Disclaimer: Nintendo owns all rights of the Legend of Zelda video games and the characters Link, Zelda, Ganon, the King, and Captain Krin. All other characters were created by me. I make no money off of this work. Master of the Dark Realm is set one year after Verge of Destruction.

The Legend of Zelda: Master of the Dark Realm

A land found on a peninsula, separated from the rest of the world by a a range of mountains and a mighty ocean encircling it. A land of forests, plains, deserts, farmlands, villages, and isolated homes. A land chosen to be the focus for the magic of an entire world. A land where a kingdom was created by the creatures of that magic. A land where a legend was born and heroes challenged evil. A land called... Hyrule.

Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, leaned back in her throne rubbing her temples. "If I hear one more idiotic complaint that has some how bypassed the local judges, I'll scream."

The courier looked through his stack of papers. "Perhaps we ought to be grateful that Prince Link and Lady Lissa are returning."

A smile played across Zelda's face. Then she sighed, "Sometimes I wish he wouldn't insist on fighting. But Lissa keeps him from taking foolish risks." She shook her head. "If those moblins didn't stir up so much trouble, I'd tell him to leave them be." Zelda sat up straight. "Let's get on with it. What's the next case?"

A servant entered the throne room from a side door. "Your Highness," she announced, "Prince Link and Lady Lissa."

Link swept past the servant, "Hi, darling. Boy, you look beat." He went up to the throne as fast as he could without running.

Zelda smiled, "Don't call me darling in front of everyone." She let him kiss her cheek. "I'll be finished soon."

There was commotion in the outer hall. "I must see the Princess!" A short man, farmer by appearances, burst into the throne room and dropped on his knee in front of Zelda. "I beg for audience, your Highness."

Zelda nodded, "You have your audience."

The man stood, "Your Highness, I come from the western region of Hyrule. Moblin warriors harass our town night and day. Of three people who attempted to get help, I was the only one who made it. I beg of you, Princess, to send help quickly."

Link jumped up from the seat he had taken on the throne's dais. "I'll go immediately."

Zelda caught her breath and grabbed her fleeing composure. "Have some consideration for our guest, Link." She turned to the servant who had shown Link and Lissa in the throne room. "Please find him quarters and a refreshing meal." The servant bowed and the messenger followed her out.

The courier gazed at the timepiece. "Well, we made it successfully through another day of cases." He gathered up his papers and mumbled under his breath, "Now the real fireworks begin." Only Lissa heard him as he left.

Lissa, who had silently watched everything through her blue and silver eyes, now spoke. "I can't come with you, Link. Conflicting plans."

Zelda turned to Link. "Did you forget that we planned a trip to the Saria Town for tomorrow?"

Link shrugged, "I can go with you to a village anytime, Zelda. These people need help."

Zelda, frustration already visible on her face, tried again. "But I haven't seen you in three weeks."

"Zelda, why are you so upset? I'll save the village and be home before you know it." Link--honestly--did not know what bothered her. It wasn't like he could read her mind; it worked the other way around.

"If it's so easy, then someone else can go," Zelda countered haughtily.

"Like who?"

Zelda's mind jumped on the first option presented. "Like the guards."

"Zelda, no offense," Lissa broke in, "but if you want to keep the subjects on your side, don't send in the guards."

"Okay, not the guards. We can find someone else to handle the problem."

Link, angry, spoke sharply, "Are you suggesting that I don't help these people?"

"Here we go again," Lissa muttered.

"You're a prince now. You don't have to fight every moblin that causes trouble." Zelda's voice rose two notches.

"I wasn't born a prince, and I happen to like fighting!" Link shouted angrily.

"Then go fight all you want!" Zelda shouted as she fled from the room, tears streaming down her face.

Link turned on his heel and stomped out of the throne room. Lissa turned to the large window doors and stepped onto the balcony. Largely from experience, she knew Link and Zelda needed time to cool off, and she could do nothing to speed up the process. A golden hawk circled her and perched nearby on the stone railing. He screeched out a question.

"Yes, Kilare," Lissa rested her elbows on the railing and propped her chin in her hands. "They're fighting again. Not like that's any news."

Kilare screeched again. Lissa considered that remark. "You might be onto something. It's possible that Link and Zelda actually enjoy their arguments. But a wild guess would be that they like the making-ups more." She straightened her back and shrugged, "I'm going to my lab." Kilare screeched and flew off.

Zelda sat in a well-padded armchair staring out the window into the starry sky, her slender frame draped by the billowy white robe. Link entered the bedroom softly, walked over and touched her shoulder. She pulled away from his touch. "Zelda, I hate it when we fight like this. I can dodge books better than I can dodge your cold shoulders. Tell me what's bothering you."

Link turned away from the chair and went to the other side of the room. Only then did Zelda speak, "Lissa."

"Lissa? What about Lissa?" Link wondered with confusion what his sister had to do with this.

"She isn't going with you."

"Is that all?"

"No, the real problem is with your style, Link."

"What style?"

"Your fighting style."

"Zelda, you are making absolutely, positively, no sense."

Zelda sighed, "You fight with a flare for taking unnecessary risks. When Lissa is with you and you're teaching her swordsmanship, you don't take those risks that could get you killed." Her voice grew taunt. "I'm just selfish! I want you all to myself, forever!"

Link blinked, "Zelda, I'm shocked. You're jealous of moblins!"

"Oh you!" Zelda jumped up and swung her fist at Link. He ducked and hooked his arms about her waist, pulling her to him.

Link grinned, "You're not going to get away." Zelda tried to pull away, but not very hard. He dropped his teasing tone. "Zelda, I love you. I will always be with you for as long as I can. But if it makes you happy, I won't take all those risks. And once I defeat the moblins, I'll join you in Saria."

Zelda put her arms around Link's neck. "Why is it that we always make up?"

He pulled her even closer. "I'm just glad we do," he answered huskily.

Zelda laid--somewhat peacefully--in bed, her stomach gradually stopped its churning. A maid entered the bedroom. "How are you this morning, Princess?"

Zelda sat up, "Better, much better. I think the stomach virus is passing."

"Perhaps you should stay, your Highness."

"No," Zelda shook her head, "I promised the people of Saria that I would come."

Later that same day, Zelda sank back into the rich cushions of the royal carriage. She laid a hand on her hand on her stomach, but the churning passed. She glanced out the window and noticed they entered a forest.

The horses suddenly took a flying leap and galloped wildly. The carriage rocked back and forth. Zelda grabbed hold of the seat and shouted, "Driver! What's going on?"

The door of the carriage swung open and a moblin dropped in. Zelda swung her body off the seat feet first, and kicked it in the gut. It flew out the open door. But as she did that, her mind contacted Link.

Link just finished polishing off the last of the moblins and was trying to figure out what about the fight bothered him, when Zelda reached him telepathically. Link, help! Moblins!

Zelda, where are you? But no answer came, the contact broken.

Link raced for his horse. The messenger crept out of his hiding place. "Your moblin problems are over." Link told him. "It's safe to resume living again." He swung into his saddle.

The man was extremely grateful. "Oh, thank you, your Highness. Must you leave now?"

"I'm afraid I have to." Link put on a brave front as he wheeled his horse around and waved. Then, with a grim face, he galloped away.

Another moblin entered through the other door of the carriage and saw the look of concentration on Zelda's face. It grabbed her long blonde hair and yanked it painfully. Zelda screamed and tried to face her attacker. But before she could do anything, the carriage began a corkscrew decent. They braced themselves to keep the speeding, rocking carriage from turning over off the path.

The carriage came to a jolting halt. A dozen more moblins, armed with spears, prodded Zelda out of the carriage. Two took her arms as the rest escorted her inside Ganon's Castle.

Ganon's throne room, the most dismal place in the whole Castle, was where the moblins brought Zelda. A thin, ghost-like presence of Ganon wafted into view. "Welcome, Princess."

"Ganon?" What was wrong with him? she asked herself. "You don't think Link is going to stand idly by, do you?"

The apparition appeared to grin--in his fashion. "I hope I don't, Princess." Zelda stepped back mentally. "Link will rescue his wife and his child as quickly as he can. I'm practically counting on it." To her escorts, he snarled, "Take her away!"

Zelda's mind whirled as they led her to the dungeons. Ganon must had made a mistake. She and Link didn't have any children.

Link found the ambushed guards in the forest and sent them back to the Palace, but no sign of the royal carriage. Inwardly, he cursed himself for allowing Zelda fall into a trap. If he had been with her... Link shook his head. It was no good to think along those lines. Right now, Zelda needed rescuing.

He could--as he normally did--charged right in, but he promised no risks. Link slapped himself on the forehead, "Of course! No reinforcement! That's what was bothering me!" Link's mind raced. If Ganon had really wanted that area, he would have sent reinforcements. The force was were enough to cause the village problems and keep him from accompanying Zelda, a well-thought out plan. But who planned this? He had vanquished Ganon, or had he?

A cart plodded down the trail. "Whoa." The driver stopped and looked at Link. "What's going on here?"

Link shrugged, "Nothing much, really." The fewer people who knew the truth the better.

The driver chuckled under his breath. "I've seen that look before." He jumped off his seat and started rummaging in the back of his cart. "I may have something that can help."

Link, curious, left the stump he occupied and joined him. "Ah, here it is." The driver held up a delicate glass bottle with a slim neck filled with a green liquid.

"It's not a love potion, is it?"

The driver laughed out right. "Of course not. I can see you have no need of that. This potion allows you to go anywhere without hindrance or observation."

The last words caught Link's attention exactly like they should. "No one will see me coming?"

"That's right."

Link took the bottle in his hands, staring inside at the emerald liquid. "How does it work?"

"Merely relax, say the name of the place or person, and drink." The driver's eyes twinkled, knowing his fish was as good as in the net.

"How much?"

"For you, thirty rupees." Link handed the money over, a glazed look in his eyes. The driver tipped his hat, climbed back into his cart and drove down the road.

Back at the North Palace, Link sat in Zelda's favorite armchair and uncorked the bottle. Mesmerized by the intense green color--almost the same color as Zelda's eyes--he shook himself to break the spell. "Zelda!" Link cried and gulped. The pleasant tasting potion took effect immediately, and Link slumped back in the chair.

Link opened his eyes. He was in a dungeon and--his heart leapt--Zelda laid on a pallet. "Zelda!"

She didn't move. Link went closer, "Zelda?" Her sleeping face, turned to the wall and lined with tears, betrayed her feelings. But a deaf man could have heard that first shout. Link grabbed her shoulder and passed right through her. He reeled backwards--right through the wall. "What in Hyrule happened!" But no one heard the question.

Lissa knew something was wrong before she reached the North Palace. The heavy and brooding air sparked with electricity. The courier ran up to her before she dismounted. "Lady Lissa, a dreadful calamity, dreadful, dreadful, dreadful!"

"What happened?" Lissa asked calmly as she strode into the Palace.

"Princess Zelda has disappeared. She never arrived at Saria Town. And your brother," the courier stopped with gasp.

"What about Prince Link?" Lissa asked sharply.

The courier gestured helpless into a bedroom. Link laid on the bed, not moving. "He has been like this since the Princess has disappeared."

Lissa took Link's limp hand. "He has been ensorcelled," she announced flatly. She cut off the courier's protest. "It can be reversed, probably. Does the King know?"

"No, his Majesty does not. My Lady, what are we to do? The Princess has assumed more and more responsibility for the kingdom. Her disappearance will not go unnoticed forever."

Lissa picked a glass bottle lying beside the chair. "Help the King as best you can. I'm going to try to find the Princess." The courier nodded and left. Lissa pulled Link's sword out of its scabbard hanging from another chair and stood over his body. "That was stupid, Link." She shook her head as she slid the sword into her empty scabbard. "I just hope you've taught me enough to survive in the Dark Realm."

Zelda slumped against the wall of her cell. Link, thoroughly disgusted with his inability to communicate with her in any way, slumped next to her--trying not to go through the wall.

Ganon's apparition appeared. "Well, Princess, how are you enjoying our hospitality?" Zelda turned away with dignity.

Link rolled with laughter. Since no one could hear him, it really didn't matter. "Ganon, are you in low spirits?" Link laughed harder. "This plan doesn't have a ghost of a chance!" Link roared.

Ganon grew aware of the laughter directed at himself, but Zelda, the only occupant of the cell, wasn't laughing. He vanished in a huff.

Link got off the floor and wiped the tears of laughter away. He turned to Zelda. "I wish you could hear me." He looked more closely, tears streamed down her face. "Oh, Zelda." Link wrapped his spirit arms around her, fully expecting not to find anything tangible. But something stopped him from passing through--alarmed, Link reeled back, realizing it was her soul.

The tears, which had almost stopped, resumed their flow. "Link, where are you?" she murmured, eyes closed against the helplessness.

Link sighed and wrapped his arms around her. "I'm right here. You're the one who doesn't know that." He shrugged, "I guess this is comfort of the spirit."

Lissa pulled her shoulder-length brown hair into her cap. Kilare circled above the trees and swooped down, spooking the horse and almost throwing Lissa. Nalga, the fox, who sat on the horse's hindquarters fell off. He picked himself up and scolded the hawk.

Lissa agreed with Nalga. "Kilare, watch where you're practicing your swooping."

Kilare returned to circling above the trees to ignore the others, screeched out a message and warning, and swooped down more gently. He neatly landed on Lissa's gloved arm.

The unusual sight ahead surprised the driver of the cart. A young boy--no, a young girl with short hair--mounted on a beautiful horse--much better animal than his plodding mule--accompanied by a fox and a hawk. "Good morning," he called as soon as he was in conversation range.

Lissa found her magic stone set in Link's sword. It felt hot to the touch. "Good morning, sir. I believe you are the one I have been looking for."

The driver smiled, "I'm the best traveling wares-man in Hyrule. What do you desire?"

"Information." Her horse shifted its feet. "There has been a wrong doing."

"I am an honest man!" the driver protested.

"I am sure you are," Lissa admitted, "but you did sell the potion that played a role."

"What harm can a spirit do?" the driver asked perplexed.

"None at all! What was that potion, exactly?"

"Nothing harmful, I assure you," The driver squirmed under Lissa's gaze. "It's a soul separator. As soon as the soul knows that everything is in order, the soul will return to the body."

Lissa nodded, "Thank you for cooperating. I hope, for your sake, you never realize the extent of the damage you may have played a role in." With that, Lissa reeled her horse around and galloped away.

Link could not remember a time where he had been more incredibly bored. After the initial shock, perplexity, and anger of being a ghost had worn off, he tried to analyze the situation--not one of his strong points. Link finally reached the conclusion that there was no way that Zelda could escape short of a miracle.

But because that was such a bleak prospect, Link focused his attention on trying to talk to her. That, too, fell through. Anytime Zelda managed to see him, she shrugged it off as a hallucination. Link gave up and decided to try his luck elsewhere in the Dark Realm.

The Dark Realm was as diverse as the Light Realm. Link never really had the chance to see much of it since most of his visits were with Ganon. He gazed down from his vantage point high in the sky and nearly fell. "Now who would be crazy enough to pick a fight with ten moblins?" Link swooped down awkwardly. "I suppose I ought to help."

The person's back was to Link when he landed, and he was trying to zap the moblins. Link shook his head, "Use two hands." Instantly, the other hand joined its companion on the sword--Link's sword. "Hey, wait-a-minute! That's my sword!" Link stopped, "You can hear me?"

"Of course I can hear you!" Lissa yelled over her shoulder annoyed. "Give me a hand will you?"

Link, amazed, didn't notice the moblin who swung a spear through his spirit. "How come you can hear me and no one else can?"

Lissa kicked a moblin away. "This isn't the best time for a conversation."

"He's getting away." Lissa dropped to her knee and zapped the last moblin. "Now answer my question."

Lissa sighed as she stood. "I expected to." She started walking and Link floated unconsciously beside her. "Since I expected to see you in spirit form, I can see and hear you."

"That explains a lot. Now, why is Ganon a shade of his former self?"

Lissa pondered, "Ganon, a spirit? He can only return by your blood, right?"

"Right, and Zelda's, which he hasn't used. But he would be at full strength."

Lissa chewed on her lip, but said nothing more about Ganon. "How's Zelda?"

"She's still alive." Link's shoulders slumped. "If Ganon wants revenge, why doesn't he just come straight to me? Why is he doing this to Zelda?"

Lissa wanted to touch him, to show she understood, but couldn't and offered an answer. "Because it hurts you more." Link didn't reply.

Zelda walked closer to the door. The moblins, stalfos, and other assorted monsters rushed in one solid mass down the hall. Within minutes, the way was clear. Zelda grasped the knob, but it was a vain hope. She leaned against it in disgust. Her gaze traveled to the floor, but her gold bracelet intercepted it. A plain bracelet, it's only decoration was a raised dagger about the length of her thumb.

The idea raised was so incredulous it might just work. Zelda began to pry off the dagger.

Ganon's phantasm wavered. "I want a full line of defense. That may be only a brat coming, but she's very powerful."

The monsters seemed to understand. Ganon sighed inwardly. This upcoming battle was going to take plenty out of him, and he had very little to lose.

Zelda made one final turn with the dagger in the lock. The door swung into the empty hall. "Incredible," Zelda murmured, "no one's home." She wasted no time in running toward an exit.

Link whistled, "Looks like Ganon's assembled the welcoming committee. He never gave me a welcome like that."

Lissa didn't comment. Her eyes roved over the minor action in the back of the group. "What's going on back there?"

Zelda didn't let the hoard of monsters faze her, but kept running. She concentrated on her pounding feet and the clear space between Ganon's Castle and the hoard.

A moblin in the back row happened to glance over his shoulder. "The prisoner is escaping!" A few moblins heard him and joined the chase.

Link followed his sister's gaze. "Looks like they're chasing... Zelda!" Link started to float/run after them.

"Link wait! You can't do anything!" Lissa nullified the monsters' will to fight and ran after Link unheeded. No one could harm a Gensiarian if he or she didn't wish it.

Zelda felt herself slowing. Her lack of strength enabled the moblins to gain ground. Energy drained from her legs, making them feel like jelly. A few more minutes and she would collapse. An enigmatic crystal structure, as large as her body, floated into her path.

Link saw it and inexplicably thought of a coffin.

Lissa knew what the crystal's nature was. "Zelda!" she screamed, running faster. "Don't touch...." Zelda stumbled over her feet. Her body fell forward slowly. The crystal loomed closer. Zelda threw her arms over her face in preparation of the impact with the crystal.

Link screamed out her name as he clawed his way to a sitting position. The maid who was dusting, screamed and fled from the room. Link realized, after queasy moments of disorientation, he was back in his body.

"Dark days for Hyrule," Lissa murmured, gazing at the crystal cocooned figure of the Princess. "Really dark days."

Ganon snarled for a moment, then shrugged. "It does not matter. Not quite the way I would have achieved my goal, but effective none the less."

Lissa turned her flashing eyes to the monster Master of the Dark Realm. "If you think that Link and I will give up without a fight...."

Ganon interrupted her warning with a harsh laugh. "Fight all you want, Gensiarian. You know there is no way to break the crystal's protection."

Lissa smiled wickedly, "Something's been bothering me, perhaps you can help explain it." Ganon's spirit form said nothing. "Why aren't you up to full capacity?" Lissa's eyes sparkled gleefully. "Could it be that you didn't steal enough blood this time?" She goaded on, "So that's it, you're existing on old blood!"

Ganon snarled, "I won't be for long. Take her!"

"No need," Lissa coolly extended her arm, "take my blood, I insist. Go ahead." Ganon nor the moblins made a move toward her. "Just as I thought, you can't use my blood. My Gensiarian's power would destroy you."

Ganon grew more irritated at the puny, but powerful girl. "You may have won this battle, but the victory will be mine!"

Lissa's blue eye and silver eyes narrowed, "That child will be born and will seal your fate." Ganon screeched and lunged his phantasmal form at Lissa, who disappeared.

Link prowled the halls of the North Palace like a caged tiger. Lissa appeared and he whirled to attack. "What happened? Where's Zelda?"

Lissa sighed and walked up to her lab. Link followed her into the tower room crammed full of books, bottles, and diagrams. "Calm down, Link. She's safe."

"Safe from Ganon or safe from me?"

"The crystal only responded to its nature. It is the ultimate protector." Lissa shifted a pile of books and papers and sat in the chair that she uncovered. "It holds whoever seeks protection in suspended animation until they no longer want protection."

Link tried to fight his way back to the door. Lissa winced as piles of books toppled. "Then let's go tell Zelda that she doesn't want protection."

Lissa shook her head, her dark brown hair flying violently. "It's not that easy. The crystal won't allow Zelda to see, hear, or touch. It cuts off all communication--forever!"

Link stopped by the door having heard and understood the impossibility of what Lissa just said. "But there must be a way around it. You can do it, you're a Gensiarian."

Lissa scrutinized the floor. "If Gensiarians do not follow the rules of magic, then magic has no rules. Don't look at me like that, Link!" she added quickly. "I'm not saying there isn't a way, but that I'll need time to find it."

Link closed his eyes, his mind swimming in myriad of memories. "Is she... is Zelda," he stopped, savoring her name, "safe from Ganon?"

"He can't touch her." Link nodded and opened the door. "Where are you going?"

"I'm leaving."

"You can't go to the Dark Realm now. It would be futile." Lissa ran after Link's steady stride.

"I'm not going to the Dark Realm, Lissa. But if Ganon knows what's good for him, he'll leave me alone." Lissa heard the pain and anger in his voice.

"But what about the kingdom? Who's going to rule it?" she finally asked desperately.

"You rule the damn kingdom!" Link snarled with sudden fierceness. Lissa, taken back, let him go without another word.

Link to Part Two