Link ran onto the bridge, spurred onward by the hope of perhaps seeing Zelda again. Before him reared the stone head of a dragon, with roiling lava on either side.
Then Link spotted the figure perched on the dragon's nose, and his heart plummeted to his toes. It was that creep from Skyview Temple.
The demon lord greeted him with a smug laugh that echoed off the temple walls.
"Oh, it's you," he said, "Let me see... No, that's not it." He pulled a face, making it look as though he were concentrating. "This is so very embarrassing but I seem to be at a loss for your name. Not that it matters, really. To tell you the truth, I'm feeling a bit frustrated, and right now I just need someone to vent to." He gave a dramatic flourish of his hand. "I heard my underlings had finally captured the spirit maiden, so of course I rushed over here. What can I say? I was excited. Flustered, even. But what did I find when I arrived? That agent of the goddess..." His words died away, his voice becoming nothing more than a quiet murmur so that Link had to strain to hear him. "She had once again... You see, what I'm trying to say is..." His voice became a scream. "That goddess-serving dog escaped with the girl! I must have the spirit maiden in order to resurrect my master. I must have her." He paused, straightening. "I got a little carried away there, didn't I? I don't deal well with...complications to plans I've laid out so carefully. It's a character flaw of mine."
By this point Link was wishing the white-haired freak would just shut up and attack him.
Accessing his telepathic link with Fi, he thought, Chatty, isn't he?
"Indeed, master," Fi replied.
But Ghirahim wasn't quite finished.
"Something good can still come from this day," he said, "I've had all this bottled-up rage smouldering inside me and now I can release it."
Finally. Please do.
"There's someone special I'd like you to meet. Oh, don't be shy. I've made sure to teach her her manners. I'm positive you're going to love her as much as I have. Besides, I need to vent all this unhealthy anger, and your agony is such a great stress reliever. Once she's shredded you, let me tell you, there'll be a spring in my step!"
He snapped his fingers, disappearing in a flurry of diamonds. Link waited, but saw nothing. He took a step forward. Still nothing.
Then there was a bright flash of silver, and a figure appeared bearing a black cloak. Link drew the Goddess Sword, standing at the ready. The figure approached slowly, throwing back their hood and revealing a head of flowing golden brown hair. Link watched, stunned.
Wait...it's a girl?!
There was another flash of silver, and the girl drew a sword from thin air. Then, before Link even had time to blink, she was standing inches away from him, swinging her blade with precision. Link stopped the blow just in time.
She's fast! Fi, what IS she?!
The girl swung again.
"Master, forgive me. My calculations must be incorrect."
What do you mean? What did you find out?
Fi was silent. The swords smashed together again.
"It would appear that this entity is in fact a sword spirit."
The girl feinted to the left before aiming a direct strike for Link's center. He raised his shield just in time.
A sword spirit? But you said there were only you and Ghirahim.
"Precisely, master, which is why I believe my calculations to be incorrect."
Link used his shield to knock the girl's sword away and give himself a clear strike. She ducked under his blade and came up inside his defences, forcing him to retreat a few steps.
Well, it would certainly explain her abilities.
"Indeed. It would seem her fighting style is quite similar to Ghirahim's."
Link parried another blow.
He swung, his confidence renewed. If he could handle Ghirahim, he could handle this girl, even if she was slightly quicker on her feet. He charged forward, his shield raised. His enemy dodged but he was ready for it. He spun his sword in a rapid 360 degree arc, slicing through the fabric of the girl's cloak. She leapt back with an angry hiss, tearing off the cloak and throwing it aside to reveal a tightly laced sliver and green vest with matching boots and gloves. She dove forward, jabbing at Link with her sword. The blow glanced off the edge of his shield and he retaliated with a downward swing. She caught it, but Link saw her balance waver ever so slightly. He pressed hard against her and she went down on one knee. Link threw his full weight against her, watching as her eyes widened in panic. Victory was almost his.
Suddenly her hand flew up, closing around the Goddess Sword and wrenching her own weapon free. Link felt steel slice across his cheek and without even thinking about it, he snapped his leg out, kicking the girl straight over the side of the bridge. She vanished with a shriek and a flash of silver. Link spun around, his eyes wildly searching for her. He knew this trick all too well. It was almost unnerving how much this girl's abilities resembled that of Ghirahim's.
I wonder what else she has in common with the creep.
His eyes caught a flash of silver and he whirled in time to stop the girl's attack.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"Your doom," the girl snarled, disconnecting their blades and swinging again.
Link smashed against her with his shield, forcing her to stumble back. He followed it up with a swift downward slice that hit its target directly in the shoulder. The blade stopped, sending sparks flying from the girl's skin. The girl crumpled under the blow but managed to stop Link's follow-up by seizing his sword in her hand and yanking back with all her might. Link managed to keep his grip on the Goddess Sword, twisting it out of her hold.
"Is Ghirahim really so much of a coward that he would send a novice to fight me rather than doing it himself?" Link taunted.
The girl's eyes blazed. She swept her blade upward, pointing it directly at him.
"You will address him as Lord Ghirahim, skyling."
So that's her weak point.
"A coward doesn't deserve such a title," Link shot back.
The girl raced at him, swinging. Link dodged, slashing her across the abdomen. She gasped, doubling over in pain.
"My lord is not a coward," she hissed through her teeth, "He's given me a chance to prove myself. You've pestered him for long enough."
She pushed herself to her feet, swinging at Link. He knocked her sword away easily. He could see she was beginning to slow, her strikes becoming sloppy.
"I see," he said, "He couldn't handle it himself, so he sent a girl—"
The girl screamed in anger, slashing at him in quick succession. Link held up his shield, the metal ringing with blow after blow. Suddenly the girl flung away her sword, grabbing either side of his shield and attempting to twist it out of his grasp. He slammed into her, pinning her to the ground beneath his shield. She struggled there for a moment, her eyes burning with hate.
"You can't beat me," Link said, breathing heavily from the effort of holding her down, "You're just another of Demise's pawns."
The girl gritted her teeth, "I serve no one but—"
She stopped, and Link could see confusion and pain in her eyes. He pulled back in surprise and she pushed him off, vanishing in a bright snap of light. Link was left standing there, stunned.
What WAS that?