It was another near-miss with Zelda, another brush with Ghirahim, then a frightening battle with a monster bigger than it had any right to be, straight out of my nightmares… I'd dreamed of it before. A mouth that size and with that many teeth is hard to forget. I'm lucky that it was more concerned with getting out of the Sealed Grounds than squishing me. The single-mindedness gave me the chance I needed to bring it down.

Seeing that thing in the flesh seemed to bring back every drop of dread I felt when I dreamed of it. Nightmares are not supposed to come to life. I re-sealed it for now, but I was still a little shaken up from the encounter. That meathead Groose was so upset because he couldn't do anything when The Imprisoned showed up, even I felt sorry for the big lunk. But there was nothing I could do to comfort him, and with a quest to carry on, I caught the wind back above the clouds and left him to sort it out for himself.

The old woman at the Sealed Temple had taught me the melody of "Ballad of the Goddess," but I needed its lyrics. Zelda only sang it once at the ceremony, and after the rest of what happened that day I couldn't remember a word. Headmaster Gaepora recited them for me, pointing the way to the plaza's Light Tower and those two windmills on the island.

The first was easy to adjust, with the gust bellows from the desert. The second had its propeller broken off and apparently knocked from the island, down through the clouds to the surface somewhere. That's what Jakamar told me, at least; he was nearby when I went to check out the second windmill.

I knew Fi would be able to find it. She'd dowsed for the fragments of the key locking up the Earth Temple, so it would only make sense for her to get the "dowsing signature" of the propeller to lead me to it. The problem was going to be getting it back up to Skyloft—if it was the same size as the one at the western edge of the island, it was going to be too big to fit in my pouch. Also, I was going to need both hands to ride the wind and fly with my bird. Jakamar brought up Gondo's heap of ancient heirloom robot he's always trying to fix. What Jakamar had heard, but I hadn't, was that when it was working, it used to carry things up from the surface. He was skeptical; he didn't think the surface even existed, but after what I'd seen…

It was late afternoon already. I hoped to get the windmill repaired and figure out where to fly next before the nightfall, when I'd be grounded. Maybe when this was all over I'll be able to buckle down and study for night-flight certification. So I made tracks to Gondo's shop at the Bazaar and mentioned what I'd heard about his robot. We looked at it on his workbench, and he told me all about what he'd been able to fix on it. His excitement was palpable, and I have to admit a little infectious. The man is passionate about his machines. He'd figured out pretty much everything about how it was supposed to work, but said that it was frozen with rust and needed a special oil to work again—from flowers said to grow on the surface in antiquity.

I tried my very best to be nonchalant when I offered him one that I had. He took it, but I could tell he wasn't buying my act. Gondo knew something strange had happened if I had a flower said to be gone from the world for centuries. I wasn't going to tell him about my quest, much less that I'd turned back time to collect one (or a handful. But that wasn't for Gondo to know). I could just see him descending to the desert, striking one of those timeshift stones, and trying to adopt every robot he came across. It'd break his heart that they couldn't come home with him, being unable to leave the timeshift zone. But, he didn't ask any questions. I think he was more than content to get what he needed to fix his robot. For now, the "how" of the matter could go dive, as far as he was concerned.

Gondo suspended all his projects, closed his shop early, and squeezed the oil out the flower with his vise. I watched him work. He dripped and massaged the oil into all the clockwork tangle of parts in the robot's torso until they could move again, and poured the leftover oil into a little reservoir inside it. When he was done, it quivered, buzzed, and came back to life with a clatter. Gondo's grin stretched from one ear to the other. The robot was working, like the ones I'd seen back in the desert when I turned back time. But this one had a little spinning windmill on top of his head that let him fly.

It also turns out that the robot—"Scrapper"—was a surly little bucket of bolts. He was grateful enough to Gondo for restoring him, but then his owner told him to thank me and that he was assigning him to help me with a hauling job. Scrapper didn't seem to like what he saw. He decided to mock my height, too. I chose to be the bigger man and refrained from commenting on the mess of his insides before Gondo fixed him up, which he couldn't even have done without me. I guess I wasn't entirely surprised after meeting more robots in the desert; they weren't terribly polite. Made for labor and not protocol, perhaps. They did make a point of telling me I was in the way while they were trying to work.

At that point Fi emerged from my sword to take a better look at him and see if he'd be up to the task we had. I didn't know a robot's eye could pop out of his head, but Scrapper's almost did just that at the sight of her. His demeanor changed in a flash, and he was hovering all over himself to promise his help to "Mistress Fi."

I watched blankly for a moment, then said aside to the mechanic, "Gondo, I think your robot is hot for my sword."

He looked at me. His goggles hid his eyebrows, but I swear I could feel one of them raising, and I thought about what I'd said. I hastened to add, "My sword is a girl." Somewhere under there, I knew his other eyebrow was going up. "Wait, wait—there's a girl inside my sword."

Gondo smirked at me, and I wisely remembered a saying that Instructor Horwell used once: "'Closed mouths attract no feet.'" So I told Fi that we would be leaving now. If we stayed any longer, Scrapper was likely to ask Gondo to weld the two of them together.

"Call me whenever you need me!" Scrapper said to her as she dematerialized back into the hilt. He kept prattling and Gondo started laughing as I fled, hoping to outrun my embarrassment.

I left the Bazaar and saw that the sun had already gone down while Gondo revived the robot. Great. No more flying today. But I dowsed, and got a reading from the direction of Eldin. It looked like I'd be heading back to the volcano in the morning.

The battle with The Imprisoned earlier that day left me still nursing the adrenaline hangover, so I knew I didn't have the energy for a workout of any quality at the sparring hall. My arms and legs felt about as solid as a chuchu; chances are I'd pull a muscle if I tried to train. I thought of my bed, but then I had a flash of what another dream of The Imprisoned would be like now that I'd actually met it. Maybe in the nightmare, I wouldn't have a sword with me. Or it would chase me this time, just run me down and gobble me up. I wasn't ready for sleep, but I headed to the Academy.

The bathhouse was locked, again, and Karane was already waiting in line for when it came available. I stopped by Fledge's room to chat with him for a bit. We talked some, but I could tell he really wanted to work on his push-ups, and would be embarrassed for me to see him struggling, so I left him to it. I even visited Stritch and let him tell me facts and trivia about bugs, but before long I said goodnight. I could only listen to so much in the mood I was in, and honestly I felt bad sitting on information about where Groose had gotten himself to. Normally I might have kept Pipit company on his patrol route outside the school, but after overhearing his fight with his mom and being caught eavesdropping, accidental or not, I knew it'd just be awkward.

No bath, no talk, no sleep just yet. (Zelda would never believe it.) I tried to read, but I was too tense to focus. My mind wouldn't be susceptible to distraction, but maybe my hands would.

So I sat at my desk to do some maintenance on the sword. I smoothed out a couple of nicks and began polishing it.

I realized what I was doing, and couldn't help but snicker. Then I said under my breath, "Gondo's robot is hot for my sword," and snickered harder.

At that, Fi popped out to talk. "Master?" she asked. "Are you well?" She's not much for expression, but when I started laughing harder her sudden appearance I swear she did her best to look puzzled.

"Yeah, Fi, I'm fine, thanks." I decided that I'd better stop polishing. The laughter was going to make me slip and cut myself.

"I confess I have no significant understanding of the human concept of humor. I am unable to deduce the cause of your sudden outburst of laughter."

"Nevermind, Fi. I don't think I could explain it so you'd understand, anyway. Humor… Well, we have a hard time explaining it to each other, too. Why don't I just… put you away for tonight?" She looked just as blank when I made myself snicker again with that. I sheathed the blade in the scabbard and set it with my shield beside my bed. "Just hang out in here," I told her as I stood up. "I'm going to go lay up on the roof before I go to sleep. You'll be fine down here."

"As you wish, Master," she said, and flitted back into the sword. I left my room and the Academy, and climbed up onto the roof.

I lay on my back and looked up at the stars as the juvenile double-entendres started pouring of their own volition through my mind. There was no way I could share them with Fi. She didn't get humor, and it was kinda mean considering that the jokes were, effectively, on her. So I left her behind to think of them on my own.

Gondo's robot was hot for my sword. My sword was a girl. There was a girl inside my sword. My sword always seems to have something to say to me. It's forever popping out to tell me one thing or another. My sword has a mind of its own. My sword is very cold. In fact, it's analytical. My sword doesn't get excited by much of anything. My sword calls me master.

My sword is my guide, and often tells me where to go. When I point it at something that I want, it pulses rhythmically. When I point my sword upward, it fills with power. I'm supposed to look for three sacred flames to put my sword into; presumably it will get hot when I do this. It also seems likely that it will become longer. Peater did say I should come back and see him if I get a longer sword.

Each one was worse than the last. They were cheap laughs, but they felt good. With each one, my tension broke a little more. When I'd run my imagination dry of them, my chest and shoulders felt freer, and my belly was pleasantly sore. I took a deep breath, and when I let it out the exhaustion settled onto me like a heavy blanket. I sat up from the roof and made my way back down, then shuffled to my room and closed the door behind me.

There, I pulled off my boots and got ready for bed. I'd bathe in the morning before breakfast, eat, and embark for Eldin. I flopped onto my comfortable mattress, reach down, and patted the hilt of my sword. "Goodnight, Fi," I said.

"Goodnight, Master Link," she responded.

With that, I closed my eyes and soon slipped into a deep, dreamless sleep.