Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Place to Belong

A “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” Fan Fiction

Written By: Amari

(*Note: Every character other than Amari and Calesca has been created by and are owned by Nintendo. I only own Amari and the name Calesca. Nothing else. This story is entirely fan made.*)

~ Prologue ~

Her heart was pounding in her ears as she sprinted away from the balcony. Tears rolled heavily down her cheeks as horrific thoughts of her husband’s fate relentlessly taunted her. She shook them off and focused only on the pull of her muscles and tendons in her legs.

She held her child close, as all mothers would. Yet, regardless of the severity of the current event, the baby girl slept soundly in her mother’s arms. The young woman rounded the corner, crashing into another along the way. Fearing the Gerudo raiders had already found her, she let out a hoarse screech.

The other being clamped a hand to the woman’s mouth and sharply whispered, “Careful, Lady Calesca! They’ll hear you!” Calesca sighed through her hand and said, “Mistress Impa! Oh, thank the Gods! I was afraid that they had found me!”

“M’lady, you must be wary! Hidden as you are, they can hear the smallest of sounds!” Impa stopped and looked around the Queen. “But… where is Princess Zelda!? Is she safe!?”

“Yes, Impa. My other daughter is well. She is hidden in a small hollow near the sakura tree, the one in my garden. No one will find her there.” A loud crash of doors breaking off of their hinges rang through the empty hall, weighing on Calesca’s already heavy heart like impending doom. “There is not much time left, I fear!” she gasped, pressing her baby daughter close to her chest. “Quickly! You must get me and the child out of the castle!”

Impa’s eyes widened in surprise and fear. “But, Lady Calesca! The Gerudo are breaking down on every exit we could escape from! How do you---“
“There is no time to explain or plan, Impa! Just do it! Our lives--- nay, the world! ---depends upon our safekeeping! The child must live!” Calesca cried hysterically, shaking.

Impa paused and assessed the situation at hand. After a short moment, she sighed and nodded. “Of course, Your Majesty. I, Impa, the Shadow Sage, will see to it that this wonderful child of yours lives. I swear to it.” She bowed her head in a low but quick sweep.

Down at the other end of the hall, fast-paced footsteps raced toward them. Soon, several Gerudo soldiers found the two. “Here! They are here! Do not let them escape!” One woman cried, pointing her menacing claymore toward them.

Faster than what should have been possible, Impa grabbed her Queen’s wrist and dashed off in the direction of the stables. But, also impossibly fast, the Gerudo woman that had revealed them swung, landing a hard blow across the Queen of Hyrule’s back. Queen Calesca wailed in agony, but did not hesitate. Instead, the blow seemed to help her accelerate in speed, catching up with Impa.

By the time that they reached the stables, they had outrun the Gerudo soldiers and Calesca’s wound was bleeding profusely through her royal gown. Impa grabbed a piece of loose fabric and, in one silent pull, ripped the heavier layers off of the dress and used them to put pressure on the bleeding.

“Thank you, Mistress Impa. I trust that you will take good care of my daughter in my stead.” She gasped through the pain.

“You are very welcome, my Queen. Head to Gerudo Desert. I know of one soldier who has not been taken under Ganondorf’s control. The Spirit Sage, Nabooru, will be sure to raise her if you tell her that I sent you. Also,” Impa laid a delicate hand on Calesca’s knee. “I will watch over the child. I will watch her grow and make sure that no harm befalls her. I promise.

“You should take the Southern Bend, the one that passes over the Zora’s River. It will get you there faster and in one piece.” The two shuddered in unison, and Impa continued, “These bandages will only last that long, but you have some internal bleeding. I am afraid that your time here is done.”

Calesca closed her eyes and nodded. Always so understanding, yet always so naïve… even in the face of death. “Thank you, Mistress Impa.” She repeated. “But, where will I find Nabooru?”

“Her home is the first one that you will see on the right. I believe that---“a crash, followed by several shouts, cut her short. Calesca quickly mounted the stark white horse and coaxed it to go as fast as it could, blowing through the barricade of Gerudo women up ahead.

“The Queen! Don’t let her escape!”

“Quickly! After her, after her!”

“Someone go alert Lord Ganondorf! Quickly!”

The fierce shouts faded behind her as she sped toward the Southern Bend, clutching the baby under her cloak to shield it from Gerudo onlookers. She focused on the sounds around her to distract her from her fears that lay behind her. The mournful howl of the wind that whispered to her and gently ran its fingers through her hair, the soft thuds of the horse’s hooves beating against the earth beneath her, the menacing crackle of the fires that consumed Hyrule CastleTown… all were too clear to her in her last moments.

She dared not allow the more obvious sounds invade her mind. The dark laughter of every Gerudo as they cut down everyone in their sight, the piercing screams that would turn even the bravest of men’s faces white as a ghost, and, farther behind her, the confused wails of the young child hiding in the hollow of a sakura tree, calling desperately for her mother to hold her once again.

She would not think of that. It hurt her too much to bear.

She blinked and pulled on the reins to slow her horse as she realized that she had arrived at the Gerudo Fortress. She laughed to herself, at herself, for thinking that it would all play out slowly. Impa was right. Her time had come and Fate was desperate to get her cold, dead grasp on a soul from someone so valuable, desperate enough even to speed up her time just to get her to her final destination.

She took one last fateful glance at her youngest daughter, cradled against her chest for warmth. The child was now awake, her bright emerald eyes darting which way and that. She raised her tiny hand and touched her mother’s cheek, sensing that they would soon be parted. The way she seemed to look at her only mother, it was almost like she knew what had to be done. For the greater good.

In a way that seemed very much like defeat, the child looked away from her mother and nestled closer into the warm nest. “Yes. I know, little one. I shall miss you as well.”

“Who goes there!? Begone with you!” a very distinctive female voice called out from the blackness of the first house on the right, Nabooru’s house. A tall woman with long auburn hair tied up in a ponytail emerged from the shadows, strangely unarmed.

Calesca dismounted from her horse and, sweating and panting, limped cautiously toward her. The woman’s captivating golden eyes widened as Calesca drew closer. “Are you the one that they call Nabooru? The Spirit Sage? I need your help.” Her voice, hoarse and raspy, came out like a whisper.

The woman scowled, confusion in her liquid gold eyes. “I am she. You are Calesca, Queen of Hyrule, no?”

“Yes, I am. And I am dying because of your sorority’s raid on my home. But, I do not resent you, for Impa, my handmaid, said that I had every reason to trust you, over all Gerudo here.” She made a grimace and hunched a little.

Nabooru understood quickly and helped the dying queen into her home, setting her carefully down on the couch. But, Calesca refused and, instead, handed her the child. Nabooru glanced between the half-dead royal and her daughter, confusion distorting her features. “What---“
“She’s yours now, Sage. You will raise her as a Gerudo and will not let her think otherwise. She must remain unaware of her true self until the time is right. Never tell her that she is royalty. Never tell her who she really was and could have been. She is built and looks close enough to you that anyone could believe that she was truly yours. I have no more life to give her, so you must do it for me.”

Nabooru only stared, jaw hanging nearly ajar. She swallowed hard, but nodded and looked fondly down at the child now sleeping in her arms. When she looked back, the light left Calesca’s eyes as she chose her last words well. “I love you, little one. Live a full life, my child, my… Amari.”

Eighteen Years Later…

~ Chapter I ~

“Amari, you lazy girl! Get up before you miss your admittance ceremony!” I slowly opened my eyes, only to close them again to shield them from the bright sun over the Gerudo Fortress. I moaned and pulled the sheets over my head stubbornly, shunning the light away.

“I don’t want to get up yet! Can’t I have ten more minutes? Please?” I complained, sounding like a whiny two-year-old. Nabooru stalked around to my beside, pulled me up and smacked the back of my head. I was suddenly more alert of the summer heat. “Ouch! I’m up, I’m up! Gods, Nabooru!” I mumbled incoherently under my breath, glaring through the shocking light.

Another smack sent me into a back flip over my bed, a low crouch, and a sharp snarl ripping through my throat. Nabooru clapped her hands together and smiled, offering to help me to me feet. “Now, if only you would do that for Lord Ganondorf at the ceremony today! He would be very impressed.” I rubbed my eyes, drowsiness drifting in once more. “Ceremony? What ceremony?”

“You foolish child! How could you forget!? Your admittance ceremony? Today you are officially eighteen-years-old! And, as tradition calls for, you are to be put to an ‘all-or-nothing, life-or-death’ trial! If you pass, which you will because of my training, you will take your Oath and become an official Gerudo guard!”

I gasped. Of course! How could I forget something as important as that? I scrambled to my feet and raced to my bureau, digging out my personal set of the Gerudo Tribe’s traditional garb.

As forgetful as I was, I was a full-fledged Gerudo warrior. But, I also had some traits of the Hyrulean race in me, I guessed. My emerald eyes, my long blonde hair, and, of course, my long pointed ears. I was mostly Gerudo, though. Our strength, speed, agility, stealth, body build, style, and sun-browned skin were all common traits that me and my sisters shared.

I had always wondered how I had gotten those traits. Nabooru, sometimes known to me as “Sensei Nabooru” or just “Sensei”, told me that sometimes Gerudo women get together with Hylian men to expand our tribe until the next Gerudo king is born. Several other girls, she had told me, had Hylian fathers and Gerudo mothers.

But, her lie had one major flaw. I had met every one of those girls and one could never tell that they had Hyrulean blood in them. I was the only one who was the most obvious. Luckily, no one ever pointed it out.

Once I found my traditional clothes, I paused briefly. Then, I turned sharply toward Nabooru and said, “I would like a little privacy, please! Thank you.” She rolled her eyes and stepped out of my room, closing the curtain behind her. I quickly replaced my spaghetti-strap blouse and shorts with a short tubetop that wrapped snuggly around my bosom and baggy pants.

I carefully but quickly pulled on my pants and slippers. I slipped over to my jewelry case and fastened my onyx gem to my hair. Pushing my wrists through some bracelets as I fastened my necklace around my neck, I snatched my comb and brushed my hair until it was smooth and silky. With a few quick twists through a sage-green hair band, I dashed out of the house to catch up with my sorority as they headed toward the arena. I counted about thirteen girls until I found my friend, Haru. I gave her a quick hug and feel into an even pace beside her.

Even though we were taught to not be emotional, Haru and I couldn’t help ourselves. So, sure enough, we giggled nervously as we followed our group to our final test. I goodbye to Nabooru and began building up some easy conversation with Haru.

“Oh, man, am I nervous! I have butterflies in my stomach!” Haru’s sweet voice chimed like a bell when she talked to someone she trusted. But, whenever she need to, her voice could grow deep and frightening around enemies. She had the trademark Gerudo hair and eyes (bright auburn hair, golden eyes), but her style was very unique. It made me feel less strange.

Her hair was curly, which was unusual compared to the normal Gerudo hair that was always straight, and her eyes were very large, which was also unusual. Her kind and gentle nature towards animals and the other races of Hyrule made her an interesting person to talk to, which many of us did.

She made a good shoulder-to-cry-on, too. Whenever one of the Gerudo novices couldn’t control her emotions anymore, they would come and talk about it with Haru and me (Haru usually had her arms full of crying children, so I had to be there to get her stuff). I’d had a few breakdowns of my own before, so I was included in that.

I nodded and hid my hands, which were shaking from excitement and nervousness. “I wonder what the test will be like… will we all have the same ones? Do we have to fight or perform? Will it be against each other or---“

I held up a hand to silence her. “Whoa, Haru! Slow down! I only know as much as you do! Plus, it you keep talking that fast, your face will turn purple.” But, chagrin decided otherwise and turned her cheeks red, as opposed to the concerning purple it had been a moment ago.

I noticed instantly when the front row of our sector slowed to stop, so I halted myself as well as Haru. As usual, it took her only a second to catch on. “We’re here.” She whispered, shaking. I gave her a quick, one-armed hug and whispered, “It will be okay. Remember, our sector trained under Nabooru, and she’s Lord Ganon’s second-in-command! Part of the best of the best! We’ll blow them all away.” I spoke those words with childish pride, for something inside of me brought up the memory of the day that Nabooru herself pulled me aside to tell me about the test.

“This test will not be like any other that you have experienced. It will be the toughest, longest, and most life-threatening of them all. Many Gerudo have died trying to pass this test. You’ve seen my scar! That scar of mine is a reminder of how I could have lost my life that day. No amount of training can prepare you. The test is an illusion of the mind.” She whispered, keeping the volume low so no others could hear.

“So, does that mean that it’s not real?” I asked, sincerely curious.

“Oh, yes! It is very much as real as you and me, but… I can’t say anything more. I have already said too much. But, know this, Amari. The test is different for every sector, every person. About three out of every twenty-eight Gerudo who go in there come back out alive! You must be very careful. Trust no one but yourself.”

I blinked, confused. “Not even Haru? But, she’s my best friend!”
“Not even Haru. My best friend Galion and I went in there together, hoping that we would be the last and win together. But, about halfway through the fight, she---“

“And now, Sector G4 will attempt to pass the test. Sector G4, you may now enter the arena.” Nabooru’s excitement shone in her voice as she called us forward. I gulped and hoped that we would all pass with flying colors.

~ Chapter II ~

The moment that our sector entered the arena, the crowd (our whole tribe, rather) erupted into applause. Events such as these caused an excited uproar and literately everyone showed up just to watch. This particular event, however, occurred annually every eighteen years. At that age, we were considered to be “of age” and were able to attempt this test. Those who failed were usually disposed of during the test, falling victim to her sisters’ blades.

My concern must have shown on my face, because Haru gently squeezed my hand as we approached the Leader’s Box. Sitting closest to the edge and in the dead center in an elegant chair that would only belong to royalty, Lord Ganondorf impatiently tapped his fingers together.

He, then, rose and held up his hands, quickly silencing the crowd. Our sector crouched low and bowed, crossing one arm over our chests. From what I could see, I was the one that bowed the lowest. “Rise, Sector G4. I congratulate you. You have done well and worked hard to get here.” His booming voice made Haru flinch as we stood. But, regardless, she never took her eyes off of him.

“My second-in-command, Nabooru, has told me much about each of you.” He gestured to his left, where Nabooru now sat. She nodded and sent a quick wink my way. Lord Ganondorf caught it and traced it back to me. His sinister gold eyes appraised me for only a moment and he soon continued. “You all have a certain department of skill in which you are the most skillful, as well certain heightened senses that help you in that area. I know of those skills and I will be putting them to the test… this test.

“Today, we will be setting up a replica of the Spirit Temple. Your task is simple. You must find this pendant-“he held up a small necklace which was embedded with tiny emeralds. “-and make it out alive. You are all each other’s enemies and no one can be trusted. But, there is one little catch. Whoever has the pendant must kill off all of her teammates before the door closes.

“Once you exit the temple replica with the pendant and all of your teammates are disposed of, you win. The prize will be decided at the end of the test. You have thirty minutes to say your goodbyes while we set up because once you enter that replica, there is no turning back. Your lives depend upon your decisions. Choose carefully. I will call for you when we are ready.”

On the exterior, I was relatively calm and agreeable. On the interior, I was screaming against this. I didn’t want to have my sisters cut down by my own blade! Especially Haru, my long-time childhood friend. But, I was curious to find out what that prize was and my competitive side took over. I wanted it. I wanted it so much that I dismissed any resentment I felt toward my test. I would win at all costs.

We bowed once more and entered a small conference room. As soon as the doors closed behind us, several of us either broke down in tears or hugged the closest sister to them. I sat down on a bench and let my head fall into my hands. Haru sat beside me and patted my back. “It’s gonna be okay, Amari.” She cooed, hugging me as my tears spilled over my cheeks. I never sobbed, though.

“I don’t want any of you to die! I love you all too much! I won’t do it! I’ll forfeit, if it will keep some of you alive!” I wailed. Several heads turned to me all at once, eyes wide with shock. “Amari, don’t say that! We all need you! You are our best fighter here!” one girl said.

“Yeah! We wouldn’t have been able to learn the Kaitengiri Sandstorm move if it weren’t for you! We are worthless without you!” said another, laying a hand on my shoulder.

“Plus, who was there to tell us to keep going when we gave up?” Haru questioned. I lifted my head to wipe away my tears. “I guess that was me.” I whispered.

“Who was there to tell us what to do when we were confused about something!?”


“And just who was there to help the nurses heal our wounds from practice!? Tell me who!”

“Me!” I cried, feeling more confident. Haru nodded and clapped a hand to my shoulder. “See? You are the strongest, the fastest, and the smartest out of all of us! You’ll totally win!” With her last words, my confidence faltered.

“But, if I win… I’ll have to kill you all. I wouldn’t be able to deal with it…” my voice trailed off as more tears filled my eyes. My tears, as well as my respiratory system, was cut off as my entire squad gathered around me in a group hug. “We all love you, Amari, as much as we love each other. Sorority G4 forever, right?” Haru whispered.

Several murmurs of agreement spread like wildfire through our sector. “Can’t… breathe…!” I gasped, coughing theatrically. We all laughed and broke apart into a circular formation. I placed my hand in front of me, smirking. “C’mon, girls! Let’s go do this thing!”

Many girls nodded and some cheered. One by one, hands plied on top of mine from all directions. “On three! One… two… three!”

“Sorority G4 go!” we all shouted in unison. We laughed once again and a few high-fived each other. “I’m going to miss you all, if I live.” The youngest girl muttered, hugging her older sister (her biological one). We all replied with something similar to that for a few moments, until the doors swung open. We all turned to find Nabooru motioning us to go out. “We are ready for you. You are all prepared, no?” We all nodded. She smiled regretfully to each of us as we passed her.

I assumed that when Lord Ganon had said “replica”, he had meant a smaller one. Instead, it was more like they had moved the whole temple itself. I swallowed hard and glanced back at Nabooru, who gave me a quick thumbs-up. We were each separated so that we each had one entrance to go through. The Spirit Temple was really like a big maze, so we were going to be searching for a while.

I closed my eyes to slow my breathing, switching into my battle mode. I tensed into a battle pose, arming myself with my twin scimitars, glaring at the darkness before me. “On my mark!” Lord Ganon’s voice echoed from behind me and into the halls of the replica. After a short pause, he called, “Go!” I sprinted into the darkness, preparing to cut down the first person I saw for that pendant.

I soon came to the main entrance of the replica. Instantly, I climbed the wall to hide in the top corner that was shrouded by shadows. I waited and watched for any sign of movement. Soon, light footsteps came from the hall that came from my entrance. I narrowed my eyes, coiling my muscles as I prepared to pounce. When I saw that it was Haru who rounded the corner, it did not make me hesitate.

I launched myself from the corner silently, points of my blades aiming for her heart. But, I quickly changed my path. I landed on the edges of my blades and kicked my legs over my head, jabbing them right into her gut. Caught off-guard, she released her longsword as she flew across the room, crashing into some pots.

I didn’t waste a single second; I dashed forward and, in one sweeping blow, guided my swords to her throat. She didn’t even have enough time to open her mouth to scream before a fountain of her blood came spurting out of the place where her veins had split. I was already prepared, though. I had already numbed my emotions, so her gruesome demise had no impact on me.

I simply smiled triumphantly and licked a little of her blood off of my hand. But, a small glint from the reflected sunlight that peeked through the roof caught my eye. I reached down and pulled out of one of the broken pots… the pendant. My smile grew wider as I realized that the Goddess of Fortune was, indeed, smiling down upon me. I swiftly stuffed it into my pocket. Adrenaline pumped white-hot through my veins. Victory from finding the pendant and thrill from killing sped me up as I searched out my remaining targets.

I found about five huddled together, planning out areas to search for my prize. I sneered, noticing that these girls were the ones who were easily frightened. They would be easy kill. I laughed menacingly as I hid in the shadows. A few jumped, one actually shrieked. I sidled around them until I was behind them. I, once again, launched myself toward them. I lunged, stabbing the scimitars into the backs of the first girls’ heads. When they collapsed, I could see that their eyes had rolled back into their heads.

Dark crimson pools quickly spread themselves across the floor, bleeding from the wounds and the girls’ mouths and nostrils. The other three, who were not paying attention, had just turned to see me. I was covered in human blood, my sisters’ blood. My clothes were barely green anymore, my skin was painted crimson and brown in some places. My entire left side of my face was dripping with blood, making me seem more intimidating than I should have been.

I sneered again and stabbed forward, quickly clashing blades with the tallest girl, whose name I believe was Kilala. She grimaced as she slid backwards, clearly over come by my strength. Her eyes quickly flickered to her other two sisters behind her, which was a large vulnerability. “Run! Find the pendant!” she screamed, wincing as her knees buckled under pressure. I laughed maniacally, the lust to kill driving me hysterical.

Without even breaking stride, I reached into my pocket and dangled the prized necklace in front of them. They each gasped in disbelief. “No! How did you get it before us!?” Kilala cried as I shoved it back into my pocket. “Does it matter? You shall die, either way.” My voice, sinister from the dark desire for blood, made each of them shudder in unison.

I cackled once again and screamed wordlessly as Kilala met Death by her own creation, the Kaitengiri Sandstorm. I began to spin faster and faster, causing a sandy tornado to form around us. She covered her eyes, flinching away. I smirked and finished it all off with a simple Kaitengiri. As I span in synchronization with the storm, I drew closer to the poor girl, slicing deeper and deeper into her until she was only a dismembered corpse.

I stopped, the sand falling around us. Once the other two had clear sight of the scene, they gasped. One gagged and fell to her knees, too sick to stand. The other cursed at me and said, “You’re sick! This is all just a game to you! And to think that I felt sorry for you earlier!” she screeched, crying now.

“Humph. How petty. I thought that this would be exciting, for I expected a little challenge out of at least one of you. What a waste of my time.” I sighed, turned, and walked away. The girl growled at my back. “You think that you’ll win? You may have the pendant, but I can pry it from your cold, dead hands!” her voice raised in volume as I drew farther away from her. I stopped, peeking over my shoulder.

“Is that a challenge, little one? You dare take me on?” I turned to face her full on, assuming a battle stance. “Very well then. Show me that you have what it takes to impress Lord Ganon, child, or die trying.” She nodded, arming herself with some throwing knives. The other girl beside her grabbed her ankle, shaking her head in protest.

“No, Sissy! Don’t do it! She’ll kill you!” tears silently streaked down her cheeks as she spoke, her delicate hands shaking. The other just shook her head, never taking her eyes off of me. “I have to. You know that I never turn down a chance to prove myself to anyone. Never! I won’t back down!”

“And that, foolish girl, will be your own undoing!” I cried, lunging toward her. The sharp, metallic ring of our blades colliding echoed throughout the chamber. Almost like a signal, the remaining six from our sorority came bounding from all directions. The girl who was now locked in a chance with me never turned, but called out, “Amari has the pendant! Get her! Quickly!”

A few girls that I was close to (Chika, Kagome, and Miku) stared wide-eyed at the blood that swamped every square inch of my flesh. “Oh, my.” Miku whispered, getting nauseous.

“Amari, what have you done!? What happened to ‘I won’t do it’?” Chika wailed, appalled.

Kagome said nothing, for her eyes rolled back into her head as she fainted. “I am doing what has to be done in order to survive.” I replied, pressing down harder on the girl before me. She grunted, pulled away, and swung wildly at me. I ducked around her and sliced across her back, quickly stabbing my blade into that same wound. She screamed in agony, dropping her only means of defense. I twisted my blade around in a full, circular motion and pull, slicing her clean in half.

Her blood spurted out onto everyone in the room, causing the younger one to vomit. The others just groaned in disgust. I smiled, launching myself at the nearest opponent I saw. The child barely had time to look up before she fell backwards, blood pulsing profusely from the hole where her heart once was whole.

Kagome and Chika both came at me, Chika with her large boomerang and Kagome with her heavy glaive. Chika threw her weapon at Kagome, who launched herself off of it. She held her glaive close behind her, poised to kill. I simply smirked and dug my own blades into her side, sending her flying to the side.

“Well, it’s about time I got to have a real workout! I’ve been bored to tears since the beginning!” I cackled, piercing Kagome’s gut with enough force to take down a brick wall. She died swiftly, tears in her eyes. Chika, enraged by her death, screamed wordlessly at me and, leaving her boomerang behind, clawed at me with bared teeth.

“Now, that’s more like it! How fun!” I cried, easily slicing Chika’s throat open. Gasping, she fell to her death. Miku and the other three girls came at me from all sides, each armed with some sort of deadly weapon far more impressive than my own. I quickly disposed of the other three and disarmed Miku by maiming her.

She gasped for breath, clutching at the shoulder where her right arm once was. I pointed one of my scimitars at her throat, sneering heartlessly at her. “Give up, Miku. Let go of your naïve hope. You can see that this would happen sooner or later. Shall I kill you quickly or make you suffer?” I asked, chuckling darkly.

“I don’t understand, Amari. How could you be like this? This isn’t you, this is a beast from the darkest depths of the Underworld. Wake up! Find yourself once more! You were always so nice. You would never do anything to hurt us, physically or emotionally. Where did you come from? Return Amari to herself, you heartless wretch!” she wailed, eyes filled with fear.

“Heh. You fool. I am Amari. I have not changed. You are just afraid of a little competition.”

“No, you are not! I have never seen this side of you before! Repent, dark beast! Return to the black hole you came from! I---“ she paused, staring up at me with what could only be described as pity. Once feeling returned to my face, I could feel the hot tears that washed the blood from my cheeks. “Do you not think that I resent having to kill you all? I have no choice. It’s my life or yours, Miku. I bound by his laws, as are you. Just don’t hate me.”

Miku paused, sighed, and nodded. “I understand, Amari. Besides, I would be of no use to Lord Ganondorf. You are far more valuable than any of the rest of us could ever have been. I am ready. Do it.” She closed her eyes and laid her head back, being the first to welcome Death’s cold embrace. My competitive side returned, replacing my more compassionate and friendly side, enabling my to more easily dig my sword into her heart.

She did not scream or flinch. It was over quickly, her blood spilling endlessly onto the floor. I gently closed her eyes and returned my swords to their scabbard. My fierce side, the one that only appeared when I was in the midst of battle, faded away quickly. I returned to my true senses, cautiously taking in the lifeless bodies around me. Eleven gold eyes, staring blankly into the abyss of death, held no light of life in them.

How could I so mindlessly dispatch these souls, the souls of my family, the souls of people who had done everything but harm me in any way, I wondered. What kind of monster was I? I had no time to answer, for a deep rumble groaned as the replica’s doors began to seal themselves. I was almost out of time. I sprinted off to the closest door, grasping the pendant in one hand, and swiftly slid under the door in time to escape. I stood, brushing the sand off of me.

Then, I noticed that the entire audience was on the edge of their seats, waiting to see if I found the pendant or if I had just made off without it. I grinned proudly and lifted it over my head, panting heavily. I swooned slightly, but did not falter. The crowd, more thrilled than ever before, stood and exploded into cheers and hoots and whistling. Off to my right, Nabooru was jumping for joy, screaming, “Yes! YES! I told you, I knew she would make it! I knew it!”

I laughed at her and wiped away some sweat and blood from my face. But, my grin faded as Lord Ganondorf stood, holding his hands above his head, his expression impassive. I feared for what my final judgement would be. Would he think that I had overdone the killings? I shook slightly, butterflies in my stomach as he opened his mouth to speak.

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