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"Split Images", chapter 1

Split Images

By: Silent Stalker

Chapter One: Double Trouble

Link's opponent was obviously an experienced fighter. Naked from the waist up, the man was up on the balls of his feet, poised with a cold expression, his hands up guarding. Cloud's motionless body was slumped in a corner.

Link lashed out with his right foot, trying to catch the fighter off guard, but he blocked easily and countered, bringing his fist up to slam into Link's solar plexus. Link's breath went out with a whoosh.

" Keep your defense up after a kick. It will make you less vulnerable." his foe advised him

" Right." Link tried again, this time guarding his chest, and it worked. The other had to back up.

Link ducked down low, and attempted a sweep maneuver. The man saw it coming, and leapt up, spinning rapidly. As Link got back up, Link's opponent/instructor extended one hand while still spinning. It caught Link in a stunning clip behind the right ear. Link fell back, dazed.

" That's enough for now."

The man was none other than Cloud. Cloud was the undisputed champion in hand-to-hand combat, while it was said that if Link was as strong as Cloud, in a sword duel, Link would win.

Cloud had changed to a body that had no more strength than a normal human, then, rather unceremoniously, dumped his usual body, the X-2000 in a corner.

" Remember to keep your guard on the right side. With left-handers, that is usually the weaker side, Just like, seeing as how I'm right-handed, I have to guard my left."

While talking, he was attaching small wires to the X-2000, almost ready to download his brain patterns back in.

Once he had switched, he called off practice.

" Getting too late for much more. If you need me, I'll be in my room."

Once he was in his room, Cloud decided it was time for a nice cleaning. He stripped off his armor, clothes, and synthetic skin, and then stood before a high-power heater. When he was glowing red hot, he plunged into the tub of cold water next to him. His body cooled with a hissss, and Cloud began scrubbing. He reached over his back to rub between his shoulder blades, and his fingers rasped against something. He looked at his hand. It was black.

Carbon scoring. How did that get there? I haven't even seen a carbon-powered weapon in......

How long had it been? Too long. He had a feeling that he would be heading back to Dimension Z soon. His home had not faired well in his absence....

She looked down at the pit of vipers, swinging precariously over them. The rope that tied her hands would break any second. To her left, she glanced at her lover, being tortured to death. The girl formed a plan in her mind. She began swinging back and forth. The rope would break, and she would either fly towards safety, or the snakes.

The rope broke with a SNAP, and then she was hurtling at-

Cloud hissed like the viper mentioned, and tossed the book aside. This had been the sixth one with the same plot. A boy would love a girl, or vice-versa. The one they loved would get in a jam, they then would rush off to safe them and win their love, they would make it so, and go off into the sunset. If only it was that easy.........

Cloud needed to do something. It was too late at night for any of the stores to be open, except for that Bombchu Bowling place, or the Treasure Chest game. He had been booted out from the B.B.A and the Treasure Chest place for using his targeting computer and metal scan, respectively.

Cloud couldn't sleep. Too many nightmares. Not only were Ganon, Black Dragon, and possibly even Arek (though it was doubtful about Arek) still alive, but back at home, there were reports of peculiar lunar activity, like this strange moon.....

Also, tempers were flaring, and armies being gathered at Dimension Z, Agent 12-2 was on a dangerous mission, and there was the water shortage in Dimension S, and the revolt in Dimension Q, and that thing were still loony in Dimension A. Those people on the planet called Earth had not even discovered the dimensions. What a laugh!

After slapping on some of his armor and grabbing his sword, Cloud wandered off to scout the market place area and beyond.

After a few minutes, he heard a rustling. He turned and shot a large beam at the source of the sound-

-just to burn off half the limbs of a nearby tree that had been shaken by the wind at just the wrong moment. Cloud shook his head, then continued on.

Down among some trees, near the river that ran nearby, he thought he saw something white.

He rubbed his face wearily.

What was that? Did I see that or imagine it...?

Slowly drawing his sword he strode over to the trees.

" Come out with your hands, tentacles, limbs, vines, wings, paws, fins, or other appendages, up. Yep, that's all of them." he said slowly.

One Stalfos crept out from behind the tree. It didn't even resist as he bound it tightly.

" What are you doing here?" he asked.

" Unt, unt unt unt." it said gloomily.

" Really?"

" Unt unt uuuuunt uunt."

" Same to you, I'm sure."

Why is one Stafols all the way out here?

Then he froze.


As if summoned by his thoughts, 4 Moblins rose up out from where they had been hiding in the stream.

Before he could react, all 4 of them had jumped up and landed on him in a heap.

Cloud heard a strange noise then. His neck beeped 5 times, something went sss and all went black...

When Link awoke, he thought someone had set a mirror in front of him for a joke, because there was his face, mimicking his every move, till it drew back and sneered at him.

" Well, Link, how's it going? Remember me? Your old buddy Shadow Link?"

Beside Shadow Link, stood Cloud. He was also smiling derisively.

" I've been such a good spy for Ganon!" he said. " Thanks to me, your in here!"

Link gaped, and was about to answer when another voice came from the other end of his cell ( he had been so stunned that he hadn't even noticed the bars till now).

" Pay no attention."

There Cloud was reclining on a metal cot.

" That's a clone of me."

Link was slightly relieved. At least Cloud hadn't turned against them.

" How did they catch you?"

" 4 Moblins jumped me. I might have stood a chance, but one opened the lock to my emergency shut-down switch. It has a 5 button code, but through pure luck, the Moblin cracked it, and turned me off."

" Why would they put such a switch on you?" Link asked.

" In case I ever got re-programmed, or hypnotized, or some such nonsense. It's never been used till today. It took me seven hours to reboot."

Ganondorf came into the room.

" Shadow Link! Dark Cloud! I can't find the-"

He broke off, looking at the cell

"They're in here?? Not the maximum security cell?"

"Those are filled up with the power generators. Remember? You definitely need a max-security cell for those humans."

"Oh, yes....well, keep a constant guard in here. Now, Shadow, Dark, what are you're objectives?"

" Sneak in to castle and take place of the real Cloud and Link."

S. Link said.

" Secretly take over." D. Cloud continued.

" Bring Zelda and Sarah to you." S. Link finished.

" Very good!" Ganondorf told them.

He then turned to leave, but stopped and said,

" You two will beg for the mercy of a sword when I'm done with you."

Then he strode out, followed by the clones.

" How do we escape?" Link asked. "Or can we?"

Cloud smiled.

" It wouldn't be easy if we didn't have some outside help."

He snapped his fingers.

A small puddle of goo rose from the floor.

" Slimy!"

Cloud's pet blob fired two balls of acid at the bars.

Once they were free and Slimy had melted the safe where their weapons were, allowing Cloud and Link to arm themselves, Cloud told Slimy,

" Now, head for the castle. Our clones will be on their way there to impersonate us. Warn Zelda!"

" Blub bblub."

" I should have taught him more English..."

Slimy turned.

" Have a nice day!" It said in a squeaky, bubbly tone.

Slimy departed.

" That's the only form of goodbye he knows." Cloud grimaced. Then he asked,

" Which door?" Cloud asked, looking at the 2 openings.

"Oh..... that one." Link said pointing left.

Cloud ran through............................. and five seconds later came bursting out again. He called for Link to run. Link didn't ask why, it was obvious. For from in that room came the angry bellows of Stalfos.

The two dashed madly down the hall, and finally lost their pursuers.

" Well, that takes care of jogging for a few days." Cloud panted.

Afterward they went with more caution. The hall was bare of any passages, save one.

This time Link went in first, and was just in time to shove Cloud back into the hall.

"What's in there?" Cloud asked, whispering.

" One human, three Stalfos, and one Iron Knuckle. Someone's lying on a table in there."

Link leaned around, and got a better look. He was partially aware of Cloud leaning over above him.

This time, he recognized the one on the table.

Clothes tattered, waist small, ribs showing from lack of food, but he could tell that red hair, despite it being smudged, anywhere.

" Malon!" he whispered violently, and began to rocket in-

only to be stopped by Cloud.

" Hold on there, tiger. You don't stand a chance against all those things."

He frowned.

" I just talked to her a day ago......."

" How do we fight them then?"

" As a team, and with the element of surprise."

He held up on finger.

Then two.

Then, finally, three!

Both launched in at the same time. Link gutted the man standing over Malon, then lunged at the Skeletal Warriors.

Cloud had broken the Iron Knuckle's axe over one knee, but the

monster caught him in the jaw with a vicious uppercut. Cloud slammed into the far wall, causing a large shelf to tumble down on to his arms.

When he ripped them free, large tubes had sprouted on the top of both his arms.

"Ion Propulsion Guns activated." his computer's voice said.

The thing stumbled back, and tried to dodge but it was too late. A laser of such magnitude shot forth, that it buried Cloud in the shelf, and disintegrated the Iron Knuckle.

" Ion core depleted." the voice said.

" Owwwww..... that was mildly painful." Cloud moaned. " I won't try that again."

Then he noticed the dent in his right arm.

" Oh, no. I'll never buff this out."

Link had cut Malon free, but she was still unconscious. He picked her up and turned to leave, but saw the man crawling towards a lever.

" I.... may die....but you will also."

He pulled it, the walls slid down....and revealed a whole Bone* of Iron Knuckles.

* "Bone" is a Stalfosian word meaning " Group of five anythings".

Stalfos, Lizfols, Iron Knuckles, whatever. Next up is Rib, consisting of 20, then a Skull. That is fifty. You will only find a whole Skull in Ganondorf's castle.

" Oh, gimme a break." Cloud muttered. "Run!"

They did so with great haste. Link still carried Malon.

Up ahead was a fork.

" I'll take the left! You take right! We can split them up!" Cloud suggested.

Cloud bolted down the left passage, breaking all of Dim. Z's old running records. After a while, he looked back to see how many were chasing him.

Not one single member of the Rib ( The Stalfos from the prison room joined the Bone, and made it a Rib) was following Cloud.

They all filed down the hall.....except one of them. It turned to look at Cloud, then shook it's head like it had just lost a friend, then chased the others down the other path.

Cloud was highly worried. To take the wrong path was bad enough, but to have a Stalfos feel sorry for you........

He started to turn back but a large wall fell in front of him, blocking the path off, then two large boulders dropped from the ceiling.

Cloud stared for a moment, then took off ruuning.

" I am not [pant] Indiana [pant] Jones [pant]!!!"

He ducked into a small room on the left.

It was very dark. Two small torches hung unlit on the wall. Using his fire breath, Cloud ignited both.

One ornate bed sat about four paces in front of him. On it, Ganondorf had been snoring blissfully. Once the torches flared, he leapt out of bed.

Cloud gripped him by the collar, and flung him away.

Ganondorf slowly got up.

" I'll get you, you-"

But he was too late. Cloud was already legging it speedily down the hall.

Bad day. Cloud thought. He had had a long string of bad days.

A small 5-by-5 arrow launcher popped out of the wall, so Cloud dashed, crawled, leapt, flipped, and ducked out of the way of the arrows, and Ganondorf's attacks.

To worsen things, he began encountering several spring-loaded traps which shot spears at him. A large stone block fell from the ceiling. The walls moved in at one point, trying to crush Cloud.

Sections of floors opened.

Finally, he made it to an iron door. Cloud ripped it open and slammed it shut.

He was facing a pit. Below him, spikes lined the bottom. His only route was a long group of pipes going across.

Cloud leapt to the first one.

Not too hard, jump, swing, grab, jump..

Cloud gasped as it slowly gave under his weight.


He swung to the next, and found the same result. Cloud flipped to the next. With this procedure, he made his way haphazardly to the other side, took a deep breath, and opened the door.

Link had evaded the Rib, and had stopped to rest.

He shook Malon slightly. She groaned and sat up.

" Link?" she ask sleepily.

" Yes!"

After a reunion, Malon told him what happened.

" Some men grabbed me about a month ago, and a clone of me was sent out. Others are here. Many Hyrulians, Zora, Goron.... too many to count. They have been replaced."

Just then, the wall beside them shook, and a fist came out.

Cloud soon followed that fist. He had broken his way through.

Once Cloud was caught up on the developments, he shared his story.

" I finally made it to a boiler room, and was able to enter a ventilation shaft. When it became to small, I cut my way out."

A call was heard from the distance.


" I think that means, 'I found them". This would be a good time to run."

They did so with great haste.

" Who all is in here?" Link asked.

" Anju, Mido, Dam'pe, almost everybody." Malon answered.

" Kokiri folk are here, Gerudo, I don't know how he got them all."

Ganondorf rounded the corner, followed by some monsters.

" I've found you! Now I 'll kill you, and keep my slaves, and I can't think of a thing that will stop me!" he then smiled.

" How 'bout the three of us beating you to dust?" Cloud asked.

Ganondorf's smile slid off his face and shattered against the floor.

" Try it!"

" Ok." Link replied and started forward.

" Hey, wait just a-"

"Cloud," Link said under his breath. " go to the castle, save Zelda.

I can handle things here."

" But-"

"Please, Cloud." Link said and stared him in the eyes. " This is important to me. Gaonondorf has enslaved my future people. I have to do something."

Cloud looked at him, then smiled.

" Watch your back, and knock 'em dead."

Cloud then rushed Ganondorf, bashed him into a wall, and blasted down a hall at top speed.

Finally, the path ended in a fork. But Cloud didn't turn.

He crashed through the wall, expecting to be underground, but found himself hurtling through the air.

He cursed violently. The castle was flying over the desert!

This will sting.

Thinking fast, he twisted his wrist, disconnecting one hand. Cloud then flicked that arm like a fishing pole, sending the hand flying off, but still connected by a stout rope. Luckily the hand caught a pulley rope.

Clickclickclickclickclick went the pulley as its rope began to come out.

He stopped just short of the ground.


He rounded a large rock, and got banged on the forehead by a large rock. A young girl stood there, holding another rock.

" Stay back." she warned.

" Don't worry," Cloud said soothingly to her. " I won't hurt you..."

Ganondorf started after Cloud, but Link dove down and grabbed Ganon's legs. Then he slammed him into the wall.

" Let's go!" Link said.

" We'll need the keys." Malon said. Link turned, and saw Ganon hurl a keychain out the hole...

Inside the castle, A Stalfos was reclining in a chair. It was his job to toss bombs at anyone who managed to escape from the castle, or from the slave camps. The camps were miles ahead, so he rarely got any action.

Until today.

A man had jumped out of the castle, and was behind a rock.

" Unt?" it said with curiosity.

Unt unt unnt uuunnnt unt! it thought blissfully. He finally had a purpose!

The Stalfos grinned, and picked up a bomb. Of course, he had no choice but to grin.......

The girl had just started back to Cloud when the Stalfos began lobbing bombs at them.

Give me a-

Cloud caught a falling boulder and tossed it back at the castle, trying to knock out whoever was throwing those bombs. He batted a few bombs back, but one made it past him.

Well, this will be painful.


Propelled by the blast, Cloud found himself hurtling towards the fortress. He grabbed a ledge with one hand, his other flailing wildly. Cloud was right below the place where he had smashed through the wall.

Something hit his free hand. A small keychain.

" Whose are these?" he called up.

Ganondorf's head poked out.

" Whose keys are these? Hey, that rhymes....."

Ganondorf was trembling with anger. " You! You're supposed to be-"

Cloud hurled the keys through the hole at Link.

" Catch!"

Link plucked the keys out of the air, smiled, then he and Malon rushed back to the dungeon.

Ganon whirled around to give pursuit, but Cloud stopped him.

" Oh, no you don't!" Cloud exclaimed, grabbing Ganon's foot.

Ganondorf was suddenly off balance. Most anyone would be if a Cyborg weighing about three-hundred and fifty pounds gripped your leg and attempted to yank you off a cliff. Ganon careened to the edge, and plummeted off the ledge. Now both Ganon and Cloud were falling. He started to fly back up, but Cloud gripped him by the collar and hauled him back.

" Here's to you, Piggy!" Cloud said happily and bashed "Piggy's"

face. He hadn't had this much fun in years!

Cloud then twirled Ganondorf around and flung him with seismic force into the wall of the flying castle.

Once he landed, he scooped the girl up in his arm, and began running through the vast desert.......

  Chapter note: Whew! That was a hard one to write. It seemed like I always had at least two things going at once, and I had to juggle events. There was just so much to be done. You think it was hard to read, think about my poor aching fingers! Well, it calms down a bit now, so rest your eyes and come back later. Ow......