Tom flew high over Hyrule, the entire expanse of the kingdom laid out before him. Were he inclined to look down, the sight would have taken his breath away, but he was only concerned with one area: the Lost Woods, and the Forest Temple that lay within its heart. Normally the path there would have been treacherous and filled with monsters, but as a fairy Tom was able to fly directly to the temple. Once inside, however, he was forced to move more deliberately, taking his time to avoid the various monsters and finding ways past the closed doors too large to open in his current form. Finally, he found himself before the door to the temple’s boss, Phantom Ganon, and through it he could hear the sounds of a struggle. He hoped Alli was doing better than he thought she was, but the faint beeping he could hear on the other side of the door belied the fact that Alli was dangerously low on health. Scanning the room, Tom found a small crack in the wall, just big enough for him to squeeze through into the boss chamber.
Inside, Tom found a battered and bruised Alli desperately trying to hit the floating specter with her sword. The Phantom was always just out of reach, and whenever she missed, it would launch an orb of energy at her, further depleting her health. Alli lunged once more at her foe, and without thinking Tom threw himself between the two combatants, hoping he could stop her before she made another mistake. The sight of Tom surprised Alli into inaction, but the Phantom used the opportunity to launch another attack. The orb hit Tom square in the back, racking his body with pain and sending him spiraling to the floor.
“Tom! What the hell were you thinking?”
“I was…trying to save you. Owww….”
“Just hold on; I’ll beat this guy and we’ll get you out of here.”
“Wait…. You can’t beat him…like this.”
“No, I can do it! I almost hit him last time!”
“You have to be patient…. Use your sword…. Hit his attacks.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, but it was too late. Tom wasn’t speaking anymore, and the boss was preparing for another attack. Alli looked up with rage in her eyes, ready to lash out, but remembered Tom’s words and stayed her ground. The Phantom threw another ball of energy at her, but this time she waited until it was within reach of her sword, then lashed out, sending it ricocheting back to its source. The Phantom shuddered as the orb made contact, and Alli smiled with grim determination. “Soooo, that’s your little secret. Welcome to Painsville: population, you!” Alli readied herself as the Phantom launched another attack, but now that Alli knew its weakness, it had no hope of winning. A few minutes later, the Phantom gave a cry as the final orb of energy hit it, and it disappeared in a gout of black fire.
Alli rushed to where Tom’s dimly glowing form lay on the floor and knelt down next to him. She carefully prodded him, hoping that he was not dead. Slowly Tom began to stir, and Alli felt a wave of relief rush over her.
“Tom? Tom?” Alli asked. His eyes fluttered open. “For crap’s sake, I thought you were dead!” He motioned her closer, as if he wanted to tell her something. Slowly Alli bent her head, yet Tom seemed to want her to come closer still. She leaned in until her face was within a hair’s breadth of Tom’s when, finally, he spoke.
“Welcome…to Painsville? Could you be any more…campy?”
“Hey! It was awesome when I said that! At least it’s better than your melodramatic pauses.”
“I’m not being…melodramatic. I was hit with a ball of…crackling evil energy…ten times my size.”
“So? I got hit by a ton of them.”
“But you’re…the hero! You’ve got a…life bar.”
“Yeah, those too. You’re just lucky it’s impossible to kill fairies in this game.” Tom’s pain seemed to be dissipating, much to his delight.
“Pssshh. I knew you weren’t dead.”
“Yeah right. You were worried.”
“Worried I’d have to explain to Rick how you died, maybe.”
“You were terrified.”
“I was angry, and you were unconscious.”
“I was not, and you were terrified.”
“Gee, well maybe I should knock you unconscious just to make sure I know what it looks like,” replied Alli, as she pulled back her fist.
“All right, all right, geez, don’t hit me,” said Tom, finally taking flight again. “Still, I guess we’ve learned an important lesson here about working together.”
“Now who’s being campy?”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But seriously, we NEED to work together if we’re going to get out of here, and we’re going to need to start off by having some mutual respect for each other.”
“You want us to hug or something?”
“No, just don’t freaking hit me all the time.”
“I’ll try. But you have to admit that you couldn’t stand being beaten by a girl.”
“…Fine. Yes, I was kind of mad at how you kept beating me, and part of that may have been due to the fact that you’re a girl. That was crappy of me and I apologize.”
“Thanks. That’s actually the first time a guy has been able to say that to me. You all can be pretty insecure sometimes.”
“Look who’s talking, little Ms. ‘I Would Have Beaten Him Eventually.’ Can’t you admit that I might be better than you at some things?”
“Some things, but not a whole hell of a lot of them,” replied Alli smugly.
Tom’s ire flared for a moment, then he realized this was as good as he was going to get from Alli without years of psychiatric training. “All right, I’ll take that. So I guess we’re done with this game, right Rick?” Tom’s question was answered only by silence. “Rick, stop working for a second and talk to me.” Still nothing. “Rick, come on buddy, we need a little direction here and I know you can hear me.”
“Maybe he’s getting a snack,” Alli suggested.
“I don’t think so. I mean, I told him you were in trouble, and he wouldn’t just run off if one of us was in danger. Didn’t he try to talk to you during the boss fight?”
“Now that you mention it, I thought I heard him for a second, but then he was gone. Think it means something?”
“With all the trouble he’s had staying in the system? Yeah, I do. And if we’ve lost the ability to talk to Rick, I think we may be majorly fu—”
Before he could finish his sentence, a flash of light enveloped Tom and Alli, transporting them to the next game.