by Brendan McGrath

Chapter Sixteen


The two friends entered the cave of Gaia's Navel. Link held the Mana Sword, and Lilak held the spear.

The cave was knee deep in water. Stalactites hung from the wall, threatening to fall. Up ahead were some stairs that led out of the water for a little bit. Up ahead Link and Lilak saw some bats. "Tons of them in here, I suppose," remarked Lilak.

Link ran ahead and cut one bat in half. Lilak dashed ahead and punched the other one with her glove.

"They were easy," said Link.

They went up the steps that had been eroded away over the years. They were on dry rock and soil. Suddenly a boomerang whizzed by Lilak.

"Where did that come from?" she whispered.

"There must be a monster behind that corner," answered Link.

"I heard from one of Dyluck's friends that this is where most of the goblins live," suggested Lilak.

"Uh oh..." groaned Link.

"Don't worry! You have me with you, your heroine!" teased Lilak.

"Whatever you say Lila...aaak!" A kid goblin appeared around the corner with an axe! Followed by him was one with a boomerang! They were fury, and looked like wolves that stand on two feet. They had on torn vests, and torn pants.

"Link! Toss me the spear!" yelled Lilak. She jumped and caught it.

"I'll get on the other side so we can surround them!" Slashing the goblin out of the way, Link pushed his way through. The kid goblin with the boomerang started to corner Link against the wall. Link thrashed at his foe. The kid goblin grumbled to his friend. The two both went at Link. Their weapons threw Link to the ground.

"Link! Use the Mana Seed!" screamed Lilak. She knew it was their only hope.

Link concentrated. He could feel the power of the seed in his sword! He leapt up into the air about two feet, and swung the Mana Sword at the beasts. Lilak spun around, neatly piercing the kid goblins with the spear.

"Whew! That was close!" exclaimed Link, as he ate a piece of healing candy, and gave one to Lilak.

"Listen. I think we should try to avoid the rest of them. I mean, we need to practice, but let's be reasonable. This isn't working," said Lilak. "Let's avoid them until we improve these weapons with orbs and all.

"True," conceded Link. "Let's try to find another stairway that will take us farther in."

The two friends walked ahead to an opening in the wall to another part of the cave. They could hear goblins snoring up ahead. They tiptoed past. One of them suddenly grumbled.

"Quick! Hide!" hissed Lilak.

They ducked behind a big boulder. The goblin looked up and went over to the boulder.

"Quick!" mouthed Lilak, "crawl around it!" Link and Lilak scooted around the big rock. The goblin followed them. They heard another goblin behind another rock get up and start to search the area. A hole caught Link's eye. He motioned to Lilak. They made a run for the hole just as the goblins swung their axes where they had just been.

"Look!" said Link, "a ladder!" The two friends started to descend into the dark hole.

As they emerged from the other end of the hole, at the bottom at the ladder, they were faced with another problem. A pool of lava blocked their way to the next opening. However, to their right was a little pool of water, dammed up by some rocks. Behind the water was a path that led to a corner of the cave that had a small tunnel leading away from it. A kid goblin guarded the path.

Suddenly Link remembered the switch at the Water Palace that revealed a bridge over the chasm that the water fell into. Jema had said that these switches were common. "Lilak," he said, "I have an idea..."

"Wow! Thoughts go on in that head?!" she joked.

"I think there might be a switch on the other side of that tunnel," he said, ignoring her comment.

"That is a good point," she conceded, "The lava could be a kind of security for the dwarfs."

Link and Lilak went around the water by the path that was guarded by the kid goblin.

"Lovely," moaned Lilak, "he's right in our way. How rude."

"But he's sleeping," Link pointed out. "Look, I'll take the sword, and whack him in the back of his head. Before he turns around to see what happened, you pierce him with the spear."

"It's risky," remarked Lilak, "But I think it'll work." She ducked behind a little rock formation on the cave wall. Link edged closer to the beast. He snored, like a rumbling sound shaking the ground. For the first time, Link got a good look at the kid goblin. It had brown fur, almost covering his eyes. He had fangs sticking out of his mouth. His ears were pointed, and had a keen ability to hear the smallest sound. Link snuck closer. He maneuvered his arm around the head of the beast, and sliced the back of his enemy. He jumped behind the rock, just in time to see Lilak hop over it and thrash the kid goblin as it turned its head around to see who hit him from what he thought was behind.

The two friends slapped fives. "Way to go!" cheered Lilak.

"You too," answered Link.

Link and Lilak crawled through the tunnel. It was about four feet high. Water dripped from the ceiling, landing on their heads. Once on the other side of the tunnel, they found a skull on the wall.

"This must be it," said Lilak. She punched the skull, and heard a gush of water back on the other side of the tunnel, and then a hissing sound. The two companions went back outside into the room with lava, and found the lava had been cooled. The water that was dammed up was released. The switch had lowered the rocks, allowing the water to flow out. They went across the cooled lava, which was already hardening.

The Dwarf Village can't be too much farther," anticipated Link. They went through the opening in the wall. Ahead lay a winding path that went forward a little more, and then turned to the left, making a bridge over the river that flowed through this part of the cavern. Then the path went up the river a little more, and stopped at a big pillar of rock. The pillar stretched from the ground to the ceiling. It had formed by the joining of a stalactite and a stalagmite. Hollowed out inside the pillar were some stairs.

"Let's go," urged Lilak. They ran down the winding path, and into the pillar. At the bottom of the stairs was the Dwarf Village.

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