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My Hero Hyrule

Chapter Text

“Have you come to kill me again, All Might?”

 

Izuku’s eyes snapped open and he lunged to his feet, looking around wildly. Where were the others? Where was the League? They had to get Kacchan and get out of there before anyone else got hurt!

When he wasn’t immediately attacked, Izuku slowly began to calm down and take stock of his surroundings. One thing was immediately obvious: he wasn’t in Kamino Ward anymore.

Instead of hiding behind the ruined remnants of a wall with his friends, he was standing in a room unlike any he had seen before. The room itself was longer than it was wide, with what looked like a locked gate of some kind in the wall nearest him. The gray walls, floor, and ceiling were all incredibly smooth and seemed to be made from some sort of metallic material. Four pillars of the same material were located in the corners of the room, covered by ornate stonework that was almost reminiscent of brain matter. On the other side of the room next to the door was a small pedestal that Izuku couldn’t begin to guess the function of.

By far the most interesting portion of the room was at the rear of the chamber. An ornate tub made from the same black-and-brown stonework as the floor and walls sat in the rear-center of the room, with a large, glowing range hood extending down over the tub, leaving just enough room for someone to sit up.

“Okay, something clearly happened when All Might and All For One collided back in Kamino,” Izuku muttered. “Did All For One use his teleportation quirk on us? No, that doesn’t make sense; he said that it only brought others to and from his own location, and he didn’t know we were there. Kurogiri’s quirk, maybe? But he was unconscious. That couldn’t be it.”

He thought back. The last thing he could remember was All Might fighting with One For All. He frowned. Something had happened when they had collided. The air had... warped? Not like when Kurogiri used his Quirk; this had been something else. His brow furrowed as he tried to remember. The air had twisted around them... there had been a pulling sensation, and then lights. Many different lights near him, and uncounted others further away. He had drawn closer to one of them, a brilliant green-and-gold spark, while those closest to him had pulled away. He had reached out to touch the spark and then... nothing. He couldn’t remember anything between that and waking up here. 

Wherever ‘here’ was. He glanced around the room, eyes taking in the odd, curving stonework and the constellation-like patterns of red lights on the wall again before coming to a rest on the tub. “If I can get out of this room, I might be able to figure out how I got here. I wonder if that thing activates the pedestal or opens the door?”

He wandered over to the tub, squinting against the blue light that the hood and interior of the tub exuded. After a few moments of squinting, his eyes adjusted enough to see inside, and he gasped. Inside the basin, floating in blue liquid, was a man.

Izuku narrowed his eyes. “This is probably one of those people that All For One kidnapped. I need to get him out of here.” He reached out to pull the man from the vat, and ran abruptly into an invisible wall. He frowned and pushed on it. The barrier didn’t move.

“Okay, so he’s trapped in there. Think, Izuku. There has to be some sort of controls to open the machine.” A brief search revealed a small slot on the other side of the tub, though what went into it, he didn’t know.

“I guess the key is somewhere else? Looks like I’ll need to figure a way out before I can save him.” He left the vat alone for the moment and went to examine the door, though it was unlike any he had ever seen before. Instead of something that swung on hinges, this door appeared to be made up of several stone slabs that slid into the top and bottom of the door frame when open. The problem was, he couldn’t find a way to open it. Even channeling a small amount of One For All—a major relief to the boy, who had started to wonder if this is where All For One stole powers from people—to his hands didn’t help. The door remained obstinately closed. Examining the pedestal didn’t help either. There was some sort of slate or tablet engraved with a stylized eye resting on the surface, but it was clamped into place and didn’t move at all when Izuku tried to wiggle it free. He was sure that that was the key to leaving, but couldn’t figure out how to get it out without breaking it.

Finally, he sat back on the floor, stymied. He briefly considered using One For All to smash his way out, but quickly discarded the idea. If he was in All For One’s lair, he wanted to sneak out if at all possible. Plus, All For One would have had his quirk in mind when designing a cell for him. For all intents and purposes, it looked like he was stuck here until somebody came for him or to check on the person in the tank. He sighed and pulled out one of his notebooks. If he was stuck here, he might as well be productive.

 


 

Several hours later, Izuku got up and stretched, groaning as his muscles protested the sudden change in position. He’d finished outlining what he knew about the League’s powers and was ready for them when they came for him.

“Nothing to do now but look the room over again,” he said quietly. “I wasn’t thinking too clearly when I first looked over everything. I bet I missed something important.” 

Another few minutes of searching didn’t turn anything up, except that he was pretty sure that the tablet thing in the pedestal could be inserted into the slot in the vat, though that left him where he started.

“I hope the others are doing better than I am,” he muttered, staring at the person he couldn’t reach. “If they’ve been captured too, then maybe they’ve found a way to escape by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Todoroki or Yaoyorozu have figured something out; they’re really smart, and Yaoyorozu’s quirk is really good for situations like this. Mina could have melted her way out, too, but that could also have triggered alarms...”

Izuku trailed off, thinking too fast for his muttering to keep up. As his train of thought began to spiral, he heard the first sound that hadn’t come from himself in hours. Startled to attention, he listened, hoping that it would repeat itself. After a few moments, he heard it again. He frowned. It sounded like... a woman’s voice. But where was it coming from?

Open your eyes...”

His frown deepened. Open his eyes? They were already open. Did they need to be opened wider? Or maybe he needed to look at something. The tablet, maybe?

Open your eyes.”

Nope, not the tablet. What else could he look at? There wasn’t anything else in the room except the vat. He squinted. Was it glowing more brightly now?

Wake up, Link.”

“Link?” Izuku stared blankly at the definitely-brighter vat. “Who’s Link?” The sound of running liquid filled his ears, along with a sudden realization. “The man in the bath!” He murmured, creeping toward the basin. Ahead of him, there was movement as the man—Link, apparently—sat up, blinking his eyes and peering around blearily.

 Link climbed out of the tub and turned to face Izuku, freezing when he saw him. Izuku raised his hand in tentative greeting. “Hey.”

Now that he wasn’t submerged in glowing liquid, Izuku could actually get a good look at his new cell buddy. The blond man was bare from the waist up, revealing toned muscles and a fit figure. Izuku blushed, thankful that whoever had stuck him in the vat had at least left him his shorts. His attention was drawn away from the slumberer’s figure to his eyes. The piercing blue depths seemed oddly fragmented, as if he knew many things, but was struggling to piece them together.

Izuku blinked, realizing that Link still hadn’t moved and was watching him. “I-I’m Midoriya Izuku,” he stammered. “Y-you’re Link, right? Do you know where we are?”

The man watched Izuku for a moment before relaxing. He opened his mouth to speak, but started coughing before he got more than a word or two out. Izuku reached forward to help, but stopped when Link held up a hand. He stepped back and waited.

After several moments, the coughing subsided, and Link tried again, his voice creaking from unuse. “I’m afraid that I have no more idea than you do, Midoriya.” He coughed again. “Would you mind moving? I feel... compelled, almost, to reach that terminal.”

“Uh, s-sure,” Izuku said, stepping aside. He watched as Link stepped up to the pedestal with the tablet in it and reach out a hand. The pedestal lit up, blue dots connected by blue lines of light. The center portion of the pedestal rose out of the base and spun around, extending the tablet. Izuku stared curiously; the tablet had also lit up, with several pulsing orange lines converging on the central eye, whose iris had lit up a steady blue, like the rest of the pedestal.

Both Izuku and Link jumped as the woman’s voice spoke again.

“This is a Sheikah Slate . Take it. It will help guide you after your long slumber.”

The two stared at the Slate for a moment. “I guess I just... take it, then?” Link reached out and hesitantly plucked the tablet from its resting place. As he held it up, the center of the tablet lit up, revealing a screen emblazoned with the same eye. “Strange,” he murmured. “I’ve never seen anything like this before, and yet there is something oddly familiar about it.”

Izuku desperately wanted to see what else it could do, but before he could ask, he heard a quiet snik as the pedestal rotated back into its original position. There was a soft rumble, and the door slid up into the ceiling, revealing a hallway and some crates on the other side. He rolled his eyes. “Oh, so now it opens.”

Link was looking through the opening, a look of open curiosity on his face as he explored the new room. Izuku followed him, figuring that anywhere was better than being trapped in that room for any longer. 

The second room was a bit longer than the previous room had been, and was designed in much the same way. The doorway they had just walked through opened onto a platform that contained several crates. A ramp connected the platform with the floor below. Once again, the most interesting part of the room was the door on the other side—larger than the one they had just gone through—and the pedestal beside it.

Izuku went to examine the pedestal. Unlike the last one, it didn’t appear to have any sort of slot for the Sheikah Slate, though it did have similar orange lines surrounding another the familiar blue eye. He ran his hand along the surface and frowned. It felt like a screen. He poked around the sides of the terminal, but couldn’t find any way to interact with the screen. Maybe the Slate had an app for that.

Thump .

Izuku jumped at the sudden sound and looked for its source. Behind him, Link was crouched next to a chest and shaking his hand, cursing. The chest beside him sprung open, as if in open mockery of his pain. “Are you—

“Don’t worry about it.” Link grimaced and extracted an old pair of pants and shoes from the chest with his other hand, which he immediately put on. Izuku noticed another chest in the other corner and pointed it out to the slumberer, who found a shirt to wear as well.

Once Link was fully clothed—Izuku stifled a laugh as he realized that everything was a little short for the man—he joined the hero-in-training at the terminal. As both were staring at the terminal, the woman’s voice chimed in again.

Hold the Sheikah Slate up to the pedestal. That will show you the way.”

“You know, I feel like I should know that voice,” Link commented as he did as the voice instructed. When the two connected, all the eye pulsed a brighter blue, and the orange lights faded and were replaced with blue ones. A quite, mechanized voice then spoke.

“Authorizing... Sheikah Slate confirmed.”

The chamber shook, and another eye illuminated in the center of the door, which slid apart into the walls and ceiling. Beams of sunlight flickered in and out as the door opened until the entire room was fully illuminated. Izuku squinted in the sudden light; he hadn’t realized just how dimly lit the interior had been. Beside him, Link was similarly blinking and squinting, trying to see into the light.

Link... You are the light—our light—that must shine upon Hyrule once again. Now, go...

Hyrule? Where was that? It wasn’t in Japan, as far as Izuku was aware. Maybe it was on the mainland, or an island near Japan. 

“It’s beautiful,” Link murmured, moving into the sunlit corridor. Izuku followed him, noting that the corridor, while made of the same too-smooth stone, was more worn than the previous rooms. Dirt and dust has piled up in the corners and along the walls, and the stairs, while still smooth, were chipped on along the edges. More strangely, about halfway up the stairwell, the stairs just disappeared. Link splashed his way through a large puddle that filled the corridor up until it ended abruptly in a small ledge, which Izuku could only assume was the top of the old stairwell. He whistled quietly to himself as he pulled himself up the ledge; exposure to the elements had not been kind to this place.

Izuku stepped out of the cave, and his first impression was just how green everything was. The cave entrance was surrounded was surrounded by trees and tall grass. Birds were chirping quietly above him. The contrast between the clearly very high-tech rooms in the cave and here was pretty stark.

“This place is gorgeous,” Izuku murmured, looking around before focusing on something off in the distance. His eyes widened. “Wait, is that an active volcano?!”

“I don’t think it’s active,” Link replied. Izuku turned to face him and discovered that link was looking out over a ledge. The man gestured away from where he was standing. “Or maybe not yet. I don’t think that’s the biggest problem at the moment.

“What do you mean, ‘not the biggest problem?’” Izuku demanded, moving to see what the blond was talking about. When he at last saw over the ridge, he stopped short, eyes going wider.

A magnificent vista of rolling hills and small forests spread out beneath him. Occasional plateaus broke up the landscape, and mountains could be seen in the distance, the largest of which surrounded the volcano Izuku had noticed earlier.

All that, he took in at a moment’s glance, but nothing really held his attention for long. No, what he focused on was the amount of ruins he could see. Massive crumbling walls jutted out of the land testifying, and off in the distance, Izuku could see what looked like the silhouette of a castle, though not much more than that.

He gulped. He definitely wasn’t in Japan anymore.

“Link,” he started, trying to keep his voice from trembling. “Where exactly i-is Hyrule?”

The man was silent for a moment. Izuku looked over and saw Link frowning. “Like I said earlier, I don’t know. I don’t remember much, except my name.”

So he was trapped in a foreign land with an amnesiac. Wonderful.

Link looked over his shoulder at Izuku and stiffened. “There are others up here with us.”

“What?”

“Turn around slowly. There are two men down the path from us.”

Path? Izuku did as instructed and gawked. A wide path he hadn’t noticed earlier wound down the side of the ledge they were on and ran in front of a towering structure that looked like it had been a temple at one point. There were smaller ruins in front of it; possibly the homes of those who had lived here before? 

Link nudged him and gestured again. A little ways down the path, two men were sitting by a fire they had built under an overhang. The smaller of the two was staring into the fire, while the larger was watching them. When he saw that he’d been seen, the large man waved the two of them over, and turned back to the fire.

Izuku squinted, trying to get a better look at the smaller of the two, when the man looked up, his sunken eyes wide. Izuke yelped and scrambled down the path toward the man, ignoring Link’s surprised calls to come back.

“All Might!” he yelled, tears streaming down his face as he collided with his mentor. “What are you doing here? I-I didn’t th-think I-I would s-see you again!”

“Speak for yourself! Where did you come from, Young Midoriya?” All Might responded, holding the boy tightly. “And who are you, young man?” he said, addressing Link, who had cautiously followed.

“I’m Link,” he said simply. “You two know each other then?”

Izuku separated himself from his hero and attempted unsuccessfully to wipe the tears from his eyes. “He’s my teacher and mentor. He’s been helping me get stronger so I can become a hero.”

“Yes, he has mentioned a great deal about you, Young Midoriya.”

Izuku turned to face the last person, an old man who was a little on the larger side. He was staring into the fire, clutching a crutch-like cane with a lantern hanging from the handle. His face was hooded, hiding all but is white beard. The man looked up and smiled, his eyes twinkling in the depths of the hood. “Still, it is a bit strange to see another soul in these parts, let alone three.”

Link crouched and stared across the fire at the old man. “Who are you?

“Me?” The man asked, placing his hand on his chest. “I’ll spare you my life story. I’m just an old fool who has lived here, alone, for quite some time now.” He shifted around and looked at the three of them. “So, what brings several bright-eyed young men to a place like this?”

Izuku scratched his head. “That’s just it, we’re not entirely sure. Where are we, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Answering a question with a question,” the man mused. “That is fair enough. As I cannot imagine our meeting to be a coincidence... I shall tell you. This is the Great Plateau . According to legend, this is the birthplace of the entire kingdom of Hyrule.”

The man climbed to his feet and pointed to the old temple with his cane. “That temple there... Long ago, it was the site of many sacred ceremonies. Ever since the decline of the kingdom a hundred years ago, it has sat abandoned, in a state of decay.” He turned back to face the three. “Yet another forgotten entity. A mere ghost of its former self...” He trailed off, staring back into the fire.

Izuku waited for a moment. “Um, is there anything else to you can tell us?” That didn’t really answer our question...

The old man didn’t respond. Thinking maybe he hadn’t heard, Izuku repeated his question. Still no response.

All Might put his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “I’ll talk with him, see what else I can learn. Why don’t you two go check out that temple? Maybe there’s something there we can use.”

Link nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”

Izuku looked back and forth between the two of them for a moment before nodding as well. “A-all right, we can do that. We’ll meet you back here, okay?”

“That should work. I’ll come down to you if I learn anything important.”

With that, he sat down again next to the old man and started talking about some of his Hero days. Link looked mildly curious, but didn’t stay to listen. He walked down the hill toward the temple, his head high. Izuku followed, relieved that whatever happened, he at least had All Might. With the Number One Hero there to help, everything would be okay.

Chapter Text

“Good luck, young heroes.” All Might watched the two young men walk away and smiled. He had chosen his champion well. Though how Young Midoriya had gotten to Hyrule was another question. He would have to ask him when they returned from the temple. 

In the meantime, he had a task to accomplish. He turned back to face the old traveler, whose stern gaze hadn’t left the glowing flames. “Now, friend,” All Might started, changing into his Hero form. “I would like you to explain to me what you didn’t tell those two young men.”

 


 

“What is that ?” Izuku breathed, crouching down in some grass. He and Link hadn’t wandered too far down the old, worn path—Izuku was surprised at just how much of the stonework was still intact—when they had spotted something red moving off to their left. Link had motioned for him to follow quietly before the two had snuck up for a closer look.

The creature could only be described as a little red goblin. It had a spike on its head and large, bat-like ears. At the moment, it was snuffling around near the base of a tree, poking the trunk with a branch it had picked up from somewhere. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the pig snout, Izuku thought it could have been kind of cute.

“It’s a bokoblin,” Link said quietly, eyes never leaving the creature. “They’re monsters. They’ve attacked Hylian villages and travelers for years.” He paused. “I’m... not sure how I know that.”

Okay, so not cute. “We can’t leave it here; All Might and that older gentleman don’t know it’s here. It might attack them if they wander down.”

The blond studied the monster for a few more moments before speaking. “We’ll have to kill it.”

“K-kill it?!” Izuku exclaimed. He immediately clapped his hands over his mouth, but the damage had been done. The bokoblin whirled around and spotted the two crouching in the grass. It squealed and brandished its improvised club angrily.

Link muttered something under his breath. “All right, stealth isn’t an option anymore. Do you have any weapons?”

“No! Why would I have weapons? I’m a hero-in-training!”

“Even trainees have weapons! All right, we’ll have to fall back and find something,” Link said grimly, slowly backing away. “I can’t fight it empty-handed. Even a branch is better than my fists.”

Fists! Izuku didn’t wait for the creature to get closer; he lunged sideways, placing himself in between Link and the bokoblin. It halted its advance and stared at him curiously for a moment, blue eyes glittering menacingly. Izuku was sure it was looking to see if he was armed. He was also sure that it wasn’t scared when it screeched and jumped at him, swinging its makeshift at his head.

It’s okay. I can do this. It’s just like in training! He activated his Full Cowling and easily dodged the bokoblin’s attack. It looked shocked that such small prey had avoided it so easily. It turned to strike again, but this time, Izuku was waiting for it. As it swung its branch, he ducked around it and threw a fist into the creature’s stomach

He was rewarded with the creature’s sharp exhale as he drove all of the air out of its lungs. He didn’t wait for it to recover; he grabbed its arm with his free hand and, using both arms to lift the bokoblin, spun and threw it as far as 5% of One For All would allow him. The monster flew several meters before crashing into a large tree, where it slumped to the ground and didn’t move.

He breathed a sigh of relief and sank back down to the ground. “That went far better than I expected.” He glanced behind him. “See Link, you don’t need we—Uh, are you okay?”

“Farore’s Breath!” Link exclaimed, wide-eyed. “How did you do that? What were those lights?”

Lights? Oh, he meant Full Cowling. “That was just my Quirk. It enhances my physical traits.” 

Link watched him warily for a moment before shaking his head. “I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds incredibly useful. At the very least, we may not need to worry about finding a weapon for a little while.”

“What do you mean?”

In response, he gestured toward the tree the bokoblin had crashed into. Izuku sighed and moved to investigate; Link could stand to be a bit more verbal at times. When he got to the tree, he frowned. The bokoblin was gone. Did it run off? He looked around, but couldn’t see any sign of where it had gone. “Hey Link, did you see where the bokoblin went?”

“It didn’t go anywhere.”

“What do you mean it didn’t go anywhere...” Izuku’s voice trailed off as he spotted something in the grass. He rooted around for a moment before coming up with a couple of strange, bone-like objects. They looked terribly, horribly familiar.

“Odd, isn’t it?”

Izuku looked up to see Link watching him. There was a look in the man’s eyes that he couldn’t quite identify. The blond nodded at the items in his hands. “When monsters die, their essence disperses. Sometimes, they’ll leave horns or claws—something bone-like, usually. Looks like you’ve got a couple of fangs there.”

Izuku shuddered and dropped the teeth, backing away from them. “No. No no nononono, this isn’t right. I didn’t hit it that hard. I couldn’t have. I wasn’t using full strength.”

“Most common bokoblins aren’t too hardy.” He could feel Link’s eyes on him as the blond asked, “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?! Link, I-I’m training to be a hero! We’re supposed to protect life, not—not take it. Even w-when I went all out against my opponents in the past, something in me w-w-was always careful not to cause t-too much damage. I-I didn’t use much more force than I normally do.”

Izuku stood by the tree, trying to steady his breath, for several long moments before he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up at Link.

“I think I understand. First kills are always difficult.” The slumberer paused, searching Izuku’s face for a moment. “I... may not be the right person to talk to, as I don’t remember much of my life. Let’s finish looking around, and then you can talk with your mentor when we get back.”

All Might! If anyone would know what to do, All Might would. He took a deep breath and steeled himself before nodding, though the tears didn’t stop flowing. “Y-you’re right.”

Link watched for a moment longer before nodding. “Tell you what: I saw an axe back up the hill. Why don’t I go grab it while you take a moment to collect yourself? That way, I can take point if there are any other monsters out here.”

Izuku nodded again and sank down to the ground. “T-thanks, L-link. I’ll w-wait here.” He didn’t watch as Link walked away and instead focused on his breathing. Logically, he knew, there were times when heroes had to take lives. Sometimes, it was just unavoidable. But it shouldn’t have to be. He clutched his head in his hands as he felt the tears start to trickle down his face. He could still feel the bokoblin’s stomach giving way under his fist. It had crumpled, but not any more than when he had sparred against the others. All the therapy in the world wouldn’t be able to help him to forget that feeling. He remembered what Thirteen had said back at the USJ: “ Don’t forget that if you lose focus or make the wrong move, your powers could be deadly—even if you’re trying to do something virtuous, like rescue someone. ” He hadn’t really understood what she had meant until now.

He leaned his head back and scrubbed at his eyes. Hopefully, All Might would have some ideas.

A few minutes later, Izuku spotted Link returning with a massive axe strapped to his back and scrubbed at his eyes again. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to will himself to be calm. He could deal with this later. For now, he needed to focus.

Link waved at Izuku when he saw that he’d been noticed. “I’ve got the axe. You ready? Good, let’s go check this temple out.”

Izuku got up, and together, the two cut down across the hill path toward the nearest portion of the ruins. The structure appeared to have been a small house of some kind, possibly for monks or temple attendants. All that was left were the lower walls of the structure; everything else appeared to have toppled or eroded away.

The two entered through the rear of the structure. The ruined building didn’t hold much; just a few old barrels. Through the front door of the ruined building, Izuku spotted another bokoblin pacing along what looked like a paved walkway. It was facing away from them, much to Izuku’s relief. Hopefully, they wouldn’t have to fight this one.

Link had seen it too. “I know you’re probably still not on board with killing these things, but it’s got to be done. If we don’t, the old man might be in trouble.” He put his hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “Like I said earlier, I’ll take this one and any others. All you need to do is watch my back, okay?”

Izuku gulped and nodded. He watched as Link crept up the creature, one hand on the haft of the axe. The bokoblin, despite having massive ears, didn’t appear to hear him; it was examining its club, which Izuku noted was a step above the tree branch the one he had... taken care of... had been using.

After a few tense moments, Link was in position. He had managed—how, Izuku didn’t understand—to sneak up right behind the monster without gaining its attention. In a single movement, he unslung the axe and swung it at the creature, letting the momentum from the swing carry the axe around for a second blow. Izuku shuddered as the newly-freed head rolled away from its former body before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Link picked up the horn that had remained behind and pocketed it before gesturing for Izuku to follow him. “Looks like there’s one more up there,” he said, pointing.

Izuku looked. A stairway made out of the same worn stone rose in front of him, leading up to another ruined building—which was where Link was pointing—and walkway leading up to the temple proper. Izuku couldn’t see the bokoblin that Link had spotted, but he trusted the man. “All right. Do you want me to come with you?”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll come get you when it’s over.”

Link crept up the stairs and out of sight. A moment or two later, Izuku heard a high-pitched squeal he assumed had come from the bokoblin. Another few moments and Link reappeared at the top of the stairs, holding his axe and, oddly enough, a pair of pants. “It’s all clear now. Let’s go.”

 


 

The rest of their journey up to the temple was much less eventful. While Izuku could see several more bokoblins off in the distance, they did not encounter any more. That left him much more time to wonder what on earth had happened here.

The old man had said that the temple had been abandoned for a hundred years. While there was some wear-and-tear on the stonework, that would not account for the state of ruin that the once-proud structure and its surroundings had fallen in to. There was a level of destruction present that he hadn’t expected; old scorch marks, pillars and walls that had been knocked over, that sort of thing.

And then there were the machines. There had been one back by the first building they had entered, but Izuku had been more concerned with the little red monsters at the time and had barely paid it any attention. Now, as he and Link were climbing the final flight of stairs to the temple, there were a bunch that had captured his attention.

They looked like they had, at one point, been walkers of some kind. There were several of them in the hall below the main building and several more on the hillside, so clearly they had played a role here, but Izuku couldn’t tell exactly what that had been. All he knew was that, with their odd, bell-shaped body structures and spindly legs, Hatsume would love to get her hands on them. He might have to see if he could bring some pieces back for her.

And then there was the temple itself. Izuku couldn’t believe it was still standing, seeing as how most of the left wall had been knocked over. Even still, the structure was beautiful. The ceiling—still mostly intact, amazingly—soared far over his head. The old tile floors had long since given way to grass and weeds, but there were still bits and pieces of old mosaics visible through the turf. At the end of the room there was a massive statue of a winged woman that looked like she was presiding over nature’s reclaimed cathedral. The whole place exuded an air of quiet reverence, as if it defied any attempts to make noise or disrupt it.

Link whistled quietly. “There’s something you don’t see every day.” He looked around briefly before turning to Izuku. “Do we just want to split up again? It’s not like there’s much here to find.”

Izuku thought for a moment before nodding. “I’ll check around here and work toward the back.”

“Okay. Let’s see if we can figure out why that old man pointed out the temple, of all places.”

Link left to investigate the rear of the cathedral, leaving Izuku standing next to the entrance. He started poking around, but didn’t really find anything. At least, not until he reached the one remaining tower.

While there were no stairs, he did find a large chest nestled in among some rubble. “I wonder what’s in here,” he muttered, idly tugging on the lid. Much to his surprise, the chest opened with little effort.

 Lodged inside was a wooden short bow with steel inlays around the grip, resting in a quiver of the same design. He picked them up and frowned. The bow looked like it had been newly made. With the state the temple was in, he sorely doubted that. Still, they had a bow now! Izuku looked around, searching for any arrows. While he didn’t see any, he did spot a couple of small pots sitting at the entrance to the tower. He found several worn arrows nestled inside. Apparently, chests were better protection from the elements than simple pottery.

Excited from his find, Izuku went to tell Link, and quickly located him standing toward the rear of the hall. The man was standing in front of a small block with a slot in the top. “Something important used to be here,” he said, not looking up as Izuku approached. “For the life of me though, I can’t figure out what.”

Izuku looked at the block, but couldn’t see anything special about it. “Well, maybe you’ll remember what it was later. In the meantime, I found something.”

That got Link’s attention. “Oh? What’d you find.”

“This.” Izuku held out the bow. 

Link picked it up and turned it around. He plucked the string and nodded. “This’ll do. Where’d you find it?”

Izuku pointed. “In a chest over in that tower.”

Link raised an eyebrow and gave the bow back. “That’s... a little weird. Well, you found this, so it’s yours to use. We might need it later, so take care of it.”

Izuku nodded and stowed it back in its quiver. He didn’t know how to use a bow, really, and One For All might make it difficult to use without snapping it. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to learn. If there were as many bokoblins as he thought there might be, it might be nice to have something that one of them could use to keep the little monsters at a distance.

Link took one last glance at the block before turning. “I don’t think there’s anything else here. Let’s get back to the others.”

 


 

The journey back to the cliffside camp was uneventful. They found the old man and All Might by the fire where they had left them. All Might was roasting meat over the flames while his companion watched and occasionally made suggestions. All Might looked up as they approached and smiled. “Welcome back, Young Heroes! Come take a seat; food’s just about ready.”

Izuku sat next to his mentor and sighed. It was good to be back with a familiar face. He glanced over at Link, who nodded at him before very pointedly walking a small distance away. Izuku took a deep breath. He might as well ask now. “Hey, All Might? Have you ever had—have you ever killed anyone as a hero?”

All Might stopped turning the spit. “That’s a heavy question, Young Midoriya. What’s got that on your mind?”

Izuku opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes again. All Might took a look at his face before turning to his companion. “Could you watch this for a minute?”

The old man nodded and took over the spit. All Might took Izuku off to the side. “Why don’t you tell me what this is about?”

So he did. For the next several minutes, Izuku relayed the encounters with the bokoblins. He stammered through how it had felt to crush the creature, his frustration with Link at not taking him seriously at first, and the conflicted feelings he’d had as they explored the temple. All Might, for his part, didn’t stir the entire time; he just watched Izuku through sunken eyes. Once Izuku was finished, he remained quiet for a few more moments before speaking.

“I’m sorry you had to face such a dilemma so young. You’re right in your observation that sometimes heroes have to kill. You may recall that I thought I had killed All For One in our encounter five years ago.” He paused, thinking, before continuing. “In our world—and yes, I believe that we are no longer on Earth—heroes try to avoid taking lives whenever they can. Life is sacred and to be protected and nourished, no matter how corrupt that life might be.

“That may not be the case here. I’ve spoken with our enigmatic guide, and he’s made it clear to me that the monsters you encountered are not exactly living. They’re flesh and bone animated by... dark magic.” All Might paused. “I’m still not sure how that works. The point is, I don’t think you have much to worry about with them.”

Izuku sniffed and wiped away his tears. “R-really?”

His mentor placed a hand on his shoulder. “Really. You’re a great hero, Young Midoriya, even though you’re still in training. Understanding the value of life is the greatest strength a hero can have.” He smiled at Izuku, who slowly smiled back. “You’ll be all right. Now, I have a question for you.”

Izuku’s smile drooped a little as he stared at the hero in confusion. “You do? W-what is it?”

All Might’s smile disappeared as he bulked up into his Hero form. “Tell me, Young Midoriya, how did you come to be here?”

Izuku gulped. “W-well, some of the others and I decided that we wanted to try to help rescue Kacchan. We were being careful,” he added, as he saw All Might grow more stern-looking. “Kirishima, Todoroki, Ashido, and I were angry that we had failed and wanted to make things right. Iida and Yaoyorozu came along specifically to make sure that we didn’t get in trouble and stayed out of combat. We had found the Nomu plant and were about to go back when the heroes showed up to contain the Nomu. We didn’t think there was anything else left to do. And then... he attacked.”

Izuku shuddered, no longer looking at All Might. “All For One. He wiped out the heroes almost instantly. We heard him talking, and then there was this splashing sound, and then Kacchan and the League of Villains were there, All For One talked with Shigaraki... and then you were there, and then the air warped, and I saw a light, and then I woke up in that cave over there, and—”

“Slow down there, young man. You’re rambling again,” All Might said, cutting Izuku off. “So let me get this straight. You had come to help with the intention of not fighting a criminal organization, correct?”

Izuku nodded, and then winced as All Might bopped him on the head. “That was for being foolish. You were ill-equipped for such an operation. But—” Izuku looked up at All Might and saw that the pro was smiling at him again. “—your intentions were good. You have a good heart, and I’ve no doubt that you and your friends would have pulled it off if All For One hadn’t done whatever he had done that sent us here.

“Your story explains a few things, but I still have one very important question.” All Might shifted from foot to foot, his face suddenly lined with concern. “You said that there were five others who went with you to rescue Young Bakugo. Where are they now?”



Chapter Text

“Why did I think that going the long way around would be a good idea?” Mina whined quietly as she trudged down the mountain. She had woken up that morning on top of said mountain next to a very cute lake with no one else around her. The last thing she remembered was All Might and the Big Bad starting to fight each other. That was it.

It had taken her a little while to calm down—waking up somewhere foreign with no idea how she got there freaked her out more than she would have admitted to anyone else—but eventually she had reached a point where she felt like she could function. A brief investigation of her surroundings had told her exactly nothing, or basically nothing. She was on top of a mountain next to the ocean, which stretched for miles farther than she could see. Mina hadn’t done well with geography in school, but even still, she didn’t think any of the landscape was from Japan.

In short, the girl had no idea where she was. She had, however, spotted a small village at the base of the mountain and figured that they might be able to answer that question for her. With that thought in mind, she had set out along what looked like the path down.

That had been hours ago. Now it was close to midday—she didn’t know exactly when, since her phone was dead—and she was starving. She whined again as her stomach gurgled. Loudly. “Man, this sucks.” The wind gusted as she rounded another corner in the neverending trail. She winced as the air whipped at her face and kept walking, but pulled up short. What was that smell? She sniffed, trying to place it. It smelled a lot like... something burning?

She followed the scent down the path and around another corner, where she stopped. Ahead of her, she spotted a small plume of smoke drifting lazily into the sky. She watched it for a moment before grinning. It wasn’t big enough to be anything but a campfire.

Mina started jogging down the rest of the path, which she realized she had just about reached the bottom of. Finally. It didn’t take long for her to reach the bottom and start running across the beach towards the campfire. She slowed down pretty quickly when she realized that there wasn’t anybody actually at the fire.

You can’t just leave a fire unattended! Who started this thing? She looked around, hoping to spot someone. Instead, all she saw was meters of beautiful beach and warm-looking ocean waves. Occasional palm trees waved in the breeze. Cliffs surrounded the cove on almost all sides, ending just short of the waterline. A small canyon opened on the northern side of the cliff face, and Mina assumed that that was where the path she had been following went. She wasn’t worried about that at the moment, though. For now, she had found paradise.

Or had almost found it. The beauty of her surroundings was kind of ruined by the ugly towers out in the water. She wasn’t quite sure how they hadn’t been knocked over yet, as they looked super rickety, especially with the massive skull-looking things on top. She squinted, trying to get a better look at the structures. It looked like someone was moving up there, but she could quite tell at this distance.

Her stomach gurgled loudly, distracting her. Right, I need to find some food. She looked around the campfire, hoping to find something to eat before she put the fire out.

Her efforts were quickly rewarded. Off to one side of the campfire behind several large crates she found a basket full of fruit. Apples, bananas, and even melons—Mina’s mouth watered. She didn’t waste any time in digging in, making short work of several of the bananas and apples before finally deciding that she’d had enough.

Now that she’d solved the immediate issue of hunger, Mina decided to take another look at those weird towers. She jogged her way further out along the beach before trying to get another look at whatever she’d seen. She blinked, rubbed her eyes, and looked again. There were a bunch of little goblin things walking around up there! She couldn’t see them super well, but they didn’t look too friendly.

Okay, so maybe don’t go over there. Mina turned and jogged back to the fire and took stock of her options. I could just chill here until a boat from that village came by, though with those gross goblins out there, I don’t think anything would get by. I’ve got enough food for now, and I think I might be able to make that village I saw by dark. She glanced out at the water again. Oh, I wish there was time for a swim. That water looks great! Figures the one time I make it to the beach I can’t enjoy it. She sighed and refocused on a pole sticking out of the sand near the fire. I wonder what that even is?

The girl thoughtfully tugged at the pole and stumbled backwards when it slid out of the sand. When she regained her balance, she realized that it wasn’t a pole at all, but rather the handle of a barbed spear. “Oh wow! This is so cool!” Mina gave it a few test jabs and grinned. Now she had her very own spear, and if it was anything like the staff she’d used for stave dancing, she shouldn’t have any issues using it—either for a more exotic dance routine or to defend herself, if needed. It could stand to be a bit more pink, though.

Armed and refreshed, Mina stuffed some of the remaining fruit into her pockets and returned to the path she had been following and continued along it, using her new spear as an impromptu staff. Gradually, the ground turned from packed sand to packed dirt and stone as it ran into the canyon leading away from the beach. After traveling for thirty or so minutes in the canyon, the path forked, running off to the east and the west. Mina stood at the crossroads and frowned, looking back and forth between the two. Eventually, she started down the east-bound road, as she vaguely remembered seeing the sun rising over the village from that direction.

“I’m so ready to be done with this,” Mina grumbled several hours later. Her spear was now laying across her shoulders, her arms hanging lazily over it as she walked. The sun had gotten much lower over the course of her journey and the canyon she was walking down had been plunged into twilight. She felt like she was pretty close to her destination, but she had no way of knowing for sure, other than using the mountain she had woken up on to mark her progress.

As she trudged along— trudging is sooo not pretty— the breeze shifted and started blowing toward her. With it came a sound. Mina paused and listened, trying to catch whatever that had been. The sound came again, and she frowned. It sounded like... screaming?

With that realization, her training kicked in, and she started running down the canyon, her fatigue forgotten. She spun the spear off her shoulders and into a more ready position. She didn’t really know how to use it, but it couldn’t be that hard, right? Just stab? Focus, Mina! You don’t have time to ask questions.

Mina rounded a corner in the canyon and could suddenly see the source of the screams. Ahead of her and off of the path were the remains of a wagon of some kind. One of the gross blue goblin creatures was chasing someone around it and taking occasional swipes with its sword. Mina didn’t hesitate; she ran toward the creature, yelling to get its attention. It stopped and looked toward the charging pink girl, then screeched before charging toward her. Mina waited until it was only a couple of meters away from her before using the spear to vault over it. As she passed, she shot a bit of acid from her free hand at the creature’s sword. She landed and pivoted to face the creature to survey the damage, bringing the spear back up just in case.

The goblin’s sword was pockmarked and smoking, but that didn’t seem to deter it; if anything, it was even more angry. It screeched again—which sounded a bit like a pig’s squeal, Mina realized—and swung at her. Instead of trying to block the sword, Mina twisted around the weapon, falling into one of the stave dance routines she’d tried out. As she gracefully slid past the monster, she spun the spear around her neck and across her arm before arcing the butt end of the weapon into its side.The creature winced and staggered backward, but quickly recovered and swung at her again, this time leaping in the air to try and smash her. Mina tried to back up, but tripped over something and fell down, spear raising automatically as she fell. She felt an impact shake the spear before it was pulled from her grasp. She looked around frantically for it and gasped. Apparently, the impact she had felt was the goblin crashing into the point. The creature in question had staggered to its feet once more and, using both hands, managed to pry itself off of the end of the spear before tossing it aside and picking up its sword once more.

Mina’s eyes went wide as she stared up at the hole in the chest of the menacing creature bearing down on her. What the hell is this thing? She threw both hands forward and used them to funnel acid at the creature, creating a hose-like jet. The liquid splashed over the monster, and its squeels became much more pained. It dropped the sword and staggered backward before disappearing in a poof of smoke, leaving Mina by herself on the stretch of path.

She just watched the spot where the creature had been for a moment, breathing heavily, before slowly climbing to her feet. Where did it go? Did it—did it die? Where did the smoke come from? The creature’s body wasn’t where it had been standing; instead, several objects that looked like teeth were laying on the ground next to the corroded sword. 

“Hey, you! Pink lady!”

Mina jumped and raised her hands defensively as she turned toward the voice. The man the little demon had been chasing had come out from behind the ruined wagon and was walking up to her. He looked like a stereotype for a surfboard commercial—dark skin, shark tooth necklace, clothes that were fashionably too small, the works. Mina took all this in as the weird swimsuit model wannabe started talking again.

“Whoa, thanks for the save. I was NOT looking forward to the rest of my life in that thing’s stomach. Uh, you’re not a monster, are you? I’ve never seen anyone with pink skin before, or horns. I’d heard that Gorons have horns, but I’ve never met one before, so I wouldn’t know.”

I thought only Izuku spouted words like that. Instead of saying that, Mina just shook her head. “No, I’m not a monster. My Quirk is that I can shoot acid from my skin; my skin’s pink because it had to develop a resistance to that. As for the horns...” she shrugged. “I don’t know why I have ‘em, but they complete the look.”

The guy’s eyes widened. “Whoa, that’s pretty gnarly. Well, I don’t have a fancy reward for you, but I do have this, if you want it.” As he spoke, surfer bro reached into a pouch Mina hadn’t noticed earlier and extracted a small bundle of something that he then extended toward her. Mina slowly took the bundle and unwrapped it—and immediately started salivating.

“Wow, rice balls! Thanks a lot, guy!” Mina exclaimed. She recovered the snack and looked up. “I’m Ashido Mina. What’s your name? And how did you get stuck with that thing chasing you?”

Surfer bro rubbed the back of his head. “The name’s Regan. I ran away from Lurelin Village just up the road. The whole place stinks of cut-up bait and fish guts, and almost everyone there works with fish somehow. Well, not me! I couldn’t take it anymore, so I left. I’m gonna make my living as a scavenger instead, fishing around Hyrule’s rubble for neat stuff!” He struck what he must a have thought was a heroic pose before wilting slightly. “I... didn’t consider all the monsters, though.”

Hyrule? Mina wondered. I wonder if that’s an old ruin around here. “Well, I was just heading to... Lurelin... myself, so I guess I’ll see you around if you stop by.”

“Hey, I might just have to, Ashido.” Regan smiled and started walking up the path Mina had come down. “You take care now. Lurelin’s just up ahead around the bend. Thanks again for the save!”

Mina waved goodbye to her weird new friend and continued on her way. She popped a rice ball into her mouth as she walked and smiled. Odd though Regan may be, he did have good taste in snacks.

A few minutes later, she rounded the bend in the path that Regan had mentioned and sighed in relief. Below her, Lurelin spread out in front of the beautiful ocean, comprised mainly of roughly two dozen little huts of palm wood and leaves. Little tiki statues— They’re called totems, right?— were scattered throughout the village. As she walked through the front gate—a larger pair of totems—she noticed people lighting lanterns and torches. One of them, a woman with gorgeous dark skin, noticed her. She stepped away from the torch she had been working on and approached Mina. “Welcome to Lurelin, traveler.”

The woman smiled at Mina, who felt like she had almost melted in relief. “It looks like you’ve been traveling for a while. Please, join us. We were just about to eat.”

Mina liked the woman instantly. “Thank you so much, ma’am!”

“Please, call me Erim. If you’ll follow me, we’ll get you taken care of.”

Mina smiled, but the corners of her mouth slowly drooped as her most pressing question came back to her. “Actually, I do have a question for you, Erim. I’m trying to find some of my friends, but we were separated.” She felt tears of frustration at the corners of her eyes as the burdens and emotions of the last couple of days came crashing back down on her. “This area is all unfamiliar to me, so I can’t find them. Could you tell me where I am?”

Mina couldn’t see Erim through her tears, but the woman’s response was clear enough as she embraced Mina. The girl stiffened momentarily at the unexpected touch, but relaxed as Erim started speaking.

“There, there, dear. We’ll get some people out looking for your friends. For now, it might be best if we got some food in you and let you rest. I’ll try and answer whatever questions I can. Dinner first though, okay?”

Mina sniffled and nodded. She let Erim guide her deeper into the village while she tried to get a hold of her emotions. It had been a long day.


Izuku rolled over and groaned. Why am I so sore? Probably because his bed was so hard. But he wasn’t in the hospital anymore; they’d discharged him. With an effort, he managed to pry his eyes open—and shut them again quickly as reality crashed in.

That’s right, I’m in Hyrule. The events of the past twenty-four hours flashed through his mind, and he curled up under the blanket the old man had provided and cried quietly. After a few minutes, his tears dried and he wiped his eyes before sitting up and looking around.

Sunlight streamed down across the mountainside. Izuku guessed it was right around seven or eight in the morning. All Might and their enigmatic guide—or host or whatever he was supposed to be—were still staring at the fire, about where he had left them last night. The two had talked for much of the night, long after Izuku had fallen asleep. Whatever, they had talked about, they had made sure that he and Link were not a part of the discussion.

Speaking of Link... Izuku frowned and looked around, but couldn’t see the former sleeper anywhere.

“He went out to get some food for us.”

Izuku jumped and turned. The old man was smiling in his direction. “Don’t worry, he shouldn’t be gone for too long.”

And he wasn’t. Within minutes of Izuku waking up, Link had returned with several fish slung over his shoulder. He waved at Izuku as he approached. “Glad to see you’re awake. You wanna help me clean these so we can eat?”

Izuku eyed the fish dubiously. “Um, sure. You’ll have to show me how to do it, though; I’ve never done anything like that.”

Link nodded and set the fish down on a stone slab the group had appropriated the night before as a makeshift table. When Izuku joined him, he just looked. The fish were much bigger than he had originally thought, and would easily feed the four of them with some to spare. “That’s a lot of fish.”

“We’ll need it,” the warrior replied. “Travel food is always good, I think we’ll be doing a fair bit over the next while.” Link pulled out a knife he had borrowed from the old man. “Are you ready to learn?”

Izuku nodded, and over the course of the next hour learned more than he thought he ever would about cleaning, preparing, and fire-roasting fish. Link showed him how to clean the first fish and then watched as he cleaned the second on his own. Once Link nodded his satisfaction, he showed Izuku how to spit the fish and roast them over the fire, using some herbs he’d found nearby to season the fish some.

As Izuku watched the fish to make sure they didn’t burn, he glanced over at Link. “Does this mean that your memories are coming back?”

Link frowned, a far-off look in his eyes. “No. I remember how to do things, like fighting and hunting, but I don’t know how I know.” His focus sharpened as he looked at Izuku. “What about you? Do you remember why or how you came to be here?”

Izuku shook his head. “Other than what I described last night, nothing.”

“We’ll figure it out.” Link stabbed the fish experimentally with his knife before nodding. “That can be a question for later. Breakfast is ready.”

After smelling the fish and herbs roasting for what felt like ages, Izuku was all too ready to eat. The two called the older pair over. Link looked at the old man, who chuckled. “Help yourselves.”

Izuku needed no second bidding and bit into his fish. The savory flavor, while simple, was better than anything Izuku could remember in recent memory. Certainly, it was at least as good as some of the food they’d had at camp. He quickly ate the entire thing and was surprised at how full he was afterwards.

I understand that you two are headed out to do some more exploring today?” All Might asked as he nibbled at his fish.

Izuku nodded. “That’s right. I saw some more of those bokoblins in the valley yesterday, and we wanted to see if there was anything over that way. What will you be doing, All Might?”

The number one hero shrugged. “Not sure. Old Rhoam and I thought that we might investigate the old temple now that you’ve cleared it out.”

Link’s ears— Wait, they’re pointed? Is he an elf? Is that a thing here?— perked up, and he turned to face the old man. “Oh, your name’s Rhoam?”

“Yes. Did I not mention that?”

Izuku shook his head.

“Oh, my apologies. Yes, I’m Rhoam.” Rhoam studied the two. “Does that name mean something to you?”

“No, I’ve never heard that name before,” Link said, while Izuku shook his head.

The old man muttered something to himself before standing. “Well, no matter. I believe you two have a long day ahead of you, as do Toshinori and I.” He picked up his cane and gestured with it down the mountain.

Link watched the man for a moment before standing up and brushing himself off. “You’re right. We’ll meet you back here, then.”

Izuku watched as Link picked up the axe he’d been using and the club he’d retrieved from one of the bokoblins before realizing that he needed to go as well. As he scrambled to his feet, Link held out the bow and quiver Izuku had found the day before. “Here. You might need this.”

Izuku stared at the weapon for a moment before hesitantly taking it. “S-sure. D-don’t you want it?”

Link shook his head. “Not at the moment. Until you’re comfortable with monsters, I would prefer if we kept a safe distance between you and them.”

“I-I’m okay with that.” Izuku slung the quiver and bow over his shoulder and followed Link down the path. Before they had gone too far, he heard All Might calling from behind them. The two paused and waited for the skeletal man to catch up. “What is it, All Might?”

“Before you two leave, I have something I’d like to ask you two to do.” All Might’s face still held a hint of his familiar smile, though it didn’t fully reach his eyes. “I’ve spoken with Rhoam, and there’s far more going on here than we originally thought. I believe that we”—he gestured at Izuku and himself—”may have been brought here for a reason.”

Izuku looked at All Might in concern. “Why do you say that?”

“I can’t tell you that. Not right now.” All Might held up a hand, cutting Izuku’s question off, and the hero-in-training could see that Link looked just as confused. “There’s a lot at stake, and certain conditions have to be met. For now, carry on with your adventure. If, while you’re exploring, you should run into Rhoam—who usually roams all over the plateau, apparently—and he asks you to do something... odd, humor him.”

Link stared at the pro, eyes narrowed. “That’s not terribly specific. Can’t you tell us anymore?”

“If All Might says he can’t, then he can’t,” Izuku said defensively, defending his hero. “It can’t be something bad or dangerous, though; otherwise, I think he’d tell us anyway.”

All Might smiled. “I appreciate your faith in me, Young Midoriya. And you’re right; I don’t think you’ll be in any more danger than what you faced yesterday.” His smile twisted downward. “Although, that was still fairly dangerous. Still, you’re both young and strong; you should be fine.”

Link stared at All Might through thinned eyes for a moment longer before nodding. “All right, we’ll do it that way. You two be careful; we cleared out the temple yesterday, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s gone back.”

“We’ll keep an eye out for trouble.”

The pro turned and walked back up the hill path, leaving the pair of aspiring heroes to their own devices. Izuku watched him climb the worn steps for a moment before turning back to his companion. “W-well, let’s go.”

The two went down toward the temple. This time, they didn’t cut across the hilltop next to the small pond, instead following the path down around the front of the complex to the fountain plaza. As they walked toward the empty fountain, Link held up his hand. “Wait, did you hear that?”

Izuku listened for a moment, but didn’t hear anything. He looked askance at Link, who appeared to be concentrating intensely. After a moment, Link pulled out his Sheikah Slate and looked at it for a moment before his eyes widened in surprise.

“What is it?” Izuku asked, concerned.

“I... I heard that voice again.”

“What?”

Link nodded. “It told me to go to the point marked on the map in the Slate.” He flipped the tablet, letting Izuku see the screen. While it mostly looked blank, there was a little arrow that seemed to indicate their position in the center of the ‘map’ and a blinking golden dot off to the right.

Izuku rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “That looks like it’s in that area that we wanted to explore.” He looked up. “You said that woman’s voice told you about this?”

“She did,” Link said. He paused for a moment before asking. “Didn’t you hear her?”

“No.”

Link looked back at the map and scratched his head. “That’s... concerning.” After a moment, he hooked the tablet back at his waist and started walking. “Well, she hasn’t steered us wrong yet. Let’s go; I think I see the spot that’s being indicated.”

Izuku followed him across the plateau to a set of stairs that led down to a small plain. Small grass-covered knolls rose up out of the ground, and a large mound of rocks rose up near what looked like the edge of the plateau. The morning sunlight glinted off of a pond to the left of the rocks, and on the other side of the pond, Izuku could see on odd structure that also reflected the sunlight. He squinted, trying to get a better look at it, but couldn’t quite see at this distance.

Link walked a short distance farther down the stairs, but didn’t make it far before two little blue somethings burst out of the ground. Izuku stared at the little things as they slowly started rolling towards him and Link. They just looked like little blue blobs with eyeballs. “Link, what are these?”

“Chuchus,” the man replied. “The small ones aren’t terribly dangerous; it’s the big ones you want to watch out for. A child with a broom could fend off one of these.”

Izuku watched the little blobs roll toward them. The way the rolled and jiggled reminded him a little bit of a football. Wait, a football... oh, I’ve got to try this.

“Link, I’ve got the one on the right.” Without waiting for the blond to reply, Izuku ran towards his chosen target. As he did so, he channeled Full Cowling, trying to drive a little more of One For All into his legs, and, as he reached the chuchu, drove his foot into the gelatinous body.

The feeling was unlike anything Izuku had ever experienced; the closest comparison he had was with the sludge villain from earlier that year. The little slime momentarily molded around his foot before being launched through the air. Izuku grinned as he watched it soar out over the plain. The thing didn’t go terribly far before it burst in a shower of blue goo, but it was satisfying nonetheless.

Wub .

Izuku turned around, still grinning, to see Link calmly scooping up some of the other chuchu’s goop, which had formed into little balls. The blond looked up at him, face expressionless. “That was impressive.” Link grinned suddenly and started laughing. “I’ve always wanted to do that. I never really got a chance to try, though.”

Izuku laughed as well. “The chuchu reminded me of a football, and I wanted to see if it would fly as far as one.”

Link cocked his head to the side. Oh, he probably doesn’t know what a football is . Before Izuku could explain, Link shrugged and continued down the steps. The greenhead shook his head and followed, still grinning. He wasn’t likely to forget that anytime soon.

His grin faded somewhat as he considered what he’d done. He had effectively just killed that chuchu, and yet he didn’t feel nearly as bad about it as he had about the bokoblin. If he was being honest with himself, he kind of wanted to do it again. Maybe it’s because it’s not humanoid? Link did say that most of the non-animals were monsters, and I think that applies to chuchus.

Izuku was still thinking when something touched his shoulder. He jumped and whirled, or tried to; Link was holding on to his shoulder, preventing him from spinning.

“Are you all right? You were muttering something about the chuchus.”

“I’m fine for now,” Izuku replied. “Where are we supposed to go from here?”

Link pulled out the tablet and studied it for a moment before pointing at the mound of rocks—and the three bokoblins in front of it. “We’ll probably want to sneak up on these, as we’re outnumbered.

The hero-in-training gulped and nodded. “Lead the way.” The two of them crept around the rearmost of the three, who was standing guard in front of the pile of boulders and, Izuku noticed, was much better equipped, armed with a small sword and a wooden shield. Izuku could also see was hollow, and the inside appeared to be made from the same material as the cave where he had found Link. What’s that doing here?

Finally, the two had positioned themselves between the odd half-cave and the monster. Link placed a finger to his lips and unhooked his club with his other hand. Izuku held his breath as the blond crept up on the bokoblin. When he was directly behind the creature, Link raised his club and brought it crashing down.

Thunk!

The bokoblin went limp and fell to the ground. To Izuku’s surprise, he could see the creature’s body start to turn black before vanishing in a puff of purple smoke, leaving a couple of teeth—and the weapons. Link quickly dropped his club and picked up the sword and shield. He bounced it in his grip and gave it a few experimental swings before nodding and sliding it into the sheath that had dropped next to the teeth. The blond looked back at him. “Two to go. You might want to get your bow out.”

Not really... He’d never fired a bow before, but had seen it done on cartoons and games. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Izuku reluctantly got the bow out and nocked an arrow before following Link. The last two bokoblins were sitting at the top of a small rise that overlooked the rest of the valley. They were facing away from the two approaching heroes and looked to be talking quietly with each other.

Link gestured toward the one on the left and started creeping toward it. Okay, so he wants me to deal with the one on the right? Izuku suppressed a sigh and pulled the arrow back—or tried to. I didn’t realize these things required so much strength to pull. After a couple of attempts, he managed to draw the arrow back as far as he could without breaking the bow. He looked down the shaft and took a breath before trying to steady his shaking hands. After a moment, he thought he had it, and released the arrow.

Wsssssst!

Thunk!

The bokoblin pitched forward and rolled down the small incline out of sight. Its companion screeched and snatched up the bow at its feet, looking around frantically for the source of the attack. 

It didn’t search long; Link lunged forward and buried the sword in the creature’s chest before ripping it out and slicing into its stomach. As Izuku watched, he realized that where he would have expected to see blood, instead the bokoblin appeared to be ‘bleeding’ more of that dark smoke. Link’s sword was likewise free of blood, instead trailing wisps of smoke behind it.

The second bokoblin fell to the ground and disappeared. Link rummaged around in the pile of loot before coming up with the creature’s bow and a small bundle of arrows. When he rejoined Izuku, he held out a couple of arrows. “That was a fantastic shot. Thanks for taking care of the other one.”

Izuku nodded and took the arrows, but didn’t say anything. Now that they were finished, he felt a little sick. He knew he’d have to get used to the idea of killing these things at some point, but he didn’t think it would come over night. 

Link, perhaps sensing his unease, gestured toward the pile of rocks. “Come on, let’s go see what’s so special about those boulders.”

The two of them returned to the half-cave, and once inside, they immediately saw what was so special. In the center of the small outcrop was a terminal like the one where Link had retrieved the Slate. Above the terminal hung a large rock , the upper half of which was covered in more of the odd yellow stonework. 

As they approached it, the pedestal lit up orange. “Place the Sheikah Slate on the pedestal,” a quiet voice said. Link looked at Izuku before pulling the Slate out doing as instructed. Once placed in the slot, the pedestal shifted and spun the Slate around until it was horizontal and facing screen-up. “Sheikah Tower activated. Please watch for falling rocks.”

Falling rocks? Izuku barely had time to register this information before a blue light flashed above him, forming the same stylized eye they had seen elsewhere. Before he could do or say anything, the ground began to shake. It quivered softly at first, but the tremors became more and more violent. Izuku fought to keep his balance, but failed and ended up flat on his back. And then the rocks around him exploded.

Chapter Text

Shoto cursed and ducked behind a pillar as another arrow whizzed by and crashed into the wall of the arena behind him. He hadn't expected the monster to be so strong. If he kept this up, Shoto was sure that he would be dead before too much longer. He needed to end this now.

Shoto spun out from behind the pillar and planted his right foot firmly into the ground, sending sheets of ice toward the creature. It reacted by breathing more fire at the onrushing ice—much as the boy had expected it would. Shoto smirked. You'll have to do much better than that . He spun around on his right foot and swept his right hand up over his head. 

SSSSSSTTTT!

The torrent of ice was nothing like the previous attack and completely overwhelmed the creature. Shoto didn't let up and kept pouring ice from his right side. When he finally stopped a few seconds later, the results of his attack were immediately clear. His opponent—some sort of lion-centaur, he could see now that it wasn't trying to kill him—was trapped in a glacier roughly the same size as the one he'd unleashed at the Sports Festival. He approached cautiously and could see its eyes moving around before focusing on the hero-in-training.

Shoto nodded and turned to leave. He glanced backward as he walked out of the arena and could see a point of heat appear around the monster's head. It won't be too long before that thing escapes. Shoto sped up his pace; he didn't have any desire for a round two.

He was halfway across the bridge connecting the arena and whatever was on the other side when the ground began to shake. He immediately turned to face the arena, fearing that he hadn't been fast enough.

To his partial relief, it looked like the monster hadn't escaped yet. However, that left the rumbling, which was growing more violent. Shoto reached out to steady himself, struggling to stand upright.

Cruuumpt!

Endeavor's heir watched in shock as, with a shower of dust and stone, a spire or tower of some kind rose into the sky from the plateau to the south.


Eijiro waved at the Foothill Stable workers and began his hike up the mountain. He'd arrived there late yesterday after being dumped in the middle of nowhere by the Big Bad's portal thing. The stable staff had explained where he was and had been manly enough to let him stay the night. They’d even offered to let him stay there, so long as he helped out. While he had been tempted by the offer, Eijiro had heard one of the other patrons mention something that had sounded like “Gorons.” When he had asked, the patron had told him about the super manly rock people who lived at the foot of the volcano.

The artificial redhead hadn’t been able to resist. A whole bunch of macho people who basically had his Quirk? He had to check them out! So he had explained his plan to the stable head, who in turn had presented him with a bag of food. A traveling merchant with a big red nose and a massive backpack in the shape of a beetle who was staying at the stable also gave him something called “fireproof elixirs,” stating that they would be needed the farther up the mountain he got. He’d also provided him with a pretty sturdy walking staff. “Just in case,” the stable head had said.

Whatever the old man had meant, Eijiro was glad to have the staff. It made the hike a bit easier, and also made him feel like he was on more of an adventure, which he supposed he was. His mission was to rescue Bakugo, though that was turning out to be far more difficult than he had thought. He frowned, worried about where his friend might be. He had to start somewhere, and maybe the dude had been dumped somewhere on Death Mountain. The boy’s lips twitched upwards. The name certainly fits “Lord Explosion Murder’s” personality.

He followed the trail as it wound down past what looked like several large hot springs before winding farther up the mountain. Eijiro would have loved to just soak in those for a while; they looked like they had healing powers. Maybe once he found Bakugo and the others, they could come check these out.

He also quickly realized why the beetle merchant had given him those elixirs. The farther up the path he went, the hotter it got. By midmorning, the air around him was uncomfortably warm, and from what he had been told, he still had several hundred meters of trail to hike before he reached Goron City. 

Might as well give one of these weird potions a shot . He uncorked one of the bottles and sipped it experimentally. To his surprise, it actually tasted quite good. A bit spicy, but still good. He took another big chug, draining half the bottle in one shot. Immediately, the air around him went down in temperature, or so it seemed. He stared at the remaining liquid in surprise before grinning. This is great!

Because he was looking at the bottle, Eijiro noticed the ripples in the elixir before he felt the shaking. It started softly, but quickly escalated until it felt like the whole mountain was going to shake to pieces. The hero-in-training struggled to maintain his balance while he looked for shelter.

CRUUUUMPT!

Eijiro winced at the explosively loud sound behind him, even as he reflexively hardened his skin in response and turned to face the threat. Instead of a villain or monster, a large tower was rising up from the ground farther up the mountain. After what felt like ages but was probably only a few moments, the earth stopped shaking and the tower ceased moving.

The soon-to-be hero Red Riot gaped at the sudden appearance of the structure before quickly gulping down the rest of the elixir and hurrying up the trail. It seemed like things weren’t all too peaceful in Hyrule now, either. He needed to find the others before things got too crazy.


Beedle slowly crept up on the Rugged Rhino Beetle. He had spotted the little guy when he had wandered off the road to a small cliff in order to get a better view of the surroundings. He had heard a loud crashing noise and was curious to know what had happened. At the top of the cliff, he had a clear view of Hyrule Field and the old arena, the latter, he was surprised to discover, had been covered by a miniature glacier. Curiosity satisfied, Beedle had turned to leave, and that was when he had spotted this beauty of a beetle.

And what a beauty it was. The armor-like shell had polished gleam that indicated the shell would be nearly as hard as stone. The horns were large and hardly curved, so this was an adult of great skill. The coloration was good; the head was a nice, vibrant green, and the striped browns of the carapace complimented each other nicely. And the size! It was at least as big as Beedle’s fist, or maybe two fists. Either made it one of the largest representatives of the species he had ever had the luck to find, and he had to have it.

He knew that the people at the Outskirts Stable thought he was a little weird, and they were right. Beedle knew he was odd, but that didn’t bother him. He just enjoyed traveling the region and peddling his wares. Occasionally, he would find a treasure like this Rugged Rhino Beetle that he would absolutely have to add to his collection.

The beetle twitched, and the trader froze. It wouldn’t do to be too hasty; that would scare this marvelous specimen away. After a moment, Beetle started to creep forward again. He was almost within reach when he heard a distant rumbling. He barely had time to wonder if there was a storm coming when the ground began to quake. The Rugged Rhino Beetle, sensing the seismic disturbance, buzzed its wings and took flight. Beedle lunged for his airborne prize, but missed, his fingers closing just short of the fleeing insect. Beedle crashed to the ground and was forced to watch what could have been the jewel of his collection fly away.

The trader’s curse was lost amid the rumbling of the earth. As Beedle looked around for the source, he heard another crash to the south, and watched as an odd tower that glowed orange erupted from the earth. Farther out across Hyrule Field, similar structures were rising from the ground as well. He rolled over to look up at the old Sheikah building at the top of the hill where the stable was located. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, as the earth’s rumbling finally subsided, orange lights and symbols appeared on the surface of the ancient shrine.

Beedle allowed himself a small smile, his lost prize forgotten. “So, it’s finally happening.”


Izuku struggled to his feet as the world around him ceased shaking, and he couldn’t help but stare. Instead of being surrounded by boulders, he was now dozens of meters in the air looking out across the vast vista below the Plateau. The shadow of the distant mountain—no, that’s a volcano, Izuku realized—seemed to reach all the way to the castle at the end of the vast field, though the greenhead was pretty sure that was just his brain settling.

More interesting to him at the moment was that he could see tall towers dotting the landscape; somewhere in the fields, while others had sprouted in the mountains. He could also see a few structures that glowed with the same orange light he associated with the Sheikah Slate—one of which was near the base of the tower he and Link were standing on.

Wait, where is Link? Izuku turned back toward the center of the platform he was on. Link was climbing to his feet next to the terminal, which had been covered in orange lights. As the warrior rose, the robotic voice Izuku had come to associate with these weird buildings spoke up again.

“Distilling local information...”

Link looked at the pedestal and then at Izuku, who shrugged. Their unspoken question was answered as the stone above the terminal began to glow. Lines of blue glyphs crawled down the semi-pillar toward another of the stylized eyes that had appeared at the tip. The two watched warily as the glyphs appeared to coalesce into a drop of glowing liquid that, after hanging on the end of the stone for a moment, dropped and splashed across the Slate’s screen, turning the lights of the terminal blue. Link jumped as the lights changed color and bent to investigate.

After a few moments, he leaned back. “Regional map extracted,” chirped the machine as  the terminal whirled around and released the Slate. 

“Is-Is everything okay?” Izuku asked as the blond picked up his tablet.

“Better than okay, I think,” Link replied, turning the Slate around. “Here, take a look.

Izuku stepped over to Link and squinted at the screen before grinning. Where before the screen had been blank, save for the blinking dot that had guided them here, now a portion of the screen was lit up, revealing a map of the Plateau. There were also other lines that spidered out from the Plateau. Izuku studied it for a moment before nodding to himself. “These other lines all seem to form sections, which would mean that we only have a small portion of the map.” He looked up at Link. “I bet you the other towers out there will give us the missing pieces.”

“Figures. It’s probably to protect the information.” Link hooked the Slate back on his belt. “Let’s figure out how to get down from here.”

The two started to look for a way down and quickly realized that there was an opening in the floor. When Izuku looked down, he saw that the side of the tower was made out of the same metal shaped into a honeycomb pattern, almost like a makeshift ladder. Several small platforms spiraled down the sides of the tower. Okay, so we need to climb down to each platform, then .

“This shouldn’t be too bad; it might take a little while, though,” Izuku said, glancing back at his friend. Link nodded and took a step toward the hole, but stopped. His face creased in concentration, as if he were trying to listen to something hard to hear. Which, Izuku realized a moment later, was exactly what he was doing.

Try... try to remember...

I can hear her voice again , Izuku realized. It was difficult to hear, much fainter than back in the cave. I wonder what changed? A glimmering light from behind Link caught his attention, distracting him. Izuku squinted his eyes, trying to see what it was. Link turned, and together the two watched as a brilliant light appeared in what had to have been the center of the castle.

You... asleep... hundred years.

One hundred years? What? Before he could say anything, the ground began to shake again, though nowhere nearly as strongly as before. In the distance, a dark, purple-tinted fog rose and swirled around the castle. Izuku wasn’t sure, but it seemed to him that the fog was trying to crush the glimmering light.

The beast... When... regains... true power... world... its end.

Izuku watched, eyes wide, as a dark, shadowy thing formed from the fog and flew around the old castle. It opened what looked like a mouth and let out a thunderous roar that Izuku could hear from where he was standing. 

As if in response to the beast, the light flared. Izuku winced at the sudden intensity of the light, but the effect on the fog monster was much more drastic. The creature opened its mouth to roar again, but this time, Izuku didn’t hear anything. The light surged even brighter, and the creature dissipated.

The woman spoke again as the creature faded. This time, Izuku could hear her clearly, and the urgency in her voice was clear.

Now then, please hurry, Link. There are other dark powers in the castle whose goals I know not. You and your companion must hurry, Link, before it’s too late.

The light faded as the woman finished speaking, returning to its former glimmer. Izuku kept watching the tower, trying to process what the voice had said. He hadn’t heard everything, but from what he gathered, whatever that purple fog was was bad. Wait, that looked like the same color smoke that comes from deak bokoblins . He gulped as he considered the sheer scale of the monster; if all of the other little monsters were part of it, then who knows how powerful it was.  As for the other dark powers she mentioned, Izuku had a sinking feeling that he knew exactly who they were.

“Sounds like we’ve got some work to do,” Link said grimly. The warrior turned and walked over to the ladder. “Come on, we need to figure out how to get off of this plateau.”

Izuku nodded, forgetting that Link couldn’t see him anymore, before following him. The next thirty minutes or so of precarious climbing from platform to platform made Izuku very glad that he’d done as much training as he had. If he had had to do this before U.A.—or even before he met All Might—he didn’t think he would have been able to get down. As it was, the climb, while still tiring, wasn’t terribly difficult, and the two of them made it to the bottom safely.

They had no sooner reached the bottom of the tower when they heard a voice calling out to them. Both of them looked up and watched as the Rhoam glided down out of the sky and landed in front of them. As the old man brushed himself off, Izuku couldn’t help but wonder where he had come from that he had been able to fly down from such an angle.

“My my,” Rhoam said as he pulled his cane-staff from his rope belt, “it would seem we have quite the enigma here. As I’m sure you two just saw, this tower and others just like it have erupted across the land, one after another. It is almost as though... a long-dormant power has awoken quite suddenly.” Rhoam adjusted his gaze from the tower to the two companions. “If you do not mind me asking, did anything... odd occur while you were atop the tower? Other than the tower appearing beneath your feet, of course.”

“Umm...” Izuku began, not sure what he should say, as the voice had been speaking primarily to Link. The blond, however, removed the problem.

“I—we—heard a voice,” he said, gesturing at himself and Izuku and explaining briefly what he had heard.

“Well now!” Rhoam sound surprised. “A voice, you say? And did you happen to recognize this mysterious voice?” Link shook his head, and the old man scratched his beard. “I see. Well, that is unfortunate. Maybe it will come to you in time, as the voice clearly knows you.” 

His face darkened as a thought occurred to him, and he turned to face the edge of the Plateau and gestured with his staff. “I assume you caught sight of that atrocity enshrouding the castle.” Not waiting for a response, the old man continued, his voice laced with bitterness. “That... is Calamity Ganon. One hundred years ago, that vile entity brought the kingdom of Hyrule to ruin. It appeared suddenly and destroyed everything in its path. So many innocent lives were lost in its wake.

“For a century, the very symbol of our kingdom, Hyrule Castle, has managed to contain that evil. But only just barely. There it festers, building its strength for the moment it will unleash its blight upon the land once again. It would appear that moment is fast approaching.”

Rhoam turned back to face the two of them, and Izuku noticed that the stone where the old man had planted his staff had been crushed. He must have lost someone to this Calamity. A second thought struck Izuku as he studied the old man’s face. He must have been born either during or just after the attack of this Calamity Ganon if he remembers that much. Either would make him super old, though.

Rhoam’s voice cut through Izuku’s thoughts. “I must ask you, courageous one, do you intend to make your way to the castle?” he asked, looking directly at Link.

Link didn’t hesitate. “I do,” he said firmly.

The old man chuckled. “I had a feeling you would say that. There is a slight problem, though. Here, on this isolated plateau, we are surrounded on all sides by steep cliffs and high retaining walls, with no way down.”

“No-No way down?” Izuku cut in. “But all of these old ruins...”

“There used to be a way up, an old stairwell.” Rhoam shook his head. “Alas, it was destroyed during the Calamity. Now, the only way down would be either to jump—and that would lead to a certain and foolish death—or to fly, which isn’t possible for Hylians. Of course, if you had a paraglider like mine, that would be quite a different story.”

“Paraglider?” Link asked. “You mean that thing that you floated down with?”

Rhoam laughed. “Oho! Piqued your interest, have I? Yes, I didn’t come soaring down here on my own feathery wings, you know!” He patted the paraglider at his side. “Worry not—I will happily agree to give you my paraglider—and I might have a spare for you as well, Midoriya. But I can’t give them to you for nothing.” The old man scratched his beard. “Let me see... what about I trade it for a bit of treasure that slumbers nearby? Come. Let me show you something.”

With that, Rhoam walked away from the two and up a small hill just to their north. Link gave Izuku a look before following the old man, and Link quickly followed after. He thought he understood what Link had meant; while he desperately wanted to ask Rhoam why he couldn’t just give them the gliders, especially as he apparently understood how urgent things were, he remembered what All Might had said about trusting the man. He sighed and continued up the hill. He just needed to be patient.

Once he reached the top of the rise, Izuku could immediately see what had caught Rhoam’s attention. The oddly reflective structure he had noticed earlier had been lit up. Orange lights swirling in the strange patterns Izuku was coming to associate with weird tech stuff covered the base of the building, outlining what appeared to be a doorway.

“So you’ve noticed the strange lights.” Izuku jumped and looked back at Rhoam, who was smiling softly. “It began glowing at the exact moment those towers rose from the ground. I would think that such a place might house some sort of treasure, wouldn’t you?” He nodded to himself. “Treasure for the paragliders. A fair exchange.”

The old man nodded to himself again and sat down on the bank of the hill. “Go ahead, you two. I’ll wait here for your return.”

Izuku glanced at Link, who just shrugged. The two of them set out across the field between them and the building. The two were forced to circumnavigate a steep ditch that split the field in two, but other than that, they didn’t encounter any obstacles, though Izuku had spotted what looked to be more bokoblins near the edge of the Plateau. Around the base of the building and spread out across the field were small puddles and ponds that the two had to navigate around as well.

A few minutes of walking later brought the two to the foot of the structure. Now that he was closer, Izuku could see that his suspicions had been correct, and that this building was of the same make as the other places they’d been. More importantly, it also had a pedestal located outside what looked like the entrance, which was currently closed by bars of some kind covered in symbols. “I think you need to tap the pedestal with the Slate to make it open,” he said to the blond.

“I think you’re right.” Link placed the tablet on the pedestal, and the two of them watched as the lights on the pedestal changed from orange to blue. A small circle at the end of the entryway also lit up with the blue light, revealing symbols similar to those on the gate. The change in light was accompanied by the same mechanical voice they’d encountered at the other locations.

“Sheikah Slate confirmed. Travel Gate registered to map. Access granted.”

As the voice finished speaking, the gate swung open, the bars swinging inwards in a zipper-like fashion, revealing a small chamber with a platform marked with the blue eye in the center.

Izuku wrinkled his nose as a wave of old air washed over him. It had a bit of a stale scent and taste to it, but he didn’t think it was poisonous or anything; just old air that hadn’t moved around a lot. Since there wasn’t any treasure in the chamber, he studied the platform in the center. After a moment, he nodded. “Link, I-I think we need to step on that. I think it’s a lift.”

“A what?”

“A lift,” Izuku explained. “It’s a platform that moves up and down in order to transport people or things from different levels of a building.”

“Aha.” Link also appeared to be studying the platform, and it looked like he’d already reached the same conclusion. “I wasn’t sure if there was a word for that, but I had thought that it might be the key to getting inside.”

Link stepped into the small chamber and, after a moment’s hesitation, stepped onto the platform. After a moment, the lights are the base of the platform flared blue, and the lift shuddered and began to descend. Link looked back at Izuku. “Are you coming?”

“Oh, uh, s-sure!” Izuku scrambled over the edge and dropped down beside Link, wondering just what, exactly, Rhoam had gotten them into.

Chapter Text

It took nearly two minutes for Izuku and Link’s lift to reach its destination, and Izuku couldn’t help but marvel when it did. The lift shaft ended a couple meters from the floor, turning instead to a shimmering blue curtain of light that revealed the room beyond to the intrepid treasure hunters, a room that looked an awful lot like the one where Izuku and Link had met.

The walls looked like they were the same material as the tower and the cave, which, Izuku realized, probably wasn’t a cave at all. Light blue light shone from overhead, though Izuku couldn’t see the source of the light from where he was standing. The walls were covered in the same constellation-like patterns of red lights and gold filigree, breaking up the monotonous dark gray. At the end of the room, the wall changed from solid stone to iron bars, allowing the two to see a little further into the shrine.

Other than the strange architecture, Izuku could only see two things of interest in the room: two large iron plates of some kind resting in the center of the room, and another terminal for the Sheikah Slate. Much like the tower terminal, this one had an odd pillar protruding over it.

The platform came to a smooth stop on the floor, and the hard light curtain shimmered and faded, allowing the two to step off the lift. As the walked into the room, Izuku heard a deep, masculine voice in his head.

“To you who sets foot in this shrine, I am Oman Au. In the name of the Goddess Hylia, I offer this trial.”

Shrine? Trial? What trial? Izuku waited, but the voice didn’t say anything else. “W-What do you think it’s talking about, Link?”

“I’m not sure.” Link looked after at the terminal, clearly thinking hard. “I think Rhoam knows far more than he’s let on, as that is clearly another object the Slate can interact with. What his game is... we’ll just have to see.”

Link walked over to the pedestal and inserted the Sheikah Slate. The tablet spun into position and the pedestal lit up orange, followed by the same cool feminine voice. “Sheikah Slate authenticated. Distilling rune...”

The column above the pedestal lit up and characters began crawling down the surface toward the Slate, coalescing into a small dew drop at the tip of the pillar. After what felt like an eternity, the drop fell and splashed across the tablet and pedestal, turning the orange lights blue. Izuku leaned over Link’s shoulder and watched as the map on the screen disappeared and was replaced with a short row of empty boxes. One of them lit up, revealing what looked like a red magnet. 

Link tapped the box and a little window filled with unfamiliar text appeared. Izuku squinted, but it wasn’t written in a language that he understood. “What does it say, Link?”

The warrior didn’t say anything as he scanned the small paragraph, but Izuku could see a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. After a moment, the blond looked over at him. “It says that we can use this to move metal objects.”

Izuku felt his eyebrows rise. “Wait, how? It’s a tablet.”

Link shrugged. “I’m not sure. According to the directions, if we point the Slate at an object made of metal...” he casually pointed the tablet toward the steel slabs in the center of the room, “...and tap this button...”

Link tapped the magnet again. A ball of red-yellow light shot out of the tablet and flew toward the center or the room where it collided with the nearest plate. The plate began to glow with the same light and floated up about a meter into the air.

"...the object should float," Link finished, grinning broadly now.

Izuku couldn't speak for a moment. When he did find his voice, words began to pour out of his mouth. "That's amazing! I wonder what kind of Quirk was used to make it. Or no, it wouldn't be a Quirk since we're not on Earth. That means that it probably functions using electromagnetism, though how would that work? Can electromagnetics move objects more than just closer and farther away from themselves? That would explain it if it was the case. Ooh, if only Hatsume were here; I bet she would have a bunch of ideas on how thi—”

The sound of Link chuckling distracted Izuku, and he looked up to see his friend grinning at him. “Was I talking out loud again?”

Link nodded, still laughing quietly. “Very quickly, too. I’ve never heard anyone rattle off words as fast as you did just then.”

Izuku felt his cheeks heat up, and he scratched at the back of his head sheepishly. Link, perhaps sensing his embarrassment, added, “Being curious or analytical isn’t a bad thing, so long as you don’t start speed mumbling when confronted with an opponent.” He waved the Slate and the metal sheet floated off to the left before dropping to the ground in front of the bars. “Now, let’s see what those sheets were hiding.”

A passageway, apparently. When Izuku looked into the hole that had been revealed by moving the metal, he noticed a ladder leading down to a narrow walkway ran off in the direction of the metal bars, presumably further into the shrine. Next to the walkway, water gurgled flowed out from a grate in the wall and gurgled softly in the small canal, flowing in the same direction as the path. It kind of reminded Izuku of what a sewer in a fantasy game might look like, though much cleaner.

The two didn’t waste any time. Link clambered down into the small tunnel first, with Izuku right behind them. Once inside, they could see that it wasn’t very long at all, opening up into a larger chamber only a few meters away. A wide staircase led up into the upper portion of the room, which was, Izuku realized, the one he had seen through the bars. The only other remarkable thing in the room was a large metal block sitting in the far corner of the room, and a wall of stone blocks, with another metal block nestled in a little left of the center.

Link eyeballed the wall for a moment before pulled the Slate out again. He pointed it toward the steel block and tapped the magnet icon again. The red-gold ball of light shot out once again, latching on to the block and causing it to glow. Link tugged the tablet toward him, and the block slid out of the wall and out into the air. The blocks above it fell down and toppled forward into the room. Almost like a stairway. For giants.

Clang!

Izuku winced as the block crashed to the floor. It didn’t seem like Link was too bothered by the sound, though, as he had already started climbing the goliath staircase. The greenhead hurried forward to follow, but as his hand touched the stone—porous and rough rather than the smooth stone that the rest of the shrine was made of—a thought struck him. “H-hey, Link? D-does this seem too easy to you?”

Link paused in the act of pulling himself up to the next block. He held the position for a moment before hauling himself upward, twisting around so that he could sit at the top of the block and face Izuku. “I’ve had that feeling since we entered the shrine. This hasn’t felt like so much a ‘trial’ as much as ‘instruction.’” 

Izuku gulped and pulled himself up, wincing as the muscles in his arms, still a little sore from the training camp, groaned in protest. “S-somehow, that’s not terribly reassuring.”

The warrior reached down and helped pull him up, and the two of them jumped down the other side into a large, open room. There were a series of platforms in the center of the room that led across to the far side, where two giant doors were set in the wall. Izuku also spotted a ledge protruding from the the wall near the far side of the room that had what looked like a chest on it. Water trickled around the base of the platforms, most likely, Izuku realized, coming from the slipway they had passed earlier.

Link’s outstretched hand kept the hero-in-training from walking further into the room. Izuku opened his mouth to ask why, but then he heard; a faint, metallic skittering noise. The sound was accompanied by the sound of sloshing water, suggesting that whatever was making it was down in the small moat. Link stowed the Slate and slowly crept forward toward the edge. He was almost halfway there when a clawed metallic tendril appeared over the side of the platform.

 


 

Link watched grimly as the dripping machine pulled itself up onto the platform. He didn’t know why his stomach felt like it was lined with lead, or why the machine looked so blight-blasted familiar . Something about the machine, with its spindly legs, squat, glowing body, and single blue eye, filled him with dread that, he imagined, a rabbit might feel when it sees a fox.

“Izuku, be careful. This thing is far more dangerous than a bokoblin.” 

The warrior didn’t wait for his strange friend’s response. Instead, he unsheathed his sword and pulled out his shield before slowly creeping forward once more. The dome on the top of the little scuttler swiveled back and forth, its baleful gaze fixing first on Izuku, then Link, then Izuku, before resting on Link. Blue light began to swirl into the eye, causing it to glow more brightly.

wwhhhHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRR!

Pew!

Cruumpt!

Link dove to the side, rolling to a stop next to the edge of the platform and avoiding the bright blue projectile that flew through the space he had just vacated. The sound of the explosion behind him confirmed what he had originally thought; he didn’t want to take a hit from this thing if he could avoid it.

He glanced up at the machine before rolling back toward the center of the platform, narrowly avoiding another blast of blue energy. As he came to his feet, he could see another shot charging up. Link cursed again and readied his shield, ready to take the hit. But the hit never came. Instead, he heard a yell.

“SMASH!”

He glanced over his shield and saw Izuku, surrounded by green lightning and kicking the machine. Time seemed to slow down for a moment as Link watched the energy that had built up in the evil blue eye swell before  the demon soared across the room and into the far wall.

BOOM!

Debris rained out across the room, clinking against the floor and walls of the shrine and splashing into the water below. A few pieces even reached as far back as the pair, and Link too refuge behind his shield once again, letting the hot pieces of metal deflect harmlessly away.

Izuku’s yelp told him that the greenhead—Link still couldn’t believe that the boy’s natural hair color was green , of all things—hadn’t been so lucky. The boy was hopping on one foot while frantically brushing smoldering bits off his strange clothes. “Damn it, that hurt,” he said. “That little robot was way more dense than I thought.”

“Are you okay?” Link asked. He quickly sheathed his sword and went over to examine Izuku’s leg.

The greenhead winced as Link prodded it. “I-I think it’ll be all right. I didn’t use too much of S-Superpower, so I don’t think there’s any lasting damage.” He gingerly rested some of his weight on it, wincing again. “It’s going to be sore for a bit, though.”

Link eyed his friend. “Well, we’ll keep an eye on it. Maybe don’t— what did he say he did to the slime?— punt anything else for now, okay?”

Izuku nodded, and Link sighed. The longer the two of them were together, the more strongly he felt that the two of them were more similar than was probably wise. A thought crossed his mind, and he chuckled to himself. I may not remember my past, but I have the instincts to make sure that I don’t repeat it.

Now that he was sure his companion was uninjured—well, mostly uninjured—the warrior turned to look for a way across. A single metal slab, like the two from the first room, stretched between the middle platform and the one the two were standing on, while the space on the other side of the center terrace was empty. He cocked his head slightly, his eyes narrowing as he considered. Surely, it can’t be as easy as that... can it? Well, I guess there’s one way to find out. He strode across the steel bridge, Izuku limping along behind him, and unhooked the Slate once he got to the other side, tapping the magnesis box as he did so. Within moments, he had maneuvered the makeshift bridge around to allow the duo to cross the second gap, and a few more moments put them solidly on the other side.

Before examining the door, Link used the tablet to lift the steel chest down to the floor. He had noticed it earlier, before the robot had appeared, and from Izuku’s nod as he turned off magnesis, he gathered the greenhead had seen it, too.

The chest itself, however, wasn’t like the ones they’d found earlier. Unlike the others, there didn’t appear to be any sort of latch or lock; instead, there was a circular panel inlaid with orange lights that formed two concentrated circles. There were more lights inlaid in a thick band that ran from the lid to the bottom of the chest.

Link heard Izuku shift behind him. “I-I think I might have an idea on how to open it.” The greenhead hobbled past and knelt down in front of the chest. “B-Back home, we have these puzzle boxes that are like little chests that can be opened by moving things around the right way. I think that this is something like them.” He traced the patterns on the lid and on the bottom of the chest for a moment before nodding to himself and putting a hand on the panel. Link could see his friend’s face scrunch up for a moment, and he wondered if the greenhead had been wrong. 

After a moment, Izuku’s face cleared, and leaned into and twisted the panel. It spun around silently, lining up the two protruding light patterns with the patterns on the rest of the chest. 

Click.

“Got it!” Izuku exclaimed as the lights flashed white and faded into the familiar, brilliant blue. The chest popped open, and Link leaned past the apparent puzzle master to investigate the contents. Inside was a bow and quiver nearly identical Izuku’s. The teen extracted the bow and held it out. “Here. I’ve already got one of my own.”

“Thanks.” Link slung the bow across his back and hooked the quiver to his belt. “Now, let’s find out what’s behind that door.”

The door proved to be just as simple to solve as the rest of the shrine had been. A simple tug with magnesis caused both doors to swing outwards, revealing a short flight of stairs leading up to a small viewing platform. A veil of shimmering blue light hung in front of the platform and seemed to surround another raised square platform. More interesting to Link, however, was what was on the plinth. Link heard Izuku gasp behind him. “I-Is that a person in there?”

Link ignored Izuku’s gasp of realization, walking ahead of his companion. As he climbed the stairs, he noticed that the same oddly familiar eye had faded into being in the center of the veil, almost as if it was a seal. When he got close enough, he reached out and tapped it. The barrier, hard and yet paradoxically soft at the same time, bent under his fingers before molding back to its original appearance.

Light rippled away from the eye and across the veil, revealing that the veil was not as solid as it appeared, but instead was made up of dozens of thin rods of light. Each of these rods began to glow when the ripple effect touched it, going from light blue to a brilliant blue-white. As the ripple finally faded, the veil shattered, spewing shards of energy and light outwards across the room. Link winced and covered his face, but didn’t feel anything touch him. He glanced backward to find that the shards had slowed to a halt and were floating in the air, immobile streaks of blue energy. Izuku was looking up at him, eyes wide. The warrior nodded before turning back to deal with whatever he’d unleashed.

That “whatever” turned out to be a mummified figure, seated cross-legged, as if meditating. If it wasn’t for the gentle, almost imperceptible rise and fall of the figure’s chest, Link would have thought that they had disturbed a crypt of some sort. After a moment, it spoke, though Link could not see its lips move.

“You have proven to possess the resolve of a true hero. I am Oman Au, the creator of this trial. I am but a humble monk, blessed with the sight of Goddess Hylia and dedicated to helping those who seek to defeat Ganon.” The monk paused for a moment before continuing, its deep voice taking on a reflective quality. “With your arrival, my duty is now fulfilled. In the name of the Goddess Hylia, allow me to bestow this gift upon you... Please accept this Spirit Orb.”

Oman Au stopped speaking, and silence filled the room. After a moment, a purple sphere emerged from the monk’s chest and drifted down toward Link. As it got closer, Link could see some sort of stylized bird depicted within, but before he could get a good look at it, the Orb touched his chest.

Link gasped as warmth filled his body. The Orb broke apart into streamers of light that swirled around him before entering his chest at the same point. Link clutched his chest in surprise, and after a few moments, the strange heat faded.

This just gets more and more interesting. The warrior looked back up at the monk and thought he saw the ancient lips twitch upwards. “One final thing. Value your companion and his friends. They may yet prove vital to Ganon’s defeat.” Oman Au opened his eyes, and they shone with an intense inner light that spoke of ages long past. His lips opened, and his deep voice creaked from age. “Now, may the Goddess smile upon you both.”

As the final word faded into silence, particles of green light quickly rose from the monk and started to float away. Within moments, the monk was gone. Link felt his chest again, and he thought he understood why. He squared his shoulders and walked back down the stairs to his dumbfounded comrade. “Come on, we’re finished here.”

The two retraced their steps through the shrine and soon were back out on the surface. Link blinked several times as the lift came to a stop, trying to get his eyes to adjust to the sudden change in light. Most of the day had passed away, and the sun was low on the western horizon. Which presented a problem. 

“We were inside for too long,” Link said grimly. “I’d wanted to get off the plateau tonight, but that doesn’t look like it’ll be possible.”

Izuku shaded his eyes with a hand and peered toward the hill where they’d left the old man. “I-I don’t see Rhoam anywhere. I guess he went back to camp?”

Link started walking. “Well then, let’s go find him.”

 


 

“Welcome back, young champions!”

Despite his residual irritation at being forced to stay on the plateau another day, Link couldn’t help but smile. “Good to see you too, All Might. How did the exploration go?”

The skeletal man shrugged. “Not much to say. The old temple must have been gorgeous when it was in good repair. Rhoam shared some more of its history, and how it used to house sacred relics of great power.” The hero grinned suddenly. “I did run into one or two of these ‘bokoblins’ you talked about. Tenacious little creatures, but nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Nothing you couldn’t handle? What kind of man are you? Link decided that that was a question that could wait for later. Right now, he had more important questions. “Good to hear that things went well. Has Rhoam come back yet?”

The other blond nodded and pointed back toward the sheltered fire. “He’s preparing some sort of stir fry.”

“Thank  you.”

Link walked past the old hero and up toward the fire. He had to admit, the old man knew how to cook. The food smelled great, and from what he could see as he approached, it looked tasty, too. Rhoam, for his part, didn’t look up from the stir fry until Link had sat down opposite him, and when he did, there was a twinkle in the old man’s eye that Link didn’t trust. “Oho! It seems you managed to get your hands on a Spirit Orb. Well done!”

Link narrowed his eyes. “How did you know?”

“Clairvoyance!” the old man exclaimed, gesturing with the spoon he was using. He chuckled again. “...or perhaps just something similar. As one gets older, it can become more difficult to see what is right before one’s own eyes; however, that which was once hidden from view can often be crystal clear. But perhaps that is not true for everyone, oho ho!” The hermit paused for a moment, and when he continued speaking, his voice had taken on a musing tone. “The appearance of those towers and the awakening of the Oman Au shrine... it is all connected to that Sheikah Slate you carry on your hip there.”

The warrior touched the Slate out. “You know that I used this to activate the tower. What does any of this have to do with the Spirit Orb?” Link asked as Rhoam went back to stirring the pot.

“It has been some time since I have seen that Sheikah Slate.” The hermit stared into the pot as he spoke. “Long ago, a highly advanced tribe known as the Sheikah inhabited these lands. The great power of their wisdom saved this kingdom time and time again. But alas, their ancient technology disappeared long ago... or so it is said.”

He tried some of the stir fry and shook his head. “Just a little longer. Anyway, it is interesting to think how something like that survived all this time, hidden away in a shrine. These shrines are tucked away in numerous places across the land. On this plateau alone, I believe there are still three more. Bring me the treasure from each of those shrines... and I will give you—and your companion—my paragliders.

“T-That wasn’t the deal!” Izuku exclaimed. Link jumped; he hadn’t heard Izuku and All Might come up behind him, so intent had he been on what Rhoam was saying.

“Oh? Well, I suppose I changed my mind. Consider it as training, for the land of Hyrule is not nearly as safe as it once was. I’m sure that won’t be a problem for a couple of young go-getters like yourselves!”

The old man held up a hand to forestall any objections. “It is for your own good and understanding, trust me. To aid you, I will teach you a trick for finding shrines: it’s always best to survey the landscape from a high point. Let’s see here...” he looked out across the landscape thoughtfully. “How about you make your way to the top of that tower again?”

“You’re joking.”

Rhoam laughed. “I’m afraid not. But do not worry! I have another little trick to share with you to aid in your efforts. Take a look at the map on your Sheikah Slate.”

Link sighed, but pulled the map out anyway as the old man began to ladle food onto wooden plates he had pulled out of his bag. The map looked the same as before, except this time he noticed something different. There were several blue icons on the map, marking the location of the shrine, the tower, and the cave he had awoken in. He looked up from the map and accepted a plate of food from Rhoam. “Are you talking about these symbols?”

Rhoam nodded and continued to hand out food as he spoke. “Indeed. From what I have heard, if the Slate’s user taps on one of those icons, they are warped or teleported to that spot. I... do not know if it actually works as such, however.”

Link paused mid-bite, thinking. If such were true, it would make travel to other areas considerably easier. “Does it work with multiple people?”

“That, I could not tell you. I suspect that you would have to try it and find out.”

The blond nodded and continued eating. The food, a mixture of spicy peppers and meat, was delicious in its simplicity, far better than the fish from that morning. As he was eating, he could feel the warmth from the peppers spread throughout his body, and sweat broke out on his forehead. He grinned; as quirky as Rhoam was turning out to be, at least he could cook decent food. 

After a few more bites, he was finished. He glanced over at Izuku, who had gotten seconds. “Do we want to give this a go?”

The greenhead swallowed down another bite before nodding. “I-If we could teleport, it might save us a lot of travel time, especially if we need to visit all four shrines.”

“Okay, let’s give it a go, then.”

Link stood up and pulled the map out again. He paused, considering how to get both of them to teleport, assuming it worked at all. “Why don’t you grab onto the Slate as well?”

Izuku nodded and quickly swallowed the last of his meal before grabbing the other side of the Slate. “Ready when you are.”

The blond didn’t need to be told twice, and tapped the icon for the tower. Immediately, a feeling of weightlessness overcame him as everything around him turned blue. He looked down and realized that his feet had left the ground and were actually floating maybe a span in the air. A glance at Izuku showed that the greenhead was in the exact same position as he was and was just as clearly freaking out a little bit. Link opened his mouth to reassure his friend, but no words came out. Instead, he watched as streamers of blue light started to come off his and Izuku’s bodies. 

The weightless feeling increased, and within moments, Link was zipping through the air, twisting and turning the wind. He could feel the different portions of his body spinning around each other. He couldn’t see Izuku, but he sensed the boy soaring just off to his right, and he imagined that he was in a similar situation.

Just as quickly as it had started, the teleportation ended. Link gasped as his body reconfigured back into its normal state, energy reforming into solid matter. Beside him, he heard Izuku heaving great lungfuls of air, and he couldn’t say that he blamed him; the experience had been unsettling, to say the least.

After a few moments, Izuku straightened. “O-Okay. T-That’s useful, but I don’t think I’d want to do that very often.”

Link just nodded. It wasn’t his favorite, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. “We’ll need to use it once more to get back over to the cave, but that should be it for now. For now, let’s find those shrines.”

The two split up to look. It turned out to not be terribly difficult, as each of the shrines was glowing, making them much easier to spot in the rapidly encroaching night. One was located in the center of some ruins, another near the edge of a cliff, and the last at the top of a mountain. Link couldn’t help but despair a little bit as he looked out at their varied destinations. He sighed.

Izuku patted his shoulder. “I-It’ll be all right. If we leave early tomorrow, I bet you we could get to that shrine in the ruins by noon.”

Link repressed another sigh and smiled weakly instead. “You’re right. Let’s go back to camp. We can deal with this tomorrow.”