by Brendan McGrath

Chapter Eighteen


After the battle, the village elder came out of hiding and greeted them. "Thank you very much!" said the dwarf, "I thought it was the end!"

"Don't mention it!" said Lilak.

"Say," said Link, "I'm looking for the Underground Palace. Luka, at the Water Palace, told me I'd find it here."

"What a coincidence... Tropicallo broke out of the Underground Palace, which has been buried for ages... until now," the Elder said, gesturing to a hole in the wall of the cavern.

Link and Lilak hadn't noticed the village's layout until now. The entrance to the village led out into a little area with many rocks. Two stairways led up to another level, about six feet higher. In the center of that six foot wall was the hole. On that second level were two more stairways, and a door into an inn. One stairway led to what Link assumed was Watt's place. The other stairway led to a store, and then the Elder's quarters. Anyway, to continue.

The Elder took a closer look at the sword. "Huh? The MANA SWORD? That must be what brought Tropicallo here! Monsters can sense the Mana Sword!"

"So..." concluded Link, "that new cave leads to the Underground Palace?"

"Yes," the Elder answered, "but the witch, Elinee sealed it off from evil with a lava field. The crystal orb in there seals the palace with a lava field. You'll have to ask Eliinee how to dissolve the seal. She used to be good but... she's not anymore."

"I suppose you've heard about Pandora," inferred Lilak.

"Yes..." he nodded. "You know, awhile ago, a sprite child was washed down here from the Upperland. She bumped her head, and doesn't remember where her village is. Her memory of might return if she went to the Earth Seed with you. You are going there, right?"

They nodded, and had to stifle a laugh as they saw the sprite child go behind the Elder and make funny faces. She stuck her fingers in her ears, put out her tongue, and started hopping.

"Nasia! You know better than that!" scolded the Elder.

"Come on, old timer! Take it easy!"

Nasia was about two thirds the size of Link and Lilak. She had orange hair, but it was not bright orange. Her ears were like flower petals, sticking out of her hair. She wore a Polly green little robe, with little designs around the collar. She had on big, pink shoes, like slippers. She was a very cute little sprite.

"As I was saying, her memory might return if she touched the Earth Seed..."

"Really? I'll go now! Right now!" she said, her face lit up with a smile.

"Not alone!" said the Elder firmly. "There are probably many monsters there now. Also, Elinee needs to dissolve the seal." He turned to Link and Lilak.

"Sure," said Lilak, expecting the question.

"What luck! Did you here that, little one?" exclaimed the Elder.

"No," she kidded, "I read the closed captioning." She giggled.

Link, Lilak, and Nasia went to the inn for the night. In their night clothes, they sat around the fire in the warm inn. Link and Lilak had just finished telling Nasia their stories.

"So, you're trying to save Mana, defeat the Empire, and rescue Dyluck?" Nasia summed up.

"Yes," said Lilak. "Enough about us. How about you? Do you remember anything about the Sprite Village?"

"Nothing about its location, I'm afraid," sighed Nasia, "But I remember my Grandpa. He was the keeper of the Wind Palace."

"The Wind Palace? That's probably the next palace after the Underground Palace."

"Strange that we're all going to the same places..." observed Lilak.

"Oh! I almost forgot!" said Nasia. "This is my Chobin Bow, and Boomerang. They've been in my family for ages."

Just then, the Mana Sword started to glow faintly, and so did the bow and boomerang. "Wait a second..." thought Lilak, "these must be Mana weapons!"

"Like the ones you told me about just now?" asked Nasia.

"Yes," said Link. "Could our ancestors have fought in the ancient war with the ancients and the Mana Fortress?"

"Who knows," replied Lilak.

The three companions went to their beds. Link dreamed of the Sword, and his mother. Nasia dreamed of her Grandpa, and her Village. Lilak dreamed of Dyluck. As they gained wisdom and strength, these three would become a powerful, compassionate team.

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