Categories > Games > Zelda > The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage

Chapter One: The Trial

by LaxyakLovesLoZ 1 review

The battle for good and evil rages in Lila’s heart. What does courage mean, she wonders as she fights her way through various monster-filled dungeons. Was she really born to be a hero, or did the...

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Ganondorf,Link,Zelda - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2023-04-09 - Updated: 2023-04-09 - 2045 words - Complete

Chapter One: The Trial
“Gear up! Shadow Chieftess Ganondra will be watching your practice today!”

Lila sat up in bed a hair slower than the other women in the barracks. She had never been fond of waking up. It was just one of the many differences that kept her apart from the others. They were all strong, native Gerudo. She was the weak, adopted Hylian. She was smaller than them, too. Even though she was almost fully grown, she was shorter than the average Gerudo woman.

Still, the average Gerudo woman wasn’t anything compared to Shadow Chieftess Ganondra, who was sometimes called the Dragon of the Desert. With the help of the Triforce of Power, Lady Ganondra had grown far stronger than any other person in the tribe. She was a fierce leader who wasn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty to make sure things were done her way. Things were always done her way.

Today, her way was to watch the practice of young warriors. Lila couldn’t help but wonder if the reason had anything to do with herself. Sure, Lila wasn’t a Gerudo woman, but Lady Ganondra treated her as something more. She always pushed Lila to be the best in her class. Lila even had extra fighting lessons while the others learned about subjects such as wooing men and how to make a profitable trade. She learned how to be a spy, how to use various weapons, and even had solo wilderness training. The special treatment was another thing that separated her from her classmates.

Lila could hear the others whispering the same thoughts as they all hurried to put on their gear. Once everyone had dressed, they lined up at the foot of their beds for inspection. The leader, Dalni, scrutinized every little detail, making sure they were all presentable for the Chieftess. They could expect punishment if something was wrong. Running laps for a missing button. Cleaning the bathrooms if they weren’t fully dressed on time. Today, Lila expected Dalni to be extra strict, but no one got called out for anything. Maybe everyone else wanted to look their best for the Dragon of the Desert.

The twelve trainees, Lila included, filed out of their barracks room and to the training ground. On the way, Dalni gave them instructions. They paired off and grabbed their weapons once reaching the training ground. Today, they worked with swords and shields. This was unusual for the Gerudo–spears and scimitars were more common–but Lila was glad for the change. Swords were her best weapon. She and her partner were the first to start practicing the forms.

As usual, time slipped away from Lila’s awareness. All she knew was the blade and her shield. Her heart pulsed in time with her footwork. Lila moved through the forms faster and faster, pushing her partner to the edge of her ability. Knowing what would happen if they fell out of synch, Lila slowed her pace to match her partner’s. It pained her to have to slow down, but it was worth not getting in trouble.

Eventually, they switched to actual combat. Finally, Lila could let loose. Her partner didn’t stand a chance, and she knew it. Lila was a blur of steel. She expertly blocked her opponent’s attacks and quickly parried them with her own. It only took her a few steps to knock her partner to the ground. Each time, her partner became wilder. Lila kept her cool, gaining victory after victory.

She had no idea how much time had passed when Dalni called for a stop. The twelve trainees lined up to face her, panting with the effort of practice.

“Excellent work,” Dalni lauded. “It’s time for lunch. Dismissed.”

The women broke formation and put their weapons away, ready for a hearty meal. Lila swung her sword around a little more, lingering behind. Now that it was break time, she could feel her muscles straining, and she was breathing just as heavily as everyone else. She avoided eye contact with her partner, who was fuming at being stuck with the prodigy. Lila wished she could eat alone, but Dalni didn’t want any of them to leave her sight during breaks. Except to use the bathroom, of course. No, Lila would have to eat at the same table as the rest of her training mates, as always.

“Did you see her?” said someone at the table. At first, Lila thought Trifni was talking about her, but then Sala replied.

“Yes! Can you believe Lady Ganondra herself was actually watching us?”

Lila got her food and sat at the edge of the table. She hadn’t noticed Lady Ganondra watching, or anyone else for that matter.

“She’s so amazing,” Urwa crooned.

“She’s terrifying!” Feli countered.

“That too,” Urwa said, and everyone laughed, except Lila.

Lila was content to be ignored like any other day, but Trifni asked, “Lila, she was watching you the most.”

Lila let that information sink in. The room had gone silent. Everyone was looking at her. She sighed and said, “What do you expect? I’m like her pet. Of course, she was watching me.”

The others nodded and went back to eating. They left her out of the conversation after that.

Lila sighed to herself again as she at her food. She wasn’t a person. She was a pet, and the others agreed. It really didn’t surprise her that Lady Ganondra was watching her. It was what she anticipated, after all. Maybe that’s why they practiced with swords today. She finished her food quickly and tried to prepare herself for what might happen next.

Someone came in and whispered something to Dalni and then left. After everyone finished eating, Dalni addressed them again.

“Lila, a special challenge awaits you,” she said unexpectedly. Everyone swiveled to look at Lila. Dalni continued, “The rest of you will watch from the upper level.”

The room broke into excited whispers.

“That’s where Lady Ganondra was!”

“What kind of challenge?”

“Why does Lila always get special treatment?”

No one spoke to Lila. She stood by herself by the door. After a moment, the whispers got to be too much for her, and she headed out to the training ground. She grabbed a sword and shield and waited, looking up at the upper level. At first, no one was there. Then her comrades filed in to watch what would happen. They still spoke excitedly to one another. Dalni wasn’t with them.

Lila waited for a few minutes, growing impatient. She swung her sword around to help ease the wriggling in her stomach. What was going on? Was she there just to be mocked? Then Lady Ganondra herself appeared on the upper level, a servant close to her side. Lady Ganondra had one other companion with her: a black ball with leathery wings and one yellow eye, known as a keese. Lila’s training mates hushed each other and watched with awe. Likely, they had never been so close to the Shadow Chieftess.

Lady Ganondra glared at the shushing girls across from her, then turned her gaze upon Lila. Lila felt a shiver run through her whole body. Most of her extra training had been supervised by Lady Ganondra’s servant, Nabooru. Lila had never actually been near Lady Ganondra. Now, they were staring eye to eye, and Lila sensed something… well, cold about the Shadow Chieftess. Lila couldn’t help but clench her teeth and gulp. She quickly turned her eyes away and found herself staring at the ground. In fear.

This was the power of the Dragon of the Desert.

Finally, Dalni appeared and approached Lila.

“Are you ready?” Dalni asked, looking nervous for once.

“For what?” Lila questioned.

“You are to fight… Gohma.”

Lila’s mouth dropped. “You mean the giant spider that wanders the desert?”

Dalni nodded. She turned and waved at some unknown persons, and then left to join the other trainees. From the desert, a group of Gerudo women led a large creature toward the training ground. The creature had six sturdy legs, two pincers, and one giant eye. Four horns crowned its body. Lila had heard tales of this creature while growing up. It was said that girls who didn’t obey would be left to the mercy of Gohma. Now Lila had to fight it? She could see the women struggling to keep the creature under control. How was she supposed to fight that thing by herself when several Gerudo women were needed to lead it?

Eventually, the women got Gohma into the training arena and set it free. They took up positions around the arena to keep it from escaping. They used their spears to guide its attention to Lila.

Lila gulped again. “Okay,” she said to herself, “I guess I’m doing this.” She twirled the sword around her hand one more time and raised her shield. Then she yelled, “Attack me, you great beast!”

The creature heeded her words and sprang. Lila jumped to the side, somersaulted, and came up behind the creature, slashing her sword at its rounded back. It squealed in pain and turned around. Her sword didn’t seem to do much damage. She figured she would have to get in close and pierce the eye. That seemed to be the only weak point. But how could she get close enough without getting pinched by the pincers?

Experimentally, Lila waved her sword toward one of the legs. Gohma lifted that leg toward her. Lila quickly raised her shield. The leg came down with so much force that it made her shield quiver and she had to take a couple of steps back. Another leg slammed into her back knocking the air out of her. She fell forward onto the ground. Anticipating another strike, Lila rolled onto her back and kicked up, pushing herself to a standing position. She kept her shield raised and surveyed her situation.

Gohma didn’t give her much time. The creature revealed a new trick by blasting green fire. If Lila didn’t have her shield, she would have been roasted. She braced herself, waiting for the fire to abate. Surely, it couldn’t last forever. After a few seconds, the fire ended, and Lila came in swinging. Her quick move worked as she chopped off part of a leg. The creature howled and stood on its hind legs, the other legs writhing in pain. Lila immediately thrust her sword forward and pierced the belly, drawing a trickle of green ichor. She sliced down and spun out of the way as Gohma came back down. She narrowly avoided getting hit by a leg.

A bout of more flames burned Lila. She lifted her shield, fighting the pain and patting her side to put out the fire. She wondered if her trick would work a second time, cutting off another leg. Or maybe she should try aiming for the eye this time. After the barrage of flames ended, Lila thrust her sword toward the source of the fire, hoping to stab the eye. Her plan worked! Her sword penetrated deep, and the creature crumpled, screaming. Gohma shriveled and shrank, turning pure black. Then the blackness burst into particles and faded away.

A cheer rose from the surrounding onlookers. Lila had forgotten they were there. She was panting with effort and pain, and she was ready to put her sword away. The women who had brought Gohma to the arena swirled around her and raised her on their shoulders. She had never before received such joyous treatment. She held her sword and shield high as they bounced her around in triumph, and a smile broke across her face. Even her training mates were cheering, she saw. Then she remembered that Shadow Chieftess Ganondra had seen the whole thing.

The chieftess held the same expression as before the fight began. There was no evidence that anything spectacular had occurred. Her eyes met Lila’s for a brief moment, and then she turned around to leave, the keese close behind. Nabooru stole a quick glance at Lila before following. Was that worry on her face?
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