- "I... I used just a fraction of the power that's in me now... I did THAT using only a fraction of my ancestor's magic?!"
- — Midna
The Fused Shadow (影の結晶石 Kage no Kesshō Ishi?, Shadow Crystal) is a quest item from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It is the physical manifestation of extremely powerful Shadow magic created by an "ancient race" and once used by a group known only as the Interlopers. This power was sealed away by the Light Spirits.
While the Fused Shadow must be made whole again in order to unleash its full power, its pieces appear to hold a significant amount of power on their own, as they can curse individuals and transform them into monsters. The only being shown to be capable of wielding its power without being cursed is the Twilight Princess, a descendant of the Interlopers and the true ruler of the Twilight Realm.
Before the game begins, the item has already been broken into four shards which, at Midna's behest, Link must find in order to defeat Zant. One Fused Shadow shard is worn by Midna, atop her head as a mask, while the three others are found in various dungeons in Hyrule, at the Forest Temple, the Goron Mines, and the Lakebed Temple, where they were guarded by the monsters Diababa, Fyrus, Morpheel. When completed, the Fused Shadow resembles a large helmet.
The Light Spirit Lanayru reveals to Link through a nightmarish dream-like vision that during the Hyrulean Civil War a group called the Interlopers created the Fused Shadow and attempted to use it to conquer the Sacred Realm. However the Light Spirits were sent by the gods to stop them. They defeated the Interlopers and banished them to the Twilight Realm as punishment. Meanwhile the Fused Shadow was broken into four pieces one of which was sealed within the Twilight Realm, the piece Midna wears. The other pieces were hidden in Hyrule. Unfortunately the dark magic of the Fused Shadow can corrupt inhabitants of the Light World as shown by the Goron Patriarch Darbus' transformation into Fyrus. However Midna is apparently immune to being corrupted as she is a Twili who are the descendants of the Interloper imprisoned in the Twilight Realm. Despite being descended from the Interlopers, Midna herself recognized the evil committed by her ancestors.
Soon after the final piece is recovered, it is stolen by Zant and broken, at Lanayru Spring, forcing Link and Midna to pursue him into the Twilight Realm, where they first learn of the behind-the-scenes manipulation by Ganondorf. It is ultimately revealed Midna the Twilight Princess and true ruler of the Twilight Realm was cursed by Zant and Ganondorf, forcing her to seek out her ancestors' ancient magic to combat Zant who resented their ancestors' imprisonment and invaded Hyrule for revenge alongside his master Ganondorf who wanted revenge for his capture and imprisonment in the Twilight Realm following his failed execution by the Ancient Sages.
Using just a fraction of its power, Midna is able to utterly obliterate Zant, and by using more (possibly all) of its power, transform into a spider-like creature capable of piercing Ganondorf's barriers. She succeeds in breaking Ganondorf's hold on Puppet Zelda and warps her and Link out of the castle for her showdown with Ganondorf in his ethereal form as the Triforce of Power. However, Midna learns that Ganondorf`s dark magic is even stronger than the Fused Shadow, as she is defeated by him. Afterwards, Ganondorf emerges victorious, holding up the shard Midna had worn throughout the game and shattering it.
While it is unclear what happens to the remaining Fused Shadow shards afterwards, a piece of it is shown half-buried in Hyrule Field at the end of the game's credits and final cinematics. The other shards are not seen and may have been obliterated when Hyrule Castle exploded.
- "A helmet much like the one Midna wore when she fought alongside the Hero of Twilight. If sold, this rare find can't be replaced."
- — Midna's Helmet description
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link can wear a thematic armor set inspired by the Fused Shadow worn by Midna from Twilight Princess. This helmet can be acquired during the side quest "EX Treasure: Twilight Relic" triggered upon "The Master Trials" DLC pack installation. According to the Adventure Log, this "helmet of twilight" was historically collected by the royal family of Hyrule amongst other significant outfits, but they were stolen by the great bandit Misko. Ironically Zant's Helmet is also a part of the same collection and was also stolen by Misko. In addition to Midna's Fused Shadow, the helmet also features Midna's ponytail. The helmet is apparently made of an extremely strong material as it grants Guardian Resist Up when worn which increases Link's resistance to damage inflicted by Guardians. This indicates the material it is made of is as strong as the Diamond Circlet and Ancient Helm which also grant Guardian Resist. However like all DLC Armor it cannot be upgraded or dyed. Its description also officially refers to the Link from Twilight Princess as the Hero of Twilight.
Midna uses the Fused Shadow to transform into her tentacled beast form and attack with her giant spear as part of her Focus Spirit Attack. Midna's Fused Shadow also appears as Midna's gold Material drop. Midna's discarded Fused Shadow also appears in Twili Midna's battle intro cutscene. Twili Midna also drops it as her Gold Material.
The Fused Shadow plays the same role it did in Hyrule Warriors and appears as Midna and Dark Midna's Gold Material drop, however it is no longer dropped Twili Midna as it is replaced by Twili Midna's Robe. Midna's Fused Shadow also appears as a Fairy Clothing Headgear option for Companion Fairies called the Fused Shadow Mask.
Animal Crossing: City Folk features a helmet called "Midna's Mask", which is the Fused Shadow helmet that Midna wears throughout Twilight Princess, along with her hair. It is obtained through the Tom Nook point system for 6,500 points.
At the back of the completed Fused Shadow is a symbol, very similar to the iconic eye emblem of the Sheikah race. The eye part can be seen beforehand on Midna's section of the Fused Shadow, but it is usually hidden by her ponytail. The appearance of the symbol here, as well as in many Twilight-related places, may suggest that the Sheikah were the original creators of the Fused Shadow. Also the Sheikah eye is seen on the throne in the throne room of Zant and in many other places in the Twilight Realm.
In Breath of the Wild, it is suggested by Paya that Sheikah can interbreed with Hylians (presumably Gerudo and Humans as well) indicating the Interlopers may have been made up of different races that banded together to form their own mixed race tribe or after being imprisoned in the Twilight Realm they interbred before evolving into the Twili. This would explain different symbols as vestiges of their ancestors' cultural heritage. It should be noted the Yiga Clan are evil Sheikah that swore loyalty to Calamity Ganon and use an inverted Sheikah emblem as their clan's symbol so evil Sheikah do exist and presumably some may have become Interlopers during the Hyrulean Civil War as Lanayru's vision implies various people betrayed their loved ones and clans over the Triforce before joining the Interlopers. Interestingly, Midna's Helmet grants Guardian Resist which makes it resistant to ancient Sheikah technology. The Twili's advanced technology may also be influenced by their potential Sheikah ancestry.
One of the Fused Shadow's "eyes" bears an uncanny resemblance to the eyes of Majora's Mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. It is possible that it is somehow connected to the mystical tribe that created Majora's Mask, or to the mask itself as a reincarnation of its power. The creature the Fused Shadow transforms Midna into also resembles Majora's first and second forms slightly (a spider-like being with tendrils sprouting from it and the respective mask as the head).
Usually when Zant or Midna use their magic, small, rectangular, and usually black, objects are visible, but when the Fused Shadow, a relic from the time before Twili were banished to Twilight Realm, is being used, those pieces are nowhere to be found, suggesting that the Twilight Realm has altered Twili magic over time.
It is possible that the Fused Shadow Midna donned as a mask was responsible for the various powers she displays throughout the game, most notable among them the hand she forms out of her ponytail. This would also indicate the three different stages of power in the Fused Shadow; having one would allow Midna to use her hair as a hand, having all of them in her possession would allow her to make it into a giant spear, as she did to destroy Zant, and wearing all of them at once would allow her to transform into her eldritch form.