by Brendan McGrath

Chapter Nine


On the way to Pandora, Link discovered a trick to use with the sword and spear. He learned that by holding the sword above his head, and making a leap forward, he could deliver a more powerful blow. Through experience, he had learned more.

When he reached Pandora, the guard said that Jema of Tasnica was in the castle with the king. Link walked through the town. It was a town with many canals separating it into small islands, each containing a house or two. Watermills were here and there, and small bridges connected the islands. The shingles were blue, unlike the red shingled house of Potos. He stopped to talk to a man, to see if he could find out anything about Pandora.

"Hello. Which way is the castle?" asked Link. Strangely, he did not answer. Was he ignoring Link? Was he unable to answer him? Soon Link found that almost everyone in the town was like that man. All they did was walk around. What was causing this? Everyone was acting like zombies! Were they zombies? Link explored the town a little. He found a shopkeeper senseless, along with the parents of two children, all the pedestrians- what was this about? Link found a house with an old woman in it, who was a "zombie". An old man said, "What has happened to my wife? She has grown senile and won't say a thing!"

"Do you know what is causing this?" asked Link.

"Not a clue," said the man.

"Does anyone else live here?" asked Link.

"My granddaughter, Phanna, but she is fine."

Link left the house, and headed for the castle. He went east through the town, and crossed the bridges to different islands of the town. Through a path leading north, he found the castle. The castle had an outer wall, with a walkway on top of it. The castle was made of gray stone, probably granite, Link decided. It looked like it had been built about fifty years ago, around the birth of the kingdom of Pandora. On top it had a single, fat turret. To the left of the main door to the castle was a small door. Above it was a sign. It read, "Soldiers' Quarters". Link went inside.

"Hey, you! You're no soldier! Out!" ordered one of the soldiers.

"Relax, he's not looking for trouble," said another soldier. "What's your name, kid?"

"Link," replied Link. He looked around, and noticed a suitcase on the floor. "Where you going?" Link asked the soldier who was packing.

"I don't know," she answered. "Somewhere where it's peaceful. I know there will be war soon. And I want no parts of that. We'd be crushed in no time."

Another soldier spoke. "I'm also leaving. Many people are being chosen to go to fight the witch, Elinee. Dyluck's battle squad is there now, and who knows what's happened to them? I'm not risking being sent there." Link remembered the soldier he had seen outside the Water Palace.

Link left the soldiers' room, and headed for the main door. They were double doors, and were made of mahogany.

Once inside, the halls were quiet, with whispers of rumors and gossip between the residents. The architecture was pretty simple: wooden walls, floors, though it was a nice castle, with pictures hung here and there. The castle was more like a mansion.

Link saw a young woman. He asked, "Can you tell me anything about what's going on here?"

"I'm clueless. I do know, however, what the people are doing. They're always going to the ruins south of here, the ones left over from the earthquake 100 years ago. They are with people with strange masks, who are almost like zombies. They are all the same, and deeper under whatever spell they are controlled by."

Link continued down the halls, and up a staircase. He met a man, who seemed slightly over 50.

"This land has had it!" he cried, "It has been cursed by the witch, Elinee!"

"There's something strange," answered Link. "Elinee lives far from here. Why would the people be going to the ruins?"

"Who cares?" cried the man, and he went on whaling.

Link continued on down another flight of stairs, to the main floor, but a different room. He overheard a girl saying, "Sir Elman, the nobleman, arranged his daughter's marriage. I feel sorry for her." He heard another girl say, "I sense someone evil in the ruins to the south."

Link went up another flight of stairs in time to hear a door slam. A girl burst out of the room, the same girl who had saved Link from the goblins!

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