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Spirits, Winds, and Time

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Surprise! New story! I've been thinking about this one for about a year, now. I've finally ironed it out enough that I want to write it. I'll still be working on my main project while I do this, though. This is mostly just to exercise my writing muscles in the meantime.

What this is, is a quick crossover story between The Hero of Spirits and Ride the Winds!. As such, this will probably spoil you on a lot of events from both stories if you haven't read either of those. I know this might not get much attention, but that's fine. This is mostly just for me to have fun and practice writing. I plan for this to have 10 chapters, so it'll be pretty short. I finished chapter one a couple days ago, but I wanted to wait until today to post it, because today is my oc Azure's birthday, and Azure appears in this story just as he appears in The Hero of Spirits under the name Alphonse! In fact, writing that story is how he even got his birthday to begin with; it happened to be the date I posted the chapter that first mentions his birthday on. That was like 10 years ago now...

Alphonse and Lana will be the stars, along with a new oc that I haven't used much yet, Erianna Maculas. I've used him in Miitopia's switch release as one of my party members, and that's about it. It'll be fun to finally do something with him. I also plan to have Alphonse and Lana take turns with the perspective each chapter takes. Chapter one follows Alphonse's point of view, and chapter two will follow Lana's point of view, and so on and so forth. That's something new for me as far as writing goes.

Alright, it's time to begin! If you decide to dive in, I hope you find it enjoyable! Maybe it'll encourage you to check out my other two stories conveniently linked in my signature too maybe probably not ok yeah here we go. Spirits, Winds, and Time begins now!

* * *
The world has passed through many eras, each with their own stories and legends lighting the way. Every once in a while, however, these eras may intersect. People that were never supposed to meet, tales that were never supposed to join, separated by the bounds of space and time, have come together in this place. One young man, who has been venerated by the Spirits of Light as a hero, is called from the distant past to a faraway land. One young woman, beloved by the Wind Gods who fought for herself and family, is called from the far future to see the old side of her birthplace. And a young prince stands at the Precipice as the Goddess of Time’s proxy. These intersections... How will they shape the fate of this world?

* * * * New and returning readers are encouraged to instead read on my AO3 for the most up-to-date version.

“The Precipice...”

Standing in the depths of a hallowed cathedral, a young prince gazed toward the sky shimmering over his head. He mused to himself about what he could see. In that sky, he could find a different era for every star above. Each person that lived within them, and each and every one of their fates... all lie at the whims of his hand. That hand, holding a beautiful blue ocarina.

The prince lifted the instrument to his lips, and paused for one more thought.

“Goddess of Time... Please trust me. This is necessary. I swear that I will rectify these intersections when all is finished. But right now, we need heroes, and the Spirit of the Hero isn’t set to return for at least another century. You know that as well as I...”

He took a breath. Running his fingers over the ocarina, he watched a reflection of the stars above move across its sheen. He sighed deeply, as if to release any further hesitation.

“The flow of time is coming undone. I cannot seal the distortion alone. If Hyrule doesn’t have a Hero in this era, I will call upon heroes from other eras. And together, we will preserve the world... I, Erianna Maculas Hyrule, swear this on the blood of Hylia in my veins.”

With these final words, he began to play. A melody of hope, uncertainty, and power filled the space around him, echoing into the far reaches of the Precipice...

/ / /

“You seem to be doing much better now!” remarked a cheerful young woman.

“Yeah, the aches and pains of that battle are all gone. I feel good as new again!” the young man responded, rolling his shoulders.

“You look it, too. I was getting tired of seeing you covered in bandages.” the small Forest Fairy floating alongside him said.

The three of them were taking a short walk through the woods surrounding their home. It was still very early in the morning, before the sun had barely begun to peek out from behind the darkness. The small child who lived with them was not awake yet, and they agreed they should return before she did.

“So, how does it feel, Alphonse? Today’s the day you return the Lokomo Sword and give up all your powers. Must be kinda weird.” the fairy asked.

“Zelda’s right. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have to let go of the power you used to save the world. That power’s what brought us together, too, so I’m a little sad about it, myself...” the woman agreed.

“Naomi, we met before I got my powers, remember?” Alphonse said. “What brought us together wasn’t Spirit magic, or anything else like that! That was all us.” He skipped ahead a couple paces past his friends. “And they were never ‘my’ powers, to begin with. I always knew I’d have to give them up someday. So it’s fine. This is the right thing to do.”

Alphonse turned on his heel to face Naomi and Zelda, expecting to see dissatisfied expressions on their faces. After all, he wasn't being completely honest; he was a little saddened by it. However, what he saw was far more disturbing than he could have imagined.

The world was suddenly in grayscale before he’d even realized it. Naomi and Zelda both had stopped in their tracks, as if they were frozen. Zelda hovered motionless in the air, and Naomi wasn’t so much as blinking. Unnerved, Alphonse instinctively reached for the hilt of his sword, the sacred sword he was going to return soon, and put up his guard. His eyes darted around, looking for the cause of this strange phenomenon.

“What is this... What’s happening?” he wondered.

Continuing to scan his surroundings, he caught sight of a falling leaf that appeared to be suspended in midair. This only made him even more anxious. As he struggled to puzzle out an explanation, he was struck with an all-too-familiar feeling. It was as if his body was being tugged through a thin crack in a thick wall.

“Oh no... This is-!”

Without the chance to do anything else, Alphonse vanished from sight, leaving behind the frozen world exactly the way it was.

/ / /

The gentle rocking of the ocean waves brought great comfort to the young girl laying amongst them. Her back pressed against the hard wooden surface of her boat, docked on the outskirts of a meager port. She was fortunate to have found an inhabited island beyond the waters she’d known. She’d just gotten a brand new sea chart, this one marking places completely unknown to her. She was excited to set out tomorrow and explore.

“Heh... Who would have thought? This is exactly how I’d imagined my journey would go the first time I set out. Funny how that works...”

For a brief moment, the girl reminisced about her perilous and unfortunate adventures two months prior. She’d wanted to voyage to find her motherland, and was instead beset by disasters over and over again as soon as she’d set out.

“I guess it ended up being a good thing I had to go through that whole mess first. I’d have never learned how to take care of myself otherwise. It feels weird to think like that, though.”

Pressing back further and raising her legs, the young woman sprung herself up to her feet.

“C’mon, Lana, snap out of it. This is no time to be wistful. I’m already homesick enough as it is... Maybe some light exercise will get my head on straight.”

And so, Lana gathered up her gear. She wrapped her deku leaf around her shoulders like a shawl, and strapped her estoc back to her waist. She was hesitant to strap her bow and quiver back on, since she could no longer use them properly, but she found herself doing so anyway. Once she was fully equipped again, she began her typical exercise routine. She’d taken to working out with all her gear so her body would be able to move efficiently with the extra weight it brought on when she needed it to.

Lana made it nearly halfway through her routine when an inexplicable feeling unlike anything she’d felt before crawled over her skin. The wind had stopped, and not in a normal way. It was just gone. She’d never felt the air so empty and still before. It frightened her so much she had to stop what she was doing.

That was when she realized her surroundings had lost their color, and her boat had stopped rocking on the waves. The waters had become completely still, and even the seagulls flying high above her head had stopped moving. It was as if everything had become frozen.

“What...? What is this?”

Lana was beginning to panic. She couldn’t fathom a situation like this. She had no idea what she should do. Should she run and find someone else? Should she get ready to fight? She was scared out of her mind. What’s worse, before she could even finish processing all of those feelings, she felt yet another new and terrifying sensation. It was as if she were being dragged through a thin crack in a thick wall.

“What?! No! Someone, help-!”

Her cries were in vain, as she vanished in the next instant, leaving the frozen sea behind in her wake.

/ / /

The prince finished his song and lowered the ocarina. He gazed up at the stars, watching two of them in particular shine brighter than the rest. These stars appeared as if they would fall from the heavens right then and there.

“They're on their way. So it’s done, then. I only hope they can forgive me.” he muttered to himself.

The prince stared into the Precipice, awaiting the consequences of his actions.

Spirits, Winds, and Time

Chapter One
Lost Across Eras​

The world finally stopped spinning, and the fog in Alphonse’s head began clearing up. He found himself staring up at the branches of a cherry tree in full bloom, and a dark, early-morning sky beyond that. Wispy clouds were lazily drifting by, a light shade of gray just barely beginning to turn gold. He was also soaking wet.

Laying on his back in a shallow pool of water, Alphonse groaned and tried to stand up. He was feeling unusually groggy. When he moved, the water splashed and rippled around him, pushing fallen cherry petals along with them.

Alphonse cocked his head to the right, and a young girl stared right back at him. Their eyes met for a few moments, each staring into the others’ deep blue hues. Then, in almost perfect sync as if they’d planned it that way, they each shrieked and scrambled away from each other.

“Wha?! Who are you?!” the girl yelled.

“Uh... Hang on, who are you?” Alphonse said, more calmly than his counterpart.

“What happened to me? Where am I? What did you do to me?!” the girl shouted, standing up and backing off. She swiftly grabbed the hilt of a sword strapped at her waist.

Alphonse leapt up and backed off in turn. “Whoa! Slow down, there’s no need for that. I didn’t do anything to you.” he said, attempting to de-escalate whatever was happening.

“How can I believe that? I have no idea what’s going on right now! I mean, how can I just be one place and suddenly I’m somewhere else? That makes no sense!” the girl said.

“That, I might be able to answer. Just breathe and listen, okay? My name is Alphonse. What’s yours?”

She didn't answer right away. She stood across from him in the water, shaking like a leaf. Alphonse could tell she was terrified. And why shouldn't she be? By all accounts, she was a normal human girl, probably just a little bit younger than he was. He noted her brown hair and blue eyes, much similar to his own. Her sturdy-looking cerulean tunic and tanned skin gave her the appearance of someone well-traveled. She carried a sword, as well as a bow and quiver, and he could feel there was something magical about her shawl. She seemed capable, but beyond that, she was naturally afraid of a situation she couldn't have been prepared for. Alphonse understood that, and tried to make himself as non-threatening as he could.

The girl stared at him hard for several seconds. She seemed to notice that he’d made no attempt to reach for his own sword, so she started to relax her shoulders a bit. “... I’m Lana.” she said quietly.

“Good to meet you, and thanks for answering.” Alphonse said, smiling softly. This seemed to put her a little more at ease.

“I’m sorry for flipping out on you. This whole thing is just... I mean, I’ve seen my fair share of weird things, but never anything like this.” Lana said.

Alphonse put his hand on his chin. “I’m gonna guess that the same thing happened to both of us, then. World turned gray? Everything seemed to freeze in place? Boom, you’re here?”

Lana’s eyes widened. “That’s exactly right! It was so eerie and... And...”

“Like I thought, then... We both must have crossed dimensions somehow.” Alphonse tried to explain.

“Huh?” Lana looked at him sideways. “What does that mean?”

“You probably don’t know. Most normal people don’t.” Alphonse said. “There are other dimensions besides the Physical Realm where we humans live. There’s the Sacred Realm and the Mystic Realm, for example. We must have been dragged into one of them.”

“Wait, are you serious? You mean like, other worlds, or something?” Lana said, incredulous. “That’s ridiculous. But wait, that would explain... But no, still, that’s just...”

“I hear you, but it's for real. And I’m certain that’s what happened to us. That feeling of being pulled through a wall is unmistakable.”

Lana blinked a few times. “You talk as if this has happened to you before.”

“It has. A few times, actually. This is probably... Wait, lemme think...” Alphonse paused for a moment and ran through his adventures in his head. “There was that first time, and then... And then that was... Yeah, this now would be my fourth time.”

“HUH?! Four times?!” Lana exclaimed. “What the heck kind of life do you have to lead for this to happen to you four different times?”

Alphonse laughed a bit. “That’s kind of a long story. For now, we should try to figure out where we are. That’ll help us figure out how to get home.”

“So it’s possible to go back? That’s a relief...” Lana said, finally dropping her guard completely. “How do you go about crossing dimensions, anyway?”

“To my knowledge, it can only be done with magic. We’ll have to find someone who knows how to do it, though. If this is the Sacred Realm or the Mystic Realm, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone who can help us. I know a lot of people in both Realms.” Alphonse explained.

Besides, I have no idea how to do it, so if I tried to use my own magic, it’d probably turn out badly... he thought to himself.

“Magic, huh... I don’t know a lot about it, myself...” Lana said, caressing her left arm. “You seem pretty knowledgeable. I guess you’ve had a lot of experience with this kind of thing? I think I should, um, follow your lead here.”

“That’s okay by me. I’ll do my best to get us home.” Alphonse said, placing his fist over his heart. “So, where exactly do you call home?”

“That’s... complicated.” Lana said. “I actually left home to find my motherland. I was in the middle of a journey. If possible, I’d like to go back to the place I was, since my boat and all my stuff is there.”

“That might be difficult, since we’d have to know the exact location beforehand. Where were you before coming here?”

“I was docked outside Mercay Island. It’s beyond the Great Sea, to the north. If I had my sea charts with me, I could give you an approximation.” Lana said.

“Mercay Island and the Great Sea... That’s not familiar to me, sorry.” Alphonse said, confused.

“Really? You’ve never heard of the Great Sea? I find that hard to imagine...” Lana said, shocked. “Where did you come from, then?”

“The Forest Realm in Hyleigh. That’s where I live.”

“Hyleigh? I’ve never heard of it. What kind of island is it?” Lana asked.

“It’s... It’s not an island, it’s a kingdom. A pretty large one, at that. It's on the southern tip of a really big continent. I don’t know much about what’s beyond its borders, though. There is an Ocean Realm in the south of it, so maybe your Great Sea is beyond that?”

Lana blinked a few more times. “What’s a ‘continent’?”

Both of them fell silent after that. Awkward, quiet stares followed by anxious pacing covered the waters they stood in with ripples.

“This... could be problematic.” Alphonse said. “It seems like we didn’t come from the same place. It’s possible our homes are so far away from each other that neither of us could reasonably know about them.”

“Oh, man... What are we supposed to do now?” Lana said. “And if that’s the case, how did we end up together here at the same time?”

“Good question...” Alphonse pondered. “Come to think of it, the world turning gray and freezing was new. I’ve never seen that as part of the process before. That could have something to do with it.”

“Really? If that’s new for even you, this could be really bad for us...” Lana said nervously. Then it appeared as if a light had come on in her brain. “Hang on, you said crossing dimensions could only be done with magic, right? That means that... that someone had to have done this to us! Right?”

“Oh! You’re right!” Alphonse said. “I bet they’re here somewhere, too. So we've just gotta find them and get them to explain themselves.”

“There’s no one here but us... So I guess we’re gonna have to search. This could take a while.” Lana said, looking glum.

“I hope not. I bet my friends are gonna go crazy worrying about me...” Alphonse said, scratching the back of his neck. “Well, let’s see where we are, for now.”

Lana nodded, and followed after Alphonse as he trudged through the water. Beyond the little pool under the cherry tree, they had to climb a small hill. When they did, they found themselves gazing down from the top of a mountain. At that moment, the sun began cresting over the far horizon, illuminating everything their eyes could see.

At the foot of the mountain was a rushing river, and a small settlement of stone on the other side of it. Past that appeared to be an unbelievably vast field, dotted with other settlements and what looked to be a ranch. Even further still was another river, cradling the field between itself and the former. More mountains and hills, and even a far sea could be seen at the horizon line. The pair could also see a magnificent castle overlooking the field, and a large coliseum and a plateau at the other end of it. They could even see a massive volcano in the distance beyond the castle.

“Whoa... This sure isn’t the Sacred Realm.” Alphonse said. “It doesn’t really feel like the Mystic Realm, either, somehow...”

“What... What am I looking at?” Lana said, bewildered. “Where’s all the water? Where are the islands? Where’s the sea? I’ve never seen so much... So much land.... So much green... What is this?”

“This would be a continent. It's like an island, but way, way, waaaay bigger.” Alphonse tried to explain. “They don’t have any continents on the Great Sea, I guess?”

“No... Not even the biggest island on the Great Sea is anywhere near half as big as what I’m seeing right now!” Lana said, jaw agape.

“Well, this will make for quite an adventure, then.” Alphonse said, starting to grin. “We might be stuck here with no idea where we are, but we should at least have some fun while we’re trying to figure it out. Let’s go see something new!”

Lana gazed at him for a bit, and started to smile, herself. “You know what? You might have a point... I’ve spent too much of my journey freaking out every time something goes wrong. I wanna get back as fast as possible, but this is... I’ve never seen anything like this before. I wanna know more about it.”

“That’s the spirit!” Alphonse said, raising his fist up with hers. “Alright, then. Let’s get started! That town across the river looks promising." he said, pointing down at it.

“Okay. Let’s do this! Wow, we’re really doing this...” Lana said.

Alphonse held out his hand to her. Lana stared at it for a second.

“Nice working with you, Lana!” he said, grinning.

Lana smiled back. “Right! Nice working with you, Alphonse. Until we each get home!” she said, firmly shaking hands with him.

They threw their fists in the air together again, and started down the mountain. The two of them had been horribly displaced from the people and places they knew, but they were able to find a small comfort in knowing that neither of them were in this mess alone. And so, with their misery in good company, the pair adventured into the unknown, hoping for answers.
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Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Time for the next chapter! This one was fun to write after switching perspectives from the first chapter. At least for me, it felt like writing a RtW chapter whereas writing ch1 felt more like writing a THoS chapter. Its kinda neat how just changing the focal character gave me a different feel and its helping me feel like the authenticity of pulling the mcs from these two stories like this is going the way I wanted it to. I hope that feeling translates to the readers too so I don't sound like an insane person here. That said, enjoy Lana's take on things!

Chapter Two
The Land of Providence​

It took two hours for Lana and Alphonse to carefully descend the mountain they’d awoken on and follow the road to the town beyond the river. After wandering across a few bridges, they found themselves standing at what appeared to be a commerce hub. It couldn’t have been past seven in the morning, and it was already alive with hustle and bustle.

The whole place was cobblestone and mortar, nestled in a clearing at the foot of some forests and hills. People of all kinds raced back and forth from carts and stalls, hawking prices at anyone who would listen and promoting all manner of goods and services. This haven of trade was dazzling to Lana's eyes. The hub was smaller than the town of Windfall she’d visited before, but it was many times more active.

“There’s so much going on here... My head can't keep up.” Lana said, feeling dizzy.

“First time in a busy place like this? I had the same reaction once upon a time.” Alphonse remarked. “I’m pretty curious about the people here, though... A lot of them have pointed ears.”

Lana’s eyes darted around the crowd, and sure enough, the vast majority of people walking by had long ears, just as Alphonse had said. She recalled what that meant from her travels across the Great Sea.

“There sure are a lot of hylians here... I’ve never seen so many before.” Lana said.

“What’s a ‘hylian’?” Alphonse asked.

“A person with long ears. That’s all I know. Supposedly there aren’t many of them left, or at least that’s what I was told...”

“Huh. Where I’m from, long and pointy ears are a demon trait. It might be different here, though.” he continued. “If these people were demons, that would make this the Mystic Realm, but it still doesn’t feel like that’s the case... It has a different air-feel than the Physical Realm, and I'm not picking up on that here at all.”

“Wait, back up. Demon trait?” Lana asked. “I’ve never met a demon before... Are we in danger here?”

“Depends. They’re not much different from humans when you get right down to it, but not all of them are friendly to us. That’s thankfully been starting to change a bit, at least in the place I visited in the Mystic Realm.” Alphonse explained. “But really, don’t let the word ‘demon’ freak you out. One of my best friends and trusted allies is a demon. It’s not a black and white kind of thing.”

“I see...” Lana said thoughtfully.

She found herself increasingly curious about Alphonse. A person who’s been to other dimensions and made friends with demons couldn’t be a normal person, could they? What’s more, she had immediately sensed there was something magical about him from the moment she’d met him. Her skin prickled up the way it had previously done around magical artifacts she’d encountered, and the reaction was especially strong from that sword on his back. He definitely wasn’t ordinary.

And yet, he looked and acted perfectly ordinary. His dark brown hair and deep blue eyes reminded her of her own. His white and black-trimmed jacket felt very unassuming, but he carried himself like a seasoned adventurer. He was very friendly and had been nothing but kind to her, even after she’d almost attacked him. She felt like she wanted to trust him, even if she was endlessly confused by him. Not that she had much other choice, though.

Lana’s brain stopped spinning when she caught sight of some kind of strange animal in the town. It was very large and brown, with a dark mane of hair and hooved feet. It was hooked up to a cart as a man unloaded crates in front of a stall. She was a little startled by it.

“Whoa! What is that thing? Is that an animal?” Lana asked.

“Huh? Oh, that’s just a horse. I guess they wouldn’t have those where you’re from.” Alphonse said. “But hey, this is a good chance. Let’s go talk to that guy. I bet he can tell us where we are.”

“The guy unloading crates? I dunno, he seems kinda busy...” Lana said, feeling hesitant to approach the so-called horse.

“Unlike everyone else here, he’s not running around. He can talk while he unloads.” Alphonse said, already beginning to approach the man.

“What? Wait up!”

Lana ran after him, beginning to feel like Alphonse was the impulsive type. She stayed behind him as they approached, feeling cautious and on-edge. The man was rather large and brawny, with toned and hairy arms bulging out of his sleeves. He also had an impressive nose and a complimentarily-impressive mustache.

“Hey, there, sir! Got a minute to chat?” Alphonse called out in a friendly voice.

“Hm? Whassit?” the man said, turning to face the young pair.

“We’re a bit lost. Would you mind telling us where we are?” he asked.

Oh, that’s a good way to frame the question. Now we won’t look like lunatics... Lana thought.

“Ah, you travelers or some such?” he said, grubbing his ‘stache. “Well, allow me to officially welcome y’all to the Kingdom of Hyrule. This ‘ere’s the Trading Exchange at the border.”

When Lana heard that this place was called Hyrule, her blood froze. She’d heard that name only once before, and she could never forget it. But if this was the same Hyrule she’d heard of, something was very, very wrong. Alphonse seemed to notice that she was turning white as a sheet, and he shuffled his body to shield her from the man so he wouldn’t see. She felt grateful for that and took the chance to compose herself.

“Hyrule, huh... I’ve never heard of it. What can you tell us about it?” Alphonse continued.

The man resumed unloading crates as he answered. “Y’all must’ve come ‘ere from pretty far aways if you’ve never ‘eard of Hyrule. Well, it’s a purtty small kingdom, takes up the whole 'o that there field o’er yonder. Stretches out to that big castle in the north, and stretches down to that plateau ‘ere in the south. Them two rivers, the Regencia and the Hylia, they purtty much border the whole kingdom. Oh, but we do also own that giant Lake Hylia past the plateau, too.”

“Thanks for the run-down. This seems like a nice little kingdom.” Alphonse said. He seemed to hear Lana taking deep breaths to calm herself, since he glanced back at her a few times.

“Yea, Hyrule’s a mighty fine place to live. The royal family’s great and powerful! Some say they’re even magical. We also got the best darn dairy you’ll ever find anywhere. I can personally guarantee it.” the man said, slapping one of his crates. “This ‘ere milk comes from my own Lon Lon Ranch! Name’s Tarin, by the way. Don’t think I’d mentioned that yet. Ranchin’s been in my family for generations. Stop on by iffen you get the chance!”

“Will do. Thanks for your help!” Alphonse said with a cheerful smile.

With a wave, he turned away to let Tarin return to his work. Lana took this chance to snatch up his sleeve and tugged him away, out of earshot. Her heart was still pounding fast, but she’d managed to calm herself down enough to speak. Even still, she couldn’t stop her hands from shaking.

“What’s wrong? You look pale.” Alphonse said.

Lana didn’t answer him right away. She bit her lip, trying to find the right way to put words to her emotions.

“Take your time. I’m here.” he said kindly.

Lana took another deep breath. She could tell Alphonse wouldn’t laugh at her or doubt her. He seemed to be more attentive to her than he first appeared. She appreciated that. After anxiously rubbing at her arms, she looked up at him and began to speak.

“I’ve, um... I’ve heard of Hyrule before.” she said quietly. “But, you see... I heard it was an ancient kingdom that was swallowed up under the Great Sea centuries ago. So...”

Alphonse placed his palm over his mouth and narrowed his eyes. He seemed to be puzzling things out, same as she’d done.

“So, basically... This place shouldn’t exist. Is that what you’re saying?” he asked.

“Yes... If it’s the same Hyrule I’ve heard of.” Lana said. “It should be impossible, but I can’t help but think it's not a coincidence... And now I keep having these awful thoughts. What if we’re more lost than we think we are? What do we do?”

A familiar suffocating feeling resurfaced in Lana’s gut. This uncertain situation reminded her of the helplessness she’d felt being imprisoned in a pirate stronghold or cast adrift on the open sea. She’d fought long and hard to beat any resignation out of her mind and to keep resisting against these terrible fates, so it was disheartening for her to be reminded of them so harshly. And this time, the situation involved magic, something she knew almost nothing about.

Alphonse watched her quietly. She looked into his eyes, and felt a gentle sense of concern. Something about his eyes made her feel a little more calm. And once she did, she began to grow frustrated with herself. She had deferred herself to Alphonse’s experience with this kind of mess, yet she had almost allowed herself to slip back into old bad habits of spiraling self-doubt. She clenched her teeth and shook her head.

“I’m sorry. I’ll be okay.” she said. “The answer isn’t gonna come from you, or from me. We’ve gotta find the person who did this to us. That’s the only way we can move forward.”

Alphonse grinned. “Yeah, that’s the spirit! There’s an explanation for all this somewhere out there. We will get home, one way or another.”

Lana nodded and started to smile again, at last. She’d gotten out of every other mess she’d been in. She just had to think of this one as more of the same. It didn't matter what the circumstances were like this time; they'd been different every other time, too. She just had to keep moving and chase every lead she could find. And she was already starting to get an idea.

“Hey, Alphonse... I’m not the only one who caught on to what Tarin said earlier, right? About the royal family being magical?” she suggested.

Alphonse’s grin grew even wider. “You read my mind. I think we’d better pay them a visit. It sure beats searching randomly.”

“Right! Let's find our way over to that castle.” she said, starting to feel excited and hopeful.

With pep in their steps, Lana and Alphonse wormed their way through the crowded Trading Exchange, heading for the field. Even from where they were, they could see the castle in the distance, partially obscured by the morning haze. It jutted up from the horizon line like a beacon, lighting their way forward.

When they reached the outskirts of the Exchange, they came upon a cobbled road. They started to dread the long walk north, and then they spotted a familiar face waving at them from a horse-drawn cart. Tarin sat on the large animal, holding the ropes with one hand and a jug of milk in the other.

Lana and Alphonse exchanged looks. It seemed like they’d both gotten the same idea.

* * *

Another hour passed by, and they’d only made it a little more than halfway across the southern region of the field. They followed a dirt road that curved slightly north, snaking its way toward a lake and an outpost of sorts. The whole way along, Lana and Alphonse were being jostled around in the back of Tarin’s cart as his horse pulled them along. And Lana was feeling absolutely ill.

“Ugh... What is wrong with me...?” she whined, clutching her stomach.

“Gotta be motion sickness.” Alphonse said, helpfully patting her back as she hunched over.

“That’s ridiculous...” Lana wheezed. “I’ve sailed across roiling oceans and flown through the most tempestuous- ULP!”

The cart went over a bump in the road and jolted violently. Lana had to smack a hand over her mouth to suppress a gag. Alphonse patted her back a little harder.

“I guess sea travel and horse travel are two completely different beasts, huh?” he said wryly.

“We’ll take a rest at that there outpost for a spell. I can do a ‘lil more business there, anyways.” Tarin assured them.

The grizzled farmer had been kind enough to give them a ride north, in exchange for visiting Lon Lon Ranch along the way. It seemed like they were only halfway there. To Lana, that thought was becoming unbearable. She prayed to any deity she could remember encountering in her travels that the ride would end as soon as possible. Unfortunately for her, she got her wish.

“Hold, there!”

A shrill voice yelled out from a ways up the road, still ahead of the outpost. It looked like a merchant on horseback, and he was waving at them frantically. Tarin yanked on the reins, and the horse brayed and came to a halt. Lana felt a momentary relief, until she heard what the fuss was about.

‘What’s all this, then?” Tarin demanded.

“You’d better turn back if you value your life! There’s a horde of monsters gathering up the road from here!” the merchant warned.

Alphonse leapt up immediately. “Monsters? That sounds bad... Are there any populated areas that way?”

“Beyond the outpost? There’s Deya Village, right on the border of Hyrule...” the merchant said.

“That’s really bad. They could be in serious danger. We’d better do something.” Alphonse said urgently.

“Huh? Us?” Lana said, her stomach finally settling down enough to contribute.

“Don’t do anything foolish, young man.” the merchant advised. “I’ve already alerted the garrison at the outpost. They‘ll handle it. Y’all should get as far away as you can!”

With that, the merchant cracked the reins, and his horse galloped away. Alphonse clenched his fist as he watched him leave. Lana was behind him and couldn’t see the expression on his face, but she could kind of guess what it looked like. Her suspicions were confirmed when he spoke next.

“Tarin, we just have to follow this road past the outpost to reach Deya?” he asked.

“What in...? You heard the lad! Don’t do anything foolish!” Tarin said.

“The garrison might not be able to mobilize fast enough. If we go now, we might be able to save some people, or at least help them evacuate the town.”

“Alphonse, hold on...” Lana said, grabbing his sleeve again.

The pair leapt down from Tarin’s cart and moved away a bit. Tarin watched them curiously, soothing his chittering horse. Lana looked up at Alphonse, watching his eyes glance at the road ahead every now and then.

“Listen...” she continued. “Can we really afford to do this? If we get hurt or worse, that’s it. I don’t want to die in a strange place without ever even learning how or why I got here. As much as it pains me to say it, we should focus on figuring out what happened to us. We aren’t in a position to help anyone right now.”

Alphonse bit his lip, looking like he wanted to say something. He held his words in for a few moments longer, as if he were considering what to do next. His gaze made Lana feel squirmy. When he did speak again, it sounded like the words were hard for him to get out.

“I understand. I won’t force you to put yourself out there.” he said quietly. “But I’m going. It doesn’t matter where we are or why we are. I’m not gonna ignore someone in need.” He turned on his heel, and started to walk down the road. “Good luck getting to the castle, and be safe. I’ll probably see you again up there, I hope.”

With nothing more to say, he continued on, starting to break into a brisk run. Tarin scratched the back of his neck as he watched him run off, and then glanced down at Lana, looking unsure if he should say anything to her or not.

Lana watched Alphonse’s back grow smaller in the distance, and began to feel a bitter sense of guilt and regret well up in her throat. She remembered the many times in her journey when she was asked for help, and had debated with herself if she could really afford to spend time on other people when she was having such a hard time on her own. She did eventually always end up helping them, but only after a lot of rationalizing and internal arguing. And here was Alphonse, in the same uncertain situation she was, who just dropped everything and didn’t hesitate to run off to help.

Why do I feel like the bad guy here? I’m not wrong, am I? You can’t help people if you’re in need of help yourself. So why... do I feel so awful? Is it the way he looked at me? The way he didn’t hesitate? Ugh, this sucks...

She bit her thumb as she continued to watch Alphonse get farther and farther away. He didn’t look back once. For some reason, that just made her angry. They were supposed to be in this together, weren’t they? So what did he think he was doing? And why did she feel so bitter about it?

Ugh, I know why... It’s because I’m the same as him. Since when have I ever been able to turn away from someone in need? He just doesn’t hesitate as much as I do. I feel so stupid.

Stomping her feet in place a couple times and grumbling, Lana finally shook her head and took off sprinting after him. She heard Tarin call out to her, but she ignored him. Her eyes were fixed on Alphonse’s back. She was cursing herself the whole while, but this time, it was for not being as immediately honest with herself as he was.

“Damn it... Alphonse, wait for me!”

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Time for another chapter! The action in this one was definitely good practice. It was pretty fun to write, too. I hope that readers of my previous stories will enjoy the callbacks. This one takes Alphonse's perspective. Here we go!

Chapter Three
Defending Deya​

The sun was climbing higher in the sky as Alphonse and Lana dashed along the road toward Deya Village. After passing the outpost and ignoring the warnings from the guards stationed there, they crossed a bridge over the Hylia River and sprinted up rolling hills to discover the little hamlet nestled in a valley. From their position looking down, they could already see a stampede of monsters approaching from the north, wading through the waters of the Hylia’s branching streams.

The two had come this far, but it was almost time. The beasts would be upon the town in minutes. It didn’t look like the villagers had finished evacuating yet. There were a few armed townspeople on standby, and a lot of people running from house to house, trying to get as many people out as they could. It looked like they were attempting to flee south over the hills. And just as Alphonse had feared, there was no sign of the garrison that was said to be coming yet.

Alphonse stopped to consider their next move. He could hear Lana panting behind him. He was very grateful that she’d come around and decided to help, and he gave her an encouraging smile and a pat on the shoulder.

“I appreciate you coming with me. I feel a lot more confident with the two of us.” he said.

“Yeah... Well... I was getting frustrated the more I stood there doing nothing...” she said between catching her breath. “But I’m still anxious about this.”

Lana peered over at the approaching monsters. From their current vantage point, they had a good view of both sides of the hills encircling the village. They could monitor the progress of both the monsters’ advance and the village’s evacuation. They also had a good view of the types of monsters that were invading.

“Are those... Bokoblins? They look odd...” Lana said.

“Bokoblins? Those?” Alphonse said, studying the beasts. “They don’t look like the bokoblins I know, but now that you mention it, I can see it. Must be a regional thing?”

As Alphonse shrugged, he took another good look at them. They were short and stoutly, with large floppy ears and piggish faces. Their red skin was haphazardly clothed in scraps of cloth and hay. They brandished wooden clubs and the occasional rusty sword. They didn’t look very threatening. As far as he could tell, the only real threat was their numbers.

“Not good... Those things are totally freaked out.” Lana said.

“What do you mean?” Alphonse asked.

“Look at the way they’re running. They’re completely panicked. If they tear through the town in that state, it’ll be a bloodbath. They’ll plow right through anything that tries to stop them.” Lana explained.

“Huh... I couldn’t tell at all. You’re pretty knowledgeable about monsters, huh?”

“I, um... I remember everything I read, and I’ve read the monster encyclopedia from back home front to back, so...” Lana said, looking a little embarrassed. “But that was for monsters on the Great Sea, so I dunno how useful that knowledge will be out here.”

“Hey, a little insight is better than no insight. It’s a big help!” he said, smiling at her. “I don’t know a lot about monster ecology, so I never would have figured that out. I could’ve gotten into real trouble if I went out there without knowing that. So thank you, Lana! I’ll be counting on you.”

Lana went a little slack-jawed, as if it were the first time she’d been praised for her book smarts. She turned away from him, and Alphonse let out a quiet chuckle.

“So then...” he continued. “If these guys are frenzied, there’s probably a reason why, right? But we don’t exactly have the means or the time to figure that out. We just have to stop them from hurting anyone right now.”

“That’s a fair assessment.” Lana said. “If we can get their attention on us instead of the villagers and make ourselves more of an obstacle than they are, it should save a lot of lives. Of course, we’d be the ones in trouble then...”

“If we can draw them away from the people, I should be able to manage something. I’ll need your help, though.” Alphonse said. “I know we don’t have a lot of time left, but we should go over what we’re each capable of right now. Sound good?”

“Yeah, it does...” Lana said quietly. She looked like she was hesitant to speak about herself, but she did. “Well, I have my estoc. It’s got good armor-piercing potential, and I’m pretty handy with it. I also have this, um, magical leaf shawl, a deku leaf. It can generate wind and I can use it to fly. I also have my bow and arrows, but, um...” She paused again. “I can’t really use them anymore. I injured my left arm in a battle two months ago, and ever since, I can’t raise it higher than my shoulders or make a fist. You need two hands to use a bow, but my left arm no longer has the strength to hold it steady or nock an arrow...”

As she said this, her voice trailed off. Alphonse could see a deep sense of humiliation and sadness in her eyes. A disability like that was sure to be a rough adjustment for anyone, especially if it were as new as she’d said.

“Hey, that’s all right. Just do what you can.” he said kindly. “As for me, I've got this sword, the Lokomo Sword. It’s a sacred weapon and it’s full of powerful magic, and I can also use that magic for various things. Let me take the front and I can handle most of their attacks with it.”

“Huh? You can use magic?” Lana said, shocked. “I thought there was something about you... But then, why didn’t you say so before? Couldn’t we use it to get home?”

“Nope. I don’t know how to do that. If I tried without knowing how, who knows what could happen to us... That’s why I didn’t say anything before.”

“That makes sense... I guess that’s also why you didn’t flinch when I said I have a magic leaf. I was afraid you’d think I was crazy or something.” she laughed. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention it, but I can do temporal rushes, too. That could be useful.”

“What’s a temporal rush?”

“It’s like, um, when you’re about to get hit, it feels like time slows down and you can move a lot faster.”

“Wow, that does sound useful.” Alphonse remarked. “Okay, so, it sounds like you should focus on a hit-and-run strategy, while I make myself as much of a nuisance as I can. Will that work out?”

“It better. We’re out of time to talk about it.” Lana said, eyeing the monster horde.

The bokoblins had finished crossing the Hylia River and were making a mad dash for the hills. Now that they were much closer, Alphonse could clearly see the terror and desperation in their faces. Whatever the cause of this was, it was something bad enough to induce a stampede of this magnitude. But finding out would have to wait until the lives in front of them were rescued from certain death.

“I’ll take to the air! I’ll leave it to you to draw their attention!” Lana said, sounding more motivated than before.

“Alright! I’ll make it flashy!” Alphonse said, nodding at her.

Lana grabbed the edges of her deku leaf shawl, and miraculously, tendrils began to sprout and curl around her arms. She swung her arms down, and off into the air she flew. Alphonse gaped at her, feeling a little jealous she could fly whenever she wanted. He shook his head a moment later, and got back into focus.

Alphonse drew his sword and began gathering his magic power throughout his body. He hadn’t expected he’d ever need to do this again, so it felt momentarily odd. Nevertheless, even far from home, the magic of the Spirits of Light was ever strong within him. The blade of the Lokomo Sword began shimmering with an azure blue hue, and power welled up in the soles of his feet and in his arms. He readied himself for battle just as the bokoblin horde reached the top of the hills.

The townspeople down below started to panic. The ones holding weapons faltered greatly at the sight of them. One of them turned and ran on the spot, while the rest stood shaking in their boots. It was likely none of them had ever had to use those weapons before. The townspeople behind them scattered haphazardly, while the bokoblins charged ahead in a frenzied rage, unconcerned about whatever stood in front of them.

Lana was right. This will be a massacre if we don’t do anything...

Thinking as much, Alphonse knew it was time to act. He glanced up at the sky to spot Lana, and their eyes met for a brief second. During that time, they exchanged a nod, and Alphonse turned a fiery gaze back at the monsters.

The magic empowering his feet expanded greatly, and Alphonse kicked off the ground as hard as he could. At the same time, he tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword, and a fierce burst of magic aura enveloped the blade and stretched out. In the next moment, he shot forward, covering the distance between himself and the villagers before the first bokoblin reached the bottom of the hill. At the same time, he swung his blade down, allowing his magic to erupt from his sword, splitting the ground beneath him.

After an ear-splitting cracking sound shook the air and the ground, the villagers stumbled over and the bokoblins screeched to a halt. Alphonse skidded to a stop in between both groups, his back to the villagers. He had effectively drawn a line between the monsters and the villagers with that move, the pavement torn asunder.

“You wanna pass through here? You go through me first.” Alphonse taunted, pointing his blade at the bokoblins.

His provocation seemed highly effective. The horde of bokoblins began frothing at the mouth, shouting things in gibberish and brandishing their various weapons. Alphonse turned his head back at the villagers, who were still collapsed all over the ground and giving him wide-eyed stares. He nodded his head to gesture that they should run. A couple of them picked up on that and immediately got the evacuation back underway.

Just as the bokoblins began charging again, Alphonse sent another burst of magic through his sword. This time, he released it as a wave of energy, and shot it forward with a horizontal slice. The magic power ripped through the first set of bokoblins, leaving their bodies in bloody chunks to fall on the ground. Concerningly, this didn’t seem to deter the monsters at all.

Before he could make another move, he watched as Lana dropped out of the sky on the other side of the horde. She drew her estoc and began piercing through the enemies from behind before they’d even noticed her approach. Some of them at the rear stopped and turned to face her after hearing their buddies scream, but most of them stayed focused on Alphonse.

Lana evaded many sword strikes as she hacked her way through their rear line, and a handful of times as she did, she appeared to be moving at lightning speed to Alphonse’s eyes. He realized this was the temporal rush she’d mentioned before. Once again, he felt a twinge of envy at her abilities.

Man, she is good. I gotta ask her about that technique after this.

Feeling inspired, Alphonse rushed forward to meet the advancing horde head-on. Their eyes were still desperate and angry, but they were clearly trained on him now instead of whatever lay beyond them. This was just what he and Lana had been after. The diversion was successful.

Ducking below and dodging around strikes from clubs and swords, Alphonse weaved his way into the crowd of monsters. Instead of continuing on ahead, the front line of the horde turned on their heels to go after him. Once he was far enough in, Alphonse began building more magic power into his sword. Leaping over and around a flurry of enemy attacks, Alphonse spun in the air and released his power in a wide circle. It sliced clean through all the enemies that surrounded him.

Once again, Alphonse and Lana exchanged a glance and a nod. Lana leapt back and sheathed her sword in one motion, moving at lightning speed from under an enemy attack once more. She took off back into the air immediately, while Alphonse started running back the way he came through the village. Just as planned, the bokoblins started chasing after him instead of continuing their rampage. By this point, the villagers had cleared the immediate area, but he couldn’t tell how many were left in the town.

Lana whistled to get Alphonse’s attention, and he looked up at her. He watched her eyes and saw clearly where she was gesturing for him to go. It appeared that, with her vantage in the sky, she could see where the remaining villagers were. She intended to lead him to an area where they had finished evacuating to continue the fight.

Alphonse grinned, feeling grateful that his partner was such a dependable strategist. He sprinted down the street and rounded a corner around a house. He then immediately turned on his heel to ready another burst of magic. Just as those bokoblins followed him around that corner, he fired the burst forward with a swing of his sword.

Many of them were felled by that burst of magic, but many more still continued to madly pursue him. This was the first time Alphonse had encountered monsters that were so angry that they paid no heed to their own allies. They were so desperate that they fought with no concern for their own lives. Truly, he thought if he’d come here alone without that knowledge, he'd have been unprepared to face them. He felt renewed gratitude that Lana had chosen to accompany him.

Turning on his heel, Alphonse began running once more. He glanced back up at Lana to see where she wanted him to go next, and caught sight of her next signal. It appeared there were still villagers on the road ahead of them, so Alphonse turned sharply and headed right for a building. With the magic concentrated in his feet, Alphonse leapt up high and crossed over the roof of the house.

The bokoblins split their forces and chased after Alphonse by going around either side of the building. There were alleyways that snaked between buildings, funneling the monsters down two set paths. Alphonse landed on one side, and Lana dropped down in the air and waited at the other. Each brandishing their respective blades, they knew this was their best chance to whittle down the enemy force.

The bokoblins could barely fit through the alleys in a single-file line. Each time one made it through, it was promptly cut down by Alphonse or Lana. One by one, they lined up to die, each blinded by the unknown desperation that drove them into this stampede. With each new monster that fell, Alphonse began to wonder anew about the source of this rampage.

His thoughts were interrupted once again. The piling of dead bokoblin bodies allowed the remaining enemies a new advantage. They climbed over their fallen brethren and leapt over the two defenders. They could no longer continue with this strategy.

Lana ducked under furious sword swipes and quickly nodded at Alphonse. She returned to the air with a quick flap of her arms, the resulting gust knocking some bokoblins off their feet. Alphonse leapt over another bokoblin’s attack and sent a quick burst of magic hurling at the fallen ones, killing them before they could stand back up.

There wasn’t much space in this area behind the buildings. It was pressed against the hills that encircled the town, so Alphonse was running out of room the more the monsters piled in. He didn’t want to retreat up the hill and lose the terrain advantage that came with fighting between the buildings, so he glanced up at Lana to see if she had any new signals for him.

She did, indeed. Lana was beckoning for him to return to the top of the building, where she had landed and was awaiting him. Alphonse focused power in his feet and leapt up once more, using the extra force to rise high enough to land on the roof. The shockwave of his jump made the surrounding bokoblins stagger.

“Got any more plans?” he asked quickly.

“I peeked into the windows and confirmed that this house is deserted. Can you topple it?” she asked.

He immediately understood what she was getting at and nodded. He motioned for her to back away, so she returned to the air. Alphonse looked back at the bokoblins piling up behind the house. They were still zeroed in on him, ravenously trying to scale the building. Most of the remaining enemies were stuffed into that small backyard. He knew what he had to do.

I feel a bit bad for whoever owns this house, but buildings can always be repaired. Their lives are more important.

Affirming himself of such, Alphonse raised his sword above his head, gripping the hilt with both hands. Tightening his fists, a powerful blaze of magic energy began expanding from the blade. Steeling his body, he leapt up into the air, and slammed this blaze of magic down right beneath his feet.

The recoil knocked Alphonse backward through the air, as he intended. He broke his fall and rolled out of the way as he watched the house collapse right on top of that horde of bokoblins. The creatures shrieked and yowled in anger as their bodies were crushed under the debris, flattened into splats of blood.

With that maneuver, the vast majority of the monster force had been dealt with. There were a few survivors not caught in the collapse already rushing at him. Even this couldn’t snap them out of their frenzy. Lana quickly landed down behind them, and together with Alphonse, dispatched the last of them with a handful of quick sword strikes.

And so it was all over. The monsters had been quelled, and the sounds of battle faded away, replaced by heavy panting from the two heroes. Alphonse stared at the slaughter he and Lana had committed, and felt a pit in his gut over all the bloodshed. Nevertheless, he’d weighed their lives against the villagers, and chose to value the villagers’ innocence more.

Lana gazed at Alphonse with a sense of awe. She seemed impressed with his destructive prowess and his magical ability. Alphonse returned those feelings with a smile and pumped his fist in the air. She smiled back at him, looking relieved that they’d pulled through.

It wasn’t long before the villagers had started returning to the town to see the result of the battle. Pure elation washed over them as they discovered the pair standing over the pile of dead monsters. Right away, they all broke down and shouted with joy as they surrounded Alphonse and Lana.

“Look, it’s over! Those kids did it!”

“That was incredible! Whoever you two are, we owe you our lives!”

“Hey, that’s my house! What have you done?!”

Many cries of joy and gratitude filled the air around them. Alphonse had almost forgotten what that felt like. He didn’t expect he’d get to act as a hero again after his journey ended. Perhaps that, whatever circumstances brought him to this place, it would turn out to be a worthwhile adventure, after all.

“Wow, slow down! I get it, you’re welcome, but please, you’re too close...” Lana said bashfully as she was mobbed by sparkly-eyed kids and thankful civilians.

“We’re just happy we got here on time.” Alphonse said, trying to create a little space between himself and his own crowd.

The braying of many horses caught everyone’s attention, and finally the mob relaxed a little. They all turned their heads toward the village entrance, where a brilliant display of armor and hooves had just come pouring in.

“It’s the garrison! They’re finally here!” one of the villagers yelled.

“What took you so long! It’s already over, you know!” shouted another.

“Good people, be at ease. What happened here?” one of the knights asked. He looked as if he were a commander.

The appearance of these knights gave Alphonse pause. Their attire was remarkably similar to that of the knights that served his home kingdom of Hyleigh. Even the symbol of a royal bird that adorned them each was almost the same. He knew this wasn’t Hyleigh, but a place called Hyrule, so he found himself increasingly curious about these coincidences.

Then, he felt a strange presence approaching from the rear of the battalion. A magnificent white horse trotted forward, carrying someone that seemed to send a chill down Alphonse’s spine. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Lana felt the same chill. Something about this person was clearly different.

“It seems our guests have already solved this problem for us. We must express our humble and eternal gratitude for their selfless and valiant services.”

The words spoken by this person sounded a little apologetic to Alphonse’s ears. He studied him closely. They were a young man, perhaps only a year older than Alphonse was, if that. He had dull pink hair and light purple eyes, which were a stark contrast to his dark skin and the deep greens and golds of his robes. His face looked soft and kind, and he had an air of humility and grace about himself.

As he climbed down from his steed, each of the knights knelt to him in deference. He was clearly important, whoever he was. The villagers all seemed to know immediately that they should back away and kneel, as well. Lana drew closer to Alphonse, seeming highly on edge.

“Alphonse, Lana, it is good to see you are well. I apologize for the inconvenience. I had been out searching for you with my troops all day so I could find you and explain.” the young man said.

Hearing that this person knew their names, more chills shot up Alphonse’s spine. He instinctively got on guard, and Lana did the same. The tension and anxiety was written all over her face.

“How do you know our names?” Lana rasped.

“Who exactly are you?” Alphonse asked warily.

The young man stepped forward, smiling sadly. “Your hostility is understandable. I want to assure you that I meant you no harm. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.”

“What wasn’t supposed to happen this way? Tell us everything.” Alphonse demanded.

“Of course I will.” the young man said before bowing and clearing his throat.

The knights surrounding him continued to kneel deeply, as did the villagers. Alphonse was already starting to guess who this person was. The obvious importance they carried about their personage, the mysterious feeling his presence was giving off, and the way he seemed to know everything about their situation told Alphonse exactly who this was. And the young man’s next words confirmed his suspicions.

“I am Erianna Maculas Hyrule, Second Prince of the Kingdom of Hyrule. And I am the one who summoned you, Alphonse and Lana, from across the bounds of space and time.”

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Next chapter's ready! This one ran a bit long, but I kind of expected it to. This one and the next one both have to get through a lot of exposition and dialogue. We go back to Lana's perspective here. Hope you find it interesting! This is where the real setup of the plot comes in.

Chapter Four
The Oracle Prince​

Prince Erianna watched Lana and Alphonse with a soft, yet sad smile. He had just announced that he was the one who had summoned the two of them to this place, and Lana’s mind was doing somersaults to try and make sense of it. He’d specifically said it was across time and space, and she had caught on to that “time” bit pretty fast.

If we were summoned across space and time both, does that mean this is the Hyrule of the past? If so, how are we...

She shook her head. Erianna said he was going to explain everything. In that moment, she felt like she had no other choice but to believe him. She glanced at Alphonse and watched the wheels turning in his head. He must have come to the same conclusion. If they wanted answers, they had to hear him out, even if their gut reaction told them otherwise.

He made a point to say he means us no harm, even though he ripped both of us away from our homes unexpectedly. I don’t think he’s our enemy, or maybe that’s just what I have to tell myself...

“Please, come with me to the castle. I will explain everything properly there.” Erianna said, bowing to the pair again.

Lana looked at Alphonse, and he had a stern expression on his face, but he still nodded. He was clearly on edge, which told Lana that this was not something even he, with all his magic experience, was used to. Space was one thing for him, but perhaps time was not. She gulped, but she returned his nod.

“Excellent. Please, this way.” Erianna said, smiling a little brighter.

If he’s trying to put us at ease with that smile, it’s backfiring...

Thinking as much, Lana and Alphonse approached the prince and his battalion of troops. Two of the knights offered them their horses. Alphonse got on with little trouble, but Lana had a rough time of it. She felt hot in the face as one of the knights had to lift her up to reach the saddle. She couldn’t help it if they didn't have horses where she’s from.

The villagers of Deya murmured amongst themselves as they watched their sudden saviors join with the prince. As they could hear that entire conversation, they could tell that something important and secret was going on. A handful of soldiers stayed behind in the village to ensure their safety and help them start the recovery process, and Lana and Alphonse set off for the castle.

* * *

Two hours passed by, and they finally arrived at the town surrounding the castle. Lana quickly leapt off the horse, kneeling on the ground trying to catch her breath. She clutched her stomach as hard as she could, trying to keep herself from vomiting.

Good grief, that was awful. Riding a horse on the saddle was way worse than when I was riding in Tarin’s cart...

Alphonse sympathetically patted her back, and she looked up to see him smiling wryly. She returned that look and staggered to her feet. The poor knight she’d been riding with looked at her like he were afraid she’d have thrown up all over his back had they taken any longer to arrive.

Aside from about five who remained at the prince’s side, the rest of the knights turned and headed back in the direction of Deya. It appeared they were going to assist in reconstruction as well. The prince leapt down from his own horse and gestured for Lana and Alphonse to follow him, as the five knights that stayed behind remained on horseback. Erianna walked while holding the reins of his steed.

“You’re not gonna ride, too?” Alphonse asked.

“No. When going through the town, I prefer to walk. If I’m on high, I can’t see the same things as the townsfolk, and I think it’s important that I do.” Erianna said.

Lana wasn’t sure what to make of that statement. This was her first time meeting royalty, not counting her ghostly boat companion from her prior adventure. She had been constantly scrutinizing him on the ride to the castle town (when she wasn’t gagging from motion sickness), and he didn’t say a word the entire way. No one did. With this statement being the very next one he made after telling them he summoned them here, she felt very conflicted.

She didn’t have much longer to ponder it. The party stood at the main gates to the town, which were shut tight. The whole city was surrounded by a massive wall, but she could hear furious amounts of activity coming from the other side of it. The guards seemed to be cranking some unseen mechanisms in the towers holding up the gates, and slowly, they creaked open. Lana’s eyes widened in pace with them.

Rays of light filtered through the cracks as the gate opened, revealing the town in all its splendor. Cobblestone roads paved over everything in sight and winded between buildings, of which there were too many to count. The houses were all uniform in color, with a gray stone exterior and a blue shingled roof. They seemed to spiral out from the center, where the party could see a magnificent fountain in the middle of a plaza. In the northeast stood a solemn-looking cathedral, and in the very north was the castle, sitting atop natural hills and cliffs.

“Amazing...” Lana breathed. “I’ve never seen anything like this outside of picture books.”

“I’m happy to hear our town pleases you.” Erianna said with a smile.

She couldn’t restrain herself from feeling awed. Alphonse too seemed to let out a whistle in spite of himself. Erianna motioned for them to follow, and they began trotting after him as he led them through the town. The pair looked around at the dizzying sights, as if spellbound. The commerce hub they’d visited before looked like a sleepy hamlet compared to the castle city.

Many of the townsfolk paused to bow or wave at Erianna and his procession. Many young children ran up alongside him, asking if they could play as he gently turned them down for the moment. It appeared as if he’d made many such visits to mingle with the townsfolk before. Lana felt her impression of him growing. If the people here liked him so much, maybe his intentions in summoning them weren’t as malicious as she’d assumed.

It wasn’t long until they had passed through the central plaza and began their ascent up the road that led to the castle. There were another set of gates blocking their way in, and Erianna signaled to the guards to allow them passage. After doing so, he turned to face Lana and Alphonse once more.

“Shortly, I will be presenting the two of you to my father the King as my honored guests. I know you have many questions, so I would like to assure you that I will be answering them all after we greet the King.” he explained.

“Alright. Nothin’ for it, then.” Alphonse said, stretching his arms.

Lana felt a little envious of his attitude. In her chest, her heart was spinning and squeezing with doubt and anxiety over the situation, but he seemed to have already adapted to the circumstances once again. She thought she’d benefit from emulating that aspect of him, as long as it didn’t dull her sense of danger. He seemed to notice her watching him, and he showed a reassuring grin. She felt herself breathe a little easier after that.

By then, the castle gate had opened. The prince and his entourage began moving once again, heading up the slope winding through the hills. They had to pass through a few gatehouses before they finally reached the front walls of the castle. Lana’s neck started to hurt from trying to look up to the top. Much like the buildings in town, the castle was all white stone with blue shingled roofs, and at the very top looked to be a bell tower with a spire pointed toward the heavens.

A drawbridge lowered over a moat, allowing the procession passage to the interior. To Lana, it was like walking into a fairy tale. The floors and walls were draped in velvet carpets and tapestries, and fanciful busts and paintings decorated every inch. It looked to be a display of impressive wealth. She couldn’t figure out what to gawk at first. It appeared Alphonse was having the same problem.

Erianna motioned to one of the guards, who then ran ahead down the long entrance hall corridor. Lana assumed that he was going to inform the king of their impending arrival. After giving a pleasant smile, Erianna led the pair down the hall after him. Lana’s heart started pounding harder. She would be meeting the king soon. What kind of person would he be?

She glanced at Alphonse again, and he gave her a comforting nod. He was still calm even after all this. Lana couldn’t help but wonder how he pulled that off. She tried to ground herself by thinking of the explanation Erianna promised them. She just had to survive meeting the king, and she would find out what this whole mess was about.

Soon enough, they arrived at what Lana could only assume was the throne room. A pair of impressive bronze doors opened before their eyes at the end of the hall, and inside the room beyond was a sight more magnificent that anything else that had come before. Prisms of light reflected across the floor through stunning stained glass windows. The backs of the red and gold thrones reached almost to the ceiling, and small waterfalls poured down on either side of it, creating a tranquil sound that echoed through the room.

There were four thrones total, lined up against the back wall with the waterfalls. Three of them were occupied. In one sat a lovely young woman with golden hair and blue eyes, clothed in a beautiful pink gown and adorned with jewels and a diadem. In another sat a handsome young man with similarly gold hair and eyes that were just as blue. He wore a vibrant white suit with gold trimmings and spectacles with golden rims. Between them, on the center and largest throne, must have been the king.

For a second, Lana thought she was seeing things. The man looked remarkably familiar. His hair was gray, but it still had a recognizable tinge of blonde left in it. His blue eyes were weary, but appeared to be kind. His stature was large, and his crimson robes were relaxed and loose. Atop his head sat a golden crown with shiny red gems studded in. And his face was unmistakably that of King Daphnes, the King of Red Lions Lana had once traveled with.

Erianna cleared his throat. “May I present the King of Hyrule, my father, King Cornelius Dasthra Hyrule. At his side, Princess Zelda and First Prince Kaina.”

Alphonse seemed to flinch when he heard the princess’s name, but he didn’t say anything. Lana, on the other hand, was transfixed by the king. He didn’t have the same name as her friend, but he looked strikingly similar. She came to the conclusion that they had to be related by blood. There could be no other explanation in her mind. What’s more, the princess was even starting to remind her of another friend from her travels.

No, that can’t be... Can it?

“Ah, yes. These must be the ‘heroes of other eras’ you were talking about summoning.” King Cornelius said, scratching his bearded chin.

“Them, heroes? They sure don’t look the part.” Prince Kaina scoffed.

“Hush. You should know better than to judge by appearances.” Princess Zelda said. “If Eri says they’re heroes, then I believe him.”

“You would believe him...” Kaina scowled.

Erianna simply smiled. “Yes, Father. I present Alphonse and Lana. I haven’t had the chance to explain everything to them yet. There was an issue with the summoning and they didn’t arrive where they were supposed to. With your grace, I shall take care of everything.” he said formally.

“Of course, my son.” Cornelius said. “I know very well that your eyes see more than mine ever could. You are the steward of the Ocarina of Time, so I leave all matters concerning it to your discretion. You will have whatever you need.”

Kaina scoffed again, and Zelda glared at him as if to say “not in front of guests”. Erianna didn’t break his smile. He bowed to his family, and then turned to face Lana and Alphonse. He gestured for them to follow. Alphonse quietly bowed to the royals before following Erianna, so, not knowing any better, Lana mimicked him.

After leaving the throne room, Erianna led them down the adjacent hall. Once they were far enough away, he turned to the pair with a flushed expression.

“I apologize for that in there. My dear brother can be very... skeptical.” he said.

“Yeah, I could tell there was some tension going on... Must be rough.” Alphonse said.

“H-hey, it’s not something you need to apologize to us for! Besides, I’m more interested in your explanation right now, if you don’t mind me saying...” Lana said.

“Yes, of course. Come.”

Erianna led the two of them out into a garden, surrounded by white walls draped in ivy. Radiant flowers dotted the yard, and in the center was a gazebo with a set of tables and chairs. A person that looked like a servant had prepared tea and sweets for them ahead of time. They each took a seat around the table.

“Please, help yourselves.” Erianna said, gesturing to the snacks.

Alphonse didn’t hesitate to dig in. Lana found herself unable to resist them, either. They hadn’t had a chance to eat since they woke up in this place, after all. She was a little wary to eat food offered by these mysterious people, but her growling stomach drowned out her sense of caution.

“Now, then. I believe I owe you an explanation.” Erianna said, folding his hands together.

“You can say that again.” Alphonse said between bites of lemon cake.

Lana noticed the servant glare at him, just for a split second. She tried to steer the conversation in a polite direction. “You said before you summoned us from across space and time... And it sounds like you told your family, that is, the king and the prince and princess, about us, too?”

“Yes, you are correct. Let’s see, what’s the proper order I should explain all this in...” Erianna said thoughtfully. “Well, to start with, you should both know that I am an oracle. With the blessings of the Goddess of Time, I have the power to see across eras. I have borne witness to both of your journeys with this power.”

“Huh? So... you’ve watched us across time?” Alphonse said, stunned.

“I have. Alphonse’s journey across the country of Hyleigh as the Hero of Spirits, and his fight to defeat the Demon King Malladus... Lana’s journey to find her motherland across the Great Sea that was beset by disaster after disaster... I know all about the both of you.”

Lana felt a chill down her spine. The way a stranger could know so much about her was eerie.

“It was these journeys that led me to choose you. I believe you also deserve to know exactly where and when you are, in relation to your own eras. This is the Kingdom of Hyrule, and for you Alphonse, this is a faraway land in the distant future from your time. I would say we’re around 600 years in your future. As for you, Lana, we are in the Hyrule Kingdom that will eventually be swallowed under your Great Sea, roughly 1400 years in your past.”


Lana couldn’t believe her ears. 1400 years in the past? He must be joking. He must be out of his mind. There’s no way such a thing could be possible. She looked at Alphonse, and even his jaw had dropped. She just could not believe that what he said was true. And yet, even as all her senses told her this couldn’t be real, she knew she had no choice to accept it as truth. She simply had no alternative explanation for any of this.

“I understand how this news must make you feel. Thus, I’d like to reassure you that I can send you home. You are not stuck here.” Erianna said soothingly.

Lana felt herself start to breathe again. However terrifying of a prospect his words were, the simple fact that she could go home lifted an enormous burden from her mind. Alphonse had let go of his tension, too, and even started eating again.

“How exactly did you summon us across time like that? I’m used to crossing dimensions, but this is a first for me.” Alphonse asked between mouthfuls.

“I summoned you the same way I will send you home; with this.” From his robes, Erianna revealed a lovely blue ocarina. “This is the Ocarina of Time, a mystical instrument that possesses the power to bend time itself. We believe it was created by the Goddess of Time, and it was gifted to the Hyrulean royal family long ago. But, just this alone would be insufficient to the task. Fortunately for me, I possess magic powers of stasis, allowing me to freeze things in time. I used the ocarina to amplify this power to the degree that I could freeze time in your eras and pluck you from precise moments. And, I will be able to return you to those precise moments, such that no one in your times will be aware that anything has happened to you.”

“Wow... That's a lot to take in...” Lana said.

“So you have magic, huh...” Alphonse pondered. “How is that possible for a human? I can use magic only because the Spirits of Light are letting me borrow their power. So what’s your story?”

“A fair question. It is said that the Hyrule line started from the blood of the Goddess Hylia. As such, many of our lineage have magical abilities. For example, my sister Zelda has healing magic, and my brother Kaina can use sealing magic.” Erianna explained. “I would also like to point out that my family and I are not humans, we are hylians. I understand your confusion, though. I know there are no hylians in Hyleigh.”

“Oh yeah, we talked about that before.” Lana said. “I’ve only seen a couple hylians on the Great Sea, but I at least learned about them. Alphonse thought that everyone with long ears was a demon...”

“Another understandable conclusion from him. Where he’s from, long ears are a demon trait. There are no demons in Hyrule, though. We’ve never had any relationship to or knowledge of the Mystic Realm in our corner of the world.” Erianna said.

“Oh, that’s a shame. If this is 600 years in my future, I bet Regret would still be alive...” Alphonse said quietly.

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. I may have brought you here, but I must avoid paradoxes at all costs.” Erianna said sternly. “Lana would not be able to do much with her knowledge of the past, but Alphonse, you could potentially bring some damaging information back with you. I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer many of the questions you probably have.”

“That makes sense. I understand.” Alphonse said, though he sounded awfully sad to hear it.

“Speaking of paradoxes, I must also warn you of something dire.” Erianna continued. “Though it's true that I can send you home to the precise moments you were taken from, you both still very much exist as real parts of this time right now, and as such, it’s possible for you to die here.”

Lana almost choked on her tea when she heard that. Many of her earlier fears started resurfacing.

“Yeah, I never doubted that.” Alphonse said casually. Lana felt ever perplexed by his attitude.

“I’m sure you understand what would happen, then. I would be unable to return you to the moments I pulled you from, and thus your eras will be irreversibly changed.” Erianna described. “It would be a paradox that could only be corrected by the birth of a new, parallel timeline. And the flow of time is already complex enough as it is. We must avoid that at all costs. This will be cruel of me to say, but that is the reason I pulled you from the moments I did; when your power was at its peak, but your duties were mostly fulfilled. Even if you were to die, the damage would be... a little more minimal than if I had taken Alphonse from before he completed his duties as the Hero of Spirits, for example.”

“That makes sense, I guess...” Alphonse said, in a tone that continued to exasperate Lana.

“Hey, hold on a minute!” she said, jumping up. “I still haven’t reached my motherland yet! My journey isn’t over! How is that minimal?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you any more. If I did, you would have knowledge of your future.” Erianna said apologetically.

Lana plopped back down in her seat, crossing her arms indignantly. “Cruel is right. What did you even bring us here for, anyway, if there’s so much risk involved?”

“Yes, it’s about time we get to that, I suppose.” Erianna said. He cleared his throat again before he continued. “As I said, I am an oracle. I can see both the past and the future of every era and every timeline that leads to them. I know how every story is going to end. I can even see what’s happening in the present. Truly, there is nothing hidden from my sight... Except for one thing; distortions in time.”

“Distortions... So, things that aren’t supposed to happen?” Alphonse asked.

“Precisely. Distortions are events that are not part of the natural flow of time. They are caused by someone, or something, interfering with the proper flow. We are living through such a distortion right now. One month ago, I could see the present state of my kingdom clear as day. Then, all of a sudden, it was as if a black fog obscured my sight of this time, and this time only. I can no longer see what is going to happen tomorrow. The monster attack on Deya Village that you two thwarted is one such event that I was unable to predict.”

“So basically... You can no longer guarantee tomorrow? Is that what you’re trying to say?” Lana asked.

“Yes, exactly. With what little I am able to see of our current era now, I have deduced that the source of the distortion resides in Akkala, a province of wilds beyond the borders of Hyrule. However, when I sent soldiers to investigate, none returned. What’s more, we’ve had other flocks of monsters besides the one you encountered fleeing from the direction of Akkala... None of this bodes well. With no other options, I decided to reach across time to call upon heroes from other eras that could aid me in resolving the distortion and setting the river of time back to its proper flow. In other words, the two of you.”

Lana paused to take in his words. Something was wrong with the flow of time, and whatever it was, it was serious enough that Erianna had to resort to risking paradoxes and calling people from other times to help. Was that something she was actually qualified for?

“Um...” Lana began. “I get that this is a situation you probably can’t solve on your own. That’s why you had to go through all this trouble, right? Because you need our help to fix this distortion. But surely there are other people throughout time that are considered heroes, right? Why did you choose me...?”

“To be frank, there are plenty of heroes I could have chosen. However, most of them possess the Spirit of the Hero, and I cannot afford to summon any of those that do. If I did, and they were to die, the resulting paradox would be utterly catastrophic. At the risk of being cruel again, the two of you were my best choices for people that were strong, would work well together, and would not doom their timelines if they should die.”

Lana frowned. “So basically, you’re saying we’re the most disposable.”

“Hah, yep, he sure is.” Alphonse laughed. “But hey, that’s fine with me. That’s the same as saying that Hyleigh will be safe even if I were to suddenly vanish. That’s a load off my mind.”

“You are too perceptive...” Erianna said wryly.

“What?! Alphonse, how can you say that? What about your friends? You told me you had people who would freak out if you were gone!” Lana chided.

“Yeah, I definitely don’t wanna up and disappear on them... But I know if they were here, they’d probably yell at me if I stood by and did nothing. Not that I would do nothing, anyway.”

‘What...? Are you saying you wanna help him? Just like that?” Lana was dumbstruck. She rose from her seat again, staring him dead in the face. “Even after everything he’s told us? You want to be one of his disposable heroes?”

“Sure do.” he said. “Wouldn’t be the first time I stuck my neck out for people that have nothing to do with me, and it probably won’t be the last. I know risking death and paradoxes isn't smart, but what else am I gonna do? Go home and do nothing while the people here suffer? Now that I know what’s going on, how am I supposed to do nothing about it?”

Lana bit her lip as she glared at him. How could he be like this? There was recklessness, and there was even heedlessness, and then there was the sheer audacity it had to take to almost immediately decide to risk losing your place in history for a bunch of strangers. What was he thinking?

Damn it, he's doing it again... This is just like when he went off to save Deya... I really don’t want to risk dying here fighting against something I can’t even conceptually understand! I don’t want to! But even still... I can’t help feeling the same way he does... How does he do it? How does he risk his life so easily like that? I don’t want to abandon people in need either, so why...

“Why can’t I...” Lana mumbled.

Erianna watched her quietly. Alphonse stood up to face her, looking into her eyes with a fiery sense of sincerity. It was as if he understood exactly how she was feeling.

“Why can’t I be like that? I want to help, too, but...” Lana’s voice trailed off.

She had helped many people over the course of her journey, but she had also agonized over risking her life for other people, too. She wanted to focus on herself and what she needed to do, but she never found herself able to turn away from people in need. She knew she had that much in common with Alphonse, but there was still something different.

“I get it, I do. I was like that, once.” he said. “There was a time when I agonized over whether or not I should help. But when I did, there was someone there who told me to give up and go home, if that’s how I felt. That kind of pissed me off, and it also lit a fire in me. I thought about what would happen if I did that, and I couldn’t accept it. So ever since, I’ve stopped worrying about the what-ifs and just helped whenever I wanted to. I don’t know if me telling you all this is helpful, but it’s all I’ve got for you.”

Lana remained quiet as she listened to him. Her gaze dropped down to the floor as she considered his words.

That’s it. That’s what’s different... He’s able to just do things, because he’s already imagined what would happen if he didn’t do anything. I envy that, I really do... Maybe I can...

“Maybe I can be like that too...?” she said quietly.

“If that’s what you want, then do it. You’re not alone. I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine, remember? We’re in this together!” Alphosne said enthusiastically.

“Yeah... Maybe you’re right... Maybe I should give it a try...” Lana said.

Erianna stood up, as well. “I will not force either of you to help me. If you wish it, I will cut my losses and send you home right now. But if you truly wish to help...”

He extended his hand to the both of them. Alphonse grinned and didn’t hesitate to take it. Lana’s chest tightened when she saw that. She hesitated, but soon enough, gradually, she found herself extending her own hand to meet theirs. Her lips curved into an unsteady smile as she took their hands in her own.

“... Then I will be honored to have your aid.” Erianna beamed.

Lana and Alphonse both nodded vigorously. There were still many things she couldn’t wrap her head around, and she wasn’t even sure if she fully believed in all this time travel talk, but she decided that she wanted to stay and help anyway. Maybe, just maybe, this would help her become a little braver. And in turn, maybe even this experience would help her reach her motherland.

Nevertheless, it was sure to be valuable.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
The next chapter is complete! And with this, the story is halfway done. It was always supposed to be short, but it still feels weird to say that after only five chapters, when you compare it to my previous stories, lol. This one ended up even longer than the previous chapter, but it was necessary. I had a lot of fun with the loredump and trying to connect it both to canon and to my previous stories. Now, Alphonse takes the helm again!

Chapter Five
Tales Told on the Trail​

Alphonse had woken up the following morning feeling very rested. He was surrounded by comfort on all sides. The guest room he’d been put up in was just as cozy as it was fancy. Lana had received her own equally impressive digs. Erianna informed them both that he needed just one day to gather a company of troops, and they would immediately set out for Akkala. The sooner they solved this distortion in time, the sooner they could go home, and they had to leave no matter what before they started noticeably aging.

It was still early in the day, and he had been told that nowhere in the castle was to be off limits to him, so Alphonse decided to explore until Erianna came calling. The architecture continued to remind him of Hyleigh’s cities. He had never gotten the chance to see Hyleigh’s castle before it was destroyed, so he wondered if Hyrule’s castle would have been similar to it.

He soon found himself on a walkway above a courtyard, and peered down to spot Lana exercising with a group of soldiers. She seemed very diligent down there, and it looked like she was receiving advice from the troops.

Wow, already at it this early... I’d better follow her example.

Alphonse started to go find his way down to join them, but he was interrupted by a sudden voice behind him.

“They’ve been at it for over an hour now! Impressive, isn’t it?”

He turned to find Princess Zelda grinning at him, accompanied by a pair of handmaidens.

“Ah, good morning, Princess!” Alphonse waved. “Yeah, Lana sure seems like a hard worker.”

“You two are from different eras, yes? This is your first time meeting her, then?” she asked.

“That’s right. I think we make a good team, though. I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about our mission.”

“Oh, that’s not what I meant! The distortion in time is concerning, but right now I’m more curious about the two of you as people!” Zelda said, eagerly studying him.

“Oh, yeah? Well, I’m not sure what to tell you in that case...” Alphonse said, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Well, to start, how about telling me where you hail from?” she asked inquisitively.

“From the past, apparently. I’m told this is 600 years in my future, in a land far away from my home.”

“Wow! That must be scary. I can’t imagine being as calm as you look right now...” Zelda said, clasping her hands over her mouth. “If it were me, I’d probably be inconsolable. You, and Lana too, must truly be amazing heroes!”

“Aw, well... I appreciate the kind words, Zelda.” Alphonse said.

The handmaidens gasped, as did the Princess. It didn’t take Alphonse long to realize what he’d just done.

“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend.” Alphonse said hastily.

Zelda gazed at him for a few moments, and then beamed widely, to the surprise of her attendants. “My! What a rare treat, that was! I think I like the sound of my name with no formality in the tones of your voice.”

Alphonse relaxed a bit. “I didn’t mean to breach etiquette like that. To tell the truth, you actually... You share the name of a very close friend of mine.”

“Really? How mysterious! Is she a princess, too? The princesses in the Hyrulean line are all traditionally named ‘Zelda’, you know.” she said.

“Well, my friend sure isn’t a princess. She’s a Forest Fairy, and she’s my best, closest friend.” Alphonse explained. “A pretty snippy one, too. I could have never gotten through my journey without her.”

“A Forest Fairy named Zelda? Now that truly is mysterious!” Zelda giggled.

“My lady, it is time.” one of the attendants whispered to her.

“Already? What a pity. This truly was such a treat.” she pouted. “Thank you for the enjoyable conversation, Alphonse. You may address me as just ‘Zelda’ if you’d like from now on. Farewell!”

With a smiley wave, Zelda trotted along across the walkway and into the castle, her handmaidens throwing Alphonse suspicious looks as they trailed behind her. He began to wonder if they were just trying to get her away from him.

A rare treat, huh? You can say that again. Thinking this, Alphonse briefly reminisced about his own Zelda. He wondered if his Forest Fairy friend had a human face, she might look like this princess.

“If you actually have the gall to take her up on that, you’ll find yourself in the dungeons.”

This new, annoyed voice coming from behind Alphonse gave him a bit of a start. He quickly turned to see Prince Kaina glaring at him, with four guards at his sides. Alphonse furrowed his brow as he decided how to respond to this random provocation.

“She’s older than you, right? So her words carry more weight than yours, Kaina.” Alphonse said, looking the prince dead in the eyes.

The guards at his sides looked like they wanted to cut him down right then and there, but Kaina held out an arm to stop them.

“Huh. You’ve sure got some nerve. Though, I suppose you must if you’re actually playing along with Erianna’s little scheme.” Kaina scoffed. “So I’ll forget you just did that if you answer me this question: how much is he paying you?”

Alphonse narrowed his eyes and tilted his head. “What do you mean? I’m confused.”

“No need to play coy with me. We both know this ‘time travel’ story is a load of nonsense.” Kaina spat. “He was running around telling us for weeks about the danger we’re supposedly in, and then he tells us about this ritual to summon heroes from other eras, and then he goes to the Temple of Time and lo and behold, no one appears! So you can imagine he was in quite a huff. He must have run off to find a pair of suckers to be his heroes, just to save face. Not like any of this was possible to begin with.”

Alphonse was a little put off by his ranting. The prince obviously didn’t hold a high opinion of his brother. “So you don’t believe we’re from different eras of time.” he probed.

“Of course not! Only an imbecile could believe something like that. Erianna might have my father and sister wrapped around his finger, but not me. He’s clearly just doing this for the attention. To make sure he’s needed around here. Pathetic.”

Now Alphonse was starting to get a little angry. Kaina’s words were very harsh and based on false assumptions. He didn’t know why Kaina bore such negative feelings for Erianna, but he knew that the story of a distortion in time was true, since the fact that he stood there was proof. And he decided to make Kaina see it for himself.

“And what if you’re wrong?” Alphonse asked. “Bet you’d be the one in a huff next.”

Kaina scowled. “Oh, please. Are you trying to tell me you actually are from another time? And how exactly would you go about proving that?”

“I can’t prove I’m from the past, but I can prove Erianna’s story is true, and that I am who I say I am.” Alphonse said.

“Well? I’m waiting.” Kaina said, crossing his arms.

I’m actually kind of looking forward to seeing his face now.

With that thought in the back of his mind, Alphonse made a fist and held it up before the doubtful prince. He tensed the muscles in his arm, and focused his sacred magic power into that fist. Very quickly, it became ablaze in an azure blue hue. Erianna told him that Kaina possessed magic, as well, so he knew that the prince should immediately tell what that power was.

And he did indeed. Kaina’s jaw dropped, as did the jaws of the guards behind him. “Magic?! That’s impossible...” he breathed.

Alphonse couldn’t mask a little smirk. “I hope that settles it, then.” He then looked into the prince's eyes once more. “So what’s your deal, anyway? Why do you talk about Erianna like that? He’s your brother, isn’t he?”

Kaina’s shock abated and quickly turned to anger. “You know nothing. That fool... is not my brother.”

Turning on his heel right away, Kaina strutted off. His guards glared daggers at Alphonse as they followed after him. The tension left his body as he watched the entourage disappear into the castle.

Sheesh, I’m making all the servants mad at me today. But what was that all about... Erianna’s not his brother? Hmm...

* * *

By the time the clock struck noon, Erianna had gathered a company of Hyrule’s trained soldiers, one hundred strong. The captains of each troop gathered in the throne room with the Second Prince himself, accompanied by Alphonse and Lana.

“With your blessing, Father, we depart immediately for the Akkala Wilds. We hope to discover the cause of the distortion in time as quickly as possible.” Erianna announced.

“I have every faith that you will prevail, my son.” King Cornelius said. “Go forth, and bring the river of time back to its proper flow.”

“Be safe, everyone! Good luck, Alphonse and Lana!” Princess Zelda waved. “If you get hurt, come right back, and I’ll heal you right up!”

Kaina rolled his eyes and cocked his head, refusing to even look at the party before him. Zelda glared at him hard once again.

“Thank you, Zelda! We’ll be careful.” Alphonse said, to the surprise of many.

“Y-yes! Thank you very much!” Lana added anxiously.

Zelda beamed at them, while Kaina shot Alphonse a menacing look. The King smiled widely and nodded to the group. With that, Erianna, the two summoned heroes, and the troop captains all gave deep bows, turned on their heels, and departed. The soldiers awaited each of the captains in single file lines in the long entrance hall. As the captains passed them by, each person turned in place until the captain took the head of the line, and everyone began marching at once. Erianna took the lead, with Alphonse and Lana right behind him.

The trip was to be made on foot, with several mules brought along to lug around supplies. Erianna had chosen the route after discussing it with the captains. They planned to head out the east gate of the castle town and cross the Hylia River into the Crenel Hills, and then follow the river’s northern shoreline up to the Ternio Trail. This trail had a fork in the road, one leading into the Great Spring Mountains and the other leading toward Akkala. The company planned to camp for the night at this fork, and then continue on to Akkala in the morning.

Once everyone was out of the castle, Lana let out a deep breath of air. “Phew... That was nerve-wracking. And you didn’t help, Alphonse!” she said, lightly tapping his arm.

“Hey, she told me I could drop the formalities for her!” he defended himself.

“Haha, I’m not surprised you two are already friends. My sister is a very open person, and she has no concern for titles. Neither do I, in fact.” Erianna said. “My brother, on the other hand...”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure he hates me already.” Alphonse laughed.

“Jeez, when did you even have time to talk to them? I wonder if this is how Aamali felt when she said I was scary...” Lana muttered.

The captains behind them chuckled. Unlike the servants and guards Alphonse encountered in the castle, these soldiers seemed to be on Erianna’s wavelength. Perhaps that’s why they were the ones going. They displayed none of the same stuffiness he’d witnessed before. Alphonse imagined he would work well with them.

* * *

The road was long. It took them seven hours to reach the Ternio fork, having had to stop several times to fight off groups of monsters. Alphonse was happy to see the soldiers coordinate well, both with each other and with Lana and himself. He was also grateful for the chance to show off his abilities to them, to further dispel any doubts any of them could have harbored.

As the sun began to sink over the horizon, the whole company stopped along the side of the fork and let down their belongings. Rations were quickly passed around, and several campfires were started. Erianna, despite being a prince, offered no complaints or even a hint of a grimace over kicking it in the wilderness. It seemed to Alphonse that his lack of concern over titles and his general demeanor were the real deal. He was rather relieved by that.

Alphonse plopped down under a fir tree and dug into his ration for the night, some dried meat and honeyed crackers paired with a water canteen. There was a small campfire a foot or two in front of him, so the night chill wasn’t a problem. He gazed at the crackling fire for a bit, letting his mind wander, until Lana popped into his field of view.

“Can I sit with you?” she asked.

“Sure, have a seat.” Alphonse said, smiling at her.

“Thanks. I’m not really comfortable anywhere else here... Lots of strangers here, you know?”

Lana sat down next to him, seeming to leave a deliberate amount of space between them. She bit into her own ration and chewed on it quietly for a bit. She looked like she had something on her mind.

“I gotta say, your power is really impressive... I never knew magic could do things like this.” she mused aloud. “So, is it true, then? You were a great hero where you come from?”

Alphonse thought about how to respond to that for a few moments. “Yeah, I was. My home was in trouble, and because I tried to do something about it, the Spirits of Light chose me as the Hero of Spirits and granted me power. I ended up traveling across the country, fighting monsters and solving problems for people. It wasn’t that long ago that my friends and I defeated the Demon King who started a long war with the Spirits.”

Lana looked at him with awe in her eyes. “Wow... That sounds really amazing. After watching you fight yesterday and today, I can definitely picture you doing that.” she said.

“Well, thanks...” Alphonse said bashfully. “Before I ended up here, I’d just finished healing from that big fight, and I was about to return the power I was given, along with this sword.”

“Return it? You aren’t going to keep your magic power?” she asked.

“Nope. It was never mine to begin with. I always knew I’d have to let it go when my duty was done.” he said.

“Huh... That’s gotta feel weird. If I had to give up any of my skills, I’d be kinda bummed...”

Hah, what is this, a repeat of my talk with Naomi and Zelda?

Alphonse put his hand on his chin as he gazed into the fire. The flickering lights danced across his eyes, and something inside him seemed to... give out.

“Yeah, I’ll be honest, I’m kinda sad about it... I’m gonna miss having this power.” he said quietly.

He didn’t exactly know why he’d opened up about that. This was something he’d been unwilling to share with Naomi and his Zelda, yet it had come out so easily for Lana. He didn’t feel nearly the same level of trust for her as he did for his dear friends, but perhaps that was the very reason why. This was a place he would never come to again, with people he’d never see again. Maybe that fact was comforting, and loosened his lips.

“I’ve done a lot of amazing things with this borrowed power, things I never could have done without it. And once I give it up, I think I’ll be feeling defenseless, I guess... It’s not a comfortable thought... But I know I have to do it, anyway.” he continued.

“I get that.” Lana said empathetically. “I forget if I mentioned this before, but I’m considered a Wind Waker. I have the ability to sense the wind like it’s an extension of my body. There are so many things I’ve done on my journey that relied on that skill, and if I had to give it up for whatever reason, I’d feel completely lost...”

“A Wind Waker, huh? I’ve never heard of that, but it does sound amazing. Your senses have always seemed pretty keen to me, so I guess it tracks.” Alphonse said. “So what kind of journey did you go on? You said something about finding your motherland before.”

“Oh, right. I was born on the Great Sea, but my parents came from a cold, faraway land in the distant north. Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt something in me calling out to find that place, so I left on a journey to voyage to it. But, um... It didn’t really go as planned. In a lot of ways, it was a disaster... I almost died so many times.” she described.

“Wow... So I guess you haven’t reached your motherland yet?”

“No, not yet. I’m certainly a lot better off compared to when I started, though.” She gazed at the fire as she spoke, the wheels turning in her brain. “But you know, it wasn’t all bad... I met a lot of valuable friends and I had a lot of crazy experiences I never would’ve had if my journey had gone according to plan. In hindsight, a lot of it was necessary.” she said, starting to smile a bit.

“Well, it’s good you can look back on it like that.” Alphonse said. “I bet it toughened you up, too, huh?”

“You can say that again!” Lana laughed. “I learned how to use a bow and a sword, I fought monster pirates, and I even met a pair of Wind Gods! A lot of it was scary, but it was fun, too.”

“That does sound exciting... I get the feeling our experiences were similar in some ways. I guess that’s part of why we both got picked for this.” he said. Then a thought appeared in his mind, and it turned into a query. “Wind Gods, huh... What were they like? I’m wondering if they’re similar to the Spirits of Light from my home.”

“Oh, um...” Lana began.

“I can answer that.”

Alphonse and Lana looked up to see Erianna standing across from their campfire. He seemed to want to join them.

“Oh, yeah? You’re not gonna cause a paradox by telling us about this, are you?” Alphonse teased.

“Haha, if that was all it took to doom a timeline, we wouldn’t be able to speak to each other at all.” Erianna laughed. “Knowing about the Hierarchy of Gods will not alter your histories. And besides, you already have a little knowledge of it, Alphonse.”

“I do?” He had to think about it for a bit, but the answer came to him. “Oh, yeah, Malladus mentioned that there are Gods higher on the chain of being than the Spirits...”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m referring to.” Erianna said, sitting down across the fire from the pair.

“Wow, your oracle powers even let you know about specific conversations? That’s... kinda scary.” Lana said.

Erianna laughed. “Yes, I agree. I try not to use my power that extensively, but I had to investigate the two of you very thoroughly before I chose you. Forgive me.”

“It’s fine.” Alphonse said. “So what were you going to say before?”

“The Hierarchy of Gods is basically akin to a ranking system of power and influence. Your Spirits of Light are considered Lower Order deities, who only manage what has already been created. They do have the ability to create life, but only in the form of imperfect, magical beings like the Lokomo, that cannot reproduce or sustain their own species. The Wind Gods that Lana encountered on her journey are much the same. They manage and wield dominion over the natural phenomenon that is wind, but they did not create it.”

“Wow, that’s really fascinating...” Lana said. “What about the Great Spirits I met? Are they also Lower Order?”

“They are indeed, but lower than the Wind Gods and the Spirits of Light. The Hierarchy is broken into Higher and Lower Orders, and within each is yet another hierarchy. It can get a little complex.” Erianna explained.

“Back home, we only ever knew about the Spirits of Light...” Alphonse said. “I had no idea there were so many other deities.”

“Indeed. The Goddess Hylia, who started my family’s bloodline, was a Higher Order deity. Aside from her, the most notable of the Gods you’ll find worshipped in Hyrule are the Golden Goddesses, also known as the Creator Goddesses or the Gods of Old. They are responsible for actually creating the world we live in. In fact, one of the three, Goddess Nayru, is the Goddess of Time that I serve.”

This came as a shock to the pair. “Wait, seriously? You mean, the actual Goddess of Time that made the ocarina?” Alphonse asked.

“The very same, although when I say I serve her, I mean it indirectly. I have never actually spoken to or seen her. I have dedicated my life as an oracle to her, is what I meant.” Erianna said. “Nayru is also known as the Goddess of Wisdom, and it was through her that the natural laws of the world came to be. This, of course, includes the river of time.”

“Wow... This is hard to wrap my brain around.” Lana said, her jaw sinking lower to the ground. “I used to not believe in deities at all, until I started my journey and met some of them. There’s so much going on with the world that I'll probably never know about or understand...”

“Yeah, for sure.” Alphonse agreed. “I wonder why the Golden Goddesses aren’t worshipped in Hyleigh...”

“The reason for that is actually very similar to the reason they aren’t widely known in Lana’s time, either.” Erianna said. “I cannot give specific details, because it could become an issue of Lana knowing too much, but I can say that it is simply a case of knowledge being lost to the ages. Things were happening that didn’t allow for accurate record-keeping, is all.”

“That’s it? That’s kind of anti-climactic.” Alphonse said disappointedly.

Erianna chuckled. “Sorry to let you down. Actually... I think I can afford to tell you this, Alphonse.”

“Huh? Tell me what?”

“The reason why you’ve been feeling like Hyrule and Hyleigh are very similar.”

“Wha?! How could you tell I thought that?” he asked, surprised.

“It was written all over your face. It was to be expected that anyone from Hyleigh would notice the similarities. You can’t really do much harm with this information in your time, even if you were to tell anyone, so I suppose I can reveal this to you...”

“Aw, you can tell him, but you can’t tell me things?” Lana pouted.

“Ah, I apologize Lana, but you really are capable of more damage than you realize, owing to the volatile time you come from. Seeing Hyrule before it was swallowed beneath the Great Sea is one thing, but learning more than what I’ve revealed would be risky. If I told you why, even that could cause a paradox... I am sorry.”

“Hmph... Well, I understand, I guess.” she reluctantly conceded.

Alphonse involuntarily gulped. “Well? What is it, then?”

Erianna cleared his throat. “The truth is, Hyrule and Hyleigh share roots. The royal families of both kingdoms were once one and the same.”


Alphonse and Lana both gasped simultaneously. Somehow, Alphonse was vaguely expecting a revelation like this, but it was still incredibly shocking. To think that all those similarities he’d noticed were no mere coincidences... Certainly, this was not something he was fully prepared to hear.

“So wait, let me get this right...” he said, grubbing his brow. “Hyleigh’s royal family, which has now died out in my time, was originally also Hyrule’s royal family? The same one that you come from?”

“Yes, that’s correct. The Hyleigh line was a branch family that was exiled for being human, despite possessing royal blood. The Hyrulean royal line is supposed to be pure hylian blood, through and through, but as you can imagine, blood mixes over generations. The Hyleigh family was the first, and is still the only, human branch of Hyrulean royalty.”

“Does that mean all hylians are descended from the royal line, and the Goddess Hylia? That would make sense, given the name ‘hylian’...” Lana surmised.

“Yes, and no. The progenitors of Hyrule were all Hylia’s children, in that she’d helped to breathe life into them and their community. One day, Hylia gave up her godhood and chose to live as a mortal, in order to carry out a certain plan. In doing so, her bloodline created the Hyrulean royal family, and they and the other children of Hylia joined together to create Hyrule. They became known as hylians after that.”

“Man, this is really starting to get deep...” Alphonse said woozily.

“Haha, let’s get back on track, then.” Erianna laughed. “The Hyleigh branch, being human instead of hylian, were essentially ostracized. They left to create their own kingdom around 2,000 years ago. That is the birth of the Hyleigh you live in.”

“Wow... That’s seriously amazing. I had no idea...” Alphonse said quietly. “Guess I’m more connected to this land than I thought I was.”

“That is the beauty of life. Everything is connected in some way, whether you realize it or not. In both obvious ways and unknowable ways. Being an oracle, I have the unique experience of seeing both.” Erianna said.

At this point, Alphonse’s brain was spinning wildly. He was just granted knowledge of the birth of his homeland, lost to the ages, by nothing more than the whims of a single person. Even if he went back to his time and told people about it, it likely wouldn't amount to anything, because he had no proof to back up his claims. No one would believe him. This knowledge he’d just gained could be of no benefit to anyone, only to serve his personal satisfaction. Was that really okay?

As he thought about this, he was reminded of his conversation with Prince Kaina several hours earlier. A nagging thought returned, one he needed to find an answer for.

“Erianna... I have to ask you something. Something that could come off as really insensitive.” Alphonse said.

“You may ask whatever you wish. After what I have done to you, I have no room to complain about any insensitivity from either of you.” he said, his eyes as clear as ever.

“Then... It’s about something Kaina said to me this morning.” Alphonse began.

Erianna winced, as if he could already predict where this was going. Lana seemed very curious about the sudden shift in subject.

“He told me you aren’t his brother. Does that have anything to do with you being an oracle?”

Erianna stared at the campfire, unblinking. Lana looked back and forth between him and Alphonse, her eyes wide.

“Wait, what? Erianna, are you not actually Hyrule royalty?” she asked.

He didn’t answer immediately. As he stared at the fire, his eyes seemed to reflect little of their light. When he did speak again, his voice was low and sad.

“No, I am indeed a son of the Hyrulean royal family. My powers of stasis, as well as my existence as an oracle, are undeniable proof that the blood of Hylia is in my veins. The reason Kaina said I am not his brother... It does actually involve my being an oracle, albeit tangentially.”

Alphonse felt a dry swallow sink down into his gut. He did feel a bit bad for asking, but he couldn’t get the question out of his head. Besides, he wanted to know more about Erianna, especially since Erianna knew so much about him.

“You see, while I am indeed a true son of the royal family, I am actually the son of a mistress. I am an illegitimate child.” he explained.

Lana and Alphonse both let out a tiny gasp upon hearing this. Erianna’s eyes continued to stare unmoving at the fire as he talked.

“My mother was not the Queen of Hyrule. She was a Gerudo who worked in the castle as a tailor. When my father discovered she was pregnant, he chose not to hide it, and came clean to his wife. He wanted to accept me as a true child of the crown and a part of his family. The Queen, though, was not happy. She stayed around for my birth, but eventually could no longer stand to be in the castle, or be with my father. She left and never looked back. I’m sure that from Kaina’s perspective, I drove his mother out of the castle.”

“So that’s why he doesn’t acknowledge you as his brother...” Alphonse said.

“What’s more, my own mother also left after my birth. Gerudo children are always born female, with dark skin and red hair. Yet, as you can see, I am a male, and my hair is pink. My mother took this as a sign of defection and became frightened, leaving the castle, as well as her own son, behind.”

“That’s awful...” Lana breathed.

“It gets worse.” Erianna said wryly. “I was three years old when my power as an oracle awakened. The adults in the castle found it incredibly eerie that this strangely-affluent toddler was able to predict future events with pinpoint accuracy, and as a result, I was often shunned. Kaina already hated me for his mother leaving, but then he also began to think I was an attention-seeking freak who wanted to be seen as useful so I wouldn’t get kicked out of his cushy home. He still believes that, even now.”

“For a number of years, only my father and my sister Zelda were kind to me. Father always did his best to ensure that I was treated as a proper child of the crown, and Zelda always gave me company when no one else would. So, I did have some comfort in this rocky start to life. And then, when I was ten, I accurately predicted a landslide, and saved many lives. This is when I began to gain a following. I enjoyed the positive attention, so I started making trips out into the town to get to know even more people. This was the start of the relationship I have with the townsfolk that you both witnessed in Castle Town.”

“Well, that’s good... So things got better, huh?” Alphonse said.

“In a way, yes. I was finally starting to feel like I had a happy life. And then when I was twelve, I was granted stewardship over the Ocarina of Time, and as I interacted with it, my oracle powers grew. I became able to see other eras of time, and my vision of the present also grew exponentially. I believed that this was a sign that I was chosen by the Goddess of Time, Nayru, and I have since devoted myself to her. Soon, there was almost nothing I couldn’t see. Nothing I couldn’t know.”

“However, this knowledge came with a terrible price. That price... was the knowledge itself. I quickly realized that even if I knew about the events of other eras, I couldn’t possibly do anything about them. I have watched countless lives across the river of time die out unjustly and unfairly, unable to reach my hand out to save them. If I interfered with the flow of time and tried to save people myself, it would create even worse of a disaster. For example, if a great evil were to suddenly appear in the future, and I wielded the powers I used on the two of you to send it to a different place in time... I might save the era it came from, but I would doom whatever era it ends up in.”

“So you see, I can only observe. The flow of time has a way of working itself out, even if countless lives are lost. As heartbreaking as it is to watch innocents die, I know that trying to recklessly help them would be even worse. As an oracle, this burden on me will never fade. As long as I have the power to see, I will be cursed to watch people die as I look on from the sidelines.”

As Erianna’s story came to a close, both Alphonse and Lana found themselves staring wordlessly at the fire. How would someone respond to a tale like that, anyway? Alphonse understood what Erianna was saying. He himself had just experienced the burden of knowledge a minute ago, when he learned about Hyleigh’s origin. But what Erianna described was far, far worse. Unimaginably worse.

Erianna has been suffering in silence all this time, hasn’t he? He always had that smile on his face, even when Kaina was badmouthing him, but inside, he’s been hurting a lot. Who wouldn’t be? If I were in his shoes, I would have gone insane. Watching countless people die across the eras of time, knowing you have the power to do something but also knowing you can’t do a thing about it... That’s not a fate anyone deserves. And still, he’s shouldering it on his own and trying to fix this distortion in time...

Alphonse bit his lip. He felt frustrated that he couldn’t think of anything useful to say. Were there truly no words for this feeling? He finally peeled his eyes away from the fire and looked at Lana. She was crying quietly, as if she felt his pain as her own. Alphonse’s own chest felt tight and constricted as he watched her. Tears began escaping down his cheeks before long. Truly, what more could a person do in this situation than cry?

Erianna looked up at the two of them, and smiled softly as he observed their reactions.

“You are both very kind people. I apologize for rambling about myself like this. Thank you for listening, though. There aren’t many people I can talk to about this, besides Zelda.” he said.

“You’ve got nothing to apologize for!” Lana said, her voice sounding choked. “I’m sorry I was dismissive of you and your intentions before... I promise I’ll do my best to help solve this distortion.”

“Oh, please, I wasn’t trying to get you committed to our mission, or anything.” Erianna said, looking flustered. “Your willingness to listen and help is already more than enough... And if I’m being honest, this whole mission is kind of... a dream come true.”

“Huh? How do you mean?” Alphonse asked, tilting his head.

“Well, as I said, I can’t interfere with the flow of time. But this distortion is an exception. This is the very first time I actually get to do something significant with my powers. It may be inappropriate due to the circumstances, but... I feel like this makes everything worth it.”

In his voice, Alphonse could hear a wish. One little wish that he could someday use his powers to help. That hope bled through his words and filled the air around him. Erianna was a person just like Alphonse, and just like Lana. A person that just wanted to help people.

“Heh... Guess the three of us are three of a kind.” Alphonse grinned.

“Yep! Three of a kind! I like that!” Lana agreed.

Erianna looked at the two of them in brief disbelief. Then, he displayed what Alphonse believed to be his first real, genuine smile since he’d met the two of them.

“Yes, indeed! Three of a kind!” he laughed.

The trio shared a hearty smile as they returned to gazing at the crackling fire at their feet. This night had brought a lot of staggering information with it, perhaps too much to take in at once. And yet, the seeds of a friendship that spanned across eras were sewn in those flames. In that moment, Alphonse could feel beyond a shadow of a doubt that even after this mission was over, they would never forget each other.

The sparks of the fire rose higher into the night sky as the wind began blowing, low and slow. With them, Erianna’s wish rose into the heavens, perhaps to reach the ears of the Goddess Nayru...

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
The next chapter is finished! It ran a bit longer than I thought it would yet again, but that's fine. We're getting into the meat of the story now. Lana takes the lead in this next part of their adventure! Enjoy!

Chapter Six
Akkala Wilds​

“Hang in there, Lana, I think we’re almost to the top.” Alphonse said reassuringly.

“My legs might die first...” Lana moaned.

The company, including the summoned heroes, were marching up the Ternio Trail a few hours after dawn. The trail snaked along the outer edge of the Great Spring Mountains, running along the base of their sheer cliffs standing hundreds of feet high. It also passed by the road to the volcano on the opposite side, called Death Mountain, and the village at its base, Kakariko. Alphonse seemed to recognize the name of the town. The trail itself had been constantly sloping upward, and they had been climbing for three hours now.

“It still astonishes me that we can walk for ten continuous hours and still not reach a shoreline. I’ve never had to walk this much in my life. Continents are insane...” Lana said, wiping her brow.

“Hyleigh was also the kind of place you couldn’t cross in a day on foot. I guess I'm used to it.” Alphonse said.

“Fret not, my friends. We will arrive in Akkala shortly.” Erianna said.

Just as he’d said, the company only had to walk for another ten minutes before the slope receded and they were on flat ground again. And once they were, they were given an incredible sight as their reward. The whole group stood at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a massive valley with an enormous spire of a mountain at its heart.

The Akkala region was not owned by the Hyrule Kingdom. It was a place of dense wilds in the color of autumn, and there were no towns or villages. From the cliff, there was a magnificent gorge splitting the mountainous area in two, with no discernable way to cross. On the other side, the central mountain towered almost as high as the walls of the Great Spring Mountains to their backs. The Ternio Trail continued to follow the Great Spring cliffs along the edge of the region, and there was a path that led deep into the valley. Beyond that, to Lana’s great relief, they could see the ocean.

“This place is amazing... I’ve never seen colors like this in Hyleigh. Even in the autumn, the Forest Realm stayed pretty warm and green...” Alphonse said.

“Ah, yes, your Realms had some intriguing localized climates, didn’t they?” Erianna said. “Akkala is similar. The trees are always red and gold here, as if it were autumn year-round. I have been here a few times for diplomatic reasons, but it is always a visual treat.”

“Huh? Diplomatic reasons? I thought these were wilds where no one lives.” Lana asked.

“Officially, that is the case. Well, you will see soon enough.” Erianna said. “Turn your gaze to the central mountain. That is Mount Torin, and I am sensing the distortion from within it. That is where we must go.”

Lana did as he said and examined the mountain. It was very rocky, mostly devoid of vegetation. It almost looked as if someone had lodged a giant spear into the heart of the valley. It didn’t appear from where she was that there was a way inside it. There also was no way to cross the gorge to reach it, so her eyes looked around for an answer.

“To reach our destination, we must follow the trail down into the depths of the wilds and circle around the mountain from the other side. I expect this will take us most of the day.” Erianna explained.

“Oh, joy, another long, long walk...” Lana said, rolling her shoulders. “Well, it’s no sailing trip, but I guess I can think of it as extra exercise...”

“There will be a place to stop and rest at the bottom of the valley. Ideally, I would like us to reach the mountain before it gets dark.” Erianna said.

“Alright, nothin’ for it. Let’s keep an eye out for monsters.” Alphonse said, stretching his legs to get ready for the continued hike.

The soldiers lined up behind them gave a shout of compliance, and the march continued. As they walked, Lana’s eyes wandered back to Mount Torin. Erianna said he sensed the distortion inside it, but she still had no idea what it would look like. How would they confront it? Would she have to fight? She assumed so, since she and Alphonse had been summoned on the basis of their abilities. Still, as she eyed the mountain, she couldn't suppress a creeping sense of dread.

* * *

After another two hours, the company had reached the depths of the wilds, a place called the Torin Wetland. Looking down at it from above, it appeared to be a dense jungle of red and gold foliage. Once they were actually down there, Lana found it to be worse than she'd thought.

The ground was fiercely muddy, with her boots sinking down a good couple inches with every step. The treetops were also so thickly packed together that it blocked out nearly all sunlight from above, making it dark and eerie. What's more, without that sunlight, the temperature had dropped considerably compared to outside the wetland. Lana was beginning to shiver.

"You know... Wouldn't it be faster to skirt around the base of the central mountain? It feels like we're going further away from it." Lana said.

"Yeah, I noticed that, too. What's up, Erianna?" Alphonse asked.

"My apologies, but we need to make a stop first. I did say there would be a place to rest down here. It will be a brief respite while we gather information." Erianna explained.

"Gather information? From who?" Alphonse asked.

Erianna turned around, and smiled. "From them."

Lana and Alphonse both turned sharply, and to their great surprise, they were being watched. The soldiers were quite startled, as well. The figures peeking out from behind the trees appeared human, but they had to be at least eight feet tall, minimum.

"Whoa! Where'd they come from?!" Lana yelped.

"These are the Zonai, a nomadic tribe that lingers on the fringes of Hyrule. Most of them gather in the southern forests, but there are a number of them here, too." Erianna described. "They are a warlike people, but don't worry. If they meant us harm, they wouldn't have shown themselves."

"That's not comforting." Alphonse laughed.

Lana found herself fascinated by the Zonai. As they walked out from behind the trees, they made no sound as they stepped through the mud, and their movements did not disturb the air around them at all. Lana, with her hypersensitivity to the wind and air, couldn't sense them coming. They had to be extremely skilled to be able to move like that.

The Zonai themselves were equally fascinating in appearance. Aside from their giant size, they were clothed in tanned leather decorated with animal bones, and their dark skin was inked with richly colored lines of bodypaint. They also wore wooden masks adorned with this ink and bone, and each one was unique. Their faces were completely obscured by these masks.

One of them, with the most heavily decorated mask, approached Erianna. He put his palms together at his chest and spoke in a deep, rich voice.

"I welcome you to us, good Prince of Hyrule." he said.

"And I welcome you to us, good Chieftain Zarak." Erianna answered. "I would be honored if you would indulge our company for a short time. We have much to discuss."

The Zonai chieftain bowed deeply, his hands still pressed together, and he and his people led the company of Hyrule’s soldiers through the brush. Before long, they arrived at a stone pavilion, and a fire was lit at the hearth in the center. The soldiers let down their burdens and passed around more rations, while Lana and Alphonse chose to sit at the fire.

Erianna and Zarak began their discussion just out of earshot. Lana strained her ears, trying to sneak a peep of whatever they were talking about, but she couldn't single out their voices over the chatting soldiers and crackling fire.

"Man, these wilds sure are intense." Alphonse said between bites of jerky. "If I didn't have you guys around, I'd probably never make it out of here."

"Yeah, I guess. I could probably feel my way out through the wind, though." Lana said, half paying attention to him.

"I really envy that... I get hopelessly lost pretty easily. These woods would be a nightmare on my own."

"You do? Really?" Lana’s attention was pulled away from her eavesdropping. "I find that kind of hard to believe. You seem so good at everything else you do."

"Nah. When I was a kid, I got bonked on the head real good by a monster, and ever since, my sense of direction has been awful. If I'm following someone or I've got a landmark I can physically see, I'm fine, but if I have to intuit the way to go myself? Forget about it. I can’t even follow a map." he explained.

"Huh... That's kind of surprising." Lana said.

She felt like she had a new perspective on her partner across time after hearing that. In fact, for whatever reason, this made her feel a little less embarrassed about her bad arm.

"Yeah, everyone's got something about them. That's what makes us all unique and also all the same." one of the soldier captains said, sitting with the pair of time travelers. "Prince Erianna once told me that when I lost my right eye. It helped me a lot. Oh, my name's Menora, by the way."

"Right, right. I remember how you fought those monsters yesterday." Alphonse said.

Lana’s gaze was drawn to the prominent scar over Menora's right eye, visible under her helmet. "So that's the something about you, then?"

"Yep. The Prince shared those wise words with me when he was only fourteen, you know! Ever since, I've been at his side. He never ceases to amaze me. Just look at the way he's communicating with the Zonai chieftain!" she pointed out. "So few people understand their language, but the Prince speaks it like a second tongue!"

Lana found this comment confusing. To her ears, Zarak was speaking plain hylian. Alphonse seemed equally confused.

"Oh, huh..." he said quietly.

Menora didn't seem to notice their befuddlement, and she was called away by a fellow soldier the next moment. With a wave, she left the pair to attend to it. Lana scooted closer to Alphonse and whispered to him.

"I'm not the only one who's confused, right? It sounded like the Zonai chieftain was speaking the same language we are." she said.

"Yeah, sounded that way to me, too. Wonder if Erianna can explain that..." he said.

Then, Lana remembered something from her travels. "Come to think of it, I've heard of a language known in my time as ancient hylian... Thinking about it, it must have been the language of Hyrule before the time of the Great Sea. So why aren’t they speaking that here..."

"So for you, everyone here should be speaking ancient hylian, and you speak modern hylian, I guess it'd be called." Alphonse pondered. "But you haven't noticed at all? Yeah, something’s fishy about this."

"Ah, so you've realized. Allow me to explain, then."

With perfect timing, as usual, Erianna arrived to answer their questions. Zarak was accompanying him.

"Jeez! You do that on purpose, don't you?" Alphonse said.

"Haha, forgive me. This is an easy explanation, though." Erianna chuckled. "You see, when I summoned the two of you, I used my magic to add the condition that you can 'understand and be understood', so as to avoid the language barrier altogether. Though I wonder if the extra condition is why the two of you were thrown off-course during your arrival..."

"So basically, even though we speak a different language, we can still understand each other without even noticing the difference." Lana said. "I had no idea you could do something like that..."

"Indeed. At any rate, let us move on to the main topic at hand. I would like you to meet Chieftain Zarak." Erianna introduced.

"So you are the two from other eras of time. I welcome you to us." Zarak said, placing his palms together again.

Alphonse replicated the gesture and greeting he'd seen Erianna perform earlier, and Lana followed suit, thinking it was the Zonai custom.

"And we welcome you to us." they said in unison.

Zarak was quiet for a moment. It seemed as though he were studying the two of them from behind the mask.

"So it is true that you can understand me. Prince Erianna’s magic is powerful indeed. This will expedite matters, then." he said.

"Do you remember me telling you the other day that I had sent soldiers to investigate the distortion before, and they never returned?" Erianna said. "I inquired about what happened. I'd sent a translator I trust with them, so they would be able to speak with the Zonai. It seems that the distortion in Mount Torin is at the heart of a Zonai cultural site. Chieftain Zarak warned them that it was dangerous to approach, but my loyal soldiers went there anyway, wanting to bring me concrete information. They never came back."

"It is our great shame that we could do nothing to help them. Many of our people were lost to this distortion, as well. Even we do not know what is happening on Mount Torin." Zarak apologized. "It seems to me you have no choice but to go to the mountain and see for yourselves. I wish you all luck and safety."

Saying so, Zarak offered another formal bow. Erianna returned his gesture, and so Lana and Alphonse felt they should do the same.

"Your information is very helpful. Now we know exactly how much caution to use. We will happily accept your prayers of luck and safety." Erianna said gratefully.

"If my people can be of any further service, just say the word. It is thanks to your efforts that our lands are preserved." Zarak said.

"I'm sure I will need to take you up on that soon. Thank you, my friend."

With their discussion closed, Erianna signaled to his company, and all of the soldiers got themselves ready to go. The rest of the Zonai offered the same bows and prayers, and the troops must have been taught about it, because they all returned it, as well.

The company began marching again, back through the wilds toward the central mountain. Lana mentally prepared herself, not just for the long walk ahead, but for whatever the distortion had in store for them.

* * *

Three more hours passed by. Noon had come and gone, according to the sun's position in the sky. The company had climbed their way out of the valley and circled around Mount Torin, and even passed by the cliff on the other side of the gorge they saw when they arrived. The spear-like barren mountain jutted high into the sky, and the group was making progress climbing it. They had to leave the mules behind tied to trees, but many soldiers carried the packs of supplies on their backs.

There was not a clear path forward. There were no stairs or obvious natural cliffs that lead to the peak, and not much beyond bare rock to cling to. Lana figured the Zonai were skilled enough to easily climb the mountain without any supports, but that made it difficult for the rest of them.

I can't tell if this is better or worse than when I climbed Dragon Roost Island... It's certainly colder, at least.

It had to be at least two in the afternoon when they reached the top. One by one, soldiers crawled up the cliffside and piled onto the summit in wheezing heaps. Erianna was just as winded as his troops, but Lana and Alphonse were relatively unfazed by comparison.

"Phew. Haven't had a workout like that in a while." Alphonse said, stretching his body.

"You're telling me. My body's aching." Lana said, stretching right along with him.

"You two are... quite full of energy..." Erianna panted.

"Guess it's a perk of being well-traveled." Alphonse shrugged.

"And daily exercise." Lana chimed in.

"Well... Perhaps we ought to redouble our training efforts..." Captain Menora panted.

It was unanimous that the company should take a short break at the summit. As the soldiers gathered their bearings, Lana examined the area. The top of Mount Torin was slanted sideways, coming up to a point like a spear. There was no vegetation up there, either, but there appeared to be a cave entrance that was ceremoniously decorated. Or rather, perhaps it was more of a pit than a cave. She realized this must be the entrance to the Zonai cultural site, as well as the location of the distortion.

Before Lana could start feeling the pins and needles of anticipation, she felt a raucous disturbance in the air flowing from that entranceway.

"Heads up! Something’s coming!" She yelled.

Right away, she drew her estoc, and Alphonse drew his sword and brandished it as he stood between the pit and the resting soldiers. In the next moment, a parade of bokoblins scrambled out of that hole.

"Whoa! Where'd they come from?!" a soldier cried.

"To arms, men! Protect the Prince!" Captain Menora shouted.

The soldiers who were less winded quickly stood up and drew their weapons. However, Alphonse was a step ahead of everyone else. He'd already powered up a burst of magic in his sword, and sent it hurtling forward into the mass of monsters. It sliced clean through most of them, creating a few more moments for the soldiers to act.

In that opening, Lana quickly analyzed the situation. These bokoblins were stampeding just like the ones at Deya Village. The same expressions of terror and desperation were plastered on their faces. In fact, they hadn't reacted at all to Alphonse’s attack, or the presence of the soldiers. Realizing this, Lana quickly barked out a command.

"Everyone, move aside! Let them pass!"

Erianna and Alphonse both caught on immediately. They leapt out of their path, and seeing this, the soldiers followed suit. Just as Lana expected, the horde ignored them and passed right on through, as if they couldn't see anyone else. Most of them tumbled violently down the mountainside, but they didn't seem to mind.

Once the dust settled, the whole company was back on their feet and in formation, trying to puzzle out what had just happened. Lana’s wheels were spinning in her head, and she came to the logical conclusion.

"Those monsters were clearly panicked, just like the ones from Deya... Whatever's down there must be responsible for both stampedes." she figured.

"Yeah, you're right. It's gotta be nasty, whatever it is..." Alphonse said, furrowing his brow.

"Why were there monsters at a Zonai site, anyway?" Menora asked.

"I would imagine that the Zonai have been unable to use the site for some time now, due to the distortion. The monsters must have thought it an opportune time to move in, until they were frightened off by whatever's down there now." Erianna surmised.

"I'm getting a bad feeling... I can feel something down there, moving the air around. It's a horrifying feeling, like pure malice and death..." Lana shuddered.

"Yeah, even I can sense that from here... This won't be easy." Alphonse agreed.

The soldiers, still in formation, gulped nervously. Erianna moved to the front to stand with Lana and Alphonse. Intense goosebumps and a heavy lump in her throat made Lana feel like she would suffocate just from looking at the pit. It felt as though shadowy tendrils were reaching out from within, wrapping around her neck and choking the air out of her. The source of the distortion was close at hand now, and its presence was smothering.

A comforting hand on her shoulder calmed some of her fears. She looked over to see Alphonse nod at her reassuringly. She could see in his eyes that even he was anxious, but the fire in those eyes was bright as ever. Something about his confidence and determination gave her a little peace of mind. A fire of her own was lit inside her chest.

I already decided to see this through. I'm not going to back out now. They need me. That's why I'm here. Come on, Lana, be strong. Be like Alphonse. Be like Emilia.

Lana looked to Erianna to share some of that confidence and spirit with him. Erianna looked at both of them, and he nodded together with them. They were ready to face this.

Erianna turned to address the company behind him. "Listen well, brave soldiers of Hyrule! There is no telling what awaits us within, but there is a strong chance that many of us could die. As such, I am going to assign some of you as lookouts. If the worst should happen and we need to retreat, I will send an envoy to you. You will then go back to the Zonai and seek aid. Am I understood?"

A single shout from each soldier, and the company organized themselves exactly as Erianna had commanded. Around twenty of them remained as lookouts, while the rest, including Menora, lined up behind the Prince and the summoned heroes. Their respect for their Prince outweighed any fear they might have felt about what was coming. Everyone turned to face the Zonai pit, and a fell wind seemed to be blowing from within. With terror and courage in equal measure, they began their descent.

When they reached the edge, Lana peered down. The pit was deep, and bore straight down into the mountain. It seemed to have a wide chamber at the very bottom, and a spiral staircase was carved out of the stone on the walls. It would be a long and uneasy walk down into the depths. There were also lanterns of glowing crystal lined along the stairs, illuminating the pit in a greenish-blue hue. This only made Lana feel more uneasy. It reminded her of the Fairy Queen’s home, almost.

One by one in a single file line was all the stairs could support. Alphonse took the lead, his weapon drawn and at the ready. Lana was right up behind him, with Erianna following closely behind her. Down into the deep they went, carefully and cautiously. The sunlight gradually filtered out and was replaced by the glowing hues of the luminous stones.

At the heart of the cultural site was a large, flat circle, painted intricately. There were also several depictions of what appeared to be Zonai history covering the surrounding walls. Alphonse, Lana, and Erianna made their way into the center of the circle, standing at each other's backs. This was supposed to be the location of the distortion in time, so they were all on edge, looking around for a potential source.

“It’s here. Something’s here.” Erianna said, eyeing all around the room.

The soldiers that had made it down the stairs all drew their weapons as they formed a perimeter around the Prince and his allies across time. Alphonse kept turning in place, holding his sword up in a guarding position, as if he could sense that something was about to happen. Lana felt her skin crawl as she glanced at every corner and every shadow that moved. She felt that magical sensation again, not unlike what she felt from Alphonse. However, this sensation was much darker, and far more sinister. She felt herself swallow involuntarily.

The air felt electric across Lana’s skin. She knew immediately that something was coming at them fast. She choked out the words desperately.

“HERE IT COMES!” she screamed.

Before she’d even finished yelling, Alphonse leapt through the crowd of soldiers and swung his sword down with a great burst of magic power. It collided with a violent eruption of purple magic aura, shaking the ground and sending fierce sparks through Lana’s spine. Many soldiers stumbled over, and she was sure they would have died if not for Alphonse.

The source of this attack revealed itself. It appeared to be a woman in her late thirties, by Lana’s estimate. Her dark skin was tattooed in white, and her dress was patchy and brown. Her blonde hair was tousled and uneven, and her piercing red eyes had pupils like that of a snake’s. She also had long ears and fanged teeth.

“You’re a demon.” Alphonse said, glaring at her.

The woman grinned, showing off her fangs in their full splendor. “That I am! Hello, there, pitiful souls.” she rasped.

A demon? Her? Lana thought. This was her first time encountering one. Just as Alphonse had said, it was hard to tell her apart from a hylian at first glance.

“Impossible... I know who you are. You should not be here. Not at this moment in time.” Erianna said, mouth agape.

The woman grinned even wider. “If you know that, then you must be who I was looking for. Who I was trying to lure here.” she said, licking her lips.

Hearing those words, the soldiers surrounded Erianna in a tight phalanx formation. The ones still descending the stairs began to move faster. Alphonse brandished his sword and continued to keep himself between her and the others. Lana’s very bones were shaking in this woman’s evil presence, but she still mustered up a bit of courage and stepped forward, standing beside Alphonse.

“Who are you? What do you want? Are you the source of the distortion in time?” she asked.

The woman eyed her and Alphonse carefully, and then she cackled. “What’s this! The Prince of Time has committed a taboo! The two of you aren’t supposed to be here, either. I can tell by your scent. That makes us the same, then!”

“Out with it, already.” Alphonse spat. "You’re clearly rotten to the core. I can feel it. So tell us what you want so we can kick your ass back where it came from.”

“Ha! Such attitude. You will be fun to play with.” she laughed. “I suppose I should indulge you, then. I have come to devour your delightfully powerful Prince of Time, Erianna Maculas Hyrule.”

“D-devour?! You mean, like... eat him?” Lana gasped.

“Yes, poor girl! I shall consume him, flesh and all, and take his power over time for myself. Then, combined with my dimensional magic, I will have dominion over both space and time! I will be unstoppable!” she proclaimed.

Erianna shuddered and took a step back. Lana’s skin continued to crawl, but she drew her estoc again and faced off against this entity. Alphonse’s grip tightened on the hilt of his sword, and it began glowing in an azure blue hue. The demon grinned wickedly, and a purple haze began surrounding her body. Her feet lifted off the ground and violet fires appeared at her palms.

“Hear me now, pitiful souls! I am to be known as Majora, the World Eater! Now come, line up before me and be devoured!”

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Chapter Seven is done now. Between getting sick and starting a new game, it took me longer than I intended to finish this. I'm pretty happy with the end result, though. This is the most action-packed thing I've written since the end of Ride the Winds! probably. Hope you enjoy the ride as Alphonse takes the lead perspective for this showdown! Only three chapters remain.

Chapter Seven
The World Eater​

Majora unleashed a fierce pressure of magical energy upon the company. Alphonse stood between them, blocking most of the force with his own magic. Lana had jumped behind him and propped her arms up against his back so he wouldn’t tumble over. There was little hope any of the soldiers were prepared to deal with something like this.

This is not good... She has to be at least as strong as Vaati or Ghirahim. I don't know what I was expecting the distortion to be like, but it sure wasn’t this.

Once the wave of energy had subsided, Majora shot forward, her fingers outstretched like claws. Thinking fast, Alphonse kicked off the ground and intercepted her strike. His blade clashed with her hand cloaked in purple fire, and no damage was received by either of them. As they separated, Alphonse quickly lunged forward and swung at her again. Majora deftly hopped backwards to dodge it.

Before she could strike again, Alphonse had already charged another burst of magic power. He flung it at her as he swung his sword. She ducked under this easily, and closed the gap at alarming speed. Alphonse had to duck and twist around a flurry of claw strikes before he could find another chance to swing at her.

As Majora dodged cleanly yet again, Lana ran out from behind him and thrusted her estoc forward. It narrowly missed her chest, and she tried to counter with another fierce swipe. However, Lana dodged at the last second and began moving at lightning speed again. She managed to nick Majora’s side before she returned to normal speed.

“Alright!” Alphonse cheered.

Majora backed off immediately to assess what had happened. She ran her finger along the cut, and then licked her lips.

“Well, well... You might put on a good show, after all. Allow me to take you seriously!” she grinned.

After saying so, her entire body began glowing in a shrieking violet hue. Her skin seemed to vibrate across her body, and Alphonse understood immediately that she was using a magic transformation, just like the Demon Lords he’d fought before.

“Damn! No you don’t!” Alphonse growled.

He attempted to stop it by rushing in and striking, but the pressure of Majora’s magic blew him backwards instead. Lana helped him back to his feet as they watched on in horror. Majora’s body changed from that of a demon’s to that of a beast’s. Her flesh turned red and purple, and spikes began protruding across her back and limbs. Her face became obscured by what looked like a mask, save for her maw and fangs which doubled in size. A pair of demonic eyes were emblazoned across her chest, and her arms turned into tentacle-like whips with razor tips.

“Wha... what? What happened to her?!” Lana gasped.

“Stay strong! It's about to get worse!” Alphonse warned.

Majora cackled and proved his words true right away. As she wildly swung her arms around, the whips stretched and extended, and even split apart into multiple appendages. Alphonse and Lana desperately dodged and leapt past the haphazard attacks, but the soldiers weren’t so lucky. In a furious whirlwind of slashes, she had wrecked the cultural site and sliced through most of Erianna’s guard detail.

“No!” Erianna cried.

Most of the soldiers fell to pieces in a splatter of blood at his feet, their death cries harrowing. Menora had been pierced through her stomach and knelt down before her Prince, fighting to stay conscious. As Majora’s horrible laughter echoed through the air, Alphonse’s gut twisted up. He felt an unspeakable rage welling up inside him, one that wouldn’t forgive him for failing to save those lives.

“Damn you... You’ll pay for that!” he rasped.

Burning with anger, he turned on his heel and saw Majora preparing to strike at the now defenseless Erianna. Swiftly, he leapt in between them and parried her next whip strike with his sword wreathed in Spirit magic. He couldn’t cut her limb, but he did make it rebound away.

“Th-thank you..." Erianna breathed.

"This is horrible..." Lana said, her hand clasped over her mouth in shock. "We can't let anyone else get hurt!"

“You're right. Everyone, you must evacuate! Go now and take the wounded!” Erianna commanded to the surviving soldiers.

“P-prince... I won’t leave you...!” Menora coughed.

“Go! There’s nothing you can do against this!” Alphonse shouted back at her as he charged at Majora.

Weaving and dodging through another flurry of whip slashes, Alphonse made his way toward the beast. After parrying a multitude of attacks with his sword, he was able to close in on her. Spinning on his heel and ducking down and around more slashes, he sent a burst of magic flying straight at her chest. Majora leapt up and over it, and then switched targets to the spiral staircase, which was still packed full with soldiers trying to descend and help the prince.

This time, it was Lana who took precise action. She unraveled her deku leaf mantle and swung it as hard as she could at Majora’s flailing whips, producing a powerful gust of wind. This breeze knocked the whips off-course, which then crashed randomly into the wall.

“You all have to run! Leave the Prince to us!” she rallied.

“Remember my orders! Now save yourselves! No more of you must die here for me!” Erianna pleaded.

Bitterly, Menora clutched the wound on her chest and gritted her teeth. At last, she rose to her feet.

“Men... We must evacuate! Leave the Prince to the heroes! We must do as he commanded!” she bellowed.

Alphonse knew that they were referring to Erianna’s order to regroup with the lookouts and seek the Zonai’s aid. At the moment, that was the best thing the soldiers could do. If they stayed, they would surely die. Majora, though, seemed to have other ideas. This time, she attacked the stairs themselves, breaking them and preventing the soldiers from retreating.

Alphonse clenched his jaw in frustration, but was surprised to see the stairs hadn’t completely fallen to pieces yet. The chunks Majora had broken off hung suspended in midair, glowing yellow. He looked to see Erianna extending his hand toward them. At last, he revealed his stasis powers.

“Hurry, while there’s still time!” he urged.

The soldiers hurried across the suspended stairs as fast as their feet could carry them. Majora started after them, but Alphonse leapt up into her path and met her with an intense burst of magic power, knocking her back to the ground. She landed on her feet and looked ready to pounce again, but Alphonse and Lana joined together to block her path. Once everyone was safely past the broken parts, Erianna released his magic, and the stairs fell to pieces around them. The company dashed back up the stairs as fast as their feet could carry them.

Now, it was just the three of them against this beast.

“HAaHahA! HOw WOnDeRFuL! THaT pOWer oF yOuRs... ThIS iS eXAcTly wHAt I’Ve bEen SEarChINg fOr!” Majora howled, her voice garbled and erratic as a result of her form change. “I CAn’t wAIt TO SInk ThEse fANgs iNTo yoU! YOu wiLL bE SO DElecTaBle!”

Erianna shivered again, faltering back. Lana stood shoulder to shoulder with Alphonse, who faced down this ravenous demon with a blade full of righteous anger.

“You’ve taken more than enough lives today! You are not getting him, too!” he said courageously.

“Alphonse, what do we do? How do we fight her?” Lana asked.

“Just like Deya, Lana.” he whispered.

Her eyes told him she understood what he meant. Alphonse would take the lead while Lana focused on hit-and-run tactics. No matter what, they had to keep Erianna safe. It was too risky for him to try to ascend the stairs and flee with the soldiers. Majora’s whips had too great of a range. He’d be left wide open to attacks with no cover. They had no choice but to defend him and defeat her there.

“I will support you from the rear. Now, go forth, my heroes!” Erianna commanded, seeming to regain his composure at last.

“Right!” Alphonse and Lana complied together.

Without hesitating, the pair of heroes kicked down on the ground and launched forward. Majora’s wicked laughter rose through the air as she swung her whips to intercept them. They each turned on their heels in opposite directions and began evading through the slashing storm. Alphonse jumped around and twisted through the air, swiping away any whips that came into his path. Meanwhile, Lana hung back behind him as she advanced slowly, waiting for the right opportunity to move in with a temporal rush.

Gripping his sword tighter, Alphonse unleashed burst after burst of magic at their foe. Majora continued to sidestep out of the way with little effort. Frustrated, Alphonse put more force into the next one, swinging with all his might. The floor in front of him ripped away from the sheer force of this wave of energy, knocking away many whips as it gouged forward. As soon as the path was clear, Alphonse focused magic into the soles of his feet and shot forward, straight through to the heart of his target.

Majora let out a noise that sounded like a gasp. As Alphonse closed in on her faster than he could think, he brought his blade down upon her. Majora’s leg then shot up and nailed him right in the gut, sending him flying back the way he came. With the wind knocked out of him, Alphonse could feel himself become wide open.

Strangely, though, he found himself in Erianna’s arms before he could blink.

“Phew... I caught you.” Erianna said, panting as if he’d just been sprinting.

“Wha- Oh, whoa?!”

Alphonse didn’t get the chance to ask his question as more whips came flying at them. Grabbing Erianna, he rolled out of the way and dragged the Prince out of the whips’ paths. Lana was now ahead of both of them, weaving through Majora’s tempest as she tried to hold the line.

“Erianna, what just happened? I thought I was...” Alphonse asked.

“I used my stasis magic to stop you in time, and then I pulled you out of your momentum. I’m glad you’re not hurt.” he answered quickly.

“Wait, you can move the things you freeze?” Alphonse said. “That gives me an idea...”

Alphonse swiftly shared his plan with the Prince before he leapt back up to rejoin Lana. He watched his companion perform another temporal rush, but she wasn’t able to cover the distance needed to reach Majora, even while sped up. Alphonse dashed forward into the raging cyclone of whips, reading another burst of magic power. This time, however, he released it in the arc of his next leap, flipping over and aiming it at the ceiling.

The magic energy crashed into the roof above, shaking the whole room and knocking large wedges of debris loose. Right away, Erianna put the plan into motion, freezing those rocks in midair with stasis.

“Now! Hammer them right at her!” Erianna yelled.

Lana was quick on the uptake. She used her next temporal rush to fling herself up to one of the rocks with her deku leaf, and by the time she’d returned to normal speed, she was already whaling on it. As she did, the debris' yellow color from Erianna’s magic began turning orange, and then to red. Erianna released his power, and the debris shot forward at unbelievable speed, ramming hard into Majora.

“Yes! Perfect!” Alphonse cheered.

The transformed demon yowled in pain, and her distorted voice sounded aggravated. Finally, they were getting somewhere. Alphonse didn’t want to waste this opportunity. He rushed forward, each step propelled by magic. He leapt over the collapsed demon, charging his blade with magic, ready to cleave it down through her. For a brief moment, he could feel victory. And then Majora thrashed and writhed her whips in an act of self-preservation.

Alphonse couldn’t doge in midair, and he couldn’t block them all with a single blade. He gritted his teeth, preparing for many of them to tear through his body, but the whips froze in place. Majora, too, froze in a yellow hue. Alphonse fell safely to his feet and immediately leapt back. In the span of a second, Majora was moving once again, and her attacks landed on empty air.

“WHaaAat?” Majora yelled.

“You can freeze her, too?” Alphonse asked, regrouping with his allies.

“Of course. I froze you, didn’t I?” he said.

“Oh, yeah, that would make sense.” Lana said. “Then I’ve got an idea!”

Lana excitedly shared her plan with the boys, and Alphonse felt a surge of confidence come with her words. This could work, he was sure of it. As Majora returned to her feet, seething with rage, Alphonse and Lana turned back to face her anew. A jittering feeling danced on Alphonse’s skin. There weren’t many times he felt positive excitement from battle, but the thought of a clear plan for victory here was starting to get him pumped.

Just a bit more. We can do this. I know we can!

Exchanging a glance with Lana was all it took. They were off, sprinting back into the maelstrom of whips. Majora roared as she furiously swung her arms, trying with all her might to split their bodies in two. Lana was forced to use a temporal rush to stay out of their reach. Alphonse shifted his weight around as he danced through the air, kicking back off the moment his toes hit the floor. He was like an acrobat weaving through certain death. He swung his sword cloaked in magic to pelt away any whips that made it into his path.

Soon, the pair was in range. Alphonse leapt through another tight gap between slinging whips, and grasped the hilt of his sword with both hands. As he squeezed hard, a massive outpouring of magic took shape over the blade. His eyes traced the positions of the closest whips before he let it loose, the burst slicing through the torrent on an angle. Finally, his power cut through her limbs.

Majora cried out in pain as blood splattered from her injured, but not severed, arms. Lana took fast advantage of this chance to swing her deku leaf once more. The burst of wind knocked even more of Majora’s whips out of the way. The path had never been more clear. The two of them had pried open a shot straight to her throat.

Their boots hit the ground hard as the two heroes launched themselves forward. Majora howled in desperation, swinging her arms with her full might inward. This motion cracked the whips into a funnel shape that was rapidly closing in on Alphonse and Lana from both sides. But, this was just the situation they were trying to create. A situation where the space above their heads was clear of whips.

Right on cue, Erianna thrusted out his hand toward his adversary, and Majora froze in place. As powerful as she was, this could only last a moment. But a moment was enough. Instantly, Alphonse and Lana changed direction. Kicking off the ground, they both leapt high into the air, well above the range of Majora’s attack. As soon as her time was unfrozen, her whips would crash into each other, ideally tangling up. The two would then bring their blades down on her from above, and that would be the end of it.

This scene of victory was clear as day in Alphonse’s head. Once again, he gripped his sword with both hands, and a powerful stream of magic emerged. Lana brandished her estoc, getting ready to pierce it through Majora’s skull as she fell. They were in place now. With their perfect positioning, there was no way they could miss. And so, Erianna’s power was released, and time started moving for Majora once again.

And the second it did, she cocked her head up to look upon Alphonse and Lana, and grinned.

“I sEE yOU...!”

A feeling like that of death shot through Alphonse’s spine. For that one instant when Majora looked at them, he could feel the severing of their chance at victory. A suffocating feeling wrapped around his neck and shook him full of terror, and his body reacted on instinct.

A ring of magic resembling flames pulsed from Alphonse’s body, alighting himself and Lana in the same blue glow. But it was too late. Majora cracked her whips, the shock of which forced them to slam down instead. And when they did, they rebounded off the floor and shot straight up, slicing through Alphonse and Lana.

Erianna watched in despair as his two heroes fell to the ground in bloody heaps. He could do little else about it. Alphonse’s stomach had been pierced clean through, and Lana’s left side had been nearly gouged out. They both lay on the ground, bleeding profusely and gasping for air.

Majora’s deranged laughter echoed through their heads. “HAAAHHAhhahAHAHAhahaHA! YOu fOOls. yOU SHoulDN’t hAVe shOWn mE ThaT YoU cAN FReEze mE IN TiMe. PReDIcTInG WHaT yOU WoULd dO AfTEr fREEziNg mE aGAIn waS CHilD’S plAY.”

“No. This can’t be...!” Erianna cried.

Alphonse tried like mad to pull himself up, but slumping forward was all he could manage. The strength was fading from his grip. He could not lift his sword. He glared helplessly as Majora stalked across the room toward her prey.

“Stay back! Your actions here will have-” Erianna tried to warn her.

“ANd nOW, yOUr pOWer wiLL BE MiNE!” she interrupted without a care.

Erianna screamed and tried to freeze her again in a last futile attempt. But as freezing things was all he could do, there was nothing stopping Majora from continuing to close in on him once she’d unfroze. Her laughter continued on, cutting out and cutting in as Erianna kept freezing her over and over. It seemed to get less effective each time, and before he knew it, his back was to the wall.

“No... Eri...!” Alphonse choked out.

Uselessly reaching a hand out toward the Prince was all he could do. Majora’s laughter reached its height as she coiled her whips around Erianna’s neck, lifting him off the ground. The breath was squeezed out of him as his feet kicked wildly at the air. It took seconds for him to pass out. His body fell limp, and Majora laid him out like a trophy over her shoulder.

“I CaN’T wAIT FoR THis mEAL!”

With that final declaration, Majora leapt straight up out of the pit, leaving the Zonai cultural site behind, and the dying heroes in her dust. Her cackling quickly faded away, and the darkness came creeping in. They were alone.

“Damn it... Damn it!” Alphonse growled, slamming his fist on the ground over and over.

Blood dripped from his lips, but his teeth continued to clench in frustration and rage. His body was growing weaker by the moment. He knew he’d succumb to his wounds very soon. He had to do something, anything before that happened.

He dragged himself over to Lana, leaving a smeared trail of red in his wake. He looked at his friend, laying on her side in a pool of her own blood. She was still breathing, but it was shallow. Her deep blue eyes had lost a lot of color. She bleakly gazed up at Alphonse, and he could tell she had nothing left.

At the very least, I have to save her...

Alphonse wracked his brain for any answer he could come up with. He thought back to his travels and experiences, searching for anything he could use in this moment. Like a spark of light, it came to him as he recalled the Lokomo and their magic abilities. He remembered how Anjean had instantly healed his broken arm after his fight with Vaati. That was it. That had to be the answer.

I’ve never done healing magic before, and I don’t even know the first thing about it. But if I remember how it felt...!

A dim glow of blue magic aura lit up Alphonse’s hand. He touched his palm to his chest, trying to pin down the feeling of being healed. He recalled Byrne’s first aid and the medical facilities of the Mystic Realm to narrow it down even further. At last, he’d grabbed on to something like it, and he could feel his body beginning to rebuild itself.

Yes! This is it...!

His elation was very brief. He quickly moved his hand over Lana’s wound, leaving his own healing unfinished. Desperately, he poured every ounce of energy he had left, latching onto that feeling.

“Come on... Don’t die on me, Lana...” he pleaded. “You’ve still got to... find your motherland, right? So don’t you dare let go... Hold on with everything you’ve got!”

His encouragement reached her. Lana’s body tensed up, her hands balling up into fists. Her lips quivered as though she were trying to reply to his determination. At last, her breathing leveled out, and her body began stitching itself back together under the azure light of Alphonse’s magic.

Just as the healing was starting to progress, however, Alphonse’s body finally gave out. He collapsed to his side right next to Lana, unable to move another inch. His breathing was labored, having exhausted the last of his energy. Trying to use healing magic with no experience was more costly than he’d imagined. His vision was fading faster than ever.

Damn it... Please let that be enough... This can’t end like this. Lana, Erianna, don’t give up... Naomi, Zelda... I’m...

* * *

Light found its way back into Alphonse’s eyes. The pain of his wounds had been dulled, but they hadn't disappeared completely. His senses gradually returned to him, and he felt oddly comfortable. But his memories were the next thing to return, and left him no chance to enjoy that comfort.

“No! Lana!” Alphonse yelped, shooting up straight.

“Whoa! Calm down!”

Alphonse looked to see a very surprised Princess Zelda sitting beside him. He quickly scanned his surroundings and found that he was in some kind of medical ward. How he got there, though, was a mystery.

“Alphonse! You’re up!”

To his great relief, Lana’s voice called out from behind him. He turned to see his partner across time sitting in a white-sheeted bed identical to his own. He also saw Menora sitting in another bed across from hers, and standing next to her was Chieftain Zarak. This wasn't really adding up with the last thing he could recall.

“Um... I think I need someone to catch me up here.” Alphonse said.

“After you tried to heal me and passed out, the Zonai appeared. The surviving soldiers managed to reach them and get across the message that we were in deep trouble.” Lana explained.

“You should have seen them. It was amazing!” Menora chimed in. “They just dashed right up the side of the mountain from down in the wetland like it was nothing! They carried the two of you out of there pretty quick. You were both in bad shape. Worse than me, even.”

“The Zonai were kind enough to rush us back to the castle. They did it on foot, too, and I heard it barely took them an hour...” Lana said. “Menora explained the situation and that they were our allies. The Princess has been healing us ever since. She said that if it weren’t for your attempt at first aid, we would have died before ever reaching the castle.”

“Really? Well, it’s good to know it was worth the effort.” he said.

“Alphonse, Lana filled us in on what happened before you woke up.” Zelda said. “My brother... That monster took my brother.”

Her reddened eyes welled up with tears, and her cheeks looked to have already been stained with a river of them. Even as she worked to heal the injured, she’d wept for the loss of her younger brother. Alphonse bit his lip as he looked upon her sadness.

“I’m sorry. The distortion was worse than any of us had imagined...” Alphonse said quietly. “I really underestimated her. Majora’s almost on par with the Demon Kings I’ve battled in the past. We were too underprepared to deal with that, and I also could have done more in the fight than I did...”

I shouldn’t have waited until the end of the fight to share my power with Lana. That was such a stupid mistake. I could have done better. I should have done better...

“Some heroes you turned out to be, huh?”

Everyone turned to see Prince Kaina standing at the door, leaning against the wall. Zelda wiped her eyes and glared at him.

“Kaina, if you dare to say this is all still a joke-” she rasped.

“Of course not. I know how to admit when I’m wrong.” Kaina spat. “But that’s not the issue here. The two of you were summoned to help Erianna, and look at yourselves. Coming back beaten bloody, without him, no less... What a disgrace. What did you even come here for?”

Alphonse clenched his fists. He couldn’t think of a rebuttal. What Kaina said was right, after all. They’d failed. They’d lost Erianna. With him, they’d also lost their way home. That was another brutal truth his mind wasn’t ready to tackle yet. Lana seemed to be on the verge of tears, herself. What were they going to do now?

“Hope is not lost, heroes from other eras.” Chieftain Zarak spoke.

Alphonse and Lana both perked up. “What? What do you mean?” Alphonse said.

“Is there still something we can do?” Lana asked desperately.

“Huh? What’d he say?” Kaina said.

Oh, yeah, the language barrier...

Remembering that Lana and himself could understand the Zonai language thanks to their summoning spell, they took on the role of translator. Zarak cleared his throat before he spoke again.

“The Prince of Time yet lives.” he assured them.

“He says Erianna is still alive!” Alphonse said, hardly believing the news himself.

Kaina and Zelda shared the same shock. “Really?! How can you be sure?” Zelda questioned, jumping to her feet. “Please, tell us everything you know! Can we still save my brother?”

“That fell demon wouldn’t have devoured him yet. She must wait for the arcane magicks to be at their peak, else the profane ritual needed to steal his powers will fail. She must abide her hunger until the blood moon rises.” Zarak explained.

“He says Majora needs to wait for a blood moon before she can eat Erianna.” Lana translated.

“A blood moon? But the next one is three days from tomorrow!” Zelda said.

“That’s not a lot of time to act... Zarak, do you know where she would have taken him?” Alphonse asked.

“To fully bask in the arcane, she must get as close to the moon as possible. There is only one place in or out of Hyrule that is at a suitable altitude... the peak of the neighboring Mount Hebra.” Zarak informed them.

“The peak of Mount Hebra...” Alphonse repeated.

“Hebra? Seriously?” Kaina groaned. “That frigid mountain to the northwest of Hyrule? Why’s it gotta be there, of all places...”

“It doesn’t matter where it is, as long as we know where to go.” Zelda said, a fire in her voice. “We will not waste this knowledge. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, good Chieftain of the Zonai.”

Saying so, Zelda bowed deeply in a show of gratitude. This act of deference seemed to put off Kaina, who only muttered a quiet thank-you himself.

“Alphonse, we’re doing this, right? We can’t give up on Erianna!” Lana said eagerly. “Not just because we can’t get home without him... I don’t want to lose our friend to that monster! We’ve gotta try again!”

Alphonse felt encouraged by her spirit. “You took the words right out of my mouth. Zelda, how long until we’re fully healed?” he asked.

“On my honor as Princess of Hyrule, I’ll have you all back on your feet by tomorrow morning.” she said proudly, placing her hand over her heart.

“Perfect. We only have three days, but we’ll make it work. We’re not failing a second time.” Alphonse declared, slamming his fist into his palm.

“Now that we know what to expect, we can plan accordingly. We’ll save Erianna, no matter what!” Lana rallied.

“Don’t count us soldiers of Hyrule out! We’ll never abandon the Prince to his fate!” Menora added. “There was nothing we could do this time, but I swear on my life, we will see the next battle through to the end.”

“We Zonai will also aid you. The Prince is a dear friend and ally that I do not wish to lose.” Zarak said.

“Thanks. We’ll be counting on all of you.” Alphonse said.

“And that includes us.” Zelda said sternly. “Kaina and I will accompany you.”

“What?! Are you crazy? We’re royals! This is beneath us, Zelda! Our Sheikah attendants can stand in for us.” Kaina said.

“This is about our brother, Kaina! It has to be us! I’m dragging you along even if you don’t want to go!” Zelda chided.

Alphonse held in a sigh. He couldn’t decide if he was or wasn’t surprised to see Kaina still dishing out his attitude in a situation like this. He wasn’t sure what a Sheikah was, either, but it didn’t seem like the time to ask. Before the royal siblings could really get into it with each other, however, a new person entered the room.

“Please, my children, calm yourselves.” It was King Cornelius himself.

“Father!” Zelda and Kaina cried in unison.

“Your Majesty!” Captain Menora gasped, leaping out of her bed and kneeling on the floor.

Zarak offered the Zonai customary greeting Alphonse had seen earlier, and King Cornelius returned it. He figured Erianna must have taught him about it.

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Chieftain Zarak. I’ve heard much about you. It is a shame that our language barrier prevents us from conferring at this moment. We will have to rectify that later.” the King said. “All of you, be at ease. I understand the situation. My aide has filled me in.” he said, gesturing to a woman with white hair and dark skin behind him.

“Father, please, you mustn't concern yourself over this.” Kaina urged.

“Mustn’t I? My son has been taken from us.” he said. Then he turned his gaze to the two heroes laid up in bed. “Alphonse, Lana. I cannot speak for what has transpired out of my sight, but I must ask you this. Do you vow to reclaim my son from the evil that tries to devour him?”

“I do.” the pair said in perfect sync, without hesitation.

King Cornelius’s worried blue eyes studied them carefully. It appeared that he saw what he wanted to see, and his expression softened. He then shocked everyone in the room by dropping to one knee, deferring himself to Alphonse and Lana.

“Father, no! Don’t lower yourself!” Kaina said.

“Right now, I am acting not as a King, but as a father that wants his son back.” Cornelius said. “I beg of you, heroes. Please save Erianna. You are still the only ones here capable of facing down this threat. I leave my son in your hands. Please...”

“Father...” Zelda whispered, the tears coming back to her eyes.

Alphonse understood that for the King himself to come here and personally bow down before them was an immensely huge deal. This was a show of trust as much as it was an act of desperation and love for his son. Alphonse recalled the story Erianna had shared about his past the night before as he looked into the King’s eyes.

Whatever else, you’ve really got a doting father here, Erianna. I hope you know how loved you are. You deserve to know. Just another reason why we have to get you back.

Alphonse and Lana both stood up, intending to affirm the King’s trust in them and show respect for his meaningful act of deference. Pain shot through Alphonse’s stomach as he moved, and he was sure Lana wasn’t feeling any better than he was, but it didn’t deter either of them. They stood before the King and faced him squarely.

“You can count on us. We won’t fail again.” Lana said.

“Too much depends on this. Erianna’s life, our chances of going home, and the flow of time itself. If we lose again, all of that is over. We will get him back.” Alphonse said confidently.

King Cornelius smiled warmly at the heroes. “I thank you. The future is in your hands, young ones.”

This was no exaggeration, and everyone knew it. Nevertheless, they knew what had to be done. With the fires of determination and courage burning bright in their hearts, Alphonse and Lana resolved themselves once more to fight for Prince Erianna.

Three days remained until the blood moon. Three days remained until the end of Erianna’s life.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Alright, time for the next chapter! This one is the longest so far, though I didn't really intend for it to be. I'm still happy with it, though. There are only two chapters left in the story now! The final showdown approaches... Enjoy this chapter, with Lana taking the lead again!

Chapter Eight
Complicated Feelings​

Upon the dawn of the first day, Lana and Alphonse were fully recovered. Zelda was true to her word. She’d exhausted herself from healing all night with little sleep, though, and retired to her chambers for the day.

Before she did, Lana had asked her if fixing her disabled arm was possible. Sadly, Zelda told her it would’ve had to have been treated with magic immediately after it was first injured. There was nothing she could do for a wound that had already been through a healing process. Lana was disappointed, but she’d kept her expectations well-grounded.

Still, Lana couldn’t help but admire the power of magic. A hole ripped out of her body getting fully repaired overnight was mind-blowing to her. It was as if the wound had never happened. Not even a scar remained. Zelda’s power was extraordinary. Even Alphonse had said so, and he was the one with a point of reference.

She was worried, though. She couldn’t let herself get reckless and rely on Zelda’s healing magic for the upcoming battle. She regretted not having the zam spell on her. It had been left in her satchel on her boat back in her own time. If she had it, she wouldn’t have to worry about instant kills, at least.

Lana wanted to do more. She thought she had to do better next time. There was little she could do in the last fight besides dodge and swing her deku leaf around. She thought she should spend her remaining time improving herself physically, on top of working out a strategy. And the person she chose to come to about this was Alphonse.

"Huh? You want my help?" Alphonse asked, sounding confused.

"I do! I'm still pretty new at fighting. I could really use your advice." Lana insisted.

The two of them were in the training yard inside the castle. Alphonse was already there practicing away when Lana found him. Many soldiers, including Menora, were seeking lessons of their own. She had to wade through a crowd of fellow hopefuls to reach him.

"I'm not really sure what to tell you. If you ask me, your skills are top-notch already. Are you really that new at fighting?" he asked.

"I only learned how to use a sword three months ago. Well, three months in my time." she said.

"What?! For real? I never would have guessed that, after the way I’ve seen you fight." Alphonse said, sounding amazed. "You must have a lot of natural aptitude. That, or you had a hell of a teacher."

"A little of both, I guess? My teacher, Orca, was pretty, um... unconventional, but his lessons saved my life so many times. He also said I had a lot of aptitude." Lana explained. "But what about you? I've seen you do some amazing things with that sword, even without your magic. What was your teacher like, Alphonse?"

"My teacher? She was, well... She was basically my foster mom." he began. "Her name was Rena. Her main job was a doctor, but she could do so many other things, too. She picked me up after I lost my parents, and a few years later, I saw how good at fighting she was and I asked her to teach me. I think I was eight."

Oh... I had no idea he'd lost his family. Upon thinking this, Lana thought of her own beloved parents, and felt a pang of sympathy well up inside. She kept it down, though, and continued the conversation.

"So you've been training for a lot of years, huh? And you're my age, aren't you? No wonder you're so good. With all that experience, you must have something you can tell me!" Lana insisted again.

Alphonse rubbed the back of his neck, looking a little embarrassed. He seemed to be caving under the pressure of Lana’s sparkling, expectant gaze. His eyes wandered all over the place, almost like a window into his spinning brain. When he looked like he’d come up with something to say, he cleared his throat.

“Well, I guess if you’re looking to improve, the best advice I can give is to think outside the box. Creative thinking is the key to everything.” he told her. “For example, there was a time where I couldn’t use the Lokomo Sword and I had to think of a way to use magic without it. I figured out how to do it by copying my demon friend. I also figured out how to focus magic in my feet to move faster by total accident. So like, beyond dedicated training, that’s the real secret, I guess. Observe what others do and see if you can use any of it. Just follow your inspiration, wherever it leads.”

“Observe others and follow my inspiration, huh...” Lana pondered. “That’s pretty sound advice, but I’m not really sure how I should apply it.”

“Well, for starters, just train with me for a while. We can spar a couple times and maybe something will strike you. Even if not, you’ll at least be practicing.” Alphonse suggested.

Lana lit up. “Now that’s something I can take action on! Let’s do it!”

Alphonse grinned and readied the wooden practice sword he was lent. Lana did the same with hers, and the two squared off with each other. The surrounding soldiers cheered as they backed off to give them space, and some were even placing friendly bets on the winner. Meanwhile, Lana’s eyes scanned him from top to bottom; every shift of his foot, every tensing of his body, and every movement his eyes made were under her total scrutiny. When he lunged forward, she leapt to the side and swung at him with all her might.

A loud cracking sound shook the air as he parried her strike and pointed his foot toward her in the same breath. He didn’t miss a beat as he charged at her again. This time, Lana chose to duck under his strike and close in on him. As she did, he kicked off the ground backwards, and the moment his feet touched the ground again, he sprang right back forward. Lana barely had time to guard from his next strike, and she was shoved backwards a bit.

Throughout this exchange, Lana’s mind was whirling with information. To begin with, she was awed by Alphonse’s reaction time and precise movements. His many years of training and real battle experience were no doubt the foundation for that. Just the same, she felt impressed with herself for keeping up with him. Perhaps he was right when he said she was already skilled.

She also mulled over his advice about observation and creative thinking. She realized these were skills she was already developing. She’d used her sharp memory to get herself out of more than a few jams in her travels, and like Alphonse, some of her core skills were discovered by accident in the heat of battle, like her temporal rushes. Lana found her confidence building back up with every exchange of blows.

And yet, there was still something nagging at her mind. Was this really enough to defeat Majora? When she tried to brace for a strike with both arms, she was bitterly reminded of her disability. Her left arm couldn’t withstand the same force as her right, and she was knocked off-balance. She narrowly avoided getting smacked in the chest by Alphonse’s sword after that.

She clenched her jaw in a hopeless sense of frustration. Her left arm couldn’t make a fist, and she couldn’t raise it above her shoulder line. As such, she did not have the strength to wield her bow anymore. That was a big hole in her skill set, to not even mention the struggles it brought with daily living. And yet she refused to stop carrying her bow wherever she went. Maybe she was still in denial, even after living with this disability for two months. The bow should be dead weight to her now, but a part of her just couldn’t let it go.

Lana’s face grew more strained by the minute, and Alphonse didn’t miss that. He lowered his sword to show that he was stopping his assault. Lana tightened her grip on her own sword and bit her bottom lip. She wasn’t sure what to say. Luckily for her, Alphonse took the initiative.

“Something’s eating at you. Is it the good something or the bad something?” he asked.

He’s been so attentive since I met him. Maybe too attentive... But maybe he can help me with this burden, too...

“Can I get your opinion on something? Something personal.” Lana started. Alphonse nodded, so she gathered her nerve and continued speaking. “Do you think it’s pointless for me to keep carrying my bow? I can’t even use it anymore, but... I dunno, maybe I keep hoping something will change... But I also know that my arm is never getting better. I can’t let myself cling to false hope, can I? What do you think I should do?”

As Lana spoke, her voice quaked slightly and her hands clutched the rims of her shirt. Alphonse didn’t fail to pick up on her discomfort. “Hmm... I don’t want to be irresponsible and say anything to get your hopes up. Well... Lemme think...” he said thoughtfully.

Now Alphonse was the one with a consterned look on his face. He chewed on his words carefully before he let them out. Lana’s heart felt heavy in her chest as she waited. She didn’t know what she wanted to hear from him. She didn’t even know if she wanted him to affirm or deny these feelings. She just knew she wanted to hear something from him, something that would make her heart feel lighter.

“To be honest, I don’t think that’s something I’m qualified to answer, Lana.” he said at last. “I don’t know what it’s like to be you. I don’t know how it feels not being able to use an arm. But if you think, somewhere deep inside you, that it’s not time to let go of your bow, then I think you should listen to that feeling. If the time ever comes for you to lay it down, I think you’ll know when you’re ready better than anyone else.”

Lana took in his words carefully. Her eyes sank to the ground, and her hands balled up into fists. Was she not ready to let it go yet, after all? Was that not a bad thing? He didn’t tell her either way. But, maybe that was fine. Like he said, this was something she was supposed to know better than anyone, since it was about her own self, and her own body. And if she didn’t know it yet, maybe it just wasn’t time yet.

Yeah, maybe he’s right... I just have to wait until I’m ready. And whenever that is, well... That’s up to me, I guess.

Lana’s lips quivered as she tried to speak. Even though she didn’t get a clear answer from him, her heart ended up feeling lighter, after all. His words were reassuring. She felt like she’d just needed to hear it from someone else, that she was the one with the personal agency to decide what she should do. It was something obvious, yet still easily forgotten. No one could tell her when to give up on her bow but herself.

She failed to stop a few tears from escaping down her cheeks, but she managed a shaky smile, all the same.

“Thank you, Alphonse...”

* * *

The deadline on Erianna's life was fast approaching. King Cornelius personally led the effort on building a new company to rescue the captive prince. It was difficult to gather enough soldiers without letting information leak to the public. Erianna's situation could cause a panic, after all.

And with that in mind, the decision was made to leave in the dead of night before the sun rose on the third day. There was no way the townsfolk wouldn't catch on to trouble if they saw the Princess and First Prince leading a campaign of knights. At least there would be much fewer prying eyes in the late hours. All the clanking boots marching across the cobblestone roads were an unavoidable racket, though. They had a lot of people yelling at them from the windows to keep it down.

The company this time included the Royal Knights of Hyrule, fifty accompanying each Zelda and Kaina. Another hundred of the regular soldiers, including Captain Menora, followed behind. At the front with the two royals were Alphonse and Lana, Chieftain Zarak and a handful of Zonai guides, and the royal attendants, the Sheikah.

Lana had never heard of a Sheikah before, and Alphonse told her he hadn't, either. Their skin was a similar shade of brown to her own, but they each had white hair, as well. All three of them had some weird-looking eye with a teardrop tattooed on their faces. Aside from this, Lana knew nothing about them other than that they served the royals directly.

First there was Aisha. She was Zelda’s attendant, and she was her opposite in attitude. The wrinkles of age were set beneath her stern eyes. Next was Nemu, Kaina’s attendant. He was younger than his prince, and more laid back, too. His behavior seemed to frustrate Kaina, but he looked capable nonetheless. Last, there was Yoh, and she was Erianna's attendant. Like Nemu, she was young, but Lana hadn't seen much of her personality yet. She was very quiet and withdrawn. Yoh walked beside Lana and Alphonse, and kept eyeing the both of them.

I wonder if she's mad at us for failing to protect Erianna...

Thinking as much, Lana tried to show her a kind smile, but Yoh scowled back at her. Lana’s heart sank, but she wanted badly to break the ice with her. She decided to try speaking with her next time the company stopped.

Her chance came on the dawn of the third day. To reach Hebra from Castle Town, they had to leave out of the west gate and cross the Regencia River, marching through a craggy ravine and then crossing a wide field overlooking the castle. This field actually happened to be near the mountain the two time travelers had woken up on. Heading north from there, they would cross through rolling hills and reach the edge of a vast canyon, and after circumventing it, they’d be able to see snow. After that it would be a long climb to the top of Mount Hebra, to where Majora was supposed to be biding her time for the blood moon. And that blood moon was going to rise that very night.

The company only planned to make one stop to gather their strength for the coming battle, and it would have to be a very short one. They stopped in the vast plain outside of the ravine. The company would get one hour of rest and then march straight on to Hebra without stopping. Lana knew this was her only chance to speak openly with Yoh.

Lana strode through the makeshift encampment with purpose. She glanced over to see Kaina griping at a bunch of knights about his accommodations and couldn’t suppress a groan. She quickened her stride in case he heard her. Soon enough, she found Yoh sitting by herself at the edge of camp. When Yoh saw her coming, she frowned and turned her gaze to the ground.

Oh, boy. She’s really not hiding her displeasure. Still, I have to say something to her...

“Hey, um... Can I sit with you?” Lana asked.

Yoh didn’t look up at her, but she did answer. “... Suit yourself.”

Lana felt relieved that she was at least open to her company. She sat down next to her with a purposeful amount of distance, and started rehearsing what to say in her head again. After a few minutes of silence, however, Yoh seemed to look more and more impatient. She started tapping her foot, and when that wasn’t enough, her fingers joined in.

Sheesh. I guess I’d better just come out and say it.

“So, um... This might be all in my head, but I have to ask... You’re, um, mad at me, aren’t you? Me and Alphonse.” Lana said.

“What gave it away?” Yoh said, the sarcasm heavy in her voice.

I knew it. Lana thought this with a sinking feeling in her gut. “It's about Erianna, right-” she started.

Prince Erianna.” Yoh interrupted.

Lana gulped, but she held her ground. “He told me I don’t have to be formal with him, so I won’t be. You’re mad at us for failing to save him, right?”

“Of course I am!” Yoh said, starting to yell. She jumped up and glared down at Lana. “It was your job to keep him safe and you failed, so of course I’d be mad! In the first place, I’m the one who was supposed to be at his side! I don’t understand why he didn’t let me accompany him! I’m his attendant! If I was there, he wouldn’t... He wouldn’t have...”

Lana watched quietly as Yoh’s voice trailed off and she sank back down. “I’m sorry you weren’t able to come with us. But you know, I don’t think it would have made a difference." Lana said. "All of us were too unprepared for Majora, and we’re all bitter about it, too. And I think you know that. I think who you’re really mad at is yourself.”

“Oh, shut up! What do you know?” Yoh snapped. “I’ve been at the Prince’s side for years! It’s thanks to him that my life isn’t miserable!”

This caught Lana’s concern. “What do you mean? Can you tell me about that?”

“Hah! You wanna know? Fine, listen up, and maybe you’ll realize how insensitive you’re being.” Yoh spat. “My dad was Prince Kaina’s attendant years ago, and he was the only side I ever saw of Hyrule’s royalty. I thought I’d be next in line to serve him, and I hated every minute of my life, thinking I’d be stuck with that snob forever. But then, before that could happen, Prince Erianna appeared before my father and asked him personally to allow me to be his attendant, instead.”

Jeez, even the attendants hate Kaina. That thought crossed Lana’s mind, but she kept it to herself.

“You have no idea how much of a relief that was. I’d never met Prince Erianna, so when he turned out to be an amazingly kind person, it was like all the darkness in my life was shut out and filled with light. Ever since, I’ve wanted to do the same for him in return, so I dedicated my life to serving him. But he still won’t open up to me about what’s in his heart. This whole distortion business? He wouldn’t tell me anything, and he wouldn’t let me come with him! Why is that, huh? Is he dissatisfied with me? Am I not doing enough? I just don’t get it...”

Yoh’s voice cracked, and Lana felt pangs of empathy rise up as a lump in her throat. She wanted to say something to help Yoh, but didn’t know where to start. “You know, when we were on our way to Akkala, Erianna talked about of a lot of things with me and Alphonse. He told us things he said he’d only ever told to Zelda before. So I don’t think it’s anything about you-”

Yoh’s eyes widened. “He opened up to you? Seriously?”

Lana bit her lip when she realized the mistake she’d just made in how she arranged her words. “Oh, no, I wasn’t trying to-”

Yoh interrupted her again. “I don’t believe you! Why would he open up to you? Does he hate me, then? Is that it? This isn’t... This isn’t fair...”

She was begging to cry now. Lana kept kicking herself internally, trying to figure out a way to turn this conversation around. She didn’t think she had the same way with words that Alphonse did. But as she watched how Yoh behaved, she began to come to a certain realization. Thinking that this talk couldn’t get any worse, she took a risk and asked the question.

“Yoh, do you... Do you love Erianna?” Lana asked quietly.

Yoh gasped. Her crying almost came to a halt. She wiped her eyes as she stared in disbelief at Lana. Slowly, her sniffles came back out, and she buried a very red face in her arms.

“... I’m not allowed to. It’s forbidden.” she squeaked out.

Well, that explains a lot.

Lana scooted closer to Yoh, feeling more confident in what to say now. The only experience with love Lana ever had was familial or platonic, and she didn’t really care to experience the romantic kind for herself. As such, she felt a bit out of her element here. But she did know what it was like to admire someone, and to want them to acknowledge you. With thoughts of Emilia in her mind, Lana placed her hands on Yoh’s shoulders.

The emotional Sheikah jolted and looked up at Lana, confused. “Wh-what? What is it?”

“If you don’t know what Erianna’s thinking, then let’s go get him back. And when we do, sit him down and ask him straight-out.” she said. “Look him in the eye and tell him you’re fed up with the secrets and you want him to tell it like it is. And I’ll even back you up! What do you say?”

“What?! I can’t just... I couldn’t possibly...” Yoh said, shaking her head furiously.

“Why not? Your feelings are real and they’re important to you. You need to stand up for them. I’m not telling you to propose to him or anything, but you’ve gotta say what’s on your mind. Erianna’s gonna have to hear every complaint you’ve got, but to do that, we’ve gotta save him first! Are you in?”

Lana’s brain was spinning with a feeling that was half regret and half embarrassment. She’d gotten a bit carried away there, but she did say what she wanted to say, and what she thought Yoh needed to hear.

Yoh stared hard at Lana. Her brown eyes were reddened by tears, but they seemed to be growing more focused. She wiped her face with her arm again, and finally started to smile.

“Haha... You’re crazy, you know. I’d get in so much trouble if I did that... But okay. I’m in.” she said weakly.

Lana beamed at her and took up her hands, shaking them vigorously. Yoh laughed some more, and her own smile got bigger. The two girls seemed to form a weird friendship in this moment, or at least Lana hoped they did. Either way, she was glad to have gotten through to Yoh, and to add one more reason of many to rescue Erianna.

* * *

Noon passed by over the company’s heads, filling everyone with anxiety. They all understood that the darker it got, the closer Erianna came to death. Marching through the rolling hills north of Hyrule, the bite of cold became more and more apparent. Soon, they could see the massive canyon separating the hills from the frigid mountains.

As the company rounded the canyon’s edge, the landscape ahead started turning white. It was getting harder and harder to tell the sky apart from the ground as the clouds rolled in. The prickly feeling on Lana’s skin told her a storm was coming their way, and fast. She was beginning to shiver as her boots started crunching over snow. The only cold like this she’d experienced was her visit to Ice Ring Isle, so she was very unaccustomed to this crisp sensation.

Mama and Papa told me our motherland was very cold. I wonder if it would be like this...

A lingering feeling of homesickness managed to escape its hold in Lana’s chest. She did her best to push it back down as the company came to a brief stop. Chieftain Zarak had called the royals and the heroes to attention. Lana trotted up to stand with Alphonse, while Zelda and Kaina waited for them to translate his words. The Sheikah attendants stood behind the royals like a group of shadows, but Yoh gave Lana a quick smile.

Zarak cleared his throat before speaking plainly. “We now stand at the vestibule of Hebra. As the blood moon is tonight, Majora will be preparing for her feast at the peak. She must wait until the moon is at its highest point before she can perform the ritual. We must arrive before midnight, or all will be lost. However, the path ahead would be difficult to traverse with such a large group. I recommend we split ourselves in half and make two separate treks.” he advised.

“He says we have until midnight to reach the peak of that mountain.” Alphonse translated, pointing toward the craggy peak towering over everything in the area.

“And he says we should split up so we can move faster.” Lana said.

“Split up? We don’t know where we’re going out here.” Kaina said. “I assume you Zonai will lead the way, then?”

Zarak nodded, and Kaina looked satisfied with that.

“If we’re gonna split up, we should be smart about it. It’s going to matter who goes which way.” Alphonse said.

“I agree.” Lana said. “Considering our distribution of abilities, I think Alphonse and I should lead two different groups. We each take one royal and their knights, half the soldiers, and Zonai guides.”

“Good thinking.” Alphonse agreed. “In that case, Zelda should come with me. Zarak, I want you to take us up the mountain the fastest way you know how. I’ll lead the attack, so we need to get to Majora and interrupt her plans as soon as possible.”

“Why should the Princess travel with you specifically?” Aisha asked.

“Zelda’s healing magic will probably be needed for Erianna. I can’t imagine he’s in good shape right now... The faster we get her up there, the better.” he said.

“Ah, that’s a sound thought. Of course, if the Princess goes with you, then so do I.” Aisha said.

“I guess that leaves Kaina with me.” Lana said, trying not to sound like she was dreading this fact. “So Alphonse’s group will have to get there first and fast, and do everything they can to keep Majora from eating Erianna. That will give my group time to get in position to try and flank her from a different angle.”

“Sounds good. You’re really good at ambush tactics, Lana, so this should work out. Heh, it’s almost like Deya Village again.” Alphonse said.

“Well, if Kaina’s going with Lana, I guess I am, too.” Nemu said.

“Call me Prince, damn it! At least in front of others!” Kaina interjected.

Nemu smirked and ignored him, an act that made Alphonse chuckle. Lana did her best to hold in a snicker of her own. Kaina looked hot in the face, but a sharp glare from Zelda told him it wasn’t the time. Meanwhile, Aisha was giving Nemu an icy stare of her own.

“That makes me the odd one out...” Yoh said. “If I may, Aisha... I’d like to accompany Lana’s group.”

“Oh? You sound more assertive than you usually do, Yoh.” Aisha said, sounding pleased. “Very well. It’s good of you to take initiative. Your Prince will need it. Go with Lana’s group, then.”

“Thank you very much! I won’t let you down!” Yoh said excitedly.

Huh, it seems like Yoh and Nemu defer to Aisha. She’s a lot older than both of them, and she’s the Princess’s attendant, so I guess she’d naturally be the one with authority over them. I still don’t really know how the Sheikah work, though.

“Alright, sounds like we’re set on the plan. Let’s get the soldiers organized fast and get up that mountain!” Alphonse rallied.

“Hold on, Erianna... We’re coming...” Zelda breathed, gazing off toward the snow-capped peak.

The soldier captains quickly got their troops organized under directions from the knights. Menora ended up in Alphonse's group. Two captains with twenty-four soldiers each split the company directly down the middle. Fifty soldiers and fifty knights in both groups made for a more impressive setup than their campaign in Akkala, two hundred strong altogether. Each group was led by a summoned hero, a royal with their Sheikah attendants, and a handful of Zonai guides. They were ready.

While they were sorting themselves out, the knights passed around small bottles of a strange red liquid. They called it a spicy elixir, and explained that it would heat up their bodies to deal with the freezing temperatures. The effects were supposed to last all night.

Lana received hers and eyed it suspiciously. She'd never heard of such a concoction, so she was naturally hesitant. She watched Alphonse shrug and then chug the whole thing in one go. He seemed fine, so Lana removed the cork, gave it a quick sniff to be safe, and brought the bottle to her lips. It made her mouth burn like she'd eaten hot peppers. As she drank, her stomach felt like it caught on fire, and an electrifying warmth spread all the way to her fingertips.

Whoa, they weren't kidding! I can't feel the cold at all anymore. That's one less thing to slow us down.

Thinking this, Lana confidently marched to the head of her group and waved to Alphonse. He nodded at her and pumped his fist, then turned and marched off after Zarak, his group following close behind. They would go their own way, and Lana prayed they would reach Erianna swiftly. She then turned to her pair of Zonai guides, who beckoned them across the frosty landscape ahead.

Their first trial was to cross the tundra spreading out before them. Just as Lana sensed earlier, a fierce snowstorm hit the party only a few minutes after they’d set out. She could barely see the foot of the mountain ahead through the whiteout, and her view of Alphonse's group had already been completely extinguished.

Harsh winds and deep snow slowed their progress. It felt like walking through glue, the way the gales pushed her back down each time she raised her legs through the snow banks. Even if their bodies stayed warm through all of this, there was nothing they could do about this onslaught of nature. Kaina kept muttering complaints the entire time, which only made it worse.

With one arm up to protect her eyes, Lana peered through the snowstorm. The path ahead was free and clear of any obstacles, save for a sparse grouping of fir trees here and there. Even with the raucous storm surrounding her, Lana could still sense her way forward. At the moment, she didn’t feel anything disturbing the airflow besides themselves. She remembered her short talk with Alphonse in the Torin Wetlands, and felt renewed gratitude for her Wind Waker gift.

She checked over her shoulder to observe the progress of her group. Kaina’s scowling face was close behind, with Yoh and Nemu basically shoving him forward from behind. The knights and soldiers had their shields up to form a windbreaker, and the ones in the lead could be seen frequently peeking out from behind their walls of steel, likely to make sure they didn’t lose track of anyone. It was clearly a tough march. Lana was positive they’d all be icicles without those elixirs.

No cover out here... If only we could get somewhere with a lot of trees, or even big rocks, this storm would be a lot easier to deal with.

“Hey!” Lana called out to the Zonai guides in front of her. “Is there another route we can take with more protection? We can’t afford to exhaust ourselves before we even reach Majora!”

One of the two Zonai looked back at her and nodded. “Fear not, we were thinking the same. Just a bit further across the snowfield and we will reach cover.” he assured her.

Lana nodded. She then turned back to the struggling company behind her. “Just a bit further and we’ll have some cover! Hang in there!” she yelled.

Kaina groaned, but he nodded. The Sheikah attendants made sure the knights passed the message on through their ranks. With a bit more bravado, Lana stomped her feet through the snow, her eyes fixed on the sight of the mountain ahead of her. Soon enough, she could see something at its foot.

At first, she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her. The hazy shapes appearing in the whiteout almost looked like enormous trees. As she got closer and closer, the sight became clearer and clearer. It certainly did resemble tree trunks, but it was all stone. It was a grove of curvy stone pillars carved out by wind and ice, each topped with massive glacial plateaus.

“Whoa... I’ve never seen anything like this.” Lana gawked.

“This is the Pikida Stonegrove.” one of the Zonai guides informed her. “We pass through here, and the storm will not reach us. We can still come out to the peak from the north side as planned.”

Just as he said, once Lana had those plateaus over her head, the winds grinded to a halt. She could finally see more than a foot in front of her face again. Even though she was entering a much more enclosed space than the tundra, walking under those stone trees felt like the reverse was actually true. It was far more breathable in there compared to the raging storm outside.

Many of the knights and soldiers whispered in awe amongst themselves at the natural wonder of the stonegrove. Kaina breathed a great sigh of relief and started stretching his limbs. Lana too felt the need to loosen up her joints. This respite from the storm was very much welcome. As she enjoyed this little breather, she began examining her surroundings, letting her senses carry her eyes across the landscape.

And as they did, they led her to a disturbance in the air. Deeper into the grove, Lana spied a campfire. And sitting around this fire were a pack of beast-like enemies with white fur, and a large stalfos covered in brown leather cloaks and a horned helmet. Naturally, these creatures spotted the large group of noisy soldiers very quickly.

“Oh, great. Looks like we’re not the only ones who wanted to take shelter. Heads up, guys!” Lana warned.

“A stalfos leading a pack of wolfos? Now there’s something you don’t see every day.” Nemu remarked.

“Oh, we have the worst luck! Don’t any of you let them lay a finger on me!” Kaina commanded.

That stalfos looks a lot different than the ones I’ve seen, and I’ve never heard of a wolfos before. The Great Sea’s monsters are a lot different from Hyrule’s, but the general knowledge I have of them should still apply, just like it did at Deya.

The stalfos seemed rather intelligent. Its skeletal frame creaked with each step it took. It raised a large, rusty axe and pointed it right at the group. At this command, the pack of wolfos spread out and charged toward the company in perfect formation. Fortunately, the Knights of Hyrule were well-trained. They fanned out and raised their shields to intercept the beasts, hacking away at them while pushing them further away from the prince.

“Jeez, there are a lot of them... But if he’s commanding them, will they scatter if he’s defeated?” Lana thought aloud.

After eyeing Yoh to confirm her intentions, Lana drew her estoc and dashed forward through the snow. The knights and soldiers pushed back against the wolfos, but the stone trees of the grove crowded around them and allowed the wolfos to leap around out of their reach. A small group of knights, along with the Zonai and the Sheikah attendants, stayed in a tight-knit formation around Kaina at the heart of the group. Lana felt secure leaving them in charge of defense.

As she approached the stalfos, its glowing red eyes shuddered with glee. It was happy to have so much fresh meat to feed its pets, or at least that’s the impression Lana got. Brandishing that axe and a buckler, it lurched forward to meet Lana in battle. Lana hopped out of the way as it tried to cleave its weapon down through her.

Lana stayed light on her feet as she strafed through the snow, trying to move away from the stalfos’s shield arm. It kept pace with her, though, keeping that buckler ready to deflect any of her attacks. Lana stepped in to try and bait it into attacking, and it worked. Her strike slid off the shield, and the stalfos swung its axe at her in a wide arc. She ducked under and thrusted her estoc forward. She grazed its ribcage as it backed off.

The stalfos’s red eyes wavered angrily. It brandished its shield again and charged right at her, attempting to ram her with it. Lana leapt up and planted her foot on the shield, using it as a springboard to soar over and behind it. The stalfos was startled and tried to turn into another wide swing to make her back off, but Lana easily dipped under its reach again. She was lucky it was so much bigger than she was. This time, Lana struck at its knees and severed its legs.

Dusty bits of bone collapsed into the snow as the stalfos fell to what remained of its knees. Already, those shattered bits were starting to gravitate back into place. Lana knew this would happen; she was counting on the stalfos of Hyrule to function the same as the stalfos of the Great Sea. She also knew this stalfos would swing its weapon wildly in an attempt to protect itself while its body was repaired. Lana used that to her advantage to perform a temporal rush and quickly pierce its now much more reachable head before it could recover.

Its only weak point destroyed, the stalfos let out a pained gurgling sound as its body crumbled to dust. Lana took a moment to catch her breath and allow the headache from her temporal rush to pass. She looked around to see how the knights and soldiers were performing, and was pleased to see that most of the wolfos had been slain. There were only a few stragglers, and Lana closely observed them to see how they would react to their leader's demise.

When the wolfos saw their master crumble away, their blue eyes turned red and bloodshot. Their fangs were bared more ferociously, they began foaming at the mouth, and their white fur stood up on end. This reaction was not one of defeat like Lana expected. This was anger. This was blind fury. And these wolfos expressed it by immediately turning toward Kaina in the center and rushing him all at once.

“What?! All of you, protect me!” Kaina yelped.

What is this? Are they really intelligent enough to not only seek revenge for their leader, but identify which of us is the most important?

She hadn’t expected their loyalty to run so strong. She cursed her own lack of knowledge, even though it couldn’t be helped if there were no wolfos on the Great Sea. She made a mad dash to help defend the Prince from the raging monsters closing in. Many of the knights tried to intercept the beasts, but they danced around and continued racing toward Kaina, even as some were run through on the way.

Yoh and Nemu stepped forward to cut the remaining three off. With expert skills, Yoh used a long spear to slice clean through one of them, giving it no space to dodge. Nemu used a pair of daggers to slice through the belly of another that tried to leap over him. However, the last wolfos got past them both in the middle of all this and pounced on Kaina. Just before the beast’s fangs could sink into his neck, Lana arrived to kick it away. It was quickly skewered by the swords of knights rushing to the Prince’s side.

“Phew... That was too close.” Lana said, out of breath.

“I’ll say. Come on, Kaina, let’s get you standing.” Nemu said, extending his hand.

“Yeargh! That was intolerable! What were you all doing? Do you have any idea how close I came to death just now?!” Kaina screamed as he flailed around back to his feet.

Is he for real? Can’t he just say thank you?

Lana spied Yoh giving the Prince a similar glare, but he was too busy freaking out to notice. “This is inexcusable! For a Prince to be forced out here in this dreadful weather to this desolate place, beset upon by ferocious beasts... This is the worst, you hear me! Why did Zelda insist on us coming in person, just for him? It’s all his fault! If only that fool hadn’t gotten himself captured, I’d never have to put up with this!”

Many of the knights and soldiers quietly grimaced through his ranting and raving. Nemu sighed and scratched the back of his neck, as though he were used to dealing with these tirades. Yoh silently shook in anger upon hearing such harsh words spoken about her liege, but she held her tongue. The one person who didn’t was Lana. She marched through the snow and gave Kaina a good whack to the face with her fist, leading everyone around them to gasp in shock.

“What the?! How dare you! What do you think you’re-” Kaina started.

“Shut your mouth and listen.” Lana cut him off angrily. “How dare you say such horrible things about your own brother? He’s your family, you know? He didn’t ask for any of this. He’s about to be eaten by a crazy demon, and the only thing you can think about is how you’re having a bad time? What is wrong with you? Try thinking about other people for a change!”

After laying into him, Lana stared him down, not breaking eye contact. She was visibly shaking, clenching her fists so tightly her knuckles were turning white. Her cheeks and eyes were burning up, and she grinded her teeth as she tried to suppress a few angry sobs from leaking out. She was absolutely furious. There were very few times where Lana had ever gotten so viscerally angry, but Kaina had pushed her over the edge. She couldn’t believe he could be so hateful and insensitive over his own brother’s plight. Such careless and selfish feelings couldn't be allowed to persist. She couldn't fathom it.

Kaina stared back into her eyes, and almost seemed to melt from her intense gaze. He awkwardly shuffled around and brushed at his cheek where he’d been struck. He opened and closed his mouth over and over, as though his words kept getting caught in his throat. It looked like this was the first time he’d ever been so humiliated. Serves him right, Lana thought.

Finally, he got up the nerve to speak again. “Look, he’s... It’s just... I’ve never been in a situation like this, alright? I got a little carried away. But it’s not as though...” He paused and rubbed at his arms. “I hate Erianna. I do. I can’t think of him as my brother. Not after the way he entered my life and drove my mother away. I can’t stand him... But I’ve spent my whole life thinking he was just a liar and an attention seeker, and I only just found out he was actually telling the truth this whole time. It’s not like I can change how I feel about someone right away. And besides... I know Father and Zelda and a lot of the citizens love him. I know they’d be heartbroken if he died, and I don’t want that for them. And I might hate him, but I... Even I don’t want him to die...”

Everyone was surprised by this honest show of emotion from the Prince. Nemu looked like his eyes might pop out of his skull, he was so shocked. Lana realized that this may have just been the first time Kaina ever honestly confronted his feelings about his brother. She wasn’t going to regret punching him anyway, but she was glad her actions were able to bring out something genuine from him.

“Wow, Kaina... I’m really proud of you, you know? It couldn’t have been easy to let that out.” Nemu said.

“Oh, shut up! Don’t you mock me...” Kaina complained.

“I’m not. Honestly, Lana did what I should have done a long time ago. When I was selected to be your attendant, I thought maybe I could help you break down your walls if I gave you a taste of defiance. You know, to show you that not everything has to go your way. But I guess I should have been doing more. I should have gone the extra mile for you, like Lana just did. I promise I’ll be more forthcoming with you from now on, so I can keep dragging the real you out of that shell.”

“What?! Don’t you start hitting me, too! Good grief...” Kaina groaned. “But... Thank you, Nemu. And you too, Lana. Not many in this world have the guts to strike a royal with no hesitation like that. You and Alphonse sure have a lot in common... But you’ve proven to me that I can trust you to take decisive action when it is needed. I’m counting on you... to help me rescue that fool of a brother.”

Lana lit up when she heard the word “brother” pass his lips. “Right!”

At last, Kaina seemed to have reconciled something within himself, even if only a little. Yoh gave Lana a pat on the back and a big smile. Nemu expressed his gratitude too, shaking her hand enthusiastically. The knights and soldiers surrounding them murmured sighs of relief and appreciation, as well, and started getting themselves back into formation.

Looks like the Prince needs people around him who won’t put up any fronts just because he’s royalty. I’m glad I was able to do something for him. I hope this whole thing can spark a lasting change in him.

Feeling a little proud of herself, Lana turned to the Zonai guides once more. They were waiting patiently for the group to come back together, and beckoned them on through the stonegrove. The darkening skies above were a grave reminder that time was running out. Lana pressed on, wanting to help Kaina’s complicated feelings reach Erianna.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Chapter Nine is done at last! This one took a lot of time, but it sure was fun. It's also the longest chapter yet for this story, but that's fitting for what it deals with. And there's only one chapter to go after it's done! Wow... What a weird feeling. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the epic battle! Alphonse takes the lead perspective again! ... Or does he? Also, bonus points to any reader who can identify the language used for the demonic chant in the beginning.

Chapter Nine
To Overturn A Terrible Fate​

The scarlet light of the blood moon began glowing from behind the clouds, stirring a desperate sense of urgency in each of Alphonse’s steps. The freak snowstorm had passed, and the peak of Hebra was within sight now. They were almost there. Every second that passed before they reached the top felt physically painful.

The summit was desolate. Nothing but a white-capped mountain top reaching for the heavens. Not a single tree dared to grow this far up. Below them on all sides were the valleys and ravines that made up the mountainous region, all sloping down from this peak. White and gray were the only colors available to their eyes up here, save for the red moon.

Frantically, the group scoured the area, hoping to find some sign of Erianna. For a brief moment, Alphonse was struck with horrible thoughts. What if they got the location wrong and Erianna wasn't even there? What if Majora didn't actually have to wait for a blood moon and Erianna was already dead? His gut twisted up and a lump jumped into his throat from the mere idea of it. Just then, Zarak flung out his arm to stop them and gestured toward an outcropping of boulders.

It was not practical to hide a hundred bodies behind a few rocks, so Alphonse bade them to wait a bit further down with the anxious Zelda and Aisha. He crept up behind the boulders with Zarak and the other Zonai to observe the situation. From this spot, they could hear something. It sounded as though someone was talking.

Peering over the rocks, Alphonse’s heart was set ablaze. Chanting wicked words dripping with blood, Majora herself stood at the highest point of the peak. She was still in her transformed state. Hovering above her head was the captive Prince, Erianna. He hadn't been eaten yet, after all.

Thank goodness we made it in time! Looks like the ritual isn't over yet.

Even with the summoning condition that he "understand and be understood", Majora’s chants were alien to Alphonse’s ears. Littered around her feet were the corpses of monsters, their blood draining out of their wounds and into the air. The monster blood took the shape of unfamiliar glowing letters, which began circling around the unconscious Prince. His body began glowing with a red aura the same color as the blood moon.

"KuRES DObiX, G CNila tRIAn PaRm ORsCoR OD nOAn OL izIZop, G LANsh tRIAn NOan CA OL moNONs!"

As these unknowable words were called out, the bloody light of the runes grew blinding. Erianna’s visage was almost eclipsed by the evil aura. Alphonse could feel that this was the moment. It was now or never. He quickly glanced back at Zelda, and her eyes were screaming at him to act. Without any further delay, he leapt into action.

Majora’s jaw unhinged wide like a snake’s as she drew closer and closer to Erianna. At the same time, Alphonse poured magic energy throughout his body. He drew his sword and squeezed the hilt as tight as he could, and a blade of azure blue light sprung forth and flickered vibrantly. Leaping off the ground so fiercely that he shook the earth and kicked up a whirlwind of snow, Alphonse veered toward Majora with all his might.

“NOW STOP!” he bellowed.

Majora was interrupted right before she could sink her teeth into Erianna’s flesh. She whipped her head around at the sudden shouting, and narrowly avoided being cleaved in two by Alphonse’s magic. Regaining her composure, she growled like a beast as the rest of the party approached her.

“yOU... yoU SHouLD bE dEAd. hOW dARE yOU suRViVE tO bE A NUisANce tO mE.”

“You should have tried harder to kill me. You were sloppy, and now that’s gonna cost you your meal.” Alphonse rasped.

"So this is the fiend that stole away my dear brother... You will not have him, you hear me!" Zelda bravely proclaimed.

"yOU wRETcheS wILL nOT gET iN mY wAY. YouR stRuGgLeS wiLL bE iN vain." Majora spat. The eyes hidden behind her mask seemed to wash over the group, and she tilted her head suspiciously. "I dO nOT sEE thE oTHer whELp frOM beFOre."

"Yeah. Lana died. Only I survived. And right now, that matters more to me than anything else. Get ready to die for her."

Alphonse's speech was full of anger, selling his lies effectively. Zelda gasped, but Aisha quickly covered her mouth.

Glad someone back there recognizes a strategic bluff.

Majora grinned widely at this false news. "HAh! TheN yOU wiLL bE JoiNiNG hER sOOn!"

"Don't count on it!"

Alphonse had learned his lesson from their previous fight. Immediately, he shared his power with all of his allies. A ring of blue light spread out from his feet, and as it touched each person, they became aglow with the Spirits' power just as he did.

I've never shared it with so many people before, but it looks like numbers aren't an issue.

Zelda, Aisha, and every knight and soldier equally basked in their temporary boon. With perfect timing, too, as Majora began her assault in the same breath. Alphonse ducked as the demon swung her whip-like arms in a wide arc, intending to mow down as many bodies as she could. The knights raised their shields high to form a wall in front of their Princess, and thanks to the magic power shared with them, Majora’s whips were deflected away instead of cutting through them like last time.

"RRrrGH! CUrsES!" Majora roared.

"Get in formation! Circle around her so we're not sitting targets!" Aisha commanded.

The company rallied together with Chieftain Zarak and the other Zonai to form a phalanx around the Princess and her attendant. As long as Zelda could touch Erianna, she could wake him up with her healing magic. But getting her to him in one piece was going to be impossible without the knights and soldiers forming a constantly-moving barricade around her. The strong-willed defenders were more than up to the task.

Majora continued hurling her whips at the company, frustrated that she could no longer slice through their gear like paper. The magic of the Spirits formed a powerful membrane of blue light around each of them, keeping them safe during the onslaught. They turtled their way around in a slow counterclockwise path. Meanwhile, Alphonse rushed at the raging demon.

With one arm spinning whips around to chip away at the company and the other whirling around to cut through Alphonse, Majora was fully occupied. Her prideful attitude from before was gone. She was well aware of how much time she had to eat Erianna before the blood moon vanished. Stalling out for that to happen was an option they could have tried, but it would only delay the inevitable. Another blood moon would come in due time. Unless they defeated Majora there and then, Erianna was done for.

Alphonse, now fully empowered by his Spirit magic, found leaping around Majora’s whips to be an easier task than before. Twisting and bending his body, he looked to the others as if he were dancing through the snow. He was just as light on his feet as a dancer, too. Still, he found advancing to be out of reach for the moment. He could dodge just fine, but the deeper into the whirlwind he moved, the less space he had to evade. Something had to be done about those arms or they would never win.

Squeezing the hilt of the Lokomo Sword again, Alphonse sent a continuous surge of energy through the blade. Its glow replenished itself after each and every swing, carving through Majora’s attacks with rays of azure light. This was draining for him to perform, but it was starting to work. More and more, the snow was dyed red with Majora’s blood. Her whip arms were beginning to fray.

“dAMn yoU! I WilL NoT bE deLAYed frOM mY mEAl!”

Boiling with anger and impatience, Majora’s body became aflame with her own magic. Violet hues hauntingly coated her whips, granting them power anew. As she slammed them against the company’s shields again, the knights felt the burning heat of her rage singe their skin. The ones who took the brunt of the attack cried out in pain.

“Stay strong! If you drop your shields, we will all die!” Aisha warned.

“Bear with it, men! A few burns are nothing compared to the Prince and Princess’s lives!” Captain Menora shouted.

Majora’s violet membrane not only served to burn the soldiers, it also reinforced her limbs against Alphonse’s magic. She was using his own tactic against him now. Gritting his teeth, Alphonse charged forward. He knew he couldn’t let the troops endure this for long. He had to even the playing field back out. And to do this, he decided to make himself impossible to ignore.

A long blade of azure light spanning several feet stretched out from the Lokomo Sword. He felt his muscles ache from the strain of using such powerful tricks, but he refused to buckle. With this extended reach, he swatted away a powerful slam from Majora’s whips, and then aimed like he was getting ready to thrust. Majora prepared to sidestep this upcoming burst- that is, until she saw what he was actually aiming at.

Alphonse let it fly, but he did so dangerously close to Erianna, who was still hovering unconscious in the midst of the monster blood runes. Majora blocked most of the blast with her own arms, taking heavy damage as a result.

“yOU wOrM! whAT aRe yOU plAYIng aT?!” she hissed.

“Alphonse! That was too close to my brother! What are you doing?” Zelda called out.

“Like I care what happens to him now that Lana’s dead. The only thing I want is to kill her. She can’t afford to let Erianna die if she wants her meal, so if I can bait her into taking damage by attacking him, then that works for me.” Alphonse spat.

Yeah, right. That’s just what I need her to think.

Zelda’s reaction looked painfully confused and, most importantly, very genuine. Aisha scowled at him for it, but she seemed to understand what he was doing. The knights also looked to be keeping quiet on purpose, albeit begrudgingly. Alphonse spent a very brief moment thinking he’d have a lot of apologizing to do after this.

Still, this ploy was highly effective. Majora’s ire, as well as her full attention, was now focused solely on Alphonse. This gave the company a much needed respite from being whaled on, and they started gaining some ground in circling toward Erianna. However, this of course meant Alphonse now had twice as many whips to dodge.

Now he was being grazed every other moment as the furious Majora attempted to kettle him into a web of whips. Alphonse pushed back, swinging his sword around as he spun over and under strike after strike. He was able to deflect a lot of them, but there were too many closing in on him from all directions. He knew he couldn’t keep that up forever. But, he didn’t have to. Alphonse felt his lifeline step into the range of his power share.

As new bodies became aglow in Spirit magic, he was alerted to their position as they approached from the north. Alphonse did all he could to keep Majora’s eyes glued to him so she wouldn’t notice. Working his body harder than before, Alphonse grabbed his sword with both hands now and funneled another extended blade of energy through it. With a fierce spin, he knocked back several whips at once to create an opening to jump through.

With magic in the soles of his feet, Alphonse sprang up through a new hole in the kettle of whips. He found himself looking down on Majora, with Erianna floating very close by. She shuffled her body to block him, and Alphonse prepared to bring his sword down on her from above. And as he did, he locked eyes with his newly arrived partner across time. Lana was here, at long last. And she took full advantage of her successful ambush.

At first she looked to be going for Erianna, but Majora could now hear the crunching of snow beneath feet at her rear. She detected Lana, and her jaw dropped in shock. Quickly she swung one of her arms around to protect her prey, but Lana seemed to predict this. Dipping through the cascade of whips, she moved at lightning speed and, together with Alphonse, slashed clean through Majora’s left arm with a bright burst of magic.

“AAAaaAAaaAAUuUGhH! YoU wREtCH!” she howled in pain.

“Yes! I knew you’d make it!” Alphonse cheered.

“I’m sorry we’re late! Now, let’s save our friend!” Lana rallied.

A shower of blood spattered against the snow as Majora slammed her remaining arm down and around herself. Alphonse and Lana were both forced to skid back down the mountaintop, reuniting with both their groups. The stump where her arm was severed began bubbling and frothing as she used her fiery magic to cauterize the wound. This fire then filled the air around her, lighting up the reddening sky.

“yOU liED tO mE! tHE otHER whELp StiLL liVEs!” she heaved.

“Yep, sure did! Pretty good, huh?” Alphonse boasted.

“I don’t know what that’s about, but she looks awfully angry. But she is down an arm. That should make things easier.” Lana said.

“That’s right. If we can just get Zelda up there, we can turn this around! Don’t give up, everyone!” Alphonse proclaimed.


When Lana arrived at the peak, she hadn’t expected to walk straight through a ring of blue light. She recognized the color, and knew right away it was Alphonse’s magic, so she didn’t hesitate to step through it. She recalled that very briefly, at the end of their previous encounter with Majora, Alphonse had done this right before they got skewered. Now that she had time to appreciate it, she found herself filled with unbridled power she could have scarcely imagined before. It was no wonder she was able to help Alphonse sever one of Majora’s arms.

She’d had some brushes with magic during her travels, but this was the first time she got to experience the feeling of it coming from her own person. Her skin prickled with goosebumps and her body felt light and fuzzy. There was also a warmth to it. It felt like this magic cared for her safety, almost like a parent. She couldn’t tell if this was Alphonse’s emotion, or if it belonged to the Spirits of Light he’d gotten it from. Whatever the case, this borrowed power gave her a sense of security she didn’t have before, as well as a new tool to use in this fight.

The violet hues of Majora’s magic, however, gave her the opposite feeling. There was nothing but contempt and malice there. Just being around her was headache-inducing. Even the soldiers seemed to be feeling the pressure as more flickers of lavender flame filled the air.

“Good Goddesses... This is the thing we’re up against?!” Kaina said in shock. “It’s no small wonder you all lost before! How do you expect us to win against this?”

“Hard work and determination? Come on, let the heroes do their thing. We should back up the Princess.” Nemu advised.

“Good idea. Getting Erianna away from Majora is our top priority for now.” Lana said.

"That's right. Hold on just a bit longer, Prince..." Yoh breathed.

I know that’s what Alphonse is after, too. Once we get him back, we can focus on destroying her. We can't allow her to come back to haunt us one day. Just like I did with Jasper...

Lana hated the feeling of bloodlust just as much as she hated killing unless necessary. But she knew she couldn’t risk hesitating again. She’d learned that lesson very painfully on her voyage. She steeled herself for the battle to come. As she moved, the magic she was borrowing from Alphonse moved with her. It obeyed her commands and filled the blade of her estoc. She found it surprisingly easy to use.

In tandem with Alphonse, Lana rushed at Majora. Now that she was down to one arm, it should have been a lot easier to attack her from both sides. But the crafty demon began using the orbs of flame filling the air around her to support her attacks. Both heroes had to slide to a stop and evade through dozens of high-speed projectiles.

Lana’s estoc, now coated in Spirit magic, was able to deflect these fire orbs. Similarly, the soldiers’ shields were able to protect them and their royals, even if they still felt the heat. But the sheer amount was daunting. They hailed down on the company like a rainstorm, making advancing even more difficult than before.

Every time we think we have an advantage, she just gets even tougher! We need a way to deal with this...

As she dodged through the rapid-fire flames, she wracked her brain over new possible strategies. As she did, she began to wonder what else she could do with her borrowed magic. She’d copied Alphonse by harnessing it through her sword, but she’d also seen him use it to empower his body directly. She wasn’t sure how well she could use that here, though. But it did make her wonder if she could use it to power up her other gear. It stood to reason, after all.

Thinking this, Lana quickly sheathed her sword and reached for her deku leaf shawl. Sure enough, it responded to the shared magic and glowed with the same blue as her blade. She swung it as hard as she could at the next volley of fire orbs, and it unleashed a more powerful gust of wind than it ever had before, tinged with blue light. This gale snuffed out the fires and forced Majora to stagger.

Alphonse immediately pounced on this chance. He didn’t get far, however, as Majora unleashed another wave of pressure with an ear-piercing shriek. He stumbled over from the force and had to quickly roll out of the way of more whips. She swung around at Lana in the same motion, and she needed to use a temporal rush to dodge it all. While her heart was squeezed and her head pounded, Majora quickly summoned new flames and sent them all right for Lana.

Reacting fast, she once again copied what she’d seen Alphonse do and drew her estoc, gripping the hilt tightly. She swung it at the oncoming fire orbs, and a burst of Spirit magic knocked most of them away. She was grazed in a few spots by the stragglers, but had come out in one piece.

Damn. If she can recover and counter so effectively, that isn’t a sustainable tactic. What else can I do? Isn’t there anything else?

The borrowed magic had added a new element to her kit, but it still wasn’t enough to make a dent in Majora’s defenses. She still needed something more. As she evaded through volley after volley, her mind was scraped bare trying to think of something else she could do. And as it was, she felt the painful weight of her bow and arrows on her back.

Lana bit her lip. There was no sense in exploring that possibility now. She could not use her bow anymore. That was a fact she’d been forced to accept. Alphonse’s words the other day appeared in her mind again, reminding her that whether or not to let go of her bow was up to her and her alone. But this couldn’t help her now, not in a way that she could see.

Alphonse’s other advice also floated to the front of her brain. When she could afford to, her eyes locked on to her partner across time and desperately watched his actions. What would he do in this situation? What was he doing to deal with such an insurmountable foe? What could she learn from him now?

Majora attacked both of them with her whips, alternating between them while raining fire orbs on everything around her, including the company. This assault left no openings on its own. It seemed like the perfect mix of offense and defense. Yet, Alphonse was not discouraged. He kept fighting like mad to create more opportunities to strike back, whether it was for himself or for Lana.

Each time Alphonse let off a burst of magic, he was able to inch forward, little by little. Sometimes he would lose ground, but he refused to stop trying. This intense grit was something Lana badly wanted to emulate. In her case, she knew she wasn’t cut out for such a hands-on approach. Her friend’s assessment that she was better suited to hit-and-run tactics was accurate. She had a different skill set that wasn’t as power-based as his, even with the addition of borrowed magic. So how could she use that to help him?

As Majora cracked her whips to enclose on Alphonse from all sides, he became surrounded by more fire orbs than before. It seemed the demon found a chance to make a decisive attack against him. Just as Lana reached for her deku leaf again to give him some aid, Alphonse did something that shocked her. He leapt up, flipped upside down, and used a spinning burst of magic from his sword to blow away the fire orbs. In the same motion, he employed a magic-boosted roundhouse kick to knock away some of the whips. He got away with a few grazes and landed back on his feet.

This unconventional counter move stirred something deep inside Lana. She observed how his magic had kept his leg intact even as it made contact with Majora’s burning whips. She admired the strength it took to pull off a move like that, and the creativity to even come up with it to begin with. As she looked upon this, a puzzle piece fell into place. Something that was empty before had now been filled. The gears in her mind began to turn.

Alphonse was right. Observation and inspiration really are the key to everything. I finally know what I need.

The fire in Lana’s heart welled up inside her as she sheathed her estoc. The deku leaf reacted to her intentions, curling its tendrils around her arms so she could fly without having to grasp its edge with her bad arm. She quickly took to the air, and this caught Majora’s attention. She seemed to be in no mood to allow Lana to do what she was doing, even if she didn’t know what it was.

As another overwhelming volley of fire orbs shot off toward her, Lana allowed the deku leaf to unravel and put her into freefall. Doing so kick-started a temporal rush. Time around her seemed to slow to a crawl, and she could act with impunity in this aerial space. With her good arm, she reached for her bow for the first time in two months.

Lana could not use her bow anymore. This was indisputable, and this fact had not changed. What did change was the way in which Lana tried to use her bow. There was no way she could ever nock an arrow normally ever again. But she'd realized she didn't have to do it in a normal way. There was nothing normal about aiming while in a time-slowed freefall, and this was just the situation in which Lana was inspired to use her bow again.

She had done this before her arm was injured, but this time, she did something she’d never dreamed of doing. As soon as she’d readied her bow, she let go of it. Guiding it down through the fall, she moved her right leg out to touch the grip. In the same breath, she reached back and grabbed an arrow with her right hand. With Alphonse’s upside-down roundhouse kick as inspiration, Lana used a kick of her own to lodge the bow between her foot and her good arm, simultaneously nocking the arrow. Miraculously, she was able to hold it steady.

This is it! Like this, I can still...!

As if in response to her feelings, the bow and arrow alighted with her shared Spirit magic. Aiming true, she used this firing style entirely unique to her to launch a powerful magic-filled arrow straight through a small window in the storm of fire orbs. Flying through the air as a blinding streak of light, this arrow crashed against the right side of Majora’s head, shattering her mask and nearly taking her eye off as it went.

“GYAaAaAUuUUGghHH!” Majora screeched as she staggered over, losing control over her fire orbs.

Time returned to normal as Lana could scarcely breathe. A combination of elation and the aftereffects of a temporal rush set her into freefall for real. She barely recovered on time to break her fall with a gust from her deku leaf. As she rolled back to her feet, she couldn’t contain an excited shout of her own.

“Yes! I did it! I can do this! Alphonse, I can do this!” she yelled.

“Alright, Lana! That's amazing!” he cheered for her, beaming admiringly.

Majora lumbered back to her full height, cauterizing her wound again. The violet haze of her magic returned right away, covering her body in an even richer shade with an even thicker membrane. It was almost as though she were on fire herself. What remained of her eyes were bulging and bloodshot. She was well and truly furious now.

It’s alright. Whatever new attacks she tries from here, I can handle it. Now that I can use my bow again, I will not be stopped!

Brimming with confidence anew, Lana switched back to her estoc and prepared for another intense fight. The blood moon above their heads deeply dyed the night sky in a foreboding scarlet. Majora had to be running low on time to eat Erianna now. She was going to be getting desperate.


Alphonse was feeling pumped again. He knew Lana had been going through a lot of difficult feelings about her disability, so he was very excited to see she’d discovered a way to work with it. He almost felt her joy as if it were his own, and he was more inspired to fight than ever. He had to make the most of this.

Majora was now visibly shaking with wrath. Alphonse knew that magic was a power fueled by emotion, so he knew she was likely growing more powerful by the moment. He kept his guard up and decided to test the waters. Light on his feet, he strafed to the right and flung a burst of magic at her.

The fiery membrane surrounding her pulsed and deflected the blast. Her whips condensed back together, increasing in size. She swung this down at him, and it crashed violently into the snow as he leapt aside. The shockwave made him stagger, and she responded by firing a pinpoint laser from her eyes. This new attack came so fast that Alphonse barely had time to dodge.

The laser pierced the ground behind him, narrowly missing his cheek. The force from its impact shook the ground again, but he retained his footing this time. He saw Lana preparing to charge in, so he coordinated with her. Majora went from several whips back to one, and the fire orbs were gone, so neither of them could pass on another pincer attempt.

As they rushed forward, both of them readied another burst of magic. They planned to slam them together, catching Majora in the middle. However, Majora swung her enormous whip around herself in a circle, and it crashed into both of their blades, shoving them back. The feedback through their arms from that impact was painful. Before either of them could fully recover, Majora fired her laser again, this time sweeping it around as she moved her head.

Alphonse’s arm was grazed, and Lana barely ducked on time as it swept by her. It went on to ram against the knight's shields. Luckily, it still didn't pierce their Spirit magic barrier, but it did knock over a whole row of them. Another line of bodies and steel quickly replaced them with practiced efficiency. The two groups had successfully merged together, forming a nigh-impregnable wall around the royals.

As he got himself back together, Alphonse noticed that Majora had outright stopped attacking the company. That laser blast was just a consequence of her aiming at the both of them. She was completely focused on Lana and himself. This was good. This was just the chance they needed. He found Aisha's gaze and gave her an encouraging nod. She seemed to get the memo.

Alright! We just need to keep Majora on us for a bit longer. And when she realizes what they're up to, she'll be wide open.

Feeling more confident, Alphonse rushed forward again. He had been watching Majora closely, and had figured out the tell for when she was about to fire that laser. The second he saw it, he angled his sword with the flat part of the blade facing forward. When she fired, he was able to use that to reflect it away.

Due to its force, he fumbled the laser and it shot off into the distance. But with trial and error, he thought he could reflect it back at her. Majora roared in frustration and flung her bulky whip at him. As he dodged, he saw Lana run up behind her and try to strike. She heard her coming and spun her whip again, but Lana ducked through it at lightning speed and was able to cut through her side.

"RRrrgGgHhH! yOU pESt!"

Because of where she ended up, Lana was forced to abandon her pincer position and leapt down aside Alphonse. Majora tried to slam her whip into the both of them, and they guarded with their swords. Both heroes stayed on their feet, though they skidded down the mountain a bit. And from there, Alphonse could see that the company had finally gotten themselves ready to move, set up in Majora’s blind spot.

"Now, brave soldiers! Forward!" Zelda commanded.

With Erianna floating behind Majora and Alphonse and Lana in front of her, the demon had let her attention completely slip from the others. This gave them the chance they needed to rush at their captive Prince. A stampede of knights charged up the mountain, their shields up and ready to defend their Princess running along with them.

"whAT?! nO!"

Majora spun on her heel and prepared to fire her laser at the rushing soldiers. Alphonse expected this. She left herself wide open, just as he thought she would. Focusing magic in his legs, Alphonse lurched forward, jumping between Majora and the knights in a single breath. As he landed, he angled his sword in just the right way to reflect that laser right back at her.

The fiery membrane shook violently as the laser hit her in the chest. She howled in pain and staggered backwards. Using this opportunity, the knights split into two lines and made space for Zelda to run between them. They were getting closer to Erianna now. Just a bit further and she'd reach him. Majora was not about to let that happen.

Regaining her balance, Majora swung her whip arm to try and cut them off. It was Lana who acted fast this time. She used her deku leaf to launch herself into the air. Then she performed that amazing midair firing style again. Alphonse couldn't help but gawk at her, admiring how she moved faster than the eye could track. He recalled how she described those temporal rushes causing headaches and heart palpitations, and felt renewed respect for her grit.

With another lightning fast shot, a magic-buffed arrow pierced through Majora’s whip arm, knocking it out of the way. As the demon bellowed in a mix of anger and agony, Lana touched back down on the ground, grabbing Erianna’s shirt and pulling him within Zelda’s reach. The knights had now surrounded him, and Zelda had a clear path at last.

Another ear-shattering shriek from Majora forced the Princess and most of the knights to stagger. Within this small opening, she fired her laser again. Alphonse was busy readying his next attack, and Lana didn't have a defense against it.

Damn! Bad timing!

It looked like Zelda was going to be hit. She squeezed her eyes shut as Lana tried to shove her out of the way. But with a great battle cry, Captain Menora leapt out and forced the laser aside with her shield.

"Go, Princess! We've got your back!" Menora yelled even as she was knocked into the air from the impact.

Nice one, Menora!

Alphonse was now ready, and had already stepped in to take her place. Majora was screaming unintelligibly now, and had grown desperate enough to throw herself at them. Her body weight might not have been enough to crush them, but the searing heat of her magic barrier would be deadly for sure. But before she could reach them, Alphonse unleashed what he'd been readying.

Gripping the hilt of his sword strongly enough to turn his knuckles white, a massive blade of magic energy stretched out, bigger than any before it. The effort made him dizzy and his muscles screamed at him, but it was worth it. With himself between the oncoming demon and the ill-fated royals, Alphonse swung his blade. An earth-shaking burst of magic hit Majora dead on and sent her tumbling down the mountain.

At the same moment, Zelda sprang to her feet and rushed to her dear brother. More fire orbs appeared as Majora yelled out even as she fell. Surrounding Zelda in a flash was a Zonai and Sheikah tag-team. Chieftain Zarak used an intricately-carved shield to deflect some of the orbs, while the attendants expertly spun their weapons around. Yoh's spearmanship, Nemu's mastery of his daggers, and Aisha's deft control over the enormous sword she'd called a "giant's knife" all combined together flawlessly and left Zelda without a scratch.

And at last, with an outstretched hand glowing white with healing magic, Zelda touched Erianna.


“...er! Dear brother!”

These words accompanied by a sharp ringing in his ears were the first things Erianna recovered. His head felt full of mush, and a biting cold enveloped everything else. His eyelids felt like they were full of lead. It took a great deal of effort to open them. And when he finally succeeded, he was greeted by the distraught face of his elder sister.

“Eri! Thank the Goddesses, you’re awake!” she cried.

“Z-Zelda? Wha... Huh?!”

“Wait! First, you have to drink this!” Zelda said, shoving a bottle of spicy elixir in his face.

Erianna felt utterly disoriented. The elixir drove away the cold, at least, but not the fog in his brain. As his blue fingers on the verge of frostbite quickly regained their color, so too did he regain his clarity of mind. The horrific memory of Majora choking him until he passed out sprang forth.

“Wait, what happened?! This is... Where am I?” he asked.

“Erianna! You’re awake!” Lana’s voice called out.

“Made it just in time!” Alphonse’s joined in.

The confused Prince finally examined his surroundings. He was very surprised to see Alphonse and Lana back in one piece, along with a multitude of familiar faces. Captain Menora was practically bawling with relief, and he could swear he sensed an expression of joy beneath Chieftain Zarak’s mask. Most shocking of all was the sight of Prince Kaina, standing a ways back from the rest.

“Kaina, you... You came for me?” Erianna asked in disbelief.

His elder brother grimaced as if he were trying to hide a bout of bashfulness. “Yeah, I did... Someone’s gotta clean up your messes.” he said unconvincingly.

“Prince! I’m so relieved you’re okay...” Yoh said, looking as though she’d cry.

“What? Even Yoh is here...” Erianna said.

That’s not good. If anything happened to her...

“You sure didn’t make it easy on us, but we got you back.” Alphonse said, reaching out his hand.

“It was worth it to hear your voice again, though!” Lana smiled.

Erianna gazed up at the two whose fates should have been snuffed out by his mistakes. They both still considered him a friend. Just how far had they gone to get him back, he wondered. Surely when he was taken, that would have been the end of everything. But there they stood, smiling at him as if none of that mattered.

“Alphonse, Lana... You’ve really done it, haven’t you...” Erianna said, taking Alphonse’s arm. “I’m so grateful it was you two I summoned.”

“Yeah, well, don’t thank us just yet. It’s not over.” Alphonse said, pulling him to his feet.

“Not until she’s gone for good.” Lana agreed.

As they said this, Erianna suddenly became aware of the viscous presence clawing its way back up the mountain. An intense pressure that dragged terror and despair back to the surface of his psyche sunk into his skin. He locked eyes with her for only a moment, and that was enough to put the fear of death back into his bones.

“nooOOoo... NOOOoooOO! yoU fOOls... WhaT hAve yOU doNE?!” Majora wailed. “nOW thAT hE’S aWAkE, tHe RiTUaL iS rUiNEd! iF I dON’t eAT hIM noW, I’LL hAvE tO wAiT A yEaR fOr tHE nEXt bLOOd mOOn! I wiLL nOT aLLoW tHiS cHAnCE tO sLiP aWAY!”

The scarlet lights in the sky grew blinding as if to confirm her words. Her body had been beaten bloody, likely as a result of whatever brutal fight his allies had to go through to wake him up. She was missing an arm and her head and chest had deep wounds, yet the violet auras of her magic gleamed frightfully. A great billowing fire seemed to completely engulf her as a testament to her wrath.

How horrifying... I never imagined the distortion in time would be so deadly. I still cannot foresee the outcome of this battle... The mere thought of what could happen terrifies me to my core...

The Prince of Time shivered in his boots as Majora stomped her way back up the slope. His eyes were fixed on her salivating maw. He couldn’t help but picture himself meeting a terrible fate in between those teeth. However, Alphonse and Lana stepped between him and certain death. Yoh, Nemu, and Aisha, too, stood in the way, as did Chieftain Zarak and Captain Menora. Even Zelda and Kaina, just as terrified as he was, stood side by side with him. He was not left to meet this fate alone. This thought brought a comforting warmth with it, as did the coat of Spirit magic beginning to swaddle him in blues.

Ah, yes... How could I have forgotten? Not being able to see what happens is normal. Every single person here has lived their entire lives unable to see what comes next. Yet they’ve each fought tooth and nail to get here, against the insurmountable odds and the crushing uncertainty... And with their efforts, they’ve given me another chance at life. I have to... I must be as brave as them!

Erianna gritted his teeth. Something else was making him shake now. He stared back down into the abyss of Majora’s eyes, but what stared back could no longer rattle him. Deep inside, something started to bubble up to the surface. It took the shape of a vow, and he gave it form with his voice.

“I speak this into existence here and now... Goddess of Time, hear me! I, Erianna Maculas Hyrule, will not cower under the fear of the unknown! Like the valiant souls at my side, I will fight against uncertainty and cleanse this distortion once and for all!”

“Yeah, now we’re talkin’! Let’s do it!” Alphonse said, rolling his shoulders.

“This is what you called us for! We won’t fail!” Lana said as she pumped her fist.

“We will protect the Prince with our lives!” Yoh declared.

“dAmN yOU aLL! yoU wiLL aLL DiE!”

The great pyre of magic surrounding her body flickered violently as she raised up her whip arm. Everyone bent their knees, ready to leapt out of the way of an attack, but she shocked the entire company by instead choosing to sink her teeth into her own flesh. No one could speak upon the horror of watching her spill her own blood. To Erianna, it served as a preview for what she planned to do with him.

Brutally, Majora cannibalized her own arm. After reducing it to a stub, she once again self-cauterized the would with her fires. Once this disturbing action had been completed, her flames alighted more intensely than ever. In fact, she grew new limbs out of her own embers. These ethereal arms of magic and flame stretched wider and farther than her own physical arms ever could. This was the price she paid for even greater strength.

Even so, Alphonse and Lana dashed forward undauntingly. As these new whips of fire came crashing towards them, they each let loose a fierce burst of magic to counter it. Azure lights swirled against violet flames, scattering each other to the wind with an echoing boom. Despite this, the searing heat of those flames reached all the way back to the royals.

“Damn! This thing’s unkillable!” Kaina groaned, guarding his face with his arms.

“Eri, is there anything we can do to help them?” Zelda asked.

“There is, actually. We must not kill her, though.” Erianna said firmly.

“What?! Are you crazy?” Kaina said.

“If we kill Majora, we will alter the future. Just like Alphonse and Lana, she is not supposed to be here. Killing her would have dire consequences. But, fortunately for us, we don’t have to go that far to win. We have another option. The perfect solution, in fact.” Saying this, Erianna pointed right at Kaina’s chest.

“... Huh? Me?” he asked, baffled. Then a moment later, his eyes lit up. “Oh! Of course! But do you really think my sealing magic will work on her?”

“It can’t work any other way. At this point, your magic is the only way to correct the timeline. Please, I know we’ve had our disagreements in the past, but I need you for this, Kaina. I can’t do this without you.” Erianna pleaded.

“Eri...” Zelda whispered.

Kaina’s lips quivered and his brow furrowed. Erianna didn’t know what good it would do appealing to him now. He was well aware of his brother’s hatred for him. But still, he was there. That meant everything to Erianna. His knowledge as an oracle told him that Kaina would have stayed spiteful and bitter toward him their whole lives. But, in this distortion, perhaps things could finally change for them. Maybe their relationship could finally be mended, even if only a little. He prayed to Naryu for a miracle that could only be born in this realm of uncertainty.

“Yeah, I... I’ll do it. That’s what... brothers are for...” Kaina said quietly, his last few words trailing off.

Erianna couldn’t believe his ears. Even with the battle raging on ahead of them, he couldn’t suppress the tears and a few happy sobs. Zelda squealed mutedly and wrapped both of them in a big hug.

“Haha. It’s lovely to see them finally make some headway.” Aisha said, wiping a tear from her eyes.

“You said it! Kaina’s really grown since our heroes showed up!” Nemu agreed excitedly.

“We still have some growing to do ourselves! We’ve got a fight to win, here! Tell us what to do, and we Sheikah will make it happen!” Yoh said proudly.

“Yoh, you... I don’t...” Erianna began.

No... I should not insult her efforts. She is standing here of her own volition. I can’t let my feelings get in the way.

Yoh gazed at Erianna faithfully and earnestly. He was kind of amazed by her new sense of fortitude. He didn't know what had happened to her while he was out, but he was happy to see her spread her wings. He showed her a warm smile and nodded.

“Yes. I will need all of you for this. Yoh, Aisha, Nemu! I ask you to clear a path for us!” Erianna commanded.

“Right!” they responded together.

Coordinating with the knights and soldiers, the Sheikah attendants positioned themselves in front of their respective royals in a V formation, with Yoh and Erianna at the center. Chieftain Zarak and the Zonai took up position right behind them. The soldiers formed another wall of shields and began charging forward to join the fray.

Meanwhile, Alphonse and Lana were leaping around those giant arms of flame. Even cutting through them with magic bursts did nothing to them. Their protective membranes of Spirit magic were starting to fizzle away under the intense heat, as well. Alphonse seemed to be exerting his power to its limit to keep everyone in one piece.

Lana glanced over her shoulder and met eyes with Yoh. The girls nodded at each other, seeming to understand each others' intentions in that brief moment. Yoh stepped up her pace as Lana jumped back and switched to her deku leaf. Swinging it around, she generated furious gusts of wind in an attempt to smother those burning arms.

Sadly, not even this could faze Majora. The wind slowed her pace for a few moments, but that was all. She then stretched one of those fiery arms out toward Lana. To evade this, she took to the air, letting her deku leaf wrap itself around her arms. She soared over Majora’s head dodging past tendrils of flame attempting to claw at her.

Flipping upside down in midair, Lana appeared to use a temporal rush. Erianna’s jaw dropped as she watched her use her right leg to hold her bow steady as she fired an arrow from freefall. Those movements were so blindingly fast that Majora couldn’t react in time. That arrow smacked against the back of her head with amazing force, though her wreath of fire prevented it from piercing anything.

Still, it was enough to knock her to her knees. Alphonse was on her in seconds, swinging his blade charged full of magic straight for her neck. Majora blocked this swing by reaching out and biting down on his sword, catching it between her teeth in the middle of its arc. Alphonse twisted the blade around in his hands, but he couldn’t make a dent in those teeth. He had to jump back to avoid being their next target.

Before Majora could get back up, though, a row of soldiers charged in and bashed her with their shields. The metal glowed red from the heat, surely searing away at their skin. Still, they bashed away, knowing that their swords were useless now. But that was fine by them. All they needed was to buy some time.

The brave soldiers’ efforts were not wasted. As their bodies began to burn up, the Sheikah arrived ahead of their royals. The soldiers offered themselves as stepping stones, allowing the attendants to get above Majora’s head. She reared her head back as if to spit fire at them, but she was interrupted by Zarak lunging forward and grabbing her face with his bare hand. The heat barely seemed to faze him.

From behind the Zonai’s giant frame, each Sheikah powered a burst of borrowed magic in their respective weapons. Zarak stepped aside and allowed them to do their work. Nemu crammed his daggers into Majora’s shoulders, while Aisha cut a wide gash across her chest with her giant’s knife. Yoh delivered the next hit, slicing through her neck with her spear.

Majora screamed and flailed her body around, dying the snow with the same reds as the sky above. This still was not enough to kill her, though, and her wounds were already beginning to cauterize. The goal had been to force her to the ground on her back, but she was already trying to stand up again. Just then, Captain Menora leapt through the air and smashed her shield on Majora’s face, providing the final push they needed to flatten her out.

Menora rolled away in the cold snow before her body could burn up. As she did, the royals finally arrived. Zelda tapped the shoulders of every wounded soldier she could reach, trying to provide some amount of healing for their burns. At the same time, Erianna and Kaina closed in on Majora. The hellish demon writhed in agony on the ground, desperately swinging her ethereal arms around.

“Just one more push, and we’ve got her!” Erianna cried out.

“rRRaaAAagGGhhH! I wON’T LeT yOU!” she bellowed.

Even while enfeebled down on her back, Majora swung her arms to enclose the royal brothers in a web of flames. Just as it looked like that was it for them, Alphonse and Lana appeared, jumping in from above.

“Get ready, ‘cause this one’s gonna hurt!” Alphonse shouted.

“Together, Alphonse!” Lana shouted back.

In midair, the partners across time grinded their swords together, creating sparks that ignited a brilliant blade of energy, almost reaching for the skies above. Blood dripped from Alphonse’s lips and it seemed like the veins on his head were set to burst from the effort this took. Having looked through his past before summoning him, Erianna knew what he was up to. He was calling upon the ultimate technique granted to him by the Spirits of Light.

So, he meets the requirements to use it here? This could have drastic effects on the environment, but there’s little choice now...

“nnNOOOOoooOO!” Majora screamed hoarsely.

She quickly redirected her flames, as if she were cracking real whips. She could feel the pressure given off by the power Alphonse was gathering. Erianna could feel that this was it. The decisive moment had come at last. And so, he knew it was time for him to play his role. Just as Majora was set to interrupt the heroes’ attack, Erianna reached out and used his power of stasis to freeze her in time.

It lasted but a moment. And that one moment was all it took. Right before Majora unfroze, Alphonse and Lana swung this devastating fountain of magic with all their might, and called out its name together.


When Majora could see the world move again, she must have known it was too late. The attack was already coming. Her eyes filled up with a sense of futility as the azure blue light of this strike completely blotted out the scarlet reds of the blood moon. This eruption of pure power split the ground and cleaved right through her torso, finally extinguishing her violet flames for good.

Erianna’s eardrums pounded and his legs felt like jelly. The aftermath of this technique had blown away all the snow in the area, revealing the cracked gray bedrock below it. Bits of ice, dust, and rocky debris showered everything around them, covering the sky with smoke. Once the haze lifted, the entire company gasped in unbridled awe. A huge chunk of Mount Hebra had been blown clear away, leaving behind a gaping hole in the scenery.

“Holy...” Kaina breathed.

“That... That had to have done it, right?” Zelda asked worriedly.

We’d be in deep trouble if it didn’t. Thinking this, Erianna searched around for any sign of Majora or his summoned heroes. Sure enough, a little ways down the mountain, the figures of Alphonse and Lana emerged from the smoke. Both of them were absolutely haggard, breathing heavily and swaying back and forth like they were about to tumble over.

And at their feet was the upper half of Majora’s body. The rest of her seemed to have been completely obliterated.

“Look... Look at that! They did it! They finally did it!” Captain Menora cheered.

Just as the soldiers and knights began to whoop and holler, Erianna raised up his arm to stop them. “Wait! Not yet.”

Sure enough, the blood spilling from where her body had been split in two bubbled and frothed into scar tissue. Majora was still healing herself, and her chest heaved up and down, desperately trying to take in air. Upon realizing this, the knights whispered amongst themselves, trying to make sense of the sight.

“Erianna... She’s still alive! If even that didn’t work, how can...” Kaina started.

“Did you forget? We never had to kill her, Kaina. Now it’s your turn to shine.” Erianna smiled and patted his back.

“Ah...! Yes, you’re right! But... Are you really sure it has to be this way? My sealing magic is rather, you know... unconventional.”

Erianna smiled even wider. “It’s absolutely perfect for this.” he said reassuringly.

For a brief moment, Kaina’s cheeks seemed to turn a bit pink. But he cleared his throat and nodded, and began marching cautiously over to the fallen demon. Alphonse and Lana watched him curiously as he passed them by. Apprehensively, Kaina bent down next to Majora’s face. As he did, her lips started to move.

“I... I sH... I sHaLL... CoNSUmE... coNSuME... CONSUME EVERYTHING...”

Her last words fell on deaf ears. Kaina held his hand over her face, and rays of white light began washing over what remained of her body. In a matter of moments, her form turned completely white and started shrinking down. When all was finished, the only thing left of Majora was a wooden mask sporting the same design that was emblazoned on her chest.

“Phew... It’s done.” Kaina said, wiping his brow.

“Wow... So that’s what your sealing magic does? It... turns things into masks?” Lana said.

“That’s right. And with that, I believe our work is done.” Erianna said, smiling brightly. He turned to face his loyal soldiers and knights, his faithful Sheikah attendants, his Zonai allies, his precious siblings, and his honored friends and heroes. “Rejoice, everyone! The distortion in time has finally been cleansed!”

As if they could stand to wait no longer, the entire company threw their weapons into the air and roared until their lungs were sore. Alphonse and Lana stumbled over to Erianna, practically tackling him to the ground as their legs finally gave out. Zelda gave Aisha a big hug while Yoh and Nemu grabbed each others’ hands and jumped up and down around a bashful Kaina. Chieftain Zarak and the Zonai nodded approvingly toward their rescued ally. All the while, the light of the blood moon faded away until the sky had returned to its typical colors. At last, the relief sunk in for everyone.

And as for Erianna, his vision of the present had finally become unclouded. He could see again at long last, and took in the sight of the new future he’d created with his loving friends. In doing so, he wrapped his arms around them and joyfully wept. Finally, the Prince of Time was able to use his curse to save others.

Though, perhaps now he could see it as a gift.

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
The day has come at last. Chapter 10 is finished, and thus so is the story! Man. Feels so weird to say that already, but I'm really happy. This story was a lot of fun to write, and it was a good way to chew on some ideas I was having. It was also great practice. I feel more motivated to continue writing now than ever before! But I'll let the afterword do the rest of the talking. Enjoy the final chapter, lead by Lana's perspective, and thanks for making it this far!

Chapter Ten
Mending Intersections​

It was late afternoon of the next day by the time everyone returned to the castle. Lana and Alphonse had slept the entire ride back in one of the supply carts, after the Zonai helped carry them down Mount Hebra on their backs. Princess Zelda spent much of the journey tending to their wounds and exhaustion with her healing magic, as well as the many burns the knights and soldiers had accrued. Despite all the protests from her brothers and attendants, she ended up wearing herself out just as much as the heroes had.

The townsfolk were confused to see such a large procession returning. Apparently, rumors were spreading about a secret campaign departing in the middle of the night, and the city was in a buzz over what could have gone down. The royals refused to answer questions, promising to explain everything later. Though, there likely wasn’t much information that Erianna could actually let out.

Lana hadn’t yet woken for it, but she later heard about how King Cornelius rushed out of the castle gates himself to greet his children. He’d embraced all three in an enormous hug, bawling his eyes out like a baby. This sight moved the hearts of everyone who witnessed it. Included among those was Kaina himself. Something was changing for the better, deep inside him. That’s what Nemu had said, at least.

The company had barely gotten through the door before a magnificent feast was declared. The injured were back in top shape thanks to the Princess, so there was no better time than the present. Servants dashed across the entire castle, rushing to get everything ready. The clamor could be heard all the way in Castle Town, only serving to further provoke the people’s curiosity.

In a masterwork of hustle, the magnificent spread was ready five hours later that same evening. The sun was just starting to sink below the horizon line, torches lighting up the air in its place. And with perfect timing, Lana and Alphonse both woke up at the same time, right as Erianna had come to check on them.

“A feast? For us?” Lana asked, awed.

“Wait, huh? I feel like we missed something again. We’re back at the castle already?” Alphonse said.

“Yes, we are. You two have slept for almost a whole day now.” Erianna informed them.

Lana’s jaw dropped. She hadn’t overslept like that since she’d convalesced after her imprisonment in the Forsaken Fortress. She soon realized just how much that intense fight had affected her. Everything was sore as she stretched her way out of the medical ward and into some fresh clothes. She still felt a dizziness taking up room in her head, and she could swear the world was spinning around her a little. Even her desperate battle against Jasper on Greatfish Island felt like a breeze compared to what she’d just been through.

Out of slight curiosity, Lana held up her hand and tried to focus on that feeling of magic she’d experienced in the fight. As expected, though, nothing happened. That feeling was completely gone, as if it had never been there at all. She knew it was temporary, but she still felt like she had to check. She glanced at Alphonse, remembering that her current feeling would soon be his reality once he went home.

I’m not exactly wanting to ever fight in magic battles like that again. Still, I wonder if this is anything like how he feels...

She didn’t have time to ponder it any further as Erianna grabbed their hands. With a huge grin, he tugged them along through the castle’s corridors toward the great dining hall. Even before they arrived, they could hear a jovial uproar echoing their way. Tantalizing scents of all kinds teased their noses. Erianna gave the doors a great shove and welcomed them to the feast, and their senses welcomed it right back.

The great hall was vast, with a concaved ceiling high above their heads. Expensive-looking chandeliers with flickering candles hung above long tables draped in velvet. Sitting atop these was a huge array of foods Lana could have only seen in her dreams. Dozens of meats she couldn’t identify, vegetables she’d only ever read about in books, and types of fish that were both new and familiar covered almost every inch. Freshly-baked breads of all shapes and a rainbow of different drinks lined whatever space was left. Even Tarin's Lon Lon Milk had a place on the table. Her stomach growled almost immediately.

The dining hall was big enough to accommodate all two hundred knights and soldiers that participated in the campaign, with plenty of room to spare. The king and his children sat at the head of the table, their attendants at their sides. Even the Zonai were granted space, but they were so big that there were no chairs that could fit them. They seemed content to just kneel at the tableside.

“Man, what a spread... I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much food in my whole life.” Alphonse marveled.

“Haha, I’m glad you like it. Come, we’ve saved you seats next to ours.” Erianna told them.

“Thanks!” Lana said brightly.

The two heroes sat alongside the royals, mixed in with the Sheikah. Lana sat between Aisha and Alphonse, and across from Yoh and Nemu. Erianna took his place at his father's side, with Zelda and Kaina on the other side of him.

King Cornelius smiled warmly at the pair. "Ah, you're awake right on time! We didn't want to have to start without you." he said.

"Oh, sorry to make you wait like that." Lana said.

"Think nothing of it! You are the guests of honor, after all! Truly, I could never express the depths of my gratitude to you in mere words. I would like to formally thank you later, but for now, I hope this feast gets the feelings across!"

"It sure does!" Alphonse said.

"Please, help yourselves to whatever you like." Erianna said.

Alphonse didn't hesitate to fill his plate after that. Lana felt like she should show a little restraint, but she couldn't hold out for long against such a magnificent arrangement. She took a little piece of everything she didn't recognize, figuring she'd never have the chance to try them again. It was likely that most of these dishes didn't exist on the Great Sea. Each one was like an explosion of flavor in her mouth.

As they all partook in the lavish banquet, conversation inevitably began to move toward the events of the previous night. The intense battle against Majora and what resulted from it weighed on Lana’s mind.

"So, um... What’s going to happen now? To Majora?" she asked.

“Oh, yeah. She was sealed into the form of a mask, right? Is it okay to leave her like that?” Alphonse wondered.

“Yes. In fact, that was the only way we could have resolved this safely.” Erianna started to explain. “I’m not sure if you were told, but Majora was not supposed to be in this place right now. Like the two of you, she somehow crossed the bounds of time to get here. How she managed that, I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet she dabbled in something she shouldn’t have.”

“So if she’s supposed to be somewhere else, then it’s good that we didn’t kill her?” Lana asked.

“Yes. If we had, it would have caused a paradox.” Erianna confirmed. “Coincidentally, Majora was going to end up sealed into a mask someday, anyway. That was always an inevitability. This just isn’t how it was originally meant to happen.”

“Wait, for real? So... Everything’s fine, then?” Alphonse asked.

“Well, almost. I need to make sure Majora’s mask ends up where it needs to go, and I’ll have to spread some rumors around, control a little information here and there... It will be quite an effort, but we have everything we need to keep the timeline on the right path. The course of history will be none the wiser.”

“That’s a relief. But it’s really an amazing coincidence, huh? Majora was always supposed to become a mask, and we just happened to have Kaina here who has magic that seals things into masks...” Lana remarked.

“All the same, the giant hole you and Alphonse blasted out of the side of Mount Hebra was another inevitability. That mountain was going to experience such an event, though again at different hands. But that’s another deviation that can be corrected with a little information control.”

“Seriously? Now that’s a coincidence I’m finding hard to swallow.” Alphonse said.

“I told you before that the flow of time has ways of working itself out, right? Who’s to say if this really was a coincidence?” Erianna mused.

“Ugh, don’t say that! My head’s gonna burst...” Lana groaned.

“In any event, one thing that’s not reconcilable is all the lives we lost to her.” Erianna said sadly. “The advance party I sent to investigate, the Zonai who gathered around Mount Torin, as well as those who died in the first encounter with her... It’s a miracle we had zero casualties in the last battle, though I'm sure I have you two to thank for that.”

Lana’s heart was stirred. She felt renewed guilt over not being able to protect those who died in front of her back in Akkala.

“So what happens with them? They all had futures ahead of them outside of this distortion, right?” Alphonse asked.

“Yes, and families, too. As my vision of the present time has returned, I am able to see each of the branching paths that has resulted from their untimely deaths. It will be up to me to identify the optimal routes and guide the present down the paths with the least chance of significantly altering the future. This will be infinitely harder than dealing with Hebra or Majora’s mask. I’ve got my work cut out for me... But this is a job only I can do. I will do it with my utmost effort.”

As he said that, Lana saw a glimmer in his eyes she hadn’t seen before. She remembered how he felt his power was more akin to a curse when he told them of his past on the way to Akkala. That he was committed to serving the Goddess of Time, but unimaginably pained by the lives he had to watch die. But now, something was different.

Maybe after all that’s happened, he’s come to see things differently... I hope so, anyway.

“So, what about these kids? I assume your first task will be to send them home.” Aisha asked, finally speaking up.

“Yes, of course. I actually have some instructions for you about that. If you wouldn’t mind, Aisha.” Erianna said.

“Inform me at your leisure. I am the Princess’s attendant, but all Sheikah bow to the royal family, Prince Erianna. Use me as you wish, so long as the Princess doesn’t object.” Aisha said.

“Of course not! Please, help my dear brother with whatever he needs.” Zelda said with a smile.

“So...” Alphonse started. “I’ve been wondering. Aisha, who are the Sheikah? There are none where I’m from, so I’m curious.”

“Oh, yeah, same here. You have some serious loyalty to the royal family, but is there a specific reason for that?” Lana asked.

Aisha looked at Erianna for permission to speak, and he nodded his ascent. “The history of the Sheikah is shared with that of the royal family. We are ever their shadows, following behind wherever they go to serve and protect them. Such it has been since even before the family line began.” she explained.

“The Sheikah were direct servants of the Goddess Hylia before she became mortal, you see.” Erianna said. “Their roots actually go back farther than ours do. And their loyalty is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It would put the chivalry of the knights to shame.”

“You flatter us, my Prince. Thank you.” Aisha said, bowing her head.

Lana noticed Nemu and Yoh offer an appreciative bow, too. Yoh in particular looked at her Prince with longing in her eyes.

Oh, that’s right! Yoh and I had a promise, didn’t we?

Having already finished her meal, Lana cleared her throat to get Yoh’s attention. Her face lit up, telling Lana she’d recalled the same thing.

“Hey, Erianna? I just remembered something I saw in the castle I wanted you to tell me about. If you’re done eating, can we go see it?” she asked.

“Well, that’s an abrupt subject change. I don’t mind at all, though.” he said, wiping his face.

“I’ll go, too. I am your shadow, after all.” Yoh said, standing up.

“Of course. ‘Atta girl. I’m delighted by your recent pep, Yoh.” Aisha said, grinning.

“Th-thank you!”

Together, the three left the table and started off back toward the corridors. Lana glanced back at Alphonse, and he gave her a little wave. He seemed to realize she was up to something. Leaving the feast behind, they could hear Captain Menora’s drunken laughter echoing somewhere behind them.

Lana wasn’t actually sure where to go, so she just wandered around for a bit. Serendipity struck when they happened upon an empty courtyard. Striding out to the center, Lana turned on her heel and faced Erianna.

“So? What out here was so interesting to you?” Erianna asked.

Before she answered, Lana gazed over at Yoh. She seemed to be taking a few quick deep breaths, and when she was ready, she nodded at Lana.

“Actually... I lied. I’m sorry. The truth is, Yoh has something important to say to you.” she said.

“... Really? Yoh, what’s going on?” Erianna said, turning to his attendant.

Yoh’s heart looked like it was about to burst out of her chest. “Um... Prince! Listen- Ow!” she started, biting her tongue in the process.

Oof... Come on, Yoh! You’ve got this!

“Are you okay?” Erianna said worriedly.

Yoh rapidly nodded, her hand clasped over her mouth. She squeezed her eyes shut, like she was trying to build her courage back up. After a few moments, she opened them again and took a step closer to Erianna.

“Prince... I... I want to know why you wouldn’t let me participate in the mission to Akkala! And why you kept me in the dark about the distortion! Please, if there’s something I’ve done wrong, or if you aren’t happy with my work, I need to know so I can do better! I want to do better! Please, I...”

Yoh’s voice trailed off as she lost her steam. Lana watched on, hoping for the best. She studied Erianna’s face carefully, looking for a reaction. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, he seemed to have a knowing look in his eye.

“I apologize, Yoh. I promise that I’m more than happy with the work you do. In fact, I can’t imagine any of my own work going smoothly without you anymore. I trust you implicitly. That was never the reason why I kept you out of it.” he assured her.

“R-really? That makes me... so happy...” Yoh said, hardly able to contain herself. “But... Then why did you do it?”

Erianna bit his lip. He hesitated to speak any further. Lana decided she had to give him the right push.

“Come on, she deserves to know. She’s being brave standing up for her feelings! You’ve gotta respond to that!” Lana urged.

“So you’re teaming up on me, huh? When did you two even become friends?” Erianna said, scratching the back of his neck. “... Very well. I didn’t want to speak of this because it directly involves your future, Yoh, so I will say as little as I can.”

Yoh nodded rapidly again. If she had a seat, she’d have been on the edge of it.

“The reason I excluded you from the distortion business is because... I could no longer see the future of the present day. I had no idea what would happen to you if you got involved. I could no longer guarantee your safety, and that... scared me. I couldn’t risk losing you.” he said quietly.

She shivered in place for a moment. “You... You couldn’t...? Really?”

“Yes. I realize now that I’ve slighted you. I should have respected your will and your abilities more. I suppose I got too used to knowing everything. It’s a bad habit of mine to start thinking of people as pieces on a game board, just because I know what will happen to them. I will continue to try to work on that flaw. You have my deepest apologies.” Erianna said, bowing to her.

“What?! Prince, please! Don’t lower yourself like that for me! I’m just your attendant! You mustn't...”

She became quiet again. In her eyes, Lana could easily read the question she most wanted to ask. Yoh looked over at her, and she gave an encouraging nod.

“Am I... Am I really that important to you?” she asked, twirling a strand of her hair with her finger.

“Of course you are. You will play a vital role in my future, Yoh. It’s one I must admit I’m looking forward to. And I think it’s also one that you will be quite happy about. That’s all I can say.” Erianna said with a warm smile.

The implications of his words stewed in their minds. It seemed to hit Yoh first, as her entire face turned red as a beet. She sank to her knees in the grass and buried her face in her hands. It didn’t take Lana long to figure it out after that.

Oh, yeah, he knows all future events, even some really specific things about individual futures. He must already know how Yoh feels about him...

Lana leaned her face into her palm, feeling a little secondhand embarrassment for Yoh. Erianna chuckled and walked over to his attendant. He gave her a sweet pat on the head, which made her body jolt.

“I’m sorry once again for not thinking of your feelings. You are not a game piece, but a living, breathing person. I want to treat you as such, okay?”

Yoh couldn’t bring herself to answer him, or even look at him. She just quietly nodded with her face still buried away. Erianna smiled brighter and gave a short wave to Lana. She thought she heard him whisper a thank-you as he walked away, back in the direction of the banquet.

Once the Prince was gone, Yoh let out a huge gasp for air, followed by a hoarse squeal. It gave Lana a start. She trotted over to her and knelt down at her side, putting her hand on her shoulder.

“Oh my goodness... Lana, my heart is going a mile a minute! Is this safe? Am I gonna die? I feel like I’ve already died and come back to life!” Yoh cried.

“S-slow down! You’re okay! Just breathe!” Lana said, not sure exactly what to do.

After a few more deep breaths, Yoh stared at the grass in front of her. Then she squealed again, loud enough to make Lana wince. She couldn’t hold in a few giggles after that.

“Jeez! You’re awfully happy, huh? Good for you!” Lana laughed.

“I am! I... I don’t even know what I am! Is it really okay, though? Is a person allowed to be this happy? I feel like I’m so happy I don’t even know that I’m happy anymore!”

“Hey, you should be happy! I know I am! I’m happy for you, Yoh!” Lana said, now being the one to rapidly nod.

Yoh giggled and threw her arms around Lana. “Thank you so much for helping me do this! If it weren’t for you, I don’t know if I’d had the courage. You’re such a good friend! Now I really wish you didn’t have to go home...”

That struck Lana’s heart like a dagger. She remembered that she did, in fact, have to leave this place behind. Very soon, at that. It was just starting to sink in. She did badly want to return to her own time, but she hadn’t realized just how fond she was growing of the people here.

“... Yeah. I’m gonna miss you, Yoh.” she said, hugging her friend back.

The girls enjoyed their embrace for a bit longer. Soon, Yoh stood up, knowing that as her Prince’s shadow, she had to follow after him. Lana waved the happy girl goodbye, and found herself standing alone in the courtyard. She gazed up at the sky, watching the stars begin to peek out from behind the clouds. The cold air nipped at her nose a bit as she became lost in her own thoughts.

Before even realizing it, she’d started to wander again. Meanwhile, she kept pondering the weight of the fact that she was going home soon. Of course she was happy about it, but it shocked her how conflicted she was. The faces of Yoh, Erianna, Zelda, Menora, and even Zarak appeared in her mind as people she didn’t want to let go of yet. And at the forefront of them all was...

“... Oh.” she said quietly.

“Oh, hey! Funny running into you out here!”

Was it by chance, or was this inevitable, too? She had wandered her way right to Alphonse. He was standing on a balcony overlooking Castle Town. It appeared to be some sort of viewing platform. Beyond his face, there were many lights still on in the city. It was a lovely skyscape to behold. But the impression of its beauty was quickly fading on Lana.

She leaned her arms on the railing next to him, glancing at him over and over. She really wanted to vocalize these feelings, but wasn’t sure where to start. What ended up coming out wasn't exactly what she wanted.

“So, um... How do... Er... How come you’re out here? What about the party?” she asked, feeling a bit disappointed in herself.

“Oh, it got really crazy in there, is all. I needed a breather. Menora had a bit much to drink.” he said.

“Oh, yeah, I could hear her as I was leaving.” Lana recalled.

“Yep. She got so wound up, she accidentally spilled some ale on Kaina’s lap! That was hysterical.” Alphonse snickered.

Lana snorted. “Oh my gosh! Really? I can’t believe I missed that!”

“Right? The look on his face was priceless!” Alphonse laughed harder just remembering it. He wiped a tear from his eye before he continued. “So, it’s your turn. What were you doing with Yoh and Erianna?”

Lana held her tongue for a few moments. Graciously, she’d been given the chance to naturally dive into what was on her mind. She couldn’t tell if Alphonse had done that on purpose or not. He always seemed just as clueless as he was perceptive.

With the way he is, I’ll never know, will I? But still, I appreciate it all the same. That’s why I...

“We were just talking. Yoh had to get something off her chest, and I was helping her.” she explained.

“Well, that was nice. Glad you made another friend!” he smiled.

“Yeah... About that...” she started. “Alphonse... Do you think you’ll miss being here?”

He looked at her with a surprised face, but after that, he didn’t really hesitate to answer.

“Of course I’ll miss it. I wish I could have more time to explore this kingdom and what’s around it. I really wish I could figure out where it is in relation to Hyleigh, and I really want to know if my demon friend is still alive. I’m gonna leave with a ton of things I wish I could have done.” he told her.

Lana felt her chest tighten up hearing that. “You know, I really envy how you can just say stuff like that... I want to be able to do that more.”

“So I take it you’re gonna miss it too, huh?”

“I will. But don’t get me wrong, I really want to go home! I want to get back to my voyage and find my motherland. I cannot leave that unsettled. But still... The friends I’ve made here are gonna stay with me for sure. There’s a lot of things I wish I could have seen, too... I guess I’m just the same as you.”

“You wanna go home, but you dread the goodbyes... Yeah, it does kinda hurt to know we’ll never get the chance to see them again.”

Lana clenched her teeth before she spoke again. “... Or each other.”

She’d said the one thing that was on her mind the most. The thing she’d been most afraid to say. Alphonse quietly gasped, and turned his gaze down to the city below. He had a look on his face unlike any she’d seen him make before. She figured he must have been avoiding thinking about it, too.

“Yeah. Us too.” he said quietly.

Silence overtook the two friends across time. The night air seemed to grow colder around them, and the stars brighter. The distant noise of the banquet could reach their ears from there, as well as the sounds of the town as it winded down from a long day. Lana’s heart sank lower in her chest the longer the silence went on.

She was no stranger to goodbyes. She’d said some very heartbreaking ones before she’d left the Great Sea, the hardest of all being the one she shared with her parents. Twice over, she said farewell with the intent of never seeing them again. And in the two months since she’d left the second time, she hadn’t. Her inevitable partings with her friends here were going to be hard, but she dreaded her parting with Alphonse even more.

Alphonse had become an invaluable partner for her almost immediately after they’d met. She was genuinely unsure if she’d taken to anyone else that fast on her journey across the Great Sea. He taught her a lot, inspired her to overcome her disability, and most importantly, he was kind to her when she was scared and alone even though he was in exactly the same situation she was. His was a fast friendship she wasn’t sure she’d ever experience again.

“You know, there’s a lot I have to thank you for...” Lana said at last. “I wish I had more time to do it. But I really owe you so much, Alphonse. Thank you for teaching me about fighting. Thank you for being proud for me when I figured out how to keep using my bow. Thank you for encouraging me to be true to my feelings. And thank you for... For being such a good friend.”

As the words spilled out, so did a few tears. Lana’s throat felt choked up, and she had to wipe her eyes more than once. Alphonse looked at her with much empathy, and was even starting to cry himself.

“It’s funny, I was gonna thank you for basically the same things.” he said. “I know I kinda dragged you around a bit at first. I appreciate you putting up with me. It made me really happy when you followed me out to Deya. Watching you fight was inspiring, and I learned a few things from you, as well. And thanks to you, I feel like I can be a bit more honest with myself, too. I think I’m gonna tell my friends my real feelings about having to give up my magic when I get home. So thank you, Lana. Thank you for being my friend right back!”

Lana felt her heart swell back up from his words. It was beyond relieving to hear that he felt the same way she did. She couldn’t stop the tears from flowing anymore. She nestled her face into his shoulder, letting the sobs ride their way out. Alphonse leaned his head into her, too.

“We’re, what? Two thousand years apart from each other, just about? That’s a seriously long time... It’s hard to imagine just how long that really is. But we were still lucky enough to meet here, even if we were never supposed to. I never would've imagined I'd be such great friends with someone from the future! We oughta thank Erianna for that, if for nothing else!” Alphonse said.

Lana lifted her head so she could wipe her nose. She gazed up at him with the best smile she could muster.

“Yeah, you said it!”

* * *

The following afternoon, the heroes gathered in the throne room for a royal audience. Surrounding them was everyone involved with the distortion, down to the last knight and soldier. Lana and Alphonse stood in the center of the room as well as at the center of everyone's attention.

The two of them were back to being dressed exactly the way they had been when they first arrived. Aisha had arranged for all repairs to be made to their clothes, such that the people in their own times wouldn't notice any changes. Lana was even given replacement arrows to make up for the ones she'd used, and they were even crafted to be identical with her own. Aisha also personally trimmed their hair, ever so slightly, to make up for the one-week difference. All of this was organized as per Erianna’s instructions, carried out perfectly overnight by the loyal Sheikah.

King Cornelius rose to his feet, beaming with gratitude. "Precious heroes, I must thank you once again. You have kept your word to me. You saved my son Erianna, and you kept my Zelda and Kaina safe. We have come out of this distortion with both our family and the timeline still intact. I only wish there was more I could do to thank you."

"Unfortunately, we must not leave any record that you were ever here." Erianna explained. "No one in this room will speak of you after you leave. There shall be no formal recognition for your achievements, and no legends will tell of your deeds. And naturally, you must never tell anyone in your own times what happened to you or what you learned here, though I don't think you'd do that anyway. For what it's worth, though, I am sorry."

"Hey, I get it. Gotta prevent paradoxes, right?" Alphonse said.

"We never did this to be rewarded, anyway! We understand how it has to be." Lana agreed.

"You are true heroes, through and through." Erianna said, smiling admiringly. "Now, we must go. I will lead the two of you to the Temple of Time, and from there, I will send you home. This will be the last we see each other, so everyone, I encourage you to say your goodbyes while you have the chance."

“Goodbye Alphonse, Lana! Thank you for being my friend and talking to me so openly! I was sorely missing that in my life. My heart shall ache for you once you’re gone.” Zelda said, sniffling a little.

“Yeah, I, uh... I’m sorry for my behavior before. As I said, I’m able to admit when I made a mistake. I was wrong about you two, and about... About my brother. Thank you, Alphonse, Lana.” Kaina said.

“Thank you for saving the Prince! Alphonse, your grit and perseverance really inspired me out there! I’m more ready than ever to give it my all for the Prince and this kingdom!” Captain Menora said.

“The Prince tells me that the Zonai will have a valuable role to play in the future. I am grateful for the two of you bringing an early start to our relationship. Thank you, and be well on your journey across the bounds.” Chieftain Zarak said, bowing in the Zonai tradition.

“We Sheikah are in your eternal debt. Thank you for keeping our lieges safe.” Aisha said, offering a respectful bow of her own.

“Thanks for showing me how to lay into Kaina, Lana! I’ll be sure to use what you taught me and make sure this fella stays on the straight and narrow!” Nemu said, earning an exasperated glare from both Aisha and his Prince.

“Lana, I’ll always remember how you gave me the courage to speak my mind! I promise I’ll live my life more devoted than ever before! I’ll miss you so much!” Yoh said, starting to cry.

A cacophony of gratitude filled the air around the two heroes so thickly that it felt like it could have turned tangible. Lana’s heart fluttered and her cheeks burned like they were under the sun. She was very unaccustomed to this type of treatment. She recalled that Alphonse was a famous hero in his time, and glanced over to see how he was taking it all. He didn’t seem to be faring much better than she was, though.

Erianna ushered them out of the throne room, and as they left, they were followed by applause and cheers the likes of which Lana had never imagined could be directed at her. She felt light enough to walk on clouds. Even after they had left the castle and could no longer hear them, her heart continued to beat a little faster than normal.

Wow, that was... so amazing. I think that was worth more than any award I could have received.

Lana couldn’t contain a few happy skips as they walked down the road to Castle Town. When they were there, they were almost immediately swamped by townsfolk who wanted to ask Erianna about the secret campaign and what had been going on lately. It was getting difficult for him to keep gently turning them away with promises of an official announcement later.

After several minutes, the trio finally escaped through some back alleys. Once they were safely out of earshot, Erianna let out a deep sigh.

“Phew... Maybe I should have brought a few guards with me, after all.” he laughed awkwardly. “I apologize. We are almost to the Temple of Time. No one will be able to interrupt us there.” he said, pointing at the cathedral on the other side of a small pond.

When Lana saw the temple, she was once again hit with the reality that she was about to say her final farewell to Alphonse and Erianna. Her throat caught a giant lump in it, and she found it hard to breathe or swallow. Her chipper mood from all the applause earlier wore off almost instantly.

Whether he noticed her abrupt change in emotion or he was feeling the same way himself, Alphonse endeavored to make a slight subject change. “So, what are you going to tell them about what happened? You can’t keep them in the dark forever.” he asked.

“I will simply tell them that an organized band of suspiciously intelligent monsters had been instigating events like the stampede that nearly wiped out Deya Village, and a pair of travelers graciously assisted in fending them off. The campaigns were merely a part of the process. That’s the gist of how I plan to handle it.” he explained.

“I see. I guess that’s serviceable. I probably wouldn’t be satisfied with that, personally, but conspiracy nuts are gonna exist no matter what.” Alphonse said.

“Yes, there will naturally be a few who remain skeptical. But I can see that my good relationship with the townsfolk will drown out most of them. It will work.”

“I guess it’s pretty handy to be able to foresee how your plans will go, huh...” Lana said enviously.

Before long, the three arrived at the entrance to the Temple of Time. The building was very large and looked older than everything around it by a few centuries. Some well-tended shrubs lined its sides, and small birds flitted around the spires on the roof. The harmonious sounds of nature seemed to completely replace the droning of the city in this nestled little corner. The wind blowing around the temple felt very ancient and hallowed. It gave Lana goosebumps.

This place almost reminds me of the Forest Haven, or the peak of Dragon Roost...

When they walked through the threshold, their footsteps and voices began to echo. Inside, they discovered walls of white and a checkered tile floor stretching down a long hall. There was a pedestal at the end with three slots, and beyond that was a massive stone door with a symbol depicting three triangles, arranged with one sitting atop the other two. Lana could feel in her bones that something was deeply divine about this place.

“Caught your attention, has it?” Erianna said, noticing her entranced stare. “That is the Door of Time. It can’t be opened right now, and I can’t speak of what lies on the other side, but we won’t be needing to go that way, anyway. Follow me.”

He led them off to the right, into a small antechamber. Once there, he bade them to stand on a little raised section of the floor. Once all three had their feet on it, he removed that blue ocarina from his robes. Lana felt a chill worm down her back as he began to play a serene and quiet melody.

With a sudden jolt, the platform they stood on began to move. Lana let out a short yelp and almost staggered over. Alphonse almost tumbled right into Erianna, who had a laugh about that. This platform lowered through the floor, bringing them down deep into a space below the temple. Lana coughed away some dust and watched as the stone walls around her gradually turned from white to black.

As it got darker and darker, Alphonse raised up a fist and powered it with some of his Spirit magic. The blue glow offered a little illumination. When the platform finally stopped moving, it jolted them around again, and Lana stumbled right off it. Everything around them was black as pitch. It was like staring into a void. It was quite the unsettling sight. What’s more, the air felt almost alive on Lana’s skin.

“Weird... This place almost feels like the Sacred Realm.” Alphonse said.

“That’s a fair comparison. This is a space that can only be entered by one with a connection to the Gods of Old. As an oracle, I have this privilege, and it extends to you as my guests. Now, come. Just a bit further inside.” Erianna instructed.

Together, they walked forward through the darkness. The deeper they went, the less it began to feel like they were walking on stone. The echoes became muted, and the ground grew softer. The walls, the floor, and the ceiling were gradually becoming speckled with bright white dots.

It didn't take much time for Lana to figure out the resemblance to the night sky. She thought this was what the inside of a telescope lens would look like if it were aimed at the stars. She couldn't tell how far out the walls and ceiling were anymore. A soft ringing in her ears was accompanied by what felt like a shift in pressure inside her head. It was getting increasingly uncomfortable.

"It kind of hurts to be in here... Erianna, what is this place?" she asked.

"This is what's known as the Precipice. It stands on the edge of time, acting as an observatory for those like me. My powers are greatly amplified here. This is actually where the two of you were supposed to appear when I first called out to you." he described.

"Oh yeah? So this is where you summoned us from?" Alphonse said.

"And it is from here that I will send you home. The spell I used cannot be performed anywhere else." he said. "Raise your heads. The stars you see are all representative of an era in time. There is one for each of you, too."

"Wait, you mean all of these?" Alphonse gasped.

"There's so many... I can't possibly count them all!" Lana said, awestruck.

"Indeed. The river of time is unimaginably vast. A star for every time period, every possible route and timeline, and even for people... I have watched many stars die out and be reborn in a cycle that never ends. Such is my role as an oracle."

Saying this, he smiled gently. He looked from Alphonse to Lana with an apologetic and thoughtful expression. Lana could feel his renewed love for his duty radiating from his face. With this emotion filling his heart, he readied the Ocarina of Time in his hands.

"And now, allow me to mend the intersection that brought us together. This will be our final goodbye. Please say everything you wish to say, such that you will have no regrets."

An intense bittersweet feeling split Lana’s heart in two. She had so much more she wanted to say, but her words got stuck in her throat. Her eyes filled with enough tears to blur her vision. A heavy silence was starting to take root, but Alphonse soon took the first step to break it.

"Lana... Thank you again for being my friend, and for choosing to stay and help. I keep wondering what it would have been like if you could have been along for my journey. I bet it would've been crazy fun to adventure with you." he said.

Lana giggled. "I think fighting Demon Kings would be a bit out of my scope. You did say Majora was about as strong as that Malladus guy, right? But I dunno, maybe I could handle it if we worked together. You had a bunch of friends who helped you, if I recall."

Alphonse nodded and beamed. “I sure did. Man, I wish you could have met them. I bet you'd get along really well with Layla, she was a sailor, too. Regret would love to see your temporal rushes. Naomi would wanna hear all about your adventures. You'd be hard-pressed to lose Saria's attention. And I bet Zelda would thank you for keeping me from getting lost. And if... If Rena were still around, I know she would have adored you.”

Lama's lips quivered and her chest tightened even more. “I wish you could have met my friends, too. Lenzo would wanna take a pictograph of you since you're from the past. Or because you can use magic... Or both, haha. Orca would probably challenge you to a duel straight away. I'm sure you and Aamali would mesh really well together. I bet you'd be fascinated with Peeks, too. And I have a feeling that if you met Emilia, you'd find her so fun to talk to! And also, King and my parents, too... I can imagine them thanking you for looking out for me.”

"They all sound wonderful! I'm really curious about your Great Sea, too. I bet going on a voyage with all of you would have been a blast! There's really a lot of stuff we'll never get to do together, huh..." he said wistfully.

Lana nodded sadly. "Yeah, that's true. But I'm still glad we met and became friends! I know it only lasted a week, but it feels so much longer than that. Even if there are thousands of years between us, I'll never forget you, Alphonse!"

Lana was on the verge of full-on sobbing. She couldn't help herself and drew Alphonse into a big hug. He didn't hesitate to hug her right back.

"Yeah, I'll always treasure our friendship, Lana! Even if I can't share it with anyone else, I'll always remember you!" he said in a shaky voice. "And that goes for you, too, Erianna!"

The Prince looked awfully surprised to be included. "R-really? Me, as well?"

"Of course you as well! We're three of a kind, remember?" Alphonse said.

"Yep! Three of a kind!" Lana wholeheartedly agreed.

Erianna seemed to recall that little line from their night on the Ternio Trail. His eyes welled up with tears of his own now, and he smiled brighter than the sun. Alphonse and Lana opened their arms to let him into the hug, and he happily joined them.

"Yeah... Three of a kind, always. Thank you, my dear friends. I could never forget either of you if I tried."

After a few mellow moments of embracing each other, the three friends across time separated at last. Alphonse and Lana moved away to give Erianna some space, and nodded to let him know they were ready. Erianna took one final look at the friends he’d never see again, and nodded right back. He lifted the Ocarina of Time to his lips and began to play.

A somber melody echoed through their ears. Its low tones made Lana’s skin prick up. It sounded very sad, but also very hopeful. She could feel the weight of divinity reverberating from each note. Before long, her body began shining in a white light. She glanced over at Alphonse, and saw the same thing was happening to him.

So, this is really it.

Unable to speak any further, Lana decided to bid her final farewell with a smile. Alphonse grinned right back at her, right up until the last second. Before the blinding lights completely obscured her eyes, Lana took another last look at Erianna. She hoped he noticed her happy face.

Then, that sensation from the day she arrived returned. She felt as though she were being dragged through a crack in a thick wall.

/ / /

Before she could comprehend how it happened, Lana found herself standing back on her boat, docked outside of Mercay Island far beyond the Great Sea. She stood stock still for a few moments, doing nothing other than blinking. For a little bit, she thought she might have dreamed or hallucinated it all. But as the feeling of being pulled through a wall disappeared, she realized it couldn’t have been her imagination.

“Whoa... So all of that really happened... Right?” she said quietly.

Lana inspected herself closely. No wounds remained thanks to Princess Zelda’s healing magic, her hair had indeed recently been trimmed a bit, and she could feel the seams under her clothes where they had been repaired. She even fumbled with her arrows and noticed that three of them were made with identical but nonetheless different materials.

“Whoa! It really happened! Hahaha!” Lana said excitedly.

She plopped down on the deck of her ship and laughed to herself. She looked up at the sky, and enjoyed the sensation of the wind on her skin. It was a much different feeling than the wind in Hyrule, and it was something she hadn’t realized she’d missed. She closed her eyes and pictured all the friends she’d made in her little adventure across time. She was already starting to miss them.

“I know I can’t tell anyone about this... I guess I can just think of it as a little secret. Yeah, a secret adventure! Haha. I’m surprised about how happy that makes me. I guess I did change for the better over there.”

Lana gazed up and watched the clouds float on by. The seagulls cawing overhead didn’t occupy enough space in her brain to bother her yet. She stretched her arms, and as she did, she remembered how she was able to overcome and accept her disabled left arm at long last. That was another piece of her adventure across time that she’d carry with her forever.

That, and the dear friends.

/ / /

Alphonse stood in place as the world around him stopped spinning. He blinked a few times, being careful not to suddenly move before he knew what was going on around him. Once the feeling fully returned to his body, he heard some familiar voices call out from behind him.

“Hellooooo? You okay over there, pal?”

“‘And’, what? Finish that thought.”

Alphonse turned to see his loyal partner, Zelda the Fairy, and his beloved girlfriend, Naomi, staring at him like he had three heads.

“Huh? What?” Alphonse said.

“Jeez, did you not sleep well or something? It's not like you to freeze like that in the middle of talking. Don’t get all weird on me now.” Zelda teased.

“Hey, I’m sure he’s just anxious about the whole thing. It’s okay.” Naomi said.

Alphonse stared at them blankly for a bit. It took his brain some extra time to catch up on what they were talking about. He quickly remembered that he had been pulled into the future mid-conversation with them. From his perspective, it’d been a week since he last saw them, but just as Erianna had promised, they never noticed he’d been gone at all.

Well damn, talk about inconvenient timing. But I guess it works for me. I did want to tell them the truth...

“Yeah, sorry, guess I spaced out for a bit there.” Alphonse said. “To be honest, I guess it is bothering me... I think I’m gonna be feeling really powerless for a while once I give up the sword and the magic.”

“Aw, that’s going to be rough, yeah. But don’t worry! I’ll always trust you to keep me safe!” Naomi beamed.

“Yeah, it’s not like you’re gonna be useless without all that stuff! We traveled together for years before you became the Hero of Spirits, so I know. It’ll be tough, but I know you’ll bounce back just fine!” Zelda said.

Hah, I can always count on them to keep me from feeling down.

Alphonse grinned widely and gave his girlfriend a big hug. Naomi wasn’t quite ready for it and yelped a bit, but she hugged him back all the same. Zelda floated giddily around their heads.

“You’re right. Thanks, guys. I love you both.”

“Aw, shucks, you can’t just get mushy on us like that!” Zelda said.

“Hehe! I love you, too!” Naomi said.

The three of them enjoyed that quiet moment together in the woods of the Forest Realm. Alphonse still felt anxious about giving up the powers that helped him become a hero, but he felt more secure in knowing that his friends would still love him just the same without them. And he once again vowed to himself to keep on being Alphonse, just the way he wanted to be. Powers or no.

/ / /

His song finished, Erianna lowered the Ocarina of Time. His friends were no longer standing before him. He looked up, and saw the stars representing their eras shine with full vigor. He could see that they’d made it home safely. Feeling relieved and sad at the same time was a strange predicament for him, but he chose to treasure this emotion. And with that, he was ready to head back.

“... You’ve done well.”

This voice came just as Erianna had started to turn away. He halted immediately and looked around, trying to identify its source. But there was no one there. He was all alone, as he should have been. Was he hearing things? Were his ears just playing tricks on him? Or...

Could that have been... No, it couldn’t be, could it?

Erianna smiled at the thought, even if it was an unlikely one. In that moment, he felt incredibly validated. For years, he watched people all across time die unfairly, knowing he could save them if he just reached out, but knowing he could never cross that line. And for years, he thought of it as a double-edged sword. Both a blessing and a curse. But there and then, in that moment when he thought he heard her voice, he knew it had all been worth it. Someone was watching out for him after all.

“Well, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?” he said to himself. “Still, I have work to do. I mustn't let her down.”

And so, the Prince of Time marched forward, making his way back out of the darkness. Behind him, the Precipice echoed faintly, almost as if the stars above were smiling down on him.


Credit Roll

Erianna Maculas Hyrule

Original Character

Original Character

Lana Kaimi
Original Character

Original Character

Zelda the Fairy
Original Character;
Named after Princess Zelda of The Legend of Zelda series

Intended to be an ancestor of Talon from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

King Cornelius Dasthra Hyrule
Original Character

Princess Zelda
Inspired by Princess Zelda of The Legend of Zelda series

Prince Kaina
Original Character

Captain Menora
Original Character

Chieftain Zarak
Original Character

Intended to be the same character as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Original Character

Original Character

Original Character


Thank you for reading Spirits, Winds, and Time! I’m happy you made it this far. Truly, this project was just something I did for fun and to practice writing, but it ended up turning into something more. The whole premise started on a whim over a year ago from the first chapter’s publishing date. Just a whimsical little thought of what would happen if Alphonse and Lana met up. As OCs, they’ve been in other stories together already, but only ones that exist solely within my brain. This was a good way to experiment with putting them together using my Zelda fics as a basis, and it also served to get the rust off. I also ended up creating some chapters that I think stand as some of my best yet, at least towards the end here.

In my last afterword, I said I wanted to write something more original next time, and I still do! In fact, this story was practice specifically for that purpose. But as I said, it ended up turning into something more. Now I have even more ideas for Zelda fics thanks to this! Funny how that works out, huh? I definitely want to try my hand at them in due time. I want to continue challenging myself with different ways to write. With this story, having the lead perspective swap between Alphonse and Lana each chapter was new for me. Next, I want to try to write using an orchestra composition as a baseline for the story structure. I also want to go back to the first person perspective (yes I know that isn’t looked on favorably for fanfics) for another to write it as if it were coming from a diary. I’ve got a lot of ideas juicing around up in my head, and I’m super excited to put ‘em to work.

Until that time comes, though, I hope you enjoy the stories I’ve already put out! Spirits, Winds, and Time had a lot of references to both The Hero of Spirits and Ride the Winds!, so maybe it made you curious to visit those stories, whether for the first time or not, to see where those all came from. That would be nice, if so. Once again, thank you for reading! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am! See you again sometime!

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