friend we're here to help. So we'll spin Naboris' cylinders a bit, pop the terminals, and when the Malice shows itself, we're gonna show it what we can do."

Those are not the words of someone who's been reading books, Urbosa accused. You've done this before.

"We've seen this done before," Lana corrected. "This is our first time doing it ourselves."

Urbosa hummed thoughtfully, the sound echoing around them. This friend of mine... his name wouldn't happen to be Link, would it?

"That's him," Lana confirmed.

What's happening to him? Urbosa demanded.

"It's gonna be a long story."

It's gonna be a long job.


Naboris was indeed a good bit more complex than the other Divine Beasts, and 'long job' summed up their task perfectly. Lana, not wanting to get on the bad side of someone like Lady Urbosa, was glad to give her the details she wanted while she and Cia were hunting down Naboris' terminals.

So, you two, Urbosa asked as they left the last terminal, you've seen every fight that Ganon has been part of?

"I think so, yeah," Lana admitted. "And every time, the spirit of the hero reemerges, and returns peace to Hyrule. Ganon never wins - not for long."

If the Calamity surviving a hundred years is 'not for long', the Champion accused, I'd hate to see what happens if he gets a good victory in.

Cia shook her head. "The Land of Hylia would be washed away in ruin," she insisted. "Darkness would plague the world. Anything that opposed him would be consumed and fed to monsters - or transformed into a monster itself."

Urbosa sighed. Well, I'm glad you're here to stop it, she admitted. Even if I don't remember it, I'm grateful you've come to help us. All of us.

The sorceresses had arrived at the main control unit by now. This is it. Are you ready?

Cia held out the Triforce of Power. "Absolutely not."

Lana was quick with her hand; the moment the Malice reacted to the magic she had grafted to the Triforce, her hand slammed down over Cia's, letting the golden triangle fade as the darkness surged. A blast of fire at her left side cued her summoning gate appearing, and her hand swung into a burst of water on her right as her spear rose up on that side; Cia turned round with her scepter in hand, and Lana held her book out before her as streams of light gathered away from the control unit.

A hilt on its right side, from which emerged a hooked blade of solid light.

A brace on its left side, from which emerged a broad circle of like construct.

The crimson mane of Ganon was all that was recognizable on the inhuman face that appeared between shield and sword, with a single glowing blue eye that reverberated in the sourceless scream that followed its solidification.

"Alright," Lana mused. "This should be easy. We can drive away Ganondorf with two swords, we can take on a Blight with one."

"And a shield," Cia noted.

"Well, yeah," Lana admitted, "but Darknuts have shields, and they're easy enough."

"Don't you need to get behind those?" Cia argued.

"Not if you wait for it to swing," Lana countered.

"This thing doesn't swing as slow as a-"

"Not helping!"

The Blight shot forward, zigzagging left and right as it approached; Lana hurled her tome skyward and braced her spear against both arms, catching the Blight's hooked blade against the shaft. Cia quickly wrapped her flail around the hook; the power of solid-light Sheikah weapons came from their light weight allowing the user to put a lot of momentum behind them, but had little cutting power if they were at a stop, and the Dark Sorceress quickly pulled the weapon away as her light half directed the summoning gate forward.

Her tome landed in her hand as light covered the rings, and a Manhandla stalk lunged out and started launching rapid-fire seeds at the Blight. Its shield quickly deteriorated to nothing, and the last seed of the barrage slammed into the Blight's eye as Cia released its blade, knocking it to the lower level; Lana quickly leapt after it spear-first, landing with a rough roll as she did so, and Cia leapt after her with a few swings of her scepter. The Blight quickly rose, zipping away, and it raised its blade over its head and hurled orbs of lightning down at them.

Lana let her tome fall open, generating walls of light with which the electricity collided ineffectively; Cia waited for the next toss and hopped atop one, leaping at the Blight with her scepter raised. The flail arced around the spike atop its masklike head, and she dragged the Blight to the ground; Lana's summoning gate quickly rose off the ground as a Dodongo dropped out, charging forward with a surge of flame and colliding with the Blight unhindered; the White Sorceress quickly swept her tome forward, causing the walls of light to surge forward and knock the Blight into the air.

It quickly zipped forward while Lana was undefended, landing a trio of spinning blows that sent her flying; this left it wide-open for her dark half to attack it from behind, slamming her scepter into its back before lashing her flail around its blade. To her displeasure, its shield had regenerated by this point, and the wrap-around was interrupted by virtue of colliding with the shield as the Blight turned; she managed to parry a few back-and-forth blows from its hooked blade before it landed a solid blow that sent her skidding back.

Cia quickly directed her tumble out of the way as a Ghoma popped out of Lana's summoning gate; the beam of light slammed into its back and seemed to continued through it, and it turned round as Lana slammed her spear to the ground. The shot of lightning it launched was vaulted over, and Lana landed in front of the Blight and shot forward with her spear in both hands, running the Blight through - whereupon it quickly faded to light and hovered above the control unit.

It raised its blade skyward - and lighting shot down from nowhere, covering its body in electric charge.

"This just got a whole lot harder," Lana muttered.

The Blight swept its blade down, and spikes of steel materialized in the air, dropping down around the sorceresses and causing them to leap away; then voltage slammed into each spike in turn, shattering them. Lana quickly directed her summoning gate to hover before her, and as another sequence of spikes dropped down, a miniature Argorok flew out of the gate, grasping one in its claws and yanking it out of the ground. As the voltage started to gather around the spike, the Argorok slammed it into the Blight, and its own electricity knocked it out of the air.

Cia quickly lashed her flail around its neck while it was lacking in position to defend itself, pulling hard to strangle it; then Lana shot forward, the edges of her summoning gate clattering against its shield to deteriorate it. By the time she was close enough to strike, there was no guard to stop her from slamming her spear into the Blight, and it quickly zipped away across the battlefield, leaving the two sorceresses side by side as it hurled a shot of lightning towards them. Its shield regenerated with a speed it hadn't before, and it promptly shot forward again; the spear in Lana's hands faded, becoming a broad wooden shield, and she braced it before herself and Cia as the Blight slammed multiple eletrically-charged blows into it, back and forth.

The Dark Sorceress lashed her flail around its blade again - realizing too late how conductive her weapon was. The charge raced along her weapon and into her hand, and she gave a scream of pain, forced to release the weapon as the Blight zipped away. Lana quickly directed her summoning gate between herself and the Blight's next charge, causing its blows to clatter ineffectively as she dashed to Cia's side. "Are you alright?"

"Focus on that thing!" Cia insisted. "We don't have time!"

Lana quickly turned, and the gate shifted position as another Manhandla stalk emerged from it; the Blight shot forward between the rapid shots and sliced the stalk in two - with just enough momentum to throw the scepter off its blade. Its position changed again as a Dodongo emerged, and flames surged out of its maw; the solid-light shield tanked the flames without trouble, and a trio of electrical shots were thrown into the dragon's mouth, causing it to volt away from the inside. A Ghoma emerged from the gate, but its beam was easily evaded, allowing the Blight to drive the hooked blade into its eye, and the arachnid was thrown aside with ease; the miniature Argorok emerged again, slamming its talons into the Blight's shield; this shattered its guard, but connecting with the Malice had the lightning it was charged with race through the dragon, causing it to fall to the ground.

That left the Blight uncharged as Cia hooked her flail around its blade again, then she arced around it, binding its armaments behind its head - and leaving its eye exposed for Lana to leap towards, spear at the ready.

"Go back to Ganon!"

The blade of her spear slammed into its eye, and the Blight's weapons faded out as it lifted into the air, writhing uncontrollably. It phased through the floor and found itself above the main control unit as Malice burst from it like geysers struck. Cia and Lana made sure they were facing away as light consumed it from the inside, shattering the body of Malice and sending it in all directions.

"That could've gone better," Lana sighed.

"It could've gone worse," Cia argued.

The two of them stepped up to the control unit, and Cia held out the Triforce of Power, letting the control unit react to it; then she closed it in her grip again as the unit glowed bright blue. Light footsteps from nearby drew their attention, and Lana chuckled as she saw the spectral form of the Gerudo Champion stepping down from Naboris' side.

"You two would make fine Champions yourselves," she praised.

"Oh, no," Lana panted. "One war is quite enough."

Cia smiled. "One Blight down," she mused. "Three more to go. But we're just hoping our friends can handle those ones, so we're gonna have to ask you a favour."

Urbosa nodded. "Whatever you need."

"Go to Link," Cia told her. "Keep him safe. Rain down hell on anything that tries to hurt him."

"I think I can do that," Urbosa admitted. "But that'll leave you two to get Naboris in position. And if the Calamity shows up before the other Blights are down-"

Lana smirked. "Give Ganon what's coming to him."

"Exactly."

"That's a trade," Lana agreed. "Let's get going."


The sandstorm raging around the Divine Beast halted.

Naboris's slow, deliberate march had come to a halt when her feet had been blasted; now, she resumed walking across the Gerudo Desert - but now, rather than wandering blindly, she had a destination. In time, Naboris arrived at the small plateau that divided Gerudo Desert from Central Hyrule, her legs retracting so that she could rest upon it. Her horns angled forward, extending to bare threatening blue segments - between which appeared a menacing crimson light.

It blasted forward, slamming into Hyrule Castle - for now the Divine Beast had a lock on Calamity Ganon.

Cia and Lana stood upon Naboris' head; now the White Sorceress sat down, setting her tome against her legs as she reached up and stretched her arms. Cia only giggled, just lightly, at the carefree aura she gave off despite their situation; after a moment, the Dark Sorceress turned towards the community in the center of the desert.

"...This is beautiful, you know?"

Lana turned to her dark half. "What do you mean?"

"Do you remember what the Gerudo were like," Cia asked, "in the Era of the Hero of TIme?

"Yeah," Lana confirmed. "All hostile towards Hylians. They blindly followed Ganondorf in his ambition. I mean, Nabooru was the only exception. No wonder they were driven out of Hyrule after his era."

Cia nodded, turning to her light half. "But they've come back by this era," she observed. "And now, they're so different. They only keep men out because guys would make the younglings in a race of women uncomfortable. But they're on good terms with the other races. They welcome outsiders. They don't even imprison men who sneak in, they just kick him out and leave it at that. It's... It's beautiful."

Lana bowed her head. "I never realized that before," she admitted.

"I think it was Nabooru," Cia mused. "After the Hero of Time put an end to him, Nabooru would have been in position to take over the Gerudo - on both ends. She must have been the one to change their ways. And now, how many thousand years later, they're keeping her ways."

"Nabooru..." Lana let the name roll on her tongue for a moment, turning back towards the castle; then a thought struck her mind, and her gaze fell to the Divine Beast below her. "Naboris," she realized. "The Divine Beast was named after Nabooru. Hyrule never forgot about her - when they made the Divine Beasts, they named them after the friends of the Hero of Time. Even the one who was closest to Ganondorf."

"Yeah," Cia agreed. "I think they did. They never continued what Ganondorf did - they would rather follow his traitor than live up to his legacy."

A long quiet draped the air above the Divine Beast.

It was broken when the Dark Sorceress gave a scream of pain.

Chapter Text

The Dark Sorceress' scream sent pure terror racing through Lana; she shot to her feet as her dark half fell to her knees, her scepter clattering against the Divine Beast. "Cia!"

"No... No!" Cia's voice was wrought with horror. "No, we made sure! We made sure!

"What's going on!?"

Cia shook her head. "It was dead," she gasped. "For a split moment, the Malice was inert. The Blights are dead! The Beasts are free!" She winced. "The Champions are all with him... but he made it to the Sanctum!"

The White Sorceress realized what had happened, and her gaze turned to Hyrule Castle in the distance.

"It's awake... Ganon!"


What more horrors would he be made to endure?

Link was aware of everything his body did as the Malice dragged him towards Hyrule Castle. The monsters refused to combat him, instead fleeing from the sight of a hero consumed by darkness - because his body was the most feared thing in Hyrule. The Master Sword rested on his back, trapped within its sheath - its power to repel evil blunted by its own containment.

He had seen the Calamity rise when he reached the castle gates; and though Zelda's light had managed to contain it again, he knew she wouldn't have the strength to do so a third time. The Guardians left him alone as his body was forced to march - slowly, for he was fighting it, but not slowly enough.

As he stepped into the Sanctum of Hyrule Castle, the Malice seemed to separate from him - just for a moment. He felt it part from his skin, felt the ominous light leave his eyes; his hand went for his sword as he stumbled forward... and that was his undoing. The cocoon hanging in the middle of the Sanctum shook in response to his presence, and the darkness clung to him once again, tearing a scream from his lips as the evil crimson glow returned to his face.

And in his mind, he could hear Zelda... and he could hear her sobs as she realized what had happened to him.

Powerful, dangerous blue light ripped out of the cocoon like a Guardian's shots, searing across the surface beneath him and tearing it to fragility as Link stumbled forward. The cocoon burst, and from it emerged a figure more evil than anything he had ever known; that he knew even with only the faintest glimpse he caught before the floor of the sanctum shattered, and the two of them fell into a pit lined with Sheikah stone - the foundation of Hyrule Castle, and the sole reason it had survived a hundred years of Calamity.

The Malice that wrapped him pulled him closer, making to merge with the Calamity; and that might have been the only reason he survived. Without his own ability to move, he could not trigger his Sheikah Slate - he could not deploy his paraglider - and so, when he was tight to the Calamity's body as they landed, Ganon cushioned his fall, just barely enough for him to survive, and he tumbled to the floor, landing at the edge of the battlefield in which they had landed. Through the blood that hazed his vision, he could see Calamity Ganon in full - a writhing mess of Malice, moving on spindly legs. Three thin arms carried varied sorts of blades; a greater one held a massive crusher of solid light; a long lance emerged from another; and one ended in a long cannon that was quickly levelled on his motionless form.

A crimson light centered on him, and he felt certain he would meet his end at that blast of light, just as he had been about to one hundred years ago.

Yet the moment that blast emerged from the cannon, something stood between it and him - an orange glow that draped his body in protection.

"Oh, no you don't!"

A figure appeared as the shot connected - a Goron with a wild mane of bright white, draped in a sash of goddess azure. The light returned on the path it had come, slamming into the Calamity and throwing it back, and the Goron reached for his chin as though impressed with the flames of the impact before turning towards the Hylian Champion. "You alright, little guy?"

Daruk!?

Zelda's panicked outburst was immediately followed by an angry screech from Calamity Ganon - the only warning they received before that massive, crushing blade was raised heavenward. It began to fall... and slowed, and then halted, for a fierce updraft was emerging from nowhere, holding the blade back with wind alone - and only when the Calamity started to move its blade away did its source appear - a dark-feathered Rito, draped in a similar sash.

"What's the point of all those drills if you can't even fight a wad of gunk!?"

Revali!

The Calamity turned back around, readying its three bladed arms to strike at them from all directions. A light huff from both of the Champions cued a woman's battle cry, and lightning rained down in the chamber, causing Ganon to slump to the floor as another figure stepped over Link - a Gerudo dressed for battle, her skirt of the same goddess azure as their sashes.

"Come on, then," she reprimanded. "I want a voe, not a vehvi who thinks he can for a day!"

Urbosa?

A shining, pale light broke through the blood that pierced his vision, and a finned hand swept across his vision; then the Malice that draped him burst out, pooling limp on the ground, and as Link rose he saw a red-scaled Zora draped in a familiar sash, with a determined expression on her face that he knew, in his heart, he had seen before.

"No matter when, or how bad the wound."

Mipha...!

Link got to his feet, and the four Champions at his sides turned to the Calamity as it started to rise against the voltage.

"Ten thousand years ago," Mipha said firmly. "The light of the Divine Beasts ravaged the Calamity..."

"The sword that seals the darkness struck him down..." Revali added.

"And the heavenly power of the goddess Hylia sealed him away," Urbosa concluded.

"An encore," Daruk called, "one hundred years in the making!"

The Master Sword was drawn from Link's back, and he swept it to the side as the power to repel evil shone on the blade; and the four pilots to the Divine Beasts raised their hands skyward.

"NOW!"


Atop a mountain in Lanayru, the Hero of Time held the mask of the ferocious god upon his face; now, seeing the Malice surge in Hyrule Castle, he lowered the mask with a smirk.

"Well, Ruta? Why don't you show the Calamity what kind of fury has a woman scorned!"

He raised the Ocarina of Time heavenward; and Divine Beast Vah Ruta fired.


Upon a perch in Tabatha, the Sacred Beast stood in human form, with the Twilight Princess at his side; when they saw the darkness rise, they knew it was time to live up to their promise.

"Alright. What do you say we let Medoh live up to his name?"

"I like the way you think, beastie!"

She snapped the fingers of her hair; and Divine Beast Vah Medoh fired.


At the ridge of Death Mountain in Eldin, the chosen hero of Hylia stood ready as the spirit of the Goddess Sword scanned the castle; and the moment the Calamity woke, she acted.

"I have confirmed a spike in the presence of Calamity Ganon. Begin assault."

"Understood!"

He lashed forth a hand that shone with the Triforce; and Divine Beast Vah Rudania fired.


On the edge of the Gerudo Desert wasteland, sorceresses of light and dark had recovered from the shock of what they'd witnessed - and they knew what they had to do to change it.

"Now. Shall we let Ganon know what his people think of him, after so long?"

"You always were my better half!"

Their hands joined upon a dark scepter; and Divine Beast Vah Naboris fired.


The attacks intersected atop Hyrule Castle; the blasts converged in the sanctum, where Ganon's cocoon had lay, and the light of the Divine Beasts shone with a radiance visible even from the depths of the castle where Link stood - side by side with his companions from one hundred years ago, with him even after their deaths. His glare was focused on the Calamity as the force of the attacks rained down, battering him to oblivion; and he was ready to deal the final blow, the moment the attacks faded and that Calamity made to retaliate.

In due time, the blasts faded, and Link charged forward, the Master Sword raised above his head as Ganon raised its gaze.

The glow in its eyes dimmed.

The weapons of solid light it brandished faded out.

And there was no resistance as the blade of evil's bane slammed into Calamity Ganon, and a powerful light surged out of its body in all directions, Malice bursting across the chamber; a golden glow manifested where the center of Canon's body had stood, and the Champions gathered there watched as Princess Zelda of Hyrule emerged from that light, falling gently to the ground.

Chapter Text

"...our..."

"...n your eye..."

"Open your eyes!"

"Wake up, Zelda!"

The voices of the Champions pulled her out of unconsciousness; Zelda started as she woke, gazing up at the faces around her. Link had caught her as she had descended from the Calamity; Mipha, Urbosa, Revali, and Daruk were gathered around them, their figures glowing and surrounded by ethereal flames - spirits in the land of Hyrule.

Mipha loosed a relieved sigh. "You're alive," she sighed.

"Don't scare us like that," Daruk reprimanded. "Link was about to start screaming!"

Link shot him a glare as his face flooded with crimson.

"Oh, don't go playing tough now," Revali snapped. "I saw your words ready."

Zelda quickly shot to her feet from his arms, causing everyone to start. "Something wrong?" Urbosa asked.

"Ganon."

That one word - that one name - had everyone panicking. "What?" Revali demanded. "No, I saw it. He was dead. He exploded. You're here, that has to mean he's finished!"

"He was finished," Zelda corrected. "For a split moment, he was dead. He let it happen. The Malice that had captured Link - it brought him back from the brink! He's still out there...!" Her voice was wrought with panic. "He's still out there, and I can't hold him back!"

"Hold him back?" Urbosa echoed, not understanding. "What...?"

"I was... I was able to weaken him," the princess explained, panicking. "Just slightly - just barely - but it was enough! It was stopping him from fighting at full strength! But he couldn't release me so long as he was alive!"

"That's why he let himself die!" Daruk realized. "He gave up so he could let you go!"

"And then the Malice brought him back," Zelda cried. "He's gathering in Hyrule Field! We... We can't stop him from here! Hyrule... Hyrule is-!"

"Zelda, stop!"

Mipha's hands closed on her shoulders, and the action - the feeling of her incorporeal form making contact with her flesh - was enough to silence her rambling. "We're not finished here," she insisted. "We can still act, but you can't afford to be hasty! If you try to stop him with this much fright, you'll get yourself killed!"

Her words caused the panic to fade out. The princess took a series of deep breaths, and once Mipha was sure she was no longer panicking she pulled her hands away. "Revali," she asked, "can your gales get them out of here?"

"If you have something to catch the wind," he confirmed.

Link held out his hands, and a sound echoed from the Sheikah Slate on his hip; the paraglider he had received from King Rhoam materialized in his grip.

Revali seemed bitter. "Oh, now you have one."

Urbosa nodded. "Alright, then. Once we're out of here, we charge straight into the field. Hopefully, they'll have kept the Calamity contained until-"

"They?" Zelda demanded. "Wha- What do you mean, they!?"

"Um."

"Er..."

"Uh..."

The synchronized hesitation of the champions only caused Link to shrug; he had no idea what they were talking about either. Daruk was the only one who didn't try to hide anything, shaking his head.

"You didn't think we got those Divine Beasts up and running again on our own, did you?"


Lana smirked as she pulled her hand away from Cia's scepter, the blasts fading out. "There we go," she prompted. "I could feel the Malice separate from him." She opened her tome. "Link strikes the Calamity down, and the Dark Beast rises in Hyrule Field. Zelda bestows upon him the Bow of Light, and once it's on the verge of death, Zelda manages to break free. Long live the-"

"No."

Cia's gasp drew her attention. "What now?"

"It's already dying," Cia murmured. "It... no!" She stumbled back. "The Malice...! The Malice from the Era of the Slate! It went dormant until he was dead enough to release Zelda - and when he burst, it merged with him!"

"The Dark Beast," Lana realized. "If Zelda's not in there-"

"Then he's invulnerable."

Silent realization; then Lana hurled a blast of magic off the head of Vah Naboris, opening a portal into which the twin sorceresses leapt.


Sacre was the first to appear at the gathering of darkness that had appeared in Hyrule Field; a storm of Twilight particles crossed Hyrule from the spire of Rito Village, and he stumbled out of the warm - his entire body wracked with pain. "Ordona's horns!" he growled as Midna rose from his shadow. "You weren't kidding when you said it was gonna hurt!"

"I'm sorry!"

A blast drew their attention north; Death Mountain was erupting with a ferocity unlike the mountain in their era. A sound like wingbeats drew Sacre's attention east, and he was surprised to see Fierce flying towards them on what looked like angel wings, the Fierce Deity's Mask still hooked on his hip.

"Where did you learn to do that?" Sacre demanded as he landed.

"It's an ocarina song," Fierce dismissed. "What is this!?"

"We don't know!" Midna insisted. "Maybe Fi's got an idea, but I have no idea how they're gonna-"

A yell of pain drew their attention as they saw Caelum flying towards them - trailing smoke. A white cloth emerged from under the collar of his tunic, and he gave a shreik as his fall was slowed - painfully quickly, jolting somethin in his arms. His grip on the Sailcloth faltered in his left hand, and he started to fall towards the earth. Midna quickly lashed her hair forward, providing a somewhat-effective cushion off which he tumbled to the grass, and Fi emerged from his blade as he got up. "Are you alright, Master?"

"Don't worry about me!" Caelum insisted, marching towards the gathering. "What is this!?"

"We don't know!" Sacre yelled.

"We don't know, Brother!" Fierce echoed.

Midna turned to the sword spirit. "Fi, can you read anything on this thing?" she asked.

Fi turned her gaze to the swirling shadows - and gasped, pulling back, prompting Caelum to start. "It appears to be an amalgam of Malice," she replied, with a terror that was foreign in her voice. "But... the power of this gathering is... is incomparable to any Malice detected in this era prior."

"Oh, Farore," Fierce gasped.

"Where are Cia and Lana?" Caelum demanded.

A glow from behind him caused them to turn as a portal appeared, similar to those through which they had arrived in this era - and from it emerged the sorceresses, like Demise had heard his name. "You need to get out of here!" Lana yelled.

"What is this!?" Sacre demanded.

Cia gulped. "Hatred and Malice Incarnate," she replied. "This is... This is supposed to be here. It was supposed to be the final opponent of the hero in this era."

Fierce stepped forward. "Then we need to deal with it!" he objected.

"No, wait," Caelum protested. "If it's his opponent, then he's supposed to deal with it!"

"He can't!" Lana interjected. "We can't! Zelda's supposed to be here!"

All three green-clad heroes turn. "What!?"

"The Zelda of this era carries a sealing power that can fight the Calamity," Cia said hurriedly. "It was holding her captive, and she used that against it. But it was dead - and the Malice that bled over brought it back from the brink! Now it's..."

A heavy footfall drew everyone's attention, and they turned to see the massive, boar-esque figure that loomed there, taller than anything man-made in Hyrule - in this era, or any of theirs.

"...It's invulnerable," Cia forced out. "It's indestructible. Ganon has... he's become immortal."

A rage exuded from Fierce as she said that. "No," he mandated. "He can't be. He can't be. Ganon cannot be immortal!" He whirled round. "We can't just run! We have to do something!"

"We can't!" Lana cried. "Nothing can get through that much concentrated Malice! We'll die if we try to fight it without-"

"Then we'll die!"

Fierce's yell shocked Lana to silence, and he glanced at his fellow heroes, tears welling in his eyes. "This is Hyrule," he said firmly, his voice cracking. "Different era, different flow, it doesn't change anything. This is the kingdom where I was born. This is the world I grew up in! I saw it die once before! I refuse to see it die again!" He turned round to face the Dark Beast that loomed there. "If Hyrule survives sixty seconds, thirty seconds, ten seconds longer because this thing is trying to crush me first...!"

He raised his hand, and the Triforce of Courage shone on the back of his grip.

"Then I'm not afraid to die facing the barrel of a cannon!"

Sacre stepped up at his side. "Agreed."

Caelum stepped up on his other. "Agreed."

Midna flew up between them. "Agreed."

Fi nodded firmly. "Agreed."

Lana saw now, something that they had failed to see in their era, something they had failed to see as they watched the ages - what the spirit of the hero truly carried. It wasn't just to be deserving of Courage, or to draw the Master Sword from its pedestal; the true strength in the hero's virtue was the willingness to put aside all else for the world they cared about. To set their lives on the line instead of making their own survival count.

Was she really going to rob them of that?

Her hand closed tightly on her tome, and magic lit up in her hand.

"...Agreed."

Cia realized what she was about to do an instant too late.

"No-! LANA!"

The White Sorceress shot forward, hurling her tome skyward; and everyone's gaze was drawn as she leapt after it. In the same instant the tome landed in her hand, her foot pushed off the air, sending her still higher; and she had the Dark Beast's attention as she dove forward, her body lit up in a power altogether different from the sealing power it had discarded.

The magic of a Guardian of Time.

Her body faded out of this era, just long enough for her to enter the period where the Malice remained - then she returned, and Ganon shook as his power faced an unfamiliar suppression which it was not prepared to fight.


There was a horse at the entrance to the Sanctum.

Link had not ridden him here, but he had equipped the steed. He had met the stallion not far from the Dueling Peaks, and when his memories returned to him he had realized this horse was the spitting image of his steed from a hundred years ago. And he had proven to have speed comparable, or even exceeding - so when he and Zelda emerged from the Sanctum, and the steed was waiting there, he quickly prompted the princess to mount him as he did the same, and once they were seated he spurred the horse to gallop, riding out of Hyrule Castle as fast as his hooves would take them, flanked by the spirits of the Champions.

He refused to let a power, gathering behind him, distract him from his ride - not until Zelda reached forward, holding something before him. It was a bow - a brilliant, shining bow like a crescent moon, its bowstring almost faded like a comet's trail, glowing with a power beyond even that of the Master Sword in the face of Malice. "Here," Zelda insisted. "Take it."

"What is that?" Mipha asked.

"Hylia's sealing power," Zelda replied, "concentrated into a weapon the hero can carry. Arrows of Light will manifest when the string is drawn. Only a direct blow to the core of Ganon's being can weaken him enough for me to seal him away, as he now is."

Link accepted the bow, gripping it firmly in his left hand as he held onto the saddle in his right - and he only hoped that they would reach Ganon while they still had a Hyrule to save.


 

"What just...?" Midna held a hand over her heart, feeling it beating wildly. "What did she just do?"

"She's entered the Dark Beast," Cia gasped. "She's taking Zelda's place. She's going... She's going to hold back the Malice! You fool!" Tears began to flow from her eyes. "You don't have that kind of power! You can't endure that! You won't survive the day!"

A realization crossed the five who meant to divert the Calamity's attention - and Fi was the one who vocalized their realization.

"Then we have a limited time to act."

Fierce pulled the mask from his hip, slamming it to his face; and Sacre fell forward as his body was draped in Twilight. Hylia's Chosen drew the Goddess White Sword as the changes crossed his fellow heroes; the Fierce Deity slammed his hands down as his helix-bladed sword manifested in it; and the Sacred Beast howled heavenward as Midna dropped down on his back, understanding passing among them with the four words she uttered.

"Let's raise some Twilight!"

The wolf charged forward, and the Twili gripped tight to his fur as Fi turned to the other two. "Sacre and Midna will draw Ganon's attention," she told them quickly. "Fierce, Caelum, circle the Calamity from the side!" As the two heroes charged to the Dark Beast's left; "Lana's power should open brief gaps in the Malice. The holy power of your swords should be able to strike through the gap and wound the Calamity. Do not hesitate!"

Sacre and Midna had Ganon's attention; as they rushed forward the Dark Beast opened its maw, and sheer power seemed to gather in it. The size of the beast left no doubt in Midna's mind that its blasts could reach clear across Hyrule Field, and she saw only one way to dodge this thing and keep its attention.

"We're gonna try and jump its tusks!" she warned Sacre.

Guide me!

She shot forward off his back, hovering over its right side, and the wolf quickly leapt, with all the power of the sacred beast, as a beam of concentrated power surged from Ganon's maw. The blast slammed into the earth below it and quickly raced forward, and Sacre could feel the heat radiating off the beam as it missed him by inches; he landed on Ganon's tusk and immediately tumbled back, causing Midna to dive after him and catch him before he could hit the ground.

That darkness is too strong, Sacre told her. I can't stay on it!

The outburst of power from its blast had the Dark Beast too weak to fight Lana's power, and three glowing points rose on its left side - interlocking rings of light that swirled over the Malice. Fierce and Caelum already had a clear shot; the Goddess White Sword was raised, and blue force quickly lit up on its blade as Fierce hurled discs towards the first point. The first two missed, but the third stuck clear; Caelum launched his Skyward Strike at the next one as Fierce launched at the last. Caelum's aim was significantly better than the ferocious god's wild swings, but the end result was the same - all three points were struck, and Ganon recoiled from the blows.

"Circle around behind it!" Fi instructed. "Do not get within range of its attacks!"

They charged around as Ganon tried to turn; the Fused Shadows quickly manifested around Midna as she lashed her hair forward, bloody pink strands lunging into Twilight portals and emerging around the nearest tusk. The Twilight Princess cried out in pain as the strands locked around it, but still she found the strength to pull on the Dark Beast, causing it to direct its gaze back to them; she quickly withdrew her hair and faded the Fused Shadows before landing on Sacre's back. "I have no idea how you handle Ordon goats!" she told the Ordonian.

Just guide me for the next jump!

"Are you sure!?" Midna demanded, even as power welled in Ganon's maw.

She received only a growl in response, and she quickly shot forward, rising over its left side to distract them from the attackers arriving at its right. He leapt forward, and when the Dark Beast tried to adjust the angle of its attack he could feel the fur on his hind leg singing from the glancing contact. Midna quickly moved into position for another jump, and Sacre managed to ignore the pain in his landing just long enough to leap beneath Ganon while its attack was still fading out.

Three more points rose on its right side as the power exhumed; Fierce took aim this time while Caelum was charging his Skyward Strike, launching his disc only a moment before Caelum did. To his displeasure, the Dark Beast moved, causing both attacks to missed; Fierce groaned and resumed his wild swings as Caelum prepared another Skyward strike, blasting the fourth and the fifth within four swings each before the Skyward Strike collided with the sixth, and Ganon recoiled from the strikes colliding.

"It's growing weaker," Fi informed them. Then; "It's turning towards us!"

The Twilight Princess didn't dare try to turn Ganon around again; she and Sacre were already busy dodging its footfalls as it turned to face Fierce and Caelum. They had no chance to divert the Dark Beast before it readied its next blow; the blast surged down and raced forward, causing the two swordsmen to leap away - and the next gap in the Malice appeared in Ganon's underside, immediately above Sacre's head.

Midna, hit that!

She didn't need invoke the Fused Shadows for this; only a fraction of her ancestors' magic was enough for her to shift her hair to bladed strands, and with a target at point blank range, that was all she needed; the attack surged forward at once, slamming into the gap, and the heavenly power that she had received in their era was more than enough to strike at Ganon. She quickly pulled back as Sacre charged out from under the Dark Beast, charging towards their fellow heroes - and the skies seemed to darken, or so they were convinced when a brilliant light emerged from atop the Divine Beast.

Its hide of Malice split open, revealing a massive eye within.

"What the hell is that!?" Midna demanded.

"A concentration of essence," Fi replied. "I surmise it to be Calamity Ganon's most vulnerable point. But the reflexive capacity of the surrounding region is too great for us to strike at it; it will be covered before we can attack!"

None of them had a chance to propose a strategy before a booming voice - a Goron's voice - yelled, "MAKE WAY!"

The five of them turned to see four spirits - four Champions - rushing forward, flanking two figures on horseback. The lead rider's body was garbed in goddess azure, rather than the green of fields, and in his grip was a holy bow; but there was no mistaking the sword on his back, nor the essence that exuded from him. The quintet rushed out of the way as they neared, and the princess behind him yelled, "Revali!"

The Rito Champion surged skyward, and a gale ripped up around the horse as Link leapt from the saddle; his paraglider manifested in his hands to catch the updraft, and once he had sufficient lift he released the cloth and raised his bow.

Time seemed to slow as he drew the string back, and an arrow of light appeared nocked on the bow; when he released it, the Dark Beast had no chance to react before it slammed into the eye and burst.

Malice spewed from the blast like blood from a flesh wound; the Dark Beast roared, and from the gap where the eye had been emerged a figure draped in a deathly light. Zelda quickly dismounted the horse, stumbling slightly on her landing, but she wasted no time in turning to the beast and raising her hand forward. The crest of the gods appeared on the back of her hand, and a powerful golden light spread forth from her palm.

"Long live the beautiful Land of Hylia!"

The Calamity tried to rise from the corpse of its own incarnation, but it stood no chance; the sealing power of the Goddess Hylia washed across Hyrule Field, swamping the outsiders with a cleansing light as it draped the hatred form of Ganon.

When the light faded, there was no sign Ganon had ever been there.

Lana was lying in the grassy field as Cia charged forward; the five she had brought here chased after her as she knelt at her light half's side. "Lana! Lana!" She shook the White Sorceress lightly, prompting her to stir. "Open your eyes...! Please, open your eyes!"

Her eyes did open, gazing up at her dark half. "Cia..."

"You fool," Cia forced out, tears streaking down her face. "You imbecile! Why would you do that!?"

"Because..." Lana shook her head. "Because that's... what they are."

"What...?"

Lana turned her gaze to the three Links approaching them - two in green that nearly blended with the grass through which they walked, one with his mighty blade cast aside. "The virtue... of the hero's spirit... is a willingness... to set aside... their own desires," she told Cia. "To give... their own life... to save... that... they care about..." She shook her head. "I couldn't... I couldn't... deny that..."

"Lana!" Cia held her close. "You can't...! You can't! I can't... I can't do this... I can't stand up to this without you! You can't!"

"Just... promise me," Lana pleaded. "Promise me... you'll never... stand... between him... and his virtue." She set her hand on Cia's face. "Promise me..."

Cia bowed her head, her tears falling onto Lana. "I... I promise."

A smile rose on Lana's face, and her eyes fell closed as her body faded out.

A moment of silence in Hyrule Field.

Midna was the one who broke it. "Mend it."

Cia turned to her. "What?"

"Mend the bleeding," the Twili instructed. Her gaze was on the Champions of this era, approaching them slowly, wary. "Before they demand answers."

"If restoring the eras to the way they were will unmake the events hence," Fi elaborated, "the Divine Beasts will need be freed anew. We cannot issue them return with such heavy hearts as will result from learning this information." She bowed her head. "Mend it."

"Mend it," Sacre echoed.

Caelum nodded. "Mend it."

Fierce reached for his face, pulling the mask away as his form regressed to a child's. "Mend it."

Her own heart already weighted with sorrow, Cia reached down and grasped the tome left where Lana had lain; and she got to her feet, magic dancing around its cover as it fell open and its pages turned.

"Arcana across the ages, heal this wound in time..."

The Champions had no chance to react before the magic washed over them - and as their memories ceased to exist, the last thing they saw was the solemn gathering of three heroes in the green of fields.


Link blinked, weakly.

He was suffering the worst déjà vu as he stood at the entrance to the Coliseum Ruins. Had he been here, a hundred years ago? After a moment, he realized there was a Lynel walking about in there, and he quickly leapt behind the wall as it turned around. A moment's silence, waiting for the angry roar that told him it had noticed him; instead, he heard a subdued growl that told him it had failed to take notice, and he loosed a breath through tight lips.

His hand went for the Sheikah Slate at his hip, and he tapped its surface lightly once, twice, thrice as a heavy shield appeared on his back, a steel bow appeared over it, and a quiver full of bomb arrows appeared at his side; then he drew the sword that seals the darkness, and charged into the Coliseum - drawing the attention of every Bokoblin, Lizalfos, and Moblin within.

Chapter Text

Fierce knew they had returned to the Era of Warriors - to the Valley of Seers - before his vision had even cleared. He could feel it; the darkness of this era pressed down on him, setting the faintest trembling across his body until he was able to compose himself. Caelum, Sacre, Fi, and Midna stood around him, and Cia was kneeling on the floor, with Lana's book of sorcery in her hand - and tears flowing down her face.

"We're separated, now," Cia murmured. "The Era of Calamity, and the Era of the Slate - the bleeding is mended, and they've been restored to the way they were. The Link there has no memory of seeing us. And as long as you three are in the same era, you meeting each other, through the dislocation, won't take effect. So..." She closed her eyes. "So... give me a moment. Please. Just give me a few minutes."

She keeled over, lacking even the energy to remain upright.

"I'll be out of tears soon enough..."

The Hero of Time felt crushed by the sorrow the sorceress exuded. This was he'd meant to avoid; knowing he could never defeat the Dark Beast, he had meant to give his life to delay the ruin Hyrule would face... because when he had seen Hyrule die, in his own time, the sorrow that he could feel from every soul affected had nearly crippled him. He could do everything in his power, he could try to better their lives, but he could not right the wrong that he had wrought. When he had at last defeated Ganon, in his time, he was all too thankful for Zelda sending him back to the age of his childhood... so that he needed not face their sorrow any further.

He knew, in his heart, that it was selfish. For all that he had endured, he was still a child - and he knew that he was selfish to run from that dark future willingly.

Had he any power to do so, he would gladly wash away Cia's sadness... just so that he needed no longer feel the guilt of having let it happen in the first place.


Hylia's Chosen was the first to be returned to his own era; as he and Fi passed through the portal that Cia generated, he found himself standing in the Sky Keep, in the imitation of the Ancient Cistern. The Dark Sorceress closed the portal behind her, for she would return to the Era of Warriors without it when the bleeding was mended; and after a moment, the hero turned to her.

"I don't suppose you could just tell me how to get at the rest of the Triforce?"

Even if she wanted to, Cia couldn't stop her hand from flying forward and striking him across the face.

The sword spirit's disapproval was palpable even without an expression to display it properly. "If you were meaning to jest," she reprimanded her Master, "your voice failed to carry the necessary tone."

Cia shook her head. "No," she insisted. "No, I know why he did that."

Link sighed. "Then, I take it it didn't work."

Fi glanced between them. "I fear I do not understand."

"The easiest way to get over sadness is to turn it into rage," Cia replied. "To let something anger you, and give you an outlet for the negativity. He thought that, if he could make me hate him, the grief wouldn't have nearly so much effect." She shook her head. "But you're right, it didn't work. That's not something I can do."

"I have no idea why," Link observed.

Cia only aimed a finger at his visage.

"That is a face I could never hate."


The Sacred Beast was the second to be returned to his own era; he and Midna emerged to find themselves on a balcony in the Palace of Twilight. The portal had an ominous glow to it as Cia followed them out, glancing around. "You know," she told Midna, "this place is beautiful."

The Twilight Princess turned to her. "You talk like you've never seen Twliight before," she accused. "You dragged the whole palace to the Era of Warriors, didn't you?"

The Dark Sorceress shook her head. "Yes," she admitted, "but it was different. It was warped from the transport. And the curtain wasn't so thick after being in such close contact with the world of light. Now, I get to see it in its full glory." With a light chuckle, she added, "I almost wish I could take a pictograph, just so I could look at it any time."

"Then watch the sunset."

Her words caught Cia off-guard. "What?"

Midna bowed her head. "The hour of twilight isn't just called that because it sounds nice to the ears," she insisted. "The Twilight Realm is connected to Hyrule. It's been that way since long before I was born. It'll be that way until long after I die. So if you enjoy this view, then watch the sunset."

Her hand rested on the sorceress' shoulder. "And promise me you'll never be able to count how many you have left."

Cia set her own hand over the Twili's, just for a moment. "Never," she assured her.

Link couldn't find the words; anything he said would only come across as pity. So he watched in silence as Cia turned away, stepping back through the portal and letting it close behind her; and he bowed his head to the Twilight, hoping that she would have the strength to overcome her sorrow.


The Hero of Time was the last to be returned to his own era; and as he was, he was surprised to find himself in Termina field. As Cia followed him out, fading the portal behind her, he glanced around and asked, "Where's Epona?"

His mare proceeded to nuzzle him from behind, causing Cia to giggle as he stumbled forward. "I'm gonna have to ask you to get back to Hyrule before I mend the bleeding," she admitted.

"Why is that?" Link asked.

"Termina is a whole separate world," Cia explained. "I returned you here because this is where I grabbed you from, but I still need to unmake your memories of meeting the others. And that means you need to be in Hyrule when I mend it."

Link fell quiet. "When did the bleeding kick in?" he asked. "If you mend it, am I gonna-!?"

"No," Cia assured him. "You'll be fine, I promise."

She turned away, as though ready to leave - and Link grabbed her hand to stop her.

"...You wanna walk with me?" he offered.

A small smile rose on Cia's face. "...I'd appreciate that."

Link mounted his steed, and spurred her into a gentle walk, and Cia followed at his side as he rode. "So," the hero asked, "why was the bleeding limited like that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you said the effect came from a different flow in time," he mused. "That its origin was in a whole different era. But it was just the Era of the Slate, and the Era of the Calamity. And the effects in our eras seem to be pretty low-cut. Why didn't the Malice bleed over to any of us?"

Cia shook her head. "What happened with the bleeding was... in the Era of Warriors, the intruder that took the Triforce of Power came from one era in the other flow, and then made his way to another era. But they were close eras. The Era of the Great Sea, and the Era of the Great Voyage - not even five years between them. That was a close link between them. The effects managed to follow Ganon's legacy to the branching of flows, but it could only bleed things from one age to another age that was closely connected."

"That makes sense," Link mused. "Five years... that can't have too much effect. Most everyone would still be alive from the Sea to the Voyage. But..." He shook his head. "What about the others? There can't be any others that are so closely linked, can there"

"It's not as tight as those two," Cia admitted. "But there are still eras with solid connections."

Link turned to her. "So, Caelum and Fi?"

"The age they come from is called the Sky Era. In that age, there's a construct called the 'Gate of Time'; it's a direct passage to the past. Both the hero in that age and his enemies made use of that passage to travel to another age - the Era of the Goddess Hylia."

"What about Sacre and Midna?"

Cia chuckled softly. "That's actually you," she admitted. "The Twilight Era is closely connected to your time."

Link was surprised. "Me? How do they have a link to my time?"

"It... they... your..." Cia stumbled over her words for a moment, and Link was about to interrupt when she spoke again. "It's... it's Ganon," she replied. "Ganondorf actually keeps the same form between your era and his."

"A Gerudo form?" Link asked. "That still wouldn't change anything... unless..."

He fell quiet for a brief moment, and Cia turned to him. "What?"

"The King was going to have him executed," Link muttered. "If there's a solid connection because of Ganon, that means that..."

"...Yeah," Cia admitted. "He survived that. And then he lasted until the Twilight Era... and wreaked havoc there."

"It's this, isn't it?" Link asked, raising his sword hand to bare the mark of the Triforce on its back. "The Triforce of Courage came to me after I returned to my childhood. And when I spoke with Zelda, she had the Triforce of Wisdom. Which means that Ganondorf..."

"The Triforce of Power came to him," Cia confirmed. "They hadn't chosen him... but he was deserving of Power. And the effects of you being returned to your youth remained with the Triforce."

Link slammed his fist down on his leg. "It was for nothing."

"It wasn't for nothing," Cia said firmly. "You... What you did, with the Master Sword and the Sages, spared hundred of lives. Saved thousands more from living in fear. And when he rose again, in the Twilight Era, what he did - what he made that hero face - was nothing compared to the ruin he wrought while you slept."

"...Thank you."

They had arrived, without realizing it, while they spoke - now they were surrounded by trees, draped in an ominous mist, and Link noticed something here that he hadn't before. "What is this place?" he asked Cia. "Is this... is it part of Hyrule? Or Termina?"

"Both," Cia replied. "And... neither. This is a sort of... interspace between the two worlds." She shook her head. "I'm gonna have to send you ahead without me."

"Why is that?" Link asked.

"Interspace is a pain in the ass like that," Cia replied. "Termina is connected to Hyrule... but it's connected to all of Hyrule. When you walk out of here, you'll be back somewhere in your own time. If I walk beside you, I'm gonna end up in the Era of Warriors."

Link smirked. "Then it's a good thing Ganondorf never came here," he mused. "If Termina is connected to all of Hyrule... then Ganondorf ever being here would have given the bleeding a chance to go to everywhere across time. At least in this flow. Wouldn't it?"

Cia breathed a heavy sigh at realizing how fortunate they were. "Yes," she admitted. "I suppose it would."

The Hero of Time glanced around. "I wasn't paying attention last time, but this place is kinda creepy."

The Dark Sorceress laughed at that. "After all you've been through, you're still kid enough to get the heebie-jeebies, huh?"

This earned her a glare from Link. "That's not what I meant," he insisted. "Just... after everything that's happened, I'm noticing things I didn't before. If you sit still for a moment, and take it all in..."

His left hand fell to his hip, where a war-painted face still hung from his belt.

"...it's a little dark here."

It always happened.

Cia's reaction was always just too slow - even now, after everything that had happened. Gazing across the timeline, she had failed to notice Ganon worming his way into her heart until he had already taken root. In the Era of Warriors, she had failed to notice the light in Link's spirit until it had purged the darkness she tried to draw. In the Era of Calamity, she had failed to notice Lana approach the Dark Beast until she was already dying to hold back Ganon's Malice. And now, she failed to notice the hero act until he had already lunged forward, and pressed the Fierce Deity's Mask into her face.

And the mask clung to her visage, the power of the ferocious god washing over her and casting a fierce wind across the trees.

Epona gave a panicked whinny at the sudden power emerging from the sorceress; Link quickly lashed her reins, spurring her into a gallop as Cia dropped Lana's tome and reached for her face. Her body started to shift, yet her magic rose up, fighting off the change as she tried to pry the mask from her grip. "Get- Get off! Get off of me! I can't...! I don't...! I won't let you...! I won't let you!"

The aura of the Fierce Deity faded, and Cia ripped the mask from her face with an angry screech.

"What the hell were you-!?" She fell quiet when she realized she was alone in the interspace wood; Link had vanished. "Where did... Where are...!?"

The virtue of the hero's spirit is a willingness to set aside their own desires. To give their own life to save that they care about.

A realization struck Cia, and she glanced down at the mask in her hands. "He did that on purpose," she realized. "He's... he's cut open a new wound. If I..."

She hooked the mask on her hip, the way Link had, and charged in the direction the Hero had taken off - returning to Hyrule from the interspace, on foot. After a moment, she found herself fleeing into a hollow tree; a darkness draped her, and when she emerged she found herself in a much brighter wood.

And nearly fell a hundred metres. She was high in the branches of the Deku Tree.

The Dark Sorceress yelped, her arms flailing as she tried to keep her balance, and after a moment she stumbled back. "Okay, that comes out there," she murmured. "I'm never going to Termina again." She glanced down to find several Hyrulean soldiers below - but they were not amidst a battle, and seemed to be en route somewhere. "This isn't during the war," she observed. "When am I? I... I need a crystal ball."

Magic was flung into the air just off the branch she stood on, forming a portal in the air, she entered it from Faron Woods and emerged in the Valley of Seers, landing with a slight stumble as she did. It was barely the crack of dawn, and the crystal ball Lana always used to peer through the ages was resting on the pedestal where she always left it - and that confused Cia, because it hadn't been there when she had sent the Links to their own times. She stepped forward, and it lifted from its pedestal, hovering between her hands as she checked several locations in this era - looking for something to mark their time.

Hyrule Castle - Zelda was working on royal boredom.

Faron Woods - Link was leading the regiment of soldiers.

Eldin Caves - Stalfos and Lizalfos were raising trouble.

The Temple of the Sacred Sword - the blade of evil's bane rested, uninterrupted, with spectral soldiers keeping guard from the otherworld.

The Temple of Souls...

Cia shrieked, stumbling back, and the crystal ball fell to the ground, its image remaining within. Seeking out the temple had brought up the sorceresses' bedroom - and Lana was lying in her bed, sound asleep. A shifting of the projection revealed Cia, herself, was sound asleep in her own bed - one of the rare occasions in which she slept at all - and the Dark Sorceress realized where - when - she had come out of Termina.

The morning of the day when Lana had seen the malice bleed.

"He did it," she gasped. "He instigated a bleeding effect... and gave me a chance..."

Tears welled in her eyes - tears of joy.

"Always the hero..."

Her scepter appeared before her, and both hands closed on it as she let the magic run.

"Arcana across the ages, heal this wound in time...!"


A shriek of terror broke through Lana's lips.

Her crystal ball fell to the ground as Cia turned to her, approaching warily. "What is it?"

"I... I just..." Lana glanced down at the sphere that had fallen. "He just... I'd... I was..."

"Lana, what's going on?" Cia asked, setting a hand on her shoulder.

The White Sorceress raised her gaze. "You don't...?"

Cia raised an eyebrow. "Don't what?"

"...Oh, Hylia's tits."

She turned away panicking, her book of sorcery appearing in her grip as Cia pulled back. "What are you doing?"

"I-I have somewhere to be," Lana insisted. "I have somewhen to be." A portal opened before her, and she glanced back at her dark half. "I'll explain when I get back, I'm sorry!"

The portal faded as she passed through it; and as soon as it was gone, a smile broke out on Cia's face, and the tears of joy flowed anew.

"He did it..."

Chapter Text

It was late at night; the Hero of Time was riding across Hyrule Field when a sudden light nearby brought Epona to a stop. Link dismounted his horse and stepped forward as that light arced to form a portal, and from that portal emerged a sorceress in shining garb, with pale skin, bright blue hair, and a tome in her hand. The portal vanished behind her, and Link didn't even have time to say anything before her hand lashed forward and struck him across the face, the blow having enough power to knock him to the ground.

His steed snorted as he got to his feet, a hand on the mark. "That's a bit much," he accused.

Lana groaned in irritation. "You stupidrecklessnaivefoolish-"

"It worked," Link interrupted, "didn't it?"

The White Sorceress fell quiet for a moment; then she charged forward, and Link stumbled slightly as she knelt down and wrapped her arms around him in a thankful hug - which he was glad to return once he had his balance again.

"Goddesses, I love you," she murmured after a long moment.

Link set his hand against her arm, causing her to pull away just enough for him to look her in the eye. "You've never said that to the hero in your time, have you?"

Lana shot to her feet, slamming her hands into her mouth as terror lit up in her eyes.

The Hero of TIme shook his head. "It's okay," he assured her. "I already know."

"You... what?"

"I've seen it before," he told her. "When you love somebody, and you know you can't be together, your sorrow is obvious to anyone who knows what they're looking for. I saw it on Saria. I saw it on Malon. I saw it on Ruto. I saw it on Mipha. And when we told you we didn't have a problem with helping you, even if we were going to forget it afterwards... I saw it on you and Cia."

Lana shook her head. "Then... then why?"

"Because that's not something you can control," Link insisted. "You can't choose who you fall in love with. And if someone has fallen in love with you, and you don't feel the same, you can't do anything about it." He glanced down at the Triforce on the back of his hand. "Sometimes it feels better if you just let circumstances get in the way so they never have to learn that... but that's selfish. It's just leaving their feelings bundled up. The... the proper thing to do is to tell them the truth. And if you find you love someone... then you tell them that. You hope that they're willing to return your affections."

He drew out of his pocket an ocarina, carved from a blue stone.

"And hope fate will let you be together."

A sad smile rose on Lana's face. "You two have nothing to worry about," she promised.

"Maybe not for the others," Link insisted, "but this is different. I'm not a hero in this era. I'm just... I'm just a whistleblower. A rat. As far as the royal family's concerned, I just happened to notice that the Gerudo King had plans of his own, and let them know not to trust him. Maybe she does feel the same way, but that doesn't mean anything." He shook his head, pocketing the ocarina again. "But that's alright. I'll accept whatever comes our way."

"And sometimes I wonder why Farore chose you to receive Courage," Lana mused.

She raised her tome and chanted; and Link closed his eyes as the magic washed over Hyrule.


Lana stepped out of her portal, arriving in the Temple of Souls.

A sudden collision caused her to stumble back as the magic faded, and it took her a few moments to realize Cia had charged her and caught her in a tearful hug, burying her face in Lana's covered shoulder. After a moment, she wrapped one arm around her dark half to return it, squeezing her tight.

"You remember," she accused.

"I'm sorry," Cia forced out. "I am so sorry..."

"Don't," Lana insisted. "It was my choice. I'm the one who should be sorry."

Cia shook her head. "Just... Just promise me you won't do that again."

Lana nodded. "I promise."

The two of them stood there in the entryway for a long moment; when Cia finally pulled away from her light half, she was surprised to see a package hooked under her other arm. "What's that?"

"I took a detour through the Sky Era," Lana admitted. Holding out the package; "This is for you. This is thanks for saving me."

"For me?" Cia was shocked. "I-I..."

"No," Lana insisted, "I insist." Then, as Cia accepted it; "Count to ten, and then open it."

The Dark Sorceress was confused by the statement. Lana smiled and started off as she began counting; on ten, Cia opened up the package, and was surprised to find a shining crystal ball sitting there, in hues of brilliant blue.

"From the Sky Era..." she murmured. "Is this from the Earth Temple? Why would she give me...?"

Are you telling me that I'm washing my crystal ball every morning because you're covering it in-!?

A crimson blush lit up on Cia's face as she recalled her light half's accusation when they were deciding on heroes.

"Lana!"