In the words of Nickelback: 'Too long, too late. Who was I to make you wait?' (I don't own the song! XD) I use that line to express my deep, deep apologies for taking so long! I've been busy… and I've had a couple of days off to get this chapter ready for posting. Omg… so behind on everything!
Anyway, I thought I'd open on a happy note. I think I may begin the romantic storyline again here. Hehe, I love to torture their poor little hearts!
Sharks in the Water
"Linn!" Zel squealed, jumping on him, "What are you doing here?"
"Finding you." Linn hugged her tightly around the waist and lifted her off the ground, "We've been so worried! We thought you and Zelda were dead."
"No." Zel shook her head, but didn't let go, "But we've had a few close shaves. Like in a place called-" She was cut off by Linn's lips. They had sealed themselves on hers in a quick, fleeting kiss. But, much to Zel's dismay, it was rather abrupt. Linn realised what he was doing, and immediately let her go. She stared at him in confusion.
"I'm so sorry, Princess." Linn dropped to his knees before her in a sign of remorse, "I was not myself. I swear it won't happen again."
"Linn…" Zel muttered, "What are you doing?" She pulled him to his feet and ran her hands down the side of his face, before kissing him square on the lips. They remained that way for a few moments, before a gentle 'ahem' alerted them to the presence of the child. Zel and Linn sprang apart, their cheeks crimson.
"Touching reunion." The child sighed, "But there is still the matter of Zelda in the dungeons. I thought it was important to you to get her out, Zel?" He asked haughtily, and Zel nodded, "Fine then. Follow me. Bring your… friend with us. He may be of some use. We might have to fight, and I'm not yet strong enough to take on more than one or two grown men." He started off.
Linn looked at Zel in confusion. She shrugged, and began to follow him. His hand shot out and grabbed hers, pulling her back to him.
"Who is that?" He demanded, "And what insane quest are you on?"
"Come on." Zel sighed, "I'll explain along the way." She pulled him along after the small boy.
Link landed on the bottom of the Temple, armed with his hookshot. He glanced around, before moving his foot. It was difficult. The water alone made it difficult at the best of times, but the pressure made it almost impossible to move at all. Even with his Water Tunic, breathing was difficult. It was like he was being crushed.
Then, all of a sudden, he could move again. The water still restricted him, but he had become used to the pressure. He figured that going through one of the open passageways to the side was his best bet, and so he headed for one. He didn't see the spike heading for him until it was too late. It was headed straight for his chest, and he couldn't use his shield to deflect it.
A blue and white blur crossed his vision, and the spike was no longer there. He looked to where it had gone, and his jaw hit the floor. It looked like a giant fish. It was definitely a Zora, but the water distorted it so much that he couldn't make out the features.
"You're gonna get yourself killed in here." Ruto sighed, holding the spike harmlessly in her hand, "I figured as much, anyway. Go that way. I'll follow you." She pointed to the opposite side of the room. Link did as she bid him, knowing full well that she knew the Temple better than he did.
It was getting easier to move as time passed. It took him a few minutes, but he made it to the other side. Ruto was swimming gracefully alongside him the whole way. He wished the Tunic allowed him to talk underwater as well, but he had no voice in the murky depths. Just as well for Ruto. She would have copped a mouthful if he could have spoken. Turning away from her, he focused on the looming passageway.
"Be careful in there. Ruto warned him, "There are a few Spikes in there. Have your hookshot ready." Link nodded, and loaded the chain. He rounded the corner, and aimed it at the first one he saw. He struck it before it noticed him. He quickly hid around the corner before any of the others noticed him. He waited a few moments, and reloaded the chain. He repeated this process five times, until the creatures were all dead.
Link and Ruto made their way cautiously into the room. It was nothing but an empty chamber with a pillar of water in the side. Link made to turn around and leave, but Ruto stopped him.
"Look inside the pillar of water." She pointed. Link squinted. He could see the outline of something, but he couldn't tell what it was. Looking around the room, he thought he saw a switch. He hit it.
The pillar of water fell, and Link saw that it hid a chest. Link quickly made his way over to it. Who knew how long it would be gone for? He was just about to open it, when the water started to flow again. Frustrated, he aimed his hookshot at the switch, and let it fly. It struck the switch, and the water stopped again.
Quickly, Link opened the chest. It hid a map. Link studied it for a few moments. It was made out of some sort of waterproof material. Once he judged his position on the map, with Ruto's help, he slipped it away. It might come in useful later.
"There's a few shortcuts the Hero of Time left open when he left." Ruto's head poked out of the water, "Come. I'll show you where they are." She dived under. Link muttered something to himself, before diving in after her and putting on the Iron Boots. He briefly wished that Linn were there, but then was also glad that he wasn't.
Link followed Ruto through many hidden doors and holes in walls, before they emerged in a chamber with a tree in the middle. Link took a few steps into the room, with Ruto right behind him, when it suddenly vanished. There was an evil laughter.
"Normally, Hero," A voice floated through the air, "I would stand and fight you, but now I must be off. I have business in the outside world. Oh, and your sister Aryll wishes you a Happy Birthday." The voice stopped. Link's blood ran cold. How could he have forgotten his birthday? And they had Aryll!
"You let Aryll go!" He demanded, turning around the darkness. He heard a sword drawn in the darkness. He immediately drew his own and turned to face the monster.
"If you insist." Dark Link sneered, "Fight me and I might consider it." Link growled.
"Where is my sister?" He aimed for the shadow's arms as he attacked. Dark Link sneered and parried his blow.
"The same place your beloved Princess was two years ago." Dark Link struck out with his sword, "Hidden in this very room." Link raised his shield to block the blow.
"Don't you dare mention her!" Link snarled, aiming a blow for his counterpart's neck, which was easily blocked.
"He's trying to bait you!" Ruto called to Link from the edge of the room, "Don't fall for it!" Link stopped in his tracks for a few moments. What Ruto said made sense. He'd just have to not fall for Dark Link's bait.ANCIENT HYRULE
"I can't believe you re just following him around like this!" Linn banged his fist against the wall of the stable, "Zelda is trapped in the dungeon of the Castle, and you're heading towards the opposite side of the land? Are you insane?"
"Like it or not," Zel sighed, "Link's plan is a good one. He's right on any account. Rushing in there now is suicide. And besides, he's not the Hero of Time for nothing." Linn growled.
"Link is gonna kill me. He sent me to see both of you back safely." He lowered his head as that the shadows from the flickering lamplight played across his face.
"It'll all be fine." Zel reassured him, even though she wasn't so sure herself, "We'll find a way."
"It's just been too long." Linn sighed and settled back into the pile of hay in the corner, "Too long…" He closed his eyes and drifted off into a light sleep. Zel sighed, and curled up next to him. She felt him shift ad place his arm around her.
"If you only knew…" She mumbled softly, before joining him in the land of nod.PRESENT HYRULE
"Come on, Dark Link!" Zarina yelled out, watching Dark Link and Link fight through a special portal that she'd created. Link seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and didn't seem to be responding to Dark Link's taunts.
"Your sister is a cute little thing. Lots of fun following her around. Turning into quite the young lady." Dark Link cooed. That seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Link cried an almighty war cry, and slashed up with his sword. Dark Link easily avoided the blow and struck one of his own, connecting with Link's head. Zarina watched as Link collapsed into the water.
"Stop squirming, you little whelp!" She yelled to Aryll, who was tied up and gagged behind her, "Your brother's about to die and all you can think about is yourself! How selfish!" Aryll's eyes widened to twice their normal size. She began to struggle harder against the ropes. Zarina flung a hand out behind her and Aryll ceased moving – for the time being.
"Come on. Remember the plan." Zarina muttered to herself, turning back to the portal. As she saw Dark Link raise his sword to deliver the final blow, she began to chew on her index fingernail. Her hair fell across her face, and she brushed it away nervously.
"Stop." She muttered, "Stop! What are you doing! I need him alive, damnit!" She screeched, jumping to her feet. Dark Link seemed to have heard her somehow, and snapped his head up. He lowered his sword, and spat at the Zora's feet, before turning to the door and running.
Zarina breathed a sigh of relief. Link would live to see another day – and to take out Ganondorf and Anghaim. Her ultimate goal was drawing ever closer. But where did the other Hero go? She creased her brow with confusion.
"Damn!" Dark Link flew into the room through a portal that Zarina had left open in the other room, "What a rough ride. My neck aches." He put a hand on his shoulder to hold it in place as he stretched it. Zarina made a face as she heard the pops.
"That is disgusting. Good way to damage a nerve, too." She wrinkled up her nose at the display.
"What's a nerve?" Dark Link asked curiously. Zarina sighed and left the room, muttering about limited medieval intelligence.PRESENT HYRULE
"Gah!" Anghaim threw the chicken leg across the room, "Another poison attempt! Who dares to try this time?" There was a shuffle in the kitchens as the servant boy was pushed out in front of him.
"It wasn't me!" The boy sobbed, "I swear it!" He couldn't have been older than five. Much too young to know what a poison was.
"Do you imbeciles think I am not twice as intelligent as you?" Anghaim walked into the kitchen, "This boy was not the one who attempted to poison me. Where is the real culprit?" He narrowed his eyes dangerously. No one moved.
"Stalfoses!" Anghaim called, and several of the foul creatures appeared, "Punish these cooks for attempting to poison me. If one of them so much as blurts out the one who did it, tell me immediately!"
"Aye-aye!" The Stalfoses cried, and rounded them up. The little boy that was pushed in front of Anghaim was steered away by his ugly hand and out the courtyard gates.
"Get outta my face." Anghaim spat, and slammed the gate behind him, "I never want to see your runty face around this castle ever again!" The boy took off running.
So? 'Twas it to your liking? No Zelda! Don't worry, I promise she will be back… in one way or another. Review, please.