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I guess my comfort zone is "eccentric side character."

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[X] - Convince the synth that the most logical course of his programming is to become one with the Titans and commit group suicide (Advantage: Ego).

@Bork Lazer


Merge Rate: 33%

Word Count: 968

Level 10 - (35/100) + 2

Location: Frozen Highlands - Snowy Forest

Frisk @Majoras End, Albedo @Lugubrious, & a stalker@XoXKieroBombXoX

It took some time, enough for them to well and truly leave the busy hunters behind, for Linkle to stop and take in a long pull of a crisp air. "Wow," she started, a tinge of nervousness still flavoring her voice. She looked back the way they had come. "That could have been really awkward, right?" She said to her companions, looking back and forth between Frisk and Albedo expectantly. "I mean, maybe I've got this totally wrong but living in death kinda describes my whole deal right now. Right?"

It seemed as though the only thing their distance had gained Linkle was the ability to be openly jittery, a steady drip feet of anxiety supplied by the Skull Heart only supplementing what was already occurring naturally. It built on the feeling that had already been there, before even meeting the hunters. Since she found the hole she had locked her enemy in uncorked. She couldn't seem to calm down. She wasn't being allowed to calm down. "You guys don't think he noticed, right?" She said, glancing backwards again. Something was following them. "It's just, the Heart keeps trying to tell me he noticed and I don't want to believe her but..."

She looked back again. She saw the faintest of shadows disappear behind a tree. What was back there? Linkle shook her head against the impulse to go look and kept walking, reminding herself that the Hearts tricks weren't confined to just verbal taunts. "They seem all right, is all. I don't want to fight them, but he said he was after every last one. It's nonsense, I know." What was that noise? What's moving? "Shut up." She said under her breath, clenching her eyes shut and doubling her pace. There was nothing back there. It was just the Skull Heart doing its regular thing, harassing any weakness it found in her armor. It didn't matter how small the crack was, it took its shot. None of which meant something wasn't really watching them.

"This is going to sound weird, but can you guys talk?" She asked. "It can be about anything. Friends? Romance? A funny story? I think it'd be better if I had someone to listen to right now."

One thing that helped set her mind more at ease was their emergence from the forest. Less trees made for less cover, less ability for anyone tailing them to hide. Less of a chance that the paranoia she felt was natural, easier and easier to dismiss as something that was being fed to her by her dark passenger. She was sad to see that her feelings might have been catching, as Albedo started kicking at the strange snow piles as they passed through a small canyon. That feeling vanished when something actually did appear out of the snow drift. She drew her weapons' long with the Alchamist, but when she saw what the threat was she lowered them before letting out a big hearty laugh.

The tension seemed to deflate in an instance. The fact that the phantom eyes the Skull Heart had been so trying to convince her were on them were made of coal and set above a stupid little smile made her feelings seem so silly it almost hurt. She could swear she even felt the Skull Heart feeling sheepish over what all its creeping dread had led up to. "It's a squareman." She got out on the tail end of her laugh, lowering her crossbows. There were even a few more wandering around up ahead, adorable square snowmen without a care in the world. "Some stuff is just made of squares. I even met this guy back in the land of adventure, totally square just like that. I'm pretty sure it's all from the same world."

Albedo didn't relax nearly as much as she did. He spotted the ambush coming a mile away, and started it before they could fall into a fiendishly frozen trap. She was just about to admonish him for cutting down a perfectly harmless snowman when all of it's friends reveled themselves and went on the attack. It was a cold betrayal of the simple relief she had just been immersed in, and she narrowed her eyes at the big one across the gulch that looked to be in charge. "Imani!" She said, pointing one of her crossbows at it. "That one!"

The sniper appeared behind her in a puff of smoke, pointing her giant crossbow over Linkle's shoulder. A pair of the half-melted looking snowmen saw this and chucked their snowball's her way, but Linkle crossed her arms over her chest and body blocked the projectiles until Imani got her charge shot off. Her one shot fired, the striker disappeared to leave Linkle to deal with two of the little ice crown Snowmen surfing across the snow toward her. Linkle threw out her arms in a pair of wide arcs, firing a volley of crossbows at the (admittedly adorable) monsters. Her bolts hit the pair with a noise like fire crackers going off, not sticking into the snowmen as she expended but throwing them back like they were solid. They stayed that way until they hit the ground, where they each exploded into ash with a little pop.

This was met with another hail of snowballs, four balls they felt more like solid ice than snow slamming into her one after the other. "Careful. They're the kind of bully that puts rocks inside." She called to Frisk. She wasn't too worried about the child. If they could dodge her these snowballs should pose no challenge at all. "Feel free to use anything on the sled." With that Linkle charged, sending bolts at any monster that stood between her and the bulky one.

Word Count: 472

Level 8 - (70/80) + 1

Level 10 - (34/100) + 1


Location: The Beach

Link passed Karin as she made her way down the beach, waving obligingly at the woman's understanding. As he approached the long buffet table again, where the triplets had posted up and were digging in to what was left of the spread, he took a detour over to the beachside bar he hadn't previously perused. He ordered a tall drink of crystal clear water for himself, slamming down an entire pitcher of the stuff, before moving on to three orders of "something sweet."

He approached the trio carrying three pink drink poured inside hollowed out pineapples, bright straws and cute littles umbrellas poking out the tops. The orange, blue, and violet of the umbrellas demarcated whose was whose. He set the drinks down next to Cerberus. "Enjoying yourselves? I thought you three would wants something to wash it down with," He said.

"My name's Link. We never got to introduces ourselves back there." He said, sitting down on sand that now felt so incredibly soft. "I hoping, now that we're not beating on one another, you could tell me everything you know about that place you were stuck in? We've been traveling around, fighting the thing that put you guys in there." He gestured to the entire beach, or at least the people that were still hanging around this area and hadn't been lured off to the bubble party down the way or some other pristine vista. "You three are unique in our experience. I've never seen Galeem lock people away instead of filling their heads with light."


Merge Rate: 33%

Location: Frozen Highlands ~ Snowdin Outskirts

Frisk @Majoras End Albedo @Lugubrious

As disappointed as she was that they hadn't stumbled upon a workaround of the Strangers immortality, their explanation of faith and the power in fostered resonated with her. It reminded her of the power passed down in the Hyrule Royal family, the golden power wielded by Princess Zelda to fight back evil and darkness. D even described it as golden. She cupped her chin. "I wonder if holy power is gold everywhere?" She wondered aloud. Thankfully Albedo had drawn the knights attention elsewhere, because the Skull Heart chose that moment to change tactic and a creeping feeling crawled up her spine that he would definitely be able to see that her breath didn't have any fog to it.

No, that was fine. Before she could start to panic Frisk gave them an out. "Yeah, I guess we'll leave you to it." She said, looking from the child to the monks. She gave a short bow. "It was nice meeting you, but we've still got a lot of walking to do before it gets dark. Happy hunting." Spinning on her heal, she started back up the hill to retrieve her sled.

Merge Rate: 33%

Word Count: 218

Level 10 - (33/100) + 1

Location: Frozen Highlands ~ Snowdin Outskirts

Frisk @Majoras End Albedo @Lugubrious

This man is our enemy.

Those That Live In Death. Frisk didn't seem to understand the implications of the name and Albedo didn't indicate one way or another, but Linkle tensed up in repose to the Skull Heart's prod. She was suddenly very glad that they had left Papyrus behind, but their was a intrusive though weeding into her brain, a red-tinged suggestion such people should be dealt with quickly and decisively. That there was no way they wouldn't notice what she was, that perhaps they already knew like Freya had and were simply waiting for the right moment to discard their mask of civility and reveal their true faces.

That was the Heart, she told herself. The Skull Heart was trying to set her on edge. It would love it if she was forced into conflict with these people. He forced it down, redirecting that nervous energy to other avenues. D's explanation of his power did interest her, and she used it as cover. "I'm Linkle." She introduced herself, giving a short bow to the knight and priestess. "We're traveling from Snowdin up to Dragonspine. We haven't seen any life-deaths coming from that way. We're more concerned with a man that can't die. I don't suppose you've ever tested that Litany on somebody like that?"

The Koopa Troop in:

How do you end up getting hurt on vacation?

wordcount: 955 (+2)
Kamek: Level 10 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(115/100)
Location: Limsa Lominscuttle Town - Kanzuki Beach

feat. Link (+2)

@Zoey Boey

The sudden arrival of a trio of ravenous ex-prisoners interrupted the calm around the mostly wound down buffet, much to its few remaining guest’s initial displeasure. That they were cute and genuinely in need of sustenance calmed that disquiet a fair bit eventually, but before Kamek could warm to the trio she first had an unexpected patient to attend too.

At the sound of their rude interruption the Koopa tilted down the three folded sun mirror she had been using to sunbath (in the reptilane sense of the word) and first glared at the trio before, her eyes drifted back to the person who had invited them, and went wide at the sight of the wounds on the hero of the wilds.

She set down her mirror next to a bowl of grapes that sat on a little table beside her, and then pushed herself out of the deck chair she had been lounging in.

”Moons and Stars Link, we are supposed to be having a day off. But noooo, first the young master had to get Mimi hurt and now you are too. Whatever happened?” she asked as she hurried over, hands rumagin around her replacement robnes till she found her wand. She waved it in the air to produce a quartet of doppe gangers and then got to converting them into healers while the hero explained himself.

“There was this glowing dais out in the ocean.” The hero replied, dropping cross-legged on the sandy beach. “So, I went and stood on it. As you do. It took me to a…” He cast his gaze around the beach, trying to find the right way to describe the place. “It was like this beach, but darker. Empty. There was this barrier around the dais I couldn't cross. They,” he pointed to the triplets tearing up the buffet. “Told me it was a jail, a place for ‘losers’. The way you got out was winning a fight with whoever came in. Luckily that was only half true, I think they just wanted to have some fun with me, because after I got destroyed they were good enough to pull me out anyway. I think anyone getting out broke the jail.”

“Here’s the really interesting part.” he continued, leaning in. “They were already free when I met them. No heart needed. Now, what happened to Junior?”

The mage resisted making a comment about and meddling with what they did not understand, and instead set to her healing and alleviating any fears about Jr’s situation before discussing this prison ”Oh don’t you worry. The young master and his pokemon are fine. Apparently people who own them have to spar with each other when they meet and so he got into two of those.”

“Oh, yeah.” Link added, relieved. “There was a pair of kids in the Tournament that did the same thing. It’s like a common courtesy with Pokemon trainers.”

”He won the first and made a friend, and lost the second to some bully who I believe his royal majesty is having a word with at the moment” The mage said, just before a familiar roar rumbled across the beach. ”I believe that would be that talk beginning just now” the mage said with a slightly sinister smile, before directing her white mage clones to start healing Link and focusing their conversation back on his own escapade.

”Now as for this gate, that is quite a strange thing to just have sitting about on a public beach. Are people just being sucked in and out and no one did anything about it?” she asked as Link’s wounds were washed away by her magics.

“I don’t think so. The way they were acting it’s like I was the first guest they had ever entertained.” He replied as the magic closed wounds and scrubbed out scorch marks. “If Galeem put them away, maybe nobody else can see the jail? I tried asking them, but they were more interested in playing with me.”

”How strange. Yet you said you simply stepped on it and it occurred?” The mage dismissed her clones and cupped her beak thoughtfully ”In that case we’d have to assume that those under Galeem’s influence cannot enter? Or cannot be trapped? Perhaps that is what they are, traps? Made to catch anyone who slipped the noose?” she suggested, missing the mark a touch with her theory.

“It’s out of the way for a trap.” Link replied, getting back to his feet and rolling his shoulders to check for any lingering aches. “Unless it’s trying to catch free fish. We could go check it out if you like, maybe you’d recognize something I couldn't. I’m pretty sure it’s off though.”

”And yet you stepped in it anyway” she pointed out teasingly before sighing and saying ”But yes, I suppose I put a magical eye to the situation, see if there is anything lingering to discover” and going to fetch her broom. She picked it up and mounted it, hovering into the air and beginning to move off towards the gate, before adding ”oh and see if you can get anything more out of those girls once they have stated their hunger” as she drifted past Link.

“Yeah, but I would have stepped into it sooner if it were next to the road.” Link replied jokingly as Kamek gathered her broomstick and set off, giving him one last task. Link waved to the magikoopa. “I’ll handle it. They’re my responsibility, after all. Unless Bowser decides to adopt them.” Speaking of that, Link turned and started up the beach toward the buffet and calling out to their hostess. “Sorry Miss Kazuki, they’re with me and they haven't eaten in a while.”
I love hotels.
I was staying the night at my grandmothers house once, sleeping on the couch. I woke up in the middle of the night, no clue why, and started to roll over to get up when I saw a ghastly old woman standing over. No, I know what you're thinking, not my grandmother. How dare you? This thing was a hag. Whatever picture comes into your head when you think the words "horrible old woman" probably isn't far off. Stringy grey hair, fallow skin, shriveled limbs, standing over me in a pose that was either a silent scream or the first steps in unhinging her jaw to swallow me.

I don't know what was going through my sleep addled mind, but I guess since she wasn't moving at all I didn't consider her much of a threat because after looking at her for a few seconds I rolled over again and went right back to sleep. I never saw her again, I never had any other experiences in that house. A few years later one of my brothers freinds claimed to see a woman staring at us through the trees out back, really freaking out one of my little cousins in the process, but I went back there and didn't find anything. Understandably I never told any of the family this story and if anyone else experienced something they never felt the need to speak up.

I fully believe this was some kind of waking dream I had, but in my heart of hearts I hope that my nonchalance shattered some poor ghouls confidence so badly it moved out of the house and gave up on haunting.

Merge Rate: 33%

Word Count: 2228

Level 10 - (30/100) + 3

Location: Frozen Highlands ~ Snowdin Outskirts

Frisk @Majoras End Albedo @Lugubrious

"Maybe Frisk isn't erasing the time. They could just be creating a whole new timeline when they go back, leaving the old one behind." Linkle added to Albedo's ruminations on Frisk's ability. "There's a Legend where the Hero did something like that, going forward in time then coming back to stop the Demon King Ganon in the past after he had already done it the future. My teacher used to get in full on shouting matches with the other old timers in the village over what that meant for the future the Hero traveled to." She sheepishly scratched the side of her face. "I could never really wrap my head around it. I don't think something can just all of a sudden not have happened after it's already happened, you know? Because it happened."

After taking a short rest, long enough for Frisk and Papyrus to have a little talk, the three of them set off without the Stalfos. Linkle grabbed her sled and pulled it after Albedo as they trudged through the snow, offering Frisk a ride amid all her loot if they didn't feel like walking. As they traveled without any obvious dangers across the snowfield, Linkle caught their new companion up to speed on their situation.

"Most everybody had red eyes, that's how you can tell they've got Galeem in their heads. They can't see it up there. They can't even think about it, so it's no use trying to tell them something is wrong unless you free them. And if one of it's minions tells them to do something they have to do it." She furrowed her borrow, a grimace worming its way across her face. "Everything is still fuzzy, but I think that's how it was for me. I've only been free for a few days and I think I was part of a posses they assembled and sent after this cute little pink guy named Kirby. When we woke up we found him impaled with a sword."

"Oh, he's okay!" She added quickly. "There was a healer on hand, this Medabot girl named Blazermate. She saved him. If she hadn't been there I don't..."

She trailed off, but she knew exactly what would have happened and she was sure the others would to. She shook her head, moving on to a more pleasant part of the story. "Anyway it was a good thing she did. He was the one that freed us, the whole group at once. Me, Tora, Bowser, Blazermate, Din. There were a lot of us, they must have hated him. I'm not sure how he was free, and he couldn't talk well enough to tell us, but I guess he just avoided it or shook it off himself. There are people that can do that. Albedo got this close to curing himself with alchemy!" She held up a hand, braggadociously holding her fingers just a tiny width apart. "The Master of Masters was another. We met him while wandering down the road we found ourselves on. He's the one who taught us about Spirits, how to make Friend Hearts, and told us we were the one that were destined to save the world. He can see the future with a magic eye he lost somewhere, so he already knows how everything ends."

"We eventually learned there were thirteen of these Guardians that we had to take down. The first one was a big, evil, even bossier version of my friend Bowser. I didn't get to join that fight, though. There's this monster called Master Hand, he's like an actual giant hand that works for Galeem, and he always shows up to mess with us before we confront a Guardian. He summoned a bunch of our groups loved one and told them to kill us if we tried entering Dragon Bowser's lair, so while everyone who got past that was fighting him I was trying to save another friends boyfriend and he wouldn't stop healing himself so couldn't get a heart into him so I missed the whole battle." The frustration of the memory was palpable. "It was a really dirty thing to do to us, so I'll never forgive it."

"But they won without me, and we got a bunch of new friends when the whole castle Dragon Bowser was using for a lair was released when he went down. There's this wave of darkness that shoots out that washes the Galeem out of the heads of anyone around when you beat the Guardian, it's really handy. Then, I guess somebody found a map of the world in the castle that we've been using to travel around looking for more Guardians. We split up to cover more ground, some of us went to this place called the Dead Zone. That'll be important later. The first place my group ended up was this cool place called the Land of Adventure. It's great! There's this town called Lumbridge, full of heroes and quests to do, and apparently the whole land reforms around the town every night so every day is a new adventure. Anyway the most important guy in town, a man called the Guildmaster, sent us to do a bunch of quest before he would tell us where the biggest monster in the land was. We aced those quests! We knocked out every quest the town had to give in a single day."

"I'm still not sure why, but after that the Guildmaster tried to kill us. Or, I guess, just fight us? He was acting really weird. See, when we met him he was dressed in a black coat just like the Master of Masters wore. He didn't know the Master of Masters, though, and when I was out doing something else he opened a portal and dumped a bunch of us into a casino where he was a giant and was making them fight these minions of his. I jumped in, and it turned out he has a dice for a head under his hood! His name was...hard to pronounce, at least the one he used. His real named turned out to be King Dice, I got that form one of his friends afterwards. I was in the middle of a fight when it happened, so I didn't see it, but another person in a black coat came around and took him away in the middle of everything. These Black Coat people are another confusing thing that keeps coming up. I don't know whose side they're actually on."

"Eventually we hooked back up with Dead Zone group and headed out into the wilderness and found the guardian, this ENOURMOUSE dragon on a floating island in a black void. When we beat him the dark wave wiped the void away and showed us a placed called Smash City Alcamoth. It's really beautiful, this whole city floating over a crystal clear ocean. The people running it were friends with some of the people in our group, so we kinda turned it into our main base."

"After that we divided into three teams to tackle three areas. The other team earlier hadn't gotten to the Guardian of the Dead Zone, so I went with with the team that headed back there to finish the job. The Dead Zone is awful, it's full of disease and the undead and some of the most disgusting monsters I've ever seen. There's a big evil tree growing right in the middle of the city. That's where we think the Guardian lives, but before we got to it we ran into this zombie girl named Marie. She was something called The Skullgirl." The high energy with which Linkle had relayed the rest of the story died out as she reached this part. "She fought us, we beat her, and then in her ashes we found this thing called the skull heart. You can make any wish on it, and so long as that wish isn't selfish it'll be granted. So I thought I was being really clever when I wished that I had enough power to beat Galeem and save everybody."

She looked down, placing a hand over her chest. "But I'm not clever enough to see a trap even if everyone is telling me it's there. Nothing would ever be good enough for the Skull Heart, so it dove into my chest. Ate my heart. Brought me back from the dead. Now it lives in there, trying to turn me into Queen of the Stalfos like it was doing to Marie. Then a guy in a black coat showed up, a different one with time stopping powers and a knife. Apparently because he thought I was going to start killing everyone he scooped me up, teleported me to the middle of nowhere, dared me to kill the Guardian of this area by myself, and left me in the snow. I wandered to Snowdin hoping to catch a boat back somewhere I knew, and that's where the wild man found me and punched me through Grillby's." She perked up at this point, looking fondly at the boy in front of her. "But after that I met Albedo, so I guess that day wasn't all bad. And I got that guy back pretty good, I used ice magic to freeze him up inside a ravine. Oh, speaking of..."

The area was actually looking pretty familiar, so Linkle insisted they take a short detour across the snowfield to the ravine both to repair the seal in case it had been damaged and to show off her handiwork. What she found when they arrived, however, put her instantly on edge. The iceberg cap on the ravine had been shattered into pieces, chunks scattered hither, thither, and yon around an ominous hole in the ice. She stepped up, looking down into the darkness. She didn't know why, except maybe in the dumb hope that he was still there sleeping off the exertion before starting a vengeful rampage. At least he hadn't taken this out on Snowdin, though it was unfortunately impossible to tell when he had escaped.

"Why can't seals ever keep evil bottled up forever?" She said, looking around the flat white land round her with worried eyes. There was no way to know where he was now. "Okay. If we see him he'll probably want me the most, so you two just leave it to me and keep heading to Edinburgh." She grabbed her sled again and hurried them along back to the path, encouraging Albedo by example to quicken the pace. "You won't have to worry, I'll catch up later. I already beat him once, I'll think of something."

She continued the next leg of their journey tensely silent, scanning the horizon and even the sky for movement of any kind. The silence around them as they entered the forest was welcome and let her relax a little. They weren't out in the open anymore, and though he could be hiding behind any tree she didn't think he was that subtle. She would hear him coming, so she kept all four ears peeled as they walked. All she heard was their own footsteps and the distant cry of birds. Albedo noticed them to, but something about it peaked his interest. She nodded at his request to investigate, following after the boy as he lead them off the path. Anything that caught Albedo's interest would have to be pretty interesting, so she was curious herself about what significance he found in the bird calls.

What they found was strange in how ordinary it was. Linkle grasped how strange it was to find a real corpse in the World of Light, let alone one so expertly butchered. Albedo helpfully laid out the significance of the body to their young companion, before continuing on just as cautiously as Linkle had been.

The source of the body was discovered shortly afterwards, as the sounds of battle filtered through the forest and drew the three of them to a small ridge. Down below a small army of warriors and monks were engaging a massive creature. "Hey, I've seen that thing before. It was wandering around the icefield outside Snowdin." Linkle whipped out both her crossbows, starting forward to join help the warriors down the great beast, but Albedo held up a hand to single her to wait. The three strongest of the group had the fight well in hand, so she held back while he observed. It wasn't long after that the beast we felled by a spectacular display of magic from the fully armored fighter and the group began working on butchering it.

Albedo said that was a mystery solved, but Linkle wasn't sure. Sure, these guys were probably responsible for butchering the animal they had found earlier but how did they manage to keep it together long enough to cut it to piece? Albedo turned to her and Frisk to see what the wanted to do, but to Linkle there was no question. She re-holstered her crossbows and cupped her hands around her mouth. "Heeeeey!" She called down to the group, waving her arms at them. "Hey Frisk, maybe you could ask that guy about his magic?" She said, before raising her voice back up to speak with the squadron. "Nice job! Are you guys from the monastery? We're friends with Father Guerra."


Word Count: 7408

Level 8 - (60/80) + 8

Location: Three-headed's Evergaol

With @Lugubrious

For a few moments after Link stepped onto the circle, nothing much seemed to happen. He stood in anticipatory silence with the little waves lapping at his shins, awash in those peaceable sounds of rolling surf, wind through palm fronds, and distant voices. Only when he bent down and sank his hand beneath the surface to run his fingers along the rune-emblazoned central disc did the strange structure seem to react. The purple emanation appeared to pulse, and to his surprise something inside Link -his heart, perhaps?- seemed to throb as if in response. Then a dark crack opened up in the dais, and the world flipped upside down.

At least, that's what it felt like. After the wave of dizziness and disorientation passed, the hero of the wild looked around to find that his surroundings weren't quite as he left them. Nothing had changed physically, as far as he could tell, but a certain lethargic twilight had overtaken both earth and sky, bathing the sea, shoreline, jungle, and distant city alike in somber hues of gray and black. A ghostly white barrier surrounded the area, ten meters or so from the edge of the stone-brick depression in every direction with no sign of any way through or around no matter how hard someone on the inside might try. Link could see no signs of life anywhere, and all the gentle coastal ambiance he'd been enjoying up until seconds ago was gone. Only the murmur of the water around him and the splashes of his footsteps through it staved off total silence. To the outside world, the boy had taken on the appearance of a specter, a translucent white outline with no substance beyond the reach of hearing or touch, but within the confines of the Evergaol Link realized what had happened. He was trapped.

Only one other thing stood out to him. An intensely purple rift in the sand on one side, the space within black as pitch. The closer he got, the more it became audible--a strange noise, slight but identifiable, discordant, but vaguely musical in structure. He pulled out his lantern to counter the gloom and gathered his thoughts. He had been anticipating a more mechanical reaction from tampering with the dais, something opening up or rising out of the surf. A secret elevator leading to who knows where. A teleportation. This wasn't like anything he had ever experienced, save perhaps the way the Great Plateau had changed to facilitate the first obstacle in obtaining his very own Divine Beast. Still, even as obviously trapped as he was, he felt excitement dancing in his chest. He could leave fear for if he found that there truly was no way out, which he didn't believe. That purple rift looked like a promising exit, or at least a way forward. As he approached he held his lantern over the rift, hoping to cast some light into the blackness at its center and see what could lay beyond.

When Link got too close, however, he quickly realized that the rift wasn't a way out, but rather a way in. Purple energy flooded outward from the rift as an almost liquid darkness welled up within, and from that nebulous maelstrom a monstrous shape began to emerge. For a second or two it appeared to be an inhuman monstrosity, a wide and unnatural body with multiple heads and a tangle of misshapen limbs beneath, but when the shadowy haze began to dissipate after a brief moment, and the fearsome thing broke apart, undoing the deception. As the darkness cleared it revealed three women standing before Link in a tight-knit bunch, each clad in a black suit and tie over a red dress shirt, with long white hair and pointed dog ears, while barbed tails wagged behind them. The trio appeared to be totally identical, with a singular exception made all the more notable by the nature of the World of Light. When Link met their eyes one after another, expecting the sunset red of Galeem, he instead found eyes of fiery orange, cool blue, and shocking violet.

"What do we have here?" the three said in eerie unison, regarding their visitor with interest. "We've been cooped up in here forever...please, won't you take us out to play?"

As the three drew apart, the sound began to intensify, forming strident, electronic beats and notes. The eyes of the Triple Demon began to glow, and the elements danced across their bodies. The first demon conjured an iron staff from a gout of flame, the second brought forth a three-section staff in a flash of purple lightning, and with a flurry of ice the third took hold of a three-headed nunchaku. With a shared gleeful smile Cerberus stood ready to fight for her freedom.

He had stumbled into a Trial of Strength, then? Link had jumped back as the shadow had emerged from the rift to give himself some distance from the monster that was emerging, but from its initial fearsome shape he hadn't expected the trio of girls that were arrayed before him. Still, he didn't think his initial impression of them was altogether inaccurate. They obviously weren't human, and not just because of the ears and tails. Their demeanor didn't display any fear, or the desperation he'd have if he'd been locked up in here "forever." On the contrary, they seemed positively eager to play with the toy that had stumbled into their clutches. He would have chalked that up to Galeem influence, the trio acting on orders or just following their nature unimpeded by any understanding of the greater situation, but that was impossible. Their eyes were normal like his, free of any Galeem influance.

"I don't think you want to play out there." He replied, calling his sword and shield into his hands as the three squared up with him. The one with the staff could attack from mid range, but all this water could put her at a disadvantage compared to the other two. At least, it would if the fire wasn't too hot. "Most everyone is brainwashed outside. Being in here might have been what protected you from Galeem, because I can tell he's not inside your heads." His trunks and flippers were replaced with his shorts and boots. He had no idea what that ice weapon was or how it could be used. A throwing weapon? Or did she intend to fight up close with it? He would have to keep an eye on her and see how she use it before formulating a plan to counter it.

Despite their provocation, Cerberus did not mindlessly go on the offensive against their prospective challenger, but kept all six eyes on him as he spoke to them. They did not relax their weapons at all, seemingly regarding a fight with Link as an immovable eventuality, but at the very least the Triple Demon seemed content to hear him out. They seemed a little out of it, maybe dazed by their first contact with another living being in who-knows-how-long. When he insinuated that confinement here might actually be preferable to the outside world, however, the hero was met with three looks of confusion. Cerberus tilted her heads. "Are you joking?" they asked him. "It sucks in here! There's nothing to eat, nobody to talk to, and it's boring as hell! So we're hitting the bricks, whether you like it or not!"

"Where is here? Do you know?" The vest came back on instead of the armor, mostly because of the third and most dangerous one. There was no blocking the lightning crackling along that disconnected staff. One touch of that thing, one single clash, and he would be disarmed. He could only hope they weren't immune, because that would be the only thing stopping her from using it in the water they were all standing in.

Link second question question earned him another mix of bafflement and disdain. "This is a jail, dummy!" Cerberus told him. "If you're in, there's only one way out: waiting for someone else to get stuck inside, then beating the snot out of 'em!" A shared expression of pain overtook the three, leading to narrowed eyes, furrowed brows, and anguished frowns. "Jails...are where losers get stuck. Lost souls who got mixed up when everything went bananas...and shoved under the carpet." As they seemed to recall the nature of their predicament, the triplets' grip tightened on their weapons and newfound determination prompted smiles with clenched teeth. "So play nice, and maybe we'll let you out after you take our place!"

With that, the first Cerberus ignited the tip of her staff, and charged. "Fear my flames!" she growled, unleashing a barrage of rapid jabs and wheeling strikes.

"Sorry, I just found this thing on the beach." Link said, jumping backwards to avoid her first few jabs, then bringing his shield to bear to weather a swing aimed for his head. "I have no idea what the situation here is."

She was strong for her frame, the jolt that shot down his arm attested to that. He side hopped another flurry of thrusts, time slowing down as he landed. He didn't capitalize on it, though. Despite this three on one, he was calm. For the first time in a while he was the only one in danger, and he still wanted to know more. The girl spun on him with another wheel strike he got to watch in slow motion, and as time resumed he brought up his shield and thrusted it out just as she made contact to parry it and throw her off balance. "So you're in here because Galeem couldn't find a place for you in it's world? Why?"

Cerberus stumbled as she got parried, splashing backward a couple steps in the water. While her moves were flashy and stylish, so far she did not give off the impression of a particularly composed fighter, and after only a few moments spent fighting in the water her clothes were soaked up nearly to the waist. The indignity of getting rebuffed, wet, and not taken seriously might have frustrated the average combatant, but she seemed to be having fun. "Dunno!" the demon said cheerfully, twirling her staff with both hands to build up flame before spinning around for an overhead slam. Its momentum carried it through to the water below, where the elements collided with a loud hiss and erupted into a thick cloud of steam. Cerberus then planted the butt of her staff in the ground and used it to vault forward in a flying kick, her leg wreathed in flame as it tore through the mist.

That was what Link had been worried about when it came to the fire staff. As the steam billowed up he immediately moved, side hopping in anticipation of her attacking him under the cover of the steam. That's what he would have done, but it wasn't all he would have done in their shoes. The steam also broke his line of sight with the other two, giving them the opportunity to surprise him as he exited the steam cloud. So instead he pulled out the slate mid hop, using Cryonis to form a cube of ice where he landed that lifted him up out of immediate harms way.

Scarcely a second after Link elevated himself through the power of Cryonis, the fiery foot of Cerberus' Rock Back kick slammed into the pillar below him. In the steam she created it would have taken some luck on the demon's part to hit the hero on the first place, but it was hard to avoid the frosty block he'd created. "Ouch!" she yelped, though her target fared far worse than she. Her kick spread a web of blazing cracks through the ice from the point of impact, and when she followed up with a flurry of red-hot pokes aimed high, the frozen pillar quickly went from sweating to melting. Without missing a beat Cerberus then whipped her staff from side to side in a series of upward strikes, endangering Link almost as much as the promontory he stood upon, until she finally culminated in a horizontal sweep that unleashed a swath of dangerously powerful flame in a wide arc. As ice and steam alike blew away before her, Cerberus planted her staff in the water, and her other hand on her hip. "Hah! How's that?" she grinned. "Even Berial's got nothing on these flames!"

Unfortunately for her, Link had slipped off the back of the ice block as soon as he had the impact of the girls foot striking it. Surprised it hadn't shattered on impact, and that the others hadn't gotten involved yet, he had nonetheless used the opportunity and noise presented by her wailing on the block to circle around behind her in the cloud. It was a good thing, too, because he could feel the intensity of the heat from that last attack that blew away the steam.

He had gotten a pretty accurate read on where she was, ending up crouched just off to the side and behind her as the steam cleared. Standing up, his arm now covered in the Ro Cestus, he gave a "Not bad," before sending a punch flying into her side.

Cerberus' ears twitched toward the source of the voice behind her, but it was too late. Link's sucker punch caught her with her guard down, and when his cestus collided with the demon's ribcage, all her wind left her in one mighty gust. "Gauhhhhhh," she whined as her eyes bugged out, staggered and fighting to stay standing as her knees threatened to buckle beneath her. Involuntary tears welled in the corners of her eyes, but with one hand clutching her side and the other so tightly clamped on her staff for support that her grip left her white-knuckled, Cerberus managed to stay upright. "Cheap...shot..." she groaned, her narrowed eyes on Link for any sign of a follow-up.

Before Link could capitalize on the demon's injury, he heard the splashes of running footsteps behind him, and turned to see the second girl running his way with her electrified three-section staff in hand. One of the triplets being vulnerable, it seemed, was the trigger for another to tag in and take her place. "Feel my thunder!" Cerberus cried, and as her sister cleared the way, she thrust her weapon the hero's way. The segments split apart, string together by arc of lightning, to launch straight at Link like a giant spring from a huge distance. Worse still than her Long Barrel move was what happened with her sanjiegun struck the water; the moment it made contact, the lightning electrocuted the water -as well as anything in it- inside a two-meter radius. After her staff sprang back into her hand Cerberus sprinted into the electro-charged zone without any ill effects, eager to continue her offensive.

Link hadn't had any designs on finishing the staff wielder off, but if he had the intervention of the lighting wielding one would have put those plans on hold. He just barely jumped out of the way as the head of her weapon shot past and landed in the water. He pulled out the sailcloth, a desperation measure to avoid what he knew was coming for a few moments longer. The water under him lit up with purple arcs of electricity, staying there even after the girl pulled the weapon back into her hands. Fortunately for him the area of effect wasn't nearly as large as he anticipated. Unfortunately that didn't make any difference. He only had a few precious moments before he splashed into the drink.

In those moments, as his mind raced for something he could do, he remembered Delsin. He remembered how Delsin died, and what he had seen the man do before right before. He tensed his muscles as though her were about to take a running leap and willed himself to move forward like he had seen Delsin dive through lightning. To his surprise, he felt himself....dissolve? That wasn't the right word, but it was the rightest word that came to mind. He felt himself pull apart, his whole body becoming a mass of disparate and small pieces. He felt himself painlessly turn to ash, each tiny part of him flying through the air on some otherworldly power, before suddenly he wasn't a plume of Link anymore but a whole man again. Whole and cresting just over the edge of the electrified area!

Then he felt himself get speared like a fish, the tip of the girl's weapon digging right into his back and pumping volts into him. His shield went flyinging off his and splashed into the water just as he did, falling face down and letting out a stream of pained and gurgling gibberish as the electricity wrecked his body.

After a few moment the shock died down and he pushed himself up out of the water, hacking up some of the sea water he had inadvertently drunk before turning to look back at his opponent.

As he got up Link found that Cerberus had been busy while he was suffering from paralysis in the briny shallows. She'd filled her staff with electricity and windmilled it in a circle in front of her, creating a trio of miniature storm orbs of bright lightning in purple clouds, which proceeded to float in Link's direction. While her Thunderclap homed in on its target, the demon herself -excited by her success so far- ran up behind them. She leaped out of the water, twisted sideways, and began to spin vertically at a breakneck pace. Her Long Revolver took her in a parabola though the air, a dizzying blurred whirlwind alight with lightning, as she careened toward Link for the climactic blow.

A brief look of panic flashed across Link's face as he saw her coming at him, a quick inventory of is options flying through his head before landing on one that could work. Sliding his thumb over the Bomb Rune on his slate and chucking the resulting bomb her way, he dove away and detonated all at once. The bomb exploded in mid air, not giving the girl a chance to knock it away with her attack. They weren't powerful as weapons, but the force was enough to disrupt her. The very edge of the explosive force also caught Link and almost bowled him over again, but he managed to get his feet under him and keep moving to hopefully avoid the balls of electricity that were floating after him.

With a surprised yelp Cerberus found her Long Revolver interrupted by Link's bomb blast, and the ensuing explosion hurled her backward in a trail of smoke to hit the water with a big splash. A second later she popped up with a gasp, her eyes wide from the unexpected dunk and her hair as utterly soaked as her fancy suit. She saw Link on the run from her Thunderclap, but the combined forces of the water bogging down his movements, the narrowly avoided tumble from his own bomb, and the barriers that enclosed the Evergoal made the demon's projectiles hard to shake off. The first storm orb fell short and hit the surface a short distance from him, only to rupture and zap the water around it, which ended up hitting Link after all. As the last two orbs homed in Cerberus rose from the water, waited a moment to see if Link pulled off that ash dash again, then jumped up to send an aerial Long Barrel to bop him on the noggin. As the hero was engulfed in a tumult of lightning, Cerberus landed, wiped her wet hair off her face, and let her sanjiegun dangle over her shoulder. "That's right, soak it all in!" she taunted. "My lightning's what has-beens like Nevan dream about!"

Link slammed up against the white edge of the battlefield, using it to hold himself aloft after his second dose of shock therapy. He turned back, the other orbs closing in on him. Grimacing, he turned toward them and waited until they were right on top of him before willing himself to dissolve again and rush past the orbs as a plume of smoke. The orbs were left to crash and discharge against the barrier.

That had been what the girl had been waiting for. As soon as he was whole again he felt a sharp jolt of pain as something cracked against his skull and sent another blast of lightning through his body. The blow itself didn't hurt as much, but the layer of protection he had gotten from the Tidehunter didn't seem nearly as effective against the lightning to him. He shorted out and fell down to his knees in the water as the electricity left him, listening to the girl gloat while a trickle of blood fell over his right eye. Isabella had been right, he wasn't really in any shape to be doing this right now. He needed to take the pressure off.

"Fish woman!" He called as he struggled back to his feet, the Siren Striker emerging out of the surf beside him to try and even the odds, though not in the way that the three of them might think. A song drifted over the battlefield from the Sirens lips, her form flickering from a horrid and disgusting fish monster to a lonely sailors fantasy made flesh. The song layered into the discordant music that had been playing since the battle began, somehow managing through some feat of natural musical genius to harmonize with and complement it as it tried to draw one of the three to Link's side.

While the Triple Demon looked on in confusion, Link's striker sang her abyssal tune without interference, and as the wondrous yet uncanny melody washed over the perked-up ears of his opponents, the effect was immediate. The Siren's Song of Desire totally charmed the only soul present to hear it: Cerberus.

Link was surprised at the results. It would have been terrible if the Siren had managed to take control of their entire team during Master Hand's trial. Unbeknownst to him, the song had really had weaved its way into only one of them, but while there were three enemies they shared one soul between them and so the song had managed to find a loophole to beguile the lot.

All three triplets relaxed, lowered their weapons, and with dull eyes and slowly wagging tails approached Link in something akin to a trance. None of them seemed hostile anymore, with the first and second more focused on wringing out the salt water from their clothes and hair as best they could, while the third just stood with her head in her hands. "What's this weird feeling?" she asked in a slightly slurred voice, rubbing at her eyes. "We can't...think straight." She withdrew her hand, blinked a few times at her upheld palms, and looked blearily at Link. "What's...going on? Why were we fighting...again?"

"You were...." he started, wondering how he should play this. They were more in charge of themselves than Bowser, Blazer, and Peach had been if they were still questioning the situation. He might have to tread carefully. "We were fighting because you wanted to keep me here." Not even really a lie, and as he spoke another devious not-lie crept into his head. "And you were showing off those impressive weapons of yours, remember. Hotter than Berial, more electrifying than Nevan? You were right." Shooting his shot, he extended a hand to them palm up. "I would love if I could take a look at them up close. Please?"

The Triple Demon responded with looks of suspicion, each holding her weapon close. "No way, pal! Cerberus is who we are, and you can't take that away from us!" In close proximity, the elemental traces that lingered around the bo staff, three-section staff, and nunchaku shone with the same light and energy within each triplet's eyes, marking them as someone highly personal. As it turned out, switching allegiance did not necessarily entail control, or even increased suggestibility, for the three. Their stupor existed only because no other enemies existed in the Evergaol for Cerberus to fight on Link's behalf, and the seconds until that even that expired continued to tick away.

Well, it had been worth a shot. At least he had been given a chance to catch his breath, but he had no idea how long that would last. "Sorry. I had no idea they were so important to you." He took a few more precious moments to gather himself, make sure his head was on straight. Then he drew his fist back and re-equipped the cestus. Charging up power, the cestus being wrapped in a cloak of smoke as though the arm inside was on fire, Link unleased a spin attack with the cestus while the three of them were bunched up.

All three triplets watched uneasily as Link gathered power within his weapon, sharing increasingly worried glances between another. Though neither so dense or dazed they the possibility of what their temporary ally might be doing escaped them, none seemed to want to believe him capable of such a cruelly traitorous act. Instead they huddled together, shrinking down like dogs who knew their master was about to beat them, right up until Link let loose his wild haymaker and sent all three flying in a chorus of yelps.

Cerberus splashed down on the other side of the Evergaol's central dias, but only a couple seconds later erupted from the water, sopping wet and barking mad. The fog that the siren's song settled over them seemed to have lifted, so despite being bruised and disheveled the Triple Demon leveled their weapons at Link once more. Having taken the brunt of their challenger's attack, the nunchaku-wielder seemed to be in the worst shape, but it was she who stepped forward first. "Freeze..." she growled, holding up her arm with her palm extended. The central ring hung around her wrist, while the three heads of her weapon dangled from chains of frigid mist. "To the bone!"

With a flick of her wrist she started the nunchaku spinning, whirling them like a propeller. The turbine technique sent a torrential funnel of wintry wind Link's way, which both flash-froze the water between him and pushed him back toward the Evergaol's barrier. Though already hard to resist, the tempest's ice threatened to harry Link's movement even further, making it that much easier to pin him to the wall. Despite her injuries, Cerberus grinned. "Feeling it yet? When it comes to ice, a petty demon like Bael simply...pales in comparison." Her blizzard continued for a few moments longer, then ended when she pulled her nunchaku back, grabbed hold, and thrust all three heads into the water. Instantly an outbreak of ice spikes surged forward toward Link, ripping up through the water like a frozen tidal wave as they bore down on him. The first and second girls climbed up onto the ice and followed along after the wave with weapons in hand, moving in low stances like beasts toward their prey. Of the two the staff-wielder arrived first, ready to deliver a fiery smack wherever she could.

Link pushed himself back off the wall, ice cracking and falling off him as he shivered and faced the combined assault coming his way. The first problem was the spikes, which he stepped into and became a plume again. As smoke he filtered around the sharp points of the spikes, reforming on the other side only to be immediately met with fire staff again. She thrusted up at him, the tip of her weapon engulfed in flames, and he was forced to block it with the cestus. On the ice the force of it caused him to slide back as she advanced, but he knew the more dangerous of the two attackers would be on him soon. They were finally using their numbers advantage on him, probably because they hadn't appreciated him knocking all three of their heads at once.

"CIA!" He called, a battle cry and command all at once. The sorceress appeared beside him, gate of souls aloft in her hands and already turning. Dark Link jumped out of the gate and charged forward two at the fire Cerberus and two at the lightning Cerberus. Their blades lashed out at their targets as they approached, but they were more meant to tie up the pair than anything. While she was busy with the incoming threat Link pulled out another bomb, his cube one, and chucked it into the melee he'd entangled lightning in to blow her up again.

The sudden appearance of another arcane ally at Link's side made Cerberus hesitate for just a moment, but that was all the time Cia needed to open wide her dark portal and pollute the battlefield with Dark Links. Without a word the quartet of shadowbound swordsmen swarmed across the ice to rush their astonished opponents down. Their onslaught instantly put both triplets on the defensive, nearly knocking the staff-wielder flat on her butt as she struggled to backpedal across the ice from her attackers while blocking their wild slashes. She crouched down, reached behind her, and dug her nails into the ice to anchor herself before launching into a wheeling strike to gain some distance. The blazing arc of her staff melted a crescent in the ice as she did, slowing the Dark Links' assault just enough for Cerberus to regain her footing.

No sooner had she disengaged, however, did some of the light leave her eyes, while those of the sanjiegun-wielder flared up. She'd been blocking desperately, unable to mount any offensive of her own and suffering greatly for it, but as her three-section staff sparked to life a grin came over her face once more. "Revolution!" she cried, and around her erupted a maelstrom of lightning-infused punishment as her weapon wreaked havoc. Though at first it looked like the flailing of a lunatic, she was handling her staff's sections with skill and precision, so focused on denying the Dark Links' approach that she didn't notice the bomb that sailed her way.

At the last moment, however, her sparks died down, and as the third triplet jumped in for the save a veil of frost danced around her. "Ice Age!" she called, whirling her nunchaku overhead. Around her and the second demon a cocoon of ice sprang into being, forming a defensive shell able to withstand the blast. Even as the burst of magic and smoke cleared and the Dark Links resumed their attack, the cracked barrier held firm.

Meanwhile, the first triplet had come under fire again, treated to a half-dozen painful cuts by the Dark Links that assailed her. Smelling blood, they closed in for the kill. The first executed a spin attack that forced Cerberus off the ice and into the water, and as she floundered the second springboarded off the first for a lethal plunge attack. For a moment Cerberus waved, her fear plain to see in her eyes, but in a flash they gave way to burning determination. She bet the farm on a single heavy thrust and managed to catch the Dark Link in the chest, blasting him back toward his comrade. Cerberus then leaped from the water, pierced the ice with her staff, then whirled around it with her hands on the pole and her steaming feet wreathed in fire. "Hahahaha!" Her revolving red-hot kicks broke open her enemies' guard, then blew them away, and as Cerberus finally slid to a stop on the ice she closed out her performance with a cheeky bow.

The two Dark Links attacking Firestaff were blasted into shadow by her assault, while the two going after the others faded away. They only really had a few good attacks in them anyway before they faded out, but their assault combined with the bomb had succeeded in pushing two of the triplets into a corner and reveled to an observant eye exactly how those weapons of theirs worked. They had only come at him one at a time because only one of them could have the power at once. Why you would ever design a weapon to work like that he didn't know, but it had to have something to do with the triplet's themselves.

Storing that info for later, though, he instead took advantage of that corner they found themselves in. Before they could undue their cocoon he brought up the Sheikah Slate and used the Stasis Rune on it. Bright gold chains wrapped the cocoon, infusing it with golden light and freezing it in place. Ignoring the third for now Link set off on a slippery run across the ice toward them, landing one clumsy blow and one stronger one on the cocoon with his Cestus clad fist to send the whole thing flying once the clock ran out. Not at mach speed by his judgement, but enough to maybe incapacitate the two.

Link's smackdown on the frozen shell came to an abrupt end when Cerberus slid his way over the ice. She dug in her nails to stop herself in a low stance, then held the ignited end of her staff in front of her head like a torch. With puffed cheeks the triplet blew a torrent of flame at her enemy. As the fire raged, the other two waited patiently inside their defensive bastion for the stasis effect to end, since that meant that the walls erected by Ice Age would disappear on their own. Not for a moment did Cerberus think that the increasingly rapid blinking would end in a veritable shotgun-blast of ice shards. The explosive blast hurtled them into the drink once more, accompanied by a duet of screams right up until they got abruptly caught off by the water. Dazed and battered but still fighting-fit, the sanjiegun-wielder staggered upright, but the groaning nunchaku-wielder remained on her knees, her ears drooping as she hung her head.

Becoming quite adept at his new dodge, Link turned to smoke again as the flames came his way. This time he went straight up, reforming over the fire and pulling out his sailcloth. The rising air, heated by Cerberus's attack, was a welcome comfort after the freezing wind he had been subject to and carried him up along with it. He got a birds eye view of the prison shattering and sending the other two sprawling. One seemed content to stay down, but it wasn't the one he would have liked.

He dropped toward the lightning wielder, pulling out his bow and knocking an arrow as time slowed down around him. He let fly at her, aiming for the arm she held her weapon in before switching to the Trident and beginning his true attack. He spun the deadly weapon around as time resumed, pointing the blunt end right at her as he fell for a diving attack.

Cerberus tried to compose herself as Link cruised in using his sailcloth, grasping in the water at the other end of her tri-section staff. When her opponent produced a bow and took aim from on high, the triplet tried to dodge, but the hero's arrow flew true. It sank into her shoulder, nearly toppling her backward in the process, but alongside the pain something else welled up from inside her. She planted her foot beneath her to stop her fall, and with lightning in her eyes, took one end of her sanjiegun in either hand. A scream of anger tore loose from her lips, but it was backed by another voice, far louder, deeper, and more monstrous than hers. "PerCUSSIOOOOON!" As the roar resounded through the Evergaol and Link's plunge attack fell toward her, she rammed both ends of her weapon through the water into the ground. A whole thunderstorm's worth of lightning bolts immediately burst forth around her, filling water and air alike with rippling purple voltage.

Link tried one last-millisecond thrust as the girl raised her weapon, driving the shaft of the trident towards her, but he wasn't fast enough. Lightning filled him again as the world in front of his eyes went white. The next thing he knew was the blisteringly cold water and the taste of salt. He pushed himself up again, having belly flopped not far from the lightning wielder. The trident had flown out of his hand when the lightning struck him, embedding itself in one of the still floating chunks of ice. He stared up at her for a moment, breathing heavily, then sighed and rose gingerly back to his feet. "Were you three serious before, about letting me back out? Because for the life of me I can't think of a way to beat you that doesn't involve killing you.

For a few seconds Cerberus didn't respond. She still stood on the spot where she'd unleashed her cannonade of thunderbolts, stooped and panting as her sudden fury subsided. The mood of the fight had changed, and not because Link had been sizzled senseless a second time. The hero seemed reluctant to continue fighting, at least in the same manner as before, and in the brief lull everyone took a few seconds for a much-needed break. After a deep breath the third triplet pulled herself together and rose, dripping, from the water. She drew up alongside the second as she yanked the arrow from her shoulder, prompting a high-pitched yelp, while the first pushed through the water past Link, her eyes wary and her staff clutched tight in her hand. When she joined the others the Triple Demon was reunited at last, and all three seemed to consider their opponent's question.

"Sure!" they said after a moment, smiling despite their various wounds. The notion of Link actually trying to kill them apparently didn't concern them too much. "Might as well since we couldn't get out in the first place if you didn't drop by. Besides, it was fun playing with you! You're a tricky one, huh?" The triplets flourished their weapons, ready for one last hurrah. "'Course, we gotta beat you first! Don't just roll over on us now, unless you wanna play dead!"

He couldn't help smiling back. They were a group of weirdos, but despite the shocks they had turned out to be some endearing weirdos. After yesterday the last thing he wanted to do was cast a dark pall over his time off. Cutting them down when they just wanted to feel the real sun would leave too foul a taste in his mouth to relax. Could he trust them? Maybe not, but his friends were all out there anyway if they were lying. "All right, but fair warning. That dark lady I summoned? That's all my friends left of the last woman that wouldn't give me back! Hyaaaaa!" He came around with the cestus, holding it in both hands and rotating over and over like a hammer thrower into the center of them. After a few rotations to build power he brought it over his head and slammed down to release a small shockwave that threw up a wall of icy water.

"Yaaaaaah!!!" Excited for the climactic showdown, Cerberus charged straight toward her challenger, only for the electric triplet in the middle to get smacked head over heels as she ran right into Link's wallop. "Aw, damn it, I--blblblblblbl!" She flipped backward into the water, blowing bubbles as she sank, and right on cue the third demon's eyes sparkled with icy blue light. Both she and the first triplet wisely backed off as Link's cyclone whirled between them. His typhoon ended in a mighty splash, and as if a lightbulb went off over her head, the 'chucker saw her chance.

Just as her clobbered counterpart did earlier with her three-section staff, Cerberus grabbed hold of her weapon's three heads, and with all her freezing power focused into a single point hammered the nunchaku into the giant splash. "It's cool!" In an instant the wall of water flash-frozen, becoming a bowl that enclosed Link on all sides.

Without delay the staff-wielder pole-vaulted over the lip, her fiery foot extended to make sure Link didn't ultimately miss out on the flying kick he eluded earlier. "Rock Back!" The blow splatted him against the bowl, and after planting her staff in the very center, Cerberus repeated her stylish move from earlier. She whirled around in a flaming revolution, smushing Link's head against the ice with her shoe the whole way, until his momentum slung him over the edge.

"Here, boy!" As he flew, the hero got a brief glimpse at the second triplet in his way, her three-section staff held like a baseball bat as Cerberus wiggled her hips in anticipation. "Now..." Lightning flashed in her eyes, and with an ear-to-ear smile she let loose. "Lay down!"

When Link next awoke, the sun was shining overhead, the seabirds were squawking, and he could hear party music on the shore. He was back in the real world, and around him stood Cerberus, all smiles and wagging tails as if they hadn't just beaten the snot out of the poor guy--or maybe because they had. All three were a mess, their fancy clothes sodden and torn and their hair in utter disarray, but they seemed happy, and each extended a hand to help him up. "Wakey, wakey!" they teased.

"Wha?" He started, very confused as he just chilled for a second in the refreshingly warm water and let it sooth all the new aches. They cold just get him out? That was how this worked? He took their hands and let them help him to his feet. "You've got to tell me more about this thing." He said, fascination tinting his voice. He glanced down to make sure they were in the same place, check if the circle was still glowing. "I thought you had swap to get people out. Well, in any case, welcome to The World of Light."

"Well, yeah, but you can also just open it once it's been tampered with!" Cerberus watched him examine the Evergaol's dias curiously. With its contents vacated the magical prison no longer served its purpose and had gone inert, with no trace of the nebulous glow that shone from it before. "Lots of people came by while we were inside, but none of them ever came in!" the Triple Demon continued. "It was SO frustrating!"

Their gaze quickly wandered, taking in the incredible natural beauty of the western shoreline for the first time. "But now we're free," they breathed, as if they still couldn't quite comprehend the fact. "Free to corrupt the mortal realm! Think we'll start with..." Their ears perked up as they caught a scent on the breeze. "Ooh, whatever that is! Let's go!"

Having locked onto Karin's barbecue buffet over on the beach, all three took off at a sprint across the Evergaol. They took one step off the sand at its edge and promptly sank down into a hidden trench with a collective yelp. When they surfaced they'd broken formation, flailing and splashing in comical fashion as they tried to push one another out of the way and get at the food.

"Gah, what maniac put this hole here!? I'll rip 'em limb from limb!"

"Come on, doggy paddle don't fail me now! Ow ow, hey, no pulling!"

"Aaaaagh, it's all falling apart! I just wanna eat food, damn it! Hey!"

Link couldn't imagine what kind of person would come across a glowing dais in the middle of nowhere and not mess with it, and frankly he didn't want to consider what went on in such a mind. He did get a little worried when they started talking about corrupting the mortal realm, but those worries were alleviated when the trio fell into the deep end and started squabbling like children. Even if they were evil, they seemed like the Bowser brand of evil. He swapped back into his swimwear and flippers and dove in after them, ready to explain to miss Karin where he had brought three ravenous hellbeasts to her property.

Word Count: 1459

Level 8 - (57/80) + 3

Location: Kanzuki Beach


While the others took their food from the generous spread and found more comfortable places to eat their fill Like had no intention of leaving his place beside all this beautiful food. Instead of sticking to one spot like that big guy from earlier he made his way up and down the table, grabbing anything that struck his fancy and putting the impressive pair of chompers he now sported to good use. Beef or fish, grilled or fried, healthy and unhealthy alike were all chopped up by his sharklike teeth and disappeared down his gullet. Even the bones were crunched up and devoured. Link never let anything go to waste, just to waist. If one wasn't familiar with his usually appetite and the ordeal it had been put through yesterday they would think he was intentionally trying to prove their gracious hostess wrong about being able to eat her out of house and home.

It was soon that he discovered his old friend, the bananas, along with it's new acquittances the pineapple and the watermelon diced up into neat slices beside them. He scooped up some of the sweet pink triangles and indulged a little time here with the fruit, savoring the taste. Somehow it was even better than yesterday, despite the hard green bit that hadn't been a part of their meal at the lagoon. That had to have been a part of the fruits outer shell, so he knew what to look for in the future. This fruit spread, however, made him painfully aware of who was so far missing from this party.

He looked out over the beach. Geralt had just arrived, along with Raven haired woman he wasn't familiar with. The two of them were introducing themselves to Miss Kanzuki. There was one, but Peach wasn't here yet. Nether was the Kid in the Hat, nor Sakura. There was only one, though, that perhaps wouldn't know this was even happening.

He got a chance to inquire as Bowser returned for seconds. "Hey Bowser." He asked. "You didn't meet up with Mirage when you were brought back last night, did you?" He remembered how it had been when him and Euden had been carted off during the battle with the Enderdragon? They had ended up in the same place. "He joined us midway, so I don't think he got an invitation?"

Regardless of the answer he figured that someone as sharp as him could find them if he wanted too. After yesterday he wouldn't blame anyone if they wanted to just leave them alone and make their own way in this world. In fact, he found himself preferring that after what had happened to three out of the four people that had joined them since they arrived in the Edge of Blue.

As the others went about, relaxing in the sun and making merry, Link found his enjoyment in watching them while sampling seafood. After biting down on his first clam, having assumed it was some kind of Goron-style rock dish, and discovering it's juicy center he started opening the others with his broken sword while watching the volleyball game occurring down the beach. The carless joy of the other put his heart at ease, and finally prompted him to leave his post and wonder down to get a closer look at the action. He even managed to snap a shot of the game with his Slate right as Junior hit the ball with his climactic spike. He managed to capture everyone's reactions as the ball flew down, exuberant happiness and excitement springing off the screen at the viewer. He was getting pretty good at this.

As the others dispersed Link did some quick inventory of his photos deleting the one he didn't need to keep like the shots of random wildlife and weapons before deciding what to do next. He could go back and keep eating, he supposed, but he was already feeling rather sluggish. The ever present hunger he felt had quieted from a loud roar into a whimper, and along with that last stressor he felt some of his energy leaving him. He could lay down and catch a few more hours of sleep but he was afraid that would invite more of his nightmares to ruin this lovely day. Besides which, the shot of adrenaline that shot through his body when Ms. Fortune started fake drowning rendered that impossible, no matter how bad her acting was. He almost dove right into the surf before noticing that Ace was very clearly standing up where she was.

When had he gotten this high strung? He needed to indulge in hobbies other than saving people, lest he embarrass himself attempting to protect someone from their own flirts. Sighing, he decided to take a cue from the lovebirds and cool off in the ocean. Maybe the water would work away some of the soreness he still felt from sleeping with the shipgirl rigging on. Speaking of..

He went back up the beach, feeling around on his hips for a way to slip the gear off like he had seen others do, and left the arms and rigging neatly folded up on one of the wooden beach chairs. It was looking a little banged up, which wasn't surprising considering he was probably much rougher on it that its previous owner. Maybe he could swing back by the navy barracks later and see what they did for repairs? This weapon was too useful in other ways for him to break.

Making sure that his new flippers were on and his hat and Champion's Denim Vest were safely stored away in the slate he waded out into the ocean. The waves gently brushed past him, a far cry from the ugly way the ocean had behaved yesterday, and seemed to pull the stress from his bones. It wasn't too cold, and he had always felt at home in the water despite not being very proficient at actually swimming. He made his way along the sandy floor, avoiding the drop offs and deeper holes that were scattered willy nilly across the ocean floor, until he was up to his waist. Then he dropped down into the water and put the flippers to the test.

It didn't feel like being an Abyssal. It didn't even feel like being a Zora, though he could feel an improvement over his normal ability as he kicked his feet and let the flippers do the work. It was enough that he felt confident swimming out over the deeper parts and diving down into the depths, taking a deep breath and filling his eyes with the wonderful assortment of sea life that made their home in patchwork quilt of an ocean. He started filling up his photo space again almost immediately, the Slate acting just as well underwater as above, always eager to see what was just around the next reef. His only regret was that he tired too quickly and had to swim back to the shallows to recover his stamina between every excursion. It kept him from swimming out father and seeing the sights that existed in the ocean beyond. The itch to explore was almost overwhelming now, to go out and see what there was to see, but he reined himself in. Maybe later he would throw the rigging back on, climb to the top of one of those white swords, and see if he could get to the top? He could take a flight over the entire beach from the top of one of those things.

He settled back from his latest dive, chasing after a gang of blue and white sea creatures, but soon found it different than the other sandbars he had landed on before. He looked down, feeling the solid stone under him. He had stumbled on the same ominous stone depression Ace and Ms. Fortune had, the glow from the center shining up even under the midday sun. He looked around, cocking his head in the faintest of hopes that he might hear familiar accordion music playing from somewhere. There was noting, though, save the splash of waves and the cries of sea birds. Catching his breath, he stood up and strode toward the center to examine it anyway. This was something. Landmarks like this always were, even more so if they glowed, and hint or no they demanded to be examined.

So he did, stepping into the glowing circle at the center of the landmark and hoping that it was as simple as that. He hoped he didn't have to play a song, or camp on it for a couple of days, or do anything specific because then he was out of luck.
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