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Zelda Art The Hero of Spirits


Angel of Darkness
Staff member
ZD Legend
Jan 31, 2010
Yahtzee, Supernatural
Angel of Darkness
I agree with Vanny. Great chapter. Superb work :yes: I always loved Anjean (and Byrne) and was delighted to see her back. You did a great job and the fighting part with the aura was great but the determination to protect Naomi did it for me the most ;) Great work Azure! As always ;)


Oct 20, 2010
First I was not sure what exactly to write about that. I think the previous chapter is bad - not absolute trash, but it could have been better:

- "the determination to protect Naomi" (Vanessa28) was a good idea.

- (Not that important): Chapter 31: If a the dragon creates a shock wave, which is so powerful that it can still be felt in such a great distance, everybody there would be killed instantly.

- It was way to obvious what's going to happen next. I was pretty sure (about 90%) that Alphonse was going to have his second awakening and that the dragon would either be sealed away or killed, before I began to read Chapter 32.

- The fight against the dragon is very implausible.
- Alphonse and his friends are constantly being hit, sent flying and crashing into each other and it doesn't seem to do much harm to them. Even when Alphonse is already badly injured he can still fight like if it is just a minor scratch.
- After Alphonse second awakening the "Black Dragon of Apocalypse" was killed without much trouble. I also wonder how you're going to write the fight with Maladus if Alphonse is already that strong.

- The dragon wasn't that doom-bringing or apocalyptic at all. I really expected more. A reason for this is probably that the Acnologia was defeated nearly perfectly. No "good one" died. Alphonse, Zelda and Layla are wounded and that was it.

That's everything I have noticed until now.


poog tnalp yknuhc
Jul 11, 2012
I just finished the prologue and I can't stop imagining a giant Moblin moving like that. Anyway it's good so far, I know I have a lot to catch up on but i'll eventually get to it. :P

Rare Addict

Site Staff
Jun 15, 2010
United States
Why am I just now responding to this thread? Dx

Without trying to spew a bunch of hyperbole, this is easily among the best Zelda-related fan stories that I've read so far. As someone said earlier in this thread, I think, a part of that is because of its relatively limited use of the source material. While the story uses a ton of the series' elements and characters, it paints 'em in a different light. It also helps that Hyleigh can hold its own as a cohesive world.

If you can, try to show more of the comradery between Alphonse and Zelda. So far, those have been some of my favorite parts of this story. Whatever you decide to do, though, just keep this up, Az! I absolutely love how this is coming along. ;)

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thank you all so much for your comments! I really appreciate all of them! I just have a couple things to say in response to Tael...
- After Alphonse second awakening the "Black Dragon of Apocalypse" was killed without much trouble. I also wonder how you're going to write the fight with Maladus if Alphonse is already that strong.
You don't have to worry about that. There's no way I'd make the fight with Malladus so anti-climactic. ;)
- The dragon wasn't that doom-bringing or apocalyptic at all. I really expected more. A reason for this is probably that the Acnologia was defeated nearly perfectly. No "good one" died. Alphonse, Zelda and Layla are wounded and that was it.
The reason for that is because I need Regret, Layla, and Zelda for the future chapters. And it's not like I don't kill off any "good" characters. Rena and Oz died, after all.

That's all I wanted to say. Up next is the special Anniversary Chapter! Today marks exactly one year since I posted this story, so to celebrate, I wrote this special chapter. It's taken me over a month to write it, and it's the longest single chapter I've ever written. It's 22 pages long in Google Docs, so... I hope you read the whole thing regardless of how long it is. And I hope you enjoy it and tell me what you think of it. I've worked really hard on this, after all. :)

Stirred awake by the sunlight filtering into his room from the window, the young boy lazily raised himself up to a sitting position in his bed. He let out a wide yawn, and his disheveled dark brown hair shook a little while he stretched. His sleepy golden eyes moved to look into the sunlight and squinted.

Outside the window, the boy could see a myriad of different shades of green. He could see light green grass carpeting the ground on the other side of the wooden wall, a few trees which were visible out of the vast forest, and a couple of chirping birds fluttering about. The trees were full of dark green leaves of all shapes and sizes. They seemed as infinite as the stars in the night sky.

Among these morning sounds from the outside world, the boy could also hear faint noise from somewhere within the house. Before long, a soft aroma wafted into the room. After taking in the delicious scent, the boy deduced it was bacon and eggs.

Dressed in a small gray sweatshirt and light blue pajama bottoms, the boy wiped the sleep from his eyes and hurriedly hopped out of the bed. He opened the door and entered the living room. He’d just left one of the two patient rooms of the small cabin, which was serving as his bedroom for the time being. From the living room, there were three doors he could take. One lead to a study and bedroom, another lead to the other patient room, and the last lead to the kitchen.

It was obvious the smell of breakfast was coming from the kitchen, and so were the noises he’d heard earlier. The boy grasped the silver door knob and turned cautiously. He slowly eased the door open, but felt hesitant about opening it all the way. The boy was feeling nervous, since this was his first day living in this house, and he didn’t want to feel like he was intruding or doing anything out of place.

Despite feeling nervous and conflicted, the boy still decided to push the door open all the way. He stood in the threshold and took in the sight of the kitchen; the wooden table in the center of the room, the cupboards that lined the walls, and the counter where a woman with scarlet hair stood cooking.

Upon hearing the door open, the woman turned her head to face the boy, and smiled broadly upon seeing him.

“Good morning, Alphonse!” she greeted him cheerfully. “Did you sleep well?”

Alphonse, still feeling a little nervous, nodded. “Yes, Miss Rena. The bed was really comfy.”

“Well, of course it is! It has to be comfy! I wouldn’t want my patients to complain!” she responded playfully. Then she added with a wink, “I wouldn’t want you to complain, either.”

This made Alphonse blush a little, and he approached Rena’s side with small footsteps and looked up at the counter curiously. He was six years old, and pretty short, so he couldn’t see over the counter yet.

“I’m cooking us breakfast.” Rena said. “From the way you enjoyed dinner last night, I bet you’ll love this.”

Alphonse began to feel a little awkward. It felt weird for him to be treated so kindly by someone he didn’t know well, especially since they’d met only yesterday. He wondered if she was being nice to him because she felt bad for him, but when he looked up into her eyes, he immediately perished the thought. The look in Rena’s sapphire eyes wasn’t pity, but endearment.

Alphonse had lost both of his parents yesterday when his hometown was destroyed by a Demon Lord named Vaati. He was the only survivor, since he wasn’t in the village at the time of the attack. Rena found him and took him away before Vaati could get to him. She brought him to her home and allowed him to live with her since he had nowhere else to go.

Alphonse knew very little about Rena. She’d told him she was a doctor, but other than that fact, he knew nothing else about her. He was still a little suspicious of her, but seeing the look of honest endearment in her eyes, Alphonse felt like he could trust her, and he relaxed a little.

“Breakfast is done!” Rena exclaimed.

She shut off the gas stove and carried the frying pan to the table. She scraped a few slices of bacon and a sunny-side-up egg onto a plate set on the table for Alphonse. She then scraped the remaining slices of bacon and egg onto her own plate.

“Well, have a seat.” she gestured.

Alphonse let out a small sound of compliance, and pulled out the chair in front of his side of the table. He hopped up onto it, and scooted forward until he was close enough to the table. Rena sat in the chair on the opposite side of the table.

Next to the plate, a napkin was set, as well as a fork and a knife, and a glass of orange juice. Alphonse felt his stomach grumble, and his mouth watered as he gazed upon the morsels in front of him.

“Well, dig in!” Rena encouraged with a smile.

Alphonse nodded excitedly. “Thank you!”

He grabbed the fork and knife in his hands, and cut into the egg. He stabbed the piece he cut off with his fork and shoved it into his mouth. The flavor that filled up his mouth was incredible. Alphonse had never eaten an egg cooked so expertly. He gulped it down, and let out a large breath before he continued to tear into the food. Rena watched him eat with a satisfied expression on her face, resting her chin on top of her coupled hands. She began to eat, as well.

The Hero of Spirits: Anniversary Chapter
Days With Rena

After gulping down the last of his orange juice, Alphonse let out a satisfied sigh as he leaned back in his chair. Resting his hand on his stomach, he breathed the words, “That was delicious...”.

“I’m glad you liked it.” Rena said. “Don’t worry about the dishes; I’ll take care of them. You can go outside and play if you’d like.”

“Okay. Thank you.” Alphonse said gratefully.

Alphonse leapt down from the chair and scurried outside of the cabin. Closing the front door behind himself, Alphonse took in the site of Rena’s front yard.

Rena’s cabin was located at the edge of a small clearing in the woods of the Forest Realm, and it was close to a town called Mayscore. Alphonse had never been this far away from his hometown Aboda Village before, and he was eager to explore.

Surrounded by tall trees on all sides, the woods around the small boy seemed infinite. Having only known the small seaside village on the southwestern shore of this country, Alphonse had no idea how vast this world truly was. Staring up at the sky, Alphonse began to wonder what else was out there waiting for him. He decided that some day, he was going to see it all.

As he breathed in the fresh air and admired the lush foliage and greenery that surrounded him, Alphonse heard the door open behind him. He turned his head back to see Rena.

“Whatcha’ doing?” she asked.

“Nothing.” he answered plainly.

“Well, what do you want to do?” she asked.

“I dunno.” he answered her.

“Well, in that case, how about I take you to see Mayscore?” Rena suggested. “What do you say?”

Upon hearing that he could go to a new place and see new things so soon, Alphonse became very excited, and he vigorously shook his head in agreement.

“Well then, let’s go.” Rena giggled. “It’s a bit of a long walk, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Rena held Alphonse’s hand, and Alphonse could feel the warmth radiating from her grasp. He started to feel even more at home with her, and by this time, any suspicion he’d had of her was gone.

The two of them walked for half an hour through the forest. The whole way there, Alphonse looked around at the surroundings, overflowing with interest and curiosity. As they entered the village, Alphonse gaped at the sights.

The beautiful greens of spring coated the tree tops that surrounded the village. The dozens of wooden homes and buildings that made up the village were surrounded by many people. Mayscore was bigger than Aboda Village, so Alphonse had never seen so many people in one place before.

“There are so many people...” Alphonse said in awe.

“Oh, this is nothing.” Rena told him. “You should see the capitol of this country, Hyleigh City. There’s at least five times as many people there.”

“Seriously?!” Alphonse replied in surprise. Hearing that there was a place with even more people than this, Alphonse’s curiosity leapt with excitement. “Can we go there sometime?” he asked eagerly.

“Of course.” Rena said with a smile.

“Thank you, Miss Rena!” Alphonse said happily.

She gave him a bright smile. “Now, let’s go shopping. We need to pick up a few things.” she said.

Alphonse followed Rena into Mayscore. He stayed close to her while he gazed at all the various people walking around the village. In actuality, there were only around two hundred people living in Mayscore. But compared to Alphonse’s hometown, which had less than sixty people living in it, this place was a big, bustling city.

Rena stopped at a small, open-air stand in the central marketplace of Mayscore. This stand was run by a man who appeared to be close to Rena’s age. He had a somewhat rough face and dark hair. However, his soft blue eyes seemed to create a contrast with the rest of his rugged appearance. The stall this man was running was filled with lots of fruit, particularly apples.

“Hello, Rena! Good to see ya!” the man said.

“Good afternoon, Scott. I hope you’ve been doing well.” she greeted him back.

“Well, I’m gettin’ by. Wish you’d come around more often, though. You’re my favorite customer!” he said with a wink.

“Oh, please, you probably say that to everyone.” Rena replied with a laugh.

"Ack, don't go spreadin' that around!" Scott laughed. Then, Alphonse caught his eye, and he seemed somewhat surprised. “Who’s the kid?” he asked.

Alphonse perked up once he realized he was now part of the conversation. He was starting to feel a little nervous.

“This is Alphonse.” Rena said.

“Hello.” Alphonse said obligatorily in a quiet voice.

“Hi there, shortie.” Scott said with a smile.

Alphonse didn’t realize that Scott was referring to him at first, so he looked confused. Although, he quickly realized that Scott had given him a nickname, and wasn’t sure how to react to it.

“Wait a second. Rena.” Scott began. He gestured for Rena to lean in close to him, so she did. “He’s not your kid, is he?” he asked in a hushed voice.

“Oh, goodness no.” Rena answered. “I found him after Aboda Village was destroyed. He was the only survivor, so I took him in.”

“Oh... Wow, that’s gotta be rough. Poor kid...” Scott said sadly, rubbing the back of his neck. “Anyway, what can I getcha?” he said, changing the subject back to business.

“Eight apples will be enough for now.” Rena told him.

“Eight apples it is!” Scott exclaimed.

After placing the fresh, red apples in a brown paper bag and handing them to Rena, Scott took the money Rena paid with and stuffed it in his pocket.

“Come back anytime!” Scott said.

“Of course.” Rena answered.

“You too, shortie. I’ll give you an apple on the house next time.” Scott added with a smile to Alphonse.

Alphonse merely nodded his head and followed Rena as she continued on through the marketplace, carrying the paper bag in her arms.

The results of their shopping were eight apples, two loaves of bread, four pounds of steak, two pounds of bacon, two dozen eggs, and two cartons of both milk and orange juice. Rena bought twice as much as she normally did in order to make sure Alphonse had enough to eat, too.

On their way out of the village, Rena carried the apples, the bacon, the eggs and the steak. They were all placed into one paper bag. Alphonse carried the bread, the milk, and the orange juice, also all placed into one bag. While they headed toward the gate of the village, they ran into a woman who was also carrying a brown paper bag. This woman turned out to be one of Rena’s friends.

“Oh, if it isn’t Rena!” she said once she saw Rena.

“Hello, Julia. Nice to see you!” Rena greeted.

“Oh, who’s this little guy? He’s so cute!” Julia exclaimed upon seeing Alphonse.

Being called cute made Alphonse feel shy, so he backed off a little, and inched closer to Rena.

“This is Alphonse. I’m going to be taking care of him for a while.” Rena explained to Julia.

“... Hello.” Alphonse said in an even quieter voice than when he introduced himself to Scott.

“Hi there!” Julia said. “He is just the cutest little thing!” she gushed.

Alphonse inched even closer to Rena. Julia’s unfiltered compliments were making him feel uncomfortable. Noticing this, Rena quickly endeavored to changed the subject.

“So, how has your friend been since he moved to Great Bay City?” Rena asked.

“Oh, Seryph? I got a letter from him the other day. He said he’d gotten a job working on a cargo ship.” Julia told her.

“Oh, that’s nice. I’m glad he’s doing well.” Rena said.

While the two of them made small talk, Alphonse felt a little dejected. He remembered a time when his mother had friends over and they sat at the kitchen table chatting for hours. Alphonse recalled feeling like he couldn’t say anything back then either.

Before long, Rena said her goodbyes to Julia, and she and Alphonse moved on. As they left Mayscore, Alphonse found himself feeling curious about some of the things they talked about.

“What is Great Bay City?” Alphonse asked.

“It’s one of the two major cities in the Ocean Realm.” Rena answered.

“Is it big?” he asked.

“Yes, I’ve heard it’s a very big city.” Rena told him.

“Can we go there sometime?”

“I don’t know. It’s pretty far.”

“Oh, okay...”

Alphonse felt a little let down. However, he quickly realized that he still had lots to explore in the Forest Realm. He thought it would be better to start with the Forest Realm since he was already in it. He could move on to see the other Realms later.

“Are you interested in traveling, Alphonse?” Rena asked him.

“Mm-hm.” he answered. “I wanna see this whole world someday.”

Rena gave him an encouraging smile. “I’m sure you will.” she said.


Alphonse was now seven years old. After spending six months with Rena, he’d grown accustomed to living with her. Each weekend, the two of them would walk to Mayscore to buy groceries, using the money Rena earned from her work as a doctor. During the week, Rena would teach Alphonse all kinds of things about the world. She made sure he still got a decent education. Even though Alphonse had lost his parents, with Rena’s help he was managing to live his life as best he could.

One day, Alphonse took it upon himself to go out into the forest to explore.

It was midday, and patches of bright sunlight filtered between the tree leaves. Alphonse squinted his eyes as he stared up at the sunlight, which appeared like a kaleidoscope of colors. He then continued to run through the forest, stepping over roots of trees as he dashed. He didn’t have a destination in mind. He just wanted to run. He wanted to see. He wanted to explore.

Taking a moment to catch his breath, Alphonse surveyed his surroundings. He was very good with direction, so the whole time he made sure he only went straight. He knew all he had to do was turn around and walk back the way he came to get home.

After confirming that, he finished catching his breath. He started to run again, intending to go further into the forest. However, he wasn’t running for long before something caught his eye. Alphonse slowed to a stop, completely entranced with this thing. He couldn’t quite tell what it was from where he was standing, so he proceeded towards it slowly and quietly. Soon enough, it came into view. And what the innocent seven-year-old boy saw horrified him.

A man was sitting down, leaning his back against a tree. There was a sword laying in the grass next to him. He was wearing silver armor bearing a symbol Alphonse recognized as the country’s insignia on his breast. And the armor was drenched with blood.

The soldier’s right shoulder had a wound so deep it seemed as if his whole arm could be pulled right off with little effort. There was a pool of blood surrounding the soldier, staining the grass with a vibrant red.

Alphonse was so shocked by this scene he could barely let out a scream. This was the first time he’d witnessed such a bloody sight. He could only take a single step backward before falling to the ground.

A grunt could suddenly be heard. The thud sound created when Alphonse fell to the ground alerted the soldier, who was apparently not dead but just barely conscious. The soldier’s hazy blue eyes looked up and met with Alphonse’s terrified golden eyes, causing the boy to flinch. The soldier uttered one word.

“He... lp...”

This one word caused Alphonse’s mind to snap out of his current fright. This man is still alive. He needs help. Alphonse was well aware of this. But what could he do? Alphonse didn’t have any knowledge of first aid or any kind of medical practice. There was no way he could help this man. Knowing this made him angry with himself. Someone was right in front of him, in need of help, and he couldn’t do anything about it.

Alphonse decided he would not give up, and wracked his brain for answers. If he couldn’t help the man himself, he would need to find somebody who could. But the closest town to the best of his knowledge was Mayscore, and that was far away in the opposite direction, far past Rena’s home-

That was it. Rena. She was a doctor. She could help this man! Feeling invigorated and determined, Alphonse quickly sprang to his feet and rushed over to the soldier.

“I... I’m gonna get you some help! Can you stand?” he asked hurriedly.

“I’ll... try.” the soldier coughed.

Alphonse attempted to lift the man up from under his arm, and after a few moments of struggling the soldier made it to his feet.

“Hang in there. I’ll get you some help. I promise!” Alphonse said.

Practically dragging the soldier along, Alphonse struggled to support the man’s weight while he moved as fast as he could back the way he came. Alphonse was determined to get this man to Rena no matter what.

* * *

After two hours, Alphonse finally managed to reach the clearing where Rena’s cabin was located. Panting, sweating, and completely out of breath, Alphonse struggled to drag the dying soldier who’d lost consciousness an hour ago to Rena’s front door.

Without experiencing any sense of triumph for finally making it back, Alphonse rapidly knocked on Rena’s door.

“Rena! Help!” he called out as loud as he could.

Swift footsteps were heard from within the house in seconds, and the door swung open to reveal a concerned Rena.

“Alphonse, what’s wrong?!” she asked.

She seemed to have assumed Alphonse was the one in trouble after hearing him shout like that. But after seeing the bloody soldier whose unconscious body was supported by the distressed Alphonse, Rena quickly realized the situation was different from what she’d first imagined.

“Alphonse, what is...” Rena said in shock.

“You have to help this man! Please!” Alphonse cried.

Rena’s shocked look turned into burning determination within seconds. “Of course. I’ll take care of him.” she promised.

Rena took the man from Alphonse and held him up from under his arm, quickly carrying him toward the patient room. Alphonse rushed ahead and opened the door for her. Rena quickly entered the room and laid the unconscious man on the patient bed.

“Wait in the other room.” she instructed to Alphonse with a serious expression.

The worried boy simply nodded in understanding. He left the patient room and closed the door behind himself. Now all he could do was wait.

Alphonse walked through the living room, and noticed he had gotten some of the soldier’s blood on him after happening to glance at his reflection in the window. There were a few smears of blood on his cheek, and a larger stain of blood on his white jacket. Alphonse walked outside the house through the front door, and then went to the backyard. There was a large basin and a clothesline there for washing clothes.

Alphonse unzipped his bloody jacket and took it off, now wearing just a solid gray t-shirt. He went on to dunk it in the basin filled with cold water and grabbed the soap that was sitting next to the basin. He tried to get out all of the blood as best he could, but he couldn't get it all off.

I’m not as good at this as Rena.

After thinking that in his head, Alphonse dipped his right hand into the water and wiped off the blood on his cheek. He then pulled his jacket out of the basin, wrung it, and tossed it up over the clothesline. He wasn't tall enough to reach the line, so it was all he could do to throw it up and hope it landed well. Unfortunately, the jacket landed on the line in a sloppy position that was unsuitable for drying. Alphonse sighed and went back inside the house.

Closing the front door behind himself, he wandered into his bedroom. He opened the drawer on the night table next to his bed and fished out a gray sweatshirt. He pulled it over his head and fit his arms through the sleeves. He closed the drawer and wandered back into the living room. With nothing else to do, he sat down on the green couch and waited for Rena to finish fixing up the wounded man.

* * *

Over an hour had passed since Alphonse had brought the wounded soldier home. By this time, Alphonse had already nodded off while waiting on the green couch in Rena’s living room. While he was sleeping, Rena finished fixing up the soldier’s wound. Without Alphonse realizing, Rena had put a blanket over him and gone into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

The smell of juicy steak cooking in the kitchen eventually roused Alphonse from his nap. He let out a great yawn, stretching his arms up high. After rubbing the sleep from his eyes and moving the blue cotton blanket aside, he followed the scent of food into the kitchen.

After opening the door, Alphonse walked quietly up to Rena, who was cooking steak with the gas stove. Looking down at him, Rena smiled.

“Hi there. Did you have a good nap?” she asked.

“Mhm.” Alphonse answered simply. “Is that man gonna be okay?”

“Yes, he’ll be fine. He just needs rest.” she told him.

Hearing this news put a broad smile on the boy’s face. Alphonse was really happy, not just because the man survived, but because he was able to get that person help. Because of his actions, that man was saved. And that made Alphonse feel really good.

Seeing Alphonse’s broad smile put an even broader smile on Rena’s face. She pat him on the head and said, “Why don’t you sit down? Dinner is almost ready.”

“Okay!” Alphonse said cheerfully.

* * *

The following morning, Alphonse rose out of bed clumsily. He yawned and stretched as per usual, and hopped out of bed to change into some fresh clothes. He slipped on a pair of socks, slipped into a pair of black pants, and pulled a white long-sleeved shirt over his head. After fitting his arms through the sleeves, he hobbled sleepily out of his room and into the living room.

As usual, the aroma of bacon and eggs could be smelled coming from the kitchen, and the clamor of plates and pans and silverware could be heard. Before heading into the kitchen, Alphonse walked over to the patient room that the soldier was in. He quietly opened the door to check on him. The man was still sleeping soundly in the bed.

Alphonse closed the door, taking care to ensure it didn’t shut too loudly. He didn’t want to wake the man up. He then went to the kitchen to see how breakfast was coming along. When he entered the kitchen, he noticed a third plate had been set.

“Is that other plate for the soldier man?” Alphonse asked.

Rena turned around to face him from her place in front of the stove. “Oh, good morning Alphonse. Yes, that plate is for our guest. He should be waking up soon.”

As if on cue, footsteps could be heard in the other room.

“Sounds like he’s awake now. Why don’t you go greet him, Alphonse? I‘ve still got to finish cooking here.” Rena said.

Alphonse nodded and left the kitchen. He entered the living room to find that the door to the patient room was open, and a bewildered looking man stood in the center of the room. Upon seeing Alphonse, he seemed surprised.

“You’re that kid from before...” the man said in a low voice.

“Mm-hm.” Alphonse responded.

“I see. So you were able to get me some help after all. Thank you very much. I’m very grateful to you.” he said in a very formal manner.

Alphonse had never been thanked like that before, so he didn’t know how to react. As if right on time to save him from this situation, Rena entered the room.

“Hello there. Glad to see you’ve woken up.” she said.

“Are you the one who treated my wounds?” the man asked.

“Yes, I am.” she responded. “My name is Rena, and this child is Alphonse.” she introduced, putting her right arm around Alphonse.

“My name is Abel. I am the Captain of the twenty-second unit of the third division of the Hyleigh Royal Guard.” the man introduced himself. “Thank you very much for saving me. I am in your debt.” he said as he bowed to Rena in a very polite and formal manner.

“There’s no need for thanks. I’m just glad I could help.” Rena said. “Why don’t you come into the kitchen? I’ve prepared breakfast.”

“Very well. Thank you.” Abel said.

The three of them entered the kitchen and sat down at the table. While they ate breakfast, Abel explained what happened to him.

“My unit and I were returning to the capitol after successfully conducting a training exercise deep in the forest. However, on our way back we were attacked by a pack of Stalfos.” Abel explained.

Alphonse knew about the Stalfos. They were skeleton soldiers; monsters that roamed the deeper parts of the forest. Although he’d never seen one, Alphonse had learned about them, as well as the Stalchildren, which were a less dangerous type of Stalfo. Alphonse shuddered at the thought of being attacked by such a monster as he bit into a piece of bacon.

“I stayed behind to allow my men to escape. I managed to defeat most of the Stalfos, but the last one got me.” Abel continued.

“I see. I hope your men were able to make it back to Hyleigh City safely.” Rena said.

“As do I. They’ll likely conduct a search for me, so I would like to get back to the city as soon as possible. I can’t keep my men waiting any longer.” Abel said.

“You aren’t fully healed yet. As a doctor, I cannot give you permission to leave just yet.” Rena said sternly.

“I can get more medical attention back at the capitol. I’ll be healed up either way.” Abel retorted.

Rena and Abel locked eyes in an intense moment. Both of them seemed to be pretty stubborn. Alphonse could feel the tension very easily. He had never seen Rena get mad before, so he had no idea just how scary Rena was capable of being, He unconsciously gulped.

However, Rena sighed, and she gave in to him. “I suppose it would be unreasonable to make you stay here and leave your men to worry. And it’s not like you can’t get more medical attention in the city, as you said. I suppose it’s fine, then. But make sure you see a doctor as soon as you get back.” she said.

“I will. Thank you very much for your hospitality.” Abel said as he stood up.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Rena suddenly snapped at him.

“I’m... Going back to the capitol.” Abel said, puzzled.

“Not yet, you’re not. Finish your breakfast first.” Rena commanded.

For the first time Abel lost his composure. “HUH?!” he blurted out. However, he quickly gathered himself back together and faked a nervous cough. “Eh-ehm. Um... What do you mean ‘finish my breakfast’?” he asked.

“Exactly what I said. Finish your breakfast, and then you can leave the table.” she answered.

“Do you think I’m a child?” Abel snapped at her.

“In this house, we do not leave the table until we finish everything on our plates.” she responded. Rena then directed Abel’s attention to Alphonse. “Look at Alphonse. Do you see him complaining? He always finishes all his food without wasting any of it, like a good boy. You should follow his example.”

Alphonse pretended not to be a part of this discussion. He didn’t want to get involved, so he simply sat quietly and took a sip of his orange juice without even glancing at either of them.

“You want me to follow the example of a child?” Abel said in a flustered tone.

“On top of that...” Rena continued, completely disregarding Abel’s question, “... You are a guest in this house, so it’s only natural that you would follow the rules of this house. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Abel couldn’t possibly argue against that. After all, what Rena said did have logic to it. Feeling embarrassed at his outburst, Abel sat back down and averted his gaze away from Rena as he continued to eat.

Breakfast was carried out without another word. Once everyone was finished eating, the three of them cleared their places at the table and set the plates and silverware in the sink.

“Th... Thank you for the food.” Abel said.

“You’re welcome.” Rena answered. She also added with a mischievous wink, “Now you can go.”

It was at that moment that Alphonse figured out what Rena was doing. She was toying with Abel like this to get even with him for being stubborn toward her. This was the price to pay for disobeying Rena’s orders.

Rena is surely a force to be reckoned with...

Abel seemed to have realized this too, and he furrowed his brow in humiliation as he grumbled. He left the kitchen and went to the patient room he had been treated in and gathered his personal effects. He then went to the front door, where Alphonse and Rena saw him off.

“Thank you very much for your help, Doctor.” He said to Rena, saluting her.

“Don’t mention it. Try to stay in one piece, you hear?” she said as she playfully saluted him back.

“Thank you, too, Alphonse.” Abel said.

“Huh?” Alphonse asked. He wasn’t expecting Abel to say anything to him.

“If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have gotten help. So thank you.” Abel said as he saluted Alphonse as well.

“... Yeah.” Alphonse said quietly as he lifted his right hand to salute him back.

This caused Abel to grin, and he left Rena’s cabin with a smile on his face. As he walked away, he raised his arm up as if to wave goodbye. Alphonse watched his back grow smaller until Rena shut the front door.

“That man...” Alphonse quietly began.

“Hm? What is it?” Rena asked him.

“Um... It’s nothing. Just...” Alphonse paused for a moment. The faces of Abel, Scott and Julia all flashed through Alphonse’s mind. “... There are a lot of interesting people in this world.” he said quietly.

Rena looked down at him for a few seconds before smiling at him softly. “Yes, there certainly are.” she said.


Alphonse was now eight years old. At this point, he had explored a large amount of the forest, and could get from Mayscore and back to Rena’s cabin on his own. He even found his way to Hyleigh City, although he had yet to enter it. Alphonse knew most of the forest around Rena’s cabin by heart now.

Today, Alphonse was just finishing up breakfast with Rena. After taking his plate and silverware over to the sink, he pushed in his chair, and ran out of the kitchen saying ‘I’m going exploring again’.

The energetic eight-year-old burst out of the front door wearing black pants and a light gray long-sleeved shirt. His feet pounded the ground as he sprinted through the clearing and into the forest. As usual, he didn’t have a particular destination in mind. He just wanted to explore.

Time flew by without him realizing it. It was nine in the morning when Alphonse left. And when he finally decided to stop moving forward, he looked up in the sky to see the sun had risen high. It had to be at least noon by now.

Alphonse was now three hours away from Rena’s cabin. He knew that Mayscore was only half an hour away, and that Hyleigh was at most two hours away. Alphonse had never gone this far from Rena’s cabin before. This thought made him excited. It made him feel like he’d entered uncharted waters that were ripe for exploration.

Alphonse wanted to keep going further, but he was worried that he wouldn't make it home in time for dinner. And so, he relented, and turned around to go home. But a rustling sound caught his attention. He stopped walking instantly and turned to his right. A thicket of bushes were shaking rather violently.

“Um... Hello?” Alphonse called out without taking a single step forward.

Suddenly, a frightening face popped out from the thicket. First appeared the dirty and cracked skull with glowing red eyes in empty eye sockets. Next came the stout body that was nothing but bones covered in torn brown fabric. Finally, the large feet wearing tattered brown boots appeared. Alphonse knew immediately that it was a Stalchild.

Alphonse let out a shriek as he jumped back. He’d heard about these monsters before, but this was his first time actually encountering one. He was terrified. His body froze in its place and he broke out into a cold sweat.

The Stalchild let out a peculiar screech that was almost like a gurgle of some kind, and began to awkwardly limp it’s way over to Alphonse. The young child was petrified. He could only follow the monster with his eyes as it approached him.

The Stachild let out another strange screech as it lifted its large hand up high, preparing to maul the horrified youth before it. Finally, Alphonse snapped out of his fear. His instincts kicked in as he jumped out of the way to his left. As he dodged, the Stalchild’s hand crashed to the ground.

Alphonse didn’t hesitate to run away. He let out another short scream as he ran for his life.

* * *

Alphonse was sweating from exhaustion and fear as he burst through the front door of Rena’s house. He had finally made it home. He stumbled over to the door to Rena’s study and opened it. Rena, who was sitting in a lounge chair reading, looked up in surprise.

“Alphonse? What’s the matter?” she asked.

Alphonse stood in the doorway, panting like a madman. He could hardly catch his breath. He didn’t bother to answer Rena, but instead ran up to her and hugged her tightly.

“Rena...” he sobbed.

As Alphonse began to cry into Rena’s chest, she stroked his head and hugged him back. “Shh... It’s okay, Alphonse. You’re alright now.” she said lovingly. “Tell me what happened.”

After Alphonse finally calmed down, he told Rena all about what happened to him. He told her how he’d gone farther away than normal, and about how that Stalchild appeared and attacked him.

“I see... That must have been frightening.” Rena said quietly.

“I was... so scared...” Alphonse sobbed, still tightly clinging to Rena.

“It’s okay now. I’m here. I’ve got you.” Rena said as she hugged him.

The two of them stayed like that for a while, quietly holding each other while sitting on the brown leather chair. Alphonse’s body would occasionally tremble from a few lingering sobs, but Rena’s embrace was warm. Her warmth seemed to fight off all of Alphonse’s fears, and after a little while like that, he felt better.

Alphonse finally pulled himself away from Rena a little, and she looked down at him, giving him a warm smile. “Do you feel better now?” she asked him.

Alphonse nodded. “Yeah, a little...” he said quietly.

Rena’s smile grew wider. “That’s good. I’m glad to hear it.” she said kindly as she kissed his forehead.

This action made Alphonse blush, and it also brought back a rush of memories about his mother. But something was strange now. No matter how hard he tried, Alphonse couldn’t remember his mother’s face.

Any memories he had of his mother were being overlapped with Rena.

* * *

The next morning, Alphonse woke up feeling really down. He spent the rest of the day yesterday trying to remember his mother’s face. But in its place, he could only see Rena’s face. What’s more, his father’s face was just a blur. He couldn’t picture him clearly anymore, either.

He wandered into the kitchen that morning for breakfast with very little energy. He looked as if the life had been sucked right out of him. He didn’t say a word to Rena as he sat in his chair at the table.

Sitting down across from him after putting breakfast on his plate, Rena smiled and said, “Good morning.”

Alphonse merely glanced up at her without saying a word.

Rena could tell there was something wrong. “Alphonse, are you alright?”

He didn’t answer.

“You aren’t feeling sick, are you?” she asked.

He shook his head ‘No’.

“Then... Is it about what happened yesterday? With the Stalchild?’

Finally speaking, Alphonse said in a low voice, “... It’s not that.” He didn’t know how to explain the way he was feeling.

Rena sighed and stood up from the table. She walked over to him and put her hand on her shoulder. “Come on, tell me what’s wrong.”

Alphonse tensed up. “... Stop acting like that.” he said without thinking.

“Like what?” Rena asked, confused.

“Stop acting like my mother.” Alphonse said. It was all coming out. He couldn’t stop himself as he yelled, “You're not my mother!”

Rena took a step back in shock. “Alphonse...!” she gasped.

“I can’t remember my mother’s face anymore. All I see in her place is you! I don’t want that! I don’t want you to take her place! Stop trying to replace my mother!” he shouted. But suddenly, Alphonse stopped.

Rena was crying.

Alphonse looked up at her tear-stricken face with an overwhelming sense of guilt washing over him. How could he have said all that to her? And why couldn’t he stop himself? He couldn’t understand it. And now he’d made the person who saved him and cared for him ever so dearly cry.

Alphonse felt tears dripping down his face too. The guilt was too much for him. So, he ran. He got up from the chair and ran past Rena. He ran out of the kitchen and out of the house. He ran out into the forest as fast as he could.

“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!” he said to himself from behind clenched teeth.

How could he let himself blow up like that? Surely, everything he said was how he really felt. He didn’t know how long it had been since he couldn’t remember his mother’s face. How long had it been since Rena took his mother’s place in his memories? Alphonse didn’t know the answer to that, and it upset him. The problem was, Alphonse began to think of Rena like a mother. He grew to love her like he’d loved his real mother, and so he blamed himself for this.

It’s my fault. It’s my fault for getting so attached to her. If it hadn't been for that, I’d still be able to remember her face. Maybe it would be better if I just left and never came back.

Alphonse wasn’t really paying attention to where he was going, or how far he had gone. Before long, he ran into something and crashed to the ground.

“Ow...” he moaned.

As Alphonse looked up, he was overcome with fear. He had run into the back of the Stalchild that attacked him yesterday.

The creature turned around, and after recognizing the boy that escaped its grasp yesterday, it let out that same gurgle-like screech. The Stalchild raised it’s arm up high, and swiped at Alphonse. The boy was knocked back through the air, and slammed against a tree.

Alphonse let out a quick gasp of pain before he hit the ground. He struggled to lift himself up with his arms, and noticed his forehead was bleeding. On top of that, the wind had been knocked out of him, and he was writhing in pain.

Alphonse looked up at the creature through the tears in his eyes. Its glowing red eyes were focused on the boy. It seemed like those red lights were overflowing with malice. The creature swiped at Alphonse again, but by then he’d regained his bearings, and he dove out of the way just in time.

The Stalchild’s claws dug into the ground. Alphonse looked back at the monster in a moment of hesitation, and then tried to crawl away and get back to his feet. But just as he was about to stand up, a hard, bony foot kicked his side.

Alphonse coughed up a little blood as he rolled over onto his back. Gasping for breath, he laid there stunned as the Stalchild approached him. The monster stomped down on his stomach hard, and twisted its foot.

“G-Aauugh-” Alphonse cried out in pain.

The Stalchild screeched again, and pressed down harder. Alphonse felt his world slipping away from him. If he fell unconscious because of the pain now, he’d be left defenseless, and the Stalchild would be free to tear him to shreds without any resistance. Alphonse understood this, but he couldn’t hold out. As all the lights started to fade, he thought that maybe, just maybe, things would be better if he just died here. Then he could go and be with his parents again. That’s what he thought, and he accepted this fate.

Just then, all the weight that had been pushing down on his body disappeared. He heard a loud thud on the ground nearby. Alphonse struggled to lift his head up a little to see what had happened. He peered over to his right through half-closed eyes, and saw that the Stalchild was laying sprawled out in the grass. He then turned his head to look up. And when he saw that person, his eyes widened.

Standing over him, panting, was Rena.

“I... I made it... I made it in time...” she said between gasps for air.

“R-Rena...” Alphonse coughed.

The Stalchild’s body evaporated into dust. This meant that it was dead. Rena was able to defeat it with just one kick? Just how strong was she? Alphonse thought this while Rena lifted him up a little.

“You’re okay, Alphonse. You’re going to be okay...” Rena said as she began to sob.

She hugged Alphonse tightly. Her warmth once again made Alphonse feel safe, but it also made him sad and confused, too. Even though he said those things to Rena, she still cared about him. Why? Why did she come to save him? He couldn’t understand it.

Alphonse wanted to ask her this, but all that could come out was, “Rena...”

Rena stopped hugging him, and looked at him square in the eyes.

“Listen, Alphonse. I never wanted to replace your mother. I just wanted to help you move on. I wanted you to leave that painful memory behind. I wanted to help you grow up and have a good, full life, despite what you’ve been through. That’s all I wanted. I never meant to... I wasn't trying to replace your mother. I’m sorry, Alphonse...” Rena sobbed.

Tears began to well up in Alphonse’s eyes. This whole time, he had it wrong. He thought Rena was trying to replace his mother, but he was the one who replaced her. She couldn't have gotten into his head if he didn't let her in to begin with. And he knew that he'd let her in. He felt like an idiot. He felt like he should have expected this.

Alphonse began to cry. As he sobbed, he realized something. It was okay if Rena acted like his mother. It was okay for him to love her like a mother. If he didn’t have Rena, he’d never be able to live his life. He owed Rena more than he could ever repay. And most of all, he realized that it was okay all along. It was okay for her to be important to him. It was okay for him to grow attached to her.

As he cried, he hugged Rena tightly. At long last, Alphonse could picture his real mother’s face again. He let out a single word in between his sobs...


The two of them shared this embrace for several minutes. When they finally finished crying together, Rena asked, “Can you stand?”

After wiping his eyes and thinking for a moment, Alphonse nodded. He stood up, using Rena’s arm as a support. He wobbled a little, but quickly regained his balance.

“Let’s go home.” Rena said as she stood up, too.

Alphonse smiled, and after wiping his eyes again, he said, “Yeah... Home...”

He started to walk off, but Rena grabbed his shoulder to stop him.

“Alphonse... That’s not the right way.” she told him.

“... What?” Alphonse said, confused. “Then, is it that way? ... No, this way? No... I... I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.” Alphonse said in shock.

* * *

“Everything seems fine...” Rena said after she finished wrapping a bandage around Alphonse’s head.

The two of them were back home now, in the patient room. Rena had patched up Alphonse’s injuries.

“But... Why couldn’t I figure out the right way to go? I’m usually good with direction.” Alphonse said.

“Hm...” Rena pondered. “Maybe it’s the blow to your head.” she said.

“What do you mean?’ Alphonse asked.

“Sometimes head injuries can cause brain damage.” Rena explained. “Perhaps the wound to your head caused damage to the part of your brain that deals with directional orientation...”

“You... You mean I won’t be able to figure out which direction anything is in anymore?” Alphonse asked in dismay.

“Something like that.” Rena answered.

Alphonse lowered his head in despair. He used to pride himself on never being able to get lost, but now he didn’t have that skill anymore. He felt like he wanted to have at least one thing he was good at, so he tried to think of something to replace his formerly exceptional directional orientation. Then, something clicked in his mind. He looked back up at Rena.

“Hey... You defeated that Stalchild that attacked me, right?” he asked.

“That’s right.” she told him.

“So then, you’re good at fighting?’ he asked.

“Well, I guess you could say that.” Rena said modestly.

“Then... Do you think...” Alphonse began.


“Do you think you could teach me how to fight?’ Alphonse asked, looking up at her earnestly.

Rena didn’t react for the first few moments, but before long, she broke out into laughter. Alphonse looked away from her, feeling embarrassed.

“Of course I’ll teach you!” Rena said after she finished laughing, causing Alphonse to look back at her in surprise. She was smiling at him.

“I’m sure you’d make a great swordsman someday.”​
Last edited:


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
Rena suggested. “What do you say?”
I don't know if it's just me (it probably is), but that sounds a little awkward. Wouldn't Rena say "what do you think?" to a little boy of six? 'Say' sounds, to me, like a word used for older people who have an immediate response at hand, that they don't have to search to find.

“Then... Do you think...” Alphonse bean.
Alphonse bean? Not sure if this is a typo but I don't understand that.

“Not yet, you’re not. Finish your breakfast first.” Rena commanded.
I understand this is part of Rena's personality, but I think it's rather harsh for Rena to demand Abel to stay. Sure, she tended to his wounds overnight and even bent over backwards to make him a plate of breakfast, but it sounds awkward! Disregard this if you think Rena is supposed to act like that...which you do.

After wiping his eyes and thinking for a moment, Alphonse nodded. He stood up, using Rena’s arm as a support. He wobbled a little, but quickly regained his balance. ]
This doesn't make sense to me; after getting knocked down then your stomach practically ground by bones (even without muscle), you wouldn't be able to "wobble a little but quickly regain balance", not even after the supposed 'long time' Rena and Al have been out. Al would at least hurt or complain about it, especially after "“... What?” Alphonse said, confused. “Then, is it that way? ... No, this way? No... I... I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.” Alphonse said in shock."; this kinda thing has happened to me several times all throughout my childhood. Fix plz!

“Do you think you could teach me how to fight?’ Alphonse asked, looking up at her earnestly.
Rena didn’t react for the first few moments, but before long, she broke out into laughter. Alphonse looked away from her, feeling embarrassed.
“Of course I’ll teach you!” Rena said after she finished laughing, causing Alphonse to look back at her in surprise. She was smiling at him.
“I’m sure you’d make a great swordsman someday.”
I hate this so much. I'm crying after reading this :( So ironic, so sad...why must you kill off loving people, Azure? Why?!
Crappy "critique" aside, I liked this one! Bit long, but I liked it a lot! Does Rena have brown hair and is she pretty? :>


Angel of Darkness
Staff member
ZD Legend
Jan 31, 2010
Yahtzee, Supernatural
Angel of Darkness
There were a couple of minor typo's but it was such a long read (and a good one too ;) ) I forgot what they are. One where you posted site instead of sight and another tiny one.

Okay what do I think? I love a good read so I have less critic than Vanny :P

I love Rena and how friendly and kind she is towards Alphonse. I love how Alphonse realized what he said to her about her taking his mom's place while it was in fact him replacing his mother. The story between him and Rena could be a bit bittersweet but at the same time Alphonse was still a child so yes he wouldn't react any different. About the mom thing I meant. I liked how Rena called that soldier out and how he listened. iIt showed they had respect for each other.
I like the way the flashback is going and I encourage you to continue. I like the style.

Rare Addict

Site Staff
Jun 15, 2010
United States
One aspect of this story that I had always been curious to learn more about was the early relationship between Alphonse and Rena -- so glad that you decided to explore that. Her progression from helpful stranger to motherly figure feels much more natural, now. Indeed, as Van said, knowing how things ultimately ended up just makes this chapter all the more heartbreaking.

Minor typos aside, this is another wonderful chapter, Az. Again, keep it up!

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thank you guys so much! I really appreciate your comments! ^^ Sorry it's been taking a while to put out new chapters, but I've been really busy with school, and I haven't had a lot of time to work on this story. I'll try to pick things back up again during winter break. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this chapter! Unfortunately, there isn't much that happens in this one; it's mainly for exposition, so there's a whole lot of dialogue. I hope you forgive that and enjoy the chapter! Please tell me what you think!

Just a head's up; The Fire Realm arc that's coming up next will have a bit of a detective fiction flare to it. It will be my first time trying something like that, so to those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, please don't expect too much out of it. xP Now then, please enjoy Chapter Thirty-Three!

Chapter Thirty-Three

When I opened my eyes, I was staring up at a sandstone-colored ceiling. I felt warm. After feeling around with my body, I confirmed that I was laying in a bed.

- Where am I this time?

After recounting the last two times I woke up in an unfamiliar bed after passing out, I slowly raised myself up. As I did this, I felt a jolt of pain in my gut, causing me to cringe.

“Ow...” I muttered.

“Alphonse!” a female voice suddenly shouted in excitement.

“Huh?” I started to say.


That was the first thing that came to my mind. Layla, the owner of the previous voice, had run up to me and hugged me. However, the way in which she hugged me caused her to hold my head uncomfortably close to her chest.

“L-Layla... Too close...!” I managed to squeeze out after my face flushed with color.

Layla didn’t seem to hear me though, as she hugged me tighter. “We were so worried about you. I’m so glad you woke up.” she said.

“He’s awake?!” Regret’s voice asked.

Regret, accompanied by Zelda, rushed up next to me on the opposite side of the bed Layla was on. Zelda fluttered excitedly above my head.

“Good to see you’ve woken up.” another voice said.

On the same side of the bed as Regret, Ganondorf walked forward. “Congratulations on vanquishing Acnologia.”

“Mhm...” I responded quietly.

Layla finally let go of me and backed off a little. “Yeah, you were truly amazing out there, Alphonse!” she said.

“Was I? I don’t really remember it...” I said quietly.

This was true. I couldn’t recall much of what happened. I remember feeling really drained at that point, but that was it.

We were quiet for a bit. Suddenly, Layla said something unusual.

“A-Alphonse, what happened to your eyes?” she asked.

“Huh? My eyes?” I replied in confusion.

- Is there something wrong with them? I can't see them myself...

Zelda noticed it too, and she spoke. “Hey, yeah, that’s weird!”

“Wha-what’s weird?” I asked.

“You’re eyes changed color! They aren’t gold anymore! They’re blue now!” she said.

“What?!” I exclaimed.

I looked around the room, and caught sight of a mirror on the far wall. Indeed, my eyes had changed color from gold to blue.

“That’s so weird...” I muttered to myself.

Staring at the new color of my eyes, I realized that they were the same blue as the Spirits’ magic power. After realizing that, I calmed down. I figured this probably had something to do with the powers of the Spirits, and left it at that. But thinking about the Spirits’ power made something click in my mind.

“Wait, where is my sword?” I asked.

Layla’s expression became somber, and she reached behind herself and picked up the sheathed Lokomo Sword, which had been on the hospital bed next to mine.

“Here...” she said.

I hurriedly took the sword and immediately unsheathed it. My heart sank the instant I saw that it was still broken.

“... What am I gonna do about this?” I said quietly.

The whole room went quiet for a while. However, a familiar voice broke the silence.

“I can help you with that.”​

The five of us became startled, and looked directly across the room from my bed.

“Who are you?!” Regret asked, getting into a defensive position.

Ganondorf seemed quite surprised by this person’s sudden intrusion, as well. Layla was also on edge. The only two who weren’t were Zelda and I.

“Anjean!” we exclaimed simultaneously.

- She always did seem to show up right when I need answers...

“You know this person?” Regret asked.

“Yeah. She’s one of the Lokomo, the Spirits’ servants. It’s okay, she’s on our side.” I informed him.

Layla, Regret, and Ganondorf relaxed. Now that the tension was gone, it was time to get down to business.

“Anjean, about the Lokomo Sword...” I began.

“Yes, yes. I know what you are going to ask.” she said. “Unfortunately, I do not have the power to repair it.”

This came as a huge shock. “What?! But... You’re...” I started.

“I may be a Lokomo, but I do not have enough power to fix this sword. Only the Spirits themselves or someone who possesses their sacred power can repair it.”

After mulling over this information, I came to a conclusion. “So... Then I have to fix it?” I asked.

Anjean nodded. “Yes. The Spirits are locked in battle with Malladus, so the task has to fall to you.”

“But... I’m not a blacksmith. I don’t know how to fix a sword.” I said.

“Don’t worry, there is a master blacksmith living in the Fire Realm. He is a Goron named Kagoron. With your help, he will be able to reforge the Lokomo Sword.”

This news brightened me up. Knowing it was possible was a big relief. As always, Anjean's information was a huge help. Now all we had to do was go to the Fire Realm. This would be my first time going there, so I was getting really excited.

“Um, excuse me? Anjean?” Layla asked in a small voice.

“What is it, dear? Anjean answered.

Hearing this kind reply made Layla relax a little. I guessed she was a little nervous about speaking to her.

“I was just curious... Earlier, when we were fighting Acnologia, something strange happened to Alphonse. His power seemed to skyrocket, and some of it was even passed to Regret and me, too. Also, his eyes changed color. Can you... explain any of that?” she asked.

- Oh, so that’s what she wanted to know.

I was just as curious about this as she was, and I bet Regret and Zelda were too. Anjean did not let us down.

“Of course I can, my dear. Alphonse had earned his second awakening.” she said.

“Oh, so that’s it!” Zelda exclaimed. “I remember Alphonse telling me about when he got his first awakening, and also that there were two of them.”

“He told you, eh? Well, then I’m sure he also told you that his first awakening granted him the privilege of using the Spirits’ magic instead of the Lokomo’s magic. The second awakening, on the other hand, does three things.” Anjean explained.

“Three? That’s considerably more than the first...” I observed.

“Indeed.” Anjean said. “The second awakening first grants you the ability to “lend” your power to those around you. You can temporarily give some of your power to your friends when you’re in a pinch.”

“So that’s why we could use the Spirits’ powers for a little while...” Regret muttered.

“The second thing it gives you is the Spirits’ ultimate power; a technique called Sky Shatter. This is what you used to deliver the final blow to Acnologia, Alphonse.” she continued.

“Oh, that enormous wave of energy!” Layla exclaimed. “That was really amazing.”

“Was it really? I can’t remember much of what happened...” I said.

“That’s understandable, since most of your movements were under the control of the Lokomo Sword at that time.” Anjean told me.

“Oh, so it was just like the time I got my first awakening, then...” I reminisced.

When I got my first awakening, I was bleeding to death from a wound I received in battle with Ghirahim in the Anouki’s oil mines. My conviction earned me my first awakening, and then the Lokomo Sword’s Will possessed my body in order to fight off Ghirahim. I wasn’t aware of what was going on at that time at first, either. However, I did gain recollection of what I did shortly after it was over. Maybe the reason I didn’t remember anything this time was because I passed out before my brain had the chance to process it.

While I was thinking about that, Anjean continued to speak. “Sky Shatter is an extremely powerful technique. Its power is said to have the potential to even cause the sky itself to crumble. In other words, its power might distort reality. It’s because of this incredible power that it is considered an absolute last resort. So, you cannot just use this power whenever you want. Certain conditions have to be met before you can activate it.” she explained.

“Wow, it's that powerful?” Layla mumbled in awe.

“What kind of conditions?” I asked.

“First is the amount of danger to your life. You can’t use it unless your life is in absolute grave danger. The second is a powerful emotion. You may have noticed by now, but your powers become stronger when you’re feeling a strong emotion.” Anjean explained.

She was right. I had noticed that. Whenever I feel like I want to protect someone or stop someone from doing something awful, I felt like I got stronger.

“The powers of the Spirits are fueled by emotion. And only the strongest emotion is enough to fuel Sky Shatter. You know which emotion that is, don’t you? Think about how you felt when you were fighting Acnologia.”

I did as she said. I thought back to the point before the blank in my memory. The only thing I recalled thinking about was Naomi. I only cared about her safety. I knew that if I didn’t destroy Acnologia, it would wipe out this entire world, including her. That’s why I wanted to stop Acnologia so badly.

Now that I remembered that much, what was the feeling Anjean mentioned? What emotion did I have at that time? I thought really hard on this. What kind of emotion would drive me to fight so hard?

“Ah...” I said quietly after it came to me.

- That’s it. That has to be it. Yeah, I’m sure of it.

“You know it, don’t you?” Anjean asked with a smirk.

I nodded in response to her.


Hearing this answer made Anjean’s smirk become a smile. “That’s correct. Love is the most powerful emotion in this world. Without a strong presence of love, you can’t activate Sky Shatter.”

“I see.” I said.

Love, huh? I could understand why that could be called the strongest emotion. Love was the reason I charged headfirst into a cave full of criminals, as well as why I continued to stand against Acnologia despite all the pain I was in or how useless it was. I understood now why I’d need to be feeling such a strong emotion to use a trump card like Sky Shatter.

“And finally, about your eyes...” Anjean began.

This snapped me out of my train of thought. “Yeah, how come my eyes aren’t gold anymore?” I asked.

“It is proof.” she said.

“Proof? Of what?” I asked.

“It is undeniable proof that you are the savior of this world.”

This sentence cause all five of us to perk up.

“Those blue eyes of yours... That is the Stigma of the Spirits. Eyes the same azure color of the Spirits’ sacred power. It is evidence that you alone are fit to be the Hero of Spirits, Alphonse.” Anjean said.

Her words really sunk in. Only I am fit to be the Hero of Spirits? Hearing this gave me a strange sensation. The feeling was a little hard to describe. It was like a feeling of bearing the world on your shoulders. That’s the only way I could think to describe it.

Only I could defeat Malladus. That was a huge responsibility. Malladus was supposed to be the most powerful being in this world. He was a Demon King. He’s on a higher level than Vaati and Ghirahim were. The only thing that was said to be at Malladus’s level was Acnologia. However, I had a feeling that Malladus was even stronger than Acnologia.

I once stood face to face with Malladus. It was right after I had defeated Vaati. I’d never forget the feeling I got from him back then. It was a strange chilling sensation like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Not even the feeling I got when I stood against Acnologia gave me a sensation like that. From this, I could be sure... Malladus was surely unparalleled in power.

It was my duty to defeat that monster. What’s more, I was the only person who could do it. It had to be me. Knowing this felt strange. It made me scared, but at the same time, I felt excited. It was like an immense feeling of anticipation. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait until that day came. For the first time, I actually wanted to fight Malladus.

If no one else could do it, then it was up to me. I was now more determined than ever to fight him. Before, I looked at this situation as little more than something I just had to do, and I tried not to think about it too much. But now, I was fired up. This was now something I wanted to do. I wanted to fight Malladus, and I wanted to defeat him. But, I couldn’t do it alone.

“I understand.” I said after spending all that time thinking about these things. “I understand now. I have to be the one to do this, right? So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll stand against Malladus, and I will defeat him.” I said in a powerful voice.

The people in the room around me fell quiet for a short while. I could feel a stare of admiration from some of them, but I ignored it and continued to speak.

“I’ll defeat Malladus, but I can’t do it alone.” I said.

“Hm?” Anjean asked.

“I wasn’t able to defeat Acnologia alone. It was because I had Regret and Layla by my side that I was able to win. And I have a feeling that it’ll be the same for Malladus. So, I can’t do this without their help.”

I looked back and forth between Layla and Regret.

“Can I count on you two when that time comes?” I asked them.

Both of them looked at me in shock. However, Regret broke the silence.

“Yeah! Count me in! I’ll definitely help you out! Fighting alongside you against Acnologia felt really... right. If you’re meant to fight against Malladus, then... Then I think I’m meant to fight alongside you! I swear, I’ll have your back when the time comes!” he said with a grin.

I nodded at him and grinned back. Then I turned to look at Layla.

She gazed at me quietly for a little while, but she soon sighed. “I’ve already gotten used to the crazy stuff that happens around you. So... So then, I’ll continue to stick with you until the end. I’ll fight alongside you, too!” she said.

I nodded to her too, and said, “Thanks a lot.”

She nodded in return, and smiled brightly.

“I’m gonna need your help, too.” I then said to Zelda.

Zelda seemed surprised at first, but quickly fluttered up and down excitedly. “Y-yeah! Of course! You can count on me, too! We’re partners, after all!”

“Yeah.” I said.

Anjean looked at us with a somewhat awed expression. She then said, “I’m very pleased to hear this. I’m certain the three of you will be able to greatly aid Alphonse in his final battle. I’m expecting great things from all of you.” she said.

Simultaneously, the four of us said “Yeah!” in a very enthusiastic tone.

“First, though...” I began, “... We’ll need to get my sword fixed.”

“I would like to ask you to stay here and recover first.” Ganondorf said, finally entering our conversation. “You’re still injured. Please, remain here until you’ve rested up. We’ll also be sure to throw you a big party for you before you leave.” he said with a smile.

“Ah... That last part isn’t necessary...” I said shyly.

“Hell yeah it is!” Layla snapped at me. “Come on, at least let these guys thank you before you leave!”

“... Alright, then. Fine...” I said, giving in.

“All right!” Layla exclaimed, raising her fist in the air.

- ... You just want to have a party.

“Well, now that this is all settled, I’ll be going.” Anjean said.

“Okay. Thank you for your information, Anjean. It was a great help.” I said.

“Anytime, my dear.” Anjean replied with a wink.

And with that, she disappeared in a sphere of golden light.

* * *

Two weeks later, I was finally released from the hospital, which was inside the castle. Regret and Layla were released earlier than that, since their injuries weren’t as severe as mine. That night, the huge party that Ganondorf had promised was held in the enormous dining room of the castle. A whole bunch of the townspeople were invited in, but the castle couldn’t accommodate everybody, so many people couldn’t attend. The ones who couldn't come had their own parties in the streets of Nabooru.

I sat in between Layla and Regret, and Marluxia sat next to Layla while Maika sat next to Regret. Accross from us, Larxene and Taylor sat next to Oorani and Shawn. The nine of us sat pretty near to Ganondorf, who was naturally seated at the head of the table.Zelda just floated next to me, as she always did.

The food that was served was rather exotic. There were a whole bunch of dishes I’d never heard of, and I tried all of them. They were all delicious, although I had no idea what was in them. Of course, the Gerudo specialty, Komodo Lizard meat, was also part of the feast. In fact, the main course was a giant roasted Komodo lizard, sitting on a large platter at the center of the enormous table.

While we feasted, we had some conversation. One of the topics brought up was Regret’s choice to leave Nabooru City and join up with Zelda, Layla and me.

“So... you’re really gonna leave us?” Maika asked sadly.

“Yeah... Sorry, but I wanna travel with Alphonse for a while.” Regret responded to her.

“Helping the Hero of Spirits is an honor. We’re very proud of you, Regret.” Marluxia said in a “big sister” kind of tone.

“Heh... Thanks.” Regret answered. “I’ll definitely come back, though. And when I do, you can bet I’ll be even stronger for the Fighting Festival!” he said with a grin.

“Heh. I’m looking forward to it!” Marluxia said, grinning back.

After dinner was over, we returned to our rooms. Regret went home with Maika-- they lived together, after all-- and Layla and I went back to the rooms we were lent in the castle. We stayed here for one final night. The following morning, it was time to leave.

We stood at the northern gate to the city. I had the broken Lokomo Sword sheathed and wrapped in a skinny blue duffle bag, which was strapped to my back. I was also given new clothes. I was wearing black boots and black pants, and a light gray tunic under an open trench coat of the same color. The hem of the coat hung down about halfway down the length of my thighs. Zelda was hovering by my head, as usual.

Regret and Layla were given new clothes, too. Regret had a navy blue waistcoat with white trimmings that was buttoned down to his belt. The hem of his coat reached down just a bit above his ankles. He was also wearing brown boots and gray trousers tucked into his boots.

Layla was wearing a dark colored blouse and shorts that came down to her knees. Her blouse was unbuttoned halfway down her chest, but a white undershirt covered up most of her cleavage. She was also wearing black jeans and black boots. Her lance was strapped to her back, as well.

The four of us were ready to make the trip to cross the last stretch of desert between here and the Fire Realm’s border. Marluxia, Maika, and Ganondorf himself were there to see us off. A whole crowd of Gerudo people were in the background behind them, shouting out goodbyes and wishes of luck.

“This is goodbye.” Ganondorf began. “May you have a safe journey across the desert.”

“Thank you. I hope we’ll see each other again.” I said.

“As do I. You and your friends are always welcome here.” he replied with a smile.

After that, the two of us shook hands.

“I’ll miss you, Regret!” Maika cried as she hugged Regret.

Regret’s face flushed with color in an instant, and he shyly hugged her back. I smirked at this sight, while on the other hand Layla seemed to be internally clapping for Regret.

“See you guys again someday!” Marluxia said with a somewhat bittersweet smile.

“Yeah, see you!” Layla responded.

“We’ll miss you guys!” Zelda added.


“Have a safe trip!”

“Good luck!”

“Come back again soon!”

These kinds of things were being shouted by the crowd of Gerudo people behind Marluxia, Maika, and Ganondorf. The three of them stood and waved at us as we walked off. Waving back at them, Zelda, Layla, Regret and I headed off on our journey across the desert.

“Alright!” I announced excitedly. “Here we go! To the Fire Realm!”
Last edited:


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
The five us us became startled, and looked directly across the room from my bed.
typo (meant of)

“I would like to ask you to stay her and recover first.”
typo (meant here)

Other than that, I don't have problems with this chapter at all. It's been a great read, really! Well, I do have a tiny gripe and that is this:
Layla’s expression became somber, and she reached behind herself and picked up the sheathed Lokomo Sword, which had been on the hospital bed next to mine.
Why would SHE be somber? She isn't the wielder of the blade, and she doesn't do all too much really!

Rare Addict

Site Staff
Jun 15, 2010
United States
Dude, I was seriously just about to ask you how the latest chapter had been progressing! xD In any case, I'm glad to see that Alphonse's role as the "chosen one" has pretty much been solidified. Also, kudos for delving into his perspective on the whole thing. Alphonse actually wants to fight Malladus? Respect, man.

Excellent job, as always, Az!


Oct 20, 2010
Time for another comment...

The recent 2 chapters were rather good (better than the Dragon-fight). I like them :)

Azure Sage said:
The dragon wasn't that doom-bringing or apocalyptic at all. I really expected more. A reason for this is probably that the Acnologia was defeated nearly perfectly. No "good one" died. Alphonse, Zelda and Layla are wounded and that was it.
The reason for that is because I need Regret, Layla, and Zelda for the future chapters. And it's not like I don't kill off any "good" characters. Rena and Oz died, after all.
Rena and Oz died - that's right, but I think you didn't get the point: I talked about the dragon, not about the complete story. The dragon could have burned down half of the city (Nabooru) and/or killed some of the Gerudo...

About Chapter 33:
- I noticed, that there was quite a lot of interpretation for the reader (not necessarily bad or good)
- What about making a/some little flashback/s ?
- I wonder why Anjean obviously didn't noticed that Regret is a Daemon (if he is one after all). That was a surprise for me...


Flirtatously Flirty
Aug 13, 2011
Dear God Azure

Do you realize just how ****ing epic this entire fan-fiction has been? I've been in love since the first chapter. I. Love. This. To Death. Write more, seriously I ****ing want more.


Angel of Darkness
Staff member
ZD Legend
Jan 31, 2010
Yahtzee, Supernatural
Angel of Darkness
Hey Az! That was a great chapter. I enjoyed it and I love Anjean. I could see her clearly when you descriped her. She is one of my most fav characters in ST anyway. I loved the eye color changing part. It fits the storyline. Keep up the good work :yes:

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thanks so much for all of your comments, guys! I appreciate it! I suddenly had a spark of inspiration today in school, so after Art Club was over, I came home and procrastinated my homework wrote this. I hope you enjoy the first chapter of the Fire Realm arc! The detective fiction part will come in the next chapter. I'm gonna need a lot of time to think about that part of the story, though... Either way, I hope you look forward to that, and enjoy this chapter in the meantime! :)

Chapter Thirty-Four

“Ow...” I muttered as I rubbed the top of my head, which was currently in pain.

I was sitting on the edge of a bed on the second floor of an inn. The reason my head was hurting goes back several minutes.

Around the time the sun had set, we reached the border of the Desert Realm and entered the Fire Realm. Contrary to its name, the Fire Realm isn’t actually hot. This country’s seasons are relative to its realms. The Forest Realm is spring, the Snow Realm is winter, the Ocean Realm (and the Desert Realm) is summer, and the Fire Realm is autumn.

Despite its name seeming contradictory to its climate, “Fire Realm” is actually quite appropriate. The entire realm is basically one enormous dormant volcano. In ancient times, this volcano erupted, literally covering the entire region with flames and reducing everything to ashes. The land is still scorched to this day, and as a result of the decimation the flames and lava caused, no plant life has been able to grow in this realm. In memory of this eruption, the realm was named the Fire Realm.

The volcano has never shown signs of becoming active since that eruption, and the realm became inhabited by the Goron race. The Gorons were widely renowned for their weapon crafting skills. This was actually the reason we were going to see them. As per Anjean’s instructions, I was to seek out a Goron named Kagoron so he could help me reforge the broken Lokomo Sword.

Goron City, the home of the Gorons, is located halfway up the volcano. The city was carved into the face of the mountain. All of the buildings and streets were carved out of rock. I’d heard it’s a simple yet spectacular sight. However, right now, my friends and I were quite far from our destination.

Not long after we crossed the border into the Fire Realm, we came across a small, two-story inn named The Taft Inn. It was getting late, so the four of us decided to spend the night there. And now we come to the reason my head was hurting.

I don’t know how I came up with it, but while we were checking in, I decided to tease Regret and Layla a bit. I told the man at the front desk that they were a newly-married couple and requested that they share a room tonight. That was why my head was hurting. I could still feel the impact from Layla’s revenge attack.

Oddly enough, Layla and Regret were still sharing a room. I stayed in the room right next to theirs with Zelda.

This inn was run by a husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Taft. Mr. Taft worked the front desk in the lobby, but I didn’t know what Mrs. Taft did. All of the rooms in the inn came supplied with fresh bed clothes, which were simply a pair of periwinkle sweatpants and a sweatshirt of the same color. We could change into those and bring our own clothes downstairs to be washed overnight. This was one of the services offered by this inn; serving meals to guests was another, but we arrived after dinner was over, so we missed out on that.

While I was getting changed, Zelda turned around, as usual. I always found that a little odd. We'd spent practically every waking minute together since the day we'd met, and yet, she always made a point to do this. Perhaps she was trying to be polite. I also found it odd that Zelda could actually “turn around” in the first place. The body of a Forest Fairy is basically a small sphere of solid light with four wings. I’d have thought that with a body like that, her peripheral vision would reach in all directions, but it seemed her line of sight was similar to that of a human’s, if not a little wider.

After I finished getting changed, which didn’t take very long, I gathered up my clothes in my arms and left my room, leaving Zelda behind in there. But as soon as I stepped outside of my door, Regret hit the wall across from the room next door, hard. He landed upside down with his back leaning against the wall. At the same time, the door to the room next door was slammed shut.

“What the heck happened?” I asked Regret.

“I forgot to knock...” he mumbled. His face was as red as an apple.

I needed no further explanation. It wasn’t hard to guess what had happened. Seeing that Regret was wearing the bed clothes provided by the inn, I assessed that he had gotten changed and taken his clothes down to be washed before Layla, and when he tried to return to his room, he accidentally walked in on her while she was in the middle of changing.

- Been there, done that, my friend...

That situation had happened to me three times since I met Layla. The first time was aboard her ship. I accidently walked in on her while she was changing, and she kicked me out-- literally-- and sent me flying. I landed on the deck on my back.

The second time was when we were staying in the royal castle in Nabooru City. I accidentally walked into Layla’s room while she was drying herself with her towel after getting out of the bath. I managed to close the door before she had the chance to pummel me, and she ended up taking it out on the door for a short while afterwards.

The third time, also in the royal castle in Nabooru City, she was the one who walked in on me. I was in the middle of taking a bath when she came in without any clue that I was in here. That time, however, she decided it wasn’t worth it to get mad at me anymore and said she no longer cared if I saw her naked from then on.

That’s what she said, but I always suspected that the feelings she had developed for me influenced that decision somewhat. Her feelings for me seemed to have died down though, and I was actually grateful for that since I’d already committed myself to Naomi.

Either way, should I ever accidently walk in on Layla while she’s indecent again, I would be safe from a violent response. But I wouldn’t dare take advantage of that.

Of course, I wasn’t going to tell Regret any of this. I merely gave him a sidelong look and sighed at him, and then left him there as I continued on my way downstairs.

I walked down the narrow hallway for a short distance before reaching a wide room filled with relaxing furniture. It seemed like a lounge for the guests. I had to pass through this room in order to get downstairs.

After walking down the stairs at the opposite end of the lounge room, I reached the lobby of the inn, which was where the front desk and the entrance to the inn itself were. Standing behind the front desk was Mr. Taft. The only other person around was a little girl who appeared to be around seven years old.

She had long, braided brown hair and pretty green eyes. She was wearing a white one-piece dress and socks. She was on the other side of the room from me, peering under a large, brown leather couch.

My first impression of her was “daughter of one of the guests”, but when she ran out of the lobby down a hallway with a sign above it that read “EMPLOYEES ONLY”, I changed my deduction to “daughter of the innkeepers”.

The employees only hallway was on the left side of the front desk. On the right side of the front desk was another hallway, with a sign above it that read “WASHING ROOM”. That was my destination, so I headed down that hallway. At the other end was, naturally, the washing room. Mrs. Taft was in there. That was when I realized that her duty at the inn was to wash the guests’ clothes. I wondered if she cooked the meals, too.

“Just leave them in a basket with your name, dear.” she said to me.

I nodded and walked over to a wooden table in the room. I picked out an empty wire basket and placed my clothes in it. It had a replaceable card attached to its front, and there was a pen on the table. I used that pen to neatly write my name, “Alphonse”, on the card. I then placed the basket with the other occupied ones.

I noticed that one of these occupied baskets had Regret’s name written on its respective card. Aside from his, there were four other baskets with four other names I didn’t recognize. From that, I gathered that there were four other guests staying here besides myself and my friends.

After my clothes were in a basket with my name, I left the washing room to return to my room. On my way back down the hallway, I passed by Layla. I nodded at her to acknowledge her, and she smiled in response.

Once I was back in the lobby, I noticed that the little girl from earlier was back again, peering under that same brown leather couch. It seemed to me as if she was looking for something.

“Charlotte, it’s getting late. Hurry up and go to bed.” Mr. Taft said to her.

Charlotte looked over at him and pouted cutely, and then scurried back down the employees only hallway.

“Is she your daughter?” I asked.

“Yeah. She’s always in here looking under that damn couch for her grandmother’s necklace.” Mr. Taft replied.

“Did she lose it under there?”

“No, it was stolen by a guest two weeks ago.” he answered. “She insists it’s under that couch, but I’ve looked under there myself and didn’t see anything. I don’t know what that girl is thinking...”

As Layla entered the room, Mr. Taft continued to speak.

“Since the theft, we’ve forbade guests from leaving their rooms at night. I keep watch in the second floor lounge all night just to make sure. Don’t let me catch any of you trying to sneak out!” he instructed.

Layla and I nodded in understanding and headed back upstairs to turn in for the night. On the way, I found myself becoming overwhelmingly curious about something.

“Hey, Layla.” I asked.

“Hm?” she answered, looking over at me.

“You and Regret are really still sharing a room?” I asked bluntly.

At this question, Layla gasped in an adorable manner as her face turned bright red. Her eyebrows furrowed in embarrassment as she turned away from me. All of a sudden, I found myself becoming really amused. It was rare for Layla to break away from her strict persona and show her true identity as a -- somewhat-- normal teenage girl. Now it was less of “I’m curious” and more of “I want to see Layla act this way some more”. The next question I asked, however, signed my death warrant.

“So, are you two gonna share a bed, too?”


* * *

I opened the door to my room while rubbing my cheek and mumbling angry consonants to myself. Zelda just needed one look at me to guess why I was pouting. This was expressed by her “You did something again, didn’t you?” tone of voice, as well as the one word she said:


“Ngh.” was my disgruntled response.

I walked over to the bed in my room and haphazardly tossed myself onto it, without even bothering to slip under any of the covers. Zelda sighed and floated down onto the pillow near to my head, where she gradually drifted off into sleep. Watching her in my peripheral vision, I noticed that the light emitted from her body dimmed as she fell further into sleep. This was the first time I’d noticed that. Thinking about how interesting I thought it was, I soon followed her into a state of sleep of my own.

* * *

Late that night, I awoke to find myself feeling really thirsty. I remembered that Mr. Taft said guests were forbidden from leaving their rooms at night, but I figured asking for a glass of water wouldn’t be a big deal.

After taking care to avoid waking up Zelda as I got up off my bed, I quietly left my room. With intentionally light footsteps, I walked down the hallway to the lounge room. Just as I expected, Mr. Taft was there. He was leaning back in one of the couches. Before I got the chance to explain to him why I’d left my room, he snapped at me.

“HEY! I said no leaving your room!” he barked.

“I just wanted to know if I could get a glass of water!” I retorted in a small act of desperation.

“No! Now go back to bed! Get some sleep, will ya?!” he commanded.

- ... I think you should take your own advice.

He really looked as if he would’ve nodded off to sleep had I not walked in when I did. Thinking about how he must’ve stayed up almost all night every night since the theft two weeks ago to keep an eye on the guests, I walked back to my room in defeat.

After closing the door behind myself, I sighed. I felt angry. It seemed pretty unreasonable of him to so rudely and stubbornly deny me a simple glass of water. I would have accepted a simple “no” and just gone back to bed, thinking to myself that it was too bad, but after he snapped at me like that, I wasn’t going to just let it go.

Suddenly, I felt a rebellious phase from my youth awaken deep within me.

I waited twenty minutes before walking to the window in my room. I quietly slid it open. After examining the area just outside the window, I spotted a drain pipe to my right.

- That’ll work.

After carefully climbing out the window and clinging to the drain pipe, I shimmied my way down to the ground. I left the window open so I could come back up later. I walked around the building to the front door and cautiously slipped back inside the inn.

I was now inside the lobby. It was completely empty. There was a door enclosing the stairs to the second floor at both the top and bottom of the stairs. I noticed they were typically left open during the daytime hours, but at night they were closed.

- That ought to make sure Mr. Taft doesn’t hear me down here.

I was feeling proud of myself. I was ready to go look for the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water. However, there was a problem. I knew that the only thing down the washing room hallway was the washing room itself and two restrooms. No kitchen. That must mean...

- What should I do?

I was certain that the kitchen was down the employees only hallway. But I couldn’t just walk down there. That hallway appeared to lead to the living quarters of the Taft family. I was reluctant to risk waking up Mrs. Taft or their daughter Charlotte.

Well, I had already gone to the trouble of climbing out a window and shimmying down a drain pipe just so I could get a glass of water. In fact, thinking about that actually made me feel pretty ridiculous. Well, that was to be expected. It really was pretty ridiculous. But, I’d come this far, and I wasn’t going to quit now.

After my internal pep talk was finished, I proceeded slowly and quietly across the lobby. Once I reached the threshold to the employees only hallway, I gulped nervously and started to slowly move down the hallway. As I thought about how silly it was for the Hero of Spirits to sneak around for a glass of water, a sudden voice nearly made me jump out of my skin.

“I don't think so!”

I froze up and looked around. But I didn’t see anyone. For a second there, I thought I had been caught.

“Yes, I know, but I just can’t lift it.”

The voice spoke again. It sounded like the voice of a little girl. I crept forward a little further, and around a corner, I saw a playroom with a row of stuffed animals lined up, and in front of them crouched a little girl. It was the Tafts’ daughter, Charlotte. It looked like she was talking to her toys.

“I know it’s the only way, but Papa won’t help!” she said to a teddy bear.

I took another step, and she heard me. She turned around in surprise and gasped when she saw me. I took a step back out of nervousness.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m... Alphonse.” I answered quietly. “I’m a guest.”

“Papa says guests aren’t supposed to leave their rooms.” Charlotte said innocently.

“I know. I just wanted a glass of water. Please don’t tell anybody.” I replied.

“Hmm...” Charlotte muttered while thinking about something. All of a sudden, her face lit up like a light bulb. ”Okay, Mister. I promise not to tell Papa if you help me!”

- Devious little rascal...

“Okay. What can I help you with?” I asked.

“I want you to help me find my grandmom’s necklace.” she said.

“Um... Okay.” I agreed.

- ... I’m screwed.

Mr. Taft told me that Charlotte’s necklace was stolen by a guest two weeks ago. There was no way we could possibly find it.

“I was holding a strategy meeting with my friends to try and figure out how to get to it.” she explained.

I assumed that she was referring to her stuffed animals when she mentioned her friends.

“Papa thinks the necklace got stolen, but it wasn’t. I know it. I saw it under the couch in the lobby, but I can’t get to it because I’m not strong enough to move the couch, and Papa won’t listen to me.”

- If that’s true, then this might be possible after all. I can still save myself.

Clinging onto this feeble shred of hope, I continued to talk to Charlotte about the necklace.

“Is your grandmom’s necklace really important?” I asked her.

“Yeah, it's super important. Grandmom gave it to me before she went far away.” Charlotte told me.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that “went far away” meant “passed away”. I gave my sincere condolences to the Taft family in my heart.

Suddenly, another light lit up on Charlotte’s face. “Hey, Mister, are you strong?” she asked me.

“Well... I guess I am.” I answered somewhat modestly.

“Ah! That’s great!” Charlotte said excitedly. “Strategy meeting over! Commence operation!” she said as she ran up to me. She grabbed onto my hand. “Come on, come on!” she said.

I couldn’t help but to play along, so I said “Roger” and allowed her to lead me through the hallway back into the lobby. We stopped in front of the brown leather couch.

“Is it really under there?” I asked.

“Mm-hmm.” she answered. “See for yourself!”

I knelt down and peered underneath the couch. But no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see anything that looked like a necklace.

“I don’t see it...” I said.

“It’s there! It’s really there!” Charlotte said.

She seemed to be adamant that her necklace was under there, so I continued to scan the wooden floor with me eyes. I saw a small hole in the floor beneath the couch, but that was it. Then, by complete chance, I spotted something gleam for a split second from within the hole. I squinted my eyes, and soon enough, I could see it.

There was a small nail sticking out halfway across the small hole, and dangling on the edge of that nail was a silver chain.

“I think I see it!” I said excitedly.

“See? I told you!” Charlotte said happily.

- So it really was there after all!

I didn’t know what made Mr. Taft think it was stolen, but I could understand why he didn’t believe Charlotte. That necklace was extremely hard to spot. I couldn't even imagine how Charlotte managed to spot it. I couldn’t fathom how it had fallen down there either, but if it hadn’t gotten caught on that nail, it would’ve fallen down into the building’s foundation. There’d be no getting it back after that.

I stood up and looked down at Charlotte. “Should I lift it up for you now?” I asked.

“Yeah! Go on! Lift it, lift it!” she urged me enthusiastically.

I thought she was being rather pushy, but looking at her sparkling green eyes and her adorable face made it impossible to resist going along with her.

- Little girls sure can have a lot of power over people, especially when they’re cute...

I rolled up my sleeves and crouched down in front of the couch. Placing my palms under the bottom edge of the couch, I lifted with my back, and the chair rose up. It wasn’t that heavy, surprisingly.

“Wow~! That’s awesome, Mister!” Charlotte praised as she gazed up at me with beaming eyes. “Thank you! Now I can get my grandmom’s necklace!”

Charlotte got down on her knees and positioned her face close to the hole in the floor. She put her finger through the hole and hooked it under the silver chain. Then she pulled it up out of the hole.

“Yay! I finally got it back!” Charlotte exclaimed happily.

As I set the couch back down, I gazed at the necklace. It was clear that it was crafted by a master. The chain looked to be made of pure silver, and hanging at the end of the chain was a small golden heart. It looked like it was made of pure gold. It had to be a very expensive necklace. I could see why Charlotte treasured it so dearly.

“I’m so glad I got it back!” Charlotte said as she put it around her neck. “Thank you for helping me, Mister!” she said to me. Then she shook her head as if to correct a mistake, and said “Big Brother!”.

- Big Brother, huh?

There was someone I was close to who thought of me as a big brother, as well...

After replacing “Mister” with “Big Brother”, Charlotte hugged me. “I’m gonna go to bed now. As thanks for helping me, I promise I won’t tell Mama or Papa that you broke the rules!” she said.

“Thank you. Good night!” I said as I patted her head.

Charlotte nodded and scurried off back down the employees only hallway to go to bed. I rubbed the back of my neck and smiled to myself.

- That was fun... I’m glad I got to help her.

* * *

Closing the window behind myself, I made it back inside my room after climbing back up the drain pipe. Nothing had changed; the Lokomo Sword was still in its blue duffle bag in the corner, and Zelda was still sound asleep on my pillow.

I carefully got back into bed without waking her up, and reflected on the little adventure I just had with the Tafts’ daughter, Charlotte.

- She reminded me of Saria...

I began to miss Saria. After she lost her parents when Vaati destroyed Hyleigh City, she was taken in by Rena, who had also taken me in when I lost my parents. But after Rena died, I left Saria with Naomi in Rena’s cabin.

I decided that after I got the Lokomo Sword repaired, I would definitely go back home to Rena’s cabin and visit the two of them.

After thinking about that for a little while, I realized something.

“Ah...” I said quietly.

I’d forgotten to get my glass of water.
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