From the Ashes of a Kingdom Reborn
By: Ashe Van Hollow
A/N: This is my longest chapter yet! I'm serious! This one's about 9,000 and some words! I tried to cut it a little bit, but I wouldn't have worked out with my plans if I had. Either way, this won't be happening again, so please...don't worry. This 9,000 word thing isn't permanent. I don't like overly long chapters. Also, I need to apologize for not updating sooner like I promised. My internet has been retarded lately, but don't worry. It has been dealt with and I can now update regularly. Thanks again to all of my reviewers, I mean...those of you who haven't given up on this story because of me and my stupid internet. It's been almost two months since I last updated, and I hate myself for it. But next update won't been a long wait since it's already half written. So, thank you! Without further ado, here's my fifth chapter to FTAOAKR! A fair warning though, this chapter is a bit potent in the plot category. It took an unexpected turn (the plot I mean).
Chapter 4: The First Signs of Betrayal
"It lies hidden beneath, a portrayal of the obvious…"
Silence. It ruled over her. There was something familiar about the girl in front of her. It was disturbing, the way the girl's eyes seemed to track her every movement. She stared back defiantly. This only seemed to amuse the girl even more. Her hand moved to her neck, to the folds of the shirt in which she kept the crystal shard. She unfolded it and took it out. Moving towards Link, she grabbed his hand, pried it open and placed the shard in it.
"Keep it safe." She told him.
"I will." He said, and it was almost as if he knew what she had to do.
Then, turning towards the girl, Tetra, she moved forward.
"What? No crying? No screaming for your little hero to help?" Tetra asked her, "You certainly look like you would fit that damsel in distress bill."
"That would certainly show how much you know." Midna said dryly.
Zelda smiled at her gratefully, her blood boiling after that last comment.
"Hmm…oh well. Back to the task at hand. Will you put up a fight? Or will you just fork over the loot?"
Zelda held her head high.
"What would be our chances at fighting back?" She asked her.
Tetra raised an eyebrow.
"Well, seeing you're surrounded and undeniably outnumbered, there isn't much chance that you'll leave this ship alive."
"So, what would you suggest for our little predicament, seeing as I'm not willing to let you have your way that easily?"
"Well, there is one thing…although I doubt you'd ever agree to it."
"Try me." She bit back defiantly.
"A duel…between you…and me."
A ripple went throughout all of them.
"Alright." Zelda agreed.
"Can I borrow her for a second?" Midna asked.
Midna pulled Zelda away for a second. Once out of earshot, she glared at her furiously.
"There's no way I'll let you do this!" She snapped, "Your ankle's not yet healed and the way you just fell for her bait just proves to me that your bump in the head messed something up in there!"
"Midna, I can do this!"
"I won't let you risk your life for me again! Can't you, just once, quit being so damn selfless?!"
"No! I won't stand by and let her tear apart the last of what I have from my father!"
"Why won't you listen to me?! He won't mind because he's dead! He won't be coming back if you set things right, Zelda! You can't protect him anymore! He'd want you to save your life!"
"What makes you think I won't survive?!"
"For one thing, the lump on your head, and your ankle! One wrong move and you're done for!"
"I refuse to stand back and let her ransack my father's belongings! Midna, this isn't about him! It's about me!"
"But you can't use your magic to fend her off!"
"I don't need it!"
Zelda placed both hands on Midna's shoulders.
"But…princess…" Midna was almost begging, "If you get killed now…"
"I'll be fine." She smiled at her softly. "And then you can berate me about my recklessness afterwards. Alright?"
Reluctantly, Midna nodded. And then her expression turned into a teasing glare.
"But be expecting a huge scolding after this!"
Zelda laughed softly. In the back of her mind, she actually dreaded the fight. But of course, she wouldn't let Midna know that.
"No…really…please be careful." Midna sounded almost anxious.
Taking a deep breath, Zelda walked forward towards Tetra.
With a nod, Tetra motioned for her pirates to step back. She drew out her sword. She then looked up expectantly towards Zelda. She took out her twin blades.
"That's it? Two pathetic blades?" Tetra asked, "You sure you don't want to ask your little boyfriend over there for his long sword?"
Narrowing her eyes, Zelda took on her perfect stance. The twin blades were poised perfectly, and if she were to be seen from afar, she would've appeared to be an assassin.
"I'm sure." She said.
"Easier for me then."
And before she could blink, Tetra rushed forward with a speed that took her by surprise. Zelda jumped to the side as Tetra's sword swung out in a strategic, yet slightly wild, thrust. She parried with her twin blades as the other girl swung her sword back at her neck. Holding the sword in place, she pushed it away propelling herself forward with her good leg. Forced to take a step back, Tetra grinned. With her left hand, she reached into her back pocket, pulled out her knife and sliced at Zelda.
The edge of the knife grazed her cheek in a light cut a few inches below the eye. Tetra made another swipe towards her neck with her sword. Eyes flashing, Zelda dropped down on the floor, effectively ducking the sword, and propped herself up with her hands. With her good leg, she made a swipe at Tetra, who jumped up onto the stairs leading up to the steering wheel.
Zelda jumped up after her, following Tetra up to the steering wheel. She made a swipe at the girl's arm but Tetra easily blocked it with her sword. Zelda ducked Tetra's next swipe overhead and moved behind the girl. Slashing with her blades as Tetra ducked, she managed to cut off the bun of messy hair she had been wearing, effectively loosening her hair. In response, Tetra growled.
She suddenly jumped up. Placing a foot against the nearest wall, she propelled herself over Zelda's head. Zelda whirled around, expecting to see the sword headed straight for her neck, but instead she found Tetra slashing a rope.
"What…?" She breathed.
A creaking noise from behind her made her turn around. The mast swung around to face her. Suddenly, she was swept off the deck and out onto the ocean. She hung on precariously to the pole. With her good foot, she managed to wrap herself around it and onto a safer position.
"You cheat!" Aryll shouted from deck.
Tetra, who in the short time Zelda had spent struggling to hang on, had successfully managed to approach Zelda while standing on the mast herself. She laughed.
"It's called resourcefulness dearest!" She called out to her.
Zelda kicked Tetra's legs and caused her to fall on the deck. Her sword flew out of her hands a good few feet away. Zelda cut out a piece of rope from the sail and used it to swing down towards the sword. Whirling it around to face Tetra on the floor, she glared at her foe.
"How's that for resourcefulness?"
"You're good…" She relented, "But I'm better."
"You're the one who's one the floor."
With a wicked smile, Tetra closed her eyes.
"Wrath of Din!"
A lump arose in Zelda's throat and she could not breathe. That wasn't possible. There was no way this pirate could know those kinds of spells. But when the heat began gathering around her, and she found herself surrounded by a ball of red, she trembled. The sword in her hands fell to the ground, as did her twin blades. The heat was almost unbearable. But even worse was the sensation that she no longer knew anything of what was going on around her. Even worse was the sensation of realizing you no longer had any control over your life.
And quite suddenly, Tetra found her eyes widening. Because a giant wall of water swept over the both of them, completely extinguishing her precious flames. And she found herself sputtering with an incredulous look placed upon her face. She had realized that she had made a mistake by judging the girl as a pampered and wealthy girl who knew naught of the arts of magic and swordsmanship. And she figured out that this had been one of the few times when she had judged someone wrong.
She felt her forehead. She felt woozy. There was blood all over it and she knew she was bleeding badly. The girl must've managed to get in a lucky strike.
Panting, Tetra looked at Zelda. The girl had sunk down on her knee, watery trails of blood flowing from one of her ankles. She clutched her head, looking horribly pale and dizzy, and the crimson blood that flowed from her nose was bright in contrast with her face. She looked up from the ground at her and then an alarmed look flashed across her ghostly white face.
"Where did you get that?!" She asked, struggling to get up.
Tetra looked at the ground beside her. A polished blue stone lay next to her foot. It was the stone she used to communicate with her mother. She picked it up.
"Someone gave it to me." She said.
Zelda glared and managed to stand up.
"Give that back." She growled. "It's not yours."
With an incredulous look on her face, Tetra said:
"It's mine! My mother gave it to me!"
"That's impossible!" Zelda argued, "That's a gossip stone known only to the royals of Hyrule! It's a method used for communication in emergencies only! Now give it back!"
"No! I didn't steal it! It was given to me by my mother!"
"Then she must've stolen it! Now give it back!"
"Don't you dare call my mother a thief!"
"Where did you learn those spells?!"
"My mother taught me those as well!"
"Those are spells only known by the royals of Hyrule! These spells are secrets, and they have been handed down from heir to heir since the time of the great Hero! How can she know these spells and have possessed the stone as well?!"
"I don't know!"
Zelda grabbed Tetra by the shoulders, half leaning, half shoving.
Almost as if by electric shock, her eyes widened. She suddenly couldn't breathe. Her chest constricted. Something within her heart squeezed and she screamed. It wasn't a scared sort of scream. It was painful. Raw. And it tore out from the deepest part of her soul.
Suddenly, she could hear her head pounding. The people around her blurred. They faded away into the abysmal darkness that slowly enveloped her. The scream continued and a sudden sensation of burning surged from her right hand. She fell forward onto her knees, seeing white. Pain ripped through her, cutting her in half. Closing her eyes, her skull erupted in a searing flash, a scream that was not her own. And she was suddenly swimming in agony.
She could not tell who said it. It was not the fact that she could barely think. It was not the fact that all her senses were dull from the intense pain. It was the fact that she had seemed to hear it twice…at the same time. It was the fact that there was another scream hidden within the folds of her own.
"What's wrong?! Zelda, tell me what's wrong!"
"My hand…!" She gasped out.
Another stab at her heart sent her left hand shooting up to her chest. She clutched at where it hurt, unable to do nothing but scream as she was torn out from the inside. The burning in her right hand felt like fire. It was hot, and it etched deeply within her skin. The scream within her head made itself louder, tearing at the binds that contained it. And suddenly, she could see it. It was within her grasp, floating up from Tetra's neckline. A small piece…a golden glow…
"What am I searching for?!"
"For the one thing that will complete you."
And almost as if she had been knocked to the side with a heavy pole, she dropped down on the floor and everything faded to black.
Heavy gasps. Labored breathing. Groans filled with pain. Echoes of the suffering.
A golden light illuminating the corpses. The darkness shunned aside. The creation of a Mirror.
A golden power. Gasping. Her hands outstretched. She needed it. It hurt to be away from it. In the dark depths of her mind, a nagging voice urged her forth. Because it was there…and it belonged to her. Torture. Within her grasp. But never enough to reach it.
A man dressed in black, his face hidden in shadows. He held out a hand. Within it a head. Her father's.
"You cannot save us…"
A constriction in her chest. In her throat. The mounting of sheer horror.
"…In the end…you will die with us all…my precious…Princess… Zelda…"
In a flash of fire, it was gone. Disintegrated. Like sand, falling through the man's fingers. Like dust. And an empty, cavernous laughter rang in her ears.
"You will die with us all…my precious daughter Zelda."
She struggled against the hands that pinned her down, screaming and kicking out. Tears seeped through her closed eyelids, and she sobbed. She slowly stopped struggling, and opened her eyes, trying to see through her tears. Link hovered over her, concern etching his face. Without thinking, she threw herself at him as if her life depended on him. He held her in his hands, running his hand through her hair.
"Oh Link…I miss them so…" She sobbed. "Impa…Daddy…"
How long had it been since she had called him that? She could not remember.
"I know you do…" He whispered.
Gradually, her tears lessened, and she drew back from him. She felt reluctant in doing so, although she knew not why. She had always viewed him as a valuable friend and ally, but before she had not viewed him as an important source of comfort. But now he also seemed guarded, almost as if something had happened.
She became aware of her surroundings, and immediately sensed she was not on the same ship. She was inside a cabin, the door leading outside closed. She was plopped on a bed, and beside her there was a dresser with a woman's picture on it. Long blonde hair and dark yet strangely clear blue eyes, almost the color of violet. Again, she felt a tugging sensation in the pit of her stomach and she turned away from the picture.
The door suddenly opened. Tetra walked through it with Midna flanking her. They were arguing heatedly about something.
"I did nothing! I've been telling you the exact same thing for three hours now, and I'm sick of it!" Tetra yelled, glaring daggers at Midna.
"You must have done something! There is no other explanation." Midna growled, "Now tell me, before I slit your throat."
Tetra let out a sarcastic laugh.
"Oh, like you're so high and mighty! I'm terribly scared!" She retorted, a mocking tone lining the edges of her voice. "Please. As if you stand a chance against me!"
"If Zelda can do it, so can I! You didn't seem to be able to win except by cheating-"
"I never cheated! Neither of us won! I let you on my ship, didn't I?!" Tetra asked incredulously.
"Yeah, after your little barbecue session with her ship as the main course!"
Tetra fidgeted and her eyes flickered from Midna's face to the ground and back again.
"Well…yes…but that's beside the point!"
"Then please, enlighten me as to what the point is then!"
Tetra hesitated, and then shook her head.
"I don't have to explain myself to you." She replied acidly, "The fact is that I didn't do anything. Whether or not you choose to believe me is your choice. Now excuse me. I've got to change clothes before we arrive to Outset."
Midna glared at her, actual dislike lining her beautiful features. She stormed out the door and out of sight. Tetra then turned to Link. She spotted Zelda sitting beside him and for a second, her demeanor softened. But then it was gone and her face hardened, a mask of hatred taking over.
"Get out." She snapped at Link.
"You hurt her and I'll-!" He hissed.
"I'm not the one you should be accusing. Now go before I hurt you." Her eyes were flat, a sign of danger.
Without a word, Link stood and left her on the bed. His eyes met Tetra's and he glared at her, as if communicating a silent message. He closed the door behind him.
"Well? Are you going to attack me too?" There was an expectant tone in her voice, but deeper still there was desperation.
Zelda looked at the girl before her with blatant curiosity. She could feel the apprehension in the way she stood, in the way she gazed back at her with a tinge of regret. And quite suddenly, she remembered. The duel between the both of them. The echoes of the voice beckoning her. The pain inflaming her right hand. The unbearable pain.
"I refuse to." She answered quietly. "I know it wasn't you who hurt me so."
Tetra rushed forth and kneeled down on the floor before her, desperation taking over her features.
"Then what did?" She asked anxiously, "What caused you so much pain that it felt as though your skull were being ripped in half? Why did your hand feel as though it were on fire?"
Shock coursed through Zelda's veins. Again, an empowering sensation of déjà vu washed over her, along with a wave of odd recognition. She leaned down towards her hastily, hissing under her breath at the jab of pain from her ankle. She felt odd. She felt so unlike herself.
"How did you know?!"
Tetra's eyes were wide and almost wild. Fearful.
"I could feel it. I could feel the echoes in your mind. I could hear the voice of your father within my head while you were asleep. Who are you?!" Tetra screamed. "Why is this happening to me?!"
She took Zelda's head in her hands and shook her. Zelda placed her hands on top of hers, effectively stopping her. She stared into the other girl's eyes, and looked away, disturbed. It was like looking into a mirror.
"I am Zelda, princess of Hyrule." She spoke reluctantly.
Shock flickered through Tetra's face and she stood stock still. Slowly, she sunk down unto her knees, her head sinking as well. She placed her forehead on the edge of the bed, and Zelda heard some slight sniffling. She flinched.
"Hey, are you crying?" She asked, nudging Tetra gently.
An indignant snuffle was heard inside the room and Tetra's head rose. Her eyes were red, as was her nose.
"I'm not crying. I have allergies and my nose was leaking." She defended, narrowing her puffy eyes.
Zelda blinked rapidly.
"Right." She agreed dubiously.
"I'm serious, Zel! I have allergies!"
Zelda blinked again.
"Well, I hope you weren't expecting a 'Your Highness'. If so, then you're in for a world of disappointment. I'm not bowing down to you." She replied sourly.
Zelda let out a short laugh, sighing softly.
"To be truthful, yes I was. But I'm glad you're not regarding me as a princess. It's refreshing to hear you say that without my having to correct you."
"Yeah, whatever. I'm glad you're happy." Tetra said, frowning, "But I wish I knew what was going on. What brings the princess of Hyrule out here to the Great Sea?"
And suddenly, the moment of fun was shattered and she remembered what she was supposed to be doing. She remembered the unfairness of the destiny that was shoved upon her. She was the princess of Hyrule. Her father was dead. Her friends were in danger.
A girl from another realm, a realm hidden underneath the folds of her own, was helping her reclaim her throne and at the same time claiming they had met before when she knew she had never set eyes on her in her life. And yet, why did she keep getting visions of things she did not remember, yet knew she had experienced them once before?
And the strange yearning for something…a yearning for something she did not have the words for. The pain that it caused her not to have it; it was physically agonizing.
"Hyrule castle has fallen to the hands of the enemy." She found herself saying.
"What?" Tetra asked incredulously, "What enemy? Where did they come from?"
"They came from seemingly out of nowhere." There was a lump in her throat now. "They killed my father, and my friend. And many more have suffered the consequences of my stupidity."
"Who sent the enemy?"
"My fiancé and…someone else I have…" Zelda swallowed hard, "…never met before."
"What are you doing out here?" Tetra asked. She seemed troubled. "What are you searching for?"
For some reason, she was no longer surprised that the girl in front of her seemed to know too much about what was going on for a person whom she had just met.
"I don't know what I am searching for." She admitted quietly. "But it is a yearning for something, a longing that I cannot seem to ignore."
"And it causes you pain not to have it, doesn't it?" Tetra asked, "It feels as though you'll never be complete without it."
"Yes." Her voice was impossibly soft.
"It was this that cause you pain earlier before wasn't it? And you're scared of failing, aren't you? You're afraid of what might happen if you fail."
If she failed, she died. It was as simple as that. But suddenly, death seemed more like a welcome option than anything else. She would see her father again. Her mother. Impa. With a bitter smile, she contemplated death, and a million emotions played over her face. But she could not do it. She could not picture her death. She could not picture herself dying. No. It was not that. It was that she could not picture herself forsaking her people, her friends…She could not do it.
"Please, tell me what's going on. Everything." Tetra begged.
A change had begun in Zelda from the moment she felt true agony. It shook the depths of her soul, the very foundation of her core. It was then and there that she realized she was beginning to lose herself to someone she did not know. Something was taking over her body, her mind, and her soul. And she could not stop it.
"Midna is not a hylian as you and I are." She began, a wry smile placing itself upon her lips.
Tetra blinked and bunched up her eyebrows.
"What is she then?"
"She is of the Twili." Zelda answered, gazing at her with unnervingly intense eyes. "She traveled from the Twilight Realm to Hyrule. She is the Twilight Princess."
"I'm traveling in the company of princesses?"
"Indeed. She says she knows Link and I, but we have never met her before in our lives. I don't know her. I don't know her!"
She did not know why she was screaming. There was a doubt, a nagging fear in her mind. What had happened in the time Midna had been away from them? No. That was incorrect. She had never met her before in her life. But she had. No, she hadn't!
A flash of light. A shroud of darkness. Hyrule covered by the twilight.
She shook her head roughly. She moaned and clutched her head.
"The history of light and shadow will be written in blood!"
Her hand burned and she slammed herself back against the wall. She was lost. Confused. Angry. So many things at once. And she could not think. She could only feel. And see.
"Say nothing, Midna…Your heart and mine were as one, however briefly…"
Words spoken. A promise.
"Never forget that there's another world bound to this one."
"The history…light and shadow…written in blood…!"
"…two sides of the same coin…cannot exist without the other…"
"I will risk everything to deny you!"
"…take up arms against the king of light and shadow…"
"…the kind of absolute power only those chosen by the gods wield."
Echoes, voices within her head. She clutched it tighter, gasps of desperation increasing.
A single shout brought her back down to earth. Her eyes burst open, wide, and undoubtedly alarmed. She gasped for breath as the back of her right hand burned. Tetra kneeled over her, an alarmed look upon her face. Something was wrong with the other girl, the girl who claimed to be the princess of a kingdom under siege. She could feel it. But she kept quiet. She would find out for sure soon enough.
"Are you alright?" Tetra asked her.
"I-I'm fine. You needn't worry about it." She said, shaky and out of breath.
As if emerging from a nightmare.
"We just arrived on Outset Island. We can get some rest here before continuing on to your destination."
Zelda was surprised to say the least.
"You're taking us there?" She asked, momentarily distracted from her disturbing relapse.
"Yes. I have decided to accompany you on this quest of yours. As much as I hate to admit it, I can't let anything happen to Hyrule. After all, I am a pirate. Whose ships would I pillage?" Tetra asked with a small smile.
But Zelda already knew that wasn't the reason she was doing it. It was because she truly cared about Hyrule. Underneath that rough exterior, she really cared.
Once alone inside the room because Tetra had left to prepare some kind of crutch, Zelda found herself sinking slowly into an abysmal depression. She would finally admit it to herself. She knew Midna. She had known her since she had been born, and maybe even before that. But why? Why was it that she could not remember anything from that time? And indeed, why was she remembering it now? How could she know and trust all these people she had just met?
Aryll…was happy and seemingly cheerful. She could be serious when need be, and she had a poignant sense of justice. And you could see it in her eyes that she loved her brother more than anything else in the world. Her lively eyes seemed so familiar to Zelda, but she did not know why. She had the faint notion that she had met her before, maybe for a short time, but known her nonetheless.
A lump formed in her throat when she thought of the blonde haired boy. There was a squeeze in her heart that she did not have the words for. He was kind, and gentle, but he had fierce reflexes when it came to the battle field. And she knew him. She knew she had known him before. Where, and when was not clear to her. But it would explain the way she already trusted him with everything she had. It was unnatural, not to mention unnerving, that she thought she could tell him anything and he would not flinch away.
Midna…She was an enigma to her. Most of the time, Zelda could tell, just by a glance, that she was thinking about them. About Link and herself. About those long years lost to her that could've been an eternity to her, yet reflected themselves as only a year in Midna's kingdom. If Zelda was to truly believe Midna, to admit to herself that the voices in her head were not her imagination, she would have to come up with a feasible explanation for everything.
If she matched up the dots between her data and Midna's, there was a questionable time skip in from the moment she left Hyrule, and the moment she arrived back in it. In Hyrule, it had been 500 years since anything Midna described had happened. But in the Twilight realm, it had only been 1 year. What could explain this? That is, if it was even true. But deep down, Zelda knew it was. She had known all along.
And if she was correct, the only cause for the time skip would be if the Twilight Realm had a different time flow than Hyrule. And if that were true, then it would explain why 500 years past in Hyrule, when only 1 past in the Twilight Realm. She had never been to the Twilight Realm, but already she was sure that there existed no light within that darkness. There existed only shadow, and the denizens of the Twilight. This was the only plausible explanation her logical mind could come up with. The only one that seemed real.
Sheik…he was agile, and quick witted. He had talent with the bow, and he seemed to keep up with his surroundings quite well. He was loyal, he had proven that much, and he had led Marin to safety. That was enough for Zelda to trust him completely. But there was an attraction to him that she could not explain. It was not romantic, it was…in personality.
And then there was Tetra. The feisty, agile, and analytical minded pirate who, deep down, had a heart of gold. She would never admit it to herself, but Zelda already trusted her even more than she trusted Link. It was an unfathomable bond that she had formed in less than five hours with the pirate that had tried to kill her. Even in her mind, that seemed logically impossible. But at the same time, it seemed probable.
"Zelda, I present to you the crutches of a lifetime."
She snapped from her reverie. She had been so lost in thought that she hadn't heard, even less seen, Tetra walk in with Link and Aryll in tow. Tetra was grinning at her apologetically.
"I couldn't find anything you could use on the ship, so these two are going to be your crutches until we get to my mother's house." She explained.
Link shot Tetra a dirty look, but she just rolled her eyes and ignored him. Link stuck out his tongue.
"Oh yeah, real mature." Aryll muttered.
Zelda couldn't help but laugh softly at Link. With a surprised expression, he turned back to her.
"What?" He asked, clueless.
"Your density of mind astounds me." Tetra said flatly.
Aryll sighed when Link turned back to Tetra, ready to glare and argue as much as the rest of the day permitted. She turned to Zelda who was watching them argue with a somewhat mild interest.
"We're already moored on Outset, and I'll bet you want to go outside and see it than be in these stuffy quarters, huh?" Aryll asked her.
Zelda turned to her and smile gratefully. One quality she had forgotten to mention in her mental list had been the fact that Aryll was very empathetic, not to mention tactful.
"Yes. I do wish to get out of here." She admitted.
That stopped Link and Tetra. Link smiled apologetically and extended his arm.
"Sorry about that. She just gets on my nerves." He explained.
Tetra twitched on the side.
"I get on your nerves?! You get on my nerves!" She exploded, fuming.
She stormed out the door. Link grinned mischievously. Zelda narrowed her eyes slightly in understanding.
"You did that on purpose, didn't you?" She asked, suspiciously.
He just shrugged, with the grin still plastered on his face.
Link and Aryll proceeded to help Zelda off the bed. She wrapped an arm around both their shoulders and heaved herself up on her good leg. Then, the three of them walked, well…hobbled in Zelda's case, after Tetra. Outside, they stuck to the right side past the stairs and to another door. Link opened it, one arm safely wrapped around Zelda's waist, and then walked outside. The waning daylight momentarily caught Zelda off guard. The sun was setting, and shone through the trees.
Once off deck, she could spot Midna on the pier. She was down on her knees and she was staring at the fish in the water as if she were a little girl. Tetra sat next to her, her feet in the water. Next to her, there was a woman. A woman who looked like Tetra a lot. The woman within the picture inside of Tetra's quarters. Her breath hitched in her throat again.
Unknowingly, Link moved towards them.
"Midna, Tetra!" He called out, and waved.
Startled, Midna jumped and lost her balance, falling into the water with a splash. She surface, sputtering and muttering colorful things at Link. Tetra took things much more gracefully than Midna had and jumped up on the deck, a dagger at the ready. The woman just turned around and smiled. But then her eyes met Zelda's and the smile faltered, and eventually faded completely.
"Who have you brought with you, Tetra?" The woman asked sharply.
Startled by her reaction, Tetra blinked at her confusedly.
"They're from Hyrule. And Midna is from somewhere there too." She tried to explain.
She sounded more like a five year old in the presence of this woman.
"Who are they? Name each one."
The woman's biting tone was still there, and if Zelda hadn't known any better, she almost sounded panicky. But not once did her eyes leave Zelda's.
"Well, the boy is Link and his sister Aryll, is on the other side. They're both from Ordon. And the girl in the middle is Zelda. She's from Hyrule Castle."
"Zelda…the Princess of Hyrule?" The woman asked in a small whisper.
She had suddenly grown quiet. And then she marched past the three of them and into the island.
"Mother?!" Tetra shouted, taking a few steps after her.
"Show them to their rooms!" Was her only answer.
"I don't understand…" Tetra murmured. "She's never acted that way before. Not since she last traveled to Hyrule…"
Zelda's heart pounded. Because of what she knew, she had the astounding and impossible suspicion that this was not the end.
The next morning, Zelda awoke to the scent of flowers. She shifted in the comfortable bed Tetra had forced her to sleep in and sat up. On the floor next to her, Tetra slept soundly, her hand twitching around her trusty dagger. Not knowing what took over her, Zelda tossed a pillow at her head. As soon as it hit her, Tetra's eyes shot open and she took the pillow, slammed it against the floor in front of her, and stabbed it.
She breathed heavily, and turned to look at Zelda through sleepy eyes. Zelda's eyes were wide. That poor, defenseless pillow…
"Maybe you shouldn't sleep with that dagger in hand…" Zelda stated nervously.
"No comment…" Tetra muttered.
Tetra rubbed her eyes and stretched, the light filtering through the binds in the window highlighting her blonde hair. Zelda shifted her good leg of the bed and carefully slid the bad one off. Tetra watched her surreptitiously. With a sly smile, she turned to the wooden desk at the corner. Zelda watched her wearily.
"I will heal that leg of yours in five seconds!" Tetra exclaimed.
"Eh?" Zelda asked, startled.
Tetra rummaged through it until she found what she was looking for. She whirled around towards Zelda and held up a bottle. A small glowing light emanated from it. Squinting closer, Zelda spotted
"A fairy?" She asked, cocking her head to the side.
"It will heal you. I swear." Tetra said truthfully.
She uncorked the bottle and stood back as the fairy floated upwards. Just before it could begin its job, the door burst open and Aryll, Link, and Midna trudged inside.
"Oh no you don't!" Aryll yelled as she ripped the bottle from Tetra's hands.
She scooped the fairy back inside.
"Why not?" Tetra asked, "It'll heal it immediately!"
"She's right, you know." Midna added.
"It's supposed to heal naturally." Aryll said.
"Look, it's my choice, right?" She asked, "Let's try the fairy. Besides, I don't want to suffer any unnecessary pain."
Reluctantly, Aryll uncorked the bottle. The small fairy floated towards Zelda's leg and flew straight into it. Zelda hissed in pain. But then, all of a sudden, it was gone.
"Did it work?" Link asked quietly.
Aryll bent down to look at the leg. She cautiously unwrapped the bandages. The wound was gone. All that was left of it was blood and a mess of used healing herbs. Tetra grinned.
"Let's get that legs washed, then." Aryll said, a small tone of disapproval lining her voice.
Zelda cautiously stood up. When her leg didn't hurt, she smiled widely.
"The fountain is outside." Tetra said, and led the way.
Zelda followed her, reveling in the feel of her leg. It was almost surreal after all that time with pain. In the lading of the house, Tetra's mother stared out the window. Zelda couldn't help the pounding of her heart and how it started again as she thought of yesterday. But then Tetra led them outside through the door to her house. She motioned her to the small fountain right next to the house.
Zelda leaned down and soaked her leg, washing it with water. It had been a long time since she had felt her leg clean, and it felt good. When she was done with her leg, she looked back out towards the ocean. The ship they had sailed in was moored on the small dock of the island.
"We're setting sail immediately." Tetra informed us.
She raced back inside the house and brought back some supplies.
"We have no time to lose, and I was up last night thinking of what we needed."
"Wait, you're coming with us?" Midna asked.
"Didn't want you to have all the fun." She said, grinning.
Midna allowed herself a small smile, and walked towards the dock. Aryll and Tetra followed her with fast paces. Link stayed behind, waiting for her.
"You seem sad." He observed.
Zelda nodded slightly.
"I don't want to leave. But I must."
Silently, she walked with him to the ship, and ran right up the plank onto deck.
"Wait!" A voice shouted.
Zelda looked back and saw Tetra's mother running towards them. She skidded to a stop in front of the plank.
"You're leaving so abruptly?" She asked.
Zelda nodded, a grim smile placed precariously upon her face.
"I must find a way to save Hyrule. And I will find it in the Tower of the Gods." She said.
The woman was silent for a moment, and then she nodded.
"What happened to the king of Hyrule?"
The question caught Zelda off guard.
"He…he died. He died in front of the whole of Castle Town." She said hesitantly.
The woman flinched and looked away.
"May the Goddesses protect you." She said, and turned on her heel.
Zelda stared at her retreating back, a peculiar sense of loss clouding her senses. With the wind brushing her face and ruffling her hair, she turned to the island. Two small children stood watching from the bridge that connected the island. Beside them stood a young woman carrying a jug of water on her head, also watching. Her hand crept to her throat and she suddenly did not want to leave. A warning bell echoed in her head, and it seemed to tell her to stay. She would be safer if she stayed.
But she forced herself to take a step back so the pirates under Tetra's orders could pull up the planks from the docks. She continued taking steps back until her back hit something. She whirled around, finding herself face to face with the ladder to the crow's nest. As if a thousand ghouls were chasing her, she hurled herself at them climbing them with a speed she had never thought herself capable of. And when she reached the top, she gripped the rails and watched as the island became farther away. And finally, she allowed herself to scream.
Because she was afraid of what would happen in the future.
She remained in the crow's nest for the rest of the trip, vaguely aware of the sharp silence her scream had caused on the ship. Thankfully, no one had come up to try and comfort her. She rose from her sitting position and gripped the rails again, attempting to calm herself down before she broke down into panicked sobs. She had known when this had started that this was what she had to do. She knew the dangers that might lie ahead. She knew that there was a chance that at the end of this, she would be dragging down all of her companions.
She knew that at the end of this, there was a chance that she would not survive.
She whirled around only to be met by a startled Tetra. The sight of her brought tears to her eyes, and she did not know why. The tugging in her heart grew stronger once more, coursing through her like a rush of adrenaline. She sunk onto her knees slowly, her hands remaining on the railing of the tiny crow's nest. She gasped for breath as the sobs kept coming. Two soft hands drew her into an embrace and she buried her head in Tetra's hair.
Tetra rocked Zelda back and forth, humming a lullaby her mother had taught her years earlier. Soft and musical, it calmed Zelda slowly, lulling her into a trancelike state. But still, her grip on Tetra was far from lax. Running a hand through Zelda's soft hair, Tetra sighed and moved back to pinch Zelda's nose a bit. She smiled softly at her.
"Feel better?" She asked her.
Zelda nodded slowly, refusing to be detached. For a second, she felt closer to this stranger than she had to anyone else in the world.
"I'm scared." She admitted.
She had been doing a lot of admitting lately, and crying as well. It seemed almost a lifetime away since the last time she had smiled without worrying if it would be the last tie she ever did. Without worrying whether or not in the time space of the next second, she would forget how.
"It makes you human," Tetra responded, "Quite frankly, I'm scared as well. I don't think anyone here isn't. Not with the news you've brought us. The tides of war are approaching, and everyone here is counting on you to lead us to victory. But don't worry. If you need someone to help you, you've got us."
"I'm afraid of losing you all."
"As if I plan on dying anytime soon. Didn't I tell you?" She said, "I have a deal with the goddesses. I'm gonna live forever."
Zelda smiled into her hair, a stray tear squeezing itself out of her eye.
"All that's happened…it's sad…but it's true, isn't it?" Tetra asked. "Your father really died, and we are under attack…"
It was funny how in a second, her life could change from good to horrifying. How fun can switch to serious in the space of a second.
"If it made you feel better, if it made you feel safer, I would lie to you and say that everything is fine. That I'm just a princess running away from her father's steel clutches. But I can't..." Her voice choked, "I can't lie to you. Everything is going to change now, and nothing will ever be the same. I cannot regain what I have lost in that first attack. I will never regain what I'll lose in this war…"
Tetra blinked back the tears that threatened to engulf her. Looking at the princess, she saw not determination, not sorrow, not courage, but she saw what she knew the princess would never wish to abide in herself. She saw weakness. The emotion in everything she said, everything was marred in an attempt to not show weakness. She knew it to be true.
But here she was, finally liberating every fear in her mind to a complete stranger. It baffled her, the capability of trust that this girl had. If she was not careful, she would certainly end up getting hurt, and if that happened, she was not sure she would be able to take it. Zelda did not show it, but she was fragile, like a porcelain doll. And she struggled, not only with outer conflicts, but with inner ones.
That pain she had felt earlier had not belonged to her. It had belonged to Zelda. And she was not entirely sure that it had all been physical. If there was one more emotional blow, she would undoubtedly shatter.
"What is it that troubles you so, princess?" She asked.
Zelda blinked, confused and almost unfocused, as if her mind had been in a faraway place. Then she looked…defensive.
"What do you mean?" Her tone of voice was sharp.
"What truly troubles you? There is something else…I don't know how I know this, but I can see that there's something else bothering you. At least, I can feel it."
"There's nothing wrong with me."
"Zelda…" Tetra said slowly, "I never said there was anything wrong with you…But that makes me wonder if there is."
"Look, I don't know what you're talking about!" She snapped.
She rose on her legs and backed away from Tetra. Tetra rose up after her, surer than ever that Zelda was hiding something. But the threatened and angry look that the princess gave her was more than enough warning. Something told her that normally the princess would never act like this. And so, something was very, very wrong.
In all her life, she had never seen something that actually seemed like it could touch the sky. The Tower of the Gods loomed overhead, a lone pillar amongst the ocean waves. To the northeast of it there looked to be a mountain, or at least some kind giant island. The graying tower seemed to rise straight out from the ocean, and she watched in amazement as they drew closer.
Zelda gripped the blades at her side tightly. She struggled to control her feeling of panic. Gulping it down, she sucked in her breath and moved towards the deck. Link watching the waves, a carefree look placed upon his face. Somehow, his expression infuriated her. But she beat down her anger. It wasn't his fault she was feeling like this. It wasn't his fault he was better off not knowing anything that was flashing through her chaotic mind.
"Link?" She asked him, her voice shaking slightly.
Link turned back to her, his eyes widening slightly. He seemed anxious, although why he was escaped her.
"We'll be alright, won't we?" She asked, "Nothing will happen to us, right?"
There was a flash of uncertainty in his eyes, but he nodded reassuringly.
"Yes, princess. We'll be fine. And if it comes down to it, I will protect you."
The honesty in his voice stirred something within her, and she blinked as if coming out from a dream.
"I missed you…"
"What…?" She trailed off.
"Link, Zelda!" Aryll called.
The both of them turned to face Midna and Aryll, both of whom were pointing behind them at Tetra on one of the lifeboats.
"Come on, Goat Boy, we're leaving." Aryll said, grabbing Link by the hand and dragging him towards Tetra.
"I was talking to Zelda!" He protested, "I need to talk to her."
"Later." Aryll said.
Midna turned to Zelda, who was staring after Link with an odd expression situated upon her face.
"Zelda…what's wrong with you?" She asked.
"There's nothing wrong with me." She replied acidly. "Just leave me alone, Twilight Princess."
Midna stared after Zelda's retreating back, shock coursing through her veins. In all of the time she had known Zelda, not once had she seen her act this way with anyone. Not once had she seen her act so unkindly towards someone. So spitefully. Not ever.
She sat rigidly on the lifeboat, the waves rocking it back and forth as they reached the entrance to the tower. Almost immediately, Aryll stiffened and gripped Link's arm tightly.
"I can't go in there." She stated, her voice high pitched.
She was referring to the small, dark entrance that was straight in the center of two man made water falls. Zelda turned to her and nodded.
"You should go back to the ship with the pirates then." She suggested, "That way you'll feel safer. And if anything happens, you can go seek help from the Rito."
Midna looked at her.
"Do you think something will happen?"
With blatant honesty, Zelda nodded.
"Something will go wrong today."
Midna's expression turned to one of outrage.
"Why didn't you say anything?! We could've come prepared!"
With everyone watching her, she stood up and went inside through the entrance.
"That would not have altered any of our fates. No matter what we would have done, it would have ended the same way. Something will indeed go wrong now. And I intend to face it."
With that, she headed straight into the darkness, the fear suffocating her almost instantly.
Almost instantly, she knew it was wrong. Walking up a spiral staircase, Link, Midna, and Tetra following close behind with lit torches, Zelda forced herself to press forward. Rounding the corner, Zelda found herself face to face with a large, unlocked door. She pushed it open. Within, there was a large circular room. A single squared window marked the roof of the room. It filtered the little light within the room. After her companions walked within, the door slammed shut.
She should never have come here.
"You have come, my Princess of Destiny."
No. She knew that voice. It couldn't be…
"Zant…" She moaned.
A hushed gasp echoed behind her. The man who had been meant to be her fiancé stood within the center of the room, the darkness shrouding his features. But even so, she knew it was him. She ran forward without thinking. And as if a bucket of water had been tossed on her face, she stopped short a few feet from him. She had almost lost control of her intense rage. And worse…she had wanted to.
"Dearest Princess Zelda…" His voice drawled, as he took a few steps into the light.
He had not changed in the least. She growled in rage, loathing in its purest form taking its place within her. She swiped at him with her twin blades, unthinkingly.
"No Zelda!" Midna yelled, rushing forward.
But quite suddenly, vines surged upwards, wrapping themselves around Link, Tetra, and Midna. Link struggled with all his might, trying to get free.
"Zelda!" He cried.
But she wasn't listening. She wasn't thinking.
"Din's fire!" She roared.
A tugging sensation pulled at the pit of her stomach and she crouched down on the floor and gasped for breath, slapping her hands together. The unyielding sound of fire seemed to shout in her ears and she struck upwards with her right hand. And in time with it surged fire. She relentlessly swept at him, even though he dodged each swipe with ease, and somehow deflected her fire. With a soft smirk on his face, he egged her on.
"Stop this, princess. What infuriates you so?"
"You mean besides the obvious reasons?!" She shouted, her voice filled with hatred. "You're alive!"
He laughed infuriatingly.
"Why is it that you wish so much harm on me?" He asked, feigning innocence. "After all, you brought this down upon yourself."
In a moment of pure, uncontrolled rage, she flung one of her blades at him. It grazed his shoulder, but it was enough to make him snap. In one fluid motion, he knocked her back against the wall, her head smashing against pure rock. She slid down to her feet, her mind teetering in a gray abyss.
"Zelda!" Link struggled.
But instead, Tetra was the one who managed to get free.
"Get away from her, you bastard!" She shouted, "Zelda!"
She ran towards her and caught her when she stumbled.
"Yes…that's it. Go to her, Tetra…" Zant hissed.
That flashing sensation of extreme pain shot throughout Zelda the moment Tetra's cool hands touched her fevered skin. She screamed, her voice hoarse. Beside her, Tetra hunched over, gasping.
"What are you doing here Zant?!" Midna shouted, struggling. "How did you find out where we were going?!"
Zant chuckled. Then he turned back to Zelda.
"Dearest princess. Your true awakening will be soon. The pain you feel is nothing but a reflection of what is yet to come. Soon it will take over your whole body. It will take control of your mind and your soul… and you cannot stop it." He chuckled, "He will be pleased. It is happening much sooner than we anticipated. The awakening of the Princess of Destiny is approaching."
"What are you talking about?!" Link yelled.
Ant ignored him fully, walking towards Zelda.
"Such a beautiful girl…I am sorry I cannot spare you. You could've been such a wonderful bride…"
"Stay away from me!" Zelda warned weakly.
"The changes in your personality are all part of the process. I am so sorry, princess…This was not in our plans to begin with. We never counted on the Great Spirits to help us find you. That is, except for Eldin, who still stubbornly refuses to abandon the Goddesses."
"What…? What are you saying?" Link asked.
Zant raised Zelda up by the throat. Tetra growled at him, swiping at him with her sword, but she stopped short, her eyes widening in surprise. Stumbling backwards, her sword clattered to the floor and her hands moved to her stomach. A small trickle of blood fell down the corner of her mouth, and she gripped the hilt of the dagger that was now lodged straight in her middle, a bit above her belly button. She looked up at Zant, and he, smirking at her, knocked her aside with one hand where she lay on the ground, unmoving.
"Te…tra…" Zelda gasped.
She tugged at the hands that held her throat weakly, the pain too much to bear. The tears in her eyes blurred her vision.
"No!" Link shouted, "Tetra, get up you damned pirate! Get up!"
Zant hurled Zelda up with all his might, and as if a spider web had entangled her, she stopped in the center of the room. Black ropes enveloped her and hung her from the ceiling. The ropes enveloping her spread out throughout her body, squeezing the air out of her lungs. She refused to scream, making no noise, simply crying as she watched the pool of blood underneath Tetra spread out on the floor.
"I have a deal with the goddesses…I'm gonna live forever…"
The burning in her hand spread like a flame, from the tip of her fingers to her head, leaving her in abysmal grayness. She could feel herself breaking under the strain of the tightening ropes that enslaved her. She let her head slump forward, wanting the pain to end. She wanted to fade. And almost as if in response to her wish, she felt herself slipping.
"I am saying that you have been duped by the Great Spirit Faron. You have been betrayed by the Guardian Spirit of the goddesses. And finally, today…you die."
And there, just as she was losing consciousness, an animalistic roar surged forth from beside Midna and a flash of light enveloped her sight. Then it all faded to black.
"Hold on my dear, sweet child, for these are the first signs of betrayal…"
A/N: Was that confusing to you? If it was, then I've achieved my goal. I tried to reveal some of the plot, but at the same time leave some questions unanswered. Forgive my crummy spelling, because quite frankly, I tried to go over it. I probably didn't do a very good job though, since it was one in the morning when I checked it...But please, bear it for me. Next time I'll try harder. This time, I won't be including a preview. Just one simple line.
The Hero sent by the Goddesses has finally awakened.
That's all for now.