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Zelda Art The Hero of Spirits

Rare Addict

Site Staff
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
United States
Another solid chapter, Az. More than anything else, I enjoyed watching the pieces of the incident (based on what they could gather) come together. Impressive work, considering that an engaging murder mystery is difficult to pull off.

Oh, and thanks for that cliffhanger. =P
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Location
Probably roleplaying
((hi Rare.))
Gadzooks--for one thing, I never say that, and for another, Az, why give us a cliffhanger and leave us? Come baaack!
(that one works every time)
(did I seriously OoC double-parenthesize that first part?)
 

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thanks so much for your comments, guys! Sorry it takes me so long to post chapters, but I'm really busy with school and other things. Anyway, it's time for Chapter Thirty-Seven! This one also filled with a lot of investigation, and being the novice at detective fiction I am, I really hope I'm doing a good job at it. I hope you enjoy this chapter! Please tell me what you think of it!






Chapter Thirty-Seven


The four of us arrived at Darunia’s residence. I was still feeling wary of accusing him, but after taking a deep breath, I entered the building. Pushing open the double doors, my friends followed behind me into the lobby. The receptionist looked up at us.

“Oh, you’re back.” he said to me. “Darunia is in his office at the top floor. You’re free to go on up now if you’d like.”

“Thank you.” I said.

The four of us walked across the lobby and reached a spiral staircase that stretched into the ceiling above our heads. In a single-file line, we ascended the stairs. We headed up two floors, and when we reached the top of the staircase, we found ourselves in a sort of waiting room.

There was comfortable-looking furniture on either side of the room, and fancy paintings hung on the walls. Across from where we entered from, there were two large, gold-lined doors. They probably led into Darunia’s office. The four of us crossed the brown carpet to the other side of the room, and I knocked on the door.

“Come in.” a voice called out from the other side.

I opened the doors, and the four of us entered, closing them behind us. Darunia was sitting at his desk, writing something on an official-looking document. Layla and Regret had already met him, but this was my first time seeing him. He certainly looked like a man in a position of power.

He looked up and recognized Layla and Regret. “Oh, you’re the two humans from earlier. You’re a little early. I was just signing this document that would rectify the creation of a task force devoted to investigating Kagoron’s death.” he said.

After he stood up, he walked around his desk and faced us directly. “May I ask who you two are?” he said to Zelda and I.

“This is Zelda, and I’m Alphonse. I’m the Hero of Spirits.” I introduced.

"Oh, I see! It’s an honor to meet you, Alphonse.” he said as he shook my hand.

“... You might have spoken a bit too soon.” I said quietly.

“Come again?” Darunia asked, puzzled.

“Darunia, we’ve been piecing together everything we could about the circumstances surrounding Kagoron’s death... And from what we could gather, your alibi doesn’t check out.” I told him.

“Excuse me?” Darunia said.

It was obvious by the tone of his voice that he was a little offended, but I couldn’t back down now. I mustered up my resolve and gave it to him straight.

“According to the information we’ve gathered, you left this building at 4:30 in the morning and arrived at Kagoron’s home at 4:50. However, it only takes ten minutes to get to Kagoron’s house from here. Kagoron was killed at 4:45, which is when we arrived at the scene. That gives the killer a 15 minute window of opportunity. We also know that Kagoron was expecting you as a guest. Based on all the facts we’ve gathered, it seems you’re the only one who could have killed Kagoron.”

I took a breath after I finished my explanation. Darunia stared at me with an enraged expression. He was visibly trembling with anger.

“You...” he began. “You’re accusing me of killing Kagoron?! He was my best friend! I would never do something like that! How dare you accuse me of murdering him?!” he shouted.

I felt myself falter for just a second, but I held my ground. “I’m only telling you what we found out.” I replied.

“Then you obviously haven’t found out enough!” he refuted. “It took me longer than normal to arrive at Kagoron’s house because I stopped on my way there to talk with someone who happened to be out on a walk! The conversation started to drag on, and before I knew it, ten minutes had passed!”

- So that’s his reason for arriving at the scene later than he should have?

“There is one Goron who is always with Kagoron; Zauz! They live in the same house! If anyone could have done it, it would be him!” Darunia continued.

“But Zauz was out shopping at the time of the murder. He was carrying a basket of ingots when he arrived at the house.” I told him.

“Let me tell you some things you clearly don’t know.” Darunia rasped. “Kagoron keeps spare ingots in his house. Zauz could have easily obtained the ingots from there! And one more thing; Zauz had a motive to kill Kagoron!”

This caught all of us by surprise. “... What?” I said in shock.

“Zauz was Kagoron’s apprentice, and while Kagoron was a person he looked up to, he was also a person he hated.” Darunia explained. “Zauz was always jealous of Kagoron’s blacksmithing skills. He hated Kagoron because of how much better he was. Kagoron told me himself that Zauz couldn’t stand the fact that he wasn’t the best! There’s your motive! There’s your killer!”

I was speechless. This new information Darunia spewed at us in a fit of rage caused me to realize that I had screwed up. I came here with no explanation for Darunia’s motive. I was aware of that, but I still came, and I still accused him. I wanted to hurry because I felt that Zauz deserved some closure. And that was a mistake. I realized now that I should have investigated more.

“... I’m sorry for accusing you.” I apologized.

Darunia merely glared at me and turned his back to me. “You were right. I did speak too soon.” he said.

Understanding the meaning behind those words, I felt a piercing sensation in the pit of my stomach.

- I thought I came prepared for this... But I guess I wasn’t prepared for it, after all...


* * *


After we left Darunia’s residence, we discussed the new information we learned.

“So it was actually Zauz who killed Kagoron... How awful. And for a stupid reason like jealousy, of all things!” Layla said.

“Zauz’s grief at his master’s death... Was that all just a facade?” Regret wondered.

“Either way, this information is valuable. Now Zauz’s alibi doesn’t check out, and he even has a motive!” Zelda said.

“...”

I remained silent. Darunia’s words kept echoing in my mind. You were right. I did speak too soon. I shook my head as if to throw that memory away, but it didn’t work.

“Alphonse?” Zelda asked.

I snapped back. “Huh? What?” I said.

“Is something wrong?” she asked me. Layla and Regret were also looking over at me with concerned expressions.

“Oh. No, nothing’s wrong. Let’s go back to Kagoron’s house. We need to talk to Zauz.” I said.


* * *


When we arrived at Kagoron’s house, Zauz wasn’t there. After we left, we asked around for his whereabouts.

“Zauz is at the graveyard at the northeast side of town. He’s burying his master’s body.” a passerby told us.

We then headed to the graveyard. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there. When we arrived, we spotted Zauz in the far corner of the cemetery, standing in front of a tombstone. We approached him.

Once again, I took a deep breath. I was sure of myself this time. I wasn’t going to make any more mistakes. I told myself that as I called out to Zauz.

“Zauz.” I said.

He turned around and faced us. “Hello. Have you come to pay respects to Master?” he asked.

“Not exactly...” I said. “We’re here because...” I began.

Suddenly, I felt a large pit emerge in my stomach again. I couldn’t bring myself to continue. Darunia’s scorn and anger made a deep impression in me. What if Zauz was innocent? He would be furious with me, too, and most likely hate me. I just couldn’t bear that thought.

Layla seemed to notice my internal strife, and she bravely took over for me. “We’re here because we want to know if you truly went out shopping last night.” she said.

“What do you mean by that?” Zauz asked.

“Well, we learned that Kagoron keeps spare ingots at his house. You were carrying ingots with you when you arrived at the scene, weren’t you?” she said.

“Yes, it’s true that Kagoron keeps spare ingots in his home, but he felt he didn’t have enough to reforge Alphonse’s sword, so he sent me out to buy more.” Zauz answered.

“How do we know the ingots you had actually came from the store?” she questioned.

Zauz was now beginning to understand the reason we came here. His face became full of rage, much like Darunia’s. “Are you trying to say that I am the one who killed Kagoron?” he shouted.

Zauz’s rage made me start to panic, and I said something sloppy before Layla had the chance to open her mouth. “No, we... We’re just saying that you could have done it... I-I mean, the thing about the ingots raises some suspicion, and there’s also the motive--”

As soon as he heard the word “motive”, Zauz cut me off in a fit of rage. “MOTIVE?! You’re suggesting that I wanted to kill Master?!” he screamed at me.

I cringed a little and said, “W-well, Darunia told us that... that you were jealous of Kagoron’s blacksmithing skills...” in a panicked voice.

“JEALOUS?! NO!” he yelled. “I respected Master for his skills! I admired him! I wanted to be just like him! Master taking me on as his apprentice was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me! I... I thought of him as my own father! I would have never killed him!”

After he finished screaming, Zauz took a few moments to catch his breath. During those few moments, my mental state was a like a whirlwind of panic. I was on the verge of collapsing. I had never been exposed to this kind of anger before.

I wasn’t used to people hating me. Sure, Ghirahim had hated me, but this was different. Unlike Ghirahim, Zauz is not an enemy. He’s not a monster or demon for me to cut down. He was someone who was supposed to be my ally. What's more, as the Hero of Spirits, I was supposed to be helping people like him. I was beginning to feel like a failure again.

“But... But...” I stuttered. “Da-Darunia told us...”

“I don’t give a damn what he told you! He’s obviously lying! Besides, do you really think I could lift Master’s body up and out of that window by myself?! I had to get help from two other Gorons in order to move his body here to be buried!” Zauz shouted.

That piercing sensation from earlier returned after I heard that. Zauz was absolutely right. He was too scrawny to be able to move Kagoron’s body. I noticed how scrawny he was when I first met him, and I even told Zelda myself that I guessed someone with a lot of physical strength was the culprit. But hearing the things Darunia told us somehow made me forget all about that.

- I... I really screwed up now...

“I...” I began.

I couldn’t get anything else out. I was scared and upset. I was upset about making so many mistakes, and I was scared of the hatred that was clearly visible in Zauz’s eyes. If that wasn't bad enough, I felt even more strongly that I was failing in my duties again.

“We’re sorry. We’re just trying to tie up any loose ends.” Regret said. “I hope you can forgive us.”

Just like Darunia, Zauz just glared at him and turned his back to us. “... Leave.” he rasped.

Layla and Regret nodded apologetically even though they knew Zauz couldn’t see them with his back turned. The two of them and Zelda began to leave the cemetery, but I just stood there. I didn’t speak. I didn’t move. I just stood there, staring at Zauz's back.

As if Zauz could feel my presence, he once again said, “Leave.”

I finally turned around and walked away. The feeling I had at that moment was like I was suffocating in a sea of resentment and failure.


* * *


The four of us sat on the edge of the big fountain in the square at the center of Goron City. We were discussing what we should do next.

“I really doubt that Zauz was faking his grief, after seeing all that.” Regret said.

“I agree with you. And the fact that Zauz isn't strong enough to lift up Kagoron pretty much eliminates him as a suspect.” Layla said.

“Now there’s just the matter of Darunia. It seems like he lied to us about Kagoron telling him that Zauz was jealous of him. Why would he lie?” Zelda wondered.

“Well, a dead man can’t defend himself. He can pretty much say whatever he wants. Kagoron is no longer around to dispute what he says.” Regret explained.

“Oh, I see! This means that Darunia killed Kagoron, doesn’t it?” Zelda asked.

“Well, nothing is conclusive right now.” Layla interjected. “Darunia told us that the reason it took him so long to get to Kagoron’s house was because he stopped to talk to someone. He didn’t tell us who that someone was, so we can’t go confirm it with that person. There’s no way to tell if Darunia was lying about his alibi or not. We'd have to go back and ask him about it again.”

“Oh. I guess that makes sense.” Zelda said.

“If Darunia lied to us about Zauz, then there’s a chance that he lied to us about his alibi, too.” Regret said. “So far, things are once again pointing to Darunia as the main suspect. I think we should go talk to him again. What do you think, Alphonse?”

I wasn’t paying attention to him. I wasn’t even looking at any of them. I was just sitting there, staring at my feet.

“Alphonse, are you listening?” Regret asked me.

I didn’t answer.

“Hey, hey, hey! Come on, this is important stuff here! Pay attention, buddy!” he complained as he jokingly patted me on the head.

I finally turned my head to look at him. The somber expression on my face told Regret that this wasn’t the time to tease me. He gave an apologetic look and inched away from me a bit. I returned my gaze to the ground.

“Alphonse, what’s wrong?” Layla asked.

After a few moments of hesitation, I answered her. “... I failed.” I said quietly.

“What do you mean you failed?” Layla asked.

“I failed. I didn’t think things through enough before I acted. And because of that, two people hate me now.” I said. "I'm the Hero of Spirits. I'm not supposed to make the people I should be protecting hate me. I'm failing them..."

“Alphonse...” Zelda said.

Layla stood up and walked over to me. She stood in front of me and knelt down so that her face was within my field of vision.

“It’s okay.” she said sweetly. “People make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over it. That isn’t like you.”

“But...” I started to say.

“Listen, it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes. That’s how people learn. We learned from our mistakes today, didn’t we?” she said encouragingly.

I thought about it for a moment. “... You’re right.” I said.

Because of what happened, we learned that Darunia was lying to us, and although we still didn’t have a motive, our case against him was reinforced.

“You see? You're not failing anyone.” Layla said with a smile. “Now keep your head up and get back to your normal self.”

The way Layla was crouching in front of me stimulated a memory. I remembered the day Rena took me in. When we first arrived at her house, I just sat on the green couch in her living room and said nothing. Rena had crouched down in front of me the same way Layla was crouching down right now. I began to feel a little better.

“Thanks, Layla. You helped cheer me up.” I said as I smiled at her.

I leaned forward and gave her a hug. This caused her face to turn bright red. “Y-you idiot! It’s not like I...” she started to say as she pushed me away. But her voice trailed off, and she ended up saying, “It... It’s nothing...” with a pout on her face.

I laughed and stood up. Thanks to Layla, I was back to my normal self. I couldn't completely brush off the feeling of failure, or how I felt about being hated, but I was no longer upset about the mistakes I had made. Just like Layla said, they helped me learn. They not only reinforced our case against Darunia, but they also reinforced my resolve.

“All right. Let’s go back and talk to Darunia again. This time, we’ll find the truth for sure.” I said.

Layla and Regret both stood up. Along with Zelda, they all nodded in agreement.

“Let’s go!” I said.

With that, the four of us headed back to Darunia’s house. But...

“Alphonse, it’s the other way!” Layla said to me.

“... Right. I knew that.” I said as I turned around and followed the others.

“Yep, he’s definitely back to his normal self...” Zelda sighed.


* * *


We were still a few blocks away from Darunia’s residence. As we walked, I began to hear a bunch of shouting.

“Huh? Is something going on?” I said.

“I dunno, but I have a bad feeling... Let’s pick up the pace.” Regret said.

The rest of us agreed with him and began to walk faster. That walk quickly turned into a run once we saw a crowd beginning to form near Darunia’s house.

“What’s going on this time?!” Layla said as we ran.

Once we arrived, I saw the receptionist from the lobby panicking in the center of the crowd.

“It’s true! It’s true! I saw it with my own eyes! They even left this note!” he shouted frantically.

“We’ve got to go after them! Call the authorities!” a voice in the crowd shouted.

“They won't get away this this! Those bastards!” another voice shouted.

I weaved my way into the center of the crowd and grabbed the receptionist’s shoulder. “What’s going on?!” I asked him.

“Oh, you’re the boy from earlier! It’s terrible! Just terrible!” the receptionist cried.

“What’s terrible? Tell me!” I asked again.

“Alphonse, look at this!” Zelda’s voice called out.

I looked to where she was indicating. The double doors leading into Darunia’s building were smashed open, and the lobby looked as if a tornado had gone through it.

“What the...” I breathed as I looked at the scene.

“What happened?!” Layla exclaimed.

“It was Bokoblins! A pack of Bokoblins!” the receptionist wailed.

I looked back at him with a surprised expression. “Bokoblins?! What did they do here?” I asked him urgently.

“There must have been twenty of them! They barged into Darunia’s building and kidnapped him! I saw them drag him off myself!” he explained in a panic.

“What?!” I gasped.

- First Kagoron is murdered and now Darunia is kidnapped? What is going on here?

“The Bokoblins left this note behind, too!” the receptionist cried.

“Let me see it!” I asked him.

He handed me the note. It was written on a small piece of parchment, and the terrible handwriting seemed to be unmistakably that of a Bokoblin’s. The note read:

“WE KILLED YOUR BLACKSMITH
NOW WE’VE TAKEN YOUR LEADER
IF YOU WANT HIM BACK ALIVE,
TELL THE HERO OF SPIRITS TO COME
TO THE FIRE TEMPLE”​
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Location
Probably roleplaying
Well, well, well. Nice job. I suspected a little ways in that they were all going the wrong way. It seems everyone's head has been injured in the detective area. :lol: Bad joke. But maybe someone else is misguiding them yet again... I'm so glad you could get the next chapter up! I didn't see any typos, either, so congrats on that. Great cliffhanger, I can't wat until teh next chapter.
I may have to... but that's not the point!
 

Rare Addict

Site Staff
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
United States
Well, at least we can close the file on that case. =P It was engaging to see that the crew, as they gathered more information, actually became more indecisive in terms of who the actual culprit was. What I particularly enjoyed, though, was seeing Alphonse go out of his way not to anger anybody. To see the toll that Darunia's rage took on him was a much-appreciated exploration of the character.

Major kudos, Az. Keep it up!
 

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thanks so much, you guys! :) Wow, I got this next chapter done a lot sooner than I expected. It's now time for Chapter Thirty-Eight! I hope you enjoy it. =D






Chapter Thirty-Eight


“Alphonse, that note...” Zelda said as she read it over my shoulder.

Layla and Regret came up on either side of me and read it for themselves. Their faces then twisted into expressions of shock.

“Alphonse... This means...” Layla began.

“Yeah...” I breathed.

Reading the note left behind by the Bokoblins lead me to a horrible realization; this really was all because of me.

I was the reason Kagoron was murdered, and I was the reason Darunia was kidnapped. Whoever was behind this was after me. They killed Kagoron to prevent him from fixing the Lokomo Sword, and they kidnapped Darunia in order to lure me out.

Realizing this made me feel guilty. I felt responsible for what happened to Kagoron. And so I decided that it was up to me to fix this mess. Even without the Lokomo Sword, I was going to save Darunia.

While I stood there thinking about that, most of the Gorons surrounding us were in a state of panic.

“We’ve got to hurry!” the receptionist freaked. “We have to find the Hero of Spirits and ask him to save Darunia!”

“Calm down!” I said to him. “I’m the Hero of Spirits. Don’t worry, I’ll save him.”

“You’re him?!” he said.

The crowd of Gorons surrounding us quieted down once they heard who I was. All of a sudden, they all got down on their knees and bowed before me, which made me really uncomfortable.

“Please. Save our leader.” the receptionist pleaded.

“Y-yeah... I just said I would...” I said bashfully, half-turning away from him.

If I were to go to the Fire Temple, it would most certainly be walking right into a trap. But it was my only option, so I had to go. However, I didn’t know anything about the Fire Temple, or even where it was located, so I decided the first thing I should do is get more information about it.

“Hey.” I said to the receptionist. “What can you tell me about the Fire Temple?”

The receptionist got back to his feet before he answered. “The Fire Temple was originally an ancient place of worship. It was where our people used to go to pray to the Spirits of Light. However, there are stories that a horrifying monster took residence there, and the temple has since been abandoned. This is ancient history, though, and no one really knows if it is true or not. But we still avoid the Fire Temple nonetheless. We wouldn’t be able to use it anymore, anyway. Our ancient ancestors, fearing that the temple might be vandalized, set all kinds of traps in it. It was no problem for them because they knew how to avoid them, but thieves were a different story. It’s said that the booby traps all still work, even today.”

After that long explanation, I had a few questions. “So, this whole thing about a monster moving into the temple is just a story?”

“Like I said, no one even knows if it was true or not. Even if there was a monster, it’d be long dead by now.” he answered.

“Okay... I take it you guys don’t know how to avoid the booby traps, do you?” I asked.

“No, unfortunately we don’t. You’ll have to be on your own for that one.” he said.

“Alright. We’ll manage.” I said nonchalantly.

Layla shot me a look that said "Quit being so relaxed about it", and I responded by sticking my tongue out at her.

“Where is the Fire Temple located?” I asked the receptionist.

“It’s located further up the mountain. Leave the city through the north gate, and follow the path. You’ll reach it within half an hour on foot.” he explained.

“Okay, thank you for the information.” I said. Then I paused for a bit, and spoke once more. “I’m gonna need a sword, though...”

“You could get one from Zauz. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to lend you one if you ask!” the receptionist said.

“Oh... Okay...” I said quietly.

- I really don’t think Zauz would be particularly happy to see me right now...

Despite what happened between us earlier, I understood that this was no time to worry about something like this.

“Let’s go back to Kagoron’s, guys.” I said.

The three of them nodded and followed after me as I weaved my way back out of the crowd.


* * *


I took a deep breath before I knocked on the door to Kagoron’s-- although it’s now Zauz’s-- house. After hearing my knocks, a voice from inside called out, “Come in.” I recognized that the voice belonged to Zauz. I took another deep breath and opened the door.

I stood in the threshold and looked inside. The room was filled with its usual clutter, and Zauz was sitting at the anvil. Once he looked over to see who it was, his plain expression turned into one of disgust.

“What do you want.” he said.

In answer to his question that didn’t sound as much like a question as it did a demand, I said, “... Will you lend me a sword?”

Zauz stood up from his seat and faced me more directly. “Come again?”

I took a few steps toward him and said, “I’m going after your master’s killer.”

Zauz’s eyes widened for a bit, but they quickly squinted back into a glare. “So you recognize that it wasn’t me.” he spat.

“Yes. I am truly sorry for suspecting you.” I said as I bowed my head to him in apology. “Please, let me borrow a sword.”

Deep inside, I had the urge to tell him that this was all my fault, that Kagoron was murdered because of me. But I remained silent and waited for his answer.

Zauz stood there and stared at me bowing to him for a short while. Without a word, I heard him begin to walk to a corner of the room. I heard his footsteps return before me, and he finally spoke.

“Here.” he said.

I raised my head and saw that he was holding out a sheathed sword in front of me.

“Take this.” he said.

For a few moments, I just stared back and forth between Zauz and the sword. I was surprised that he was actually lending me a sword. I guessed he didn’t hate me as much as I thought he did. Or, maybe it was just that his desire for Kagoron’s killer to be caught was stronger than his anger towards me.

“Thank you very much.” I said as I took the sword.

I turned my body away from his as I drew the sword from its teal green sheath. It was a beautiful rapier. It was light, and its blade was long and thin. The blade was also appeared to be somewhat translucent.

The hilt was only long enough to be gripped by one hand, and the bottom was studded with a circular emerald-colored jewel. The guard was circular, and was a lighter emerald green in color. There was an emerald gem like the one at the end of the hilt on the right side of the guard, too.

I swung the emerald rapier once, twice, three times to get a feel for it. Just by swinging it, I could tell it was mainly meant for speed and rapid strikes, unlike the Lokomo Sword which could be held with two hands and was meant for more direct and powerful attacks. I wasn’t used to using a sword of this kind, but I decided I had to make due with it.

“That sword is the strongest sword Master had ever forged. It was his pride. Use it well.” Zauz said.

I looked back at him and nodded. I sheathed the emerald rapier and thanked him again. I tried to strap it to my back, but Zauz told me it was supposed to be carried at the waist, so I strapped it at my belt instead.

While thinking of how I wasn’t used to having a sword at my waist rather than my back, I left Zauz’s house and closed the door behind me. Just before the door closed all the way, I heard Zauz say "Good luck" to me.

I faced Layla, Regret and Zelda, who had been waiting outside the entire time, and said, “Are you guys ready?”

“Yeah, definitely.” Layla said.

“Let’s go kick some Bokoblin ass and save Darunia!” Regret said as he pumped his fist into the air.

“Let’s do it!” Zelda said enthusiastically.

I nodded at them and said, “Right. Let’s go.”

The four of us then headed for the north gate of Goron City. We were ready to go to the Fire Temple and rescue Darunia. However, something was bothering me. Even though the note meant Darunia probably wasn’t involved in Kagoron’s murder, there were still some things that just didn’t seem right to me.

- Why did Darunia lie to us, and why was such a prominent warrior unable to fight off a pack of Bokoblins?


* * *


“Man, this mountain sure is tall!” Regret gaped.

It had been fifteen minutes since we left Goron City, so we were about halfway to the Fire Temple. The further up the mountain we traveled, the steeper it gradually got. While we walked there, we began talking about various things.

“Hey, is this whole Realm really just a giant volcano?” he asked.

“Yeah, it is.” I said.

“Wow, that’s incredible...”

“The view from up here is amazing...” Layla said. “You can see the entire country from up here.”

“Yeah. Although you can’t really make out anything definite. Except for those mountains way over there.” I said, pointing in the direction of the Snow Realm.

From way up here on the volcano, we could see the mountains in the Snow Realm on the horizon.

“Aren’t those the Crystal Mountains of the Snow Realm?” Layla asked.

“Yeah, that’s right.” I said.

“Man, the Snow Realm sounds really cold. I’ve lived in the Desert Realm for as long as I can remember, so I’ve never seen snow before.” Regret said.

“I’ve only seen snow once. It rarely snows in the Ocean Realm.” Layla said.

“I didn’t see it often, either. Snow was a rare sight in the Forest Realm, too. But the Snow Realm is constantly blanketed in snow.” I told them.

“I kinda wanna go there and see what it’s like...” Regret said.

“Maybe we’ll stop there once we’re done here.” I said.

“Sounds good!” Layla said.

We walked and talked like that for a while longer. However, our conversation soon came to an abrupt end. We were walking through a small mountain path with natural walls on either side of it. Without warning, Bokoblins began to pop up, one after another, above us on both sides of the small mountain pass. They jumped down and closed us in.

I habitually reached for my sword at my back, but grasping empty air made me remember the sword I was borrowing was strapped at my waist. I drew the emerald rapier from my left side and held it up in front of me. Layla drew her lance from her back, and Regret gathered his red magic power into his fists.

“Seems like they were waiting for us.” Regret observed.

“There sure are a lot of them...” Zelda said nervously.

“This many small fries is nothing.” I said.

“Let’s get ‘em already!” Layla exclaimed.

On that mark, I leapt forward and slashed through the first Bokoblin’s red body. It dropped to the ground with a splatter of blood, and its machete made a clang-ang sound as it fell to ground. Seeing their comrade slain before their eyes, the several Bokoblins positioned behind it became infuriated.

Three Bokoblins rushed at me at once. I blocked the machete strike of the first once and returned with a few quick jabs. After that one dropped dead, the other two swung their weapons down on either side of me. I dove forward, avoiding the deadly metal, and cut through two more as I rose back to my feet.

With a spinning motion, I cut through the next two as well as the two I just avoided all at once. The next group of Bokoblins began to approach me. Then, I thought of something.

- I wonder if I can channel the Spirits’ magic through this sword...

My attempted ended in failure, however, and I barely had time to guard against the next Bokoblin’s machete strike.

- I guess the Lokomo Sword really is the only weapon that can handle the Spirits’ power...

Pushing the Bokoblin away from me and cutting it down, I noticed that some of them were beginning to turn tail and run. I cut down every Bokoblin that got in my way as I chased after them. They didn’t get very far before I reached them, though.

One Bokoblin swung its machete wildly in a last desperate attempt, but it couldn’t stand up to the rapier. After slaying three more of them, I looked around. I saw that there weren’t any more on my side. I looked over to see how Regret and Layla were doing, and they were just finishing off the last one on their side, too.

After I almost habitually attempted to sheathe the rapier at my back, I put it away and walked back over to Regret and Layla.

“They must have been with the ones that kidnapped Darunia.” I said.

“Yeah, probably. They set an ambush for us before we even got to the Fire Temple like they demanded! How impatient!” Layla complained.

“Eh, they were nothing special. It’s not a big deal.” Regret said nonchalantly.

“Either way, we’re almost there. I think I can see the entrance to the Fire Temple up the mountain from here!” Zelda said.

“Let’s keep moving.” I said.

Fighting those Bokoblins with this sword confirmed that I couldn’t use the powers of the Spirits properly without the Lokomo Sword. It was disadvantageous to fight like that, but I didn’t have any choice. It was just like when I fought with Danyel at Zora Hall; I was going to have to do this without the powers of the Spirits.


* * *


At last, we stood at the entrance to the Fire Temple. It was a large, square opening in the ground built from scorched brick. Four pillars stood at each of its four corners. It was mostly dark inside the entrance, but a faint glow was visible deep inside. There appeared to be stairs leading the way into its depths.

“Is Darunia really... in a place like this?” Layla mumbled.

“Somehow... This place gives me a bad feeling...” Regret breathed.

“Alphonse, I don’t like this...” Zelda whispered to me.

I poked her lightly and said, “It’ll be fine.”

I took a couple steps forward and stopped right at the top of the stairs. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and exhaled.

“... Let’s go.” I said.

The others nodded and followed me as I descended the stairs into the Fire Temple.

Our footsteps echoed as we crept down the steep stairway through the darkness. I held my hand against the wall to maintain my balance in case I tripped. These stairs formed a tunnel that led deep into the mountain. The faint glow at the end of the tunnel gradually grew brighter as we progressed. After walking down these stairs for a while, the light finally formed a shape. Its faint orange glow became a threshold, and the four of us passed through it. Now we were inside the temple.

Looking around, I could see that this room was fairly large. It was dimly lit by a few torches on the walls on either side of the room. Across from us, there was a raised section of the floor with stairs leading up, kind of like an altar. There was a door directly across from us, on the other end of the room, past those stairs.

On the wall surrounding the door on the other side was a faded mural that covered the entire wall. It looked like it depicted the seven Spirits of Light. The artistry was phenomenal. This place really felt like a place of worship.

“Wow... That’s an amazing mural...” Regret whistled.

“It sure is.” Layla agreed. “It’s a shame the enemy is using a sacred temple full of history for such evil purposes...”

“Yeah...” Zelda sighed.

I didn’t join the conversation. I was busy staring at the mural as if I were entranced by it. This was the first time I’d seen a visual depiction of the Spirits of Light. It was almost unreal to me. The seven Spirits were painted in a faded hue of azure blue, and their bodies were in humanoid-like shapes. Surrounding their bodies appeared to be waves of sacred aura. As I stared at them, I realized something.

- ... It was them.

These benevolent beings in the mural were the ones who gave me my power and thrust this destiny upon me. They were the ones who named me the Hero of Spirits. Looking at their figures in the mural felt strange to me. Until now, it was almost as if the Spirits were some strange, unexplained force that determined my fate and directed the flow of the world. But they were more than that. They were real. They had tangible shape and form. It all felt so surreal to me.

Without really thinking, I began to walk forward towards the stairs. I wanted to get a closer look at the mural.

“Oh, wait for us, Alphonse!” Zelda called out.

She flew up to me and drifted by my side as I climbed the small staircase. Layla and Regret jogged after me and followed me up the stairs. But as soon as I reached the top of the altar, the staircase suddenly collapsed in on itself.

I quickly turned around in shock. “What?!” I gasped.

“Ahhh!” Regret and Layla cried out in unison.

The staircase collapsed down as if it were on hinges. Below it was nothing but darkness. It occurred to me that this was the true purpose of the altar. The raised floor and the staircase were a camouflage for a trap door.

- There was a booby trap in here the whole time?!

“Regret! Layla!” I screamed.

I reached out to grab their hands, but I only grasped air. Zelda and I watched helplessly as the two plummeted into the darkness below.
 
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Dang! You end with a captivating cliffhanger every time! It's nice and keeps you hanging, but be careful not to overuse it, Az :) Aside from that, great chapter! Finally, a shift back into the normal genre. And the part about the spirits was great. Also, your grammar and discretions in this chapter was better than in this comment... yeah.
 

Vanessa28

Angel of Darkness
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Great Chapters Azure :yes: I loved how the Bokoblins fooled everybody. This is a thing for them to do and I could see Darunia's face when he was accused. He was mad at Link being a child so it wasn't hard to imagine his anger. The last chapter is pretty good too! The fire Temple always has this magical feeling around it. I've no doubts Alphonse will get his friends out of trouble ;)

Keep it up!!!
 

Rare Addict

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Definitely the most adventurous, action-packed chapter in a while. It's worth noting that your description of Alphonse preparing to enter the Fire Temple gave me chills. So, props to you on that. xP Of course, I appreciate the more introspective moments most of all. That mural sequence was a nice, brief discussion of where Alphonse was at, mentally.

Keep up the excellent work, Az!
 

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
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Thanks so much for your comments, guys! It's now time for Chapter Thirty-Nine! The Fire Temple will be split into two parts; this first part follows what Regret and Layla are doing, and the next chapter will follow what Alphonse and Zelda are doing. Originally, I had planned for both parts to make up two halves of a single chapter, but when I wrote Regret and Layla's part, it ended up being as long as an entire single chapter would normally be...

I hope you guys enjoy this one! Please tell me what you think of it. :)






“Regret! Layla!” I screamed.

Calling out their names was useless. Zelda and I could only watch as the two of them plummeted into the darkness. The trap door then quickly snapped back up and closed. We were separated.

“No!” Zelda cried out. “Alphonse, what do we do?!”

I knelt on the ground at the top of the stairs with my fists clenched.

- This was my fault...

I couldn’t help but blame myself. Because I acted without thinking, I got Layla and Regret caught in a booby trap.

I stared at the stairs that separated me from my friends. There wasn’t a way I could open it, and even if there was, what was I supposed to do? Jump down into the hole after them? That wouldn’t accomplish anything.

After thinking about this, I realized that the only thing we could do was move on without them while assuring myself that they’d be fine.

I stood up and faced the worried fairy that floated by my head. “Let’s go, Zelda. We have to keep moving.”

“But what about Layla and Regret?” she replied.

“... They’ll be fine. They can take care of themselves.” I said.

Even so much as considering the thought of leaving friends behind ate away at me, but we just didn’t have a choice.

“Even if we wanted to help them, we have no way of doing that right now. This is the only thing we can do. We have to move forward.” I said.

“... I guess you’re right.” Zelda said at last. “I’m sure they’ll be okay...”

I nodded, and started to walk towards the door at the end of the room.


Chapter Thirty-Nine


“Aaaaaaaaaah!” Regret screamed as he and Layla plummeted through the darkness.

I’ve got to do something. I can’t let us die like this!

As he thought this, Regret wrapped his left arm around Layla’s body and held her close to him. At the same time, he focused his red magic power around his right hand, and pressed it hard against the wall beside him in an attempt to break their fall.

The magic around his hand prevented any damage, but he could still feel the heat from the friction. They still did not slow down.

“Come on, damn it!” Regret shouted in frustration as he focused magic power around his right foot as well.

He kicked against the wall and used his right foot as a second break. Now the two were starting to slow down.

“Regret! I can see the bottom!” Layla cried.

“Damn it, it’s not enough!” Regret breathed through gritted teeth.

He used his other foot as a third break now. The friction that was building up began to hurt him, but he couldn’t afford to remove his hand or feet from the wall. He had to slow the two of them down no matter what, or else the momentum they built up from the fall would kill them.

“Come on!” Regret shouted again.

The bottom of the pit was growing closer and closer, but they still hadn’t slowed their fall enough.

“Tch!” Regret breathed.

Just before the two of them hit the ground, Regret took a big risk. He pushed off from the wall and flipped himself over so that Layla was on top of him. At the same time, he swung his right fist back behind him as hard as he could and released the magic power he accumulated in a final attempt to break their fall.

The force from the impact succeeded in breaking their fall, however the recoil knocked the wind out of Regret. He laid on the stone floor gasping for breath with Layla resting on top of him.

Layla raised herself up off Regret a bit. “We made it! We’re alive! Wow, that was close!” she exclaimed. She raised her head up high to look up. “This pit sure is deep. I can’t believe how far down it goes. Alphonse and Zelda must be really worried about us...”

“Yeah... I bet they are...” Regret panted after finally regaining his breath.

Layla then turned her gaze down and looked at Regret. “Hey... Thanks a lot. You really saved us.”

Regret suddenly began feeling embarrassed. “N-no problem... Anyway, get off of me, will you. We need to get going.” he said in a panicked voice.

Layla got up off of Regret and pulled him to his feet. “Though you say that... How exactly are we supposed to get out of here?” she asked.

Regret rested his chin on his palm and thought for a bit as he looked around.

Surely this pit was carved out by hand, right? The people who made it would have needed a way to get back up after carving it, which means...

“There’s bound to be an exit here somewhere. If not a door of some kind, then an air shaft. The people who made this pit would have needed a way out once they finished it, and an air shaft would have been necessary in case of a cave in.” Regret explained. “Let’s look around.”

“I get it. That makes sense. I didn’t know you could be so smart, Regret!” Layla teased.

“Sh-shut up and help me look.” Regret barked with red cheeks.

After feeling around the walls for a door of some kind, Regret realized that this pit was pretty small. It seemed to be in the shape of an oval, too. As he felt around the wall, his hand brushed up against something sticking out of the wall.

“Eeeeeahh!” Layla shrieked.

“What’s wrong?” Regret asked as he turned his head around to look.

“Th-th-there are skeletons over here!” she cried out.

Indeed, there were about four or five piles of bones laying around the floor of the pit.

“Those are probably just the bodies of thieves who were caught by the trap door like us. Anyway, get over here. I think I found something.” Regret said.

Layla hurried over to Regret’s side. Regret grasped what he felt on the wall earlier, and realised it was a knob. He turned it and pushed the door it was connected to open. A dark hallway stretched out on the other side.

“Yes! A way out!” Regret exclaimed.

“Nice work! I bet we’ll be able to find our way back to Alphonse and Zelda like this!” Layla said.

“Yeah. Let’s get moving.”

The two of them entered the hallway and closed the door behind them. They walked for about thirty feet in total darkness before reaching another door. After leaving the dark hallway, they found themselves in a large, square room. A staircase wrapped around the edge of the room and seemed to travel up a few hundred feet.

“Geez, just how big is this temple? ...” Regret thought aloud.

This room was also very dark, but it was light enough to see where they were walking up the staircase.

“Man, these stairs look really old. I wonder how long it’s been since someone’s used them...” Layla wondered.

“Probably over a century, I’d bet.” Regret guessed.

“Hm... Hey, are we gonna be okay? These stairs are really old, right? I hope they don’t collapse or something.”

As if on cue, after travelling about a sixth of the way up, the two heard a crack in the stairs beneath their feet. Regret and Layla looked at each other briefly.

“Run!” they shouted at the same time as they began to sprint up the stairs.

The ancient stone steps began to crumble behind them. Their now heavier footsteps only accelerated the process.

“If we don’t make it, we’ll never be able to get back up!” Regret cried out as he ran.

The stairs were crumbling away even closer to their feet now. The two were still only a fourth of the way up.

“We’re not gonna make it!” Layla yelled.

“Tch! Screw this!” Regret shouted.

He reached back and grabbed Layla’s hand.

“H-hey! What are you-” she began to say.

Layla’s words were abruptly cut off as Regret drastically increased his speed. He copied Alphonse by gathering magic power in the soles of his feet and using it to propel himself forward. The sudden increase in speed lifted Layla off her feet. She held onto Regret’s hand with both of hers as she screamed.

Regret dashed up the stairs, cutting the corners by jumping so the momentum wouldn’t cause them to slam into the wall every time they turned. The force exerted by the magic’s propulsion took an even larger toll on the ancient stairs. They began to crumble at an even faster rate, but Regret’s speed kept the two of them safely ahead of the crumbling.

They finally reached the top of the stairs, and Regret skidded to a stop. As he did, though, Layla crashed into his back because of the momentum she built up, and the two fell to the floor.

“Ow... What’d you do that for?!” Regret moaned.

“Hey! It’s not like I crashed into you on purpose!” she protested.

“Whatever, just get off of me!”

“Hmph.” Layla pouted as she picked herself up off of Regret.

Regret got back to his feet and stretched. “Man, that sure was a close one.” he said.

“Yeah... I kinda feel bad for destroying such ancient architecture, though...” Layla said sadly.

“Eh, what’s done is done. Let’s go.” Regret said as he shrugged and began to walk.

“Hmph. You don’t understand anything about the preservation of history, do you.” she pouted.

“Well, since I don’t have much of a past, history isn’t exactly my favorite subject.” Regret retorted.

Layla suddenly felt bad. She remembered that Regret had told her and Alphonse that he had amnesia since waking up in the desert as a young boy. She started to feel like she’d said something she shouldn’t have.

“Regret...” she breathed.

“You say something?" Regret asked, turning his head to look at her.

“... No, nothing. Let’s go.” she answered.

After reaching the top of the stairs, the two were in a wide hallway with a high ceiling. It was more of a hall than a hallway. It was also fairly dark, but there were a couple of lit torches along the walls, so they could see better now. The hall seemed to stretch on for a long distance.

“How far does this go?” Layla wondered as the two of them walked through it.

She looked around, and noticed that there were what appeared to be rows and columns of small holes along both sides of the hall.

“What are those?” she whispered to herself.

Just then, the two heard a small click sound. They looked down, and saw that the floor tile beneath Regret’s right foot had sunken into the floor.

“Uh-oh... Don’t tell me this is a...” Regret began.

“... Booby trap?!” Layla finished.

The two started to sprint down the hall without even waiting to see what was going to happen, and as soon as the pressure on the floor tile from Regret’s foot was lifted, arrows started shooting out of the holes in the walls. They ran as fast as they could, barely staying ahead of the wall of arrows behind them that would shred them from both sides should they be caught up in it.

Before long, they reached the end of the hall. Bending over and panting with their hands on their knees, the two looked back. The floor of the hall was littered with hundreds of arrows.

“Oh man... I forgot all about the booby traps...” Regret said while trying to catch his breath.

“Yeah... We’d better be more careful from now on...” Layla said.

After catching their breath, the two continued on. After exiting the hall, they followed a smaller hallway for a few feet, and then up a staircase for several flights. After they reached the top, they found that there were two paths they could take; left or right.

“Which way do we go?” Layla asked.

“Beats me. I have no idea. It’s not like I built the place.” Regret replied.

“Well I was just asking.” Layla pouted.

“Let’s try going left.” Regret suggested.

The two headed toward the door on the left and opened it. After following the hallway it led into, the two came out into a bright room. The ceiling was high, and stalactites hung down from it. A wide, paved bridge stretched out across the room, over a lake of lava.

“What the... I thought this volcano was supposed to be dormant?!” Regret exclaimed.

“There’d still be lava even if it’s dormant. Dormant means it just won’t erupt.” Layla said.

“Oh...”

“There’s a danger of it going active again if we disturb the lava too much, though, so let’s be careful while we cross the bridge.”

“O-okay...” Regret gulped. He gazed across the bridge nervously, but then his eyes widened for a moment. “Hey it looks like there’s some kind of statue on the bridge.” Regret pointed out.

“What? That’s odd...” Layla said.

The two crossed the bridge and stopped at the halfway point, where the statue was. It was at least twice their size, and was shaped somewhat like an ogre that was crouching down. It had two sharp claws for fingers and toes, and on the center of its huge head was a single, large, closed eyelid.

“What an odd place for a statue...” Regret said to himself aloud.

He approached it slowly and put his face close to the closed eyelid and stared. Meanwhile, Layla was thinking hard about the bizarre statue.

Architecturally speaking, a statue placed here wouldn’t make much sense... Not to mention, this looks like a... A... Um.... What was it again? I know I’ve seen it somewhere before... Hmm...

As Layla struggled to remember where she’d seen this statue before, Regret moved his face even closer to the eyelid of the statue.

“Man, this is so weird-looking...” he said aloud.

Suddenly, the eyelid shot open, and blinked.

“Augh!” Regret screamed in surprise as he fell backwards.

“Wait, that’s it!” Layla exclaimed. “I remember now!”

The deep yellow eye of the statue had a small, black pupil in the center. It stared at Regret, and then at Layla, and then the whole statue itself began to move. It rose to its feet, and a mouth opened up beneath the eyes. The creature let out a roar that sounded like steel scraping together.

“I saw this in a book once when I was little! It’s a monster called an Eyegore!” Layla said. “I read that they disguise themselves as statues and wait for prey to approach it!”

“So this thing’s a monster?!” Regret said in a panicked voice.

The Eyegore raised its right arm up high, and swung it down towards Reget. Regret somersaulted backwards and jumped to his feet. The Eyegore’s hand crashed into the ground , and bits of rock and dust scattered in all directions.

Layla drew her lance from her back, and Regret focused his magic power into his fists.

“Let’s get him!” Regret shouted.

Regret charged the Eyegore, and jumped up to its eye level. He attempted to punch the beast in its eye, but it closed its eye before Regret’s fist made contact.

“Yeeeowww!” Regret yelped as he fell backwards from the recoil.

It’s essentially made of stone, so naturally, attacking it with a bare fist would hurt...

As Layla thought this, she rushed forward and swung her lance to protect the stunned Regret from the Eyegore’s next attack. However, the Eyegore used the hand connecting with Layla’s lance to push her aside. Layla rolled off to the side, and fell over the edge. She just barely managed to grab onto the the edge with her free hand.

“Layla!” Regret shouted.

He didn’t have time to come to her aid, though, as the Eyegore lunged at him. Regret jumped back, and prepared to attack it again. However, they Eyegore’s eye changed color from yellow to red, and an eyebeam shot out from its pupil.

“Whoa!” Regret gasped as he moved his body out of the way.

The eyebeam penetrated right through the bridge and down into the lava.

“Uh-oh... Layla said that if the lava is disturbed too much, the volcano might become active again... We’d better find a way to wrap this up, and fast...” Regret said to himself.

“Regret! I-I’m slipping!” Layla cried out.”

“Oh man...” Regret panicked.

The Eyegore fired its eyebeam at Regret again, who once again dodged it. Regret then charged forward, and focused a lot of magic power into his fists as he unleashed a gatling of punches. All that managed to accomplish was pushing the Eyegore back a few feet.

“Damn it! Why is this thing so sturdy?!” Regret moaned as he caressed his bruised hands.

“Regret! Aim for its eye!” Layla shouted as she began to lose even more of her grip.

“Easier said than done!” Regret complained as he rushed forward at the Eyegore again.

He ducked past a third eyebeam, and just as he was about to hit the eye, the eyelid shut again. Regret backed off, and tried the same thing again. Three failed attempts later, Regret’s hand was bruised to the point of bleeding, and Layla was even closer to losing her grip completely.

“Damn it! How am I supposed to...” Regret breathed.

Watching the eyebeam pierce through the stone bridge, Regret finally got an idea. He picked up a small piece of stone that was knocked loose as a result of the Eyegore’s attacks, and just as the Eyegore prepared to fire its eyebeam again, Regret threw the rock as hard as he could.

The rock hit the Eyegore in the dead center of its eye, and the beast roared in pain and staggered back. The Eyegore’s eye was now bloodshot and green, and its pupil was moving around spastically. Regret did not miss this chance.

Regret gathered magic into his fist to the point that his hand appeared as if it were ablaze, and he leapt into the air and delivered a punch directly to the Eyegore’s eye. The best roared in agony, and a strange yellow fluid spurted out from its eye. It staggered some more until it finally fell over and off the edge, into the lava.

Regret didn’t even let himself take a breath before he rushed to Layla. Just as she lost her grip and started to fall, Regret reached down and grabbed her hand.

“Phew... That was close...” Regret sighed.

“I’ll say... Come save me faster next time...” Layla jokingly complained with tears in her eyes.

Regret pulled Layla back up onto the bridge. As soon as she was back up, she hugged Regret tightly.

“Uwahh... Wh-What are you doing?!” Regret asked in a panicked voice.

“You saved me again... Thank you...” Layla said quietly.

“W-well, it’s what friends are for. N-no big deal.” Regret said as his face became bright red. “Let’s get going already...”

After Layla let go of him, Regret hurriedly stood up and began to walk towards the other end of the bridge. Layla stood up and stared at his back for a short while. She suddenly recalled what Alphonse told her when they were in the bath together back in the Gerudo’s royal palace.

She had liked Alphonse at one point, but she had to give up on him because his heart was already set on someone else. But that day in the bath, he’d kissed her forehead and told her that she’d find someone else for sure. As she thought about that, she gazed at Regret, and found herself smiling.

“Hey, are you coming?” Regret called out to her.

“Yeah, I’m coming.” Layla said with a smile as she chased after him.
 
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Rare Addict

Site Staff
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
United States
I'm not sure if you've experimented with this kind of nonlinear storytelling before, but so far, you've pulled it off really well. More than anything else in this chapter, I'm glad that you seized this opportunity to explore the relationship between Regret and Layla. I mean, if you're going to write a chapter that's entirely focused on those two, we better learn something. xP

Great job, as always, Az.
 

Ventus

Mad haters lmao
Joined
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Location
Akkala
Gender
Hylian Champion
>my friends fell in a trapdoor
>it's my fault

Oh well. I'm glad that you've finally started telling the story. I really like where this is going :)

I do have one suggestion, though. Not really asuggestion but an idea: what if you told from other than Alphonse's POV? Just for a few chapters, huh?
 

Tael

Fairy
Joined
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Location
Termina
Time for another comment...

Azure Sage said:
This one also filled with a lot of investigation, and being the novice at detective fiction I am, I really hope I'm doing a good job at it.
Yeah I see. To be honest it could have been better. The events in these chapters used to be relatively obvious:

Azure Sage (Chapter 35) said:
“Before that, though...” Malladus began, “... Why don’t you go make things interesting for Alphonse and his friends? They will arrive at Goron City soon. Give our friend there a visit. As for what you have him do... I’ll leave that up to you.” he ordered.

The Stalfos let out a short cry of compliance. Malladus sent the Stalfos to the Physical Realm with a flash of blood red aura.
I guess you revealed a bit too much here...

In Goron City:
Azure Sage (same Chapter next post) said:
I stared up in shock at the sight of Kagoron’s dead body hanging by its neck out of the window on the top floor. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t understand how something like this could have happened. [...]
“Who could have done this?!”

In Fact I think that the characters are sometimes quite naive:
Azure Sage (Chapter 36) said:
- Just what should I do?

Coming up with an answer to that question was hard. But I decided we really had no choice. This was the only lead we had to go on, and Zauz deserved an answer. We couldn’t afford to wait around for some new evidence to just magically appear.

After we finished eating, we paid for our meals and left the restaurant. We talked as we walked through the city toward Darunia’s office.

“We’re really gonna do this?” Layla asked, even though she knew the answer.

“We have to. We don’t have any other leads.” Regret said.

“Yeah, but... “ Layla said.

“Regret’s right. We don’t have a choice. If we’re wrong, we can just apologize.” I said.

“Do you really think he’ll accept an apology just like that?” Layla said.

“That’s true, but waiting around doing nothing isn’t going to help. We have to take this chance.” Zelda said.

“... I guess you’re right...” Layla conceded.

“I really don’t want to accuse him either, but it’s the only thing we can do right now.” I said. “Let’s go. We’re almost there.”

“Alright...” Layla said.

Regret and Zelda nodded.

The four of us continued on to Darunia’s office. Whether we were about to confront a killer or a grieving friend, however, was still yet to be determined.
Sorry, but it is quite obvious that this is a pretty bad idea:
If Darunia is not the killer, it is very likely that they are going to provoke/attack him.
If he really is the murderer, he could send hit-men to kill them at night or he could just act innocently.
So no matter what happens, Alphonse can only make it worse.

***
The end of chapter 38 (the first trapdoor) used to be quite cool (something more unexpected) :yes:
My thoughts when I read chapter 39:
Azure Sage said:
Layla raised herself up off Regret a bit. “We made it! We’re alive! Wow that, was close!” she exclaimed. She raised her head up high to look up. “This pit sure is deep. I can’t believe how far down it goes. Alphonse and Zelda must be really worried about us...”
huh? no lava-pits ? no lethal spikes ? I wonder why someone would build such a deep hole when other kinds of traps can be build easily.

I think it is a bit overdone that they are constantly making it just in time. The rest of the chapter was cool apart from that.:)
Oh and by the way: I agree with Rare Addict.
 

Azure Sage

March onward forever...
Staff member
ZD Legend
Comm. Coordinator
Thanks so much for your comments, guys! I appreciate them! =D It's now time for Chapter Forty. I can't believe I've made it to forty chapters now! It seems so incredible to me that I've made it this far... Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this chapter! Please tell me what you think. :)






Chapter Forty


After leaving the first room, Zelda and I walked down a narrow hallway and found ourselves in a very large room. A stone bridge stretched across its length, high above a large lake of lava. From up here, I could see two other bridges below the one Zelda and I were at now.

On the other side of the bridge we were on, there was a door. I guessed that this door would eventually lead us to the second bridge, and then from there we could go to the third, lowest bridge.

Once I began walking across the first bridge, I started to hear a bunch of squeaking and screeching.

“What is that?” I said aloud.

“Uh-oh! Fire Keese!” Zelda exclaimed. “Above us!”

I looked up and saw a group of about five burning bats hanging from the ceiling, which was really just the roof of a cave. The five Fire Keese flew down in unison and surrounded me. I drew the emerald rapier from my waist and swung at the first one.

The rapier’s blade tore through the monster’s small body and it fell. It plummeted past the bridge and down into the lava far below. The next one charged at me, but I easily side stepped out of the way. I thrusted the rapier forward through the Fire Keese. It remained impaled on the end of the blade.

The third charged at me as well, but I swung the rapier and flung the dead Fire Keese at it. The two small burning bodies crashed into each other, and both fell past the bridge and into the lava. The last two rushed at me at the same time, but they met the same fate as the first three.

I sheathed the emerald rapier without a word and continued on, followed by Zelda. We reached the other side of the bridge and passed through the door. We found ourselves in another hallway, and we followed that for several feet. Once we reached the end, we found ourselves in a stairwell.

The two of us traveled down four flights of stone steps, but once I stepped off the fourth landing, the last flight of stairs flattened into a ramp.

“Wha?!” I gasped as I began to slide down the stairs.

“Alphonse, it’s another booby trap!” Zelda shouted.

A trap door opened up at the foot of the stairs, revealing a shallow pit full of menacing spikes.

“Aaaugh!” I cried out in surprise.

Thinking quickly, I drew the rapier and thrust it down into the ground between the spikes. Using the blade to keep myself above the spikes, I managed to pole-vault myself to safety. The trap door closed soon afterwards, and the stairs returned to normal as well.

“Phew...” I sighed.

“Alphonse, be more careful!” Zelda chastised.

“Yeah, sorry.” I said as I stood up and returned the rapier to its sheath.

I brushed some dirt off my trench coat and pants before continuing on. Zelda and I were now in a hallway, and we followed it for several feet. At the end of it was another door, and after passing through it, we found ourselves on the second bridge.

I peered over the edge and saw the third bridge a couple stories below. From here, I could see it more clearly. I now noticed that there were several Bokoblins hanging around on it.

“There are Bokoblins down there.” I said.

“Do you think that means that Darunia is being held somewhere up ahead?” Zelda wondered.

“Probably. Let’s get down there and find out.”

We crossed the second bridge and went through the door on the other side. After following the hallway it led to, we found ourselves in another stairwell.

- I hope this one doesn’t have any traps like the last one...

I crept toward the first flight of stairs and descended them slowly and cautiously. Meanwhile, Zelda kept a sharp eye on all of my blind spots. We got past the first three landings without any trouble, but just like the last stairwell, the fourth landing had a trap.

“There’s a trip wire on the edge of the landing, right before the first step.” Zelda pointed out.

“I see it.” I responded.

I carefully stepped over it, and then hurriedly leapt down the rest of the steps.

“I’m glad we caught that one.” I said.

“Yeah. I kinda wonder what that one did...” Zelda said.

“Well, let’s find out.” I said nonchalantly.

I bent down and picked up a small rock from the ground, and aimed it at the trip wire.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Alphonse.” Zelda chided.

“We’re already down the stairs, so it should be safe.” I replied.

“I still don’t think it’s pretty smart to intentionally set off a booby trap.” she sighed.

“I just wanna see what happens. You said you were curious too, didn’t you?”

“I’m starting to regret verbalizing that thought...”

“What about Regret?”

“... That’s a bad joke, Alphonse.”

I responded by sticking my tongue out at her, and went back to aiming at the trip wire with the small rock.

“Alphonse, seriously, don’t--” Zelda began.

Before she could finish her sentence, I chucked the rock, and it made a perfect beeline straight to the trip wire. The wire snapped from the rock’s impact, and loud creaking could be heard from the wall on the landing. The wall suddenly retracted upward, and a boulder appeared from behind it. It quickly rolled out from where it was concealed and down the stairs, barrelling straight at us.

“Gah!" Zelda and I shouted in unison as we dove out of the way.

The boulder rolled past us and hit the wall, smashing into pieces. I sat up and stared first at the broken boulder and then at Zelda. Even though it was impossible to tell, I could have sworn she was glaring at me with a look that said ‘I told you so’.

“... Sh... Shall we go?” I asked, trying to avoid talk of what just happened.

“I have no words for you right now.” Zelda said sternly.

“Don’t those words count? ...” I sighed as I stood up.

As I stood up, I thought I heard Zelda whisper, “You reckless idiot.”

- I need to learn not to act so impulsively...

Putting that behind us, we continued on through the hallway at the bottom of the stairwell until we reached a door. We opened it and left the hallway. Now we were at the third bridge.

There were about six Bokoblins hanging around on the bridge. As soon as Zelda and I exited the door, they all turned their heads to us. They began to screech and shout battle cries as they brandished the machetes they were carrying.

I drew the rapier from my waist and held it up in front of me.

“Here they come.” Zelda said.

“Yeah.” I said.

The first Bokoblin rushed at me with a leaping strike. It leapt through the air and brought its blade down with a vertical slice. I countered it with a powerful horizontal slice that knocked it back through the air. Without missing a beat, I rushed at it and plunged the rapier through its red hide.

The Bokoblin let out a gasp as its blood spurted from the wound. It collapsed lifelessly onto the bridge, and the five remaining Bokoblins became enraged. The second Bokoblin charged straight at me, but as I prepared to counter its strike, the third rushed at me from my left. I quickly jumped back to avoid both of them.

The fourth charged at me from between the second and third. It stabbed at me with its machete, but I parried past the blade and stabbed the rapier through its body with a few quick jabs. As the fourth fell to the ground, the second and third both jumped at me like the first one had. I dipped forward so that when the second and third landed, I would be behind them. When they did land, I cut them both down with a swift horizontal slice across the backs of their necks.

The fifth and six became visibly nervous. I didn’t give them a chance to act, however. I charged at both of them and cut the fifth down with a fast stab. In the same motion, I evaded the blade of the sixth and cut across its chest with a diagonal strike. That was the last of them.

I swung the rapier to fling off the blood that dripped from its blade before I put it back in its sheath.

“Nice work.” Zelda said. “I wonder if Darunia really is up ahead...”

“I hope he is. Once we find him, we’ll be able to focus more on finding Regret and Layla.” I said. “I'm not leaving here without them. We’ll search this whole temple if we have to.”

“Alphonse...” Zelda whispered.

She could tell pretty easily that I was worried about Regret and Layla. But, you didn’t have to be good at reading people to tell that. It was written all over my face. I wanted to hurry up and find them as soon as possible, but I also had Darunia to think about.

“Let’s keep going.” I said.

Zelda nodded as she followed me.

The two of us crossed the rest of the third bridge and went through the door on the other side. Instead of the usual narrow hallway, we were in a much wider hallway this time. I took a few steps forward and looked around. There were grooves all over the walls and floors, and they all seemed to be in a kind of pattern.

“What do you think those grooves are for?” I asked Zelda.

“I don’t know. I’m willing to bet it’s another kind of booby trap, though.” she answered.

“Yeah, probably.”

“Don’t you dare set this one off on purpose, too!”

“I won’t! I won’t! Jeez.”

“Hmph.”

I looked back at the hallway again and examined all the grooves. I couldn’t examine them very well from where I was, though. I thought about getting closer to them so I could properly examine them, but then Zelda shrieked.

“Eek! Alphonse, look at that!” she squealed.

I raised my head away from the floor and looked further down the hallway. Toward the end of the hallway, a Bokoblin’s bloody body was laying in two halves on top of one of the grooves.

“Yikes.” I said. “I wonder if these grooves are some kind of blade trap...”

“If so, that could be difficult to get past...” Zelda speculated.

“Yeah...”

I took a few more steps forward, but then I felt my right foot sink in. I looked down and noticed that I had stepped on a pressure plate.

“Uh...” I began.

Suddenly, blades started rotating out of all of the grooves, rising out of one half of a groove and falling into the other half at regular intervals.

“... Whoops.” I finished.

“Alphonse!” Zelda snapped.

“Hey, I didn’t do it on purpose!” I snapped back.

“Well, what are we supposed to do now?!”

“Go through it, I guess.”

“Wh-what?! How are we gonna make it through that?!”

“By avoiding the blades. We just have to be careful so we don’t get cut.”

“That’s way too dangerous! Look, that dead Bokoblin was caught in this trap too, right? The blades weren’t moving when we arrived, which means they’ll stop at some point. We just have to wait until then!”

“We don’t have that kind of time. We won’t accomplish anything by just standing around here.”

“We won’t accomplish anything by getting ourselves sliced up here, either!”

“I can make it through this. Trust me.”

“... You know, you’re way too stubborn for your own good.” Zelda sighed at last as she gave in.

Zelda hid in my trench coat so the two of us could make it through in one go. I carefully studied the movements of the blades for a while, and once I was sure I understood their patterns of movement, I attempted to cross the hallway.

Once the first few blades were inside the grooves, I quickly rushed forward, and then stopped myself and moved my body so that the blades passed right by me. I then rushed forward again and twisted my body into a different position to avoid the next group of blades.

This little game of stop-and-go lasted several minutes. I managed to get to the other side without a scratch, even after almost tripping over the dead Bokoblin’s body.

“Phew.” I breathed. “See? Told you.” I gloated to Zelda as she came out of my trench coat.

“Nice work. Let’s keep going.” she said.

“Hmph. Don’t pretend like you weren’t impressed.” I teased.

We exited this deadly hallway through the door at the end, and then we found ourselves in a large, octagonal room. It was dimly lit by a few torches on the walls, and there was a stairway leading up at the other end. There were also several pillars throughout the room, all seeming to extend from the eight corners of the large octagonal space in the center of the room all the way to the corners of the room itself. This space in the center was darker in color than the rest of the floor, and it seemed to have the symbol of the Gorons on it.

“This room is huge...” I gaped.

“Yeah... I hope there aren’t any traps in here. Be careful.” Zelda said.

“Right.”

The two of us cautiously crossed the room. We reached the center without any trouble, but then something began to glow. A bright red light lit up behind us, and Zelda and I turned around. What greeted us wasn’t a trap, but a monster.

A Flare Dancer charged at us, leaving a small trail of fire in its wake. I just barely had time to dodge it. As I dove out of the way, its flaming body grazed the tail of my trench coat, and it caught fire.

“Waaah!” I yelped as I hurriedly threw off my trench coat.

The coat landed somewhere behind me, where it gradually began to burn. I was left with my light gray tunic.

“Damn, that was such a nice coat, too...” I complained as I drew the rapier.

“This thing must have been hiding behind one of the pillars...” Zelda guessed. “Watch out, it’s coming back!”

The fiery Flare Dancer cackled with joy and charged at me again. I brandished the rapier and charged at it as well. I dodged out of the Flare Dancer’s path at the last second and swung the blade at it with a speedy horizontal strike. However, the fire surrounding its body seemed to protect it from any damage.

The Flare Dancer cackled some more and swooped around to charge me again. I dodged out of the way and attacked again, this time aiming for its head. However, the result was the same. My attacks weren’t getting through.

“Alphonse, be careful! It’s trying something!” Zelda warned.

The Flare Dancer spun in place while holding its arms above its head. A sphere of fire began to form above it. It cackled with delight as it launched the ball of fire at me. I dove out of the way, and rushed to avoid the flames that spread out from its impact on the ground. Meanwhile, the Flare Dancer was gliding across the floor, circling around me.

“This is bad...” I said nervously.

The Flare Dancer left a trail of fire wherever it moved, and by circling around me, it effectively surrounded me with a ring of fire.

“Damn it. What am I gonna do?” I said.

- If I could use the powers of the Spirits, I could beat this thing no problem...

“It’s because of the fire surrounding its body! If only we could blow it away somehow...” Zelda cried out.

- Blow it away?

My thinking of the Spirits’ powers and Zelda’s idea of blowing the fire away stimulated a memory. I recalled the time when I was given the Lokomo Sword. After I pulled it out of the altar in the Tower of Spirits, it created a pulsation of wind that blew across the entire room.

- If I could just replicate that wind somehow...

I knew that this rapier could not support the powers of the Spirits, but if I thought if I simply gather the magic power around the blade and let it disperse, it might create a pulse of wind strong enough to put out the Flare Dancer’s flames. I decided that this was my best shot at winning.

As the Flare Dancer was busy waltzing around me, cackling with delight over its supposed victory, I raised the emerald rapier over my head, and tried focusing my magic around the blade. The air around the blade of the rapier began giving off a blue light, and this stopped the Flare Dancer in its tracks.

“Just a little more...!” I breathed.

The Flare Dancer cackled wildly, perhaps laughing at my last desperate attempt, and then began to charge at me again.

“Come on!” I said as the light around the rapier’s blade intensified.

“Alphonse, it’s coming!” Zelda shouted.

Finally, the aura that had built up around the blade dispersed, and as I had hoped, it created a fierce pulse of wind. The Flare Dancer was pushed back a few feet, and the wind blew out the ring of fire that had surrounded me. The flames covering the Flare Dancer’s body were blown out as well.

The Flare Dancer shrieked in confused fright as it attempted to retreat, but I was too fast for it. I rushed at it as fast as I could and thrusted the rapier’s blade through it’s body. I then cut through it down and to the left, and then swung the blade back up and to the right. The Flare Dancer let out one final cry as its body split into a bloody mess of charcoal-colored limbs.

“Phew.” I breathed in relief as I sheathed the rapier.

“Wow! Nice work!” Zelda exclaimed. “Now, let’s get moving. I’m sure that Darunia can’t be too much further ahead.”

“Yeah. Let’s go.” I agreed.

Before we headed to the stairs, I walked over to where I had thrown my trench coat. It was mostly burned up by now. I grimaced at the tragic loss of the coat for a moment, and then headed toward the stairs.

This battle taught me an important lesson. The Lokomo Sword wasn't what allowed me to use the powers of the Spirits; it just stored and amplified their power. There were other creative ways I could use their power, like how I focused magic power in the soles of my feet to propel myself forward in order to move faster. I had to become more flexible in the use of my powers. It could expand my capabilities in battle.

While thinking about that, Zelda and I headed to the stairs on the other side of this large octagonal room, hoping to find Darunia, as well as Regret and Layla, somewhere up ahead.
 
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