"I must ask," Sheia said, drifting above their heads as the lift creaked downwards. "What brings four Goddess-touched heroes to the greatest of the Sheikah repositories in the middle of the night?"
"We would have gotten here earlier if Vio hadn't gotten us lost in the woods," Blue grumbled, but his heart wasn't in it. The long day's travel had left them all tired- Red looked as though he was about to fall asleep on his feet where he stood; Green and Blue looked only marginally better. Vio had no clue of his appearance, but was managing to keep his own exhaustion at bay through sheer tenacity- this was the largest source of collected knowledge in Hyrule, after all, and oh wow fuck that
"The princess has sent us to find information on the Twilight Seal and the history behind it," Vio said after a moment's thought.
Sheia made a noise of affirmation. "That would have to do with the tremors from a few days ago, would it not?"
Green nodded. "The entire sky blacked out for about twelve hours at midday."
"There was a bi-i-i-ig earthquake," Red added through a yawn.
"Mmm, well," Sheia hummed. "You may want to brace yourselves, it has been quite some time since anyone used the lift and the landing tends to be … rough."
"Rough?" Green began to ask, but was interrupted as the metal lift let out a sudden grating noise and hit the ground with a jolt, knocking everyone standing off their feet and into the walls. Sheia let out a cackle and pulled the lever to open the door, spilling them all onto the smooth stone floor.
Vio, at the top of the pile, was the first to roll to the side and sit up, shaking his head in wonder. The lift had descended into the center of what appeared to be a vast underground chamber. Poes floated everywhere, their lanterns scattering light across hundreds of bookshelves that stretched towards a ceiling he could not make out. The shelves loomed in a manner that should have seemed threatening, but instead was almost cozy, creating narrow corridors and comfortable nooks and dead ends. The scent of old paper and worn leather permeated the air; Vio was not sure if he had ever been in a more comfortable place. Ugh that sucks change it
"Welcome to the Library, Chosen of Farore," Sheia said, floating above them and gesturing with her lantern. "If you would follow me, I will bring you to a room where you may rest for the eve."
They trailed after her through the maze of shelves. Neither Red nor Green were able to keep their eyes on their Poe guide, the sheer vastness of the library far too captivating. Blue marched behind them with a scowl on his face the entire way, never hesitating to prod Red in the ribs or give Green a shove to get them back on track. Vio, on the other hand, managed to damp down his enthusiasm to the point where it was swiftly overtaken by his exhaustion- the books would still be here in the morning, thank Farore, and he was sure he would have plenty of time to explore.
Sheia left them at a plain wooden door set into the only wall they had come across. "This room was used when the Library still had living staff," she told them with a trace of humor. "Pull the cord by the doorway when you wish to begin your search on the morrow."
"Thanks," Green nodded at her, the others repeating the statement as they filed inside.
The room was small but not cramped, with two double-wide pallets serving as mattresses tucked into the back corners. A desk covered in papers lined one wall, a flameless lantern attached above it, while a doorway in the other led away into a smaller bathing room.
"Well!" Green said brightly, setting his pack onto the floor. "This is nice and homey."
"Mmm," Red agreed, pressing on one of the pallets with his hand. "Oooh, this feels like it's stuffed with cucco down!"
"Dibs on the bath," Blue stated as he kicked off his boots and lined them up at the base of the bed Red was standing by. "You need one too," he told the latter, who in return just stared in confusion until Blue started moving him with a hand on his shoulder.
Green snickered into his hand. "I better not be hearing the two of you getting up to anything in there, Blue!" he called after them, and Blue just smirked back and waggled his eyebrows.
Vio let out a groan at that, sinking down onto the edge of the bed he would be sharing with Green. "You do know he will be as loud as possible now, even if they do not end up actually doing anything?" he asked Green with reproach.
Green laughed at him, stripping down to his under layers in the center of the room. "It's not like they would have been subtle in the first place."
"Blue? Subtle?" Vio snorted at that, giving into his rising exhaustion and letting himself flop down in an undignified sprawl. "Of course not."
"You know…" Green's voice was thoughtful, and Vio turned his head towards him without opening his eyes. "They'll be in there for a while." Vio felt the bed shift somewhat, and a hand touched his forehead, his cheek, rubbed against the bridge of his nose. "You're pretty warm- not coming down with anything, are you?"
Vio shook his head, not hard enough to dislodge the palm cupped over his forehead once more. "Using magic is draining," he admitted , keeping his eyes closed. "It far surpassed my expectations."
Green hummed in sympathy, shifting beside him. "Sit up, Vi, you don't want to sleep in your hat and belt."
"I will sleep however I want," Vio said petulantly, and Green laughed again.
"No, Vi, come on!" With that, Vio was tugged up by his collar and stripped of hat, belt, overtunic and boots, much to his half-hearted complaints. Green let him back down when he was through, and Vio managed to open his eyes long enough to squint sullenly at him. "Doesn't that feel better?" Green asked him.
Vio grumbled a non-response and rolled completely onto the bed.
He was asleep moments later.
Sleep refused to stay with him for long, however- when Vio next surfaced into consciousness it was to Blue's snoring and Green's arm warm around his waist. The near-total darkness was disorienting; at some point after he'd fallen asleep someone had managed to dim the flameless lantern completely.
Vio detached Green's arm from around him and slipped off the edge of the bed, feeling around in the darkness for his boots. It was a simple matter of memory to retrace his way to the doorway, and only a few moments more to find the cord that Sheia had told them of. Pulling it produced no sound, which Vio was grateful for, if curious about. He moved outside in silence, letting the door close behind him, and nearly ruined all of his care by shrieking like a child when he turned to see Sheia hovering a mere foot away from him.
"Well, Goddess-touched," she said to him in the blandest of voices. "I suppose it iis/i the morrow, by the barest margin. Where shall we begin?"
He thought for a moment, eyes narrowing. "When the others call for you, set them to looking for information about the Twilight Seal, if you please," he said finally. "As for me… I will need to join them soon, but until then…" He hesitated, and Sheia made a noise of amusement.
"You thirst for knowledge, young one," she said, smug approval radiating from her. "I could tell from the moment you saw the shelves."
"I do," Vio admitted, letting his lips curve into a smile. "I would spend months in here, if not for our task."
"You must come back once all is said and done," Sheia said, drifting ahead of him. "What would you like to fill your time with, Chosen of Farore?"
Vio thought for a moment, biting his lip as he pondered. "Do you have any relics from the Suppression or Twilight Wars?"
Sheia's lantern glowed brighter at that, and she immediately darted off into a side passage. "I knew I liked you," she told him. "Right this way, Hero of Courage. Come and meet your ancestors."
Vio hissed in frustration at the sudden shout, as the arrow that he had aimed at a target on the far wall missed by a good three feet. Sheia let out an amused cackle behind him and he glared at her. She continued, fetching his arrow for him, and Vio sighed. He scrubbed a hand through his hair, lowering the bow as Blue, Green, and Red poked their heads in through the nearest doorway.
Sheia had taken him down further into the catacombs of the Library to a massive open room filled with relics of the past. Woven tapestries lined the walls, depicting events of the major wars of Hyrule's past in which a Hero rose up to protect the land. Underneath them, protected with spells of preservation, lay both the Hero of Time and the Hero of Twilight's amassed weaponry and tools. Sheia had delighted in leading him to each, explaining what they were and how they were used, and Vio soaked up the knowledge in fascination.
He had stopped in front of the bow of the Hero of Twilight, wishing that he had brought his own to compare, and was quite shocked when Sheia dispelled the wards in front of it with a touch, urging him to take it. Its draw weight was quite a bit higher than what he was used to, but other than that the bow settled into his hands like it belonged there, like not even his own bow did.
Sheia had urged him to test it out, setting targets for him around the room. He had struggled for a few minutes as he adjusted to the tension of the bowstring, but after his muscles had warmed to it his accuracy had only increased.
That is, of course, until an idiot wearing blue had interrupted his concentration.
"Yes?" he asked without turning to face them.
"We were worried about you!" Red called over, bounding into the room. "We woke up and you weren't there! Why didn't you wait for us?"
Vio turned to them at that, feeling bare as he realized he was still without hat or tunic. "I had no clue what time it was," he shrugged in answer to Red's query. "I didn't know when you had gone to sleep, and if it had only been a few hours I most certainly was not going to risk Blue's wrath." He gave an exaggerated frown and Red laughed.
"Still, can you leave us a note or something next time?" Green asked him, coming up beside Red.
Vio raised his eyebrows at that. "You overestimate my ability to see in the dark."
"Vio…" Green grumbled, and opened his mouth to say something further, but was interrupted by Blue's "HEY, LADY!" from the other side of the room. Both of them turned- Blue was standing in front of a pedestal where a gleaming hammer lay protected by wards.
"Lady?" Green muttered.
"Charming," Vio remarked dryly. "You can feel the charisma radiating from him."
Blue ignored them both, staring aggressively at Sheia. "I wanna try this out," he stated. "Vio gets a weapon, I get a weapon."
Sheia drifted over to him, making an approving noise. "You wish to handle the Megaton Hammer?" she asked. "This was favored by the Hero of Time- what a darling lad," she added in a wistful undertone.
"Wait- you knew him?" Green said, sounding shocked.
Sheia turned to face him, ignoring Blue's impatient noise. "Well, of course I knew him! He quite liked it here, and visited often, since it bordered his homelands near the Lost Woods." She made a 'tsk'ing noise. "This was quite a sanctuary for him, I believe. Travelling through time so much left him feeling quite unsettled after the war- he was quite happy to bequeath his weaponry to us as soon as he could."
"What was he like?" Red asked eagerly, looking awed.
"Mmm, he was quite a peculiar one," Sheia said. "Innocent as a babe, yet as deadly as anything I've ever seen. Quite gifted in magic, that one was, and he had the most iawful/i vendetta against cuccos, of all things! He never explained that one to us, no matter how often we asked. He had a core of brightness in him that nothing managed to stamp out, no matter how hard the world raged against him." She turned back towards Blue, dispelling the wards around the hammer with a wave of her lantern. "You may take that with you- if you can remove it from the pedestal," she told Blue, a hint of mischief in her voice.
Blue grabbed the hammer - - yet when he attempted to pull it off, it didn't move.
"Well, Goddess-touched?" Sheia turned back to face Vio, Green and Red, ignoring Blue's muttered swearing as he tugged. "The day gets no younger, and you still have information you need to find. Shall I take you to it?"
"If it would please you to do so," Vio told her with a formal bow to hide the smile threatening to break onto his face. Green and Red were less discreet- Red was unable to contain his giggling when Blue's swearing took a harsher turn.
They followed her out of the room, Blue's enraged yells beginning to echo behind them.
Sheia finally took pity on Blue and gifted him with the Goron's Bracelet to aid him in lifting the hammer, but not until several hours had passed. In that time, Vio and the others had found all they needed to know and more.
Red had taken it upon himself to read aloud to them any lore of Ganon he could get his hands on, spending close to half an hour regaling them with what seemed to be a first-hand account of the Hero of Twilight's final battle with him.
"He actually fought Ganon four separate times!" Red had told them, poring through a dusty old tome. "Ganon possessed the Princess and made them fight first, and then he turned into a huge beast and he and the Hero fought like that! Then when he got defeated again the Princess woke up, and she and the Hero went out and fought Ganon on horseback, and then finally the Hero faced him in honorable combat!" Red had sounded awed, as if the thought of a battle stretching for so long was almost incomprehensible. "And after that, the Hero and the Princess and the Twilight Queen sealed him really tightly in the Mirror of Twilight, and hid it away in the desert so that the Sages could guard it."
"Why didn't they just kill him while they had the chance?" Green had asked, and Red had flicked through the pages of his book until he'd found an answer.
"The author says here that it's cause Ganon has a piece of the Triforce," he recited. "As long as he holds Power, Power will keep him alive."
They had continued searching- Vio came across and committed to memory several spells that could be quite useful in the future, including one that allowed arrows to carry flames. Green was the one to come across the true treasure trove, however, when one of the scrolls he had been looking through turned out to contain detailed depictions of the Mirror of Twilight and the Second Sealing of Ganon.
Unfortunately, it was in a language that none of them could read, and Sheia refused to help.
Green finally bundled the old parchment up and threatened to take it back to Zelda- and to everyone's surprise Sheia agreed with him. "Your Princess will be far more of a help to you than I could be," she had said. "And aside from that, I am not sure if there is anything here that can aid you in your quest any further."
Repacking their bags after that took no time at all- within twenty minutes they were ready to leave. Vio found that his new quiver balanced quite well on the edge of his pack, even with the bow strung and tucked inside as well. Blue hooked the Megaton Hammer onto his belt loop, where it hung beside his sword.
Sheia waited for them at the lift's entrance. "I expect it goes without saying that you will take iexcellent/i care of those weapons?" she said before anyone else could.
Vio snorted. "Of course, iAlemktub,/i" he said with a bow that was only half-mocking. Blue rolled his eyes and made an agreeing motion with his hands.
"Excellent." She drifted out of the way of the lift, the door opening as she moved. "You will have guides until you reach the edge of the forest- I trust you can make your way back from there?"
"Yeah!" Red told her. "Maybe we'll even try rolling all the way back to the castle just to get there quicker!"
Green almost managed to stifle a laugh at that.
"That may be wise, Goddess-touched," Sheia told him, complete seriousness in her voice. "These woods have become home to something great and dark. Though it is as of now too weak to break into this sanctum, daily I feel it growing stronger above us." She drifted back and forth in front of them, as if lost in thought, before appearing to come back to herself. "Even so, you should be fine once you reach the edge of the forest. Those who guided you here will be happy to lead you back."
"Those poes?" Blue clarified, frowning.
"The Sisters, yes," Sheia agreed. "Now heed me, Chosen of Farore, if you wish to learn of things that may prove helpful to you in your quest." They clustered around her a little more . "Far to the west, in a place you will most certainly come upon before too much longer, lie a pair of rods imbued with elemental fury. Farther to the south of here, deep within the Lost Woods, lies another that could be of great use."
"…that's it?" Blue asked after a moment of silence had passed. "No iuseful/i information or anything?"
"These implements will be quite useful, Goddess-touched," Sheia remarked, "if you have the wherewithal to seek them. I shall take my leave of you now, and remind you that should you wish to return, any resources we can offer are freely yours." She bowed to them then, and one by one they returned it. "May Din's strong arms cradle you, Nayru's infinite wisdom guide you, and the warmth of Farore's winds be always at your backs."
Vio took the opportunity to look around as they descended the long stone staircase into the courtyard. In the daylight it was much easier to see- he recognized the Stone of Truth he and Green had examined by the gates, but was surprised to note that perhaps a dozen more lined each curved wall surrounding the courtyard. The forest did not manage to breach the walls- the branches of each tree stopped roughly six inches before they would be able to hang over into the courtyard.
Each and every tree surrounding them was covered in so many webs they looked as though they had been swathed in cotton. Vio heard Green make a noise of disgust behind him, and bit his lip to keep a smile from rising to his face. Who would have known their stolid leader was arachnophobic? He was merely grateful that that particular aspect of Link as a whole hadn't passed to himself.
A heavy unnatural silence filled the air, and Vio slowed as his boots hit the cobblestone pathway leading outwards. He moved aside so the other three could file off, turning around to scan the rest of the area. The dark sloped roof of the Library contrasted quite a bit with its pale stone walls, he noted. It was lopsided, with four bristling pillars staggered along the edge in no clear order. His gaze drifted around the courtyard once more.
"Vio, come on! We gotta move!" Blue called from behind him. Vio made no move to listen, gaze inexorably drawn back up to the roof, where the pillars had shifted- now separated into two groups of two. His heart sank.
"Blue." Vio's voice cracked and he had to swallow, trying again. "Green, Red. Place your packs on the ground as slowly as you can. Try to make as little noise as possible."
"Why?" Red called. Vio cringed as he watched the pillars move once more, a steady wave of motion pulling them a quarter-turn away from where they had begun. He unslung his pack and dumped it out of the way, swinging the Hero's Bow out of his quiver and nocking an arrow.
Three more thumps met his ear as he backed over to the others, gaze locked on the heaving dark mass rising from the roof. He could hear Green swallowing heavily behind him, followed by Blue's muttered "Oh fuck me".
It breached the wall almost faster than thought, a great dark armored gohma with a legspan that could possibly have stretched across the courtyard from wall to wall with no room to spare. Eight luminous orange eyes rolled back and forth above an over-large set of mandibles that twitched and glistened in the weak sunlight, dripping with something viscous and more than likely fatal. Each barrel-thick leg bristled with wiry hairs. Glowing red lines throbbed between the chinks in its oily black carapace.
Red let out a whimper, and all eight of its eyes focused on the tightly-knit group immediately.
"Everyone back!" Vio yelled, noting the tensing in its legs seconds before it threw itself forward off the building. He dropped the arrow he had nocked and grabbed Green's arm, flinging him ahead of himself as Blue did the same for Red. The armogohma landed heavily between them, making the ground shake. It turned towards Vio and Green, its movements twitchy and nauseating and iwrong/i somehow, and behind him Vio heard Green retching.
"You can throw up after it is dead, Green," Vio said, and aimed and fired. His accuracy was off- the arrowhead skittered across the tough chitin plating of its exoskeleton and it ihissed/i at him. "I could use a little help over here, Blue!" he shouted, voice coming out a bit more panicked than he wanted.
Blue shouted something incoherent and there was a wet meaty crunch. The armogohma dipped to the side, letting out a high thin noise reminiscent of a teakettle's whistle at full boil. Vio pulled another arrow out of his quiver, beginning to raise it, and then paused. i"Hyryq,"/i he hissed, sparks dancing between his teeth, and the tip of the arrow took on a lurid red glow. He turned- it was advancing on Blue now, one of the legs on its right side dangling limp and useless as Blue waved the Megaton Hammer menacingly in front of himself.
i"Mashar alhyryq!" /i Vio yelled as he let the arrow fly, and it burst into flames.
His aim was impeccable- it lodged itself squarely in one of the largest eyes, bursting the jelly-filled orb and causing the armogohma to writhe in pain. "Go for the legs!" he bellowed to Green, who immediately sprang into action. Blue joined him, and between the two of them they managed to hack off the useless leg and one other before the armogohma appeared to regain its senses and shake them off.
Its attacks became much more vicious after that, as it used its front pair of legs to swipe at any who came too near. Blue hovered just outside its range yelling taunts as he tried to keep its attention from Vio, who had retreated halfway up the stairs for a better vantage point. The second he had a clear shot he fired once more, and his arrow flew true. Two more eyes burst, sending the armogohma into convulsions again.
This time when it collapsed Red joined Green and Blue in their gruesome task, and Vio continued to methodically fill the armogohma's head with arrows. He pierced the last eye as the other three detached the last of its right legs. The armogohma let out a shrill noise as its other legs flailed about, tipping it forward so that its head rested on the ground. Vio wasted no time in dashing down the stairs, drawing his Four Sword as he did.
As one, the four of them surrounded it. As one, they plunged their blades into its massive head.
The armogohma froze and gave off one last horrific noise before it went limp, its remaining attached legs splaying limply across the courtyard. Vio removed his sword from its head, grimacing at the streaks of black ichor that dripped from the gleaming blade. The others were quick to follow, Blue giving his a shake with a mutter of disgust while Red and Green held theirs away from their bodies to drip themselves clean.
With all four swords removed the armogohma's body began to let off the same black tendrils that had emanated from the much smaller gohma in the forest. The four legs scattered around the courtyard did so as well- they were the first to dissolve completely, and the rest of the hulking corpse followed, until the only signs left of the battle that had taken place were Vio's scattered arrows and stubborn splashes of tar-like ichor staining the cobblestones.
In the silence that followed, a songbird cheeped tentatively.
"That was disgusting," Green said in a flat voice, edging around the nearest pool of muck to get to his pack, sword still held away from his body. "I don't think I'll ever feel clean again."
"I love this hammer!" Blue whooped, shaking it above his head- somehow he had managed to escape without a single drop of goo marring his clothing. "Did you isee/i how much damage I did to that thing?!" He spun it around in a circle, narrowly missing Green- who took the opportunity to shove Blue off balance and into the nearest ichor puddle.
Red hung back from the resulting tussle, standing beside Vio with an uncharacteristic frown on his face. "That's what Sheia meant, wasn't it?" he asked, voice pitched low so that it wouldn't carry. "When she talked about dark presences in the woods- that was what she was talking about."
Vio nodded, repressing a shudder. "I fear we may have worse things in store for us."