Chapter Thirty: Absolute Power

The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage

The sun sat barely over the horizon. Lila donned the armor she acquired while working for Ganondra, all covered by the Cloak of Shadows. A calm settled over her. Though she was excited to finally be rid of the Shadow Chieftess, the gravity of her task was sobering. If she failed, all of Hyrule would experience another age of darkness and despair. She would not fail.

The entire camp was silent with the same feelings. All around her, Hylians, Gorons, and Zoras prepared for their own battles. The sight brought a lump to , remembering the Gerudo women doing the same thing not long ago. She didn't know any of them personally but wished no one had to get hurt. Only she should be punished; it was all her fault.

Zale would tell her otherwise. Lila didn't even need to see him to know how he would reply. He'd tell her there was no way to change the past. They had to continue onward to make any changes. Looking back only slowed you down. With that in mind, she visited his tent one last time.

"So you're ready. Good," Zale said without looking at her when she walked in. She noticed a tremor in his hands as he gathered his supplies. "You should head out soon."

Lila walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him. She felt just how skinny he was, how fragile. She wouldn't let him down. He relaxed immediately at her touch and stopped his frantic movements.

"Everything will be okay," she told him. "This will all be over soon."

Zale her hand, his head still hung low. "My, you have changed quite a lot."

"It's all because of you, my prince. You taught me who I'm meant to be. Because of you, I will defeat Ganondra, no matter the cost."

He turned around, holding her hands in his. His eyes glistened in a way Lila had never seen before. Was he crying?

"I don't want to lose you," Zale said quietly. "I think... I think I didn't know how scared I was until now. Please, don't let the cost be your life." His words left her too stunned to reply until he moved to get back to work. She stopped him and they looked into each other's eyes.

"It doesn't matter unless you and Hyrule are safe."

His brow furrowed. "Don't say things like that. I need you to come back to me. I need you safe, too!" This time he broke her grasp.

Lila thought a moment, unsure of herself. It seemed he felt the same way about her as she felt about him. If that were the case…

"Okay, I promise I'll return to you," she said. Zale turned around immediately and gave her a great big hug.

"That's all I ask," he whispered.

Knowing time was short, Lila pulled out of the hug first. She stood in the entryway and looked back. She smiled.

"Goodbye, my prince."

With that, she pulled up her hood and disappeared.

By the time Lila reached Castle Town, the battle had already begun. It was just as they'd planned, so she could sneak in without interference. She walked across Hyrule Field, preserving her strength. In the cavernous sewer, the sounds of battle were distant thunder that chipped at her nerves. Only then did she start to get anxious.

There were a few prisoners in the dungeon. Lila wanted to stop but didn't because of her mission. The trapped Hylians looked as battered and bruised as one of Ganondra’s playthings. She wondered how many had died already. Though she passed the cells for the outer door, none of them heard or saw a thing thanks to her cloak.

The rest of the castle was silent. The emptiness sent chills through her whole body, making her jump involuntarily. The sound echoed, too loudly. She waited for her heart to calm down.

No lights illuminated the great hall. Smoke billowed from outside to block even the light from the windows. Lila looked around wildly, knowing she couldn't hide forever.

And she was right. Shrieks of laughter startled her so badly that she let out a small scream. That laughing was not Ganondra’s. That laughing could only belong to Kotake and Koume.

The hall lit eerily with the light from their magic: ice and fire trailing from their flying brooms. Even though she was invisible, Kotake shot a giant icicle straight for her. Lila barely had time to block it with her shield.

"Well look who it is, sister!"

"Why it's our very own Lila! Isn't she such a beautiful traitor?"

Lila hurried to throw her cloak to the side so it wouldn't hinder her movements. Her hair was tied up under her hat, but some of it escaped over her eyes.

"Yes. Now it's time for the traitor to die!"

In unison, the witches hurled their magics where Lila had been standing. She recovered from the dodge thinking, How do I get them to come down? My sword won't reach them!

The witches didn't miss a beat. They continued throwing fireballs and ice spears, hardly giving her time to breathe.

Kotake complained, "Stop flitting about like a raven and let us kill you properly."

Finally, Lila remembered her bow. She ducked behind a pillar to ready it. As she pulled back an arrow from the owl, the arrowhead glowed bright blue, just like Kotake's ice.

The witch must have seen the glow because she said, "What's that?"

Lila answered by rounding the pillar and aimed for Koume. The old witch was too slow to avoid the arrow, but it still missed the vital areas.

"Lila," Koume whined, "didn't we raise you better than this?"

Kotake threw back her head and laughed. "Yeah, the Lila we knew wouldn't have missed." Her mockery ended with a small gasp as a flaming arrow struck her chest.

"Sister!" Koume cried. She attacked Lila again. "You will pay for that!"

Lila held up her shield but felt the heat of the fire. Koume had thrown it with so much force it nearly knocked her to the ground.

"Is that all you've got?" Lila shouted. Her shield was still up when another shard of ice hurtled toward her. It was time to retreat behind another pillar.

"Are you playing hide-and-seek, little traitor?" Kotake hissed. "You know how good we are at that game."

Lila let the horrible memories fuel her anger as she shot another arrow. This one hit Koume squarely, sending her flying a few feet across the room. Lila didn't have time to react before she was bathed in flames. Through the pain, she rolled over to the closest pillar she could see. She stood up and nocked another arrow... to see Kotake right in front of her.

"Die, traitor!" the witch seethed. Out of her hand shot the coldest ice Lila had ever felt, but for some reason, she didn't get frozen in place. Quickly, she loosed the arrow on her tormentor. Kotake screamed as flames enveloped her body, radiating from the arrow deep in her chest. Lila hoped she was down for good.

Shaking, Lila breathed heavily, feeling the cold slow her body. She had to get moving or she would freeze. She bolted from the pillar just as another fireball hit it.

"You killed her!" Koume screeched. "You killed my darling sister! How? You're not supposed to be this strong!"

Lila stared right at the witch's face and smirked. "You're next," she said, letting another arrow fly. Koume flew out of the way easily and retaliated. When Lila nocked the next arrow, it had kept with the pattern and burned with flames. She wasn't sure how that would affect the fire witch but shot her anyway. The flames simply joined with Koume's own and she laughed.

"Did you think that would work? Think again." Koume sprayed fire at Lila and flew in close. Lila had to run while blocking with her shield, unable to fight against the relentless charge. She pulled out her sword, hoping the witch would get close enough. Finally came a break in the fire, and Lila struck where she thought Koume would be. A painful scream told her of her success.

"Why?" Koume screeched as she fell, dying. "You weren't... supposed to... be so strong..."

The light of her magic died and Lila dropped to her knees, gasping. She didn't have much time to recover, though, as powerful clapping rang through the hall

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culoapaperella #1
oooh a loz work,, gonna be amazing to ti read !!