Disclaimer: I do not own Zelda, or Nintendo for that matter. If I did, Nintendoland would be real place.
Arbiter's Grounds is a quiet place. To every creature that dwelled within these crumbling stone walls, this was a common known fact. When the humans that had inhabited the reckoning grounds left, the building became a safe haven for many monsters. All were used to the peacefulness that usually accompanied no humans. The only thing that dared to disturb the silence was the quicksand. If all was still, the sound of quicksand greedily sucking in on itself could be heard. Many of the monsters knew that the sand here was always hungry for a victim, and that was why most stayed away from it. Sometimes the sand even hid spikes, ready to mercilessly impale any unsuspecting creature the passed over them. Quite simply, the sand was a death trap. But no matter how deadly this place seemed to be, it had an almost serene atmosphere. If one walked here for some rest, they would certainly achieve that goal. It was so calm and―
"What's the point of trekking through this place, Midna?" I've been here twice before and this place still gives me the creeps," a tunic-clad young man complained. He sneezed as the dust in the room reached his nostrils and continued to trudge up the stairs behind his two companions.
Midna and Zelda exchanged glances, but did not answer his question."Oh shut it, Link," The Twilight Princess muttered, loud enough for the young man to hear. "Zelda has never even left the shelter of her castle, but I don't hear her whining."
The princess's blue eyes flashed with irritation as she rolled her them, but she was more amused than irate. They've been at this for a while now . . .
Link snorted. "Look who's talking! You're the one who complained most of the time while we were on our journey. And don't forget how you yawned constantly while you were on my back. That was really distracting, you know."
"I was just stretching my jaws."
"Right."The hero drew out the syllable of the word and smirked.
"Right? Oh, so now you know what I'm thinking, huh?"
"Yeah." Link said matter-of-factly.
"Then tell me what I'm thinking right now." Midna had to stop so she could turn and look at him, but she nearly lost to her feelings as she did. When she had first met the young man, she only wanted to use him so he would save her homeland. Indeed, at that time, he was a disposable tool; one that she would throw away as soon as she was done with him. But over the course of their journey, Midna had grown very attached to him. After days and days of traveling together, she knew his personality very well, and he hers. In the eighteen years of her life she had never grown so attached to a young man. Sure, when she was in her castle she would flirt with the occasional servant. However, she felt as if Link was special. She enjoyed to talking to him, and being with him even more. She liked him. But she knew that this relationship would never be possible.
Light and Shadow cannot mix. They both belonged in their own separate worlds. That is why we are here, she answered Link in her mind. I must return to my homeland, while you stay here in yours. Even now, as she gazed at his handsome face, this reality pained her. But the Twilight Princess was not one who allowed others to be dragged down with her sorrow. That was why she covered all her feelings with a happy mask.
"Hmmm," The hero placed a hand under his chin and leaned closer so he could get a better view of her face. A few moments passed as Link looked intently into Midna's eyes, and for a fleeting second the Twilight Princess feared that the young man actually could read minds. Then she pushed away that irrational thought away when she told herself how stupid she sounded.
"Right now you're thinking that I'm a useless dumbass," Link concluded, "and that I should go jump over a cliff and kill myself." He paused. "Oh, and I'm ugly," he hastily added.
She almost scoffed at how inaccurate he was. Especially about the "ugly" part. "Close hero. But not quite."
He looked disappointed. "Darn."
Midna snorted with amusement and shoved the boy playfully to the side. "Quit pouting," she laughed, "I said you were close, didn't I?"
Link pushed her back, "I wasn't pouting."
A sigh of irritation stopped their childish argument. When the quarrelers looked up, they saw Zelda waiting patiently at the top of the stairs, even though she seemed weary.
"If you two are quit done," she murmured, "I would like to tell you that we have arrived at the Mirror Chamber."
Something like a dead weight came crashing down on Midna's heart. Her legs felt heavy as she climbed the remainder of the steps. She knew, she knew that she would have to do this, but for some reason she couldn't bring herself to accept this fact. Every time she tried to forget it, it only came back worse than before. And now, now that she was standing in front of the Mirror of Twilight, she felt as if she was a criminal awaiting her hanging.
"Oh." The Twilight Princess looked own, unable to meet anyone's gaze.
Link followed the women up the stairs. "The Mirror Chamber? Why didn't you just warp us here?"
"Midna? What's wrong?"
She shook her head and turned to him, a fake smile plastered on her face. "Nothing," she said. "I just wanted to show you something. Wait here." Without waiting for a reply, Midna raced over the altar and to the Mirror.
In response to her presence, tendrils of light snaked out of the mirror and shimmered in the sunlight. There, they curled into the pale spiral that created the portal which spun into the space of the stone in front of it. Finally, like the last note in a trumpet blare, a transparent staircase unfurled from within the entrance of the portal.
"You mean the opening of the portal," Link asked. He stepped closer to Midna, hoping to draw attention from her. "It's mesmerizing to watch every time."
When she turned to him, her vibrant eyes were dull with sadness. The crimson in her eyes was the setting sun, and the gold the swan song of the dying sun's rays. And was it just his imagination, or were those tears starting to make them shimmer?
Something was wrong. Alarmed, the young man looked around for any nearby ledges. He didn't want her to jump off any of them and hurt herself―
The poor hero looked absolutely clueless. In truth, he was more worried than curious. He had always imagined Midna as a woman full of spunk and spirit. During their journey, she never hesitated to call him an insulting name or distract him with a sarcastic comment. Never before had he seen his Twilight Princess so. . .depressed.
"Do you know what happens when black paint and white paint is put in a pail, side-by-side?"
The hero cocked his head slightly to the side. "They stay that way, don't they?"
"No." Zelda's voice came up from behind him. A moment later, the princess had walked up to his side. "Eventually, the two colors will blend, creating a shade of gray. That gray is chaos for us. Two worlds cannot exist in the same pail."
What's so bad about gray? He thought to himself. I like gray.
She forced back the tears that were threatening to surface, hoping to drown them. "Link, I must return to my own pail. These past months, I've been living on borrowed time. If I don't leave soon, the balance of the world―both our worlds―will be thrown off. And I. . .I can't allow that to happen. I won't be responsible for it."
The boy was finally beginning to understand. Midna was going back to her home. "I understand. But why are you so sad? If you're just going back home, I can visit you any time. After all, the Mirror is right here. Hey, and maybe I'll bring friends."
Pity flooded the Twilight Princess's heart. Optimistic as always, that boy. At least he doesn't have to wear a mask like the rest of us.
A tepid desert breeze blew in between them, making the scene almost cinematic. That was bad. Link knew. In books, bad things always happened after a cinematic moment.
"No, my hero." Midna's voice wrenched him away from his thoughts. He watched as a single tear trickled down her cheek. She caught it in her hand, hoping that no one noticed. But it was too late. In the sunlight, it sparkled, making it seem as though there was a liquid diamond sitting in the palm of her hand. She cradled it as if it was something precious. "This time, I'm going to take all of my paint with me." She and the princess of Hyrule both exchanged glances.
"No." Link felt frustration boiling in his mind. "Do not send some silent message in between yourselves. I want to know what the hell is going on here. What's happening? Why are you so sad? Tell me!"
"I will tell you something," Midna managed a convincing smile. Deep inside of her, there actually were flecks of happiness. "I did enjoy the time we spent together, even our last moments here in Arbiter's Grounds. I'll treasure those, always." She looked at the tear in her hand and instantly felt the urge to confess all of her feelings. In front of the Mirror, her emotions were running high. Any word, any memory could trigger an emotional breakdown. But she would not allow that to happen. If she was going down, than she would go down with dignity.
Zelda dipped her head. "Farewell, Midna."
"Farewell to you, princess." The Twilight Princess did not hesitate to reply and looked back down at the tear. How convenient emotions can be, she thought. She released her hold on it and watched as it floated to the surface of the Mirror. When it touched the cool, black metal, the Mirror cracked. Thin, almost harmless-looking cracks began to spread from the center of the Mirror until it was entirely covered. Link gasped as each one appeared. "Midna, what are you doing?"
She turned to her two companions and imprinted each of their images in her mind. The tall, stoic expression of Zelda and the shocked expression of Link. She would never forget them and everything that they had done for her. For her, and her homeland.
Then she decided. Now was the moment that she would confess all her feelings. Now was the best. "Link, I―"she started, but when she thought about it, this would only make things harder for both of them. This was the only, or rather, last time that she was going to take advantage of Link's innocence. It was good that he would stay oblivious about her feelings. And like she said earlier before, she was not going to bring down others with her sorrow. "See you later." And with that, she leaped off the altar and into the portal, disappearing into the spiral. The Mirror shattered a moment later, severing all ties in between the two worlds. Only the frame remained.
"Midna! Midna!" Link's voice rose an octave as he tried to rush over to the Mirror, but Zelda grabbed his arm and prevented him from doing so. "MIDNA!" He screamed one last time. Within him his feelings were raging out of control. With a strangled sob, he started crying.
The breeze returned, but this time it was weak and cold. As if it was reflecting the heart of the hero.
Author's Afterwords: Ay! It's done.*throws personal party*